Friday, February 29, 2008

An attitude of gratitude

Taking a cue from a friend's blog (who wishes to remain anonymous), I've decided to take some time to focus on the positive and list 5 things that I'm thankful for. Here goes!

1. My beautiful family. I'm grateful every day for such a patient, understanding, loving, compassionate, kind, caring (enough adjectives yet?) and wonderful husband. Chris sees me for who I want to be and loves me in spite of myself. Vicki is so cheerful and enthusiastic about everything she does, it's infectious. Her love for reading and the way she devours books reminds me of me, but twice as much. She is thoughtful and loves to help out wherever she can. Lexi makes me smile all the time. She has the greatest imagination and always seems to know just what to say to help people feel loved. I also love the mischievous twinkle she gets in her eye when she's trying to get away with something. Ellie is our little clown and is her daddy's little girl. She loves to team up with him to tease me, which makes me laugh. She is so free with her love and is always there with a hug or kiss whenever I need it. I am so blessed to have three beautiful, healthy and happy little girls.

2. The amazing spring-like weather we've been enjoying all week. This is Oregon, which means that you generally expect clouds and rain from about October through May. You enjoy the sun when it peeks through, but you don't ever assume that it will stick around. Twice this week they've predicted rain that has never come. The sky has been clear blue and cloudless with highs in the 60s. Yesterday I walked the girls home from school wearing a short-sleeved t-shirt! It has been absolutely beautiful, and while I'm not taking it for granted (they say again that it's supposed to rain this afternoon), I'm certainly enjoying every second of it that I can!

3. That I get to be a stay-at-home mom and still earn a little income for our family. When we moved here I quit working and have loved being at home with the girls, but when school started this year I started babysitting four days a week. Every little bit helps, and I still get to do what I love, which is to just be Mom!

4. That we live in a country where women have rights, and my girls can grow up knowing that they can be anything they want to. Where they can learn about politics and know that one day they can have a say and contribute to the way our nation is run.

5. Lastly, that Girl Scout Cookie time is almost over! I am a complete wreck and have been having nightmares for days (literally waking up in the night stressing over this) that we're going to run out of Samoas or Thin Mints. Enough already!

So there you have it. There are many more, but those are the first five things that came to mind.

And now I have to go clean my house, which I am also thankful for, although not that it has to be cleaned regularly!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

See, I'm not going crazy!

Remember the pony? The one just walking down the street? (and no, that's not a picture of it - you can find anything on the internet!) Well, I saw it again, and this time the girls were there to verify, and we even got to pet it! We were walking home from school when a large (as in large for an animal you'd typically expect to see out and about in the neighborhood), black, furry thing went running across the street about 10 yards ahead of us, followed by a lady holding a rope and a fistful of grass. The girls freaked out. Ellie yelled, "It's the baby horsey, Mommy!" Vicki shouted, "Look Mom, it's your pony!" And Lexi just screamed and hid behind me until she'd figured out what it was. We tried to help head it off, without much success - you could almost see the pony thinking, why go home when I've got all this yummy grass and open space to explore?

To make things even more interesting, when the lady finally caught the pony, whose name is Buttons, Lexi asked her, "Is this Sonja's pony?" (remember Sonja, who says there are vampires?) Turns out it is. So now Lexi claims she will DIE if she doesn't have a playdate with Sonja. Although I'm guessing it's not so much Sonja as Buttons that she wants to have a playdate with.

But I'm not going crazy!

Our incurable bookworm

We have a deal with Vicki that she can stay up reading as late as she likes, but if she acts too tired the next day, then no reading that night. This usually works out pretty well, and she'll read until she gets tired and then turn out her light and go to sleep. But every once in a while she crashes in the middle of reading:

I can usually tell this has happened when her light is still on and there's no movement, and then I have to climb up on her bed (she's on the top bunk) to turn it off. Usually she just has her hand in the book like she does in the picture, but once I found her with the book shut on her nose. It was a big book, too! She woke up before I could get the camera, but oh, how I wish I had a shot of that one!

Those of you who are familiar with Dizzy Bear will notice that he is still around and loved (and holds up considerably well in the wash!)

Spring Program

Last night was the 2nd/3rd grade music program at the school (Lexi's was in December, but sadly we didn't have the camera that night). The theme was "Children all over the world", and they sang songs from different countries. It was a typical elementary school program, meaning while most kids sang, some stared into space, and as the kids were filing onto the stage, people were purposely stepping on each others' toes, that kind of thing. But it was really cute. Vicki loves to sing, so we've been hearing the songs for weeks all around the house, but it's always great to hear them with all the other kids singing, too.

Our school has a large multicultural population, so it was especially fun to see kids singing songs from their home countries. In Vicki's class there are kids from several different Asian countries, a couple of kids from Russia, and some Hispanic kids. In fact, white kids are probably the minority in her class. It's great.

Vicki had a speaking part, introducing a song from Africa. She had only been assigned it that morning and forgot to tell us, so we didn't have the camera ready, but (fortunately?) people were still applauding the previous song when she did it, so the music teacher had her say it over again so people could hear her. And we had time to turn the camera on and get a quick shot of her!

She did great!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sunday Circus part 2

This Sunday was not nearly as out of control. But Chris and I almost exploded trying to hold in our laughter during the Sacrament hymn. Here we all were singing a nice solemn song about Jesus and His sacrifice for us, and then there's Ellie, joyfully (and loudly) singing her heart out: "Bringing home a baby bumbleBEEEEEEE!!! Come on, everyone! Baby bumbleBEEEEEEEE!!!" complete with actions, of course. Through the entire hymn.

Church with small children does the soul a world of good.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Our Sunday Circus

Yesterday was one of those days where, by the end of Sacrament Meeting, Chris and I were both wondering why we even bother to go. I do know that the talks were on reverence, but my children weren't listening, so I didn't get to hear any more than that.

After breaking up fights over the crayons or who gets to color in the Dora coloring book, or explaining for the fiftieth time why Lexi can't play with Ellie's doll and no there still aren't any snacks in the bag, not since two minutes ago when you last asked, we were exhausted. Ellie spent the sacrament prayer kneeling backward on the bench and shhhhhhhing the people behind us, who were actually being quite reverent. Lexi can't sit still for more than three seconds (it's true - we've timed her), and Vicki was grumpy because I wouldn't let her take off her sweater (it was COLD!). Then, to top things off, it was High Council Sunday and the second speaker went over. Such a fun day.

I decided to stop sounding like a broken record and use different wording each time I reminded (pleaded with) Ellie to be quiet, so one time I leaned over and said, "You need to quiet your voice down." She whirled around to face me and said, in a very not-quiet voice, "NO! YOU need to quiet YOUR voice down!"


At least we provide endless entertainment for the people sitting behind us.

What is a trillion?

I am the cookie QUEEEEEEEEN!!!

Like the crown? Vicki made it. It looks better on her, but she didn't carry all the boxes. I EARNED that crown.

Chris heard a guy on the radio talking about how he makes big numbers more understandable for people. The way he explained a trillion (I have no idea how many zeros that is, by the way, or I'd write it in numbers) is that that's enough money to buy EVERY PERSON in the country 1000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

In my living room on Saturday, we had enough cookies for one and a half of us.

The picture's really dark, but they took up an entire wall, with some stacked two deep. That's a lot of cookies. The number has been diminished by more than half now, but we still have close to 700 boxes stacked in cases in the corner.

And yes, they've already started calling my name.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The best Valentine's Day ever!!!

...and it's only 1:00!

For days Vicki has been squirreling away all kinds of things in a special box she made, and wouldn't tell anyone what it was for, except that we'd find out on Valentine's Day. Last night she asked Chris to wake her up when he left for work (at 6am) so she could get something ready. I have never seen anyone so excited for Valentine's Day before - it was really cute!

Anyway, she came into my room at about 6:15 this morning and said I wasn't allowed to go downstairs without Lexi and Ellie, and they weren't allowed to go down without me, so everyone had to wait in my room while I showered. Once we were all dressed, we went downstairs, and this is what we found:

You probably can't read it, but the paper in the middle says, "To: my family. From: ???????"
She gave each of us two items (I got the "mini-me" picture of her and a glow-in-the-dark star) and a pencil, and she was so excited. Her sisters thought it was the coolest thing ever, and were so grateful, even though the gifts were just stuff from around the house (Ellie's first exclamation was, "My sunglasses!") They were truly from the heart, and she was so eager to show her love for us. She is such a sweetheart. Sorry Chris, but this beats flowers and chocolates any day!
I'm the luckiest mom alive!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Oh, the drama

I had this page open just now, forgetting who was in the room with me, and suddenly a little voice behind me said, "Hey, that's my Grandpapa! And my other Grandpapa!" Whoops. So I said, "Yeah, isn't that silly?"

She said, "NO."

"I don't like my Grandpapas with sharp teeth. They don't have sharp teeth."

So I asked her what she thought her Grandpas would do with the sharp teeth.

"Take them out!"

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Because I can...

Yeah, not that scary. I don't see what the fuss is all about, but Ellie's still afraid of them.
(Sorry Dad and Ron...I had to do it. It was too funny a chance to pass up! Love you!)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

That kind of night...

Chris is in Anaheim again tonight, which means I was on my own to fend off the scaries at bedtime. Lexi is still worried about vampires. I told her they weren’t real, and she responded with, “Sonja says they are.” (On an unrelated note, Sonja has a pony.) So we had to go through the whole Sonja’s-five-and-Mom-is-30 routine, which of course didn’t help at all. And now Lexi claims that last night she saw shadows in the hall. Never mind that the laundry room light was on and Chris and I were up much later than the girls and moving all around the house. It had to have been vampires. I don’t think Lexi actually has any clue what vampires really are, just that they’re something to be afraid of. And then Ellie, getting in the spirit of things, decided that she’s afraid of “flaming beetles”. At least I’m pretty sure that’s what she said. That was when I declared our house a vampire and flaming beetle-free zone, kissed them all goodnight, told them I didn’t want to hear another sound unless someone was sick and/or dying, and went downstairs for a bowl of ice cream. If I was a drinking person I would have poured myself a glass (bottle?) of wine. Or maybe had a beer. Not being a drinking person, I don’t actually know what people who do drink would have had, but it was that kind of night.

...and things that go bump in the night

For a couple of nights now Lexi has been afraid to go to sleep. She's worried about vampires. I don't know where she heard about vampires, but they are now at the top of her worry list. Last night she wanted to sleep with us. While I was in the hall hugging her and trying to convince her that there's no such thing as vampires, and Vicki was standing nearby offering the advice that she doesn't need to be worried about them coming into our house because they don't like little girls (thanks, Vicki), Ellie climbed out of bed and announced that she was scared, too, of "grampires". Which of course made us all laugh because then we were picturing Grandpa wearing a long black cape and sporting fangs. Not scary at all. The last time Lexi was worried about vampires at bedtime, Ellie claimed to be scared of "airplanes and ants".

All of this reminds me of my favorite irrational fear story, and I'm sharing it here with Vicki's permission. Not too long after we moved here, Vicki, who was about 4 1/2 at the time, came into my room early one morning and said she'd had a scary dream and was too afraid to be alone. I could tell that this was pretty serious because she was practically shaking. So, expecing to hear all about monsters or spiders or something like that, I asked her what she was worried about. Her answer? "I'm afraid that an elephant will get into our house!" It was so hard not to laugh, because she was genuninely terrified of this, and over the course of the next week or so was afraid of all kinds of zoo animals getting into our house - giraffes, tigers, and monkeys, mostly, besides the elephants, of course. It took a lot to convince her that they'd never, ever, be able to get into our house (except maybe the monkeys, but that would just be silly!)

So I told the girls this story last night, hoping that a little comic relief would perk Lexi up. As we were all (Vicki included) laughing about being afraid of elephants in the house, I said to Ellie, "Could elephants get in our house?" and she answered, "No, they wouldn't fit!" She thought for a second, and then she said, "But piggies could!"

So now we're afraid of vampires and piggies.

How bizarre...

As we were driving home from the school this morning, up the same normal, quiet neighborhood street we always drive on, Ellie shouted, "A horsey, Mommy! A baby horsey!" I looked out the window and my first thought was, no, that's just a really big dog. We got a little closer, and lo and behold, it actually was a horse, just a really small one. Well, okay, it was a pony. One of those little tiny Shetland ponies, the furry shaggy ones. Walking down the street with no one else in sight, acting as though it did this every day. I have not seen anything so utterly bizarre in a long time, and I didn't even have a camera with me!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Amazing Lexi

We're so talented at our house. I have no idea what prompted her to try this, but she thought she was pretty cool. And since I think she's pretty cool, too, I just had to share.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Recent conversations at our house

Ellie and Chris reading Ellie's ABC book

Chris: Ellie, what letter is this? (points to W is for wolf)
Ellie: W, for wolf
C: And what letter is this? (points to X is in fox)
E: K, for orange wolf!

Ellie and Mom
E: Let's play duck goose!
M: Okay! (I sit down, expecting a two-man version of "duck, duck, goose")
E: You're the goose and I'm the duck.
M: Okay.
E: stares expectantly at me
M: Um...hi duck.
E: Hi goosey! (clearly pleased that Mom finally got it)

A phone call yesterday
Falsely cheerful woman: Hello! Is Vicki there?
Me: Um, no, she's at school...may I take a message?
FCW: Well, this is Susan from (whatever photography studio), and I'm just returning her call about wedding portrait packages.
M: Who did you say you were calling?
FCW: Vicki.
M: She's 7. I think you have the wrong number.
FCW, not so cheerful anymore: long pause...Um, yes, you're probably right.
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