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??