Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Night of the crazies

...or why we only have three children.

(note: I couldn't find an image to fully illustrate the level of chaos appropriate to this post, so as you read, just use your imagination. I bet you don't even come close.)

Last night Chris's sister and her husband had an office party, and his parents were also going out and therefore unavailable to babysit, so we vounteered to watch their two little girls, both of whom are younger than Ellie. The girls all play really well together; in fact, Abbie and Ellie are close enough in age to be good friends, and she hero-worships Vicki and Lexi. Baby Savannah is just cute and loved by all. So everyone played really well, aside from the few normal scuffles. But Savannah flat-out refuses to drink a bottle. It's a lucky day if you can coax more than half an ounce into her, so about the time the rest of us were ready for dinner, she was screaming for it. I got everyone else dinner while Chris tried (actually quite successfully) to calm the baby down, and then I took over so he could eat. And then he took over again so I could eat. It's nice to be able to tag-team. But once dinner was over, the entire upstairs looked like a bomb had gone off. Taco fixings and semi-finished plates were all over the kitchen, and the living room was carpeted with matchbox cars, marbles, blankets, play dishes, and teething rings. It was quite a sight to behold and I was grateful that my mother-in-law was not around to witness the destruction of her home.

So we resorted to that age-old, tried and tested method: bribery. We told the girls they could watch a movie before bed if they got the living room cleaned up. And like the whirlwind of destruction that had previously torn its way through the house, they made small work of it. They actually cleaned up. There may still be cars hiding out in corners, and I'm fairly certain there are at least three marbles under the couch, but the living room was picked up in record time and Emily came home to put Savannah out of her misery, so we turned on Wall-E for the second time in as many nights and the girls curled up with their fleece blankies (and Abbie's "boo bankie") and we "watched" the movie. I say "watched" for two reasons. One, because we'd all watched it the night before and it didn't have quite the same pull, and two, because Ellie and Abbie kept up a running commentary the whole time: "Who's that?" "What's Wall-E doing?" "He's so silly!" "What's Eve's sound?" "She shooted Wall-E!" "What's happening?" "I love you!" It was hilarious.

And it was pure craziness. Five little girls under the age of 9...I know there are people who do it, but for the life of me, I can't figure out how. One night was enough for us!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

May the Lord bless you all, this day and always!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The trip to Grandma's

Well, we're in Utah. Very, very happily in Utah. The actual drive down here is never something we look forward to. 12 hours in a car with three little girls...yeah, not my idea of a good time. But it's generally not too bad. We usually leave around 3am and the girls sleep for the first few hours, making it seem like a shorter trip for them. This year, with the snowstorms in Portland, we decided to wait and leave around 6am, thinking that it would be a little safer then. It was a great plan.

At 4:30 Saturday morning Lexi threw up. Lovely. So I cleaned up while Chris went to check the weather to see if we could postpone. And he discovered that the storm that had just ended was being closely followed by another one, and if we were going to spend Christmas in Utah, we had to go NOW. Fifteen minutes ago. And then Lexi threw up again.

So we prayed hard, gave some blessings, prayed some more, and piled into the car. We pulled out around 6:45. We had driven 15 minutes when we saw a sign indicating that chains were required for the next 70 miles. So we pulled off, put on the chains, and drove 40mph for the next two hours. With all three girls awake (and fortunately not throwing up.) After we passed The Dalles the snow let up and we took off the chains. We made approximately 400 pit stops for people (Lexi) who HAD TO GO POTTY THIS VERY SECOND! and who apparently just really wanted to be out of the car. Although I can't blame her for wanting to be out of the car, I can't wait until she grasps the fact that the time it takes to get to Grandma's is disproportionate to the time we spend out of the car going potty.

We finally pulled in to Grandma E.'s just after 10:00pm, Utah time. That's 15 hours. Not fun. But we were watched over and greatly blessed. We made it safely and nobody threw up. The Lord hears and answers prayers. The girls have already found the pickle hidden on the tree, given a Christmas present to the fairies in Grandma's fairy garden, built a snow cave with Uncle Blaine (I forgot the cable to the camera, so I'll have to post pictures after we get home), and completely trashed Grandma's living room with toys the haven't seen in 6 months. And we get to trash Grandma Y.'s house tomorrow! We are so happy to be here!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Random Thoughts Thursday

Why do the Wal-Mart photo center employees act as though my time is unimportant? I understand that you've had a rough day and your machinery was acting up, causing you to get behind in your orders. However, when it's the second time I've been in and my phone number is on the order, the least you could do is make some courtesy calls to let people know it may be a while. At least I put in my order online, so I wasn't actually waiting around in the store for the extra 1 1/2 hours before my prints were done.

The weather here is so weird.

I won the UK lottery, apparently. I'm starting to suspect that maybe all my winnings are not actually legit. Bummer, I could really have used that $800,000.

This has got to be the best misuse of quotation marks ever.

My fellow grammar nerds will get a kick out of this.

Maybe I should have called this post "Random Links Thursday".

If it's not a snow day tomorrow, my kids are going to be reeeeeallly tired tomorrow. It's after 9:00 and there's a lot of bumping and yelling coming from their room. They like the door closed now, but I'm starting to think it's just an excuse to make a lot of noise and imagine that they'll get away with it.

There is too much on the internet. I sit here, at t-minus 18 hours before takeoff for Grandma's, and nothing is packed (okay, the girls "packed" tonight, but you can probably guess what that means: re-packing!), there's laundry to wash and presents to wrap, and the whole house needs to be cleaned so when we get home we can feel really good about ourselves. And here I am, surfin' the web. Ohhh, there had better be school tomorrow.


And today?

There was school. Go figure.

Okay, in all fairness, the snow didn't actually start until about 8:45, and school starts at 8:40, but still...crazy.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Phobophobic's* Nightmare

We discovered last night. I can’t even remember what prompted the search, but in no time the entire family was laughing at the abundance of phobias out there. We've all heard of claustrophobia and arachnophobia, but there's so much more to be afraid of! Here are a few of our favorites:

I definitely suffer from emetophobia (fear of vomiting), as well as a mild form of arachibutyrophobia (fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth).

My children seem to suffer from hypengyophobia (fear of responsibility), and also clinophobia (fear of going to bed), pteronophobia (fear of being tickled by feathers), vestiphobia (fear of clothing), and, occasionally, kathisophobia (fear of sitting down).

Conversely, they most certainly do not suffer from syngenesophobia (fear of relatives), allodoxaphobia (fear of opinions), elurophobia (fear of cats), ataxophobia (fear of disorder or untidiness), gymnophobia (fear of nudity), porphyrophobia (fear of the color purple).

There are a few that would be terribly inconvenient to have at the same time, such as pluviophobia (fear of rain or being rained on) and xerophobia (fear of dryness), or dextrophobia (fear of things on the right side of the body) and levophobia (fear of things on the left side of the body), or peladophobia (fear of bald people) and trichopathophobia (fear of hair).

I can understand how some people might suffer from agateophobia (fear of insanity), bromidrosiphobia (fear of body smells), ephebiphobia (fear of teenagers), and mnemophobia (fear of memories), and I’ve met people who appear to suffer from epistemophobia (fear of knowledge) and sophophobia (fear of learning), but aulophobia (fear of flutes), geniophobia (fear of chins), genuphobia (fear of knees), linonophobia (fear of string), lutraphobia (fear of otters), nomatophobia (fear of names), and zemmiphobia (fear of the great mole rat) really make no sense to me.

However, I think helminthophobia (fear of being infested with worms) haunts us all.

Some are fun to combine. We came up with emetoelurophobia (the fear of vomiting cats), and peladopogonophobia (the fear of bald people with beards). Or there’s the dreaded mnemokathisoautomatonosocerasopho-
scriptohexakosioihexekontahexaxerovestiphobia (the fear of remembering sitting down next to a ventriloquist’s dummy in the vicinity of your parents-in-law and learning to write the number 666 in public while wearing dry clothing)

And the best phobia ever: hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, the fear of long words.

*phobophobia: the fear of phobias

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Oh, the weather outside is frightful...

But for kids, it's so delightful!

Not so much for Mom, though. It is currently 26 degrees outside, with the windchill factor making it feel like 9 degrees (thank you,!) And the girls wonder why I won't let them outside now. It wasn't quite this cold earlier today, so they bundled up and went out to play for a while in the dusty snow that was blowing all over the place. I stayed out long enough to take this one picture, and then my hands were numb and I couldn't take it anymore. They're stronger than me, I guess.

This picture was taken from the back door of our house. We don't get snow very often here, but you can see what's accumulated so far today:

I know those of you in Utah or the Chicago area will laugh your heads off at this, but church only lasted a half hour today before they sent everyone home. I'm sure school will either be cancelled, or at the very least delayed. The track record dictates it.

On a completely unrelated note, while taking the above picture, I happened to notice this incredibly fat squirrel gorging himself on our neighbors' deck and had to take his picture. I never knew squirrels could have eating disorders, but this can't possibly be normal for December!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Random Thoughts Thursday

Why do my children feel the need to extensively revise their Christmas lists now that I've finished all the shopping?

It feels like all I've done is laundry for the past few days, and yet no one has clean pants, socks, or underwear. I think there's something living under the bed in the girls' room, something that likes to eat clothes.

What is it that makes Mom & Dad's room so appealing that Ellie would rather sit in there to watch Dora on the tiny, crappy little TV than watch it on the halfway decent TV downstairs?

No matter how many times I try to justify myself (and now that I think of it, maybe because I try repeatedly to justify myself), Chris still can't stop laughing at me for rereading Twilight again. Personally, I think he's just jealous of Edward and the way he's managed to captivate thousands of otherwise happily married women around the world. I told Chris he should just become a vampire. Problem solved. Can't imagine why he didn't go for it.

The books are definitely better the third time than the second, but not as good as the first. Although I haven't gotten to Breaking Dawn yet. I'll probably read it again, regardless of my low opinion, because I can't stop a series before it's over. Maybe I'll like it this time.

The girls built this huge house for Molly and Samantha (and the small one for the kitty) with their grandmas last weekend. It comes complete with parrots and a garden (notice the Christmas tree with the big red present by it):

We don't have nearly enough Legos in our house. I sure hope Santa does something about that!

I can't believe there's just over a week before we leave for Utah! Yeehaa!!!

I have so much to do in that little over a week that it's not even funny.

And yet here I am at the computer. Go figure.

We have this picture of Christ in our house. Ellie was looking at it the other day and informed me that Jesus was coming out of the dark room because He was worried about the spiders. And He hurried so fast to get away from the spiders that He forgot His shoes. I tried to explain that Jesus loves all living things and wouldn't be bothered by spiders, and then a little bit about the Resurrection, and I actually thought I was getting somewhere until she said, "Oh, and He's looking up because He's praying to Heavenly Father to get rid of the spiders." Right...something like that.

Emily did a post with a video of Abbie and Savannah that reminds me of Vicki and Lexi when they were little like that. "I'm not crushing her!" Love it. Nothing's better than sister love. Of course, with the best-of-friends comes the worst-of-enemies. We have a lot of complicated love-hate relationships in our house. I just hope the love holds out over the hate as they get older. Three teenage daughters all at once...what were we thinking!?!

I just admitted to blog stalking on my old roommate's sister's blog. But she admitted to it first, so I feel better. Please tell me we're not the only ones who read random people's blogs.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Away in a Manger

I bought this Little People nativity set a few years ago, and it's been a huge favorite since then. And we've managed not to lose any of the pieces, although the cow was hiding out upstairs in the farm until about July, when Lexi realized that he actually belonged with Baby Jesus. We love this toy.

Every year when we get it out, I set it up like this:

And after that, every time I turn around someone has moved the figures around until they look like this:

Or this:

They do this every year. All. the. time.

It used to drive me nuts. Yes, it's a toy. Yes, I have my nice porcelain set up high on a shelf, which stays exactly how I set it up all season long. But still...when you put something on display, it's supposed to stay display-like, right?

WRONG! It finally occurred to me the other day, as I was putting it back for the umpteenth time already, that my girls are getting something out of this little plastic toy that I've failed to get out of every beautiful nativity display I've ever looked at. Oh, sure, I get that it's about Jesus' birth. But it's not about the display. Of course the wise men and shepherds, and heck, even the cow, donkey, and sheep, would want to look at the Baby. Who wouldn't?

It's all about the Reason for the season, isn't it?

Thanks, girls.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Vicki's baptism

Today I feel old. I'm not supposed to have a child old enough to be baptized yet! But here we are, and here she is:
and it was a wonderful morning. I'm so proud of her for making this decision and taking this important step, and I know her Heavenly Father is proud of her, too.

Random Thoughts Thursday (Saturday Edition)

Thursday was a very busy and frustrating day, hence the late posting. Not only did I have to clean the house because we had family coming in to town, but the computer decided to take a vacation when I desperately needed it to burn 40+ CDs for our Primary Christmas activity, which is this afternoon. I cried, I begged, I swore (yes, I did), and finally I prayed, feeling really stupid for asking the Lord to help me get my CD burner to work. However, He loves me and I got it figured out. I have also apologized to the computer for calling it bad words. I think it has forgiven me.

Why do my kids always seem to get sick right before we have grandparents come visit? This is the third time in the 3 ½ years we’ve lived here that this has happened, and the third kid it’s happened to. Fortunately, though, this one was very short-lived. Two hours of fever, one throw-up-all-over-the-couch-the-floor-and-Mom’s-pillow session, and then a really big lunch and everything was fine. My kids not only get illnesses at inconvenient times, they also get weird ones.

Vomit freaks me out a lot less than it used to.

I saw Twilight on Tuesday. I was going to wait until I was in Utah and see it with Emily, but then I found out that a friend of mine had no one to see it with (at least not anyone who wasn’t utterly and slightly frighteningly obsessed). Since I’m the one who introduced her to the books in the first place I decided I’d better follow through. Neither of us went in with very high expectations, and it turns out we were both pleasantly surprised! That’s right, I actually liked it. I will see it again (this time with you, Em, if you still want to) because I can’t stop thinking about Edward. It’s like reading the book for the first time all over again (and also for the third time, which I’m currently doing - it’s better this time than the last). I am utterly pathetic and Chris can’t stop laughing at me.

The waterfall at the end is less than half and hour from my house. And my friend’s husband teaches at the high school. How’s that for a 6-degrees connection to the movie?

Another cool movie I watched recently is The Illusionist. Very well done, and very good story. I highly recommend it.

Having one set of grandparents visit is the girls’ dream come true. Having both sets at once has them convinced they’ve died and gone to heaven. I can’t blame them – I kind of feel the same way.

I feel like I’m a lot more in control of myself now than I was even three years ago. Maybe it comes with age, but even though the last couple of days did not go exactly as planned, I feel like I’m a lot calmer now than the same situation would have made me a few years ago. Life goes on. Kids throw up, CD-Rom drives refuse to work, the bread doesn’t rise right, you forget the dry underwear for your daughter’s baptism, and yet somehow I don’t dissolve into a crying heap on the kitchen floor, surrounded by the detritus of motherhood. I think I’m starting to get the hang of this being a grownup business.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving Bowl

Last year we started a new Thanksgiving tradition: bowling! After our yummy dinner (and after the pie I should have baked the day before came out of the oven) we headed over to the bowling alley for a night of crazy fun.

Ellie's bowling skills have improved somewhat over the course of the year. Now, instead of having us push the ball down the alley for her, she insisted on doing it herself, but she didn't want to stand up to do it. Meaning that her push lacked the extra force that standing would have given and instead moved down the alley at the speed of an arthriticl sloth. After she pushed the ball, she stood and cheered, "Go, ball, go! You can do it! Go, ball, go!" until the ball was about 3/4 of the way to the pins, at which point she'd get bored of waiting and go play with the other bowling balls that were waiting their turn.

Lexi still prefers the "granny bowl" method. She liked to put the ball behind her feet and then reach back through them to push it on its way. This resulted in a roll that was slightly faster than Ellie's; maybe a turtle in a bit of a hurry. She mostly just liked to cheer everyone else on.

Vicki is working on being able to bowl correctly. Her approach is flawless, but when she gets to this point she stops, takes two or three shuffling steps, swings the ball once or twice, and then lets it go. But at least her ball moves down the alley with some purpose. She did pretty well - she liked to remind us all that she won out of the kids.
It was a great Thanksgiving and a great night out bowling, and if we only ever do it once a year that's fine, but I think the tradition will carry on.

Oh, yeah, and I won.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Random Thoughts Thursday (Thanksgiving Edition)

Happy Thanksgiving!

In the spirit of the holiday, I thought I'd go for a little less randomness today and instead share some of the things I'm thankful for. Enjoy!

A loving husband. Chris always manages to make me laugh, even when I didn’t know I had it in me. He is an awesome father and I know the girls love him almost as much as I do. He works hard to provide for our family, but he also knows how to have a great time together. I love him more than I ever thought possible.

Three beautiful daughters. Vicki is the most cheerful kid I know. She goes through life with a song in her heart, and usually on her lips as well. She throws herself fully into whatever she is doing and loves to create things on her own. I’m so proud of her decision to be baptized in a week! Lexi keeps us on our toes. She always has something to say, and never fails to come up with the most poetic way to say it. She has the most awesome imagination and loves to pretend. She is a ball of boundless energy, but she also has a softer side and knows just what to say to help people feel loved. Ellie is my cuddly kid, the one with the big smiles and hugs and kisses whenever I need them. She has the greatest sense of humor and keeps us constantly in stitches. She is the little queen of her castle and isn’t afraid to let everyone know it.

Extended family. It used to be that this meant my grandparents, aunts & uncles, and cousins. Now it includes my parents, siblings, and in-laws, as well. We are blessed to be a part of such wonderful families who love us.

Friends, old and new. I have been blessed to go through life surrounded by people I love. Some of you are “golden” friends, and some of you are still “silver”, but I love you all.

The Internet. Sad, I know, but I have been able to reconnect with many old friends this way, and for that I am truly grateful.

A “job”. I babysit four days a week. Honestly, it’s a piece of cake. I have two very well-behaved little girls I watch, and it means that Ellie is always busy and I can do the things I need to without too much interruption. And it brings in enough extra that the girls get to do some really fun activities that they otherwise wouldn’t.

Education. Without it, Chris wouldn’t have the job he does, in a firm we both love. And our girls go to a great school with awesome teachers and a wonderful principal. We have yet to be seriously disappointed.

A nice house. It may not be big, but it’s warm and safe. And it’s ours! We love our little house and are even grateful for the chance we had to remodel – a true blessing in disguise.

Food. I know there are so many out there who don’t get to eat a hot turkey dinner today, and I’m so grateful that we have enough to provide for our basic needs. Our Thanksgiving dinner may not have been the fanciest or most elaborate we’ve ever had, but it was ours and it was good.

My Savior, Jesus Christ. I have been reading the New Testament the past couple of months, and it has given me a new understanding and appreciation for the life and mission of the Savior, and what He means to me in my life. I am grateful for His atonement, and the knowledge I have that if I do all I can to live up to His teachings, I will be able to see Him again one day, and live with my family forever.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Mom, this would be a great time for you to relive your childhood!"

We bought a LoveSac (two, actually) about 5 1/2 years ago and have loved this quirky piece of living room furniture. It's a comfy seat for watching TV or to curl up in and read. Or, as Ellie most often uses it, to fall on when you can't stay awake any longer. Yesterday she crashed just before 5:00, and when we went to wake her at 6 for dinner we discovered that she had peed her pants. On the LoveSac.

Now I should probably stop here and mention that we cheated when we bought these comfy chairs. We got the covers for 70% off. Then we went to Fred Meyer and bought the big foam camper cushions and cut them up into little sqares to stuff inside the covers. This means that they're more lightweight than the normal (non-cheater) versions. It also means that when we want to wash the covers we end up with a really big pile of little foam sqares in the living room. The last (and, embarassingly, first) time I did this was back in June when the girls were at Grandma's. The foam stayed in a nice, neat pile while I washed the cover, and then I restuffed the thing without any "help".

Not so this time. We had no choice but to empty the thing right away, throw the cover and the wet squares into the wash, and let the kids have at it with the rest. There was no way around it. They had an absolute blast.


Making foam angels

Vicki took this one. She posed us. This actually gives a pretty good view of how far the foam goes when you free it from its corduroy casing. It also gives a fairly good view of the new bookcases, for those of you (Emily) who have been waiting 6 months to see them.

So the LoveSac is now "shiny clean" again and just waiting for the next potential disaster. I'm actually amazed we made it 5 1/2 years without anyone peeing on it. Here's to 5 1/2 more!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pizza Party!

Vicki had her birthday party yesterday. We decided to have the kids make pizzas for lunch since the local grocery store has these great individual pizza crusts for a really good price. Then Vicki decided that she wanted a giant cookie instead of a cake, so I made the coolest cookie cake ever (not that I'm bragging or anything):

The "pepperonis" are made from fruit roll-ups and the "olives" are made out of black decorator's gel. I had to show a couple of the kids the tube before I could convince them to eat the cake, but Vicki loved it. And even better, she didn't think we should write anything on it, since then it wouldn't look like a pizza. I hate writing on cakes - it never comes out looking like it does in my mind.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Random Thoughts Thursday

Why is Christmas shopping for a 6-year-old so hard? I have almost everything for Vicki, and for Ellie it's just a matter or narrowing down the many many options. But for Lexi...I struggle. To give in to the budding Hannah Montana insanity or not to buy anything Hannah Montana, that is the question.

Why do my children insist on torturing me with their choices for school clothes each morning? I have Lexi, who wants to wear the orange summer dress with the burgundy corduroys underneath ("but Mom, you said I had to wear something under this so it would be weather-appropriate!"), and Vicki, who insists on wearing her nicest church dress and a fake pearl necklace on P.E. day. I absolutely cannot wait until next year when they have uniforms!

I love Christmas shopping in my jammies without looking like white trash...priceless.

Oh, and I love tracking my orders. It's so fun to see where your stuff is at random times of the day. And the different (and sometimes random) routes they take to get here. Why couldn't they just send everything together, anyway? It's all coming from Phoenix, and it was all shipped on the same day, but one package went by way of Las Vegas and Sparks, NV before heading up I-84 through Boise, while the other one went by way of Salt Lake City to Boise. Weird. But they're both supposed to be here today! Woohoo!

What am I going to do if the packages come when the big girls are home? Okay, I know what I'll do, but then they'll know there's stuff in the house that they're not supposed to know about. I may need to find a better hiding place.

Ellie can't say cucumber, either. There's no easy way to spell this phonetically, but she pronounces it "come-cue-mber". I discovered this when she was telling me about Bob and Larry (from Veggie Tales), and I said, "Oh, Larry's the pickle, right?" She laughed and said, "No, Mommy! He's a comecuember! Wait, I mean a cumumber. No, I mean...oh, I can't say comecumber!"

I so glad we budgeted for this year's Christmas at the very beginning of the year. That means that the money's just been sitting there all year untouched, and since we still have enough for our daily needs we get to really have fun with Christmas. Next year will probably not be so good (really really not), so I'm enjoying it while I can.

Why is it that the girls can't seem to get their clothes into the dirty clothes hamper no matter how big it is? It's like they think the closet floor is close enough. Now the closet has no floor and Vicki swears she heard something alive moving around in there. I honestly wouldn't be surprised. It's not a pretty sight. And yet they wonder why they never have clean socks.

This morning Ellie told me she wanted "peanut butter toast" for breakfast. I put it in quotations marks because she specified that it not be dark and crunchy, just light and squishy, and not peanut butter, just plain butter. But she kept insisting it was still peanut butter toast. If we'd made a sign, we'd get to post it here.

I can't believe how much I actually enjoy getting up at 5:30 every morning. I can't stay up much past 10:00 anymore (and sometimes I don't even make it until then), but I love the peace and quiet and the fact that if I'm already showered and have eaten breakfast before the girls get up we do a whole lot less rushing to get ready for school on time. And I'm reading the New Testament straight through for the first time in my life and I love it.

I won't say anything about chocolate in this post.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


This post is a week or two behind the times, but we can now add 10 pints of pumpkin (with another pumpkin to go) to the 12 quarts + 6 pints of applesauce and 12 pints of salsa. Just call us canning wizards! And in case anyone is wondering (because I know you all are), making a pumpkin pie from fresh pumpkin is not as hard as people make it out to be. Time consuming, yes - at least the first time, when you have to actually cook the pumpkin; next time I'll just have to pull a jar out of the freezer - but hard, not at all. And all the pumpkins and tomatoes for the salsa were grown in our garden.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Random Thoughts Thursday

I have come to the conclusion that it's not a good idea to listen to the soundtrack of Spamalot in the car while the children. There are a variety of reasons for this. For example, when Lexi giggled from the backseat, "Did they just say, 'in your direction we all FART'?" Or when Vicki wanted to know how come I kept coughing really loudly and suddenly. Or when Ellie asks repeatedly to listen to the "dance a lot" song (his name is Lancelot, and in tight pants a lot he likes to dance a lot, you know you do! I do?)

Naptime is good. A Bug's Life helps.

My life has reached a new level of hecticness. Monday, nothing much. Tuesday, nothing much. Wednesday, Chris leaves for California and we have dance class, Brownies, and Activity Days at church. Thursday, school meeting and gymnastics. Friday, more Brownies, and he comes home just in time for dinner. Why is it always the Brownie weeks that he's gone?

I like being a Brownie leader.

The girls' school is implementing a uniform policy next school year. I volunteered to be on the committee. I have opinions on what it should look like. Unfortunately, so do other people. Can't we all just get along and dress our children in khaki pants and dark green polo shirts?

Why does the third kid always get away with so much more than the first two did?

I have discovered that it takes just under a year for the current favorite jeans to get a hole in the knee.

I really need to get started on my Christmas shopping.

I have no idea how I'm going to do it this year. Last year I just bought everything in front of Ellie and she forgot about it after 10 minutes. This year she's still talking about when we bought Lexi's birthday present in August. I need a new strategy.

There is nothing like a three-year-old who is trying to communicate something she is incapable of pronouncing to put life in perspective.

Ellie gets to go to a birthday party today. The parents of the birthday girl are taking her, Ellie, and another 3-year-old friend, plus the birthday girl's 6-year-old sister, to see Madagascar 2. With no other parents. I think they're crazy, but they're solving my problem of what to do with Ellie during my meeting, so I'll never tell them that. I hope they have fun!

Why did the American Girl people decide to retire the Samantha doll and all her clothing and accessories the year after Vicki got her? We are very bitter about this in our house right now; I had envisioned years of Christmas and birthday gifts and will have to settle this year for what's not already sold out and then either pay way more than it's worth on ebay or find a pattern and make things myself.

Apparently clothing manufacturers havn't taken into account people who have as many daughters as I do. I can find coordinating Christmas dresses for 2 of the three, in any combination, but when you throw a third girl in, it totally fouls everything up. I get all bothered by this and then wonder why I'm letting something like this bother me, which makes me bothered all over again. Maybe I'll just have them all wear pink Easter dresses as a form of protest.

Can't do it.

I need some chocolate.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge

I have no idea what that means.* But it's a great movie!

After trying to rent movies through the library (we got tired of waiting; we've been on hold for Raiders of the Lost Ark for about six months now and we're only 4th in line where we started at #12) or giving up and going to Hollywood Video (we kept forgetting to return them on time), we finally gave in to the junk mail and joined Netflix. Now we have practically 100,000 movies to choose from, which means we can be pretty creative in what we watch.

We opted for a Bollywood movie last week. We've heard great things about them and have talked about watching one for a while. Plus, they did a couple of Bollywood numbers on So You Think You Can Dance this summer, and they were amazing and beautiful and fun to watch. However, we had no idea what we were getting, really, since you only get a brief description on the Netflix site, so we just picked one taht had high ratings and hoped for the best.

The story was one that transcends time and culture: girl meets boy and falls in love, but girl's family wants her to marry a different boy, and tradition is at risk of being lost. It was actually a lot like watching Fiddler on the Roof, but with more color, sitar music, and lots of melodrama. We loved it.

I'll be honest here, though: we have no idea if we enjoyed it so much becuase it was truly meant to be that funny, or if it was funny to us because we don't get the culture, or if it was funny to us because we're just weird like that.

Whatever the reason, though, it was a great movie and a great entry into the Bollywood experience.

You must all watch it soon.

*Okay, I means "The Brave Heart Will Take the Bride" Love it.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Happy Birthday Vicki!!!

Here she is with her telegraph tapper, which is part of the inventions kit we got her. It makes her feel like Vicolet Baudelaire from the Series of Unfortunate Events books, which she and I have been reading recently.

Eight years ago Friday Chris and I had planned on voting in the presidential election and had a baby instead. I can't believe that baby is 8 years old! Vicki is a such cheerful ray of sunshine that lights up our home. We are so happy to have her in our family!

What happens when she refuses to nap

The 6:30pm mid-puzzle crash.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Random Thoughts Thursday (Friday edition)

For some reason my "create a new post" window keeps opening in the "Edit Html" format instead of "Compose". Strange.

We got a catalog yesterday from some food company advertising all sorts of enticing goodies. I thought about how cool it would be to order some of it. Then I looked at the prices. Are they serious? Who pays $160 for a 7-inch cake?

I have discovered that Ellie can't say "princesses". She pronounces it "princessesses", which is far more complicated to say (try saying it five times fast.) Then again, this is the kid who says "hippobapotamuses", so what do you do?

Vicki is eight today. That makes me feel old.

I actually enjoyed the drive to Vancouver last night. Of course, that probably has something to do with the fact that Chris was home, so it was just Lexi and me. She gave me a book report. It went like this: "The Magic School Bus in the Time of the Dinosaurs. The main characters are the dinosaurs. The Magic School Bus takes the class to the time of the Dinosaurs. Ummmm...that's all."

I'm getting tired of the rain.

I took the girls to Target on Wednesday so they could spend the $5 Grandma E. sent each of them in their Halloween cards, and which has been burning holes in their pockets ever since. It took us two hours to make our final selections, but I'm proud to say that we made it out of there without any beeping princess cell phones, tiny stuffed dogs that bark and snuffle when you press their ear, or dresses that look like nightgowns.

We got a set of 50 markers, a Hannah Montana wallet ("Now all I need is the purse! And the shoulder bag! And the backpack! And the bedsheets, sleeping bag, fleece blanket, and lamp!" Heaven help us all, it's started.), and a little baby doll and playdough. I'm actually quite proud of them for their practical purchases. And in the two hours, I never once had to threaten that we would Leave The Store Right Now If You Don't Stop This Instant So Help Me.

Why is it that on school days I have to practically drag my children out of bed to get to school on time, but when there's no school they're all up by 7:00?

We got a Bollywood movie from Netflix to watch tonight. I'm looking forward to a new cultural experience. Three hours long!

There may actually be too much chocolate in my house right now. Either that, or my pants shrunk. That must be it. It couldn't possibly be the irresistible call of the candy on the kitchen counter (hiding it does no good because I'll know where it's hidden). We had one set of trick-or-treaters and our Home Teacher brought over a small bucketfull of candy just for Chris & I (he gave the girls Pez dispensers) so there's a TON of candy left not even counting the girls' haul. Yep, it's gotta be the pants. There's no such thing as too much chocolate!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What's a (fictional) fairy to do?

You may remember a while back when I was sure the magic was over as far as the Easter Bunny was concerned. Well, I haven't heard anything about that since, and the girls are as excited as ever about Santa coming, but lately Vicki's been suspicious of the Tooth Fairy. She and her best friend have started a mystery investigator team whose sole purpose is to determine the truth behind the Tooth Fairy. Is she truly a fairy, or is it just Mom & Dad playing games with us? So for about a month Vicki has been randomly (hoping to catch me off guard, I believe) popping up with the question, "Is the Tooth Fairy real?" My constant answer, "What do you think?" is always followed by an exasperated "aaarrrrgghhhh!" and my daughter stomping off to scheme some more.

She finally had a chance to try out some new tactics this week when she added another gap to her grin. The tooth came out at school on Monday (without any assistance from string of any sort, thank heaven!) and when she got home she placed it under her pillow without telling me. Sneaky, sneaky. Of course, being her mother, it didn't take me too long to notice that something was missing in her mouth. If she hadn't been showing us how loose the thing was for weeks, I may not have missed it, but she has no one to blame but herself. Since that plan was foiled, she came up with another one: leaving the Tooth Fairy a note demanding THE TRUTH. Here, as best as I can remember, is what the note said:

"Dear Tooth Fairy,

Are you (please choose one)

a Fairy..........Mom..........Dad



P.S. Why do you always give me 50 cents?
P.P.S. Please put my tooth in the container"

What a dilemma! Do I lie to my child in order to keep the magic alive, or do I be honest and run the risk of exposing Santa, too? And not to mention the fact that vital information may be leaked to little sisters.

Then I forgot about it for two days. I know, I know, I'm a terrible Tooth Fairy. I've almost forgotten before, but this was the first time I'd actually let it slip completely. Tuesday morning she woke up and sadly informed me that the Tooth Fairy hadn't come. I frantically grasped for any excuse I could come up with, and picked the idea tha the Tooth Fairy must be really busy right now, what with Halloween so close and everything. Because LOTS of kids lose their teeth around Halloween from all that candy and stuff, right? Then I forgot about it until Wednesday morning at 6am, when it was too close to her normal waking-up time to risk it. One more day of disappointment and doubt.

Last night I finally remembered. In the end, here's how I decided to respond: next to her first question I wrote, in cursive, so as to disguise my handwriting, "What do you think?" and drew a smiley face winking (I'm pretty sure you can tell that's what it's supposed to be.) As for why she always gets 50 cents, I just wrote, "No particular reason," because there isn't one. I just don't really like the idea of paying my children any more than that for something that's going to happen whether the Tooth Fairy comes or not. I did put her tooth in the container, though. That was easy. This morning she came to me for interpretation of some of the cursive, but I played it cool and took my time deciphering the script. Nothing else was said, so I have no idea what her conclusion is. I think she took the letter to school to discuss it with her friend, so I'll probably receive a full report at some point in the near future.

Sigh. I guess they all have to grow up sometime, but it's fun while it lasts. And Lexi hasn't even lost any teeth yet, so it's not like this is the end of all things Tooth Fairy. I think Vicki will love being in on all the secrets, whenever that time comes, just as much as she loves believing right now.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Apart from the fact that this is the first election where I have truly cared enough to want to get involved, and where I have cared enough about a candidate to speak out in support for him and what he stands for, and apart from the fact that I really do believe Obama is the man for the job at this time in our country, here is a quote from the New York Times that sums up why I found myself so emotional last night while listening to Obama's acceptance speech:
From far away, this is how it looks: There is a country out there where tens of
millions of white Christians, voting freely, select as their leader a black man
of modest origin, the son of a Muslim. There is a place on Earth — call it
America — where such a thing happens.
This is monumental. I'm so proud to be an American today, proud to live in a place where we are truly free and where we are blessed with the opportunites that so many people in so many countries are denied. Whether you voted for Obama or not, I hope you can join me in supporting him as our next president.

God bless America.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Make your voice heard

In case you've been living under a rock you haven't heard, tomorrow is a pretty important day for us Americans. I think I've made it pretty clear who I support in the presidential race ;), but whether you agree with me or not I just want to encourage everyone who reads this blog to get out and vote tomorrow if you haven't already (here in Oregon everyone votes by mail, so I got to fill out my ballot early last week curled up in my jammies - ha ha!) We are incredibly blessed to live in a country where we get to have a say in who leads us, so make yourself heard. Whether my guy winds up the winner or not, I will be grateful to have taken part in the electoral process. It may not be perfect, but it could be a heck of a lot worse. Don't let this chance pass you by - get out and vote!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween!!!

We had an awesome Halloween! After working frantically for five days (because I put it off until the last minute, of course), I got the girls' costumes finished and we were ready to go! We trick-or-treated in a nearby neighborhood rather than our own this year because everyone keeps telling us that that's the place to go, and they weren't kidding! Last year I think we had maybe five kids ring the doorbell, and when I took the girls out we saw one other group of trick-or-treaters. This year, we had one group of kids ring the doorbell, but where we went the streets were packed with trick-or-treaters. It was a blast! We met up with some friends and spent the evening acquiring enough candy to put us all into orbit with the sugar highs. After trick-or-treating, we came home, changed into our jammies, and watched "The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad", because what's Halloween without a dose of the Headless Horseman?

Here are Dora the Explorer, Hermione Granger, and a beautiful blue princess:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Who's on first?

I love talking to three-year-olds. They're old enough to carry on a decent conversation, but not quite old enough to understand everything you say to them in the appropriate context. Take, for example, a conversation I just had with Ellie.

Me: Wow, there sure are a lot of toothbrushes on the counter!
Ellie: Oh, I put them there last night so I could count them.
M: Great! How many did you count?
E: All of them.
M: Ookaaaay...and how many were there?
E: (pointing at the row of toothbrushes) This many.
M: And how many is that?
E: blank stare
M: Did you count one, or two, or maybe five?
E: No, Mom, I counted all of them.

Third base!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Random Thoughts Thursday

I'm a trendsetter!!!

Possibly the cutest game on earth is being played right now by Ellie and her friend. It's called "The Honey Game". They invented it themselves and they play it all the time. Here's how the game always begins: "Let's play the Honey Game!" "Yeah!" "Okay, you be the mom and I'll be the honey!" I love it.

Why is it that as soon as I wash the sheets, someone inevitably smears them with purple lip gloss, colors on them with "washable" markers, or wets the bed?

I love Fall - the crisp air, the colors, the cool sunshine (when it's not raining, of course), the comfy sweaters. It may be my favorite time of year.

But I always feel that way in the Fall. I wonder if I'd still think so in the Spring?

It's no wonder my kids hate cleaning. They learned from the best. But it feels so good when it's done. They haven't learned that yet. Which is why I'm spending today in the playroom trying to find the carpet. Sometimes you have to teach responsibility. And sometimes you have to say to heck with responsibility because, for crying out loud, things are beginning to breed in there.

Norah Jones and a cleaning blitz are, sadly, incompatible. Whenever I listen to her, I feel like I should be lying across the top of a grand piano, wearing a slinky black, or possibly red, dress and holding a glass of red wine. Not dressed in an old t-shirt and holey jeans, surrounded by piles of toys that haven't been thought about in months, but that will be NEEDED as soon as I take the box to Goodwill.

Bon Jovi, on the other hand, excellent for the cleaning blitz! Nothing like rockin' out to "Livin' on a Prayer" and "Bad Medicine" (and scaring everyone in the vicinity under the age of...well, probably anyone under the age of about 30, to be honest, but the three kids in my house today in particular don't seem to appreciate 80's hair bands - can't imagine why) while unceremoniously stuffing garbage bags as full as possible with the aforementioned toys.

However, I don't think I have the right kind of hair to really get into Bon Jovi. That's disappointing. At one point in my life, I had that hair. I rocked that hair. By the way, Mom, please burn those pictures.

I have a lot of books on my "to read" shelf, and even more on the list. No reason to clean the rest of the house when a stack of books awaits, right? Right?

Vicki's birthday is in two weeks. What??? How did that happen?

I'm not old enough to be the mother of an 8-year-old, am I?

Laundry is the bane of my existence.

I bought Halloween candy the other day. Chocolate Halloween candy. Wanna take bets on whether I'll have to buy more before Halloween? I can hear it calling my name...Allison...just one won't hurt...or two or three or four...we're right heeeeeeeere...

Picture tag

My friend Nicola gave this tag to anyone who wants to do it, so of course I jumped at the chance. Here are the instructions: Go to your My Pictures folder (or wherever you keep your pictures). Open the 4th folder and post the 4th picture in that folder. Piece of cake!

Here's my 4th-4th picture:

That's Vicki four years ago when we went camping at Bridger Lake with Chris's family. She wanted so badly to go fishing with Grandpa, and she even brought along her plastic dollar store fishing pole with the huge purple hook just for the occasion. How could a grandpa possibly say no to that? They looked so cute walking down the road together that I couldn't resist snapping a shot of them. It's been a family favorite ever since. In fact, the entire extended family loves it, because if you know Grandpa E., then you know he LOVES to fish and he LOVES his five granddaughters. So fishing with a granddaughter would pretty much be the best day ever for him. This past May, for his birthday, Chris's amazingly talented brother-in-law Russ turned this picture into a painting. Check this out:

Pretty impressive, huh?
Anyway, that's my picture. I'll follow Nic's lead and tag anyone who wants to do this one*. And who wouldn't? :)
*Backstory and family history optional

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Joke of the Day

Proudly brought to you by Ellie.

Knock knock.
Who's there?
Amboo. (I don't know what this means, either.)
Amboo who?
Do you know what? Just amboo...It's a joke, Mom!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Random Thoughts Thursday

Sleepovers are fun.

Although I'm not sure I can say, "Girls, settle down!" one more time with a straight face.

I watched TV while eating a bowl of ice cream (with chocolate sauce, of course!), but I didn't tell the kids. At least not about the ice cream - they could hear the TV. I just told them they had to stay upstairs (while not actually stated, upon pain of death was implied).

Does that make me mean?

I didn't hate driving to Vancouver tonight. This is progress. Slowly but surely.

I had three extra kids here today and I actually got a lot accomplished. And the house looks better than it did when we got up this morning. Nice.

I've been thinking about friends a lot lately. Carrie's awesome post re-lit the fire under this line of thinking. I've moved a lot, and I've been blessed to have friends in many places in the country, and the world. Along with that blessing, however, comes the sad fact that it's easy to lose touch. There are a lot of friends I miss, friends I haven't been in touch with for years, some for years and years. I have been able to re-connect with some of you, thanks in part to the beauty of the internet, but there are many I haven't found yet. If, by any chance, you are one of these friends (or even if you are a friend that's not "lost" - I'm not picky) and have somehow found my blog and are reading it, please come out of lurkdom and let me know! I promise I won't think you're weird, or that you're stalking me. Unless you are stalking me and I don't actually know you. Then I will think you're creepy ;)

Halloween is coming. This means there will finally be enough chocolate in my house! (for a few glorious days, at least)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Look what I got suckered into buying

What is wrong with me? I would never have bought something like that for the other girls! (I still wouldn't!) I never bought into the commercialization of TV shows with the other two. But Ellie has Dora everything and I'm the one buying it for her!

Okay, it was only $4.99 at Goodwill, but still...

A small seamstress

Vicki decided out of the blue last weekend that she wanted to make a skirt. Being the supportive and encouraging parent that I am, I took her to JoAnn on Saturday so she could buy a pattern and fabric. There was a huge sale going on (because Columbus needs to be honored somehow), so she managed to get everything she needed for $4.50. She wanted to start right away, but I convinced her to wait until Sunday. As soon as we got home from church, she was raring to go. We spent all of Sunday afternoon and evening cutting, pinning, and sewing. I pinned, she did everything else. I knew she could do it, I just wasn't sure she could do it well, having never sewn anything before.

She was hoping to finish in time to wear it to school on Monday, but bedtime intervened. All she had left, though, was the hem and the ribbon trim. She's fast. By Tuesday it was ready to be shown off.

I am so impressed with her. She did such a good job! It looks at the very least like an adult made it, not a completely inexperienced 7 1/2 year old. I sense some talent in the making. She was floating in the clouds all the way to school Tuesday morning, and came home excited because her teacher said he couldn't even tell it was homemade!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Random Thoughts Thursday

Maybe this will be a weekly thing. Maybe not. But it's nice to just think out loud sometimes.

It's a lot more fun to keep a house clean than it is to get it clean in the first place.

Naptime is good. Too bad no one told Ellie that.

Wait, I told Ellie that. Too bad she doesn't listen.

Colds are no fun.

I need to bake cookies again. It's been way too long.

I need a bigger car.

I need to be less focused on what I think I need and more focused on what I already have.

My family is awesome!

The combination of yoga and scriptures in the morning and counting to 10 several times a day seems to have had a good effect on me. I'm more in tune with "my core" and myself and less likely to get angry with my kids, because after 10 seconds it's easier to have a sense of humor.

My kitchen floor looks really good when it's clean.

It's not clean often enough.

My head hurts.

There's no school tomorrow. Maybe I can invent a fun way for the girls to clean their room. Or maybe I can threaten to withhold meals until they do it. Either way works for me.

I miss the sun.

IKEA alone could stimulate the economy. It's impossible to go in there and come out with only what you intended to buy. They do it on purpose.

I get to drive to Vancouver again. In the rain. Again.

Why don't my children like to wear clothes? What is wrong with pants?

There is still not enough chocolate in my house.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Happy Birthday Ellie!!!

Isn't she the cutest kid you've ever seen? Or at least one of them (my other two are pretty darn cute themselves)

Ellie was the absolute queen of birthday behavior. After our zoo adventure yesterday we had a family party. She was overjoyed to get a package in the mail from Grandma and Grandpa E. which contained not just one, but TWO! hoodies (which she had to try on right away), a pair of pants, and some socks, plus The Sword in the Stone. That kept her giggling while I struggled to decorate the cake to her specifications, so thank you very much, Grandma!

She waited to open her presents until we said it was time, and then she exclaimed with joy over each one of them, ensuring that we all felt that we'd given her exactly what she'd always dreamed of.

Grandma and Grandpa Y. got her a new stroller for her baby doll. She loves it and walked to school today to pick up the big girls, pushing her baby and conversing with me like we were both adults.
You can definitely tell that Dora the Explorer is a favorite around here. And I, who never bought into the TV show commercialism with the other two girls, got her everything Dora. (What is it about 3rd children?) She got a Dora purse and hat, a stuffed Boots, a Dora dress, and Dora playdough. And she was in heaven.

Here is the cake. She asked for a Dora cake, and this is what I came up with. It wasn't actually supposed to be in the pan, but when I tried to take it out it wouldn't budge, and I didn't want the whole thing to fall apart. Besides (I kept telling myself), she's three. I think I did a fairly decent job, considering I just had a DVD cover to go off of, although it was a bit creepy if you looked too close. But I felt infinitely better about it when Ellie saw the finished product and gasped, "Oh, it's so beautiful!"
Today we had a party with all her friends. Most of them are siblings of kids Vicki and Lexi go to school with, but Ellie loves them all. We ate peanut butter sandwiches for lunch and played "stick the flower on Dora's bracelet", "keep the balloon in the air", and "dance to the music", all of which were emergency games since I had originally planned to have her party at a park. Rain, rain, go away. The kids all had a good time, though. Seargent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band seemed to be the all-around favorite to dance to, by the way.
It was a fun party and an excellent birthday! Here's to a great year being three!

Birthday adventures

Yesterday was Ellie's birthday. Since I babysit on Mondays, and the babysittee happens to be Ellie's best friend, I thought it would be great to do something fun with the two of them. Our library has a pass to the Children's Museum that you can place a hold on, and I'd been on the list for about six months, so I was really excited when my number came up last week. What a perfect birthday treat! So the little girls and I headed across town yesterday morning, excited about a fun day.
Hooray! It's the Children's Museum!
We got up to the entrance only to discover that the doors were locked. A glance at the hours confirmed my fears: they're closed Mondays. That possibility never crossed my mind, but I suppose Sunday (the day I would have assumed they'd be closed if I had really thought about it at all) must be a pretty busy day for them.
So what to do? There I was with two three-year-olds, who wanted to know why we weren't going inside, and it was Ellie's birthday. Big fat bummer.
Fortunately the Children's Museum shares a parking lot with the Zoo, and we happen to be Zoo members (thank you a million times Christa and Brian!) The girls were (of course) fine with the change in plans, and after a minor glitch at the entrance gate - I had just thrown my wallet in my backpack, and my membership card was at home in my purse - we were on our way to animal adventures!

Ellie thinks she has to do this every time she comes to the zoo. It does make for a cute photo op.

It was a typical Oregon day in October, meaning cloudy, damp, and cool, so there was hardly anyone there. We saw all the animals, except the polar bears, who the girls decided must be sleeping in their room. Ellie insisted on seeing the "hippobapotamuses". I'm not sure if they're her favorite because of how much fun it is to say "hippobapotomus" or if there's some other reason, but they're always the first animal she asks for when we go to the zoo.

We also saw monkeys, penguins, sea lions, frogs, a giraffe, a couple of zebras, a "huge giant snake!", birds in a building that was declared stinky by the discerning noses of three-year-olds, and naked mole rats, the sight of which made both girls scream, "Ew, gross!" and run away.

But the best part was seeing Samudra, or Sam, the new baby elephant. He's about 2 months old and is by far the cutest animal I have seen at a zoo in a long time. His little trunk was all floppy, and when he tried to run it was in a goofy feet-too-big way.

The girls had a great time, and I don't think they regret not being able to go to the Children's Museum. I'll just put myself back on hold for the pass and we'll try again in six months or so!

Best friends!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The women of Disney...a comparison study

Last night we watched The Swiss Family Robinson for a family movie night. Neither Chris nor I have seen that since we were kids, but we both remembered loving it. I mean, who wouldn't want to live in the coolest tree house ever built, and fight off evil pirates with coconut bombs and a tiger in a pit? I was really excited to share the adventure with my girls.

And then the movie started. And good grief! The women drove me nuts! I’m definitely not the damsel in distress type, and that’s all they were. Laugh and then shoo away the iguana that’s crawled into your sleeping hut? Nah, it’s better to shriek like a banshee and then cling to your husband while crying about the godforsaken place you’re stranded in. Help build the treehouse? No way! Instead, demand that the menfolk build it to your specifications while declaring that you won’t set foot in it again until they do! Lend a hand when the cute (and shirtless!) young men are in danger of being squeezed to death and/or drowned by a boa constrictor? Absolutely not! It’s much better to hide behind a tree branch and bite your knuckles in a silent scream. Sheeees.

There were so many times I wanted to pause the movie and tell the girls, “If you’re ever in that situation, I hope you adopt the iguana as a pet/build the very highest room in the house/kill the snake with your own bare hands!” I don’t want my girls to be timid and mouselike. They should be able to stand up for themselves and be strong and capable of anything. I want them to be able to be equal partners with their husbands in all things. If Chris were building something as cool as that treehouse, I sure as heck would be right there with him. I’m very proud of the fact that even though I married a man with a background in construction going back two generations, I’m the one who put together the girls’ bunkbed.

So I thought about what kind of message this movie sends to girls. Okay, I know the point of the movie is not to send a message to girls, but what if they pick up on it anyway? And then I thought about another woman in a Disney movie, one with a message I’m okay with my girls picking up on.


(Oh, and yes, I know that she actually spends so much time with the suffragette movement that she's a horrible mother, but as far as a strong woman, what Disney film shows it better? Besides, this particular song has sentimental value. Votes for women!)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Little plastic rectangle of grown-upped-ness

Ellie asked for a library card for her birthday. Seriously. Her sisters have one, Mom has one, Dad even has one, so apparently it's something to be had. So we stopped by today and picked one up for her. I think she grew six inches as soon as the lady, who was near hysterics from the cuteness of it all, handed it to her.

As we were walking out the door she looked up at me with big eyes and said, "I love my card. I feel so impressed right now."

Me, too. Another reader is born.

Banned Books Week

Angie, avid reader that she is, tagged me with this one.

How to Play:
1. Copy this list.
2. Highlight the ones you have read in RED.
3. Tag 5 people to play.

The ALA list of 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000:
1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
2. Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
8. Forever by Judy Blume
9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
11. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
14. The Giver by Lois Lowry
15. It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
16. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
19. Sex by Madonna
20. Earth's Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
21. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
24. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
26. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
27. The Witches by Roald Dahl
28. The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
29. Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
30. The Goats by Brock Cole
31. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
32. Blubber by Judy Blume
33. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
34. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
35. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
36. Final Exit by Derek Humphry
37. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
38. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
39. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
40. What's Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
42. Beloved by Toni Morrison
43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
44. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
45. Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
46. Deenie by Judy Blume
47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
48. Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
49. The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
50. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
53. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
54. Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
55. Cujo by Stephen King
56. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
57. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
58. Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
60. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
61. What's Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
62. Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
63. Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
64. Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
65. Fade by Robert Cormier
66. Guess What? by Mem Fox
67. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
68. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
71. Native Son by Richard Wright
72. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women's Fantasies by Nancy Friday
73. Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
74. Jack by A.M. Homes
75. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
76. Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
77. Carrie by Stephen King
78. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
79. On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
80. Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
81. Family Secrets by Norma Klein
82. Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
83. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
84. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
85. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
86. Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
87. Private Parts by Howard Stern
88. Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford
89. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
90. Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
91. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
92. Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
93. Sex Education by Jenny Davis
94. The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
95. Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
96. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
97. View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
98. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
99. The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
100. Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

I'll tag...Emily, Kara, Nicola, Danielle, & Rachel...but only if you want to!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Random Thoughts Thursday

Why did it have to rain today? Why not yesterday or tomorrow? Those days would have fit into my schedule.

It was really nice of that guy at Costco to tell me my tire was low.

Where on earth is the book I was reading?

How can my house get so messy when we're hardly ever home anymore?

I ordered 40lbs. of apples this morning in order to make applesauce, which I have never done. Am I nuts?

My baby will be three in four days. That makes me sad. I miss her being a baby.

No, Pam, I am not pregnant!

I hate driving to Vancouver for Lexi's gymnastics. It wouldn't be so bad if her class wasn't at 6:15, when everyone and their dog is driving to Vancouver. The girls love that we get to drive to another state once a week, though.

Nothing has made me smile bigger today than the sentence, "Mommy, you're so very very lovely. You can be a princess just like me!"

I think I need to hide Vicki's shofar.

I really should be cleaning out the fridge to make room for all the stuff I bought at Costco, which I just crammed in wherever it fit.

I'm scared of what's in the fridge, particularly in the back. Some of that stuff is no longer identifiable.

Sometimes I think I'm the coolest mom ever because I let me kids go to school in clothes that don't match.

Sometimes I think my kids look frumpy compared to other people's kids.

Little girls dressed as princesses fighting over a pair of Dora sunglasses is not a pretty sight.

I think we talk about politics in our house a lot. More than the average family. Vicki thinks it's not fair that she's not old enough to vote. Lexi likes Barack Obama (and she no longer thinks he's a prophet.) And today Ellie said, "I can see Russia from my house!"

Seriously, why did it rain today?

Getting up at 5:30 in the morning to exercise and study the scriptures uninterrupted sounds like such a good idea in theory. It even sounds like a good idea at 5:30 in the morning (someone pick my parents up off the floor, please.) But by 8:30 at night, I'm done. The kids had better be in bed, or woe be upon their heads, and the heads of their children and their children's children, for generations to come.

I need to work on being a more positive person in the evening.

Where the heck is my book?

Kisses from almost-three-year-olds are the best!

There is not enough chocolate in my house.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy New Year!

Vicki has a friend at school this year who happens to be an Orthodox Jew. This friendship has been a great learning opportunity for our family, and especially for Vicki. Chris and I really want to encourage our children to respect all beliefs, no matter how different they are from our own. It's much easier to respect something when you understand it, so I'm excited to live in such a diverse place, where my children have friends from all kinds of backgrounds.
Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It began last night at sundown, and Vicki and I, along with another friend and her mother, were invited to join her friend's family for their Rosh Hashanah meal. It was a great experience.
We got to see them light the candles and hear the traditional prayers, like kiddish on the wine (which was just sparkling grape juice because they don't drink either) and the blessing on the challah. The coolest thing was hearing Vicki's friend, who is 7, and her 3 year old brother sing the prayers in Hebrew. Their mom or their family friend would translate them into English for us so we knew what was being said. We ate apples dipped in honey for a sweet New Year, and golden carrots to wish us wealth in the New Year. We also had kugel, salmon, and macaroni and cheese (at the kids' request). There was apple challah, and for dessert we had honey cake, again for a sweet New Year, and spice cake, to liven things up for the New Year. Our friends informed us that Jewish holidays are always about one of two things, or a combination of them: remembering when people were trying to oppress the Jews, in which case they fast, or celebrating that they didn't all get killed, in which case they eat until they burst. This was definitely a holiday of rememberance, at least according to those stipulations. And when I said I was going to pass on another piece of challah because I was saving room for dessert, I got the "Jewish mother" treatment (jokingly, of course): "What, you don't like it? I made it for you, so how could you not like it? No, no, don't worry about me, then. I'll just sit here all alone. In the dark." Yes, Jewish people seem to have a great sense of humor about themselves.
After dinner we read some stories about Rosh Hashanah: Gershon's Monster and When the Chickens Went on Strike, both of which are great books about customs of the holiday (another great one is The White Ram, which we checked out from the library in anticipation of the event). The highlight of the evening, though, was getting to hear Vicki's friend blow her shofar, which is a ram's horn and is blown on Rosh Hashanah to call in the New Year. Then they gave toy shofars to Vicki and her friend. They sound like those party favor horns. (That was not the highlight of the evening.) We had a great time and learned a lot more about Jewish beliefs. I enjoyed seeing the similarities and differences between what they believe and what we do, and Vicki just said the whole thing was "really cool!"
Shanah Tovah, everyone!

Monday, September 22, 2008

And the grammar gods looked down on us and wept

I heard this poem on the radio today (yes, I listen to talk radio). I'm a confessed grammar vigilante, so this struck home. Enjoy.

Windows Is Shutting Down
by Clive James

Windows is shutting down, and grammar are
On their last leg. So what am we to do?
A letter of complaint go just so far,
Proving the only one in step are you.

Better, perhaps, to simply let it goes.
A sentence have to be screwed pretty bad
Before they gets to where you doesnt knows
The meaning what it must of meant to had.

The meteor have hit. Extinction spread,
But evolution do not stop for that.
A mutant languages rise from the dead
And all them rules is suddenly old hat.

Too bad for we, us what has had so long
The best seat from the only game in town.
But there it am, and whom can say its wrong?
Those are the break. Windows is shutting down.
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