Archive for 2010

A Christmas Post

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What is it about not writing that makes it so hard to start writing?

Our Christmas report is that we had a wonderful Christmas. I got Marc an ipad for his birthday (fondly known as Marcmas since it is on the 23rd) making me the awesomest wife in
town. And I made this rather large purchase without consulting Marc first, which is a first. I am very impressed with myself and my grown-upness and since I keep telling everyone about it I figure I might as well talk about it here too.

In the past I have been the pretty set on keeping certain Christmas traditions, like what we eat and how we open gifts. This year it was funny that Maddie and Katie have turned into the tradition police. Anytime someone suggested deviating from the usual Christmas order they became completely indignant. Ah, it was lovely and extremely validating.

This post is disjointed with too many made up words but I am too lazy to fix it. I am also too lazy to upload pictures from my camera so here are the only three I took with my phone (which syncs with my computer):

The first one is of the wonderful Christmas bunnies that Paige made for me, and the second one is our Christmas picture.

Merry Christmas!

Field Tripping

Monday, October 18, 2010

On Friday I got to go on a field trip with Ellie's class to a local ranch that is preserved as it was in the early 1800's.

Here's our girl pumping water and listening to the Ranger.
The picture of the stove up there? That's from inside the house; I am having lovely daydreams about making bread and stew-just like in "Little House..."

Mom Freak

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Writing has seemed impossible lately, no time at all to be had around here.

But that's just my easy excuse. Really really I haven't been
writing because I only have one thing on my mind and I'm
afraid it is about as trite as can be. Maddie is growing up.

Last week she asked me if she could watch "Glee" at her friend's house after her church activity on Tuesday night. I told her she should probably come home and study instead.

She said she didn't have much studying to do.

I said "likely story."

She insisted she had it under control.

And then it hit me...why on earth was I sitting there arguing with her about watching a television show when in less than a year she is going to be flying off to college and doing work or watching t.v. at her very own-totally out of my control-discretion?

Arguing was crazy. I told her to go. I mean, I have to be letting go here.

Man alive it turns out I hate letting go. In my head I get that every single parent goes through this, but in my heart I feel like I am the only one whose heart has hurt like this. I am a master at visualizing the worrisome future, and I
just can't even imagine life without my sweet Maddie in the house.

Have you got out your tiny violin for me yet?

Well if you need more proof of how she is just growing right up whether I like it or not then take a gander at these pictures from her senior photo shoot.

And if that's not bad enough, which it totally is, I was talking to Marc about where we should go for our 25th anniversary (because it's only 5 years away and to travel is divine and I must have trips to obsess about) when I realized the awful truth:

In five years Katie will be gone too, Jonathan will be 17, and Ellie will be 13!

I know. It is simply too much.

Hoping to Adopt

Saturday, September 25, 2010

clickity click here
Perhaps you noticed the new button I added on the right side over there? It is for my very sweet-more-delightful than I can say sister-in-law and her husband.

They are waiting to adopt their very own angel baby. Oh. Oh. Oh! I cannot wait for that baby to get here! Okay, I know it's not about me, but I just want that little bundle of niece or nephew SO badly. I want to crochet booties gosh darn it! We all do.

Well, Ellie, actually, is slightly against the new and as yet unknown baby...because right now when her lovely Aunt and Uncle arrive they always come bearing presents and patience.

Patience to teach her to ice skate (Troy), and curl her hair (Becca). Patience for marathon long board games (both of them), and midnight movie premiers (Becca). They will play hide and seek and jump on the trampoline and read stories past bedtime.

It's fine, I know I rank way lower on the funometer. I just wish adoption was faster...I think I could be the fun aunt.

Maddie and Katie are excited though, they want to spoil a cousin the way their Aunt Becca spoiled them the whole time they were growing up.

So if you know a brave birth mother who is looking for the perfect parents, please tell them about our Becca and Troy. They are kind, smart, fun, talented, and devoted to each other.

What can I say more than that if anything happens to us, Marc and I would be honored to have them parent our children?

Bad Monday

Monday, September 20, 2010

I don't love Monday. It means laundry and groceries and recovering the house from the weekend. It means another week away from my sweetheart. This particular Monday will include a trip to the store to exchange Jonathan's new shoes with the soles coming off which I find annoying.

I wish I could write like CJane who is thoughtful.
I wish I could write like Shawni who is inspiring.
I wish I could write like Kacy who is funny.

But all I want to do is go back to bed, and instead I have to make it!

Healthy Cookies?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

One of my less favorite parts of back to school is back to school lunches. I always wonder what parts of the lunch my kids actually eat and what parts they are throwing away; I think they eat the cookies.

Actually, I'm pretty sure they eat the cookies.

So instead of sending them with chips ahoy and nutter butters, which we love but know are full of nasty chemicals and whatnot, I decided to try to make a healthier cookie.

They came out so good I thought I'd share. These are actually tips I got from my cousin Lori who is a favorite vendor at the San Francisco Underground market for her delicious and ubber healthy energy bars and cookies. Click here for her website.

Okay, so here's what I did, using my regular chocolate chip cookie recipe as a guide:

1. Substituted 1/2 of the four with whole wheat flour. Lori said whole wheat pastry flour from Whole Foods is the best, but I just used what I had.
2. Substituted 1/2 the butter with Smart Balance.
3. Substituted 1/2 the white sugar with Xylosweet.

And that's it. I just mixed these up and the kids all ate their dough samples without noticing any difference. If all goes well I'll increase the "healthy" substitutions. I also followed a recipe that has oatmeal in it.

And yes, I do realize the better parenting option would be to teach my kiddos that they don't actually need a cookie in their lunches, but I like to lead by example and I'm not ready to go there!

Looks Like We Made It

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Last month Marc and I celebrated our 20th anniversary. We spent a week in Playa del Carmen...*wistful sigh* was perfect.

We swam with giant sea turtles.
Visited Chichen Itza.
Snorkled through Dos Ojos, some amazing caves, or "cenotes."
Visted Tulum
Zip lined over a lagoon and canoed back across it.
Scootered around Cozumel.
Snorkled off the beach and around beautiful lagoon.
Ate copious amounts of shrimp tacos, ceviche, chips and salsa, fish.
Got massages on the beach.
and kissed.
It was perfect. Dear Marc, I love you more than ever.

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The Mormon Trek

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

There are certain pictures that it would be a true shame to miss posting. I speak, of course,of trek.

This is a particularly Mormon activity where the teenagers dress up as pioneers and reenact the journey that the Mormon pioneers made from Illinois to Utah. They spend the long weekend pushing handcarts, sleeping under the stars, and learning about what the early pioneers endured to secure their religious freedom.
My own little pioneers. Love these girls!
The kids have to take turns carrying live chickens in crates, flour sack "babies" and each other when they are marked as "injured or sick." Heh, heh. I know. It's a wonderful character building experience. It still makes me laugh.

Maybe it's because James, one of their amazing youth leaders, had all of the girls convinced they would have to kill and eat the chickens if they wanted any food and that there were no latrines along the trail they would be walking. You should have heard those girls scream. Heh, heh...I love being a mom.

Friday, September 3, 2010

There are some advantages to lolling around as an invalid all week:

Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross = very good


Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier = very very good

Where I Am An Everyday Hero

Saturday, August 28, 2010

It's true, I have been up to something. Something pretty wonderful. Last Tuesday I donated a kidney for my father-in-law.

Before you freak, we are both recovering well.

I got home last night and am being pampered in bed; John is still in the hospital getting poked non-stop but hopefully will be home soon.

He didn't actually get my kidney though; we are part of this amazing program at UCLA called a Living Donor Chain. Over a year ago we found out that Dad needed a kidney transplant and that he was waiting for a deceased donor.

None of his own children could donate, and my mother-in-law is a paraplegic with a host of medical problems (sorry mom) so as much as she wanted to donate, it was out of the question.

In secret I wondered if I could donate. I read up about it online and learned that the screening process is extremely rigorous. Before I said anything about it to anyone, even Marc, I made an appointment with my doctor for a super duper physical and to ask if she thought I was likely to be a good donor. And by "good" I meant able to be a donor with little or no actual risk to my own health 'cause, you know, I've got kids and stuff. She said I was very healthy and she saw no reason I couldn't go for it.

Later that night I whispered to Marc what I had in mind and was surprised that he was not so gung ho as I. He was worried. He didn't want me having a major surgery. He held me and said he didn't want to talk about it.

I told him how safe it was.
He doubted.
I told him I was going to do it.
He pouted.
I said to pray about it.
He admitted I could do what I wanted but he didn't have to like it.

A few months later I went to UCLA for my first round of tests and got some bummer news, I wasn't a good match for my father-in-law. Then the doctors asked how I felt about being a part of a chain...where my kidney would go to someone who I matched, and our dad would get a kidney from someone he matched.

This video explains it really well.

So now, about a year later, I finally got to do it! I donated to a gentleman from Southern California. His wife recently donated to a little girl on the East Coast. All in all our chain is the longest in the world and is up to 44 people.

Everyone wants to know how I feel.

I admit it, I am feeling pretty pleased with myself.

Okay, I WOULD Like to Save Time in a Bottle

Thursday, August 12, 2010

This year Jonathan finished elementary school. In a few weeks he'll be starting Junior High. Only they call it "Middle School," now because it is 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. Go ahead, ask me how I feel about it.

Weird! That is how I feel, and more weird that the usual slight buzz of anxiety that I enjoy on a regular basis. Because he is just my little boy, yes? And I'm totally not ready for him to do anymore growing up stuff. I kind of love it when he asks me to snuggle with him before bed, and when he says he loves me. I could just drink that. Will he still feel that way as he gets older? Will he still cuddle when he's 14? Or 16? I'm going with "yes he will," just so I don't have to go back to bed and die right now.

I have plenty of stuff to do today and whimper is not one of them.

Here are the pictures from the 5th grade promotion back in June. Jonathan is with his great friend Rob. You will note that Rob is a very snazzy dresser; I told Jonathan that morning that Rob would be looking quite dapper and didn't he want to get on the dapper train too? But slacks and a polo was as far as he was willing to go for me.

Here is some lovely footage of the kids singing at their closing program. Maybe only a mother can love this?

Ellie's Baptism

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Another lovely thing that I can't skip blogging about is Ellie's baptism. All year long she has been talking about when her Dad would "bapmatize" her.

I have absolutely loved each of my smalls baptisms. I feel like the road to eternity is illuminated for a moment and it is so sweet to see my angel on that path.
It was wonderful to have Marc's family with us! Becca and Troy flew out from North Carolina and one of the most lovely parts was when Becca and Katie sang "I Like to Look for Rainbows." Made my waterworks work overtime.
Sadly, I forgot to charge my camera so I am low on pictures but here are some of the shots I did get. I love that little Ellie so much and I was so proud of her.

Hooray for Tassel Mania!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I got lots of stuff for my birthday; 40, it's a biggie. Let me tell me, I mean you, about one of my favorites. Once upon a time at night, Marc and I were snuggling and when he asked what I wanted I bounced up and down in bed and exclaimed "TASSEL SUPPLIES!"

Like on a graduation cap?" he asked quizzically.

"NO! Like The Nester makes!" I said with more bounce.

"Will this be expensive?" he wondered.

"If it was cheap I wouldn't be asking for it for my birthday," I admitted.

So tra la la I got to go buy tassel supplies and the paramount tassel supply that is The Nester's downloadable e-book, "The Ultimate Tassel Guide." (Don't be jealous; just go get it. It's only ten bucks.)

And here's what I made! So much fun. I gave two to Paigy when I went to visit and they look so fine in her house.

So I can't show you how to do it online cause I don't want to steal from my best friend who doesn't know me whatsoever (Nester), but if we are in person friends come on over and we will play tassel-Yea! I can't wait!

She's Just Seventeen

Monday, August 2, 2010

I left something super important out of my last post. While we were in Palm Desert Maddie turned 17! Frankly, I find this remarkable. How can someone as obviously young and fresh as I have a 17 year old? Two words...child bride.

Also, Maddie, you are as delicious today as the day you were born. Here's why:

1. You smell good, that's always been important to me.
2. You value a good book and have a (very) willing suspension of disbelief.
3. You don't know the difference between pot and marijuana!
4. You have a tender heart and love your friends.
5. You stand for truth and righteousness with determination.
6. You manage our home quite well for such a short person.
7. I like the way you dance.
8. You know how to save money; weird.
9. You appreciate good food like a Fosse.
10. You are stronger than you look, sweet daughter!

Palm Dessert or Paradise?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

*Post Edit--Desert is spelled with one S, whoops.

The week after I got back from Virginia, we went to Palm Desert for family vacation with my Mom and Dad. We spent a lot of time lying by the pool under the shade thingers with mist spouts. Really, I could make a life for myself there. Now that all my kiddos can swim, laying by the pool has taken on a whole different...I don't know how you say...wonderfulness.

We also spent two days doing Disney in honor of Ellie's "It's Great to be Eighth" birthday. The cutest part was when we had a gazillion dollar lunch at Ariel's Grotto and as Ellie met each princess she would murmur, "This is the best day of my life." Many, many photos were taken, but my gift to you is a collage.
P.S. My Dad is not permanently in a wheel chair, but he hurt his back and the doctor said he better use one at the kingdom or stay home gosh darn it. First he rented a stripped down model that someone had to push...after about 7 minutes of not being in charge of where he was going he went back and rented an electric one. I knew that was going to happen...really, I did.

Hi Ho Shelley the Slacker Here

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It is time to bust out of this writers block by just writing. Actually, I haven't really had a block, just a lack of time. Since we gave up the TV, a kid is always on my computer, and I hate wrestling it away from them so I just read my book and don't blog. See? We need TV...just so I can have my tappy top back.

The Bourne Ultimatum, yes, it's very good; no, it's not like the movie.

Also, we've had a packed solid summer and it is hard for me to move on and blog in the present when I feel like I need to record everything cool that has happened in the recent past. To that end I think I'll do a couple of pictures and a quick sum up for the next couple of days and then my psyche will again be free to roam around the completely irrelevant stuff I like to write about.

It all started in May when I went to Virginia for a long weekend with the lovely Paige and Company. It was a gift from my parents. We spent our time analyzing our children, eating junk, watching "Australia" and crocheting. Paige has turned into a little bit of a yarn nut since I moved to California. My moving left a big ole gaping hole in her life and I guess this is how she had to fill it.

Jeff mentioned that if his friend flew across the country to be with him and he insisted on teaching that friend how to crochet, they might not be friends anymore. But I don't feel that way. I don't!

I'll prove it; look what I made!

I had a great time with a wonderful friend and I am happy that I can tie fancy knots now.
Next stop: knitting and making a Little Cotton Rabbit (I can't wait). It was fantastic to hang with Paige and Gretchen and go to lunch with Stephanie, Jan, Heather, and Rachel. I miss you all!

Tips for Spoiling the Child

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Probably there are a lot of ways you can successfully end up with a spoiled child but, dear friends, I can only share how we have done it.

An example of what works for us follows.

Today Ellie had some allowance burning a hole in her little pink wallet. Burning! We had lunch at the Rainforest Cafe near fisherman's wharf with Grandma Diana, her friend Dave, Billy, Bill and my cousin Lori to celebrate my upcoming significant birthday and Ellie was dying to buy a pair of crocs in the gift shop for $17. "Nope," I told her, "save your money for Disneyland."

So then she found a t-shirt for $5, and I acted like a broken record.

How about a lollipop for $1? No.

She then did the thing wherein she stomps, and huffs, and says, "this is the WORST day ever...blah, blah, blah." And she won't talk to anyone and she stands off by herself and is pretty much a sulky stinker. Yuck.

Later today, when she was at Target with Marc, he let her buy a ceramic piggy bank because getting the other parent to let her do what she knows she isn't supposed to is her super power. If you want to develop your child's inner sneak I highly recommend this type of positive reinforcement.

But wait! Marc and I aren't the only ones involved in her spoiling.

As she was carrying her new bank into the house, Ellie dropped it on the front porch and it splintered into many pink plaid pieces. I was in the house, and Ellie came running to me looking for consolation and, perhaps, a refund. But at this moment I was firm. "Bad things happen to good people," I told her. I thought she might learn some lesson about consequences, or maybe not sneaking because of cosmic retribution, or something but it was not to be.

Apparently her three big sibs saw the debacle and immediately demanded that Marc right this gross injustice and buy her a new piggy bank. And Marc said, "no way," 'cause we're all about saving the monies for vacation right now.

So meanwhile Ellie is sprawled on my bed carrying on about how awful Target is and they "shouldn't make toys for children that aren't plastic because they should know that little children are going to drop them and it is not fair," when who should come to her rescue but the three big sibs. Yes, they pooled their resources and all three of them decided to buy her a new pink piggy bank and Maddie even said she would go to Target right then to get it.

So see? This level of spoiling is not entirely the work of her parents. It takes a village.

p.s. Thanks for the birthday lunch everyone!


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