Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Wish List

Fact: Most days, I consider myself to be a pretty good mom.

I know that there's a lot that I could for my kids that I don't, and I know that there are a lot of moms out there that could be considered "better" that I am, but there are also a ton of them that are a lot worse. Point is, I think that I'm the right mom for my kids and, for the most part, the days flow by with relative peace, love and understanding.

But amid the great days, and good days, and ok days, and bad days, there are also "those days." You know the kind? The kind where the chemistry in the house is just off and no one is getting along and by the time bedtime rolls around, you had needed the day to end hours ago? Those are the days when I have the potential to full on lose it. Those are the days when I genuinely believe that wolves could do a better job caring for my children than I can.

Yesterday was one of those days.

It might have been because my kids were all feeding off each other's bad attitudes, or it might have been because Brent's been needing to work late each night this week and I was getting sick of doing bedtime by myself. It might have been the half bottle of lotion Jane pumped onto the bathroom counter or the childrens' refusal to unload the dishwasher. It might have been because of the severe sleep deprivation we're all suffering from or the stress of the holidays or the fact that I'm pregnant and moody. It might have been the lunar cycle, for all I know, but whatever the cause, war broke out upstairs last night as I was trying to get the kids in bed. War, I tell you.

After I'd had more yelling and screaming and crying and verbal abuse (on all parts) than I could handle, I told my kids that I was done. They could tuck each other into bed and I'd see them in the morning. I went to my room to spend some quality time feeling horrible about myself. I was sitting there, riddled with guilt, but still too angry to summon up the strength of character to go apologize to my children, when Jane showed up at the door. She had a note for me. I was informed that it was a revised Christmas list and that I "really should read it."

In case you can't make out her handwriting, allow me to translate.

Dear Mom,
I know that I said I want other things, but not anymore. All I want is for you to treat me better. And for Christmas, I want all love.

To: Mom
From: Jane


Who's the worst? Ya, that would be me.

Where are a nice pack of wolves that would like to adopt your children when you need them?

So at that point, I started to cry. Again. I cried for, what seemed like, a good long while. And then I sat. Just sat on my bed, half seething and half wanting to find a rock to crawl under, when Jane came to my door again... with another note. I braced myself, and read.

Dear Mom,

I want other presents than love. A CD player and other things. I love you. I hope you have a good Christmas.

To: Mom and Dad
From: Jane and Lizzy

Someone teach her how to spell backpedal.

And all of a sudden, I started to feel better. Better and HIGHLY amused. In fact, I still I laugh every time I think about it.

I don't quite know how the retraction alleviated so much guilt. I mean, for all intents and purposes, the damage had been done. My kids aren't going to remember that I was pregnant and tired and pushed past my limit that night, they were just going to remember the way I had made them feel. Not to mention that my daughter is clearly more motivated by her selfish desires than altruistic ones, but I still felt better. Maybe it's that she obviously hadn't been damaged beyond her ability to connect with her inner materialist. Maybe it's that I obviously hadn't pushed her far enough up into her pyramid of human needs for her to forget the frivolities she's come to expect.

At least I did know one thing for sure. I knew I had something on those wolves. I mean, how could they possibly provide her with a CD player for Christmas?

Thursday, November 10, 2011


So, I might be a week and a half late getting around to posting a Halloween photo, but that seems to be the time zone that I'm working in lately.

Thanks to Leslie and Cam for hosting us. And to Cameron for actually taking pictures. And to the men (including my dad) for taking the kids out. And to Daybreak for providing the most efficient place to trick-or-treat that I've ever seen. They filled their little pumpkin buckets to the rim in no time. Not that any of that candy still exists now.
I think we're still coming down from the sugar rush.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Visual Confirmation

So... ya. It's been a while.

It's been so long that I've actually felt like I couldn't post anything. I mean, how lame would it be to NOT post for like, a month, and then come back and just post something my kids said, or a recipe that I liked, or something equally unimpressive. No, I got to the point that I felt like I had to have some big news in order to justify breaking the silence. Like, I needed to be able to announce that I was pregnant or something. But today, here I am, posting.

As it turns out, I'm pregnant.
And, I've finally got visual confirmation. Wanna see?

Can you see it's little face? and little hand? and little legs? Aw, babies are cute.

This is actually a really good thing for me, because if I weren't pregnant, I would have a really hard time explaining away the fatigue, moodiness, and expanding waist line that I've been suffering from for the past several weeks.

When I went to see the OB this week, he declared my due date to be May 20th, which puts me at about 12 weeks. Ah, 12 weeks. The beautiful time when all your first trimester ailments are magically supposed to come to an end. (Let's just say that it's possible that my husband deserves a really cool award for putting up with me lately.)

Four kids. Is four kids as many in real life as it seems in my head? Cuz it's starting to seem like a lot of kids. I promise this all sounded like a really good idea in theory.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

But wait, there's more!

I bet you thought I was finished with my documentation of our trip to Alaska, but I couldn't leave you hanging, wondering what exciting thing we did next. I would never do that to you. I haven't even shown you the whale!

We saw a whale.
Actually, we saw several whales, none of them particularly close up, but I'D never seen a whale before, so I thought it was pretty cool. See?

Cool, huh?

Anyway, the morning after Ketchikan, I woke up cold. Like, winter, I need another blanket, can someone please light a fire in here cold. I got up and looked out the window, which explained everything.

We were floating through icebergs. We were doing some "scenic sailing" up the Tracy Arm Fjord, which, I must admit, was probably my favorite part of the whole trip.

It was stunning. The water really was that blue green color.

And there really were icebergs. Not huge -sink the Titanic- icebergs, just lots of little ones.
Either way, it was cold.

Painfully cold.
Or maybe I'm just a wuss. In this photo, I'm wearing a shirt, sweatshirt, down coat... and a blanket.

We were on our way to see this. The glacier. Apparently the ship broke a record that morning and got closer to it than they ever had before.




The crew seemed to get a little giddy about it and opened up the helicopter pad so that we could go out and have a little look-see.

It was pretty deluxe. A couple of Brent's sisters and their respective husbands came out with us (one of the is behind the camera)

After that, we docked in Juneau, which was also quite amazing.

It rained ALL day, which gave me an opportunity to walk around with my cute, dainty umbrella. The locals didn't seem to mind the rain. They were ALL wearing big rubber boots. Our tour guide said they call them Juneau tennis shoes.

Just like Ketchikan, we got to see a lot of things...

We got to see another glacier. It's back there, I promise. I didn't have any other pictures of it on my computer, Brent must have taken them with his phone.

We saw more salmon. Lots and lots and lots and lots of salmon.

Brent's sister saw a bear, but no one else did. :(
I wouldn't have been particularly interested in seeing a bear, except that everyone who lived there seemed to think that it was perfectly normal to run into bears, like it was no big deal or something. They actually recommended that we fight them, if we felt threatened. I'm kinda giggling just thinking about it. Like, they seriously said that you should punch a bear in it's face and charge at it and stuff.
Ya, I'm not going to do that. It's probably best that I didn't see one.

But we did see a Bald Eagle, sitting there all majestic in the tree tops.

It was the icing on the cake before we hopped back in the tour bus and headed back to the ship. For the record, I loved Juneau.

Friday, August 26, 2011

I just want one room

Today, I was on the phone and in an effort to escape the mayhem that my children are constantly creating, I ducked out of the room they were in and sneaked into my front room to finish my conversation. I haven't finished decorating the room yet, but it has a couch now, and some chairs, and it is clean an peaceful in comparison to the rest of the house. It's my little sanctuary.

See? No toys. No crayon on the walls. No scraped up furniture. Just a couch, but a nice, clean couch that is void of finger smudges and cat hair.

Anyway, it only took a minute before the kids were on to me. Of course they followed me in there and immediately started doing acrobatics from the couch. Argh! I kid you not, within in moments of their arrival there were little feet hitting the wall and the pictures on the wall and chairs crashing into windows. They were opening the doors of my antique cabinet and slamming them closed and every other destructive thing a kid can do.

I'll admit it. I started yelling....

"Why! Why can't I just have one room? Can't I just have one room in the house that is pretty and clean? I just want a place that you don't destroy, that looks like a picture that you can see but can't touch! You have the ENTIRE house to tear apart and all I'm asking for is JUST ONE ROOM that belongs to ME!!!!!"

At that moment, Lizzy looked at me. She was the only one of them who was brave enough to speak.

"Not two?"

Apparently I aim low these days.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Let's Cruise!

Last week, Brent and I had the really cool opportunity to go on a cruise to Alaska with his family. I'm not gunna lie to ya. It was pretty freaking rad. If you were on the fence, wondering if maybe you should go on a cruise to Alaska, allow me to persuade you to do so.

The cruise we took was of the inside passage, which is that little stretch of Alaska right down at to the south and next to Canada. Apparently Canada is only about a stone's throw away. One of our tour guides said "you could just walk over there really quick, except that it's on the other side of the ice fields, which are impassable, so you can't get there."

Here, let me show you...

Our first stop was just barely in the state at Ketchikan, which kept making me think of Catch me if you Can, which reminded of the movie wherein Leonardo DiCaprio pretended to an airplane pilot. Back in the days when flying was glamorous. Not like today. Not. Like. Today.

But I digress.

Here are some photos of our first day back on land.

This is a photo of me and my husband, the talented and handsome Brent, in front of their cool sign. Yes, I am wearing a coat. It was like 50 degrees. It only rained a little while we were there, which apparently is all it takes to make a lovely day in Ketchikan. I think they get something like 13 feet of rain a year, so only raining a little looks pretty good in comparison.

This is another view of the town. It reminded me a lot of Park City, only, you know, next to an ocean.

This is a view of Creek Street, which was built over this here creek.

I think there might be a significant gap between their idea of a creek and mine.
The buildings are so high up because when high tide comes in, the water rises like 2500 feet. Or something like that.

All those bushes are berry bushes. They had wild raspberries and blackberries and blueberries and elderberries and probably a lot of other kinds that I don't know about. The bushes were pretty bare by the time we got there, but I did find one wild raspberry. And then I ate it.

This is a photo of a park. Brent loved the moss everywhere.

This is a photo of a freakishly large slug. We saw these more often than I was comfortable with. Snails are bad enough.

This is a photo of all the boys, save one, in front of Married Man's Trail.
As the story goes, the married men would sneak out this back trail to a brothel at the end of Creek Street so that their wives wouldn't know where they were going. Methinks it probably worked about once before their wives figured out what was going on.

This is a photo of a cool lighthouse on a cool island in the ocean. Anyone else sing Candle on the Water in their head every time they see a lighthouse? No? Just me?

And last , but certainly not least, THIS is a photo of a dog that looked like he was driving a van.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

... and another.

Today was Lizzy's first day of her second year of preschool.

She got up, got dressed, ate her Cocoa Puffs, strapped on her shoes, grabbed her tote and off she went.

I'm not exactly sure what it is about preschoolers, but it always makes me a little teary-eyed to see them hop out of the car that first day. Maybe they are just a little too little or maybe it's just hard to let my babies grow up, but you will generally find a stray tear on my cheek as I drive away.

It doesn't seem to bother her at all. Let's just say that the day... went well.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Grade Dos

Yesterday, it happened.

School started.
I'm only slightly panicked about it. I'm that mom who's always ready for her kids to get back into a routine as quickly as possible, which eases the pain of sending them off to school for the bulk of their day to be taught and influenced by a group of relative strangers.

Towards the end of last year, Jane decided to transfer to a different school where she started a Spanish immersion program. As a result, she was a little more nervous about her first day than I thought she'd be, hence the nervous looking photo.

I should have broken out the camera this morning, she was much more cool and collected.

Lizzy doesn't start her first day of Pre-K until tomorrow, but I think we're all looking forward to it. Let the structure begin!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

There are two kinds of people in this world....

There are pickle people and then there's... everyone else.

As for me and my house, we're pickle people.

And I just made my first jar out of cucumbers from my garden. I sure hope that in a few days, they taste as good as they smell.

My mouth is currently watering.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lucky Number 7

Meet Jane.

Jane used to be 6, but not anymore. Now, Jane is 7.

Jane had a party for her birthday and it was filled with rainbows.

There were rainbow balloons and rainbow Twister in the grass.

There were rainbow drinks and rainbow jello.

And a cake.

A rainbow cake.

This made Jane very happy.

And it made her mom very tired.

Unfortunately, Jane had her party a few days before her birthday, and when her real birthday arrived, her mom was too tired to do much, so Jane got to invite one friend over for lunch.

Meet Henry.

Henry is a very good friend to have come to spend Jane's birthday with her.

This also made Jane happy.

Which is good, because on Jane's actual birthday, Jane's mom kinda just sat around like a bum and reminded Jane of the aforementioned rainbow party that had taken place on the previous Friday.

Happy Birthday, Jane. We sure do love you.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Creating Life... and then eating it. Part Three

Sooo, I just got back from a nice 5 days in Summit, where we celebrated the 4th of July and I DO have photos and appropriate documentation of our vacation, but I have to gather it all together, which takes energy. Since I'm suffering from the lack thereof this afternoon, I thought I'd share photos of what happened to my garden while I was gone.

I was totally, completely certain that I'd come home to find the whole thing shriveled up into oblivion, I even called a friend late one night and begged her to go give them some extra water (and a great job she did) so you can imagine my astonishment when I actually came back to a jungle.

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I will now proceed to toot my own horn.

I've got all different kinds of peppers and tomatoes, squashes, tomatillos, herbs, carrots, peas, beans, cucumbers and corn and other stuff too, all shoved into my last minute decision garden beds. I'm feeling pretty good about my garden considering that I've never managed to produce a one that provided me with more than a weird looking tomato and a handful of green beans

I also ended up being able to start quite a few of my plants from seeds. You have my permission to be impressed.

This garden has been my sanity this summer. I'm not kidding. I might be a lunatic at this point if I didn't have my garden to keep me grounded. I spend/waste a lot of time just sitting out there and playing in the dirt, but I figure that God intended it to be that way, so I'm excused, right?

p.s. somehow, i thought it wise to buy three banana pepper plants which are actually producing banana peppers. problem is that i have no idea what one actually does with a banana pepper. anyone? anyone?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summertime, and the livin's easy

Having never had a little boy, it wasn't until just recently that it came to my attention that little boys choose to spend as much time as possible... in the nude. I did not know this. I should have picked up on it along the way, maybe I just didn't want to believe it was true. But it is and I have now accepted it as fact.

Little boys, given even the slightest opportunity, will strip naked and run around that way until a responsible adult intervenes.

It's causing a problem here and there for us. I think the people that live in my circle have seen more of Charlie already this summer than they ever wanted to. And when the cousins come to play, there's just a big, little boy nudest convention in our yard.

I'll admit that it can make for some good photo opportunities, as long as you can keep them covered up a bit, which is, of course, the tricky part.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Potty Talk

Today, after right close to 7 years of changing diapers, we took our youngest child to buy his first pack of underpants. It's been a good, but long afternoon around here. Potty training is not for the faint of heart, but Charlie has done fairly well, all things considered. He's filled his tummy with soda and treats, he's filled his potty several times over and he's filled his sticker chart with gold stars.

I love watching my children grow up. I love the excitement they feel as they realize that they are actually competent, capable human beings. Look at his new found confidence!

I believe I can literally say that I've never seen this boy so excited in all his glorious 2 years and 9 months of life.

And the back, of course.

Let us all hope that his enthusiasm spills over into tomorrow because after 7 straight years, methinks we deserve a little break around here.

And wish me luck. I get the feeling that as my time spent changing diapers decreases, my time spent doing laundry will only increase. Deep breath.