Sunday, December 21, 2008

Evan's Underwear and Sam Sleepwalking

Evan really likes being just like his older brothers so he likes to wear underwear, just like them. He usually forgets the under part though.

Sam has recently shown that he will walk and talk in his sleep. This is great, some of the best memories of my brother Brian from around high school time are from when he was asleep. Last night Sam came out, asleep, while Karisa was in the kitchen, around 10:00. The boys had a hard time getting to sleep last night so Karisa assumed that Sam still wasn't asleep and was coming out again. She asked him what he needed and he said "I'm holding these." As he said that he held up his empty hand and opened up it up, showing her his fingers, "I'm pretending they're my fingers."

Sam ALWAYS wakes up at about 10:30 or 11:00 to go to the bathroom. This would be fine except at night he needs help. About a week ago I was up until 10:45 and decided to wake Sam up so I didn't have to get out of bed to help him. He went unresisting into the bathroom and I helped position him in front of the toilet. He closed his eyes and then with his mouth made the sound "PSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS." After that he turned from the toilet, and started to pull up his pants. I said "Sam, you need to go to the bathroom." He opened his eyes and looked at me in all seriousness and said "I JUST DID!" He was up just after I got warm in bed to actually go.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dallas' Piano Recital

Dallas did great at his recital last night. About 10 kids played from about Dallas' age up to teenagers. The video is about five minutes long. I am particularly impressed that he was able to play so well with people singing. At the beginning Dallas doesn't talk very loud but this is (about) what he says:

Dallas: "Hi, I am Dallas Mullen. I will be playing A Tisket A Tasket, Over the River and Through the Woods (which his teacher K. Mink plays the duet part) and Silent Night."
Karisa: "And what do you want everyone to do on the last song?"
Dallas: "Sing."

Friday, December 19, 2008

Evan's pajamas

Last night as Evan was getting ready for bed I handed him his gray sweat pants to put on. He put them on and then ran over to Karisa and said really loudly:

"Mom, Mom, I put my sweater pants on!"

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Merry Christmas Baking Everyone!

We did get to go to our ward party, and the primary kids put on a play of the nativity. Dallas ended up being Joseph, with three little friends rotating in as Mary since she's such a popular part, and Sam was a shepherd. They all did so good, especially since it was in front of the whole ward, and my boys are usually too shy to want to participate. They got to see Santa Claus later that night at the Christmas party, and earlier that day at the Santa Fly in. They fly Santa Claus into the airport here and all the kids get to watch and play games and get little presents and treats. I was glad we got better just in time to participate and not miss out on the fun.

My primary girls sang Silent Night in Sacrament Meeting and did beautifully even singing the first verse in German! They are all so cute and kind and wonderful, and I was so proud of them. Our choir songs went well, and next Sunday the children are singing 'Away in a Manger' so hopefully I do a good job leading them. It wasn't the song I would have picked, but I just got put in as chorister, and they had no time to practice something different, so we'll just do our best! I don't like it when they changed how Away in a Manger used to be. The new version is very BLAH in my opinion. But I do like the asleep, asleep part at the end.

And Dallas has his piano recital this Friday. He is the last one to play, and his teacher wants him to ask everyone to sing 'Silent Night' along with him as he plays it. I'm a little nervous- but oh well if he messes up. He's six!!! We'll record it, and try to post it. Dallas gave a great talk in Primary and read most of it on his own! Good job Dallas!

(Jeremy and Kim, the Hershey's Kisses were so you could make this recipe.) I got it from a friend in Utah and they are the best peanut butter cookies I've ever tasted. I like to make them for treats. I use only organic peanut butter, made of just ground peanuts and nothing else. So if you have the regular peanut butter, it might affect the taste somewhat, but I'm sure they'll still be good. Costco has the best organic peanut butter. We ran out and bought some regular stuff and I can't stand it! It tastes like I'm eating peanut flavored shortening! Anyway here's the recipe:

Peanut Butter Cookies w/Kisses
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 c. flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Whip butters and sugar, add egg and vanilla and whip again. Stir in the rest and shape into 1" balls. Bake 325 for 10-12 minutes. After removing from oven, wait a minute or so and then press your already opened Hershey's Kisses barely into the cookie. (Far enough so they won't fall out, but not too deep. The kiss will melt a bit to help seal it there.) These are soft and peanut buttery, chocolaty, yum!

My other favorite Christmas cookie recipes are all in the Thorne family cookbook. (Russian Tea cakes, Molasses cookies, Brittle, White chocolate toffee chip cookies, and Sugar cookies w/Butter frosting.) If you are not an owner of the Thorne family cookbook and want one of these recipes, leave a comment and I'll post it.

My favorite pies are Apple/Cherry or Apple/Berry- you mix the two fruits together after sauteing the apples in butter and sugar so they are soft, and then bake
Caramel Pecan Pumpkin Pie- I like pumpkin, I like pecan, but I like them combined!
Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie- I think I've posted this before. The cream cheese doesn't make it strong like a real cheesecake, just make the pumpkin a little creamier, and in my opinion, delicious!

Merry Christmas baking everyone! I'd love to know what your favorite holiday must haves are. You know I like to cook, and I read cookbooks like novels.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Latest pictures of the boys

Two pictures of Sam since his last picture wasn't so great. I wish you could see the cleft in Evan's chin. It's so cute! We always sing the song from the Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast, about Gaston..."No one has a small cleft in his chin, like Gaston!", inserting Evan's name in instead. Do you like the nice touch of the ladder in the background?

And His name shall be called Wonderful!

I am surprised and happy to report, that after throwing up, everyone seems happy and healthy for the last day, so maybe we'll attempt some festivities.

Also the doctor said the baby is doing fine, and I've now lost 5lbs from when I got pregnant!!! That's what being sick will do to you, but she said no worries. (I wasn't worried.) I'm almost 16 weeks but I'm sure Christmas will get me ALL caught up. Usually by 20 weeks, the halfway mark, people are wondering if I'm due soon. I won't know until the middle of January if it's a boy or girl.

I wanted to tell you the story of one of my favorite composers- G.F.Handel born in 1685. Interestingly he and Bach were born in the same year and lived close and were both blind in their old age, and have often been called the 'twins of music'. Yet their lives were different, music different, and they never met. (All the quotes I insert will be from a book titled, "A Story of Music" by Harriot B. Barbour and Warren S. Freeman.)

Let me first explain that I love Handel's Messiah. Recently I was feeling so tired, and so overwhelmed with housework, nausea, etc and I didn't know what to do. It was late at night, and I really needed to do the dishes and yet had nothing in me to give to them.

I prayed for help. Suddenly the thought came to my mind, no doubt from my loving Father who knows each of us so well, "You would really like to listen to Handel's Messiah."

I got excited as I realized, yes, I WOULD like to listen to Handel's Messiah. I wouldn't mind doing dishes at all if I could listen to that! I fished for my record only to find out that the kids had broken the record player. But Pat found a recording on the internet and started it. I was overwhelmed with emotion as the first song sang of the coming of the Savior. I was so emotional, that Pat did the dishes alone for a while so I could recover.

I used to only recognize two songs from "The Messiah", but last year I sang in a community choir in a nearby town and learned most of them. The words are so powerful, there is very little I don't care for. Usually the solo's are kind of boring. But the majority is wonderful to listen to, and even better to sing!

So I began reading this book, and expected to find out that Handel was a great man, but was thoroughly unimpressed with him. Even let down as he seemed to live his whole life trying to impress rich people, the nobles, and all the petty disputing that goes on in that kind of lifestyle.
But eventually, the nobles turned on him, and did everything they could to ruin him, and they succeeded. He went bankrupt, his mind gave way, and part of his body became paralyzed so that he could no longer play. He was a broken man.

He could have given up. In time, a good friend, showed Handel some verses from the Bible for an oratorio to be called "The Messiah". It was composed of the noblest verses referring to the coming and life of Christ. Handel took the challenge and composed the music as an act in the worship of God. He worked "at a white heat of religious feeling, finishing this great oratorio in just 22 days. As he was writing the music for the sad words, 'He was despised and rejected of men' a servant found him weeping over his work. And as he reached the grandeur of the 'Hallelujah Chorus' he said, 'Methinks I did see all heaven before me, and the great God himself."

Then he decided to perform "The Messiah" for the benefit of charities, keeping nothing for himself. It was such a great success that they had to make traffic regulations, though there were no cars at the time, and ladies requested to come without the hoops in their skirts. "The hall was said to hold 500 ladies with hoops and 700 without." But instead of just catering to the nobles, the Messiah was open to rich and poor alike, and many people stood happily in the back for the duration of the concert if they were too poor to afford a seat.

In London, "During the 'Hallelujah Chorus' the King, in his enthusiasm, rose to his feet. When a king stands, everyone else in the room must stand, too. So the whole audience rose, and ever since that time it has been the custom for audiences to stand during the singing of the 'Hallelujah Chorus'".

"No other oratorio has ever been so well loved or so often sung as 'The Messiah'. It is still the favorite of singing societies in every town in England and America, especially at Christmas. Though it was the greatest success of Handel's life, he looked upon it as a gift to God and turned over to charity every cent he made from it- even at a time when he sorely needed money to pay his debts.

When a nobleman once complimented Handel on the "noble entertainment" of "The Messiah", Handel answered, "I should be sorry if I have only entertained; I hoped to make men better."

I think Handel's life is a great example of how when we rely on our own strength we may have great success, for a time, perhaps even for the duration of this life. But how much better are we made when we give ourselves, and our talents to God, because he can make us a infinitely better than we could ever make ourselves.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas is coming and we are too sick!!!!!

Starting last Sunday, we Sam, Evan and I (Karisa) got really sick. I'm the new primary chorister, and feel so bad not being there to do all the Christmas music with the kids! But as I was on the phone getting a replacement on Sunday, Sam threw up on me, and I knew I had made the right decision in staying home. But I'm sad because I know I'm going to feel like I missed half of Christmas this year. I'm missing my Messiah concert from the community choir, all our church choir stuff, all the primary Christmas stuff, and all our ward Christmas festivities!!!!!! That is torture for me.

But anyway, it has been a long week. I doubt I'm going to get anything done at all for Christmas gifts, cards, etc, which I'm depressed about, but I don't know what else to do. I forced myself to do something besides lay there, so I tried to find addresses for Christmas cards and could only find two, and gave up exhausted by the search! You know you are sick when searching through paper wears you out. Even if I did get cards written and addressed, they would never make it to the post office! Last year we took goodies to all our neighbors and friends and this year we are barely holding on. It's really lame, because I love doing things for others. I guess this year my service to others will consist of cleaning up barf and diarrhea and washing endless loads of laundry. (I hope we are better before we have to travel.)

Yesterday, I felt slightly better and thought maybe the end was in sight. Our ward Christmas party, and Christmas program are all this Sunday, and I told someone, "I think we'll be there! We all seem to be much better."

Then last night, Evan threw up on me (a brand new illness!), and Sam threw up after not throwing up since Sunday (so probably something new too), and Pat said he felt like throwing up. I still haven't taken anyone to see a doctor, because the 20.00 co-pay usually pays for me hearing, "It's viral, and give it a week or so."

I'm seeing my doctor today to see if the baby is okay. I feel slightly better but really weak. I mostly feel bad that I've been a really sick mom all week, and Evan is starting in on a new illness, and Sam as well as they have already been through a lot. I don't know how they catch these horrible things!! We haven't gone anywhere all week! Except grocery shopping for Gatorade, etc. Here's hoping Dallas keeps escaping by some miracle.

Sorry about the depressing post. If we had anything more exciting, I'd write about that instead! But I guess I'd rather be sick now, than actually on Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dallas and reading

As I was helping Dallas with his reading last night we read the word Oak, after which Karisa reminded me of when he had read that word the first time a few months ago. When Dallas reads lone words he reads the word and then puts it in a sentence.

Dallas: "Oak. Mom likes to eat oaks!"
Karisa: What? I don't eat oaks!
Dallas: "Yes you do, you cook your eggs and then take out the oaks!"

Sidenote - At some point during Karisa's pregnancy with Sam she became allergic to eggs. She can alleviate this a little by avoiding the egg whites and so will often fry or boil an egg and only eat the yokes.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas is coming...

The only picture we got of Sam. Sorry!

See that rock wall we did in the background? We've decided instead of 3 weeks, or 3 months to finish, it will take more like 3 years. We are in way over our heads! But the after pictures in my head look really nice!

This is Evan's spot where he hung everything up in one big clump. It's impossible to find a live tree that is pretty and affordable in this part of the country. So we borrowed this fake tree again from a friend at church. I love real trees with all my heart, but I guess next year, we'll have to buy a fake tree, since we can't afford 50-80 dollars every year. The humanity!!!

Arts and Crafts

Here are a few of the fall crafts we did. Lot's of coloring, cutting, and pasting. The boys loved making haunted houses inside a shoebox. They turned out pretty scary! We do art/crafts once a week at my house with our friends who are homeschoolers too. You probably can't see that on each of the turkey feathers they wrote something they are thankful for. Sam has, "I'm thankful for GLUE as one of his."

Happy 6th Birthday Dallas!!!!

The dinner Dallas wanted.

Sam coloring on Dallas' presents.

Quote from Darth Vader, "Your powers are weak old man."

Opening presents!

Evan was supposed to just lick the frosting off. But it seems the candle tasted too good.
(I wish you could see his little teeth marks.)

We had a fun birthday for Dallas, and here are some of the pictures. Having a birthday when his is in early December, is difficult. He really wanted a party, but there are no boys his age at church, and the two girls that are his age, and who he is friends with, had things going on the weekend before and after his birthday. And every other moment this month is taken up with Christmas stuff. The same problems nixed his party last year. So maybe in January we'll try to do a party like Sam had.

Dallas got lots of fun stuff, and thought his dinner and cake were great! He is a joy to have in our family. I think he is so wonderful. He does great at his learning, and can read really well, do math really well, and play piano really well. He plays nicely with his brothers most of the time. He wants to help me clean all the time and most days, before I'm even out of bed, he has emptied the dishwasher (say 6am-ish... it's really noisy, but I don't get mad, because he just wants to help), and he checks for chicken eggs, and helps feed and water the chickens, and is getting to the point where he jokes with me a lot, and is really funny. I wish he wasn't so shy with everyone else, and they knew how fun he is, but that will come with time. He never stops talking at home. (I call him the Blab-a-dor.) Anyway, he is just the most terrific boy a mom could ever have. I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, As long as I'm living, My baby you'll be.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Today's funny comments

Evan said a couple of funny things that just cracked me up today. First, Karisa hadn't cooked dinner by the time I got home so I asked the boys if they wanted sandwiches or (leftover) spaghetti. The responses:

Dallas: "Sandwiches!"
Sam: "Spaghetti!"
Evan: "Spinaches!"

I guess Evan didn't want to be the tie breaker and went half and half. With a tied vote I went ahead and made both. Since I took the trouble of heating up the spaghetti, none of the boys ate it. Later, as I was wresting with the boys Evan's pants got pulled down. Since Evan is in his tattling mode he went straight to Mom:

"Mom, Daddy threw my bottom out of my diaper!"

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Filling in the blanks

So, since Karisa doesn't quite feel like writing yet, it falls to me to fill in the blanks. I think she's almost over the worst of the morning sickness (with Karisa it's not really morning, it starts in just before lunch and gets worse and worse until bedtime) and should be up to writing again soon. Still no pictures. I mentioned this in a comment in an earlier post that we've lost our second charger for our camera battery. I've searched the house top to bottom and this one is gone too. Hopefully before Christmas we can get some more pictures up. Nothing really big has happened, just lots of random stuff.

We went to our favorite New Mexico pizza place, Dion's, yesterday. We ordered a pastrami sandwich, a salad and a large pizza. We got the sandwich and salad first, ate those, and as we were finishing up they called us for our pizza. As I was walking up to get the pizza I saw a guy walking to a seat with a pizza that looked oddly like ours (Dion's special, half with no green chiles). Sure enough, he walked up and took our pizza! The employees talked with him and I don't know what they said or what excuses he gave. In the end they made us another pizza. The guy ended up sitting right next to us so we had to watch him eat our pizza while we waited another twenty minutes for a new one.

A week ago Friday we went and saw Twilight. You can see some cheesy pictures of us at our friend's blog here. I think Karisa will write more at some point about her perspective on the movie.

Thanksgiving was a lot of fun. We went to a different friend's house. They made dinner and I made desert. That's the best deal for me, I love making deserts and not so keen on cooking turkey (but love eating it). We had a chocolate pie, cherry apple pie, pumpkin and banana cream. I didn't get enough leftover pies with the two families eating so tonight I made another pumpkin pie and another cherry pie, I'll be eating about half the cherry one as soon as I'm done with this post. Our friend made these really, really yummy green beans to go with dinner. I don't usually like green beans but these had lots and lots of garlic and half were caramelized (burned). Sounds weird, but somehow very good.

The wind is back. It had taken a long vacation for where we live but now tumbleweeds are tumbling again and our chickens huddle on the porch to stay out of the wind when they are out of their pen.

Karisa got the van washed. I don't know why, it's already covered with dust again (wind + 2 miles of dirt road to get to our house) but it does look cleaner as it's not covered with as much dust.

This was the second week in a row at church we had at least two children asleep through all of Sacrament meeting. We just can't wait until January and morning church again. Last week Sam slept for almost the entire three hours, we couldn't wake him for anything.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pregnant women

Karisa and I have been married for 8 years in January. Of those 8 years she has been pregnant for 3 years and a few months, so you would think that I would get used to do I say this....distinct changes in my wife during pregnancy.

Fortunately the first trimester is just about over. Karisa's sense of smell changes during this time and there is something about the smell of my skin that is unpleasant. No changes in my habits, I just stink to her. My favorite scripture during this time Alma 19:5.

Another change during the first trimester is that my cooking, which always before has been sufficient, is no longer good enough. Not only that but she does not feel much like cooking, and if Karisa does end up preparing the meal and it has any meat in it that was raw when she started, then she can't eat it at all. This means that Karisa wants to go out and eat a lot. So I have to balance our bank account against my wife's health and happiness. Living in a small town has been helpful, although annoying to Karisa. There are hardly any restaurants. They get old quick. And Albuquerque is a bit of a drive.

Last Sunday evening, after the kids were in bed, I came into the living room and she was sitting on the couch bawling. Now Karisa will cry sometimes after a really sad movie, but that is a few tears and she's over it. She was sobbing with lots and lots of tears running down her face. I asked her what was wrong. She held up a book she was reading on early music composers and said something along the lines of "Beethoven's father was really mean and wanted him to be like Mozart and kept him up all night practicing his music when he was just a child", followed by a fresh round of sobbing. I sat on the couch opposite her and stared at her for a minute, and then I started laughing, really hard. This made Karisa start to laugh at herself, but she couldn't stop crying so she was doing both at the same time. I eventually had to leave so she could let her sadness run its course without interruption. (Karisa's comment: "Out of control hormones feel better you have a good cry.")

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Not much to say

Sorry I haven't had much to say. I am really tired and really nauseated. I'm just doing the essentials right now.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Learning Styles

One really neat thing about homeschooling is getting to interact with our children and see how they learn. Karisa has me teaching math so we usually do that in the evening before or after dinner. What's really cute is after I finish with Sam, Evan always says "Wanna do maf now da ee". So I pull blocks out and we work on colors and counting. A couple of instances in this last week showed me how different our own children's learning styles can be.

I was working with Dallas on shapes, first on what quadralaterals, rectangles, parallellograms and squares are. I gave him 12 smaller squares and told him to make the biggest square that he could. He struggled a bit with a 3x4 rectangle oriented differently. Sam came along and told me he wanted to do it, so I gave him 12 small sqares as well. I eventually told Dallas he couldn't use all the squares to make one big square and he was able to make a larger square with 9 tiles. When I told Dallas he couldn't use all 12 Sam said, "But Dad, I did it with 12!" Sam's square is on the left and Dallas' on the right.

A little while later I was working with Dallas on right triangles. We took two right triangles and made a bigger right triangle. I then told Dallas to take four right triangles and make a square. Sam was again tagging along on the lesson. Their finished products are below, Sam again on the left and Dallas on the right. I guess Sam doesn't really like solid shapes.

Friday, November 7, 2008

On a lighter note...

Tonight we were telling jokes at the dinner table. The kids didn't really get them. I know like 3 jokes and I always tell them wrong anyway. But I tried to tell my standard jokes (Two men walked into a bar. You'd think the second would have ducked. What do you call a bomerang that doesn't come back? A stick. What's the last thing to cross a bug's mind as it hits the windshield? It's butt.) but I messed up 2 out of 3 of them. (I said 'what do you call a stick that doesn't come back?' for instance. I'm retarded at telling jokes. So then I moved on to the knock-knock jokes.

Knock knock
Who's there?
Boo Who?
Oh, it's okay, don't cry!

Who's there?
Who, Who?
Your an owl!!!

Yea- I'm a real barrel of laughs. So later Dallas says, "Mom! Knock-knock!"
"Who's there?"
"Owl, who?"
Dallas looking confused, "It's okay, don't cry...?"
Well I did laugh really hard at his attempt. So he was happy.

Last week we took an egg that one of the chickens had pecked a tiny hole in, and blew it out, washed it out and let it dry. We had a plan. When Pat got home, Dallas was going to walk in like he'd just gotten the egg from outside and say, "Look Dad! One egg!" and then smash it right on Pat's stomach. Dallas could hardly wait.
He pulled the trick off perfectly. As the perfectly empty egg smashed on Pat's shirt, I saw utter shock in his face. It was great. Dallas and I are still laughing.

Pat just had a conversation with Sam about how he needs to not come into our bed at night so much, and Sam responded with, "It's not just your bed Dad!"

Who's on the Lord's side who?

Now is the time to show... I just wanted to remind you about Beetlebabee's website (Look to the right side of my blog). She has all the latest news about the Prop 8 rage that has now focused on one specific target- our church. Check out the latest assault on the LA Temple. These are truly unhappy people. They want not only tolerance, but to force all people to put aside their personal beliefs/religion to fully embrace a lifestyle that goes against everything right and true, everything we hold dear. It hurts children, and helps to bring about Satan's purposes of destroying the family and any kind of stable future for children. There is no tolerance for our beliefs, or for our convictions. We are simply called names, and shouted at, etc. They will never be happy until all religion is pulled down, and the selfish religion of "whatever makes me happy" reigns. At which point, if it ever got to this, they would realize they were more unhappy than ever.

We are in the last days of the earth, and it will get much worse. If we are sitting on the fence wishing to ignore it all, (Hey! Live and let live, right?) we will be carried away by the tide of evil, or will be unprepared and too scared to stand up and fight. This fight, though decided by the voice of the people TWICE, will not end. We must be prepared to protect our children and our families.

All of these things have been prophesied and we know what the outcome will be.
We have suffered persecution and death before, as have followers of Christ since the beginning. Satan is real, and targets those who oppose him. Hence we know we will suffer these things again. Yet we cannot shy away from fighting against all who would destroy our rights (to be replaced with their "rights"), our God, and our freedom. Condoning same sex marriage would destroy our society, confuse children, and the basic laws of right and wrong, which must be obeyed if we are to progress and be happy.

We are reminded in the Book of Mormon, by the prophet Lehi, that there must be opposition in all things. We are sent to earth with agency (which we fought for) to be able to choose right from wrong. And we cannot choose if we don't have both choices (right and wrong) before us. I quote from the scriptures:

"And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not, there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things..." 2Nephi 2:13

(Hey! It sounds like my college English teacher is talking! His mantra was, "There is no law, no sin, no right from wrong, and no God!" although he went about teaching that with his reading selections through the course of the class.)

But there is a God. Lehi and all the prophets in the Book of Mormon, saw our day, and what we would be up against. We have laws given by God, and there is not just one gray shade that we travel in where everything we choose is fine if it makes us happy. Most sin is fun, enticing, addicting, EASY, and God gives me the freedom to choose to partake of these things, just like I could eat a fat hot fudge sundae every night, but in the end, there are always consequences to be paid. We all come to earth with different strengths we must share, and weaknesses we must overcome. We cannot do it alone. We need a Savior. So God in his infinite love and wisdom sent us His Son. We have His example and the words of the prophets in the scriptures to show us the right way to live. We are always choosing right from wrong in all our actions and everything we do.

There are many children being brought up in the world today never being taught right from wrong, or about God and who they are/where they come from/why they're here. But just the same, they have been reserved to come to the earth at this time, as have we, and they will recognize the Spirit in righteous people, and they will hear His voice, and have a choice before them, and we must be that example for them. It is doubtful we will ever know who we've influenced or how, it is just important that we live kind and good lives. God knows all of His children and their needs.

If you don't know where to start, then pray. Pray that the good people in the world can stand up together in a united front. Pray for the safety of missionaries (I'll be sending out my precious 3 in a few years and I think I'm beginning to know a tiny bit about how God felt sending his Son). Pray for our temples or places of worship, our Prophet Thomas S. Monson, and those who are in harms way, that God will protect them. And love those who hate us. It's what Jesus would have us do. He loves them too, however much their choices sadden him.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sam's disappointments...

Last night Sam went to bed, explaining to me how if he puts this money (about 35 cents) under his pillow, in the morning he would have FIFTY MONIES!!!!
I said, "Uh-huh. Yep", figuring he'd forget, and admiring his creativity.
But this morning he came in to my room very upset, and told me it didn't work.

I took all the kids with me to vote today. It took all of 5 minutes, and then as we were loading back up in the van, Sam said, "That's all we're going to do here?"
"Yes." I said. "What did you want to do here?"
Sam said, "Well you said we were going to go on a Boat!" He was really sad.
I had to explain the difference between Vote/Boat. Poor Sam.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Energy drinks- they really work

Yesterday, I went to the store to get one thing I needed for our snack, and as I walked out I saw a six pack of juice that said Ocean Spray pomegranite cranberry on it and it sounded so good, and I grabbed the bottles of juice without even slowing my pace and paid and left. Around 4:30 right before Pat came home I drank one, and let the kids share another. Then after the kids were in bed, I drank another. I had sent Pat to bed at 7pm because he was really tired. I expected to follow shortly, but for some reason I could not sleep. 10pm, 11pm, 12am, 1am, 2am all passed and I was freaking out!!!! Why can't I sleep!

Today I looked closer at the bottle, and saw that it said "energize" and had green tea listed in the ingredients. No where did it come right out and say caffeine, but I should have read it and known. I called the company and they said, "Yes of course it has caffeine! It's an energy drink!"

I never drink caffeine, and so that explains why 2 cups of caffeinated juice can keep me up all night! How annoying! I think energy drinks and caffeine are the devil!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Prop 8 Gay Marriage

I just wanted to let you know of a website by a good friend of mine that deals with many of the issues brought out by proposition 8 in California. All our friends and family in California are doing a lot and sacrificing a lot for this cause. It is the most well thought out and researched sites I've ever read. We are praying for a yes on prop 8.

Happy Halloween!

Wow, Pat and I actually won a costume contest. I hardly ever dress up for Halloween, because I don't care that much. I do think it is fun, but it requires money and time and I usually have neither. This year was no different, but we were invited to a party and my friend said if we didn't dress up we'd have to stand outside (okay I made that up) but she encouraged costumes, and I had always wanted to be Mary Poppins and have Pat and the boys be chimney sweeps, so I tried it.

The boys had other ideas though. (They didn't want to be a mariachi band with me either!)

So here are some pictures of what we ended up looking like. Pat and I won a pumpkin! Yum- seeds! (That's real soot from our new fireplace on Bert's face)

A puppy!

Pat's parents breed miniature schnowzers, (yes I have no idea how to spell it) and we felt like after a year break from having our last dog, we were ready to try a dog again, and asked them if they would save one of the latest puppies for us. She's a girl, and her name is Bella. We haven't seen her in person because she's in California, but, here are some cute pictures Pat's family sent us. We think she is very cute, and are so excited, especially because it will be a surprise to the boys on Christmas morning! So shhhh!!!!!!!!!! No telling!!!!!!!!

Yes, it's true...

I want to officially announce that I am pregnant, expecting our fifth child (of course I count Lauralei), and am due June 3rd. I was waiting until I was done with the first trimester to tell everyone, but I just couldn't wait any longer to tell you all how miserable and awful I feel! I am so sick, but not near as sick as some people I know get, so I shouldn't complain, but here I go anyway. I am sooo sick. Okay, I feel better, now that you know.

I am suffering from pregnant brain- severely. I can't remember anything, and I don't feel like doing anything, and that's part of why I had to tell everyone early. Dallas is smart, and I wanted him to know the real reason why I was laying in bed a lot, not just that I'm sick with some unknown prolonged illness. Pat and I are very happy. I've had two miscarriages this year, so this was a blessing. And the interesting thing is, that in the whole two years we've been in our ward, not one baby has been born. Finally a couple months ago, my friend Jen suddenly was blessed with a baby through adoption. I knew it was all going to start now. And it did! Besides me there are two others pregnant, and hopefully more soon. So I just think it is neat how that happens at church. None of us planned anything, but here we all are pregnant together. Yea!

Today I realized that I scheduled day camp for my primary girls on June 3rd, 4th, and 5th, so I guess I'll have to reschedule that. Unless I can count taking them all to the hospital as a worthy activity.

Remember how I said Dallas is smart? Well today he asked me, "Mom, how is that baby going to come out of your tummy? Is it just going to pop? Cause then you'll have a big hole in your tummy!"

I directed him to Pat.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The tooth is gone!

He was very brave and wiggled it out!
Yea Dallas! What should the tooth fairy bring?

Evan's funny faces

Evan has needed eye drops for an infection, and of course every night gets his teeth brushed by Dad. These faces may look happy, but he is trying to avoid either eye drops or getting his teeth brushed.


The boys are going to be taking a break from gymnastics for the holiday season, but they sure do good!

Our first snow in October?

Tuesday the 14th of October, seems a little early for snow, but it was fun! Except that we were cold, because I was home alone with the kids all day and didn't know how to work the wood burning stove! (Plus the wood was all wet.)

My sunflowers were shocked and got so heavy they all fell down eventually, so we cut them down.

And here's after the snow melted into the creek bed that I dug. It's to help keep the water away from the house. I hope to cover this in rocks someday when we have money, because the boys would love to play in it, but I don't want them to disappear forever in the mud. We took part of our demolished fireplace that looked like a bridge and made a bridge for it!

Brussel Sprouts

I tried to get away with serving brussel sprouts as our vegetable for dinner. Sam's face fell when he saw them and knew he'd have to eat one. As we said prayer I knew he was looking at them with anger and I heard him whisper, "Yuuuuck!" instead of Amen.
He ate all his food and wanted seconds, but I told him he had to eat his brussel sprout first. He said, "Cut it open so I can see what it looks like."
Pat cut it open, and when Sam saw what was inside, he sighed heavily, and slouched down disappointed. (I guess he was hoping for a chocolate center.)

Dallas tried in his brave way to eat it and choked it back out on his plate. Then Sam chewed his all up and said, "I like it!"

After folding a weeks worth of the three boys laundry and putting it all away, I walked in to see all their bins empty of clothes and their closet too, and Sam and Evan sitting on the big pile of clothes. I was very upset, and asked them why they did that. Sam said, "Well, bad guys were here and they were trying to take our clothes!".
I didn't even try to put it all back. We just tramped over the clothes all week, and could never find anything when we needed it, and OH WELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008


Saturday we had tickets to the balloon festival they do yearly in Albuquerque. It's a really big deal. We drove down, but all the events were cancelled due to stormy bad weather, so we drove back home disappointed. I made dinner for the kids and my neighbor called and said that they had issued a tornado warning for our town and one neighboring town that would last for about the next 45 minutes. We felt lots of strong wind and rain, but thankfully the tornado missed us. In the neighboring town we heard about someones trailer home that landed on the main road, so it wasn't so easy going for all. Our only inconvenience was our entire town was without electricity!

Now that it's over I can tell you it took until a little over 24 hours for the power to come back on. It was definitely a learning experience. Like Grandma Stanger said, we were living like the pioneers. And we realized how much we rely on the computer, t.v., stove, music, lights, fridge, etc to keep life humming.

When the power went out, we luckily had just eaten, and since it got dark so quickly, we all just went to bed. The kids came in our room so we didn't have to worry about leaving candles in their room. They always have a nightlight, and would have been too scared in complete darkness. But not complete darkness. You realize in times like these, when all the lights around have been cut off, that the moon actually gives off a beautiful glow, and that when the moon goes down, then it IS utterly dark!

Then Sunday morning we woke up, amazed that 12 hours later we were still without power. Pat finally got through to the electric company on the phone and they said Sunday afternoon maybe. Several people had called him since he's the EQ President and asked if we were having church. He tried to call the bishop and couldn't get through (so many phones need electricity). We have an old phone thankfully, that we got from Grandma Mary (Pat's Great Grandma) that you just plug into the wall. So Pat drove to the bishop's house to talk to him, and also checked on someone who has health issues needing machines.

For breakfast and lunch we ate bread, and butter and that I had fortunately left out and drank water, because we did not want to open our refrigerator at all and let any cold out. We still had hot water and I washed my hair and then kept trying to get my blow dryer to turn on (duh!). So I went to church with crazy hair (like many others there) and wrinkled clothes. Then when we got home around 4pm, and still no power, Pat went and picked up a generator someone kindly offered us, and we hooked our fridge and freezer up to it to save our food. Hallelujah!! It would have been too bad if we'd lost our food. Groceries cost so much these days. FYI- Ice cream is the first thing to melt in the freezer! The meat was still solid, but the ice-cream was soup. We decided that when we can afford it we should invest in a generator. It was a cute little thing, kinda like a vacuum cleaner, and it ran on gas. People that have electric devices that they cannot live without, should definitely have one. (And don't forget the gas!)

By now, our kitchen was a real mess, because on Saturday, we already had two days worth of dishes piled up, and then could not use the dishwasher, and after dinner we couldn't even hand wash because it got too dark. We were "starving" and still didn't have a way to cook anything with our electric stove, and being very tired of bread, Pat got out the camp stove (with propane) and I warmed up the previous nights spaghetti on it. We wished we had our 72 hour kits that the church tells us to have. Three days worth of meals and snacks! It wasn't necessary in this case, but like I said, the food we had got old, and we felt like we were in a bit (a very tiny bit) of a crisis, and my mind at least really could have used some chocolate!

What I noticed most of all, is that we were bored!!! Dallas was really sick with a fever and I laid in bed with him and we tried to think about what people did in the old days (before electricity). I read my scriptures a little before it got too dark after dinner, but then you can't do too much with just candles and flashlights at night. So we just went to bed again, even though we weren't tired. The house was so quiet, and even though I don't watch much t.v., I wished I could turn on some movie, or music or something to fight the boredom. I realized this was a silly dependence, and was mad at myself for it.

And luckily it wasn't too cold outside yet, because many people would have had no heat for 24 hours. We just put in a wood burning stove and are hoping it will be our primary source of heat this winter so I guess we would have been okay as far as heating goes.

So as we all lay in bed Sunday night wide awake, staring at the darkness, and listening to ourselves think, at about 7:30pm the power finally came back on. We turned on lights and we felt silly for being in bed so early!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

More Evan Talking

I don't know why but I love it when my kids mix up words. I also love it when they mess them up in cute ways. Evan did both a couple of nights ago and wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles, I was able to get him to repeat both for the camera.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Midnight Ramblings

This is a post meant to embarrass Karisa a little bit, but not too much I hope. I often end up staying up later than Karisa, either reading my many books or watching baseball. Sometimes when I climb into bed and the bed wiggles, and I adjust the blanket she'll start talking to me. One time I climbed in and she started shouting that the lawn mowers were making too much noise and they should wait until morning to mow our lawn (middle of the night, dead quiet all around). A couple of nights ago I climbed into bed at midnight and we had the longest of these conversations that we'd ever had. Usually when I start talking back she'll either go to sleep again or wake up enough to laugh at herself.

As I climbed into bed Karisa said: "That was the stuff!"
Me: "What Stuff?"
"The Stuff he told us to use last night."
"What Stuff!?!"
"The Stuff he told us to use last night!"
"What Stuff?"
"For what?"
(At this point I thought I had lost her to sleep again but I tried one last time)
Me: "What did we have to use the stuff for?"
Karisa: "The stuff in his stomach!"
"What stuff?"
"For his stomach!"
"I have no idea what you are talking about!"
"It was Halloween, he was a scarecrow and needed more stuffing for his stomach!"

At this point I started laughing to hard to continue and lost her to sleep. Usually she remembers a little of our midnight conversations but she didn't remember a thing about this one. I got the feeling as we were talking that maybe after that pause we were having a different conversation and talking about different "stuff", but since Karisa couldn't give any clarification we'll never know.

Random funny moment from today
Sam was pretending to take his brother's body parts with his pretend knife. He sliced off Evan's toe (without even touching him) and pronounced that Evan didn't have a toe now. Evan screamed and in the whiniest voice possible shouted "Mommy, Sam cut off my toe!"

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Offended Evan

Evan spends a large part of his life being offended and embarrassed (although he is learning how to be angry from his brother just older than him). This morning we needed him to get dressed so that we could leave the house. He didn't want to take off his really dirty shirt, so I did it for him, and put the new one on. He stormed away from me trying to take his new shirt off. He got the neck up over his face and so I said "I can see your tummy!" He immediately took his hands from trying to take his shirt off and used them to cover his stomach. He walked around for a minute or so like this, shirt over his face, hands over tummy not being able to see where he was going, but willing to stay like that if it meant one-upping Dad. I laughed so hard and this is where I found him a few minutes later, in the pantry.

I like to tease him a lot. He gets in moods where he'll say no to anything and everything we ask him. (A big deep NOOOOO with his lips out.) When he gets like that I say to him, "Evan, say no!"
"No!" he'll yell at me. Then I say "Good job Evan, you did it! Say no again!"
At that point he gives me a dirty look and won't talk to me for several minutes.

Monday, September 29, 2008


This is Sam's tiger face. Sam has (as you may know) a sugar sweet heart, but he also has a lot of anger and doesn't know how to control his temper sometimes. His tiger face helps. When he's angry he shows it to us, and we scream and run away. Dallas and Evan try to do a tiger face, but they just look like they're smiling.

Here is Evan balancing on one arm of his chair with his hands on the table.
At every meal, Evan and Sam try to out do each other with new ways to balance on their chairs. "Can you do this?" they say to each other. Tonight Evan had all sorts of near death experiences like this one. "Do this Sammy?" he's saying. Earlier today we were at the park and Evan was on the big swing sets. When he was going as high as he could, he tried jumping off, just like his big brother. After all the crying stopped and he hopped back on the swing and tried jumping off again!
Our last shopping trip we got one of those interesting carts with two seats down low and then the cart in front, and the boys spend the whole shopping trip trying stunts. Flipping over the bar, climbing back and forth, and their favorite, being dragged with their waist down to their feet on the floor, and their hands holding onto the bar.
Yes I know carts have seat belts, and yes I know this is dangerous as occasionally someone points out to me. But they have so much fun, and would fight out of their seat belts anyway, screaming like monkeys over a fire until they'd freed themselves. This way we keep it under as much control as you can have shopping with 3 boys five and under.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Some pretty things!

My friend Julie and I both homeschool. Once a week the kids come to my house and we do an art project. And then later in the week we go to her house and do science. She's been doing such a wonderful job!!! (As I knew she would)
Well here is one of the art projects we did. We made stepping stones with cement in a pie plate (you could use anything) and after it sets up a bit you can put marbles (like those one's for fish tanks), or buy those fake jewels in the craft isle at wal-mart, and we broke up some tile to make mosaics, and some kids made their handprint and painted it, etc. It was all nice, but I really liked Sam's because he put the shells from our trip to Santa Rosa on (when we went camping/swimming with Beth and Kathryne). So now they are out in our garden where we won't really step on them, but they look pretty!

And here is a picture of my sunflowers I planted that I love. The two bushes are huge and have at least 300 blossoms each. They are so pretty -it makes me really happy! Our town is back to all brown now, but there is a huge burst of sunshine at my house.

A very stinky day

Today, sitting in church, someone kept passing gas, and it was very stinky, and seemed to sit in a cloud around me. It was so awful, that I furiously wanted to fan the air away from me, but knew that this would attract attention, and not be very polite.
Then I noticed that the recurring smell was coming from my own children, and I got so embarrassed that I started to whisper threats to them if they did it ONE MORE TIME!!! Of course they did keep doing it, not to be mean or funny, they're not that way, but just because they had to. Dallas' were the worst, but once Pat gave Evan a big hug and it squeezed out a noisy one. I was so embarrassed, and as soon as the meeting was over I rushed away because I would feel a need to apologize if I stayed, and maybe the people sitting near us didn't even notice anyway. (Yea right, not much chance of that, but still.)

Later at the end of church when I was in the meeting for all the women, my friend Lacey's son was with her, with nothing but a diaper on, because he had blown out his diaper in class and ruined his clothes, you know, a major code brown. So we all laughed at him as he walked around talking during our lesson half naked. He's really cute.

Then we came home and were all eating dinner and it came up and I told Pat how annoying it was that the boys were foofing (yes we say foof) during Sacrament meeting and how stinky it was. Evan kept telling us about someone who was stinky. We figured he was talking about his brothers. and just trying to be a part of the conversation. Until we heard him say, "Kenny stinky poop in his chair!"

He was telling me what happened in nursery to his friend! It was so funny that Evan could talk well enough to describe the code brown in his class to us. Of course I had to call Lacey and tell her that her son was the topic of our dinner conversation and that Evan told on him. It was so funny.

On a side note, Dallas gave a great talk in primary today. He told a story from memory and then read the scripture and the rest all by himself! Good job Dal!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Today's Random Events

Random Wanting to be Like Dad Moment:
We were having bratwursts for dinner tonight and I like to eat mine with REALLY hot horseradish. Evan (2 years old) claimed that he wanted some, insisted on it actually. I put the tiniest bit on my fork and told him to taste it to see if he wanted some to dip his brats into. He took the bite off my fork, and then slowly sank down into his chair with a disgusted look on his face and then his eyes started to water. Karisa said, "It's YUCKY isn't it?", "No", he said stubbornly, and then he stood up and asked for some on his plate. I gave it to him and told him to dip his sausage in just the tiniest bit, he quickly ended up with more horseradish than I would put on one piece of MY dinner and had it in his mouth before we could stop him. Exactly the same reaction as before, but this time he didn't dip in the horseradish any more.

Random Wanting to be Like Mom Moment:
That is actually a too small baseball cap, not a skullcap. I have no idea why Dallas needed a purse to check on the chickens. Sigh.

Random Segue
We were having family home evening tonight and Karisa gave a great lesson about prayer. During the lesson she pulled out a picture of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane praying. Sam took the picture into his hand and studied it quietly for a good half a minute. "Mom, do you know what I'm going to always do?" he asked. Karisa and I shared a look across the room where we realized that one of our kids really got something we were trying to teach. She asked him "What Sam?" He replied, "Drink lots and lots of water."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Baby Elle

Make Sure You Turn on Your Speakers!

Elle I wish you were near to cuddle and love. It's been a while since I received these pictures of you and have wanted to post them for others to see, so since they added up, my wonderful, talented, fantastic husband (your Uncle Pat) put this together for us all. I miss you so much and look how fast you are growing... The last I saw you, you were just a few days old! New York why can't you be closer?

Tia Karisa

...and back to the children

Now that we're done remodeling (mostly) we've had some more time for the kids. Since we were told by one of my beloved sister-in-laws that we don't have enough pictures of the kids on the blog, you go.

Our staple dinner when we don't know what to make for dinner, burritos. The day after having them for dinner I asked the boys what they wanted for lunch and Sam shouted "Burritos!" I told Sam we had just had them the day before and he said "I want MORE burritos!"

I told Evan to smile for the camera and I'm impressed, I don't think I've ever seen anyone smile so hard.

Dallas is proud here because he made Sam's bed (not shown), well, what about your bed you goober.

One of the few pictures I got of Sam's face this night, I have many with his shirt pulled up over his face, a few with his hands over his face and a couple with his back turned. I think this is genetic because we sure didn't teach him this (nice going grandpa).

Boys being silly.

Ring around the rosies.

All the boys have a scary "tiger" face, Sam's is the scariest and Evan's (pictured here)...well, not so scary.

The boys caught a horny toad today and it was the fattest one I've ever seen.