Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Crazy, wonderful week

I have been out of the blogging world for a little bit. Some of it has been sheer busy-ness.

In our church, I serve as a leader over the young women. It requires my attendance in class on Sunday, Wednesday activities, girls camp, and whatever else comes up.

But for the past 5 months, we have been preparing for a dance festival. A dance festival involving 1200 youth from Seattle, Federal Way, Kent, Maple Valley, Renton and Auburn.

These kids practiced and practiced for months, and then on Saturday they performed for parents, friends, family and strangers at the ShoWare center in Kent.

It was phenomenal. I was blessed to be able to chaperone most of the day. We arrived at 7:30, rehearsed for the first time all together with the other youth from around western Washington, and then the kids performed at 3:30 and 6:30.

My job was to stay with my 11 girls all day. And then help them with their costume changes in the 3 minutes they had between numbers.

And let me tell you, 3 minutes is not very much time! I was tired and sweaty by the end of it and I didn't even perform!

The week leading up to dance festival was nuts. The kids had rehearsal Tues, Wed. and Thurs.

Jeff was helping to teach the boys their dance, the Haka,(google it, it's AWESOME!) so he was there some nights, and I was there on a different night.

Then Friday, Charlie had a track meet.  He's been going to track practice at the elementary school for a few weeks. And then they had one track meet with other elementary schools at the end.

We learned that he doesn't love it. But he stuck it out and learned a lot.

Henry and Nora had their own races in between. It was also crazy hair day! No really. His hair doesn't normally look like that. I swear!!!

Saturday morning Kate and Julia and I left the house around 7. It was honestly one of the best days ever. Despite being tired, despite me getting in a little argument with a grumpy lady, and despite having to bust some kids trying to sneak into the dance that was held afterwards for all of the participants, :(, it was so fun and I will never have a bad attitude about dance festival ever again.

Not that I EVER had a bad attitude about all the practices. *ahem*

My girls were lovely. My own flesh and blood girls, and my girls that I get to go to church with every week. I love all of them!!!!

Kate doing the HULA!!

The HAKA!!!!


Julia doing the beautiful fan dance!!

It was really an amazing thing to be part of. To be in one place with that many LDS youth was a highlight in my life. To be around that many kids who have high standards and values, who love their Savior and strive to do what's right, what could be better?

Sunday we were all a little tired, but after some nap time and a mostly relaxed day yesterday (except for a hike, which is a story for tomorrow!) we are recovered and ready for a back to normal schedule.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bad luck doesn't care if it's Mother's Day

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day.

As far as being a mother goes, my weekend was fantastic. Kate and Julia surprised me by taking me out to lunch and taking me shopping.

As in, they paid for everything! It was such a wonderful surprise and I spent the whole day with them. It was so much fun and I can't even begin to tell you how proud I am of them and how touched I was that they wanted to do this for me.

I really have the best kids. Sorry everyone else!

When we were at the Supermall, we thought it would be fun to take a picture in one of those photo booths.

Well, as luck would have it, none of us had any cash left. And I am way too paranoid to use my debit card in a machine that is hidden behind curtains where anyone could switch out the card reader. Yes. That does happen.

So I had the brilliant idea of getting in the photo booth anyway and taking a picture with my phone. We got some fun ones, but for some reason this is the only photo that my phone would send out.

By the time we were done, we were hot and super giggly. It was a highlight, I must say.

When we got home, my dear husband who loves me sooo much, had done all the laundry. All of it!!!

He honestly could not have given me anything better for Mother's day.

Every year growing up we would ask my mom what she wanted for Mother's day. She would reply, "A clean house. "

No mom. What I meant was, what do you want me to BUY you.

I totally get it now, why she wanted that. All I want every year is a clean house I didn't have to clean! I got it this year. That, combined with having my lunch paid for and getting new clothes really made this one of the best years ever.

Sunday's plans involved my parents and my aunt coming over and my brother and his family joining us for dessert. It was so fun. Originally we had talked about going to Ellensburg to see Jeff's mom, but because of lack of gas funds, we were unable to do so. And oh how fortunate we are that we didn't go to Ellensburg.



Just leaving church to try and go home, proved to be just a tad difficult. The big van's engine decided it was time to die. Right there in the parking lot.

A really nice guy from church helped us tow it home. And I love his wife for giving up part of her mother's day so that he could do that!

We thought it might just be the spark plugs, but it is not. It still won't start and probably never will again. And thankfully we were not 90 miles from home when this happened.

So now the question is, how long can we get by as a one car family when that one car only carries 5 people?

Yeah. This should be interesting.

It goes to show that bad luck is no respecter of persons or Mother's Day. Even if that Mother's Day was the best ever!!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mother of the Year. Or not.

I entered a contest through the Today Show for Mother's Day.

Not because I think I'm a fantastic mother, but because the prize was $112,000!!!!!

They asked entrants to write a 200 word essay on Motherhood.

First of all, 200 words is not very much.

Second of all, I really wish I had won.

But as a gift to my mom and mother-in -law, sister and sisters-in law and all my beautiful friends, here is my essay on Mothers. Happy Mother's Day!

"Mother of the year?  Who would consider herself so?

 Is it title-worthy to change the diapers of six children? To love, bathe, cuddle, feed, teach, nurture and watch over six distinct personalities? 


Are there accolades and glory in comforting  a child whose feelings are hurt, who was treated unkindly, didn’t get the part they wanted, or discovers life is unfair?

Probably not.

Is there an award I don’t know about for cooking approximately 17,000 meals to date?  Can that award be made of chocolate?

If I received an award, would it make any sweeter all of the firsts I’ve enjoyed? 

The newborn smell, kisses from a one year old, my darlings snuggling their way between their daddy and I, and loose teeth?

On the top of this award can we list all the sleepless nights, volunteering at school, helping with homework, play dates, potty training, time in the car, loss of privacy and forfeiture of having a bag of M&M’s all to myself?

And most importantly, is there an award for how much bigger my heart is after 14 years?

Because they didn't have to share what love I had, my heart just grew to fit them all."

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

I'm trying to hold back tears as I write this.  About 8 weeks ago, Anne Marie's best friend was diagnosed with leukemia. She is 9 years old. She is brave, beautiful and has the best family in the world.

We adore them all and watching our neighborhood pull together for this family, and seeing the love my daughter has for her friend have been beautiful to say the least.

Well, she is currently at Seattle Children's Hospital undergoing treatment. One of the other patients there, made an awesome video and guess what? Jenna is in it! It has gone viral and was featured on the Today show.

I cried buckets as I watched it. Jenna is the one holding the sign that says Stronger. And she also has some pretty good moves later on in the video.

And those nurses? What great sports. Who wouldn't want them taking care of your child?

Watch. Try not to cry. I dare you.

(That's Jenna in the screen shot)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Going to college, know someone who is? Giveaway!

Jeff and I at his 2000 graduation. I know. 12 years later, he still looks the same. I, however, do not. Boo hoo.

There are two things that have encompassed a greater part of my marriage to Jeff-one is how much of it I was pregnant or nursing.

The second was the 6 years we spent as poor college students.

Yes, poor. Weren't we all during college?

Our parents helped a lot in the way of gifts of money here and there, buying us groceries when they came to visit. But the cost of college itself? The tuition and books and rent and food and living?

We did that.

The first time for Jeff's undergrad, we had two children by the end.

The second time for his master's degree in business, we graduated with 5 kids.

There were times that we weren't sure how we were going to pay for the things we needed. We had a lot of miracles, a lot of scrimping and a lot of meatless dishes.

But we did it.

Some people think that if you go to college it's because you are rich, or that your parents pay for it all.

That may be true for some. And my best friend's ex-husband thought that about us. She was trying to convince him to go to college, a kind of, "Look, Jeff and Amy can do it, so can we."

But he told her, "No, their parents pay for it."

I actually laughed when she told me that. No folks, we paid for it, we're still paying for it. And we will STILL be paying for it when Kate goes to college.

So when I got an email last week from a company whose aim is to help college be less expensive, how could I not get behind something like that?

The company is

Here are some of the wonderous things they offer.

-save 40-90% off of bookstore prices-no joke!
-free shipping both ways 
-can highlight in the textbooks 
-flexible renting periods 
-etc...(you can find more perks on their website :) 

The other great thing about them is that for each book rented, they donate to OperationSmile.

This is an organization that touches my mother's heart in profound ways.

My children have beautiful smiles. But if any had been born with a cleft palate, I would have been able to, through insurance and my husband's good job, to have that fixed. I wouldn't ever have had to look at my child in sorrow and worry that they would never be treated equally or with kindness.

But many mother's throughout the world, and their children, must endure this.

Operation Smile's mission is to help these children one donation at a time.

And has committed to donating enough for 1000 life changing surgeries.

So lets see, Campus Book Rentals helps make college less expensive and they donate money to changing kids lives, how much better can it get?

I'll tell you.

To one lucky Spoonful reader, they are giving a 50 dollar coupon towards books from

So if you are going to college, enter, enter! And this time of year, as kids are graduating from highschool and setting off for higher learning, wouldn't this be a fantastic graduation gift? 

I think so.

To enter, tell us one great memory from your school experience-it can be high school, trade school, beauty school, what have you. 

Today is Tuesday, right? sure. You can enter to win through Sunday at 9 pm Pacific time.

Good luck!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Lovely friends

Notice anything different?

Wait, how could you. I haven't shown you my new entry way. I get bored, we know this about me. So I re-did the entry way a few months back.

It's a little more colorful and reflects my personality more than this. 

But the new addition? That green frame? Look closer.

This lovely swirl drawing is by my good, awesome, wonderful friend Frances, of Just Frances.

She makes these indredibulous drawings for those she loves. Me.

Yes, I'm bragging.

 It takes her about 5 days to complete a drawing.  And when you look really close you can see why. It's perfect. And she does it all freehand. Any attempts by myself to do such a thing would only end in messy, scribbly frustration.

And she color coordinated it to my house!

I got it in the mail on Tuesday, and by Tuesday afternoon it had a new frame and is hanging in my entryway.

Do I love it? Just a little bit. I think she should sell them. But I'm not sure she could charge enough to match the effort and the gloriousness of them.

Anyway, maybe if you beg her, or offer her lots of money, you can own one too.

But either way, I had to show it off. Seriously, love it.

And if you want to see a video of the process, go here.

Thank you dearest Frances!!!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Oh, to be a child

Sunday afternoon-Nora playing with Charlie's DS. She's not asleep, I just couldn't seem to get a picture of her with her eyes open. I love her crossed legs.

Anne Marie somehow got Henry to sit and tickle her feet. He seemed bored, but he kept doing it.

I remember thinking how hard life was when I was a kid. I couldn't do what I wanted, I had to listen to grown ups, my mom wouldn't buy me the Strawberry Shortcake bedroom set.....

And now I would give anything to have all my cares and worries gone for just one day. And not just pretending, to really not have them, for just a day.

There are some great things about being a grown up-getting married, having kids, college. But some of the annoying things about being a kid come with it too.

I listen to my children worry about friends, clothes, being embarassed. And guess what? I worry about those things too. Those things haven't left me just because I'm an adult.

The sad thing is that we can never see how good we have it until that time in our life has passed. I know when I'm old and gray haired, I will look back and laugh at the things I worried about in my 30's.

Wouldn't it be nice to stop worrying about it now? Maybe that's the secret to being a kid and an old lady, it's not that things aren't there to worry about, it's just that they've mastered the art of not worrying.

They just let it go.

Hmmm, maybe I can too.

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