Monday, December 22, 2008

It feels like Disney

Lately I've felt much as I do when I go to Disney World. Like today waiting in the long line at the Post Office. I started getting that excited feeling you get after you've waited for so long winding back and forth in the dang line, then finally making it to the front of the line and knowing you are going to be called to ride next... I mean buy stamps and send your package. All that anticipation!

Did you ever almost get to the front of the line and the ride breaks? That's what happened to Jared tonight at Brandsmart. He was second in line when the registers broke down. Of course you have to stand there because you've already waited so long and you're sure it'll be fixed any minute. After about 30 minutes everyone cheered when they finally started working again.

Then yesterday when we went and saw various houses insanely decked out in Christmas lights (it's a yearly family tradition that we started last year--only I missed it last year... that's beside the point). Among the displays we saw Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, a couple of Mickeys and a bunch of other happy characters that gave the kids the same thrill they would have gotten had we spent 80 bucks a ticket up in Orlando. They may even tell you it was better since one place handed out cookies. Another house had put the lights to music, which reminded me more of Las Vegas and was completely awesome! This retired man begins in January to synchronize his lights to 15 Christmas songs which comes out to about 20 hours a week all year. Crazy!

Some guy even started playing bumper cars with me last Saturday in the Target parking lot. I mean I've always liked bumper cars but I had to wonder, am I at Disney World? All right Sakheed (sp?), if you are reading this, in the future just because a car is pulling out of a parking space that you want doesn't mean you can just back up without looking behind you or ignore the honking that is taking place. Also, just because my car was not made in this century and may have other marks on it doesn't mean you can just ram into it like that and not even act in the least apologetic. And one more thing, was that really your phone number you gave me because I called it when your phone was in your hand and nothing happened?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Kid Quotes

This was a conversation I had with Erin a while back.

E: Mommy, those crackers are mine because I bought them.
L: Do you have any money?
E: Yes, because I'm 16, just for pretend.
L: So you have a job?
E: Yes.
L: How much do you make?
E: 10 cents.
L: That's not very much.
E: Well, I go to the store and buy more money. I have to go to the store every day.
L: What do you do for your job?
E: I study.
L: For what?
E: For covering the rocking chair. (It's no wonder she only gets 10 cents!)
L: Do you do anything else?
E: Nope. Actually, I do. I eat and then I study.

This is how I know Erin's school is teaching her something. The other day after coming out of the hospital to visit a friend's baby she sees the American flag, stops in the middle of the sidewalk, puts her hand on her heart and recites the pledge of allegiance. How patriotic. Then a few days later she saw another one and said "hey, that's the pledge of allegiance flag!" I even overheard her teaching it to Alex by making him repeat it word by word, and then making him start again when she lost her place (the funny thing is he does it).

I laughed when Erin was standing in front of the Christmas tree and while holding a jack-o-lantern asked me if I would play Easter with her. Now that's a kid who loves her Holidays!

Tonight was our Christmas party and when Santa made his appearance, two out of the 30 or so primary kids started screaming... those would be ours. I would say our kids have a big case of Santaphobia. Erin has never sat on his lap. I asked her why and she said "because I don't want my butt touching his lap." Tonight Jared told her that if she saw Santa he would give her candy and she said "I'm done with candy." (Something we never thought we'd hear from her, but I guess her fear of that weird, jolly, fat man outweighs her love of candy).

And just to add one of Alex. He sneezes "Achoo!... I'm ok"

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Chris the tree (and more)

Marissa is now six months old. She is sitting, growing teeth, playing peek-a-boo, giving hugs, drooling a lot, eating anything she is given, and as always rolling all over the place, including under the futon (a favorite spot of hers for some reason). She is truly a happy baby. In her baby blessing it mentioned being happy several times and she is really showing it. It is just so amazing to think about what effect one child can make in our home. She is such a joy for all of us. I don't know how else to describe it, but she is definitely supposed to be in our family and is such a blessing to everyone.

We put up our Christmas tree this week. Looking back I guess we should have spent a bit more time choosing it, but we were in a hurry and were juggling kids (not literally). So it's tall, skinny and a bit lopsided... but somehow that description fits our family. If I try to turn it to hide a weird bald spot, there's another one on the other side. There's really no way to make it look good... I've tried. It's the kind of tree you would expect to find a few days before Christmas when everything else is taken, not the beginning of December! What a bust! Then we attempted to put our newly acquired star on. We ended up chopping off the top to fit the dang thing on and since it's not lit it makes it look even weirder. At least we get some good laughs every day looking at it. Erin named it Chris (it being a CHRIStmas tree and all), but it's a girl Chris because she wears a skirt. I love the smell of the freshly cut tree in our house. It almost makes up for the disaster that surrounds it right now. Why is it so hard to keep this place clean? (I know the answer to that: 3 little kids, school, callings, life, favorite TV shows, hobbies, blogging, laziness, messed up priorities, etc.--but it's still a kind of bothersome).

It's also been a bit nippy lately. A couple of days ago I finally broke down and bought the kids some long sleeved shirts. It was like 64 degrees so we gave our overworked AC a rest and opened some windows. Today it's back to the usual 79 degrees, which is not bad either. I really don't mean to rub it in for anyone that may need to wear a coat right now, I only want to express gratitude for the beauty that surrounds me during Florida winters because the summers are so bad sometimes. After months of feeling like you need yet another shower just by walking to your car or being trapped inside because it's too hot outside or getting humidity headaches if you do go out, it is so glorious to send the kids outside to play or spend a couple of hours at the park without worrying about heat stroke or sunburn. Yes, I do love Florida and am grateful for all that I can enjoy here.

Here you can see Marissa sitting, one of the new long sleeved shirts and part of the weird tree (see, my random blog entry does all tie together in the end:)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Four kids and a gas can

I'm still laughing about what happened to me yesterday. I was on my way to pick up Erin and debated whether I should get gas first or right after. So I made the wrong decision. I was about a quarter mile from the pre-school and another quarter mile from the closest gas station when the car ran out of gas. I haven't done that since high school, maybe freshman year of college. So I'm sitting there in the hot car with four little kids and wondering what to do (I was watching another kid). I couldn't leave the kids and while I had my cell phone, it was of course out of battery (keep in mind this is the lady that just ran out of gas-is it any surprise?) I finally charge my phone enough to call Jared but of course he isn't answering. I start thinking of friends who live close by but once again, I don't have their numbers in my phone.

Nobody was stopping to help so I saw no other choice but to walk to the gas station. Of course I didn't have a stroller, although I was very glad I made Alex put on shoes, so I had everyone hold hands as we made the trek. I can only imagine how ridiculous I looked holding a baby carrier in one hand, a leaky gas can in the other and trying to make sure the 4 year old, the 3 year old and the 2 year old didn't run into the street! About half way there a very kind family noticed the crazy lady with more kids than she could handle. Feeling very sorry for me they took the gas can, filled up the car and drove it back to me. Thanks goodness for nice people! Though it was a bit frustrating, I couldn't stop thinking how funny the whole thing was while it was happening.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Last weekend we flew up to Maryland to visit my sister and her family. It was great to see them, especially for the kids. I have concluded that flying with little children gives a new perspective on life, especially if you are flying stand-by. And it makes for great stories.

First, we would like to apologize to the poor passengers that picked the security line behind us. Five bags, 10 pairs of shoes, preparing my explanation about how the liquid I am carrying is breast milk and not an explosive, making Erin sit down on the floor so she can hold the baby while I pick up Alex who is asleep so Jared can fold our humongous double stroller and load it on the belt, and then reversing all of that 3 seconds later on the other side of security... well, we're sorry. For future reference, just avoid lines with kids (or, crazy thought, offer to help instead of just glaring at us!)

Next, we would like to thank the two awesome people who traded their good aisle seats so that our family could sit together on our last leg. We barely made the flight and when we got our seat assignments, we had 4 middle seats scattered throughout the plane. Someone let Jared and Alex sit together, but Marissa and I were separated from Erin for takeoff (I still can't believe no one would switch--Next time I plan on mentioning the tendency my kids have to vomit, but whatever they want to do). What a helpless feeling for me to have a sleeping baby on me, Jared to have Alex asleep on him and to not even be able to see your 4 year old. When I finally found her she was crying. After that is when this man offered to trade seats so we could all be together. What an awesome guy! It made the trip so much better.

Last, I found out that a four year old, a mom, a baby and a giant diaper bag do not all fit into an airplane bathroom at the same time. In trying to squeeze in, the bag hit Erin's head only making things worse, as you might imagine. I also learned that as long as the bag is outside the lavatory door, I can go to the bathroom while holding a baby and come out fully clothed. The kids were pretty good all in all, a huge step up from the last trip we took which included diarrhea, projectile vomit, pants wetting, and of course running out of wipes!

On the plane. This gives a whole new meaning to "infant in arms"

It was really great to see the fall colors in Maryland. I can't remember the last time I saw them. It was so beautiful! Here's us trying to take a family picture.

I love this picture of Alex. He had so much fun playing outside.

Another one with the cousins. Isn't it pretty?

Monday, November 3, 2008


Here are some Halloween pictures. Erin was an Enchanted Princess, only she kept telling me she was an "enchimson princess" whenever I said enchanted. Oh, and the cat nose was left over from a Cat in the Hat celebration at the children's museum the day before. A cat enchimson princess??

Alex's costume is a spider, but he didn't want to put the hands in the way they were supposed to go, so nobody really knew what he was. Marissa's was so soft and cuddly. I thought it was a sheep until everyone kept calling her a poodle. So I guess she was a pink poodle. Whatever. The point is they have loads and loads of candy that I keep eating (dang Halloween!)

Our Trunk-or-Treat was about 45 minutes due to rain, but they got their candy. Then on Halloween we only got about 5 knocks on the door because of rain. Jared kept trying to take them out but then it would start pouring again. They did eventually go around the block and because nobody else was out, people were giving fist-fulls of candy. Happy day for the kids.

We had a couple of left over pumpkins from the Daddy Daughter Activity Days (it was really fun by the way), but we never had time to carve them. Here is us keeping our tired kids awake last Thursday so we could keep a family tradition alive. Last year Erin's pumpkin was named Ed. This year she named it Ned. She insisted on having a house and not a face. I thought it turned out all right, especially considering I had a baby in my left arm most of the time carving it. Jared & Alex's was such a cute face too.

The only candles I had were birthday candles but they worked fine. Every time we mention the pumpkins now Alex immediately says "Happy Birthday" because of those candles.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Erin's Hair

Since Erin doesn't have to be to school till 11:00, I've been having some fun experimenting with her hair. I've had some help from a few other blogs (shedoeshair, cute2tryhairdos, and girlydohairstyles), but here are some of her do's:

I think I did three or four twists and then just tucked them under one ponytail.
This one is so easy. I usually just do the front three and leave the rest of the hair down. Then the next day I pull it into a side ponytail like this. (We don't wash hair as much since our bathtub has been out of commission, so I try to make the styles last.)
This was today's style.
Just thought I'd throw one in of her face. She was running away from me because she didn't want me to take a picture of her hair. Usually I take it so she can see what it looks like.I love the next two. They are so easy. The second one is a variation from the day before.
The next two are also variations on a theme. I kept the front part and changed the back.
I was just experimenting with this one. I like the hair wrapped around part.I like this one a lot, but I don't think the picture does it justice. I'll have to try it again sometime.
Just another braided crossover variation. I think the possibilities are endless!


Nothing is as constant as change. I've realized this more this week as we have moved things around in the house. After months of Alex sleeping on the Erin's floor instead of the crib in his room, we finally got him a toddler bed and they officially share a room. I ended up going through all of the kids' clothes which was a huge job! Erin and Alex's clothes are all in their room and they all fit them (this is a note to Jared since he usually just pulls out whatever is on top not caring that the shirt is a 2T when the child is a 4T-I've had some good laughs at some of the outfits he's assembled).

I was sad to put away all of Marissa's 0-3 month clothes, but when I pulled out all of the new stuff (and Erin's old stuff) I was excited again. I'm pretty sure she has the most clothes of anyone in the house, but nobody gets spit-up, drool, and poop on their clothes as much as her either (except maybe me-usually I don't realize it till I'm in public either). Anyway, since Alex is way too mature for a crib, Marissa gets a great big bed to roll around in and a room all to herself. We're putting away her swing and mini co-sleeper and getting out the high chair and walker. Will the day ever come when I will have to put all the baby gear away for good? How bitter-sweet.

A couple of days ago Alex was eating a bagel with strawberry jam on it, so he had it all over his fingers. My back was to him when I heard him say "Marissa's sucking on mine finger." I turned around to see her sucking away at it. A while later he was eating some ham when I heard him say it again. Once again she was loving that hammy finger. A minute later Alex said "Marissa's sucking on mine ham." Sure enough, she was just going at that piece of lunch meat. Do I turn my back on my kids too much?

It was after this that I figured I could probably try some rice cereal. The other kids spit most of it out the first few times and even after that they never loved rice cereal. Marissa however has scarfed every bit down every time I've given it to her. I've never seen a baby eat it like that, especially one that still hates the bottle (maybe we should spoon feed her milk instead).

One weird quirk I have as a mother is that I sing everything. It usually happens unconsciously and I only realize it when my kids start singing everything too, which is really funny. So I will sing things like "We're going to make grilled cheese for dinner, for dinner, for dinner..." or "We are marching to the bathroom, we are going to brush our teeth" or "Let's go find your shoes, find your shoes, find your shoes..." (It's much better with the music.) I find myself putting almost any phrase to different tunes like "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush" or "If You're Happy and You Know It" or "I Love to See the Temple" to name a few. I have a song for getting dressed, getting in the car and a song I sing for each one of their names. I have no idea why I do this, but it just dawned on me today how much of my life is put to music (maybe I secretly wish I could live in a musical). I have no idea what my kids might think of this later in life, but at least right now they think it's perfectly normal. I don't seem to be singing any less so they're going to have to endure it!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Been there? Done that?

The things I've done are in bold. I hope to do some of the other ones in the next year, although I don't know if I really want to do everything on the list (see #75)

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David-the fake one in the plaza (the line was too long for the real one)
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted- by a sketch artist
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Saturday, October 11, 2008


This week I found out that I got the scholarship for the School of Architecture that I applied for! It took a while to take pictures and put everything together in Photoshop, but I guess it paid off and now I have at least some of my portfolio done for the future. Check it out.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Alex is 2!

Today was Alex's second birthday. We had a busy day so we had to celebrate this morning. He woke up way too early and a little cranky, but once we showed him the amazing cake Erin and I designed, he was happy. Since I only have once muffin pan, I made 12 cupcakes and one round cake. Then I decided to do something with them. It started out as a train, then cars, then a spaceship and finally a weird alien robot. It was a hit with the kids, especially eating it for breakfast.
We gave him a couple of puzzles (he loves puzzles and is really good at them), some little cars and a mat to drive them on, and a soccer ball (he also loves balls). He was so cute because he kept singing "Happy Birthday to You" all day.

Here are some reasons why we love Alex:
He is a very cuddly child. I never thought I'd have one because I'm not cuddly, but I guess he takes after Jared. Whenever he's sad all he needs is a 20 minute hug and he's fine (a little time consuming, but at least I know what to do to make things better with him). He's the first to yell "HUGS!" after any prayer and gives the tightest ones. We got a good laugh one time after the sacrament prayer when he yelled "HUGS!"

Not only is he cuddly, but he is very loving. He is so sweet with both his sisters and always tells us "I love you!" Here's one of him with Marissa today.
He's a pretty smart kid. Someone had given us some shirts that said "Neighborhood Kids Preschool" on them (Erin's school) and a week later when we pulled them out Alex pointed to it and said "Neighborhood." It was just so funny because I never mentioned anything about the shirts to him, but somehow he paid attention and remembered it. It's actually a little hard to think that he is only just barely 2 because he speaks really well and does so many things that Erin does. I really think he believes he is the same age as her.

He's a little obsessive about some things that just make me laugh (also taking after Jared). In the car there is a sunglasses compartment above the rear view mirror. If I don't close it immediately he will say "Close it, close it" until I do. He also always has to close the door behind him when coming out of his room in the morning for example.

I love his laugh and his huge smile. He has brought so much happiness and fun into our family. We love you Alex!

Oh, here's a bonus. The other day I couldn't find him and it was way too quiet. He had climbed up on a chair to get some bubbles on a high shelf and was sitting on the stove blowing bubbles. Incidentally, most of the bubbles ended up on the floor and that patch of tile is the cleanest part of my floor right now. Thanks for the help kiddo!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Marissa is now four months old and is such a joy. She weighed 12 lbs 8.5 oz at the doctor last week and only cried a little when she got her shots... then she found her thumb. I may hate it later, but it is sure nice to have that comfort item handy any time she wants it. Just a side note, I love our pediatrician (he's new as of April). After almost three years of having an okay one, we finally switched to Dr. Rotlewitz. I don't know what it is with the Jewish doctors, but they are great. It seems like he actually likes kids, unlike the last one. My midwife was also Jewish and I couldn't say enough about her. I also must say thank you to them for having so many Jewish holidays so that we get lots of ramdom days off from school. There are many things to love about south Florida!

Marissa is becoming very mobile. A few weeks ago I'd put her down and she would do 360's around the blanket. Now she has mastered rolling and changing directions which can lead her almost anywhere. I always put her down on a blanket but inevitably she ends up on the tile...

...or the hard floor (asleep--note the blanket she was on)...

...or under the couch...

...or she just falls asleep on the carpet giving herself carpet marks on her face. I don't know why I even bother with the blanket at all. I guess it just makes me feel better knowing she could choose something soft and comfortable, even if she hardly ever does. My goal for at least one of my children is to not have them fall off the bed. Since I failed with the other two, I'm crossing my fingers for this one. I do have to keep reminding myself that she is very mobile and must not be placed on the bed. There is hope yet!

It's always a little sad knowing the newborn stage is over, but this stage is also very fun. It makes me laugh to see where she has ended up. And she is really starting to laugh herself which is a great stage too. I love seeing her personality come outt even though I can't believe she is already so old.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Interview with a 4 year old

I saw these questions on a couple of blogs and thought it would be interesting to see what Erin would say.

What is something mom always says to you?
Put your pants in the laundry hamper.

What makes mommy happy?
When I help you.

What makes mommy sad?
If I don't listen.

How does mommy make you laugh?
When you give me a tickle torture.

What was mommy like as a kid?
I don't know. Um, a turtle?

How old is mom?
22 (just 10 years off)

How tall is mom?
Reaching really high "This tall---really, really big!"

What is mom’s favorite thing to do?
Um, eat. (this is really good for my self image)

What does mom do when you're not home?
Clean, like when I'm at school.

If mommy was famous, what would she be famous for?
What does famous mean? (I explain) Oh, for being happy.

What is mommy really good at?
I don't know.

What does mommy do for her job?
Go to class.

What is Mommy's favorite food?
Candy. (close, it's cookies... but she's not supposed to know that)

What makes you proud of your mom?
Cleaning up.

If mommy was a cartoon character, who would she be?
Blue (from Blue's Clues. I have no idea why)

What do you and mommy like to do together?
I like you to play with me.

How are you and mom the same?
'Cause we're both girls.

How are you and mommy different?
We don't have the same color. Like shirts or something.

How do you know mommy loves you?
Because you give me presents.

Questions for the mama...

What time do your kids wake up?
These days they are up before me so I don't know (7:30 or 8:00)

On a good night, what time do your kids go to sleep?
To bed or to sleep? Bed by 8:30, asleep by 9:00 or 9:30 (they are in the same room now)

How long have you been a mom?
4 years 4 months

How old were you when you became a mom?

What is your favorite kid show?
Veggietales is pretty clever and the songs are great. Hey, "Sunday morning values, Saturday morning fun."

Least favorite kid TV show

Favorite meal to cook?
really don't like to cook anything. Honestly, I can't think of anything I like to cook.

What's the meal cooked most often?
Rice with gravy or spaghetti.

What is the kids favorite meal?
Rice with gravy or spaghetti.

What are your favorite things that Jared does with the kids?
Plays with them and makes them laugh. Also helping to put them to bed.

What are 5 things that make you smile while being a mom?
1) After family prayer Alex yells "HUGS!" and everyone gives each other hugs (I especially love watching the kids hug each other)
2) Watching my kids play so well together
3) Listening to the really funny things they say
4) When they learn something new or show me something they've drawn
5) Singing songs together

Where do you want to take your kids someday?
To live close to family.

When was the last time you and your husband went out without the kids?
Tonight, but it was an investment dinner... not all that exciting, but no kids.

One thing you said you'd never do as a mom?
Spank my kids (so far so good)

Favorite past time with your kids?
Having family fun days with them and seeing how exciting it is for them (like the zoo, Disney on Ice, Universal Studios, etc.)

Advice for a new mom:
If you think you are a good person, just wait a few years until your kid grows up a little and they will bring out feelings you didn't know existed in you. (I guess that's not really advice, but it will happen).

When was the last time your kids said "I love you"?

More questions for the kids...

Who are your best friends?
Clara, Azlyn, Brelyn, and Nathan

What is your favorite thing to do?
Play with Alex.

What is your favorite movie?
Dancing in the Clouds and Charming Birthday (both My Little Pony movies that someone gave us when they were getting rid of stuff)

How can I be a better Mommy?
If you don't scream a lot.

What is your biggest challenge?
When I don't share and Alex starts crying and then I get mad 'cause he took it from me. (Funny thing, that is one of my biggest challenges too.)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Excuses, excuses...

I'm sure many of our faithful readers are wondering why we haven't posted the "after pictures" of our bathroom yet. Yes, we did completely tear out our bathroom a few months ago and yes, we do have everything we need to finish it, but... it is still not done! Granted, the walls are back up, and have been mudded, sanded and primed once. The plumbing and electrical stuff is done as well, so there really is an end in sight

Yet we have been stalled in what seems like an endless state of sharing our one remaining bathroom. Here are some of the reasons we still have sticky faucets, toothpaste globs on the counter and are tripping over step stools in our bathroom (as opposed to the new one):

1. Our new schedule: Sunday-Church, Monday-Laura has class, Tuesday-Jared has Scouts & Laura has Activity Days, Wednesday-Laura's classes again... this leaves only a few days a week to work on it. And of course there are other various activities that come up on those days too.

2. Our Saturdays have been taken up with a temple trip, marriage seminar/Disney on Ice, paintballing (Jared's new hobby / obsession), another trip to Orlando and a hurricane scare which had us scrambling to install the hurricane shutters that have been in our garage for a couple of years. Incidently it takes one whole Saturday to install (cut/fit/drill into the concrete block walls) just one window--and we have 10! (Why are we not paying someone else to do it again?)

3. The last reason is because Jared and I have been spending long hours after the kids go to bed working on our respective projects. It's actually been pretty fun to sit at the same table on our laptops, even though we are kind of wasted the next day. I am putting together a portfolio for a scholarship that I just found out about and Jared has been working on our first family movie that premiered tonight at the Annual Plantation Ward Film Festival.

Here is the movie. It was not intended to be a sad commentary on my life, but rather a slightly humorous take on what my life is really like. I hope you like it! Jared did a great job on it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Leftovers anyone?

So last December at the Daniels family reunion we played the newlywed game and one of the questions was what was my (Laura's) worst cooking disaster. We both said the same thing: I haven't had one because I don't cook enough. Well, next time we play that game there will be a different answer.

I was at the store and saw a box of Falafel mix. I thought, "Hey, something new to make" and "Didn't I eat that once as a child and like it?" and "The picture on the box looks pretty good." I don't know, maybe I've been watching too much Blue's Clues because in one of the episodes her friend makes Falafels (was it Periwinkle? I'm always half asleep when it's on). Hey, if a cartoon can do it how hard could it be?

From the moment I opened the box and took a whiff I began having second thoughts, but it was Falafel night and I wasn't going to throw away a perfectly good $1.07 box of ground up chick-peas and spices (seriously, why did I think that sounded good?). I followed the directions and though they looked mushy and were falling apart, I fried them up anyway. Did I leave them in too long? Not long enough? Was it not hot enough? I have no idea, but I cooked them all and lovingly placed them in front of my family. Let me just say that no amount of ranch dressing, cheese, or ketchup was going to make those babies taste any better. They were horrible!

Maybe, just maybe if I'm ever in Egypt and the opportunity arises to try a Falafel cooked correctly, I might do it. But until then, I think I'm Falafeled out. From the opening of the box to the throwing the remains in the outside garbage and the lingering smell despite that, it was a cooking disaster---probably my first one (and by the way, I think the small amount I did eat did a number on me... and we all know there's only one number!)

Well, this is how they are supposed to look...

...and this is how mine turned out. Yikes!

(P.S. I have no idea why I spent so much time talking about this)

Friday, September 5, 2008


Which is which? The other day I put this outfit on Marissa and thought of this picture of when Erin was a baby. I couldn't resist duplicating it. It makes me realize that my kids kind of do look alike. Oh, my sweet little girls!

So Marissa rolled over for the first time today! I put her on her tummy, left the room and when I came back she was on her back. I tried asking Alex if he had anything to do with it but it's hard to get a straight answer from an almost 2 year old. So I rolled her back over and she did it again. I did it a few more times just for good measure. So it wasn't a fluke, she's rolling. It's always exciting to see them do new things like this, but then I realize how fast she's growing up. Wasn't she just born?

And yes, Marissa is officially a thumb-sucker. I tried putting socks on her hands but finally just let her indulge herself. It must be very succulent because I find her enjoying it every morning after a long 10+ hours of sleep. While it may be a hard habit to break later, at least I can enjoy a good night's sleep now... oh, and it is pretty cute!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Mowing the Lawn

Thank you, Jared, for letting me mow the lawn! Seriously, I often feel trapped with these kids in my little "cave" so that even a task like mowing the lawn can't be done without someone to watch the kids. Sometimes I just need to escape for a while, but I either don't know what to do or where to run or even if I will be able to do it. So thank you Jared, for letting me escape for a while to mow the lawn.

I've always loved mowing the lawn since I was about 12 when I started doing it There is something so satisfying and relaxing about it: the smell of freshly cut grass, the drone of the mower, the steady pace of walking back and forth, seeing how good it all looks and what a difference I am making. Tonight the sky was beautiful, there was a slight breeze, my blood was circulating, and most importantly, there were no kids to be held, fed, comforted, dressed, disciplined, cleaned up after, etc. It gives me time to think and get away, even though I am only in the yard. I don't think I will ever get a lawn service; nobody can take this weird obsession away from me!

I know that this period of my life won't last that long. I absolutely love my children and being a mom. They are so cute, innocent, loving and have such an enthusiasm for life. Watching them learn and reach different milestones is very fulfilling. But these children are also challenging, needy, and exasperating at times. One day last week I counted 9 times strapping kids in and out of car seats from going to preschool, the store and the dentist. Multiply that by 3 kids (minus 2 times when Erin was at school) and add the fact that at least one child is always hiding under the seat or needing to push one more button before I tackle them to their seat, and you get 25 very frustrating moments! Is it any wonder I stay in my cave all day?

But then this leads to loneliness and isolation. I have been struggling with this a lot lately. Please tell me I'm not alone in feeling this way! And don't get me wrong, not every day is bad. But some days are just so hopeless and discouraging. Of course I can't think of a better reason to hope than my three precious childrenI would do anything for them, despite the frustration at times. I do think that having a baby messes up your body and mind a bit. It's not the actual baby that makes me crazy; she couldn't be a better baby (at least for me). It's just what goes on in my head that makes things hard sometimes. And then when I do get away for school I feel guilty for leaving my baby when she doesn't like a bottle.

I guess I'm writing this because of a few comments I got about the photo I have of my family on Facebook. People see it and say that it's the perfect little family. But the truth is that while I love my family so much, we struggle just like most people do. Putting the good things on this blog helps me remember that through it all there are moments of great joy and my children really are amazing people. I was reading another blog about how there has to be opposition in all things and that without the hard times we would never appreciate the good times. Without loneliness I wouldn't appreciate good friendships as much. Without the car seat battle I would never appreciate how nice it is to drive somewhere alone. It is very true! Life is good, it's just not always easy.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Yesterday was Erin's first day of Preschool, two days later than scheduled due to Tropical Storm Fay. She really liked it, but I was starting to question my decision to send her from 11-2pm as opposed to 8-11am. I had to strap all three kids in the car, unstrap them to take Erin in, put the other two back in and then take them out when we got home. And I had to do it all over again to pick her up (not fun with a kid that does everything when he wants to do it). It's not like I can just drop her off. No, I have to sign her in and leaving kids in the car would probably land me in jail or something. And of course Alex didn't take a nap until he finally conked out on a kitchen chair at 5:30.
Today was a much better day. I decided to take the "triple" stroller and walk to her school to drop her off. This eliminated the strapping in and out so many times and gave me 35 minutes of much needed exercise. The bonus? Alex and Marissa were both asleep when I got home so I got two hours of blessed peace. I mopped the floor, did some laundry and took a nice long shower. Ahhh... now that's how I imagined it. Hopefully I can get into a good routine like that this year.

Another thing is Marissa. She is an amazingly good baby (sleeps through the night, you can take her anywhere, doesn't have to be held all the time, etc.)... amazingly good until you try to give her a bottle. A good way to torture this kid it is to try to stick a piece of rubber in her mouth, bottle or pacifier. This is mainly a problem because I am supposed to begin school next week and will be gone for 6 hours at a time. I've been trying to give her one bottle a day. Every now and then after some resistance I get lucky, but mostly she refuses. Wish us all luck next week or I may have to drop out of school.
This morning I looked in her bed and she had her thumb in her mouth for the first time! I pulled it out several times but it kept finding its way back. I just don't want this to be a bad habit that will be hard to break, but some things I can't control either. What a rascal! We'll see what happens.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Universal Studios

This weekend we took a mini vacation to Orlando. The kids had fun sleeping on the floor of the hotel room and eating pizza on the bed. Simple things are so exciting for kids. We went to Universal Studios which I had never been to. Because we had one free ticket and the other two were cheap, we didn't mind not doing everything and leaving early because of our kids. We turned our double stroller into a triple stroller and it actually worked pretty well. Note how Alex is almost asleep and we are in line to buy our tickets! Oh, the joy of little kids.Jared's favorite part: Fear Factor Live. His least favorite part: Barney. You could probably reverse that for the kids.
Of course seeing the lovable characters was a highlight. Erin was so cute, she actually gave Curious George a huge hug (a big change from two years ago at Disney when she screamed when she saw any of the characters... they can be kind of freaky).
Alex loved this water slide. When Erin saw how wet he got on it she decided not to go, so Alex got to go a second time with me. Turns out she was the smart one because we were very wet all day. Her favorite ride was a train roller coaster that she was just barely tall enough to ride. I was amazed that she was brave enough to go on it, but she loved it.
We left in plenty of time to make the three hour drive and still get up for church at the crack of dawn the next day. Unfortunately three hours turned into six and a half hours due to a bulge in one of our tires. Long story short, we now have a nice new tire on the van. The kids were really good the whole time. It was a great little get-away!