Monday, July 30, 2012


I don't know if I just got lucky or what, but my kids love getting their pictures taken.
They cooperate, at least, and smile while doing it.

By the end of last week, I was ready to sell my kids to the zoo.  On the days I wasn't overtired and cranky, my kids were, making me just a bit cranky.  
So we got out of the house and didn't pull back into our driveway until the little ones were already asleep.  We picked up take-out one day and met Daddy at the park for a picnic.  
The next day, we headed out to take pictures; because, believe it our not, this is a fun outing, not a hair-pulling one.

I was pleased that I got new pictures for each of the frames in my hallway. We got oodles more that I'm tempted to frame and place all over the house.

It's when I look at these pictures that I realize what beautiful children I have and how blessed I really am.  Yes, we all get cranky. Yes, I sometimes feel like throwing in the towel (as if I really have that option!).
But really... I have some great kids, and I believe this with my very core.

These smiling faces ease any frustration I'm feeling when I look at them.  
These angelic smirks and innocent faces make me ache. Ache deep.

They make me smile inside and they make me chuckle out loud.
Is this phase of parenting really so fleeting?  Please tell me it's not!

I don't want to give up the chubby fingers, inquisitive minds, mischievous smiles, exuberant energy, and ready smiles that I'm so lucky to have. If snapping pictures is the only way to freeze time, then I need to do so more often.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Did you know...

that in the state of California, after a car accident, all car seats must be replaced? Even if it's just a rear-ending accident.
I guess I'll be getting all new car seats, courtesy of the insurance company of the guy in the silver BMW.  They were probably 'expired' anyway (does anyone else think that's just a manufacturer gimmick to increase sales?).

Did you know...
that if your toddler has an item stuck in his or her nose and cannot blow it out himself, you can do it for him? (And if it's a tictac up there, just wait for it to disintegrate a little and it will come out on its own.)

I paid $25 for this little tip, but I'm more than happy to share it with you.
One morning while at the library, unbeknownst to me, Brant stuck a bead the length of my fingernail up Donovan's nose (Don't ask. My answer will be that they are 4 and 2 years old). Seven hours later, and 12 hours before we were supposed to arise early and leave for a week long vacation, Donovan came to me and said "It hurts. In my nose."
Not knowing what the heck was in there, I pulled out a penlight. A purple bead, it looked like.
After an hour of begging him to blow his nose, demonstrating how its done, and trying to suction the bead out with the baby's syringe, I gave up and turned him over to my husband, who was just walking in the door. He tried it all over again for another hour, this time adding the vacuum into the mix. (Don't ask. My answer will be that it was 7pm and my hubby dreads ER visits).
Knowing we were running out of time, and most likely irritating the heck out of Donovan's mucus membranes, I decided to bring him to the urgent care.
And here is the handy tip the kind Doctor taught me:
-have someone place a finger over the unobstructed nostril
-place your mouth over your child's entire mouth and blow hard
-if it doesn't work with your child lying down, have him sit up

To quote the kind Doctor - "It almost always works."

Try it next time your little guy sticks something up his nose.  And don't come to me if he sticks the object in his ear, because I've yet to experience that one.

Did you know...
that if you plan on working the weekend in the camp kitchen with a fun group of kitchen and camp staff, you'll laugh yourself silly till way too late each night and be too tired to function on Monday, so you might as well mark that day off on your calendar as well.

Today is Monday, so don't expect much from me.  But you better bet that I'll be going back to work in the kitchen again. And looking forward to it at that.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Magnet Boards for Travelling

Tomorrow we are headed out on a 7 1/2 hour drive.
I can't wait!
To get to California, I mean, not spend that many hours in the car with the baby.

Last summer's road trip was no sweat.  My 'baby' was two and easily entertained.  This year we are not going nearly as far, and will probably take just as long to get there, thanks to the new boss, Queen Elaina (I'm trying not to dread the drive).

Besides stocking up on sweet puffs, cheerios, and sippy cups, I have a couple other surprises in my bag for the big kids.
When I start hearing arguments and too many "are we there yet?"s, I will pull out these magnet boards I made (idea from Kelle's blog).

These should be fun inspiration for making up stories, or simply arranging and re-arranging.
I also found a pack of magnetic letters and a pack of numbers.

I can already picture Brant organizing the letters alphabetically and Connor and Aubrey creating math problems for each other.

These were super easy to make, requiring only adhesive magnetic sheets ($3), photos or pictures, magnetic letters and numbers ($1.27 each), and cookie sheets ($1.97 each).

I'm hoping this $10 project will provide hours of entertainment on our trip.
Okay, realistically I'm hoping for an hour.  That leaves 6 1/2 to fill.

I'm off to the library to find some books and DVD's the kids haven't seen, because we can only play "I Spy" and the alphabet game so many times.

What are your 'travelling with kids' tips and tricks?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tantalizing Rain

The San Francisco Peaks get a tantalizing down pour.
Last week, when the clouds started rolling in and the wind promised moisture, my kids jumped on the trampoline hollering at the sky. They made up rain chants and they shot sticks into the air. They drew pictures of rain and wrote "rain here" and placed them in the grass.

We can smell the rain.
We can see the rain. 
We are impatiently waiting for the sky to open up and dump on us.

I think all of the Southwest is waiting too.

Monday, July 9, 2012

I'm Dorothy and I updated my bathroom

I'm loving the new look in the single most used room in our house.

Okay, maybe we don't spend all our time in this room, but it sure seems like it when you consider the tiny size and the amount of people making regular use of it.
Yes, I am talking about our main bathroom.

The bathroom is small (no surprise there) and was outfitted with a huge marble tub, marble sink, honey oak cabinet with matching wood mirror frame, pastel wallpaper border, and 80's style brownish tile with flowers. Ugh.
Oh, and the toilet didn't flush properly.  It used about 32 gallons of water and required you to hold down the handle for 32 minutes in order to get it to flush. Ugh again.  Because can you picture an impatient child eager to get back to his play standing there for 32 minutes?  Yeah, it wasn't happening.  Times four.

The first thing we did for that bathroom was order a Toto.
Because adding a dog into the mix is just the right answer. Just kidding.
But I did feel like clicking my red shoes together when the toilet was finally installed and "flushed like a champ" to quote the wizard my husband.  The fact that it uses only 1.28 gallons per flush, thereby qualifying us for the city's $100 water rebate was an added bonus.  I'll let you know if my water bill is reduced by $32 now that we have the new toilet.

Does ordering a toilet online seem weird to you, as it did me?  I was pretty skeptical, but the amount we'd save was enough to make it worth a try.  And when it finally appeared at our door, I had to rip into the box before the UPS guy could leave, to make sure it wasn't damaged.  There was no way that puppy was getting so much as a ding or crack.  Check out the amount of foam in this box...

Okay, enough potty talk, lets talk paint. Because I love the power of a little bit of paint.
The honey oak cabinet turned french grey after an afternoon with a paintbrush and $5 sample paint pot (I wouldn't normally paint a bathroom cabinet in satin finish, but this is a temporary solution. Eventually we will replace the vanity for something with less depth).
The walls became a light blue-ish color (a color that I love against white but am not sure about against the brown marble tub. It will work for now - probably until we get new tile).
The too-small and too-ugly mirror came out.  We replaced that with a large frame-less mirror from Ikea.  The room instantly felt brighter.

Ahh, that's better.  Next up is new fixtures, new tile (possibly wall tiles as well), and eventually, a new vanity with matching (to the toilet) sink top.

I am simultaneously in love with all the bright white and unsure if it clashes with the wood trim and marble sink and tub. But for now, I love the progress and fresh, new look!

Who wants to come and try out the new Toto?  And check out my homemade wall art?  And gaze at my blue walls?  Just pretend there's no dried up toothpaste blobs in the sink and that the floor is yellow brick instead of brown flower tiles and it'll all be good.