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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Advice


Don't i just look like I am dispensing some sage wisdom?or maybe I just look bossy.

Why do we give advice?
I read a blog recently where a mom discussed her difficulty getting her son to sleep thru the night. Of course everyone in the whole world (myself included) gave our two cents. But when it came down to it, it was her own intuition and relationship with Heavenly Father that solved the problem, not the 400 pieces of advice she received.

So I began to think about when I give advice. Is it only when asked for? Is it when I just feel like I'm the biggest know it all on a subject? Do I give it reluctantly or jump at the chance? Do I ask for or accept advice myself?

After mulling it all over I came to the following conclusion: Unless someone specifically comes to me and says "I need help with this problem, can I ask your advice, give me your opinion" they really just want to share what's going on in their life. That person is not asking for anything other than to be listened to.

So why is it so difficult for me to shut up in these situations? Why do I insist on sharing my oh so "profound" thoughts on the matter?

Well, I think I figured it out. Secretly (imagine I'm whispering )I'm the smartest person in the world and I have the solution to every personal problem in existence. Don't tell anyone, ok? I don't want the secret out and end up with a line of advice seekers outside my door. I mean really, I don't have time to help EVERYONE.

So as a symbol of my good will toward men, I vow to not give unsolicited advice. I vow to listen patiently, trying not to fidget and squirm as I tongue tie myself and show amazing restraint in the keep it to yourself department.

So let it be written, so let it be done.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

This is all of our immediate family (except for Dave and Ron) at Nora's blessing. Can you tell who belongs to me and who belongs to Jeff? Some of Jeff's siblings are a give away, since they look exactly like eachother!! I thought it would be a fun game of "Name that family member!". I will give you a list of names, not in order, and do your best to match them up. Of course I have no way of knowing how well you do, and you may not know either. But still try, it's fun! Jeff
Amy
Kate
Julia
Charlie
Anne Marie
Henry
Nora
Denise
Keno
Delayna
Beau
Kameron
Amy (ha ha, another Amy)
Kaleb
Sadie
Maile
Megan
Joel
Dawn
Digby
Scott
Aidan
Keaton
Emily
Matt
Trevor
Layla
Bonnie
Donna
Don
Jim

whew, that's a lot of people. Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving! As you can tell from the photo, I have a lot to be Thankful for!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Oh, how time will fly.



Kate and Julia are gone. They left yesterday to go to Long Beach, Wa with their cousins. (you have to love the ocean to understand the concept of going in the winter) They will be back tomorrow. But I miss them terribly. I know the time will be short that they are away from me. But you have to understand, they are MY girls. No matter what life brings, no matter who life brings to them, they will always be MY girls.


As we got them packed yesterday, I felt this huge awareness come upon me of how short a time I really have them with me. It will feel like no time has passed before I am helping them pack for college. It will feel like no time before I walk by their room and stand in the doorway just to feel close to them again. Before I sit on their beds and smell their pillows. Before I have to pace myself from calling them everyday to see how they are doing.


And just when I have adjusted to Kate and Julia being gone, possibly being married, it will be Charlie and then Anne Marie's turn. And I will miss the way that Charlie will randomly sing in an opera voice, or the deep bellied giggle that Anne Marie lets out from time to time.


I can't even bear to contemplate Henry and Nora leaving, I just got them.


Everyone tells you how your life will change when you have a baby. Not many people mention that it's actually you that changes. That if you don't let parenthood change you, then you are missing out on the greatest opportunity for growth of your entire lifetime.


I don't want to lose my memories of my children, my life with them. I want to keep it all recorded in my mind, forever. Every little bit of it. My grandmother passed away from dementia related, stuff. I remember the first time I saw her after she really started to forget. She had to be told who I was. I hid my tears and just told her I loved her. Her short term memories were gone for the most part. But she could remember things from long ago. We (my mother and brother and sister and aunt and I) know that dementia kind of runs in the family. So everytime I forget something, I panic a little. But after seeing that many of my grandma's older memories were there, I hope that the Lord will be merciful to me and let me remember a few things. Like my wedding day, and everything since then. It doesn't feel like I'm asking too much.


So I will await the arrival of my two oldest. This will not be the last time I will wait excitedly to see them. When they get off the plane to come home for Christmas. When they arrive from wherever they served their missions. When they walk out of the Bride's room at the Temple, all in white. When we rush to the hospital to see them with their new babies. When I hang on just a little longer so that all of my children can be there.


Really, I feel spoiled. Should one person possibly be allowed to feel this much joy? And why does so much joy make you cry? And why do my tears not taste salty? (sorry, but is it weird that they DON'T taste salty?) And will I ever not miss them when they leave?

I'm pretty sure that's the only curse of motherhood, having to watch time fly, and not being able to do a thing about it.


Monday, November 24, 2008

I.C.E., I.C.E. Baby

I learned something new this last week.

While on location at New York Nails, my sister's phone rang. I looked over at her caller ID and it said ICE Scott.

Scott is Maile's husband.

I laughed out loud and mockingly asked "He makes you call him Ice Scott?".

I was thinking there was some complex going on like he envisioned himself to be Ice Man from Top Gun, or something.

She looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Nooo, it stands for In Case of Emergency."

I still was like "what?" I'm slow, you see.

She said, "You know, if I got into an accident or something, they would know who to call if they looked thru my contact list."

"Oh." I said. "That's a really good idea."

"Well, can I be the second person that they call? I can be ICE ICE Amy".

She told me I could and that I would even have my own new ringtone. Something like....

video

And no, I will not apologize for the fact that you will have this song stuck in your head all day.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Birthday Girl!

"To the Granger who is turning 20". That's what the envelope said. My crazy ex-boyfriend at the time couldn't remember how to spell Maile's name. Well now she is the former Granger/currently Flanders who is turning...drumroll please....33!

The part of the day that I get to celebrate with her will include two of our favorite things.

The first is pedicures at the tres chic New York Nails.

The second will be the midnight showing of? You guessed it "Twilight"!!!!!!!!!!!

"We're sisters, la la la, sisters, la la la, but we're also friends, la la la!" (that's me singing in case you couldn't tell)

I already posted my ode to Maile, extolling all her virtues. But to sum up. She is super rad!!! Happy Birthday my sister!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Conversations


I wish I could record all the conversations I have with my kids. Little sound bites that I could replay over and over again, whenever I want. Things like:


"Anne Marie, who do you want to marry when you grow up?", I asked her.

"I want to marry someone who doesn't have a girlfriend" she replied.

"Oh, yeah? Why is that?" I wondered.

She thought for a moment. "Because he wouldn't have a friend. And he wants one friend. So I will be his one friend."

Conversations with Charlie are a little different.~

"Mom, what is your favorite color?" Charlie asked me.

"Today it is pink"

"What is your favorite animal mom?"

"It's a horse Charlie"

"Ok. Mom what is your favorite number?"

"well, Charlie, it is 6. Cuz I have 6 children."

"Ok mom. You have a pink horse with 6 heads!"

"Now ask me mom"

We worked out that his favorite animal was a green snake with no legs. I think he planned that ahead of time.

Then he said. "Do you know mom, that snakes used to have legs?"

"They did Charlie? When?"

"Probably when Jesus was alive."

I love talking to all my kids. They educate me on a daily basis.

However,I'm looking forward to more detailed conversations with Nora someday.

As of now Nora and I mainly have this conversation:

"Oh Nora, I love you, I love you, I love you!"

To which she replies,"whaa, whaa, whaa, guzzle, slurp, guzzle, whaa!"

And then she usually throws up on me. It's nice.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008



Is he not the cutest thing you've ever seen? I'm more than a little in love with Henry lately. He starting to talk to which just ups the cute quotient. And he will give me a kiss now whenever I ask. Pure Heaven, I tell ya.

Monday, November 17, 2008


We had some firsts this weekend. Anne Marie has her first loose tooth. Nora rolled over from back to front for the first time. (she is 3 1/2 months old, Heaven help me)She also had her first fever. 100.8 I think I overreacted. Which is probably not unusual for me.

I tend to be a tad bit hypochondriachal. It's not that I think there is something always wrong with me. I just worry that if I don't figure out what the mysterious ailment or pain is, that it will become something wrong with me. When really it might just be a random pain that will go away all on it's own. So when my 3month old gets a fever, it's not that I think she has some terrible bacterial infection, but what if?

I know that's it's probably nothing, but it's part of my desire to be prepared by making sure I know, and everyone else know's, that there is always that remote possibility.


Let's see, also this weekend. I did some more rearranging and decorating. I think it's finally starting to come together the way I like. I know this drives Jeff crazy, cuz he told me in so many words. I asked him to put some new nails in for me so that I could rearrange the pictures. I then asked him if he liked how it looked. He said it really didn't matter if he liked them because I would probably rearrange them again anyway.

I can't help it if my brain feels crazy until I can look around and see everything the way I like it. It's an affliction I'm willing to live with and have my family live with. Because it helps me make our house nice. And eventually everything is where it should be and I stop rearranging and improving.

This week I am working on the office. It is a jumbled mess of books and random stuff that doesn't have a home. I'm hoping to not only paint and decorate but actually make it into something organized and useable. That would be awesome.

I'm having a hard time finding my inspiration today. I've got some gals coming over at 1 and my house is a mess, so I'm distracted by the need to clean before they come in. It's not the worst ever, but really, stuff shouldn't stick to your feet, especially at someone else's house. Eeww.

I should also eat breakfast some time today. It helps you know. Most important meal, and all that.

What is it with the blahs that literally make you feel so blah? I would love nothing better than to lounge on the couch all day today. I'm sure Jeff occasionally thinks that is all I do when he comes home to a mess, but really it isn't. But it would sure be nice today.
That's what the picture of the tree is for. It's me today. Kind of pretty in a plain sort of way, but really uninspiring and a little dead.

Do you think being tired can bring this humdrumness on? We had two kids in bed with us for half the night. I feel like half myself.

It's one theory.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lobsters


Today is a good day.

I feel, whole today. What do I mean?hmmm.

Well, last night Jeff and I had a nice conversation as we were going to sleep. He asked me how I had seen Heavenly Father's hand in my life that day. I saw it when I put Henry to bed, and he was sooo tired and unhappy and he did not want to go to bed. From somewhere in my soul, I found this amazing love and patience for Henry. My soft words and warm hug calmed him down and he went into his crib with no problem.

Somehow the love Heavenly father has for Henry melded with the love I have for Henry, and together we succeeded in helping Henry to feel secure and happy enough to go to sleep.

So as I started out the day today, I purposely looked for Heavenly Father's hand in my life. I found it in an unexpected place. I am the Art Docent for Anne Marie's kindergarten class. (An unpaid, volunteer position) Which means I introduce an artist, in this case Picasso. I then showcase a print of the artists' and explain a concept and then create an art project with the children. Now, I am not naturally artistic. I have always struggled with real art. I like to imitate art, I have my own ideas about design and decorating. But I do not consider myself an artist at all. However, for one day a month, I am the art expert to 22 kindergarteners in Mrs. Belmondo's class. For some of these children school may be the only place they are ever encouraged to create.

Today we created lobsters using water pastels. As I walked around the classroom, trying to encourage these sweet children and let them know that I thought that everything they were doing was wonderful, I realized that I was being used today as an instrument in God's hands in the lives of these children. And in return, I saw His hand in my own life. I gave of myself today. Albeit a small piece. The least talented piece perhaps. But I gave it freely, willingly and with love for Heavenly Father's precious little ones. I share this simply because I realized first hand today that when we take a moment to focus on others our lives are better.

If you've watched enough Oprah you become inundated with "take care of yourself first, love yourself first" then you can help others. Where as our church teaches to forget yourself and go to work. If we all waited til we were in the most perfect place or the most organized or least stressed in order to help someone else, we would never do it. Because that is not the way most normal lives are. We are never in the perfect place to help others. But until we step forward and do what we can to help bring a small piece of perfection to someone else's life, we will forever be waiting to be ready enough. I will never be ready enough, so I just do it anyway.

Today, I saw Heavenly Father's hand in my life, thru a lobster.



I can't wait to tell Jeff.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kung Fu

You know how either before you were a parent, or when your first one was small, you deluded yourself into thinking that your children would always obey simply out of love and devotion and healthy respect for you?

Then life evolved into "you can do B if you do A first" or "item C will be on time out since you decided to hit with it" or "yeah, why don't you kick me more, then I'll give you what you want"

And of course there are the huge variety of methods of distraction parents use on their younger children.

Imagine if you will. Toddler is throwing tantrum because he doesn't want to get out of the car after taking his siblings to the bus stop. (this is purely hypothetical, you know) So Mom says "Do you want to watch Kung Fu Panda?" Toddler immediately stops throwing tantrum, jumps into mom's arms and says "Yah!". Thank you, oh thank you to the makers of Kung Fu Panda.

Not much else could get a two year old to sit quietly on the couch.





"Legend tells of a lengendary warrior whose kung fu skills were the stuff of legend!" Now, I must go and eat. To quote my favorite line from Po (aka Kung Fu Panda).

"I guess my body doesn't know it's the Dragon Warrior yet. It's gonna take a lot more than dew and, uh, universe... juice. "

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Day Off

My kids are home from school today. We had homemade waffles with strawberries and whipped cream. It was soooo good! We're going to play the rest of the day. See ya tomorrow!

Monday, November 10, 2008

S.S.S.S.

I told my kids when they got home from school one day last week that I had a Super Secret Special Surprise. (S.S.S.S. for short). Now, you may think that a Super Secret Special Surprise requires a lot of pre-planning and something grand and spectacular. What it requires, in fact, is:

A. Trip to the dollar section at Target where I picked up these awesome little ceramic bowls.
B. One box of Cookie Crisp Cereal.
C. Let children eat entire box of said cereal after school.

And Voila! You have a Super Secret Special Surprise!

The Surprise part is that I never let them eat an entire box of sugar cereal. Come to think of it, I think that's the Super and the Special part as well. And the Secret part? I kept it a Secret that I would ever let them eat an entire box of sugar cereal at one sitting. It was a pretty good Super Secret Special Surprise, if I do say so myself.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

What Heaven Smells Like

I'm pretty sure that Heaven smells really good. Depending on where you go or who you are visiting, it might have a variety of smells. Like, the smell after it rains, or homemade chocolate cake. But my Heaven will smell like this. Yes, that is the top of Nora's head. She just needs a little scratch and sniff sticker so everyone can smell sweet, Heavenly baby smell. I seriously must smell her head 500 hundred times a day. I smell the heads of other people's babies as well. It's intoxicating. What could be better than the smell of a child fresh from their Heavenly Father? So I'm putting this in with my order. Which is as follows.

Amy Allen's wish list for Heaven:

1.)One Eternal Companion-check
2.)All my children-check
3.)All extended family and friends-check
4.)The smell of new baby-check
5.)Eating without gaining weight-check

See, it really doesn't take much at all to make me happy :)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A letter to Anne Shirley




Anne of Green Gables is my literary heroine. She is everything I would be if I could. And if I were to write a letter to Anne Shirley, I think it would go something like this.

Dear Miss Anne Shirley,

I have gained many things from the reading of your adventures. I have found my own bosom friends and kindred spirits. I have made plum puffs and chicken salad and served them outside! Scandalous, I know.
I wrap my children up in my arms and cuddle them goodnight and overindulge them with love and affection on a regular basis. Would you be proud of me for that? I think so.
I have allowed myself to be whimsical and day-dreamy and I have certainly been lost in my made up story lines of damsels in distress. I have been part of misunderstandings that were certainly innocent on my part. I have often wanted to "drink in" the loveliness that is around me and create something that is better than myself.
I have wished for a Miss Cornelia to sagely state "Just like a man" while we mend clothes and sew baby dresses. I have been inspired to befriend the prickly pears and find that they truly are sweet once you get past their prickles.
My temper has subsided with age and I no longer push boys down who say something mean. (I'm sorry Billy Dahlman and that kid from the gifted workshop).
I try to not be vain about the features I like about myself and to in turn not judge the features of others. I wish I could get a lesson from you on setting a table for "tea".
I'm happy to say that I married my own "Gilbert", though I never broke a slate over his head. I can read a good book from front to back without noticing a thing around me.
I named my 4th child after you and my mother (that's why it is Ann with an E ). And I often wonder what you, Anne, would do when faced with some of the events in my life.
I love you Anne Shirley. You are as real to me as many a friend, and truly you are a kindred spirit. I look forward to many re-readings of your adventures and sharing this joy with my own daughters.

With much devotion and warmest regards,



Mrs. Amy Allen

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dance Party

When Jeff and I were dating, there was a young adult dance with a seventies theme. He wore a Greg Brady wig and white bell bottoms, I feathered my hair and wore groovy velvet pants.

There were several things that night that let me know Jeff was a keeper. How many guys will not only dress up, but that can totally cut a rug? (He's a really good dancer, by the way)

As he let loose on the dance floor with absolutely zero inhibitions, I felt a glowing pride that he was with me. Our love of dancing has stayed with us these 12 years and we have passed that on to the kiddies.


This was our F.H.E. (family home evening) the other night. I bought some black lights at Halloween, we told everyone to wear white, and we boogied and limbo'd the night away.







I tell ya, what is life without a good dance party once in a while?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election day

Election day. What does that mean to you, the average American citizen?
Does it imply a sense of duty, a sense of pride at our democratic republic?
Does it invoke images of great men leading the charge for a betterment of our society and great country?
Do you stand a little taller as you leave your voting place, knowing you have contributed to the workings of this great Nation?
Do you weep when you consider the many who have lived and died, fought and challenged in order to make this nation great?
Do you exercise your right to choose who represents you?
Do you wear your "I Voted Today" sticker with pride?
Do you make sure that you are informed about the candidates and what they stand for?
Do you participate in elections because you are grateful to be part of this, the greatest country on God's green earth?

But most importantly, do you have a babysitter so that you can Get Out and Vote without a gaggle of children hanging on you?

If you are one of the babysitter-less, this blog is for you.

It is for the mother or father who doesn't let 3 cranky children who have been forced to wait in line and be quiet and not kick the man behind you while you try and decipher the last of the initiatives, get in the way of them doing their civic duty.

This is for the people who drag their twins down to their voting place last minute because their neighbor called and cancelled because she is sick with the flu.

This is for the mother of a newborn who tried to time the feedings so that she could vote and be done before 2 hours were up only to have to wait in line longer than she expected and now the baby is screaming and won't stop and people are giving her dirty looks but she doesn't want to get out of line and she has no idea how to breastfeed standing there with all those people giving her the stink eye.

This is for the grandma who watches her grandbabies so her daughter can go to school and the 2 year old has an "accident" because the potty training is just recent and she forgot to take her before they got in line and mom didn't pack them a change of clothes.

This is for the parents who wait until the kids are in bed so that they can take turns and end up barely making it because Timmy couldn't sleep without his blanket which he left in the car that dad is driving to the voting place and had to turn around and bring it back so that the kid would stop screaming!

And this is for every other voter who glares at a parent or grandparent or aunt or uncle or nanny who had to bring the kids. Please be kind, please be patient and for crying out loud, make sure you get out and vote!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween Hangover

Ok, so everyone who let their kids go trick or treating raise your hands. Alright, everyone who is rationing out the candy like a good mother should, put your hands down. Everyone else, you will understand, "THE HALLOWEEN HANGOVER". dun dun dun dun

This is what's left of my children's Halloween candy. They were full. (I love how Julia's is organized by type of candy into little bags, wherever does she get that from?)




We had craziness abounding from the constant rush of sugar thru their veins. (that's Henry in my witch wig)

So the leftover candy came down to me, having to make a choice.


Breakfast A: candy

or.......

Breakfast B: Homemade french toast, eggwhite omelette with sugar free syrup.

I ate Breakfast B. However, I'm not convinced it was anywhere as good as Breakfast A would have been.

And since my children ate almost nothing but candy all weekend, some were way too wired to got to bed on time, therefore very tired and high strung this morning. Their teachers are gonna love me.

This picture taken 5 minutes before we had to leave for school. Me yelling "We have to go now! Did you brush your teeth? Where are your shoes? You can play the game later! Get your back pack! COME on!!!"
Well, I've worked up quite an appetite. I think I need a snack. Now what would be better, Snickers or Almond Joy? hmmmm

Saturday, November 1, 2008

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