Friday, May 30, 2008

Insane in the membrane!

I seriously must be. I have been thinking lately about some of you commenting that I should have a blog dedicated to my cakes. I have done a few new ones lately, and I have several more coming up. So I thought I would add to my little collection of blogs and start one dedicated to my cakes. And of course, decorator related posts. Projects I would like to do...

So that brings my total up to 4. I know, insane right? But anyone that wants to keep tabs on it, there will be a link in my "other" list. Just FYI!

"Whooped" Cream

Oren informed me, in very serious tones, this morning, "Mommy, whooped cream turns into hot whooped cream milk when you melt it." Yes it does, my wise little child, yes it does.

He has really impressed me today. He came and told me as I was doing my hair that William, the evil genius mastermind of messes, had pulled a box of noodles that I had already helped him clean up once this morning, and scattered them around the living room. Ugh. Well, I figured the mess could wait a while while I coaxed my curls into decent submission instead of random frizz. When the blowdryer was done, I could hear the sound of something electronic running in the living room. Oren had gotten out my little floor sweeper, and was cleaning the mess for me! And wouldn't let me help him.

I love that they are getting older!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pictures of the Day #42

I was a little bored this morning. So were the kids, they have already made 3 huge messes and it's not even noon yet. We are so used to having places to be! So I took advantage of the beautiful morning and sent the kids outside. Then I realized the light was great, so I ventured out with the camera. These are my some favorite shots of the morning, kids on the move!

William loves the grass. My kids are usually a little tentative at first, it's an odd texture from the carpet. But they soon get used to it, and prefer running around barefoot.

Mark showed Oren how to jump out of the swing the other day, and he has been perfecting the art. One day, he'll stick the landing!

My little guys are always on the move. At first glance, Nathan looks exactly like Mark, and so one would assume that he is still and quiet like Daddy is. Not so! Maybe when no one else is around, but when stuff is happening, Nathan dashes off to see!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Yet another good day...

I know! I am waiting for something awful to happen and wreck it. Two good days in a row. What happened to my kids? I got some housework done today, although allergies are officially kicking me in the rear end. I am so tired, and the benedryl doesn't help. Plus, today was the first day of my medication. That can cause drowsiness too. We left Oren's last day of school party a little early, because I wasn't feeling very energetic.

Oren is now a first-grader. It's official, we made it through the whole year of kindergarten. I'm a little suprised, but the teacher made it through too! And she still likes us! It was a hard year, we had to make some tough choices. And I think we did it the best we could, for all parties involved.

When I think about it, we really have had a lot going on this school year. Oren was diagnosed with ADHD. We went through a family diet makeover. We put him on medication and watched a huge transformation.

Nathan made a lot of progress with his speech but not quite enough. We did a nasal scope and the doctor couldn't figure out what was wrong. We felt that switching therapists was the right thing to do and ended up with someone with connections to great doctors, with experience in his sort of problem, with an inkling of what the problem might be. The ball is rolling to get another set of nasal scopes and we have high hopes for more answers from further evals.

William turned a year old, and 6 months later, finally hit 20 pounds. Doctors say now that he is just a small guy and have stopped hounding me on his weight. He walked, runs, and says new words every day. He loves nursery, and is so active no matter what. He is the one child who hasn't had a problem required a big, tough decision this year.

Mark made a new rank, went through several weeks of torture (long days of school and study) and I got to stand by him proudly and punch his new stripes on. That was a stressful time on all of us.

And as for myself, this year has brought the biggest challenge I have ever faced. I now have a disorder. I can't do anything to change it. I have been through heck and back with these children. I have been emotionally drained so many times I am suprised there is anything left. I have luckily not been so physically exhausted. I never thought that having a child start school would require so much of me. Every time he had a hard day, I ached with him. I have spent much of the year raising them alone, when Mark has base inspections and school and odd work hours that require him to sleep during the day.

I am so glad this school year is over. And although it leaves me wondering what the summer will bring, I feel like it will be nothing compared to what I have already had to deal with. I'm not complaining, everything the Lord has sent me has been for my own growth and experience. I guess I have just been thinking a lot lately about all the trial the Lord has given me. Each one has given me some sort of life experience. Some little thing to take away and use in some future situation. Like Oren's ADHD. I feel more connected to him now that I know I have the same problems. All the things I have tried to teach him I can use for myself. These trials have taught me who I can really count on for anything, who will be there no matter what.

So I will try and enjoy this summer, and be back at the grind next school year for our whole new set of challenges, hopefully more calm and able to handle them.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pricky Pokeys

There is little boy hair in the fibers of my shirt. Ouch! It has been poking my skin for the last few hours. But, the boys needed haircuts, and that's what happens!

Today would have been more productive if I hadn't been so exhausted. I ran Oren to school, came home really fast to run the trash to the curb, and then headed over to the hospital. The psychiatrist wanted some labs drawn. For once, the lab guy listened when I told him which vein actually works. Most of the time they ignore me and go for the other arm first, only to go back to exactly where I told them to draw in the first place. DUH! That went really fast though and I went back home.

I attempted to pick up the living room, but ended up sitting on the floor, watching Today show, and VERY slowly putting dirty clothes in a pile. It took an hour to do the living room, I was so tired. Then I spent another hour doing dishes. I sat for a little bit, and enjoyed the quiet when Nathan went to play at a friends house, but couldn't nap because I had to go get Oren.

Daddy came home for lunch and watched the kids while I ran to the school. Oren's teacher was very pleased with his behavior. We gave him an extra 5 mg Ritalin per the doctor's orders, and that seems to have done the trick. The last couple weeks were pretty hard for him at school, so it was nice to have a good day today. I got everyone fed, and William down for a nap. As I was sitting to take one myself, a friend called and tried chatting. That didn't work very well, I was literally falling asleep on the phone, so she let me go. I got about 20 minutes before the phone rang again and woke me up. It seems that was all I needed because I have been a little more energetic the rest of the day.

I journeyed down to Walmart and picked up my prescription this afternoon. The kids did really well, which was nice. Nobody screamed in the middle of the aisle. Nobody threw up, or blew out. Nobody mashed the bread in the cart. It was actually an okay trip. When I walked in the front door, my house smelled so good. I had been cooking a pork roast in the crock pot with barbeque sauce for shredded pork sandwhiches. Yumm! We did an easy dinner tonight, because Oren had T-ball. The kids really liked the sandwhiches. We'll be doing that again. I gotta love Mark though... "These are better than that other pork thingy you did on the grill for my birthday!" Good grief... :-)

Since I had an hour to kill until bedtime after dinner, I sat Nathan down and trimmed his hair. It's been in his eyes lately. He looked so much like Mark! Still had some time, so I sat Oren down. With Nathan's cowlicks, we have to keep it longer, but Oren has such thick straight hair, we buzz cut his. He looks good with it really short though. And I have noticed William's hair has been rather scraggly of late, so in the chair he went. He is much more well behaved for haircuts that his brothers ever were! Probably because he sees his brothers acting like it's no big deal. Whatever the reason, I appreciate the cooperation.

I did, however, get pokey hair all over me, which I do not appreciate. So I am off to take a shower and get it off me. Good night!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Yuck, I did it Again!

That's right. I stuck my arm up the toilet again.

William stuck some wipes in there a week or so ago, and I thought I pulled them all out. Well, he must have put something else in there that I didn't see, and now it is clogged again.

And that's not the best part!

He got in there earlier today and was playing apperantly, because the whole floor was flooded, and it got into the closet that shares a wall with the boys' room, and soaked through to the carpet in their doorway. Yay!

Today wasn't the best day, I was a bit grumpy for some unknown reason. Mark made a totally harmless comment about cleaning, and I totally flipped and got really angry. Usually I end up cleaning when that happens. When I say clean, I mean throw stuff out of where it shouldn't be and hope it lands where it should. Then scrub and vacumm and dust and induce chemical asphyxiation until the energy and ticked-off-ness expends itself. That way no one gets hurt and something gets done. So today I chose to tackle the bathroom and toilet. Yep, I even stuck my hand in there again and couldn't feel anything. It was a long shot, but hey. Not wanting to give up, I actually pulled the toilet up and tipped it over. Nothing there either. The clog is somewhere in the middle. I gave up, left the toilet on it's side, and locked the door. Housing maintenance will get a call in the morning.

Still fuming and with plenty of energy left I tackled the my bathroom, also a disaster. That is now totally spotless, floor mopped, the whole thing bleached from top to bottom, glass all dusted, shelves cleaned, toilet scrubbed down, bobby pins picked up. It is so nice to have a clean bathroom, I don't usually let it get so bad. What is nice about cleaning bathrooms is that I am totally by myself. Nobody comes in and bothers me, Mark chose to go outside and pull weeds, which was smart. I sat in there and said a lot of stuff to myself, most of which would have been very hurtful if I had said it to him, and most of it was not even true or relevant. I know the stuff I railed about was ridiculous, but that's why I do it while cleaning, under my breath. Because sometimes I can't help what I say, and you can't take back words.

After the bathroom was done, I had worked my way back to normal and fairly decent. The kids got put in bed, I complimented Mark on the weed job he did for me, and he admired how clean and nice smelling the bathroom was. All is well, no harm done. This time. Except for the poor toilet resting on it's side, waiting patiently to put upright and used again.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I am so Lucky!

I have had a bit of a hard time this weekend. It's one thing to think there might be something wrong with yourself, I have found, and a whole nother thing to have it confirmed. It has seemed very strange to think about the ramifications of that doctors appointment.

1. I will have to take medication for most of the rest of my life. This makes me glad for being military and I hope we can retire as such, for the insurance purposes. This also means constantly readjusting dosages, switching medications until we find what works. The amount I pay for the meds is very low, about $9 a month, and would be free if the base pharmacy carried it.

2. I will have appointments at least once a month to check dosages, side effects, progress... I am lucky again that Tricare will pay for 2 med management appointments a month, and up to 8 therapy appointments a year without a referral, with more if I get authorization. All these are paid by insurance, with no copay.

3. Bipolarism is hereditary. My children have inherited the possibility of having this disorder too. Like how diabetes can run in families, so can this. And it is just as serious and can be just as deadly if not dealt with properly. Will my children have it? How will it affect their lives? How can I have more children knowing that I may pass this on? Plus some medications can affect babies in utero, birth defects and miscarriage. Can I go through that just to try for that little girl I want so much?

4. How is this going to affect my relationship with my husband? He has very patiently put up with my mood swings for a long time, but now that it has a name, can he deal with having an ill wife? Is he going to treat me differently, or look at me differently? He has assured me he won't, but it is still in the back of my mind.

5. I don't know what my personality will be like. It has been so long since I have felt "normal". But was that normal like other people, or normal for me with the ADHD I have had since childhood and didn't know for certain. I like to think I will still be "me": upbeat, friendly, chatty (but not hyper), interested in others, someone people confide in. I like to think that is my normal. I don't want to change, I just want to cool it down a little, be able to control certain things I do, like the talking.

With all these things going through my head, it has been really nice to have people that love me to talk to. Mark, Stephanie, my friend Amanda. And today we asked the bishop and the elder's quorom president, whom we are good friends with, to help give me a blessing. Our bishop deals with troubled teens, half of which are bipolar in the group he works with. And the elder's qorum president confided in me that he is too. So there are good people at church who understand. The blessing was something I really needed, and I am so lucky to be in such a good ward, with people I trust to do that for me. I also spoke about it with some close friends today. My visiting teacher I have known since Japan had felt inspired to talk to me about getting help, and cried with me a little today. I know I can call her anytime.

So these things are still swimming around my head, and if I let myself think about all of it too much it would be so easy to get overwhelmed. (Part of that is my condition I'm sure) But on the whole, I guess I am lucky. I have great friends, a wonderful supportive family, good doctors, good insurance, a blessing to think on and more if I need them, and I am young. It's not too late to have good relationships with my children. It's not too late to learn skills to deal with myself.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Interestingly, this is my favorite kind of donut...

You Are a Glazed Donut
Okay, you know that you're plain - and you're cool with that.
You prefer not to let anything distract from your sweetness.
Your appeal is understated yet universal. Everyone dig you.
And in a pinch, you'll probably get eaten.">What Donut Are You?

Kitty Cat Cake

My friend's little girl is having her 8th birthday today, and they are doing a Cat party. (she loves her cat) My friend did all the work of baking the cake, and provided all the supplies for the frosting. But she is not a decorator and is not very confident. So I agreed to come finish the cake for her. I have not worked with this pan before, it is the new animal face one I just purchased, but it seemed easy enough. We wanted it to kind of resemble her cat, a calico tabby, orang and black with blue eyes. Voila! The result...

The ears on the pan are round, so I had to use frosting and build up pointed ears. Amanda says those are her pieces. :-) Being a perfectionist I can see all the little flaws and I wish I could have done better with the stripes, but I haven't done anything like this before. The pan is made for a bear, and has lines built in for a bear design, so that was interesting. It sure will taste yummy, and the kids think it is the coolest cake ever!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Disorder a Disadvantage?

My appointment in Boise today... where to begin? For the past several months I have been plagued by abrupt mood changes: several days of depression for no reason, all of a sudden super hyper, feeling normal and happy, extremely irratable and aggressive. All popcorning back and forth with seemingly no reason, made worse by stress. Which I have a lot of right now. This has been going on for quite some time, usually pretty mildly and I handled it just fine, barely even noticed it and thought it was more of a PMS kind of thing. Or stress. But my close friends and dear husband have noticed that the last couple of months it has taken very little for me to plunge way down, or completely flip out, or become very hyper and can't slow down. Several times I have had thoughts, unbidden but there none the less, that scared me. So I finally got up the courage to admit that maybe I need help, and called a psychiatrist in Boise that several LDS friends of mine recommended. They were able to fit me in rather quickly and I went there today.

There was lots of paperwork, self-assesments, medical and family history. Life story, anything and everything and they wanted to know it all. Then they sat down with me and went over every bit of it. We compared me with "normal". How do I usually react to things, how am I sleeping, what's been going on... It took over an hour, but at the end, apparently I was a by-the-book case, and she was able to guess how I would answer a question about my personality and habits. Kind of reassuring. I walked out with a diagnosis.

I am bi-polar. (deep breath) There, I said it. I kind of had a feeling I was, but sometimes people give it a bad image, like you are crazy or something. Like there is something you are doing wrong, stressing out too much... There isn't. It is just a common disorder. In a way it is a relief to have put a name to why I am this way. It is a little scary, and not something I will be telling total strangers, but I needed to say it today. To complicate it a little bit, I am also very ADHD. I kind of figured that as well, because I was very much like Oren is now. He had to get it from somewhere. And the bi-polarism (a word?) getting worse hasn't helped the ADHD symptoms I already had but was dealing just fine with. Having this diagnosis is like taking a deep breath, makes you feel a little better, because it explains why lately I have been "crazy mommy, mean mommy, sad mommy".

They are going to start me on a very low dose of medication, and gradually bring it up. It is a mood stabilizer, to kind of level me out. Then, when my moods are under control, they will determine if it is necessary to treat the ADHD. Nowhere actually has it in stock, they have to order it in, I will get it on Tuesday. Oren is excited because "Mommy and he can take their pills together every morning, and Mommy's pill will help her make good decisions just like Oren's pill!" And Mark is glad he will have his loving, sweet, somewhat-better-at-housekeeping wife back.

As for the rest of my day, it was a very long day in Boise. Amanda went with me to run errands, we hit lots of places. We went to a party store, and got some pirate-themed stuff for Oren's birthday. A pirate hat and sword for the birthday boy, plates and invites, loot bag stuffers. Lots of fun! There is a small "world market" store that carries Indian curries we used to get in Enland, so I got a couple today as a treat for Mark. A new cake pan, an animal face one. Too cute! And Mark and the kids were all alive when I got home, which is amazing because I was gone from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm. Like I said, a long day...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Ponderings of a tired mother...

Pondering #1
Would it be worth joining a nudist colony to cut back on the amount of laundry I have to deal with daily? Maybe just part-time... At least let the kids run naked in the backyard all summer...?

Pondering #2
Should I just call the housing office to come unclog the boy's toilet? Or am I going to have to don elbow length gloves and dig around in there again? What did William put in there....

Pondering #3
How many more times with the subfloor be able to take having buckets of water poured onto it before it starts warping and the padding smells of mildew? Should I just invest in a dehumidifier for the boy's room to help dry out the carpet? Or resign myself to the inevitable, and start saving money now to pay for the carpets in the house when we leave...

Pondering #4
At what point in the "being tired" will my brain kick in and make me go to bed instead of doing dishes or folding laundry or sweeping the floor? Hmm...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Stop the Insanity!

My word! I have not slowed down much at all this week. Several doctor's visits scheduled, therapy, good bye parties for preschool, a trip to Boise for an appointment for me, and a cake to decorate for Saturday. Amanda came over this morning out of boredom while I was "cleaning" and helped me knock out a bunch of stuff. Sweeping and mopping, and then she helped me tackle the disaster in the laundry room. What a sweetie! Of course, I was over all the time cleaning her house when she was pregnant, so now she's paying me back. It's great to have a friend like that. Sometimes cleaning is easier with two.

I think we have figured out what to get Oren for his birthday. He is always playing with my camera, taking pictures of everything, chasing Nathan around with the camera. He actually lucks out and gets some good shots, which is cool. So we found a little $20 camera for kids at Walmart. I know it won't take the best pictures, but we figure... he's 6. It'll be fine. This way he leaves our nice, expensive camera alone. That's the hope anyway! Maybe he'll have a talent for it...

We have been blessed with lots of wind this week. Last night was another dust storm. Lots of trash barrells blown around the street, pieces of roofing in the road and in backyard, and fences blown down. Ours gets knocked over about twice a year, and this is the second time. Even the supports that they had leaning against the fence to help prop it up didn't hold it. Of course. It's flimsy metal posts! What we need it 8 foot 4x4's dug down 2 feet and cemented in. Not 2 inch diameter hollow metal posts dug in 12 inches. We are on the edge of housing, and there is a wind issue! Hello! At least fill our posts in with concrete.... Sorry, we are getting a little tired of calling in the fence every time it gusts. Thanks for letting me vent. At least we don't have to pay for the repairs...

Mark gets Friday off this week, for Memorial Day weekend. And I have to be in Boise for all morning, and probably a good portion of the afternoon. What will the house look like when I return? I am scared to think about it. He'll have all three kids all day. Who will survive? The betting booth is now open, ladies and gentlemen.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My Favorite Things #3

One of my favorite things in the world is... peanut butter! I have made this dessert a couple of times, and I love it every time! Creamy Peanut Dessert. Graham Crackers, peanuts, and peanut butter crust. Cream cheese, peanut butter, and cool whip filling. Yumm! Find the recipe here.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Picture of the Day #42

This was my favorite picture of our walk. What sweet, curious boys...

Afternoon at the Park

We decided to take advantage of the gorgeous sunshine, and spend some time together as a family. There is a park in our town with a duck pond, and the kids thought it would be fun to go feed the ducks. I actually remembered to bring the camera with me, and was able to get lots of snapshots of the kids!

It took a little while before the ducks started showing up. We thought maybe we had come too early in the season. As we were thinking about packing up and heading somewhere else, they came floating over for their bread treat.
William misunderstood and ate the bread instead. Lucky him it was fresh bread from home, not stale hard stuff.

He also thought it would be okay to jump right in and swim with the ducks. I'm sure the water wasn't too cold, but it wasn't the cleanest ever!

Nathan enjoys the space to run around, and takes full advantage of it. He is really such an active little guy.

Oren is fascinated by science and the world around him. You can almost see the wheels turn in his head sometimes.

Enough of the ducks! It was time to go exploring the small walking trail that winds around the equally small creek that feeds the pond.

I just loved this one, how little William looks next to his daddy. It amazes me how big he is sometimes and the things he is able to do. Like hold our hands as we walk around. But he still has so far to grow.

This happened at the base of the bridge, right after I took the last picture. He slipped on the gravel and scraped his head pretty good, and bit his lip nicely. We got a scraped knee too, and dirt/gravel was all over his face. Poor thing!

Having three boys, I am prepared for lots of things, and have a pretty nice first-aid kit in the car at all times. All different bandaids, ointment, gauze, wipes, cold pack... He was lots happier after we got him cleaned up, but wouldn't stop biting his lip. :-)

After all this fun, we packed up and went home before somebody fell in the pond!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Ha Ha! Finally!

Oren does not like tomatoes. At all. Now, it's not for lack of trying on my part. I make him eat at least one everytime I serve them. He is better with cooked, which is something at least. But they are really not something that he willingly eats and after eating the required bite, will pick the rest out of the food.

But today, he ate them! I had a bunch of leftover meatloaf from last night, and didn't want to just serve it again for lunch. So I cut it up and mixed it into a casserole we called goulash as children. Mark's family call it "the good stuff", which is funner, so that's what we call it in our home. Macaroni noodles, ground beef, canned diced tomatoes and a can of tomato sauce. Lots of shredded cheddar. I added last night's green beans too. Heated through, and yum! I wasn't sure how he would eat it, because usually I get "I don't like this, it has tomatoes!" But we have been talking about trying things before saying you don't like it, because you might. So he quoted that back to me, and then sat down. I was prepping myself for the usual fight, when I heard him exclaim loudly that he liked the tomatoes! "Mommy, what did you do to the tomatoes? How did you make them yummy?" I told him I cooked them. He ate his whole plate, and then asked for seconds!

It's nice when your hard work pays off.

Friday, May 16, 2008

It's late...

... and I am tired. Not just any tired. The kind where you are typing with your eyes closed.

The ladies did come after all, I was a little worried that they would forget or that I scared the new girl by being so outgoing. Guess not! We had a great time scrapbooking together, they loved playing with all my stuff. I have a lot of stuff. The new sister went home around 5 to make dinner for her hubby, and my other friend stayed at my house. I ended up making dinner for all of us, there was going to be plenty so why not share. We had Mark's Mom's Meatloaf. Yumm! Then we scrapbooked some more, until her munchkin got tired.

So she called her husband and had him pick up her little boy and get him to bed. She stayed and we ended up working until 10:00. 8 hours! I didn't know this at the time, but this was her first time scrapbooking, ever. I had a newbie! That was a lot of fun, showing her all kinds of things you can do.

So yummy dinner, great company, and cute pages. What a great day!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Productive at least.

Today was not a fun or exciting day. I got no more scrapbooking done. But I did get my house swept, and several batches of dishes done. Hurray! Mark was so excited that I was sweeping, until I told him it was because people were coming at the end of the week. He thought I was doing it for him. But he felt better when I made a batch of peanut butter cookies for him, they are almost gone already!

Last night was our enrichment meeting. I was chatting with a friend during refreshments, when a new sister came and asked if she could sit with us. Wow, what guts! Of course she can come chat with us, I'll talk to anyone! (ask my husband, it drives him nuts) She seems like a sweetie, has two small children under 3 and has been here a month, just doesn't come to church often. We three exchanged names and numbers and had a blast. I have been meaning to have my friend over to do some scrapbooking/hanging out, and so we set up to do that Friday. While I was at it, I invited the new lady to come too, and made sure she knew it wasn't just because she was standing there while we were talking about it. I love getting to know new people. Now I need to make sure my house is in order, because they may be bringing their little ones. I hope they don't make excuses and not come, because my friend really needs to get some adult social time not at work, she's active duty Air Force, and I would love to see the new girl get out and socialize with church people and maybe start coming more often.

I am so grateful to the Lord for blessing me with the ability to be outgoing. Mom always told me that Steph and I were blessed with different talents, she is better at so many things than I am: creative cooking, music, crocheting, being patient... But that is the one thing that has always come easier for me, being outgoing, people seem less shy around me too. It is interesting the things you observe about yourself as you get older. I still wouldn't mind having Steph's crocheting thingy..... :-)

Picture of the Day #41

I was going through my cake photos the other day to figure out which ones weren't in my portfolio. I realized I didn't have one of the cake I did for Oren's 4th birthday! Oh no! This was the neatest cake ever, one I will never duplicate because it drove me nuts, and I didn't even have a picture of it. (I formatted my computer and lost all the pictures from almost 1 1/2 years) I mentioned this to my friend Amanda, who laughed and said she had just found one she had taken of it on her camera phone. What a coincidence! She can send emails from her phone, so she mailed it to me right then and there.

For some reason he had wanted a "waterpark cake". I found this in a Woman's Day magazine and put it together. A cutout filled with blue jello for a pool, white chocolate and blue sprinkle water slide, teddy grahams with frosting swimsuits. I even bought several little bags of m&m's and picked out the blue ones for the border! What was I thinking? He loved it, though I am not sure how to top that one for this year's party?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Book Tag

Thanks Steph for tagging me!

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag three people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

The nearest book is "Help! I'm Turning Into My Mother."

6th sentence: "After the ceremony we all walked up the hill to our house."

7th: "I had thrown together an angel food cake from a mix, slathered it with Cool Whip, and called it a wedding cake."

8th: "I handed the new couple a knife to cut the cake, and posed them so Scott could take a snapshot."

I just have to finish the paragraph because it is too funny!

"When they applied knife to cake, it reminded me of a kid stepping on an innertube. The cake compressed everytime they tried to make an incision. And over and over again it kept springing back up. With each attempt Shawn lost more control over her giggles. The newlyweds coudn't, for the life of them, get the knife to penetrate their wedding cake. They finally gave up and tore pieces off with their bare hands."

Isn't that an image? Hee hee...

Okay, I tag Kami, Melinda, and Kathy!

Lil' Scrapper Directions

This is a cute little 6-inch album. Great for making quiet books for Sunday, or little albums to send to grandparents. I did one of pictures of Oren for the diaper bag and an alphabet one too, there are lots of possibilities!

Supplies Needed

Cardboard cereal box
2- 6"x6"

Printed Paper
Color #1 1- 4" x 8 1/2"
Color #2 2- 6" x 8 1/2"

5- 12"x12" white

Double stick tape
Glue stick/tape runner
Rotary Trimmer or craft knife
Metal ruler if using craft knife

Step 1. Cut all cardboard and paper pieces to size. Score all 12 x 12 cardstock in half, turn paper, then cut in half. You will end up with 10 pages 6" x 12" scored in half.

Step 2. Fold all cardstock pages in half.
Place one of the folded pages in front of you. Run a piece of double stick tape along the folded edge side and cover the rest with flue stick. Stack another folded page on top. Make sure you line up the folded edges! Repeat this step until all folded pages are glued and stacked.

Using a rotary trimmer or craft knife and metal ruler, trim about 1/4 inch off of each of the three sides. Please leave the folded side alone. Put book aside for now.

Step 3. Place color #1 pice pattern side down in front of you. Glue the 6x6 cardboard pieces down in the middle of the paper, leaving about 1/2" space between cardboard pieces. Fold down top of color #1 and glue to cardboard pieces. Fold bottom of paper and and glue.

Step 4. Turn whole piece over so that the pattern of color #1 is facing you. Glue one of the color #2 pieces down along the edge of color #1. Do the same on the other side. Turn whole piece over again.

Step 5. Cut four corners 1/8" from edge of cardboard. Fold all edges in and glue down.

Step 6. Running a piece of double stick tape alone folded edge side, cover the rest of the page with glue stick. Line up folded edge with edge of cardboard and center. Place book glue side down onto inside cover. Press down and smooth to make sure it is secure.

Fold ever top cover to "train" it a bit. (the folded edge will fit into the center of the cardboard cover-the blue in between the gray boxes above) Place another strip of double stick tape along folded edge side , covering the rest of page with glue stick. Fold cover back over, cardull to line up edges. Press and smooth to make sure it is secure. Now you are finished!

Picture of the Day #40

At the very beginning of spring I posted a picture of a branch with leaves just starting to sprout. I mentioned then that this particular tree soon becomes a huge mass of flowers later in the spring. Dark pink buds that open into stark white blooms.

What a Beautiful Spring!

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Bit Belated

I know I should have done this ages ago and sent them out, but I was procrastinating hugely. I couldn't figure out what to get my mom and mom-in-law for Mother's Day. Then it dawned on me how much they both love their grandkids! So that's what they'll get!

No, I am not talking about letting the kids stay there for a week each, although I wouldn't mind.

Better still, something that would keep the kids there for them to enjoy all the time. A scrapbook of the kids through the year. Some big events like Christmas and school plays, and little things like beautiful pictures of them taken randomly. A good friend of mine taught me how to make the actual scrapbooks, so I can make them custom sized. 8 inches was too big for my materials, and 6 inches was too small for the pictures. So I did 7 inches. I had to cut the sheet protectors down to size and repunch holes. Mom's is blue binding with a blue/orange polka dot cover. And Mom Willford's is brown binding with a pink and brown flowered cover. They will have identical scrapbook pages in each one. These little books are so much fun to make, I love getting to choose the paper for the cover instead of going with a plain store-bought one.

I have the pictures all picked out, edited to make some of them more creative or blend the colors better, and printed out. I did one page today as well as put the albums together, now I only have 14 pages left! :-) I did let the moms know their gifts would be late. Time is hard to come by right now, and is just going to get worse!

On another note, Oren starts Mighty Mites T-Ball tomorrow! We had a parent's meeting tonight and met the coaches and got the practice schedules. He is so excited to do a sport. We are hoping it will help him run off some of that excess energy, make friends, learn some social skills, and maybe even build a little muscle, put some weight on him. They may do a game or two at the end of the "season" which only goes until June 18th. It's really just to learn about the game, to have fun, get kids moving and learn about sportsmanship and stuff. I just can't believe I have a child old enough to start doing sports! Wow!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day All!

Well, it had to happen sometime. A good day... who could have seen it coming?

The kids woke up fairly happy, managed not to pour cereal all over the floor that my friend had just swept and mopped the night before. (I have a great friend!) They got dressed in decent time, Mommy's hair did not require an hour to look civilized, Daddy's shirt wasn't too wrinkled. We were only 5 minutes late to church instead of the usual 30 minutes (yes I said 30). William went to Nursery just fine, I had songs for Relief Society picked out ahead of time, I got to play with a baby and then hand her back when she got fussy. My husband and my children all showed up in the Relief Society room at the same time, we all made it back out to the car in one piece.

I actually cooked a meal, crunchy tacos with homemade taco seasoning. Mark and the boys cleaned up the meal for me, and the dishwasher was run. I got computer time and was able to edit some photos for the mother's day scrapbook thingies I am putting together. While I was doing that Mark rounded up the kids to sign my card. He had the kids do a little photo shoot, doing mischievious things...

Painting on the wall (a previous mess...)

Wrestling on Mommy's bed (a big no-no)

And other interesting little things the kids have done lately like pull their blinds down and ruin them, or pour water all over the carpet in their room to "get the stains off it".

And then he had them pose for one last picture...

They presented my card with these little bouquets that he helped them find flowers for: small branches from our tree in the backyard, small pink flowers I just found yesterday from a plant I thought wouldn't come back, and deep purple pansies from flowers that grew from seeds Mark planted for me last fall. I don't think a bouquet was ever so pretty or made me smile so big.

After all this niceness I was quite wore out, and I went and laid down for a bit. Mark shut the door and kept the kids quiet for as long as he could, no mean feat.

Then my good friend Amanda called, the same one who came over last night and swept and mopped my kitchen/dining room, and invited us over to share the huge dinner she made. So we ended the day with good food, and good friends. Mark even helped put the kids to bed! I couldn't have asked for a better Mother's Day! Thank you boys for being so good today, and thank you my sweet husband for making today a great day.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Picture of the Day #39

It was such a beautiful day. We had the boys running around the front yard and the sun was going down. I was trying to get a good picture with the evening lighting, but Nathan wouldn't look at me. He was just being silly the whole time. I think it made for better pictures than if he had cooperated! :-) Thank you, Nathan, for being such a sweet little guy.

Oh, my funny boys!

Okay, as promised, the pizza hut pictures! I played with them a little on my adobe software, just having fun. I learned a little more about it, which is great!

Oren waited so patiently for his soda, the waitress didn't bring them until the breadsticks came. So he was pretty thirsty and ignored the breadsticks (which are one of his favorites) until he drank a good bit of his soda. He wouldn't even put it down and give me a smile! :-)

I love how kids get so messy eating pizza. They aren't shy about enjoying their food. But when I do it, I look like an idiot! Go figure...

No thank you Daddy, I don't think I like the taste of the tomato sauce.

No, I said I don't want it!

What's funny is when Daddy broke the top and bottom halves apart and put sauce on them, he ate it just fine! :-) Thank you Pizza Hut for feeding us and doing the dishes after!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Sheets Please! (and hold the tomato sauce)

That's all I'm waiting for... my sheets to come out of the dryer.

Mark and I got a lot done today. He did the boys' bathroom top to bottom, William's room, and half of Oren and Nathan's room. I took the same amount of time and got our room done. Does that say how bad my room was? Of course, I kept taking time out to change out laundry, I got 4 loads washed and dried. It amazes me where kids can stick clothes. I did find all their underwear! It was time to wash our sheets, so they were the last load in the washer.

We tackled the boys' room together, it's a 4 person job. We organized all the books and legos, train pieces, threw out all the puzzles since they are all missing pieces and the kids never put them together anyway. All the bedrooms got a thorough vaccumming and dusting too. Whew, it feels good.

Of course, having done so much hard work not in my kitchen, that room was horrid. I had no wish to be creative in there, and I wanted pizza. Mark wanted to look at sprinklers, and so we packed up the kids and headed to town. Can we say Pizza Hut? Yes! The camera is in the car, and I don't have the energy to get up and get it. I'll post those later. We enjoyed our breadsticks, and even got a cute picture of William not being to sure about the tomato sauce on his. By the time we left there is was 9:30, but we risked Walmart anyway.

That was fun... The boys were extremely tired, as were we. We didn't make it back home until almost 11:00. Ouch! Hopefully they will sleep in tomorrow morning.

And of course, when we got home and I could have crawled right into bed, what did I discover? I never switched my sheets over! So now we have to wait until they are dry and make the bed before we can collapse in it. Go figure...

We love our Teacher!

This week Oren's school celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week. Due to a crazy schedule I didn't get anything done until yesterday afternoon. Oren was so excited to give his gift to his teacher. We have really appreciated the work she does with Oren. She is so patient with him, never judges him or his Mommy and Daddy, and gives him the benefit of the doubt. She chose to focus on the things he does right rather than the mistakes in behavior he makes, and has done her best to make this year a positive and productive year. A teacher like that deserves flowers, right? Right!

Oren and I saw a similar idea in one of my scrapbooking magazines. I thought it was so cute I just had to do it. It is a vase filled with Jelly Belly jelly beans. Then we took pencils and glued some of my scrapbook papers around them. We cut out cardboard flowers and attached paper to the cardboard, then a little button in the middle. I glued the flowers to the pencil on the metal, and tied some green ribbon around the pencil for leaves. The jelly beans were too random colored, so we covered the vase in the tissue paper to make the flowers pop. Oren was so excited, and I thought it came out super cute.

The vase was super cheap, a dollar-store find, and I got the scrapbook paper at 200 pages for $10. I already had the pencils, the tissue paper was at the dollar-store, and the ribbon is part of my scrapbook stuff. The only pricey part were the jelly beans, but she is too good to give the generic tasteless brand. I only hope the pencils sharpen okay for her!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Job comes knockin'

Today I got a phone call from a good friend from church, I taught her kids piano until their schedule got too busy. She was at the Seniors Party last night and saw the cake I did. Tasted it too. She said her kids aren't cake people, but they went back for seconds. She is throwing a party for her daughter with family and friends at the end of the month and she said, "Why throw away money on a commissary cake my family won't even eat?" So she asked if I would do a cake for her. Awesome! Personalized grad on the cake, funfetti border... sounds like fun! I told her it would be about $20 for a 9x13. It's a pretty basic cake, but I need to get comfortable charging what I am worth. Supplies will be about $8, so $12 for my time? It'll take about 1 1/2 hours to whip it out. A little cheap perhaps, but more than I have charged before. I know, I know, I should charge more. But this is a basic cake, a little writing, a basic picture drawn out with a little detail: eye color, hair style, a diploma. Easy stuff for me.

What I should do it add up the supplies and see what they run, then settle on an hourly wage for my time and approximate how long it will take. But do I charge for the time it takes to do all the prep work? Like preparing the cake board, the frosting, making colors, filling bags. I don't know. Any advice would be appreciated. I need the guts to charge what I'm worth, but how to figure out what that is? I don't know.

Tagged by Steph!

1. Answer the questions about the list of friends and/or family on your blog.

2. If you don’t have 18 names answer the question about the next name that you have not had a question for on your list.

3. Tag 5 people.

When did you first meet the first person on your list? I met Abby as a baby at Aunt Annette's house. I don't actually remember the first time I saw her, but I know she was a cutie! I do remember helping Adam and Caleb paint her room when I came to stay for a bit before Mike and Annette took me up to college.

What do you like about the third person on your list's blog? I love the fact that Calista, Steph, and I are all working on weight loss together. She is great about leaving encouraging comments on my weight loss posts, especially if I have fallen off the diet again.

What do you like best about the fifth and sixth people on your list? Well, Grandma is Grandma. I love that we live so close, and that she is able to come visit the base occasionally. I like hearing her tell stories about Dad, and I love the quilt she made me. Ashley seems like such a sweetheart. I've only met her once, and the reunion at Mom and Dad's, and only talked to her a little bit, but I admire her ability to stay strong when Joseph was injured, and I like how she is able to handle so many different business things and still keep her sanity.

How long have you known the ninth person on your list? I remember her from the reunion in Florida, a little, I was young and she was even younger. That's the great thing about cousins, you literally know them almost their whole life!

What impresses you about the eleventh and twelfth people on your list? I admire Aunt Annette for finishing school later in life. That took guts and hard work. Also for knowing when to step back from all the stress and take care of herself. And Mom and Dad? Where do I start? Mom taught me everything I know about being a mom. She put up with me when I was a hyper little talkie. And Dad has done a great job providing for the family all these years, working more than one job sometimes to give us the things we needed.

What is a memory you have with the sixteenth person on your list? Well, seeing as how she is only 2 years younger than me, almost every memory I have growing up includes her. On of my favorites is a piano duet we did in high school for a ward talent show. We dressed up kind of mime style, and started off playing each others parts. We made a big show of messing up several times, then we switched parts by switching hands. That didn't work, so we got up and switched places. We then finished the song. It was so much fun practicing, and I am so glad we have always been close.

Say something nice about the eighteenth person on your list. I don't have eighteen on my list, so I'll say something nice about Mark and my friends Kevin and Reighlynn. Kevin has been Mark's best friend since almost Sunbeams. They grew up together and crashed cars together.... When we started dating, Kevin was always so nice to me. He never treated me like the girl monopolizing his best friend. And we always double dated, even if Kevin didn't usually bring a date. Does that mean I dated both boys? :-) And it may have taken him a while, but he found the sweetest wife in the world, whom I officially met for the first time at their high school reunion over the summer, but get along famously with! I always appreciated being able to get along so well with the important people in Mark's life.

I tag anyone that's left by the end of this!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My little helper, Picture of the Day #38

I tell you what, just put a broom in William's hands and he is a happy boy! Daddy was out sweeping the patio yesterday and William just jumped in to help.

He's just so cute! It's fun to see how fast they grow. One minute he's my baby, the next he is saying new words all the time, chasing his brothers, and sweeping the patio with Daddy. "sigh"

Cake for Everyone!

You know the second best feeling in the world? (The first being looking into your babies eyes for the first time) Bringing a cake into a room and having it fall silent.

I love that feeling!

Okay, they didn't stop in awe of the decoration, more that they heard it was French Vanilla marbled with Swiss Chocolate, with my famous Carmel Buttercream Frosting. The design on top turned out cute enough, considering how bad my hands were shaking from not being used that way for some time. But let me tell you, the top of the cake that I cut off was delicious!

They wanted the people to look like the graduates. It was fun to dig into frosting again. It took 6 cups to ice it and another 2 to decorate. All together there was 4 cake mixes, 1 1/2 cups of oil, 12 eggs, 3 cups shortening, 3 pounds powdered sugar, 1/2 cup milk, 2 tbsp expensive extracts, 5-6 disposable bags, and lots of my special British black food coloring. (it really is a no taste food color, and I have it shipped over from England. Well worth the money.)

To show how big this cake really is, I snapped a picture of it in the oven.

12x18 inches. I love this pan! I don't use cardboard to support it either. I have to use a special plywood board I cut out a few inches bigger than the cake. I cover it with butcher paper, and then with heavy duty foil so it's clean and well protected, and there's no chance of the wood buckling when being carried and cracking the top of the cake.

I could do this full time at a bakery and be totally happy. I love playing with icing, although I don't love the greasy cleanup, and am so glad my parents signed me up for lessons for Christmas one year. One of the best gifts ever, it keeps on giving!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Who would trip out a SUV. Come on, really? While out today I caught a glance of a champange gold/silver SUV with red runners, bumper, fenders, and fancy rims. Not just regular silver ones, oh no....

That's right. Gold rims. I thought you could use a good laugh. Mark and I thought it hilarious. :-)

Pic of the Day #37

I took this with my camera phone, in really bright daylight. This was a georgous tree in flower outside the restaurant where we tried to enjoy a delicious lunch Saturday. I played with the colors a bit, and this reminds me of something antiqued. I love the colors of the flower. And the sun really was hitting the bright one this way, the rest of the flowers were in shade, except for a few spots.

Clean Sweep

I got my floor swept today! (sing-song voice) That has needed done for *ahem* a really, really long while. William is a disaster of crumbs at superspeed, and the older boys track who knows what from the backyard. I got some dishes done, and my table cleaned and sanitized. (With my boys, sanitization is a must, they are a disaster) So I am making progress.

Once the kids are in bed here in a few minutes, I will finish up the dishes and start on my gigantic sheet cake. 3 boxes of French Vanilla, marbled with 1 box of Swiss Chocolate. Like I said, it's a big cake. I bake the night before, and let cool on a wire rack outside the pan, then before I go to bed I place it back in the pan, and cover it with foil. This makes the cake really moist the next morning, and cuts back on the crumbs when I decorate as well as make it a lot easier to slice when you are serving it. Tomorrow I will make the 2-3 batches of frosting it will take to cover and decorate this thing. While it is baking I will plan out my design, the spacing of the people and what handwriting I want to use for the letters. I cheat and use the shortening in the foil wrappers, like butter. It saves time although it does add to the cost of the cake. But the frosting is so good that nobody minds. I am still much cheaper, and higher quality, then other decorators.

The feeling is returning to my face now too, which is nice. I chipped the tip off of one of my canine teeth 2 years ago in a huge car accident. It has bugged my since then, it is shorter than the other one, and it is very rough even though they smooth it down every six months for me. So I had them reshape the tip for me. They numbed me with super-strength orajel, then shot me up with lidocaine stuff. I was numb on one entire side of my upperlip, most of that cheek, that nostril, and up to that eyelid. That was interesting. I was reclined when they shot me up, so the stuff traveled a little bit. But I didn't feel a thing when they drilled off some more of the tooth to roughen it up. And the doctor did a good job matching it to the other one. It feels really odd, the tooth almost seems too big because I was used to the chip for 2 years now. But it evened up my smile a bit. They used some sort of filler stuff to sculpt the tooth. I may do the molar that was nicely chipped some other time, if that one starts bugging me. It was so funny when I got home and tried to kiss William. It felt like half my face was missing! :-) And my smile was all lopsided, which cracked Oren up. No botox for me, ever...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Piles of Laundry

Aside from actually getting Oren to school on time, the only thing I can boast about having accomplished is folding several batches of laundry. I got about 5 batches done, and still have several more to go, but the ones I got done were even put away in drawers. Miracle of miracles! It astounds me how many clothes 3 little boys can go through. I wish I had found all their underwear, but no such luck. I'll be scrounging around again tomorrow for some for them to wear. Isn't that sad?

I know today was Cinco de Mayo, and I really did intend to cook some amazing hispanic yummy stuff. Honestly! What did we end up having? Frozen ravioli in jarred spaghetti sauce. How inspiring. In order to cook something other than that we would have had to have clean dishes, and that just didn't happen. It's a good thing I recently bought paper bowls, because that's what we used along with plastic forks, which I will wash and reuse. At least I ventured to the store today to get milk, so the kids could eat cereal tomorrow without using powdered milk. (not their favorite)

My living room did end up getting semi-picked up and I drug the vaccum out, so that I could put laundry piles on the floor. I am trying not to think of the thousand of other things that need done, and would love to stop jumping in panic each time a neighbor kid rings the bell for Oren, thinking it's a friend that wants to come in and would then call the Center for Disease Control on me or something. Not that they would, or that it is as bad as that, but right now the backyard looks cleaner than my house.

On the plus side, we are all feeling better!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Recipe's have been posted...

Just a quick note, I got the recipe's posted on my recipe blog. I included some easier instructions for the roast that do not involve smoking, or a grill, so you guys can try it if you want. Far easier way to do it, I will be doing it this way next time. I also put up the sweet bread and brownie recipes! Enjoy!

Can I live here?

The suite at Anniversay Inn was beautiful! I am so glad we went, and I would love this to be a yearly tradition. It's a bit pricey, but it was so nice. There is a tub for two in every room, complimentary cheesecake in the fridge, sparkling cider chilled on ice waiting for us, and the tv was set to a relaxing music channel. Lights were beautifully dimmed, and best of all... there were no children!

I asked Mark if I could put mosquito netting over our bed at home and he said "Sure. If you could guaruntee the kids wouldn't pull it down in 2 minutes." Okay, I guess I'll wait a few years. First I have to train them to stay out of my room!

The tub was right in the room with us. Half the floor was stone, and then closer to the door and the bed it was animal stripe carpet. The tub was huge. One like this will be a must when we have our own home, for sure. I took 3 baths in this thing. Just laid there in 100 gallons of deliciously warm water, with the jets going. Ahhhh. No kids coming in to ask questions, or splash the water all over, or climb in head first.

This was actually the shower. He sat above and to the side of the tub, and the shower head came out of his head on the left.

Being the Jungle Safari room, there were little swinging critters all over the place.

Our own little waterfall. There was a switch to turn it off so we could sleep. But we had it going during our massages. Wonderful! I want one of these in my backyard!

I guess this guy thinks someone will make off with our cider. He was a little scary, quite realistic. And I have seen these guys up close!

This was a wonderfully relaxing weekend. They gave us a deep tissue massage. Did you know those hurt? Ouch! It felt great when they were done though. Mark never did guess what his suprise was. He did say massage at one point, but I had told him it was for both of us and so after he said massage he said it couldn't be because it was for both of us and how would a massage be for both? He didn't know they would send two masseusses! Ha ha! They adjusted my hips for me, they get out of place very easily, then I end up slightly tilted and one leg is longer than the other! That kind of hurts my back. But to adjust them, they had me lay on my back and then pulled on my ankles a little. They recommended I see a chiropractor. We'll see.

We went to some yummy places for dinner and lunch. Dinner was a seafood and steakhouse. The food was beautifully plated and the fish fresh. The menu is printed each day according to what is available. But I still wasn't feeling well, and didn't hardly touch my food. It was all too creamy for me. I want to go back when I am actually hungry, because what I ate tasted wonderful, I just couldn't eat it. That was pretty much the same with lunch the next day. Only then Mark was doing the same thing. We went to an italian place I had seen a couple of times but never gone into. They pour the olive oil onto a plate for dipping the bread into and grind fresh pepper onto it. They have real italian sodas they make there. Again, the food tasted amazing! I just got full after a dozen bites and had to box most of my pasta and Mark brought more than half his small pizza home. It didn't go to waste though, my family dug in pretty quickly. It was delicious, but we had almost no appetite. Another date, perhaps.

It was wonderful to have this time with Mark. I think we really needed it. And Marie enjoyed the wad of 20's I handed her... So my house is still a wreck, my kids are still nuts, my schedule insane, but I feel a little better about tackling it all. A little more refreshed. And very much in love with the sweet man that let me spend this much money on one date!

Oren's school play

I guess they did something like "brown bear, brown bear", but it was "children, children". Oren was the fire-breathing dragon, and Mark said he breathed very well. Not having been there, I don't know what all the pictures were. I would guess the top is him being a dragon. The middle 2 are probably a little group recitation (they did something similar for an earlier musical performance) and I think the bottom one is sharing a memory from his "memory book". They have been working on those all year.