Sep 30, 2011


Someday, I will know I have arrived at being the kind of mother I want to be when I can maintain my composure under stress.

The mother I want to be will understand in the moment that a son's misplaced soccer jersey doesn't matter one tiny bit, even if it is team picture day.  She will acknowledge that she did her best to plan and prepare, and then roll with Plan B when it appears.

Someday, the mother I want to be will not yell about stupid, stupid things and have to apologize to her kids for behaving badly.

Unfortunately, today is not that day.


Gavin: Right Now

Dearest Gavin, lover of bananas, Stanley, and all things are a wonder of energy and entertainment.  I want to bottle up your fun personality and save it forever.

This is a pretty happy time in your life.  Preschool has opened a world of possibilities for you, and each day you are eager to embrace them.  Ms. Rita tells me that your fine motor skills are blossoming, and during the writing workshop portion of the day you ask to write all kinds of letters and even request help spelling words.  You have come home with fun notes and drawings for Dad and me.  It is fun to see your creative side develop.  We are especially happy to see how well you can write your name now.

Thanks to "Word World" on TV (and that amazing brain of yours), you are sounding out words.  This is mostly in your head and not on paper.  You sat down at dinner this week, looked at your plate, and said, "I love grapes! G-r-a-p-s!"  You then proceeded to spell whatever three-letter word we threw at you.  You were thrilled to discover the pattern with rat, hat, sat, fat, etc.

You have completed a couple of school projects that are awesome self portraits.  I can see pieces of you in both of them.

I also love that you have earned special recognition at school through "bee notes."  It is so good to hear that you are befriending new classmates, following directions, and being a good example for your class!

Recently you adopted this little car and named it Pax.  Pax goes with you everywhere now--in your backpack, your pocket, or even in your sock--and you have little adventures together.  You love this orange guy!

This week for Family Home Evening, Tyler taught a lesson about mothers.  During one part of the lesson we talked about the work each family member performs.  When it was your turn to answer, you thought for a minute and said, " work could be....climbing small trees?"

Speaking of trees, you are fascinated with the changing fall leaves.  You want to collect a sample of each tree you see and "keep them forever and ever and ever."

Miss Dana decided that it was time for you to graduate from occupational therapy.  You are pretty sad that your sessions with her are over, but you have learned and grown so much in the last four months with Miss Dana's help!  Your work together has been so effective that Miss Rita has never seen your sensory issues manifest at preschool.  That's amazing!  OT has been a miracle in your life (and mine).  

A lot of blessings have come your way this year, little man!  I have loved watching you grow and flourish.

Sep 29, 2011

Fun run

Last night at dinner Zach shared his anxious anticipation for the school's annual fundraiser, the Fit 'n Fun Run, which is happening today and tomorrow.  As we discussed how many laps he might expect to run in the 20-minute period, Gavin wanted to know when HE could have a fun run.  He was quite disappointed to discover that preschool doesn't have fun runs, and he wouldn't even be able to watch his brothers participate in their own.  I suggested that maybe we could have a family fun run -- sometime.  (You know, that mystical "sometime" that never quite materializes?)

Gavin isn't one to let Mom off easy, so when Garry suggested a bath after dinner, Gavin screechingly reminded him of the family fun run that was to take place RIGHT NOW.  It was a night when we could be flexible (no soccer!), so the entire family laced up tennies and adjourned to the cul-de-sac.  As the self-appointed time-keeper, I set my phone for five minutes and everyone started running laps.  It was a sight to behold.

Tyler led the pack for several laps.  He was a blur (especially to my phone camera in fading light).

Zach was consistent and fast; he eventually overtook the lead.

Lexi tripped a few times, so Garry offered his assistance.

And Gavin was a running machine -- a machine that ran full blast or not at all, which was perfectly hilarious.  I laughed and laughed.

When the timer rang at the end of five minutes, Zach had run 10.5 laps; Tyler, 9; Gavin, 7; and Lexi, 5.  The family then ran a staggered race from the bottom of the cul-de-sac to Garry's car in the driveway.  With the staggered start, everyone arrived at just about the same time.  Watching Garry sprint with Lexi in his arms was awesome; he and Zach were neck-and-neck!  

But Gavin wasn't quite satisfied.  Through his screams we eventually figured out that he intended to complete 12 laps, so everyone else went inside and Gavin happily ran five more quick laps.  Then he was content to come inside and take a bath.  That boy sure knows how to put the FUN in fun run!

Sep 28, 2011

Point of clarification

Sometimes I post something here that is meant to be humorous but comes out whiny or negative.  Often I don't realize this until the consoling comments come (or don't come at all).  Yesterday, for example, was crazy and exhausting, but I actually thought it was a reasonably good day until about six p.m.  I just forgot to mention the good parts.  And I don't resent my family because of the mending they generate; a letter to them just subconsciously formed as sewing hassle #47 cropped up.  I think I just have too many words in my head and too few chances to release them, and the blog becomes a misplaced monologue about whatever is on my mind.

So please accept my apologies for being an annoying blogger.  In the spirit of accentuating the positive, I give you:

Darling Miss Kate at the soccer game.  She is such a sweet, content, beautiful, wonderful baby.

And little Lexi eating with a dinosaur.  She and I are good buddies every morning, and I love being home with my girls.

And Tyler playing the piano.  I'm having so much fun teaching my boys, watching them progress, and playing duets when they have mastered their pieces.

And Gavin asleep with a bear in a tent.  I'm so grateful for the blessings in his life that are helping him grow and change...but still take daily naps.

And Zach in the kitchen.  He really hates doing the dishes (and other chores), but has recently had a total transformation in his general attitude that makes him rather pleasant!  Hooray!

As I told a woman at preschool today (while she scraped her jaw off the floor after hearing I had five kids), family life is great.  It's busy and crazy, but pretty darn great.

Sep 27, 2011

one of those days?

Have you ever had one of those days....

...that begins when you find an exploded disposable diaper in your washing machine? and its remnants are in your washer, your dryer, the load of laundry, and all over the carpet?

...when the backyard hose bursts and creates a lake in your back yard because someone closed the release valve but forgot to turn off the spigot?

...that includes a super-quick trip to Costco that becomes the epic trip to Costco, courtesy of a wrong turn, construction, a dead-end, 34 samples, hiding children, a bathroom visit, a full cart of groceries, and a long line at the food court?

...where your fatigue is so mind-numbing that you can't sleep during nap time?  but then you fall asleep for 15 minutes and wake up in a mad panic because you think you missed school pick-up?  but really school pick-up isn't for 45 minutes?  and then when school pick-up time comes, you have to wake two sleeping children to get in the car?

...when you realize at three p.m. that you have been wearing your shirt backwards for several hours?

...with dinner preparation that should have been simple but is ridiculously complicated by small children escaping the house, a baby strapped to your body, a precious stuffed dog in the washing machine, a seven-year-old's piano piece that for the love of PETE does not have that note in it, and a lack of bread crumbs that forces you to crush croutons with a meat tenderizer?

...that also makes your husband have a crazy day at work and causes him to be home much, much later than usual (i.e., after the elaborate dinner you prepared is consumed and strewn about the kitchen as though ravenous wolves have attacked it)?

Yeah, me neither.  That kind of stuff only happens in sitcoms.

Sep 26, 2011

Needle alert

Dear family,

Today I finished the mending that has been sitting in the closet for...oh...a really long time.  And since a really long time had to pass for me to get to it in the first place, and since the sewing machine then sat on the dining room table for three weeks, and since during that time a certain child destroyed my thread box and my bobbin box and messed up all the thread, and since the actual sewing process caused the spilling of root beer all over the floor (and me, and what I was sewing, and the table, and the scissors), and since sewing requires more brain cells and patience than I currently (or may ever) possess, I am taking a break.

What does that mean for you?  Well, you need to stop ripping holes in the knees of your jeans and the inseams of your pants and the tails of your shirts and the feet of your pajamas.  You need to stop pulling the snaps off your bibs and the buttons off your shirts.  You need to stop earning scout badges.  (OK, forget about that one.)

I have hired a professional seamstress to replace the zipper in Gavin's winter coat.  I can't pay her to do all the basic stuff, but I have justified the zipper with the following logic.  It's going to take several consecutive miracles for me to find time to properly wind and store all that thread (I seriously lack the time and mental capacity to purchase a new box, let alone deal with thread chaos), to pull out the sewing machine again, and to attempt to repair another ripped garment.  I'd like to save this household's miracle quota for fitting into regular jeans.

So if you have some clothing that needs mending in the near future, you can either pay the zipper lady to fix it or write it off as a loss.

My apologies,

A retired (but mostly just tired) seamstress

A San Francisco treat

Garry spent last week in San Francisco on a business trip.  From all the stories he told and all the pictures he downloaded upon his return, it seems the trip was more heavily weighted with fun than work!   I'm glad to have a little photo journey of his experiences, most of which were new to him and possibly one-time-only endeavors.

Part of Garry's trip was a boat cruise through the San Francisco Bay with his Credit Admin team.  Below are shots of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, the San Francisco Bay Bridge, and the city at night.


There was also a bit of actual work involved.  Garry was happy to see some co-workers from Beaverton, Oregon (our home prior to Colorado Springs), and to meet some people he has worked with for years but never seen face to face.

Thomas, Garry's boss's boss and the week's host, is a "foodie," so every team gathering involves experiencing many kinds of cuisine.  Last week Garry had a homemade, authentic Korean meal at Thomas's home...

...a seafood spread...

...Chinese food...

...and raw oysters.  Although Garry had an adventurous week trying lots of new foods, the piece de resistance was sampling raw oysters for the first time.  It was such a novel event that Garry had a co-worker capture the event on video, which is priceless!

Ironically, the only food to upset Garry's stomach was the steak and potatoes he had at Claim Jumper on Thursday night!  Since his stomach was still bothering him in the wee hours of Friday morning, he went to the airport in hopes of catching an earlier flight home.  He couldn't change flights without a significant fee, however, so he settled in to wait.

When his flight was finally called, it was overbooked.  Garry volunteered to take a later flight in exchange for a $400 airline voucher.  He got home about 2.5 hours later than planned, but the cash in his pocket was worth the wait.  The kids and I were completely thrilled to see our long-lost Daddy, and his arrival could not have been better timed.  I spent Friday night in bed with a fever and Saturday with the stomach flu.  I'm so grateful for the return of his helping hands...and the rest of him, of course!

Sep 25, 2011

Saturday night at the gym

Zach and Tyler were incredible readers over the summer and earned prizes at the library in record time.  But I was a bad mom and we didn't spend the rest of the summer redeeming the coupons they had earned.  Sadly, lots of them expired without being used. A few weeks ago, Garry helped the boys sort through the remainder and make some plans.  And so Saturday night at the gym was born.

While Kate and I attended the General Relief Society Meeting (broadcast at the stake center), Garry took the four older kids to play at Stars National Gymnastics Village during open gym time.  They ran and jumped and climbed and hung and swung and spun....and got really wired and really tired.  What fun!

This morning they reported to me on their adventures.

Tyler said his favorite parts were either the rings or the white trampolines.  He was excited to "bounce ten feet in the air and land a front flip."

Zachary loved the foam pit, although there was a time that he and Gavin got buried and felt trapped, and that wasn't so fun.  Anything that keeps Zach moving is awesome. Anything that ties him down is not.

Lexi liked "playing in the blocks" the best.  She apparently had excellent balance on the beam and loved the long, bouncy trampolines.

Gavin's favorite thing was getting deep in the foam pit.  He said he "digged and digged and digged" and "there was a guy in the red shirt who helped dig and dig and dig and we found a mattress at the bottom and barely felt it."  Gavin liked jumping on "all the black trampolines," too.  Gavin's OT would have been happy to see him engaging in the heavy work that makes his body so happy.  

After a two-hour workout at the gym, Garry took the kids to a nearby restaurant for Italian gelato.  It was fun to try a new kind of treat, use another coupon, and end a happy outing in such a sweet way!

Sep 23, 2011


After discussing many options for lunch today, Gavin and Lexi both settled on a peanut butter and honey sandwich.  Gavin pulled out the peanut butter and Lexi grabbed the honey from the pantry.  I sent them outside to play while I fixed plates for each of them. Then, feeling like a good little mommy, I delivered their lunches for a picnic under the back yard tree.

But they both revolted.  

"I wanted mac and cheese!" Lexi cried.

Gavin yelled, "You didn't make me a Nutella sandwich, Mom!!!"


I'm not usually a short-order cook (my mealtime mantra is "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit"), but today I went back inside and made what the Littles wanted.  They were thrilled.

But I'm stuck with the pb&h, crust and all.

Sep 22, 2011

the good news

I'm not gonna lie: this week has been h.a.r.d.  It is not good for this woman to be alone. Lucky for me (and the kids) single parenthood is not for real...or forever.  While Garry's absence has brought far more downs than ups to our crazy household, I have been compiling a mental list of the tender mercies that have kept us (well, mainly me) alive long enough to see him return.

*We have a "valet key," which means when I lose my keys right before the soccer game, we can still get where we need to go.

*The missing keys turned up under my pillow.  (Hm.....)

*Kate's missing sock turned up at preschool.

*The nice lady at preschool said she'd extend the return-your-class-pictures-order-form deadline to Monday just for me.

*OxyClean+water(minus scrubbing)=a stain-free shirt (this one, if you can believe it).

*A destined-for-Sainthood sister in our ward parked right by Tyler's soccer game and let Gavin and Lexi play in her 12-passenger van the entire time, even though she was trying to prepare her seminary lesson.

*Two ladies at Pack Meeting (directly after Ty's soccer game) helped with the Littles at very opportune moments.

*I discovered that it is possible to survive a three-day stretch without conversing with another adult.

*Kate slept for six hours the other night.  I only got three of those hours uninterrupted (thanks to the other children who woke me up during that time), but I am encouraged about the possibilities.

*A neighbor drove Zach and Ty home from school twice.

*I had a loaves-and-fishes space of time to mop the floor, which had not been cleaned since my mother left, and is now very dirty again.

*We had ice cream in the freezer on Tuesday night.  (We don't anymore.)

*When Zach froze the preschool snack that wasn't meant to be frozen, we actually had something else in the house that made a suitable substitute.

*Kate grew from 6 lbs. 9 oz. (at two weeks) to 7 lbs. 6.5 oz. (at a month and two days), crossing one item off my worry list.

Even though these blessings are amazing and I have enjoyed parking smack-dab in the middle of the garage this week, I really can't wait for Garry to come home.

Sep 21, 2011

Sep 20, 2011

One month, baby!

Baby Kate is a month old!

Kate is such a sweet baby.  She is still very sleepy, but often has awake times around 8:00 a.m., 4:00 p.m., and 8:00 p.m.  She is sleeping better at night, usually going to sleep in her own bed and after each time she eats.  She is also usually willing to nap in bed when the Littles do at 1:00.  Kate eats every 2 1/2 to 3 hours around the clock.

This month Kate has had adventures like taking walks around the neighborhood, going shopping, visiting Gavin's preschool and his OT appointments, sitting on the sidelines of soccer games, and going to church.  She is remarkably good-natured about the frenetic pace of life at our house and doesn't mind riding in the car, but if we are sitting still somewhere (like my D&C class), she doesn't like being left in her car seat.  I certainly don't mind holding her!

Bath time is still stressful in Kate's world, so I try to make that experience as speedy as possible.  She isn't a fan of diaper changes, either.  Being cold and exposed just isn't comfortable!  Kate likes being close to me in the Baby Bjorn front pack but not in the Moby wrap.  She loves being swaddled and seems to sleep best with her arms wrapped tight.  She loves her pacifier.  (And I love that she loves her pacifier!)  She sleeps especially well when cuddled up next to Daddy.

We are so in love with our beautiful girl.  We love her soft skin and tiny fingers and toes.  We love her little grunts and silly facial expressions.  We love getting peeks at her dark eyes and glimpses of her adorable dimples.  Tyler thanks Heavenly Father for "sending us sweet baby Kate" every time he prays, and Gavin calls her his best friend.  Lexi and Zach are always anxious to hold her and attend to her needs.  Garry is so good to help in the middle of the night when Kate is full but still fussy.  I always enjoy the newborn stage with my children, but somehow a difficult pregnancy has helped me feel more joy in all of Kate's little milestones.

Garry bought a soft little bunny for Kate, hoping it could eventually become her lovey.  At the very least it will be her companion in her monthly growth photos (a tradition we started with Gavin).

It's hard to believe Kate has only been here for a month.  She has certainly crawled into our hearts forever.

pass it on!

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