Thursday, October 30, 2008

More Catch Up Posting

I'm still catching up from the weekend. Ugh...I'm a slow poke.

Saturday (the 25th):

Since Saturday is really our only day to work on projects around the house, Matt needed to work on finishing up the garage (he's made lots of progress!!) and I was trying to get some other projects finished. So...Tanya stepped in and saved us once again.

She took the kids over to Grandma and Grandpa T.'s house for a picnic and they did this while they were there:

Obviously, they had a lot more fun than we did at home.

Tanya and I took them to the aquarium later that day. It was the first time we had been there. It's pretty small, but since the kids had never seen anything like it before, they were impressed.

Tanya took a lot of great pictures and even let me test out her camera.

My shot...

Her shot with the (oh so handy) remote.

It was a nice low-key activity after all the sugar infused craziness we had the night before.

Sunday (the 26th):

Primary Program!

The program was wonderful. It is always sweet to hear the little voices singing and sharing testimonies.

Let me just say here that I've been in Primary enough times to VERY MUCH APPRECIATE all the time, effort and just plain WORK that goes in to this. I am so grateful for the wonderful women in our ward that are willing to serve with the kids. In my mind this is the most difficult (and most important!) organization in the ward to serve in. They are amazing. And especially thanks to Heidi who wrangles my precocious Kenna every week. It's a tough job!

Kenna was scared to go up on the stand at first, and although I'm not certain how she fared while she was up there, she was happy when it was all over. We had to leave Church early to come back and help Matt out before he went to work (the big hole in his shoulder was hurting a fair amount). Lyssa cried all the way home about not getting to go to her class and play with the kids. Ah Nursery. Blessed be thy teachers.

We had a yummy dinner with Matt's family later in the afternoon. Tanya made a wonderful spread for everyone. I can't wait to try out her Beef Tips recipe myself!

Straight from there, we ran off to an Eagle Court of Honor for my nephew, Dallin. It was so neat to see him receive an award for such a great accomplishment! The bald eagle they brought in intrigued the girls, but when it started flapping its wings, I think they got a little nervous.

Tuesday (the 28th):

Kenna's official birthday. Oh my, where has the last five years gone!

After the girls got home from school, we went to the Planetarium. It is Kenna's favorite place and has the added bonus of being easy on the wallet since they don't charge to look around.

Grandma and Grandpa T. came over later, as well as Aunt Lori and Cousin Bryson. (Grandpa Y. wasn't feeling well so they weren't able to make it over.) It was nice and mellow after Friday's hullabaloo. We did the present thing, and had some cake and ice cream to share (oh my what a sugar fest this week is turning out to be!). We played fairies, checked out all the new toys and what they did and just let the kids get hyper and have fun.

Good times.

With that...I believe I am mostly caught up. Congrats to you if you actually made it through this. There are times when having this double as a journal is incompatible with making it interesting for anyone but me. (Okay, that's probably most of the time...sorry.)

Hope everyone has a Happy Halloween!


I can finally grab a spare minute to post an update on some of the fun stuff we did this last weekend. And BOY HOWDY was there a lot of stuff.

Friday (the 24th):

I went out to lunch with Tanya and the in-laws. We went to one of my favorite little places here in town called Les Madelines. (Seriously, if any of you are ever in town and are the "foodie" type, you have to go here. Also, if you like pastries, it's a bakery and they have something called Kouing Aman that is SO. AMAZING.) I really love their food; it's light and healthy (well...minus the pastry part) and just plain yummy.

I headed straight for home after we finished, and it was a good thing! There was still a lot we needed to do before the party.

This is where I report that the kids didn't think helping me get ready for the party was all that fun - unless it was the part where we made the cakes for the kids to decorate - and that they fought me all week about it. My take-away lesson for that Mix-it-Up idea? Don't try to teach them how to clean the whole house and get ready for a party all in the same week. (I know you saw that coming, why didn't you tell me?) We learned some really valuable things from it though (like they can help more than I thought they could), so I think it was worth it in the end.

I have a tendency to sort of freeze up and do nothing when I get really stressed. Since I had a lot on my mind with work and other family stuff, not even including the party and birthday, I think I froze up most of the week and didn't get things accomplished like I wanted to. When Tanya got to the house, the panic had just set in where I knew I wouldn't be able to get it all done in time. Lucky for me she saved my booty. I am not overstating this - SHE WAS MY LIFESAVER.

While we were busy getting everything ready, Matt headed to the doctor to get a small cyst taken off his shoulder. (Nothing serious, just irritating.) They ended up having to make a decent sized hole to get the thing out, so he was pretty sore once he got back (and the numbness wore off).

When the kids arrived, the first thing we did was this:

Balloon release, Nienie style...complete with wishes attached.

It was so much fun! They got into it way more than I thought they would and sort of turned the whole thing into a balloon race.

Then we decorated cakes. Somehow this has turned into one of our birthday traditions. We always make a small cake for the birthday kid and let them decorate it with whatever they want. Our girls have LOVED it and look forward to it every birthday, so we decided to share the love.

Some of the kids getting ready to decorate.

My niece, Harlie, with her completed cake. This pose was so cute, I couldn't resist posting the picture!

Somewhere in there our couch broke. When Matt pulled it away from the wall to assess the damage we discovered that it came with an extra accessory we didn't know about. Our first clue was a blade sticking out of the back of it about 3 inches. Apparently a set of scissors got sewn into it when it was being made. Matt was able to fix the couch though and (BONUS!) we got a new set of scissors out of the whole deal. Too bad there is a big slit in the back of the couch where we had to cut to get them the rest of the way out.

All the kids.

All in all, it was a great time. The kids stayed around a little while and played down in the basement while the adults got to talk. My little social butterfly loved her party and I loved having it over so I don't have to worry about it any more!

That's enough of an update from me for one day. More to come!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Mix-it-Up Monday: Carving Pumpkins

I'm going to have to post a report later on all the happenings of the party and the weekend...they were many and I don't have time to write them all up at the moment. I'm still recovering...

I do have to say one thing about it now though and that is a big ol' THANK YOU to my sister-in-law Tanya. I could not have survived everything without her and her generous help in innumerable ways. She helped me clean, take care of kids, decorate (actually, she did that one single handedly), take pictures, organize and contain party goers, take the kids out for a fun day, and many other things that let me survive the crazy weekend we had. (The woman actually gave me flowers too after everything else she did to help amazing is she? PRETTY DARN AMAZING.)

For now...there will be a lot of activities this week, seeing as how it is both birthday week and Halloween. But our activity of choice for the Mix-it-Up is going to be carving pumpkins since it's not obligatory, but will add to the festivities of both occasions.

I'll get updates on last week's "project" as well as our busy and fun weekend posted later.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I'm going crazy, would you like to come along?

Let's talk about how yesterday went, shall we? (I need the therapy...)

(I'm not even going mention what happened at work yesterday because this would turn into an ANGRY ANGRY rant. But know that it sucked and I was justifiably grumpy.)

On the way home from the place that shall not be named, I drove around a LARGE parking lot for 20 minutes looking for our other car. (Matt and I normally have to switch cars in the middle of the day since only one has all three car seats in it right now.) He was teaching a training class at a place I had never been before. He had called earlier and told me right where to find the car...and I couldn't find it. Bah. Brain? What is that?

By the time I finally DID fid it, I was late picking the kids up. (Can you say SLACKER MOM?)Normally we just trade off the kids when we trade cars, but since he was working all morning, my parents had them. Thankfully they are AWESOME and were just chillin' with the kids when I got there.

I had to drag the girls kicking and screaming out to the car (can you tell that they love grandma and grandpa's house?). That is always so much fun! And then there was the crying and whining all the way home about why they can't just live at grandma's house because she is sooooo much nicer than me. Fabulous.

Just to add to the joy, Liam decided to practice his annoying little brother skills on the ride home. When I went to take the kids out of the car, he had a big handful of McKenna's hair. Her precious "princess hair" that she LOVES. LOVES.(Now I know why she was whining and crying!) You're treading on thin ice, kid.

I lugged everyone into the house while trying to talk to my mother-in-law on the phone. As soon as we walked in the door, I dropped all 10 bags I was carrying (fortunately I managed not to drop the baby!) and COLLAPSED onto the couch long enough to finish the last 2 minutes of the phone call. The whole time, Alyssa was crying and Liam was waving his fistful of hair triumphantly in Kenna's face, making her scream about her princess hair being all gone. Awesome.

Matt called the second I hung up from talking to his mom. So while we were chatting, I changed clothes and took the kids coats and shoes off (more crying and whining). I took the butter out of the fridge for the cakes I ABSOLUTELY needed to make that night and set it on the counter. As we kept talking, he arrived at his regular work building and said something like, "As long as you remembered to get my uniform out of the back of the Jeep..."

OH #*&$%!

(I didn't actually swear, but I so wanted to...)

So...I changed clothes AGAIN (can't wear PJs to his work...and yes I changed into my pajamas at 5:30), put the kids' coats and shoes on AGAIN and dragged everyone and everything back out to the car. We took Matt his uniform, sat through the lovely rush hour traffic, and finally arrived back home an hour after we left.

I was DONE.

The kids didn't get a bath...I don't think I even remembered to brush their teeth.

The cakes did not get made like they were supposed to. In fact, as far as I know, the butter is still sitting on the counter.

Like I said...CRAZY.

I think I'm going to go read yesterday's post again...

Oh, and thanks to Jon and Kate Plus 8 commercials for the post title. I can't even handle 3 I have no idea how they handle 8.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mother Mercies

Growing up, I was not one of those girls that always wanted to be a mom. I mean, I always assumed that I would grow up, get married, and have children, but it wasn't something that I actively thought about or planned for. (Honestly, I'm not sure exactly what I was planning for. Maybe that part of my personality didn't develop until later...)

I didn't really enjoy playing house, I didn't like playing with dolls all that much, and I definitely didn't like taking care of any children I wasn't related to.

So fast forward about 15 years and here I am with 3 kids of my own. I would not put myself in the "great mom" category. Don't get me wrong. I take care of my kids. I feed them. I clothe them. I play with them. I love them. But I always feel like I'm missing out on the Deep Meaning of it all. Like somehow I'm just skimming the surface of being a mother and what all that means.

Some of it probably has to do with the fact that I work. I don't want to, I have to. I have missed out on a lot of the "mom" things because of it. I don't have as many opportunities to bond with my children with the short amount of time we have together.

Some of it definitely has to do with how much alone-in-my-head time I tend to take. (I'm working on that...)

I'm not exactly sure what the rest of it is...but it probably has something to do with the amount of sleep that I (don't) get and the fact that I'm pretty selfish. (Ouch. But it's true.)

Every once in a while I get a glimpse of what I imagine other mothers feel about their children all the time. I had a taste of those true Mother feelings last night. And it was so simple, but so very sweet.

After I put the girls to bed, I went downstairs with the baby to finish getting him fed and changed so I could put him to bed as well. When we finished that, I played with him for a few minutes and then scooped him up in my arms to take him upstairs to bed. As I walked up the stairs with his warm little body snuggled up to me, I had an overwhelming feeling of love for this sweet baby boy and his big sisters. I just could. not. bear. to put him down. I felt like I wanted hold and snuggle with him forever. I sat with him in the rocker by his bed and just tried to savor every tiny detail about how it felt.

As we rocked, this article called "Surviving on the Mercies of Motherhood" came to mind. You really should read the whole thing, but I'll quote the gist of it:
So here's my theory: Heavenly Father knew how challenging motherhood would
be for each of us—physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. So He sends us
“mother mercies.” You know the moments—the ones that sneak up on you and make you smile or laugh—or teary-eyed. It’s like the time I caught a whiff of my five-year-old and realized he’d put on his daddy’s deodorant that morning. Or when he used to pray nightly, “Please bless that morning will come in five minutes.” It’s the time I found a bar of soap in my bathroom with one (and only one) set of teeth marks in it. Or when my preschooler asked me, “Why did Jesus cover our bones with skin?”

Perhaps these little mercies are like the pauses between our contractions of
motherhood—the moments that make us say, “Oh yeah. I really love this mothering

Think about it—what an interesting phenomenon—in our very hardest moments of mothering, Heavenly Father sends us these little flashes of reprieve to help us keep going with a smile. True, we have diapers and back-talking and tantrums and spills, but we also get kisses and first steps and stick-figure drawings and hand-pulled bouquets.

Look for the Mother Mercies in your own life. I promise they will pop up everywhere—when your toddler trips the alarm at the library (like mine did) or when he pours pop down the bowling alley lane (yes, mine) or when you find your envious child stripped down to his nothings at the park, staring longingly through the fence into the city pool (Whose kid is that? Oh, it’s mine). The Mother Mercies are always there. Don’t miss them!

One Sunday while I was juggling my three little ones, an older sister in my ward leaned over and said, “This will all end someday, believe me.” To which I
replied, “Oh don’t tell me that! I’m having so much fun.” Who knew that doing
something so hard could bring me so much happiness? And just like the finale of
childbirth, I’m hopeful that this mothering thing—this exhausting labor of
love—will someday bring us joy we could never comprehend was possible.
This is what I had last night. One of those tender moments that makes you realize what the whole thing is about. A very sweet Mother Mercy that let me see how much I really do love these amazing children and how very very blessed I am to have them.

I do LOVE being a mom and I think I'm finally starting to understand what that means...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Punkin' Pickin'

Daddy and his girls.

Last Friday we went on our annual trip to the local farmer's to pick punkins. (For some reason I cannot get my kids to say puMPkin correctly. It always comes out punkin.) We started going to a nearby patch when Kenna was just tiny and they have always loved it. It has been a fun family tradition that the kids look forward to every year.

Gratuitous cute baby picture.

This time we went to a different spot. There is a grower a little bit closer to our house. They have a lot of tractors for the kids to play on and take pictures with, as well as a small corn maze. (Which we didn't get to go through because Alyssa was being CRANKY. I hate the transition phase between nap and no nap. This child does not handle it well.)


It seemed like the girls picked up every pumpkin they could carry. We ended up with more than we needed, but it was so fun to watch the kids run from row to row checking out all the pumpkins to find just the perfect one (or five...). Liam and I hung out while Matt chased McKenna and Alyssa around the patch and hauled everything back to the wheelbarrow.

Debating the virtues of the 20th pumpkin they've looked at in 3 minutes...

Attempt at a self portrait. Not as good at it as NieNie.
My husband is the photographer...but I always end up taking the pictures.
Go figure. I just want my kids to know that I actually showed up.

I really liked this new place. Mostly because instead of actually weighing the pumpkins here like they did at the patch we've been to before, there were just a couple of teenage boys standing there eyeing people's wheelbarrows and haggling between themselves about how much to charge. I'm not sure if there was any rhyme or reason to it. When it was our turn, the one kid looked in the wheelbarrow and gave us a price. The other one was still trying to tally things up as we paid, got our change and walked away. Let's just say that we ended up paying a lot less than we have in the past. Always a bonus...

Look! A smile!

I had to hand Liam off to dad for a minute. That kid is HEAVY.
He was so excited to be there he could hardly contain himself.

Our haul.

As soon as we get them carved, we are officially ready for Halloween.

Let's just get the birthday party out of the way first.

(Have I mentioned how I don't like parties?)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mix-it-Up Monday: Birthday Party

I am the kind of person that composes all these FABULOUS blog posts in my head...and then promptly forgets them as soon as I sit down to the computer.

So BELIEVE ME, I had a bunch of amazing and witty things ready to write. They were all phrased perfectly and would have rocked your socks. Except that I couldn't get them out of my head and into the computer before they disappeared. (Once your kids grow up, do you get your brain back?)

Just use your imagination and I'm sure this will turn out great...

Last week we painted's what it looked like:

Getting Started

Works in Progress

This is what Liam did while we painted

Mostly done

They are now in the garage with some layers of clear coat added. Once they all dry, I'll put up another picture of them in their final resting place - on the girls' bedroom ceiling.

What we learned:
  • This should be common sense, but cover EVERYTHING. Especially if you have a younger child participating. McKenna did okay, but Alyssa got paint on the kitchen chair. RED paint. Thankfully Matt got paint that came off fairly easily.
  • We got wooden balls instead of Styrofoam. If you do this, drill a hole in them before trying to screw in the little eye-hooks. The wood is too hard for eye-hooks this small and the tips just end up twisting off.
  • Have something that can hold the ball while you paint and while the paint dries. Matt used to paint miniature statues, so he had a lot of do-dads that helped with this. The larger balls had a small flat spot on top, so if you weren't able to find anything you could set them on this for most of the painting.
  • Glow in the Dark paint makes them even more fun. After the kids finished painting the main part of the planets, we went back and touched them all up with glow in the dark paint. It will make them a little more entertaining, especially since they will be hanging from the ceiling in their room.
This has a been a really fun way to teach the kids more about the solar system. It has helped them to recognize each planet by the color and size and to know their proper order.
Thanks to my awesome hubby for coming up with such a great idea.

This week's activity: a BIRTHDAY PARTY. (Have I mentioned how much I hate parties?) This is a big deal for us, we've never really done one before and we actually have cousins coming this time. We have a lot to get ready, so I'm going to have the kids help me out with all the little things we need to do. Hopefully after helping pitch in with the work, they'll appreciate the party a little more!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Funky Town

My heart was heavy yesterday. It was one of those days when I just can't seem to get myself out of a funk, mostly because I'm preoccupied with how I got in the funk in the first place.

I'm one of those people that worries way too much about what other people think. And although I've repeatedly tried to get over this, it just doesn't seem to be in my nature. It kills me to think that someone might not like me, or might think that I am unkind or anything like unto it. I OBSESS over it. (Ask my husband...he'll probably roll his eyes like, "Do you even KNOW this woman? OF COURSE.") I just hate thinking that I am the cause for someone else's discomfort or hurt feelings.

So I was pretty much locked in my brain most of yesterday worrying about a situation of this sort and thinking about how it really bugs me that this stuff really bugs me. (Sounds like fun, huh.) Especially in this particular situation where it seems like there really isn't anything I can do about it. No matter what I say, I don't think it will change anything.


I hate that pit of despair feeling that seems to make your whole body depressed. It felt like my whole evening was in slow motion. (p.s. Folding laundry in slow motion is a drag.)

My children did little to encourage the funk to lift. Usually, they are pretty good at cheering me up (especially the baby!), but I guess they didn't get the memo that mommy needed happy kids. (It doesn't help that at least half the house has been sick with something for at least the last, oh...six weeks? And that we're still struggling through it.) The girls did alright, but they seemed extra prone to sibling squabbles and WHINING. (Mom's biggest pet peeve. Yay.)

Liam was cranky all evening. Those stubborn teeth refuse to give the poor thing a break. I could not do anything to make him happy for longer than 10 minutes. I had planned on finishing one of my big (secret) projects that has been taking all of my spare time for the last month, but alas, it was not to be. He wanted me to try to hold him all night while he tried to wiggle away. We ended up vegging on the couch during the "debate" because I just COULD NOT TAKE ANY MORE. At least that numbed my senses for a little while. (Is it bad that watching those two speak makes me so uncomfortable that I have to get up and leave the room every few minutes? I am physically incapable of watching either one of them for extended periods of time.)

So night was a BLAST. I still haven't gotten the funk to lift completely, but at least it is a little better due to my Amazing (!!!!) Mom and Sis-in-Law. They gave me some good ideas for the birthday party. Now I can finally get an e-mail out since I finally have an idea what we're going to do (e-mails count as invitations, shut up).

Sorry for being such a downer. Hope I didn't offend anyone. Or hurt any feelings...

Here we go again...

We'll have to talk about my phobia of parties later. I'm sure it will come up again soon.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mix-it-Up Monday: Planets

This is how the week 'o sidewalk chalk went:

We spent nearly every afternoon outside drawing away. It was awesome - and it was a good low key sort of option for a week where all of us have been feeling a little crappy.

Not really a whole lot to report here. Basically just give the kids the bucket of chalk and let them go to town.

Unfortunately, all the drawings got washed away by the SNOW that feel Saturday night and most of yesterday. (I'm SO not ready for Snow. Let me enjoy FALL first please!)

For the activity this week, we are going to paint planets. The plan is to get small Styrofoam or wooden balls, some inexpensive paints and brushes, and some little hooks so we can hang them from the ceiling in their room. (My kids are kind of obsessed with planets and whatnot, so Matt came up with the idea.) This one should be something they will really enjoy, even if it's a lot of work for mom and dad!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Mix-it-Up Monday: Sidewalk Chalk

Is it possible for snot to find it's way up into your skull? Because seriously...that's the only logical explanation for how stuffed up my head has been for the last few days. Ugh. So please excuse me for being absent. I've actually had stuff to write about, but I haven't been able to form a coherent thought due to the abundance of SNOT.

We finished our Clean-up Cards from last week and they WORK LIKE A CHARM. Here is what we did:

  • The girls and I sat down together and decided what we needed to have cards for. We picked toy "groups" (i.e. Books, Balls, Ponies, Stuffed Animals, etc.), but you could do it by color, shape, anything that would help your munchkins and be fitting for their ages. (I could even see doing multiple versions of the cards by the different categorizations, just to keep things interesting.)
  • I drew pictures of some representative items on one side of the index card (I SUCK at drawing so don't judge!) and wrote the toy group on the other side. (I thought about finding some coloring book type pictures on the internet for this part, but our printer is attached to the computer that doesn't have the internet. This was easier.)
  • McKenna and Alyssa colored all the pictures I drew and as they colored we talked about what they would need to pick up for each card they colored.

Some of the finished cards

After that, I explained one more time (for the benefit of the three year old, mostly) and turned them loose. Guess what? IT WORKED! No crying and complaining. No, "I'm too tired to clean up" or "MOM, can you come clean this up". It was AWESOME. I highly recommend this activity - it's the gift that keeps on giving! Thanks Suburbiamom!

This week: SIDEWALK CHALK. I am going to let the kids thoroughly COVER the driveway and sidewalk. They love to draw and we all need to get out and enjoy the fresh (FALL!) air.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Kids say WHAT?

As I was driving home from picking the kids up yesterday, Kenna was singing me a cute little Halloween song that she learned in school. After she finished, I told her what a great job she did and asked her if she had sung the song for daddy. She said, "Yes...but I don't think he was listening to me." When I asked her why, she said, "Because he didn't say anything when I finished." I thought it was really funny, and somewhat surprising, that she would pick up on something like that. Especially since she doesn't usually slow down enough to listen to anyone else if she's in the spotlight.

Kids continue to surprise and amaze me. I really don't think we as parents give them enough credit for how perceptive they can be. They are constantly watching and trying to figure everything out; it's almost like you can see the little wheels turning in their heads. There are so many times when they have repeated something I have said, when I was positive they hadn't been listening to me when I said it. (OOPS.)

It definitely makes me recognize that I need to be careful about what I say and do. There's nothing worse than hearing some of your own shining parenting moments come back out of your child's mouth when they are playing house.

Of course...I would know NOTHING about that.


To completely change the subject so as to distract from my less than perfect parenting:
I got some new workout videos in the mail on Monday. I've tried them out for the last couple days and HOLY. COW. All of the sudden I went from feeling like I could be a back up dancer in a music video (from these videos) to feeling like a completely uncoordinated idiot (takes me a while to learn the new routines). That and I woke up this morning wondering where all these new muscles came from, and WHY ARE THEY SO SORE?! I'm walking around like I just got off a horse. I like them though. Very energetic, up beat and FUN. If you like kickboxing/dancing kind of stuff, so far I think they're worth it.