Saturday, August 31, 2019

Plugging along at the speed of light

August 14 marked the first day of school for my 3 big kids. It is so weird to lump Beth in the "big kids" category, but since she is in all day school now, I suppose that is where she must be. She is now in 1st grade, and she is loving it. Faye told me that Beth has a talent for making friends with everyone, and that makes my heart incredibly happy. She is such a good girl, that Beth. Faye has entered the 4th grade and her teacher is one of my favorites at their school. I was so excited when she was assigned to that teacher! She is doing well. Her best friend from last year who was a very bad influence and called her cuss words all the time is in a different class, and that relieves me to no end! She has made a new friend named Emma, and that girl seems to be a nice sort of girl, without calling her names and being mean to her. Keith is now the king of the school as a 6th grader! Oh how time flies! He began at their school the very first year it was open and this makes it a rather big year for him and the school. One complete set of kids has gone through for a whole elementary school experience. We love their school so much! Keith is happy because his two best friends, Daniel and Asher are in his class. Yesterday they made Egyptian death masks, and Keith is currently writing a report on Mesopotamia. He wasn't thrilled when he was assigned a civilization he had never heard of before, but once he and I talked about it, he seemed to calm down. When I went to the library and brought home some books on the matter for him, he was even more excited. He learned that they are basically Babylon, and they preceded and then were included in the Byzantine empire. I love so much that he loves to learn.

I have been quite enjoying my time with just the two little boys at home. We have been having fun going to the nature center, or parks, and just enjoying things in general. The house is surprisingly much cleaner now! I am able to really love on and spoil them, which makes my heart both happy, and full of guilt at the same time, because I was never able to do that with Beth. Keith and Faye got a lot of it, but because I was babysitting basically since I moved into this house, Beth never got that experience.

Onyx our dog is Keith's absolute favorite in the whole world. And yet, he was a super naughty dog. He was constantly running away, and he thought it was a game. He also hated other dogs. I have been taking him to dog training for the past 9 months, but nothing seems to work with him. He isn't barking at the fence anymore, at the neighbor dogs, even though they bark at him. That is a huge improvement! Because we are tearing out our deck this weekend, I asked Tony the dog trainer if he could watch Onyx for the weekend. He said yes. When I dropped Onyx off at the shelter where Tony's wife works, she really laid into me about what a bad family we are, and how Onyx has serious anxiety issues because of us. It broke my heart! Jeffrey and I talked it over, and we decided it would be better for him, if we found him a new family to live with. A family who could actually take the time to train him so that he wouldn't attack other dogs. Telling Keith was one of the hardest things I have ever done. He was very good and understanding about it, but he cried all the rest of the afternoon. I just checked on him, and he is crying in his sleep. I am so sad for him! When I told the other kids this morning that Onyx wasn't coming back home, Faye's first reaction was "How are we going to tell Keith?!?" She is such a sweet girl to think of her brother like that. I have to admit, I am really missing that dumb dog, too. But I would rather he be happy and safe than us have to put him down because he attacks more dogs.

I think that is about it now. All caught up. Life is just plugging along at the speed of light. It is really hard to actually realize how much goes on when I don't record it. But things are so crazy busy that I don't have time to record. At any rate, I am sure I will eventually find time to do the things I love, like blog, or go hiking, etc.

Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The Think Seat

A week ago Sunday I came home from church to discover that the toilet seat had been cracked. The story behind it is a little vague, ranging from blaming it on daddy, to the dog climbing on it, to ninjas while we were at church... the longer I listened to the reasons, the more fantastical the stories became. My children are amazing when it comes to figuring out how things came to be. They may not be very accurate, but they sure are entertaining! The fact of the matter remained, however, that we needed to buy a new toilet seat, or be brutally pinched every time anyone had a "think session" in the bathroom.

Check! Toilet seat arrived, I installed it, and we all went along our merry way. We got a fancy-schmancy potty training seat with a slam proof lid so hopefully that will prevent any future cracked seat problems. Just in case it wasn't actually done by ninjas while we were at church. I like to cover all my bases.

And so imagine my shock when just this past Sunday, as in 3 days ago, my same toilet that has had a new seat for just a few days, suddenly started malfunctioning. As in the water began rising instead of draining. It was very much an "Oh crap" moment because it was 2 in the morning. But it didn't go over the edge and it went back down and Jeffrey grabbed the plunger and said that he fixed it so we went back to sleep.

The next morning the 2 am fiasco had been forgotten about and Jeffrey went along his merry way and 6 people cannot feasibly share 1 bathroom so my bathroom was once again in use. This time we were not so lucky, and the plunger, try as I might, would not fix it.

I googled "Proper Ways to Plunge a Toilet" to no avail. In case you need a plumber, according to some backwater internet University, I am fully qualified. My degree will arrive in 3-5 weeks, as soon as my $19.95 clears. I called on my memories of 4 years as a custodian at a Junior High school for my after school job when I was a teenager. I plunged and snaked plenty of toilets back then. Or coerced my friend Jory to do it for me. Ahem. Thanks Jory! But none of those toilets prepared me for this. My two little critters, My Twin Tornadoes did such a thorough job, I had to actually call my dad, and we had to remove the toilet and use pliers to get that giant jeep
 out of the bend of the toilet. Because the just wanted to prove, once and for all, that jeeps really can go anywhere you want them to go. It was really gross, and after two weeks I am just so happy to have a decent normal working toilet back!

It's the little things, you know?

It's the little people who cause the little things even more, though, you know?

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

My Lost Wedding Ring... Replaced?

I have never been much of a jewelry person. My problem was that I was always too bored. I would just get tired with it and wouldn't want to wear the same thing all the time, and couldn't imagine wearing the same ring or the same necklace all the time. The thought of a wedding that was the same ring for the rest of my life was ghastly dull to me, but I figured I would deal with it when I came to that bridge.

12 years ago the love of my life asked me to marry him. He gave me the most beautiful ring I have ever seen. It was a ring I would never get tired of wearing. I loved looking at it, because it reminded me how much he loved me. It always made me smile. I wore it daily and only took it off at night, to sleep. I had many adventures with my small family and that ring. Keith joined the family, and Faye joined that family. We moved into a friend's house while he went overseas. One night I placed that most beautiful ring on the counter and went to bed. My three year old Keith woke up in the morning, went into the bathroom, picked up that precious emblem of our love, decided that it was ugly, and flushed it down the toilet.

I cried.

A lot.

Since that time I have been on the search for a replacement wedding ring. I have gone through so many rings. And the replacement rings have gone through the same cycle that all other rings in my life have gone through. I have liked them for about 3 weeks, and then really hated them after that. For every single one of them. The above picture might be the only picture I have that actually has a picture of my original ring. I loved that ring so much.

And then, as luck would have it, I stumbled across the exact ring I have been searching for, for the past eight years, and I am ecstatic! It is dainty, it is simple, and it is naturey, which is exactly what I have been hunting for and discarding for so many years. I don't even care if there are real diamonds or not, because one of the kids might just flush it down the toilet or do something like that, so it doesn't have to be diamonds, cubic zirconium is just fine in my book. or even glass. I don't care. The point is, I finally have a gorgeous ring that makes me happy just to look at it. I plan to keep this ring on for the rest of forever, or until a child loses it, anyway. The only sad part is, it is a super cheap ring, and will tarnish, and turn my finger green, and I will love it anyway. Maybe one day we can have a slightly classier version made.


In other news, Vince and Kip have really become best buds lately, and it is quite heartwarming to see. Of course, that does mean that my home has become a constant Wrestlemania, and there is a permanent musk of eau de little boy sweat about 3 feet high following behind me all day long. Vince makes me laugh. He is the epitome of a Norman Rockwell little boy drawing. shirtless, shoe less, pockets full of treasures, loves squishing and catching bugs, and will sped the whole live long day outside if I would let him, and sometimes even if I don't let him, he finds ways to do just that regardless. Today we were cleaning and there was a knock at the door. It was Vince. No one knew he was outside. He had wandered away, and then found his way back home. What a huge blessing! He was scared when he got back home, and I was even more scared when I found out he had been outside and no one knew he had been gone! We have a chain on the door to prevent him from wandering off, but I guess I had forgotten to lock it when I had come back in today. We cuddled on the couch until he fell asleep. Not a fun thing to experience. My heart was both ice and racing like someone about to be caught in a lie. Like I said, Vince is my mischievous child. Kip on the other hand is my little cupid. I don't call him that because he is a matchmaker. I call him that because he has those darling curls all over his head, those gorgeous eyes, and he has just decided that he can't be bothered with diapers, and so he runs around the house naked. He will remove his own pants and diapers, and will run around hooting and hollering, and enjoying the feel of the sun and the wind on his skin. The wonderful bonus of this is he might be fully potty trained before Vince is!

Vince is fully capable of being potty trained. In my defence, it is very difficult to potty train when babysitting lots of other children, especially when they are little girls, and my main method of potty training is doing what I am doing for Kip. Letting them run around commando until they figure it out. I'm all about the no stress method. My family is getting a little tired of slipping in puddles, but I just laugh and clean it up. It doesn't bother me at all.

I am loving how Vince and Kip are becoming best friends, though. They were watching a show on my bed today, and I looked over and Vince was very insistent on holding Kip's hand. My mama heart melted just a little in that moment.

I really should write so much more, but I am so very tired. Life gets too busy. Keith is 11. He is starting 6th grade. I can't even believe that. It feels like a mistake to write that, but I suppose it is true. Wow! He received the Aaronic Priesthood on April 6th. He chose the date, and I thought that was pretty cool of him. He's an amazing kid, and really impresses me all the time. I will write more about him when I am not falling asleep, though. I could go on and on about that kid.

Faye is 9 and is going into 4th grade. She is my right hand, and I would be so lost without her, although I could seriously do without her attitude. It's an interesting mix. She is my biggest helper, and has the most amazing talent with helping little kids to do things that they need to be doing without crying, but she is beginning to get teenage rebellion, or teen angst, so she helps, but when she wants to help. I'm trying to figure out how to work around that. Right now there is a lot of jealousy for her little sister.

Beth is turning 6 this month and is quite the little princess and knows it and so milks it to her advantage. Because of this, it has been causing quite the rage from Faye this month. It will only work this month because of her birthday, though, so things should quiet down in a few weeks. Beth is going into first grade and I am super excited to not have my day interrupted in the middle with kindergarten pickup!

I think that is basically us for now.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Everyone Should Be So Lucky!

Last Wednesday Beth and I went for a Mommy date. She's turning 6 at the end of this month and Jeffrey thought it would be a really god idea if we spent some time bonding while she is still a little 5 year old.

We went to my favorite place to eat. It is a pupusaria disguised as a waffle place. I figured it would be a perfect place because I could have pupusas and Beth could have waffles and we could both have what we wanted. Everything went according to my cleverly thought out plan. She loved it and I got my favorite food. She chattered happily and we listened to the 60's music playing and she giggled while I sang along with the music, me proudly knowing all the words and cheesing up the head bobs and lip syncing. Because that is what you do when you are on a date with an almost 6 year old. You make them giggle their heart out and soak that music into your soul. She ordered eggs with her waffles and let me have some, and some of the yolk dripped onto my shirt.

Of course it did.

Yolk always finds its way onto my white shirts for some reason.

Since we were in the same parking lot we decided to stop at Walmart for some stain stick before heading on with our plans. Just so I wouldn't have to be embarrassed. We go distracted by all of the unicorn things that were there, though, and our plans completely derailed!  Beth found a BFF unicorn necklace and insisted we had to go around the corner and give the other half to her BFF , and I knew it would be down hill from there. Because her BFF's mom happens to be my BFF. I knew the implications of taking the necklace, and I was sad that it would derail the plans, but it was Beth's date, and so I was going to leave the decision up to her. They were her plans in the first place, anyway. We were going to go to a park, lay out a blanket and relax beneath a tree and just belong there and look, listen, and feel. We would feel the breeze and sun on our skin. We would hear the breeze and the sounds and the crickets and the kids playing, and maybe even the sound of the wind blowing through the trees. And we would look around and be still and simply look at all the things we could see. The colors and the textures and everything! Be still my heart, this five year old child of mine just described to me the perfect evening!

It was lovely to see our best friends and so was a nice trade off, but I still plan to absolutely take her to become one with nature just as soon as I can anyway.

Faye has been so jealous of Beth ever since then though. Well, before that, really, but this really sealed the deal on the jealousy. It really makes me sad. Before that, really, but it has come out in ugly force since that day. Because of that, last Tuesday Faye and I went on a date and had a frank discussion about how it is affecting her relationship with her sister. It wasn't pleasant. We went to the library which is always lovely, and then to the grocery store. I really have a love hate relationship with the fact that my girl is growing up, but it is inevitable. As my grandma used to point out, it would sure be horrible if they didn't. Grandma' have the best perspective! Faye and I picked  out a book that we thought would be fun to read together and we have been enjoying our day today reading it. She chose a really great book! I have been especially impressed with how seriously she has taken our conversation and how much better she has been with Beth after our talk. It hasn't completely fixed things, but it did help. Truth be told, Jeffrey really doesn't make things easy. He sees Beth as the middle child, and so he goes above and beyond and spoils her because he doesn't ever want her to feel forgotten or left out as the middle child, and in those efforts he makes the other kids feel forgotten and left out and not as important or loved, so it is sort of back firing and creating a lot of jealousy and bitterness... and Faye is doing a whole lot better with the whole circumstance. She is such a good girl, I really can't put it into words.

I think everyone should be so lucky as to have a Faye.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Darkness There and Nothing More

It was dark. Middle of the night dark.

It was quiet. Everyone sleeping kind of quiet.

I woke up to the sound of little feet tiptoeing across the wood hall floor, and into my room, across the room, and over to my side of the bed. A little hand reached up to find my waiting yet still mostly asleep hand, the body climbed into my bed, and we were both promptly in our dreams once again.

It was dark. Early hours of the morning dark.

It was a comfortable quiet. Everyone sleeping, and sweet gentle breathing sounds coming from Jeffrey and whichever little boy had climbed into my bed an hour or so earlier. 

I was awakened by the sounds of a door opening, little feet running across the wood hall floor, and into my room. Little feet found their way over to my side of the bed, and demanded assistance in climbing in, and then we were all asleep once more, albeit slightly more squished. But I was too tired and too much still asleep to care enough to do anything about it. I fell asleep with two little bodies squished up to me like a human Lycra body suit. 

It was dark. Still too early to be up kind of dark. 4 am kind of dark.

It was quiet and slightly claustrophobic in my bed, in my room.

I was yet again awakened by a ninja little girl, standing next to Jeffrey's side of the bed, demanding entrance. She insisted he scoot over half an inch (as that was all the space available) and let her get in the bed too. 

Jeffrey scoot over and let her in, and then she proceeded to talk to me in an exaggerated stage whisper. She wanted to tell me about her dream. Normally I would encourage her telling me about her dreams, but not when there are two extremely difficult to get back to sleep boys right next to her. Good gravy! Of course, exactly what I was trying to prevent came to pass. Sigh.

Beth continued to use her excellent stage whisper, and then followed a game of human whack a mole. First Vince and then Kip woke up. I tried to keep them asleep, but they sort of didn't listen to me. Jeffrey gave up and went to sleep on the couch because Beth had kept whispering that she was squished and didn't like my idea of going and getting into her bed. The bed that she had all to herself, that she didn't have to share with anyone, that bed, but apparently that suggestion was just ludicrous, in her opinion.  When Jeffrey was gone, Beth immediately scoot over, and sprawled. When I scooched Vince over so that I could move again, she was offended that he was encroaching on her space. As she complained, Vince sat up.

My windows have been open lately. All day long. The temperature has been spectacular lately. I have really enjoyed the cooling evening breeze coming in through my window while I sleep. I personally believe that it enhances my dreams, or makes them sweeter. Since the window was open, Vince sat up, and began gushing about the star he could see through the window.

"Look at that bright star, Mommy! Isn't it so cute?"

He continued on for a while, repeating himself, and being tired, and hyper and super excited all at once. He would lay his head on his pillow for a minute or so, and then pup up again to check on the light.

*** spoiler alert ***
There was no star that he could see through the window. It was actually my neighbor's back porch light. He was too tired to know the difference.

By this time Kip had awakened as well. I mean, he is the lightest sleeper of all my kids, how could he do otherwise? As Vince popped up to check on his star, Kip also sat up and exclaimed over the birdies he could hear outside. Yes, indeed, there were birds and crickets up and chirping.  Because the birds in our yard don't eat worms, they eat the silly crickets that get up with them at 4 crazy 30 in the morning!  I got up and closed the window so that distraction would be gone. I was super sad to no longer have the fresh breeze coming through, but it was worth it. Kip laid down, Vince laid down. Neither could see or hear their distractions. Except Beth...

Through all this time, Beth was learning about friction. She was loudly rubbing her hands together, making noises that got the little boys curious and popping their heads up again. Add to that the fact that somehow the binkis have disappeared! Gasp! So getting them to sleep was really difficult right then. Sigh. And now. Good heavens, nap time and bedtime tonight were difficult as well!

Finally, Finally! I got them all to sleep around 6:30 this morning. I finally got to go to sleep around 6:30. But guess what time Faye woke up? Yep. She woke up at 6:40. She came in and said good morning, and then I didn't see her again until 7:30 when she came in and took Kip from me so that I could sleep still longer. That girl is an absolute angel! I just love her to pieces and would be so lost without her. And oh so tired!

Needless to say, I had a very tired and unproductive day today. But it doesn't matter because it is now Summer time, and Keith and Faye were fantastic helps, and I was able to sleep. Hooray for summer!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

And Into the Forest I Go to Lose My Mind and Find My Soul

It is the end of an era, and I didn't even take any pictures.

Today was the very last day for me to babysit the three kids I have been watching since I was pregnant with Vince. He is now 3. I love those kids dearly, and am really going to miss them. I am also really going to love not worrying about Vince who wanders off (he did it again today, because the neighbor's toys are just so much more fun than ours!), and being able to really focus and help Beth with her reading. I dropped the ball last year and didn't help her as much as I should of, or really needed to. I was over-run with babies and little people, and just trying to survive. It dawned on me the other day, that I have just been in survival mode since I started babysitting. I have been surviving and hanging on as best I can, but I haven't really been living! I was just trying to get from moment to moment, feeling sad that I wasn't cherishing every moment, remembering when life was simpler and I could actually blog (because I really do miss blogging, I just don't have the time for it anymore!), and take my kids to fun places, and just enjoy being their mom!

I am not sure what the future holds, or if I will even be able to do any of that again. Maybe life has chugged along, and I was too busy running as fast as I could to catch up, that I missed the beauty along the track. I am going to be watching another friend's kids. This happened just last week. But it will only be for a few hours, 2 days a week, so I feel like I will still be able to actually focus on my kids, and be their mom. Also, it will only be two kids, instead of the three I have been watching. But again, I really am going to miss those little ones. They could be as sweet as syrup when they wanted to be.

I made cookies today. Both of the chocolate chip and the no bake variety. I also made a delicious roasted carrot soup for dinner. I spent basically the whole afternoon in the kitchen, and it was lovely. Subsequently I have learned that my children prefer the chocolate no bake cookies to any other type. Who knew? Weirdos. It was wonderful having the house full of delicious smells, and talking to Brynlee while I finished up with the grilled cheese sandwiches for our dinner.

Right now is a rare quiet moment, and I am so in love with it! The windows are open, and a spring drizzle just started up outside. The smells, oh the smells! It reminds me very much of autumn and that heavenly earthy spicy smell that intoxicates me and permeates the air. I love hearing the rain falling, too. The staccato on my roof, and the comfort of knowing that it isn't going to leak since we replaced it last October. And then the wind, coming in through my window, and seeming to suck out the old stank air, replacing it with life and living and tranquility. I just have to say, this moment is very nearly perfect! I would call it completely perfect f a little three year old wasn't curled up, one leg draped over my shoulder, and one draped over my lap. The boy just likes to be comfortable, I guess!

I wasn't babysitting every day, and so I was still able to do some fun things, it is true. Last week was the last week of school for my kids. I was going stir crazy, and so I took my kiddos to a lovely nature preserve... 3 days in a row. The workers commented that I must really love dank dreary days, because every day that we went happened to be drizzly and cool. Jacket weather. Which is actually my favorite, so, you can't go wrong there. We got muddy, and the little three loved stomping through the puddles!

I was torn. Should I let them experience the joy of puddle stomping? Or should I let them experience the comfort of having dry feet for our whole walk? We compromised and they stomped through puddles until I caught them and steered them around the puddles... at each and every puddle.

But oh, it was delightful, and I am scheming about taking them tomorrow again. Because it is rainy right now, so why not? But the green of the wild grass and trees is simply breathtaking!

Just a note, all of these pictures are from our excursions last week.

"The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives." ~ Russell M. Nelson

Monday, May 27, 2019


Faye and Beth are the sweetest girls ever. They both have very generous and loving personalities, and they care deeply about other people. Except we have learned, they just can't share a room with each other. We have been trying that experiment for nearly a year now, at their request, even! They wanted to share a room in the basement, and so every single night, for nearly a year, bedtime became a nightmare.

Faye has a severe case of mysophonia (where little noises take her from tranquility to charging rhino in 0.5 seconds), and Beth loves to whisper to herself when she is trying to fall asleep, or just make noises with her mouth. They aren't loud noises, but every. single. night. we had to deal with banshee-esq screams and retaliating howls from Beth. Let's not even discuss Keith's need to imagine, and the explosion noises he makes (standard boy package) and how the escape of a single explosion from his lips turns into a full on war in the basement. 

Like I said, bedtime was horrific. For a year. 

Mother's Day weekend I decided I had had enough! After lots of plan making, and weighing all the options, we decided I would give up Arcadia *sniff* and Faye and Kip would move into there, and Beth (who hates to be alone) would move back into the pink room with Vince. And then I would move Arcadia down into the hideous orange room that was previously the girls room. The thing about that room is, it really isn't safe for a bedroom, so it was a good move. The furnace room is in that room. Literally. There is no wall separating the furnace and water heater from the room, and I always worried, if there were an earthquake, that it would kill my girls. Now it is my quiet space, and Jeffrey has plans to build a wall, and I have plans to paint that ugly orange! I am not decided on a color, and that doesn't matter because it is very low on the docket right now. The point is, Arcadia is now orange, and downstairs in the basement. This is a problem because I rarely go down there. I rarely go down there because when I do have a spare moment, I need to be where I can still hear the little ones, and the furthest corner of the house in the basement is not ideal for that. Sigh. What can you do though?

And so, Mother's Day weekend we swapped rooms. I set up Arcadia mostly, but basically threw all of my spare stuff on the bookshelves because I didn't have time to organize. Today was the day of the great organization. I will spare you the details, but I am quite happy with it now! My ministering sisters are coming by tomorrow, and I really wanted to have it clean so we could go down and visit there, instead of in the living room where there is just the one couch. And also, it is so quiet and peaceful down there! Of course, the eye hurting orange really clashes with Grandma's violet red couches, but everything else looks quite nice!

Unfortunately, the rest of the house was neglected while I took care of Arcadia. But it is important to have at least one clean and quiet place to retreat to when things get a bit much, right? When I finished cleaning and organizing I was so happy to plop down on my rug and pull out all of my scripture study materials and go to town prepping for tomorrow's lesson. I love that I have a quiet place to do that in. And I plan to go down and do some yoga before the children are awake tomorrow. Because I now have space to do these things! 

Tomorrow I get to focus on the rest of the house though, before they come. I mean, I need to at least clear a path so we can get to Arcadia. It feels a bit like an epic journey. Maybe I will play some Lord of the Rings music while we are trudging through the Mountains of Mess, and fighting off the little hobbits that reside in my home. They are sweet and innocent enough looking, but they will eat you out of house and home if you let them. And they are terrible house guests! Nearly all of the mess in my house is because of them. 

Silly hobbits!