And together we learn

Monday, October 30, 2006

Tender mercies

We have this van. It's a great van, but it's no spring chicken. It's been so reliable and wonderful, but it needs some TLC every now and then. We're planning on getting a new car, sometime, but for now, we figure there's no reason to spend the money when the one we have is (mostly) just fine. Today was one of those needs TLC days.

It's been leaking some mysterious fluid for a couple of days, then the brakes started to go really really out. So scary sounding that at every stop I've been practicing getting my foot to the emergency brake--just in case. Definitely needed a trip to the mechanic.

The van was filled to the brim with boxes that HAD TO BE DELIVERED TO THE SHIPPING PLACE this morning. Did you get the urgency there? Then our other car was at the airport parking lot from when Steve drove himself there yesterday. So there were 2 mandatory stops before we could get to the mechanic.

We said a big prayer this morning that we would get the things done that we needed to , and that we would be safe and the van would make it. The Lord is so mindful of us and our needs!!!! That darling van made it to the shippers, then to the airport to find the car, and it died dead dead dead right outside of the airport. So I was able to have the babies safe in a warm (working) car, call a tow truck, and be on my way while the van was being repaired. Safe, warm, all desperately important errands run--we are so very blessed.

There are tender mercies everywhere we look.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Candy babies

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You might think you're looking at a picture of halloween candy wrappers. Which you are. But look closer. Do you see the way the pumpkin is cradled in the wrapper so tenderly? Or how the sucker and the tootsie roll are snuggling together? These are not just candies. These are dolls, and have been played with (not eaten) this way for the last 45 minutes!!

Oh, these little girls of mine! I love watching their nurturing, tender sides. I love how they are so gentle and respond so quickly to the 'needs' of their 'babies.' But I can't stop grinning inside as they swaddle the dum-dums and treat the milk duds for their sicknesses. Motherhood is awesome!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

More really yummy soup

Tonight's completely incredible Black Bean Soup:
around 3 cups dried black beans, soaked then cooked in the crock pot.
1 chopped onion
lots of garlic
1 seeded jalepeno
sauteed in a little olive oil
add 1 red pepper
some cumin (maybe 1/2 to 1 tsp)
a bunch of chicken boullion cubes (6, 7 maybe?)
all the beans and the cooking liquid
couple dribbles of soy sauce
couple dribbles of balsamic vinegar
1 can of tomatoes with the juice

Mix it all, putee with the stick blender until the right consistency. Serve with dollops of sour cream and green onion.

Holy cow, this was amazing!!! Sorry that I'm not so precise when it comes to measurements. Just taste to make sure it tastes good and enjoy!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Big fat rant!!!

So today I got to experience first hand all that is wrong with our bureaucratic tax system. And I'm so frustrated by it!!!! Why is it that dealing with red tape and taxes is so @%$&^%$&* aggravating?

We own our own small business. That's why my husband is always traveling. So I had to renew some forms, and spent a bunch of time on the phone with the state tax commission trying to find out exactly what I needed to do. They told me I had to go down in person to find out some information, that would otherwise take three weeks to get. So I get a babysitter. A babysitter, folks!! In the middle of the day! This is huge stuff. I NEVER do this. Off I go, to wait in line. I get to the counter, the lady took *** 7 *** tries to type in my EIN number. 7 tries!! Seriously.

Then, after she finally got it in, she was able to tell me the piece of information I was missing. I got a babysitter, drove downtown, waited in line, so she could TELL me, "You're missing XYZ form." Are you kidding me???? This is what they couldn't tell me on the phone? Why on earth couldn't they have just told me that when I begged them to on the phone? So now I have to go down, again, once I have the missing form, so I can get my letter of good standing.

Sorry for all the venting. It was just so incredible to me that they make it so completely hard for us to get things done. But the lady didn't care. Why should it bother her? But doesn't it just typify the levels of bureaucracy that characterize the government?

The worst part about it is that I WASTED an afternoon of blissful beautiful alone babysitter time, on this. Oh, the bitterness!

Then just one more small wry commentary on society, and I'll go back to my normal mommy life blogging. I was listening to the radio, and they were talking about the wildfire in California where the firefighters died. So sad. So the newscaster lady announced that they had an update on what lead to the deaths of these men. And I quote: "while they were engaging in their firefighter duties, they were overcome by the fire."

Ummmmm, no crap. That's pretty much what you can surmise from the situation, but thank you for reporting it!!!

And please know that I'm in no way making light of the tragedy here, but of the really pointless reporting.

Ok, I've got that off my chest and I'm feeling a little more calm about the whole day. Thank you for indulging me in the rant.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Oh. My. Laundry!

So the laundryness of my life has been kind of working me over lately. Mrs. Darling, if you're reading this, please please don't think too badly of me!!! But I CANNOT keep up with this! For one thing, Calvin the rampaging 14 mo old delights in piles of things. He thinks there's nothing better than to pick up items and fling them, very quickly, everywhere. So whenever HE is around, there isn't much folding going on. And let's face it, the kid is very much always present.

Then comes the next reason for my (gulp) seven loads of unfolded laundry. ME! I procrastinate it! I hate hate folding laundry, especially when there's an alluring little laptop with its seductive internet just waiting for me. So really, the Calvin is just the justification, and I am the real reason. As usual.

So today I decided I had enough, and I'm tackling the laundry monster. Yes, Calvin has wreaked some major havoc. But if I can fold faster than he can fling, I'm a little ahead, right?? And that is why high chairs and marshmallows were both invented, I think. To keep mischievous little fingers busy for just a few minutes.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pumpkin pictures

What would a self-respecting mommy blog be without the obligatory pumpkin photos? And so, obligingly, I'll provide them. But I'll have to accompany them with a confession. This is Hazel's very first Jack-o-lantern. Yes, I know she's almost 5. But every other year she's been blissfully happy with a plain uncarved pumpkin, so why bother with the slime? For the same reason, she's only recently had an Easter basket and Christmas stockings. I know, I know. So my lazy parenting days are ending and I have to go along with all the trappings that are (surprise!) really delightfully fun. Once you get past the pumpkin slime.

So here they are. Pumpkin carving, 2006.

The seasons are rushing by so quickly. No sooner have we finished pumpkin carving, when it decides to snow! This is Calvin, discovering snow for the first time.

The girls and I read the sweetest story!! I don't know why I've never discovered Cynthia Rylant until now, but I'm so glad I finally found her! We just finished

and it was so absolutely lovely. Gently, peaceful, captivating, and so so sweet. My girls were enthralled, and I've read it several times just for myself. There is something so simple and charming about this book. Very spare prose, but every word counts, and the love radiates from every page. Must buy this one!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Say that again?

Recently overheard while playing with the toy dishes. The girls were cooking, mixing up delicacies galore, sampling each others cooking, and so on. They made cakes, cookies, soup, then came the real culinary delight. Chloe brought up a pot for me to 'taste.'

"What is it?"

"Oh, hot beef."

Riiiight. Hot beef. Where do they come from?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

10 Random Facts Meme

Is it just me, or is Blogger being all kinds of weird? I'm having oodles of troubles posting or commenting. Hmmm. Strange.

Anyway, I was tagged by Jennifer for a 10 Random Facts Meme. Yippee!! I love being tagged! It's a little like being chosen during gym class in elementary, but without the complete shame if you're last. Just the cool feeling when you're picked.

So here goes. 10 Random thoughts about me...

1. I have double-jointed elbows. They are so double jointed that I can connect my hands behind my back, and without unclasping my hands, bring my arms over my head to the front. It's a really gross trick, but it's impressive.

2. I speak Mandarin Chinese. I lived in Taiwan for 18 months serving a mission.

3. I studied French for 6 years in school, so when I first went to learn Chinese, everything came out in a garbled mixture of FrenChinese. Very ugly. Now that I've forgotten lots of both, the language part of my brain really has to concentrate to make sure all my words (pronouns are the worst) are in the right language.

4. I really really love old movie musicals. My husband--not so much. But my girls are waaaaay into them, so we totally outnumber him on this one.

5. I graduated with a degree in Molecular Biology. Why, you may ask? Pride. Pure unadulterated pride. I didn't want to be yet another BYU girl majoring in Early Childhood Education, so I picked something that (and I'm so not exaggerating this) made me sound smart. Isn't that horrible? Now I can't remember a thing about plant DNA, but I do very much regret not getting a real education just so I could sound cool for a little while. Biggest regret is my wasted degree.

6. My husband travels 7 months of the year, and is home full time the other months. We own our own business and so we only see him sporadically for those months.

7. Steve and I met while in the same ward at BYU. Cheesy, predictable, overdone, yes. But the marriage SOO makes up for the how we met story!

8. I've had a birth center birth, one at home in a water tub, and a hospital birth. Now if I can just have the next one in an elevator or something, I'll have run the gamut!

9. Anne of Green Gables. Love 'em all. Or more accurately, any L.M. Montgomery. I can quote whole passages from all of the books, and Rilla is my favorite of all of them.

10. When I was little, my mom would punish me by making me put down my book and go play with a friend. I would cry and cry and promise to be good, if I could only keep reading and not have to go play!

Now I tag theotherbear, Dy, and Jennifer.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Big Easy

Back from my whirlwind trip to New Orleans! What an interesting and beautiful place it is...except for Bourbon Street, that was just plain wrong. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Calvin was SO GOOD on the planes, both going and coming home. He slept, he played peeka boo, and was generally darling. In fact, on the last leg today he slept from takeoff to landing, and I had to wake him up to get off the plane. I'll travel with him anytime! Not bad for a crazy 14 month old.

The first night we were there we hung out in the French Quarter. Beautiful!! The old houses with the ornate ironwork, gorgeous parks, cool antique stores--it was so fun.

And I took this photo just for Jennifer

Then we had the great idea to stroll down Bourbon Street, because after all it's the most famous street in New Orleans, right? Well, it may be famous, but it's not someplace I'm EVER visiting again. We decided that it's even worse than Vegas, in terms of pure debauchery. Yuck.

But the rest of the French Quarter was lovely. We had a fancy schmancy dinner, and let Calvin go to town with the little dish of ketchup while we tried to finish our meals.

For dessert--Praline Bread Pudding!! Mmmmmm.

Of course the whole time I was there I was looking for evidence of Katrina. Flying into the city it looked like any other place, except that occasionally there would be pile of rubble where there should have been a house. Oh, but flying in, I saw paddleboats on the Mississippi River!! How cool is that!

I had to drive and get something for Steve out in an area that was really badly damaged. There was nothing left. House after house, gutted. All the businesses closed. Somehow, I pictured houses, but it was weird to see huge grocery stores and McDonald's and post offices all closed. There was a visible water line on the houses. It was really eerie. It's amazing that there's anything left at all. But periodically would be a business with a big sign announcing that they were open--it seemed like everyone took it as a kind of victory when each place returned.

Even the really swanky parts of town had gutted houses and piles or rubble, still.

It was...interesting.

But, oh, the old streets with the twisty-limbed trees that arched overhead, covered with moss in brilliant green. They flanked gracious, stately, purely Southern mansions that were so charming it was hard to believe they were real. And unfortunately, I don't have pictures of any of them because we were driving and I never had a chance to stop. Dang it! They were so gorgeous.

But this nice internet person took one for me. Thanks Stanley Beck!

The weather was hot and SO humid!! As a western girl, I don't do too well in the humidity. Give me my good old arid climate any day. I'll slather on the lotion, but still be able to breathe, thank you very much.

It was stormy the first day. And not a storm that was even much of anything. Basic, average type storm. But the wind was so strong that it pulled a shopping cart out of an old lady's hand and sent it flying through the parking lot. It gave me some idea of just how destructive a real hurricane could be, if a measly little storm could blow like that.

It was a flying fast trip with not much time to really see things, but I got a glimpse of the city. But it was wonderful to spend some time with my Steve, and it was a lovely break from the routine.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Oh, that baby!!!

I went over to my neighbor's house. Took the kids, of course. Their basement is ALL toys. All over. Of every description. Fabulous! A safe place to let Calvin and his 21 pounds of destructive power loose while we talk.

30 SECONDS later, he comes toddling out from a dark dusty corner of the basement, going 'eh eh eh' and holding out his hands. His hands, that are stuck in a mouse glue trap.

Oy vey. Trust Calvin to instantly find the one thing he can't get into. In a room filled with toys, no less!

Well, beloved internet, I am off to New Orleans for a few days. Steve is there, and so I'm going to meet him and help with one of his sales. Fun, yes, but I am taking the baby, so it won't be the bliss it could be otherwise. So wish me luck on taking this kid on the plane, and I'll be back, hopefully with pictures.

I'm intrigued at the thought of New Orleans. I guess it's the rubbernecking attitude--I want to see how bad it is! But since I've never been there before I'll have nothing to compare it with.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Somewhere between stimulus and response

I'm realizing more and more that this mothering thing all comes down to attitude. My attitude. It's all about CHOOSING which attitude you will have. I think it's Covey who talks about the space between a stimulus and a response where you can choose which action to take. I know that this isn't really a profound concept, but tonight I got it.

Steve left, and was stressed out and grumpy getting to the airport. I, in turn, was stressed out and grumpy once home from the airport. Calvin napped for about 20 minutes all day, I didn't feel well, and the girls were being needy and whiny. Bad bad bad all around. So I put Calvin down for yet another attempt at a nap, and I felt drawn to the piano. NOTE: at this point I had company coming in an hour, and the house was a Big time. So playing the piano was NOT on the to-do list. But I felt drawn to it, and I began to play.

I played Abide with Me, How Great Thou Art, Love at Home, Families can be Together Forever. Hymns about Christ and about home. And as I played my heart felt soothed and salved. Calvin started to fuss at that point. Again. As I got up to get him the old irritation returned, but I made a concious decision to react with love and patience. And as I did, the love that I was trying to show was multiplied a hundred times, and I was flooded with peace.

From that moment on, the afternoon was bliss. The kids worked so hard, and we got the house shining in just a few moments. They both have such different needs, when it comes to motivation. Hazel loves praise, and would ask over and over, "Now what can I do", just to hear me say, "Wow, that's music to my ears, darling!"

Chloe, on the other hand, lives in a fantasy pretend world. She likes to be Cinderella, and I am the wicked stepmother who orders her around. I hate trying to sound mean, but she gets so into her game and loves it.

So I was alternating between a sweet voice for Hazel, and wicked stepmother voice for Chloe, and it all got rather muddled for a while! But, the house was clean. Hazel even vacuumed AND mopped the kitchen. By herself. Incredible.

ANYWAY--back to my topic! The joy and harmony of the afternoon was the direct result of my choice to react with the spirit. That's what it ALL comes down to. If I have the spirit with me, there is love and joy in our home. Sure, they might still act up, but MY response is what dictates how bad things really get. And I KNOW this, but sometimes still want to wallow in my grumpiness. It takes a bit of effort to get to that point, but once you're there, such joy!

The three of my sweet babies were in the tub, and I was singing to them. Three shining, rosy, happy faces turned up to me, three sets of huge brown eyes, and three wriggly, wet, chubby bodies. I am so blessed.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

In which I reveal just how nerdy I really am...

Steve asked me out on a real date last night. One with no kids anywhere, and even staying out late. How fun is that? But I learned just how nerdy I really am...I always suspected it, but last night confirmed it. One of his favorite bands came to town, on a night when he was going to be home. Perfect, right? So we got my wonderful fabulous sister to come over and watch the babies, and we went out for a night on the town.

I didn't have time to change, so I went dressed in tired mommy. Like I'm kidding anyone. I don't have a look other than tired mommy, so I went looking pretty normal. When we got to the club, I realized that I don't know how to party like a teenager anymore. When I was a teenager, I didn't know how to party like one. I was one of those hopelessly good kids who wouldn't have an idea where to even start getting into trouble. No partying, even when it was time to. Steve, on the other hand, has a wild and crazy past. Walking into a smoky club doesn't intimidate him at all.

So here I am, about 7 years and 3 kids out of place, but very determined to have a good time. Now here's the really dorky confession. I've been to ummm, 2 other concerts in my life. And hated them both. The first one was a Dave Matthews concert that a guy took my to when I was 19. I was shocked, because there was this weird smell everywhere, and I realized after a looong while, that it was (gasp) marijuana. Knock me down with a feather and make me reach for my scriptures! So live music really isn't my thing. For that matter, rock music in general isn't my thing. I'll tolerate it, barely. I love love classical music, but never really developed an appreciation for rock music. Steve tries to play name that band with me, but I'm such a hopelessly lost cause. So that's where I'm coming from with the whole see a band play thing. NOT my thing. But then the opening band came on, and they were amazing. They had so much passion--it was exhausting just to watch. It was a three person group, and they were so intense. The drummer was so alive, and he played an electric xylophone, which was awesome. Their lyrics were really crappy, but the music was innovative and exciting. I was drawn in and actually really enjoyed myself, which was very surprising. I understood why people like this kind of music.

Then the real band came on. I tried to like them, I really did. But they were so not likeable!!! They played some softish stuff, then it just got loud. And it didn't stop. Loud that filled up every corner of my body and didn't leave room for any other feeling. I was just filled with loud, pounding loud. And you couldn't escape it, either. Even plugging my ears, hard (see, I told you I'm a complete dork), the sound still filled me up. I was VERY relieved when Steve wanted to leave early. He wasn't into it either, although the noise didn't bother him like it did me.

So we partied like we were teenagers, but I'd be just as happy next time partying like a suburban mommy, cause I'm dorky like that!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Just a leeetle OCD

I have this really really bad habit of obsessive reading. Once I start a book, I do not put it down until I've finished. Non-fiction books I'm fine with. I can read those at my leisure. But fiction? Forget about it. As soon as I've cracked the pages, I'm lost to the world. This means that instead of doing laundry, or the dishes, or much of anything else, I'm reading. MUST CONTROL MYSELF!!!!

The upside is that I'm a ridiculously fast reader and can finish most books in a day. But oh, the chaos that awaits me now. I'm paying for my lack of discipline.

I normally make it a rule to NOT check out fiction from the library. But there's a neighborhood book club (blatant justification to follow). Am I supposed to deny my brain an opportunity to discuss literature with the women in my community? No! I must broaden my horizons!

So today's book was Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. It is absolutely riveting and beautiful. This is the kind of book that transports you to a completely different world--in this case, rural China during the time when footbinding was a common ritual. So if you need a great sisterhood/friendship/emotional journey book, this is a very good one and I highly recommend it.

Just don't try to read it all in one day. Your family will thank you for it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

And today's MVP is...

I'm imagining that my life is some kind of a sports match, with the kids on one team and me on the other. The game has strategy and lots full-body tackles, no clear rules and definitely no one who calls fouls. I wonder who's winning? Today it's unclear.

Points for my team:
* Successfully completed MANY errands, including 3 different banks and a visit to my elderly FIL.

* Great homeschool unit study on fall and apples (how I wish I had my camera). We learned about photosynthesis and chlorophyll, acted out leaf senescence, stopped at a fruit stand for lots of varieties of apples, made applesauce, made apple prints from both the cores and half apples, and read lots of apple books.

* Fixed dinner for my mom and little brother and sister. Since she fed us last night, I'm trying to return the favor. Homemade spaghetti sauce and meatballs, applesauce and zucchini bread for dessert.

* Saved the baby from grabbing the butcher knife from off the counter. (Actually my mom made this save, but she's so playing for my team).

Then there are the points for THEIR team:
* Spilled--one cup of orange juice (the baby is now tall enough to reach things on the table)

* Broken--one crockpot, one dishwasher rack.

* One loaf of homemade bread, smeared all over with an inch of peanut butter. On the top. When asked WHY???, Chloe replied, "because the mommy tablespoon and the baby teaspoon were playing ice skating." Of course! Why didn't I think of that!

* Tantrums. Several, in all varieties.

* One fall off a chair resulting in bottom teeth going all the way through the front lip. Much blood. Many tears.

So who's winning? Calvin is definitely the MVP of their team. With the exception of Chloe's lovely peanut butter job, he racked up all the other points. Although Hazel did try with a couple of pouts and whines, she never really did score nearly as well as the baby. He is scoring so many points, I'm totally getting my trash kicked running defense.

I need a coach! Or maybe I can sit tomorrow out on the bench and send in the sub?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Mmm mm good

So that soup I made the other day? It turned out so so good. Much better than the sum of its parts, which happens a lot when you use the crockpot. I was very surprised that it turned out so yummy, because the ingredients are simple, cheap, and good for you. What more could you ask for in a recipe?

Potato Veggie Soup
5-6 potatos, peeled and chopped
3 or so carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
minced garlic
some broccoli, chopped
3 chicken boullion cubes
2 cups water
1 can cream of chicken soup

Put all of this in the crockpot and cook on low until everything is soft. (7-8 hours?). Then blend it really well with a stick blender and add 1 can evaporated milk and a cup or so of milk until it is the right consistency.

I garnished it with a little shredded cheese and some cubed ham. Bacon would be wonderful sprinkled, or croutons.

So good!! Perfect fall soup, and you can't beat the easiness here.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Welcome home!

In just a few short minutes I leave for the airport to pick up my belovedest of husbands. Hooray! This last trip has been too long--2 1/2 weeks. He'll be home for two whole nights, so he doesn't have to leave until Monday morning. I'll take him whenever I can get him.

He only travels like this from September through December, then February through May. So I get him full time during Christmas and summer. I really can't complain...but I do, far too often. But he's coming home, so we are rejoicing around here! The girls have been sing-song chanting "Daddy come home" all morning, until I think my ears just might fall off.

Soup's in the crockpot, yogurt is doing whatever yogurt does when it's sitting there (incubating? thickening?) and bread is ready to pop in the oven. Dessert, well, good old Marie Callendar's is giving us a hand with that one, but that's ok by me. It's actually cheaper to buy a frozen berry pie than to make one from scratch, if you have to buy the bags of frozen berries like I do. Economy rules on this one.

We won't have time for a date, but we will get to go to church together. It's SOOOO much nicer with another adult to help corral them during Sacrament Meeting. And he always takes the baby for me during the third hour so I can play the piano. I'm so glad he's coming home!

When we're apart for too long, things start to get all weird. It's HARD to be apart for big chunks of time. I have gained such appreciation for single moms, and women who's husbands are deployed. That must be so very hard. Makes this two week at a time thing look like a piece of cake!

Welcome home, darling.

Friday, October 06, 2006

4 word meme

I was tagged for my very first meme by Jenny at Home is where you start from . I have four words that I look at and write what they mean to me--word association style. And so:

cozy--Snuggled in the couch with my two girls, reading Children of the Woods while the rain drizzles outside.

field--There was a field of rice outside my window when I lived in Taiwan. It would undulate and sway like a living thing in the wind, and it was the most vibrant shade of green I have ever seen.

dream--My younger brother was taught the song 'Dream, dream, dream' from his hippie teacher in the second grade. He would sing it by the hour in his sweet little boy voice.

illuminate--The look in my kids' eyes when they 'get' a new concept.

I'm tagging Jenn at As cozy as spring, and Andrea at Mrs. Face.

Your four words are ramble, forgotten, luminous and butterscotch.

If anyone else wants to jump in, please feel free!

Thursday, October 05, 2006


My girls started a co-op art class today. I belong to a fabulous homeschool group where we take turns teaching little classes on whatever we want. They ususally run 6-8 weeks per topic, and the ages are from about 4-7. We've had ocean life, gardening, health, and I taught drama last spring. We're having so much fun, and I've met some simply wonderful moms. So Hazel and Chloe had this little class and I had two whole hours with just the baby. Plus, this lady lives right next to a ginormous, huge, every store you can imagine kind of shopping center.

I was just crying to Steve the other day about how hard it is to run those miscellaneous errands with three kids in tow. Whenever we leave the house, just 2 errands and we're running into a meal out, which I try not to do too often. And it's just darn near impossible to go into more than 3 places at a time with children 4, 3, and 1. And I'm certainly not going to waste babysitter money on errand running. So instead I complain and feel isolated and frustrated!

But then, this gorgeous opportunity presents itself. Two hours away, only one child (who doesn't have the ability to complain yet), and major shopping nearby. BLISS! Add to that that several of my favorite co-op friends PLUS Sarah, and I was in heaven. Sarah, by the way, is one of those eternal friends who is always, unfailingly, wonderful. And she really really needs to get a blog.

We hit Old Navy, Wild Oats, and the Children's Place. And now I need all of your help. They have the most beautiful Christmas dresses there, and I need to choose. So everyone weigh in with your preferences.

They come in both little and big girl sizes, and there are matching boy things. How can I resist?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

When the cat's away, the mice make pancakes

Today was a breakthrough in the realm of the kitchen. Not a practical one for most sane people, but for me--it was genius! We've all heard of once a month cooking, where you do all the chopping and prep work just once. Well, I'd like to introduce you to once a day cooking.

NOTE: My husband is perpetually gone, and my kids are 4,3, and 1. We can so get away with things normal families can't.

I made a big batch of pancakes this morning at Chloe's request. Big hit with everyone. Lunch rolls around, and the request is--pancakes. So we cut up some fruit, and voila, lunch is served. 5:30 ish and I'm starting to make pasta sauce with fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden. What's that? You all want pancakes??? Ummmm, zero prep time vs. 30 minutes in the kitchen...that's a no brainer. Pancake dinner is served!

So I sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and carrots and did peanut butter rolled up pancakes. One quick minutes cooking--three meals! I feel like I just got away with something slightly illegal.

This has to be the easiest meal prep day ever. Of course, when Steve is home I would never ever pull such a stunt. He eats nothing but restaurant food when he's traveling, so when he's home I make sure he has some good home cooking. But when the cat's's so much easier to play!

Monday, October 02, 2006

And while we're on the subject..

Speaking of bodily functions, tonight Chloe excused herself from dinner to use the bathroom. "Don't worry, Mama, I won't eat my poop or drink my wet!" she exclaimed cheerfully and matter-of-factly.

Ummm, I hadn't worried...UNTIL NOW!!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Redemption, and a messy ending for a beloved camera

Yesterday and today was the General Conference for the church, where all the members gather to listen to the prophet and apostles. It was so powerful and beautiful. There always seems to be a theme that comes out, and this time the theme that stood out to me is the need to know that the Savior lives, and that He is very aware of our trials. Also, that He is ALWAYS there with arms outstretched, waiting for us to come to Him.

Each Conference I get the girls a couple of quiet new toys to play with while we watch, and they were very excited to get started. I was upstairs putting the baby down for a nap when the first session started yesterday, and I walked in during the middle of the opening prayer. Instead of seeing them playing with their coveted toys, my two little girls were kneeling down, eyes closed, arms folded, perfectly quiet. Made me cry. Even after days like Friday, there come these wonderful moments that lift me back up again, and make me realize that with the Lord's help, I can do this!

We have this family tradition during Conference of all cross stitching together, for all 8 hours, with beautiful food to munch on. It's so much fun to sit there with my mom and sisters and feel the spirit and get rejuvenated spiritually. Can you tell this was a very good weekend for me? Awesome.

There is some sad news to relate, though. There will not be any pictures for a while, because my camera just met with a sad, grisly, awful death. One year old baby without much judgement, camera, toilet with the lid up that is filled with poo from 3 yr old's unflushed job....and the three met. Bad results. Poor camera--that's not the way I'd wish to go.