Sunday, November 28, 2010


It's done. That's what matters. Every year, in a great test to see how my patience has improved since the last, I commit to making a gingerbread house with Claire. Kyle is now three, so he also has joined the ranks of maker instead of just observer.

It started two nights ago when Claire asked if we could make the houses (yes, houses. This year I committed to making 5 "mini" houses! Stupid). I said that I would put them together, but that they had to sit overnight before we could decorate them. That was an unsatisfactory answer. She cried on and off for the rest of the evening for a cumulative total of at least 30 minutes. That was fun. Although I tried to explain over and over why they houses needed to sit so the 'glue' could dry, she just couldn't grasp it.

Once while i was off consoling her, Kyle found the stack of gingerbread pieces I had started to begin putting together. He came running to me with a piece in his mouth, "Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!" he taunted. I rescued that piece, but later realized that it was not the first piece he tried to eat. The back of one house was missing, so I improvised with cardboard.

So last night was the night we decorated. Not twenty seconds after we sat down (after the "never touch a single thing without asking first" lecture) Claire decided to pick of the bowl of nonpareils and dropped it on the floor. I know it was an accident, but it was SO hard to not be completely ticked off. I'd just told her not to touch anything, and she dumped the worst bowl possible. Why couldn't it have been the gum drops? So the tiny balls bounced and rolled all over my entire dining area. Probably more that an twelve foot radius looked like this picture, and it doesn't really do it justice. The worst part was that you can't really sweep them up well because they get all static-charged and just repel away from the broom. So that was fun. And took 20 minutes to clean up. I did my best to be nice (as it is my annual patience checkup) and we started again. The original plan was for Claire to do 4 and Kyle to do 1 house. Well, 90 minutes into it we had two houses down (It's hard when you have chubby little five-year-old hands.) So Claire made the two back left houses (Made means that I did the frosting and she put the candy on). And Kyle made the front left house in a like fashion. (I did the tiny balls around the door).

I finished up the others while Taylor was getting the kids ready for bed. I quit and didn't decorate the house edges. It just wasn't happening. The icicles barely happened. As for my patience, I hope I'm improving. (I'm usually really patient, just not when it comes to cooking with them.) I found that my kids were actually really great at smoothing the frosting for the roof tops (with a finger dipped in cornstarch they were great at patting it down, and they loved it.)

Next year I think we'll make the train. It's big and requires little fancy frosting work. I just can't frost a straight line.

Oh, and the cats ripped open the frosting bag and ate some. Princess (the white one) carried it in her mouth right past us and into their closet under the stairs. It was hilarious to see her run away with it---like she could keep it from us. It has resulted in some interesting tummies for them today. I think they'll be spending a lot of time in their little closet.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kyle's IQ

When I was pregnant with Kyle my thyroid levels were low. Not low enough that they would normally treat it, but lower than they should have been. Because of that I got involved in a study. I had to take a pill/placebo every day while I was pregnant with him and have my blood drawn at every OB appointment. Now every year until he turns 5 within a month of his birthday Kyle has an IQ test at the U of U. It's really fun. I sit and smile the whole time because he is so smart.

However this year I was super nervous because I haven't been able to get him to learn his shapes, colors, and letters yet. I just knew we'd (and when I say we, I mean it would be obvious that it was ME failing) get there and fail every test. Fortunately none of those things were tested this time around (phew!). It was about 30 minutes long and had 6 different parts. I didn't watch the first 10 minutes or so because I was filling out a questionnaire. One cool thing was they had these flat, rectangular blocks. The lady would do a configuration then ask Kyle to copy it. Some used up to 5 blocks which were stacked or layed out in patterns in various ways. There were probably 15-20 configurations. It was fun to see him work out how to move and hold and stack the blocks. He got most of them perfect and was really close on two. One he was not close at all :)

One of the easier ones was to name objects that were drawn on a page. Only he didn't just say "spoon," "chair," or "helicopter" he said, "Spoon that we can use to eat." "Chair that we sit on. And that one is high and we could fall off." "Helicopter that flies like this..." It was cute.

Another test was to fit things in categories. He was shown a page on a book with 5 pictures on it. Then given a card with a picture on it. He had to find the one that it went with best---like a rose with a daisy, an airplane with a helicopter, a ruler with a measuring cup (he figured that out!), etc. He was excellent at that. Although he paired a watch and a lamp once, but we can't be perfect.

At the end she warned me that they never do well at the last test. It involved showing a black and white drawing of one or two things on one page, then when the page was turned he had to find the same things among many things. Trick being she didn't say, "Now find that bear" All she said was with the first page, "See this?" Then turned the page "Where is it?" Sometimes it would show one dog then the next page had that dog and five other dogs. He was awesome at it! Claire and Kyle love to read "I Spy" books, so I'm sure this prepared him. Either way, the lady said that he'd done by far the best of any three year old to date. Gotta love that.

Anyway, it was interesting and fun to see him excel at things that neither of us knew he could do. Don't get me wrong, he's not all genius; like yesterday he said to me, "Mommy. I say you gorgeous. And i say you a pee-poo." Lovely.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I finally finished my china cupboard. I've wanted a curio forever---honestly as a permanent place for my crown. Well those are hard to come by at the DI. So are these, but I got one in Provo for fifty bucks. Good start. Here it is to begin with:And now it's in my house! It took three days to prep and paint. A day or so to put back together. And about an hour to get up the guts to, and then spray glue on the fabric. I LOVE the results!

And did I show you the kid bench I painted? I took a picture of the pillows that are on my bench: Then Keli cut a stencil of vinyl for me, and I painted over it.

Then I picked the stencil off with tweezers, and voila. Fancy!

I finally finished my china cupboard. I've wanted a curio forever---honestly as a permanent place for my crown. Well those are hard to come by at the DI. So are these, but I got one in

Friday, November 19, 2010

Long week

You know when you think something is a good idea and in the end it probably was a good idea but requires a lot more work than you thought it would? That happened to us Sunday. Taylor got this idea that for Family Night we should hang up our pictures. [When we moved in to our BRAND NEW house we were reluctant to put any holes in the walls at all. Typically in our five homes before now we had every wall covered. Here our walls are sparse.] The pictures were mostly stored in the closet under our stairs. As I made efforts to retrieve them, the bright idea occurred to me that if that closet were cleaned out I could put the cats in there and reclaim my bathroom. (That alone has made it worth it.)

So out came the frames. Out came the food storage. Out came my decoration that were out of season. Out came half-finished crafts. Out came the kleenex boxes, egg cartons, shoe boxes, and other items I've saved for a rainy day to use to make projects with the kids. And they all ended up in my kitchen. Some of the frames were hung. A lot of them, actually. The dwindling food storage (which once was so large and so lovely, and truly has lasted us a year as planned) fit in the pantry for the most part. We swept it out and transferred the cats. Yeah! On Monday I mopped and sanitized the bathroom, so now if you come over you can use the bathroom again. Yeah!

However, Taylor spent the day on Monday hunting with my dad and brother, and the rest of the week at work, so the brunt of finishing the giant project landed on me. It seriously looked like we had just moved in. Boxes and trash and treasures were everywhere. I tried. I really tried to deal with it. And each day there has been improvement. Today it was mostly better. Then I got a wild hair to clean out the toy room and store away toys in preparation for the upcoming holidays. Seriously that was a 4-5 hour project with two kids who found "treasure" after "treasure" with which they refused to part.

I got that done, then there was the issue of the box of toys that was in the garage---the box that we once dumped everything in because we were having a bunch of people over and didn't have time to clean. It also contained a bunch of mismatched toys that were hand-me-downs from someone in the ward. It has been in the garage for months. Maybe four months or more. I insanely dumped it out in my front room. 90 minutes later we had sorted trash, to keep, and to give away items and mostly put them away.

Then I got news that my glass shelves for my china cabinet were in. Which means that to make room for it I had to clean out Claire's little toy cupboard in preparation for the move from the kitchen to her room. This hadn't been done since we moved in. Yikes! Every little piece of plastic dinnerware is now being washed and sanitized in the dishwasher and the cupboard is ready for its new home away from my kitchen.

Now with the project mostly done I'm at a stand-still. Little pieces of toys are scattered throughout our living area. There is a medium-sized laundry basket full of crap waiting to be sorted and stored upstairs. And Taylor will be home in ten minutes. I'll be glad to have him help finish what he suggested we start last Sunday.

Not that you need to know any of this. Just know that if you come over in the next few days (which a lot of you will be coming over) and notice how clean my house is----you can know what actually went into making it that way.

And look forward to pictures of the cabinet! I can't wait for it!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Past

Forever ago I was obsessed with the TV show Lois & Clark: The new adventures of Superman (see that colon? maybe that's why I love colons). Obsessed is a mild word to describe how I liked it. And it wasn't just me. There were 4-5 friends of mine who were in on it. It started in 8th grade. I remember the exact moment at lunch where we realized that a bunch of us had seen and loved the previous night's episode. Anyway, I digress from my reason for writing. (But, notice the picture above, how it's autographed? I chose that one, because somewhere I have a similar autographed picture. I won 2nd place in an live online trivia contest once. First place got a signed script, I was totally bummed. But happy to have beaten out hundreds of people. BTW, is that pathetic?)

Anyway, a few nights ago Taylor and I were watching CSI Miami and wondering about a character on it. I looked her up on wikipedia, and saw that she had played Lana Lang on an episode of L&C. Of course we wanted to see what she looked like. Conveniently Taylor purchased a contraband set of the complete series on DVD for me for Christmas 2004. I had morning sickness at that time, so I didn't want to watch them (afraid they would always make me sick), so I lent them to my sister almost immediately and just got them back within the last year. I hadn't watched them (sad, I know!) at all. So we popped the episode in. MEMORIES! It was the one right before they were supposed to get married (only Lois was replaced by a frog-eating clone!) and watching it just made me happy. And sentimental.

Here's why I'm writing. Watching that episode (okay, and the four others I watched last night while Taylor was out of town and I was too scared/too into the episodes to go to sleep) made me remember exactly how it felt to be a teenager. The hormones, the hope, the relative ease with which I lived my life---even though I thought I was super stressed and busy and misunderstood.

Looking back, it was so easy then! I lived for me. I did what I wanted, when I wanted, and how I wanted. Now my life is dictated by my family. Which is fine. And how it should be. I just don't think I appreciated it back then.

We wanted to BE Lois Lane. Last night I watched Lois as a headstrong, confident woman of the early 90's and seriously wondered how much I subconsciously emulated her when my own confidence lacked as a young adult. To some degree I think her character shaped who I became.

We wanted desperately to have our own "Clarks." We used to play and replay the "romantic" scenes over and over again. To entertain ourselves during boring classes in junior high we'd send each other notes, writing down entire scenes from the show. We looked forward to the day we would be loved like that. And you know what? Watching the handful of episodes last night made me realize that I am loved like that. I got what I hoped for. He may not have super powers---but he can clean and helps out with the kids every second he can and does a great job with his church responsibilities. I look around and see a bunch of people our age who are finding that their marriage is not what they signed up for---but mine is---all that I hoped for back in 1994 and more.