Monday, September 27, 2010

When we’re helping, we’re happy…or at least Mom is.

This seriously isn’t genius.  I just thought I’d share this cleaning thing I do with my kids.  I remember my mom doing it with us when we were growing up. 

A few Sundays ago, I came home from a walk to a house that looked like this:

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Yuck.  It was time for everyone to go to bed, but I did not want to clean it all by myself.  It was time for 10 Minute Clean Up. 

The rules are pretty simple:  We set the timer for 10 minutes and tell them that all they have to do is clean fast for 10 minutes and no matter what it looks like, we are done when the timer rings.  I took some pictures this particular time for some Before and Afters, to show them how much we can get done in a short amount of time.  We put on music and run around (while parents help and shout encourage comments and reminders).  It’s usually really effective; look:




Pretty good for 10 Minutes, huh? 

So there you go.  Cleaning tips from the girl who just wants to go to bed.

(Your kids might want to talk you into 10 minute practicing or 10 minute homework, but don’t fall for it…slightly less effective, I’m thinking.)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

That's my head: just above water

I want to make this clear:
I am NOT whining.

I'm more just a little shocked. And I feel the need to record this for family history's sake.

I have truly never been busier in my life. Getting the kids back in school has done nothing but crazify my schedule. I am kind of blown away by the

Physical needs of my kids:
Doctor visits
ER visits
Back to school shopping
Food for 7 people's breakfast, lunch away from home and crazy dinnertime

Emotional needs of my family:
Emma's desire to unload after middle school
Seth's whininess due to less sleep and more time away from home
Faith's huge struggle with out schedule change
Ryan and I trying to connect with the 24/7 demands on our life

Monetary needs of my family:
Stitches, violin repair, soccer gear, antibiotics, ASB fees, broken retainer, etc etc.

Scheduling needs:
3 different departure times
3 different return times
3 different bedtimes
Webelos, soccer, swim team, piano, violin, activity girls, counseling, doctor visits

I'm not sure why this is all feeling so sudden. Maybe it's 4 kids in three different schools? Maybe it's a challenging toddler? Maybe I'm just starting to feel Ryan's absence due to his schedule?

Anyway. It's not bad. This is what I chose because this is what I want. I just have to write it down. I think Seth was on to something when he said last week: "mom! We have 7 people in our family. That's ALOT!"

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone (of

Location:S Mirabeau Pkwy,Spokane Valley,United States

Monday, September 20, 2010

Two good things that happened because I turned 10

(I had Gabe write this post to “pay back my energy” for having to him about our No TV On Weekdays rule again.  I wanted him to describe his 10 year old week with Grandma Dorrie and his Triathlon birthday party.  I left him to do it and it’s kind of hilarious because it’s so Gabe, meaning: very few words and details.  I kind of love it.  Especially the emoticons at the end.)

Hi it’s Gabe, I'm talking about my TEN year old week!!!!!!!!!!!!!

McCall 2010, Dorrie & Gabe 003 McCall 2010, Dorrie & Gabe 002 McCall 2010, Dorrie & Gabe 007McCall 2010, Dorrie & Gabe 004

The top two are pictures when was when I was getting my helmet on.

The next two pictures are when I was driving the 4-wheelers.

McCall 2010, Dorrie & Gabe 009McCall 2010, Dorrie & Gabe 014

The 5th picture is about when I shoot with a air pellet gun.

The 6th picture is when I went to the hot springs.

The last two pictures are when I went to lunch at a pizza place.

 McCall 2010, Dorrie & Gabe 010McCall 2010, Dorrie & Gabe 011

This is an email my grandma sent my mom.  She wanted me to put it in:

We were 4-wheeling, air pellet gun shooting, and eating at an outside pizza place.  Gabe and I are having fun.  Rick's Aunt Joan was sooooooo impressed with him and how polite and helpful he was.  Rick said she went on and on after we left for Utah.  He's such a great kid!
I love you guys.
Grandma Dorrie




  • Donuts for cake

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  • gift bags
  • Mallory only girl besides Emma my sister
  • Hunters present duck (ed. note: duct) tape boxes to get to popcorn and a harry potter movie

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  • leg #s

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  • there's the pictures for swimming and running
  • no picture for biking though

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  • party group:):0;(

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Next Brother’s Birthday Post

Dear Matt,

I hope you had a good day today.  You probably spent today being a totally fun and involved dad, because you totally blow me away with how you do that job.  Everyone who has watched you parent, comes away with reports of patience, thoughtful discipline, love and enjoyment.  How great to do that important job so well!

Sherrill Family 

You and I have something that no one else in the world can share:  we get where each other came from….like no one else does.  Since we are 14 months apart (and all the rest of those siblings came at least 7 years later), we had many of the same experiences:  the same learning-how-to-be-parents parents, the same houses (in Va, Ut, Wy, Ca), the same memories of hanging out with the Christensens, making up games in that suite in San Fransisco, re-enactments of Star Wars, the log we kept of the songs on the radio. 

You were my first best friend.

football 11 

You are funny.  You tell the truth.  You love deeply.  You change yourself to become better.  You love the Lord and serve him.  You are smart.  You are athletic.  You deserve a great birthday and a great year.


I feel lucky that I got to grow up with you. 



Thursday, September 16, 2010

The post we’ve all been dreading: The California Trip Recap

**disclaimer:  real camera lost in Disneyland (I know.  I have real camera-keeping problems.), so all photos are from the iphone or other’s non-lost cameras.  Lucky for you this means less pictures.)

First, we stayed with my dad and step-mom, where the kids took part in the normal activities:  swimming, golfing, fishing:

Gabe Fishing 2

and the less normal:  a trip to the Jelly Belly Factory.  (All agreed…not exactly worth the hour drive.)


Ryan got to “work” from home for the week we spent in Northern California.  Faith was a BIG help:


Then we headed over to Grandma and Grandpa Romney for the usual days in the pool


trips to the park, In N Out and Yogofina.  (Apparently I relied heavily on the actual camera for this part of the trip, as I have no evidence that we did any of these things.  Boo.)

We also celebrated Gabe’s birthday during this week, with some Caramel French Toast, bacon and hashbrowns:

Gabe's Birthday

and a trip to San Francisco, where we got to see Tammy at the oldest playground in America (VERY cool)

and walk her dog (big highlight.  You know how you know how fun it is?  How many fights erupt.)

and eat shrimp at Pier 39.

We capped the night off, with some strawberry cake (made by Grandma)

and LOTS of birthday money which has turned into this bike:



After 6 days in Northern California, we got back in the lovely van and headed to Sunny Southern California for Sam’s Wedding to Stephanie (does she look like she belongs in our family or what?):

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(Almost all my siblings):

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(Me, insisting we get a family picture “I don’t care what Faith’s doing!!!”)

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(Outtakes from while we were in the temple)

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(Rate the comfort of my shoes on a scale of 1-10)


Coincidentally, Seth’s Birthday was also the day of the wedding.  Here he is telling you how old he is, while on the temple lawn:


We tried to celebrate with balloons and Cookie Crisp in the hotel room:


He even got to have the entire reception sing to him, with a piece of wedding cake:

Wedding 256

He also got a few presents after the reception was over.

I tried to make this big, awesome surprise about going to Disneyland for Seth’s birthday.  But it flopped because a)big-eared eavesdropping older kids heard, apparently, ahead of time and, thus had no reaction and b) clueless younger children, apparently, don’t realize how awesome Disneyland is and THAT IT COSTS THEIR PARENTS HALF A COUCH to go for one day.  Oh well.

But go to Disneyland we did.  Even if no one cared. 

We met up with Ryan’s brother Greg and his wife Christy, who live in Texas and just had the best three days. Grandma and Grandpa drove down for some fun, too. Some obligatory D-land pictures:






Can I also just say?  Disneyland is worth every penny.  So clean, so friendly, such a nice day, such a great way to be with adults, big kids and little kids alike.  I, truly, had the time of my life.

We also hit the beach (so fun)

Picture 004 

and ate lots of food and talked until waaay too late in the night with the Texas Romneys.  LOVE those guys.

We headed back up to Northern California for a one day pit stop and then began the 15.5 hour drive back home.

47 hours of driving, upwards of $2000 on hotels, food, gas and theme parks, 2 birthday boys, 13 days, 6 different places to sleep, 2 lovebirds, ALL sides of the family =  Way more fun and WAY less stress then we’d thought.  Thanks for the memories, California!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Have a little Faith

Picture 037

This is what’s up with her:  she’s MUCH better.  If you have been within listening range of me in the last month, go ahead and skip this post because I’ve already talked about it to you ad nauseum.  (Sorry.)

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By better this is what I mean:

--she isn’t hard to take places anymore.  She still has trouble with transitions but I’ve learned how to deal with that 90% of the time.

--she doesn’t pull her hair out EVER.  She still tries to make herself barf, but hardly at all.

--she has 5 minute tantrums instead of 45 minute tantrums (except today.  But it was truly a total anomaly).

--she can calm herself down all on her own with the tools we’ve taught her.  She doesn’t do it every time, but when she does I want to kiss her and cry all at the same time.  (She tries so hard).

Faith 3

This is why she’s better:

--I prayed and prayed and fasted and prayed.  I know there are people who will think that the things/tools/books/therapies that manifested themselves to me are the result of my hard work and my own mind, but I know that I found them because Heavenly Father listens to me and answers my prayers by bringing things into my mind and life that help me solve my problems.

--I read the Spirited Child that 7200 people recommended.  It totally helped me re-work my mindset about the kind of kid Faith is and how to feel about it.

--We went to a counselor a few times for personal Faith advice.  She was great.  She says Faith is “an extreme example of a Strong Willed Child” but besides some possible anxiety issues in the future, there is no serious disorder or worry regarding her. (yay!)

--I received a few Priesthood blessings that gave me counsel for what I should do and confirmation when what I was doing was right.

Picture 007

This is what we’re doing to help her be better:

--Magic Breaths.  My friend Melissa left a comment about these and when I initially tried I thought “NEVER will this baby understand how to utilize these breaths in the midst of a tantrum”.  Until she did in the hall of the church when I said she needed to wait to have chocolate till we got home.  Watching the cute little kid suck breath in her nose and blow it out her mouth in an effort to settle herself made me die of love and gratitude. 

--Slowing down.  I am learning that I would rather be 5 minutes later to the grocery store than force her into her car seat.  I just make it her idea (“Oh WOW! JANE!  You are buckled in your seat!  THAT IS SO GREAT!  Oh, you too Seth?  Wow!  That is so fun!”  And in Faith goes, because she decided it was what she wanted to do.) and we have a much better errand-run.

--I don’t get angry.  You know why?  Because it’s not my fault she has a problem handling frustration.  I was feeling so angry because I felt like her behavior was a result of ME messing up and so when she flipped out, I felt guilty and then angry at her for making me feel that way.  When I’m not angry, I think SO much clearer and I handle her issues with love and empathy.  It changed everything for us.

--Staying by her as she tantrums.  I used to put her in her room, so as not to give the tantrum attention.  That is apparently NOT a good thing with this type of kid.  Leaving them in that out-of-control state is frightening for them.  When she tantrums, I stay within a few feet of her (even as she runs away and screams at me “MOOVE PEESE!!).  I remind her that I will be close by to keep her safe and I pull her hands off of her head or out of her mouth if she tries to harm herself.

--We use the same language every time.  “Magic Breaths, Faith”  or “You need to make your body calm.  We’ll go back to the living room when your body is calm” or “We don’t hurt bodies when we’re mad.”  That language is a trigger and she knows what we are saying, even through the crazy. 

Picture 221

Why I am better:

--I love that girl even more (if that’s possible).  Working with her, praying for her, sacrificing for her made me love her extra.  Plus, watching her try as hard as I was made me appreciate her strong, smart spirit and filled my heart with love every time.

--I know I can be the mom my kids need!  Sometimes you hear about women (hello, Shally! and many more) who truly sacrifice their lives/time/energy for their kids and you wonder if you’d have what it takes if that was your child.  My situation was much more mild, but I was able to stretch myself and communicate with Heavenly Father and receive revelation and change my way of doing things and way of feeling and I HELPED MY LITTLE GIRL.  Yay me!

Thanks for listening.  Being a mom is truly such a mental, emotional, spiritual challenge. I grow and progress and do great things every day in this job.  I’m grateful for good kids and the tools I need to be the mom they need me to be.