Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Thing About Little Brothers

The thing about little brothers is that they come along and steal your limelight.

They smell and make weird noises. They are the first to point out a zit on your chin. They celebrate the fact that you failed your driving test. Five times. And they never let you forget the time you decided to make a 173-point turn inside the garage, because you thought that would be easier than putting your VW Bug into reverse and backing out the driveway.


then they grow up and marry somebody really cool.

And they provide your kids with some of the world's best cousins!

And, suddenly, you realize that a little brother can be one of the most amazing people you know.

(Luckily, he will never hear this sappy confession, because he thinks blogs are as dumb as turning a VW around in the garage...)

Thanks, J & C!

Memories of a very Amish Thanksgiving...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Feelin' Brave

I'm feeling brave as I pack up my savages and get ready for a rustic Thanksgiving out of town. Some years I love setting the table and making the pies, but this year I'm very much looking forward to leaving the dishes in someone else's sink. This year I want to make memories instead of stuffing. Can't wait to meet up with my little bro and his pack o'pilgrims.

The problem is that I am way behind in my packing, cleaning and general road-trip readiness. This morning I chose Zumba class over prepping at home. Have you ever tried Zumba? Seriously my new favorite workout, even better than Spin class. Latin cardio dancing. It's so much fun. Shelley, our instructor, gets us shaking and shimmying and singing so hard...I forget I'm burning calories. (Note to self: Next time the kids act up, threaten to come to school and perform Zumba routine for the entire class. That oughta scare 'em straight.)

Also, thought I'd be "smart" and get out the Christmas decorations a little early. Not smart. The house is half-decorated/half-disaster. With a sprinkling of fake pine needles covering all flat surfaces. Silly me.

I am still in the throes of Operation Carbface. Not noticing major changes in facial shape. The facial expression has become quite grim, though. Diets make me cranky. Will be taking Thursday off, of course.

All right, must go. Time for this wigwam mama to gather up her tribe and vacuum pine needles outta the teepee.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Just Me and My Carb Face

A couple of weeks ago, I checked out this book from the library. Occasionally I enjoy reading diet books. Preferably while eating, of course. This one looked like it would go nicely with a big chocolate chip cookie. So I brought it home.
My philosophy about diet books is the same as my philosophy about parenting books. If I read a good parenting book, I feel like I am a good parent. Even if my parenting behavior has not changed. Same with a good diet book. I read it and instantly feel thinner.
But this book made a believer out of me. The author of this one made a claim that caught my attention. On page 188, Dr. Gullo promised that I could lose my carb face in 10 days.
What is a carb face? You may wonder. Well, here's what the book says,
"If you've ever looked closely at a person who has...binged on carbohydrates, his face often looks puffy and distended. This is what some of us who work in the field of weight management call the 'carb face.' "
I totally have a carb face.
But only for nine more days.
That's right, ladies and gentlemen! I have already completed one-tenth of the 10-day Gullo TurboCharge Diet. Just in time for Thanksgiving, too.
All I have to do is eat egg whites, fish, cottage cheese, and grapefruit for the next 240 hours. But don't worry, I won't starve to death. See, I get to have unlimited quantities of ice water, green vegetables, and sugar-free gum.
I don't want to be a size 2. I don't want to run a marathon. But I am fascinated by the thought of losing my carb face. So I'm going to try it. And I will keep you all in the loop.
Stay tuned.
Source: The Thin Commandments by Stephen Gullo, PhD [Rodale Books, 2005]

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Tomorrow is my turn to plan a Seminary game. I turn to my spouse for creative inspiration. "Hey Brad," I ask. "What was your favorite thing to play when you were a seminary student?"

Without hesitation, he says, "Spin the Bottle."

Not surprising. Not helpful either.


Sam at dinner table, "Ewwww. Do NOT get your eyeball juice on me again, Emmie!"

A little brother with a secret is a dangerous thing. Luke helped me pick out a surprise DVD to watch on our Thanksgiving roadtrip. Of course, he could not contain his excitement and started giving broad hints to his oldest brother.
"OK, OK! I'll just give you the first two letters.... U and P."

In line, at the H1N1 vaccination station, I heard a kindergartner mention my twins to his mom. I couldn't see him pointing, but I knew he was talking about us.

"Look, Mom!" he said. "Those boys are twins and they ride my bus. That one is the nice one. And that one is the mean one."

For the record, so far, nobody has 'fessed up to being the Mean One.
But I have my suspicions.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Photo Shoot

What do you get when you combine some cute kids, a seriously intense camera and one fantastic photographer?

You get an afternoon of adventure at the farm down the road!
(Not to mention a whole bunch of really great photos...coming soon to a Christmas card near you.)

We loved having Aunt Christie come to stay as she snapped, clicked and flashed her way through the Keystone State. I was seriously impressed with her professionalism and creative talent. This girl's got it together. She's so good!
As her honorary sista, I felt a whole lot of family pride and was excited to recommend her to my friends. It was just fun to be a part to of her East Coast debut.
In between gigs, Stie hung around for some late night chatting, a few good meals and one ridiculously heinous movie. (Oops, my bad...)
Still, it was one great weekend.

Say Cheese!
Go check out our photographer's website. She really makes everyone look beautiful.
While you're there, wish her a happy birthday! Love ya, Stie!

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Day the Vaccine Came to Town

My mom still remembers the day she got her polio shot. It was an historical and traumatizing event in her young life.
My kids had their own historical moment yesterday when the H1N1 vaccine finally came to town.
We stood in a line that wrapped around the high school with 11,000 of our closest friends and neighbors.
I have to confess that I dreaded the whole thing for days--the crowds, the crying, the craziness.
But I was pleasantly surprised. There were hundreds of volunteers, community helpers and medical staff.
The line moved quickly, the paperwork was minimal, the organization was simply fantastic.
My kids each took some big snorts with their little snouts.
And that's the last time they'll act like swine this season.
I hope.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Daughter, The Jock

Not a sports picture...but still pretty cute!

Emily started basketball this week. Soccer doesn't finish until later this month, so she's double-teamin' right now. She loves it and she's good. I'm proud of her. I'm impressed that she can actually throw and catch and dribble and kick. And run. And run. And run. Wow, this girl can run. So what if she didn't start walking 'til 18 months? She sure makes up for it now.

Miss Em lives for competition. She loves games and loves to win. Many evenings she chooses a few rounds of Uno over a bedtime story. Most times she wins. Fair and square.

I love having an athletic daughter. I always admired the girls who could flirt with the boys and then beat 'em on the tennis court. I always wanted to be the sporty type. But it's kinda hard to be sporty if you hate running and are afraid of the ball.

Back in my Elementary Ed days at BYU, I had to take a course for future gym teachers. To pass the class I was required to do the following:

  1. Stand on my head for 60 seconds. I am not kidding.
  2. Make five free-throw shots in a row.
  3. Throw a football some ridiculous number of yards away from my body.

Luckily, that semester I had this really cute boyfriend who was also pretty athletic. I felt all helpless and feminine while he showed me the finer points of throwing a spiral. So romantic! I was sure the big He-Man was falling hopelessly in love with Dainty Li'l Me.

It worked. But a few months later, after we were engaged and talking about our future family, he said, "I just hope our kids take after me, you know, in the coordination department."

Fortunately (and, quite miraculously, actually) they all did.

And, because one of the best (and worst) things about being a mom is reliving your own childhood through your kids' I can proudly say that I am a girl jock, too.

Yay, team!

Monday, November 9, 2009

In Praise of Monday Morning

The best-kept secret of motherhood is Monday morning.

After a whole weekend of soccer games, Pet Pals club, play dates, Chuck-E-Cheese, errand running, Sabbath "resting" and family togetherness...Monday morning is my return to sanity.

I put the big kids on the bus, the little kids in front of Caillou, turn on my podcasts and then I'm on my own.

With 700 lbs. of dirty laundry, of course.

The thing is, I don't really even mind emptying wastebaskets, folding laundry and scrubbing the kitchen floor. On a Monday morning, it's my time. (As opposed to Saturday family chore time which I know is important, but let's face it, can be agonizing.)

I sort my thoughts as I separate the darks and whites. I scrub a grubby corner of the pantry and let my mind tackle a tricky scheduling dilemma. I wipe fingerprints off the glass door and resolve to improve parenting mistakes. It's Monday! A fresh start!

I learned early in my stay-at-home career that it was best to keep Monday's AM calendar square relatively clear. No doctor's appointments, no swimming lessons, no obligations. The foundation I lay Monday morning sets the tone for the entire week. And if I can get my house pulled back together, I feel a whole lot better about me, too.

The dryer is beeping. Is there anything better than fresh, warm towels? Or is that just me?

Enjoy your Monday, friends!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fifth Inning Musings

9:39 PM--I am sitting on the couch watching the World Series. Em is asleep next to me. Jake is foraging in the kitchen. He loves staying up on school nights and I am enjoying his company.

Brad is watching on the West Coast. It is weird to watch sports without him. Basically he serves as my own personal sportscaster. I can blog, read, plan my Seminary lesson, or sleep on the sofa and he'll keep me informed. I like his commentary and explanations. Also his snacks. Brad makes really delightful late night snacks.

I want the Phillies to win, but it's not looking good right now. And, let's face it, I haven't done anything for them this year. So how can I demand a championship? They owe me nothing.

I'm worried about Jake, though, he's taking this very personally.

It's fun to have a pre-teen in the house. Even though Jake's social development can be a little unpredictable, he is growing into a very typical young man physically and emotionally. Just a few centimeters behind me and with a mouthful of train tracks, the kid is every inch a tween.

Of course, I'm not crazy about the mood swings and I need to spend my entire clothing budget replacing all his high-waters. But it's fun to have a male presence, someone who knows all the Phillies' names and laughs at the goofy commercials.

I like watching sports with cute boys. And this one still lets me kiss him goodnight.
Go Phils!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Halloween was not about me this year.

It used to be all about me. My costume inspirations. My pumpkin carving skills. My beautifully decorated sugar cookies.

Well. This year I let the little people take charge and guess what? Halloween survived without me. Seriously. Who needs sugar cookies?

Look what they came up with all on their own...

Jake designed his own zombie costume. It was bloody. It was scary. His newly-installed oral hardware added a sinister gleam. I offered to buy any ortho-threatening candy for 5 cents a piece. But Brad doubled my offer and Jake is no dummy.

Girls of a certain age like to dress up to match their friends. I support it wholeheartedly, as long as they are not showing too much skin. Em is a die-hard Dr. Suess fan and came up with this idea weeks ago. The blue hair looked much better in person.

Sam was all set with a Harry Potter costume...or so I thought. Five minutes before the kindergarten bus, he burst into tears and refused to wear the robe, the lightning bolt or the Hogwarts tie.
The only costume that made him happy was this dinosaur costume which once belonged to Jake. At age 3. It was so snug, we called Sam "Wedgiesaurus." He was thrilled with himself.

Nascar Luke was typically easy-going and cooperative. Still, he balked at the idea of a helmet or makeup. (I thought a little pencilled facial hair might be fun...but it's not about me, right?) This was the first year the twins didn't dress alike for Halloween. The end of an era. I'm a little sad about it.

Brad does not dress up. He wears plaid and denim and watches the Phillies.
The highlight of my week was meeting up with my blog buddy, Jessica. (Yes, she really is this pretty!) Next year she's going to come trick-or-treating with me and we're going to wear matching costumes and spray our hair blue.
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