Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Speaking of Spiders...

Spring is definitely here and that is wonderful news, but why do I always forget that with spring come the spiders? Spider season is definitely back in business from what I have seen in my lawn and (sob) in my house. I have tried to be brave and shrug off this fear, but I am coming clean...I HATE spiders. Well, even now I need to add an addendum to that. I don't hate jumping spiders. Yes, I know spiders well enough to distinguish many at a glance. I read a book in my youth called Castle Roogna and one of the main characters is a huge jumping spider. And for some reason, they have never bothered me again. Fortunately, that is the type that mainly get into the house and I can ignore them (literally, they don't bother me a bit). Although here in Utah they have one jumper that is huge, black, and hairy and I won't kill it, but it can't stay in my house like the others.
However, ANY other spider is on my hit list. Depending on my mood and how close to my children it comes, a spider will either be
A) squished immediately
B) put outside if I can find the courage, or
C) put under a glass until Tyler can take care of it when he gets home
This last variety is usually found on the floor because cups don't stay on the ceiling too well.
In other good (or bad) news, I have spiDAR (much like Radar) so I will usually notice a spider when no one else would (Robyn has inherited this trait). This is good because I can get rid of them, but bad because I am painfully aware of just how many spiders really get into the house (and I know I am still missing quite a few). Ew, just thinking about this has made me a little nausesated, which started when I went looking for an image to put with this post. Big mistake. I have only confirmed my innate fear and seen some spiders that were not ever meant to be seen by my eyes. I am pretty sure I know what I will be dreaming about tonight.
Suffice it to say, happy spring, watch out for spiders.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Lost in Translation

June and Robyn share a room and have a bunk bed. This was a very hard transition when we first moved them together, but they have worked out most of the kinks. On any given night, they go to sleep fine, but other evenings we hear bickering and complaints from one or the other. Usually one says something like, "June isn't being quiet," or "She is calling me names."
There isn't a lot we can do about this aside from taping their mouths shut (which I have been tempted to do some nights). Sometimes we put one in the loft until the other is asleep. Usually they work it out eventually.
Last night was one of these blessed evenings. June was on her third round of tattling on Robyn. She quietly comes into our room to explain what Robyn is doing wrong (this, in itself, is a brave act because usually someone out of bed is going to be in trouble themselves). She found me downstairs and said, "Robyn is being too noisy and I can't sleep." (As if she is sitting there dutifully trying to sleep). I told her to politely ask Robyn to be more quiet. So she scurries up to bed and I don't think much more about it until I hear the booming voice of Dad say, "Juuuuuuuuuuuuune," in a scolding tone that I often use myself.
Apparently (as I hear from Dad later) she ran upstairs, climbed into bed and said, "Robyn, Mom says be quiet or she won't love you anymore."
Wow, I think something got lost in translation there.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Birthday Party for Robyn

It is funny how blessings can come in disguise. We have been trying to finish our loft and make it into a fourth bedroom, but it hasn't happened yet. Well, we had family scheduled to come down and work on it this weekend, which would have been wonderful, but then Robyn's party would have needed to be outside and the girls and I would have had to find different lodging for the weekend. At the last minute family called and said they couldn't make it to finish the loft. That is sad because I do want the room finished before the baby comes, but oh my goodness, I was so happy to not stress about the party. It was a tad chilly and somewhat windy outside, so it would not have been ideal conditions to have a birthday party. We tried one game outside at the end of the party and it was ridiculous with all the wind. Soooo, life was much better inside. And guess what, I already had the loft all cleaned out so it made the perfect spot for the festivities.

I usually do family parties for the girls but since June had a friend party last time, Robyn wanted the same thing. I've decided that about 8 kids is a good number. This means she does NOT get to invite all her friends, but I don't go crazy with too many kids in one space. And for some reason, it seems party supplies are often sold in packs of eight (don't ask me why).
We played some fun games with the kids (Bingo, and a number game that was a big hit). I was surprised that Ivory caught onto Bingo faster than some of the older kids. She knew each picture and was pleased to put an M&M on it when it was called (of course, she had no idea what four in a row was).

The dice game was fun. Everyone danced while the music played and found a number when the music stopped. We rolled our big die and if your number was picked, you had to sit down. Simple enough, but everyone really liked it. Pomai especially enjoyed Tyler's dancing (too bad he had the camera or I would have recorded it). Madison and Pomai were our big winners and in this picture they really do stand a head taller than the rest. In fact, I give Pomai about 3 years and she will probably be taller than I am (of course, that isn't hard to accomplish).

Then of course, there is the cake. Here I was bragging just a couple months ago how I always make the girls' cakes and I like to make them creative. Well, yes, I bought Robyn's cake this time and it was so nice. I couldn't imagine trying to make a cake amidst construction on the house (back when we were still planning on that), so I just ordered one that Robyn picked out. Wow, it was super easy to just pick it up before the party. It was a piece of cake (Ha, ha, bad pun, I know). Robyn has a hard time choosing things, but I was happy with her final choice (mainly because it wasn't princess related).

We put it down in front of her and she blew out three of the four candles before we had finished singing. So we lit them again and after the song she couldn't seem to blow them out again. I think she has plenty of air, just no aim. So with a little help from Dad, we finally extinguished them all.

Anyway, I think Robyn had a good birthday party. I threw in this last picture because it makes me laugh that party hats look like dunce caps.

The Many Faces of My Four Year Old

Friday, April 25, 2008

Four the Love

Time sure flies. My little Robyn is about to turn FOUR! We went and did some early birthday activities. We got her pictures taken at Kiddie Kandids.

I have to admit that I shamelessly use their free 8x10 birthday photo every year for each child. But I love how they turn out, and I have a whole wall with the girls on it. I love to see the change each year, although it is set up for six pictures (two for each) so I will have to devise a new system when the new one gets here.
Then Dad took Robyn out and she got a new bike for her birthday (a gift from mom and dad).

You could tell she was ready because she always wants to ride June's bike when we go outside. I am pretty sure that she loves it, and she is already speeding along the sidewalks. The helmet is huge on her small head of course, but she doesn't seem to mind it, as long as she can go riding.

She truly is getting older. She is such a joy in our life. Her little giggles and mannerisms keep me going and I love when she looks at me intently and says, "Mom, I love you and I want to be your friend." Me too Robyn... me too.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Girl Who Cried Wolf

As Mothers, we have plenty of opportunities to feel guilt. I have read several accounts on blogs recently, so I thought I would share one of mine. My littlest angel has a heartbreaking cry, and you know when she is upset. However, you can never really tell WHAT she is upset about. The cry doesn't vary much and it remains the same whether she fell off the couch and cracked her head on the floor or she can't seem to get her baby wrapped up in her blanket the right way. I have answered many a cry expecting to find a broken bone and instead I see a frustrated child trying to stack blocks. I love my little girl, but I don't really want to encourage this type of Diva behavior. I would like her to reserve her exhuberant wails for serious occasions, so I can distinguish how fast I need to make an appearance.
I admit that I have become lax in answering the call of despair in my youngest. So on Sunday as I was talking to Tyler, it wasn't much of a surprise to hear Ivory start caterwauling about something. Neither of us moved at first, and finally I sauntered off the bed and said, "I'll check and see what the drama is." Well, there she was with her poor fingers stuck in the lid of the piano. She must have decided to close it by herself and didn't extract fingers quickly enough. I rushed right over, took care of the problem and hugged her until all tears were extinguished. I did feel really bad about her poor fingers, but at the same time, I wish she were five years older so I could tell her a story about a little boy who cried wolf and why no one came to the rescue. In the meantime, I guess I will just keep checking in on her amidst her woes. I'm not brave or stupid enough to ignore her completely, but I am sure that most of my efforts will be to salvage her frustration and not her fingers.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Raising a Little Lady

Tyler thought it was so funny when June was showing off her bandaid that he had to take a picture. I thought it was a little crude, but it did make me laugh a bit. I try to remind him that we are trying to raise little ladies.

And June just learned the word 'Hell.' We have been reading in 2 Nephi and talking a bit about sin and repentance. Naturally Hell came up in the conversation and June really liked the word. She kept adding it in whenever it seemed relevant. My favorite was when Tyler was reading:

Tyler :And if they will not repent and believe in his name, and be baptized in his name, and endure to the end, they must be damned;... Hell (she just piped right in there with that addition).

I guess you can't say that our little lady doesn't have class.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Who would have guessed? A Tulip Festival with NO tulips!

For the record, I had a great time at the Gardens this morning, but if I was going only to see tulips, I would have been sadly disappointed. Really, no tulips when they are touting 250,000? This could be one of the worst examples of false advertising I have ever witnessed. Well, maybe I over exaggerate. There are plenty of tulips, but none are in bloom yet. I saw lots and lots of tulip leaves and the occasional tulip that has braved the nasty weather in Utah, but even the ones in 'bloom' weren't looking so hot. There were possibly two spots where we actually saw tulips. One was right underneath the main building (it was the last thing we saw on our way back from our loop around the gardens) and the other spot was not even IN the regular gardens; it was actually up in the Children's Discovery Gardens. So we found this about an hour in when we should have been surrounded by sights such as these the entire time.

Like I said though, I still had a great time. There are plenty of places to walk around and discover. I can imagine that when the season is in full bloom, the place must be beautiful. Right now there are many hedges that look dead, and the rose garden was less than impressive. But the girls followed the map and we went to many interesting locations. My favorite by far was the 'Secret Garden.' I don't think it was called that, but you had to walk under a trellis to find some wooden doors that led into a walled garden with a lovely fountain. It was just darling and I could easily bring a book and a lunch and spend an entire day there.

There are some other areas that have a Greek feel with columns and benches. If you look behind the girls in this one, you can see some of the lovely leaves that will probably be tulips someday.

Here again is a beautiful area with a fountain running down the middle. The hill side is covered in soon-to-be tulips and I can imagine it will be spectacular in a couple of weeks.

I feel a little sorry for Thanksgiving Point. I spoke to one lady who said they had to schedule the dates for the festival a year in advance. I certainly wouldn't want to be the person who guessed wrong about when the tulips would actually bloom. But in the meantime, they really should tell people as they walk in, "You are about to spend $10 to see tulips, and you may be a bit put-out when you find there aren't any." But no, not a word! I have the membership, so we got in free, but I heard a few conversations from irate patrons. Apparently the same thing happened last year. Ouch! That can't be good for business.
I was even a little disappointed by the Children's area. The best thing was the cave with the bear. There are actual bear noises that come from a speaker somewhere, and I was pretty convinced that there was a bear that might come out at any moment. Ivory was so convinced that she would NOT get out of the stroller at that point. I asked if she wanted to touch the bear, but there was emphatic head shaking and clinging to me. So I took a picture of the other girls with him.

I didn't get any pictures of the water falls, because I was busy making sure no one fell in, but they are pretty impressive. And like I said, I really enjoyed walking around with the girls and I had a good time. Just, a very badly named festival. I therefore now dub thee the long-walk-in-a-parkish-area-with-sporadicly-placed-flowers-that-could-
bloom-at-any-moment festival. Much more accurate.

p.s. Thanks to Sunny who called today to warn me that there were no tulips. That makes me feel special that you were looking out for us. We should go together and enjoy the lack of color.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My New Toy

We have wanted to get a biking trailer for many years now, but we have never bitten the bullet and done it. But after seeing Sarah and her cute stroller (and being pregnant with number 4!) I figured it was about time. And she was kind enough to call and tell me that they were at Costco, so I dropped all hesitation and went and got one.

Yay! I love it!!
It is sooo easy to push, and sooo easy to change back and forth between a stroller and a trailer. The girls love it and I can actually fit all three in there (if I don't mind hearing 'she touched me' several times on an outing).

So thanks again Sarah for telling me about them. For those others of you who are interested, it is a little pricey--$179.95, but worth it if you plan on doing some biking with your kids. And heck, it is a great jogging stroller too (not that I will EVER use it for that purpose). I'm a pretty good walker though, although it is more of a waddle at the moment.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pony Rides

So I feel a little foolish. My parents were here and as usual, I didn't get my camera out all that much. I was saving up for the big day that we would go to Thanksgiving Point. Well, the joke is really on me. My folks wanted to go see the IMAX movies and I knew the kids wouldn't last through that, so we took them to the Dinosaur museum and then to farm country while my parents were watching the shows. But by the time they finished those, it was time to get the kids home for some lunch and naps, so we never even got to the Tulip Festival and we officially spent NO picture taking time with the fam from Washington. Brilliant, once again.
But, on the plus side, I actually managed to take the camera to farm country (and yes I forgot to take it into the Dinosaur museum, but by now you hardly have to ask if I forgot the's a given).
The girls loved the pony ride, and Robyn has been asking to ride a horse for a while, so I feel like I can check that one off the list of things mothers should really do for their children. Now I can have a regular birthday party without inviting horses, which I wasn't going to do anyway. Here are some pictures of the girls riding.

And then oddly enough, the other thing I really liked was the peacocks. It seems they never show off their feathers, but perhaps they were trying to outdo one another while we were there, because they both had their colors showing. Well, the one is an albino so 'color' might not be the best term. But they really were beautiful.

We had a good time, but I am not sure if we will keep the year membership. I'd like to think that I would take the kids more often (because it would be free), but then I need to be realistic about how lazy I am. So, this is our trial month to see whether I can really get my rear in gear.
And in the meantime, the only thing I really wanted to see were the tulips and somehow we didn't get there, so Tyler has been warned (under pain of death) that he'd better take me back there before the festival is over. Maybe I should mention it again (guys need all the help they can get).

Monday, April 14, 2008

Crack-Off Part Deux

So we had another crack-off while my parents were here. I don't think they care so much about winning; they just really enjoy decorating the eggs. And I love to see the designs they come up with. Every year my Dad's eggs end up in the top three spots. This year was no different, although I actually tied him for first place. The winners were Fire & Frost (middle row, second egg from the left) and Let's go bananas! (middle egg on the bottom row). We have basically given up on dying the eggs (too messy) and now we just use permanent marker. Maybe I will dye them again next year with the kids.
The Neilsen's were able to attend this crack-off to defend Eric's reigning champion status, but he lost, to my Dad. But we still had a great time and I look forward to a year where I might actually win.

p.s. Hadlock's--we used to do this tradition with you. Maybe we could actually get together again next year.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Conference Moments

Life has slowed down once again and I am back in business. So just expect a blog a day for a while as I catch up with my memories (aka journal writing).
I didn't have a chance to mention conference last week, but as always I was truly inspired by the words of our church leaders and I have resolved once again to be a better person. It is a good thing I get to do this every six months. President Monson stepped into his new position as prophet with authority and dignity. I sure wouldn't want to be the one to follow President Hinckley, but since this is not a popularity contest, but a calling from the Lord, there never was a doubt that he could fill the shoes he followed (he probably even has bigger feet). I love the apostles and the time they take to lead the church and teach the people. As always I await the conference Ensign with much anticipation.
Although Tyler has probably listened to the whole thing three times already. He likes to download the talks as soon as possible and play them on his day planner gizmo. He even got a new toy so he can listen to them in full stereo in the car (I am a little jealous). I may just have to listen to them on the computer. Although this will have to be done in the evenings when kids are not awake to distract me. I have really tried books on tape, but I can't compete with the outside noise yet. Just wait 'til I have them all in school at the same time (but since one is still in the oven, I am not overly excited about this option yet).
And this is a little off topic, but it made me laugh, so I will share it here. June knows that the baby is due in July and that my tummy has to get big and this means the baby is growing. So she looks at me today and says, "Mom, is the baby coming soon, because your tummy looks really big to me." Just what I was hoping to hear today. Nope June, luckily I still have 14 weeks left to get even BIGGER!! And now I wish I hadn't counted how many weeks because 14 seems like a LOT to me at the moment.
But back to conference. We had the Neilsen's over in the morning for breakfast. We always invite someone over to share in the conference spirit (waffles are a tradition). Ivory settled down with Eric for a little while and I thought it was darling (she won't sit with just anyone).

The girls were pretty good considering how long conference is for that age. They played and kept quiet most of the time. Here is Robyn admiring her handy work during the second session (she was tying Daddy's slippers together with extra string).

And then of course you have the conference nap. I try very hard not to take this nap during conference and I have done very well since I usually crosstitch (it keeps my hands busy and my mind awake to focus on the speakers). And fear not, Tyler is not sleeping during the session either. I caught him afterwards.

And so another conference is over but not without much resolve to do better. I know it will be hard as I am nearly perfect as it is, but there is always slight room for improvement.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Blogging Hold

I have been in a blogging funk. I am sure that I will snap out of it, but I just need to get some other things done right now. Plus, I have family in town as of tonight, and I know that means that I will really get nothing done for a week. Well, I will get plenty done, but it will all be family related, not blogging related. So, forgive me for not blogging or commenting on your lovely posts. Hopefully, by next week I will be ready to jump right back in with two feet.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Good Friends

We had friends come from out of town. I am not normally one to disguise names to protect the innocent, but in this case I am not going to disclose names. Mainly because these good friends of ours are in the process of hopefully adopting these kids. They are foster children and the system keeps their information confidential so the birth mother does not interfere. The birth mother obviously has some issues if her children are in foster care in the first place, and likewise, if she cleans up her act, her children will be returned. But in the meantime, I am happy to say that these kids have a very stable loving environment and that is what matters. My children decided to join in the family photo (just because they can't stay away if the camera is rolling).

And check out these baby blues (what a cute kid). Oh, the helmet is just to help round out a flat spot.

I admire our friends very much. I can't imagine the courage to take in children and fall in love with them without knowing if they can be a permanent part of your family. All foster parents are quite remarkable in fact. And our friends went from having NO kids to having TWO children under the age of two (no easy task my friend). It was really great to see them and I wish we lived closer or that the airlines would stop charging people to fly (yes, that is one of my wishes in my fantasy world...that, or instant teleportation).

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Mission Accomplished

So we had our service auction last August and I am finally done with my service. Granted, I chose something a little more time consuming than usual. I offered to crosstitch a baby announcement and Kari (who won the service) liked the look of the three pieces together. So, I did all three. Compared to the size of projects I normally tackle, these weren't too bad, and it was fun to see how they turned out. They aren't framed yet (that was NOT part of the service), but I hope she will enjoy them.

I think I have mentioned before that I usually only crosstitch for myself. My mom says that many things she spent a LONG time on were put in garages or given away. And no joke, crosstitching takes forever. I went to a baby shower and this lady had these cute little crocheted hats that she made in about 2 hours. I suddenly thought that maybe I should take up knitting or something, so I don't have to wait a year or so to look at a finished project.
One of the only large projects I have done for someone else was for George and Maxwell after Summer passed away. And I have never finished so quickly. I was truly happy to give that one away. It reminded me of Summer with her beautiful blond hair. Here is a picture.

But other than that, I just crosstitch for me, me, me. Maybe my girls will like them someday. In the meantime, please don't put these in the garage Kari. I will lose all faith in humankind.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Precious Moments

June is always coloring and making surprises for us (mom and dad). I just expect to get a little something from her everyday. Possibly this makes me less appreciative of her art and sweet gestures. However, the other day I was really touched.
I was in a bad mommy mood and on days like that it is best to stay off my list because each offense adds up until my bottle bursts. June was quickly getting there and after breaking the doors to her closet, I had had enough! I was going to have her stay on her bed the whole day (mainly so I wouldn't have to worry about her doing anything else and avoiding physical harm to her person). I yelled just a bit (yes, this is true admittance that I am certainly not a perfect mother) and then I left her in her room. I went to clean up her coloring projects and as I flipped over her paper, I found the message written on the right.

It is hard to read since it is in a light color of crayon, but it says, Dear Mom and Dad I love you. I was already feeling a tad guilty and this pushed the pregnancy emotions over the top. I started to cry and I went in and apologized for being so grumpy. I am sure June had NO idea what was wrong with her mother, but she certainly was glad to get out of her strict sentence.

I have to admit I enjoy the surprises more now that she is learning to write. The other one (impossible to read because she used letters to indicate words instead of writing them out) says, To Mom and Dad. A girl couldn't have better friends than you. She interpreted for me, but I could see the letters for each word and how she put them together. It was very sweet, and I thought I needed to post it (more for myself to remember on bad mood days). I still thank my lucky stars that even though I am not perfect, she seems to love me anyway.