Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Goals hit; goals missed....

Just a quick reflection on this past year and what I'd set out to get done.  Had some goals, too.  Some, I made!  Others...I didn't!

Teach the youngest to be more self-sufficient.

I realized this a few weeks ago that he doesn't need me for much now, just an occasional shoe-tying and a listening ear, really.  His clothes, that he picks out, usually match too. 

Not procrastinating so much.

I have to do stuff like, placing my church bag in the car a few days in advance, but it's helped!  Also, I seem to do really well when I make lists.  I like lists, and charts, and graphs, and nerdy things that make me look like I know what I'm doing :).  Even if I lose some of the lists, I most often remember what I wrote down and then it gets done--in time!

Not buying any frames or canvases from Aaron Brothers until I used up my current stash.

If I ever had to work a retail job I would pick Aaron Brothers  I love all their cool frames and all the art supplies.  It is one of my favorite stores!  I haven't set foot in an Aaron Brothers for a WHOLE YEAR now!  I still have five canvases up in my bedroom, two in my closet and about four frames that I haven't used, yet.  This has been a hard thing for me, to not go to this store.  Especially, their twice-a-year 1-cent sales.  Go me--virtual pat on the back here!

Learning to drive a maual car.
I have at least two meetings a week that I have to go to for my church calling.  It would make since for me to take the small car.  The honda civic, that my hubby takes to work, gets much better gas mileage than the van.  But, hence, I still can't drive it.  We, my hubby and I, have gone out few of times in the year, to a nearby parking lot, in attempts for him to teach me to drive it.  But, alas, I hate it!  I have been driving for 18 years now, always with automatic cars and I am extremely frustrated with manual cars.  But, I know I need to learn to drive the stupid thing, so I will work on this next year.  We have both decided that our kids are learning on manual cars first, when it's time for them to learn to drive.  Than they won't end up severely auto-operated handicapped, like their mother.

Losing weight

Nah, just kidding.  That wasn't a goal of mine.  As you probably know, I'm doing the opposite--pregnancy tends to do that :)

Hope you all are enjoying this Christmas season and not beating yourself up too much for the goals you didn't meet.  Look back at what you did accomplish!

Monday, November 15, 2010

In case I don't have a home tomorrow....

I'm sitting in my house and listening to the 50 mile an hour winds blowing around me and it's really freaking me out!  Western Washington has a lot of big old trees all over.  I love big, mature trees, but not when the wind is plowing into them!  I hope they are all still standing tomorrow morning, when I wake up, and that my house remains unscathed!

Anyway, today was a crummy day so I decided I'd better take my own advice, that I give to my oldest child all the time, to count your blessings...

* I am thankful that Super Saturday is almost here and that I will be done with all this planning and preparing. 

* I am thankful that the PTA Reflections contest entries will be judged soon and I can get them to district and out of my office.

* I am thankful that my son's socks absorbed most of the urine that he unleased today while standing in the long line at the craft store.

* I am thankful that I only have to make 104 invitations for the Relief Society Christmas dinner; some of you come from big wards, sorry!

* I am thankful that I am a pretty heavy sleeper and will probably sleep through these insane wind gusts.  (The trick will be GETTING to sleep, though).

* I am thankful that I have the freedom to change my mind and cave on subjects like finding out a baby's gender.

* I am thankful that our baby is a very healthy little person--even if it's a he and not a she.  (I miss baby girl stuff!!!)

* I am thankful for wonderful friends like you who took the time to read what's on my mind...just because!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Beans are spilled....

Ever since last Saturday the gossip wire has been hot over here!  Half the school and probably all of church knows, thanks to my 4 fast-talking, loud-mouthed kids:

We are expecting a baby, around here, folks.  I am due in April and so far, so good.  Thought I should let you, my cool cyber friends, know before you heard it from my kids. 

Here's some answers to questions that are probably forming in your head (if you don't see your answer, than write me a question in the comments form and I will answer it for you--oh goodie!)

1. Yes, this was planned.

2. There will be 5 years between child #4 and child #5.

3. No, I have not been sick (never have with anyone--don't you hate me?)

4. No, we're not finding out what we're having--this will be a tie-breaker.

5. No, it's not multiples--we saw an ultrasound and there is only 1 baby there.

6. Yes, I am starting over from scratch, in regards to baby things* (This includes all my maternity clothes which a "friend" borrowed and never returned.  They were pretty cool and maybe she sold them because they were that awesome.  Oh well, bummer, guess I have to go shopping :).  )

 *The crib and a stroller managed to get packed and moved over the years and are magically awaiting to return from storage.

We are pretty excited.  I made up two new rules in our household: 1) You are NOT allowed to make ANY comments about mom's body and/or size and 2) You are NOT allowed to ask when the baby is due, since mom and dad already told you and you will make the next 20+ weeks absolutely miserable for your mother if you are constantly asking "When's the baby coming?"  or "How much LONGER til the baby gets here?", etc....

Well then, that's my news.  The beans are spilled!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Quiet house....

We're down to two home during the day--me and the little guy.  It is quite quiet.  He does not like being the only culprit for the recent messes, but we are mangaging to have some fun around here.  The most exciting thing was that we went on a Costco/Wal-mart/grocery store/other stores trip the other day, and no one was, ahem, late for afternoon kindergarten.  (Poor child #3 ended the school year with 14 tardies on his report card.  It's a good thing they don't penalize grades at this grade level, at least not in our school district). (Yes, those 14 tardies are all my fault--trying to do too much in the morning time and making it to school a few minutes late).

Before school began, we managed to have a final venture to the beach--it was mine, and the kids, first time to the Washington coast (we've been all over the Puget Sound, but not the coast).  We were given a nice gift of great weather--rare in coastal Washington!  Both Saturday and Sunday were GORGEOUS and we spent almost those entire days at the beach.  My kids even got sunburned for the first time because their mom was so busy laying on warm sand dunes that she lost track of the time and forgot to reblock them.  Oops.  Sorry kids.  They don't have their mother's skin, that's for sure.

We shared a cottage with some friends in a quaint little community called Seabrook. 

Monday, we woke up to the normal Washington weather--rain!  Oh well, we were leaving that day anyway.  We were not far from the United States' only rain forest so we drove to the Lake Quinault area and had us a little hike in the rain.  It was beautiful and WET!  We remembered that we forgot to retape my husband's raincoat seams, after the hike, of course....

Driving back home we drove through a town that my husband had received a job offer from a few years back.  The pay would have been excellent, but the prospect of living in a tiny town, that received more rain than the Seattle area, turned me off completely and he declined the offer.  Well, let's just say that we would have owned a mansion in this little town; we would have been considered snobs.  It would have been a weird life for me.  I am a happy middle-classer.  Not that we don't aspire to greater things, we just are making it work and the Lord takes care of us.  Anyway, traveling through the town was just, well, interesting....

Anyway, summer is over.  School has begun.  And life is busy all over again!  Hope you are all doing swell!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Well, well,'s already August. As usual, my favorite season of the year is slipping by all too quickly! July was a busy month, so I'm posting pictures and doing some recaps. Nothing is quite chronological, but everything did happen in July (I think)!

Family hike on one of the beautiful mountains of the Cascade Range.

At a Relay for Life event, some of my husband's employees had a team so we stopped by.

One booth had some pretty talented face painters.

Really talented!

The kids and I have had fun attending several of our ward playgroups. Tall totems.

Playful pirates.

We were able to go to northern CA to spend a little over a week with my husband's bro and his family. Beach combing in Monterey Bay is always on the list.

My husband (on the left) and his brother. I thought this picture looked cute of them scrouring the pools for crabs (which they use to do as kids all the time too).

Show and Tell.

I took several more pictures of our CA trip, but too many to post. Here are all the kids and their cousins, ages 7 months to 10 years.

We were able to squeeze in a visit with my grandma and her sister, my great aunt. (My grandma has the glasses). Dig that wig.

And of course, the floors have been done for a while (this is the living room before). I've been painting the trim when I get a moment. (Which means it's still not finished, yet!)

Still gotta paint the walls and put up new window treatments and decorate the living room...

Family room before.

Family room after.

I even got around to painting some rooms, too! Yes, painting is fun for me; the keeping the kids entertained and out of my way is NOT fun for me! This is the girls' room before. I call this color diarrhea pink, it was just, well, ugly?!

We like this color choice much better! As you can see, they still need a nightstand, and I still need to put up decorations. Let me tell you though, getting the curtains detailed and hanging up was a VERY big accomplishment for me!

The downstairs bathroom seemed so dark to me and I've always been annoyed that the towel holder is not near the sink. Kids use this bathroom at leat 25 times a day--imagine all those fun little water drips all across the floor from sink to towel.

I chose this color and it definitely lightened it up. I am in the process of staining the cabintry. We put new trim in here too, but you can't see it (and it got painted, too!)

A few friends have recently had baby boys. I saw baby bouquets similar to this in a catalogue so thought I'd try it out. I love it! You may copy my idea just be sure to give me credit for giving it to you ;)!

I thought this second one was even cuter!!

The garden is growing, just a little slower than last year due to our mild-weathered summer. Fun shelling peas.

When your mom is from West Virginia you are heavily inclined to have teeth like this.

I usually do crafts and science projects with the kids during the summer breaks, but I haven't done as much as I wish I had. But, I wanted to share the best playdough recipe I've ever come across. Most homemade playdoughs leave your hands dried out and salty-crusted. But, here is the best one I've found:

Play Dough
2 c. water (add food coloring to water)
2 c. flour
1 c. salt
1/2 c. cornstarch
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 Tbs. powdered alum
Mix all ingredients. Cook over medium heat until thick (won't be long). Remove from pan and knead until smooth. Keep in fridge in an airtight container.

And, lastly, during all the July hustle and bustle I had to spend a Saturday doing traffic school to "repent" of my speedy sinning. The lieutenant was this Hawaiian dude who kept us learning and laughing. It was actually not bad. And, he even made us these cool graduation certificates.

Hope you are having some great fun in the sun!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

*~~Love and Marriage~~*

I have been married for 12 years now! All dozen years have been spent with the same fine man. I really can't believe how fast the time has gone by! The happy [and clueless] bride and groom,
just minutes after being married, sealed for time and eternity.

It was really hot and humid--the hottest in
20 years, so they told me. You can see the sky
behind the temple is a scorching haze.

Here's a shot of my dress, my veil, and the wedding cake.
Scanning is hard work, ya know.

So, for fun....
1. We own a car (it's been 5 in total--but 0 in our first year).
2. I wear make-up.
3. He no longer gets to sleep in.
4. We make more than $5,000.00 a year.
5. We don't ration our snack food anymore.
6. I weigh 15 pounds less.
7. He weighs 15 pounds more.
8. We have made and now care for our 4 children.
9. We have had a miscarriage (between our 1st and 2nd).
10. We can't fit all our belongings in the back of a pick-up.
11. We have dental insurance and can go to the dentist regularly.
12. We own a house.

1. His hairstyle (it's timeless).

2. Our fascination with bonsai trees.

3. We go to bed at the same time.

4. We hold hands in public--but only if the kids aren't around holding our hands :).

5. We own more fishing equipment than all our other sporting goods combined.
6. Our old desk.
7. Our meals are home-cooked.
8. My teeth (someday I'll get braces....)
9. Arguing is pointless.
10. We use the same sets of scriptures.
11. We still use the same set of dinner plates.
12. He still makes my heart skip a beat when I unexpectedly run into him.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Just had one of those moments....

I was updating my address book--the "old-fashioned" kind that's a book where you actually physically write stuff :). I don't trust technology 100%. I always use pencil so that I can erase and make changes if people move and stuff.

It's probably been over a year since I last updated it because I noticed that I still had my paternal grandfather's information. He passed away 15 months ago. Yesterday was Memorial Day and seeing my grandpa's name on the page just tugged at my heart. He is gone from us. He served in the US Navy and fought in the Korean War. He was always smiling and laughing and full of wit and humor--we were always laughing when he was around. Here he is 5 years ago. Can you guess which one he is?

(The guy with the goatee).

His step-father, my great-granddad, passed away a year and a half earlier. He, too, was a veteran. A US Marine, having served in World War II and I am pretty sure Vietnam (gotta check and make sure). He, too, is pictured above.

This is another picture of us with my great-grandparents,
one of the last times we'd all see them.

My great-grandma and great-granddad died only a few days apart. That was a touching story.... Great-granddad was more soft-spoken than great-grandma. He was always happy to have us great-grandkids over. I loved his big garden and his hugs.

Though he joined the church in the early 70's, great-grandma didn't join until 2004. The obtained special permission from the First Presidency to not have to wait a year after her baptism to be sealed in the temple.

It was a beautiful day, the day of their sealing.

My maternal grandfather passed away almost 9 years ago. I can't find the picture I have of him in uniform when he and grandma married. But this is them with their 9 children.

Grandpa fought in World War II. He was there on Normandy Beach. My mom said he never talked about his war experiences. We wonder if his wife, my grandma, still living, even knows of his stories. All my memories of him are seeing him weak, walking with a cane and going steadily blind over the years. My mother remembers his healthier days of during her childhood, his strength, stamina, and good humor as he worked their family farm.

One of my brothers currently serves our country in the US Air Force. He is a linguist and I am amazed by all the knowledge this guy can fit in his head! He and I were close growing up and perfected the art of verbal disputation, much to my father's disappointment. I'd like to think that I helped expand my brother's capacity for communication :). Seriously though, we are so pleased with this guy's devotion to family, church, and our great nation.
Happy Memorial Day....

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gone fishin'

We took the kids fishing at a local pond three weeks ago--not a bite.

The husband went fishing a week and a half ago--the whopper got away (he had a witness).

Check out the giant I caught this morning!
Never know what you're going to catch down the kids' bathroom sink. I know for a fact that this is not human hair from any of my family members! It is brown hair and my daughters are the only long-haired individuals who use that bathroom [and they have red and blonde hair].

So, this is my money-saving suggestion for now: Keep those wire hangers handy for fishing down the drain now and then. No harmful chemicals from harsh cleaners (a.k.a. Liquid Plumber, Drano...) and no plumber's fee (and no plumber's crack--thank you, lord!)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Still tasty...

I recently found this site and LOVE it! I am all for saving money. By properly storing the food you buy and eating it before it goes bad--you are saving money--hurray! Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Welcome to the Mane Event!

My sister has grown out and donated her hair to Locks of Love several times over the past several years. Last year, I thought that would be something neat to try. So, I let my hair grow and grow, getting a teeny trim every few months, but really just letting it grow.

I was nervous about getting it cut--mostly because I didn't want my neck and back so exposed. When I told a good friend of my "neck-a-phobia" she informed me that I have a beautiful neck and no back fat. We joked that I have such thick hair that they'd be able to make two wigs with my donation--ha, ha! Ah, friends....

Before I left, for my haircut, I weighed myself. When I got home I weighed myself again. I made sure not to go to the bathroom or eat or drink anything in between the two weigh-ins. Guess what--a 3 pound change!!

Here I am before. My hair looks scraggly
in this picture but it's just wind-tossed.

Here is the after! She cut off about 14-15" total.
First, she sectioned off 12"
for the donation to "Locks of Love."

I love this style! It's an inverted bob with way-textured ends. Fun, fun, fun! I think I'll wear it this way for a while. I will grow it out and donate again in the future, though--but I'm in no rush.

AND---what does my family think of it? 2 of my 4 kids' first words, upon seeing me, "Mom, you look weird." Another said, "I don't like it." And the other (and now my new favorite child), "Wow--you look like a rock star!" And the mister? "Wow," (but not in a "I LOVE YOUR HAIR" kind of tone).

Oh well...I like it and that's all that matters to me!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Master of....

With this award, I'm supposed to list 6 things I'm a MASTER at and then pass it on to SIX people. you go! Things I'm a MASTER at.....
1. Making quick, mostly-nutritious dinners without recipes (it's amazing what adrenaline and deadlines can do)!
2. Growing hair (on my head and between my eyebrows--I love tweezers!!)
3. Backing my car into the garage.
4. Speed-reading.
5. Memorizing song lyrics, usually the first time around.
6. Signing up to do too many things at school, church, and within the community :).

I'm passing this award on to:
1. B is for Bobbins
2. Choate Family
3. P-burg Penningtons
4. Pettingill Crew
5. Starpansie
6. The Camacho House

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The kids were not totally neglected....

The kids were not totally neglected this spring break. They have been real troopers during all this downstairs construction stuff. Still, last weekend they confided that they were not looking forward to spring break since a lot of their friends were going out on vacation and doing fun things. I haven't felt normal since we started tearing up the floor, but I tried to think of something we could do that would be fun for them. I talked with them and asked them if it would be okay if I took each of them out a different night of the week. They liked the sound of that!

Being the thrifty-wannabe that I am, I took them out using all the coupons and certificates they have accumulated over the past few years from all the summer and school reading programs, as well as a few won from running races. We also went to the stores of their choices to get things that they needed like supplies for science projects, a new pair of slippers, and such. But, to them (and me) shopping for ordinary things is quite fun and relaxing when it's just the two of you!

I enjoyed our little nights out. I discovered that all the kids will dance in their seats to whatever music is playing at the restaurant. We had some deep conversations--as deep as it gets for a child. But, it was fun.

We'll have to do that again some time soon!

We're so cultured.

It was spring break this week. School starts again tomorrow. Many families go on trips during spring break. They go to fun places like Disneyland or Disneyworld. Some travel to visit nearby countries like Canada or Mexico. Some just go to warm, sunny places like Hawaii or the Bahamas. Some wealthy friends of ours go on a European cruise every spring break. We opted for a different spring break experience--let the exotic come to you--in the form of exotic hardwood flooring that you install yourself! We're still putting the floors down, so I'll post final pictures in a few weeks when we're done. But, let me say--WOAH!

We've lived in our home for 15 months now. The downstairs foyer, hallway, and kitchen had a lovely cherry colored laminate flooring. I tried for months to find the same colored laminate so that we could rip out the living room carpet and put the same flooring in. We have a very open downstairs floor plan. Can't figure out why the previous owners didn't just put the same flooring in the living room (probably because of costs--but still!)

Anyway, to make a long story short---we decided to just do it--put hardwood floors in the ENTIRE downstairs (except bathroom and laundry room). It has been THE project!! We started about a month ago. My husband has done a fantastic job at ripping all the old flooring out, sanding and leveling the floorboards, fixing all the squeaks (all after putting in 10-12 hour days at work). And now, after letting the hardwood cure in the house for a couple of weeks--we began installation! Of course I'm not in any pictures, but trust me--I've been yanking nails and flooring staples and chiseling glued-down linoleum and the like! If all else fails, at least I know I could handle construction as a career!

Barren living room--I was waiting to start from the ground up for its transformation.

My hubby rolling up the old carpet, after having fun tearing it into strips.

Cherry-colored laminate flooring in hallway.

Dad and the boys taking out the cherry-colored laminate.

Sanding, sanding, sanding. It's been a dust bowl at our house for the last three weeks.
Not fun, but I kept telling myself it will all be worth it!

Underneath the laminate in the kitchen we found....

Linoleum (which was glued on top of press board that had been
stapled AND glued down to the floorboards).

Curse you, stupid linoleum/press board compound!!
Took us almost 6 days to get it all chiseled out!!
Can I just say, crow bars, I love you!

I wasn't sad to see this pile go to the dump!!

Might as well take out a wall while you're at it.

That's right kids--hide in the bathroom as Dad unleashes his fury!

Even the family room would soon fall victim.

The kids didn't help much, but they looked
really cute rolling out the felt paper
(still the family room--yes the carpet is gone).

Seeing if he missed a spot with the hammer stapler--
now one of my new favorite tools!

After the felt paper goes on the foam sound barrier stuff
(I forget what it's called--but it helps muffle noises).

Laying the first pieces of wood.

All I can keep saying is, "You're so pretty!!!"
Yes, I'm talking to a floor.

My husband and I have done this project ourselves. Whenever I ask him if he wants to have so-and-so come over and help him out with ______, his response is always, "You and I can do it." Well, the man has some great faith in me and my abilities. Seriously though, it's been so flattering that he wants my help and trusts me. I love working side-by-side on things. We've found common ground (no pun intended).

I'm loving the new floors!!