Monday, December 22, 2008

Cabin Fever

Life's been a little nutty here. I realize it's been a long time since the last blog, so here are a few highlights from Nov. and Dec. Nov. was a busy month w/ our Enrichment Dinner and The Thanksgiving Holiday. I have a new enrichment leader, she's absolutely fabulous. The dinner went very smoothly and we had a great lesson on keeping Christ in Christmas, followed by some musical entertainment. The Lamb family invited us over for Thanksgiving dinner. We provided a few desserts and salad. We had a great time eating, visiting and working off our meal playing football afterward. They have such a great family! The kids had a terrific time there as well, which was a huge bonus, especially considering there weren't any other children their age.

Two of the regulars in the backyard.

Two of the captives, watching as Jillian and I wait for her school bus.

The day after was a rainy football game involving people from church. I decided to go play, since I never get to and love playing. I was, of course, the only girl there, but to my surprise (and theirs, I think) managed to hold my own playing w/ the guys. I had a lot of fun, but awoke the following day sore and with a huge bruise on my thigh. Definitely worth it! ;-)

December brought our cookie exchange (great idea). I ended up w/ 6 doz. cookies (all different varieties) which were distributed between our family members and the neighbors. We also got a Christmas tree at a tree farm around the block from us. We had our ward Christmas party on the 12th. I was Mary and sang Mary's Lullaby w/ 2 of the angels. Poor Claire had been sick for a few days so she and Donald stayed home.

Snow fight!
Now for the excitement...I do most of my Christmas shopping throughout the year, so as to avoid trying to budget for it and schedule time for it when there is so much other stuff going on. Thank goodness for this b/c we've been snowed in for the past week! Oh, don't be alarmed...we don't have a lot of snow, but b/c it rarely snows here everything is put on hold when it does. Some of the roads are plowed, but most aren't sanded, which makes them pretty slippery, and no one has snow tires.

It started Sat. night. Jillian and I drove up to Anacortes to see The Nutcracker. It was beginning to snow then. We had a great time. To quote Jillian, "It was even better than I ever could have imagined!" After the performance we stopped and got dessert and then headed back. Most of traffic was going about 20 mph (on 50mph highway). Then we rounded a corner and stopped. Traffic was as a complete standstill for about 30 min. Then we slowly began the trudge home. It took about 2 1/2 hrs. to get back! Thus began our exciting school for the kids, no church 2 Sundays in a row, no Christmas party for Donald's work. I haven't driven anywhere in the car since last Monday...and I'm starting to go a little mad being holed up in the house w/ my kids all day, everyday. It would be fine if they would go outside and work off some steam, but all but Jillian are big babies (just like their mama) when it comes to the cold. We'll spend 30 min. getting them bundled up to go out, 15 min. playing outside and another 15 min back inside stripping off all the snowy clothes as they whine in front of the fire about their hands or feet hurting them. I haven't decided if it's worth the effort. I did voluntarily go out and gather/chop firewood yesterday afternoon and I felt much better after that. I'm hoping the roads are better this week. We're supposed to get together w/ Lisa (my sister) and Russ up in Ferndale on Christmas day. Pray the weather will allow it.

Adding Frosty's hat

Frosty and Hank

Posing w/ Frosty
Funny quote of the week: Claire was throwing an impressive fit the other day and Hannah asked me what was wrong w/ Claire. I said, "Oh, she's just being a little crazy." Hannah looked at her and then responded, "No, I fink she's being a whole lot of crazy."

Monday, November 24, 2008

Alternate Twilight Screenplay

Alright, I just had to add this. It was written by a fellow named Eric Snider who attended BYU the same time I did. I became a fan back in the days when he wrote Snide Remarks for the Daily Universe (BYU newspaper).

Monday, November 3, 2008

"Impressive, most impressive, but you are not a Jedi yet."

What is it w/ boys (by boys I mean any males born after 1965) and Star Wars? Don't get me wrong, I enjoy watching the movies, but I think most boys have at one time or another been obsessed w/ Star Wars. About a month ago we began watching the Star Wars trilogy (episodes 4-6) w/ Jilli and James (one movie per week). Jillian thought it was exciting, but hasn't revisted any of it since. James, on the other hand, has been making lightsabers for each of us out of construction paper (mine is purple) and has changed all our names... Hannah is Yiota, Claire is R2D2, Jillian is of course Leia, and James responds only to Luke, somedays I'm an ewok, somedays I'm Obi Wan. This has, for the most part, been entertaining and fun, although we now have enough "lifesavers" laying around the house to equip an entire Jedi army. The best part was earlier this week when he and Jillian were picking up their belongings in the living room. As soon as I told him to clean up he dashed out of the room and returned wearing a cloak (a Harry Potter robe that was in w/ the dress-up clothes). The hood was pulled over his eyes, and from the way he was bumping into the furniture it was evident he couldn't see. He was carefully feeling around the floor w/ his feet for toys, backpacks, shoes etc. and then picking them up and putting them away. I finally asked him what he was doing. "I'm using The Force to clean up." Whatever works.
Potty talk, well actually it was a dinner conversation...some of you may find this innappropriate, but I'm recording it for posterity. The other day Hannah passed gas rather indiscretely at the dinner table. Right after Jillian asked, "Hannah, did you toot?" Hannah's matter of fact response, "No, my bum burped." Alrighty then.

Trina, this one's for you! The other day Jillian stepped off the bus and all I could say was, "WOW!" She had been wearing her turquoise sweater over the shirt, so i didn't realize how mismatched she was. I had to take a picture! Poor Jilli, she apparently has inherited my lack of fashion sense. I was lucky enough to be blessed w/ 4 younger sisters who saved me from fashion faux pas, gave me trendy hand-me-downs and took me shopping. Let's hope for Jillian's sake that the fashion disaster genes skipped Hannah and Claire.

It's been a really busy week here are some highlights: Sunday we had a ward fellowshipping dinner at our house. It was a lot of fun and we got to meet some really nice people. 25 people came, which is kind of a lot for our little house, but it was nice and cozy.

Wednesday, Debbie and I did our weekly bike ride. We went 18 miles. I'm so grateful I have this time set aside each week. There are so many beautiful areas here on the island, and Debbie and I chat the whole time...except while ascending some of the steeper hills. So far we've been blessed w/ great weather each Wednesday. As I look out at the heavy clouds and rain-soaked kids, I wonder how much longer it can last.
Friday (Halloween) we stopped by our neighbors house so the kids could show off costumes and say hi...then we headed to a Halloween Party/trunk or treat at the Keyes' house. Lots of fun. We left before making it all the way around b/c the kids were starting to show signs of extreme exhaustion, and we thought it best to leave before any had a meltdown.

Hope you all had a fun Halloween!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What could be better than the integration of science and baking??

I'm pretty sure Alton Brown would agree w/ me when I say NOTHING!!! Well, maybe a few things, but not many.
Jillian piping frosting. James and his red ant.
This has been a month of projects for me, but before I get to that, here are some fun pictures from the other day. In the spirit of Halloween the kids and I made some creepy cupcakes (chocolate zucchini btw....yet another fantastic zuc. recipe). I figured this would be a great opportunity to educate my children on the anatomical differences between insects and spiders. A little science, a little art and a lot of tasty treats...that makes for a success in my book. I think the kids enjoyed it too. ;-) They had the frosting smudged faces and shirts to prove it. I let them each decorate 5 cupcakes. Overkill? Maybe. These pictures were taken before they destroyed my kitchen through their creative endeavors.

As I said before...we've been working on a lot of projects lately. I was hoping to post pictures of the completed play structure on here. Unfortunately it's been too wet outside to finish painting (the railing), so I'm posting pics of the mostly finished play area.
I kind of have a love/hate relationship w/ the sandbox built under it. Hours of fun, but gallons of sand tracked into the house almost daily. The kids are getting better at brushing sand off, emptying pockets, removing shoes....but I haven't figured out a good solution to the occasional potty emergency.

Also, I FINALLY finished restoring the piano!!!! This project has been in the works for a very long time. My mom started it long ago. After many days spent stripping it and 4 coats of varnish applied...this is how it looks.

I left it in pieces last night to dry. We'll reassemble it Monday. Here are some pics of before and after. The wood underneath all the crud is beautiful mahogany...I'm very pleased w/ the way it's turned out.

Other than that, not much to report. Life is great here. Yesterday I also finished landscaping a flowerbed w/ some bushes, mums and a bunch of bulbs. It's amazing how much I can accomplish on a Sat. afternoon when Donald takes the kids to the park. I love it!
Had an incredible ward conference today...although I wish the kids had been less rowdy the first hour, so I could have listened more, but I take what I can get...and the last 2 hrs. of church were great. Hope you're all well.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Mexi-Carol Tagged me on this, so I thought I should oblige...Let her know that I do read and enjoy her blog. Besides, it wouldn't hurt (well, maybe just a little) to exercise my brain today.

8 Things I am Passionate About:
1-My family
3-Competitive sports
4-The Gospel of Jesus Christ
5-The prevention of rapid deterioration of the family and moral values in society.
7-Music, listening to it, playing it, singing.
8-Healthy living

8 Words or Phrases I say WAAAY Too Often:
3-It's so stinkin' cold here! (yes, it was 38 degrees here last night!)
6-Close the back door please.
7-Time to clean up.
8-I couldn't come up w/ an 8th. I'm sure there are others my husband or kids could point out.
Donald said I needed to put "Holy Moly!" since he caught me saying it 5 times last night.

8 Things I Want To Do Before I Die:
1-SCUBA dive Great Barrier Reef
2-Attend the temple w/ all my children
3-See SYTYCD on tour.
4-Go to a BYU bowl game.
5-See U2 in concert
6-Serve a mission

8 Things I Have Learned From My Past:
1-Look forward, don't revisit past mistakes once you've repented.
2-It is ok to ask for help.
3-Our talents are given to us so we may serve others. That's why they change throughout our lives.
4-Prayer works
5-A sincere apology is one of the most precious things in the world.
6-If there are helicopters w/ searchlights circling the area, it's probably not a safe place to hang out.
7-It is important to take time to be still and listen.
8-We can learn and grow so much from those around us and their experiences.

8 Places I Would Love To See:
1-Galapagos Islands
4-Scottish Highlands
7-Machu Picchu
8-Niagara Falls

8 Things I Currently Need or Want:
1-A waffle iron (Ours broke last week)
2-Someone to do the laundry
3-Warm fuzzy slippers
4-In 'n Out burger animal style (I'm w/ you on this Carol only I'm 100s of miles from the nearest one.)
5-Obedient children
6-Our house to be payed off
7-3 more months of summer so my tomatoes will ripen.
8-To be wiser.

8 People I Tag:
House of chaos
Self-baked pizza
Maseda Mayhem
Jen E.
Deb L.
Wendy P.
Catherine H.
and anyone else who'd like to play.

Friday, October 3, 2008

No daddy, it's a squirrel.

Another exciting story from our place. Yesterday afternoon we were all outside in the yard. The kids were "helping" me pick blackberries for a cobbler...I think only about a dozen of the 100's they picked actually made it into the bucket. Donald and I were picking blackberries, and pruning back the encroaching brambles. For those of you who have never visited the northwest, blackberry bushes grow wild here, they're along every road, and along the edges of most forested areas, and they grow insanely fast. Their prickles are also extremely vicious. Jeans offer little protection from these suckers. Anyway, the kids have all learned to be extremely careful and prick themselves much less often than I do, thanks to their tiny bodies and dexterous fingers..but I'm getting away from the story, so it's family berry picking time. Claire and Hannah are about 20 yds away, picking and eating more swiftly than I can keep up. I hear the girls squeeling and giggling...which they do quite often, thus it didn't warrant a glance from me. Next Claire is behind me tugging on my clothes, "Mommy, we found a squirrel!" Donald and I turn to see her proudly holding a dead mouse by the tail. This was one of those times when I turned and looked at Donald with my "this situation's all yours" look. I didn't know whether to freak out in total horror and disgust thinking of every possible disease that thing could have or laugh. He handled it well. Told them it was a dead mouse, and that they needed to bury it. They gave it a nice little burial, disinfected Claire and had a talk about not picking up wild animals, dead or alive. Claire still says it's a squirrel. Ahh, gotta love country living.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Nothing like a good book

Jillian 12 months

As the weather is cooling and the daylight is decreasing (rather rapidly, I might add) I am finding myself inside much more. The biggest thing I look forward to in the cooler seasons is curling up w/ a blanket and a good book in front of our toasty wood burning stove. I know I've had conversations w/ many of you about books I have to read, of course I can't remember half the books mentioned because I didn't write them down. So now is your chance to leave your mark and recommend a few books for me. In case you're wondering, I like a variety of books. I usually read one work of fiction and one self help/parenting/gospel related/inspiring book at the same time. So usually one light and one deeper book. Right now I'm reading "Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science" (thanks Cyndi!) and the 5 love languages of children.

And yes, I read the Twilight series....liked the story, but thought the books were a little too whiny, teen angst ridden (maybe b/c I'm not the target audience)...I'm also not a huge fan of her writing style. Having said that, I did read all 4 books in a month. Shameless, I know.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

One more picture

family pictures

Well, our computer is dying, but thought I'd try to post these quickly. My friend Debbie took family pictures last week and despite the fact that we made the mistake of going to the beach, which made it virtually impossible for the kids to hold still...(I think Donald and I said the following multiple times, "hold still, look at the camera, stop digging in the sand, quit throwing things in the water, get down from there before you fall.") The pictures turned out amazingly well. The kids all have dirt smudged faces in the latter half of them, but they look really good still. Here are just a few of the pictures.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Save the Worms!!

Arrgh. It doesn't take long to type the's inserting the pictures that's giving me grief. Hopefully I'll get the hang of it soon...or I'll be blogging much less often than originally planned.

This month has been a busy one...some of the highlights are discussed below. In addition to those we've disassembled a fort and a shed that were left in the yard by previous owners and are now assembling a play structure using some new parts and the salvageable (is that a word?) wood from the old structures. It's been a fun project for Donald and me to do together. Our garden is doing well considering the cool weather here. I definitely miss my warm California summers. We have lots of bush beans, broccoli and zucchini. Anyone interested in free zucchini? Seriously, let me know. We also have about 6 cucumbers that should be ready next week, 10-12 rapidly growing pumpkins and vines, the corn here is not as high as an elephant's eye....but it's finally taller than me and we have some little ears. I'm praying we get some tomatoes (there are over 20 tomato plants) we have lots of blossoms, just a few green tomatolings, but nothing more. I'm hoping for a warm Sept...I really want to have some tomatoes to can.
August is the month of birthdays! Donald's was Aug 2nd, James' Aug 8th and the twins' Aug. 14th. Here are a couple pictures of the kids as infants...sniff, sniff. They sure do grow up quickly. In someways I want them to hurry up and grow-up, in other areas I want them to slow down b/c they're growing up too fast for me. What a mess! Am I the only mother that feels this way?
Here are James, Claire and Hannah less than a week old.

Back on the lighter side...w/ Birthdays comes.....BIRTHDAY CAKE! I rarely eat sweets, but I've gotten so used to having birthday cakes and treats in the house recently that I've actually been craving them. It's rotten b/c now that the festivities are over there's nothing to satiate the sweet tooth. I even made no-bake cookies at 10:30 the other night. Donald thought I was a little nuts, but didn't seem to mind helping with the spoils. As some of you know, I love to cook, but I'm not much of a baker, luckily I have 2 sisters that are culinary geniuses, I call them regularly for baking advice. Recently I called Sara for b-day cake advice...Donald wanted a cheese cake and I'd never made one. I think she was a little shocked/appalled, but after that wore off she recommended a recipe that was tdf (to die for). I'm including the link here b/c it was the best cheesecake I've ever had, and is obviously fool proof, since it was made by me. I didn't make the was great even w/o it.

Not the cheesecake.... I participated in the Whidbey Island Triathlon Aug 2nd, along w/ Kori Emerson and Randy and Jordan Lamb. I thoroughly enjoyed it and felt great afterwards (which means I probably could have gone a little harder). I haven't quite figured out how to do an endurance race. I was always a sprinter when competing in athletics, so I understand how to pace myself in a 1/4 mile to mile run....but how do you pace yourself on a 20 mile bike ride? I'm hoping if I do enough of these I'll start to get it. I was under my goal time, and my splits were faster than in the previous triathlon...except in the swimming. My swim was awful. It was an open water 800m swim...nothing challenging, but for some reason I was miserably slow. This coupled with the Olympics has made me determined to get back into better swimming shape. My sister Sara told me after Dara Torres' swim that she expects to see me at the Olympics in 8 yrs. ha ha! I wonder what it would be like to have nothing on the agenda but working out, eating and sleeping each day...some days that sounds pretty darn nice.

Twins on a ride at the state fair. Wee!
Potty training woes: Hannah has been potty training. For the first few days it was warm enough that I just let her go about her day naked, so as to avoid the excess laundry that comes w/ potty training mishaps...It has since gotten chilly here, thus I've had to dress her. The potty training is going well, but for some reason she won't use the toilet unless stark naked (won't even keep her socks on). So, multiple times each day she hops around in front of the toilet frantically trying to remove all her clothing before she has an accident. If she could get undressed a more quickly (thus avoiding accidents) or dress herself completely after I wouldn't care so much, but this business is becoming a huge chore....and a very unnecessary one, since she already has the gist of the actually potty training. I've tried to explain (and show her) that the rest of us in the family use the restroom without disrobing, but it hasn't had much impact...sigh, hopefully it will sink in soon.

Sometimes it's really hard for me not to laugh at my kids....of course often it's when they are being extremely serious, or are so proud of themselves they look like they're gonna burst. Here are two of the reasons I say this.

Story 1-Save the worms! A few weeks ago I was outside working in the garden while the kids were all playing in the yard. I heard what I can only describe as an ear piercing war cry and looked up to see Jillian running straight at a robin in the yard. The robin, naturally, took off. I stared at her wondering what in the world she was doing. She continued running until she reached the spot the robin had been breakfasting, bent down picked something up and ran over to me. I was her hand she held out an unscathed (though probably shaken) earthworm. "Here mom, I saved the worm so we could put it in the garden." Awesome! *

Story 2"Argentina has good beef!"** We had a Family Home Evening lesson on the sacrament last Monday. Donald was discussing baptismal covenants. The kids were telling us what they knew about baptism and associated covenant. This was James' contribution to the discussion. "Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, yeah and spiders have 8 legs." I suppose we could call it a scatterbrained moment and blame me for passing on those genes...but I think it has more to do w/ him being 5 than w/ him being my son. Nothing quite compares to the mind and mental leaps of a child.

Well, there's the month in retrospect. I really need to start doing this weekly, so I can remember more and so that writing (and reading) it doesn't become such a long involved process.

*For more earthworm adventures that are both hilarious and educational check out one of my favorite picture books of all time, "There's a hair in my dirt" by Gary Larson ...he wrote The Farside comics.
**This is from one of my favorite scenes in "While you Were Sleeping." It's a random statement by the grandma during a conversation at the dinner table.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pics from the family reunion

The reunion was over a month ago, but better late than never, right? If I can figure out how to format this thing I'll post some pics. Here goes.

1st picture: My four and my niece Julia. Aren't they adorable? This is before we changed out of church clothes, and before they began climbing the 25 ft. red rock hill behind them, covering themselves, inside and out, head to toe in lovely red dirt.. My kids called it "the mountain" in reverenced tone. "Mom, can we go climb the mountain?"

2nd picture: Hannah and Donald on picture day, waiting for our turn.

3rd picture: Jillian in a tree at Garden of the Gods.

4th picture: Grandma Marion w/ most of the great grandchildren. Amazing isn't it!

5th picture: James and Elias w/ mischievous smiles.

6th picture: Claire with a one of the little figurines she loved so much.