Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Recommended For...Someone

We love around our house.  Especially at Christmas time.  The more shopping I can do without actually leaving my house the better.

If you are a user of amazon, you're probably familiar with how they keep track of your purchases and then give you recommendations based on those.  However, because most of my purchases this time of year are for people other than myself, the recommendations aren't always things I, personally, would be interested in.

Today, for example, I logged on and found that amazon was suggesting I purchase the following four items:

Lego Road Construction Set.  This item makes sense because Santa brings us a new Lego set every year.  And it's actually pretty cool and something the girls would probably enjoy.

Edgar Allan Poe: Poetry and Tales (Library of America).  I also understand where this one came from.  Chris has become obsessed with this publishing company and his fondest dream may possibly be to one day own every volume.  I bought him a volume of Mark Twain's writings for Christmas, but he'd love the Poe.

Screamfree Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids By Keeping Your Cool.  I'm a little worried about this one.  Why does amazon think I need to learn the art of Screamfree Parenting?  I haven't purchased a parenting book from them (or reviewed one) in at least five years.  It sounds like a good idea, but this recommendation is actually kinda freaking me out, Big Brother style.

Radio Control Giant Tarantula.  I have absolutely no idea where they got the idea that I'd ever, in a million years, want one of these.

But if I had one, I could see where the Screamfree Parenting could come in handy.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Just You Wait

Our family of five got a total of four new cameras for Christmas.

Santa brought the girls each a digital camera (this is what, ahem, Santa was doing at Best Buy at 5:00 in the morning on Black Friday), and Chris's parents gave us a video camera.

Ellie has at least 400 shots of random blurry shapes.

Lexi has at least 400 shots of all her new toys, from every conceivable angle.

Vicki has at least 350 shots of various family members doing various things, and 50 shots of her grandpa's bald spot (which he doesn't believe exists - she's trying to prove it to him.)  She's trying to talk me into letting her have her own blog.

We have all kinds of Christmas morning present-opening video footage, as well as a rousing game of Guesstures with my family.  In addition to all the still pictures Chris and I have on both our cameras of all three girls skiing on Christmas Eve, playing in the snow at Grandma Y.'s house, and opening their presents.

And when we get home to our own computer, I'll be sharing them with you.  Probably not all of them, but probably a lot of them.

I bet you can hardly wait!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Random Thoughts Thursday

It's Christmas Eve!  I can't wait for tomorrow - Chris and I may be more excited than the girls.  Although we weren't the ones counting our presents under the tree this morning.

We learned the hard way today that it's not a good idea to ski on an empty stomach.  Or without drinking any water.  Vicki's feeling much better now, but it's a good thing we keep garbage bags in the glove compartment.

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas.

If you tell a kid they're going to have a great time doing something kind of scary, they will.  Ah, the power of suggestion.

Mittens are a good idea.

I can't think of anything else to say, so...

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Over the River and Through the Woods

Pictures added!!!

This year's drive to Utah was significantly less eventful than last year's.  Of course, it's hard to top a violent snowstorm combined with not-quite-as-violent stomach flu.  This year the roads were (mostly) clear, and no one was throwing up.  Such has become my criteria for a good drive to Utah.

We pulled out at the unholy hour of half past three in the morning.  I don't know if there is any hour that is truly holy, but if there is, 3:30am is definitely not it.  The main reason we leave so early is because, in theory, the girls go right back to sleep in the car and we have a peaceful four or five hours at the start of the trip.

I say "in theory", because in reality what happens every. single. year is that they get excited about the prospect of going to Grandma's house and bounce around in their seats for an hour before we finally lose it and announce that the next person who makes a noise will spend the first three hours at Grandma's house in car in the driveway.  At which point they get the message and fall asleep for about an hour.

I was drifting in and out of consciousness (fortunately, Chris was driving) when I heard Ellie's overexcited voice shout out from the backseat, "Hey, I know where we're going to!  Grandma and Grandpa's house!"  After laughing at the obviousness of the statement, we realized that the stretch of road we were on looked like the road up Parley's Canyon to Grandma and Grandpa Y.'s house.  I can't believe that, after a year, she can remember what that drive looks like, but apparently so.  And with that, everyone was awake and the fun began.

When I was little my family took road trips from Oklahoma to California.  To break up the monotony, my parents came up with the idea of 100-mile treats.  We always thought that we got a treat every 100 miles, although I learned that my Dad's idea of 100 miles didn't always agree with the odometer.  The tradition has continued.  Over the course of the nearly 800-mile drive the girls got 4 treats.  Vicki, ever the stickler for precision, has caught on, but the other two are, fortunately, still in the dark.  When I was little, the treats were always edible and usually candy, but in the interest of dental hygiene, the treats this time consisted of coloring books and crayons, a new movie, fruit snacks, and mini Oreos.  Just enough to keep them quiet for 10 minutes before the Are we there yets and the Has it been 100 miles yets kicked back in.

Normally Chris and I trade off driving, but over the coarse of the trips Chris has come to realize that the lack of leg room in the passenger seat far outweighs the boredom of driving, so he volunteered to drive the whole way this year. 

And I got squished.

The girls did nap, briefly, at around the 11-hour mark. 

I have to give them props here, because while I may complain about the lack of leg room in the front seat, the three of them were crammed together in the back of a Subaru wagon for 12 hours with backpacks, dolls, blankets, pillows, and bags of food.  We had a talk before we left about being understanding of the fact that your sister has just as little room as you do, and for the most part they handled it well.  Elbows seem to be our biggest issue, so we're thinking of just strapping their arms to their sides for the drive home.

But we made it.

We saw lots of livestock (the girls stopped shouting, "Look! Cows!" after the 10th farm), fluffy snowflakes, a french fry factory, falcons perched on road signs, highway evangelism, and an overturned semi truck, spilling onions from the overpass to the freeway below.  And finally...Grandma's house!!!

It was by far not the worst 12 hours I've ever spent in a car, but I'm thankful it's over and we can enjoy the next two weeks with family and old friends.

And I'm extremely thankful that it will be two weeks before I have to do it again.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Random Thoughts Thursday

Today is a run-around-like-a-chicken-with-its-head-cut-off kind of day.

And yet here I am at the computer.

My sister-in-law did a post on her blog not long ago where she posted pictures of the inside of several of her closets. If I did that, you’d see that the girls’ closet is knee-deep in clothes (I am not exaggerating in the slightest) because Ellie couldn’t find her “ballerina princess dress” and tried to take matters into her own hands. Not the best timing on her part.

Today I sent my middle daughter to school with a ponytail holder sporting a small dog on a platform in her hair. It’s huge and hideous, but she loves it.

Of course, I wore hot pink bike shorts to school and thought they looked good, so who am I to judge?

I wonder if anyone ever describes my family to other people as “...interesting” or “...different.”

I like that Russell won on SYTYCD last night. I’ve liked him from the beginning. And Lexi thinks he’s cute (heaven help us – she’s attracted to dreadlocks?)

Why does it always seem like no matter how well I plan, I’m packing for vacation the day before?

I hate laundry, that’s why.

Next Random Thoughts Thursday will be Christmas Eve! Holy cow, how did that happen?

I canNOT forget to take my camera to Utah.

My little two-year-old babysitting buddy just walked in the room and said, “Ni-hao.” Okay, I know she’s smart, but now she speaks Chinese?

I need a good book.

Okay, time to get to work.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Potato, Potahto

We’re a bit obsessed with reading around here.

You may not have noticed.

But it’s true.

So it’s only natural that Ellie would want to learn to read, just like the rest of the family.

We bought a set of Bob Books (side note: until I searched for the site so I could link to it, I had no idea that these books originated in Portland.  How cool is that?) when Vicki was about three and we were gung-ho my-kid-will-be-reading-War and Peace-by-kindergarten parents. They’re cute, simple, and fun. She and Lexi both loved learning to read with them, and Chris got them back out a few weeks ago when Ellie came to him with a chapter book and announced, “Daddy, today you’re going to teach me how to read!” He figured it was better to start small. Smart man.

Ellie knows all the letters and the majority of their sounds. So putting the sounds together is the logical next step, and she’s quite proud of her newfound abilities.

She’s also incredibly stubborn and just overly self-confident enough to believe that one reading lesson is enough. She’s convinced she should now be moving on to the Harry Potter books like everyone else in the family.

The other day she sat down beside me with a Bob Book and said, “Sit back, Mommy.  I’m gonna to read to you!”

She opened to the first page. “See, Mom, the letters are M-A-T. They say Mmmmm...Aaaaaa...Tuh!!”

When I told  Chris this story, he informed me that the first night they read them, Ellie kept trying to pronounce the "o" sound in the word "Bob" as "oo".  So she kept saying "Buh-oo-buh...B-oo-b...Boob!" and poor Daddy almost cracked a rib holding in the laughter.

Clearly, we have our work cut out for us.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Most Real Things in the World

This is the year it finally happened. I’ve been dreading it for a while now. I even thought it was over a year and a half ago, but that particular incident seems to have been forgotten.

This year, though, Vicki and her friends held a conference. They sat around their table at school and discussed Santa Claus. Was he real? Was he just their parents? Should they still believe in something that seemed so impossible?

When she came to me and demanded, “Tell me the truth”, I knew the game was over.

She’s 9 years old and in the 4th grade. She’s been asking about the Tooth Fairy for a while. I should have seen it coming. We’ve even had THE TALK with her, so it's not like I'm not aware that she's growing up.

But I wasn’t ready for this one!

After a day and a half of neither admitting nor denying anything, I finally worked up the nerve to fill her in. I told her the story of the little girl named Virginia O'Hanlon who wrote to a newspaper with the very same question.  Over the course of the conversation (the first response to which was an exultant, "I KNEW it!!!"  Sigh.) a lot of her questions were answered (for example, “Why does Target advertise stuff as a ‘great stocking stuffer’? Does Santa really shop at Target?”) and we had a really good mother-oldest daughter conversation.

She’s concluded that while she doesn’t believe in Santa as an actual person anymore, she still wants to believe in him as an idea, which I encourage. I pointed out that we don’t believe in the wizarding world of Harry Potter as a real world that co-exists with ours, but we still believe in the magic of the idea. Santa’s the same.

The most important part of our conversation centered around a comment she made when I told her Santa was the spirit of Christmas. She said, “But I thought Jesus was the spirit of Christmas.” I explained that Jesus is the Reason for Christmas – it’s a celebration of His birth and without Him there would be no need for Christmas. The spirit of Christmas is giving, and Santa is a representation and personification of that. The Savior gave us the Ultimate Gift, and when we give to others, it’s a way of remembering Him.

In the words of newspaper reporter Francis Pharcellus Church, who wrote the reply to Virginia in 1897, “The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see....Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.”

I'm relieved that Vicki will always believe in Santa Claus, even if she knows now who really leaves the presents.  At the end of the tooth fairy post I linked to above, I wrote, "I think Vicki will love being in on all the secrets, whenever that time comes, just as much as she loves believing right now."  This appears to be true.

Additionally, I do have to say: I still believe in Santa Claus!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Random Thoughts Thursday

Chris and I discovered our new favorite store last night. HomeGoods. It’s like Ross for household stuff. If you need a white elephant gift, I highly recommend looking there. My favorite find: a 4-foot-tall wooden pepper grinder. For $96.

I’ve been having panic attacks all morning because I realized just how little time is left before we leave for Utah for Christmas!

But my shopping is done! (except for my brother. He’s hard to shop for.)

I wish the Chex Muddy Buddies I made last week had lasted longer than a day. I need a fix.

It looks like such a gorgeous day outside. Too bad it’s still below freezing.

Why do crayons smell so yucky in large quantities? Or is that just me? I also can’t stand the smell of balloons once they’ve started losing their air. Yeah, maybe it’s just me.

I have the song “Mele Kalikimaka” going through my head. So very, very annoying.

I’m ticked off that I paid $20 for something on amazon as a pre-order, and the day after it arrived at my door they had it on sale for $10.

What part of “don’t play in Mom & Dad’s room” do my children not understand? Seriously!

I can’t find Cherry Cordial Hershey Kisses anywhere! Help! Christmas isn’t complete without them!

I am the slowest texter on the planet.

I’m getting kind of whiny and negative, aren’t I?

Okay, here’s positive: I loved hearing Vicki and the rest of the school choir sing at the Grotto on Tuesday! And I can’t wait to hear them sing again on Saturday!

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Lord Will Provide

Luke 1:26-34, according to Lexi:

Once there was a lady called Mary. An angel came to her one day and told her that she was going to have a baby. Mary said, “But how can I have a baby? I don’t even know a man!”

And the angel said, “Don’t worry. God will find you a man!”

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Random Thoughts Thursday

I love Christmas music.

I wish I knew where the socks were disappearing to.  My box of mismatched socks is overflowing.

Today would be a good day for cocoa and a good chick flick.  Baby, it's cold outside.

What?  Only one more episode of Glee?  What will I do while I fold laundry on Wednesday nights?

Apparently Belle the Disney Princess is all-powerful.  At least that's what Ellie says.  Sort of like Superman in a ball gown, I guess.

I just bought a new Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas CD.  And another generic Christmas CD.  Walmart has won another sucker.

I think I have two more Christmas presents to buy and I'm DONE!!!  (thank you!  One stop shopping indeed.)

Why do kids love hot dogs so much?

I remember when I was a kid and Christmas seemed SO FAR away.  And birthdays.  Now I feel like the time goes so fast, but I'm glad I have my kids to help remind me that it's not that way for everyone.

Why won't the house stay clean?

It's a bit belated, but if you haven't read the infamous Thanksgiving Letter on Awkward Family Photos, you really must.  I'm so glad no one in my family is like this.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Shameless Plugging

I'm on the mailing list for the Imago Theatre here in Portland, and though we rarely ever go to shows there, we still think it's a great little theatre company.  This morning I got an email with a link to a YouTube video of clips from their show Biglittlethings.  Two years ago we took the older girls to see it, and it was amazing.  They put it on this time each year, and I highly recommend it.  So if anyone in the Portland area is looking for some great holiday family fun, this is a fantastic idea.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Crazy Shopping Woman

I made it through my first ever Black Friday shopping experience uscathed.  I left the house just after 5:00 this morning so I could stand in the rain outside Best Buy, next to a friendly man in shorts (brrrrr...dude, it's 40 degrees out!) with an abnormally large umbrella that he was, thankfully, willing to share.  Once inside, I managed to get what I needed (woohoo!) while keeping my fingers intact.  No black eyes, no bloodshed, very little panic.

While I don't think this will be an annual event for me (I prefer my sleep, thank you very much), I did get enough of a rush from the good deals at Best Buy and the two other stores I visited in the dark that when I got home at 7am, rather than going back to bed like any sane person would do, I unloaded my loot and spent five more hours shopping.

But I'm almost finished with my Christmas shopping!

And now I'm really, really sleepy.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Random Thoughts Thursday

In honor of this Day of Thanks, I thought I’d forgo the usual Random Thoughts and instead share some things that I’m thankful for. I’ll do it randomly, though. It is Thursday, after all :)

Family. I have the most wonderful husband and the most beautiful daughters in the world. You can argue with me on that if you want to, but I’ll still be right.  And Chris and I are both blessed to come from amazing families.  My kids have the best grandparents, aunts, and uncles in the world!

Music. If you want to get a message across to me, music is the best way to do it. Nothing moves me quite as much. I don’t think I could live without it.

Chocolate. Something else I doubt I could live without.

The gospel of Jesus Christ. I know my Savior lives, and I know He loves me.  I am grateful for all the blessings He has provided me.  I hope I can live up to His standard.  I try.

Netflix. Fun and easy entertainment: the constant of our weekends.

Sunshine. Rare. Beautiful. Warm.

Traditions. We went bowling again today.  It was awesome.  It's the first real tradition our family has had that's separate from the families Chris and I grew up in, and the girls won't let us forget. I have some great pictures from today that I will post soon.

Harry Potter books on tape. It’s getting old listening to snippets of the same two books over and over and over and OVER, but they’ve gotten Lexi excited about books, and that’s definitely a good thing. I’m willing to make sacrifices to encourage the development of another book lover.

Facebook (there, I said it). Thanks to my cave in several months ago, I’ve reunited with people I have had no contact with for over 10 years. That, if nothing else, makes it worth it and worthy of this list.

Friends. New and old. One is silver and the other gold.  I have friends all over the world, and each of you has helped me to become the person I am today.  You are an inspiration

Oh, and everyone who reads my blog! Am I cool enough that I can say I have “readers” yet? I don’t know. But I appreciate anyone who is actually interested in the life and thoughts of me.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Drawing a Blank

I want to blog.

Or maybe just write.

I want to have profound and meaningful things to write about.  I want to leave my mark on the world.

I started a post tonight that wants to be all those things.  But I don't have the energy to finish it.  It involved pictures.  Lots and lots of pictures, and despite the ease of Blogger's new and improved picture uploader, it still takes effort, effort which I do not feel like putting forth.

I feel like the blog is being neglected.  I faithfully come back each Thursday, because I've discovered that Random Thoughts Thursday has some sort of magical powers.  It draws people in, and I like people reading my blog.  It makes me, in a very TAMN-like way, feel validated.  But the rest of the week doesn't have the same kind of draw, for any of us, and I've developed writer's block.

Either that, or mommy's loss of momentum.

Life is busy.  November and December are crazy months.  I love this time of year, but man, it's nuts.  I don't know if I'm at the point yet when I can say I'll be glad when the holidays are over, but a day or two of downtime would be nice.  (As long as that downtime is not in the form of another illness, thank you very much.  We're done with that now, okie-dokie?)

For someone who started this post thinking she had nothing to say, I sure do have a lot to say, huh?  I've got nothing to blog about, so I blog about nothing.*

I'm drawing a blank, and Ellie's drawing on the walls.

It's me, there on the left.  You can tell because of the short, curly hair.  I think she thought I wouldn't get as mad at her for using the walls as a canvas AGAIN if it was a picture of me.  The sad thing is, I didn't.  I didn't succeed in trying not to laugh, I took a picture and then I didn't even make her clean it up.

The way I see it is: at least I'm making a mark somewhere!

*10 points if you get the song reference

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Random Thoughts Thursday

I've been stressing for the past two weeks that I insulted and/or offended people with my spelling & grammar comment.  I didn't mean to!  I'm just weird like that, but I don't sit around editing people's comments or blogs or anything.  Professional websites, on the other hand...

The cold that’s been moving through the family since the swine flu left us has finally made its way to me. Blech.

One day I will get a grasp on why the phrase, “Please clean up your toys” seems to hold no meaning for my children.

I need a good homemade Christmas ornament idea for this year. Good, cheap, and fun.

I did figure out, though, what the girls can give for Christmas to all their various teachers. It’s inexpensive, homemade, and pretty darn cool.

I really wish I could remember everything that’s happened in the last 11 Wheel of Time books. Book 12 would make so much more sense then.

Today’s motivation level: zero.

I’ve discovered that as much as I love being surprised, picking out my own Christmas present is sometimes the better way to go.

It would be nice if we had a month where there wasn’t at least four days off school. Hasn’t happened yet.

I am proud to say that I will be going to bed long before midnight tonight, unlike some other devotees of a film that shall remain unnamed. Yes, I will see it, but not until at least next week, possibly the week after. It’s how my friend Rachel and I tell ourselves we’re less crazed than everyone else.

Besides, I haven’t actually been able to stay awake past midnight in years. No point paying for a ticket and standing in line for seats for a movie I’d just sleep through.

I’m stressing about Christmas shopping. I have an awesome gift in mind for the girls, but I want to wait until Black Friday to see if I can get it for cheap. If I can’t, I have no idea what they’ll be getting. But I can’t really buy much for them until I get this sorted out. Stress!

For all my protest about Thanksgiving getting its fair due, I sure do have Christmas on the brain.

I just changed my Facebook home page language to pirate. It’s much more entertaining that way (thanks for the tip, Lori!)

Friday, November 13, 2009

You Can Drag a Kid to Paper, but You Can't Make Them Write

The big focus this year at the girls' school is writing.  All the kids are being encouraged to become detailed writers.  Both girls have reading comprehension-type questions on their homework each week.  Vicki has had a lot of homework assignments that require her to read about an issue and then write an argument for or against the issue.  Lexi has simpler assignments, but they encourage writing nonetheless.

I love to write (hence the blog), so I think this is a great thing.  My children, unfortunately, do not tend to agree with me on this.  Vicki complains every night about how much she hates writing and how hard it is, and how stupid and boring and unfair, blah, blah, blah.  Lexi, however, has chosen a more passive-aggressive tactic.

She brought home a worksheet the other day that she'd apparently done in class.  The top of the worksheet said, "Draw a castle" with a nice big box underneath for drawing said castle.  Lexi's castle is magnificent.  It has turrets and ramparts and flags, and is even so detailed as to include a drawbridge, which, at the moment, is lowered, presumably to allow entrance to the princess waiting just outside the borders of the picture.

Underneath the drawing box it says, "Write about the castle", followed by a series of prompts.  Here is what my too-smart-for-her-own-good daughter had to say about her castle:
  • Who or what? a castle
  • Did what? sat thare
  • Where? thare
  • When? 2:00 am
  • Why? it’s a castle
Alrighty then.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Random Thoughts Thursday

Did you know that the fastest way to better customer service is to bring along two little girls wearing fluffy princess dresses?

Why is my computer running so slowly today?

I finally feel caught up on the house after being sick! Now everyone better just stay healthy for the rest of the year!  And stop getting clothes dirty.  That would be nice, too.

I used to be such a compassionate mom when my girls woke me up in the night. I’d cuddle and love and cover and kiss and then crawl back to bed. I also used to be really good at falling right back asleep. Now, not so much. And not so much with the compassion at 2:00 in the morning. Get your own dang drink of water!

One day I will look back on the last 9+ years of interrupted sleep and laugh, right? Right?

I cried while watching Glee last night. I am such a sap.

It’s really cold in here.  But if I turn the thermostat up I'll forget to turn it back down at bedtime and we'll roast in our beds.

Why can’t I find a good day to take Ellie to the zoo to see the lions? She’s thrilled that we have not only Gloria the Hippo, Marty the Zebra, and Melman the Giraffe, but finally Alex the lion, King of New York!

Maybe Ellie watches too much TV.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Sesame Street!

Today marks 40 years since the debut of what is quite possibly the most beloved children's program of all time.  I grew up watching Sesame Street and all its lovable furry monsters, and I'm proud to say my children love it, too.  Everyone has their favorite moments from the Street.  Please indulge me as I share some of mine.

This is the most awesome rubber duckie song ever:

Grover has always been my favorite monster. He's bumbling and clueless, but he's so sure of himself.  And he announces his presence by saying, "It is I!"  What's not to love?

The 70's colors and animation, the funky many of us learned to count to 12 by watching this? How many of us still can't count to 12 without singing this?

I'm not embarassed to say that there are many, many more, but in the interest of time, these three will have to do.

And now I invite you to join me in celebrating this awesome show and tell me, what are your favorite Sesame Street moments?

Sleeping Beauty

Sunday, November 8, 2009


(She wanted a carrot cake, and Dad delivered.  But we didn't have anything we could use as carrot jockeys.  Bummer.)

Vicki had a birthday on Saturday.  My oldest child is now nine years old.  That makes me...ancient.

In keeping with recent tradition on this blog, here are nine things about Vicki you may or may not know:

1. She has read the entire Harry Potter series more times than me, by a long shot (and I've read it at least seven times.)
2. She is completely unconcerned about what other people think of her.
3. She hates it when people spell her name wrong.  It's sort of an "Anne-with-an-e" kind of thing.

4. She cannot function if she doesn't have a book to read.
5. She has never needed as much sleep as normal people.
6. She loves projects.  For example: she has sewn herself a skirt and knitte several hats, and is currently crocheting a scarf and sewing a bathrobe.

7. Her favorite foods are: meatloaf, pork chops, chicken tacos, and pizza.
8. She loves to sing.
9. She is the most perpetually cheerful person I know.

Happy birthday, Vicki!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Random Thoughts Thursday

This is my 300th post! Release the ceiling balloons! (which makes me think of “Wewease da secwet weapon!” How's that for random?)

Why don’t other people care about spelling and grammar like I do? Am I some kind of freak? Wait, don’t answer that.

Halloween is over and I need someone to get rid of all the candy that my kids haven’t eaten yet. Preferably before I eat it.

When the rain comes, why do they run and hide their heads?

Turns out you have to book flights with mileage points waaaaay in advance for Christmastime. So we’ll be driving to Utah again this year. Ugh.

I miss England.

I’ve discovered that four days of being sick and doing nothing equals two weeks of making up for it. If only I had a magic wand.

Greek Mythology is awesome.

Sneaky mom trick of the day: “Surprise Mac”. When the kids are tired of plain old mac & cheese, hide hot dogs under it and tell them they’ll get a surprise if they eat all the macaroni. I’m such a genius. (I suppose this works best if finding hot dogs under your food is considered a good surprise.)

I am surrounded by princesses.

Ellie thinks Belle was her teacher in “baby school”. What a weird kid.

There is a mountain of laundry in the hall. I have been carefully avoiding it. I think it’s reproducing on its own now, though. Time to conquer.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Why I Will Never Be Accepted into the Punk Community

Photo courtesy of Becca and the church Halloween party

Reason #1: I am clearly making the "I love you" sign, as opposed to the "rock on" sign.  There were a lot of people behind the camera laughing at us and I think the pink hairspray affected my brain.  I got confused.  But I do know the difference.

Reason #2: I do not have a good sneer, or an exceptionally long tongue.  I was trying to look tough, but people were making me laugh.  Chris, however, seems to be channeling Gene Simmons.  Ew.

Reason #3: My jeans are not ratty enough.  It was too last-minute of a costume to sufficiently tear the one holey pair I had.  Rest assured, if I do this again next year, the jeans will be ratty.

Reason #4: My tatoos are not cool enough.  They actually don't look that bad in this picture.  But they're attached to the shirt.  Chris's are better.  His actually look real.

In conclusion, it's pretty clear that I'm a double-chinned, grimacing, loving, pink-haired something (with a really shiny forehead), but probably not much of a punk.  Alas.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

*Disclaimer: I realize the photo quality is less than desirable.  In my defense, the flash was off and I didn't know it.  Also, the lighting in our house is horrible.  But aren't we all awesome?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Random Thoughts Thursday

I get ridiculously excited when old friends find me on facebook. That, and being able to chat with Pam are really the only things that keep me there. I refuse to get sucked into any of the games.

I’m taking a bunch of Girl Scouts to the corn maze today. In the rain. And mud. Pray for me. (hey, speaking of facebook, I think I’ll go make this my status. It sounds good.)

Why is it that I agonize over writing my status updates? Everyone else writes literally whatever comes into their heads (sometimes waaaay too often – I’m just sayin’), but I have to think about it, and write and re-write, and then after I post it I get all stressed that it sounds stupid. Yeah, I think it’s best if facebook and I have a very casual, very remote relationship.

Apparently I’m ruining Ellie’s life. Bummer.

Oooh, better not forget the camera today!

Why won’t my children wear clothes?

I’ve been pondering lately why on earth there are so many differing views in the world. Good grief, can’t everyone see that MY views are the best?!

I still remember a commercial from years ago, where the announcer voice said, “home-cooked meal on a weeknight?” in a shocked voice (I think it was actually advertising KFC. Home-cooked my left toenail! Ahem...anyway...) I used to laugh at that, because weeknights were when I actually cooked. Saturdays are a free-for-all. But now that my kids are older and busier, I get it. Aha!

I should probably finish the girls’ Halloween costumes.

Chris thinks I should be Tonks (from Harry Potter) for Halloween. With pink spiked hair. But that’s as far as he can get in the costume idea. He just wants to see me with pink spiked hair, I guess.

I need to stop editing other people’s blogs for grammar. I promise I don’t do it to be critical, it’s just that I’m a total nerd. And contrary to popular belief, “yeah” is not spelled “ya”. (and yes, I am aware that “yea” is not spelled “yay”, but for some reason I’ve hated “yea” my whole life. It doesn’t look complete. Am I totally strange? Wait, don’t answer that.)

Okay, sorry, I guess I’m kind of on one today. Maybe it’s time to publish and then force bribe encourage my kids to get dressed.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Woe is me

Well, our battle with swine flu isn’t over yet. This time it’s me. I’ve been fighting what I hoped was just a really bad cold for a few days, but yesterday I was hit by the stampeding pigs. And knocked completely flat. And the worst part was that Chris was in CA all day for Walnut Village’s open house-meet & greet-schmooze-event. So it was just my miserable tissue-clutching self and the girls.  For the whole day.

And they were awesome. They fed themselves, entertained themselves, colored me pictures, and stayed out of my way all day long. I never once had to get after them for anything, and when I asked them to pick up after themselves, they did it without complaining. Maybe I should be sick all the time.

Ellie was my own personal nurse. Apparently she watched me closely the whole time her sisters were sick, and acted accordingly. She made sure I had plenty of fluids (“Okay, Mom, after you finish your juice, then you need to drink some water, because water is good for you”), a comfy place to chill (“Here, Mommy, let me fluff your pillows”), and a teddy bear, which I was required to carry with me everywhere I went.

Today Chris went to work late and came home early so I wouldn’t have to leave the house to get the girls to or from school. Isn’t he wonderful? He has to go to CA again tomorrow, so he’s doing what he can for me tonight to make up for it. Not that I’m taking advantage or anything ;)

I do not recommend H1N1. Not that anyone has much control over it – you’ll either get it or you won’t – but I highly recommend doing all that’s possible to avoid it. Get your shots, cover your cough, wash your hands, all that good stuff.

And you should probably stay away from my house for a while. We’ve going a little over a week between cases thus far, so who knows how long this will last. But right now I’m going to go curl up in bed with lots of blankets and a good book. Vicki’s book order arrived today, so I now have the rest of the Percy Jackson series. That should get me through tomorrow, I think.

Stay healthy, people.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

You found me!

Welcome to the new and improved Three is a Magic Number!  You'll find all your old favorite posts here.  Of course, I'm not sure if anyone even had any favorites, but I do, and they're all here!

As you can see, not too much has changed.  Same crazy household, same crazy blog.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Random Thoughts Thursday

Why is it that it sounds like life and death when they’re shouting that they need to tell you something, and as soon as you finally respond all they say is, “Wellllll...ummmm...I just...uhhhhh...I was wonnnnderinnnnng...ummmmmmm...”?

14 quarts of applesauce, 16 pints of salsa, 8 half-pints of bruchetta-in-a-jar, 6 half-pints of pear salsa (kinda more like a chutney, really), and nowhere near enough (used to be 12, but it’s a lot fewer now) half-pints of pear butter. Mmmmmm...

I listened to, among other things, World Have Your Say on OPB this morning while making applesauce. I’m all for respecting other people’s viewpoints, but honestly, there are some crazy scary people in the world.

PBS pledge drives make me feel insanely guilty.

I’m learning that the phrase “quiet time” has different meanings depending on one’s age (you'd think I'd know by now...)

I love the fall. I could live outdoors this time of year, just taking in all the colors. And our tree out front is the most awesome looking thing in the fall. The leaves stay green in the middle for a long time, but they’re edged by red and yellow. I love it!

Here is what I look like to Lexi:

I love it.

I"ve had that song that goes "I'll stop the world and melt with you" in my head all day long.  Dang Hershey's commercial.

I should really get a move on the Halloween costumes.  This year I'm making two fairies and a spider.  Care to guess who is which?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Stupid pigs

We’ve been quarantined for going on 5 days now. Well, Lexi has, but really, when you've got a sick kid you don't get out much. And we had 3 days of quarantine with Vicki a week and a half ago.

Swine flu. Oh, yeah.

Actually, if this is the dreaded H1N1 (which it must be because apparently normal seasonal flu has not hit Oregon yet) then it’s not that bad. I do realize that people have become deathly ill from this virus, but for us it’s been no worse than the seasonal variety. My kids get high fevers as a general rule, so 104 degrees, while uncomfortable, is nothing to panic about around here.

I completely understand and respect the school’s rule that kids can’t come back until they’ve been fever-free (fever being defined as 100 degrees or above) for 24 hours without the aid of medication (does that include the parents?) I don’t want my kids catching something from someone else’s kid, and I would feel awful if I knew my kids had been spreading germs around the school (more than usual, that is.) I don’t send them to school when they’re sick, period, and I expect others to show the same courtesy.

So if, when the temperature has been normal for most of the day and we’ve spent the whole day assuming she’ll go back to school tomorrow, the temperature goes back up to 101 degrees, then of course she stays home the next day. But when, that next day, it goes to barely 100 degrees but she feels absolutely fine, it becomes an unhappy experience for all involved.

Cabin fever, big time. But she’ll be back in school tomorrow. If I have to simply plead ignorance by not taking her temperature all day long, so help me she’ll be back in school.*

Sadly, all I can think of now is: two down, one (or, heaven help us, three) to go.

*We all know I'm kidding, right? I really have checked her several times today. Totally normal. Well, normal for this house, anyway.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Spam, spam, spam, spam

I have a “spam” email address that I use for online purchases and things like that. It’s the email address I give out when I know the likely result will be a bombardment of offers for products I physically have no use for (wink, wink.) Most of the time that sort of message goes straight to the spam folder anyway, so all I have to look at are harmless (except, possibly, to the pocketbook) ads for stores where I’ve bought things. Since it’s not my “real” email address and I only check it an average of once a week, it’s not a big deal.

Every once in a while, though, one slips through the net. And something must be wrong with the net, because when I signed on today I found the following from the last several days:
  • Why purchase from Canadian Healthcare? (I had this one twice, with different senders)
  • Impress your business partner with Rolex watches
  • Excellent replicas for a reasonable price
  • Now you can take your pants off with pride
  • Any way you want it, that’s the way you need it
The last one is my favorite. As suggestive as it sounds, it was actually from, which used to be BMG Music Service.


And now for something completely different.
(but not really)

You know your kids can cope with just about any situation when the adults at the dinner table monopolize the conversation by repeating Monty Python quotes back and forth and the children simply eat their dinner without batting an eye.

Such is life at our house.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Even technology has its weaknesses

I got this email from my brother the other day.  When I read it I knew it was absolutely necessary that I share it with anyone and everyone who happens across this blog.  Hi-larious.  Enjoy.

Our new computer came with the latest version of iPhoto, Apple's photo-sorting application (it's great). One of the new totally cool features is facial recognition. You tag a photo of someone (like in facebook), and then iPhoto can automatically search for more photos of the same person, and you can tell it whether or not it's accurately finding the same face in other photos, and it learns the person's face that way. It makes guesses and you can either confirm or deny it. Then, if you're ever looking for a photo of someone in particular, you can simply look at their face collection. Easy and cool.

Rebecca and I visited Madame Tussauds while on our honeymoon. So, we have lots of celebrity wax figure photos in our iPhoto. I thought it'd be funny to tag the face of one celebrity in particular, so that in the "Faces" section of iPhoto, you see this person's name alongside mine, Rebecca's and the rest of our family/friends.

A few weeks later, I was going through some more photos, tagging them or whatever, and I opened this photo, and here's what I saw:

You'll probably need to click on the photo to enlarge it so you can see it better (I look horrible, so don't even look at me.  I'm not the point of this, anyway.)


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Random Thoughts Thursday

I just found out that my cousin and her husband are adopting a baby boy in a couple of weeks! Congratulations Carrie and Zack!!!

I like to think that my mother-in-law and I have a good relationship. A healthy relationship. A relationship completely opposite from these two women.

It just occurred to me that Random Thoughts Thursday is sort of a day’s worth of Facebook status updates. Not sure what the point of saying that is, but I guess that only solidifies my point.

It’s picture day at school tomorrow. The girls have to wear their uniforms (sorry, I mean “Code of Dress”) and they still can’t decide what to wear.

Ellie has taken to wandering around singing, “Four, four, I like the number four. Four, four, I like the number four.”

I wish I knew how to convince Vicki that sleeping is actually a good thing. Maybe if she believed it was acceptable to go to sleep without crashing on top of a book she’d be more pleasant in the morning. Because I’m such a morning person, of course.

I need a bigger car.

I still haven’t turned on the furnace. Do you think we can make it until November? We did once, about 4 years ago. But not since then.

Ellie got a $10 bill from Grandma for her birthday and really wanted to go spend it at “the number 1 dollar store.”

I love fall, but the weather today is just making me sleepy.

I got an awesomely hilarious email from my brother the other day, but I think I'll save it for its own post, what with all the sleepy.  How hard do you think it would be to convince a couple of headstrong 4-year-olds to take a nap?  Yeah, probably not happening.  Ah, well, a girl can dream.  I'll post Robbie's email tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Look! I've created skeptics

At the beginning of the summer, when the TV gods failed and the digital switchover took place, the girls discovered Qubo. And I discovered that it’s possible to loathe a TV channel with a loathing so powerful it makes Chutes and Ladders sound like fun.

While the shows are sub par, what I hate most are the commercials. Oh, the commercials. They’re not even for stuff I might possibly find useful. In my opinion, everything advertised on Qubo falls into one of two categories: a) stupid kid stuff (Pillow Pets, Chixos, Moon Sand, and Bendaroos all fit here), or b) stupid adult stuff (the Snuggie tops this one, but there’s also Gold Envelope, Heel Stick, and the Cell Phone Wallet, which the girls think I need.)

I've mentioned before how I explained the possibility that you can’t always trust advertising, and how I demonstrated "before" and "after" (actually, it was “fat” and “skinny”, but same difference) for them. Well, yesterday afternoon I happened upon my children gathered around the TV set, deeply involved in an ad for a hair restoration product. And commenting out loud. “No way that’s the same person!” “Oh, you can totally tell that’s a different head!” “Look, the hair’s not even the same color!”

The small comfort in this new additude is that in all likelyhood they’ll always be safe from Nigerian bankers.

Monday, October 12, 2009

There's a difference between procrastination and last-minute inspiration

I need some help for a class I'm teaching at church Tuesday evening.  Here's what I need to know:

1. What is the best thing about Christmas cards and/or letters?

2. What is the worst thing about Christmas cards and/or letters?


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Random Thoughts Thursday

There's a spider in my hall.

I feel like I've been playing catch-up all week long, thanks to our weekend canning extravaganza.  I'm finally mostly caught up, though.  And the laundry is actually mostly folded and put away, if you can believe it!

Speaking of canning, I believe that pear butter is quite possibly the ambrosia of the gods.  It's that good.  And if you're really, really nice to me (and if we don't eat all 20-something jars in the next two weeks, which, at the rate we're going, is a distinct possibility) then maybe I'll share :)

I have decided that shopping for presents for my girls stresses me out way more than it should.  I just don't want to end up with a bunch of junk that they'll only be excited about for a day or two.  And Christmas is coming...stress, stress, stress!

Why are there fruit flies in my bathroom?

I watched Oprah yesterday for the first time in, oh, probably seven years.  The girls were shocked when I said I wanted to watch a show at 4:00.  I never watch daytime TV.

I asked Ellie last night if she could guess what was for dinner.  She said, "Cake!" and when I said no, she said, "Cupcakes!"  Nice try, sister.

Today Vicki was shocked to realize that Julie Andrews is actually a blonde.  I remember feeling the same way.  She just is Mary Poppins, so how could she not look like her?

I learned the other day that my childhood best friend has a daughter with the same birthday as Ellie.  Crazy.

I hate it when my kids are sick.  103 degree fevers should not be allowed.  Thankfully, she's on the mend (fingers crossed, knock on wood.)

If anyone has any extra chocolate lying around, you know where to send it :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Today is Ellie's birthday.  That's right, my baby is now 4, and balks at being called "my baby".  She's growing more confident and independent all the time.  But at least she still wants me to tuck her in at night :)

In honor of her birthday, here are four things about our Miss Magoo:

1. She is always telling us about when she went to "baby school", and all the awesome things they did there.  She even has her friends convinced they went there with her.

2. She has her daddy wrapped tightly around her little finger.

3. She firmly believes that she can control automatic doors (including elevators) by waving her hands at them.

4. Her smile can light up a room.

Happy Birthday Ellie!!!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

So evil you'd pronounce it e-VILL?

Lexi, Ellie, and Ellie's friend Katie have started playing a game they call “Evil Genies”. I don’t know where this game came from, or what being an Evil Genie even entails. And to be quite honest, I’m not all that sure they do, either. The most I could get out of them was that they play tricks on people. Or something like that. It was all very vague. Mostly they sit around and announce to anyone who walks by that they’re Evil Genies, with an evil laugh thrown in for effect. Sometimes they put the tips of their fingers together when they say "Evil Genies". You know, for that sinister effect.

Then on Friday morning when we got in the car to go to school, I was informed that they had all given themselves Evil Genie names.

Names like Serafina Buttercup, Sabrini Scarlet, and Peanut Butter Cup.

There is nothing more I can possibly say about this.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Random Thoughts Thursday

I would like to know what was going through the head of the woman in the tiny little BMW who followed me through the Costco parking lot and then sat, with her impatient left turn signal on, and waited while I loaded a month’s worth of super-sized containers and two small children into my car. Did she really think I’d only be a minute? My spot wasn’t even that close to the store. But that silent little turn signal continued to flash louder and louder until I could hardly stand it. So, petty woman that I am, when I had the kids in the car I walked my shopping cart all the way down to the corral instead of leaving it at the top of the parking spot where I found it, just to make her wait a few more seconds. Hey, you follow a mom with a full shopping cart and two kids in tow through the Costco parking lot and you’re asking for it.

We took the 36lb box of pears out of the fridge this morning (there’s a lot more room in there now!) and will get to spend the weekend making yummy things like pear butter and pear salsa. Maybe even some pear sauce if there’s enough. We’re wishing we’d gotten a few more boxes.

Once upon a time I was motivated to clean my house. Then I went on vacation. Ugh, the bathrooms are getting scary. Someone come visit so I’ll have some real motivation.

A friend of mine posted this public forum letter from the Salt Lake Tribune on his blog. The fact that there are people like this out there makes me afraid for our nation. Key phrase: "I don't get the logic."

I, who loves to brag about the lack of TV watching Chris and I engage in, have become addicted to the show Glee. How sad. But so, so funny.  I can't help it.  It sucked me in.

Speaking of TV watching, the girls seem to have forgotten about Qubo now that school’s started. I’m sure we’re missing a whole host of informative commercials for terribly useful items, but I’m not about to remind them.

I like it when Ellie and her friend play Sleeping Beauty. They’re nice and quiet.  Not like the time they played "see who can scream the loudest and longest."

I need some more Beatles CDs.

Why does the phrase “puffy blue dress” make me giggle today?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A tale of sand and walnuts

I love going to the beach, but I hate the aftermath. To put it simply, I hate sand. I've felt this way for a while. When we lived in the married student housing at the University of Utah the playground in the courtyard was one giant sandbox, with the result that the girls got a bath every night. It's a wonder the pipes didn't back up with all that sand in all those bathtubs.

But you can't go to southern California in beautiful weather and not go to the beach. I think there's a law somewhere. So of course we had to make a trip to Newport Beach. As an added bonus, Chris's grandparents happened to be staying right near the beach, so we got to spend the day with them, as well.

And as for the causes of all my sand-related stress, well, take a look at these pictures:

That sand doesn't just stay in the same place while the tide rushes in around her.

And riding those waves doesn't, contrary to Vicki's belief, remove all the sand from one's body and/or swimsuit.

And then there's Ellie. Oh, Ellie. The girl who was thrilled to be in the water (I think she was supposed to be a fish, but I'm grateful for the mixup) was also happy rolling around, quite literally, in the sand.

See how her skin sparkles ever so slightly in the sunlight? No, she's not a vampire. Just really, really sandy.

In case that picture's not enough proof for my hate of the stuff, check this out:

'Nuff said.


We were also fortunate enough to be able to visit Walnut Village, which is what Chris has been working on for the past 4 years.

I wish I had more pictures of how awesome this place is.  I got to see it last July, when it was nothing but concrete and framing, so the difference was astounding.  When I get old I want to live here, and not just because my hubby was the architect (well, one of the architects.)  Not only are the aparments reeeeally nice, but there are all kinds of great amenities on site, like a bistro, an art studio (old people throwing pots!  How awesome is that!), a salon (called The Strand, heh), a full-service dining room so you can feel like you're eating in a fancy restaurant every night of the week, a little pub, a library, a gym, and a pool.  Woohoo!

Here's a picture of the man himself, standing behind the main desk:

I really like the glass sculptures on the wall behind him.  That's why we took the picture there, of course.  In fact, the artwork throughout all three floors is superb.  I would have loved to just wander and explore, but of course you can't do that with three girls who get bored easily.  Although they liked the toys in the memory care wing.  They had baby dolls and dress up clothes for the little old grandmas to play with, which the girls thought was both hilarious and completely appropriate at the same time.

It was great to see what Chris has been giving his life to these past years.  And it's almost finished!  People are moving in!  I'll have my husband back!  Hooray for Walnut Village!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...