Thursday, December 28, 2006

Happy, Happy Birthday, Baby.

That's right, it's KPC's birthday. I think I will be editing this post later to put in some pictures of him (but it may take a while to find just the right ones.) So for now I will just say, happy birthday to a husband who has done more for me than I ever thought to want, and a father who has surpassed my every desire, and a lover who is EXTREMELY hot stuff. ;) To get that all in one person is a pretty incredible deal-- I'm a very lucky woman.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Hatrack Madness at IKEA!

Last night we had the honor and fun of making another Jatraquero Real. Actually, I thought that erosomniac was Real before, but apparently not. In any case, he became Instantly Real when he got together with us and the Meeses for dinner and chitchat and watching adorable children playing at IKEA Burbank. (eros is a very cool guy. He sent Ems a gumball machine, just 'cause he could.)

We had a fun dinner-- I pushed a round table up against a bench table so we could all sit together, something I have a feeling the IKEA workers weren't totally thrilled with, but they didn't stop me-- and I got to sit next to Mooselet. He told me several very cute stories, short and long, and proved that he is better at math than I am. I told a story, too, which Superstation later told back to me with a few changes. (At least, I am pretty sure that's what he was telling me. For someone who wasn't talking a few months ago, that kid sure can talk up a storm!) After dinner the kids all ran rampant in the toy area. It was really cool to go someplace where we could chat while they all ran around like crazy with no repercussions (well, as long as they didn't grab other kids' toys or shove.) I know I've been craving that kind of adult contact, it's nice to get it once in a while without worrying constantly about your kids' behavior (although I must say, the Moose clan has some most excellently behaved sons, and our girls aren't total terrors in public, either.)

Now I'm really looking forward to next month's shinda! I love getting together with other Jatraqueros.

Monday, December 25, 2006

That was fun!

So, Christmas weekend has been and gone. Last Wed. we kicked things off at my aunt's with an early Christmas dinner. Emma enjoyed opening presents. Then we flew into the whirlwind that was this weekend, with putting up my mom's tree and decorating it for her Saturday, church on Sunday (mostly stories being read and lots of Christmas hymns for us to sing; we had our choir and Primary Christmas program the week before), then finally getting home, trying to get everyone down for a nap (it actually worked okay) so we'd be rested for that night, then we went over to my mom's. When we got there, she wasn't there. After calling my brother's cell phone, we found out he was, and so we said, "Open the door!" "Now?" "Yes, now!" Sheesh.

We got in and Michael was supposed to be setting the table but had no clue how to do it, so I took over. I got the tablecloths on, directed Jeff on what to set out, and got the cheese and cracker plate ready. (Good thing, too, because Ems was in a grumpy mood at dinner and that's mostly what she ended up eating, besides salad, of course-- she loves salad.) My mom called and told my brother to check the chicken. He had no clue how, so I checked it, determined it was ready, put it out, and decided to start the water for the rice. My mom got home and was glad I had; it had taken her longer than she had thought it would to get done with her errand. She showed me where the olive plate and the carrots and celery were, and I got those plates ready and out, too. Then I tried to convince her to let me make gravy and she wouldn't. I was very sad. (Yes, I put gravy on my rice! So sue me!) My sister called and said she was coming, and was bringing her boyfriend, too. My mom hadn't realized how many people she was actually having; it ended up being 10 people (HS age or up) plus my kids. We got the table set and when Erin showed up she helped me toss the salad (because she felt guilty that she didn't bring anything and I wanted to make her feel included, having shown up in time to take over everything that needed doing. It was Trader Joe's Asian Salad in a Bag, which she thought was cool-- it comes with EVERYTHING that you need for the salad, you just put it in the bowl and toss.) She also helped find room for all the desserts Grandma Katie brought-- cheesecake, sugar cookies, spice cookies, AND miniature red velvet cakes! My mom's friends showed up as we were finishing everything and my darling husband was enlisted to get drinks for everyone. (I had sparkling apple cider mixed with cranberry juice, my favorite!) We had a non-denominational Blessing for the New Year which my mom read (since her friends who came are Muslim) and we all ate. Actually, I didn't eat as much or as soon as I would have liked because Bridey was STARVING TO DEATH (or so she told us.) Then it was time for presents.

Erin, Emma, and I went in the living room and started making present piles. Emma quickly caught on and helped go under the tree for the presents then handed them to me or Aunt Erin to sort. (She thought it was hilarious when she went all the way under the tree on her tummy and yelled out, "I UNDER the Kissmas tee!" To be truthful, so did we.) When they were sorted we got everyone together to open them-- fun! Maybe I'll write about what we all got later, it goes on for a long time... Emma loved the present opening, again, and every time she opened one she would bring it over and hand it to "Uncle Freddie" (my sister's long-term live-in boyfriend) for him to see! It was hilarious! She helped open Bridget's toys, too, since Bridget was happy in the playpen.

We finally made it home and Bridget crashed immediately but Emma was all wound up. When she finally fell asleep, I snuck out to fill stockings. (Santa presents were put out unobtrusively the night before.) Uh-oh! I heard little feet in the hall! I quickly killed the light and ran away from the table where the stockings were now laid out with everything on top of their respective pile. I asked what Ems was doing up. "I hear bells! Jingle bells!" Oh, no! Jeff's and my stockings have bells on the front! Yikes! I carried her back to the bed and laid down with her. I got her quiet and when she was, said I was going to go get a drink. She said she wanted some water, too. So I took her Superman straw sipper cup and went out, hastily crammed everything into the stockings, and poured some water for her and took a sip myself, so not to be a liar.

I woke up earliest the next morning, needing a bathroom trip. Then Bridget woke, so I nursed her and changed her and put her back down. When we had to do stockings or it would be too late to get to my dad's in time, I went in and woke Jeff, let him use the bathroom, and then started rubbing Emma's back and talking about how Santa came and filled the stockings. Finally, I said, "It's time for presents!" and she sat bolt upright! We carried her out and got our stockings. She wasn't sure what was her favorite-- the chocolate, the tangerine, or the Superman toothbrush and toothpaste! When we were just about done, Bridey woke, so we brought her out and gave her the things in her stocking-- a peach cup (we all got those), a small container of Cheerios for her to start on wheat, some Dutch Apple Dessert baby food (basically cinnamon applesauce), a ducky-pattern "first toothbrush" (we all got toothbrushes-- we've been cleaning her teeth with a little gum and tooth cleaner thing, but she's starting to chew our fingers) and a teether rattle. She was happy with everything, of course. Then we did presents (again, we'll leave details for later, if anyone wants them.)

Then over to my dad's. We had to wait around while my dad finished cooking and my brother was picked up by Jeff, but there was hot spiced cider for me and orange-tangerine juice in a Sesame Street cup for Ems, and Bridey could crawl around, so it wasn't so bad. We all sat down for a huge brunch: leftover ham from their dinner the night before, kugelis (Lithuanian potato "pudding", kind of like a potato kugel, but with bacon and topped with sour cream!), home-baked scones with currants, with Devonshire clotted cream and fresh-chopped strawberries or strawberry jam (the jam was actually my request, I prefer it to the fresh strawberries) to go on top, scrambled eggs (with ketchup for me, of course) and of course fresh tangerine segments. My, it was delicious! My dad does the best brunches. I drank sparkling cider, then orange-tangerine juice, then back to sparkling cider. Then we went out to the living room while my dad did dishes; soon we were sorting presents. Some friends showed up as we were about to open them (old friends-- we all met when I was in Brownies) and didn't mind sitting around and watching (and holding Bridey for us!) as we opened them. We all had a great visit and soon were exhausted and ready to go home. Jeff ran me home with Bridey then went back to get Michael and run him to my mom's. Of course, my mom wasn't home and Mike didn't have a key. So Jeff took him along as he ran to the store for some onions and Anaheim peppers for my chili the next day (and then to a different store because the first one was out of Anaheims.) Emma slept in the car (good, because she was really wound up and needed a nap-- she actually told me at my dad's house, when I chastened her for something, "Mommy, I just all wind up!" She's so cute.) Michael ended up going back to my dad's for a while. Then Jeff came home with Ems. We had Jack-in-the-Box for dinner because they were open and neither of us was even up to opening a can of something for dinner after our whirlwind two days of Christmas!

So that was Christmas. Hope all of yours was good! I'll try to keep up on the rest of my blogging this week, but don't know if I'll make it all within a reasonable time, so please bear with me.

Happy Christmas, Everyone.

More to blog about later, but wanted to wish everyone a happy Christmas. Have a good one. Make it a year you remember.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Hooray for Bridey!

She just sat up unassisted and unsupported for the first time! (Okay, it was a little more like kneeling, but she wasn't leaning on an arm or the playpen!) Yay for Bridey!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Got it! *waves card wildly*

Remember me telling in my Thanksgiving post about the jell-o salad? My favorite part of holiday meals? The one I adore and have been asking for the recipe for for years? Well, I got my grandma's Christmas card today and inside was a note saying, "Here's the recipe you wanted. I left one at your mom's but didn't know if you got it." (NO, I didn't, thanks a lot, Mom!) And inside was a card with the recipe! Some of the ingredients are different than I expected, but it looks easy and I know it's wonderful! So here we are:

Grandma Norma's Jell-o Salad
(aka "Cranberry-Apple Salad")

1 3-oz. package cherry gelatin
3/4 c. boiling water
1 8-oz. carton cherry yogurt
1 16-oz. can whole-berry cranberry sauce
1 small sweet apple, diced
1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

Dissolve gelatin in water. Refrigerate and let start to jell (about 1 to 2 hours.) Mix in other ingredients, before gelatin is completely set. Refrigerate until set (about another 3 to 4 hours.)

Then send some my way. :D *does a happy dance*

Monday, December 18, 2006

It really IS a once in a lifetime kind of thing... I took the plunge and committed.

See, it's really hard for me to get to the Temple when pregnant, or with a nursing baby. Long story short, I've only been a few times since I was about 5 months pregnant with Emma-- and then I was pregnant with Bridget, and had moved further from the Temple (well, actually, different Temple, but longer drive time. The drive time here makes it at least a 5-hour commitment to go, while it was a 15-minute drive each way plus the length of the session in Dallas) and with a less-available babysitter (my mom is our only babysitter; she works more than full-time. My mother-in-law was our previous babysitter, she worked part-time and was happy to watch Emma for an evening during the week while we went.) Then I was nursing Bridget. Long story shorter, I haven't been in, oh, more than a year...

Yes, I feel guilty about this.

But in January (the 20th, to be exact) our stake is having a special, special meeting to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the year of the dedication of the Los Angeles Temple. We get to use the Assembly Room, which I saw when we were sealed, it's so huge and it's really cool, and they're working hard to get all active endowed members of the stake who are physically capable (and some who had been less-active, who we've been working on getting to come back) to go.

And the stake has been asked to provide a 50-voice choir.

That cinched it for me. When am I going to get another chance to sing in the Temple?

I'd been working on getting my mom to watch the kids already (it's hard to get her to commit so early in advance, especially when it will be pretty much an all-day thing), but now I will go even if she can't. (My husband, who is wonderful, has made this possible by telling me that if my mom can't watch the kids, he will stay home with them. Of course, I will try my very hardest to convince my mom to watch them, but if she can't, although I will miss him, I will accept his sacrifice and go-- before the choir came up I was thinking of sending him without me if my mom couldn't watch the kids, which is what I have done before, but never for an occasion so special.)

I'm so excited. We are singing the Mark Wilberg arrangement of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." We had our first run-through last night, and what can I say but, "Wow." They needed more first sopranos, so I moved up there, even though I'm naturally a second (since I can hit those notes; I have a three-octave range.) (High "A" above the high "C" is the highest note in the piece.) I was just bowled over by the music-- and the fact that I am sure when we sing it in the Temple it will be the most amazing singing experience of my life, and I have a feeling that there will be a choir of angels backing us up.

Of course, I'm feeling anxious too because it's been so long, I am sure I will forget what to do, where to go... I think I will enlist a sister who I am comfortable asking for help to be my helper, tell me where to go, stand next to me and help me if I look like I need it, like my mother-in-law did as my "escort" when I was first endowed. And I'm sure the temple workers will be very sweet and helpful, too, they always are. There you have it; I am making the commitment now, in the semi-public atmosphere of my blog, to humble myself and ask for help.

*bounce* And that anxiety all pales in comparison of the fact that I get to sing in the Temple! Wow!

Saturday, December 16, 2006


I know I haven't been blogging much this past week, including keeping up on reading all your blogs. I've had a bit of a virus and a lot of stress. Yesterday I was just starting to feel a little better, when wouldn't you know it, I got Mittelschmerz (approx. pronunciation MIddle-shmertz.) This comes with full-on PMS mood swings and misery for me. Luckily I don't get it every month, and it's not as bad as the severe ovulation pain I had a couple of months ago. Just humongously uncomfortable. So I will probably be out of it for another day or two until some of these hormones clear out. Sorry.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Oh, I feel stupid.

So I figured out the problem.

Turns out it was (kind of) my fault.

It's fixed now. I will be back to commenting on your blogs shortly.

You may all make fun of me now.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The reason I haven't commented on your blog... that Blogger hasn't let me. :(

I switched to the beta, and all was well-- until some time last week. I am able to comment on some blogs and not others, and I don't know exactly why. At least half the blogs over there on my favorites list are affected. I get a message saying that they know about the issue and are working on it every time I try to post a comment on any of those blogs.

It makes me frustrated and sad because 1) you all have had cool posts lately and 2) I have had cool comments, which I have been unable to share.

I sure hope this is resolved soon, or I'm gonna have to go down there and kick some bottom, Mommy-style.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mysterious Ways

So, today, Ketchup Prince Consort got an early Christmas present: an awesome job offer!

It's in sales, not accounting (the field he's getting his degree in and which he would like to continue in when he's done), but it's a great improvement over his last position. The base salary is $3000/yr. over what he was getting-- plus commission. Quite good commission, actually. It's closer to our place; even if traffic is L.A.-awful, it will take less than an hour to get home (and almost never that long to get there.) And no more incredibly late hours followed by coming home to rush through his schoolwork; once he finishes his four days of (paid) training, he will be on the "East Coast" shift. That means he starts at 7 and gets to come home at 3. As in he will be home by no later than 4 pm! He'll have time to play with the kids, eat dinner at a normal time, do his schoolwork, and have time to spare before going to bed at a decent time! We'll be able to do errands in the afternoons and attend church functions on weeknights, and have the missionaries over for dinner during the week. He'll even have time to help my aunt out during tax season (so he'll still be getting accounting-related experience while he finishes his degree) and not have to survive on 2 or 3 hours of sleep a night.

He's holding off for a few days on signing the papers in case he gets a better offer, but it would have to be pretty darn good.

This is amazing. Last time it took him 6 months to get another job. This time, the firing has been a true blessing-- getting him out of a stressful situation, giving him more time for school and family, more money, and it just feels right. They came to him, he didn't seek this position out. But once he went in for the first interview (yesterday) we both felt peace descend. We knew he would get a second interview (they called him at 9:30 this morning and asked him to come back today!) I knew he would get an offer. And it just feels right. I guess Heavenly Father knows what he's doing when he intervenes in our lives like that. I kept wondering why He would not intervene to soften the heart of KPC's former employer when he was berating and yelling and making KPC's life miserable. I kept praying for some relief for him. But the reason was, apparently, that if his heart had been softened this opportunity would not have come at the exact right time. The relief was a better situation for him; in the long term, a much better situation. Sorrow may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Or in this case, anxiety may endure for a while, but peace comes in due time. :)

Truly, the Lord does work in ways we can't comprehend-- but all for our good.

You may all commence partying. ;) Thank you for all your support and love, I'm glad I didn't have to make you worry for very long!

Christmas Meme

TxMommy issued an open invitation to do this MeMe, so I'm taking her up on it.

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? First egg nog, then hot chocolate-- but only if it's my super special Best Hot Chocolate Ever. No powdered stuff for me! And no marshmallows, only whipped cream. And not icky stuff, but ReddiWhip Extra Creamy, or home-whipped. And also, the egg nog has to be Alta Dena. Okay, I'm a snob. Sorry.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Wraps them.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Well, right now we don't have a place big enough for a tree other than our almost 3 foot fiber optic one. But if we did, colored for the tree, for sure. Inside house lights can be white or colored; outside, I'm partial to colored, and no outside decorations too ornate.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? If the local Cub Scouts (who go up to the Angeles Crest and pick it and bag it for a fund-raiser-- not LDS troops, obviously) hit me up for it. My dad has some fake but I think that doesn't count.

5. When do you put your decorations up? Decorations? Huh, what? *blank stare* Seriously, we have two crèche scenes but with the cats and the kids, we don't put them up until a week or two before. I want to get a Playskool plastic one like my mother-in-law has so it can be out and be none the worse. We have a garland to hang our ornaments on but last year never got to it. We have lights, ditto. We have that little tree, which goes up when presents start accumulating. Last year we really didn't get to anything but the tree because we were going out of town for Christmas, and, well, it's not safe to leave them up with the cats home alone. Plus I was busy. Someday I want to have a place big enough to really decorate and get things up the day after Thanksgiving, which was always our tradition growing up.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Grandma Norma's Jell-o, which I talked about a bit in my Thanksgiving post; I WILL have that recipe!

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child: I have so many... I remember one year my mom dropped us off at my dad's for Christmas Day (we alternated who had us on the Eve and who had us on the Day) and my dad had cooked, for breakfast, scarlet runner beans that we had grown in our own garden that winter. They were so tasty and warm that chilly morning as we opened our stockings. I also just remember the traditions; when we were with my mom on the Day, we would go to my Aunt Linda and Uncle Brian's house for Christmas brunch. It was always the same menu and I still love to think of all those mornings. And I remember getting dressed up for church or Mass or sometimes also Midnight Mass (my mom was Presbyterian, what we were baptized, and my dad was a "cultural Catholic".) It was extra-special at Christmas. I sometimes miss Christmas morning church now that I'm LDS. I was thrilled when it fell on a Sunday last year.

8. How and when did you learn the truth about Santa? I believed in Santa, but I didn't believe in him, if that makes any sense. I had much older sisters, and Santa in our house was always kind of an... in-joke. We all knew that he wasn't really real, but the tradition and the spirit of it (like my sisters would always get up early and we would try to sneak things in my mom's stocking that she wasn't expecting so she could have a surprise, too) was really special, that was what we believed in. But everyone "knew". My dad used to sign some of the packages from "Sandy Claws", Santa's lobster helper, instead of Santa, for laughs. Actually, he still does. :)

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Not in the way I think the question means; growing up with divorced parents, we always had at least two Christmas celebrations with family, sometimes more, and so often one of them was Christmas Eve. But in my family, it was always: when the kids are up, open stockings together Christmas morning. Then when parent is up, open Santa presents and presents from each other (people living in the house.) All other presents are taken with or saved (depending on where it's to be held) to be opened at the big family celebration.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Right now, like I said, we don't. We have a fiber optic tree that makes pretty colors, no decorating really to do. But we do have a garland on which to hang our rapidly accumulating collection of ornaments-- gifts, crafts, buys at Cost Plus or craft fairs, rejects from parents' collections that we can't let them throw out...

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? Um, it needs to stay up on the mountain tops where it belongs. I don't mind going to visit it and playing a bit in it, but it should stay AWAY from my house, please! I Don't Do Snow. That's one of the reasons I love L.A.

12. Can you ice skate? Yes, actually I can! I'm always amazed because my ankles are prone to popping out of joint, but I can. I can't do fancy tricks or jumps, but I can go around the rink pretty well.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? My husband proposed to me. That was a pretty awesome gift. Okay, it was a little early, but he did it by the tree and had a present and all.

14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? The joy and caring and tradition of the season. It eases that something in me that I miss without having ever known it (which I have been told is saudades.) My saudades are apt to be worse at Christmas time, and yet more easily soothed; they are happier than they are the rest of the year. Sometimes when they're really bad I just have to listen to Christmas music, even in May or August. I think it comes from the wonder of the thought of Christ as a baby; as a mother, all those stories and songs have taken on new meaning for me.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Pumpkin pie, hands down. Home-made, not too much spice, vinegar pie crust. Well, that and egg nog ice cream!

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Trader Joe's chocolate Advent calendars, which my sister used to always buy for me and which I now buy for my daughter, and caroling, especially at the convalescent home.

17. What tops your tree? Well, right now, a fiber optic star. But I have a crocheted angel for when we get a real tree.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Giving wins by a tiny smidge.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? I have too many. I will list them all, though. Favorite non-religious carol: "Good King Wenceslas." Favorite hymns: "Adeste Fidelis/O Come All Ye Faithful" (yes, I actually understand and sometimes sing five verses in Latin), "Angels We Have Heard on High", "A Child is Born in Bethlehem." Favorite classical work appropriate for Christmas: "And the Glory of the Lord" from Handel's "Messiah", followed extremely closely by "For Unto Us a Child is Born" from the same. These are just my very very favorites, though; I have lots of really close runners-up!

That's it! I hope you are now more in the Christmas spirit. ;) I tag Rayann and Mean Mommy for this MeMe.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Thanksgiving went well, or as well as can be expected with small kids. ;) I actually got them dressed in their special outfits, and even put bows in their hair. They looked precious. (Emma's dress was one of my awesome SunThrift finds, Bridget's was a gift from my Uncle Bob, and the bows were two of several I got on eBay; I also got a headband that can be used with any clip-on hair bows for Bridey, and it's awesome, but I tried to go without it; unfortunately her hair is not quite thick enough to hold the weight yet, so I was picking it up and putting it back in all night. In the future I will use the headband.)

We went over to my mom's house, after picking up the ice, and I arrived in time to help some by getting all the drinks in buckets of ice, slicing the jellied cranberries and putting the whole-berry sauce in a bowl (those were my contributions, as well as some Martinelli's Sparkling Cider), and to help stir the potatoes (my mom actually used a recipe for mashed potatoes, which she had *shock* never made before, my Grandma Katie always brought them and when we had them at home, which was rare, she used instant; unfortunately the recipe was weird and they had to be cooked down so we didn't end up with potato soup) and the gravy while everyone else was otherwise occupied, and to help my cousin finish the green beans (my mom's kitchen is crowded at the best of times, and five women in there at once made getting the green beans out of the saucepan with no burns or other disasters a two-woman job.) My sisters were both unable to make it; one had planned to but came down sick, the other spent this year's Thanksgiving with her other side (I know my terminology is amusing here; that means her dad's family. She's my half-sister, technically.)

We finally sat down to eat and Emma was EXCITED! Also being her contrary two-year-old self, she at first declined to fold her hands for the prayer, but when my mom reminded her that we don't eat until we pray, she decided to comply. Little stinker! She told us in the car that she didn't want turkey, but she would eat chicken, so we warned everybody to refer to the turkey as "big chicken" to Emma. She ate a ton, at least as much as my mom. Her favorites were the turkey ("Want more that big chicken!"), the potatoes, the green beans (which had an orange glaze), the roll (with three servings of butter) and the Jell-o (she liked the orange with carrots and pineapple okay, but she loved my own personal Thanksgiving favorite, besides the cranberries, the Grandma Norma's Jell-o, so named for my cousins' deceased grandma whose recipe it was, which has sour cream, walnuts, apples, and whole-berry cranberry sauce in it. Once again I asked Grandma Katie for the recipe, once again she said okay, we'll see if I actually get it this year! This is my fourth attempt!)

Bridget kept me so busy feeding her, I hardly got to touch my food for a while. She ate an entire jar of Beech-Nut Turkey Rice Dinner baby food, then half of a jar of sweet potatoes. By the time she was 3/4 done with the first jar, though, my Aunt Linda, who was sitting on her other side, was done with her food, so I passed the spoon to her and got to eat some. Dessert followed when the table was cleared; in the mean time, the girls played on the floor. Then we had pie, which was also a hit with Emma (although Abba startled her putting whipped cream on, she was thrilled when she discovered what it was, she loves whipped cream.) She was the first one ready at the table for dessert! Then the girls played some more; then people started leaving. It was chilly once all the body heat departed, so we got the girls in their matching holiday sweaters (I got them on sale for $6.68 each at Target, score!) Then they rode Star the horsey with Grandma's help (actually, Emma did first and then Bridget, after playing some more, went to join her) and finally we went home, where Bridget cried because her tummy was so full, Jeff conked out almost immediately, and Emma slept earlier than is her custom because she was also very full. (I was hungry again a few hours later, but had to settle for leftovers from dinner a few nights previous because my mom invited us over for leftovers the next night instead of sending them home with us.)

More pictures to follow!

More Thanksgiving Pictures

I know you all only read my blog because my kids are adorable, so eat your hearts out. ;) :D

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Check out my Cooqy Widget!

No, it's nothing dirty. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Scroll down to the bottom of the blog and check out my cool new thingy that tells you what I'm selling on eBay! I tried to put it on the sidebar, but unfortunately if you make it small enough to fit a sidebar that size, the widget doesn't like you and won't display. So I put it down at the bottom, in all its glory.

Neato, huh?

And as promised, here are the answers to the little "game" I posted last time:

"dipah ouse eat"= "something else to eat" (As in "I want.")
"touwwied"= "carried" (Most commonly "I want to be." Sometimes "Abba touwwied bof Emma and Bwidget!")
"mlowk"="milk" (I guess that was the easy one!)
"puwsd"="first" (She likes to list the order of things, as in "Puwsd Misser Woguhs, den Seffy Dreet!")
"sosoaw"="dinosaur" (sometimes "isosoaw")
"tain-dwin"="penguin" (as in "Mommy look! I be a tain-dwin!" while waddling like a penguin.)

Saturday, November 18, 2006


My mom asked us if we wanted to come over this afternoon and do some laundry, save our quarters. So we took over a couple of loads. My brother ("Un-kow Mike!") was there helping my mom clean out some stuff, including the shed. Inside the shed, my mom found Star the Wonder Horse! Star is a plastic horse attached to a frame by springs, large enough for children to ride on. My mom got him at a garage sale for $25 back in the 70's, and he looks a little worse for the wear, but made 8 kids (my sisters, my cousins, two children of a friend of my mom's, and then my brother and me) happy for years. My brother helped get Star out and then helped my mom clean him off. KPC went and got two replacement springs (two of the four were missing) and then he and my mom wrested with some huge pliers to open the springs up enough to attach them. Finally, Star was ready! Emma was lifted on and bounced until dinner was ready, then bounced some more before dessert, then bounced again afterwards! She really, really loved it, and treated us to all kinds of horse noises and talk about the horse. I was amazed at what she knows about horse-riding! She wanted to hold the reins at first, not the handles, and gave the horse a gentle kick when she wanted to go faster! I honestly don't know where she learned this. (I did explain that this is a pretend horse and if she wants to go faster she can just rock or bounce faster.)

I made "whatever's around soup" for dinner while we were there, and my mom made biscuits to go with. My mom's kitchen wasn't very well-stocked because she just got back from her trip to Ireland with my sister (but the soup turned out yummy anyway. We got to bring the leftovers home for dinner tomorrow.) She brought Jeff an amusing candy bar that said, "It's not for girls" (we all got a laugh out of that) and I got to choose between earrings and one of several pillboxes. My mom and Jeff both made a guess as to which I would choose before I saw them; eventually I settled on a green pillbox with a harp on it, which is what Jeff had thought I would choose (my mom thought it would be a green pillbox with a claddaugh on it; green is my favorite color, and I have a little box addiction, and a thing for both claddaughs and harps. Eventually I settled on the one of which I liked the colors better. The earrings were also claddaughs.)

Here's a little game for everyone to play: see if you can decipher these "Emma-isms." Each has a definite word or words that it corresponds to, her pronunciation just cracks me up sometimes.

"dipah ouse eat"

Good luck, and have fun! I'll post the answers next time. :D

Thursday, November 16, 2006

There's no good title for this.

My husband was fired. Right before the holidays, right after we made The Big Decision (and knowing us, it will happen whether we actively try or try not to.)

I usually am able to be supportive at times like this. But right now...

I fell like I'm going to break.

Of course, I've been feeling that way for quite a while right now, with the stresses of this job. But I'm usually the one who tells my husband that it will work out for the best, that It Will Be Okay, after things like this happen. Today he had to do that for me. Which isn't fair since he already feels rotten.

I just can't be strong right now, as much as he needs me to. I'm praying for strength.

Emma knows something's wrong, she's been hugging us and kissing us and saying, "I love you!" in her cutest little angel voice. I'm trying really hard not to let my mood leak out into my interactions with her. I don't know how long I'll be able to (although having more help with the kids will probably prolong my ability.)

So tomorrow the job search begins again.

Please pray for us. I know a lot of you have what I think of as "real problems", like you've got degenerative diseases and family members dying and husbands overseas while you give birth to your child alone and then take care of him on the military base, along with your older kids, and your parents and in-laws can't make it to help you out-- those are classed in my head as "real problems." But me, I'm weak. I feel weak right now. Which, I suppose, can be a good thing, I tend toward pride and arrogance and I know I need a lot of humbling to be able to come to that broken heart and contrite spirit. But I'd appreciate your prayers anyway, so I can get through this with grace.

If I didn't have my friends, I honestly don't know what I would do. You all are my lifeline when things get rough. May I have permission to hang on tight?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Another truly awful tv post.

Oh, I'm so horrid lately.

I've been watching the promos for Medium, which I like pretty well, more for the characters than the plots (okay, I'm just a character-lover, I guess! In any case, I like the fact that her husband is annoyed when his life is interrupted and livid when his children are endangered by her "gift", as opposed to the insipid yes-man husband on Ghost Whisperer, and also Patricia Arquette looks a lot more like a Real Woman than Jennifer Love Hewitt. Plus she's a mommy, a real mommy, not a sitcom mommy, I can totally relate to that. Her relationship with her daughters is a huge part of the show and that's part of why I love it.) I can't be the only one out there who hates her hair. I mean, either ditch the bangs, grow them longer and style them, or keep the hair long! The mid-length straight bangs with medium-short hair is NOT a good look for her. Ick.

I know I am not the one to talk about bad hair. You may all scold me for a) caring so much in the first place, shallow, shallow, tv-watching me, and b) gossiping and being uncharitable. *hangs head*

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I'm so bad, but I just can't help it.

So last night I was watching CSI: Miami, (ABOUT TO POST SPOILERS) and whatever-her-name-is Boa Vista wants a DNA comparison between her and the latest victim (who she, correctly, thinks is her sister.) So she gives the tech her swab and STANDS THERE WAITING WHILE IT'S RUN! Hahahahaha! I just couldn't help laughing out loud at that one. Even the most rudimentary of mitochondrial DNA comparisons (that's the one that siblings share through the mother, right?) could never, ever be done WHILE SHE STOOD THERE WAITING! I laughed for about three minutes. I'm awful, but I just can't help it. It's like when I'm watching Numb3rs sometimes, and I'm no math expert, but the math makes me laugh sometimes. Why does CBS even bother hiring consultants if they are gonna ignore everything the consultants say? But I do like the characters. That's why I keep watching CBS shows; good characters and interesting stories, even if parts of them make me laugh. Hard.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Our Trip, Part II: Phoenix

So when we got to Phoenix, we were all ready to get out of the car! We got in and said hi to everyone; my Aunt Helen and Uncle Harry, and they already had my Grandma Ronnie over. She is not allowed to drive any more after her brain incident (she can't remember what it's called and right now neither can I) and so they had picked her up and she stayed the entire time we were there (she wanted maximum time with her only great-granddaughters!)

I fed Bridey some cereal and carrots, then we had a very nice turkey dinner together, except Ems, who was still cranky from the lip-biting incident and wouldn't come to the table, and kind of hung out. She played with Legos during dinner. There was much baby-holding. Emma played the piano a bit. We all chatted a lot. Then everyone else had to go to bed, not being on California time or a weird sleep schedule. Bridget fussed a bit and had to be fed three times before she went down to sleep. Emma wanted to eat at midnight, and Jeff and I wanted a snack, too. We ate leftovers made into sandwiches (mmm, turkey dinner sandwich!) and ice cream and watched The Empire Strikes Back. When Ems was wound down, Jeff brushed her teeth and his and got her into bed, and then I spent some quality time with the toilet (*wince*), washed up, and brushed my teeth and climbed into bed myself. Emma had fallen asleep between the wall and Abba, so I actually got to cuddle with him, which was nice.

The next morning we SLEPT IN! Yeah! When we got up Helen graciously made us french toast, mmm, and even got peanut butter for Jeff to put on it, ick. But he was happy. We hung out a lot, Emma played outside (wearing her blue Superman t-shirt and red pants and socks and her red t-shirt on her back for a cape.) She loved the tetherball. And the lacrosse stick. And the laundry basket and basketball that Aunt Helen got out for her to play with. She watched Curious George and then went outside to play again, even though it was getting hot. I made some more cereal and carrots and let Grandma Ronnie feed them to Bridey. We warned Emma four times that we were going to Target, but she wanted to stay and play. We enjoyed ourselves going to Target alone, and of course when we went back Ems had had a fit that we were gone. She had finally settled into a grumpy but placated state watching Lady and the Tramp and eating a lollipop. (Bribery works wonders with that child...) We packed up the car and had dinner (Stouffer's Lasagna, one of my favorites! With garlic bread and green salad, as I told my aunt, "Just like my mom used to make!" *grin* ) Uncle Harry got home from work in time to say goodbye. We all got in the car and started driving. A quick stop for gas and we were on our way.

Since we hadn't really had our typical "Family Home Afternoon" the afternoon before, we decided to have FHE in the car. We decided this kind of in the middle of it. ;) Jeff was kind of being testimony-bearing-ish talking about things that have made him see the power of prayer, the power of the priesthood, the truth of the Gospel. We turned back a few times in our discussion to include Emma (she loves to talk about Heavenly Father and Jesus. Especially Jesus.) We stopped for a snack at Del Taco, then continued our discussion. A while later we needed to go to the bathroom, so we stopped at a rest stop (Arizona has WONDERFUL rest stops. They are clean, well-lit, well-maintained, have stocked, tidy vending machines, places to sit, places to walk... They're just really nice, their only shortcoming being the lack of toilet cover seats. But no one can have it all, right? ;) ) Emma decided to sit on the metal bar in front of the vending machines and fell backwards, hitting her head twice, hard. :( Poor kid. She was soothed by picking out Cheetos, snack mix (of which she wanted only the pretzels, but they didn't have just pretzels) and, after I got some Sour Skittles for Jeff, M&Ms. (There was something funky with the machine; instead of giving us 1 bag, it gave us 3! I looked for a number to call to tell them, but couldn't find one. Oh, well.) We then got back in the car, Emma fell asleep, and the really interesting stuff began.

You see, we've been feeling we need to have another child, sooner than we had thought. It started with me, but after praying, Jeff felt it, too. This is despite me not really WANTING another child yet. I can barely handle the two I've got. We'd almost certainly have to move, probably get a different car... I was worried that it was just my secret wants that I didn't know were there coming out, because usually I KNOW when something is coming to me through the Spirit. But after prayer, we thought this was right. But I was starting to think of a date, of starting to try sometime in January (trying for us means not using BC, and letting whatever happens happen.) I already knew I need to get my IUD out, I'm STILL having pain from it, I just haven't been able to get in to the doctor. But I just haven't been sure. Jeff has been afraid to pray about that date, afraid of what answer he would get. I was reminded by someone on one of my forums that the righteous believers are allowed to ask for a sign. So I told Jeff this. He being the one who was the most unsure, I figured that if a sign came to him, it would be for real. So he prayed, and he said that he hated to bother Heavenly Father with this, but we were still unsure, and if it wasn't too much, could he please have a sign? Could he see something like a shooting star going across his field of vision (he was pretty specific in picturing it?)

So we started watching. At the moment he was looking at traffic, I saw five shooting stars go across the sky in rapid succession, right where he had shown me he had pictured them. He wasn't sure, so he watched some more. He thought he saw something out of the corner of his eye, but then was still unsure. So he prayed again. He said, "Heavenly Father, I'm really sorry. I'm just still unsure. Can I have something brighter, if that was the sign?" After the prayer was finished, there was silence as we scanned the sky. All of a sudden, he said, "What was that?" "What?" I asked. "That! Did you see that?" "That airplane that I have been watching for five minutes?" "You've been watching for five minutes? Did you see it just glow very brightly?" "No."

Apparently, the airplane that had been moving across our field of vision for quite a while had just glowed very brightly-- only for him. He felt a confirmation that this had been sent by Heavenly Father. This was what he had asked for. Heavenly Father changed his perception so that he would KNOW the sign when he saw it. And so we knew.

So in January or February, it looks like we will be abandoning all efforts at birth control.

I just don't know what I'm going to say to my family when I get pregnant. They all know I don't want another so soon, how am I supposed to explain that it was planned?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Our Trip, Part I: Flagstaff

So we started off at 3:40 in the morning, and drove to Flagstaff. We got in about 11 local time. Although check-in at the Holiday Inn Express, where we stayed, wasn't until 3, our room was ready so we got to check in early. It was a very nice room-- there was a king bed, a sofa bed which we later unfolded for Emma to use, and they had left the crib we requested outside the door. It was easy to set up, sturdy and safe, clean, and fit right between our bed and the wall, perfect! And since when we booked through the company's website we joined the Priority Club, besides expedited check in/out, they had left a special welcome sheet and two bottles of water and two bags of chips for us. Cool! Also, they've changed the bedding since last time I stayed at a Holiday Inn; they've switched from those itchy ugly bedspreads to duvet inserts in a high-count cotton cover that's white, same as the sheets. It's more attractive and ENDLESSLY more comfy, especially when you just lay on top of it, as we ended up doing (they had a very efficient heater.)

Once we got everything situated, we changed into swimwear and went down to the indoor/outdoor pool. Nice! It was Bridget's first time swimming (we used to take Emma a lot when we lived in a complex with a pool, but it has been a while and I'm unsure if she remembered ever going before, but she seemed to enjoy it) and after a little adjustment, she seemed to have fun. We swam for as long as the girls stayed warm, then Jeff took them up while I got some alone time. Swimming is one of the best things ever for my sore back and I hardly ever get to do it, so it was a real treat to be able to do it there. I spent some time in the whirlpool, too, before I went up.

We then went to lunch, to the mall, where Emma played on the equipment, which she loves, and I shopped (I found some discounted Superman shirts for Ems and some pants and some socks and tights for the girls, as well as some dress socks for Jeff. Everyone was having sales but Dillard's; unfortunately I had just missed theirs.)

Then we headed over to my almost-step-sister's and her husband's. I took my allergy medication in the car because they have a dog. They had also vacuumed and washed everything, which was very thoughtful of them and made my allergy medication much more effective. We had a wonderful time with them. Jeff took a nap on their couch, which they didn't mind, and Craig cooked. Emma loved the food. She REALLY loved the food. She's a fan of simple but elegant meals, and the barbecued chicken, baked potatoes, steamed carrots, and Cesar salad really hit the spot for her, apparently. She also liked the dog and cat (Bridey, having just had some bad experiences with barking dogs, took a while longer to get used to Pandora.) We had a great visit and a wonderful time. We love Jilly and Craig and it's always great to see them. Emma even opened up enough to sing all her songs for them at the end of our visit. And she loved feeding chicken to the dog.

We then went back to the hotel and to bed. Unfortunately I developed a killer headache. After I ironed the clothes for church the next day and the kids were bathed and down, I took a bath. Emma laid down with Jeff on the couch bed and went right out, which surprised us all, but was wonderful.

The next morning we went down to breakfast. (I'm nursing and Emma is a toddler, so we don't fast; Jeff prayerfully considered whether or not to fast on a day when we would be driving another two or so hours immediately after church, and decided against it. I agreed that this was a good choice, knowing his body chemistry and physiology.) Emma had a fit about getting up and dressed, and carried that over into breakfast. She cried because her banana broke, and when a lady at the next table gave us one her kids had taken but not eaten (we had taken the last banana), cried because it had a black spot. I cut it out and she cried because I cut her banana. So finally, I "fixed" the banana by gluing the piece back on with cream cheese (I was having a bagel and cream cheese.) She ate it and decided she liked it-- so she made me "fix" it "gain". I cut a piece from the other banana. After about three repetitions of this, I decided we would be there all day if it kept on. So I took her banana, split it in half (risking more tears), and spread cream cheese all down the middle, then put it back together, which she accepted once she tasted it. She also ate 1/2 of a huge cinnamon roll and two bowls of Fruit Loop-type cereal with milk. Ay.

We got everything in the car but then got lost and couldn't find the church building. We called Jill, who directed us to a different one, the stake center, which is under construction. Luckily they had a family ward that was also starting at 11; we made it in time to walk in and sit down with just a few minutes to spare. They had THREE baby blessings, and then the testimonies began. Now, not to criticize, but I was wondering if their bishop was new, because at least half of the testimonies were from kids. Including some two-year-olds. Did they not get the letter about that? It's periodically read in our ward, and having now witnessed the reason it was probably written, I can see the difference. Not that the kids weren't cute, or even that I'm denying that they have a testimony. But to hear the same exact things from five little boys in a row does reduce the spirit of the meeting just a bit. On the other hand, the reason this is allowed may be because everyone else seemed pretty reluctant to bear their testimonies. But other than that, it was a very nice ward, if HUGE. There were two or three women there who were grandmothers, I think. Everyone else was young couples with kids! I don't usually bear my testimony while visiting another ward, but I felt that someone might need to hear what I had to say so I did. It was actually cathartic to say things that have been going on in my life that I probably wouldn't be able to share in my own ward. I was very proud of Emma because she was having trouble in Sacrament meeting and asked Abba for a time out. (We don't use time-out as punishment, but as a cool-down period, so she feels free to ask for it when she needs it.) It was much better than having a meltdown in church.

Like I said, it was a very nice ward, but... I dunno, they didn't seem very, well, deep. Or involved in the discussions. Maybe it's all the exhausted parents with young kids. But Sunday School and RS were just not on the level I was used to. I did enjoy it, though, and it was nice to visit another ward and building and see how the organization of the Church works elsewhere. And did I say they were nice? They were very nice.

Their nursery is huge. They had three rooms and rotated groups through. I was happy to see that Emma went to a different nursery without any qualms whatsoever. She is growing up so much! Unfortunately they were a bit understaffed and the group Ems was in had some rowdy boys apparently; they were running around and knocked her into a table and she bit her lip. She was taken to Abba and when I got out that awaited me. She was okay once we got her Bert jacket (from Halloween, one of her favorite things to wear right now) on, gave her a Superman toy, and gave her a chocolate muffin, though. Jeff had mostly stopped the bleeding by the time I got out.

So then we drove down to Phoenix. Next up: Part II: Phoenix.

Home safe.

Very tired. Had fun. Off to bed now. Will post more soon.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

As Tigger Would Say, TTFN...

...we're about to leave on vacation, I'll see you all in three days! (ish.)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Well, NOW I feel productive.

I just spent 3.5 hours doing the equivalent of 13 loads of laundry at the laundromat (although 3 were in the triple-loaders, so really only 7 loads in practice.) Part of it with a baby on my back. And then I dried and folded it all.

I'm exhausted. As soon as the laundry is safely put away, I'm gonna spend some quality time with my heating pad. In bed.

The sad part is that that isn't all the laundry. Just what would fit in the car. There's more to do at some point. *groans*

Just How Exactly Did This Happen?

I just picked the baby up and noticed that she had caramel and chocolate on her little jammy leg.

Upon closer inspection, it's in the playpen, too. It appears to be of the Milky Way variety.

Emma was last seen with a big ol' Milky Way in her hand on Halloween night.

I just asked her why it was in the playpen. Her answer? "Emma Bridget SHARE!"


She thought it was so yummy she decided to share with the baby by throwing it in her playpen for her to eat.

Luckily Bridget didn't eat it.

Just mooshed it and made an incredible mess.

It's not coming off the playpen.

I have one last question on this subject:

WHERE EXACTLY WAS THEIR FATHER WHEN THIS WAS GOING ON? I ran to the bathroom and then went to lay down with a heating pad, I was sore after schlepping Bridey around, he was supposed to be dealing with them, and there's a CANDY BAR IN THE PLAYPEN.

Good heavens.

Does anyone know what gets caramel out of Pack and Play mattress? The chocolate is coming out but the caramel (and to a lesser extent, nougat) is not. And we're supposed to take this with us on our trip this weekend. GRRRRR!

Monday, October 30, 2006

SunThrift Finds

We went to SunThrift and then the park this evening. I like to pick things up there that I either use for my kids or sell on eBay. Sometimes there's nothing much, but sometimes I totally score. Today was one of those days-- I found a drop-dead gorgeous dress for Ems! I wish I knew where the camera was so I could post a picture. It is just the most precious dress I've ever bought. It's obviously hand-made, and it's the kind of thing people sell for $60 on eBay-- a navy blue dress, hand-smocked with little red birds sitting on green vines, a gathered waist and finished sash in the back, with red rick-rack trim on the cuffs and collar and buttons and thread perfectly color-matched to the fabric. It's impeccably finished and made, looks brand-new, and it cost me all of $2.99. $2.99! Score! It actually probably wouldn't fit her if she wasn't so skinny, but that's okay. She is, so it does. :) We tend to get a lot of wear out of dresses, since as long as I get longer dresses, not "knee-length", and they have short sleeves, they can wear them for about a size longer than their shirts (at which point they really do usually hit the knee.) I've decided that this will be her Thanksgiving dress this year, and she can probably wear it for about another month and a half before she outgrows it. The best part is that cute as it will be on her, it will look even better on our blue-eyed and fair-skinned Bridey when she grows into it (like me, navy blue is one of her best colors. Emma doesn't have any bad colors, everything looks good on her, but she doesn't look quite as special in navy blue as Bridget does.)

I also found a totally adorable little romper for Bridget, with The Very Hungry Caterpillar and some of the foods he ate on it. Carter's, looks like it was worn about once, and this was also $2.99. It's probably intended for boys, but I really don't care. And it's got a background of navy blue and royal blue stripes, so as I mentioned above, Bridey is going to look GORGEOUS in it.

I usually try to limit myself to things that are half off that day if I can (they have different tag colors and every day they choose two tag colors and make them 50% off, they have a big sign where they display what the colors are that day, it makes it like a treasure hunt, lots of fun!) However, when you find things this good, you buy them, whether they're on sale or not. The price is still totally more than reasonable, and they'll be gone if you wait on them. Part of the thrill of thrift-store shopping is deciding what is worth buying, what you'll buy if you come back and it's still there and is a better price, and what is not worth what they're asking for it. I totally excel at this, and it's a way for me to feed my shopping habit without putting us into more debt than we've already got (we're trying to pay it off, not dig the hole deeper!) So I'm glad we live within walking distance to SunThrift, which is just about the coolest thrift store EVER. (I do draw the line at buying clothes for me. I do not need more clothes. I got some nursing dresses this year, but other than new nylons once in a while, and those, that's it. Okay, and an "I PUT KETCHUP ON MY KETCHUP" t-shirt, but that was, like, made for me. And I got some new maternity clothes last winter but that was because I was outgrowing the ones I'd used my first pregnancy. I won't buy any more clothes for myself. Unless I really really really can't live without them. I won't! Really! ;) )

Saturday, October 28, 2006

PMS Blues

In the words of Dolly Parton:

"Most times I'm easy goin'
Some say I'm good as gold,
But when I'm PMS, I tell you,
I turn mean and cold.

It makes us hate our husbands,
Our lovers, and our boss,
Why, I can't even count the good friends
I've already lost
From the

PMS Blu-u-ues
PMS Blues, oh Lord.

I don't even like myself,
But it's somethin' I can't help,
Got those rantin', ravin', misbehavin'
PMS Blues."

If I've been cranky lately, there's a reason. Hormones affect me in a way that they don't most women. I do things that might be deemed clinically insane if anyone was brave enough to try and diagnose me. I get mean, to everyone, for any reason. I cry because someone got my order wrong at a restaurant. I mean, I yelled at my 6 month old to stop it the other day. I realized as soon as I did that that was really dumb; she doesn't know what she's doing, and she doesn't know what I'm saying. But I yelled, and in the moment, it seemed a reasonable response to her grabbing my glasses off my face. (Luckily she thought that was hilarious and laughed her little head off.) And when I'm pregnant, it's like 9 months of PMS. But worse. I've yelled at bishops, friends, ten-year-old children, for next to no reason. I've gotten so wild I throw things, break things, storm out of the house and don't tell anyone where I'm going, threaten to (and intend to) kill myself. My husband has learned to treat me with kid gloves when I'm hormonally volatile (and has such an inoffensive personality he dodges most bullets instinctively.) Even so, he gets yelled at for things like moving the blanket two inches or asking me if I need to eat or drink something. So if I've yelled at you or snapped at you or been otherwise rude in the last week, please know it's not me. This is not an excuse, it's the plain truth. I do my best to control myself, but I'm NOT myself. I'm really not. And I AM sorry afterwards if I remember what I did. So my apologies. Mr. Hyde has come to stay the week, and much as I want to turn him away, I just don't know how.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Such strange things I find myself doing.

It's that time of year. Halloween costume-making time, when I find myself doing all manner of strange tasks. Last year I was shopping for Christmas paper and decorations and papering a huge cardboard box. The year before, I was hunting out the perfect size of paper bag to make Emma Princess Elizabeth from The Paper Bag Princess.

This year, I'm coloring the logo on a jacket.

Yes, you read that right. I'm sitting, royal blue Sharpie in hand, at 2:30 in the morning, coloring the white "Reebok" logo off a jacket. Well, coloring it royal blue, anyway, so it doesn't show against the royal blue background of the rest of the jacket.

There is a reason, I assure you. You see, the Ketchup Princess has decided that we will all be Sesame Street characters for Halloween. She will be Bert, Her Royal Heinz-ness will be Ernie, Mama will be Oscar the Grouch (yes, that's me rolling my eyes you hear) and Abba will be Cookie Monster.

I keep myself on a pretty tight budget for these things; after all, it's only Halloween costumes. I don't care if they're perfect. That's why I only painted Bert's stripes on the front of the sweatshirt that will become the main part of the Bert costume, and intend to do the same with Ernie, and why I don't care that they're sloppy. (It's also why that Paper Bag Princess smelled like a sandwich; it was a recycled Jason's Deli bag I ended up using. Perfect size, and so delicious smelling. ;) ) So I got as much as possible at the local (totally awesome) thrift store, Sun Thrift. They have sales on certain tag colors every day, and I found my husband's jacket for his costume there on a day when it ended up being $2. It was the only royal blue jacket with a hood; alas! at the local high school I went to, where the school colors are blue and white (and the middle school, too, for that matter, not that that matters much when seeking things in sizes fit for adult men), "blue" usually translates to "navy blue", not "royal blue" when we're talking sweatshirts, so my options were pretty limited. In any case, I got it, but it had a big white Reebok logo on it. Cookie Monster obviously doesn't have a big white Reebok logo on his chest, so I had to do something about it.

Considering the trouble I had with paint, I was thrilled when I thought, as I was waiting for the paint on the sweatshirt to dry enough that I could hang it to dry the rest of the way, of using a Sharpie to color it instead. Of course I had to do this now, while the Princess is asleep, or I would never be able to take another Sharpie away when she wanted to color something with it (usually electronics or the walls or important documents) without hearing, "Mama draw pen Abba ja-jet!"

So the royal blue warm-up jacket now has a royal blue Reebok logo instead of a white one, and it actually looks pretty decent. Decent enough for a Halloween costume. And my head is a little fuzzy and dizzy and achy from the Sharpie fumes. Guess it's time to call it a night. The things we do for the sake of our two-year-olds' Halloween costume wishes.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What's Your Blog Worth?

Kind of a fun quiz! I followed this link from More Cowbell. Check it out! Mine's not worth much, but heck, I've only had it a few months!

My blog is worth $3,387.24.
How much is your blog worth?


I'm SO glad that is (pretty much) over!

We were all sick as dogs this weekend. Dogs who had been eating chocolate. Really, really sick. We were discussing how glad we are that we live in the era of modern medicine, or we could have died from dehydration. Luckily we have Immodium and anti-nausea medication (left over from my pregnancy-- but I got my doctor dad's okay before using it on my husband, I remembered about it too late to help me), which stopped the loss of fluids pretty quickly once we got them in. Luckily last time we were at Big Lots we had picked up some Gerber LiquiLytes Instant Mix Powder, which Emma liked much better than Pedialyte, and which, at 6 packets for $1, was much cheaper. (It also takes up less room in our cupboard.)

Now we both have a lot to do to catch up on what we missed this weekend (schoolwork and work-work for Jeff, Halloween costume work and laundry for me, and housework for both of us), although when I called my mom and we were both sick, she came over on Sunday to help take care of us and did dishes, and washed all the clothes (mostly Emma's) and sheets with vomit and diarrhea on them. I have my differences with my mom, but she's always been there when I really need her for stuff like this. In fact I think it's easier for her to be there this way than in others; it's kind of what she does (she's a nurse and also on the "service ministry team" at her church, and she's just always been like that.)

In any case, I'm grateful that she was, and that she convinced Jeff that he needed to be out yesterday instead of at work. He might have tried to go in otherwise.

We're (mostly) all better now, although we're weaning ourselves back onto normal food very slowly. Hooray for modern medicine, and mommies who are nurses and teach you how to take care of yourself when you're sick (and bring over medicine and stuff!)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Curses, Dire Exclamations, and Foul Language!

Today is the last day of our class at Descanso. I was really excited to get out; it always makes that last day before the weekend seem that much easier and faster to go to Descanso for half a day, and Emma has been loving it.

Instead, Emma woke as Jeff's alarm began to go off a little before 7, leaned forward, and vomited (thankfully on the fleece blanket and not the electric one!) I am feeling a little queasy myself.

So instead of getting out for a fun time that we were both looking forward to, I'm stuck inside with a sick toddler, possibly sick myself, and what do you bet the baby is fussy, too?

Bummed does not begin to describe it. I am cursing the universe this morning. It's Just Not Fair. Why does the universe seem to conspire to wreck my fun?

Oh, well. Soon she'll forget what she missed. And we can do the Spring class next year. *sigh* But I just am frustrated.

At least Jeff took the 6th of November off so we can take a little (sorely needed) mini-vacation. We're thinking Flagstaff, we love to visit there. (Too cold to live there, but nice to visit.)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

One of those things I'm never going to get over.

There are one or two in every lifetime; sometimes more. Things you see, pictures or video or things you witness, sometimes even things you just hear news of, that will stay with you forever, that you're never going to get over. A few may be good, but most are probably bad things. Awful things. For my parents' generation, some of these things are the Kennedy assassination, the King assassination, that picture of the naked girl running, screaming, down the street covered in flaming napalm.

Then there are the things I've seen in my young life, things I'm never going to forget. One of them, the fall of the Berlin wall, is good. I saw it on the news as a child and will never forget it. But most, again, not things I'd wish my children to see. Things like the massacre at Tiananmen Square. The Challenger exploding (I was only 3, but my mom was home on maternity leave so I didn't have to go to preschool, and she sat down to watch with me. I will never forget it.) I didn't have a tv when the latest shuttle accident occurred, but my husband was living in Dallas at the time and saw the flash in the sky. He won't forget it. The planes crashing into the Twin Towers, of course; even without a tv back then, there's no way I could avoid seeing the images and remembering. And then there's the one that got me thinking about this. Footage from Hurricane Katrina of a family on a roof passing their baby to rescue workers. There was no room in the boat for another adult. They were just bringing some clean water and some hope. But they took the baby, and the parents had to say goodbye, not knowing if they would ever see her again. The story was repeated over and over. Stories of children whose parents sent them with rescue workers to get them out, any way they could. Stories of parents who didn't have a car but sent their children with relatives or neighbors who were leaving. Who knows how many survived and how many didn't after doing that. But it's a image that just makes me weep typing and thinking about it.

It's an image that touches that "archetypal story" spot in all of us. In the history of mankind, how many parents have said, "Here, I know there's only room for one, save my baby?" But what really got me about that particular shot (the last time I saw it used was on an Emeril special, it's such powerful imagery that I don't think they're ever going to stop using that footage) was that this is America. Every part of me rages that this should never have happened, shouldn't have to happen here. I mean, it shouldn't happen anywhere, but we're the richest country in the world. That's what made me the most upset at the time. We had just moved from Dallas and I wished that I were still there, so I could be more a part of the relief effort. I felt so helpless, so angry for all those children who through unfortunate circumstance, ignorance of the real situation on the part of another, or bureaucratic inefficiency suffered, and for their parents who watched them, and would take any chance to save them, in America. And so every time I read a story where a parent gives a child away to save her, or watch that episode of The X-Files, or anything like that, for the rest of my life, probably, the tears are going to come to my eyes. I'm never going to get over it. The face of the characters in those books will always be the anguished face of that mother and father as they kissed their baby and leaned out to pass her into the boat. And I will go hold my babies tightly and kiss them, and thank God that we are safe and together.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Goodness gracious!

Bridget just ate 3/4 cup of rice cereal in one sitting! After nursing on one side! And then nursed on the other! (1/4 cup is listed as one serving.)

I'm shocked. Absolutely shocked. 0_0

That is all.

A Halloween MeMe

I've been tagged for a spooky "MeMe" (which I gather is a kinda-meme answering questions about myself) by No Cool Story at More Cowbell. So here goes:

1. What's the scariest movie you've ever seen?
Hmmm. I'm not into scary-scary movies. No blood-filled slasher films for me. But every once in a while there's a sci-fi or psychological "scary" film that I do see (I Netflix them, though, 'cause I just couldn't handle them in the theater, not that I ever get out for a real movie anyway.) There are two that always make me scream and hold my husband even though I've seen them multiple times and know exactly when the scary parts are: Signs, which makes me scream at three predictable points and the end of which, as a long-time asthmatic, horrifies me, and The Others, which is not scary to me, I think, in the way it's supposed to be, but the old medium lady's face freaks me out SO MUCH especially when she comes to the kids hiding in the closet, and the ending is soooo chilling to me. And, well, I'm always scared by things about mothers killing their children.

2. What was your favorite Halloween Costume from childhood, and adulthood?
Oh, that's hard. I'm going to count childhood as under 18, and adulthood as over 18 for this one. In that case, hands-down my favorite childhood costume is when I re-created a Rogue Squadron pilot outfit from Star Wars. I freeze-framed the movies and also scoured the books for details, right down to making and sewing on a name patch with Aurabesh lettering of the name of the pilot (from one of the books) I was going as, sewing on gold star buttons for the proper "rank insignia", and making a Rogue Squadron patch as described in the books. I worked for four months on that costume. As an adult, mmmm. I think that would be last year, when my husband and I went as a Christmas present and a Christmas tree.

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3. If you had an unlimited budget, what would your Fantasy Costume be for this Halloween?
Oh, goodness. I got so caught up in letting Ems choose what we're going to be and going from there, I haven't even though of it. Something quirky, of course. And I get more pleasure from making clever costumes than from spending a lot of money; in fact, spending the least money possible is part of the fun for me. So if I were going to have an unlimited budget, I think I'd do something like period Renaissance garb that I could wear to Faires and other places, not just once.

4. When was the last time you went Trick Or Treating?
Well, I took my daughter last year. ;) I know, I know. Actually went, not taking one of my kids, when I was 14. Technically I thought I was a little old, but I was taking my brother who was 11. The year after he was allowed to go alone, but that year I was okay with giving one last hurrah (and getting candy!)

5. What's your favorite Halloween Candy?
Favorite candy to be given, or favorite candy only available at Halloween? I've always been a fan of Three Musketeers, Almond Joy, 100 Grand, and the like, but I am also a fan of candy corn, which is only available this time of the year. Pure sugar, mmmm!

6. Tell us about a scary nightmare you had.
I have a lot of nightmares, and sometimes do some scary sleepwalking (trying to harm myself or others in my sleep, and the like), but I don't remember them, usually. The last nightmare I remember, I had when I was pregnant with Bridget. In my dream, Bridey was breech, and the doctor said, "So, we're going to schedule you for a c-section." I said, "Well, I'd prefer to try version first, I really don't want a c-section." My doctor (who was NOT like this in real life, holds the mother's wishes in highest esteem, is a fan of version and has even delivered breeches vaginally several times in the last five years, and sees c-sections as a last resort) said, "No, I won't allow that. When would you like your c-section?" It went on like that for a while, and then I went out to call my husband in to try to get him on my side (which is strange because my mom took me to all my appointments this pregnancy, but in my dream for some reason my husband was there) and my HUSBAND said, "Honey, aren't you being a little unreasonable? If the doctor says a c-section is best, you'd better schedule a c-section." (Again, my husband believes that I need to do whatever is right for me when it comes to childbirth and trusts me to make the right decisions for myself and my babies. He'd never say that.) So then I called my mom, who even though I have differences with her has ALWAYS been my advocate in situations like that, and is a registered nurse and also sees c-sections as a last resort, and SHE said, "Well, Anne, you know, breech births can be pretty risky, it's better for you to have a c-section if that's what the doctor says you need." And I was going out of my head because no one would listen to me when I was listing all the other things we could try BEFORE that last-resort c-section, and they were dismissing my wishes like they were not important or relevant. *sigh* It was a very scary dream, I woke up crying and angry and terrified.

7. What is your Supernatural Fear?
I don't really believe in most supernatural things... I guess if they were real, vampires would be the scariest because 1) they "infect" you when they bite you, turn you into one of them, which I find incredibly creepy, and 2) I do NOT want to live on this earth forever in this mortal body without ever passing on to the next life. *shudders*

8. What is your Creepy-Crawlie Fear?
You know, when I'm pregnant I get really easily grossed out and afraid of spiders, bugs, etc., but when I'm not, they're not that bad; the only ones that really bother me are bees (afraid of getting stung), maggots (eeew; 'nuff said) and scorpions (again, afraid of getting stung.)

9. Tell us about a time when you saw a ghost, or heard something go Bump in the night.
I don't feel it's appropriate to share my experience with spirits, I hold them as sacred and am not gonna talk about it here.

However, once when I was little, we had a raccoon in the attic and it seriously sounded like a big ol' man walking around up there and it was creepy as all get out.

10. Would you ever stay in a real Haunted House overnight?
Hmmmm. Assuming they existed, it depends what I was getting out of it and how dangerous the "hants" were.

11. Are you a traditionalist (just a face) Jack O'Lantern Carver, or do you get really creative with your pumpkins?
Pretty traditionalist. In fact, we have our own traditions; growing up my dad always had at least one "ghost" pumpkin, which was white and we carved a "ghost face" on, and a skinny tall one and a short round one that we made into Bert and Ernie.

12. How much do you decorate your home for Halloween?
Decorate? What's decorate? ;)

Some years we have a few Jack-o-Lanterns or decorated pumpkins outside. Somewhere we have a witch that's supposed to hang on the door that my mother-in-law gave us, but I don't know where it is and it's kinda cutesy for me.

13. What do you want on your Tombstone?
The works-- pepperoni, sausage, onions, bell peppers, all of it. ;)

Seriously, besides name, dates, etc., maybe a verse from Scripture:

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

Hopefully I will have that peace in my heart my whole life, so I think that would be appropriate for my tombstone. And it's from the Bible, not the Book of Mormon, so my non-member family won't feel alienated. ;)

So, that's it! I am going to tag happy mommy and Titus Todd for this MeMe, if they will deign to participate. ;)

Friday, October 13, 2006

New pics of the girls

While we were at my dad's and Sheri's last Sunday (being fed Lithuanian food, yum!), Sheri (who is just about the only one Ems will hold still for so her picture can be taken) caught Emma in a good mood and got some pictures of her and some of her and Bridey together.

So while I watched A Prairie Home Companion last night (more on that later, maybe) I got Jeff to figure out what Ems had done to the scanner and scan them so I could share here and e-mail to my in-laws.

Since they're scanned, they're obviously not the best picture quality ever. But I think they get the point across.

There were a few with Emma holding BOTH babies, hers and Bridget, but I don't see them. I don't know if they didn't get scanned or what. Oh, well. I guess maybe I'll have to come back and post more later. ;)

In any case, I think they're pretty adorable, so here they are for those of you who have been clamoring for more pictures since our camera went missing a few months ago.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

More and More Accomplishments Every Day

Today while Ems and Bridey and I were at my mom's house (we went over eeeearly in the morning to meet the plumber), Emma and I made brownies to share with Abba and Grandma when they came home (from a mix, but these are better than I can make from scratch, mmmm.) While I was measuring, I told her, "See this? It says one-slash-three. That means one third cup. We have one third cup of water, and we need one third cup of oil. If we have one third cup and one third cup, how much do we have all together?" Without any hesitation, she answered, "Two third cup." :D And while we were counting the strokes, she got all the way up to 18 before she dropped out, and she jumped back in for 28 and 38 (eight seems to be her favorite number.)

Later we were reading Jamberry, and I asked Emma, "How many elephants do you see?" She carefully counted, "One, two, three!" That's the first time she's actually made the connection that you count once for each object, and don't just count for the sake of counting. (Between that and the addition, I am having absolutely no guilty feelings about how much Sesame Street I let her watch.)

Another first today-- we played catch outside with a small, soft, stuffed ball, and she actually CAUGHT THE BALL! Not just once, but about a quarter of the times she tried. This is a brand new skill as well, and one we've been working on for a while.

It's just so cool to me. I mean, I've worked with kids before, and I've read a lot of child development, but somehow it's different when it's MY child hitting the milestones.

Bridget, too, is growing up fast. She tries to chew her mashed bananas when she very occasionally gets them, and when we were playing peekaboo behind her playpen yesterday, I noticed that she's got the hang of pattern recognition. I peeked over the top and then bent down to the bottom repeatedly, then did the bottom twice in a row and caught her looking up to find me at the top. This is also a Very Good Sign that she's developmentally on target. :)

So, to sum up, girls doing good, me very proud. ;)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Is there anything nastier...

...than getting all set to enjoy a nice cold glass of milk (in this case, chocolate) and then taking a big gulp of SPOILED milk?

My husband was trying to use up some milk that we had bought (cheaper if you buy two at once) but never used (Ems ate all the cereal and so Jeff didn't go through it like he usually does.) So he made the milk chocolatey but not too chocolatey, just the way I like it, and proudly brought it to me. I took a HUGE gulp-- and almost threw up. I ran to the bathroom, dumped it down the sink, and did some heaving (luckily or unluckily, nothing actually came up.) All the time, I was practically yelling (but not really, since Bridget was asleep), "Eeeew! Nasty! The milk is BAD!" (I know, I'm a drama queen as well as the ketchup queen.) I put some toothpaste directly on my tongue and scrubbed it in to kill the taste, and it almost worked. Ick. So I washed out everything that had touched the spoiled milk while the Princess and the Prince Consort went to the store for some good milk, because once I get worked up for chocolate milk (and Ems does too), it's just mean not to get it, and have your last taste of the night be spoiled milk. (Thank goodness our local Ralphs is open until 2 a.m.)

Okay, I know there are nastier things, but that ranks pretty high on my list. I have always just hated spoiled milk.

In other news, my almost-step-mother got some great pictures of Ems and Bridey on Sunday. As soon as I am woman enough to wrestle with the scanner and figure it out, I'll post them.

In still other news, my sweetie had two really complicated, long projects/papers due tonight, and got them both done before 10 (the deadline; his school runs on Central time, so since everything is due at midnight there he has effectively two less working hours to complete his work and get it in, which can be tough.) Writing is not his strong suit, but he has been persevering and slogging through, and I'm really proud of him for getting it done and even maintaining a respectable GPA throughout the whole thing. I know he works so hard, at school, home, and work, because he loves us and wants us to have a better life, and I really appreciate all he does for us (like taking the two-year-old to the store at 11:30 so I could have a few minutes' rest and some chocolate milk when he got back, or wading through confusing phone numbers and staying on hold for long periods of time so our daughter can have a doctor close to us and stop getting her shots at the city clinic.) I often feel like I don't deserve him. All I can say to all those girls up at Ricks who were cold to him (no pun intended-- but hee hee!) when they learned that he had not served a mission and would not be serving one in the near future (not by choice, and he served well and faithfully as a very young Ward Mission Leader, which I guess is now classified as a stake mission) is, "Thank you!" Thank you for being short-sighted enough to ignore all the qualities that make my Prince Consort a wonderful husband and father, and how cute he is to boot, so that I could snap him up and live happily ever after. Your loss is definitely our gain. :D

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Sometimes, since having my second daughter, I wonder about some things. Y'see, my eldest daughter has inherited a whoooole lot of my problems. She has my sleep problems, she has skin problems (eczema, extreme dry skin, still gets cradle cap-- if it lasts much longer it's just going to be seborrheic dermatitis, like mine, has a skin reaction to ZINC, which means we can't put diaper cream or some kinds of sunscreen on her, etc.), and she seems to have my sensory processing and integration issues as well (not bad enough to require OT, but bad enough to need accommodation now and then.) She has the IBS bowel patterns that I, too, have exhibited since I was an infant. These things were all, looking back, apparent from day 1.

My second daughter has none of these. None. El zippo. She has yet to react to anything on her skin, including all the weird stuff her big sister puts on her, despite being fairer in coloration than her sister (for the most part) and can use regular baby shampoo instead of her dad's dandruff shampoo. She poops on schedule. She plays happily with age-appropriate toys instead of going into a screaming fit of avoidance or exhibiting extreme caution like her sister did at this age, and seems to relish patterns and textures like a normal 5-month-old. Most of all, you put her down in her crib and she lays her head down, sticks her thumb in her mouth, and goes to sleep. Egad! How do she and her father do it?

Of course, I love both my kids to death, and I love them equally, if sometimes in different ways. But I do worry about the teenage years with the first because she is so much like me. Not to borrow trouble, of course, I don't obsess about it. But the thought comes up occasionally.

As I'm thinking about all these things, I begin to wonder. Are they all related somehow? What about my other problems, such as the joint and ligament stuff that also runs in my family in one form or another? Will she have them as she gets older? These things all run in my family, are we exhibiting some strange syndrome that will someday be named after us? If I have one child with these problems and one without, do each of my kids have a 50% chance of getting my problems, or is it somewhat less? Will they all go together in each child affected? (No, we're not done, we've both always known we are going to have a lot of kids-- at least 6 or 7, maybe more.) Or will they be a la carte? (I suppose that would put my syndrome worry to rest, no pun intended.)

I know I shouldn't worry and just deal with it as it comes. "Sufficient unto the day is the trouble thereof." But sometimes, these patterns scare me. I don't regret bringing children into this world; I survived my childhood, and my family situation was a lot worse than theirs is ever going to be (can we say 20-year custody battle? Parents screaming threats in public? Emotional manipulation?) But I just feel bad that my daughter has to go through these problems that I've had to go through, and some of which I'm still going through. *sigh*

Being a mommy is hard.