Friday, June 27, 2008


At the end of today, Ethan told me very enthusiastically..."This was the best day ever!"

I made homemade muffins this morning. Whenever I tackle a baking project Hunter and Elle, especially, want to be right in the middle of it. Elle started "helping" by putting the mixing bowl on her head. Hunter got very upset about that because he immediately realized that her hair was where his food was going to be.

They would take turns putting in ingredients and then take turns mixing everything up...being careful not to mix too hard. Once the muffins were in baking I let them lick the bowl, which has got to be one of the staples of childhood.

Grandma Diane made a brief stop by to drop something off. The kids were all very excited to see her. I was pleased that Elle looked so cute in her piggy-tails for Grandma. As usual, they were not long lived and she pulled them out in classic bozo fashion just in time for the park day with all the other kids.

Jenny in our ward organized a weekly park day for all the kids to get together and play. It was GREAT! The boys all ran around in their "pack". The moms all sat down in the shade and visited together and the littler kids stayed in the play area on the equipment or playing in the sand or using the chalk.
In all there were children from at least ten different families who came to participate.

The boys found some other boys at the park and decided to have a war. It was all very exciting for my boys, but apparently the other boys (not a part of our group) took it a little too seriously after a while and two moms went up to break things up after getting some bad reports. As our huge group of children came marching back over the hill, one of the moms commented, "Looks like the Mormon Battalion."

When we got home we had lunch and then started right in making Daddy's birthday cake. I called the kids in and told them that Daddy had asked specifically for a present to be that the house was cleaned up when he got home. They really did make a valiant effort to do a good job.

Once the cake was done we sat in the living room and decorated with our stock of balloons. I would blow them up and then the kids would tape them where ever they thought would look nice. Afterwards we sat down and drew a picture for Daddy. Elle's consisted of circles and lines. When I asked her what her picture was of she said, "Balloons!"

I'm so glad the kids could have a good day! I'm so glad Daddy could have a good birthday!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The belly doctor

We have a doctor set that Elle got into today. I've had requests to post pictures of the belly on my blog. I hope this works for everybody. I'm not too keen on doing full shots as I am feeling rather large at the moment...and by large, I mean I feel big everywhere.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Lots of Play Dates!

I've found that the children are lots easier when they have other kids to interact with. I invited some friends over that are Hunter's age on Monday. As an added bonus their siblings came along, so Ethan and Elle had playmates too.

So, in all we had four friends over making a total of 7 children. It sounds worse than it was. I would get out a game or two and have them participate in something structured between their normal random play. They would keep each other entertained and I really had very little to do other than supervise.

We played a round of color/shape bingo and then I got the tangrams out for them to play with. It was a hit, but with short attention spans, I knew they were done when the pieces started being used as projectiles.

I put on the Standin' Tall tape for Honesty and printed out coloring pages, but only Hunter and the girls participated.

Then I took them all to the park with the sand toys. Unfortunately there weren't enough shovels to go around, so those without found other ways to keep themselves busy. I had no idea Hunter was so agile.

Snack time turned into lunch accompanied by a full fit by Hunter because I wasn't putting food in front of him fast enough. He went into the living room sprawled out on the floor and screamed , "I CAN'T EAT!!" It was a self fulfilling prophecy, since he was too busy with his temper tantrum, I just gave the next ready tortilla to whoever was waiting. He finally wised up and came in...I think the fit was more an expression of over tired than actually being upset about the food. As it turned out, everybody crashed for the afternoon. That was great for me 'cause nowadays I really do need a nap come afternoon.

Today we had friends over for Elle. Two of her little girl friends, Emma and Jaime. The boys weren't as excited to have them over because I kept emphasizing how they needed to play gently. We got all the Barbie stuff out and the kitchen play food and pans. It was all very girly!

All three of the girls are the youngest in their families, though Elle not for long. Jaime's oldest sister just graduated high school and Emma's oldest brother is already in Middle school. So, they're used to much older kids.

Actually, when Elle went over to Emma's house when I had a prenatal visit she was SOOO excited....right up to the point when Emma's oldest brother answered the door. Elle burst into tears and didn't want to stay after all. Fortunately, Mindi (Emma's mom) was very understanding and made sure Elle had a good time.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Productive in the off season

As a point of sanity for myself (trust me, it's completely selfish...) I've been trying to keep the children busy with plenty of activities. At this age they love stories, songs, coloring, art projects, park time...etc.

We've been listening to the Standin' Tall tapes that I had a child. I've been downloading them into digital form onto my computer so when the tapes finally all give out we'll still be able to enjoy them. The coloring books I had, which surprisingly enough never got colored in, are used as masters for making photocopies for the kids to color. We've listened most recently to Cleanliness, Dependability and Self Esteem. The songs really get through to the kids in a way no amount of my naggy repetition could.

We were listening to the one about keeping your fingernails clean. I was making up little hand signs as we went along. Elle was SO intent on watching me and following along. They were singing about not biting your fingernails, which I wanted to emphasize with her since she's started doing it.

I really need to take advantage of this stage while I still have it figured out. Music works!

Another project we started was to make paper-mache puppets. Ethan and Elle did really well on making their layers. Hunter had a harder time. He tried doing both a small and a big balloon. I don't think he liked having his hands all goopy. After we put on a couple of layers we'll white wash the outside and then paint either faces or some other design for a piƱata.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ethan's blog

Ethan started his very own blog late last night. He originally named it Super Woodgie Underpants Toenail, but Daddy thought that was inappropriate, so we changed it to Ethan's Art. He picked the music, pictures and was trying to explain how he wanted me to put it together based on what he liked about my blog. I thought it would be an excellent place for him to learn composition through narration and have a little creative self expression.

Ethan talks and I type. I'm not going to edit what he wants to say, although I must admit...I'd like to... (apparently I'm quite the villain in his eyes).

We went to the library that day, but he didn't want to go into details about what happened because he was embarrassed. The children's area has several computers on which you can access games. You need to have a library card to get on, so we got him one. Unfortunately they were occupied most of the time. When one opened up, he ran over to me to get his card but when he got back to the computer a bigger boy had gotten on. Ethan tried to explain that it was his turn, but the boy just looked at him and basically ignored him. It was very frustrating for him.

We've made the blog private; by invitation only. If you're interested in reading it e-mail me and I'll pass the request on to Ethan.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Political sentiments

Michael and I went with our very good friends, Jeremy and Denee to the temple last night. On the way there Denee started laughing hysterically. We pulled a little closer and read the sticker in their window.

Oh, boy. Yup...that pretty much says it.

(note: if you can't read it, click on the picture to see it bigger)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Face First

For Family Home Evening Hunter and I spent the evening in the Minor Injury Clinic.

After Dinner Daddy took the boys over to the park to play some ball. Hunter tried running fast "like Flash" and tripped over himself going face first into the walk-way. This particular walkway wasn't smooth like concrete, or soft with was more like asphalt, but with jutting rocks to make it more "grippy". Hunter didn't stop his fall with his knees, hands or was ALL FACE.

His nose looks the worst. We were concerned that he needed stitches which is why I took him over to the hospital.

I will spare you the bloody pictures (I didn't take any).

We got there at 8pm. We weren't seen until 11pm. By then he was completely passed out on the couch and a nurse had to carry him in to be seen.

I was told to keep him out of the sun until it heals and then to make sure he wears hats and sunblock whenever he goes out to prevent scarring.

It's been a while since Hunter has damaged himself. When he was little he was top heavy so he was constantly falling over. Inevitably he would always fall on Saturday, so his shiners were always big and ugly for church.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Love Gram and plums

We went to Gram's house to visit. This particular day was one of those rare perfect days. Gram and I sat on the porch and talked while the kids ran around the yard. We had some issues with the bird feeder and dumping out all of the seed, but generally they were very good.

There is an old tree in the back yard that has had four generations of children climbing in it's branches. It was out of this tree that Daddy fell and hit his head. Before the fall he could hear any song and play it on the piano. According to Gram when the circus came to town they used to tie the elephants to this tree.

Gram has a plum tree on the side of the house that the children discovered, so we made an event of it getting all the plums we could reach and enjoying them. The boys brought their light sabers and tried to use them to reach more plums. Gram used her cane to pull branches down so we could reach. Elle made the biggest mess of herself. But, that certainly wasn't the end of it. Later she found a date stamp and stamped herself ALL over.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Princess Party!

Long Day

Today has been one thing after another. I'd hate to sound whiny so I'll try and muster up as much post traumatic humor as possible.

Yesterday I ran around town running errands and picked up all sorts of stuff to fix on the house. The whole nesting urge has set in with a vengeance and rather than flit around with straw and twigs I've decided to do all the Honey-Do stuff myself because I just can't stand it anymore.

So, after I got all my fix-it stuff I installed the hole cover for the sink and the new soap dispenser that the boys broke months ago. Michael came home mid installation and finished it himself with much grumbling for having to crawl under the sink and made the parting comment, "Hurry up and have that baby so you'll knock all this nesting crap off."

I was thinking to myself, "You think THAT was bad.... if you knew about all the building materials I've got sitting in the truck right now...."

One of the things I picked up from Wal-mart yesterday was a two gallon dispenser for the milk. We've been doing powdered milk recently, which I've found I absolutely LOVE since I don't have to run to the store as often. We are using the Bishop's Storehouse brand which of all the powdered milks I've tried is hands-down the BEST. You can't even tell the difference. The trick, I've discovered is to add heavy whipping cream in the right proportion to give the milk the right percentage of fat content. Depending on how much you put, you can make anywhere from 1% to whole milk. I swear you can't tell the difference! It's AWESOME!

I mixed up two gallons this morning and put it in the fridge before the kids woke up. A little while later I opened the fridge again to get some eggs out to make breakfast and an entire gallon of milk came gushing out all over the floor. When I shut the fridge, the door shelf compressed the spigot and started to drain the milk out into the shelves and drawers below. I had quite a mess to clean up.

Last night I wrapped up some presents for a Princess birthday party that Elle was invited to. They looked fabulous, if I do say so myself. I was excited to show Elle when she got up. She was very impressed and liked how pretty they were. I even had enough foresight to lock them in my bedroom while I was in the shower so no little person would be tempted to open them. Unfortunately I did not re-lock the door after I got dressed. When I went upstairs to get Elle's clothes and came back down she was on my bed unwrapping one of the presents. She knew she was in trouble. She said, "For Sophie? I'm sorry mom. I'm sorry mom." Fortunately there was enough paper to salvage the presents and re-wrap it.

With re-wrapping and the milk incident, breakfast was slowly being pushed later and later in the morning.

I drug the kids off to go vote, dropped the boys off at a friend's house and took Elle to her Princess party. (Refer to next post for all the pink and girly details!)

After the party I started doing my next round of home improvement which involved electrical work and sheet rock repair. We lost/broke the porch light cover some time ago and so we have just a lone light bulb in front of the house. To me it looks very trashy. I've asked Michael to fix it, but he'll just start spouting off about how all the windows need to be replaced and the siding is rotting and needs to be replaced and painting that needs to be done, not to mention the gutters that still need to be addressed. Rather than make progress on any one project, it's all one big thing that apparently must be accomplished all at once before a stupid porch light can even be considered.

Fine I'll do it myself.

I hunted around the house trying to find the right electrical switch box. The one upstairs didn't turn off the porch light, but all the computers had to be shut down when I tried it. I finally located the correct electrical box and disconnected power so that I could re-do the wiring. I feel so pleased with myself for figuring this all out. I used different colored tape to keep track of the white and black wire connections. Just as I was going to put the last nut on to finish the installation, it slipped out of my hand and went somewhere on or under the porch. I looked and looked. In frustration I put some muscle into it and moved the porch out of the way since my enormous belly precluded me from climbing under the porch. I couldn't find it amidst all the debris and with the porch pulled away the children suddenly had an overwhelming desire to run in and out of the house as much as possible.

I did finally find the nut. It was stuck between two of the wooden slats of the decking. After I got it out and put it on I discovered that the porch did not seem as easy to move back into place. Perhaps my frustration in loosing it gave me just enough muscle to get it out of the way. I had the boys come out and heave with me. It wouldn't move. We finally did figure it out and got it moved back into place, but my muscles felt it, for sure.

I came in to find that the tape dispenser that I had used for wrapping the presents had been discovered by some little person. They had generously taped all the walls in the kitchen, the kitchen chairs, the table, the refrigerator. When I questioned those present, Hunter told me that Ethan did it. Ethan was upstairs on the computer. After Ethan got in trouble, it turns out that Hunter was the one who did it, but blamed Ethan because he saw Ethan take a piece of tape first.

The sheetrock work was my final undoing. I had dinner going in the oven and in the meantime I went around with my little jar of patching compound fixing all the little holes and dings all over the house. The stuff came out pink but dried white so you could tell when it was dry.

The biggest hole was from when the front door stopper came unscrewed and the door knob made a big hole through the sheetrock. I got a patch repair kit especially designed for that kind of hole. The damage from the baby gate and the exposed metal edges that have been driving me crazy were finally fixed. Hurray! I used every last bit of the spackle compound.

I went upstairs to take a break and download the pictures from the princess party before dinner. Years ago our computer crashed and I lost all of Hunter's baby pictures many of the precious digital pictures I had of Ethan. It was devastating. We also lost many e-mail addresses for old friends that have never been recovered. As a precaution we use an external hard drive to keep all of our digital pictures and bank files. I got on the computer and called up the file for pictures on the external hard drive, but nothing was there. It said that the folder was empty. I looked at all of the root file folders and they all said that they were empty. Years of memories, precious irreplaceable pictures....gone? Was it because I turned the power off? Did Ethan do something? I tried starting our finance software, hoping that it would find the file stored there. The program opened as if we had started it for the first time. I experienced the most enormous pucker factor with horrible flashbacks of all that we had already lost, only this time it would be much worse. Before panic set in, I decided to turn everything off and reboot the system hoping and praying that we didn't just lose EVERYTHING.

Once the system rebooted the drive recognized all of it's contents and I finally exhaled. I think I need to have a double back up system and put our pictures on a DVD-rom. I don't EVER want to experience that again.

I went back downstairs and the pink spots on the walls were too much for the children to resist and somebody had drug their fingers through the patch work that I had just done. The spackle was half-way dried and couldn't be smoothed back down and I didn't have any more. I knew I could get more, but that meant an essentially unnecessary trip.

You know that scene in The Incredibles when Mr. Incredible slips on a skateboard, crunches the car roof then slams the door and the window breaks and he "has a moment"?

I had a moment.

I told Michael that dinner was ready, all he had to do was serve it up. I'm leaving. I'll be back after the children are in bed. I'm turning my phone off.

I went to the library. I didn't actually go inside. I just sat in the parking lot and cried.

My mom told me later that when she arrived for dinner Ethan was in tears thinking that I wasn't coming home again.

After I got home I went up and talked to him about all that had happened. He took the brunt of getting into trouble for most of the stuff that Elle and Hunter did. I apologized for blaming him so quickly. I gave him lots of hugs and kisses and we said a prayer together. I hope he feels better. I know I'll have to show him extra love and attention to make up for today.