Monday, September 29, 2008

The Sunday Summary that Aims High

Last Sunday, Ryan and I got into a little bit of a "discussion" about his tendency to go overboard in the "Goal Setting" arena. For example, he decides he needs to lose weight and so his goal sheet for the week (oh yes, he has a goal sheet for the week), reads

  1. Work out 14 times (I'm not making that up even a little bit)

  2. Eat 1400 calories a day--isn't that what they eat on the Biggest Loser when they're trying to lose 24 lbs a week?!

So I have to bring him down to earth (I have a real talent for that) and he has to try to stand his ground. So after our discussion, I noticed his goal sheet on the floor. This is what it said (again, NOT making this up):

  1. End world hunger

  2. Achieve world peace

In contrast, I found a little booklet Emma had made for school. It was super cute and if our scanner wasn't upstairs and I didn't have to lay down on the ground after each foray up said stairs from exhaustion, I would scan it in, so you could see how much work she'd put into it.

Anyway, after telling about herself and her family, on the last page, she'd written her goals for the school year. These were her goals (word for word):

  1. Get a B on my last report card

  2. Get a C on my first report card

(You realize, of course that this is a girl that has a VERY easy time at school.) Shoot for the stars, Em.

So somehow, we need to meld Ryan (Mr. World Peace) and Emma (Miss Mediocre Grades) to have some sort of balance in our house.

That huge long essay I just wrote is actually only the LEAD IN to the Sunday Summary. (I'm imagining groaning at computers everywhere). I just wanted you to know why my angle for this weeks' summary dwells on each individuals Goals for the Week:

Jane learned how to finally ride a bike without training wheels. See how she ROCKS the bike:

Jane's goal for this week is to convince her parents to buy her a new bike, as this hand-me-down looks ghetto, has flat tires, brakes that don't work and half a pedal.

Here, in the following picture, Emma looks like she is super-cool and chill,

but she wasn't so chill on Sunday, when one of the Primary Counselors came frantically running into my class, telling me Emma needed me. Her teacher explained that Emma was choking on a piece of hard candy, that she is okay, but that she really livened up the Primary Program practice when she stood up wheezing for air and pointing at her chest. Later, she sheepishly told me that is wasn't actually a piece of candy--IT WAS A MAGNET that she'd found on the ground. Yeah, she's 9 1/2. Still eating non-food items off of the floor.

Emma's goal for the week: Pass the magnet. (Should I write a whole post about that?)

Seth's preschool co-op has been at our house this week and we've had fun.

As the youngest kid in preschool, his goal is to not be intimidated by the fact that he the ONLY kid who doesn't know the letter A.

Gabe attended his first pack meeting, and because of an initial (but short-lived) enthusiastic push by Mom, has already gotten his Bobcat patch. He was bouncing off of the walls with excitement at being old enough to participate.

His goal for the week is getting his Non-Sewing Mother to attach that Bobcat patch, so he can wear it proudly. (We've heard rumors of non-sewing adhesive, for which I will pay millions, should I get my hands on it.)

I personally have to aim low. I'm trying to decide between

  • not making and eating a dessert every single night this week

  • not yelling the words "I'm done! Really, guys, I'm done! If I hear one more request, I'm losing it" before 8 pm

  • and limiting my Rolaids/Pepcid/Zantac ingestion to 5 per day.

What do you think?

You already heard Ryan's goals, so watch for an end to the economic crisis and the Iraq war this week.

We hope we inspired you to set your own goals this week and will keep you updated as we achieve all we've set out to do.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday Post

This week I have felt worried about extended family, stressed and angry and scared about the economic crisis, bugged and overwhelmed at the difficulty that is All-Day Mothering, uncomfortable and hormonal during this last month of pregnancy.

And, juxtaposed against these negative feelings, I've felt edified and inspired. I thought I'd leave a list:

Things that have lifted me lately

1. The Book of Mormon. I am reading 3 Nephi right now and am simply amazed at the correlation between those chapters and times and the time we are living in now. But instead of feeling scared and confused, I am reassured by the Spirit as I read, that we will be okay. Nephi and Gidgiddoni were prophets who clearly told the people in Book of Mormon times how they could be safe. The people who followed them were safe. We, too, have prophets who speak with our Heavenly Father and receive clear directions on how we can achieve safety (physical, family, financial, spiritual) in troubled times. I have felt much peace as I have read the scriptures this week.

2. The blog written by CJane. Many bloggers out there know about the CJane/Stephanie and Christian situation, but if you don't, please take the time to find out. Stephanie and her husband, parents of 4 children, were severely burned in a plane crash. They have been in medically induced comas for 6 weeks and she is still in critical condition. Her sister, Courtney (or Cjane) has been chronicling their situation on her blog. It is the first post I look for in the morning, and I never read a post that doesn't give me joy and fill me with the Spirit as she testifies of joy in trials, the Plan of Salvation, the blessings of Charity and the pure Love of Christ.

3. A baby in my tummy. Don't get me wrong. I whine constantly. But I am so grateful I get to have this sweet baby. I'm grateful I get to feel the sweet connection to Heaven during childbirth and the newborn stage. I'm grateful that I get one more child to learn from and laugh at and love. I know she will bless our family and I'm giddy with anticipation to watch how she will do that. Heavenly Father is so good to allow us to live and love in families and I'm thrilled to do it again.

4. Kenneth Cope's song Come to Jesus. I just had it returned from a friend and have been listening to it again. It is a profound and joyful reminder that we should and can turn to the Savior during all of life experiences: sin, joy, heartache, confusion. It is my testimony in song.

5. Elder Uchtdorf's talk during the Women's broadcast last night. I loved his connection between creation (our taking nothing and making something) and service and true, Godly happiness. It was inspiring and timely for me.

What has lifted you lately?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Case of Mistaken Identity

Ryan and I were deciding where to go for an impromptu lunchdate together yesterday, when Jane piped up:

Jane: "I want to go to Peni$ today. The place I went for my birthday."

Me (confused, and smothering incredulous laughter): "You mean Wingers?"

Jane: "Yeah, Weiners. I want to go there."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hit me with your best shot

Since I honestly CANNOT think of anything to post about, ever, I thought I would use YOU for a blog post.

There are some things I need help with and I would love if you would comment and share your opinion with me.

First, I want a really good NON-BIASED website on the candidates. Specifically, I want to know what their voting records are on the major issues and what their official verbatim promises/views are, should they be elected. I just don't trust very much I see in either emails, media or commercials and I want to feel like I'm making an informed choice. So send me your good, non partisan websites.

Second, I need decorating help (Smart girls, you better comment). This is the room that I'm using as inspiration/copying for the baby's room:

(I know. The yellow and black is so different, yet still girly. )

And I'm doing the walls yellow, ordering a cheap black crib:
with the Pottery Barn bedding and am ordering a nursing chair (not the $1300 one in the picture PB picture, but similar) from Penneys in black and white polka dots. (Here's the fabric:)
The room is trimmed in lots of white and has two big windows that will have white/polka dots curtains. My question is this: my funky friend Christine is helping me put it all together and she suggested this dresser from IKEA.
What do you think? Will the yellow be too much against the yellow wall? Would a black dresser be too much black, considering the big black chair and ottoman and crib? Please share.

And last, still in the baby department, what products have come out in the last 3.5 years that you have loved? Hooter hider? Bumbo (sp?) chair? Tell me what I should buy, and make it good, because this could be my last one and I don't want to waste money.

Thanks for your assistance in my blogging, my vote and my baby.

Oh wait, I just thought of one more: Are there any methods that you think really work in the inducing of labor? I'm good for another month, but then I'm trying them all, so share!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Summary

Kay. This is what I got:

Ryan had to clean out an entire roll of toilet paper from the kids bathroom. (Thank you, Seth). It's so exactly what he had in mind when he dreamed of becoming a dad.

I got to take 6 Cub Scouts to the library to research, using old newspapers and almanacs, the day they were born. The librarian had to only come tell them to calm down twice, so I felt like it was a roaring success. While there, Gabe found out about World Record books and now has been grossing his sisters out all week with The World's Longest Intestinal Parasite, etc. (The wonders a library can bring to your own living room?!)

I actually got excited about decorating a nursery and actually purchasing a bed for Gabe. Sooo hoping this means I'm nesting and that my body is preparing for an early delivery. See a before of the baby's room:

Ryan's mom was in town this week watching the Daines kids and she and Ryan braved Valleyfest with all the kids. They bouncy-housed (see Emma here in her belted outfit that she thought was so cool):

face painted:

met Clifford:

and only lost Jane for 15 minutes. Really impressive, if you think about it.
We had a lesson today on Garbage words. We identified them:"You're a jewk" (a real favorite with Seth and Jane), "Stupid", and "Sucks" (unfortunately, a favorite with mom) to name a few. We threw them in the garbage, found substitutions and got out a jar to collect any mistakes, 25 cents each. 9 hours later, we're at $1.75.
That sucks.

And last but not least, Seth's tongue has apparently been loosed during prayers. For the last 6 months, this is verbatim the prayer he gives every single time: "Dear Henly Father, thank you for dis day, please bless Dad on his mission (?!), In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
That all changed tonight. He was blessing Gabe to not get burn by the fire and born again (what are they teaching in nursery, anyway), that Nephi's brothers can say sorry (again, nursery), that our baby gel will come out after costumes and that Emma will have a good day at work. He went on and on, with a pause to tell "Jane, you should be quiet during my prayer." We had to finally help him wind it up.
Which is probably what you are wishing I would do, too.
I don't know where he gets that tendency to go on and on. I really don't.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Working their fingers to the bone

Some people think that I have kids because I think they're so cute, because I feel inspired to have more children to devote my life to, because I don't know how to use birth control.
Well, they're all wrong.
I have kids so they can do all the work for me. Seriously. Just ask my kids. I do nothing and they do all the work and it is awesome.

I thought I'd let you in on my Guide-to-the-Easy-Life Job System. Get those bon-bons out, ladies. Life's about to get cushy.
Our chores fall into three categories:
Category #1: Jobs-that-are-so-everyday-they-don't-even-merit-a-place-on-the-job-chart
  • Make bed, or clean up blankets from where you were sleeping on the floor (Gabe)
  • Clean room
  • Get dressed
They have to do this before they can eat, because hunger is a real motivator.
Category #2: The job chart jobs
  • Straighten house--stairs and main living areas (done right before dinner)
  • Clean bathroom--straightened and wiped with Clorox wipes (done after everyone's slopped their toothpaste all over the counter, after breakfast)
  • Straighten basement (done right before dinner)
  • Clear table (done after dinner...I actually have to work and clear the breakfast/lunch dinner)
  • Empty car--clear and put away all of the day's accumulations (done before dinner)
  • Garage and Outside--clean up all outside toys/otter pop wrappers/return all the neighbor kid's flip flops (before bed)
  • Set Table
  • Empty dishwasher
  • Sweep (done after dinner)
  • Laundry (see laundry post)

Emma (or Miley on the job chart), Gabe (Yu-gi-oh) and Jane (Sparkles the Snow Leopard) have 3 jobs, Seth ( Diego, a new slave, see him on his first task below) has 1. Everything is velcroed and they rotate down one job on each Monday morning (so we get to be tortured by Jane's poor job execution for 3 straight weeks. I'm SO happy when it's Emma's turn to straighten the house again).


No one plays until there jobs are done.

If they do it happily and on the first asking, they get a check. All green checks = 25 cents a day, making their weekly job earning possibility a whopping $1.50 a week. If they yell and cry (Jane) or make me ask them 10 times (Jane) or do a really poor job (Gabe), they get an X. And X gets nothing. Except when it's X'd, then they can go play.

Category #3: Friday Jobs

I basically decide what deep cleaning the house needs and assign it out. Sometimes it's happy and gets done in 2 hours; sometimes it's so miserable that Ryan and I can't take the sacrament the next Sunday.

Here's a sampling of what they do:

Vacuum, clean bathroom (I always do that bathroom the next week, to insure less e coli), wiping table and chairs, windows, dusting, trash emptying, spot cleaning and drying the floor (with Mom mopping--keeps me off my hands and knees), washing walls.

So that's how I read and blog so much. I have nothing to do around here.

Serious note: It takes quite a bit of consistency, calling kids in to re-do jobs, forcing myself to be happy with less-than-perfect, listening to whining, stopping what I'm doing to re-focus or help--but it's my job as a mom to teach my kids how to work. And they really are pretty darn good. And I really don't know how I'd manage without the kids that have learned how to help out (Emma and Gabe).

It's awesome to have my servants.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Seth's Sunday Stroll

**as dictated to Dad

Since its Sunday, Mom is “resting” not blogging. I am big and three now, so I will tell about our Sunday walk. Our family goes on a walk almost every Sunday after dinner. Mom and Dad never remember that I hate strollers, so every week I have to spend at least 10 minutes convincing them that big kids like me don’t ride in strollers for their Sunday walk. Emma, Gabe, Jane and Me always like to workout our “core” muscles a little bit so we make sure to never pass the house with the retaining wall without balance-beam-walking our way from start to finish. It is crucial that we do the whole thing, so someone should tell my Dad not to get hopeful if we fall off part way through because we are not going to “let’s get going” with him. We’re going to start over as many times as it takes.

My mom and Dad don’t really know how to enjoy a good walk. You shouldn’t just rush by everything. Like if you see a dog, you should pet it … EVERY SINGLE TIME. Even if it is the same dog you just pet on the other side of the block, you still need to be friendly and stop and pet him again. You can’t rush a good petting though. You have to ease into it. I am usually kind of nervous around a new dog, or even a not-so-new one. I find that it helps to alternate between laughing and running toward the dog and then crying and running away just as the dog is within petting range. A good 3-5 bouts of this helps me work up the courage to get down to business.

I take my image seriously. I don’t like to have all my “peeps” see me unless I am looking my best. I like to be clean and presentable. So you can only guess how upset I was today when I got halfway through my walk, only to realize that someone had gotten my shirt dirty! I hate that. Mom was not taking the matter very seriously. That hurt a little bit.

“You wash it? We will wash it at home. You wash it mom? Mom … you should wash it!”

NOTHING. – Was I speaking Mandarin here? All I was looking for was a little reassurance. And I wasn’t even getting eye contact. Then Dad said,

“Don’t worry Seth, when we get home we will put all your clothes with you in them into the washing machine”

He was going to do it! I know he was serious. I would be churned, and rinsed and spun in that big white scary thing. Why would he do this to me? Oh how I cried to know only half a walk stood between me and the end of 3 great years. There was a lot of loss to mourn, but I really did my best to do it justice. Mom and Dad could tell I was upset by the short time we had left together, so guess what … She made that big old guy promise that he wouldn’t actually throw me into the washing machine with my clothes on. Then he offered to seal the deal by shaking on it. I’ll admit that the request seemed odd but I was so overjoyed that I threw caution to the wind and shook on it with him. As he stretched out his hand towards me I shook my head and arms and little bum for good measure. I frankly wasn’t impressed by the old man though. He didn’t seem to shake as much on his end.

Jane and I can be real opposites when it comes to hygiene. Take today’s walk for example, not 5 minutes after I got done baring my soul in tearful expression over the dirt on my shirt, Jane (who Dad claims could have an entire piece of pizza in her bangs at dinner without noticing) was walking around barefoot. As everyone took the customary break to yell way back my way to “hurry up Seth” Jane stands in a pile of squishy, smelly brown stuff that our doggie friends leave all over. As I take my sweet time approaching Jane just stands in “it” happily chatting away until Dad finally had to tell her to get out of “it”. See what I mean about opposites?

So after more dogs and crying and another pass by the “core” training course, we made it home, another Sunday tradition well maintained.

... I have to go now. I have got to get out of this shirt.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Stuff from the last 3 weeks Summary

(Now, this is really stuff you don't want to know... I just have to include it for the Blog Book.)

I haven't done a summary in a few weeks and a summary is where you write about all the stuff you don't write about it a post, but know you shouldn't forget. So here goes:

Grandpa visit
My dad came up for Gabe's baptism a few days early and we got to show him how fun Spokane is in the summer. We did the usual stuff: Riverfront park, Coeur d'Alene hike, Gooeys, Manito Park. He is always so fun to have around; easy, involved, a great grandpa. He didn't even mind when we made him hang out at the Romney reunion for 1/2 a day.

Boys' birthdays

Also, included the usual. Gabe: crepes for breakfast, homemade mac and cheese for dinner, playing with the Daines, and lots of presents. Seth: ebleskivers for breakfast (the kids told him to), a bike and the car backpack he kept telling us he was getting for "pweschool in two days."

Emma's glasses

See these glasses:

We got them in January. The sides have broken off 4 times in the last 8 months. Ryan and the receptionist at the eye doctor have gotten in a few "lively discussions" regarding the quality of the glasses vs. Emma's care of them:

Receptionist: Oh, they are breaking because she's taking them off with one hand.

Ryan: That's how everyone takes their glasses off.

Receptionist: Oh no, we teach our children to take them off with two hands. You have no idea how much pressure taking them off with one hand has on the glasses.

Ryan: Actually, I do as I am an engineer.

Receptionist: Oh really? Since you are an engineer you could design a pair of glasses to withstand that pressure!

Despite the receptionist witty remarks and valiant efforts to keep us from getting new glasses, the optometrist replaced the whole frame and we're hoping for less tape around edges of Emma's eyes in the future.

Cute Seth stuff:

1. Seth started preschool (a co-op we are doing with 5 other moms/3 year olds). You can tell he's the 4th child because I didn't even manage to put shoes on him for his first day of "school". Notice the cherished car backpack.

2. Jane moped around all morning because "I miss Seth. He's really my friend the most." And it's true. One day this week, I kept track. They played together happily and alone(mostly with these:) for a total of 5 hours. So so cute.

3. Cute sayings/persistency:

  • If he asks if he can do something that I usually say "No" to (extra TV, snack, putting his swimsuit on for no reason), and I actually say "Yes", he's so surprised that he has to double-check: "You say yes, Mom? You did-ent say No? You say "yes" I can have mo snack? You did-ent say No?"
  • ANYTHING anyone says "No" gets this follow-up question: "Lade-oh (later)?" And you have to confirm or deny, because he will keep saying "Lade-oh, mom, lade-oh?" until you do.
  • Last week he kept asking for something and I couldn't hear him because there was music and yelling kids and the dishwasher and finally I said, "What?!" And he said, "Mom. You can't say what. You can say "Yes" or you can say, "Lade-oh. You can't say "what". It's so nice to have guidelines.

Gabe's dental work:

Procedure #1: after chewing on the skin being pushed up by incoming molars so violently that he couldn't eat (or brush--can you say HIDEOUS breath), we took him to the dentist where they cleaned up the crud behind the skin, cauterized the nerves and pulled a tooth (something they were going to do anyway).

Procedure #2: One week later, Gabe had 2 more canines pulled, a crown put in and nerve surgery. He got to stay home from school for half a day for that one.

My kids have AWESOME teeth.

And on that cheery and oh-so-informative note, I think I will put you all out of your misery. I promise, no more summaries for a while!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Nobody really wants to know all this stuff...

Following are some lists regarding my current gestational state (picture from 4 weeks ago, I'm way bigger now):

What is uncomfortable/annoying, from the bottom up
  1. varicose veins. Like big, looks-like-you-ran-a-piece-of-rope-down-my-leg and (ahem) other areas.
  2. Braxton-Hicks, once an hour or so

  3. heartburn, at all waking hours and no matter what I eat

  4. the pregnancy mask, all over my face, like I have major sun-damage, but it's not

  5. unexplained, daily headaches

Why I'm more excited to have this baby then any other

  1. See above list

  2. I know what I'm doing. I know what to expect and I'm really not nervous about it at all.

  3. I know, having confirmed with previous babies, how truly unexplainably awesome delivery is.
  4. I can truly appreciate what is growing inside me, what she will be and how she will bless our lives.

Names we're deciding between

  1. Faith
  2. Meg

Cool weather maternity clothes I own(in their entirety) for the 6 weeks of pregnancy I will deal with this fall

  1. 3 pairs of jeans (thanks Brigitta)
  2. 1 pair of black pants (thanks Brigitta)
  3. 2 long sleeve T-shirts (gray and brown)
  4. 1 striped sweater

**Plan on seeing me in the same stuff ALOT

Stuff I do while I'm pregnant that everyone tells you not to do

  1. Take really hot baths
  2. Eat cold cuts, soft cheese and chocolate
  3. Sleep on my back
  4. Run
  5. Lift heavy objects

Weight Gain during all my pregnancies:

Emma: 55 lbs

Gabe: 45 lbs

Jane: 32 lbs

Seth: 25 lbs (I was so cute)

Current (with 9 weeks to go): 27 lbs

Why I see a nurse-midwife

  1. Because she pays lots of attention to me.

NOT why I see a nurse-midwife

  1. Because I want to deliver at home (love hospitals)
  2. Because I do not do epidurals (love these, especially if I manage to get one more than 10 minutes before I start pushing, Gabe and Seth!)

What I say in my daily prayers:

  1. Bless that she will be healthy and strong
  2. Help me to know if this the last one. (PLEASE?)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

You want to have a great reunion?

You will need:
2 donated 6 bedroom lake houses (next door to each other) with yard of green grass and sandy beach

16 adults who are funny, good and down-to-earth, so you have little drama and lots of belly laughs and deep conversation

23 cousins who all have at least one playmate and barely ever fight

2 boats, 4 tubes, 1 wakeboard, 1 kayak, bikes, 2 bouncy houses, a plastic-car-slidey-thing-that-all-the-kids-love, a tent, a hammock, and a porch swing

the perfect mix of yummy and easy meals (2 per family, except Grant --single--and Heather--lucky user of leftovers)

an ability to ignore sleep-deprived and sugar-loaded kids (as much as possible--you aren't here to reconnect with them, are you?)

an Olympic theme complete with a torch, family flags, events (wiffle ball, volleyball, a suicide swim across the lake, obstacle course) and medals

a fun fun slide show (thanks Uncle Bart)
a talent show, preferably with a 2 year who can sing Popcorn Popping, a hand-walking uncle, the Von Trapps, a magician and a skit.
long walks, bike rides, a surprise girlfriend who wasn't scared off immediately, long 2 a.m. marriage talks, church, a baptism, and LOTS OF SWEETS.
a FABULOUS photographer who made the dreaded family picture a)fun and b)beautiful. You have to click here for previews of the family picture and here for our kids' shots. (Gorgeous!)
the wish that two years wasn't such a long time. WE LOVE THE ROMNEYS!