Monday, August 31, 2009

Busy Day

I realize that my girls are still young and my days as a parent will only get busier and busier, but as I am now writing this, I feel like it will be nothing short of a miracle if I can get to the end of the post without a smattering of
"sa VNOvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv" where my head hits the keyboard as I doze off.
You see, this morning I decided that before sending a carpet cleaner off to my mom that I should "spot clean" the traffic areas of the house. So, I started my "twenty minute" venture in the family room, where after the first round I realized just how dirty my carpet had become. You see, the "dark spots" didn't go away after the quick once-over like I thought they would...instead, they stood out because the "clean areas" got cleaner & made the real grime stand out.
So, I started scrubbing by hand and soon my dark spots became the light spots & I had to start the entire process over, scrubbing the "dirty" areas. By the end of my adventure my carpet was definitely a few shades lighter than when I started, but everything else in my house fell apart.
You see, Rachel and Sarah heard the noise of the vacuum and realized I would be unable to hear them if they went outside. Fortunately, I was checking on them frequently & found them and had them come in. What I failed to realize, though, was that they brought with them a big thermos of dirt, mud and rocks. They took their "treasure" to the bathroom to "organize" it and when I went to dump the dirty water from the carpet cleaner in the toilet, I realized that the water I was emptying looked cleaner than my bathroom (which is really saying something since the water I was dumping was nearly black).
So, I sent the girls up to Sarah's room to play, cleaned up the bathroom, and went to check on the girls again. This time I found them in the upstairs bathroom, and after a quick inventory realized that I am now down one bottle of shampoo, one bottle of hair mousse, one roll of toilet paper, and 1/2 bottle of hairspray from where I was this morning. On the plus side, my hair ribbons have never smelled nicer--or been cleaner...and perhaps they will stay in place a little better now, too.
After cleaning that mess, I threw a load of laundry (consisting mostly of soggy towels and toddler clothes) in to wash and ventured to the family room to continue with my carpet cleaning.
I went to check on the girls again when it was time to empty the dirty water, and found them on my newly mopped kitchen floor eating blueberries from the freezer. Their clothes, hands, feet and the tile were all thoroughly purple by the time I found them & I decided it must be snack time.
Following a clothing change and a snack, I put Rachel in her bed (not that she slept) and gave Sarah the Nintendo DS to entertain her while I finished the family room.
I did in fact finish the family room & it is looking MUCH better now, and even gave the dining room a quick "once over" and it only took me four hours to do the two rooms if you include the time it took to clean up the interruptions :)
When I took the vacuum to my mom's house, I stopped to help her with her daisies because I wanted some starts to replace the aspen trees we had to take out earlier this year, but I think she could sense my exhaustion because she just gave me the flowers and sent me on my way. However, before we left, my kind sister, Haylee, helped me get the girls out of the car and laughed when she discovered that Rachel had taken off, not just her pants, but her diaper as well on the way down.
Now, you may not realize how impressive that is unless you take into account the fact that she was in a 5 point harness.
Anyway, we got home with the daisies & I got the kids out of the car, grabbed the shovel from the garage and opened the back of the car to get the daisy starts. Well, guess who had climbed back in the car and was using the dirt from the flowers as a sand pile? Yep, the diaper Houdini herself. Oh, she was a mess--as was the car.
But, I pulled her out of the car, and we all started weeding the front corner and planting the daisies and all was well until I decided to water the flowers and Rachel-Houdini-Sandpiler was playing in the mud that had pooled in the low spots of the flowerbed.
I gave Ellie the task of keeping Rachel OUTSIDE while I quickly took the push broom/shop vac to the back of the car. I was watching, as well, but when I finished vacuuming, I guess Ellie thought that was the cue to go inside & let Rachel walk, muddy footed, all through the main floor.
By this time it was nearly time for Becca's piano lesson, so I gave her a quick sandwich, gathered her books together and sent her on her way. Then I fed the rest of the girls and cleaned up the mud that had somehow multiplied and replenished itself along the way (or perhaps Rachel wasn't the only one with muddy feet).
Once dinner was done, I remembered that we were supposed to go next door for an ice cream social/family night, and I didn't exactly look presentable, so I raced upstairs to get ready, Greg got home & we all went over to the neighbors' house. It wasn't until we were leaving that I realized that Greg never even got any dinner.
As we were walking home, I told the girls they needed to hustle to bed, but they all remembered that we had promised to take them to the movie store to rent a movie for family night & so instead of going straight to bed, we made another venture out.
The girls are now all in bed, and I am typing on my laptop in bed, totally tuckered out & happily ignoring the mess that the girls made of the upstairs.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The first day of School

It's hard to believe we are back in school again. Becca is now in third grade & Ellie started first grade today. Her second tooth is loose & may very well come out tonight.
I just hope I am ready for another year of packing lunches, getting everyone up early and trying to stay on top of things as much as possible. I suppose I should go make bread or do laundry, or potty train Rachel now that the girls are out the door, but for now I think I'll just take two minutes to enjoy the relative quiet that has come over the house.
Becca and Ellie on their way out the door with apples in hand for their teachers.
Ellie was pretty excited to go through her new pencil box (the eraser she's holding was the most exciting item for her).
Becca gave her teacher her apple then went back outside to play so they could practice lining up to come in "the right way" when the bell rang.

One Wild Weekend

I have published a bunch of posts (in reverse order if you start here) of the wild and crazy weekend we just had to end the summer with a bang.
Since it was our ten year anniversary, Greg took Friday off work, and we decided to get a Salt Lake Connect Pass for the family. As a quick summary of the events that are blogged, we went to:
--Hogle Zoo
--This is the Place Heritage Park
--The Lion House
--Discovery Kids Children's Museum
--The Gardens at Thanksgiving Point
--The Museum of Ancient History (dinosaur museum at Thanksgiving Point)
--The Living Planet Aquarium
--The Tram at Snowbird

I think I can safely say that we wore the kids out, because Sunday morning I had to take all three younger girls to the neighbor's house in their jammies because I could NOT wake them up in time to get them dressed before Greg, Becca and I needed to leave for the temple dedication.
But they all had a great time (they called it the SUPER FUN days) and I'm glad we did it.

For anyone interested, right now there is a two days for the price of one (until the end of August) and you can use the passes until the end of the year, so if you want to get out and do some fun things I would highly recommend it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Living Planet & Snowbird

The final leg of our adventure left us exhausted, but we had a great time. After lunch we went to the Living Planet Aquarium. The girls loved the hands on features, touching the sting rays, star fish, sea urchins, etc. and they thought the shark tank was pretty impressive, but oddly, their favorite thing to see was the "TOADS...LIKE AUNT TOAD!" (Greg's sister's nickname is Toady).
I enjoyed the exact opposite things from Rachel...for example the I find jelly fish fascinating, but Rachel cowered into my shoulder at the very sight. I didn't really care too much for the "boat" they stuck next to the marsh (although the marsh itself was fairly impressive), but it took some serious coaxing to get her out.
I asked Rachel if she wanted to pet, or even just put her hand in the water and "wave" to the sting rays, and put my hand in the water to demonstrate, only to have the ray come a good six inches out of the water to wave "hello" with one of its wings, which REALLY didn't endear them to Rachel, who started to freak out that it was coming to "get her."
But even she liked to see the star fish and the other fish & sharks that were behind glass, so I would consider the outing a success.

When we finished at the aquarium, we decided to get the girls a Slurpee and head up Little Cottonwood Canyon to ride on the tram. I can't tell you how pleased I was that we decided to make the 7-11 pit stop first because as we were heading up the mountain we ran into the "Tour of Utah" bike race and we crawled up the mountain averaging less than 10 miles per hour. It was kind of fun to watch the cyclists creeping up the mountain and to see all of the supporters cheering them on, but we were also pretty excited to finally reach the ski resort, too.
We didn't realize it, but we happened to arrive at Snowbird during Oktoberfest, so we also were able to enjoy a little German entertainment (without the beer) which meant watching the kids who were strapped into harnesses & bungee cords jumping on trampolines (maybe that's what Grandpa Steve should do with his trampoline).

Riding up on the tram was a lot of fun, too. The girls couldn't believe how high up we went & they enjoyed getting out at the top and looking around. The protective mother in me wouldn't let them go for any great hikes at the top, but they still enjoyed sitting at the various viewpoints to look over the valleys.

On the way home, we sang songs to keep the girls entertained, including the song "The Cannibal King with a Big Nose Ring" which Ellie decided to sing on her own. Her lyrics were as follows:
"The Smelly old King with a big nose thing fell in love with a dirty maid. Baroom, Cha Cha!"

Thanksgiving Point

We made our way to the Gardens at Thanksgiving Point as the sun was getting a little too high for our comfort, but the girls were troopers and were thus rewarded with the chance to take off their shoes and play in the various splash & plays in the children's garden. I love the Noah's ark splash and play with elephants spraying water from their trunks, and Becca soaked herself (just as we were getting ready to leave), but the girls loved going in the bear cave, running through the splash & play fountain, jumping in the ark "pool" and running through the maze.

Museum of Ancient History

On Friday we started the morning with a trip to Thanksgiving Point. Our first stop being at the Museum of Ancient History. The highlights of the museum for the girls would have to be
Rachel--The Fish in the different little streams
Sarah--Digging for Fossils
Ellie--Playing in the Sand and Water Table (This one ranked pretty high for all of the girls, actually)
Becca--Building a giant dinosaur out of a dressmaker dummy covered in fluff and various dinosaur heads, tails, horns, spikes, arms and legs that you could Velcro or hook in place.
Digging for fossils.
Rachel burying her shoes.
Mega Shark versus Giant Octopus (Do they look scared?)
Playing at the sand/water table.

Discovery Kids

After a yummy lunch at the Lion House (with WAY more food than we could eat), we made our way to the Discovery Kids' Museum. The oldest three girls have all had a chance to visit the museum but for the rest of us it was a first time visit. Other than the fact that Rachel decided to actually leave when we gave the girls there two minute warning & we had to race around to find her, the entire outing was very fun.
The girls played with the vacuum balls, the wooden xylophone, the water table, went rock climbing, played at the miniature farm and grocery store, played with the construction blocks and cranes, made paper airplanes, built with blocks, rolled ping-pong balls down the "wall of PVC pipe," floated muffin cups up to the rafters, and had an all around great time.

This is the Place

As we were leaving the zoo, everyone wanted to ride on the train, but we told the girls that they could ride on a big train, little train, and horses if they would come with us. None of us had ever been to This is the Place since they turned it into a "Heritage Park" and it was a lot of fun for the girls.
The most memorable part of the trip (for Becca at least) was the fact that she got a bloody nose and a very nice man helped her, and gave her a Deseret Dollar that she got to spend on Pixie Stix at ZCMI.
The rest of the girls also got a bunch of pixie stix which helped to mollify them despite the increasing heat of the day. All in all it was most enjoyable.

Hogle Zoo

We started our adventure at Hogle Zoo. We focused our visit on Greg's favorite blog "Zoo-Borns" (I know, can you believe he claims Zoo-borns as his favorite & not this blog?). There were four babies born at the zoo recently, and we saw three of the four. There was a baby giraffe, elephant, snow leopard, and tamarin monkeys. We saw everything other than the elephant who is not out on display yet :( but the other babies were all very cute. The girls had the most fun climbing on the bronze statues, getting sprayed by the misting fans and riding on the carousel, however.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Too Smart

I was reading jokes with Ellie just now & asked her "What is a liquid that never freezes?" The answer was "warm water" but I thought Ellie's answer was pretty amazing.
She said, "THE SUN! Because the sun is liquid and it never freezes!" I know that the sun is "a mass of incandescent gas"* but when you look at plasma it looks a lot like a liquid and I just have to ask, What 6 year old thinks like that?

*They Might Be Giants

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Oh Deer...

We had visitor at our door this morning to tell us that ANOTHER deer was stuck in the corner of our fence. Fortunately, Greg and some neighbors were able to save this one. They hooked up a Suburban to the fence post and pulled it enough that Greg could lift the deer by its back legs and get it out. My theory...the deer have been using the little gap between our fence & the church all summer and they are now too big. So, we need to do something to cover the gap between the two fences. I'm not sure what, but I REALLY don't want to spend another Saturday playing "Animal Planet" in our back yard. (I SHOULD have taken a picture of the little that it is safely out it seems pretty funny)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hot Dogs, Saltines and Maple Syrup

And the answer to what these things have in common is...I just found all three in my bed. Argh! I was downstairs working on a chore chart of sorts for my girls and when I came up all four girls were in my room watching TV and eating cold hot dogs and saltines and Rachel was pouring maple syrup on my carpet/blankets etc. I'm not sure my bedroom will ever be the same. The girls were supposed to be cleaning their rooms, but obviously they didn't have time to do that, so Becca is currently moping in her room because a friend just called to see if she could play & I told her that she couldn't since she hadn't done what I asked.
I am just hoping that this new chore system will give the girls a little more pride in housework & prevent them from making this kind of mess. If it doesn't work I have threatened that I will eat saltines with syrup in their beds to see how they like sleeping on sticky crumbs. Moooaahh Ha Ha!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hanu Montanu

Ellie knows that her friends are fans of Hannah Montana; however, she has never watched the show herself.
Well, Greg was teasing my sister Haylee about how much she enjoys the show & Ellie went to Google on my computer, typed in "Hanu Montanu" (sounded out it's a pretty good phonetic spelling) found "Hannah Montana" on YouTube, and watched her very first clip.
I have informed Greg that thanks to that episode, we now REALLY need to password protect any computer that has Internet access.
Ellie is officially too smart for her own good.

Brownie Catastrophe

I would consider myself to be a pretty good cook. Things usually work out when I am cooking, and I can often come up with my own ideas & have them work, too.
However, there are occasional exceptions. One of those exceptions happened yesterday. I was in charge of making dessert for Sunday dinner and thought that brownies and ice cream would be a nice, easy way to go. I just picked up a boxed mix and a couple things of ice cream, thinking I would take the "easy" way out. As I was mixing them, I was tempted to substitute applesauce for the oil, but decided that as long as I was having brownies I would go ahead and make them the decadent way.
Well, I think I should have used the applesauce because when I pulled the brownies out of the oven, they were SWIMMING in oil. I literally POURED 1/4 cup of oil from the top of the pan (and the recipe only called for 1/2 cup of oil. I don't have any idea what happened, but it left me with 40 minutes to figure out a new dessert and get it made before we needed to leave. Happily, I came up with something that seemed to be acceptable. I have a recipe for a fresh peach dessert that is yummy, and although I didn't have any peaches, I did have a whole bunch of strawberries, so we had fresh strawberry dessert instead.
It was a fun change, but I am still wondering what on earth would have made my brownies separate the way they did. Oh well!

World's Greatest Mom

Yesterday we were at my mom's house and Ellie came up to me and said, "Mom, I love you. You are the nicest mom in the whole universe...when you're nice."

So for everyone who has mistakenly assumed that I am always kind, here is the proof that I am not always the most patient--I was just glad that Ellie thinks that I am at least SOMETIMES a nice mom :)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Ellie's New Smile

I realize that she is six and a half years old, but for some reason when Ellie came to me this morning to tell me that she had a loose tooth I was hopeful that it would stick around for a little while because I wasn't quite ready for her to turn into a "big girl" with missing teeth yet.
But, like everything Ellie does, it was on her own time, and she wiggled that thing all day until she finally convinced Greg it was loose enough to come out, and come out it did...along with a good sized root. I'll be interested to see if she lets Greg pull any more of her teeth because it was pretty bloody when it first came out, but she is now a happy camper & she can't wait to see what the tooth fairy will bring tonight (I guess that means I'm going back to the store for the second time today)...but at least it didn't come out tomorrow...I don't think she would have been to keen to learn that the tooth fairy doesn't work on Sunday.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Thank you!

Greg just changed Rachel's diaper, and I said "Rachel, tell Daddy 'Thank you for changing my diaper!'"
And just like any good minder would, she yelled, "Daddy, thank you for changing Mommy's diaper."
Yes, that was just what I meant.

Won't You Be my Neighbor

I have always been grateful for my neighbors, but today my gratitude increased greatly. We were supposed to go up to the Uintahs this morning, but Greg had to help someone move, so I stayed home with the kids, and while he was gone, a neighbor came over to tell me that a deer was stuck in my fence & I probably shouldn't let my kids outside because it was pretty gruesome (guess what my girls wanted to do as soon as they heard the news). So I hurried the girls upstairs and called Greg. He told me that he had seen the deer on his way to help with the move & called Animal Control, was told that they would be out of the office until Monday, called the Sheriff, who said we should just "take care of it" as well as we could, and told me he would deal with it as soon as he got home.
Well, a police officer came to the house, shot the deer (but according to sources didn't actually kill it) and took off. Fortunately, a neighbor who lives just up the street (they are in another ward & sadly I don't know his name) came over, along with another ward member who was helping my neighbor with some yard construction, and took care of the deer for me. They came to the door and asked me if I would just hose down the sidewalk before the mess dried...which, although not the most appealing idea sat a lot better than letting it dry on my sidewalk. So, I hosed everything down (REALLY WELL) and while I was spraying the sidewalk, my "nameless" neighbor came over and said that he also tried calling everyone he could think of concerning the poor deer, and was told that someone from Wildlife Services would be over on Tuesday to take care of it.
He said, "Perfect, we'll just tell all the little kids to step over the carcass on their way to church tomorrow" and then claimed that since he took care of the problem a lot faster than the city could that he would just send them a bill and write it off his taxes. I thought that was a pretty good idea.
All I can say, though, is that I am so grateful that I didn't have to deal with the deer on my own with my four little girls peeking out the window to watch what I was doing.
I am SO grateful for good neighbors who saw a need and took care of it.