Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The tree is up!

Matt surprised me tonight by suggesting we get a real tree. For clarification purposes, we always get a real tree, but this year since we're in limbo we'd talked about getting a tiny desktop version. It'd still be real, because I think it's against Fountain Green blood to consider anything else, but we'd just have our own version of a Charlie Brown tree.

With that in mind, our children and I shopped for minimal ornaments since ours are still in storage. We came home with small candy canes and 12 silver bells from the dollar store. When Matt came home we headed to the tree lot for a tree. It was so, so cold, and especially so since none of us have coats (in storage, is anyone tired of this sad song, or offering me a small violin;)), we're just hanging out in our matching sweatshirts (Matt bought them for us and presented them to us when we arrived here in October, thank heavens for that). But for the peninsula area we've heard it is really cold, even for them.

Anyway ... Matt walks up to a 5 foot tree and says, "how 'bout this one?" I was astounded, until I remembered I'm married to Mr. Christmas. Matt loves Christmas so much and I'm so grateful, because I love Christmas too but don't think to do all of the fun little traditional things: make gingerbread men, homemade ornaments i.e. popcorn and cranberry strings, and he does.

So off we went with our tree, new tree stand, two boxes of lights (good thing I'm not married to my brother who puts something like 13 strands on one tree), a star, icicles, and small ball ornaments. Looks like I'll be selling a few Christmas things on eBay in the spring, or taking a donation trip, since we have all of that already:). But I'm happy that we did it. (P.S. we did hold off on another tree skirt and figured a towel or two, neatly draped will do the job quite nicely.) All in all, a $42 investment that equals one of those priceless moments from the commercials, especially when Sophie kissed me and said after it was decorated, "oh, it's so beautiful!" I love how dramatic our little 2 1/2 year old is becoming:).

So it's official ... we DO have a Christmas tree in our cute little temporary house! And I will be hanging $1 stockings from the mantle to boot. I toyed with the idea of actually hanging socks, but figured that might look funny, especially when my visiting teachers come;).

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Aggie trip

We just got back from D.C. where we watched our Utah State Aggies play the Georgetown Hoyas. Matt tells me the Hoyas are ranked 16th and are undefeated. We gave them a run for their money the first half, but then came out of the locker room a different team and eventually lost by 17. But oh, it was so good to be cheering for Aggie Blue again.

I graduated from BYU, but I think it really makes a difference in how long you live somewhere and if tickets are free or not. My course of study kept me busy and at BYU students have to pay for tickets. Matt went to USU and so when we married we purchased a student spouse pass which got me into anything, as if I were a student myself, and it was only $38. Factor in no children for nearly 6 years and whamo! you have a devoted Aggie couple who went to every home game there was ... football, even though the team wasn't very good, and basketball, where they rocked every year. Along came Wes and Kate, and eventually Sophie, and they can cheer Ag-gies along with the best of them.

My former colleague lined us up with tickets for today and so off to the Verizon Center we went. It was so great.

I took pictures but since we're still living out of suitcases (someday I'll actually be able to stop using that phrase), I don't have picture download-able capabilities.

I love that we still live relatively close to a grundle of historic sites. My sister said, "how would it be to be able to plan field trips to D.C. museums every month or two?"

Our children and I just got back from a fabulous trip to visit friends in Harrisburg, PA. Gorgeous country, a basement all to ourselves, and TOYS!!! The kids keep asking for reassurance that their toys have not been given away, but are just on the 'big truck' (moving trailer). Rachel and Jared and kids were fantastic hosts! We toured the sites at Hershey's Chocolate World, went to stores our peninsula doesn't have, namely JoAnn Fabrics (a disappointment I learned when moving here), and ate great food! It was just what the doctor ordered. In fact, when we drove home and parked in front of the home we're renting Kate despaired, "I don't want to be here, I want to go back to Rachel's house." We desperately need a home. I won't fill in details there yet because it's too confusing other than to say we won't be in our home by the close of 2010. So thanks to our friends for hospitality that surpassed all.

Meanwhile we love the Christmas season and all the lights and decorations we see. One of our favorite pass times is going to a store and browsing their Christmas decoration section. We're blessed to have so much.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Giving Thanks

What a wonderful time of year. We're so thankful for this 8 week period where it's so natural to think of being grateful and turning our thoughts to Christ.

We had a great Thanksgiving with friends, were able to talk with family and even finally got on the skype bandwagon.

We had toyed with the idea of going to Connecticut for Thanksgiving, but then received an invitation to dinner with Matt's department head. Since we're in temporary housing and all of our things are still in storage, we knew it would be a scaled down holiday anyway. The kitchen here has the basics for cooking, but really nothing for baking or serious kitchen action. So this year's feast included a lot of store-bought items, but it was still wonderful.

The family we had dinner with also has boy and girl twins who just turned 4, so there was a lot of action! They had a great playroom that the five kids played in practically the whole time, so it was a perfect set up.

We ended up making some great Pilgrim bonnets and hats and Mayflower replica's, but they'll have to be saved for another time when I can post pictures again. They were tried an true Martha Stewart ideas, and turned out really cute.

We also had a great weekend celebrating Wes and Kate's 5th birthday. Wow! Can it really be 5 years already? We went and saw Tangled (highly recommended by our clan), and then opened presents and had cake. One thing I've realized about having late-November babies is you can get GREAT deals on their presents if they fall after or on Black Friday. We scored big time this year. Matt's just not excited that we've added two more things to our collection of 'stuff' here in this small house. But I figured, house or no house, it'd really be hard explaining a 'no presents, until we get into a house' policy to five year olds.

Another thing we're thankful for is Magic Eraser. I was on the phone this afternoon with a friend in Michigan and Sophie took the opportunity to share her artwork on the walls.

Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Interpretation of Tongues

As a parent you soon learn to interpret many languages: grunting, pointing, cries, and then of course English - 2 year old style.

For example: Sophie just came and asked me for a bye.

"A bye?", I repeated.

"Yes, a bye." she said.

I knew she was hungry because she's been on an eating spree lately. So I said, "do you want a drink?" "No!" "Okay, do you want an apple?" "NO! (jumping up and down included).

I try again ... "Sophie what do you want?"

"A (mumble, mumble) bye".

I'm still not getting it, so I say, "Show me."

She walks over to the cupboard and points at the granola bars.

Of course, I should've known, since a kye is a car and the doy is the door, etc., etc.

Now I've gotta start keep track of the good ones Kate comes up with ... i.e. "I'm feeling ridiculous." :).

Monday, October 25, 2010

We're Here

I'm still amazed that we spent 11 weeks in Utah. That's nearly a quarter of a year! We are so grateful for family and friends who housed and fed us.

But now we're finally together again as a family. I'm sure Matt's had to adjust to the noise level:).

We are still in transition and don't have a set date when we're not, we just hope it's soon. The disadvantage of buying a foreclosure is all the stickiness and lack of speed with which it's handled. But hopefully that will be a memory soon. If not, we'll just look for another house and move forward. Too many details to discuss here.

So here are some things I'm thankful for ...

*increased humidity.
*mild weather, making running in the mornings pleasant.
*children who seem to go with the flow in whatever situation they've been placed.
*employment
*time to spend checking email and blogs without feeling like I'm hogging our host's computer.
*proximity to the ocean - not that I'm a beach bum, but man, you gotta check out our neighboring city. It's breathtaking.
*the consistency of the Church.
*that we're together as a family again.

We're staying in a University house while waiting for a permanent residence and it's quite nice. Fully furnished, 2 bedroom, 2 bath, the cleaning lady comes every Friday (I warned Matt I might get used to that;)), beautifully decorated, what more could you ask for in what basically is an extended-stay hotel at half the price?

All I can say is this will definitely be a time we'll look back and reminisce on the craziness of this move. Meanwhile I'm loving reading through three months worth of magazines I got in the mail, exploring a bit of the city/area each day, and not having too many responsibilities yet.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Mishmash

Amazingly, we're still in Utah.

We're holding up but I'm ready to go. Since the paperwork on the foreclosure we're buying is taking way longer than we ever anticipated, I'm booking tickets to Maryland and just calling it good. We'll still be living out of suitcases, but at least we'll all be together as a family.

Our families here in Utah have been so generous in offering us a roof, food, and entertainment. We really could never repay their kindnesses. A blessing has been that our children have gotten to know cousins and grandparents like they've never done before. They no longer cling to me every second, and now freely give hugs and kisses to all.

We've been at my parent's the last couple of weeks and have enjoyed daily trips to feed some neighbor's horses corn stalks freshly chopped down from the garden. My dad has a trailer we ride in that's pulled by his 4-wheeler. I hope my children retain memories of these days.

As we've gathered in the harvest and put things away for the coming season, it's reminded me of one of my all time favorite children's books, 'The Oxcart Man' by Donald Hall. Since I can't seem to move the picture of the book, you'll see that it's at the top of the post. What a great book. The description on Wikipedia says, "the book deals with an 18-century farming family that uses an ox-cart to take their goods to market, where they make money to buy the things they need." Anyway, I have been in that mode of thinking right now for some reason.
Another joy and complete surprise was the announcement of the Hartford, CT temple in this morning's session of LDS General Conference. I can't tell you how much I wished we were sitting in the chapel of the Hartford ward building to hear the announcement there. I gasped, then immediately started crying. Kate looked at me and kept saying, "Mom, why is your face like that?" Oh, what a blessing. You'd better believe we're going to the open house or dedication!
I miss my husband, I miss my CT friends, I miss having a home, but we have been so blessed to have so much support at this transitory time. It will soon be over!




Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Routine

Our children and I are settling into a new routine. We've been in Utah for 2 1/2 weeks and should be here for approximately one more month. We packed enough clothes so we wouldn't be washing every other day, and so it really isn't as bad as I anticipated.

I suppose my hesitancy in staying so long is because of the unsettled nature of our visit. We, as most know, are 'between homes' right now. Matt flew back to the east on Saturday and is settling in nicely at his new job. He would've gladly traded me places as I dropped him off at the airport.

We're trying to close on a foreclosure home and are now in the midst of the endless paperwork it seems is necessary to purchase a home. But if it works out, it will be really nice for our family.

We took a quick trip as a family to look for homes, right before coming to Utah, and found several that would suit us well. One thing we've realize though, is we are lacking in the furniture department. Our one couch, one chair, and one bookcase would have to be stretched between a family and living room, but there are no complaints from me. I'm quite looking forward to the commitment of long term furniture.

Wes, Kate and Sophia, meanwhile, are loving playing with cousins and getting to know grandparents better. We're really blessed to have family who are so willing to house us during this time. I'm trying to make it as 'normal' as possible, meaning attending story time, reading routine, arts/crafts. I figured our first 2 weeks were the 'vacation' phase, and now we're down to the 'be as normal as possible' phase. Although it can be stifling at times, I miss the humidity of Connecticut. I spent the first week in Utah constantly applying Carmex to my cracking lips, and hydrocortizone ointment to Wes' eczema.

Meanwhile, I can almost taste the cider and hear the crackle of dried corn stalks as we head into autumn. I LOVE IT!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

These last few weeks have been full of fun and trying to get all the things in that we want to do.

I don't know about blog etiquette and apologize if any of these friends don't want their picture floating out there (so tell me, if you don't), but this is an introduction to some of the best women and book club members ever. I never thought of being in a book club before moving here, but was invited the first Sunday and it turned out to be such a rewarding experience. I made great friends, loved the social outlet it provided for me, and really enjoyed the expanding of my mind with the great selections in literature.

Earlier this month we went to a local air museum and took advantage of these great pedal planes for children. Wes got really good at maneuvering this puppy.
Most of the museum was indoors and in huge hanger-type structures. Then there was a field of old planes on display.As a family we've taken advantage of the booming blueberry season here in New England. We've been drying blueberries like crazy so they'll store well and look forward sharing a little bit of the East with our family in the West. Sophie is quite possibly the best blueberry picker in our family.

I had to snap this great picture of Sophie the other day while we were running errands. Don't worry, Matt was driving, not me. She insists on putting her sunglasses first thing, and then usually asks for her hat. This time the hat wasn't there, but sunglasses were - upside-down, which is her preferred way of wearing them.
Two Sundays ago Kate was acting suspicious. When I asked her why she was being so sneaky she told me she didn't want me to ask her questions like that. Okay. I let it drop for a few minutes and then went to the couch to read the paper. Kate joined me and was playing on the floor. After a while of looking at her I could tell something wasn't quite right. She had chunks of hair missing. Good grief, I thought we were over this stage. After questioning her she told me she wanted short hair like "W____'s", a new girl that has moved into our ward. I was not a happy camper, but Matt did well to step in and smooth the situation over while I calmed down. Needless to say, I decided I needed to take her to a professional to repair the damage.

So our friend Erica was nice enough to blend in the short sides without chopping her hair entirely off. I will admit though, she doesn't have nearly as many snarls as before. I warned Kate to never touch Sophia's hair, and that if she wants a haircut she needs to come to me beforehand. My parents think I'm just planting ideas in her head about Sophie.
It's been a great summer so far. We've had to say goodbye to too many friends who've moved away, but we've made some great memories.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Where in the world is Carmen San D ... oh I mean, Matt?

Matt's on official job hunting business and I thought I'd update this for posterity's sake.

Here's a description of his travels and the reason why our car could basically drive itself to the airport by now. I'll just name states here ...

Fly to Wyoming, home, phone interview with Chicago, fly to Chicago, home, phone interview with California, fly to Maryland, home, fly to Wisconsin, home, etc. TBA.

He's about 2/3 of the way through this schedule and for those who really know Matt, this is completely NOT what he likes to do. But I appreciate that he's doing it for our family ... since employment is basically a necessity:).

This is all in the last two weeks and we know for sure that Wyoming is a no-go. It's still too soon to know about the others, although things hopefully will start to come together in the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mishmash

  • Matt mowed the lawn yesterday. When we woke up this morning there were about 50 of these (pictured below) in our yard. Just shows how much humidity and dampness we've had lately. I've taken showers morning and night for the last week, and pretty much haven't done my hair in that time; not worth the effort. I don't remember it being this humid this early, but my skin is loving it.
  • Sophie's learned how to open our car doors and her favorite thing is to get inside and turn every knob and press every button. It's caused quite a problem, so we've had to start locking our car doors inside the garage. If someone's gone in and out of the garage door that leads into the house, she's a swift little cookie and will be out there in a flash. We found her this way the other morning. Apparently I'd left some mascara in the catch-all.
We also had a scare with it on Friday: a hot, humid day. I hadn't seen her for about 5 minutes and asked Matt if he had, which he hadn't. So I started searching the house, with no luck. Then I went to the garage and there she was, in the car with sweat dripping from her hair and face. I swear it was 90 degrees in the garage, don't know how much in the car, but plenty warm. She was playing away but it scared me that if Matt and I had thought she was with the other for 30 minutes or so, we could've been in real trouble.

It's my favorite site. This play kitchen was made by one of her readers (the blog host is a very talented woman who offers her plans for free). My friend and I are having fun getting things going in the early stages. Mine will be for Christmas, and hers for a birthday in July.
  • I'm in a laundry slump. I just can't seem to get it together. I knew it was bad when today I went downstairs to get Wes some underwear from the unfolded pile, and found that I've exhausted that supply. So tomorrow is a 'get-it-together' day. I'm fine at washing and drying; it's the folding part that's somehow lost in the mix.
  • Today in Church our Primary Presidency was reorganized. So women were standing up and sitting down all around us, being released and sustained. Kate leaned over to me and said, "Mommy, why aren't you getting proposed today?" I asked her to repeat herself because I couldn't figure out what she was saying. When she said it again I realized she was taking the words, "it is proposed so-and-so be sustained as the new such-and-such". I told her it wasn't my turn yet, and once again realized how much of a sponge children are ... taking it in, when we think they're not paying attention.
  • Lately Matt and I have been pondering Elder Bednar's General Conference talk Watching With All Perseverance. We've been re-thinking our family scripture study. I won't go into our nightly circus act performance, but will say we're grateful for talks like this which cause us to stop and think, then start and press forward.
  • We went to a fun Greek Festival Friday night. Last year it was a big hit and every time we passed the Greek Church since then (since it's on the way to Matt's work), Wes and Kate would say, "remember when we went there?" So we were so excited when we saw the banner go up again saying when it would be held. We went with some friends and enjoyed good food, music and dancing.
We're trying to squeeze as many fun things as possible in these last few weeks.

So far so good:).

Monday, May 31, 2010

Firsts

We experienced a couple of 'firsts' this Memorial Day weekend and it's really been enjoyable.

First we watched the PBS Memorial Day special Sunday night. I don't remember the official name, but it was a concert in front of the U.S. Capitol building in D.C. It was a great tribute to our soldiers of today and yesterday. It was also an opportunity for us to talk with our children about honoring those who've sacrificed to make our country free.

We also grilled shrimp on our little Smokey Joe. We were inspired by my brother's family. Recently they took a S. California trip and blogged about it every day. They were always grilling something. So I ventured out to the grocery store in search of shrimp. We are not really exotic eaters and so I'd never done this before, but now that I've shelled and deveined shrimp, I'll know next time that perhaps the $1 or $2 extra per pound to have that done for you is worth it.

No, it actually wasn't that bad, but I thought about the process too much, and when I do that, sometimes I don't want to eat it. It did turn out really well though. We used the instructions here, and then the recipe for the marinade here.

Wes and Sophie ate it up. Kate was a little leery.

We also skewered some green peppers and early squash, then cooked corn in their husks right on the coals. We topped it off with rootbeer floats and called it a success.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sweet Boy

Wesley is our sweet boy. We're still trying to figure him out sometimes, but one thing we know for sure is he has a big heart and is very sensitive. Sometimes that equates to a touch of wimpy-ness, or you might call it drama, but he is generally very kind.

He often tries to please people, especially Kate. Whenever he is in a situation where he has what he wants and Kate doesn't, he'll quickly give what he has to her, so that she feels better. I'm trying to figure out how to handle this sometimes. I'm happy that he's generous and caring, but at the same time I don't want him to give in, just because someone's having 'a moment'. Many times it truly is out of the kindness of his heart.

Wes is very sensitive to loud noises. Oftentimes in the car he'll sit there with his fingers in his ears the whole time because Sophie's too loud for him. But then again Sophie knows exactly what buttons to push with Wes.

Baseball is Wes' favorite sport and he's very determined when he 'practices'. From the get-go Matt and I realized that Kate is a natural athlete but doesn't really get into ball playing. She just loves running around like crazy. Wesley has a certain drive about him where he tries and tries and now he's become really good at throwing and hitting. He absolutely loves when we go to baseball games in our area of the minor league affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.

Wes has really developed his artistic side. When Kate was creating and coloring a ton a year or two ago, Wes never really had an interest. Now he's the art king. He loves drawing, cutting and taping. I've had to designate a tape dispenser just for him because he was constantly taking our office one and I could never find it, or there wouldn't be any tape left. I'll find all sorts of pictures or projects taped to the wall.

The other day while playing with his train, Wes stopped and ran for some paper. He came up to me and showed me what he'd drawn and asked if I could help him build the fort he'd colored. He'd drawn the couch cushions in a design and wanted to recreate it. I thought that was pretty good and told Matt we had a little contractor/architect/engineer on our hands.

We love our brown-eyed little guy. He loves to snuggle and kiss (as long as it's not on the lips, so funny), and asks me every night if I'll come in and knit by his bedside after Dad's finished singing songs. We'll keep him.

Monday, May 24, 2010

I've struggled posting anything as of late, but will write a few sentences now. There's been so much to say, but since this is not a private blog, and even if it were I wouldn't post some things (gotta figure out that post option of not allowing the world to see).

I'll share just a bit, for record's sake, and then privately account for everything.

We are moving. And I'm very sad about that. Not that our current state has become our home of homes, but still, we truly love it here. We love our friends, our church family, and the easy access to adventures.

We have grown here. We appreciate family more, church more, and each other more.

The problem is we don't have a job. I don't feel sorry for us, so you shouldn't either. We'll find one, but just haven't struck it yet. That's where the test has been. There's been a high level of stress in our home (thanks to me), and our children have been affected (again, thanks and no thanks to me).

We spent a very nice weekend in Boston visiting more sites, John and Abigail Adams homes (what marvelous people), the Children's Museum, and a temple session (for me). We traveled home on a less traveled highway and enjoyed the winding roads and small towns along the way. We will miss this.

Our house is for sale. Our landlord has been wonderful and very accommodating, but it is still tough keeping a house clean and tidy for showing. But again, it's been fine (and only 4 days. Ask me in a month and maybe my hair will all be gone).

The blessing in all of this craziness is the peace and calm that Matt has been. He has been a rock. He's held his cool as I've lost it. He's responded optimistically as I've let the stress overcome me. He's answered with love as I've reacted rashly. I'm so grateful. He's such a good man; a gentle giant.

Now I'm committed to leave my old self (of the past few weeks) behind, and take on the day. The house is clean, the children fed ... now let's enjoy these last few weeks.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Homemade vs. Store Bought

This was such a stark experience this morning that I have to document it quickly. And just a note ... although I would love to claim I regularly make homemade bread, I don't, but have the desire to do so, just haven't found a recipe that's easy and great tasting. It's all in an effort to "eat what we store, and store what we eat." (I know that's a quote somewhere, but won't take the time to find it right now.)

I think we've found it ... thanks to one of our great friends who regularly posts recipes on her private blog. And since it is private, I feel it my obligation to share it with the world since it's such a find!

So here's the situation. I made breakfast this morning of eggs and toast. We were on the last of our homemade bread and so I gave that to the children and made a slice of store bought for me. I took a bite and thought, ugh, this isn't very tasty. I took a bite from Wes', just to make sure my taste buds weren't off this morning and instantly I heard (imagined) the angelic choirs that sing of bliss. What a HUGE difference. So I feel it my obligation to share. Here's the link ... you won't be disappointed. Scroll down to the bottom and there's a whole wheat cinnamon roll recipe I'm excited to try.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Some of my favorites

Last week during one of the beautiful Spring days we've been enjoying we hopped in the car with the camera and set out to find our 'favorites' (see last post).

So here's a tour of houses in our little city. The only one that's not in our city is the large one that we see on the way to church every Sunday. So I'll start with that one with three views of it ... it's pretty gigantic, but really beautiful, and even more so during the holidays.


Then here's my favorite in our city.Now, here are some of the great colors used for homes here. I think what makes them stand out even more is that the garage doors are painted the same color and so it's a pretty great block of color.
I love the 'shutter doors' that go in front of the front door. I'm assuming it's the early New Englander's version of a storm door. I only wish my camera and skills could do justice to this 'tour'. I hope there's not some law where I'm not supposed to post picture's like this, and hopefully it's not classified as a violation of their privacy, but more of an admiration from me.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Thoughts

It always seems there's so much to do and so little time. I'm especially feeling that now as our family looks towards our future. I need to keep my camera with me at all times to take all those pictures I've said I wanted to take before we move on.

Here are just some of pictures I want to take and will post when they're taken.

*I have two favorite houses here ... one very extravagant that we pass every Sunday on the way to church, and the other, a more manageable abode and so beautiful.
*The different colors of homes in New England. I love how deep and rich some people paint their houses: reds, blues, greens, yellows, burnt oranges, black and dark browns ... you'll see what I mean when I actually post them ... so unlike what we're used to in Utah.
*Granite curbs. (I'm pretty sure they're granite, sure look like it). Our friend confirmed there's a lack of gravel here and so asphalt and granite are used, where Utah seems to be built upon gravel pits and so cement is very plentiful.
*Live wreaths (or candles) in every window of a home at Christmas time (I can't believe I procrastinated on this one so badly that I won't be able to get it before we go) ... so beautiful and a tradition we've said we'd like to carry with us wherever we go.

But today I did get a picture I've been wanting to take ever since the blossoms started. On our bike rides we pass a beautiful tree in bloom on the border between two exceptionally well-kept houses in our back neighborhood. It's so stunning to me that I've contemplated ringing their doorbells and asking permission to have family pictures taken in their yards. Hopefully they'd take it as a compliment, but I doubt I'll really do it. Someday I hope to have such an inviting garden/yard.
I wish my camera and picture taking skills could do it justice. (Notice the asphalt curbing)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Songbird

Sophie's always been affected by music. Whether it's listening to Aretha Franklin or 80's ballads, she pays attention.

Her latest thing has been to sing at the top of her lungs, which sometimes sounds like she's screaming. Then she'll stop and laugh.

Tonight as I was putting her to bed she was singing:

"Do AS I'm doing,
pollow, pollow me"

The emphasis is definitely on the 'as', and it's pretty funny. It took a little longer than normal to go to bed because she kept singing over and over, without seeming to tire. But it was cute and worth the extra 10 minutes.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Dinners

My mother has often told me of days when my siblings and I were young and my dad traveled. She's said that our dinners mostly consisted of hot dogs, mainly for the convenience.

Now I find myself in the same boat, although hot dogs haven't graced our menu yet.

Matt's been out of town and our nightly menus have been thus:

Tuna sandwiches and tomato soup
Peanut Butter and Honey sandwiches (twice)
Pizza
Cereal
Fish Sticks
Lasagna (at least one night I tried)
Toast
and tonight, Waffles

Do you think I have issues with carbohydrates?

It's a good thing he's on his way home:).

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Eastery start to the weekend

It seems when you have children you celebrate holidays longer, i.e. as soon as St. Patrick's Day was over, everyday seemed like Easter. We broke out the baskets earlier and held our own egg hunts (sans candy) throughout the house on multiple days, printed coloring pages off the internet, and baked goodies. The great thing about this year has been the twins' realization of why we commemorate Easter.

In Primary they watched some of the Church's videos of the crucifixion and resurrection, so we've been answering tons of questions like, "why did those men want to hurt Jesus?" and statements like, "but Jesus was resurrected with living breath" (? don't really know where that recurring statement comes from ... a song? a lesson?), anyway, it's really made an impression on them and so we've had many great discussions about it.

*Yesterday we made Sweet Dough Bunnies, a recipe I got many, many years ago while interning at KSL (noon cooking segment). They must've cleared out their recipe archives because a quick search didn't find it - it was there last year. I'll forward the recipe to any interested.
*Took our annual Easter picture. We went to the Church today for part of General Conference and so I snapped this before going.
Something else we did today was go stock up on some board games. Target was having a really good Hasbro sale and I was in the mood for a game of Twister. On the way home from Conference Sophie and Wes fell asleep, so Kate and I broke out the games and had a ball. That girl's more flexible than her mother; I never realized how much of a workout Twister can give you:).Tomorrow we're planning to lay low and enjoy more words of inspiration and revelation.

I love this time of year.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Sophie's Version

Sophie sings 'Follow the Prophet' so well without the camera in view, but I can never catch it. So this is the best version we got for documentation purposes. She's far too concerned with saying "cheese" and "so pitty" (so pretty) when she sees the camera.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Squirrel

A squirrel has somehow made it into our basement and can't seem to figure out how to get back out.

I first noticed him/her/it this morning as I was taking things downstairs to put in storage. Our basement is unfinished with shelves lining the outer cement walls and one bearing wall down the middle. The squirrel was up in the rafters of the floorboards. When he saw me he scurried along the outer wall and the next I saw him was in our winery/back storage; at least I hope that was the same one and not a partner. There were some bottles knocked over (beets and peach jam), thankfully not broken, and paper and cleaning products on the floor, as if he'd hopped over to that shelf and scattered the contents.

It hasn't bothered me all day, but now I'm starting to get concerned. Our landlord will probably come by tomorrow for the rent check so maybe I'll let him know.

I went outside to look for the point of entry and can't find it. Evidently he can't find it either.

After many trips up and down during the course of the day, and not seeing him again, I hoped he'd made his way out. But this last time I went down I got as far as opening the door to the stairs. There he was about 6 stairs down, looking at me. I screamed, slammed the door, Kate came running, and I had to explain that squirrels aren't necessarily scary, but kind of alarming if they're not in a place they're supposed to be.

During dinner I even heard what I thought was scratching at the door that leads downstairs. Could've been my imagination, but I don't think so.

So here I sit, trying to figure out what to do, short of calling an animal control person. I've created scenarios in my head reminiscent of Curious George's antics or even MacGyver's. But so far haven't dared try any of them. I'm just hoping we get him out of there before he gets desperate and starts gnawing through our cereal boxes/pasta/cake mixes in food storage.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Almost too much to share

I'm quite simply overwhelmed at starting this post, but I know if I don't do it now, it will disappear. So I'm going to share a list of things and places we've visited and then barrage this post with pictures to browse at discretion. It's been a lot of fun and we've put many more happy miles on our car.

*visited a maple surgaring farm
*Wilford Woodruff's birthplace
*Washington D.C.
*Gettysburg
At this juncture I would be remiss if I didn't thank our good friends, the D's, for their hospitality. We stayed with them in Annapolis and to say they were incredible hosts would be an understatement, if that's possible. We just wish we could've spend more time with THEM, but we were running around crazy trying to see all the sites. A funny thing though was on the way home we asked Wes and Kate which site/museum was their favorite. They answered, "the one with the fish and the big slide." WHAT? That's the museum we frequent monthly here in our own state. Oh well, someday they'll appreciate history.

*Sophie's birthday
This little lady has changed so much in the last month. She's very vocal and loves to sing along with her siblings every song from 'Follow the Prophet', to 'Hi-Ho'. She's also become very assertive ... in fact, we're having flashbacks of Kate as a toddler. So we've strapped on our seatbelts for another volatile/expressive ride.

She's also very sweet and gives the best and tightest hugs I've experienced from a child. As the third child she's not about to be pushed aside and forgotten ... she's out to make her mark, and we love her for it.

Enjoy the highlights.

Wilford Woodruff's birthplace
Kate catching drips from a newly tapped maple treeKate and Sophie soaking their toes in the sink
Washington Monument
Capitol
View of the "Mall" toward the Capitol from top of Washington Monument
Kate and Brigham Young inside the Capitol Building
White House
World War II Memorial
Friends at Lincoln Memorial
Washington DC temple as it "pops" in to view from the freewaySophie on temple grounds
Temple groundsThe little lady blowing out candles
Not only was Sophie given gifts, but Wes and Kate too. These aprons are from Aunt Karen.
Typical shot of Sophie sweeping her hair out of her eyes.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Heavenly

It was nearly 60 degrees today and just plain heavenly. We had the back door open for half of the day and the little ones freely ran in and out as they planted seeds (mustard seed from my spice rack), played kick ball, had a picnic in our screened-in back patio, and ran around screaming for the joy of being outside. It was glorious!

I was more productive today than usual and I'm crediting it to the weather as well. There's just something about a little sun in one's life.

I've also been thinking of the fond days of yester-year when Matt and I would fly down to Southern California during this week. It's when the USU Aggies were in the Big West and the conference basketball tournament was held in Anaheim. I was working in sales along with doing on-air stuff. One of the perks was: sell well and get a trip. Plus with the on-air status there was a deal where we would get into Disneyland and California Adventures for free (I won't link to them since they have plenty of influence everywhere else). The trip would basically cost us our meals and the tickets to the tournament. Oh the days of being footloose and fancy free. We were so spoiled, and we loved it. Those are some of those memories we 'look back on fondly'. Those were also the days when I never took pictures and so you'll just have to imagine.

I'm glad to be making memories, whether they're picnicking in the backyard with my children on a beautiful day, or losing my voice while cheering on the Aggies. Either way, I've learned I'm happy for the changes that come with regular life and the renewal I feel with seasonal change.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Prayers

Wes' prayer tonight, witnessed and retold by Matt:

"I'm thankful for today. Please bless we can go on a picnic and go camping and fishing with Grandma and Grandpa."

This is an event we did with my parents this past summer. Sometimes I'm amazed at what young children remember and retell you months later in full detail. He and Kate will also often talk about their visit to Papa's house (Matt's parents). And they'll state they want to go there. Now.

Often I'll ask myself, "I wonder if they'll remember this." My first memory is my 4th birthday party at my Aunt Shannon's house when my parents were on a trip to the Holy Land. So I'm assuming some of the things we're doing now will be remembered by Wes and Kate ... although I admit, I hope they DON'T remember some things (lack of parenting skills/patience/etc.)

But this is one memory of Wes' that I hope lasts.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Pizza and Primary songs

I hope all of you, my blog friends, realize I use this medium as a way to journal and show our families what we're doing, so many miles away. It seems I often post the happy times, but don't you be fooled, we're exactly like everyone else and have our share of exasperation and frustration, hence the 'overwhelmed' part in our blog title.

This morning we made felt pizzas. It's an idea I got from a blog my friend introduced to me a few days ago. It was a successful project. I had a bag full of felt my sister gave to me as she was cleaning out her house before they left on their mission.

So here it is.It kept Kate's rapt attention for 30+ minutes, and Wes' about 15 minutes, until his train-building desires took him another direction.

Meanwhile in Primary yesterday, they must have been learning more versus to the song "Follow The Prophet". Since I haven't served in the main body of Primary yet, I only know some of the song and am unfamiliar with this part. But Kate has been singing over and over and over again this morning, "They were in the wilderness for 40 years."

When I first heard it I thought, "Wow, I'm thankful for such a great program and teachers for my children." But then after the 156th time of hearing that same line I said to Kate, "could you think of another song to sing because it's kind of driving me crazy."

She said, "How 'bout if I sing it like this, 'They were NOT in the wilderness for 40 years."

Oh well. I tried. And that was pretty funny. But still, as I write this, I've got a little helper singing it in my ear.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday Mornings

At the first of the year our ward moved to the 11:30 a.m. slot, a killer for toddlers (we feel it every week in Nursery), but that's another story. We leave our house at about 10:55, so the extra time in the morning leaves plenty of opportunity for Kate to request doing a craft (her favorite thing in the world right now). We usually make crowns or decorate brown lunch sacks for a snack on the way home.

So this is the crew this morning, with their hot chocolate.

Wes outdid himself. I think his crown looks similar to the Pope's hat, don't you think?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Glass Windows

I have a habit of putting quart bottles that have just been cleaned at the top of our stairs. This way I'll take them down on my way to the laundry, etc., to be put back in their bottle boxes awaiting a future food processing day. I've always envisioned knocking one of them and seeing it tumble down the stairs to burst and shatter at the bottom upon contact with the concrete floor of the unfinished basement.

So it happened tonight.

I was unloading the dishwasher and placed one of the jars at the top of the stairs (there's a door that opens to our downstairs from the kitchen). I put the jar on the stair and it teetered on the lip before starting its descent. Of course it made quite the racket, combined with my yelling play-by-play commentary. Wes and Kate then came running, "what happened, what happened?!" I told them and then said, "I'll be downstairs cleaning it up." But then of course, everyone wants to help. So I said, "never mind, I'll do it later." Then Kate says, (she's cutting a cereal box and gluing a house right then) "but Mom, I want my house to have glass windows!"

A journal moment.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Snow ... FINALLY!

This winter has been very mild. I'm not talking about temperatures ... we've been cold enough, but where's the snow? It's been bare and ugly for most of the season. By this time last year church had been canceled at least twice, school once (at our private institution, the public ones probably closed 4 or 5 times), and we had experienced the mild 'panic' that occurs in our state when snow is forecasted. I'd never before heard of things being canceled before a flake had even fallen. All in all, there hasn't been as much drama this year.

While Washington D.C./Philadelphia were paralyzed by record storms, we had bright, sunny skies. My mom kept calling and saying, are you getting snow yet? Nope. It seemed like those storms put all of their force into a certain area and completely missed New England.

A storm last week was supposed to finally deliver and so schools were canceled. Two inches fell.

The storm this week wasn't built up nearly as much (the meteorologists were probably gun shy), but lo and behold, we got 7"! A proper snowstorm! We've been playing, building, sledding and shoveling for the past 24 hours. It's been great.

Funny thing about it though. On Monday we went shopping for a sled. Apparently February is 'out of season' and so our shopping trip was unsuccessful. Wes and Kate were heartbroken. I had told them we'd go sledding that day. I went digging in our garage and found a saucer I thought we'd left back in Utah and presented the prize to the saddened crew. Their faces instantly changed and we bundled up and headed for the local elementary school grounds (school's out this week). Remember this is BEFORE the snow storm. As we rounded the corner I looked at the bowl-shaped school lot and thought, "Uh-oh, looks like we'll be sledding on grass." Luckily we found one narrow slice of snow that went from the top to the bottom, so we instantly claimed it as our own. We got some funny looks by passers-by, but oh we had fun. Too bad I didn't bring the camera because it was pretty desperate looking. After we were done I told W and K the forecast of snow for the next day and said we'd be able to do some proper sledding.

So the next morning off we went with some friends to the school. What a difference 18 hours made. There were three other groups already there and we had a ball.

Today we finished shoveling the last of the snow from overnight and proceeded to make an unofficial Boy Scout snow cave. This snow was perfect for it.


Hope you're enjoying whatever weather is at your house!