Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Our little photo shop

Here are a few of our most recent shots and we really didnt pose any of them, they just happened. To the right you will notice what looks like a two year who just had his wisdom teeth removed. Not so! Really the boy loves his grapes and needed to save some for later. I think he had like 6 of them in there, I still laugh out loud everytime I see it.

Dear little Mark, sometimes he gets upset. Most of the time its because he doesnt want to go to bed. David and I were downstairs one evening and when we went up to check on the kids before going to bed we found that Mark was not in his. He was getting back at us by sitting up all night in the chair in our room, that lasted about 10 minutes I would guess.

Have you ever seen a cuter baby?! He reminds me of James who always wearing a huge grin with really chubby cheeks. His hair is still crazy, and we usually get the age old "gee that kid is just withering away isn't he?" Yes for some reason our boy babies, are well, chunky. That just means there is more to squeeze!

Finally we have four monkeys who were yet again hanging on the stairs! But then they all line up in age order, all by themselves and what could we do?!

"The Plan"

I am sure that many of those who read our blog, myself included have enjoyed the exploits of Mark. He is a rather creative child and his most recent work is quite impressive and amusing. Once he gets a little older and puts his ingenuity to work, well, I don't know what he will do, but it will be amazing. He came to me today to share a piece of paper he had been working on this morning. One side contains what a normal child would call a wishlist. Not Mark. The paper pictured here below is a listing of his Lego Hopes, and James' as well. They went through the lego instruction booklets for the sets he already has and listed the set numbers for everything they want.

Cute? oh, very! But that is not where it ends. The other side of this boy's paper is "The Plan." Carefully numbered and illustrated, though without his narration it might be hard to interpret. The boxy looking part is the windows of his lego police station. Step One is checking where he and James check all of the legos for broken pieces. (umm, legos pretty much never really break, but I guess he hasnt figured that out yet.) Step Two is Mark and James taking apart all of his lego sets. (Do you see he lego piece being taken off of the top of the tower?) Step Three is naturally the two amigos putting all the lego sets back together again. Finally, Step Four (which most of us can guess) is them playing and having fun with the legos, complete with drawings of him holding a lego person (middle right), lego motorcycle with driver (bottom left), lego police van to trap the thieves (bottom center), and the lego helicopter (bottom right). Perhaps I am just a proud mom, but I think the detail of his drawings are pretty darn cool. So here is just a taste of the minds I get to be around and learn with everyday! Do I love homeschooling? oh, yeah!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I'm it!

Now I or we have been officially tagged twice, once by Sarah and now by Laurel. David did the tag when Sarah did it so now I am choosing to do Laurel's mostly because it looks easier. :)

A- Attached or single: Thoroughly attached to my husband, David.
B- Best Friend: Other than David, I have my sisters both biological and legal, as well as friends I have made in Missouri and Illinois, who I have been missing very much lately.
C- Cake or Pie: Pumpkin Pie
D- Day of Choice: Wednesday because if it's Wednesday then I have made it through house cleaning on Monday and Laundry for 12 hours on Tuesday and now I can slow down a little bit
E- Essential item: my kids, my computer and planner, two books The Art of Homemaking and The Creation Plan, and well that list could on for days . . .
F- Favorite color: Judging by the overarching color in the decor of our lovely new home I would have to say green
G- Gummi bears or worms: both, and sour punch straws, those are the best
H- Hometown: St. Louis, MO - born and raised
I- Indulgence: Oreos, Gamecube, books
J- January or July: January - love the chance to start over again
K- Kids: five - Mark, Anya, James, Peter, and Luke and . . . . ?
L - Laurel's alphabet was missing L and so was Jamie's!
M- Marriage date: December 28, 1999
N- Number of siblings: 3 brothers and 5 sisters
O- Oranges or Apples: Apples, not a citrus fan
P- Phobias: fear of being restrained and some paranoia about Law and Order episodes happening to me or people I know
Q- Quote: "A place for Everything and Everything in its place"
R- Reason to smile: Coming in from getting the mail today and seeing Peter open the front door to greet me in nothing but a diaper! I knew I forgot something this morning!
S- Season: Spring the season of rebirth and change
T- Tag Six: Sadly everyone in my little world has already been tagged so hey five strangers who might possibly read this, join in on the fun!
U- Unknown fact about me: I don't like kids. Shocking I know! I like my kids okay, I usually cannot stand other people's kids (I do love my nieces and nephews) Do you think that has anything to do with my having been put in primary in every ward we've lived in??? A nicer fact is that David was my first kiss. Really truly! Aren't we cute?!
V- Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animal: While I am not a big meat eater, I have been known to mumble about getting a 9mm when I see a stray dog in my yard . . .
W- Worst habit: Yelling at my kids, yelling at other drivers (you know it's bad when a three year old yells out "Get out of Mommy's way cars!")
X- X-Rays or ultrasounds: I have had let's see somewhere in the neighborhood of 14 or 15 unltrasounds and while they are goopy, seeing little peanuts never gets old.
Y- Your favorite food: Probably cereal, and oreos, or ice cream with oreos in the bowl some toppings and a little milk poured on top so that it freezes immediately
Z- Zodiac: Scorpion

Wow! I did it! That was actually fun!

Do Re Mi...

Karen and I woke up to the clank of a toy piano this morning. And it was quite good. We heard it begin on C...go up the scale...and come back down again. Over and over. And over and over. But it wasn't obnoxious. I was happy to know that one of our children had rhythm and and an ear to go up and down the scale. Then the music stops and all we hear is, "PETER!!!" Karen got up, sorted things out, and James was happy again.

James brought the toy piano into our room and began playing again. But he wanted Daddy to sing along.


I started singing with the notes James was playing: "hmm hmm hmm hmm... "

"Noooooooooo" (imagine the up and down of the no as James jumps up and down without leaving the floor). "That's not how you should do it! Sing along, Daddy!!!"


"La la la la la...."

"Noooooooooo. That's not how you should do it!"

"C D E F G..."


Good thing Mom was around. She suggested the Do Re Mi.

James smiled...he was happy.

But remember that James was going up AND down. I knew I wasn't very good coming back down, but I thought I could wing it.

"Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do Ti La So Re Mi Re Do." I was close...but James picked up on it.

"Noooooooooooo!!! Daddy!!!!!!"

"James, I don't know it backwards. I tried but it's really hard."

"Daddy!!! I wasn't going backwards!!!"

I knew I couldn't win. So I decided to put it on the blog while James slowly forgets about it. Eventually, he will come downstairs...laughing and playing and forgetting about Dad's lack of ability to sing along properly.

Ahhh to be four again. :)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

For the Beauty of the Earth . . .

I read a simple biography today. One of those meant for a child in 3rd or 4th grade, you know like six chapters and a very basic overview of someone's life. It was about Rachel Carson. I know, who???? That was what I thought when I wrote down my school plans for this term and decided that she was one of the scientists I would learn about. I had absolutely no idea who she was or what she had done that was biography worthy. Usually people do great things and help others before everyone wants to write a biography about them, but then I have seen biography books about Orlando Bloom in the children's section of the library as well, so I guess you never know. Anyway!

After reading this I realized that Rachel Carson was a rather important person who in a way saved many lives. She was a scientist in the 1940-50 time period and worked on books and papers about the environment. Mostly she focused on the sea and the life therein, but she also wrote another book about protecting our environment. She found out through a friend about the damaging effects of DDT, a chemical pesticide that was being used on lawns all over the country, but was killing animals and doing who knows what to people. The companies that made the chemicals and the government both tried to keep her quiet about the whole thing, so she secretly wrote a book exposing the situation. Once it was out in the open, JFK had it investigated and found out that she was right and then laws were passed to protect the environment and people from these chemicals.

One one hand this seems like a small thing, but on the other hand, maybe not. I realize that I was not the best science student back in the day, but I graduated high school and I don't recall ever even hearing her name. I have come to learn in recent years about a ton of things they didn't teach in school. But I am sure that if I really needed to I could figure out which train would use the most coal when each one is going in opposite directions and traveling at two different speeds while carrying the same weight, but one is surely facing a head wind and the other will need to stop for 27 mins for the herd of sheep to graze past the tracks. Sound familiar? That is sadly most of what I remember from math classes in school. Now in all fairness I know they taught more than that and I may have exaggerated a tiny bit, but really who made up math problems like that and when is an ordinary person every going to need to figure out something like that?!

I think I have gotten rather off topic here. All I really want to say is that I am thankful everyday that I get to educate my children at home and share with them what is really important to learn. I am also very glad that I am getting to learn so much in my attempts to set a good example of self education for them. They do love reading and Mark and Anya both are now into reading short chapter books (7-8 chapters). I remind myself how lucky I am to have smart kids when I have to say for the fourth time "Mark, put the book down and get changed for bed!" And when I have to pry the flashlight out of his sleeping fingers because he fell asleep while reading under the covers, again. Deep down a part of me really loves that.

The other point I wanted to make was about our world. Our Father in Heaven gave us this world to live in. Like so many of my millions of gifts I have a tendency to take it for granted most of the time. The beautiful complexity that is nature is astounding when you stop to actually look at it and think about it. From the beauty of a flower to the intricacies of the human body, we are so blessed to have the opportunity to be here on this earth in mortal bodies experiencing LIFE. I am going to try harder to appreciate the world we live in and share with other living creatures, even bugs and snakes which I really don't like. Let's keep the earth beautiful.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Game of Tag

10 years ago:
I was living in Venezuela as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I think I had just been called to serve as the financial secretary so that would have put me in Maracaibo. Behind me were the student riots in Mérida. Ahh, the memories of a cloud of tear gas racing our way. Behind me were the nights of traveling on a crowded bus only to be interupted by a patrol unit stopping us and asking us to calmly exit the bus with machine guns in our face. Behind me was the scene taken straight out of Independence Day. We were traveling in a taxi van that could comfortably seat 8 (I think I was the 14th passenger with two others hanging out the door) when we heard a BOOM! I had never seen so many people running away from a single direction. We never did find out what exploded. Behind me was the experience of having an entire brigade of soldiers rush a bank as my companion and I were exiting. Working in the office now afforded me the right and well-earned privilege of enjoying some homemade American food prepared by our wonderful Mission President's wife. Life was good. :)

5 things on my To Do list today:
1) Play Jots and Tittles with the kids...they're really excited so i have to hurry
2) Have our FEC (family executive committee...karen and i are the executives :))
3) It's Sunday after church so there's not much of a to do list

Snacks I enjoy:
Cashews, pistachios, almonds, that trail mix with Indian spices, ice cold milk, cheese, hawaiian rolls, graham crackers with cream cheese icing

If I were a billionaire:
I'd buy out George Soros and rid ourselves of his global tyranny

3 of my bad habits
1) Procrastination
2) Over eating (when no one is looking, of course)
3) Denial of any other bad habits

Places I have visited:
Branson, Niagara Falls, San Diego, Gettysburg, Nauvoo, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum (a MUST see), Boston, Yellowstone, The Monticello, and I could see the lights of Aruba every night from my apartment in the last area of my mission...how cruel was that?

Jobs I have had:
Dairy Queen
Bank Teller
Car Dealership Wash/Detail Boy
Business Analyst

5 things people don't know about me:
1) I'm an Avril Lavigne fan.
2) I was alone in our minivan with 6 Beehives on a temple trip last year and sang along to all the songs on the radio. And apparently a really cute boy in a brown station wagon passed us so I sped up so they could see him again.
3) I raced "Mobey Dick" against a Camaro on the way to school from seminary and won...Dad - that car had power...even off-road.
4) I feel awkward in most social settings now that I'm an adult.
5) I play Risk ( a 6 player game) all by myself.

So that's david. Apparently, the rules of the game is that I tag 5 people. I don't know that many people who blog yet (who haven't already done this tag thing) so the buck stops here. Those who know us and have not been tagged before...you can thank me later. :)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I survived...

I was on my way home tonight and planned to post about my recent near-death experience. I have learned that I have a new fear unbeknownst to me prior to my drive home. I have a fear of sitting in a car under a bridge. What do you call that phobia?

But I came home to a few Valentine cards that i just HAVE to share with you. So we can chat more about my new phobia later.

From Mark: Dad is cuddly. I love him a lot. He's a good Dad. Fire! Fire! False alarm. Here comes Mazie in a fireman's arms.

From Anya: You drink a lot of soda. You eat a lot of cream. But when you get older you'll be someone's dream.

Do you think Anya purposely left out any hint of her affection for her daddy?!?

Hannah and Laurel...Anya has Valentine's for you as well...so prepare yourself!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Who Shot John?

So we live in Virginia. And there are different accents all around us. I haven't noticed anyone with a deep southern accent...it's mostly the sophisticated, chivalrous southern accent--very polite and proper. I love it. But not everyone has a southern accent. In the particular community we live, tons of older couples have relocated from New York. And the "Yankees" always have something to say about the Southeners. It makes for good conversation. Being from the mid-west, I get to play the neutral party and just enjoy the conversations. And then there are others who have some strange mutated accent or no accent at all. It's quite a mix.

So one of my employees was filling me in on who does what and when around here. He came to a point in the conversation when he couldn't recall someone's name. He hesitated...stuttered...searching for the name and it wouldn't come. What do you say when you can't think of someone's name? What's the phrase that comes to mind?

You know, what's his name.

That's the phrase I've always used.

Well, we here in the Old Dominion don't use that phrase. If you can't think of someone's name in a conversation, the proper way to address that person is "Who Shot John."

You know, who shot John.


The phrase caught me so off guard I laughed right out loud. I love Virginia!

Charlottesville is an absolutely beautiful city at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Anyone who wants to visit is welcome! We live right behind The Monticello - Thomas Jefferson's home. You can't miss us!

Monday, February 11, 2008

But. . . .

If I had a penny for everytime that word was put in front of mom or dad, well I would have a substantial sum. Not that I am not guilty of using that in my own childhood, because I know I am. As dear Mark is a somewhat contradictory child (no idea where that came from) he uses this a lot when beginning an argument, usually with me, fancy that! Last night when David and I went to check on the kids before we went to bed, it was about 10:30pm, that fateful word was applied again. One would think that a seven year old boy, who had been put to bed at 7pm (since there have been too many late-gamecube-nights recently) would maybe be at least drowsy by 1030pm. Not so! I went first to put Peter's pjs back on him, he is going through that two year old power struggle of he knows how to undress so he does it, even if he freezes. David first went to Mark since was still awake. Then David patted James and Peter and left the room. So I went to say good night to Mark and looking at him I knew he was hiding something. Covers pulled up to his chin with his hands no where in sight. This child would not sleep with his hands covered when he was a day old! I lifted the covers to reveal his straightarmed hands clutching a dum dum pop. He responds with, "AWW, BUT Dad didn't see it!" Well, feeling quite full of my mothering knowledge I replied that he could pull things on Dad that didn't work on me. So I took it and left the room. I went to our room to show David what he had missed when he tucked Mark in. David was standing there swinging a small flashlight and holding Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic. hhmm. Want to guess where he got those?! David asked me how I missed them, so I explained that I hadn't checked on Mark before he did. So I showed him the dum dum I had retrieved. Well, we both had a good laugh about our somewhat sneaky little boy and I once again half wished for dumb kids. Notice that I said half wished, not really, but sometimes their little brains really tire me out. Happy Monday to all!

Saturday, February 9, 2008


My parents never allowed Play-Doh in the house while I was growing up. They were adamant that we not own the game Mouse Trap either. Something about Play-Doh in the carpet and tiny game pieces. They also gave away our dog, Otto, to our vet when we moved from Kentucky. Imagine the tears of a 10 year old boy when he came home from school and was told he would never see the family dog again...he never got to say goodbye...I'll save that for another post. :)

Anyway, Karen had to replace our Play-Doh because it dries out after a while. Here is James' latest creation:

James was happy.

And this is what happens after only a few moments of play time:

It was a quick death for the birdie. But at least it didn't get in the carpet. :)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Outsmarted by a 7 year old

I lost checkers today to Mark. And it wasn't because I let him. Ok, ok...I did let him jump me first. But that was just supposed to build his confidence. What is hard for me to admit is that he outsmarted me the rest of the game. He didn't need that extra boost of confidence. No more mister nice Dad! How did my kid get so smart?!

Slip of the Tongue

Ok, so we all have our moments when our brain says one thing and it gets a little mixed up on its way out of our mouths. For some reason our dear little James seems to suffer from this a little more than everyone else does. He came into my room this morning to tell me that he really liked the movie they watched last night, I said , Oh really?, he said, "yeah, you know Princess Diarrhea." Oh my sweet James, I responded with an attempted stifling of my giggle and asked him to tell me again what it was called. He is a very observant child. He realized what he said wasn't quite right and refused to repeat it. So I finally responded to him that I really enjoy 'The Princess Diaries 2' as well. So there is a little early morning off color humor for you.

Monday, February 4, 2008

I'm free!!!!

I am invincible! I have broken the chains of addiction. I know Karen is grateful. Now that I've conquered the Expert level, I will no longer be drawn to play this game.
Check out my latest accomplishments. Is it sad to be so proud of something so trivial?!? It really is quite fun. A complete waste of time that I'll never get back...but pure enjoyment. And sometimes what we all need is a little more of pure enjoyment. WARNING: the game is addicting. But if you choose to play, see if you can beat me!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Stuck in the Subconcious

We have been blessed with many things by moving to Virginia. One would be the 40 minute drive to and from church each Sunday. During that blissful time we get to hear some rather amusing quips between siblings. Today for example gave us two noteworthy ones. James and Anya share the back seat of the van and because of that there are squabbles from time to time. While I often ignore the details of what is going on, when it gets loud and voices get strained I usually intervene. Something was going on today that had to do with Anya being very goofy, in a not so cute kind of way, and was getting James indignantly upset. When he got fully fed up he simply held up his drawing from Primary and told Anya to, "Talk to the Paper!" The inflection of his voice was hilarious, this coming from a four year old! David and I then intervened and asked Anya to calm it down a little bit. After asking about three or four more times she told us that she would "try" to calm down but she wasn't sure that she could. Before David even got his mouth open Mark took the words right out of it (verbatim) and told her, "Don't try, Anya, just do it!" Another of those charming moments when we are reminded of how often we must say certain phrases. It seems, though I have no scientific proof, that if you repeatedly tell a child something it will not register in their concious thought, but will become embedded in their unconcious minds. Once there it will be called on to remind others of proper behavior, but will be totally absent when the child could use it to correct themselves. I am sure that covers my Pysch 101 for the year right?! Happy Sabbath.