Sunday, October 25, 2009

A walk on the river

We went to the greenbelt on the river this evening. The leaves were just right and the walk was exactly what we needed.

I took a few pictures. It was nice to have my camera back in my hand. I haven't been so good at taking pictures in the last few months. It's sad really.

Yes I threw a midnight sepia filter on this one. I couldn't help myself. I'm a tasteless girl who loves midnight sepia even though it's totally out of style now.We were getting ready to head back and I turned around and saw this:
"what are you doing, Libby?"
"how come?"
"Because I wanted to think about Jesus."
Isn't she the sweetest thing ever?
The picture above is Steve and Sarah waiting for a leaf to fall. They were trying to catch them. Sarah eventually managed it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Honey Mustard Dressing

I got to have a day out with two of my sisters and my mom on Friday. It was a great day and I had a lot of fun. While we were having lunch we talked salad dressings. They were all interested in the honey mustard dressing I use. So Mom, this is for you:

Alton Brown's Honey Mustard Dressing

5 T honey
3 T Dijon mustard
2 T mild vinegar (I like white wine vinegar, but plain white distilled works fine)

Wisk all the ingredients together. Makes about 2/3 of a cup of dressing.

That's it. I like to make it in the small bowl on my food processor. A blender would do a nice job with it as well. It's really quick to whip up and it works for just about everything. Alton recommends plain Dijon, but I found that grain mustard makes a delicious change. I bought a squeeze bottle to hold it for a buck that's perfect for drizzling a little dressing on my salad.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

One goal down

I've been trying to get healthier and loose weight for a long time. This spring, my friends and I stepped it up in our walking routine and we've been moving faster. I've done a few little things here and there. I haven't seen a lot of progress.

Steve says my stomach is smaller, which is a good thing. I don't really see it personally.

The really nice thing is that the scale told me today that I have officially lost ten pounds. It's taken me since early April to lose it, but it's gone. Maybe because I've done it so slowly it will actually stay off this time.

All I know is that it's very hard for me to lose weight. I know I can't do things drastically because it all falls apart after a few weeks. Then of course all the weight comes right back. My body seems to want to stick at a certain weight and stay there. As I've lost this weight, it's been done in very up and down, stop and start increments. It's like my body is slowly picking a new favorite weight each time. It's frustrating beyond belief to watch my weight fluctuate by five pounds over the course of a week. Slowly, however, I've made progress.

I don't actually expect my weight to stay at this ten pound loss for the rest of the week. I expect it to go up and down again. But a new low is a good thing. This means that eventually this will be my set weight and I can work from there.

I'm trying not to think about my ultimate goal weight. When I think how long it's taken me to lose 10 pounds, I just want to cry and give up to think of my weight loss journey lasting years and not months.

So I think a pound at a time. One new set weight. One pound more eased off. The next ten pounds by Christmas.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

A Young Tim Burton

Joshua's good friend introduced him to stop motion animation the other day. They used Lego people and a camera to make their films. Josh came home from his friend's house all fired up to make films of his own.

Thankfully Windows Movie Maker software is pretty easy to use. He spent an hour or so putting this together today:

Hopefully this new obsession will get him through the late summer boredom stage. I can't wait to see what the ogres do next.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

My Creative Girl

Rilla is my artist. She takes little pieces of paper and glues them into notebooks as collages. She loves to cut up construction paper. And best of all she loves to write poetry.

This is her latest:

Keep a poem in your pocket
and a picture in your head.
and you'll never feel lonely
at night when you're in bed.

A little poem will sing to you
a little picture will bring to you
a dozen dreams to dance for you
at night when you're in bed.

She's nine. Yes, I'm very proud.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fun with synonyms

Last night Sarah and Joshua called us all to dessert. "who wants pie?!"

So we hustled ourselves to the table for the pie. Sarah stood there with a large cardboard sign that said: 3.14159265 . . . .

Luckily, she also really had a chocolate pie, so she didn't get beat up.

Monday, June 01, 2009

The Danger of Modern Children's Literature

Matthew loves Duck For President. He's been reading it a lot this weekend.

This morning he sat down at the table with a pile of paper, crayons, and our copy of Duck for President. He told me it was a surprise and that I wasn't to look at what he was doing.

A couple of hours later, Matt announced the elections. He's running against Steve for boss of the house. He has election posters ready and even created a sign tent to hang over his torso. "Vote for Matt for no chores!" they proclaim.

His siblings are trying to convince him that running a household is too hard and someone has to clean so if there's no chores he'd have to do it all. I told them to lay off. Hey, if Matt wins, I can get him to pay the bills and cook dinner.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

One more room down

well, not quite. But the upstairs bathroom is now usable again. We tore it apart about a month ago and it's been a long slog to get it put all pack together. I'd show pictures but those will have to wait until we're done with it.

We laid the tile on Saturday, I laid it, Steve cut. Monday morning bright and early, we grouted. Monday evening we installed the vanity, including the granite counter top with wide spread faucet, and the toilet. The new tub has been in for a couple of weeks. It's full size porcelain on steel with a white tile surround. It's definitely an upgrade from the previous fiberglass tub and surround that we didn't know weren't full sized until the new tub was brought in. How do you miss that? I don't know, it's the only tub in the house and I tend to not shower with a measuring tape in hand.

I appreciate having two working toilets in the house again and it was wonderful to shower today. Our second bath is a 3/4 with a small 30" shower. It's impossible to shave one's legs properly in a 30" shower.

I can't wait to show pictures. We still have to get the mirror hung, the over head light and the towel bars up. When that's all done, I'll show it off. :)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

He's always thinking

We're in the middle of remodeling the upstairs bathroom. We've got the tub in and yesterday we painted and tiled the floor. There's no vanity or shower curtain up yet, so the room echos quite a bit.

We let the kids bathe in the tub today and Matt quickly discovered the joy of an echo-y room. "Echoooooooooooo! Eeeeeeeeeechooooooo!" he yelled, thoroughly enjoying himself with the sound of his own voice reflected back. Then he started off singing the theme to Crazy Frog. (If you don't know crazy frog, count yourself lucky.) He stopped for a minute.

Then came, "Daaaaad! Hey Dad!"

"Yes?" Steve called back.

"Dad, can you get me my kazoo?"

Friday, May 22, 2009

Ceremonies Before Their Time

Sarah graduates today. She's not a child prodigy on her way to Harvard. Her school has 8th grade graduation. She left today with her make up in her bag (because heaven forbid she actually wear it to school for no reason) and her Christmas dress over one arm. The girls all get dressed after lunch and the ceremony is at one.

We've invited the grandparents and Steve is taking a half day from work. We might take the kids out for dinner if we're feeling flush.

That's about all the celebrating we'll do. We're not big 8th grade graduation people.

Oh, I was going to paint my toe nails in honor of the day, but I can't find my red polish.

But I am proud of her. Middle school has been really hard for her. She's having trouble balancing her work and her reading, what she needs to listen to and what she can tune out. She came very close to having to attend summer school this year but managed to pull herself back from the brink with a week of catch up work.

I also had to have her banned from the school library. I should have done it sooner. The librarian informed me that besides the two to three books she was bringing home every day, she was reading at least one or two during the day.

I don't think she realizes there's no Guinness record for most books read.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Totoally proud of myself

I jogged today. Ok, it was only 410 meters (one lap on the outside lane) but I jogged dang it! I wasn't even huffing and puffing by the end, I sprinted my way to the end (at 10 m left.) and I feel good.

I've been exercising on a regular basis for several years now. I walk 3 miles a day 5 days a week. It's never left me feeling energized until lately. There's four of us now and we've all been really pushing each other to walk faster and really work hard. We were doing 15 minute miles, now we're down to 12 minute miles. Three of us are looking at running a 5k this fall. Just to say we did.

I came home this morning and I wasn't ready to sit yet. So I didn't. I mowed the lawn. We have a big lawn, so it took me an hour and a half. Then I came inside and started cleaning. I didn't let myself sit down until after 12 pm.

I'm tired now, but it was a good morning.

It's so funny to think that the reason I may not have been getting the adrenalin boost all these years is because I wasn't working hard enough. It's also nice to think to myself "ah, this is how other women keep their houses clean. They feel like this."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Birthday Party

This is Matt's Easter present. He and Joshua spent all week putting it together. When you activate the motion sensor, Mr. Dino roars and moves his head.

They finished the dinosaur on Saturday morning. Matt knocked on our door at 8am waking us up with two birthday invitations. It was Mr. Dino's birthday. So we made cupcakes.

And Matt and Josh helped Mr. Dino blow out the candles.

Monday, March 30, 2009

It's quiet.

They've all gone back to school. Libby and I are still in PJs and there is no fighting or excessive whining going on. We did have a good break, but I am glad to get some quiet again.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Spring Break

is almost over. The kids go back to school on Monday. We've had a good week, but I'm ready for my regular routine to be back. We've gone to the library several times this week because they have had activities nearly every day. Crafts and games and today is karaoke. We've had a bonfire supper at the grandparent's house.

And the big one is we've made lots and lots of stuff from the Toymaker. It's a website put up by a childrens book illustrator. She has paper dolls and little boxes to fold and pin wheels and cootie catchers and racing turtles and a little car and bunny bowling. It's kept the three youngest quite entertained.

My printer has been broken for six months and I finally went out and bought one last week because I wanted to be sure we could make Toymaker toys this week. Staples even had a rebate offer in place to make printer buying easier. Wasn't that nice of them? I'm very glad I did. Just watching them quietly cutting and pasting their little paper toys in near perfect harmony has been totally worth the price of the printer.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I don't play the games

We don't have green eggs or green pancakes on St. Patrick's Day. I don't wear green, although I encourage my children to do so only to avoid the pinching thing. I'm not Irish or Catholic and I don't drink beer. What's to celebrate?

I do make corned beef every year. that's a tradition I can stand behind.

As long as there's no cabbage, because that's just going too far.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

My mother better not gloat

My oldest two children are not allowed to talk to one another today. I'm working on keeping them in separate rooms as well.

Oh and why is it that you can raise children from infancy properly pronouncing a word and they still say freaky things like seee-rup ten years later? They're all doing it now. It makes me want to ban Saturday morning pancakes just to avoid the word. sir-up. sir-up, sir-up. Thank you.

And which side of the bed do you think is the right one? huh? I personally would have preferred getting up on the side of the bed that didn't have arguing children. I might go back to bed and see if I can wake up right this time.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Some Days You Just Shouldn't Leave the House

Today is Wednesday. That means it's library day at our house. The local library does a preschool reading hour on Wednesday mornings and Libby loves to go. I decided to brave it even though I'm watching my 1 year old nephew. (He tried running off last week and got halfway to the circulation desk before I caught him.)

Libby did not seem to be enjoying herself. Lately, she won't sit on the rug with the other kids during story time. She wants to just hang out by my knee the whole time. She won't participate in singing time either. I started feeling like it wasn't worth it to be there. Then she decided she didn't want to sit on the chair and do the craft.

I said it was time to go. All that was left was the craft and if she wasn't going to participate we didn't need to be there. The room was crowded and the children's reading area is pretty much reserved for story time during this hour. I told her she could choose three books and then we were leaving.

She said she didn't want to pick any books. I said fine let's go. I got her out of the children's reading area by carrying her. She started screaming that she did want three books, but there was no way in heck I was going back to a room full of sympathy smiles from the other mommies and a grimace from the children's librarian who already doesn't like me (no clue why really, she just doesn't like me or my kids.)

I had to carry Libby all the way out to the van. She fought me getting her back into her seat and buckled. This was all tons of fun to do while I also carried my one year old nephew who's completely confunded by her behavior.

As I finally got the buckle around my lovely little girl she let it drop: "I want a new mommy!" she sobbed.

As we drove down the street over and over I could hear from the back seat: "I want Jesus to make me a new Mommy!"

Lovely. She's going to be so fun at 16.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Faking It

Our stake holds a sweetheart ball every year close to Valentine's Day. Steve and I always go. We have a great time and really enjoy getting out and dancing. We love going with friends because it gives us some camouflage for our goofiness.

Because we are goofy. Neither one of us has ever had any real dancing lessons (Beehive/Scout Cotillions don't count.) We really don't know what we are doing, but I learned a long time ago that if I just followed Steve I'd have a good time. He knows he can't look good trying to be serious, so he just acts goofy with as much confidence as possible.

We hit the dance floor and move all over pretending we know what we are doing when we don't. Sometimes we watch the other couples to see what they are doing. that's how we figured out this Waltz spin that's really fun to do. Of course, he can't just lead me into it, we have to discuss it first, "want to do the spin thing?" "which direction are we going?" "ok, we go . . . now!" Which cracks me up because the couples we're trying to copy just start spinning, no need to talk about it. Of course, neither of us is actually waltzing before we do the spin thing.

Fred and Ginger we are not.

So needless to say I was surprised to learn yesterday that there is a woman in our ward who thinks we are good dancers. It made me smile to hear her compliment. It also made me realize the power of confidence. If you have to fake it, fake it with feeling. You might actually fool someone.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The problem with lever handled door knobs

is that your cat will figure out how to use them. Unfortunately, he won't open the bathroom door to get to his litter box if that's been closed accidentally. He only opens the laundry room door. His food is in the laundry room and he'll try and get in there even if he's been fed recently. Apparently, unlimited access to food behind a closed and latched door trumps the carefully measured food easily accessible in the food dish.

Friday, February 13, 2009

How times change

I've been watching my children do valentines this week. We went to the store and chose the design they found most innocuous but still with the best cool factor. Then we brought them home so they could write their class names on them. This part is still the same as I remember. The class lists so no one gets forgotten or has their name misspelled. The careful selection of which design sends the least worst message to the person indicated. The neatly writing of the names at the beginning quickly degenerating into an illegible scrawl by the time you get to "to: Wally From: Amy." Poor Wally probably could never read any of the names on his Vallentines.

The difference is that my children never have to deal with stupid cards that say horrible things like "Be my Valentine!" or "Be mine!" I never wanted anyone to "Be mine!" yet every year I had to carefully separate out the "be mine"s from the "be my Valentine"s because the "be mine"s sent a slightly more ambiguous message and were the least worst choice for the boys in the class. There would be one or two designs that were message neutral (the beloved "Happy Valentine's Day!") and those went to the scuzzy boys that you didn't want to even get a whiff of the wrong idea much less look at it. Those neutral cards were highly prized and I never even had enough to cover the scuzzy boys much less the whole class.

Apparently though, other 70's-80's children remember the years of careful Valentine sorting in classes where everyone had to give to everyone. Those kids are now working for cheap Valentine corporations and designing those little cards that my kids give away every year. Not one of of these boxes of Valentines has a "Be mine!" anywhere near it. Matthew was sorting his animal designs by which animal he thought the kid might like. Rilla sorted them by which gender was pictured on the front of the card. Neither one of them had the horror of desperately trying not to make anyone think they were in love with them.

I love this so much that I might send a Valentine to the Valentine companies myself just as a thank you.

It won't say "Be mine!"

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

He Lived

Last night Steve helped me make home made chicken nuggets. It's quite a process and since he requested them, I let him bread them while I baked oven fries and fried the chicken. The oven fries were a bit slower getting done than the chicken nuggets and Steve was feeling antsy for dinner. He kept opening the oven to peek in.

I said, "they'll be done a lot faster if you stop opening the oven door."

"oh yeah. Right." He says in his lovely regressed back 20 years voice. "I never took you for an old wife."

I had to inform him that it wasn't a superstition; it was scientific fact that the inside of an oven can drop by as much as 25 degrees every time you open the oven door, so every time he peeked he made dinner take just a little bit longer. He didn't believe me.

At this point he realized that I was starting to get a bit annoyed with him over this, so he, of course, had to wind me up. We had a lovely discussion where I was getting more annoyed and he was having more fun for the next couple of minutes before I declared dinner done just so I could get him to shut up.

My parting remark right before I took out the oven fries was something along the lines of "believe whatever you want, but an oven looses 25 degrees when you open the door."

"Oh sure" he said, "maybe in AAAAAAmy-land," drawn out and fully accented in the way only someone who made good use of his time as a 5th grade boy can do.

I was speechless. And annoyed. And holding a very hot pan of oven fries.

"That's a hot pan, isn't it?" he asked cringing.

"Yes, dear. It's 450 degrees hot."

"Well technically, it's 425 degrees hot."

And then the kids spent the rest of the night saying "Amy-land" to me and then giggling.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Just try and beat this cuteness

This is Libby doing yoga.

You might recognize the white rectangle under her feet as a Wii balance board.
You might even recognize her yoga move.
It's a sun salutation. It's also her favorite. She's been caught trying to do it without the Wii Fit just because she felt like doing it again.
She works really hard at doing it right. This of course is not the sun salutation. It's a sit up maneuver that I don't even try to do. She doesn't care if it's hard. She just wants to play with the Wii like everyone else.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

His Head is Banging

Joshua recently discovered his dad's old Queensryche album. He steals my boom box and carries around the house with Queensryche turned up as loud as he dares listen to it. (seriously outdated term here. Is there another one or am I just a loser because I can't say he steals my iPod dock? and are we even bigger losers because he's listening to the original tape and not a CD even? Is the oringal tape vintage cool now? Should I not even mention that I still have the boom box Steve bought me for Christmas when we were engaged that doesn't even have a CD player, just a double tape deck? It does have a mic jack though so if you have the right cord it can be used as an MP3 player speaker thingy. We have the right cord. See? We're not totally stuck in 1985.)

The other day Joshua had a friend over. He told his friend to listen to the album because it was cool. (And you're missing out because you can't hear Joshua say cool. He says it in this intense, breathy way like being cool is the very best thing anything could be.) The friend listens for a minute and says, "hey, that sounds like the songs on Guitar Hero."

These boys make me feel old.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sometimes it takes me awhile

just as a reminder, we don't get very good TV reception. PBS only. Which means there's not a lot for me to watch during the day. Unless I want to spend the time between 1 and 3 watching a bad art show, a mediocre cooking show, and last night's Charlie Rose, there's nothing for grown ups until 7pm.

We also have an elliptical machine. It sort of faced the side of the entertainment center so you could kind of see a small bit of the tv if you craned your neck just right, which meant falling off the elliptical.

This meant that I had two things available to me to distract me from the fact that I was trying to kill myself through pain and torture: the clock and a book. The clock is a bad idea. the second hand moves too slowly and I feel every tick of the minute hand as a slow, rising burn in my thighs. The book is slightly better, but only slightly because I bounce on an elliptical. lots. The words get a bit shaky and hard to follow. I tried reading scriptures and exercising at the same time. Those tiny little lines are tough to read when they are bouncing up and down. I burned through my reading quickly but it's hard to get anything from it when I spent the last half of my reading time breathing fake curses under my breath and re-reading the last verse because the meaning of it escaped me the first three times through it.

Until yesterday. When I remembered that the eleptical is actually right next to my computer. The computer that has and instant viewing from Netflix. I've managed to up my exercise time by ten minutes just by forcing myself to keep going through two episodes of a sitcom. Of course, that means that Libby has to come and click the "next" and "full screen" buttons for me on the Netflix viewer, but hey, having a four year old who can read has to be good for something, right?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

I did some sewing this afternoon. I had this jumper cut out for Libby and i whipped it together in under an hour, standard stupid mistake included. (because I can't sew anything without making at least one stupid mistake and it's always different.)

Isn't she cute? She loves the jumper. Unfortunately, I forgot to measure for length and it's a bit shorter than than I like her dresses to be. Luckily the whole leggings with dresses thing is still popular. ;) The photo above is my favorite from this afternoon, however, Libby herself is more partial to the one below:Of course, she's four and sometimes her taste is a bit suspect.

Monday, January 05, 2009

She writes too.

There's something about learning to read that makes children want to write as well. At least my children. Libby's reached that stage, now. Right now, she's sitting next to me with a drawing she did writing "once a upon a time" across the top.

Learning to read stories makes them all want to write stories, too.

At least my kids.

BTW, I forgot to take pictures of most of my Christmas gifts. I will try to get pics of the ones I gave the kids soon. I'm going to have to beg for pictures of the bunnies from my sister. They were really adorable.