Friday, December 24, 2010

And so I'm offering this simple phrase....

 for kids from 1 to 92...

Although it's been said...many times, many ways....
MERRY CHRISTMAS to YOU!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Happy Birthday to me...

A couple of days ago, I went and bought a small fake tree. Yes.  I just did it.  It was cheap, and I couldn't stand the thought of not having any tree at all.  So up went our little table top tree...with a special something underneath.  You see, at thanksgiving I grabbed a couple of boxes out of the storage unit that I thought were fabric, but were totally something else.  It was some sewing supplies other "stuff" and at the bottom was my teddy bear.  Tears kinda came up as I looked at my rag-0-muffin bear that has been through thick and thin with me, and then stuffed carelessly into the bottom of a box as if it were part of the packing material instead of something worth keeping.

just like this one...only green
 I started thinking about my toys.  Everyone always asks me if I hate having a birthday so close to Christmas...the answer?  not really.  If my birthday is on a Saturday, then Christmas and New years are all on Saturday.  That means 3 weeks of total fun.  On the other hand, my mom was usually a little overwhelmed by the whole thing by the time my birthday rolled into town. So a lot of times it would be, "for your birthday, you can open one of your Christmas presents early"....Great, thanks.  But really, it didn't matter that much.  Christmas is a pretty magical time, and to be linked at all with it, as a kid, was good.  I do have one memory, really very few stand out, but one does.  It was one of those years of opening a present early...it was a Barbie doll case.  It was bright green and round, and it had that wonderful smell.  Anyone who has had Barbie dolls or new plastic toys knows that smell I'm talking about. It is such a good, I don't know...plastic smell!  I can't describe it.  It's like new car smell for kids!  I was over the moon about my empty Barbie doll case.  I crawled under the Christmas tree with my case...and opened the zipper and breathed in the beautiful new plastic smell.  Then I looked up into the middle of the tree.

The colored lights spoke to me...I squinted my eyes so that all the colors melted together and glowed. I laid there for a couple of hours dreaming and squinting at the lights.   That's it.  The whole memory.  Me under the tree squinting and smelling my plastic.






We did have a Barbie...honestly I don't know if it came before or after the case...it was awesome either way.  She had big blue eyeshadow and I'm pretty sure was just like this one:
non-bendable...totally cool.
 Later we added a "Midge" doll and lots of other Barbies that were the new and improved bendable leg ones.  Then came the "Little Kiddles" Now there was some serious fun.  I collected tons of them and even threw in a martian thingy-doll just to spice the collection up.  (Years later, when I was leaving home, I packed the whole Kit and Kaboodle up and gave it all to my nieces to continue on with.



So this week I have been staring up into my small little table top tree, squinting my eyes.  Apologizing to my teddy bear for throwing him unceremoniously into a box of stuff....and dreaming of new toys.
Oh...and by the way...Christmas and New Years are on Saturday this year....I know that just because.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Old Dog....new Trick

picture day 1970....not a good hair day.
Let's be clear.  I have pretty much had long hair my whole life...I mean my whole life. OK except that one time that I got it cut in the sixth grade, (ya...I wasn't happy about it either)




 But, I learn from my mistakes and never went down that road again.  I have cut it a few times throughout the years, but always kept it at least to my shoulders.  I must admit that my problem has always been how to "do my hair....you know like in a "do".  I have problem hair.  It waves in all the wrong places...it waves more underneath than on top, and more at the roots, then goes straight at the ends.  I mean what's a girl to do?  And there is just no "letting it go"  I mean if I let it go then I start to look like...
Like I said....there is no "letting it go".  the end.

So recently, I went home for a quick fix at Kindle's Salon.  (isn't it ironic that Kindle is my daughter?  I know, right!?)  She makes sure I have a great cut and color and generally uses smoke and mirrors and lots of wax to make sure that the "Dude looks like a lady"...if you know what I mean.  

Side note-
Getting eyebrows, mustache,(or Mrs.stache...) and nose hair waxed is just the worst pain ever...but, and it's a big BUT...it makes you feel like you've had a face lift.  FOR REAL!  One of our favorite family activities is WAX all around for everyone!  (except the boys always cry...you know who you are...)

So this last visit to the salon, I told Kindle how frustrating it is after she makes my hair look so good, that within 24 hours I look like 1980 all over again.  I can never make it do the same thing she makes it do.  She has shown me a hundred times how to blow it dry, always with her doing it and explaining how to do it.  This time I suggested that I do it and she could move my hands to make it right... This is how it went:

Me-  "Kindle, I can't do this... "
Kindle- "Mom, I've shown you a thousand times..."
Me- "I know, but I can't hold the blow dryer over my head that long...."
Kindle- " It doesn't take as long as holding the curling iron (which incidentally makes you look like 1980...)"
Me-  "But I can't keep the wet hair separate from the dry hair...."
Kindle- "Mom!  They are all going to the same place!  All the hair is going to DRY LAND!  just quit worrying about it!....No, no, no, the brush in your right hand the blow dryer in your left..."

well before you know it.... voila!  My life has been transformed! 
Now just look at me go...

 It only took me 50 years to finally figure it out....

I know what you're thinking....
But it's the little successes in life that keep me going...you know?



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Giving Thanks

 I told him when he left..."You come home to me....alright..."   He did....




...and I was so glad.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

R.O.U.S.

People!  There is a plague across the land.  Yes, a plague....and it is affecting my life in alarming ways.   I have known, since we moved here that the animal life in our apartment complex is abundant, with squirrels scampering up and down trees.  I thought it was totally charming at first, until one day I was headed toward the laundry room to put my clothes into the dryer...and an evil squirrel threatened me in broad daylight!  I had unwittingly gotten between him and his nuts (ummm) and he was not having it.  He gave me a look like this:

Being the wimp that I am, I stopped dead in my tracks and high tailed it back to the safety of my apartment, where I could look at the wildlife where God intended me to...from behind the window.
 But wait, there's more...yes...much more.  We discovered when Kindle and Ben were here that at night the other woodland animals come out to play.  of course, I don't play, but Rob and Ben did play a little raccoon hockey one night.  (I shut my eyes and plugged my ears while chanting "la-la-la-la..." so I would not know about it.  Hey it works...)  Then about a week ago, we opened our front door to find a possum on our front porch!  To top it all off, this came out on the news:
WOMAN ATTACKED BY PACK OF RACCOONS!" 
(click on link to read full account)
 The story reads like a zombie movie!  she's running away then trips and they get her!  Are you kidding me?!!
 What is up with this? And why does the victim always trip and fall?   ROUS's (rodents of unusual size) are real, people, REAL!  Then, some guy says on the news, casually, that this is the 9th report of animals being attacked or killed....but they are not planning a mass attack on the racoons!  Oh no!  they are wildlife and are to be protected!  Whatever!  I think we should have coon skin hats all around...on the house!
They are not cute, people, not cute at all.  I don't care if they do have a little mask on like zoro....
la-la-la-la-la-la....

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Don't worry....be Mattie....

20 years ago I was pregnant, stressed out, running on empty, and ready to go crazy. The baby was due the end of October and to make matters worse, our dog "Betty" was preggars too!   To be quite honest, I was praying that the baby would not be born on Halloween. There was just so much going on with school, and costumes, and carnivals, and just stuff...how was I going to fit having a baby in the middle of all that? A stormy Halloween night came and the kids did their thing.  I stayed home to give out candy, when I discovered Betty in a total panic.  She was trying to figure out where she could go to hide...Oh how I understood.  We made a place downstairs for her and proceeded to help her deliver her pups.  I was sooo happy it was her and not me!  I made it for 2 more days before I went into labor, and baby number 5 came into our world.   I took  Mattie home to kids, and dogs, and crazy, and my post baby surgery (tubal ligation) plus blood clot complications to boot.  oh my.....

She was just days old...all the kids were outside messing with puppies and playing in the fall leaves....I fnally caught a moment of quiet with my new sweety. There we were, in the "eye of the storm" for just a few moments. I stroked her dark hair and kissed her full rosy lips....darling.  I knew it was my last and I wanted to remember every moment.  I whispered in her ear to not grow too fast so I could remember it for the rest of my life, what it feels like to touch my newborn babies head, or feel the wrinkles on her back. She responded with a long stretch and yawn.   Then her little lazy head bobbled and she behaved like a bean bag...as if to say, "don't worry, be happy".
 

Looking back, I realize that she wasn't  upset by all the chaos...  She was listening to her own little drum beat and enjoying her life to the fullest.  I have come to understand that Mattie has the most interesting drum beat....it became very evident as she got older. Her imagination as a little kid was unparalleled and some of her escapades were legend...like the ongoing fight at dinner time on who would get a girl fork vs. a boy fork.  Yes you read it right....Personally,
I could never see any genitalia on any of the silverware, so what is a parent to do?  We finally deciphered that the girl ones were the salad forks and the boy ones were dinner forks...who knew?...and how did she come to that conclusion with her parents as examples...hmmm? (I am taller than the DPR)  I know, I know...it's that darn secret drum beat that she has going....
I try often to hear that beat...and occasionally we both hear it and dance and laugh together.  And that's when I thank Heavenly Father....for sending her to us.  With this crazy-good different drum beat, she is one of us...part of the band and she makes it all more interesting.

Twenty years ago I was pregnant...and nothing has been the same, since.



Saturday, October 30, 2010

Oh Halloween

Too funny...really. Tonight was stellar for us "trick-or treat-ee's".  We were part of the crowd at our ward's Halloween party who did "trunk-or-treat". Take a look:

 This was too much fun!  The kids had to reach in to get their treat...and they were totally freaked out!  
(I was on the inside making sure that they touched some cob webs, or just grabbing their hand 
was enough to send them...it was great!



The Ninja was totally not having it!


 
A princess with confidence

I was laughing my head off inside....

Just had to have a peek first...
There are times when scaring small children is really awesome...
 
Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How to Eat a Dragon


Last week I went to a Relief Society/craft/get-away-from-it-all night at our church. I took a class on making authentic egg rolls from a woman there who was from Laos.  OH MY!  was it ever fun...and de-lish as well.  She turned us all on to this Asian Market not far from us, so the DPR and I went to check it out. All of a sudden we were transported to China!  I mean it...just be the shear number of people in the place...it felt like being in Hong Kong or Beijing or someplace exotic like that.  I mean shoulder to shoulder people! Listen, I could go on and on talking about the packages of dried fish and mushrooms and pocky sticks and stuff, but one of the things that was most impressive was the amount of produce!  Stuff that I love and stuff I have never seen or heard of...we saw a lady walking around with a cart full of these:  Dragon Fruit!

"Behold the Dragon"
 They were sooo beautiful...lovely color, don't you think?  So of course we had to try....

First, you cut the thing in half to reveal the insides...I know..right? Not what I expected either!  Then you scoop out the insides with a spoon like you would an avocado.....then cube it up and put it back in the beautiful fusia skin to serve.
It tastes sort of like a kiwi only milder and you don't get that burn on your tongue like you do sometimes with kiwi....not as sweet as I thought it would be, but very refreshing. 
The DPR turned Dragon Slayer
carcass of the Beast...


It seems there is always something new waiting around the corner....it might just be a dragon.



Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pretty in Pink

I finally finished!....and I think a show and tell is in order.  But first, the details:  When I went up to be with Claire and Jeff after the baby was born, Claire showed me a hat she had just finished knitting for Liv.  So darling, I just had to jump in!  I made a pair of matching booties to go with it.  Claire had purchased a really cute knitting book for baby, with too many cute patterns.  We spent every day going back and forth from Tacoma to Seattle Children's Hospital, and in-between feedings I would knit like a mad woman!  It really kept me busy. (and helped me not worry so much....)  Just take a look:

Wrap around Kimono and matching booties!
the booties are meant to be like ballerina slippers with the ribbon wrapping around the leg...
Ok...so I am totally hooked!   I'm thinking this kimono with a black onesy and white tights to look like a ballerina...yes?  


Friday, October 15, 2010

So Long Old Girl....

In memory of Kindle and Ben's "Sophie",
Good Dog.




So long, Old Girl.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Liv

Claire has been asked by lots of people about Olive's birth story....so we decided my blog would be a good place to put it out there for everyone.  This is what Claire wrote:

   "On September 10, I had a routine 35 week appointment with the clinic to take a few tests and check the baby’s heart rate, just like we had done for the past few months.  Jeff liked to come with me to my appointments to hear the heartbeat and see how everything was going (also ditching work for an hour was pretty nice too).  When they used the Doppler monitor, Jeff and I looked totally shocked.  The machine was saying her heart rate was at 130 beats a minute, but just listening to it, it was definitely much faster than usual.  The doctor and Jeff counted the beats over and over and they both agreed that it was actually double, 260 beats a minute!  At this point, Jeff is really starting to worry but didn’t show it at all, meanwhile I’m calm as a cucumber, not thinking it was that serious because everyone else was acting so calm.  An hour later, I was laying on the operating table, waiting for them to make the first incision!!  Olive was experiencing SVT (heart rate above 230 bpm) and they weren’t sure why, so they explained to us that they would need to perform an emergency c-section.  They might as well have told me they were going to kill me because my reaction was about the same.  By this time, Jeff was really wetting his pants.  He was able to quickly call a few family members, gave me a blessing, and then out the door to get changed into his OR attire. 
            They wheeled me over to the OR and I was given the spinal thingy (thankfully I didn’t even feel the shot they gave me) that made everything below my chest numb.  I was shamelessly bawling my head off in front of all the nurses and doctors until this point, and then I was totally calm (maybe they put something good in my IV).  They started the operation and brought Jeff in.  Poor Jeff was so shocked to see me lying on the table with all my guts hanging out!  While they were working, I thought it was the coolest thing I have ever felt, it was so fascinating (in a sick way) and I was actually smiling and excited about the whole thing!  Literally five minutes into it, they pulled the curtain down to show us our sweet Liv girl, kicking and screaming, so exciting!  I sent Jeff to be with Liv in the NICU, and I was wheeled to recovery. 
            For the first two hours, there wasn’t any problem with SVT.  Her heart rate regulated itself when she was born but then she had another episode and they tried a few maneuvers to shock her body into coming out of SVT naturally like pumping her knees to her chest and covering her entire face and mouth in ice for 30 seconds.  It was heartbreaking.  Finally, she was treated with medicine and the fast heart rate stopped.  Every few days Liv would have another episode but mostly they did lots tests and EKGs to investigate what was causing this problem, however, we weren’t at a children’s hospital and they didn’t have many answers for us, or specialists to look at the test results.  Thankfully, her body was compensating beautifully and her stats were great whenever she had this high heart rate every few days or so.  She wasn’t even aware anything was happening, usually sleeping through it.  Finally, a week after she was born, the cardiologist working with us decided this was beyond his training and transferred us up to Seattle Children’s Hospital, which turned out to be an enormous blessing.  Before she was transferred, the doctors weren't sure how her body was handling the SVT and the nurses made it very plain that they didn't think she would make it.  It was the hardest night of our lives.  Since she was a preemie, she was on a ventilator and had wires and tubes attatched everywhere.  The nurses unhooked her as much as they could so Jeff and I could hold her for the first and, they implied it maybe the last time.  
         At the new hospital, we had a team of several cardiologists and electro cardiologists working to solve the problems she was experiencing.  Being at a children’s hospital made all the difference.  Everything seemed to slowly improve from then on.  They determined that the irregular arrhythmia she had was fairly common and babies grow out of it within a few months, but most importantly, it was not life threatening for her.  The SVT doesn’t hurt her heart unless it goes untreated for long periods of time.  Eventually we can expect to have another episode with SVT, but the older she gets, the further apart they have become.  After we got her SVT under control (three more weeks in the hospital), they finally sent us home once we got her to eat more (thanks Nana D) and thankfully establish some breastfeeding (pumping is the worst!) 
            Little Girl is home and doing so good!  At least the month while she was in the hospital I was able to heal from the c-section.  I may not have had any discomfort during the operation or the day after the c-section, but let me tell you, that shiz was terrible!  I would never choose to have it done ever again, just zipping up my pants drives me crazy!  Olive hasn’t had any SVT for about 10 days and everyday she is getting bigger, she is a little over a month old and weighs just over six pounds!  She is such a happy girl, smiling ALL the time.  We feel so blessed for all the messages and prayers and fasting done on behalf of our girl.  Thank you all so much!  It was such a comfort knowing that even though we are away from friends and family, we still had so much support and love from everyone and we can’t wait to be back in Utah!  I’m literally counting down the days!!  Can’t wait to show Liv off to everyone!"      Love- Claire and Jeff     


Olive you
birthday suit....

Liv in a basket...

Olive has such a sweet gentle personality...she really has captured all our hearts!  I can't wait to get back to Utah, too!  I want to see all the cousins together-it's gonna be a party!  (guess what's at the top of my list when I count my many blessings?...I will give you 4 guesses...)