Thursday, April 30, 2009

New Computer Password

I have to reset the password for the kids log-in because I keep finding unauthorized users (kids who "forget" to ask) on it. I'm considering the following for passwords and want your votes and/or suggestions:

MOMSGR8--I stole this, it is also a JC Penney coupon code

Ilvchores--What's not to love about chores, right? And maybe when they type this password they will remember how much they love chores and then they will do chores instead of computer....

Ilvmom--I like this because maybe it will feed their subconcious so I hear less "YOUR SOOOOO MEEEEAAAN!"

worksfun--If they say it long enough maybe they will believe it, right?

askmom--This would be good because I frequently hear, "I forgot to ask you...." If I used this password then they couldn't use that excuse, right?

timeforbed--Bedtime is good all the time, isn't it? Nothing wrong with a nap.

eatcarrots--This one is nutritionally sound.

So which do you like best? Or maybe you have a better one....

Spring Performance Report

For the past several weeks we've been involved in several spring recitals/performances. Here is a rundown:

Ev started with a piano recital--she played two pieces excellently! Next she played a violin recital and violin Federation. She played a Seitz Concerto magnificently--the Federation judges in Salt Lake rated her Superior and raved about her performance: "Great music making". Then she performed in Salt Lake with her Chamber Group--they make great music! Her two choirs performed this Tuesday and we could tell she enjoys singing. She also accompanied one of the choir pieces with her violin. Way to go Ev!

Et played in our piano recital. He did a great job! And we all learned that Et can chew gum in rhythm as he plays. People looked for him singing with the choir but could not locate him because choir is not his thing. And also they practice early in the morning.

Iy played the piano for recital and she is a great announcer--she annunciates very well. The funny thing about this was that when she was finished she walked off the stage and when she reached the bottom she remembered she had forgotten to bow so she quickly jumped back up, bowed, and then walked to her seat. Funny. Iy also sang in the school choir. Four different adults came and found me after the program to tell me how much they enjoyed Iy and that they had to remind themselves to watch their own kids because Iy is very entertaining. This is true. Drama is in Iy's future. Her facial expressions and body language is expressive and captivating at the same time.

N didn't have any formal performances but he and I did perform the following play the other day:
Scene 1: Mom walks in the front door and closes it. Two minutes later N walks through the front door in tears, clearly traumatized, because Mom had shut the door on him.
Scene 2: Mom walks through the front door, remembers to not shut the door on N who follows her in the house. Mom looks back and sees the front door open and says to N, "Go close the door." N replies, "No." Mom: "N you left the door open and you need to close it." N: "No, YOU left the door open. You opened it, not me. YOU close it." Sigh. Mom's bad. Mom: "N, close the door or take a nap." N: "OOOKAAAY".

I've had several performances this year as well. I accompanied all the violin students in Ev's violin teacher's studio for Federation and Recital--about 30 pieces. I also accompanied students for solo festivals at the local, regional, and state level. I accompany Ev's honor choir. Last week my students all performed their spring recital--Vince said it was my best recital! I was quite proud--it was pretty good. Mostly I am just glad that all these events are finished.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Can You Repeat That?

I find myself answering the same question repeatedly. Throughout the day I will have to answer many different questions and no matter how many times I give my answer I find I have to give it several times. Sometimes I notice this and stop and say, "Am I speaking Martian?" The kids say, "What?" I reply, "You don't seem to be understanding me--am I speaking your language or what?" I have even been known to answer a question in gibberish. (After I have answered the questions 3 times already.) Tonight I forgot all these silly things and became a little irritated that I had to say "No" to "Can we have ice cream tonight?" 6 times! Yes 6! And I am sure it would have been more if I had not lost my cool a bit.

Where do kids get this inane ability to repeat things over and over? I was thinking that it must be because I have 'caved' too much lately or something. Until I heard me ask my son 8 times to clean his room. Maybe they get it from me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sacred Homes, Sacred Temples

For those of you who don't know my church has a general conference for members worldwide twice a year where our church leaders speak. I felt inspired by several talks this year, particularly the one entitled "Sacred Homes, Sacred Temples" by Elder Gary E. Stevenson. http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-1032-31,00.html Vince and I had been spending a great deal of time in the temple this year and we could see and feel in ourselves what Elder Stevenson was suggesting in the beginning of his talk.

I thought this part was very insightful: "Imagine that you are opening your front door and walking inside your home. What do you see, and how do you feel? Is it a place of love, peace, and refuge from the world, as is the temple? Is it clean and orderly? As you walk through the rooms of your home, do you see uplifting images which include appropriate pictures of the temple and the Savior? Is your bedroom or sleeping area a place for personal prayer? Is your gathering area or kitchen a place where food is prepared and enjoyed together, allowing uplifting conversation and family time? Are scriptures found in a room where the family can study, pray, and learn together? Can you find your personal gospel study space? Does the music you hear or the entertainment you see, online or otherwise, offend the Spirit? Is the conversation uplifting and without contention? That concludes our tour. Perhaps you, as I, found a few spots that need some “home improvement”—hopefully not an “extreme home makeover.”

Yes, I can see where our house needs a bit of improvement and I have started working on a few things. But in the last couple of weeks as I have been pondering (or trying to ponder) about what I should do to make our home more sacred I have wondered if some of the questions should be:

"Does ever family member own a good set of ear plugs? Do they have a specific window that is theirs to look out and not have to share? Is there a cereal box for each child to read for breakfast each morning? As parents, do you keep a rigid schedule of who sits where and when for church, family prayer, family home evening, dinner, breakfast, game night....? Have you established rules about who is allowed to look at whom?"

I'm sure several of you have more helpful ideas...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I'm From Venus, He's From....

I've been debating whether or not to post it, but I have to because this story is such a good example of how different my hubby and I are and why we're soooo good for each other.

Last week on facebook I got a friend request from a person I'd never heard from before. It was a little strange and it came with a message: "I know a olcott. He did a mission in Brazil. You know him?" Oh yes! I know him! My Vince served a mission in Brazil and I think this is SOOO exciting!! And 10 minutes later Vince walks in the door from work and I say to him, "Vince! I got a friend request from someone that knew you as a missionary!"

He says, "OK".
Me: "Don't you want to see?"
Him: "After I do my workout." He gets changed and goes downstairs to lift weights. I am a bit befuddled. It's driving me crazy, actually, so I go downstairs to tell him again. Maybe he didn't understand what I had said.

Me: "This guy knows you from Brazil and I think he's from Brazil because his Facebook has a lot of Portugese and his name is De Soussa."
Him: "There's lots of De Soussas. It's like Smith."

So I go back upstairs and write the name down so I get it right and take it to him and show him the name.
Him: "Yeah. He was a missionary with me."
Me: "Cool! Don't you want to come see?!!!"
Him: "I will when I'm done."
Me: AAAARGH. "OK."

So I go back upstairs to wait. And he is taking FOR-EVER until finally I have to leave and take Ev to her violin lesson. After Ev's lesson I asked him if he looked and he said, "Yeah, I remember him."
Me: Not able to stand the suspense anymore, "Aren't you excited?!! Did you request him as a friend?"
Him: "No. Not yet. I might do it next week."
Me: Double AAAARGH. "Really? Aren't you kind of a little excited?"
Him: "It's been over 15 years." Like that makes it less exciting. NOOOO! That makes it MORE exciting!! Everyone in our household knows that when I find an old friend on facebook I get totally excited! Especially if it's someone that I lived with, like old roommates and other good friends I've lost track of. I've been known to jump up and down, cry, laugh, .... We are so different. Fast forward to a week later.

Me: "So did you ever request that guy on facebook?"
Him: "No. He found me."
Me: Trying to sound relaxed, "Cool. Did you write a message to him? Look at his family?"
Him: "No."

Sigh.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What's For Dinner?

I'm sure I can't be the only one who struggles with what to cook for dinner. Inevitably, I will ask someone in the family what they want for dinner and/or what I should cook. Here are the typical responses:

Vince: "Whatever you want to cook, I will eat." This is so true and he is so sweet to say it! He never complains about what I cook and I really appreciate that. HOWEVER. If I am asking him what I should cook for dinner it is because (a) I don't want to cook or (b) I'm not hungry for anything specific and can't think of what to cook. I ask because I really want to know. I once heard of a wife who asked her husband what he wanted for dinner and he said something like "Whatever" and she said something like "If nothing's what you say, nothing's what you'll get". I've been tempted at times but I've never said it. I am fortunate, though, to have a husband who will eat anything and everything I prepare.

Ev: "I don't know....Orange Chicken?" She always wants Orange Chicken. And not the easy homemade recipes, either. She is a high maintenance orange chicken person, relatively speaking, because we don't eat out much. Ev likes the Costco Orange Chicken (a challenge for us since I don't shop there) and/or Panda Express. Both options are generally out of our dinner price range anyway.

Et: "What? We can't have Orange Chicken? That's not fair! We never have Orange Chicken! Unless Aunt Sabrina is leaving. Is she leaving again? I can't wait to have one less girl in the house. Dinner? I KNOW! Let's have bacon and sausage!" Of course we can't have bacon and sausage for dinner and of course I say it. First of all: Bacon AND sausage together for any meal is just not smart/healthy for anything more than a special occasion, generally a church function or big family gathering. Our family is not big enough. Yet.

Iy: "I KNOW! LET'S HAVE MACARONI AND CHEESE! I WILL MAKE IT FOR YOU!!" Yes, at this time of the day everything out of Iy's mouth COMES OUT IN ALL CAPS. And I think the girl could live on Mac and Cheese. Except not Kraft Mac and Cheese (the really good stuff that I never buy because generic is so much cheaper) because it's not as good as the normal stuff. According to my kids. And Iy loves to make mac and cheese. But if I say that Iy can make it then I will have three other kids upset because they ALL like to make it! Also Mac and Cheese is not healthy. So I have to say no. Again.

N: "Hot Dog! I like Hot Dog! Let's have Hot Dog! Hot Dog! Hot Dog! Hot Dog!" At this point I demand silence and tell Ev to pull a piece of meat, any meat out of the big freezer and we will unwrap it and cook whatever it is. We will have mystery meat dinner.

To which Et (you know, the one who wanted bacon AND sausage) will inevitably say "Why do we have to have meat for dinner? We ALWAYS have meat for dinner!"

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Spring Break

We had a great spring break! We went to the library, planted some of the garden, celebrated Iy's birthday, watched Bolt, walked to the playground for a picnic, mom went to the temple twice, we did some cleaning,... The best thing of this spring break was our trip to Capitol Reef National Park. We left Friday morning and arrived (via back roads, Dad's preference) in Torrey, Utah around 11:00 am. We checked into our hotel and then headed out to the park to start the fun. We started at the Visitor's Center where we browsed the store and picked up maps of all the hikes. Then we went to the park and ate lunch. We were in "nature" of course and there were deer droppings in the grass at the picnic spot. This drove Ev to distraction. She vigilantly watched her step and everyone else's: "N watch out, you don't want to step in these. Et--LOOK OUT--Oh no! (Et said, "What? Oh well." In fairness to him most all of this stuff was quite old--like rocks, really) Iy, be careful...." Finally Dad said to Ev that it just didn't matter and she shouldn't worry about it. About 30 seconds later Ev said, "I can see why they tell you to NOT feed the deer!"

After our picnic we went on our first hike, which included a walk down Capital Gorge and a climb to The Tanks. We saw the pioneer wall, which had names and dates from 1885-1915. That was pretty cool. It was a little more than 3 miles total and when we got back Iy and N were not interested in hiking. Poor N insisted on wearing shoes with major holes in them which resulted in him having sand in his shoes all the time. These shoes also had no traction so he worked harder than any of us. But we couldn't get him to wear different shoes and aside from the sand he did pretty well. We dropped dad and Et off at one end of a hike called the Grand Wash and picked them up at the other trail head. In the meantime, we looked at the old Fruita school house, Fremont Indian petroglyphs, orchards, and the Behunin Cabin. The Cabin was probably about 12x12 inside and a family of 10 lived there. I found it ironic that legally we couldn't have our family of six stay in one hotel room (bigger than this cabin) that night... How times have changed! After we picked up Dad and Et we hiked up to Sunset point and then drove back to the hotel to drop off our luggage and then went to Slacker's Burgers for dinner. Good dinner and the best surprise was seeing some old friends, Stacy and Tom! We had a fun dinner together! We also ran into one of Dad's coworkers and his family. Then we went back to the hotel where Dad took the kids to the pool, afterwhich we had popcorn and then went to bed.

Iy woke up at 3:30 AM for breakfast! I made her go back to sleep. Then she woke up at 5:00 and I made her go to sleep again. When she woke up at 6:30 we just went to breakfast. Hotel breakfasts are almost as exciting as hotel pools! We checked out early from our hotel and took a drive to the Surprise Canyon trail head. This hike entailed walking through a small narrow canyon and climbing up, around, over rock obstacles. Over most of them Nathan would stand on top, throw both hands in the air, yell "Annabo!" (Cannonball!) and jump off! After we hiked Surprise Canyon Iy got in the car and announced, "I am not hiking ANYMORE! I am staying Right Here!" We took advantage of our four wheel drive and drove in the back country (Muley Twist Canyon) to hike to the Strike Valley Overlook. Of course Iy had announced that she was not hiking anymore and when we told her she had to she made objections like this: "I SAID I was not hiking anymoooooooooorrrrrrrre, I don't waaaaaaaant to hiiiiiiiiiiiike anymooooooore, this is tooooooo muuuuuuuch hiiiiiiiiiking, I don't even liiiiiiii Wait. Did you say candy? Let's go!" Yes, we shamelessly bribed her and said that when we got back to the car we would give everyone a treat. It was a great hike and it was our last. Our kids were great troopers! Ev, Iy, and N hiked around 6 miles Friday afternoon and Saturday morning and Et hiked about 8. Probably more for him because he would run up and down the trail because we (N) were too slow! He's our mountain goat. Although as we were coming out of Surprise Canyon the girls got out of eyesight of the boys and I happened to be with them and they decided to beat the boys out and ran almost all the way out of that canyon. I was impressed--they had to vault over rocks and fallen trees and they were fast! We had to wait about 15 minutes for the boys to catch up!

At this point we left Capitol Reef and drove the Burr trail (named after Vince's great great grandparents who used to drive their cattle over this trail every year) to the Anasazi State Park in Boulder. This was a really cool museum--there's some pictures on the slide. Then we took a little detour down highway 12 so Dad could drive a portion of road called the Hog's Back because you drive over this highway that has 600 feet drops on either side of it--there is not anywhere to pull over or anything. We drove both ways on Hog's Back so we could get back to the portion of highway 12 that was the shortest route home. We stopped at several scenic overlooks--beautiful views! We saw rain, sleet, hail, and snow. And sun, but not much.

We learned several things on this trip. First, we can take you to any pit toilet in Capitol Reef National Park and we would not even have to consult a map. Second, Subway is the new McDonald's. When I was a kid we used to joke about finding a McDonald's everywhere we went but now I am telling you that you can find a Subway just about anywhere. Thirdly, when N says "I nee do hoe" he really does need to go potty and doesn't just want to stretch his legs. We tested this theory and got burned because no one else in the car seriously believed that he needed to go potty every 30 minutes! We were wrong. Fourth, our kids can hike for miles in an afternoon and still have plenty of energy for swimming, and staying up past 11 pm and then wake up early in the morning for breakfast. Fifth, Lucky Charms taste better at the hotel Continental Breakfast. Sixth, deer droppings won't kill you and if you don't feed them they won't drop,.... Maybe we should have payed attention to this lesson and not fed the kids...less food, less potty breaks,... Hmmmmmm.

On our way home we stopped at Grandma O's for a little Easter egg hunt and some pie. Thanks Grandma!! It was fun to visit with family. The only bad thing about this trip was that we just had 2 days--if we had had more time we could have hiked many more miles and seen many more sights! Maybe next time...
video

N's Camera Time

I pulled the camera out for our Spring Break trip and found these picture "pearls" from N. My favorite is the nostril close-up. I also like how the house was clean. On the last picture you will see a big something on his face--his face is not dirty, it is a big scab from when he fell off of his scooter. video

Happy Birthday!

 

We celebtrated birthdays with N and Iy! N is now 5 and Iy is 7. They chose their cakes and were thrilled with how they turned out! Somehow I neglected to take a good picture of Iy at her birthday party but when I started looking at the pictures on my camera I discovered that she had taken one!!
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Friday, April 3, 2009

Good News, Bad News

First the short versions:

1. Good news: N did not call 911. Bad news: Someone did call 911.

2. Good news: Spring Break starts tomorrow! Bad news: Spring Break starts tomorrow.

3. Good news: All my kids will play a piano recital this spring. Bad news: I had to gently encourage (bribe) a couple of them.

4. Good news: N is responding to sensory stimulation and his speech is improving! Bad news: My floors are responding to sensory stimulation.

5. Good news: My wallet has been found. Bad news: N found my wallet.

6. Good news: Iy got to comb her own hair all week. Bad news: Iy's hair did not get combed this week.

7. Good news: Ev is not sick anymore. Bad news: I need to clean the carpets.

8. Good news: Et cleaned his room. And made it to school on time. Bad news: There is nothing bad about this, right?

Now the expanded versions, if you are interested:

1. The other day, (I have noticed that most of my blog entries begin with "yesterday, last week, the other day, etc.--this is in direct relation to how long it takes me to "laugh" at what I'm posting) I was working out on the elliptical. I had worked hard for 52 minutes and felt like I had another 52 minutes left in me when Iy came down to tell me that N called 911. I thought, "No way" and checked the phone. Heard dial tone and yelled up the stairs for people to Stay. Off. The. Phone. It is NOT. A. TOY. Thought everything was great and kept working out! Sweating good. The phone rings: "This is Tooele County Dispatch..." You know the rest. I assured her we did not need help and then I was a bit angry and yelled for N to get downstairs to see me! NOW! Iy was quick to assist him. Then my brain did quick thinking: "How did N dial 911? N does not know his numbers. Or does he? No, I'm pretty sure he does not. That's why I've been obsessing and fearful for him to start Kindergarten. I'm pretty sure N cannot tell me which number would be ONE. What is going on?" At this point Iy and N are standing at the top of the stairs. Because Iy is helping. I say to N--did you dial 911? He looks down at the floor and says, "Yes." I said, "Really? How?" He, still looking down at the floor, says "Iy help me."

2. I am so excited for Spring Break. We don't have to get up early, wear nice clothes everyday, we can relax, go to the library, the park. Also in my fantasy Spring Break we will clean up all our yard and rake and fertilize the lawn, ready the garden for planting and plant the cold weather stuff, purge the kids' drawers and closets, clean everything everywhere. On the other hand we will all have to spend time together during Spring Break. Even on days like today when everyone is a little moody and defensive and arguing and teasing... And I will not be able to say, "It's OK--Et you come in the living room and Iy you go in the piano room so you won't have to hear him and he won't have to see you and wait 10 minutes until you go to school." I will have to be more creative. Or else maybe we all need a little rest and relaxation and then we will be nicer to each other. I'll keep you posted.

3. Ev played a piano recital last week and it was excellent. Et's teacher is having a baby instead of a recital this spring so I "invited" him to play in one of my recitals. He agreed to do it for a trip to Cold Stone. When Iy heard this deal she INSISTED on playing in the recital. The truth is, Iy would have played ANYWAY. I should have committed her before I talked to Et. Live and learn.

4. I talked with my aunt who is a very skilled and talented Occupational Therapist. She suggested several things that she thought would be helpful for N, which we have spent the last week implementing. We are already seeing progress! Vince and I can see and hear a difference and last night Aunt L babysat for us and said that she could tell a difference and she didn't realize we had started doing different things. Go N! The bad news is that one of the interventions involves tubs full of rice, beans, etc. So far I have a tub of rice and a tub of popcorn (unpopped). So now I constantly have rice and popcorn all over my floors and kitchen table. Oh well.

5. I lost my wallet for several hours this Wednesday. I knew it would turn up, but as more time would go by I would get more concerned. I looked everywhere--several times. Then I called Vince--he was sure he saw it where I thought I had put it. Then I called my mom and dad (they had just been at our house to take my sister to the MTC--YAY Sabrina!) but they couldn't help me. I even called Wal-Mart (the last place I had used said wallet) to see if it was there. It was not. It was very distracting. When N got off the bus I asked him if he knew where it was. He said something I didn't understand and then left. I went back to my reading. He came back a few minutes later with my purse (which I have not used for at least 18 months--I am not a purse person). He had put my wallet in my purse. So next time I lose something I will just have to be patient and wait for the kids to get home from school. Unless it's Spring Break--yay Spring Break!

6. I had a crazy week and so I let Iy comb her hair this week. She likes this because she strongly dislikes anyone combing her hair, which is positively sinful because she has beautiful hair. Whatever. She combed her hair all week. Until this morning because it's picture day which is when I learned that while the front of her hair had been combed the back had obviously not been touched all week.

7. Ev and I had stomach flu the other night. Poor Ev--all the way in the basement with no bathroom--she couldn't make it. She threw up all over the family room floor. Vince is superman--he cleaned it up all by himself because I was sick too. Although, seriously, if the superman is going to offer or even begin to clean it up all by himself and I am not sick I am certainly not going to insist on doing it myself! Love that guy. Now that I am all better I am going to have to rent a rug doctor.

8. This deserves a drum roll. Et cleaned his room. WOO HOO! Lots of applause. OK--he is probably turning red and saying, "MOOOOOM!" by now. If he were reading this. This is big news because for 9 days. 9 DAYS I said to him clean your room because Grandma and Grandpa are coming and they are staying in your room on Tuesday, March 31st. I didn't really say Tuesday, March 31st but that was the day. He knew when it was. So Tuesday morning of March 31st at 7:30 his room was not clean. He had hardly started. And it was BAD. And so I was so fed up that I said, "If you do not clean your room you will not go to school." I know--the school people will hate that I say that to my kid but I will not care because IT WORKS. His room was clean by 8:00 and he was ready for school! I love that he loves school!! Or hates it at home. I guess it doesn't matter which as long as I know what will motivate him. 9 days of procrastination remedied in 30 minutes--Amazing!

There you have it--some of our adventures this week!!