Saturday, November 22, 2008

On This Day of Holy Wars...

Bill and I have a friendly little rivalry going on in our own house today. May the best man win.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Need A Maid

Today is yet another cleaning day. (Didn't I just do this?) I can't believe how fast Monday comes around. I was tempted to just let it go today because I have a dirty rotten cold and just wasn't feeling up to cleaning. Yeah, that didn't work because I have a problem. I have a major case of O.C.D. when it comes to cleaning day. It makes me absolutely crazy if I can't get it done. So, I buckled down and got it done.

Only one problem: When you really need your kids to be good while you clean so that you can get it done fast before you run out of steam, they won't. I was happily cleaning away as I listened to my iPod since the loud and up-tempo music helps me not only get the job done quicker, but it helps drown out the kids. I figure that if they really need something, they will come get me. Otherwise, they can work out their little tiffs. Yeah, so my kitchen looked like this:

AAAHHHH. Nice and clean.

And my bedroom looked like this:
Ahhh, clean sheets. Can I crawl in that bed and go to sleep yet?

The bathrooms were clean and smelled like freshly bleached towels:

I hadn't heard from my kids for a while and then Lana comes in as I am finishing the last bathroom and says, "Mom, Hayden is making messes." Great. Can't wait to see. Apparently the iPod also makes Mommy unable to hear when the kids are getting into trouble. Dang it. I just can't win. So I walk into the girls' bedroom and this is what I find (a common occurrence in our house):

Great, I get to clean up about a thousand books. Why do I have to like books so much? And then, I walk into Hayden's room and find this:

So much for giving the Kate Goldfish crackers to keep her busy. Grrrr.

And do you see any children in those pictures? Nope. They made their messes and left. So what were they doing? They were making a mess of the family room! At lest they were playing and having fun together instead of fighting!:)

Even the kids themselves were a mess. Hey, I never claimed to be an attentive mother on cleaning day.

So off I went to clean up those fun messes and as I was in the bedrooms cleaning up books, vacuuming, and doing a little bit of huffing and puffing under my breath, the kids were busy in the family room. This time I got a good surprise. When I came out, this is what I found:

Happy kids who had cleaned up the whole family room without being asked! What good kids!

Then when they asked me to make them lunch, my first thought was, "Great, here goes the spotless kitchen and the "freshly-Pledged" table." But then I thought about part of the talk that President Monson gave in conference about finding joy in the journey. I'll just give the quote since I could never do it justice:

'If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled will disappear all too soon and that you will - to your surprise - miss them profoundly.'

I still get discouraged when I work so hard and things get messed up, but I know that this time will go fast and that I WILL miss all of it someday. I need to be better at "finding joy in my journey." Maybe that is why I take pictures of a clean house - because it doesn't last long. You know the phrase "Take a picture, it will last longer?" Totally true when it comes to a clean house. But I also had to take pictures of the messes because that is all part of having kids, and the fact that they pitched in and cleaned up without being asked makes me smile.

I love my kiddos to pieces and will be so sad when they are grown up and I don't have their little fingerprints all over the house and their dirty laundry to do and their artwork all over the fridge... But I hope that when that day comes I can say that I enjoyed my kids.

But this all brings me back to the title. I think I need a maid on cleaning day to do that deep cleaning so that I can play with the kids more, don't ya think?:)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Quirks Tag

I was tagged to do a list of six of my "quirks." Are you serious? Do I really have to tell you what makes me weird? Thank goodness it's only limited to six. I'm as weird as they come. So here it goes (to my own embarrassment):

~ I eat toast and chocolate milk ALL.THE.TIME. I love the stuff. And my kids are inheriting my oh-so-healthy habit.

~ I leave the TV on all night just to have the noise. It started when Bill used to work all night and I was alone. I needed the noise to keep me company (and to keep the Boogey man away) but the habit has carried over. I have a hard time sleeping if there isn't a little noise. I'm a freak.

~ I pick the dead skin off of my feet all the time. I can't help it. Bill is always trying to get me to just put lotion on my feet, but that rough skin makes me crazy. When I went to get a pedicure for my b-day, the girl doing it said that my feet were so smooth and that there wasn't much to "buff" off of my heels. Yeah, 'cuz I already took care of peeling it and cutting it all off!:) Gross, I know. I never said this list was going to be fun.

~ I always wind my kids up right before bed. It makes no sense, but I do it almost every night. I think it makes Bill nuts. But I can't resist those last few giggles at the end of the day.

~ I can't handle it when I am in a store and someone is gabbing on their cell phone and doesn't acknowledge the checker (or when the checker won't acknowledge the customer.) Ticks me off! What ever happened to, "Thank you. Have a nice day?" My kids even say that when we go to the store. So do me a favor, will you, and smile and try to talk to the checker the next time you go to the store. And if the checker is onry, offer to buy them a bottle of water or their favorite candy bar. They love that! And it makes everyone that much happier.

~ And the last one: When I am nervous or stressed out, I totally claw the heck out of my hands. I guess inflicting pain on myself takes my mind off whatever is stressing me out? After I had Lana, the nurse looked at my hands and said, "Did you do that?" My hands were bleeding and I didn't even realize how much I had dug at them. I can't believe I don't have scars all over my hands from digging them. I need a new nervous habit.

So there you have it. Six of the things that make me weird. (Yep, they are kinda boring, but I wasn't going to tell you the REALLY embarrassing ones!) Now, if you feel like playing along, I would love to hear some of your quirks!:)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Our "Big Boy"

See that picture of that sweet boy? This is how he has looked for the last two and a half years - BINKIE in the MOUTH!!! The kid LOVES his binkie! And I mean LOVES it! And not only does he love it, but I think the kid NEEDS it. I feel like it has helped him get through the "being booted out of being the baby" so young stuff. He was so small when Kate was born and I still feel guilty that I ruined him for life. Obviously he doesn't have too much animosity toward Kate. He even shares his favorite pillow and blanket with her. Awwww, sweet.

On to the point...We have thought about making him get rid of the binkie for a while but it just hasn't felt like the right time. And before you judge me as a bad parent, know that I know he can't take the thing to kindergarten and that sometimes you have to do hard things as a parent. Blah, blah blah... I've heard it all, but he's my kid and it's just not something I have felt right about pushing.

But lately Bill has been trying really hard to encourage Hayden to give up the binkie in a nice, fun "man to man" sort of way. It's sweet to watch, and it is time to at least cut back on the "binkie time." It is starting to rub his chin raw. So Bill will ask him for his binkies and tell him he is a "Big Boy" and that he doesn't need it. He does okay if he is kept busy or has food to shove in his mouth. But every once in a while he still needs it.

Like yesterday he gave it to me when he woke up and said, "I Big Boy. Lotion on a chin," and he went and put lotion on his chin. SOOOO sweet. So at about noon, he started looking panicked and had these big ole tears in his eyes. I couldn't figure out what he wanted, but when I finally figured out that it was the binkie, he was so relieved and settled down for a nap.

Then today, he gave it up right when he woke up. It was the same as yesterday. But about fifteen minutes later, he was walking all over the house saying, "I Big Boy, I Big Boy," with a sad little look on his face. He is trying so hard, the cute thing. So we are trying to encourage him to get rid of it and to help him along if he wants to try, but here's my question:

I want to replace it with something to try to keep him occupied and to be a "Big Boy" sort of reward at the same time. Got any ideas? I really think that if we are taking away something that is such a comfort to him and that he needs so much we need to put something in its place. So if anyone has any fun ideas that we could use to replace it with, I'd love to hear them. I've thought of sippy cups, a blanket, a "Cars" toy, and lots of other things, but I would love to hear other ideas.

Ready...GO!!! Get the creative ideas coming my way PLEASE!
Just a little P.S. We are going to try to ENCOURAGE Hayden to get rid of his binkie if HE is ready. But I am a firm believer in waiting until your kid lets them know they are ready for a new phase (potty training, giving up the binkie, etc.) I know we have to help him along, but I just don't think it's a big deal to get rid of the binkie yet. So we will see how this goes. But I really do think that he needs something to replace it with when it is gone, so I am still looking for ideas. Thank you for the ideas so far. They are awesome!:)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween '08

This is quite possibly going to be one of the longest posts ever, but I gotta do it since this is our family history. Here is our Halloween this year:

Thursday night, Bill came home with these awesome Fall flowers for me. The man knows how to start my not-so-favorite-holiday off right!:)

Then that night we carved pumpkins (and I didn't take pictures because I had pumpkin guts all over my hands!) Next year...

When we woke up yesterday morning, the kids were super excited (and so was I because, after all, Halloween IS my favorite holiday!) Bill had the day off and we had my sister and her family coming over for a party and they couldn't wait!

We started with the good-ole sugar cookie decorating. Hayden thought it was fun to play with the candy we were using to decorate with before we got out the frosting. But as soon as the actual frosting part began, he was outta there. Nice try, Honey.

And what would pictures of frosting cookies be without at least one of a kid licking their fingers?

Our next activity was a coloring contest. Judging by this picture, it was obviously the hit of the party. Uh, let's move on...

The kids were excited about the donut eating contest. We let them each pick which one they wanted.
There was no way Hayden was playing the silly game. He wasn't wasting time getting that donut goodness in him!:)
And we got Kate situated with a donut and a lovely Christmas bib.

And ready, set, EAT!!!!!

Lana, you're cheating. This is supposed to be "No Hands!"

Lana got full after eating half of her donut, so she gave it to Little Sis to finish it off. Kate loved it! It even had mini M&M's on it!

And this is what she looked like by the time she was finished! No face paint needed for Halloween! Just give the girl a donut!

After the kids had the donuts washed off of their faces, hands, clothes, hair...they did a fun treasure hunt that grandma made for them. They always love a good treasure hunt, and my mom is the queen of them. She gave them bunches of candy and fun prizes at the end. It was great! So here she is with all of her adoring grand kids: (Hayden, Lana, McKenzie, Kate, Isaak, Brielle, Kailie, and Rylee) Getting eight kids to all smile and look at the camera at the same time is officially impossible.

Thank you, mom and Tai and Mike, for coming over for the party. We loved having you and you made the kids' Halloween so much fun!

After the party, it was time to eat and get ready for the ward sidewalk trick-or-treat and carnival. We made home-made pizzas and got the kids all gussied up. Rylee and Lana were feelin' the Halloween love.

Lana went as Dorothy (and loved every minute of it!)

Rylee went as a ballerina. (Go ahead, you can be impressed. Non-crafty me DID make her Halloween costume this year.)

Kate was a cute little ladybug. This was the best picture I could get of her. She HATED the hat on her costume. And we seem to have a problem keeping our holidays straight. Now she is holding an Easter egg. What the heck?

And Hayden went as Mater. He didn't want his picture taken either, so this is the best we got. He looked so cute though!

And here are all of our little stinkers ready to go get their haul of candy.

The trick-or-treating was a lot of fun, and the carnival was a blast. They just had it in our cul-de-sac. They had classic carnival games (fishing pond, cake-walk, ring toss, etc.) as well as a bounce house and the best smelling cotton candy and popcorn. It was great! The kids loved it!
My friend, April, joined us for all the fun and by the end of the night, Kate would not let go of her. She threw the biggest fit when April left. Sorry that you had to hold my kid all night, April. But she was such a good sport about it all, and we loved having her.

Bill's parents came over to see the kids as well. Lana loves snuggling up to her grandpa.

Bill's mom was good to play on the floor with Rylee and Hayden while Hayden drew on his new "McQueen" notebook and played with his new "Mack" truck. They look so tired! It was a long day!

And, whew, Halloween is over for another year! It was a fun-filled day with family and friends and freakish amounts of food that filled us up so much that we won't need to eat until Thanksgiving. Thank you to all of you who shared your day with us! We loved it!