Monday, August 31, 2009

The hardest part

So, two things that happened tonight:

First:  I was laying in bed and realized that I had hardly any Faith-time today.  I had a big list of To-Dos and we had friends over and I just didn’t do anything with her besides feed her and transfer her.  I didn’t look in her eyes or chase her around the floor or eat on her fingers (why are babies SO insistent on getting their fingers in your mouth while nursing?).  And I was contemplating, seriously, going in her room and looking at her.  MAYBE EVEN WAKING HER, just to be with her a little longer.  Because that bad baby is closing in on a year and I missed one whole day with her today. 

Second:  I was reading a friend’s (here’s her public/non-family blog) post, where she simply described her last few weeks.  In her last few weeks, she’s sent her last child to school for the whole day.  She talked about runs, and lunches with her husband, and starting her whole day at 9am, in which NO KIDS WILL STOP HER MID-PLAN AND DEMAND ATTENTION.  She is going to Institute and running errands and volunteering and crafting, in whatever quiet, undisturbed order she wants.  I left a comment about being green with envy.

And then I remembered my first thought.

Why is motherhood SUCH a contradiction?  Leave Me Alone/Like Me More Than Anything Else.  Please Be Quiet/Is There Anything Cuter Than What He Just Said.  How Embarrassing!/How Did I Get Such Awesome Kids.  Please Grow Up/Please Stay Little.

My chest feels all tight and hurt-y right now as I try to want what I have, but not so much that I can’t let it go when it’s time.


Hardest job in the world, right?

Friday, August 28, 2009


After MONTHS of “is my buh-day after this day?” or “Mom, is my buh-day in three days?” or “is my buh-day after Cal-i-fohnia?” or “after your buh-day, Mom, is it my buh-day?”…

We are BEYOND pleased to announce:


We walked into the house after our run and this is what greeted us:

Picture 083

“Hey Mom.  Now, I’m Four today, you know!”

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Today He gave (by Ryan)

The Old Testament prophet Job said:

"... the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1:21)

Today I signed an offer to work for a very strong company. I have had this verse on my mind a lot because the more I experience life the more I know that the seemingly "good" blessings and the seemingly "bad" setbacks that we encounter in life are all ultimately blessings to us that flow from a loving God.

This job offer is a blessing because:
  • My brother Grant's offer to be his "personal assistant" is no longer a necessary option.
  • I will get to see my newly planted fruit trees and berry bushes grow and produce.
  • My kids got to see another example of how prayers are answered.

The previous job loss was a blessing because:

  • I got to enjoy the kindness of good friends and neighbors. (Thank you)
  • It gave me pause to evaluate where I am and plan for where I want to be.

I am still working on not fearing the setbacks. But in the safe light of today's blessings I am able to see a little bit better where Job was coming from.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What Gabe would like you to know on the occasion of his 9th birthday

1. I have a great family.
2. I've had a fun birthday--

crepes, swimming, lunch at Olive Garden (pictured) and I don't know what to say because we haven't done the rest.
3. I'm looking forward to having a wonderful dessert and having my cousins sleepover.
4. This year I know how to do the breast stroke.
5. When I'm 9, I plan to learn more things in school and scouts.
6. I have a broken toe on my birthday.
7. I have nothing funny to say Mom. Goodbye.

-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Because they all can’t be lovey-dovey anniversary posts


Following are amusing anecdotes from the almost daily fights discussions we’ve been having regarding the change in our financial status:

1.  Ryan Romney’s Eyes 

Jessica:  “You don’t even give me credit for the things I have cut back on.  You see this hair color?  I hate it! But I cancelled my hair appointment for Saturday.”

Ryan:  “And I told you thank you.”

Jessica:  “Did you do it with your eyes looking like that?  Because those are not very sincerely thanking eyes.”

2.  Cutting off her Coupon to Spite Her Face

Jessica:  “And of course now, I’m realizing that when you suggested dinner on Saturday, you were thinking Quiznos and I suggested Ding How (local sit-down establishment) and you were probably so irritated at my over-spending appetite.

Ryan:  no answer


  Jessica, thinking to herself: “Forget it.  I’m throwing away this 2 for 1 coupon for this restaurant I like downtown, because he’ll never want to do it.  That’ll show him.”


Ryan:  “Hey Jess.  Where is that coupon?  I was thinking we could do that on Saturday for our date.”

Jessica, sheepishly:  “Um.  I threw it away.  Because I was mad and tired of looking at it and thinking you would never go for it.”

Ryan:  “Well, that was a little immature, don’t you think?”


Jessica, digging through the trash:  “Where is that stupid coupon!”

3.  How much is that paint remover going to cost?

Jessica:  “Here!  Here’s the grocery list.  Cross everything off you think we don’t need!  And Here!  Here’s the cash budget!  I will just come to you and ask for every single expenditure and then I don’t have to wonder if it’s okay.”


Ryan:  “I don’t want to do the budget.  I don’t like how we eat when I’m in charge of the budget.  I’ve been sitting here, thinking how I’ve painted myself into a corner and I don’t want to make all those daily decisions.”

Jessica:  “Too bad.”

 4.  Especially Elder Hales

Jessica, relating the situation to her sister in law:  “And the thing is, cutting back is JUST SO RIGHTEOUS.  Like, while we’re arguing, I can see the 12 Apostles lining up behind Ryan, nodding their heads:  ‘Yes, Jessica, why don’t you cancel your California vacation.  We definitely agree with Ryan, here.”


So.  Who’s side are you on?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Cousins who couldn’t be cooler


Picture 080 (Landon, Gabe, Austin, Garrett, with Dawson laying on their laps)

Maybe this is normal.  Maybe this is how families are.  Maybe I shouldn’t be so charmed and surprised and overjoyed.

But I think it’s a little bit special, what goes on with Gabe and his much older cousins.

Austin and Landon live by us.  Dawson lives in Utah.  They are between 2 and 5 years older than Gabe.  Austin and Landon include Gabe in so much.  They invite him over for sleepovers and night games.  They come over when he wants to play board games or go for bike rides.  They never act annoyed or bugged and they are such GOOD boys, GREAT examples, that I am thrilled.

And when we are all together, like in the picture above, and there are more older cousins, they continue to include Gabe in everything.  He loves to be with them and they never leave him out.

Here’s to amazing cousins, obviously GREAT parenting by aunts and uncles and breathing easy because my son has role models and friends that are cool and kind.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

For Twelve Years…




is my safest place.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It’s the little details

1.  These are Seth’s rainbow shorts. 

RainbowShorts1 RainbowShorts2 RainbowShorts3

Anyone who has had the privilege to associate with Seth this summer knows all about them.  They are his favorite and we have an agreement that he can wear them every other day.  If they are not washed on HIS day, then he has been known to climb on the washer and start throwing soap in randomly and then begging people to help him start it.  Annoying, yes, but nothing is cuter than when Seth bursts into a room, proclaiming, joyfully:  “WAINBOW SHOATS!!!”

2.  Faith has now pulled herself to stand. 


But refuses to hold a bottle, or cup, or anything resembling a container of liquid.  She’s smart, that one.

3.  Jane asks us every time we leave the house or van, multiple times: “Did you lock the van?  Did you shut the garage?”  She’s is all of a sudden totally afraid of robbers.  (We think she was reminded of the car-theft incident, somehow).  It’s a little bit cute, but also has thrown a wrench in our newfound in-house babysitter freedom, as Emma does not make her feel as safe as we adults do. 

Picture 013

(Officer Jane wants the robbers to just STOP.)

4.  Gabe broke his toe.  That’s the third broken bone for my almost 9 year old.  It hurts him too much to clear the table, but he’s just fine operating in the Neighborhood kickball game, as long as he’s the pitcher.

5.  Emma has graduated from pre-braces to retainer.  We have 4 more years before we have to do the rest of them.  This is the main reason we can’t move:  the orthodontist offers discounts based on his previous services. 

6.  Ryan is interviewing for the only job in Spokane, as we speak.  Wish us luck.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Less than Ideal

This is a Real Life Post, written so that Emma, Faith, Jane (in 30 years) and anyone else, can read it and know, that,though I LOVE being a mother, there are hard phases and times when I didn't enjoy it. I'm hoping it will make them feel normal.

(in happier times)

Marjorie Pay Hinckley is one of the people I admire most. When I was relatively new to the mothering thing (Emma 3ish, Gabe 1ish), I read the book Glimpses, which is a series of memories and letters that give insight into her life and philosophies. It is uplifting and sweet and real. I highly recommend it.

Anyway, one of the things that stuck with me the most was this sentiment:

"When the kids went back to school at the end of the summer, she cried. She hoarded every minute she could with them."

I wanted to be that kind of mom. The kind of mom that enjoyed free time with her kids so much that she cried when it was over. And I was that kind of mom, really, during the summer of 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008.

And then the Summer of 2009 commenced.

It has not been fun. It has not been enjoyable. It has been stressful and hard and chaotic and out of control and depressing and looooong.

I really tried to keep this from happening:

I don't do well with the chaos of No Schedule, so we have charts that slightly minimize the crazy, but the charts then require Monitoring: "Have you checked off your chart? Let me check the jobs on your chart? Are you lying about reading the Book of Mormon for 10 minutes?"

I have a weekly schedule that includes planned activites we both enjoy (swimming, library time, lessons, art class), but those activities for the big kids, cause missed naps and irritation for the little kids.

There have been days where I had fun with the kids (mostly on vacation). There have been hours where I enjoyed having them near me (right before bed when I'm reading to them, Sundays in the kitchen while they cook with me). There have activities that have been stress relievers (swimming at the Taylors, outings to the parks, library activities).

But mostly, I have too many kids to worry about for too many hours all day, every day. There are SO MANY people at this house and they start at 5:30 (feeding Faith her extra feeding...the only one she does well) and don't end until 10:00 (when Ryan and I are in the basement watching TV, trying not to care that feet are stomping all over the bedrooms upstairs). "Quiet time" consists either of S and F sleeping while I feel guilty that E, J and G are vegging away watching more than the allowed hour of TV time or the big kid "playing outside", and slamming doors while they run in and out to go to the bathroom/get a drink/tell me something NOT that important. And don't even get me started on the omnipresent kitchen mess that results from 5 kids, 3 meals, 1 snack. Hideous.

And to make everything worse, I feel guilty and grouchy that I'm not liking it because I'm falling short of the Marjorie Hinckley ideal.

It's bad.

I realized about 2 weeks ago that the summer was unsalvagable. There's nothing to do but endure.

I just want to know, I guess, is this how it's going to be every summer, now that I have 5 million kids? Is there anyway to regain the Crying When They Go To School of past summers?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

In the tops of the mountains


So, we went to Utah for our annual summer vacation.  Here are some of the most memorable events from the trip.

1)  Ryan hangs out with his mission buddies.

So Ryan has stayed really close to 5 of his (Baltic country) mission companions.  Over the last few months, they figured out that they could all be in Utah at the same time.  Apparently they golfed, geo-cached, made Fazer pie, played Utimate frisbee and other games late into the night.  But this is the only picture my husband managed to take of the event:


(this is Bertha, a felt chicken that used to turn up in cereal boxes, beds and shower drains on their mission and somehow has migrated all the way to the Bean Museum in Provo, Utah.)

2) That Ryan’s sister Elizabeth never let us pay for anything.

If you want to get a free ride on a vacation, have a birthday and lose your job the day before you go.  Everyone picks up your tab, wherever you go.  Besides the lovely accommodations and meals at Betsy’s, she kept paying for everything we did.  It got a little embarrassing, but we sure enjoyed ourselves at the Payson swimming pool:Payson Pool E & M Payson Pool Seth

and gorging ourselves at Tuccano’s Brazilian grill.

3) The traditional meal with fun fun fun blog friends.


Although, really, at this point, I think after 3-5 real life meetings, we get to qualify as FIRL.  (Friends In Real Life.  For those of you who don’t have an aunt as cool as Marcie to teach you the most important Facebook acronyms ).

4) That Seth kept getting MAJORLY lost. 

Utahpic5 Utahpic6

Notice he’s not in this picture?  Yeah, that’s cause he was sitting next to me at the Gateway fountains (“oh this is so sad.  I just get so worried that you’ll run off, you’ll need to just sit right here by me instead of playing in the fountains with your siblings”  Love and Logic lingo for Your Grounded From Playing.) 

Incident #1 involved me watching him (truly) like a hawk by the man-made pool in the Daybreak neighborhood and him going to play at the very close playground and then deciding to “walk to Grah-mas to get a dry towel”.  I was ill, sure he was at the bottom of that lake, because I couldn’t find him for a good 15 minutes.  As I started combing the neighborhoods nearby, people told me they’d seen him (BLOCKS away) and had walked him back to the lake, since he was wearing his suit.

Incident #2 happened THE NEXT DAY at SLC’s Gateway Mall.  He was sent ahead with Grandma and decided to go back to find me (waiting for to go food at a restaurant) without telling anyone.  I finally found him with a security guard, after another frantic 15 minute search in the busiest place imaginable.  That’s when he lost fountain priviledges.

He is the King of Sneaking Off and I’m at my wit’s end with him.  Any suggestions?

5) Our fun outing to Liberty Park in which we

a) sternly instructed some kids that they couldn’t hog all the floating balls that were part of the Canyon/Stream water area…only to find out that the balls were theirs and that they were SO NICELY sharing with all the 85 kids at the park.  Nice.

b) overheard this conversation between Seth and cousin Hannah (4):


Me: Let’s go guys, we’re going to the wading pools

Hannah (excitedly, always excitedly): Seth! We are going to the LADY pools!

Seth: Yay! We are going to the BABY pools! Do they quack?

Hannah:  Are the pools cracked?

Remember the game of Telephone?  Don’t play with these two.

6) The Oquirrh Mountain Temple tour.

Picture 118

Since this temple hasn’t been dedicated yet, my children got to go on a tour through our church’s newest temple.  I really tried to prepare them as we drove, sharing my testimony of temples and singing songs and it actually paid off.  Emma and Gabe especially enjoyed the tour and seemed to learn alot.  It is a beautiful building.

7) The Pioneer Day parade.


Actually, it wasn’t that memorable.  (No offense to our AWESOME seat savers!)

8) That my college roommate and HILARIOUS blogger Laurie, drove to Utah, partly because I was there!

Utahpic2 Utahpic1

We, and our 9 children and husbands, met up at Cafe Rio.  After sufficiently destroying the restaurant (and losing Seth again) we headed to a park in Bountiful where we tried to convince the kids that it was SO fun to play in the 95 degree weather while we sweated under the shade trees.  Read her much more fun account here.

9) Dane and Lorena’s all-too-short visit.

No picture, just some fun memories, an AMAZING recipe and a lame stomach flu that sent them home early!

10) Old friends (Anisa, Cami, Jacinda, Rachel and Bethany) who make time to see us.  Even if they have to buy me lunch (see #2) or head up an Amber Alert search for my missing 3 year old (see #4).

Thanks to Grandmas, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and Friends who made this visit so memorable.  Thanks to you for indulging this Family Journal post, ensuring that my memories won’t fade.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mostly true

This is the first “trick” I teach my babies:

sobig1 sobig2

I ask them: “ How big is Faith-y” in a big sing-song voice and pull their hands above their heads and reply to my own question:  '”soo big!”  Eventually they start doing it themselves (Faith started at 8 months).  It’s darling, but you have to catch them during the right window, because pretty soon they get lazy and can only manage one bored arm in the air.

It’s pretty much the first trick every kid has done.

And it’s appropriate:  She is so big…

  • with her first tooth (a few days ago)
  • army crawling (2 weeks ago)
  • actual crawling (yesterday)
  • saying “ah-oh” when she drops her cup/book/bow she’s pulled off her head (2 days ago)
  • being in the 75th percentile for height
  • somehow reaching 9 months of age

Of course, her so bigness does have limits:

she couldn’t quite carry off double digits in her weight for two doctor visits in a row…she’s back in familiar Romney Baby Territory:  a whopping 7th percentile for weight (that’s 17.2 pounds, folks).

I don’t care what those charts say.  This baby is TOO BIG for me.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Quick Quote

Pointing to her shirt (the one pictured) Jane called to me: Picture 033

 "Mom...I weally do."