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Monday, December 8, 2008


I'm a little loopy today; I can't decide if it's because Kai kept us up coughing all night or if I'm coming down with his cold. Either way, I'll make this short. Well, maybe not short so much as lots of pictures and very little writing.
Kai's worse and we're exhausted.

On the plus side, we got the house cleaned and the rest of the Christmas lights and decorations put up.
This is the first year that I've decorated the kitchen cabinets and I'm very proud of myself.

These are living room shots and my mother-in-law's nativity set.

Brian got some good shots at Graeme's basketball game.

I have to admit that I'm struggling to find things to be grateful for today. When I'm tired, I just don't deal well with anything. However, since I started looking for things to be grateful for I've been much happier. Things don't look so bad when I seriously count my blessings. So here goes; today I'm most grateful for:

Clocks. When we're up all night with one of the kids, it's nice to be able to look at the clock and be reassured that time is indeed passing and that morning will come. Eventually. It always brings to mind a line from a Michael McClean song: "There's no telling how much the sunrise means to the one who had a terrible night"
Brian's willingness to help with the kids day and night. He's a good partner and there have been many times that I wouldn't have made it through if he weren't helping.
Cheap gas. I actually paid $1.34 per gallon on Friday. Yippee!
Central heating. Even though we turn the furnace down at night, inside the house is still 30 or 40 degrees warmer than outside and, frankly, getting up with a sick child at night would be much more difficult without that extra warmth.
My sewing machine. I'm not sure what we would give for Christmas this year if I didn't have it. And, Chloe's dress is all done! (More on that later!)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Graeme's great!

Graeme's teachers have a fantastic discipline/organization system in place. Really terrific. Of course, Graeme is having a rough time, probably because he is physically incapable of sitting still for longer than about 30 seconds. Seriously, he doesn't even lie still when he's sleeping.

Anyway, Graeme's teachers give the kids a strike each time they break a rule, disrupt the class, etc. Poor Graeme always gets at least one strike each day. Until Tuesday! No strikes! Hooray! The same thing Wednesday, Thursday and Friday! Hooray! I'm so excited I can't hardly stand it! He's so smart and creative and tender-hearted that it was just killing me to have him get in trouble all the time.

We all made a big deal and took him to McDonald's for dinner tonight. He also got a couple of awards at school. I'm sure Monday will be business as usual, but it was sure a nice break from all the stress and worry. Hooray for Graeme!


Today was grocery day. That means spending the entire day in town buying everything we will need for the coming week. A daunting task, but for me, it's easier to get it all done at once and not have to keep running to the store every other day. Anyway, Kai's developed this nasty, barky cough and he felt really warm when I got him up this morning. So you know what I did? Took him grocery shopping anyway. I know, I'm a horrible mother but I didn't actually take his temperature so maybe he didn't have a fever. Right?

Well, I repented and took his temperature before I put him to bed. I'm embarrassed to admit that it's 102. Sigh. I guess it's another round of the sickies for us. At least I got my shopping done, though.

Today, I'm most grateful for:

M and M's. Not only are they great potty treats, they help convince a very sick three year old to take his medicine.
A digital thermometer. So I don't have to guess just how hot he really is.
Payday. What a blessing it is to have enough money for all of our needs!
A barf bucket. It's so much easier to clean than sheets, carpet, couch, etc.
Ibuprofen. As a fever reducer, it just can't be beat. And, honestly, when his temperature is down he sleeps, and when he sleeps, I sleep, and when I sleep, I cope.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I guess the powers that be overheard me complaining about our complete lack of snow, because it snowed early this morning! Here are some pictures I took before it melted away:

Guess it's time to wrap the trees.

And take the net off the trampoline.

And clean off the back porch.

The snow was really a nice surprise, though, because the weather people all said the storm would pretty much pass us by. Hah!

So yesterday I was going through Graeme's backpack and I found a letter he wrote to Santa at school. I'm not sure what the actual assignment was, but his letter is hilarious. I couldn't scan it to add to this post, but I'll quote it for you and you can imagine the first grader handwriting and erased words. Here it is, as true to the original as I can get it:

Dear Santa, Thank you fo

-r your reiindeers,and I ha-
ve a few questions,How do
your reindeers fly?How do
your elvs make presents
so fast?And How do you
resist the cold?Well thats
is all the questious so goodby
youxr friend, Graeme Carver.

He cracks me up. The funny thing is, when he read it to me, all the words and grammar were correct. And in case you were wondering, "resist" was one of their vocabulary words a week or two ago. So today I'm most grateful for:


Snow! Because the older I get, the more magic there is in a surprise snowfall.

Yellow grass on the mountain that glows in the sun.

A digital camera. So I can share the beauty that I see every day.
Insulation. This picture was actually taken almost four hours after I turned the heat up to 70. Hooray for insulation!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Kai and I had a lovely walk this morning. It didn't rain or snow and the wind isn't blowing. Also, it's cold enough now that we don't smell all the cows as much. I'm really enjoying this time with just Kai home. Don't get me wrong, I'm also a big fan of him being at preschool twice a week. He's just such a sweet little guy most of the time that's it's nice having one on one time with him.

See what I mean?
After our walk I managed to set off the smoke detector while taking a shower. You'd think I'd learn. So today I'm most grateful for:

Working smoke detectors.
My body. What an amazing, miraculous machine it is. I mean, sure, the maintenance is more expensive and time consuming than car maintenance but it gets me around better than the car and I can count on it running for probably another 60 years or so.
My fat. It keeps me warm and protects my vital organs from windblown debris. Not to mention the fact that it proves I have plenty of delicious food to eat.
Food. Delicious and otherwise.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Nativity Scene

I have to confess. I'm really dreading Christmas this year. I have the usual hundred billion things to do, money's really tight, we don't have the decorations up and there's not even one snowflake on the ground. So last night we did our annual, traditional, setting up of the Nativity Scene. Every year Brian reads the story of Christ's birth out of the scriptures and the kids take turns choosing and placing the figures in and around the stable. It's a fun tradition that I (without shame) blatantly stole from my own childhood memories. Here's our main Nativity:
I actually have three Nativity sets and two or three Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus figurines. Here's the kid's Nativity:

I love this one because the kids can play with it and not break the other ones. Although last year, I wasn't sure whether to laugh or be horrified when Baby Jesus started flying around the living room shooting at the angel. Heck, this year we've already discovered that all the animals as well as the people, fences and manger can fit in the stable at the same time. At least nobody got shot this time! Yet.

Anyway, back to dreading Christmas. As I sat listening to the Christmas Story (for the millionth time), it touched my heart as it always does. I could imagine Mary and Joseph, so excited for the birth of the Child but still weighed down by so many worries and responsibilities. I pictured the shepherds, relaxing or sleeping or gazing at the stars. Suddenly, an angel appeared to give them the good news! The Christ Child is born! Rejoice! I thought about the Wise Men. Will I ever be that wise? Will I see the signs in the heavens when Christ comes? And, of course, I couldn't help but think about Joe and Bess Average Citizen fast asleep in their beds when He was born. They didn't get choirs of angels but I wonder if Bess woke up feeling a little extra happy, knowing deep in her heart of hearts that something miraculous and tender had happened.

And I realized, (for the millionth time), that this is what Christmas is about. He is born! This ultimate gift from our loving Heavenly Father! Rejoice! So today I am most grateful:

For Christmas!
For Joy!
For Jesus Christ!
For Mary, his mother!
most of all, just today,
For Hope.

Merry Christmas to us all!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Gratitude Journal

Okay, two weeks ago one of the speakers in Sacrament Meeting mentioned keeping a gratitude journal. Yesterday, another speaker mentioned it again so here goes. The rules are: you have to come up with five things that you are grateful for and they have to be different each day.

Today I am most grateful for:

My van, because it's running.
My husband, because he fixed the van (among other things :).
The sun, because it warmed my ears as I walked this morning.
My kids, because they are all older than 18 months and there are only three of them.
My husband's job, because of the money, obviously.

What are you most grateful for today?

Monday, November 24, 2008

It could be worse

Well, the germs seem to have finally run their course through my little family. In the end, we all came down with something at some point in the last two weeks except for Brian. He stayed healthy until he went camping with the scouts at which point he managed to mess up his right shoulder. He's been in a tremendous amount of pain for just over a week and he can't hardly use that arm at all.
Not a big deal for me, normally.
I mean, sure, I felt bad for him, but as long as the kids and I were getting better I could deal with his temporary handicap. Until...
The dishwasher stopped working, the van sprang a leak in the radiator, and the heating element in the oven fizzled out. Oh, and the cable TV stopped working this morning. And let's not forget that Christmas is coming.
I have to admit that I was feeling pretty sorry for myself Sunday morning. Between being sick for two weeks and having things breaking down right and left, I was pretty sure I had reached my limit. No more, I silently prayed, please no more!
One of the speakers in Sacrament Meeting read a children's story about a mouse who had a very bad day. He tripped and fell, stumbled into a hole and was stung by nettles. What he didn't see was the cat, the bird, and the snake that would have eaten him if it weren't for his misfortunes.
It could be worse. The kids are healthy, Brian's shoulder is getting better, we have hot running water that we can wash the dishes by hand with, the van got me home before breaking down and the microwave is still working. Heck, we even have a grill and a stove if we can't get the oven fixed quickly. Not to mention the extra exercise the kids and I will get from walking home from school instead of driving.
As it turns out, when I cultivate gratitude and look for the positives, my limit vanishes.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Chloe's sleepover

I wanted to thank everyone for your kind comments on my last Chloe blog. It helps so much to read your supportive and loving words. It's also tremendously helpful to hear that others are going through or have gone through the same thing. Thank you!

Chloe had her first slumber party Friday night. I probably should have canceled it for various reasons but she was really looking forward to it so I just couldn't say no.

Here's the kicker: Brian went camping with the scouts Friday night so it was me and six kids ages 9 and under.

So I just need to brag a little bit. I fed everybody dinner, we made pillows and cookies and everybody was in bed asleep by 11pm. The really great part is that everyone got along and had fun and I didn't lose my temper once.

I am so proud of me!

Sick again

Well, Kai and Graeme flip-flopped last week. Graeme had stomach issues and Kai's got a fever. It's hard when any of the kids get sick, but it's much worse with Kai because he's still a little guy.
I was fighting back tears as I put him in bed last night because he was so sick. His temperature was 104 (even though we alternated Tylenol and Motrin every three hours all day), he wasn't eating or drinking, he was really shaky and I had to carry him everywhere. Also, he slept most of the afternoon and evening but he still went right to sleep when I put him to bed. It was so scary! Honestly, I don't know how parents dealt with illness before modern medicine!

On the plus side, he actually slept until 8:30 this morning, drank juice and water and ate breakfast. His temperature is still 103 so he and I are home from church today, but he's definitely improving.

Yesterday as he was resting on the couch I would look into his feverish eyes and ask him how he was doing. The response was always "great". That is so Kai. He is definitely my happy angel baby.

After he got up this morning I fell to my knees and thanked my loving Heavenly Father for helping him through the night. I love my kids so much! Raising them is a nonstop challenge. I feel so terribly inadequate whenever a crisis arises but I can't stop thanking the Lord that these three precious spirits are mine!

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Chloe

Just when I'm starting to feel optimistic about my own insanity, Chloe's issues rear up and threaten to swallow me whole.
It's so hard to remember that she's only 9 years old. When Chloe is grouchy, a cloud descends over the whole house. When she's frustrated, there is an ominous rumble of thunder in the air and when she loses control and is overcome by her anger, lightning strikes and there is nothing left of our home but a pile of rubble.
Can you tell I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by her right now?
I love her with my whole being. My heart breaks to see her having to deal with all of this. I know how it feels to be drowning in your own emotions. I know how it feels to be convinced that the whole world hates you. I know how it feels to be so out of control that sitting still makes you dizzy.
I also know how wonderful it feels to finally reach solid ground, to finally accept love from others and to finally, finally, finally no longer be at the mercy of my emotions all the time. But how do I help her through this? She won't outgrow it, I never did, although I did have to grow up before I learned how to deal with it.
Oh, my Chloe!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Down with germs!

We've had some interesting illness at our house this week. Tuesday Kai threw up all day. He didn't get the whole "into the bucket not all over the couch" concept until the third time he barfed. Sigh. I am grateful that he eventually did get that particular concept, however. The funny thing was that in between episodes of projectile vomiting he was just fine. Really! He wanted to jump and play and have treats. I of course put the kaibosh on all of that. He seems to be much better now although he's still not eating much and he's acting really tired. He's actually napping right now!

On to Graeme. When I was helping in his class (also on Tuesday) he felt really warm to me but he also was acting just fine and I kind of had my hands full with Kai so I didn't think much about it until evening. I decided to take his temperature just to see and it turned out to be 104.5. Again, sigh. He's been on Tylenol and Motrin and home on the couch ever since. The odd thing is that he doesn't have any other symptoms and you'd never even know he was sick except for the whole temperature thing. Strange. I sure hope he's better by tomorrow because we signed him up for basketball and that starts tomorrow.

Chloe has the beginning of a stuffy nose but so far her temperature's normal. Keep your fingers crossed, we sure are. Brian and I are just exhausted of course. I tell ya, if I had known about this whole sick kids business I'm not sure how eagerly I would have signed on for this motherhood deal. I REALLY hate cleaning up vomit!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I survived Halloween!!!

Halloween was a heck of a lot of fun but I seriously didn't think I was going to make it. In the week leading up to this mother of all kid holidays, I helped sew for a musical production of "Little Women" (sorry, I don't have any pictures), I made a costume for an 11 year old girl (her mother actually paid me!)

and I made dinosaur costumes for my own kids.

Graeme the Triceratops
Kai the Carnatorous
Chloe the Parasaurolophus
This in addition to being in charge of Graeme's classroom Halloween party.

Halloween itself was worth all the effort, though. The party was a great success, the kids had a wonderful time trick or treating and I had lots of trick or treaters come to the door. I was very impressed with how polite they were (almost all of the kids said "thank you" with little or no prompting from their parents). No one destroyed our decorations or pumpkins and I didn't have any snotty teenagers dressed in sweats instead of a costume. All in all it was a fun day.
I'm awfully glad it's over, though.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ode to Potty Training

Oh how I love to potty train
when all my time goes down the drain.
He sits and stands and sits some more
and when he's through, the pee's on the floor.
I cheer and smile and praise and beam
but deep inside I'd like to scream.
And when he's mastered number one
number two comes at a run.
Or perhaps it's me that has to run
poop, to him, is loads of fun.
Poop is fun right in his pants
and on the floor as he does a dance.
But never fear, I'll persevere
I'll make it through this potty nightmare.
And then one day I'll stand and shout
I'll laugh and laugh as I think about
all the money that I'm not spending
and the way I'm no longer depending
on those horrible, nefarious things
diapers, wipes and greasy creams.
Celebrate and shout hooray!
Then tell me quick, the bathroom, which way?

Friday, October 3, 2008

I'm 36 for a moment....

I've been thinking a lot lately about life, the universe and everything. I'm now officially closer to 40 than 30, and, according to the media, the world is falling down around our ears. There are terrorists out to kill us all, our role models are untrustworthy, drug dealers and criminals are free to threaten our children, and the economy's going to heck in a handbasket.

Since I'm now indisputably an adult, this has all suddenly become my concern.

Well, I have to say, I'm content. At this moment I have food in the cupboards and clothes in the closets. The cars are both registered, running, and full of gas. I have family and friends who love me and there's even a little money in the bank.
My spacious home has a sound roof and unbroken windows. Each of my children has a comfortable bed. The furnace is working and has a new filter. The running water is hot or cold according to my desire and the toilets don't leak. Did I mention that three policemen live within a block of my house?
I have many talents and ample opportunity to develop them. There are people who find pleasure in my company. I've learned to be grateful for all I have and for who I am. My Father in Heaven loves me and has provided generously for me all my life.

The world is truly a beautiful place when fear is released and gratitude is its replacement.
Hopefully my emotional setbacks will become fewer and fewer and I will be able to consistently be grateful no matter what my circumstances. Now that I've discovered a life filled with joy, I don't want to go back. But really, tomorrow will take care of itself.

I'm thrilled to be 36 right now for a moment. Even as the world falls down around my head I look back and see love and look forward and see adventure. What a wonderful, unique life I've lived so far! I can't wait to see what the future brings!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me! - Part Two

I had a really great birthday yesterday. Even though I had to do laundry, pay bills, take care of kids, shuttle kids here and there, etc., lots of people remembered me on my special day (with little to no prodding from me). Honestly, the older I get, the more I appreciate a simple "Happy Birthday" or a card. It's just nice to know that someone other than me is glad that I was born. :)

I did get to go out to dinner with Brian and the kids and Mom and Dad which was a lot of fun. I got to put on a big goofy sombrero while everyone sang "Happy Birthday" and I got a free dessert (fried ice cream). Yum! The best part was that the kids' dinners were free because it was Tuesday! Then, when we got home, we discovered that a couple of my friends had left a nice surprise for me:Let's face it, it's not a birthday without balloons and crepe paper! When Kai came into the kitchen this morning he looked at the decorations and said: "It's still Mommy's birthday!" I think I've about convinced him that it isn't actually still my birthday, but he's sure going to be confused when we pull out the ice cream cake that we didn't have time to eat yesterday!
All in all, I feel very loved. Thanks everybody!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Yard and garden.

Well our yard is starting to look like someone actually lives here. Of course now we need to get it ready for winter, but I can actually stand looking at it for five or ten minutes at a time. I took pictures for proof.

This is our front yard. That green stuff is actually grass. (mostly) And that sad little tree is a crabapple that hopefully won't die over the winter.

This is my sweet baby peach tree. It was a Mother's Day present two years ago. And yes, the green stuff around it is actually grass. (mostly) Now that you've seen how teeny the tree is, check out this:Yes, those are actually peaches and there are ten of them on that teeny tree. We kept going out in the spring and pulling peaches off the tree so it would grow but we finally gave up and let it grow some fruit. It's sure a determined little buggar!

This is our great big maple that we blew our tax refund on two years ago. Again, hopefully it won't die this winter. We're apparently the kiss of death when it comes to big trees.Here's our beans. For awhile the garden actually looked like a garden and not a rainforest but I didn't manage to get pictures at that point so just try to imagine healthy, green bean plants without the encroaching wilderness.

This is our very sad, world's shortest corn. We think the grasshoppers have eaten the tassels off a plant or two.

Okay, clearly these pictures aren't conveying the impression I was going for so let's finish with this one:

Ta da! What can I say? I'm a sucker for kid shots!

Look what we did!

That's right, folks. They're peaches! A whole bushel fresh from Brigham City and we canned them all by ourselves! I have to admit I feel like a kid learning how to ride a bike. It was scary but they turned out great. They even all sealed!

Aren't they beautiful? I did most of the peeling and cutting and Brian did the mixing of the syrup and the loading and unloading of the steamer and the wet bath. The canning world is our oyster. Who knows, maybe we'll tackle applesauce next! Anything could happen!

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my birthday, shout hooray!
I want to sing to me today! (and Mom, too. Thanks Mom!)
One year older and wiser, too. (I think wiser is debatable)
Happy Birthday, to me!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Good Fight

This has been a hard week. I do have to admit that in my life things are going very well. Sure, the kids all have colds but we have a lovely home, two cars, food and clothes and Brian has a reasonably stable job. I hate to say it, but my challenges stem from my crazy brain. The last couple of days I've been losing my battle with Borderline Personality Disorder. It's very discouraging. One small (perceived) criticism knocked my fragile self-esteem off the ledge into the abyss. (Out of control hormones aren't helping, either) When my self-esteem goes, I fall back into those self-destructive coping mechanisms that I've been using for 30-odd years.
Then I get frustrated because I really do know better!
The fact is, I am what I am. I can change my behaviors and, to a certain extent, my emotional reaction to the world around me. But I can't change who I am and I don't want to! None of us should want to change that unique and beautiful something that makes us individuals! The hardest thing for me in this great war that I'm waging against this ugly disease is being able to accept me for me. Frustrating emotions and all!
Of course, that's probably what it boils down to for most of us............
So I'll boost my self-esteem back up onto that ledge (hopefully sooner rather than later) and continue on fighting the good fight. And maybe if I'm lucky, I'll end up stronger for the climb.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Gardener's Market

Everything went well at the Gardener's Market on Saturday. In fact, thanks to a visit from my best customer and her mom, I had a banner day! This is what my booth looks like all set up. I made everything myself except for the pile of burp cloths on the orange table. Mom did those.

This is my sign. Spiffy, eh? We bought it at Kinko's.

These are the christening outfits that I made. I sold the front one in the picture on the right; it had a beautiful sheer overlay with small white flowers on it. I got the sheer fabric on clearance and just had to make something with it :) I also sold a pink brocade dress that you can't really see in these pictures.

The picture below on the left is all of the blanket sets (blanket, burp cloths, bib, booties) with crocheted edges that I currently have completed. The monkey set on the right is the edge that I designed myself.
(Yeah me!)

These are my dress up capes. They're all reversible; some have dragons and swords, others have flying horses and the letter "P" for "princess", of course. These have been surprisingly popular this year. In the bottom picture you can also see one of the rag quilts that I made.

Last but not least, I have single-layer receiving blankets (left), an assortment of bibs, sun hats and I Spy bags (which I sold out of, incidentally, bottom), and pillowcases (bottom right).
So there it is. Hopefully someday we'll get my website up and running, but until then I sure enjoy making all this stuff and selling it where I can :)