Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Twas the week before Christmas

Busy. Crazy. Unexpected. Fun. Irritating. Hilarious. Pretty much sums up life lately. Thanksgiving was the most laid-back Thanksgiving in my adult life and I LOVED it!! We had prepared a lot ahead of time so that we could take our time on the actual day and just enjoy things as they came. And this Christmas season has been fun, though I know I've spent way more than I'd planned on. It's my one downfall with money: when I'm spending on others, I want to spend much, much more than if I were just getting stuff for myself. Ah well, we're not bankrupt! Yet. =) I did get to send Crisha's package today since she just recently got a job and won't be coming home for Christmas after all. Bummer. Just when we'd decided on the best (and most comfortable) bus line to use, too. At least we know for future trips! So the only kid who'll actually be home for Christmas is Serene, though all the others (except Crisha) will be here the day after, so we'll finish up the present thing then. The hard part is deciding what Steve and I will unwrap on Christmas day and what to save to let the kids see us unwrap. Miss Marina and Jessie already.

In other news, our dog found a new home. We had her for a few months and she was STILL scared stiff of Steve, wouldn't play with the kids AT ALL, and only was half-way acceptable as a companion around me when I was alone or just with Serene. So Macy now has a home with a quiet, older couple who also have a Maltese. Apparently Macy and the other dog became great friends after a couple days and the couple just think she's wonderful. Yay. Always glad to know we made the right decision by her. After all, we promised to take care of that dog when we adopted her from the shelter, but she just was not comfortable with the bustle of our home. Glad we were able to take care of her in SOME way.

Picture time! We did the pajama-opening before the first kiddos took off for vacation so I posted these two because it shows off my very meager skills with the sewing machine. At least the flannel designs were perfect for the recipients!
And I had to add Serene "smiling" on command for the camera. Can't imagine where she gets it from . . .
So here we are now, people coming and going all the time it seems, waiting for Santa to show up here (and elsewhere) so we can share happiness and excitement with everyone around us. I have to say, though, as much as Serene loves Santa and the idea that he's coming, her favorite things in the WORLD (not just Christmas things) is her Silent Night book and her laminated manger scene with moveable people and animals. Probably the most fun I have each day is watching her line up her baby Jesus with the star and move the angel and other figures around. And she's so sweet and tender whenever she speaks of "baby Jesus." In spite of her tantrums, Serene is a great example to me. =) Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Tiny Princess

Serene is only two but has definite princess leanings. Not only did she choose her princess pajamas (which she won't change out of now), but she MUST have her nails painted at all times or we get an, "Uh oh!" whenever she notices her bare nails. Upside to such early princess leanings? Every time she goes to put her fingers in her mouth, I tell her princesses don't suck their fingers . . . and the fingers come out!! Hmmm, we could DEFINITELY use this to our advantage!! =)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Well . . .

So in the last few weeks, we've gotten used to kids in school again, adopted a dog, temporarily lost a daugher (so sad!!), went back to Florida, lost a dog, and now are wondering where on earth we stand. There, now you know practically everything I can share. Have a great day!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I love having to do the "potty dance"

Silly title for the post? Not nearly as silly as watching me DO said potty dance. Yes, we are potty training Serene, which involves a lot of watching the little munchkin, watching her, and watching her some more. With occasional questions of the, "Do you need to go potty?" variety. And we're having quite a bit of success! Much more than the other times I thought she was ready. Only problem? If she has anything on her lower half (other than a skirt), she treats it like a diaper. Steve doesn't like her going around "commando," but it's working! She never has accidents anymore unless you LET her (like letting her get out of your sight down a hallway . . . I mean, really, any parent knows what that's going to mean). So while she's not the one-week wonder Jessie was, she's making progress, only needing pullups for sleeping and time in public (I DO have some sense of modesty for my daughter!). And each time she uses her potty correctly, Serene gets to see Mom go all silly on her and do the "potty dance" to celebrate. You should see her grin! (Though in my defense, she's probably just loving seeing Mom act like she does. Anytime there's music in a show (Phineas and Ferb being the current favorite around here), she gets up and dances her little heart out. I'm just following her lead in a way.)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Gatorland, etc.

I really don't feel like posting, but on the off chance anyone needs a quick update, Steve is ranked as the 11th in the nation in the 5-axle division of truck drivers. All truck drivers, not just food service (stay tuned for THAT rating end of next month, lol). And he was part of the Utah team (obviously) that came in 3rd in the overall state ratings. Cool. Fun. And we loved yet another trip to Orlando with visits to the beach and Gatorland. We did go to Ripley's Believe it or Not museum, but if you ever have the chance to SKIP it, DO SO. Lame. And what wasn't lame was simply disgusting. So no, we did NOT enjoy that. Too bad. The rest of our stay was fun, even though we felt totally out of place at the Peabody hotel, where the conference was oriented. NICE hotel, but that's probably why we felt so out of place, lol! The stairs were great for exercise, even if I did scare a poor bellhop at about 5:00 in the morning one day. I think he didn't expect anyone in the stairwell when he entered at floor 21 (there were 30 overall in our tower). Glad to be home. Glad school starts this week. Wondering where my smile went but hoping it'll come back soon. =)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Officially . . .

Steve is officially freed from the addiction of Fablehaven! Yay! We both enjoyed the series although we were a little taken aback by the rather abrupt ending. Huh. Ah well, otherwise, a highly enjoyable series. After all, it's not every day some author can not only con my husband into reading, but into reading five books straight (and trying to hide the book he's on so his wife can't find it and read past him. Dismal failure, that last part, btw!).

And in totally unrelated news, I now know that I officially have too low blood pressure to donate plasma. Bummer. Was kinda looking forward to getting some extra cash each week. Though to be honest, it's kind of a relief knowing I physically CAN'T. Those needles HURT!! And I give blood as much as I can! But not only were these monster needles (I knew they would be, of course), but the gals kept pushing them in farther or pulling them out, wiggling them around trying to get my blood flowing faster somehow. In BOTH arms! OOOOWWWWWWW! Honestly, if I never see another blood needle ever again, it will be too soon. This may have even ruined me for blood donation, but don't tell Steve that! =)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Uhhh, what was that?

Oh, right! That's QUIET. Although it's only 'cause it's nap/quiet time, it still exists here. Wow. Two, count them ONE, TWO kids at home. Granted, one's an active toddler and one runs everywhere and rivals even me with verbal words per minute, but what a difference it is! I can actually keep track of everyone I'm in charge of, there's no pushing for turns on the slip-n-slide, there's no blaming anyone for outrageous things (well, none that I can't automatically disprove by the fact that a toddler just CAN'T do some things), and I "get" to make dinner every night and do dishes every day. And night. Okay, so I could live without those last two, but honestly, the dishes thing really isn't much of a change. Dinner though. Do you know how long it's been since I was pretty much exclusively in charge of meal planning? Weird.

So yes, we miss everyone. From out-of-state to just out-of-town, we miss them. Counting down till mid-August!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


So I thought June was busy, but July has started off with a bang! Our sick tree finally got cut down, Steve's Mom's family was up here, several of my family came the next week, Jessie's soccer tournament is this week, and don't forget my favorite cousin's wedding that was last Saturday!

So here's just the highlights of the pics:

Tree -- what's left of it. Just perfect for a two-level tree house.

Kid Wash (as opposed to a car wash) -- my brother-in-law's creation for lots of wet fun

The munchkin looking adorable. And with her highly appropriate shirt her aunt brought out for her. =)The Oquirrh Mountain Temple and my beautiful cousin with her new fam.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

He did it AGAIN. And for the first time.

So did I mention Steve won a truck roadeo again? And I'm not talking about Nicholas's roadeo last week. He went to the Utah Trucking Association's truck driving championships this weekend, as he has each time he's won at Nicholas & Co. BUT THIS TIME HE WON 1ST IN THE 5-AXLE DIVISION. Yay! And that's putting it mildly. =) I think there has only been one other Nicholas employee EVER to win this, and then he quit before he went to the national competition of the American Trucking Association. So . . . Steve will probably be going to Florida. Twice. Once Aug. 9-13 for the ATA's "National Truck Driving Championships" (all trucking industries included), and then he'll go Sept. 23-25 for the International Foodservice Distributors Association's "Food Industry Truck Driving Championships." We apparently are meant to get to know Orlando VERY well, lol. Funny, since the championships of both associations are supposed to move around each year, but we only seem to go to Florida. Ah well. Aside from the long plane trip, I don't mind.

I am just so absolutely THRILLED for Steve. So often I get frustrated for him because it seems like his work doesn't really appreciate him or take note of how well he does his job (even when customers fill out official forms praising him!), and his winning these competitions forces the bosses to take note. He was the first Nicholas driver to win the IFDA championship in 2009. And he'll be the first to go the the ATA championship this year (as long as they send him . . . which we're pretty sure they will).

Our kids got scattered this weekend: Crisha, of course, it already at Catalina Island studying up to teach scouts merit badges; Marina and Jessica went to their dad's in Provo; Jenero, Xeneea, Adria, and Sim went to stay with an aunt and uncle and cousins in Nibley; and Serene ended up staying with an aunt and uncle and cousins in Farmington (we go to drop off a welder and got our baby kidnapped as well). Okay, so that last was not planned. But they offered, and we admitted that Serene would have much more fun there, so Steve and I got a night and day to ourselves. Wow. But how fun to get them all back and let them know their dad won 1st! And how cute was Serene in her Krispy Kreme hat! (She got to go with her cousins and aunt to watch the doughnuts being made.)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

AND just to prove we DO have a family all together once in a while . . .

So we're not even going to mention the leg-pulling, persuading, pleading, and near-threatening that happened to get this picture. Sorry not everyone is exactly how they'd love to be for all eternity, but it was the best of the batch, lol!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

One little bird about to fly the coop

AAAAAAGH! I CANNOT believe Crisha turns 18 tomorrow! She graduated last week and is officially on her own on Monday when she flys to CA to start her summer job. Gonna miss her so much!

Number One Again!

So it comes as no surprise but with great delight that Steve has once again won the five-axle division at his company's anual "roadeo." The scoring is based on a compilation of three scores: a written test, a pre-trip inspection of a truck for safety and rule compliance, and then the actual driving course. Many of the written scores were in the same ballpark, so that didn't do much to tell us where Steve stood at first, but he did get an early lead in the driving. Of course, then another guy ousted him out of first by 30 points (a big margin), so we were down to looking at the pretrip to truly decide who took first place. Now I KNOW what kind of man my husband is and that it's easy for him to win this sort of thing . . . but I also know that if I act like that, good ol' Murphy will step in with his law and make Steve lose. So I ACTED as though I either don't care if Steve won or as if I ddn't think he really had a shot . . . thus making it possible for my husband to actually have a chance. Clear? As mud, right? Well, it makes sense to me! And Steve IS going to the Utah State Truck Driving Championship next week (after a week in Moab with Varsity Scouts) and he IS going to the National Food Industry Truck Driving Championship in September. So my somewhat muddled reasoning must have worked somehow, right? =) Besides, it also worked that year in Florida when he won there, too, lol!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Belated Crazy Hair Day

So we didn't get a chance to put these up before (I think, anyway, if we did, we're doing it again because the girls are here and want to see how I put things on the blog), but this was the kids' last Crazy Hair Day at their current school. Jessie designed her own look of half and half, Marina was my very own pseudo Dr. Seuss creation, and Sim was a blue-spotted cheetah. I don't think they had ANY fun with it, do you?

P.S. Yes, that is Jessie's natural tongue. Creepy, no? We call her "Lizard Tongue."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Anther third grade victory!

Okay, so I don't have any pics of her surrounded by the books yet, but Jessie finished all 7 Harry Potter books last night! Yup, she read till 9:00 to finish Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (I let her stay up half an hour past her bedtime since she was so close -- how could I not when I've done that myself countless times?). Yay!! I had been downstairs exercising and she wasn't sure when I'd be up (before or after she fell asleep), so she left me a note on her door saying, "There are two girls that live here and they both have finished the whole Harry Potter series! Jessica finished it on Monday night, May 16, 2011." She and Marina (who are the two girls in that room) both finished the series in their third grade year. It's funny to see their various styles of reading, though. Marina read straight through, and it took her about five months. Jessie read many books at the same time, so the series took her a while longer; but hey! They both did it and they're both so happy about it!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Turkey Vultures

So this morning my neighbor made sure to point out to me my five uninvited overnight guests I'd had -- turkey vultures in my already over-populated tree out front (home to innumerable little birds and at least two owls that we know of). I haven't seen turkey vultures (some call them turkey buzzards -- same thing) in the wild since Ft. Huachuca, when there were TONS of them living in this one tree up Grierson Avenue. Huh. Strange how these five brought back memories of my panicking as birds with HUGE wingspans dove at my head while I waited for my ride to seminary or the times when they'd attack my poor kites whenever I flew them on the parade field in front of the vultures' tree. So thank you, random fowl, for the flight down memory lane. And thank you for moving on and not scaring my poor owls away. =)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Spider Jessie

Ok, so this is a little older, gritty video quality, and sideways. =) Ah well, you'll get the idea! The joys of having a rather narrow hallway just sitting there begging to be used in productive ways.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Literally. Our basement started gathering water on Monday with our nonstop pouring rain, and I tried to keep up with it with our 12-gallon shop vac. Ha ha. By the end of the day, we had three shop vacs going along the east wall of our basement and had the kids on shifts manning them (I had an incredibly sore back after going it alone for five hours already . . . though I did take more turns that night). Around 9:30 or 10 at night, we discovered water coming up through the two bedroom floors downstairs (with carpet, of course). That's when I gave up. And did the water enjoy having no restraints!

The kids were great, even enlisting the neighbor boy into helping as we took ALL their stuff from their rooms and set up a dormitory in the garage. Boys on one end, girls on the other. No wall yet, but with how long things will take, we may just have to move over our wall of wheat buckets (currently BY a wall in the garage) and put it as at least a minimum of a privacy barrier. Ah joy. But so far the older kids and Sim (who have to sleep in their new clubhouse) have taken this all very well. Maybe it's because they know if they complain they'll get put to work with their dad and me as we pull off baseboards, pull up carpets and pads, drill holes in the walls where the baseboards were (it is SO nice to have a brother-in-law formerly in the restoration business! We get all the tricks that may possibly save us from having to redo all our sheet rock!), and then prop up carpets on networks of food storage buckets, ladders, or whatever so we can have it off the floor as we run a fan under it all to dry them. Anybody follow that sentence? =) But seriously, the kids have been and are great with the whole thing. And now Steve and I are looking into at least repainting and eventually cleaning the carpets (when we've got everything else cleaned up and ready to go) before we reset all our downstairs. A face lift for the basement by necessity, lol!

And how are we making sure this never happens again? Especially when we supposedly already have a French Drain all around our house with a sump pump already in it? (Steve tracked down the builder and first owner of the house for details.) Well, Steve's already knocked a hole in the basement floor and put a sump pump in THAT to deal with the water under the house, and as soon as we have the rest of the plans for where the in-floor heating lines are down there, we'll pot another hole in the floor of the other side of the basement to put another sump pump there. French Drain with pump and two sump pumps in the basement itself. Judging on how our pumps right now are dealing with things (so another would give us more leeway), Steve and I think this solution will work. Hooray! Cause if it doesn't, our only other option is to put a SECOND French Drain out beyond the first as a barrier to THAT. At least we have options! =)

And now it's time to go check on my dripping carpets in the basement. (We dried them as much as we could before we pulled them up, but you can only suck up so much water with a shop vac.) At least it's not raining! =)

Friday, April 8, 2011

My poser

For some reason, I just love this picture. Once in a while even amateurs get something close to what they wanted! And yes, this is our yard BEFORE the six inches of snow we got . . . again. Goodbye, Spring! Nice of you to drop by for the twelve hours you came! I guess my neighbor's right -- Logan has two seasons: this winter . . . and last winter. =)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Just dancin.

So really, we have like nothing new to relate. We get up, Steve goes to work, I try not to go back to bed, I exercise, clean house, get kids up, ready, out the door, play with the last munchkin, clean some more (with the munchkin cleaning alongside me), practice flute or piano (some day I'll do BOTH!), bake bread or some such while L'il Sis sets up her own cook shop on the kitchen floor, plan my next cubscout den meetings, read and read and read to the littlest bookworm, look out my window at the snow still on my garden and DREAM of the time when I'll actually get to work the soil and prepare it for planting, feed the toddler, exercise some more, take a shower, welcome Steve home, talk, talk, talk, clean or cook some more, welcome kids home, help with homework, help with more homework, make or help make dinner, eat, read scriptures, remind kids to clean up, get spoiled little urchin to bed, get other young kids to bed (or at least IN bed reading), make sure older kids are in bed somewhat in the range of on time, and RELAX. Kind of. Does blogging count as relaxing? Sure it does. Oh and now's when I usually find out one of the kids started laundry that now has to either be redone (read too many clothes in the washer to actually get clean) or dried. And then I need to clean some more. Seriously, I have no idea how Serene can so seriously mess up a room so quickly. And when that's finally done . . . again . . . then what? Well, then I just wish I could enjoy the clean house for a few minutes so I'm often tempted to stay up crosstitching and listening to The Book of Mormon on mp3 until I practically fall asleep on the couch.

NO, that doesn't happen everyday. Most days I call it quits around the switching laundry part and just fall into bed about the same time as the older kids are SUPPOSED to get to theirs. =) But you get the drift.

HOWEVER, I can say that Steve and I now have one very important change. Well, it's important to us. We now have dance lessons every Thursday night. Yay! It was Steve's idea, since there are NO dances for old married folk around here. We started on the Fox Trot and some of the Cha Cha last week and we had so much fun! We also ran into Jessica's and Marina's old kindergarten teacher in our class, though thankfully not literally. I'm looking forward to going and dancing again tomorrow, especially since tomorrow's routine somehow has to fit in dental appointments for two kids. Happy happy joy joy! But you know? I'll take the two-kid appointment. Sure beats the 7 we had last time! And in then end, we get to just shake it all off. I can't wait! =)

Friday, March 11, 2011


So I have discovered that even snowmen get bored if they stand still too long. The solution for the frozen guys? Exercise! Here's our snowman doing his stretches the other day. And then we found out that stretching for more than a day ends in heads rolling. I wouldn't recommend it, lol! I have to admit that I absolutely loved how Steve brought my attention to our snowman's quirks: he came in saying, "Monika, your snowman is defying the laws of physics out there!" Ah, see? Not even three years into our marriage, and already he sounds like he could have grown up around my family!

And here's the smallest munchkin out for a stroll in the first of our series of big snowfalls recently. She was so frustrated when she couldn't climb up the ladder to our "pirate ship" that she'd been playing on (snow free with even grass around it) just the day before.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

April Fools Came Early

So it was like 60 the other day. And now we have several inches of very wet, compact snow outside . . . and it's still falling. If it weren't so late, I'd be out there making a snowman, though! First wet snow all season, lol!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


So this week I launched a battle on dust. Ceiling fans, picture frames, lamp shades, nothing was safe from my duster.

Curtains, however, were awarded special attention. They have never been down in the almost two years since we moved in, and I have NO idea how long it's been since anyone did anything about them before that. (Seriously, I have never seen so much dust in one piece of fabric in my life. Of course, judging by how grimy our chandelier was when we moved in, that doesn't surprise me.) So curtains came down, and except for the "Dry Clean Only" ones in my bedroom were washed and ironed. So far so good. And mostly even after that. But I'll admit it -- the kitchen curtains defeated me.

To start with, they were homemade (read: imperfect to begin with), and put on ludicrously wide curtain rods (read: it'd be a pain in the neck to actually find curtains in my price range to replace them to fit on those silly rods. And when someone painted the kitchen its two-tone faux finish, they didn't remove the rods, so I can't really replace them without having to paint the whole kitchen over). And then, it was an all-out battle: first to get them off the rods, then to get them back ON. And one window we had to fudge it. I noticed a couple panels needed mending on the sleeve part, so I mended them. And then found out why they were ripped when I attempted (yes, attempted) to put them back on their rod. Didn't work. At all. So they again have a few rips, lol, but finally they are back on and up in the window. AND I AM NEVER DOING THAT AGAIN. Seriously. If they need dusting, I will take them out rod and all and pound the life out of them outside, but they are not coming off that rod unless I find some curtains to replace the whole gang with someday (we have 6 matching windows). Ugh. My hands and arms are sore from all that wrestling with inanimate objects. It even hurts to type! =)

Friday, February 4, 2011

4 minutes in a toddler's life

So this is especially for you who can't be here to watch the sometimes amazing feats of one particular toddler. =) This means you, A. Just a few little quirks of the little one.

Lip Gloss

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Millions, smillions

Gotta just pass this on. My sister sent me the link explaining just how much this "president" of ours proposing to cut from our country's extraordinarily large "budget." Anyone else agree the guy's all talk?


Oh, and just found this related video regarding the "stimulus" bill designed to "save" jobs. I've known the numbers, but I love the visualizations!


Monday, January 17, 2011

Hmmmm . . .

So what do you do when your husband is critiquing the children on how reverent they were in church, reminding them that sleeping or causing others to make noise is NOT being reverent . . . and he himself had been holding the munchkin up off the floor as she gripped his index fingers and giggled her head off? =)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Youngest and Oldest

Just a couple pics of the extremes of our kids. Aaaaah! (And no, I couldn't get rid of those red eyes on Serene. But it's such a pretty pic otherwise!)

Saturday, January 8, 2011



Well, even though we had no new snow for Christmas (and a whole lot of melting before), I am glad we have the canyon so near . . . with it's famously record low temperatures and therefore lots of snow! These pictures were taken at "The Sinks" up Logan Canyon, almost all the way to Bear Lake. And yes, the hill is even steeper than it looks. And that's just the lower section where we were. Jenero and his friend liked to start much higher up. Do you know how long it takes to climb that high in snow that lets you sink up to your knees at times? We were glad we came as early as we did as by noon the parking area was packed and snowmobilers were crowding the slopes. The ones that weren't setting up firepits and cooking lunch, that is. Those sinks are a popular place!

And btw, yes, our little "Tube Train" DID work. I found that if I shut my eyes as we go down, I tend not to panic as much and can actually stay on the tube all the way to the bottom . . . and hold the other kids on at the same time. =)