Thursday, July 31, 2008

Little Baby Whoever You Are

Today was my “big” ultrasound, and here is my 22 week belly. Sigh. I can find flattering enough poses to put on here, but you catch one candid of me and it is just plain discouraging. Anywho, it was kind of odd going to the ultrasound because even though the point of the “big” ultrasound is to check that all is developing well, etc, the point for most of us is really to find out the baby’s gender and we are not finding out our little one’s gender this time around. Won’t it be a fun surprise when I am in the hospital and they hold up our baby and say, “It’s a ____!” It will be fun. I don’t know what made me want to keep it a surprise this time. I’ve never wanted to before, but I made certain that the technician didn’t even put a picture of that area in the charts because I don’t want a doctor or nurse to accidentally tell me. So, it was still fun to see little baby and to see that yes, it is indeed a baby. She said baby weighed about 15 oz. right now, but I think she calculated incorrectly because I am currently only 5 lbs. away from my final weight at the end of my pregnancy with Abe (and I have 18 weeks to go), but I am pretty certain that is only because I have a 20 pound baby in there! It will make for an awful delivery but won’t it be nice to have all that weight gone so quickly? Here is little unnamed baby (yah, we don’t even have a name for our sweet boy or girl). She didn’t get any very good pictures – they were all a bit blurry, but you can see a cute little pug nose and little one’s arm reaching above its head. She couldn’t get a good face shot forever because baby had its hand covering its face as if to hide from the camera. Maybe we have a little star and he/she is just practicing shunning the paparazzi.

P.S. Remember when I used to sometimes write funny and occasionally clever posts? Those were fun days, weren’t they? I am too tired to be clever anymore, but I liked this old post. I think it was before most friends knew about my blog, so it might seem like a new fun post and then you’ll forget how unfunny I’ve become (and feel free to comment there as well . . . that might be funny).

Oh, P.S. Again. If you do pick 5 lbs. of blueberries and you have a very darling little baby who loves those blueberries and wants to eat them and eat them, and you love her to eat them because they are full of antioxidant power (go antioxidants) and because they are soft and, unlike her beloved grapes, not very chokey . . . still, even if all those things are true, you might not want to let her eat a pound or so herself unless you like to change diapers -- A LOT.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Things I'll Miss Part 1

There are at least 300 million things I will miss about living up here. I made a list awhile back that was very long with the intent of going into further detail on each point. I have yet to do that but hopefully will get to it. In the mean time, I might just have to post various things as I am experiencing them and thinking of leaving them behind. Here are a few things that have given me a little moment's ache as I've recently thought of leaving them:

1. The weather. No, I don’t necessarily love the eight months of gray drizzle. I do like a good hard rain storm a lot, but we seldom have that – just drizzle. What I will miss though is the summer weather. It is so perfect. It is generally around 80. We get a handful of 90 and even 100 degree days and a smattering of 60 degree days, but mostly it is just warm enough to swim or play outside but cool enough to feel totally comfortable or to take a run even if it is late in the morning.

2. Blueberries. I had no idea how much I loved them until we lived here, but that is because in the past I only could have bought an expensive small container. Just today the kids and I picked 5 lbs. in a few little minutes and it only cost us $6.25. Plus, they are pleasant to pick. Even Abe, who doesn’t like berries, likes to go pick them. They just pull off easily and there are no prickles. I bought some at Costco before they’d ripened up here and as good as they were, they couldn’t match our huge popcorn bowl filled to the brim with totally fresh ones!

3. Blackberries. As long as I’m on the berry subject, I can’t neglect these. Unlike blueberries, they are miserable to pick because they grow on the thorniest bushes imaginable, but you won’t pay a thing for them up here because they are free free free. In fact, most of the state spends money trying to get rid of them because they are a horribly prickly invader. They are EVERYWHERE. I’ve even caught the little bushes sprouting up as weeds in my own flowerbeds. They really have taken over the state and people dislike them all year until about the middle of August when suddenly you can stop by any park or any road if you like and pick the most delicious berries ever. Really. I’ve heard some people talk about blackberries needing sugar to be sweet, but not the crazy weed-like variety up here. They literally almost dissolve in your mouth they are so juicy. I can hardly stop myself from picking them and eating them all along my runs, and if the kids are in the jog stroller they demand I do for them.

4. Our garden. I had no idea how much satisfaction having our own thriving garden would bring me. My dad always planted a big garden so fresh produce shouldn’t be anything new to me, but I must have taken that garden for granted. Now that I have been away from home for nearly nine years I find it shocking to see that tiny seeds can really turn into huge bushes of beans, giant cornstalks, zucchinis, etc. I know you are supposed to eat five servings of veggies a day and I seldom do because I am lazy at preparing them, but it would be nice if it could just be cumulative over a year’s time because I keep steaming myself huge yellow zucchini and slicing kohlrabi, and we eat beans beans beans every night for dinner so I am probably getting about 20 servings a day lately. Daisy had been asking for stew for dinner and so I finally planned to make it yesterday. Then I sadly remembered that I had forgotten carrots at the store. Stew doesn’t seem right with out carrots so I was about ready to tell Daisy we’d have to have it another night when it occurred to me that we could pick carrots right out of our own garden! It was a marvelous thought. I have loved it and it makes me so sad that we will be leaving before fully enjoying all of our produce. (Also, I must give credit to Mike as I myself have had little to do with the garden. I can scarcely believe that our first attempt could turn out so well and it has been all Mike’s doing – along with some help from Daisy who is the most interested in our vegetables). Here is a lovely minute and eight seconds worth of bean picking footage for those of you who could find such a thing entertaining.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bear Lake

Mike’s mom and dad paid for an amazing family reunion last week. We spent the entire week at a HUGE cabin up at Bear Lake. It was so fancy, nice, and spacious – not only open space, a huge two fridge/four oven kitchen, and theater room, but 15 bedrooms! Plus, we could walk to the beach. We each did one meal so other than that one, all lunches and dinners were taken care of by someone else in the family, and they were so good. We rented wave runners and pulled a tube with our little fishing boat. The water is so shallow that even Penny could crawl about pretty freely. We went to a cave, watched favorite video clips, and stayed up late talking. It was so fun, both the trip itself and just the happy at home feeling I have anytime I visit Bear Lake.

My grandma had a little place she rented directly on the beach and we spent many summer days there during my growing up years. Anytime I hear crows in the morning I think of Bear Lake. We had hot Ovaltine every morning, my grandma’s famous peas and potatoes along with a dish of pudding each night, followed by card games and bed time stories from my mom. At night the waves were often big enough to splash spray on the window above the fold out couch my sister’s and I slept on. All the time between these night and morning activities was spent playing on the beach and washing our feet off in the little yellow tub of water my grandma always placed outside to stop us from tracking in too much sand. The only variations were when we were lucky enough to be taken for an ice cream cone at the General Store (which I was sad to see was now a furniture store) or we were taking a walk up the road to feed horses.

During my high school years my friends and I would always plan at least one big trip there, or my sisters and I would go up to escape for a little fun. It was a great place to retreat when you felt you’d been slighted by a boy and didn’t want to be waiting around, needed a last hurrah before school started, or when you just felt like being fun and ridiculous.

We were able to continue renting there for a few years after my grandma passed away but by my junior year of college the owners of the property decided to keep it “in the family” which was a bummer for us. Still, we’ve managed to stay tied to the place by several siblings going in on a cabin in the mountains, one sibling marrying into a family with a cabin in the mountains, and occasional visits to condos up there. It has always been one of my favorite happiest places and if I were really rich one thing I would want to splurge on would be my very own place on the beach up there.

One summer morning in ’99 I had driven up to Bear Lake to be at a condo with just my sisters and a few of their little ones. Can you imagine? My favorite place and my favorite people! But, by evening I was driving back home because I wanted to be with Mike so badly – and that is one of the ways I knew that I was very seriously hooked as very little could have drawn me away from such a dreamy vacation!

Anyway, I was so busy having fun on this recent family trip with all of Mike’s family that I pretty much forgot about my camera. Here are a few pics though. Thanks again Alma and Gayle for letting us have such a happy week!

Here is Daisy with the swan she bought just for this trip and with her darling hair that my sister did for her the day before we left because all I can do is a sloppy pony tail. Isn't it cute!
Abe with his cute cousin Allie.

Daisy with her cousin Anna. Anna is ideal because she is old enough that my kids worship her and follow her around all day happy as larks, but young enough that she is still willing to let them!

And the only family picture we've managed to take in several years (thank you to nephew Brandon for pausing to snap it for us amidst the chaos of everyone trying to leave!)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A word or two from my kids

Yesterday Goldie told me that we needed to wash her owie as soon as it was bath time. Her owie was a skinned knee. Sadly, I think that she has pretty much had one knee or the other skinned since she learned to walk three years ago. That poor girl falls a lot (in fact, here is a picture of me at the end of the 4th of July 10K holding Goldie – who looks really sad because as she was running to greet me at the end of my race she tripped and – you may have guessed already – skinned her knee). Anyway, she used to object fiercely to any water or soap coming in contact with her owies for a good few weeks after their occurrence, however, I have so expertly explained to her why washing of wounds is important that now she is all about a good owie washing. “We need to wash my owie in the bath tonight mom so it won’t get any reflections,” is what she told me, so we washed it up nicely because an owie is bad enough with out having to endure the glare of a reflection every time you look at it! yfahfahjhjjjhfjafha
Also, Daisy recently asked what “excuses” are. Before I could explain, Abe cut in (giving me a knowing nod like “I’ve got this one covered, Mom”). He then went on to tell her, “An excuse is like if someone gave you a hat for a present and,” here he paused as if anticipating that I would surely object to the unthinkableness of what he was about to say and said to me, “I know this would NEVER happen in OUR family, but . . .” and he turned back to Daisy, “if someone gave you a hat and you didn’t like it but you just sort of lied and said you couldn’t wear it because it made your head itch, well, that would be just an excuse.” I’m glad that my kids know what kind of behavior is tolerated around here. If someone gives them a hat, they are going to wear it and by golly they are going to like it and there will be absolutely no excuses such as the old itchy head excuse.

Lastly, Daisy is always trying to catch butterflies and generally failing. The other day she was very excited to have caught one of those tiny white moths. She ran, little hands cupped, to the door and shouted for me to come quick. Then she opened up her hands and it was like magic that a little moth did indeed flutter away. The next day she caught one again only this time there was no fluttering away when her hands were opened. The moth just lie (lay?) there looking pretty well dead. I knew that she would be saddened if her own hands had had anything to do with its demise, so I comforted her by saying maybe it was already dead and that was why it was such an easy catch. But she comforted herself even better. I later heard her shouting to Abe, "Abey Abey, I caught a sleeping moth!" It sure stayed asleep there on our front porch for a long long time.

I have to say that I have really been enjoying being a mom more than ever recently. I’ve always adored my kids and been so grateful that Mike hasn’t been opposed to having as many as I want, but lately I have been taking much more satisfaction and just feeling far greater contentment in doing the things my little ones and I do each day. I've just really been enjoying my role as a mom. I can’t really explain it. Maybe it is the ages they are at and the things I have been able to teach them (for example I have found a good deal of satisfaction in teaching them to fold and put away their own laundry recently!), or maybe it is just the satisfaction of knowing that they now know just what is and isn’t acceptable in this family of ours! Hehe.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

My Little Photo Subjects

I still have my same little 3.2 megapixel camera with rather little zoom, but if the lighting is decent, then my fine photo subjects always manage to take care of the rest. Here they are today playing outside in their little pool.

Gasp! Look what I found on our trampoline. Does this mean rabbits have been here?

Wait a minute . . . perhaps these pics can shed some further light on the matter. That's right, it is our first garden carrot and since Daisy is the only one of our children who truly appreciates our produce, she got to have it. Apparently she finished it up on the trampoline and then went on her little way.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Super Mad

Here are some things that are making me real super mad:

1. Watermelons. I don’t know just who is in charge here, but for goodness sake, it is the middle of the summer already and only once have I seen a watermelon priced at 25 cents per pound, and that isn’t even that great. Generally I can count on the occasional 18 cents. These watermelons are gettin’ a bit high and mighty if you ask me especially considering that I ate one (well not all of one) today that tasted and smelled strangely like a pumpkin. Of course, what do I know? Perhaps watermelon prices have always closely shadowed gas prices. Maybe that’s just what you have to pay to enjoy a watermelon these days.

2. Ants. Remember when ants were hanging out on my counter top all of the time? Remember how I knew Mike could fix that if he only would? Well, I was right. He finally would. He calked the crack along our counter top edge and the ants were never seen again. At least I thought they were never to be seen again. The thing is, they got real super mad themselves and have been months in plotting their angry little revenge. They painstakingly distributed themselves through out every possible entry way into our home, both upstairs and down, and then, after months of getting ready, they received their command (from the queen, I guess, unless there is maybe a commanding soldier ant? The ant captain?). All at once they burst upon us from every conceivable corner of our home. They are very small and unintimidating, but I can’t possibly track all their ways of entry. It is ridiculous. Do I need an exterminator? Is that safe when you are pregnant? The sad thing is, I truly had no real ill will for the little critters. In fact, just yesterday I assigned the girls the task of following one small group of crumb carrying ants until they discovered their final destination. After some time they came and proudly reported to me that they were nearly certain the ants were entering and exiting through the cracks around our fireplace. I sprayed the cracks and returned later only to feel a bit saddened by the abandoned half piece of a golden graham that three brave little ants had been so dutifully pulling with such team work. I don’t know if they’d abandoned it to save themselves or in hopes of helping their dying brethren, but see what those ants are doing to me and my emotions?! See why I’m so mad?

3. People for not buying our house. I can’t name any particular people as I have not so much as seen a person looking at our house, but it is a lovely place. Why are they so mean? Even if it isn’t the fanciest, shouldn’t the lovely spirit I have lovingly cultivated here be worth something? Think of all the effort I’ve saved them. Whoever they are, they could go some
time with no scripture reading or uplifting media in the home and still be covered. I know that the value would be decreased if anyone had been distributing drugs from our place, so why not increased by the opposite? (Whatever I’ve been doing, I’m sure it could be considered fairly close to the opposite of selling drugs). Plus, shouldn’t this be worth something?? If they would only hurry they could have some beans and tomatoes and corn and pumpkins. That is worth a bundle! And of course, it has never had any trouble with ants . . . that is if anyone should ask you.

4. Costco. Ha ha, just kidding. Costco doesn't make me mad. I don’t shop there as often as most, probably only every few months, but it’s great. Today there was Amish furniture, and there are always those churros for a dollar. Plus, my kids love to go there for the samples . . . and the sample people love when me and my cart full of 25 kids stop for their samples. Actually, Abe does not share in his sibling’s love of Costco. When pressed as to why he gets so grumpy about going there he explains that he does not like the smell of that big red thing with all the coffee and he doesn’t like walking by it. I think he finds it highly offensive that such a thing should even exist. And it insults him that we should walk him past it.

That is all for now. Doesn’t this seem like one of those tagging things? “List 4 things that make you mad.” Only it wasn’t. I created this all on my own. Maybe I should “tag” some of you anyway. I won’t though because this was all in good fun and I don’t want to be responsible for all sorts of people dredging up all sorts of real “real super mad” stuff. That would only make them and all of us feel badly. I fancy that my super mads only made us all feel soooo happy and if any of you have any of those, feel free to share.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Loser at Quirks

Oh I am so sad. A friend recently posted “six unspectacular quirks” about herself . . . then “tagged” my sister who did the same and then tagged me. I am not sad because I got tagged. I think the word “tag,” when it comes to making someone write about something on their blog, sounds a little silly, but the process itself is fun. I like to be given a topic or some questions to answer all about little old me me me. I am sad though because I don’t think I have a single quirk.

That word, “quirk” just keeps going through my head, “Quirk, quirk? Quirky? Quirk.” like somehow I will become quirky if I just think that word over and over. Being quirky really means you are cool. It means you are unique and have little things you do that others shake their heads or laugh at but in an adoring fashion as they think, “Oh, you are so fun. You have your own cool little you things that make you so you and I wish I had that quirk so people would think I was so cute and all my own little person.” Sigh. Don’t you all remember once when I tried to think of just plain old THINGS about me? Not even special quirks -- just some simple interesting things. All I could come up with was that I have TMJ and am allergic to Brazil nuts. Quirk quirk quirk. I am going to go downstairs now and ask Mike if I have any quirks.

I’m back. He’s no use. Besides several smart alec comments like, “Is a bun a quirk? It seems quirky,” and then rubbing his forehead and repeatedly saying, “Let’s think. Hmm. Lets think,” and coming up with nothing, he said, “I’ll observe you over the next day and identify any quirks.” At least I am now in a chuckling mood because of my very bad husband so having no quirks only seems medium bad. Well, I will just try to think of ANY six things about me and maybe I can make them sound quirky (and later, when I suddenly am like, “Hey!! I forgot about that quirk! I do have a quirk!” I will post it).

1. I choke a lot. Can something be a quirk when it is a physiological issue? I think quirks are little habits or preferences or ways you always do things, and I definitely don’t try to make a habit of choking so it probably doesn’t count. I do choke often though -- probably at least weekly -- especially if I am eating chicken, potatoes or bread. It really is no fun and I don’t think I just eat too fast because I believe some of my siblings have this same problem and my older brother had to have a tube stuck down his throat to stretch it out once.

It is the next morning now. I tried to explain to Abe what a quirk is and then asked him if I have any quirks. What he said will count as #2.

2. I have a lot of girls; and I always have to shower before we go somewhere. Cool that he thinks those are quirks. Sadly, as any friends who come across me in the morning out shopping can attest, I definitely don’t always “shower before we go somewhere.”

3. I really like apple slices with peanut butter and mini marshmallows on them. You can see I am floundering for quirks here. In general though I do go through cyclic spells of food cravings. When I was pregnant with Abe a co-worker told me that the weird foods I always brought to work had given her no clue because I always ate weird things. It might be canned peas and carrots, key lime pie, or (like recently) that gooey golden grahams/chex mix treat that I have been making pretty much every week.

4. I love makeup (alright, I’ve totally given up on even trying to be quirky, I am simply trying to get through this list of SIX things!). Eye makeup in particular makes me very happy. I love to mess around with it and would love to put it on any of your own beautiful eyes if you let me.

I give up. I only made it to four and one didn’t really count since it was Abe’s cool idea of quirks. I thought for sure that as I began typing wonderful little fun facts about myself would begin spewing out of my mind, but I got nothin.’ Oh well, now, as tradition goes, I tag all of you who actually were able to think of a quirk of your own as you read this.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Cool Kid Words

The 4th of July is insane up here. Actually, I don't know if it is insane everywhere, but our neighborhood is plain nutso. There are giant fireworks blasting into the sky at all hours not only on the 4th, but on all the days surrounding it. A few nights before the 4th there were some extra loud ones going off fairly late. I asked the kids the next morning if they'd heard them. Goldie said, "I thought I heard popcorn . . . BIG popcorn." It did sound like "big" popcorn. Sometimes kids explain things or use words that are so perfect that I wonder why we don't all adopt these words into our vocabularies. Like when Goldie was little and she would ask me, "Will you foo it" when her food was too hot and she wanted me to blow on it, or when Daisy tells me something that happened "yesternight." I wish I could think of more examples because it does seem like they often say something that I think, "huh, that sounds about right."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Goldie's Birthday

Yesterday my little Goldums turned 4. It is tricky for her because she loves birthdays -- in fact she has honestly been moaning and groaning about how horribly far off her birthday sounded for at least four or five months. The trickiness is that she does not want to get older. I've mentioned this before, but you can't even talk about "when she grows up" with her unless you want a melt down. She asked me so sadly one day how she could still have birthdays but not get older. She's conceded that she will somewhat happily turn 5 and maybe 6, but that is it. I tell her she can be little for as long as she wants. Occasionally this pacifies her; other times she senses that there might be something larger than her tiny will taking place.

On an unrelated note, she finished her first course of swimming lessons today. She proudly brought me her certificate at the end which showed that she had passed pretty much nothing -- face in water (no), blow bubbles (no), etc., etc., but she certainly loved bouncing happily about in the class all the same. Abe and Daisy were eagerly reading off all of the things they'd passed in their classes. I was very proud of them both, but I think I was smiling almost more over my happy little failing swimmer.

Anyway, here is Ashton bringing her a birthday rose, making gingerbread houses, and enjoying her ring pop from Abe.

P.S. Here is Abe waiting for Goldie to start opening presents. His entire head was in but he popped up long enough to give me a small greeting.

The Fear of Very Minor Changes

I've noticed on a few blogs that the paragraphs aren't all squat like mine -- you know, everything actually stretches out to the sides. Anyway, I never mess around with different blog backgrounds or templates. I hardly even dare to consider changing my opening picture. I don’t know why. I am always afraid I’ll ruin everything and can never go back if I mess around. Even in my house, I don’t dare put something different on a wall or shelf even though it might end up looking 100 times better. My sisters are so good at changing things up a bit and things are always new and better and fun with their homes, bedding, hair, or even blogs. I don’t know why I am so scared. See that different picture of me on the “about me” section off to the right? I had to comment on Shannon’s blog 50 times with different pics because I was too afraid to change on my own. I was even nervous that putting those pics of my kids down the side might ruin everything. Huh. Weird.

The point of this is to say that I was looking at the basic blog templates last night and realized that my same template (plain boring white) was available in “stretch” mode. I thought it might be good for me because what with my always selecting “large” font as well as being incapable of brevity, my posts look sooooo long as you scroll down the page, but certainly, if you stretched it out so the lines across the page were longer, then as you scrolled down it would appear shorter. Never mind that it wouldn’t actually be shorter, you’d all feel like it was and like to read it more.

The trouble was that it said if I applied the template it would erase all my font choices and colors (and as you’ve noticed, my precious different colored fonts are all the variety I’ve got going here). I was supposed to be able to “preview” my blog in stretch mode, but it won’t work. I was torn. I couldn’t change it with out knowing I’d love it! What was I to do?!! Luckily Mike noticed the quandary I was in and told me to stop right where I was at. He assured me that long and skinny posts were always preferable to short and fat posts. He told me no one would ever consider reading a post if it stretched across my page. He said these short lines are much much more fun, and everybody loves white space. I don’t know if he meant it or if I believe it (since I’ve been drawn to those longer lines), all the same I was relieved. For the present time I won’t have to battle with the awful decision of whether or not I should make a minor and completely insignificant change. (As a side note, I am pretty good with big changes in my life – babies, moves when you don’t have a home to move to, etc. So, I’m not all bad).
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