Thursday, October 28, 2010

Brother #3


smart.  He’s truly brilliant.  Sometimes it’s a little dizzying listening to that mind work!       

Serious.  He’s so dedicated to his goals—not so much for goofing around these days.

Sweet.  The guy would never intentionally hurt anyone’s feelings.


Active in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Try to find someone more diligent in serving the Lord.

Attractive.  Uh, yeah.  Just look at him.

Articulate.  He’s always up for a nice, long chat.

Sam & Seth

Married.  Just recently, in fact.  We really, REALLY like her.

Modest.  He’s a really humble guy.

Metamorphosis.  It’s amazing to see the changes he’s made and continues to make.  Anyone

who knew him when can attest to this fact.  We should all be so malleable.

Wedding 181

I love you, Sam!  Ryan loves you.  The kids love you.

 We hope you have a great birthday.  Can’t wait to see you at Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I am a huge  believer in the blankie.  I had one when I was little:


I think it’s so great that they have this one thing that helps them feel better, drift off to dreamland, remind them of home, etc.  We do have a rule that the blankie does not leave the house, unless we are staying the night/napping somewhere else, but other than that blankie is the one object that is never used for discipline and that I will go to the ends of the earth to provide.  I’ve also been known to “plant” a specific blankie in the hopes that it becomes The One.  Itworked for Emma and Faith (cute embroidered silky one made by my friend, Tiffany) but not so much with Gabe and Jane.



(Made by a Young Woman I was working with when I had her.  It was made of thin material and didn’t last long.  We called it Ratty Tatty by the end.)




(That’s him under the blankie.  Poor second child, it was one of Emma’s girly blankets.  It was white, and very hard to distinguish from hotel sheets and we panicked when we returned from a trip with Ryan’s sister and couldn’t find it.  After a couple rough sleep times, Betsy called to say she had it and I drove 45 minutes to pick it up from her, so we didn’t have to have another night without it.)



(I remember, distinctly, the naptime where she decided on “The” blankie.  She was 9 months old and I knew she kind of preferred it, but I tried to hand her another of the same material.  She grabbed it, turned it around, saw a different design and threw it out of the crib.  I quickly searched the house for the Real Blankie. 

It’s still around, it all it stringy glory.  She still really likes to have it at bedtime and I don’t care.  I love that she is still “little” enough to need a blankie.)

Seth never had one! He doesn’t even have a comfort object at all.  Maybe with that sunny, happy-go-lucky personality, he never has a need?  Maybe he’s just slept in a siblings bed 90% of his life and that was enough.



(She calls it “Besh-oh” which means Special. She started showing favoritism towards it at about 1 year and so the kids would say to her “You want your Special Blankie?”  and the name quickly got shortened to Besh-oh.   I love love love hearing her walk around the house “Besh-oh, eh are you??”  She is attached, but can sleep without it.  I only worry about the fact that the blankie and the thumb go hand in hand…and we can’t have her sucking her thumb when she’s 7.  How will I separate the two?)

FYI:  take pictures, purposely, of the blankie while they are around.  I have spent a loooong time this morning searching for pictures that had the blankies in them and wished I’d had a really good shot…like the one I just took of Faith. 

So that’s the end of the story of Romney Comfort Objects.  They are kind of a big deal, you know, while your kids are little and I wanted to make sure I had a record.  Hope the Blankies didn’t put you to sleep, like they do my kids…

Friday, October 22, 2010

Some of us are Marthas and some of us…

After a long 22 days….

Picture 009

My oven finally got here.  It is gleaming and perfect and the BUTTONS ACTUALLY WORK WHEN YOU PUSH THEM.

While this is a big deal to me (hello!  All that Fall Baking I’ve missed!), I probably wouldn’t add it to the blog, except I strive to constantly embarrass myself in public and feel I must share what happened when the installation guys arrived.  Here goes:

Pre-arrival Ryan reminds me no less than 3 times to clean out from under the stove/oven.  (He’s much neater than I am and remembers little details like that).  They show up about 48 seconds after everyone left for school, but I still manage to sweep as much as I can out of there and then scrub up the gummy sticky stuff from the floor.


(Only Part 1 of the debris…I took a picture to show Ryan how bad it was.  Little did I know.)

They come and I say, “Oh, hey, I just swept under there for you, let me move the broom.” 

Installation guy replies, “Thanks.  It’s pretty bad under ovens.  No one ever cleans under their oven, so don’t worry about it.  Plus yours is the kind that you can’t even move.”  (Not that I’ve ever tried or anything.

They begin to move the oven and, while I am in the room, one exclaims “Oh wow!”  and then exclaims again “EWW!”  and then exclaims again “I have NEVER seen one this bad!  Oh this is awful!” 

Hello!  I’m standing RIGHT HERE, while you rank my housekeeping as Worst Ever!

I was so embarrassed.  I wanted to say, “Um, you realize I’ve had 7 humans living here for the past 4.5 years?  And that I use my oven more than just about anyone I know?  And my kids do a lot of the sweeping because I am trying to teach them how to work and plus I can’t possibly do all the stuff around here?  And (mostly) it’s very rude to express total disgust at someone while they are 2 feet from you!”

I just kept having to tell myself, as my cheeks turned bright red, “I’ll never seen these men again.”

It was a little crazy, I’ll admit.  We found: 1 sippy cup lid, 1 block, 75 cents, 3 marbles, 1 bouncy ball, 3 canning lids, a Christmas picture, glass from a broken bowl, 2 pens and 1 pencil.  (Stocking stuffers?)

I did scrub the heck out of the little area, while they were assembling the new oven, so should you want to view the CLEANEST UNDER-THE-OVEN AREA IN TOWN…come to my house. 

Hey, I’ll even bake you some apple pie (perfectly hygenic, I promise), while you ooh and ahh and wonder “man, is she always this perfect?!” 

(Just ask the Appliance Guy that question, okay?)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How Do You Like Them Pumpkins?

We headed up to the little farming community 20 miles away to take advantage of their fun harvest festivals.  It was a GORGEOUS fall day, we beat the crowds, every one was getting along.  I had $40 in my pocket.

(Life Lesson:  $40 is not enough money to budget for a morning at Greenbluff).


The first farm was super fun—the kids did the cheap straw maze, petted ponies that were scary (to Faith at least), watched the Chunkin Punkin machine (a pumpkin gets hurled by an air gun a million feet, right before your very eyes).  We decided, in the interest of time, to forgo actually picking the pumpkin from the field and headed over to the our favorite farm.



(Life Lesson:  if you must buy pumpkins at Greenbluff, pick them out of the field at Knapps, instead of waiting to purchase at Harvest House).

We headed over to the next destination, while visions of pumpkin donuts, haunted bouncy houses and caramel apples bounced in their heads.  We unloaded and the kids headed down to the “pumpkin patch”, while Ryan went to stand in the pumpkin donut line. 



Everyone began to find the biggest pumpkin.  I began to worry about how much they would cost.  “Hey guys, It’s really annoying to carve a HUGE pumpkin, you know.  So many seeds, thick walls, etc.  You may want to find a medium sized one”.  Of course no one listened.  I pulled out my next tactic:  “Okay.  You may pick a pumpkin that YOU can transport to the cashier and to the car.  We are not getting a wagon.”  Everyone began rolling, kicking and bouncing their HUMONGOUS gourds over to the cashier.

(Life Lesson:  If you are worried about cost per pumpkin—just TELL THE KIDS THAT.  Don’t assume they can read between the lines and be persuaded to pick a little boring pumpkin over the glorious 20 lb monstrosity.)


We plopped those big babies on the scale and the lady asks for $32 dollars! For 4 pumpkins.  I handed over ALL OF MY MONEY to the lady and said, in complete irritation: “Okay, guess we’re done.  I have no more money.  No play area, no caramel apples, no lunch.  You do, however, have pumpkins larger than baby elephants.”  Ryan returned with donuts to sad, mopey kids and an irritated wife.

(Life Lesson:  Pumpkin donuts can slightly elevate the mood of disappointed kids.  But not much.)

We drove home in silence.  I’m wishing I planned better and that the kids were better at catching my hints.  The kids are wishing their parents were richer and/or nicer and/or explained their options to them better. 

We stopped at McDonalds and buy a bunch of cheap food to take to Jane’s soccer game.  We sat down on the beautiful field and began to peel the Monopoly stickers off of our large fries and Big Macs.  Everyone started to cheer as we won lots of Free Medium Fries.

(Life Lesson:  While horrible for your body, apparently McDonalds and their gimmicks can do a lot to lighten the mood in the 5-11 year old crowd.)

Seth, upon hearing that we were getting Free Medium Fries, ran up to me and said “Hey MOM!  These must be the free medium fries.  See?  They aren’t huge and they aren’t tiny.”


(Life Lesson:  Every mom needs a hilarious 5 year old to make her laugh when she is annoyed that her Big Plans went South.)

We ended up cheering Jane on, hanging out in the sun, admiring the leaves and the mountains and drove home contented.

(Life Lesson:  You do your best to be with your kids and, mostly, it all ends up okay.)

Friday, October 15, 2010



Jessica & Ryan(I NEVER do a post without a picture, so here’s Ryan and me at my brother’s wedding)

I ALWAYS take a nap on weekdays.  I completely plan my life so that I have a 75 minute period for reading and sleeping in the middle of my days.

I NEVER make my bed before 2pm (post nap).  If it’s made before then, Ryan did it.

I ALWAYS make a full dinner (unless it’s date night).  I like to eat that way, plus I like to meal plan, find recipes and cook. 

I NEVER make it through the week without yelling at my kids.  It used to be that I never made it through a day, so I’m improving.

I ALWAYS struggle with my weight.  I’m either going up (and hating it) or going down (and kind of hating it).  I wish I didn’t deal with this…it seems SO pathetic to me…but it’s what I do.

I NEVER miss church on Sunday.  We go when we travel, we go when it’s conference, we trade off when kids are sick.  I truly just LIKE going to church and hate missing.

I ALWAYS go on a weekly date with my husband.  Sometimes it’s a game night with friends, sometimes it’s just a walk to the grocery store to get Ben & Jerry’s, sometimes it’s full-on movies and a restaurant, but we always find a few non-kid hours to hang out together every week.

I NEVER clean an area that has a door that can cover it, which means any cabinet, closet, drawer, etc. is an embarrassing, disorganized mess.

I’m ALWAYS reading a book on my nightstand and listening to a book on my MP3.

I NEVER tuck my kids into bed.  We read scriptures and a book, most nights, but I cannot muster the energy to follow them upstairs and kiss them in bed.  The idea exhausts me and if they want a kiss, they get it on the couch.

I ALWAYS have a few TV shows that I love and NEVER miss:  Amazing Race, Survivor, Project Runway, Biggest Loser (reality TV, much?) and Parenthood.

I NEVER eat less than 2 servings of dessert (thus the weight issue).

I ALWAYS exercise, daily.  (It doesn’t really take care of multiple servings of dessert, in case you were wondering.)

I NEVER leave a social gathering without worrying that I monopolized the conversation.  It’s embarrassing.

I ALWAYS hate missing ANY social event.  Girls nights, recipe groups, ward parties, couples outings—if two overlap, I want to die. 

I NEVER can do a post without thinking I need to be doing something else…today it’s bills, getting gas, doing Seth’s reading with him….so I’ll be going now.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The I in the Back of my Head

iPhone pictures by my kids are some of the funniest things ever. 

To me.  (Probably not to you.) 

I just love the spontaneous story they tell.  It’s like this little insight into where/what your kids are when you aren’t around, posing them or orchestrating their environment. 

Here are two sequences I’ve found lately, and I’ve tried to imagine just what is going on in the Picture-Taker’s head:

(First, Seth…)


“I love when mom leaves me her phone when she drops something off.  Maybe I’ll take a picture of my foot.”


“And another…”


“How about a new angle?”


“Hi Faith!”


“No.  You can’t have the phone.  Here…how about we take a picture of YOUR feet?!”


“See.  So fun, right?!”


“Hey don’t be so mad, Faithy!  You don’t want me to take a picture?”


“I can’t take a picture if you’re covering your feet up like that.”



“Dang it.”



Now, Jane…


“Hey, wait.  I’ll take a picture while you drive that mini-bike off of the sidewalk.”


“Oh, that is so hilarious.  Let me have a turn!”




“Now, you again!”


“Now, me!”


“Now, you!”


“Me again!”


“This is getting a little crazy.  Maybe we should be done.”


Who knows what they were thinking, but I like to try.  See?  Sometimes being a mom is fun!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Quick Quote

When Seth broke his arm a few months ago, our awesome cousins were out of town.  So thoughtful (as ALWAYS), Aunt Heather wanted to tell Seth they were thinking about him and sent this:

Picture 173

When Emma saw it, she had this to say:  "Geez. I need to go break my arm or something!"

Emma, if it’s between in a $1000 broken arm or a $40 cookie bouquet…I’ll buy you the bouquet!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Never Come Between A Baker and Her Oven

You know how I post the recitals, the soccer games, the report cards, the improved behavior, the milestones?  Well, I get very few of those Big Finishes all for my very own self.  Motherhood/Homemakerhood just has very little of those…clothes are getting dirty as I finish the last load in the hamper, food is being digested after I clean up from the last good meal, my good-handling of one kid situation happens while another arises.  Not many “touchdowns” in my life, you know?

Except today.

Picture 197

I have a nice Jennair oven.  It’s large, gas, grill-top, stainless steel.  It also has an electical control panel that breaks every 6-9 months, since it was new 4 years ago.  When the buttons that say “Bake” and “Temp” and “End” break…you can’t use your oven at all, just in case you were wondering.

This is how it goes: I call Jennair, they send out THE EXACT SAME REPAIR GUY EVERY TIME to check it out, they report THE EXACT SAME PROBLEM EVERY TIME, order THE EXACT SAME PART EVERY TIME, they bring it to my house and replace it.  The whole process takes 10-14 days.  I have no oven and it’s annoying to come up with meals that I can cook on my range/bbq/crockpot.  Do you realize how FEW desserts you can whip up without an oven?  I do (ice cream, no bake cookies, peanut butters bars)….it’s a total tragedy around here.

Anyway the last time it happened, I got really angry when they said they were going to do the SAME repair.  “It won’t work!” I said “Get me a new oven”.  They told me if this fix didn’t work, they would.

So when my electrical panel failed (mid chicken-and-rice baking—I literally had to turn off the breaker to turn off my oven) this time, I happily skipped to my phone and called the direct  number I’d been given in case this happened again. 

The girl on the phone said they could either 1.  repair the part again or 2.  I could get a new oven….for the prorated cost of $800!  (This is when I started Mormon swearing:  “Are you FREAKING kidding me? Do you really think I’m going to pay you more money for your crappy products?!”)

Now.  I have quite the Gift of Gab.  It’s not always a good thing:  sometimes I let slip family secrets (hello Kelsie!), talk too much in the back of a classroom, go on and on while I Enlighten my children about their behavior.  But when it comes to stuff like this…I must admit:  I’m kind of awesome.  I should’ve been a lawyer.

So after I put down my “Oh No You Dih-nt!” homegirl finger, I asked to talk to a manager.  I calmly explained that it was

a.  not fair.  The MONEY I gave them for my oven worked just fine and the oven they gave me in exchange didn’t.  I told them I would think they’d be embarrassed for all the irritation and poor service their product had provided me and would want to rush to repair the wrong.

b.  ludicrous to think I would want to give them another dime for their product that had served me so poorly in the past.

c.  bad business sense.  By the time they paid the repair guy parts and labor for the next 8 years, they would pay waaay more than $800.  Plus, I told them I would spend a morning, going to every review site I could find on the internet to warn people aware from their poor products and poor customer service.

Great logic, right?  Well the supervisor didn’t think so.  Neither did his supervisor (though this one did tell me he’d feel the same way, if he were me.)  So I said “I know that there is someone in your organization who can authorize this.  I want the person over you, please.” 

He said she was in a meeting and, to her credit, she called me back and we played phone tag over the weekend.  Today, we finally got in touch.  I gave her my list of reasons (see above).  She put me on hold.  She came back.

“Mrs. Romney.  We have an administration/installation fee of $150 dollars.  If you are willing to pay that, we will begin the process of ordering you a new oven.”

OH yeah.

I agreed ($150 for a brand new oven without broken knobs, scratched and stained surfaces and a short-circuiting electrical panel?  NO PROBLEM.)

So what have we learned here today? 

1. Figure out whether you are really in the right; it was so much easier to do what I had to do because I knew it was only fair. 

2. Talk through/write out you want to say ahead of time;  I didn’t do this exactly, but man, by the time I got to manager #3, I had it DOWN. 

3. ALWAYS ask to speak to a supervisor; like I said SOMEONE has the authority…you just have to find them.

4.  Be willing to give…a little.

So that’s all.  I’m just a little elated, and felt the need to share my triumph with my internet friends. 

Anyone want some pumpkin cookies?  I’m in the mood to bake.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Try to Remember September




Faith is

  • relapsing into difficult-ness.  I think this has to do with a) the change in schedules b)just growing up and changing phases.  The potty picture above is a way a distract her from a tantrum:  “Hey Faith!  Want to try to go on the potty.”  She is NOT potty training.
  • saying “Paith duy-it” about everything—putting on clothes, buckling her car seat, getting out of the grocery cart…you name it, Faith thinks she can do.  This makes life with Faith even sloooower. 
  • yelling, daily, from her high chair  “Love you, Jane!  Love you, Emma!” as they leave for school.  She really really misses them when they’re gone.  She also says “Seffy at keenergarnen” and it’s the cutest thing ever.



Seth is

  • loving kindergarten, because basically the kid loves everything.
  • invited to playdates ALL THE TIME.  I would never see him, if I didn’t turn some down once in a while
  • kind of whiny and weepy lately and I’m thinking the time away from Mom is kind of sub-consciously wearing on him and so we’ve brought back 9 am learning time…just to have some one-on-one time


  JultrasoundPicture 042

Jane is

  • dealing with recurring bladder infections.  We’ve been on 5 kinds of antibiotics, had 1 ultrasound, 1 X-ray, 6 doctor visits.  We’ve found she has Vesicoureteral Reflux.  It’s very minor so we’re trying to treat with a low-grade, continuous antibiotic, rather than surgery.  Anyway…it’s been a lot of money and time.  And tummy-aches.  And fevers.  Poor thing.
  • a super-star student.
  • trying out soccer for the first time.  She is on a team with lots of friends, and while still very much a rookie, certainly knows how to hussle.
  • always making us laugh, because of how much she makes herself laugh!  She also has the funniest imagination and the stories and songs and explanations she comes up, especially when she’s feeling silly, are a complete joy.

Gabe is


  • wanting to be involved in everything.  I LOVE that about him.  He’s doing Webelos, Swim Team, piano, library assistant and will start Math Team soon.  We had to gently advise him that maybe 7 am Strings at the middle school might be too much.
  • recovering from an apple slicer accident.  (I’ve cut my fingers a bunch of time of it…it’s really sharp!)  He sliced his thumb bad while preparing his lunch and we ended up in the ER, with 5 stitches.
  • meeting his goal of being on time to school.  He had a HARD time with this last year and I’m pretty impressed with him track record so far.



Emma is

  • really enjoying middle school.  The transition has been smooth.  She’s at the middle school football game and will leave from that to attend the Orchestra Party and won’t be home till midnight.  It made me feel all funny inside when she called today and said “Hey Mom, can I stay after school and go to the game with my friends and I’ll see you after the party.”  (Kind of too-big kid behavior, huh?)
  • so tenacious.  She was placed in the (for lack of a better word) average class-block this year, which was surprising.  She was really dissappointed.  After calling and finding out that her test scores were high enough, but they were out of room in the class, she didn’t let up.  She made appointments with the counselor and I made phone calls and after a few weeks, someone moved and they let her in. 
  • amazing with her hands.  Yesterday we watched a french braiding demo ONCE on YouTube.  (I don’t know how to do it.)  Emma said, “Hey, can I try to do Jane’s hair while we read scriptures?”  I looked up a few minutes later and she had done it.  First try, one viewing!  I was amazed. 



Ryan and Jessica are

  • busy.  Really really really really really really really really really really busy.
  • still going on dates.  We got free last minute tickets (yay for kids old enough to babysit themselves!) to Cirque de Soleil.  It was so fun.
  • going to Red Robin, but not together.  I went with a bunch of friends following the Women’s Broadcast last week.  I walked into the restaurant and saw this sight: photo                                            Ryan decided to take the kids to Red Robin, too.  I was a teensy bit tempted to stay with them until I talked to them and 437 hands touched me and then I happily skipped back to my girls table and waved a few times.
  • taking kids who finished the Summer Workbooks to the movies.  Picture 044                                   Obviously Summer Workbooks weren’t popular with the older crowd.


You are

  • done reading this post.