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:

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