Monday, April 28, 2008

Still Here...

(photo by elemenoB, who says all pregnant people must pose with their hands on their stomach)

I know that many of you are wondering.

You're just too nice to ask.

The pregnant belly is still here.

It turns out my due date was April 24th, but I'm okay with that.

I actually wanted a baby born in May since all of my other kids have their own month.

(No, we didn't plan it that way.)

I have not been feeling very creative lately, unless you count making cards.

I made one set of Thank You cards.

I made one set of retro cards.

And I'm working on a set for my friend who moved.

I've been occupied with getting all of those "last minute things" done.

I keep thinking the list is completed, but more things keep popping up.

Maybe this boy is waiting for the list to be really completed.

He's so thoughtful.

I can't wait to meet him.

And don't worry, you'll be the first to know when he arrives.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Seriously?

We are huge supporters of Scouting programs around here. You'll notice I said programs. Not merchandise. It seems like the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is always charging a whole heck of a lot more than it costs to make the items they sell - but what do I know? With that in mind, I had to laugh out loud when browsing through the newest "Official Scout Merchandise" catalog we received in the mail yesterday. Here was my favorite item available for purchase:

In case you can't read the item description, it says:

BSA Activity Helmet. Protective impact-dispersing, ABS plastic shell helmet is cushioned with thick, shock-absorbing, EPS foam. Adjustable chin strap and air vents add more comfort. ASTM-1492 certified with all U.S. CPSC standards. Does not meet BSA climbing safety standards.

If it doesn't meet BSA's standards, why are they selling it, and with the official-looking Boy Scouts of America logo across the front?

I love it.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Silent Sentinels


My favorite time of day is twilight - when the sun just begins to sink below the horizon, casting shadowy pictures all around. A close second would be midnight - when I am up in the mountains or in some place away from the bright lights of the world and the stars in the sky are countless and brilliant. I get to experience the night sky in all its beauty when I camp, which is one reason that I love to do so. Last year when I was lucky enough to attend Young Women's Camp with our church, I had time to enjoy the earth's beauty, in solitude, in the darkness.

The colors of midnight
Shroud the earth
Yet hope shines through
Tiny pinpricks of light
Revealing a fraction of heaven




Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Always Remember...


During my last pregnancy I was so sleep deprived that I had all kinds of skewed thoughts. The main one being that I might die during childbirth. Because of my sleepless nights, I would sit up at the computer and work on composing letters to my husband and each of my children, hoping to convey to them how much I loved them and was grateful for them in my life. I only made it through 3 letters but it's OK because, as you well know, I did not die in childbirth. But the start of those letters was a good thing for me. I have read them over often to remind myself of all the blessings my family brings into my life.

After reading the letters again I was thinking today - what is one thing I would want my kids to learn from me and apply to the rest of their lives? I think this quote sums it up well. It was originally by Maryanne Williamson, but is often attributed to Nelson Mandela, who used it in his inaugural speech in 1994:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I think that sums it up quite nicely.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Happy Birthday, All-a-Boy!

I can not believe that this handsome kid turned 9 years old today! 9 years ago, at this same time of year, I was in the same condition as I am now, anxiously awaiting the birth of another boy. He was the only kid who came late (by just one day) but he was worth the wait! Our All-a-Boy is a wonderful example to all of us of what it means to share what you know is right and true with others. He is a great friend to his little sisters as well as classmates and even adults. I have never known a boy his age to have so many adult friends! This kid is wise beyond his years, insightful and compassionate. I feel so blessed to have him as a part of our family, and to call myself his mom!

Happy Birthday, All-a-Boy!


(Photo by Trish, if you're interested! She's awesome.)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Becoming Reacquainted


You know how songs can bring back vivid memories of times past? Apparently (for me) pancakes can do the same thing. Last night Allen and I took All-a-Boy out to dinner in honor of his birthday tomorrow. We let him choose the restaurant, and since his old standby Chuck-a-Rama was packed to the gills, he decided to try something new: IHOP. I have not eaten at IHOP since before I was married and have fond memories of the place, so I had a mixture of excitement and anticipation as we drove there (a bit dramatic, I know...). I hoped it would be all that I remembered - and I was not disappointed.

The menu has about tripled in size from what I remembered, making it difficult to order. I finally decided to get what I always got, without fail, back in the day: Chocolate Chip Pancakes. As the server brought them to the table, just the sight of them reminded me of so many times I ordered them in the past...

-The day my friends in drama class took me there on a Monday morning when I read the cast list for "Fiddler on the Roof" and realized that, once again, Pam Maclean had been cast in the part I wanted. Chocolate Chip Pancakes, bring me comfort.

-The late-night trips to IHOP after church dances when, once again, that guy didn't ask me to dance. Or that other guy said no when I asked him to dance. Chocolate Chip Pancakes, melt my awkwardness away.

-The time my parents decided, on a whim, to take us all out to breakfast on a Saturday morning, followed by a trip to the mall. Chocolate Chip Pancakes, remind me of good times as a family.

These are just a few experiences. Chocolate Chip Pancakes were like an old friend and I loved becoming reacquainted yesterday as I shared chocolaty bites with All-a-Boy, almost 9 years old now, and exchanging knowing glances with Allen as our boy spoke beyond his years of everything under the sun. Another great memory. I need to come to IHOP more often.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

You Probably Don't Care, But...

I was just thinking today that I should probably get a bag ready for my trip to the hospital. I think the packing lists they give you (who is "they" anyway?), while offering a few good suggestions, are pretty funny and mostly impractical. (A bathrobe & nightgown? Massage oils? This isn't exactly a trip to the spa...) Here's what I think is a good packing list:

  • Warm socks. It seems like they keep those hospital rooms much too cold, and my feet are the first thing to feel it.
  • A travel-sized game in case labor lasts a long time.
  • Some favorite snacks. Every time I have had a baby, without fail, I am famished and starving for the next 24 hours straight. (maybe it's all that extra room in my midsection?) Although there is some magical snack room where the nurses can retrieve me a sandwich, yogurt, cookies/crackers or pudding whenever I ask for one, it's nice to have my own treats and not have to ask for something every hour.
  • Some cash. At our hospital there is a "snack bar" downstairs. If labor is long, Allen can go get something to eat there. If I want a yummy milkshake after delivery, I can have someone go get me one at the snack bar. Or a donut. Or whatever.
  • A good, long book. I don't enjoy visitors while I'm at the hospital unless it is my husband or kids (I'm not exactly looking/feeling my best) so I like to have a good book to read.
  • My OWN pillow(s). I hate hospital beds. They are covered with plastic and uncomfortable, and the pillows there are flat as can be. Having my own pillow makes it a little more comfortable and a little less irritating when a nurse comes in to check on whatever at 3:00 a.m. then reminds me that I should try to sleep.
  • A camera/video camera. No explanation needed.
  • A toothbrush, brush and rubberband. I personally do not enjoy showering at the hospital. With a nurse coming in to check on whatever every other minute, I don't need them checking on me in the shower.
  • Maternity clothes to wear home. When I had my first baby, I assumed I would fit into my regular non-pregnant clothes after he was born. That's something I wish someone would have filled me in on. I ended up wearing home the same clothes I had arrived in. And don't forget a nursing bra!
  • 2 outifts to bring baby home in. I only brought one once, and she had a diaper explosion. Better safe than sorry. And don't be surprised when baby is too small to fit in a 'newborn' outfit. I know the clothes look small, but even my 9 pounders didn't fill them in. Preemie outfits work nicely, but don't last for too long after they come home. Just something to think about.
  • A baby blanket for the ride home.
Now if I actually get around to packing today, I'll be ready. Did I forget anything?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Why We Keep Having Babies

Since the birth of baby #9 is fast approaching, I can't think of much else. I was looking through our boys' photo albums and found these cute shots of them as newborns.

Coolister

All-a-Boy

Hubba

Wouldn't you?

Our Little Curly-Head

This cute little curly-headed sweetie will forevermore (or until her hair goes straight) be known on this blog as Curly. Appropriate, don't you think?

Hubba, Hubba!


This precocious little milk-loving towhead will be known on this blog as Hubba, which will be easy to remember since that is what he's called around here, anyway.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Just Chip

Can I introduce you to my brother, Chip? He has been my best friend for as long as I can remember. Sure, we've had our differences at times, but he has always been there for me and I adore him. We were born only 19 months apart and were practically inseparable for most of our early lives. We spent all kinds of time together with our good friend, T.V., and can both still sing most any commercial from the 70's-early 80's as a result of it. Romper Room, Sesame Street, Electric Company, 3-2-1 Contact and Land of the Lost (does this picture bring back memories?) were among our preschool teachers. (Sleestacks still freak me out, and I hold a massive grudge against that dumb lady from Romper Room who could never see us in her "magic mirror" despite our bribing her by waving mom's homemade cookies in front of the television.)
(Mom tried to get a picture of us playing with Dad, but one of our favorite commercials came on...)

It was nice to know that, as we went through our awkward stages where our permanent teeth were coming in & Mom made all our clothes, we had each other. (Thank you, Chip, for telling people I was NOT a boy despite my "Dorothy Hamill" haircut.) We endured some interesting things together, which are themselves stories for another time. As a teenager in high school, when I had issues with low self-esteem, Chip was there to make me feel loved and included - and to cheer me on. And I forgive him now for not letting any of his friends (or the guys on the wrestling team...or the surfer boys) ask me out, although at the time it was maddening! Actually, not only do I forgive him, I am grateful. I hope my boys look out for their sisters like that.

I was known as "Chip's sister" from about 5th grade to the present day, a title which I am proud to hold.

But I still like to embarrass him sometimes...Sorry, Chip. I couldn't resist.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Bow To The Princess

This little girl rules the roost around here. Her fun personality and contagious smile keep us all laughing and on our toes! She will be known on this blog as our Little Princess.

Purty Lil' Cowgirl

This is the gal who I'll be callin' the Cowgirl. We're not sure where it comes from, but she's got a likin' to all things cowboy related and is extremely jealous of her cousins who live in Texas and get to 'speak cowboy' all the time. Yeeeeeeeeeeeehaw!

All-a-Boy


No vote needed on this one, this eloquent little kid will be known as All-a-Boy (until he stops exhibiting superhero behavior, not likely to happen soon). All-a-Boy is a character he invented himself, one who has the combined powers of all known superheroes. Sounds appropriate!

Our Thumbelina

This sassy gal informed me last night that she wanted to go by Froggy. I told her sorry, sister, but the people have spoken and you are hereby known as Thumbelina - until you grow a few inches. She graciously accepted.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

FREE Stuff

I love to clean.

OK, not all the time. In fact, not most of the time. But I do love those days where I have the time and energy to do a good, deep clean and come up with bags and boxes full of treasures for someone to find at D.I. I go through my rooms with this mindset: If we were moving next week, would I want to take this with me? Anyway, today has been one of those 'purging stuff' days, and I have some great things to get rid of. One thing I keep encountering on these days of cleaning frenzy are pictured above: Pampered Chef Valtrompia Bread Tubes. I got 2 of them (flower and heart) as a gift from my mom about 5 years ago but have never had occasion (or, more likely, time) to use them. They are still in the boxes, unused, and it seems wrong to drop them off at D.I., so in my closet they remain, taking up needed space.

Anyone use bread tubes? Anyone want to?

I have heard they make fun banana bread shapes. You can also make fudge in them so it's a fun, new design besides the standard squares. A while back I read about a lady who made French bread in them for a fun twist. If I make any of these things, I just do it the standard way. So here's the deal...

If you want these, you can have them. Even if you live far away, I would be happy to mail them to you. The first response I get in my comments from someone who is creative in the kitchen and likes fun items like this can have them.

Any takers?

Friday, April 4, 2008

Be Grateful

One of the many wonderful gifts I was spoiled with for my birthday was this cute journal made by my friend, Michelle. (Thanks, Michelle!) Because it says "GRATITUDE" on the front, I decided to use it for just that - to record the things I am grateful for each day. It reminded me of a journal of sorts which I faithfully wrote in back in 1991. I called it my Happy Book, and inside recorded things that made me happy, basically the same idea. The great thing about doing something like this is that each day it becomes easier to find something to be thankful for. I found my "Happy Book" and was reading through it this morning. Here are a few excerpts:

  • Hearing a song that brings back good memories
  • Seeing an old friend
  • Sending away packages filled with fun, unexpected surprises
  • Photo booths in restaurants
  • Oversized Levi's from Aardvark's by the beach
  • 7-up in glasses with little red straws
  • Learning something new everyday
  • Being spontaneous
  • Yard sales
  • Finding a parking spot right where I wanted one
  • Learning to do oil changes
  • A brand new roll of film in my camera
  • Finding a quarter on the way home
  • Trying to sign perhydrocyclopentanophenathrene without laughing
  • Puddles to play in
  • Holding hands
  • Finding a happy note on my bed
  • Knowing Heavenly Father always understands
  • Coincidences
  • Chocolate chocolate chip muffins and Peach Clearly Canadians
  • The song "Unexpected Song"
  • Apple slices with peanut butter
  • Nature & waterfalls
  • When it's raining leaves
  • Mom's popcorn tradition
  • Red tide
  • Chocolate chip cookies for room and board
  • Being asked to sing
  • Little birds
  • Happy tears
  • Sweater weather
These lines from the song "Thankful" by Josh Groban sum it up pretty well...

Some days we forget
To look around us
Some days we can't see
The joy that surrounds us
So caught up inside ourselves
We take when we should give.

So for tonight we pray for
What we know can be.
And on this day we hope for
What we still can't see.
It's up to us to be the change
And even though we all can still do more
There's so much to be thankful for.

What things are you grateful for? What makes YOU happy? Make some time for those things in your life - I know you won't regret it.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Three for Thursday

My husband is a man of many talents, a jack-of-all-trades you could say. He is humble about it though, and wouldn't admit half of them if asked. (And because I don't want to completely embarrass him, I will keep them to myself, too. For now.) I do want to share a little, though. I mean, can't I brag? I decided that all would be well and good if I just shared 3 things. And these are 3 things he has created using the same talent: woodworking. The most amazing thing about his skill with wood is that the blueprints are all in his head. Here are 3 of his most recent creations:

First, this cute toddler bed, complete with removable rails. Doesn't little Curly-head look perfectly content?
Next, this beautiful room. Our 2 oldest girls got their own room as a Christmas gift a couple years ago. He built them matching dressers, framed the window and refinished the bed all in the same color. He designed and built the wainscot, some shelves above the closet and door, and came up with the idea of the wood ceiling. Awesome.
And now, a work in progress, our front room. It was one of those unused-to-its-full-potential rooms, the kind we only sat in when someone came to visit. So we decided to turn it into a library and study. It has been a work in progress for quite some time, but the wait will be well worth it. The ceiling is almost completely finished:
And this is the bay window:
I can't wait to show off the finished product!

P.S. Someday, when he is retired and has his own woodworking business for fun, he can build stuff for you, too.