Friday, November 30, 2007

Ah, Junky Cars, How Wonderful

I look at the calendar and realize it is the LAST day of November. Where did the month go? Most likely it went with my sanity after the holiday. We nearly burned our kitchen down with the second turkey. Flames shot at Robert's head as the turkey juices spilled out into the oven in the excitement of it all Robert dropped the turkey with its gravy juices, all over the floor. His hair, eyelashes and eyebrows were singed, but we are thankful that his head was okay. I seriously volunteer someone else to cook the turkey next year. It was pretty good though. Who knew fire could make it so moist and succulent?

After I looked at the date and saw that it was the last day I realized that CRAP, I need to pay rent. Now we have two cars. One is a Crown Victoria police interceptor we got at an auction. Robert is tall and really the big car makes sense. The second was his Grandpa's car that was given for free. I am really grateful to have it because when I need to go anywhere, Robert leaves me the Crown Vic and he takes the other one. The "other one" is a red-ish Buick that is falling apart. Weather stripping problems, turn signal not working for turning left, the body is rusting away, etc. However, it gets much better gas mileage than our Vic. Seriously the Vic gets about 16-18 mpg! It is a hog! We have put $ in to try and fix it and nothing works. Drives me batty and I think it is getting worse.

Anywho, I don't drive the red junk because it is pretty unsafe for carseats. Well, today I had no choice since Robert forgot to leave the other car. I had to use an old car seat of Emily's and walk up the hill with Lindsey in the baby seat and carrying Emily's seat in the other. It didn't help that my neighbor saw me walking to the car parked on top of the hill with both seats in hand, and asked me if I needed a ride and why I was walking to my destination with two car seats. "Ummm,.. no I am trying to get to that tin can over there so I can pay my rent."

I put the baby in and strap her to the seat belt that doesn't work and watch as she can easily slide from one side of the back seat to the next. Okay, I sure hope there are no wrecks and I don't kill my children today. With the baby safe... uh, strapped in, I put Emily's seat in and try to strap her in too. "Suck in Emily, really hard. Are you sucking in?" "Mommy this is too tight, it hurts." "It's okay, it won't last forever." Next I try to shut the door. Great, it doesn't shut. Well, if I scoot the baby's seat even more towards the other side I can shut the door. Good, it worked.

Now to get there without having to turn left and use that blasted broken turn signal. I get there and can't pull into the skinny stalls at the apartment office. Why do they make these visitor stalls so tiny? Probably to deter people from visiting I guess. Someone is trying to park next to me and can't. I have to pull in and out twice just so they can park and they finally give up waiting for me and find another stall. THANKS! "Emily can you wait for TWO seconds with Lindsey. I will be right back." "No mommy, I don't want to be alone." I stare at her for a minute and think to myself, taking them out, putting them back, squeezing them in, shutting the door. Waaahhhh... I don't want to. Fine. Out with the baby, then Emmy, write the check, out the door, back in the car, tight again, slam the door. Ugh!

Finally back to my messy house where I wish I that if I stared at the mess long enough or twitched my nose it would some how get cleaned on its own. I stared as hard as I could and made my nose sore and my eyes bugged out at the end of the day, but you know it just didn't work. Some days I wish I were Samantha Stevens with the magic twitch.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Christmas Already?

Yes, I admit to being a nutt case. I can't help myself. We bought a new tree since our old one had a large family of earwigs living in it from some mildew in the storage closet. Gross. So we threw it out. Eh, it was a cheap tree, I wasn't all that broken up about it. So now we needed a new one. As a kid my siblings and I used to BEG my mom to continue buying real trees for Christmas. We loved the smell. She wanted to buy a fake one and I think sometimes she would have been just as fine having no tree and nailing our presents to the wall instead. It was so much work just to get out and get the blasted thing. And often she did it pregnant, in the cold and took one of us kids to help. Which we couldn't really do. She hated vacuuming up the pine needles and watering it, but she did it anyway because we all wanted it. Years later, the younger kids relented and they bought a fake tree.

Now that I am a mom I see what a hassle real trees are! I am completely on the side of fake is better. Less of a fire hazard, no needles, no watering and you buy it once and you can use it again and again, instead of having to throw away money year after year. And hey those pre-lit fake trees are even better! So even though I was one of the ones hounding my mom to "Please, please, please get a real tree!", I love having fake.

I bought another cheap fake tree. It is skinny, but perfect for our little space. And it is pre-lit, though I prefer colored lights, it isn't bad. Most years I put my tree up before Thanksgiving and this year is no exception. I am a lot more sad about there being no snow because I can't fully get the experience it seems without the snow. I love Christmas! It is my favorite time of year. Even though it is hard to not have my family around, it is still something I look forward to. I have built my own traditions with my kids and want to keep doing it. There are a few we are starting new this year. Emily is older and I want her to feel the true meaning of Christmas through serving others. That is my goal for this year is to find service opportunities. In the past my most memorable Christmases and memories have come from the service I have been able to give to others. I just love everything about the holiday. The treats, the lights, I do love the songs, but I have to admit there are some that I feel like shooting the radio when they come on, but in all I love them.

Some of my favorite childhood Christmas memories and traditions have been:

-- Making fudge and cutting off little slivers until it appears that half the pan is gone. :^
-- Giving 12 days of Christmas to the sweet old widow lady down the street. We would knock on her door and run and hide behind her bush. When she came out and looked around, we would huddle in the snow and wait for her to leave before running home.
-- Sitting by the tree with the lights down low listening to Amy Grant Christmas songs and the Tabernacle Choir.
-- Going with mom to get the Christmas tree and having her read Christmas stories to us.
-- Going downtown to temple square to see the lights and freezing our feet and limbs off
-- Doing sub for Santa for less fortunate families. In college helping buy the gifts, make ornaments and wrap presents to deliver to the kids on Christmas.
-- Reading Christmas stories over and over again and watching A Christmas Carol with the family while eating oranges.
-- Painting Christmas ornaments and putting tinsel on the tree.
-- Dancing like the Nutt Cracker ballerinas (not very good at it too) in my dress with my sisters to Manheim Steamroller.
-- Sitting on Santa's lap
-- Opening Christmas Eve pajamas and trying so hard to sleep before Christmas morning.
-- Reading the Bible story of the birth of Jesus while we acted it out with my dad always as the donkey.
-- Waking up with my brother and sisters and waiting for our parents to finally crawl out of bed so we could open presents.
-- Playing all day with our toys and games until we finally realized that Christmas was over and now we had to wait a whole year for it to come again.

I love Christmas. Those are my most favorite memories as a child and Christmas time was usually the happiest time in our family. I guess with all that has happened, it is what I choose to remember when I remember the times that were happy. It is what I want to give my kids and it is why in every way I want my daughters to be focused on family and Christ during Christmas. I don't want her to remember only Christmas morning when she got presents, but the whole season as a special time. We make sure she knows the real Christmas story and knows why we celebrate it. I do love seeing her face on Christmas morning too. :) No matter where she is I want her to remember the Christmases she experienced with her family.

Our Thanksgiving

From the very start of our marriage I decided I was going to go all out and cook our thanksgiving dinner. I wanted to see if I could do it. Be the mom or wife that could stick my hand up the butt of a cold turkey and stuff it full of stuffing. Our first thanksgiving, I did just that. Course, I wasn't very bright because I had Robert buy the turkey. What did he come home with? A 25 lb turkey for the two of us. Let me tell you that thing didn't finish cooking until 10:00 that night. We ate without the turkey- and the stuffing. It was still good.

Ever since then we have decided that even though we go and see family for the holiday, we want to have our own thanksgiving dinner with just us and our own Christmas time to open presents. Even if we do it on a different day than the holiday. That way we still have time to build our own traditions. This year is kind of hard with Robert's sister have radiation treatment for thyroid cancer. She can't be there for the dinner since she has to be isolated for a week or more because of being radioactive. We still wanted to make sure we had our own holiday.

So I cooked a 21 lb turkey (plenty big for a family of 4), stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, blueberry pie, jello, gravy, corn. YUMMM!! It was SO good. And we freeze a good portion of the turkey for soups and casseroles. Lindsey got to share in the goodness with little bits and pieces of her own turkey and sweet potato.

University Housing

We have been living in University married student housing for 3 years now. It is cramped, it is tight, the walls are cinder-block, it is dark, moldy, yucky carpet, 30 years old, old pipes, etc. etc. The apartment itself leaves so much to be desired that there are times I have wondered how we have possibly made it this long.

It has been a blessing too though. We felt really good about coming here and have not regretted it. Really. Being some what away from both families has given us a chance to really pull together as a family and rely on just us. It has made us stronger and we are really grateful we have moved here. This has been especially helpful with the break up of my own family. I know it would have been much harder on me were it not for the lessons I have learned here. The community is awesome! Especially in the summer time when every kid and mom is outside all day long. Where else can you get constant interaction like that? This is a good and bad thing though. When one family gets sick it seems to just pass from building to building. And there can be the tendency to hear "chatter" about each other, but in general everyone is close. Which makes it hard to home school when every one is so close.

This is a place that has so many wonderful things about it, so much support for those attending school and so much available to us. I know I will look back on this time with fond memories, even of the cramped dark apartment (if there were an earth quake tomorrow we would all be dead) and the people I have gotten to know here. We will be leaving any time between a few months from now to August of '08. In a way I am excited, but also scared since I have no idea where we are going and where we will end up. We are trying to see if we can stop renting, but it may not be possible. Robert has just applied for a promotion that won't make us much more a month, but it is something and has the possibility of a large raise in the future. We may be renting again and I am okay with that for awhile. I am not spoiled, I just want an actual kitchen, not a small area that molds together with a non-existent dining area/living room. Another bedroom and another bathroom! I can NOT potty train again with only one bathroom. It just seems impossible.

Where ever we end up, I am glad to have had the time here that so many have had. One day these places will be condemned and the slums will be upgraded. Maybe it will be better than they are now, or not the same. Either way I will tell my kids, "We used to live there. All four of us stuck in 625 sq ft."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Baby Food and Lindsey the Vaccuum

Last year I got very sick and I ended up limiting my already limited celiac sprue diet (for anyone who doesn't know what that is, spend a good half hour looking up the symptoms and then another hour looking up all the foods I CAN'T eat and you will know why my diet is limited- I don't blame you if it doesn't sound appealing) and my diet was limited even more. I dropped 60 lbs in a year and was SCARY skinny. It was NOT a fun year-though everyone else thought my body looked amazing, I felt like garbage. And 112 lbs is not a good weight. Now I am back to being not as huge as I was, but chubby and happy and back on gluten-free staples.

Now what does all this have to do with baby food? Well, I got very health contentious when all this was going on and when we were finally blessed with our second child I swore I was going to be a wonderful mom who was going to make all her baby food. Freshly cooked and pureed and organic as much as possible. I started it like that and then suddenly Lindsey turned into a sucking food machine! I can't get the spoon in her mouth fast enough. Robert and I joke that it is like getting an arm work out every time we feed her. In it goes "WAAHH!", okay more, "WAAHH". I am serious, my arm HURTS after feeding her. And she eats 3 jars in ONE feeding and other whole foods on top of that like apple bits, banana bits or tiny pieces of a bland pancake or she will much a whole carrot.

There is no WAY I could buy and make my own baby food with how much she eats! I would be at the store, cooking, pureeing, doing dishes, freezing, thawing ALL day LONG! She is also so skinny. You would think with all this she would be a balloon like her sister was, but nope, tiny little thing. We have a check up in a few weeks, perhaps I should address this with her doctor. "My baby is always hungry, but weighs as much as a newborn- WHAT DO I DO?" She is always hungry! We feed her about 3-4 times a day with snacks in between.

And speaking of baby food. Why is it SO expensive. I shop at Smith's or Kroger store and they give you "baby points", like some sort of consolation prize for ripping me off just to feed my starving baby. "Spend $20 on baby food- that's a LOT- and get $3 back". WHAT??! Then I tell myself, "At least it is something. I could spend $20 and get nothing back." I use every coupon I see on baby food to lower that bill. Won't it be nice when she can just eat with the family? Course that all depends if she didn't inherit my lovely disease. Then that will be another disaster of trying to find something for me and her to eat every day. I already hate this chore that some days it is easier not to eat- or eat gluten-free cereal all day.

Oh, and have they decided to make the packaging more irritating for a reason? Why must they add another thing to throw away like the cardboard packing around the outside of the plastic containers? Instead of unscrewing the death grip jar lid, now I have to take it out of the cardboard, but I have one left so I have to throw the card board part out, otherwise it hangs around and I have 5 empty cardboard pieces in the pantry. And for some reason I can never quite get the plastic part off the container (biting nails does that I guess). I am always trying to avoid shooting it across the room when I open it, so now I have started to use... my teeth, so what squirts ends up right in my mouth. Squash in a jar with corn is NOT good. EW! I really thank the makers of baby food for making food that my baby will eat so I don't wear myself out all day trying to do it, but apparently, something isn't sticking right because she is still hungry after 3 jars! And thanks for the grocery bill too.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Fort Dazed

It was a cold day and so I decided to help Emily pass the boring day inside by building her a fort. She loved it. She would run underneath and pretend it was raining. She quickly decided to plug up all the holes to not let the "water" get in. She started to sing "Drip, drip, drop, little April showers" from Bambi as she hid. Soon she pulled a book in with her and sooner or later, I was pulled in too. I played to daughter who would get caught in the rain every time I had to get out to get the baby, answer the phone or whatever. Finally, mommy was getting bored, though Emmy was having a blast.

Since that one day Emily has asked me every day we have been stuck inside from cold weather, to build her a fort. Usually when I am on the phone and just want to give her some sort of entertainment. Just so all of you know who have been on the phone with me recently, I have probably talked with you at one point in the conversation from under a blanket-Bambi-thicket. And been told to keep my arm in so "it won't get wet." Good thing phones can't really get wet from pretend rain.


Let me explain the title of this post. I come from a family who is obsessed with giving every member of the family a weird nick name. Often they stemmed from a sibling being unable to pronounce a name and it resulted in an odd nick name from there after. Nick names like, Tachow, Daddo- my sister Rachel's, Bean (my brother picked that one himself), Pooh (Nicole in behalf of Mr. Winnie the Pooh), Weeny (yes, I am admitting this in my blog- THAT one was mine. :< I did not choose it and luckily I wasn't called that one near as often as Heika or Jessa- those I can handle). There are a few that didn't turn out so nice. Ahem, Putz for one. It turned from Nathan, to NAfuts, to NAputz- Putz. We are so nice aren't we. Oh AND even the DOG has several nick names. His name is Boaz and we have affectionately nick named him, Bo, Bocutis of Borg (yes like Locutis from Star Trek), Beyudldorg, Beyudelaz, etc. You can think of it, it has probably been used.

So sadly I think I have inherited that nack of making psychotic nick names for my children. They are going to love me I am sure. So far with Emily we have Emmy- not too bad. Mily, Mily-puff and Puff of the Mily. Poor Lindsey, here are hers. Lindsey-kins, Pindsey, Pindsey-kins and sometimes I just shorten it to Pins. "Isn't that nice, your daughter is named what? Pins" As they turn and walk away rolling their eyes. Anyway, I was getting "Pindsey" ready for her bath when I left to go get a towel and came back to this: She just thought she would take a light read while she waited. You guessed it, my kids are so brilliant I have them reading before they turn a year old. Too bad I can't get them to crawl before then, but you know... its hard being a mom. lol


Okay, maybe it will break the ice if I just admit this here and now. I haven't been comfortable blogging yet. I LOVE to read other people's blogs. I think they are wonderful, creative and so spontaneous. And I think "But my life isn't like that. I have fun, love being a mom, have the greatest husband and the two most beautiful and wonderful girls. But it isn't exciting." How do others turn their lives into something so fun to read?

You may not believe this, but before I gave my heart and soul to being an artist and a mother, I wanted to be a journalist. I wrote and wrote. Stories and poetry- that I still have and I have read them and laughed my guts out that I ever thought my pointless stories could ever be published, but hey I was a kid. Then I went on to get A's on all my college papers, mainly because I practiced at writing. Now I feel so rusty. I used to write in a journal nearly every night. I filled up at least 10 large journals through my childhood. I can hardly find time once every 3 months to journal write. This is probably why I love the idea of blogging.

There is my confession. I figured I should get it out in the open so you aren't wondering why I didn't say more about Halloween or our cute turkey-lurk hands. I guess just joining the blog world by frequenting more and more of everyone else's will aid in strengthening mine. And get me to see that what I see as boring or "usual", is much more than that. Besides, I love being a mom! I just need to practice writing about what I love doing more than anything else in the world.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thanksgiving Crafts

Emily and Lindsey and I went to her cousin Kara's house to make turkeys. We used foam paper, pipe cleaners, googly eyes and feathers to make our very own turkeys. Emily took hers home and this is what it looks like. It is really cute and Lindsey loves feeling the left over feathers.

Then at home we traced our hands and made hand turkeys. Isn't Lindsey's little hand adorable? We stuck them to our front door to wish all a Happy Thanksgiving! We LOVE turkey dinners! :D

Halloween and Fog

My sister-in-law Lori had a party at her house and we had a yummy apple juice drink in dry ice. It makes fun fog for the kids and they all wanted to blow it and catch it in their hands. It was a lot of fun and it tasted really good too.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Emily Dreams

Emily is just like her mommy. She has very vivid dreams. She tells me every morning about her dreams and they are just a scream. Here are some of the ones I remember her telling me about.

She had a dream that she pushed Lindsey down the stairs and in her words Lindsey "brokeded". She woke up and asked me if Lindsey was "brokeded".

Another dream was that her cousin Andy was chasing her and wouldn't let her get to her mommy.

And the last one I can remember is her telling me about breaking the house when she karate kicked it. She told me said "high ya!" and it broke and I was mad at her. She is sure silly.