October 31, 2009

Bowling Ball

Early in our marriage, Tymon borrowed seasons of the Simpsons from a coworker and we would watch them together. After seeing an episode where Homer gives Marge a bowling ball for her birthday when she doesn't know how to bowl, Tymon began calling any gift I gave him that I secretly wanted for myself a bowling ball. Over the years, there have been several occasions when we have bestowed a "bowling ball" upon one another.

But this past week when I got Graeden a bowling ball for his birthday, I think I may have crossed the line. But is it really a line, I justify to myself, if Graeden loves it, too? I've taken the Rip Rider 360 for a spin a few times. Tymon rode it around the kitchen/dining room/entry way circle immediately after getting it together. Our knees were in our armpits, but we love it. I need to try it down our little hill in our cul-de-sac. Yeah, that would be great.

Dear Razor,

Will you be making the Rip Rider 360 in adult sizes? You should. I want one.


October 28, 2009

Smoothie Blend

Yesterday at Costco, I just discovered some new (to me) flavors of Jelly Bellys (the only jelly bean worth eating). Imagine my surprise when these little bags were cheaper, yes ounce for ounce cheaper, than the big 4 pound tubs. And I like all the flavors. No picking out the cantaloupe and peanut butter ones. No nasty cappuccino or latte surprises. Yes, I believe this could be a great relationship forming.

October 26, 2009

Everything Good

It seems to me that a lot of the good things in life are sometimes a little out of reach. Take Jocelyn for example. She is a proficient table climber, just like most of brothers were. None were as infamous as Evan for his early skills, but they all figured out that there were treasures to be found at heights.

Today, Jocelyn discovered for herself how wonderful homemade raspberry jelly can be. She loves it just like me. Her dedicated efforts to become more coordinated have paid off in a sweet way. And though she is now cleaned up, I had to leave the mess to get my photo and I had to blog before the opportunity changed.

Last week, I helped put together our company meeting and I also attended a continuing ed workshop. The workshop was mostly useless in terms of helpful information, but I did however glean from a few of the presenters some great teaching styles and effective presentation methods. I am in awe of one presenter who teaches for one of our direct competitors. I want to learn from him and attend his classes. Our business relationship may not allow this, but it would be cool if it did. He took a topic that I could give you a 3 minute run down in and actually spent 45 minutes teaching the topic to a group of 200+. For those who didn't understand the topic before, now they will never forget it. While I only picked up one point that I didn't know, I did note several things he was doing to pique the interest and participation of the group.

And pretty much I have desired the skill of being able to work a crowd and teach effectively for as long as I can remember. I'm not talking about just presenting material and cutting out the uhs and ums. I'm talking about really connecting with an audience and motivating them to be an active participant in learning. Most frequently, my audience is my children. And I'm really proud of myself that I've been able to teach a couple of lessons lately without losing my temper (which happens more frequently than I'd like to admit.) Less often, I teach a group of teenagers skills designed to keep them collision-free for life. It is challenging for me to lead their learning process, as most of them know everything anyway (ha ha) and are not interested in sitting in yet another class. Occasionally, I teach in church, but that's been a while.

In church yesterday we had a lesson on staying focused on what's really important in life. Sometimes, we get caught up with whatever is thrown at us in the moment and we lose sight of our goals. Nehemiah rebuilt Jerusalem after fires destroyed the city in 52 days. That's pretty amazing to me. What major restoration project have you ever heard of being completed in less than two months? There was fierce opposition and Nehemiah armed the Jews with swords while they worked. How easy was it to work and also be ready to be attacked? His enemies asked him to meet with them and he replied that he was

"doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?"
Many important things demand my time. None are more important than my family. They are one of the good things in my life that are so very in reach. Like Nehemiah, I must focus my energy to what really matters to me and put down any distraction that comes to thawrt me. For now, if I can learn how to effectively work a crowd of small children, I will be successful in everything that matters.
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October 19, 2009

Jocelyn's Birthday

Poor Jocelyn was sick for her birthday party.

We ate chicken cordon bleu, mashed potatoes, broccoli, pita chips and artichoke dip.

She barely touched her birthday cheesecake.

The next morning Jocelyn felt fine and opened presents with the loving guidance and direction only big brothers can provide.

October 18, 2009

Banana Chips

Like most people (aside from my children), I have very few memories of my early years. One memory that I have kept over the last 3 decades is of me and Frieda. When I met Frieda, she was really old...like not too many years off from my parents' current age - about 70. She came to church each Sunday and sometimes she would sit near our family and sometimes I would see her in the foyer. Her hair was usually pulled up in a braided bun. She wore floor length dresses with a 3 or 4 inch ruffle along the bottom. It didn't matter where we met, she would always have a box of banana chips and give me some. I loved her for thinking of little people like me and for being so well prepared to share.

As time went on, our ways separated for several years. She sent a card for my wedding and I was grateful she still remembered me. A few years later she moved to our town and lived in a nursing home not far from our home. We visited her several times and the photo of all my boys on the sidebar is in her room for her 101st birthday. We have also had a handful of family nights with Frieda. We bring our family, a little lesson and a game and meet up at her place.

A couple of weeks ago, Tymon was at school and I wanted to do a family night with Frieda. I asked my parents to come to help me with my children. Keeping four young children in check in a nursing home is not the easiest. I didn't know it but it turned out that Frieda had been served dinner late and she held off until we were done with our lesson and game. When my Dad took her back to her room, he began to feed her and then asked that I do it as he and my mother had to leave. I shared a special time with her. I let go of my concern for my children wreaking havoc on the poor lady asleep in the next bed. Jocelyn was strapped in the stroller and I was okay with Elliott giving her rides. Jett wanted to sit on my lap while I fed her and I worked with him on that request. Graeden was jumping all over the place and touching everything. I enjoyed having to slow down my pace. The boys will remember her for her gumdrops, which she kept pulling out from the shelf next to her chair. They cleaned her out.

Frieda died this morning. And the tears I have for her now are those of sadness. Sad that my boys won't know her beyond their youth. And there are tears of happiness that she is free from mortality. It's gotta really be disappointing and hard to lose your hearing, eyesight, half your teeth and be constrained to a wheel chair. And then to need help to get dressed, eat, use the toilet and bathe is probably really humbling.

Rest in peace, Frieda. Enjoy your family. You've been without them for a long time. Your memory lives on. You will be missed.

October 13, 2009

Authentic Faces

So, the beauty of photoshop is the ability to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Let me say that our photo shoot last Saturday was painful. Miserable, really. Let's just say we had attitudes and tiredness and lack of focus out of the children. I don't understand why they don't want to preserve our family memories with photography.

My loving brother salvaged this photo by replacing 3 of my children's faces. The question for you is if you can tell which faces were replaced...or rather which ones actually came from this shot? Good luck. I've submitted my thoughts to my brother, but he hasn't emailed me back. So even I don't know.

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October 12, 2009

Photo Shoot

My brother Brett and his wife Katie took this shot last Saturday. Apparently of the 800+ photos they took, Elliott took the Grand Prize for ruining most of them. And of course, Graeden was in a close second. I will post more of them as I get them.

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October 5, 2009


This month is unlike any other month our family will ever have. For the only time ever all of our children's ages will go up in steps starting at one. Sunshine and Smiles Jocelyn is one (I still need to post about her party last week). Angel in Heaven Evan is two. Talk your ear off Jett is three. Snuggle on Your Lap Elliott is four and Mr. I Love Pin Ball Graeden is five. In a few weeks we'll be out of step...for another year...and never again starting at one. But we can enjoy it while it lasts. Little people are wonderful.

What's a bit embarrassing for me is how long I spent today trying to figure out how/when we could have another child and keep the steps in age before I realized that we can't. Unless of course we adopt a child in the next few weeks. Since we don't know of any children, that is highly unlikely.

Since Evan died, my math skills are pretty lacking. There is a mental block. I don't know how many children I have. I'm unsure how many plates need to be set on the table for meals. I know how many seats our vehicle holds, but I don't know how many passengers need to sit in it. I really got confused last fall. Our 7 seater Durango was big enough for our family when Jovana arrived, but soon would be not big enough when Jocelyn came. I was looking for a larger vehicle. Obviously that changed and we held off on any new vehicle purchase. I start to do the math of who's in school and who's not and who needs to be picked up and not and I never seem to get the sum to where it needs to be. I miss my two year old terribly. And I miss my Big Girl Jovana ... but she emails me, so it's not as tough.

October 4, 2009


I bought this hoodie this week. For me, it represents the greatest life skill that I need to learn right now. I truly believe that having hope is a choice and having it displayed on my arm will hopefully remind me that my choices and actions should reflect my hope in the Savior and in his resurrection. Imagine my delight this evening when I found that the church has a new topic page devoted to hope. There are some excellent videos posted and I need to go back and spend time reading the personal stories.

October 1, 2009

Mystery Turd

The other day the kids and I spent the afternoon outside. We had some beautiful sunshine that turned overcast and it's been raining everyday since. Now that Tymon has started grad school (to get his MBA), he doesn't have time to do a lot around the house so it's fallen to me to mow the lawn. I like the time outside and getting some exercise but the lawn is nearly a half acre, it all has to be bagged and we only have a push mower. It takes a long time to do and it's often tricky trying to accomplish large tasks and also keep an eye on children.

Fast forward a few hours. Graeden was home from school and had a friend over. All of the boys were playing in our basement. I was outside and came to the basement door and see just a few feet from the door is this huge turd. Human. Fresh. No flies. Very suspicious. When I ask who's it is, NO ONE KNOWS.

Rewind a couple of hours. Jett has to go potty but Elliott has the door locked. I tell Jett to knock on the basement door and Elliott will open it for him to go potty.

Back to present:

Me: (Getting a paper towel.) Okay, Jett, let's get it cleaned up.
Jett: Okay.
Me: (Picking up turd in towel and handing it to Jett,) Here you go, buddy.
Jett: (Takes turd to toilet and flushes.)
Friend: (Very curious and hovering at bathroom door.) What are you doing?
Me: Flushing some poops. (Jett is now putting the paper towel in the garbage.)
Friend: Uh, that might have been me or Graeden.
Me: Huh?
Friend: Yeah, me or Graeden.
Me: (Is this kid admitting something here?) Graeden!
Graeden: Mom! [Insert Friend's Name Here] pooped outside! (Shouts of consensus erupt. And suddenly ALL of the boys know where this mystery turd came from. Amazing.)
Me: Where do we go poop?
Boys: (in unison) In the toilet!

So, Tymon and I and others have had several good laughs out of this. What a funny way to admit a dasturdly dastardly deed. And what am I supposed to tell the kid's mom? Uh, your son pooped in my flower bed. So, I say nothing to her, because what's the point, really? It's just embarrassing for everyone and all of the boys have "learned" another potty lesson.

Lest you think my boys are angels (only one is), when I came into the basement with Jett carrying the poo I noticed a wet spot just just a few feet from the door. I hoped (against reasonable confidence) that it was water. Not a water bottle or cup in sight. It turns out Elliott peed on the floor because Friend was in the bathroom. Apparently, he hadn't finished his business. Elliott cleaned his mess and we discussed that we are such a lucky family that we have 3 other toilets in our house. We actually don't even need to pee on the floor. And really, if all of the toilets in the house are busy then they can go outside and pee on a tree.

I'm grateful for cement floors in the basement. I'm grateful that Jett so willingly helped carry and dispose of the grossest mess. I'm sorry that I blamed him for an atrocity he didn't do. We're working on honesty in our home. Real honestly versus fantasy honesty.  Are they being honest if they say they don't know who did something if they WISH they didn't know?
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