Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Some Lucky Princess...

So we just finished watching Barbie In The Nutcracker. Devon was the only one left watching at the very end when Barbie and Kelly are dancing. He wouldn't leave until he watched them finish their dance. Then we had this conversation:

Devon: Why do they wear those shoes?
Me: They're ballet shoes.
Devon: Can boys do ballet?
Me: Sure.
Devon: Is that what you do if you want to dance with princesses?
Me: I guess. Why? Would you like to dance with a princess?
Devon: Yes.
Me: Well, someday you will.
Devon: Actually, I'll do that at the Temple.

Can I just say I got a little misty? What a beautiful connection he made! I wanted to record the conversation before I forgot, because someday I want to tell his lucky princess how long he's been waiting to dance with her.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Annoying music...

So I would TOTALLY turn that music off and let YOU decide if you wanted to listen or not, or at least shuffle it for some variety, but do you think I can remember my user name or password? Nope! Too many accounts! Too many accounts!

I'll figure it out. Bear with me.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What a Week...

This week has seriously taken it out of me. My monthly visitor is to blame, I'm sure,but knowing that really doesn't help. That knowledge alone does not render me able to face the world without offense. I have felt that frustrating pull of my hormones spiraling me toward a meltdown despite my best efforts to hold it together. I can't say for sure that my children were more disobedient or messier than usual this week. I'm pretty sure my husband was not deliberately trying to make me feel bad. I don't think I looked any fatter or uglier to the people around me. In hindsight I'm pretty sure my brain was still functioning and although it certainly felt that way, I don't think I truly failed at everything I attempted. By the time I got the call this morning, while Lincoln was gone fishing, that Dad was in the ICU, I was on the verge of losing it. Then my children proceeded to be disobedient and contradictory until Lincoln's return a couple hours later. I was spent. I was teetering on the brink and my wonderful husband gave me the credit card and sent me out with a friend. Lincoln took over the duties of holding the household together while tending 6 kids (Kennedy had a friend over) and I got a day off. He kept the house tidy and mowed the grass and fed the children. I went to Madison and wandered around Hobby Lobby with Marilyn, my next door neighbor. My friendship with her is still pretty new, this is the first time we've done something like this together, and I'm pleased with our compatibility. She's a good person to shop with, she doesn't hover, doesn't rush, doesn't take too long. She's fun to talk to, despite my thoughts being in not so great places most of the day. She kept up the conversation and asked the right questions and offered the right kind of support. You know, the kind of support that you don't recognize as support at the time. It's just friendship. We ate lunch together and wandered around the mall and I felt my stress and emotional turmoil settling into a smaller, more manageable compartment in my brain. We were gone about five hours. I was home for only a couple hours before I walked to my friend Becci's house to watch the Relief Society Broadcast. Once again my husband took over feeding the kids, bathing them, putting them to bed so I could refill my spiritual and emotional tank. 'Cause seriously, I was running on fumes. I was grateful to hear words of encouragement from leaders of the church when I needed to hear them most. I was grateful to be reminded that we all feel inadequate but that we are of a divine nature. That women and the challenges we face are infinitely important. I was grateful to be surrounded by friends, women who love me, who know my struggles, who share my struggles. Women who want the same things as me- to be good mothers, to serve others, to keep the stinkin' bathroom clean. I was overwhelmed by the feeling of sisterhood. I could feel the palpable emotion of frustration and discouragement that each was feeling as President Uchtdorf talked of the subject. I had such a desire to look around me and say, "Why do we do this to ourselves? Can you feel it? We ALL feel the same way! Lets buoy each other up, take comfort in these words and love ourselves as God loves us!" Of course, I didn't need to say it, because as we listened we all knew it. We all filled our tanks. Some of us were going on fumes, some of us were still watching the needle at around a half tank, but we all needed a topping off. We ate ice cream together and went our ways, filled with good food, good words, the Spirit, and sisterhood. We went to our families better prepared to serve, to love, to nurture. I walked home in the warm breeze, stars overheard, autumn in the air. I breathed it in, breathed new life into my soul and promised myself and the Lord to be better. To smile more and nag less. To hug more and complain less. To treat my children like library books, recognizing that their Spirits are mine on loan, that they belong to our Creator and I have been entrusted with their safekeeping. To treat my husband with more compassion, like the treasure and blessing he is. Thank you, sweetie.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Regarding My Last Post...

Just a couple things.
Yes Ginny, there are 2 things I get worked up about at night as I'm trying to fall asleep. One being these clots lurking in my leg when I experience any pain- and even that didn't freak me out too much until I went off the blood thinners and the other is my kids. You know when you suddenly think, "I wonder if I should go check on the baby." Then you start the cycle I mentioned of wondering if it was a prompting or just a thought and then the argument in your mind of whether peeking will wake the baby or not. But I learned a few babies ago to just get up and go and have the peace of mind.

And the other thing is that everyone should know that my husband is a completely different man when he's awakened. He would, of course, be willing to do whatever I needed at any time, but only after he was awake enough to be coherent. His initial reaction would be irritation but once he came to he'd be fine.

And also, my reluctance in general to ask my husband for a blessing is simply a shortcoming of my own. It is not based on anything he has said or done, I've just always felt like I was inconveniencing people or overreacting if I asked them to do this. Any Priesthood leader. I think that is a fairly common issue women in the church have. Maybe not. Anyone?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


So I've been off the blood thinners for a few weeks now (anyone not up to speed with my health, and why would you be, really?) should know that in March of 2007 I developed DVT, or a blood clot in the deep vein of my leg) and I must confess that I'm a bit panicky about it. In fact, I feel a bit like Sue. I find myself in bed at night and if I feel any pain at all in the general area of the clot I get all worked up. I think, I need to ask my husband for a Priesthood blessing in the morning. Then I think, Wait! Was that a prompting? Do I need to ask him for one RIGHT NOW? Can it wait until a more convenient time or is the Spirit telling me that if I don't I'll be dead by morning?! I think I'm short of breath, I'm SURE I'm short of breath. That's it, it's in my lung! Breathe slowly, deep breaths. I'm not short of breath, right? There's no way I can wake Lincoln up and ask for a blessing right now. He'd be so irritated NO ONE would get any spiritual direction. But isn't inconveniencing my husband better than being dead!? OK, OK I'm just working myself up for nothing. It can wait. But I'll say an extra prayer that I don't die before morning. What would become of the kids? Would Lincoln move back near our families so they could help out? They would miss me so much. Jesse and Renie and Devon wouldn't even really remember me eventually. Kennedy and Julia would even struggle to remember specifics. Would they remember good things? Have I been a good enough mother? Or would they remember a hag? I need to be nicer. If I was nicer maybe I would have the Spirit with me in more abundance and I could be sure whether I am needing a blessing right now or if it can wait.

And begin cycle again.

But I think I'm progressing. I've discovered that when I've exercised, especially lots of running/stairs/squats that area gets over taxed and then hurts, not from the clot changing, but from the strain on the veins in the legs. It gets very heavy when I exercise too, the increased blood to the area and restricted circulation are not a pleasant combo. So I think I'm understanding the pain more, but I think it will take me a long time to get over fearing that the clot will block the area too much causing another clot to form which will just happily sail its way to my lung. But I also feel silly complaining about, like people are thinking I need to get over it and quit using it as an excuse in my exercise class. Like, if you're out of shape just admit it and quit belly-aching about your "clot" wink wink. I mean wasn't that like 2 years ago? 20 months actually. But since I don't have to see your face as you read this I'll just say It's hard to exercise. It really truly is. Hard and frustrating because when I'm not pushing it, the leg is fine. But once that blood is pumping, it feels like it weighs a hundred pounds. My doctor told me that even before you start exercising the brain, knowing you plan on exercising later in the day, tells your heart to pump some extra blood down to those legs cause they're going to need it. And so it will begin first thing in the morning on exercise days. So there you go. More info then you wanted, I know.

And one last thing- Am I the only one who is reluctant to ask my husband for a blessing? Or do you call upon your husband freely?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Aahhh, Indian Summer...

For a while there we were thinking we were just going to plunge straight from unbelievably hot weather to need a jacket and do we have to turn on the heat weather. But Indian Summer has arrived. Two solid weeks of mid-seventies and sunshine.

This weekend Lincoln went to the North Woods of Wisconsin on a fishing trip with 3 other guys. They left midday on Friday and will return late tonight. That left me with a whole Saturday to fill with entertainment for my kids. Who am I kidding, I'm not that kind of Mom. They played with their friends all morning while I did some cleaning (the dreaded mopping) and then at lunchtime we went to the State Park for a picnic

and some chill time at the lake. We really tried to soak up enough sun to get us through the long Wisconsin winter, but I think that's a lost cause.

As I stood on the beach in my dandy Lands End beach trekkers and watched the kids frolicking, I absentmindedly slipped off my shoes and stepped into the sand. It really struck me at that moment that sand on the feet is incredibly therapeutic. It just felt scrumptious. Cool, soft, forgiving. I've always preferred to be bare foot, and this was exactly what I needed.

No squeamish girls here. Mud? Sure. Icky green sludge at the edge of the lake? Delightful. Seaweed? Perfect for accessorizing!

I love to watch them run into the lake.

Why yes! That IS a seaweed crown, thanks for asking.

Kennedy's seaweed hula skirt.

I LOVE this picture!

While We're On The Topic of Music...

What version of Summertime is your favorite? Click on the different selections in the playlist. You don't have to listen to the whole thing, you'll get the idea pretty quickly.

I don't know how to post a youtube video here, so bear with me. This is one more version to check out. You'll have to copy the link to the browser, i think. Or maybe click here. This one is Charlotte Church.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Addiction...

Am I the only one out there suffering from an addiction to Coldplay? I have thousands of songs on my iPod and yet I am drawn every time I turn it on to listen to at least one song from Viva La Vida. I thought I'd be over it by now, but it just gets worse.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Another Project...

Over the weekend I painted and decorated the boys' room. I'm including some pictures, though they are terrible. My camera does not have a flash anymore so they were really dark and I just cranked up the brightness when I edited. But hopefully you'll get the idea. The thing I'm most proud of on this room is that with all the little decor items and the paint we only spent $40 to transform the room. (I always check mistint paint where ever it is sold. I struck it lucky and found a gallon of the exact blue i was looking for. The green was left over from another project.) You'll be shocked to learn that we still need a couple things for the room to tie up loose ends, but it's mostly done.

More Bounty...

Kennedy and I pulled the carrots recently. You may recall that earlier this summer she did some weeding in our carrot patch, pulling up 1/2 of the carrots before we stopped her. What was still there grew beautifully. The only time I grew carrots in NC they were 2 inch nubs when I pulled them. I guess that thick red clay is not very hospitable for carrots. So I feel that the garden has been a success. I canned 3 quarts of tomatoes yesterday, which I know isn't much, but I didn't think I would get enough to can ANY this year. I've frozen 6 quarts of green beans, canned 4 pints of salsa, Lincoln made six quarts of pickles, and we've used several peppers, lettuce, and green onions fresh from the garden. I've had a tomato sandwich for lunch almost every day since early August and we still have tomatoes coming steadily. Green beans are still coming as well. Kennedy's cabbage is big but I'm afraid it has become bug food. I made a delicious chicken vegetable soup yesterday with a few of the yummy carrots. This past week I also made 6 pints of raspberry jam. When we ever get a house in the country I'd like to plant a raspberry patch. Buying the raspberries at the local patch is not exactly cost effective, but I love homemade raspberry jam so much I couldn't resist. On a related note, I also made a raspberry crumb cake with some of the fresh berries. It was so tasty I thought I'd include the recipe here for you try if you'd like.

Fresh Raspberry Crumb Cake
2 C all-pupose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C butter, softened
3/4 C sugar
1 large egg
1/2 C milk
2 C fresh raspberries
1/2 C light brown sugar, firmly packed
3 T flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
3 T butter
1/2 C pecans, finely chopped (I left these out)

Preheat oven to 375

Combine the flour, bp, salt. Set aside. Cream the butter and sugar, beat in the egg. Add the flour mixture and milk. Stir only until moistened. Fold in the berries and turn into a greased and floured 9 inch springform pan. (I used a regular glass cake pan. The size down from the 9x13.)

Stir together the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon and cut in the butter with a pastry blender until fine. Stir in the nuts.

Sprinkle the streusel topping on the cake and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. (If using a different pan watch carefully, the time may be considerably shorter.) Loosen the edges of the pan and remove the springform. Serve warm.

I happen to love raspberries so I found this absolutely delightful! You could also do it with blueberries or a combination of the 2.

You Don't Even Want to Know...

I was helping Julia with her homework last night. She was coming up with rhymes for the word tell. The following conversation ensued.

Julia: Mom, does m-e-l-l rhyme with tell?
Me: It rhymes but it's not a word.
Julia: That's how Abby [a little friend with a decidedly western accent] says mail. Like, "Stewart I'm gonna get the mell." And you don't even want to know how she says hail!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Footloose and Fancy Free...

A couple days ago the 4 biggest kids took off outside to play with their friends. After they were gone I let Jesse out into the backyard to play while I made dinner. I watched out the windows as he wandered from play set to play set from the neighbors on one side of us to the neighbors on the other side. All by himself he climbed and slid down the slides and laid on his belly on the swings. Sometimes he would stop and dig in the sandbox for a while or throw a ball and chase it. I was impressed by his ability and willingness to play by himself for so long, mixing it up and finding new things to do. I looked out and he suddenly flung himself to the ground. I thought maybe he tripped but then he started to roll. He was log rolling down the little hill! It was so stinkin' cute. He got to the bottom, stood up, marched back up the hill and did it all over again. Remember being so carefree? Not a thing in the world to do at that moment but roll down a hill? Or ride your bike over a jump? Or see how many times you could jump a rope? Obviously as an adult it's just not possible to live every moment like that, but I think it's important to still have SOME moments like that. Forget-your-worries moments. Moments when you need to catch the excitement and exuberance of your children and live it to its fullest. It's way too easy to be too tired or too grumpy or too mature or too old to let go and roll til you think you're gonna puke. Try it. Try to find moments to be footloose and fancy free again. It's exhilarating.


Yesterday Devon was grumpy from the time he rolled out of bed. I thought it was lucky that Wednesday is his day off because he was obviously tired out and needed the break. He didn't want to get dressed, turned down everything I offered him for breakfast with a scowl, (him scowling, not me. Well, maybe both of us.), and looked for opportunities to annoy his brother and sister. Then at 11:00 when we were eating lunch he said, "These pretzels are making my ear hurt!" Things went rapidly down hill from there. The ear pain got worse so I gave him Motrin. That helped for a while but by 1:30 he was crying again. I called the Lands' End clinic that we use and was told that they didn't have a provider in that day. I was disappointed to have to go to a different Dr., but called the off site office and scheduled an appointment for 20 minutes later. We rushed off, dropping the little ones with my friend Kym who, by the way, is a saint. We didn't have to wait long at all and we were soon in the exam room waiting for the doctor to come in. What follows is our conversation as we waited.

Devon: Is it gonna be a boy doctor or a girl doctor?
Me: I think they said it will be a girl doctor. Which do you like better?
Devon: I like boy doctors better.
Me: Well I bet she's going to be really nice. You'll like her.
Devon: No I'm allergic to girls.
Me: Really? All girls?
Devon. Yup, all girls. Except you.
Me: Oh good. What about pretty girls?
Devon: Yup. But you're one of those but I'm not allergic to you.

How sweet is that?

Incidentally, I mentioned it to the doctor and she assured me it's an allergy he will grow out of.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

More Pictures

So while I was in NY I asked my brother Derek, who has a knack for photography, to take some shots of me and the kids. This proved a very difficult undertaking. For starters, the one day we had was super sunny and really too bright for portraits. But mostly, getting all five kids to cooperate at the same time proved impossible. He gamely pressed on snapping photos of my herd of cats. In the end, I proved to be the least photogenic, though I'm sure no one is shocked by that. In my defense, i think I was spending most of my time telling kids to Come here! Sit still! Look at the camera! Stop crying! Please come join us!
This is why I don't pay to have portraits done.

Despite all of this he managed to come up with some beautiful shots.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

NY Vacation Part IV- Portraits

There are six kids in my family. I am number 4 followed three years later by my Down Syndrome sister, Chrissy. Chrissy and I have always been close. She is moody, to be sure, but also overflowing with love, a wonderful sense of humor, and a tender spirit that is so touched whenever she has most or all of her family nearby. She remembers every one's birthday, which makes it hard to begrudge her the birthday event she expects for herself every year. She loves to give presents and take people out to dinner. She is sweet and funny and fun-loving and I always look forward to our time together. When I was home she came outside one chilly day wearing a hooded shawl. I loved her in it and started snapping photos of her. This turned into a major photo shoot. She loved having her picture taken...

and we walked around the farm taking one after another. Here are a few of my faves.

I also took a couple snapshots of my brother Derek and his son. He waited a long time to be a father and I love to see him with his beautiful roly-poly little man.

Derek tried everything he could think of to get Stillman to smile for me. This little smirk was the best I got.

NY Vacation Part III- More Fun Stuff

So we didn't spend ALL of our time on the farm. We ventured out to do other fun stuff like climb Azure Mtn., swim in the river, and visit Grandma Brenda and Grandpa Marshall.

On Azure Mountain- It's a tradition to climb up on the big rock to have a group photo taken.

Here we are. We climbed with my brother Bryan and his family, as well as my cousin Karen and her kids and my niece Lauren. I remember as a kid worrying that the rock would roll off the mountain while we were on it. I wonder if my kids were thinking about that. Probably Devon was because he refused to get up there with us.

We sat here on the edge of the mountain looking out at the beautiful scenery while we ate lunch.

Even Jesse is impressed by the view.

My brother Jonathan and my sister Chrissy came with me one evening to bring the kids to the river. Here Jonathan is showing them a thing or two about skipping stones.

Chrissy was not fond of trying to swim in the current, she panicked when she tried to swim and was swept downstream. Jonathan and I kept saying, "Just stand up! The water is only knee deep!" But she just didn't like it. So I found her a submerged rock to sit on and she layed in the water with her bottom securely planted on it.

We did lots of just standing around. My kids are not too sure of the whole current thing either, and I couldn't help them much because I couldn't leave Jesse who was contentedly wading at the edge.

I think Devon is excited here about Uncle Jonathan's superb rock throwing skills.

Renie enjoying the flow.

The kids with Grandma Brenda

We spent a fun day at Grandma's coloring...

playing ball...

making bubbles.

Another favorite activity is piling into the back of Grandpa's truck and riding up the dirt road to Old Baldy. Kennedy and Truman in the back of the truck.

Kennedy having a bumpy blast.

Some of the truck ride participants.