Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Since it is looks like this today and most days from January to April,

I thought I'd list some things I'm looking forward to, in order to break through the doldrums of a northwest winter.

Driving Emma to her city choir class, which means a SOLO trip to trader joe's!

This week:
Ryan's parents coming to stay for the weekend

Next week:
I just put list together for the 14 Days of Valentines that I do for Ryan and the kids, and now I can't wait to do it!

In February:
Finishing Emma's room makeover. She's been asking for it for her 13th birthday for months and months. We've gotten started and it's going to be cute. Plus, I'm really appreciating the super positive interactions it's helped Emma and I have.

In March:
One word--HAWAII!!

In April:
Training for my May marathon with my besties. I thought everyone was done running marathons, except me, but my whole running crowd surprised me by wanting to train. Here's to 3 hour long gab, uh, I mean running, sessions.

And by then Spokane will begin to be gorgeous and I will want to live in the moment...until then, I stave off the winter blues any way I can!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Quick Quote


(A conversation, post-tantrum)

Faith: "mom are you happy?" 

Mom:  "I've been happy. You were the one having a tantrum"

F: "but I'm not sad now! I des (just) smelled my Special (her blankie) and now I'm happy!" 


Jane: "That's what I do! I mean, not her special, but you know..."

Friday, January 13, 2012

December Summary

It’s all of the usual Holiday stuff…parties, concerts, visitors, presents.  But it was good.  Last December I was struggling with some real depression and it was an awful month.  This year, I just kept reflecting on how much better I felt this time around.  Yay for getting through a hard thing and learning from it!

On to the family stuff:

4 kids in school means LOTS of holiday concerts.  I only got a few pictures, though, because really, my child’s head in a crowd of other kids is kind of pointless.  Emma played in the middle school orchestra, Gabe played with the middle school band (SUPER impressed with that program!), and Jane and Seth sang with their grades at their music programs.  Here’s Jane at hers:


We did lots of partying, too.  Also: barely photo-documented. But we were busy with the ward Christmas party (neat, neat experience:  our ward put on a party for the local women’s shelter.  Such a great idea.), neighborhood cookie exchange, Rowell’s ornament party, book club (where we put together bags to give to those down-on-their-luck people you see off the Division exit in Spokane), Ryan’s work party (we were in a fight the whole time.  Lame.), and our progressive New Years party (pictures are of some of the games we played:) 



Lots of fun.  Exhausting, weight gaining fun.

I figured out that if I was going to make these holidays fun for the Mother, too, I needed to have the kids DO THE WORK WITH ME.  Here are pictures of them stuffing Christmas card envelopes, unwrapping candies for cookie ingredients and delivering the goodie plates.  It made my month SO much more fun.




Poor Gabe got braces on the first day of Christmas break.  He had a sore mouth.  And turned into a Older Looking Kid in 2 hours—it was weird.


Christmas Break had almost NO snow (I will NEVER complain about that.  White Christmas, Schmite Christmas.) but was still cold so we did lots of indoor things:

Cookie decorating playdates:


Game playing (here, with Quirkle, a TOTAL hit because it’s a game 6 and up can easily play but adults enjoy):


jump rope/games inside the church gym:

Jump Rope


and trips to the children’s museum with Grandma and Bekah:

Mobius 1

Also, you’ve got to love the kid who demands you be a good mom to him.  Seth came up to me last month one night and said “Mom.  You have to take me on an alone date.  I really really want to do that with you.”  And how could you say no to that?  Here we are eating frozen yogurt and playing Go Fish:


I have been debating starting a new post dedicated to Christmas, but I’m just going to forge ahead here.  Stop reading, I’ll never know.

For Christmas Eve, Grandma Dorrie and Bekah joined us (yay!) and we did the usual:

Lunch at a restaurant (a local Brazillian place)

Christmas Eve Lunch 1


and a movie (Muppets.  eh.)

Christmas Eve Movie

Then we headed to the Daines for the annual Bethlehem dinner and nativity play, where we were completely shocked by the surprise visit of the Romney Grandma and Grandpa! 

Nativity 1Nativity 14Nativity 15

And opened the Christmas Eve PJs.  This was the point at which, sick of fighting kids to take decent pictures, I launched the Guilt Trip:  “If you guys had any idea how much time I have spent this month getting Christmas ready for you all, you would BE THRILLED to sit still for 3 minutes to let me get a picture of it!!”  It Worked…sorta.

Pajamas 2

After, we came home and left donuts and hot chocolate for Santa.


Christmas morning:

Christmas 054Christmas 078Christmas 082Christmas 080Christmas 081

And Christmas Fancy Clothes for Church (which, by the way, is just the most lovely way to spend Christmas day:  singing and listening to talks/testimonies praising Jesus Christ.  So perfect.)

Christmas 091

I made (if I do say so myself) the BEST MEAL EVER and actually planned ahead (so I wasn’t angrily peeling potatoes while everyone else played) and decorated and everything. 

Christmas Day Dinner

It was very gratifying. 

Really I would give this December a solid A.  Yay for figuring out how to run our family holiday a little better this year. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Not a Bed of Roses

In the last 8 hours:

1. Seth and Jane were super late getting ready for school and I yelled "focus!" at Seth in a lame attempt to get him moving.

2. Faith screamed for half of the morning and I thought I was handling it right but I have no idea and it's made me teary with frustration twice

3. She also barfed (in a tantrum) 3 minutes after we headed out for errands so she smelled like vomit the whole time

4. Gabe is sad in his room and after 10 minutes of back rubbing and cajoling, he won't tell me what's wrong

5. Jane just called from school and Seth fell off of his scooter and has a big goose egg on his forehead and the school had me sign a "head trauma" when I picked him up

6. Faith just dumped 400 cashews on the floor and yelled "you are the meanest mom" and is now locked in her room until she can a) talk nicely and b) clean up the nuts

So, today's not awesome. That's all.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Awesome stuff you say because you are a parent:


“I said to clean it off, not lick it off…

but whatever.”

--Ryan (regarding some toothpaste on the staircase bannister)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Just can’t wait to get on the road again…

I am a huge road trip girl.  My whole life, I’ve loaded into a van (or station wagon) and driven at least 12 hours a few times a year.  I’ve learned a lot along the way. 


(p.s.  They don’t always look this angelic.)

I think Road Trip Success comes from 2 things:  Not Being a Wimp (yourself or as a parent) and PLANNING ahead.

1.  Don’t be a wimp.

Seriously.  And don’t let your kids be wimps either.  I think the most important part of going on road trips is just deciding that it’s not that bad to sit still in a car for a day.  My kids know that when they get in that car, we don’t stop for whining or fighting or boredom or hunger or (hardly ever) bathroom needs.  They learn pretty quickly how to entertain themselves.  ESPECIALLY if you aren’t pandering to them. 

     a.  Along with not being a wimp:  drive without your husband!  Take a cell phone, tune up your car, know your route and JUST GO.  What’s the worst that could happen?  Honestly, I almost prefer solo trips because my kids realize that there is no adult that can help them and they bug me less.  Also, I LOVE to listen to audio-books for hours on end.

     b.  Bathrooms:  Force them to go the minute before you leave and at EVERY gas station/restaurant, etc.  Even if they went when you got to McDonalds…make them go as you walk out of the door.  Also, limit soda.  I NEVER let my kids get refills.  Warn that you will NOT be stopping and that they will have to go on the side of the road if they need to go before the next gas/food stop.  And follow through.  I’ve found that sticking in a movie can very effectively distract a 5 year old with a full bladder.


2.  PLAN activities.

Don’t just rely on your movies.  Because a) they’ll get boring and b) come on!  It’s hours and hours!  There’s so much reading, listening, talking and interacting that can be done.  Make movies your treat.

For normal road trips (8-12 hours), I usually bring dvds, children’s audio books on CD, new library books that I don’t let them touch prior to the trip, 1-2 carefully chosen toys.

For our Texas Trip, I did a bit more.  Ryan and I made a binder for each kid and filled it with games (logic puzzles, license plate games, mazes, coloring pages, etc) as well as a map and details of each leg of the trip.  I also created a daily Journal Questionnaire that I asked (made) them fill out every day and hope to turn into a book.  We added lined paper and an envelope with sharpened pencils, crayons, and pens.  The older kids all stuck their homework in that binder and I loved having it all in one place. 

     a. IMPORTANT:  space your activities! NEVER do 2 things at a time.  For example, we’ll get in the car at 4:00 and I’ll tell the kids “We’ll turn on the first movie at 7:00, so sleep or read, but DO NOT make noise”.  At 7:00 they’ll watch their movie and then when the movie has completely ended, I’ll feed them breakfast from our food stash.  When that is totally done and cleaned up, I’ll have them change out of pajamas.  By this time it’s, 9:00…we’re halfway there and they’ve only watched one movie.  I’ll then put in a CD and tell them that in an hour, we’ll do the next movie.  One activity at a time, very spaced out, makes each one new and interesting.


It’s not my very favorite thing to stare at the central Montana scenery for hours on end, and I’m thrilled when I jump out of the car, but, honestly, we’ve had so many great experiences due to the cheap method of car travel.  Share your suggestions in the comments, please!