Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I love my brother Alex. I love that he is amazingly good at math. I love even more that he's willing, at a moments notice, to take a detour on his way home from a long day of school and work and come tutor my daughter, while his beautiful wife Bridget (who just happens to be one of the nicest people one could ever meet) waits for the dinner and movie they planned on for the evening. Yea! for super smart brothers. And super nice brothers. I have five of them, and I count myself hugely blessed.
Braelyn won't be thrilled that I posted this picture, but in all fairness to her, who expects a flash to go off during family home evening opening prayer? I was opening my eyes to see if my kids were closing theirs, and I saw Brooklyn and couldn't resist. I REVERENTLY got up, and REVERENTLY took this picture, and then REVERENTLY closed my eyes for the remainder of the prayer. I fall in love with Brooklyn all over again about every twenty seconds or so all day long.
Brooklyn got all her "hair stuff" and treated Braelyn to a head massage (if you call a two year old jamming clips into your scalp a massage) and some hair beautification.
Braelyn returned the favor. They are twelve years apart, but they are as tight as sisters come.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Discovery #3

My girl has naturally curly hair now. And while that might not seem impressive, let me tell you, it is. You just have to believe me on this one. When she was little I would bathe her, then put a lot of gel in her hair, wrap her hair in small sponge rollers, and torture her by making her sleep on them. The next day I would take them out and she had the most lovely curls. Tight, gorgeous curls all over her precious little head. I'd spray, and spray, and spray, and maybe spray again, to make sure they stayed. I'd hold my breath and hope that maybe this time, the result would be different. But no, within an hour it would be a soft, large, gentle curl. Within two, it would look like I had taken a flat iron to
it (although at the time I'd never heard of a flat iron). I'm telling you, there was no product or implement out there that would make her hair hold a curl. And now just look at her. Jody doesn't appreciate it AT ALL. And as for me, I'm a little bit jealous!

Discovery #2

Spaghetti and Red Heads are a Perfect Match!

Discovery #1

When you move out to the "country" and have cow pens at the back of your property, you just never know when someone might leave the gate open and THIS will be the view out the master bedroom window when you wake up.

This provided a lot of morning excitement for everyone, but I think Jody was the most excited of all. If you look closely, you'll see the tail end of a bull whip in the second picture. Hands down the happiest day of the year for him, the day he received that bull whip. And today has to be right up there. When we saw the cows practically on the porch, we shared a little laugh and called the kids. Then all of a sudden, Jody's expression changed. A glint in his eye, determination in his countenance and a call for...the whip. "Cooper, bring me the WHIP!" Oh the happiness that came from having a real, valid, reason to own a bull whip! (Not that he really cares if he has areason or not) He pulled that baby out and started cracking it, and darn it all if it didn't work. Those cows jumped and ran straight for the pens. Who knew that a bull whip and two curious cows could make my man so happy. I swear he stood two feet taller when he walked back towards the house.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


"Mom, will you please remind me that I lost a tooth?"

May I just say, this boy is the cutest thing ever.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


These conversations entertained me, and I've got to write them down so that someday when I'm old (in like ten years or so) and my kids say "did I ever say anything funny?" I'll be able to come up with something.

(Doing homework with Crew)
Me: Crew, you are reading so well! I can't believe how good you're getting!

Crew: (Smacks his hand on his forehead) Aahh! Cooper just asked me if I could read and I told him no. I better run find him and tell him I can!!!

(The boys are into running on the trampoline in socks so that they can build up static electricity and shock each other. I know, I know. Boys.)

Crew: I always run out of shocks so fast! Cooper and Conner have way more shock power. I think it's because their socks are furrier. My socks just run out of juice so fast!

Me: Cannon, I'm so glad you've been getting a green light everyday at kindergarten. And I'm really glad that you are being such a good friend to the other kids in your class.

Cannon: Yeah mom, I'm a really good friend. I don't hit them, or kick them, or throw rocks or even sticks at them!

Watch out for that boy. His definition of a "good friend" is pretty broad.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

252 Times

About ten years ago I went to a parenting class. The man was supposed to be a great speaker with a lot of great ideas. I only remember one solitary thing from the class. Someone posed the question "What do you do when your child is whining at you, repeating the same thing over and over?". His answer was "All you have to do is quietly continue to do what you are doing, and ignore the whining." Sounds simple enough. But I knew from personal experience this didn't work. So I got brave and raised my hand and said, "But my little girl doesn't stop. She just follows me wherever I go and continues to whine". He said, "You just aren't giving it enough time. Here, let's give everyone an example." He then asked me to get up and role play with him, me being the whining child and he being the parent. I followed him around the room trying my best to imitate a whining toddler. He just kept walking around and I started to feel foolish, and I eventually gave up. He turned to me with enthusiasm and said "See!!" I wanted to tell him that a toddler doesn't have an audience of adults watching, nor do they have the social awareness to be embarrassed by their actions, thus the exercise wasn't really a comparable situation. But he seemed so pleased with himself and I was still feeling embarassed so I went and sat down.

Fast forward a few years.

This morning I dropped of the elementary kids at the bus stop and it was just me, Brookie and Colton in the car. Brooklyn had been happy, but something triggered her whining switch, and she began to say"I...want..my..daddy" "I...want..my..daddy" "I...want..my..daddy"
"I...want..my..daddy" "I...want..my..daddy" "I...want..my..daddy" .....

You get the idea. I tried many tactics.
"Brooke, look at the horses!" nothing
"Brooke, look at that purple car. How silly!" still nothing
"Brooklyn, where's your baby doll? Let's go home and get her dressed!" nada
and the gold star of parenting, "Brooklyn, do you want a treat when we get home?"

This girl was serious. And out of the blue, this memory of the parenting class came to my mind and I figured I might as well try. So I calmly continued to drive, trying to ignore the whining that was shooting directly into my right ear. I couldn't believe her stamina. I decided it would be fun to count how many phrases she could fit into one minute. It was an average of twenty one, depending on how long she dragged out the word 'daddy'. I have timed the drive home- it is twelve minutes. She didn't stop until we were in front of our house. So 12 x 21 is 252. She repeated herself 252 times. I've got to hand it to her. On some level, that is impressive.

But I would like to find that man and tell him that boy was he wrong.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ms. Schmidt

Crew has always had a difficult time with names. And he frequently gets words mixed up. It makes me laugh daily. Not in a "making fun" of way, but in a "I could hug you forever and ever" kind of way. A few recent examples:

Crew: Mom, I'm just going to pop (hop) over the fence and ring their ring-bell.

Crew: Dad, Meesha got out again today. Did you clob (clog) up all the holes in the fence?

Mom: Crew, don't go to first grade. I'll miss you too much.
Crew: That works out fine for me. I hate phonogram test-es.

Mom: This is Uncle Alan's car.
Crew: Uncle Alan? I don't think I've ever heard of him.

There are so many more, but I'm drawing a blank. But today was my favorite. It was the two little boys turn to go school shopping with me. (and can I just say, it is SO unlike me to leave this til the last minute....I mean EXACTLY like me....) I try and make it a fun day- we get lunch together and try and laugh and have fun. So we were sitting and eating lunch and this is the conversation:

Mom: Crew, your new teacher's name is Ms. Schmidt.

Crew: Sch.... what?

Mom: Schmidt

Crew: (thoughtful and slow) Sch....it..m (I'm so embarrassed to even write this! and of course Crew has no idea that this is a not nice word.)

Me laughing

Crew: Hopefully she'll let me call her something else. I don't think I can say that.

Unless things improve I hope they let him call her something else too!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Oh What Do You Do in the Summertime

....when you don't have a POOL

....and it's blasted HOT

Get a $10 slip n' slide
and a HOSE

Voila! I just saved myself $40,000!!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Feeling like a Pioneer

Oh how I wish I had my own pictures to go with this post. Cameras would have been useless for the pioneers-there's not a blessed second during all the mixing, shaking, seperating, kneading etc. to stop and take a picture. Next time I'll assign one of my brood to be the photographer.

Our neighbor brought over a gallon jar of fresh cow milk. Now, I could have dumped it down the drain and returned the jar with a thank you note and he would never be the wiser. (Food is a mental thing for me-it's hard to get over some things and just be willing to try it) But seeing as how Jody is going to buy a milk cow, I figured it was time to see what I am really made of.

I let it sit in the fridge until the cream rose to the top. Then I skimmed off all of the cream and put it in the fridge for later. With a multitude of children surrounding me, we began pasteurizing the milk, which would make it taste like store bought milk (theoretically). Everyone one was so excited to try the milk- except Brae, she was a little skeptical. Moans of disappointment followed when I told them we'd have to wait until morning so it could get cold again. Maybe they were just disappointed because they'd been trying to buy a few extra minutes before bed time. Highly probable. Jody and I finished the process and I felt surprisingly accomplished!

The next morning was the test. They all ate it with cereal and most even drank a glass. Success! Unfortunately, there was none left for me to try. (I was really okay with that- still a little bit of a mental block). Braelyn and I started researching old fashioned methods of making butter. Apparently shaking it in a jar like every child has done at a Primary Activity is a very viable method. But did you know you're supposed to let the cream sour first? We set it out on the counter for the day.

Friday night at about 8:00 we started making the butter. The kids and I all took turns shaking, shaking, shaking. I guess the more cream, the more shaking, because boy we were getting tired. We poured off all of the buttermilk, rinsed the butter, added a little salt, and we all tried it on a slice of bread. Delicious! (although next time we'll skip the shaking and let the Bosch do the work!)

Saturday morning I woke up and ground some wheat for some homemade bread, shaping three loaves. I saved the last of the dough to make scones for breakfast. Scones with our freshly ground wheat and freshly made butter. Wow! Those pioneers must have walked around feeling great about themselves, because I know I do right now!

Of course, I've done enough work that I don't feel like doing the dishes (in my dishwasher), or washing the laundry (in my washing machine), or cleaning the floors (with my vacuum cleaner). I do however want a nice long hot shower, a book, and my big comfortable couch.

Hmmm....maybe I wouldn't have made it as a pioneer.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Favorite Moments of the day...so far

**Husband waking me up with a kiss and saying "good morning beautiful", which he does every day. Dang I'm lucky.

**Laying on my bed with two little boys cradled on either side of me, reminding them that they were best of friends in heaven and they chose to be here together. (So stop the fighting already!)

**Babies when they wake up.  Need I say more?

**Hugs from little sleepy eyed girls in pajamas.  This is a fix I need every single day.  Which is why I wonder how I'll ever survive not having little ones around.  

**Kids saying they're bored and it's not even 9:00 a.m.  Yikes.  Could be a  l o n g day.

**Braelyn reading to Brooklyn, all cuddled up on the couch.  Makes me heart ache.

Have I mentioned I love my family?

Friday, June 26, 2009


Why does 6:00 a.m. sometimes feel like 3:30 a.m.?  I mean really, it felt like an absolutely unearthly hour and I wasn't too happy about having to get up and moving.  The boys were headed out to play racquetball and needed to be up, dressed, fed, and out of the house by 6:40.  I'm usually a morning person and can perk up pretty quickly.  I guess mornings like this are meant to give me some sympathy for people who aren't exactly "morning people", because we have a few of those over here.  It's not like they don't get up early, but the rest of us usually try and steer clear until they seem to be out of zombie mode.

 I dragged my pajama clad body to the kitchen, only opening my eyes every four or five steps so I could make sure I was still on the right path.  I was trying not to talk until I was sure only nice words would come out.  Struggling to clear the cobwebs from my brain, I concentrated on breakfast.  Why do these people have to eat so often?  Why am I out of cold cereal?  Why are people making noise?  I loudly shushed everyone.  Didn't they know my plan?  It was way to many words to form at this level of consciousness, but I had every intention of the babies sleeping through all of this so I could steal a few more precious moments myself after they left.  I tried to communicate all of this with the intensity of my "SHHHHH!!!" That combined with the manic look on my face seemed to get my point across.  Whole wheat pancakes (please don't be impressed, I did not grind the wheat myself- it was Lehi Mill's add water only) made with my eyes half closed, forcing my lids open when I thought it was time to flip, soothed my slight guilt about the consuming thoughts of getting them OUT of the house and me back IN bed.  At least I made them a good breakfast, right?

Once they all had shoes on, breakfast in, racquets out, I practically ran to my room.  Jody was tying his shoes and seemed to be a little surprised that I dove back into bed and pulled the covers over my head.  (This isn't all that usual for me).  Then I heard it- the dreaded noise of a baby crying right when I was on the verge of slipping back into dreamless bliss.  Jody must have noted the panic on my face because before I knew it he had deposited Brooklyn, with blanket and paci (I know, I know) next to me and I soothed her back to seep with a whispered princess story.  We were dozing off when I heard the last set of footsteps and the click of the door closing.  

Brookie cooperated long enough to let me get an extra 30 or 40 minutes.  The other two were still sleeping, so we breakfasted together, just the girls. Boys still sleeping. Then we showered and got dressed.  Boys still sleeping.  Then we did our hair.  Boys still sleeping.  Read a book.  Boys still sleeping.  A glance at the clock let me know it was about time to pick up the boys.  We woke up the little boys, fed them, and threw them into the car, syrupy pajamas and all, and off we went.  

I called Jody to say good morning (I don't think I had found anything particularly good about the morning earlier, and don't think I muttered more than ten words) and that's when I noticed the police car behind me.  This is also when I recalled that I hadn't stuck the new registration sticker on.  No problem, I do have the paper in my car showing I paid.  It's right there with the proof of insurnace.  There, in that cubby.  But wait, why is that cubby...empty?  Then it hit me.  I had the car detailed a few days before and they had put everything they found in each nook, cranny, shoved between seats, and the cubby with important papers, in a big plastic garbage bag.  Believe me, it had to be big.  I had taken it into the house to sift through it, and there it still sat- on the floor in the laundry room.  How was I going to explain this?  The police car mimicked my left turn and then my lane change.  This wasn't looking good.  A mile down the road and him still on my tail, I was preparing my defense.  "Really officer, the car wash story is true.  I have eight kids.  The three days after I have it washed are the only days my car looks this clean.  The papers are in that bag I was telling you about.  You know, the one with the old school papers, fruit snack wrappers, primary talk slips (remember that paper I gave you mom?),  the rock hard chicken nugget and other unidentifiable pieces of food.  If you follow me to the racquetball courts and then back home, I'm pretty sure I could dig them out for you!"  Still in my lane and directly behind me another mile later, I was starting to feel annoyed.  Pull me over already!  Let's just get this over with!  I hate being pulled over.  I feel like a little girl who just got spanked.  Not that I was spanked as a little girl, but it's how I imagine I'd have felt.  Suddenly, he changed lanes and turned the other direction.  Whew!  Dodged that bullet.

The rest of the day progressed nicely.  Caden and I went to Brooklyn's swimming lessons where we got to watch her scream in terror and anger every time it was her turn.  There she would flail, just under the surface of the water shaking her head "NO" as Emily would tell her to kick to the side.   Man that girl is stubborn.  I held my breath every time it was her turn and spent the time in between holding and comforting her, trying not to think about the very large wet spot she left on my lap which made me look like I'd had a very large accident.   Apparently terror, anger, and swimming are a very exhausting combination, because she fell asleep on the way home.  The afternoon was surprisingly peaceful.  I even got some time to lay on the couch and read my latest book, "A Tale of Two Cities"(thanks Amy).  My kids didn't even disturb me when I dozed off for a few minutes.  When nap time was over we went to my mom's to go shopping in her pantry.  They're leaving for Africa next month and she wants her pantry empty, and I was happy to oblige.  The evening turned into one of those spontaneously fun ones.  Jody met us there and we ended up staying for hours.  We ate dinner together under the misted ramada, enjoying the unusually cool and breezy June night.  We sat and visited until past bedtime.  When we pulled into the driveway  the little ones were sleeping.  We cradled them straight to their beds, had family prayer, and all hit the sack.  

What started as a not so great day turned out....perfect.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Heart & Home


It's been so long since I posted.  The problem with that is that there are so many things that have happened, things I wanted to get on the blog, but finding the time to catch up is a trick.  So I'll save catching up for another day, and just get on with a few thoughts....

Last week was the first week I've had any downtime since before we moved.  After the move I was always on the go, with kids in three different schools in three not close locations, four if you include preschool.  And I was okay with that.  I didn't want to disrupt their schooling for the last seven weeks of school.  It just meant that there was rarely any time to be home.  I mean, I was home sometimes, but not home...  Then the flurry of the last weeks of May-it really was mind boggling crazy, those few weeks.  Then I jumped right into teaching Music Theater, which is jam packed with fun, but a whole lot of late nights and extra hours.  So last week I was done being a family bus driver, done teaching amazing kids to sing, dance, and light up a stage, and my heart could center on home.

"Home will be where the heart is"...one of my favorite lines from Beauty and the Beast.  And yet, as I sat home on my first quiet (with eight kids this words is all relative:) day I realized that my heart has been longing to be home.  Actually home.  Sitting on the couch and listening to my children's conversations.  Noticing how when I am merely sitting, the children are the happiest.  They know they can have my attention at their beck and call, giving them a sense of stability and happiness like nothing else.  Brooklyn and Cannon running off to play in his room, but returning every few minutes to animatedly tell me  every minute detail of what they are doing.  Spontaneous hugs and kisses from everyone, random "I love you"s.  Older kids that just want to come and sit next to me.  

I love being involved in projects and activities.  But there is such a fine line.  These years are going so quickly and I don't want to spend so much time with my heart overcommitted to outside things that home gets squeezed out.  Of course my heart always deep down wants to be home, but I can often say yes to so many things that I unintentionally give away all the pieces before I realize what is happening.  Then there is that plain old reality--laundry to be done, dishes to be washed, shopping to do, lessons, scouts, mutual, callings... These can't be avoided. But I know the deep peace and happiness I felt on that day needs to happen more often in my life.  I love my family more than anything and I want to give them the very best of me.  I am incredibly blessed and I want my kids one day to look back and realize that my home is where my heart is.  

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Our House

Okay, so here are a few pictures of our new house.  Nary a picture on the wall, a window dressed, or surface adorned.  But there will be time for that later.   I don't know exactly when "later" is, except that it is after "now".  We are happy, yet still feeling the loss of a ward and neighbors (especially the next door ones) that we love and are so comfortable with.  Jody said it best in his last testimony in our ward- we have fasted with you, prayed with you, laughed with you...we know those bonds will be created here too, but man we loved our life over there in Crismon Creek.

p.s. there are curtains on one window, but it was like that when we got here!

This kitchen has plenty of room for all the helpers I usually have.

From the kitchen looking into the Family room.

Family Room

This room is like an extra part of the family room.  Right now it is hosting our year supply until we find a better home for it.  We've discovered that a year supply for ten people takes up a lot of room.

This room is right of the entry way.  It is still a work in progress, as is everything.  This is homework central every afternoon.  

The living room is straight ahead when you walk in the front door. 

One shot of the master bedroom...

These stables are in the back corner of our property, and I believe they helped seal the deal for Jody.  Yes, those are cows- not ours, a neighbors, but Jody has big plans....

This is the view from the back porch.

The laundry room still needs some organization, and these pictures really don't do it justice.  It also didn't help that it had flooded earlier in the afternoon (notice all the cords), but this room makes me HAPPY!  There are so many cabinets, a huge closet, room for a second fridge, definitely a deal clincher for me, as was the huge pantry.  I couldn't get a good picture of the pantry, but it was built with a large family and food storage in mind:)

The master bath was such a bonus.  It was not on my list of necessary things to have an amazing master bathroom, but I sure don't mind it!

I think it is so pretty at night.

I didn't take pictures of the kids bedrooms- they're still a little boring right now.  There are four kids bedroom and two jack and jill bathrooms.  One thing that's kind of unique is that the older kids actually have their vanities in their rooms, and then the bathroom they share just has the shower and toilet.  It works out well for Braelyn- it gives her her very own space for all the getting ready things that teenage girls have...and since she shares it with a two year old, she pretty much has it to herself.  The house has fabulous storage and lots of little things that make it a great fit for our big family.  

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Triple Hooray!

Saturday was a "work" day at our house.
Kids don't always like "work" days.
What they don't know is sometimes adults don't like "work" days.
But, we have to pretend we do so that hopefully our good attitudes will be contagious!
We worked long and hard on Saturday.
I thought we were all done.
Then I remembered the state of my car.
So, I rallied the troops and told them to put their swimming suits on and meet me out front.
There was water, bubbles, laughter and fun.
The car got clean-HOORAY!
The kids enjoyed working together-DOUBLE HOORAY!!
We spent good, quality time together on Saturday-


Who said work can't be fun??