Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Funny Monkey

Time to link up with PMM and talk about my kiddos.  Yeah, like I need an excuse.

First off - no Baby Girl yet.  I was really thinking yesterday that I might be headed to the hospital by the end of the night.  But then - nothin'.  Which is totally okay, because guess what I haven't done?  I haven't made this baby girl a single hairbow!  That's what I'll be doing today.

But today I'm telling you about my OTHER baby girl.  My Monkey.  Seriously, this girl cracks me up.  The stuff she comes up with is just too much sometimes.

A few weeks back she climbed into the car after school and was just beside herself.  "I lost my tooth today," she said.  And then bursting into tears she added, "and then I REALLY lost it!".  When I asked her what she meant she told me that she had taken it out to recess to show her friends, and she lost it.

Later that night, Hubby came in to show me what he had found in place of her tooth:
Side one

Side 2

We were dying.  And how could the tooth fairy deny that?  So she was still compensated, even though she lost her lost tooth!

A couple of Sundays ago the girls brought home a spotlight paper to fill out from Primary.  Monkey took it upon herself to fill hers out on her own, without waiting for us to help her:

Seriously?  The girl has never had Sushi.  And I guess it is a sad reflection on Hubby's and my parenting that the most exciting thing that has ever happened to her is turning six.  I guess we'll have to work on that.

She never ceases to make us laugh.  And that is such a good thing because on those days when you just want to cry - a funny six year old girl can turn it all around.  We are so blessed to have her as part of our family.

I'm linking up here:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ten Things to Smile About

Because I seem to have issues lately with being bitter - I'm glad to have Emmy to help me remember that I  still have lots to make me smile.  Here are my 10 things to smile about in January:

1 - Back to blogging!  I'm blogging more regularly than I have in a LONG time, and it feels good to be back.

2 - Pixie's 4th grade Pioneer Musical.  The students write the script themselves and work really hard in preparing to perform it for parents and other students.  Pixie did a wonderful job, and played the mother in one of the main families.  She tends to talk really fast, and really quiet, so we were a bit nervous about how she would perform.  She was awesome.  She projected her voice, and spoke at a speed that everyone could understand!  We were really proud.

3 -  I can FINALLY see sunshine, blue sky and my beautiful mountains!  The inversion has been so horrible, and we finally have a series of storms moving through that are clearing the air!  Halleluja!

4 - Wonderful friends and members of my ward family who threw me a baby shower, and showered me with love, and adorable baby girl stuff!

5 - Church basketball has started.  Bookworm and Cowgirl are both playing and have played 2 games each, with 2 victories each!

 Not sure if Bookworm is scratching his head or fixing his hair?

 Horrible blurry action shot taken with my phone.

 Cowgirl's number 4.  This is her first time playing basketball.

6 - Baby Girl's car seat arrived yesterday!  So now, whenever she gets here, they won't hold her hostage at the hospital - because I WILL have a safe way to bring her home!

7 - My boy Chris Wingert re-signed with RSL!  3 of my favorites were traded, so I was getting nervous.  But then CW's contract was renewed and all was right in the world again.

8 - Bookworm brought home his 2nd report card of all A's.  At our school we grade differently and grades K-8 do not receive letter grades.  But since 9th grade goes toward your high school transcript, they are graded more traditionally so it will transition correctly when they move on to high school (which is 10-12 here).  Really proud of how well he's doing.

9 - This month all 3 of my oldest performed together in a music recital for the first time.  Cowgirl has switched over to the same piano teacher that Pixie takes from, and she has been working REALLY hard on a piece that is way advanced for her.  It is the accompaniment for the Millionaire's Hoe Down that Bookworm performed for the school talent show.  I shared that here.  So Bookworm came and performed with her at the recital.  And Pixie has just been taking lessons for a year and is the most diligent practicer I know!  She was the only student in the entire group of performers that played each of her pieces without a single mistake.

10 - I saved the best for last.  This is better than sunshine, bragging on my kids, even better than CW staying in Salt Lake.  I do not have 9 o'clock church anymore!!!  For the entire year I get to enjoy heavenly 11 o'clock church.  I have been waiting for this day since the first Sunday in 2012 when I had to switch to 9 a.m. church.  Then the countdown began for when I would once again be able to SLEEP until 9 instead of have my whole family up and ready and in their seats by 9!  

What made you smile this month?

I'm partying here today:

Monday, January 28, 2013

Friend Makin' Monday

It's been forever since I've linked up with Kenlie for FMM - but I do love to be friendly!  I have done a questionnaire similar to this in the past, but it's been a long time and some of you may be new around here, so I thought it would be fun.  Also, some of my answers may have changed since then!
Also, does anybody know why Blogger won't let me copy and paste without a stupid white background around the words?  It is super annoying, but I'm too lazy to retype all the questions, so I just copied Kenlie's post and then changed the answers.  So sorry - you'll have to deal with the dumb white border.
Getting To Know Each Other
1. What is your favorite color? I love all happy, bright colors.  But I especially am loving turquoise right now!
2. Share one or more of your talents.  I enjoy playing the piano - although I'm getting pretty rusty.
3. If you were spending the day getting to know someone new, where would you want to go? If the weather was nice, somewhere outdoors for sure.  There are a lot of beautiful places here in Utah to spend the day with a friend.  Also, the day would definitely need to include someplace yummy to eat!
4. What is your favorite meal?  It depends on my mood.  Especially right now with being pregnant!  I really, really love the Chile verde enchilada from a local family owned Mexican restaurant that is close by.  I could eat that every day.
5.  Do you prefer to text or talk?  I honestly hate text.  I mean, I know it is really convenient, because you can text during times that it isn't really convenient to talk.  But I love a good phone call, or face to face.  It's so much more personal.
6. Share something about yourself that might surprise someone that you’re getting to know.  Um, I used to be skinny?  I don't know - I'm pretty much an open book.
7. Do you color your hair? Yes…those stray gray hairs are getting more prominent, and when your hair is almost black - they really show up!  I'm too young to have any grays!!
8. Do you wear glasses or contacts?  I have worn contacts since I was in Middle School, but they are not extremely strong.  I wouldn't dare drive without them, but I haven't put them in yet this morning, and although it is a little more difficult without them, I am typing up this post with naked eyes!
9. What is your favorite breakfast food?  I'm not a breakfast person as in "food in the morning".  But I LOVE breakfast food for lunch or dinner.  And I can't narrow it down to one food.  I love me a meal of french toast, hash browns, fried eggs and bacon or sausage.
10. Would your friends say that you’re sarcastic?  Maybe.  I don't know - friends?  What do you think?
11. Do you prefer salty or sweet?  Usually salty.  But sometimes I'm really in the mood for dessert!
12. What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?  Their smile for sure.  I have a thing about nice teeth. ;)
13. What is the last movie you watched?  I watched a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie on TV last night.  It was called "The Makeover".  The show was not bad.  It had Camryn Manheim and Julia Stiles, and I like them both.  And the guy in it was super cute.  I doubt I would watch it again though.
14.  Are you religious?  Yes.
15. Are you a neat freak, a slob, or somewhere in between? I am not the best housekeeper, let's put it that way.  I'd hate to classify myself as a slob.  I would say more that I'm not very good at cleaning up constantly after my family of 6 - so things can get pretty cluttery around here!
16. Share something from your bucket list that you hope to do someday.  I'd like to get back east and do a U.S. History tour.  Only not an actual guided tour - just go everywhere I want, maybe with a friend who knows a lot about the area and history.
17. Are you a risk taker, or do you prefer to play it safe?  I'm really a great big chicken for the most part.  But it depends on the situation.
18. Have you ever worn braces?  Yes.  I got them halfway through 6th grade, and wore them all through 7th grade.
19. Would you rather spend an evening at a theater or at a club?  I would have to say a theater.
20. If you could have three wishes, what would one of them be?  This one also changes depending on where I'm at in life.  Right now it is that all goes well with Baby Girl's delivery.  For some reason I am way more anxious this time than I have been in the past.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Flashback Friday

I thought it would be fun to snag some random pictures that I have stored on the computer, and flashback to the time they were taken.  Makes me feel all reminscey.  And that is totally a word.

But first I wanted to give an update on my post from yesterday.  Remember I told you that the one journal that didn't sell for Cowgirl's first experience with Mini Society business day was her one attempt at making a "boy" journal?  Well apparently this week they've all changed their minds, because there are so many people that want it, that it had to go up for auction.  She had them priced to sell for $15.00 each (school money).  The bidding on her one boy journal is now at $70!  So she's excited to see what it finally sells for.

Now on the the flashbacks!

This first picture was taken when Monkey was 3.  I had to run to our insurance office to sign some paperwork.  Monkey had asked for an apple to eat on the way.  When we pulled into the parking lot and I opened the door to get her out, here's what I saw:

Have you ever fallen asleep while eating an apple?

This next shot is of Pixie.  She was also 3 when this shot was taken.  It was Independence Day, which of course is my second favorite holiday (a close second to Christmas).  We always spend the day celebrating.  There are different fairs/carnivals going on around the valley, and we ALWAYS go to the park to watch the beautiful fireworks display celebrating our wonderful country.  The kids also usually dress all festive and patriotic.  I think Pixie looks adorable in this picture with her patriotic stars, and I LOVE her hair this length.

This picture is Cowgirl.  I believe she was in 3rd grade at the time.  Her class at school was learning about wetlands.  The class got to go out and take water samples, and evaluate their findings to determine if this particular river was healthy or not.  Cowgirl is getting ready, and putting on her hip waders.  All the kids looked so stinkin' cute in their waders!  And they had a blast while learning a lot!

Last is Bookworm.  I LOVE this shot.  It was at scout camp, and was his first time EVER ice fishing.  He caught the biggest fish of all the boys and when Hubby sent me this picture, I couldn't stop smiling.  He was really excited to bring it home and have me cook it up for dinner!

I love looking back, and remembering through pictures all the great experiences we've had as a family.  Or just funny moments even.  I have so many pictures that I have taken because I wanted to capture the moment, and then haven't gotten around to scrapbooking or journaling them.

I may do a flashback every Friday, just so I can start getting some of the things I remember recorded - before I forget!  I hope you don't mind, and have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mini Entrepreneur

Today I'm linking up to PMM, so I can brag on Cowgirl.

She's in 6th grade.  One of the things they do is called Mini Society.  I'm sure you've seen or heard of similar things at your kids' schools.  But basically their classroom is a mini society.  They have to earn "money", pay for their privileges, etc.  They regularly have a day where they run a business in order to make more money, and also have the opportunity to spend their money.

Before the first time, Cowgirl was brainstorming, trying to figure out what she could sell.  I remembered a couple of weeks earlier I had seen that she had taken one of the composition notebooks I had gotten her for school, and scrapped it all cute and girlie.  She did it on her own, just for fun.  I suggested she could sell cute, scrapped "journals".  She loved the idea and got to work.

I have been pretty useless in the evenings as far as helping my kids out with stuff.  I'm just so exhausted by then.  So I sat on the couch giving moral support and encouragement, while she quietly worked away with my Cricut, cute papers, hot glue, double sided tape, and some cute embellishments from my bow-making stash.  She designed them all herself, and they turned out really cute.  She paired them with some cute pencils from the dollar store and they were a big hit.  Not only did she sell nearly every journal (the only one left was her attempt at a "boy" one, and I guess no boys were interested), but she got 3 custom orders!

Today is the second time they are doing their businesses, so she was up last night making more.  Including some miniature ones as well.  I think they turned out really cute - especially since once again she was all on her own!  I hope she has some great sales again today.

Click the button to check out more Proud Mommy Moments.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Random Ravings...

So I've had a few days of writer's block.  I feel like the only thing I'm really focused on right now is trying to get ready for Baby Girl - since we are down to crunch time!  I know that not everybody is into reading endlessly about motherhood and baby prep.  But without that - I got nothin'.   So sorry!

Is there anybody else who still has their Christmas decor up?  Because I just always seem to have way more urgent things to do than un-decorate.  And once I get a more urgent task completed, I'm so freaking tired that I just don't have it in me to dive into the project of decor-switching!  I'm seriously sick of looking at it though!

I ordered my car seat today.  Nothing like waiting until the last minute!  I sure hope it get's here before Baby Girl does!  Here's what we picked:

I'm sorry if this is not incredibly fascinating to everyone else, but I haven't done this for almost 7 years!  It's like I'm a first time mom all over again!

I only used an infant car seat/carrier with Bookworm.  And by "used" I mean paid for and then never used it as a carrier because he just screamed his guts out the entire time he was buckled in.  Never fell asleep in it, and never was content in it when used with the stroller.  So basically we would end up carrying the carrier in one hand, and bookworm in the other.  NOT the convenience I thought I was paying for!  Add that to the fact that he was too tall for it by 4 months, and it seemed like an unnecessary added expense.  We skipped the infant seat with the other 3 and just went straight to a convertible seat that went from 5-35 lbs.

We're giving the carrier version another try, in the hopes that this baby won't be as naughty as Bookworm was as a baby!  Also because they seem to have come a long way, and accommodate baby for a much longer period of time with broader height and weight limits.

Something else that's evolved quite a bit since my last time around?  Bottles made for nursing babies!  I used Avent with my other babies, because they were supposedly the best for babies switching back and forth from breast to bottle.  But I wasn't necessarily in love with them.  I've been doing some research to prepare for this baby, and the bottles are really, REALLY shaped like boobs!  Here's what I think we're gonna go with:

I've read lots of great reviews about them.  I welcome other suggestions and feedback though!

Okay, something to talk about that isn't baby-related....

Anybody watching The Bachelor?  I never watch it, but from the coverage I saw of last season, I really liked Shawn.  So when I found out he was the Bachelor this season, I decided to give it a try.  I think it's 3 episodes in?  I'm not sure I can keep it up....I can't handle how pathetic all the women act!  I guess I'll just take my cop shows over drama-filled reality TV.

So, as you can now tell, I have a pretty boring life as of late!  But I just didn't want to fall back into the habit of letting more and more time pass between blog posts, until it gets to the point that I'm not blogging at all!  Thanks for hanging in with me if you made it this far!

And if you know of any great link parties that happen on a regular basis - please let me know so I have something to fall back on when I'm drawing a blank!

If you haven't already, you can still enter my baby-guessing contest here!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Go away winter and a contest!

I am SO glad there's no school for my kids today!  It's 4 degrees outside my house right now!  I really am sooooo over winter.  I'm very happy that we had a white Christmas, but as far as I'm concerned, once the holidays are over, winter is just a big, cold, annoying driving hazard!  And the inversion in the Salt Lake valley is awful!

But enough complaining.  Who has fun plans for the weekend?  We'll mostly be at home trying to get stuff ready for baby (yes, I've waited until the last minute - don't you know me by now?), but Bookworm does have a church basketball game tomorrow afternoon.  That should be fun.

As always the kids are wondering when the baby will get here.  We are now in the "safe zone" as far as health and development if she were to decide to come early.  How about a fun little contest for my readers?  I'll send prizes to the reader(s) that are able to guess the closest date of delivery, weight, and length of Baby Girl (3 separate prizes).  Sound like fun?

So here's some history:

I can't recall off the top of my head which baby was exactly what length, but my kids all ranged from 19.5 inches to 21 inches.

Bookworm:  Due date - July 2, actual delivery date - June 30.  Weight: 8 lb 4 oz.
Cowgirl:  Due date - October 2, actual delivery date - September 30.  Weight: 9 lb 4 oz.
Pixie: Due date - February 2, actual delivery date - February 3.  Weight: 8 lb 8 oz.
Monkey: Due date - October 5, actual delivery date - October 6.  Weight: 9 lb 4 oz.

So as you can see, I have big babies, and they come pretty close to their due dates.

The contest will be open up until Baby Girl gets here! Her due date is February 2.  Yep, same due date as Pixie had.  She REALLY wants the baby to be born on her birthday.  We'll see how long she likes that, if it does actually happen!

I'm not sure what the prizes will be yet - but they won't be lame!  So if you'd like to enter, just leave a comment with your guess on delivery date, weight and length!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Oh, Baby! pt. 3

Already a brat:

So as you could tell from parts 1 and 2 - my kids are pretty excited about this new baby sister that is joining our family.

Monkey kisses my belly every time she walks past.  But Bookworm has been the one that has warmed our hearts with his joy about the baby, and his tenderness.  He is ALWAYS asking me how I am and how baby is doing.  If I seem uncomfortable in any way he always asks if I am feeling okay.

He is always concerned that I am doing things that are the best for the baby.  I've gotten a few lectures from him about not drinking Dr. Pepper.  One Sunday afternoon I took a much needed nap.  After I woke up, Bookworm told me he had looked in on me a few times while I was sleeping, and that every time he walked past the door, I was sleeping on my stomach.  He asked me, "is that safe for the baby?"

He has been so sweet and adorable.  Which makes it so ironic that of all the kids he was the last one who ever got to feel her kick.

The kids asked for months when they would be able to feel the baby kick from the outside.  Finally when she started kicking harder, I would have them sit with their hand on my tummy until she gave a good kick.  Monkey got to feel her kick first.  We were taking a nap on my bed and Baby Girl started kicking.  I rested her hand on my belly while we were laying there, and she patiently waited, and it paid off!  Next was Pixie while we were sitting in church.  And Cowgirl got to feel her kick while sitting next to me on the couch watching TV.

But no matter how hard she was kicking, or how frequently, as soon as bookworm would put his hand on my tummy, she would freeze instantly.  And no matter how long he sat, patiently waiting to feel her kick, she wouldn't.  Then when he'd finally give up and get back to his homework, or head back to his room, or whatever he was doing - she'd start kicking again.  What a stinker, right?

It was WEEKS from the time the girls started feeling her kick, before Bookworm got to finally feel a kick.  And during those weeks the girls felt her kick several times, but always Bookworm's efforts went unrewarded!  What do you think?  Is she already a spoiled brat?

When he finally was able to feel her kick, he made sure to announce it to everyone!
Obviously I've removed his name and location - but this is a screenshot of his FB page.

16 more days until her due date....we are counting down now!  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Oh, Baby! pt. 2

Today I'm linking up with my girls Shawn and IA, which I haven't done in forever!  If you want to read part 1, go here.

The Gender Reveal:

The kids were so excited about the fact that we were adding another member to our family!

After I had my first appointment, we told them that they could come to the next appointment and hear the heartbeat.  Well the next appointment happened to be the week of the big scare.  We decided that we shouldn't bring the kids, in case there were any problems.  Once we knew what was going on, if everything was okay, we would take them to the next appointment.

My doctor ended up having to push that next appointment back a week, and by that time the kids were back in school.  They begged us to check them out of school, and we made the deal with them that we would check them out of school to come to the ultrasound, OR to come hear the heartbeat.  But not both.  Of course they all chose the ultrasound.

When it finally got to the week of my ultrasound, I called the hospital to set up my appointment.  They went over all the rules with me.  One of them was "only 1 other adult and no children."  WHAT???  I have never been prevented from bringing children to the ultrasound before and I was super bummed.  But not nearly as much as the kids were.

They kept asking us if we would call the school and tell them if they were having a baby brother or sister once we found out.  We tried to explain that we couldn't just call the school and have them called out of class, disrupting everyone, just so we could tell them.  They didn't understand why not.  They think because I'm on the board I can just do whatever I feel like, without regard to protocol.  I probably could without having anyone say anything to me, but it doesn't mean it wouldn't bother people, or that I should.  I try not to overstep my bounds.  Too much. ;)   They were super bugged at the thought that we would find out in the morning, and they had to wait clear until after school to find out.

Here's what I did do.    I had seen this cute little idea on Pinterest about using a paint strip and sharpie to announce baby's gender.  So I grabbed some paint strips at Walmart on the way home from the ultrasound.  I went into the office at school and made a photocopy of the best ultrasound picture for each of my kids.  I wrote on the paint strip and stuck the strip and the picture in an envelope, then wrote the name of one of my children (not in my normal handwriting) on each envelope.  Then I asked one of the awesome ladies who works at the front desk to deliver them to my kids in class.  She of course stuck around to spy on their reactions.  They all started out looking confused and then when they opened their envelope, without exception got huge grins as they realized what it meant.  She was expecting Bookworm to be disappointed, but she loved that he just got a big smile and leaned over to show his friends.

This is the picture I used to announce on Facebook.  I wrote the words a little differently on the strips I gave to my kids, but this will give you the main idea.

After school the kids were once again full of excitement and questions.  The girls gave me their envelopes to put in my purse so they wouldn't get lost or ruined.  I asked Bookworm what he did with his picture.  His reply?  "I hung it up in my locker."

Monday, January 14, 2013

Oh, Baby! pt. 1

So I haven't really blogged much throughout my pregnancy, and I thought I'd take a few days to recap some of the memorable moments regarding Baby Girl.

Breaking the News:

If you remember, this pregnancy was completely unplanned, and unexpected!  Although our children kept pestering us to have another baby, we had decided that we were done.  I'm not gonna lie - when those 2 lines showed up instantly, I was in a little bit of shock.  As was Hubby.  I think we've spent the majority of the pregnancy feeling overwhelmed and trying to process the fact that we need to get back into baby mode, after being out of it for many years.  But it's impossible not to take delight in the way the kids are being about this new little life that is about to join our family.

When it came time to tell the kids, we gathered them all around for a family meeting.  We had recently asked Bookworm if he wanted to move his bedroom downstairs, as Cowgirl was doing (our ulterior motive was so that I could have my craft room/office upstairs).  He responded, "No, I really like my room, and I like having it up here."

So we started off our conversation directing our comments to him.  We asked, "remember how you said you didn't want to move downstairs?  Well we were wondering if you would be willing to move downstairs so that the baby can have your room?"  Cowgirl's hands immediately flew to her mouth, her eyes got big and she had a huge grin.  Bookworm didn't catch on so quickly.  His response was, "What baby?"  When I replied, "The new baby we're going to have", I heard a squeal of delight from one of the other girls, and Bookworm had a huge smile, but still wanted to make sure he wasn't mistaken.  "Our baby?  Are you serious?  You're going to have a baby?"  All 4 kids were delighted and excited.  And they all started talking and asking questions at once.

It was a great night full of love and excitement, and I still want to giggle out loud when I think about their reaction to the news.  You would think their excitement would have worn off over the months, but it really hasn't.  They are as excited as ever and can't wait to meet the newest little member of our family!

I really adore these sweet kids.  

Yes this is their Christmas card picture from LAST year - we didn't get around to pictures (or Christmas cards!) this year. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Discrimination or Common Sense?

Yesterday I read this article on our local news website.  If you don't want to go to the link, here's a quick summary:

An 11 year old girl who has been playing in a community youth football league for 2 seasons has been told that she won't be able to come back next season and play with the league, which is supposed to be an all-boys league.

People are up in arms!  And the family has started an online petition calling for the Catholic Youth Organization to allow girls to play in the league.

I guess I'm missing something.  I don't see this policy as discriminatory, or old fashioned.  I see it as common sense in protecting participants, as well as the league's own liability.

Cowgirl (age 12) is an excellent soccer player.  She loves it.  A couple of seasons ago, she was invited by her then coach to join a competitive (all-girls) soccer league that he was moving his daughter to, out of our local recreational league.  She went and practiced with the team and loved it.  But the more she thought about it, the more she felt like she would like to work on her skills a little bit more in our rec league before doing competition soccer.  She signed up for another season of rec league (which is a co-ed league).

She still loves it.  She is still one of the best players on her team.  She's better than the majority of the boys she has played against, and most of the boys on her team.  But she has relinquished her (well-loved) position of playing goalie.  After the first couple of games I asked her why the coach wasn't letting her play goalie.  She told me that she had been offered goalie but had told her coach she preferred not to play that position.  I was shocked - in previous years she had always had to sort of fight to get the chance to play goalie, due to several boys also wanting that position.  I asked her "why?"

"Mom," she said, "The boys my age have gotten so BIG - and they kick HARD!!  When I block or catch the ball it hurts!"

She still has the skills to hold her own with the boys.  But it is reaching the point that the physical differences in the way the female and male bodies are built is starting to make a difference, despite her talent.  It will soon be time to move onto an all-girls league.

And that's in soccer.  I can't imagine having her play a full-contact, tackle sport with some of the boys that I see her playing soccer with.

So am I crazy to think this decision by the youth organization is a little more based on common sense than on discrimination?  I just think the people all fired up about this are trying to create controversy where there doesn't really need to be any.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Public Service Announcement

Does anybody else hold the hair elastic(s) between their teeth while using both hands to comb little girls' hair into a ponytail, so that you can just grab the elastic out of your mouth and wrap the ponytail once it's combed into place?  And did that description even make any sense at all?

I'm here to warn you.  I almost died this morning.  Okay that may be a small exaggeration.  But I really did nearly choke - like for reals choke.

I was combing Monkey's hair - we were running a little behind schedule, and Hubby and the other girls were already out in the car waiting for Monkey to join them so they could head to school.  I had the elastic between my teeth.  I had opened the cupboard beneath the sink to grab a spray bottle with one hand, while holding Monkey's hair in place with the other.  I was in a hurry and sort of slammed the cupboard back shut.

It smacked Monkey's knee, and she gave a little yelp of pain.  I instinctively gasped, and literally inhaled the elastic from between my teeth and it went halfway down my throat!!

I gagged for a second and coughed it up, so I was okay...but seriously - who does that?

Most of you probably aren't special enough to have something like that happen to you - but I thought I'd warn you just in case!

Have a great Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Everyone's On Board

Yesterday I talked about resolutions and goals, and told you of my plan to have our whole family set some goals that would help us improve ourselves in a few different categories.  The plan was to narrow it down to a few goals that would have a big impact, rather than a million different goals that would overwhelm us, and quickly discourage our efforts.  I wanted to present it in a Family Home Evening lesson, along with a plan for tracking our progress, and a way to help us keep focused and accountable.  I won't share all the goals right now (there are 6 of us you know!), but I thought I'd tell you what I came up with and how it went.

I first went and purchased 6 composition notebooks.  They all had different fun designs.  This is the one I picked for Monkey:
Now I'm not gonna lie.  The only reason we had cutesy decorated notebooks was because they were all out of the cheap plain ones.  But you can usually find the plain ones for under a dollar at Target or Walmart.

We started out our FHE lesson talking about some of the things we had heard in the church talk about goals and resolutions.  Then we talked about how we are taught that Jesus has asked us to be perfect, even as He is.  And how it is so important to set goals, and work towards them, and continually try to improve ourselves.

We then opened to the first page of our notebooks, and thought about, then wrote down 1 goal in each of 3 separate categories: Spiritual, Home and Family, and Personal Improvement.  There was no time limit.  I had already been thinking of my goals, but I wanted the rest of my family to be able to really think about what goals they could set that would have the most valuable impact on their lives right now.  So we just worked on it until everyone was finished writing down their 3 goals.

Next we divided the remaining pages of the notebooks into 3 sections - one for each goal category.  On the first page of each section we wrote down our plan for achieving that specific goal.  Whether it be smaller goals that were steps to reaching the main goal, or creating a tracking sheet to keep a record, or simply reminder cards placed in strategic places that we could see throughout our day.  Each family member was responsible for making their own plan for achieving each of their 3 goals.

The rest of the pages in each section are journaling pages.  Each Sunday will be a time for reviewing each goal, and evaluating and recording our progress - making note of successes as well as failures, and writing down our thoughts about what we're learning as we work on each of our goals.  We don't ONLY have to journal on Sunday.  If we have an idea, concern or victory during the week regarding one of our goals, we can jot it down at the time.  But we will always have an "official" goal-journaling time on Sunday.  Then each Monday at the very beginning of FHE, we will have the opportunity to share how we are doing with each other.  I told the kids that if one of their goals is really personal, they don't have to share if they'd prefer not to.  But I also think that sharing and reporting to each other is a good way to help us all stay accountable and on track with working on our goals.  It is also a good opportunity for everyone else to offer encouragement and ideas or suggestions to help us when we might be feeling like we're not doing the best.

Surprisingly, all the kids and the husband seemed eager to get to work.  I was helping Monkey most of the time with writing down her goals and coming up with a plan, but I would occasionally look around and each member of the rest of my family was always thoughtfully writing in their notebook.  I don't know what their goals are yet - we will be sharing those next week after we've had a few days to work on them - but I am eager to see what they have come up with!

I love my family, and I'm excited to see how we learn and grow individually and as a family over the next year as we work on reaching our goals.  I really feel like it is going to make a big difference in our home.  I'm sure I'll be sharing with you some of our different goals and how we're doing on them along the way...I hope you don't mind!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Aiming High

I often hear people talk about how they don't bother with New Year's resolutions anymore, because they never keep them and then they have guilt, etc.

I've never been able to quite feel comfortable with that perspective for myself.  One of the core principles of my faith is the responsibility to live up to our potential - to be continually improving, striving to be like our Savior and overcoming our weaknesses.  Goal setting seems the most logical way to continue to move forward on the path of self improvement.

A friend and neighbor of mine gave a talk in church last week, and one of the things she talked about was the opportunity goal setting provides for growth and improvement, even when we don't achieve everything we set out to.  She talked about how making some progress on a goal or resolution gets us that much further ahead than we were before.  Or than we would be if we simply chose not to set any goals for ourselves.  This really struck me as something important to remember.

The beginning of a new year seems to leave us all eager to turn the page on the past, start anew and do things better.  Whether we like to call them "resolutions" or not, we all have things in our head that we intend to do better this year.

For me, there is a lot.  But I'm going to try to narrow it down to a main goal or 2 in each of 3 different areas. I don't have it all ironed out yet, but it is going to be the topic of our Family Home Evening lesson tonight.  I'm going to challenge each family member to set a spiritual goal, a goal to help improve our home/family, and a personal improvement goal (like fitness, money management, school, etc.).  I'm still working out a good tracking method that will hopefully help us keep focused and accountable.  I welcome any suggestions!

I know that a big theme for my goals is going to have to be "simplify".  I have a new baby on the way - 4 weeks at the most until she arrives!  I have my school board responsibilities, I also have 3 kids taking music lessons, and 2 of them playing a sport.  There is a lot to complicate my life if I let it and I have got to come up with a way to reduce the stress and enjoy being a mom and wife, because I really don't want to look back and regret my level of enjoyment during my children's growing up years.  I want to remember being happy, and truly enjoying all the experiences we have together.

I'm trying to come up with a plan to be able to fit regular blogging back into my schedule, because I think sharing with my friends my ideas, successes and failures, as well as asking for advice, are great ways to keep me striving to reach my goals.  I hope you'll all be able to help encourage me, and give me suggestions to help me along the journey this year!

Tomorrow I'll tell  you how Family Home Evening went, what I came up with, and maybe share how we're going to track it as well.

Do you set New Year's resolutions?  If so, how do you stay on track, and what is a favorite resolution for this year?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Good Riddance to 2012!!

Pretty much.  That's how I feel.

Not EVERYTHING in 2012 was horrible.  I had the great delight of meeting and spending time with several blog friends that really, I consider IRL friends.  It started out with Sami, which led to spending some actual time with Evelyn (we had met very briefly before), then Vivienne, followed by MiMi (already had met!), Myya and Amanda.  THEN I also got to meet and spend time with Emmy, who introduced me to Involuntary Amy (who I hadn't previously "known" through blogging).  Sounds like a lot of fabulous meet-ups, huh?  Well they were!  But then I think somebody decided I had had too much greatness and that the rest of my year should be the suckiest year ever.

I meant to do a series of blog posts to catch up on the wonderful trials that were thrown our way during the 2nd half of the year - but I just couldn't bring myself to do that many whiny blog posts in a row.  So I decided to just do a brief (or maybe not so brief?) re-cap (via bullet points - or asterisks, because I'm too lazy to format bullet points) for you in one long, whiny blog post.  You. Are. Welcome.

* The night I met up with Emmy and Amy, I started to get a sore throat.  By the time Emmy dropped me off it had developed into full on body aches, chills and a fever.  Then came the coughing.  I haven't been rid of that dang cough since.  Yep, still coughing the following January.

*All the hard work and stress that Tanielle and I put into our first ever self-hosted boutique was rained out, followed by a big pregnancy scare for me.  You can read about that here.

* I blogged about the too sudden departure of my dad from this life here.

Picture I didn't have a digital copy of when I did the post about my dad.  I miss him.

* I was still coughing and Tanielle's kids were suffering from a stubborn summer cold.  Or so we thought.  Turns out it was Pertussis.  Yep, whooping cough.  Before the diagnosis, Tanielle had brought some food over to our home, upon the news of my father's death.  My kids went out to the car to visit and play around with her kids.  Nice, enclosed space.  Lots of coughing.  Pretty much both of our whole families ended up coughing a lot.  She had confirmed Pertussis diagnoses for all her kids.  I didn't have everyone tested, but did take a couple of mine in and got a confirmed diagnosis.  Antibiotics for everyone!!  My family didn't suffer nearly as much. Since we knew we had been exposed, at the first onset of symptoms we were put on treatment, and it significantly reduced the intensity of our symptoms.  But it still sucked being quarantined, and taking care of everyone while exhausted and pregnant.  T's family ended up miserable, exhausted, and 1 baby in the hospital.  No fun!

*After the bout with Pertussis, I thought things might start to look up.  But instead my mom fell when going out her back door, and landed on her wrist.  Breaking it.  This was the first time it struck me that I was really worried about her being all alone.  She had always been my dad's caretaker, but at least he was THERE to know if anything happened, and he could get help if she needed it.

* My cough finally started to subside.  For like a minute.  Then it came back full force, and it was worse, and it HURT!  By this time I had significant baby growth, my abdominal muscles were weakening, and the coughing fits caused so much pain that I was sometimes brought to tears.  There was a point when I was sure I had developed a hernia from the coughing it hurt so bad.

* After a couple weeks of the really horrible coughing, it eased up a bit.  Just in time for me to get the phone call from my mom's friend that they had been out walking, and she slipped on the ice.  She got back up and seemed okay, until they passed a sign that was reminding the Relief Society sisters to come for a special holiday program that night.  My mom turned to her friend and asked her what it was.  You can imagine how this alarmed her friend, since my mom was the one in charge of the program and had been working on it for weeks.  We're talking assigning speaking parts, putting together costumes for each of the women in the presentation, assigning people to bring refreshments.  She had been at my house just the day before typing up the program.  That was a lovely day spent in the ER - time that my mom still doesn't remember, weeks later.  She had quite a concussion, but thankfully no fracture or internal bleeding.  The short term memory from BEFORE her fall came back as the hours went on, but she doesn't remember much from the day OF her fall, including falling.

* Still coughing at this point and getting really sick of it.

* The bright shining moment of the second half of the year was our school's musical production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.  Bookworm landed the role of Joseph.  Cowgirl was part of Pharaoh's Court, as well as the ensemble chorus.

Cowgirl, Bookworm and T's daughter Lexlee after closing night.

It really was a spectacular production - I can't even put into words what an amazing job our director and cast did.  You would never believe it was just a public school musical if you didn't know better.  I'm sad that we didn't have the budget to purchase recording rights to the show, because I don't have any video of their performing, and it really was such a proud moment for Hubby and I.

Now back to the whining...

* During the time leading up to the play, I was still coughing like crazy.  I had to OD on cough medicine just to be able to attend the performances without being a completely disruptive presence!  But worse than that was that Bookworm and Cowgirl both got my cough just in time for the show.  Luckily the Robitussin seemed to keep it under control enough for them to perform.

* They started to get better until the couple of days before Christmas.  Then here's how it went: Monkey had to be checked out from school the last day before Christmas break with a fever.  She spent several days just crappy feeling, and hanging onto that fever.  Cowgirl got it the day before Christmas.  Both got to celebrate Christmas morning with fevers.  Monkey felt so crappy that she didn't even want to open her gifts.  That's a sad situation for parents who are so excited to see their little one open her gifts!  My cough flared up again, Hubby woke up a couple days later with body aches and chills, as well as a cheerful dose of vomiting.  Everyone in the house except bookworm is coughing.  Monkey and Cowgirl take a turn for the worse, and have to be taken into the doctor the day after Christmas.  Not only do they have lovely hacking coughs and fevers, but they also have severe ear infections.  Pretty much the entire break has been spent with the majority of our family being moderately sick, or sometimes very sick.  It's been awesome - lemme tell ya.

At this point everyone is feeling mostly well, but with a few of us still coughing.  The Salt Lake City inversion is not helping.  Nobody has fevers or earaches, or chills anymore, but everyone is still exhausted from trying to "do the holidays" while being sick.  Luckily, our Christmas break lasts until the 7th.  hopefully everyone will be feeling ship shape by then.

Do I sound like the biggest whiner ever?  I FEEL like the biggest whiner ever!

But here's the thing.  Even with all that crappiness, I look around and I know I have so much to be grateful for.  Although we've dealt with sickness - I have a healthy family.  I don't have a child with a terminal illness, or sever emotional problems.  I have a husband who is able-bodied and willing to work hard to take care of our family.  I'm married to a man who is a generous husband and loving father.  I have children who try hard to do what's right, and treat others with kindness.  I have close relationships with those in my extended family and they are positive parts of my children's lives.  I have amazing neighbors and friends.  I really have too many blessings to even begin to name them all.

So I guess instead of bitterly bidding good riddance to 2012, I will just happily embrace 2013 and count on it being a better year than the last!

I hope everyone has had a great start to the New Year!