Thursday, October 28, 2010

True Story

In honor of Halloween and freak accidents, we're now going to play a game of Two Truths and a Lie. Let's see if you can figure out which of these things did not happen to me this week.
  • On Friday, as I bent down to get something out of a low cupboard, the power cord that plugs into the Dustbuster brushed my eye. As it is supposed to do, my eye quickly blinked shut. As it was not supposed to do, my eye blinked shut with the plug inside it. Time seemed to stop for a couple seconds as lights started to flash and my eye started to twitch. I couldn't move fast enough to pull that sucker away. There was no lasting damage, other than I kept shaking my head, wondering how that could have happened.
  • On Sunday, we had dinner with some friends. I turned to throw away some trash Maggie was snacking on, and accidentally tripped over Maggie who had shifted position right under my feet. As I attempted to regain my balance without doing further injury to my child, I started to fall. I caught hold of the wall, but not before I cracked the bridge of my nose and my left cheekbone on the edge of the bar. It didn't turn into a major shiner--I just look like I'm really, really tired in my left eye. And have jaundice across the bridge of my nose.
  • And then this morning, I lay in bed, trying to get the motivation to get up and deal with the canning mess I'd left in the kitchen last night (One jar lost its bottom, and another lid came completely unscrewed and spilled all its contents in the canner. How does that happen?). I was also trying to process a dream I'd had where I'd voted for Harry Reid and Bracken came unglued, and I was like, 'But you were the one who marked the sample ballot.' And then, the metal candle holder mounted on the wall above the bed decided that it had had enough of being ignored. It crashed into my right cheekbone. I look forward to watching this new bruise develop--I hope I can now look as tired in my right eye as I do in my left.
We were supposed to have family pictures taken this weekend. I was praying for the scabs on two of my daughter's noses to heal in time. But given my recent lack of gracefulness, I'm glad we had to cancel.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Say what?

Here's a few of my favorite things the kids have said lately.

Addie replaces some of her h's with c's. As in, "Mom, we're all cumin beings."
At least we're well seasoned.

Chloe said to me at the table yesterday,"Mom, there are two testaments."
"Yes, there are, in the Bible."
"No, Mom. In our bodies. There are two testaments. The small one, and the large one. For digesting our food."

And Maggie, not to be left behind, has added Addie's name to her vocabulary. The other day she woke up from her nap before Addie, then ran down the hall calling, "Add-nn, Add-nn!" It was pretty cute, and a welcome relief from her enthusiastically inflected, "Uhhhuhuuuhhhuhh," and my personal favorite, "AH AH AH AHH AHHH AHHH!"


Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so . . . well, ever present. No matter what I tried, I just couldn't get ahead of my problems. Or, rather, my children.

At 6:30 when I rolled out of my bed, awake all on my own without the help of tears or doors slamming or my name being called loudly, I hoped it was a sign of good things to come. I even had time to say my prayers on my knees before the first of the girls came trotting out to greet me. Maggie didn't wake up until 7:30! We read books for an hour, I made the big girls' beds, I did all the dishes, I really felt good about my day. I didn't even let the "train" of cars, chairs and luggage strewn across my kitchen bother me. I took a shower, got dressed, did all the grooming, got the kids dressed, teeth brushed.

And then, as I stood there, turning in circles, trying to remember what the next needful thing I should be doing was, Maggie brought me her diaper. Full of poop. While I started attempting to clean up that mess before she made it bigger, Chloe burst into tears. She had been eating an apple and knocked her wiggly tooth a bit looser, causing it to bleed. She was inconsolable, with huge crocodile tears pouring down her cheeks and pinkish drool dripping from her mouth.

We got her calmed down, and then I attempted to print up my coupons for the shopping trip I had planned during kindergarten that day. The computer froze up. The computer froze up. The computer froze up. I gave up. I loaded the kids in the car, and then Chloe exclaimed, "Mom! We didn't do my homework!"

I got her out of the car. We did all the handwriting stuff at the table, then I loaded her back in the car with a lap desk and she completed the coloring and glueing as we drove, as Addie yelled, "When are we going to Errands?" repeatedly. Chloe finished her homework in the school parking lot, we found some spare sunglasses for Sunglasses Day, and I sent her in as the bell rang.

I went back home, fed Addie and Maggie, printed my coupons and headed out. Except that I had to stop in the driveway and run back into the house for 1 sympathy card, 1 birthday card, and three thank you cards, plus stamps and addresses. Except I only had 1 thank you card in the house so I added those to the list. We made our first stop, oil change for the car. While we waited, the girls repeatedly emptied the diaper bag while I tried to fill out my cards. We finished the change, I collected the mess and we went to the next stop.

The drugstore was like wrestling buttered monkeys. Addie could not make herself stop grabbing things. Maggie repeatedly attempted to leap out of the cart. I called the shopping trip short and headed for checkout. The cashier thought Maggie was the cutest thing as she emptied the cart, all products now crushed and dented, onto the belt. Then, before the cashier could scan it, Maggie put it all back in the cart. I took it out again, pulled out my coupons, then picked them all back up off the floor after Maggie swiped them to the ground. This repeated several times, though that didn't stop the cashier from spreading them all out in front of Maggie every time.

Meanwhile, Addie found gum. Found gooey, chewed gum stuck to the side of the register and stretched it all over her hands. The cashier noticed and encouraged her to put it back in her mouth. I said it wasn't hers. I cleaned her up, we moved on. The one ray of light was that the cashier couldn't believe I had three kids, and wasn't even thirty. Then again, this was the same cashier who didn't see the big chunk of gum stuck to her register.

We stopped for ice cream which we ate in the car. I had both the girls sit down, gave them each a spoon, and they both decided at the same time to feed me. I immediately had two spoons flying at my mouth at alternating intervals, neither giving me time to swallow or stop the process. Eventually Addie tried to shove a giant glob of neon blue cotton candy ice cream into my mouth and missed. The glob hit my arm, her dress, her leg, her shoe, and then the carpet of the van. Fantastic. Then she decided she no longer wanted to eat her ice cream--she only wanted to eat mine. I then noticed Maggie had some of Addie's special gum all over her spoon. How that happened, I have no idea, but I decided we were all done with ice cream at that point. I buckled them in, then sat in the car and filled out the new cards I had just purchased. By the time we made it to the post office down the street, both Maggie and Addie were asleep. Dang it.

We went to the school and I left the girls in the car while I grabbed Chloe from kindergarten. When I opened the door to let Chloe in, Addie woke up. By the time we got home, Maggie woke up. So that's 15 minutes of nap for Addie, 25 for Maggie. None for me.

Chloe then opened her homework folder to show me the homework notice she'd received. Because after all that rushing, I had neglected to sign one piece of her homework. Stupid rules. I'm going to have to teach her how to sign my name sooner than I'd thought.

I started cooking dinner as my children alternately fought and cried. Dinner ready, our guests called to say they'd be late. Dinner overcooked, we made our guests laugh with stories of our day. Guests left, kids bathed and in bed by 7. I sat on the couch and did this. At 7:45 I got up and got in bed. I was asleep by 9.

Today has been more of the same. More crying, more bleeding, more touching, more fighting. Bring it on.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Catching up

I have been a bad family historian. I was going to say I'd been a bad blogger, but I've been fairly regular on that. What I haven't kept up on is the day to day happenings in our family. Which is not that important to people outside of our family, but it is important to me since I don't scrapbook, this is the only journaling I do, and my memory is getting ever less reliable. So I'm going to try to improve. So, there may be some random, out of chronological order posts showing up here in the next little while. At least until I lose my motivation again.

And so, here is a random collection of pictures. I will caption them, but I will not try to make them cohesive.

This picture seems wrong to me. Everything is green and lush, and then there are pumpkins. Three on the table, and one in the chair. Could her hair be more orange? I have been physically craving this fall, and yet it has not yet been fall. Until today (hooray, rain!)
I set these pumpkins out for decoration, and Addie immediately found them (in her Ariel nightgown) and started acting out some little scenario with them. There is always something going on in that brain of hers.

Unfortunately, for the last couple months, that brain has been set to "Whine." It's like she's totally forgotten there is any other way to talk. And I have not been nearly patient enough with her. Occasionally we see glimpses into a world of sweetness, where she thanks me for making dinner as I sit down to the table, and says cute little prayers without prompting. I just have to hold onto those moments and ride out this 3 year old year.

Here are a couple more pictures from our anniversary trip. We went up to Squaw Valley, and got massages and holed up in our hotel. It was delightful. I loved the rain, and the giant rainbow we saw, but it did put a damper on our plans to visit Tahoe's beaches.

Chloe had a kindergarten hoe-down at school. It was quite the event. There were 8 stations the kids rotated through. I manned the "Dramatic Reading" station where I read the same book for 2 hours straight. But the kids had fun. I have to admit, I've had a hard time adjusting to the whole kindergarten, helicopter parenting thing. I'm not alone, though. The kindergarten teachers had to take a moment to request that parents stay at their assigned stations and not follow their kids from place to place.

Because I was reading Big Pumpkin for hours, I didn't get the chance to snap a picture of Chloe until after she'd been painted like a witch. But I assure you, she was an awfully cute cowgirl.
Here's part of the crowd.
I can't believe this grown up girl is mine.
This one is mine, too.
What a little poser.
Who has mastered the cheesy grin.
But even she realizes it's over the top sometimes.
This girl loves her daddy.
That, my friends, is adoration.

Once upon a bathroom

When we first bought our house, the hall bathroom looked like this.

Awesome, I know. But since we were already repainting the rest of the house and doing various other projects, and I was majorly pregnant with Addie, and we knew we were going to have to gut the entire bathroom if we did anything in it, we decided to just leave it. The color was the only tolerable paint color in the house, and we figured we could live with it for 6 months or so until we got around to updating it. And then reality set in, and time passed, and money got spent on other things. We painted the vanity so we didn't have to stare at that ugly brown, and left it alone.

Fast forward 2 years. I was once again super pregnant, the bathroom was even more visually disgusting, but now various parts of it had ceased functioning properly. The shower diverter wouldn't stay up, the shower head leaked, the toilet leaked, the sink leaked . . . . We knew family would be coming out for the blessing of this soon to arrive baby, and we needed to have a functioning bathroom. Plus, Crap on the Curb day was coming, so with hardly a look back, we started the process.

Behold the final pictures of our awful bathroom. The stained linoleum.

The awful, hot halogen light fixture. The small medicine cabinet mirror.
The faux marble vanity top. The white plastic shower surround.
In my defense, it did look a little better than this. But I had taken down all of the decor before I remembered to take "Before" pictures. Bracken and friends got a sledgehammer and went to work. Before we could change our minds, the destruction passed the point of no return. We took everything but some drywall out. And then all this stuff started coming in.

This is what a crazy person looks like. This is a 9 month pregnant with crippling carpal tunnel syndrome, control freak crazy lady setting tile for the first time ever.
But we got it done. And then I had a baby, welcomed family for the blessing, had 2 surgeries, life, life, life, and I never posted pictures of the finished bathroom. Part of the hold up came because I was looking for just the right shelf to hang under the cabinet above the toilet. Then I questioned the mural I had painted on the wall and didn't want to post pictures until I had added more flowers. And I never got a new shower curtain. But I decided the other day when I finally gave my bathroom a good cleaning, that I really needed to post pictures of our home improvement project, perfect or not. So here it is--our finished (enough) bathroom. (Cue the triumphant music)

Obviously, the bathroom is small (about 5' by 7') so we couldn't change the basic layout or do anything fancy. But we are happy with how it came out.

The bathroom is the main bathroom our kids, and our guests use, so I wanted it to be inviting, but also fun for the girls. I had them each paint a small canvas, so they'd feel like it was their own.
This faucet was the first piece we picked for the bathroom. I just loved how the water poured out of it. That choice led to the Asian influence in the rest of the choices we made.
I also love my sink. It makes me happy, and is easy to clean. And this light fixture is sooo much better than the old one. It doesn't make me sweat.
Here is our shower. I subway set the tile, and ran it all the way up to the ceiling. We hung a curved rod for extra space in the shower.The main reason I haven't replaced our shower curtain is because this one is so great. Not only does it have mesh storage compartments which give the bath toys a home and allow them to dry, but we've been using for 3 years now, and it's still in great shape. I thought about getting a fabric curtain to go over it, but I think it would clutter the room too much.

Look at that sparkling water pouring into the deep soaking tub. We replaced the standard tub with a soaking tub that still fit into a standard 5' x 30" space. The elongated overflow allows you to fill the tub even deeper. It is also an incredibly comfortable tub. Installing the tub and shower plumbing was the only work we didn't do ourselves (thanks again, Logan).

Bracken, who had never been known for his skill as a handyman, did most of the demo, installed the toilet (and has since installed 2 more toilets), did the plumbing on the sink, and installed this light/exhaust fan combo all by himself. He's getting pretty handy now, I'd say.

I painted this cherry tree on the wall, next to which is our ever growing collection of hair clips for our ever growing collection of girls.
And finally, long gone are the days of stained linoleum. Now we have this lovely diagonally set tile.
And there you have it. Our bathroom makeover at long last. Really, I think the most impressive part is that I'm posting this a year after we finished the project by ourselves AND EVERYTHING STILL WORKS! Hooray!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Halloweenie 2

I wanted to find a way to write this post so that it actually seemed cute and witty, and not show-offy, but I can't. And truly, most of you probably have cuter displays at home, but I'm really enamored of my new decorations this year.

So here is my finished mantle, with the spooky animals I made and the fun banner I printed out. I talked more about that here. I looked all over my house, trying to find spooky books to use, and was about to print out some cute labels like my sister-in-law did, but I really was feeling lazy. Then I finally remembered that we have A WHOLE BOOKSHELF of Alfred Hitchcock books that are more than appropriate for Halloween.

I also love my black painted sticks. Glossy black spray paint is my friend. Especially when it costs $0.97 at Walmart.
And I still love Dollar Tree also. Because when I went back I found cute black glittery friends that I added red gemstone eyes to. And then there are my favorite flowers. I had let a few of my artichokes bloom, because they are beautiful (really, they are. Google it.), and then I let them die and dry out on the plant. I finally was pruning things back and cut off all the dead blooms, with no plans for them other than throwing them in the compost. And then, I had the epiphany. The wondrous thought, 'I could paint these black and they would be cool.' And they were. Amen.

This little guy and his creepy pet greet you as you come in the door.

These fellows have been with us for a few years, but were simple to make and still twist spookily in the wind.
And this sucker can still give me the willies.

The girls and I made this friend last weekend. I can't tell you how many times I have been walking to or from my front door and been totally startled and convinced there is a person sitting in my patio. The girls think he looks just like me. Awesome.
And finally, there's these friends. We made them tonight, and I think they're about the cutest little skeletons I've ever seen. They will be so cute out waving in the breeze in front of my house, but we ran out of daylight.

It wasn't until I was looking at the pictures that I realized I had unintentionally left our little boy one a little more masculine than I had intended. Better fix that.

Here's the skeleton tutorial, if you're interested. You definitely need 4 milk cartons.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Happy 8th Anniversary!

Engagement Picture, 2002

Sometimes I think my husband has Stockholm Syndrome. The other night I had a massive temper tantrum. The next morning, when I apologized and vented some frustrations, he gave me a big hug and told me how wonderful I was and how he doesn't know what he would do without me. Sounds like a "hostage expressing adulation and having positive feelings towards his captor that appear irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victim, essentially mistaking a lack of abuse from his captor as an act of kindness" to me.

Wedding day, 4 October 2002

But seriously, I am so grateful for my husband. He puts up with a lot, and still thinks he's got something good. I know I'm the one who really has something good here.

First Anniversary at the Madonna Inn

Every day, Bracken makes sure the dishes are washed and put away before heading off to work. He also does about 90% of the laundry, including folding and putting away.
Second Anniversary, Monterey Bay

Bracken is a very involved dad. Since Chloe was a baby, he's been in charge of bathtime. So every night, he gets the girls bathed and pajama-ed and usually gets their room all cleaned up, too. He often stops to tell me how much he loves them for various reasons. When I went to New York for "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," he took care of the girls all by himself, a feat which would have many dads I know quaking in their boots.

December after our 3rd anniversary. I know there's a picture of us on our actual date, but I sure can't find it right now. But I know I was wearing that same sweater.

Bracken is wonderful at supporting whatever my latest whim is. He takes the girls when I fly to New York. Whenever I go to deliver flowers, usually leaving the house strewn with leaves and stems and small pieces of wire and ribbon, I return to find it neatly swept and vacuumed. He is always encouraging me to take time for myself, to go out by myself or with my girlfriends for an evening. He ignores the works in progress that clutter the house, and keeps his mouth shut even though I know it drives him crazy.

Anniversary 4, I think we're at Gunther's? I was going to guess Leatherby's, but they only give you half a cherry on your Sundae.

Bracken has a short memory. I'm often frustrated by it, but there are many times when I am incredibly grateful for his ability to forgive and forget and move forward.
5th anniversary, celebrated early with a trip to Reno for a Michael Buble concert.

Bracken is dependable. He works very hard to fulfill the responsibilities that he has been given, at work, at school, at church, at home. He is also stubborn. This frustrates me, but I am grateful for it also. I am a control freak, and I tend to think I'm always right. But I'm not. I'm glad Bracken can and will stand up to me when I need him to.

6th anniversary, spent on the couch watching General Conference

Bracken likes to bake. He will gladly step up and make the rolls or cookies or cake. On more than one occasion I have had to defer a compliment paid me for something he actually made.
October 2009. No pictures of the actual anniversary, but I finally remembered what we did (we spent a lot of time on our recent getaway trying to remember, but couldn't come up with anything). We went to dinner, and out for ice cream, but I canceled on our movie plans because I was just too tired. But it was a lovely date which Bracken had thoughtfully planned.

Bracken is long suffering. He allows me to dress him up in costumes (which he has hated since childhood) when I decide we need a family theme, or there's a theme at work (and he ends up winning second prize). He puts up with my projects and pitches in when I let him.
Anniversary date #8, a weekend getaway to Squaw Valley

Bracken is complimentary. He always tells me how beautiful I am. Sometimes I have a hard time believing him (like first thing in the morning when my hair is crazy and my mouthguard is giving me an overbite) but I know he always means it.
I sure am grateful that we found each other. Bracken, I love you. And now, to prove it, I'm going to go clean the house and do the dishes. And if, when you get home tonight, for some reason it doesn't look like I actually did those thing, remember that I thought about it, and it's the thought that counts, right? Happy Anniversary!