Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Clean Slate

I have been doing a lot of spring cleaning these past few weeks. Well, more like household castration, if you want to know.

I am rethinking everything.

What do I value? What is really important? I guess things that seemed so important before really are not so much anymore. Things like furniture pieces I have had forever, and living in a big house, and worrying  about having lots of friends.  Some things just really are not that important.

I am trying to let go.

It has been a lot easier to think about these things since we live so far away from civilization.  I feel like I have reached some sort of crossroad in my life right now and I need to decide which way I am going to go.  I still have not decided. I mean, I have goals that I want to accomplish, whether it is this year or 20 years from now.  But where do I go from here?  Where does my family go?

Not sure.

But until Rinar and I can choose our way, I am cleaning shop.  

I want clean and clutter-free, simple, but high-quality. I want to savor life and embrace new opportunities.  I am not going to sit around and worry about what others think.  I would not say this has ever really been a big problem, but I am guilty of getting wrapped up in it to a minor extent.  I just want to cherish what I do have.

After a heartfelt visit to Las Vegas and my ward family a few weeks ago, I realize that I am detached and aloof from my current circle.  I have made a few friends, but really feel no desire to put any effort into cultivating relationships with people. This is so completely opposite of who I am.  I don't like it, but I currently feel powerless to do anything about it. 

Therefore, my energy is directed towards boxes, closets, hidden corners, chests.  Everything is going to be scrutinized and I am going to let things go.  I feel like I need a clean slate and then I can reassess.

Hence, Goodwill should have a lot more inventory in the coming months.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursday Go Day

Thursday is our busy, on-the-go day.  Violin in the morning, co-op in the afternoon. 

Raef and Zach have violin lessons on Thursday mornings and it lasts from 10am to 11:30am.  That means, I have 90 minutes to kill with three little kids.  

One thing we do, probably about once a month, is hit the local Costco. It is not too far away.  It is usually pretty disastrous with Eli, Harry, and Julia. But it seems that they keep getting a little bit better every time I take them.

Here is Harry and Julia in the cart. Harry was being a real stinker and kept pushing on Julia and nuzzling her.  At first, she thought it was funny, but...

It started to really get on her nerves. I can't blame her. It would bug me too. She must be my daughter.  Harry still thought it was hilarious.  Why stop? He was having fun annoying her to no end.

We also go to the Discovery Children's Museum almost every time.  It has been such a blessing. It is only a mile away from their lessons, and it gives us plenty of time to play. Plus, it is usually pretty empty this time of the week, which makes it a lot easier for me to play zone defense.

Eli is climbing on the cloud structure. He can go all the way to the top by himself.

 Just today we went there and they had lots of fun. We visited the Spark Lab, the DaVinci room and then the <5 room.  And going along with the "Don't annoy Julia" theme...there was a little boy about her age that was following her around with a puppet and putting it in her face. She screamed at him and then pushed him pretty hard. The girl has had lots of practice pushing boys away!  I didn't intervene, but his mom did.  Julia took care of business and the pesky boy left her alone.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cookie Crazy

When Raef and Zach go to their violin lessons, it is in the business center of their teacher's condo complex. There are a couple of bookshelves in there and I guess Zach took an interest in the books.  When I picked them up on Tuesday, he had a dessert recipe book in his possession. Dustin let him borrow it and he has been busy ever since.  He made Isabella's yesterday pretty much by himself. I helped him with a couple of little things, but it was all him.

Before he went to bed last night, he made a shopping list of new ingredients he would need for his next creation, Sour Cream Cut Up Cookies.  I can say the kid did 99% of it without my help.  Isn't that fantastic?

I am one proud mama.

Eli has been a faithful helper and sampler, and even Raef jumped in to cut them out.
 Zach is definitely a self-starter. When he decides he wants to do something, it will be done one way or another.  

The Make-up Artist

Julia did quite a number on Harry...with MY make-up, of course.

He looks like a very innocent, but deranged Joker (think Heath Ledger), or John C. Reilly's "Mr. Cellophane" from Chicago.  What do you think?

I don't think he realizes what she did, but she sure did. Mama was not happy.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Little Violin

Look who has started to play the violin.

Eli is so excited to have his very own. He gets it out every time Raef and Zach practice, which has caused some conflicts with me.  As I try to teach him, he argues with me, telling me that Raef told him to do it this way, or Zach said to hold it that way.

I guess the kid is really listening, to everyone!

Eli is definitely a willing student. We have been practicing for about a week and he can stand in rest position and play position and he know how to put his violin in the case.

It is going to be a lot of fun when he will be able to actually play a song on his little violin. I can't wait.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hello Door... Hello Stitches

This has taken me forever to post, because I got a new phone and I just learned how to put the stinkin' pictures on the computer.  Anyway, on March 2 Julia got to go to Urgent Care.  

We were all having a rough day.  Well, really I was having a rough day, so everyone was having one.  Julia was about to drive me insane and Raef tried to help me out. He picked her up and swung her around blindly to take her out of the room. Her head made an unfortunate introduction to the corner of the very heavy door.

3 stitches!

But she still kept a positive attitude. Of course, this was before it took 3 nurses and me to hold her down and get her stitched up. She was not happy then.  But a few lollipops later, and it was all okay.

It's the Little Things That Count

Julia got some hand-me-down clothes from a friend of mine, including this adorable pajama set, a silky two piece Little Mermaid outfit, with puffy sleeves and all. She loves it. She felt so pretty and it was fun to see her run around in this. 


And I am not one to squelch individuality around here. The sooner these kids learn to do it on their own, the easier it gets for me.  You know, it is the little things that really add up to big changes.  Potty-training would be an obvious example.  The more ignorant I become of their bathroom exploits, the happier I am.

It is also those little things like being able to get their own water, or a snack, or scrub the toilets that really puts a smile on my face.

Eli is definitely exhibiting more independence everyday. He is getting better at putting his own clothes on.  Take for example this picture...


He selected this outfit and put it on.  I didn't really notice the pants until we got to co-op.  Yes, they were backwards, were riddled with knee holes...but they covered him. Why should I get mired down into frivolous details?

Pink Slip Time

Do you see this face? 

 This is the face of a victoriously potty-trained little tike. That is right. Harry has arrived and all I can say is, "Hallelujah!"  The kid has really got it down.  You know that is the case when they will just go on their own, when you don't have to give them a reward besides a high-five, and when they will ask someone else to take them when they are in nursery.  

That means I have five, count them...FIVE potty-trained children.  

This is my official pink slip to Huggies, Pampers, and the mostly generic Walmart diapers I have purchased over the past 10 years.  

Never again.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cinderella's Feet... Blech!

I have a bone to pick with Cinderella.  Well, not with her personally, but with the whole story really. Lately my little ones have discovered the iconic princess and so I have been reminded of this story from my childhood.  And I am not sure it is such a good influence on them.

Look, what is wrong with having big feet?  I mean, really!  News flash people...I have big feet and since I have endured three pregnancies, they have grown to a whole new size.  I really feel kind of sorry for Drizella and Anastasia. They are being discriminated against because they have big feet.  Like you can't have a glass slipper unless your foot is a size 6?  Is someone only pretty and virtuous and good if they have small feet?
I would be grumpy too if glass slippers were that small!
Do I really want to brainwash my daughter into thinking that small feet are equivalent to beauty and grace and goodness?

Don't get me wrong...I know Drizella and Anastasia have their character flaws and all, but focusing on their feet. Now, that is just plain wrong.

Yeah, whatever!
 So, for all you big-footed beauties out there, (Drizella, Anastasia, Paris Hilton), we aren't going to take this lying down. We are putting our feet down. We won't be trodden under foot. I mean, you won't understand us, until you have walked a mile in our large shoes. So, don't jump to any conclusions about us because we march to the beat of our own drum. 

We are footloose and fancy free because we always put our best feet forward.

And I couldn't possibly put my foot in my mouth because my my mouth just isn't that big, despite what you might think.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Ski For the First Time

Last Saturday Rinar took Raef, Zach, and Eli up to Sky Tavern to ski for the very first time.  I stayed home with the little ones.  It was a trying experience for everyone, except Eli. I think they got somewhat frustrated.  But they stuck with it and still had a good time.  

It was even Rinar's first time and it didn't come so naturally to him either. But in the end, I think he went up the ski lift and had a successful run down the hill.  Raef went up pretty high as well and just flew down the hill.  Luckily he is still in one piece. 

The winter has still been a bummer, overall.  They were supposed to ski this past Saturday but it got canceled because it snowed and they didn't have the parking lot cleared.  Hopefully the snow will stay for a few more weeks and doesn't melt away before they really get the hang of it.

I am just grateful they have had the opportunity to give it a try.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Meditation on the Grocery Checker

As I was painfully watching my grocery checker "organize" my groceries into different bags, I started to think of all of the little things checkers do that sort of, kind of, drive me bonkers.

Here are a few categories that came to mind as she was "organizing" my stuff. Feel free to let me know of any categories I am forgetting....

1. The Organizer - When you have an entire cart full of groceries piled on to the conveyor belt, the checker diligently sifts through layers and layers of your comestibles to make sure all deli meats are in one bag, snack boxes in another, and so forth. It gets dicey when the last items are batteries, shampoos, french bread, and ice cream.

2.  Double Bagger - They make sure to bag everything and then bag it again.  Which is such a relief, since I only have two drawers full of used grocery bags. Just when I was worried about not being able to fill up a third drawer, the Double Bagger steps up to help me out, much to the chagrin of Julia Roberts. Please, lady... don't bag the milk and the super huge bag of cereal or the bag of apples, bag of oranges, plasma television, or mop.

3. Living Commercial - Like we aren't assaulted by commercials at every turn.  One time I went to Walmart and the lady started talking about a credit card and she literally sounded like a robotic pitchman. It was scary. I don't get this one much, but when I do, all I can say is...creepy!

4. No Eye Contact - Have you ever stood in front of your checker and they never look at you one time? You could be Charles Manson just escaped from prison or have a third arm growing out of your forehead. They would never have a clue.

5. Slow-Ho-Ho - And then there is this one, which is the line I usually end up in when I am in a hurry. Of course, in all fairness, when am I not in a hurry? I think my foot starts tapping involuntary and I get a weird twitch in my eyebrow.  I usually try to avoid anyone who looks like a pothead. This is solid advice.

6. Mrs. Chatty Pants - I don't really care if they are chatty with me, because I am quite chatty myself, surprisingly enough. However, I find myself getting unjustifiably annoyed when they are chatty with the customer in front of me. Why can't they just check AND chat ALL AT THE SAME TIME!

7. Gossip Gal - I find myself squirming a bit when the checker is gossiping about another employee at the store with a fellow worker.  I am always amazed at the nasty stuff they will say right in front of customers like me.  

8. Tie Tie Tie It - I actually had one checker actually tie Every. Single. One of my bags and I must have had 40 bags.  I was so horrifyingly amazed that she did this that I didn't try to stop her at first. Then I did try to stop her, but it did no good. Then I spent the next 15 minutes untying all the bags as I loaded it in the car.  I couldn't carry more than one bag in each hand when they were tied.

9. Conveyor-Belt Controller - Okay, so you know when you have a HUGE cart of groceries and you want to get them all on the conveyor belt before they get bagged and you need to put the bags back in your cart?  But then there is the checker who is constantly turning the belt off and so you have to wait to put stuff on the belt and you can't get the stuff that is bagged. Hence, you are in a stand-off with the checker. Hostage negotiators have to be called in to get the switch put back on go. Can't they just leave the switch on?

And for the record, I do use recyclable bags, but I forget them all the freakin' time!

So, the next time you do your grocery shopping, think about how you would categorize your checker. Because this is a worthwhile meditation when you are standing in front of your checker at the grocery store.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Last Frontier

Today we are venturing into the last frontier...potty training the final kid.  I bought a huge bag of Dum-Dums and am rewarding him every time he goes potty.  I haven't been exactly sure if Harry was ready to start and if he has the control to actually do it, but he seems interested and I am frankly tired of changing diapers.

It is time to move on.

I still have the potty seat I used with Eli and I have put it smack dab in the middle of the kitchen floor. I think this has been a good strategy.  A couple of times already Harry has actually gone all by himself.  What can I say? He really likes lollipops.

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