Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

I resolve to enjoy the whole year. To cherish the small moments. To pause for that brief moment when the sun parts through the dark clouds and remember that you can't have a beautiful sunset without having a few clouds. I resolve to be a better wife, mom, sister, friend, and stranger- to judge less, to love more.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Owen -- my little mess maker

I posted these photos on facebook, but wanted to make sure they got onto the blog. Owen is in that phase where he can make a mess out of anything!!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Something to look forward to

Catherine said, "Usually at the end of Christmas we have nothing to look forward to until Summer -- but now we have Disneyworld!" That was another one of our Christmas presents -- Disney World here we come -- over February break -- We gave the kids Disney world 4 years ago (and went with my family). Anyone want to come with us??? Here are some pictures of that last trip!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Anniversary to my parents!

Dec 28, 1974 -- Happy 37th Anniversary Daddy!

I sure miss my mom.  I took a moment and wrote down my most recent thoughts on the question I get asked most often -- How am I doing? 

I am doing fine most of the time.  Sometimes being so far away is kind of nice.  My mom's absence isn't always so in my face.  I like to just pretend it's not real.  That she is really just back at home and I am living here just like it was.  Sometimes being so far away is awful.  You just feel like no one really understands what you are going through because no one here knew my mom.  No one here can understand just what I am now missing out on.  Only those who knew her can understand just what a gap her being gone has left behind. 

Absolutely everything has my mom's fingerprints on it -- As I unpacked my 7 large boxes of Christmas decorations it was astonishing to realize that she has given me nearly every decoration I own.  And those she didn't give me, she helped me make.  As the Christmas packages have arrived in the mail (and there are  plenty) It is just sad to realize that her's won't be among them.  And her presents were never anything elaborate but they were always hand made by her -- matching red cloaks for the girl's to wear on Sundays, pajama pants for everyone, new towels with the kids names embroidered on them, everything so simple and yet thoughtful and made with so much planning ahead and time. 

And that is what I miss the most is just time.  Time to learn more, time to just chat on the phone.  In fact some days seem pretty long -- she and I would always call each other during our most boring tasks and we would each put on a headset so that we could work while we chatted.  The laundry just never seemed that big of a task if I folded it all while talking to my mom on the phone.  Now? same amount of laundry but the folding just goes on forever. 

Time to ask questions -- you think you know all about someone until they are not around to answer questions -- Right after she died we were trying to assemble   some of the old photos and we could not find my parent's wedding photo album.  Not 3 days earlier we could have just asked her where it was and she would have known immediately, instead we got to tear apart the house for hours before finally finding it in such an obvious place.  I suppose I should just be thankful for google -- since now instead of calling her to ask how it is done I just google it.  But then I find such a new clever way to do something that I am then sad that I can't call her and tell her the new idea.  It's a vicious cycle :)

Fortunately, my life is super busy.  Chasing kids, carpooling, cleaning up, cooking, coaching, crafting, cramming in exercise, and just carrying on leaves very little time left for crying.  But the crying times sure have a way of catching me completely off guard. 

I feel like I'm in just the slightest fog -- like those claritin commercials where all of a sudden they peel back a layer and you see "claritin clear" -- but then sometimes I feel just the opposite -- that I had been living in a beautiful hazy fog and now the world is stripped back crystal clear and it has a lot more rough edges than you initially thought.  I am constantly longing to be in whichever one I am not in at the moment. 

What I wouldn't give to have another beautiful sunny day swimming at my mom's, watching her teach my babies to swim, eating a meal I didn't cook.  It was such a beautiful hazy perfection.  And I hate the crystal clear image of reality.

And then at the same time I go through the motions of the whole day afraid of loving too deeply, afraid at just how much I have to lose that I am really numb to all emotion.  And I hate the foggy feeling. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I love my boy!

Adam is the sweetest boy to me. I got a new lens for my camera and was looking at it and Adam comes right over to me and offers for me to take his picture. Oh he melts my heart!

Monday, December 26, 2011

The story of my stockings!

Way back in 1992 or 1993 my mom sewed our family new stockings. Then, when I got married in 1996 and she was expecting a new baby, she made 2 additional stockings -- one for Trent and one more for Tyler (who wasn't born yet).

After that Christmas she gave me our stockings and we have used them ever since. When Julianne was born, I had to make a new one for her. And then later for Catherine and Madelyn.

By the time Adam was born Shad was married and his wife Amy had sewed their family new stockings. I was desperate to not have to sew another stocking so I called Amy and asked if she still had Shad's old stocking -- she did! I asked her if I could have it- she said YES!!!! and all I had to do was take out Shad's name and cross stitch Adam's name.

Then Owen came along. I did not want to sew another one so I called Amber and asked her if she had made her family new stockings and she said YES! and I asked (more like begged) for her old one and she mailed it to me. Now this is Owen's 2nd Christmas and finally on the day AFTER Christmas I took the time to pull out Amber's name and put Owen's on! I love my stockings. I love that my mom made 4 of them (and I made 3 of them).

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

AT 5:30 am Julianne came flying into our room ready to wake up everyone and start the celebrating. I had to do a lot of convincing to get her to go back to bed. She finally did and eventually everyone else was awake and we had to wake her up at 7 am.

We checked out all of our stockings and then started opening presents. We continued our tradition where each child takes a turn going to the tree and choosing a present for someone else to open. The kids had so much fun.

Highlights by kid.
Julianne -- make-up, roller blades
Catherine -- acryllic paints, canvases and brushes
Madelyn -- crayon maker, roller blades
Adam -- pillow pet, legos
Owen -- play food for his kitchen
Mommy -- a new lens
Daddy -- chain saw and axe

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Our Christmas Eve

Our Christmas Eve was a lot of fun. We went to our good friends house (the Nelson's) and made homemade pizza. The kids were enjoying the food and having fun when I brought down the costume box to get them all ready for re-enacting the Christmas story. Everyone was a good sport (even though they had to tell me at least 10 times that they were getting too old to do this).

Catherine played the part of Mary with Troy being the donkey.
Camden was Joseph (and studied his part intently).
Owen played the part of baby Jesus.
Madelyn was the angel (and Julianne was the narrator)
Adam, Hunter, and Trent were the three wise men (and this time Troy was the camel)
Then we came home, read Luke 2 and Matthew 2 and opened our Christmas jammies.
Then we tried to get the kids all settled down for a long winter's nap! It wasn't easy. This was a bunch of excited kids. It is so fun to have kids at Christmas! Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Christmas Holidays have begun

Today. . . finally . . . the kids got out of school early and our Christmas break has begun.

Tonight we had our "fancy" Christmas meal. It was so delicious. We ate it all and took no pictures -- but here was our menu.

Martinelli's sparkling cider.

First course : Cheddar Cheese and Broccoli soup, french bread, oven roasted shrimp and cocktail sauce.

Second course: Steak, brussel sprouts (with craisins in a balsamic glaze from, sauteed mushrooms, and a salad (romaine, gorgonzola, pears, almonds, and red wine vinaigrette).

Right as we were eating our last bite (by candlelight no less-- ) there was a knock on the door and it was SANTA!!!!! The kids were excited (to say the least) (except maybe Owen -- you'll laugh at the photos of him!)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Play Kitchen is Finished!!!!

This has been such a fun project. I loved the idea when I first saw it on pinterest. I loved finding such a great starting piece. I did not totally enjoy the priming or the painting.  But I loved the accessorizing.  I loved seeing the whole thing start to come together.  But mostly I love that it is done. 

It is "technically" a Christmas Present to Owen or at least that is what I said, but it is really for all the kids.  Because it was such a big project they all knew about it (no surprises here!).  We moved it into the toy room and transferred all the kitchen stuff into it and then just sat back and watched the kids play. It was an "early" Christmas. 

What do you all think of it?  Are you ready to make one yourself?  If so, read below.
1.  Find a suitable entertainment center on craigslist and get it! (mine was $20)
2.  Clean and prime it (i used Kilz brand spray primer)-- I liked the kilz brand, but I am not sold on the spray can -- If I had to do it over, I would have bought a quart of the primer and brushed it on.  (A quart is like $7, each can is $5 and it took 7 cans of primer)
3.  Paint -- I used spray paint initially but after 8 cans of red (at $4 each) I switched to the $7 quart of the same color by the same company and was even happier with it brushed on.  (perhaps if the piece had some dimension or fine details then spray would be better, but this is just a bunch of flat boards)
4.  Added beadboard that was spray painted white (bought one sheet of it - it comes already primed)
5.  Found a faucet on craigslist.
6.  Used an Ikea bin for the sink
7.  Painted the fridge and drawers with stainless steel brush on paint (which I really liked).
8.  Used a hammered finish black spray paint for the stove top.
9.  Bought hinges and screws and knobs (the "real" knobs were 15 bucks for the four range ones and 7 for the oven one)
10.  Recycled an old frame, painted it black, used my kids' pastels and painted a window scene. Laminated the drawing so it would look like a glass window.
11.  Hung the frame/window with command velcro tabs
12.  Made the curtains (simple gather).  Hung those with command velcro tabs.
13.  Used Gorilla Glue to glue down CD's then black drain covers in varying sizes for the stove top burners.  (I had to use a hacksaw to reduce the height of these drain covers, but I looked at so many options and thought these looked the most realistic. 
Any other questions???

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Christmas Picture Collage

Today I actually sent out our official "Christmas" digital card via email.  Anyone who follows my blog or is my friend on email had probably seen the letter and the family photo already.  I love putting the pictures into a collage. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Activity Day Girls Service Project

Today at church the activity day girls had a service project where they babysat their siblings for an hour and a half so that the mom's could get one last thing done! I was so excited because that gave me the time to go to Costco to pick up my photos and cards I had printed. Julianne called me as I was pulling into the parking lot and informed me that Owen had spilled water all over his clothes and wondered if I had left a change of clothing for him. "No" I replied. I hadn't thought of that. "How wet is he?" I asked. Julianne explained that he was soaked -- even his socks and cold. She said he was just running around wearing his diaper only. I sighed and told Julianne I would come back right away (as I didn't want my baby to be cold- and it is cold here). But just then Julianne called back and told me not to worry about it -- another mom had some extra clothes and he was dressed, warm and playing happily. So I finished my errands and headed back to the church. And this is what he was wearing. I hope someday (like at his wedding or something) he'll forgive me for taking this photo -- he was just so cute!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Another Kitchen update

With Trent home, we have been able to get the beadboard up and the stove much closer (although home depot is out of the 6 inch black drains which I am using for the burners).

Sunday, December 18, 2011

More London Pictures from Trent

On Friday (his last day there) he did manage to do some sightseeing before heading to the airport and back home. 

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

gates near buckingham palace

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the palace

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the cabs

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the busses

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some arch

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a museum

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another museum