I cannot believe how fast the weeks are going.  This week has been especially crazy.  Monday, The Chocoholic and The Princess started school.  It is so nice to have them doing something besides bugging me!  LOL  No, they have been really good, it’s just nice to have some quiet.

Not that it’s totally quiet, because The Artist and The Teenager are still around, playing video games.  I try to make them go outside and play, but what is a 16 year old going to do outside?  Jump rope?  LOL  He is working a lot, and I have been having them do things around the house.

Yesterday I cleaned out my pantry.  I started it right after the kids left for school, before it was too hot and I was too awake to realize that I was crazy.  I took everything out, washed down the walls and the shelves, organized and got rid of stuff (to the chagrin of my hubby) and put it all back. It only took me 3 hours and it looks so nice.  Now I want to do the kitchen. And bathroom.  And closets.  It’s a sickness.

I have been scrapbooking.  I get stuck because I know how cute people make their pages, but that’s not me.  I am simple and not over the top.  I want my scrapbooks to be about the pictures, not the stuff.  I used to subscribe to “Creating Keepsakes,” but I cancelled my subscription.  The lady that owns the magazine had done a layout and it took me forever to find the actual picture.  It was a 12x12 page and the picture was in the top right corner, overwhelmed by all the embellishments on the rest of the page.  I knew that is not how I wanted my scrapbooks. 

Anyway, so I get stuck because I think I need more, but I don’t.  My kids don’t look at their scrapbooks and say, “Oh, look at that cute fiber!  Oh, look how adorable those buttons are!”  No, they look at the pictures.  The embellishments are there to enhance the picture.  So I am slowly moving along. 

Yeah, so in between all of this, I have been working.  It is easier to go to work when I know I don’t have to take The Princess somewhere to have her babysat.  I am so grateful to all those who have been willing to watch her.  Last year, I just traded with a lady in my neighborhood.  She watched The Princess one day a week, and I watched her daughter one day a week.  It worked out great, but I still felt guilty.  And even on the days I was home, I was sitting on my computer working and not playing with her.  So now I can work and not have major guilt. 

So what has been keeping you busy?

1.  Gingerbread: For or against? Discuss.

I love gingerbread.  Not gingerbread men, but real gingerbread.  I have only had it a couple of times, but it is so yummy!  Warm with whipped cream on top.  Delicious!

2. Is it important to you to always stay (live) close to family?

Yes.  Right now, I live 15 minutes away from my parents, and one of my brothers.  My other brother and my 2 sisters live farther away.  I have to drive 20 minutes to get to their houses.  I love being close to family. 

3. Which holiday pretend character do you wish really existed?

Santa Claus.  To have someone bring you something that you really want, and you don’t have to pay for it would be lovely. 

4. Is there a particular Christmas song that you love? Any that you're tired of?

I love “The Best Gift” by Barbara Streisand, and also her version of “Jingle Bells.”  That album is what I have to listen to when I am putting up my tree, because that is what we always listened to growing up.  I am so over “Feliz Navidad.”  They sing it over and over and over.  A song is not just 6 words long!  Unless you are Weird Al.

5.  Is there a particular Christmas movie that you love? Any that you're tired of?

It has become a tradition now that after we lay out our stockings and put out cookies and milk for Santa, we get The Princess into bed (because she has to get to sleep for Santa to come), and then we watch “A Christmas Story” with the 3 older boys.  It is so much fun to sit around in our new pj’s and watch that and eat Christmas cookies. 

6. Does it upset you to see "Xmas" instead of Christmas? How about "Happy Holidays" etc., instead of "Merry Christmas?"

Happy Holidays doesn’t bother me as much, but I always say “Merry Christmas” because that is what I am celebrating.  I don’t get offended if someone says “Happy Hanukkah,” so why do they get upset at me?  However, I REFUSE to write “Xmas” because that is taking Christ out of Christmas, and that is the reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place.

7. Do you dream of a white Christmas? Any chance of that dream becoming a reality?

We have a white Christmas 99% of the time.  I love snow…at Christmas.  In a perfect world, it would snow lightly in December, then snow heavy on Christmas Eve, stay for a day or two, then melt off and the rest of the year would be in the 70’s. 

8. Tell me about a Christmas present you received as a child.

I remember the year I was 8 or 9, my dad made me a vanity table, and he made my brothers each desks.  I loved to sit there and pretend to put on makeup.  Then we moved and “supposedly” didn’t have room to take them. I was so sad!

9. How do you keep yourself centered on the significance of Christmas?

Going to church every week definitely keeps Christ on my mind.  I also try to eliminate things that are going to stress me out.  Last year it was neighbor gifts, but I felt like a Scrooge afterwards! 

10.  What is your favorite Christmas memory?

When we lived in Rexburg and we owned a pizza store.  We had our Christmas Eve celebration at the store around the fireplace, and then my brothers hooky bobbed on the way home.  I can still see them standing up with their glasses full of snow!  it was so much fun!

11. Star or angle on top?

Angel.  Well, we have two trees and the kids tree has a star, but my tree in my living room has an angel.  Pink angel. 

Yesterday was the deadline for all complaints.

Okay, there is something inherently wrong with school shopping in July.  Because The Chocoholic and The Princess are on year-round school, they start up again on Monday.  How do you shop for school clothes when it’s 98 degrees outside?  We don’t.  I go and buy them one new shirt and then we will go shopping for winter clothes in September.  When you are supposed to shop for school!

At least this year, I only have 2 first-days of school.  Last year we had 4!  The Chocoholic started school, then The Princess started a week later because of kindergarten testing.  The Artist started school a day early because he was in 7th grade and they started them early so they could get “the lay of the land.”  And then finally, The Teenager started. But even worse, on the day that The Teenager started school, The Chocoholic decided to get sick and didn’t go to school for 3 days.  So it took until that Thursday before I had them all in school.  It was so frustrating! 

Anyway, so Monday I took The Chocoholic out and today I took The Princess.  Yes, it would have been easier and faster to take them together.  But my mom always made it a point of taking us out one by one so we could have some alone time together.  It was so much fun.  I vividly remember doing that with my mom, and I want that to be a special memory with my kids.

The hard part is that in Utah, the teachers cannot send home a required supplies list.  So they send home a suggested supplies list, or a “wish” list.  But they wait until the first day of school to send it out.  So then I have to go shopping a second time.  It’s frustrating.  But I do it because I know how hard the teachers work and how much money of their own they spend. 

So I have 5 more days until school starts.  Whoo Hoo!

There are a lot of these lists floating around, but this is the cool list. Which ones have you done?

1. Felt the world shift and change when you held your newborn baby.

2. Thought, "Hey, they didn't tell me about this when I got pregnant."

3. Given away perfectly good pants because they just don't seem to zip up anymore.

4. Walked around with snot on your shoulder and pretended it's normal.

5. Wrestled with a car seat and won.

6. Cursed the makers of really loud annoying toys.

7. Rocked your baby until she fell asleep, and then kept rocking anyway.

8. Gained superhero kissing powers -- you kiss it, it's okay.

9. Learned the art of counting to three, in a loud, patient voice.

10. Avoided swearing like a pirate when a small child stepped on your bare feet with heavy-heeled princess shoes.

11. Dressed up as a butterfly and floated magically around the room with blanket wings.

12. Made a tent out of blankets and chairs and crammed your really large body into it.

13. Learned you really aren't a patient person, but tried to work on it.

14. Listened to really bad, heartfelt, vibrato out-of-control, children's music that for some reason your children love.

15. Succeeded in doing an awesome hairstyle on a squirming, uncooperative child.

16. Decided that bribery really does do the trick.

17. Read a Parenting book and thought, "Do they even have children?"

18. Gotten nothing but lessons in patience and enduring to the end from the past three years of church.

19. Allowed others to think you're crazy as you drive down the road doing the actions to "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed."

20. Smiled and managed not to punch the people without children who give you advice on how to discipline them.

21. Pitied the pioneers, who didn't have movies/television.

22. Thought sadly about landfills, but put it out of your head by remembering what dunking poopy cloth diapers in the toilet is like.

23. Managed to get the grocery shopping done with one or more children in tow.

24. Put yourself in time out.

25. Given up career opportunities, wistfully, but gladly.

26. Thought, "This is so worth it. I have the best job ever."

27. Thought, "This is so not worth it. I quit." But woke up, fixed breakfast and took care of the kids anyway.

28. Heard your child say, "I love you so much!"

29. Watched with delight as your child lurches around the room with their first dinosaur-like steps.

30. Ignored your dirty house to play ponies.

31. Taught a child to use the potty. (And wanted to start an ad campaign with signs posted above every public toilet that read, "If you can use this, thank your mother.")

32. Tried a home business to make just a little extra money.

33. Actually sewn something, that turned out pretty good if no one looked too closely.

34. Played the choo-choo or airplane game to try and convince your child that food is not evil.

35. Slipped, tripped or twisted on a left out toy.

36. Fished pennies/small toys/anything small out of your child's mouth, while keeping the panic at bay.

37. Lost brain cells while watching a Baby Einstien movie.

38. Wondered where the instruction manual is.

39. Thought that you could improve upon the baby design model by adding three lights on the side of each baby-- one for hungry, one for tired, and one for poopy.

40. Listened with chagrin as your child repeats your favorite adjectives.

41. Crept into their room at night, just to make sure the covers are on and that they're still breathing.

42. Thought while breastfeeding, "No wonder people get breast implants. My shirts actually fit."

43. Laughed out loud at the optimistic "6 weeks after birth prognosis" by your male doctor.

44. Learned that you really aren't a pleasant person with only 2 hours of sleep.

45. Tried to explain why clothing is mandatory.

46. Had to eat your words because, "I would never do it that way," but then you do.

47. Called Poison Control.

48. Left the store without buying anything because your child is screaming.

49. Had to apologize to a stranger.

50. Wanted to petition that handicap stalls also be available to mothers with two or more children under the age of six.

51. Said, "That's not funny," when really, if you weren't the parent, it was funny.

52. Felt extreme anger at another child when they hurt your child.

53. Cleaned up throw up more times than you wish to count.

54. Eaten a soggy cracker.

55. Thought sadly of hungry people as you scrapped your child's uneaten food into the garbage.

56. Threatened to do something awful (and untrue) like leave your child at Wal-Mart, or cut off their toe if they didn't stop misbehaving.

57. Even though you vowed never to say it, yelled, "Because I said so."

58. Not left the house for three or more days.

59. Discussed buying stock in paper towels, wipes and diaper companies.

60. Conversed with other adults about poop, drool, and snot.

61. Thought, "My gosh. My children are the most adorable things in the entire world."

62. Smiled when your kids hugged each other.

63. Thrown away Halloween candy (after fishing out all the chocolate bars).

64. Realized the true use of a timer is not for baking.

65. Thought, "Isn't there at least some period of their lives where they adore me and listen to what I say?"

66. Cried and cried, because you feel like you're just not cut out for this sort of thing.

67. Felt triumphant when your child spelled their name without prompting to your now impressed neighbor / relative / friend.

68. Put on boots, coats, hats, gloves and snow pants and just as you're walking out the door hear a rumbling from your child that indicates severe diaper problems, or having your older child say, "I have to go to the bathroom."

69. Realized that children's books are sometimes written for adults.

70. Had to remind yourself not to talk in a sing-songy, supercalm happy voice when speaking to other adults.

71. Sometimes the only constant in your day is that it will eventually end.

72. Discovered that a really childproof room is empty and padded and only exists in insane asylums.

73. Had to backpedal quickly when you told your child not to do something and they said, "But Mommy, you do it."

74. Dug out a sliver.

75. Been ignored. Over and over.

76. Felt that if you get touched one more time you might have to become a hermit.

77. Laughed (with just a bit of hysteria) at the magazine picture of well-behaved children that put together beautiful crafts.

78. Gotten an unexpected kiss and a hug.

79. Had your heart melt when you hear, "Hold me, hold me."

80. Cleaned up a blow-out diaper, and managed to salvage the onesie.

81. Thought, "Oh, my parents were right."

82. Prayed really hard that you're raising them to be good, thoughtful, happy people.

83. Hoped they won't remember the time you accidentally dropped / forgot about them.

84. Hoped they will remember the times you read stories / sang / played with them.

85. Felt like the Wicked Witch of the West.

86. Given an Eskimo kiss.

87. Felt your heart strings tug when they first let go of your hand to venture off on their own.

88. Pretended you liked something just to get your kid to eat / do it.

89. Wore matching outfits with your kids and thought it was awesome.

90. Tried to keep the car nice by not allowing food, then gave up and tossed food randomly at your children in an effort to quiet them.

91. Heard your child yell excitedly, "Mommy!" when you walk into the room.

92. Caused extreme giggling (on purpose).

93. Vanquished a monster with a spray bottle.

94. Answered "Why?" questions with preposterous and crazy answers but still not managed to stop the "Why?"s from coming.

95. Bought a really padded bra for protection from elbows and other stray limbs.

96. Played the, "I'm going to hide in the _____" version of Hide and Seek.

97. Learned to traverse the kitchen with a small child clinging to your legs and the phone on your shoulder.

98. Told yourself, "This is for her good."

99. Known this is the best and hardest job in the world. (But wished for paid time off)

He who laughs...lasts.

In 1999 I had the very first surgery of my life.  And a few months later I had my second.  I had carpal tunnel surgery on both of my hands.  My mom had the same surgery on both of her hands, so I have to wonder if it was partly hereditary. 

Before the surgery, my hands would go to sleep all the time.  When I was cooking, scrapbooking, and especially typing.  Night was the worst.  I would wake up and they would be completely numb.  It was so uncomfortable. 

I went to a doctor about it in 1999.  I had to wear a brace for a while, which didn’t help.  Finally my insurance approved the surgery.  Each hand was done separately in out-patient surgeries.  After the surgery, I had to wear a “club.”  My whole hand was wrapped up and I couldn’t use it at all. 

I was also supposed to keep it propped up.  To aid in this, I was given a foam block.  My children quickly dubbed it “The Cheese.” 


Those 10 days after each surgery were so hard, but most especially when my right hand was done.  I couldn’t curl my hair on my own and I couldn’t bathe on my own.  My husband was so sweet to bathe me, especially when I would sit there and cry because I was so helpless. My mom and my sisters came over and curled my hair for me. I had to put my make up on with the wrong hand, I had to eat with the wrong hand, and I had to wipe with the wrong hand.  To make matters worse, Aunt Flo came to visit and I had to take care of that with the wrong hand.  Ever tried that?  Don’t.  It’s not pretty.

But I am so happy I had the surgery done.  My hands felt so much better and they didn’t go numb anymore.  I was so happy.  I had several people tell me they had the surgery and regretted it because they didn’t have the strength in their hand anymore.  I did not have that problem.  My surgeon said that if I wanted my hands to get back to normal, I had to use them like normal.  And I did.  I had 3 little kids ages 5, 2, and 4 months.  I couldn’t baby my hands because I had them to take care of!  They got back to normal quickly and I haven’t had any problems since then. 

Everything at Disneyland is expensive.  They don’t make their money from the admission price.  They make their money on the food and the souvenirs.  I should know.  I bought some food there, and way too many souvenirs.  Including glass ornaments for the Christmas tree so we remember our trip.  They were so cute!

When we went on our trip to Disneyland, we were introduced to the PhotoPass card.  There are photographers everywhere and when they take your picture, they scan the bar code on your PhotoPass card.  We were trying to pass on letting them take our pictures, and we told them it’s because the pictures are so expensive.  He told us that you can buy a CD with all the pictures on it for $60.  Honestly, I thought that was a pretty good deal because I knew they charged around $15 for an 8x10.  So we just let them take whatever pictures they wanted.

When we got home, one of the first things I did was get on the internet and look at all the pictures.  They were all so cute!  But when I went to order the CD, it was $120, not $60.  I was shocked, and actually a little peeved.  After a couple of days, I went back on the site and looked through the pictures.  I narrowed it down to 2 that I had to have.  I put them in my shopping cart, one as an 8x10 and the other as a 5x7. There was a tab with special offers, but only for generic stuff, nothing that I was interested in.

I then started searching for coupon codes to try and make it cheaper.  I always do this when I buy things online.  I never buy until I have searched for ways to make it cheaper.  And it’s amazing how many coupons are out there!  Anyway, I found several people that said not to buy anything until you are close to the expiration date of the pictures (they only keep them on their site for 30 days, then they disappear forever).  Disney will keep sending you emails reminding you they are expiring and will give you coupon codes to make them cheaper.  So I waited.

3 days ago, I received an email reminding me that the pictures expired today.  So yesterday I logged in and looked at my shopping cart.  I then went to look at the photo cd again and guess what?  It was down to $60!  Obviously, it was more expensive at the beginning to try to get you while you are still super pumped about your trip!  But it gets better! I then went to the special offers tab and it offered $15 off the photo cd.  So for almost the same price of the 2 pictures that I was going to order, instead I got the cd with all the pictures.  I love it when I get a good deal, and I love it even more when I know I got the best deal possible.  I am so glad I waited.  Patience is a good thing!

Whining in any language is annoying. It doesn't matter if you can understand what they are whining about or not. It’s annoying in any language!

Guard your chair more than your purse. People won’t touch your purse, but walk away from your chair for 30 seconds to check on your clothes and your chair will be taken when you get back. (Side note: Why can't there be more chairs for people to sit on? And why are do they have to be so hard? Ever heard of padding?)

I am very blessed to have a working washer and dryer in my home. I cannot fathom coming here every week and bringing me entire family’s laundry, let alone all my children too. What a nightmare that would be!

It’s a good thing I don't need handyman service or an apartment to rent or a car to buy because all the fliers on the bulletin  board are in Spanish.

There are a lot of very interesting people in the world. ‘Nuff said.

The lady that runs the Laundromat has to be rolling in the money. Charging a fortune for teeny tiny boxes of soap and fabric softener and dryer sheets to all the idiots who forgot theirs at home.  Meanwhile, she sits there and watches TV all day. What a life.  However, the smell of laundry soap, no matter how good it smells, would get overwhelming after a while!

We often fear the thing we want the most.

I am truly blessed that I get to do the majority of my work from home.  I know how lucky I am that I get to be home.  I usually only work between 2-3 hours each day, at the most.

Today I worked 8.5 hours.  I had a huge project that needed to be done by tomorrow and I got it done.  My hubby stepped up to the plate and he did the dishes, took care of lunch, took care of the kids, and made supper (yummy BLT’s with the first tomatoes out of our garden!). And then he sat down and did his work from home. 

What a crazy day.  Hopefully tomorrow I can give my children more attention.  They weren’t deprived today (they had daddy), but I was.  I missed them.

My tailbone sticks out.  I forget about it as much when I am fat because I get extra padding.  But now that I have lost some weight, I am reminded of it again. 

I have never been able to do a regular sit-up.  I have to roll to the side.  I can’t do Pilates because I can’t do the rolling back and forth, nor can I balance on my bum.

I have thought about getting surgery to get it taken off, but I need to have my knee looked at first.  And then my shoulder. 

Wow, I sound like an old woman.  I think I better stop here.

If you don't start, it's certain you won't arrive.

I love lists. 

I could not get anything accomplished without my lists.  I write it down and then I do it and then I cross it off.  I feel a sense of empowerment when I cross things off! 

When we were planning our vacation to California, I was terrified of forgetting anything.  I had a list for packing, a list for what I needed to do before we left, a list of things we needed to do when we got home.  I also had  a list for our neighbor of how to take care of our place while we were gone (thanks Melissa!).

Because of this, The Doctor dubbed me “List Girl.”  He said if I was ever a superhero, that would be my name. There could be worse names!