Thursday, March 31, 2011

Notes from parent-teacher conferences


1.  Your kid is mostly the same at school as he is at home.  We walked into Jane’s conference and the teacher asked “is Jane really messy at home?  She’s my messiest kid here.” Yeah, well, she’s our messiest kid here, too.  Seth talks all the time at kindergarten, too.  Gabe cares most about getting done fast, which is what we deal with during chore time, here, too.


2.  There are character traits that seem to run through the entire family.  EVERY SINGLE CONFERENCE, the teacher said “They are so smart and are doing fine.  I just wish they’d take a little more time on their work. And they struggle with organization.”  In fact, I’ve heard that at every single conference since Emma started Kindergarten.  Heck, I’ve heard it every single conference since I started going to school, because guess what?  That’s exactly the kind of student I was, and frankly, I’m still kind of like that.

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3.  It’s good to take your husband.  I’m glad I don’t have to be the filter.  I’m glad he was able to tell me what he heard, because, I was kind of only hearing the negative.  It was good to have him remind me that there was 90% positive there and I should probably focus on that. 

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4.  My kids are really nice kids.   I’m grateful that we don’t have behavior issues and that they are known as kind, fun students.

5. You feel very proud and very embarrassed in the same 20 minutes.  Like when Jane’s teacher points out the that Jane got a 4 for effort in every extra-curricular class (music, computer, PE, etc.) and that she’s never seen that.  That it’s an indication of a girl who puts her best, cheerful effort in EVERY place she goes.  And then tells us how they had to take pencils with erasers away from Jane because she was EATING THE ERASER HEAD OFF OF EVERY ONE.  In fact the aide asked her, “What are erasers for Jane?” and she replied, in all sincerity: “For eating?” ?!?!

6. Even though I’m a little crazy to think that I’m smart enough to guide 5 different human beings, I’ve also learned that I don’t need to feel guilty for their failings.  I’m trying my best.  So are they.  When either of us realizes we need to do things differently, we will!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Some stuff about Seth’s mouth


1.  When I went to Seth’s Valentine’s party the aide came up to me and said “That Seth.  He really talks a lot.  He talks more than any kid in the class.  He just follows us around talking.” “Really?” I replied, in complete sarcasm.  Then his teacher came up to me “That Seth is a kick.  He’s so fun and good, but he really never stops talking, does he?”  “Um, no.”  I replied, again.  Then his student teacher comes up to me “That Seth.  He can talk to anybody.  It doesn’t even matter if you’re listening or not.”  “Um-hmm.”  I replied.

I left the Valentines party feeling very vindicated. 

2.  Jane has never been able to say her Rs very well.  In fact, she’s in speech therapy currently, trying to learn how to pronounce them (smiling lips, a rolling feeling in the back of your mouth).  Seth couldn’t say his Rs, but I always suspected it had more to do with the person that he talked to the majority of the day (Jane), then actual physical issues, or whatever. 

A few weeks ago, apparently due to some eavesdropping on Mom/Jane speech practice, Seth decided to try to say his Rs.  And so for the last 2-3 weeks, we the Poster Child for Hard Rs in our house.  Every R sounds like this:  “Mom, is it time foRRR the biRRRthday paRRRty yet?”  It’s pretty funny, and kind of amazing how quickly he’s picked it up.  He’s actually surpassed Jane in his ability to consistently use them in everyday speech.  Heck, he’s suRRRpassed us all in his attention to Rs.

It’s pRRRobably all the pRRRactice he gets.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How to: run your first marathon

Bold Print:  I have no education, whatsoever, in exercise or physical anything.  I don’t even read running magazines.  I have to try VERY hard to follow my doctor’s advice when it comes to taking care of my legs/feet.  I am in no way an expert.


That being said…I did run my first marathon last May and it went so well, I want to do it again and again.  This is what I’d tell someone that was thinking of running a marathon.

1.  You CAN do it.  I made my decision after watching “Biggest Loser’s” marathon one year.  I thought:  if those people who were inactive and 350 lbs 4 months ago, then I can certainly do it.  What you don’t know yet is that you build really slowly.  You run 8 miles and then 10 miles and then you think “I can run 12, because it’s only 20 minutes more than I ran last week”. 

2.  Cross-train, cross-train, cross-train.  I cross-trained really hard and had no injuries, at all.  I felt like it was because I was working ALL of my muscles regularly, not just my running muscles, and so nothing was getting over-used and strained.  Others I know, who didn’t cross-train, got injuries.  Also, I was reading an article about running your first marathon, and the #2 thing they said to do, after checking with your doctor, is to begin weight lifting!  My cross-training included 2 days of serious weight-lifting and one day of boot camp.

3.  Use this plan:The Less-Is-More Training Program  .  It’s a 3 day a week training plan and I really liked it.  I felt like I never got burned out on running or was achy from pounding my feet 4-5 days a week.  You have to be running 4-6 miles to start it, and it starts at high mileage right from the start, but all of my friends, who trained with me and didn’t use my plan, want to use it for our next marathon.

4.  Convince SOMEONE to do it with you.  Those long runs were actually FUN to me, because I knew it was my alone time with my friends.  Plus, you want to talk about it non-stop, so you need someone who cares.

5.  Realize that your body will need to recover.  When I ran 15 miles on a Saturday morning, I was kind of useless until about 2:00 pm, after a long nap.  It’s a sacrifice for your family, so tell them thanks a lot.

6.  Research your marathon.  Don’t start out on a challenging, hilly, high-altitude one.  You can find ratings and opinions on sites like this.

7.  Download some new upbeat, dance-y tunes every few weeks.  “Rockstar” by Pink gets old after 115 miles of training.

8.  Good shoes.  Everyone who knows me, knows I get by on cheap.  You can’t go cheap on running shoes.  Go to a running store and have them fit you…it’s worth the extra $50, I promise.

9.  Don’t expect to lose weight.  Unless you are a boy. 

10.  Start early experimenting with food and liquid during your long run.  You want to have a fueling habit that your body can count on.  You can find books at the library or websites that will give you ideas on ideal marathon training nutrition.  (I ate a banana and a yogurt 30 minutes before each run, fueled during the run with G2 and jolly ranchers and tried to eat a complex carbohydrate—whole wheat bread/crackers within an hour of getting home.)


There you go!  It was so fun!  I get a giddy feeling in my stomach whenever I remember it and can’t wait to do Top of Utah in September of this year…anyone want to join me?

**More How-Tos:  Check Stie’s fun How-To Tuesday here.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

It's dangerous out there

Ryan just called a sibling whose parenting he particularly admires and asked the following question: "When you become a perfect parent, do you stop hiding from your kids? Because right now, I'm afraid to leave my room because I might encounter one. I'm just wondering, does that end sometime?"

It's been a long Sunday.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, March 11, 2011


Yesterday, I spent some time putting together my blog book from 2009.  Being 2 years behind is no big deal, except…those posts are about kids who were so much littler 2 years ago.  It made me sad.  Little 6 month old Faith, 3 year Seth, 5 year old Jane…I was a little teary. 

The fact is, no matter what I do, there’s no possible way to stop them from getting bigger.  They’ll just keep doing it and doing it, until I have no more Littles at home.  I’m sure there will be good things about that, but I couldn’t think of them yesterday. 

So that is why…I didn’t really mind at all when this one:


got a little stomach flu yesterday. 

With a little perspective, I was able to stop my busy and stay home with and enjoy my Almost Not Little boy—reading books, paying games, taking a nap together. 

A little Tender Mercy, I think, that on a day when I was especially mourning my babies, I got to spend a little extra time with one of them.

Monday, March 7, 2011

How To: Make a Monday dinner Pot Pie from your Sunday dinner Pot Roast

My friend, Christie, had a fabulous idea to put together a How-To Tuesday blog party.  Go here to see all of the links to the Tutorial Party. 

Here’s my silly offering:

I’m not a very creative cook.  Detailed, yes.  Successful, yes.  But not so much creative.  I made a pot roast and then ate the leftovers till they were gone.  Until…I went to my friend Julie’s house after I’d had Faith.  She fed our family a yummy pot roast on Sunday and then while we enjoyed dessert, whipped up a second meal for me to take home:  Beef Pot Pie. 

I’ve been doing it ever since.

Step 1:  Make (and enjoy) your pot roast.  This is my favorite recipe: Awesome Slow Cooker Pot Roast. (Note:  I add beef broth in place of the water in this recipe and I add carrots, onion and celery about 3 hours before it’s supposed to be done.)

Step 2:  On Monday, over the din of piano practicing and people getting their feelings hurt and Faith asking to watch Despicable Me for the THIRD time today…pull out your leftover tupperware full of pot roast and veggies.   We had asparagus as a side last night, so I’m planning on throwing those in, as well.



Step 3:  Last night’s pot roast make AMAZING gravy, so we always make mashed potatoes.  For the Pot Roast, I needed some cooked chopped potatoes.  Pull out 2-3 medium potatoes.

Step 4:  Peel and chop your potatoes.


Step 5:  Microwave with an inch of water for 5-6 minutes (till they are soft but not mushed).  Make sure your lid is slightly ajar so that the steam doesn’t blow your lid off halfway through.




Step 6:  Chop your roast and dump the pot roasted veggies into your pan, along with your cooked potatoes.


Step 7:  Begin your quest for thyme in your ridiculously underorganized spice area.  (Someone do a tutorial on spice organization—but not the drawer kind.  I have no drawers.)017

Step 8:  Yay!  You found it!

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Step 9:  Sprinkle 1/2 t. thyme over your meat and veggies (more if you’ve slowly upped your husband’s thyme tolerance over the years), along with garlic salt (because your husband’s always had a high tolerance for both).


Step 10:  If there isn’t enough gravy from the crockpot, add some beef broth (I bet you wish you’d saved that half of a can you threw away last night, don’t you?!  Now you’re going to have to grab some beef bullion and make some more) and stir it all in the pan.

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Step 11:  Make (or buy) a single pie crust and lay it over the top.  Try to care more than me about how the top looks.


Step 12:  Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes (I know the picture said 30, but it wasn’t enough, all right?).  Pat yourself on the back for having dinner done at 5:06 pm.032

Step 13:  Enjoy your finished product:


Saturday, March 5, 2011

February Summary

Here are some of the big and not-so-big events of February…


Not so big:

Everyone got new Valentines shirts for the 1st Day of Valentines.  Here are Faith and Seth in theirs.  Sorry, no pictures of any of the rest of the “days”.


Oh!  Except on Day # 9 (or something) when I took each of them out to lunch.  Taking 5 kids, individually, out to lunch takes quite a bit of planning, calories and cash, but I was happy when they later reported that it was their favorite “Day” of the entire Valentines month.





Faith reminds us a few times a day: “Dis what a mah-key (monkey) yooks yike, Mom!”


At Emma’s parent teacher conference (no comment re:that particular “thrilling moment in my parenting career” in an effort to protect the guilty innocent), we got to see the locker that the ASB decorated for her birthday:




We had lots of relatives visit us this month…mainly to come to Emma’s special temple trip:

Jessica, Emma, Ryan 1

But we had lots of fun with Grandma Dorrie and Grandpa Rick while having our Valentine’s Day Dinner (strawberry crepes):

Valentine's Day

And going to the Children’s museum:



Grandpa Sherrill and Grandma Genie showed up next and we made those Californians go to the park in our unseasonably warm (43 degrees) and sunny (for an hour) February day:


Aunt Bekah came, too.  She is very good to remind us to take pictures when we look our best:

Jessica, Dad, Bekah

Grandma Nut and Grandpa Romney came, as well, and we took advantage of her (and Genie’s) sewing expertise (since I certainly don’t have any) to learn her new sewing machine and create a few projects. 


In other Valentines Day festivities, I was in charge of Seth’s party this year…which meant copying everything I did for Jane’s first grade party last year…which meant copying everything my mom did for her Kindergarten class the year before that. 




Emma finished her big China project, complete with her kimono (my purple robe from college) and homemade fried rice samples:


On the last day of the month, we celebrated Ryan’s birthday.  The only one who seemed to put in any effort was sister Heather, who brought a package full of things that Ryan loves (past and present):004 - Copy

Besides the lemon and lime pies, we had a nice lunch out and a FHE of newly purchased Mario Kart.


Also in the Decidedly Big category…First Friday.  This is the annual costume party that the Albrechts throw.  Check her blog for the full story (the costumes were incredible this year).  But, please, tell me you know what Ryan and I are!?  I was shocked at how few people did. 


On that Super Note, I’ll leave you for today.  Comment powers, activate!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Quick Quote


Seth: " Buckle up so the Police Mans don't get you!"

Jane: " duh! The Police don't work on Sunday!"

So, hey…feel free to speed on the Sabbath…apparently the police officers are all at church!