Friday, January 28, 2011

Carrying eachother

I went on a walk yesterday.

I didn't have my double stroller with me, just the umbrella one.

So it meant Henry had to walk while Nora road in comfort.

I thought he would be just fine.

And he was on the downhill parts.

On the downhill he squealed with delight and ran it.

But on the uphill parts, which were plentiful, he kind of sat down on the side of the trail and whimpered.

I tried encouragement, coerce-ment, and just plain pulling him along.

Finally I could see that it was no good.

So I gave the stroller pushing over to someone else, and I proceeded to give Henry a piggy back ride up the hills, about a mile back to the car.

My hiney muscles hurt today.

But as I lifted my son, and he sighed happily from relief, I thought how wonderful it is to be a mother.

To be there to lift my little children, to hug my big kids, to listen and be a shoulder, and to sometimes laugh so hard it hurts. Because that is what is needed.

And then I thought of my Savior, and how He lifts me constantly. How He figuratively carries me when I have no strength left, and helps me when the hills just get too big .

And I felt joy in the ability to do that for someone else. To help my little Henry when he was feeling small and weak, and I was feeling strong.

My hope is that we can do that for others.

That we can encourage.

That we can help.

And that when it's really needed, we can lift and occasionally carry each other.

Til the end of whatever trail we might be on.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

This is an essay Julia wrote for her 6th grade writing assignment. About her hero.

Who’s dancy pants over there? Oh, that’s right, it’s my dad. He is awesome and weird, in a good way. His fantastic, intelligent, mad genius mind, can read me like an open book. My dad is awesome because he is insane (in a good way), intelligent, and he understands me.
My dad is so insane. His insanity causes him to do random things. He’ll crack a random joke and make me wonder what goes on in his head. He will start dancing randomly in the kitchen for no reason at all. When he just starts singing High School Musical. Sometimes I believe if my mom wasn’t there to keep him in order, we would be living on Mars.
My dad is extremely intelligent. He has a master degree from BYU and always got good grades. He knows so much about mechanics that he has fixed up a lot of our appliances. He knows so much about computers, it’s amazing. I’ve never known him to not be able to fix a problem.
My dad understands me. He knows what to do when I’m feeling blue, furious or even just plain bored. He knows how to help me when I don’t understand something, and he knows how to make me laugh. When I was upset about home work, with a few choice words, he had me with a new bright attitude. Another time when I was so angry I locked myself in my bed room, he was the one that coaxed me out. My dad knows me like an open kindergartener book.
Looks like dancy pants dad is having a great time. He’s awesome, so I’ll let him keep doing it, but he’s also so weird I’ll have to make him stop if my friends come over. He’s insane, intelligent and he understands me, but no matter how crazy he is going to get, I wouldn’t replace him for the world.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Overheard at 2:30 in the morning.
Henry, standing in our bedroom. "I guess I was wrong. I DID have to throw up again."
"I HATE being wrong"
Yeah, it was an awesome night.
It was mostly awesome for Jeff, who cleaned up two pools of vomit while I lay in bed and tried to ignore what was happening around me.
Me and throw up=Not friends
And in case I seem like a complete wuss, I did rub his back while he threw up in the toilet this morning.
The end.

Monday, January 24, 2011

In our family, dressing up is essential.
Essential I tell ya.
It always has been.
From Kate on down to Nora, there is nothing like pretending to be a ballerina, or princess, or Batman, or Batgirl even.

Eventually they grow out of daily dress up.
And have to pretend they don't like it anymore, and instead wait anxiously for Halloween to roll around.

Another essential thing?
The Wizard of Oz.
They all love it. The movie, the trivia game, the little figures from McDonalds.
But it creeps me out.
It always has.
What a weird phobia, to be afraid of the Wizard of Oz.
So instead, I take pictures and chime in with answers occasionally.
Cuz even though I don't like it, I've seen the dang movie a million times.
That's what we do when we love people.
We watch their favorite movies.
And play their favorite games.
Oh wait, I have to draw the line somewhere.

Friday, January 21, 2011

What's weather got to do, got to do with it?

I have not felt like posting.

No I have not.

I was trying to figure out why, and then I looked out the window and realized the source of all my anti blogging sentiments.


Rain, rain and more rain.

Yes I'm complaining, even though I shouldn't what with all the weather disasters around the world and birds falling from the sky and what not.

But rain has a negative affect on me. Especially when it's been raining straight for 3 weeks.

And yes, I'm thankful I don't live where it floods, because there has been some flooding around here, but I still want to whine.

Because I miss the sunshine. I miss the blue skies. I miss dry grass and I miss exercising outside.

So instead of sitting down to post about my awesome children, my awesome husband, my awesome life.. I mope around, don't clean my house and don't go anywhere.


This is what I need today. To be here:

But instead, I will make sure to be at the bus stop for my kids today, because it is raining soo hard. And even though we live in the greater seattle area, we can never seem to find our umbrellas. Go figure.

So what weather gets to you the most? Rain, snow, tornadoes?

Oh, I hope you don't say tornadoes.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Yesterday I had the joy of taking photos of my sister (in law) Amy and her 4 kids.

Amy is due in about six weeks with baby number 5 and wanted a picture with her kids for the baby shower invitation.

So lucky for me, I had my camera in my car when I came upon this:

And while I didn't exclaim and start crying about rainbows, it was quite beautiful and fun to see after all the stinky rain we've had.

And just because I can. Here is one of the pictures I took of my beautiful SIL and her awesome children.

I don't think it's fair that she looks that good at 8 months pregnant. With baby number 5, no less.

There is a reason there are very few pictures of me pregnant.

Anyway....have a great Tuesday~

Friday, January 14, 2011

I'm not old

Tomorrow is my birthday. And in honor of my arrival into my late thirties, I want you to watch this.

It's a classic. Just like me.

And on a side note: thank you Kim. Thank you, thank you, thank you for thinking of me and bringing me flowers when I was feeling super icky and unattractive from having shingles.

It meant more to me than you know.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My day yesterday

Wake up at 6:40.
Make pancakes.
7:00-make sure Kate and Julia are up
7:15 make everyone's lunches
Get dressed
7:40 drive Kate and Julia to the bus stop
7:45 wake up Charlie, Anne Marie, Henry and Nora
8:00 feed them and myself
8:15-8:30 bark orders for Charlie and Anne Marie to brush their teeth, put their lunch in their lunch boxes, get shoes on, find your coat, brush your hair, TURN OFF THE TV!
8:35 pile the 4 younger ones into the car and drive to the bus stop
8:45 Cut Henry's hair
9:00 give henry a quick bath and get him dressed for preschool
9:15 leave for preschool.
9:45 get back from preschool
10:00 get Nora situated on PBS kids, reply to some emails
10:15 exercise
11:00 make Nora come upstairs with me while I take a shower
12:00 finally get Nora dressed
12:15 leave to go pick up from preschool
12:45 come home, let Henry go to Gavin's house
1:00 feed Nora lunch and myself lunch
1:20 put Nora down for a nap
1:30-2:00 clean the kitchen
2:00 go get Henry from next door so that he can clean his room
2:15-let Henry go back over after we clean his room
2:16-3:30 clean, clean, load of laundry, clean
3:35 kate comes home
3:40 tell Kate to have a snack and then practice piano for half an hour
4:10 Charlie and Anne Marie come home, eat a snack
4:15 Have Kate start her chore, and Charlie start his piano practice
4:20 Clean some more-tell charlie to do his chore when he's done with practicing the piano, get Anne Marie started on her job
4:40 leave to go pick up Julia from play practice
5:30 get back from picking Julia up
5:40 Sit with Anne marie while she practices piano
6:15 Start dinner
7:00 eat dinner
7:15 Jeff gets home, eats dinner
7:45 Read scriptures as a family, say prayers
8:00 start putting everyone to bed
9:15 go back downstairs to finish cleaning up before bed
9:55 shut off lights,trudge back upstairs
10:00 read my scriptures for a while, pray, zonk out cold.

This is not a brag post. This is a post about what it's like to be a mother some days.

If I had posted about my day Monday, it would have been like this:

Wake up, get the kids to the bus.
Stay in my pajamas all day.
Make a halfhearted effort to potty train Nora.
Abandon the effort to potty train Nora.
Read all day instead.
Not clean
Finally get dressed at 2
Not make dinner (jeff made AWESOME eggs and sausage)
Barely help put the kids to bed, and then fall into bed myself.

Granted, on Monday, I had a splitting headache and was feeling icky from the shingles.

But that was just my excuse. I really just wanted a mental health day more than anything.

And while laying around all day was sort of fun, I did not feel awesome at the end of the day. I felt lame.

But yesterday, I felt awesome.

I would love to hear what your day was like yesterday.Was it as busy as mine? Busier? Do tell.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The final match up

So here's how it stands.
Toilet: Zero
Yes folks, we have quite a match up. So far the champion has kept her opponent, Porcelaino Bidet, aka "The Toilet", up against the ropes.
He seemed to be gaining ground when, BOOM! She completely annihilated him by peeing on the floor.
The Toilet's manager, Amy, aka "Mom" isn't looking too good right. All her expertise and years of training may have been more hype than anything.
But stay tuned, this match ain't over yet.
There still more rounds to go and a pile of clean undies at the ready.
We'll keep you updated.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Birthdays are still fun for the young at heart

A few days ago, we all, meaning the kids and I, received one of these:

Jeff, in his awesome-ness, decided to forgo a birthday present and instead throw himself a birthday party and invite his 7 favorite people.

And where are we going?

To the Family Fun Center.

Oh yeah.

He is awesome.

And I'm married to him.

Lucky me.

Happy Birthday dear Jeff.

Thank you for being the big kid that you are.

And for your viewing pleasure, somebody TOTALLY AWESOME put up posters of the following for Jeff to see at work today.

Truly, the best laugh I have had in a very long time, I may have snorted a little.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Change of plans

Update: I have shingles. Weird, huh? Seems that if you had chicken pox as a kid, the virus lays dormant and can show up as a painful rash later on in life. Usually it happens in people over 60, but for a few "lucky" ones, like myself, it can happen when you are younger.

I am glad to know what it is, and I am glad that I'm not allergic to something. And though I don't love that it's on my face, I am super greatful at the same time. When it's on another part of your body, your clothes can rub against it and cause more pain, or your skin can be irritated when you sit down or against something. But for me, I just won't be sleeping on my left side for a while. So here is an example of things happening that you never think will happen to you. C'est la vie!

I had a lovely, long-ish post planned for today.

But instead, I will be going to the doctor for a weird allergic reaction I am having on my face to something.
Two words: puffy, pustule. Nice visual, eh?


I will be attempting to potty train this little goose:

Wish me luck, with both things.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bread Recipe

On a trip up to Bellingham, to see Jeff's best friend from highschool KEvin and his family, Kevin's wife Jessica and I began talking bread.

I was discussing my frustration with the 4 hour process of breadmaking that I endured each week in order to provide my family with homemade bread.

She told me about her recipe. The recipe that only took 1 hour start to finish, with kneading, rising and baking included.

I was intrigued to say the least. This sounded like my kind of bread recipe.

The recipe called for a few ingredients that I didn't have. One of them I hadn't even heard of before.

So being the awesome person she is, Jessica gave me the two ingredients so that I could start making one hour bread for myself.

The strange ingredients were Fern brand liquid lecithin-

and SAF instant yeast.

The other ingredients were flour, salt, sugar and hot water. Pretty normal.

She also made me a copy of the recipe, and sent me on my way fully equipped to make bread that didn't exhaust me.

The directions were as follows:

Take 10 1/2 cups of flour (I use bread flour, but you don't have to) add 3 rounded tablespoons of instant yeast, half a cup of sugar and one tablespoon of salt.

With your tablespoon, make 3 wells, or impressions in the flour. Then fill those wells with the liquid lecithin. My friend taught me to do it this way because the lecithin is super sticky, and so if you don't have to fill the tablespoon with this stuff, this makes one less thing to clean up.

Then add 4 cups of the hottest water your tap will give you.

Let all the ingredients mix on medium for 1 minute.

After the minute, check the dough to see if it is too dry or too wet. If it's too dry (it will be falling apart) then add just a little more water. If its too wet (it will be uber sticky) then add a little more flour.

If you're happy with the consistency, mix on high for another 5 minutes.

When the 5 minutes are up your dough should look like this:

See how it has pulled away from the bowl? THat means it's the right consistency. It should still feel a little sticky to the touch, but it should not be sticking to the bowl.

After the mixing is all done, spray your counter and your bread pans with cooking spray.

Place your dough onto the sprayed counter, and mold it into a nice little mound of lovely dough.

After moulding the dough, cut it in half. Then cut each of those halves into two more halves. You should have 4 pretty equal mounds of dough when you're done.

Once your dough is separated into sections, it's time to roll it out.

Try and make the dough about as wide as your bread pan. It doesn't have to be exact. I promise.

When youre satisfied with your rolled out piece of dough, you're going to roll it up.

When you're done rolling it, you'll want to pinch the seam together so that it doesn't come unrolled.

Then I give each end of the roll a little karate chop to seal the end up.

When your done with the martial arts section of breadmaking,(yes, I just said that) place the bread seam side down into your sprayed pans.

Now comes the fun part, watching it rise.

Cover your bread, and let it do it's rising magic for 25 minutes.

During this time, you can preheat your oven to 350, and clean up after yourself. Or not.

When it's done rising, it will look puffy and lovely. Each loaf won't be the same size, at least mine aren't cuz I'm too impatient to make each one the same size. If yours are perfect, well, good for you.
At this point, you just stick them in the oven for 20 minutes, and they will immerge all golden brown and filling the house with warm bread smells. Yum!

At this point in the process, my family descends upon me, and within minutes an entire loaf has disappeared in a blur of butter and jam, and sometimes Nutella.

So, now the details.

You can buy Liquid Lecithin at Safeway if you have a Safeway. I'm sure the Fern website can tell you where their product is available. If you can't buy it locally you have two options. One is to buy it online. I have found the best price at

THey sell them in 32 ounce bottles, and that bottle will last you about 3 months if you make bread every week.

The other option is to use canola oil. About half a cup in place of the lecithin. The point of either of them is just to have an emulsifier of some sort to keep your bread from getting all dried out in half a day.

My mom also highly recommends shortening, which replaces the lecithin tablespoon for tablespoon.

The SAF yeast I get at a place called Cash n Carry. The instant yeast is nice because you just add it to the mix without having to soften it up in water first.

If you can't find instant yeast, regular yeast will probably work just fine. I don't really know because I have not used regular yeast with this recipe. So beware that it may not turn out the way I've described. Just soften, or activate it, in warm water before adding it to the mix and keep your fingers crossed.

For this post, I made bread with white flour. But I make whole wheat bread a lot. My in laws just gave me a wheat grinder for my birthday, so I'm grinding my own wheat as well now. It is AWESOME!

You don't have to grind your wheat. YOu can just buy a bag of wheat flour at the grocery store.

If you decide to make whole wheat bread, here are some tips.

If you use all whole wheat, with no white flour mixed in, it will have more of a tendency to fall apart. At least that is the case for me. Any breadmakers out there who know of any other tips to prevent this, please chime in.

So when I use whole wheat flour for this recipe, I do about 7 cups of whole wheat, and 3 1/2 cups white. I also like to use honey in place of the sugar for whole wheat bread, still half a cup, and then I increase the lecithin by one tablespoon as well.

Whole wheat bread just is drier by nature.

Now, if you don't have a bosch and just a regular kitchen aid,you HAVE to cut this recipe in half. The full recipe will destroy your Kitchen aid. I'm not even kidding. An industrial Kitchen aid CAN handle it.

Now, if you have neither a Bosch or a kitchen aid, well, I'm sorry for the workout your biceps are about to get. Or maybe I'm not sorry and you can thank me later when your super buff.

If you don't have a mixer, you can mix all the ingredients by hand. And then instead of the 5 minute mixing that the mixer gives to the dough, you can knead the dough by hand for 7-10 minutes. You'll know you're done kneading when the dough is smooth and kind of shiny even.

The rest of the process is the exact same after this. It will just add an extra 5-10 minutes to the total time.

So I hope that was detailed enough. It's super hard to take a picture of your own hands as you roll dough. So go easy on your critique, kay? Thanks.

Here is the the recipe in full.

10 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of sugar or honey
3 rounded tablespoons of instant yeast
1 tablespoon of salt
3 tablespoons of liquid lecithin
4 cups hot tap water.

Mix all ingredients for one minute.

If you have the desired consistency, mix for an additional 5 minutes on high.

Spray counter and pans with cooking spray.

Divide dough into 4 (or two if you have a kitchen aid)

Roll out dough, place in pans, cover and let rise for 25 minutes.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

If your family can handle it, let them cool about 10 minutes before slicing up this warm delicious bread.

Total cost:About 50 cents a loaf.

Total time invested:one hour. That's about the same amount of time as running to the store when you run out of bread. I'm just saying.

Also, we use this exact same recipe for pizza crust and rolls and braided bread sticks. You can add italian seasoning or parmesan or cinnamon and sugar and it is fabuloso!

Anyway, if you have any questions just shoot me an email.

Now go make some bread!

Credit: the actual recipe is from Pantry Secrets. I have never heard of them. But if you know them, tell them thank you from me for making my life soooo much easier!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Recap-it's short, we didn't do much of anything. Which was why it was awesome.

(this is Maile and I making cinnamon rolls. One of the few activities that didn't involve laying around doing nothing)

Aaahhhhh. That is the sound of me feeling refreshed, recharged and ready for the kids to go back to school.

I love them, and I love having them home. But I also like my schedules, and Christmas break does not lend itself to schedules the way summer break can.

For instance, does anyone think it's normal for my 2 and 4 year old to be up til 11? Well that's what it's been like around here.

Then we lay around til 10:30 in the morning when breakfast is finally ready. Followed by more laying around and playing of the Wii.

So I've had plenty of sleep, lots of laying around and now it's time to get back to normal.

Plus, it's been extra cold here in the northwest. The kind of cold we're not prepared for. We're used to rain. So we have umbrellas, and jackets. But when extra cold weather comes around, no one has boots, or big puffy coats meant for snow, or warm Thinsulate gloves.

Plus I'm extra wussy about the cold, so I'm not the most encouraging of outdoor, freezing cold activities.

So I feel like all of our brains are mushier then when break started, and I think it will be better for everyone to get back to a regular schedule that doesn't involve sleeping 11 hours a day.

Of course, the kids will disagree. The above mentioned schedule is their idea of the perfect life.

The older girls staying up til midnight to watch episodes of Psych, then sleeping til 11.

The younger ones running around til 11 pm playing games and dressup.

And Charlie, dear Charlie had his dream come true. He played the Wii, almost as much as he wanted, without having to sneak downstairs to do it. I just let him!

So school tomorrow will be a rude awakening for sure.
And for tomorrow, "my" bread recipe. I put it in quotes because it was actually given to me by a friend, who got it from Pantry Secrets.

It's the easiest bread to make ever. So tomorrow is your lucky day.
Well, I'm off to grocery shop and prepare for school starting up again.
Yay! I mean, boo! Just trying to represent myself and the kids.
See ya.
( and sorry for the HUGE gaps between sentences. Blogger is being dumb, and the backspace and delete buttons on my computer are broken, so I can't do a dang thing about it. Just try living without those two buttons. You will soon be tempted to never write another email or blog post as long as you live!)
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