Monday, August 11, 2014

Life is Good

Well - it's happening.  Right now.  I'm blogging.  I have been feeling the pull of the blogosphere for a few weeks now.  I'm not sure why - but I've just really felt compelled to get back to blogging.  I have no idea how I'm gonna make it work.  I have so much stuff sucking all my time already!  But I've missed this place.  There's nowhere else quite like it.

I'm not even really sure where to start.  Do I update on my family?  Some people may remember us - some people may be new.  Maybe nobody out there will be reading this at all.  What's a rusty blogging girl to do?

I guess we'll start with this cute thing.

This Baby Girl is 18 months old - can you believe it?  It seems like such a short time ago she was coming home from the hospital.  Yet - and I think I've said this before - it's incredibly difficult trying to remember what life was like before she came.

She's kind of a stinker.  Like a lot.  She's spoiled by all her siblings and extended family, and has developed quite an attitude.  It doesn't help that everyone thinks it's hilarious and laughs hysterically whenever she's naughty/bossy/bratty.  I keep telling them they won't think it's so adorable when she's a big 5 year old brat.

At the same time she has a smile that can melt your heart, and when she laughs it is, of course, the best sound in the universe.


This Monkey is about to turn 8.  I can't believe how she's grown.  It breaks my heart just a little bit.


She's so smart that sometimes I forget that she was the baby for a lot of years before Baby Girl surprised us.  I'm afraid sometimes I expect too much of this beautiful girl and get too impatient when she doesn't act as old as she often seems.  I'm working hard on correcting that behavior in myself - because the worst thing ever is when I hurt this sweet girl's feelings.  She is the best at wanting to help with her baby sister and just really wants to be like her big sisters.  Of course that comes along with the sassy attitude they sometimes have as well!

Speaking of sassy - my Pixie is 11 1/2.  She'll be turning 12 this winter.


She is all girl.  She loves clothes and jewelry and does her hair about 5 times a day.  She doesn't normally wear make up, but this picture was taken after her performance in the American History Operetta that her 5th grade class performed.  She is counting down the days until her 12th birthday - when she'll be allowed to start wearing some conservative eye make up.  She says she wants to be a hair stylist - but after I discovered some drawings of "outfits" she made up - I'm thinking fashion designer. ;)

That brings us to Cowgirl.  She's almost 14 and has become quite the little athlete.



She LOVES soccer.  How long she'll be playing remains to be seen.  She suffered 4 head injuries in 1 year playing soccer.  3 of them were fairly mild, but the first one - not so much.  She knows she's on thin ice right now.  Because as much as we love watching her play - we are SO not willing to gamble with her health (maybe even her life) just so she can be a soccer super star.  She has way too much besides soccer to offer to the world.  It was a real struggle for us as parents to even decide to let her play this season.  She begged us.  She knows there are 2 non-negotiable conditions:  1 - she only plays soccer in her soccer league.  She no longer plays wild crazy soccer with her friends where it is basically a free for all!  And 2 - one more hit to the head - just one - and she's done.  The new season's about to start, so we'll see how everything unfolds.  Aside from soccer she is having fun just being a teenager and we are having fun watching her grow.

And finally our Bookworm.  This guy turned 16 this summer.  That's right folks - he's behind the wheel and on the road!

This photo was taken with James Dashner, a favorite author of his.  What he really wants to be is a writer and whenever one of his favorite authors comes into town for a book signing, he makes sure he's there to meet them!  He's still developing his talent in playing violin and just completed his first year of High School where he has made a wonderful group of friends.  Good kids with high standards who help each other do what's right.  He's been on his first 2 dates, and I have loved watching him grow into the leader and friend he is becoming to those around him.  I am so proud of him and his sisters.


I sure do love these five fantastic kids of mine.  I pray every night for help being the mom they deserve and the mom they need to help them become who they are meant to be.  I'm also so grateful to have a good man by my side to be their dad.  Life is good.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Our Weekend Unplugged

Last week I told you our family was going to have an "unplugged weekend".  I had been thinking about doing this for a while, and finally got around to discussing it with Hubby.  With him on board, we presented it to the kids, starting out with watching this short message as a family:


As parents, hubby and I are pretty conservative when it comes to a lot of the technologies of today.  We don't allow violent video games in our home, our children were probably some of the last of their friends to get Facebook accounts and I know that Bookworm (our only child with a cell phone for now) was the last of his friends to get a phone.  It has nothing to do with not trusting our kids and everything to do with what we felt was or wasn't necessary for our family's circumstances and what we did or didn't feel was the most uplifting or healthy way for our family to spend their time.

Of course there is a fine line between giving them everything, and allowing them nothing.  We have social media accounts, we have cell phones and ipods, and we have the natural tendency to let our personal electronics consume more of our attention and time than is needful or healthy for real relationships.

And I'm not just talking about the kids.  I know I have been guilty of being engrossed in reading something on FB, or answering a text while one of my children is trying to tell me something, only to look up to their frustrated faces as we both realize I wasn't paying attention to a word they said.  I have also felt frustration when looking around at my family and not seeing eyes, because Hubby is reading something on his phone, Cowgirl is playing a game on her ipod, and Bookworm is engrossed with the 3 conversations he has going on at once via text.  Nobody is doing anything BAD, it's just that nothing really GOOD is happening with the time spent with our faces stuck in our personal devices.  So we had a weekend that was unplugged.  And it was awesome.

We started out on Friday around 4 o'clock.  Everyone was home from school and we all powered down our devices and "turned them in".  We had a few exceptions.  Hubby's business and my business both depend on us being somewhat prompt in responding to our customers.  So we were allowed 1 or 2 brief times during the day where he would check his voicemail, and I would check my shop correspondence to see if there were any customers who we needed to respond to.  We also took Hubby's phone while the kids were home alone watching the baby, just so they could reach us in case of emergency.  But that was it.  The rest of the time our phones stayed powered down and in a little collection on the piano for the weekend.  We all let people know that we would be without our phones, but they could call our home phone if they needed to reach us.  Remember the days of not being "on demand"?  Of being out with your family and really BEING with them, and whoever needed to talk to you would leave a message on your answering machine, and when you got home you could call them back?  Remember how good that was?  That's what we did this weekend and it was really, and I mean really wonderful.

One of the things I learned that has "gone away" (at least for me) is the art of planning in advance.  Like a real plan, not "okay, I'll text you when I'm there".  Grandma, the girls and I were meeting Hubby and Bookworm (they had been at violin lesson) at Wheeler Historic Farm.  We went over a little early and when we got there, I realized that there would be no way for Hubby to contact us and find out where we were so that we could meet up with them.  Back in the day we would have actually planned a meeting spot.  Maybe some of you still do, but this illustrated to me that I put off the specifics until we can just text or call each other right at the very last moment.  We ended up playing at the playground near the parking entrance until we saw them pull in.  Then spent a wonderful, completely uninterrupted evening walking around the farm and seeing all the animals.

I did miss the convenience of immediately being able to look something up if I had a question, or text someone if I had a thought or observation to share, or just scroll through FB if I was feeling bored.  But it also taught me that we (at least I) have developed into a people (person) who need(s) to be continually entertained or amused.  Now that I have a smart phone, I am easily bored and need something to hold my attention at all times.  One cannot just wait in the doctor's office, or at the bus stop, or ride along in the car without having to be entertained by something online.  I even find myself reaching for my phone to check Facebook or Instagram when a commercial comes on during the TV show I am watching.  This is a little sad to me.

I was proud of my family, who all participated without complaint.  Tonight we had a short family discussion where we talked about what we missed about being "plugged in" this weekend, and what we enjoyed about being "unplugged" as well as anything we learned from the experience.  It was apparent that the things we missed were really not that earth-shattering, and I think the consensus was that the benefits definitely outweighed the negatives.  The things we enjoyed were really being "present" when we were with each other, and the conversations we had and the time we spent together without distractions interrupting us every 5 minutes.  

I personally enjoyed not feeling tied to my phone, and feeling like I was truly giving my family, particularly my children, the attention they deserved.  I was actually pretty sad to see our experiment come to an end, and although it is not too practical for us to be unplugged permanently in this day and age, I definitely think we will be having more unplugged days, and activities in our future.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Hellish Day with a Happy Ending

So here's how my day went yesterday:

Wake up, get kids ready for school.

Drive kids and Hubby to school (hubby is driving the 6th grade to the McCullough space center for a space simulation field work).

Get back home.

Answer email and shop correspondence while Baby Girl attempts to feed herself oatmeal (yeah, she's at the whole independent stage).

Clean up oatmeal from table, chair, floor and Baby Girl's face, belly, arms and hair.

Attempt to clean up in my bedroom while Baby Girl naps (yeah right - she napped for 14 minutes).

Get in the shower while BG plays on the bathmat, waiting her turn to get in and get cleaned.  Hey it worked the last time I needed to have a shower and I was by myself with Baby Girl so don't you judge me.

Get all lathered up when I hear a huge crash followed by instant wailing from Baby Girl.  I jump out of the shower, dripping wet and sudsy to see my poor baby flat on her back on the tile.  She had attempted to climb up something.  Not sure if it was the toilet or the drawers or what.  I remember that last time we did this she hadn't started walking or climbing yet.  Idiot.

I have now soaked the entire bathroom floor with my dripping hair.

Put her on the bathmat (still wailing) and plead with her to just let me hurry and rinse off so I can hold her.

Step back into the shower and don't even have the curtain pulled when I hear a THUD!  And even more earnest wailing.  She has tried to run to the bathroom door because she wants out of there.  Immediately upon touching the wet tile her feet went right out from under her and she is flat on her back again.

Scoop her up and bring her back to the bathmat where she realizes is the only "safe" place for her to walk in the now water-logged bathroom.  She stands on that mat, still as a statue, afraid to move - just sobbing while I try to finish up in the shower so I can pick her up.

Do the fastest washing job of my life and then pick her up and bring her in to have a shower.  At this point she is NOT interested.  So she cries and fights me the whole time I am trying to get her washed.  Which of course causes me to nearly drop her.  I grip her so tight as she's going down that I'm surprised boogers didn't pop out her nose!

Save her from falling, but in the process she is positioned face up RIGHT under the shower spray.  So now she is sputtering and coughing and panicked and crying even harder.  I'm pretty sure that was the end of our showering together days.

Manage to get dried off and dressed without further incident.  She nurses and falls sound asleep.  I was exhausted too after all that!  I lay her on my bed while I get ready to go.  You see our day hasn't even really begun.

Get my hair and make up done and everything ready, and she is still sound asleep.  Look at her sweet little face and it takes everything I have not to climb into bed next to her, curl up to her warm little body and go to sleep myself.  But there's not time.  Reluctantly pick her up and get her loaded into her car seat, and head off to the post office.

Get to the post office, unbuckle BG and haul her in to check the p.o. box.  Hoping for a large check we are expecting from one of our customers.  Try not to say a bad word as I open the door to an empty box.

Lug BG back out to the car, buckle her in and head to the dry cleaner to pick up Bookworm's tux.  He has a Regional Solo and Ensemble performance on the violin at 3:30.

Get to the dry cleaner, once again unbuckle BG, haul her in with me and find that they charge TAX (WTHECK?), which of course leaves me feeling stupid since I only brought in cash in my pocket to pay (because of carrying Baby Girl and all) and I was $.61 short.

Lug BG back out to the car with me while I dig through the ash tray for $.61.  Go back in and dump a pile of dimes, nickles and pennies onto the counter.  I am so ghetto.

Get back into the car and get ready to head to the high school to give Bookworm his tux when I realize I left his cummerbund and bow tie at home on the dresser.  This time I don't resist saying the bad word.

Head back home, but forget I am 1 block further north than I think, so I turn north in stead of staying on the road that I was supposed to be on.  Have to take a bassackward way to get back home.  Grab the stuff and run back out to the car.  At this point Baby Girl has had it again and is making her displeasure known.

Race over to the high school to give Bookworm his crap, then head back toward home where my brother is waiting with a present for BG.  As soon as I pull out of the parking lot, phone rings and it's Bookworm, "you didn't bring my shoes and socks".  Another bad word.

Get back home, dump BG off with my brother, search the house for church socks, and church shoes, throw them in my car.  Now it's a race against time because before Bookworm performs I still have to go pick up my girls and husband from their school.  We only have 1 family car.  Our other vehicle is Hubby's work van and it only fits one passenger.

Debate whether to pick up girls and hubby first, or drop off shoes and socks.  Confer with hubby over the phone who says go take the shoes first.  Get to the high school right as school is getting out and ALL THE TEENAGERS are trying to get out of the parking lot.  Get caught in a huge teenage driver traffic jam and take forever to get out of the parking lot after delivering the shoes.

Race to the other school and get Hubby and girls, race back home to drop girls off.  Hubby and I race to the HS to watch Bookworm perform for the judge.  Listen, clap proudly and tiredly shlep back out to the car.  Get home and collapse on the couch ready to fall asleep.  Only to get a phone call that reminds me I have a church engagement in 20 minutes.  Sigh exhaustedly and muster up my energy to head over to the church.

In the end it was worth it because Bookworm scored a 1 and moved onto State Solo and Ensemble!  But what a day!!

Here's his performance:

) In other news, tomorrow we are starting an "Unplugged Weekend" family experiment.  I'll let you know how that goes next week!  I won't be back tomorrow, so have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Slow but Steady Wins the Race??

We shall see about that .

I recently decided to take the 4 Weeks to a More Organized Home Challenge from Money Saving Mom.  I didn't start up when she did, so I'm not really part of the "group" who is participating and linking up and all that jazz.  I intended to, but I just couldn't get started last week for various reasons.

But I did start this week and I'm a little excited.  I feel like I have a WAY bigger monster to tame than what her challenge will fix.  Like a lifetime of being disorganized + a husband who is equally as disorganized + 5 kids.  It's an equation that equals basically a whole lot of chaos to reign in.   And every time I determine that I am going to tackle that chaos, I just don't know where to start.  Bringing order to one area of my life or home or family is dependent on something else being brought to order first, which itself is dependent on another aspect being in order and I just feel overwhelmed with the hugeness of the undertaking.

I read through MSM's challenge (it's a downloadable little booklet) and although I have a lot more to accomplish than what the 4 week challenge covers, I felt like it was a way for me to get started - to focus on bringing a few things slowly into order, and then hopefully build on that after the challenge is over.  I thought I'd give you updates along the way!  Feel free to join in if you'd like.  We don't have to be on the same week to share our progress with each other, or to encourage each other!

So this week I set the following goals, which I am trying to accomplish along with the daily assignments from MSM:

1 - Blog 3 times.
2 - Exercise 4 times.
3 - Finish reviewing and providing feedback for a large policy document that needs finalization as part of my Charter School board member responsibilities.
4 - Get 1/2 of all the backed up laundry done.  Yes, this is shameful, but that is how much laundry I have to catch up on, that 1/2 finished is a lofty goal.
5 - Get my Mind Organization for Moms system back up and running.  It was going fabulously when I was implementing it before, but then I made a mad dash trying to prepare for awesome out of town visitors and totally neglected keeping up with the system.  I miss the order it brought to my daily tasks and projects.
6 - Get Activity Days up and running for my new church calling.
7 - Finish getting my craft room completely cleaned and organized (this is already about 1/2 done as I started working on it over the weekend).
8 - Create 3 new jewelry designs for our family business.

Now that I'm typing it all out, it sorta seems like a lot.  I'll let you know if I'm able to get it all done by the end of the week!

Here's what I'm feeling good about today:

I consumed a healthy amount of calories and fat today.
I did 6 loads of laundry.
I completely cleaned out and scrubbed my refrigerator:


Hopefully I can keep the momentum going - we've got a busy next few days in our family!

Monday, March 10, 2014

How many restarts do I get?

(Cough, cough), it's a little dusty in here...

I guess when you neglect the blog for like 7 months, it can grow a few cobwebs.  I'm going to try again to get my blog groove on.  So much has happened since I last blogged.  Perhaps I can get you caught up a little bit at a time over then next little while.  Hopefully.  Maybe.  Probably not.  And by "you" I mean the imaginary people I'm pretending to write to since I'm not sure anyone remembers about this ole blog of mine.  That's what happens when you disappear forever a while.

A few highlights from the past 7 months:


We went on a family trip to California in November - actually over Thanksgiving!  The kids thought that Disneyland was totally overrated.  Which is what I thought the last time I went in 1990.  They LOVED Sea World, and Universal Studios.  We also stopped and visited all the temples along the way.   I'll share pics in an upcoming post!

This girl turned 13!  I can't even stand it.  She is growing into such a lovely, thoughtful young woman.  I'm not really sure what she's doing in this picture.  Goofing off with friends, I guess.  I never said she wasn't a dork!



This girl turned 7!  She's not my baby anymore and sometimes that makes me a little sad.  But it sure is fun to watch her imagination go, and a little amusing to see her try to act like her big sisters (you know, snotty when they don't get their way?)


This girl turned 11!  She's dying to wear mascara - but she has to wait one more year!  I can't believe how she's grown this past year.  Quite a transformation.


And this munchkin turned ONE!  No longer my little Baby Girl, she is walking around everywhere and soaking up anything and everything she observes.  She has already mastered the art of twisting open nail polish!  What??  She still fills our home with joy and laughter and not a little bit of frustration!  She is as strong willed as any of her siblings and twice as spoiled!

Of course there have been school musicals and concerts and recitals keeping us hopping. And the ever constant battle to get my house/life/brain in order!  Stay tuned and I'll share with you the challenge I'm taking to try and get more organized over the next 4 weeks, and hopefully beyond!  

To anyone who still ever visits this dusty old blog, thanks for reading and I'll be back soon!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Are you ready?

Are you ready for the end of summer?  I totally am.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my summer with my kiddos.  It's been so fun having them all home along with their new baby sister.  I've enjoyed no bedtimes, the sleeping late, the few (but more than normal) lazy days, and even the busy days.  It's been nice, now that Baby Girl is older, to be able to jump in the car and leave the older kids in charge for a short time, while Hubby and I run to the grocery store for a few minutes, or to fill up with gas and grab a couple of drinks at the gas station.  I've loved the flexibility of pushing something I was going to do on Wednesday over to Friday because we decided to take the kids to the park, or go shopping with grandma.  BUT....my late nights and sleeping in, and putting off until tomorrow, has led to an increasingly messier house (okay, that's putting it mildly - it's a disaster!), lots of to-do's being left undone, and basically a growing feeling of chaos hovering over me at all times.  It's definitely time to change it up!

My girls go back to school tomorrow and couldn't be more excited!  Bookworm starts High School on Monday and although excited, I think he's a little nervous too.  I'm not gonna lie - I'm a little nervous for him.  I mean, I know he'll be fine, and I couldn't have asked for him to have a better experience with his first 10 years of public education.  But he's been with the same group of kids pretty much since 3rd grade and is going from a school of 500 (K-9) to a High School of just under 1800, and most of his closest friends are going off to different high schools.  I so want him to have a great first week and meet lots of new great friends!  Okay, I'm getting all anxious again.  Time to move on.

With all the kids back in school it will be just Baby Girl and me, and sometimes hubby.  I'm kinda looking forward to it.  She is getting so fun and even chubbier than before!  And I am looking forward to getting back into a routine, and getting up early (okay not the actual getting up part), and getting a jump on my day.  Getting more done, and hopefully restoring some order to our household!

Am I the only one who feels this way about back to school?

I'm ready for the season change as well.  I'm looking forward to fall.  The smells and sounds and colors!  I love that I live in a place that has 4 distinct seasons.  By the end of each season I am so ready for the next!  The only one that lasts a little long for me is winter.  But we've been over that before.

In other news - Baby Girl went to her very first RSL game last week!  We weren't sure how she'd do, but she LOVED it!  She was good the whole time and just loved being outside and watching everything going on around us.  Plus we won, so that made it an even better night!  It was Hubby and I's first soccer date since the season began.  We went to nearly every home game last year, and we've really missed our date nights!

Here are a couple of fun pictures of my cute soccer girl.  Okay, me, my cute husband and 2 of my other cute kids are in them too.  But let's face it, it'as all about the chubby baby girl right now as far as pictures go!

First soccer date of the season.

 Victory smiles

So, are you ready for the end of summer? Or are you hoping to stretch it out just a little bit longer?

One more thing.  We're having a giveaway over at Sweet Adornment!  If you want to be entered to win a $25.00 gift certificate, just click HERE!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

From Drab to FAB!

This is the story of how a plain, boring brown pair of thrift store boots became a fabulous pair of dazzling go-go boots!

You may recall that last year Bookworm and Cowgirl were in our school musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.  Cast members were responsible for much of their own costumes.  For Cowgirl's part, one of the costumes needed was a go-go costume.

After scouring the store racks for any leftover Halloween costumes on clearance (because I wasn't about to pay full price and order a costume online), and having no luck, I realized that I was going to have to put together a costume myself.  So it was time to hit my favorite thrift store, Deseret Industries.  It took going back a couple of times (luckily it's near our house), but we finally found a shirt and skirt that fit the bill.  I was hoping for brighter colors, but you take what you can get, right?

I was still having a hard time finding a pair of go-go boots.  I wanted white ones.  Then I got to the point that I would settle for any color that were the right style.  I figured I could spray paint them white.  After many "drop ins" to the DI while out and about on my errands on different days, I finally found "the pair"!  They were the right size, and the right style (and only $5)!  It was time to pull the outfit together!

As I was talking to one of the moms at rehearsal one day, she mentioned the word "glitter".  And the heavens opened...and the angels sang.....

So after looking at some different ideas online, and determining the drawbacks as well as the benefits of each of the methods suggested, I came up with a plan.

I first took the boring, plain brown boots and coated them well with a couple of layers of metallic silver spray paint.  I stuffed newspapers inside of them to keep them standing upright and filled out.  I let them dry overnight.




Next I mixed together a concoction of regular (not fine) silver glitter and my favorite - Mod Podge!  I just dumped a bunch of glitter in a cup, then poured in some Mod Podge and stirred it up.  I kept doing it until the mixture got to a pasty consistency that would spread easily and not be too clumpy, but still had a thick concentration of glitter in it.  It really would be hard to get it wrong.




I painted my first layer of glitter podge all over the boots, being careful to try and avoid the zippers so they wouldn't get glued shut.  After they had time to dry for a little bit I could see the spots that were a little bare of glitter.  I went over the boots another time, paying special attention to the bare spots.



Once they were all dry I touched up any spots that still looked like they needed some sparkling up and Ta-Da!  A fabulous pair of sparkling go-go boots!



I decided that Cowgirl needed some go-go accessories to tie the whole outfit together.  So we made a belt and some big earrings by cutting circles out of poster board and repeating the spray paingint/glitter podging process used on the boots.  I LOVED how her costume turned out, and we got so many compliments on the boots and the accessories!



Yes, I totally cropped other people out of the photo! (Including her brother!)


It's like I always say, "Everything is better with glitter!"

Have you transformed anything from drab to fab lately?  I'd love to hear about it!

I'm sharing this project over HERE today!  Check it out to find more fabulous projects!