Sunday, July 29, 2007

Good things that happen when you are alone in your house for 43 hours

Yes, you read that right. I am alone in my house for the first time in seriously 8 and 1/2 years (since Emma was born). I am going to Girls' Camp tomorrow and Ryan had a business trip in CA, so he took all the kiddos yesterday (drove in the van by himself 16 hours) so his mom could watch them during the day while he did his stuff. So I have been all by myself! So here's your list.

When you are alone in your house...
1) It stays cool because a)your kids do not open their bedroom windows during their naps and yell at their friends and leave them open so your upstairs is roasting by 5 pm. b) You also do NOT leave the door open every time you walk through it. c)You also do not heat the house because you do not have to make meals.

2) You buy yourself a huge takeout Pad Thai meal and eat it for three meals in a row and love it because you never get it because your husband and kids don't like it.

3) You read an entire book (the other side of the bridge by Mary Lawson...this is book review number 3...I liked it and would recommend it) while you ride the exercise bike at the gym for an hour to work off the Pad Thai you keep eating.

4) You watch So You Think You Can Dance without having to fast forward the skanky costumes and too-sexy moves that you don't want you 8, 6, and 4 year old to see.

5) You clean the house for 5 hours while listening to Twilight on your computer because you aren't being constantly interrupting by kids who are supposedly helping you clean the house.

6) Your house stays clean after aforementioned clean-up. THE WHOLE REST OF THE WEEKEND. You don't ever have to clean it up again, because you are not a big huge slob like the other people who usually live here.

7) You sleep till 8:45 am.

8) You listen to all of church and feel the Spirit the whole time because you didn't just pinch your 4 year old for various things she does to bug everyone during Sacrament meeting.

9) You visit teach without having to arrange babysitting or without having your kid hit your teachee's kid with a car.

10) You run every errand and do everything on your list without being interrupted by fighting, hunger, messes, poop or playdates.

11) You miss your kids a lot and get choked up whenever the picture album screensaver flashes a cute picture of them on the screen.

So there you go. I wish all of you a weekend like this once in your life.

I'm off to camp and teenage girls with crazy hair, stupid songs and lots of teary testimonies. I'm sure we'll have lots to say when we get back!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Girls v. Boys

We've had a fun week! My very nice sisters-in-law (one from Utah, one from Washington) met each other halfway, in Dillon, Montana, and swapped cousins. Elizabeth (Utah) took all the boys over age 5--including mine-- and Heather (WA) came back with all the girls. I think the Utah and Washington contingents had very different weeks. Each contained the late sleepovers, outings to waterparks and amusement parks, and lots of fun food but this is where the similarity ends.
The Girls week included:
1. Pedicures
2. Playing School
3. Having hurt feelings
4. Getting up-dos while watching "So you think you can dance?" with Aunt Jessica.

The Boys week included:
1. A rodeo
2. Play clothes (Gabe had a very detailed explanation about why he was packing such junky clothes.)
3. Not missing their moms
4. Playing a made-up tag game every spare minute. (While we were talking to him on the phone one day, Gabe said: "Oh Dad, I have to go, they just found me.")

Next summer, we'll do a mommies and daddies week. Any ideas what that blog would sound like?

Re-run: Quick Quote #7

So Jane must have really enjoyed the cantaloupe that I got at the farm stand, because the next day she said: "Mom, can I have some camel for wunch?"

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Riverfront Park

Spokane has a couple of key features that we love. One of these is Riverfront Park. For all the gory details you can check out But for a quick overview here is what the park would look like on Dora the Explora’s map:
We got the family season passes to the park so here are some of the things we like to do while visiting

Feeding the ducks is a must … of course Grandma is the only one wise enough to actually remember to bring along some bread, so we usually resort to whatever is handy (duck pizza feed shown right).

Playing on the big red wagon slide is usually our first stop. If you are a dumb baby you slide all the way to the bottom, but if you are a cool 6-year old, you jam your little legs against the slide as you are slipping down to stop yourself so that you can climb over the side and get under the wagon Jackie Chan style.

The old-school carousel is situated across from the “trash goat” sculpture that sucks up your trash through the mouth of a bronze goat with like a 500 hp motor inside. Apparently, I am not the only one who gets carried away testing the prowess of the trash goat as is evidenced by the fact that it has been closed for repairs for over a month now.

Pee-wee golf has some added complexity involving hiding Seth’s ball from him and racing to finish the hole before he can either find it or convince himself that the ball you are about to putt is actually his.

There are a handful of rides for the kids, like the sky ride (left) and the electric model train that they strap kids to and call a ride. If you look closely, you’ll see that we were able to catch a picture of a potato bug out running the train. Man … that was one fast potato bug.

We also get the opportunity to learn firsthand about supply side economics. 1 cup crushed ice + 2 Tablespoons cherry flavoring + no competition = $5.00. Sounds fair to me.

Oh … and don’t forget about the slammin’ ladies you’ll be able to pick up on. Sure this one had some baggage but anyone who can out bunny-ear a 6 year old is definitely worth it.

Oh yes, it's #2

I know you are shocked that I'm actually going to tell you about each book as I finish it. But I am. Too bad if you are not a reader and it's boring, and if you are reader and think it's boring, then you need to look inside yourself and find out why you don't find joy in the reading accomplishments of others.

Now...I finished Snow Flower and the Secret Fan last night (thanks to Kirsten for the recommendation via your blog). The reason I finished it in 2 days is because it is really, really interesting. Ryan, who doesn't read as fast as me, listens to CDs that I get him at the library and when he listened to this book, he didn't like it. But he was wrong. It was so fascinating because it told me all this stuff about Chinese culture that I didn't know. I felt like I was learning and reading at the same time (kind of like when I read Shopaholic). So read it, cause it was very good.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Please Don't Feed the Monster!

Friends of Jessica - let's not encourage my book monster. She needs no encouragement to read. All of your comments supporting her book lust are not helping. I wake up, all too often, to find her hung-over from reading until the wee hours of the morning after the rest of us have long since gone to bed. If you do not desist from your harmful course, then when I get the calls from a mad woman with too many kids and not enough sleep, I will be forwarding them on to you (Cami, Paige, Carie, Adrianne, etc. ... you know who you are)! Beware.

(Posted by Ryan)

1 down

I finished my boring book club book and it was boring: Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian of Midwives fame. I really liked Midwives so this was a big disappointment. I could never really care about either the plot or the characters. But it was better than making dinner. I'm a third of the way through book #2 and it is very fun. Stay tuned (how could you not...this is just so interesting!)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Re-run: Quick Quote #6

We ask Seth multiple times during the day..."Where are we going, Seth?" He always answers, in a very hopeful voice, "a-going fim! (swim)" We probably shouldn't torture him this way, but it's kind of his place in the family to amuse us with his cuteness.

Confessions of a Reader-holic

This is a stack of the books I want to read. All of them. This week.

I love to read (and cook/eat what I cook and talk. Those are my 3 favorite things to do). I had a bunch of books on hold at the library and they all came in at the same time. Six! Then I had a new friend in the ward come drop off 5 more of her favorite books for me to read. Plus, I have to read this one, slight boring, book for my book club first and every day I feel an anxious (good anxious) feeling in my stomach when I think of all the books that look so fun, but I have to take care of my kids and husband and church calling before I can read them. But listen to this good news:

Meals I DON'T have to cook this week:
Okay, so this girl in another ward does this crazy thing. She sends us all recipes, we order the ones we want, SHE SHOPS FOR ALL THE INGREDIENTS except the meat, we cook the meat, and bring it with containers and a cooler on Saturday. We each get a station and we assemble all the ingredients for one of the meals (as does everyone else). They put your finished meal in your cooler and I cannot tell you the joy of watching your cooler get filled with food you know you will not have to 1)think up 2)shop for 3)assemble or 4)clean up after. Then you pay her, JUST FOR THE PRICE OF THE FOOD, and you go home: the happiest homemaker in town.
I got 10 meals for $70 in 3 hours. How great is that?!
So, maybe, between 5 and 6pm every night this week you will find me laying on my bed working my way through the previously pictured stack of books (and I am very aware that that stack does not even include Harry Potter!). So you, my faithful blog friends, might just get a book by book recap as I charge my way through. Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Extreme Makeovers

this is the cute Emma
I just got the cutest haircut!
So I told my mom I wanted to get a haircut.
She said yes.
I was thrilled.
It was Saturday. My mom said we could do it on Monday. I waited until Monday. But then my mom she didn't have time (like always). Same thing happened every day of the week. Finally on Saturday, she said that we could get it. Actually, I had to ask and ask and ask because she said that my dad would be annoyed when he woke up and having to take care of all the kids. But I persuaded her to do it. When we got there, they were closed. So we had to go to the next one. We checked and the lady said it would close at 6 instead of 5. So we got it cut. When the lady asked if I like it, I told her I loved it. So we went home. When we got home my dad was awake, but I didn't tell him about that I was getting my hair cut really short. So when I showed him, he was really surprised. I really like my hair cut, it's easier to dry.

This is now the cute Jessica.

Gabe also got a haircut while Emma was getting hers. I was not expecting his hair to be cut and I hadn't decided that I wanted his hair to be cut and I had to try really hard to talk to Ryan immediately after Gabe's hair had been cut. Ryan is talented at lots of things...not so much haircutting. Gabe's cool longish haircut has been replaced by a shaved head. He is still cute, however, and so I began talking to Ryan after a 10 minute silent treatment. (In case you didn't know, I'm not very good at silence.) Here is his before and after:

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Semi-professional won ton makers

We made the egg rolls w/ some fried rice for Jessica's birthday dinner on Sunday (an old Sherrill family favorite). It was just fun and different and Jessica loved having them again. The only drawbacks are the 1st and 2nd degree burns I have on both hands due to my ineptness at deep frying. Gabe came out and I showed him how to fold up the wrappers around the filling. So he did three and then Emma came out and did one. She wrapped hers pretty loosely and then went back into the house because she had to set the table (we were frying on the back patio). As I put hers in, I told Gabe “This one is going to ‘POP’ really bad.” He asked why and I explained that when they aren’t folded tight enough the meat grease and water from the vegetables seep out and pop when they contact the hot oil. “This one wasn’t really rolled very well.” He looked kind of discouraged and I told him not to worry because it was Emma’s and that his wontons looked to be very well folded. So he says “yeah … Emma is just a beginner.” He then proceeded to try to figure out if he was a “junior” or a “professional” folder. He finally decided on professional saying that it was one step below me. See what an ego boost it is to have kids who think you are one step above professional despite bumbling and burning yourself repeatedly?

Quick Quote #5 (re-run post)

A few days ago, (what am I saying? EVERYDAY) the yard was strewn with the accumulation of a summer day (flip-flops, sprinklers, bikes, chalk), and I was tired of asking people to clean it I yelled at everyone to come pick it up. Then I walked back inside. Unbeknownst to me, my husband (always lobbying for favorite parent status), started rounding everyone up and began cleaning with them. He got his wish, because Emma commented, "Dad sometimes you are a lot more supporting than Mom." Too bad for me. Not winning best-supporting parent anytime soon.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Pictures your 4 year old takes right before she breaks your camera:

(Multiply this by 10...seriously. That last one is the tetherball stand where our camera breathed it's last. What a goofball.)

The ants go marching ...

Just as the Sacrament was beginning to be passed at church, Jane reached for our mangy church bag that we just throw on the floor of the garage (usually sometime Monday afternoon) and then chuck back into the van as we streak off to church (by streak I mean in the "moving fast" sense and not the "running naked by horrified observers" sense). So anyway, as she reached for the bag she withdrew quickly exclaiming something about ants. So I look over at the bag, which was positioned between myself and Sister Brown (we were sharing a pew with her family). As I noticed an ant crawling from the church bag I thought to myself how ridiculous it is to be scared of a little bitty ant. Then as about 100 of his best friends closely followed behind him, I thought how ridiculous it was to be the family that brings ants to church with them. As Sister Brown looked respectfully away, pretending not to notice the biology teeming from our bag, I puzzled over the best way to handle the situation. Do I run screaming from the sacrament service as ants drain down the upper half of my body? I opted to hold out until the sacrament was finished being passed and then Jessica suggested that I take Seth and the ants (both really annoying at church) and make a dignified exit giving the impression that it was Seth's fault that I needed to leave, rather than because the white trash Romneys had to dispose of the ant colony that had begun to establish itself in their Sunday church bag. It was actually kind of a nice way to break up the meeting, and I'll tell you that Seth really enjoyed being on the outside for a little while too. So perhaps the ants were God's way of helping the Romneys get a new perspective on Sacrament meeting.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Dumb Dad

As I was getting myself a drink, Jane comes up and randomly says:

(Jane) "I haven't had juice today, I want Jessica?"
(me) "wha-huhh?!?!"
(Jane) "I weawy didn't"

At this point the hamster wheel in my head is spinning furiously trying to make sense of this strange liitle girl who is staring at me:

~no juice today ... what the ' ... ohno, my daughter is retarded! ~Jessica isn't home right now - not seeing the juice connection ~Pure jibberish ... how could I have not realized she is retarded for four whole years. ~Jessica Albrect (Primary President) - uhh drawing a blank ~ There is the one glass of juice a day rule but why does that make her want Jessica?!? She really is a cute little retard. WAIT!!! HOLD IT!!! JESSICA=FRESCA!!! Woo Hooo! Daddy got it!

(me) "You want a drink? You want some Fresca?"
(Jane) "Weawy ... I'm sewious dad."
(me) "Sure - have a sip."

I later found out Jane had already had her juice ration for the day, and that her innocent request was really just another lie. I am such a dupe.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Just so you know friend Paige says that everyone is perfect in their blogs. Well, here's a not-perfect post.

Today is a crapalicious day.

#1--my kids are totally bugging me. Either arguing every decision I make (of course, Emma, oldest daughter--just like me), fighting with the neighbor girl all day or complaining about her "before dinner" job, starting at 7am when she wakes up (Jane) or crying since he woke up from his nap 2 hours ago (Seth--nothing is helping, I'm holding, feeding, isolating, putting him in the backyard--still crying)...they're driving me insane. Give me a minute and I'll figure out what Gabe is doing wrong, too. Oh I know today he was tormenting Jane with "crybaby, crybaby, stick your head in pie-baby." See...very annoying.

And THEN...we decided to meet Ryan for lunch at a park downtown, when mid-trip we get in a fight via cell phone. So I turn around halfway there and drive home. We make up 10 minutes after I get home and then I regret all afternoon that I didn't get to see him.

AND it's 100 degrees here and so no one can be outside unless they are wet. Which my kids are, but not until after I searched the whole house for the right swimsuit for Jane and found out the hose had been run over, so we can't hook it up to the fun sprinkler thing.
So when I finally get them outside (Seth is still howling all over the house--he's not sick, so don't think that and feel sorry for him--but I ignore it) and so I try to straighten up. I go into the kids' bathroom and in their little toilet area, where it's a million degrees and the door has been shut, there is a poopy diaper that begins to stink up the whole upstairs. I've, of course, told people not to put diapers there, but NO ONE ever listens to simple instructions that benefit the whole house, do they?

Luckily I am having a pre-birthday outing sans aforementioned annoying family, so hopefully I will like them all (I already like you, Ryan, so don't get mad when you read this) when I get home.

So there's not-perfect for you.

(wait...Seth has stopped crying because I plopped him in front of Jane's tub of My Little Ponies(usually contraband for Seth), so maybe things are looking up!)

I love Spokane but...

there are not a lot of man-made amusements here. We have lovely trails and mountains and lakes, which we enjoy, but no big zoos, children museums, amusement or water parks. This is all to explain why two friends and I drove ONE HOUR to a tiny little town called Tekoa (pop. 800) to go to a small public pool we'd heard about. It is nothing like the Utah swimming extravaganzas, but it uncrowded, had a great kiddie area, and we had lots of snacks. We went because we wanted a chance to catch up with each other...but we had 12 kids under 12 with us so I don't know what we were thinking. We waved at each other from various areas of the pool. Here're some pictures that my friend Jessica took. Wait, while I check to see if the one of me is too fat to put on the internet (what am I thinking??). Okay, it looks decent because Seth is strategically covering the thigh area (the only good thing he ever did for my appearance!) Enjoy:

(Jane is the messy, unsafe one on the right)
(how great are these shots?)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

It's been a long time...

We'd like to thank all our dedicated fans; those who returned to view the blog in hopes that the camera had been replaced and the Utah trip was over. Well, prepare to be rewarded with a very long post! Since we've been blog-absent for 13 days (and probably would have averaged an entry per day), we thought we'd treat you to...
Our Top 13 List!!! (notable events of the last 13 days)
13. We replaced the camera. Jane was devastated to find out that because mommy and daddy weren't able to use one of their toys, Jane also would not be able to use her bike! (Thanks Grandma Dorrie for the perfect consequence--I don't come up with these things on my own.) When mom and Dad purchased and received their new camera, Jane was able to purchase her
bike back ($3).
12. Jessica finish her new favorite book East of Eden. Some grisly parts, but so well written. I had no idea Steinbeck was so enjoyable!

11. Swimming. Lots and lots of swimming, in pools, lakes and parks.

10. Our return trip home. We loved Utah (see numbers 8-2) but we were excited to see Ryan, who remained home (see number 1), and get back to our routine. I am a hardcore road tripper and we had a personal best on the way home: 730 miles in (drumroll, please) 9 hours and 50 minutes! I had lots of snacks, a TV/VCR and kids with awesome bladders. I didn't even go more than 8 miles over the speed limit!

9. The 4th of July. We had a great time at our little Liberty Lake parade and out at the Daines lakehouses for dinner and fireworks. I tried not to be too Mommy Dearest about the 4th of July outfits and pictures, but it was not easy. Jane does not look at a camera ever and Seth's Old Navy shirt surfaced this morning--not to mention all the drooling of parade candy.
Here's the result:

8, 7, 6, 5. Visits to our favorite Utah spots.
Thanksgiving Point (my favorite place ever--we go every visit)

Liberty Park (we love the balls, the canyon replicas, the waterpark area, the Tracy Aviary) but we have no picture. Too bad, because Jane screamed for 20 minutes (seriously) because I couldn't find her swimsuit and then when she'd finally calmed down, it was in my purse. I started crying then...that would have been a good picture.

Hogle Zoo--the perfect size of zoo. We went with my brothers, sis in law, mom, aunt and cousins.

This is the Place Heritage Park--we really got the pioneer experience. It was 103 degrees as we tromped from schoolhouse to church (see picture) to smelly stable. The kids loved doing pioneer chores, making candles and learning pioneer school lessons.

4. Church on Sunday. We remembered being a part of a great ward and our wonderful lessons and Sacrament meeting confirmed it. We miss you guys!

3. Eating with the Nelson side of the family. We had a fun Sunday dinner and a fun lunch at Buca Di Beppo. (I also enjoyed the requisite Cafe Rio and Sweet Tomato trips--Utah has way better restaurants than Spokane).

2. The visits with Romneys. Ryan's sisters all live in Utah and we had a couple of fun visits just hanging out at houses while kids played and eating Lemon Meringue Pie (Happy Birthday Betsy). I have the BEST in-laws ever and my kids love their cousins. We have no pictures since I was using my sister's camera and she didn't come. Boo!


This week my husband has mowed the lawn, watched movies, done the dishes, come home at 5:15, rollerbladed with the kids--none of which were possible when he was working on his thesis 20 hours a week. We are so proud of him!

Thanks for reading our update...I kept trying to get my humorist husband to write commentary (he's so much funnier) but he was too busy trying to find a lab coat for his Russian scientist costume we are wearing to a "How to Host a Murder dinner" tonight...anyone out there with a lab coat?