Friday, December 31, 2010

All Moved in With No Intention of Moving Again. Ever.

So this post is WAAAAAY overdue since we moved in almost 2 months ago, but we were too busy enjoying the holidays in our NEW HOUSE (!) to worry about things like the internet. But we are definitely getting settled (although, allegedly, there may be a certain craft room in the basement that looks like a bomb exploded in it) and learning our way around our new area. Admittedly I have taken zero photos of the house itself. I live here. I know what it looks like. But I thought I'd post a few pics from the last 2 months that sort of show the house in the background but that are mostly just us.

So here is my beautiful family sitting in our basement in their cute new chairs from Christmas. See that DARK green color on the walls in the background. Yes? Well, it's even darker when you're actually standing in the basement. Add in a smattering of cheap lighting and you have a cave under your house. Don't get me started on the basement (I'm sure I'll have more to say over the coming months as we find remodeling projects to work on) but needless to say we are excited to paint it a more suitable, LIGHT color and stick in some canned lighting. For colors I'm tending toward the white-blue tones. Any comments?

And here are the kids in their Christmas PJs on Christmas Eve! Also, it's the kitchen! Not much to look at here but I'm really liking my kitchen. The window in the background looks out on our lovely backyard that leaves me completely intoxicated. I love it more than words can say. Let's see if I can find a picture...

sigh....this sight makes my heart go gorgeous kids playing in my now-most-favorite place on earth. This backyard. I can't explain what my fascination is but this little piece of land just completes my life. I can barely keep house plants alive but you better believe I'm still chomping at the bit to start a garden here. Wish me luck with that. (Better yet, wish the plants luck...)

The kids' new room complete with bunk beds!!! This room is nearly twice the size as their last room so everyone is thrilled with the arrangement. In fact, I'm toying with the idea of eventually putting all THREE of the kids in here. The other night my mom stayed with the kids at bedtime and she said the two oldest were talking to each other for a while and every so often baby Dew would chime in with his two cents because he could hear his brother and sister from the room next door. All signs point to...sharing.

And, finally (because I'm tired and want to go to bed) the family getting ready to decorate Christmas cookies...with a fuzzy view of our cute little living room in the back, complete with fireplace! I heart it. I've never had a mantle before and I realized before Christmas that I needed to buy stocking hangers because we actually had a need for them!

Have I put a picture of my short hair on the blog? I'm sure I have, I cut it last August...but I find as I go through our pictures that out of every 100 or so photos, I'm in Because I'm always behind the camera. Wait, I just remembered another one!

OK, this is just to show off my hubby's handsome mug. Even bald (the festivities of New Year's Eve included the shaving of the heads...thanks a lot Tennyson) he makes me melt. Ummm, also that is our bathroom. SO...that concludes this totally complete tour of my new house. And as far as I'm concerned this is my house for at least the next 10 years. Thank you 2010 for being, like so many before you, a year that was so good to us. Here's to another! What about you, was your year good to you?

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Moving Day!!!!!

We are moving today!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I found out yesterday that it will take 10 days to get our internet installed which means I will be out of commission for a while. So I wanted to officially announce that we are moving today! I am sitting among a pile of boxes and dirty carpet and remains of junk drawers and who knows what else and we are leaving to pick up the moving truck in about a half hour (eek!) so this will be quick. We are saying goodbye to our adorable little townhome (it's for sale or rent, if anyone's looking) and heading to a house with 5 bedrooms and a yard! I can hardly wait, I get giddy every time I just walk through it. So I will miss you for a while, internet. Hope everyone is enjoying their start to the Christmas holidays.

I'll be posting pictures in a few weeks, so stay tuned...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Quick shot of the kiddos with daddy right before we left for trick-or-treating. It had been raining for about 2 hours before we left and as soon as we sensed a break in the rain we busted out the costumes and dashed out so we didn't miss our window. But thankfully there was no more rain while we were out! There were knife-like gusts of wind and frigid temperatures, but no rain.

John = Robot, Emily = Goldfish, David = Turtle (sort of)

Mostly, David's trick is being cute.

Happy Halloween, everyone! Hope you all still have your fingers and toes. Mine are recuperating tonight and will hopefully be fully functional again by morning.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Wow, has it really been a MONTH since I posted last?!?! What is happening to this Autumn? And shouldn't it be winter by now? This time last year my kiddies & I were BUNDLED like Stay-Puft Marshmallow Men. We couldn't go outside without coats, hats, mittens and boots. And now...I've played soccer outside every day this week with John in our t-shirts. Some of those times we've played without shoes or socks. We went to the park yesterday with friends and had to take our jackets off cause we all got hot. Can it be??? Will they actually be able to trick-or-treat this year without jackets OVER their costumes???

*weather check*

Yikes. Strike that last statement/question. Just checked the weather and it's dropping to the 40s in a few days. So much for my fantasies of going to the pool on Christmas. Good thing my kids like playing in the snow.

On a completely unrelated note (sorry, my ranting about the weather will hopefully be short-lived this year) I had a thought tonight about parenting. Since I've had children I am struck at least a dozen times a day by the parent/child construct and its relationship to ourselves as children of God. I see the way my children sometimes view me, the way I view them, the opportunities as well as punishments that I dole out based on performance...the list is almost endless. And since I seem to have a hard time remembering all of these learned lessons, I thought I'd write down at least ONE that occurred to me tonight. I had been dealing with the oft-experienced meltdown that occurs at the dinner table, calmly demanding that the dinner provided had to be eaten. I finally pulled out the big guns and declared that "only children who eat their soup will get Rice Krispy Treats," something we had planned to make together after dinner. At some point in this debate John informed me, "you're not a very good mother." Thankfully I know his moods well enough (and how he feels about me) to not take it to heart and just shrug with a smile and say something trite like "I'm sorry you feel that way." Because in reality, I feel like I'm a better mother because I allow them to make choices. They can choose to eat dinner and get dessert. Or they can choose to NOT eat dinner and NOT get dessert. Either way, I'm not making them do anything against their will (that is not always the case...sometimes kids are just dumb and don't make good choices so they need adults to help them along...especially when they're under the age of 5). And I knew we'd be fine within the next few minutes. And we were.

Fast forward about 2 hours and I had put baby Dew to bed, only to hear him crying within 20 minutes. I assumed he was just fussing and getting settled, so I left him to his own devices. Eventually I want him to learn to calm himself down so he'll be happier and healthier in the long run. Sometimes he can do this, sometimes he can't. So it turns out tonight was one of the times when he was NOT going to calm himself so after a while I went to him to hold him, feed him, change him, do whatever it is he needed. He has a long time until he needs to be able to take care of himself so I'm happy to do it for him. As I held him and rocked him, I assured him how much I loved him, even though I left him alone for a while (he was still sniffling and upset from the effects of his crying) and that just because I didn't do what he wanted right away didn't mean I didn't love him. In fact I was listening the whole time, waiting on pins & needles for him to calm down, to learn for himself what to do in that situation. But when he needed someone to take over I was right there.

So that got me thinking about the earlier situation with John. They both thought they wanted and/or needed something right away. David needed comforting and wanted to eat (again). John wanted to avoid the yucky soup and dig right into dessert. But as the loving mother I want only what's best for them, or at least what I deem best during that situation. Just because I don't give John exactly what he wants when he wants it doesn't mean that I'm a bad mother or that I don't love him. Just because I "ignore" Dew's crying doesn't mean that I don't love him. Or that I'm really ignoring him, for that matter. I want them to learn from their experiences. I want them to make choices and see what the results teach them. Of course, baby is only 9 months old, so I'm not going to be real technical on this last one with him. When I realize that he's not getting it yet, I'm ready to jump in and help him feel better. (I'm also a big softie with each subsequent kid because I'm realizing that I have limited time in which to hold babies...and I'm going to squeeze every last drop out of that nirvana of baby time. And anyway, how could you ignore this face?)

And that led me to my relationship with my Heavenly Father. Do I think He's ignoring me? Do I imagine that He is unconcerned or somehow impotent because I'm not getting exactly what I want when I want it? Could it be as simple as that I just need to eat dinner before I get dessert? Or that I just need to learn to solve things on my own so that I can grow? I don't think the fact that we cry, ask, beg, despair, etc. about life and don't seem to get a response has much to do with the way our Father feels about us, except to indicate that He loves us and wants what's best for us. Not to mention that He actually KNOWS what's best for us in any given situation. There are plenty of ways that I fail as a parent because I can't always see what's best for my kids or I lose sight of it because of my own failings. But I still believe He knows what's best and have come to trust it completely. But sometimes I still need reminders, so I'm glad I got one tonight.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Randomness on a Friday Afternoon

1. I was in a car accident this week. It wasn't my fault. The other driver's insurance company denied my claim. This made me angry.
2. I don't usually yell at people. As long as my children don't count as "people" cause I yell at them.
3. That makes me sad. I love my kids more than any other people on the planet--why would I yell at them and not everyone else?
4. Well, I did yell at the insurance adjuster who told me my claim was denied and wouldn't tell me why. I also apologized to him. But I still think he deserved it.
5. So I took my car in to get it fixed and now have a rental car for a few weeks.
6. The rental is a 2010 Dodge something-or-other. A minivan. I HEART IT.
7. I'm already sad thinking about having to give it back when my own car is fixed.
8. One day I think I'd like to own a new car. Just for kicks.
9. My kids were so good through the whole switching-cars thing that I took them to McDonalds for lunch and to play on the playland. I never take them there. Nothing wrong with playlands, I just hate having to eat there.
10. By and large, fast food is nas-tay.
11. Except Frosty's from Wendy's. That is ambrosia right there.
12. I got a video from Redbox last night. Prince of Persia. It was seriously awesome, not what I was expecting at all. I highly recommend it.
13. I tried for over half an hour to get it to work, but it kept stopping when it got to the movie, so I called Redbox to complain. They gave me promo codes for 2 free movies to make up for it.
14. After I got off the phone I tried the movie one more time and it worked.
15. I felt a little guilty.
16. But not that guilty.
17. I AM GOING ON A DATE TONIGHT WITH MY HUBBY!!! This makes me happy.
18. That is all. Apparently 18 is my limit with random thoughts today.
19. Thank you, and good night. Wait, make that 19...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

growing pains, part 2

(See notes on previous post. Blubbering, Twix-eating, lamenting baby growing up, etc. Typical mothering syndromes, it comes with the territory.)

growing pains

I am happy that he's so excited to crawl, I really am. At least, that's what I keep telling myself. Then I go cry in the corner and eat a Twix. Why do babies have to grow up?

Thursday, September 09, 2010

no such thing as too much awesome

We send out this ecard (from someecards) to our wonderful husband & father, who epitomizes awesomeness. And we are sorry we didn't get to spend more time with him on his birthday, the stud. But we appreciate you busting your chops with full-time work AND school AND being a good friend when someone needs it AND still managing to stay awesome. So here's to my own Captain Awesome. I love you, babe.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

things motherhood has done to my brain

Yesterday I made zucchini chocolate chip cookies. My beautiful friend Mitzi found the recipe HERE and I made them at her house...they were pretty awesome, especially using a fresh zucchini from her garden. I decided to make them again. I got all the ingredients mixed together and was ready to add the zucchini at the end, so I grabbed the grater and started shredding that sucker. But, seemed really...watery. Are zucchini's supposed to be like that? And...what the? Why are there SEEDS in my zucchini??? I stopped grating and pulled the zucchini back to investigate. Can't you just imagine the puzzled look on my face? Go ahead, imagine it. Suddenly, the smell hit me. You know how zucchinis, that's wrong, zucchinis don't smell. It smells...refreshing. Seeds, fresh smell, water...WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? I'M GRATING A CUCUMBER TO PUT IN MY ZUCCHINI COOKIES!

If you actually compare the two, they are nothing alike. Cucumbers are bumpy with a smooth, plastic-like skin. Zucchini don't have bumps but they are rough with these almost imperceptible coarse little hairs, like some guy with a five o'clock shadow. Cause, you know, I'd hate for you do to something embarrassing like CONFUSE the two of them.
So, now I had a bowl with half of a grated cucumber. And no zucchini. I turned the oven off that was preheating and rounded up the kids, mumbling about needing to buy a zucchini. Then John & I had a little lesson at the store about the differences between cucumber and zucchini. When you're a parent you don't want your children to make the same mistakes you've made. You know, you want to protect them from the pain and suffering of vegetable confusion. Also, let this be a warning if you are at my home: I might someday make a carrot cake with squash. Or a fruit tart with eggplant. **Eat at your own risk**

In case you are a complete moron like me* and need a refresher:
*sheesh. seriously, this makes me feel like a complete moron. you are welcome for making you feel better about yourself.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Some Favorite Things From the Last Few Days

In no particular order...

  • My two-year old sitting on the stand with me at church so I could lead the music...I asked if she wanted to sit on the floor (she was having a hard time with the self-collapsing chair) at which she protested, "But then I won't be able to see all the people!"
  • Leaving my almost-ready-for-bed kids in their room while I went to hunt for the bedtime book (we're starting 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'). Upon my return I find them huddled on one bed in a tight embrace, grinning up at me: "We're giving hugs!"
  • Going to John's first soccer game. It deserves its own blog post. It was...hilarious. Like parasites attacking an organism. And each other. But it was also pretty sweet. John scored the most goals out of anyone on either team. And we found out later he was horribly sick. Way to suck it up and play anyway, buddy!
  • My big boy started school today!!! Literally--the biggest boy in the house. Not my son. I'm so proud of you honey and I hope your first day rocks. I'll see ya in 2 years.
  • Had a brilliant idea of a store I want to start. Think baking. Never thought of running a store before but it suddenly sounds fantastic. And exciting. And most likely will just be a pipe dream, but it's always nice to have something to fantasize about.
  • Just found out I've lost almost all of my baby weight. Which is weird cause I still don't fit in a lot of the pre-baby clothes, but hey, small victories.
  • Little Dew now has 2 teeth! Is it just me or does each child subsequently grow faster and faster than the previous ones? My first baby was a baby forever. Now, I have a seven month old who, I swear, was just born a few days ago. Why has time suddenly done a sprint for the finish line?
  • I cut my hair. I like it.
  • My marvelous husband surprised me with flowers for the first time in...a long time. Beautiful roses, no less! I've moved them to various parts of the house to make each room smell divine. They have opened so beautifully today and they make me smile wistfully each time I see them. Thank you, sweetheart!
  • My kids! Although sometimes I wanna strangle them, they also get the biggest kick out of tiny things and it makes life brighter and sweeter.
  • I made up a treasure hunt at the last minute for an activity tonight that included hugging, running, silly dancing, saying nice things and cupcakes. It was a happy way to end a somewhat stressful, grumpy evening.
  • Held a Sunday school class on the topic of Job and it turned out better than I could have planned. People can really surprise you when they decide to open up. I also realized that I could do a lot better in the "being grateful for things" arena...whether they are good things or not. Job was pretty awesome.
  • I'm pretty awesome. Sometimes that just feels good to say. Try saying it (and really mean it!) without smiling, I dare you.
  • Just writing about stuff that has happened recently makes me remember more and become more grateful for all my blessings.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

that would be weird

Do you ever have somewhat heated debates in your head with people about situations that have never actually happened, but potentially could someday, just so you can be prepared with what to say?
Yeah, me neither.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

you know you're a parent when...

For those of you considering parenthood, here is some food for thought. And of course this is a PURELY hypothetical situation off the top of my head.

Imagine that you have three children. Can you see them? They're so adorable, the apples of your eye, you can't imagine life without them. You see them? Right. Now imagine you put the two oldest ones to bed for the night and you are thrilled at the sight of them snugly in bed with an evening of rest in front of you. The youngest is a baby, just a few months old, so you put him to bed a little later, let's say around 8:30 or 9:00, and you spend the evening relaxing and enjoying time with your spouse. Just for argument's sake, let's say you go to bed around 11:30pm. This may not be your normal bedtime but since this is hypothetical just go with me on it. You are puttering around, doing last minute things, finally saying your prayers before bed and as you're just about to climb under the covers your baby starts fussing. Oh, sure, it may be small at first, but you've been there before, you know this isn't the start of something good. You're also probably desperately trying to get your baby back on a normal schedule after a week of vacation and so far have been unsuccessful. So you know that you don't want to pick him up or feed him or give him any encouragement to be awake. But, as his crying picks up a bit, you also know this could go on for a while and you're determined to let him cry it out. Hypothetically.

So, what do you do? Don't bother getting in bed because you'll just lay there frustrated, listening to him cry, debating about what to do. It's best to ignore it completely, so you go into the other room and look at houses for sale online. I mean, allegedly that's what someone might do. In this hypothetical situation.

Anyhoo, let's say that an hour passes with a few stops and starts in the crying but nothing is really changing, so you finally go cover him up and rhythmically pat his back to get him to relax. It's now around 1 am. His crying subsides but he's still making small whimpering noises which you know is a bad sign, but you've slowed the crying a bit so you leave again and go back to the computer. The crying continues. At full force. Around 1:30am you're wondering why you're so determined to ride it out and can't remember what the point is of listening to the crying, so you go back to his crib, pick him up, and commence bouncing. The bouncing helps, to a point, but if know anything about these imagined children they are probably all pretty darn stubborn and if they know anything it's how to wait it out until they get what they want. After bouncing for almost a half hour, you can hardly feel your feet anymore and you're afraid any moment you'll lose your equilibrium or else just plain pass out from exhaustion. So you give up pretenses of putting baby back to sleep and go back to the office and let him watch a video with you online. You wanted to finish watching that episode of "Ugly Betty" anyway. He sort of falls asleep while he sits on your lap but immediately awakes at the slightest sign of movement. It is now approximately 2:15am. You've forgotten your name, the names of your beautiful, stubborn, hypothetical children, and your reason for staying up with this baby. He wins. You hang up the white flag and feed the poor starving kid. At approximately 2:37 in the morning you dump him back in his crib, climb under the covers and pass out.

You think you're done, don't you? It's cute how you think that.

About an hour later you hear child-like mumbling at your bedside and wake to find your oldest child standing over your sleeping spouse whimpering something about it being too dark in his room. You grumble at sleeping-spouse to scoot over and everyone squishes into the bed and fall back asleep.

Nope, still not done.

About an hour after that (so where are we, around 4:30 in the morning? I've lost track) the baby you stayed up with for 3 hours starts crying again. At this point, you've lost all will to live, including the sensitive, nurturing, mothering part of living and you shove sleeping-spouse to wake them and loudly state that they need to take the scared-of-the-dark child back to their room to sleep. Barely-coherent-spouse rouses the sleeping child and says he has to go back to his bed because the baby is crying and he won't be able to sleep. Interesting logic because obviously he was sleeping fine, but everyone is tired so thankfully there is no argument. You flop yourself back onto the pillow and bitterly mourn the loss of the days before you had children and you could sleep for 8 hours if you felt like it. You don't really keep track of how long the baby cries this time because it's obvious at this point that time has stopped and this night will never end. Either you fall asleep to the crying or it only lasts around 5 minutes because the next thing you know, there is light outside your window and your lovely middle child, who has had beautiful, uninterrupted sleep all night, is in your room at 6:30 am, rousing the baby you struggled with all night and gleefully playing with him. You lie there in a half-asleep stupor for about 30 minutes before you give up and resign yourself to the life you've chosen. The life where sleep is a distant memory.

Of course, this is all hypothetical. It's not at all likely that this will happen to you when you have kids, and certainly not all in one night. And to those of you expecting children, maybe for the first time: We welcome you to parenthood.

On an unrelated note, we went to DisneyWorld. Go Mickey!

(I know, this doesn't actually show them AT DisneyWorld--it's in the hotel. But I adore this picture of the three of them.)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tastespotting. It's that good.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Tastespotting? If you haven't ever been there, go right now. I'll wait....

(taps foot, hums a tune)

...did you try it? Actually, if you'd never seen the site and you clicked over you'll probably be there for a while and won't come back to this post so I should have said goodbye.
If you haven't seen it before it is basically a foodie site. It hosts a million (ok, not literally) but a LOT of pictures from food sites anywhere in the world that you can click on and be sent to a corresponding site to find the recipe. I could spend hours clicking from page to page, opening tab after tab after tab, exploring the various sites, going back to tastespotting, finding more pictures, which leads to more can get lost after a while if you're not careful but I love getting lost in that world. What makes it even better? I notice that a VAST majority of those pictures/recipes are of sweets. Brownies, cheesecake, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, ice cream, tarts, chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate...and hence my addiction. It is a well-established fact that I am a lover of baking. I'm not fabulous at it, but you can nearly always find some sort of baked good at my house. And I love that. I want people to come to my home and be able to look forward to something sweet or gooey or moist or chocolatey, as long as it is homemade. OK, there is plenty of the other stuff at tastespotting--rices, salsas, salads, meats, veggies, grilling, you name it. But I have to confess I usually pass over most of those (except the Asian dishes--most of them come from authentic Asian sites so the people actually know what they're doing--I tend to pay attention to those) in favor of the baked goods. It's the chocolate. I can't get enough.

For example, after putting kids to bed this evening I decided to relax by browsing through tastespotting. And after looking at just 2 pages I had opened up separate tabs for blueberry cheesecake squares, peanut butter cookies, bruschetta, spicy coconut noodles, spicy sesame-roasted sweet potato chips, some sort of chocolate cake and a couple others that I can't remember because my brain is full of recipes right now. Then, if something catches my eye on the food site I'm on (like the one for blueberry cheesecake) I wander around that site for a while until I remember what I was doing and find myself back at tastespotting, looking at luscious pictures and dreaming about making dessert tomorrow. In fact, just writing about it, looking at the pictures again, I may not be able to wait. If I start something now (around 9:30pm) what are the odds I'll finish and be in bed by a reasonable hour? And what are the odds that I won't eat half of the goodies right before bedtime? Hmmm...all signs point to slim-to-none.
I think I'm OK with that.

Speaking of food sites, I also find some great things at Tasty Kitchen, like these Muffins That Taste Like Doughnuts that I made this week and were, I kid you not, one of the EASIEST recipes in existence, and were also one of the best things I've ever made in my life. Seriously, try them TODAY. This has been a public service announcement.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Conquering the Elements

I love to bake, but I don't really bake pies. Once a year I'll do pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving and I love it, but I'm hesitant enough about it that I stay away the rest of the year. Today, however, I found myself with a TON of blueberries that were going to spoil if I didn't use I made a pie. With TWO crusts (top & bottom), something I don't have to do with pumpkin pies. So it was a double effort, double win. As I pulled it out of the oven, I felt like my mother. Triple win. (Not that she bakes pies either but she's amazing and seemed to bake a lot when I was a kid so when I bake something I usually think of her). It was beautifully golden brown, piping hot steam was wafting through the vents I cut in the top, and the solid weight of it made my mouth start to water, just knowing that heaviness came from fruity, juicy, blueberry goodness.
You remember that scene from Cast Away where Tom Hanks' character works & works & works & finally sees a spark of flame that he builds into an enormous fire:

"Fire! I. Make. Fire!" he says, as he beats his chest in a way that can only be described as manly. As I pulled my blueberry pie out of the oven, I felt the triumph that only comes from creating something.

"Pie! I. Make. Pie!" I shouted to no one in particular. My kids don't even bat an eye anymore. They've learned to ignore their crazy mother.

(by the way, I used THIS recipe, if you're interested...easy as pie)

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Need a Lift?

We went to Payless Shoes today to look for another pair of sandals for Peanut. Her current pair is white--or at least they used to be white. After being worn every day for 2 or 3 months they look more like a pair of sad, saggy elephants. Anyway, as we were leaving, she caught sight of this ad, at which she quickly exclaimed: Look, mommy, it's YOU!

Ummm...OK, if she was vying for favorite child she wins. She is now officially my favorite person in the universe.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

A little politics on a Sunday afternoon

Michael and I teach a Sunday School class at church every few weeks. I realized that we are teaching next week so today while everyone took naps I started reading our designated chapters in the Old Testament as well as some supplemental material. The subject of next week's lesson is "King Solomon: Man of Wisdom, Man of Foolishness" and describes the ascent and downfall of Solomon (who, incidentally, followed exactly in the footsteps of the previous two kings--his father, David, and Saul). And although the lesson really focuses on the spiritual aspects of humility and pride, I found an interesting quote that I thought pertained rather exactly to the state of our nation and, really, our lifestyle today that I wanted to share. It struck me because we seem to have sunk into a one-track mind regarding government, leadership, stewardship, and prosperity with no understanding of the variety of philosophies that exist regarding economy, wealth, growth and progression. It almost--ALMOST--makes me want to study economics, just to feel I have a greater grasp on the history and philosophy of the subject and therefore have a more valid voice to stand up and be heard.

As a preface, this is in reference to the remarkable fame that Solomon experienced due to his renowned wisdom, his remarkable building projects, and his unprecedented wealth. Unfortunately, these latter two achievements came at the expense of his people. He began taxing them heavily and relying on forced labor to see the fulfillment of these grand designs. So if you're feeling in the mood for a little politics, here is a (long, sorry) quote from "People of the Bible and How they Lived" from the Reader's Digest Association:

"The life of the common man had been disrupted. In the past a man's wealth had been calculated mostly by the land he owned, the number of flocks he had and the size of his family. Solomon's sweeping economic changes altered that system. Land was no longer of supreme importance--in fact, it may have become somewhat of a burden. The more land a man owned, the more crops he could grow, and thus the more he would have to turn over to the king's officers when collection time came around every 12 months. Likewise, flocks were surrendered to tax collectors and sons were forced to serve on month of every three in the king's labor force.
"Now wealth was calculated not by property ownership but by the amount of money a man controlled. Certainly more and more money in gold and silver came into Israel every year, but very little of it ever filtered down to the average Israelite, who had to surrender so much of his livelihood to the king's coffers. Instead, the money was used to pay growing international debts, salaries for the full-time government officials, commissions to merchants and artisans in the king's employ, temple and palace upkeep and other expenses."
For the first time in Israel's history, there began to be a distinct difference between 'rich' and 'poor.' The king and his household were rich; the common people were poor. In between were the salaried civil servants and the merchants and artisans, many of whom had organized craft guilds by that time. Such class separations had not been know in the Israel where a shepherd boy like David could be anointed king--only 50 years earlier." (emphasis added)

I'm not going to start waxing philosophic about politics and pretend like I know what I'm talking about. (Although I have been pondering lately about the difference one voice can make and the responsibility we have to speak out, but that deserves another post all to itself.) In this case, I merely wanted to observe that the more things change, the more they stay the same. That is all.

Good night, Gracie.

Friday, July 02, 2010

A Matter of Perspective

Most moms I know can never hear this too much. It helped me tonight, I hope it helps someone else.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

random list

  • The house is so quiet and it's only 9:30.
  • That's the first time that has happened in...ever, I think.
  • I'm making a list of slightly interesting things happening around here in hopes of avoiding the MOUNTAINOUS pile of clothes in my laundry room.
  • We had awesome potatoes tonight stir-fried in curry seasonings.
  • My hands are going to smell like curry for a while.
  • As will our house.
  • My baby is asleep in his swing and he keeps momentarily waking up to look at me with drunk eyes.
  • I like the idea of sleeping in a perpetually moving swing but I'm afraid it would make me sick.
  • A hammock would be better.
  • I used to occasionally sleep in a hammock outside my apartment in college.
  • Not always by myself.
  • That sounded naughty.
  • But I'm not going to explain myself.
  • I think it's more fun that way.
  • Tonight we had great fun dancing to some favorite family tunes after dinner.
  • It's a fabulous way to burn some calories, create some memories and bring on the giggles.
  • We saw a strange thing the other day: a couple of police cruisers pulled in front of us in a mass of traffic on the freeway and carefully swerved back & forth across all lanes until everyone slowed down. We assumed they were preparing us to meet a roadblock or a serious traffic jam up ahead, but at the next exit one of the police cars got off the freeway and another veered over to the carpool lane and pulled someone over, and we kept going with no sign anywhere of any major jams or incidents.
  • Weirdness.
  • Anyone have any thoughts?
  • Here's a thought: it's not even 10pm and I'm going to bed.
  • Sing hallelujah.
  • Over and out.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


It really is no excuse but I am reminded why I have slacked off in the blogging department on days like today when I don't shower until 5pm. And not by choice.
That is all.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Sheer Bliss...literally.

Michael & I splurged and bought ourselves some ice cream this weekend. His favorite indulgence is Ben & Jerry's Phish Food, but I'm not a big fan of stuff with marshmallows in it (unless it's a Smore, then bring 'em on) so I went with a new choice, something I had my eye on for a few weeks whenever I'd trudge around Walmart with the kiddies. And boy-howdy it did not disappoint.

In case you can't read the fine print that says "Sheer Bliss: Pomegranate with dark chocolate chips." *wipes drool off face* That's right. POMEGRANATE. WITH DARK CHOCOLATE. I don't think I even need to describe the delectable goodness. I knew I had made a good choice when our cashier starting raving about how amazing it is and practically wouldn't let us leave until he had recited a few sonnets about it. But I got it home and took one bite. Oh my. So much creaminess, so little time. To give an idea, the basic ingredients are something like: cream, milk, sugar, 100% pure pomegranate juice, cocoa butter...I'm sorry, I'm drooling again. Plus, my yumminess came in a metal tin that I can keep forever (I think it's going to hold all the Nerf gun darts that have infested my house) and Michael's got all soggy as it sat out and is now rotting in a landfill somewhere. AND it was only $2.00, which was ridiculously cheap for a pint of amazing ice cream when you consider that most brands are twice that. So if you see a metal tin of ice cream in your grocer's freezer that says "Sheer Bliss" on it, you need to believe the marketing hype because it really IS sheer bliss.
Thank you for your support.

Sheer Bliss has never heard of me. I just REALLY like their ice cream.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

pizza sauce

OK, this is it...I promised pizza sauce that would change your life and here it is. Now, just don't look at the picture.

Ack! I said don't look! What are you doing? Ick! Ick ick!

Ok, ok, let's ignore the fact that I have NO idea how to take pictures, and also ignore the fact that I couldn't even be bothered to at least wipe down the sides of my tupperware so it looked presentable, and ALSO ignore the fact that when I realized that last fact I was also too lazy to go re-do it and I uploaded it anyway...and let's just focus on the consistency of that sauce. It. Is. Chunky. Period. So if that's not your style, then maybe this isn't the pizza sauce for you. Actually, I take that back. You'd just have to add another step at the end and stick it in a food processor to blend up all the chunks. But I, for one, LOVE the chunks so I'm leaving them in. I figure as long as I have teeth I may as well enjoy chunks in my food. My teeth are so bad I probably won't have them for long. Sigh...
But that's another post for another day. Today, there is pizza sauce to make. And here are the ingredients:

  • onion
  • fresh garlic
  • vegetable broth
  • tomato paste
  • Italian seasoning (you can also use basil, rosemary, oregano, etc. I used a mix)
  • black pepper
  • crushed red pepper
  • crushed tomatoes
  • sugar (opt)
  • balsamic vinegar
Now, I need to be honest, I mostly followed a recipe from an old copy of Cooking Light that was a special pizza issue. But I'll also be version is way better! Take that, Cooking Light. So here's what you do.
Heat some olive oil in a large saucepan at medium-high heat, add 1/4 cup finely chopped onion and saute for a few minutes. Add garlic (I'm usually pretty liberal--you can never have too much garlic--so I added a couple cloves, minced) and saute 30 seconds. Stir in 1/4 cup vegetable broth, cook another minute. Add 2 Tbsp. tomato paste, 1-2 tsp. dried seasoning (pick your favorite!), black pepper & crushed red pepper (again, to taste...I'm a wimp so I used more black pepper and only a few violent shakes of the my kids had to eat this), and one 14.5 ounce can of crushed tomatoes, undrained. Make sure they're crushed! Don't try to use diced and squish them up yourselves (ok, that's something I would totally do) but it will ruin the consistency of this glorious stuff. Then you'll reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Then, I'd suggest tasting it. If it seems too acidic, add 1-2 tsp. of sugar. This usually depends on the type of tomatoes you use. I think mine needed it. Keep simmering for another 15 minutes or until it reaches your desired consistency. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 tsp. balsamic.

Be still my beating heart. I dipped my finger in this bad boy and almost fell down in the kitchen. The best part was that, unbelievably, it was BETTER the next day. So if you made this the day before and put it on a pizza the following day, or, dare I say, after TWO days!!! Whoa, I'm having a hard time keeping my heart rate down just thinking about it.

I have a standard pizza dough recipe that I generally use, but just to mix it up I made Pioneer Woman's basic pizza dough from her cookbook and then made half the pizza with the drool-worthy red sauce and pepperoni, and half with pesto and Roma tomatoes. It looked like this:

Ack! Wait, didn't I say no looking at the pictures?!! Ew, now you'll never want to make this pizza. Honestly, what was I thinking? (After looking at the picture again I also remembered that I put some leftover jicama/black bean/avocado chunky salsa up in the top right corner, cause I figured anything would be good with this sauce...aaaand I was right.) But trust me. It was so good, I made the exact pizza 2 days later (minus the weird leftovers). And I had no complaints.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go drizzle the rest of that pizza sauce over some ice cream. Oh, did I just say that out loud?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Happy Saturday

This has been the best day. Ever.
The kids let us stay in bed until 7am and then Michael got up with them and played "big boy" games (translation: first-player shooter/airplane flying computer games) while I slept another half hour. I finally got up at 7:30 to feed David after he'd slept 10 HOURS last night. FOR THE SECOND TIME THIS WEEK. Yes, it's true, I have the best baby on the entire planet. No offense to anybody else with babies, but it's true.

Then, my awesome hubby took the two older goobers for an outing so I could stay home and relax and play with the baby some more. They got back for lunch and we danced to our favorite "Chuck" soundtrack while I made grilled cheese sandwiches. Seriously, there are few things that are quite as awesome as dancing with my family. Some current favorites include:
  • Step in Time (Mary Poppins)
  • Old Bamboo (Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang)
  • various Sesame street songs/videos on youtube
  • Sesame Street alphabet songs
  • basically any Pop songs on the radio
  • Bee-Gees' Stayin Alive (thanks Apryl!)
  • my "rock" station on Pandora (includes Eagles, Journey, U2 & Keane)
  • our favorite songs from the TV show "Chuck"
  • oh, and Fisher Price versions of "Row Your Boat" & "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star"
Can you spot the ones that might have been influenced by the adults in the house? I like a good old fashioned Disney musical as much as the next gal, but sometimes you just have to mix it up a little.

Now I'm working on some desserts for our family gathering tomorrow (we're finally doing the baby blessing...he's only 4 months old, I guess better late than never) and dessert-making is probably on my top 10 list of favorite things to do. I routinely scour foodie blogs for dessert ideas, although for this one I fell back to an old favorite that my mom used to make that's a chocolate pudding/whipped topping/layer deal. With nuts. Yum. And I'm just getting started--that's just dessert #1. How many do you think is too many? With 12 adults and 13 kids (ages 2-tween) I'm thinking there's no such thing as too much dessert. Maybe we'll throw some fruit in there, just to keep the sugar level from rising too high. Honestly, we have NO room in this house to host that many people (it's supposed to rain tomorrow, but maybe we could boot the kids outside to go play in the rain! Kids like rain, right?) but I love my familia and think any excuse to see them all is a good excuse, even if we are jammed in like sardines.

So besides the pudding goodness I'm thinking Better Than Sex Cake, which I haven't had in ages and, although I think it's inaptly named, it's still pretty darn good. Hmm. Maybe Pretty Darn Good Cake would make a nice name alternative. Anyway, after that I'm open to ideas. If you could pick anything for dessert what would it be? Some type of cookie? Or do you prefer cupcakes? Maybe something rich and creamy, like cheesecake? Cold--ice creams, shakes, frozen pies? I need at least one more idea and I have until tonight to get any necessary ingredients. Better yet, if you have links to sites with good dessert recipes I will be your friend for life!

(And since my life has been consumed by food lately, I plan on posting a pizza sauce recipe later that is to die for. Seriously, I wanted to marry it. Or eat the whole thing with a spoon, whichever would have been more feasible. Either way, you MUST make the pizza sauce, and soon. Your life will never be the same. Which, strangely enough, is what I told my husband about my cheese slicer. Actually, I think my words were something along the lines of "my life being devoid of meaning" before I got my cheese slicer. But now it is complete. I have a cheese slicer AND the perfect pizza sauce recipe. And two of my children are asleep. Aaaaaannnd...I'm going to take a nap. Best. Day. Ever.)

Monday, May 03, 2010

dream a little dream

I've been inwardly lamenting lately the fact that I have fallen victim to the "I'm too busy to blog" monster. I have loads of pictures (I think still on the camera), I have stories every day that range from infuriating to fall-down hilarious, and I usually find it is a great stress reliever. But here are the usual thoughts that fill my day that I can only assume are less-than-interesting to anyone who might read this blog and that therefore prevent me from writing it down:

  • Just how much dealing with bodily fluids can a person handle before they go postal?
  • How can a little girl love the potty so much and want to use it at exhaustingly regular intervals throughout the day, but poop in her pants for 2 weeks straight? (Again with the bodily fluids. Oy.)
  • When is Mary Poppins going to show up and snap her fingers to clean my house and fold my laundry?
  • And how can such little people produce such grotesque amounts of laundry anyway?
  • With the amount of complaining that goes on during meals ("that's disgusting" or "i don't want to eat this") I sometimes wonder if it would be better for my sanity to invest in a lifetime supply of frozen meals? There would still be the same amount of complaining but at least I wouldn't have wasted any time on it.
  • And speaking of making meals for a family, why can't we live off of cookies, brownies, cupcakes or anything containing a main ingredient of chocolate? At least then we'd all enjoy eating dinner. And the leftovers.
  • How do other full-time moms exercise? Honestly, it is a mystery of epic proportions to me. Someone please enlighten me. I'm desperate to figure out some kind of work-out schedule.
  • I would really appreciate it if the person who is letting their dog take a dump on the grass outside the back of our house would pick it up afterward. It's a common area so let's just be respectful of us common folk who use it, k?
  • Wow, that's a lot of complaining. Don't I think about anything positive?
  • Well, probably not at this time of night, which is the only time I get for myself.
  • Maybe I should just go to bed so I can relax and feel refreshed in the morning.
  • I would also probably do better during the day if, besides exercise, I could have a nice, relaxing shower without it being interrupted by screaming, waking up the baby, fighting, breaking things, etc.
  • Speaking of which, I have a funny story...

I was telling my friend Lisa about a dream I had last night and realized it was too priceless not to share. In this dream I was driving around in my minivan with all of my kids. I kept driving to different houses, even some hotels, not sure what I was looking for but I would stop and try to get out but these obnoxious sheep were following us everywhere. They kept trying to squeeze their way into the car, or into the houses/hotels I was visiting. Finally, I drove into a neighborhood with a house that was some sort of B&B. And then it also finally clicked what I had been looking for...a shower! A quiet, relaxing shower with no noise, no interruptions or disturbances of any kind. So, of course, to achieve this sort of nirvana I had to leave the kids in the car (which apparently I was more than happy to do) and I made my way into this house. But there were those darn sheep following me. So I distracted them by throwing a ball one direction and running in the opposite direction for the door to my room. I made it in with only one sheep slipping in behind me but I wasn't finished yet. I jumped over that persistent sheep with tunnel vision for that bathroom door. Everything else blurred and I could see a sort of glow emanating from the room that was my goal. I nearly slammed my own hair in the door but that stubborn sheep bumped its nose on the outside of the door as I locked it shut and shouted in victory! I turned in triumph to my prize...a gleaming shower, nearly glowing with glory. I swear I could hear angels heralding the coming joy. A shower! A shower! It is all yours!!! Immediately I turned the faucets as hot as I could handle, filling the wonderful room with glorious, relaxing steam. I was ready to step into my new-found wonderland when, in the distance I heard... Bang! Bang! Bang! I wanted to cry. Someone was banging on the outside door to my room. Even though I couldn't see who it was, I knew that someone had found my kids unattended and they were coming to demand that I resume my parental duties. And right outside the bathroom that obnoxious sheep was pawing at the door like a puppy...

Of course what puts the icing on the cake is that I'd been asleep for less than an hour when I was woken from this very telling dream by, 1) my husband snoring, and 2) my baby crying. My analysis? Momma needs some "me" time. Or a vacation. Or a live-in nanny.

Or a sound-proof shower.

Preferably with lots of steam.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

unbirthday wishes

I was doing a little online window shopping for my birthday last night. You know, all of the fun of shopping with none of that pesky walking around at the mall. I found this fun site at Sundance with three fun things that I would love to see window shopping but probably wouldn't actually buy.

First, this fun sham that would really work in either my bedroom or my living room. I'm having decorating issues around my whole house lately, but both of those rooms have green themes in them and I think the stripes in this pillow would add some needed whimsy.

Now this is just adorable. How could you possibly pass this without wanting to try it on? (One of the obvious disadvantages to window shopping on the web.)

Oooh, I saved the best for last. If you are a jewelry hound I recommend visiting their jewelry section. I just looked at their alluring banded rings (like the fun, simple brushed metal number above) but there is quite a bit more to look at if you're looking to update your accessories. The earrings were tempting me too, but I decided it was time to go to bed. But I have some time now, maybe I'll head over there again. Or find another window to look in. A girl's gotta' do something while her kids are watching "Mary Poppins" for the 28th time.
(On a completely unrelated note, has anyone heard that there will be a Sephora store coming to Utah soon??? I read that wickedly wonderful news somewhere but can't find any confirmation of it. If anyone has any news I would appreciate you sharing it. In the meantime I might die of anticipation. Talk about a FUN place to window shop!) Also if anyone has some favorite online window shopping spots, please share. I have a few weeks until my birthday so I need to get in all the looking I can. Thank you.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

a little taste of awesome

Found a fabulous website tonight that I had to share. We have been craving food we came to love in Malaysia so tonight for dinner I whipped up this CHICKEN SATAY with some store-bought peanut sauce which wasn't a keeper, so next time I will make her PEANUT SAUCE as well.

If you're in the mood for something different I recommend checking out Personally I am literally giddy to the core about making me some ROTI CANAI (pronounced "cha-nigh"). If you've never experienced its wonderful buttery/oily goodness (due to the abundance of ghee used in its making) you are seriously missing out. It's kind of a tricky stretching/folding/wrapping process to make them but I'm determined to learn. My world is not the same without this roti. Do yourself a favor and learn how to make this immediately. You will not be sorry. And then invite me over cause it's rude not to share.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

april fools!

Actually, these "eggs" wouldn't fool anyone, but since it was April Fools Day we decided to make a treat that sort of looks like eggs but is actually full of chocolatey goodness.

My talented 4 year old took the above picture. As you can see I do NOT excel at crafts that require a delicate touch, such as dipping things in chocolate. But they're colorful and fun so I guess that's all that matters.

Oh, and the fact that they're filled with crushed Oreos doesn't hurt anything.

I found the recipe HERE. (I don't think you can even call this a recipe, since it consists of a total of 3 ingredients, one of which is the dipping chocolate on the outside. So if you'd like an easy - albeit messy - snack, give these a try this weekend.) Oh, and Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

spring cleaning!

Thanks to my bro. for tipping me off to the new templates at blogger drafts. I love changing things up and regularly getting new designs. It reminds me of college and how we changed the furniture around every 3 weeks. You've got to keep things interesting somehow. I can't wait to play more with my new design! Speaking of which, I think it's time we rearranged some furniture...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

march madness

Mad props have to go out to my sis-in-law Anj, who is insanely awesome about decorating. Her house looks like this year-round and I also have to admit I am a little insanely jealous. She has more creativity in her little finger than I do in my whole body, no joke. You just have to take a look over there and you'll be sure to get some ideas of your own. And then maybe I won't be alone in my jealousy.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


We took some extended Snow Family pictures around Thanksgiving and I forgot to post some. There weren't a lot of keepers, but at least this shows how our family looked at the time. Aren't they adorable??? I love these guys!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Random Thoughts on a Sunday Afternoon

-That big, handsome boy on the left just turned 4 last month. He absolutely ADORES his little brother.

-I made him this cake for his birthday. It's supposed to be a ship.

-Two kids are sleeping, one is at church with his dad. I love quietness.

-But I also miss church. It's such an uplift for my week. Does that make me odd?

-I'm having a hard time remembering the last NEW book I read for fun. (Wait! Collection of short stories from SIL Cathy-- that was it. It was such a great gift.)

-I would love to read a new book every week.

-Maybe after my newborn baby isn't quite so newborn.

-And maybe someday I could actually go to the library to look for books for myself and not spend my entire time corralling and shushing little goobers.

-I can't remember the last time I looked at books for big people. (Wait! Seattle trip with the posse, visited the bookstore. That was it! Good times. Good times.)

-I'm having a hard time motivating myself to blog. Can't think straight and/or stay awake long enough to compose a single cognitive thought.

-On the other hand, babies make me happy.

-Other things that make me happy: this little girl. She is 2 and drives me insane sometimes. But she's also my best bud.

-I'm listening to the sound of silence. It sounds like plugged-in electrical appliances. And short, shallow baby breaths.

-I wonder if nursing babies seems weird to someone who has never done it before. I don't even think twice about it anymore,

-I'm now writing this while I nurse. It's surprising how fast I can type with one hand.

-When thought of in terms of breastfeeding, the term "nursing a beer" seems downright crude. And Freudian.

-But did I mention babies make me happy?

-Sometimes I wish I had a ton of money to spend making other people happy. Then I realize that a can at the food bank would probably make someone happy. I don't need a ton of money for that.

-This is my mom. She makes me happy.

-My husband makes me blissfully happy. But he doesn't like to be photographed much. I can't find a picture of him.

-That is enough thinking for one afternoon. I'm going to go wrap my head around a 10 minute nap.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

For Your Consideration

My amazing sister-in-law, Aimee, posted this article on her blog and I was so touched by it that I wanted to link to it.
Foyer de Sion Orphanage

She has been working with the group collecting donations (mostly food & medical) to send to the kids there, so if anyone wants to help (or if you'd like any information about adopting children from Haiti) you can talk to her. She has recently become something of an expert.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

stuff in my purse.

i know, what an exciting blog title. but i was sitting in a car sales office recently (where i ended up being for 2 HOURS) and during that boring, stare-at-the-walls down time i thought about how random a mom's diaper bag can be. what sort of treasures do i have in there that i don't even think about? how long has some of that stuff been floating around in there? so i decided to make a list. exciting, huh? but, if you want a glimpse into the day in the life of a stay-at-home mom, here it is.

small side pocket:
victoria's secret minty lip shine
babies-r-us gift card with remaining balance of $3.49
costco receipt (holding onto it so i can return something)
appointment card for OB
baby hair comb
blue pen
mail key

large main compartment:
Swaddle-Me blanket for wrapping baby (AWESOME gift from friend Nichole)
nursing cover
3 newborn diapers
one almost-empty pack of baby wipes
wallet (don't even get me started on what's in there)
small superman figurine (gift from John's friend, Zach!), complete with cape
ziploc bag of almonds
onesie, size 0-3 months
newborn socks
ziploc bag of dum-dum suckers
small horse figurine
garage door opener
teething toy shaped like a duck
antiseptic hand sanitizer from nu skin
fridge magnet with instacare phone numbers
compact mirror

...aaaaaaand there you have it. i know, like i said, pretty exciting stuff. it makes me wonder what do you carry around in your purse? if you're a mom, is it similar to mine? if you're not, obviously you won't have diapers and baby socks in yours, but what things do you need on a regular basis? if you were stuck in a car sales office for 2 hours with nothing to read (note: i often have a book in there...figures the one time i need it...) what would you do? if you had an i-phone i'm sure it wouldn't be a problem, but for the rest of us little people... i had to content myself by munching on almonds and reading company mission statements on the walls. yawn. so be prepared! you never know when you'll need some good literature on hand. pack your favorite austen novel, just in case.

sibling rivalry

The only fighting going on here...

is over whose turn it is to hold Dew.

These are some seriously proud siblings. Just wait until he learns to do something exciting, like eat solids. They'll probably make me throw him a party.

Welcome to the family, baby Dew.