May 31, 2012

Life on the Homefront

You feel so grown up when you buy your first house.

But the truth is, I don't think you really know what you're getting into until you have to actually start taking care of it.

When we bought our house three years ago, it was a new construction that sat on a big pile of dirt and had an unfinished basement.

We were so excited. We were even excited at the thought of putting in the yard and finishing the basement ourselves! I suppose you could label us do-it-your-self-ers.

Pish... amateurs.

Now, my husband and I have this thing where we never buy anything unless we can pay for it all up front. The exception being of course the house and the car. But we paid off both vehicles ages ago.

Anyway, that first summer we lived here, we used the 1% back we got from our realtor to pay for a sprinkler system, which we installed ourselves.

It was Pure. Torture. We spent weeks scraping out weeds and raking, digging, and hauling out rocks. We may have also had the kids help. I should get a shirt that says, "I have my own child labor force", just so I can show off when someone snubs me for having five kids. I have a swell sense of humor like that.

And after all that time and effort, we thought we were good! That we were done with those horrible rocks. So we started to dig trenches.

Pish... amateurs.

We couldn't even get the stinking shovel to penetrate the rock saturated ground. So one day Hubby and his brother rented a trencher. Now, the boys in that family are farm boys, big ole' farm boys. But you should have seen the way that trencher kicked their trash. It looked like they were wrestling a bull the way that thing bounced and pinged off the rocks.

But finally, the trenches were dug, we installed the pipes and heads and all that jazz for the sprinklers. Well, okay fine. So maaayyyybbbeeee Hubby did most of that part. But still....

After one... ahem... minor flooding of all trenches and filling the gutters with water incident, we finally got the blasted sprinklers in. Then we had to haul in truckloads of dirt to grade and level the yard. After that hubby borrowed a bug ol'e tractor and smoothed it all out himself.

At the end of the summer, we bought some discounted sod and put grass down in the back yard. Hubby was even able to con one of his brothers into helping. Those dang sod rolls are heavy!!

But we were so proud.

That winter to finished the storage room in the basement ourselves. And yes, I do claim equal glory on that one. I put in my fair share of hanging the sheet rock, mudding, taping and texturing. I thought when we first started it would be so easy.

Pish... amateurs.

And yet we somehow survived and we took to saving our pennies again so the next spring, we bought more discounted sod and finished the front yard.

That summer/fall we tackled the family room in the basement. That's a story I don't want to touch with a ten foot pole! But despite being gigantically pregnant with Claira, I did the best I could to help Hubby in the basement, even if  I was just a little wimpy and whinny about it.

I'm woman enough to admit that I have no weaknesses, so it must have been justified. (I can just imagine Hubby's eye roll when he reads that, but deep down, he knows it's true too)

Now, as we have finally hit summer again, we have turned our attention back to the yard.

The project this summer? Flower beds!

We decided to outline the beds with the metal sheets. We actually thought they would be fairly easy to put in.

Pish... amateurs.

Remember the rock problem I mentioned earlier? Yea, hours with a pick ax and a shovel later, we finally got the front done.

Just thinking about doing the side and back of the house makes my muscles twitch in protest.

We also made the mistake of laying the sheets down on the grass not realizing how hot they were getting sitting out in the sun.

Yea... we have some nice dead grass lines in the front yard. Awesome.

Ah well, what can you do. I'm excited though. It will be nice to finally have some flowers in our yard!

I also take comfort in knowing that our kids were working just as hard as we were the whole time.


And, wow. That was a really long post just to show you boring pictures of our empty flowerbeds.

You guys deserve a medal for reading.

May 29, 2012

To the Man I Didn't Thank

My brother returning from a year in Iraq

As I walked out of the store, glancing at my receipt to double check it, my phone buzzed, indicating I got a text. I paused a few steps outside of the store doors to check my phone, my mind in ten different places as it tends to do when I'm without any children.

Voices penetrated my thoughts as I heard, "Excuse me sir, did you serve in the armed forces?"

Another man replied, "Yes sir. Used to."

At this point I glanced up in time to see the first man walk over, shake the other man's hand and say, "Thank you for your service."

I smiled as I caught the brief exchange, thinking to myself how neat it was to have witnessed it. I also wondered how the first man had known to ask the other if he had served in the armed forces. I confess that I figured it must have been the camouflage shorts the second man was wearing, or perhaps the army cut he sported... as if that were really a true indication.

But it wasn't until the men walked by me that I really looked. 

The right leg on the second man was gone, replaced by a synthetic metal appendage that allowed him to walk.

I stood there in surprise for a moment and by the time I shook it off, they had already walked into the store.

I wish I had noticed sooner, or turned around and gone back in, I wish I could have thanked him too. Because despite political opinions, the men and women who serve to protect this country and our freedoms deserve our respect for their sacrifice.

So to the man I didn't thank because I was too caught up in my own distractions:

Thank you for your service and sacrifice.

May 26, 2012

Good Dreams

We are in Montana right now at my parents house for Memorial weekend. The kids did fairly well during the seven hour drive up here, other than Savannah throwing up in the back seat... three times.

We never travel without a puke-bucket. That is at the top of our necessity list, even before diapers or chocolate.

See? My priorities aren't totally skewed.

Just sayin'.

Anyway, this morning while I was still trying to pretend that I could sleep though all the ruckus and yelling going on (surely by someone elses kids because MY kids NEVER yell... *cough* Eh hem...), Hubby came over to me and said, "I just ran into Jacob on the stairs. He stopped and turned to me with this huuuuuge grin on his face and he said, 'Dad! I just had the best dream ever! I dreamed about a BIG pile of M&Ms!''

Ha ha! I'm training them well.......

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!!

May 23, 2012

Claira Turns One

Can it really have been a whole year since I wrote about how I was contemplating revenge while bringing a sweet baby into the world?

Ahh... those were the days. Such memories.

Isn't she ridiculously adorable? Ya, I think so too.

The best part? She still is! Even if she did inherit her eating manners from me. I think I now understand why some people say she looks like me. At first I thought it was the hair, but now I realize it's because they've seen us both after we've eaten.

Her birthday was actually while I was out of town last weekend. So my cute sister-in-law made her some cupcakes!

Where's the letter "C"? Oh, right here!

Claira thought they were pretty darn delish.

But while her cousin Madison seemed happy for her, I think Mackenzie was just a wee bit jealous of all the attention Claira was getting.

I mean, I don't know that for sure... it's just a gut feeling.

So we were a couple days late celebrating Claira's birthday as a family, but I made sure she got all the special privileges.

Right down to licking the cake beaters.

I get the feeling she rather enjoyed that part... you?

Later that day, once again my super awesome cousin Callie and her kids showed up, bearing cute gifts for Claira.

She pretty much thinks her presents are the greatest thing since emptying the wipe container and throwing them all over the floor was invented.

Now... as far as her cake goes, you all saw my, err... rather interesting attempt at Jacob's cake. Well I just had so much dang fondant left over I decided to use it up.

And I had this cute idea in my head but once again, I didn't exactly think things through. See, when you're working with fondant, you kind of need to have shape or cookie cutters.

I had one. One big flower shaped cookie cutter.

So in the end, it wasn't at all what I had planned.

Oh well. The kids were pretty excited about the fondant balls around the cake! They just wanted to eat them all!

Okay, I don't know how many of you actually watch any of the videos I post, but this one is a keeper. Seriously, worst, birthday, ever. Haha, poor girl. We should have sang, "It's my party and I'll cry if I want too" instead of "Happy Birthday."

Well, at least at the end she was smiley.

That means her cake wasn't a total loss! Right?

Happy Birthday little Claira! I love having you in our family.

Even if you did bite Alayna on the stomach, and unrolled all the aluminum foil, and played in the toilet, and ate half the crayons, and dumped all the books off the shelf, and pulled out all the sandwich bags from the box, and knocked your food over onto my clothes, and pulled all your clothes out of the closet, and played with the plunger, and........

This was recorded so that someday, you will read this and think we were the coolest baby ever.

May 21, 2012

Vocalize the Good

You know when you get back from something that feels life changing and you are so full of new knowledge and information you just feel like you're going to burst? Yea... that's me after this convention. And I don't think it's from all the candy bars I ate either.

It was awesome.

When I got home late Saturday night Hubby commented that he had cleaned the house. I kind of laughed at his desire for recognition and said,"Yes, I see that! It was actually the first thing I noticed when I walked in the door. Thank you so much!"

I bit back my smile as I thought of the six-hundred loads of dirty laundry piled sky high in the laundry room, the three loads of dishes cluttered in the sink, and the dirty bathrooms that need to be scrubbed.

But I love him for trying. He did manage to pick-up, wipe down, sweep, and vacuum.

So I gave him a little pat on the head.

(Then I read to him what I just wrote above and he gave me a sarcastic "he he he")

But seriously, it was cute and I'm proud of him.

It's good to be home and I feel all rejuvenated and ready for this new week.

I even made the mistake of teasing Hubby so mercilessly yesterday that he pinned me down and and tickled me. Oooooooooh.... I hate that and he dang well knows it!  But the man weighs twice what I do so he when pins me down, there is no escaping. Alayna tried to come to my rescue by spanking his bum but it didn't work.

So when he was tackling Alayna, I got payback and managed a few good tickles in of my own.

Then booked it out of there as fast as I could.

I know how the saying goes, "He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day!"


So, I was thinking about a couple of incidences that have happened recently, especially after reading my friend's experience with a rude lady at church who told her she needed to control her children.

I generally do blog about people's funny or sometimes rude comments about my children, but I really feel like I want to mention a couple of good responses I've encountered.

The first was a couple weeks ago at stake conference. (A large gathering of members in the area who come together for a two-hour long Sunday meeting) We showed up early, but not early enough. I didn't want to sit in the hard fold-up chairs way in the back, so we took a soft bench in the Very. Front. Row.

But it gets better.

When Hubby got up to gather some of our children who decided they wanted to sit with someone else, a few people sat down and took half the bench. So our family was now split and sitting in two benches... in the front row... an isle and some people separating us.

Then the two hour nightmare began. Screaming, wiggling, noise making, coloring, bathroom breaking, I felt sure everyone around us was irritated, annoyed, and looking down on me. I was really mentally beating myself up over the chaos I felt we were creating.

To my great surprise, after the meeting was finally over, the lady who was sitting with her family directly behind us, came over and said how much she loved watching our family and how she remembered "those days" and that I was doing a good job. I was truly touched by that because I was seriously contemplating duct tape.

The other incident was just yesterday, again at church. It was after Sunday school when I came back in from taking a screaming, squawking, wiggly, squiggly Claira out of the room.. Hubby had been out taking care of Joseph who apparently had hit someone, "but not hard" as Joseph said.

A gal who was still sitting there called out to me and said how much she loved watching my kids, especially Claira with all her energy and expressiveness. She just went on and on about it.

I don't think people understand the difference it can make for someone else on how you decide to react to them and their situation, and whether or not you voice it.

And that goes for both good and bad comments.

So right now, I just want to recognize and appreciate the nice people who took a moment to express their good thoughts. It's like when I give my husband a hard time for never complementing the way I look. He always says, "Well I thought it!" Pish, and what good does that do me?

I need more vocalized good thoughts. They're like chocolate candies. You can never get enough!

So I dare you to say something nice to someone who may seem a bit frazzled this week. Double-dog dare you.

May 18, 2012


I'm out of town right now at this amazing convention. It was such a last-minute decision to come. A friend of mine called me up her way to Salt Lake City to tell me she had an extra ticket. Knowing how expensive they were and this was such an incredible opportunity, I decided to take advantage of it.

So, Hubby is home running back and forth from work and home to pick up and drop off the two older kids to and from school, while my brother and awesome sister-in-law are letting me and my three youngest kids stay with them.

Seriously, I have the best family ever.

True story.

Anyway, I just wanted to share a little something I learned, something that brings my whole world into focus and now it all makes perfect sense.

See? I just KNEW chocolate had nothing to do with it!

My life is now complete.

May 16, 2012

CrAzY hAiR dAy

With this school year winding down, spirit week has begun.

Monday was the ever exciting "crazy hair day", probably Savannah's favorite school day of the whole year.

They may not have had the craziest hair, or the coolest, but I'm pretty sure I was a rock star mom that day.

The kids kept their loved crazy hair-dos in ALL day and were so bummed when at bed time I took everything down.

One of these days, just for kicks and giggles, I'm going to give all my kids super crazy hair styles and take them to Walmart while I wear this t-shirt.

Because that would be awesome.

May 14, 2012

Ode to My Children

I hope perhaps someday you'll forget 
the piles of laundry and stains that set,
nor remember the way my hair
often stuck out everywhere.

And the dirty dishes that were always around
was nothing compared to the time I found
the trail of poop that led down the hall
through your room, into the bathroom stall.  

I don't always react the way a good mommy should,
to the indoor juice pool you made just 'cause you could.
Or to that big bowl of spaghetti you dropped
onto the the floor I had freshly mopped.

Or that one time you threw your shoe 
at that unsuspecting lady in the store who
did nothing more than walk by our cart
but she was so nice, bless her heart.

I know sometimes at the end of the day
I'm not always smiling like a sunshine ray
And sometimes I growl and grimace and frown
because your mud turned my white shirt brown.

Perhaps someday time will fade
the memories of the messes I made
in some lame attempt when I tried to make
you the perfect birthday cake.

But I hope you will remember the fun we had 
playing as a family, especially with dad.
The singing, the dancing, the doggy-pile making
are worth all of my good dishes breaking.

Your smiles and laughter and cuddle-bug hugs
make everything worth putting up with you lugs.
The world today is telling me that
I should never have had you, to hang up my hat.

That you are not worth the dollars it will take
the news claims I need to raise you and make
some grand and fancy person who 
views everyone else in dollar amounts too.

But I see the worth and beauty of your soul
to me your happiness is worth giving my whole,
perhaps others will not understand 
that you are worth more, that you are indeed grand.  

I know I'm not perfect but I hope you can see
that I try really hard so that someday you'll be
the best that you are, honest and true
smart and kind and lovable too.

You are amazing and wonderfully bright
so I give this my best with all my might.
I hope you know that I try to be true,
because of how much I gosh-darn love you.

Happy Mother's Day!

May 11, 2012

Jacob Turns Five

Whenever my kids have a birthday, I like to reflect back on their birth stories. Sometimes I just don't think Hubby realizes and appreciates how lucky he is still be alive.

You'd have to have been there. But you know, labor tends to bring out the best in me. *cough*

Still, Jacob's birth is especially close to my heart, because his is the story when Hubby passes out cold and then receives extra special treatment while I could only lay in bed and glare at him for eating in front of me.

Because ours is a special kind of love like that.

My man Jacob had a birthday this week. A whopping five years old!

I think if there was one thing about him that everyone always talks about, it's his incurable and undeflatable smile. ("undeflatable" apprently isn't a real word, but I like it anyway) It's the one thing people remember most about him.

The other thing is his total randomness. As I was typing this up, I looked over my shoulder and said, "Hey Jacob! Say something totally random."

Without missing a beat he replied, "Daddy has purple lips."

I knew he wouldn't disappoint.

For weeks now, Jacob has been talking non-stop about his birthday cake. We found it on Pinterest and he has been asking for it ever since.

At first I thought, Meh! Sure thing! I can do that, noooooo sweat.

Have you ever just wanted to smack yourself for thinking something so ridiculously ridiculous?

Yea... this is one of those times.

It started off decent enough, I even had lots of help.

And true to tradition, Jacob got to lick all the beaters.

Of course, I couldn't decide if the expression on his face is of one who is drunk on cake batter euphoria, or if he was just daydreaming about how awesome his cake was going to be.

Unfortunately, things didn't turn out according to plan. Pish, I should have known better! *sigh* Okay fine, I deserve a head smack.

Here is the picture from Sugar Rush Cake.

And after spending the entire afternoon on it, three cake mixes and two fondant batches later, we were reduced to this.

Don't worry, I won't be quitting my day job anytime soon.

When Hubby announced it looked like a hat, I could only glare, a screech a frustration lodged in my throat.

He was saved from an untimely demise because my awesome cousin Callie and her adorable children were over. She had brought Jacob a bag loaded with fun birthday presents.

She is so amazing and one of the most generous people I know.

At this point everyone was starving to death, or so it seemed by all the weeping and hunger induced wailing going on. So after maturely sticking my tongue out at the cake, we took all the kids out for all-you-can-eat pizza.

By the time we got home it was late and everyone was stuffed, so we decided to save the cake for later.

The next day I begrudgingly finished the cake, not really caring what it looked like anymore. Just, don't say anything about my spider... or my bat for that matter. Or, that the colors are pastel. 

At least Jacob forgave me and said me loved it anyway.

Oh, and he loves Savannah too.

So, if anyone wants some cake we have plenty (three cake mixes worth) that you can have! The first thing out of Jacob's mouth this morning was, "Can I have some more cake?"

It's going to take us forever to get rid of that monstrosity.

Haha, I love when my kids sing. It's just too awesome for words.

Happy Birthday mini man! And, sorry about your cake. *sheepish grin*
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