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?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Time to change

Everything changes.
We change day to day.
Little things, nuances really in the span of a lifetime.
But daily there are things to notice, to observe about ourselves.
Good and bad things that we acknowledge, observe and either change or embrace.

I have noticed things about myself lately.
Some that I definitely want to change, always there is something to want to change.
But good things too.
Things that I am glad are part of who I am.
Acceptance of of imperfections in myself and others is growing in me.
I find that I can laugh at myself more and let what others say roll off more easily.
I am firmer in my own convictions, the words of others don't sway me as quickly as they might have before.
I find that I care less about things that don't matter. Mind you, these are things that I don't think matter in the grand scheme of things, you may care a great deal about them. So I won't list them.
And as much as I would never want to purposely offend anyone, I am not bothered by lack of agreement with others either.
I am myself. I make tweaks and changes so that I can reach my own particular goal of who I want to be. I am truly less and less motivated by what others think of me.
Does this grow exponentially?
Is that why old people say whatever comes to mind? Because they truly no longer have time to care or be bothered by what others think of them?
Is that why you see grand old ladies in big purple hats and bright lipstick?
Old men who yell at the neighborhood dogs all the time and want to give every child they see a lollipop?
Is that where I'm heading?
Is that where we're all heading?
I hope so.
I will be happy to be old.
To only care about things that matter.
So I should probably figure out all that matters to me, so that I will know what to care about when I'm old.
Yes, that is what I'm going to do.
And you should too.
Unless you're already old, and then, well, lucky you.

Friday, October 16, 2009

200th post

Unbelievably, I have found enough stuff to talk about to last for 200 posts so far.
And if you are still with me, well, we both need help maybe. Just joshing.

So what could be worthy of a 200th post? What life altering event, what happy occasion or ode could qualify as meaninful enough to earn the 200th post title?

I give you this!

This is the O Cedar Microfiber Deck Mop. It was all of 8 dollars and 99 cents, but it has changed my life.

You see, when we built our house, we couldn't afford real hardwoods for the entire downstairs. But we did not want carpet everywhere with 6 kids, and us, we're dirty/messy too.
So we went with a laminate from Shaw. We bought the most expensive one simply because it was the one we liked the most. It was wide planked, tiger wood-ish and quite lovely.

Now being that it was expensive and laminate, I was excited that it would be easy to clean, easy to take care of and therefore make one aspect of my life-the care of the 1200 square feet of it in the downstairs-easy.

But alas. It has been a nightmare. An absolute nightmare.
In the beginning I bought the ultimate laminate floor cleaner pack. Dust mop, cleaning mop and laminate cleaner all in one. Cost me around 35 dollars at Home Depot.

Well, it didn't clean that well and left streaks when I was done and any bare feet immediately left their mark.
So I tried a different laminate floor cleaner.
Same thing.
I researched and got other people's opinions such as:Vinegar and water, your standard mix.
Or Vinegar and distilled water so that there would be no minerals left behind to leave streaks.
Plain water.
Suggestions for every brand of floor cleaner.
And I bought no less then 5 different mops hoping one of them would work. All to no avail.

What I finally found that worked well enough, was plain water that I would lightly mist the floor with, and then I would dry/clean with a towel on my hands and knees.

Needless to say the task was so daunting that it continually got shoved down the list of to do items.

Finally, I had a melt down one day. I mean, I don't have time to wash the floor on my hands and knees once or twice a week. Which is how often a family of 8 with 2 small children who spill everything, needs their floor cleaned.

So I email Shaw. I basically beg them to help me. To tell me what to do because I am lost and a little angry that I spent $8000 on this floor as an upgrade only to have it be a nightmare that doesn't clean well and constantly makes my kitchen look dirty.

The very nice Shaw lady emailed me back and told me that most likely the different floor cleaners and methods I had used had left a residue on the floor that was causing the streaks and easy marking.


So laminate cleaners or plain water with vinegar should not be used on a laminate floor?

That is what she said.

She kindly asked my for my address and mailed me directions on how to get rid of the residue (which involved spraying an ammonia/water mixture, letting it sit a minute, then scraping it with a plastic scraper for spacking, then wiping that all up with a clean towel, of course on my hands and knees), which I did, and then she sent me a sample of Shaw's laminate flooring that really is the best one for their floors.

Anyone else sense a conspiracy?
So I slave away for a few hours to strip the residue. Then I spray their cleaner and wipe it down with a terry covered mop.

And guess what?

Less streaks, I will admit, but the second anyone walked on it, little foot prints and gunk appeared.

So I resigned myself to just cleaning the dumb floor on my hands and knees and saving my money to eventually install real hardwoods that are way easier to maintain. (I say this from experience, we had hardwoods in Rhode Island and Utah).

Then one day at Target, I once again, because I hope beyond hope, looked for yet another mop that would save my back.

I spied the O Cedar microfiber mop and just had a good feeling.

I bought it, brought it home, and the injured myself, so the first person to use it was Maile when she came to clean my house for me. I was very pleased with the results. But did not inspect too closely sense I could not bend over, and was too drugged up to really care.

So today, I decided to try it for myself.

And it is wonderful. Easy to use, cleans really well, dried with no streaks, uses plain water, and Henry's naked feet have yet to leave one mark.

I am as happy as they come today.
And it only cost me about $150 in different cleaners and mops plus the loss of my sanity, before I finally found the solution.

But, there is always a solution.
Thank you, thank you O Cedar. You have made me a customer for life.

Have a great weekend!
I know I will.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Time waster

I'm so tired of sore backs, and sick children and job change stress, that instead of cleaning and sanitizing my house or napping, I have decided to spend my time revamping my entry way.

Why? Because cleaning, and diaper changes and dishes are there everyday, no matter what I do.
And don't misunderstand, I believe what I do is of the utmost importance to my family, and I gladly, willingly, gratefully do it.
But this is my creative outlet that reminds me that I am more than a housecleaner/cook/wiperofnoses.

So here is the before.

It wasn't bad. It just was a little small for the space it was in and lacked something.

So I shopped my house. That's phrase I learned from the
I found things either not being used, or not being used well enough in other places.
I spray painted a few items to get the colors I wanted, I grabbed a table from another room where it had just become the Mt. Everest of things that have no home.

Here is the after:

A better use of the space I think. Don't you?
The table is a little modern, but I'm working on fixing that. I just need a pipe cutter to get rid of the metal bars, and some awesome fabric as a runner to cover the grid like bottom shelf.
But I'm pretty pleased with the affect, and it cost me no money.

I have a small collection of antique books. Nothing worth anything to anyone but me. So instead of hiding behind glass, they are there to actually touch, feel and read. I love that.

I especially love the books in the metal basket.
My lovely Aunt Cathy gifted those to us and I love that my mom and her spent time with these lovelies when they were children.

It's amazing how looking around at your own house you can find things that somehow just go together. You know?

On a final note:
I found this lovely, creamy blue lamp at good will last night. It has become the inspiration for when I finally decorate my master bedroom.

The only problem, besides the fact that I'm not so sure if the lampshade is big enough?
There was only one.

I can only assume that someone would give away something this gorgeous because the other one broke.
So my request of all of you. If you are ever somewhere and you see the twin to this beauty, will you give me a ring? Seriously. Call me.

All in all, I felt it was a good use of my time this morning.
And now I'm off to do the real work.
Wish me luck.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Family pictures

So, my mom was the highest bidder at a auction at church. She won a portrait sitting for our entire family. Grandma and grandpa their children and their grandchildren. I'm giving you the viewing pleasure of just a few of ours.

We like eachother.

We REALLY like eachother.

We REALLY, REALLY like eachother.

And we have 6 beautiful kids to show for it.

All the girls had some sort of red on.
Anne Marie had red and white striped tights.
Kate had a red flower in her hair.
Julia had red shoes.
Nora was fabulous in red.
I wore really cool red shoes.
Too bad you can't see them.
But at least my arms are red from the cold.

So I still matched.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Halloween's a coming!

Have I shown you this picture? You're in for a treat.
(I made it so that you can click on it to see it bigger. You MUST see it bigger)

This is reason 829 why I love this man:He LOVES Halloween. He is willing to dress up in the spirit of fun and Halloween good-time-ness.

The year was 2006, he went as Sid Vicious, of the Sex Pistols.
I went as a groupie. His groupie that had just had a baby 4 weeks before. So don't judge her, ok?

We went to a BYU MBA Halloween party dressed up like this.
It was awesome.

And in case you were wondering, he wore my clothes. All of it. Mine.
In order to achieve the proper tightness, and authenticity, he borrowed from my closet.

DId I mention I love this man?

Thursday, October 8, 2009


The following timeline is based on real events. (imagine Law and Order guy voice)

Thursday Oct. 1-Nora throws up all over her crib and herself
Friday Oct. 2-Nora throws up all over her crib and herself and numerous spots on the carpet.
Saturday Oct. 3-Nora throws up all over her crib and herself
Sunday Oct. 4-Nora throws up all over her crib and herself
Monday Oct. 5-Charlie throws up, stays home from school
Tuesday Oct. 6-Charlie throws up again, stays home from school
Kate stays home with fever, headache and stuffy nose.
Wednesday Oct. 7-Henry Throws up all over sofa pillow, throws up all over office carpet.
Charlie doesn't throw up, but stays home just in case.
Thursday Oct. 8-2 a.m.-Charlie throws up again
8 a.m.-Charlie stays home again
8:25 a.m.-So far Henry hasn't thrown up. Just waiting it out.

So that just leaves Kate, Julia and Anne Marie. I figure if it lasts 4 days for each person, we have approximately 2 more weeks of steady vomiting before this clears the household. And that's IF Jeff and I don't get it.

Welcome to the world of large families, otherwise known as the life and times of those who continually have some sort of virus circulating through the house and family members.

Breath mint, anyone?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bringing back the white stuff

I am proclaiming before the world that I feed my children.........

Stuff made with white flour!!!


How horrid, how perfectly evil, whatever shall we do?

Ok, so it's not that bad, really. Wanna hear my theory?
It's a good one.

When we were kids, no one told us on every t.v. show, in every magazine article, everywhere we turned, that we should only eat all whole grains, no sugar and no white stuff.

We were told to eat our vegetables, of which there was always 2 at every dinner I had to eat, and fruit was a common part of breakfast.

I usually had a peanut butter sandwich made with white bread that my mom made accompanied by a glass of milk and maybe an apple and carrots for lunch.

What I didn't have was 3 different kinds of fishy crackers, cheez its and granola bars to fill out my already bread complimented lunch.

We filled in the cracks of lunch with fruit, vegetables and dairy. Occasionally there would be a cookie in there or some chips, but not everytime.

We ate dessert. Not everyday. Maybe a couple of times a week. But it wasn't this big taboo food item. Healthy is about moderation, not about denying yourself until you can hardly stand it anymore and then you buy a box of hostess cupcakes at the store knowing full well you are going to eat everyone of them before you get home....

Not that I've ever done that. Ahem.

So what is my point, I am sure you are asking yourself by now.

Do I advocate white stuff or not?

I do actually. But not in the way it has evolved to.

White bread for our sandwiches, pancakes made with white flour, I'm sorry, but these are not the causes of obesity and childhood diabetes in our country. They're just not.

We all grew up this way, and there were not chronic obesity problems among children I went to elementary school with.

I firmly believe it's in the fillers we add to our diets and the couch being just too comfy.

The kids come home from school and what do they eat?

If mom is home the choices sound like this:string cheese, apple, yogurt, maybe a granola bar.

If children have free reign on the cupboards, their after school snack choices would most likely be:crackers, chips, bread, cookies.

Who wouldn't choose that if they could?

But when we were kids there were also not video games in every household. Cetainly no handhelds or ipods to play away the daylight hours.

PE was everyday. Yes, everyday.

And after school we rode our bikes, we didn't just plunk down in front of the tv until dinner time. That could also be because there were no Cartoon Network, Disney Channel or the 100 other different children's all day all night channels the way there are now. Which is also why we only have basic cable in our house. But that's another post entirely.

No my friends, white bread and flour are not the problem.

And, this may get me into trouble, but most of my friends mom's either stayed home, or had work scheduled so that they were there when their children walked in the door from school.

Which provided supervision not only for what food choices they made, but for many other choices that would effect them throughout their lives.

So I will be feeding my children white bread. They like it better and they actually eat their sandwiches instead of throwing them away at school.

And I will be making pancakes and waffles for them with white flour.
Again, they like it better and they actually leave the house in the morning with full tummies. Which you know is better for learning.

I occasionally get on a kick and add whole grain wholesomey goodness where they won't notice it because frankly, I like whole wheat and whole grain better.
But I believe that is because I am an adult.

I also like kidney beans and fish now. But as a kid I would have chosen death by firing squad rather than eat kidney beans or fish.

And if your children love whole grain whole wheat things, then good for you. Seriously, that's awesome.
But for now, this is what makes my children happy.

(that's me making white, homemade, eat it while it's still warm, bread)
So I say:
If you possibly can, stay home with you kids. They need you.
Let them eat bread. The white kind.
Turn the tv off.
And then kick their hineys outside to play until dark.

Childhood Obesity problem solved.
Don't you feel better knowing I have solved one of the countries biggest crisis'?
I know I do.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Yet another birthday

So, I'm back.
I'm well.
I can walk.
Yay for me!

But most importantly, my oldest child turned 12 yesterday.
Yes, 12.

This means a lot of things.

It means middle school.
Which means no more walking her to and from the bus stop.
Parents don't do that in middle school, I have been told.

It means no more Primary. She is now in Young Women's.
It means other people can ask her to babysit.
It means she wears makeup.
It means facing different challenges and events in life that make everything you've gone through before pale in comparison.

But that is how life works.
When you are in middle school, you think back with fondness on how easy elementary school was.
When you are in high school, suddenly middle school is remembered as especially simple.
When you are in college, the work load of high school seems minor.

Of course there are all sorts of perks to growing up.
For one: Your mother can meet you at the bus stop with balloons and flowers and embarass you with tons of love and attention.

Oh, wait. That's a perk for ME.

I think she was more happy than embarassed, really.

And I hope so, she deserves happiness.

Kate is the easiest 12 year old anyone could ask for.
She is always willing to help.
Very rarely rolls her eyes.
Loves her younger brothers and sisters.
Babysits whenever we ask.
Easy going, content, and understanding.
Kind and gracious, and so dang beautiful, it's frightening.

All this deserves something extra special, over the top.
At least it's extra special, over the top for our family.

It's an Ipod Touch.

I think she is happy about it.
Yes, those are happy tears.

The evening was pretty great. She made it easy on me.
For her birthday menu she requested homemade lasagna and apple crisp with vanilla ice cream for dessert.
Done and done.

I'm thinking she will remember her 12th birthday for years to come.
I know I will.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Someone to cry over me

As I sit writing this, I am in a slightly drugged up state.
Not as clear minded as normal.

But write I must.

Five years ago, I herniated two discs and tore a ligament in or around my spine.

It was pure agony.
Worse than labor.
Worse than spraining my ankle.
Worse than the time a metal shower curtain rod fell on my nose.

It was bad.
6+ months of physical therapy, prescription painkillers, and things were much better.
And stayed that way for the most part for 5 years.

Then came this last Saturday.
For no special reason, I woke up, almost unable to walk.
The pain slowly built, got worse and worse until I shuffled into urgent care on Sunday, and by Monday was completely confined to bed.
By Tuesday, even with painkillers and muscle relaxers in my system, it took 20 minutes for Jeff to get me out of bed, and down the stairs to our car, so that he could take me to the orthopedic doc.
I felt like the little girl who stands on her father's feet so that they can dance.
I clung to him, and he lifted me up, my own back unable to support my weight.
My legs weakened by pain, lacking the strength to walk for themselves.

When we arrived at the doctor's office, Jeff found a wheel chair for me, again lifted me from my seat, and gently placed me into the moving chair.
I was completely helpless, completely dependant on him.

The orthopedic surgeon, bless him, heard my history, took x-rays to make sure there was nothing new showing up, and then gave me a scrip for steroids. The best anti-inflammatory drug to help reduce swelling, which would in turn help with the muscle spasms, and the pain.

It is Thursday now, and and with the help of a back brace and some awesome, make me loopy drugs, I can walk on my own, use the bathroom on my own, and I'm sure my dear husband is happy to not hear my pathetic whimper every time I move.

But I must tell you about Saturday.
Saturday, Charlie became my hero.
Saturday evening, while Jeff carried 3 sleeping children in from the car, I crawled my way up the stairs to our bedroom.
Unaware that I was being observed, I cried, and sobbed as I made my way up the stairs.
The pain was immense.
But through my own hysterics, I heard someone else crying.
It was Charlie.
Still being a mother, I asked him what was wrong.
He just looked at me through his tears, and asked "what's wrong with you?"
In a flash I saw how it would look from his 7 year old perspective.
His mother, the one who comforts him, who dries his tears and makes everything better, was helpless, vulnerable, and sobbing.
And that scared him to death.

As I made my way to the top stair and attempted to stand up, he came to me, to hug me, to get comfort in a scary moment for him.
I asked him to help me walk to my bedroom.
I could feel his little muscles straining to help his mom make it to the bed.
He plugged the heating pad in for me, arranged my pillows the way I needed them, and continued to cry as I maneuvered my way into bed.

After tucking me in, he came around to the other side and layed down with me.
We both layed there crying for quite some time.
I finally realized I needed to reassure him that I would be alright.
That I was in pain, but that it would be ok, and that I wasn't going to die.
After hearing that, his crying slowed down.
I told him how proud I am of him.
How thankful I am that he is my son.
What a wonderful boy he is.
Then I asked him to say a prayer for me.
He said he would.

Jeff then came in and took him to bed.
Charlie said his prayer, and told his Dad "I have faith dad. I have faith that Jesus is going to make mom better"
Jeff came and told me, crying a little, then I cried some more.
What a wonderful boy.
How glad I am for his faith.

I am better partly because of Charlie.
How could I not allow his faith to also work it's way into my own heart?
If my son has that faith in Jesus Christ, how could I not?
Over the last couple of days I have layed in my bed, wondering what I am supposed to learn from this experience.
What weak thing in me is being made strong through this trial?
I found my answers, some too personal to share.
But I realized that I could learn through this physical suffering.

What did I learn?
First, that our bodies are too precious, too much of a miracle to be taken for granted, to be treated poorly.
That we don't always appreciate what we have until it is taken from us.
I learned that I have friends and family who love us, who have been willing to serve our family and help us when I have been unable to do a thing for my husband or children.
Meals being brought in, friends and family babysitting.
Offers for as much help as we needed.

But as I look back over the last few days, I see the face of Charlie.
Crying with me.
Praying for me.
Hugging me and helping me into bed.
His love for me showing through that tear stained face.
His concern for me beyond that of a typical 7 year old.

Sometimes, we just need someone to cry with us, for us, over us.
No words being said, just someone to cry over me.
That my friends, is love.

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