Friday, December 24, 2010

It's Christmas!!

Today begins my favorite part of Christmas when we can spend time together as a family and relax!  I've been looking forward to it for the past 5 weeks :) 

Christmas is a great time for reflecting on the past year isn't it?  I'll admit being on an emotional roller coaster since my last post.  After I posted about Nathan's last speech pathology assessment I googled "short palate".  Many times.  I kept coming up with cleft palate...finally I decided I'd better read what the search engines were giving me and it turns out that as far as I can tell a short palate is a submucous cleft palate.  And after reading details of a submucous cleft palate it turns out that Nathan had almost every symptom as a baby.  I'll keep you posted as we become more certain.  It's exciting and hopeful to be getting real answers but at the same time it's very disheartening for me as a mother to consider the possibility that my son has had a form of cleft palate that has been undiagnosed for nearly seven years!!  Most of the time I don't know whether to smile or cry and I'll admit to a lot of crying for the past two weeks...I think it's a grieving process.  Knowing and treating this years ago would have changed everything for Nathan's childhood, development, and future....as a mother I can't help but grieve a bit.  I think I can finally write about it now because I'm beginning to move out of the grief phase.

This week I have been blessed with great friends and family....I feel so loved!  I know our Heavenly Father watches out for us and finds a way to put His loving arms around us when we are feeling discouraged.  We were able to go to the temple and perform sealings Wednesday night.  I don't think there is anything more beautiful than going to the temple and sealing family units!  We came home to find a sweet sister from the ward had come to stay with our three kids at home (Eva was babysitting at a friend's house so they could come with us).  This sister helped my kids clean in my kitchen and living room, played with the kids, brought a box of oranges, and cleaned and folded laundry.  She expressed how impressed she was with the three kids and told me I had obviously trained them well because she suggested they clean up for 10 minutes and the kids worked for 2 hours (it's Chistmas and I've been working on finishing projects, getting people places, and enjoying time with my family--in short I've been shooting for Mary, not Martha).  She said she saw an entirely new (to her) side of Ethan.  She was impressed that the kids knew how to do everything and work all the appliances,...  We hadn't been home five minutes when another woman from the ward called to tell me she had a book she felt I needed to read and she wanted me to have it that night and would bring it over.  It was very inspiring and I'll review it when I've collected my thoughts about it.  The next morning someone wanted to "spoil" Eva and took her on a special date.  I had phone calls from sweet friends and my sister...I hadn't been able to talk with them for a while.  Then Vince and I went to a Christmas party and had a wonderful night!  We came home to find another super friend and neighbor had left us a homemade pie.  I feel inundated and after being so discouraged for a while I just know that I'm not alone and that my Heavenly Father is looking after us.  I'm so grateful for all He gives us!!

I love how our Savior's love is expressed and felt so freely during this time of year!  Today I'm looking forward to playing games and watching movies with the kids.  I may start sanding the kitchen table this morning--that probably comes as a surprise but I wanted to start it a couple of days ago.  (I want to learn to refinish furniture so we can start collecting nice furniture for our home on the furniture budget I have--which is virtually nothing.  I decided to start with the kitchen table because I can't make it worse than it is so it'll be a great learning piece.  Surprisingly, Vince is entirely supportive of this venture!!)  I want to take the kids sledding today--we've been twice this week already but there may not be enough snow today.  I should rephrase the "we've been sledding" to the kids went sledding and I crocheted in the car...with the heater on at times...  I've never really enjoyed sledding!  Then I imagine we'll have lots of hot cocoa today and a yummy ham dinner--Eva's cooking.  There's a story I should probably tell sometime.  And we'll make cookies and open a few Christmas Eve gifts--the traditional PJ's and ornaments.  Then we have everyone's favorite part (OK--it's my favorite but I'll admit that all the kids may not be mature enough to think this beats sledding, movies, or cookies...) when we turn off all the lights, turn on the Christmas lights and light all our candles and review the Christmas story and sing a couple carols and have family prayer.  It's very relaxing and peaceful and the kids think it's very special to light candles!!  Christmas Eve day is generally my favorite of the year.  We pack it so the kids will sleep well and it works for us :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Funny Nathan

Nathan has been gaining confidence since school started this fall and is becoming quite a talker.  I'm finally feeling like we are getting to know Nathan, similar to when we got to know Ivy when she learned to speak.  I don't know if his personality will "blossom" as drastically as Ivy's but these past few months I can see something start to happen.

Last Friday was our last night of speech at the U of U for this term.  As we were driving Nathan was talking a lot.  Nonstop.  I was trying to listen to him and participate a bit but I was also trying to listen for traffic reports (this habit has saved us many headaches).  It is difficult in our big Expedition to hear people clearly from the back and it's still challenging to understand what Nathan was saying and last Friday he was persistent.  He kept saying "Did you hear that Mom?"  "Aren't you listening?"  "Listen to what I'm telling you!"  And I was really trying but I was also driving and there was traffic and it was getting dark and I couldn't hear the radio and I was trying to watch the road and turn slightly so I could hear what he was saying when I missed the exit.  We finally do make our way to speech (after turning around and missing another exit--I'm still rolling my eyes).  Nathan spent the rest of trip saying "Are you sure this is the right road?"  "Do you know where you are going?" "Shouldn't you call Dad and ask him where to go?"  When he gets in the room with the clinician he was asked about his day and promptly responded "It was pretty good but my Mom doesn't watch the road when she's driving". 

This came on the heels of last Wednesday's speech appointment when he was asked to make up a question using the word "spoon".  Nathan replied, "My mom spanks me with a spoon".  And he totally nailed the sp blends--there was no mistaking what he said.  (In my defense I swear it's only happened once or twice.  In his life.)  Last Wednesday his teacher had made a card holder with him by taping a plastic salsa lid in half--it's a clever idea.  She had tried this before and Nathan wouldn't use it because it smelled and so this time she had cleaned it and thought it was fine.  He sniffed it and told her it still smelled and she smelled it and said she didn't smell anything so he told her "You have to put your nose all the way in it!"  Both the girls working with him giggled about that for a while.

While relating these stories to a good friend she told me a sweet story about Nathan from this summer.  She said she was very impressed with his diplomacy and that it gave her a bright spot for the day.

This summer, my doorbell rang frequently with small children on bikes wanting to use my tire pump. One small bike (belonging to Sam, who may have been 3 at the time) had a punctured inner tube that needed to be repaired or replaced, but as no solution was forthcoming, Sam and whomever he'd been with that day (siblings or friends) had come to my door daily wanting to have the tire repumped. By the fourth day, I had lost patience, and Sam happened to have come with Nathan.

In frustration, I cried, "I just don't have time to pump up this tire every day!"

Nathan, who acted as spokesperson, stood unperturbed by my frustration, and with calm composure stated rationally, "That's no problem, because I can pump it."

I averred, "Yes but every day I have to stop what I'm doing, get the pump from the garage, bring it here, wait while it gets pumped, and then put it away, and I have a pile of things to do!"

Nathan, undeterred and unflappable, continued his line of reasoning, "I can pump it up. Don't worry. You won't need to do anything."

Softened by his poise, maturity, and obvious interest in Sam's plight, I went to get the pump. And Nathan did do very well pumping it up.

His diplomatic, intelligent, and charitable approach had humbled me. And Sam got a new bike after that.

Monday, December 13, 2010

CDC Testing

A few months ago we began a process of testing at Utah's CDC (Child Development Center).  There is a long waiting period for each appointment so it's a very long process.  We began by meeting with a developmental pediatrician who recommended meeting with a developmental psychologist and speech pathologist, to test for apraxia and other things.  I was happy with the pediatrician--I felt like he really wanted to hear what I had to say about Nathan and what my concerns were, specifically.  Finally!  There is a part of me that is so sick of hearing other people tell me what they think Nathan's issues are while giving our thoughts and opinions a cursory glance at best.  That is the most refreshing aspect of the CDC--EVERY professional has spent a copius amount of time getting Nathan's history from me...even after they have read the previous person's report.  The developmental pediatrician talked with me for about 90 minutes, as did the psychologist and the speech pathologist spent another 90+ minutes recording my recollection of Nathan's history and asked more questions as the testing was conducted.  SO refreshing!

We met with the developmental psychologist last month and didn't really learn anything yet.  She wants to spend a lot of time getting to know Nathan and playing with him in order to make an accurate diagnosis.  We have two three hour appointments in January to accomplish this.  Six hours!!  Such a different approach than when the school district psychologist passed a diagnosis without meeting me and spending less than an hour with Nathan. 

Today we met with the speech pathologist and it was fascinating and exciting.  The fascinating part was when she spent almost 10 minutes looking and feeling in his mouth.  She said that Nathan has a short palate.  I think the palate is the roof of the mouth and Nathan's doesn't extend all the way towards the throat as a normal person's would.  People with a short palate have extra challenges in articulation but they can be addressed.  She also said that his uvula doesn't hang down like normal and that's a little strange and presents articulation challenges.  In addition she said she can feel a small bump at the back of his palate but she's not sure what to make of it.  A lump or bump back there can have a real detrimental effect on articulation but she's not sure if this one is big enough to cause concern.  She said it's probably not big enough to cause trouble but she wants a second opinion so she had me sign a release form that gives her permission to call the supervising professor that's been working with us at the University of Utah speech clinic to have him check this as well.  Nathan also has a mild nasality which means that some of his sound is coming through his nose and should be addressed in treatment.  I think this makes sense given the rest of the information about his mouth.  It seems so commonsense to check all the anatomy affecting speech and yet I don't remember anyone doing this before--and adjusting treatment plans to accommodate anatomy makes them more effective. 

The exciting part of the visit was the testing.  Today Nathan is about 6 years and 8 months.  She did a test where she would say a word and Nathan would have to point to the correct picture.  You really had to pay attention and look at all the pictures because if she said a word like canoe there would be four boats and only one of the boats was a canoe.  Some of the words were really big words and I was surprised that he knew some of what he clearly knew--I'm sure I've never heard him speak most of the words.  He did well on this test--his score would be normal for a 7 year 10 month old child.  Go Nathan!  She said she could understand 75% of what he was saying as opposed to a year ago when our speech pathologist said he was 90% UNintelligible.  Nathan's been working so hard and it's nice to see him make such great progress!!  She wants to meet with him again by the end of January to run at least 2 more tests.  One of them may explain why reading is a little challenging and may offer some ideas to help him learn to read better.  Nathan was getting a little tired at this point.  He did finish another articulation test and she said most of his articulation was great there were only a few sounds that he was missing and/or saying incorrectly. 

She also asked about a note in the file that said there had been concern about ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).  I told her that we really weren't concerned about that but that the school had really pushed it and tried to diagnose him with it last spring.  She was relieved that we weren't concerned about ASD because she said she doesn't "see it".  She said a few things that I would use to explain (or try to explain) why we weren't worried about that and then she said something that I had never really thought about but which is quite true.  She said that a child with a severe speech delay who is very intelligent will often purposely not look people in the eye or at their faces  because they don't want that person to engage in conversation with them.  How logical!  I think about when I teach any class at church and it's "prayer time" and most every person in the room will look at their shoes or scriptures, or their hands in their lap,.....anywhere but the teacher because they may not want to give the prayer.  Yes, my last major experience teaching when I had to call for prayers at church was teenagers....  But adults do it too.  I've done it...

It's nice to get good news for a change!  :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mother-Wit Enigma

The impossible mom question


This is a new word/term to me:

Mother-Wit  noun; meaning "innate intelligence"; Synonyms include commonsense, faculties, innate common sense, intellectual gifts, nous, senses, wits

It's nice to know there is a real term for it isn't it? 

So I guess it's due to my mother-wit that I have the commonsense and innate commonsense (it really says both of those in the definition)  to suggest wearing coats and footwear in the snow.  And that people (and by people we all know I mean the people whom I mother) should brush their teeth.  And blow on their hot food.  And wear a sweater if they are cold.  This is my favorite, though, from a few days ago.  One child came to me and said, "Mom!  There is a tube of toothpaste in the toilet!!!"  I thought to myself....well use your imagination.  What I said was, "Oh" to which the child replied, "What should we do?"  and I said, "I guess you should reach in and take the toothpaste out and throw it in the garbage" to which the child said, "That's GROSS!"  And I said, "Right...that's why I said put it in the garbage."  The child said, "I can't put my hands in there--it's disgusting!"  And I said, "That is why you should wash your hands when you are done."  Mother-wit, I tell you.  And I guess I can't be upset if my offspring don't have this commonsense  because they are, after all, not mothers.  (FYI:  I'm assuming that the child decided the toothpaste in the toilet wasn't their problem because I had almost the exact same conversation with another child not 10 minutes after that)

While I am proud to posses commonsense and innate commonsense, I have to admit that I am puzzled by "intellectual gifts".  This is probably because of things like forgetting to remind child #4 to take his backpack to school.  Four days.  In A. Row.  I had to drive to school and back TWICE four mornings.  In a row.  Four consecutive mornings.  It almost seems like I was lacking some commonsense but in lieu of the practical handling of toothpaste in the toilet I'm totally taking credit for having innate commonsense and commonsense and just flat out admitting I question my intellectual gifts. 

I have been giving a lot of thought about my slacking intellectual gifts (I had a lot of time to think while I was driving in the car) and I have a theory.  You know when a woman is pregnant and will sometimes say, "The baby took my brain!"  No?  Maybe it's just me.  I was fond of saying that once in a while when I was pregnant but thinking it frequently.   Or at least thinking of it way more frequently than I said it.  Anyway--that's my theory.  I believe this is the reason the kids can do all kinds of remarkable things that I can't seem to figure out anymore.  They also have fantastic memories--they can even remember who put what ornaments on the Christmas tree last year!  I try to be honest about it, though, and I tell them that it's quite amazing the amount of information they are able to store and recall because I certainly can't.  They are decidedly, and perhaps understandably frustrated with those kinds of comments, though.  And just for the record, I don't think you have to have experienced pregnancy to live through "the baby took it" phenomena...I swear it's getting worse as they get older. 

"Hey kids--enough already!  You should consider leaving what I have left of my brain so you won't have to support me when I'm older--yes, I am going to get even older!"

And another thing about this theory--anyone who knows our family knows that we have four very intelligent, bright, fun children.  They are all quick learners and hard workers.  And you would also know that the oldest of the four is ultra-responsible, as most oldest children are.  When considering "the baby took my brain" theory you must remember that the first child gets the first pick--so in all honesty I can't feel irritation that the others can't remember to take their backpacks to school...

Here's the enigma in a nutshell...."Where and how do we get mother-wit while we're losing our brains to the offspring?"


  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Santa Pictures!!!

HI!!!! This is Eva.

SHHHHH!!! My Mom doesn't know I put this up here, so don't  tell her!!!

When Mom rushed to take Ivy and Nathan home from the Santa parade, she took the camera bag, and left the camera with me.... So, I put it with my music. I dug it up a few minutes ago and Voila!!! the pictures!!!!!! I even fixed them up for her!


Notice Ivy's cute little hat that Mom made. She made Nathan a brown on while we were waiting in line. That's how long we waited. I'm serious.


How's This Photo?

Remember I said something about a New Year's Resolution to put a photo on every post?  I'm still considering it--so seriously, in fact, that I went to get the camera.  YAY! 

So why are you looking at that free generic photo of Santa instead of cute little Nathan and Ivy sitting on Santa's lap?  It's true that I have trouble getting pictures off the camera onto the computer and from there to my blog...it's pathetic really because Eva can do it so fast!!  But that's not why.  The truth is...

I CAN'T FIND MY CAMERA!

I dutifully took it to the Santa parade and tracked it the whole time, even when Ivy took the camera out of the camera bag to put candy from the parade in the bag.  I still knew where it was...Eva had it...and she took pictures of the kids on Santa's lap.  I'm sure they are fabulous pictures!  After that, I don't know where the camera went.  I hurried to run Nathan and Ivy home while Eva played piano during downtime (between performances) at City Hall and then ran back to finish playing piano during the downtime, accompanied the violinists and then ran home.  I have NO idea where the camera is!  Maybe Eva will...

BUT Nathan saw Santa twice last weekend!  The first was at the grocery store.  We were all alone in the frozen food section and Santa snuck up on him and talked with him and gave him a candy cane and then we watched him saunter away into the refrigerated food section--good times.  I'll write more about the other time after I've quizzed the kids about the whereabouts of my missing camera.....

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas

We are all caught up in Christmas activities and fun!  We have finished the fall/winter recital schedule and all the kids performed beautifully!!  Eva has performed her first Christmas program of this year on her violin at City Hall last Saturday.  Vince has performed about three times with his choir.  On Saturday we were able to build gingerbread houses with the Olcotts and it went super well--no houses fell apart.  (This was additionally remarkable because I had to build them)  Vince took Ethan and his fellow scouts on a campout in the snow--the boys had a good time and no one had any sleep! 

This week Vince will perform with his choir three more times--I get to watch him/them Saturday night.  Eva performs with her orchestra Thursday and at the Joseph Smith Memorial Bldg on Saturday.  Nathan will finish up this term of speech--YAY for a break!!!!  Next week Ivy and Nathan will perform with their choir at the elementary school!  After that we can enjoy ourselves as a family and wrap/make gifts we have left.  It's a nice time to enjoy each other's company and RELAX!  I'm hoping to get to the temple several times during the break. 

I'm considering a New Year's Resolution of posting with pictures--still having an internal debate about that.  I probably just need some practice!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Last night Ethan came home from Scouts telling me he needed a coat, snowpants, warm hat, and boots. By Friday. When his FATHER, who incidentally never mentioned this a week ago when snow pants were on sale for $11, is taking him on a scout campout. Sigh. So I went to the second hand store and guess what? They had one pair--they will be big but they will work. I also bought him a coat, and yes it really is December and he really doesn't have a warm coat yet. I ordered one last week and it should be here but it's taking a while and I don't want it to go camping so I bought a warm used one. I spent $23 on snowpants, a 2-piece coat (zip out lining), and warm knit hat.

Then I had a magical idea but before I tell it to you you must promise NOT to tell my kids. Or husband. I had a BRILLIANT idea a couple of months ago. I hid the Wii remotes, which is of course not new or brilliant but I had been attempting to hide them for a long time without success. I'm not a good hider. Generally. But NOW I keep them in my lingerie bag. No one in this house has or will ever look there. I am sooooo proud of myself.

Today is the most magical idea ever! There is a giant bag of chocolate chips in our house and I was feeling a bit cranky because this means there are buckets moved in my laundry room and they are in the way because people shorter than I have been standing on the buckets to eat chocolate chips. As I was putting the buckets back I thought of a new amazing hiding place. I put those chocolate chips in my cleaning bucket which is on the top of those cupboards in my laundry room. They can't be seen and truthfully NO one is going to look there. I am certain. Not even me...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Letters to Santa

Nathan has been veeeeeery worried that he's not going to sit on Santa's lap....for almost 4 weeks now.  I have to admit that when I look at the calendar I'm a bit concerned myself.  I've told him he should write his list and we'll mail it and he does but it doesn't take the worry out of his eyes.  Last year he was super sad when Santa didn't bring him the one thing he wanted.  (In Santa's defense, the one thing he wanted was a bike but we were in dire financial straits due to the economy and there was no way we could afford even a very cheap bike.)  Still, we underestimated how much it meant to him because we were both surprised on the way to Grandma's on Christmas Day to see Nathan with big alligator tears running down his cheeks.  When asked what was wrong he said very quietly, "I'm sorry I was a naughty boy, Mommy."  I was shocked and said, "Nathan you are NOT a naughty boy!  Why would you think that!"  He responded, "Because Santa didn't bring my bike."  So you see I would do just about anything this year to make sure that Christmas is very magical and not at all sad.  Which would mean a visit to Santa so he could make SURE there was no mistake this year! 

But...reality and wishes don't always coincide do they?  Between speech, school, Christmas parties, Christmas programs, etc. it doesn't look like there is a "built-in" Santa anywhere.  Our ward is not having a Christmas party so he won't be there.  He won't be at school.  He WILL be at the City Hall Saturday where Eva is performing but the line is 3-5 hours (yes I really said hours) long and we are going to a family gingerbread party so we can't stay that long.  We could possibly stop at a mall and try but I think that takes a very long time also and I can't even get to a mall until 6:30 PM or later and only on a few nights.  Wal-Mart usually has a Santa but I can't figure out when.  Grrrr.  What's a mom supposed to do? 

So I was very excited to see these "Official Santa mail" kits and to find that they are half off today, although given the circumstances I may have caved anyway:

https://www.groopdealz.com/index/index/deal/72/ref/11880




I'm hoping they get here in time for Family Home Evening next week!  And REALLY hoping that it puts poor Nathan's mind at ease!!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bathroom Makeover!!!

 The kids (mostly Eva) and I spent the last 24 hours redecorating our front bathroom--and I actually had a great time!  When our bathroom rugs died I realized that I have had them since I was first married almost 15 years ago--yes I am excited to get away for this anniversary!  I took the shower curtain down to wash it and it was obviously in an advanced state of deterioration as well.  I found a shower curtain I liked last week and picked up some rugs and curtain hangers Wednesday.  (We had a difficult time getting an accurate picture color of the shower curtain--It is mostly brown like the circle picture and some of the squares are the color of the wall--I have no idea why it wouldn't photograph the color correctly.)  Eva and I made a trip to DI Friday after school and found some things to help: 
We think this picture is pretty cool!  We found a piece of canvas (an old painting) $1.50 and an old placemat $1.00 made of some sticks tied together.  The placemat was multicolored: bright yellow, blue, and green.  We spray painted the canvas and mat brown, cut out some circles out of paper which we laid on the mat and then spray painted again.  When we lifted the paper we had the fun design.  It's not perfect: the edges bled some.  I should have thought of a way to get the paper to attach and then lift off the mat somehow.  Anyway, we hot glued the mat to the canvas and here it is!

 We really needed a shelf of some sort for the kids to keep their stuff in.  This bathroom is so small and we only have a VERY small cupboard so Eva and I spent a lot of time examining stuff at the DI.  We found this boat thing for $4.00.  The kids love that it has a paddle which we attached to the side.  The trim was green but we painted it the same color as the wall (now blue instead of yellow!) and then antiqued the edges.  We went back to DI this morning to look for some basket/containers to put things in and found a little wooden box and a little basket ($.50 each) which we spray painted and put hair stuff and toothpaste in.

Here's a picture that kind of gives you an overall view.  You can see the paddle, some of the shower curtain, and our new piece of "art" on the other wall.  At some point I am going to try framing the mirror.  This may take a while, as I am still learning to use tools.  For this redo, though, I DID use a drill, wood glue, and clamps (we had to repair the boat a bit).  When you consider the creating, repurposing, designing, and use of tools that plug into an outlet this whole experience "stretched" me. 

Vince helped Ethan make a towel holder last month that we'll put under the circle art.  It's stained a light color but now Ethan wants to paint it.  I'm trying to stay neutral on the issue but I would really like it painted...I'm pretty sure Vince will want it to be stained...  For Christmas I am going to look for some chocolate colored bath towels.  I'm going to get a ribbon in their favorite color and sew it along the border.  Then they will all have a towel that matches the bathroom, yet is obviously their very own. 

The biggest part of  this makeover was the removal of the "teenage girl" stuff.  All the make-up, hair bows, products, ............  You know.  I got a full length mirror to hang on a stud in the "someday" bathroom downstairs, found an old nightstand/endtable at DI for $8.00 and moved her down there.  She has an outlet that Vince installed a few years ago when we did the wiring and there is a light.  AND a door to hang her over the door shoe hanger that she keeps "stuff" in.  It really is full.  The whole shoe hanger.  Every.  Pocket.  Everybody's excited about this--definitely a win-win.  At first the other kids expressed jealousy: "Why does SHE get to have that space?!!"  But I pointed out to them that they would no longer have to wait for her to get out of the bathroom when they needed to "go" and that, as they say, was that.

Eva and I also found two old yucky brass light fixtures for $5.00 each.  We washed them, took them apart and spray painted them.  One is a three light strip with nice glass shades for the bathroom and the other is a chandelier.  I want to find some cheap shades for the chandelier and I'm pretty sure we will hang it over the  kitchen table.  Right now they are on my bedroom floor.  The chandelier came with some nice glass shades but I accidentally broke one when we were "frosting" the glass so now I'm one short.  I think it works out to put fabric shades on them eventually anyway because I like that look much better!  I'm very excited because I've heard of people painting light fixtures but never thought it could be something I could do.  I saw another light fixture today that I think would be perfect to put over the stairs, but I decided to wait.  Vince seems skeptical about the first two.  He says they look nice (we hurried to paint them before he got home last night) but he's not excited about wiring them.  I've decided to wait two weeks and then I'm going to wire them.   

Then I'll post pictures!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A First For Me

The following is from Ivy this morning:

"Moooooommm, Ethan called me a tattle tale!"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sometimes a Picture Says it All....

I sent Nathan to practice the piano and he came back like this....

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mom the Mediator

Sometimes I wonder if I am the only parent to experience angst over the silly little "things" kids think are important like: who is the real owner of the cheapie toy from some restaurant, party, teacher, etc. that has been in the house for many months. Or who gets to play with the little cheapie toy. Or who broke it. Generally, my response to these things is something like: "If I hear, smell, touch, see, or think about that toy one more time I will throw it away!"  Although I have thrown many of them away I can see that this response is wearing a little thin.  In other words, it's not really working anymore--I'm throwing a lot of stuff away :) but there is still always something to fight about.  Apparently.

Last night I was almost  losing my sanity.  I was soooo tired and it was soooo noisy and after over 45 minutes of 1st and 3rd grade homework and a couple of hours of music practicing, lessons, etc.  I was getting cranky.  Two kids were driving me NUTS arguing over stupid little flip flop key chains.  I was trying to ignore/avoid getting involved and it was quickly becoming obvious that I was going to get drawn in to mediate (throw something away) again.  I was thinking to myself "How ridiculous!  They don't even have keys they have to keep track of!  Why does Ethan even care about a stupid thing like that to engage in such a fight with her (Ivy)?"  Here's some of the conversation:

Me (very calmly and matter-of-factly):  "Let me see if I understand this correctly.  This big fight is over a little flip flop key chain?"

Ethan looks a little guilty and Ivy says: "But Mom it is about a BLUE flip flop key chain which is mine we got them from Mrs. Bird at the beginning of the summer and Ethan got orange and I got blue and Nathan got green and so this blue key chain is mine and he won't give...

I cut her off and say: "Ivy STOP!  Ethan--is this little blue flip flop key chain very important to you?"

At this point Ethan not only looks a little guilty but he looks a lot sheepish as he clearly does NOT want to admit that stupid little blue flip flop key chain is at all important to him--it wouldn't be good for his male ego and the blue flip flop key chain is returned.

So this morning as I get home from taking Eva to school I walk into another argument about a stupid little pink blow up ball.  I promise I am not making this stuff up!  So I say to the boy (I think it was Nathan but it could have been Ethan also or possibly both of them--I didn't really want to know):  "Is this fight about a PINK ball?"  To which a boy responded: "We were playing with it..."  I cut them off and said:  "Let me get this straight.  You were playing with a PINK ball and you want to continue playing with the pink ball?"  Silence from the boys.  And then silence from Ivy as the ball was tossed out of their room.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 2: Late for School!

It's true.  We're not off to a really great start.  I have NONE of that time I was supposed to have since all the kids are at school.  The good news is that I'm not feeling as lonely as I was worried about.  The bad news is that time was supposed to be for cleaning the house, preparing dinner, exercising.  So none of that stuff got done yesterday.

The kids didn't get to bed until after 9:00 and they reminded me a lot when I woke them up for scripture reading this morning.  At least we're getting THAT done!  Practicing was iffy yesterday.  I woke up a little earlier this morning determined to get more done!  Everything was going OK until I woke the kids up...just kidding...kind of.  We read scriptures, I made whole wheat pancakes (I'm taking credit for every possible tiny little thing right now).  Eva had to take her violin to school for the first time today and wanted to put some cool things in her locker and wanted me to go with her.  Given yesterday's great results I was feeling a little rushed and wondering really why couldn't she just do it herself but I went because it seemed important to her.  We got there really early, dropped off her violin (I counted my blessings AGAIN for the free violin because it means that since we have had to upgrade we have two violins and she can leave one at school and we don't have to worry about the back and forth stuff), and I watched while she set up her locker.  A few times I noticed I was the ONLY parent and was feeling rushed and wishing I could get out of there but then I realized I was the ONLY parent....she invited me to school as a 7th grader and actually that's really cool and it means she likes me and wants me around and that's very special for a 12 almost 13 year old girl.  Then I felt a little teary and after a couple of minutes I said, "Eva I feel pretty special because I think I'm the only parent to be invited to middle school."  I was going to say thank you but before I could get it out she looked around and said, "Um, bye Mom."   I didn't hug her in the hall but I imagined it in my head. 

THEN I had to go to the store because we were almost out of bread and I had no time to make any yesterday.  There was a really long line (5 customers in front of me) and the person at the front of it had trouble and there was only one checker.  When I finally got home, Ivy and Nathan were in the yard with their backpacks like they were ready for school--an hour early!  But they weren't really ready  because Ivy needed to comb her hair and Nathan had put a shirt on that had syrup all over it from the other day (don't even ask my why...I didn't even ask about the pants because I really didn't want to know--they looked all right...I figure that's why I buy them pants that all look the same).  I told Nathan to change and Ivy to comb her hair and then went to work on some PTA stuff I needed to take care of when we heard emergency vehicles outside.  Concerned, but determined to stay focused, I asked the kids to see if they could see anything happening from the front door.  They could--there was a policeman and two ambulances at a neighbor's house so I ran over there to make sure everything was fine.  They were (I mean as well as a person could be who had to have ambulances over, I guess) and I left my phone number and talked to the mother of the household (she was at work in Salt Lake) and then came home to take the kids to school....late, of course.  But only by a few minutes really.

The really great part about it was that when they got out of the car at school I noticed that

Ivy didn't comb her hair...

Nathan DID change his shirt...

Into the one he wore yesterday.

So I guess tomorrow, Day 3, will be the day I get it all together!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Saturday night Eva and I got sick with some bug that gave us fever and chills, stomach pains and muscle aches.  We were miserable.  The rest of the family was so sweet!!

Nathan brought me an extra blanket from downstairs and a pan "just in case".  He also put a new light bulb in the lamp by my bed.

Ivy helped Eva come upstairs closer to a bathroom and got her a pan "just in case".

Ethan cooked dinner Sunday.

Vince got us medicine to help with the fever, brought us water, and washed the dishes.

I couldn't help but remember 5-7 years ago when I would get sick and have to putter around the house still trying to do what I could.  It's so nice to have a husband home and to have kids mature and thoughtful enough to help take care of things!

Ivy, the Ultimate Multi-tasker

School starts tomorrow and my kids are shaggy so I announced this morning that we are ALL, yes even I, going to get hair cuts this morning. 

It's the last day of summer....they are all annoying each other....and me.  I'm losing my sanity and I'm thinking that an hour out of the house for haircuts is what we all need so I went in my room to change and run a comb through my hair.

The kids were all in the living room--Eva engrossed in her book, Ethan annoying everyone, Nathan fighting back with him, and Ivy brushing her hair.  I hear all the angst that goes along with all of this until finally one phrase from Ivy is heard above all the rest:

"I have a comb!  And I WILL use it!" 

Friday, August 20, 2010

I'm From Venus, He's From ... #3

Do any of you have husbands out there who seem to be frequently......

vague?  Or undecided?

Like this year is our 15th anniversary and after 14 anniversaries of barely going out--there are some stories there but I'm trying to bury the hatchet and move on--we have decided to take 2 nights AWAY!

This is so exciting!  As a general rule, Vince and I have never taken/had the luxury of much time to ourselves.  It began when we were dating and each had big job and church responsibilities that limited our dating opportunities followed by a 5 month summer apart when I was in Oregon and he in Arizona.  After that we took full-time 50-80 hour a week jobs in the treadmill factory to pay for school where we both took full-time credits.  When we graduated we moved to Oregon to start the job search and after just a month or so Vince was hired on a probation-type status so he moved to Utah while I stayed in Oregon for a few months.  When I finally got to Utah we each had big church responsibilities and more kids and, well, here we are.  We had one night without the kids 5-7 years ago (I can't remember when exactly) thanks to my parents and we had another one in June thanks to Uncle S and Aunt K.

So you can imagine I am thrilled that we have committed to going somewhere.  Anywhere.  I don't care where.  But he does.  He wants to decide the place, which is TOTALLY fine with me and I think it's cool that he wants to decide.  But DECIDE already!!!  We've been talking for a couple of months and he can't decide.  All he has to do is pick a city/town.  When I ask he typically says something like, "Don't worry...I'll decide....we'll go somewhere."  Ugh.  I want to make reservations, already.

So this week the perfect opportunity presented itself.  Some teenagers I know are acting in a play.  The first play I ever attended is when this same group of kids presented A Midsummer Night's Dream and I went because I had a student in it and she really wanted me to go and I was VERY reluctant to go but I dragged a great friend with me and we had a blast!  It was amazing!!  So we are taking our husbands to the play tonight.  And I had a feeling that if I told Vince where we were going he would come up with a reason to not go out tonight.  So I decided to tell him nothing.  And I thought that maybe he would understand how frustrating it is to not have any idea what is planned!  Because I clearly like to know.  I have been waiting all week for him to ask me what we're doing tonight.

Last night he asked.  And I said something like he would say:

"Oh, we're going to a thing....we'll leave around 6:30 or so."

And HE said...........



OK

Sigh.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Disturbing Shopping Behavior

I went shopping with kids.  That pretty much sums it up, doesn't it?  I mean, really, it took me about 2 months to figure out that was a bad idea...when Eva was a baby.  And yet I continue to subject myself to the experience.  Just kidding--they're all old enough that I don't mind taking them anymore, especially when I can just take one or two at a time.

Today I took Nathan.  We were having a good time.  He wanted to spend some time with me doing a "project".  I didn't have much time for a project as we were out of bread, milk, eggs, cereal, ....well you get the idea.  I taught piano until 3:00 and then made a list of what we would need for the next two weeks.  And then when I got home remembered a few more things we need before school starts.  Of course.  Anyway.  Halfway through our "project" he declares he tired, cold, hungry, didn't have a snack, his feet hurt, OH--can we buy THIS?   You know what I'm talking about.  But I was really having a good time anyway and enjoying the change in scenery. 

At one point in the produce section, I noticed a woman staring intently at Nathan as we were walking past.  I thought it was really disconcerting--enough that I had the following 5 second conversation with myself.  "Do I know her? What's she looking at?  Is she looking at me?  Does she recognize him from somewhere?  Maybe I should ask her what's so interesting about my 6 year old son.  Seriously?  She's still looking?  Oh well.  We are almost done and I'm feeling good enough to forget about....NATHAN"  That's the conversation I had in my head--here's what I said out loud:  "Get your finger out of your nose!"  Seriously. He had it waaaay up there!  He said to me: "But there's something stuck up there Mom!"  I said, "I don't care--wait until you have a Kleenex or something!"  And then I imagined the 5 adults in earshot of our cart wondering what produce we had been shopping for and vowing to wash EVERYTHING as soon as they got home!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

One more thing to Remember...

The safety instructions for my new hair dryer said "Never operate while sleeping"

More Pictures!!!!

It's Eva! Again. I am putting more pictures up. Yesterday Mom, Ethan, and I cleaned out the spice cupboard, the knife/utensil drawer and the Silverware drawer. Here are 3 more pictures. Every time my Mom looks at one of the places we cleaned she goes "Look at my spice cupboard, It's so clean!!!!!". Hope you like it!! One more thing. We also fixed the potholder drawer, but I forgot to take a picture.


The Silverware drawer
The Knife Drawer


The Spice Cupboard




Friday, August 13, 2010

Pictures!!!

This is Eva!!! I am putting the pictures on!! I tried to zoom out, but the room was so small I couldn't back up very far!! My Mom told me to choose two or three. I would like to put more on, but unfortunetly, this isn't my blog. So, here they are!!!





"I Know What We're Going to DO Today!"

Do you ever wake up in the morning with a plan? I do. I generally wake up each morning with a very good idea of exactly what I'm supposed to do. And then I spend most of the day doing anything BUT the plan. Just kidding--it's not really that bad. This summer has been a little unique because every day I have been following plans dictated by the needs/desires of family members, church callings, etc. Until yesterday. When I woke up and declared to myself that I was going to organize the armpit of the house: our "laundry/pantry/medicine closet/cleaning supply/recycling/trash/small appliance storage/craft/garage overflow" room. It's the teeny tiny room adjacent to the kitchen and it's been our "catch-all" for years.

I felt like Phineas and Ferb yesterday when I made the announcement to the kids--and they were excited. Eva even volunteered to help all day and make it a personal progress goal.

It took us all day but we eliminated garage overflow and craft stuff from the room entirely. We installed something in the garage to hang brooms, dust pans, dusters, and fly swatters (much to Vince's chagrin, as he is not thrilled to open the garage door and reach 6" to grab the fly swatter). We installed something on the wall to store plastic garbage sacks. We rehung the ironing board and iron. We put ALL the bulk food items and mixes (chocolate milk, pancake mix, muffin mix, bisquick, cornmeal, oatmeal, etc.) in plastic canisters. We got some stacking wire baskets for fruit and potatoes and onions. We got some hanging shelf baskets and stacking shelves to help organize the bread, canned goods, medicine and laundry stuff. We got a bin for the newspapers and hauled old papers out for a fresh start. We got a second garbage can and blue sacks so we can now recycle. Eva printed nice pages to help us learn what goes in which can for the next several weeks. She also printed matching labels for all the bulk food and mixes. We have a box for lunch bags and water bottles.

It's a different room! Eva is excited to post a picture so maybe she'll get to do it today.

And I know what I'm going to do TODAY! I get to finish laundry and clean my kitchen cupboards! And yes, I'm excited--I generally get to do this at least twice a year but it's been well over a year this time because we've been too busy with other things.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Murphy--Episode 1

This morning Ethan yelled at Eva through the front bathroom door: "GET OUT! Other people have to use the bathroom too!!"

I thought it was funny. NOT because Eva is almost a real teenager and spends a lot of time in there because she is and she does. NOT because this week seems to be one of those weeks when kids will pick on people just because they can; although they are--and it's only Tuesday. NOT because people are always racing to the bathroom even though they generally are because most of the kidlets that live at our house suffer from "Don't Want to Miss Anything" and wait until the last minute.

No, the real reason I was chuckling at Ethan yelling through the bathroom door is because there was another EMPTY bathroom in the house. And the funny thing about that is that the EMPTY bathroom is MY bathroom and the kids are ALWAYS using my bathroom (I've been trying to break the habit--unsuccessfully) EXCEPT when another kid is in THEIR bathroom at which time their first choice is their bathroom. Even/especially when they have to run through the house and past my bathroom to get there...

Murphy's law.....was Murphy a kid?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Helter Skelter Summer

I have been a lazy blogger!! This summer has been crazy busy for me! I generally like to do many things with the kids but stay in town. This summer has been very different. I teach piano from 8-5:30 on Monday and from 8:15-11 on Tuesday. Ivy goes to piano Monday, Ethan to piano Tuesday, Eva to violin Wednesday, Eva to piano Thursday, Ethan to guitar Thursday, and Nathan (and family) to swimming on Thursday night. Add to Tuesday night achievement days, scouts, and youth night. On Wednesday and Friday I take Nathan into Salt Lake for speech--which has been very productive!! For three weeks in June Ethan and Ivy had math camp four days a week and Ethan, Ivy, and Nathan have a reading program they check in with every Monday morning. In addition to that in June: Eva spent a week at Suzuki camp (at Aunt Kerstin's house where she had a blast), Eva and Ethan spent a week in Oregon with Grandma and Grandpa (they had a blast there, too--they were spoiled), we got to keep little cousins Maddie and Gracie for a week (which was SO FUN!! and Grandma Linda got to come that week too), Mom and Dad had a night away at Aunt Kerstin's family cabin (she took our kids for the day--I think she's a saint/we mostly slept)... A few months ago Vince and I auditioned for and joined a community choir--it's something we get to do together on Saturday nights. I like it more than I thought I would. Vince really wanted to join and I was not going to stay home with the kids while he stepped out another evening. It's nice to have something we share together--we don't get many opportunities like that. He's been a bit busy managing many details for a Scout Jamboral to be held out here in August--15,000 to 20,000 scouts are expected to attend. Anyway, the choir has been fun and we had our last performance last week.

I have also been keeping busy with my church callings: teaching Relief Society, visiting teaching 5 sisters, and all the indexing stuff. I have a new calling for the next two years also--girls camp. I have to really get busy on camp stuff because we leave July 26th. We are still looking forward to Aunt Amy and kids visiting for a week in July, a trip in Oregon in August, a party with cousin K in Orem, babysitting the violin teacher's students on Wednesday, a church swim party, and keeping cousins Dallin and Sariah for a couple of days (we're trading since we both have 15 year anniversaries this year!) Eva just said, "You make it sound so busy...it's not that bad..."

So those are most of my excuses for not blogging--part of me feels like I have lost touch with reality. Or is it that I am IN touch with reality--that's probably it although I wish reality entailed me reading and playing/picnicing at the park with the kids like we used to... Eva and Ethan just said, "Yeah, and why don't we play tennis anymore? We don't go on picnics! Just because YOU'RE too busy and don't have time!" As if it's my stuff that plugging the whole schedule. Of course it hasn't been all work and no play--I did take kids to the children's museum, the train museum, and library craft day. Although I'm not planning on any more stuff like that.

This last Saturday Ivy and Nathan went to the parade with Aunt L and Uncle J because Vince and I ran a 5K with Eva and Ethan. Well, we started together....kind of. Vince started at the front because he runs fast and Ethan found a friend to start with. Eva and I started together but she complained of a side ache in the FIRST block so I told her I would see her at the end. Vince placed 8th overall and 2nd in his age group. Eva placed 3rd in her age group. Ethan was 9th. I was...I'm not sure but not in the top ten. We are not sure of our times because the race organizers lost power in the middle of the race and screwed up everyone's times but we're pretty sure that Vince ran it in 18:20 and Ethan in 23-24 minutes, me in 24-25 minutes and we have no idea about Eva but she came in a minute or two after I did. I'm excited because the worst case scenario time for me would be 25:30 and that is two full minutes faster than the last 5K I ran...three years ago. Some funny things about the race:

--Vince woke the kids up and encouraged them to get ready that morning--I don't remember him doing that before for anything else. Ever. He generally gets up with just enough time to get himself ready. After the race he talked to EVERYONE we knew along the parade route on the way to meet up with Ivy and Nathan. He was clearly very proud!

--Ethan insisted in running the race in jeans...he still claims he was not the only runner in jeans. He was.

--Eva wore a cute headband and matching earrings to run in. I still think that's funny.

--Ethan and Eva did not train for the race AT ALL and had a lot of trouble moving around yesterday--Vince and I were a little sore but it felt good to me to see the kids suffering a bit...it made me feel not as old.

--After Vince finished the race and got a drink he ran back to finish the race with each of us. After finishing with Ethan he came to me and I was walking that part...he tried to get me to sprint but I told him No way and to leave me alone. I had decided I just wanted to beat Eva (I had checked and couldn't see her at all so felt pretty safe). He gave up on me and ran back with Eva, who was complimented by strangers by her finish sprint. A few minutes after I finished I saw a friend coming and encouraged her to sprint the last 50 yards--she thought it was a little funny that I made her do it after I basically told Vince to get lost. My problem was I ran the first 2 miles WAY faster than usual for me!

Eva has already found 2 more 5K's in Tooele this summer--they want to run again and have coerced Vince to take them running today for "fun". I have a demented family...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Prayer

It has been a great day and Mom has prepared a great meal, set the table, and called the kids. The kids enter the kitchen, and take their seats with minimal arguing. All is peaceful. Ivy is asked to say the prayer. She quietly folds her arms and begins:

Ivy: "Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for this day and for helping us stay safe. Please bless the food. Please give us blessings. Except for Ethan...OOWWWW Mooom let GO of my ARM! Where are you taking me?"

Mom drags Ivy by the arm to a corner and looks at her.

Ivy continues: "But he said he didn't WANT blessings!"

Everyone starts trying not to laugh out loud (except Ethan) as we remember the LAST time Ivy said the prayer:

Ivy: "Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for this day and for helping us stay safe. Please bless the food. Please give us blessings. In the name of Jesus Christ Amen."

Ethan: "Ivy WHY do you always ask Him to give us blessings. It's so stupid to just say give us blessings. You should be more specific."

A fight ensued and Mom broke it up by saying no one was allowed to talk about Ivy's prayers anymore.

I guess she got the last word. But I don't think (hope) she'll do that again...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Just When I Thought I'd Seen Everything...

OK--so I'll probably be able to use that title for many more things in my life but I have had bedwetters for 8 years now--for the last few years I've had 3 bedwetters. They are starting to outgrow it thankfully, but I still wash a lot of bedding. Last night was a first. Ethan came downstairs to tell us that Nathan stood up, pulled his pants down, peed all over his bed and then climbed back in bed and went to sleep. The boy was so tired that he didn't wake up enough to walk to the bathroom. But I have to say it is an improvement--at least he got up and pulled his pants down.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Last Friday/Saturday Vince took Ethan to a Webelos overnighter--they had a great time! Vince told me that when they first got there the boys could go to a station and make marshmallow shooters. Vince hated the marshmallow shooters. For obvious reasons. In any case when Ethan went to make his shooter he went to the station and the first words out of his mouth were: "Do we have to follow the directions?" Pretty typical--Ethan loves to figure things out on his own and in his own way!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Ivy CEO and Other Misc

Ivy was selected as CEO (Chief Example to Others) by her teacher. Each month two students from each grade are selected and recognized for their exmple. Here is what Ivy's teacher wrote about her (Vince, Eva, Ethan, and I chuckled at many parts):

"Ivy has brought us a gift this year...the gift of enthusiasm. It has been contagious, and our whole classroom has been affected by her great attitude. She is a natural leader. She can organize, delegate, and get everyone on board, working as a group, and completing a classroom project. If someone doesn't hold up their end, she steps in and helps them get through it, guiding by example. She finds joy in the most simple things...it doesn't take a lot to make her happy. She is appreciative of any small kindness. Not only is she a joy to be around, but she is a great student. Ivy is a creative thinker. She can come up with multiple ways to solve a Math problem. I like watching her in action...she can be amazing. Ivy often completes a chapter book almost on a daily basis. She loves to read and she shares her joy by telling me all about her favorite books. I have truly enjoyed having Ivy in our 2nd grade classroom this year."

We are all quite proud of Ivy and love her personality!

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the last week:

From Nathan, at 9:00, after taking the kids to school at 8:45 and refusing to eat his breakfast of eggs and hashbrowns (he did eat the bacon) at 8:15: "Mom, can I have a snack?" I said of course and pointed to his breakfast to which he replied, "Mooom you can't dooooo this to me!"

From Eva after we paid $2400 for a new violin: "Thanks Mom! You're so great--this is so nice, I owe you my life!" Yes. Yes she does and personally I thought life was a bit better than a new violin but OK.

I had a lovely Mother's Day--it is such a blessing to have kids. They make life so meaningful and bring me smiles and laughter each day! I've feel very fortunate to have so much time to spend with them! Truthfully. I am not being sarcastic at all unless it is 9:30 at night and I am telling them to go to bed. Again. For the 20th time. But one of the cutest things is when Nathan comes down at 9:30 and says, "Mom, can I have a snuggle--just a teeeny one?" and he makes the motions with his fingers. So I give him a teeny snuggle--sometimes just 10 seconds and he jumps up happily and runs to bed. The other kids have tried a similar tactic but it doesn't work for them.

I love how Mother's Day gives me an opportunity to think of my own mother and all she has done for me and all the wonderful qualities I love in her. I know her dedication to me as a girl has helped me be the mother I am today. Thanks mom! And thanks to Vince's mom--I feel blessed every day to be married to a thoughtful, compassionate, selfless man who loves the Lord and our family.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Laundry Day

I have just realized why I don't like laundry day. All these years I thought it was because it took all day, matching socks is a pain, laundry is the ultimate boomerang.... But I now know the true reason I don't like laundry: it's a puzzle. I HATE puzzles! I can never figure them out--I don't generally like to spend hours looking at little pieces and fitting them together. In fact, I drive Vince crazy because after 5-10 minutes or so I will just grab a random piece and check it in every possible place/way it could possibly go. I just don't have the patience to sit and figure it out.

Anyway. Back to the laundry. You may be wondering what is puzzling about laundry--this is probably because you don't:

1. Have a sock bag full of dozens of odd socks. Really. Where do they come from? I have given this serious thought over the last few months and I have decided there are really only two explanations. One: My kids randomly drop a sock in the trash every other day so the socks in the odd sock bag will not feel lonely. Of course, they deny this but they also deny every forgetting to flush the toilet and I have yet to meet a ghost that needs to remember to flush the toilet. Two: The companies who produce socks are brilliant because they make all different kinds of socks--each time I go to the store for socks I end up buying socks that don't match any other socks I already own. Job security for sock factory workers. It's a conspiracy.

2. Have to wash 3 DOZEN bath towels after just SEVEN days!!! This is a major puzzle since the children don't take as many baths/showers as they should. Except for one--she takes a shower every day. Last Monday I finished the laundry and today I have to wash THREE. DOZEN. BATH TOWELS. Possibly more--there is literally a mountain of bath towels sitting on my bedroom floor right now. Vince and I used one towel each--ALL WEEK. A concept I've been apparently failing to insert into my children's minds for the last several years. Which is why today everyone will get to choose ONE towel for the ENTIRE week which they are responsible for. The rest are going to disappear.

3. Have children who refuse to change their clothes every day. Don't judge me. I do what I can. I can hear you asking yourselves how this makes MORE laundry...wouldn't it make sense that if the children don't change their clothes every day there would be LESS laundry??? AHA--that's the PUZZLE! Which I dont' like. It's like those story problems in math where one train is traveling 35 mph going south and the other train.... After last week I am ready to postulate a theory on this puzzle. One of my children who I know wore the SAME outfit for THREE consecutive days had NO clothes in their dresser after the laundry sort. NOT A STITCH! Maybe that's why he wore the same outfit for three days... How does this happen?

4. I'm sure this doesn't happen to you but it may explain mystery #3--the kids don't like to use their dressers! I have different theories because the same theory won't work for each child. One idea is that the child is a daydreamer and somewhere between the table where I fold the laundry and their dresser they absolutely forget what it was they went to their bedroom for and set the laundry wherever it is convenient--which is not in their dresser--and this is a puzzle to me because wouldn't the fact that you are carrying a stack of clean folded clothes REMIND you why you were there in the first place?!? A second theory is that the child has seriously overestimated how much time it takes to put the laundry away and decides in their brain that they have no time for it and they put it someplace--not in their dresser. A third theory is that the child has no room in the dresser because they have filled an entire drawer with nut shells, pine cones, and old peach pits. Still don't judge me, OK? A fourth theory is that the child finds it way more entertaining to stuff the clean laundry under their bed, between the bed and the wall, under the dresser (and really if you are going to put it under the dresser then why not IN the dresser--wouldn't that be easier anyway?), under their pillow, wadded up with their blankets on the bed,... I think the reasoning behind this child's thought process is that it's a GAME! Every morning they can play hide and seek with their wardrobe!!

5. Run out of dish towels and dish rags 4 days after laundry day and wash an entire basket of said towels and rags on laundry day. Remember--I have a front loader washing machine so these are big loads. I CANNOT figure out why we run out of dishrags--it's not like the kitchen is super clean. I have two entire drawers full of them! I have even been known (don't judge) to walk through the kitchen, being very exasperated at all the dishrags all over the kitchen and evaluating which ones were still OK to put back in the drawer.

6. I'm sure at your house no one leaves a laundry trail. It's like mouse tracks only from kids--there is a stream of laundry all through the house. A little pile here, a bigger pile over there, a few socks under that sofa, a pair of dirty underwear in the entry way (still no judging--except maybe the kids--you can judge them because I see absolutely NO reason for dirty underwear to exist outside a laundry basket),..... Every Monday morning I get to go on a scavenger hunt. Except there is no pot of gold or treasure--just stinky laundry.

7. Probably at your house people don't blame you for their dirty clothes. (Ethan just gave a sigh of relief and said "Oh-I thought you were going to write about that other thing" I asked him about the other thing but he won't tell me.) Anyhow. I can spend two entire days doing laundry. I'll good naturedly (most of the time) do the scavenger hunt, the smelly laundry sort, and wash, dry, and fold everything and yet if I miss a single article of clothing THAT will be the ALL IMPORTANT piece that someone HAS to wear! It's Murphy's Law. At least the part about the ONE piece that gets missed is the ONE piece someone HAS to have. The other law is some weird mystery laundry mom law where no one but the mother is ultimately responsible for making sure their clothes get in the laundry to be washed!!!

8. People at your home probably don't hold you accountable for making sure all 479 articles of clothing (the kids said, "you counted them?" which I didn't but you get the idea) get in the correct pile. They will come all the way back with an article of clothing that isn't theirs demanding to know HOW in the WORLD I could think it belonged to them!!! And then they will be teenager huffy about having to put it in the proper person's drawer. Which is really kind of funny when you consider that they can walk all the way back with the one piece of clothing that isn't theirs but they can't get their own clothing in the dresser.

Ethan says "You're being rude" similar to his "Are you trying to be mean or does it just come natural?" comment from last week. Eva just walked out of the room, exasperated. So I guess my work here is finished.

For now.

But really. I have high hopes for this post. When I wrote the "What I Have Learned About Fairness" post I didn't hear "That's not fair!!" for at least three weeks. I'm thinking this post will buy me reasonable laundry loads for the next two weeks minimum. So I will have some relief from laundry conundrums.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wonderful Randomness

This morning I took the kids to the dentist to get their teeth cleaned. Ivy and Ethan were called back first. Ivy came back really quick and I asked her how many cavities she had--she didn't know. After a little while they called Eva and Nathan back. Ivy and I waited and waited for Ethan. Pretty soon Nathan came back and we were just waiting for Eva and Ethan. At this point I'm wondering if Ethan was missing half a tooth or something. Or maybe Eva and Ethan need braces...wouldn't that be great? Pretty soon someone comes to get me saying "the Doctor wants to visit with you". Lovely. They take me to a room where Eva and Ethan are waiting with the doctor who tells me that the three kids he looked at have no cavities--which is amazing! But still--we needed to find out about Ivy. The receptionist checked for us and she had no cavities either! For the first time ever! I was stunned. Part of me was tempted to say that there must be some mistake and maybe they'd better check again but I resisted. Perhaps Ivy said it best, "I don't know why...." We were all a little puzzled but very pleased!

We got a call from the U of U Speech clinic this week and Nathan gets to start weekly 2 hour group sessions the first week of June. It is an expense but it is not terribly bad. We are excited for him!

Ethan has been working for money. He has always been very interested in having and earning money but working for money has not seemed worthwhile to him in the past. But not anymore! He has worked in the yards of 4 neighbors and is a GREAT worker! We are very proud. One job in particular has been very difficult--I don't think the area he has been weeding has been weeded for 2-4 years. He gets EVERY weed out--very clean work. And he's been spending almost all of his free time working on it. Go Ethan!

Yesterday Ivy had her friend birthday party. I made her a ladybug cake but we couldn't find the camera so there is no picture of it. The exciting part is that I made fondant and it was fairly simple! Ivy had a spa party complete with an exfoliating scrub (wet cornmeal) and face mask (bananas and honey) and all the girls wanted cucumber slices. The girls were really excited for that part which I thought was weird but they had a good time. Then they watched a little movie while Eva and her friend painted the girls' nails. Ivy invited 9 friends and all 9 friends came. Surprisingly this wasn't at all stressful--probably because Eva had a great time helping the girls with their stuff and Nathan and Ethan took care of little details like answering the door (nothing like a little get together to draw every other child in the neighborhood) and cleaning up.

When the party was over we borrowed a few hammers and headed to Aunt L's to pound nails in the floor. They are putting new laminate down and removing the vinyl left TONS of staple/nails sticking up everywhere. Eva and Ethan worked as well as any adult for almost an hour before they started getting tired. It was hard work and I started getting tired at that point too.

It's so fun to see the kids grow up and witness what great people and hard workers they have become. I love how they (for the most part) take care of each other try to do the right thing.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Letter to Eva's Teacher

Dear Mr. Becker,

I saw/observed/glanced at/perused/gazed/watched/looked/touched/approved/noticed/ appreciated/complimented Eva's fantastic/great/fabulous/marvelous/flawless/ satisfactory/super/super duper/wonderful/amazing/excellent/superior/superb report card.
Linnea Olcott

Eva said I could only write one sentence with six words. I couldn't decide which words to use so I gave you options. She won't be happy when she's sone practicing and gets this but I think we've established that doesn't bother me. In fact, I enjoy it because I think when she gets that exasperated "You're so embarrassing!" look that it's cute and it's a parent's prerogative to embarrass their preteen/teenager to make up for the first three years of life....mostly the third year. You should read my blog--good stories there.

Uh oh--she's coming.


The next day Ethan needed a note saying that I had read his report card and it went something like this:

"Dear Mr. Peterson: I saw Ethan's report card. I would write more but the boy is more clever than the girl and I have run out of paper."

It's true--Ethan brought me a leeeetle piece of paper for his note. Smart boy!

Eva was mortified when her teacher read her note out loud to the class. The next morning at the gym a fifth grade teacher saw me and said, "By the way, you get the award for best parent letter of the year...no decade! That's the BEST parent letter I've read--so funny!" Mr. Becker had shared the letter with several teachers as well and while he let me borrow it so I could blog it for Eva's children to read one day he was very adamant that we return it...I have to send it back to school tomorrow.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dear Kindergarten

Why did you have to grow up? Remember 30 years ago when we had snacktime and naptime and painting and the teacher told my mom she was worried about me because I didn't know how to use scissors? How come you don't do scissors so much anymore? What happened to snacktime and naptime?

Remember when my sister's happy kindergarten swinging picture was in the paper? How come you don't do recess anymore?

Remember 6 years ago when you did finger painting and brush painting and fruit loop necklaces and masks and spider hats? That was fun. Remember letter of the week and you did letter puppets and letter songs and letter games? That was fun too.

Remember when kids went to kindergarten to make and play with friends? We liked that.

Now you just do worksheets. No offense, but they are boring...and kids don't learn as well. Coloring the worksheets would help but I guess you are too old for crayons.

Kindergarten, as I have watched you grow up I have decided that I never want to outgrow: coloring, swinging, recess, friends, cutting, snacks, naptime, puppets, playtime, picture books, ..... All those things that made you great 30 years ago.

At least you are still teaching me.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Ivy

Ivy tells me that she likes my computer "and that's because when it is blank and nothing is showing on it, no pictures or anything, then it's like a mirror--that's why I like our TV, too, because it is like a mirror."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Last Sunday

A few months ago Vince and I joined a community choir--we actually tried out and made it although we readily admit that we were coaxed, cajoled, and begged to try out by the director and so she had to let us in at that point no matter what our try out sounded like. Anyways. Choir practice is every Saturday night from 7:00-9:00. Since we have 9 AM church Sunday morning we always have to remember to tell the kids to SHOWER or BATHE while we are gone. Last Saturday we forgot.

Of course only Eva had cleaned herself so we (and by we I mean I because Vince had early meetings) had to wake them up early to get it done before church. I decided to wake Ivy first--since she is the slowest. She got right up and took a normal bath which was a relief because we didn't have time for her to spend the normal 60 minutes in there. Actually, all the bathing went very smoothly and I remember feeling very relieved and happy about it. Then we had to start breakfast which was easy because I had cold cereal in the house and there is nothing better than cold cereal when you are rushed in the morning. Except when the person who did the dishes the night before doesn't turn the dishwasher on. All the bowls were dirty. So we had cereal in soup mugs. Which worked out well. One soup mug did not fill them up so I told them that they could have another when they were COMPLETELY DRESSED. Just as a reference it was 7:45 when I made this announcement and Ivy was dressed--all she had to do was comb her hair and put shoes on.

8:35 (we were supposed to leave at 8:30) Ivy announces that she is ready for her second mug of cereal and I have to tell her we're leaving and it's too late which prompts a response like: "WHAT?! That's not FAIR! I was going to have another bowl but YOU wouldn't let me and I was hungry! And I HAD time then but you wouldn't let me and that's not fair! I'm STAAAAARVING!!!! I CAN'T go to church so hungry!" She can spit all of that out in like 3 seconds and of course it was accompanied throwing and contorting of body parts in various directions. I tried to reason with her: "But Ivy I woke you up FIRST so you would have time. You had 40 minutes to find your shoes and comb your hair. You should have moved FASTER." It was no good--there was no reasoning with her and really I should know better anyway.

8:38 We get in the car with the crying Ivy.

8:40 We are halfway to church, Ivy is still moaning about breakfast but abruptly stops when Ethan says: "I get to pick the bench today!" This of course started a cacophony of "What? Why does HE get to choose? I never get to pick it! It's NOT FAIR!"

8:41 I announce that only Mom and Dad will choose the bench from now on. Forever. Ethan responds with, "OK but can we sit on a little bench?" I have NO idea why he is obsessed with the little bench thing but we have this talk. Every. Week. We fit on a smaller bench. Barely. And no one likes to sit that close to each other. I tell him that we are not sitting on a little bench--that's one reason we leave early.

8:43 We arrive at church and everyone gets out of the car to go in. Except Ethan because he is upset that he doesn't get to choose the bench and that we don't get to sit on a small bench.

8:45 Eva, Nathan, Ivy, and I sit down on a bench to wait for the meeting to start. Ivy resurrects the breakfast drama. I tell her that she now has a strike because I don't want to talk about it anymore and if she gets 2 more strikes she will not have dessert. She hits me.

8:47 I take Ivy into a classroom so she can stand in the corner.

8:49 I leave Ivy in the classroom and tell her that when she is done with the yelling about breakfast she can come to the chapel and sit with us. I go back to the chapel and sit with Eva and Nathn and realize that Ethan is still not there. A friend points him out to me. He is in the chapel. Sitting on a small bench.

8:51 I go sit by Ethan. Right. By. Him. Hip to hip and shoulder to shoulder. He tells me that there is plenty of room and WHY can't we sit there! I start to think of how to coax/beg/drag him back to our bench and then get a bright idea. I say "Ethan--are you OK with me sitting this close to you? Because if you're OK with this we can sit here but you have to sit right next to me the whole meeting." He agrees.

8:54 I motion Eva to our seat and tell her we are going to switch benches and ask her to get our stuff. She acts like Ivy and says something like "What?! Just because HE wants to! Why do We have to move!" And then stomps off to get our stuff. The ladies behind me are giggling and I am fighting giggles because the whole morning suddenly seems very ridiculous.

8:55 Eva comes back with Nathan and our stuff and sits down with a big SIGH. The ladies giggle more. Then I remember where Ivy is and that she needs to come back but I can't leave without compromising my spot Right. Next. To. Ethan. So I tell Eva and she sighs again and goes to get Ivy.

8:57 Eva and Ivy come back and Ivy immediately earns another strike. Because of the breakfast drama. The ladies giggle some more. I say to the ladies "I wore yellow because it's a happy color" and "Nathan's happy!" They giggle some more. I smile and fight down the giggles. Ivy lays her head down on my lap to cry silently and Ethan asks if I can move down a little. I tell him that's not part of the deal.

8:59 Vince comes and looks at us and the bench. He has a questioning look in his eyes when our eyes meet. I can hear him asking: "Why are we sitting here? What's wrong with Ivy?" Before he can say anything I say: Don't say. A word. Just sit down." He says "OK." The ladies laugh some more. We are past giggles at this point.

3:00 PM I tell Vince about our morning and why I was a little short with him just before the meeting. When I get to the end he says, "I was going to ask you why they were so reverent and how impressed I was!"

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Congratulations Eva!

We are very excited that Eva received a $200 scholarship to her violin suzuki camp this year. She was chosen because she "demonstrated that she is working very hard on her music". In addition to the $250 she earned from fundraising she has almost earned the entire cost of the camp!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Didn't I Already Finish School?!!

I have so far managed to not "help" with any school projects this year. Ivy had BEAR month (Be Excited About Reading) where the kids are supposed to do several cool projects about books they've read and I didn't help. At. All. Because I've been busy with Nathan, piano,... Besides it's HER project and it ended up OK so I felt vindicated for my lack of participation. I also didn't help with science fair projects--that apparently worked to Eva's advantage as she not only advanced to the district competition for the first time ever but also advanced to the regional competition. I didn't want to help with Reflections projects either so I convinced the PTA board that it would be super helpful to have a "submission clinic" where the Reflections committee prepares the art for submission. I was quite proud of myself, to be honest.

But Animal reports are due this week. Yay. The teacher sent a note home saying that they WOULD need parent help--we were supposed to sign a form and return it (which I didn't but I DID read it). Ethan has to construct a diorama, write a written report, and prepare an oral presentation. We've known about this for a long time but have procrastinated in order to prepare him for college because everyone knows that when you go to college you have so many projects and papers due all the time that you have to do them all at the last minute anyway. So we are responsible parents.

Last night we started (and finished) the diorama (Vince and I are both college graduates--we can start and finish big projects quite quickly now). It was really big because we decided that Vince would be the best person to help with the diorama and I would be the best to help with the written report--we made no determination about the oral presentation but I will try to go watch and smile encouragingly. Anyhow. The diorama turned out big. Because Vince was in charge and I am reminded of what Vince's Aunt Betty said about our coffee table: "It turned out bigger than you thought it would, didn't it--that's because those Olcotts always make everything big!" It's true.

Eva woke up this morning and was asking about the really cool features of the horned toad lizard diorama like the anthill, ants, prickly pear cacti, giant boulders, grasses, horny toad,... She said to me: "Why is it so big?" and then "Mom, how come you didn't make my animal diorama this cool?" She didn't wait for an answer to the first question because--duh--and I was a little surprised/hurt/sheepish/giggly when she didn't wait for the answer to the second question either. She just walked out of the room laughing. Rude. Just because when Eva did her animal diorama Vince was really busy and I helped with the whole project. Apparently even though her frog diorama included a pond with actual water and lily pads (among other things) it was neither large (true) nor cool (debatable since she thought it was cool at the time and said the other kids were ooohing and ahing) and doesn't compete with what Dad can produce. Not a huge surprise, I guess.

Now I have approximately 20 hours left to help Ethan finish that written report...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Laughable Logic

Lately one of my children has been impossible to reason with. Relatively. Because I don't think my children have perfect reasoning skills. I once watched a neighbor in Logan try to reason with her very spoiled three-year-old. It was ugly. At that point in time I decided to never debate anything with any child under the age of five and to have limited discussions with any other child. I still haven't decided if I will try reasoning with teenagers--I have about 6 months to develop some kind of plan for that.

Anyway. It's Ethan. Yesterday I woke him up at 7:15 so he could be ready to leave for church at 8:30. I woke him up several times (and I knew he was awake because I was getting ready to give him a "buzz" on his belly and he started giggling). Finally, at 8:15 I told him that he'd better hurry because he had to have a bath or shower and be dressed and ready to go or else I would leave him and he could wait for Dad to pick him up. I'm fairly certain that would be unpleasant because he jumped out of bed and headed straight for the tub. He was ready in time--whew--but he was furious when I told him he would not have time for breakfast. He said to me: "WHAT?!! You KNEW I would be hungry!" I just looked at him and tried not to smile and said: "Yes. Yes I did. Which is why I woke you up over an hour ago!" He said: "But you KNEW I would be HUNGRY!" Sigh. I had to sigh or else I was going to just laugh out loud and I'm pretty sure that would have ended unpleasantly... We just left at that point...

So last night Eva was sniffling (she has a cold) and Ethan said "Blow your nose." She ignored him as big sisters generally do with little brothers--that or whack them upside the head or arm, anyway. A few minutes later we heard "EVA! GO BLOW YOUR NOSE NOW!" We had to intervene at that point and tell him that he shouldn't yell at his sister. He replied with (drum roll) "But SHE told ME to blow MY nose a few days ago!!" Okay, so maybe the drum roll was really my eyes rolling. We ignored that and everything was quiet for the next five minutes or so until Eva started blowing her nose...and blowing...still blowing.........and.....blowing some more. At this point Ethan was just about beside himself and couldn't help but yell, "STOP BLOWING YOUR NOSE!" I thought this was hilarious, but managed to contain it to a chuckle and say, "But Ethan--YOU told her to blow it!" He responded with "But she's doing it on PURPOSE!"