Friday, August 31, 2007

Can you say extra-talented?

With her cute husband, Mario.
This is Adrianne. We met in freshman English class. She had a hot pink tiered miniskirt on (which would actually be in style today) and we have been friends ever since. I could wax rhapsodic on her amazing abilities at friendship, but that's not what we're talking about today. We are talking about her amazing decorating abilities.
She doesn't just have good taste. She doesn't just have a flair for putting things together. She's not only bossy and outspoken, so you know how she really feels about what you want to do to a room.
She's McGyver.

My husband calls her this because apparently McGyver (in every episode) takes gum and a fingernail clipper and can, not only, undo his chained wrists, but also knock out the bad guy and escape from the burning building via a rope swing he's constructed. All using only the gum and the fingernail clipper. Having never watched McGyver, I have to take his word for it.

Adrianne does the same thing with my limited budget, 3 days, 4 kids running around, a can of paint and 2 yards of fabric and my really crappy old sewing machine that I don't know how to use. She's made Roman shades, reupholstered chairs, repainted the gayest looking hutch and built my cute ottoman from scratch . McGyver, see?

So every couple years, I fly her up here (her only payment: a trip to work on my house with me for 3 days) and give her a few rooms, $1000 dollars and she undoes the chained wrists, knocks out the bad guys and escapes from the burning building. Want to see what she did last time she came?

Entry before and after:

Powder room/favorite room in my house before and after:

Kitchen before and after (the first After was blue paint the color of mold, but we fixed that.):

Family can't see the cute shades, but there's the ottoman and she rearranged everything:

Girls' bedroom (you can't see the cute mirror collage above the bed, too bad.):

She has since created this:

He'd better be skilled with a paint brush.

Book Review 10

I've got a fun one for you. Sammy's Hill by Kristin Gore (as in Al Gore's daughter) was very funny and fast paced and not going to be the latest award-winner (but I needed a break after those brainy-ones I'd been reading). So anyway, it's fun to read about the life of a senator's office and tales from a campaign tour from someone who obviously knows what she's talking about. This one should be right up your alley, Paige, for a variety of reasons.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

It's always fun when Grandma comes

My mom is great for many reasons. In fact, I asked Gabe to journal (we have to keep up his writing skills during the summer trust me) why he was excited to see Grandma Dorrie and this is what he said: she gives me sugar snacks, she taks us on dats and is lass strick (less strict). So besides these wonderful qualities, one reason she's so fun is that she loves to go and do. Anything I suggest we could go do, she says "Let's do it." So this is a photo-journal of the stuff we did with Grandma.

As previously mentioned, we rode the World's Longest Gondola at Kellogg, Idaho. We also had the world's longest lunch with 4 kids banging their utensils, fighting over crayons and taking 40 million digital pictures, while the waitress, I don't know, had a manicure(?) between the taking of our orders and the bringing of our food. You with kids know how hideous that can be.

We spent the afternoon at the Daines' lake house and the kids were the luckiest kids on the planet because they found a huge DEAD FISH that provided hours of entertainment (flip the fish, stab the fish, bury the fish, decide if the fish is dead, etc. etc.). We just sat on the beach with Heather and plugged our noses and wondered if we could buy a toy that would provide so much fun. We did have them wash their hands after the science project ended.

We had a couple of birthday parties (this is Seth's... that's Elmo, in case you can't tell from my amazing cake decorating skills) and Grandma and Bekah came through with fun presents (Life, Legos and Little People--did they mean to alliterate?)

We also went to Manito Park, one of Spokane's prettiest destinations. We fed ducks, visited the Rose and Duncan Gardens and disturbed the peace at the Japanese gardens. Want to know the best smelling rose? We, of course, did: Double Delight.

She even went to Silverwood (an amusement park in Idaho)!! I don't know about you, but this is the extreme nice Grandma act, because I expect to be way done with amusement parks when my kids are all over 18. We had a fun day, I think.

And, of course, dates. She always takes them for some alone time which includes a treat, an activity and a toy. It's their favorite thing. This is Jane returning from hers with her Krispy Kreme bag and her leopard print purse. Nice.

So she left today. And we were all teary at the door. And Seth has only asked, "Where's Grandma?" about 40 times. And isn't it nice when you don't want your guests to leave?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Book Review 9

I know I'm the last person who cares to actually finish the book, but who can finish a series like that without a comment? I feel sorry for my nice friends who have never gotten into Harry Potter, because it was a thrill from start to finish. Ryan and I listened to it on CD and both loved it. I don't know if I've ever had a sequel live up to my expectations like this one did. Ryan said it was "fantastic." So, despite the sorrow of never having another one to read, I am happy to say: it was everything I'd hoped it would be. What about you, Harry Potter fans, (without giving anything away to any pokey readers like me) did you like it as much as I did? I'd love to know.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

To Seth: Who's too two!

Happy Birthday to the boy who's 2:

too talkative

too good at climbing

too funny

too feisty about getting in his car seat

too many cute freckles on his nose

too much in love with his "babies"

too smelly (really, an extra pungent child)

too involved with his siblings' business

too silly when everyone's looking at him

too picky when he eats

wakes us too early

too good at any motor skills


Monday, August 27, 2007

The Agony and the Ectasy

Anyone who hangs out with Sherrills (my maiden name) for very long knows this: we are always up for "seeing stuff" as my brother Nate used to call it. If it is the longest, the oldest, in any way historical, has a tour associated with it, requires a road trip to see it, if we are invited by anyone to come along to it...we're there. So when we heard that Silver Mountain in Idaho had:

we felt compelled to participate.

There was a small problem.

My mother and I have a small heights phobia. And this gondola was 3.1 miles long. And it was very high. And my kids were going to press on the windows and doors.

What could we do? We were caught between two very strong compulsions. To see something and deal with sweaty palms and pounding hearts? Or admit defeat?

We triumphed.

(don't let her smile fool you. She was more scared than me. We found if we faced the back and required the children not to move and distracted ourselves by asking Seth to do tricks, we could handle those hideous bumps and pauses that made us want to cry.)

And now we can say, we've been on the world's longest gondola. Let us know if you need our enthusiasm on any of your "seeing stuff" adventures...we'll be all over it.

Quick Quote #9

Jane asks for Skippery Suns when we go on picnics. It sounds so cheery and fun that I help myself to one as well.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Gabe's Birthday To-Do

Gabe's birthday was today. A few days ago he wrote a list of the things he wanted to do on his birthday. I've transcribed it here, with exact spelling (good luck...the pictures can be your clues). Let's see how close we got to fulfilling all his wishes.

1. Have befist. (He wanted ebleskivers, "with a side dish of eggs and also a side dish of bacon.")
CHECK. I cooked roughly 105 ebleskivers. We had the Daines cousins over and it was a huge success.

2. Play outsiyed.
CHECK. Easy, since we live in neighborhood with 21 kids 11 and under, and since he does it all day, every day. It took a lot of special birthday effort to tell him to, "Go outside and play."

3. Have lunch.
CHECK. Hot dogs. Luckily his list did not say: Meet my nutritional needs.

4. Naq or T.V. or videyo games.
CHECK. Gabe watched TV at 5:45 am while the rest of the house napped (thus, no picture).

5. Play games.
CHECK. When the Daines got here they played hide and seek, piggy runaway (always a favorite) and signs.

6. then we Rolrbayed over to the dane's home.
sorta-CHECK. We roller-bladed to the Farmer's Market. Gabe lasted on his 5 minutes. But I got a picture, so it counts.

7. Play tery for a hafinower.
non-CHECK. They had stayed at our house for 2 hours this morning, so we couldn't bug them again.

8. Find a cool caterpillar.
CHECK. Okay, his list didn't say that but we did and it was big and orange and was trying to fight us, so I had to include it.

9. Ride back home with the dane's. Play for 10 mins.
non-CHECK. Though they did come for cake and presents in the evening.

10. Hav pizza for diner.
CHECK. No one actually ate it. We have 14 pieces leftover in our fridge.

11. have the dane's sleep-oever. the end.
non-CHECK. We're exhausted. And sick of the Daines. Just kidding.

12. He didn't include PRESENTS or A CAKE but we got them for him anyway.

The morale of the story: have a 7 year old who requires very little and he will have a Happy Birthday!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Mrs. Clean

5:00 am: wake up grouchy because I know I have to clean the whole house, without Ryan, with 4 kids before my mom gets here at 5pm.
5:15 am: go to gym and stress out the whole time thinking about how impossible it will be to
clean the whole house, without Ryan, with 4 kids before my mom gets here 5pm.

6:30 am: Try to avoid husband because I don't have time to be sidetracked from the huge
job ahead.
6:45 am: 2 year old crawls out of crib and goes to wake up his sisters. Take this as a BAD
omen for the day's events. Place 2 year old back in crib with VERY stern reminders
that it is not time to wake up (himself or anyone else).
7:00 am: Remember that my mom, of all people, would not want me yelling at my kids all day
long in order to clean the house for her visit.
7:01 am: Say a VERY long prayer asking for help to not yell at kids all day.
7:10 am: Allow bad 2 year old to wake up. Plan to spend 1 hour feeding, dressing, etc. in order
to start clean up at 8:15 am.
9:30 am: Continue feeding, dressing, reading blogs (what? A person needs some recreation in her sad little housecleaning life.), etc.
9:32 am: Realize that prayers are answered when the nicest person in your whole town (Meghann) calls to see if she can take your kids at 3:00, because her husband is out of town and she is bored. Wonder why a person would want more kids when husband is gone, but say "yes" before she can finish her sentence. Begin your fantasy about how wonderful 3pm will be.
10:00 am: Draw out little job chart, for all the "helpers" in the house. Do not include Seth. He
is not a helper.
10:30 am: Begin speaking very loudly to people who are not doing their jobs at all. Change mind about prayers being answered.
11:00 am: Remember there is a park outing planned in your ward. Decide to change tactics. Tell children that if they complete one job by noon, we will go to park day.
11:15 am: Wonder if your husband is avoiding your calls because he is afraid he 1)will be begged to come home a little early to help, or 2) will have to listen to tirades about lazy kids and the disgusting toilets.
11:45 am: Begin to get very concerned that you, I mean, the kids...will not get to play with their friends at the park if they do not get on the stick.
12:15 pm: Take the kids to the park...having decided they deserved a 15 minutes grace period.
1:00 pm: Take not feel guilty because you woke at, hello, 5 am to work out.
2:00 pm: Wake up and begin cleaning like a mad woman, listening to the funnest book on CD ever: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Pat self on back for starting worst job first: bathrooms.
2:15 pm: Stop to jot down all your blog ideas, realize you have a serious time-wasting problem. Resume bathrooms.
3:00 pm: Whistle happily as you drive to Meghann's house with the two youngest kids.
3:45 pm: Love Meghann. Also hope Mom runs in to freak August snowstorm so you have more time to clean.
4:00 pm: Be seriously amazed at what fabulous workers your two oldest children are.
4:45 pm: Return of the bad kids...beg them to just watch Elmo for 15 more minutes.
5:00 pm: Mom arrives. Windows, walls and stove still gross. The rest okay. Yummy dinner on table. Feel like superwoman. Plan to break arm before next house-cleaning day. Or get a real job.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Book Review 8

I'm totally chugging my way through my book stack. I know you are all cheering me on, so here's the latest. It's a tough one.

I do not like depressing, and I am easily upset by things (especially post-children-having), but sometimes (very rarely) I feel like it's important to force ourselves to read (watch/listen to) to the unhappy to realize a) how lucky we are b) to educate ourselves c)have greater compassion for things outside ourselves. This is why I read the following book:
It's a memoir of a boy from Sierra Leone and his experience running from and fighting (at 12 years old) the civil war that his country was experiencing. I read it in 2 days because I had to get to the "happy ending" which I knew was coming because he wrote the book, right? It was beautifully written and totally educating and inspired in me much gratitude and humility for my blessings. I was reminded again that no matter where we live, male or female, we have the same feelings and desires and I was grateful to Ishmael Beah for surviving and recording his losses and his triumphs.
Read it if you're brave enough.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Blogger tag

This is because Abbie (my cute cousin) tagged me. I feel embarrassed devoting a whole blog to myself (although the camp blog was all about me, as was the diet blog and the book blogs--okay apparently I'm a narcissist). But I love reading when other people do these, so here goes:

5 things I was doing 10 years ago:

1. Hello, I'd just gotten married 4 days previously, what do you think I was doing?
2. Moving to Spokane
3. Working as a receptionist
4. Gaining 15 lbs (sorry, Ryan)--I did lose it after I had Emma.
5. Learning that when you fight with your husband, you don't just break up!

5 things on my to-do list today:

1. Get together with fun Jill to write letters to our YCLs
2. Not take a nap =(
3. Spend 15 minutes with Seth (I have to put my kids on my list, or I forget to actually enjoy them. So type A, I know.)
4. FHE at Riverfront Park (see post from July 25th, if you're interested).
5. Start my new book Sammy's Hill

5 snacks I enjoy: (diet or non-diet?)

1. Diet: cottage cheese with frozen raspberries
2. Non-diet: Cookies
3. Diet: whole wheat tortilla with a little cheese and my yummy salsa
4. Non-diet: Peanut Butter Sandwiches (lots of PB, lots of J, white bread)
5. Both: Peaches in July and August--yum!

5 songs I know the lyrics to:

1. All of "My Turn On Earth" and "Saturdays Warrior" (on vinyl records, please!)--anyone else?
2. Enjoy the Silence --DM
3. Tainted Love (Abbie wrote this one, but who doesn't know all the words to that song)
4. All of Roger Miller's song (Google him if you don't know...thanks, Dad!)
5. The whole Primary program song list (except An Angel Came Joseph Smith...too many verses!)

5 things I would do if I were a millionaire:

1. Pay off our house and our rentals (my husband would make me)
2. Buy a decked out Expedition
3. Go to Europe with Ryan
4. Go on a Church History tour with Grandmas and kids
5. Hire a house cleaner

5 bad habits:

1. Biting my nails, especially when I'm reading or driving
2. Talking on the phone too long, when my kids want my attention
3. Talking too much in a conversation (I seriously have to make rules for myself, so others can talk, how embarrassing).
4. I throw stuff I don't want to deal with behind the dryer, or the couch or the fridge.
5. Having to be the boss.

5 things I'd never wear again:

1. Shoulder pads pinned inside the shoulders of T-shirts!
2. Pegged jeans (again with the weird pinning!)
3. Blue eyeliner and orange lipstick (7th grade picture)
4. Anything that shows my tummy
5. Big bangs (curl, hairspray while blow-drying straight up, then rat)

5 favorite toys:

1. My blog
2. Whatever book I'm reading
3. My MP3 player
4. Seth (the other ones, too, but he's just so funny right now)
5. My van (because I just like to GO...)

5 people tagged:

1. Ryan (yes, my husband, I want to see what he would say, don't you?)
2. Celia
3. Paige
4. Adrianne
5. Christy Romney (the only way she'll actually post something)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Girls Camp

(WARNING: not funny, or short. Just all serious and spiritual.)

This will be a nice Sunday post. I've been waiting to blog about Girls Camp, waiting for the picture CD I ordered, because the only ones I have from the girls are not so flattering of me. Not that I was a beauty at Girls Camp...I was just hoping for something better than this:

So, that's your girls camp photo for the post...(although maybe I'll have to include some of my cute YCLs later on). I'm participating in the bishop's fireside skit and it was a million degrees and I did not want that ratty bathrobe on. But moving on...

Girls' Camp was truly one of the highlights of my summer. I didn't like Girls' Camp growing up (not much of a camper, needed to keep makeup on to cover my zits, kept moving around so I didn't feel close to the girls, didn't like the huggy-I'm-your-best-friend-until-we-get-home thing) but have gone a few times as an adult and always loved it. This time just blew me away, however. In the interest of time, I thought I would list some of the reasons it was so great for me:

1. Working with YCLs who were incredibly dedicated and kind, with testimonies and a depth of understanding that I never had at their age.

2. Not cooking a meal for 5 straight days.

3. The outdoor shower (for leaders only). They had a shower (like the one in your bathroom) hooked up to a hose in the middle of a grove of trees. I felt like I was on Survivor.

4. Having such an amazing friend/co-YCL-leader. Jill Nelson is my buddy for life.

5. Hanging out and talking talking talking talking to all the fun stake leaders in the stake camp.

6. The fact that my air mattress worked perfectly and never got flat. Mine was the winner in the whole tent.

7. That girls/women can spend 5 days looking crazy, doing outdoor athletic stuff, singing stupid songs, feeling the Spirit and stretching themselves without ever wondering whether people (boys, popular girls) will think they are lame. We need more of that in the world.

8. Reading the scriptures each day for an hour. Really, it was fun. And I'm totally doing it now that I'm home every day. (Except subtract 45 minutes, the mountain view, the Hilary Weeks song playing in the background and add fighting kids and me falling asleep.)

9. Feeling the Spirit witness to me constantly that the organizations of the church are ordained of God, that our youth are truly exceptional and prepared for the last days and that any time we serve in our callings with all our hearts, we get WAY more out of it than we ever put into it.

I am grateful that Heavenly Father allows me to serve in callings. What a blessing.

Quick Quote #8

The other day we were driving by a man with a sign that said "Homeless Vet." Emma commented, "Homeless vet? I thought vets made lots of money (meaning veterinarians)." So we explained what a veteran was...that's when Gabe made this comment: "Oh, I know why he doesn't have any money. He spent it on all the good stuff in the war."

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Book Review 7 (I think)

This book was a departure for me (not as much as that hideous Russian one, however) so it's hard to give a full review. The plot was original, that characters well-developed...but it was kind of cold. I've had it recommended a few times, and I'm glad I read it, but it was a little hard to get into. It would be a great book club book; lots to discuss and I would love to have someone help me understand it. If you've read it, or read it later (because I know you all wait breathlessly to get your next book based on my reviews), let me know what you think!

Friday, August 17, 2007


Following are things you want your baby to learn:
1) How to feed himself.
2) How to ask for something instead of yelling nonsense at you.
3) How to sit up by himself.

Following are things you do NOT want your baby to learn:
1) How to open doors.
2) How to unbuckle things (car seats, stroller harnesses, high chair buckles)
3) How to climb out of his crib and walk over to his brother's bed, sit on him, while turning on the table lamp, all at 11:00 pm at night. Twice. (The first time we laughed, the second time he got the mean mommy tone).

Life, as we know it, has changed.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Okay, honestly, I don't want to be cheesy (or horrors! boring), but I need to wish myself (and the guy I'm married to) a

happy anniversary!

It's been ten years and, really, it's a little miracle that we are so happily married.

Here are 10 reasons why:
1. My husband is the hardest worker I know (which means he works very hard on our marriage, too.)

2. He says sorry first.

3. He's super super sexy.

4. He's so funny, that I am constantly caught off guard by his humor (which is pretty amazing when you know someone so well).

5. We have VERY similar parenting styles and philosophies.

6. He says his prayers and reads his scriptures almost every morning.

7. He does stuff I want to, when he doesn't want to.

8. He compliments me at least 10 times a day.

9. He thinks I'm totally interesting and intelligent and funny and he doesn't (seem to) care that I call him at work every 30 minutes.

10. He is calling me every hour today to tell me his favorite memories of our marriage. How sweet is that?

Here're some pictures of the big day:

Yay for us!