Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Funny Bunny

Are there parents out there that DON'T spend perfectly good money on embarrassing outfits to dress up their helpless children in? If there are, someone should tell them what they are missing out on.

(couldn't decide which picture was cuter. I'm so in love with this little guy.)

Of course there are those children out there that are self aware and choose to look ridiculous.

Thank goodness for the dollar spot bunny ears. I needed a good laugh today.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Things that look like Charlie

Can you identify which picture is Charlie and which is the impostor?


picture A

picture B


picture A

picture B


picture A

picture B


picture A

picture B

I know, I know. It's tricky.
Who knew there were so many Charlie wannabes out there?

Friday, March 27, 2009

See Jane Play

"Mom! Take a picture of me and post it on your blog!"

Yes, ma'am.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Going Green

A while ago, we had a family home evening about being wasteful or rather NOT being wasteful. This FHE was geared towards Jane who habitually throws out perfectly edible food, destroys toys, goes through an entire notebook of paper while coloring and leaves every single light in the house on because she needs to make sure there are no monsters anywhere. She got a bit confused when we told her that she was wasting power by leaving the lights on, so we explained to her that "Mommy and Daddy have to pay the company for power and when she leaves the lights on, it costs us money that we can't spend on other things, like ice cream." We have followed up by reminding Jane to turn off the lights whenever she leaves a room. She NEVER does it without being told and generally cries when we make her turn them off because how on earth will she see the monsters if the lights are off? It's definitely an uphill battle.

Lizzy, however, has responded quite differently.

I don't know how much she really understood, but the part about making sure the lights are turned off has certainly appealed to her moderate-severe OCD tendencies. Much to her dismay, she is still too small to reach the light switches, so she goes out of her way to tell us when there are lights left on, but this isn't quite enough. She has made it her personal mission to make sure that ALL the lights are turned off whenever someone leaves the room. I have never noticed exactly how many things we have in our house that produce light. Night lights, stereos, humidifiers, heaters must all be turned off... and don't even get her started on alarms clocks. Problem is that some things, like her heater, don't cease to produce light, even when they are turned off. This is completely unacceptable to Lizzy. For a while she just cried and tried to make me stay in her room, certain that between the two of us, we'd be able to make it entirely light-free. One day she became frustrated to tears with her night light, it has a light sensor on it so that it automatically turns on and off based on how much light reaches the sensor. She couldn't get the thing to turn off and finally, in an effort to get her out of her room and move on with my life, I unplugged it.

That was it: the solution she'd be waiting for.

Now, every time I come to get her in the morning or after her nap, I find that she has unplugged every single thing in her room.

The best part is the relief that I see on her face. I walk in and instead of finding myself frantically harassed to get the lights off of her CD player, she proudly shows me the "lights off." The worst part is that she is starting to use her solution to create other entirely light free areas of the house, including MY room and MY alarm clock. That won't fly with me. It just so happens that setting digital clocks is a pet peeve of mine.

Part of me is a little worried for her. It isn't normal for a child so small to get so stressed about something like turning off lights. Jane sleeps all night with her lamp AND overhead light on and Lizzy has literally shed tears when I couldn't immediately get in there to turn off the lamp, it's plug is behind the dresser and she can't reach it. It is, perhaps, a small thing for now, but I don't know what might torment her in the future and I'm SO not the kind of person to let that sort of thing get to me that it seems like it must be a miserable existence.

Brent and I love our little OCD girl. It really is surprisingly endearing and cute for a child so small to be that way... and with Jane walking around trying to ensure that our house is visible from neighboring galaxies, it's nice to have Lizzy doing some damage control.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I'm Just Sayin

My mom told me that she would be able to tell when I was finally back on my feet because I would post on my blog. Well, I'm happy to report that after catching the flu from my children and subsiquently developing a sinus infection and (probably) bronchitis, I'm back on my feet, in the most literal sense.

Brent was able to keep the pesky flu at bay for a while since he wasn't around the rest of us as much, but it finally got the better of him and he is also now fighting his own sinus infection. Today is his day off work. My mom and I took Charlie, dropped Jane off at school and left Brent and Lizzy at home to nap. I thought it was nice of us since I didn't get to nap when I was sick, until my mom came to save me.
(For more information, see the preceding post.)

Brent napped.
This is what Lizzy did while Brent was napping...

Today, one of the very few days that I leave Brent in charge, is when this happens. It is possible that Lizzy could have opened an entire vat of Boudreaux’s Butt Paste and smeared it all over herself and everything in her room on my watch. It is possible, but for some reason, she's never done it. I'm just sayin....

I'm not certain that we'll ever get this mess completely cleaned up. I intend to contact the Butt Paste people and inform them that while their paste obviously "goes on easily," the "cleans off" part is a little misleading. In the meantime, the entire second story of my home has a very "pleasant scent."

Thank you for that, Lizzy.

I would like to thank Brent for so thoroughly documenting this event AND cleaning most of it up, which has allowed me to enjoy it even more. This is one for the Stringham family history book.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Woes of Motherhood

At around 11:00 this morning, I started documenting the goings on of my day because it has seriously been THAT bad for me and I knew my misery was going to propel itself throughout the entire day. I'm not posting this looking for sympathy (well maybe a little) but rather because even though I've been living it, I still see the comedic value in having such a bad day. I also want to remind those of you who are annoyed at this kind of post that I don't keep a journal, I blog. So if I want to remember something, like how it feels to be a young mom with sick children, this is where the documentation of it ends up.

Let me start by saying that last week, Jane came down with some sort of something, I don't know if it's the flu or what, but it hits hard, stays with you all week and has been working it's way through our house since last Monday. Jane... Jaime (our "roommate")... Lizzy... Charlie... me... and now Brent is getting his share. I wish this sickness upon NO ONE. I haven't been so sick a good, long time.

So anyway, I'm going to say that my day actually started last night:

9:00PM: American Idol ends and I start getting ready to go to bed early since I only slept 3 or 4 hours the night before and then spent the ENTIRE day holding Lizzy.
11:00PM: I finally lay down after nursing the baby, coughing, gagging, listening to Jane scream, etc.
11:00PM - 3:00AM
: I'm up several times trying to calm the baby, wanting to kick my cat and listening to Jane scream for help. So much for going to be early.
3:00 AM: The last time I look at the clock before I finally doze off. I sleep restlessly because I can't breath and I'm feeling feverish, but I haven't eaten, so I don't take any meds.
5:00: Charlie wakes up and wants to nurse.
5:30(?): Brent leaves and is to be out of town for the next 3 days for work.
7:00: Charlie wakes up and wants to nurse
8:00: Lizzy wakes up and starts screaming hysterically unless I'm holding her WHILE I'm standing up. I'm so sick that I start to black out, so even though she's screaming, I lie down in bed. I give her fruit snack to quiet her down.
8:45: Lizzy gives up crying and climbs in bed with me, she almost falls asleep again.
9:00: Jane wakes up and comes into my room.
9:10: I turn on the TV for the girls and hop in the shower in an effort to steam my head clear. I cry a lot while I'm in there.
9:20: Jane lets Lizzy in the bathroom and closes the door. Lizzy then promptly strips herself naked and informs me that she's poopy, and she is. I get out and hose her off.
9:30: Charlie is screaming his head off. I pick him up and find that he has a raging fever and nurse him until he settles down. I spend some time with him since he's completely listless. Today is going to be his bad day. I have no idea what the girls are doing, but there are a lot of tears.
10:45: I finally get a diaper on Lizzy. She's been naked.
10:45 - 11:30: This time is filled with screaming, food being thrown on the floor and stepped on and the house generally being torn apart because I have no energy to stop it. The girls eat bread for breakfast (yes, breakfast) and smash bananas into the dining room rug.
11:30: I finally put Lizzy down for a nap and start to get Jane ready for school. Jane starts screaming at me, throwing things at me and hitting me. She hasn't slept well for over a week.
11:50: My mom calls and is on her way here to help me with the kids while Brent is gone. I love my mom.
11:30-12:00: The sudafed I took earlier starts to kick in. I have just enough energy to fight with Jane and be abusive enough to feel like the worst mother ever. I give up on school today.
12:10: I lock Jane in her room, give her some Benedryl and tell her that she isn't coming out until she takes a nap. All the while she is still hitting me and screaming to call her daddy.
12:15: Charlie goes down and I think that everything is quiet enough to give me a little much needed nap time
12:20: I eat some left overs so that I have some food in my stomach to take some motrin and calm my fever.
12:25: I hear Lizzy screaming. I warm up a bottle to take to her. In her room I find that she has found, opened and poured the contents of an entire bottle of cough syrup on her sheets, her mattress and herself.
12:30: The house is quiet, thank goodness.
12:45: Jane starts screaming from her locked bedroom, again.
12:50: I take Jane the phone to call her dad and also take a cup of water and a tortilla with butter on it because she's hungry. Her screaming wakes up Charlie who starts crying. I want to die. She at least quiets down.
1:05: I go get Charlie out of bed.
1:05 - 1:30: I allow parts of my brain to rot as I watch Hoda and Kathie Lee and love my Charlie who must be feeling horrible, but still tries to smile for his mommy.
1:45: I put Charlie down... Jane wakes up. I stick Jane in front of the TV and make her promise not to come get me out of bed. I put in ear plugs and pray for a few minutes of rest.
2:25: I wake up. I'm groggy. Charlie apparently never went to sleep. At least I got a little snooze.
2:30 - 3:30: The hour passes relatively peacefully, with the exception of Jane breaking a glass bowl.
3:30: I try to put Charlie down again since he hasn't napped all day.
4:30: After spending some time working on my barrettes, accomplishing almost nothing, and coloring with Jane (who's mood is GREATLY improved) I get Charlie up.
He still hasn't taken a nap.
4:45: Jane is to spend the night with her grandma and I decide I'd better make her take a bath since she hasn't had one since Saturday. She cries as I take out her hair ties... I put her hair in pig tails on Monday and we haven't touched it since.
5:00: Jane calls me in from nursing Charlie, again, and tells me that the water cut her. There was a razor in the tub that cut her leg. Blood is everywhere. Charlie is good natured enough to watch the ceiling fan in my room while I bandage her and dry her hair. She looks so cute. It is the first time in several days that I've felt that motherly love for her instead of that motherly frustration.
5:20: I get Lizzy out of her room. She slept ALL afternoon. I'm worried about tonight. She is sitting on her dresser, having turned off her CD player and humidifier. She's totally OCD. As soon as I walk in, the usual "I just woke up" hysterics start again........my head is literally throbbing, my body aches everywhere and the blacking out starts again.
5:30: The girls want dinner. I give them fruit snacks instead. My mom is in Provo and says she'll bring dinner. I love my mom.
6:10: Lizzy realizes that she can reach the water in the fridge. She fills a cup full of water and then dumps it on the hardwoods. I get up from zoning out in front of qubo with Jane and see that she has also unraveled a roll of toilet paper and a roll of paper towels. I use them to clean up the water. I try to lock the water in the fridge, but it doesn't work. Grrrrrrr.
6:20: Charlie starts to sweat. I figure the last dose of meds has kicked in and broken his fever. Will he sleep? I try. He has laughed at me each time I've given him his binky today. I think he's trying to tell me how useless it is to try to get him to sleep.
6:40: My mom shows up at the same time as some sweet neighbors, both parties bearing dinner. We eat chicken, cresent rolls, delicious salad and baked potatoes. I can kind of taste it, but I know it tastes delicious, so eat a good dinner. It's a bright spot in my day, It's nice to feel so loved.
6:50: Jane cuts her foot on a shard of glass, presumably from the aforementioned bowl that broke.
6:55: Lizzy goes into a coughing fit that ultimately leads to vomit on the hardwoods.
7:00: My mom helps me clean my kitchen and floors and takes Jane to her house for a sleepover.
8:35: My babies are in bed and I'm back to watching American Idol. I'm crossing my fingers that that they'll actually go to sleep and maybe stay asleep for a little while tonight.

P.S. - Is it bad that I'm enjoying Kelly Clarkson's performance so much?

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I hear random buttons being pressed on the phone and then...

"hi da-ddy. is me. i lu lou. i seepy. i take nap. i fine me melmo an me buddy. i lie me buddy. me buddy, me buddy, me buddy, me buddy, me..."*

I take a picture and leave her to have her imaginary conversation with her daddy. 20 minutes later I hear a phone off the hook. I know it was 20 minutes because the timer on phone had been running the entire time. Oops.

While I'm downstairs hanging up the phone and starting this post, I wonder what Lizzy is doing, but it doesn't take long to find out.

She comes downstairs to show me the pretty drawing she made on her pants and then tries to eat an unpeeled orange... with a spoon.

I LOVE toddlers.
And stain stick.

p.s. - her buddy is the nemo purse. we still can't figure out why she calls it her buddy.

*translation: "Hi Daddy. It's me. I love you. I'm sleepy. I take nap. I find my Elmo and my Buddy. I like my Buddy. My Buddy, my Buddy, my Buddy, my Buddy."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Food That's Good to Eat

Fact: I'm no chef. I wish I were, but I'm not. I've been working pretty hard trying to teach myself how to cook, and cook well, but it's a kinda slow process for me. I DO have some really tasty recipes that my family loves and I made one of them tonight. I thought that I'd share it because it's so VERY easy and my entire family loves it, so here you are...

It doesn't make sense that you put these ingredients in a pan together and they come out tasting so very delicious, but they do. I also don't know if this was a Lawrence recipe... Mom?

Anyway, it requires very little prep work, inexpensive ingredients and very few dishes to clean, you let it sit on the stove for 45 minutes, giving you time to clean things up and get the table ready (if you happen to be that productive) while it cooks. It's also very flexible. If you like more sauce, add some chicken broth, if you like it a little spicy, add more pepper and chili powder, put as much chicken as you need in the pan. I try make extra so that we have leftovers, but we never actually do because even the girls down it and the pan always ends up empty.

I know that it doesn't do much good to take a photo of it because food rarely looks good on camera, but I thought I'd put one in here since it might help to know what it's supposed to look like.

It looks better in person.

Try it.
You won't regret it.
I promise.

I'd like to bear my testimony of...

felt. i love felt.

this is my current inventory, isn't it beautiful? and i have the irrational desire to get more.

since i finally decided to clean up my desk, i took a picture of my new, improved work area.

it's got serious lighting issues, which is causing some problems for me. i'm needing some overhead cans, but other than that, i'm really pleased with it. maybe some day i'll get around to cleaning the rest of the room and i can take a picture of that too.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Our family would very much like to be able to go on vacation this fall, hopefully to Disneyland. Problem is, we have a lot of expenses right now that make affording a vacation this fall seem a little bit out of reach. If we are going to actually go, we're going to need some sort of savings plan. What to do, what to do...

Enter: the change jar.

Yesterday, Jane and I put together a jar (and by put together, I mean we found it, poked a hole in the lid and taped an index card on it) to collect all our loose change to save towards our vacation. I'm not exactly sure if this method will save enough to get us to sunny California come fall, but we can hope. We decided that every time we use cash, we'll take the change and stick it in the jar. I'm pretty sure that I stole the idea from a bank commercial. They are smart people, those bankers.

After emptying our wallets, searching the couch cushions, the car, all the pockets in the laundry and picking up a penny from the Costco parking lot, this is what we have:

Yes, I am aware of the fact that a jar this small couldn't possibly hold enough coins to actually pay for a Disneyland vacation unless they were solid gold. We have great plans for expansion, as soon as a suitable vessel becomes available.

So if you happen to be visiting our home and are sick of carrying around those annoying nickels (I hate nickels so much, thank you Grandma Lawrence) feel free to drop them into our Disneyland fund and give us some change we can believe in.

* I laugh as I write this, looking at the title of this post. There are few things this week that have brought me more satisfaction and even though the change jar does out date the post by about 29 hours, I would gladly have created said change jar for the sole purpose of being able to use this post title. My only hope is that I don't stir up those of my acquaintance who A) think Barack Obama is a servant of the devil or B) have a (man)crush on him. As far as you're concerned, I am standing on neutral ground. I may as well be Swiss, like the cheese.