Sunday, December 29, 2013

In My First 40 Years

In my first 40 years, I have accomplished a lot and I have failed a lot, but I have learned lessons all along the way. 

I have been blessed with a family that loves me.  Growing up, when I needed a friend, I always had several that lived under my roof.  When things that would happen that would really hurt, they would be there.  My heart was broken more times than I care to count.  It would never make any sense at all.  It never made sense, no matter how much I would want it to.  Until one day, when I finally met my husband.  Then it made sense.  None of the other guys were meant to be my husband and the father to my children.  No matter how much I wanted them to be, it just wasn't supposed to be that way. 

I have been blessed to be with my husband for 12 years.  He loves me!  I have changed a lot in 12 years.  I have had long hair, short hair, medium length hair.  I have been thinner and fatter and in between.  My weight has always been one of my biggest struggles.  It just can't stay the same, but I guess I need to be thankful for that.  With my luck, it would pick one of my heavier weights and stick with that.

I have four wonderful children.  They all have different characteristics, which keeps life amazing!  In the end, they have the same values.  This is the important thing.  They all know and love God.  They all know that our Savior, Jesus Christ, lived and died for us and was risen on the third day.  Well, I am not sure if my toddler knows or not, but I do know my three older children do.  They know to treat others how they want to be treated. 

I know that it is a lot easier to gain weight than it is to lose weight.  I know that I need to find exercise I love or it just isn't going to happen.

Life is good and it is definitely worth all of the ups and downs.   There have been far many ups than downs.  I have been blessed to have many friends.  Many of my friends from childhood are still my friends today. 

This year has brought the knowledge that I suffer from celiac disease.  My life has changed tremendously in the last month.  Going from being a gluten eater to a non-gluten eater has not been easy, but I feel much better because of it.  I think I might have managed to lose 1 lb this year.  I lost more than 1 lb, but then I gained it all back so I lost a total of 1 lb.  At this rate, by the time I am 80, I will be my ideal weight.  Instead, I plan to reach my ideal weight, which is 40 lbs away, this year.  Why not lose 40 lbs at the age of 40?!  I know I can do it.  My biggest downfall was getting depressed after my sister moved out.  Food is a great comforter, I need to find a different one!

I am blessed to have the many good friends I have now.  Through many moves in the past 12 years, I have added many new friends while keeping previous friends (I am not sure they want to be called old friends!).  May Heavenly Father watch over all of you, my family and friends!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

When Life Makes You Nuts...

I don't think there is a saying for that like, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."

My last few weeks have been overwhelming to say the least.  I started a new job on Nov. 30.   I work at the remote encoding center for the USPS.  Lets just say, if you don't write like we learned to in 1st grade, but neater, your letter will likely come across one of our screens.  We have to make sure your mail is getting to where it is supposed to go.  My regular work week is 45-55 hours.  I miss my kids.  

My 5 year-old son turned 6 this week.  I can't believe that is has been six years since he came into our lives.  I remember that so clearly.  I remember Santa Claus coming to visit him in the hospital when he was just hours old.  I remember bringing him home from the hospital and giving him to my dad.  He was still in the carseat.  My parents' dog ran over and licked him from his chin to the top of his forehead.  They were best friends from that point on. 

I got my hair highlighted and lowlighted.  It isn't exactly what I wanted.  It doesn't match the picture I brought in, but I am okay with it.  I just have to make sure I straighten it or pull it back daily.  We had a family picture taken at church.  I think it turned out pretty well, when five out of the six of us are smiling, that is a good photo. 

I miss being home with my children.  I know the economy isn't improving.  I know it because I am working.  I used to be able to be a stay-at-home mom and we were okay.  We could pay our bills and save some money.  The money doesn't go quite as far anymore.  The food on the grocery store shelves are more expensive.  Prices of almost everything has gone up.  The price of gasoline is under $3 now, so that is nice!

The last time I went running was the day after Thanksgiving.  I didn't think that would be the last time, but now that it has gotten colder, I can't put my daughter in a jogger and push her.  I would worry she was getting too cold.  I miss running.  I don't really know when I can fit in exercise with my schedule as it is.  I canceled my weight watchers membership because it was pretty pointless to try to do that.  I have no time to track what I eat, and I don't have much time to eat what I shouldn't anyway. 

I have come to realize that I have celiac disease.  I remembered that when I had a biopsy for the pemphigoid gestationis that it came back saying that I had a high probability for celiac disease.  My stomach was always killing me.  I have cut gluten out of my diet and I feel much better.  I do miss glutenous foods (if that is a word).  Living on rice and corn based meals gets very boring, very fast.

Well with all that said, and knowing that I work tomorrow and Christmas, I  am very sure I won't blog again before that.  Merry Christmas to you all!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Do Words Ever Escape You?

When I look around my house, it is seldom ever clean to the point that I would like it to be.  I would love to have a clutter-free life.  I can't watch "Hoarders" because it literally gives me a panic attack.  There was a store in the town I grew up in called "Odds n Ends."  I entered that store once.  I could barely catch my breath.  It was a mess and nothing made sense.  Things did not have a place they were supposed to be in, it appeared.  I never went in the store again, I couldn't handle it.

But, with that being said, sometimes I feel so overwhelmed with gratitude.  I am so blessed to have my four children.  They light up my life.  They are generally the cause of the clutter or disorderliness of my house, but I will absolutely take them over a clean house any day of the week.

I was told a couple years before I was married that I would never have children with help from a fertility specialist.  That was probably one of the worst days of my life.  I remember leaving the doctor's office and just crying.  I wasn't even sure that I wanted to go home ever again.  I couldn't imagine never being a mommy.  I am so thankful that our Heavenly Father knows a lot more than the doctor.  I am thankful that he blessed me with them. 

I have been blessed with wonderful parents.  I am so thankful that they managed to find each other, get married, and have six children.  My parents have sacrificed so much for us.  They would do whatever they could to make sure we would have those things that we needed.  We didn't always get things we wanted, but we always had the things we needed.  They showed us how to love others and each other.  They taught us the things that we needed to know.  They raised us to be best friends.  I was raised with my best friends. 

I am thankful that they love our Heavenly Father.  I am thankful that they taught us about our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ.  I am sure it was not easy to get six children up and ready for church, since I know how it is to get four children up and ready to go to church.  You know, words escape me because to say I am thankful doesn't seem to express the way I actually feel.  I don't know that there are words that can do that. 

I love to hear the sounds of my children laughing together.  I love to see them playing with each other.  I love having time as a family to spend together.  During this time of Thanksgiving, I think it is important to ponder what matters most in life.  To me, that is my family, including my husband and children, my parents, siblings, their spouses and children, and the rest of my extended family.  It also includes my friends, both old and new.  I am especially thankful to Heavenly Father and Jesus, for allowing me to have all of these people in my life.  There is not a day that goes by that I do not know that I am loved.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Snickers Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Graham Cracker Crust

Today I made this recipe.  It was absolutely to die for.  I found it at this website, following this link...   The only variations I made was the following:

  • I used a graham cracker crust instead of Oreos.  The crust was 2 c. graham cracker crumbs and 1/2 c. salted butter.
  • I made the cheesecake in a 10 inch springform pan instead of a 9 inch.
  • I let the cheesecake cool at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours, then I put it in the freezer for 1 hour to hurry the cooling process.  
  • I drizzled it with Hershey's caramel syrup instead of making a homemade caramel sauce. 
One thing to remember, you will need a roasting pan.  After I made the crust, and poured the filling in, I realized that I needed to fill a roasting pan with hot water, so it would cover halfway up the outside of the springform pan.  

The worst thing about this recipe, you don't want to share it, but if you don't you will likely regret it!  I gave all of it away, except for 1/4 of it.  I ate 1/4 of the 1/4 that I had left, then had my husband put it outside in the refrigerator in the garage. 

Here is a picture of my daughter holding the final product.  I guess I should have gotten a close up :)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sitting Here Thinking About Different Things

I can't believe how fast each year passes by.  Last year, I was gearing up for family to come here and stay for Thanksgiving.  This year, Thanksgiving is going to be so many fewer people.  Last year, I had 16 people, not counting the six of us, staying here for several days around Thanksgiving.  On Thanksgiving day, there were 25 of us, that is counting the six of us.  I felt so blessed to be surrounded by people that I love.  Almost all of these family members were here, and then there have been a couple additions added since then :)  The ones in the photo that weren't here were truly missed!

This year, it looks like there might be a total of eight of us hear for Thanksgiving.  I have a 20 pound turkey, so I am expecting there are going to be a lot of leftovers for sandwiches.  I am still hoping that some family members might surprise me and be able to be here, but we will see.

I can't believe that I have a 2, 5, 9 and 10 year-old.  If you had told me 11 1/2 years ago that I would have four children running around the house, I don't know if I would have believed it.  I have been so blessed to be able to be at home and see them grow.   They are good little kiddos.  I love every minute of being their mom.  Watching them grow from infants, to toddlers, to school age children has been a blast.  I love seeing their personalities get stronger.  I think, for the most part, you can tell what your child's personality will be from infancy.  It just gets stronger and better defined.

Last night was Parent-Teacher Conference at the school.  I have three children in the school, so I was there for about 1 1/2 hours.  It was wonderful to hear the good things about my children.  I am proud of them for being willing to help other children.  It is nice to know the things that I have to work on with my kindergartener.  We work with him but it is good to know what we should be concentrating on.

On Veteran's Day, my brother posted how glad he was that my father had been a Marine.  I have always been thankful for the service he provided for our country. When I read his post, I realized how GLAD I was that he had been a Marine.  If he hadn't been a Marine, my parents would have likely never met. 

My mom was from a small town in California called Bridgeport.  My dad was from a small town in New York called West Valley.  My dad was transferred to Mountain Warfare Training Center when he was a Marine, which is in the mountains near Bridgeport.  He was getting an ice cream cone one day and looked in the bakery window next door.  My mom was working in my Grandpa's bakery and Dad saw her.  He went in, they met, and had their first date a few days later.  Yes, I am GLAD that my Dad was a Marine.

I will be starting a job at the very end of this month.  My heart breaks thinking about leaving my children for several hours, but I am so thankful that it is a job that I will be working when my husband is home from work.  We will not have to get a babysitter, except for during my two weeks of training, and that will only be for a few hours a day.

I am thankful that many years ago, my senior year of high school, I thought I should take a keyboarding class.  The reason behind the keyboarding class was so when I was in college I would be "okay" at typing papers.  I wanted to learn how to type without needing to chicken peck the keys and take forever.  That decision has led to most of the jobs in my life.

When I was in college, I was blessed to work as a data entry operator for Vector Marketing in Olean.  There was a lot of use of the ten-key number pad to the right of the computer keyboard.  I didn't even have the foggiest idea how to use that.  I would always be using the numbers across the top of the keyboard.  One day, one of my supervisors there saw how I was typing the numbers.  He told me that I should start using the number pad.  Since I like to listen to what my supervisors tell me, I tried.  It came quite naturally to me.

Because of my ability to use the number pad, I have had several other jobs.  I am good at data entry, and I enjoy it.  I don't like talking on the phone, so straight data entry is good, and that is what I will be doing.  I have worked for the IRS and my next position will be for the United States Postal Service.  My 9 year-old was excited, she thought we could get free stamps.  It is funny how a lot of jobs will give you a discount or something free if they are known for selling things.  The IRS didn't do that for me and neither will the USPS.

I believe our Heavenly Father has a hand in all things.  I don't really think that it was just me that wanted to take a keyboarding class.  Who really wants to add another class to their schedule anyway?  I know that my parents wouldn't have met without our Heavenly Father having a hand in where they were that day.  I know that our Heavenly Father has blessed me with each of my children.  I am so thankful for the love I feel everyday from a kind, loving Heavenly Father.  I hope that I can always realize His hand in all things.  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Why, Oh Why, Must the White Stuff Come from the Sky?

That is how I felt this morning when I woke up!  Yesterday was so a beautiful day.  I went for a run in the morning and went for a walk with my husband and kids in the evening.  It was the best fall day I could think of. 

I am never a fan of the white stuff.  I have always lovingly referred to it as the "white crap."  Yes, that isn't a kind nickname or even a name that makes it shorter, but it describes things as I see it.  By the time church was over, the white stuff was gone for the most part.  I am thankful for that! 

I am hoping to not wake up to more of the white stuff tomorrow.  I wouldn't mind not waking up to the white stuff again for several years.  If the weather would stay at a temperature from between 68 and 72 degrees all year, things would be great :)  I live in Utah, not in Hawaii, so I guess that is very unlikely.  One can dream though :)

Today I got to go to all my church meetings.  It was a good day as far as that goes.  I enjoyed being there for all three meetings.  My toddler stayed in nursery until 10 minutes before church got over.  By that point, she was having a serious meltdown, so one of the leaders came to get me. 

My five year-old read a scripture in sharing time today, my older son helped him since he can't read.  It was sweet to see.  They did a great job!  In a couple of weeks they will be having their primary presentation.  I always look forward to that!

Right now my puppy is acting like she drank a full can of Jolt soda.  She is running around like a crazy girl.  She got her third set of shots yesterday, so it was a hard day for her.  She is always in a huge amount of pain when she gets her shots.  It is good to see her running around and playing again. 

In other news, I joined Weight Watchers a month ago.  I lost about four pounds in that month.  I would love to lose 30 more, at least.  I think I would feel much better about myself, both physically and mentally.  I wish that it was as easy to lose weight as it is to gain it.  I think I am going to plan to start running at least two miles a day, except for Sundays.  I don't think that is too far, so I should be able to run daily. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Halloween Time Again

My children love this time of October.  There are Halloween parties, trunk-or-treats, and then, of course, trick-or-treating.  I always loved Halloween.  I don't remember how old I was when I gave up Halloween, but I am sure I was a teen.  Who doesn't love free candy?!

I brought my children to a trunk-or-treat yesterday.  They got to wear their costumes.  My two sons are Mario and Luigi, my older daughter is a princess, and my toddler is a ladybug.  My toddler loved her costume so much that she wouldn't let me take it off.  I finally got it off today after she spilled water all over it and I convinced her that I had to wash it.
Halloween Costumes 2013

I don't generally dress up anymore.  I am contemplating being a marathon runner this year.  I have some marathon attire.  I just figure I will go for a run beforehand to get sweaty, throw on my marathon attire, and there I have it.  Maybe I will even get a free Krispy Kreme donut and Sweet Tooth Fairy Cupcake out of it :)  Who knows?!?

We are handing out bubble gum this year for Halloween.  I think it is much better for me to have gum in the house than to have a bunch of chocolate candy bars!  

After Halloween, I will be boiling and pureeing a lot of pumpkin to freeze and use later.  Then we will roast the seeds because those are a delicious treat. I love pumpkin, but I need to figure out other things to do with it besides cookies and pie, although both are delicious!

Monday, October 21, 2013

"His Hair Popped Out"

A couple of nights ago, I was acting like I didn't know who anyone else was, when I was talking to my five year-old son.  After he explained to me who he was, he went on to explain to me who my husband is.  He told me that Keith is my guy.  I asked him what Keith looks like.  He said that he is bald. 

I said, "Are you kidding?  I married a bald person?" 

He said, "He wasn't bald when you married him.  He had hair when you dated him and when you married him.  Then he went on a mission and all his hair popped out."

We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  My husband went on a mission when he was 19.  His hair started falling out while he was on his mission.  We were not married, I didn't even know him yet.  I met him when he was 26 and I was 27.  He was bald then.  I found it amusing what my five year-old's idea was about when we got married. 

I also found it very amusing how he explained "his hair popped out."  I imagine that he might think that when someone goes bald, they go to sleep with a full head of hair and wake up with none.  That would be quite traumatizing!

I wish I could remember other funny things the children have said.  I need to start writing them down!  

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Season is Over

Tonight my son played his last flag football game of the season.  The season went quickly.  His team won two games.  One was due to forfeit.  I couldn't watch a few of games, which made me sad.  For some of the season, we had a vehicle that would only seat 5 people, and being in a family of 6, someone has to stay home.  I stayed home with my toddler.  Then she got sick, so I stayed home with her again. 

My son came home from one of his games with his eyes beaming.  He sacked the quarterback on fourth down and goal.  I was so proud of him; I had wished I could have been there.  I was there tonight.  It was their playoff game.  No one gave them any hope.  I went with my son, just him and I.  I was quite sure that there would only be one game.  My husband stayed home with our toddler and three other children.  It was chilly and there was a drizzling rain.  We didn't want the children to get a cold.

I told my husband that we would be home after the game, unless they won.  They did win.  My son got the flag a few times and caught a pass.  The pass didn't count because there was a penalty, but he still caught it.  It was the first time I had seen him get a ball thrown to him.  He also got a kickoff and ran for a few yards.  I was so proud of the team!

Since the team won the first game tonight, they got to play a second game an hour later.  I offered to get the snacks for after that game.  I got them some M&M cookies and Caprisun.  The second game did not go as well.  My son had some good plays.  The whole team did well.  Sometimes you just can't win. 

I am thankful that he had the opportunity to play with this team.  His coach was wonderful.  It was my son's first season of flag football.  He learned a lot.  I think it is important for children to learn how to play on a team.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Two Years Ago on October 5

My toddler joined our family two years ago this past Saturday.  Life has been busy and I haven't blogged.  Partly because my laptop was in the shop and it is hard to carve out time on a computer you are sharing with several other people to sit down and do a blog.

On her second birthday, she was sick.  I still look forward to her being healthy for a prolonged amount of time.  We canceled her party and hope that she feels better this Saturday for her party. 

My little girl is starting to talk more.  Our puppy is her favorite thing in the world, even though you wouldn't know it by how she treats her sometimes.  When the puppy is in her kennel, she says to me "Puppy out."  She hates when the puppy gets put in there.  When the puppy goes outside, she wants to go outside too.

She is very assertive.  She will say, "Let go." "Stop it!"  "No!"

She loves to brush her teeth.  She would always have a toothbrush in her mouth, if I would allow it.  She does not like to have her hair brushed though.  She has learned the word, "Ouch!"

Her favorite shows are Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Spongebob Squarepants.

She got a new pair of sneakers for her birthday.  I think this is her favorite gift. She brings them to me several times a day to put them on for her.  She will take them off, just so I will put them back on again. 

She hates nursery at church.  You would think we were sending her to a torture chamber instead of into a room full of toys.  Due to this fact, I just go to my first meeting at church.  I come home after that.  I can't bear to hear her crying.  I bring her with me.

She enjoys going on walks and runs.  I think she appreciates them more if she is in a stroller or a baby carrier.  She will go and get the milk out of the refrigerator to let me know she wants some.  She loves chocolate. 

If something has a weird texture, she refuses to eat it.  She doesn't like oatmeal or applesauce, if it is chunky.  She loves peanut butter sandwiches and I have caught her after grabbing a stick of butter from the fridge, taking a big bite out of it.

She loves the Geico commercial with the owls, she will say "Who?" "Who?"  She loves the Progressive commercial with the box...she yells "Cannon box!"  She will laugh and laugh.

I love the laughter of my children.  Each and every one of them.  When they laugh, I laugh.  My husband doesn't get it sometimes, but that is okay.

I look forward to many more birthdays! 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Flag Football

My ten year-old son decided he wanted to play flag football this year.  My 9 year-old daughter wanted to play as well, except when my husband went to sign them up, he was told it was only for boys.  We will just say that the person that was saying that was wrong.  My son has two girls on his team.  Oh well, my daughter is in a theater class instead.  I am sure she will enjoy that much more than running up and down trying to get a flag off someone's waist.

Before his first game 

He had his first game on September 11, 2013.  He was a bit confused about everything since he had never played before and they had only had one practice previously.  They let him be the center for a few plays.  Then he played on special teams for a kickoff.  He also played as defensive end at times. 

During his first game
Last night he had his second game.  It was the third game for his team.  He was running a fever on Monday and couldn't make it to the game.  Well, he could have and wanted to, but I didn't allow him to go to his game, since his fever had been as high as 101 degrees less than 12 hours before.  I wasn't able to go to the game, because my van has decided not to run and all six of us don't fit in the car, unless I wedge myself on the floor between the front and back seats.  It is an Aveo Hatchback.  It isn't very comfortable!  If you know what those are, you would know that even a small person wouldn't be very comfortable on the floor!  
Play action during the first game

 He seems to be catching on very quickly to the whole flag football game.  Last night, he had the ball kicked to him on the kickoff.  He gained a few yards before his tag was pulled off of him.  He also got the flag from the other team.  I was very proud of him.  I just wish I could have been there.  Our minivan is going to be getting fixed soon, thankfully!  I don't know that I want to miss many more games, seeing that the season is so short.   His season started on September 11 and playoffs start after October 7. 
Last photo from his first game

I have always loved sports.  When I was a youngster, my dad coached my brother's football team.  I would go out and practice with them.  I am so excited that my son is starting to play!  Maybe he will want to start watching football games or other sports with me, we shall see!?!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

5K for a Good Cause

My children and husband trained for a 5K while I was at the tail end of my training for a half marathon.  The Monday following my half marathon, one of our friends told us about a 5K for a good cause.  A young boy from our area has bone cancer.  This run was to help raise money for his medical treatment.  This was the perfect race!

We showed up on Friday night, September 6, to run a 5K.  It ended up being 3.4 miles, but hey, that is all right.  It was an overcast evening.  It was pretty windy, knocked down a lot of their signs for the event.  The child's favorite colors are yellow, lime green and turquoise blue.  They asked us to wear those colors if possible.  We all had something that color, except for my husband.

We enjoyed the race.  My two daughters and I went together and my husband and two sons went together.  My daughter and I ran and walked the race, as I pushed my toddler in the jogger.  She enjoys the time in her jogger.   It was wonderful to get to do this with my family, even if we didn't finish together.  I was so proud of all of my children for putting in the time to train for the 5K and to follow through.

There was a nice turnout at the event.  I always hope that there will be good turnout for a benefit.  We saw one of our friends from our previous Ward we went to before we moved.  My daughter was baptized the same day as hers.  It was nice to see her again.  We plan to continue training to run another 5K when it is available.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


I enjoy doing family history work.  I hadn't done it in several years.  When my mother came for a visit last May, she reintroduced me to the joys of family history work (genealogy). 

Tonight, my daughter asked me if we have any ancestors that came from other countries.  I laughed a little, and said yes.  I guess that as a child, it is a common assumption that everyone was just here.  It is a different concept to think that you have ancestors that traveled here in boats or on planes. 

She asked me on whose side of the family the people from another country came from, and who it was.  I told her that both sides of the family had people that came from other countries.  The most recent was a great-grandfather on my husband's side.  He came from either Hungary or Czechoslovakia.  On my side, it would be great-great grandfather that came over from Ireland. 

I think it is interesting to children to know where their ancestors came from.  My daughter really enjoyed doing family history work when my mom was here.  I need to take the time in my day to start doing it again, and allowing her to do it.  It gets quite addicting.  The best part of family history work is learning about the people. 

I have ancestors that came over on the Mayflower.  One of those ancestors was said to have been the first to face capital punishment in our country.  He shot a fellow that was stealing on his land.  He paid for the fellow to be treated, but the person didn't take care of the wound.  He got gangrene or another infection and died.  This is the story I have heard in the past.  There are other stories out there about how the murder took place.

We have been up to Plymouth, Massachusetts, and visited the Plymouth Plantation.  It is an amazing place to visit.  The plantation is set back in the days of when the Mayflower landed.  The people on the plantation act as if they are the person that came over on the Mayflower.  It is a wonderful place to visit.   It is an education for sure! 

There is a lot of family history work to be done on my mother-in-law's side of the family.  There is not much of a history, on her father's side, passed her great-grandfather.  I am hoping that at some point, we are able to get a good lead on where to look next!  Until then, I am going to stick to my side of the family and look for leads on that side every so often.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

One Thing I Always Said I Would NEVER Do As A Mother...

I have been a mother for almost 10 1/2 years now.  It is hard for me to believe sometimes.  I have learned a lot since I became a mother, but I started planning for motherhood long before that day ever came.

I vowed that I would never be the parent that would say, "My child would NEVER do that."  Lets face it, we were all kids once.  Did you NEVER do "that?"  I can honestly say that I was not the perfect child.  I know, I know, anyone that knows me would find that hard to believe, but it is true.  How could I say "My child would NEVER do that..." when it is very likely that I, or someone I knew as a child, did "that?"

If you tell me that one of my children did "that," my child will be confronted with the information I have been given.  My child will be questioned on the issue and I will respond to you.  I will let you know what my child has said, and if necessary, my child will apologize and the appropriate punishment will be given.  If my child tells me that he/she did not do "that," then there seems to be a problem.  This is when I will want to have a meeting with the person/people that said my child did "that."

In this current age of social media, there is one thing I will not do.  I will not discuss issues that should not be discussed via instant messages, tweets, e-mail or Facebook messages.  No matter how well you read, you can't read the tone of a word on a page.  I have seen, way too often, where a huge misunderstanding has started because the "tone" of the written word was misread.

I would like to think that I am raising the perfect children.  I am going to be honest, I live with them, I see what they do, I know they are not perfect.  I will be the first person to admit it.  They are not perfect, perhaps because they do not have perfect parents.

I have always taught my children that if someone hits them, they have the right to hit back.  It is called self-defense.  They also know that if they do the hitting first, they will get in trouble.  I am not going to raise a bully, if I can help it, but neither am I going to raise a child that will be bullied, if I can help it.

I would always watch out for my younger siblings.  If someone was hurting them, that person would usually end up hurt, if the person was close to my age.  For instance, one time I was walking home from school and a girl was attempting to drown my sister in a snow bank.  The girl that was hurting my sister learned a lesson that day, a painful lesson, but a lesson nonetheless.  You do not try to drown my sister in a snow bank!

There was a boy that got new boxing gloves for his birthday.  He thought it would be fun(ny) to try those out on my brother who is 4 years younger than me.  The boxing glove boy was 1 year younger than me.  He was giving my brother a good beating.  I came out and saw it and told him to knock it off.  The boy, thinking he was all tough, thought it would be wise to stop beating on my little brother only to "box" with me.  Boxing gloves were put on, and the boy learned a lesson that day, a painful lesson, but a lesson nonetheless.  You don't beat on children that are a lot younger than you!

I'm not saying those are the only fights I was ever in, I was in more, but those are the ones that come to mind.  Neither am I saying that if you say my child did something, you are going to get it.  I do want to know if my child is accused of doing something, whether it happened or not, so it can be taken care of.  Just know, that as a mother, you will never hear me say, "My child would NEVER do that!"

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sometimes You Just Have to Let It Go

Last night, as I was getting ready to go to sleep, my husband and I started a conversation.  I don't know really how it went, since I was really tired, but I do know that in the end, it was said "Sometimes you just have to let go." 

We were talking about water-skiing by that point.  When I was 17, that was my first and only attempt at water-skiing.  I was up at Bear Lake visiting some family friends.  Perhaps it is believed that it would be common sense that once you get pulled over, you just let go of the tow rope.  To me, it didn't become common sense for a little while.  It actually didn't become common sense until I realized that if I didn't let go, I was probably going to drown.

My husband admitted that he had done the same thing.  I wonder how many other people have not realized to let go of the rope until they had to decide between drowning and getting left behind.  I thought that being left behind would be the better option.  I wasn't sure if they would notice I wasn't still back there on the rope or not.

The choice to let go is not always easy.  It is not a good idea to drown in a bad choice but it is sometimes not easy, or just not fun, to let it go.  I can honestly say that I have had those moments when I had to choose between drowning in a bad choice and just letting go.  In the end, although it was not always easy, I would choose to let it go. 

It is wonderful to know that we have the opportunity to correct mistakes that we have made.  I am grateful for a Savior who died for us, each one of us, so that we could return to our Heavenly Father.  Through Him, repentance is made possible.  We just need to make that decision to let it go.  Don't hold on to the past.  Allow yourself to forgive yourself and others.  It is healing to be able to let things go and to move on.  Don't drown when all you have to do is let go and get your head back above the water.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Potty Training Blues

My one year-old, soon-to-be two, has decided that she doesn't like diapers anymore.  We took this as our first clue to buy a toddler potty.  She will quickly peel off any diaper we put on within seconds.  I decided that, perhaps, I should buy some Pull-Ups and see how she likes those.  I bought the Pull-Ups, they have Minnie Mouse, Sullivan from Monsters U/Inc, and Ariel on them.  She will only leave on the Minnie Mouse Pull-Ups.  She loves the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show. 

We bought her the DVD "I Gotta Go!"  It is the the same DVD we used to teach my older three children to use the potty.  She loves the DVD.  She will run and get her potty and then come and get the remote to let me know that she wants to watch the show.  She has not yet connected the fact that she is supposed to actually sit on the potty when she goes.  She will stand next to it or no where near it.  She will sit on it endlessly until she needs to go though.

She also lets me know when she has had an accident.  I think she enjoys watching me clean them up.  I go and get the spray and some paper towels.  Many people have said they have potty trained their child by letting them run around naked.  I don't know how it works for other people.  It just doesn't seem to be working out too well for me, but she really doesn't want to leave clothes on.  She is at the age where she can take off her clothes.  I can't put the diaper on and then pants and then expect that she won't be able to take them off, because she can.

I have bought her some Hershey's Kisses for treats for sitting on the potty.  I am hoping this will do the trick.  I joked with my husband that if we are ever going to get a puppy we should do it now and I can take care of getting the dog house-trained and the toddler potty trained at the same time.

Monday, August 26, 2013

First Day of School for My Two Oldest Children

My children were really excited last night as they fell to sleep, because they were going to be starting fourth grade and fifth grade today.  It is hard for me to believe that they could possibly be old enough to be in fourth and fifth grade now.  I can still remember dropping them off for their first days of preschool.  Where has the time gone?!

They had their baths last night.  I braided my daughter's hair so it would be curly this morning.  She likes it that way.  They picked out their clothes last night.  It makes life so much easier on me!  They brought me their clothes, but I didn't see socks.  I had them hunt down some socks so they would be completely ready.  Thank goodness, because the sock hunt never goes too well!  I don't know where they hide them, but they do a really good job!

My five year-old will be starting Kindergarten in a few days.  His Kindergarten assessment will be on Wednesday morning, when I drop off the older children.  He is really excited to be going to the same school as his big brother and big sister.  He was excited to go to orientation today.  

They had early-outs today.  They arrived home and both announced that they didn't have any homework.  My daughter did admit that she had to do 20 minutes of reading.  She set a timer and started to read.  She read well after the timer went off.  From where I was sitting, it looked like a comic book.  She loves to read, but it is usually not a comic book.  My daughter is excited that she starts getting homework tomorrow.

My oldest son just needed some paperwork signed for his homework.  He needs it signed so that he can get his netbook for school.  They have netbooks for the children to use in the classroom.  We just have to sign user agreements.

Both of the children have friends in their class.  My daughter has a friend from up the street and my son has a friend of church.  I am so excited that they started the day knowing someone.  It makes life so much easier.  I found out shortly after I started fourth grade that one of my friends lived on the next street over.  That made me happy.  I had close friends that lived across the street, but they went to Catholic school and I didn't.

The worse thing was needing to wake up my toddler in order to get everyone to school on time.  She wasn't very amused with needing to be woken up either.  It led to an early nap this afternoon, which is good.  I prefer early naps to late naps.  I usually have to wake her up after only half an hour if she takes a late nap, because I want to get to sleep at a decent time myself.  This is how my children looked as we got ready to walk out the door.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Gargantuar = Gar Gan Are Tar

My sons oldest daughter (and husband) love to play Plants vs Zombies.  I have never played Plants vs Zombies.   It was several months ago, I heard my five year-old yelling to my ten year-old, something about a gar-gan-are-tar (pronounced like bargain, but w/ a "g" at the beginning and then are-tar).  I have to say, I was most puzzled about what a gar-gan-are-tar (all one word) was.

I asked several times and they just told me it was something on the game.  I wondered where the game makers came up with something called a gar-gan-are-tar.  It was a strange name to say the least, and very long.

It wasn't until I was on vacation, and my husband was in the hotel room, that the children said something about the gar-gan-are-tar.  My husband was playing the game and I asked him what exactly a gar-gan-are-tar is.  He laughed and said, "A gargantuar."  I had heard that term before.  It made much more sense.  My husband brought the Ipad over to me and showed it to me.  This is what I saw...

I still don't know what the game is all about, but I do love when I hear "gar-gan-are-tar."  My five year-old still pronounces it that way, but my ten year-old has started calling it a gargantuar. I say it how my five year-old does, just because I think it is so much cuter pronounced that way.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Proposal...Twelve Years Ago Today

Twelve years ago today was the day my husband proposed to me.  By this time, I had moved to Sacramento, California.  I had left everyone else in the world that I loved and headed out on my own, again.  I met my husband on  It was meant to be.  I had wandered into a chat room I had never been in before.  I went in as "NYLady."  I had always chatted as "GreenEyes27F" up to that point.  How is that for telling about yourself in just a few letters? 

My husband said to me, "I served my mission in NY."

Me, knowing how everyone assumes you live in NYC, stated, "Oh yeah, what part?"

To which he stated, "Jamestown, NY."

I replied, "That is in my mission."

That is how it all started.  Coincidence? I think not.

This was Wednesday, April 11, 2001.  I was supposed to be in Erie, PA, but I decided not to make the trip that night.  I stayed up most of the night chatting with him.  The next day, we were leaving to visit my sister in Massachusetts.  I was exhausted, but that was okay with me.  While I was in Boston, we exchanged e-mails and kept in touch that way.  We talked every night, for hours, once I returned home.

We continued chatting online, until May 26, which was a Saturday night, when he came to NY to visit me.  He flew in really late.  I picked him up and we went up to Niagara Falls, Canada, to see the Falls.  I hate the Falls.  He had never been there.  That is where we had our first kiss, of many to come.  We spent some time up there before driving back to Olean.  I showed him where I went to High School.  We kissed on that lawn too.  I had never been kissed there.

I loaded up a U-Haul trailor, hitched it to my Blazer, and we drove back to California.  We left on the 29th.  We were supposed to leave on the 28th, but we spent much longer in Palmyra than we expected.  We went and saw church sites.  This was the first time I had visited Palmyra church sites in my life.  We had several pictures taken there.

On the way back to California, we took some detours.  We stopped in Kirtland, OH, where the first LDS temple was built.  We stopped in Nauvoo, Illinois, where the Nauvoo LDS Temple was under construction.  We went to Carthage, Illinois, where the beloved prophet, Joseph Smith, and his brother Hyrum were martyred.

We traveled on to California.  I had no idea what to expect when I got there.  We went to his parents' house.  They were very cordial.  They let me stay in his sister's room, until I found a place to live.  That happened quite quickly.  I moved in with a wonderful woman, Dawna, from church.  I rented a room from her.

Keith worked as a security guard at a college.  I found a temp job with Verizon Wireless.  As time went by, we got to know each other better.  He decided to propose to me.  He chose this day,12 years ago.     It was a Saturday.  We got in his car and he drove to the LDS Oakland Temple.  We walked around it around the outside.  Looking at it from the front, he proposed to me on the left side.  I said yes.

We went to an expensive, but not so good, Italian restaurant that was close by.  We then drove home. The traffic in that area is horrible.  I called my parents and told them.  The date we planned was October 18, 2001.  We got married 20 days after the proposal on September 7, we didn't want to wait any longer.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


I was just sitting here, minding my own business.  My five year-old son started looking through the closet for something.  I am not afraid of spiders (unless they are super poisonous, as mentioned previously), but there is really one word you don't want screamed in the confines of your own house.  It is "TARANTULA!"  Especially if it is being screamed as the person jumps back several feet.

So, me, being the mommy, get up and go over there.  I asked him where it was.  He said it ran under something.  Our closet isn't immaculate.  My kids like to throw things in there, thus, the reason he was searching in it.

I told him to get me a stick, I use a stick to kill black widows.  I haven't seen one yet this year :)  Then I told him to get me a shoe.  I started to think that the stick might not be good enough.  He ran and got me his shoe.

I started to slowly remove things from the closet.  S-L-O-W-L-Y!  I wasn't horribly excited to find this thing that got the "Tarantula" descriptor.  On the other hand, I didn't want this creature roaming my house.  After removing some items from the closet, I found a spider.  My son exclaimed, "There it is!"  I took the shoe and squished it several times.  It was no bigger, including its legs, than a quarter.

I was happy that it wasn't a tarantula.  I don't know for sure what I would have done.  I don't know that I would squish it, because I imagine you would hear things getting crushed, which would cause me horrible dreams, I think. I might stick it in a jar and try to sell it to a pet store :)

I am just glad that I didn't have to make that decision!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Social Media

When I was young, I would talk to my friends about how cool it would be if we could see the person we are talking to on the phone.  I never imagined that it would happen, but it would be on the computer.  I love Skype!  It gives me the chance to chat with my family throughout the country.  I had a bad computer that stopped running with Skype, so I got a new one, and had to buy a webcam.  We are up and running again :)

Then there is Facebook.  You can add people to your page that are your friends, whether you have met them or not IRL (in real life).  You update your status when you want to.  Some people shock you with their status sometimes.  You never expect someone to write some of the things they write.  Sometimes you might think they are looking for advice.  I am not one to offer advice unless they explicitly ask for it.  I worry about my friends and their families.  I don't have anyone on my Facebook that I wouldn't like to see have the best life possible.  I always hope that somehow I can make their life a little better for them.  It is hard from distances that might be between us, but I always know that a prayer can help a person.

Twitter is another one.  You get to make a statement in 140 characters or less.  I have done Twitter parties.  I have won things at Twitter parties, sometimes.  I think that the Jodi Arias murder trial is when I really started understanding a lot about Twitter.  I followed it closely and I would comment on that with a lot of other people.  It is fun to follow a topic with people and see their opinions.  They would often make me laugh.

There are, of course, blogs.  I started my blog to keep a "journal" about my family.  It is so hard to sit down and write in several journals for all the children.  This is just so much easier.  I have had a book made out of my first year of blogging so that we have it in bound print.  It is important to me that we have memories written down.  I don't do this as often as I should, but I have been doing better.

I am thankful for how far technology has come.  I am thankful that I can chat with my siblings and my parents without needing to send a stamped letter and wait a week or so to hear back.  It makes me wonder what is next.  I am sure it will amaze me!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Reasons I Miss Olean, NY

I have been thinking a lot of "home" lately.  There is a lot of nostalgia around City Cup Weekend.  For me, it is a time when we would all be together, enjoying some great ball games.  For many, many years, more than I can really remember, we would watch softball.  The City Cup pretty much was the end to softball for the season, so I would try to get as much softball as I could.

I would run into old friends that I hadn't seen in ages.  I would even be known to make some new acquaintances.  I miss those times with my family and my adopted brothers (the boys on my brother's softball team).

I miss Olean because that is where my memories are.  My good memories with my family and friends.    Even if I hadn't seen a friend in a long time, when I saw one, it was like very little time had past.  To me, that is a true friend.  Someone that realizes that even though time has passed, I still love them and I love to see them even though life gets in the way.  I like being able to pick up where we left off last as if not a day has passed.

I miss Olean and Allegany's Allegany River Nature Trail.  When I go out running now, I need to cross a road at every half mile, except for at the first half where this is an overpass for the traffic.  On the Nature Trail, I could run 3 miles without needing to cross a single road.  I think it was a lot safer.  It was easier to get a true look at the speed you were running.  It is kind of hard to do that when you need to stop for traffic every half mile.

I miss my Dad's barbecues.  He is the grill master.  I always looked forward to the summer so I could count on getting grilled food.  He would do chicken, burgers, hotdogs and Italian sausage.  We would occasionally have some steak. 

I am thankful that I was able to spend many years with my family in Western New York.  I wish I was still there, but sometimes our Heavenly Father has different plans for us.  I know this is where I am supposed to be, although there are times I would give my left arm to be at "home." 

To my City Cup playing family members, and those adopted brothers previously mentioned, Best of Luck!  I will be there in spirit and I hope to hear about your games.  Colette, that includes you :)  Love you all!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Achilles Tendonitis

Just those words seem to make me hurt.  What do you think when you read them?

I wrote about my kids and husband training for a 5K.  Their training started last week, as I was laid up on the couch with bronchitis.  I told my husband what they were supposed to do for their training.  It didn't quite work out as I planned.

My 9 year-old daughter came home from their training complaining that her heel hurt.  She complained for a couple more days.  She would only complain when I would ask her to do something.  I started to pay attention to her walking.   She would limp even when she would have no reason to be thinking about it.  I hoped she could walk it off, but it wasn't seeming like she was going to.

Yesterday, she asked me if I would bring her to the urgent care.  I am not a fan of going to urgent care unless I know something is wrong.  Since I had seen how she was for a few days, and not seeming to get better, I relented.  We went to the urgent care.

The doctor ordered x-rays since there are growth plates in the heel after pressing on her heel in different places.  He told me what he thought it was, but wanted to be sure she hadn't cracked any bones in her growth plates.  The good news is that she didn't crack any bones.  The bad news is that she has achilles tendonitis. 

This is not her foot :)

The doctor asked her what shoes she had worn to run in.  She pointed at the shoes on her feet.  They were flat church shoes.  Apparently she wasn't able to find her running shoes.  Running in flat shoes is a bad idea.  It doesn't give her foot the cushion or the protection it needs.   It causes extra strain on your achilles tendon.   These are things that I learned yesterday. 

She was ordered to wear her running shoes for the next few days, even to church.  She got to wear them everywhere, even to church.  Her running shoes have Hello Kitty on them.  They are cute shoes.  I prefer her to wear running shoes for running and dress shoes for church though.  She was also ordered to ice the heel.  She has done that a few times.  She was given a reprieve from running for a few days.  I think she will resume training on Wednesday. 

My 10 year-old son didn't like the idea that his sister didn't have to run.  When he was stung by a wasp a couple of weeks ago before we went to the playground, he didn't have to do a lap running with his dad.  While we were in the van yesterday, he stated that he wanted to get stung by another wasp.  I guess he hasn't caught the running bug yet.

I really hope that one day my children enjoy running.  I know it took me a little while to enjoy it.  I think it will be something fun to do together. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

One Year Ago Today

We got the keys to our house a year ago today.  This is the first house we have ever owned, and it might possibly the last.  We like our home.  It has a lot of space.  It has a lot of storage room.  We own it.  Well, my husband owns it.  I wasn't here when he signed the deed to the house, and we haven't gotten around to adding me to it.  It is something we keep saying we have to do, but just haven't.

I was on my way to Buffalo to catch a flight back here with my baby and my youngest son.  I was still not sure if the underwriting was going to be done or not.  I didn't know if I would be coming back to live in a house or in a hotel.  We had given our apartment complex notice that we would be out on July 31. 

I finally got the call saying that the mortgage had been approved and that my husband would be signing the title and getting the keys.  I was relieved, mostly.  I didn't want to think about coming back to Utah and not have a place to call home.  That was the last thing I would ever want.

My husband, my sister, and my two older children, picked us up at the airport. It was late at night.  They brought me HOME, to our home.  It was basically empty.  There were air mattresses to sleep on.  We would not have any furniture in our house until Saturday.  That is the first day we could get help getting it from storage to the house. 

Members of our church ward were more than willing to help us, virtual strangers, get things from the storage unit, to the U-Haul, to the house.  It was very much appreciated. 

I have grown to like our home, more and more each day.  It has had a few quirks.  During the winter, the downstairs is warmer than the upstairs.  I thought heat was supposed to rise, right?!?  The first real rainstorm, the playroom started to leak.  It hasn't leaked since then.  It was a torrential rain.  To run the AC, it is expensive.  I am not sure this is a quirk, but it isn't wanted :)  My sister moved out of the house, not really a quirk of the house, but I miss her all the time.   The sprinkler system was placed only 2 inches underground (at the deepest) so my husband cut through it when tilling the space for the garden.

The biggest thing is IT DOESN'T CLEAN ITSELF!  This is much to my children's dismay.  Every day, when it is time for chores, I hear "We just did it yesterday."  I quickly reply, "Yes, but this is today."

We now have a garden that we have harvested peppers, tomatoes, onions, zucchini and crookneck squash.  We have a little peach tree that is still trying to grow its peaches, only 3 survived the windstorms, the torrential rainstorm mentioned previously, and the late frost.  We are going to have to cut those in half so we can all enjoy it.   The plums didn't get much bigger than their pit this year, so they weren't very enjoyable.  Hopefully next year!

We have a wonderful house.  We will make many memories here, beyond the ones we already have.  I have enjoyed getting to know my neighbors and the members of my ward.  I have made some wonderful friends.  I didn't get out and try to meet people until my sister left.  I was happy thrilled to have her live with me.  I didn't really feel the need to go out and find someone to hang out with since I had her here.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Couch to 5K (C25K)

My 12th anniversary will fall on a Saturday.  It is six weeks away.  As I have been going to different places, running errands and such, I have been seeing a lot of flyers for 5K races on September 7, which is my anniversary.

I have been running for a while now.  I ran eight miles this morning.  As I was running, I came up with a brilliant idea.  I have always wanted my children to grow up to run with me.  I thought it would be nice if my husband would run with me too.  I came home and told him that I thought him and the kids should start a C25K program today and that we should run a 5K on our anniversary.  Then, of course, go out to eat afterward. 

He thought that would be a good idea.  I found the C25K program.  It was a program I started last year, when we were going to do a 4 mile run.  I do know that a 5K is not as far as a 4 mile run, but it was a place to start.  I really liked their program.  This evening, I found it online, again, and told my husband what he is supposed to do with the children.  He gathered them up and off they went.  It was a 5 minute brisk walk, followed by alternating 90 second walks and 60 seconds of jogging for a total of 20 minutes.

When he got home, I was informed that my daughter wasn't too amused to be out there doing that.  I am not sure if it is because she had performed in two theater performances today, or she just didn't want to run.  When they got home, I informed her of the plan for Sept. 7, and she seemed to be more receptive.  Now I need to decide which 5K we are going to do and get us registered.  It always seems that the earlier you register for a race, the cheaper it is to run it.

On the days that I don't have scheduled runs for the half-marathon I am training for, I will be training with my husband and my kids.  My toddler will be in the jogging stroller during the race.  I have been pushing her on several of my runs.  I am excited for this race, whichever one it ends up being.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

First Day Without a Nap

My toddler didn't take a nap today.  This is the first day in her life that she didn't take a nap.  I am hoping that it isn't a new trend. 

I am a big fan of nap time.  I especially like it when I get to have a nap with her.  That hasn't happened in a while, due to my children being out of school.  I think that could also be the cause of the lack of a nap.  The children had a couple of friends over and my toddler likes to play with all the children also.

When it got to be around 7 PM, she wanted to go to sleep.  I didn't dare allow that, because I knew it would be a very bad idea.  We had to figure out how to keep her awake.  I brought her outside for a little while.  We sang some songs.  We watched some SpongeBob SquarePants.  That is her favorite show. 

When it got to be around 8 PM and I had to get in my two-mile run, my husband took her to the play room.  He brought a ball with him to distract her so I could go.  She is my biggest fan.  She almost always wants to go with me.  The only time she has not wanted to go was when she had been going on little trips all day long.  She would cry because she didn't want to get back in her seat.

I was gone for a little while.  When I came home, she was really excited to see me.  We went back outside for a couple of minutes, then I decided it was bath time.  She loves bath time.  This bought us about 30 more minutes of her being awake.  After her bath, she was ready to be asleep.  It took just a few minutes for her to doze off.  She is still asleep now, so I should probably go to sleep too :)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Kickball and Some Memories of My Childhood

I haven't played kickball with my children since last summer, that is, until tonight.  My son's pack meeting tonight included a game of kickball.  I had never played it with my toddler.  My two older children were on the opposite team.  My two younger children were on my team. 

Last summer we thought we were going to be in a kickball tournament back east.  It would have been a lot of fun, but it wasn't meant to be.  The tournament was the day before my brother and my sister, her husband and son were moving west.  There was just going to be too much to do.  Before we figured that out, we had several practice session.  It was a lot of fun.

Tonight was fun as well.  We enjoyed playing with the other members of the cub scouts and their parents and families.  There were a lot of young children.  I think it was wonderful to play kickball with everyone.  It really was a lot of fun.

I was impressed with how well my ten year-old could kick the ball.  He did really good.  My other two children did really well too.  I think I need to go down there and play kickball with them.  It reminded me of growing up and playing kickball all the time in our backyard.

Our backyard consisted of three backyards.  I would say it was a good 45 yards across.  There were not fences between our yard and the next two neighbors yards for years.  I think they went up after I graduated from high school.  We spent hours, upon hours, playing kickball.  My dad would pitch to both teams.  Neighbors would all come over.  There was a little cherry tree that didn't have a chance in the neighbor's yard.  I think we even used it as a base every now and again.

We also had a great volleyball net.  We could play a full size court since there wasn't a fence.  It seems like when we weren't playing kickball, hide and go seek, or swimming, we would be playing badminton or volleyball.  We knew all the kids that lived within a block or two.  These days, it seems like children don't even know who lives next door. 

Sadly, the children of this generation seem to be growing up in a day of electronics.  I have to admit that my children play online or on their Nintendo DS's also.  I need to be more diligent and get outside with them.  I do go running, and they come with me and play at the park.  I make sure that the spend time outside. I enjoy when they have friends come over.  I want them to have that kind of interaction that I had growing up.

I imagine that if we take the time to go to the park at the corner and bring a ball and bases, other children will join.  I think it will be a fun way to get to know the other children in the area. 

Thank you to the Cub Scout leaders who thought of this activity.  It reminded me of the fun I had as a child and it has encouraged me to share that with my children.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Our Garden

On Mother's Day weekend, my kids, my husband and I, worked hours getting the garden planted.  We pulled excess weeds that had grown after the ground had been tilled.  We got out our yard stick to make sure that we were planting the plants the correct distance apart.  We went out and bought a little fence to put around it.  We didn't want our toddler to go wandering through and step on all the plants.

We planted several, I think 15, tomato plants,  We planted 4 zucchini squash plants, 4 crookneck squash, 4 bell peppers, 13 peas we had grown from seeds, and 12 onions, I believe.  We sat outside regularly and  watched our garden.  It took a while to notice any growth.  We were happy when we spotted our first baby squash.  We were elated to find our first little tomato.  We watched with amazement as it grew.  Our only wish was that the garden grew as quickly as the weeds.

We went on vacation at the end of June.  Ten days later we came home.  My 5 year-old jumped out of the car and ran directly to the garden.  He ran back to me and told me that we had huge food.  He wanted me to hurry back there.  I went as fast as I could.  He wasn't kidding.  The zucchini had grown astronomically since we had left.  We were able to harvest several zucchini and some crookneck squash.  Our peas had died.  I k think the tomatoes in front of them robbed them of water.  We will rethink that next year.

The plums on our tree were ripe.  Several had fallen off the tree.  It looks like we are going to have a very nice harvest this year.  I hope to make a lot of salsa.  I hope to have a lot of tomatoes for salad.  My daughters will eat them right off the vine.  They will enjoy that.  I enjoy raw zucchini sliced up.  I enjoy zucchini bread.  I hope to make some for our neighbors and people I visiting teach one of these days.

That is the news on our garden.  I am very thrilled that it is growing :)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Our Summer Vacation

I would like to say I have a lot of photos to add for the vacation blog.  I can't say that because our camera disappeared.  My watch I use for running disappeared too.  I guess it was just one of those things.

My toddler and I flew into Reno on Friday, June 28.  My older three children and my husband drove to Reno, leaving the same day.  They got there on Saturday.  We spent a few days in Reno.  We let the children play games at the midway at Circus Circus and watch circus acts.  They got to have fun with their cousins.  They got to swim.

We then headed to Topaz Lake on Wednesday.  The swimming pool there was much colder than the one in Reno.  My toddler refused to go in the water.  She cried.  I wanted to cry after jumping in.  It was horribly cold.  I thought that since it had been in the high 90s, low 100s, it would have warmed up the pool.  I was terribly mistaken. 

We headed into Bridgeport, California, on July 4.  We got there in time to see the parade.  I quickly discovered that my cousin, his wife and children, had made the trip from a base in Korea to be there.  My other cousin, his wife and children made the trip from the San Francisco Bay area.  I was so happy to see them again.

We watched some arm wrestling competitions, my daughter and two of her cousins sing karaoke, the kids climbing the greased pole and looking for money in the haystack.  We went to the bakery for the first time that my children can remember.  There is always delicious food there.  We had dinner at my uncle's house and then headed back to the hotel.  I didn't want to stay for the fireworks because I worried that my toddler would fall to sleep on the way back to the hotel and be awake once we got there for a few hours.

On July 5, my cousin, his wife and daughter, a good family friend, my sis-in-law and I played mud volleyball together.  There were 19 teams in the tournament.  We lost our first set of games to the team that got either first or second place.  We then won two sets of games, and then lost to the team that got second or third place.  We ended up in fifth place, which we were very happy about. 

My children discovered the joy of playing in mud holes.  They then learned about sand burrs.  They are painful little thorns that about kill your feet.  I got them in my feet as I walked to the river to clean off between matches.  The river was a perfect temperature.  I let my children know to never go in the water without me knowing.  I have always warned them against swimming in rivers or ponds because of the threat of the seaweed.  It can wrap you up and hold you under.  We all managed to get sunburned that day, although we had applied and reapplied SPF 50 several times.

After mud volleyball, we went to my uncle's house again and had fudge.  It is the best fudge in the world.  We would usually have it on the 4th of July, but it couldn't happen this year.  We were happy to have it.  We then returned to our hotel.  They had all you can eat spaghetti, so my children had that and I had a salad bar.  Vacation food had been weighing on me pretty heavily.

The next day was the softball tournament.  There were six teams in it.  Four of  the people on our team, I knew.  It was two of my brothers, one nephew, and my cousin.  The other six players came from out of town to help us out.  They won two and lost two.  The last loss bothered me because the ump seemed biased.  He made some very upsetting calls in what would end up being our last inning.  They play timed games here and we had only a few minutes left.  Sometimes it is hard to remember it is just a game, especially when I feel someone is wronging people I love.

After the games, we all headed back to Reno and had to start the goodbyes.  My two brothers, and their families, that live in Washington had to start the trek home.  We said goodbye at the hotel and they took off.  It was a wonderful week with them. 

We got a hotel room and headed out the next morning.  My toddler did a wonderful job on the trip home.  There wasn't much crying from her.  I was proud of her.

The vacation has ended and it is back to life.  I gained about 5 pounds on vacation which I need to work off.  With how hot it is and the fact that I am training for a half-marathon, it shouldn't be too hard.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Duke (June 26, 1999-June 29, 2013)

My toddler and I flew to Reno on June 28.  My three older children and my husband drove to Reno.  They left on June 28 and arrived on June 29.  I always worry about them when I am not there, but my toddler isn't a huge fan of car trips.  I figured that it would be easier if she flew there and then rode home in the car.  This way, she wouldn't have to make two, ten-hour trips.

My toddler slept in the Las Vegas airport and all the way until we were descending into Reno.  I think the descent bothered her ears.  I was thankful that she slept for that time, because the layover was longer than it was supposed to be, and then we had to sit on the tarmac for an hour.  It was horribly hot. 

When we arrived in Reno, my mother picked us up from the airport.  We went back to the hotel room.  My toddler was awake until 2 am because of the nap on the plane.  Duke, my parents' beloved dog, was there when we walked in.  He looked amazing.  I asked my mom if he had been groomed recently.  He just looked really good.  She said that he hadn't. Duke always loved my children, so he was excited to see my toddler.

On June 29, the next day, Duke was trying to urinate but nothing would come out.  My dad decided to stay at the hotel with him while Mom, my toddler and I went to breakfast.  We got a call at the end of breakfast that Duke was not doing well.  He was trying to urinate every few minutes and nothing would come out.  We got back to the hotel and my parents brought him to the emergency vet.  When they got back from the vet, they were crying.  I knew something was terribly wrong. 

They told me that the vet was going to do a complete body x-ray to see what was going on.  They didn't know what was wrong, but I think we all knew that Duke didn't have much longer on this earth.  They had to go back to the vet at 1:30, we had about an hour before then.  We all cried.  Duke was mine first, I left him with my parents when I moved to California.  My dad let me know that he would want Duke to stay with them.  I couldn't take Duke away, that was his home, it was what he still knew.

I can still see this little puppy coming toward us.  That was how I knew which puppy I would pick.  I can remember this little, blond, floppy-eared puppy coming toward me.  His mom followed us all the way to the van.  He was born June 26, 1999. 

At the moment that we brought him home from his parents, we loved him.  He was an amazing little guy.  We reminisced about this day and many other times with Duke, during that hour before they went back to the vet.  Many tears were shed.  He was loved.  My mom called me upon arrival at the vet to tell me that Duke had bladder and prostate cancer.  She let me know, through sobs, that they were going to have him put to sleep.  They brought him back to the hotel, so we could say goodbye.  My children and husband had arrived by that time, so they were able to say their goodbyes as well.  My parents then brought him back to the vet so he could be put to sleep.

My mother asked the vet to put him to sleep in the car.  They obliged.  My mom sat with him and rubbed his ears.  When they arrived back at the hotel with him, before burying him, he looked like he was just sleeping.  I had to take a moment to make sure he was really gone.  The tears flowed.  My toddler kept saying hi to him.  My 5 year-old got right in and was petting him.  He asked why he wasn't moving, although I had told him he was dead.  I then told him he went back to heaven.  He then gave Duke a big hug and told me that he loves him even though he is in heaven.  They always had an amazing bond.  He always stated that it was just Duke's egg now.  I took a second and realized he meant that it is just his shell, and that his spirit is in heaven.

We all petted Duke.  I think it was important for the children to see that when something is dead, it just means that the spirit has moved on.  It is still hard to say your goodbyes, though.

Duke lived to be 14 and 3 days old.  We loved every moment we had with him from July 31, 1999, until June 29, 2013.  I don't know if or when my parents will get another dog.  There will never be another dog like Duke.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

"Where Are You, Momma?"

My toddler said her first sentence, and I wasn't within earshot.  I wouldn't have known, except my  mother was there to tell me.  It was last week, and I had run some clothes upstairs.  She was downstairs with my mom.  When I returned downstairs, my mother told me that she said a complete sentence.  I asked what it was.

It was, "Where are you, momma?" 

My mother let her know that I would be right back.  Although I missed the sentence, it wouldn't have happened if I had been there.  She is saying a lot these days.  She is doing a lot too. 

When she is thirsty, she will go to our refrigerator and open the door.  She will grab out a jug of milk and haul it out here.  Generally, there isn't much milk in the cartons that she chooses.  Today was different.   I heard her in a bit of distress and looked over to see her hauling a full gallon of milk.  I chuckled and got up to help her. 

A gallon of milk weighs eight pounds.  She weighs right around 22 pounds.  She sure loves her milk.  She calls it "meb." 

My children are out of school for the summer.  Their last day was June 7.  They were excited to be done.  My 5 year-old got out of school on May 15.  He was excited about that.  The older two children thought he should continue to go until they got out.  It was nice to not have to continue driving back and forth the 7 mile, round-trip, twice a day. 

It has been wonderful to have my parents here to visit.  That is one of the reasons I haven't blogged in a while.  We stay busy.  My dad put in a laminate wood floor in the dining room for us.  He has worked on my van.  He built a couple of planters.  We sit out back a lot and talk.  I have started working on family history again.  My mom got me back into doing that.  It is amazing how much is left to do. 

We bought a lot of perennials.  They were beautiful for a few days.  Now they are all dying, except the dianthus and the coral bells.  They are beautiful.  The dianthus is thriving.  I have no clue why the rest are dying. 

We planted a garden.  We have peas, tomatoes, zucchini, crook neck squash, onion, cucumbers, strawberries and bell peppers.  Some of them have started to produce.  Our peach tree has several peaches.  It looks like we should get a good harvest this year.  I am excited about that.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Snake In Our Yard and the Leaking Roof...All In One Day

Tuesday was quite the day.  My toddler loves to spend time outside.  It is the best part of her whole day, except for when her brothers and sister get home from school.  Since the weather has started to get warmer, we have started to spend a lot of time outside.  She will bring me her shoes first thing in the morning.  For about a week, she wouldn't want me to take her socks and shoes off at night.  She wanted to wear them to sleep.  I would wait until she fell to sleep and then carefully take them off.  When my sister was here visiting, I took my toddler's sock off after she fell to sleep and she woke up immediately crying, "Why, why, why?"  We got a kick out of that.

Anyway, on Tuesday, after I picked my son up from preschool, my toddler and I went out back.  I was walking over to put my chair down where I wanted it when I heard slithering.  I, of course, quickly looked down and saw a snake.  I took many quick steps back, to get my daughter.  I then took a picture of it with the camera on my phone.  I wanted a picture to show my neighbor to see if he knew what kind it was.  My 5 year-old son had gone to the zoo with his class on Monday.  I asked him what his favorite animal was.  He told me the rattlesnake.  I figured he might get a kick out of seeing this one. 

I came inside and yelled "Guess what is in the backyard!" 
He said, "What?" 
I said, "A snake."
He said, "Really?"
I said, "Yes."

He then ran outside to see it.  I told him not to get too close to it.  He couldn't see it at first so I had to grab the rake and point it out.  I wasn't going to get close.  I don't like snakes at all.  He told me that it was sleeping.  Sounded good enough to me.  We then headed across the street to my neighbor who has helped me kill black widows.  I showed him the picture of the snake.  He didn't know what kind it was, but he knows he doesn't like snakes.  He said he hasn't seen snakes around here.  I guess I am just lucky!  :(  By the time I got back here, the snake had slithered away.  I have no idea where the snake went.  It is making going outside a little hairy.  I look all around for a snake.  I have been told it is most like a garter snake.  I am not going to get near them anyway.

Later that evening, we had a torrential rainstorm with some hail.  I was upstairs cleaning the bathroom.  My 9 year-old daughter ran up and told me that I had to cover our peach tree.  I told her that I didn't have to.  We were covering it when there was a frost.  Then, my 10 year-old son ran up to tell me that there were cracks in the playroom.  I had no clue what he was talking about.  I asked him what he meant.  He said the water was coming in.  I knew that at that moment I had to run downstairs and see what was going on.  The water was leaking where the playroom meets the kitchen wall.  It was only in about a 2 foot area along that wall. 

The playroom was added on after the house was built in 64.  I don't know when the playroom was added on but where the ceiling meets the original house was where it was leaking.  I think that with all the snow we got in the winter, there might have been a time when it started to melt and then refroze, which might have put a bit of a separation at the add-on roof.  I don't know if that makes sense reading it, but I know what I mean :)  My husband is going to go up there and see if it is something we can just tar, or if it is something that is going to take someone that is a professional at roofs.  We are hoping it is an easy tar job!

We had rain yesterday and it didn't leak.  I just think that the rain was just coming down so fast and furious that it caused the problem.  We shall see!