Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Serene's Spectacular Splat

So my daughter is a runner. Especially when she's dead tired and stuck at church. She gets so hyper that she just sprints away from whomever is watching her, giggling and shrieking the whole time. Last Sunday she rediscovered the stage at the back of the cultural hall. (She first discovered it when she went to see Santa and get a jingle bell.) She had a grand ol' time running around the stage, in and out of the curtains lining the wings, running through the curtains lining those wings, not caring where she was going and having a blast that she could run right through a curtain until it finally pulled off her head and she could see again. Necessary background info here.

Later, when church was almost over and I was sick of chasing Serene up and down the hallways (and trying to keep her off the stairs that led from the hall to the stage), I let Serene run around crazy in the cultural hall with about four other little ones Serene's age whose parents had also given up trying to corral their kids. The toddlers all had fun running in circles and such. And then Serene made a dash for the other side of the hall . . . where there was another set of stairs leading up to the stage. I sighed, resigned to having to go chase her yet again, and crossed the hall to the stairs. As I started up, I heard one of the dads behind me say, "She's clear on the other side of the stage!" I ran up the stairs and found my little one laughing and smiling at me from beside a black curtain in the wings. As I started across the stage, Serene shrieked with a grin, turned, and started running right at -- and through -- a deep maroon curtain. That lined the front of the stage. So picture, if you will, a little toddler with the biggest grin, shrieking her head off as she laughs and runs into the curtain and can't see a single thing as she keeps running and waiting for the curtain to eventually slide off her head . . . as she runs right off the edge of the stage and splats on the floor below! AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH! Okay, that last was MY reaction. I tried to reach her in time, but nope. I DID make record time crossing the stage and jumping down, though. In a dress. The floor was carpeted, kind of, at least it wasn't hard tile she fell on. And the dads who witnessed her spectacular fall said that she landed spread-eagle all-together, so at least she didn't just fall on her head. But oh, her poor little face was red for the longest time. And I don't think she stopped crying for at least 20 minutes. Poor thing. She's all right now and I can laugh at the video this would have made. But then all I could do was try not to burst out crying as I sat holding my baby and shaking like crazy. =) And I thought I felt bad when 2-month-old Marina fell off the changing table. Thank Heaven for babies made of rubber!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Twas the Monday Before Christmas . . .

Ahhh, my house is picked up at least, and I didn't have to do the dishes tonight. May not have been the most popular step-mom when I reminded the dishes-doer that it really does help to have it done at night rather than in the morning when the mice have had a chance at everything. Don't really know if we have mice, but we used to and I sure don't want to encourage any stray who may happen by, lol!

So now I'm sitting up enjoying the time with my clean house. Of course, that means I'm alone (somehow add even one person here and chaos reigns supreme), but you know? I'll take it for now.

Tonight we took a batch of goodies to our Visiting and Home Teaching families. And one doorbell ditch. We HAVE to have at least one running session! Then we came home, pigged out on goodies still here, and watched Christmas Vacation. You know, it's funny overall, but wow! Watch it on ClearVue or something cause the swearing blew me away. Yikes. Yes, I was one of those parents who actually pointed out to the kids I'd better not EVER hear them use those words. But hey! I got outvoted. No one wanted to watch Miracle on 34th Street or White Christmas. =)

Tomorrow I get to help with Simeon's class Christmas party. More to keep order than anything else, I think. Then Wednesday, I'm in charge of Jessie's Christmas party. Here's hoping all the parents show up who said they would since we're doing stations! I think we're okay, but I really don't want to end up with free time on our hands and rowdy kids who can't wait to go home! Guess if we have to we could always go outside and have a snowball fight, lol! As long as this rain doesn't melt all the snow. Maybe if I bring extra cookies that will get us through any emergency.

Well, I'm off to read The Adventurers. And if Karna ever read my blog, she'd laugh at that. But I really do need something mindless right now, something I can practically recite from heart. Or at least something in which I know every plot twist and my mind can go on autopilot. Of course, I DID just finish The Apprentice (which fits the afore-mentioned category), but that's all right, too.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

And the madness begins!

So I can't find my camera. Well, guess this post will be without pics.

This last weekend was Steve's family's annual Christmas party. We went down to their place to have it, but all the families were spread out between Steve's parents' house and his brother's house. And the cousins had sleepovers! The girls all got to sleep in a trailer (heated) and the boys all bunked out in Grandpa's shop (heated). Needless to say, the kids had a blast! And parents got a bit of a break in the evening, lol. We went down on Friday, came back after church Sunday, and had a huge party day on Saturday. We had the actual party at the church (which ironically is in-between the two houses we stayed at), and it's a good thing. Lots of room for the kids (and adults!) to run around, play bingo, shoot off bottles on a rocket launcher, shoot darts (with a pressurized gun) at a styrofoam snowman, shoot hoops, and play other fun, fast-paced games. We had a wonderfully tasty dinner and such, which I definitely appreciated even if it was only a week after Thanksgiving (grin!), followed by a gift exchange. All in all, a fun, family-filled day. And couple evenings. We love the family get-togethers so much, especially the kids hanging with the cousins.

And now the Christmas season has officially begun. Yay! Chains links are being ripped off each day, goodies cooked anew nearly every day, doorbell ditching with goodies twice a week, decorations up (that was last week), presents arriving (I love online shopping!), kids playing in our snow, etc., etc. And even though we're incredibly busy and stuff doesn't always work out (do you know how many of the kids' graham cracker houses I had to put back together after they fell apart last night?), I love this Christmasy time of year!! Sometimes I just have to remind myself I'm having fun. But I wouldn't give up a single tradition for anything. I just need to make the toffee today along with the divinity to catch up, lol!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Link between posts

Oi, it's been a while, but what can I say? I love the holidays so much I don't spend so much time on the computer. So sorry to all those who are suffering from withdrawal from Serene pictures or new tidbits on the whole household of Eight is Enough. =) When we get back from this weekend's activities, I promise I'll at least add photos. I still can't believe how everyone changes so much so quickly. Or that our van's damage wasn't enough to total it (that's actually a bummer, lol!). Later!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

My Halloween Feast -- Harry Potter Style

So we've been going pretty nonstop around here, but I love Halloween, at least the fun, non-creepy side of it. =) And when our little kids had a party (the older kids got one the next night so they wouldn't have to share with about 14 kids under age 10), I was excited to try out some recipes for different treats inspired by the Harry Potter books. I didn't get to do all that I wanted (couldn't find treacle or butterscotch syrup and plain ran out of time to go shopping for ingredients not at our local grocery store), but I DID get to make Ton-tongue toffee (okay, think Mom's English Toffee recipe), Cockroach Clusters (chow mein noodles in chocolate -- dark!), Licorice Wands (licorice with one end dipped in chocolate (any color) and rolled in sprinkles), Cauldron Cakes (upside-down cupcakes with thin licorice handles to look like cauldrons), Pumpkin Juice (pumpkin, apple cider, pineapple juice, and a little honey), and Pumpkin Pasties (bascially pumpkin pie filling cooked up without a shell, cooled, scooped into uncooked 4-inch pie shell circles, pinched into a gyoza shape, and cooked till light brown). Then I bought the green gummi-type frogs (couldn't find a mold to make Chocolate Frogs or Peppermint Toads) as well as carmel apple lolli-pops (my weak substitution for the wanted acid pops -- no super sour blow pops or pop rocks to roll them in!). Roast up the pumpkin seeds from the used pumpkin and voila! Our Hogwarts feast! Yes, we did have Rat Intestines, too (a.k.a. mac and cheese), but the kids were much more interested in everything else. =) Even the older kids' guests clued in that the refreshments were like Harry Potter and loved them (yes, I made enough for both parties). It honestely was funny how many figures we had show up from the wizarding world (our own Jessie was Ginny, complete with authentic pygmy puff and Ollivander's wand, and Marina was an unnamed witch friend). And now, since Jessie's class party is done (was also in charge of games and crafts there), once we make it through our ward party tonight and trick-or-treating I can rest till Thanksgiving! Oh wait . . . I get to help kids make Christmas gifts for the cousin gift-exchange on the Tribe side! But you know, I honestly have fun with all this. Especially watching the kids laugh. Still, I felt my costume of a house elf seemed appropriate (that's a giant pillowcase I'm wearing).

And here was the kids' favorite game (mummy wrap), though freeze tag with wands and yelling, "Stupefy!" was a hit, too. The one you absolutely can't tell who it is . . . well, if you recognized the tongue, good job! It's our very own "Lizard Tongue," also known as our little goalie/forward/wing/fullback -- Jessie! (Yes, I know I need to get soccer pics up now that the fall season is over. Or maybe I'll just wait and get them in the spring, lol!)

Kids get themselves into the darndest things!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Here it is. The first beautiful, cuddly, cozy cloth diaper for my little one from gogreenpocketdiapers.com. Oi. I still can't believe I really want to try this, but after many bouts of painful bums and now days of trying the best recommendations out there for the diaper rash that won't go away (with it only getting worse), I'm thinking outside my normal box. And I have to admit. I love how these diapers feel, fit, suck moisture so far, not to mention how they look. They come with a pocket inside that you put the insert(s) in, but I prefer the option of just tucking the microfiber insert inside. The diaper holds it in just fine and that way you go through a lot fewer outside diapers in a day. =) I know I'll be adding to my laundry, but anything that adds LESS to our already daily loads is good! And I have to admit, Serene absolutely loves these diapers! Yes, we can tell . . . this kid is not shy about making her opinions heard, lol!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I Wonder As I Ramble

So I wonder why it is some people seem to never get sick and others can practically make themselves sick at will. Or just catch everything that flies by. Take my husband. He is practically never sick. I think I've seen him with a cold once. Then there's Marina. She gets sick about once a month to the point where she needs to take to her bed. Or if she gets a cough, she'll start needing a bucket because her coughs trigger a stomach upheaval. She'll get high fevers that go up and down throughout the day so that if I do get it down with ibuprofen in the morning, it's back up to 104 by noon and I have to go get her out of school (so no, it wouldn't work to go give her another dose at school -- the old one never has time to wear off yet). She even had to be hospitalized once because the doctor was worried about meningitis, her symptoms were so bad. Oi. Poor girl. Then there's Serene who gets the most horrendous diaper rashes. Not fungal, I've dealt with those and know what to look for. But the poor girl starts crying (tears and all) just from having me set her on the changing table now since she knows what's coming. We don't even use wipes anymore because of all this, but every cream out there - even ButtPaste - doesn't seem to work. Course I haven't tried Bag Cream (originally just for chapped cow udders) which I just read about, so here's hoping. I wish it were summer. At least we could spend all day outside and let the little one streak around au natural. Course, the kids have suggested we corral Serene in the kitchen and let her run naked there, but somehow I can't see that happening. But maybe we can give her a break from the diapers a little bit. Or go cloth. The cloth diapers now are really super absorbant and even are supposed to suck moisture away from little bums . . . not to mention they're adorable if you get the right ones. But that would really be a big change to try without knowing if it would work or not. But can you tell I'm thinking of it anyway? And no, Mom, they're not the type that require swishing in the toilet. (Just dumping solids, lol.) I wish there was a way to try something new like this without a significant investment up front. Oh well. Welcome to Life, right? At least no one else is sick right now. Hurting, yes. (HOW many women do we have here?) But sick, no. =)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Want to see what $15,000 looks like?

Yes, it's a black opal from Australia's Lightning Ridge. And all I can say is W..O..W. Anyone wonder why black opals are my absolute favorite gemstone??

Holy Cow!

So I need to add that our little munchkin just amazes me. I have never seen a baby so organized before! She has her own ideas of how things should be and she constantly rearranges things to suit her. From blocks to books to balls and even my computer keyboard, she'll stack, arrange, push things till they're how she thinks they should be. Constantly. The other day just showed me another example. We have a Pelican bib for her while she eats. Now most kids, when they spill food in the bib, just pick the food out of the bib and eat it (or ignore it). Serene will take the food out of her bib and put it back on her plate. That's where it belongs! There's even a little cup holder spot on her tray . . . which Serene actually uses for her cup. I tell you, this kid is amazing this way. I just hope it doesn't hang her up later. =)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hey look! She's still got hair!

So it's been so much fun having a baby girl with tons of hair. And since it never fell out and had to start over, it's getting pretty long now, too. The most amazing thing is, wonder of all wonders, she'll actually let us put her hair in different styles now! We've advanced from the perpetual waterspout just to get it out of her face to barretts, twists (held in with bobby pins), multiple pigtails, braids . . . You get the idea. Serene used to just hold still for Lacrisha while these miracles were taking place, but now she'll let me do things, too. If I move with her as her head goes everywhere! Yes, I'm pretty happy with that braid there. Besides, what better excuse to show off our cute little sis?

I think she may even be enjoying the attention now. The other day when she was meandering through our church parking lot (near the park), she found something and it looked like she was trying to put it in her hair, kind of how she tries to brush or comb her hair when she finds a brush or comb at home. When I saw what Serene had picked up, I laughed. A bobby pin! This little girl knows what's going on! =)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pumpkin Cookies

Oh, I love fall! No one looks at you like you're crazy when you bake with pumpkin. =) I love my pumpkin cookies with chocolate chips!! Crisha made some pumpkin bread the other day and I just had to use up the extra pumpkin today. Oh shucks! Imagine pumpkin pie in a slightly more cakey form with a cookie shape and crust. Mmmmm! Thank you, Karna, for that 1001 Cookies book!!!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Renewal time

So I'm sitting here on the phone with yet another rep from some insurance agency. I used to do this call-around-compare-quotes thing every six months, but the last few years it's dwindled down to a spot check with one random company every year just to make sure our current company was still the best deal. However, today I am yet again making the rounds to try and lower our rates. Amazing what I do sometimes to try and save a buck. Ok, so I decided not to switch unless they could save me at least $50 every 6 months. Even still, so far, the best quote I've gotten aside from my current policy is $50 MORE every 6 months. Huh. All these companies who swear they can beat Progressive. Hasn't happened yet in the four years I've been with them. And you know for car insurance that's a long time to be with someone. But what I really want to know is how do the companies who charge $700 or more OVER my current 6-month policy stay in business? Is it simply name recognition? A family tradition? Or just that people started there and never bothered to shop around? I will say this, though. I never appreciated what my parents went through money-wise when we kids started driving. =)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Orlando at high speed

NOTE: Even if you don't want to read everything, at least scroll through the pictures. They're fun!

So I thought to do a write-up on what our kids did while we were in Orlando, but to tell the truth, I don't know! =) So here's Steve's and my whirlwind visit to Orlando for the 2010 Food Industry Truck Driving Championships.

1. We checked into our room at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort then the next day went and played at Universal Studios. We did rides, of course, like MIB; but more we watched movies in "4-D", were extras in a disaster "movie", and even got paid to give our opinions about a new series to replace something else that bombed (it's called Outlaw I think -- would NOT recommend it!). We would have been in the audience for a taping of Family Feud but we had to get back to Disney in time for Steve to take his written test. But at least we saw the actual time machine used in Back to the Future.

2. Steve took part in the hands-on part of the competition, i.e. pre-trip inspection on a truck with planted defects and then do the driving course. HOT. HOT. HOT. And HUMID. For all y'all not in humid situations, imagine how your bathroom feels after a nice steaming shower where you didn't open any windows or use a fan. And then add sweat. And heat radiating up from the blacktop when you actually are silly enough to stand in the sun. Yes, I had to go in the sun to get a decent video of Steve driving. I swear the heat came up from the ground and wrapped around my feet in their flip flops. The tops of my feet were in agony and I couldn't stand still after a couple minutes because my charcoal-colored shoes were literally burning even the bottoms of my feet. Ironically, my legs in their shorts were just fine in direct sunlight. Sorry, the only picture I got was of a judge who also happens to be with Steve's company. Later they were using hand towels to help ward off the heat.

3. We went to church and stopped by the Orlando temple on the way back (hey, it was directly on our route so why not?). That night there was an awards banquet where we found out that things were all messed up. Seriously! And it's not just because Steve didn't win a prize. =) He came close, though. With the points Steve earned, he was ONE point below third place. Considering these are the top drivers in the Food Industry, that's not too shabby (especially when you consider how big companies like Kraft and U.S. Foods are . . . and they only send their champions). But MAN! So close! Ah well, at least I sat in the right chair -- I got to take home the centerpiece! Okay, so I took home Mickey. =) And promptly gave him to Serene.

4. We stayed an extra day and went to Universal's Islands of Adventure this time. Wow. At least for the Harry Potter World and the Jurassic Park world. This park had various worlds in it, like Toon Lagoon (think comic strips), Suess Landing (yes, that would be Dr. Suess), Marvel Comics, The Lost Continent (think Sinbad-type stuff), Jurassic Park, and of course, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It all was fun, but especially for Jurassic Park and Harry Potter, it felt like you could actually be in the worlds the movies showed, not just a set for a movie.

So here's a few of my favorite cartoons:

Here's one of my favorite Suess stories, The Lorax:Part of Marvel land (for those not up on Marvel characters as they are in the comic books, Steve is with Rogue and Storm while I am with Wolverine . . . and if I look like I'm trying to get away, I am! The guy grabbed me and pulled me in so tight I swear I'd hate to meet him up a dark alley!):

Part of the Lost Continent (with the restaurant voted best in theme parks inside):

Jurassic Park:

This is the small-version of Hogsmead that sucked you in when you were there. Wow. I knew I was in a theme park, but man, when I was there, it felt almost real. At least when I left that area I felt a distinct sensation of coming back into the real (and less exciting) world. Steve and I both loved the Dragon Challenge coaster, but the virtual ride in Hogwarts . . . well, we loved the walk through the castle as we waited in line (how many rides can have people saying they loved the line??) since it took us from the dungens up through many parts of the castle. And the talking and moving pictures were incredibly done! However, come the ride, both of us turned out completely and totally sick. We were supposed to be flying with Harry Potter around the castle area and such. I usually can stand virtual rides (the Simpsons ride in regular Universal was fun), but this one actually moved you while also doing the screen thing. OI. I'm surprised the picture they snapped of us on the ride didn't show me obviously trying NOT to display my breakfast. Next time I'd stand in line all over again to see the castle and then skip the ride. Crazy, huh? The last thing we did at Islands of Adventure was do our last shopping for gifts for our kids. And me. =) For the record, yes, I stood in line to visit Ollivanders and hear him help with wand-choosing. And now I'm the proud owner of a cute willow wand with a unicorn hair inside. Oh, and Lucinda, after visiting Honeydukes and such, I have to say even more WOW!!!!! about your efforts at our family reunion! Some of the items in the shops could have come right off that table you set up in Providence!