Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Do not adjust the color on your screen

No, you are not seeing diapers through rose colored glasses.  This is what happens when the man you adore uses a RED birthday party napkin as a diaper wipe at a party when you forget the diaper bag, and then accidentally leaves said RED napkin in the diaper when he puts the batch into the wash.

The boys say I can't use them on Jonah.

 It would be adorable if he were a she.  And while I am not big into the whole real-men-don't-wear-pink mindset, it challenges my traditional gender-color concepts to plunk my son's booty into a dipe the color of bubblegum sherbet.  I have to admit that I laughed when I saw the first diaper, but seeing all of my lovely hemp diapers (yes, I said hemp.  This is California, deal with it.) a nice  My Pretty Pony Pink, well, I sorta wanted to cry there for a sec.

  I risked destroying their absorbency by bleaching them - twice, a big no-no in the cloth diapering world.  There are whole websites devoted to the care of cloth diapers.  It is more than a choice for your babe's tiny tushie, it is a whole way of life.  You don't wanna mess with these people.  They are like the mafia.  Well, not much, but they have their own language; AIO, PUL, wrap vs. wool, micro-fiber inserts, and don't even get me started with the Elimination Communication Gurus.  They are Sensei Masters of the cloth diaper world.  Think Black Belt.  So you see, it is important how you treat your very expensive cloth diapers.  These things are meant to last for 3 years for each child, maybe for several children in a row. 

They are still pink.  A sweet rose petal pink.

And then there was tonight
Ethan asked if he could make dinner.  We said sure.

He wouldn't let us into the kitchen for an hour.
Then we came in to a completely set table, cloth napkins draped over the bowls, and strict instructions not to look under the shrouds until the prayer was said.

Yup.  That's lime green mac'n'cheese. 
Only this Kodachrome delight was on purpose. 
Did I mention he is 13?
Good times,
good times.

I can't say for certain if there is any sort of lesson to be learned here.  But, hey, I have a husband that changes diapers AND does the wash, and I have a 13 year old son who can pull off a home cooked meal with a side of corn bread.  

Bet you're green with envy.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sesame Street and Sittin'

I remember watching Sesame Street as a kid.  Back then, Snuffleupagus was still imaginary.
Tessa discovered it today. 
And so did Jonah.

Jonah is the most media-aware baby I've ever had.  He watches the computer screen as I navagate around.  He focuses on my cell phone as I try to figure out how to text (my t#xt*ng l**ks lik# curs*ng).  I have never had a baby that will sit and watch a program with interest.  Tessa couldn't sit through a show till last year.  Part of it might be that I just don't turn on the TV during the day.  It bugs. 

Jonah was smitten by the colorful monsters on Sesame Street.  There are new ones now that I don't know the names to, Maria has had a face lift, and some young guy runs Mr. Hooper's store, but the format was familiar. 

So much has changed in the few short years since I became a mother (OK, so 13 isn't short, but it feels like it).  When Ethan was two he could use a VCR solo.  Tessa is from the DVD generation (give me VHS any day.  Yes, you have to rewind, but they never got scratched!).

I wonder what amazing technologies Jonah will see in his lifetime.

Some things never change, like sitting up in the bath for the first time...

Tessa says she's tired of TV. 
She wants to go make applesauce like the kids on Sesame Street. 
Jonah is, coincidentally, sucking on an Elmo toy.

We're gonna kick it old school now and read a book.  Jonah likes those, too.

Post Edit:

While reading to Tessa the phone rang.  She reached for it and said,
"Pause de stowy. Mama." 
What a tech-ie.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

True Measure

We started measuring Ethan on a doorway in the kitchen because he swears he's not growing.  It's a toss up as to which side of the proverbial family tree his apple will fall.  Guy's papa might have been 5 foot 5 back in the day, but now I can look down at his bald spot.  My brothers are both burly six footers. 

The doorway says Ethan has grown an inch and a half since July.  Ethan thinks I measured wrong.

I recently took some measurements of my very own.  I have hitched my wagon to those of a few of my motivated friends in hopes that I might get caught in their exercise-and-weight-loss tail wind.  I measured my squishy bits here and there (no, you don't need to know) and began the daily scrutiny of food and activity level (it's hard to count all those cookies, not to mention those aerobic trips to the fridge).

Then a few days ago the boys got it into their heads to measure Jonah.  They wrapped the tape around his melon while he tolerated them.  "43 inches!" they called out in shock.  "You are using the wrong end of the measuring tape."  I said, showing them the mistake. 
What a difference it makes when you measure correctly.

It got me to thinking about how we measure ourselves.  We compare our weaknesses to another's strengths, our inability to another's talent, our flaws to another's beauties.  We measure all wrong.

In an article I read by Marvin J. Ashton, I loved how he explained the scripture in First Samuel.  "When it came time to choose a king to replace King Saul, the Lord gave this criteria to his prophet Samuel: “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; … for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7.)

When the Lord measures an individual, He does not take a tape measure around the person’s head to determine his mental capacity, nor his chest to determine his manliness, but He measures the heart as an indicator of the person’s capacity and potential to bless others.  Why the heart? Because the heart is a synonym for one’s entire makeup. We often use phrases about the heart to describe the total person...The measure of our hearts is the measure of our total performance."

I hope to find a new measuring stick for myself this year.  Instead of measuring myself against others, or my idea of my ideal self, what if I measured myself against what my creator would have me be?  I imagine, just as He took the creative process in phases, He would have me create change in my life the same way; line upon line.

I won't ever find my measuring tape to say what Mary Poppins' said; "Practically Perfect in Every Way".  Maybe my true measure will simply say "Just where I ought to be
-for today."

Monday, January 24, 2011


I dragged out of bed this morning feeling ewwie.  Maybe getting sick, maybe not, but oh-so-very-tired.  I lay in bed willing my body to kick into gear, imagining all of the tasks ahead of me this day.  The "20 min Shred" with Kathy that left me with jello legs last week was to start at nine this morning.  I pulled the blanket back up over my head. 

I flashed back to six months ago to when Jonah boy was still inside my belly, and I felt so exhausted all the time.  I remember looking at the mess around me and imagining my body moving through the spaces, picking things up, wiping surfaces, dusting and straightening.  I would imagine it over and over, picking up the same toy or book 20 times, but nothing moved, of course.  The mess was still there, waiting.

I am blown away by how much I am able to accomplish now.  I do more in a day now than I did in a week, maybe a month, back when I was pregnant.  I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to grow Jonah.  I appreciate my body for all the unbelievably hard work it did.  And now I am grateful for what I am able to do now that he is out.  The garage has been cleaned, cupboards and drawers gutted and sorted, and a dozen unfinished projects polished off.  I even painted last night.  I had help from Jonah's little toes as they sought out the canvas and left little toe prints.  It was just as it should be.

I feel useful again.

Its noon and I am feeling better than I did when I dragged out of bed this morning.  I think it was nice to get a reminder of all that I have and am able to enjoy.  I feel so blessed. 

I didn't make it to Kathy's.  I'll try again tomorrow.

My little painting partner has learned to sit up this week.  He does pretty well so long as his melon head doesn't pull him right over.  He also had his first taste of grown-up food.  Traditionally Guy has given our babies a tiny taste of chocolate ice cream (because, well, it's chocolate.  Don't judge), but Jonah had other plans.  He reached out to my plate on Saturday night and grabbed a chunk of cooked broccoli and shoved it into his busy little mouth.  He loved it.  It was soft and sort of mushy and so I let him suck away at it as he clutched the chunk in his tight little fist.  It made for a fabulous diaper the next day. 

His food sensitivities have all cleared up, and the world is feeling balanced again.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Things I love

 Love notes from Tessa-love in kidlish writing
Herds of horses square dancing in the entry
Volleyball bruises (because they mean I'm trying)
A good batch of homemade yogurt
A smile from Ethan, even though he is mad at me
My rolley-polley baby learning how to roll (and finally catching him at it)
Making new friends, and making time for old ones
My ever-faithful Sanitaire vacuum, still going strong
When tomorrow is Friday
My sleeping babies (all of them)
My sweetheart
A quiet house at one in the morning...

Guy calls this "the boudoir pose".

Thursday, January 20, 2011


As in Cheesecake!
Allow me to introduce you to Adam's first solo flight in the kitchen.  I did stop him from putting the eggs into the crust, but other than that, he made it all by himself.  He erroneously believed that that made it his cheesecake, but we were more than happy to set him straight. 

It was delicious, and what it lacked in texture (it was a smidge lumpy) it made up for in I-didn't-have-to-make-it.

He was so proud of himself, as was I.  This was the big time.  Our cooking lessons had started out with toast, and moved on to grilled cheese (formerly known as "gorilla cheese").  Next it was mac'n'cheese, which is clearly the best segway into the greatest of all cheese-filled foods;
le' cheesequek.

Next week we should move from the dairy group to the the grain group - chocolate cake!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Movie Nite

There are certain things you shouldn't talk about.
But if you know me at all, you know I will.
Tastefully, I hope.

Because they are important.  Very, very important.
Saturday, as you may know, was a full day plunked on the end of a string of many full days.  We had babysat the night before, and that morning I was at rehearsal by 9AM.  The rest of the day was spent moving our friends, and at 5:30 we headed home.  It was date night.
We had no cash.
We had no energy.
We felt like saying "forget it".
We decided to just stay home and watch a movie.

Guy hopped in the van to drop our kids at the sitter's, and I looked around at the joint.  The train wreck of a week had left debris and dead bodies all over the place (well, smelly shoes, at least).
Then a thought came to me.  An unwelcomed thought planted itself into my conscious from a place clearly outside of my foggy brain.  It said:
"You need to show your husband know how much you love him."  It was accompanied by the image of a romantic greeting in a candlelit room, a kiss, and a back massage for my equally worn out hubby.

I looked down at my dirt smudged clothes.  My tired mind-chatter whined, "Really?  Tonight?  I am soooo tired."  I argued that there wasn't time to do anything nice, and that I had put in a long day doing things for others.  I deserved a night to myself.  Besides, Jonah was here.  Tonight?

Yes, tonight.

I set Jonah down and switched into what my friend Melissa calls "Laine Mode", more like a reverse tornado than anything.  I whipped through the living room gathering toys and dead bodies.  Next, I grabbed handfuls of votive candles and dropped them into glass dishes and cups, distributing the light through the room till a flickering glow warmed every corner.  I laid out massage oil, two glasses and the last bottle of sparkling cider from New Years.  I was flying so fast, I was really working up an oh-so-sexy sweat.  Hustling, I washed up and replaced my stinky moving clothes with something lacy, and then doused myself with sweet smelling amber (because perfume is kind of like a shower, right?).  Except for almost breaking my neck while running to answer the phone when I tripped over the massage stuff, everything came together -dare I say- elegantly?  I had just enough time to put on a Nora Jones CD and to pick up a fussy Jonah to dance with him, when Guy walked through the door.

His smile said it all. 

"I was picturing coming home to a scene like this." He crooned.

And I am so glad I made that picture real for him.  We all deserve to have moments like they show in the movies.  And my husband, (and probably yours) deserves to be treated with kindness, respect, love, and adoration.  I want this man that I chose to stay with "to infinity and beyond" to look forward to an eternity with me.  There are so many ways that I don't measure up to the picture I have in my own head of what a good wife and mother should be, but in the same way telling your kids that you are serving ice cream for dinner would be met with a glowing reception, there are some very simple ways to get the same reaction out of the person that is supposed to be your sweetheart. 
Everyone deserves to be cherished. 

Jonah fell asleep, and lets just say we never watched a movie.
Date night was awesome.
I deliberated over whether or not to share this little tale, but I will tell you why I did;  I know many people who are unhappy in their marriages.  I know many couples who, long ago, stopped treating each other as best friends, or even as friends at all.  I know wives who boss and nag, or even scold their husbands as though they were one of the children. 
It's kind of sad.

We have so much influence on how happy our husbands are in our marriages, and when our husbands are happy, they want us to be happy.  It is the golden rule, and it is so very basic.  We are the ones who make it complicated. 

Valentine's is coming. 
Hint. Hint.

Monday, January 17, 2011


"You know, some people - now this is weally trwue - some people pahwk theyah cahs in the gawahge. 
We should do that."

A remark from Tessa-loo after seeing the floor of our garage for the first time, maybe in her whole little life.  Amazing what 3 hours and very large trash can will do.

Moving Day

Life can be really tiring.  You have so much to get done, so much required of you, so many noses and bottoms to wipe, food to microwave, laundry baskets to hide when company drops by.  It can be exhausting.

All last week had been like that.

But when Saturday came I was honestly jazzed (now, that's a word you don't get to hear too often, isn't it?  I'm trying to bring it back) to be helping my good friends Dave and Stephanie to move into a new place.  The economy has slapped them around for a bit and so they have spent the past many months in a tiny living space with even tiny-er privacy.  But oh, joy of joys, David was recently given a Fab-O job from the job fairy, and that meant that they could now afford a little somp'n-somp'n we like to call elbow room.  Only they got room for, like, a bazillion elbows in there.  Maybe more.

So, we did what Mormons do best (besides making funeral potatoes and strapping gynormous bows to little babies' heads); we had what I like to call a Mormon Barn Raising.  I had been at a rehearsal in the morning, so I was privileged to pull up late that morning to the new house to see a sight that got me all mushy inside.  Five, maybe six families stood in the driveway waiting as the first truck pulled in to be unloaded.  In no time flat, it was empty and boxes were being unpacked, shelves wiped and couches couched.  Laughter echoed through the emptyish rooms, and men hustled through doorways with pianos and dressers while small children collapsed boxes and played in used tape and bubble wrap.  Teenagers worked with smiles on, not needing to be told what to do.  As if by magic, donuts arrived, a gift from a member of the congregation that lived a few houses away.  Rooms were arranged quickly and sooner than could be imagined, folks were saying goodbye with well wishes, off to tackle their own Saturday tasks, not at all bothered, more so blessed, that their mornings were spent helping someone move.

We stayed into the evening, my family and I.  Ethan worked to help his friend Tyler set up his room, but also stuck with tasks he'd been assigned as well as, or even better, than most grownups.  Adam plugged away at shelving DVDs, and Guy and I exchanged the occasional kiss (or smack on the tush) as we passed in hallways, making full boxes into empty ones.  Working alongside our friends, we made an impressive dent in the unpacking, and were plenty tired, but still cheerful as the sun set on our day.

Somewhere in the middle of that day, Steph thanked me for staying to help.  I just smiled.

"It's what we do, isn't it?" I said.

In my mind I was swept to the many days Steph had been there for me as I unpacked my crowded brain, layed out my fears, and opened the doors to the dark corners of my aching heart.  I remember her looking into my eyes and saying, "We'll get through this" and believing her. 

Its nice to see someone you love reach the end of a long trial.  Its good to hear their excitement and hopes for the future.  It gladdens the heart to celebrate with them, to breathe that last, oh-so-welcomed sigh of relief, and to slump into a chair and smiling, say, "it's all done."

Not a bad way to spend a Saturday, if you ask me.

Home Sweet Home!!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Beautiful pix by Annmarie Hall

One a day.

Its all part of my diabolical plan to rule the universe (muah-ha-ha-ha!).  Actually, its just part of my plan to stop letting the universe, and large quantities of laundry, rule me.

It is clear to me that my current lifestyle precludes me from making large, elaborate, multi-faceted plans.  Today, in fact, it precluded me from using the toilet uninterrupted.  On one of my trips, I even had the baby in the back-pack.  I am talented like that.  I can piddle AND tend a child simultaneously.  I felt at one with all of the mothers all over the world who have ever had to scurry out of a corn field or rice paddy, babe attached, to score a potty break on the shady side of a tree.  Only with toilet paper.  And no tree.

But I digress.  Which, truth be told, is a huge part of the problem.  Side tracks, digressions, distractions...  I blame it on my kids, but I am as scatter-brained with them gone as I am with them here.  Thus, in my New Years resolutin' I have decided that if I am to ever achieve any of the lofty goals that have eluded me in the past, they are going to have to be way more simple, and worked on in phases.  Like in construction, only with no money and much shorter lunch breaks.

So here is my "One a Day" list.  I need only do the things on this list in single servings, mere minutes in duration.  And frankly, if I can't manage that, I should have my all my meals interrupted by small humans asking for help fishing all the microscopic bits of mushrooms out of their spaghetti.  Oh wait, I do.

One a Day

One morning prayer

One verse of scripture

One dance to one song with weights on ankles

One fruit per meal

One veggie per meal

One full glass of water per meal

One story for Tessa while kids are at school

One vitamin

One call from my "must call" list

One page from a book

One effort at an art/sewing/writing project

One page of emails cleared

One song for the girls

One evening prayer

I know there are many more things that I could list.  Its a work in progress, just like me.  Housework makes no appearance here because I seem to have no problem doing plenty of laundry and dishes, to the exclusion of all else.  Its more the things I could do for me and my kids that get swept out the door with all that dirt, that I need to focus on.  And I am not asking for the big things like whole chapters to be read, but if I linger longer, -sing an extra song, read a few more verses, maybe eat another helping of something green - well all the better.  Its always the starting that's hard, after all.

Oh, and there is one more One.

One trip to the bathroom a day... 


Monday, January 10, 2011

Free Spirit

Last night:

"Good job, Tessa!  I like how you noticed there were no napkins on the table so you put some on."

"Yup.  I nudist it awweady."

Saturday, January 8, 2011


"Opportunity is missed by so many because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."
-Thomas Edison

I am excited about the New Year.  I have a lot planned.  I have a lot of hopes for a productive year.  And when I read the following quote, it more than spoke to me, it sang to me...

"A consecrated life is a life of labor. Beginning early in His life, Jesus was about His Father’s business (see Luke 2:48–49). God Himself is glorified by His work of bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children (see Moses 1:39). We naturally desire to participate with Him in His work, and in so doing, we ought to recognize that all honest work is the work of God. In the words of Thomas Carlyle: “All true Work is sacred; in all true Work, were it but true hand-labour, there is something of divineness. Labour, wide as the Earth, has its summit in Heaven.”

"God has designed this mortal existence to require nearly constant exertion... By work we sustain and enrich life. It enables us to survive the disappointments and tragedies of the mortal experience. Hard-earned achievement brings a sense of self-worth. Work builds and refines character, creates beauty, and is the instrument of our service to one another and to God. A consecrated life is filled with work, sometimes repetitive, sometimes menial, sometimes unappreciated but always work that improves, orders, sustains, lifts, ministers, aspires."
                                                                - D. Todd Christofferson

(Emphasis mine, because those were the parts that sang to me the loudest.)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Little Prayers

"Please bless that nobody could fight 'bout who could put the stahw up on the twee on the nother Cwistmas."
- a direct quote from Tessa's prayer yesterday after we finished taking down the tree.

Because it is never a bad idea to plan ahead.  Nice to know Tessa is preparing for next Christmas already, too.

Happy New Year!

 Ellie, Kaylee, Lauren and Jonah help me with broom duty.

 Every year at midnight on New Years Eve, after I kiss my sweetheart (because my father says that what you are doing at midnight, you do all year long*) I grab my broom (no, not the one I fly on, the other one), then sweep out the old year, and graciously welcome in the new.  Then I run outside with a pot lid and a wooden spoon, and much to the chagrin of my neighbors, beat on the lid like a crazy lady to scare away that old year so it doesn't try to sneak back in.

And yes, I make resolutions.  Only I have never made them the way I have this year.  This year I am making a plan.  A plan with intricate timetables made on spreadsheets with pie charts. 

Not really. 

I just made some notes, lots of them, in a journal.  But its a start.  And I did plan out the year, month by month, so that I can have success in attaining my goals.  One of those goals is to work on my Christmas-weirdness by beginning preparations this month.   I am starting this week by repairing damaged decorations.  Next week: update the Christmas card list, and after that, begin Jonah's stocking.

So, out with the old.  Old fears, old woes, maybe old even old bod.  But gently, and with less judgement and less self flagellation.  And maybe less big words, too.

 Taking down the old tree...literally.

Bye bye, Christmas.  See you next year!
*One New Years Eve, my father had a heart attack and landed in the hospital.  Because of his belief that what you are doing at midnight, you do all year long, at midnight he got up out of his hospital bed, hopefully held the back of his gown shut, and danced with my mother. 

Hello, New Year!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How to... Botanical Candles

I thought it couldn't hurt to show you how I made the garden candles shown in a previous post.

First, I collected botanical items from the yard.
Next, I used a glue stick to attach them to the candles.  I went with a Spring-Summer-Winter theme.

Then, I dipped the candles into melted wax (I keep it in a tiny crock pot).  One dip provides enough coverage of the greenery without making the plant parts look cloudy.  As I dipped, I quickly rotated the candle to cover as much of its diameter as possible in one dipping.

After dipping, I quickly checked to make sure all plant parts had stayed attached, and I pressed down anything that was popping away from the candle surface.

The finished project; here's what I learned.  Fresh items can become scalded by the hot oil (the clovers turned yellow in some areas, as did the white flowers a while later).  Next time, I will only use dry flowers.  The autumn leaves worked very well.  Silk flowers would work great.

Happy dipping!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

What a special Christmas it has been; from the tiny alligator that hides in my Christmas Village, to the cards from loved ones all over the country taped to my entry wall, I have enjoyed this year more than usual.  My goal to succumb less to the stress and to enjoy my children more helped it to be a gentler season.  I sit here in the afterglow, a warm crackling fire in the hearth, Guy snoozing on the couch beside me, Ethan doing the same in the other room, Adam coaxing giggles from Jonah and the girls painting in the kitchen. Though things aren't perfect -the sink is full of dirty dishes and the car has a dead battery -the saying "all is well with the world" applies to this moment, for the moment. 

And here are some of the peaceful moments I will enjoy remembering in the months and years to come.

Homemade gifts from my garden

 Auntie Joyce, who has no children of her own, opens Ethan's gift; an "Ethan Original" photograph

Hand sewn gifts for our friends... Mouse by Ellie, Heart by Tessa, and Cat by Adam, all for Auntie Joyce

Breakfast with Joyce...

With two rounds of hot cocoa... yum

Loves from Francine

Mama firing pottery in the fireplace.  Guy and I did not buy gifts for each other this year.  I made him some pottery and recorded his favorite song for him... "At Last".  He promises me he will get to unfinished projects for my gift.

Christmas Eve with new friends, the Bush family

And my favorite tradition, Guy and I trade handmade ornaments on Christmas Eve

The first gifts of Christmas... new jammies for all

Visions of sugarplums dancing in wee little heads

Christmas morning...

"Can we come out now???"

Our first "Paper-Free" Christmas... all presents this year were wrapped in cloth.  Our Christmas carbon-footprint reduced to the size of one piece of coal.

Who could have beleived that four month old Jonah would be so interested in presents?

Christmas dinner with loved ones...

.... and friends; David and Peggy

        Please pass the mashed potatos!

This is the year Jonah will learn to walk.  The year Tessa will start kindergarten.  This year Ethan will begin high school and go to his first dance.  There will be joys yet unimagined and sorrows unwelcomed, but just as in every year before, they will come.  This year, for the first time in a few years, I intend to write our family time capsule.  It will be sealed up and packed with the ornaments, to be opened on Christmas Eve next year.  It will recount the year that is past and list hopes for the year ahead.

May it be a year as blessed as this one has been.