Friday, April 30, 2010

How is it...

How is it that the one little person who is single handedly responsible for wrecking my kitchen by

  1. Dumping his cereal bowl on the table, chair, and all across the floor, causing a huge sticky mess.
  2. Dumping out a super sized bag of Coco Roos.
  3. Dumping out a carton of nuts.
  4. Dumping out a canister full of powdered sugar.
  5. Emptying out a drawer full of cookie cutters on my now completely messy floor that I stayed up late mopping just the night before last.
How is it that this tiny little destructive person, sensing that Mommy is not happy, can follow me around the house whining at me to pick him up, and when I finally give in and hold the little guy he hugs me real tight for a long time and makes me feel completely better.

Having delivered and received his hug, and being reassured that Mommy loves him. Clayton is now off to play at the demolition game again.

Hanging Out With Ross

I had a crazy (in a good way) day yesterday. I got up at 4:30 to run with my group (this is not unusual). On my way home, I had Ross' field trip on my mind. Ross had informed me that I could in fact go on his field trip, after school only the day before. (Oddly enough, that is the 2nd time this year this has happened to me). I had told Ross that it was just too late to find a sitter for Justice and Clayton. I wasn't going. Ross was disappointed. So on my way back from running, I was thinking: "Yes it's crazy, but I should do it anyway. After all, Ross only has a couple of field trips left. I should not miss this opportunity to spend the time with him."

So after much fidgeting and fretting on my part, my poor in-laws got a phone call at 7:00 a.m. asking if they could watch my two pre-schoolers for the day. Grammy and Pa are awesome people and great sports and they agreed. Bruce was a good sport and got all of our children and the three extras that I babysit off to school while I hurriedly got the two youngest kids ready and drove them the 20 minutes to Grammy & Pa's house. Then I rushed home, hurriedly threw myself together, packed a lunch and drove off to the Botanical Gardens. Luckily I found the school buses on the way there and was able to latch onto Ross' group as they were coming off the bus. The weather was great, and I was SOOO glad that I had given in to the insanity and spent the day with my Ross Boss!

This is some kind of memorial, so Ross was acting somber.

Ross was a good sport about being in a group that except for himself was made up entirely of girls. (It really wasn't such a big deal because his whole class stayed together anyway). However, Ross is a typical 10 year old boy. Can you pick out a theme in all of the following pictures?

Oh yeah. Other news that came the night before: Lydia informed me that she had a choir concert. Kids! So last night we went to Lydia's choir concert. Bruce and I took turns chasing Justice and Clayton around in the hall. Unfortunately, my pictures didn't turn out from that. Gym lighting is never good for pictures.

In between the field trip and the concert, I had a tussle with a computer virus. I think I won.
I am tentatively patting myself on the back. Now I have to go and tackle a couple of weeks worth of laundry that I've been too busy to get to, (in a seven person household, that is a LOT of dirty clothes) plus I have to sit down and do the bills, plus I have to clean up after all of these rug rats that are wrecking my house in every way imaginable as we speak. Heaven help me not to lose it today. I guess it's back to the grind after a day of fun.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Broccoli the Lizard

It seems that we have a lizard living inside our front porch. Do any of you know about lizards? I'll have to research, but I don't think they are dangerous at all. Are they pesty in anyway? I'm inclined to let him stay. (As long as he doesn't find his way into my house. I have found a lizard or two in the basement before.)

Justice and I have seen him sunning himself on our porch two days in a row now. He flits in and out of a big crack in the brick porch's mortar. It's probably hollow on the inside, so I think he/she has a nest in there. Justice has named him Broccoli, and he is fascinated with him. He keeps going out there to just stand a cautious few feet away and look at him. Justice is even drawing pictures of Broccoli, then he goes and compares his drawings to the real thing to "see if they match."

"Bradley, Are You Making a Mud?!"

Who is messing with me? I have just noticed that a BUNCH of my comments have gone AWOL. I didn't remove them. Who did. John? Brad? That commy Barak and his evil cronies? Well I apologize to those of you who's comments got deleted. I want them back too!

I am aware that this might be just some stupid cyber screw up.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Big, Fat Mess Compliments of Justice and Clayton

Oh well, I've been meaning to clean out our books anyway. The little scamps!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Of Lotion and Things

I've been using the same big bottle of lotion on my legs and hands all winter after every shower. The other day I noticed that it was not in fact lotion, but hair conditioner. Huh. Well it worked just fine. I see no reason to change its use.

Clayton keeps taking the dowel rods out of my roman shades and hitting things with them. Erk!

I signed Ross and Mark up for summer baseball. Bruce ended up being roped into being the coach for Ross' team because there was no one else for the job. He's going to be great (even if he is slightly peeved about it).

Friday, April 16, 2010


Here's a picture of the last time we saw Trent before he headed off to the Mission Training Center. He just emailed it to me. He is now in Switzerland. So cool. Besides having the customary problem with the language, he seems to be doing very well.

I'm loving this spring weather!!! I went on a field trip with Mark to a nature preserve. As always, I love a field trip because I get to spend time with one of my kids singled out. Here are some of the beautiful things there.Mark and his buddy Andrew

We used nets to see what kind of life we could find in this pond.

I forget what the name of this flower is, but it's kind of rare I think.
A cool look out.

More pretty wild flowers.

Looking for life in a decaying log.

Playing in a man made nest thing.

And here's a fun shot of Clayton from later on that evening when we took the kids to the park to practice their baseball skills. I took pictures of them too, but none of them turned out.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I struggle, as I'm sure every parent (or non-parent) that ever lived has struggled with feelings of being completely overwhelmed by just day to day life. In reality, I have a great life, so this is no complaint. It's just that getting the things done that need to be done, in a household of seven, on a daily basis is absolutely impossible for one person , I don't care who you are. I often wonder how other people do all the things that they do. The truth has to be that they leave out things that I'm not, just as I'm leaving things out that they are not, or they aren't doing it all themselves. Sometimes I feel so tired of it all that I wonder what is the point of my existence. All I ever do is cook, clean, and do laundry. I don't feel like I have time to do anything that I enjoy anymore at all. It can be really depressing. Anyway that's not the point.

I've recently been thinking about whether I should pull my kids out of school and home school. I haven't made up my mind yet, and I probably won't for some time. I could go into a long discussion about why this may or may not be a good thing for my family, but I'll spare you. Sufficeth to say that I don't feel that public schools are in anyway horrible, and I've no delusions of myself being some Super Mom that I am most definitely not. But I do have valid reasons for considering it.

The point is that I've been feeling overwhelmed a LOT lately just doing the mundane things, so the idea of taking on THAT MUCH MORE is absolutely insane. I can't believe I'm still thinking about it. But I am thinking about it ~ even though I very well might never do it. I am doing a lot of pondering which path would be the right one for our family. Right now, I just don't know.

Here are some scriptures that have really hit a chord with me lately and have helped me see that I can accomplish things better with a different approach:

The teacher in our Gospel Doctrine class at church read this one, and it really struck me between the eyes:

"The thing that thou doest is not good. Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone."

(Old Testament | Exodus 18:17 - 18)

This passage was talking about Moses delegating some of his responsibilities. One of my big mothering flaws is that I don't make my children do enough things for themselves and for the family in general. It can be such a fight just to get them to do normal chores and clean up after themselves, that I just do everything myself. All that accomplishes is more laziness on the part of my children, and a lack of appreciation for what kinds of messes they are making little at a time. Plus I am so completely and utterly worn down and tired and crabby that I'm no good to anyone at all. Hating my perfectly good life is not a good thing. I need to delegate, and my children NEED the responsibility. The lack of responsibility is a big part of the problem with today's society. Me killing myself with house work "is not good." I thought I was doing good when I was working so hard, but doing it all myself "is not good."

It goes on to say:

"And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do."

(Old Testament | Exodus 18:20)

Applying it to my circumstances, it means that my key responsibility is to teach my children "correct principles and they will govern themselves." Also I need to teach them how to work , and let them do their fair share.

Next as I was pondering how in the world I could even be THINKING about homeschooling, completely worn out as I always am, I heard this scripture:

"Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

(Old Testament | Isaiah 40:28 - 31)

I need to rely upon the Lord for my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual strength. Maybe if I put a little more effort into studying my scriptures, praying and doing all of the things I need to do to nurture my spirit, I won't feel so weighed down and blasted all of the time. Who'd a thunk it. It's worth a try huh?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Ketchup Post?

What to tell you all? The kids have had the week off for Easter. I've tried to make it a fun one.

We went to the park for a BBQ with my parents. We were going to hike, but the weather turned on us. Still it was a good time.

This picture doesn't do the mess that Clayton made of himself with a toasted marshmallow justice. He literally had half of a marshmallow hanging off of his face, which fell off right before I clicked this picture.
They must have had a good time because EVERYONE (excepting Bruce who was driving) fell asleep on the way home.

We had a big Easter party with both sides of the family. Here are a few Easter pics.

Clayton liked finding the "balls" and throwing them to see if they would bounce.

Here's Justice hunting.

Here are the beautiful girls in their new Easter clothes. Lydia (mine), Taylor (Bruce's cousin), and Erin (Lydia's cousin).

Here are the handsome boys. Back row: Mark (mine), Grant (Bruce's cousin), Ross (mine), Ethan (my kids' cousin). Front row: Clayton and Justice (mine).

Here's the whole group.

And here are my kids, acting like mine usually do.

Also this week, we went to the movies. I took the kids to the park again. I took Mark and a friend out for Mark's birthday. Yesterday we spent at the Science Center. Good times.

In other news, Bruce has acquired himself what I call "The Metal Money Pit." It's a 1951 Chrysler Windsor (I think). His plan is a long range project for him and the boys to work on. He's hoping to have it ready for when the kids go to the prom or something like that.

The home renovations continue to creep along. I'm still working to finish the kitchen that we started nearly two years ago. Here's me sanding the ceiling dry wall. Such a YUCKY job!

In the running world, I've managed to become a regular at our 5 a.m. running group again. I had a hurt hip a while back and had to take a couple of months off running. Once you get in the habit of sleeping like a normal person, it's hard to start getting up at 4:30 again. I'm really enjoying being back this time. I've finally found a couple of gals that run my pace. Before, I was always either killing myself trying to keep up with the "fast group" or chomping at the bit to go faster with the slower groups. It's really nice to have others at the right pace. Both of the other gals in our three pack are currently training for marathons. At any given time, you can find a majority of our running group training for some marathon or another. Nearly everyone does them, but not me. I am refusing point blank at this time in my life. Someday I probably will do a marathon or two. Right now it just doesn't fit in with my life. There is just too much time involved. I've been around MANY a folk in training for those, and I just don't want to right now. I do like going along for the ride though. I just get to quit at 13 miles on Saturdays instead of having to go on to 20. Thirteen is plenty good for me. A couple of weeks ago I had to get home for something or other, so I quit at 10 miles. I'm happy to say that 10 felt surprisingly like not that big of a deal. Maybe one of these days I'll do a half marathon at one of their big races. I'm getting ready for a bunch of smaller races. I'm planning a biathlon in May. I really like biathlons the best because I can do both biking and running decently well, so I can get a jump on those who are only really good at one or the other. I'm afraid to try just a bike race. The whole peloton thing scares me. Anyway enough of that. I'm just glad because after being hurt, I'm finally really starting to feel strong again.

Justice (who turned 4 in February) continues to amaze me with his powers of observation. I caught him with the new hunk of metal in our drive way, examining all of the places that say "Chrysler." He figured out on his own that it said "Chrysler" just like our van, even though they are totally different fonts. The old car is in cursive. However he remembered that I had told him that the word on the side of the van was "Chrysler" and when he found those same letters on the car, he knew it also said "Chrysler." The other day at the park he needed to use the bathroom, so I walked him over to the bathrooms. I was relieved to see that the doors only said "Men" and "Women" with no pictures to give away which was which. I figured I could take him into the women's room without a fight this time. However, he stopped at the men's room and told me he wanted to go into that one.

"How did you know that was the boy's bathroom?" I asked.

"It says 'M-E-N.' That means 'boys.'" he replied.

The next day I tested him by writing a few words on a piece of paper to see which ones he could recognize. When he got to "Men" he said "restroom." No, it's not reading yet, but it's very observant.

On another subject, it's funny when toddlers make up non-words to replace real words. Clayton's word for "cat" is "ah va-va." The word for "drink" is "weiss." His favorite real word to say is currently "echo." He got it from Justice and Mark playing Ben 10. Echo is a Ben 10 alien, I think.

Lately Clayton also likes to play a game called "oven surprise." This is where you open the oven and put in fun things for mom to find the next time she tries to bake something. Mom never remembers to check, so the kitchen fills with a funny smell and smoke, then we get to guess what we've melted this time. The latest victims have been a couple of markers, a spray bottle, and a sippy cup (not at the same time).

Alright, that's enough catsup for now.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

In Response to the Coolest Geek Question

My brother John
states the following:

"You know, most famous people just annoy me. They seem to
live in a constant state of tripping over themselves to conform to some lame social standard of coolness. In the process, they forget the first rule of the truly cool, which is : "Dude. Relax. Be Yourself." And here enters in the zen paradox:

The coolest people on the planet are the biggest geeks.

Cause they just don't care what the world thinks- they just get on with life comfy in thier own skin and do frickin cool schtuff."

and asks who the coolest geeks are (with the rule that no one earlier than Tolkein be allowed).

Here are my replies to John's list:

Rowan Atkinson - ABSOFRICKINLUTELY! Love him!

J.K Rowling - certainly yes, but I'm still a bit peeved about the whole "Dumbledore is gay thing, but not until AFTER all the books have been sold" Plus she seems a bit full of herself lately. Still she gets major props for inventing HP, which I love, so on the whole yes.

The actor guys yes, I liked them in their rolls, but I don't know much about them personally.

Peter Jackson - Yes!


D & D / and Magic guy - They totally are not my thing. But they d
efinitely deserve props for inventing games so captivating that young white and nerdys are so willing to throw away so much of their lives and money. Whatever.

Rush guys - Um, not really my thing either, but I guess I can see why you like them.

Chess guys - Again just because I can't stand chess, it doesn't mean that they don't deserve major props for being so masterful at such a brainy game.

Carl Sagan - Yes, agreed!

Dresden guy - I don't know enough about to form an opinion

Douglas Adams - agreed.

SpaceX guy - again, I don't know much about him, but he sounds cool.

Now, here's my list (beyond the ones that I agreed to on yours):

I really want to add Sergei Rachmaninoff, but I don't know if he's allowed. He was born about 20 years Tolkien, but they were alive together for about 40 years. Anyway, allowed or not, he was totally awesome.

Wrote some of the hardest piano stuff ever. Totally awesome. Plus musically speaking, he's my great-grand-father.

John Rutter:
Writes and arranges some seriously awesome stuff. Not only does he write many great things that are nice and spiritual and all and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir uses his stuff frequently, but he also put together my all time FAVORITE CD: Three Musical Fables
which is awesome, hilarious and brilliant, and I ORDER you ALL to check it out forthwith!

Next, how could you have a list of cool geeks without putting something in for Monty Python?! Hello?! I'm adding Michael Palin because for some reason unknown to me, he's always been one of my favorite Pythons, plus I don't think he's stooped to do any gay appearances in stupid things, in his old age.

Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Sr.The father in Cheaper by the Dozen (the book, the newer movie has pretty much nothing to do with the book). He inspired that AWESOME book, he had some awesome parenting / teaching ideas, and come one anyone who can intentionally have 12 children, love it, and do such a great job must be VERY COOL!!

George GershwinWrote some seriously cool music.

Sally DeFord:

Writes and arranges AMAZING inspiring music! I want to be her.

Bill Nye

I LOVE that show! Makes science fun for kids.

James Alfred Wight - AKA James Herriot

Wrote some of my favorite books! Great stuff!

Harlan Hock (sorry I don't have a picture). He's not a celebrity, but he was my piano teacher and he's just a totally awesome all around person. I compare him to Dumbledore in many ways because he really is that good with a piano, but he prefers to teach.

Last but not least: Al GoreAfter all, he invented the internet and global warming. (PUHLEASE!)