Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Boogy down

Did you know....

....that you can totally......

....rock out.......... the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing Handel's Messiah?

Me neither.

But Henry taught us something new about enjoying music....

and the importance of pulling up your pants when you dance.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I'm reminded once again, how much our Father in Heaven loves us.
He sent His son, the Savior of the world, to be born in a stable, to be crucified, to atone for all the sins of the world.
What greater sacrafice is there than that?

So at Christmas, I hope we can remember the real reason for the presents and bows and scrumptious food.

Go here to for a wonderful little video on the real reason for Christmas.

Merry Christmas everyone, see you Monday.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Faith in Humanity...Restored

It's never really been lost. My faith, that is.

There are just days when I wonder where the good people are.

I hear the news, read the stories of all the horrible things that people do to eachother, and I wonder, can we ever be good enough to counteract all that evil?

It can be a hopeless feeling, a suffocating feeling.

And then something happens, something small, perhaps not a big enough to make the news, but big enough to help me see that Heavenly Father has sprinkled more good people around the world than I realized.

Yesterday, half an hour before I headed out the door with the kids to go to their dentist appointments, (all 6 of them) I thought I should check our new insurance (since Jeff got a new job) and make sure that we could still see our most favorite dentist ever!

Well, as luck would have it, our new insurance seems to only cover walk-in dental clinic type places situated in strip malls.

So I told my children, some of whom began to cry, that we wouldn't be able to go to our dentist anymore and then I started to cry (yes, we love their dentist that much) and I tearfully called the office to inform them that we would not be able to keep our appointment and how sad we were about the whole thing.

I called Jeff, crying, Julia and Anne Marie sat and cried with me and then the phone rang.

It was our dentist's office.

The gal I had talked to had gone in to Dr. Cody, told him what happened and how I was crying and how she could hear the kids crying in the background and that she didn't know what to do and felt so bad for us, and he said "Well call her back and tell her to come in anyway, it will be an early Christmas present to help with their transition."

I. Kid. You. Not.

I was stunned, almost speechless, I started crying some more. I told the kids, they couldn't believe it. I called Jeff, he couldn't believe it.

Can you believe it?

Did you know people still did that sort of thing?

And it's not like it was just one kid I was bringing in, he knew I have 6 children.

So we piled into the car and made our 50 minute trek (yes, we love our dentist that much).

Everyone got their teeth cleaned, flouride, checkups, no cavities in sight. They left with their goody bags full of new toothbrushes, floss toothpaste and stickers.

I even got a new toothbrush, and the dear little baby that I tend got a little baby toothbrush as well.

I thanked Dr. Cody profusely, told him how much we loved them all and that we were going to try and figure out how to get our own dental insurance so that we could keep coming to him. (We love them THAT much, have I mentioned that?)

He seemed a little embarassed at our gratitude and said "Well, this is a tough thing this time of year, and money isn't everything."

I started to cry again.

And are you imagining some older dentist with a lot of world exerience, student loans paid off and money in the bank to spare?

Well guess what? He's younger than me with a wife and 2 little children.
Somebody raised him right.

It was such a Christlike example of giving and love. It humbled me to see that kind of generosity alive and well in the world.

Dr. Cody made my children's day a little brighter, instead of being a sad day.

And he didn't have to do any of it. We have insurance, I could have just found another dentist later on. He could have gone about his day and not worried about the feelings of my sweet children. But he didn't. And it made all the difference in the world to our little family.

Now doesn't that just make you want to be a better person, to run out and help someone else?

It's really the true spirit of Christmas.

I saw a sticker on my neighbor's car yesterday that said "Keep Christ in Christmas"

I couldn't agree more.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Last year, having recently moved into our new house, I had a picture perfect idea of how I wanted things decorated for Christmas.

But knowing that children have their own ideas, I came up with a brilliant plan of "their tree" and "my tree".

It was fun having two trees, one blue, one red-ish with all the homemade ornaments, one in the family room, one in the living room.

I could decorate to my hearts content, have my tree all "perfect" and color coordinated and they could cluster too many ornaments on one part of their tree, and I didn't have to worry about it.

Something has happened to me over this past year, though.
I'm not sure how to explain it.

I guess, I am coming to a greater understanding of my own issues with control, the nature of that control, and when it matters to control a situation, and when it does not.

This year, I realized, finally, that the experience with my children and my husband of decorating the house for Christmas is not about the end result.

It is not about whether every light is blinking, whether every ornament is placed in the correct zone of the tree. Or whether everyone's stockings hang in order of birth-when in fact some children are happier if their stocking hangs on the A of the SANTA stocking holders, even if it puts her behind Henry and Nora in birth order.

We only had one rule this year with the tree. And that was to hang anything breakable up higher so that little hands could not get to it. But other than that, we just went for it.

And I have to say, it may have been the most fun ever, for me.
I can't speak for everyone else, but when I let go of the control that I always seem to hold onto so tightly, I thoroughly enjoyed myself and enjoyed my children in the process.

Now, I'm not saying that there will never be another year of two trees, or that have a perfectly symmetrical tree is wrong in any way. I'm just sharing what brought happiness to my family this year.

And for your viewing pleasure, photos of our perfectly, not-so-perfect Christmas decorating 2009.

I love Christmas, I do I do.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time there was a young mother.

Her tale is as follows:

With a spring in her step and a smile on her face she greeted the day happily.

Bathtime for the whole family was an almost daily event. Laundry was done, house was tidy, dinner on the table at 5:30 when hubby walked through the door.

Children were in bed at 7:30 so that dad and mom could spend some time together.

Time outs were given at appropriate times, hitting and fighting were not tolerated, and inconsquential behavior was treated accordingly-it was ignored.

Life was blissful, there were no infectious diseases, or small bugs running rampant throughout the house. Lysol was used when necessary and everything was clean and fresh. Potty training occured with a good amount of ease and everyone slept through the night.

Mom got her hair done every 8 weeks, she exercised, bought healthy food for the family and would have been mortified to go out in public without makeup on.

Grocery shopping was done quite easily, even with 2 children in tow.

Fast forward 10 years.

I'm currently a mess. Yes, that young mother was me. I didn't know it at the time, but life was pretty awesome. As close to practically perfect in every way as a person could get.

Now, currently, this very minute, I am sitting at the computer,
teeth unbrushed,
Henry in just a shirt and underwear because he has already pooped his pants today,
house a mess,
dinner leftovers still sitting around,
piles and piles of clean laundry needing to be put away after days of washing everything in hot water trying to eradicate tiny little bugs in my house,
and yes, my worst nightmare.
Passed on by some unknowing child at school to one of my children. Now we are in the maddening efforts of trying to rid our lives of it.
Spraying, washing, combing, quarantining, picking through hair and walking around constantly on edge and thouroughly grossed out.

Do you know how much hair 6 children have combined? To look through, to de-louse?

Right now I am wishing for 2 things:
1. That I could slap myself 10 years ago for being so smug.
2. That I could kindly ask anyone whose child may ever get lice, to make a pledge now, that they will inform the school(which I did), so that other parents can be on the look out, so that other families don't spend horrendous amounts of time and effort on something that could have been prevented, or at least forwarned.

And finally, do you know how sad it is to have to shave your 3 year olds head because you are so frustrated that you just take the most drastic measure possible? Then only to have him cry"I want my hair back on!"

Please, please, teach your children to not share hats, brushes, coats, scarves or anything else that can pass on the little pests.

And now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to scour some more.

Post edit: After going through this, talking to the school nurse, and researching online, I have found the following things to be true:

1. Lice like clean hair. They are not attracted to your child because your child's hair, your house, or anything about you is unclean. Only "dirty" people having lice is a myth.

2. Washing with the lice shampoo does not get rid of lice permanently. You must also remove all of the nits(eggs). THe most effective way is by hand. They look a lot like dandruff, but they stick to the hair, they do not move easily. If you do not get rid of all the nits, they will hatch and you will have lice problems all over again.

3. You cannot get lice from someone else simply by touching them. You must share something like a brush(which was the culprit in our case), a hat, a scarf a coat, a pillow.

4. Please don't send your child to school until they are nit free. And please don't let other kids come over until you are sure your family is lice free. I had to make 5 phone calls, plus talk to a couple of people in person to inform them that either their children had been at my house when we were not aware of the problem, or to prevent them from coming over as scheduled once we realized the problem. Plus I had to call the school to inform them of the problem.
-Humiliating? Yes. Necessary and the right thing to do? Yes.

5.Finally, if your child has lice, your own head will itch incessantly. You will imagine tiny bugs crawling all over you, you will dream about it, you will think you see the little critters in every bit of dust, fluff, fuzz or what have you. You will ask your husband to check your head over and over.

I know this can be a normal part of childhood. And I know there are worse things. But some parents pride and worry about telling others is why we're in this predicament. So I'm sharing my agony mostly to educate and to give awareness.

(Now try not to scratch your head after reading this. ) I didn't give you lice through this blog. Promise. :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Right now, it is 17 degrees here.
The place with "mild" winters.
Granted, this has been record breaking cold for our part of the Northwest.
But the days are mighty cold.
And it has me wishin', and hopin', and hopin' and thinkin' about other days.
Days where you can do this:

And this.

And this.

And this.

And did I mention this?

Yeah, I'm over winter already.
And I'm wishing for the heat.
And yes, I know it's not even Christmas yet.
But a girl can dream of warm, sunny days, can't she?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Apparently, addictions can be passed on from parent to child.

Do you think that is a nature or nurture thing?

Monday, December 7, 2009


I am always amazed at my own ability to take my blessings for granted.

Of course it requires an awakening of sorts for me to realize that I am taking things for granted.
Sometimes it is an event in my own life that leads to the awareness, other times it is an event in someone else's life.

All things converged this weekend for me.

Awareness of my blessings, realization of what I take for granted, seeing a glimpse into the sorrow and tragedy that others face.

This weekend Maile and I and our oldest girls went to a time share in Port Townsend to celebrate Megan's birthday.

It was a very interesting weekend to be sure. There might have been some stomach flu present, I might have learned what the term nit-picky originated from. Gross. And I might have felt a little sorry for myself that de-lousing and no sleep were part of our weekend.

But Sunday morning I talked to Jeff for a while on the phone. And we realized that yesterday was the 6 month anniversary of our dear friend dying in a plane crash, leaving behind a wife and 2 children. Jeff called her and it was sobering for us both to know of the pain they are still in. That sadness is such a part of their existence still. But also love, memories and no regrets.

Then there is the story of a little family that lost their husband and father over Thanksgiving weekend. He died spelunking in a cave in Utah leaving behind a pregnant wife and 14 month old little girl. There is a gal who held an auction for them on her blog, she herself having lost her 14 month old daughter a year ago to a drowning accident.

I could go on and on and on with stories like these. Loss, families torn apart, heartache and sorrow. I cried and cried this morning reading these stories. I cried for them, I cried for me that I'm so pathetic and self-centered sometimes that I fail to fully realize how blessed I really am.

Tragedy happens to good people everyday. People who didn't deserve it, people who had all the hopes and dreams we all do. Who loved their families and made plans for the future.

But I think, one of the biggest tragedies is if we don't realize how much we really have.
Right now, I am blessed to have 6 healthy children and a faithful husband who loves me.
So instead of letting little things frustrate me, or irritation at a messy house cause me to be cranky at my family, or sigh heavily as I make dinner for the 10,000th time, maybe I will smile more, giggle more, hug my children instead of growling at them, and not take myself so seriously.

Do you think I can do it?
I'm going to do it.
I am.
No more forgetting how fortunate I am.
No more feeling sorry for myself when I have everything in the world.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

View of a 6 year old

My kids are obsessed with the camera lately. I have such a variety of bizarre pictures on my camera, you wouldn't even believe it, you wouldn't.

But I have noticed that out of everyone, myself and Jeff included, Anne marie is the best at taking pictures.

None of her pictures are ever fuzzy and they have a certain artistic quality to them.

I'm biased, of course.

And I like the material she has chosen.

Pure talent, I tell you.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Staring Contest

Last week, I made something so awful and terrible for dinner that a couple of my children refused to eat it.

It was so horrid that I have blocked it from my memory.

Actually it was something really boring like chicken, or beef parmigian. I don't remember.

Feeling a little sassy, but mostly tired of kids who won't even try their dinner, I offered to have a little contest. If they won, they didn't have to eat it, if I won, they had to at least try it.

So, I offered a staring contest. Simple, easy rules, easy to see who wins.

I smoked Charlie in no time flat. If you can get past the tears running down unabated, you can totally win, I found out.

He ate his dinner.

Next was Julia. She lasted a lot longer. But I still beat her.

But do you think she conceded the fact? Noooooa.

She claimed she only agreed to the contest, not to the terms of having to eat her dinner.

So after much harassment by her family, she agreed to do it again.
Of course by this time, I had already been through two staring contests and my eyes were weak, weak I say!

It wasn't my fault, I tried my best. But right near the finish line, right as I could see her resolve failing, I blinked.

Yes I did.

I lost and she didn't have to eat the horrible concoction of meat, cheese and sauce that I so frequently torture my children with.

In the end she happily ate a bowl of cereal.

I've completely lost control of my household.

It's sad really. But I usually make myself feel better when they won't eat by proclaiming...

"More for me!"

How do you all handle picky eaters?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Day

I'm off giving Thanks.
Thanks for a loving Father in Heaven.
Thanks for my sweet family.
Thanks for health, happiness and home.

Thanks for food so good that I'm pretty sure I still won't be able to button my pants tomorrow morning.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I've seen t-shirts where people proclaim which team they're on.
I've heard the arguments of both sides.
I've sympathized with the feelings of those caught in between.
I've tried to remain aloof, neutral.

But it is time to choose.
Time to pick which team I will be on.
Time to stop waffling and decide already.

But first, it is necessary to present both sides as I see them.

First there is team Edward. (Sorry, yes I'm talking about Twilight)

He's totally H.O.T.(I'm talking book Edward, not movie Edward)
He loves Bella more than anything else.
He has super speed, super strength, super hearing and vision-oh, and he can read minds.
But, he's a vampire.

Second there's team Jacob.

He's pretty cute too.(Book Jacob,not movie Jacob)
He loves Bella.
He has super speed, strength, hearing and vision.
And he's a werewolf.

The biggest difference that I see between them, the reason I would choose Edward over Jacob, is that while Jacob loves her, it seems more in a selfish way.
She matters to him, but not above all else.
His love for her seems more about him then it does about her.

Edward sees only Bella. He would do anything for her, to save her.
His love for her is all about her and what's best for her.
His love seems more sacrificing and selfless, to me.

And because of that selfless way Edward loves Bella, I can relate to it.
Because that, my dear friends, his how Jeff feels about me.

I can feel it in every look, every touch, every kiss from him.
The ways in which he chooses me over himself.
The sacrifices he makes for my happiness.

So ultimately, there is only one team I could choose.
One team that epitomizes all that I want, need and dream about.
My team would be....

Team Jeff. Always.

(After a messy battle of donuts on a string)
(Obviously Jeff has chosen sides as well)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Childhood 101

Self feeding begins.

Which means more baths.
Which means more water used.
Which means more energy used.
Which means that babies learning to feed themselves is really bad for the environment.

But good for my heart.
Good for her self growth.
Good for the Quaker Oatmeal maker.
And good for the readers of this blog.

Cuz who doesn't want to see a baby all covered in oatmeal-y goo?

Friday, November 20, 2009


When Charlie was 18 months old, he weighed 36 pounds.
He was a TANK.
He continued to grow and grow.

Two weeks after Charlie turned 3, we went to Disneyworld.
He was tall enough to go on all but 2 rides.

When he was 3, he was as tall as most of the 5 year olds we knew.

(Here's Charlie 2 months after he turned 3. Julia and Charlie are 2 1/2 years apart, just to give you a reference point)

People would talk to him, hear the garbly speech of our 3 year old, they would look at his size and think he was a 5 year old, then look at this kid's poor parents with sympathy that our child was delayed.

I got very adept at working into conversations that Charlie was only 3.
A look of surprise and sudden understanding would come across their face.

This has continued even until now.

(Here is Charlie this summer, exactly 4 years later.)

I still find a way to tell people Charlie's current age. He is so tall that people assume he is a 4th or 5th grader.

Which means they think they are looking at a 10 year old acting like a 7 year old.

We have had to put out little "fires" on the school bus, in the neighborhood, educating people as to Charlie's age.

Please don't misunderstand, we still expect him to behave himself, to be kind and make good choices. We have tried to help him understand that he is bigger than, most everybody, so he needs to be a gentle giant. But there are just some things that are age typical, especially for boys, and if someone doesn't know what your age is, then they certainly won't understand what is age appropriate.

I have often heard shorter people discuss what it is like to not be able to reach the top shelf in your own kitchen.
To have people think you are a little kid when you are older. (Something that is only a positive as you hit your 30's, I would think)
To be too short as an adult to have the airbags on.

Not being height challenged, I can only imagine that would be frustrating.

But watching my son constantly battle misunderstandings because he is a giant, has taught me a lesson.

The old addage that you can't judge a book by it's cover is true.

No matter what we think we may know about a person, or their individual situation, we really have no clue.

Like the guy who literally chased down Charlie and his friend because he thought the way they were playing too rough with his son (which they probably were). Maybe it's more than just a stand off between a grown, ex-military man and 2 seven year olds. Maybe he really has other issues that have nothing to do with my son. I'm choosing not to judge that.

I have also learned that when your child is bigger than other kids his age, that you should always let the parents of his friends know how old he is before they walk home from school together. That way no one will chase him and his friend and scare the daylights out of them. (I'm letting go of this, really, can't you tell? You don't believe me? Me neither)

Am I making excuses for my son? Darn tootin.

Because I just wanted the public to be educated to the fact that giants are people too.

So don't be afraid of the giants, they're probably more afraid of you then you are of them.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Childhood 101

On Saturday I won a million dollars.
On Saturday I lost 20 pounds.
On Saturday got my house 100% organized.
On Saturday Jeff announced he would be working from home.

Ok, so none of those things happened. But something happened that was sooo good it almost felt as good as those things would have, if they had happened.

On Saturday, while we were eating lunch, Henry started doing a little dance in his seat. Then he announced to me, "I have to go potty".

Although I was highly skeptical since we have not started training yet and because he's never peed in the potty, I took him anyway, just to humour him.

Well guess what? He totally did it. Yes he did.

It was momentous, joyous, stupendous, and wonderous all rolled into one.

And he has done it enough times since that I am highly optimistic this is the real deal.

What better gift could a 3 year old give to their mother? None. Cuz nothings as good as no more diapers, that's what I say.

Now we just have to work on aim. For the next 3 years or so.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mothers Who Know

This is an excerpt from a talk given by Julie B. Beck two years ago. She is the President of the Relief Society for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I live by this talk, most days.

Mothers Who Know

"When mothers know who they are and who God is and have made covenants with Him, they will have great power and influence for good on their children.

Mothers who know

Desire to Bear Children
Women who desire and work toward that blessing in this life are promised they will receive it for all eternity, and eternity is much, much longer than mortality.

Mothers who know

Honor Sacred Ordinances and Covenants
They know that if they are not pointing their children to the temple, they are not pointing them toward desired eternal goals.

Mothers who know

Are Nurturers
They create a climate for spiritual and temporal growth. Home is where women have the most power and influence. Nurturing requires organization, patience, love and work.

Mothers who know

Are Leaders
They lead a great and eternal organization; plan for the future of their organization; build children into future leaders; and maximize their influence where it matters most.

Mothers who know

Are Teachers
They are always teachers. They are never off duty.

Mothers who know

Do Less
They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally; are willing to live on less in order to spend more time with their children; choose carefully and do not try to choose it all. Their goal is to prepare a rising generation of children who will take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the entire world.

Mothers who know

Stand Strong and Immovable
They do not give up during difficult and discouraging times.

There is eternal influence and power in motherhood."

These are just the highlights that I have framed in my living room. The entire talk, which I highly recommend, you can read here.

I share this with you today because I was not a Mother who knows this morning. And I regret it terribly. I was angry, I allowed stress to cloud my reasoning and judgment and I spoke harshly to the children that I adore and love. I was unreasonable and I hurt the feelings of my sweet little 6 year old.

I apologized to her on the way to the bus stop. I promised I wouldn't let that happen again and I kissed and hugged her. But is it really possible for it to be alright? I know that you want to say that children's memories are short and they forgive easily. I wish that to be true.

But we all know, having been both children and now parents, that we do remember. Unfortunately we remember the times we were yelled at, or had our feelings hurt. Especially when it is by someone we love and trust.

I also apologized to my Heavenly Father. I told Him that I am sorry that I treated his precious child that way. That I will work with all my heart to be better than that.

So from this moment on today, I can still be a Mother who knows. A mother who corrects her mistakes as quickly as she can, who strives to be better, to show her children love and guidance and teaches them with kindness, not harsh words.

I don't share this to publicly flog myself. I just know that most of us have those days. And that today started out one of those days for me, but it doesn't have to end that way. I refuse to let it.

Today, I will be a Mother who knows.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Celebrity look alike

Someone told us Nora looks like Cindy Loo Who.

I didn't see it too, who.

Do you, who?


She is pretty cute though. Although maybe more like the grinch with the green jammies and pouty look.

Poor thing. How is any child supposed to turn out normal with me as their mother?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


With 6 children in a house, and one slightly OCD mother, there tends to be a lot of switching around of rooms. Of who sleeps with who, of arrangement of the furniture and so forth.

For a long time Henry and Charlie slept in the same room. Until we realized that Henry may never fall asleep until ten in the same room with Charlie.

So we moved Henry in with Nora. That worked very well. It would have continued to work well except I got the great idea that I should have a room in the house for my stuff. Sewing, scrapbooking, exercise equipment type stuff. Stuff that is currently being housed in my bedroom. Where I don't want it. Where I look at it and growl and mutter things under my breath about lack of organization and everything not being in it's place. What was I talking about?

Soooo, I moved Nora in with Anne Marie. And after receiving the gracious gift of bunk beds from Jeff's parents,I made plans to move Henry back in with Charlie.

Now, the bunk beds had been stored in a shed for a while and had been well loved before that. So I decided to change them from their current oak color into something else. Jeff's dad told me I could go girlify them, or whatever it is I do. :)

So for two weeks, I cleaned, lightly sanded, and painted the bunkbeds. A nice blue color, cuz they're boys. Jeff normally doesn't care what color I choose, he just requested that they not be white, cuz that's for girl bunkbeds, not boys.

We also purchased new springs for the springy support thing that holds the mattresses, because a lot of them were missing, and we bought bunky boards-sheets of masonite-to go under the mattresses. When all was said and done we had this:

I'm pretty pleased with them, I must say. Now the best part? Jeff's dad and his brother slept in these.
Then Jeff and Dave slept in them.
And now Charlie and Henry are sleeping in them.

Three generations of Allen boys in these wagonwheel bunkbeds.

They're a little rickety, and they squeak, but your nose doesn't hit the ceiling like the new bunkbeds and they come with a history not rivaled anywhere else.

In fact, I sanded off the final remains of the stickers that Jeff and Dave stuck on them when they were kids. And I'm sure Grandpa has his own stories about these beds.

And greater still, Henry falls asleep soundly in his bed, and then when Charlie comes in there is no waking up of the little brother. Charlie quietly reads as Henry saws logs.

Now Anne Marie and Nora, that is a different story. After getting Anne Marie's room all decorated and pink in preparation for Nora (which I will reveal tomorrow), they lasted exactly one week before the same problem that used to happen with Charlie and Henry started happening with Anne Marie and Nora. Either Nora would wake up when Anne Marie came to bed, or they would keep eachother up late playing.

So now Nora is back in her own room. And I still have a sewing table, treadmill, weights and punching bag in my bedroom.

Somebody help me. Seriously. Any ideas?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Life on the Ranch

"What are you supposed to be, lil' buddy?" (Said in your best John Wayne voice)

"I is a cow!!" (that's an exact quote, by the way)

"What's for supper, lil' lady?" (Again, John Wayne, um, you get the point)

"Oh, me and some of the other cow pokes are gonna rustle up some daang good biscuits and gravy with this here flour."

"Later we'll be singing round the campfire, swapping stories and staring at the stars." (Remember to use your John Wayne...oh nevermind)

Get along lil' doggies, get along.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I love Halloween

Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?

Not Red, that's for sure.

She looks like she'd gladly be devoured by the wolf dressed like granny.

And can you blame her? The wolf is H.O.T.!

Monday, November 2, 2009

This post has no pictures

There are no pictures. You must imagine.

What would you do, if you lost almost everything?
What would you mourn?
What would you miss?
What would you be grateful for?
In what ways would you be thankful for what you had left?

What would you do, if your house burned down?
What would you do?
How would you react knowing that your family got out safe?
No injuries, no death.
What would you do?

On Friday night, Jeff's sister, her husband and two little boys faced these exact questions.
On Friday night, their lives changed.
On Friday night they watched as the home they loved and worked for, burned.
Pictures, memories, belongings. Lost.
But all of them, safe.
Observers, including myself, watched them handle everything with grace.
By the time Jeff and I got there, Dawn had left to her in-laws to put to bed her two, precious, dear little babies. But I was told that she was stoic, and calm.
Matt stood, watching, helpless, as the firefighters walked through what was left, but grateful that his family was ok.

When I look at my house, when I look around at the things I have, I truly feel differently about it all. Yes, I would miss it to some degree, but how could I care about any of it if I could still wrap my arms around my husband and children?

And did I mention the community around them? 6 hours after the fire started, there was a garage full of donated items. With more offers coming in, constant phone calls asking how they could help. Did I mention how much I love the members of the Mormon Church? My religion is a huge part of who I am, and I was so proud to count myself with those who gave so willingly.

Did I mention the community where Matt and Dawn live? Offering to match any donations that come in to the fund that has been set up for them?

It was a terrible thing. I can only imagine how they feel, since I have never experienced something like this first hand.
But I witnessed some amazing things this weekend.
I witnessed grace under tremendous loss.
I witnessed giving wonderous to behold.

And I came home more appreciative of my little family.
Knowing that if all else is lost, that they are mine. Forever.

And tonight? We are having a family home evening on being prepared, having a family emergency plan, and fire safety.
I highly recommend it.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

O Pioneers! A field trip.

If you've read O Pioneers by Willa Cather, you will know that there is a small romantic side to pioneer life. But mostly plenty of hard work, heartache, and struggle. Yes, they cut a trail to the west and made habitable many barren and desolate parts of the country. Ever been to Nebraska? Then you know what I'm talking about.

It is easy, however, to forget the sacrifice and trials that the Pioneers faced, and day dream of a simpler life full of family, homegrown goodness and sleeping 5 to a bed. To imagine ourselves with our barefeet in the creek, catching fish, chewing on a piece of straw and watching the clouds go by, seems heavenly.

But if you really look into how life was, you will find that we are spoiled beyond belief in our modern day life, and I know that my pioneer ancestors would probably slap me if they heard me complain about laundry. Especially being that I barely even have to touch the laundry to do it, let alone wash, rinse, and wring by hand and then hang it to dry during an entire day devoted to just that.

So, with that in mind, welcome to the overview of Charlie's field trip from yesterday.

I was a lucky mom and got to chaperone. We went to Pioneer Farm in Eatonville, Wa. It was muddy and cold and there was no indoor plumbing to be found. The children quickly realized that meant outhouses with wooden toilet seats and a smell not experienced anywhere else in their tender little lives.

They were able to visit a Pioneer house, see how they kept their animals, how they washed clothes, cooked, and the 2 beds that 9 children shared. Of course it was all a ton of fun to do the "chores", jump in the hay, catch the chickens and work in the blacksmith shop.

They also got to experience a little of the life of Native Americans who shared the pacific northwest with homesteaders.

But at the end of it all, instead of snuggling into bed with 4 brothers after a dinner of bread and milk, and hoping that no one peed the bed that night, the kids in Charlie's class got to hop in a heated bus, and ride home to their televisions and single occupant beds.

Here are some fun, but generally fuzzy pictures. I was having an off camera day.

Me and charlie in his class before leaving. I think my nose is trying to dominate the whole photo. Seriously, does it really look like that?

A quick jaunt in the horsedrawn buggy.

The cutest fuzzy picture of charlie, ever!

Just chillin' with the boys from his tribe (class) after getting their friendly marks. These were markings that different tribes wore on their faces every day. They changed daily so that a stranger would stand out. It was the tribal version of don't talk to strangers. Effective.

It was a fun day. Of course I was a little tired, what with my warm coat, hand warmers, comfy insole shoes and bottled water. I don't know why anyone would think the Pioneers had it hard. Wimps.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Now Wii play too

What do you say when your dear sweet sister and brother in law ask you if they can get your children a Wii?

Why, you say yes of course.

Thank you Uncle Jim, Aunt Denise and Uncle Dave.

Because of you, chores and piano practice have ceased to be a struggle.
We love you!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Childhood 101

Being the mother of 6 children, I feel that I am experienced enough to pass on some of my wisdom to you. (If you haven't died laughing from my use of the word wisdom in association with myself, then keep reading)

Here is something I have learned:

If you wait until 2:00 in the afternoon to feed your child lunch, they will most definitely find it themselves.

Oh, and it's definitely ok that some kids just don't like to wear pants.

Boy, am I full of wisdom or what?
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