Monday, January 31, 2011

Kids Say the Darndest Things....

I think I should probably start posting "Kids Say the Darndest Things" posts weekly, or something; I feel as though lately this is all I'm writing about, but my kids are just so stinkin' funny, I can't help but document these for later years....

Last night, the subject turned (as it does entirely too often with my children) to bodily noises of the southern variety (read: flatulence, passing gas, get my drift, pardon the pun.) Angel said "You know, when you go to the bathroom, you have #1 and #2, but they should really have a Number Zero too!" (Knowing I shouldn't, I asked) "Why?" "That's a toot!"

Seriously, where does she come up with these things?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Seeing Double....

Tonight, Angel was in the bathroom for awhile so I decided to go check on her. This is what I found (sorry for the poor quality - but at least my camera phone still works!):

Our bathroom has 2 wall-sized mirrors above the vanity (very 70s) and a bathroom makeover has been on my wishlist since we first bought this house - but seeing her this way almost makes me want to leave the mirrors in (almost).

With the mirrors, she was able to see 3 reflections of herself simultaneously (unfortunately I couldn't figure out how to capture all of them...). She said "What are 4 twins called again?" "Quadruplets" I reminded her....and then she asked if I would like to see the Quadruplet show. I was entertained by the 4 lovely ladies for a moment before needing to get back to dinner on the stove....but apparently the show caught someone else's attention. A few moments later I heard a blood curdling scream coming from the bathroom. I ran to find Grins on the counter next to Angel, and Angel complained to me, "They are screaming at us!"

I laughed as I realized that "they" was Grins and his mirror 'twin', and "us" meant the Angel quadruplets. They had been so involved in their little 'double' world that Angel was actually referring to them all in the plural. I found it hilarious. I love that they can be entertained with just 2 mirrors and their imagination. And taking care of 7 children (4 are mirror images) while simultaneously making dinner and straightening up the house - am I efficient or what?!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

So entire....

I love when my kids learn a new word and then adopt it into their vocabulary in their own (misplaced) way/context.....

Grins, for example, uses "entire" in a whole new way. He is constantly saying "That is so entire cute!" or "You are so entire wonderful." Were he to add a '-ly' at the end, it MIGHT work (loosely) but it is SO cute to hear, and one of those little things I never want to forget.

Wiggles, on the other hand, adopts phrases she's heard in the appropriate context - though not always ones I appreciate her repeating. This week it is "What-da-eck is that?" I'm not sure whom she heard say "What the heck" but for some reason, she likes it, and continues to repeat it wherever/whenever it applies. Since I've asked her not to say it, she now often just says "I don't want to say 'what-da-eck'" over and over....

My children are so adorable! I am with them essentially 24/7, yet I still can't get enough (most of the time!) I am "SO entire" blessed!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Phone Etiquette 101

Today I left Wiggles' bedroom after putting her down for a nap, and was greeted by Grins holding my phone, open. (Apparently I had left it in the other room while putting Wiggles down, and I hadn't heard it ring. But he obviously had.)
The following conversation then ensued:

(Grins): "I answered your phone when it rang. I told them you would be right back, but they hung up..."
"Who was it?" I immediately asked.
"Grandma" he said, but when I checked the call history it was not, in fact, Grandma, but actually an important call for which I'd been waiting. Fortunately, thanks to call history, I was able to connect with the woman, who told me my son had said I would come to the phone....but after waiting an extended period of time, she wasn't so sure when that would be, so she had hung up.

I decided it was high time we had a lesson in phone etiquette. I guess that, since we don't have a house phone, and the children are (generally) not allowed to touch our cell phones (except under direct supervision), this lesson has gone un-taught for far too long. And so it began. We spoke of how to properly answer the phone when it rings, how to politely take a message if necessary, what to say when YOU are the caller, and so on.

Then we decided to practice. Grins decided to call Grandma. I helped him dial her number, and left the rest up to him. It was adorable to see how excited he was....we speak with long distance family members on the phone fairly regularly, but he's never been the one in charge of the call, and it made a marked difference in his focus and seriousness. I heard the phone stop ringing and my mom answer "Hello?" To which Grins said "Hello. This is (Grins full name; first, middle, last). How may I help you?"

I couldn't stop laughing, thinking how cute it was that he had obviously remembered how to answer the phone (sort of - I never mentioned using his full name; that was his addition) - but was forgetting the 'caller' role....but my mom took it in stride and said "What can you do for me? How about give me a big hug and kiss?!"

He then went on to talk to her for over an hour, while I prepared for dinner (all the while thinking - this is Brilliant! Why didn't I think of this before??!!!) I didn't hear her side of the conversation, but chuckled frequently as he told her things from his point of view - how he was hoping to watch a movie if his mom would let him (ha!), how we would go pick up Angel from school at 3 (wow! first phone conversations, and now telling time, too? When did my little guy grow up?) Telling her about skating and sledding, and reassuring her that he was saving his money to buy a plane ticket to Oregon. And recommending that, if it ever did snow in Oregon, she try sledding down her big hill, since he strongly endorses sledding, now that he's a 'pro'. He mentioned things he's been working on, books he's read, gifts Angel and Wiggles got for their birthdays, and more! He just went on and on, pausing to listen, then answering her questions and even turning the conversation in new directions. I couldn't believe how at ease he spoke and at such length! It made me realize that, between his two sisters and me, the poor kid often can't get a word in edgewise, but actually has quite a lot to say! And that, despite how busy our life seems to get, I should take more time to just sit and talk with him. He is really very interesting, and a fine conversationalist! (Incidentally, he and I did enjoy quite a lovely conversation this morning as we washed dishes together. He has a new found love for handwashing dishes [the warm, soapy water feels SO good when it's as cold as it's been here lately!] - and we spent most of the morning doing just that together (since we had a big baking day yesterday and someone - ahem - shirked a certain dish duty last night. But it made for a wonderful morning chat for Grins and I.)

What turned into a simple little lesson in phone etiquette taught ME much more, as my children often do. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go pick his brain about politics.....

Monday, January 24, 2011

Potty Training....

(Warning: this post may be offensive to some; I am merely recording it for our family's personal record because it is HILARIOUS - so if you are prone to blushing, proceed with caution....And, FYI, we believe in teaching our children the correct names for anatomical parts instead of nicknames, but I have made a substitution here.)
(Classic Wiggles and her sweet tooth - on Christmas morning, ALL she cared about was the candy. She didn't even give the presents a second glance. She still goes around the house hunting for candy - in fact the other day I caught her digging a half-chewed piece out of the trash!)

Today Wiggles ran out of the bathroom and announced "I have a 'ba-thina', I don't have a big, fat (male part)! That is how I go potty."

Can you tell we are getting a LITTLE bit closer to potty training? Poor girl - I think if I had my act together she'd be trained by now - I just haven't made the time....

Swing sets and more

Our poor little swingset has seen better days....but the kids LOVE it, so I've been looking around online to see how much a new one would be - you know, just in case Santa was feeling generous next year. ;) I was surprised to see that CSN Stores has a website devoted to swing sets for kids! I have heard of CSN before, and knew they sold home and decor items, but had no idea I could get something like a swingset on one of their websites - and they have them starting at $149! Too bad I saw this right after Christmas - but that's OK because it's never too early to start looking for next year, right? Have you heard of CSN stores? If you haven't, check them out! They have pretty much anything and everything you might need, for a great price....and watch for an upcoming review I'll be doing on them in the near future! :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Angel!

Dear Angel,

How is it possible that you are 6 years old already? Slow down! It truly seems like just yesterday when I was rubbing my protruding belly in anticipation of your birth. SO much has changed
since you came into my life, and I am truly the better for it. Between you and me, I SO miss, and often long for, the days when it was just you and me. What fun we had!

I love you, my darling girl. I feel that sometimes I don't tell/show you that enough - so I am working on that. I struggle between worrying that I am expecting too much of you, versus expecting so much because you are so amazing and capable. You seem so wise beyond your 6 years, so I must constantly remind myself that you are still a little girl. You often help remind me when you come out in your pjs with a binkie in your mouth and say you want to 'play baby'
or when you come to me and say "I need a snuggle!" How can I resist such a precious little one as you?
I LOVE this! Christmas morning you received a pair of goggles in your stocking - then you disappeared for a moment and came back like this. Hilarious!

Though you love to be pampered, you also enjoy helping others. If anyone is ever hurt or sad, you are the first to do whatever you can to comfort them. When I was sick a few weeks ago, you made a little 'bed' of pillows and blankets on the couch, set the side table with a book and drink, and even went so far as to draw me a card saying "I'm sorry you're sick Mommy! I hope you feel better soon!" and then helped get the other children breakfast so I could rest. What an Angel you are!

You have made it through a lot this past year; our big move and starting school were both exciting at first, but have been the most difficult on you. Even though you love change, you also embrace consistency! But you have made lots of new friends, and even though you dearly miss your distant family, you love spending time with our own little family!

At the moment you often resist going to school because you miss me. But you enjoy playing with your friends, and you are excelling in your work - your teacher has had to come up with a new curriculum to keep you busy because you were bored with what everyone else was doing. You are an incredible reader and you love math. But your favorite activity is art. You could (and do!) spend hours writing notes, drawing/painting/coloring pictures, and creating masterpieces. I'm sure our walls would be covered at least a dozen times over if I kept everything you created! (Fortunately you allow me to selectively save and share some.) You also have an incredibly memory; you have long since memorized all of the Articles of Faith, and now that we are working on memorizing The Living Christ, you've got it down better than I do!

You love being silly. You and Grins can laugh for hours on end (when you aren't tormenting one another, of course.) You love telling jokes and your laughter can be heard for miles, it seems. You have a very contagious laugh and if you're happy, you do all you can to help others be happy as well.

Right now we are working on 'responsibility'. You seem to have many emerging strengths and talents but work is not an interest of yours at the moment. You are constantly asking why you must get yourself dressed/clear your own dish at dinner/pick up the toys you've played with/do "SO much work" when you would much rather stay in your pajamas all day, play to your heart's content, and have someone follow you around cleaning up after you. You just cannot fathom why you should be required to lift a finger. Though frustrating, it is actually quite comical. But you care so well for your baby dolls and little siblings, and take such pride in the work that you DO complete, that I have hope for you yet!

You are such a little sweetheart. So strong-willed (you've been called "bossy" which you did NOT appreciate....) and yet so sensitive. So determined, and yet, at other times, so timid. So confident while sometimes insecure. It is so much fun to watch your personality grow and develop. You are so much fun to be around! It is such a privilege and blessing to be your mother. Thank you for the honor of these past 6 years. I can't wait to see what the next 6 will bring!

I love you with all my heart, Angel Girl!



6 yr old "stats":

Favorite color(s): Pink and purple. And rainbow.
Favorite food: chicken nuggets and artichokes
Favorite dessert: ice cream or cookies or cake or pretty much anything sweet
Favorite book: I love all books.
Favorite 'things': butterflies, fairies, babies, dolls, horses, rainbows, hearts, flowers
Favorite things to do: write and draw, read, dance, play babies and house, watch movies
Favorite friends: Sophia, Emma, Mattie, Chloe, Claire, Anja, James and sometimes Isabelle
Favorite people: mom, dad, Grins and sometimes Wiggles
What do you want to be when you grow up? An astronaut, a petrinarian (a person that has a LOT of pets), or a Dr. that delivers babies. Or a dancer. And a mom, of course.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Quote of the day....

Today I asked Angel to help set the table for dinner. Her response (completely serious and matter-of-fact, without sarcasm or humor): "Me? Work? On the day before my BIRTHDAY? I don't think so!"

I had to hold back some laughter on that one. Can't wait to see what tomorrow (The actual Big Day) will bring from my little Princess.....

Friday, January 14, 2011

Holding Hands

Nothing brings me more joy than the love my sweet children have for one another! These 2 in particular are the best of friends (most of the time). Today Angel had a little meltdown after school (didn't think it was fair that Grins got to choose where we went skating first - SHE wanted to be first!) and no amount of love, snuggles, reasoning, joking, kissing or ignoring that I did could seem to snap her out of it. But as I looked over while making dinner this is what I saw: Grins' magical touch - just the holding of her hand - and her mood was instantly changed. The whole feeling of our home and family literally transformed in a second or two. Amazing. Nothing can take the place of the love of a sibling! (Keep in mind that the Mr. was on call so this was a SUPER simple meal; crepes! With no tablecloth! :) But I'm still posting the picture online; that's how comfortable I am with myself!)

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Lately - OK, pretty much for the past ever-since-I-can-remember-since-having-3-children, I feel like my life is spiraling out of control. I feel like, despite my very best efforts to nurture well-fed, well-groomed, well-mannered, well-behaved children who are afforded educational, service, entertaining and stimulating opportunities, while at the same time providing them with a (somewhat) clean home, (mostly) nutritional, clean clothes to wear, etc - AND paying the bills, shoveling the walk, and somehow finding time to sleep once in awhile - I continue to fall further and further behind.

Take today, for example. My 'junk drawer' was LONG overdue for a makeover. (Especially since the Mr. so kindly emptied his own personal junk drawer into mine! stinker.) So, I woke up earlier than the children (no easy task since I was up with Wiggles no less than 4 times last night!), read my scriptures, showered, emptied the dishwasher, got dinner started in the crockpot, packed Angel a lunch, started a load of laundry, and decided the rest of the day could be devoted to the junk drawer. (yes, it was THAT bad!)

As soon as the kids arose, though, my own personal plans were
set on hold. Family scriptures to read, three tummies to fill wit
h breakfast, 3 faces to scrub/mouthes to brush/head
s of hair to comb, breakfast dishes to clean up and floor to
swept, 3 kids to get dressed (since Angel refuses to be independent in the
morning...), 3 beds to 'help' the kids make, a tube of
toothpaste to coax out of Wiggles hand 34 times since she insists on eating it, 1 backpack to re-pack
since Wiggles has emptied it for the umpteen
th time this morning, 4 to bundle into snow suits/coats/hats/gloves/scarves/boots before we head out the door at 8:20. Whew. And we're only getting started.

Once we're home from taking Angel to school (about 9:30) I figure I'll have a couple of hours to attack the junk drawer before starting lunch. Then I remember I still need to shovel since it snowed a few more inches overnight. Thankfully I haven't yet un-bundled the kids, so I just get to work and hope the kids will play in the snow for a few minutes. Wiggles needs to be picked up every couple of shovels full, when she insists "Mommy, hold you!" because she's cold but doesn't want to go inside alone. I finally decide the walk is 'shoveled enough'.

10:00 I set Wiggles up with some play-doh and encourage Grins to build and I go to work. After about 2 minutes of good organizing, Wiggles 'needs to use the potty' so we go spend the next half hour reading books and singing songs in the bathroom. When she's finally 'done' (though she didn't actually DO anything in the toilet), I re-dress her and then come out to see Grins' creations, which are, by the way, incredible. I spend 4 minutes listening to everything from how the bombs shoot over here, to how the bombs are stored in there, to why they need the bombs to defeat the enemies in the first place.
(Grins explaining his creations to me)

I'm interrupted by Wiggles saying "I don't want to go poop in my diaper - I want to poop in the toilet", read: "I just pooped in my diaper, even though I know I'm supposed to go in the toilet." Another diaper change. And the clock now says 10:42. We are overdue for nack time. Open the fridge to retrieve some snow peas and oranges, and make a mental note that 1) someone has spilled SOMEthing in the fridge that requires immediate attention, and 2) our fridge is almost empty since I haven't been shopping in awhile (see previous post on food storage....). OK. So after making snacks I do as quick a wipe-down on the fridge as possible, yet if you've ever cleaned a fridge you will know that a 'quick' job requires at LEAST 20 minutes. For some reason.

11:20. While I was cleaning the kids finished their snack, spilled about 57 more goldfish on the floor, then proceeded to step on them while running around in circles. (Are my kids the only ones who can be entertained by running around in circles, almost endlessly? It is SO funny.) Wiggles had 'brushed the teeth' of all of her baby dolls and stuffed animals, meaning, of course, that they were now all covered in toothpaste. (HOW can I get the toothpaste out of her reach, but still in a place where the older 2 can reach it to brush their teeth independently - just in case they ever actually decide to try out the independence thing?) Grins had found the "sign here" stickers in my pile of 'junk drawer' findings and plastered all four of his limbs with almost the entire pad.

11:50 Collect all the miscellaneous screws/nuts/bolts from the junk
pile and put them in a container. Gather all the writing utensils and put them in the appropriate canister. Find about 500 batteries and wonder if I should just assume they are all bad and throw them all away, or prudently try to test each one. I set them aside for later.
12:00 Time to start lunch. Tuna fish sandwiches, tomatoes, cucumbers. Take another mental note that if I don't go shopping today, we will need to eat tuna tomorrow, for the 3rd day in a row. Not that I mind, mind you, but it's probably time to get to the store.

12:15 Start feeding the kids lunch. I sit and eat for a moment before hopping up to get a towel to clean up the spilled milk. "I don't want to dump my milk on my tray" says Wiggles. Of course you don't.

12:20 Since I'm up and have had a few bites, I may as well get back to the junk drawer. So that is where all the matches went. Oops, should have paid that bill last week. I LOVE all of Angel's sweet little notes/cards/drawings/stories/pictures/posters/etc - but really, which ones do I keep/scan/share/toss? I set that stack next to the batteries, for "later". Then I've got to quickly clean up lunch while the kids choose their books.

12:30 Story time. Grins brings a stack of books almost as tall as him (really, it's only about 20 books, but it still looks daunting. Yet I am so happy that he loves to read, and I also realize we haven't had any real 'quality' time together, so I don't turn him away. I read a few to him and Wiggles before taking Wiggles into her room for nap. Now that she is binkie-free, naps require a bit more on my part; at least 3 songs, sometimes more, depending on how tired she is. Fortunately today 3 is enough.

1:00 Back to Grins in my room. I compliment him on being so quiet while I was putting Wiggles down, then notice his guilty eyes so I look around. Candy wrappers on my floor. Then my dresser. Covered in what was once a neat stack of papers, organized. Oh, and the basket of folded laundry? Overturned, of course. Hmmm. I calmly ask him to help me straighten things up if he'd like us to have our 'special time' (the time just the 2 of us share together while Angel is at school and Wiggles is napping - he LOVES it!) He consents, so we clean up together. He may be good at making messes, but he is great at diving right in and getting the job done (when he wants to ;) ).

1:30 Stories with Grins. Normally we do a 'reading' or 'writing' lesson, but today, he just wants to be read to. And I'm fine with that. Snuggling up with his head on my chest, his arms wrapped around me with his warm hands on my arms is pretty much heaven. And I know it won't last forever. I don't want to leave. So I read him all 20 books, with all the voices.

2:30 Time to get Wiggles up, get everyone bundled back up, and go pick up Angel from school. With the MOUNTAIN of snow (taller than the Mr. by far) blocking our path (we take a trail through the woods, the mouth of which is a dead-end street, which is apparently a perfect place for the snow plows to dump....), we barely make it to school in time. And since the stroller doesn't navigate well in the snow I get the special priviledge of carrying Wiggles the whole way....she would prefer to walk, but since the snow is up to her waist, each step takes about a minute, and we just don't have that kind of time right now.

3:00 Pick Angel up. She wants to go skating but we went yesterday and Wiggles has a difficult time in the snow, so I try to steer her in a different direction. Let's go home and make cards? OK, IF we can stop on the way home and dig for snow under the ice. It's a deal.

3:30 Digging for ice turns out to be more fun than anyone would have guessed so we keep going a little longer.

4:00 Finally home. We thaw our fingers out a bit, complete
Angel's reading assignment.

4:20 Since dinner's already in the crockpot, I figure I'll try to grab a moment to work on the junk drawer while they play nicely.

4:25 Fighting ensues. He said/she said/it's not fair. OK; junk drawer will have to wait. They need to be kept busy so I give them some jobs to complete while I work on dinner.

4:45 Table is set, salad is made. My kids are awesome!

5:00 Dinner on the table, and besides some fighting over who gets to pray, we enjoy a lovely meal together.

5:30 Try to quickly clean up while bundling the kids up - we've been asked to give a woman in our ward a ride to a ward activity tonight.

6:00 Finally leave the house (a little late, since we were searching for dry gloves/hats/etc - the ones we had worn to pick up Wiggles were still wet!)

9:00 At long last, arrive home from the activity. Teeth brushed, pajamas on, and straight to bed. Even Wiggles only needs 1 song tonight.

9:20 I can finally finish cleaning up dinner. Oops, I left the milk out all this time. Can't believe I've already swept the floor twice today and it looks this bad. Oh yeah, I need to switch the laundry. And put away the clothes I folded last night (and re-folded today).

9:45 Oh good, I still have a little time to write in my journal, and to call the Mr. to say 'good night' (he's still at the hospital.) Oh wait. I need to put together a shopping list for tomorrow, address the invitations to Angel's birthday party, take a test online to get my license, and prepare the presentation I just agreed to do at the ward activity in 2 days. Hmmm. I vow not to go to bed until it's all done.

11:00 I no longer feel productive. I'm tired. I'm going to bed. Oh no - the junk drawer is still covering the kitchen counter. Sigh. Should Wiggles will be up in 2 hours. I'm still going to bed.

Sleep a few hours. Wake up. Repeat.

At the start of this post, I hadn't intended to do a 'blow by blow' of the day. It somehow just evolved into that, so I apologize. What I really meant to say was that, as I was putting the children to bed tonight, feeling overwhelmed at all I had left undone today, I had a small epiphany. I've been praying for the wrong thing. Each morning and night I ask "Please help me to be productive, and get everything done I need to do today." Instead, I should be asking "Please help everything I do - and am - to be ENOUGH." I am not perfect, and despite my every effort, I never will be. Not a perfect housekeeper. Not a perfect mother. Not a perfect person. But I am told, if I do my part, He (my Lord, Jesus Christ) will make up the difference. He will take my weak (yet sincere) attempt ENOUGH. I just HAVE to trust that He will, and let that be enough.

Furthermore, I need to resist the urge to get caught up in the (very pervasive) idea that success is measured by productivity/results. The activities which are claiming the majority of my time, efforts, and attentions are not able to be visibly measured and are, to some, insignificant. No one sees how many times I sweep my floor each day, or how much time I spend chopping vegetables, or how many diapers I change, nor do they care. But I do, because I know that these small moments, of seeming insignificance, are, in fact, important. Important because the little girl whose bottom I'm wiping is getting 1) a clean bum (which, I'm sure we'll all agree is of utmost importance!) and 2) my love. The kitchen floor may not be spotless, but I'm keeping my home sanitary and a place my family wants to be. Mine is a noble profession. A thankless one, yes. But one for which I am deeply and eternally grateful. I LOVE being a mom!!!!
This picture is a few weeks old - as evidenced by the presence of the binkie. Wiggles had a fever and wanted to be held every waking moment - which was not allowing me to get ANYTHING done! So, in desperation when I needed to make dinner, I finally convinced her to let "Lion" hold her....and, to my surprise, it worked! Long enough for me to make dinner, at least!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

15 inches

Instead of making dinner, I spent the past several hours shoveling the 15+ inches off of our driveway and front walk! Man, I have got to get me a snow blower, or just suck it up and hire a plower, or at least a massage therapist when I'm done...

In any case, we had fun playing in it today. Angel's school was cancelled so we stayed in our pajamas and had a grand old time working on crafts, playing games, popping corn, making snow angels, and drinking hot cocoa. While I was outside shoveling, our neighbor was using his snow blower, and Angel and Grins followed behind him, right underneath where the snow was shooting out, just so they could get a constant "shower". Even with the noise of the motor I could hear their giggling and squeals. Crazy kiddos. I love that they can have fun in almost any situation!
(Cozying up in their new "Snuggies" - a Christmas present from Grandma & Grandpa!)

Poor little Wiggles just followed me around - which is no small feat, considering the snow is up to her waist! But she was such a sport, saying "I want to go in the warm house" or "I'm not going to cry." (We can always tell exactly what she is thinking - she always tells us "I'm not going to color on the walls with this marker." or "I'm not going to throw my food on the ground." or, sometimes it's after the fact; "I'm not going to make that mess"). Hilarious. After we were done with our driveway we went down the street and shoveled the porch of our elderly widow neighbor. We finally headed back home just in time for the Mr. to return from work. Perfect timing! :) So we were able to enjoy a nice, warm meal together!

(Although this photo was taken a few weeks ago - notice the Christmas tree is still up - Nothing says 'snow day' like forts and cushion mountains!)

Unfortunately my camera batteries died just as I was about to take the first picture - and since I was all snow-suited up, I didn't take the time to switch them out - so the photos will have to wait for another day. But for now, here are some recent photos (I LOVE having a camera!!! Thank you Mom and Dad B!)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Food Storage

Since we are (currently) a one-car family and the Mr. has been using the car instead of biking to work since it's been SOOOO cold, I haven't had many opportunities for grocery shopping the past couple of weeks. So, I have taken this opportunity to practice cooking from our food storage. It is actually perfect timing because we are having a church activity involving this on Saturday!

(Photo courtesy of

So far this week, we've had spaghetti, white bean chicken chili, and 4-bean vegetarian chili with rice. Yum! Coming up for the remainder of the week: Refried bean corn soup, Potato corn chowder, and Beef stew. But my goal is to come up with 2-4 weeks worth of healthful recipes I can make entirely from canned/boxed food. (I realize this isn't nearly as healthy as eating fresh/raw - but I'd like to know my family can still eat healthy during a time of natural disaster/emergency/etc.) I would love to hear your suggestions for good 'food storage' recipes or sources on where to find them!

Monday, January 10, 2011

"Yes, they're all mine!"

An unrelated picture of Angel and Grins sharing a new Christmas gift (belonging to Wiggles!) - I love how nurturing each of my children are, practically from birth. It is so precious.

I've posted on this topic before but, just for my own record, I have to note this, if for no other reason than to look back and realize I am improving, if only slightly.

This afternoon while walking Angel home from school, Angel, Grins, Wiggles and I were accompanied by my friend's 3 yr old son as well, who played with us this afternoon while my friend ran some errands. An elderly man walking his dog passed us and, with a friendly smile said, "I really hope those aren't all yours!" just as kindly and politely as if he had commented on what a beautiful day it was. His comment caught me completely off guard because of his friendly demeanor - so much so that I almost didn't realize what he had said until after he had passed. But in the past, when people have commented on the number of children I have, I have been ashamed or embarrassed, and have said "I only have 3!" or in some other way have tried to make sure they realize I am not, in fact, 'irresponsibly overpopulating the planet'.

But I have always been uncomfortable with this. I love children, I believe children are "an heritage of the Lord,(Psalm 127:3)", I am not ashamed of my children, and I fully intend on having more! I believe that the number of children one has is an incredibly personal choice, and ought never be a source of judgment or condemnation, particularly when the parents are responsibly caring for their own children. Last time I posted on this, I received a few delightful suggestions regarding appropriate responses to strangers who feel the need to comment on the number of children they see. I've been keeping these ready should the occasion present itself again - which it did today.

Unfortunately, since I was so caught off guard, and because I am not good with quick retorts, most of the clever quips I'd planned escaped me. I did, however, manage a: "Only 3 are mine, but I would love to have 4. They are so much fun!" The man's face changed and he quickly walked away, but I walked home with a happy heart, knowing that I had, at last, defended my choice and my belief.

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ..." (Romans 1:16)

Sunday, January 09, 2011

How much is a nap worth to YOU?

Since Sunday is a day of rest, I sometimes feel that I can justify indulging in a little nap of my own while Wiggles naps and the older kids enjoy quiet Sunday activities (drawing pictures to send to family or missionaries, reading scripture stories, or, if I'm incredibly desperate for a nap, even watching a scripture video). Today, however, I made the unfortunate mistake of falling asleep while reading stories to all 3 children.....a mistake for which I would pay dearly.

After about 20 minutes (I'm not sure exactly how long I was asleep since I dozed off unintentionally, but I know it was less than half an hour), I was awakened by Grins saying "Mommy, (Wiggles) just flushed your earrings down the toilet!" I'm not always quick to arise, but this certainly got my attention. Upon jumping out of bed, I smelled a most disgusting stench. I made my way over a pile of books on my bedroom floor (courtesy of Wiggles while I had been sleeping) to the bathroom. And then gasped. We keep our bathroom door closed to keep Wiggles out of the plethora of things which seem to interest her in there (eating toothpaste, dumping out soap, playing in the toilet, unrolling toilet paper....etc) but somehow one of the older children forgot to shut it after using the restroom. And Wiggles had taken full advantage of the opportunity, particularly noting the fact that, while I was sleeping, she could get away with it. My makeup artfully decorated the sink, counter and mirror. Most of a roll of toilet paper was unwound. And my bottle of multivitamins was opened, with a half-eaten vitamin sitting next to it (can't imagine how that tasted, but it must have been bad, considering that she eats soap!) Wow. So much for not cleaning on Sunday.
Not finding Wiggles, I moved into the bedroom, only to find an entire box of mixed nuts and seeds strewn around the carpet. Fantastic. But no Wiggles (though I continued to smell her...)
I followed the odor out to the front room, where I was met with baby dolls, stuffed animals, and blankets galore, this time courtesy of Angel. Every couch/chair/pillow/rug was covered with a stuffed animal or doll and I believe she must have used every blanket we own in keeping said toys alone. I hadn't realized we had that many blankets.

Not finding Wiggles, I passed through the dining area, noting that I had failed to adequately clean up lunch, so, of course, there were cream cheese smears on the table and chairs - and probably walls, windows, couches, curtains, etc, were I to spend more time looking.

I finally found Wiggles in the great room, where she had emptied most of her favorite bookshelf. I confirmed the fact that she had created a special something in her diaper for me, but the question of the flushed earrings was first on my mind.

"Where are Mommy's earrings?" I asked.
Wiggles was still chewing on a bagel, so Angel piped up first. "(Wiggles) put them in the toilet."
Me (relieved) - "Oh, so she didn't flush them?"
A - "No, but I did."
M - "You did? Why?"
A - "I didn't realize they were in the toilet. I flushed because I had just gone to the bathroom."
M - "Oh, I see. Well, where did she get the earrings?"
A - "Out of this box" (holding up my EMPTY jewelry box, which had previously contained all of my earrings [except the ones I was wearing], including the pearls I wore on my wedding day)
M - "Oh. Where are the other earrings?"
A - "They were all flushed"
M - "Really? (laughing) Wow. How did she get this box?"
A - "I took it down off of your dresser earlier today when I was dressing up."
M - "I see. Well, that is disappointing. (Then, more to myself) I wonder if that short nap was really worth all those earrings...My wedding pearls were in that box. But, they're just earrings."
A - "Well, Mom. We, your kids, are worth more than earrings."
M - (laughing and hugging Angel) "Of course you are, babe!"
I proceeded to change Wiggles, clean up the makeup, toilet paper and sunflower seed messes, and proceeded with our day, thinking that my short nap was certainly NOT worth the loss of all of my earrings. As I reflected on my response to the situation, however, I began to change my mind. Had I been tired or stressed, I might have shouted or cried or flown off the handle at my children for the innocent little play of events that had resulted in my loss. But fortunately, I was adequately rested enough to be able to take it in stride, and remember that "things are just things" and that my children are worth far more than a few pairs of earrings - or anything money can buy, for that matter. Even wedding pearls. And so, I've concluded that, sometimes, a nap is priceless.

I will, however, be a bit more vigilant against falling asleep unintentionally in the near future, I can assure you! :)

(Note: 1) I apologize for my several weeks of 'silence': I haven't posted recently due to the tragic death or our computer. 2) I apologize for the generic photos. Our photos of the kids were all on our previous computer - and I didn't feel like taking pictures during the progression of this story; I was too anxious to 'get to the bottom of' what had happened....) Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go wipe the cream cheese off the walls...