Saturday, December 27, 2008

Joyful and Triumphant!

Well, Christmas is over and I thought I would just do a quick update.

Our move was totally insane! We ended up not fitting all of our stuff in the moving truck, so at the last minute Vaughn went and got another small trailer to pull behind his pickup. We stuffed that full, as well as the van (which was getting towed behind the moving truck) and every square nook and cranny in the Tacoma, which I drove with Rebekah and Rachel. Vaughn and I (and Andy and Rachel, too) spent different nights up until the wee hours, packing, painting and cleaning. We are so grateful to neighbors and friends who spent many hours helping us pack the truck, and paint and clean. I was panicking the last hour before our inspection, because we were still trying to empty the house of a few more things, and then sweep and do all the last minute stuff. I just kept praying that we would get it done, and people kept showing up to help! THANK YOU! We are truly blessed with good friends. We finally made it out of town and headed down to Oklahoma. We had one small glitch when we missed the turnpike and had to drive all the way to Salina and then down to Enid. It only added about an hour to our trip. :)

We pulled into Enid around 11:30 and went to weigh everything. I weighed the rig I was driving and then went to our friends' house to pick up some bedding so we didn't have to unpack anything. I grabbed the blankets, got back into the truck and headed down the street. I had to turn the truck around, which wouldn't have been a problem, except I HAD A TRAILER ON IT and I am terrible at backing up a trailer. Plus, it was freezing cold and icy. I acted out the Austin Powers 47 point turn for about 30 minutes. Then I gave up and waited for Vaughn to rescue me. He came and backed up the truck and trailer, and we all drove to our new house. It was only 1 am by this point! We all collapsed (okay, I collapsed, the girls ran around like crazy people for about an hour!) and went to bed. It was quite a feat. Luckily, unpacking only took several hours and we were able to return the truck and trailer by 6 pm that day.

That is the triumphant part of my story! The joyful part is that we got to spend Christmas in our new home! We are mostly unpacked, somewhat organized, and almost recovered from the aches and pains of last week. It is fun to see Christmas decorations that have been in storage since we went to Korea. It was exciting to learn that Santa was able to find us, even though we haven't been in the same place for the last 4 Christmases!

Now, on to more unpacking, organizing and enjoying of the season. At some point I hope to be able to find our camera, and share some pix of our new home. I have no idea when that will be. Hope you all are having a great holiday!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Forty and Fabulous???

Happy Birthday to me! Unbelievably, I am forty years old today. I woke up feeling all stiff and achy. I am hoping that is due to all the moving stress and exhaustion, coupled with the unpacking and Christmas baking, rather than my advanced age! I am grateful for having had a pretty great life. I have a wonderful husband, beautiful children and the gospel. What else is there? Okay, I am also grateful for chocolate and fuzzy socks! Hope you are having a great day and enjoying the anticipation of the season!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Catching up

So this week has been nuts! I started it off by driving down to our new house in Oklahoma. It is very exciting to think we own a house now! I went down to paint a little bit and try and organize utilities and schools and stuff. Of course, when I do a road trip, you know there is going to be some excitement. You won't be disappointed! I had a very interesting drive home! It started off with me trying to back out of our garage. I pushed the button to open the garage door, but realized it was already open, so I hit the button again. I thought the door had lifted all the way back up, but when I heard the crunching noise...I noticed I had knocked off one of the racks on the top of Vaughn's truck! Remembering my past experiences with things not being securely attached to the roof, I went to my friend Brenda's house and her husband kindly removed the rack all the way. (Apparently, it just popped off, it's not actually broken! Vaughn says he did the same thing in the car wash a little while ago, so I don't feel so stupid). So, I finished all my little errands, packed up, and headed out onto the highway. Now, it had snowed quite a bit the day before, and I had put the truck in 4-wheel drive. I wanted to see how clear the roads were, so I waited until I had driven on the highway for a few miles, before I pulled over to unlock the hubs. I was feeling so self-sufficient and competent as I turned the hubs on the driver's side, went around to the passenger's side, did the same and continued back to my door, only to find it LOCKED! Yes, I had locked myself out of the truck, while it was running, it was 10 degrees outside, and my coat and cell phone were on the seat. I think I stood there staring at the lock for a good 5 minutes, because I just could not believe what had happened. It took me about 10 minutes to get someone to stop and help me. These two wonderful gentlemen in a pickup pulled over and tried to call the police, who said they don't help in these situations. Then one of them noticed that the window in the back of the cab was unlocked and we could open it from the shell. Yay! However, none of us could fit through the window. They tried reaching the locks, and the door handles with no success. Then I had the brilliant idea of trying to use my flatiron to grab the locks. You haven't lived until you have seen a guy in his big coveralls and boots trying to use a flatiron as pincers to grab a door lock. Alas, it didn't work! They dug around in their truck and found some Gophers, the things you can pick up stuff of the floor with. Those also weren't strong enought to lift the lock, but finally, my rescuers hit on the idea of pulling the keys out of the ignition! Hallelujah! I am so grateful to them for stopping to help a crazy lady! How stupid do you have to be to lock yourself out of your running car in the middle of nowhere? Anyway, I made it home and we are madly packing. I had to take a time-out, though to make this yummy treat
Brownie candy cane lollipops! They are for the ladies I am teaching my lesson to tomorrow at church. And of course, we had to take a break from packing for Vaughn's graduation yesterday!
I am very proud of him, and though I don't love all men in uniform, I love THIS man in uniform! He is the bomb!
We are excited about a lot of things in our new house, but this is the best: our walk-in closet!

It's HUGE! The picture doesn't do it justice. I will take one with the kids in it so you have some idea of how big it really is! My friend Brenda thought it was another room!

This is one wall in my nice new BIG kitchen. Except I painted the walls, not the tile, candy apple red! It's going to be fun to have Christmas here!
Well, that's all for now. Back to the chaos that is my life, and hopefully, we will be moved in by the time I post again! Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Merry Christmas! I was going to wait until we were in our new house to get all of our Christmas stuff out, but I couldn't stand it! So we have a few yuletide objects around the house. This is one of my new favorites. I love to collect nativity sets, and this is the one I got this year. I love how all the animals are stacked up to see baby Jesus! I am sure they were just as excited to meet their Creator as all the humans. Probably more so, since they don't get caught up in all the other stuff that humans do. I like how the baby is looking right back at the animals, too.
And here are our brand new stockings from Pottery Barn Kids. I have been coveting these for the last 3-4 years, and finally decided I would get myself a nice housewarming present! I have a feeling there will be a lot of those.... Anyway, I know it's a horrible picture, but I think I am the only person on the planet left who doesn't have an SLR camera (what does that stand for anyway? Superb Lens Rigging? Shoot, Load, Rewind?) you will just have to put up with the poor quality!
We had a good Thanksgiving, and I went out and did a little shopping yesterday. I love this time of year. I think everyone tries to be a little kinder, a little more helpful, a little more polite. Okay, except for those crazy people in New York who trampled people to death! But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, ....
I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and are looking forward to the Christmas season! I promise to post more often, although, I noticed everyone else has posts sitting there from like three weeks ago! I guess we are all starting to get crazy busy.
It is snowing today, and the girls are trying to go out and play! I guess that means I am on hot chocolate duty! Have a great Saturday and enjoy the season!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


This morning, or rather, in the middle of the night, I was awakened with a throbbing head. I could feel a migraine coming on, but I thought if I could sleep through it, it might not become full-blown. I tossed and turned and counted sheep and finally got up to take some Motrin, since I knew that my prescription for my migraine meds was refilled, but still waiting at the pharmacy! I was so grateful to find one little pill still in the box, and went back to bed. I was just hoping to stave off the pain for a couple of hours, and then finish my Relief Society lesson prep, put dinner in the crockpot, get the girls ready, you know--all the normal Sunday stuff. Well, I finally dozed off and woke up feeling quite a bit better at 11:30! Yikes! We had to leave for church in an hour! I hurried and showered and came downstairs expecting chaos. Instead, I found that my darling husband had fed everyone, put dinner in the crockpot, put the rolls in a pan to rise, and was even peeling potatoes so that when we got home, all we had to do was boil them! Wow! I felt very blessed, and relieved! I am so lucky that I have such a great partner! He really knows how to take care of me and cherish me! I decided that I want to try to post some things I am grateful for these next couple of weeks--and he is number one! Thanks, Vaughn for being such a great husband! You are my favorite!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Yes, I know I am really behind on this, but a couple of you asked for some recipes, so here they are!

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

1 can whole kernel corn, drained (15 3/4 oz)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (15 oz)
4 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 c. minced fresh cilantro
4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1/2 c. lime juice
1 T. kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in bowl. Adjust salt and lime juice to taste. Refrigerate until serving time.

***A couple of things about this recipe:
This is actually half of the original recipe, if you make the full amount it is a ton of salsa.
Microwave your limes for about 10 seconds before you juice them. They will release so much more juice this way!

Tami's Famous Korean Hot Wings

5 lbs chicken wings or drummettes

Mix flour with salt and pepper. Coat wings with mixture. Fry until golden brown. Dip immediately into sauce.

1 cup soy sauce (kikkoman is the best flavor--don't use lite!)
3/4 cup sugar
1T. minced garlic
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
1/2-1 T. crushed red pepper flakes--adjust heat to your preference

Whenever I make these for a party, fini flight, etc., they go like hotcakes. Make a double or triple batch if you are serving a lot of people. Especially young pilots or missionaries!

Outrageous Brownies (without coffee!)

1 lb. unsalted butter
1 lb. plus 1 package (12 oz) semisweet choc. chips/divided
6 oz unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs
3 T. non-dairy creamer
2 T. vanilla
2 1/4 c. sugar
1 1/4 c. flour, divided
1 T. baking powder
1 t. kosher salt
1 1/2 c. diced walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 13x18x1 1/2 pan.

Melt butter, 1 lb. choc. chips, unsweetened chocolate. (I do this in the microwave in 1 minute increments). Cool slightly. Stir together eggs, creamer, vanilla and sugar. Add to warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temp.

Mix together 1 c. flour, baking powder and salt. Add to chocolate mixture. Toss walnuts and remaining 12 oz. chocolate chips with 1/4 c. flour. Add to batter. Spread in pan and bake for 30 minutes. Halfway through baking , lift pan slightly and drop to remove some air from batter.

Cool completely before serving.

Enjoy! Let me know if I forgot anything!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Holy Grail

Okay, for me, the Holy Grail is (if you haven't guessed it already) organization! I love things in stacks and rows, preferably sorted by color! Yes, I confess, I am Monkish in heart, but piggish in reality. Actually, it's just my kids who are pigs, or as Andy puts it, "we are aspiring pigs!" So, I just thought I would share with you one of my favorite websites: Crazy as it sounds, I love to be organized for Christmas, too! Actually, I find it more doable to be organized for this one annual event than in every other aspect of my life. So, click and enjoy! It has tons of free printables and lots of great ideas! If you like to stack your canned soups by flavor, this is the site for you! Let me know if you find anything fabulous that I missed! (Okay, I am playing around with the text options, but I am still such a novice, you'll have to forgive me!)

Random Questions

I know these might be crazy, but do you ever wonder...

where are Max and Ruby's parents?
Why do I always end up with only half the socks I put into the washer?
Why do my children think that the couch cushions are an acceptable alternative to the garbage can?
Why is it as soon as I pull out my sweaters, the temperature jumps to 76 degrees?
Why do your children only wake up early on Saturdays?
Why does everyone think my brain has a catalogue of the location of every item in this house?
Why does baby breath smell so good?
Why do I have to keep having my period, plus the migraines and cramps, when we are done having children? Isn't there an off switch somewhere?
Why is it that my husband can look at me with no makeup, no hairstyle, in my baggy sweats at the end of a long, hard day and tell me I am more beautiful than the day I married him? Is he delusional or losing his eyesight? Or hoping to get lucky? :)
Why is it that just when you are at the end of your rope, ready to strangle your preschooler for taking everything out of her dresser, that she chooses that moment to put her arms around you and say, "I love you, mommy!"?

I don't have any answers to these questions. I just wonder if anyone else is out there asking them?

And I really do want to know what happened to Max and Ruby's parents! It is very disturbing!

Friday, October 31, 2008

trick or treat!

We love Halloween at our house! Tonight, we had several neighbors over for a potluck before trick-or-treating. For some reason, I couldn't get Bekah to smile normally! She was way too excited! They have been out for almost two hours, now! I think we are going to have a lot of candy!Here are Ellie, the snow princess, and Bekah, the ballerina fairy (in flip-flops) right before trick-or-treating starts. This is Rachel and her friend, Kayla. They were a big help, giving out candy so I could clean up! They are also beautiful witches!

Here is Andy in his costume--I know he looks just like a teenage boy, but...

there's the punch line! He is such a clever boy!
I hope you all have a fun night and eat lots of chocolate! Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Two things I didn't think I'd see in my lifetime...

Andy--with a new hairdo. This is what your teenagers do after you go to bed on Friday night.
Yes, a clean and organized pantry. I had to document it, because this will only last for approximately 4 hours and 32 minutes. But it is so beautiful to look at!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Vaughn after the triathlon this spring

I was tagged by my sil, Marianne to answer some questions about my hubby. I don't know how many people care, but here goes!

Five things my husband, Vaughn, loves.

1. Me

2. Our kids

3. Flying

4. Heavenly Father

5. Serving our country

Five things on his to-do list:

1. Finish his master's (he's over halfway there!)

2. Get all the kids sleeping through the night all at once.

3. Hear his wife say, "No, I'm not tired, actually!"

4. Go back to Hawaii soon.

5. Make everyone around him happy, all of the time. I must say, he is pretty good at this one! And okay, the Hawaii trip is on my list, but since he like to make me happy, we will be going to Hawaii again sometime in the next few years!

Five snacks he loves:

1. Seven-layer dip

2. Homemade salsa and chips

3. Homemade oreos

4. Caramel brownies

5. Pretty much anything I cook :)

Five things you may not know about him:

1. He plays a mean game of Old Maid

2. He is the favorite visitor at Ellie's school during lunch time--everyone wants to play with Ellie's daddy

3. My dad made him catch a fish with a fly rod before he could marry me

4. He obsesses about his weight more than I do about mine

5. He is more naturally maternal than I am--I learn a lot about being a good mother by watching him with the kids

Five places he has lived:

1. Salt Lake City

2. Korea

3. Alaska

4. Georgia

5. Oklahoma

Five quirky things about Vaughn

1. He has to do a sudoku puzzle to fall asleep

2. He has a pathological fear of doctors (actually, pretty normal for a pilot. if you have a cold, you can't fly, so they hate to go to the doctor)

3. He can make me laugh when no one else can--not really quirky, but one of the reasons I love him!

4. He loves to tell the kids "childhood stories" --thus encouraging them to repeat a lot of the crazy, and dangerous things he and his siblings did as children

5. He is the most determined person I know--if he wants to do it, he will. End of discussion.

Five people to tag--answer these questions about your hubby (do I even have 5 people reading my blog?)

1. Amy

2. Jen

3. Amanda

4. Ruth

5. Laurie

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Room for Rant!

I know it's hard to believe, but Koreans don't always translate everything correctly. :) So, last year, we were going onto Camp Humphries for something, and there was a huge sign, right outside the barbed wire, facing into the post. It said, "Room for Rant". Obviously, they meant room for rent, but I realized that is exactly what I need! A room to rant in, just once or twice a day. Or even every other day, depending on how crazy my life is. Don't get me wrong; I love my life! I have an amazing husband, great kids, and no really huge problems. It's the minutiae that kills me!

Like, why is it that everyone piles their clothes around and on top of, but never in the hamper? And why is it that no one else in the house has inherited the ability to install a new roll of toilet paper? And why can I leave a sock, or a barbie, or a paper plate, or any other object on the stairs for a few days just to see if it bothers anyone else, and I find out that I am the only one bothered by my experiment?

Perhaps this is the real challenge of motherhood: we deal with the minutiae of everyone else's lives. I can deal with the big stuff: 9 months of puking, chronic depression, son getting hit by a car, husband gone for long stretches of time. It is the moment when I am trying to get the seam in my daughter's sock to lie exactly parallel to the tops of her toes that sends me over the edge! And why hasn't anyone invented some frickin' socks that don't have any annoying seams on them!

So, I need a room to rant. I am sure you do, too! Feel free to use this blog as your room to rant! I am happy to let you scream at me, in italics and bold, and let you get it all out, so you can go back to being the keeper of the cheerios, the minder of the minutiae of all mankind! And, once in a while, I will rant, too!

Now, I have to go and pick up all the stuff on my stairs. I don't know why I keep running that experiment....

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

In the middle of our crazy househunting adventure, we took a trip to the pumpkin patch with our friends Isaac and Molly. We love fall!

Here are the girls hanging out at the pumpkin patch!Ellie showing us her Jack-o-lantern smile! She has lost about 7 teeth this year!
Bekah carrying around the pumpkins in a little pint-sized wheelbarrow.
The pumpkin parents
Rachel, Bekah, Isaac, Ellie and Molly

Saturday, October 11, 2008

We're (Almost) Homeowners!

Yep, we took the plunge this weekend and went househunting! And we bought a house! Of course, a million things could go wrong before we close but we are excited to know where we are going to be spending Christmas this year! Here are a few pix of our new home:
From the street

The master bedroom






Kitchen dining area

Living area

Formal dining area

Thursday, October 2, 2008

September Blessings

Happy Birthday, Ellie and Bekah! I can't believe I forgot the camera at your party, but here are some cake pix from home. We are so glad to have these little ladies in our lives. They exasperate and delight us every moment of the day!

Bekah blowing out her cupcakes! She is a big 5 years old this year!

Ellie making a wish! She is 7 this year!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Urgent Vs. Important

I was at the gym this morning (I actually felt human enough to go) and was reading O magazine. I love a lot of things about Oprah, although I don't agree with all of her values, I think she does a lot of good. That is neither here nor there, because I just need something to distract me from the pain when I am working out. Anyhoo--I read this article about making time for the things in our life that are important, not just the things that are urgent. It sounds like such a great concept...unless you are a stay-at-home mother of four trying to keep everyone alive, help your hubby through his master's, and prepare to move in two months. How do I decide what is urgent but not important so that I can weed it out of my life? Isn't being a mom surrendering to the idea that everything in your life is urgent and important? For example, I have to go potty, (hypothetically, although I am sure it will become a reality sometime soon) definitely an urgent situation, and an important one (I need healthy kidneys as much as the next girl!), but my little girls are trying to take each other's head off over who gets to play with the Barbie carriage--urgent and important! (This is NOT hypothetical, but a frequent occurrence in my life--just substitute different children and different objects to fight over). How do I choose? Here is another one, this one real and occurring in a couple of hours--I need to get Ellie ready for her soccer game, take her there by 4:45 and be prepared to cheer for the next hour. I also need to pick up Andy from soccer practice down at the high school and transport him to Ellie's game, since he has been helping coach her team, also at 4:45. Both things are urgent and important and impossible to accomplish while maintaining any semblance of sanity. This could explain why I feel crazier with each passing year of motherhood. Maybe that is what motherhood is--doing the urgent, the important and the impossible with little if any recognition (seriously, I don't expect anyone in society to acknowledge what I do has value, and my kids won't appreciate it until they are at least 25) and with the least amount of collateral damage, especially to my kidneys. Which reminds me, I need to go potty, and take the brownies out of the oven, and pick up Andy for a dentist appointment...

Here's to all of you amazing, beautiful women doing the most urgent, impossible and important job of all: being a mother to your children! I am in awe of all of you!

And seriously, if you have any good tips on how to clone yourself....

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fire Stations and Fractures

Okay, we are on our second broken arm of the year. Rebekah fell off of her scooter about 10 days ago. She cried about all of her owies, but seemed okay. I noticed that her wrist was swollen and she was favoring it quite a bit. She said it didn't hurt, but last Monday we took her in just to make sure it was okay. Now she has a bright purple cast! Just in time for her birthday pool party last Saturday! Oh, well.

She went with her class to the fire station on Friday. Notice her bright purple cast in the photos!
We loved meeting Felipe the fire dog! And climbing on the big trucks! And that big old fashioned fire hose at the top of the post. Stay tuned for birthday pics!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

If the Savior Stood Beside Me...

I have been meaning to share this story for awhile. You all know how crazy Sunday morning can be, right? Well, this past February, my husband had the flu and I was trying to get all 4 kids out the door for church. My sister happened to be visiting, to pick up her husband after a tour in Iraq, and we were trying to get over to lodging to pick her up. I spent 20 frustrating minutes trying to convince Rebekah, my 4-year-old, that in order to put her dress over her head she would have to unbutton it. Bekah tried to prove me wrong, shrieking and crying the whole time. I must have said, "Can I help you? Will you let Mommy help you? Please let me do it!" about a million times. Okay, by the end I was screaming it! And I finally took matters into my own tentacles and yanked the dress on, pulled on the tights and got us all out the door. As we pulled up to pick up Trisa and her kids, the Primary music cd was playing the song "If the Savior Stood Beside Me". I briefly told Trisa about the fabulous mothering moment I had just had, and then I asked her,"Do you think if the Savior had been standing there that I still would have screamed at my daughter?" Without hesitation, she said, "Oh, yeah! I don't think it would matter! Especially if he was just standing there and not helping with the tights or anything!" I don't mean to be irreverent, and of course, Christ would never just stand there! I am sure He would have calmed Bekah down, and then calmed me down, and helped everyone get ready. I am just glad that my sister knew about Sunday morning madness, and how easy it is to lose perspective, because there is so much opposition, that even the presence of the Savior might not keep me from screaming so hard that my throat hurt! Maybe one day, I will actually get the hang of this mothering thing, but it's nice to know I have so many wonderful people to share the journey with! And a Savior who will not only forgive me for my impatience, but actually loves me in spite of it and will carry that burden for me if I can just give it up to Him.

So one more Sunday down, only 676 to go (until Bekah turns 18). Maybe by then, she will be dressing herself! Or, I could have become a calm person! Hmm...I wonder which will happen first!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

There's a monster under my bed! (Or 4,381 crayons)

Okay, so after my gym workout today, I decided to use the remaining 51 minutes of Bekah's preschool time to clean under the girls' beds. I know--I am a very brave soul, but somebody has to do it! At least every three months, or the clutter starts to ooze out everywhere else in the house! Here is what I found! (all numbers are prone to exaggeration depending on my frustration level)

Approximately 27 notebooks, folders, and journals
7 coloring books
4,381 crayons, colored pencils, and markers
4 unopened boxes of crayons (24 ct) that they took from my school supply stash, because they couldn't find any crayons!
17 lbs of trash
53 dust bunnies
a bag of potato chips, unopened
about a ream of paper touting the global warming crisis from Ellie's earth day. last year; how about they just don't print anything about global warming and save a few trees that way!
several tootsie pops, sticky and dusty
a granola bar, in several pieces
157 elastic bands, this is probably why I can never find an elastic band to do the girls' hair and consequently have spent approximately 3,000 dollars on hair accessories this year alone!
one of my journals, with notes from our last stake conference that I have been looking for, everywhere (that is another post)
half of Ellie's wardrobe
42 stuffed animals
57 books

I think it is safe to say that we are blessed--with lots and lots of material things. Which I am planning on throwing away, paring down, or selling in the base yard sale in a couple of weeks. Actually, I am just trying to make some room for their birthday presents!

Does anyone need a crayon?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bittersweet memories

Seven years ago, today, I was awakened by the hungry cries of our new baby girl. We had just brought her home from the hospital the night before. I picked her up, took her downstairs, and we settled on the couch for her feeding. I turned on the tv, thinking I would just watch an infomercial. The first tower had just been hit and the news commentators were trying to find out how an airplane could have not seen the building. They still thought it was an accident. A few minutes later, I saw the second plane hit and all of a sudden the world had changed. I watched this horrible attack on our country and felt a wordless grief for all of those people and their families. On the other hand, I was holding this sweet, new life in my arms and I was so happy to have her with us. I don't think I will ever forget that moment: I knew in an instant how fragile our lives are, and yet, I wanted my daughter to embrace and love this world.

This morning, I was driving home from the preschool run, when I passed all the elementary kids doing their "Freedom Walk". I think a lot of them weren't born when 9/11 happened, and most of them certainly won't have any memories, but they are more patriotic than a lot of the country. They watch their dads and moms, and sometimes both parents, go off to fight for the freedoms that we enjoy, and to fight for other people to have some of those freedoms. They spend a lot of birthdays, holidays, and school activities with just one parent. I am amazed at the sacrifices that military families everywhere make everyday. I know that we are one of them, but I feel like our contributions have been so small compared to most of the people we live around. I have a lot of hope for the future because of these amazing people around us. Thanks to all of you for what you do, everyday, just because you know it's the right thing to do!

I hope you take a minute today and think about what really matters, love, life, and family, and the freedom to enjoy them.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

So, what do you do all day?

How many of us have been asked this question by our kids, our spouse, or women who are either newlyweds and have no children, or work outside the home? I thought I would keep track of what I did today. Sorry for the tedious detail, but I am sure someday I will enjoy finding out what I did with my time!

5:06 am--alarm goes off, brush teeth and go potty

5:07 am--wake up Andy for seminary

5:10 am--stumble around kitchen finding breakfast stuff

5:15 am--start cupcakes for Ellie's birthday treat today

5:25 am--put in first batch of cupcakes

5:30 am--check email

5:35 am--start checking out the front door to see if Andy's ride is here

5:36 am --doublecheck that he has all his soccer gear

5:37 am--panic that he might forget his wallet and not be able to eat lunch; he confirms that he has his wallet

5:39 am--look out door

5:40 am--look out door, tell Andy his ride is here

5:45 am--start second batch of cupcakes, finish up with computer stuff

6:00 am--make eggs and toast, for me with a big Diet Dr. Pepper, eat while loading my brand new iPod shuffle with songs (I got a new one for our anniversary to replace the old one I lost this summer; I told V. it would last much longer than flowers!) so I can start running again today

6:15 am-- go out to car to get Ellie's presents from hiding place

6:20 am-- go upstairs to wrap one present, run right into Ellie; she goes back to her room so we can come in and sing to her

6:30 am--gather the other girls and Vaughn and go in and sing Happy Birthday to Ellie

6:45 am--get girls dressed (this means I negotiate for about 10min with Bekah about what she wants to wear--usually it is something that isn't clean or we can't find)

7 am--downstairs for breakfast, we all are dressed at this point, something of a miracle

7-7:30 am--make lunch, nag at the girls, check backpacks, nag at the girls, do everyone's hair and teeth, nag at them to put on shoes

7:29 am--realize that the kids have ortho appts today and that I can't go to the gym

7:30-7:40 am--get all the girls in the car (yes it really takes us ten minutes to get in the car!)

7:45 am--drop off Rachel

7:55 am--drop off Ellie

8:10 am-- arrive at Bekah's school, spend a few minutes reading while waiting for school to start

8:30 am--drop off Bekah

8:45 am--arrive home and collapse onto my bed, since I don't have time to go to the gym, I might as well catch a few zzzs

9:44 am--wake up and go to PX

10:25 am--pick up Rachel for ortho

10:40 am--pick up Andy for ortho

11:00 am--drop off kids and go to Sonic for a diet Coke with lime and 4 motrin for my splitting headache

11:20 am--pick up Bekah

11:30 am--back to Ortho to pick up kids, wait for Andy until 11:45

12:00 pm--Wendy's for lunch

12:30 pm--drop off Andy, Rachel

1:00 pm--frost cupcakes, start cake

1:10 pm--listen to messages, Rachel has her first soccer practice tonight at 6pm.

1:30 pm--put cake in oven, walk to Ellie's school and drop off cupcakes

2:00 pm--come home and blog so I won't forget what I did today

2:15 pm--take out cake, clean up kitchen

2:15-3:00 pm--wrap presents with Bekah and try to finish mini-scrapbook for Ellie

3:00 pm--go to commissary for dinner stuff

3:30 pm--home to open presents with Ellie and get ready for Andy's soccer game

4:00 pm--herd the cats for the soccer game

4:30-6:00 pm--watch Andy's game. He does great; has several shots, but doesn't score.

5:55 pm--try to restrain husband from climbing over fence and onto the field when Andy drives in for a shot and the goalie takes him down with his elbow to Andy's jaw. I thought Vaughn was going to have an aneurysm!

6:00 pm--take Rachel to her practice at the next field over, take Andy home

6:30 pm--come home to a naughty dog who got into the garbage! start dinner, frost cake

7:00 pm--steaks on grill, Ellie's favorite! Her favorite foods are tomatoes and steak!

7:30 pm--dinner

7:45 pm--scriptures

8:00 pm--cake and ice cream

8:10 pm--bath and pjs for me... why am I so tired?

What I learned from this:

I am grateful that I have a car to drive everyone around to their activities. I am grateful that I have children to wake up and celebrate birthdays with. I am grateful that we have the means to have them involved in activities they enjoy. I am grateful that I have so much food to eat that I am chubby enough that I need to exercise. I am grateful that someday my children will have straight teeth. I am grateful that my husband has a job right now that allows him to come to some of our kids' activities, even if I need to feed him Alka-seltzer afterward. I am grateful that we are all trying to live our lives to the fullest, and that I can be a stay-at-home mom. Although, was I even home today? :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Rebekah's First Day of Pre-school

Here is Bekah with her new teacher, Mrs. E!

Here is Bekah on her first day at a preschool run by a local church here in Leavenworth. She just missed the kindergarten deadline, but really wanted to go to school, so here she is!

Here she is at her desk!

Here is the big girl in front of the bear by their room. Notice the fabulous princess backpack. How could she not have a great day with that kind of an accessory? I enjoyed my 2 hours and 50 minutes of child-free time by going to the gym, taking a shower, and going back to the school. But I didn't have to wait for anyone to get into the car or put on their seatbelt, or have a tantrum because she couldn't buckle it but didn't want help, or I helped her and then she had to unbuckle it and then buckle it again! I think I might get spoiled!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Happy Birthday, Andy Man!

Here is Andy, just having blown out his candles. He is moving so he is a little blurry.

This is the awesome cake my friend Jodie made for him:

I think this is Andy's version of making a wish!

This is our little guy on his first birthday, 14 years ago! I can't believe how time has flown! We love having Andy as part of our family. He is a great big brother, and as you can see a great, big brother! I think he is almost as tall as Vaughn, now! He brings lots of sunshine and laughter to our home, and is very good at calming down hysterical females (moms and sisters!) Happy Birthday, Andy!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

You would be surprised!

So, we were at the park last night for family night. We played soccer for a little bit and then I went to swing with the little girls. We were all in a row next to each other, pumping away. I was happy to be there, in the moment, with my Ellie and Bekah. Let's face it, I was happy that my backside can still fit in the swing. Anyway, there we were all swinging away, and Bekah said, "look, I can swing myself!" I said, "look, I can swing myself, too!" Ellie said,"You would be surprised at the things that mommies can do!"
I thought about this for the rest of the night. I think we are all too hard on ourselves as mommies, and it is important to think about the things that we can do! I have spent three years solid being pregnant, and puking for most of it! I am preparing for our 18th move in 16 years of marriage with no complaining! Okay, there is some complaining, but I could be so much worse! :) I have spent countless hours, days, months being a single parent. I have coached, team-parented, and organized countless sports, team parties, and rainy practices! I still love to cook. I love to make and preserve memories with my family. I try really hard to be, just like I know you all are, Supermom! I don't always make it, but next time you look in the sky, and see something... is it a bird? is it a plane? No, it is a crazy mother of four, swinging as high as she can, and she might just surprise herself with what she can do!

Monday, August 18, 2008

She's not heavy...

We took a big family hike up to Delicate Arch the day after the 4th of July. And I mean big... it was Vaughn's family reunion so there were lots of us. It was also hot. Did I mention it was July? We all plodded our way up there, but we didn't have a lot of water and everyone was pretty tired. Ellie started to wilt and whimper on the way back down and Andy just picked her up and put her on his shoulders. What a good boy he is! I love how he is always so good to his sisters. Okay, he occasionally goads Rachel past her limits, but he is such a great big brother and we love having him in our home! Only three more years till college! :( Moments like this make motherhood worth all the insanity!

Broadway in the bedroom...

So, I walked into my room the other night to give the girls a bath, and this is what I found...looks like a Barbie broadway revue! I asked Bekah what the Barbie's were doing, and she said they were doing ballet. I think it's more likely they are doing a number from Camp Rock or High School Musical! Life with girls is so fun!

First Day

Here is Ellie at her brand new desk!

Here is Ellie and Daddy (and Bekah) walking to school last Monday. She is getting to be so big! Second grade is a big deal!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

What happens while you are trying to do the dishes

Yes, those are my two youngest daughters, Ellie (6) and Rebekah (4) strapping on their bike helmets, putting on winter coats for extra padding, and then sliding down the stairs on Ellie's old science fair display board. You can't say they aren't creative! I wonder if they are going to survive to adulthood!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

On the Road Again, Literally!

So, here is an important lesson I learned a few days ago: Don't drive in flip-flops! Why, you may ask? Because, your car-topper might suddenly blow open on the freeway and then you will be running up the road trying to get all your belongings out of the way of the oncoming traffic! Okay, let's back up a little bit. So, my sister and I were heading off to visit our little brother in Montana. We were both antsy to get on our way, and when the key to my car-top carrier wouldn't come out of the lock, I figured we could just leave it in there. (Mistake #1) I wiggled it and tried to pull the lid off and decided it would be secure for the drive. My dad offered to bungee it closed, but I thought we would be okay. (Mistake #2). So off we went to Butte, Montana. Things went great for the first two hours. We had five kids hanging out in the van in relative contentment, and Trisa was just drifting off to sleep...when BAM! We came around the corner of a big mountain and got slammed by a huge gust of wind blowing all the way from Texas. The carrier completely blew open and stuff started to bounce all over the freeway at 80 mph. Ellie's suitcase, Bekah's suitcase, a Wal-mart bag with barbies, my running shoe (just one of them), oh... and Rachel's saxophone. And, the car wanted to roll over from the sudden lateral forces! I pulled over and hopped out of the car. I found myself sprinting up the road in flip-flops, trying to curl my toes, so I wouldn't trip on the front of them, you know? It was like some crazy, extreme relay: run up the road 50 feet, throw a suitcase to the shoulder, run 10 more feet, throw a suitcase to the other shoulder, run 20 more feet, grab the sax case, the sax, the neckstrap and move those to the side of the road. Wait while the UPS semi runs over the neck of the saxophone (flatter than a pancake!), then run out and try to salvage Barbies, barbie accessories, and my running shoe. Alas, Ken got decapitated and we lost several of the accesories. I think I won the relay, because I successfully dodged traffic and recovered 70 percent of the saxophone! It was rent-to-own, do you think I could take it back and say we don't want it anymore? Hmmm. I am so grateful that we were blessed enough to make it to Curt's in one piece/several pieces, and that Heavenly Father watched over us, even though we forgot to have our usual prayer before we hit the road. We did have one right after I tied the carrier shut with a tow rope. So, lesson learned, I will always accept bungee cords when offered! I hope one day my children will appreciate how dedicated I am to their happiness! I really tried to get every last piece of Barbie I possibly could! :) Life is never dull with us! So the car-topper had a funeral and we made it all the way back to Kansas without any other incidents. I don't know if I want to ever take a road trip again!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Rub-a-dub-dub, 3 Girls in the Tub!!!

Okay, so here I am in Idaho house/dog/babysitting for my brother and also crashing here because my parents' house is too small for all the family trickling in this weekend. Kelli, my cute niece, started crying her eyes out because she misses her parents. I had the brilliant idea to put the three girls, Kelli, and Rebekah and Ellie in the jacuzzi tub. She perked up at this and we turned on the water. Thirty minutes later, the girls were all in and the bubbles were going. We had put in just a little bit of body wash to boost the bubble factor. I left the room for a couple of minutes. I know! HUGE MISTAKE! I came back to this! Actually, it's hard to tell from the picture, but the bubbles are up the walls, halfway up the blinds and all over the floor. It took me 45 minutes to get rid of all the suds. But the bathroom is really, really clean now! Sorry, Chris and Cindy! :) And, Kelli stopped crying! I however, may not!