Friday, August 27, 2010


Julia turned 11 yesterday. 11! My Bubba girl, my little bunny girl, is 11 years old and about to start middle school.

Seriously the aging has to stop around here. Before you know it they'll be grown up and move out and go to college and get married. NO! I say. NO!

Anyhoo, Julia had a fun party with some close friends and cousins.

She requested A.fettucine alfredo for dinner, salad and french bread. Done.
B.Carrot cake with homemade cream cheese frosting. 3 layers no doubt. Done.
C. That her little brothers and sisters not be allowed in the room
while she watched a movie with her friends, Kate and cousins. Done.
(although there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth by said younger

I was very proud of my daughter. When one of her friends saw the small (in her estimation) pile of presents she commented, "is that ALL of her presents?".

Julia didn't even flinch and loved every single gift. Especially the pocket knife she specifically asked for. She IS a Girl Scout now you know. She might need to whittle something. Anyone need anything whittled?

We also played a little game called Minute to Win It. Hilarious. Especially the participation of the adults. I will not post the pictures of some of the contortion that was required to pick up a paper bag off the ground with just your teeth, without touching anything body part besides your feet to the ground. Because, well, they're just a tad embarrassing.

But it was a grand old time with lots of belly laughs.

It was fun to watch Julia shine. To see her glow, to watch her cascade of hair fall over her shoulder and to see the innocence on her face. Completely unaware how beautiful she is and how precious. *sniff*

Sorry. Just indulging in a motherly moment.

So 10 things I love about Julia.

1. The girl has more ideas stored in her head at any given moment than most people do in a lifetime. Just ask her. She'll share.
2. She loves Ranch dressing. Obsessively. I love it about her. I don't know why.
3. She has a fiery side that can surprise you, but is usually well deserved. She only pulls it out if you've really crossed her. I like that. She is your friend as long as you don't make her an enemy. Meaning, she stands up for herself but will do anything for a friend all at the same time.
4. She loves to read. She can read about as fast as I can. And that's fast. No joke. She is always somewhere devouring a book.
5. She is very aware of the importance of modesty. She dresses herself in a becoming way without sacrificing her desire to be a modest daughter of God.
6. She has developed a love for clothes this year. It's this mother's dream.
7. She is so super duper good with Nora and Henry. She changes diapers, puts people down for naps, helps them get drinks and snacks, and is really just such a help to me.
8. Julia loves her Heavenly Father. She is very aware of the line between right and wrong and does very well to not cross it without any prodding from me. She has a keen sense of what is good and she seeks it out while pushing away those things that are not good for her spirit.
9. Julia loves her dad. And with good reason. She takes her ideas, designs and plans to him and he helps her achieve them. So I guess that's something I like about Jeff too. But I love to see their relationship and know that she trusts him.
10. Julia has an amazing smile with dimples and freckles, lovely apple cheeks and a perky little nose. Her eyes literally sparkle when she is happy, and when she is sad her eyes show it all. She has always been an expressive little thing and from her 3 year old scowls to her 11 year old nervousness/excitement at starting middle school, Julia is a joy to behold.

Happy Birthday Darling Julia!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I was unfriended on Facebook.

The first time it's happened to me, as far as I know.

I realized it had happened because I went to check on this "friend".

Only to see a "You must be friends with ____ to view their profile."

What?! I thought we were friends. Not just on Facebook, but actual friends.

Did I do something to offend? I tried to think back over my updates to see if I had said anything nasty or foul or offensive. AS. IF. I don't even think those things, usually, let alone put it down in writing for all the world to see.

So I emailed this friend. Told this person that my feelings were hurt but that I understood and no hard feelings.

This person emailed back with an explanation that basically put it on me, like they wouldn't think that I cared because I hadn't emailed back (only I was the one to send the first email at that time so obviously I cared since I emailed first!), blah blah blah. LAME

And I essentially wrote back saying that I thought it was lame.

Then ensued emailing back and forth, sharing how we felt, both of us acting like we're still friends and this won't change anything.


And you know what? It really did hurt my feelings, and it just felt like a brush off, or something.

It was like having someone break up with you and not being told why..

Or suddenly having someone you thought was a friend stop talking to you. Wait, that is what it is.

But I was honest with this person. I didn't just say, "Oh well, who cares". Not that that's bad if you genuinely feel that way. But I didn't genuinely feel that way, and I decided to say something.

So I'm still bothered by it all, I think there are other reasons that I won't go into. But it's awkward since we have mutual friends and I'm sad that life has gone in that direction.

But I also know that I did nothing to deserve it, so the problem is all on this person's shoulders. Not mine.

So please share, make me feel better. Ever been given the brush off? Treated badly by someone you thought cared about you? Not that I want that for you, but as my mom always says" Misery loves company"

Me=sort of miserable about it

Monday, August 23, 2010


Seven years ago I lay in a hospital bed. Tired, worn out, a little sore, and completely in love.

Seven years ago, my fourth child was born. Our third daughter. Our little Anne Marie.

Can it really have been 7 years ago that I had my 4th child? Really?

Time has flown by so fast that it frightens me to think about it. So of course, capturing it is essential.

We had a low key birthday for her this year. We have friend parties every other year. This was not a friend party year. Which, coming 3 days after Home Made Simple, I am really grateful it worked out that way.

Anne Marie wanted cupcakes. Bless her little heart. So I just HAD to make the AMAZING TOWER OF CUPCAKES!

Isn't Anne Marie beautiful?

Opening presents with her is a real treat. She gets REALLY excited about every gift. And she has her own unique way of thanking the giver:

Yeah, we each got jumped on as a thank you. It was awesome.

So. Here is my list of wonderful things about Anne Marie:

1. She is a consistently happy little thing. Truly.
2. She loves to play with others. And she is really good at it. Especially with younger children. You can usually find Anne Marie being followed around by an assortment of 2 and 4 year olds. I often call her the Pied Piper.
3. Anne Marie is amazingly creative. She can entertain herself for hours. Literally. Since she was little, I would go searching for her and find her in her room, playing quietly and happily. She has never once come to me and said she was bored.
4.She loves to help me. She would work along side me for hours.
5. She has probably slept with us more than any of the others. Even now, at seven years old, we will wake up with her in between us. I list this as a wonderful thing about Anne Marie because I love when my children crawl into bed with us. And so often they stop doing this as they get older. But not Anne Marie.
6.She is sassy. Again, I count this as a beautifully positive thing about her. It's who she is. It will be a strength for her, and I don't want to squash it. I want her to be honest and upfront. I think that is a gift to have in this life.
7.She has the craziest, most awesome laugh. Super loud and it can be heard for miles around. Seriously, she has a wonderfully unique laugh that is 100% pure joy and pure Anne Marie.
8.Anne Marie has more energy than anyone I know. She runs everywhere. From the fridge to the table to the couch to her bedroom to the back yard to give Daddy a hug when he gets home. She is always on the go.
9. She will try almost any food I put in front of her. She may not like it all, but she is always willing to try it. And for a mom of 6 kids, this is a blessing to me.
10. Anne Marie tells me all the time that she loves me. She loves me more than her toys, her bed, her friends and herself. Those are her exact words. And I must echo them.

I love you Anne Marie. More than my things, my bed, my friends or myself.

Happy Birthday Darling Girl!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 4-And that's a wrap!

Well, we're done. We're finished. We're dead tired.
It was an amazing experience. So much fun. And the best people on the planet to work with.

We had our reveals today. And truly, everything looks so great. It's hard to believe it's all over after all the time we have spent anticipating this week.

But we're done, and I'm so exhausted that I was even tempted to not post anything tonight, but I love you all so I'm here.

I got totally emotional during the reveals. Not about the reveals themselves, and not even about the fantastic projects or the amazing people we worked with. No, I was emotional because I was so happy for my girls. They deserved this and I knew it meant a lot to them, so it meant a lot to me as their mama to see them happy. And luckily for our wonderful producer Mike, crying emotional mama was exactly what he had been hoping for.

Plus, Charlie, Anne Marie, Henry and Nora all got to come home today. I missed them SO much.

So now my little family is all together again with a fab new girl's room and a clean laundry room.

Plus, since Proctor and Gamble is the major sponsor of the show, I got at least 100 dollars worth of products. Swiffer, Gain, Dish detergent and soap, Glade candles and air fresheners, Febreze. You name it, they left it for me. They had a guy who works for P & G whose only job was to place the products in my home and make sure that the products got adequate air time. The rest of the time, he sat around sending emails and looking at his phone. I want his job.

So now my house is clean and tidy. Um, except for Nora's room. Because that is where all of the boxes of stuff from Kate and Julia's room ended up. They clean out the room of all the messy disorganization, and then put it somewhere else. Not actually back in the room for the reveal. That's why it all looks so good.

But it was really a fun experience and the whole crew made us feel really good. The producer told us our's was his favorite episode since he's been on the show. And the rest of the crew kept telling us how easy we made everything for them and what a difference that makes that we're so nice.

You know, they lied. -I'm just kidding!

No they genuinely said that we have a great family and that it was a real pleasure working with us.

And my dear Jeff started our last day with a bang.

The Producer, Mike, wore a ball cap and a t-shirt with some sort of plaid shirt over it everyday. That plus his binder and bottle of water became pretty recognizable. He also said things like"I loved it. One more time." Or,"that was great. Do it again"

So Jeff answered the door this morning, dressed like Mike. Baseball cap, t-shirt, plaid shirt over it, binder and water. When Mike saw him, the first thing he said was "Are you wearing the same thing you've been wearing?" (cuz you wear the same outfit for 4 days in a row to make it look like the show happened in one day). And then he realized he was looking at a replica of himself.
Well, they all loved it! I exaggerate not. It was the perfect energizer for the last day and everyone took pictures of the two of them together and just had a great laugh about it. And to top it off, Jeff had made a t-shirt for Mike that said "That was great. Now one more time".

Mike put the shirt on immediately, and told us he that from now on he would wear it during a shoot.

It was pretty cool what Jeff did, and it really set the tone for a last, great day.
We really hit it off with the Maven's and the crew and I honestly felt like we made some good friends.

Here is a very small peek at the girls doing their last OTF's (on the fly)
Here we are during another break from shooting. Don't I sound so Hollywood? Don't worry, I won't forget about you all when I make it big. As if!

And just for fun, here is the battery pack for my mike, which was attached to my chest with double sided tape. I got "miked up" every morning.

Anyway, it was fun, fantastic, amazing, thrilling, brilliant, wonderful and incredible. All words I used to describe what the people from TLC did for us over and over and over again.

It was exhausting and if asked to do it again? In a heartbeat.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 3

So I found a safe picture to show you all. Safe meaning there are no projects in the picture or any people. Just my garage set up with the Kraft services table (that means a lot of snack food) and the director type chairs where people sit and watch monitors of all that we're doing.

Exciting, no?

So day three started early again, and it was non stop fun and excitement all day. Well, we were actually pretty tired, so we got to play pretend and act really excited like we were having a lot of fun.

The girls got to do a project with one of the Home Mavens, Wanda Colon(pronounced like cologne). You can Google her so that I don't get in trouble for posting any pictures of her.

I can't tell you what they did, but it was very cute, and I'm sure it will be awesome in the room I haven't seen yet.

I'm all about suspense.

Jeff and I got to work with Patrick Brown, the other Home Maven, on some projects for the girls' room and for the laundry room. All of which I am really excited about. And I got to tell them about 10 times how excited I was and how perfect it would all be and how amazing this was going to turn out.

Then I got to do one project by myself with Patrick. He is super nice, really easy to work with, and could handle being teased and teased us right back, so we got along well. You probably won't see any of that back and forth on the actual show. But zooey mama, it was funny.

I also found that I had to edit myself, alot. Which I am not used to doing. There was one part of our segment with Patrick where Jeff was using a power drill to screw something in. Patrick was saying that it was nice that Jeff was handy. It was all I could do to keep from saying "that's why I married him, he's good with his hands". But I'm pretty sure they would have edited that out.

The girls did so well in their segment with Wanda. They were totally at ease, completely themselves, and if I do say so myself, absolute naturals at this whole t.v. thing. So they had a well deserved break afterwards.

And then they both promptly fell asleep on the couch.

Oh wait, so did I. During some down time I was sitting on the couch looking out the window,and the next thing you know, I was out. I was plum tuckered and just a tad sleepy.

I also got to tell Patrick a story I have been waiting months to tell him. Maile was over one day watching the show with me. Patrick was doing some sort of handyman type thing and I said to her, "Look at Patrick's biceps!"(which are pretty massive). And she, mishearing me, said" His name is Patrick Biceps?". And I, laughing, said "No, it's Patrick Brown". To which she replied, "Well, it SHOULD be Patrick Biceps."

I told him this with no one else around so that I wouldn't embarass him. Just in case you thought I had no sense of decorum at all. Wait, did you ever think I had any sense of decorum?

Don't answer that.

Anyway, I know you're wondering about the catered lunch. I will probably never eat food like this again on a consistent basis for the rest of my life, so it's been fun. Today we had a choice of veggie or turkey burger with all the fixins. Some sort of AMAZING tomato cream pasta, a fantastic salad with balsamic dressing, and these awesome little chocolate cupcakes which I'm pretty sure may have been mocha flavor, but I didn't know that until I popped one in my mouth.

So whatev!

But the best part? The caterer let me keep the rest of the pasta and the rest of the dressing. So it was kind of like my birthday.

Well, tomorrow is our last day :( I have had tons of fun and I think I could do this on a more permanent basis if I got paid for it, and if my family could come and if I got to do whatever I wanted and no one ever reigned me in. Do they have jobs like that?

But it's been an adventure and I'm super excited (for real) about the reveal tomorrow. So I'll be back with more details and I'll find out when I can post actual pictures about all of this. Of course, if you live by me, you can totally come see it when it's done. They can't control that. So ha! I mean, so there! Wait, I mean, I totally understand that they want to protect the reveal so as to not ruin the ratings for our episode. Or something like that.

So until tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day two

Day two started earlier today.

7:30. A.M.

But no biggie, right? Cuz we totally went to sleep early the night before, right?

Uh. No.

Seems that a house ful of people with cameras and lights every where kind of riles up the kids and makes it hard to put them to bed. Weird, I know.

So we packed the younger 4 off to spend today and tomorrow with my parents and sister. And then Thursday they will spend it with my friend Daisy and my SIL Amy. Apparently it is quite difficult to have quiet on the set with the younger four running around. Who knew?

So today was the cooking segment. Which made me grateful that we started so early because it was still cool outside.

And, today, I got to have my make up done by a real live makeup artist. His name is James, and I wish I could keep him. Truly.

Seems you have to wear a lot of makeup for it to actually show up on t.v. So my dilemna about what color of lipstick I should choose and all, really didn't matter. Since I didn't get to decide.

You can't tell, but I looked pretty fab.

We had some down time while they were filming the hosts do their OTF's(on the fly). Which basically is where you pretend that what you're saying is not scripted at all but really something off the top of your head. Which it's not, by the way.
So the girls and I let off some steam.

Jeff being himself. Ha!

Now, I guess I'm not supposed to really post pictures of this whole process until after it airs, but I'm kind of a rebel and I wanted to share one story about the day.

-I was just informed by my rule abiding husband that they could hand me a cease and desist if I publish any pictures of the process before the show airs.

Party pooper.

But I can still tell the story.


So the cooking Maven and I were in the kitchen, whipping up some delish dishes.
At one point while we were "rolling" she messed up a little and when referring to the way we were going to cook the dish, instead of saying the low and slow tag line (temperature and time) she said slow and low. I know it doesn't seem like much of a difference, but I guess it is.

So right after she said it wrong, she went "oops, that's not right" and I said "yeah, that would be a completely different show".

Can you believe I said that? I can. And just so you know, I was thinking of a show about low rider cars, but everyone had a good laugh at my expense because their minds are all naughty I say!

Anyhoo, it was a fun and exhausting day. So we are now going to go and have Blizzards for dinner.

But I wouldn't be able to say Blizzard because it's a registered trademark. Instead I would have to say blended ice cream dessert, or some craziness like that.

I am learning a teensy bit about t.v. Like the fact you can't say Tupperware, velcro, or ziplock without being sponsored by those companies. And the fact that the catered lunches are fabulous. Salmon, fancy shmancy salads, and organic homemade cookies was the bill of fare today.

But mainly I learned that t.v. is a lot of work, but super fun.

and I learned that I prefer the job I have now.

I miss you Charlie, Anne Marie, Henry and Nora. We'll see you soon.

And I'll be back with more tomorrow.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day One

When I woke up at 5:30 this morning, I was pretty convinced I wanted to do nothing but just go back to sleep. And yet, I got up and began getting ready.

Thinking that everyone would be here by 8, we woke the kids up around 7 to get some breakfast and get our "show" outfits on.

Well, by 8 o'clock, we were fed and ready and waiting. But no one came.

Byt 8:30 I figured they were running late, by 8:45 I decided to double check my email with the schedule.

Yup, it said 9 o'clock. Not 8.

But at least we were ready on time!

So at 9 o'clock, we started to see rental cars rolling in, and finally this bad boy!

They even brought their own garbage cans! That may be the most impressive thing to me, that I don't have to worry about what to do with the trash.

We sat around for a while, waiting for the crew to finish up a production meeting, and then we got to shooting.

Just some fun shots of the family together, making food, being goofy, playing and what not,and other stuff you'll have to wait and see. But it was really fun.

The kids and I taking a break during shooting.

We're all pretty tired. Not because it was especially grueling, but because I got us all up an hour too early.

But tomorrow really does start at 7:30 a.m., so I will not be napping this afternoon, even though my eyelids are drooping as we speak, so that I can go to bed nice and early tonight.

I will do my best to update you again tomorrow.

Thank you so much for all your support. Oh, and as you can see, I went with optio
n 1 :)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

TLC is coming tomorrow. *gulp*

I'm a little nervous, but mostly excited.

I am going to try and be all sneaky and get pictures of them so that I can keep you updated on the process without giving away too much.

And I swear I'm going to be really good and not sneak a peek into the girls' room to watch the progress.

I want to be really surprised at the end, I do. So I solemnly swear to surpress my natural can't wait tendencies and actually wait to see it until it's all done.

Should be fun.

And now on to the real pressing questions. Should I wear my hair curly or straight? Signature red lipstick, or shiny gloss? Bangs straight or angled? What's a girl to do?

Luckily I have my outfit all ready to go. But too bad it's supposed to be record heat tomorrow, cuz my perfect outfit will be a tad warm. Oh well. Maybe the slight sheen of sweat on my face will look more like I'm glowing?

Anyhoo, wish us luck, and be ready for updates!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Jumping through hoops

I am back from an unintended blogging break. Our dear friend Rochelle was here with us for a week. And we ran around doing fun stuff and I thought not about blogging.

But I have returned. Don't you feel better now? (mom)

So Sunday night, some of our children began to experience boredom. And being the brilliant children they are, they came up with their own game using just a hoola hoop and a jump rope.

It involved raising and lowering said items and attempting to jump through or over, depending on your degree of daring.

Of course their dad and I gave the appropriate gasps and hurrays and encouragement. And I must say, it was impressive. They didn't always make it, but they kept trying. And even falling on their face occasionally, did nothing to quell their enthusiasm.

Without further adieu, I give you the Allen Troop.

Yes, he made it through.

And Julia pulled her leg up just in time to make it over.

Amazing, isn't she?

Even Henry got in on the action, little Hobbit feet and all.

Maybe next time we'll light the hoop on fire, or suspend the jump rope between our house and the neighbor's.

Then we'd have a show!!


Yeah, you're probably right. Oh well, I guess we'll just have to settle for this obviously death defying and dangerous feat:

I'm breathless just watching it. Maybe we should charge admission next time?

Just a thought.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pretty Baby Stink Pot

Look at this girl. Isn't she precious?

And lovely.

And Happy.

And a total stinker.

On Sunday, with everyone else gone camping, Nora and I got on our Sunday best and drove to church.

She was splendid in her little white dress that Grandma Allen bought her, with pig tails and dainty white shoes.

We made it inside, found a pew, and right on cue, she started screaming.

Screaming in some incoherent baby language that no one has been smart enough to translate yet.

Try as I might, I couldn't figure out what the child wanted. So we got up and went out into the foyer, where she proceeded to alternate between crying and running away from me.

So I left. Yes I did.

I attended church for all of 10 minutes. And in that time I gained a new appreciation for 1. Jeff and his willingness to switch off with me when kids are fussy. And 2. Single mothers. I had a 10 minute taste of what that must be like. And I didn't like it one bit, let me tell you.

Sometimes it's easy for me to think that having six kids means I know everything.

Well I don't. I don't know what Nora wants sometimes when she cries and throws fits. I don't know what to do when she won't stop and I'm tired. And I don't know what to do when she is naughty and then looks at me and says "sowwy".

Oh wait, that one I know. I melt into a little puddle and let her wrap her little arms around my neck and we snuggle. And I say" That's ok baby, I love you." And she says back "I ul you"

And all is right in the world once again.

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