Tuesday, December 30, 2008

One Word

I was reading Adrien's blog today and she had a great post. Each year she picks a word and that becomes her "theme" for the year. It reminds her of what she wants to accomplish. A mantra, so to speak.

I decided I wanted to pick a word for this year. My word came to me almost at once, as it is one I have been pondering for awhile now.


My first reason is probably kind of obvious to other Mormons. I have been pondering on the scripture Helaman 5:12 from the Book of Mormon.

"12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

I want to remember the Savior more. I want to build upon his sure foundation. It certainly seems as if there is a storm raging out there anymore, and I want to be firm.

But then, there are other things to the word Remember.

First off, I feel like when I delivered Ella, I also grew a bunch of little holes in my brain. Sure, I could retain all of the big things and all of the things that were habits and routines, but all of the little things have been slipping out. As hard as I tried to hold on to the details, the more they slipped away. So I want to work harder on writing things down and remembering to check my calender (and keeping my calender safe from little hands who like to move it) so that I can be that person that people can rely on 100% again.

Second, I am so happy with keeping a blog. I feel like our family history has been well-served this year and I want to continue. I want to keep blogging, even if only for myself and our family history. (Of course, all of the fun friends and comments are a BIG plus!) I want to keep taking pictures and growing and learning how to do that better as well, so that we can remember these precious times before they are past. So I want to work harder at Remembering.

Third, I want a word that will REMIND me of who I want to be. I know I want to be a Daughter of God. I want to be a good mother. I want to be a kind friend. I want to be a hard worker. I want to be healthy. I have no shortage of goals for myself. But sometimes, those long term ideals can fall prey to short term pleasantries. Being a kind and gentle mother falls victim to frusteration and terse words. Having a healthier body falls victim to just "one" cookie. I want to REMEMBER my goals and the person I really want to become, even when the longterm view is clouded by the amnesia of the present.

Fourth, there are many things I hope to learn this year, and I want to REMEMBER what I learn and use it. I want to practice and use the things I learn so that it can become a part of who I am, readily accessible in any circumstance.

So, this is my word for 2009. Remember.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Day photos

We had such a fun Christmas day. It started off very slowly. The kids were so tired from all of the playing with their cousins from the night before that everyone slept in a bit. Most were up around 8 am, but Hannah slept until 9. The others were very kind to wait for her.

We woke up to quite the pile of snow. This is the street at about 8:30 am. It snowed quite a bit more throughout the day. But that is a good foot or so already there. It made the day feel very cozy to be hunkered down in the warm house with nowhere pressing to go while it snowed and stormed outside.
Not only was it Ella's first Christmas, but it was Pucca's first Christmas with us. (Yes, the kids changed her name. But Pucca works.) She was intrigued by all of the bags and boxes and wrappings. More than once, someone would walk by a seemingly empty gift bag, only to have a little set of ginger paws dart out and grab their ankles. She added a lot of humor to the morning.

In fact, Santa was nearly busted by Pucca as he laid out the gifts the night before. He was laboriously toting all the presents in, when Pucca came downstairs to join in the fun. Santa was glad for the company until Pucca jumped from the presents onto the piano and started jumping around the keys. Eeek!
Michael was so excited to receive a chemistry set, as well as a detective kit, complete with equiptment for dusting for prints. Another big thing for Michael was his Clue game. Do you sense a patten here? Criminals: Beware.

It was Ella's first Christmas. Mostly she liked the wrapping paper early on. Even as presents were being wrapped, she preferred to pull the rolls of wrapping paper and crunch them up. But once Hannah opened Baby Alive, Ella claimed it. I think that is her favorite present. Her sock monkey is close behind though.
Hannah's art set has been all the rage with her. She has made lots and lots of snowflakes, and colored about a ream of paper in the last few days. (Also notice Garrett's adorable snow hat made with love by Grandma R.)Garrett very much enjoyed opening his presents, but he also liked finding everyone else's presents and playing with them in secluded corners of the room.
McKay mostly received games, DVDs and coloring stuff, but the most fun part was that he seemed to enjoy opening the gifts and participating more this year. Other years he would open one or maybe two presents before running off for the rest of the day. It was not unusual for it to take over a week for him to open his gifts one-by-one. This year he stayed with the family for most of the time. The best part was watching the kids all play together. The movies were watched together. The games were played together. The toys were group tested. That was the best part, I think. (Garrett's Batcave toy is a HUGE hit.)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Nativity Play

For Christmas Eve, we went to Grandma R's house and had dinner and saw all of the cousins. It is always a big big deal to the kids to go over and play. But it was special on Christmas Eve. It is tradition to do the Nativity play.

Hannah was Mary last year and kept talking about how she planned to be Mary this year, so we took a couple weeks and kept discussing over and over about how she probably would not be Mary this year, but that she should be happy for whomever was Mary, and be happy about whatever part she got. It was a good thing we did it, because she was very cheerful about her part as a shepherd.
First, all of the kids were costumed. Darwin's mom has a box of costumes to outfit an entire Nativity play. Pretty impressive. Michael is a Wise Man...or perhaps a wise guy. ;) He was quite excited about performing.

Hannah was a shepherd and she practiced beforehand. Very holy.
Very dramatic. I missed the pose where she practiced shielding her eyes from the brightness of the angels. It was then I realized she'd been paying attention and studying pictures of the nativity. However, she didn't actually do any of these poses in the actual play.
Garrett was also a Wise Man, but he preferred running around the house with all the other 18 month olds to 2.5 year olds. He did sing a little Jingle Bells though.
Here is Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus, finding shelter in a stable after being told there was no room in the inn.
Here are the shepherds, learning of the birth of the Baby Jesus from the angels.

Here are the shepherds who fell down and worshipped the baby Jesus upon finding him in the stable.

Here is the Wise Man, conferring with King Herod about the whereabouts of Jesus, the King of the Jews, since they saw his star in the East and followed it, according to prophecy.

Here are all of the participants (minus Hannah, hiding behind her cousin and fellow shepherd), after having arrived at the manger.

It was a lovely evening and the kids loved their chance to be in the nativity. It is kind of fun to know that these are going to be their fond Christmas memories of the future.

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth

McKay is now the proud owner of a great big space, front and center.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Our Christmas Card

I really did have good intentions to get this out promptly. I do have a few addressed and those will get into the mail. But since I am slow, I thought I would get someof you with my virtual card. (Like Cynthia noted, it's good for the environment!)

Merry Christmas!

The family ornaments

I said I'd post our ornaments when Ella's arrived. Well, it arrived a couple weeks ago, but I forgot to take pictures. So I am fixing that.

This is Michael's. It needs a little cleaning and polishing, eh? It says Michael's first Christmas on the bottom and 1999 on the heart and on the bottom.

This is McKay's. It just says McKay and 2001 on the back.

Hannah's, and it says 2003 on the back.

Garrett's, and 2006 on the back. (We were lucky to get one that year. We almost ran out of time. Luckily there as a nice one left.)

Ella's. It says her name on the heart and then her name and 2oo8 on the bottom. (Shoes are easy to engrave. ;) )

This is Darwin's and mine. Actually, we have one from our FIRST Christmas (1997), but it doesn't match. It is a Hallmark one. But the 1998 one matches better.

Monday, December 22, 2008

2008 in Review

I saw my friend Christie's blog and I completely kaifed her idea. A pictoral year in review.

(I also noticed as I went through the year, it was the year of learning not to abuse Photoshop. ;) Still learning that one.)

Sunday, December 21, 2008


A neighbor brought over some homemade suckers for Christmas. McKay has really wanted some, but he's been nauseated. So Darwin took the suckers and put them up. McKay was quite upset and kept asking for them and Darwin rightly kept saying no.

Finally McKay said, "Oh Darwin, sometimes being friends with you can be such a bother."

Have you met my 6th and 7th children?

Truthfully, I have not met them either, but they must live here.

They are actually kind of naughty little children. They color on walls, make messes, leave shoes and coats on the floor, make the other kids cry, and other no-nos.

They are named Not Me and I Don't Know. Whenever I ask, "Who did this?", these are the ones who are fingered as the perps.

Exhibit A: This lovely drawing of a fairy on Hannah's wall. When I asked who did it...Not Me and I Don't Know. I should have known before I asked. Honestly, if I could just get these two out of the house, life would be almost perfect.

Not Me and I Don't Know certainly are artistic.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I got my hair cut today

My neighbor cut my hair today. It is shorter than I have had it since I was probably 3. I really like it. I needed a change; winter blahs were settling in.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Since you are all so patient

I know this looks like my last Christmas tree picture. But click on it. I have been playing with different settings and this is fun. The starbursts on the lights isn't Photoshop. (In fact, this picture is just sharpened, cropped and a frame...so it is pretty much what it looked like in the camera.)

Yeah, yeah, I am easy to entertain.


A Garrett funny.

I got Garrett a cowboy hat at Walmart the other day. (What? Your Walmart doesn't sell cowboy hats? Well, if you live in a city whose unofficial motto is Cowboy Up! and the official celebration for the city is Round Up Days...then cowboy hats are found in all sizes at Walmart.)

So, all day Garrett has been following me around saying, "Howdy, Pardner mom. Whar's ma harse?" (Yes, that is the correct cowboy spelling.)

Sooo, has anyone seen his harse around?

And one other funny from Garrett, since watching Kung Fu Panda (which I HIGHLY reccomend), "There is no charge for awesomeness."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas can now start!

Every year McKay's teacher (and Michael's former teacher) Mr. Harris does a Christmas party for all of his students and former students. As soon as we go, we know we are in the final countdown to Christmas. Singing, treats, games, a visit from the Jolly Old Elf himself...how could it BE more fun? And it is all autism-friendly, so it is a party ALL of our kids can get into. We look forward to it each year and are so happy that we'll be able to go for years to come.

First order of business was finding old friends. The boundries were split and a lot of the kids are in the school on the west side of the freeway now and some kids move into their neighborhood schools and full-time mainstreaming, so the Christmas party is a GREAT way to get back in touch. This crew has been Michael's buds since 1st grade. And they always find each other at the party. (They also come play sometimes at the house.)

Ella shows off one of her very impressive 5th baby skills: Sleeping through a whole party of about 50 kids. She slept until the last 10 minutes or so.

We saw VERY little of Garrett all night. He raided the cookies first and then found a group of two-to-three-year-olds and they all ran in a circle around the stage. He had an excellent time.

The kids sang their traditional songs. Here is the group doing the actions to the Twelve Days of Christmas...which day could THIS be? Hmmmmmm.

Hannah has gone enough times that she gets in on the action too. The fact The Twelve Days of Christmas is so repetitive is on her side as well.

McKay did some pretty rockin' dancing to We Wish You a Swinging Holiday. I think we could have a rock star on our hands.

McKay watching as the kids listened to the rules for the snowball game. (I didn't get any pictures of the snowball game, since I was checking on Garrett. But McKay won a few lollipops, so he was quite happy.)
McKay has a darling little friend at school. She came and stood with him in line to meet Santa. And he loved it, which is quite a change for him. He is generally ok with adults, but is not a huge fan of kids. But he LOVES this sweetie. His teachers were telling me how they sit together, go to lunch together, play together, hug each other, etc.
Yay! McKay has a friend!

Michael and Hannah pow-wow with Santa.

Garrett warmed up to Santa pretty quickly, especially after he realized Santa was giving him a little present!

McKay hopped right on Santa's lap and told him all about the Teletubbies.

McKay shows off his Santa present. How did Santa KNOW that McKay loves yo-yos so much? Man, he really must be magic.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

HAPPY day!

The kitty is HOME!

She was pawing on the front door a few hours after we got home from church. I am SO relieved.

She is a lot skinner and she seems really skittish. She was always hyper, but now she seems like she is not as trusting. I think she needs some food, rest and love.

I am so relieved.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Melanie tagged me to list 6 of my quirks. So, without further ado, my 6 latest quirks. I did a similar tag a few months back (not this one specifically, I don't think...) and so I am trying to not replicate my answers from that.

1. I do not watch TV on my TV. I rarely watch TV, and when I do, it is on my computer. (I only watch Lost, Dancing with the Stars and sometimes The Office.) I do watch videos on my TV.

2. I will steal Melanie's about flushing all public toilets with my foot. I also take it a step further and use a paper towel to turn off the water and open the door after I wash my hands.

3. I find myself studying the catchlights in people's eyes while they talk. I bet they think I am a really intense listener. Heh.

4. I really like Fisher Price Little People. I wonder if I'll be able to give them away when my kids grow out of them? All of my kids have played with them (and they all still do, even the older ones) and there are lots of memories tied up with them. I am very attached now.

5. I am still pondering over whether there are more kids for our family or not. I think that is quirky, because honestly, most people in our shoes would probably KNOW they were done. I just can't get that inner peace yet. I know we seem crazy to people outside (and probably inside) our family, but we're very happy with our little world. I just have no answer one way or another yet.

6. I don't have pierced ears. Never have.

I tag anyone who would like to participate.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

So sad...

Our kitty has been gone for a day now.

It doesn't sound like really long, but she was becoming a housecat (of her own choosing). She would sit on the porch for 30 minutes each evening, and then come back in and stay pretty much all day and night.

But yesterday she went out in the afternoon and she has not come back yet. The good things are she is healed from her surgery and I have not seen any cats that were hit by any cars close by. The sad things are my kids are wondering where she is (so am I), and even McGonagall seems sad and like he is looking for her.

If anyone sees Crookshanks, let me know?

It's been a sad sad day.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

On the Second Day of Christmas

This is the second part of the post below. Notice her slightly michevious grin? Here is what transpired. Look Michael! Look at what I got!

Mmmmm, needs sugar.

Uh, oh! Here comes mom, scooting forward with the camera. Spit out the evidence!
So, for the second day of Christmas, I got a good belly laugh!

On the First Day of Christmas...

My sweet neighbor brought for me...a little chair to take pictures by the tree!

Actually, I took some pictures of their family for Christmas cards, and she came by with this fun little chair. All the kids are totally in love, but Ella is claiming it as her own.

Is she not the cutest little Christmas elf EVER? When I get a second, I will have to edit this with the two pictures that came after this *slighly* mischevious look....

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Happy Halloween!

This is what Garrett has been proclaiming since, well, Halloween.

It was the first year that he really "got it", as far as Halloween goes and he was totally enthralled. He got to dress up, knock on ANY door he wanted, and he got a bunch of candy. I mean...what could be better than that?

He's been trying to convince us it is Halloween every single day. We keep trying to tell him that it is Christmas, and that he'll like it even better, but he's pretty skeptical. I mean, dressing up? Candy? How do you beat that?

While I've warmed up to Halloween since having kids, it isn't my favorite holiday, so I am kind of hoping he'll realize the magic of Christmas. We'll have to do a nativity so we can dress up, and I hear Santa is bringing candy AND toys.

The mind of a 2-year-old is so funny and Garrett is just a riot all the time. But this constant "Happy Halloween" to everyone just has me in stitches.

In honor of Garrett, "Happy Halloween, folks!"

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Love our dress up chest

If you're pondering over good Christmas gifts, dress-ups are never a bad idea--assuming you have kids my kids' ages.
Everyday someone is wearing SOMETHING from there. The reversable Superman/Batman cape is one of the biggest hits, as are princess dresses, the Peter Pan hat, and Harry Potter glasses. A great place to get the basics for dress up are from disneyshopping.com in their clearance department. We've picked up lots of costumes for $10 and under.
There is my plug for filling up a dress-up chest.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I could not find my cell phone today.

I called it and someone answered. It was a lady at Cold Stone Creamery. We stopped in for McKay to use their potty on the way home, and aparantly dropped the cell phone in the meelee.

I need to get that after I pickup the kindergarteners today. Ugh.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


We have a tradition of buying an engraved ornament for each child's first Christmas. Usually it has required a trip to the mall, about 18 miles away. But the results were always really nice. They had a nice choice of silver or pewter ornaments to choose from and they engraved them.

So, today, we all packed up in the van and made the trip down to Orem to get Ella's ornament.

But I forgot the stroller. And Garrett fell asleep. So, it was Darwin and I carrying Ella and Garrett and holding McKay's hand and keeping eagle eyes on a very distracted Michael. We walked to the spot where we remembered the shop...and it was gone. We walked a little more in the vicinity...it was still gone. Then we asked another shop if we were in the wrong area of the mall...nope, it was gone.


So, I came home and ordered one from online. It should be here in about a week. I figure when it gets here, I'll take a picture of all of the kids' ornaments.

Still, I guess it wouldn't be Christmas without at least ONE trip to a mall, right?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Girls' Night Out

Last night was a blast.

Hannah got a coupon for a free kids' meal at Applebees from school since she got all 100's and Outstandings on her report card. She really really wanted to use it. So I told her I'd take her. She also asked if we could take Ella, so it could be the girls. I thought that was a great idea.

So we went last night and it was great. Hannah loved her special time out. She told me all about school and her best friends and her favorite things to do and the boys that bug her. She laughed and told me silly jokes and asked about a hundred questions about things on the menu and things in the restraunt.

Ella had a great time too. She ate her jar of baby food, and then proceeded to eat some of Hannah's french fries and mom's mashed potatoes and zucchini. I think she went home stuffed. She smiled the whole time and everyone who passed her smiled and said hi and most patted her head. She really enjoyed the evening.

Then we went and picked up a couple of Christmas gifts at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Again, Hannah took the time to just look at everything. She kept saying, "I'm going to work really hard for all Os again, so we can do this!" I think we might have a tradition.