7:11--Seth, frosting cookies with Uncle Sam:
7:16--Seth, accused of licking and frosting at the same time:
7:20--Seth, eating the heaviest, most decorated sugar cookie ever:
It’s emotionally exhausting being four.
I baked 300 plates of cookies on Saturday. And I don’t think I even got mad at anyone the whole day. Even though I was feeling sick and guilty from the 72 plates of cookies I put in my mouth. (If you didn’t get one, that’s cause I ate it.)
I took the kids sledding after school on Tuesday. Seth said “OH! This is sledding? That’s why people say it’s fun!!” When I asked Jane if she’d had fun as we drove home, she replied: “Uh, duh?!”
I went to TWO Christmas singing programs. Enough said. (No picture of Emma, because Jessica A. doesn’t have a kid her age.)
I actually helped at the kids’ school Christmas parties.
I’m including a picture of Will (in our ward) whom I overheard saying “Man! I love days like this!”, I looked over and quickly snapped a picture because this was how he was sitting:
I finally got Gabe’s hair cut. We took him to an actual salon and it looks much better (see the “before picture” above). When I asked him if he liked it, he said “No” and I asked, “Why?” and he said, “ I think it’s just cause I don’t like girls touching my hair.”
I’m pretty chill about Faith constantly wrecking the decor. Here she is, with her favorite ornament (it’s Gabe’s 1st Christmas ornament), wrestling it away as Gabe tries to grab it back. She goes right for it and has the most triumphant look on her face as she swipes it and runs away.
While the carpets were being cleaned, we took the kids to Golden Corral, the Dollar store (see Faith with the helmet --$1.00--on in the dirty store), Walmart and the library. All in one morning.
I initially got really mad and glared and slightly yelled at Emma when she forgot to remove the cinnamon rolls from the oven and burned them (while babysitting). The cinnamon rolls that took 2 lbs of butter. And 3 hours to make. And that I never got a taste of.
Then I went/stormed upstairs and realized that I’ve only forgotten about something in the oven 178 times in my life, and she was allowed 1. I went immediately back down and said, “Who cares about a pan of cinnamon rolls?” After the plates of cookies I ate last week, my thighs were certainly better off without them.
So, see? I’m not always yelling and mean.
Last night we had our annual Neighborhood Cookie Exchange. As people came in, I asked them to write down “My favorite thing about living on this court is:”
These are some of the answers (and accompanying pictures):
“Having the Romneys are neighbors. (the author is a teenager pictured below, so I’m thinking this wasn’t super sincere). Or the giant pile of snow at the end of the cul de sac.”
Never having to lock our doors.
“that Seth feels comfortable enough to “let himself in” to any house on the court.”
“Living next to the best neighbor I’ve ever had.”
“Having at least 5 babysitters within pitching wedge distance.”
“The Romney cookie party (people have to say these things, they’re at our house, after all).
“My kids never say they are bored.”
“All the toys we collect without ever needing to purchase them.”
“All the kids to play with.” (This answer was written down no less than 8 times…it is the best part of this court).
It was crowded and loud (a lot like our street in the middle of summer) but we wouldn’t have been anywhere else
--It has been frigid here (12 degree highs, –3 degree lows) but SUNNY. I will take Sunny and freezing over snowy and less cold any day. My kids want some snow, but we always get our fill of that around here.
--Gabe has been teasing up a storm around here. What is it about boys? Is it being less verbal? He cannot be around any sibling for more than 10 minutes without starting something, seriously.
--I just had a long talk with my dad about taking advantage of the low interest rates by refinancing to a 15 year loan. We would save crazy amounts of money over the life of our loan! It would up our payment a ton, which we can’t afford, unless we do less contributions to our stock option plan or our 401k. What do you think?
--I hate having Ryan get me presents lately. It just stresses me out and I’ve just been telling him to forget it the last time or two. It fills like we are just leaking money lately (lost camera, mess-up with our rental car company’s “driving in New England” policy, fix-ups for our rental house) and I really don’t need some $100 gift. Anyone else feel that way?
--I’m feeling pretty on top of Christmas. I did 80% of my shopping online on Saturday and Monday. The Internet: definitely Al Gore’s best invention.
--A friend just rented out a Bouncy House type place, then dropped off invites to us, indicating that this was their Christmas gift to everyone this year. It’s late at night, so it’s less expensive, I’m sure…but isn’t that the best idea?
And now I’m off to pick up the last few presents and purchase the baking supplies for this weekend’s baking extravaganza. Thanks for listening.
You’ll notice these are all taken with my iPhone. My camera is somewhere in Northern California. If you live there, could you mail it to me? Ryan will never buy me an SLR if I keep losing my cheapy point and shoot.
is now ONLY walking. I didn’t get sad about crawling, or choked up on her birthday. But walking? I can’t even see her do it without getting a big lump in my throat. She is now a Toddler, not a Baby. How sad is that?
She’s also talking—new words include: “sahks” (socks), “shiz” (shoes), “wa-wa” (walk-walk, what she says as she breaks my heart), “bey butta” (Belly button), “eye”, “ah-fay? ee-oo” (Where’s Faith? Peekaboo!). Yeah, she’s a genius.
Holy Cow. Have I ever mentioned that the guy is HILARIOUS? I could go on and on with the stories. Here’s one:
We were at tithing settlement and he had disappeared. We went into the bishop’s office, without him, and were halfway through when he busts in the door, breathing heavily. “There you are!” he exclaims relieved, (like we left him or something). “I was looking all over for you guys and this big man tried to make me go to the other Primary! (the other ward was meeting at the time) I told him ‘I don’t go to that one!’ and I got away!” The bishop and all of us burst out laughing.
He’s also obsessed with the chimney:
S: “Mom can I go down the chimney?”
Mom: “Um, sure”
S: “Hey Mom. Where’s the chimney? I can’t find it.”
more minutes later:
“Hey mom. I found it. It’s weally high. You meed oo help me get up there. Okay mom? Okaaay? OKAY?!”
and a few minutes after that:
“Mom. I just said to Dad about the chimney. He thinks we don’t have a chimney!! In weal life we do! Mom do we have a chimney for real life? Because if we have a chimney in real life, wight this minute, I going to smack dad in the face.”
We need to take this guy’s act on the road.
Ryan and Jessica are partying it up! In 9 days time, we have a RS party (mentioned previously), work party, 2 friend parties, a ward party and a neighborhood party. Look how cute we looked for the work one:
(thanks to Calie, my cute young friend—22!—who owns this boutique, Coco, in Spokane and hooked me up!)
--Good thing Emma’s so cute,
because she’s kind of falling apart. She has lost 2 retainers and has now lost, then found, then lost AGAIN Retainer #3. She also has/had pinkeye and got sent home from school on Friday, had to miss her Activity Days movie party and can’t wear her contacts till she heals. That girl is blind as a bat. She was cutting out sugar cookies, with her nose like 2 inches from the dough so she could see what she was doing.
needs a haircut, but he’s afraid of me cutting it too short, because he has the third longest boy-hair in his class. And that’s apparently something to be proud of. He and Jane (of course!) missed the bus and had a very cold bike ride to and from school on Friday. When he got home, he complained he couldn’t feel his chin. Love and Logic at it’s finest, I tell you, because you should have seen the scrambling that went on this morning as the bus neared.
despite Friday’s frigid showing, actually was 4 for 5 on making the bus last week. That’s the best she’s ever done (and it’s November)! She has a loose tooth that she’s been praying (literally—I was scolded 2 days ago for forgetting to mention it to the Big Guy in our family prayer) will fall out. She and cousin Elise were working like crazy last Sunday on their loose teeth and Jane just about died of jealousy when Elise actually got hers out. She’s taking to following Ryan around the house with pliers. We’ll keep you posted.
Man, am I happy when I get these summaries done. You, too?
My dear friend Ashley was in charge of the Relief Society Christmas dinner. She called and asked me to do something minor for the activity. Initially I told her yes. And then, as the week went on, it stressed me and worried me and, in the end, when she called to remind me…I told her I couldn’t do it.
I’m willing to teach a lesson, bring a meal, invite a friend, watch your kids, help you move, pick up trash, supervise a primary activity, drive to a field trip, sing a solo, clean the church, accompany for a baptism, give a talk. I kind of pride myself on “getting over” whatever fears or issues or stuff I have going on and just doing what needs to be done.
But I cannot, CANNOT, drive a bunch of women to the Relief Society Progressive dinner in the backseat (sick, dirty, smelly, crumbly, crayoned, cluttered) of my van. CANNOT.
Who’s with me?
**I did drive Ryan’s car, which seats 4. Ashley wanted big vans but the big Romney van was off limits.
We are thankful that there are places in November where it is 68 degrees, and that we got to go there.
We are thankful that we have lots of fun Grandmas and Grandpas that entertain and feed us when we come. (see the Thanksgiving crafts they did with Grandma Nut and the Puppet Theater rigged up by Grandma Genie)
We are thankful that the wreck that kept us waiting on the side of the road outside of Klamath Falls for one hour, didn’t involve us.
We are thankful that we had a picture perfect thanksgiving meal.
I am thankful that I have long time friends that make time for me whenever I come (here with Tammy and her HILARIOUS mother and her mother’s famous pies.)
Gabe is thankful he FINALLY caught a fish at the Sherrill’s neighborhood catch-and-release pond.
We are thankful that the newlyweds (Grant and Zaundra) wanted to spend all week with us (even if they did steal the room with a lock on the door).
We are thankful for In-N-Out, Taqueria Carolina’s and Yogofina.
We are thankful that even without the awesome grandparents, warm weather and better restaurant selection, we still enjoy coming home.
I really had no idea that motherhood would involve so much crying.
Faith crying because she had to sit her in high chair an extra 20 minutes longer because I couldn’t get to her to wash her off and get her down.
Seth crying because he chose to play DS and now our “learning time” window has passed and he’s mad.
Emma crying because I’m making her figure out a way to pay me back for bringing HOT PINK PAINT into her bedroom and spilling it on the carpet.
Gabe crying because I won’t let him wear the shirt he’s worn 3 times in the last week to school AGAIN today.
Jane crying because, she’s late for the bus, AGAIN.
From the time I returned from the gym (7:00 am) up till,and INCLUDING, this minute (oh the sweet rhythm of Seth banging on his locked bedroom door), someone has been crying in my face.
Everyone was SO nice about my appearance in the comments on my East Coast Trip post. I wish I could say: “Oh what? That old thing? I just threw it together.” or “You think I’m skinny? I didn’t realize. It must have melted off while I nursed a baby and chased after five kids.” But alas, that’s not how those things work for me.
It takes effort, planning and help from other people.
First off, the weight loss:
I did the HCG Diet. It’s pretty extreme, which is why I didn’t mention it when I started it. I’ve always been a Work Out More, Eat Less girl when it comes to weight loss—never done pills, extreme diets or fads. But it wasn’t working and I had a few friends who had done this diet two years ago and kept the weight off. I researched, read the info and discussed it with Ryan.
I did it, without cheating once (the total key, more than with any other diet I’ve done), and I lost the last 18 lbs of baby weight in one month. And it’s stayed off for 7 weeks now. Email me (jessicaromney at hotmail dot com) if you want more info or the name of my supplier =).
Next, the clothes:
I have been either planning to get pregnant, pregnant or post partum for the last two years. You know what that means? There was no purpose in buying clothes. For two years. So basically I hated all of my stuff and was kind of lost as to where to start—especially since I was so excited about my new size. So this is what I did:
1) I have a friend who has LOTS of extra clothes. She has great taste, is extremely generous and, luckily, has a similar body type to me. She moved into a smaller place recently and sent me tons of cute stuff, especially in the jeans and dressy clothes department. Tammy’s donations got me off to a good start. (THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!)
2) I did some research. I emailed some friends who I really trust in the fashion department and asked them what were the trends I should buy for fall/winter. I also asked them if they would recommend any fashion blogs.
3) I began a list of the things (scarves, belts, long necklaces, long flowy cardigans, ruffles) that I thought I needed, so I wouldn’t buy random stuff that didn’t really get me where I wanted to go.
4) I approached Carie and her friend Heidi about getting their help with pulling together outfits from what I already have. (I am BAD at that. I am a This Is the Shirt I Bought to Go With These Pants So I Can’t Think Of Any Other Combination type person.) We are still in the process of putting together my new looks (it requires lots of picture taking…) but to start off they asked for my Fashion Manifesto. In putting it together, I realized a lot about my personal style and it was helpful in solidifying what I wanted to spend my money on this year.
5) I saved all of my birthday/Christmas gift cards and Bucks Back from the last year, plus some Weight Loss Reward money that I’d set aside.
6) I went to Nordstrom (the juniors section, where it’s not as expensive) and found a super cute 20 year old worker and said to her: “I am an out of style mom who wants to look cute. Can you help me? I want to incorporate cardigans, scarves, belts and these colors…” She went to town. After we found stuff I looked cute in, she helped me figure out the pants, jewelry, layering pieces, shoes I would need to complete the look. It was such a fun experience and I felt all put together.
7) I emailed Tammy back and forth a million times about the exact pair of boots I should get (because they are expensive, I could only get one and I wanted them to be right) and when they were on sale, I bought them (Aerosole, if you are wondering).
So you see…it wasn’t easy. I didn’t have a ton of money, amazing fashion sense, or even a ton of awesome stores to shop at. What made this all come together was patience, a willingness to just admit I needed help and asking for it, educating myself and being organized. It totally paid off.
While there are LOTS of things more important that fashion and clothes, I have been an all around more content person because I feel good when I look in the mirror. Another friend’s mom is an image consultant who basically teaches: Make yourself look the best you can and then forget about yourself and focus on others. That’s what I’ve been able to do, because I’ve lost the weight and put some thought into my wardrobe.
Thanks to the friends who advised and encouraged and to Ryan who footed the bill WITHOUT EVER SAYING THE WORD “BUDGET”. And thanks to you for the compliments!
First, we had Halloween. Some people have Halloween pictures that look like this. We have these.
Seth was Prince Caspian. We’re always happy if he chooses Prince over PrincESS.
Faith being a monkey. So true to life: strong, climbs everywhere, screeches constantly and makes everyone laugh.
Don’t ask Jane what she is because a) she doesn’t know (she keeps saying Hollywood Rock Star, but it was really a Hollywood Starlet) and b) she say it like this: Hollywood Wock Stawh and no one can figure out with that lisp what she’s saying.
We think Gabe was a little disappointed when the Indian boy costume came in the mail. His skinny, pale frame did not compare favorably to the strapping brown skinned model. He may or may not have been called an Indian girl at some houses while trick or treating. Darn those big eyes and dimples.
Then, we had Faith’s birthday.
Here she is on her birthday table. I didn’t even cry setting it up. I think I’d successfully stuffed all sadness at her growing over and over that I was able to deny all sorrow. I’m new to this whole “blocking emotion” thing; it’s surprisingly effective.
She's really close to walking. On her birthday, she was up to 5 steps. (You don’t even have to tell me how darling she is, because, seriously, she oozes darling.)
Here she is opening her presents. Guess what? She couldn’t care less about these toys now, a whole week after receiving them.
Here’s her cake. Don’t look to close at the lettering. Or anything else, for that matter. The picture makes it look cuter than it actually was.
Here’s the craziness that results from getting together with the Daines for parties. Can you even believe that these children are the result of only TWO families?
This is my favorite picture of her trying to eat her cake. She couldn’t figure out how to navigate such a big hunk of food. It was hilarious.
Then we had “The Campaign”
Here’s Ryan on his first official ballot for city council. He won. Without putting up a sign, attending the debate or even voting for himself. He’s a little busy right now.
Then I flew to Utah for my brother’s homecoming and my pretty cousin Sydnie’s wedding.
The pretty cousin:
Me and Faith at the wedding. Notice how blurry Faith is? Yeah. That’s cause SHE NEVER STOPS MOVING. EVER.
After the homecoming:
Ryan’s brothers and sister in law, lucky me, are also good friends with my brothers, so they came up to the homecoming and lunch after. We had such a fun time talking and eating:
Now I’m home and because it’s Veteran’s Day, in the middle of the week, on a gray and rainy day…my kids are making me nuts. I’m going now, so I can put them to bed…and catch up on all the TV and blogs I’ve been missing. Priorities, people.