Friday, December 23, 2011

Practical Prayers

We had cake with dinner tonight. I greatly appreciated Lily's request in her dinner prayer for a blessing the "the cake will not make the children too hyper for mom and dad to control at bedtime tonight" :-)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Keeping up with these kids...

...makes me laugh and cry

Lily quote (when I told her breakfast would be done in half and hour): "When you reflect that half an hour is really only thirty minutes, it doesn't seem that long."

Mark's shenanigans: You always know there's trouble when the toddler is being TOO quiet. I walked into the bathroom and found him with the toilet lid half lifted, a wet washcloth in his hand, and a distinctly guilty look on his face. He had apparently been dipping the washcloth in the toilet then sucking the water out of it. Hopefully my theory that we're already immune to all the germs in the house is true...and it's a really good thing my older kids have learned to flush!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Lily's new dresses

Lily recently received several cute dresses as hand-me-downs from a friend. She wanted me to take photos of her modeling the dresses for grandma and grandpa to see. Here she is!
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Birthday Boy!

OK, I'm a couple of months late getting this posted--here's Mark's first birthday, and my first attempt at a gluten-free cake. The strawberries came from our garden. I'm really not sure what he thought of the cake, but he did enjoy climbing on the table and sticking his hands into what was left after everyone was served!
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Sunday, June 19, 2011


Dan and I ran some rough calculations this morning, and figured that I have probably changed about 24000 diapers over the course of the past 8 years.

I think that qualifies me for expert diaper-changer status...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

1950's maternity dress

I've been sorting through books as part of a de-cluttering process. I was looking through a book published in 1952, entitled "Nurse's Handbook of Obstetrics"--something I picked up at a library book sale. I came across this drawing of maternity dress patterns. Um, those women look spectacularly NOT pregnant...
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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Lily's Speech and an F-16 flyover

Lily has been participating in a Liberty Girls club. Her group has been reading through the Samantha books in the American Girls series, and at each meeting they discuss one book and participate in activities connected with them. Yesterday was their last meeting for this school year, and the girls had each prepared a speech on "Progress in America" (Samantha gave a speech on that topic in one of the books). Lily chose to talk about airplanes and air travel--but right in the middle of the speech an F-16 fighter jet went streaking overhead. She had to wait until the sound of the jet engine died down before finishing her speech. She was upset at first, but after we explained that people go to a lot of trouble to arrange flyovers for special events she thought it was pretty cool. Very appropriate to the topic of the speech!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bathroom Remodel Part 2

Looking better...

And better! The red behind the tub is not our color scheme (though I actually think it's pretty)--it's a special sealant paint that goes under the tile to keep water from seeping through (hopefully preventing a re-do of this whole thing in 5 years!)

Too bad I didn't take any photos of the bathroom before we started tearing things out--it was exceptionally ugly--20 year old linoleum, very sloppy amateur tiling (seriously, there was grout all over the tiles), and an aweful looking old jetted tub. Maybe I should be grateful for the rotted subfloor since it gave me an excuse to redo things!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Bathroom Remodel

We had a problem with water damage to our bathroom's subfloor (we knew about the problem, although not it's extent, when we bought the home)--so we're doing some remodeling work. OK, we're not doing most of the work--we've hired a contractor, who has been fabulous to work with. The picture above shows the new tub we ordered--cast iron, because Dan wanted something that will last. It's not ready to be installed yet, so the children haved turned it into a boat in the living room. That hole near one end was obviously designed just to hold a mast!

Here's the bathroom with the old tub and half the subfloor torn out...We don't have another tub or shower, so anyone who wants to shower this weekend gets to go to the gym!
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

So much of the world left to see...

visited 25 states (11.1%)
Create your own visited map of The World

I saw this on a friend's blog and thought it would be fun. Obviously I'm going to need a couple more lifetimes to see the whole world. Especially given that I've only seen a small portion of each country visited.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New additions to the family

These sweet girls (we think) joined our family a couple of weeks ago. They're beautiful kittens and very tolerant of all the love they get from the kids.
After a drizzly morning the rain sun is shining. I love springtime! Luke and Esther are fighting, I think I'll send them outside.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Give me more!

Esther caught me sneaking a bite of ice cream while I was fixing breakfast this morning. I decided it was only fair to share what was left in the carton (it wasn't much) so I got out three bowls--one for each of my older children. When she saw me dividing the ice cream into the bowls, Esther protested "I don't think Lily and Luke want ice cream!"
"Oh, I think they do," I replied.
"Well, make sure you give me more!" came the response.

I guess sharing doesn't come naturally at age 3...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Cookie Making

Growing up, my family had a rule traditionally honored in the breach: No Babies On The Table. as you can see, I have continued the tradition.

We were making cookies for a cub scout pack meeting last Thursday. I had plenty of volunteers to help.

Some of the volunteers were actually helpful!
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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mark, 10 months

I owe the photo to my brother, I really need to find my camera...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Missing the sun

Utah gets a lot of sun, even in the winter, but it's gloomy and rainy today. I'm ready for spring! I'm itching to get out into the garden--I planted 10 fruit trees, and I've been building some square foot garden boxes for the kids. And we've got tomato and bell pepper seedlings started. But I want to get outside and get my hands into the dirt!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I have the sweetest husband in the world

Yesterday evening I was telling my husband how frustrated I felt--baby Mark has been super clingy lately, he wants me to carry him everywhere (all 30 lbs of him), and won't nap for more than 15 minutes at a stretch. I know it's because he's going through a rough patch of teething right now, but I can't get anything done. My house is a mess, I'm still not unpacked, and I'm trying hard not to neglect the children's need for my attention. I'm not prone to depression, but I admit I've been feeling a bit down--I really hate the feeling of not being able to get ANYTHING done because whatever I start is interrupted, and there is so very much that needs to be done...

Dan's response was to tell me to call a friend and go shopping, get out of the house, he would watch the kids. So I did. I spent some happy time (and money too) in a bookstore, picked up some groceries I needed, and came home at bedtime.

I felt so much better, and so very grateful for a husband who was willing to sacrifice his own need for rest after a long day to let me get out.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Esther's snack

Esther is 3, and she likes to do things by herself. She also likes to report her activities to me. Here is her report from a minute ago:

E: I was putting honey on raisins (pause) for a snack.
mom: hmm
E: Because I was hungry.
mom: that sounds like a nice snack.

This is where I get in trouble with my housekeeping. Instead of thinking: "uh-oh, what kind of a mess is my child making in the kitchen?" I think: "how nice, my child is being self-reliant and fixing her own snack!"
Unfortunately, self-reliance and messes tend to go together where children are involved...

Getting Settled

We're in our new home, busy unpacking (yes, we've been here a couple of weeks--but unpacking is an ongoing process) and organizing. There is so much more to moving than just going to a new place and being in a new house. Here's my partial list of things that go in to "getting settled":

--finding a home
--working out the finances of the move
--learning your way around
--registering cars
--getting new driver's licenses
--homeschool registration (and learning the laws of the new state)
--finding new doctors--family practice, pediatrician, specialists...
--finding and choosing activities and classes for the kids--music teachers, sports, etc.
--finding and getting involved with local homeschool groups
--learning where to shop--where to find what and who has the best prices
--finding service providers for whatever the family's needs are--hair cuts, plumbers, repairmen, auto shop, piano tuner...honestly the list is endless
--updating mailing addresses and subscriptions
--adjusting and getting involved in a new church
--making friends (we all need them)
--Oh yea, unpacking and organizing

I'm sure others could chime in, the list is far from finished. For those with children in school, substitute the homeschooling items for new school registration and adjustment issues. And of course I haven't had to deal with any of the myriad issues that arise when a move is to another country--I have no idea how my mother managed to navigate through 8 different international moves. It's hard enough finding my way around the local grocery store when I don't know the lay-out, at least I don't have to rely on the pictures on cans to figure out what is inside! Of course, the real challenge is that regular life has to go on while all this is happening--meals have to be fixed, children need to be taken care of, people get sick...

Growing up, I always felt like it took me 18 months to feel settled in a place. Of course, we were dealing with all of the living overseas, needing to learn a new language issues on top of regular moving issues; even so, it just takes a long time for the dust and chaos of moving to settle down, and for a place to really start feeling like home.

Parable of the Grocery Store

Another homeschooler posted this, and I liked the analogy so I am reposting. Her information is at the bottom.

Let's say the government made a law that we are assigned our closest
grocery store to shop at. We can only shop at our assigned store unless
we want a boundary exception, which are scarce. At first, we think, "OK,
I like my local Albertson's so I'm happy with this new law."
A few weeks later, you discover that a couple miles down the road, your
friends tell you that Wal-mart has cheaper canned goods than
Albertson's. You are frustrated that there is a difference in what you
are getting. Shouldn't they all be the same if they are operated by the
Two months later, you realize the produce at your Albertson's is rancid
all the time. You can never get good, fresh produce. At the Fry's
however, everyone boasts of the best, freshest produce they have ever
had! You LOVE fresh produce and would rather drive a distance and pay
more to shop at Fry's for the fresh produce than at Albertson's. You
apply for a boundary exception and you are told there is a two year
waiting list. What? Two years to wait until you can get good produce?
But, your family needs good produce now.
You want to sell your house and move closer to Fry's so that it would be
your assigned store, but you cannot afford any of the houses in that
You are discouraged, but your neighbors seem fine with not having fresh
produce. They accept canned vegetables in place of fresh produce and
make the best of the situation. They apply their time towards trying to
help Albertson's acquire better produce. They volunteer to help and see
some improvements at times. They encourage all of their neighbors to not
go anywhere else, but to stay with Albertson's so that they can improve
their situation.
A woman next door is frustrated and decides not to even bother with
boundary exceptions or the assigned grocery store. She decides to grow
her own food and plants a garden. She raises chickens and a pig. She
works all day long on raising her own food. You and your neighbors are
stunned. The work she puts into her own food seems ludicrous to you. You
would never put in that time and effort for your own food. The grocery
store saves you a lot of time and effort. Plus, almost everyone you
know, except the woman next door, uses the grocery store.
The woman next door toils all day long on her food production. Sometimes
her carrots are small, her tomatoes eaten by worms, and her lettuce
wilts before she can use it all. The neighborhood laughs saying, "You
should just stop wasting your time! The grocery store is so much more
convenient." The woman next door is saddened that no one encourages her
in her efforts. She feels lonely and judged for being different.
Over time as you get by with canned produce even though you would prefer
fresh, the woman next door has perfected her food production skills. Her
tomatoes are getting plumper and wormless, her carrots are turning out
better, even though they are still smaller than the ones at the grocery
store. Sometimes, she even has extra zucchini to share with her
neighbors. Her zucchini is really the best you've ever seen.
This is the same as education. One family may value a certain sports
program (canned food) or academic program (produce) than what is offered
at your school. Some may even choose to grow their own (educate their
children at home).
Shouldn't we have the choice? Shouldn't we stop judging each other for
their choices and uplift and encourage each other?
I do not want anyone's choice taken away. I want all to have what they
feel is best for their family. I hope everyone will respect the need for
choice and support boundary exception, open enrollment, charter school
and homeschool laws that allow these freedoms.
By Celeste Batchelor -- February 8,
2011http://batchelorfam .blogspot. comhttp:/ /springfieldtjed .blogspot. com