Saturday, June 30, 2007

Our Summer So Far...

This is how you feel after your twin gets you with the hose.

This is how you feel when you finish your first swim meet.

This is how you feel when you go to get a water ice for Family Night.
(Pronounced "wooder" ice...a local favorite, yum!)

This is how you feel when your brother gets you back!

This is how you feel when you start your first race (in a real Speedo)!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

This is what it feels like outside...

Fact one: Humidity makes you matter what you try. Forget the hair and makeup routine. It will all slide off in a matter of seconds. Ponytails and sunglasses are the only way to go.

Fact two: Humidity makes you stupid. Today was the second time in seven days my husband had to come and rescue me. I took the big kids to the movies (a cute show, by the way, and really fun soundtrack). Anyway, I realized we had no keys, and...after walking every square inch of the mall...found that I had locked them in the car! Again!

Fact three: Humidity makes you grumpy. Or, possibly, it could be that you are grumpy because you are ugly and stupid.

This Month's Bookclub Selection Is...

The Beekeeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King. I am just halfway through, but it is really good. A new twist on Sherlock Holmes...he has a young female apprentice and the two of them solve all kinds of mysteries together. Reminds me a lot of my favorite Maisie Dobbs books too...WWI setting in the British countryside. Love a good mystery!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Map to Me

*This post was inspired by my sister-in-law and her friend...both excellent writers. I enjoyed reading them so much, I decided to try my own. Where does your map lead?
Start as the lovechild of two young dreamers. Receive a name no one can pronounce or spell. Listen to fairy tales, lullabies and Watergate. Develop a great love for literature and music and a sour taste for politics. Live in a trailer court, a starter home and a place big enough to house the six other lovechildren who quickly become part of your life.
Watch Sesame Street and The Brady Bunch. Listen to John Denver, the Bee Gees and Mozart. Love elementary school. Write stories for little kids. Produce mini-plays and choreograph dance festivals. Read morning, noon and night. Enjoy being smart, cheerful and helpful. Wear clogs and a big comb in the back pocket of your jeans.
Break your arm playing kickball. Sprain your wrist crashing a bike down the "big hill". Swim at the Canyon Racquet Club. Get your first perm and the chicken pox on the same day. Go to Disneyland. Hear every day that you are smart, responsible, beautiful and talented. Believe it. Go to church every Sunday. Know your prayers are heard.
Wear corduroy knickers for your first day of middle school. Be taller than all the boys, for the first and last time in your life. Hate your straight hair and curly body. Figure out that it is now more important to be pretty than smart. Waste a lot of time trying to be more pretty and less smart. Fail algebra.
Spend a year in England. Receive your first real kiss from the-boy-next-door-with-a-unibrow. Decide boys and kissing are overrated. Return stateside and babysit a lot. Fail your driving test five times. Make a lot of friends, but never be "popular." Sing a solo for the entire school. Get good grades and enjoy them.
Head to BYU. Get homesick for those annoying little brothers and sisters. Make great friends. Declare a major. Meet a cute guy who is definitely NOT your type. Kiss him before Christmas break. Change your mind about boys and kissing. Get married eight months later. Live in a basement apartment with a blue shower.
Become a schoolteacher at age 22. Give spelling tests. Write lesson plans. Decorate bulletin boards. Love elementary school even more the second time around. Buy a little yellow house. Plant flowers. Make curtains. Set aside room for a nursery.
Wait and wait. Go to lots of baby showers. Cry. See lots of doctors. Cry. Take lots of painful tests. Cry. Try lots of fertility drugs. Cry.
Make a leap-of-faith move crosscountry. Start over. Build a big house. Plant flowers. Make curtains. Submit adoption papers. Pray for a miracle. Receive four tiny miracles, in rapid succession.
Find yourself in the whirlwind of mom-hood. Laugh a lot. Pray a lot. Realize you were a much better parent before you had children. Kiss that cute guy you married. Sweep the kitchen floor. Find two Fritos on the couch. Eat them. Smile. Write a blog. You're here...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


When packing your swim bag for a day at the pool with the children, don't forget the following:
  1. At least $300 per child for the snack bar.
  2. Oil free sunscreen for Mom.
  3. Tear free sunscreen for child #4.
  4. Spray on sunscreen for child #3.
  5. Roll on sunscreen for child #2.
  6. Neon purple sunscreen for child #1.
  7. A few token "healthy" snacks to supplement garbage purchased at the snack bar.
  8. Wipes--for cleaning up snacks and the "droppings" which will be left on the lawn by child #4. (He will pull down his swimsuit and GO...right while you are helping #2 get a towel after swimteam!)
  9. Jumbo sized bottle of hand sanitizer.
  10. Water wings, floating rings, diving sticks, flippers, goggles, snorkels, torpedos, sailboats, watering cans, and squirty fish...bring extras for the "friends" who will want to "share"!
  11. Extra set of car keys, since you will lock your original set in the car.
  12. A pair of very dark you won't have to make eye's going to be a long afternoon!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Piano Lessons

J & E had their first lesson today. Fortunately, the teacher really knows what she is doing and they thought it was a blast. or not...I think piano lessons are a good thing. I am so grateful my parents gave me lessons. I don't play very well, but I can read music a little and definitely have a greater appreciation for the artists who do.

Besides...piano-practicing is right up there with toothbrushing, bedmaking, homework-doing and dishwashing on the "HOW TO TORTURE YOUR KIDS" list! I'm all over it...

Monday, June 18, 2007

Comfort Reading

I've been reading Maeve Binchy's books since I was 16. I love her cozy little Irish stories. Sometimes they can be a little depressing, but mostly she writes about everyday people in unusual situations. My favorite Binchy reads are Light a Penny Candle, Circle of Friends, and The Glass Lake. The newest release is Whitethorn Woods and it's perfect summer reading.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happiness Is...

catching fireflies after dark
finding a nest of baby rabbits in the lawn
having friends sleepover all weekend
watching a little fish learn to swim
the smell of hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill
Sunday afternoon naps
remembering all our fathers taught us
We've had a great weekend...Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

How Many Days til September?!

Ok, so we are 6 1/2 hours into the first day of summer vacation. Already we have enjoyed:

  1. two potty accidents

  2. 45 minutes of car fighting as we took the "scenic route" to our picnic spot

  3. several dirty looks from the sporting goods store people as the twins tried to scale the miniature model of a blow-up pool slide

  4. four quarters' worth of Chiclets gum

  5. one run-in with Brad's boss (!) at the check-out aisle...complete with all four kids in full-spaz mode and me, holding a HUGE box of sanitary supplies

  6. one naked three-year-old on a bike in the cul-de-sac

  7. $2.75 worth of flavored water from the neighbor's lemonade stand

  8. one summer thunderstorm

  9. six "time-outs"

My husband's quote of the week..."Yeah, I think summer is really going to fly by this year!"

I wish...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

NY Memories


Friday, June 8, 2007

Berry Good

The wretched heat and humidity could not keep us away from the strawberry fields for another picking session! We left with 5 lbs. in our basket and several more in our tummies...mmmm!

Make Way for Ducklings

Mommas and their babies

(Photos by Aunt Min...the only one allowed to snap me from behind!)

So, we were so excited to go feed the of the twins' favorite activities. But someone must have put all the birds on a low-carb diet, because they were so aggressive that all of us ran screaming back to the car!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

3 kids, 5 bunnies and the $2 man

This is what Min and I saw at Rice's Flea Market today! We had a blast buying cheap jewelry and accessories, books for the kids and hand-crocheted fingerpuppets. Tomorrow...the beach!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

An Excellent Read-aloud!

I am reading my kids The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall and we are loving it! A great, old-fashioned family story about four sisters who are loving, loyal and very normal...having all kinds of adventures together in the Berkshires. It is the kind of story I would have LOVED in third or fourth grade. The sweet family values remind me a lot of the All-of-a-Kind Family books I adored in those days. Still, this book has plenty of action and excitement...enough to keep my son begging for just "one more chapter" every night. Best of's the first in a series. Hooray!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Grandpa Would Be So Proud!



Grandpa H. always made the best homemade jam. I am hoping I inherited the talent! This week we picked 15 pounds of strawberries and today I did my first real canning. It was a whole family affair: Em and the twinks picked, Shakey crushed, I stirred and Brad did the processing! Now we just need some homemade bread...

Friday, June 1, 2007

My Little Min

Yes, the one with the puffy sleeves and chubby cheeks is me...and on my lap is "Min", the baby sis. We are separated by 11 years and 5 siblings, but have always been the best of friends...probably because we never lived together very long! By the time Min was 7, I was off to college. I was married when she was just turning 9. So, with the exception of one glorious year in the same bedroom (don't get me started on her bedtime habits!), most of our bonding has been during our "sleepovers."

When I was a poor newlywed, Min would come for a long weekend. Brad and I would let her pick out her favorite movie ("Big Business" anyone?!) and feed her junk food. When I was a new teacher, Min would come help me set up my classroom every summer. At this point, she was a smart alecky teenager and would go through my pantry making fun of my food. She also mocked my grocery store and the Strawberry Days festival in my new hometown. Her favorite phrase when we'd go clothes shopping: "That's really cute...for you." (Translation: "I would only buy that if I were old, fat and you.") Min was a know-it-all, but I loved her anyway. She could make me laugh so hard I needed Depends.

Then I moved cross-country and the kids came along. Min was desperately needed! She came for a week every summer. My kids loved her energy and I loved her company during those intense toddler years. One summer, when my oldest two were both in particularly horrible developmental stages, I cried until Brad changed her ticket so she could stay another eight days! Another summer, I kept extending her visit until my mother called and told me to "set her free"...her boyfriend was going to propose the night she got home!

"NOOOOOO!" I could not let this happen. What would happen to our cozy sleepover arrangement once she got a husband? I tried to talk her out of marital bliss. Fortunately, Min got married anyway and her husband is THE BEST. I love him for many reasons, but mostly because he still lets her fly cross-country ever year to give me a week of sanity.

Min is coming for some heat, humidity and hectic-living this week...and I cannot wait. Of course, now you would not recognize her as that smart-mouthed know-it-all. She is the most poised, polished & poetic 20-something I know. In fact, she almost intimidates me. Go read her blog or visit her on-line shop...see what I mean?

I mean, where did the little sis who made me SlimFast and popcorn for dinner learn to bake, decorate and entertain crowds on a shoestring? How did the girl who mocked me all through water aerobics and Jane Fonda find time to train for a 5K run? Will the glamorous blonde with her cool friends, hip clothes and great taste still want to sing "Rainbow Connection" and giggle all night long under the covers?

Yes, she will...and that's why I am counting the hours til her plane comes in.

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