Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Awesome Husband Tip #22: Complimenting

When your wife sings in church, after she's done, pass her this note:
It will mean more to her than any other compliment she gets that day.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday Summary

Since I'm drawing a blank on everything but this one picture I took last week:

I'm having everyone tell me what they wanted me to tell the world about in our Sunday Summary.

I'll start with the picture. It's from tonight's Family Home Evening. The book Emma's holding was given to us a yearish ago and we haven't used it. Tonight we were drawing a blank and so we opened it up (it's called Family Home Evening Treats that Teach). We made these Marshmallow/Cornflake trees and talked about Enos praying in the forest. It took 40 minutes (including the shopping for cornflakes AND treat prep) and was a resounding success.

Ryan wanted me to mention his last soccer game at the season. He probably remembers it so well because he limped for a day and a half afterward. He says he loves it because it's a harder, more diverse workout than anything he does all week. I hope it's not because it's co-ed.

(Emma huddling up with last year's team)

Emma wanted me to mention that her basketball season has started up. She enjoyed playing last year, even though I don't think they won a single game. She gets to hang out with a friend from a different ward and school (Amanda Guinn) and is an endurance (she gets tired, seriously, last of all the girls) superstar.

Gabe, after some reminding, remembered that he got ALL gung-ho about scouting, as soon as mom/den leader actually purchased him a book. He's passed off at least 15 achievements just this week and all because he's the one pushing the book in our faces. He and Ryan had fun with the tool section and using the tools to sand and prep a nightstand we're refinishing.

(Jane, on the first day of school...prior to the exciting activity of we-telling)

Jane wanted us to mention that last week in kindergarten "we telled a stowey". Me: "You want me to type that you told a story?" Jane: "No. Not told a story. We-telling a story. It's called WE-TELLING. It was about a boat race." Now, I'm assuming she's talking about Re-telling a story and we are SO glad we didn't skip over that in the Sunday Summary.

Seth said "You shut the doh and I taked a nap. Um, I cwied and said 'Can I come out?' and went like this (insert random grunting noises)."

Huh? He's lying. Don't listen to him.

That never happened last week. What did happen last week is that he got to go to the firestation (I didn't go, so no pictures) and he enjoyed it so much, that tonight he prayed, "Bless I can go to the firestation again and again and again and again."

Thanks for joining us for another fascinating edition of What We Did Last Week. Hopefully next week's installment actually does includes Seth's random grunting noises, only in conjunction with pushing a baby out. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

All Showered and Ready to Go!

So I had my baby shower last week. Yes, I realize this is my fifth baby. Yes, I realize it is my third girl. Yes, I realize at this point in our lives when can afford our own baby gear.

Whatever. Parties and presents are fun.

Jessica and Meghann threw it for me and did a yellow and black theme (to go with the nursery...I'm almost done, hold your horses, pictures coming up). Here's me at nine months pregnant.

Did you know that in-utero babies really need you to gain a lot of weight in your face in order to arrive healthy? Well, they do...and I'm doing my part with the chipmunk cheeks and double chin.

There were yellow and black cupcakes, yellow and black baby dresses hanging on a line as decor, lots of yummy food and lots of fun presents.

I'm glad I let Emma and Jane come, because I wouldn't have wanted to open up the presents calmly and actually looked at the contents before they were thrown across the room. No, it was much more fun to do it Jane's spastic way. Plus, Jane modeled most outfits for us, and it was highly entertaining.

But the best part?

Jessica had the idea to have each guest write their addresses on the outside of the thank-you cards. It's so nice not to have to look the addresses up and have it all ready.

But if these are your friends:

(Penny, Christine, creative writers: Jessica, Kerry and Cynthia)
it gets even better. They will write their own thank-you cards for you!

A sampling:
Dear Jessica A.,
Thanks for giving me the best baby shower ever! Thank you for the cute outfits, too. It was kind of anti-climactic since I already knew what the outfit looked like. Oh well...Anyways, Thanks for being the most awesome friends ever! Love, Jessica R.
p.s. I still owe you $18 for the fabric you bought...I haven't forgotten.


Dear Cynthia,
Thank you for the amazing outfits. The only thing better than a friend like you is having a new baby to hold. I love how dependable you are as a visiting teacher, too! Lastly, I'm grateful you wrote this card, Cynthia, so I could spend more time relaxing with my good book.
Love, the wonderful Jessica

or (if you're into some slightly self-deprecating thank-you messages)

Dear Kerry,
Before you gave me that adorable snuggly Winnie the Pooh overcoat/blanket, I never thought that there was much sense in dressing my kids in warm outerwear. (Ed. note...I have a slight reputation for underdressing my kids in the winter. What? I hate hauling/losing coats all winter long) Now, I can't wait for the baby to come and the snow to fall so I can try this new way of life! You're the best!
Love, your friend, Jessica

Now. Wasn't that so thoughtful of them? I just stuff, lick and stamp and I have nothing more to say EVER to those three "friends". Talk about a time saver!

Anyway...despite (or maybe because of) the "self written" thank-you notes, I had a great time and am inexpressably grateful for the incredible friends I am blessed with here.

And, now, with drawers stuffed full of teeny, tiny pink items, we're all ready!

(You hear that baby?! YOU CAN COME NOW!)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Coming to terms with it.

My mother can kind of do anything. She's a great pianist, artist, hostess, teacher, organizer, cook. I really could go on and on.

And that lady can really put together some great Halloween costumes. She is a great seamstress and really loves holidays so, as kids, we had the most darling costumes, homemade, every year.

A sampling:

(Incidentally...this is the year, I officially realized I was too old to trick or treat, when one grumpy home-owner queried: "Shouldn't you be home shaving?!" And Crystal--notice Amy in the background).

This cosumes were all hand-sewn...along with my siblings. I used to feel--seriously--sorry for the kids in my classes who would come to school with the plastic Snow White mask over there face and would really think: "Their mom must just not love them as much as mine."

See... I have deep-rooted feelings about the importance of Halloween costumes!

So then I started having children and was all gung-ho about making them great costumes.


I don't sew.

At all.

I really can't even make the no-sew costumes that magazines put out in every October issue.

But I tried, because I couldn't just BUY their costumes! Really loving mothers don't do that! Here is Emma's 2nd and Gabe's 1st Halloween:

They were peas and carrots. They looked really cute (though Emma kept pleading to take it off: "No no want it carrots, Mom!"), but were completely falling apart before the Snickers' wrappers did.

The next year, I scoured magazines and tried to decide how to live up to this Halloween-Costume-Ideal in my head. I gave up the idea of homemade. But, I figured the next best thing was matching costumes. Emma would be Belle (purchased dress, altered by my MOTHER of course) and Gabe (Beast, purchased lion costume, with Grandma-made prince attire over the top).

The next year, it all came to a head. I had three kids, no sewing skills, no mother close-by and children who seemed to think THEY should choose their own costumes (excuse me?). And that's when I discovered:

That's right. Grandma Target.

It took a few years to feel totally comfortable with it. (My mom is so nice, when I apologize/explain the lack of Love-Filled-Homemade Costumes: "Oh, honey. They're so much better made nowadays. I would buy them now, too, I promise.") I felt guilty every time I opened up that web page. I gazed wistfully/jealously at others' homemade works of art.

(the fateful first year of --gasp!--store bought costumes)

I'm over that.

There is great joy in our house, when I announce (with all the love, nurturing and warmth this Mommy has to offer): "Be thinking about your costumes, guys! It's family-crowd-around-the-computer-and-pick-out-your-costume-night tonight."

I'm pretty sure they still know their Momma loves them.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Good Old Sunday Summary

On Monday, our little preschool co-op went to the pumpkin patch. We'd neglected to reserve an official tour, so we wandered around in the pumpkin fields, picking through the rotten pumpkins and then pushed them toward a cornfield and said, "Okay! Walk through the corn maze!" The bigger kindergartners (Jane and cousin Elise), who had gone on an Official Field Trip with the Kindergarten, kept saying, "But this isn't right! There's no path!" Luckily, 3 year olds are too dumb to care about "Official Field Trips" and loved being outside by tractors, hay trucks and rotting pumpkins.
For Family Home Evening, we did a Food Storage Assessment night--basically we went through our food storage and counted how much of everything we have, and what things need updating, in order to get to a full years' supply. Surprisingly, the brownies, chocolate chips and canned peaches had been completely depleted. Above is Gabe re-enacting how many cans of Spaghetti Sauce we have. We finished the night with cookies made entirely from food storage (except the eggs and butter)...peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chip (used the last bag!) cookies.
Oh! Guess what?!
We got booed on Thursday night!!
Who would have guessed, I'd get booed?!
Here's us returning the Boo favor. We made sugar cookies. Can you guess which cookies got delivered and which got left home for personal Romney enjoyment?
Our across the street neighbors hosted the second annual pumpkin carving party. I love this party. You know why? Because then I don't have to do it myself! They served carrot soup and roasted apples and Emma carved this darling pumpkin all by herself. The boy on the left, later in the day, did a little pre-Halloween vandalism and smashed her pumpkin in the driveway. Can you say Future Juvenile Delinquent?
Today was the Primary Program. Jane (see above in her Shabby Apple/Primary Program special attire) has stage fright issues. We talked about it a little today and she said, "I think before I go up there, I will say a prayer and ask to not be scared." It must have worked because she didn't burst into tears until after she'd delivered a memorized and darling "Our Prophet today is Thomas S. Monson." Gabe and Emma did their parts totally tearless.
In the audience was this guy. He didn't pay attention to anything his siblings said, but he must be paying attention somewhere. During the administration of the sacrament, I asked him what the bread helps us remember. His reply? "Jesus died and they hurt his hand like dis: Bam! Bam! (simulating hammer-pounding on his hand) and his shoes like dis: Bam! bam! and his side like dis Bam!Bam!" (see above for Bam! demonstration).
So, on that uplifting note...we'll leave you for this week. Bam!

Quick Quote #27

When asked why she kept leaving an important thing (to her) laying around the house, Jane explained, through tears: "It was because I am little and I don't know how to take cawe of my stuff berry good, like a parent."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

And Isn't it Ironic?

So, in years past, Ryan has heard me rail against the Boo** (see below for explanation) sign:
"Seriously? Who starts this? Do we need MORE candy, MORE treats or MORE assignments (returning the favor) in our lives as the holiday/eating season begins?! I don't want to even pass this thing on!"
I've been annoyed for years at this practice. Usually, I'm watching my calories (in advance of the Thanksgiving and Christmas bingeing) and I have a hard enough time, without dealing with an EXTRA goodie plate. And my kids are starting to get enough sugar at school, church, the bank, that it's starting to pour our their ears.
So this year, when I saw this sign, I mentally rolled my eyes. "Hmph. Maybe I'll do a post, when we get 'Boo'ed', about how much I dislike this thing," I thought.
And then we never got one.
And my new "3rd Trimester Diet Plan" which mainly involves a constant stream of sugar running through my veins, mainly between the hours of 6pm and 12am, was SORELY DISRUPTED.
Where are my Boo-ers? Why, during this year of extreme sugar-consumption by me, am I not receiving my lovely Ghost poster (I even had to have a friend take pictures of hers and email it to me), the cornily-rhymed message and, most importantly, PLATE OF SUGAR?
Is this Karma for years of complaining? Is my husband hiding the Boo, knowing that every morning I regret the "3rd Trimester Diet Plan" by moaning and complaining about how much weight I'm gaining? Are their Halloweens goblins at work here?
Am I getting what I deserve?
**the Boo sign: a photocopied picture of a ghost, with a poem that instructs the receivers to hang the sign in her window (see Denae's post for anti-sign-hanging-desires) to let people know you've been boo'ed, more instructions to pass along the Halloween goodwill in the form of treats...and a plate o' goodies.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Doing it...Sherrill style

If you take a 8 hour road trip, by yourself, when you are 36 weeks pregnant...You're doing it Sherrill style.

If you all bunk up in some extended (or in this case, in-law) family's basement...You're doing it Sherrill style.

If you drive to Yellowstone National park, even when they've predicted a're doing it Sherrill style.

If you pay the $25 entrance fee, even though there are snowflakes as big as're doing it Sherrill style.

If you stop at every animal viewing, regardless of whether they are dangerous (hello, coyote)'re doing it Sherrill style.

If you make sure everyone knows it's BISON never BUFFALO (unless you are in India)'re doing it Sherrill style. **bison in the background, here:
If you stand around watching for Old Faithful, only to see a big puff of're doing it Sherrill style.

If you stop at every possible sign with explanatory're doing it Sherrill style.

If you go to the broken Teton Dam site, because the museum was're doing it Sherrill style.

If you think bowling with a bunch of kids is're doing it Sherrill style.

If you go to the local temple, even in bad weather and even though you've already been're doing it Sherrill style (this one is predominantly Bekah style).

If you like having grandkids/nephews/nieces constantly in your're doing it Sherrill style.

If you go to all three hours of church, even on're doing it Sherrill style.

If you have a sweet baby (the hair is NOT Sherrill style) that you bless (and you get choked up during the administration of the blessing)'re doing it Sherrill style.

If you have a family that loves to get together, doesn't care about noise, loves the Gospel, fights over newborns, will eat anything put in front of them, and cries when it's time to're doing it Sherrill style.
(explanatory note: The Sherrills are Jessica's side of the family. Nate (her middle, younger brother) and Kelsie, blessed baby Luke in Idaho Falls last weekend. We are hardcore travelers, visitors, baby-lovers--and we know it.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Business Plan

I've got this great idea for making TONS of money.

This is it:

1) Buy a bunch of goldfish for 5 cents each.

2) Retail them (if you want) for 12 cents each. But this is NOT your big money-maker. Just wait.

3) Go to children's school carnivals and offer to give away FREE goldfish if little children can toss a ball into a floating pie tin.
4) Figure that exhausted, very pregnant mothers will never catch onto your scheme and will just be content that the kids are happily tossing.
5) Don't actually GIVE the fish to the children. Give them coupons to come to your store to redeem the little fishies.
6) Hope that the father-less, exhausted, pregnant mother will be thrilled for a fun Family Home Evening, in which she envisions happily Pet-Store-Occupied children enraptured for hours on end, while she rests on a bench.
7) Have a gung-ho, animal loving employee that can guilt the mom (the father would never fall for any of this) into getting
  • a bigger fishbowl than she wanted ("They'll die in a few days, ma'am, if you buy that small one),
  • water conditioner ("Spokane has a LOT of chlorine that could kill these sweet little fishies...")
  • neon colored rocks
  • fish food (sorry, you'll have to just settle for the cheapest fish food purchase...this mom is starting to wise-up)

8) Realize that you have given away .20 worth of actual goldfish and have sold a grand total of $18.73 worth of fish merchandise.

9) Bask in your riches and wisdom.

10) Enjoy pictures of children everywhere enjoying their new friends:

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sunday Summary: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The Dr. Jekyll (crazy, angry, messy) part of the week included:

--Ryan being gone M, T, W, Th, F.
--Ryan not reachable at all, since he doesn't have a cell phone or an office where he is
--Gabe falling off of his bike AND THEN THE NEXT DAY Emma's scooter
--Gabe not being able to chew anything, which necessitated smoothie runs every lunchtime and spilled soup (he had NO lunch the whole day, because when I called to make sure he would get something they told me they had it taken care of and they didn't!!)
--Preschool at my house Monday, almost Wednesday and Friday (cute kids, cute curriculum, just not a good week for it)
--Jane locking my keys in the car
--hideous RLS as a result of pregnancy, so I can't sleep EVER.
--a VERY not patient, not enjoying her children mother

I could only manage one picture for this NOT FUN part of the week (Seth prepping the apples for the apple pie we made during preschool):

The Mr. Hyde (calm, loving, rational) part of the week included:

--Ryan coming home.
--Ryan taking us all to Greenbluff Apple Festival

and buying us whatever our hearts desired (and if anyone knows Ryan, you understand that he couldn't possibly show us he loves us more than by allowing us to spend WITHOUT a budget): trips through the maze,

the pumpkin patch
$6 blackberry syrup from the gift shop,
overpriced bbq for everyone and
the legendary pumpkin donuts from Harvest House.
--A quiet lovely late dinner date at a trendy, expensive (the guy was Mr. Moneybags!) restaurant downtown.
--Watching General Conference.

Here's Jane coloring the conference packet I print out,( so everyone will be quiet and then I spend the whole time explaining directions, breaking up fights about Jane looking on Emma's Bingo sheet and Seth coloring on others' sheets...). I felt like it was just chock full of messages of hope, comfort and examples of how very personally our Heavenly Father loves us. Favorites: Elder Bednar, Elder Anderson, Elder Holland, Elder Oaks.
--a fun dinner with friends we don't see enough.
--the kids spending every free minute putting together Powerpoint presentations on colors, foods, sports, etc.

We're hoping to have more Mr. Hyde this week. Wish me luck!