Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Christmas Season begins!

The tree and decorations are up! Yay!

Overheard

Scene: Darwin, Hannah, McKay, Michael, and I are watching The Princess Bride (and I am blogging pictures) and Darwin is showing off his deep and profound knowledge of Princess Bride quotes to the kids.

Darwin (and the TV): Fezzic, are there rocks ahead? If there are, we all be dead!

Hannah: (laughs appreciatively)

Darwin (and the TV): No more rhymes now, I mean it! Anybody want a peanut?

McKay: Oh! I DO!

Thanksgiving Moments

These are just a few fun shots from Thanksgiving day. For the most part, it was pretty low-key. Some cleaning, some cooking, and then over to Grandma R's for dinner with the fam. Ella started the afternoon with a nap. She just couldn't wait to get to her crib. It is all in the spirit of Thanksgiving.

After dinner, Auntie Alison lead the crew in a couple games of Candy Land. Can you tell what Michael thinks of getting his picture taken?

Steen REALLY liked all of the Candy Land guys. Notice Auntie Alison's finger? I think Steen kidnapped her blue guy, or maybe hers is the red guy in his other hand?

Look at the crowd Candy Land draws! We should hold Candy Land World Championships.
Garrett is pondering his dessert choices.

Ahh, milk and pie and a nice quiet spot to eat. Perfect.
Mmmmmm. Washing it all down.

Delicious.
Michael demonstrates the proper after-dinner posture.

Ella is showing off her mad piano skills. ;)


Ella has left the building.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Baby, it's cold outside

We've been clearing all of the boxes out of the garage and consolidating the vast collection of kids clothes in the basement that rotate amongst the kids. We didn't have enough room in the recycle bin, so this is when we are really glad for a wood-burning fireplace. We burned the excess boxes and warmed up the house.

But the bonus? Oh the marshmallow roasting opportunities. (Don't you love how he grabbed a log to sit on? That was all his idea.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Giving me gray hairs!


Crawling at 5.5 months.
Pulling up on things at 7 months.
Cruising at 8 months.
Climbing the stairs at 8.5 months.
Making mom crazy? Priceless.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Christmas Getting to Know You

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper, if it is from Santa. Gift bags for others.

2. Real tree or Artificial? artificial.

3. When do you put up the tree? Day after Thanksgiving. The kids have been BEGGING lately, but I simply cannot have the tree up before Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down? New Year's Day.

5. Do you like egg nog? I don't think so. I didn't as a kid, and I never tried it again. Something about the name biases me.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? I can't remember, but one that really sticks out in my mind is this little family of chipmunks that lived in a hollowed-out log carrying case made of fabric.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, Little People, Veggie Tales, a stuffed one, and 2 glass ones. Ntivities are important to me.

8. Hardest person to buy for? Darwin. He is more of an "I-like-the-money-in-the-bank-account"-kind of guy. But then, I am also finding that shopping for an older boy who does not own a video game system is pretty darn tricky too.

9. Easiest person to buy for? All of the kids are generally pretty easy, but girls have a lot bigger selection of what I would deem appropriate toys, especially as they grow up.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Eh, I try to mail them, but sometimes it just doesn't happen.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Kim said, "I really don't remember a gift I hated. Anytime someone puts thought into buying me a gift I appreciate it. " I totally agree.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? I love Elf and While You Were Sleeping. But my top favorite is A Charlie Brown Christmas. I still get a bit teary even 2 billion viewings later. Oh, and I love to watch Garrett rock out to A Wiggly Christmas. ;) (The Wiggles totally have the best Christmas DVDs. They still do all of the traditional songs, like "Silent Night" and "Angels We Have Heard on High.")

13. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No, but I have taken a plate of treats neighbors brought over to a Christmas party, when I had forgotten about the party and needed last-minute goodies.

14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Mashed potatoes. (I really like mashed potatoes.)

15. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Ours is prelit with clear, but I really love colored lights. They seem so much more festive.

16. Favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night and Ding Dong Merrily on High. OH! And the traditional The First Noel set to Pachebel's Canon in D that the ward does every year.

17. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Staying home. 1) We have lots of family local and 2) with 5 kids, travelling is just too much.

18. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Mais oui.

19. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning.

20. Most annoying thing about this time of year? The rush, rush, rush of everything. Oh, and the fact every store prominently displays hugely expensive (and just plain HUGE) toys all over, so my kids think they really want these pricey monstrosities. They are always really happy with the smaller, less costly toys that they actually get, but it stresses Santa out. ;)

21. Favorite ornament theme or color? Shatterproof. ;)

22. Favorite food for Christmas dinner? Mashed potatoes!!

23. What do you want for Christmas this year? I got my nifty lens, so honestly, I'm good.

I tag anyone who wants to participate, and you know you want to participate. ;)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Roll Over Beethoven

Last night was Michael and Hannah's piano recital. It was the first time Hannah has played the piano for the recital. She played "I'm a Little Monkey" and Michael did the bow. Maybe next time he'll play. All of the kids who played were so good.
Of course, my nieces and nephews really WERE the best ones. ;)


Hannah got really nervous when she saw how many people were there to watch.
Michael, however, was the picture of calm.
Here are the kids getting ready for the beginning bow for the Twinklers.
Awww, cute bowers.
Hannah, playing her piece.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Free!

I know, I know I said I would not put the cart before the horse, or rather, would not celebrate Christmas before Thanksgiving. BUT when there is free schwag, you need to get it while the getting is good.

Click here for your free Christmas music download from Amazon.com.

Yay! Free!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Overheard, Michael-style

Michael: Mooooooooooooooooooooom! McKay is coloring on the wall with indelible marker!!! That means it won't wash off.

First, McKay really was. Second, he NEVER does this. Third, indelible?? Wow.

Overheard

Scene: Dad and McKay working on homework. Dad teaching McKay about greater than and less than.

Dad: So, see Jim has a big pizza. Mary has a bigger pizza. But Pam has the smallest pizza.

McKay: Ohhh, that's too bad.

CUTE! Mr. Compassion. :D

Monday, November 17, 2008

I got a new lens today

I have SUCH a nice husband. He let me get a new lens about a week ago. We'd been planning it for awhile, but finally reached the amount of savings I needed. It arrived today.

I LOVE it. It is SO sharp. Where I used to have to fight for focus, it is almost a no-brainer now.

Anyway, I am in love with both Darwin and my new lens.
See how sharp Hannah is? I was just messing around and this was the first shot snapped with the lens.

Her eyes cropped at 100% Nifty!


Even a little closer than 100%. Of you look close you can see me and my couch and my window and the light on my floor, etc. Kinda fun.

Ella's first word

Every time Ella sees one of our cats she says, "Aaaaaaat!"

I will work on getting this on video now.

She is also very sweet with the kitties. When she can catch up with them, she pets them very softly. The kitten actually seems to prefer her over all of the kids.

My little animal-lover.

May I take your order?

Today I awoke to Michael's cheery "What do you want for breakfast?" (I haven't been feeling really well, so I said toast.)

He carefully wrote that on his pad and then proceeded to each member of the household, taking their order and writing it on his pad. He then prepared toast, toaster waffles, or cereal for each person.

That sweet surprise has really set the tone for today. Aren't I so lucky?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Duck and Cover

We've been hit hard by the stomach bug that's been going around. McKay got it on Wed. He missed school Wed. and Thurs.

Last night I was thinking, "Hey, ok, I think were done!"

Sadly, I spoke/thought too soon. This morning I had three more pukers. Hannah, Garrett and Michael.

But can I just say that puking sickness, while always unfun for those involved, is LESS unfun for the mom when most of the kids are old enough to do what needs to be done in a bucket. It has been many years where I had to listen vigilantly so I could grab the kid and run for the bathroom if anything sounded amiss.

So while everyone is uncomfortable, at least it is easier to keep clean. Hey, I'll take any positive I can get. I also know they'll all be feeling a lot better tomorrow.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

How can you resist?


I have no willpower with those eyes. None at all.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Overheard

I was telling the kids a bedtime story and McKay interjected.

McKay: Wait, wait! I'm the narrator! (Switching into his narrator mode) There is unrest in the Rehart house. Michael keeps thinking about the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and won't shut up about it.

Sadly, at this point I could no longer hear what McKay was saying because of the uproarious laughter at this random insertion into the nightly story routine.

The Eye of the Storm

As a kid I was kind of always one of those shy kids who hung out a little more on the fringe of the goings-on. I had a small group of really really great friends in high school and college, but I was never one that people would term popular.

Well! Being "the mom" is all kinds of different. In the social circle of my family--and all families, I am guessing--being "the mom" is a little like being a rock star. I also guess this might change as the kids get older, but I really hope not. In fact, Garrett has been telling me lately, "You de supahewo." Awwww. I'm saving these moments up for when they hit teenagerdom. But I am noticing, even with all my failings as a mom (see my post re: Ella's boo boo), home life really does revolve around moms. It is kind of still a shock to this former shy girl.

Why am I posting about this at 3 am? Because being the superhero, rockstar mom is not without it's price. Michael, McKay, Hannah and Garrett were watching Scooby Doo together on YouTube a little before bedtime and aparantly they all found the "ghost" of the particular episode a bit scary. What makes me think this? My bed is full of all of them. Plus a healing Crookshanks and a well McGonagall. They are also all on MY side of the bed. That is kind of a lot of sweet little bodies in a pretty small space. So I laid there and smiled until I realized I needed a drink and now I am pondering whether I ought to move everyone back to their beds and see if they return to mine tonight, if I should try and just find a spot to get back in the bed and see if I can sleep in the meelee, or if I should give up and go sleep in one of the vacated beds and see if anyone follows me.

I should point out here that Darwin is ALSO the eye of the storm, so to speak, whenever he is home. He is often busy at work from early in the morning until about dinnertime, but the second he gets home, the kids all claim their share. Ella is becoming especially vociferous about her love of her daddy. If he puts her down she immediately protests. When she hears the chimes of the front door jingle (early door-opening warning for escape artists) she perks up and looks around. So Darwin is by no means excluded.

Anyway, it was humbling to realize that even though my bed is only a little ways from theirs, my kids, they trust that mom and dad can keep them safe from all of the Scooby Doo monsters all the better if they are just that much closer.

At least if any Scooby Doo monsters DO come visit my room, I know its always just a mask and they just want to scare us away because they know there are diamonds or something buried under our house. ;)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Doing our civic duty

No, no, we're not voting again.

So, the little ginger cat has been hanging out in the house more and more. Its been getting colder and colder outside.

McGongall and Crookshanks (as we've been calling her) are making each other chubby. They both try and eat up all of the kitty kibbles before the other can get to them--and before Ella can get at the kibbles.

I think its fair to say that we bear some responsibility for the kitty now.

SO, we took the kitty down to get spayed and vaccinated. We just felt like it was the right thing to do, whatever happens with the kitty. At least she'll be healthier and happier and there won't be as many stray kitties out there. As you can probably surmise, our hearts go out to stray kitties. It seems like a really hard life.

A big big props to No More Homeless Pets in Utah. They are a great organization that specializes strictly in spay/neuter proceedures and vaccinations. They are VERY reasonably priced and will do TNR (trap-neuter-release) on stray cats for free. If you plan to keep them as a pet it is so inexpensive. Each vaccine is only $10. And spaying is $35 and neutering is $25. So, just giving them a shout out for doing so much to keep the homeless pet population down.

We'll see if Crookshanks still loves us and wants to hang around after today though....;)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Brining the turkey

Two years ago was my first attempt at brining my turkey for Thanksgiving. I think it did turn out more moist and flavorful, but I was not crazy about the recipe I used. It just was not the WOW! everyone talked up. (Or maybe I was expecting too much?)


Do you brine your turkey? What recipe do you use? What are other Thanksgiving traditions you have?

Our newest and most favorite Thanksgiving recipe from last year was Pioneer Woman's mashed potatoes.

http://thepioneerwoman.com/2007/11/delicious_creamy_mashed_potatoes.html

Check them out...and then get on the elliptical and run for about an hour just for looking at them. ;)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Say what?

McKay gives his take on a familiar classic. :D

(I've been doing a lot of mundane cleaning today, so I keep thinking of things to post while I do so.)

video

(Trying to upload again...)

Getting creative

I do a lot of laundry. I also fold a lot of laundry. And put a lot of it away too. (Darwin is a big helper. Oh, and so is Garrett. He helps me gather all the dirty stuff up.)

But I have an idea, and I think it needs to catch on.

One day, when I am crazily rich and can build my own dream house (hey! It could happen!) I am going to build a HUGE laundry room in a central location in the house. It will have 2 washers and 2 dryers. It will have a large counter in the middle for folding, mending, and ironing. It will have a big sink for soaking. And it will be lined with closets and drawers for everyone.

No more of this namby-pamby keeping clothes in the bedrooms business! No sir. Everyone will come into the big closet room and select their clothing for the morning and in the evening they will deposit their dirty clothing in the apporpriate wash bin in the big closet room again. All clothing interactions (minus dressing) will take place in this room.

This ought to reduce my time hauling laundry around to rooms. Picking laundry up off of floors. It might even help with lost socks. If we streamlined the whole process, there would be no confusion over what laundry goes where.

Come on, admit it. You all want a big laundry/closet room now, don't you?

It's beginning to look a lot like...Hey wait!!

I went to Target last night.

I love Target. It is so tidy and orderly and the aisles are wide. I usually get a nice, Zen feeling when I am there.

But last night, Target was giving me a heart attack.

It was completely done up in all of its Christmas splendor. Now, don't get me wrong. I LOVE Christmas. I love the decorations and the music and the wonderful feelings that come with getting ready for Christmas. And yes...I know it is looming ever closer and I still don't have all my shopping even close to done, but we're still 2.5 weeks out from Thanksgiving yet. It feels like we went from Halloween straight to the Christmas rush all of the sudden.

I love Thanksgiving. I love how it is right in the middle of the all of the busy holidays like Halloween and Christmas and New Years. I love how it helps us to pause, reflect, be grateful, and appreciate what we have. It helps offset the "gimmes" that seem to pop up around this time. Thanksgiving is not really one of those rush, rush, rush holidays (unless you count the day-after-Thanksgiving maddness into it all...which I don't.) It is about being with those we love, being patient as a wonderful meal is cooked, and enjoying and being grateful for all of the people, memories and things that make our lives wonderful.

But somehow, Thanksgiving has been completely missed! I know its been this way for a long time, but it seemed so jarring this year to have barely put away the Halloween costumes and then to suddenly be confronted with Christmas decorations galore. First, it sent my poor heart into v-tach over how much still has to be done to prepare. Even a nice, modest Christmas is no mean feat when you consider there are five children for whom memories need to be built. But then it made me a little sad. It felt like we're rushing right from the "Gimme candy!" mindset to the "Gimme presents!" mindset. And while I really love both of those holidays (I really really do, even moreso now that I have so many kids), I really want to stop and enjoy Thanksgiving. I feel like I need it so much this year.

So, I am making the decision to stop and not get caught up in the commercial rush to Christmas. I want to prepare myself to celebrate the birth of the Savior by stopping and being grateful for all of the many, many abundant blessings He has showered my family with.

So, even though I enjoy shopping at Target...I am choosing not to get caught up.

(Of course, that doesn't mean I won't calmly continue to shop early. Otherwise, it will not be a pretty sight come December. ;) )

Michael update

Hmmm, not much update yet.

He will eat cereal though. (Hmmm, who does THAT sound like? Where, oh where, could he have gotten a love for cereal...Darwin?) So that is better. It is fortified, so at least he is getting some vitamins, albeit they are synthetic. But that has to be better than no nutrition at all, right?

His behavior really does seem calmer when he has some steady nutrition. When he is on his self-imposed hunger strikes he is a lot more moody--as we all would be.

Grandma R told us about some really good vitamins made from whole fruits and veggies that are in the form of gummy bears (which, oddly, Michael really really likes) and we are really excited to try them. She ordered some for us and I am eager to see how those go. Sometimes it just takes a little priming of the pump, so to speak, to get Michael to start eating well again. Once he gets a little nutrition it helps him to calm down and be more accepting of foods and textures, which in turn, helps him remember that it feels good to not be hungry and it feels bad to be starving. (I think his feelings of hunger sometimes get a little messed up and that really starts a spiral.)

Anyway, the update is that it is a work in progress, but I think it is slowly going somewhere.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ella update

Wow, the girlie is crawling all around. She is not on pain medications right now, and she seems happy and not in pain.

I am going to check with the doctor tomorrow and see if this is ok. She is wrapped, but she wrestles the wraps until they are just on her upper arm. When I take the wraps off to change her clothes, she seems uncomfortable, but with the wraps on her arm, she seems very comfortable and happy.

And mobile.

ABCs

From Megan of Spamdrew Family fame.

A. Attached or single? Attached.

B. Best friend? Darwin is my best bud, but for someone I can just call and chat with over all the girl stuff, Christie.

C. Cake or pie? Usually pie.

D. Day of Choice? Friday (the promise of the weekend is sometimes even better than the weekend itself.)

E. Essential Item? Camera and the computer to go with it.

F. Favorite color? Huh. Tricky. Brick red for decorating. Black to wear. White to look at. (Pink for little girl clothes...hee!)

G. Gummy bears or worms? If I HAVE to...worms.

H. Hometown? Orem, Utah

I. Favorite indulgence? Sleep and my camera. (and Lost, when its on.)

J. January or July? July! My birthday.

K. Kids? Michael, McKay, Hannah, Garrett, Ella.

L. Life isn't complete without? Friends and family

M. Marriage Date? June 28,1997. (I could leave that the same Megan!)

N. Number of brothers and sisters? 1 sister, 2 brothers, 1 step-brother.

O. Oranges or apples? Apples.

P. Phobias? Unlocked doors--when McKay is home.

Q. Quotes? "I love Technology!"

R. Reasons to smile? How sweet the kids are being to Ella. It warms my heart.

S. Season of choice? Fall! Colors, fun, less allergies.

T. Tag 5 people: Christie, Helen, Cathie, Jenny, and anyone else who wants to do it! Ha ha ha. I cheat.

V. This one was empty. Maybe V stands for Vacant.

U. Unknown fact about me? I am legally blind without my glasses.

W. Worst habit? Staying up too late at night.

X. X-ray or ultrasound? Ultrasound (At least it might be for something good...)

Y. Your favorite food? Mashed potatoes.

Z. Zodiac sign? Cancer

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hey! Ward Blog Readers!

This is SO funny. I needed this tonight. I laughed myself silly.

So, next ward talent show, are you all in with me on this? Come on. It would be SO funny.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f86qKQJg3Z8

(Bad YouTube would not let me embed it. But really, you owe it to yourself to click this.)

Kim, Nancy, Jenny, Tracey, Mary, Adrian are you with me?

Ugh

Today was awful.

I was rounding up the kids backpacks and shoes and coats and the bus was due in about 2 minutes. Ella was up watching PBSkids with the other kids. They came down and she followed. She fell down the stairs.

Ugh. I feel sick thinking about it.

I noticed she was not using her arm much and took her to the doctor. Her clavicle is broken. BAD mommy. She is such a trooper.

I guess they don't cast or set clavicles and they are supposed to heal well, but my goodness, poor Ella. I feel awful. She is being so sweet. Once her arm was immobilized and she had some ibuprophen (the tylenol was not cutting it), she was back to being as calm as can be. She is a bit irked that she can't crawl, but it already working on a scoot.

There is no place to put gates on the stairs (there is no place to line one up, due to banisters, doors, etc.), so I am going to have to just keep Ella in the basement family room during the early morning rush. Since Michael and McKay are not quite ready to get themselves all ready in time for school, I need to do it for them and Hannah, so I just am not as aware as I should be of her during that time. Poor poor baby.

So she is in a sling and wrap for 4-6 weeks. They are ordering a clavicle brace, but are not sure if there is one in her size.




Saturday, November 1, 2008

Random Halloween shots

Who knew Halloween was so busy? We had to run to the school for Hannah's kindergarten costume parade. She was a ballerina for that. Then we went home and got lunch and picked up Hannah and rushed back for McKay's singing time with his class. This picture below is so cute. One of McKay's friends from both church and school was having a hard time. (It looks like Simba was scaring him, but Simba was just asking what was wrong.) McKay was really cute. He kept rubbing his arm, hugging him, and saying, "Oh, please don't be sad."

Here's McKay kick back as he sings the Haunted House song.


Hey! Nice suit! My other little ballerina. Darwin wore a silly shirt over his work clothes. McKay claims he is dressed as a lifeguard.
We picked the wrong corner to sit on for the second costume parade (the one with the older kids.) Everyone RAN around this corner. So this was the best we could get of Michael. And he IS dressed up. He is Fred, from Scooby Doo. We tried to dye his hair, but it didn't take very well. And he has a white shirt, blue pants and a red ascot. I also sent him along with Harry Potter, but he just carried it, so he looked like he was not dressing up.

Then we got home and started getting ready for going out trick-or-treating. McKay changed his mind and decided to be Harry Potter. Michael dressed as the red Power Ranger, but he only went for about a street and then went home. McKay trick-or-treated for about 3 hours, along with Hannah and Garrett. They were unstoppable.


This is Hannah. She also changed her mind and decided to be Belle. It was a good night to be a princess. It was warm out. But it rained! The whole time. At least it was a gentle warm rain. I put the camera up after the rain started. (Doesn't she look about 13? She wanted to wear some make up for her costume. She was even good about the mascara. I don't know if I ought to be scared.)

What a fun Halloween. The 4 older kids were really really into it.