Saturday, August 30, 2008

Babysitting Again

Have I ever mentioned how much I do not like snakes?

Guess what... I don't like snakes!

Amanda left town again for the weekend. And guess what? Big suprise, I was asked to watch all the critters. I didn't used to mind when it was the two dogs that I had to let out a couple times a day. And the fish are easy enough. Then they got the cat. No problem, that just added one more water and food dish to check when I come over. And a little box to make sure didn't get too full. The baby snake just needed lights turned on and off when I let the dogs out and a water dish to fill. The next, one of the pythons, was the same. Lights and water. All of a sudden there were 7 more snakes. And a guinea pig. And a whole bunch of rats, they killed off some, and then one had babies so we are right back where we were.

This makes:
2 dogs to let out and check water and food.
1 cat to check water and food and a litter box.
1 guinea pig to feed, water and scoop litter.
10 rats in 2 cages to feed, water, and scoop litter.
1 baby snake to fill water dish and scoop litter.
4 pythons and boas, 4-6 feet long, to water and clean cages.
2 huge albino pythons, 9 & 11 feet, to water and clean cages.
Miss Python hisses.
Snake poop is gross.

I love her like a sister, but when I last asked her to watch pets, when I still had those rats, I came home to a smelly dirty cage, no food in their bowl, and no water in the bottle.

A little discrepancy there?

Maybe if I did the same, she would stop asking me all the time. But I just can't bring myself to do that to animals, no matter how much I don't like certain varieties and certain jobs.

gotta go let the dogs out again...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Another Day, Another Country!

I have this week's meal up and posted. Check it out here!

Update on my ID. A nice gentleman that lives on our street found my ID next to the street's mailbox. (Did I check the mail? I don't even remember...) Somehow he tracked down Mark's work number and left a message. Work called the ID card office and left a message with the guy's name and number. We called him and gave him our address, and he dropped it off after work yesterday. What a blessing, because the system was down at the ID card office, and they had no idea when it would be back online! We still can't figure out how he got Mark's work number. Do you know how many shops and offices there are on this base?

How ever he did it, we are very grateful for honest people that go out of their way for others.

Although, I half wished I could get a new one anyway. I looked a lot better yesterday than I did when I got the other one. ;-)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What is William covered in?

What a pill....

A Little Bit of Heat

I picked our first peppers today. Not quite a peck of peppers, but 2 is a good start! We have about 3 dozen tomatoes in varying stages of growing, none of which are red yet. We are hoping it doesn't get too cold before we get a good one. And remind me next year to get much bigger tomato cages, or to build bigger supports. The plants kind of grew out of their cages and are hanging vine-like over the sides...
Don't they look yummy! All green and pretty!

What happens when you plant bell peppers next to a jalapeno plant?

A Bellapeno!

Why did no one tell us this until after the darn things had flowered and were growing little green things? Not cool people! They are curved and lobed at the same time, and will supposedly taste bell pepperish with a little jalapeno heat. I guess we'll know better next summer!

Yay for Me!

Before I got on to blog today, I did a load of laundry worth- wash, dry, and fold. Dishes put away and breakfast stuff loaded.

Last night I put together the dessert for our "World Tour" dinner tonight. If what comes out of the fridge is anything like what I "cleaned" off the spatula... oh my goodness! And it's a good thing I already have everything for tonight, because I lost my ID yesterday. As the guard at the gate handed it back to me I dropped it between the seat and the door. I figured I would get it when I got home.

But I forgot about it when we got there because both boys had fallen asleep and I had to get them out. Then Amanda called frantically asking for help cleaning because a friend she grew up with was dropping by unexpectedly on their way to Washington. So I went and helped and then had to run and get Oren. Came back and found that dinner was done in the crock pot when the choir director called, begging us to come to practice that evening. They will be very short on people the Sunday we perform. So we ate quickly and ran to the church. They are so short on people that I will actually be singing alto and tenor. (Mark didn't know I could sing that low, we even sounded pretty good together!)

I was driving us home and went to grab my ID just before we got to the gate. It wasn't in my wallet. *gasp* That's when I realized that I never picked it up off the floor several hours earlier. Mark had to drive into base. It wasn't in the driveway, I checked the school parking lot and at the office this morning. Which means that it is at the church parking lot. And with the wind as hard as it was last night, it is long gone.

So Mark has to take me down at lunch today and get me a new one. Tomorrow is a "family day" which means most of the base gets a free day off. Then there is the weekend, and Monday is labor day so again, most of the base is off. Nathan has therapy at 9:00 Tuesday, so I have to have one by then... I can't even go to the stores on base, because they check ID's at the check-out, and if you don't have it on you, you can't buy your stuff.

Good thing I planned in advance! But I did pretty good. I got my first ID at 10, military rules, I have had one for about 16 years, and this is the first one I have ever lost! I have left it in my coat or jeans twice, both of which I was the only driver in the car. A friend had to rescue me the first time, and the second time they let me through when I asked if I could go home and get it and bring it back to show them. They said not to worry about it and waved me through anyway. I guess there is a first time for everything!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Good, the Bad, and the Just Plain Funny!

Just a few minutes ago we reached a few milestones!

1. The Good- William took the shirt I was going to put on him, held it by the bottom, put his arms in, and pulled it over his head! I had to help him get his hands through the sleeves, he put his elbows through first. But yay! He can already take pants off, he walks out of them, and can take diapers and shoes and socks off. But this is one of the first things he has put on!

2. The Bad- As I was putting his shoes on, I remembered Amanda said it looked like all three boys just had a growth spurt and looked a little older. So I checked William's shoes to see if his feet grew too. (His shoes were starting to get a teeny bit harder to put on.) Sure enough, his toes are about 1/4 inch from the end of his shoes. Meaning that they are starting to squeeze. Nathan has somewhat wider feet at the toes, and we were using Oren's old shoes for him, before we realized they were too narrow and started buying the very pricey wide ones. But his toes look a little squished. We have been super careful with William to not let him wear shoes that are too small. I haven't checked yet, but hopefully we have the next size up in our shoe box.

3. The Just Plain Funny- While I was doing laundry earlier I heard William doing a yell like Tarzan mixed with Braveheart. I looked in the living room and he was running around in circles, yelling his little heart out. He did this for nearly 5 minutes! Just running and yelling, having a great old time. What a wierd, funny little guy!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

5 more minutes....

6:30 is freakin early! Why was I anxious for school to start? Can't I please just shut off the alarm, stuff my head under the pillow, and go back to sleep for another 2-3 hours?

5 more minutes....

Monday, August 25, 2008

Crazy? Or Smart...

Mark officially thinks I am crazy. Last year I had a schedule. So I wouldn't be late dropping Oren off at school. I knew when to head to the bus so I wouldn't be late for Nathan. I knew what days a crockpot dinner would be a good idea because the evening would be busy.

So of course I did it again this year! But this time, I showed it to him. The top row is the days of the week. The first column is in hours, ie. 7:00, 8:00, 9:00, etc. So each day has a space to write what happens during that hour. Morning has to be pretty specific: Wake boys at 7:15, breakfast by 7:30. Shoes on at 8:05, 8:10 we are out the door. I have to, or we won't be there on time, or it will chaotic and I will get stressed and start yelling. Not fun for anyone first thing in the morning. This year I had to leave enough time to pack Oren a lunch if I need to.

There is a general time for lunch. A time for me to remember to start dinner. A time for Pj's, picking up toys, stories, song and prayer. So they can be in bed for a full night's sleep.

Mark is more the easy-going type. Schedule? What's a schedule? He thinks I am crazy.

I think it would crazy not to.

Messy Boy!

This is what I get for not paying attention... Poor little guy was crying and rubbing his eyes, but I held off cleaning him up until I got a good picture. Can you guess what this is?
Cast your vote! I'll reveal the answer later!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Vodka Anyone?

To sterilize my bathroom maybe! We did Russia this week, on Friday instead of Thursday, since I was out of town all day. Another friend came and helped me cook all afternoon, which is good, because if I had done it all by myself we wouldn't have eaten until midnight! As it was, it took us from 5pm to 10pm before all the food was done. *Note to self: next time I make filled pasta/dumplings by hand, either start seriously early in the morning or the day before and freeze until I need to cook them!

It went over really well, and the kids were so tired that they ate quietly for once. Recipes are photos are already posted!

Thursday was somewhat of a busy day. I had an appointment in Boise in the morning, and had been promising the kids all summer that we'd make it to the zoo before school starts. Well, school starts on Monday, so there wasn't much time left. I even packed a lunch to eat there! That's a rarity...

The Boise Zoo is tucked away in a little corner if a big park. I saw only one sign telling you which direction to turn, and that was on a one way street! It's not even on the city map! I had to call a friend to tell me how to get there. But, once we found it, we found out that Thursday is family day, so it was $8.50 for all of us! Nice big discount. And under three is free! I only got a couple good pictures.

This little guy was the only critter that I could get a clear shot of, and that sat still for me! He's a lemur, and the boys and I talked about how Timon (Lion King) was a lemur too.

When we stopped by the tiger, he was pacing the perimeter of his cage. They had a glass watching area so you could see better, safely. He walked right on front of us, about 3 feet away. That guy was huge! So of course the boys were all over the life-sized model.

We went through the zoo in about 2 hours, it was that small. And that included the 20 minutes when we ate lunch! There was still plenty of afternoon left to kill, so we headed over to the Discovery Center, right by the zoo but much easier to find. That was more expensive, so we did an annual family pass. That way we can stop by in between errands and let the boys run off some energy. They had several different rooms: electricity, your body, Optics, Motors, a pet hospital for young ones, and a grocery store for little ones too. A couple others but I don't remember all of them.

We got there in time to do a craft and headed back to the craft room. I took my eyes off William for a split second and he was gone. Really gone! Wasn't in the room, checked up and down the hallway peeking my head into people's offices. No where! Started asking employees if they had seen a very short toddler running around, wearing an orange coverall. I was so glad I had put him in orange, it was easier to see in the lighting. Every room I looked in I found more people to help me look. I think I had 6 at one point? People kept saying they had seen a flash of orange... Finally someone found him and then found me. I had been almost to the point of crying, panicking, worried sick. Three boys, and although they have all wandered off before, he's the only one who has gotten lost to this extent. That boy is fast! I was glad for the wonderful employees there.

I didn't get any pictures there, between frantically searching for William, and then trying to keep all three boys in my line of sight through all the rooms. They loved it though, so we'll make several more trips. (We have to, to justify the family pass!) Plenty of time for pictures. Next time, I'll buy one of those animal backpack leash thingies. I never thought I'd have to, but I do not want to repeat that experience. Ever.

A busy day, but pretty fun over all.

*oops - Steph pointed out that Timon was a meerkat. I knew he was and I know the photo was a meerkat. I have no idea why I put Lemur. Maybe I was thinking about the lemur that was swinging so fast in his enclosure that I couldn't get a good picture for the life of me. Sorry about the typo!

Falling Apart

I had a record. The longest I had ever kept my house clean was about 2 weeks. This time I made it 2 months. Then everything fell apart.

The dishes haven't been done right after every meal, and once or twice I went all day without doing them.

The laundry often has to be washed again because I left it in the machine too long and it smells. But it does get folded before another load is pulled out of the dryer!

The floor does not get swept everyday, and only got done today because it had to be. A friend came over with her small son, about William's age. It sorely needs mopped, especially by the table.

The carpet needs vacuumed. Like, my room. After William flooded the toilet on Wednesday, we sucked as much water out of my bedroom carpet as possible with our cleaner (Mark has quit complaining that I bought it...) and then Mark sprinkled baking powder on the wet spot to get the rest of the water out. *Tip - pour baking soda on a spill and it will pull the fluid out (like urine). Wait for it to dry, usually about 12 hours, and then vacuum it up. I did it on a Chloe-the-dog accident and it changed color to yellow when it dried, the stuff it pulled up. No stain left on the carpet! The white powder is still all over the floor, and has been spread by people walking on it.

There are stiff towels and bathroom rugs in the boys' bathroom that need washed, from the last clogging two weeks ago when Mark's family descended on us. The toys that clogged the toilet and the drain snake are still in the tub.

The rugs, a towel, bathroom scale, plunger-holder thingy, and parts of the shop-vac are in my tub from when William flushed a whole roll of toilet paper, several times, and the water was all over the bathroom, down the vent in the floor (why put a vent in the bathroom floor right by the toilet?) and seeped out into my carpet. On Wednesday. Dried toilet paper in my sink so we have been using Mark's.

A houseplant died.

What happened? Stress. The stress I was trying to avoid. The frantic cleaning for the re-inspection of the laundry room that never happened. The reunion on the heels of the mandatory cleaning. The itchy hives that I hoped weren't from my meds that spread from my arms to my legs and back before I thought to change my soap back to Dove and that took several weeks to go away. (apparently I can only use Dove, anything else makes me break out). The referral to the ENT that we weren't sure if she would see Nathan, and was taking her time deciding. Being sick. Having 14 people all sleeping in the same 3 bedroom house all weekend. Taking a couple days to relax after everything and letting all the housework that I didn't do that day snowball into a large project again. Having a slight depressive episode that leaves me not motivated at all to clean the house. (meds aren't foolproof) Staying up way to late either reading a book or blogging. (It's 1:30 am)

I can't do this to myself again! I need to get back on track! I want that peaceful feeling that happens when my house is clean. Where everyone is happy because there is a good feeling in our home. Where I don't get nervous-flustered because people other than Amanda are coming to our home. Where I don't panic because someone needs to use the bathroom and I have to ponder the pro's and con's of the mess/smell from each flooding.

Guess what I'll be doing tomorrow...

Housekeeping ABC's

Steph had this up on her housekeeping blog, and it looked like lots of fun!

Aprons--y/n If y, what does your fave look like? Yes, I have one apron. Aunt Karen gave it to me for Christmas several years ago and I use it all the time. It has saved me several greased stained shirts from frosting. Dark blue denim with purple flowers all over it.

Baking--Favorite thing to bake? Bread. Dinner rolls. Bread rising is the coolest thing ever!

Clothes line? Don't have one right now, but will when I own my own home and can dig large holes in the yard and nobody complains about the poles sticking up above the fence... I do have a drying rack that I pull out sometimes.

Donuts--Have you ever made them? Just the canned biscuit dough variety.

Everyday--One homemaking thing you do every day? Dishes. I run the dishwasher at least once a day. And the kids clean their room with me every night to the "when we're helping we're happy" song.

Freezer--Do you have a separate deep freeze? Yes! One of the first things we bought when we moved here, besides a washer and dryer. With 5 people, meat bargains are a must, as is somewhere to put them!

Garbage Disposer? Came with the house. I use it a lot... (like leftovers I find in the back of the fridge with mold that I don't want smelling up the brand new bag in the garbage can...)

Handbook--What is your favorite homemaking resource? My mom. I also have a book, "How to clean practically everything". Lots of what I use are from word-of-mouth too.

Ironing--Love it or Hate it? Or hate it but love the results? I actually kind of like ironing. I like attacking all those wrinkles! Take that.... and that! I just don't usually have time to do it. Mark's uniform is pull out of the dryer and hang up so that doesn't need ironed, unlike the old starch-and-iron ones.

Junk Drawer--y/n? Where is it? I don't have enough drawers, so I have a couple baskets in the kitchen on the "breakfast bar". (what a joke - there's a table right there...) I go throught them once a month and put the stuff away.

Kitchen--color and decorating scheme. It was supposed to be a sage-olive green. Tupperware and towels... The dining room/area is attached and I have red and white Spode plates over the back door, and a red-and-sage green striped curtain above the only window. Dark almost rusty red. Not fire engine.

Love--what is your favorite part of homemaking? When people walk in to my clean home and visible relax. It invites a comforting and relaxing spirit into your home when it is clean and free of all the clutter that stresses.

Mop--y/n? Usually every couple days... Use a washcloth after meals where William eats so it doesn't get sticky or cheerios crusted to the floor.

Nylons, machine or hand wash? A mesh bag in the washer so they don't wrap around the agitator and get stretched out, or tied around clothes in the dryer.

Oven--do you use the window or open the oven to check? Both, the kids like the light but I can't get a good check on the color through the window.

Pizza--What do you put on yours? The crust gets olive oil, italian spices, parmesan, and garlic powder. Partially baked, and then spaghetti sauce, cheese, usually pepperoni that I try to keep on hand all the time, olives and mushrooms if I have them.

Quiet--What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment? Read, blog, sit and watch a little tv. Water the flowers...

Recipe Card Box--y/n? What does it look like? No, I print off recipes and put them in a binder. I have a folder with pockets for the little papers people write recipes on for me. And a huge selection of cookbooks!

Style of house--What style is your house? 3 bedroom, 2 bath. One story. Walk in the front door and go left for the boys rooms and bathroom. go right for the main rooms, laundry room, and master suite. (we have our own bathroom... hurray!) I didn't think I would like being across the house from my kids, I got used to it. :-)

Tablecloths or Placemats? Neither. My table is a beautiful dark brown, really high gloss, and in the sun it is cherry/mahogany. Although I was using a tablecloth that matched my curtain and plates until the boys cut a hole in it and got gentian violet (the thrush medication) on it.

Under the kitchen sink--organized or toxic wasteland? An organized toxic wasteland. Stuff goes in a certain spot in there, but we childlocked it for the boys' safety.

Vacuum--How many times per week? 2-4, depending on the room.

Wash--How many loads of laundry do you do per week? Ha! At least 5 full, large loads. ( which get dried and folded right away ) More if I need to wash the sheets...

X's--Do you keep a daily list of things to do that you cross off? A mental list. I like lists.

Yard--y/n? Who does what? Nice big yard. Automatic sprinklers take care of the grass, and waters the flowers a couple times a week. Mark waters the veggies every day, and any flowers that need it. He cuts the grass since my hands don't do well with the mower's vibration. He weed wacks, since it takes me 30 minutes to start it and then I find out it's out of string. Haven't tried in 4 years. :-) He landscapes the bark after windstorms. I decide what flowers to plant, where, and when, and do it.

ZZZ's--what is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed? Is blogging a homemaking task? Check the hallway for booby traps (courtesy of the kids), feed the hamster, check the boys didn't turn on their bedroom light and then fell asleep.

Wow, long list! Who's next?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Fond Farewell

I said goodbye today to a friend. Always there when I wanted to brag, always there when I needed support. But I have outgrown this friend, and, sitting there dejectedly, my friend suggested that I say farewell. And so I released my friend.

My weight loss blog is no more.

I did not make this decision lightly. Seeing it there, on my dashboard, was not motivating anymore. It was more a feeling of failure, that I had nothing to post. And it was the opposite of a challenge to do better. It made me feel worse and worse that I had stopped. I haven't given up hope, but so many things are taking my energy and my focus right now that I don't have any left over for myself in that area.

It is all I can do to get my shower some days, let alone think about what I manage to get into my mouth. And the stress of the last couple of weeks has set off a mild depression, the house is sinking slowly back into it's former non-glory and dinner is later and later. Weight loss was one more thing demanding my time and energy. So, in the interest of my mental health, I am putting it on the backburner for now. But not for good, just until things calm down and I am able to take the time for me..,.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Scurry Scurry

You know what the funniest look you will ever see on a man's face is?

The one where you remind, not tell, him late Saturday night that you both need to prepare your talks for the following day.

Horror. Panic. Confusion.

They look pretty interesting when all jumbled together!

"You never said anything about giving a talk!"

"Yes I did! I told you Tuesday night after Enrichment Meeting."

"No. I never heard you say anything, I would have remembered,"

"Yes I did. You responded to me. Maybe it was a reflex response because I seem to remember you stuffing food in your mouth the whole time..." (amused smile)


Long story short, it's 9:30 and now we both are aware of the fact that we are giving talks the next morning, bright and early. He, sitting on the computer, refuses to get off. He shuts down his game however, boots up the Church's website and goes to town. Not Fair! He has access to hundreds of articles and scripture refrences! Dictionaries!

I sit down with my handy scriptures (I am so glad I found them a couple weeks ago...), my hymn book, paper and pencil. Usually I just rely on using parts of talks from people much smarter than I, but with Mark on the computer, I'd get no help there! Here goes nothing....

At midnight I put down my pencil and closed my books. Talk done! I didn't even write it all out, what I was going to say. Just the outline and notes. Puttered around the house until 1 am, when Mark finished and we went to bed.

I must be getting all growed up, because I was able to speak slowly, not rush through nervously. I was able to put feeling in my words, make eye contact with the congregation without feeling shy, and for the first time ever, used all of my 15 minutes! Yay me!

I think that next time though, I will try to remember to start preparing earlier in the week, because this scurrying is no fun. Maybe I spoke slowly because I was exhausted? :-)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Our Duck Pond Park

There are several parks in town, a couple of which are actually closed down for "something". Not sure what... But this one is our favorite. We have visited it a few times, in fact, the picture above is on the bridge there that I took in the spring time. (The branches grew since then and I was unable to get a good shot...) I had promised the boys that we would go again and take pictures, they were jealous of the girls photo shoot and wanted one too. Plus, they wanted to feed the ducks, and I happened to have several bread loaf heels that would be perfect. (They cooperated for a bit, but the pond was too great a temptation and that pretty much ended the picture taking.)
I love this waterfall, it is in the shade, with a bench and a small bridge. It feeds the pond, somewhat, and creates a couple very, very small riverlets along some of the paths.

William, the little stinker, would not stand still for this shot. So he played with the rocks off to the side while I snapped a couple. They kept moving their feet. "The rocks are poking me!" Daddy talking, not the boys. :-) They have a lot of growing to do yet, but one day, those little feet will be bigger than mine!

I am glad I wasn't the one sitting on the rock. Poor kid, it was a little hot, which I didn't find out until right after this shot, when he jumped off and wouldn't get back on.

Enjoying the bridge, and the shade. They wouldn't put their shoes back on, so they didn't want to walk the gravel paths. There was only a small section of gravel to get to the bridge, so he braved it. What little boy can resist a bridge?

We wouldn't let William too close to the pond's edge. He kept trying to lean over and touch the water, which had a lot of algae. It is an abrupt edge. We tried to keep him sitting a few feet away to watch the ducks. He wasn't too happy about that...

It was nice to get out of the house and spend some family time together. I had to almost physically drag Mark away from the computer, but he enjoyed himself in the end. There may not be much to do in town, but time out of the house feels sooo good!

I wanna little girl!

I finally sifted through all the shots I took of my friend's girls and got them all edited and whatnot. She loved them! She framed a bunch of them right away, and is looking for frames for the others. Too funny... Having sunset lighting helped, otherwise I don't know that they would have turned out as nice. And thank heavens for Adobe Photoshop. (Thank you Adobe!) It is lots of fun to play around with.

Miss Becca Boo

Love My Sister

Miss Kitty Kat

Miss Bree

Miss Allie (Bree's best friend)

Aren't these girls just beautiful?! Allie's eyes are a georgous blue, so I left them that way. I had a lot of fun shooting, they are like doing my own kids. They are here so often they might as well be. :-) Thank you girls, for letting me arrange and pose you, for letting me snap 200 pictures (seriously, that many...) and having the sun in your eyes and everything!

Friday, August 15, 2008

The ickies

I woke up bright and early this morning with a definitely, not-feeling-good, stomach. Darn... There goes the housework!

Immodium takes a lot longer to kick in while you are stressed.

Food doesn't give you any energy when it doesn't stay in your system for long.

Kids like lots of drinks and snacks that require getting up from your supine and relaxing position on the chair when your stomach is trying to tie square knots.

Gas-x has a nice minty flavor, and doesn't work well. You still belch like a drunken sailor all day, but at least you are minty!

Boys think it is funny when their mommy is burping better than daddy.

Mommy doesn't find it so funny.

But, I was able to get enough stuff in my system by 3:00 to get some dishes and laundry done, and start dinner. I needed a head start because today was our "tour" day, and the shortbread won't make itself! I posted pics and recipes already on my food site. Cock-a-leekie soup anyone?

I really wanted to call my friend and call the whole thing off. Cramping stomachs don't help you cook very well. But I knew she hadn't planned on dinner since they were coming over here, and stuff was already started. Got everything done and ready by 6:30, which is suprising because that's what time I told her I would shoot for. Normally it takes a LOT longer than I plan, 3 kids is a good reason why... And the soup is like a chicken soup with rice, so it felt really good in my poor, overworked tummy.

I think Oren spent the whole afternoon and most of the evening on the computer. Ooops, bad mommy day. William and Nathan were glued to the tv, except for when they wanted something. Oops there too. But, to make up for it, we all went outside and played after dinner. Well, they all played and I snapped over 200 pictures because the sun was setting and the lighting was gorgeous! Once I sift through and edit my favorites I will post them. Most were of my friend's girls. She had been considering having portraits done, but she really liked how mine turned out . And I enjoyed having subjects with long hair to blow around, and who were just beautiful to shoot. I got some of William too, and promised the boys that I would take them to the backyard in the morning and do a photo shoot with them too. They felt a little left out. If I feel up to it I may take them to a park in town that has a tiny walking path and see what I can get there...

Oh, and all you brilliantly creative photographers out there (yes Rachel, I mean you too), any ideas for indoor and outdoor shots or tips would be really welcome. My friend wants to have me play around and try and get something good. Indoors, white crocheted dresses, chocolate brown backdrop since neither of us own black sheets. I would like to do a white background too, for kicks. I get good natural lighting in my living room... Any help would be great, we won't be doing this right away, she has to finish the dresses first.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Can't Wait!

School registration was today! That means only a couple weeks until school starts and I will have a schedule again. Oren has really made progress in reading. I had him read the computer rules agreement so he would pay attention, and he only needed a little help. I can't believe how grown up he is getting!

He is all registered for 1st grade now, and they will post the classes on the 20th so we will find out who his teacher is. Nathan is all set for the preschool too. I just have to fill in the meal application to see if we qualify for free or reduced lunches. I think we will, the military doesn't pay a lot. And there are 5 of us...

They are both very excited to go back and see friends and learn new things. And I am excited for the break. 1st grade is all day, and the preschool is in the afternoon during William's naptime. There is a bus that will take Nathan to school and back, which takes time, so he will be gone a little longer than just school time.

I love my kids, but after having 3 little ones at home is quite a challenge. I enjoy the break and cherish the afternoon when they are both home instead of being exhausted by then. So here's to a new school year!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Playing Catch-up

I think I have now caught up on all the blogs, if not my housework. The blogs have taken all morning, as has the search for springs for our sofa sleeper. There are springs that hold the decking, the fabric under the mattress, to the frame. Several of ours have gotten stretched out and fallen off. We were unable to find them all, just 2. There are still some holding on, but I am just waiting for it to tear. The rest of the couch is in fine condition, considering my children, and is only 4 years old so I don't want to get a new one. I finally gave up searching and wrote the company thanking them for the quality of the couch, but that I need new springs and can they help me. We'll see what happens.

We were a bit crowded this weekend. With our 5 and their 9 there were 14! I know every one can add, but I still can't believe I fit that many people in my 3 bedroom house! We had one sister-in-law, her husband and their baby in William's room on an air mattress and in the crib; Oren, Nathan, and their cousins (the sister-in-laws other 2 boys) in the boys on bunkbeds and another air mattress; Mom and Dad Willford on the sofa sleeper, a sister-in-law on a twin air mattress, and another sister-in-law on my recliner. Mark, myself, and William in a playpen were in my room. Can we say a full house?

But everyone had a place to sleep, I just about exhausted my supply of sheets and blankets, and they enjoyed the fact that we use our AC to keep the house nice and cool even at night.

We ate lots of food. I made a beef stew Saturday evening, that took 3 hours to get the meat tender instead of the 1 1/2 hours I had planned on. Never again will I make anything but chicken stock or jam in that stock pot. It will be my very large, dutch-oven style, pot from now on... It cooked the last stew I made, that Irish stew, in half the time because of the bigger surface area, without burning the potatoes to the bottom of the pan. (That didn't come off easy...)

I also made a big batch of Rachel's potato rolls. (Thank you Rachel!) There were 2 left this morning. It made a lot of rolls, but they were that good! I ate the last ones with breakfast. I went the easy route for after church. I had gotten a huge, Oscar Meyer sub kit. 64 slices of ham and turkey layered for your convience. It was actually cheaper per ounce than the stuff I usually get. Nice! So we set out all the sandwhich stuff and let people have at it. Mayo, miracle whip, country mustard, yellow mustard, pickles, meat, cheese, lettuce, and tomato. Oh, they were good!

So we all ate well, we all slept well, I didn't have to worry about occupying the boys during Sacrament meeting with all the people there, and Mom Willford left some homemade raspberry jam from the berries she grows in the backyard. It was a really nice visit, and I am glad they were able to come down.

I was telling Mark today at lunch that it would take several loads of laundry to get all the bedding washed from this weekend. He looked at me like I was crazy and said, "They only slept on it for one night!" I replied, "If someone spent just one night at a hotel, and then we were in that room the next night, wouldn't you want the sheets to have been changed?" Point made. That's a lot of sheets though... And the boys have been dragging around the quilts all over the floor, so those are getting washed now as well. That's good though, I found a large hole in a quilt that I can now repair before it gets too big.

More catch-up tomorrow!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Good grief!

Because last week was so hectic with the mandatory cleaning, the reunion, and this week's car cleaning I kind of had a lazy Wednesday. (Well, relatively lazy compared to the last week and a half...) Didn't do a whole lot of house work. Thursday was about the same, although I did cook our world tour dinner.

This morning I woke up and started making a mental list of what housework needed done so I could enjoy family time tomorrow. Sweeping, mopping, vacumming, bathrooms need scrubbing, clothes caught up, kitchen straightened back up, all the trash taken out. (Huge list isn't it. That's what happens when I take a day off....)

Then, once I figured out what I could reasonable handle getting done today without overdoing it, I remembered all of a sudden that my mother-in-law and his sisters are coming over tomorrow. They missed Nathan's birthday because they had to work, so they flat out told work that they were NOT working this weekend and they would be out of town so don't bother calling them last minute!

How did I forget that?!?!? The boys plugged their toilet again last night (Will it ever stay working for more than a week? Stay tuned to find out...) which means that mine MUST get cleaned. Although, if they are staying overnight, the boys' bathroom needs scrubbed down too so they can take a shower in the morning.

I really should be doing all this instead of blogging about it. Yet again another example of how crazy busy my life stays. When I have so many things that need to get done I get overwhelmed easily and tend to get stressed. *deep breath* What will I do? Make a list and feel great every time I check something off!

On the plus side, William woke up unbelievable early this morning. How is that a positive? Because it is 11:00 and he is soooo ready for a nap. And he will sleep for a good long while. :-)

A little leprechaun came to visit...

And brought dinner with it!

I finally was able to get back on track and did another world tour meal today. Ireland. Two weeks late. (oops!)

Amanda and I had so much fun doing this week's dinner together (she donated the lamb tonight) that we thought it would be awesome to keep doing it together. Expose her kids to new tastes, learn to cook different things, and clean-up is easier with 2.

Wednesday is a therapy day, and a little hectic coming back from town so late in the afternoon. And her daughter has cheerleading those nights. So we have moved it to Thursday, so I can get any special ingredients the day before and don't have to stress about cooking it all last minute.

We'll see what happens when school starts back up. And speaking of which, summer school ended today! Only a couple weeks left until the new school year! And early mornings! (hurray?)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hee Hee Hee!

We had another doctor's appointment today. We actually made it to this one on time! :-) 8:15 am is a little earlier than I prefer, but Oren was almost out of meds, so it was a necessity and that was when they could squeeze him in...

It cracks me up the difference in Oren and Nathan. When one gets weighed, the others want to be too. Oren is 6 and weighs a whopping 38 lbs. Nathan just turned 4 and is 41 lbs. And William is now 21 1/2 pounds! (We had a celebration when he hit 20 lbs at 18 months. So this is very exciting for us!) I am just waiting for Nathan to barrel into Oren and break his leg- Oren is that fragile looking compared to Nathan. On X-rays Nathan's bones are actually bigger! (guess he takes after Daddy...)

The good thing is that the doc we saw today goes to church with us, has 9 kids, and is a really good guy. He isn't too worried about Oren's weight... We are already putting cream in his cereal and when he has milk, we give him juice because it has more calories than water, he gets Carnation Instant Breakfast (we get a huge canister at Winco, cheaper that way) when we remember. The only thing we can do different that would help is give him lots of smaller meals, kids tend to eat more that way. But he didn't yell at me because Oren is so skinny, or tell me I am feeding him wrong, or threaten to stop his meds. He reassured me that I am doing all I can, gave me some more tips, and said I was a really good Mom and he could tell that I am trying to keep them healthy.

We like this guy!

Today was busy, but somehow not as stressful. When we left the hospital I discovered that one of our last sippy cups and a toy were left in the office. Oh well. Took the kids to Burger King for a breakfast treat since we didn't get to eat before we left. (an alarm clock mix-up). Syrup everywhere? No problem, that's what bathrooms are for! Came home and cleaned the disasterous living room from yesterday. Amanda's daughter Katherine (Kat) came to play and I laid down some ground rules: one toy at a time, no blankets or pillows in the living room, no toys in the backyard if they are fuzzy, and clean up before you go home. That worked a lot better. If the boys started squealing because someone was bothering someone else, I was able to ignore it. Usually after a few minutes the noise stops and they get over it. If there is blood or bruise inducing force they come to me anyway... :-)

Left in time for school to let the boys play on the playground for a few minutes, came home and put William down for naptime. Dealt with the dishes from yesterday, swept the floor, messed around on the computer, read some of Harry Potter 5. Tried to stay low key, and give Nathan some quiet time because they got up early after staying up playing later than I would have liked. After the last couple days I wanted some low stress time. Got a diaper bag packed for our therapy trip, water bottles filled, snacks prepared. Usually I forget something, but I even had activities for the kids to do at the office! Because I wasn't stressed out!

We stopped by Walmart after therapy for a few things. The kids actually stayed with me!!!!! I was frankly amazed! We found jeans for the boys, as Nathan's don't fit and Oren's have holes. They wear the same size, but Nathan's need to be a little shorter, and Oren's need to be longer but the same size waist, so it is harder to get them pants. I got 4 pairs for under $10 each! In fact, 3 of them were $7. I love clearance. To keep their pants and shirts strait I am going to start marking their tags. 1 dot for Oren, 2 for Nathan. Their clothes are pretty much the same size, so it's hard to tell them apart lately.

They were quiet on the ride home, and I didn't get fast food for dinner! We are having a casserole to use up a roasted chicken we had the other day. Chicken, broccoli, stuffing, cheese, cream of mushroom soup, and a little sour cream. It feels good to cook...

I was really trying to not do too much today, not go too many places, not worry about all the little things. Yesterday was pretty hard and I could feel my self breaking down, flipping out about stuff. Today my mood was so much better, I enjoyed driving in my nice, clean car, and I was a lot less snappy with everyone.

And, the high note of my day...

Vitamins with no artificial colors! They recommended vitamins for Oren when we started the meds since he isn't eating as much. But they all have red food coloring, which he is very sensitive too. So we haven't been giving him vitamins. Why give him red first thing in the morning? But I found some gummy ones that are colored and flavored with fruit juices and other natural stuff! Hurray! (plus the kids are stoked that they get to eat gummy bears every day with breakfast. Thank heavens for child proof caps!)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Will my life ever settle down?

Already 2 days into this week, and I am exhausted! The house hasn't stayed as clean as I would like, and laundry isn't quite caught up. Dishes have been done by the end of the day, just not right after the meal.

The reason is one that I could have put off. I detailed the van. The one that we eat fast food in, where the kids don't finish the hamburger or nuggets and leave them on the floor where I can't see them. The one where the banana peels were treated the same way. The one in which Oren forgot to put the lid on his chocolate milk and at a stop light it went everywhere and was starting to have a particularly odd smell in the carpet. The one that had crackers mashed into the floor and in the crevices of the car seats and under the car seats. Drips of stuff (identitiy unknown) stuck to the side of the door where there wasn't upholstery, caramel apple dip stuck to the fabric all over the very back seat. Dirt ground in to the carpet.

That van.

It sounds really gross, I know, but I do vaccum it out about every other month, very thoroughly. Take all the seats out, vaccum the car seats, get all the crevices and cavities and under the rugs. But the vaccum won't get out spills... And caramel sauce, and ground-in-dirt stains.

So instead of using the shop vac which I normally use, I pulled out my actual vaccum with all the tools and went to town. That took all Monday afternoon/evening. Then I hauled my carpet cleaner outside and the hard work started.

Working mostly by the garage light and the car inside lights on, I did one of the middle bucket seats, and the driver's seat. It was too dark and it was 10:30, both excellent reasons to flee inside. (plus the bugs) I got up early today and started in again. Did the other bucket seat, the rugs, pulled the carseats apart and threw the pads in the wash, and some of the straps. Got in and tackled the floor in back, the really gross one with the soaked in spoiled milk that dried. Washed out the holes that the seat fits into in the floor. The front seat carpets, done.

I had to go get Oren (we walked to school since the car was in pieces), so I popped the seats back in, and tried to get the car seats back together. William's was such a big hassle that I sort of just threw it together enough that there were straps to hold him in and buckled it in. The other boys had to ride in seatbelts the whole mile to school and back. We got home in time to put their seats together and get them in the car. I wanted a shower so bad! One sweats a lot while shampooing a car in 90 degree weather... But Nathan had a well-child appointment at 3:15 so we rushed over to the hospital. Sticky, stinky, frustrated almost to crying point about William's car seat not wanted to go back together, hot, hands killing me (stupid carpal tunnel....). Went to check in and was told by a rather snide Airman 1st Class (that's a whole 2 stripes on the sleeve.... not exactly high up there) that my appointment was at 2:45! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!?!?!? Hair a mess, kid with no shoes, another with peanut butter all over his front, even more stinky-sweaty from the car ride which was too short for the AC to kick in cold enough. And I had to turn around and drag all the kids back home. Arg.

We got home and I took a very well deserved and most welcome shower, which made no sense because I still had a couple more things left to do on the car. But I didn't care. William's car seat went back into the house where I got it put together a little more properly. Although I had issues with a couple of those elastic stay-put things that wouldn't go back where they were supposed to, so I found different places to stick them. It works... And the non-fabric surfaces in the van got wiped down with windex and cleaned up.

The result is a clean smelling, non-stained (as much as possible), de-dripped-stuff-ed, less dusty vehicle. It took me two days and a few episodes of calling Amanda and asking if I could swear just a little, but it's done! And it turns out that having a van detailed as extensively as I did, with as dirty as it was, would have been about $150 to $200! OUCH! So that cleaner has already turned out to be a very good investment...

Disclaimer: Although this sounds like a complaining post, it is not intended to be. Merely a demonstration of how insane life with three boys can be. It should also be noted that since the boys were left to their own devices with Amanda's girl playing here as well, my home looks.... interesting. I am, however, quite pleased with myself. The appointment can be rescheduled, the house straightened, and my sunburn will heal quick enough. And my car is no longer considered a hazmat area! That alone makes it an actually decent day! :-)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Another missed Sunday...

Why is it that my kids only get sick late Saturday night, or bright and early Sunday morning?

That's when they start throwing up, or having exploding diapers that require a hazmat crew and a clothespin on your nose.

Or at least a husband willing to brave the nasty crib sheets.

And no, Steph, I don't think it is catching. Probably just too much junk food and a really busy week catching up to him.

So we made the executive decision to keep him home from church today, so we wouldn't have to do the whole blowout thing at church. A good thing too, because we have already had 2 additional blowouts so far. I hope stuffing bananas down his throat helps...

This is three weeks in a row I have missed. Sick kid, family reunion, sick kid. I never missed a week as primary pianist. Except for having a baby. And being sick myself once or twice. Then they put me in Nursery, and I missed once for going out of town. Now I am Relief Society as chorister, and I keep having to miss Sundays for one reason or another. Mostly sick little ones because Mark is acting Elder's Quorum President while the other guy is deployed and so he has to be there and run the meeting or give the lesson.

Nobody better be sick next week! I want to go!!!!!!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

I finished! I finished! I finished!

Pardon, I'm just a little excited...

I finally finished the quilt. And it's not even midnight! I thought for sure I would have to pull an all-nighter.

The finished product... I hope Nathan likes it. Mom is going to let me keep the frame I borrowed here. She hasn't used this one in a couple years. Maybe I'll eventually get one of my own.

I tried out our carpet cleaner today. Nathan "had to go potty" and thought it would be okay to use William's room. AARG! So I put it together and went to town. The two strips on the side are the uncleaned sections. I thought it was awesome how well it cleaned. And it was gross to see how dingy and dirty my carpet actually was. The dirty water was just that... DIRTY! I can't wait to tackle the rest of the carpets! I had actually forgotten what shade of blue the carpets were.

This beautiful butterfly was having a snack on my echinacea the other day. I grabbed the camera and snapped a couple pictures. I couldn't get it with it's wings open, but it was 3x bigger than the little white ones we get usually. A monarch butterfly?

And, our therapist put in a personal call to the doctor we are trying to get Nathan into. She has agreed to consider Nathan's case, the therapist is sending her all the evaluation info, the last ENT results, all the chart notes she has been keeping... We are really crossing our fingers, because although we will probably have to go to Salt Lake anyway for surgeries or whatever they need to do, that would be a lot of work to coordinate with Tricare (anything over 100 miles from here and we get reimbursed gas, lodging, and sometimes food) and setting dates and things. We would like to get this done locally if at all possible. But, we'll do what we have to. He's my baby, and I want things to be easier on him. You can tell how hard he works to say things so we can understand him, and how frustrated he gets when he can't form the sound right and we have no idea what he's saying. It's like a guessing game sometimes where we try to figure out what he needs/thinks is neat/is asking about, and every guess makes him madder.

Crossing our fingers Dr. Beck will take him and will take our insurance!


You know how fast a week can go by? My goodness!

Right, this week....

Monday: we recuperated. I got everything unpacked and washed, a first for me to do that in the first day home. I swept, I mopped, and vaccummed all the rooms. This was because I wanted to do some touch up cleaning in case the top guys from Mark's work came by to inspect the house on Tuesday like they said they would last Wednesday.

(I don't think I said much about that. After the whole tumbleweed debacle the work guys came over Wednesday and had to walk through the house, because it was the wing commander that threw the fit. They loved the entryway, said the house looked really great, but did NOT like the cluttered laundry room. They asked if we just threw stuff in there. We said "yes..." We got told to have it clean by Tue. and they would come back. The only dirty room in the house and they had to pick a beef with it. I was a little outraged at the invasion of the privacy of my house!)

Tuesday: Cleaned some more, waited for the guys to show up. Didn't happen. Mark shoveled bark aside to prepare to put rock down in the yard. He likes landscaping. I went grocery shopping and called Mom to see who all was coming to Nathan's birthday. I ended up going slightly crazy while talking to her because of the screaming and poking and wandering and yelling and more screaming and crying and jumping on the cart and, oh yes, more screaming.

There was referral crap from the doctor we need to see Nathan, who doesn't take Tricare patients exept on a case by case basis. She is the ONLY pediactric ENT in the Boise area. If she won't see him and accept what Tricare pays her without charging us the rest, we will have to take him to Salt Lake.

And Oren's summer school teacher pointed out a problem to me on Monday afternoon. When she stands close to him he can't really focus on her. With his eyes. They dart from side to side, occasionally looking at her. The farther back she stands the better he can look at her. And if she has him follow her thumb he either looks at her (like it's too small or something) or darts his eyes. The farther back the thumb is the smoother his eyes can follow the thumb. A little worrisome, and she would like him to have a screening. Not just routine, but intesive looking for problems. But Tricare has already paid for a routine screening this year and won't do another without a referral. Which, if we were to get one, would mean an opthomalogist (not an optometrist) all the way in Boise!

So with all that and the trip to the store and the people not coming, I was a bit frazzled! Poor Mom...

Wednesday: I worked on Nathan's quilt top. Got it done, binding/border all sewn on and ready to put the layers together. Called Mom to reassure her that I didn't go crazy, didn't kill anybody, and even was able to cook actual food for dinner. Didn't want her to worry. I got the kids off the carpet and they watched me put the quilt together. They thought that was cool! After they went to bed I got it on the frame and started tying it. Mark took a load of bark away and finished spread rock around.

Thursday: cleaned some more. Called Mom again to see if they wanted a set of Full t-shirt cotton sheets with leopard (sp?) print. Apologized for calling 3 days in a row. Got told she considered this bonus week and thought it was great! (I guess she likes me?) Amanda had us over for leftover chili for lunch and afterward I left Oren and Nathan there, put William down for a nap, and got back down to quilt tying. They wandered home eventually, Mark came home, I got completely done with the tying. After dinner and the kids were in bed I got the first step done in binding it. I had to quilt around the were the yellow border met the squares, then I will turn it over, cut the backing and batting down to the width I need, and fold the yellow over the back to sew it down.

Friday: remembered I hadn't blogged all week and took a break to do so while the kids picked up the cereal they threw over the floor during breakfast and wiped up all the milk off the table that went with the threwn cereal. I'll get the quilt done, make a cake, and put together my new carpet deep cleaner- The Bissell Proheat 2X Cleanshot Upright Deep Cleaner 9500! (That's a mouthful....) Why do they give these such long names? The carpet stains haunt me, and I must excorsice them!

I'll post a quilt pic when I get done today.