Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happy Tears?

Tonight as I was sending June to bed, we had this conversation:

June: Don't you get tired at this time of night? (Around 9:00pm)

Me: Yep.

June: Then why don't you go to bed too?

Me: Oh, trust me, I would love to. But this is the only time I have to do things for myself. During the day if there is a choice between playing with you guys and reading a book per se, I usually choose playing with you, or helping you with something, like reading or piano. So instead of going to bed, I usually catch up on stuff for me. If there wasn't that stuff, I would definitely go to bed, because I loooooove to sleep.

She looked down at the ground, and I could see that she was getting sad. That surprised me so I asked her what was wrong. As the tears leaked out, I said:

Me: What is with the tears? Why are you sad?

June: These are happy tears. I'm happy that you choose to play with us.

Me too. Me too.

Granted, I choose to clean a lot too, which is less fun for them, but I do try to spend a little quality time with each child every day. Sometimes I feel the lonely ache of not having so much 'me-time' anymore. But evenings are good for sneaking in some reading or getting a project done. And too soon they will all be in school and all that free time will drown me if I look back and realize I have no relationship with my children.

Some people feel they didn't choose to be a mother whereas I chose deliberately. But that doesn't matter, because every day you have the opportunity to choose again. And today and the next day I hope I choose to be a mother.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Good Intentions

Every year it is the same. When it is time to send the Christmas newsletter, many of you have moved. Please, it would be so much easier if you would just stay put. I did my best to get some updated addresses, but we sent off a first batch and never really got to the second batch. Believe me, it is not because we don't love all our friends equally; it is just pure laziness.

So if you didn't get the newsletter, here is the best part of it:

Tyler had a lot of fun putting that picture together.

And if you didn't receive a newsletter and you don't read the blog, there is really nothing I can do for you. I will keep believing that our cosmic holiday love will reach you, and next year when you get a newsletter (if we have updated) you will think, Oh, the Cazier's haven't forgotten about us entirely yet.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas and a Smidge of Bah Humbug

I am the worst about posting 'Christmas Day'. Not really sure why. I have narrowed it down to these possible reasons:

1. I want to be in on the action, so I don't bother getting the camera out.

2. There is no ONE good scene to photograph. People open presents, there is chaos, and I usually end up with a hundred mediocre shots.

3. Christmas is a vacation for me too, right?

Whatever it is, I look back and see that Christmas is often left off the blog. That is not the best trend for posterity. I can already picture them now...Mom, what the freak, why is there nothing in here about Christmas? (I'm all embarrassed now because I just finished reading a book and afterward made fun of the main character for always imagining future conversations. Perhaps it isn't quite so crazy after all. But, I digress...)

So my own guilt got me motivated this year. You get lots of mediocre pictures, and I get a pat on the back for saving memories. Are you ready for this yule tide slide show?

We do Christmas Eve pajamas. What can I say, it makes me happy. I am in charge, so we will be doing it for the foreseeable future. I thought you might like the progression of Daisy's pajamas. All my children have been very interested in dressing themselves. (This is fabulous because in general, I never have to nag them to get ready. On the contrary, I sometimes have to beg them to NOT get dressed several superfluous times a day.) Here is Daisy donning pants.

Now bedecked in her angel shirt as well. (I did not notice the wings on the back when I bought the outfit, but I am digging them.)

Then because I didn't specify not to, she got dressed in the second set that came with her pajamas. She is thorough.

I don't do matching jammies because all my kids have unique sleepwear needs. June only wears an undershirt and pajama bottoms to bed, Robyn overheats and therefore needs lighter attire, etc. Here are my five ready for bed on Christmas Eve.

So we sent them to bed and then spent two hours wrapping everything. Tyler was slightly appalled at the amount of time it took and swears that we are going to wrap everything by the 20th next year. (I'll let you know how that goes.) We were happy with the finished product. (I love that Santa wraps his gifts in different wrapping paper so the girls can spot his stuff right away.)

Another tradition we have is stockings first and then breakfast before opening the bulk of the presents. (It helps stall the impending greediness and bedlam, and frankly my parents always made us wait, so it is one of those torturous traditions I am carrying on.) But I try to make breakfast fun in the meantime. This year we ate Santa. He was supposed to be made with a pancake, but I wanted to use up some bread, so we did French toast instead. You get the idea though.

Then we enjoyed a wondrous morning opening gifts. The girls were surprisingly calm and complimentary.

Pearl was not sure what all was going on, but she liked the paper and bows.

This face here probably sums up the general spirit.

And as if I haven't regaled you enough, I would like to tell you a story of my superb genius gone awry. I wanted to make Tyler's shopping experience with the girls a quick and painless one. I am usually in charge of what they give each other, but in the end, he has to take them out shopping for me. So this year I requested earrings: Easy, cheapish, plenty of variety. It was the perfect plan.

I guess I have just never perused all the uncommon choices out there. I assumed that I would get a unique selection, but I had no idea. I actually love each pair I received, but I am sure I will turn some heads when I wear them. But what mother wouldn't wear a gift from her child? I will try to get a picture of each, but here is one to wet the appetite.

Whenever I saw myself in the mirror, I thought I was wearing ponytails. It was almost like wearing a necklace instead of earrings. Extravagant, eh?

And there you have it. Christmas in a nutshell. Good times. I'll leave this last Christmas picture.

Things that make me happy:

*Skinny jeans (man is she skinny)
*Jumping rope
*Yep, those earrrings
*Zero gravity hair
*A gift that will be well used

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Another Year on the Road to Perfection

Once again our anniversary has fallen at a bad time of year. Wait...

There is no doubt in my mind that my best decision in life so far has been to marry Tyler. Like a wine, he is aging to perfection. (Not that I know anything about wine, but that is what I hear.) Maybe he is more like cheese.

Regardless, husbands become something more when they are good dads. I think it is hot when Tyler comes home and plays with the kids, or reads them stories, or any of that good daddy stuff. I have caught a few moments recently.

Because not many kids get actual ponies, dads make good fillers.

If you are going to scratch one back, why not get them all at once?

Kids keep you young, especially if you train them to pull out your white hairs.

Kisses? No, she is really trying to lick his hair.

Life is good, but Tyler makes it that way. He gave me beautiful children. He pays the bills so I can stay home with my beautiful children. And then he steps in when I need a break from my beautiful children.

He is handsome and witty. (Seriously, this guy makes me laugh. Every. Day.)

Love you babe. Eleven years looks good on you.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Mom is the Coolest

I went to WA at the beginning of this month. As usual, my parents tried to send me home with as much of my junk as possible. The good news is that I'm not so attached to my high school mementos anymore, so most of the time said objects get transported directly to the DI box and don't spend much time cluttering my home.

I found a random box of my mom's note cards amongst my belongings and I opened it today. Inside was a catalogue of every chore imaginable along with the time it takes to do it and how often it should be done. (Seasonal, weekly, daily, etc.) My mom had lists of daily activities, birthdays, menus and card upon card of chores. I couldn't believe how organized she was. (Not that I think she followed through with the chores since they didn't have dates written in, but I don't judge her...just writing all those cards and seeing how much work needed to be done would have made me want to lock myself in a room with a thousand books and never come out.) I should mention that these cards were written back in 1980, so they are not current. She certainly was ambitious back then. She had 'repainting rooms' scheduled as a yearly chore. Wow. I hardly get my walls cleaned, let alone repainted.

I think in the meantime, she has mellowed out. I don't recall her life being swamped with an arsenal of never-ending chores, but it is good to know where I get my organized-listy side.

I do have to share my favorite card though. It was quite random and made me laugh for several minutes. I promise I am not making fun of you mom. (Much.)

Mini-Jobs that can be done while talking on the phone

1. Shave Legs
2. Change Vacuum Filter
3. Mend
4. Polish Shoes
5. Clean Out Purse
6. Clean Telephone
7. Clean Glass on Secretary

Just for the record, if you have ever called and talked to me on the phone, I may have been doing odd jobs, but I was NEVER shaving my legs. Also to be mentioned, I have never seen my mom shave her legs while talking on the phone, but now you all know it is possible.

Total Lunar Eclipse

Many of you know that I like to view the heavens. I am constantly amazed at the beauty outside, just over our heads! It is truly stunning what we can see if we'd just look up every now and again. Well, we had something really special happen tonight. In fact, I just saw it—it's 4:01 a.m.here. So, I had to get up a little early, but for a view like this one, it was worth it.

Before I reveal the photos I took, I want to just bring everyone up to speed. My dad called me last night just before bedtime, and reminded me there would be a total lunar eclipse (Sun lined up with earth, whose shadow blocks out the moon) happening circa 3:30 a.m. Being a die-hard amateur astronomer, I immediately set my alarm. I wasn't going to miss this. This isn't the type of event that just happens every month when we get a new moon—this happens roughly 8 times very three years (or once every 4 months for a lunar eclipse anything. But the last total lunar eclipse like this one was 2007, so it's more rare). You can learn more about lunar eclipses at wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_eclipse.

Anyway, I told my dad that I would go out and photograph this total lunar eclipse. I want to stress that these photographs are unedited: raw. Without any more adieu, I give you the Total Lunar Eclipse, 21 December 2010 as viewed from Utah:

If you're less-than-impressed, that's ok. One of the requirements for "impressive" photos of a total lunar eclipse is that is has to be NOT SNOWING. Utah, you have failed, AGAIN, to cooperate with the whole weather thing! One thing that is impressive about these photos is that they are, in fact, unedited. With the moon more blocked out than normal, with ambient light ricocheting off low cloud cover, you get a LOT of local light that makes taking photos really cool. But that doesn't make up for blocking out the moon tonight, Utah. You're still on my list!

For the rest of the world, here's what God gave us this morning:

This combo of pictures taken in Manassas, Va., shows the moon in different stages of a total lunar eclipse on Dec., 21, 2010. The eclipse is also falling on the same day as the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere a rare occurrence that hasn't happened in 372 years.

This photo is comes from a story on NPR titled, "Moonwatchers Treated to Total Lunar Eclipse." It should have read, "Most Moonwatchers Treated..."


Sunday, December 19, 2010


I love this family. I think redheads are beautiful, and even the mom has a streak of red in her hair. (It grew in after she was married; apparently the stuff is contagious.)

I had a great time photographing them despite the frigid conditions. I think everyone had cold hands by the time we were done, but that didn't affect their happy personalities.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Parse and Brown

You have all misheard lyrics before I am sure. You sing it one way for a long time and then one day you see the lyrics written down, or a friends laughs at you and tells you what they really are.

In my case, even when I find out the real lyrics, I tend to sing the ones I made up anyway. Back when I was in high school, Alanis Morisette came out with a new CD. I bought it and stuck it in my CD player on the way home. A song came on and I laughed as I listened to her sing, You live, you nerd, you love, you nerd, you cry, you nerd, you loo-oose, you nerd... Yep, so I figured out very quickly that the actual lyric was LEARN, since the person next to me in the car pulled out the words, but it sure was funny at the time, and everytime it comes on the radio, I still sing 'nerd.'

Christmas time brings one of my favorite lyric blunders. When I was little I sang along to all the songs whether I understood them or not. In the song Winter Wonderland, I always wondered about the toasty snowman, since it says, In the meadow we can build a snowman. Then pretend that he is parse and brown. I always imagined a toasted marshmallow snowman, since I didn't really know what 'parse' meant. Something like this, but not so creepy.

I still sing the song incorrectly, but I don't think anyone can tell.

Happily, my children are following in my footsteps. I listened to Ivory sing 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas' the other day. She sang the line, Good tidings we bring, to you and your king. I tried to tell her the line was 'kin' and what it meant, so she changed it to 'kid.' But she eventually went back to her original lyric because she liked 'king' more. And who am I to tell her differently.

I remember another one that makes me laugh. There is a song called 'Lucille' by Kenny Rogers. Tyler would sing me the chorus sometimes. Then one day I heard it on the radio and turned it up because I recognized it. This is what I heard, You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille, With four hundred children and a crop in the field. I knew it couldn't be 400 children, so I came home and told Tyler and he laughed while he told me it was 'hungry' children. Yeah, that makes WAY more sense.

You are welcome to leave a comment with some of your favorite mistaken lyrics. I'll leave you with a few I found on the internet.

Beach Boys "Fun Fun Fun" / "We'll have fun fun fun till her daddy takes the tuba away"

Madonna "La Isla Bonita" / "Last night, I spent all my pesos." 

Bon Jovi "You Give Love A Bad Name" / "You give love a brand name"

Abba "Chiquitita" / "Take your teeth out, tell me what's wrong"

K D Lang "Constant Craving" / "God save gravy"

Til Tuesday "Voices Carry" / "Bush is scary"

Elvis Presley "Return to Sender" / "Big Bird descender"

Beach Boys "California Girls" / "I dig a french bikini on a wild albatross" 

Ace of Base "All That She Wants" / "All that she wants is another bagel" 

Kim Carnes "Bette Davis Eyes" / "She's got 30 days to die" 

And we'll end with this classic.

Merrilee Rush "Angel of the Morning" / "Just cross my feet before you leave me"

Merrilee Rush "Angel of the Morning" / "Just smash my jeep before you leave me"

Merrilee Rush "Angel of the Morning" / "Just brush my teeth before you leave me"

Merrilee Rush "Angel in the Morning" / "Just cash my check before you leave me"

If you want to check out many others, go here.

Happy mis-singing.


It Was Worth It

I should totally be in bed right now, but I stopped by Awkward Family Photos since they were having a Christmas contest. This picture is worth being tired tomorrow:

Christmas Program Two

Robyn also had her Christmas program this week. The good news is that after attending these for a few years, I have finally learned to come early and get a good seat. And Robyn was near one end. She was a reindeer. If you can remember back to June's 1st grade Christmas program, June was a coveted doll. Robyn didn't seem to mind that she was reindeer and we didn't have to worry about the freaky makeup. I think she was adorable.

As before I was impressed with all the songs they learned. It really was a fun program to watch. Even more, I enjoy seeing Robyn interact with her friends.

I have mentioned before that I thought Robyn got lost in her older sister's shadow, but I believe that she has paved her own road now. When I visit her classroom or pick her up, all her classmates call her name and wave goodbye. She seems to have a lot of friends, not to mention a certain boy who has a huge crush on her. This makes me smile. Robyn is a sweet girl and she deserves some recognition.

After the program I snapped a couple pictures of her with her friends. Here she is with Porter. (His mom forgot her camera and asked me to take their picture.)

He didn't smile until someone mentioned that they looked so cute together. Then they both got embarrassed.

Robyn talks non-stop about Jenna.

They are fast friends, except when they aren't. (You know how the drama goes with girls.) Jenna apparently got the coveted doll; I'm still glad Robyn was a reindeer.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Program One

Ivory did a fabulous job in her Pre-School Christmas Program. She had her line memorized and you could almost understand it when she spoke into the microphone. I call that a success.

She knew the words and actions to the songs, and I was very proud of her. We always have other kids who get to come and watch. Daisy was enthralled and didn't move from her seat the entire time.

Pearl and Dad enjoyed most of it. (Pearl because she bores easily and Dad because he got stuck holding Pearl.)

It makes me sad to think that someday when Pearl is in pre-school, none of her sisters will get to come watch her program.

Each of the pre-school children have their own high school buddy.Ivory's buddy is Miss Shaynee.

I wish I had something more interesting to say in conclusion, but I am very tired and my brain can't focus, so um...Happy Holidays and the like.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Overcoming a Fear

I've been a tad apprehensive to take group photos for people. This mainly stems from the fact that more people means more variables, and I have never had to pose people before. Also, who wants to ruin someone else's family photos? Well, I finally faced my fear.

I couldn't have asked for a better family to shoot. The Moses were so great. Besides the fact that they were a great looking family, they were so easy to work with. Even when I asked them to all sit on a wet picnic table, there were no complaints. What troopers. And I love the end result.

Thanks you guys, for letting me experiment on you. I learned a lot.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Slowest Race in History

Well, it only took eight years to get the results in, but it seems that the child who walked first was...


Naturally, you can't know if each consecutive child will beat the previous child's record. I secretly thought to myself that June walked fairly early, and I would have been surprised if someone took her title. (Although, really this is not a contest.) Robyn was close, actually only weeks behind. And although I have heard statistics that later children might walk earlier because they see their older siblings example, the opposite has been true for us. Each child has been slower in walking. I personally think Pearl will fall somewhere in the middle, but I don't know yet. I do know however, that June was walking by now and can therefore have bragging rights.

Truthfully, Pearl can take her time. She already crawls toward the top of the stairs with a sinister smile, knowing that she gets a reaction from me. I am trying to stop freaking out and instead calmly pick her up so she won't think it is fun anymore. Babies only get faster and more unsteady when they walk, so I would be happy if she kept to crawling for a while still. June was actually a happier baby after she figured out her legs, so walking at nine months was preferable. (And we didn't have stairs then.)

Pearl is happy standing at the moment, but she is thinking about linear moment. She stands by our little piano and walks along behind it, if she can get it moving.

I will sometimes push it along to see what she does. I can already see her baby mind moving aside for more advanced thought. She will step on something and look down to see what felt different. If said object is interesting enough, you can see the wheels turning trying to figure out how to sit down and grasp it. This is hilarious to watch, because she hasn't quite figured out how to bend those legs to her advantage. Eventually, she lands with a whump and claims her prize only to realize that she wants to be standing again. She grabs the piano and battles to prevail over gravity. (I usually give in and help her to her feet.) Then she stands supreme, holding her trophy. Eventually she drops it over the front of the piano and then she stands up on her little tiptoes trying to see where it might have landed on the other side. And so begins the cycle again. It is so cute, up until she notices the stairs and makes a beeline for them. (sigh)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's a Mystery...No, it's a Puzzle

I always saw myself as a puzzle person. I had this mini fantasy that I would have a table set up in my house with a constant puzzle in process. People could come and go as they please, placing a piece here and there as they go about their business. The bubble was popped long ago since our house has zero extra space to leave a table solely devoted to a puzzle. Plus, with an ever present toddler, I think I would have gone crazy long ago reassembling sections over and over.

And so I started a tradition (shocking, I know) where we do a puzzle once a year at Christmas time. We put in on the island and everyone is welcome to contribute. The kids always put in a few pieces each and this year Daisy was our disassembler. Tyler actually put together most of it this year, while I was in Washington. We always use a Christmas themed puzzle, and technically I think we are supposed to swap puzzles with extended family, but that hasn't quite been worked in yet.

So here is our masterpiece.

It never takes us long to finish, Tyler and I are too competitive. Maybe it is best that we only do one puzzle a year.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The 2010 Internet Team Christmas Card

I was commissioned by the team to create a memorable Christmas card to represent our team to our clients. This is what I came up with. I love it when I impress myself with my own work. For those who know the backstory, this picture has a LOT of intentionally included masked meaning. For those who don't know the backstory, you may as well make it up and post it in the comments. It gives me good creative avenues to for future stories (i.e. embellishments) of life.

Special thanks to Mark Simpson who sponsored the Legos used in this production. (The lawyers tell me I have to put this in: "Please note that no Legos were harmed in the making of this Christmas Card.")

Production kudos go to Costco for the amazing print deal I got from their online photo lab. I printed 75 with envelopes for $21.88. To appease the math nerds, and for the mathematic aid of anyone interested, that works out to just over 29¢ per card! Ya, baby!

And yes, my name tag has the number "24601." Most the readers of this blog will know what that means. If you don't, Google it.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Lone Man

Well, she did it. Maleen left me.

Now before I get you all worried, she's only gone to Washington to visit family, and she'll be back on Sunday night. She left Thursday night.

Life is hard.

I specifically left the single life in pursuit of a couple life, which would be tough to beat. Maleen and I make a pretty good pair. Now, I find myself pulling double duty. I have to get up in the morning, get the kids up, feed kids, dress kids, do hair(!), and change diapers! Now before you start thinking my posh, cushy, normal life is devoid of these things, let me assure you: it ain't! These are all things that I have done and continue to do regularly, but it helps to have someone to fall back on when the schedule gets tight. Maleen and I tag team pretty well, but when you're a solo wrestler...we'll I get tag teamed.

Today, I also took on some Tyler-does-these-less-often chores: ensuring buses get caught at the right time, in the right place, by the right child; ferrying children to preschool, running errands, etc. But the great thing is that I actually survived. Hmm, nice work, Cazier. *Pats self on back.*

With all of my runnings around from potential catastrophe to impending chaos, I have to give a deep and heart-felt thank you to Jeneca Jett. She came over and prevented my children from burning the house down (among other things) and managed to keep all my children alive throughout the day, while I was at work. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

We also attended the Neighborhood Christmas Potluck tonight. It was a lot of fun to see people. This year we had entertainment by the children. They performed the traditional Luke 2 saga. It was heart touching. Trying to manage five kids without the backup set of hands...well that was not as easy as some moms make it look!

Maleen left the camera behind in the calculated, ambitious hope that I might photo-document the offspring while she is away. Ha! How does she ever find time to snap photos? It's insanity. If I put any of the children down for a moment, they'll destroy something before I can say, "Now smile for Daddy..." I must admit, it's an interesting sensation to watch something get destroyed through the viewfinder instead of in person. I think this is because you have that subconscious inkling that you could have prevented mentioned destruction, had you only put the camera down. But then, isn't that what cameras are for: to document the things that you [may want to] forget later?

Anyway, here are the clutches of sanity I managed to capture today:

Ivory's hair—at least my attempt at doing dual pig tails.

The girls thought the toilets needed cleaning.
Not one to disagree with the thought of cleaning,
I grabbed the toilet brush, the Lysol, and the camera.
(Seriously, no one would believe this
if I didn't photograph it.)

June and Daisy getting ready for bed--the bath before bed.

Robyn and Ivory working on the bath.

Dad getting Pearl ready for bed. Notice the bear. 
You can't see the bear's hand, but it's snuggled 
into Pearl's fist right next to her nose.

All in all, it was a pretty good day. It was hectic, but it was great. June and Robyn were my big helpers today. They recognized that Dad may as well be sporting a handicapped sticker when Mom's gone, and they stepped up to the need. They helped with Pearl and Daisy throughout the day. I couldn't have done it without them.

Oh, yes, and thank heavens for bedtime.

That's about all I got done today. How about you?