Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Report and Mexico Preview

This year, our Christmas present was a trip to Mexico for the whole family. Months ago it was unanimously agreed upon that a trip was better than presents. In a later post (as soon as the 600+ pictures are sorted), I will give more details and photos. The trip was a huge success with very few hard moments. I am loving the ages of my kids right now. They are so fun and easy most of the time.

One of the highlights for me was a moment I shared with Wendy: We were on the upper level of our hotel pool, overlooking the older girls and James building a sandcastle as the sun set. The temperature was perfect and the scenery breathtaking, along with the lulling sound of waves crashing. Before long, Wendy pointed out the first star. I took that opportunuty to teach her about wishing on the first star, you know, "Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight." Once she had the words down, she made her wish and asked me if I had made a wish too. I told her that I wasn't sure what to wish for, and her reply was, "Well Mom, sometimes I'm a little naughty, so I think you should make a wish that I won't be naughty any more." And she was serious.

We got home on Christmas Eve and headed to my Mom and Dad's house to spend Christmas with the family. I was a little nervous that since the trip was over and everyone else would have a lot more presents, the kids might regret our decision to take a trip. After the gift opening was done, Wendy remarked at how many presents she got, and Christine said she got everything from her list except the Ferrari (maybe next year). Once we got home I asked them if they were still happy about our choice, and their response was a resounding "YES!" I'm so happy they share my love of travel. Stay tuned for pictures.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Let the Winter Begin

Winter Storm Warning now in effect until 5 am MST Tuesday...
... Blizzard Warning in effect from 5 am to 11 PM MST Tuesday...

* Winds/visibility... sustained winds at 20 to 30 mph with gusts to
40 mph will increase during the day Tuesday. Widespread zero
visibilities are forecast by Tuesday due to snow and blowing

* snow accumulations... additional accumulations of 3 to 6 inches are

* Impacts... life threatening conditions will occur through
Tuesday. Whiteout conditions will disorient travelers or those
stepping a short way from warm and dry shelter. Power outages
may also occur.

Precautionary/preparedness actions... A Blizzard Warning means sever

winter weather conditions are expected or occurring. Falling and blowing

snow with strong winds and poor visibilities are likely. This will lead to

whiteout conditions... making travel extremely dangerous. Do not travel.

If you must travel... have a winter survival kit with you. If you get
stranded... stay with your vehicle.

I really hope I can get to the store tomorrow to buy a turkey and everything that goes with it. Otherwise I will have about 20 hungry people hanging out at my house. I guess I will go pack my winter survival kit.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Two years later

Our town is small enough that we don’t have a single pet store. We do, however, have pets. One day about two years ago, Christine and Amber were cleaning out the mouse cage when they informed me we were out of bedding. I asked if they meant we were almost out of bedding. But no, they assured me we were completely out. What did they expect me to do? The nearest pet store is 35 miles away, and I was in no position to go there right that minute. Then I thought of a local store called CAL Ranch (I have no idea what the CAL stands for). So, I went down there to see if they had any mouse bedding. They had a collection of stuff from camping gear to sprinkler system parts to cowboy/girl clothing plus a large assortment of animal paraphernalia, so I started looking in that section. I found cow colostrum (I’m not kidding), animal birthing tools, salt licks, horse tack, baby chicks, and large animal feed, but nothing for mice (with the exception of mouse traps, mouse poison, and mouse-looking toys for dogs.). So, I decided to go ask one of the cashiers. This is how the conversation went,

“Hello, do you have any pine bedding?”

“Why, yes, we do.”

“How much does it cost?”

“Ten dollars.” Ten dollars seemed a bit expensive, but what was my choice? So I said, “OK, I’ll take it.” After I paid for it, the lady said, “I’ll call someone to help you load It.” ……Load it? I need a man to help me load it? What did I just buy, and will it fit in my car? All of these questions and more were going through my mind at this point. So I followed the man outside, looking all the while like I knew what to expect, and this is what I saw: a shrink-wrapped package of pine bedding the size and weight of my six year old, with a picture of a horse on the front. It did fit into the back of my minivan, and in two years we have barely made a dent in it. I’m sure it will outlive the mice, but it’s good to know that for ten dollars you can get a lifetime supply.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I've Arrived...Somewhere

Today, I took all of the kids out to dinner by myself. Now this in and of itself is not completely new. The new thing is that it was easy and fun! I only had to chase Wendy down once as she was headed to another table to be social (In her defense, she can't really help it. It's just in her nature to find friends everywhere.). The food was good and the conversation too.

I couldn't help but think back to some very difficult dining out experiences in the past. The most memorable of which was when we just had one baby, and James and I took turns, one of us eating while the other stood outside in the rain holding and comforting a VERY fussy Christine. Another when the childless couple sitting at the booth next to us informed me that my child wouldn't stop staring at them and could I please make her stop, as if being stared at was the worst thing that had happened to them all week. I can't count the number of times I've left a fine meal to change an extremely messy diaper in an extremely small, confined space, or left the restaurant soaking wet from some one's spilled water, and mainly just feeling like I wanted to pull out all of my hair by the time we were done eating. This was such a different experience, and I loved it. Now if I could somehow get them to pay too...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

We Will Move Faster if We Hurry Less

I have always been one who thrives on free time, requiring more alone time than most. Since having kids I definitely don't get much of either. Today, James has the girls (and one neighbor kid) at Mack's Inn, and Jack is at a youth event, which leaves me home alone. I don't remember the last time that happened. After trying to cram in everything that needs to be done before I join my family tomorrow, I found myself reading an article titled, "Don't Be In a Hurry." Even while I was trying to read as fast as I could so I would be able to finish all of my tasks, I came upon a couple of gems.

"When you get up in the morning, before you suffer yourselves to eat one mouthful of food,...bow down before the Lord, ask Him to forgive your sins, and protect you throughout the day, to preserve you from temptation and all evil, to guide your steps aright, that you may do something that day that shall be beneficial to the kingdom of God on the earth."

"Does our sense of urgency, initially fed by noble purposefulness, morph into mere busyness?"

"When we plan some time for contemplation and renewal, we will feel drawn to our work instead of driven to it."

"Be still, and know that I am God"

It is always good to be reminded that our to-do list, while noble, is not the sole purpose of our days. Now, I think I'll go do yoga.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

...And Jack makes seven

That's right, we are now a family of seven and proud parents of a teenager. So far he is a model teenager who eats anything and helps with housework. With one more hand, I actually get the opportunity to mop the floor more than once every millennium. Thanks to his natural parents for raising him so well, and I have to say thumbs up to an exchange student from Thailand!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The problem with camping...

The problem with camping with four little girls when you are 100 yards from the car and a half mile from the nearest bathroom is that, between the time they say they need to go and when you arrive to the bathroom, the poop "sneeks back in" and they don't need to go anymore. We just returned from the "City of Rocks" for a little rock climbing. Definately worth the three hour drive.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Compliments to the Chef

Soon after having children of my own old enough to eat regular food, I realized you have to have a solid, positive self-esteem to cook for a family. I have certainly heard more than my share of eewwws and yucks through the years, but Wendy's comment of last week takes the cake. I tried a new recipe, pacific pork kebabs with pineapple rice. After the prayer was said, Wendy tasted a few bites with her face all distorted into disgusting expressions, and said, "Wow Mom, where did you get all this gross food?" As if it was preposterous that there could be so much gross food in the same place a the same time. Needless to say, James scolded her for being rude and I burst out laughing. You can't win them all.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How old am I?

Lately I have been pondering my return to college. As I was driving past campus on my way to the grocery store today, there were students everywhere. I was thinking about how much I will stand out because of my age. Then I decided that it won't be that bad because I am only five years older than most of them...then the cold, hard fact hit me like a ton of bricks, I am more like 15 years older than them! Holy cow, when did that happen? I guess it's promising that I only feel 5 years older.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Highlights of my 5-mile run in 25+mph winds

  • Hurdling tumbleweeds

  • Drool flying out the side of my mouth. I am slightly congested, so I had to breathe through my mouth. The wind dried out my mouth signaling the production of more saliva...

  • At the right angle, the force of the wind on my eyelashes would press my eyes wide open.

  • If I played Enya on my ipod and closed my eyes, I could almost pretend the roaring sound was the ocean.

  • The permanent damage to my eyes from blowing dust.

  • The downhill part of my run also happened to be downwind, so I felt really fast, which is rare for me.

  • The best part of all was my hair after I finished.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Serious Concerns of a Four-Year-Old

Here is a quote from Wendy that sums it all up, "I try to follow God, but it just doesn't work. I STILL do naughty things!"

Just as a side note, after Wendy said that, Nicole asked me if God knows how to make bread...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Church Dialog

Wendy: "We are going to sing a special song for Mother's Day..."
"It's about flowers..."
"It's a surprise..."
"You're the prettiest Mom in church."

All of this was whispered into my ear while I was trying to listen to the speaker. What a nice thing to hear instead.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Weather Around Here

Where is global warming when you need it? My garden is currnetly being snowed on, hailed on, and most likely blown away (Isn't it the end of April?). I had to fill my kindergartener's pockets full of rocks this morning to keep her from blowing away on her way to the bus. I am headed to my Grandma's 85th Birthday party later today, as long as we don't get snowed in. At least the party destination is down wind. Maybe I'll go drive the lawnmower around instead, just to help speed up the global warming...a person has to get spring somehow.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Michael Jackson Comes Out of Hiding

I was in late elementary school when Michael Jackson was really popular, and I was also a dancer. The timing of these two things made me a big fan. I made up dances to at least a half dozen of his songs, and even had a Michael Jackson doll. While his behavoir went decidedly down hill, a soft spot remained in my heart for his music. Despite his odd and disturbing couduct, I think most of his later songs are just as good.

After I got married, James wouldn't let me buy any of his music because he didn't want to take part in funding the bad things that money would be spent on. Shortly after MJ died, a box set of his music arrived in the mail. Thank you James. As soon as I played the music, Wendy became a fast fan. She would tote around the book that came with the set and ask me several questions about him every day. She even asked me if he went to heaven...luckily that's not for me to decide! Soon she had a few of his facts memorized and was singing the words to his songs. Since the only button she knows how to push on the CD player is the play button, we would often listen to the same disk four times in a day, until I got so sick of it, I went and changed the disk. Still, she requested it every time we put in music, which, around here, is a lot! After a while, everyone (except Wendy) got so sick of it (we also got tired since you can't listen to his music without dancing), we had to ban it for a month. That month is up and just today we have listened to two disks. She just can't get enough. It is a funny sight to see her singing and dancing to music that was popular when I was a kid. Get ready for a dance duet, Wendy and I and the return of the "Beat it" dance from years and years ago, and long live Michael Jackson!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Blizzard to Garden in Two Days

Tuesday morning we woke up to 4 inches of fresh snow. Not exactly what I was hoping for in April. I was grumpy all day, wondering about the people who first came to this part of the country, and decided to stay. What were they thinking? And I have a sturdy shelter to live in, and grocery stores to to buy food from when there is absolutely nothing fresh growing whithn a very large radius-still they decided to stay...hmmm.

By Thursday it was 70 and I was planting peas, carrots, spinach, kale, and radishes. The raspberries are hoed (is that a word??) and mulched, the strawberries are trimmed, and all of the fruit trees pruned. Yay for spring. I even went on my first run of the season Saturday. It was great! It's amazing what two days and some sunshine can do to a person's disposition! I can already taste the first fresh salad and peas of spring. I can only guess that those first settlers came in spring and got so attatched to the area by winter that they just couldn't leave, but spent the whole winter hunkered down, thinking about spring. Who knows what they ate to survive that first winter...still, they stayed.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Twenty questions from each kid and one from me

Our cat, Boots got neutered yesterday. The kids' questions came immediately and rapidly. Here's a sampling: Why did they cut off his bum? What did they do with it (my personal favorite)? How will that make him fight less? Does that mean he's a girl now? Do they do that to human boys too? Did they do it on purpose?...You get the point.

My question came from the post-surgery literature, the section that tells you the things you are supposed to monitor: (1)loss of appetite, (2)refusal to drink water, (3)weakness, (4)depression, (5)vomiting, (6)diarrhea. They all seem fairly clear except number 4-I'm not sure how to tell if Boots is depressed. What exactly does a depressed cat look like? I decided to do some research, and here's what I found: "Has your normally friendly cat started to hide under beds, cower in corners, and generally avoid interaction?" OK, I guess that would be obvious. Now, here's what you're supposed to do if your cat is showing signs of depression: "A vet visit is a must! Your vet will help try and figure out what's causing, and how to help treat your kitty's depression. Sometimes medication for a period of time can be of help." I had no idea. I would love to sit in on one of those evaluations where the vet "tries to figure out what's causing...your kitty's depression". But, for now, I'm off to check the litter box for diarrhea.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What's For Dinner?

What are we having for dinner today
Said little Sallyann Mackay?
It's something very new
It's Lentil Sweet Potato Stew
Man, I'd have to say,
It has a lot of vitamin A.
Today you have to try it.
It's a wonderful thing to add to your diet.

This is a poem Christine wrote after asking me that very question, and she's right, it does have a lot of vitamin A. I would share the recipe, but let's just say it wasn't a hit. God's help was called into action in the dinner prayer, "Please bless that this food will taste better than it looks." That prayer was left unanswered.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring Has Sprung (a leak) I Think

I'm sure it's spring somewhere in the world, but here, we went to bed to the lulling sound of a raging blizzard and woke up to a foot of new white snow. The family's reactions were mixed. Nicole was happy because she was "starting to miss the snow" (which had been melted for about a week before this last round of snow storms). Christine and Amber were surprised, but indifferent, and Wendy exclaimed,"When is that beaver going to stop seeing his shadow?!" I, personally agree with Wendy.