September 29, 2010

R.O.D. is controlling my life

I think I've figured out why my blog has been so bad lately. So very... not funny or creative.

I'm pretty sure I have a Reading Obsession Disorder, which has been affecting my mental functions and distracting me from blogging.

There, I said it.

I, Serene, of a very... not colorful blog (as I've recently been informed), have R.O.D.

I've always loved to read. Of course, I kind of blame that on my parents. Not that I'm one to shift blame or point fingers, because honestly, nothing is ever my fault. Ever.

Just ask me.

But for every birthday, every Christmas, or for any type of occasion where gift giving is involved, my mom would give us books.

And underwear. But we're not going to talk about that right now.

I can't say I always appreciated it as a young kid or teenager. My friends would show off their latest gadget, toy, or snazzy outfit. Then I would hold up my latest copy of The Work and the Glory.

And hide the new pack of underwear.

But then I went away to college and "fun" reading became a foreign notion as I fought with all my might not to drool on the text book I was desperately trying to understand.

And since I didn't actually graduate until I was pregnant with baby number three, and had started doing freelance art, reading still eluded me.

For years, I have been in a reading famine.

But then last year, I decided that, by golly, I just really needed a good book. Something to take my mind off the stresses of life.

And from buying new underwear.

So, I started re-reading many of the books I actually own. This soon extended to visits to the library, and now I have developed R.O.D.

In the last two to three months, I've probably read at least thirty books. Thirty, people!

And especially these last couple of weeks since we've had computer issues and I haven't been able to read too many blogs, I've been reading about two to four books a week.

Do you see my problem here? I have issues people, issues!

I have a gazillion other things that I need and should be doing. But all I want to do is read. Then read some more.

And every time I finish a really good book, I crave more! I can't wait to start another one! I think my famine has just turned into a monsoon.

I need therapy.

And a lot of chocolate.

Even my husband is ready to issue a block on my library card.

So don't tell him that I'm asking you guys, what books you've been reading lately?

Just a very few of the authors I've been reading lately:
Brandon Mull
Donna Hatch
Lynn Gardner
Tamera Alexander

Not that you should be encouraging my latest obsession, but you really need to encourage me in my latest obsession.


September 28, 2010

Typical Dinner Conversation

The noise that arose from the dinner table was typical.

We, the parents, were trying to bribe our children into finishing their food with promises of treats and a million dollars.

Or whatever else that works.

Savannah is distracted, jabbering nonsense, Joseph gulps down his food, anxious to get his hands on the sweets, barely tasting the pasta shells as they go down. Jacob has two or three bites crammed up into the roof of his mouth while his lounges about, sucking on the food. Gross. And Alayna, insisting on feeding herself, dropping pasta pieces all over the table, bench, and floor, while smearing sauce down her shirt and through her hair.

A very typical family dinner.

Suddenly, Savannah spoke up loud and clear. "Dad? Do you have a tender heart?"

Luke and I stopped eating and glanced at each other, smiling.

"Do I have a what?" He asked, trying his best to hide his smile.

Again, she repeated her question. "Do you have a tender heart? It means to help."

Pulling out his favorite joke, Luke answered, "I don't have a heart. Just a cold, hard rock in my chest." All this was said while smiling down and tickling her.

A few minutes later, Luke took a sip from Savannah's water cup.

"Dad!" she yelled, "You're not suppose to drink out of my cup!" *Humph* She pulled her face into her very best pout.

Luke tried to tell her it was just a little sip and that he was sorry, but she folded her arms and firmly declared that she didn't want it anymore.

So he drank the rest.

Suddenly twice as upset, she turned to him and shouted on the verge of some very dramatic tears,"You have the rudest, tenderest heart ever!"

Now tell me, how am I not suppose to laugh, just a little bit, at that?

September 27, 2010


We all know someone who we look at, shake our heads in utter disbelief and think to ourselves, I don't know how they do it all!

Then we start comparing ourselves and make ourselves feel all wimpy and inadequate. But the truth is? People always put their best foot forward. All we see is their very best, and usually, not much more.

Strange how we forget that.

So I have to admit, I'm the one who stares in disbelief when someone says that to me, that they don't know how I do it all. Because quite frankly, I don't do it all. Something always has to give to make room for something else.

Surely you know by now that my house is not always sparkly clean, nor do I have a magic wand that shoots glitter and rainbows.

I frequently fall behind in my art projects. I am often planning the lessons I teach at church late Saturday night. There are days when my kids spend many hours watching movies. I haven't sat down to do a craft with them in quite a while. Reading books to them comes and goes. My laundry piles currently rivals the size of Mount Helen. I do lose my temper, I do get mad, I do yell, I do cry, I do lock myself in the bedroom, stuff my ears with cotton balls, curl up in the fetal position and eat three pounds of chocolate.

Okay, not really. But I've wanted to.

I wake up every morning with mascara flecks around my eyes because I didn't wash my make-up off the night before. My hair really does stick up in odd places because of my hairspray, and sometimes I forget to shave my legs.

I'll admit, there are times when I start comparing myself to others, wishing I was a good as them, or a pretty as them, as smart as them, or whatever.

But really, I don't know what their struggles are, what their weaknesses are, where they fall behind or what they lack.

The beauty of it all is, none of us are perfect.

So give yourself some credit, maybe a pat on the back, or better yet, a bag of chocolate. And tell yourself, oh hang it all, I'm doing just fine.

Because you really are.

Disclaimer: Sorry for spouting warm fuzzies today. It just came out of me.

I ran into a door the other day while I was chasing Savannah.

I'm blaming it on head trauma.

September 25, 2010

Wipeout: Toddler Style

This is Jacob and Alayna in one of those big, blow up, bouncy thingies.

And yes, I do have a college degree.

Forgive my horrifically loud and annoying laugh, but I thought this was just so stinking funny.

Then again, I was pretty tired. Maybe I was just slap happy?


September 23, 2010

Fruit from the random tree

I spent six hours on Tuesday canning peaches, and got 28 jars done.

I'm pretty sure I was on the brink of a psychological breakdown.

But yesterday, my sweet neighbors decided I was worthy of sympathy, and with four extra set of hands, we finished off the rest in about five hours. I'm pretty sure I owe them my kidney.

It would have been my spleen except for all the peaches that got eaten along the way. That dumbed down my debt to just a kidney.

And I have orange fingernails. I'm not sure how I feel about that. 

But next year, when my husband decides "we" should get 150 pounds of peaches so that "we" can can them, I'm going to make darn sure he holds up his end of the "we" part.

Then he can have orange fingernails too.


Savannah caught whatever sicky bug the boys had and was home all day yesterday. The only up side to her being the sick one is that she's old enough to avoid puking all over the beds, or the carpet... most of the time.

Then this morning she woke up chipper as ever and couldn't wait to go to school.


We took family pictures last night for the first time in over five years.

I mean, actual pictures where someone came with a fancy shmancy camera and we smiled and posed and begged, pleaded, and bribed the kids to all look at the camera at the same time, smile at the same time, and not all run off at the same time.

Savannah was sick, but a good sport.

Joseph was pouty and grumpy.

Jacob was hyper and extra cheesy.

Alayna was extra sassy and flat our refused to cooperate half the time.

Next time we take family pictures, I'm going to sell circus tickets and popcorn. 

And you all can come watch.

I hope you've recovered from the session Cassie.


I haven't commented on a single blog post in over a week. I hope you forgive me. My eight-year old computer is just that, getting old. Do you know, it can take over five minutes for my computer to load one of your blogs?

It took me over 15 minutes just to crop and upload the pictures in this post! I use to use my husband's laptop to read all your blogs because it was eons faster.

But it has recently died. Passed one. Bit the dust. Ruined my life.

You know I love you right? But until we can resolve this dadgum computer situation, I might be a little sparse around the blogosphere.

For reasons I hope you understand.


September 21, 2010

At its finest

It would appear the worst has past. There has been no more regurgitation, and the boys about started a fist fight over a blanket.

See? Almost back to normal.

Jacob seems to have bounced right back without a hitch.

I base this on the fact that he asked for a sucker for breakfast.

Joseph still seems to be a little slow and not feeling too great. He'll lie down wherever he is standing and curl up in a ball for a few minutes, then stand up and continue on his way.

But since he was wondering around the house naked a few minutes ago begging for a t-shirt, I feel confident he is on the road to a speedy recovery.

And now, I am off to do this, before the garbage truck comes.

And bottle these, before I have 130 pounds of moldy fruit in my kitchen.

And as a token of my appreciation for all of you, I want you to have this.

See? Now don't you just feel so much better about yourself?

I always take pictures of my house at its very... uh, finest.

Just for you.

You're welcome.

September 20, 2010

It's Monday. Don't read this.

I had big plans for today, big plans!

I was in bed by 10pm last night with my alarm set for 5am. My list of things that desperately need to get done sat next to my alarm.

Oh ya, big plans.

It was about midnight when I awoke to Joseph trying to climb into bed with us. Luke tried to tell him he needed to go back to his own bed.

"I tan't", he answered, "Weetub frew up eveweewhere." (translation: I can't, Jacob threw up everywhere)

Luke managed to get up and walk him back to his room.

A few seconds later, he comes back. "Serene, I need your help." Groaning, I more or less swan dive out of bed and staggered my way over see the damage.

Now, I've seen a lot of nasty things in my limited time. But I can honestly say, I wasn't prepared for this.

The boys have been sharing a queen mattress that belongs to our neighbor. They don't use it and so we've kept it at our house for when company comes over. But Joseph's twin mattress also resides in the same room. They just think it's cool to sleep together on the big mattress.

So, I walk into their room and gasp. Throw up covered... no, coated the two pillows at the top of the mattress, small amounts spread and smeared all over the sheets and blankets. A perfect pile of even more regurgitated food, sat waiting for me over on the twin mattress as well.

I started to step into the room when my foot encountered even more. At least, I assumed it was throw up that was squished and strewn all over the carpet until I noticed the guilty underwear.

Suddenly, I wasn't so sure it was throw up.

While Luke washed the boys, I started the laundry. Once everything was stripped clean and the mattresses dowsed  in disinfectant spray, I set about with rubber gloves, a bowl of soapy water, and a rag and scrubbed the carpet clean.

Then I vacuumed and proceeded to soak the carpet in disinfectant spray.

Finally, everything, including the boys, was scrubbed clean.

We leaned the mattresses up against the wall to dry and made a makeshift bed on the floor where it was dry for the boys.

It was over an hour later when I crawled back into bed, head pounding from the headache that started to creep its way out from behind my eyes.

Not two minutes after I closed my eyes, I hear gagging noises making their way to my room. I sat up quickly, head screaming in protest, and flipped on the light. Jacob was standing there, his head tipped up doing his best not to throw up everywhere. So I quickly led him to the bathroom where he continued to dry heave for a minute. Poor kid.

All was quiet until about 4am. I heard the gagging again.

Flying out of bed, I ran to the bathroom to find both boys dry heaving over the toilet.

After I put them back to bed again, I prayed that that was the last of it. And I was so sure they were going to sleep in this morning.

When I finally made it back to sleep, I was blissfully unaware of anything until Luke rolled over and announced it was 7:40am.

Great, I was the one who slept in. Throwing off the covers, I leapt out of bed to go get Savannah up for school. Alayna was already awake and by the time I got Savannah up and dressed, who came out of the bedroom, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed?

Yup, the boys. How in the name of a bad night's sleep do they managed to jump out of bed as if nothing had happened?

I'm sitting here at my computer, looking like something the cat dragged in. I hear putting a cold spoon under you eyes helps the bags go away. I may just have to try it.

I'm sure this is not something you wanted to read this morning, but I felt I should record it.

Because when my boys are older and decide that I'm just not a cool mom (however unlikely that may be :)  I'm going to read this post to them.

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure this demonstrates unconditional love.

And now, I'm going deduct my services from their future allowance.

*Update: Jacob just threw up grape juice all over the carpet.

It's going to be a good day.

I can tell.

September 16, 2010

Onions and Swiss Cheese

I'm over at Mormon Mommy Blogs today, sharing about onions and obedience.

Say what?

It's true. Onions bring out my inner Aesop.

And when it comes to onions, I always get overwhelmed with deep emotion as I slice through one and inevitably end up in tears. I'm still trying to figure out what touches me so.

But I finally got to a point where I just couldn't take it anymore! Something had to change. I was just downright tired of smudging the mascara I took time out of my day to painstaking apply. Then fix after a child rams into my legs creating a black smear down my cheek that I don't think would ever be considered fashionable. All in the name of vanity.

With my time and vanity at stake, I finally dug out my old swim goggles.

I was feeling pretty darn clever as I adorned my swim goggles in my kitchen, slicing away at my onions and saving face, so to speak.

Until my small cluster of kiddies gathered around me, staring.

And staring.

And staring.

Mom, what is dat on your face?

They're goggles. They help protect my eyes.


Because onions hurt my eyes.


Because that's what onions do.


Mom? *sniffle* My eyes are hurting. I need da goggles.

Soon they were all fighting over who got to wear them first.

I strangely haven't seen them since that day.

I am still searching for an alternative to my swim goggles, although I haven't become desperate enough to try saran wrap yet.

But as far as the story I shared over at MMB goes, I had an exact experience just this morning, only with swiss cheese. (I don't normally buy it, but it was for a recipe)

Jacob: Mommy, I want cheese! *rummaging through the refrigerator door* I want this cheese!

Staring at the swiss cheese in his hand, I replied, You won't like that kind of cheese, it's different.

Jacob pulls it out of the bag. Yes I will! And with that, he took a big bite off the corner. See? I told you I would like it!

*chewing... silence... chewing... silence... face twists in disgust*

Mommy? This is yucky cheese. I don't want it!


See? Mommy knows everything!

And yet, they never seem to believe me.

Strange, I always listened to my mother. Always! I'm pretty sure I was the perfect child.

*psst... hey mom, I'll slip you a twenty if you agree with me*

September 15, 2010

Alayna's Check-up

We drove the three-plus hours down to Salt Lake with surprisingly little incident. No one threw up (my kids are awfully prone to car sickness, which they get from me) and we only had to make one extra potty-break stop.

I know, shocking.

Arriving an hour and a half early, we decided to check out the Church History Museum to kill time. It was really cool, even if I did spend most of the experience chasing toddlers. As we were getting ready to leave, something caught my eye.

Looking closer, it was an old cross-stitch. It took me a moment to figure out what it said, and when I did, I burst out laughing.

It read, "The Mormon Creed is to Mind Your Own Business".

I wish I had a picture of it. I'd hang it in my living room window.

And make a t-shirt.

After that we drove to Primary Children's Hospital where we waited an hour to see Dr. Siddiqi for Alayna's one-year post surgery check-up. He came in, gave her head a good feel over, and said there were no gaps, which would be the only issue at this point. He then measured her head, said everything looked great, asked if we had any questions, then we said goodbye.

I think the check-up took a grand total of five minutes.

Then we loaded back up in the car and drove the three-plus hours home. This time with Alayna screaming at least half the way, and with only one extra emergency potty-break stop.

I know, shocking.

Now, don't get me wrong. We are extremely grateful that there was nothing wrong and that the check-up was in and out. Better than any alternative and we would gladly do it a hundred times over.

But couldn't we skip the seven hours of driving next year and just send a picture?

I'll even measure her head and send in the numbers.

Free of charge.

September 13, 2010

Save the Worms Day

It was quiet.

Too quiet.

Glancing out the window, I realized the kids were missing from the trampoline, where they had been playing only a few minutes earlier.

I walked to the back door and found them huddled in a circle, looking very intently at something in the grass.

Huh, well, looks like they're fine! And I go back to making my cinnamon rolls.

A couple minutes later, they all come tromping inside. Grabbing some cups, they proceeded to fill them up with water.

"What are you guys doing?" I called as they started their way back out the door.

Little Jacob answered, "We're washing da worm!"

Worm? Guess they found an earthworm. At least, I hope that's what it is. And I go back to making my bread.

A few minutes later, they all came tromping back inside and gathered up paper, scissors, markers and tape. After huddling around the table for a while, I asked, "Now what are you guys doing?"

This time, Joseph answered with his little lisp, "We're ma-ing thignths!"  Which translates into, we're making signs! Then they tromped back outside.

Again, they appeared not too long after and dragged daddy outside to "show him something". He came back in chuckling.

"Did you see what they did out there?" 

"No, what?"

"They made a sign that says, ' NO LAWN MOWING HErE'".

Sure enough. 'Cause that's what that little picture is in the corner there, a lawn mower.

Savannah was so proud of herself. "It's so no one kills the worm!"

I had no idea I had such environmentally friendly children.

The amount of dirty diapers we've contributed to the world always threw me off.

September 11, 2010

Dear Summer,

I honestly thought we had a good thing going, I really did. Granted, you are a bit of a snob, but some hot guys are I suppose. At least you never gave me grief for wearing flip flops and shorts every day, nor for having wind blown hair after driving around with my windows down. I especially enjoyed our evenings together. You were pretty cool then, not trying to show off all your hotness to everyone else.

I know we've only been seeing each other for about six weeks now, but I thought we had an understanding, I thought we were good!

So to say I'm devestated that you would break up with me already, is an understatement. Do you realize what you're doing to me? To my kids? No more sprinkler fun, no more late nights lounging on the trampoline, no more frolicking like a bunch of hooligans through your summer showers.

Is this because of what happened with Fall? Sure we flirted a little, I mean, come on, even you have to admit he's a cool guy. I suppose there could be something serious between us if it weren't for his bully brother Winter. Man that guy is always tagging along after him. I just can't stand him, all cold and serious.

Normally I don't condone violence, unless it's over the last bag of Cabdury mini eggs, but just this once, couldn't you man up and give Winter a good kick in the bum and send him away? After Christmas, of course. Maybe you and Fall could gang up on him! I'd say that would make it a fair fight!

Oh well, I suppose I'm just wasting my breath. You're off chasing the nearest beach somewhere. Fine, go ahead! *sniff* See if I care! I'm going to get out my Fall fan posters just to spite you!

If you ever decide to show your face here again, you had better plan to stay, for a long time!

and her devestated hot pink toe nails

September 9, 2010

A One Year Anniversary

I'm going to leave my snarkity snark snark on the shelf today.

Okay, at least... 87% of it.

For today marks exactly one year. (I won't re-hash the story of Alayna's surgery to correct her Saggital Crainiosynostosis for those of you who have heard it a million times, but if you are new here, you are welcome to read about it by going through her surgery links)

I can't believe it's been one whole year since I handed this sweet thing over to the anesthesiologist while using every ounce of self-control and restraint I could muster not to poke the guy in the eye and make a run for it with my sweet baby.

When they disappeared behind the sliding glass doors, I dissolved into a puddle of slobbery mush. And I may or may not have used my husband's shirt sleeve as a tissue.

Five hours later, she was returned to us. Thinking of her soundless cry, due to the breathing tube, still brings tears to my eyes.

It was rough to be sure, but Primary Childrens Hospital is a humbling place. I wouldn't have traded our situation with any of the other amazing parents we met there.

Five days later, we came home. I'll never forget the way Savannah's eyes welled up with tears when she realized all her baby sister's hair was gone. She's a little vain like that.

The panic attacks she had whenever she was left alone, even for a few seconds was hard. And we were grateful when, a couple weeks later, she was willing to go to sleep on her own.


This fuzzball hides her scar. You'd never know it was there.

And she is, without a doubt, the sassiest trouble-maker there is to be found.

And for that, I am grateful... whenever she's not squishing bananas into the carpet that is.

So here's to the power of the priesthood, the miracle of modern medicine, and for men who grow up to be good surgeons.  (Thinking of you today Stacy. Her son had to do this surgery twice)


P.S. Don't forget to stop by Incredible Women today for yet another day of new questions and answers!

September 8, 2010

Flying laundry and other family oriented topics

This is why I love having kids.

I can't even begin to imagine how boring my life would be if I didn't get the chance to walk through my living room and discover a sock hanging from my ceiling fan from time to time.

Besides, I may have just discovered a way to get the kids to help with the dusting.

Okay, so maybe I shouldn't have totally ignored the fact that my kids were laughing hysterically while throwing the laundry around.

But the underwear was totally worth it.

You should have seen the pride in their eyes when they announced this incredible accomplishment.

I think it was worth 100 points.


Okay, so I realize that some of you may be feeling a bit miffed at me.

You make your way, all the way over here to my blog, only to have me send you away again.

But truly, you need to... no, you HAVE to go check out my guest post over at Jocelyn's blog, We talk of Christ, We rejoice in Christ.

She is having a month long celebration of the family, where each day is celebrated by talking about the truths found in the Family Proclamation. And she actually asked me to guest post! *gasp*

I realize some of you aren't Mormon, but you really should stop by. I wrote on a topic that, I confess, I am slightly passionate about.

I lovingly entitled it, Family Planning: It's none of THEIR business!

You'll like it, I promise.

Not terribly spiritual I'm afraid. But the topics going on over are and they are great! So be sure to stop by and give your two cents on my post!

Besides, if not for me, at least go to check out all the incredible giveaways going on over there too.


And again, be sure to stop by Kara's blog Incredible Women to read the new questions and answers on my totally undeserved week long feature!

You know I love you guys, right?

*double chest pound, peace sign*

September 7, 2010

Have I mentioned lately...

I was awakened by Hubby wrapping his arm around my waist and gently pulling me in close.

He's not much of a snuggler and hardly ever willingly does it, so I smiled, burrowed down deeper in the warm covers and prepared to drop back off in to heavenly oblivion.

Wait... my eyes flew open. It was light outside! Slightly panicked, I jerked my head around and managed to half whisper, half croak, "What time is it."

Without flinching or opening his eyes, his lips barely moved, "Just after seven."

Relief flooded through me as I realized I had not slept in past seven-thirty, the time I get Savannah up for school.

I was cozy and my body rebelled against me, not wanting to get up just yet.

But the damage had been done. My mind was already oiling the creaky gears of my mind's wheels as I thought about all the things I needed to get done today.

Groaning, I rolled over and caught of whiff of campfire smoke.

I paused, sniffed my hair, and recoiled.

We had come home late last night so I didn't bother to wash my hair.

Dropping my head into my pillow, I thought about yesterday.

We had gone to "Grandma's House" to see Luke's family. He was also determined to get in a four-wheeler ride with the kids.

So we did.

It was in the afternoon by the time we finally got going, which was probably a good thing because although the sun was shining, it was pretty chilly up there in the mountains.

Not that the kids cared one bit.

They were too busy gathering treasures. Like sticks, flowers,

rocks, and dead plants.

The trail we followed took us up to "Hidden Lake". This particular trail is insanely bumpy as the rains had washed away the dirt, leaving nothing but rocks, rocks, and more rocks.

Oh, and there was nothing but rocks.

Did I mention the trail was nothing but rocks?

Just so we're clear, the trail was very rocky.

I did my best to hold Alayna in place as I drove up the trail, feeling strangely like a bobble-head toy.

I'm amazed my brain didn't shake out my nose.


I'm suddenly feeling strangely like Dr. Seuss. Perhaps because of Savannah's hat?

*clearing throat*

Girl with sticks.

Boy with stacks.

Boy with stacks of sticks.

Girl trying to ride off with the four-wheeler.

Okay, so I make a lousy Dr. Seuss. But hey, I tried.

Maybe you guys can come up with a little Dr. Seuss action for these pictures.

Anyway, back to me plopping my head into my pillow this morning.

I looked over at the clock, it was time to get up.

I rolled off the side of the bed in an indecently ungraceful manner and shrugged on some sweats. I carefully woke up Savannah and we groggily sauntered our way to the living room.

Once she was dressed and eating her breakfast, I attempted to brush out her hair. Not sure if the over-powering campfire smoke smell was coming from her hair or mine, I felt guilty for not waking her up earlier so we could wash her hair. I vowed I would spritz her hair with from fruity-smelling body spray before we headed to the bus stop.

Then I thought about the hot dog roast complete with cheese puffs and chocolate milk the kids had for dinner before coming home last night.

While I had remembered to bring their pajamas, I had forgotten to bring their toothbrushes. Cringing, I vowed she would brush her teeth before we headed to the bus stop.

I finished making her lunch then glanced at the clock.

Oh blast! It was time to go!

We grabbed her backpack and jacket and sprinted to the bus stop.

I gave her a kiss and saw her off.

It wasn't until later that I realized I had neither sprayed her hair, nor brushed her teeth.

Have I mentioned lately what a totally awesome mother I am?

The End.

P.S. Don't forget to stop by Incredible Women for even more questions and answers about yours truly! If you can stand it. If not, that's okay.

It's just something that I'll never be able to get over, leaving tons of emotional scars.

Nothing for you to feel guilty about as it weighs on your conscience.

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