Saturday, December 29, 2007

Anti-New Year's Resolutions

As the year comes to an end I’m faced with the inevitable thoughts of putting New Year’s resolutions to paper. Who am I kidding? After 30’ish years of guilt-ridden failure, I have finally come to the conclusion that New Year’s resolutions have never worked for me and never will. Kind of depressing that it took me so long to figure that one out. Is it because they are cursed or because the word ‘year’ in the title means that, like a year, the goal is temporary, and not meant to be forever. Why do goals so often come with the failure and guilt? I want my changes to be permanent.

I had a clue last year that my resolutions wouldn’t work so I skipped setting goals in my favorite areas – you know the same goals that you set year after year – lose weight, make money, be happy, and for me get organized. But old habits die hard and the people pleaser inside myself, still felt the need to set some goals. That way when asked what my goals were, I could respond with something witty and unique. I succeeded at neither. I decided to have my only two resolutions be, ready the drum roll, one: Never let the car’s gas tank go under half full (that lasted about 3 weeks, but longer than the national average of two weeks), and two: Always go to bed with a clean kitchen sink. Sorry Flylady, but I think that New Year’s resolution lasted about 2 days.

Soooo, with that miserable failure I've come to the conclusion that…

I was right (the three words my husband has to hear way too often. Sorry off subject). Last year when I finally decided not to set a New Year’s Resolution of losing weight guess what? Lo and behold I lost a whopping 70 lbs. And in losing the weight you wouldn’t believe how much happier and healthy I am now compared to the old, depressed and then-medicated me from last year.

So this year, with tongue firmly intrenched in cheek, I know without a shadow of a doubt that I will definitely not, under no circumstances, set New Year’s Resolutions to finally figure out how to manage money.

And no amount of arm-twisting, no matter how hard my husband and kids plead, will ever make me resolve to tackle the clutter beast that has taken over our home.

I’m am fully aware however, that by not setting these resolutions, next year, by this time, and without the guilt of failure, I will be much richer and have a spotless immaculate home that will make other mommies of multiple kiddo’s drool with envy.

Now don’t get me wrong I’m not anti-goal setting. I’ll make some plans but there is no way on earth I’ll call them New Year’s Resolutions. I’m a firm believer that Goals not written are only wishes. Instead I’ll think I’ll drop-kick the idea of so-called goals and call them Fawn’s Dream Quests. That sounds much more magical, Disney-ish, fantastic, and fun to me. Goals carry guilt. Dreams, aside from the nightmares and underwear in a crowded room, can be brought up over and over again with no guilt attached. I’ll even write some of my dream quests down on paper and flourish them with curly q’s and doodles with flowers and stars and such, just to take them beyond the wish phase.

New Year’s Resolutions are obligatory and are set just because it’s a new year, and like bad habits, that’s what everyone does. Dream Quests, unlike years, never die. They are dreams with purpose and by-golly you really want your dreams to come true.

Plus, once you’ve had a dream come true, it feels so great you want that feeling back again and again. And once you’ve accomplished one dream, you know you’ve got the stuff inside you to make other's happen as well. So here is to another year of Dreams Can Come True. What are your dreams?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas 2007

Wow Look we actually have a semi-decent family picture. I won't tell you how many tries we had before this one became a reality.

Maybe this will give you a clue in knowing what normal is around our home.

So, some of our more memorable festive memories of this Christmas holiday will include gushing blood and screaming girls. It wasn't really as bad as it sounded, but Princess knelt on a broken piece of glass that Mom forgot to clean up. So, Saturday morning Dad took her to the E.R. to get a couple of stitches. While there she was walking straight legged so that her knee wouldn't open up and start bleeding again. The nurses asked what she was doing and she replied that she was, 'walking like a robot.' They also learned her new name.
'I'm Talkyourheadoffer,' she introduced herself to one of the guys sewing her up. 'Yes, my mom says that I'll talk your head off.'
And she proceeded to do just about that for the entire time she was there. My husband said they ate it up and were all laughing the entire time. Once she has an audience the girl does not have an off button. It seems she wasn't there long enough to annoy anyone and they loved her so much she got a cute little stuffed bear to bring home. She didn't name it 'Stitches', like dad suggested but 'Dora.'

I personally was hoping for a record. First mom ever not to have kids get stitches. I made it 16 plus years without ever having a child need them. Not too bad, if I say so myself.
So anyway, back to Christmas...

In our home we have a tradition of new p.j's every Christmas Eve.

Here are the girls in their little cutsie, pink, flower, dancing, fairy princess pajamas.
Notice how thrilled they all are. And the boys...

Well, if Abner's burning red eyes don't match his hunk of burning love Pajama's then I don't know what does. At least these are better than the old fashioned pioneer fire-engine red long johns that mom got them last year. Maybe next year I'll go for the 'Christmas Story' bunny sleeper with footies.

Poor tortured boys.

As a family we usually have themed Christmas's. Last year was our pioneer Chirstmas, This year we revised an old favorite and had a Danish Christmas where the kids get to open their presents Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day.

But before any of that fun stuff they had to listen to another forever-an-Ashby family Christmas tradition of 'The Cremation of Sam McGee' by Robert W. Service.
Lea snuggles up to Dad as he reads this. Something about this poem makes your blood run cold.
Oh, and before you worry that we are just a little too weird for our own good, you'll be comforted to know that we didn't forget to also read the real Christmas Story.

Then we all hopped in the huge gas -guzzling tank of a vehicle we have and drove around looking at other people's amazing Christmas lights. And wouldn't you know it, Old Saint Nick came while we were out. Princess was really disappointed that she didn't get to see the Jolly Old Guy for herself.
Fast forward through lots of yelling, 'Mom, look at this. Look what Santa brought me.' and a huge old mess of wrapping paper... and you'll get to where mom lines all the kids up next to what they got for Christmas and takes a picture.
As you can see Abner really digs his new(non-extendable) light saber. It will go perfect in his future 'Soap Opera with Light Saber's movies that he's making.
After several hours of lots of fun and noise we all went to bed around 1 a.m. I think T-rev got back up at 4 a.m. because he just couldn't wait to keep playing with his Christmas presents. The rest of us nearly made it to 7:30 am.
You might wonder what Santa was thinking when he brought the Ashby's Rock Band.
Isn't their house loud enough without a full-noise, wanna-be rock band in the music room.
Here you'll see Evo-man, Lea, Abner, and drummer Dad rocking out to 'Dead or Alive.'
You'll have to reserve judgement on which one you would prefer until after you see and hear them in person.

And of course, here's our future head-banger Hope wanting to be a part of the party.

And what Christmas Day wouldn't be complete without the big Christmas dinner. I loved it! My awesome husband is the cook around our home and I'm the cleaner-upper.
We even really tried to stick with our Danish theme and have some traditional dishes.
The stewed Red Cabbage is one of my favorites but here you'll notice that Lea's not sure she wants to even try it.

I think that one of my favorite memories of this Christmas will definately be the snow.
For the first time in the over ten years that we've lived in Washington we got snow on Christmas day. White Christmas no longer a dream!
Whew, with all this excitement and lack of sleep I'll let you in on a secret. I can't stay awake. So I'll end this blog with a glimpse of what Abner caught me doing the other day - napping. I'm planning on doing a lot more of it in the next couple of days to catch up.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Where's my Christmas spirit?

Haven't sat down for three days, except to send out this post. I came home from my trips expecting Christmas to be done. I had turned Christmas over to my husband because of all the traveling I've been doing, but when I saw what had actually been accomplished I took it back. Now, don't get me wrong, my husband is the greatest. He had even enlisted the help of our three Santa wise boys and had every intention of making this the best Christmas ever. That's just it. He and I are full of the greatest intentions ever - but that is about as far as it goes. When I saw that they had gotten eight year old Lea a pink stuffed ball that was actually intended to be a chew toy for some animal and Princess some press-on nails four sizes too big. I knew that they needed some help. So... instead of telling you about my shopping experiances with the other 55 million Procrastinating Christmas shoppers this time of year, I decided to try poetry. Alas, my brain is too fried for it to be too good, nor do I want to resort to language I've never used before, so try and make some sense of these next few lines with the Jingle Bell tune running through your head.

(Verse 1)
Dashing through the store
there's Ten more gifts to buy.

Seems nothing can go right,
I might be here all night.
Our House is a big mess
and Laundry fills the hall.
The phone keeps ringing off the hook.
No peace for me at all.

Duh... There is no peace with six kids... sorry this line is not part of the song.

Shopping Malls,
Baby bawls,
I'm running out of time.
It seems like only yesterday
I vowed I’d be just fine.
Traffic jams,
Headache, - Bam!
Noise abounds galore.
Kids just want bout everything,
And the bank account is poor

(verse 2)
'I want this and that',
Is all I hear each day.
I wish snow would come,
And blow us in today.
Wrapping Gift’s a chore,
School programs are a bore.
But only when you’ve been to three
With two more left to go.

The cat is sick
For the third time on the floor.
I’ve just lost my appetite
So no more sweets, no more!
Clean up quick,
Drop that stick,
The kids are climbing walls.
Next year I’ll be more prepared
Or the funny home we will call.

I know, I know I'm not a good poet. Some might say, forget the good poet bit, I don't have an ounce of poetry in me. Well it' in my heart, just haven't figured out how to translate the language of my heart to written English. I'll need more practice for that. Needless to say, I need a shot of the real Christmas spirit right now. I still haven't gotten all of my Christmas cards out, so they will probably be New Year's cards. My husband is at church most of the day today cooking for the Ward Christmas Party. I heard that people in Primary started clapping when they heard he was doing the food. He loves cooking, but for once it would be nice to actually sit down and enjoy a ward activity with him.
What I don't understand is why I put myself through this hustle and bustle and last second stress every year. I keep saying to myself that next year will be different. So far I think I've said that for the last 17 years and it's never been less hectic but more. Maybe 2008 will be the charm. Who know how long my learning curve will be on vacation. Well next year will be different! If I can run a half marathon I can do Christmas without stress. Next Year, I hope! So to all you procrastinating Christmas people out there - I'm right there with you.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Back to Reality

It’s been a wild and crazy week here. But hey, what week isn’t with 6 kids in 4 different schools, one of those being homeschool. I can’t tell you how nice it was to get away from reality last week. Although it had made for a bucket of cold water in the face coming back into it. It has rained every day since I got home, or maybe I should say drizzled. Thankfully not enough to cause more flooding.

When I first got home I was so excited to be sleeping in my own bed and doing laundry, and telling all my friends about my wonderful week. That lasted all but a day. I think my first let-down was when I was handing out the simple gifts I spent hours (literally) trying to find to bring back to my non-vacation going children. It turns out the really cool gift I got for Abner my oldest I had already given him 6 months earlier when I saw it while we were on our family vacation. O.K. so I have the attention span of a nat. What a winner of a mom this kid has.

Now I’m staring at piles of half completed presents wondering where on earth I’m going to find the time to complete them. Today I’m going to try and keep all my kids clean and happy long enough to take a semi-decent family picture. Cross your fingers for me.
My dear friend came over yesterday and spent three hours helping me decorate for Christmas. She did this after hearing me say that I didn’t really want to decorate and spend the time, because the decorations would only be up for 2 weeks. I’m so glad that she did because seeing the festive decoration while listening to Josh Groban’s new Christmas CD has helped me kind of catch the Christmas Spirit. I’m hoping my inner Grinch can be kept at bay long enough for me to enjoy the rest of the season and not STRESS about it.

I really have nothing to complain about, I have a wonderful, healthy family and a home that isn’t wreaked from flood damage. Last week while I was hot-leading it to get home, by Prince Erik took the boys and a chainsaw out to the coast to help clean up from the storm damage. Nothing and I mean nothing helps you count your wonderful blessing better than helping those less fortunate. The one camera I left home wasn’t working so he didn’t get any pictures. If you want to see some of the damage from the flood, you might want to take a gander at pictures from some of my friends who were there last weekend to help dig out. Go to Kathryn’s blog , she is a sister from my ward. I think it will stick with my boys because when I was six I remember my mom going to help with the clean-up of the Teton Dam break in Idaho. I never saw pictures of the damage and I wasn’t there first hand, but I remember her leaving early in the morning and coming back late at night to tell us about it.

Back to reality and Back to laundry.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Princess LEA versus Darth Maul

Here is Lea in action against Darth Maul. Pretty good for a 5 minute Jedi lesson. I'm wondering how his knuckles feel after going at it with probably hundreds of kids a day. Her brothers are desperately jealous and now really, really, want to go to Disneyland so they can do the same thing. Although they are probably too old to be taught the ways of the Jedi. I can just see them now whacking toy light sabers while killing time in the Finding Nemo line.

Jedi's versus Princess Stuff

And the Jedi's win!

Don’t get me wrong, the princesses were everything they were meant to be. Pretty, nice, sweet talking and great picture posers. But, you had to pay an arm and a leg to have breakfast with them or stand in line with a million other little princess wanna-be’s for hours only to see 2 out of the 3 princesses you were supposed to see. Or stand in line only to have them run off for a royal engagement with only 2 people in between you and them. Yes, I would do it all again because my girls ate it up.

My Princess especially wanted to see Jasmine. She and her sisters had watched the DVD of Aladdin in the car maybe 6 times in the last week and a half. And wouldn’t you know it, Jasmine happened to be the hardest one to find. We saw her plenty of times but couldn’t actually talk to her or get her to sign their princess books. One time after we just missed her Princess started to cry and it took a while to let her know we still had a day and a half to try again.
Finally… the third and final day of Disneyland and the last activity we went to before going back to our relative’s home. We decided to go Aladdin & Jasmine’s Story Tale Adventure. And this was after going to Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical spectacular earlier in the day in the California Adventure Park. Fortunately for us it wasn’t too crowded and my girls sat up front on the carpets with the other kids.
Periodically they would choose certain kids from the audience to play the parts of different characters in the story. When it came time to choose the tall, dark, mean Jafar they choose the total opposite and selected my Princess. She was on cloud nine, and got a special button to boot. So... Perfect ending for her.

My Lea, on the other hand was more interested in the Jedi training academy. We ended up going to the show three different times. The first time they selected Princess to be a Jedi padowon trainer but after she learned her moves and realized that she would actually have to fight a very real looking Darth Maul or Darth Vadar she broke out crying and they didn’t actually make her fight.

The next two shows we went to Lea had the prime picking location picked out and was selected for both shows. She actually did well enough on one show that they picked her to be the final fighter.

Hope loved the ‘Horsey’s fun’ Carousel , It’s a Small World, Dumbo Flight and the Teacups.

Dream Come True

Somehow certain words from the movie Enchanted's 'Ever After' song fit right in.

'You even might wind up
Being glad to be you.'

You know I couldn't say that a year ago. Today it's way different. If you would have told me 11 months ago that I would complete a half-marathon I probably would have laughed in your face. O.K. let me restate, I don’t think I’ve ever laughed in anyone’s face on purpose. In fact, I probably would have nodded politely and said, ‘that’s nice.’ Then turned around and rolled my eyes. You see last January I couldn’t even exercise on a treadmill because my feet would constantly drag and stumble. But, never say never. With a lot of support from amazing family and friends and worth their weight in gold training specialists, a true-life miracle and a lot of prayers, I had a dream come true. Fawndear completed her first ever half-Marathon at the Inaugural Rose Bowl Half Marathon in Pasadena CA.

Why there? Well I got a cool looking medal with a Rose on it. And like me it was the Rose Bowls first half marathon as well. Plus it was an excellent excuse to take my little Princess’s to Disneyland just down the road. But more on the mouse’s house in another blog.

'Storybook endings
Fairy tales coming true
Deep down inside
We want to believe they still do.'

Saturday, December 8th, started out clear but a bit nippy. I was a bundle of nerves when my sweet sister-in-law, who kindly hosted me and my very girly girls, woke me up at 5:15 a.m. Wondering if I should kiss my girls good-bye because I might just kill over as I ran, and then they would never see me again, was sadly a real thought. But common sense ruled out and I let them sleep as I got ready for my hour drive to the Rose Bowl from where we were staying.

I had an advantage of being from a cooler state and I knew that I could run in high 50 degree weather without a jacket and would be just fine. I’m sure it warmed up to the 60’s before the race was over. I found it a bit comical to see people bundled up in full winter gear with earmuffs, and huge fleece jackets at the start of the race, only to see items of clothing scattered on bushes and curbs along the side of the road with hopes their owners would soon be back to retrieve them.

The run was beautiful, with bridges, trails, elite neighborhoods, a golf course and workmen erecting bleachers along the Tournament of Roses Parade Route, and the hillsides of CA. I wish I would have brought my camera with me. That was yet another debate I had with myself but rational thinking ruled out in that one as well.
My goals were to finish the race and hopefully in under 3 hours. Before my muscle setback in November I had a much higher goal but hey, I’m starting to get the hang of flexibility.

The fun thing about races is the people you meet along the way. Some you know just by sight like the girl with Jasmine hair and her boyfriend who kept holding hands, or the skinny blond who keeps smiling encouragingly as we yo-yoed positions back and forth. The funny man pep talking out loud to himself and singing drinking songs. ‘Whatever it takes,’ I said to another runner as we smiled at each other as he passed us. There are also the runners that stand out just ahead of you that give you a target to try to beat. I kept picking the really mature past their 50’s people who kept a slow but steady pace. Somehow most of them only stayed within my view for a few miles and then they were gone. But I kept on chugging with hopes I would catch them around the next corner.

Then my favorites are the ones that exchanged word of encouragement with me. Like #1500 – she had to have been in her 70-80’s, a sweet little stooped wisp of thing with a smile on her face. She wasn’t really running or jogging but had a funny power-walk gait that made her stand out. As I passed her around mile 10 I couldn’t help but tell her that she was a true inspiration. She told me thank you and she wished someone would inspire her knees because they were killing her. Then on the hill during mile number 11 our paths crossed again.

‘Yeah, we are almost there. I can’t wait for the downhill,’ I said.

‘I can’t wait for the free beer,’ she replied.

Of course it brought a smile to my face. I hope I’m doing as well as her when I’m her age, without the thoughts of alcohol.

Then there were the two men about my age, could have been brothers, of middle-eastern ethnicity who yo-yoed positions with me for the last few miles. They commented on how great they thought I was doing. We talked about where we were from which led to conversations about the weather. Somehow being from Washington always makes you an expert on rain and flooding. I ended up telling them about the reasons for my trip down with my girls. They encouraged me the whole rest of the way and we all crossed the finish line together. I even got one of them to take my picture to prove I was there.

'Start a new fashion
Wear your heart on your sleeve'

Forget the sleeve, it was all over my face like blinking neon lights. I bawled like a baby as I crossed the finish line, and not because of the shin splint I was suffering from either. I saw the staff photographers clicking away. Bet those pictures are beauts. But the tears were from so many different emotions and probably a good dose of hormones added in to boot. Gratitude for a new beginning and for a wonderful husband who encouraged me to go for it even though it was a really expensive goal. For also completing something on my own without being accountable to anyone but me, but still with thoughts of all those people who helped me get to that point. For the feelings accomplishment of finishing in a decent 2 hours and 48 something minutes. Of amazement that I was still alive and had just completed another wonder and hope for the future to be as bright as the last few wonderful days.

'There is joy to be claimed in this world..
The world can be yours
If you let your heart
Believe in ever after.'

Of course I waited a good 10 minutes before I called my Prince Erik to tell him I finished. I was still blubbering then, probably to the point that he thought I might have injured myself. I wanted to share the news with so many different people and not at all to blow my own horn. It was such a great experience but it would be greater still to share it with other people, in hopes that someday they can complete similar goals and experience the same joy. I’d love to make this a tradition event but that would mean learning how to set some financial goals as well. Who knows a lot can happen in a year.

'Each happy ending's
A brand new beginning
Forever could even start today'

So, I'm offically announcing that I want to set a goal to return in a year. Maybe in 10 years I'll have my mom help me make an amazing Rose Bowl Half-Marathon T-shirt quilt. Who's want's to join me?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Is there Dirt in Disneyland???

Well, here we are on the eve of our big Princess Vacation in Disneyland and I can't help but wonder if my girls will forget the Princess stuff and go for the dirt. By the way I'm sneaking onto my Sis-In-Law's computer while she's out.
We had a blast with the Emily and kids and all the other relatives in Sacramento. I couldn't help but notice of all the fun things to do - my girls kept going for the dirt. In Emily's backyard I kept taking the shovel away from Princess because she wanted to dig for treasure. She was positive her shovel had hit something solid just a few centimeters below the surface. Treasure!

I think each of my girls went through three changes of clothes on sunday alone because they loved playing outside so much.
Who can blame them - they come from the land of mud. Where we live you can only play in the dirt maybe 3 months out of the entire year. I hear from my Prince Erik that it's nearly flooded our home town yet again. Seems I left in the nick of time.

Then again it could be some of my Farmgirl genetics did rub off on them. I can't tell you how good it feels to pull weeds each spring. But that feeling is momentary and usually goes away within a couple of days.

Monday we went to this amazing children's park with our Sacramento cousins. Way above anything we have in our town. I was having fun walking around with the kids but after a little bit of slides and swings they headed for the sandbox and didn't leave until I dragged them away all grumpy and dirty. All three of them spent the majority of their time playing in the sand. Princess didn't have any excavating equipment so she took off her shoes and used them to haul her sand around. And once Hope saw what Princess was doing she had to do the same. I don't know how they keep doing it.

It's making me rethink them wearing their white Princess Academy clothes to Disneyland tomorrow morning. We will try and see the princess's but who know's maybe that dirt magnet will be to strong of a pull. We will have to wait and see...

Friday, November 30, 2007

Growing Up Fast

I came downstairs to find Hope fixing herself a bowl of cereal. At least I know that if something ever happened to me, she would definitely be able to fend for herself. No she didn’t get her own bowl, she used Abner’s dirty one that he forgot to clear from the table. But hey, with or without a bowl she could take care of herself.

Somewhere A chorus of angels are singing ‘Alleluia!’ even if it is only in my head. Evo-man spiffy’d himself up without one little peep or nag from me. He even did it in record time and was ready to walk out the door for school a full 10 minutes early. This is the kid that goes to church with his Sunday shirt un-tucked, sagging belt-less pants, and white socks, and is ready for school after about 100 nags and 20 minutes late. Not today. It's been awhile since I've taken pictures. No he doesn't have a vase growing out of his head - it's just mom's poor set-up skills.

So what’s behind this marvelous transformation. - - - Bella - - - Music to my ears. Bella is a girl at Everett’s school who agreed to be his friend. He went to school on Monday with a crush on Nancy, but his best friend asked her to be his special friend so Everett happily approached sweet Bella and decided that he liked her better all along. Of course, Bella gave him a hug when he asked her and has been telling him all week how excited she was to see him all decked out in what he calls his tux. Their school went to see the Nutcracker Ballet today for a field trip and he even got to sit by his Bella. Maybe we should invite her to go to church with us???

Thursday, November 29, 2007

All over again

O.K. Susanne, I decided to give your idea a copy and do a day-in-the-life of me. Beware of the Chaos.
5:45 a.m. Wake up late. Usually I’m up at 5:20 a.m. but I forgot that I reset the clock yesterday so that my husband could sleep in. Drat, no time to start a load of laundry. Change into exercise clothes, and take my son Abner to Seminary which starts at 6:00 a.m.
6:00 – Run 5 miles – o.k. more like jog slowly. But did great this morning and finished in under an hour instead of the hour 16 minutes that it took me to run the same distance 3 days ago. Yahoo, now to hurry home.
7:03 – hurry up and get kids up and downstairs for Family Scripture Study – Succeeded in getting 3 of the 5 left at home to join us in the front room. One child listened from the top of the stairs and another wouldn’t budge (not a morning girl).
Between 7:25 and 8:10 – Send second son off to school. Shower, get 3 of the kids thought the bath themselves, and make sure they get dressed. It takes 15 min to actually get my O.D.D child out of the bath after I first asked him to get out. He then took the entire rest of the time to get dressed, leaving no time for breakfast, or for making his school lunch. So mom does it again like she does 4 out of 5 mornings. This morning however I’m a bit more rushed so his breakfast only consisted of toast covered with peanut butter. The girls only fared a tiny bit better, toast and bananas, with milk. Not mixed together but separate.
8:10-8:30 – Drop Evo-man off at school and take my girls to my dear friend’s home. Of course none of my munchkins have socks on with their shoes or their hair combed but I don’t mind because my dear friend doesn’t mind. She likes me in spite of my being unprepared 9 times out of 10.
8:45 – See my Physical therapist and get the green light to run the half-marathon in CA – Disneyland here I come!!! While in the car without the girls I blast my Josh Grobin Christmas CD and sing along.
9:00 – 9:20 Yes it takes me twenty minutes to get my kids out of my friends home. And not because we are talking, but because I have to chase my girls. I’m one of those parents that drop my kids off and they are fine but they throw a fit when I come to pick them up. Fortunately, Hope was the only one to actually have a tantrum.
Run home and start a batch of laundry and have Princess use the potty so we don’t have to stop at some store for an emergency run.
9:30 Drop off two ebay packages to mail. My husband is netting enough to pay for my trip to Disneyland through his little venture so I can’t complain too much when he wants me to drop off packages for him. Yesterday I had to drop off 4 so 2 isn’t bad today.
9:45-2:00 Christmas shop at 6 stores that we’ve saved gift certificates for. Can now check off 14 more people off my list. Take two potty breaks for Princess… Sucumb to buying Happy Meals for the girls, because shopping takes longer than I thought it would. At least I got them Apple dippers and milk instead of fries and pop. I also had them do some school work while in the car. Princess did math by fingers great and letter spotting, while Lea brought a clipboard so she could work on her math homework without doing it verbally. In addition to presents I also bought the soundtrack for the new Disney movie ‘Enchanted’. The girls and I had fun singing the songs on the way home, or maybe I should say, trying to sing. We also bought our Disneyland 3 day pass.
2:00 – Switch laundry, unload the car, and start the dishwasher. And none too soon, I don’t think the dishwasher has cleaned anything in the last 4-6 meals. Listened to Lea read and I helped read three books with Princess as well. Then I greeted my oldest child as he came home from school.

I guess Hope didn't get enough quality nap time in the car with all the running around so she chose to fall asleep on a kitchen chair. Don't worry I moved her.
3:00 Pick up Evo-man and take him to his children’s exercise group. My husband has agreed to pick him up after the program so I don’t have to hang around in town. Yeah because there is still so much to do at home. It still takes over an hour of drive time.
4:00 Pull into the driveway only to remember that Evo-man had forgotten his homework at school so I pull out of the driveway and went to his school to pick it up for him. The next few hours is a blur. But between 4 and
9:00 pm . I take the garbage out twice, recycling ditto. I made a healthy dinner of whole wheat Penne Pasta in a healthy tomato sauce with Lean Italian Turkey Meatballs, and steamed cauliflower. I was feeling guilty for the lack of mommy time, and not so healthy other meals that I had subjected my kids to. Can't please them all. T-rev didn't quite like it as well as the others. He has an aversion to anything tomato sauce. But then again, most of my kids have food aversions that are all different. You can't win them all. I also washed 3 more loads of laundry, plus folded and put away the two loads I had completed earlier in the day. I also added another load to the dishwasher. Helped my girls do more school work.

Found and saved Princess’s stuffed Monkey that she was convinced had been lost for good. She was almost right, it was lost for 3 weeks out on the side porch that we never go on. The Monkey named Chilly was soaked and her sound was barely there but I explained to Esther that we needed to give her a nice warm bubble spin bath to make her feel better, so into the washer I tossed Chilly. I also started pulling together worksheets and lesson ideas for the girls to work on next week while we are traveling. Pulled Hope off the table at least 6 times (she’s a climber like her cousin), cleaned up untold new messes(spilled juice, domino's, math tiles, uno cards, etc.) courtesy of Hope and Princess. My dear husband also secured the girls and I some tickets for breakfast with the Princesses at Disneyland. It will be the first thing that happens to them there and I’m expecting huge eyes and gapping mouths. Better make sure my camera is fully charged.

Lea really wants to look good for her pictures so she put a bandaid on her nose so she won't pick a little sore that's been bugging her. I'm sure she will look awesome.
Finally at 9:00 we start the bedtime process (a half hour later than normal), tonight wasn’t so bad. Most of the kids were in bed for good by 9:40. I know kids finally being in bed 40 minutes after they were first sent to bed isn’t that great. However the O.D.D child couldn’t sleep and continued to remind my husband and myself that he couldn’t sleep nearly every 15 minutes until 10:30.
… And that’s were I’m at now – checking email and blogging and when I’m done with that I’ll read my scriptures and hopefully turn out the lights before 12:00. And all so I can get up and do it all over again. Maybe I’ll actually get some cleaning done tomorrow…maybe?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

My Top Ten Thankful for’s…

• My testimony of the Savior and his love for me as an individual. The Tender Mercies have come in waves this past year…

• My amazing husband who loves and supports me no matter how hormonal, witchy, and cranky, I get...

• The most amazing 6-pack of kids that teach me 24/7 all about love and how to be a better person…

• The miracle of health in my life. This last year I’ve been given a second chance and I don’t intend to throw it away…

• Family and Friends who call just to say, ‘Hi, How are you? What can I do to help?’ And more often than not, they are in much more need of help than I. I’ve been blessed with so many of these angels over the past couple of years…

• Happiness and Laughter especially in my children…

• Goals and Accomplishments: My firsts this year included, hair highlights, pedicure’s, 5K’s (notice the plural), Sprint Triathlon’(s), Homeschooling my Princess’s...

• Realizing the importance of taking care of me first. I know it sounds a little selfish, but when I take care of myself I have the energy and capacity to take better care of the loved ones around me…

• Hugs…

• I’m thankful for Weaknesses. Through them I’ve been strengthened and gained a testimony of how much my Father in Heaven loves me. And through the weaknesses I see that others have been given, I can now see how much he loves and cares for them as well.

I’ll probably kick myself for forgetting some other things. I wish everyone an amazing thanksgiving. What are you Thankful for…

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Spread the U.G.L.Y.'s

Official Members and Honorary Members of the Ugly Club United Yesterday to send its President and Founder Heber C. Black off. I did what I said I would do and made myself and family a little badge to wear to honor my uncle and discovered my initial printing of 40 badges for the viewing was not enough. So the night before his funeral I made 80 more. They were gone as soon as they hit the table.

Here is my really UGLY sister Sandy. Oh, and Sandy if your really upset that I used your picture then please keep reading.

I learned a little bit more about my Uncle Heber's club at the services. The Ugly Club was started to recognize ‘An Alternate form of Beauty’, and not the outward beauty that is so focused on by the world. More than anyone my Uncle had this beauty. I think when all is said and done, it is about loving people no matter how they look, act, talk, dress, etc. My Uncle did this so well. I have a sneaking suspicion that everyone he met felt he cared for them as much as I felt he cared about me. So for me U.G.L.Y. stands for Uniquely Genuine Loving You. If you could be that Unique Person Who Has Genuine Love for Everyone, No Matter What – then maybe you just might be worthy to be a member of the UGLY Club. Someday, sooner rather than later, I would like to be an official member of this club and not just an honorary-for-a-day member.

My Husband’s Grandma Stella had this kind of love. She had a way of focusing all of her attention and interest on you whenever you were around her and none of it on herself and her trials. I truly felt she was excited to see me whenever our paths crossed. The world needs more U.G.L.Y. people, I think. Maybe if there are enough of them around some of their inner-beauty, would rub off on us. I think Heber and Stella found that magic substance called Charity.

‘And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.’ 1 Corinthians 13:13

During the family prayer for my uncle there was a humming sound that was heard. At first people were annoyed thinking someone had forgotten to turn off their cell phone. But it turns out it was my Uncle’s defibulator/pace maker going off. The strange thing was, the hospital had turned it off when he died. Maybe he was letting everyone know that he was there in spirit.

So for today – Spread the U.G.L.Y.ness around a bit and the whole world will be a better place.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Inconvenient Flat???

Driving from my home to my parents can take up to 12 ½ hours on a good day. That is with minimal stops. So I figured with just myself and my three girls it would probably be around 14 hours. Not wanting to be on the road for any longer than necessary I started off around 6 a.m. If plans worked out right they would be content until my first scheduled stop in Pendleton Oregon.

Fortunately, the girls were great in the car. Amazingly no fighting, teasing, etc., how lucky could I get?

????????????????????Why did I take an exit based on less than 10 seconds of thought at only 2 ½ hours into our trip. Something along the lines of ‘I remember there being a Wal-Mart on this exit and the girls could use the bathroom (even though I had no idea if they needed to use the bathroom or not.)Still don't know why I took the exit seeing as how I my main objective was to take as few stops as possible and waste as little time in the process.

Fortunately a kind lady in the Wal-Mart Parking lot let me know that my tire was super low.

Fortunately there was a gas station less than a block away with air.

Unfortunately, after the tire was filled I continued to hear a strange hissing noise.

Fortunately Wal-Mart Tire and Lube was less than a block away.

Unfortunately, the flat was un-repairable, with a leak in the side wall of the tire.

Fortunately I was able to buy the last two tires of the style I needed for an o.k. price.

Unfortunately I had to chase 3 girls around Wal-Mart for 3 hours while waiting for the car to get done.

Unfortunately my husband had to hear the blow-by-blow account of his wife freaking out on the cell phone.

Fortunately for me he listened.

Fortunately the entire rest of the trip was uneventful and the girls were great.

Unfortunately we didn’t arrive at my parents until 12:20 p.m. their time.

Fortunately I didn't get too tired while driving.

Even though it was a pain I am sooooo thankful for those ??????????????????????????'s I don’t want to think of how it would have played out had I not taken that exit for whatever reason. The fact that this Inconvenient Flat happened where it did just helps me know there are angels watching over me and my girls.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Angels Are Cracking Up

They must be having a grand ole time up in Heaven today. My Uncle Heber went home. I’m sure he's got the angels there laughing so hard that they might just forget, for a bit, that there are a lot of folks down here missing the big guy.

I loved my Uncle Heber! As a child from a large family and even more humongous extended family (I know the cousin count is over 60), I always felt he took the time to play, tease or even notice me. My nose would mysteriously disappear between his fingers, when I was young. It would get a good washing in his mouth before I could beg it back. Laughing, til it hurt so much we had to cry, was a given. Maybe it was his straight delivery. He could tell the biggest whopper with the most serious expression and raised eyebrows. The twinkle in his eyes would always give away the fact that he was pulling a fast one on you. And if it didn’t the next line zinger would.

Even after I’d grown up, had a family of my own, moved far, far away and didn’t visit very often, I still felt he cared. He would always take the time to chat it up with me personally on every occasional visit. It felt like I hadn't been gone for long at all, maybe a couple of days instead of the years that it actually was. A few years ago I was able to take my family and stay the night with him and Aunt Loretta on the Black Family Farm in Juniper, ID. His health was hurting him then, but he was still the same Heber that I knew and loved as a child. I’ll never forget him hauling out his oxygen tank and strapping it to a four wheeler so that he could take my boys for a spin around the farm. And he took special notice of my tom-boy Lea. ‘If I had a women’s football team, I’d want her on it,’ he told my mom.

If he couldn’t bring a smile to your face by hearing a joke I’m sure you would get one from the visual gags found around him. My favorite was a large wooden sign on his front lawn welcoming you to 'The Ugly Club Headquarters.' Honorary club members included Don Knott’s and Barbara Streisand. I doubt they ever knew he made them honorary members but it was a great sign. Even better was the fact that he would often put on his fishing hat and pose next to the sign for anyone who asked.

Well dear Uncle, I’ll miss your chuckle, the twinkle in your eye, that great bear hug you always had waiting for me, and most of all your mischievous smile. I’m sure you have all of heaven busting a gut with pleasure to have you back home. From you I'll try to remember, that when times get tough, and they will, it always helps to have a little humor. And I hope you don’t mind if I wear an ‘Honorary Ugly Club Member’ pin to your funeral. Any club that you’re the founder of is where I want to be. I hope everyone in this life is as fortunate as I, to have someone as funny as you, that cares about them. Love and Miss you!

Monday, November 12, 2007


'Mom, Hope's eating my computer,' Abner yells.

Never, ever leave your valuables unprotected. Little curious fingers my find them and discover how fun it is to pop off the alphabet letters...

And Abner and Candyman, and all the Kings Men, couldn't put Mr. Computer back together again. Well, actually they could it just took all day to find all the missing pieces.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Turkey Trot Tumble

Our family went to the turkey trot this morning. Weather wasn’t the best, with rain and temperatures in the 40’s. But our spirits were high and we were there to have fun! Since I couldn’t run they were kind enough to let my husband take my place. Evo-man dropped out as well, on account of him spraining his ankle last Wednesday. It wasn’t quite back to full strength, so he helped me cheer everyone else on. Lea, Princess and Abner competed in the 5K while we left T-rev at home with a croupy Hope. Abner ran in place, or circles around Princess probably carried her a good portion of the whole race as well. Even though he has cross country in his blood I had asked him to stay close to her. Of course, he kindly encouraged her the whole way, but it was quite a job trying to get her to go faster than a normal walk. At least the crowd at the finish line encouraged her to speed up a little. Lea didn’t fare much better. It seems she found a kind older lady walking partner, soon after the race started. She then proceeded to give her a detailed account of our entire family and probably our entire history as well,for the next 50 minutes. This was my husband’s first 10K and he did awesome. Part of the race was on a rough trail and he paid the price for hitting a rock funny. Who’d have known that we would have two sprained ankles in our family in less than a week? Exercising can be hazardous to your health. I thought he did a great job, and in spite of the owie he was able to finish the race in under an hour by a good bit. After the race there was a Health and Wellness Expo set up in a nearby school. There were plenty of booths for the kids to get free little handouts, waterbottles, stickers,etc. However, the funnest part was all the mats they had set out in the middle of the gym. There were some gymnastic instructors there letting kids have a go on some of the equipment. No, my girls are not graceful but we had to laugh when we saw Lea do an assisted throw-down off a mini-tramp. Gymnastics or Professional Wrestling? I'd let you be the judge, but I haven't figured how to upload videos yet. The funny thing was watching Princess try to do the same thing right after Lea did it. She sprinted as fast as her tired legs would let her down to the trampoline. Then she came to a total stop. The instructor helped her onto the trampoline and waited as she stood there waiting for the magical flip in the air to just happen. She had to be coaxed into even bouncing on the trampoline. After a couple of little bounces, he finally realized that he would have to do all the work. So he lifted her up, flipped her over and she landed a beautiful back flop on the mat.

One Sorry Princess

I’m surprise they lasted this long. Truly, I think of all the decorations I’ve made, they lasted the longest. The ceramic Thanksgiving figurines, I painted nearly 13 years ago, bit the dust. More like, shattered into so many pieces, that I’m unwilling to make an effort to resuscitate them with super glue (again). I also lost 3 pumpkin/gourds. The feast was spared, but seeing it without guests might make Princess start to cry and say she is sorry all over again.
I know she didn’t mean too, I’ve reminded her and Hope not to play with them like little dolls. I even told them they were special because Mommy painted them a long, long time ago. Two days ago I moved them to the untouchable top shelf. At least I thought it was untouchable. Still all the little colorful pieces of food on the table were too tempting. I would catch Princess climbing the bookshelf to pull them down again. She and 2-year old sister Hope would pretend Thanksgiving. Princess loved the blue pilgrims and Hope always got the Indians. They always got along and it was soooooo cute to see Hope ask for the ‘pum-in (pumpkin)’. Maybe I should have just let them play. But I was partial to these decorations. Not only had I painted them but I had purchased them after two months of coveting them at the craft store. Guess you really shouldn’t covet. At the time I had just finished taking a tole-painting class and they were calling to me. Plus, if you’ve ever been in the stores this time of year, Thanksgiving decorations are few and far between. The poor Holiday gets skipped right over in the retailers’ effort to start picking up your Christmas moola. Since I happen to love Thanksgiving, I couldn’t resist another reason to bring them home.
Yesterday evening, I heard the dreaded crash. I knew exactly what had happened. Princess was climbing the shelves again. She only had to step on the bottom one to reach the top, but it was enough to start to tip the bookshelf. I was panicking as I rounded the corner expecting to see the whole piece of furniture on top of her or Hope. I had been thinking of bolting it to the wall in the past because I’ve seen them start to tip it before. What a relief, it was still upright, and there stood Princess, wringing her little hands with a terrified look on her face, standing amid the shattered remains of her envy. I must have heard, “I’m sorry and I didn’t mean to,’ through her tears and whimpers hundreds of times over the next 30 minutes. I had her help me clean up the broken pieces. It was a bit tough to do since Hope kept picking up little Pilgrim parts and in her high squeaky voice, she would have them talk to each other. Both girls tried unsuccessfully to see if any of them would fit back together. Notice the Indian head on the pilgrim’s body?
We bid them farewell and sent them off to the garbage together with a few more tears.
Now the great thing is that I didn’t even get upset at her (and that is not normal, but something I’m working on). I guess I saw it coming and I knew she was sorry and felt horrible, and I’ve learned that if you rub it in they won’t always get that lesson. However I did think, darn where is the camera when you need it. My husband took some pictures with my flash-less camera so you can tell they are a bit dark. What I’ve learned over the past couple of years is that stuff is stuff, it comes and goes, but my little munchkins are mine forever and I’ll love them no matter what. Along the way, they are just happening to teach me patience, a little bit about simplicity, oh, and how to play nice.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Booted from the Turkey Trot

I’ve been told not to run in a local 10K race tomorrow simply because I bought a certain running shoes 3 weeks ago. O.K. explanation in order, whether you’re interested or not. Seventy lbs. and less than 11 months ago (Yes, I’m still trying to wrap my head around that one as well), when I first started exercising, I had problems with plantar fasciitis or heel spurs. So, I decided to play smart and see a Podiatrist. I was pointed in the direction of a really expensive ($120 pair of shoes that would help my feet). Well, seeing as I just had invested literally thousands to join a program to help with exercise, eating, mental, preparing food, etc., I certainly didn’t want sore heels slowing me down. So I bought them. They were worth every penny. I probably wore them way too long, but they were the best shoes I’ve ever had. You have to understand the desperation, up until then I had never spent more than $15.99 for a pair of shoes, for myself, in my entire life. Forward to three weeks ago… I knew I needed new shoes, but times being what they are, I had a hard time thinking that I had to buy that same pair of expensive shoes. So after much looking I spied a sale at Big 5 Sports. There was a shoe there made by the same company, it looked similar in support, but it had a different name, and on sale it was only $39.00. I thought I had scored!
Turns out… I was way wrong. Things seemed fine until 10 days ago when I halted my 4.5 morning slow but steady jog at 1.25 miles. I had a pain in my hip that seemed to be getting worse. I knew that I needed to take a break from the intense training I’ve been doing for my upcoming half-marathon. It is a huge goal of mine to do this half-marathon to cap off an unbelievable, miraculous year of finding myself. But that is another story. Who would have thought, that my dream could now be in jeopardy because I skimped on shoes. After 10 days of taking it easy I finally saw my Dr. and he diagnosed me with leg tensor fascia lata syndrome. I know, it sounds like some malady that a character from the Incredibles gets if they haven’t had their morning brew. I think it means I have an inflamed muscle, tendon, or something like that. The Dr. explained it, but I had my three girls with me, so I probably only understood half of what he said.
The whole things boils down absolutly no Turkey trot, which was to be my first official 10K, this weekend. My half-marathon, in a month, is also in danger of getting axed. There is still some hope. I’m going to start immediately with a physical therapist, special exercises, lot’s of ibuprofen, ice and of course a lot of prayer. I should know more, in a week or two, about whether or not I have to drop a dream or live it.
The best part of the whole conversation with my Dr., yesterday, was that I have a problem common in runners. Being compared to other runners was a revelation to me. Yes, I have completed three 5K races and two sprint triathlons, but I never thought of myself as an athlete; just someone trying to slowly get to some first-time in my lifetime goals. But yesterday, I arrived! I realized all the hard work had achieved something I hadn’t realized. I am a true athlete. Although super slow and uncoordinated, I’m a runner. And yesterday I finally realized it. And by-golly this athlete is worth a pair of shoes worth $120.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I Wish I were an Enchantress

It seems that I have been more busy than usual lately. This week have had multiple Dr. appointments, emergency vehicle repairs that couldn’t wait, and neighbors that need help in the next minute kind of stuff. So in order to take advantage of the best time for me to teach my girls, which is morning, I’ve had to assemble a School-on-the-Go-Bag for the car. Usually I throw it together as we are running out the door but I’d like to take it to the next level and have some activities prepared ahead of time. Quiet activities, however have eluded me so far.
Lea does great with reading in the car, which amazes me because I am one of those people who if I glance at a book for longer than a minute, I have to roll down the window for fresh air or pull over and lose my cookies. In my case it would probably be a Chocolate, blueberry, Peanut Butter Protein Breakfast Shake. Rolling down the window in winter however might mean a face full of water, especially with all the rain.
For some reason Lea’s slow, though emotional rendition of her story fails to grab the attention of her two sisters. Princess points at passing signs and giggles with glee when she can spy the alphabet letter she is learning. Hope just babbles… constantly, I might add. If she is lucky enough to have a toy in her clutch, then it’s the toy she is babbling too. If she is pretending that the toy is talking, then her voice goes all squeaky high. If she doesn’t have a toy then she is trying to confiscate Lea’s reading book. And since she’s two, if she doesn’t get it then you certainly hear about it in a not so nice way. So imagine all three noises as the same time. I try my best to listen as Lea spells out a word she just can’t quite get. I help her sound it out.
“Mom, did you see the D? There was a D on that sign. I didn’t know McDonald’s had a D in it. Mom there’s a D in McDonalds.” says Princess about six times before I can say,
“Yes, honey, now see if you can find a J.”
“I forgot. What does a J look like?”
“An upside down candy cane.”
“I want a candy cane.”
“We don’t have any right now, maybe closer to Christmas”.
“M, Y, S, T, E, R, I, O, U, S, what does that say?”
“When is Christmas”
“Next month, sweetie. Mysterious”
“Why is Christmas, Mysterious?”
“It isn’t honey, I was just helping Lea with a word”
“Waaaaa”, from Hope who is trying to get out of her seat belt again and has her arm caught.
“Are you stuck?”
“I suck” says Hope who obviously doesn’t know how to pronounce the T sound.
“Hahahaha,” from both sisters,
“Don’t laugh. It’s not a nice word.”
“I suck, I su…….(well you know what Hope keeps repeating until I can pull over, re-belt her and try and get Lea and Princess back to their activities. It takes some patience and a change of subject, by then Hope is squeaking at her toy, Princess find a J on the Jiffy Lube sign and Lea is spelling E, N, C, H, A, N, T, R, E, S, S. Sometimes I wish I were an Enchantress and could make sense of it all. It is still fun and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. And they say that driving with a cell phone in your ear is distracting. Try driving with kids.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

What a little sleep will do.

I'm one of those people who don't like change. My body has an internal clock and I knew I would be waking up at the same time this morning as I did yesterday morning, regardless of the time change. I was right. Wide awake at 4:45 a.m. isn't the funnest thing. I didn't stay in bed too long, maybe a half hour max. I figured that maybe we could actually leave for church on time today if I did a little kid stuff prepping.
Being late, even by 30 seconds, is one of my biggest pet peeves. Well we left about the same time we always do. I shoot to be in the car by 8 a.m., which means we usually leave by 8:20. Yes with six kids it happens. Even when you remind them of the time every 10-15 minutes all morning long. Evo-man misplace the socks I gave him, Lea forgot her activity pad, I misplaced the keys and like clockwork the baby decided to fill her diaper right after her coat when on. Those extra twenty minutes are my stresser, but I'm getting better about it now. That's why I shoot for 8. Even if we leave around 8:20 we usually get there by 8:40 which gives my kids plenty of time to get a drink, use the restroom, help set up chairs, or prepare the sacrament, before church starts at 9 a.m.
Today, I was amazed at how many cars there were in the parking lot. Apparently a few families had forgotten about the time change. I smiled because I've been there and done that one as well too, usually in the spring when it meant that we missed an hour.
My great husband was even kind enough to let me take a nap this afternoon to make up for my early-up time. So I can't complain about the time change this year too much. The extra hour did wonders for my kids. They all had a great day and even made it through church meetings awake. (This is rare for my boys) And as a parent, kids having great days makes it all worth it.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The O.D.D. Child

I’m going out on a limb posting this one. Who wants to read a depressing blog? But in the name of honesty, here it goes. We took our pre-teen son to the hospital this morning after a 1 ½ hour temper tantrum worthy of any two year old. He suffers from Severe Depression, which we have been treating with every recommended idea by his counselor and physiatrist. Over the past couple of months they have also tagged him with O.D.D. A year ago I would have blamed myself. Of course when your kids have problems you automatically try to pinpoint what exactly you did wrong that made your child this way. Was it because I didn’t read to them enough at bedtime, didn’t take Omega-3 capsules when I was pregnant, maybe it was the trauma of moving to a new home, in a different state, when they were just 15 months old?
All I could do wasn’t enough. I think I finally realized that I had read every book I thought could offer some real suggestions,changed the diet of the entire family, got rid of the Satellite Dish, switched his schools, finally even tried medication. Prayed, read scriptures, attended multiple parenting classes all for one child’s struggles. I must spend more time, physical and mental energy, finances and then some, on this son than my other 5 children combined. Have I done enough? I don’t think so. Giving up on a child is not on my to-do list. I love this little guy so much.
This morning he did some things that his counselor told us we needed to take seriously and even consider hospitalization for. It was a decision my husband and I have been dreading but we knew we needed more help. Our son didn’t want to go and we even had to call 911 before he agreed to get in the car. Coming along, even reluctantly, with many tears, pleading and desperation, I think helped the fact that after spending 3 ½ hours in the emergency room he was able to go back home with us. How will this child cope with life as an adult if he can’t learn to handle himself now? Will he be able to overcome the hurdles he places in front of his self? Take responsibility for his actions and not blame everyone else? I pray he will. Meanwhile, as his Mom, I’m willing to do anything it takes, even if that means letting him deal with the consequences of his actions.
I can’t save him from the bad choices he sometimes makes, only he can do that. But, I can love him unconditionally, praise him when he does well, and encourage him in the right direction. Even though it sometimes seems to be almost unbearably frustrating, I will continue to calmly respond even when things are going so wrong. That’s something that is very hard for me. Trying to stay calm is one of my biggest challenges but I’ll do anything for him, because I am a mother, I’m his mother, and I love him.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Healthy Halloween???

We are currently supporting one of our children as he goes through a fitness/healthy nutrition program at a local health club. One of the points that the program directors stressed early on was the whole program will be meaningless to our child if the parents and other family members do not model the required behavior. So I guess it is true that you can't expect your kids to do something that your not willing to do yourself.
As I sat with him in the nutrition discussion and the dietation recommended that they set a goal to only have 3 pieces of candy for Halloween, I saw his whole demeanor change. He got this you-can't-make-me do this look on his face, folded his arms and pouted, while staring at the floor for the remainder of the discussion. Wow, I realized that this had to be something the whole family was in on, and we still had to make Halloween fun. And the only way for it to work for our son was to have him plan it.
So, can Halloween still be fun without the candy. In the past we have taken our costumed kids to my husbands work for an office to office trick-or-treating frenzy. They would join hundreds of other little costumed monsters and go around with pillow cases and load up. We could have probably, if not easily filled a ten gallon bucket with everything they had loaded up on. Then we would spend the next couple of days pulling them off walls, ceiling, roof, or up off the bathroom floor after offically they had gone too far. Trying to get them out of bed the next morning was a joke.

So why not do something different? Why not try to have a fun Halloween without the sugar?
I think we can still have fun and avoiding not so good food choices doesn't mean that we just pretend like the holiday doesn’t exist either. Here are some ideas our boy agreed to and other's he helped us come up with.
Before Halloween Ideas…
1.Don’t stock up on the candy in advance. It will be more tempting to snack on if it is around. We are going to take our kids to the store on Halloween and let them pick out 3 pieces of candy. I'm sure he will go for the King Size but he will still be on goal. For other families, you can still buy candy on Halloween day. Keep your home a healthy safe zone.
2. For other families - Buy candy that you are not particularly fond of or better yet… Buy healthier edibles to hand out or non-food treats. (As I try some out I'll try to include recipes in future blogs.)
3. Have a family game plan on what their ideas are concerning candy. Set goals ahead of time about how much candy will get consumed instead of saying what they can and can’t have the night of Halloween. Examples might include letting kids pick 3 to 5 favorite pieces of candy and donating the rest to the Troops in Iraq(Through our local gym), Or instead of dealing with the hassle of parking in Trick-or-Treat friendly neighborhoods, take the family to a movie, Or exchange candy for money, movie tickets, a day at Gameworks, or a massage for parents just for dealing with all the candy hype.

Should – Do’s for Trick or Treating…
1. Eat a well balanced meal before trick or treating. Yes, I know that you want to take the little ones out before it get’s dark but you will be up all night peeling them off the ceiling and walls if you take them on empty stomachs. Take the Time to have an early healthy family dinner. Maybe you could even have turkey so that they get tired faster.
2. Chew gum while going trick or treating so you’re not tempted to eat as you go.
3. Trick or treat in neighborhoods where you have to walk longer distances between houses. Walk don’t drive between neighborhoods.
4. Consider collecting food for the local Food Bank instead of candy, or candy for the soldiers in Iraq instead of yourself.
5. Take a little pumpkin bucket instead of your pillowcase to collect your candy. When it is full quit.
6. Once you get back home, separate what you really want and the quantity you set as a goal and immediately take the leftover candy out of the house. (You can store it in the car trunk until you decide where to donate it (co-workers, charity, or in the dump).
7. Store the candy you do keep in an out of sight place. Maybe in a high cupboard that you rarely open.

Attending a Party…
1. Eat healthy before you go.
2. Take a water bottle and a safe food with you that way you will always have at least one safe choice to make.
3. Better yet, throw your own healthy safe get-together.

What to Hand out…
1. Think about offering some low-calorie, safe snacks to the little goblins who ring your bell. These might include…sugar-free gum, small packages of peanuts, nuts, raisins, granola bars, fruit-roll ups, pretzels, cheese sticks, etc.
2. Or maybe skip the food and go with… stickers, holiday pencils, erasers, whistles, rubber spiders, rings, crayons, bubbles, colored chalk, balloons (maybe you could rent a tank and fill them on the spot). What toddler wouldn’t think you were the best if they got a balloon from you. Your loose change, pennies, nickels and dimes would make them think you were the richest people in the world and might be cheaper than buying the candy in the long run. Here is what I got at the local $1 store for the kids who visit our home this holiday season.

Our son decided after all these good ideas that Trick or treating would probably be too much of a temptation. So for the first time ever, we will not be going around collecting candy. Instead he has invited all of his friends to stop by our home where we are having pleanty of healthy snacks, watching a not-so-scary kids' Halloween Movie. All in all, we are hopefull that he will have a great time and the bonus is he can still wear his Super-Hero costume. He is actually excited about the party and I'm anticipating a very fun but healthy Halloween.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Procrastination Over

Wish I would have started this blog two years ago. I would have loved to see the transformation in myself and family more fully cronicled. Change takes time, and with all the changes in my life I've decided that now is still a great time to start my blog. I'm no where near done with all the changes I want to make. So starting tonight, I'll hopefully be leaving a fun place to visit. Somewhere where we can remember all the fun, crazy, insane, motivational, cluttered, hectic, inspirational, what-were-you-thinking girl moments of time in the life of my family and me. Why read me? In short, I'm a 30 something mom of 6 active (7 if you include my husband - which I will) kids ranging in age from two teenagers, one pre-teen going on know-it-all, an elementary diva, a kinder princess, and a curly topped two year old bundle of noise and joy. You will go on some adventures with my three boys, Abner, T-Rev, and EvoMan, plus grow to love my girls, Lea, Princess, and Hope. Within my posts you see how I deal or don't deal with homeschooling my girls, try to get in shape, manage my many blessings, deal with special needs children, see if I can follow a budget for more than a day, navigate a home full of chaos and clutter, make myself a priority, and type with a two year old in my lap. If I can figure it out I'll also include pictures. But one thing at a time. Tonight is my start and hopefully you'll want to join our wild and crazy family to visit every now and then. If it works right...