Thursday, September 20, 2007


I'm feeling all weird today. All these contradictory emotions. So I'm writing them down (because as much as I am aware of my audience...sometimes this can be just a journal, right?)

#1--I'm kind of not excited about my cruise. It's so much work getting ready and it's a little scary getting totally out of your comfort zone and it's a long time to be away from my kids. How do I explain to a 2 year old that we're leaving but we'll be back? I just picture him so confused as to where his mom went. It's upsetting. Luckily I remember that I've done big trips before (Latvia, Argentina) and we were in heaven the whole time.

and yet...I did get excited when I picked up 3 new books from the library! I have that giddy, excitement in your throat feeling about actually having time to read, all of them, while basking in the sun. And there better be a lot of sun.

#2 I went to the temple today and, nothing big happened--I just love that feeling you get as you finish the rush into the dressing room and you're all dressed and waiting for your name and you just know you're right where you should be. It's just a whole lot of peaceful. And I know, even though nothing revelatory happened for me there, that I really am just a little bit better (in a real, lasting way) when I leave, because I was obedient and I believe that Heavenly Father keeps His promises.

and yet, why are the sisters always so much more on top of you about every thing you do and say in the temple then the men? Ryan always laughs when I tell him that, because he says the brethren in the temple never pay attention to anything. So fully typical of the female/male thing, huh?

#3 I really want to lose a pound at my self-imposed weigh-in tomorrow. Just to have the nice round weight loss number of 10 lbs.

and yet it all ends (diet wise) in a day anyway, so why not have some chocolate no-bakes right now (while I start the new season of Survivor)? Really, I can't think of a compelling reason.

#4 And I really should finish cleaning the house.
and yet, I want to finish my book so I don't have to take it with me and waste book space.
and yet, I want to blog (see what won?)
and yet, I want to watch Survivor
and yet, I want to sleep.

I hate not doing any of these things tonight, but I probably will have to admit defeat.

#5 Probably because I'm leaving them (the kiddos), I am just so aware today of how fast it all goes, and how you can't get it back and how you never fully get how great this part of life is. I have the (really) best children around. Just so good and hard-working and kind and funny. I don't think I deserve them.

--And I don't really have a contradiction about that. They are all sleeping and cute and I just really like them today.

(Maybe entertaining Jessica will return tomorrow...but maybe it'll just be overloaded Jessica who shouldn't post but will anyway.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Best Thing Ever

The best thing ever is when, after going to probably 10 kid shoe stores where Jane has only liked the $40 tennis shoes (or brown boots, even though I keep telling her we aren't shopping for brown boots) and I refuse to pay $40 for a 4-year-old tennis shoes, and I really need to get this girl some shoes as we have lost at least one part of the 4 pairs of sandals/flip-flops purchased at the beginning of the summer and it is getting cold and should probably have her toes covered so that her grandma (when she comes to watch the kids for the cruise) won't think we prefer frostbitten feet, and it is past naptime and this is my last stop (having already been to a well-child check-up, the Dept of Licensing--"ma'am can you please keep your kids from running in the testing area" and 4 of the aforementioned stores) before I seriously have to stop shopping and start prepping for our departure (packing, cleaning, typing instructions, assembling all the books I'm going to read on the cruise)...

We find the shoes!(for $10 and they go with everything and notice the sparkly dangly flowers that seem to make up for the fact that they aren't the Hello Kitty or Bratz or Princess or Light-up ones she would have preferred.)

The best ever thing is ALSO when , after going to at least 10 adult shoe stores, trying to find silver pumps to match the silver jewelry that will dress up the semi-formal dress my nice friend found for me, AT THE SAME STORE...

We find the shoes!(for $25 and they were actually semi-comfortable and my formal outfit is complete for $60-yay!)
A bonus to the best thing ever: I found a very cute black polka-dot bag for $7.
(I love Target).

I know moms with picky girls and nap-deprived boys, limited budgets and ridiculous schedules to keep up, will appreciate and respond accordingly.
And yes, I realize I have a serious run-on sentence problem.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Phone Philosophies

Jessica and I differ on our phone philosophies. I believe that the phone is a tool of convenience. Therefore, I only answer it if it is convenient for me. This is not a reflection upon the person calling. Sometimes answering a call from the boss you can't stand is more convenient than getting fired. Conversely, it may also be more convenient NOT to scald precious fingertips as you drain the pasta in order to answer the call from your sister who you love dearly, but not as much as your fatty little fingers. Jessica on the other hand believes that the telephone is a tool of communication, and since there is no greater good than communication EVERY phone call must be answered.

This philosophy also spills over to voice mail. Jessica wouldn't dream of not leaving a piece of her soul on your answering machine. However, since I feel no obligation to respond to phone messages, I only leave them when I am completely desperate.
.. Oh and I have to mention a recent realization that my wife has a very strong aversion to being hung up on. Now I am not talking about hanging up on her in anger or to make an outraged exit from an unpleasant conversation (although ... that never goes over as well as one might imagine either); I am talking about being the one who decides they have to get off the phone. When I initiate an end to the phone conversation Jessica will fervently press me to not get off the phone.
"No wait, ... I have something else to tell you!"
"... um ... my meeting starts in only 30 seconds"
"Don't go"
"seriously honey, I will be out of a job if I am not in that conference room in 20 seconds."
"Does that mean you might be home early tonight?"
She will beg and plead with such utter sincerity, that I am left with the impression that there must be some life altering topic that needs to be addressed immediately. This ruse is however abruptly abandoned as soon as she can tell that I have re-engaged in the conversation. At this point she will put the kibosh on the conversation with a phrase like ... "oh I've got to go ... I'm late for the library." You might wonder how one can be late to a library, as have I. However, library tardiness is apparently almost a mortal sin judging by the dramatic way that it can kill a conversation. And she succeeds in ending the conversation before me.
So, I've, uh, got to go. It's my only chance to be the first one to say good-bye.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


If you'll remember, we made Ebleskivers for Gabe's birthday. I had many comments asking what they were and some recipe requests. We made them last night for some good friends (purposely so I could take pictures and do a post, so you all should be very grateful).
They are a Danish pancake. My mom is half-Danish and she got this recipe from a friend (no great 100 years in my family story, sorry). We spell it with just an E, but it's also spelled, all foreign-like, with that AE that's stuck together (aebleskivers). It's requested on almost every birthday and a huge hit with people who've never tried them. I like to serve them with scrambled eggs, bacon and fruit.
First you need to buy a pan like this (this link goes to Target):

Then you add all the ingredients (see recipe at bottom of blog).
Heat the pan over med-low heat (but you'll need to mess with it, to get the right temperature).
Take a stick of butter and leaving the paper on, cut the top off. Dab the cube of butter into the holes in the hot pan.
Pour a big adult-spoonful of batter into the holes (fill them up).

After 1 minute, turn them onto their sides (I use a fork). Let that side cook. Turn twice more, rotating so they make balls.
They are the best fresh out of the pan, but you have to make a bunch before you can serve them to a group, so I just keep them in a warm oven while I cook enough.
The best part: Drizzle melted butter, sprinkle powdered sugar and pour syrup over the top. DO ALL not try to save calories or prevent diabetes. You have to have all to get the perfect yummy little paste in which you will dip the other 20 you eat. Ryan likes to add jam...I feel it disrupts the yummy buttery nutmeggy taste--but you should try to see what you think.
It is a lot of work, but so fun. And so good. And look at the happy faces of the people who eat them.

Recipe for: Danish Ebleskivers
Makes 50. Serves 4.
3 eggs separated
2 T. sugar
1/2 t. salt
2 t. vanilla
2 C. buttermilk
2 C. white flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. nutmeg
melted butter, powdered sugar, syrup
Beat egg yolk, until light and lemon colored. Add sugar, salt, vanilla, and buttermilk. Mix well. Stir together flour, soda, powder, nutmeg. Add to egg mixture. Beat egg whites till stiff. Fold into batter. Place a small amount of butter in each cup of ebleskiver pan. Preheat burner to medium heat. Fill cup with batter. Cook over medium heat until bubbly. Turn with a fork a little at a time, until they become balls. Serve with melted butter, powdered sugar and syrup or jam.

Short Book Reviews in Poetry Form


Fun. Fun.
And now my stack is done.
(Please comment with your suggestions for a new book stack!)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

How to have a successful price matching experience at Walmart

Based on personal (last night) experience, I would advise you:

1. Do not visit the Spokane Valley Wal-Mart at 7:00 pm when the lines are humongous.
2. Do not change lines because you think it will be faster.
3. Do not get the 50ish female cashier with graying hair in a french braid.
4. Pay attention when you notice she seems to be taking a LONG time with the guy in front of you.
5. Be concerned when she begins individually wrapping your flour and rearranging the order you have placed your items on the conveyor belt.
6. Do not try to price match your salmon with a coupon that says "Any seafood item" AND has a picture of salmon on it--because she will tell you it's doesn't specify, in words, salmon.
7. Make sure you have every price match documented with the store and the ounces, because SHE WILL CHECK.
8. Do not try to get peanut butter granola bars, instead of honey and oat granola bars, because she will have to call over a supervisor.
9. Do not try to save $8 on your meat, because it rings up as a unit and not in pounds, because you will have to call over the supervisor and then the manager, before she will give in and let you have it.
10. Pay no attention to the 8 PEOPLE line behind you, one of whom will say, "Really, if you are going to do this, you should have a sign on your cart that tells people to get into another line."
11. Do not lose your temper when she will not give you a 6 oz container for the 7 oz container price, because they are not exact matches.
12. Do not try to tell her the price of the meat, as you figured it at home, because she will want to, with scratch paper and a pencil, figure it out herself while everyone hates you behind you.
13. Do not try to leave right after you pay, because she will want to show you, using your mile long receipt, each item you price matched, where it was deleted and how it was repriced.
14. Do not calculate the 38 minutes you were in the Walmart line, because it will just make you mad.
15. Remind yourself and your husband that you saved $19 and it was probably worth the cashier from hell.
16. Make sure your husband takes a picture of your annoyance when you get home, because you will want to blog about this for sure.

16. Tuck right into the Ben&Jerry's Karamel Sutra you bought (price matched for $2.50) when you get home. It will make everything all better.

Friday, September 14, 2007

We're so Holey

Hole #1


skewered this mouth: (except she didn't look like that when it happened).

After a day of back and forth with the urgent care, school and our emotions...we finally found out (by visiting an ENT in our ward--who also apparently also knows about the M) that she had put a HOLE in her tonsil. (People kept trying to get me to go to the ER, but I didn't think we needed to--what were they going to do, stitch up her throat?--and Dr. Julian told me that they would have done what he did: diagnose and send me home.) Her tonsil HOLE has gotten much better today--which she said "is kinda bad, cause now I don't get a milkshake for dinner like last night."

Hole #2


ran over something on the way home from work yesterday (same day as the tonsil/skewer incident). $400 later, the HOLE is fixed and the car is driving much better.

Hole #3


is the mouth that has had a missing front tooth for over 18 months. (When he was two, he fell and the tooth turned gray. It must have fallen out early because it's been MIA for an inordinate amount of time.)
Yesterday (same day as the tonsil/skewer and tire/highway incident)--mom noticed that the HOLE is being filled in. He's getting his tooth, finally. And Gabe is eating corn on the cob much better.

We don't know what we were supposed to learn from the Day Of Holes but we're really looking forward to the Day Of Breaks and the Day Of Regurgitation.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Quick Quote #11

Emma had a friend whose aunt --how crazy is this--took them to Build A Bear and bought her an entire bear, or bunny, actually. Those things are a million dollars. Why would some aunt do that?! Anyway, later that day, Jane and I went on a date and she wanted to go there. Well, we were just going to Krispy Kreme. She was a little disappointed. She voiced these sentiments: "How come Emma gets to do lucky sings (things) and Gabe gets to do lucky sings and I get to do JUNK things?"

and ignore this picture: (I just need to post one of me for my profile picture.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


So we're going on a cruise in a few weeks and I have to find something to wear for formal night. Jane and I went looking today and everything was not so garment friendly. They were froofy and sparkly and pink and Jane said, "Please get an un-modest one. I'm sewious."

I resisted my 4-year-old's peer pressure, thank goodness. But what's a girl to do with 10 days, $50 and white things that cover her shoulders and lower thighs?
or ?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

And so it begins...

Jane was getting ready for her first day of Preschool and she said, "Oh I wish Gwamma could see me in my fuhst Pweschool day outfit." I said, "She will...we'll put it on the blog."

Seth also had his first day of "playgroup." He needed to wear the backpack.

This made me realize that we've begun the whirlwind that is our church-going, talent-increasing, big kid-having family of six. In ONE week, this is what we will do:

2 playgroups for Seth (I teach every 4-6 weeks)

2 preschool days (with a rotating carpool)

2 piano lessons

1 gymnastic session

1 adult volleyball session

3 church meetings (at least)

1 activity days

1 babysitting trade (for VT or helping in classes)

1 McDonald's lunch playdate (for me, mostly)

2 soccer practices

2 soccer games

1 baby shower, friend birthday party or in-home marketing party

1 mini-van OUT OF GAS

I think this is why they call the previous 3 months: Summer Vacation.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Family Night(s)

S0 this is going to sound obnoxious: We have 2 Family Nights most weeks. But it's not cause we're extra righteous. It's cause our kids can't sit through a lesson and an activity, so we have one on Sunday and one on Monday. It also ensures that we have at least one a week, if we're shooting for two. I thought I'd tell you about our most recent.
Sunday: Family Special Time
My family (growing up) called our Sunday lesson Family Special Time. And boy is it special. (Ryan's mom likes to make fun of the name, by pretending she can't get it straight: "Am I interrupting Home Family Special Moment?" Ha ha.)

Here's how it went yesterday:

Jane was the Conductor (or Confirmer, as she called it yesterday). She welcomed everyone, announced the song-er and the pray-er.

Emma picked the song (Follow the Prophet) and I played the piano (I'm awesome.)

We then had "Family Council." Supposedly one person talks at a time and has a chance to share concerns or ask questions. When I was growing up, it involved a lot of crying while I complained about things being unfair. My kids are not teenagers yet, so they don't realize the opportunity to criticize their parents . Jane's contribution: "I a-cided that now Emma will sleep in another room and I will sleep in her bed." Seriously. Luckily for Emma, Family Council is for airing concerns, not implementing Jane's "a-cisions".

Then the lesson. Emma and Gabe, using Little People, re-enacted the story of Noah's Ark complete with raining scraps of blue paper for the flood.

Emma also had follow up questions--here's Jane telling us how many elephants went on the ark.

So that's Family Night #1.

Here's what happened today (Monday)--properly called Family Home Evening:

The local Seventh Day Adventist church was advertising a program called Messiah's Mansion. They had reconstructed the Israelites' tabernacle/ark of the covenant/Holy of Holies in the middle of a big field. So we decide to take the kids. (We always hope people from other churches will attend our temple open houses, so we thought we would return the favor.)

It was well done and colorful and big and long and the kids were bored out of their minds.
Here's them in front of the tabernacle.

Here's us in front of the Holy of Holies (Seth wasn't).

Here's them and Moses in High Priest Garb. I'm sure he appreciated our attendance.
If you live's actually interesting for adults--cool symbolism that relates to our own temples and the Savior. Just don't bring a two-year-old because he will just run under the ropes and play with the stuffed sacrificial lamb. And he will also bang the folding chairs so the elderly people in front of you will glare. And your four-year-old will knock over a folding chair. And your 7-year-old will cross the lines that say "Do not cross." Your 8-year-old, if she's perfect like Emma, will sit nicely and listen the whole time (thank goodness for her).


Friday, September 7, 2007


Don't you love when your older kids "help" the younger kids behave when you are doing a family photo shoot?... ...and then they end up ruining the picture. I can't count how many times I've said, "I just need my older kids to look at the camera."
Jane, here, is taking it to the extreme.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Musings on Parenting

As today is the first day of school:

( I realize we are probably the last school district in the country to start school), I thought I'd celebrate with some wise offerings on parenting. These are random thoughts that I thought I could blog about, but they aren't important enough to have their own post. So sit back and prepare to be enlightened.
1. The 90% rule.

This a reaction to some of Paige's posts in the last week, in which kids were double-buckled and, hypothetically, left napping momentarily while picking up kids from school. She and I had an email exchange, where I shared this rule (orginally The 80% Rule, but later ammended as I thought it out). Want to hear?
I think that if 90 % of the time, you are safety-conscious (kids properly buckled, properly kept in the house screaming while his older siblings play on the safest cul-de-sac in the world, properly watched while bathing), germ-aware (emphasizing hand-washing often, not allowing them to stick heads in the toilet, making them spit gum out that they found on the concrete in front of Target), appropriately parenting (not yelling at them on their first day of school even though you told them last night to find their footwear, reading scriptures most nights even when your 4-year-old reacts to the Nephites' lack of contention following the visit of the Savior with the phrase "that's scawy", not allowing more than an hour of media time a day), and focused on healthy eating, (having a fruit or vegetable available at every meal, limiting juice to once a day, making them eat what you fix so they learn to like what's in front of them

then ...

the other 10% of the time, it's called Real Life. I think it's hard to have a full life if you can't ever go to McDonald's because it's teeming with germs, if you can't ever have a 3 year old without a booster to make the pre-school carpool easier, if you never allow 2 hours of videos so everyone (including Mom) can have a quiet nap, if you never allow them to eat 15 marshmallows in 10 minutes at the neighborhood campout because you don't want to deal with his screaming ...Life gets too hard. I realize that we all have our "things" and that's fine, and some of you would never do the above things...but that's why I made up my 90% Rule. I allow imperfection and safety lapses, because I want to be free to experience family life as I feel it should be lived...double-buckling and all.

2) Discipline when it punishes you.

I could probably end right there and you would all know exactly what I'm talking about. Emma and Gabe broke a rule about coming in when I call (consequence: no playing outside the rest of the day) at the end of the day and then LIED about it (and got caught). The punishment, I not-so-calmly pronounced: 2 full days inside. As the words left my mouth, I realized what I had done. I was punishing me. I felt like it was an natural consequence (if you can't be trusted to come in when I call, then you can't go out at all and if you lie about something, it's WORSE than the original crime) but I WAS GOING TO DIE with kids in my face for two entire days. I started calling around, asking friends if they were sick or getting their hair done, so I could "watch the kids for them" --translation: ease the misery in our house, through pretending a service project. I began making up outings (library, Seth needed to go to the park) so we could get out. All in all, I think it was effective. But how bad does it suck when being a good parent disciplines you?!

3) The Not Listening Chair

Also known as the toilet. I got this from my mom. She claims she changed it to "The Thinking Chair" to be more positive, but that was after my time. We call it the Not Listening Chair around here. It's where they go when they do bad stuff. 1 minute per year, of course...and I never forget to set the timer and they never yell "Can I get off?" 25 times and I'm always really calm when I send them there. I love it because it's everywhere, in every home, it's really boring, and uncomfortable and the only trouble they can get into is un-rolling the toilet paper roll. Downside: It's really echo-y when they're screaming bloody murder. Seth sends himself there:

I'll hear yelling and then I'll locate the source. It's Seth, following the example set for him by older siblings, "I ge off?!" Even though I've never actually sent him there. I tell him he can get off, but he won't until I have him apologize (like I do with older kids, thank you, Super Nanny) so I have to make something up: "Tell Mom sorry for being really cute." "Sah-we, mom." "Okay, you can get off." I'm worried it's losing it's effectiveness for him.

So there you go...being the wordy woman that I am, those turned out to all be long enough for their own posts. Sorry. I'd love to hear your feedback about how you'd never adopt a 90% rule, wimp out of a punishment by making up service projects or force your baby to say sorry for nothing. Maybe you can teach ME a thing or two!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Ode to Summer

There are, suprisingly enough, a few things that we didn't blog about this summer. As it is the last day before school starts, I thought I would have Emma, Gabe and Jane narrate some of the following pictures of "What We Did For Our Summer Vacation."

It was fun to go berry picking. Seth ate a lot of them. We picked strawberry and raspberry. Afterward, we mushed 'em all together into jam. --Emma


I like playing on the playset. It's wight dere. I love playing on the playset. I'm happy that my mom let me play on the playset. --Jane

(Ed. note--this is supposed to represent all the hours spent outside in the best neighborhood in the world. Jane got a little fixated.)

Every Friday we gone to the lake cabin to swim, make things and play. We ate soda. We liked going there and we had a fun time at the lake cabin. --Gabe

It was fun going swimming. I loved crashing into Gabe in the waves. Okay, maybe that didn't happen. Well, we went swimming at Silverwood, Grandma Nut's house, the lake house, in our apartments, in the gym, the Tekoa Pool and friend's houses. --Emma

At da barbaque, my dad played bocce ball, and we were setting up da game. And dat's all dat I want to say. --Jane

I read all of 1 Nephi, so I got some rollerblades and now I get to rollerblade in the cul-de-sac. And now I'm starting 2 Nephi. --Gabe

(Ed. note: He neglected to mention the testimony he gained, after his stellar parents BRIBED him to read the scriptures. We're so proud. No bribe is involved in 2 Nephi.)

We went to Tubb's Hill. The first time, we only hiked a few minutes and then we went to the beach. The next time, we did a really long hike. We were REALLY hot. After that, we went inside and had two really good hot sundaes. --Emma

We all went to a neighborhood campout. We roasted marshmallows and ran around and played capture the flag. And then we played some card games and then we went to sleep in our tent at our neighbor's backyard. The next day, we waked up, went inside and played the Wii and then we had breakfast and then we played a little bit more Wii and then we cleaned up and went home. --Gabe
(Ed. note: That's what the Romneys call roughing it.)
There's the re-cap. It was such a fun summer, that I'm a little sad that it's ending tomorrow. Except, Emma and Jane are currently fighting over Emma's stuffed bunny and Gabe just "accidentally" tripped Jane and maybe I could trade a million fun outings for a little peace and quiet.