Aug 30, 2013

girls rule

Lexi had a little friend over this morning.  Those girls had the best time with dress-ups, dolls, strollers, and the play kitchen.  I think they could have played all day.  Kate couldn't stand to be left out, so I sat on the floor and read books and dressed dolls for a long time.  That was way fun since Granny made tons of doll clothes for the girls' birthdays.  Our four dolls had lots of wardrobe choices!

By the end of the play date, my living room looked like this:

I love it and plan to leave it as it is.  When the toys are neatly tucked in their corners, no one plays with them.  But with Brooke and Hally and Grace sitting in strollers and cradles, the fun is just waiting to happen.

Aug 29, 2013

in absentia

My blog isn't the only thing I've been neglecting.

(which I never do anyway)

What have I been doing, you ask?

Tinkering on the piano.
Playing at the park.
Preparing church lessons.
Polishing the floor.
Eating chocolate.

And a bunch of other stuff.
(name that song)

I made a goal to blog every day this week.
Here's how that went.

If the sunflowers can survive the drought, so can we.
And by "we," I mean me and whoever in the world reads this blog.
Thanks for sticking around.

Mom's Taxi

I think I need a hack license.  After all, I spend my days shuttling passengers here, there, and everywhere. They are almost always cranky and yelling at me, they don't always smell good, they rarely wear seat belts without be compelled to do so, and they never give tips.  Sounds like a taxi driver, right?

Taxi driving is my new profession.  I think I've put more miles on my van in the last two weeks than I did all summer. Take Tuesday afternoon, for example.  Kate had her two-year check-up at noon. Doctor's visits are always adventurous, and this time our visit involved three trips to the restroom (managing two small bladders at once is a little ridiculous), several exam room escapes, endless spinning on the spinny doctor stool, a few laughs from our awesome pediatrician (she really gets a kick out of my why-we-don't-do-vitamins stories), and shots for Kate.

Then we ran home for nap time.  Nap time was way too short because I stupidly scheduled a braces adjustment for Zachary at 2:30.  Well, regardless of nap time, 2:30 is the dumbest time ever for an appointment.  I pulled Zach out 15 minutes before school got out so he could get out of his least favorite class (band) and still get back for cross country practice. What I didn't think about was crazy traffic around the school at that time, and I also didn't count on losing track of time at home and being late picking him.  But I digress.  So at 2:30 I picked up Zach and went to the orthodontist.

I should mention here that Kate slept for approximately one hour and did NOT appreciate being yanked from her comfy bed and dark room.  It wasn't my favorite thing, either.

Kate and Lexi seem to save their craziest, whiniest, screamiest selves for orthodontist visits.  When we are cruising around Walmart I don't care so much because the ginormous store absorbs a lot of the sound. Not so with the ortho.  Man, it's quiet in there.  On Tuesday I left feeling a little humiliated.  My wild crowd is getting a reputation, even though we have only been there a few times.

So then I took Zach back to cross country practice.  He bailed before we got to the school because it was faster for him to run than to wait for the van to get him where he needed to go.

I drove straight to the elementary school, where I picked up two hot and sweaty boys who fought all the way home.  We arrived at 3:30.  I started on dinner: chicken meatball stir fry and rice.  At 4:15 I was back in the van, three kids in tow, to pick up Zach from practice. We got home at 4:30.  I finished dinner so Tyler could eat, and at 4:50 I took him to art class, which was a make-up class because I forgot to take him last Thursday.

The rest of us ate dinner just after 5:00.  At 5:50 I left to pick up Tyler.  Garry was home by then so I didn't have to take anyone with me.  I took Tyler from art to scouts.  He was only a few minutes late.  At 6:50 I left for a Young Women activity at the park, and Garry took the other kids to pick up Tyler and drop Zach off for his scout meeting.  At 8:15 Garry picked up Zach, and I ventured home from the park.

And then the van, the car, and their drivers rested.

If you ever want to ride in Mom's Taxi after 3:00 p.m., you're out of luck.  It's always full, and always zooming to the next destination, whether or not the driver gets tips for excellent service.

Aug 26, 2013

Parenting philosophies I thought I'd never have

Confession: my girls wore costumes to the YMCA today.  Lexi wore a full pink taffeta dress and hot pink heels fit for a princess.  Kate wore a big purple tutu, complete with a green smocked shirt, heart-patterned socks, and plaid Converse shoes.  The Heidi of 2002 would have balked at such a sight, but in 2008, when Tyler wore a Batman costume everywhere we went for a month, I began to relax my standards.  Today the girls' getups didn't even phase me.  Instead, I applauded myself on allowing the girls freedom of expression. However, some of the clothing choices my other children make drive me nuts.  As long as the clothes abide my general standards, I usually don't interfere. It's funny that blatantly obnoxious outfits don't bother me, but basketball shorts and clashing colors really do.

I have changed in other ways, too.  For example, one of my favorite sayings is "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit."  I used to bend over backwards to offer equality in all things.  Fairness prevailed.  Not so anymore.  While I try to be an equitable parent, I just don't have the energy to distribute cups according to desired colors or count Skittles or green beans.  Kids need to learn that the world isn't always fair (really, it mostly isn't fair).  I must add, though, that my kids are still working on the "and you don't throw a fit" part. I guess I am, too, when it comes to life challenges I don't want to have.  You get what you get....

Another philosophy: Kids have to deal with the consequences of their own actions.  If my child leaves homework on the counter, I don't take it to school for him.  If he can't find his shoes, that's his problem, even if he has to wear athletic shoes to church.  If he misbehaves in sacrament meeting (yesterday: epic fail), he practices reverence at home. My end goal is for my kids to learn responsibility when the stakes are low, rather than discovering in college that Mom isn't there to bail them out.  My struggle with this world view is that sometimes I feel like my sole purpose in life is to dole out consequences.  Where does mercy fit into the equation? Where should gentleness prevail over a firm hand?

Fourth, I no longer cry over spilled milk.  I mean really, if I got super frustrated over every food-related mess in my house, I'd be locked up in the insane asylum.  Today, for instance, I took a little cat nap on the couch. I was only half-asleep for about ten minutes, but when I woke up, Kate was standing on the kitchen counter, wearing only her diaper, with mustard smeared all over her and the kitchen floor. I followed the mustard trail for about 15 feet before I found the end of it. Fortunately it didn't stain the floor (unlike the hot pink food coloring incident last month). I probably err on the side of pushover with this issue.  Surely my kids need more guidance than I provide because they just don't stop spilling the milk, you know?  But I can't handle the contention generated from the heat of an argument over crumbs on the couch.  There must be a middle ground, but I don't know where that is.

Now that Kate is taking a nap, I am going to employ another parenting strategy I thought I'd never have: the television.  It turns out that watching more than 30 minutes a day hasn't ruined my kids' brains, so I'm going to let Lexi watch some of her favorite shows while I work on a project.  She can even wear a tutu.

Aug 22, 2013

Closed captions

I have noticed a few humorous things around here lately.
What follows is a collection of random things at my house and my related musings.

Perhaps Brooke is responsible for all the crumbs in my bed.

The world is Kate's canvas.

Good moms make cookies for an after-school snack.
Great moms save some for the kids.

Tutus go with everything.

There's no place like home.

Who needs a code-compliant dryer vent when a nylon sock is available?

Part of his career training included the skills of speed and efficiency.

A place for everything and everything in its place.

The Wicked Witch of the West must have been playing tennis here.
Have you seen anything interesting at your house lately?

Aug 20, 2013

Mom's first day of school

While the boys were meeting their teachers and getting acquainted with schools and rules, the girls had a very different sort of day.

First we went to the YMCA, where I did my geriatric routine, AKA rode the stationary bike for an hour.  I listened to all the conference talks and watched all the videos for my next Young Women lesson, and then the hour was finally over and my hip rejoiced.

Then the girls watched Bambi while I showered and got ready and cleaned up breakfast and checked my email.

Then Kate burned her finger on the stove while the mac-n-cheese was boiling because I sat down to work on my blog. Fail.


Then Kate took a nap and Lexi colored.

Then I made chocolate chip cookies because it was the first day of school, and that is our tradition.  Because I was multitasking cookie making with kitchen cleaning and dishwasher unloading, I forgot I was halving the recipe, so I added three eggs instead of 1.5.  Despite my attempts to fix the problem, the cookies turned out more like cake.  Blech.

Kate woke up crying about her finger after 45 minutes of sleep.  We sat on the couch together for the next 45 minutes.

Then it was time to get Zach.  I went really early to beat the traffic.  Sadly, my strategy failed and I got stuck in a ridiculous place and it took 15 minutes to reach my son, who didn't know where to look for me.  Score one for the parents who failed to arrange a meeting place.  When I finally reached Zach, the elementary release bell was just 10 minutes away, and we were about three miles from the school.

We parked a block away from the school, since every mother and her dog intended to pick up her kids in person on the first day of school and the streets were packed.  Then Zach, Lexi, Kate, and I booked it across the campus and landed in front of the kindergarten door just as it opened.  Phew. Gavin was thrilled; he'd had a great day. Tyler arrived a couple of minutes later.  I turned to introduce him to Miss Stevens, since Tyler will be picking up Gavin most days.  When I turned back to the kids, Zach, Gavin, and Lexi had vanished into the crowd.

Tyler and I, with Kate on my hip (my stroller was in Garry's trunk), looked and looked for them. People were everywhere. Eventually we decided to head back to the van in hopes that Zach had directed the kids there. No such luck. I was getting sick. Where were they?

I drove the van to a spot across the street from the school.  I jumped out of the driver's seat when I saw Zach and Lexi running down the path from the playground.  No Gavin.  I darted across the street and was nearly hit by a car (my bad) and the crossing guard yelled at me.  I yelled back that my child was missing, and she backed off.  Zach didn't know where Gavin was; he'd been without him for several minutes. A lady who overheard our frantic conversation said there was a boy across the street who was crying.  So we ran over there, and it was Gavin.

He was sitting with a lady whose kid was in Gavin's class, and a lady I didn't know was there, too.  He was crying his angry cry, with a pouty face and arms crossed firmly across his chest.  The lady I didn't know had a lecture in her pocket that popped out as I crossed the street. How could I neglect my child on the first day of school? What business did he have being alone on the street?  Did I know he could have been hit by a car? Thanks for the mother-of-the-year speech.  I already have it memorized.

I was just glad to see Gavin's face. The lady I did know said, "Just so you know, Gavin said he doesn't like it when everyone hurts him.  He ran away so his brother wouldn't punch him again." Nice. Strangers don't know the way Gavin exaggerates, and that he is not an abused child.

Apparently Gavin ran away the minute I turned my back on the kindergarten playground.  Zach attempted to redirect/restrain him, but Gavin broke free and took off. Zach chased him but eventually lost him in the crowd.  He was just as panicked as I was when we met in the parking lot.

Gavin continued his angry tirade on the drive home and for about 10 minutes after we got home.  Eventually he calmed down, told his side of the story, and agreed to have some cookies and milk.  And then he played happily outside all afternoon.

I signed papers and listened to first-day recaps from the older boys.  It seems that all three had a great day at school. It also seems that I need a better pick-up-from-school strategy.  Here's hoping Day Two is a little more mellow, both during and after the school day.

To my baby on her second birthday

Dear Kate,

You are two today.  You are so grown up, yet charmingly small.  I can't wait to see who you will become.

Right now, you are hilarious.  You have such a sense of humor.  Seeing your mischievous grin after making a joke (usually ending with "ha ha hee hee") cracks me up.  You make the funniest faces and delight in making people laugh.  You dance and strike a pose just to see if someone will snicker at you.  You are so full of personality. You are also very polite, saying "peese," "tank oo," and "scoozee" more often than your older siblings. That's pretty funny too.

In general you are a chatterbox.  You talk all day long, whether it be to yourself or someone else.  You talk to your dolls--and rock them, sing to them, and wipe their bums--as well as your bunny.  You will often repeat something again and again until someone says the same thing back to you.  It is very important to you to be understood.  In a loud and crazy household of big people, this is no surprise.

You love to be outside.  You escape the house often, usually because someone older leaves the door open. You love the park, and hanging from the bars is your favorite thing.  You love to just hang and drop, hang and drop, again and again and again.  At home, you enjoy walking to the mailbox and waving to the neighbors. You are starting to ride a little scooter but want to much to go faster.  You enjoy sitting in the wagon but NOT the stroller.  It would be so convenient if you and Lexi rode in a double stroller, but neither of you will have anything to do with that. You won't sit in a high chair, either, or wear a bib, for that matter. You want to be BIG.

Milk is easily your favorite food.  You also really like Frosted Mini Wheats for "bekis" (breakfast), which, incidentally, is your universal word for "hungry."  You will eat the occasional banana, but you prefer apple slices or berries.  Your favorite vegetables are broccoli and peas.  Beyond that, you're kind of picky, unless you're really hungry, and then you'll eat just about anything.  I love your round little belly that reminds me you're still a baby.  You weigh 27 pounds (66%) and are 32.75 inches (18%) tall.  You have your bottom two-year-old molars but the top ones haven't grown in yet.

One of your habits that I don't love: taking off your diaper. This is a constant problem.  You refuse to sit on the potty for more than 10 seconds (believe me, we gave potty training a good effort), but you hate your diaper.  You often strip and run around naked, sometimes after pooping in your diaper, which is rather messy, of course.  Even if you keep your clothes on, you won't wear socks, shoes, or even sandals.  I keep buying them, thinking that maybe the perfect pair will suit your feet.  Not so.  Hopefully you'll get over it by winter time.

Your hair continues to grow--it's the same length as Lexi's hair already.  It's golden and shiny and has turned a lighter blonde this summer.  Your dimples are super charming, even on the most trying of days.  We have a sweet little bedtime routine (even after you shriek, "No nap!  No seep!,") where we sing you a few songs before turning out the lights.  Your favorite fun song is "Three Little Ducks," but I have changed the last verse. Instead of the father duck's big "quack quack quack" calling his naughty ducks home, he says, "LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER!" and that makes the three little ducks come waddling back.  You think that is so funny and repeat that part with us when we sing.  You also love the "temple song" and hold your framed picture of the Denver Temple in your arm.  Bunny continues to be a favorite friend, although we [almost] always leave Bunny at home.  I also encourage you to give her naps quite often so you don't become ridiculously attached.  I'm mean like that, but it's working; if we can't find Bunny, you can still sleep.

We celebrated your birthday two days early, since I had a youth temple trip scheduled for the evening of your big day. We had a simple family party, with a few balloons in the living room and some bubbles in the driveway. You opened your presents with a crowd of older siblings around you. Mom and Dad gave you a fall jacket and matching dresses for you and Lexi. Your siblings gave you a book, a purse, a tutu, and a movie. Your favorite gifts came from your grandparents: a new doll with handmade clothes and a double doll stroller. You love dolls!  Baby Grace is a fun addition to your collection.  We served a rich chocolate bundt cake for dessert and you loved blowing out the candles.

Miss Kate, you are so much fun.  We love having you in our family!



Aug 19, 2013

Off they go!

The new school year is upon us.  We have:

A sixth grader.  Zach loves basketball, music, and sleeping in. He plans on a career in the NBA.  He is very conscientious about his appearance and thinks his braces are dumb.  He is excited about cross country but not about band.  It's going to be a busy year in middle school!

A fifth grader.  Tyler is happy to start school and likes his teacher already.  He is looking forward to making a name for himself instead of being "Zach's little brother."  He loves reading and will start piano and art lessons and news crew this week.  Tyler wants to be an architect when he grows up.

A kindergartener.  Gavin couldn't be happier about starting school, especially because he gets to each lunch there.  He is excited to make friends and learn how to read better.  When he grows up he wants to be a fireman or a policeman so he can help people be safe.

Preschool starts after Labor Day for Lexi, at which point Kate and I will have 7 1/2 hours a week when we are alone together.  Pretty crazy!

Aug 12, 2013

Local news

Tyler is happy to be on his elementary school's news crew. It's a group reserved for fifth graders and he had to apply to join. News Crew will report the school's weekly news on Fridays, so they will meet on Thursdays after school to create the school-wide broadcast. Tyler is one of the anchors, so he will be on camera every week!

A week ago, Tyler and co-anchor Abby met with the News Crew advisor, Ms. Hoffert, to prepare a special broadcast for back-to-school night.  I tagged along, since I won't likely be able to peek into his rehearsals during the school year.  It was fun to watch the kids work through the script and get more comfortable on camera.  Tyler is a little reserved, but I think he did a great job, considering he'd never done anything like it before.  I'm sure his personality will show through more and more as he gets comfortable.

Here's a photo of Tyler and Abby, along with two parts of the broadcast that I recorded. So fun!

Ms. Hoffert said she will email the News Crew parents a video file each week.  I look forward to seeing Tyler on camera!

Aug 10, 2013

Full circle

Once upon a time, in the year 1998, Garry and I bought our first couch.  A year later, when the matching love seat and side chair were on clearance, we completed the set.  Those couches served us well for 14 years.  (Here is a couch picture from when Zach was a baby.)

Then, for my birthday last year, I wanted a couch (well, that's way too much for a birthday present, but I thought we should get a couch and call it that).  In response to my request, Garry decided to build a sectional.  It was an epic project.  He did the construction and I did the upholstering.  It took months to make. The couch was finished almost exactly one year ago.

Sadly, the project didn't turn out as planned.  A few design flaws and other things that made the couch less than ideal for a family sofa.  But having spent all that time and money on it, we had to use it.  And used it we have.  The kids love to play hide and seek in the storage compartments.  They love to eat on it (though they are forbidden to do so), and there are plenty of stains to prove it.  They don't seem to object to any aspect of the couch, but I find it so uncomfortable that I rarely spend time watching TV or doing anything else in the basement.

Also last summer, just before the sectional was completed, the Waldo Canyon Fire destroyed hundreds of homes in our area.  The parents of a ward member lost their home, and we gave our couches to them.

The timing was perfect for us, since we needed to make room for the sectional.  A few weeks ago we learned that that family had finished rebuilding and didn't want our old couches anymore, so they offered to return them.  Ha!  We accepted, and the orange couch was on its way out.  The blue couches are serving our family once more, although the matching love seat went to a family who lost their home in the Black Forest fire this summer.

Today we had a garage sale, and the orange couch was center stage. Although we don't have a buyer yet, several people have expressed interest.  It is listed for sale online.  If it doesn't sell in a few days, we will donate it to Goodwill. We have made peace with the sad outcome of Garry's construction project, and now it is time to move on. Farewell, orange couch, farewell. 

P.S. We finally received our red couch (for the upstairs living room) a couple of weeks ago. That's my birthday present for this year.  I absolutely love it!

Aug 8, 2013

August letters

Dear blog readers/Facebook friends,

I find it amusing that my last blog post (about the not-so-joyous aspects of motherhood, in case you missed it) generated more hits than any other post I have written in the last 5 1/2 years.  Is it because I posted the link on Facebook with a comment about being embarrassed and desperate?  Maybe it is like a terrible car accident, where people can't keep themselves from staring at someone else's bad day.  Whatever the reason, thanks for listening, and thanks for your advice.  Once I emerge from my ice-cream-and-Oreos land of woe, I'm sure I'll implement some of your strategies.  Until then, pass the Double Stufs.

President, Emotional Eaters Anonymous

Dear will power,

Where art thou?  We were great friends once, what with all that weight loss last year. Don't you know how great it will feel to kick the last 20 pounds?  Yeah, me neither.  Pass the ice cream.


Dear National Board of Psychiatry,

I think the profession that you certify is a racket.  That is all.

Still crazy

Dear Lexi,

Thank you so much for the raging fit you had today in Walmart.  I thought I'd treat myself to an errand with just two Littles (simple pleasures, right?), but boy howdy, you made up for the lack of bodies in my wake. So much for a quick jaunt for school supplies!  It's a good thing public tantrums don't phase me, because you threw one for the record books. Zach was mortified.

THAT mom at Walmart

Dear Matilda A. Wilson,

You are an ancestor of my husband's paternal grandmother.  I accidentally had you sealed to the wrong person (ooops!).  It turns out your husband is Robert Janes, whereas the Robert James I thought was your husband actually died as a baby three days after the Christmas of 1877.  As a result of my error, Robert James and his whole family, including the three sisters that died the same week he did, are an eternal family, so I'm not losing sleep over it.  But you and your sweetheart will have to wait a while longer.  Sorry about that.  In the mean time, I'll keep trying to find your kids.  If you don't have any, please send me a sign or something, because I can't find their records anywhere.

A novice genealogist

Dear Kate,



Dear neighbors,

You may have noticed that we weeded our yard and mowed the scraggly lawn.  It was about time, right? You are welcome.

The family with all the kids that doesn't make yard work a priority

Dear people that we sit by at church next Sunday,

I'll apologize in advance.  Because Garry is speaking in sacrament meeting, he will sit on the stand and I will attempt to corral my children with my own two hands.  It won't be pretty.  Let me know what Garry says because I'm sure I won't hear a word.

Sister Bartle

Dear Physical Therapist,

I am beginning to think your profession is a racket, too.  Why do I hurt so much if I am making progress? I don't get it.  An otherwise healthy 34-year-old should not have a limp. I'm just sayin'...but see you Friday.

Your 9:30 patient

Dear Frontier credit card,

How is it possible that I dropped you without noticing?  I stuck you and my driver license, along with my phone and ear pieces, in my little YMCA pouch the other day.  You were there when I started working out, but missing when I got home.  It's like you vanished into thin air...or jumped into someone's sticky fingers, or something that couldn't possibly be MY fault. Garry had to order a new card, which of course has different numbers, so now I have to memorize the new ones in order to make online transactions lickety-split.

First world problems, right?


Dear Peyton, Colorado,

You are a neighbor to Colorado Springs, and yet before Wednesday I had never passed through your loveliness.  Next time I feel the urge to belt it with the Dixie Chicks, I'll visit your wide open spaces.  Now I just have to convince my sister to become your resident. She wants to live on a farm, and I want her to live here.  Give her a call, 'kay?

Zipcode 80920


Remember how you mailed me brand new glasses, like, two months ago?  Yeah, me too. Well, Kate took the opportunity to wrench those glasses in half, so I'm looking for replacements.  In the mean time I'm rockin' the one-earpiece look while I watch late-night TV.

Future customer

Dear signature,

You are so pathetic.  How did I forget how to write you?  All of a sudden, I get hung up on my first name, and it goes downhill from there.  I think I'm going to start signing my checks with an elaborate X, and then saying other things that rhyme.

Mrs. X

Dear inner hoarder,

Until recently I denied your existence.  I'm an organizer and a purger, right?  Well....I discovered that I really like to buy things, and then have the satisfaction of getting rid of the extras later on.  The advent of school starting, for example, is a wonderful reason to buy new clothes and such, even though just last month I picked through all of my children's belongings and eliminated about half of them.  I'm on to you....but it's so much fun to buy things for my I'm sure we will meet again soon.

The girl with a problem

Dear garage sale waiting to happen,

You are a giant pile/mess/source of stress in my garage.  I have planned to have you for months, but when it comes right down to it, the thought of actually holding a garage sale stresses me out.  My new plan is to donate everything to some organization that will pick you all up, and call it a tax write-off.  Surely people need all of your wares more than I do. (See last letter.)  Please convince Garry that this is a good idea, or magically transform into a pile of cash. Thanks much.


Dear summer,

I have nearly survived you once again.  I'm not sure if the "nearly" means you are almost over or if "nearly" means I didn't quite survive.  Whatever the case, school starts in ten days, and, for the record, I won't be one of those mothers weeping on the curb as she waves off the bus.  That's partly because my kids don't ride the bus, and partly because the first day of school is one of the happiest days of the year. Don't judge.

Until next time--The Mom

Aug 5, 2013

Calling all Super Nannies

My children are driving me bonkers. We need help. I'm going to list some scenarios and you, dear readers, are going to tell me how to handle them.  I need strategies and consequences. I need activity ideas for children who won't quietly read or color or play with dolls/trucks/balls/friends. I am seriously at my wit's end.  People smile and nod and pat me on the head when I say this, but they truly have no concept of the bedlam that goes on in this house.  You probably don't want to know, and I hardly dare admit it, but I am so desperate for help that I'm going to try it.

Tell me what to do about:

A. Kids who hurt each other--pinching, punching, kicking, scratching, shoving, hair-pulling, physically intimidating, etc.

B. Kids who flatly refuse to comply with instructions.  "Heck no!"  "I don't have to."  "No way."  "You can't make me."  "See if you can stop me."  This is particularly difficult with the child who is taller than I am.

C. Kids who run away from home, either around the block or for more than 20 minutes.  Kids who hide outdoors when called (and think it's funny).

D. Kids who say bad words and are fully aware of what they are saying.  They mean what they say and have no remorse.

E. Kids who do any/all of the above when I don't see it happen.

F. Kids who have over-the-top, clearly dramatized, loud, insane scream-fests over the smallest things.

G. Kids who tattle relentlessly and police each other on their bad behavior.

H. Kids who terrorize each other so much when they have babysitters that sometimes we can't trust them (the kids) enough to leave them.

Just so you know, revoking privileges like watching TV and playing with friends doesn't deter bad behavior at all. I have tried giving chores, charging money, and confining the kids in their bedrooms.  Those things work in the moment, but don't prevent the same things from happening over and over and over and over again.

So, in case you were wondering, this is real life at my house. We need help.


The 2013 Dixon Family Reunion commenced in the Arizona mountains from July 25-29. On Facebook and Twitter, all posts related to the reunion were followed by #dfr13.  It was a thing, so I'm doing it one more time.  (Sidebar: Eric's mustache was a joke, and we unanimously agreed that he looked ridiculous.)

We stayed at Stone Haven Lodge in Show Low.  It was amazing.  One of the little kids' favorite activities was taking a bath in the jetted tub (one of four) every night.

Almost everyone came: my parents, four of my siblings, and their spouses and children.  The only one missing was Sister Holly Dixon, who is a missionary in Derby, England. We missed her!  Dad made us all t-shirts to commemorate the event.  The yellow jeep on the shirts pay tribute to Dad's Yellow Jeep Project, which he has launched as a weight loss motivator.  Anyway, we all posed for a picture on the steps.

That day we also played games with whipped cream and marshmallow guns (not together).

We also enjoyed some minute-to-win-it games.

The 1500-piece puzzle was fun.

The boys especially loved a bunch of other games.  I was a big fan of corn hole.  We also played Jeopardy and Mad Libs, courtesy of yours truly.

We ate a lot (a lot a lot).

I took a nap and read a book.

Myron took the kids shooting.

We went to a rodeo in Snowflake on Pioneer Day.  We were determined to wait out the rain, but after getting thoroughly soaked, we left when the lightning got too close.  We were bummed.

A fun part of our trip to Arizona was taking the kids on an airplane.  We flew from Denver to Phoenix and then drove three hours to Show Low, and vice versa.  The older boys flew a couple of times when they were little, but the younger kids hadn't been on an airplane before.  Every step of the trip was an adventure.  Our travel days were still long, but every moment of frustration was mitigated by the fact that we weren't jammed in a van together for hours on end.  Hooray!

So thank you, dear family, for a fun weekend.  We thoroughly enjoyed spending time with you for a few days.  It's a rare treat for us to see you, so thanks for making the effort to come!  Next time in Colorado, OK?

pass it on!

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