Monday, October 28, 2013

Wreaths and Jammies

I always tell people that with each child born, a hobby of mine died.  But, every now and then I am able to hollow out a little time to tend to a lost art.  I do love drawing, painting, crafting, and some times, sewing.  Since time is precious, over the years I find myself making some of the same kinds of things: namely, wreaths and jammies.  And the reason is quite simple: if I'm gonna make something than it might as well be something that we will use a lot.  A wreath?  Every time I look at my front door it cheers me up!  And jammies?  The kids wear them every day!  Score!


Monday, October 7, 2013

The newer middle child

I don't write too much about my kids for two main reasons:  1) I feel it is my responsibility to keep them safe from weirdos so I don't reveal too much about them and 2) I don't want to come across as always bragging about my kids, though they are pretty awesome.

I rarely mention child #4.  But, I felt I should write a little about him because he is such a unique kid. He was the youngest child for five years.  Though he lost that position almost 2 1/2 years ago, he some times has a hard time realizing that.  He solidly claimed a spot as a middle child when I had our last baby earlier this year, so he is the newer of the middle children in our family of six children.

This kid has ALWAYS loved machines and figuring out how things work.  Just to give you a lead in to how much love:  when he was 2 1/2 we moved to a new home.  After silently observing us using a little screwdriver to pick a bathroom door, that one of the kids had locked, he was found a few days later taking Christmas ornaments off the tree, removing their hooks, unbending the hooks, then locking the door locks and then picking them with the unbent Christmas ornament hooks!

We just bought a carpet cleaning machine and he was *in heaven* watching it work (most of the machine is see-through).

He also loves growing things and catching and observing bugs.  He loves science and engineering so much that he went straight to the school library to get a book on a specific spider so that he could write his science report on it.  He did it all on the day it was assigned--even though it was a whole   month before it was due!

This kid is keeping child-raising interesting--no doubt about it!

 The new carpet cleaning machine is put away?!  Next best thing--play in the box...

Friday, October 4, 2013

21 more hours...

...til the most amazing conference ever!  It's FREE and everyone can attend:
 Check it out:
Semi-annual general conference

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Remembering a moment....

Do you remember the moment you fell in love with someone?  I feel like falling in love is a process but there are distinct memories, here and there, that stick out in my mind, as times I recall thinking that WOW--I got a great guy!!!

One of those times was back when we were dating and he was over at my apartment watching a movie with me, my roommates, and a few guy friends.  We were laying shoulder to shoulder, on our backs, in front of the tv.  At some point I lay my head on his shoulder and fell asleep.  Later, when the show was over, and we were all getting up to leave, one of my roommates humorously pointed out that I had drooled on my guy's chest.

Sure enough, there was a nice little puddle of drool on the front of his shirt.  I apologized over and over again, everyone in the room laughed, and he?  He wore my drool, proudly, like it was a badge. I knew I was in love and he knew that I, literally, drooled over him.  And, he kept coming around and asking me out after that!  What a man!  (And we later got married)!

Do you have a moment when you just knew it was love?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Getting to know me....

It is great to be outside doing the only exercise that I feel utilizes every inch of my lungs---running!  During a recent run I thought to myself about how long it's been since I ran and then I thought of all the other little random things that I seem to keep track of.

I thought you might want to get to know me a little better so I'm sharing them here.  :)

1. Except for the past two weeks, I haven't run for a whole year.  As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I stopped running.  I have done this with every one of my pregnancies. I guess I'm trying to be gentler with my body, but I am also extremely fatigued.  It feels good be out there again.

2.  My hair is so thick that it takes over 8 hours to dry naturally.  *Shout out to my hair dryer!*

3. I lay my clothes out the night before.  I don't even have that many clothes--I just drive myself crazy in the mornings trying to decide what to wear.  Much easier for me to do at bedtime.

4. Since school got out, I haven't felt much like cooking or baking anything.  My poor family.  But, at least my oldest ones can do it now.  I'm sure my burnout will wane soon?

5. I make to-do lists.  It some times takes me weeks to complete them, but they are there to serve as my reminders.

6. There were like 19 babies born in my ward this past year, and 16 of them were girls (including our daughter).  Young women's classes at church will be interesting in 12 years....

7. I like to wash and polish our cars.  Haven't polished in a little while, but I'll get around to it....

8. My kids have participated in the summer reading programs, at our local libraries, for 14 years now.  That's a lot of free/discounted museum, theme park, and restaurant passes!  Not to mention, books, bookmarks, water bottles, sunglasses, t-shirts, etc...

9. I prefer facebook over instagram and twitter.  It's the psychologist in me that wants to read about what people are thinking and feeling, rather than see pictures or just read little one/two liners.

10. I like to create interesting voice messages for voice mail.  Been doing them since college and I have never made a repeat.  Our current one is a rap.  My husband hates it, but most people love it!

11. Did you know that I was once in a beauty pageant?  As a child I always loved watching the Miss America pageants and secretly hoped to be in it one day.  Any guesses at the age I was when I competed?

12. Long blog posts and emails make me lose right now....later!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Little Culture Shocks

Been in our new area for over 6 months now and it is good.

The town we live in has a decent racial mix.  And, we are definitely in the minority.  Some minor culture shocks we've experienced....

* School valentine cards and recent party invitations have required my kids to write names that have several letters and syllables and ones that I usually don't have a clue on how to pronounce.  Imagine trying to squeeze a name,with sixteen letters in it,on a tiny little package of Laffy Taffy!

* (Being 1/4 Chinese allows me to make the following comment):  purposefully moving to an area where the public school district is decent, largely made possible by a stong asian influence on education.  This also means we have a lot of asian drivers around.  You think that's bad?  I never before thought of the effect of having these same drivers behind double-wide shopping carts at Costco.  It's scary.  I feel like donning my glo-green running vest and blowing a whistle to direct traffic, when I go shopping.

* Seeing signs and papers with 3, sometimes 4, different language translations and it bugs me, that English is not always listed first.  C'mon--let's honor the official language of the USA!

* Bringing birthday treats and hosting parties for kids and friends means having to be considerate of many different food palettes--many families won't eat certain foods for religious reasons.  And, then there's the usual food allergies to have to be mindful of.  Um, let's have some water and rice cakes!  (Just kidding--haven't had to go to that extreme).

* Having 1 of only about 10 blondes in the entire junior high.  Yeah, she gets noticed.  Wait til I send my redhead up there in a few years.

All in all, we are enjoying our surroundings a lot.  Some minor adjustments, but nothing too weird.  It's a good experience for us, overall.  Makes me feel like I have to set a good example of us and our culture....

Thursday, May 23, 2013

For reals--

In a nutshell:

This is me and my best friend, Angela, from my childhood in Baytown, Texas.  We met on the bus to afternoon kindergarten.  (Don't recall the boy's name.  But, contrary to the picture, we never let boys come between us and our friendship).

We were there for each other through all of elementary school days adventures--good and bad: practicing back bends at recess, playing in her cool treehouse, sleepovers, when she broke her leg at recess....

I moved away the summer between 3rd and 4th grade. But, we still kept: we wrote LETTERS to each other because there was no internet nor cell phones back then. 

She is my most long-time friend--30 years and counting!

We are now grown-ups with families.


This Monday, Angela lost her home to the destructive tornados that hit Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

This is what it left of her home.

If you are able: please consider sending checks, money orders, or gift cards to her.  Email me and I will send you the mailing address.  OR you can send money via paypal to my email address and I will be certain to send it to her.

Thank you.  I calculated it, and if all of my facebook friends contributed just $5 that would be close to $4000.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Worth Keeping...

My husband and I have been married nearly 15 years.  And, due to school, internships, job training, and jobs, we have moved 13 times.  Thanks to all this moving I have not collected as much clutter as I probably would have if we'd only ever moved a few times. 

I believe that we can't take our "stuff" with us when we die, so less is more anyway-right?

I do, however, have a few treasured objects that have been saved throughout 13 moves.

One of them is a pair of baby overalls. Just regular-looking denim overalls, Old Navy brand, size 0-3 months.

Do you remember how you felt when you were given certain gifts?  The gift, itself, probably meant little, but it was, well--for lack of a better phrase--"the thought, that counts?"

So it is with these overalls.

Back when I had my first child, we were seriously poor college students.  We could feed the two of us, for a month, off of only $100.  We walked everywhere.  Our combined total income was like $5,000.00 a year.  (Thank goodness for college scholarships and financial aid).

We prayed about it and thought that money shouldn't keep us from starting a family.  We had faith that if we worked and studied hard and put the Lord and family first we'd be financially able to care for our children.

Our first baby came a month early-quite unexpected.  This little girl wore lots of neutral baby colors--yellow and greens--because we had not found out her gender before her birth.  A lot of her clothes were hand-me-downs from a cousin and gently-used garage sell finds.  (Her two kind grandmothers had been so generous to supply us with a rocking chair, baby carseat, baby bathtub, and other baby gear).

During the first few weeks of her life, I received a phone call from a girlfriend of one of my brothers.  She wanted to bring over a baby gift.  I did not know her very well; we'd met only once before.

I was so touched when I opened the gift: a cute little photo frame engraved with the words, "good things come in small packages," a pink, flower-printed, long-sleeved bodysuit, and denim overalls from Old Navy.

Shopping at Old Navy was not in our mere $5,000.00/year budget.  New baby clothes weren't even in our mere $5,000.00/year budget.  I was so moved by this simple gift--something cute besides sleepers and newborn gowns for my new, little baby to wear.  Something that I couldn't afford to give her myself--yet would have liked to have given her.  I was so touched.

The only picture with the pink bodysuit is too blurry to post.  I eventually gave it away because I had boys later on.

But, the sweet little overalls have been worn by six precious babies, now.  From those starving student days to the able-to-afford-Old Navy present-- I treasure these overalls because they have touched the sweet, cuddly bodies of all my little babies. Freshly bathed babies who smelled of Baby Magic baby lotion (always in the budget).  My sweet babies.

#1, original wearer of the overalls. 


#3, held by #1

#4, with his great, great grandmother--the last time we saw her before she died.


#5, held by #3


Monday, March 25, 2013

The easiest Easter craft ever!

I've been trying to post this post for a few years now--but I always seem to remember AFTER Easter.  And, by then, it's too late for anyone to do!

1. So, you start with a big ol' 5 quart container of ice cream:

2. Eat the ice cream all gone (yeah--that might be hard for you in the next few days.  Ummm--invite some friends over for an ice cream sundae bar--they bring the toppings and you provide the ice cream and bowls and spoons.  Better hop to it!)

3. Wash your empty ice cream bucket and dry well.
4. Take a black Sharpie and draw simple egg designs all around outside of bucket.
5. Fill in your eggs with colored Sharpies (Costco sells a nice multi-pack of colored Sharpies.  If you don't live near a Costco, check out your nearest office supply store: Staples, Office Depot, Office Max...)
The purple bucket is store-bought.  It didn't come with ice cream, just FYI, and a machine painted it.
6. Take to your Easter egg hunts and enjoy all the eggs these puppies can hold!

****Personal note:****
  My kids have preferred these buckets over everything else.  They have a much shorter handle than traditional Easter baskets and they hold a lot more too (5 quarts-worth of ice cream!)

You can also use the ice cream buckets at Halloween time for trick-or-treating--simply draw Halloween-inspired pictures such as: jack-o-lanterns, "trick or treat," ghosts, candy...

I also use these buckets for holding food storage items once I open a 10# sized can; you don't want to keep food in the cans once opened.  One bucket will hold all your product from the 10# can--very handy!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Boy Who Cried "Ow."

Last year, on the second-to-last day of school, a boy injured himself, while running and then falling, on the playground.

His mother received a phone call from the school's health tech, informing the mother of her son's injury.

The boy cried and whined and winced from the pain.  Worrying that he'd broken his arm, the mother took her son straight away to the doctor.

The kind, old doctor-on-call ordered x-rays.  And they revealed----nothing.  The boy had simply sprained his wrist. 

Knowing the miracle of the placebo effect, the kind, old doctor-on-call hooked the child up with a fancy black splint and sling.  The boy proudly wore them on the last day of school.  And for a few days afterwards.  The mother was slightly annoyed at the attention the son was seeking and getting from his "injury."

Jump forward nine months.  (Add a move and a new baby in there).  Guess who was running and chasing a classmate, on a field trip, when they were supposed to be walking?  Another "injury."  Another call from a school health tech.  But, NOT another trip to the doctor; the mother had learned from the past.
Or so she thought.
The mother had her son wear the splint and sling from before.  He wore them--and never took them off.  After eleven days both the boys' parents insisted thast he stop using them and demanded that he attend church without them. 
The boy cried and whined and winced from the pain.  His wrist looked a little funny.  The parents realized that he might still be "injured."
The mother took him to the doctor the following day.
The kind, new doctor ordered x-rays.  And they revealed----a broken ulna AND radius (the two bones in the forearm) above the wrist--high enough to require a full arm cast.
(Don't be fooled by the above picture: having a cast is no fun.  Four weeks of no participating in gym class or just about anything fun at recess, having to bag up one's arm just to take a shower, having to have someone else tie your shoes, having to endure countless itches that one cannot scratch.... )
The boy is NOT liking all the attention.
Neither the mother nor the father have ever suffered from broken limbs, nor had any of their siblings.   
The mother can't believe her son had a broken arm for eleven days before she did anything about it.  Definitely mother-of-the-year award material for sure. :(

Monday, March 11, 2013

Time for a post!

I feel like posting a random blog post.  Just me and my random thoughts--enjoy (or don't), but I am!

1. Child #5 is doing pretty good with the addition of his new sister (#6).  And, he destroyed a crib mattress, because he can't get enough of jumping in the crib.  So, a few weeks ago, we took away the crib.  He still isn't used to the toddler bed and we usually find him sleeping on the floor.  And, he kept waking up early.  Not cool.  So, we put him in the pack n' play--where he can't jump and he's contained.  And he returned to his normal sleep pattern.  This won't work for much longer because he is a big boy and looks quite cramped in the pak n' play.  Oh well--we'll take it for now!
I tried pinning his comfort object, the blanket, to the sheet and this is how he fell asleep--still not wanting to sleep in the bed :). 

2.  In case you hadn't heard, my 6 year cell-phone hiatus ended in December when my husband gave me one for a Christmas gift.  It serves as the home phone, too.  You may have noticed I'm on facebook a lot more than usual, but that's because there's only so many things one can do when one is nursing a newborn.

3. After 5 months, since my last haircut, I finally found a good stylist, here, and went in for an appointment.  We decided a little more razoring was in order and *voila* I am instantly more funky!  My kids were full of compliments and praise.  The best was my oldest, "Wow--Mom!  Your hair is just!  It looks like you're going to punch somebody!"  Aw yes--just the look I'm going for--ha, ha!

4. We live right next to a creek trail and we see people running, biking, and walking all the time.  I long to be out there running (we go on walks a lot).  Every spring I get a nervous excitedness inside me and want to run in track meets.  This is in my blood--every spring I feel this way and I attribute it all to having run track for 6 years in junior high and high school.  Looking forward to being a track coach one of these days!

5. My friend shared this site on her blog, and I thought it was great!

Doing some of these make all the difference in the world to me, particularly: wear your pretty clothes, breaking self-care habits down into one a day, and making plans and rejoicing in simple accomplishments.

Getting up a few minutes early to ensure that I'm showered, dressed as nicely as possible (still losing some baby flab), hair fixed, and a little foundation and blush on and I can take a second to look in the mirror and know that I can tackle the day.

6. Speaking of accomplishing something:  #4 turned 7 last week and on his birthday the baby took a really long morning nap and during that time I was able to bake his cake, make dinner, sweep and mop the floor, wrap his birthday gifts, hang up a couple of pictures, and play and read to #5.  It was a great feeling--especially getting the floor mopped.  I celebrated by taking a nap in the afternoon when #5 and #6 napped :).  With a new baby, it really is one-day-at-a-time survival!
Money talks to this kid.

7. #1 got new glasses that we both think make her look older--what do you think?

8. So, they're not left out: #3 proudly displaying the first lizard he's every caught completely on his own:

9. #2's entire class has been busy with state projects for the past month.  They were each assigned a state and had to research it quite thoroughly, write a 6-8 page report, create a powerpoint presentation, and make a state float.  Here's to the Granite State!

10. Here's #6 with her wonderful dad.

11.  Some day I hope to blog about: specific choir songs, over the years, that have touched me deeply and 6-children-tested tips that have worked for me over the years.




Tuesday, February 12, 2013

It's happening...

So, I've come to a point in my life where I can say I'm seeing the beginning and end of things, and it is strange.

Just in the past few months, events are unfolding that quite justifyingly label me as "old."  (At least, they are things that I would associate with being middle-aged).  It is weird, because it is happening to me.  So weird.

As you already know, we moved to CA (3rd time's a charm!) for my husband's new position with a company he has helped get started.  He has wanted to "be his own boss" for a long time, and we saved up time, money, and resources to make it happen--and it is happening.  Being the child of a life-long duPont employee, where Uncle "Dupy" took care of us well, I was very scared of having a business.  Especially with so many failed attempts out there.  Still a bit unnerving, but exciting to see where it is taking my husband--the sky is the limit for him!  He deserves it!  And it's weird and I feel old that I can look back at where we were 15 years ago and see how far, far, FAR we have come.  (And, to realize that in 15 more years we will have only 2 of our 6 children still at home and will be grandparents, several times over, most likely).   Even more strange is how FAST I feel like 15 years has gone by.

Another reason I feel old, my husband just received a stake calling (callings are service opportunities where individuals give of their time, for free, for bettering the Lord's kingdom, by helping others).    In our church, we are organized geographically for meeting purposes and each unit is called a ward (or branch, if it is smaller).  Several wards/branches are organized into a stake.  When I was a kid, the older people seemed to have stake callings And, now that's us.  So, weird.

My husband has had a goal, for a few years now, to become licensed as an amateur radio operator (HAM), you know, to be handy in emergency situations.  There is a senior missionary couple, both with the most advanced amateur licenses, here in our stake, that have been teaching HAM and getting people licensed for a good part of their mission.  A new class started up at the beginning of this year.  My husband wanted to go for it.  Thinking that I'd like to be able to communicate and help out in emergencies, I asked him if it'd be okay if I signed up, too.  He thought it was great!

It's a 6-week course, class held once a week.  Then you take the test.  Realizing that our baby would probably come before the course had ended, we were able to go to Oakland and take the licensing exam there a few weeks ago.  This meant we had to both study the manual, ahead of schedule, and take practice exams.  I haven't had to study for a test in some 13 years (since I graduated from college).  And, I procrastinated.  And, that meant cramming.  And that meant that I ended up acing the test (yeah--see  My husband passed too, though not a perfect score, and he was steadily studying like a good student should.

Already, you are thinking, "HAM radio?!  Like truckers en route with radio to face and saying something like 'This is FR5WH calling T7SSP....'" Yeah, something like that.  We have our technician licenses and we have radios.  Though this is more of a NERDY thing, it still feels like something older people get in to--you know, people who don't have a life.  Oh my.  But, seriously--I want to help out in an emergency.  Actually, I hope there is never an emergency. Still, I want to be prepared....  Again--OLD!

And, lastly....I just had our 6th child.  Hullo--slap me in the face--SIX?!?  Yowsers.  I have six children.  And, this mommy is getting old.  Her older kids test her mental strength now more than ever.  Having a newborn is cake compared to having to help with homework after school (x's 4).  And so, this is it.  My baby's "firsts" will be my "lasts."  Every milestone she reaches will be bittersweet for me--sweet successes for her, yet sad "goodbyes" for me.  It's that time in my life--I never thought it would come.  Yet, here it is.  And, I don't feel old enough for it.

So, yes, yes, I'm getting older.  Hard to believe it.  I don't plan on letting it get me down and gaining a bunch of weight and getting lazy--oh no!  Just something that I have to chew on for a bit, digest it, and move on, and of course--make it look awesome :). 

How are you feeling older?  Share your insight; it's a bit therapeutic.  And, by the way--thanks for reading my aging thoughts....


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Winner....

Here are all the name submissions (submitted here, on facebook, and/or my private family website):

Mazy Grace

Thanks to all who participated!  My favorite, and one that my husband and I coincidently had even considered before this contest, was "Cadence."*

Congratulations, Matthew!  Chocolate coming your way!  You can share with your wife if you want ;)!

*If you'd like to know the name that we actually named my new daughter than please send me an email:


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Contest Time!!!

Hey, you lucky reader--you came at the right time!  Baby #6 is on her way and I'm interested in your girl name suggestions.  The rules are simple, should you choose to participate:

1. I have to personally know you.  Since this is not a private blog, anyone can read it, even strangers (eek).  So, if I don't know you--sorry--it's a no go!

2. One entry per person.  Leave your suggestion in the comments.

3. Entries should not start with the letters: A, E, G, K, or R. I'm trying to give all my kids different initials. However, if you really think I'd love a name starting with one of those letters listed above than you may list it...

4. If at all possible, please list not only the name, but also it's origin and meaning.

**Contest stays open 'til she's born--some time in February, most likely. I will pick my favorite submission at that time.

***The winner will receive this 1 pound box of See's Gold Fancy chocolates and quite possibly the honor of having named my child. I'll for sure pick my favorite name--just no guarantee that I'll use it. You know, I'm the mom--I can do that sort of thing, 'cause I'm the mom :).