Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!!

The only thing Elijah wanted for Christmas was a new green bouncy ball (the kind you get at the grocery store in those big bins). The dog popped the other one he used to have that was orange. Santa Claus brought Elijah TWO green bouncy balls and one bouncy ball with Spongebob. It is noon. We are already down two balls. He hasn't noticed yet. I think the craft supplies we got him are actually keeping him busy. Maybe Santa's helper can make it back to Toys'R'Us tomorrow before he notices.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

sammy the wonder bubble pup

Life with kids, dogs, and BUBBLES!!

Santa Claus is coming to town:

Aren't kids usually a little bit older when they outgrow Santa's lap?

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tag. I'm it.

Vicki tagged me. I guess that means I have to write six things about me.

1. The day after Christmas, Brent and I will celebrate 10 years of marriage.
2. I absolutely abhor chain letters, in any way, shape, or form. (I won't be tagging anyone when I am done writing.)
3. I almost majored in Spanish until I got to the class with all of the snotty returned missionaries. I went with English.
4. I make cakes.
5. I love to knit, and teach others to knit, so they can share my addiction.
6. My kids drive me crazy, but I love being a stay-at-home mom. It's a paradox.

PS - Did I mention that a few weeks ago, I got called to be the Primary President? Heaven help the poor kids of the Lakewood 3rd Ward.


So. I got this letter today from animal control:

Dear Resident:

We have received a complaint that your dog(s) may be creating a disturbance in your neighborhood. We would appreciate your looking into the matter and correcting the problem. Please try to quiet your dog when it is noisy. We are asking you to be considerate of your friends and neighbors.

We are confident that your response to this letter will be of a positive nature and that further action will not become necessary.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Field Services Supervisor

My dog is three months old. He does not know the rules. I am actively trying to teach him the rules. Am I unreasonable to think that there should be a brief learning curve with puppies? We have only had him for six weeks. How annoying could it be? And, he NEVER barks.

So, my theory is that the neighbor that complained is annoyed by my noisy kids and since we now have a dog, she (or he) can blame it on that.

Seriously, the dog lives inside. He is crate trained and does not make a sound while in the crate. He sleeps inside, in his crate, in our room, and we don't hear him at all. He goes outside to use the bathroom, that's it. Occasionally, we leave him out a little longer, if we are eating maybe. He does complain a little when we do this. But, I do not consider it excessive. AND all of the books I am reading say that I can't give him what he wants if he is barking to get it. That just reinforces the idea that if he barks loud and long enough, he will be able to get what he wants which just exacerbates the problem.

I called and talked with the animal control guy. Since I am a first time dog owner, I was curious to know what the parameters were. I learned that anyone can call, for any reason, or any amount of "annoying" behavior. He said I should get a bark collar and that my dog MUST be howling in his crate while I am gone. I don't believe it. No way am I getting a bark collar.

Please just give me a few weeks to train my dog.

And, how condescending is the wording of that letter. eewww

Thursday, December 13, 2007

all i want for christmas . . .

Jacob's two front teeth,

A haircut for Spencer,

Elijah to never grow up,

And to be able to weather the storm that is my LAST bout with the terrible twos.

And maybe a new bra.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

my puppy is HUGE!

In the 4 weeks that we have had Oliver Twist in our family, he has more than doubled in size. He has learned how to sit, down, come, and stay (sort of). He also likes to fetch when in the mood. Potty training is well underway with only a few accidents a week. Not too shabby. We are working on not biting (any advice?). My poor kids have scratches all over their arms, and Oliver actually broke skin on Eli's arm today. Hopefully we can get through this phase quickly. I am spending a lot of time rescuing my boys from the pup; not so much fun.

But, he is a great dog and I see a lot of potential in him. We just have to get through the hard part.

I knit this sweater for Meta. But I HAD to put it on Oliver for the fun of it. He didn't think it was fun.

things about my house that make me happy

A Christmas tree in front of the window:

Stockings hung from the mantle.

We did it!!

Saturday, I ran a 5k. It was my first race ever, and it was so much fun. Over the last 10 weeks I have been training with my dear friend Shannon on the couch-to-5k program. It actually worked. I have never been interested in running, mostly because the few times I have tried, I have hated it, lost interest, and decided it was just something I couldn't do. In fact, my main new year's resolution for 2007 was to run a mile without stopping because I have never been able to do it. Apparently, the right training program makes all the difference. In just a few short weeks, we went from running for 30 second intervals, to running for three miles. I still can't believe it. I even want to keep training and run another race.

So, I am done congratulating myself. Here are some pictures, (thanks mom for being our photographer and support staff. We couldn't have done it without you.)

Before the race (still cute):

Don't forget to stretch:

Shannon crossing the finish line at 31:12!

Me crossing the finish line at 33:02.

Jaime finished at 38:38.

And Niki overcame two years of a running hiatus due to back issues at 41:30.

After the race. (Not quite as cute, but pretty proud of ourselves.)
Running by the beach on a crisp December morning is awesome. I highly recommend it.

Thanks gals. I had so much fun.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Happy Birthday Mom!!

Thursday is my mom's 60th birthday. We will celebrate one of life's great women. She didn't cure cancer. She didn't solve the health care crisis. She didn't even go to college. But, what she did do is even more amazing than any of those things. This woman's life has been so exemplary. I aspire to be half the woman she is. I owe all that I am to the woman who has persevered through everything life can throw at you. She has taught me that life is hard and there is no way around that fact. All we can do is control our reaction to those difficult times. She has taught me to stick up for myself and for what I believe in. There is nothing in this world worth sacrificing your principles; NOTHING. She has taught me about trust. When trust is lost, it is a long, hard road to get it back. But, get it back we must. Love is nothing without trust. She has taught me that being a grandparent is totally worth all the crazy you have to go through as a parent. She has also taught me that once you are a mother, you are always a mother. I will ALWAYS need her. She has taught me how to hold my tongue when necessary. She has taught me to speak up when it is important. She has taught me that loyalty to family is paramount. She has taught me that service is the way to show love for those around you and our Father in Heaven. Above all, Helen Briggs has taught me that I am a good person, with lots to offer, and if I do, I will be blessed.

It was my utmost pleasure to orchestrate, with my sister and brothers, a surprise party for her on Saturday night. We had delicious tiny food and a great time showing her our love. Mom, you are the greatest! It is a great honor to be your daughter. I hope I can please you always.

what's new pussycat?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. And welcome to the holiday season. On Thursday the whole family went to Knott's Berry Farm to celebrate Christmas. I know, it's a little early but everyone was in town. We started this last year in lieu of gifts. We thought is was better to spend money to BE together rather than for more stuff, which we just have too much of. Last year was great. We went the Saturday before Christmas and the park was almost empty. We thought Thanksgiving would be quiet too, what with all the people home eating turkey. We were wrong. But, since we had all the little ones with us, we spent most of the day in Camp Snoopy which was more than doable. Some highlights:

Abby on "Huf-n-Puf":

Jake on "Huf-n-Puf":

Mom, Jake, and Elijah driving the semis:

Spencer had a great time:

Grandma, Elijah, Jake, and Uncle Chuck on Lucy's Tugboat:
A family picture:

On Friday we had our Thanksgiving feast which was just lovely. Brent made another amazing turkey with all the goodies to go with it.

Auntie Laura was rescued (see the oct 16, 07 entry). My brother sacrificed his sweet little girl's arm to the itchy insulated depths of our wall. Abby got hold of the doll, but quickly released it. Once we knew where it was, Darrin enlisted the use of his wife's delicate little hands to reach in and rescue the doll. Reunited and it feels so good.

And now the tree is up, the dog is chewing it to pieces, and we are looking forward to celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. I wish you all a fantastic (low stress) holiday season.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

pupply life

We are having lots of fun with the dog. It is quite an adjustment, but I think we are transitioning well. We are crate training, and the dog really loves the concept. I'm pretty impressed with it myself.

Oliver Twist is learning quickly who is easiest to manipulate. I am trying to train him to be a well mannered dog, but the kids aren't setting the best example. My goal is to avoid people food and table scraps as much as possible, I'm not real fond of the dog begging at the table. But, Oliver has quickly learned that the little ones are happy to give him any treat he wants.
This past weekend, I had a wedding cake:

Pretty hah. Anyway, I was baking all day Friday while trying to keep an eye on the shenanigans of toddlers and puppies. I looked away for a few seconds. I heard a crunch by the back door and noticed that the dog was eating something. I went to investigate as I hadn't given him anything. To my horror, and utter confusion, there was a raw egg, ON MY CARPET. Several things flashed through my mind.

  • how did the dog reach the counter? he can barely climb up the stairs.
  • will a raw eggs make him sick?
  • will I be cleaning up puppy vomit in the very near future?
  • then: SPENCER!
While trying to clean up the egg (which is nearly impossible with all of the sliminess and such) I asked Spencer, "Did you give the puppy an egg?"

He was proud of his dastardly little deed. Now, I can handle the crazy things toddlers do, and the pitfalls of puppy hood, but when they conspire against me, I am at a loss.

I got the egg cleaned up, but dogs have very advanced olfactory abilities. He could still smell the egg. I have tried everything, he now LOVES that spot on the carpet. And it shows. Anyone know how to shave berber carpet so its not all fuzzy and ugly?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

oh yeah

We also had Halloween. We weren't too original this year. Jake was Ron Weasley. He was Harry Potter last year so we used the same costume, minus the glasses and scar. Elijah was a cowboy again; he hates change. Spencer was supposed to be a doctor, but at the last minute, he decided he wanted to wear the snake costume that I made for jake when he was a baby. YAY recycled costumes.

and our pumpkin was Blues's Clues.

Puppy Love!

We got a puppy!! I can't believe it. After a year of begging and oohing and awing over cute puppies, we finally got one. He is a chocolate Lab and he is just about the cutest thing ever. I'm sure in future posts I will be screaming about how much I hate poop, but right now, he is an angel.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

i've arrived

The day has finally come. I have been a mother for over 7 1/2 years but this evening, I feel I have finally graduated into full parenthood. I expected it much earlier with my severe lack of control most of the time, but today it came; my first "I HATE YOU MOM!!!!"

I told him, "thank you."

He didn't like that.

A moment of silence please . . . . . .

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

in loving memory

We are sad to announce the loss of one of our dear family members. She was a beautiful young lady with a steadfast expression of happiness. Though small in stature, she was the core, the center of our family. We miss her. We love her. Auntie Laura, you were the best.

No, not THAT Auntie Laura. The one that should be in this family photo.
That's right, we have a set of matryoshka dolls, brought back from my brother's mission in Russia, with our likenesses painted on them. He gave a street vender /artist a copy of our family portrait and we have been immortalized on wooden nesting dolls. Laura should be there on the left, next to Darrin. Alas, she has been lost to the abyss of the unknown world of insulation and wiring inside our walls, through this small and unassuming opening:
I caught Spencer trying to stuff Uncle Darrin in the hole. Lucky for him, he was too big. No such luck for Laura. Being the smallest, she fit quite easily into our unused cable outlet. We spent the next couple hours of our life, trying to fish her out. Using various mirrors and jerry-rigged small flashlights, ice cream scoops (jake's idea), bent wires, extendable magnets, and homemade fishing apparatuses, we succeeded . . . in pushing her further down into the insulation and losing her forever.

Auntie Laura, you will be missed. We will always mourn that empty space inside ourselves where you should be. And believe me, justice will be served, Spencer is now banned from all nesting doll fraternization. He will be a registered doll offender under the new Laura's Law that will protect future unsuspecting matryoshkas from a similar fate. Although tragic, our loss will not be in vain.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

return to sender

Before I begin my tale; a little background:

  1. My mom has worked for the same company of about 50 employees, for close to 20 years.
  2. Since she has worked there so long, she carries a bit of authority; particularly over office supplies.
  3. The company was recently bought out by a large, multi-national corporation.
  4. Since the buy-out, all old letterhead/envelopes/anything else with the old name, are obsolete.
  5. Recently, my mom moved in with us.
  6. She brought home some old stationery because she is a kind and thoughtful grandmother and she knew my kids would have a great time coloring, cutting, gluing etc. with this paper that would otherwise have been thrown away (she is a very green grandma).
Ok, now the story. One of my favorite humans is my four-year-old son Elijah. He is at that great preschool age where things are starting to click in his cute little head. You can carry on conversations with him that are usually intelligent and meaningful. He walks on his tippy toes all the time, which I find very endearing, and he is generally a really happy kid. He doesn't share the mood swings that I passed on to my other two sons (whom I love dearly as well, of course, just for different reasons.)

So, one of Elijah's favorite things to do is write and send letters to his friends. And when I say "write letters" I mean, he goes to Nick Jr. and makes some sort of picture with a nick jr. character, with his name on it and prints it out. Then he puts the printed piece into an envelope and sends it to his friend of the day. Now, please note that on nickjr.com there is an "email this to a friend" option when you make these pictures; but my boy likes it old school. Snail mail all the way.

One day I came out of the shower and Elijah had a huge grin on his face. "Mommy, I mailed a letter all by myself!!" He was so proud of himself. We live in a condominium on the back of the lot. Our community mailbox is at the front of the driveway. So it is about a football field's length from our font door to the mailbox. In the mailbox there is a slit large enough to slide in a #10 envelope (the exact size that my mom brought home from work), and it can only be opened by a postal carrier with a key. Once a letter is in, it's IN. As this slit is at the top of the mailbox, just barely within reach of my four-year-old's chubby little fingers, he was doubly impressed with himself. He walked ALL the way down the driveway and got the letter in the slit ALL BY HIMSELF!!!! He was overjoyed. Then, mom opened her big old stupid trap.

"Elijah, did you have a stamp on the letter? Or an address?"

Tears. Instantly.

I had to explain to my sweet little boy, who had just accomplished this major triumph in his short life, that he had done it all wrong. I felt awful.

He wanted to try again. Great. He printed out another picture, we got a new envelope, a stamp, and I wrote the address on it for him. We had a little chat about what letters have to look like before we put them in the mailbox. There must be a stamp in the corner, and an address and his friend's name in the middle. After our little teaching moment, we sauntered down the driveway together to mail his letter correctly.

Now, since there was no way to retrieve the unaddressed letter, my only hope was that Jeanette (our wonderfully kind and friendly mail carrier,who knows my kids, and who shares my name) would notice that the unaddressed letter was in the same kind of envelope as the one with our return address and Elijah's name on it. She could just put it back in our slot and we could fix the whole thing.

It must have been her day off.

Fast forward about five days. I get a call from my mom at work letting me know that I need to tell Elijah that he can't mail any more letters. I explained to her that we had, in fact, already had a conversation about how to mail a letter correctly. Then she told me that her boss had been scurrying around the office all afternoon, trying to figure out who would have sent this:

After making the rounds through the entire staff, he asked my mom. After she noticed the envelope she realized what had happened. He was ticked. And we haven't been able to figure out why. Was it that she had taken a few OBSOLETE envelopes home? Or was it the fact that people in the office were giggling because it was kind of cute? Or did he think that he had the kind of people working for him that would send letters without postage, or an address? We still don't know. But, seriously. Who gets mad about something like that? It didn't cost him any money; except for the time he wasted interrogating the staff when he could have been doing something useful.

Anyway, I felt bad that my mom got in trouble because of my son. But, don't you think its sweet that my son refuses to let go of the beautiful tradition of a note sent in the mail? Sorry again mom, we'll do better next time.

Also, it doesn't matter how new and fancy and energy efficient your washer and dryer are; laundry still sucks.

Monday, October 1, 2007

new goal

I officially announce that on Dec 8 2007 I am going to run a 5k. Now, I have committed myself and I can't back out.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

memory loss

I think I'm losing it. There was a time when I was really organized and on top of things. I could juggle in my head important dates and appointments. When I had cakes coming up, I would write extensive lists of ingredients, and supplies, weeks or even months, before the cake was needed. I had cute little order forms with sketches that helped me and my clients visualize the outcome of the cake. And then, after the cake was completed, delivered, and paid for, I had this great little filing system with images I used, design ideas, and shopping lists that I could refer to in the case of an upcoming similar cake.
There was a time when I could remember all of my kids' appointments and homework schedules and everything else. And I feel like those times weren't all that long ago. But recently, I'm a mess. I write things on the calendar, and plan ahead, and do all the things that should keep me organized, but then I forget. I look at the calendar and realize that I have forgotten something I should have done three days ago. I get assignments for my calling at church and tell myself I will go directly home from the meeting, do the assignment, follow up, and report back. The next thing I know, its the next meeting and I haven't done one of my assignments because I forgot, even though I wrote it down. Can you get early Alzheimer's when you are thirty?
When my first child was a baby, I always knew how much he weighed, when his milestones were, and at which developmental stage he should be. Poor Spencer doesn't even have a baby book. I can't remember his first word or when he took his first step. He hasn't had pictures taken in ages and Jake had them every three months. The only baby souvenir I have for Spence is a small zip lock of hair from his first haircut that has been attached to the fridge with a magnet for a year and a half. Not only is it pathetic, it completely creeps my husband out. He hates the weird hair collection on the fridge but I'm afraid that if I remove it, I will lose the little baggy containing the ONLY thing of Spencer's babyhood I kept.
Recently my mom moved in with us and while going through her things, we came across all of her calendars from when we were kids. At first, I thought I would need to convince her that these were needless clutter. We really don't need a record of our dance lessons and soccer practice schedules. Then, she showed me why I was wrong, and we did indeed need to keep her calendars. SHE KEPT RECORDS. There is not ONE empty calendar square in 20 years' worth of calendars. They are not filled with just practice schedules either. She journaled our entire childhoods in these calendars. She wrote something significant each day. She wrote the first time that me and ALL of my siblings said "uh, oh skettio." THERE ARE FIVE OF US!!! She recorded not only my oldest brother's first word, steps, doctor appointments, injuries, and immunizations, she recorded that stuff for all of us.
I have GOT to step it up.

Monday, September 17, 2007

go pirates!!

Elijah had his first soccer game on Saturday. He seemed to be really excited about the idea all week. He was even more excited when coach told him he gets to watch the first quarter. Then second quarter came along . . .

Please pay special attention to his phenomenal form. I have already been looking up the requirements for qualifying for the 2020 summer games. I know he will be a shoe in. I vow to become the most motivated soccer mom in history. I will hand sew soccer banners until my fingers bleed. There is nothing I won't do to further the budding soccer career of my four-year-old.

Seriously, he just doesn't like the idea of running. I don't blame him. Running stinks. I hate running. How can I expect him to do something I'm not really willing to do myself. Eventually, after an ice cream cone bribe, he did get up and sort of ran after the ball . . . a little.

See, there he is, sort of near the ball, and he is standing, which I considered a HUGE victory for him. All in all, he seemed to have fun. Can't wait till the next game.

Monday, September 10, 2007

rough days ahead

My two-year-old is a bully. I don't know what to do. You would think that by the third kid, I would have some idea of what I was doing, but all I can think to do is lock him in his room until he outgrows it. But, since I am sure someone would call child services on me if they didn't see him for say, three years, I have to come up with a different solution.

I don't understand how a person so young could have honed these skills so quickly already. He makes his seven-year-old brother cry all the time. Granted, Jacob is quick with the tears, but still, Spencer will actually HURT Jacob; for reals, and he's two. What am I going to do with him when he gets older? So far, I have come to terms with the idea that none of my boys will be the small kid in class. So, if Spencer keeps up with Jacob growth-wise, and keeps up this bullying, I'm going to be in real trouble. He's going to be that big, obnoxious, red-headed kid that is always pushing the little kids around, like that scary albino kid from "A Christmas Story" with the coon skin cap.

Also, I have stumbled upon the funniest blog ever; Boobs, Injuries, and Dr.Pepper. The problem is, she has been writing for a while and since I just found her, I spend hours at a time, NOT doing anything productive, but reading through all of her archived posts, and laughing myself to tears. She is the most irreverent mommy blogger I have come across and I have finally found someone to relate to. At moments she is tender and kind, and posts cute pictures of her babies that all of us love to do, then other times she is telling us stories of the glorious ways she messes with her kids' minds. Pure genius; I aspire to her cleverness. To my Mormon friends out there be warned, she has a ridiculous potty mouth.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Summertime . . . and the livin's easy . . .WHAT!!!

Whoever wrote that song did not have kids. School starts on Thursday, YAY!!!! Why is it when you're a kid, summer goes by super fast, but when you are the parent of a school age child, it never seems to end? We had a fun, and eventful summer, and I love my kids, but it is time for someone else to answer the constant barrage of questions I get during the day. Someone who is trained and will be paid to deal with the questions that I get, and cannot possibly answer. My oldest child has a particularly inquisitive nature. Much like his dad, he craves information. But lately, the way he asks me for the information sounds to me like he is being a complete smart alec. I know it is not intentional, but I feel I am constantly being second guessed by a seven-year-old. I find myself saying the four words I always used to hear my mom say, and swore I never would say; "because, I'm the mom," all the time. But, now that I say them, I understand why my mom always said them, because they are the only way to shut a kid up. They can't argue with that. It's beautiful.

Anyway, here are some highlights of the summer . . .

  • Many days at the park, cooling off in the wading pool.
  • A trip to the Long Beach Aquarium.

  • Many days at the beach, boogie boarding, eating, making sand castles.
  • Camping in Yosemite, then off to family reunions in UT.
  • General goofing around and silliness.
  • Hanging out at the Thompson family cabin in Cedar City UT; so amazingly beautiful.

But. . . Labor Day has come and gone. Soccer season is here (my room is a complete disaster, with a soccer banner in progress), and my son is about to start second grade. YAY for September.!!!