Wednesday, December 28, 2011

More miraculous pictures

Is there anything more magical than a magic tree placed on a window sill to protect it from it's most adoring owner?
Check me out. I'm opening presents with my shining eyes, maryjane socks and glistening runny nose.
I'm so glad that in the end G was just as thrilled with this cake as the much harder possible cakes. He loves the Grave Digger, but that is a hard paint job to copy, and a little creepy.

So I've continued to take pictures even though the lcd screen on my camera is defunct. I do plan to send it in and see if it can be fixed for less than $100. To me that would be nice.

Yet, I can still get reasonable pictures. So if it can't be fixed for what I am willing to pay, I will say "no thank you" as P encourages me to say as often as I can, and let them ship it back to me.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

nurturing

What a great Christmas. G's birthday went smoothly. We ran out of punch but had enough pizza so that people were able to grab a slice when the party was over and we didn't have left overs. Not like pizza left overs are bad, but it's expensive to buy way more than you need. The kids ran back and forth and the good old parachute made an appearance. We also played limbo and that was hilarious.

Today we had a great musical program at church. It had a family number, a sister duet, a guitar vocal duet, the primary, the choir and then we finished it out with an American Idol style vocal showdown with the choir and then congregation chiming in at the end. And despite the worries we had at practices we had a good group and it was lovely.

The P family are so generous to us. They give us all so many wonderful and useful gifts. This year they had opened their gifts before to make room for all the gifts they were bringing us. I felt awkward having all the gifts, but it grateful. P is barely into giving gifts at all and it causes more harm to our relationship to push him there. So we just move along and hope the P family will still come back another year.

Grandma L gave me 6 strawberry plants. And this leads us to a discussion on nurturing. I'm not great with plants. OK, they die. P's family kept reminding me to not just forget them in the fire pit area. So as soon as they left I started to get them planted. I got 4 in the ground before it started to rain. 2 more I will get in the ground tonight. Now I need to make an effort to take care of them. It's a good thing I'm better at kids than plants. But plants don't tell me they are hungry. And I don't take my plants out in public to endure public censure. Maybe I should. Because if I could go to a plant play date and get some advice and feel that nurturer's sense of "can't let the other nurturer's think I'm a bad nurturer" peer pressure, maybe more of my plants would live.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

toothach headache

Someone told me that kids can't go to the dentist until they are 3. So we waited until M was 3, but then we moved and had a baby and she was 4 with a lot of cavities by the time we had her checked out in August.

For the last 4 months I postponed getting them fixed because I was trying to get insurance lined up and then there was a waiting period.

Then yesterday she was on the verge of tears because it was hurting her. So I took her in today, and was grateful they got us in so quick. This morning I navigated the bureaucracy of our HSA account and found out that we totally have enough in there to pay for getting M's teeth fixed.

Having that stress removed I was able to really look at the numbers for 2012 and realize that they are just fine. I balanced the family budget! I'm sorry that M had to suffer, literally, the consequence of my procrastination.

Blessings.

Jib Jab

There is a funny website where you can take your pictures and splice them into a template.
I did on of our family. It's funny.

My brain must be broken. All I can think of is like...

Beef stew.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Party House

It's fun having tons of visitors over, and it's keeping me in a better habbit of keeping things tidy.
It also helps to have so much space that we can say "toys stay in that room" and we don't have to use that room for anything else, so if there are toys on the floor 6 out of 7 days, it's ok.

Friday, December 9, 2011

I could not imagine today being any more wonderful.


We got there just early enough to have never felt rushed. It was a gloriously clear and warm day.
The children were delighted and so well behaved. At one point we had decided to let them do an RC monster truck game even though it was $1. When G saw that it cost money he just assumes we wouldn't do it. I felt a little sad at how well they know we don't usually do things like that. But we had a wonderful time. It was the most family friendly experience we have probably ever, EVER had.

Legoland 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Friday trip

Tomorrow we're taking the kids to Legoland. It's so uncharacteristic for us to go on an extravagant trip. Actually it's just our usual level of cheap. Someone hooked us up with $5 tickets so we're all going and packing a lunch, and we haven't even told the kids because it is going to be so awesome to see their faces when they find out, and we are there.

Last year we went to the zoo and similarly didn't tell them until we got there. So fun.

The LCD on our camera went out 2 days ago. So hopefully there will be any pictures from this event, but if not, we will still have a BLAST!

And if someone freaks out and cries all day, or if 3 people freak out and take turns crying, we will have at least spent only $20 and gas.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Olivia


I love the name and would insist that we name one of the children Olivia were it not for the fact that I really dislike the cartoon. I find it ugly, both artistically and socially. She's so mean to her brother and so self important. She's actually so much like I was, only nicer to her brother.

When we had cable it was the only one on the NickJr channel that I wouldn't let the kids watch. It got to the point that they would change the channel in a panic lest I see it and turn off the TV.

Right now we watch less than 1 hour of TV because we have a house and a yard and there are other things to do. It's pretty nice for my self esteem as a parent. And they only get to play on the computer after dinner. And they've accepted these rules after 2 years of anytime access. We're lucky to have such compliant kids.

Right now we borrowed a Dora video from the library and there is a preview of Olivia in the previews. The kids are very cute making sure that I cover my eyes each time it goes by lest I be upset. They take good care of me.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

November was so nice

We went up to Jax for lonch with dad and some of our favorite playgrounds.
I made tons of yummy food and got to hose many family and friends at our new house!
We climbed trees.
Played my sister's wii fit that thought everyone had lost 50% of their body weight because of the carpet.
And learned to ride a bike without training wheels. For real! Not just on the beach statue.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

tired

P has been sick with the flu for 10 days. I think that's a record. Luckily it seems to be the strain that the rest of us were vaccinated for.

I made some amazing cheesy noodles tonight. The secret was using scraps from the ham Grandma L got us and also to let the cheese "carmelize" a bit because I was carrying around a crying bP. Seriously it was so good.

We have this lovely advent calendar that is the best thing I've ever made at a RS activity. Tonight the activity was to decorate the tree. Future events are making cookies, decorating the porch (we have a porch!), riding the trolley, caroling, and some of the fun things A L left for us, like a wooden Christmas carousel and a little Christmas village, and nativity. It's a good thing she left us this amazing nativity because the kids broke our little dollar store one that has lasted 10 years. So maybe we won't get out the nice nativity for a few years after all. We have a flannel board version. Yeah. I think we'll stick with the flannel board version.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A blast

Tonight we had 23 happy well fed people in this lovely house. P wanted to set up a quartet to sing "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy" on Sunday. So we arranged to have the families of the men involved over for a dinner and rehearsal. Hurray!
We're not moved in yet, but we're mostly moved in. The boxes of random things that were not getting put away are still not away, but at least they're off the table.
And thanks to many factors, we now can use our old dining table for a ping-pong table! Thanks L. The table has served us well and is continuing to be loved.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Saturday, November 12, 2011

around the block


So now I've been around the block 3 times. Once by car, once via bike trailing the girls in the red stroller, and today for the first time on foot. On foot I noticed so much more and appreciated more what a wonderful neighborhood we've found ourselves in. The houses are nice and look lived in. Each house is on an acre so as an adult it feels much like my childhood neighborhood (which now seems surprisingly small).



P spent the day scraping, and painting the porch railing so we could put up a plastic mesh to keep bP from climbing out. It's fun putting work into this house.

P also picked some oranges from the tree that were way better than what I had previously picked. As I ate them, never mind the seeds, I was amazed "These came from our tree?" I asked incredulous. Yum! I'm so excited to prune it down in March so next year we'll have even better fruit and have it growing closer to the ground.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Book shelves

Did I mention this house came with an office that had 6 built in book shelves? We don't even have that many books!... I think.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

We live here!

So we've been living here at the new house since we signed Friday night. Awesome!
Today the internet finally got hooked up. Nice!

So now it's like we really live here.

The girls are both asleep in the car, in the garage. It's like heaven.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Living there now

We're living in the house already. It's amazing and wonderful. It feels like we're visiting Grandma and I keep feeling like "Where is she?" A.L. left us tons of kitchen treasures, and more ways to cook an egg than I can shake a stick at. It's awesome.

So get ready to visit because you are welcome, anytime.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Surprise!



Good thing I forgot to post this picture in the post about Halloween costumes.

I got a call at 3:03 yesterday from the title company trying to schedule the closing for 4pm today! Bummer that we already paid November rent. Bummer that we don't have payment lined up. Bummer that we could have moved in earlier!

My dad smartly decided to just send the check in the mail because we shouldn't have to pay to overnight it because they gave short notice.

So the seller will sign today and when we have the check we'll do a walk through and then close. That could be as early as Friday!

Or it may be next Tuesday as planned. Oh well.

Drama.

My sister mentioned that I've been blogging up a storm and that maybe the house buying process is the cause. Probably. There is so much there to talk about that is out of the usual bragging about how cute and smart the kids are. Also it is exciting and makes me want to share my excitement with all of you.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Holidays are a comin'

I love this age for Halloween. G and M are both interested in being fun cute things for Halloween. Carving pumpkins is exciting. It's great!

I'm thinking if Halloween ever becomes a scary thing, I'm not interested in that. There are so many cool and creative costumes that don't have to be scary. I am totally going to invest in one or more of those lycra body suits for the kids to wear once they are older.

We get to spend Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years etc... in our new house! We already have visitors lined up for the holidays but the more the merrier! We're so excited to finally have a place for all the wonderful folks in our lives!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

more prepared this chilly morning

Last year we were busy moving, having a baby, adjusting to life. So when we woke up mid October to chilly weather that didn't go away for a month, I was unprepared. The kids had no pants or shirts that fit them from the previous year. This year I shopped for pants all summer long and got some great deals. Each of the kids has a tub of winter clothes under their beds. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

recycling

So somebody was throwing out what looked like a leather couch. On closer inspection I found that it wasn't just a leather sofa, it was a really nice leather sofa. Many leather sofas are just leather on the seating areas. This leather sofa was leather on seating, sides, back everything! Too bad it was trash. But I asked the owner if I could cut some of the leather off it. In the end I got about 5 yards of nice leather from it. That's going to make a lot of soft shoes.

Another recycling story for you is that I have kept my cloth diapers even the ones that had died (no longer watertight). I figured I'd find a way to make them work. I've used a few as swim diapers for bP. But today I figured out how to sew a scrap from the diapers I made and put it into the diapers from G and M. Wahoo! Some of those diapers are so cute. Some of my favorite diaper are some orange with blue trim diapers that were apparently laminated with rubber cement. Seriously, they lost their integrity fast. But if this method works, I will have 6 diapers good as new! On top of my 10 diapers that actually are new, this will bring me up to a lot of diapers. Good thing my 3 gallon diaper pail recently broke (sadly we found that the hinge was plastic, but it served us well for 7 years) and I ordered a 5 gallon pail. Because I'm going to need that extra capacity.

Once around is not enough.

Monday, October 17, 2011

what you struggle with

We've had some struggles, pretty major ones, put we're so blessed and happy. As I meet people struggling different things, I am frequently brought up short. I hear their struggle and can't imagine how I could endure that. Yet the things we've struggled with are a huge deal to other people. They are just part of life.

I remember meeting a mother with a child in the waiting room at shands. He baby had some definite developmental delays and a feeding tube. We commiserated and when she learned that my baby had cancer, she was like "Woah, that's hard!"

We were watching an HGTV show and as the renovators struggled with the tragedy of how ugly the stair railing was P said "1st world problems."

My other ax to grind lately is the idea that population control is never applied to pets. C'mon. You've seen the extreme consumerism for the sake of pets, extravagant use of medical resources, and at the least huge BMs. I actually love animals. I don't feel like they are as important as children.

a new day

Our house that we're buying is so amazingly superior to our current situation. Some basic life improvements will be a functioning oven and stove top.

The garage is like the HGTV garage. It's got cabinetry all around it, windows, side entrance and most important, I can let the girls fall asleep in the car and leave them in the garage.

It's got a long driveway for tons of roller skate, scooter, bike, chalk-tastic fun.

It has an orange tree! We don't know if there tasty yet, but it's 16' tall and fruit bearing. I assume they wouldn't have kept it that long if the fruit wasn't worth keeping.

The seller is downsizing to a one bedroom apartment so she's leaving most of the furnishings. All these years that P has said "We'll get furniture when we get a house." Who knew he was so psychic?

It's on a well and septic system. It has an acre of lawn and trees we get to maintain. The patio is larger than any house we've lived in.

2 weeks to closing.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Things I'm learning

At my oldest sister's wedding when I was 14.

At my own wedding.

At a friends wedding a little over a year ago.*

I feel sorry for my kids sometimes. I have a severe character flaw: I think I am brilliant! Well I am, but I think I've got it all figured out when actually I'm just hanging on. I helped out with a wedding tonight, and was reflecting on my brother's wedding and looking toward my kids weddings. Oh my poor kids.

My brothers wedding was gorgeous. My mom did some amazing decorating and it was awesome.

The wedding I helped out with today, I didn't even attend. I just wanted to emulate Debbie, who came in pants and stayed in the kitchen. They couple had bought wonderful prepared food and tons of it. So mostly I just took off lids and arranged things. I'm sold!

Croissant Sandwiches
Roll up sandwiches
Fruit bowl
Veggie platter
Cheese tray
Meatballs
Hot dogs
Cookies
Chocolates
Mixed nuts
Wedding mints
2 Cakes
Water bottles in a cooler
Punch fountain (Meg if you read this, you don't mind that I used your drink fountain!)

Wow! They only needed about 1/4 the food they had brought. Something I learned from my brothers wedding was to avoid things you needed to heat up in the oven unless you have 4 ovens. This wedding had crock pots for the hot items.

And on the subject of decorations, since I plan to just have church receptions for all the kids unless G's mother in law wants something different... I'm going to have lights, tulle and table cloths in white to which they will choose accent colors and flowers. And I'm going to find the wedding march and put it on my ipod playlist so that I'm ready! I tunes has a harp arrangement I sort of like. But of course I'm going to make it required for all my children to learn the wedding march on at least 3 instruments. Sure.

My wedding was awesome. We were married in the Jordan River Temple at 10AM. My father in law took pictures. My in-laws took us all to a lovely restaurant of my choosing for a private lunch. Then P and I ran away while my family took care of providing a wonderful reception in my moms back yard which she had manicured for the occasion. My friend A from BYU played the cello in the balcony above the reception. It rained but J had brought his croquet set and it was wonderful. So many wonderful people came thanks to the many invites sent out by our parents. I'm so grateful that I got to be an oblivious princess on that day.

So I feel sorry for my children that they will have a Mother-of-the-bride-zilla if they're ever lucky enough to find someone their parents will let them marry.

I was glad that today I got to help out. P was home with all 3 kids for almost 5 hours. Bless him for making so many wonderful things possible in my life.

Dear mom, My wedding is such a happy memory for me. Thank you.

*Note: P doesn't usually wear a t-shirt to a wedding. But on this magical day G wet his pants, while he was riding on P's shoulders... So we changed the boys and went to the wedding.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Story time

We've been reading the Magic Tree House books. I voice and sign so everyone has a chance to understand. This has been a challenge for about 6 years now.
Recently we figured out a portable easy method of holding a book down. We use a clipboard and an elastic head band. Awesome.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Enthusiasm

Today we were shopping for a replacement diaper pail and instead found lots of other nice things.
One of them was a sewing kit. Actually we got 2, lucky!

So as M sat at the table working on her puppy sewing project, she sang the tune of
"It's raining it's pouring" with these words:

"I'm sewing, I'm sewing Oxny Oxy ohh
I can sew, I can sew, I really can sew
The first time I tried to sew I couldn't do
it but now I finally can.
The first morning I couldn't do it good
but now I really can.
It's good that mom bought us this toy
because it's really good.
It's raining it's pouring.....
we really did buy this"

totally worth $2.00

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Have some decency

Today as we waited for G's speech appointment a man was having a terrible discussion with his mother. He is in a wheel chair, seems to have something bolted to one shin, and about 60 years old. His mother in her 80s and I have had conversations in the past about how cute the kids are. So I've seen them before and talked with the mother a little anyway. Today he was really having issues. He was telling her how she should be ashamed for how she treats him. He was threatening her physically. He went on to call her terrible things and I eventually said "There are children present, and you don't have to talk that way to your mother."

I don't know their situation. Quite likely he's suffering from some severe depression. What sort of strange dynamic would call for a mother accompanying her son to appointments and putting up with such abuse?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Stay on the boat!

So, I've been off the healthy lifestyle boat for quite some time. I'm really looking forward to the neighborhood of our new house. The house itself is on a street that is a 1 mile loop. Being a gated neighborhood, I don't anticipate feeling as awkward about being seen by passersby. Just the neighbors who will just have to get used to it.

And I am eating more healthy. I think I resolve this every October. It's my own personal unseasonable new year. If nothing else my goal to eat more healthy just mitigates the damage of the holiday over-indulgences. But this year I have a partner in healthy eating. M loves fruits, veggies, soups, everything! So when I make my own breakfast and lunches in a more healthy vein, I can just say "ditto" and have food for her and bP too.

AND as I am beginning to notice, my eating effects my mood. I do tend to get short tempered when I'm hungry. But when I'm eating healthy, I can tell M why we need to leave the Fountain of Youth, rather than nag her. I was worried that I was an emotional eater, but I hope it turns out that I am emotional when I eat crap, so then I eat more of the same.

Today was crazy busy. Luckily we don't have to be anywhere before 9:45. But after we dropped G off we went to the post office. Then when M asked to go to the Fountain of Youth I said yes, because I had eaten a healthy breakfast (egg sandwich). Later we went home and had a can of soup with a cup of frozen veggies (warmed up in the soup). Not like these are miraculously healthy, but they are better than impulse eating.

We went to go get G and then it was off to Speech, then off to the splash park, then stop by the fabulous L family to pick up a tool and chat while the kids played in the yard. Then it was a stop at the wonderful Y family's to drop of tool and admire what a beautiful family they are. M and bP had fallen asleep so G got the full attention when we got home to do homework until 5:30 when we had gymnastics.

So it was a busy day. And I didn't freak out once. M fell on the way out of speech and I just picked her up and comforted her. She bit her cheek at L's house and I was able to focus on her and calm her down. Since I had to wake her up for gymnastics, and carry everything out to the car, and she woke up on the couch and thought she was left behind, and couldn't find her leotard, and came out of the house crying... I was able to just comfort her and get her the things she needed.

I feel so proud of how today went. Here's to many happy days of better food for a happier mom.

Check out some of the other cute things the kids did tonight at
Little letter M
Super Guy G

Sunday, October 2, 2011

early morning siphon

The kids woke up with plans. G wanted to make a straw machine just like Twist of the Fresh Beat Band apparently had. So he got bendy straws and tape. Of course M needed the same, so we got to work making our straw machines. Then the kids were trying to drink out of a water bottle using their 5 ft straws. They stood on stools and sucked as hard as they could, but they weren't air tight.
M figured out that if she sat under the table she could get a little water. She and G took turns sitting under the table and squealing in delight watching the results.

The appeal of it all had died down a bit, I was checking my email when I heard water pouring on the floor. I spun around thinking they'd knocked the water bottle over. No, everything was in its usual clutter, upright. Water was just pouring out of the straw. What!?

Oh, it's a... a... Siphon! "Cool M, got get a towel." We then watched this video about siphons which led us to videos of balloons getting popped in slow motion. Then we stumbled upon this video of a 6 foot water balloon. We watched that one twice just because it was funny. Later when M wanted to jump on dad with bP, we were able to recall how 1 person won't break the 6 foot balloon, but 2 people will.

That's SCIENCE!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

bP is amazing

bP has a typical if awesome sign vocabulary for a 12 month old baby. Eat, more, please, cheese, yes, ball. Sometimes she'll throw in an appropriate imitation of Hungry or Again. Tonight she blew me away signing Pray and Brush teeth on her own.

We have one month to go in our lovely mobile home situation. We didn't let bP on the ground at all for the first 2 1/2 months that we lived here. Finally we set up a barrier using the desk, couch and a bench, to keep her out of the kitchen, trash can, and bathroom half of the mobile home.

The other day the neighbor girls were over playing with the train set that usually goes under the bench and keeps bP contained. Ever since then bP has been demanding freedom. Today P figured out how to keep the bin in place, using some of that self lining/ rug lining to keep the bin more stuck. bP is furious.

The neighbor girls. I don't really know what to do with them. They are like 8-9 year olds and they just want to come over and hang out. They ask for food I'm not really cool with that. On Wednesday they had been over, then left. M, bP and I were napping, and G was playing on the computer. I woke to the sound of the neighbor girls in my house asking G (the deaf child who let them in) where his little sister was. Ahhhh! Boundaries. Thursday when they came over I was sort of relieved to be able to tell them that M was throwing up and we couldn't have them over. Then they asked for cookie dough which they know we keep in the freezer. What do you say?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I was going to clean the carseat anyway

I just wasn't planning on having to do a massive deep clean on the carseat and deal with a little girl who couldn't keep anything down. Poor M.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

For the Z-Man

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVdfqEmGb8Y&feature=player_embedded

A renaisance man

I'm reading a biography of Richard Burton who explored the African interior in the 1800s. Wow, he was fluent in over 20 languages by the age of 25. He was really amazing, going on undercover missions and doing amazing things!

I love the part in his life line where his mother is trying to teach the children self control. She takes them to a bakery to stare at the pastries. She says "Now, my dears, let us go away; it is so good for little children to restrain themselves.' Upon this we three devilets turned flashing eyes and burning cheeks upon our moralizing mother, broke the window with our fists, clawed out the tray of apple puffs, and bolted, leaving poor mother a sadder and wiser woman, to pay the damages of her lawless brood's proceedings."

It gives me hope for my own band of rascals.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I forgot... Surprise!

So our offer was accepted on the house, and the deposit is held in escrow. So now we get to just wait until we close on November 1st, which is a Tuesday. We'll do a few little things like add gates to the patio and adjust the furniture that stays with the house to accommodate our meager supply. Then we'll move in on Saturday, November 5th!

But. But. But. I have a really good ability to forget details and now that the property is off the market, so the pictures are off-line too. The problem is that is that it seriously hampers my ability to imagine us in the space because I can't remember what it looks like!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Boys will be boys


Today M saw the boys D and his brothers taking out the trash at church. She is in love with D and she loves to take out the trash. So she says "I hope I can take out the trash like D." I told her that it's important to let the boys do the dirty work at church. Even though you can take out the trash, it's important to let the boys do it. Why is this? Though the girls are completely capable of taking out the trash, the thought of a girl helping with taking the trash at church is galling. I guess for me it says that I'm chauvinistic. I feel like if there is a boy or man around, the women should not be taking out the trash. If there are no men around the trash still needs to go out.

Men, in general, need to be needed. When they see that the ladies don't actually need them to do something, they don't do it. Women do things to help out, and to be nice. I don't think men are into that. My husband is an incredibly kind and willing to help out kind of guy, but he doesn't do anything that is not glaringly obvious, like going to get a crying child. Yet if I ask, he'll do anything but nurse the baby.

I think one of the unfortunate side effects of Women's liberation, besides dumping the consequences of sex solely on women, is that we've told men for the last 50 years that WE, women can do everything ourselves. They, being men, take us at our word and decide they don't need to support, protect, or be faithful anymore.

It's not like men not doing things they should has never happened in the past. But we use to call it a bad thing. I love my husband and am grateful he hasn't bought into feminism for all that he says I could beat him at arm wrestling, we've never tried that one out.

Children's Songs in ASL

I love our church. I am so grateful for the thoughtful people who have gone to the effort to make these resources, and make them available.

2011 Children's Sharing Time

Children's Songbook ASL

Adult Resources

Eye of the beholder

As I sat in the Deaf Sunday School today I thought about how much I understood but how little of the nuance I caught in the discussion. If I were to try and voice it for someone else, it would become even more basic and disjointed.

I thought how that is like someone making a painting. If I see something and make a painting of it, I, having seen the original can understand how my painting and the original are similar. Someone else seeing my painting might recognize some elements in it but unless I am very skilled they won't have any idea what the original looked like.

Similarly in music. If I hear a symphony, I may be able to hum a tune or two from it. But I'm just not able to convey it in any detail or the scope of the whole.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tribute to bP



Happy birthday kiddo! You're amazing! Just one week before your first birthday your parents held a conference and decided to let you onto the floor in their temporary home. You took the opportunity to learn to walk like a pro. You can sign "More Please" but you prefer to sign "Eat" for "I want that." On occasion you will sign "Hungry" or "Again" then gift us with your brilliant smile of world domination. It is a pleasure to be your mom.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Haircuts

G and M cut their hair a little trim. I'm actually proud of how M held her hair up above her head so it ended up layered. Wacky kids... : )

Also, in other news, our offer on the most recent dream house was accepted!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

maybe

Maybe we'll buy this house which comes furnished in a community with a 24 guard (aka gated) that is lovely.

We've been searching for and viewing houses big and small, scary and close to G's school. This is one that is big and lovely and far from G's school but close to church.

We have a verbal agreement on a price. That is the furthest we've ever gotten in the process. So maybe we'll sign papers in the next few days and move in in November.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cute kids

M's super cute spouting back the things we tell her to say.

G's super cute having a fabulous time on Saturday.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Let's take a picture!

I was trying to catch this nice smile-with-new-haircut picture of G for this children's newspaper. And I found the unanticipated benefit that our new TV doesn't reflect the flash.

So it almost looks like (I can pretend anyway) that it's like taking a picture of him at a show.
Or a picture of her with her hero!
Check out this awesome Frog suit we found at the kids consignment store. M couldn't decide if she wanted to be a clown, or a flower, or tinkerbell which she knew she couldn't be because tinkerbell isn't modest... So finding this great costume saves me from worrying about what she may or may not decide to dress up as.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pretty Things

When I grow up I want to make mosaics like these. Check out the cool use of iridescent glass and different colors of grout.



Meanwhile these are some of the things I've been making. Cards with nice blocks of paper sewn onto them. Very fun and easy way to have nice cards to send to people. It's not cheap per se but it is less expensive than buying them from someone else.


And... Tada! This is the new pattern I'm using to make slings. Note that it is lined in brown. Delicious. I also made myself a hair band/ribbon using this combination of fabric and orange ribbon.



Saturday, September 3, 2011

Traditions


I love floating the Itchetuknee with the P family. So fun.

Now in motion picture!
Itchetuknee 2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Class Size

I've been thinking that "Sid the Science Kid" with its class size of 4 makes "Cailu" with a class size of 8 look bad. When in reality class sizes for pre-school are more often 18-20.

Then there is "Dino Dan" that we're watching lately. His class is 3 girls and 3 boys. This is fondly reminiscent to "Magic School Bus." Let's think, Ralphie, Carlos, Tim, Phoebe, Wanda, and DA. Oh, 3 boys and 3 girls again.

You obviously don't want to have a television show with lots of kids in a class. That would be too hard to keep track of. It would give kids the impression that school is not so much a place of magic and learning, as it is a place of getting lost in the crowd.

That said, G's 1st grade class is actually only 4 kids. It's great. I love it that he's going to have small class sizes with the same kids for the next 12 years.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Defying death

Tonight we headed to the beach at high tide for the first time in a year. It was intense. And the kids had boogie boards. G proceeded to have a great time sliding into the maw of the waves time and time again.

High tide at Vilano is scary. The beach is very steep so the waves crash right on the sand and shoot up the slope. G figured out that he could wait at the top of the slope for a big wave and ride it back out into the water where he would slide right into the next breaking wave which would swallow him and spit him back up the slope. Wow I think I have made it sound fun! Apparently G thought so.

P and I stood there saying "He's going to die!" Our hearts in our throats, letting him enjoy.
video

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Great games

We've let G have access to games for a long time. Long enough that he knows to avoid games that mom will think are bad. Like games with fighting, and nudity. His favorite are racing games. My favorite are ones that require some thought to figure out the puzzle, or achieve goals. Here are some.

Red Remover
Fire Boy Water Girl
Factory Balls (multiple editions including christmas)
Tree of Life
Ninja Painter

There are others I'm sure but I just wanted to make record that these are awesome.

they must be possessed by demons

I was listening to "Fresh Air" recently and it was a story about a Christian group that is coming into political power. This group includes Sara Palin and Rick Perry. It all sounded a little crazy.

Their argument that anyone they disagree with is possessed by demons is such a fallacy. If someone disagrees with you it is because they believe different things. Putting a "christian" face on and saying "If they weren't possessed by demons, they would think the same things as I do" is insane! I mean REALLY?

I am grateful for the gospel and the doctrine of free agency. Whatever dumb things we believe or support, it was our choice.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Snap Buggie!

In this period of our lives where the children exclaim "Bug, Bug, Bug!" and it often means roach... when M started saying "Bug, Bug, Bug" in the car I was freaked out. I asked her if it was inside the car and she said no. "It's over there by the store!" At which point I hoped she was not actually seeing a bug. It was a VW Beetle, or rather a car that had smooth lines and was not a smart car. M knows what a smart car is. So I asked her to call them Punch Buggies, but didn't teach her to hit her brother. The kids thought it was hilarious.

Then today she exclaimed "Snap Bug!"

"What's that M?"

"You know that thing you call Snap Bug. I mean Buggie. Snap Buggie."

I like it.

Sad situation

We recently put an offer in on a fixer upper and it wasn't accepted. The owner is a grandmother taking care of her daughter and grandchildren. The daughter has cancer. She recently went in to the hospital. If she were a member of our church I would totally be involved in taking her dinners. If I weren't trying to buy her house for less than she wants to sell it for I would be taking her dinners.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A firm foundation

We went to G's school for registration today. We met his new teacher who is deaf and awesome. G will be at school for the same block of Science/Social Studies, lunch, recess, writing as last year. So we'll be doing math on our own again which I like. To me it is really important to learn math when you're ready. Schools are pushing kids to learn math earlier and earlier. And math is not something you should force kids into because if they have a bad foundational understanding of math, nothing is ever going to make sense. That's kind of a problem. Also, they are going to hate it and feel incompetent at it.

Imagine how a kid writes their ABC's at the beginning. It's rough but it's ok because they will continue to write out the ABC's in words for the rest of their lives and their handwriting has the opportunity to improve. But in math, if you make them memorize concepts that they don't understand it won't get fixed.

So I'm a fan of just letting G be exposed to math at a very basic level and through experiences.

My sister home schools her kids too and her son is frighteningly smart at math. At the age of 8 he probably has a deeper understanding of math than I do. OK, not probably, definitely. He is the child of 2 math-ies as I call them. Can you imagine putting a kid with such an intimate relationship with math into a class where kids are learning to recognize numbers? How many times would he be told to put his hand down, let someone else answer, don't call out? It would be very like a person of faith put in a class of atheist people discussing God. How many elementary school teachers do you think would list math as one of their favorite subjects, let alone why they became teachers of young children. No way.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

It was great

The activity was great. Our ice blocks with cord frozen in for handles were a hit. G won his age group. The kids went off to learn about emergency kits, make rag dolls, make butter, and I don't know what else as I went off to cover the up-cycling station in the quilting room. We made T-shirts into bags.
When it was time for the "trek" we got lots of compliments on our wagon with which G towed M around the parking lot about 6 times. Then there were the pioneer games and a tug of war between girls and boys in which the moms jumped in to win it for the girls.
We went in and ate chili and bread, tons of chili and bread. Then there were pies, cookies and ice cream!
It was great.
I don't have any pictures but it was great.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Down South

We're celebrating Pioneer day tomorrow and I'm so involved. It is lovely to not be planning the activity and be free to participate. We've made ice blocks and a wagon top for our bike trailer. I bought a quart of cream for making butter. I'm running the up-cycling sewing station. And the best part is that we're going to play our tubas! A brass duet is just the thing for a pioneer celebration. Come enjoy! Saturday 4-7.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Perspective and Gratituded

We've had some ups and downs lately. On Monday we went to Gainesville for a marathon of doctors, appointments, scans etc... The great thing about this day in the hospital was that it was just for a check-up. He had an EKG at the medical plaza. Then we rode the shuttle to the hospital for a Bone density scan, blood test, and check up with the Hemotology/Oncology doctors. And we ate at Hovan's in the food court. We were probably having the best day out of all the people at the hospital.

Tuesday we were running around a lot after taking G to speech. Then I locked my keys in the car. It was overcast so at least it wasn't hot. And my neighbor let us use her phone to call my road side assistance. Then it started to rain. That was a bummer.
Thursday I got to go up to Jacksonville to pick up food orders at the bishop's storehouse. It turned out to be even less difficult than I had anticipated and the kids had fun. When we came home we took a celebratory trip to the store. I don't buy most of the groceries anymore. P buys most of our staples at Sam's Club and I just buy food as I feel inspired. But I felt so grateful on Thursday that we can go to the store and buy food that we did, buy food, and ice cream.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Some Thoughts...

Today I overheard the weirdest story. A lady at the therapy office was telling one of the physical therapists about someone who makes babies stop crying and then they are not breathing. So the baby learns not to cry. Then she said "So you have these big Mormon churches with 500-700 people and not a single baby is crying. It's crazy. Criminal!" When I heard that last part I was like "What?!" Because Mormons are very sensitive about the fact that we have the family worship together, including babies and noisy toddlers who try to escape and go up to the pulpit. :) I spend half of the meeting in the hall because Penny won't stay quiet. Random.
BTW, I am loving the "Switched at Birth" show. My favorite part is how favorably signing is presented and how each member of the family is now signing. The spanish mom always signed even though the deaf daughter could read lips and speak. Then the red head mom started to learn because the spanish mom convinced her that it was important. Then the white dad started coaching the deaf daughter's basketball team so he signs now. Then the spanish daughter
started dating Emmett (the deaf friend) so she's signing with him and with the deaf daughter. Then the white brother is finally signing because he wanted to tell the deaf boyfriend that he had hurt his sister... I love it. It is showing such a great approach and the natural barriers that people overcome if they want to.
I had an epiphany about the show tonight. The white family, they suddenly find they have a deaf daughter when she is 16. The spanish mother found out she had a daughter when she
was 4, but didn't start signing until she was in 3rd grade. It reminds me of how for hearing parents it is always like a "Switched at Birth" experience. You brought home this baby and started to raise it with this certain set of expectations of normalcy. Then you find out they are deaf and it is like someone switched your baby because suddenly all the past was with a baby
you thought could hear. And the baby you have, has a history and future completely unfamiliar. So you then have the choice to join them, or try to fit them in with your life.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Good old scared out of my mind

We went to the beach on Tuesday night because it had been over a week! So even though we'd gotten back from a 4 day visit in DC followed by a 12 hour drive home, arriving home at 2:30AM on Tuesday, we had to go to the beach. P was still too tired, having done most of the driving. So we were there at the beach with the bridge, and the only people on the beach.
When P is with us he hangs out with the kids in the water. I was being brave so I was hanging out with G in the water as M played in the sand on the shore. I noticed a few big fish jumping out of the water. Whenever that happens P makes some comment about how he's curious but doesn't want to find out what made them jump.

So we're all alone, no P, no other people in the water, I've seen a few big fish jump out of the water. I'm primed for the possibility of seeing something scary. And I can't believe my eyes as I look over and see a fin just 15 feet away from me.

I grabbed G's arm and started dragging him to shore. I've got bP in my left arm and G dragging behind when I stumble in the 1 foot water and go down. Luckily bP was in the sling because I used my left hand to break the fall. bP and G got dunked as I scrambled back to my feet to continue the scramble to shore.

Safely out of the water heaving from the exertion, G asks me why I dragged him out of the water.
"I saw a shark" I told him. Excitedly he goes to tell M that Mom saw a shark. I look back to the water and see...

that it was a dolphin.

Two dolphins cruising the beach.

I explained that it was just dolphins to G who now thought I had just pulled a joke on him. Good old Mom and her jokes.

This was my FB post: "saw a dolphin in the ocean about 15 feet from where we stood in the water. Unfortunately I thought it was a shark so I grabbed Gand ran for shore scared out of my mind. We (bP and I) tripped and fell, dunking bP and G and spraining my thumb. Awesome."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

So Cute

When G saw this picture of our new Tenor Horn he said the same thing he says about bP "So cute!" Hurray!

So Mormon

I have this great friend MC in Jacksonville. We have so much in common because we both have the big family, 1/2 chinese family, deaf child, cooking, sewing, love God life. I think she is a baptist and she is getting to know that I'm a Mormon. For me this means getting to talk freely about my many blessings. It also means having a frequent opportunity to define being a Mormon. Sometimes it's saying "no thank you" to a cup of coffee. Sometimes it's letting them know why I always say "no thank you" to a cup of coffee.

MC frequently has appointments to do folks hair and she graciously lets us come and hang out even if she's got a client. So I have even more opportunity to practice introducing my Mormon self to these good Christians.

It's getting easier. I use to feel like I had to sort of avoid mentioning it lest they feel inhibited in their conversation of God's mercies. But since my friend hasn't asked me to stop coming yet I'm coming to accept it more myself. Telling them I'm Mormon and continuing with the conversation is working out just great.

My friend's daughter asked what we wear to church. MC told her that we wear bathing suits. I topped that saying it is a nude church. Then I had to laugh so hard and explain that I am the worlds biggest prude and that it is definitely not a nude church. "We wear our best clothes, but not like a wedding dress" I told her.

MC was telling me that at church as she watched 3 of her kids participating the music she said she felt "so Mormon."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sleep over

We're visiting with Grandma for a few days because we need to get the keys to the renters. Renters! Hallelujah! 2 year contract!

We don't visit Gainesville often but when we do it's for at least 24 hours and packed with fun. Last night Grandma and I stayed up until midnight chatting, and then sewing.

G has figured out that Grandma's phones (all 5 of them) are connected. So last night when I was talking with P, G asked me if he could trick me. I thought this might involve sticking a hotwheels car in the fridge as it usually does. Shortly thereafter I heard him pick up the phone and roar at us. That kid. So many of the rascally things he does are tempered with gratitude that he's so smart, and alive. He is full throttle alive.

On raising kids: Teaching them to say Please, Thank you, and Sorry are the biggest things in the world. M has figured out how to say Sorry with such sincerity that it melts my annoyance at almost all of her antics. Yesterday at the store she and G had climbed up on
a table to better see our car. I was really embarrassed because in the previous store I had let them wander the aisles and someone told them "No running in the store, Where's your mommy?" They weren't running or screaming, but I was embarrassed, so ... Anyway, after the table incident I was feeling like a failure for not teaching them better and mad that they had revealed it to the public. Them M says "I know. I'm sorry Mommy." And my pride in their goodness returned, with conviction to teach them more deliberately... and not let them out of the shopping cart.

bP is cute. G and M adore her to dangerous levels because they just want to hug her to death. And that's a problem, obviously. Yesterday when we were playing with the slip and slide bP was so curious. She crawled right up to it and started feeling the slide, and putting her fingers in the sprinkler. She was soaked pretty fast, and just having a blast.

Grandma has a pan to make Danish Ebelskivers. So yummy. If you click on the link you might gain 5 pounds. Sorry. But you'll understand why I just made the link to the google search images page, rather than just put up 1 or 5 pictures of how yummy they can be.

Happy July!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Nobody Fell in the River!

That alone makes it different from last year when I, 8 months pregnant, fell in as I attempted get from the dock to my raft.
We got this sweet wet suit for G at a thrift store for $8. This would be awesome for the winter beach scene. The only problem was that we had to find one for M. Then I found that Sam's Club sold them for $20 so we planned to just do that. Then it turned out that you have to order it rather than just buy it from the store. So I checked on craigslist and found that a lady was selling this purple one, that is identical to what we would have bought at Sam's, for just $15!
Floating the river with the Ps is one of my favorite family activities. It's right up there with Christmas and Thanksgiving. It helps that C makes amazing lunches for the outing so it is a spectacular culinary event also. This year grandma brought a $20 assortment of cookies from Sam's Club.
The kids had a lot of fun slipping in and out of the water, hoping from one parent to another, to grandparents...

And we had a great ride on the tram to and from the river. Thanks for a great day.


That alone makes it different from last year when I, 8 months pregnant, fell in as I attempted get from the dock to my raft.