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.
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