Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Into the unknown

Owen ventured, for the first time, away from the table and walked in the middle of the room just to do it. Usually, he only really walks when we ask him to come to us and we squat kind of close to where he is standing. He cruises the furniture like nobody's business, just never cared to take the next step so to speak.

Last night we were playing games with the kids for FHE, and he just up and walked about 10 steps to no one. Just out into the unknown. He has gotten braver.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas letter update

Shaun did not pass the P.E. exam. We are sad, but we have learned a few things from this experience. It also helps that his work covers the cost of the test. It would have been nice to pass the first time, but alas, it was not to be. :(

Owen is not walking. I swore he would be a walking baby by Christmas. He is still a little scared-e cat who will only walk to one parent from another and only if it is within 6 walking steps. Falling forward into your arms is optional. He won't crawl forever.

I got a food saver for Christmas so I can start planning more for the end of the world! ;) Thanks Mom!

OK, I think that is all the updates for now.

Friday, December 19, 2008

2008 Christmas Letter

Dear Beloved Family and Friends,

Another year has passed. The older we get the faster it seems to fly by! Here is a brief recap of 2008.

Shaunton took the P.E. (Professional Engineer test) and should know his results in the next few weeks. We are all holding our breath and crossing our fingers. We feel good about it. He still works at SRPMIC, and enjoys their extracurricular sports teams. This year I think it was Softball, Kickball, and a few games of Football.

Jaxen is in first grade this year and doing great! He is getting tested in January for PACE, which is the gifted program. He played soccer this year and is fearless when it comes to getting in there and going for the ball. We have had to get his glasses readjusted a time or two. He is a big help around the house. He is still into superheroes and loves to read, read, read. There have been many a night where we have to go in there and tell him to put down the book and go to sleep!

Ember started preschool in August and loves it (most days). She is still my feistiest one. She can write her name and loves to draw and write. She enjoys playing outdoors and riding her bike. We didn’t sign her up for soccer this year, but plan to enroll her next year. She loves to take care of her little brother, or at least tries her best.

Owen is my smiley one. He has recently started taking his first steps. We are up to six now and fully expect a walking baby by Christmas. Who cares that it took him 16 months to do it. He loves to eat anything that isn’t baby food (and a lot of it) and loves to be outside. If any door is left open he doesn’t hesitate to book it as fast as he can and starts crying if he isn’t fast enough to get out before you catch him. He was about 20 pounds at last check up and finally made the scales for his age (not adjusted). Not bad!

As for myself, I am still chasing kids and wondering where the time has gone. This year we got ourselves a solar water heater and have had the hottest water ever, and it doesn’t take that long to heat up (coming out of the faucets). I have also been working on food storage because the end of the world is at hand! No seriously, hard times happen and with the economy the way it is we wanted to be sure that we had some food and other items put away just in case. It’s not much, but it is a start.

On another note, we are expecting the last member of our family in early June. At present, we are unsure of gender, although ask anyone in our house (minus me- it would be my luck to add more testosterone to this family) and they will tell you without hesitation that it is a little sister. I hope so. It would be nice to even the numbers with this last one. Before you ask…yes, we are crazy and yes, it was indeed planned, although it did happen a little faster than anticipated. All is well, and have thus far (14 weeks) experienced no complications. Issues related to Owen were one of those blue moon type. If you are interested, you can call or email on January 6th to find out what the gender is.

So, there you have it 2008, Davis style. We hope that you and yours have had a wonderful 2008. We hope you have weathered well, and look forward to a better and brighter 2009.

Sincerely,


The Davis Family

Peanut Peanut Butter and Jelly!

Who doesn't love a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Ember could live off them if I let her. Owen must have that same gene.

He looks so cute. I swear this boy can eat. He ate a half of banana before this, and wolfed down a whole PB&J sandwich afterwards.

Time for a bath. There was no easy way of getting him cleaned up...it was everywhere!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Present in the Mail

Who doesn't love a present in the mail, as long as it isn't a bill I love surprises! I mean, we just got a nice present from Aunt Debbie in California, that was a nice surprise.

A gift to you from us, it reads. Hmm, decent box. A sampler of something, is my guess. Maybe another newborn size diaper. Coupons maybe.

Open to find... two trial tampons. Nice.

Thanks.

Thanks a lot.

That is just what this pregnant woman needs, tampons. Although the laugh was pretty fun.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Jumping on the wagon

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Paper, unless it is just some awkward packaging that can't be done.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Fake, because I am too cheap to buy a real tree every year. (And, because, I too, worry about Christmas tree fires!)

3. When do you put up the tree? The day after Thanksgiving. Although with one toppling incident so far, I am slowly regretting this decision.

4. When do you take the tree down? The day after Christmas if I can so life can return to normal. I know, as is my life is normal, right?

5. Do you like eggnog? Very small portions.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Can't think of one. I know my mom sacrificed a lot for what we did get.

7. Hardest person to buy for? Consistently = Ember. This year it is Ember and Owen.

8. Easiest person to buy for? Jaxen.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, but does it still count if it has headless wise men and a donkey that can't stand up by itself?

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail

11.Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Christmas socks from a co-worker. Just give me a card, not a slap in the face. Funny thing is I still have these dorky socks. They still have the tags on them too!

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? How the Grinch stole Christmas - Jim Carrey version.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Black Friday. If I start too soon my kids will be on to the next thing.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? NO. I have good willed and given to other people, but not re-gifted.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? I too am a fan of peppermint ice cream. Or the kind with little candy cane flecks in it. Yummy. Alas, I am too cheap to buy it half the time because it is expensive.

16. Lights on the tree? 800 to be exact.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Little Drummer Boy.

18.Travel at Christmas or stay home? Travel. We go up to the reservation the weekend after Christmas.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? I know the leader, so I can get the information I need from him.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas Morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Pinch me now, but the little bell ringers outside every store. I feel guilty each time I pass without money to put in. (I think I recall someone with this same feeling, H). Commercialism.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? The kids get a new ornament each year representing that year. It is fun to put them on the tree each year and look at what they were into that year.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? We don't really do anything special.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Just to be happy is all I want or need.

First OB check-up

I was a little nervous about going in today. I prolonged the inevitable, and waited until after the 12 week mark to go in. (I am about 13 weeks and 5 days). Everything looked ok. Heard the baby's heartbeat chugging along.

I schedule the ultrasound in 4 weeks. Cross your fingers that it is a little lady. :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Trick Question

While eating dinner last night, Ember asked what this was (held up a piece of meat between two fingers). That is beef.

Where does it come from, she asks?

Cows.

What?! We eat cows?!

We proceed to go through a couple of different meats this way.

Finally, Shaunton asks them, what do you think turkey is made out of?

Here are a few of their guesses:

Hot dogs
Ham
Chicken

Finally, after much laughing, we pointed to the pictures of the turkeys donning our table as place mats and asked now what do you think turkeys are made of.

Finally, the answer...feathers!

After a few more chuckles, the truth was revealed, although their initial answers were far more entertaining.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The time has come...

to clean out the deep freezer. The breast milk has been in there for over a year, and alas, it is time to say goodbye so as to make room for the beautiful ham I just bought on sale.

Removing the breast milk effectively cleared 1/4 of my deep freezer (maybe a little more). I cleaned out 447 ounces this time. Which is roughly 3 1/2 gallons of breast milk . I don't know what that brings my grand total to now, but it is a lot.

Now, the questions is, is breast milk compostable? or do I just toss it in the trash?

eta: I went back and added up all the milk I have had to toss. *Drumroll please*

.
..
...
....

12 gallons!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tools

In case you were wondering, the only tools you need to excavate your front yard looking for dinosaur bones include: a toothbrush and two hairbrushes (mom isn't using them right now, so it will be OK).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Planning ahead

On our way home from school yesterday, Jaxen casually asked me if he and his wife could have our house after we die.

Um, sure.

Thanks Mom!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Note to Self:

Never tell your child a secret you don't want everyone to know. Why?

Because he will tell an adult he loves and trusts the exciting secret.

What's wrong with that?

That trusted adult will take it upon themselves to share your secret with whomever they please...maybe even blog about it.

Your CTR 6 told them, right? So it must not be a secret anymore and you can spread the news.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Little things I've noticed

My little girl has noticed that eyebrows look like rainbows, and everyone has them.

While playing kitchen with a friend, I overhear her saying, "let's pretend this is food storage." Can never start too early.

Ember can write her own name, and Owen's.

Owen really likes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Owen can finally crawl on his hands and knees, but still reverts to army crawling when he wants to get somewhere fast.

Jaxen loves to read, but gets frustrated when he doesn't finish his fluency paragraphs, even when he only needs 40 words a minute and gets 102. He wants to finish the whole paper and will make us listen to him read it over and over again.

Jaxen's favorite place to be - "the soccer field" - as reported on his super star poster from last week.

Kids grow fast!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Food Storage Dinner Menu

Consumed. I have been consumed with finishing my food storage menu. I want to have a list of what we can consume.

My dinner and dessert menu for food storage is complete! It was hard doing the recipes, so I erred on the side of being generous with spices, etc. as I usually just go with the flow and don't stick to the recipe. I still have to add up all the ingredients for all the meals to get the grand total of each item. Then I will be ready to start looking for those deals and shopping!

Up next, breakfast menu! Send any quick and easy breakfast ideas my way.

My list so far: cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, rice cereal.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Not her day

Today is not Ember's lucky day.

This morning she got into the fridge without asking (she likes to just open and look) and out fell the pineapple upside down cake we won last night (cake walk). Now it is a pineapple right side up cake, minus the whipped cream topping, and two tiers instead of just one. She cried for a good 10 minutes even though she wasn't in trouble and no one was mad. It was an accident.

After dropping off Jaxen I stopped by Fry's to get some more milk while it is still on sale. Ember helps scan at the self-check out lane. Afterward, I take her out of the cart. I have one foot on the cart while I am trying to do the payment. She starts shaking the cart. I tell her to stop, but of course she doesn't listen. The cart starts falling in s.l.o.w. m.o.t.i.o.n. Owen is in the cart, unstrapped. I grab the cart with my one free hand and manage to control it enough so the cart lands softly. Owen bonks his head, but not anything worse than at home and Ember had her foot under the basket. I am still under control. I get Ember's foot out and pick up Owen who stops crying immediately. I think it was just a shock. Ember is crying, but she is OK. She cries really hard when she thinks she is in trouble or when she knows that she made a not-so-good choice.

I talk to her calmly, and she says she isn't hurt. They call the manager totally freaking out. I explain she is fine and so is Owen, I softened the blow so it wasn't that bad. But it could have been! One of the ladies asks if she can give Ember a piece of candy (because she was so upset). I told her no that would be rewarding bad behavior. I wasn't mad at Ember, but her actions (after being told not to do something) did not warrant a reward.

I stopped outside and we talked about it. I told her that when I ask her to do something (like stop shaking the cart) it is usually because mom knows something bad can happen. I told her I was glad she and Owen were OK, but next time no shaking or standing on the sides of the cart. Hopefully, this lesson will be one that she will remember.

I asked her when we got home if I got mad at her at the store. I wanted to see what her perception of the incident was. She said no. That made me feel good, because I wasn't mad. I am trying hard not to get upset with my children for the choices they make. More often the choices they make are good ideas to them. We need to look at everything our children do and look for the positive intent behind their actions/behavior. Working through each situation as it arises gives us teaching moments, where we can both learn, and remain calm, so they can make better choices on their own as they grow up. Allowing natural consequences to happen, and not adding additional consequences to them. I know Ember was horrified. I don't think me getting upset with her (second consequence) was needed. How she felt about the situation was appropriate, and she learned something. I hope that makes sense.

Debating whether I should post this, or wait....it is still early, might be more adventures left in the day!

P.S. Cart toppling is dangerous...and it can happen to you!

P.S.S. For a good book on discpline read, Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline by Becky Bailey

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What to eat

I need recipes! I wanted to come up with 14 different recipes for dinners we could have for our year supply food storage. Each meal being made 26 times in the course of the year. Hence, saving up the supplies to make said meal and have on hand. This would be storage that would not be rotated on a regular basis, but essentially left alone and checked once a year. Rotating only when expiration is nearing.

I have a ton of recipes my family loves...so why is it so darn hard to come up with 14 recipes for the year supply menu? Hm, could it be many of the recipes call for fresh or frozen vegetables? or heavy whipping cream? or tortillas? or cheese...lots and lots of cheese? (I guess I better get cracking on my tortilla making skills).

I can think of a lot of crap (for lack of a better term) food I could use in my food storage. It would be easy to buy 12 boxes of Hamburger Helper and 12 pounds of ground beef and call it good. (I could even by different flavors!) While I am at it, I will grab 12 tuna helpers and 12 chicken helpers (never even tried those). I make these once in a blue moon. But I am sure they can sustain life for a year, can't be too picky right? Hm, OK, that takes care of 3 recipes. Three down, nine to go. Unless I decide to buy 12 of each flavor, and then I may not need to worry about any other recipes. I have fish, beef and chicken...what more do you need?

Seriously though, I would appreciate thoughts and or suggestions on meals. I have some easier recipes: spaghetti, chicken w/black beans, chicken and rice, maybe beef Manhattans. That is about it on the "easy ingredient" ones. Still trying to figure out my way around some of the other more "ingredient rich" recipes and how/if I can store what I need to make it.

Haven't even thought of breakfast or lunch! Deep breath, deep breath. Someone toss me a life raft, I'm drowning.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

One good reason to live in AZ

I knew there was a reason I live is sunny Arizona! I have spent a lot of time lately wondering what I am going to do for energy if something were to happen to our standard forms. I thought alot about propane (and propane accessories...think King of the Hill). I have thought about gasoline. Storage space, storage life, and safety are the issues I am grappling with.

I have been spending more time and money lately on food storage (no time like the present to prepare for the inevitable future), and then it dawned on me that if I don't have power, I have no way to cook all this food. Can anyone say hard pinto beans and wheat?

Crystal was nice enough to loan me a DVD forever ago on a food storage presentation given by DeWitt. DeWitt mentioned the solar oven briefly in her presentation. That was the answer. I knew I needed one. Granted, this pretty thing wasn't cheap, but with sunny weather 360 days of the year, what better way to cook/bake/broil and have a back up enery source to use that food storage during tough times. (That, and it came with a roasting pot, two loaf pans, and a water purification indicator. Nice perks.)

Tada ---------> (Isn't it cool!)


I can't wait to try it out! No more hot kitchens in the summer (and less money on cooling the house down after cooking those meals). No burnt food. From what I hear, incredible flavor. Hmm, any volunteers to come use it with me?

Ok, you know you all want one now. *wink, wink*

Monday, October 13, 2008

Soccer Mom

It is wasn't official before, it is official now. I am a soccer mom. I spent time over the last week making a banner for the soccer team. I finally put it all together last night.

We are the Super Shark Flames...a combination of what all the kids came up with.

Each shark was handcrafted out of the finest felt, and manipulated so they can be removed as keepsakes for the children on the team.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Garden Update

My garden looked all nice and green. I was excited about the prospect of eating something out of my garden. Then. It dawned on me. Those sprouts are not really growing where I planted them. They seem to be clustered together. Hmm. Which reminds me, they sure do look an awful lot like what grows in the compost bin.

Cantaloupe. We are growing nothing but cantaloupe. OK, exaggeration...kind of. We do have some beans growing and the tomato plants survived the transplant. I already ate one juicy cherry tomato. At this rate, I won't get to use them in anything, they will just go into my mouth as soon as they turn red. I sure hope they grow and ripen faster than one at a time.

One of the lavender plants survived too. I also have some cucumber sprouts. That's it. Just when I thought my thumb was turning green.

Oh yea, speaking of that. My wonderful looking watermelon didn't make it. I looked just the other day and it has a big black soft spot. :(

I will keep watering and hoping for some growth.

I have little tiny green sprouts in the flower bed. I think they might be the flowers? I am tired though, of going out every morning to water to find a "present" from the friendly neighborhood cat. I have a whole front yard of dry dirt, but no, they have to go in the wet two foot strip that I am trying to grow stuff in. I despise cats...at least the outdoor do-what-ever-I-want kind.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Signs

All signs of bug life (in all it's stages) is a negative. Today's morning looksie brought to light no lice, no eggs, no nothing! Here is to finding (or rather, not finding) the same thing when I do the check tonight!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Nothing says Fall Break like...

Lice infestation!

Is it Ember? Nope. Jaxen? Nope.

It's Owen. Yes, my one year old has lice. My kids have never had lice, so this is a new (and gross) experience!

I was laying in bed with Owen and I saw something crawling in his hair. I took it out and called Shaun to confirm my worst fear. It looked like lice. (We went online to check...and the fear was 100% confirmed.)

So I spent yesterday afternoon picking a bit (I was in denial and thought it was a one lice deal). I picked a lot last night, and just finished up this morning. I really don't want to use chemicals in his hair, so I am hoping if I can do a thorough job each morning and evening they will be gone within the next few days. I was very detailed this AM, so hopefully I don't find anything tonight when I check again. But, it is extremely hard to entertain a one-year-old to sit still long enough to go through his hair inch by inch checking for lice and eggs.

I keep checking Ember and Jaxen's hair, just to be sure there isn't anything there.

Paranoia has set in.

Yes, this is exactly how I pictured my Fall Break! (Is anyone else itchy?!)

Friday, September 26, 2008

My Gardens


In front of house and in front of the drive way.



In order: cardboard lasanga layer, compost and mulch layer, finished bed with transplants, and my baby sprouts!

I finished planting my vegetable garden on Tuesday. I am grateful for Crystal's expertise and patience as I picked her brain at least once a day (sometimes twice). Ok, twist my arm, I admit maybe more than that on some days.

Today I finished the flower bed in the front. I put in wildflowers, freesia, and narcissus. I am so glad it's done and can't wait to see the flowers start to pop up! I also planted some bulbs (freesia) by the sage bushes in front of our living room window, just for fun.

I was just telling Shaun to go ahead and mow over the cantaloupe and watermelon vines because nothing was growing on them. The grass was so tall it was hard to even see the vines anyway. All the watermelons or cantaloupe that started to grow were quickly discovered and eaten by the birds. Needless to day, he un-twined the vines from the grass to go around them and lookie what we he found! We hid it again so the birds won't find it.

I have finished paying...

for the birth, delivery and hospital stay of my third and smallest baby, Owen. We now "own" him free and clear. No worrying about some bill baby collector coming in the middle of the night to reclaim my son because his payments have gone to collections. It only took a year!

Spiritual, developmental, academic, and many other areas in their life we are very influential and powerful. I can't imagine how hard it is going to be to allow my children to start making choices, and living with the consequences of those choices, when they are older. We need to be powerful enough to hold back our judgements and disapproval on actions and choices we may not pick for ourselves. We need to be influential enough to help them make the right choices now, so that when they get older, they won't have such a hard time making the choices for themselves. We need to be powerful enough to encourage, support, honor and love unconditionally.

Parenting is a divine gift from God. It comes with it's rewards, privileges and perks. It also comes with disappointment, heartbreak, and late nights. I feel honored to be able to have children. I also feel grateful to a Heavenly Father that trusts in me to love, protect, honor, lead, guide, teach, and enlighten the spirits chosen for my family.

I visit taught with one of my sisters lately. We talked about how the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches the eternal potential of the children of God. President John Taylor was quoted as saying, "our main object is eternal lives and exaltations; our main object is to prepare ourselves, our posterity and our progenitors for thrones, principalities and powers in the eternal worlds...; that...they might be prepared, having fulfilled the measure of our creation on the earth, to associate with intelligences that exist in the eternal worlds; be admitted again to the presence of our Father, whence we came, and participate in those eternal realities which mankind, without revelation, know nothing about.

Ladies and gentleman. It is that simple. Put it on a post-it where you can read it. Our whole purpose on earth is spelled out quite succinctly in that quote. We now know the responsibilities we have to ourselves, and to our children, and to the generations that come after us. We can and do make a difference. It doesn't matter what you make for dinner tonight. It doesn't matter what you wear or what you look like. It doesn't matter if your floors (or nails) are dirty. It doesn't matter what is coming on during Prime Time tonight. If it doesn't help you meet this goal, then it really isn't important. All are part of the grand scheme of life, but none should be above our main objective. Our minds should be turned to this thought often. Perspective.

Say Hello...

to my leetul (or lethal) frens.



On a hiking trip through the desert landscape today we came across these two beauties. One (yellowish one), no bigger than a penny. The other about an inch long. I didn't think we would see any wildlife on our short trek through the steaming oasis that is our back yard.

Yep, you heard right. My.Back.Yard.

I think they might both be babies. *GULP* Which means there are big ones out there.

We moved some toys to mow the lawn and came across the bigger one. The smaller fell out of the toy on the way to the dumpster. Needless to say, our friends have met untimely deaths.
Hmm, here I was thinking how strange it is that Jaylee found a lobster scorpion in her home, and then I find some. I was so hoping they followed us home from a camping trip. (You know, the dead ones we found in the shed and laundry room.) Alas, the oasis of innocence and denial is over.

I may never let my kids play in the backyard again. At least not before I black light the whole thing first!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Activities Day!!!

How many girls does it take to make a four course, restaurant style meal? 4

Today the girls came over to make dinner for the Hopkin's, who had their baby about a week and a half ago. I tried to think of what I could have them make that would take time, cooperation, and be fun. We I decided on lasagna, a salad and bread sticks. We did have dessert, but seeing as how it was a carton of ice cream, we didn't really "make it.

I was a little nervous on the girls' kitchen skills...I mean, I have insurance, but I didn't want anyone suing me because a finger ended up in the salad. I had no need to worry. It was obvious the girls had been in the kitchen before, voluntarily or by force. Granted, a mess was made, and clean-up wasn't nearly as fun as the preparation and cooking.

They each got to try the salad they made and made their own bread sticks to enjoy. They really did do everything by themselves with little direction from me. I was impressed and proud of them. I told them who the dinner was for, and they were all like, "this is for Chase?""I can't believe I am making dinner for Chase!" I guess when you are the same age as someone in the family of the person you are making dinner for, you kind of dwell on that.

They did great. They felt accomplished and had fun serving others. I would have loved for them to come with me to drop it off, but I thought the Hopkin's might want to eat before 8.

I love my calling as the Activities Day Leader. I love the girls and all the insight they give to me on what it means to be a Child of God, and what it means to be a kid. To look at things from a different perspective. To slow down. To feel more and think less.

Nothing like the smell...

of compost in the morning. The day after you garden. After showering and washing your hands multiple times. I still smell. My fingernails looks absolutely disgusting. I will get around to trimming them (easier than trying to scrub under them and I can't find that useless nail brush anywhere!)...unless taking showers and doing dishes (yes, I still hand wash) gets them clean before I get around to it. Plus, a disgusting, but kinda weird science-y cool bonus...when you blow your nose after gardening (and digging in your garden) you blow out slimy mud boogers. It's a wonder I could breathe with half the garden up my nose! Let's you know those nose hairs are doing there job and keeping those foreign objects clear of the all important lungs.

It has been one of those weeks. I am so busy trying to figure out what I am doing and where I am going. My head is going in 5 different directions thinking of five things that are all equally important (at least in my mind) to be working on.

I have to get the bed done in the front. My poor potted flowers are looking droopy. Personally, I don't do well with things on my to do list that are there longer than a day or two. I like to get things done pronto. Anyone that knows me, knows I am a scheduled, organized person...and it is hard to fit in the extras!

I know, I know. Anyone want to come over for my pity party? I plan on throwing it after I finish my front bed, do another load of laundry, have the Activities Day girls over to make dinner for a service project, get my kids to bathe and brush their teeth. All of this will be accomplished between breathing treatments every 4 hours.

So, what do you say? Party at my house at 12 AM. On second thought, I need the sleep. But, don't let that hinder you from dropping off "thinking of you" gifts at my doorstep. I could use your leaves, grass clippings and other trimmings to put in my front bed.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Always Mondays...

I spent most of this afternoon working on the garden. Owen fell asleep around 11:30 so I wanted to get in what work I could.

Ember came and told me that Owen was awake around 2:30. I went in and check on him. There he was just laying there on the living room floor looking sad. He has been a little under the weather lately, fighting a cough and runny nose.

I picked him up only to notice that he was really heaving in shallow breaths. He was practically panting and you could here a bit of a wheeze. His chest and whole body heaved with each breath. He wasn't like that when I laid him down. He gave me this help me look. I immediately called his doctor's office and scheduled an appointment.

He was given two rounds of breathing treatments and we had to wait until his pulse ox was in normal range before we could leave. Two hours later we left with four prescriptions. One for steroids to help his lungs, one for a nebulizer, one for the breathing treatment med, and one for penicillin (because life wouldn't be fair without the bonus of an ear infection).

The sickness made it's way into his lungs. He was a much more happier camper after the treatments. We have a follow up appointment on Friday to see how everything is clearing up.

Oh ya, Happy Anniversary to us! :)

P.S. Garden pictures to come.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Birth

It is such an amazing thing. I have had the rare opportunity to participate in the birth of 8 children. Three being my own, of course, and five being those of friends and family.

I am never short of amazed when someone asks me if I would like to be there for the birth of their baby. I consider it an honor to be a part of such a blessed event. From an outsiders perspective, it simply amazes me what women are capable of enduring. What our bodies are capable of creating (OK, with help), sustaining, and accomplishing. Heavenly Father knew what he was doing. Life. Created from "cells" that transform, in the span on months, into someone; someone who will forever change the way we view the world and live in it.

From my perspective, nothing could be more painful or trying then giving birth. Something inherent tells us to do it, over and over again. (Trust me, I still can't figure this one out...another one of the "loop holes"- something like a vale - Heavenly Father threw in there to be sure we keep procreating and populating the Earth).

Jeremiah's birth was amazing. Bridget wanted to go natural and not have any pain medication. I knew she could do it. She knew she could do it. But when you are down in the pits, your resolve fades fast, especially when your loved ones want to give you whatever you want because you are sobbing and hurting. No one likes to see a loved one hurting.

Bridget was able to focus and breath, and overall her labor was quick. She transitioned really fast and went from a 7 to pushing in less than a half an hour. I was so proud of her, and my emotions were all over the place. I was happy the delivery went well and she got the birthing experience she wanted.

I joked around and told her that this experience will either bring us closer or push us apart...you know, depending on how she took my "coaching". She didn't yell at me, and she still answers my calls, so I guess that is a good sign.

I think I take for granted that another woman (especially someone who has had a child/children) might want to see me (OK, maybe not me per se, more like someone) give birth. The experience is so phenomenal. It gives you perspective on what you did and how truly amazing it is. I guess not everyone would want to, but I think the majority, if given the opportunity, would be excited to participate in the birth experience of a close friend or relative.

So, consider this an open invitation. If, for some reason, Shaun and I get so crazy itch to expand the family even more, you can all come and watch me have a baby. I take RSVP's and we have limited space. No betting allowed. Cost - priceless. LOL

Thanks Bridget for the breathtaking experience. I am thankful you think enough of me that you were willing to let me in on an experience I will never forget.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Nuggets of Truth

I can't remember the last time I have read a series of books that seem to have such profound words of wisdom. This particular book in the series started out dreadfully slow. I was starting to doubt I would make it past chapter 3. I did, and I am glad I hung in there! Here are but a few of the nuggets of truth bestowed on me as I partook of the book, The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis.

QUOTE 1:

One of the worst results of...being forced to do things is that when there is no one there to force you anymore you find you have almost lost the power of forcing yourself.

How true it is. I often think of the things we "make" our children do, attending church for instance. At least once every couple of weeks Jaxen or Ember complains that they don't want to go to church. Once realizing, that they are going, whether they like it or not, the comply and get ready. It never fails that after church they are all smiles and talking about what they did/learned and how much fun they had. Sometimes you just have to make them do it, because they will quickly lose the power to make themselves go (now and in the future).

This has a lot to do with the things we battle on a daily basis. I grew up doing my fair share of chores around the house. I was responsible for washing and drying the dishes (by hand), cleaning the bathroom and mopping the floor every Friday. Unlike most people, I don't harbor that grudge to do the same chores as an adult. Some people hate to do something because they always hated it growing up. Now that I am adult I don't have to do XYZ kind of attitude. This of course has it's place, but can be harmful in some aspects.

QUOTE 2:

He had not yet learned that if you do one good deed your reward usually is to be set to do another and harder and better one.

Ah, yes, yet another quote that is true to life. How often are we so good at something, or so reliable, that we are the first to be turned to? How often are we annoyed by this? How often do we wish that maybe we shouldn't have done such a good job...and then maybe we wouldn't be called upon so often?

Why can't we take this as a measure of our character and reliability? Why can't we be excited to be thought of in instances where our talents might be useful? Why should we be content with second grade work versus our very best each and every time?

I am going to try and look at this from a new perspective when called upon to do something for someone else.

QUOTE 3:

"...as long as you know you're nobody special you'll be a very decent sort of [Human], on the whole, and taking one thing with another."

In context, this is being told to a horse who was very boastful and proud and thought he was better than others.

I read it to mean that nobody is special...or shall I say more important than another person. We are all children of a loving Heavenly Father. We all have the same value to Him. If we can get past the pride and out doing of others, we can be decent and human and loving to our fellow men. We can take the good with the bad, hand in hand.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dear Chef Brad,

I am writing today because I wanted to tell you how excited I was to attend one of your recent seminars. I was especially excited to try out a few of your ideas on how I can let/help food bring my family closer together. I must admit that I was rather pleased with myself and the progress I have done with my family so far. Prior to attending your seminar, we already ate together nightly as a family, so we were doing something right. Thanks for the confidence booster, you did a great job mentioning that at the beginning before you get into all the stuff we should be doing (you know, to do better).

You mention that is was important to have your children help in the kitchen. Apparently, I missed the age requirement that you mentioned. I have been allowing my children to help cook and bake for quite sometime, but never pushed the issue. I decided, since taking your seminar to ask more often. Everything ran smoothly until last night.

While creating my masterpiece of a dinner last night, I had my lovely (and eager) four year old daughter help. Minus the hair dipping that occurred at the beginning, the ingredients went into the bowl nicely. We encountered the problem when it came time to mix the ingredients into something more than just a pile of potatoes and green beans.

My daughter, still eager, pleaded with me to stir. I allowed her, upon your suggestion, to stir. She dug that spoon deep down into the dish and tried with all her might. It wouldn't budge. A wedge adjustment later, and we have green beans and potato chunks catapulting through our kitchen.

You will be happy to know that although my daughter was quite distraught, I was calm as calm could be. Actually I was laughing pretty hysterically. My daughter's face went from worried to relieved and we proceeded to pick up the chunks that decorated the wall, counter, floor, and jacket rack (a nice one I might add). I thought to take a picture, but I figured I would probably gross people out, it did kind of look like someone didn't like dinner too much...if you know what I mean. The globs of cream of chicken didn't help.

So, in your next seminar you might want to warn parents that this is not an easy task (letting children help). Sometimes it is not in the best interest of you or the child. Your child, for instance, might want to lick the knife or touch and/or taste raw meat. (I would know!)

Sometimes, you just don't have the time to clean up the mess afterward. (Although, I guess you could have the kids do that...unless of course you want it clean, and then you are better off doing it yourself).

Overall, your advise is sound and I have taken it to heart.

Sincerely,

Monique

P.S. Don't forget to mention the age requirement next time.

Am I strong enough?

"When people have been mean to you, why would you want to be good to them?"
"You wouldn't want to. That's what makes it hard. You do it anyway. Being good is hard. Much harder than being bad."
Lina wondered if she was strong enough to be good.

I read section in the book I just finished, The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau. I found it quite profound. In context it is referring to revenge being the beginnings of how wars and disasters are often started. Getting back at the person who hurt you. In order to reverse the direction and stop things from escalating, people need to be good to the other person, even if they don't want to.

That is life. People do and say things that can offend us, both intentionally and unintentionally. I like to think that if I am offended by someone that it is unintentional, maybe vent a bit, get over it and move on as if nothing has happened. Sometimes I stop and think that maybe that person is having a bad day. What if they got a phone call this morning with bad news? What if they were up all night with a sick child? I know I am not always nice, and most often when I am not, there is usually something going on in my life that is taking my focus away from the present.

How often are these little things (annoyances) the start of something more (bitterness and hatred)? How often do we let a comment from another person, known well or just met, taint our view of them?

Being good is hard...much harder than being bad. Being bad is easy...and in some cases can seem like a heck of a lot more fun then being good. Think about that. No wonder it is easy for Satan to tempt the natural man in us all.

Am I strong enough to be good? To choose the right? To give people the benefit of the doubt? I hope I am doing my best and strive to do better daily.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Preschool


Ember started preschool last week. We didn't know what to expect her reaction to be. She can be rather shy when it comes to new people and places. She has been so excited to start school. Every day know she wants to know if today is a "school day" or not. The first day went off without a hitch and lets hope that she continues to be excited.

My little girl is growing up!

Washable Art

The usual Wednesday routine of cleaning the bathroom last week. Pull back the shower curtain to reveal this masterpiece. Can you name all 5 action figures?


Answers: Sandman, Green Goblin, Spiderman, Venom, and, the trickiest one, the Red Power Ranger.

I Did It!

The baby celebration is over and I think it was a rather big hit. I made way to much dessert, but now Shaun can be the cool guy at work who brings in stuff to share with his deprived co-workers.

We had 19 lovely ladies in my house last night. We started at 7 and ended close to 10. It was casual and very fun, but on that note, I will not be doing it again anytime soon. Jaylee asked me to, but since her kids are always 5 years apart, I have time to change my mind.

I wanted to take picture of the desserts so you could see how they turned out...but my camera died after taking two pictures. Hmm, and it isn't the kind of camera where I can grab two triple A's and call it good. It takes some sort of specialty battery. I guess I should have read the fine print on the box.

All I know is I did my part to help all those who attended gain two pounds that they can blame on me for a while.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Cream Cheese Memories

In case you didn't know, Bridget is pregnant. She is going to have a baby. I am not. But I am going to have a party to eat nothing but sweets and celebrate someone else being knocked up (term of endearment BTW). Okay, and celebrate the baby, too. That, my friend, is a party!

Yesterday it hit me as I lay down to sleep that there will be a hoard of women coming to my house tomorrow night. (Is fifteen to twenty woman considered a hoard or a cackle?) I should probably trim down the sporadic jungle wilderness that is my front yard. Maybe weed-eat (hmm, that is the correct term, right?) around the nicely painted numbers that I paid some random guy with a can of spray paint to stencil outside my house on the curb so that people would know the number associated with our freshly painted abode. Oogle if you must, but know that the cactus was part of the package deal.

I have images to keep. I laugh as I write that, because, in all honesty, I really have no idea what image/s people have of me.

Suffice it to say that I woke up early this morning and took the time to mow my lawn...or at least the patches of grass that make up the desert quilt of dirt, dead leaves, weeds, grass, and feces from the annoying stray cat(s) that thinks my yard is it's own personal litter box. I ran out of gas 3/4 of the way through, so I might need someone to park in front of the side of my house so as to hide the only real lush tall green growth we have in the front yard. Lets not even talk about the back yard. My blinds will be shut, out of sight out of mind...at least for tomorrow night. No peeking!

I am planning on going out in the morning tomorrow to weed-eat. I guess I could probably assume that people will know where to go because it is the one house with all the cars parked in front, but sidewalks are a bit taken over as well. I can't get grass to grow in my yard, and I can't get it to stop growning onto the sidewalks and in the cracks. Go figure on that one.

Today I (okay, we) baked.all.day.

I find it ironic that one spends so much time cooking/backing to watch the hard work be consumed within minutes. I think I might have everyone lick their cookies like suckers to make them last longer.

Today we made FHE cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, 4 cheesecakes, Heaven's Hair (maybe Hare..as long as there isn't any real hair/hare in it) and Pumpkin Bars. Jaylee wonders where I get my perfectly golden tan. The secret is out of the bag. Nothing beats rotating around a hot oven for 6 hours...perfect height for perfect legs every time. Results may vary.

I think we could call this a cream cheese party because a lot of what I made had cream cheese in it. I bought 8 packages at the store. Speaking of the store, as I was checking out the lady was like...so...you like baking? I fought back the urge to ask her what made her think that? Minus the 8 bars of cream cheese, sugar, flour, brown sugar, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and pudding galore, I really have no idea what would give her that impression. Yes. I like to bake. Usually not that much and not usually all in one day.

Tomorrow I have one chocolate on chocolate cake to make, fruit filled burritos (with chocolate of course), and a dip for fresh fruit and cookies. Most of these recipes I haven't tried before, and before I dare to try them myself I have to make sure someone else will eat them, hence the party so I hope that they taste as yummy as the beaters did. And if they don't, lie to me so you won't hurt my feelings. On second thought, you better not. I might have tried the same thing, secretly thought it tasted like cardboard, smiled, continued to shovel it in until I could find an opportunity to switch plates with someone or make it to the trash can without being spotted. So I would know that you know that such-and-such tasted like burnt rubber. Just kidding. It will all taste fantastic. I am getting it catered.


I hope I made enough. I doubled most everything. I figure a party with all women will mean a party where the woman don't have to worry about how much they eat. We stick together...and no one has to know that so-and-so had two pieces of cheesecake, 4 cookies, a pumpkin bar and a cup of milk to wash it down.

Crap.

I need milk to wash it down! How could I forget an essential?! You know, if you throw a party and offer everyone dessert...someone is bound to ask for a glass of milk to go with it. (Good thing Milk is on sale at Fry's.)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Developmentally Sound

Nothing says your son is developing normally than the average everyday antic.

I had just finished mopping the kitchen and went into Ember's room to supervise the cleaning of the mountain of toys, blankets, books, sheets, and other odd items that get played with in one afternoon. Some makeshift version of "house" is what I am told. I walk out to check on Owen...and it smells good. Like fresh. clean. floors. Owen was just in my room playing.

See Owen. See Owen swim. OK, not really. But there he was in the middle of a mop water ocean puddle. Splashing around like it is some sort of one year old water theme park. Water water everywhere. Who knew that half a bucket full of water could cover that much floor area?

In the flood: 1 child (whi was having so much fun it was hard to keep him out of the kitchen to clean up), a bag full of books...library books (eek), and a soggy diaper bag.

Why did I have to ask for it to be Friday?

Thank goodness for chemical free floor cleaner.

NTS: Find some way to dump mop water while floor is still wet. Forget it, problem solved....stop mopping.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Why isn't it Friday yet?!

I have one child that is a terror ATM, and nothing I say or do is calming down the HULK. He has lost a lot of extras tonight with the temper tantrum he has thrown. Seriously, I am at my wits end and don't know what to do! Time outs and taking away tickets and privileges don't seem to be helping. He hardly ever gets like this, but when he does...it is bad.

I won't be able to make it to the Parenting Round Table this week because I need to get my visiting teaching in and that is when one of my sisters can meet.

My SIL's kids are over at their Grandma's house now. Long story short, she didn't want to divulge any information about what was going on with ANYTHING. I felt taken advantage of, and she didn't want to budge, so she took them elsewhere. Needless to say, sleep has been easier the last few days.

Jaxen is going to have a new teacher starting Tuesday. Apparently the school anticipated a lot more first graders then they got....so his teacher (being the newest) is moving up to third grade and her students are being dispersed among the remaining 4 first grade teachers.

Owen slept through the night last night.

I canned 7 pints of peaches today! My second experience in canning, and it was fun.

Monday, August 18, 2008

After 3 kids it's all the same

Isn't it interesting how life throws you some interesting curves? Shaunton's sister asked us last week if we would be willing to take her two children and have them stay with us for the next 5 months until she finishes school. (She would have them on weekends and come throughout the week to visit). His sister is 22, single, and has two children, ages 2 and 3. She is going to school right now to be a medical assistant. This is not something I would ever have thought she would ask, or anything I ever thought I would say yes to.

I know that if she doesn't finish now, she might not ever go back and do it. She is in between jobs, and even if she was working, she is going to school during the day and would have to work nights. Daycares aren't open at night. I don't particularly want to have her to kids staying with me, but I do want her to finish school so she can do something better with her life. If it means doing this for her for the next 5 months, then it is worth it.

Granted, her son has thrown two tantrums today, scratched me and his sister, and said "no" so many times I can still hear his voice after he is sleeping. He also kept Shaunton and I up late into the night crying. Poor thing needs time to adjust. Hey, it's not going to be easy.

I plan to work on potty training Davis as soon as I can figure out what it is that he is saying. I still can't understand him...you know, you can really only understand your own kid when they are that little. Serenity (my niece) is so inquisitive and easy to entertain. She spends most of the time by herself, but occasionally interacts with Ember. Age thing is my guess.

I have managed to go grocery shopping (with 4 of them, while Jaxen was in school) without much of a hitch. I did have to tell Davis to sit down (he was in the cart) more times than I can count, but no one cried or threw a fit. I also made a quick trip to Fry's on the way home from getting Jaxen, and that too went well. I had plenty of comments and looks.

That ends day one of How Many Kids Can You Sanely Handle Institute: Try before You Buy Conceive.

Monday's 5 things to remember

DON'T sample produce in a grocery store without knowing exactly what it is you are sampling. Experimenting like this can lead to a burning tongue and watery eyes. NTS: Grapes do not ease this pain.

DON'T let you kids nails grow long enough to rival Wolverine's. You, or a child in your home, might be/become the target of a tantrum throwing two year old. NTR: The child referenced is my nephew, my kids are all nail biters. Still trying to figure that one out.

DO clip those nails ASAP, before they take your eye out. NTR: No child was hurt in the declawing process.

DO know that getting the "first poop out" helps your butt "breathe" so you can finish going to the bathroom....don't ask, at least I know know that I shouldn't.

DON'T try making your baby smile and/or laugh while nursing them. This can cause a severe pinch-like pain and a startled yelp, and in worst cases, has required the jaws of life to extract the pinched part.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sunny Days are Here to Stay!

For his birthday, Jaxen got a really cool ant farm. So cool, it has a "night light" and everything. We thought about catching the ants ourselves, seeing as how our backyard seems to always be infected with them, but thought better of it once we really couldn't figure out how to do it without getting bit in the process. So, I wrote out a check for four dollars and sent it in to the ant farm people. Pretty expensive for 25-30 of the little pests, but at least I don't have to try and catch them myself. I am supposed to get my Jaxen's ants in 4-6 weeks. Imagine my surprise when I get the following email about 4 weeks later:

---EMAIL---

Hello,

Thank you for your ant order! We are emailing to inform you that the temperatures in your area are not conducive to the safe shipping of your creatures. In order to safely ship your ants, we require a ten day, day-time average falling below the 85 degree mark. As soon as we see this average, we will ship your ants and notify you via email that they are on their way.

Thank you for choosing Uncle Milton Industries.

-----END EMAIL---

I was laughing so hard when I read this! Hmm, 85 degrees for 10 days straight? Does that happen in Arizona? So, looks like Jaxen might get his ants before Christmas. I wonder if I should wrap up the ants? (Never mind, probably not a good idea, I wouldn't want to kill them when I just got em.) I could probably get away with wrapping up the ant farm and it would be one less gift to buy. It's been buried in the hall closet since his birthday. :)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Owen's birthday

We decided that for Owen's first birthday that we would just have a "small" birthday party with family. Not that our family is small or anything. We had a nice dinner and spent time together before getting to the good stuff.
Any doubts about Owen being too small to open his own presents was put to rest quickly. He was able to grab out tissue paper faster than lightning and really had fun with the one wrapped gift that he got. He liked the sound of paper ripping, and could care less what was inside the color coated outside of the gift.
Yum, time for cake! He was fascinated by the candle, and has his grubby hands in the cake before we even started singing. Jaxen and Ember, the big helpful siblings they are, helped Owen blow out his candle. I know you are surprised by the lack of decorating on the cake, cakes are my specialty, but honestly he can't decide what he wants yet, so we just went with something easy...and soon to be messy.

video

If that is not one of the cutest things you have even seen, then you have been looking for CUTE in all the wrong places. It was straight into the tub for this little guy.

It didn't really hit me until we were singing Happy Birthday that my little boy is ONE.

It was one year ago today that Owen made his way into this world. A tiny little guy. One year ago today I thought I was going home to be on bed rest, finally out of the lonely hospital after 5 weeks. I went in for one last ultrasound to check the clot, and that is when the bleeding started full force all over again. I was losing a lot. I called the nurse, who put the monitors back on. The baby was not doing well. The whole time I was in the hospital, up until the point, the baby had been fine, they had been worried about me, and the amount of blood I was losing. Now, it was the baby they were worried about. I called Shaun and I was rushed into the OR, with doctors calmly telling me what I can expect with the baby being born so early.

I was scared. I had never had a C-section before. Can you feel that? Yes. I mean does it hurt? No, but I can feel it. My worst nightmare. Having my baby too early and feeling the whole thing. I told Shaun to talk to me about anything, just keep me occupied. The tugging and pulling was a very weird sensation. Shaun tells me they pull out Owen feet first and how weird it was to see his body with his head still inside me. (This was afterward, of course). I don't remember how small he was, when I saw him he was wrapped, and my head had twist at a weird angle to see him. His eyes were open and he was breathing on his own, I think he surprised everyone. He ended up on a breathing machine later, because it was too much stress after the PIC line was put in, and he needed to save his energy for growing. But, we knew we had a fighter on our hands, and we were thankful.


My little guy spent 12 long weeks in the hospital. Now it is all a distant, and surreal, memory. I know that Heavenly Father walked me through it and gave me the strength, patience, and endurance to be strong for myself, my family, and Owen. It wasn't always an easy journey, but we made it through. I am glad I kept a journal so I can have those memories when I am ready.

I look at him now, chunky, happy, and healthy, and it is hard for me to even think of the tiny, skinny, opaque little one that I gave birth to 365 days ago.

Well, at least there was one thing in common with the other two...he had hair. I would have been worried if he didn't have hair.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY OWEN!!

I need to run to the store

Another good idea, brought to you courtesy of your favorite big sister. Try not to think of how she got him in there. I have come to accept that things like this are best left unexplained, it keep unnecessary anxiety attacks from creeping in. Just know that he is on a nice cushion of soft stuffed animals, so he is quite comfortable to be pushed around is a squeaky grocery cart.



Not convinced? Well, a picture is worth a thousand words, and he seems pretty content to me. I could be wrong, maybe he is just smiling because he sees me? I mean, who doesn't smile when they see me? He tries hard to be patient with his big sister (and big brother) and that ain't always easy, and is almost always noisy!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Owen

video

I was starting to wonder if and when this day would come, or if I was destined to have child who rolled where ever he needed to go. The rolling led to frustration because he hadn't figured out how to do anything besides big circles...so he was getting nowhere...slow. I don't count rolling off the bed as a straight line. Not that he has ever rolled off the bed...and definitely not more than once.

Playing with Fire

In the wrong hands, romance can be dangerous and messy. I will be the first to say that candles have taken a back burner over the last few years. The "time" you have most often limited to when your children are sleeping, and, if you feel risky, when they are occupied with something. (I wouldn't know about that one). No time for the frivolous extras in most cases.

If you are anything like me, you have to know that your kids are asleep to truly appreciate the mood and the moment. Otherwise, you keep asking yourself: is the door locked? Did you hear that? Are you sure the door is locked? Hmm, actually, if you are me, you might ask yourself that even if you just checked on your sleeping kids. But, I digress.

Yes, candles. We all like candles. They definitely add to the romantic mood. As the waifing scent of vanilla bean fills the air, the candlelight dancing lightly through your bedroom, your cares slip away and you are ready to...well... you know.

I start to think, as I often catch myself doing during the most inopportune times, about how bright these candles seem to be. Our room seems pretty well lit for the 5 candles strategically placed to create the maximum romantic atmosphere. After an awkward angled look (don't ask), I notice that one candle has a pretty wicked flame. We are talking about a flame to dwarf all flames. Moment of romance is...gone. I spent the rest of the time stealing fervent glances to make sure our house didn't go up in flames. I really didn't want to try to explain why I was in my birthday suit while standing outside with my three kids as the firefighters put out the flames.

After all was said and "done", the blob of wax candle was blown out and the lights turned back on.

Because no evening is complete without it, we spent the next 30 minutes scraping wax out of our carpet and television stand. A romantic finale to end the night.

What I am most grateful for right now: white candles and white carpet
Good news: Found a $10 gift card under the television stand.
Bad news: Found a sewer roach.
Good news: It was dead.
NTH (Note to Husband): Use a candle holder!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The most annoying sound in the world?

The sound of your almost-one-year-old grinding his teeth. It is amazing what you can do with three teeth.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Jaxen Can Swim!

video

Look at him go (first ten seconds, you can stop watching after that)! And to think a month ago, he was crying on his first day of class because he didn't want to put his face in the water. How far he has come! I am so proud of him and Ember, they are doing so well at their lessons!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sleep over surprise

I love a good monsoon storm, I really do. I don't even mind if the power and phones go out for a short while, just means we are getting some good wet weather. I do, however, mind when my power is out for 12 hours.

On Monday, after coming home from choir practice, I was greeted by happy kids and a warmer than usual house. Most of you know that we keep the house at a cool 83 degrees during the summer, which works for us, unless we have company over, and then we are nice hosts and turn the air down (or is it up...I always get lost on the wording, but the gist is we make it cooler). If we didn't, I don't think we would have many friends...at least not any that would want to come over.

I wasn't too worried about the power being out, we were on our way out the door to a birthday dinner at my SIL's house. I figured the power would be back on when we got back. On the drive over, we take a look over the freeway overpass and see that both sides of the freeway are blocked due to flooding. WOW. It was definitely a sight to see.

Three hours later we pull into the drive and realize our sensory lights didn't go on....that's not a good sign. We walk into a balmy sticky house. Yuck.

I proceed to get the kids ready for bed by candlelight. I hope I was able to do a decent job brushing their teeth, I guess it isn't any worse than letting them brush them all by themselves. We read scriptures over candlelight, and get the kids into bed. Prior to the bedtime routine, I had called SRP and was informed that the power would be back on before 11. It was already 8:30, so we figured we could just wait it out.

I would have much preferred to be outside, by the blood suckers are out there...and they are HUNGRY.

We cracked open some windows...and waited it out. I passed out in a restless sweaty heap on my bed only to wake a couple of hours later feeling like I couldn't breathe. Shaun was up in the living room, because apparently, it is "cooler" in there...I thought it was hot everywhere.

Another call to SRP reviewed that power was to be out until 8 in the morning. Forget that. I practically begged Shaun to call someone, anyone to see if we could sleep on their floor. He was worried that it was late, and I was worried we were all going to dehydrate in our own beds.

The call was made to the lovely Duclos family, who as "luck" would have it, was up with the little one. I know, our luck, not theirs. They were gracious enough to let us sleep on their floor and everything was ready when we arrived 15 minutes after our hasty phone call. The floor was nice and comfy and I was extremely grateful.

Jaxen woke up the next morning and wondered what we were doing at the Duclos' house. LOL I guess that boy can sleep through anything. He wanted to know if we walked or drove over.

We came home early to power being back on. We think it was on for about an hour or so, seeing as how the house was still a little warm. We are still without a land line phone, but that is the least of our worries as long as we have AC.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Jaxen Swim Lessons

I worried about Jaxen the most. This is the kid that freaks out about getting his head wet in the shower. At the start of the class I thought that maybe I should have put him in the same class as Ember. He started to cry at least two different times because he didn't want to swim/put his face in the water. He kept saying I can't. It is amazing what 8 days of swim lessons can do!

Here is Jaxen showing off his "bobbing" skills. Yes, you see clearly, his face is in the water!

Oh yes, the back float. He was the talk of the town, OK amongst his friends, because he could do a back float...they all wanted to learn how. You can't tell clearly, but she is not holding on to him. Oh yeah, she is Claire, his teacher. We couldn't leave the pool each day until each student had cleared out and the lifeguards left. He had to say bye.

The ever dreaded front float...which requires, a favorite skill, a full face submersion. He did it! Yes, that is my boy out there conquering his fears one back float and front float at a time.

Owen Swim Lessons

Poor Owen is left to swelter with me while his brother and sister get to go in the pool. Boy was he jealous!

Finally, the last day of class, and mom thinks to bring me something to gnaw on and my chair. Good thinking, mom!
Yes, I will stop what I am doing and pose with my graham cracker crumb face. I can pull off any look!

Ember's Swim Lessons

I will be the first to tell you that I didn't think that Ember would ever get the hang of this thing called "swimming". Although she is far from an expert, she has mad strides.

Jumping in after much coaxing from me and Paul. Paul is her teacher. I tried to tell Paul that if you want Ember to do something, you can't "ask" her, you have to tell her. If you give her the choice, she will always say no. No, I don't want to do a bob, no I don't want to jump in.
Practicing their kicking.

This is where Paul holds a ring under the water and Ember has to submerge herself, at least a little bit to get it. She got better at this as the class went on.

$17 bought me...

8 oranges
8 bananas
at least two pounds of red grapes
3 huge beets
1 eggplant
2 bunches of green onions
2 heads of romaine lettuce
5 medium yellow squash
6 kiwi
1 cantaloupe
6 nectarines
4 plums
about 1 lb mushrooms

All of the food was certified organic or locally grown, looked fresh, and was still cold when it got home. Nothing looked old or over ripe, in fact some of the fruit (bananas and cantaloupe) can sit on the counter for a little longer because they have a little bit longer before the big slice!

Interestingly enough, Shaunton didn't know what the eggplant was...although I think most people would have a hard time naming it. I have never personally bought eggplant, mushrooms (eew), or beets. So, if anyone has a great recipe that involves those any of those three things pass it on this way.

Overall, I was pleased with my first basket from the co-op. If you are interested you can go to Bountiful Baskets and check out what they have to offer. The also do bread baskets, and other interesting things.

Monday, June 23, 2008

My Boys

Jaxen is a doting and loving big brother. Most of the time this is not a problem, in fact, it can be quite helpful for a frazzled mom.

Most mornings he comes in before the sun is even up and offers to take Owen into the living room to "hang out" while I figure out how to roll myself out of bed. Because it so quiet out there, it doesn't seem to take me as long as I think it does to get in gear.

I came out the other morning to this lovely scene...at least it was lovely until Owen caught a glimpse of me. I think we are starting down the path of separation anxiety.

Granted Owen is like 3 pounds lighter than Jaxen, but it is so cute to see Jaxen (and just as often, Ember) heaving him all over the house. It's cute when Owen is OK with it...which is hardly ever.

Owen gives me this weary "oh, no, not again" pleading glance as he is shuffled here and there and everywhere. I don't know if this kid is ever going to learn how to crawl or walk. For his benefit, he tries to tell them he doesn't like it, he really does, but why would a 6 year old and especially a 4 year old listen to a kid who isn't even 1 yet? He has no merit. I really think he just needs to stop making eye contact...it comes back and gets him every time.

Who are these hotties?!

This was Owen's second time in the pool. Because Owen is my third child and not my first (or second for that matter), I don't have many pics for his first time at anything. So, with this child, I am going to be documenting the seconds. His second tooth, his second bath, ...you get the idea.

No really, I have a pic from his first time, but he is beached on a towel sleeping. I would post it, but this one is so much cuter and look at that "your-gonna-love-me" pose, so worth waiting until his second time around.

At least we have pics of him...more than some third children can say about their childhood.

Owen is all about anything that is not for little babies. This includes any and all table food. Baby food? What baby food. Don't waste your time, energy, or money on anything that is made for infants. Better get used to the idea of sharing (although once you have kids, the word "mine really takes on a new meaning...if any). Owen has a fascination with cups. OK, he has a fascination with anything he can get is plump little fingers on or around.

He is one flexible little kid. From his Bumbo, he can reach in 360 degrees terrorizing anyone or anything within arms reach, and if that doesn't do the trick, he resorts to using those two limber legs to knock over what his chubby claws can't have. He really does amazing work.

When It's Quiet...

When it's quiet, and your kids are getting along, you know that you are in trouble. Either they are doing something they aren't supposed to do (i.e. filling up the tea set and all other concave toys with water...and taking them into the bedroom to play with) or they are being "creative" (i.e. hanging ponies by their luscious manes from their dresser drawer handles, tying odd and end strings on a stroller, or other object, and creating a series of knots around them. This is a great "stress reliever" for your mom 20 minutes after you tire of creating said masterpiece and you want your toy back.


Here are some of the inventive play ideas straight from the creative minds of a six and four year old.





Whom, by the way, is excited that she can finally take a whole vitamin now that she has turned four. (Instead of just the head of Elmo or other poor, unfortunate vita-creature.)


<----Who needs dice? A shoe is the perfect charm for the average everyday household microwave. (Halloween stickers add a festive touch as well, don't you think?)








This is just one of the aforementioned string mazes. I still haven't figured out what exactly the purpose of doing this is. But, when you are 4 and 6, you really don't need a purpose to do anything really.