Monday, April 30, 2007

Boyz in the Backyard

I have to admit, I love my perfect spring afternoon like this and I forget all winter snow, Nor'easter rains and stifling summer days. The kids love exploring the "forest" behind our house, especially when the stream is full after spring rains. It's wonderful to have a little bit of wilderness right out the back door.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Happy Birthday, Twinkies!

Wow! I can't believe that the boys are three...I always told myself during those dark newborn nights that if I could just make it the first three years with twins, the rest would be a breeze. Of course, I didn't realize that at the end of the three years, I would have two three-year-olds...not exactly a relaxing situation...but at least I have survived this leg of the marathon. Who knows what twists and turns lie ahead?

We celebrated with a family party, chocolate cake and presents. The twinks loved their new clothes from Nana and Papa, sand toys from Oma and Opa, books, t-shirts, blocks and beads. Some of the partygoers were happier than others. Some guests were high on Vicodin and the rest of us wish we were too.

Just for fun...see if you can "guess the twin"...
  1. ...who is completely potty trained (including nighttime!)
  2. ...who can do seat-drops and mini-flips on the trampoline
  3. ...who hates to touch anything wet or dirty
  4. ...who enjoys tattling on the other kids
  5. ...who loves broccoli
  6. ...who makes snoring noises during the prayer
  7. ...who is left-handed
  8. ...who loves instant oatmeal (uncooked)
  9. ...who says "I not in trouble...I happy!"
  10. ...who loves getting haircuts and dental check-ups

***1-5=Lukey 6-10=Sambo

Friday, April 27, 2007

Who Needs a Birthday Party?

So the Teddy Bear Picnic 3rd birthday party was cancelled today and so is my trip to BYU Women's Conference next week (sniff). Brad is home from the hospital and doing ok...he is still in a lot of pain, but the painkillers make him nauseous. His lungs are doing better and his breathing seems to have improved. Showering, dressing, typing on the computer are all a challenge with only one arm...but if anyone can work through this, it's the B-Rad.

The silver lining in a mini-drama like this one is all the love and help and support we've received. The church ladies have brought in meals and done babysitting and folded my laundry and filled my fridge with groceries. One of my neighbors started a meal calendar and it is filled until May 16th! She emailed me the list and I don't even know some of the names...I can't believe how many wonderfully good people there are in the world.

Thanks for all your phone calls, emails and prayers. We are so thankful...

My new favorite book

This book is amazing!!! I cannot recommend it highly enough. I laughed, I cried, I learned a lot and mostly was just enchanted by the characters, plot and message of "Al Capone Does My Shirts" by Gennifer Choldenko.

Set on Alcatraz in 1935, it's the story of Moose, son of a prison guard, and his family and friends and their adventures. Choldenko was a tour guide on Alcatraz and adds lots of fascinating historical facts about the prison.

It is written for a middle-school age audience, but will capture anyone's interest, no matter their age. Loved it, loved it, loved it!!!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


A tip to consider...

If your husband has recently been involved in an extreme-sport-macho-mountain-biking-trail-jumping type accident lately and has, in fact, sustained several serious injuries which will probably preclude him from all transportation responsibilites, landscape maintenance, childcare duties, grocery procurement, laundry assistance, trash removal or mealtime preparation...perhaps you should not be in such a hurry to dispose of the beloved mountain bike...maybe you should consider taking it for a sunset spin on your own. A few days in the hospital might be just what you need!

As The Gab Blog Turns...Episode 39

In this exciting episode, we find our hero in the hospital for a brief stay due to a daring bike stunt gone wrong.
Bad jump+crazy landing=Broken clavicle, scapula, 4 broken ribs and a partially collapsed lung.
Bummer, dude!
Tune in next time for more crazy adventures...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

New Book

My bookclub is reading "A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier" by Ishmael Beah. I just started it and am hooked. It is the true story of a 12 year old boy in Sierre Leone becoming a rebel soldier. I have heard that it is quite upsetting in some parts but has a positive message. I'll let you know when I finish...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I know why Santa comes down through the fireplace...because he is a guy.
Guys love fire! Especially the guys at my house. The only consolation in the stormy weather is the fact that every night Brad builds a crispy, crackly fire and we roast marshmallows. Nothing gets my kids hustling through doing dishes, taking showers and putting on pjs faster than the promise of a firenight.
Brad is the biggest pyromaniac in the family. Sunday night we were having some quiet family time around the hearth. The storm was churning outside, but we were snug and safe. Everyone was getting warm and was Norman Rockwellian. Then...BOOM!...the whole room shook and my heartrate went sky high. Was it thunder? Lightning? Terrorists?
"It was just an old firecracker I put in with the firewood!" my husband 'fessed up after several minutes of silent laughter.
"Where did you get an old firecracker?" I wondered.
"It was out with my stuff," he sheepishly explained.
(You see, he has a not-so-secret collection of stuff out in the garage. He had just been digging around in it to see if he could find his old Cub Scout badges to show the kids...of course he did find them, along with a Texas Rangers baseball ticket from 1983 and, apparently, an old firecracker. The man is amazing!)
"I didn't think it would really go off," he reasoned.
"Kinda like the time when we were serving as 'responsible adult leaders' on the Church youth Pioneer Trek campout and you threw the whole pot of cooking oil on our fire just to see what would happen?" (What did happen, for those of you wondering, was a great wall of flame, an explosion of sound, eyebrow-melting heat and some very concerned Stake youth leaders...I am amazed they asked him back the next time!)
One friend of mine suggested that if anyone really wanted teenage boys to pay attention in Sunday School or any learning setting, they would just construct big firepits in the middle of every classroom. The boys would be drawn like moths and you could fill their heads while they watched the flickering flames.
Actually, now I'm realizing, maybe all those candle-lit honeymoon nights were not for me after all....

Monday, April 16, 2007

News Splash...

So, what exactly is a "Nor'easter"? I don't know...

Not that the weather guys on Action News have not tried to educate me with their maps, Doppler and eye-witness excitement. I gather that it has to do with the ocean and winds and warm/cold fronts. The weather guys are loving their meterological celebrity status right now.

In the words of my favorite weatherman, Winnie-the-Pooh, it is a "blustery kind of day. Oh bother..."

The sump pump is chugging to keep our basement dry and one of the dormer windows is leaking. The kids all have runny noses and coughs. All we want to do is stay home, eat popcorn, watch movies and roast "smellows" on the crackling fire.

It's good curl-up-with-a-good-book weather, too.

Unfortunately, Nor'easters and I have a past...we don't like each other.

Exhibit A: July 2006
This was the crazy storm last summer which blew so many trees down, we were without power for 2 1/2 days! No A/C, no phone, no TV, food rotting in the fridge. Brad was in Colorado and I was crying myself to sleep at night in my hot, humid bedroom without even an icecube to cool me down! The camel's back broke when Jake and I tried to return the shade umbrella to it's rightful place in the patio table and dropped it, shattering 500 lbs worth of glass tabletop. We are still picking up the pieces...

Exhibit B: July 2005
Brad was in Buffalo and I had just said goodbye to a houseful of company. The house was a disaster and my 6, 4 and two 1 year olds were not helping any. The Nor'easter came without warning. During the 36-hour downpour, the kids managed to call 911 (for fun), cut each other's hair and brake a femur bone. (For details, read "Sam gets a Spica Cast"...coming soon...)

So, I've got my game face on...whatever this Nor'easter brings, I'll be ready! Stay tuned, you can read all about it!


The kids and I tried an exciting new combination this morning...microwave popcorn and chocolate chip cookie dough. It is delicious...I don't know why nobody thought of this before!!!

Try for yourself and eat while watching "Flushed Away" or "Stranger than Fiction"...both movies we watched this weekend. Excellent...I especially liked the Dustin Hoffman character.

Friday, April 13, 2007

All I Really Need to Know I Learned at Spin Class

Tues and Thurs mornings 6 am...I am there! Early morning spin class is the highlight of my week. (Unfortunately, the other joy in my life is eating raw brownie batter and I think the two cancel each other out...) Nevertheless, spin has taught me some important lessons that I think can be applied to the rest of our lives....
1. Always position yourself near a fan; avoid sitting near men in sweatbands.
2. You can never have too much water.
3. Be nice to high school cheerleaders, they will grow up to be your instructor.
4. Do not judge others' abilities, they just may have more resistance on their bikes.
5. Do not judge your own ability, you can handle more tension than you think.
6. Downhill sprints are much more fun than uphill climbs.
7. Listening to "Beautiful Day" by U-2 makes any climb bearable.
8. Take time to breathe.
9. Wearing expensive gear doesn't make up for lack of talent.
10. Always wipe down the seat when you're done.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Mmmm Mmmm Good!

Today I made one of my favorite soups. This recipe may be a repeat for some of you because I give it out a lot. It's worth another try, because it is perfect this time of year when you're looking to use up some leftover Easter ham.

My kids ate two bowls each!

Ham & Navy Bean Soup
1 lb. dry navy beans
5 cups water
1 can beef consomme
1 chicken boullion cube
1 chopped onion, cooked until limp in 1 Tbsp. butter
1 cup chopped carrots
2 cups chopped ham
3 bay leaves
salt and pepper
Soak beans overnight. (Or cover in water, boil 3 minutes and then turn off heat and let beans soak in hot water for one hour.) Then drain and rinse.
Add 5 cups water, broth and boullion. Simmer for 2 hours. Then add rest of ingredients. (You may need to add more water, it thickens as it simmers.)
Serve with warm bread and a fresh green salad! Healthy and delicious...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Testosterone in Training

My eight year old's thoughts: "Girls always want to shop."

Me: "Don't guys ever like to shop?"

8-year-old: "Only for gear..."

Monday, April 9, 2007


Today in the car we were driving over an old bumpy road. Em's comment was, "This road could really use a new paint of coat!"
This is her world we also read the morning "papernews" and the "mowlawners" come to take care of the yard.
She also reads her "Charlie and Lola" books with a jolly good British accent. Gwyneth, eat your heart out!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Easter Pix

These were taken on my cellphone, since something is wrong with my camera...also L. did not want to be photographed, but of course he was wearing the same outfit as S. so you can fill in the rest...


An Easter tip...

If you find yourself tempted to spend a large amount of money on Easter clothing for your children, first consider the following:

  1. 1. You live in the matter how much you would like to deny it, there will be snow/rain/hail or raging winds on Easter Sunday. Sleeveless dresses, lace anklets and ballet flats are not appropriate.

2. Child #4 will not enjoy the crisp-starched stiffness of his new Ralph Lauren button-down. You will have to chase him around your bedroom to try and get it on his body. In the end, you will compromise. He will don the offending Easter-wear if he can eat 10 jellybeans, watch Wonder Pets and sport a non-scratchy turtleneck underneath.

3. This same child will deliver a springtime surprise in his training pants during Church Nursery. Although it may slightly resemble a chocolate Easter egg, all similarities end there....

4. The well-meaning lady sitting next to you at church will thoughtfully give each of your children huge bags of chocolate Easter sweeties right before the meeting begins. These will be wrapped in the crinkliest of cellophane and messiest of foil wrappers. Before you can hide them away, child #3 will sniff out the goods and emerge a cocoa-coated mess before the opening hymn.

5. Child #1 will not wear anything new, since he has become addicted to his post-baptism uniform: white shirt, clip-on tie and CTR tie-tack (thanks, Auntie Stie)!

So, instead of drooling over the petticoats & pinstripes in the children's your money and head over to women's shoes. Go ahead and splurge on the red peep-toe espedrilles. Lady, you deserve 'em!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Another Good Read

My sister, Amy, introduced me to the Maisie Dobbs series. I loved the first two and now I'm deep into the third, Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear. They are detective stories set in 1930's London, chock-full of historical details. Maisie is a new-age gal, a bit ahead of her time. Enjoy!

Holy Smokestack!

We are back and we had SOOOO much fun! Lancaster Co. may not sound like a hot spring break destination...but Amish country actually has a lot to offer. We stayed at Willow Valley, a fun family-friendly resort, with indoor pools and waterslides, golf course and a great Dutch country smorgasbord. (The kids loved buffet dining...esp. the soft serve ice cream machine!)

Our first stop was Intercourse (insert dirty joke of your choice here) where we visited the Kitchen favorite for jams and jellies! We also did a day in Strasburg which is Choo Choo Capital, USA...perfect for my two 2-year-olds. They were delighted with the toy train museum and an Easter Bunny train ride.
The Easter Bunny delivered baskets to our hotel and everyone is delighted with their goodies. Jake and Em got Webkinz...a tree frog and yorkie, for you collectors out there. Sam and Luke got Color Wonder. We all got too much candy. I feel my thighs expanding right now...
Family vacations are the greatest...although we always wonder why we pay so much money to sleep all together in one room?!
More photos to come...

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Da Boys

Sad Luke

Sam's Chug( Because you just can't get enough from one!)

Jake's New Teeth

Monday, April 2, 2007

He Will, He Will Rock You...

Once loved Motley has his own motley crew!

The Sins of the Fathers... oldest child has some new friends.

You might think this is a good thing, but it is not. You see, these are older boys who are not the kind of role models I would choose. In fact, they are kind of more like "sex-drugs-and-rock-n-roll" models. Their names are Steven, Joe, Brad, Tom and Joey. You guessed it, Aerosmith.

And who on earth introduced my son to these deliquents? Yes...his father.

I know that many of my readers will only recognize my husband as a Brooks-Brothers-wearing, salad-eating, Bishopric-going, VP-type guy. But under the dark suits and well-developed pectoral muscles beats the heart of a true blue ROCKER!!!

As an impressionable, young BYU coed whose musical tastes only ventured as far as Michael Jackson, Chicago, Barry Manilow and the B-52s, I was a little nervous about my boyfriend's wild side. But during our whirlwind courtship, I found myself strangely attracted to this bad boy and his hair bands. Along with my future husband, I fell in love with Van Halen, Def Leppard, Whitesnake and, yes, Aerosmith.

Before the kids came along, we loved to listen to all kinds of music. We jammed to his old stuff and listened to Kenny Rogers on road trips. The soundtrack of Evita was our favorite for a whole year. We saw Van Halen in concert and made a pilgrimage to Sammy Hagar's Cabo Wabo cantina while in Mexico. Once we even won free movie tickets by playing the Newlywed Game on KBER 101.

Then parenthood hit and we gave up late nights and loud music. We started to be good examples.

On the rare occasion that we are actually in the same car together, we are usually listening to Kidz Bop 8 or Spanish for Kids or blood-curdling screams from the backseat.

When my eight-year-old found his dad's old CD collection, I didn't know how to react. Did I really want my child to "Walk this Way" or feel "Sweet Emotion" so soon? How to tactfully explain that the pretty designs on the disk cover are actually photos of (gulp) the band's nipples?!

So...I'm sure Brad and I will come up with some parenting policy soon. The old music will probably go the way of R-rated movies, curse words and too-much junk food.

And in the meantime, I will be singing about the Dude who looks like a lady...
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