Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Party

I forgot to take pictures of everyone while they were here--again! But, here are some pictures I took before the party. We had a repeat of a lot of the preschool things (the q-tip skeletons, bean bag toss etc.) but Liesl brought some fabulous activities--the kids got to hold a dry ice bubble "ghost" in their hands and she brought some goblin eggs that Becca has been playing with all afternoon and with a more casual atmosphere the kids were able to relax and play a little more.

Instead of doing anything elaborate (or wormy gross) I decided to make all the food orange and black.
I ordered orange bread from the bakery and bought a jack-o-lantern kit & cookie cutter to make these peanut butter and peach jelly pumpkin sandwiches. (I also put raisins on the tray to add a little bit of black [not to mention my kids love raisins]).
I thought these spiders turned out so cute! They were easy to make & all the kids could do it without help.
I decided to take one last picture of our trees before the storm blew in. The colors were so vibrant & now already most of the leaves have been blown off in the wind.

I will try to remember to take pictures of the kids in their costumes tonight, but knowing me I'll forget, so no promises on the pics.

Computing PSA: Please Backup!

Greg here in a random fit of posting - and please excuse the blog spam. No cute pictures or anything else - just a public service announcement. As most of you know I work with computers most every day of my life and countless times people have lost valuable data. If I could convince people to change one single aspect of their computing lifestyle it would be to make sure you are taking regular backups! I see it as a two step process: 1) actually start backing up your important data and 2) make sure your data is recoverable [i.e. test your backups].

Well, about a year ago I signed up for a free online backup service (limited to 2GB of storage with the free account) and I have placed a variety of important word documents and other things under their care (but no pictures). Having used them for more than a year I can vouch for their reliability and the overall quality of the system. I have even restored some of my important documents at work, so they are certainly recoverable from about anywhere! As a side-note, in the last year I have used a cumulative 48MB of storage space (about 2% of my available space) so I think the free account has been well worth it - though you may only want to use it to backup documents to stay under the 2GB limit. Most backup software has very friendly options to help you select what you would like to backup.

The service I ultimately chose was none other than a locally operated Utah company: Mozy. My reasons for selecting them were really quite simple: Online, excellent encryption options, background updates each day (or set schedule), easy recovery. One of the more impressive features is they will even mail you recovery DVDs in the case of a disaster and you don't want to wait for all 300GB of photos, music and videos to restore over the internet.

Really I don't care what service you use, or how you do your backups - just please make sure they are being done! That being said, right now Mozy is running a special where if you sign up they will give you (and me - full disclosure) an extra half a gigabyte of storage FOR FREE. Please do yourself a favor and download and install Mozy today and start your online backup:

Note: If it asks for a referral code, use L7HC85 - though just clicking the above link should work.

Breathe in...Breathe out

A couple weeks ago, Greg asked me if I would get some cleaner for the glass in our fireplace. When I was at Ace, I found some industrial glass cleaner and thought I would give that a shot. It works pretty well, and I just used it on my stove as well, but every time I use it I am taken back in time. Back in my paid-to-work days, I worked in an office that had a black laminate front desk. It was very nice, but always left fingerprints, and one of my friends who also worked there was anal when it came to keeping it clean. I had forgotten until I bought my own that the preferred choice to get rid of the prints was the same industrial glass cleaner I purchased. The label has changed, but I will never forget the smell.
As I was reminiscing, I thought about the number of memories that are triggered by the 5 senses, and a lot of my "flashbacks" are triggered by smell. Bread baking, different soaps and perfumes, the change of seasons, my kids coming in smelling like "recess" and countless others, and it made me think of someone else I know who can't smell. A member of my bishopric a while ago took a hard fall while playing basketball & hit his head. He had a severe concussion and was dizzy for a while, but the longest symptom he had was the lack of smell and consequently taste.
At the time I didn't think that was too bad--and even now I think when I have kids with dirty diapers/illnesses it isn't all bad--but I couldn't imagine not being able to smell all the wonderful things in the world.
So today's challenge for anyone reading this--take a big whiff of the Halloween candy tonight (especially if you have trick-or-treaters going out) and see if it triggers any memories of Halloweens gone by. And then, just be grateful for all five senses. They are truly a blessing.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Privacy--What's that?

I was folding laundry in my bedroom this morning with my kids when I had to use the potty. The lock to my bathroom is broken, but I thought I could be in and out of the baƱo without interruption...I was wrong. Both of my stay-home girls were in the bathroom with me moments after I had closed the door. I am not sure what causes this phenomenon. However, I learned my lesson and used a different bathroom a moment ago (one with a lock) only to find both of the girls standing next to each other right outside the door when I opened it.
My question is--what do they think I am doing in there that needs an audience? (because I'm pretty sure I don't)
Rachel is now screaming at my side because I came here to type my thoughts rather than picking her up when I was finished, so I'd better end my post, but for anyone who gets to use the potty in privacy, may I say, enjoy it!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ode to a Day Out

Greg came home from work early yesterday and took the family to the afternoon showing of Wall-E at the Dollar Theater. The movie was really cute & since there were only about 10 people in the theater (including our 6), and two of the other 4 were a toddler & baby, I decided it would be acceptable to forgo a little bit of theater etiquette and I let Rachel run up and down the aisle next to me.
She had a ball, it kept her quiet, and with the exception of when I had to turn around (because she liked to run one row past me then come back) I was able to see the movie, too!
I have to say that like unto many of the other Pixar films, I think I liked the short at the beginning of the movie just as much as the feature-length film (for anyone who can't remember it's Presto the magician and his hungry rabbit).
Following the movie, we went to my brother's house, where they graciously offered us pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (one of my favorite fall treats) and the fellowship of their daughter (which I think my girls liked even more than the cookies).
We pulled up the street at 8:00 (a little later than usual bedtime) and Greg dropped me off at the neighbor's house for our ward book club while he put the girls to bed.
Wow! What a great day!

OK--So now that you know that I REALLY did have a GREAT day, I have one funny story to tell. After the movie, we decided to run to Wendy's to get the girls some chicken nuggets for dinner, but since we were right next to a sub shop, we decided to grab a turkey sandwich to split for us rather than a burger.

I was the only person in the sub shop, and was quietly pleased that I would be able to be in and out of the store quickly. So, I ordered my sandwich and paid for it, and the girl at the cashier called another employee from the back room to make the sandwich.

Apparently, not only was this the girl's first day of work, mine was her Very First Sandwich. Now, I'm not just saying that--she told me (about 15 times during the 10 minutes it took to make the sandwich) that this was the first time she'd made a sandwich.

I was very kind & smiling on the outside, but inside my smile was more of a laugh. By the time the sandwich was done, half of the bread was a crumbled mess and the manager had to put the toppings back on and roll the sandwich up in the paper to before giving it to me because my poor sandwich maker let everything spill out when she tried to roll it up.

I was also a little worried because I said that I wanted salt and pepper and mustard on top, and there was a LOT of pepper and mustard. Fortunately, other than being a little strong on mustard, you couldn't really tell (because I wasn't about to say that there was too much--could you please make a new one).

Anyway, as I said before, my day was great and the sandwich experience was really just comic relief for me (I don't know if Greg out in the car with the girls would agree).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Just Call Me Abby

For anyone who has seen Young Frankenstein, I am afraid that somehow, (I'm pretty sure it was during one of my epidurals) I was given young Abby Normal's brain.
Sarah had her preschool party today, and it was a hoot. I took my camera in my purse so I could get plenty of pictures to share, and while we were there one of the other moms took pictures, we talked about blogs, and I didn't think about my camera until we were home and I put my purse on the counter and thought "Oh, I should put the camera away."
Who does that?
Oh well!
The party was darling! The kids made Q-Tip skeletons:

played "boo-sical chairs" made the famous ghost suckers, played spider toss (I bought it on clearance from Pottery Barn Kids & it's really cute) had toilet paper mummy races, and ate hot dog mummies

and peanut butter eyeballs--you can use the "Peanut Butter Egg" recipe I posted earlier and just dip them in white chocolate instead of milk & frost on the eyes.

I have to give a big thanks to everyone who made the party so darling--It really was fun! (and I plan on reusing many of these for the party on Friday, so don't expect much different entertainment--but maybe I'll remember to take pictures!!!)

How to Eat Fried Worms

I have been trying to make some fun "Halloween" meals for my family as we have drawn closer to All Hallow's Eve. So far, my favorite (and my kids' favorite) has been candy corn quesadillas. To make them, I took mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, and Colby Jack cheese and arranged them in rings around a tortilla. Then, I just microwaved them and cut them into triangles to turn them into "candy corns." I found that slicing the cheese worked better than grating it because the colors stayed in their rows better, but my kids thought it was great.

Last night, I went with a more greusome food choice--fried worms (actually they were boiled). I took a package of hot dogs and cut them length wise into strips, boiled them until they curled up and served them on a bun. I even served them with bbq sauce instead of ketchup and the result was a little too realistic, but the kids thought it was great being permitted to talk about gross things at the dinner table. Greg was kind enough to take a picture of the all-too-realistic food.

Monday, October 27, 2008


This morning was one of those AAGGHH! mornings--have you ever had one? Rachel woke up around 5:00, and went back down at 6:00 (after smothering me in my bed for an hour), so I thought I would just "rest" for 30 minutes or so until my alarm went off. The next thing I knew I was dreaming that I was taking pictures of the fall leaves with a camera in one hand, a hand grenade (a small one) in my other, and binoculars around my neck. Which, naturally, is when the neighbors drove by. Then, Greg was shaking me telling me it was almost 8:00. Which meant that I had about 20 minutes to get my girls up, dressed, fed, and ready to go.
We got the essentials done when I remembered that Becca's homework was due and she still had two pages of math left.
We burned through that (with me giving more than one hint, I'll admit [for example: If 5+5=10, and 6 is 1 more than 5, what is 5+6?]) and I put in in her backpack only to realize that I hadn't packed her a lunch.
Now, on a morning like this last year, I would have just told Becca to have school lunch for the day, but for anyone who doesn't know, we have been having a few issues with the school lunch program. Namely, before I could put any more money on Becca's account (we had about 70 cents left over from last year) I received notice that Becca's lunch account was negative and "she would not be allowed to have school lunch again until the account had been settled."
I asked Becca if she had eaten school lunch for some reason, but I was pretty sure she hadn't since her home lunches had been eaten every day. She said "no" so I tried to contact the school to straighten it out.
Instead, I got another note & Greg got an email saying taht she was now 2 meals in the hole. I tried calling again, and sent an email without response.
We have now had 3 meals charged to Becca's lunch account, and I have refused to put money in until the account is settled. Which means I get to pack a lunch whether we have had a nice relaxing morning or an AAGGHH! morning.

But....Da da da da! (cue the trumpets) I got her lunch packed in under 30 seconds because I have come up with the greatest lunch ever for AAGGHH! mornings.

Becca LOVES Uncrustables. I first bought them at NPS (for anyone who lives around here and doesn't know that store tell me and I will share my wealth of knowledge) where they were about 5 cents per sandwich, and I couldn't pass it up. However, if I want to buy them now, they are around 50 cents a sandwich at Costco (on sale sometimes for about 25-30 cents) but for a PBJ I find that a little expensive still--we have already gone over my frugality...I come by it rightly, just ask my mom.

So instead, I go to the bread store, buy a couple loaves of bread, get a jar of peanut butter, a jar of homemade strawberry jam (Becca's favorite) and make my own.

So, coupled with some baby carrots and a fruit leather, here are the easy to follow directions for anyone who is interested in a really easy packed lunch:

1-Put peanut butter on BOTH sides of the bread (to prevent a jam soggy mess)--learned that one from Uncrustables
2-Put a little dollop of jam/jelly in the middle of one slice of bread & top with second slice.
3-This part is what I do because Becca likes the "UN" in Uncrustables. I get a nice big plastic cup that has a wide lip at the top and smash it on the sandwich (verses a thin-lipped cup that would cut the sandwich). Then I peel the crust away from the smashed edge and violla! I Have a sealed sandwich without any crust!

They freeze really well ( I just stick them in individual baggies and throw them back in the bread sack), and Becca likes them just as well as the "real thing."

The only sad thing is that I think that they cost about 5 cents a sandwich, which if I could find them at NPS every time would save me the hassle of actually Making them. But! You can't always have your uncrustable and eat it too, right?

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Yesterday we tried to take the girls up to "Boo at the Zoo." We got the girls all dressed up in their Halloween costumes and headed up only to turn around when we saw the insane number of vehicles parked all up and down the road. Somehow, we determined it wasn't worth the hike just to get in only to have that many people inside. Therefore, we opted for a much quieter morning at the "little zoo" (also known as the Aviary). The girls loved looking at all of the birds, and Sarah was especially enamored with the free range peacocks roaming around the park.
She yelled "Hi Azul!" (the peacock from Barbie as the Island Princess) every time she saw one. So Greg decided to test her knowledge of what type of bird "Azul" is. He said, "Azul is a Pea-"
and Sarah filled in--"PEA-RANAH!"
We all got a good laugh at that, then a few minutes later Ellie decided to help. She asked Sarah if Azul was an "O" cock, or a "P" cock.

The Aviary was great. We had the whole thing basically to ourselves (with the exception of a little boy's birthday party where the guests cornered one of the peacocks and forced it to fly onto the roof of a nearby roost).

Following the Aviary, we went to the grocery store where the girls got to make bat puppets and go "trick-or-treating" in the deli.

The girls were thrilled that they got to have as much candy as they wanted, and they got plenty of attention for their costumes since they were the only little China dolls around.

And Greg and I were thrilled that we didn't have to keep track of our little bananas in the crowds of the zoo.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I love the word Muffy (from Arthur) coined! Happily, today could be called "not vomitrocious," and I am hoping that my serious investment in Lysol products helps to keep it that way (My apologies for any inside trading opportunities lost because I didn't announce sooner--I'm pretty sure their stock went up after my purchases).

I feel like I need to have a little timer on the side of the blog that says X number of days since anyone has thrown up around here. The only problem being that I am well aware that when we had another "episode" updating the timer would be the furthest thing from my mind.

I have to apologize to everyone who got sick because of my family down in Zion. I had no idea that we were sick--Becca had thrown up 3 days before we left and Sarah 5 days earlier, but we had NO symptoms until the second day of our trip, and since then we have had a "Clean up on aisle--I mean bedroom--X ever since. I thought on Tuesday that our woes were over, but Rachel woke up on Wednesday in a pungent smelling room.

Happily (I think) today, although her room was definitely on the pungent side when I entered, it was all from the other end--she decided to be a poo-artist (and I'm not talking about the bear).

So, once again her room got the once-over with the Lysol, and my hands and forearms are reeking of Ethyl Alcohol, thanks to the miracle of Purell. Oh, how I love Purell.

And now, let the timer begin, because I am crossing my fingers that we are done puking for the rest of the season (because there is ALWAYS room for wishful thinking).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Boo-tiful Decor for pennies!

I think Halloween is a great kid-friendly holiday, and I wanted to decorate my house this year in celebration, but I had no desire to spend a fortune on things that are going to be manhandled by my kids, so here is my house this year

Here is my favorite room. I found these crows at Dollar tree and couldn't resist their Halloween charm, so I brought them home, sawed off some dead branches from a tree in my yard, spray-painted them black, and stuck them in a black vase. Now Rachel begs me to let her see the "birdies" every time we're in the family room.
I also love to "decorate" with seasonal books. I only have a couple of Halloween books at my disposal, and even fewer that are presentable, but I love this Pumpkin Soup book, so I thought I would incorporate it. (I also love how you can see my ghost--a grocery bag stuffed with newspaper, taped on the top of a lamp and covered with muslin) reflected in the mirror. The spider votive candles and paper lanterns were also Dollar Tree finds. No sense spending the big bucks for punching bags (that are sitting on the floor right now because Rachel just came in the room, by the way).

On to the dining room! I found this pumpkin candle wreath at DI for 5o cents and couldn't pass it up. I wrapped it with some berries that were on clearance at Michaels and put a real pumpkin in the middle.

I rarely splurge, but I bought this tablecloth a couple years ago for a friend's birthday only to discover that she had purchased a square table. Well, I couldn't bear to return it so I got her another gift and I am now the lucky owner! I love the fact that my centerpiece is a basket of apples from our tree in the backyard. My girls eat them like crazy, but I didn't have to pay for them, and they are a nice, healthy snack!

I usually put my girls' artwork up here, but I was lazy this year and put up some cute prints I found instead. (OK really they are just treat bags that I got at Dollar Tree, but where else can you find 20 prints for a buck?)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Home Sweet Home

We got back on Sunday from our trip to Zion National Park. The drive home was long and dry, but we made it home without pulling over to let anyone throw-up. Hallelujah!
As we neared home the leaves were bright red and orange and in contrast to the wheat colored scenery we had seen for hours on end and I was thrilled beyond words to see some variety in color and altitude.
The colors on the trees were so vivid it really almost took my breath away. I LOVE the changing seasons! (I also love sleeping in my own bed--but not as much as Rachel loves sleeping in hers!)

Here are some pictures of the kids on our trip. Ellie got sick while we were there so I stayed back at the cabin with her (and Rachel) so if you notice a lack of pictures with those two, you'll know why.

Sarah loving life as a cowgirl--but I think she liked the petting zoo that was right next to the stables almost as much as riding horses.

The cousins playing in the water inside the park.

Ellie demonstrating her favorite "I'm getting my picture taken" pose.

Ellie was a little nervous to be on her own with the horse, I think, but she put on a brave face.

All of the cousins in terrible lighting but on a GREAT rock for playing!

Rachel was the most excited of anyone on the trip to ride the horses. She didn't even flinch when she had to saddle up with a cowboy she'd never met before. Talk about being in heaven!

Sarah trying to smile into the sun. Mmm. Blessed sun in October!

Becca and Sarah on their hike while the rest of us gals were home in the cabin (but no complaints from me--Rachel napped, Ellie didn't throw-up once and I read an entire book--sheer bliss!)

Becca's turn on the horses. She loves riding, and considers herself to be Calamity Becca-Jane.

Tarzan, Meet Becca-Jane. (Oh, man did we ever give her the right middle name!)

If you can't tell, the highlight of the trip for our girls was THE COUSINS!

Oh, yes, and more time with the cousins!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Help Chris get a costume!

My neighbor is here and needs a good super hero or villain costume. He goes all out, and needs something great. I have a few suggestions on the side of the blog, but if you have any other ideas, feel welcome to post. Here is a picture to help you get ideas!

By the way, Greg also suggested Dr. Horrible and Captain Hammer--let me know if you recognize these great characters.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Letters to Santa '08

When the girls woke up to 6 inches of snow on the ground Sunday, they naturally assumed that Christmas was right around the corner, and decided it would be a good idea to make their lists to Santa.
Being one to enjoy getting the Christmas shopping done early (and knowing that the letters are sent and it is impossible to change the list) I was all for the early writing.
I thought that once again I would post the letters because it really cracks me up to see the various personalities shining through the letters.
So here they are: The requests to Santa--

Dear Santa,
Thank you for the presents you gave me last year. I love my doll, and I keep her on my bed. I also loved the box of activities. My favorite activity in the box was painting the little squares. I also liked playing with the play foam. The Polly Pocket Movie was really good, too!
This year, I would like a tea set, but not glass please. I would like a little stuffed lady bug, and some Easy Bake Oven mixes (especially a white cake with frosting and sprinkles, please).
You always give me nice things in my stocking. Thank you for all of the nice things.

Dear Santa,
Thank you for all my presents. You gave me Barbie Island, but not Tika. Thank you for my dolly house. I want a Snow White, and a Tika, too, and a cushie.
I’m getting’ a pillow for Christmas. A sparkle one with rainbows.

Dear Santa,
Thank you Santa for the last presents from the last Christmas. This year I want my makeup cell phone and my pretend real cell phone that makes sounds and the things in my stocking and thanks for the letter. Oh, yeah, and my dress up. And I love my Easter Bunny that you didn’t give me.

Monday, October 13, 2008

7 random things about me:

I got tagged with the 7 random things tag, and so here is more information than you ever needed to know about me:

1. When I think of people who give their children Bible names I think of home-birthin' bonnet-wearin' fundamentalists somewhere out in the Midwest, but I have 4 "Bible-named" girls. In fact, when my OB found out that we didn't have a name for Rachel, he asked me what my other girls' names were. When I told him he said, "Oh, so are you looking for Bible names?" and I was bugged that he would consider me to be "that kind" of person.

2. I am not a picky person, and will eat just about anything, but I really do NOT like eclairs.

3. I love it when things are clean and hate it when they are messy, but I can only think of a handful of times when I have felt like my whole house was CLEAN (not just straightened, tidied etc.)

4. I love talking about my kids, but really don't enjoy talking about myself. You might notice there are VERY few pictures of me on here. I'm just not a fan of the camera.

5. Despite my lack of desire to be in the limelight, I have no problem speaking in public. I have spoken in Stake Conference, Stake Women's Conference etc. and I enjoy it.

6. I love to write and blog, but I am terrible at keeping an actual "journal." When I reread my journals they never sound sincere and I feel like I come across as a self-righteous prick (and I desperately hope I don't act like that in person)

7. I am a terrible klutz. I am always bruised on my shins from running into things, and paper could be considered a weapon against me (I'm a paper cut magnet). I actually thought of writing a book called "Paper-Cut Problems" when I worked in an office because I would come home at the end of the day with hundreds of paper cuts, and those things hurt like the Dickens!

Where did you get your red hair?

We have had a couple of very long nights, and last night was no exception. Over the course of the night, Rachel woke up three times, Becca woke up once (and climbed in our bed), Ellie woke up once (and climbed in our bed) and Sarah woke up four times, threw up, and climbed in our bed.
Sarah was smart enough to avoid throwing up in her own bed, and instead climbed up in Ellie's when she got sick, so we let Ellie stay in our bed.
When she woke up this morning, Ellie was smiling the grin of someone who got an unexpected reward (I usually deposit all children I find in my bed back in their own beds).
I was pretty groggy, but I had to laugh as she had the following conversation with Greg.
Greg: "Who is this little red-head in my bed?"
Ellie: "It's me, Daddy!"
Greg: "Who has the prettiest red hair in our family?"
Ellie: "ME!"
Greg: "Where did you get your red hair, Ellie?"
Ellie: "My grandpa."
Greg: "But Grandpa's hair isn't very red anymore."
Ellie: "Of course not! He gave it to me!"

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Jekyll and Hyde

I wonder if Robert Louis Stevenson had a toddler when he wrote Jekyll and Hyde. I sometimes feel like I am living with my own 3 year old version of the affliction--the difference being that I am well aware of the reasons and cure for the child-sized version. For the past month or two, Sarah has been my own personal version of Jekyll & Hyde. She will wake up one morning in hysterics, ornery as an old mule, and acting like a spoiled baby (and I really don't believe in spoiling my kids), then the next morning she will be a sweet little angel; giggling, helpful, and sweet as sugar, Sugar. In fact, some days she will even go around singing "Sugar, Sugar."
The difference?
And I'm not talking about hours difference. Two minutes of sleep could mean the difference between Jekyll and Hyde at our house. If I accidentally wake Sarah up when I am getting the older girls up, I can rest assured it is going to be a LONG day. Sarah hasn't taken a regular nap for about 2 years, and she hasn't had an accidental nap in over a year.I have tried, unsuccessfully, to figure out a way to get her to take one--especially when it is desperately needed.
However, some mornings (like today), she will wake up all on her own and she is a little ray of sunshine.
Right now it is pretty funny to see the sleep-deprived split personality, but I am hoping that by the time she starts kindergarten it will have cured itself.
Otherwise, I will have to petition the district for a medical release on days when she is exhibiting symptoms of Hyditis.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Musical Interest

A really quick entry:
Ellie just informed me that she wants to be a musician when she is bigger. Apparently, she wants to play the Sarah-neck (Clarinet).
Then she figured out her own joke and started playing Sarah's neck.
Silly girl!

A "Pear" of Stories

Today I had preschool at my house again, and our letter of the day was "F" so today we talked all about Fire. We talked about fire safety, talked about ways to put out fires, including with Foam-and I let them build a Jell-O fire, then put it out with Ready Whip cream,

Then we talked about putting fire out with water, and the kids all got a turn to put on the fire fighter coat and hat, and extinguish a candle with the water hose.

(My "fire hydrant" in the background is a little lopsided because Sarah was the last one to be the firefighter and it was only made out of construction paper)

Now, for those of you who put up with the trivial moments of my preschool, here is the second story in the "pear."

My grandpa called to see if we would be interested in picking some pears from his tree. The girls had long since picked all the fruit from our own tiny tree, so I told him I would LOVE some. When we got there he told me that he had picked some of the lower branches, and so if I wanted more than the remaining low-hanging fruit that I should just shake the tree and pick up whatever fell. He has always given me sound advice, so I decided to follow his counsel. I picked all the low-hanging branches, then decided to give the trunk a good shake. After the first shake I got one pear off--and it landed directly on my head. I won't say it was the worst pain I've ever felt, but it didn't really feel good, either. So, I repositioned myself, looked high up into the tree, and thinking I was safe, gave the tree another shake. This time, two pears fell. One was a bug-infested, bird-eaten half of a pear, and the other must have ripened weeks ago, for it was dark brown, inside and out. I know it was brown on the inside because I saw the insides when I wiped them from the back of my neck! Yep! I thought for a moment a bird had done its business on my head, but in fact, what used to be a piece of fruit landed on my ponytail, slid its way down my neck and down my shirt. Mm, Mm, Good!
I laughed so hard my sides started hurting, and as I told my grandpa, "I think it was a practical joke sent straight from heaven" because ALL the pears on that tree were just starting to ripen. Every single one I could see (other than said brown beast) was just gorgeous, waiting to be picked.
Well, needless to say, I gave up on the high branches, and called my bounty "good-enough!" But, my grandpa, after hearing my story, offered to share his harvest with me. Thanks Grandpa!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Eye Exam

4 posts in one day--I think it must be a new record for me, but this one will be short.
I was just commenting on a couple of blogs, and had to type in the different alphabet letters to "prove my identity." I totally understand the need for security (who wants to have to deal with spam comments) but after responding to a few in a row that required me to retype a bunch of random letters it made me think back to the eye doctor. J-G-N-U-K-E-Y-O (I mean Q!)
Has anyone else mistyped the list and had to start over? I swear when I have the new letters are a lot easier to read, and shorter--it's like the doctor is saying OK, you can't read that one? Let's try the giant E

at the top of the page--and if you can't do that, then you don't deserve to blog(I mean see)!

5 things

5 Things that I was doing 10 years ago:

1-Working on my masters degree at the U. (nope, never finished)
2-Working at Creative Color ("Good Afternoon, Creative Color, this is Heather!" Yep, I've still got it!)
3-Planning activities for the new combined young adult ward (Activity Chair for the YA ward)
4-Meeting Greg-We met in fall '98 when they combined the wards
5-Shopping at Nordstrom for the last time (pretty sure I haven't shopped there since 2000).

5 Things on My To-Do List today:

1-Host preschool at our house (always entertaining--for example, today I showed a picture of a bear at the beach and asked "Does this look hot or cold?" and all the kids answered "COLD!")
2- Laundry
3- Go to dinner with the neighbors (Thank you Greg for fixing their computer so I can go for a night out!)
4-Get a babysitter so I can go out with the neighbors (Maybe that should have been on my to-do list yesterday)
5- Clean up...clean up....clean up...clean up....clean up...clean up...clean up...clean up...clean up...clean up...

5 Favorite Snacks:

1- Milk Chocolate Mindy's Mints from Mrs. Cavanaugh's Chocolates
2-V Chocolate Toffee (Oh the days when Greg's dad got samples from John Probst....Mmm!)
3-Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory (not really a "snack"-more like a day's worth of calories but OH, so worth it!)
4- Swedish Fish (That one I can blame on Jerusalem 12 years ago. I was forewarned that they would be unavailable while I was gone, and have had an addiction ever since)
5-Hummus and Multi-Grain crackers/chips (the ones from Costco that are like seven bucks a bag, but sooo yummy)

5 jobs I have had:

1-Serving frozen yogurt at Toppers...mmmmm, I still miss that yogurt!
2-Packing Pies at Cutie Pie (the fruit turnovers--I still can't eat those!)
3-Desk Girl at Mr. Mac (those were NOT the days to remember)
4-Sales Promotion at O.C. Tanner (I received my "one-year" service award, and left shortly before actually completing the year)
5- Receptionist/Accounting at Creative Color (somehow I got hired on to help with accounting because the boss knew that my dad was an accountant--thank heaven for Quicken!)

What I would do with a million dollars:

1-Pay tithing
2-Pay off our house
3-Remodel (the kitchen, bathrooms and theater in the basement...and just maybe replace the lovely orange carpet while I'm down there!)
4-Go on a trip to Europe with the family (while my house was being remodeled--I don't want to have to live through remodeling :) )
5-Save for a rainy day, or sunny day

5 Things that made me laugh this week:

1- My friend saying that she was asked by another friend to go under the knife because it was "2 for the price of 1" (and I said, "Good. I know I would want to get two done instead of just one!")
2-Watching the Tina Fey SNL sketches about Sarah Palin

3-Last night's episode of "Chuck"
4-My kids (today I would have to say it was Sarah's bath in the mop bucket)
5-Funny stories at General Conference

Soakin' It Up!

I just finished mopping the floor. I try to do that when I have the fewest distractions, and Rachel was sleeping and Ellie and Sarah were (supposedly) upstairs cleaning their rooms. I know full well they were not cleaning unsupervised, but as long as they weren't running through the kitchen I really didn't care if they were working upstairs.
Immediately after finishing, I received a phone call. It was brief, but as I was hanging up I heard a splash of water and a giggle. I went to the kitchen and found this:

Yes, that is Rachel sitting, fully-clothed, in my mop water. I am so glad I got a picture--the battery died as I was trying to get another one.
Apparently the girls decided it was time for Rachel to get up from her nap and took her out of the crib. And who wouldn't consider a nice soak to be the perfect way to wake up?
I am just glad she decided to go feet-first!

Ever Expanding Vocbulary

At dinner last night, Ellie was asked to pray. After being challenged to pray for things we are thankful for in conference, Ellie responded to the call by praying "We are grateful for the food, and we are grateful that we won't eat so much food that our tummy will explode." Yes, a blessing for which we should all be grateful.

After dinner, I was getting ready for FHE when Sarah asked me what I was doing. I told her and she said, "Mom, do you think your actions are appropriate?"

Truly, I don't talk like that to them, and I'm not sure where they pick up these things!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

3 Cheers for Mediocrity

I was visiting with a friend today who told me some alarming news. Let me preface that alarm with the fact that I was too cheap to pay 150 bucks for my girls to play soccer this year (in part because last year Becca spent most of her time making shadow puppets as she ran up and down the field and Ellie claims that soccer is too "boyish"). However, even with my penny-pinching nature I was still blindsided by the information I received. I just found out that the junior high cheerleaders pay over $1,000.00 for their clothes/camps & cheer coaching at the local gym. Then she told me that the high school cheerleaders have to pay about ten times that amount, or in other words 10K! What is up with that?! Good grief! Tell me you are joking, people! So in other words, those who make cheerleader are not necessarily those with the most talent, but those with the most cash--or debt in today's society.
But it gets better!!!!!(Yes 5 exclamation points--just wait). There is another little 12 year old I know who is on an elite soccer team, and the cost for that extra-curricular activity is a mere 16K per anum. SERIOUSLY?! The coach apparently has two teams he takes care of and that is his full-time job. He is covered for all traveling, airfare, hotel stays, etc. by his players (who obviously have to pay their own way as well).
So, back to my little title, I have to say that I really don't care if my kids decide not to excel in anything. It will really save my bank account from looking like all the major corporations in the news these days. I think instead I'll just save the cash and pay their "scholarships." I'm pretty sure it would be cheaper.

Birthday Fun & An "UBER" Mess

I am not sure Sarah would consider it to be a success (I didn't have any wrapping paper or party games) but I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who made yesterday such a great birthday. I received cards from my grandma in Mesa, THANKS GRANDMA! and my grandpa, phone calls (I hope the stitches went OK, Leslie--I'm still waiting for the blog post), emails, comments on the blog, visits, gifts (I'm sorry I missed you Em!) and couldn't feel more loved/remembered, so THANKS EVERYONE!
(By the way, that is NOT a guilt call for anyone who didn't remember--it's a thank you to you, too because I am the WORST person in the world at remembering birthdays, so it really makes me feel better)!

As a birthday gift from me to anyone who has been patiently waiting for some good old nostalgic "Ellie" type messes, here is one that happened a little while ago that I never posted:

Rachel has had two great loves since she started to walk: the dishwasher and the lazy-susan. Well, I had been blogging (my naughty indulgence) and had Sarah and Rachel with me by the laptop, but I wasn't paying enough attention and the two of them slipped out of my sight and went into the kitchen. Rachel opened the lazy-susan and pulled out the flour and pancake mix. Then, instead of playing with them in the kitchen, she took the whole thing into the family room. She had a great time using the powder as a miniature "sand" pile, but then had the brilliant idea to make it more like a beach-or maybe she wanted to make pancakes-but either way, she went to the dishwasher, found a cup that had been upturned in the wash cycle and poured it all over her mixture. When I found the mess she had poured more flour on top and I didn't realize the extent of the damage. I took a picture thinking I could just vacuum up the mess and write a cute blog post, but when I pulled out the vacuum it made an odd high pitched sound and when I backed it out of the mess I found the flour "mud" that had been created.
After MUCH scrubbing, I was able to get the mess (mostly) cleaned up, and life continued on as usual, but here is a picture of a small corner of the disaster-there was more in the middle of the room, but I thought it would be a "cuter" picture if Rachel was in it.