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.

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