Saturday, December 23, 2006

Too Cute!

Last night, when Nate was saying his prayers he said,

"Thank you we make a Ninja-bread house."

I mean, of course it would be ninja-bread. How cool is that, anyway? Ninja-bread is much, MUCH cooler than, say,


PC Christmas

So, I'm not sure why it's okay to focus on other holidays in school, but not Christmas? This year my children have become quite educated on Hannukah, Kwanza, and Dawalli (among other holidays). Nate and Drew brought home dreidel's from preschool. It's not that I am opposed to my children becoming more culturally aware, I just can't understand why Christmas and Santa Claus is a forbidden topic.

I purchased a pre-made gingerbread house from Costco. It came in a kit and all you had to do is use the enclosed frosting to put it together, and then use the enclosed candy to decorate it. This year, it is just our speed (in fact Drew is methodically eating all the candy off of it, even as I write this).

In the car, on the way home, Drew was just thrilled that we were going to be making a gingerbread house. He squealed with delight and said,

"Mommy, we will go home and make our gingerbread house for Hannukah!!!"

I guess we need to be better about talking about Christmas at home!:-)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Ten Years!!!

In the midst of our travels and travails over Thanksgiving, Warren and I celebrated our ten year anniversary! I cannot believe that we have been married for that long - or that we have packed in as much living as we have in 10 years. We often laugh that we have snuck a lifetime of experiences into our first ten years! Here is my list of my:

"Top ten (things) in ten (years)!"
(In no particular order)

10: Living at a snowmobile lodge our 2nd year of marriage.
How many people can say they've done that? We were the night managers at a gorgous lodge at the summit of Logan canyon. We lived there, so we had no living expenses. They fed us every night (only steak, chicken, or salmon, though... :-)) and every morning. On top of all that, they actually paid us for the 'trouble' of driving up for an amazing get-away each and every night.

9: Law School.
Although, at the time, I'm not sure we would have put this experience in the top of our great experiences, we learned a LOT. Our marriage was tested and strengthened, we learned how to be a family with our new little Matthew, and we learned so much about ourselves. It was our first real taste of full independence and I felt such a sense of pride in that independence. It has also set the course for the rest of our lives. Even though things didn't always turn out as we had planned (the first year, NOTHING turned out as we had planned!), and sometimes the whole experience seemed to be kicking us in the butt, it has turned out well.

8: Moving to Boston.
I still remember the excitement when Warren was asked to interview for a job at a large firm in Boston. It was around our anniversary and he and I went to Boston together for 2 nights while he interviewed. Then, a week or two later I answered the telephone when the managing tax partner called to extend an offer to Warren. We were so thrilled! After a really challenging law school experience, Warren had a job - a GREAT job! We finally felt like 'real' adults, going off to the big wide world to make a name for ourselves. Our hopes of owning a home were dashed, however, when we realized how expensive Boston was! We drove through neighborhoods of what we thought were 'starter homes'. We would get ourselves all excited about how, "these would be okay for awhile - they're not quite what we imagined, but they'll do." Only to find out that those homes were easily $750,000! It was eye-opening! Boston was a blast, though. Spending time at the ocean, becoming familiar with downtown Boston, eating fresh seafood, visiting all of the museums and historical sites, day trips to Cape Cod, New Hampshire, or Maine. Boston was amazing!

7: Living in Chicago.
Chicago has been a mixed blessing. The offer to move here came at a time when we needed a new job. Warren's firm in Boston dissolved, and we needed a good opportunity. The move was a great one professionally. Warren feels like he has learned more in 2 years here then he learned in 4 years in Boston. However, his hours are long - very long - unbelievably long. But, suburbia is very nice. We live in a comfortable home, in a nice neighborhood, on a quiet street, with lovely people all around us. Warren also served his mission here in Chicago. I think that it has been fun for him to be back.

6: The birth of Nathan and Andrew.
TWINS! We were so thrilled when we found out we were getting a '2 for 1' deal (well, I was thrilled, I think Warren was mostly shocked)! The pregnancy was fairly easy for me - I only gained 75 pounds. :-) Watching two little personalities emerge and then begin to interact with one another has been one of the most rewarding parts of the past 3 1/2 years. They have their ups and downs, but it's been mostly ups. Having infant twins was a new experience for Warren. Usually, I am able to be up with the baby at night and I don't mind doing that because I am the one feeding them! However, with two babies to attend, Warren was needed on night duty much more frequently. He kept talking about how hard it was to be up at night with the babies. I just had to smile! See, he would have missed that if we had not had twins.

5: The birth of William.
We nicknamed William our 'little bar baby' because he decided to make his debut the day of Warren's bar exam! Now, in hindsight, perhaps we would have postponed the exam, but that day it seemed like the thing to do for Warren to go ahead and take the bar. He had, after all, been studying for almost 3 months straight! At 3 a.m. the morning of the Bar my water broke. When I realized what had happened, I woke up Warren and we could not stop laughing. Will was two weeks early and what a day to choose to arrive! Luckily, all worked out well. Even though my water had broken, I was not in active labor. In fact, I was not in active labor for most of the day. It wasn't until Warren met me at the hospital after day 1 of the exam that contractions really began. Then, once they started, everything went very quickly. We checked into the hospital at 7:45 p.m. and by 8:08 p.m. I was holding William! Warren was able to do all the 'dad things' at the newborn nursery, visit with me for an hour, and still made it home and was in bed by 10:00 (he had to be back early for day 2 of the Bar exam). We joked that if he failed the exam he had a good excuse, and if he passed the exam he had a great story. Luckily, he ended up with a really great story! William has been a joy to have in our family. He has such a spontaneous, fun personality that it was only fitting for him to arrive in the manner that he did!

4: The birth of Matthew.
We decided to begin our family after we had been married one year. We were still young, we had law school ahead of us, and I know some people close to us thought we were crazy. However, our sweet baby was the highlight of our first year of law school. Warren often said that coming home to our smiley little boy with hair sticking up everywhere, was the high point of every day. Matthew made us smile when we felt like crying, and made us pick up the pieces over and over again when things kept falling apart our first year. He was a delight to us that first year and has continued to be a joy to raise ever since. He is mindful and kind and sensitive and smart, and I feel like having him in our family has been a tremendous blessing - from the very beginning.

3: Serving in Tully.
After our first year in Syracuse, Warren and I were asked by the Stake President to begin attending a small branch about 20 minutes away from our home ward. This branch was really struggling. They didn't have enough members to keep things running, so as one last attempt to keep it open, they asked 3 young couples from the ward to come serve in this branch. It was such a sweet experience. My testimony of the gospel was strengthened as I slowly realized what things were and were not necessesary in the church. Of course, it is nice when wards can have greeters and 7 different music people, and full presidencies in each auxillary. However, the Spirit can be just as present, and very strong, in tiny church buildings, with just a handful of people, and things that don't 'look' like you think they should look. I met the most amazing people - two of my closest friends in that branch turned out to be women 30 and 50 years older than me. These ladies and I connected on a very personal level, and I know I can attribute that relationship to the fact that we were together in this little branch. Had we been in a large ward, I can't imagine us ever getting to know one another. Whenever I get caught up on the idea of perfection at church, I try to think back on our little branch. As I think about serving there, I think I understand a little bit better what the gospel is all about!

2: Celebrating our ten year anniversary at the 'Boulders'.
After Thanksgiving, Warren and I left Matt and Will with his mother, and Nate and Drew with my mother and he and I escaped for 4 days to Arizona. It was so BEAUTIFUL and WONDERFUL! It was so nice to re-connect with my wonderful husband. We ate fabulous meals together, spent time in the sun, read, shopped, and relaxed. The resort was so quiet - the day after Thanksgiving is a great day to begin a vacation, FYI! We had our own little 'Casita' which was sort of like a cabin with a real log burning fireplace, large hot tub, and two comfortable leather chairs. It was a perfect celebration for our anniversary. Now I just want to go back! Since we have never gone away together on a vacation, this one absolutely makes my TOP TEN!

1: Our wedding day.
I don't know if it was a good sign or a bad sign, but the day we got married it was POURING rain! Really, for those of you who know Utah weather, how often does the rain come down in torrents? Never. Except on my wedding day. :-) Our wedding photos outside of the temple all include this gigantic, rainbow colored, golf umbrella. You know, though, it made me smile then, and it makes me smile now. I think it is a little bit different, and a little bit special - sort of like my marriage. The number one highlight of the past 10 years is the day I married Warren in the Logan, UT, LDS temple. Our life together began on that day, and I am so thankful that he chose me. I would choose him, and our life, and our experiences, good and bad again in a heartbeat. When we were engaged, we believed all the discussions about how any two young people can have a successful marriage if they are committed to the marriage, pray together, etc... Not that I disagree with that - I don't. It's just that now Warren and I have been married for 10 years, I believe we are meant to be together. I don't believe that I could be as happy, or have as successful of a marriage with someone else. He and I both feel that we were designed for one another. And that makes me happy.

Thanks for a terrific and eventful ten years, War!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Snow Day!!!

Yesterday at 6:00 a.m. I received a kid's favorite call. "School's closed for the day, due to inclement weather" the recorded voice said. Looking outside I saw that, sure enough, there was a LOT of heavy, wet snow. It was still coming down hard with no sign of it stopping. Warren decided it would be better to work from home, rather than fight his way through a 2 hour commute, so he was around all day, as well.

It was so fun to stay home for the day, all snuggled and warm, while the freezing snow fell outside. The boys slept in, I made a big breakfast, and we spent the morning watching cartoons. Around 10:00, I couldn't convince the boys to stay in any longer so out they went into the first snow of the year. After lunch we went out again, and by then it was glorious - sunny and clear. The roads were still really crummy, though! The boys went to the corner where there is a big field that sort of slopes up toward the sidewalk creating a perfect small sledding hill. It was a wonderful day!

The boys and Warren trying to turn the slide into an icy fast ride.

William trying to peg me with a snowball (luckily, I was standing safe and warm in the kitchen).

Matthew and Aspen. Aspen LOVES the snow!

Warren, shovelling with Nate and Drew helping.

The consequence of such a busy day in the snow! Nate and Warren.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

New blue cast

Will resting at Grandma's, right after his visit to the Emergency Room.

Since William is the WINNER of the, 'first boy in our family to break a bone' award, I thought this monumentous occasion (sure to be the first of many) deserved it's very own post!

For Thanksgiving, our family travelled West to visit relatives. On Thanksgiving day we were eating ourselves silly in Rupert, Idaho. All of the kids went outside to run around for awhile and before long William came in crying. While outside playing on a tree stump (only about 3 inches off the ground), he had fallen and scraped his hand. After getting a band-aid, Will wanted Warren to come outside so Will, "could show you what happened, Dad." Warren took him outside and Will was standing on the stump explaining carefully how he had fallen, when he stumbled again. Falling off the stump, he landed hard on his elbow. He immedietly flew into such hysterics when anyone mentioned touching or moving his arm that we knew a visit to the Minidoka Memorial Hospital Emergency room was in order.

Sure enough, 4 X-rays, and a few thousand bucks later, we were told he fractured his arm just above the elbow. Thank goodness it broke where it did, apparently children's elbows can be tricky to diagnose and fix. The orthopedist put him in a 1/2 cast (to make room for swelling) and a sling and told us to follow up with our doctor when we got back to Chicago.

Yesterday we went to our own group of doctors and saw another orthopedist who took more X-rays, confirmed that Will did, indeed, have a fractured arm, and put him in a new blue cast.

We think he looks fabulous.
William, a week later. You can tell he's really suffering! :-)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Happy (belated) Halloween!

I can't believe Halloween was 5 days ago already! We had a great day. Halloween ranks a close second to Christmas at our house, so it is a BIG deal. In fact, Matt has already started planning his costume for next year. Hey, there are only 360 days left to get it ready!

Nate and Drew finally "got" Halloween this year. Last year, they loved getting the candy, but they would stop after every house and wanted to eat the candy. This year they could keep up with their big brothers, and they loved coming home and examining their loot. Originally, I had thought that one of them could be Buzz Lightyear and the other could be Woody. However, in anticipation of 'Woody' being less than thrilled with his costume, I actually purchased two Buzz costumes and one Woody costume. I'm sure glad I did because when I tried the Woody costume on Nate, he was pretty disappointed. He kept looking at Drew's Buzz costume and then looking down forlornly at his own. I asked him if he would rather be Buzz and he said, "yes." When I pulled the second Buzz costume out of the bag, his eyes just lit up. Apparently, a fake gun and cowboy hat can't compete with a fake lazer! So, here they are:

Double Buzzzzzzzzzz!

Matt and Will chose their costumes. Matt, after much speculation and changing of his mind, finally settled on being a 'Ninja.' William very quickly decided he wanted to be a 'Ninja Turtle.' I enjoyed watching them parade around their schools. I also got to go into Matt's class to help with his party. It was so fun!

Will as a Ninja turtle, Matt as a Ninja!

We have a few fun Halloween traditions. One is the carving of our Jack-O-Lantern. I think it's funny this tradition is so highly anticipated because not one of the boys will touch the insides of the pumpkin! They just end up watching Warren do the whole thing, but they enjoy it and look forward to it all the same.

This year's creation!

Our second big tradition is our 'Spooky supper.' Last year, on a whim I made a simple dinner using favorite foods along with copious amounts of food coloring. I created a little menu out of cardstock and then burned around the edges so it would look 'extra spooky.' We ate the same thing this year. We had:

"Witches Hair" = Spaghetti noodles died green
"Worm Guts" = Spaghetti sauce
"Baby Birdie Brains" = Peas
"Eyeballs of Newt" = Pineapple tidbits tinted blue
"Crispy gnome fingers" = Pretzel sticks or crispy breadsticks
"Sparkling Bat Drool" = Ginger ale mixed with juice, or Grape soda

We eat by candlelight on black plates and the boys just love it! I will really miss these little traditions when the boys get too old for them. For now, though, they are a lot of fun!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

What's up with snide people???

I struggle to correct people when I should correct them! Because of this, I am always completely awe-struck at people who feel the need to chastise and correct others with no authority to do so.

Today I had another chance to go into Will's classroom to help with LRC time. As I was upstairs getting my shoes on to leave, Drew threw up. He wasn't 'sick', just seems to be following a trend of random throwing up that our family currently has! So, I was running a few minutes slow because I had to get him and the floor cleaned up. I was pretty thrilled with myself, though, because I made it to the classroom quickly. I signed in at the office at 8:32, and was in the classroom by 8:35 (I was supposed to be there at 8:30).

After I took the first group of kids down to the LRC, I was in the classroom waiting for the next group of children to line up and the classroom AIDE came over to me and says, with raised eyebrows:

"Our library time begins at 8:30. . ."
The tone of her voice was so snide, I was taken aback!
I felt like saying, "Oh, I THOUGHT it began at 8:35 - thank you so much for letting me know!"

Besides being a rude thing to say, in my opinion, I think that the TEACHER should be talking to parents about things like that, NOT the aide! I wonder what Will's teacher would say if she knew her classroom aide was belittiling her parent volunteers?!?

I completely agree that I need to be on time. I have always been early up to this point. I just wonder if it threw the classroom morning schedule off by THAT much???

And I am mostly just struck by the nerve of some people!

This is one of my very favorite quotes:

"Should you notice that another person is extremely tall, or overweight, eats too much, or declines convival drinks, ought to be married, ought not to be pregnant - see if you can refrain from bringing these astonishing observations to that persons attention".
-Judith Martin

So. . . someone who is 5 minutes late does NOT need it pointed out to her!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Dining. . .with children (or, really great ways to spoil a perfectly good meal).

I love to cook. I like to eat. I like to serve food to my family and watch them enjoy a nice meal or treat. Tonight, I thought I made an exceptionally nice dinner. I made Steak Diane (a really yummy beef recipe, where you use a fabulous cut of meat, season it with lemon pepper, worshestershire sauce and lemon juice and then pan sear it), mashed potatoes, and peas. Not only was the food good - I will be the first to admit to sometimes popping open a can of clam chowder - but the boys were being particularly pleasant. Everyone seems to be pretty much over the sickness that has plagued us for the past few weeks. The boys were all staying seated at their places, and they all seemed to be eating their dinner without too much complaining.

Suddenly, out of the blue, Nathan starts throwing up. I don't know if he's coming down with something, or if he just ate too big of a bite, or what. But, there was throw up across the entire dinner table. Matthew, who has the weakest stomach of any kid I know, looks at Nate vomiting, and then he starts throwing up. William, not to be outdone, pushes his chair away from the table, stands up, and promptly throws up all over the floor. :-) {{{sigh}}}

So, if any of you desire a way to add a little adventure to your next meal, I'll be happy to loan my boys to you.

Oh, and Drew's my current favorite kid tonight! :-)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Freezing on the Yuppie farm

You might think from the title of this post that our family visited a farm whereon some enterprising farmer was raising Yuppies. Actually, it is about our family (being a Yuppie family - see overpriced outerwear below) spending $50 to visit a 'farm.' Not only were the requisite overpriced apples and pumpking present (yes, every year we pay twice as much as the grocery store charges to do the work of picking our own fruit), but there was also a petting zoo, an 'amazing maze of maize', a tricycle tractor racetrack and a giant sandbox filled with dried corn.

I think part of the reason we think this tradition is so funny is that Warren grew up as (sort of) a country boy! He was raised in Idaho. Although his family didn't farm, you just can't grow up in Idaho without a bit of Idaho sticking with you! He got out of school for potato harvest and the first day of deer hunting season! As Warren is fond of saying (usually whenever he backs a trailer into a tight space, or builds a potato gun, or guts a fish),

"You can take the boy out of Idaho, but you can't take Idaho out of the boy!"

So this is our way of bringing a little bit of 'Idaho' to our boys - only without any mountains, or any potatoes, or any true crops, and with lots of Volvo wagons and minivans in the parking lot. :-)

Andrew, inside a little hay bale maze.

Matthew in the petting zoo. He coaxed this little calf out from behind the shed.

William and Gracie feed a goat.

Andrew on the tricycle tractor track.

Nathan 'driving' his tractor.

Ready. . . . ., Set. . . . ., Go!!!

I have so enjoyed Nate and Drew since they have turned 3! What a difference a year makes. Two year old twins were one of the greatest challenges of my life. Although they were darling, two toddlers who have a hard time listening and absolutely no fear create a lot of work for mom - just to keep them alive!

Now, though, they play together all day long. They seldom fight. They ask for one another all the time, and are just pleasant little people.

One of my favorite new skills is them riding their bikes. We walk up to the bus stop at the corner of our street three times each day (the morning bus, the afternoon kindergarten bus, and the later afternoon bus for Matt). Each time we are getting ready, Nate and Drew beg to ride their bikes. They have these two little tricycles and it is so cute to see them race down the sidewalk. They have matching helmets, and with their heads leaning toward their handlebars (everyone knows that leaning forward makes you go faster), they are so cute! Andrew can go a bit faster than Nathan, so he will stop, wait for Nate to catch up and then say, "one, two, three four, five, six seben!" For some reason, 7 is the number that means, "GO!" Then they take off - only for Drew to get a little bit ahead, wait for Nate, and start the whole routine again. We also have an extra seat that turns one of the trike's into a 'two-seater.' I need to get a picture of them on that! But here are two photos of them riding up to the bus stop on their seperate little bikes - sorry the photos turned out a bit blurry!

Waiting for slow-poke mom, so we can cross the street.

Racing away - Will at the top of the sidewalk, Drew in front of Nate.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Our families affect on Sacrament meeting

Today, because Matt was sick, and Will is just getting over being sick, our family decided to take a sick day. Everyone stayed home from church and rested. I just got a call from Warren's cousin, who is in another ward that attends in our building at the same time as our ward. She was just gushing about our Ward's sacrament meeting. She heard it because she was in the mother's lounge nursing her baby during our sacrament. I guess the Spirit was so strong and people came out of the meeting crying, etc.... Apparently, for our ward to have an extremely spiritual testimony meeting experience, our noisy little boys just need to stay home! :-)

Overheard this morning

William was in Nate and Drew's room early this morning and they were having a conversation. Whenever I hear one of these snippets between brothers, I laugh at the way my boys minds work! Remember last night the boys had a babysitter.

Nate: "Will, where's Katie?"
Will: "Babysitters are gone in the morning, Nate."
Nate: "Where she go?"
Will: "It's like MAGIC!!! When you go to sleep, your babysitter is here, but when you wake up, she is gone - it's MAGIC."

A real life date!

Warren has had a heck of a month this month. Work has been just crazy for him! Last week was the worst yet! He billed 92 (NINETY-TWO!!!) hours. I think it is probably the worst week, hours wise, that he has had.

Today, though, was such a fabulous Saturday! For one thing the weather was perfect. One of those crisp fall days where a light long sleeve shirt is perfect. The sun was bright and it was just a glorious day. This morning we went to get bagels as a family and we ate them outside of Einstein's. Then I did a few things downtown while Warren went with the boys and the dog on a nice long walk. Will had a soccer game this afternoon and after the game Warren and I went on a DATE! We wanted to attend a session at the Temple. As we were hurrying there, I told Warren the wrong direction (I was just SURE you took the 94, rather than stay on the 294 - I'm hoping for a GPS for Christmas......). Anyhow, we ended up in bumper to bumper traffic for AGES with no way to get back to the correct freeway! Finally, after some fancy map-navigation on my part :-) we arrived at the Temple. We hit the 6:00 session instead of the 5:00, but it gave us an extra hour to talk in the car, so it all turned out just fine. I feel recharged and calm - I love the way the Temple does that for me. As I was sitting in the Temple, all I could think about was how good it felt to sit in a QUIET and CLEAN room! With our four wild little men, that is a rare occurance in itself! After our session we went out to dinner to Claim Jumpers. It was a great date!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

From the mouths of babes

Kids are so CUTE!!! This year I signed up to be a helper for Will's Kindergarten class in the LRC (library). Really, I had no idea what this volunteer opportunity would entail, but if I had, I would have signed up earlier! The parent volunteer leads groups of children down to the LRC, sits on the 'story-time' rocking chair, reads the children a story, and then helps them check out a book. I love reading to kids. Sometimes I think I should be a children's librarian instead of a speech-language pathologist! They were so attentive and made the most darling comments about the book. Then I got to help them all choose books about princesses, spiders, monster trucks, and Batman.

The best (well, most ego-building) part of the whole experience was right at the beginning. I walked into the class, and Will's teacher introduced me. One of the little girls turned around, looked at me and said, "You're Pretty!" {{{Blush}}} Maybe I should be a Kindergarten teacher, instead! :-)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The end of an era - the being embarassed about our yard era.

It's DONE!!! The landscaping is done. I am fully amazed at how quickly 4 men who have the correct tools and know what they are doing can do a job that would take us weeks and weeks to do. In 1/2 a day all the flower beds were evened out, a large ugly arborvitae was removed, a small retaining wall was built, our lawn was evened out and seeded, and perhaps 25 plants were planted. Everything was mulched, and our two downspouts in the front were buried. It looks so much better! Here are some photos:
Here we have a hydrangea on the right, 3 shrub roses in front of the boxwood and a dwarf Korean lilac bush on the left.

This Rose of Sharon, with daylillies underneath replaced this ENORMOUS, spidery arborvitae - it was about 5 feet around - YUCK!

This photo shows the new retaining wall, with boxwoods on the top level. Underneath we have a vibernum, a brand spanking new ROCK, 5 minuet weigelia's, and several hostas underneath the birch tree.

Here is the full view!
I am hoping that tomorrow I can find some time to go get some mums to add some color to our fall landscape. I just think it looks so much better! Yea!!!

A need for speed

A few weekends ago some friends invited us to go spend an afternoon riding their Ski-doos. While I am becoming a BIG CHICKEN, my boys are not! They love to go anywhere fast - and if it's on the water, riding a teeny-tiny, super fast machine, all the better.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Is there ANYTHING cuter than 5-year old boys playing soccer???
Go, Will, Go!!!

Get the ball!!!

Will as Goalie - no one scored while he was in there!!!

I ask you again: Is there ANYTHING cuter than 5-year old boys playing soccer???

Friday, September 08, 2006

Pride and Prejudice and Neglecting your house

I have a confession to make: I am a read-a-holic. Whew, that feels good to get off my chest. :-) Nothing makes me feel more like ME, then curling up with a great book and tuning out the rest of the world. Unfortunately, little boys don't take well to being neglected, and my home is in a state of dissaray that reflects my reading compulsion.

This week, I have been reading Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. I just could not put it down! Last weekend Warren and I watched the new version of the movie (well, 1995), and I loved it so much, I decided that I needed to re-read the novel. I guess that when I read it in High School, I wasn't patient enough to enjoy it. All I could think about was the fact that it was written in a strange style, and I remember thinking it was b-o-r-i-n-g. This time, though, I just loved it! I loved the language, the subtle sarcasm, the romance - I loved everything about it! I am embarrassed that I have not fully appreciated Jane Austen up to this point. I look forward to re-reading her other novels with as much enthusiasm!

I am also frequently reading books along with, or pre-reading books for Matthew. He is a voracious reader. He reads very quickly, retains everything, and can read at about an 8th grade level (I am guessing). He loves fantasy books, and I secretly love previewing them for him. :-) Between this and last week, besides Pride and Prejudice, I have also read both Angie Sage books, Magyk and Flyte, and also read the first book in the Gregor the Overlander series. Matt has kept pace with me, reading each of these books right after me.

I guess my home can suffer, if the trade-off is children who love books and reading as much as I do!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

My babies are in school!!!

Yesterday Nate and Drew started preschool. They were SO excited to finally be heading to their own school. They kept wanting my reasurrance that 'pwe-skool is not for mommies'. I had to repeat each day that they would be going to preschool without mommy. Preschool is just for little boys and girls. I think they were really worried that I was going to cramp their style by staying with them. :-)
They both did so well. I was a bit worried because Nate has been going through a phase where he cries when we drop him off at the nursery at church. School was different, though. He was happy and excited to be there. I could tell from his expression that he was a little nervous, as well. But, no tears. They have each marched in with their class with no glance back at their mommy. It's strange that the very same experience can make you want to smile, and cry at the same time.
Nate outside his school on the first day 9/6/06

Drew outside his school on the first day 9/6/06

Our landscaping saga continues

My sweet husband, Warren, is a firm believer in the Labor Day holiday. He thinks it is meant as a weekend to labor. Each year, we end up tackling some massive house project that we've neglected throughout the rest of the summer......because it was just 'too beautiful to stay home.' This year, while we were out enjoying our weekends, the front of our house just got worse and worse until at last, something HAD to be done. Last week we got going, and this Saturday, we woke up at 6:00 a.m., determined to make some headway on our yard. We decided to pull the red bushes out, and thought that would take all day. Well, luckily for us, it did not take all day. In fact, they were out by 8:00! So, we decided to forge ahead with our project and see if we could get some DIRT delivered. See, the right side of our home has settled quite a bit. The ground slopes, and was so low that the base of the porch didn't touch the dirt. This has been creating a perfectly cozy hideout for the rabbits that plague our neighborhood, eating any plants we might have had remaining in our landscaping. So, I call the dirt guy, give him the measurements of our beds, tell him what we need to do, and he tells us we need 10 yards of dirt. Of course, since we don't deal in quantities of dirt on a daily basis (unless you could what we wash off our boys every evening in the tub), we had no idea if 10 yards was a large bit of dirt. Well, let me tell you, it is a LOT of dirt. A whole dump truck full, to be precise. W-A-Y more than we needed, or could possibly use. My wonderful husband moved dirt for 12 hours straight! I would like to say that I was a lot of help, but, really, it was him who took wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow to each of our flower beds, around every tree, and everywhere else we could think to dump some. Eventually, we decided to shovel it out onto our front lawn. We have a sloping spot, where the grass always dies, so we decided to fill it in, and re-seed over it. The result is: two front beds that are way too tall, 1/2 of a former lawn covered in dirt, no bushes, flowers, or other plants, and an absolutely filthy driveway and walkway still covered in several inches of dirt.

Today I called some professionals. :-)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Landscaping with 'helpers'

Our house is in SERIOUS need of some landscaping! Today, we decided it was time to do something about it. Apparently, just gazing out the window, shaking our heads, and hoping some beautiful flowers would overgrow the weeds wasn't quite enough. We woke up early this morning and within an hour had 3 huge bags of weeds (the 30 gallon yardwaste paper bags) and a large trashcan full of this horrible 'Juniper' groundcover that has bothered me ever since we moved in. It pulled out in one great big 'carpet'. It was so nasty!

I forget how much my boys like being busy! They were actually really helpful, especially Matt. He pulled all the weeds in this one corner and filled an entire yard waste bag himself! Twelve hands working, even when 8 of those hands are rather small, are much faster than just 4 hands. We then went to this great local nursery and browsed their plants. One of the helpful ladies, even helped me draw a plan! So, now we at least have an idea!
Here is a 'before' photo.
Next week, we hope to pull out those ugly red bushes, and put down a nice layer of garden mix soil to even out the beds. Then, maybe we'll plant some, bushes and flowers! Yea!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

It's a good thing little boys are washable!

Today was a day that I meant to get all my laundry done. In fact, I started this morning washing sheets (Will got a bloody nose in the night). I scrubbed and scrubbed, but couldn't get the stain out. Finally I washed the sheets with a double dose of liquid bleach. The blood was gone, but the sheets are now several shades lighter. I then turned my attention to some muddy socks. My boys use their selective deafness skills when I am repeating my mantra, "please don't go in the yard in just your socks." So, I am forever scrubbing filthy socks. Today's batch was not going to come clean, regardless of the amount of bleach used, so I just ended up tossing them.

Midway through my morning, I am walking down the stairs with a basketful of laundry when I hear a "crash" and then Nathan begins crying and repeating, "I sowwy Mommy, I sowwy I bweaked yow cwock." Somehow, my clock had become part of the boys 'bad guy' game and Nathans head had shattered the clock. Of course I couldn't care less about the clock! I ran to Nate and at first didn't see anything. But then he turned his head and the other side of his head was dripping with blood. I quickly carried him upstairs to the kitchen and began dabbing the blood away. It was clear that at least one of the gashes would need to be stitched, and I was worried about slivers of glass that might be remaining in the other cuts. I called my friend who rescues me every time I have a crisis (how come HER kids never end up in the ER..........?). She came right over and Nate and I headed to the hospital. Luckily, once the doctor got the wounds clean, it was not as bad as I had feared. Two of the gashes were fairly superficial and didn't require any stitches. The third gash, did need to be repaired and today I learned that staples are not just for office use anymore! I was so suprised when they brought out this staple gun and just stapled his 1/2" gash together! Nate was so brave. He didn't cry through the entire ordeal. Afterwards I took him to the hospital cafeteria where he modeled his staples for some old ladies, and we ate a bite of lunch.

This evening, after the little guys were in bed, Matt and Will and I were outside cleaning off the patio. Due to a project that I started, but never finished, we had some pieces of sod on our patio. The grass had all died, leaving big piles of dirt. In attempting to clean this off the patio, the boys and I got FILTHY. Really, we were all soaking wet, with mud everywhere. When we were finally done with our messy project, I sprayed everyone off, and we went to shower.

I am just so thankful that Heavenly Father made boys infinately washable! I stuck Nate in the tub after we returned from the hospital and the blood just washed right off. No staining - and no bleaching required! This evening, washing a ton of mud off two little boys and their mommy took little more than a garden hose and a warm shower afterward.

Today's clothes, however, might not have survived our adventures!

Monday, August 21, 2006

No matter how hot it is, it's not summer anymore

Today was the first day of school for my boys. Matt had a full day. Will went to Kindergarten orientation, and Nate and Drew went to meet their new preschool teacher. It has been a great, but very busy day!

I feel guilt, though, about the lack of organized activities/lessons my kids did this summer. They did, um....., none. No swimming lessons, no tennis lessons, no karate lessons, nothing. They did play T-ball and baseball, but that was more of a spring thing. They ran through the sprinkler a lot, and we did go on several picnics. We ran lots of errands together, and they climbed like little monkeys all over our new playset. Why do I feel like a failure because I didn't have each boy in 2-3 activities? When did our society become so activity oriented? When did our children's summer's get taken away from them? It used to be 20 neighborhood children ranging in age, running around barefoot, and making up their own games. We would go from house to house and play in everyone's backyard. There was little adult interference. I remember returning to school tanned, physically tired, and with an added measure of confidence. I love this quote from Ivy Baker Priest:

"My father had always said there are four things a child needs:
Plenty of love,
Nourishing food,
Regular sleep,
and Lots of soap and water.
After that, what he needs most is some intelligent neglect."

I want my kids to experience the 'intelligent neglect' my parents were able to give me. However, I would have social services called on me, if I did let them roam!

Not that I want our children to be in any danger, of course, it's just that I'm not sure there's anything inherently dangeorus about playing outside in a huge group all over the neighborhood.

I guess I'm just feeling strange because school has started, but I have yet to organize my summer!

Friday, August 18, 2006

A new corner has been turned.

Something that has been a bit suprising to me as the mom of four boys, is the amount of errands I have to do. I could go to some sort of store for something everyday. If someone hasn't outgrown their shoes then we're out of food. Or, if we have groceries, we're certainly out of toilet paper. I try to remain organized and do all my shopping at once, but there is always some errand that needs to be done.

Today, we were at Target - which we spend a LOT of time at (not to mention $$). I always always put Nate and Drew into the cart. We usually get the big, red, two-seater. This cart has the perfect layout for boys to fight. Why on earth they decided to create a seat in which the toddlers face one another and have to share this tiny bit of leg space is beyond me - whoever invented it obviously didn't have children (or at least children like mine). But today was different. Today, Nate and Drew begged to not go into the cart. SuperDrew (yes, he wore his cape again all day today) said, "we be good Mommy, we pwomise." So, I let them try it. All four boys walked beside me while I pushed a regular cart. It was fabulous! They did so well. Nate and Drew stayed by me the entire time, even walking down the toy isle without any meltdowns or wandering off.

I feel elated and sad all at the same time. I guess I knew that they wouldn't have to ride in the cart forever, and it was nice to push a 'normal' cart. However, it means they are growing up, and they aren't my 'babies' anymore. My big boys still call them "the babies"! I can't believe 3 years have passed since they came to our family!

Thursday, August 17, 2006


I love toddlers. I am especially smitten with toddlers in dress-up clothes. Something about their swagger, and the glint in their eye that tells everyone who sees them that they really ARE Superman, or Batman, or a Doctor, or a Cowboy. Today we went for a long walk along the river near our house. The path leads to a playground, our city's downtown area, and the library. Drew was insistant that he "be SU-Per-MAN." He wore his shorts and shirt, along with red rubber rain boots, about 2 sizes too large, and a piece of fleece that I turned into a 'cape' several weeks ago on a whim. I had this extra fabric, and I had 3 boys who wanted capes, but only one 'official' Batman cape. So, I pinned two corners of the fabric together, and it makes a fantastic cape. It has been worn constantly ever since I made it. (Although, I'm not sure that safety pinning a square of fleece really counts as 'making' anything).

It was so fun to see Drew's little heart swell with pride everytime someone asked him if he was Superman. He would nod his head proudly, and look at me with a knowing smile. It was darling!

And, really, how often do you see a REAL Superman in the library?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

April showers bring......flooded basements

In April, we experienced one of the true joys of home-ownership. Our sump-pump failed over Easter weekend, resulting in a completely flooded basement (did I mention that our basement is 100% finished??) We had the water-mitigation guys out to dry out our basement. They had to saw out about 2 feet of drywall all the way around the entire basement. The carpet was also completely destroyed. It was so waterlogged that it had to be replaced (it was old and nasty, anyhow - I didn't feel that bad about the carpet ;-)). They then had to dry everything out with these gigantic fans and de-humidifiers and they put down some anti-mold chemicals all over. Then came the joy of putting it all back together. We hired a contractor to do the work and decided that while we were at it, we would turn the large utility room downstairs into a fabulous laundry room. It was better than I could have imagined it! It was perfect! I loved it - for exactly one week. Seven days after the brand new carpet was laid there was ANOTHER flood. This time it was in another part of the basement; my brand new laundry room. It was a significant amount of water - not the slow seepage that occurs when rainwater is raising the watertable into your basement floor. We panicked - and called the water-mitigation guys to come in again. This time we caught it quickly enough to save the carpet (but not the pad) and I begged them to not saw the drywall underneath my carefully chosen, beautifully applied wall-color. He agreed to put extra fans and dehumidifers to avoid the dreaded sheetrock saw. We got everything dried out and were once again left picking up the mess. We replaced the pad and had the carpet re-tacked. We also had a fancy plumber guy come out and assure us that the second flood was likely due to a non-functioning water softener that one of our well-intentioned workmen plugged in. It was a relief to know that there wasn't something terribly wrong with the pipes or drain-tiles under our house.

So, today was a BIG day. We FINALLY got everything put back together from the second flood! The trim is on, the toys are put away, and my laundry room is put back together. We are so excited, and PRAY that our flooding days are behind us!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I really am here!

I am just going to pretend that I MEANT to wait several months until my next blog. :-) Life is pretty good here. Last Saturday we took the boys to get their photos taken. I am embarrassed to admit that my 3 year old twins have only had professional pictures taken twice in their little lives. And one of those times they were only 6 weeks old! The time in-between, when they were about 2, it was a disaster. They both cried and wouldn't stand still, and we ended up with sub-par photos that have never really made wall-hanging status (but you always feel like you have to buy SOMETHING!) I was dreading the experience. For one, it's always expensive. Just getting four little boys decked out in respectable clothing breaks the bank. This time, however, it was worth it! When we walked into the studio, and I met the guy who was to take our pictures, I knew it would go well. He was so great with the boys! He joked around with them and got them to sit right where he posed them. We ended up with so many great photos that I had a hard time choosing. We ended up with one large one of all the boys together. Then we got a close up of each boy - he just captured each of my children so beautifully! I also got a special picture of Matt in his suit because he was baptized two weeks ago. And I got a photo of Nate and Drew hugging each other with darling expressions on their faces. I am SO pleased that we got some great pictures. We bought a lot because we know that good photo experiences don't happen every time!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Well, it's begun.....

I've finally decided to start a blog. I need a place to type all the crazy, funny, antics of my little family. I know these days will go so fast and I think I will be able to remember all the fun details about these hectic times. But I won't. I really won't. And, I want to.

Today was a T-Ball day for my older boys. They play on a little neighborhood team. It's very informal, and perfect for us. Today we happened to be at the field where the (drum roll, please) porta-potty is! Nate and Drew were fascinated. Of course they both just, "haba go potty, Mommy." After trying to talk them out of it to no avail, I headed over there with my two toddlers in tow. Drew took one look, shook his head no and said, "I fall in". Nate was actually willing to sit, perched precariously on the seat. So, both boys had an equal chance to do nothing in the potty.

So, tada! My first blog post. I'm so thrilled with myself!