21 July 2014

Idol Worship and Ladybug Toes

A few days ago, I had a thought.

I don't play with my kids enough.  I read to them, I talk with them, but I don't get down and dirty and play with them.  I think it mostly stems from my aversion to messes.  And the kids tendency to create them.

So today, when Faye wanted to play beauty parlor, I didn't bat an eye.  She wanted me to pain her toes like a lady bug, so I did.  Then she returned the favor.

I love it.

She then wanted to paint finger nails.  She picked out the polish, got me comfortable on the floor, watching My Little Pony, and then she proceeded to paint.  Lime green.  With sparkles.  I am genuinely surprised with how well they turned out!  I never would have put those two colors together, but she did, and it isn't half bad!  She then had me paint her fingernails blue, and then go over it with hot pink.  Which made me internally chuckle because she didn't quite realize neither of those colors is a good one for going over the top of another color.  But she rocked it proudly, and showed everyone her funny looking, almost-purple-but-not-quite fingernails.  She later informed me this will be a daily practice.  I told her that would be fine, but she might have to wait for the nail polish to wear off first.

That alone would have made today one of the best days ever, but seriously, I have been so spoiled today! As you already know, my little brother was letting my borrow his piano as he didn't want to put it in storage while he was getting to move, and I desperately wanted a piano.  Sadly, his impending departure is this week.  We are all very sad about it.  And I didn't want to admit this to anyone, but I was very sad he was leaving, and felt guilty for not wanting to say goodbye to the piano as well.  But then, the stars aligned, and some kind of voodoo magic was at play.

I must have been a good girl.

Jeffrey bought me a piano.

It is a cabinet piano.

I must have been a very good girl!

You see, cabinet pianos are my favorite.  They always have been.  I like how imposing and stately they are.  And the sound.  Have you heard the sound?  Because of their height, cabinet pianos have incredible sound.

As does mine.  Because it is an old player piano that was gutted of the player pieces.  Aka, cabinet.

After work today, Jeffrey picked up a piano dolly from a rental place.  We recruited some friends and my father, and set about moving my dream piano from the seller's forgotten garage to center stage of my living room.

It was a nail biting experience, that is for sure.

At one point, the 800 pound piano was off the ramp and the guys were afraid they were going to drop it.

They didn't, which is good because I am not sure we could have stayed friends.

It may have been a bit heavier than anticipated.

But I don't think there are words that can express my gratitude for all their help.

And so, for the past two hours, I have lovingly scrubbed and oiled up the old wood on my new baby.  I found a wad of chewed up gum on one of the legs, and it didn't even phase me.  It may have made me love my piano all the more.

I had to gush to someone about this lovely old thing, and so texted a friend with lots of details about my new love.  She jokingly responded that love like that is called idol worship.

I laughed 


Because, it makes music, and it is my own, and it is an antique!  Three of my most favorite things right there. The lady we got it from didn't know the year it was made, but she thinks it is around a century old. Which wouldn't surprise me a whole lot.

This piano has real ivory and ebony keys.

Which makes me feel a little sad because elephants are my favorite animal ever, but at the same time, it leaves me with a feeling of connectivity to the past.  I feel like some pretty serious jazz could have been coaxed out of these keys once upon a time.

But in secret, because the original owner of the piano was a church.  

And jazz was evil.

Somebody, pinch me.  I must be dreaming!

But wait, there's more!

I currently have 2 pianos in my living room.  Anyone want to come jam out some Mannheim Steamroller with me?  Or any other 2 piano song?  Because those are the most fun to play, and this is a very rare and unique opportunity I have for only 3 days more.

I just have to say, my husband is the best ever.  In the past I had no less than 5 guys promise to buy me a piano.  Jeffrey is the only one who came through, and he never even promised.  Take that infatuated guys in high school!

It must be love.

20 July 2014

Faith Healing

Another day spent lounging around, keeping off my feet and off my back.

Highlights of the day consisted of teaching Beth how to play with the Jack in the Box.  Once she figured it out, she sat on my lap and we played with it for nearly an hour straight.  It was delightful.  Her anticipation and squeals every time it popped open, the slight tremor that went through her body when she was surprised, and the continual eagerness to try again.

A new book arrived in the mail today.  A book for Faye.  I told her that when I was little my mom called me the Little Mommy because she said I was always eager to take care of my younger siblings and be a little mother to them.  When I told that to Faye, she decided that is what she wanted to do as well, and ever since has been an amazing helper.

I love that girl.

So when I saw this book
I couldn't resist.

Firstly, it is an old Little Golden Book with gorgeous artwork.  I collect those.  I am trying to gather all of the Eloise Wilken books because her artwork is my favorite.  I love the chubby little children she draws.  They make my happy.  Back to the book, though.  It is lovely!  It is all about a little girl being a mother to her dolls.  Which Faye wants to copy.  Between that book and We Help Mommy (an Eloise Wilken illustrated book),

I am set.  Faye wants to help me all the live long day when we start out the day with those books. Glory be! I love the positive influence of these books, and even more than that, I love that she loves to pretend to be a little mommy so much!

Faye and I read her books for a while on my bed, and then when she hurried out to be a little mommy and help Jeffrey, I got drowsy and tried to take a nap.

Fail on the nap.  I kept getting texts from people, and little feet running up and down the hallway, doors slamming, squealing, laughing, and the usual sounds of a happy Saturday morning.  While I was trying to convince my mind to turn off enough to sleep, a solution to a problem I have been working on since May popped into my head.  I was so excited, I had to get up.  I am going to have to say, that was 100% inspiration and none of it came from me. But I am so very glad to finally have a solution to the problem that I have been mulling over in the back of my mind for nearly 3 months now.  Yay!

Another highlight of my nearly bed-ridden day: Salvation in the form of a cousin.  Jerian is going to be teaching at a school near my house.  She asked me to save some baby food jars for her, so I have been, but kept forgetting to take them to her.  She learned about my burn and so brought me some melaleuca oil, which she said penetrates the burn and begins healing from the inside out.  
It works, guys!  I had been staying off my feet, resting, guzzling water like a camel, and slathering aloe vera oil on my burn like it was going out of style.  None of that seemed to be having much of an immediate effect, but I kept on, religiously, hoping that it was helping, and I would be worse off had I not been doing all that fun stuff.  Now I ask you, why has no one introduced me to the wonders of melaleuca before today? Seriously?  I thought aloe vera was the only thing that fixed burns.  I am so glad that I learned this, and that Jerian shared her oil with me.

I feel like I was just healed by a Benny Hinn and I can walk again.  I want to testify it to the world, melaleuca works!  

I can walk!  

I have faith!

This miracle oil took out the bed-ridden part of my day, Hallelujah!

I was able to take my kids to my mom's house, who was watching my brother's kids for a few days. Apparently Keith's cousin told his mom he would only go to grandma's house if "that Keith boy" was there, because he was a lot of fun.  
So fun.  His peeling sunburned face says it all.
I am so glad they are such great friends.  If only they lived closer.  We played there, made rice krispy treats, and the kids got so excited and riled up for having been with their cousins again.  I even let Beth have a go at feeding herself.  

She did it like a champ.  

I am happy to report, just because my day started out a little sad and stuck in bed, it was a luscious day anyway.

18 July 2014

The Epic Battle

This morning was simply lovely.  I am weaning Beth right now, so I need to get going on breakfast early in the morning for her.  My bigger kids tend to fend for themselves, whether I want them to or not.  But this morning, I was up bright and early, making breakfast with Faye.  Actually, she made it, I just instructed her on how to do it while I gave the baby some sweet potatoes. By the time the baby had finished her food, the oatmeal was ready as was the toast and strawberry jam.  Because what goes better with hot oatmeal than freezer jam on toast and butter?  Yummy!  Apparently Beth thought so, too, because I may have gotten two or three bites of my oatmeal away from the bottomless pit before the baby consumed it all.  At least I got the toast.  She doesn't have teeth enough to bite it off yet.  After completely surprising me with that, I let her play in her high chair while the kids and I cleaned the kitchen and then chopped up vegetables to go into the crockpot for dinner.  And then Beth got sleepy and I put her down for her nap.  I love that she finally goes down so easily, now.  No more fussing and screaming or power struggles.  She lays her head down and almost immediately goes to sleep.

Luckily I remembered that she had her eye appointment, so I made plans for the big kids to be watched by their grandmother while I took Beth to have her eye pressure gauged.  

Beth slept on.

I decided Keith was in dire need of a hair cut, and being the impatient person that I am, decided to go ahead and do it myself.

He now hates me.

Honestly, it isn't my favorite haircut for him.  I like the top a lot longer, and so does he.  But I couldn't bear to see him sweating so much beneath that rug of hair he keeps on top of his head.  It is so thick, there was no room for him to cool off.  And yet somehow he still managed to burn his scalp when we were at Bear Lake. Go figure.  

After an epic battle, profuse begging and finally pulling the mean mom card, I eventually got his hair cut.  I only messed up in one spot, behind his ear, because he had to jerk his head away while I was trying to trim it. When I finally finished, he rushed to the mirror and stood still, looking at himself.  His face was red from the sunburn and swollen from the crying and screaming he had been doing.  He was all sweaty from fighting to get away, and so was covered in an itchy layer of hair.  Before he looked in the mirror he had decided to hate it, but seeing it in that light, I can't say that I blame him.  Not that it looked bad, because it doesn't.  But when my face is blotchy from screaming and crying, and when I am covered in hair and feel that awful, I become obstinate and disagreeable about everything.  Even things I normally like.  I am sure that is how he felt. After gazing at his reflection for a few moments, he let out a wail and ran into the living room, flinging himself onto the couch.

"I hate it.  I look so uuuuuuuggggggglllllllyyyyyyyy! I don't look like myself.  I look like someone else.  Someone ugly!" He howled.  I tried to comfort him, but he would not be comforted.  And so I gave up.  I offered him a hat, which he accepted grudgingly, and then it was time to wake up the baby (who miraculously slept through the kerfuffle, and we headed out for the doctor. (Keith refused to let me take a picture of it.)

Beth was an absolute angel at the doctor's office.  She charmed the socks off everyone with her waving and "Hiiiii."  She grinned and tried to walk, and made everyone smile and laugh at her happy nature.  

After the doctor told me her eyes look great, the pressure is great and that we can wait another few months before a return visit, we met my family at Chili's for adult visit time.  Beth was the only child privliged enough to come.

Once again, Beth shocked me.  I ordered a bowl of macaroni and cheese for her, intending to share it with her, and she ate the whole thing!  I scooped it onto a plate for her and she happily grabbed handfuls of noodles and slurped them up.  She waved a sticky yellow hand at all the servers as they passed and kept us thoroughly entertained throughout our visit.

But when I got home from all of this traveling about, I learned a sad truth.  My burn is not quite healed and I think I over did it.  My legs and feet are incredibly swollen.  I asked Uncle Google what the problem is and apparently I have a second degree burn.  Yikes!  And so, I have spent the rest of the evening cuddling my children with my feet up, sending positive energy and commands down to my feet to stop swelling.  I fed Beth and when she finished eating, she curled up on my chest, giving me a big hug and closed her eyes.  It was the sweetest thing ever!  I stroked her hair, hummed her lullaby, and then put her in her bed.  After, I went back to putting my feet up when Faye began to call me from her room.  She watched Toy Story 3 today and it scared her.  She was crying.  So she came and joined me on my bed, cuddling with me until she, too, fell asleep.  

I love when bedtime can be so sweet.  I know they wont always want to cuddle with me, so I embrace it as much as I can now.  

17 July 2014

The Bear Lake Monster sunburn

When I was a kid we would vacation at Bear Lake.  My grandparents had a cabin and a trailer there that they would let us stay in and it was always the highlight of the summer, until they sold it. Yesterday I got to take my kids there with my family, and we had so much fun!

We left early in the morning, wanting to spend as much time as we could up there.  The drive was heavenly, as always.  I sure miss the mountains.  Driving through the canyon, seeing the bright wildflowers dotting the mountain, the brilliant green carpeting everything, and the intoxicating smell of fresh air and dirt avalanched memories and the same excitement I got when I was a kid driving through that canyon.  Breathtaking is what it was!  Especially the anticipation of getting that first blue glimpse of the lake.  Because Bear Lake is always so blue and inviting like an old friend.

We spent the morning playing in the shockingly warm water.  I have never felt it so warm in all the years we went up there.  Beth was like a fish in the water.

Once she eased herself in, she didn't want to get out.  Keith decided he could swim (thank heavens for the life jacket!) and went as deep as he could go before an adult sent him back to the shallow water.  Again and again and again.  He practically stayed in the water the whole time, emerging once for food and diving back in again immediately.

And Faye, as usual, was all over the place.  She surprised me by being afraid of the water and wouldn't go very deep.  I tried to teach her how to let her life jacket do all the work, but it terrified her.  Which is complete opposite of the last time we went swimming and she didn't have a life jacket and kept trying to go into the deep end.  Silly girl.

We applied sunscreen liberally, a few times, sand sticking to us everywhere, smelling like coconut and chemical.  The kids played on the paddle boards, and my brother in law rented a jet ski.  I entertained the shallow end dwellers with stories of the Bear Lake Monster while we made drip sand castles and mermaid tails.

It was an absolute day, complete with Le Beau's raspberry shakes for the drive home, a drive equally beautiful and welcoming.

When we got home, I learned a sad truth.

My sunscreen doesn't work.  Not on this fair Scandinavian skin.  The kids and I are all sporting funny sunburns, but Faye's takes the cake.

Not wanting to get the sunscreen in her eyes, I missed the spot around her eyes.  And so she has a backwards sunglasses burn.  Just around her eyes got burned, no where else on her face.  And then her arms and legs are looking rather lobstery.  Only Keith's face was burned as that was the only part of his body showing.

The rest was submerged the whole time.  Beth got just a little pink around her cheeks and nose, blending in perfectly with her cute little red spot.  And then there was me.

Despite three separate applications of sunscreen, I burned the most and the worst.

I cannot walk today.  The crease where my foot and leg attach is burned and walking is excruciating.  Forget sleep.  The back of my legs are burned as is a lot of my back.  The front part of my legs were completely fried.  Touch of any type, including from the blankets causes searing pain.  It has made for an interesting day today, I tell you what!

Despite the sunburns, it was such a lovely time with my family.  I wouldn't trade it for the world.  Well, perhaps the sunburns.  Those we could do without.

13 July 2014

Christmas in July

By the end of the game, there were 14 people crammed onto this little bed.

This whole month is like a Christmas in July for me.  At some point or another this month all of my siblings will be in town.  I have reserved the whole month for fun!  Yesterday we got to go to a family reunion.  It was full of cousins and aunts and uncles and lots of food and craziness, as they always are.  By the end of the night we were all fairly exhausted.  I left early (around 10:20) to get Jeffrey a surprise from his favorite burger joint before they closed.  I had dropped the kids off with him around 8:00 pm and he stayed home to get them to bed.  When I got home with the goods, we snuggled in bed sharing a pastrami burger, fries, and the most incredible fry sauce; made from mouth watering dreams.  While we ate we watched silly Youtube videos of carrot eating hamsters and Houdini copying honey badgers and we laughed until we couldn't see from the tears pouring out of our eyes, salting our food.  Delicious!

Today after church we all met at my parent's house to watch World Cup.  So sad that Argentina didn't win, though I wasn't all that surprised.  But sitting in my brother and sister in law's room (they are staying there until they move in 2 weeks), everyone squished in around the "Double Decker Couch" aka the bunk beds reminded me of growing up.  Not that we ever did that as kids, but the closeness was there, our love for the game and the joy of sharing it with each other bound us closer together, which is a good thing, because we all live a couple thousand miles away from each other.

Keith and Faye have been delirious with fun and lack of sleep and cousin/best friend overload.  Beth has been having a lot of fun with her cousin Samantha, as well.  It will be awfully quiet and lonely when they are all gone again.  Today there were 21 people trying to navigate their way around my parent's small house, and that isn't even all of us!  It sure would be nice to have everyone there at the same time, though.  The last time that happened was in 1999 when my oldest brother got married.  Since then there have been many more additions to the family and it just seems to get harder and harder with each new baby born.  Maybe next year the stars will align and we will all be in the same place at the same time.  So close this year.  One brother was just two weeks off.

We are so excited for the adventures to come for the next couple of weeks!

*** Update: Beth still hasn't committed to walking yet.  She doesn't like to practice, it is too much bother when she can get someone to carry her by scrunching up her little nose and making the universal baby grunt for "up." She did take 4 steps today, so she is slowly increasing her steps.  Maybe by January she will have added enough to get across the room.  Funny lazy baby!

06 July 2014

Plumber's Room

Independence Day.

What a great day. 

It was such a lovely lazy day.  We ran some errands in the morning and then wound our way over to Jeffrey's favorite burger joint.  We took the burgers to the Tardis park and enjoyed an afternoon playing in a completely deserted park.  

Keith needed to use the bathroom, so we pointed it out to him.  He walked over to it, and turned around and walked back.

"There isn't a boys bathroom there." he announced, eagerly looking toward the bushes.  

Jeffrey and I exchanged a look, knowing what he was hinting at, and I offered to show him where it was.  I took his hand, and we headed over to the bathrooms.  

"See?  There isn't a boy's bathroom." he said pointing to the doors.

There was a sign on the women's door.  On the men's door, someone had removed the sign and a picture was drawn on the door.

"That's the boy's bathroom, Keith." I pointed out to him.  

"No it isn't, that is the plumber's room."

What a funny boy!  He was happy to relieve himself.

We had some friends over for a barbecue which was lovely as always.

We like things a little flame-broiled, I guess.  Bacon wrapped hot dogs tend to drip a lot of grease which flames like apparently.  But so long as you remove them from the flame, it gets an incredible flavor.
Saturday we were relaxing and recovering from a late night when I found out about a visit from some Princesses.  We jumped into the van and drove out to meet them.

Faye was in absolute heaven.  The whole way there she was bouncing in her seat, asking "Are we there yet? Why is it taking so long to get there?  Why aren't we there yet?  Are we ever going to get there?"  She was squealing and bouncing around when we got out of the van.  She practically dragged me to where they were. And then the princesses tried to talk to her.  

She hid behind me.  She became shy and timid.  The princesses tried to pull her out of her shell.  She smiled and giggled and when they tried to give her a "warm hug" she said "I can't.  We have to go now," and pulled me away.  As we were walking away, Faye whispered to me, "I wish we could have stayed longer.  Why did we have to leave so soon?"

Keith wasn't so thrilled.

This is why I love holiday weekends.  Surprising fun is just around the corner.

02 July 2014


We are not a gambling people.

But sometimes it is too hard not to.

Beth has been teasing us with one or two step walks lately.  We know it is just a matter of days before she is in full fledged walking mode.

While I am not eager to encourage her to walk (I remember how hard it is to keep them out of stuff once they have better and taller mobility), I am eager to help her grow developmentally.  And lets be real here, watching babies take their first steps is simply adorable!  Who wouldn't want to watch and encourage that?

Beth has been tenacious.  She falls no less than a million times a day.  The second she falls, she pushes herself back up and tries again.  Sometimes she falls on purpose and then laughs like crazy, probably full well knowing the anticipation she is building in all of us.

And so, after watching this go on for a few days, with her taking one to two steps to whet our anticipation, we have done what all sane humans do.

We have resorted to gambling.

We all chose a day when we think Beth will walk across the room with no help.  For an adult, it is about 3 steps from one chair to the other.  For Beth it will most likely be more than that, and we figure that will be good enough to consider her walking.

The bets are in.

Keith said July 4th.
Faye said July 5th.
Jeffrey said July 6th.
I said July 7th.

The winner gets to do whatever they want for a night.

Faye will probably chose something like painting her fingernails, a tea party, or watching My Little Pony. Keith will probably chose Mine Craft, Legos, or playing Chess with his Dad.  Jeffrey said he wants a hermit night, meaning a night when I take the kids to my parent's house or somewhere leaving him in the peace and quiet of the house for a few hours.  I want a date.

I am withstanding the urge to not let Beth practice walking right now, though, just so I will win.  That seems to be cheating, though, and I can't live with that as I hate it when people cheat.  Sigh.

The bets are in.

Now we wait.