Thursday, July 31, 2008

When Do I Get to Start the Next Project?

Yesterday's UNFinished Crafts day was wildly successful. And by successful I mean lots of people came and filled my home practically from top to bottom. Thank you to all the moms and kids who came and played and worked and made general mayhem. It was awesome! I, myself, actually finished the curtains for beside my front door before the last person left (granted I did make her stay a little longer b/c I wanted to be able to say that and so as to drag out having company a little longer!). The next house project is getting rid of the dead pine trees in the yard and working on faux etching on the windows on the first landing. Then I can go on to the more fun project of faux stained glass on the huge group of windows above the front door. Thanks, Ginger for the great idea. I even found some inspiration for it online. I apologize to the artist for posting this pic (if there is some sort of copyright), but it is so beautiful, I must show you.

I must give a shout out to Ellen for being the best blog reader and demonstrating to me that there is at least 1 person out there willing to show they do want to be friends with me. Thank you, Ellen, I cannot tell you how much that small gesture means to me.

Next time I will take pictures of the wonderful cacophony in action. Until then use your imagination.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Where's my Samantha When I Need Her?

So, I really want a Dr. Pepper right now, but I've already been out with the kids for hours and don't want to load up and go out again just to have to unload everyone again to get myself a caffeinated soda. I know in Provo I could call Samantha and she would understand and bring me a 20 oz. soda with a Diet Coke for herself then she would hang out until her or my kids would get unbearable.

I did have half of one earlier, but H knocked it over (I hate defizzed soda) and drank the rest anyway.

So now I am just praying (I'll have to take action on it when I finish this post by getting off the computer) that I can stop being so selfish and call/help someone who needs me...

...and, yes, I know, I'm the one who moved, not Samantha.

Friday, July 25, 2008

My Husband is on a Date With an Angel

Robert took the day off today, and is planning on taking Fridays off permanently, which is great, but it means 10 hour days M-F. Everything has an opportunity cost, right? So we spent the better part of the morning looking forward to one of my sisters visiting us, but she called and said tomorrow would work better, so we quickly packed up and headed out to the store to get some last minute things for our Valiant Primary Pizza Party.

I decided that I had been negligent of the birthdays in my class (there have been 4 since I started teaching around April), so I told everyone we would have a pizza party complete with wii playing. We decided on today starting at 4, which theoretically, would give us time to make, bake, and eat pizza with plenty of time to play the wii. I made some homemade pizza dough (Robert & I's special recipe), and set up lots of toppings for everyone to choose from. I also made some brownies w/ ganache topping to celebrate the birthdays we used as the excuse for this party. All the kids did a great job rolling out their individual pizzas and topping them with whatever they wanted. We had pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives, green peppers, onions, ham, and pineapple, as well as the requisite cheese (a mix of mozzarella, colby/jack, and cheddar). Some of us also added garlic butter (courtesy of Papa John's) and garlic seasoning to the crust. That was a good touch, IMO! The boys mostly played the wii, while the girls opted to help me in the kitchen (21st century anyone?) then play games on the table once we'd cleaned flour off of every available surface. We even had one Mom join us for the last hour or so (she got a brownie!). After a while we sang an extremely loud and off-key "Happy Birthday", and enjoyed our delicious brownies. Everyone disappeared in ones and twos by about 8:30. I had a lot of fun. And I think/hope all the kids enjoyed it, too. Next time I will have both batches of dough ready at the beginning (I got distracted, so some of the kids had to wait for the second batch to rise, which I'm sure they were unhappy about), and maybe make the brownies the night before. I got a little overworked, but the kids helped a lot and I even was able to clean up 80% of the mess before everyone left. Now I just have dishes to do, which I bet I can get my sweet husband to do... who wants to start a pool as to when he'll get them done?

Now I am home with Oli, Isa, H, and EJ. Eliza-Jane went to bed right before Robert & Angel left around 9:30. We have promised the kids a date with Daddy when they memorize the Articles of Faith, and a date every birthday they can still say them all. Most of you readers know that Angel's birthday was actually at the end of March, so it took us a while to get this date setup, but better late than never is a good motto when you are never on time! Last year for their date the first time Angel memorized all 13 Articles of Faith, Robert took him "Cosmic Bowling" at the BYU bowling center. They had a lot of fun and stayed up really late, so Angel asked his dad to take him bowling again this year. The alley close by wanted 17$ per person for their special Friday night bowling (something akin to "Cosmic Bowling", I'm sure), so we searched around for a better deal, and they ended up just going before the special bowling session started and paying the regular rates.

I just put Horatio down, after he fell asleep on the living room floor, and Oliver is playing Super Mario Galaxy, while Isa is doing random crafting. Speaking of, Isa did her first sewing on Thursday (when I hosted the 2nd weekly "UNFinished Craft day" at my house)! I have a picture of her sewing a button on some scrap fabric (extremely badly, I might add, but it was so cool to see her concentrating on that needle and button). I will post that pic tomorrow as right now I want to kick Oliver off the wii, so I can have a turn and I am too lazy to get the camera and upload the pics right now. I hope you all have a wonderful night, and none of you are missing your husbands selfishly like me while they are on a Father-Son date.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My First Tag (which wasn't really personally directed at me, but I care not, and I need something to write about today)

20 years ago: I was 11 (come on people, 20+11 equals...?), and my family was about to move from Louisiana to South Carolina. I hated this simply b/c I was about to enter 6th grade and I knew that in SC 6th grade is still in Elementary school! I so wanted to be in Jr. High.

10 years ago: Robert & I were adjusting to new parenthood (Angel was a few months old), living in Wymount Terrace (at BYU) and both going to school full-time, while living on practically nothing. Good times.

5 years ago: We had been wondering if I was ever going to get pregnant again, b/c we made the mistake of trying the depo provera shot for birth control, and Isa and Oliver ended up almost 4 years apart. We probably had just found out it was a girl and I was hopeful, excited, and skeptical (it's much harder to say with any conviction that it's a girl on an ultrasound than that it's a boy).

3 years ago: I broke my arm for the 2nd time in my life, while rollerblading (sadly, the first time I was also skating!), had a cast for 6 weeks and went through months of physical therapy afterwards b/c my elbow had been dislocated and my range of motion was practically nil (all better now, btw, ask me to wave at you with my right arm sometime!). Also my sister, Patricia, and her kids came to visit us that year for Thanksgiving and stayed with us.

1 year ago: I was pushing Robert very hard to finish his independent study class, so he could finally graduate (WOW, I can't believe that was almost a year ago). We were also brand new parents to our first hypnobaby, and I was loving most parts of my recovery and how wonderful a baby she was (is still).

This year: We moved across the country (finally!) from Provo, Utah to Houston, Texas, we bought our first house, Robert got his first job as an official "Computer Engineer" (with a salary a lot closer to what he should be getting than he ever was), and we decided to homeschool our children this coming school year. We also adopted our first pets as a family, three kittens.

Yesterday: Robert took the day off, and we went to a well woman doctor visit for me, and I must say Hypnobabies rocks! I used the fingerdrop technique to turn off, then went into center and spread my anesthesia where I needed it, and my "exam" was not uncomfortable at all! You women know exactly what I am talking about when I say these particular visits are extremely uncomfortable (and that's like saying the ocean is extremely wet). We also went to the temple and did some sealings of Husbands and Wives and some children to their parents. We were there to see a friend get her own endowments, and were too late to make it to the session, so we did sealings while we waited. What was cool was that usually you see Husbands and Wives do the sealings, but in this particular session we were one of 2 couples, and the one was being a witness while we had just had a turn, so the Sealer invited a Brother and Sister (I mean the title Brother and Sister, not that they were siblings)(both were married I think) and another lady to be a daughter. It was the 1st time Robert and I had seen it done without it being a married couple, and I had 2 thoughts. 1) I don't want my husband to ever do sealings without me (selfish me) and 2) It struck me how that group of three, being proxy for this sweet family's sealing was a great symbol of the family of man all being sealed together forever. It didn't matter that they weren't a blood family on earth, but they are a family somewhere along the lines with all of us. I don't describe it well, but it was nice and I hope you will take a moment to ponder that idea and maybe you will get my meaning.

Today: I yelled at Angel for reading over my shoulder while I am on the computer and will be apologizing to him as soon as I finish here. I got up early and have done my exercises for 3 days in a row! I need to take stuff to the library and drop off recycling (man I miss having a recycle can!). I will probably play some Super Mario Galaxy, and make some Visiting Teaching calls, and -if I'm really lucky/blessed(?)- my Visiting Teachers will come visit me! I also have budgeting, bills to pay, and receipts to put in the check register.

Tomorrow: I will be getting ready for a pizza party for my primary class and hosting the 2nd UNFinished Crafts day at my house.

I'm tagging Ellen Mangrum & Debbie Tingey (did I spell them right?), 'cause I think they'll do it, and I want to know more about them.
I'm also Tagging Roman's Mom and Tisha Hunt, b/c they haven't posted in a long time and I want to hear what they are up to!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Confessions of a Big Baby

2 things that have changed me:

The first is a hymn, it is titled "More Holiness Give Me." It's a very pretty song, and once, when we sang it at church (maybe it was the 1st time I ever sang it, I don't remember), the phrase "more longing for home" struck me. The song is kind of a prayer, asking Heavenly Father to help us to be better in many ways, and the idea of missing the home we used to live in (with God and all our brothers and sisters in His heaven, albeit without physical bodies yet) just resonated inside of me. I realized one of the reasons I feel so discombobulated at times is because I am not at home here. This body sometimes seems so foreign and cumbersome (though I'm sure it will be nicer when it is perfectly resurrected) and this world is tiring and hard. Have you heard the saying, "We are not Human beings having spiritual experiences, we are Spiritual beings having human experiences."? It is true, and since the day I had that epiphany, I have gotten that wish (the more longing for home part). I have longed for Home on so many occasions it makes me weep, not just cry, but heaving-chested sobs, because I long to be freed from the weight of this life. Yet I can find a million things I love about this earth and this life, of course, it's just... not the same as Home.

The 2nd is the scripture phrase that tells us as Christians to "mourn with those that mourn." Mourning seems to be a topic all over the scriptures, check the index in your set and I'm sure you will find plenty of references. Perhaps because Jesus, the only perfect person ever to live spent His life mourning for us and those around him, b/c some of us just didn't "get it". (Discuss) My problem is, for some reason I have taken this to heart. Yet I don't or can't actually mourn with the people I feel for. For example, I am a member of the Hypnobabies Board on Yahoo, and was shocked the first time a grieving mother announced the "still birth" of her baby, or sadder still that the baby had died in utero and they were waiting until she gave birth naturally. I know these things happen in this world, yet when I knew someone (even as distantly as through an internet discussion board), it became very real, and I mourned. I visited a website (Now I Lay Me Down to; CAUTION, this is very very sad to see in reality so don't click unless you are ready for it) in which loving, charitable, talented people donate their time and resources to take pictures for families who suffer this particular loss/trial in their lives. It was heart-breaking and heartening at the same time. I saw people who had such love and hope for the future, and such gratitude that this little baby had however many precious minutes or hours on this earth. And I cried those heart-wrenching sobs again and Robert had to come and see what had happened to me, and I just felt stupid, crying for these sweet families that I don't know from Adam (as they say). Yet I always feel I do know them. I know we did. We all lived together with our Father in Heaven before we came to Earth to gain a body and all the experiences we need to grow and become more like Him. No matter how many trillions of us there were, we must have known each other. And isn't it less silly to cry over this which is so real and life-stopping to those it has happened to, than to cry over a book in the twilight series where the stupid guy leaves (stupid guy!).

And now I have become a blog hopper. I jump around the blogs other people have listed on their blogs, and sometimes find an old friend (very cool) and a lot of times come upon the story of someone amazing, who is amazing b/c they face the trials that seem unendurable with great faith and hope for the future. They talk of their love for God and His Son, and how they know their families are safe and have great peace. And I cry some more.

Is this silly or can I just label myself soft-hearted?

The strangest thing is, I NEVER used to cry like this. It took a lot to make me cry, really. I suppose I did the normal amount of teen angst crying, but real deep down sorrow I hardly ever felt. But, honestly, I don't mind. It helps me feel closer to the Savior, to know that I can feel sympathy and hopefully one day truly help someone who I am meant to.

These are just some things I have been thinking of. Sorry for the very stream-of-consciousness flow. Now, go hug someone you love and rejoice that they are with you right now. GO!

More Than Nothing is Still Something

Well, I did cut 3 boys' hair (Angel, Horatio, & Robert), wrapped 1 wooden post w/ sisal rope, left lots of Visiting Teaching messages, had Lesley over and gave her the project I finished (finally!), and trimmed one of my spiky dinosaur bushes out front.

And now that my period is over, I upped my fish oil to 3 tablets a day, and I'm using my golite again things are looking up. I tend to feel best when I get things done. How about you guys? What helps you feel better after a funk? Or -better yet- to get out of a funk?

I'll post shots of the younger boys later (I only trimmed the back of Robert's hair, so he still looks the same (really cute, of course!). 'Til then.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I Love My Computer Geek

My sweet and talented husband created for me some computer code to change my music player on Sundays. Now you can feel free to visit my blog on Sundays if you wish, and not worry about dealing with pausing or turning off the music player b/c it automatically changes to a special Sunday appropriate playlist. How cool is that?! Enjoy.

Tomorrow I will update you on what we got done on Saturday and how much I'm going to get done this week, especially since Robert is taking 2 days off!

BTW, in conjunction with our dinner theatre we have decided Robert will start his own personal IT consulting (in the future), so we are thinking of names... send us some. We brainstormed using Lewis as an acronym or doing something using Stevenson (Get it? "Hi, I'm Robert Lewis (from) Stevenson IT Consulting.")(Robert Louis Stevenson...), any other ideas? Please comment or email us, it may only be years until Robert starts his business, so we'd better get crackin'! (These are the jokes, folks!)

Good Sabbath to you all!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Today is Get Some Stuff Done Day!

Here is my list of things to do today (in no particular order):

-Cut Angel & Horatio's hair
-Fix front gutter which fell down in the last storm
-wind sisal rope around posts for cat scratching post we are making
-go to Barnes and Noble &/or Jamba Juice as a treat
-hang the art gallery tracks (for my myriad photos of the kids) in my office
-prep eye round for steaks/fajitas and freeze
-cut out the fabric for the curtains to go on either side of the front door
-trim the "dinosaur" bushes in the front and back yard
-put receipts in the check register
-pay some bills I've been putting off simply b/c I'm lazy
-clean out the car
-go to Wal-mart for a few groceries, including a sink plunger for our bathroom sink which hasn't drained well since we moved in
-find a place that will sharpen my knives around here (the yellow pages nor the internet have been any help so far!)
-make some Visiting Teaching calls
-get another estimate on the removal of two dead trees in our backyard

Think I can do it all?

I'll update you later; til then, here's two pics of H and Angel looking like 70s TV stars b/c their hair is way too long (especially since Angel refuses to comb his; my mother will claim that I was the same way, but in my defense the way I remember it was my hair was just unruly naturally and no matter how much I combed it it still would not lay flat!)...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Our First Hypnobaby is 1 Year Old

Wednesday, July 7th, 2008 our 1st Hypnobaby, Elisabeth-Jane, turned 1! My pregnancy and birthing of her was amazing in many respects. It was very empowering, a great learning experience, and it brought Robert & I even closer together. Also, the fact that it was pain-free without drugs was a huge plus! You can read the whole birth story online here. The link goes to a site by Sheridan who moderates the Hypnobabies Yahoo board and also teaches the Hypnobabies method. She also has lots of other birth stories and good info there, including her comparison between Hypnobabies and Hypnobirthing. And, I want you to STOP RIGHT NOW that negative thinking that this was some weird, hippy-type, fluke, and that most women would never be able to do it pain-free without drugs. AND STOP thinking that I was able to do this b/c this was my 6th birth; there are many moms who do this for their 1st baby. This birth was just as much (if not more) work than all the others, all it took was preparation and the right tools to get the birth we wanted. Do some research yourself on it, take the class or buy the homestudy course (I hear it's just as good or better than the class), and above all, let yourself believe it is possible, please.

BTW, it is also not cheap (about 300$), but how much did/would you pay for that epidural, huh?

Now, on to the cuteness that is a year old!

Here she is waking up as a 1 year old.

Here she is with Dr. Shirley, who has a very new, very small (for now) practice here in Houston. She looks unhappy b/c he's doing that funny thing where he rotates her legs in her hip socket. I'm sure I will be annoyed when he has the inevitable hundreds of patients (which I know he will b/c he is amazing!) and it's harder to get an appointment, but now I get my choice of anytime whenever we need it!

We went to the Olive Garden (possibly our family's all time favorite restaurant) for dinner and decided we would get her a kid's sized chocolate gelato for dessert. We are not so wild about cake (I love decorating them, but not so much the eating of them), so we have made it a tradition to give our babies their first taste of ice cream on their 1st birthdays. Also, since Robert's side of the family has LOTS if food allergies, we haven't let any of our kids have dairy at all until that birthday. She seemed to enjoy it, especially after daddy gave her the spoon!

p.s. Happy Belated Birthday to Michael, who shares EJ's birthday!!! We love and miss you guys.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I Know Why We Sleep

I started reading the Chronicles of Narnia again (one of my top three favorite book series ever), and came across this wonderful tidbit of wisdom from the Lion Himself. Here's the background: the not very nice Uncle Andrew has been in Narnia totally freaked out by the animals who are trying to help him. He refuses to believe they are helping, and eventually Aslan comes over and takes pity on him and puts him to sleep, saying, "Sleep, Sleep and be separated for some few hours from all the torments you have devised for yourself."

This passage struck me this afternoon as I read it, b/c I do that all the time. You know what I mean? We all have those times when we are so overwhelmed and worried, then we go to bed finally, and in the morning it is never quite as bad as it was before we slept. We had cleverly devised our fears and given them life when we were feeling sad or just plain scared of how amazing and wonderful we can be. We have such vast potential it can be paralysing to try to comprehend it all. And so we destroy ourselves before we get started. Satan loves this! But Heavenly Father and Jesus created this wonderful respite for our troubled hearts and minds. We are able to rest these mortal bodies and at the same time take a much needed repose from our self-imposed torments. Please understand that I do not mean that we bring trials and tribulations on ourselves, what I mean is that we create false ones and distract ourselves from real living and growing.

I am so grateful to know that Heavenly Father planned so many small means for us to grow and have peace in this life, so that we are able to finally reside eternally with Him. I suppose this is a small part of what He means when He says "I will not leave you comfortless." (John 14:18)

This makes me smile, which is saying alot, b/c I am having the worst period of my life (literally) right now.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


I hate mosquitoes.

I loathe mosquitoes.

I detest mosquitoes.

If there are a million words for hating something, I invoke them all against mosquitoes.

We were just outside trying to get our lantern out front to light. We turned it off, b/c one of the mantles had a big hole in it and also I wondered if it maybe shouldn't be on all the time b/c it could be hazardous somehow, right? UGH! I wish I'd never turned the darn thing off. We know theoretically how to light it, but just can't get it lit. We can;t even tell if the gas is actually on when we turn the dial. Now I am covered in no less than one dozen mosquito bites and they itch like crazy. As I type this my feet are tingling with the urge to scratch until I scrape the skin off of my pies. Robert applied copious amounts of Caladryl to my feet, arms, and (sadly) face. I swear we were out there maybe 10 minutes. Is this a reminder to keep the Sabbath day holy (e.g. not doing household tasks)? Discuss amongst yourselves.

On another note I vowed to wow you all with my homemaking prowess by showing you what I have done with the flowers Robert brought me a few posts back. If you have ever wondered how to make those cut flowers beautify your home for a few more days, here you go! Usually mine start drooping before the blooms fall apart, so I figured I'd just cut their heads off (good for a bad day, "Take that person who wasn't nice to me for no reason!"), and not have to look at droopy stems. Oh, the cleverness of me! Seriously, I'm sure it was an inspired, but it's fun to take credit for just a minute. I put them in a pretty, huge, crystal bowl we got as a wedding gift (and rarely use, b/c it's so huge and heavy when used for anything besides salad), put some small decorative stones in it, and filled it halfway with water. I also added a dash of bleach after the first 3 days the water wanted to turn brown (not pretty). So at this point they have lasted me about 2 weeks. Not bad, eh?

All right time for another change of subject.

At dinner tonight I was reading the 2nd half of a talk by Elder Wirthlin. It's a great talk about lots of stuff, but I especially like the part where he talks about the idea that we don't have signs on our church that say "Restricted Entrance-Perfect People Only." It's easy to look at some people -usually the ones you don't know very well, right?- and think, "Man, so-and-so is perfect, she does it all, never gets mad at her kids or husband, bakes bread every week, only feeds her kids whole grains and vegetables, has never missed a Sunday at church, probably goes to the temple twice a week, etc, etc, etc." We know it's not true, but we still do it. Today I resolve to stop judging other people as perfect. It is comforting to note the fact that we are a church (a world, really) of imperfect people, but we can come together to be better. I also resolve to call the friend I rudely stood up two weeks ago b/c I was feeling crappy, and go and hang out with her and her family, b/c I know she is needing a friend, too. I'm just too reverse prideful (i.e. I think that noone can suck as much as I do) to think that someone else is lonely too. Also, for the record, I need to apologize to Angel for yelling at him a minute ago for something dumb.

Leave me a comment. Have a great week. And call me if you are lonely or think you suck somedays too. Then we can reassure each other, -b/c of course, it would be prideful to praise ourselves :) -, so you are free to praise me and I will feel free to praise you mellifluously.

I also thought you may like to know that Lightning McEliza-Jane (It's from the movie "Cars", people, keep up please) is so far past officially walking it is scary. She went from first steps to 10 steps to walking everywhere in a matter of days.

good night, john boy.