Friday, September 25, 2009

Oh Henry!

This was Henry on the day he was born.

And no. He was not born full grown. He was 3 weeks early, but weighed 8 pounds 10 oz.

The guy is still a little tank.

It could be the steady diet of sweets and fat I give him.

Not really. It's his birthday for cryin out loud.

He's 3 now.
We have had 3 years of dimples.
3 years of wavy red hair.
3 years of kisses and cuddles.
3 years of doting on this little man.

But now he talks.
When he is tired or sad,he says "I want you"
And we always say "I want you too"
When we go in to Henry and Nora's room in the morning, he sits up, stretches, and always announces, "I wake up."
When I tell him I love him, many times he will say "You lub me?"
And I'll say yes. Then he'll say "oh". And tell me, "I lub you".

How lucky can one mamma be?

Happy Birthday Henry!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Stay around

You know who you are.

You know that you're needed.

You know that you're loved.

You know that your sorrows are shared.

You have 10, you know there are more to come.

You've given 40, please give 20 more.

In the first half, there was growth, learning, experience.

In the first half there were little hands needing yours.

In the first half there was much of life to be figured out, understood.

In the first half there was hard work, and the blur of children growing.

In the middle you have found your faith.

In the middle love reignited, grew again.

In the middle those who you watched over, are watching over you.

In the middle new sets of little arms have wrapped around your neck, given kisses and loves.

In the middle adult children are friends~ eager to talk on the phone, share ideas, share their love.

In the second half life is good.

In the second half there is more to come.

In the second half, we still need you.

In the second half, we will all pray, and wish, and hope.

In the second half we will love.

We love you.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


What is a heart to do?
What with the pouty lips, the long lashes, even the crusty nose and drool ring around her shirt, I never stood a chance.
This little lady has wriggled her way securely into all of our hearts. She has us all wrapped around her tiny, pudgy little fingers.
She makes a squeak and everyone jumps to fulfill her every need.
And you know what? She is already 14 months old.
Time is slipping out of my fingers.
I want the moments to slow down, to become molasses, to get stuck.
So much so, that last week I went into her room in the middle of the night and held her. Just because I still can.
I would do that to do the rest of them too, but I can't pick most of them up anymore.
Then a few days later, I brought her into bed with us at midnight. Just because I still can.
Jeff gives me a smile that is a mixture of "your nuts" and "I completely understand, but you're still nuts"
And I know it.
I'm nuts for the little monkey. For her squishy bottom, for her fuzzy, rooster hair, for the gap between her two front teeth.
And for the simple reason that everytime I look at her, I don't just see her. I see all my babies, I remember them all, the different things they did, the way the pulled at my heartstrings.
And still do.
And for all this,I have to thank my Heavenly Father. For loving me and teaching me to love, through my children.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


You should eat it everyday.

Really. You will feel better and be smarter. For sure.

My mother was always great about making us breakfast before school.

We rarely ate cold cereal. It was usually a combination of eggs, toast, muffins, bacon, waffles, hot cereal, french toast. Not all at once, mind you. That would be overkill.

I have carried on that tradition. I love to make breakfast. More than any other meal. This is the one I'm good at.

However, hot cereal, the real kind that you cook in a pot, instead of adding hot water to, would not make it's way past most of my children's lips.

Why? Cuz they won't eat it. Sad, really.

But I still love it. I would eat it most days.

I recently discovered steel cut oats, or groats.

They are chewy and kind of nutty.

I like to add berries.

My mom picked these huckleberries for me. They are my fave!!!

I also like to add chopped almonds for their nuttiness and extra protein.

And a tablespoon of flax seed for good measure.

I top it off with a splash of milk, rice, almond, whatever. Some stevia or splenda depending on my mood that day, and I have pretty much the perfect breakfast.

Come on. I dare you to try it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Love emails

Dear Amy,
Just a brief note to say I love you! I hope your day goes well. You are so nice and wonderful! I read your blog and loved it. I cringed with you all over again as I read it.

I emailed someone on freecycle for a 17' fiberglass canoe in Maple Valley. I hope they reply to give it to me. It just needs a little paint and sealer. Then we would have a sweet canoe.

I love you so much and love being with you. I'm so grateful that you were there at the Institute the day I walked through those doors. That has made all the difference.


Hey my darling,

I'm just missing you. I can't wait to see you in an hour and a half. We have such a beautiful family. Anne Marie just colored on Kate's library book. Aren't they all wonderful? :) Luckily we use washable markers. I love you so much Jeff. I really feel blessed to be your wife. I made a little joke with my miss america thing about the nice things you were saying to my mom about me, but I want you to know that I'm fully aware how blessed I am to share my life with you. Do you ever feel like there aren't enough ways to say how we feel about eachother? It's like the feelings I have for you could never be adequately described in words. I think you know what I mean. Anyway, I love you. I hope your days will get a little better. I'm thinking about you always.



We do love eachother so much.

And what's not to love?

(Close up photos courtesy of one silly afternoon in the kitchen, I'm happy to say we don't really look like this :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Slobber and other stuff

I love and adore Nora. So much.

But the child drools, dribbles, slobbers it up so much that she was getting frequent wardrobe changes throughout the day.

So much so that she developed an unsightly rash under her chin and a matching rash on her chest from the constant moisture against her delicate skin.

I'll spare you the pictures.

Upon taking her to our much loved Pediatrician, I was informed that it is quite normal for children to drool up to the age of four and to just try and keep vaseline on it as a barrier and to keep her skin dry.

Yikes. Vaseline? That might work and all if that wasn't as bad and icky sticky gooey as the drool. So I came up with my own solution.

Bibs. And not just any bibs.

Most of the bibs I own are those velcro closure type used for meal time. Well, she was not having any of that, she would rip those suckers off in a heartbeat.

I had one with snaps, but just one. And those babies are a good 6 bucks each. Not happening my friends, not happening!

So I thought, I will just make my own, dad gum it!

So I began my search of the house for materials. I found a blanket that Nora used, that has been folded up neatly, unused for the past 6 months.

I bought a box of snaps at Walmart for 2. 37 cents.
And embarked on my first adventure in repurposing with fabric.

I will give you a very poorly written step by step, followed by very poorly done photos.

Not really, but now you won't be disappointed.

Step one: Find A blanket with lovely finished edges like this one from Walmart and a bib who size you like.

Step 2: Use the bib as a template and cut around it. (no patterns or perfection here my friends)
Make sure to keep the lovely edge of the blanket as the bottom portion of your soon to be bib. Less sewing for you, and it's pretty.

Step 3: Sew the sides up. No pins, no turning the edges in. This is supposed to be easy! I just used a wider stitch and got as close to the edge as I could.

Step 4:Pound together the snaps according to the directions on the package. I just used my big ol' hammer from the garage. If you have one of those nifty little ones used specifically for jobs like this, well, good for you!

Step 5: The finished product. Note that I already washed this one as well and there is no fraying or coming apart at the sides even though I left the edges raw. Also, the blanket made 8 of these bad boys. Which means I can switch them out several times a day as Nora drool-soaks them.

Also, I have informed the family that these are for drool only!! We have other bibs that can get stained with spaghetti and chocolate milk and strawberry juice. These are only for drool!!!

Step 6: Place on your beloved and adored baby and watch the rash magically disappear!

And that's all. It's not perfect, and that's ok. It's also a conversation piece since these are a little quirky/too-fancy-for-every-day-wear/obviously homemade. And that's ok too!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Bumbling and humbling

So here I sit. With my snickers and diet pepsi digesting, giving me courage to undertake the task of writing this, the utmost of humiliating tales.

First of all, you may ask, snickers and diet pepsi? Yes, since I have been a child I have felt they cancelled eachother out, and the combo of caffeine and chocolate is as relaxing and nerve soothing to me as I imagine wine before bed is for others.

Second of all. Why would I share this, the tale of my lowest point of feeling stupid?

Simply because I really don't want to give the impression that anything about my blog, life, etc, ESPECIALLY me, is perfect, or that I am trying to pretend to be perfect or give the impression of perfection. If you know me well, well then, my imperfection comes as no surprise. But I can guarantee you may have a new level of disdane for me after this. Ready? Here goes.

Let me start by saying that I am, what I consider to be, an honest person. I walk back into a store if I see that something was forgotten in my cart. I try very hard to make sure I am honest in my dealings with others, that I never intentionally act dishonestly or do anything to cast a pall over the values that guide my life.

That said, I occasionally, unintentionally, can be a complete ignoramous.

In years past, I won't say exactly when, so that you can't pinpoint the exact timing of my utter failure to use common sense, I found myself on the lookout for a double jogging stroller for my sister. She did not have one and wanted to be able to exercise with her two boys.

So I began my perusal of Craigslist and Freecycle hoping to find one free or very cheap.

Low and behold, the day arrived that one appeared on the Freecycle radar. The ad said something to the affect of this:

Free double jogging stroller. 12 years old, needs a little work, don't use it anymore cuz my kids are all grown.
Come get it before noon on such and such a day because the pile it's in behind the house will be taken to the dump.

Now I'm not sure that it actually said dump, but for some reason that is how my mind remembers it.

So I contacted the giver-awayer, and asked if the stroller was still available. The person responded like this:

Yes it is. Here is the address, come get it before noon before it's all gone.

Me: Great! Thanks, I'll be there at 10.

So the following morning, I pack up my children not in school and head off to the address.

We arrive at this beautiful neighborhood overlooking the water, amazing houses on every side. Gates barring the unwanted from entering.

I park on the busy road in front of the house, and try to figure out whether the front is really the front, or if the front is actually the part that looks like the back overlooking the water. What?

It really didn't matter because when I looked in the window, the whole house was empty.

That confused me since I was meeting the owner there. I began to feel that I had been, had. So I pulled my car in to do one more look around before leaving.

As I circled the house, I saw a pile of stuff under a big blue tarp. And poking one portion of a wheel out, was the stroller.

I parked and headed to the pile.

The stroller was indeed a little worse for the wear, but seemed fixable, but the owner still hadn't arrived even though it was around 10:20 at this point. But I figured it was free so I began the process of figuring out how to get it into my mini-van.

As I lifted the tarp, I noticed a ton of other one man's trash another man's treasure type of stuff. Things that seemed unwanted under the blue tarp as the rain came down.

So my little brain began to work. "I wonder if any of this other stuff is listed on freecycle, why would they take decent stuff to the dump?"

Then looking around at the neighborhood I was in, I assumed I could see why.

So I began to feel that everything under the blue tarp was headed for the dump, and therefore fair game. I even called Maile, had her look at the ad again for me, and check for some of the other items under the tarp to see if they were on Freecycle.

None of them were, the ad said they were going to be gone.

So I thought, I'll do a little shopping. Save them the trouble of taking everything to the dump. See what a nice person I am? Ha! Still no owner, by the way.

At this point, a quiet little thought entered my head, one I have learned since never to ignore.

The quiet little thought said "Only take the stroller, that is what you agreed to."

Well, I punched that quiet little thought right smack in the face, beat it down, told it to be quiet and not bother me, and began cramming stuff into my van.

At this happy little moment, when I was ignoring my better senses, a Mercedes SUV pulls up.

Yup, the owner.

Please, everyone, cringe with me.

She hops out of the car, looking at me like the thief I suddenly felt like, and asked me in a not so friendly voice, what the h#ll I thought I was doing?

I tried to explain that I was the one who emailed about the stroller, tried to explain my reasoning, only to sound more like the kid caught with their hand in the cookie jar. More and more like the greedy little dumpster diver I appeared to be.

As she let her anger be known to me, I began to cry and to apologize profusely.

Yes, I couldn't even hold it together and act like an adult. I felt like the little punk who thinks their so smart and then falls apart when called out.

It felt like those dreams where you try to find a bathroom, and no matter where you go everyone can see you. Yes, I felt exposed and stupid and definitely in need of a bathroom so that I could throw up from the instant anxiety my lapse in judgement was causing me.

I half expected her to punch me, and I'm pretty sure I would have taken it and thanked her for it at this point.

Did I mention I was pregnant as well when this all took place?

So here I am, pregnant, my small children in the car, and this woman is rightfully giving me the riot act.

But as soon as the water works started, and I apologized instead of being defensive, she softened up like butter left out all night.

She told me that she had kids too, that she wasn't really as witchy (with a B) as she seemed and that she understood and thanked me for apologizing.

Then she kindly asked me to put back all her stuff.

She let me keep the stroller, despite my shenanigans, I loaded it in, drove away, and immediately began sobbing to the point of hyperventilating. I don't handle conflict and/or confrontation that well. Ever. Never have. Probably never will. How am I grown up enough to have six kids? That is a subject entirely worthy of it's own post.


I told my sister, my husband, and two dear friends who I went walking with on a daily basis, since I showed up all red faced and teary eyed and had to tell someone my humiliating tale.

No one else, until now, ever knew that I was capable of abandoning all good sense and making a total arse out of myself.

And what, you may ask, became of the stroller that cost me so dearly in pride and self respect?

Maile deemed it a piece of crap and sold it at a yard sale.

Which is a perfect ending to my tale of how I am soooo not perfect.

But you all already knew that, didn't you?

And thanks for liking me anyway, for looking past my imperfections, and laughing at me silliness and general flustery-can't think fast enough-way I occasionally have about me.

You, my dear friends, are the best.

I'm double posting for 9/11

I wasn't going to write about it. I just wasn't.

I wrote about my humiliating experience and was not blogging again til Monday.

But I can't, not, write about it.

I feel more aware this year, of the anniversary of the terrorist attacks. I don't know why. I just do. Maybe it's the division I feel in our country that feels stronger to me lately. I don't know. But I remember how 9/11 brought us together as a country. How billboards went up everywhere that said God Bless America. And we were not ashamed of that. How people suddenly were friendlier for at least a little while and we could talk about God and His blessings with humility and renewed faith, without any anger or backlash from others.

So I just wanted to share where I was and what I was doing. Kind of like when Kennedy was shot. And I want to know, please, please, where you were and what you were doing when 9/11 happened.

We were living in Rhode Island. I was pregnant, newly pregnant and sick, with Charlie.

Maile and her two oldest, who were 2years and 3 months old were out visiting me.

I had taken Kate to her first day of pre-school when the calls started coming.

Miss Doris got a call from her sister. The towers had been hit.

I asked if there were people in the planes, yes, both towers or just one, at that point just one.

I wasn't from the east coast, so I had to be reminded of what the Trade Towers were. They weren't a fixture for me the way they were for so many living in the East.

On the way home tower two got hit. Maile was at my house and watched it happen live.
Jeff called home and she told him what was happening. He thought she was joking around with him and told his co-workers who were also just starting to hear from people.

Living on the east coast, it felt so surreal. Our friend across the street new someone who new someone that died that day. (Isn't that right Chris?)

We'd all made our trips to New York, become familiar with it as best as you can as a tourist. And watching the black and grey smoke billowing, just didn't seem real.

For hours we sat and watched t.v. Crying, sobbing, unable to stem the tide of emotions as we watched footage of people jumping from the buildings, preferring the fall to the heat and horror inside. Then hearing of the plane that went down in Pennsylvania, the Pentagon being hit. Wondering, wondering how many more attacks would occur before it was over.

Our landlord worked for one of the airlines. Everything was grounded. Nothing taking off. Fear, slamming into us like a wrecking ball.

I wanted Jeff to come home. I don't know why. Everyone at CVS was watching it at work. I'm not sure how anyone got anything accomplished that day.

We watched footage all the next day as well, until I finally couldn't stand it anymore. We had to get out and do something, think about something else for just a little while. The tragedy, the lives affected, was just so much to process.

At first the numbers of dead they were reporting were immense. I hate to admit it was with relief that I heard it was "only" 3000+ dead, not the thousands upon thousands originally feared.

My poor sister had to fly home a week after 9/11 with her two babies. I think she switched planes in Newark, where one that had hit the trade towers originated from. She had to fly across the country one week after our country changed. I'll let her tell about it in the comments section. But can you imagine?

I just wanted to write about it today. And I would love to know where you were when, as Alan Jackson puts it, the world stopped turning.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Who is this guy?

Some little cobbler man that my grandmother had at her house for many a year?
The patron saint of shoes? ~which would be awesome considering how many shoes I have.
A throw back to the age of gilded statuettes?

I don't know.
But I love him.
He's brassy-gold in color.
Chipped and a little worn.
Certainly not a decorator's idea of what "goes" in a room.
But I love him, love him, love him.
And that makes him worthy of a happy spot right by the fireplace, for all to see.

So, I'm curious. What do you have in your house that doesn't "go"?
That maybe your a little embarassed of, but that you love so much you will never part with it?

Is it like my little cobbler? Or something better, like a dream catcher, or that platter with the goose on it?

And for tomorrow, I am going to tell you my hands down, without a doubt, most embarassing story ever! It's better than the time I was doing the splits at school, and split my pants. It's more humiliating then the time I tripped in front of Jeff when we were first dating and could only think to say "ta da!" with a little flourish of my hands.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I really hope they don't hate it

When my great-grandmother passed away, I inherited several things that had been hers. An old rocking chair whose upholstery had seen it's day, that my loving mother had reupholstered for me, and a dresser.

Both things have followed me from house to house and across the country. The rocking chair resides in my bedroom so that it is safe from damage and snot and peanut butter being wiped on it.

The dress has been well used. It has held my clothes, odds and ends, toys, dvd's you name it, it has been well loved and put to good use.

But as time has gone on, I have desired very strongly to paint it. Someone lovingly stained it a nice dark walnut color, and I have lived with that for 10 years. But I am not really a brown person (whatever that means) and the need to revamp it finally won out.

Here it is in it's well loved, brown state. (I have yet to master the art of "before" pictures)

After priming, painting two coats and then distressing it, I am officially in love with my "new", old dresser.

I had an assortment of 6 nobs and drawer pulls from back when I was contemplating hardward for the kitchen cabinets. I figured I could use what I have. So I gave them all a light dusting of silver spray paint so that they would look similar enough, and called it good. I like the effect.

So now the real question is, will my Mom and Aunt Cathy, both whom I adore, be ok with this? I know this was given to me, but it was their grandma's. Have I destroyed the memories associated with the old brown dresser? Or will they agree with me that Grandma Mohar would just be happy to know I'm using it?

Hopefully I'll still be invited to family funtions after this. :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

I won, I won

Remember this post? Well, that same day I won something from The Meanest Mom. I won a $50 gift card to It took me until last week to finally decide what I wanted. Why did it take me from April until now? Because they have a lot of neat stuff and I just wanted to make my 50 clams go a long way. Well, I ordered, it came, and I'm enamored with this little company. From bible stories, to preschool learning, to fairy tales, this sweet little website has lovely, happy stuff.

This is what I got. The preschool pals complete set.

Abc Train
Sunshine Search
Rhyme Time
Little League Lineup
Snowmen stackup

Plus a soft, fuzzy green felt board to go with the set.

You should go check it out here.

I get nothing for promoting this other than the satisfaction of letting you know of a company that seems to really want to make quality educational products that are great for your family.

Thanks again to Heather from FeltBoardStories!

Have a great labor day weekend. See you Tuesday!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I blinked, and almost missed it

Kate started middle school.

I think that was quite bold of her, don't you?

Bold of her to grow up without asking me if that was ok?
Bold to go where I can't go?

I am adjusting as well as one could expect.

We went to her orientation.
I exercised my rights as her parent and took pictures of the day.

Here we are before heading in.

Here she is getting her schedule.

Here she is sitting next to her friend waiting for orientation to start.

Here she is nursing, getting her diaper changed and splashing in the bathtub.
Oh,wait. *sigh* I was having a flashback.

In honor of starting middle school, we gave her a back to school survival kit.

It contained:

One Modest is Hottest chapstick

One picture for her locker of a young girl dressed in the Armour of God.
And one pack of Mormonads. One example is this:

And some other essentials for her locker.

Why is her growing up, or any of them, so hard? For me?

Cuz I love them more than, well, everything. And I gave birth to them with the explicit plan of never letting them leave me. That's not working out the way I planned.

But I am so proud of this girl. I think I'll keep her a little longer.

If she'll let me.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I love to copy things of value.
I don't mean knock-off purses or someone else's hairstyle.
I mean things that help me be a better mother, wife, friend.
Things that add richness and layers to our family life.

This year I copied NieNie and her splendid idea of back to school feasts.
Specifically having a family theme.

We are happy to present the Allen Family Theme for 2009.

I asked a gal from church who does vinyl lettering to help me make this wonderful bit of scripture come to life.

It is from the book of Matthew chapter 5 verse 16

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

Before I revealed the family theme, we dined on simple fare.
Tacos, sparkling cranberry juice, followed by homemade chocolate cake.
~Kate adorned the table with lovely handmade placecards~
~We used my great-grandmother's dishes and drank out of the crystal goblets my aunt gave me, a special treat for the kids to show them how grown up they are!~

After dinner, we discussed what it means to Let Your Light So Shine. We discussed being an example to others so that your life can lead others to their Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. That through actions, words and deeds we can truly honor our Father in Heaven.

So the theme is where all can see.
As we leave,
as we come home,
we will be reminded.

Each child was then given a gift.
A picture of the Savior with a young child holding a candle.
The name of the picture?

"Let your light so shine" by Simon Dewey.

Photo from

Each child also received a pen light with Let Your Light So Shine written on the side.

It was a beautiful day. I was on the verge of tears constantly as I planned the preparations, not just for dinner, but for my children as they step out of our home and enter the world once again.

Before bed, Jeff gave them all father's blessings. Go here if you want to know more about that.

I hope they are ready.

They look ready.
So why don't I feel ready to let them go?
Oh, cuz I'm not.

And because I'm not ready, I will be discussing this more tomorrow. All I can say about it is "Kate started middle school today". That should give you a pretty good idea of where I'm at emotionally.

See ya then.
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