Saturday, May 31, 2008

Freeze



When I first bought our digital camcorder I didn't have a computer with the necessary port to transfer video at any reasonable quality. Since we've had the new computer I haven't really had a reason to get the necessary cable. Now that Karisa has this blog going I thought it would be a good idea to get the cable so we can get some video up every now and then. My cable came a week ago and silly me, it was the wrong cable. It went into the camcorder but the wrong connection for the computer. I sent it back to Sony and ordered the right one which got here this morning. In celebration of the new cable you get the freeze game. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Visiting Teaching

My friends (who are also my visiting teachers) came over to see me a couple days ago. They each have a son the same age as my Sam. So happily all the boys get to play together while us moms talk. Since my bedroom is right off the kitchen/living room, it is inevitable that someone will try to go play in there. I didn't have time to clean it, though, and just hoped for the best. But the boys ran in there and all the way through to the bathroom and closet where they tried to hide. Embarrassed I excused myself and told the boys to stay out of my room. My friends, embarrassed that their boys had gone in there, followed me to retrieve them! It was pretty funny, if it hadn't been so embarrassing. Sam's friend Tyler yelled, "You have banana peels on your bathroom floor!" as his mom led him away.

Sunday night we ate dinner with friends and talked about our humorous visiting teaching stories. I have another one from when we lived in Utah. There was a lady I admired with 5 kids who were just all so funny and good natured. The lady and I never became friends, so I don't think she'll ever know how much I admired her. However, she was assigned to be my visiting teacher for a while. She would seem uncomfortable at my house, but at the same time, would go on and on and on. So one day, more than an hour into her visit, my kids were getting pretty crazy from being ignored. I kept shushing them, because I wanted to let this lady know I really appreciated her efforts by paying attention to her. I guess Sam had had enough of trying to get my attention, and he (age 2) suddenly bit me on my inner thigh. He had never done anything like this, nor ever has since, and I was so shocked! It hurt so much, that without thinking I screamed and slapped him across the face. Then he was screaming and I had no way of recovering with my visitor, since she had been in the middle of a spiritual thought. She just left us like that and went home. I was really angry. Several weeks later, as the teachers of a parenting class, they talked about why they never spank their kids and I felt as small and crummy as a cockroach.

Then my friend Julie told me this story. So the visiting teachers arrive and the lady of the house goes to tell her husband, who is in the shower, that her visiting teachers are here so he would know not to come out. So they all sit down, and suddenly, dripping wet, the husband streaks naked behind them across the living room, stops, and then, runs back to the bedroom. After the visiting teachers leave, the lady asks her husband, "Why did you come out after I had told you that my visiting teachers were here?" The husband said, "I thought you told me to hurry quick and come see what's on Oprah!"

I keep laughing out loud whenever I think of Julie telling me this.

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Letter of Apology

This is Pat's favorite cake I make for him. I only do it once a year, as it is an annoying one to make, but oh, so delicious. I got it off the food network, Barefoot Contessa, called Flag Cake. I think it is in the family cookbook. You are supposed to make a flag with the berries, but I like them all mixed up together. Yum!


Two days ago, Dallas wanted to build his own yard and playhouse. So he's putting up a fence where he wants his house to be, and he kept getting these metal posts. I asked him if he was taking them from the side yard where we have our garbage cans fenced in, and he said no, they were just laying around. I thought that was weird because I had never seen them around. But as I inquired further, he assured me he wasn't taking them from the side yard. When I looked later, our fence on the side yard around the garbage cans was almost completely down. He had indeed pulled out almost all the posts. I couldn't believe he had lied to me so boldly.

Then that same day, Dallas told another bold faced lie. A clerk at a store gave him a mens ring (ridiculously ugly). They found it, nobody had claimed it, so for some reason they gave it to my son? I didn't know what to say- Thanks? I keep meaning to take it to a pawn shop and get rid of it. I always try to hide it, but when he finds it he wears it and it just looks wrong on a 5 year old. I told him he cannot wear a ring until he gets married and to bring it too me. He kept saying he couldn't get it off. I told him to get it off. Then I saw it was off and I told him to give it too me. He said, "Well Mama, I was taking it off and it fell into the grass and got lost." Completely exasperated I said, "Well, find it! Where did it fall in the grass?"

This is where I started to catch on that he was lying, because he looked around and chose the thickest tallest grass in our yard, and I knew he hadn't been over there. As the light dawned on me, I said, "Let me check your pockets." A struggle ensued, which only Pat could restrain him so I could get the ring out of his pocket, and as I pulled it out, I was so disappointed in him. Not only did he lie, but he was bold, straight faced, etc.

Pat punished him, and told him how it would feel if he told lies. (Like the boy who cried wolf.) How nobody would trust or believe him. And what if something important happened and he needed to tell someone, but they didn't believe him.

Then last night, with the boys, I just happened to read about Joseph Smith's life and how when he was 14 years old he was confused about all the churches arguing as to who was right and he wanted to know which church to join. So after reading the Bible in James, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God..." Joseph went to the forest and prayed seeking the wisdom he needed to chose correctly. And what happened there? God the Father and Jesus Christ both appeared to Joseph. They talked to him, and told him not to join any of the churches. "They draw near to me with their lips but their hearts are far from me." They talked to him of many things, and when Joseph returned to his home, his mother could see something was wrong. When she asked him, Joseph told her what had happened. Did his mother believe him? After all he was just a boy. But, yes, both Joseph's father and mother believed him, because he did not lie, and they knew he was telling the truth.

Today, well actually tonight, Dallas came out of his room and handed me an envelope. Inside was this letter. He gave it to me, with a big hug and a big smile, and it was such a nice surprise. (He writes his letters by trying to sound out the words.) I'm not naive enough to think he'll never lie again and we're such great parents that we fixed him for good, but if he was thinking about it for that long, and made such a heartfelt apology, I hope he'll at least remember what we taught him.

Others will always, laugh and scorn Joseph Smith for saying he saw what he saw. But he knew it was true, and he knew God knew it was true. And he could not deny it. I will always be grateful he told the truth! It is the greatest gift I could have ever been given.

Dallas' letter of apology:
I'M SORRY I TOLD LIES. I WONT BE MEAN ANY MORE. (The small words at the bottom say I LOVE YOU- DALLAS, written on a bone he cut out. Don't ask. I have no idea why he cut out a bone.

Garage sale finds, weekend projects and more

We set up Evan's new bed this weekend, his is the lone bed, Dallas and Sam alternate beds on the bunk beds.

This picture turned out dark because of the window. The bunk beds used to be against the wall on the left, which was painted bright green. Once the beds were away from the wall it was too ugly so we painted it white, like the rest of the room. We replaced the pastel blue curtains with dark blue ones. It looks much more like a little boys' room now.

$2.00 for a bag of cool random star wars characters, excellent find. The hutch they are standing on was exactly what we needed for our kitchen ($20.00).


50 cents, I knew there was a reason we didn't ever clean.


Evan takes his sausages very seriously.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Memorial Day Memories



What an exciting time! This weekend has been so busy and it is only Saturday!!! I am glad that we've gotten a lot done. Painted the kids room (nothing nice- just painted white over the one green wall that has been annoying since we moved in) and fixed their room up nice. Someone gave us their old bunk beds (the wood kind you can separate) and so we put just one of them in the boys room next to the other boy's beds for Evan. Now he's no longer in a crib and feels pretty spiffy. Took him hours to go to sleep tonight because he kept climbing in and out of his bed and grinning with pride.

We started out the morning going garage sale-ing for a mattress for Evan's new bed, and we found some cool stuff, but no mattress so Pat ended up buying one. He also bought a simple metal frame for our bed so that we could get our mattresses off the floor. Hopefully that will make it safer with bugs too. Our bed looks sooo high. Then we dropped some stuff off at the thrift store because we must clean our garage out on Monday. That may not happen because I really want to go to a cemetary and pay my respects to our soldiers, and in the afternoon we have a BBQ with our ward.

Tonight I get to watch the second half of the newest Jane Eyre and I am so excited! Evan was really sick last night with the croup, and we were really worried about him. Since that goes 3 nights in a row and worse each night, we hope last night was the 3rd, because he was having difficulty breathing, and sounded like a seal barking and Pat had to keep taking him out in the cold air to open up his breathing tube.

This Memorial Day weekend is also the anniversary of when Pat and I went out to the Jazz Festival in Old Sac and held hands for the first time. Pat started convincing me that he was someone I should like. He already really really liked me. I was amazed by him, he said some really nice things. We walked a lot and bussed a lot and listened to music, and then he walked me back home to my apartment when I lived with Sandra and Dawn on Howe. Happy Memorial Day Weekend everyone. (The pictures are at the Botanical Gardens in Albuquerque.)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

HELP ME!!!

Evan walks around saying his favorite new phrase..."Help Me!" as he cries as in his last dying breath. His brothers say it laughing all the time as they hang upside down on things, but Evan found a much more dramatic use for it. Yesterday I wrote down a song that came to me as I was singing Evan to sleep. The tune just popped into my head and that has happened before, like in the middle of the night, but I don't write it down immediately, so then it is lost. So this time I wrote it down. I have two songs now that I need to get published with the church, I just keep not doing it!

It seems like it has been forever since Pat and I have had a day (much less a weekend) to ourselves to just take care of things around the house. It's been since sometime before New York. I feel paralyzed because I have so much to do, and I can't do anything much w/o Pat, so I get frustrated and don't do anything waiting for him to have a day off. I am desperate to do Spring cleaning, and make the house a little (okay a lot) more organized. Especially since we've started sleeping with the windows open and last night found a HUGE spider in my room.

Whenever I see a spider, I have an extreme phobia, and I scream, shake, my blood runs cold and my heart beats a mile a minute. This always makes Pat mad, because he's like, Calm Down! But I've always been scared of spiders, and now, here in New Mexico the spiders are so much bigger. You could wrestle with the spiders here, like in Lord of the Rings.

When we first moved here, we were having dinner at some one's house, and they said come look at this spider (it was dead and smashed in their door) but for some reason they all encouraged me to see it. I felt shaky and sick as I went closer and then when I saw the legs (the biggest spider legs I'd ever seen) I ran shrieking in terror and they still feel bad to this day. Why didn't you tell us she was so scared Pat?

My brother Jeremy used to get mad at me when I'd wake him up at night to get a spider out of my room too, so I had to stop bothering him and I found the hairspray technique, where I just hold a continuous spray on the spider until he is so drenched he can't help die but they don't usually fall because they are hairsprayed to the wall. Shoes and tissue methods don't work because oftentimes you lose the spider and don't know if you got it, and with a tissue you have to feel it pop. Out here, none of these techniques would work for me, so we throw shoes at the spiders when we see them, or anything else that could smash them. Once I threw a book on a big wolf spider in Utah, and jumped up and down on it, then I picked the book up and relief swept over me when I saw the crumpled spider. As I tried to think of how to get him off my floor while staying 10 feet away, he suddenly uncrumpled and rose like a resurrected being, in perfect form!! Man my book came back down hard and I jumped and rubbed the book until it was certain! (I did wash the book later.)

In the spider house we lived in (our first basement apt in Utah) I got so many spiders daily that I'd have to wake up and kill four just running across the carpet when I woke in the morning, and the rest appeared throughout the day. Once a huge scary one got in and I sprayed poison on him, and then I grabbed Dallas (my only baby then) and we ran out of the house because of all the toxins, and went somewhere until Pat could get home and air the house out for us to go back inside. It was half because of the toxins but half because I was so terrified to stay in that spider house about what might appear next. Luckily the next apt in Utah was completely spider free. I highly recommend 3rd floor to basement apartments!

I don't know why I have this phobia, but I do know I've woken up with a spider on my face once, and woke up another time to see a spider coming down its string about to land on my face, and something just woke me up, and as soon as I opened my eyes, the spider started scurrying back up- like he knew I had caught him. Just face it- I tell Pat- spiders and me don't mix! I will hate them eternally. I teach my boys that they don't have to kill spiders outside, but any bug that comes in our house must die. I don't even use star anise in cooking when a recipe calls for it because it's a spice that looks like a spider!

Since this has turned into a journal entry about spiders, I can't leave out the sad fact that Pat's parents got us a tarantula shortly after we were married, and I couldn't believe it (they keep a huge tarantula at their house). I tried to be a good sport about it, but I lived in fear, constantly checking the cage to see if it had gotten out. (Plus the crickets we had to feed it, attracted crickets from the neighborhood and we had crickets all over our apartment, I guess because they would call to one another.) Well one day, Pat being a good daddy, took the spider out for air, so he could feel at one with nature again, and then left it in the yard while we were napping (obviously before we had kids when we could take naps), and the sun moved and the spider fried. I actually did feel bad for the spider, but I wasn't sad to see it go. Help me!!!

Someday I'll tell you about the other two awful bugs I've discovered here! Luckily our winters are so cold that for a good portion of the year you don't see anything!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dallas is so neat!!!

I just love Dallas. He is so neat!!! We have so much fun together and laugh together all the time.

Last night he had his first piano recital, and he did a fantastic job! He's been taking lessons since February- so for about 4 months. Sometimes he is not thrilled about practicing, but the few days before his recital he did extra practices, and got up the morning of, before all of us were up, and played his two songs over and over again all on his own. Then as he played for everyone (all the other piano students and their families) I was beaming, I was so proud of him. I wondered if he'd get nervous and mess up, or even worse, get shy and refuse to play, but he just walked to the piano with his two books and a smile, opened the first and played it, and then smiled truly pleased as everyone clapped, and then opened the second book and played and just did great! He jerked his head with the beat a bit and just looked like a performer. Everyone said he is meant to perform. He played a star song, and then Ode to Joy by Beethoven (condensed into about 30 notes). The other moms had video cameras there and we didn't even have a camera- darnit! But sometimes I think those items get in the way of life, so its okay. So this will be my remembrance of a great night!

p.s. Did you notice that Pat thinks this is his blog too and is trying to make entries?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Notes from my Houston trip

Overall my trip to Houston was pretty unexciting. I got to spend lots of time in my hotel room. I can't believe I was in Houston for a whole week and the Astros were out of town the entire time. I would have loved to go to a major league game again and see another park.

There were a couple of things of note. I did get to visit with Ryan while I was there. I don't think Mary Karlee likes me, she seemed to leave as soon as I got there both nights (enrichment and a girls night out with an out of town cousin visiting, what's that about). However she did make me the best dinners I had while I was there. Marielle is even cuter in person than she is in pictures, she let me read several books to her and make animal noises with her. Ryan and I were able to go and play Mario Kart on the Wii at a friend's house, it's been a while since I played new video games (I have an NES) and it was fun. The next night we played two player Settlers of Catan and a game I had never played, Ticket to Ride. I won both games, but Ryan went easy on me in Ticket to Ride and let me undo a couple of key moves as I learned the ropes. Overall it was fun visiting family in a far away place and catching up.

The other thing of note that happened is something that I thought would never, ever happen. I like really spicy food and I often complain when I go to supposedly spicy food places (Mexican, Indian, Thai, etc.) that they never make the food hot enough. My co-worker and I went to a Thai restaurant on Westheimer (Thai Gourmet) that was supposedly really spicy. I ordered the Basil Duck dish. Each of their dishes comes in one of four options: Mild, Medium, Hot and Thai Hot. I ordered mine Thai Hot and the waitress looked at me and asked "Are you sure?" I responded with a very positive yes, as I hadn't met the spicy food in a restaurant that had gotten the best of me yet. By the second bite I knew I was in trouble. I like my food so that it makes my forehead sweat and tears come from my eyes, this was even more painful. The food was delicious and very, very hot. I make habaƱero salsa at home and eat that no problem, here it was a very painful chore to finish my meal, but finish it I did. My co-worker had gone with the Mild option and she was laughing at me the whole meal. As we were walking out the door I sniffed because my nose was running so much and some lingering pepper juices made their way up into my sinuses. This caused my eyes to water (I refuse to call it crying) profusely for the next five minutes, it was a while before I could start the car and leave.

If I ever go to another Thai restaurant I will order the hottest they have. I have been to a lot of restaurants with hot food and this was the first one that came close to me not finishing my meal (so I figure my chances of eating hot food like this are around 1/100 or so), but if I do go back to Houston I will eat here again and settle for the "Hot" option.

Recipe for Pumpkin Pie



I love to try new recipes. The pictures of Evan are when I made Vietnamese Pho Ga soup (our favorite). It turned out okay- not as great as our favorite Vietnamese restaurant yet. Here's a great Pumpkin Pie recipe.

I just tried this and I think it is great! It has cream cheese in it, but since it is all mixed in, you almost can't tell, except that it is creamier and more delicious than the ordinary pumpkin pie.

So start with any 2 pie crusts, uncooked and ready to fill. I just used my pie crust recipe in the family cookbook, or you can use storebought or graham cracker crust, etc. (Makes two 8 or 9 inch pies.)

Preheat oven to 350.

1 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened to room temp
1/4 c. butter, softened to room temp
1 15oz can pumpkin
1 c. sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 c. half and half
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
Whipped cream for topping

Using beaters mix cream cheese and butter and sugar until fluffy. Add everything else and beat until thoroughly combined. Pour filling into cold unbaked pie crusts,making sure to try and get an even amount in each, and bake for about 1 hour until center is set. Place pie on a wire rack and let cool to room temp, then refrigerate. Serve cold with whipped cream for topping.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Random Pictures








The boys have so much fun taking pictures, and since I can delete them, there is no harm in it. So here are some of their choicest shots. Dallas has a fasination with himself, apparently. I left off Sam and Evan's shots of their puzzles and balloons, and the ceiling. Sometimes we don't realize they've gotten ahold of the camera until we look at these pictures on the computer and then we see what the little photographers have done!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Our week without Dad

Pat finally comes home today after being gone 6 days!! I'm glad he's coming home, can you tell? My first two days alone with the boys were good- we mostly cleaned, the next two days my patience dwindled as we tried to do fun things like the aquarium and gardens, but we always miss naps on expeditions like that, and Evan wants me to hold him (my aching back!) and gets more and more stubborn the more tired he gets. We had planned to visit friends, but Thursday was the rainstorm, and I knew I couldn't leave my house. I saw one of my neighbors stuck ankle-deep in mud with his motorcycle trying to get home and I knew we'd get stuck too. So we stayed home and it was a dark depressing day. The last two days were fun again because we went to my quilting group and all of our kids played together, and because we went to the ward YW party. They were taking family pictures for everyone, but we just went to socialize. It's nice to be loved! We had to leave when Evan somehow managed to dump a very full glass of ice-water down his back and it filled his pants and he was frozen and crying, and I knew I needed to get him home and warm. So we went home and the boys slept with me for the last night.

We have some crazy neighbors behind us, and they were having all kinds of drama while Pat was gone. They are nudists, sleep around with whomever (but call it polygamy), have a 16 year old son who has grown up having to watch all this, practice witchcraft, etc. They have piercings and tatoos everywhere (I wish they'd cover up!) and have lots of money- they keep buying up property around us. My girlfriend/neighbor Toni next door heard bullets whizzing by her head, and called me frantic. I heard about 40 shots during the course of our phone call, and it just went down from there. I won't get into all the details, but I was pretty scared and wished we had Pat home, or a dog, or a gun or some protection. I never called the police, because I thought it must be a BB gun, but then Pat told me I should have, because I wouldn't have heard a bang with BB guns. This was only the beginning of the drama, but I'm not allowed to say more.

So the kids slept with me in my locked bedroom, in my locked house. I would wish these neighbors away, but then they'd be someone else's problem.


We got our five chickens while Pat was gone, and they've been okay. But we got a really cold rainstorm, where the rain was blowing in sideways for 12 hours and wet everything in their yard and house. I had prayed for rain for my trees, but now I worried about the chickens not having a place to get dry! So I went out in the freezing wind and rain and stapled thick plastic to their windows to minimize the water blowing inside their house, and I put some dry food in their house since their other food was ruined. The chicken house wasn't all the way finished, and we never expected a storm- it had been so warm and sunny! They are fine though and the hay is pretty much all dried out. Their house is just outside the boys' bedroom window so that the boys can see them all the time. They have been laying good. No more store eggs!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Homeschool vs Public school

Open enrollment started this week for public school. Dallas should start in August. Trouble is, I still don't know if I want him going to public school or home school. Pat really wants to home school. I have more concerns about it, maybe since it would fall mostly on me.

I think he would really enjoy a classroom and new friends and showing off how smart he is, and being the great helper he always is, and I would like Sam to have a chance to talk, and be the big helper at home, without Dallas always chiming in first. But I am not wanting to support the failing system and things I disagree with, like the liberal teachers unions, who allow crappy teachers to continue ruining kids, and fuzzy curriculum with an agenda. The "credential" and other silly stuff that teachers have to get to make them "qualified" to teach is so ridiculous. I don't like supporting a bureaucracy. They get my money no matter what, but they also get more money for each seat they fill. I don't want my kids, however insignificant, supporting their incompetence. But it is a much more difficult decision than I ever thought it would be.

Here in New Mexico, kindergarten is all day long. That just seems too long for such young kids. Some moms I know say they like that, because they don't feel like they just dropped them off, and now have to turn around and pick them up again. They get to have a life- which I admit would be nice. I remember watching one neighbor who lived across the street from me send her 5th child off to school, and how different her life was after that. She did things she'd been wanting to do! Developed friendships, got a break! Wouldn't I be a happier mom if I had time for that? Yes!

But I also know that someday, I'll look back and wish these times were not over, and wish that I had kept my children close to me longer and made the most of the time I had with them. As countless old ladies remind me at church all the time, 'It's over so quickly and then they're grown'.

I have talked to Dallas' principal (at the school he would go to) twice, and he seemed okay. I've read about 20 homeschooling books. I went to a Christian homeschoolers convention which was fabulous. I felt really impressed spiritually. I really felt like these people were amazing, and saw some amazing kids and moms and dads. One person said that our homeschooled children will become the leaders of America someday, or the leaders of the underground movements to take back our country.

My worries about homeschooling are just that it is going to be my life. You can't do it halfway to be successful. That means I need a cleaning lady!!! I can't do school in a messy house, but it can take all day to clean it and get organized (and seconds to destroy it). Trying to do everything can easily make me long for bedtime and lack essential patience. So currently we don't push it, and do school like once every 2 weeks. That's fine since my kids aren't even school age yet, and they are both advanced for their age, but I'd feel bad if I was actually homeschooling.

The social aspect is my biggest worry- for me and my kids. I swore like a sailor in 3rd grade (but only at school) and learned other things I didn't need to know. I had teachers that did awful things too that I never told my mom about. I'd much rather know what my kids have been exposed to and have my kids be each others best friends and support each other through life than to be thrown out into the world and lose innocence too quickly. But I know that new friends are neat, and being in different social situations is important, to learn that you are okay, and how to take care of yourself. We can fill that void by visiting and getting to know new people, taking sports and music lessons, and joining homeschooling groups, etc. But will it be the same, with no really consistent friend groups? Of course there is church which is very consistent. I don't expect them to be real extroverts, since Pat and I are not (we are both about 40% ext and 60% int according to those extremely accurate online surveys), but I don't want them to not be able to handle life experiences like missions, or difficult job situations.

As far as my socialization and mental well-being, I had an experience in one of my wards where the homeschooling mom (there was only one) was not invited to some daytime women get-togethers, because babies were fine, but nobody wanted her 9, 7, and 5 year old romping boys around. It makes it crazy!!! So, you really have to be dedicated to homeschooling to put up with the comments and other stuff people think about you. My friend Julie does great and is sure in her decision. Am I ready for that level of commitment? Am I going to have hurt feelings if people skip over inviting me places because they just don't want my whole crew? (Probably, yes.) Am I willing to have my life revolve around them (Pat is always at work), and take them everywhere with me, come what may, until Dallas is old enough to stay home and watch his brothers while I go visit a friend? That would require so much patience!!!

But here is the public school alternative (perhaps worst case scenario, but still): Me yelling at them to hurry and wake up because we're late, throwing some barely adequate breakfast at them, forgetting their lunch, trying to drive to school in all kinds of weather with younger brothers frozen and crying who should still be in bed, and then picking up at the end of the day, doing homework, dinner and one hour for time with dad and togetherness, and then off to bed to start all over again. Who's raising these kids? Certainly not me! When do they get to be kids and play? All I do is shuffle them impatiently from here to there! Then I get happy one day when they can drive themselves! This hustle bustle lifestyle is the quickest way to lose track of my kids and not know them anymore.

I know you can't really help me, but if you have any comments you feel would be helpful, I'd be glad to read them. Everyone's situation (family, schools, issues) are so different. Sometimes I think I'm not sure I want to be the adult and have to make the hard decisions! Luckily I know Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I know He loves my and wants the best for my family. If I fast and pray, the answer will come eventually.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day and Clothes

Between my trip and Pat's trip, we kind of forgot about Mother's Day. Pat realized Sunday morning that he hadn't done anything, and he had to leave right after church. It's okay because he's been really busy building a chicken coop for the 5 hens we're getting tonight and we both had church stuff to do on Fri/Sat. I told him, I really need clothes that don't have stains on them, or aren't faded, etc. He really needs some clothes too (all his shirts shrink and show his underclothes), so I told him when he gets back from his trip, I'd like to get us both a few new clothes. My 5 dollar t-shirts from wal-mart that I bought this time last year, are covered in stains, and they completely unraveled w/in the first wearing, but I continue to wear them nonetheless.

I never really have dressed "nicely" as some people would call it, in my life. I'm mostly a shirt and jeans kind of girl. I dress really nice on Sunday's because it's a special day, and it is fun to dress up and have your family see you looking really nice. I grew up on hand-me-downs from my cousin Jennifer which I loved, or my three new outfits at each new school year, bought as cheaply as possible. When I started babysitting and then working I bought more clothes, but I have never been into brand names, and nice stores. It's not like I don't like them, it's just that I'd rather get 5 shirts here, than 1 there. Especially since everything wears out so quickly. Grease stains on my shirts, shrinkage, white that looks like greyish-beige. Of course I know to separate whites from colored, but the whites still change color, and even bleach and super hot water don't reverse it at all. Nor does my washing machine that was so expensive when we bought it 4 years ago, make clothes look like they were "off the rack" like the salesman said. Silly me.

I wish someone who knows how to take care of clothes would teach me their secrets, but really, with my kids and current lifestyle, it probably wouldn't matter. In Chile, where I served as a missionary, the school children all had uniforms with white shirts or white aprons over they skirts. These people washed their clothes by hand, and were so poor compared to us, but they always had sparkling white whites. I don't know if a ton of bleach does that, because I thought it would just eat away at the material if you used too much. Or maybe they soak it forever? I wish I knew. I recently learned from the bloody nose incident that hydrogen peroxide will take out blood stains almost completely. I wonder if it works on other stuff? But still most of my laundry is done in a load of whites or colors- come what may. If you have any laundry advice feel free to leave a comment.

Here's and interesting modesty lesson that I learned this weekend with my primary girls. If the shirt fits-buy a size larger (it will shrink, and everyone is trying to look shrink-wrapped these days).

And then the 'Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes' lesson. Just sing that old primary song, and when you say, "Head", put your hands on your head- now check. Do you see your stomach? Now, "Shoulders", put your hands on your shoulders- turn around in the mirror. Are your arm-pits or inside your shirt showing? Are your shoulders covered? Everyone is trying to get away with super short sleeves that are 1/2 inch from a tank top. Now say, "Knees", and look in the mirror with your hands on your knees. Can you see down your shirt? Now say, "Toes", and while your hands are touching your toes, check in the mirror. Is my shirt coming up and showing my back? Or are my pants falling down and showing my underwear? Or if I'm wearing a skirt, is it still down to my knees or is it giving a nice view up the back?
So that's the lesson. And for those mom's who say they just can't find modest clothes, check online. There are a lot of stores (mostly in Utah) but that sell modest clothes and will mail them. I thought this info was useful. It's not only a question of respecting our bodies as a gift that Heavenly Father gave us, but of safety as well- not sending out the wrong message.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Medical Bills

On a side note let me apologize for my bad punctuation and not so neat posts. Like I said, this is kind of my journal, and Pat wants to make it look neater and I let him, except not sometimes, because I just don't care. Also Pat is going to Texas on business and will be gone for a full week, and I doubt I'll have time to blog for a while after tonight. Just FYI.

A couple days ago we got our stimulus check from the government, and it is all gone in medical bills. It's all my fault, because I was having some unusual and painful health problems, so we decided to go ahead and do whatever tests the doctor ordered. Now we have the bills, and we'll never do that again. Why do I have to pay 60 dollars because they ran a test to figure out my blood type!!! I already know that!!! Why do some tests cost relatively little and others are crazy expensive. We will never go do lab work again w/o asking how much these tests cost to our insurance company, and never let a doctor order tests w/o seeing the lab sheet she fills out. I am so mad. She wanted to send me a third time for one of the 250.00 tests, and I finally said,"Is this really necessary? I have to pay 250.00 every time you send me for this." She said maybe not, and that I could wait on it and see if the problem resolved itself. I wish I had spoken up sooner. I think she is so used to medicaid patients that she doesn't get asked often about costs, or maybe she figures some people can afford it.

When I was in New York, Jeremy and Kim were telling me about how then ended up having a c-section because of difficulty with the baby's heart rate and they found out later the cord was wrapped around Elle's neck. As they were discussing the possibility of a c-section, Jeremy asked the doctor how much that would cost. He got a withering look, which made him laugh, like, why? Is it horrible to want to know the damage, and months/years it will take you to pay off such a proceedure? Yes, of course he would do anything for Kim and Elle's safety, but is it so awful to just ask? Apparently it was. Well, in my case it would have been a lot more helpful to ask 'How much?' before I let the doctor go wild. And as with EVERY visit I make to the doctor, nothing helpful came of it, my problems are resolving on their own, and I always wish I had just stayed home and kept my money in my pocket. I've got to raise one of my boys to be a doctor!!!

More about New York



When I went to New York I was a bit nervous to leave Pat with so much to do. He had a few things he had to do with his new calling and there would be no one to help with watch the kids. Also they had scheduled an encore presentation of our road show, which I was going to miss, and he was going to have to somehow watch our three boys and be in the show. I was also worried because a Father Son camp-out had been scheduled during the time I was gone and Pat was supposed to make breakfast and do other stuff and I wished I could be there to help him pack, so the boys would have warm clothes and everything they needed, and so I could help him not forget things (like the stove he forgot and had to drive back home for). Evan is almost 2, but not yet and I wasn't sure he should be going either. Well I got home and no one was injured, and when I got home Pat had even put all the tents and sleeping bags and camping paraphernalia away which is a miracle in itself. It was like it never happened! Until I saw 5 dozen unused eggs in my fridge. But it was so great that he had such a good time with the boys and allowed me to have such a good time with Jeremy and Kim and Miss Elle. Did I mention she is soo beautiful??? I thought Dallas looked pretty perfect, but not as pretty and small as her. Sam had a crooked head, and Evan had spots for over 3 months. They are wonderful to me, of course, but little Elle is just so cute!

So the funniest story of my trip to New York was trying to get home from church, because Jeremy told me to just retrace my steps from the directions he gave me. So I did, and I got down to the subway, and then I realized that I needed the subway going the opposite direction to get back home. Some nice people told me I needed to go back up the stairs to street level, cross the street and that would put me on the other side. So I did, and as I tried to scan my card to get in, I noticed that all the people looked familiar. Could this be the twin of the guy I was just talking to? No, this was the same guy! How did he get over to the other side so fast! "Lady!" he said, "You need to cross the street!" I was still in a daze of confusion and I said, "I did!". Well he explained what happened and I said I would try again. Turns out there was a subway entrance on all four corners of that intersection. Very confusing! I finally crossed the street and went under the street on the correct side (I looked across to make sure all my friends were on the opposite side, and they were), but then because I had already scanned Jeremy's card within the last 15 minutes, it wouldn't let me enter. A nice lady scanned me in with their card, after making sure I knew where I was (did I look insane?) which was very nice so that I could get home. Funny that all this was to get to a church that is 1 mile from Jeremy and Kim. You just can't walk because of bridges and water or something.

So another day Jeremy and I went out for 3 or 4 hours, and went on the subway to see New York in an accelerated tour. I saw all the tv/news networks, the Letterman show, Central Park, the big Hershey's and M&M stores, bought an 'I love NY' t-shirt, saw Time Square, went to Top of the Rock where you usually can see all of NYC -but we were stuck in a cloud, walked by all the theater shows like Hairspray and Mamamia, saw lots of cabs and people nearly get killed by them, went into a huge Catholic church that the pope had just been in a week prior, and that was weird because people where sitting praying, lighting candles, and all around them were tourists snapping pictures and talking loudly. I saw Grand Central Station, Radio City Music Hall and lots of really tall buildings and long bridges. I loved the free hugs in the farmers’ market. Call me weird, but I would love to be one of those people. With so much hate and anger in the world, wouldn't it be nice to just hug a stranger. Like "Hey brother or sister- we're in this together, this journey on earth, away from our Father in Heaven, and it's hard here, and there is so much pain and awful things, and I may not know you, but I love you, your my sister/brother and I wish you joy, and to see you again happy and together with Heavenly Father someday when this short time on earth is done. So hang in there, I love you." That's what my hugs would mean anyway. And I would love to give them out for free because we should all feel loved everyday and have loving human contact everyday, but so few do. Most people live drudgery of work, bills, problems, and often abuse. Maybe those people with signs for Free Hugs were just crazy, but the girl that I hugged felt like my sister, and I loved her for giving me that gift.


Southwest Side Story

We did a road show at church that Pat and I were both in that was a spoof off of West Side Story. It was really funny. It was called SouthWest Side Story and it was all about what it is like to be a missionary and especially a missionary in New Mexico. All the songs from West Side Story were in it (except Somewhere), with the words changed. My friends Julie and Jenn wrote it.

It starts out with a missionary opening up his call and reading that he is being sent to New Mexico. His parents react by saying, "My baby is going foreign!" and that he'll need shots, and don't drink the water, and watch out for those native girls, and he'll need a passport- it is a 3rd world country afterall, etc etc!!! This is hilarious to all New Mexican's because most people do forget that New Mexico is part of the USA. Sometimes when you try to get a package delivered and you say New Mexico as the destination, you are told that they only ship to the continental United States, and they refuse to budge no matter how hard you try to convince them. Back to the show. The missionary is very excited, and he and his parents part.

All is quiet and then through the black curtain in back of the stage you see some hands emerge, snapping on beat for a bit. Then suddenly the snapping missionaries step through the curtain and surround the new missionary who is now out in the field. Some local girls (the Young Women) come one stage trying to catch a missionary, but the Elders keep evading them back and forth across the stage, so eventually the girls yell, "Beat it!" to which the Elders respond, "Read it!" holding out their Book of Mormon. The girls walk away disgusted-Yea right!, and the Elders begin the sharks/jets song, but they sing about what it is like to be a missionary..."When your an Elder and Elder all the way, from your first door approach to your last trunky day" etc. Pat was one of the missionaries in this.

After the previous scene ends there are two missionaries left knocking doors and one of them says he has a feeling about a particular house, but the other doesn't want to go there, and the next thing you know, they are stumbling out of the house where they have just taught a GOLDEN contact. (Meaning someone who recognizes the truthfulness of the gospel and is teachable.) So the missionary (who was a 13 years old boy with an amazing voice) is so happy and starts to sing (to the tune of Maria- I just met a girl named Maria...) A Golden! I just met a golden contact! He took a Book of Mormon, he read it in one night and prayed! (This was the best song. I don't know if I should write all the words since they aren't mine, but they were so funny... ) My Golden! Say it loud and there's MoTab playing... Say it soft and the bishop is praying. My golden... I'll never stop telling his story! At different points in the song random missionary heads pop out from the back curtain echoing "A Golden!" And there the song ends, and his fellow missionaries come out and pat his shoulders for a job well done, and then walk off stage and as their leaving Pat says, "I promised myself I wouldn't cry!"- which if your a Mormon you know is funny because often people get up to bear their testimony and say that as they cry.

So then a bunch of sister missionaries enter- some who "Hate this freakin' state" and some who think this state is A.G. All Good (Me). This was a real crowd pleaser too. To the tune of 'I like to be in America' I sing about all the great things about New Mexico and the pro- sisters join in with me because we all think New Mexico is great. But the con-sisters make fun of us the whole time... One of the pro-sisters sings, "I like the East Mountain people!" which got a big cheer from those of us in our stake from the east mountains. And then we pro sisters sing while doing a little dance, "I like to be in New Mexico/Okay by me in New Mexico/Everyone nice in New Mexico"... and the Con-sisters break in, "If you like mice in New Mexico!" It goes back and forth like that for a while, with funny lines for and against New Mexico. We pro-sisters sing, "Beautiful state in America, very unique in America" and the con's break in and sing, "Nobody knows in America, New Mexico's in America" and everyone laughs. "I want to go back to my mom" sings one con-sister. "We know a bus you can get on-BYE BYE!" we reply. Anyway by then end of the song we convince the con's that they are in a state of apostasy and need to repent and they join in singing New Mexico's praises with us and we finish off with our dance and a big Ole! and then we exit the stage bent over, holding onto each others waists, shuffling backwards. Everyone loved it.

The last two scenes have to do with the missionary nearing the end of his mission and getting trunky (Get cool song) wanting to go home and date and get married etc and the other elders and trying to calm him down. But he can't help himself and he sings 'I Feel Trunky' to the tune of 'I Feel Pretty' and dances around the stage like a ballarina, and the other 10 elders ballet across the stage for the La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la part. Very funny. Then the missionary finally goes home, everyone says good-bye and the last scene is just the music from the very first song, with a brand new missionary emerging on stage, and the story begins anew. The End.

Well we thought it was pretty cool, and I wanted to type it out to not forget it, and since this is like my place to journal, you get to read it too. Sorry it was so long! The best part about our roadshow was that we spent no money on props/costumes. Didn't need too. Some wards went all out, and even had an orchestra and hand sewn costumes for like 50 people?? Crazy. I'll attach some pictures when I get them.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dallas


Here is the firstborn son. He's a knucklehead. Today he spontaneously came up and hugged me tightly around my legs and said, "I love you Mama", which is not unusual, but then as I basked in the happiness of the little dear, he went around behind me and said, "Now buh-bye!" and pushed my down a little hill that I was standing on top of in our backyard. Now before anyone becomes concerned about my health, just know, that he is too puny to push me down. But it was the thought that counts, right? Little turkey!! He thought he was so funny (and I guess I did too) so we had it out ninja style, and I'm proud to say I won. No 5 year old will get the best of me. Anyway, Dallas is pretty awesome. I've been giving him a lot of extra chores lately because he really wants a gun. He gets 10 cents for sweeping, washing off the table, and other jobs that are not his normal chores for which he doesn't get paid. Sam is saving up too, but he is not as into it as Dallas is. Dallas has his first piano recital this month. He just started taking lessons but does amazingly well. He takes a gymnastics class, but still can't do a decent jumping jack. He jumps up and tries to do the whole jumping jack before he lands. It's pretty hilarious. He reads really well and so does Sam who is 3. Our claim to fame is, leapfrog movies that teach the alphabet sounds and then reading, a website called starfall.com which is free and we love it, and we read tons of books. I make flashcards and drill them like once every two weeks and it's pretty swell.

Winter storm



Here was our last winter snow (besides when my mom came to visit) and Dallas and I made several snowmen. Sam just ate snow.

Saint Patrick's Day



I apologize for these disturbing images. I decided on St. Patrick's Day to make a green meal. So we colored the OJ green, put green in the rolls, had green Jello, a bowl of cabbage, and to top it all off, the main course was mashed potatoes (dyed green with spinach) and corned beef mixed in and baked. What resulted was the picture of Evan's diaper, and the firm conviction that this is NOT a good idea. Yea, I'll save you the trouble of commenting and just say it myself... I don't know what looks worse, that diaper, or that casserole! Ha, Ha. Jeremy and Kim probably aren't too disappointed that I didn't make this treat for them. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Evan


Evan is so cute!!! His favorite word has been a very defiant "NO!" even when he means yes, but lately he started saying, "O-tay!" when you ask him to do something, and Thank you, and Dallas, and Sam and a lot more. He'll be 2 soon, and is so much fun. He loves the swing set in our front yard, and the sandbox. And whenever I ask the household in general if they want such and such to eat, he is always the first to shout "Do!", which of course means I do! He can out eat his brothers and has the biggest belly of the three. Whenever he cries or gets upset he puts one finger on his belly button and just holds it there. I wonder if it hurts because it is somehow connected to his emotions, or if it just makes him feel better. It's cute when I come into the room to pick him up out of bed and he just laying there pathetically with his finger on his bellybutton. We watched our old home movies for FHE a couple weeks ago and Pat kept telling baby Sam to say "Mama has a belly button" which when he pronounced it sounded exactly like, "Mama has a big butt." It was pretty funny.

The Isotopes' Game - April 29, 2008




This was the best baseball game I've ever been too, thanks to one of Pat's co-workers who gave us her tickets. It was in a box with the seats outdoors just for us and a nice room indoors just for us. Pat's friend sighed and said that there was an open tap in the room and that it would be so wasted on him. So it was just our family, eating desserts, watching the game, cheering, etc. Then when I got bored, me and the kids went inside and watched America's Funniest Home Videos on the T.V. It's probably my favorite show, because it makes me laugh out loud, and there is nothing offensive in it. So we had a great time, and our car was so close! We love luxury when it comes free!

Sam


Sam just loves the sand box. He thought it was so neat and had to get covered in sand. He was wild tonight at dinner and is so funny with the best laugh. When he is done eating any meal, he says, "I'm done with my PI-zza!", and now everyone else does too.

Shopping with my boys


I have had far too many awful trips to the grocery store now that I have to take these three along. Usually I'm just worn out by having to keep them all close to me and usually carrying one of them. I love to take them with me everywhere, but there comes a point where they start to fall apart, and it gets chaotic. Yes I try to go at night when Pat can stay home, and he tries to go too, but still, most often, it is me and the boys. Our last grocery trip however, far outdid any other awful shopping trip in the past. We had one of those carts with a car attached to the front, and Dallas and Evan were "driving" while Sam was in the regular seat by me. Suddenly there was screaming, and Dallas ran toward me with blood GUSHING out of his nose and quickly covering his shirt. I tried to be calm, but then the blood started to fill up his mouth and he with choking and spewing blood, and I started to panic. I had no idea what had happened- one minute fine, the next- a scene out of a horror movie. I dashed up and down the store isle (of course we were by the red meat) looking for something like a Kleenex to hold on his nose, and by then the floor, the cart, and his shirt were doused in blood with no end in sight. I realized I had to make a run for it. I grabbed all three kids, left my cart swimming in blood in it's place (and I realized later, my car keys on the floor that Evan had thrown) and ran to the bathroom, which was at the furthest part of the store from me. We left a trail of blood the whole way there. Dallas was choking on blood, Sam was screaming in terror, and I don't know what Evan was doing. I fought back the urge to vomit as I helped Dallas wash the blood out of his mouth and off of his hands and face, arms, etc. By this time we had attracted quite a following of concerned citizens and store employees. The bleeding finally stopped. I was going to just leave and go home, but I felt a curiosity about my cart, and I really needed those groceries, so I went back with the kids, and the cart and the surrounding area were spotless, as if nothing had ever happened. I'm sorry to whomever cleaned that up. So I grabbed my remaining items (eggs and milk) and tried to leave, only to discover after paying that I had no keys. Luckily someone had turned them in. I had yelled at Dallas asking him what had happened, "Did you bonk your nose??!!" and other questions (I had to yell to be heard over the chorus of screams to which I almost joined in), but he was crying to hard to make sense. Finally in the car the story came out. Evan somehow accidentally stuck his finger up Dallas' nose -really high to where his eyebrows are, Dallas said. Great. Today it is more than a week after the incident, and I had to go shopping again, and as I buckled the kids into their seats, I said, "I don't want any bleeding if we go to the store today!" Dallas smiled at me, and Evan said NO. I looked at Evan and I said, "No sticking your finger up anybody' s nose!" He grinned and stuck his finger up his nose.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

New baby, New blog, New York

This is the first draft of my new blog. As soon as Pat figures out how to make it really cool, you'll have to like it how it is!!!

Here is Miss Elle !!!!


My favorite place in New York was Central Park. It is the most beautiful park/place I've ever seen!!!



She is so little and so perfect and she squeaks!!





I had a great trip to New York to see my newborn niece Elle. I had to fly to Atlanta for a layover each way. I love Allison Kraus and wanted to sing her Atlanta song while in the enormous airport. I just needed the backup band. I found the perfect spot too. Then in NYC I wanted to sing the New York song. Don't you hate it when there is not mic or back up band when you need them? The cab driver from the airport to Jeremy's house was a lame and took my money, but the cab driver on the return was my best friend. I thanked him for his honesty, and told him I'd always call him in the future. I just wish I knew when I'd be able to return. Tonight Sam prayed that we could all go to New York which is pretty much wishful thinking, since traveling to New York with 3 boys 5 and under doesn't seem like the wisest thing to do. Hey Jeremy and Kim! Got enough room on the couch for a family of five? I can just see the looks of the people on the airplane as we board. I hope they aren't sitting near me! Speaking of annoying plane etiquette... someone in front of me kept farting eggy gross smelling ones, and I was near screaming!!! Fanning myself furiously, hoping nobody thought it was me, and wishing I could open a window. There is no way to get fresh air!!! My visit to Jeremy and Kim's was a lot of fun. They are natural parents, and never seemed nervous at all. I remember having to undress Dallas when a newborn for the doctor to weigh him, and having the hardest time getting his clothes over his head, and the look the doctor gave me- like I wasn't a good mom. Jeremy and Kim were naturals though. I sure am going to miss them and am sad to know that Elle will be growing up so far away. I got a ton of sight seeing and New York City experiences in, including a NYC hug from the people who give out free hugs! I rode the subway several times, including going to church on my own! And I got to sit and watch cooking shows, etc on T.V. that I never get to watch. I know that I was probably more unhelpful than helpful, but still I think it was so neat to be there!