Monday, December 29, 2008

In Recovery

I really shouldn't take a week off of homemaker duties. REALLY SHOULDNT!!!!!!! My house is, ummm, interesting.

Christmas morning was lots of fun! Santa managed to keep it a small Christmas, but it was still enough to cause Oren to do this:

This is why he was so excited!

Yep! In the living room! What a cool Santa! The yard toy lasted in the house until Saturday night, when it was forcibly expelled to the back yard. Too much noise and the kids going crazy.

Everyone was quite happy, and I decided to only take a few pictures instead of filming the morning, so I could just relax and watch the boys's faces as they opened their presents.

After presents and our traditional Christmas breakfast casserole we loaded up kids and headed to Grandma's house! William figured he would help Grandma get a pan. Thanks buddy!

We had a yummy turkey dinner, and got to enjoy some time with Grandma and Grandpa Danes, who had wandered over to my folk's for dinner. Owen called right before we got there and chatted with everyone. It was great to get to talk with him, and I am amazed at how much he has grown on his mission.

Marie tackled me when I walked in and asked my opinion of a print out of a new hair style. She had gone on a makeover site and wanted to know if the style would look good on her in real life. She had shoulder length, cut strait across, hair. I agreed to cut it for her, since Mom was more nervous than I was!

She is thrilled with the result. Chin length, razored ends on chunky layers, sideswept bangs. And I thinned her hair out with the razor when I cut the layers in, so it dries faster, has more swing, and is about half of how thick it used to be! Her hair is very strait, so if you make a mistake, it is very obvious. She's tilting her head in the top picture... We had to talk to her about making sure that her makeup is very neutral and age appropriate, since she is only 14, because her body looks more like 16 and the hair fits that. Marie is a very modest young lady and will be just fine. It's funny though, she is a good 3-4 inches taller than I am!

Sunday after church we were all relaxing. Actually, I was trying to get all the books rearranged on the shelves to fit in all the boys's books. Mom sent us home with a big box of kids science books and stuff, and they needed a place to go. I was about halfway done when William came in with a little bit of a mess.

Model paint for the boys's model airplane and car kits from Santa. All over his Sunday shirt, and pants. This stuff dries fast, and didn't want to come out of his shirt.

Oh, joy....

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Drifting" away

Now that is a funny snow drift... :-)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Let it Snow!

We are definitely having a white Christmas after all! Sunday alone saw 4 inches of new snow, and the wind whipped it up into the most amazing drifts in my backyard. I plan on taking a picture as soon as I feel up to braving the cold. Where did my snow boots go?

Some projects even managed to get done today! They weren't exactly on the schedule, but hey... The heating conduit fell off the vent in the bathroom, somehow, and is resting on the ground underneath the house. We called it into the maintenance office and are waiting to hear back on when they are swinging around to take care of it. Which means that the bathroom needed cleaned. Check! Then Mark reminded me that to get underneath the house they have to pull up the door to the crawl space.... in the hall closet. The one I need to put the shelves up in. The one that I couldn't even see the door set into the floor because of all the stuff on top of it.

That's done too! Check! Hurray for me! Now we just need the phone call of when they are coming! I'm not in any sort of rush though. The vent has been stuffed with a towel for the last week, we can live a while longer. It's a bathroom, not a bedroom.

Mark learned a valuable lesson yesterday afternoon. Everything happens for a reason. Yes, even your wife chatting after church for a good 20 minutes while you are sitting in the car is for a reason. Because if I hadn't been a little talkative, we wouldn't have left when we did. We wouldn't have pulled up to the mailbox to check the mail right as a car got high centered in a rather large drift. And the nice young man would have taken a lot longer to get his car unstuck. Same with the guy who got stuck in a drift on the other side of us! There was even a reason that Oren took his socks off this week and last week at church and handed them to his teacher, who gave them to me after church yesterday. Dirty boys socks make great gloves when you are digging out a car. Mark and I both had a pair! Even the baking sheet that I never brought inside after transporting Oren's Christmas party cupcakes for class had a purpose. That thing might just stay in the car, because it is great for shoveling snow! And kneeling on so you don't soak through your pants! Everything happens for a reason!!!

All this makes me very greatful for my van. I have no idea what AutoTrac is, but it helps keep us on the road. Anti-lock brakes are very handy too. And the fact that it sits up higher than cars is nice. Then there's always how well it starts in the winter. A very effiecient heating system is appreciated. Quite a sturdy family vehicle!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Oh, the weather....

We've been watching summer movies this week. Movies with warm weather, maybe a beach or too... Why? It's just a tad cold here right now.

For instance, today I got a phone call from my friend Amanda. "I know you have to go to town today, so go out right now and make sure your car will even start." Hers took several tries before it quit dying on her. Luckily I didn't have any problem with mine. But the thermostat on her car said 4 degrees. That's right.

And when I got back from town I turned on the tv to catch some of the noon news. The weather lady was talking about the current temperature with the windchill. I missed the actual temp, but the wind chill was making it feel about -7 out there. -7! With a negative on the front of the 7! I will not be walking to the end of the street to get Nathan from the bus stop. I will be driving. Thankfully Friday is the last day of school before Christmas break.

Speaking of which....

I CAN'T WAIT! (It is at this point that the power went out on base, apperantly, and my computer shut down. By the time the power came back on I was slightly busy- and so I am finishing this at 9:30. Mostly since everyone else is already in bed!)

After I pick up Oren from school on Friday, early release too, I don't have to get all three up and ready before the sun even wakes up for 2 weeks! I don't have to drive down to town twice a week for therapy for 2 weeks! I can just sit and veg. For 2 weeks!

I know stuff will still have to get done. There will still be errands and dishes and laundry and the entertaining of children. I will still have piano lessons. There will still be meals that need made and projects that desperately need finished. Anyone remember those food storage shelves? They still aren't up yet... And there will be snow that will need played in, seeing as how it is supposed to be good and stormy with plenty of white stuff falling this Thursday and Friday. A white Christmas? Maybe!

I think there may be naps that need taken, hot cocoa that needs drunk, and pancake recipes to try. Possibly even hugs that need to be given, kisses to rub in "forever", and little boys that need lots of squishies!

Hmmm.... the next 2 weeks may be busier than I thought! :-)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Date Night Done Right

When we went out for my birthday last Friday, we enjoyed the time without the kids but the meal left something to be desired. The food was substandard and over covered with cheese, the plates were cheap looking, and the service was sketchy. Plus the food was ridiculously overpriced!

We have been questioning why we even bother going out to eat at all? I can make food just as good if not better, for far cheaper. One night, Mark had to work late and so I fed the kids and put them to bed. When he got home I fixed the 2 of us some dinner so we could have some time together, and it was so nice that we figured we should do it more often. We decided Friday nights would be the best times to do that.

With this week being so full, somehow, Mark and I really haven't seen a lot of each other. And when we have it's been dinner with the kids, all noisy, and putting children to bed just so we can fall asleep too. Friday seemed like a good night for a "date night" to me! The kids had spaghetti, got baths, and tucked into bed. Mark relaxed a bit while I worked on our dinner. The table even got all dressed up in my "new" lace tablecloth from the thrift store, and my "fancy" china that I got 75% off last Christmas and hadn't even opened yet...

We enjoyed some artisian cheese bread from Walmart's reduced rack with Country Crock spread placed lovingly in individual serving ramekins. For the first course, a delightful lemon linguine! Which I had posted the recipe for on my food blog already and so I didn't take a picture of the pasta in my fancy dishes.

The spinach-stuffed chicken breasts, however, were not on my blog yet. These were lots of fun to put together, very low maintenance during cooking, and looked delicious on the plates.

Last, but very much not least, the chocolate mousse! If you ever make a chocolate mousse, this is the way to do it. In the blender! So rich and decadant!

Dinner and a movie, at home. Date night done right!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Seeing Rings

Late last night my sister in law texted Mark and I, that we should go check out the moon because there was a huge ring around it. It looked like a planet was behind it. So out we went...

The ring was very distinct, and very large. With the camera flat on it's back, on the ground, I still couldn't fit the whole thing into the frame. I think I need a wide angle lens... Mark agreed. But the adapter and that lens for this camera together is around $300+! For anyone with a camera with manual settings (Steph, that book goes over stuff like this...) go play with them! I used an ISO of 80, f-stop 2.7, and a 6 second shutter. So my lense was open very wide, for a long time, but not taking in too much light so the moon wouldn't be quite so bright in the photo, hopefully allowing me to get the ring to show.

My screen is quite bright, so I can see the ring clearly. I printed out a copy and I can see the ring in mine. Hopefully all of you can see it in yours, because it was so awesome!

It was gone 30 minutes later....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oh, what a beautiful day!

Nothing like a gorgeous golden sunrise to start your day!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Thanksgiving Pictures

Wow! I am not only at home, but I even have a little free time! (I really should be working on my lesson plans for today, more about that later, but I just need a little veg time...) And blogger is cooperating, so I am finally getting our Thanksgiving pictures posted.

Every year, Mindy - the cute blond there to the left snapping a picture of Nathan - makes a pinata. She has gotten really creative, and they hold up really well under all the kids banging on it. So these are the pictures I got this weekend!

Nathan appears to be a little on the short side, but enjoyed swinging the stick around. His cousin was holding the pinata a bit too high.

Just look at those eyes though! He was a little sad that he didn't get as much candy as some of the others, but he's not really much of a scrambler.

When there is a tree, there Oren will be also! One of the great truths of (my) life. I really don't mind having such busy and active boys, they keep me on my toes. Hopefully none of them will break both arms at the same time being all crazy though!

Open your eyes, kiddo!

William just enjoyed running around the backyard, getting hugs from everyone. It was a gorgeous day, and we didn't even need our jackets with the sun shining. It's freezing now, so I am so glad that we had such a nice weekend.

An update on the last few weeks.... where to start...? We had a pretty busy week before leaving for Mark's folks. I prefer not leaving clothes in the washer and dishes in the sink, so when I was actually at home I was busy cleaning. Then last week was spent trying to get the kids back on track as far as our routine goes!

It's amazing how a week can be so busy, and I not remember hardly any of it. A sister in the ward called the week before Thanksgiving, asking about piano lessons. Her husband is one of the pediatricians on base and they have 9 kids. The oldest is taking lessons from a more advanced teacher, and the two youngest are 3 and 1. But the other 6.... She asked if I could teach them. I agreed, a little scared, but excited. I have missed teaching and was wanting to start putting up flyers next year anyway. my new students range from 5 to 15, from brand new beginner to late elementary/early intermediate. 6 different personalities, playing abilities, schedules... We're breaking them up over a couple days. 3 on Tuesday after school, the youngest on Wednesday morning, and the last 2 on Thursday after school. Amanda is watching the kids in the afternoons until Mark gets off work and grabs them, in exchange for free lessons for her oldest daughter. We were going to start her in January anyway, this just works out nice money wise for her and gives me a chance to focus on the students without worrying about the kids.

It meant spending several hours at their house last week, though, doing initial evaluations to make sure where they were all at. I need to know what basics they know and remember, what pieces they have been working on, what sort of goals they have and pieces they want to learn. And they need to know what I expect from them as far as practice and our lessons go. So we got that out of the way last week and are starting our actual lessons today! They are all very excited, which bodes well for how this will all go. The nice thing is that they insist on paying after each day's lessons, or at least every week, so I won't have to deal with late payments and fees, or trying to say they paid when they didn't. I keep track of all the time I spend, and I write out reciepts when I get paid so we both have proof. Especially when the parents pay with cash. Just good business, and protects both parties...

Mark has been a really good sport so far. He has had to take the kids a lot, and I haven't been doing well as far as getting good meals on the table this last week. That should settle down this week though. Amanda watched the kids Friday so he and I could go out for my birthday. We really needed the time together! Our stake does an annual Creche exhibit every Christmas, so we got to walk around and see all these amazing nativities from all over the world. People donate them for the exhibit, and then collect them afterward. Members and nonmembers alike, and it's open to the public. They do musical numbers periodically, the different wards, and they even have a live nativity. Joseph, and Mary holding baby Jesus. Who occasionally is a real live baby. Not when we went, but it's still really neat.

We also rearranged the living room this weekend. I had picked up a large computer desk several weeks ago, that could fit all our computer stuff on it instead of having a bunch of different surfaces all cluttered together. Mark was clearing out the garage so he could fit the car in there, and dragged the desk inside. Because it is one large piece, it wouldn't fit in the same space as all the little pieces, and a switch was called for. Everything got shuffled around, and the result is a nice open living room, with the piano on an interior wall far away from windows, doors, and heating vents. There is an office wall, and plenty of room for kids to run around. I had been itching to rearrange anyway, because I didn't really love how it was before, so I was glad of an excuse. I think Mark would have preferred it not have been at 10 at night... ;-)

I think that's about it, we are usually pretty busy anyway, but it's just routine appointments and errands. This week will be crazy too... gotta love the holidays! :-)

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Black and Blue Birthday

I broke my toe.

I did not know I broke my toe until the ER did 7 x-rays.

I did not go in to the ER until this evening, although I broke it last night, because I didn't have time and because it didn't bruise until this morning.

I broke it kicking Oren's dresser. On accident.

I kicked Oren's dresser on accident because I was angrily pushing my carpet cleaner into his room at 9 pm.

I was angrily pushing my carpet cleaner into his room, and therefore not watching where my toe was going, at 9 pm, because I kneeled on a wet spot on his floor.

Oren had peed on the floor.

Oren broke my toe.


As to the seven x-rays... my left pinkie toe touches the floor while standing. My right one does not now. And I have a gorgeous black and blue bruise all the way around the poor toe. Amanda said it was broken and I should have it checked out to make sure it didn't need set or something. I got in there and explained about my toe, which is quite an embarrasing thing to request an x-ray for, and they called in the radiologist. He was at home, and they called him in for a toe. He took 3 views and sent them to the doc.

My little toes are a little odd. They sort of grew sideways. Not all the way sideways, just a little. Just enough to make the bones crooked. The poor doc thought I had banged it really good to get the bones to look that bent in the joints, so he had the radiologist do the same three views on my left foot for comparison. Too funny...

Now, because my toe is a little sideways and the bones are slightly crooked, you have to turn it funny to get a good x-ray for one of the angles. So I had to do another one so they could see the profile of the underside.

That's 7. 7 x-rays. And sure enough, it's broken. When I kicked the dresser, it buckled the joint and knocked a small chip off the back of the bone. The very smallest toe bone where it connects to the next bone. Absolutely nothing they can do, I don't need to tape it, please don't stub my toe again for a while. Have a great night.

What a birthday!

Mom Willford got the camera sent off for me, and I got it Saturday. I have just been unable to find any time at all to post the pictures from our Thanksgiving pinata, and I would post them now except I seem to be having issues uploading pictures. So I will attempt them later.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I saw this on Steph's blog, and tagged myself. YAY!
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? If the gift I am wrapping is really wierd shaped and it is going to someone that doesn't live in my own little house, then I do a gift bag. I'll either buy them on after-Christmas clearance, or reuse a bag I have been given. I love to use wrapping paper though, so many different ones!

2. Real tree or Artificial? We are using an artificial tree right now, but sometime I will do a real one. We finally got a fake tree taller than I am!

3. When do you put up the tree? Ever since I can remember, the tree hasn't gone up until after Dec. 8, my birthday. We continued this into my own little family until this year. The boys really wanted to put up the tree, and so we did. For the first time in 25 years, the tree is up before my birthday. It feels a little wierd actually... :-)

4. When do you take the tree down? Generally a few days after Christmas, definitely before New Years Eve.

5. Do you like eggnog? I love eggnog, and always get soooo excited to see it on the shelf!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? I don't really have a favorite per se, but Dad made us cradles for our dolls one year and Mom made matching sheets. I would love to pass mine down to a daughter some day.

7. Hardest person to buy for? Mark. The man needs to write up an extensive wish list of stuff he needs all the way up to his dream toys.

8. Easiest person to buy for? Depends. Oren is very into anything outer space and science, and I am finding all sorts of neat things. I keep having to tell myself no because if I get him this thing I have to get one more thing for each of the other boys to keep it even!

9. Do you have a nativity scene? We own a cheap one that I would love to get rid of but Mark likes that we got from a "family dollar" type place in England. It has the most horrible electronic sound thingy that plays part of "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing". And fake spanish moss too. I picked up a small ceramic set that's missing one of the kings, very simple and unpainted, for 25 cents at the thrift store. I like it, even without the 3rd king. I would love to get more though!

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Generally mail them, but I haven't even started on them this year. I think I forgot last year's too. Oops...

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I got a "scented" candle that didn't smell very good?

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Those old Kris Kringle and Rudolf ones! And Charlie Browns Christmas.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Depends on the year. I start thinking usually about the beginning of November, unless I see something clearance that I already know the person would love. This year nearly everything was purchased by mid November, with just Mark's stuff left. He was done Black Friday, so there's a few stocking things and the candy to go.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I recycled a wedding present into a Christmas present... They actually like the style of object, and I would have just wanted to break it to have an excuse to get rid of it. Don't remember what it was, just that I didn't exactly love it.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Chocolate covered pretzles, pistachios (Santa leaves them on the table on Christmas Eve.) and our breakfast casserole. I only make it once a year, and it drives Mark batty because he loves it.

16. Lights on the tree? Who doesn't!?!? We are using white cluster lights this year that don't blink. For some reason, the busy blinking iritates me, kind of without me knowing it. Too much stimulation.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Oh, Holy Night

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I'd rather stay at home. Too cold, bad roads, and who wants to lug gifts all the way over there and all the way back? Did it once, and won't every do it again if I can help it. And we have our little traditions, that I can't do very well at someone else's house.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? I purchased a rusty metal star on clearance at Joanns last year. We used to use a thread/yarn angel ornament that Mom made years ago and gave me 3 of, kind of hung it on the top. I like it both ways!

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning. Except for the new pajamas. We used to open our sibling presents Christmas Eve, but we haven't started the boys on getting gifts for each other yet, so I don't know if we'll do that with them or not. Probably...

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? I really like red. Red and gold. Throw some white in there to keep it clean looking. I love simple decor, not really big overdone. Every year the boys get a new special ornament, and I buy a gorgeous breakable one for me. I got brave and did red and gold glass balls on there too this year. We'll see how they hold up. (Steph, I think we have very similar tastes.... who's copying who?)

24. Favorite sense of the season (sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste)? I love the sights. Going house gazing, candles glowing, dim lights as we put all the gifts out Christmas Eve. (We don't dare put stuff out before hand, especially with William. I had a bunch of stuff wrapped and sitting on the bed, and he decided to play. I went in and he was jumping up and down amid a huge pile of wrapping paper and torn boxes shouting "YAY")

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Note to self:

Next time I am at the mall, I will not purchase sheets from a kiosk.

Those sheets may be 600 thread count, but those must be seriously small threads! Those things are alike sleeping on smooth, opaque sheer curtains! Umm, very thin. They are smooth, but they are just so flimsy. The pillows keep slipping out of the pillowcases, and even thought the sheets are seriously thin, somehow they are too hot. It says something about microfiber threads on the package, which would explain it. I think I just like a little more oomph to my bedding, and had expected something with a little more quality. Darn.

Good news though. I called Mom Willford, who is awesome, and she'll try popping my camera in the mail today. YAY! There was the most gorgeous sunset the other day, and I was kicking myself for not having the camera!

And I was kicking myself yesterday when Mark had huge fish-face lips. He had a reaction to something - don't have the slightest clue what - and had a massive case of hives. Not just any hives, enormous ones that look like 50 mosquito bites crowded in together. From head to toe, hands and feet swollen, huge lips. Very itchy. He went in Monday night to the ER, and was sent home with Claritin and Zantac. He hadn't shown them all the hives, the worst ones were covered by his "clothing", so they didn't know how bad it really was. I made him go back last night when his lips and cheeks started to swell... for something a little stronger. And I threatened that if he wasn't assertive in asking for good stuff, I'd make him go again this morning and that this time I would be going too.

He came home with Prednisone. A pretty hefty steroid. He took a good dose last night and this morning almost all the hives were gone. His hands were still swollen, but they looked better. And his lips were still quite puffy. But better!

And now, I am off to call Tricare, because they sent the payment to me that I have to send to Nathan's doctor. They wrote the check out to Nathan William. Great.... They keep sending things, claims and such, with that name on it and I didn't really care as long as everything got paid. But, I can't exactly deposit this check, now can I?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Back at Home

Well, we survived the weekend. Everyone had lots of fun, the kids enjoyed hanging out with all the cousins, and I think we all gained a few pounds.... good times!

I even braved the Black Friday crowds and dragged the ladies out shopping. I don't know that I will do that again, we didn't go at 5am with all the crazies, but we did wander down at about 7:00. I had to hit Toys R Us first, for William. They had a 27" soft talking Elmo that I wanted for William for Christmas. I panicked a little when I couldn't spot them, but a nice store employee tracked them down for me. I think the 20 minute line was worth it, he'll love it. It's almost as big as he is! (And for only $11, what a steal!)

Old Navy was running jeans on sale, so we stopped there for a bit, another nearly 20 minute line. Not too bad. Nathan needed new pants badly, his all had holes and theirs are pretty sturdy. So I got those for $9, and some in my size for $14. Mine had holes too... :-) Walmart was supposed to have 500 thread count sheets for $20 a set, which is cheaper than the cheap sets usually run! But walking through the mall we noticed a kiosk that was selling 600 thread count sheets for $20! We got those instead...

Kohls was a little crazy. I wanted some towels they had for $2.5o each, because a lot of ours are ready for the rag drawers. I wouldn't have bothered because of the line, but I'm glad the other ladies had stuff they wanted too, because I ended up finding awesome slippers for Mark while waiting in line. Is it cheating to have one person save a spot for everyone in line? His sister and her fiance got in line first with a couple small things, and I came to join them. A lady behind them gave me the dirtiest look I have gotten in quite some time and remarked nastily to her companion "Is she seriously going to just join in with them?!" Yes I am... We took my car, so nobody could leave until I had checked out anyway, but I stood in front of Karen so the lady wouldn't spit on me or something. I did let Karen go first since she was technically there before I was. Good grief...

Unless there is something that I really need or something, I probably won't be doing that again next year. Fun, but my feet were quite tired by the end of the shopping trip!

The only problem with this whole weekend was what I didn't take home from Mom Willford's. We were about an hour from home when I realized that I didn't remember packing the camera into the car. Mark didn't recall doing it either. So my nice, expensive, new camera is sitting in it's case on top of her piano. Bummer! I'll have to call and ask them to mail it to me this week, insured of course, because I have some pictures of the boys that I have to take soon for Christmas cards. And I just can't be without my camera for very long. I really don't know how I forgot it!!! ARGH!!!