Monday, December 29, 2008

riding in the car with lil's

i love the conversations we have with our kids in the car. they are always so random. the other day larry and i were running errands and somehow, miraculously, only had lily with us. here is a sample of our conversations.

lil - knock knock
me - who's there
lil - banana
me - banana who
lil - banana giggle giggle giggle

lil - look out we're going to crash
me - we are not going to crash
lil - yes we are. here we go! (insert high pitch squeal here) giggle giggle giggle

Saturday, December 27, 2008

christmas 2008

about a week or so ago i was rushing around, going from store to store in a desperate push to get the christmas shopping done and get christmas cards finished and placed in the mail. and then this song came on the radio while the snow was gently falling covering everything in a fresh blanket of snow. at that moment i had an epiphany. or at least a gentle reminder that my christmas priorities were a little out of whack. so after listening, i tried to take a step back and not worry so much about whether or not every loose end got tied up. christmas was so much more peaceful this year!

i need a silent night (click on the title to play)

we started the festivities by having our friends the hendricks over for christmas eve dinner. we have known dan since before brendan was born so when he's around it's like spending time with family. after a yummy dinner, we visited a little bit and they headed out to get baby mason to bed. we had our traditional reading of luke 2 and this year we added songs to each passage. it was very sweet and spiritual. then the kids got to open 1 present which is always pajama related and larry and i got things ready for santa's big stop!

here are some of my favorite pictures from the day.

the kids waiting anxiously at the top of the stairs. everyone has to come down at the same time!

brookes face when she realized the princess bike was for her.

bella has been waiting one of these e pet things forever

brendan anxious to see how fast his nerf gun really shoots.

lily mothering her new baby

bella taking lily for a ride on brookes bike. christmas is the one day a year where riding a bike in the house is completely acceptable.

every year there are a few toys that become the "coveted" toys. here are this years winners

lily's veterinarian pet carrier. i don't even think the poor girl realized this toy belonged to her. someone snatched it away practically the minute she opened it.
bella's barbie mp3 player. i should have known that this would cause problems. i got it for bella because brendan got an mp3 player and i knew she would be jealous. had i only had the foresight to know that all the kids would want one! i have to say that the kids love these. they were worth every penny. but, the kids can't listen to music without singing and they all sing really loud - i have absolutely no clue where these traits come from... wink wink. so when they are both in the same room with them on - it's simply delightful.
i hope that all of you had a wonderful christmas full of the joy and love that the season represents. i hope that you felt the saviours love for you and your family. christmas is such a magical time of year. starting with the miracle that occured back in a tiny stable in bethlehem.

Monday, December 22, 2008

pheasant - the new chicken!!

larry went pheasant hunting on saturday. to be honest with you i just thought he was going to have a good time and relieve a little stress. i didn't actually think we were expected to eat what he brought home! so imagine my surprise when he walked in with a beautiful pheasant, they are truly pretty birds, and announced that he was going to go and remove the breasts so we could eat them. seriously?!? we are going to eat it?? i questioned in my best supportive yet alarmed tone. you betcha was his reply - and off we went with kids in tow to clean it. one of the most surprising parts to me is that the kids watched the whole process and thought it was cool. when the tail feathers are dry bella wants to hang them in her room. one word comes to mind here - Gross!! but i have to wonder - are the girls going to be into hunting as well?? a whole little family of hunters? minus me of course
so last night we had said bird in one of our favorite family meals (mixed with chicken because we needed more meat) and it was really good. taste wise there was almost no difference between the two. maybe this wild game eating thing won't be so bad after all.....
here is the recipe i used. i got it years ago from my friend emma and it has become a family staple in the winter. it's really simple and yummy.

chicken and rice

3-4 chicken breasts (can be frozen)
1 1\2 c instant rice
1 can cream of chicken, cream of celery and cheddar cheese soup
2 c water + 1 1\2 soup cans water
salt and pepper to taste

place chicken in 9x13 pan. pour rice and 2 c water over top. in a medium sized bowl mix the soups and 1 1\2 soup cans water together until blended. pour over chicken and stir a little bit to mix. cover with foil and bake for 2 hours at 350. it will look a little soupy when you take it out but as you stir it will thicken.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

a tree grows in the forest.....

beautiful and majestic it grows for centuries. then the hahl's come and chop it down ending it's life for the noble cause of a christmas tree.

we love going into the forest to find and cut down our own christmas tree. it's a pretty new tradition for us, but the kids love it! when you are in the forest, it's really hard to tell how the tree is going to look when it's isolated away from the others. the other trick is figuring out how monstrous it's going to be in your living room! our's ended up being a lot wider at the bottom than i thought it was going to be (that's after cutting at least 5 feet off) and getting it into the house was pretty entertaining. thankfully the elders showed up at just the right time and helped larry pull it through the door and lift it up.
i was hoping that we wouldn't have to do the platform again this year but after lily took about half the ornaments off a friend of ours tree we figured it would be a pretty good idea. maybe next year we can put it on the floor like normal people. but until then, the platform actually has some positive attributes. first, the space underneath provides an excellent hiding spot for those secret christmas items. second, it makes the tree easier to water. thirdly, we don't have to worry about little fingers pulling the tree over on themselves. and i think i actually kind of like how it keeps the tree out of the way a little bit.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

the best night evah!!!

my girls, like so many other girls i know, love high school musical. they know a majority of the songs and love to dance and sing along. so, the other night when my very sweet and generous friend christy won free tickets to high school musical the ice tour and took us instead of her boys it was like the most exciting night of their young little lives!! seriously - so much fun! i didn't tell the girls where we were going, mostly because i didn't want to listen to them squeal all day long and partly because i wanted to make it as exciting as possible. when we drove by the venue and bella saw the signs she was practically speechless; a major first for her.
the skaters were amazing. i can't even imagine being in that kind of shape. what a work out! the picture above is the only halfway decent one i got with my limited photograpy skills. they just wouldn't stop moving long enough for a good shot and my camera is just too slow!
i told the girls that they could have one thing to share. of course they picked the cotton candy with the big shiny ryan hat.
the girls striking a pose with christy after the show.

the excitement of the night exerted so much energy out of them that this is what they looked like when we pulled into the driveway. since that night, the first words out of bella's mouth to everyone that she sees is about going to HSM on ice and how it was the best night of her life. so thanks christy for sharing your tickets with us! the girls will never forget it!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

pickle holder

do you love eating pickles but hate the dreadful pickle smell your fingers get after holding them?? if so, your going to love this new product (patent pending) created by our own budding inventor whom the product is named after. the lily pickle holder allows you to enjoy your pickle without getting any of the juice or pickle smell on your personage. the classic, yet fun design, is so easy to use that even a two year old can master it in no time.
to order your pickle holder call 1 - 800 - mychildistoocuteforwords. call now as supplies are very limited!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

complete and total randomness

  • we were driving in the car the other day and the kids begged me to listen to mamma mia. over the summer we almost wore the cd out so i had put it away for awhile. i forgot how much fun that music is! everyone was singing and dancing in the car. even lily knew some of the words to the song "mamma mia". but whenever i hear "lay all your love on me" all i can think of is the men in speedos wearing flippers doing the penguin walk. makes me smile every time.
  • i am so excited that batman dark knight is on dvd this week. i loved that movie and have been anxiously waiting to see it again. that is one i will need to add to the dvd library for frequent viewing. yes the movie is very dark, but heath's performance is so amazing! i completely loved it.
  • lily's new phrase is "no thanks". she says it all the time. my favorite is when i tell her it's time for bed and she looks at me in all seriousness and says no thanks. like it's an option! but at least she is being polite.
  • i love it when it snows before all the foliage is off the trees.
such beauty!
  • lately i've been submerged in organizing musical numbers. there's music for sacrament meeting and enrichment activity. i love doing it, but it can really be stressful. however, in the end, when everything comes together beautifully, it's worth every stressful second.

  • i really enjoyed the christmas devotional tonight. presidents uchtdorf's message about his childhood christmas's in germany really touched my heart. with all the bling and hype it can be hard to keep the kids thinking about the true spirit of christmas. just the other day larry was telling brendan about christmas's he spent as a child visiting people in the hospital. memories that he will never forget. but can he remember the toys he got that year?

  • larry got our christmas lights put up on the house this weekend and i am so thankful to him for that. i love having lights on the house. it just makes me feel so festive and ready for the season.

Monday, December 1, 2008

new loves

  • pickles - brooke and lily are addicted to pickles. they can't get enough! lily can eat 3 to 4 pickles in one setting.
  • turkey pepperoni - besides pickles, all lily wants to eat these days is turkey pepperoni. over the weekend she ate an entire package. turkey pepperoni has less fat than regular but it has a lot more spice in it so i'm kind of surprised at how much she likes it.
  • fashion - bella is totally into fashion these days. she loves to try and put her own combinations together. most of the time she does well. but - she loves to wear magenta colored sweatpants with this little brown skirt. that one i'm not feeling so much.
  • abstract art - brendan has discovered abstract art and has been trying to create his own masterpieces. it's a fine line between abstract and scribbles and he's working hard to differentiate between the two.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

i'm in trouble mommy!!

on tuesday and thursday mornings brooke has preschool. getting her ready and out the door is not a hard thing but somedays are a little bit more chaotic than others. this morning brooke and i were working on finding a show and tell item and lily was following me around asking for a cookie. i, being the good mom that never let's her kids have sweets in the morning (excluding the marshmallows she had at 7:30 of course), told her no! then brooke and i ran upstairs really quick to grab something. on the way down the stairs i heard a little noise but it wasn't a loud crashing sound so i didn't think too much of it. then i heard lily start yelling "i'm in trouble mommy. i'm in trouble". so i picked up speed down the stairs rounded the corner to the kitchen and found this.

apparently lily decided to disregard my instruction and help herself to a cookie via the lazy susan knocking over the molasses and a few other items along the way. since glass and my tile floor are not very compatible the molasses jar broke and oozed into a nice little puddle. trying to remember to count my blessings i was instantly thankful the karo syrup was in a plastic bottle otherwise it would have been twice the mess to clean up. have you ever had to clean up molasses?? the stuff is like tar. it took countless napkins to get the majority of it up and then i scrubbed it several times with a mop, it looked clean, i let it dry, still looked clean, stepped on it and my foot stuck. so three additional moppings later, the floor is molasses free.

on a side yet related note, last night i was talking with a friend about how hard it can be having four kids (she has four kiddos herself). and sometimes i'm not sure if it's hard because there are four, or because lily is such a handful. and she commented on how funny the lily stories are and who would of thought that she would be like that. yes.... who would have thought it?? but here i am today, with another lily story to share. i'm sure that her determination and independence will help her succeed in life. i truly believe that. in the meantime, i just have to love and snuggle her when she wants to be snuggled and try to direct her energy and imagination into positive directions that don't leave a trail of destruction behind her. and she needs to be watched every second of every day ;)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

how far would you go to see twilight??

the highly anticipated twilight premieres in just over 48 hours and the "twilighters" are just about ready to bust with anticipation. 500 midnight shows have already sold out. but what would you do if you wanted to attend the midnight show and your lame hometown theater didn't want to show it because they thought the tickets wouldn't sell?? hello!!!! where have you been little theater owner?? hiding underneath a rock for the last year?? this unfortunate scenario was almost a reality in moab where my sister in law, charlotte lives. not to be left in the dark for 12 hours after the premiere some local women took matters into their own hands. they purchased all the seats in the theater and started to sell the tickets themselves. news spread like wildfire and the tickets became a hot commodity. charlotte called to reserve her tickets and the ladies informed her she could pick them up at the park the next day. she arrived at the park to find the ladies with their van doors open, twilight trailers playing on laptops, selling tickets that they had handcrafted. they are also doing some sort of raffle at the premiere. now that is what i call devotion!! or does it cross the line into unhealthy obsession?? hmmm.... either way, a theater full of twilight lovin mormonites is guaranteed to be a rockin time! it almost makes me want to drive over there for the premiere. but; the tickets are sold out so i wouldn't be able to get in anyway. silly little theater owner!!! how close you came to missing a major payday.

Monday, November 17, 2008

anger management

a week or so ago, we decided to attempt a little impromptu family photo shoot in hopes of getting a couple good pics for christmas cards and grandparents. i don't know about you all, but we love getting family pictures taken!!! always, always a good time!! i think the following picture sums the experience up nicely.
can't you just see the joy and happiness radiating off her adorable face!! we were looking though the pictures and brendan said "she needs anger management classes. her eyes are burning a hole in me." out of the mouths of babes......

Friday, November 14, 2008

why can't i take my tonsils home??

several years ago, around sixty five - give or take a few - larry's dad (pappa sir) went in to get his tonsils taken out. this was back in the day when it was common for doctors to make house calls and many doctor's residence served as the location of their practice as well. so on the morning of his tonsillectomy, pappa sir's dad drove him over to the dr's house where they placed him on a table located on the back porch. ether was administered, the back porch became a surgical room, the tonsils were removed and shortly there after pappa sir was carried to the car to recover at home. my..... how medicine has changed and how grateful i am for that change!!
today, brendan went in to get his tonsils taken out and thankfully it was not on the back porch with a rusty scalpel (i'm sure the scalpel wasn't rusty then either but in my head that's how i picture it). the decision to remove said tonsils occurred because a few months ago during a normal checkup brendan's tonsils caught his dr's eye. and not in a good way. after some questions about his sleeping habits she decided to have him do a sleep study. when the results came back it showed that he had sleep apnea and they referred us to a ear/nose and throat dr who confirmed what we suspected - they need to come out!! brendan was really nervous, which was to be expected. surgery of any kind is scary no matter how old you are so when your newly 11, it's terrifying. his biggest concern was the iv. it took me awhile to fully understand where this fear was coming from. we kept telling him that it would be just like a little bee sting and then finally he looked at me and said "that's not what you've said before. you said it hurt when it went in and didn't stop until it came out." oopps. my bad. i didn't realize that i had talked about that in front of him before, but apparently i did and he filed it away in his little elephant brain for future reference. my biggest fear for him was the anesthesia. i have never had a child put under before, nor have i been put under, so i was really concerned about how that would be. in the end, both of our fears were laid to rest with competent professionals that took care of things beautifully. the whole surgery went really well and brendan was such a tropper!! he kept up his sense of humor and had us laughing more than once. he was a little sad when he first woke up from surgery and had a few rough moments when the baby next to us woke up crying and continued to cry for awhile. poor little baby. he was just really hungry and scared. my favorite moment from the day was when we were sitting in recovery and brendan told us that he really wanted to talk to the people next to us to see how they were feeling and what they were in for. like i've said before, he is quite the compassionate and caring little boy. i also loved the way he quizzed everyone about what they were doing, why they were doing it and what effect it would have on him. i don't think they all thought it was as amusing as i did but i love to sit back and watch him process information and then fish for more to create a perfect picture in his head. why can't i take my tonsils home? what does pathology do with them? you asked the doctor if a 22 gauge was ok or if she needed a 20. why is one better than the other? and actually the nurses were really good about answering his questions, the surgeon however did not find them amusing at all. she was very quick to dismiss his question about the length of time the surgery would take. i thought for a second she was going to tell him off and we were going to have a little smack down in the prep room if i'm going to be completely honest about the situation. but, she did her job without any problems and i am grateful to her for that. although a little bedside manner might be helpful in calming the nerves of a child. but what do i know..... i'm just the mom ;) not a highly educated medical professional.
a before shot. i tried to get an after shot but it's too swollen to get a clear view

brendan nestled in his space suit thermal blanket relaxing to some tunes in recovery. they let him take the blanket and space suit hat (not in picture) home. he thought that was the coolest thing ever.

larry went down to the pharmacy to get brendans medicine and came back with this huge grocery type bag. he only has 2 prescriptions but a total of eight bottles. 5 bottles of antibiotic and 3 bottles of tylenol with codeine.

tonight, brendan is resting comfortably. he is still pretty sluggish and swollen and sore but his spirits are good and he is looking forward to eating some ice cream tomorrow. he is already tired of popsicles and slushes. that is something that i thought i would never see. a kid tired of popsicles?!?!

as for me, i am just thankful to heavenly father that everything went so well today. it was a minor procedure but you just never know. and it's always hard to see your little ones in pain, with monitors beeping. brings to mind how easily they could be not so healthy kids. i am also thankful to him for the peace that he blessed me with. i am not always the coolest cucumber in the patch when my kids have stuff like this going on but i was calm and composed all day today. and thanks to olivia and rachael for taking on my girls so that larry and i could be there together for brendan. to christy for giving my kitchen a break. and to those that sent prayers and best wishes our way.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

my little man

today is brendan's 11th birthday and i don't have his birthday post ready yet. but i couldn't let the day finish without acknowledging how much i love this kid and how glad i am that heavenly father blessed us with his sweet spirit. brendan has always been fiercely independent and when he was younger i was concerned that this would hinder him in building relationships with others. but over the last few years, he has become such a caring and sympathetic kid. the past few days, we have had to talk about some of the trials that people go through in life. i wanted him to understand what was going on in the lives of our friends so that he in turn would be prepared for certain conversations. immediately, he surprised me with his overwhelming compassion and desire to do whatever we could to make things easier for them. touched my little heart his love and concern did. brendan is also going to be a great dad someday. i love to watch him interact with babies. he loves them and they love him. i think they can sense his kind heart. sometimes it is so easy for me to get caught up in the craziness of boyhood that it's hard for me to see the budding man who will emerge quicker than i can even imagine.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

merry christmas to me

i have been wanting a giraffe print purse for a while now. i've looked in a few places and just couldn't find the "right" one. but, the other night i was out with the girls and i found this lovely item

i decided to go ahead and get it for myself for christmas. my first thought was to have larry go back and get it but it was on sale so of course i had to get it right then!! i promised myself that i would not use it until christmas. but i folded under peer pressure (yeah right) and used it the rest of the night with the intention of packing it away in the closet when i got home. which i did. but then larry and i went out last night and i just couldn't help myself!!! it was calling me from the closet, begging to be included in the fun. what's a girl to do??? besides, i needed to verify that i had chosen the correct size. i wanted one that wasn't too big, but was big enough. so.....i stuffed the following items into it for the movie: 2 water bottles, one package of whoppers, one medium package of licorice and one king size caramello bar - with room to spare. official verdict - this is the best purse ever!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

farewell little scooter....

little pink scooter you have provided us with hours of entertainment. we have enjoyed riding you up and down the sidewalk. feeling the breeze on our little faces and the sun on our backs. we have shared many laughs together and won many races. if only we had loved you enough to not lay you down behind mom's car where she proceeded to run over you. we hope that you find endless sidewalks in scooter heaven.

love always, the hahl girls

Monday, November 3, 2008

happy birthday lilsters!

on november 2 my baby turned 2. it is so hard for me to believe that she is that old. with each addition to the family the time that they are so super sweet and little just seems to fly faster and faster. when i started this blog, i made the decision that within the first year of it's life i would chronicle the birth of the kiddos since i have never actually written them down before. so here is lily's. i am sure that this will not really be of much interest to the rest of you (sorry) but i want the kids to know their story.
from the very beginning lily's pregnancy was harder than the rest of the kids. i think it was a combination of me just being older and my body being tired of stretching. i hurt all the time and was exhausted most of the time as well. and of course my favorite pregnancy companion, heartburn, was along for the ride and started way earlier than it did with the previous three. thank heaven for zantac and i am so glad that it made it onto the approved o.t.c. meds list! i could not have lived without it. towards the end the heartburn was so bad at night that the medicine was virtually useless. therefore i spent the last month sleeping upright on the couch until around 2 or so and then i would wander upstairs to bed. bella and brooke were both early, two weeks and one and half weeks respectively, so i was convinced since it was my fourth i was going to come super early. i had myself so convinced of the fact that the last two weeks of my pregnancy i would wake up in the morning mad and depressed that i had made it through another night without going to the hospital. it also didn't help that several nights i would start regular contractions and then they would just magically disappear. i tried a lot of the old wives tales to try and induce labor with no luck. finally at my 40 week appointment (i scheduled it a few days early) i broke down into tears, sobbing to my doctor that there was no way i could go another week. she made a call to the hospital and said that she could get me in for an induction on sunday, which was four days away and was one day after my due date. sad, but grateful for an end date i went home and took brooke pajama shopping at kohl's. i have such a vivid memory of waddling through the store holding back tears and feeling completely sorry for myself. i went home and made arrangements for the kids on sunday. bedtime came and i pulled out the change of clothes and shoes for the kids thinking to myself that it was a waste of time. i wouldn't need them just like i hadn't needed them for the last week......wipe away another tear.....choke back a sob... laid down on the couch and tried to get to sleep. contractions started sometime around midnight and didn't stop. i was so excited that if i could have leaped for joy i would have. we made the middle of the night phone call and dropped the kids off at niki and aaron's; racing to the hospital. the ride was like deja vu. with bella and brooke i also went into labor in the middle of the night, raced through the fairly quiet streets and they were also on a thursday morning. isn't that strange? all of our girls were born on a thursday morning.
the labor\delivery nurse really sets the tone for how things are going to play out. if she's good at what she does and has a compassionate nature, a lot of the stress is relieved. if she is not competent and has zero compassion, she just makes the whole experience way worse than it needs to be. my first nurse was not so great. it took her forever to get my iv in and when she was finished she told me that she would be right back to change the sheets. "what??? change the sheets??" i looked at larry who looked over to the side where my iv was and the shock in his eyes told me we had a problem. i peeked to survey the damage and saw that my sheet and the pillow my hand was resting on were soaked in blood. what she did i have no idea but my iv hurt the entire time it was in. thankfully a shift change happened before i had to see a lot of her and my next nurse was delightful. the only thing that annoyed yet amused me at the same time was larry. sounds harsh, but let me explain. i had been in love with the name lily for months and larry hated it. so he decided to throw some new names out at me while i was in a slightly incapacitated state. the nurse and doctor just kept laughing at us because no matter what he said it was met with an immediate no and he would flip through the name book and shout out the next one he saw. he did that for hours people!! tell me you wouldn't find that a little annoying. i had never met the doctor that delivered lily before but she looked just like halle berry. it was uncanny. she was really sweet and knew that i was uncomfortable with the fact that i didn't know her so she hung out with us quite a bit to calm my nerves. another weird tidbit is that all of my girls were delivered by a female ob and brendan was delivered by a male.
the actual delivery went well except lily was a lot bigger than the rest of my kids so i had to push more than the usual four times. she was beautiful and perfect and by the end of the day larry had worn me down enough that she was actually sade for about 18 hours. but then i went to fill out the birth certificate and just couldn't write that name down. she had been lily to me for months and i just couldn't give the name up. i called larry who was on his way to the hospital and told him that i couldn't name her sade and he (tired of the name debate) told me i could name her whatever i wanted. so lily grace hahl is the name i penned on the all important document. i think the name fits her perfectly.
one thing that shocked us about lily was that she had blue eyes. that was a major anomaly for us. the rest of our kiddos had been born with jet black eyes. larry and i would just stare at those beautiful eyes postive that they would change before too long. but 2 years later they are not as blue as they were but they are far from brown. i am curious to see what color they decide to be.

from precious little one on her blessing day to this.....

outgoing, adventurous, curious, loves to be cuddled, spunky 2 year old. happy birthday lil's! we love you!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

trick or treat

i love halloween. i am sure that i have probably mentioned that before, but i just want to throw it out there again. and i love good old fashioned trick or treating. there is something about the thrill of walking the street in the brisk (sometimes more like freezing) night air while leaves swirl around your feet, ringing the doorbell and anxiously awaiting your treat. then there is the added bonus of oohh's and aahhh's, aren't you so adorable, by the treat givers. such good times!! last night's adventure was perfect. the kids all loved their costumes which i made!! my first attempt at making halloween costumes. a big thanks to audra, the best costume maker i know for helping me. the temperature was ideal, just a little chill in the air. and the kids had an absolute blast. this was the first year that lily got to really participate and she loved it! after about two houses she figured out how it worked and she was all over it. at a couple of houses she even helped pass out the candy and got more than her fair share by smiling her sweet little smile and asking "two?"
our little fifties posse turned out to be really fun. the only thing missing was the head greaser, larry, who is off having his own adventure in the forest.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

where oh where are the hahls???

those of you that go to church with us, did you miss us this morning??
did you wonder what could possibly be keeping us from church??
what thoughts crossed your mind when you pondered our absence?
maybe they are just sleeping in? enjoying a few extra zzzz's
or maybe they decided to take advantage of the gorgeous sunny day and drive up to the mountains to enjoy the changing leaves???

or maybe, just maybe they are cleaning up this wonderful mess

ahhh, lily....... she makes our lives so very.....interesting. yes, that is a good word for it. let me set the scene for you... we were getting ready this morning and while everyone else was upstairs lily snuck downstairs, climbed over the gate and onto the counter where i had left nail polish out from painting the girls nails the night before. my bad i know. in a very short amount of time she managed to make this delightful mess.

did you know that nail polish is actually really hard to get off skin?? i was not aware of this fact until today. i took her into the bathroom and attempted to get it off with nail polish remover. didn't even make a dent. and the polish that it did get off her skin just ended up stuck to the bottom of our bathtub. not sure how i'm going to get that off. meanwhile, larry started tackling the sink with scotchbrite which worked like a charm. but the biggest problem still remained a mess. how on earth were we going to get it off her?? let it wear off and cover it with pants and socks? do we scrub her with scotchbrite? back and forth we weighed our options. the only thing larry could think off was deionized alcohol. so he pulled it out of his truck (again, i'm so lucky to be married to a handy man) and went to work. it took him an hour to undo her handy work but success was his! but the smell in the house!! the combination of nail polish, the remover and the alcohol created a aromatic blend that closely resembled the smell of biology when we were dissecting cats. gross!! not to mention the affect it had on our bodies. my head was killing me, i felt dizzy, it was terrible. i'm thinking that is one of those chemical cocktails they don't recommend.
you know, i really love lily. honestly i do. she brings such joy to our house. but at the same time, she is such a little pill. her nickname around here is lilster the pillster. kinda fits huh??

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

for my brother

i intended for this post to be completed last week and posted on the actual anniversary of rodney's passing, but it just didn't happen. i found that it was too much to do all at one time. i've never really put my feelings about him into words before. so i took baby steps in getting it done. originally i debated about whether or not i should even do the post - it's so personal. but really what is the blog about? it's our electronic journal of our lives and his life and death had a huge impact on me and plays a major part of the person that i am. so this is for him and for my family.

in loving memory of my big brother, rodney gene james. born on january 5th, 1959 and left this place for a better one on october 17th, 1982 at the young age of 23. rodney's death was due to a tragic motorcycle accident and occurred on what would have been our mother's 45 birthday. she had passed on six years earlier from a car accident. rodney spent four years in the united states navy following in the footsteps of his father and our older brother david. some of my most cherished possessions are letters that he wrote to home during his time abroad.

i was nine years old at the time of his accident. though i was young i have very clear memories of him. my favorite happened when i was about 5. he had come to visit us in illinois and arrived late at night. i was an early riser as a kid and the first thing i wanted to do was see him. i ran into the living room where he was sleeping and tried to wake him, but he was still really tired. not wanting to leave his side i decided to try his pants on while i was waiting. it sounds so strange now, but i remember at the time it seemed like a really fun thing to do. they were so big that i could pull them over my head. i paraded around in them and then stood there waiting patiently for him to wake up, which was shortly after. i can't remember if the laughter woke him up or if one of the other boys tackled him. they were as excited to see him as i was.

what i remember most about rodney is how much he loved me. he was such a kind and loving big brother to me. i inherited a lot of family snap shots and in almost all of them if rodney and i are in a picture together i am in his arms or sitting on his lap. we were good friends he and i. when i think about him, i still feel that love and affection. the day that i found out about his accident plays in my head like a movie. i was in school and my dad came to the door and asked to speak with my teacher. that in itself was nothing unusual, my dad was the principal and every once in awhile he would do that. but as he spoke to the teacher i got a sick feeling in my stomach and i knew instantly that something was wrong. so when the teacher came back in and called for me i wasn't surprised. my dad didn't speak to me as he lead me into one of the rooms that was used for special studies. when we sat down he told me what had happened and my head just swam. i was so confused and didn't understand. we had just found out a few weeks before that rodney was coming for thanksgiving and i just kept thinking over and over again "but that can't be, he's coming in a few weeks. it's not true." but of course it was. the hard part was that we didn't go to the funeral. at the time i accepted my dad's story of "we just want to remember him the way he was". but now as an adult i know it was the family drama that they wanted to keep us away from. they were afraid of what might happen if we went. it's a whole different traumatic story but a simple version is that after my mom died three of us (there were five altogether) went to live with her sister and her husband. our bio dad was still around, but not fit to raise us and he would be at the funeral. i'm not sure what the right choice was and i understand and respect how tough a choice it was for them. i just know that the closure of saying goodbye would have meant alot to us. instead, we just didn't talk about him. almost like his name was taboo. it's very hard to explain. it was the same way with our mom. she died when i was almost three and i didn't know what she looked like until i was a teenager. and we never talked about her when i was little. it wasn't until i got married that we started to have real conversations about her life.

now here i am, 26 years later. more years than he had of life and i think about him a lot. i feel his presence sometimes. i try not to think about what he would be doing now because it's too painful and honestly i believe that everything in life happens for a reason. so while i don't know what the reason was, i know that there was one. and i know that he's happy. that brings me a great deal of comfort. the years after our mom died were very hard for him. but sometimes when i am thinking about him, i will let my mind wander and imagine what his life would be like now. i picture him here playing with my kids. i like to think that we would be close. and he is a part of our lives now. i talk about him to my kids. i want them to know him and how special he was. and i see him in my daughter brooke's eyes. she reminds me so much of him. that is such a blessing to me. i know that i will see him again someday. what a sweet reunion that will be.

david, greg, rick, me and rodney
the last picture i have ever seen of us all together. you have to love the 70's for fashion.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

hmmm... what is that exactly

last week larry's dad stopped in overnight on his way to utah. after the initial frenzy of his arrival we settled in to visit. he asked me if we had problems with spiders in the house. being the arachnophob that i am i told him all about our spider "issues". we really don't have a ton of them but for me one is way too many. they creep me out so bad. whenever i have to dispose of one i am always worried that they are somehow going to jump through the air and land on me. and of course they will be of a poisonous variety. it's completely ridiculous i know but i just can't seem to conquer my fear. after i tell him that we do infact have spiders around he goes out to his truck and comes back in with these.

i was speechless honestly. i have never seen anything quite like them and had no clue what i was supposed to do with them. i wasn't sure if they were a decoration of some kind or some bizarre fruit that i had never encountered. my lack of response and bewildered expression gave me away and he seemed surprised that i didn't know what they were. these unique things are osage oranges that grow in the midwest and they are supposed to keep the spiders away. i am not sure how i lived in the midwest for 20 some years and didn't acquire this information. i called my mom to ask her about them and she told me that she uses them all the time. again i'm thinking "why don't i know about this??" so the jist is you place these things on plastic lids around your house and they act as a natural pesticide and keep the spiders away. since they entered my house i have not seen a single spider! it's amazing! and he brought them at just the right time. over the last few weeks three of my friends have found black widows in their house and it has really been freaking me out! between my kids and the daycare kids i've been terrified that someone is going to get bite and that i won't be able to figure out what's wrong until it's too late yadda yadda yadda.......
they are so weird looking though aren't they??

Monday, October 13, 2008

sewing 101

i've had this fabric hanging around the house for the last 6 months or so. it has been begging me to transform it into a skirt for lily. the problem with that scenario is that i do not know how to sew. it's something that i would like to learn. i have a sewing machine. it's older than i am but it still works. so last week i convinced kim c. to come over and show me how to sew a skirt. it turned out so fabulous! totally adorable. lily loved it.i did the basic part of the skirt and then kim did the more difficult parts like the waistband and the too cute for words pleats at the bottom. thanks so much kim!
creating something from nothing was so satisfying and now i have this little sewing bug growing. i hope that with some practice additional creations will follow. project runway here i come!! well, in my dreams anyway ;)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

bath please??

the kids are always saying funny things but i rarely remember to document them. this has put a smile on my face more than once in the last day or so.

picture it - saturday morning, the only day where sleeping in is a possibility. i wake up to brooke standing by my side of the bed. "i need a bath mom. i farted in my room and i smelled myself and i am really stinky. so can i get a bath to make the stink go away?"

cracked me up. a little vulgar perhaps, but funny none the less.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


i got tagged by my friend laura from back home. here's how it goes.

Link your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
* Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
* Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
* Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

  1. i have an unnatural aversion to white. i do not own any white shoes and the only time i will wear a white shirt is if it's layered under something. well, i do actually have one white dress shirt that i wear sometimes to church but it drives me nuts the whole time i have it on. i like white on other people, just not on myself.

  2. i have tons of nervous energy so if i sit still too long i tend to shake\move my foot a lot. the best is when i'm with my brothers because we all do it in unison.

  3. i took voice lessons for 7 years and piano for 11. do i feel guilty about the amount of money my parents spent versus the frequency i put those talents to use - absolutely.

  4. i'm still trying to figure out what i want to be when i grow up.

  5. i can't stand to be tickled because when i was little my brothers would tickle me until i wet my pants.

  6. my tear ducts are wired to every emotion that i have. if i'm mad, tears; if i'm frustrated, tears; if i'm happy, tears. you get the picture.

  7. i went to work one time with two different shoes on. true story - can't make stuff like that up. reason?? can't think of a good one but i'm sure lack of sleep was involved.

ok - so i'm going to tag people that i haven't tagged before.

jami, jandi, olivia, stacey; the following dont have blogs but i would love to hear your answers so email them to me! carissa, christy, judy and leigh ann

Monday, October 6, 2008


last week the three oldest kiddos went to the doctor for checkups. i have to say that each visit was very entertaining. brendan and i literally laughed through his. it started when he took off his shoes and he had on one sock of his, and one of larry's. how he managed to shove the extra fabric from larry's sock into his shoe all day is beside me. and when the nurse handed him the robe to put on, he looked at her like she was crazy. "what is this for exactly" he asked her. she choked back a laugh and reassured him that he wouldn't need to leave the room in it. so when the whole turn your head and cough thing came up - i thought he was going to bolt from the room. he had to do that last year as well, but his regular pediatrician was out on maternity leave and a male doctor was covering her patients. i remember that he thought it was weird, but this time he was mortified. the look on his face was priceless! i'm thinking i might need to switch him to a male pediatrician though because we are just barely scratching the surface of "personal" issues and i'm not sure if he will be comfortable with a female. does anyone have any experience with that? if so, please share your knowledge with me! and, he failed the eye chart by one row so we need to see if he needs glasses. poor kid. i was really hoping the kids would take after larry in that regard. but at the same time, we were laughing hysterically so it's hard to know if he really couldn't see or if he just couldn't focus because he was shaking with laughter. bella's visit went really well except she was distraught over the shot situation and had herself worked up into a frenzy. but when it came to shots brooke took home the prize! we decided to go ahead and do her five year shots even though she isn't five for another six months. long story, but basically one year i scheduled a check up for her past her birthday and now they won't let me schedule them near her birthday because the appointments need to be about a year apart for insurance to pay for them. anyway, i was really nervous for her. four shots is a lot. she was such a trooper though! she didn't cry, she didn't say ouch, nothing! her facial expression didn't even change. i couldn't believe it! the nurse and i just looked at each other with total awe in our eyes. the most interesting thing to me was the kids stats from the visits. i know your not supposed to compare kids, and i try really hard not to i promise, but their stats tell you just how different they are from each other.

height - 39%
weight - 78%

height - 18%
weight - 16%

height - 87%
weight - 82%

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

survival of the fittest - a post for brendan

the other day brendan was outside practicing his entomology skills and stumbled on a praying mantis devouring a grasshopper. finding a praying mantis was not a new thing for him, however finding one that was in the middle of dinner was so exciting he could hardly contain himself. he came in shouting, begging me to take some pictures. so - here we go.

since it was so hard to see the praying mantis in the grass brendan wanted to move him onto the bricks. he grabbed a paper plate and we slid it underneath him a little bit and moved him out. it must have made him feel exposed and he quickly began to drag his victim back into the grass.

i didn't feel the need to stick around and watch the rest of the story play out, but brendan was fascinated and continued to watch for a really long time.

this was the same day that brendan and a friend of his from school got to lead the audience in the star spangled banner at the school assembly. usually i attend the assemblies when the kids are getting an award or singing, but i was at the last one so larry went instead. i knew that brendan would be totally jazzed to have his dad there. whenever i attend those, i leave feeling so proud of not only my kids but our friends kids as well. at every assembly there is a least one kid from church, besides our's, that is being recognized for something. it's nice to know that the "mormon kids" are setting good examples for their peers and impressing the teachers with their behavior and abilities. i hope that trend continues throughout my kids school careers. something that makes me smile everytime i attend an assembly is the kids principal. growing up, my dad was my elementary and middle school principal and he was not a cool guy. he was very good at this job and he was highly respected, but lacked a certain coolness factor. the kids principal however ends every assembly by bringing out the electric guitar and jamming away. it's so fun! the kids start screaming and sing along. at first i was really taken back and thought it was so unprofessional (mostly because it was so opposite of what my dad would have done) but now i look at it differently. the kids still have a tremendous amount of respect for him and it doesn't hinder his ability to govern, so to speak, the school. plus, who doesn't enjoy a little jam session now and then??

Friday, September 26, 2008

the end of ponytails??

it's been 8 long weeks since my horrific haircut. for those 8 weeks i have done nothing with my hair but ponytails, messy buns and pigtails. this morning we didn't have a lot going on so i decided to try and actually do my hair. i was surprised to find that with a ridiculous amount of product and time (it took forever) it kind of works. the layers are not quite as fly away as they were, the extra growth has weighted them down a bit. and the extra product keeps the frizzies under control. but, due to the time issue, i still won't be fixing it very often. however, it is nice to know that the option is there should i so desire.

bella took the photos

this is a post that i started a few days ago and got sidetracked. i figured that since it was based on the same theme as this one, i would just combine them together.

i was fixing my hair this morning when a little shimmer caught my eye. upon closer inspection i found the source of the shimmer to be one lonely, stray grey hair. now a grey hair is nothing new to me. i have been pulling them out for years, but i must say that in the last 6 months the frequency of this find has increased tremendously. i proceeded in the normal course of action when this find occurs; quick pull with the tweezers and all is well again. however, unlike it's predecessors this hair was really long. usually they are very short, just starting out. but this one had been hanging around for awhile, camouflaging itself. is that how we turn grey? they hideout growing in secrecy and then you wake up one day and surprise! half your head is grey? now i understand that getting grey's is a part of life, but i simply am not ready for it! i want to remain in denial, thinking that by some miracle it isn't going to happen to me! i'm not ready to try and figure out what highlights and hair color i want to use to cover it all up. and can someone please tell me why they have to be so stiff and wiry?!??! is that what my whole head is going to look like? a mess of steel wool? these are the thoughts that run through my head when these finds occur. these are the stresses that they bring, silly and ridiculous as they are. and why is it that when men start turning grey they look distinguished and women just look, well older than they did before. and of course the most important thought of all....why do i let it bother me??

Thursday, September 25, 2008

project runway

recently i have found a new wednesday addiction. project runway. i cannot sew. i am not a "inspired to create something fabulous out of nothing" gal. i wish i were, but it's just not one of my talents. so it amazes me what these designers can do. the pressure, the drama.... so entertaining! last night's episode was especially fabulous. the designers had to make outfits for each other that represented different music genres. this morning when i was blog surfing i found this entry about the show and it cracked me up! it was everything that we said about kenley. i had to link it so that other p.r. viewers could enjoy the laugh as well.

project runway recap

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

homage to fall

fall is in the air. the air is crisper and carrying the smells of fall. the leaves are changing, some are even falling. making that delightful crunching sound when you step on them. the breeze is chilly, but not enough to keep you inside. the sun warms me just enough, but not too much. yes, i think today is the perfect fall day. now all i need is a hot caramel apple cider from starbucks and the scene would be complete. of course the ideal location to enjoy such a treat would be at this picturesque scene. traveling to japan during the fall is now on my must do list. for me, fall also means that the oven comes back from vacation. i love to bake and make wonderful home cooked meals in the oven, but it's hard to do so during the summer. in my mind it creates a vicious cycle. turn on the a\c to cool the house, insert heat from warm oven making the a\c run even more. don't misunderstand, i do run the oven in the summer, i just try really hard not to do it frequently. last year, we discovered a scrumptious pumpkin dessert, which i also crave at the beginning of fall. we love it so much that i have made it twice in the last two weeks. if you are a pumpkin fan, or even just a pumpkin indifferent, you must try it. i promise you will not be disappointed.

the great pumpkin dessert

1 150z can pumpkin
1 12oz can evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 c sugar
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 box yellow cake mix
3/4 c melted butter or margarine
1 c chopped walnuts or pecans

in a mixing bowl combine the first five ingredients. transfer to a greased 9x13 baking pan. sprinkle with cake mix and drizzle with butter. top with nuts. bake at 350 for 1 hour. serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.