Monday, March 31, 2008

TAGGED!

I have been tagged a few times by blogging buddies in the last month or so and have not responded. I don't want them to think I'm a rude "I'm too good for your tag" jerk or anything, so hopefully they will be forgiving if I pick my favorite one and count it for all 5.

Thanks for understanding.

10 years ago I…

was coming to the realization that it would be okay to have another baby. Our third child was born in 1996 with cranial synostosis, meaning one side of her skull was prematurely fused and required major invasive surgery at 8 months old to be corrected. It broke my heart to see that sweet, happy little baby have to endure such pain. She then had problems with her eyes as a result of the cranial synostosis which required many eye surgeries. I didn't think I could handle watching another child go through anything like that. By 1998 she was such a cute, spunky little thing that I thought another child (or 6 or 7) might not be so bad. And I was right!

5 things on my to-do list for today…

1) Do at least 3 loads of laundry

2) Make 6 loaves of bread

3) Call around for prices on a replacement ball joint for the suburban

4) Plan tonight's family home evening

5) Look through the bin of Baby Boy Clothes and make sure:

a. there are enough clothing items to get through the first 6 months
b. there is an outfit suitable to bring the baby home in
c. above mentioned items are freshly laundered and free of large stains

Snacks I enjoy…

  • Fresh fruit (pineapple, crisp apples, strawberries and kiwi are favorites right now)
  • Chips and chunky (mild) salsa or homemade bean dip
  • Bakery-fresh donuts (Krispy Kreme doesn't count, more sugar than donut there)
  • Quality chocolate
  • Baked goods (brownies, cookies, cupcakes, muffins, etc.)
I'll stop there, although the list could easily take up the rest of a page. I'm not too picky when it comes to snack foods.

3 Bad Habits…
  1. procrastination, mostly with house cleaning
  2. over-indulgence (see Snacks I Enjoy, above)
  3. late dinners (see bad habit #1)

5 things people don’t know about me…

  1. I love old & unique buttons. They are so fun to look through!
  2. I have to buy jeans in long lengths (34" inseam) even though I am only 5'7". This is a problem when I am pregnant, so please be forgiving of my flood-ready styles.
  3. I got myself some new socks for my birthday.
  4. I was miraculously accepted to Rick's College (now BYU-Idaho) but could not attend because my mom used the tuition money on a new Ford Mustang. Priorities, you know.
  5. No comment. I am not a very private person, so I couldn't think of anything else. Anyone want to answer this one for me?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

My 2 of 9 is ElemenoB!

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Henceforth and forevermore, this gorgeous gal shall be known on this blog as: ElemenoB

Got Boots?

This morning my little Towhead's first words to me were: "I need Boots!" This was no surprise, as his first words are often "I need...(fill in the blank)" each morning. As usual, I told him I did not know where our little plastic Boots toy was - but he could go find him. As he ran off to find Boots, I looked out the window and saw this:
Oh...those boots.

It's not April Fools Day yet, but Mother Nature got us good this morning! Who would've thought?! The weather has been beautiful, and I thought we were done with snow.

I guess you could call me a March Fool.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Political Joke

I am no political analyst, but I do know that I don't know what I'm going to do when election time comes around. For the first time since I turned 18 I may just stay home and throw a "Someone Loves America" party on voting day.

I can not vote for McCain. I get a bad feeling just looking at him. Plus, he's a donkey in an elephant suit.

I can not vote for Hillary. I already endured enough time with a Clinton in the White House. I do not want to have to go through that again. Plus, she's Hillary. You know?

And Obama? No way. Here's a funny from a friend's blog that describes my feelings on Obama very well:

Q: What will the U.S. become if Obama becomes president?

A: An ObamaNation

Am I the last one to hear this joke? So true, it's almost not funny.

So. true.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Our Own Easter Miracles!

First and foremost, two small miracles happened this week with our little Towhead.
  1. He is fully potty-trained!
  2. He attended his church Primary class on Sunday without a family member in tow!
These may sound like no big deal, but they are monumental around here. Just those two things would have been enough to make my weekend wonderful, but...wait! There's more.

On Saturday we spent the afternoon with Allen's side of the family, enjoying what is becoming an annual tradition: a picnic lunch and Easter egg hunt at a local park. There was a good crowd in attendance and plastic, candy-filled eggs a-plenty. Unfortunately, I did not bring my camera for this. But don't despair! I remembered my camera for the dinner on Easter Sunday with my side of the family, at Chip and Becky's. One of my favorite things about family get-togethers is this:Cousin time! I only really knew one of my cousins growing up - that includes both sides of the family - so I love when my kids get to spend quality time with their cousins. Another thing I love is that I don't have to make the dinner - that is my brother Chip's department. (He is really good at cutting things.)
I usually get to bring some small addition to the dinner, like my almost-famous homemade rolls. This time I brought my sugar cookies for dessert, which, at the risk of sounding vain, I think rival the local bakeries'.
You can ignore the jellybeans and robin's eggs (fancy name for colored Whoppers). I used them for decoration to get them out of my house. Hey, kids like 'em! (as do adults with no taste for finer Easter treats like mini Snickers and Dove chocolate eggs.) One of my absolute favorite things about getting together with family is that Allen helps with clean up while I sit and chat. When we were married we became one, so it's kind of like I'm doing dishes, too.
Right?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Coolister


Now and forever (or until I change my mind), this handsome kid will be known as "COOLISTER".

We Could All Use A Little Change

Yesterday my little Superman was digging around in his change jar before school. That usually means he has enough to buy school lunch, which I think is disgusting, but hey, it's his money. I asked him what the change was for so I would know if I needed to pack him a lunch or not.

He responded: "Miss S. showed us a jar in class yesterday. Any money we put in it will help to buy books for kids who don't have any."

I asked if he was sure he wanted to put his change in the jar. After all, wasn't he saving for a new pack of Pokemon cards? Didn't he want to buy that kite at the dollar store? How about a new set of Legos? There had to be something else he wanted to use his money for.

I think he was disappointed in me.

He said: "Mom, some kids don't have books. Can you imagine not having books?! Besides, Miss S. put just about her whole purse full of money in the jar. If she can do that, I can put in my change."

It's days like this I realize I must be doing something right in teaching these kids of mine. I guess we could all use a little 'change' every once in a while.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Song Game

Do you ever play the Song Game? I play it every day. It is beyond my control, really, just something ingrained in my brain.

When my 11-year-old daughter comes home and says, "I was late for class", it makes me want to sing a song with those lyrics. But I always try to refrain.

It's a little bit funny, really. I mean, I'm in this kitchen trying not to think about anything but getting lunches made when one of my kids will say, "Mom! I had an awesome dream last night!" Or, "Close your mouth! I think you're gross!" I can't help myself...I think of a song. Or Allen will ask me about the towhead's potty training: "Is it getting better?" and I want to respond by continuing the song he started.

The most common phrases that set me off are:

"I don't know how you do it",
"What do you think?", and
"It's a beautiful day!"

I guess you could say I'm a little bit shy about just breaking out in song. But I think it's better that way, wouldn't you agree? People already think I have a crazy life. I don't need to prove them right.

Do you play the song game, too? Do you know the songs that match the lyrics in red?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Oh, What A Beautiful Morning!

I have been suffering lately from a self-induced lack of sleep. I stay up much too late, reading books or blogs or watching movies or what-have-you. Then I try to fall asleep, fighting the pregnancy-induced RLS urge to kick and wiggle my legs as I wait for my calcium supplement to take effect. Baby 9 decides this is the ideal time to do a little breakdancing and gymnastics before settling nicely onto my bladder so that I once again have to get out of bed and visit the bathroom...you get the picture. Before I know it, 6:30 am rolls around and I am gently shaken awake by my oldest boy to start a new day.

But not yesterday morning. Yesterday morning was glorious.

I woke up well after the sun had come up and tried to orient my brain to what day it was. Saturday? No... then I realized the vacuum was going. Allen was still home, and he let me sleep in! What a rare, welcomed treat. He had set his alarm to get up before the kids, make their lunches & breakfast and get them to school. After returning home he did the dishes, vacuumed, and straightened the house up. All while I was still enjoying a sweet slumber.

I love that man.

Monday, March 17, 2008

There's A New Toy In Town...

Do you think my little 3-year-old towhead will be more motivated to be potty trained if I offered him these lovable stuffed toys as a prize? I must admit, these are right up my alley as far as being disgustingly humorous, but it doesn't seem right to give them to a child to play with.

I'd love to have a set on my bathroom shelf, though.

Maybe these underwear would make potty training a little more fun for me to endure?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ode to Brownies

I have been a bit obsessed with food lately. No, not food - treats. Snacks. Munchies. Sweets. Usually this is fine, as I am well-hated for being able to eat whatever I want and keeping my girlish figure, but during pregnancy? Hoo-boy. Watch out!

One of my latest obsessions has been brownies. I don't make them often, as I have been known at times to eat an entire pan on my own before anyone knows they were even created. (p.s. That is not a good thing.) And my favorite part of the brownie? The corner piece.

Yes, everyone thinks I'm kidding when I say that. Most people want the chewy, soft center cuts. Not me. I love the contrast of the chewy center to the crusty outside when I take a bite of these delicacies. Why a delicacy? Sadly, there are only four to a pan.

Until today!!

I am not alone. There are other corner lovers out there, or else this beauty of a creation would not be available. May I introduce:

Genius! Pure genius! Crusty corners for everyone! No brownie left behind!

I don't know who wrote this poem, but it sums up my recent sentiment towards brownies:

ODE TO A BROWNIE

O brownie small, your life was brief.
You lasted but a day.
When I heard you call my name,
I knew I shouldn’t stay.
O brownie bite, you need to know
I did all that I could.
I picked you up, I ate you down.
You tasted mighty good!
O brownie, you are part of me.
I’ll always have you near!
Though small, you seemed to put at least
A pound upon my rear.
O brownie piece, your life was short;
It lasted but a day.
And now I see your brother here.
He’ll end up the same way.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What Is Your Integrity Worth?

Last Monday for Family Night our oldest daughter taught a lesson on integrity. She handed out different situations and had us read them and discuss what we could do to show integrity in each. One was something like this:

You are at the grocery store and you find a $20 bill. What would you do with it?

We talked about how it was important to give it to a manager at the store because it could belong to someone who really needed it and they may come back looking for it. And how it's not really your money, so it should be easy to show integrity and hand it in.

Flash forward to today. I was at the Dollar Store with 3 of my kids. As we went through the checkout, my little cowgirl found a penny on the floor. She showed it to me and then handed it to the cashier, who had this conversation with her:

Cashier: "You can keep that, honey."

Cowgirl: "It's not mine."

Cashier: "It's okay. You can keep it."

Cowgirl: "It's not mine."

Me: (remembering our Family Night lesson) "I don't think that whoever lost it will come back for it, sweetie. It's okay."

Cowgirl: "I DON'T WANT IT!"

Cashier: (looks at me, confused)

And then, without a second thought, Cowgirl's 5-year-old sister grabs the penny and says, "Fine. if she doesn't want it, I'll keep it." And into her pocket it went.

I'm glad someone learned something.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Family Fun!

I don't read many magazines, except for ones published by our church. However, I used to subscribe to Family Fun Magazine because of all the great ideas and advice they provide for holidays, vacations and, well, family fun. Once my subscription ended I chose not to renew it because I have access to all of the great ideas from the magazine online. I also joined Family Fun's reader panel (no subscription required), which means every once in awhile I get an email asking me to submit my own ideas on various topics. I send my ideas in, with no response, but that's ok because they send me a free craft kit for every 3 ideas I submit, and it's always fun to get a random package in the mail.

Well, GUESS WHAT? I got a phone call from the magazine today, and one of my ideas is going to be published in May's issue!

Watch for an article on family STRESS BUSTERS!

I almost feel famous.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Theme Week: Squirmy Sunday


Just a quick thought (based on personal experience at a meeting today) :

Have you ever noticed that when men are having a "discussion" they can yell and be frustrated and angry and voice their opinions, then slap each other on the back afterwards and all is well?

If women were to have the same discussion, they would hold it against each other for the rest of their lives, or wonder why so-and-so had to be so mad and hostile.

I don't like being present for such conversations.

They make me feel squirmy.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Theme Week: A Sequence for Saturday

I said I'd post every day this week...did you doubt me? I know, it's late, but it's still Saturday! Here's a fun sequence of pictures for today's post:

Watch our family grow!

(1992, Wedding Announcement photo)

(1993, Still Lovin' Denim! And check out the rise on those bangs. Awesome. One kiddo, 7 to go.)

(1995, Two cute kids, two happy parents)

(1997, Wanted to be sure the new little cutie was in a denim photo.)

(2000, The gender score is 2 to 2.)

(2001, Another little girl - we venture to the outdoors. Let's play "I Spy"...can you find the dinosaur?)

(2003, Boys: 2, Girls: 4)

(2004, A brand new boy to help even things up some.)

(2006, Our family as it is now)
Our most current picture is seen on the sidebar as well as a couple of posts ago.

Stay tuned (around September or October) for Our Family: 2008!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Theme Week: Flashback Friday

This is my "ugly sweater". You may have seen me wear it before. It is very accommodating - I can wear it all the time, pregnant or not (as seen in above photo, taken this morning by Allen). I wonder if people who see me wearing this ask themselves - "Why?" Here's the deal:

This was my Dad's sweater.

When Dad died, this was the only thing of his that I really wanted to have. I have fond memories of his wearing this sweater from the time I was young until the very end of his life. It brings back thoughts of Thanksgiving dinners at Aunt Jan's (who, legend has it, made the sweater for him), snow storms in Iowa and cold mornings in East Carbon. But it mostly reminds me of dancing with Dad.

As a little girl I would stand on his feet and he would dance around the room with me - music or not. As a teenager we would get crazy dancing to the latest Pet Shop Boys or U2 song as the music video played in the background on MTV. And near the end of his life, as I was helping to care for him, I would take his hands and help him stand from the kitchen table and walk, he forwards and I backwards, face-to-face, to the couch. As we moved towards the couch like this, he would occasionally stop. I would look at him to see what was the matter, and he would get a twinkle in his eyes and start to sway our hands back and forth then slowly move his feet up and down, still wanting to dance. Oh, how I miss dancing with Dad.

Yesterday as I was driving around town getting groceries, this song by Luther Vandross came on the radio. I have heard it before, but as it reached the chorus it was especially difficult to hold back tears:

If I could get another chance, another walk, another dance with him
I'd play a song that would never, ever end
How I'd love, love, love
To dance with my father again.

(Uncle Roy, Dad sporting the sweater, and Aunt Charlotte)

So now if you see me wearing my ugly sweater, you'll understand - there's so much more involved than just warmth and fashion.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Theme Week: Thursday's Thought


I have been thinking about this one for a long time, and it's still not going to come out right. I may write about my thoughts on the topic in segments as I am able to really gather and organize them in a coherent way. Anyway, here goes: Why do we have such a large family? I am asked that question in various forms more often than expected. And I guess the simple answer is this: Why not?

I have always loved kids, for as long as I can remember. In high school I told everyone I wanted to have 32 kids - the plan was to adopt 25 and have 7 on my own. I even kept a notebook full of names that I heard and liked. Sure, it was sort of a joke - mostly my way of saying that I wanted a large family someday. When I met Allen and found that he came from a family of 15 kids, I was amazed and impressed. After we were married and expecting our oldest boy, we were thrilled to discover that Allen's mom was expecting as well! Sometime after she had her last one, I remember thinking: Sixteen kids! When they are all married, she'll be living my dream - there will be 32 of us!

I love my family. I have an incredible husband who is loving, supportive and helpful around the house. My kids are wonderful - of course not perfect all the time - but such a blessing in my life!

OK, before I get on a "Big Family Soapbox", let me finish up this thought with my favorite responses to some of my frequently asked questions.

Are they all yours?

  • No, this is not all of them; my oldest is at home with the other 5.

Are you going to have more?

  • Check back in nine months and you'll see for yourself!

Don't you know what causes that?

  • Water or sex, but I don't want to give up either one.

Are you going to get fixed?

  • Well, as you can see by the size of our family, everything is working just fine.

Are you planning to have any more?

  • I just figured out what I'm really, really good at, so why stop doing it?

Haven't you heard of birth control?

  • Yes, that's great stuff for people with ugly kids.

Do you ever have any time for yourselves?

  • Obviously we get a little time to ourselves, or we wouldn't have eight kids.
(And last of all, my favorite question which I get asked every time I am pregnant...)

Haven't you had that baby yet?!

  • Yes. This is the NEXT ONE!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Jack-Don't-Give-Me-No-Flack It Is!

According to your votes, Jack-Don't-Give-Me-No-Flack would be our baby boy's name.

Hey You came in last.

We wouldn't have just called him Hey You, though- his name would have been Hayden Eugene; Hay Eu for short.

Would that have changed your vote?

Theme Week: Wordless Wednesday

These are a few of my favorite things...










Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Theme Week: Two For Tuesday

Today I will share 2 random things with you. I am going with: two pictures that always make me laugh.

Picture 1

The first picture was taken on a day where the little girls were being much too quiet. I went to see what was going on and found this:
They were so excited! "Mom, we made ourselves beautiful with markers!"

The Cowgirl had her face colored completely green - she said, "I am the Wizard of Oz witch!" Unfortunately, I had cleaned most of it off before I thought to take a picture.

The Little Princess said, "I AM A TIGER! RAAAAAAAAHHHHRRRRR!! Did I scare you?"

Picture 2

This is one of those pictures that speak a thousand words. It is by far one of my favorite pictures, ever. We were on a camping trip with some friends and the boys were doing a little fishing. When Allen caught a nice one, I took a picture. I didn't realize the look of complete disgust on our oldest boy's face until the pictures came back from developing. In case it's hard to tell, he's the kid on the right. (click on picture for a larger view)



Is that priceless, or what?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Theme Week: Mealtime Monday

I'm feeling crazy today. I decided I'm going to post something every day this week, following some random theme. Today I came up with Mealtime Monday. Many people are amazed that I can feed my family on $450 a month. This is not even difficult, really - I shop the sales and plan my menu, weekly, ahead of time (before going shopping) and it all works out great. Our family loves soups, and this is a favorite: Home Style Potato Soup. This makes a thick, creamy soup. Enjoy!

Home Style Potato Soup

1 cup chopped onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup peeled, diced carrots (about 3 carrots)
2 cups peeled, diced potatoes (about 6 potatoes)
4 Tablespoons chicken bullion
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
1 quart milk
salt and pepper

Combine vegetables in saucepan and add just enough water to cover vegetables. Add chicken bullion and cook, covered, until tender (about 15 minutes). Meanwhile, melt butter in large, heavy saucepan (this is the pan your soup will end up in). Add flour to butter with a wire wisk until blended and bubbly. Add milk slowly and stir until smooth. Add undrained veggies and heat through. Season with salt and pepper.

(Serves 8)

Optional Variations:
-When serving, top with grated cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon.
-Add 2 cups frozen corn with undrained veggies.
-For a cheesy potato soup add 1 cup grated cheddar cheese after adding milk.

P.S. The photo is from www.dairygoodness.ca

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Feelin' Crafty

My creative juices have been flowing lately. For some people pregnancy brings about a "nesting instinct", making them want to clean like crazy. As much as my husband would welcome that instinct in me, I have been feeling the need to create things.

I am in a card club where I make 2 sets of 10 cards every other month and then meet with a fun group of ladies to swap cards, enjoy treats and visit. Most of these ladies are very talented and I feel like I am submitting sub-par cards for the swap. However, this month I am excited about my creations. In fact, I can't decide between the 3 cards pictured above.

I have also had the desire to break out my sewing machine. I was wanting a headband or two, so I browsed the internet and found 2 styles that I really like, combined them and designed a pattern, then created some really cute headbands that my older girls have been using as birthday gifts for their friends.

Another creative outlet: I used to love writing songs and poetry until someone(s) made fun of a song I wrote about a decade and a half ago. Well, I even decided to venture out there again - I wrote a couple of poems that I think are pretty good. No more songs, though - I gave my guitar to my brother whose abilities were greater than mine. Maybe I could write a song for the accordion, which I do still play on occasion.

Maybe.

(Don't hold your breath.)