Sunday, July 26, 2009

fancy nancies

Being the silly girl that I am, I agreed to hosting a birthday party the weekend before our move. Mercedes hadn't had a birthday party in November, because I wasn't feeling up to it.  I'd promised her a party before our move.  It was a great way for her to get together with her friends one last time and say goodbye.  

Mercedes chose to have a Fancy Nancy Tea Party, using her great grandmother's tea set.  We had a fun time planning and preparing the menu.  To drink, we served hot chocolate in place of tea (complete with mini marshmallows and whipping cream), with the option of sparkling raspberry lemonade.  Then to eat we made heart shaped PB&J and heart shaped strawberry cream cheese tea sandwiches, fruit salad and dip.  

The darling Fancy Nancies getting to know each other.

Fancy Mercedes during the "fashion show."

High Noon Tea Time.  We couldn't leave Cooper out.

For dessert, I bought Petite Fours from our local bakery, and frosted mini brownie bites.

Before church the next day, showing off her "glamorous" sunglasses.  
I found them on clearance for the party, but didn't get any pictures of her in them.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

the final countdown...

Well, we've got eight days left here.  I've not been worried... but now we're hitting crunch time and I'm wondering what challenges are in store for us.  

Last night as I was trying to go to sleep I started thinking about our rental truck sitting in a hotel parking lot, filled with all of our belongings.  What if someone steals all of our stuff?  Is it safe to just leave a truck with no one watching it?  

Brent was supposed to be able to start "out-processing" at Fort Jackson today.  That was our plan, at least.  When he went in this morning, the person from whom he needs to get his "leave" form was not in.  He was told that he might be able to get some help this afternoon.  Getting his leave form is just the first step in out-processing.  He needs to get a ton of signatures from a ton of different people.  Let's hope that he made some headway this afternoon!  It's pretty frustrating when he's only given five days to complete his out-processing, but the people who "process" him aren't working!

We had planned on loading the truck next Wednesday, the morning of Brent's graduation.  Yesterday afternoon he called me and said, "You're not going to believe this..."  Whenever I hear that phrase, I know that the next sentence will not contain good news.  He let me know that he'd just been told that he has to go to a "graduation breakfast" on Wednesday morning, rather than picking up the truck.  The young men of our church are scheduled to be at our house on Wednesday night, as soon as we get home from the graduation.  Thank goodness we'll be able to pick the truck up a day early!

I've been getting a lot of, um, pimples lately.  Must be the hormones.  I haven't had this many breakouts EVER.  Not even as a teenager.  So yesterday the kids and I stopped by Target so that I could pick up some "zit cream."  When I'm at Target with three wild kids (including a Cooper who was running up and down the aisles), I don't really pay attention to what I'm doing.  I'm too focused on the kids.  So I just throw what I need into the cart.  Well, I got home last night and found that the box which was supposed to contain the small tube of cream was... EMPTY!   So today we took another trip to Target.

When we got home this afternoon, I immediately headed to the kitchen sink to wash my hands and get a drink of water.  Unfortunately, nothing came out.  I thought, "you've got to be kidding me!"  A few weeks ago I called all of our utility companies and scheduled each service to be turned off on the 31st.  After several minutes on hold with the water company, the receptionist verified that the "water service employee" had indeed turned off our water today.  I actually heard him in the background with his deep and heavy southern accent saying, "I just do what the computer says to do.  It ain't my fault!"  I cannot express how grateful I felt when the response to my question of how long it would take to have our water turned back on was, "fifteen minutes." 

So now I just need to get through: a Fancy Nancy Tea Party (I wasn't feeling up to a birthday party in November, and promised Mercedes a party before our move), packing the rest of the house, CLEANING the house, and a three-day drive across the country (with at least 12 hours of driving each day).  

Whew.  At least I'm too busy with the move to fall apart crying every time I think of being away from Brent for a whole year. 

 That will come later.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Playing with Lincoln, Part Two

When the other kids aren't around, 
this is how Lincoln and I spend our time:

He's definitely a "tummy" boy, 
and never stays in one place for long.
He does NOT like being in his "jumpy" seat;
he likes the freedom of travel.

A few weeks ago,
 Lincoln started making this face:

He does it ALL of the time.  
I call it his "owl" face,
 since it is often accompanied 
by the sound, "ooooo, ooooo."

He likes to work out.  
Push-ups are definitely his favorite:

A sneeze:

I think it's funny that 
he can't decide between the 
car and the "my little pony" 
toy.  These are his two favorite
toys.  He doesn't seem to 
appreciate "baby" toys.

This is how his "army crawl" starts out:

He hasn't figured out how to 
stay on his hands and knees, 
and so lurches right onto 
his face every time.

The drool is a permanent fixture,
 even when he's rocking.

Playing with Lincoln, part one

Yesterday I walked into the family room and discovered this:

It was so sweet to see Mercedes playing with her 
brother without being asked.

After a while, though, playing with 
Lincoln turned into this:

Lincoln watching Mercedes, 
watching Barney.

After watching for a few minutes,
 she began to sing to Lincoln, which he loves.

If Cooper and Lincoln are both awake 
at the same time, 
you can be sure that 
Cooper is stuck to his 
little brother like glue.  

The most-often heard phrase 
in our house (after "I love you"), is:

 "Cooper, don't touch Lincoln!"  

The thing is, 
he loves his brother a 
little too much, 
and doesn't understand 
his own strength.

Every once in a while, Cooper focuses 
on something other than his brother:

Peas and Pizza

I didn't expect Brent home for dinner on Monday night, and so I took full advantage of his absence with a very "kid friendly" dinner:  Mini Pizzas and Peas.  

Well, Brent finished his project early and was home in time for dinner.  

When it's just me and the kids at the dinner table, I can't say that we have tons of fun.  After spending all day together, we're all tired and sometimes cranky; what patience I might have had in the morning has long been spent.  

Brent, however, provides a "breath of fresh air."  When he's home for dinner we almost always end up having fun.  He lightens my mood as well as the kids'.  

Monday was no different.  He did not complain at such a simple dinner (I'm sure he wouldn't dare, but also he's just that sweet).  Rather, he made a dinner of pizza on English muffins and frozen peas into something entirely new: Pea Pizza.  

Sounds gross, right?  At least I thought it sounded and looked gross.  I was the only one.

The kids LOVED it!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

the letter "p"

Please be warned.  This post is not for the faint of heart.  That being said, Mercedes and I had a funny conversation today.

This afternoon she came out of the bathroom and said,  "Mommy, you know that stuff that goes in the toilet that starts with the letter p?"

(My mother always used "correct" terms for everything, and so bestowed the same habit upon me.  I CANNOT STAND the "p" word.  When I was little I once came home from my cousins' house and excitedly shared with my mother - "Mommy!  Aunt Sharon calls it BM!"  Just one of my many idiosyncrasies).

My reply:  "You mean urine?  It's called urine."

"Well, I just went and it wasn't yellow at all.  It was white!"  She was SO excited about this.  

When she was little she used to drink tons of water and stayed well-hydrated.  These days, she doesn't drink much and I've told her that if her, ahem, urine is yellow it means that she isn't drinking enough water. 

"Wow, that's great."

"And all day it's been white!  Even when I first woke up this morning?  It was white!"

"Mercedes, that's not true.  No one's is white when they first wake up in the morning."

"Oh.  Well... just now it was white!"

It just cracks me up that she was SO excited about it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

big trouble

This afternoon, shortly after I had finished washing a load of dishes, Cooper came into the kitchen for a drink.  

I had spilled water all over while rinsing out a large baking dish.

As soon as he saw me, Cooper said: "Mommy, you spilled water on you tummy?"

"Oh yes, I spilled water while I was doing the dishes."

"You in big trouble Mommy!  You spilled water!"

The funny thing is, no one gets in trouble for spilling water in our house.  Earlier today Cooper spilled a whole bottle of pickle juice on the floor and didn't get in trouble (even though he should NOT have been getting into the pickles while I was in the shower).  I'm just glad that the accident happened before I mopped the floor.

But he's been using that expression often lately.  I catch Mercedes saying it to him every once in a while; "Cooper, you'd better give that back to me or you'll be in big trouble!"

I guess I should go and give myself a time-out.  Wouldn't that be lovely?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Watch out... he's a mover!

Brent home teaches a family in our ward who has a baby boy just three 
weeks younger than Lincoln. When they asked about Lincoln last 
week, Brent told them about his "crawling," and they were shocked.  
They said that their baby just lays there quietly. It's true!  
I see him in church and he's just sitting calmly on his mother's lap.  
I've been in the mother's lounge with him; he nurses quietly and 
calmly. Lincoln is NEVER still, unless of course he's sleeping.  
What would it be like? I must admit that I'm envious, 
but it's also fun to see Lincoln trying to chase after his brother 
and sister. When I go in to get him from his crib he is almost 
always on his hands and knees, rocking away. One of these 
days he'll sit up to play and do a little less spitting up on the 
carpet (I hope!).

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Chef Mercedes

Yesterday, Mercedes asked Brent if they could make cookies together.  

Brent decided that it would be a good idea for Mercedes to do
 ALL of the work ALL by herself.


By herself.

Brent sat in his "director's chair" and simply gave instructions.
I'm so glad that he has more patience than I do.

In her chef's hat, measuring the shortening.

She was VERY focused.

A little help from Cooper.

Cooper also served as the resident "taster."

Cleaning up.

Mmmmm, tasty!

Ready to deliver some to her friends.


The Rat House

Hi.  Brent here.  Thought I'd give this blogging thing a try.

Mercedes had a birthday party to attend at the Rat House, aka Chuck E Cheese.  It was so much fun to attend.  Very few places allow a "no rule" type of atmosphere for children under the age of 7.  It is as if parents take a break from being parents and let their children act crazy.  Like the three year old girl who climbed up on the skeet ball lanes and stole the balls so that she could throw them herself.  Then when their backs were turned she would take the tickets that they had won.  Awesome parenting!  

The kids thought it was the greatest place on earth, though.  They ran around and around the whole time to get on rides before the next kid jumped on ahead of them.  It was all fun and games until Chuck came out and scared Cooper to death.  Think about it.  A two year old having a 5 foot rat coming up to him with it's big grey paws stretched out.  I would turn and run too.  But, they had a good time and that is the important thing. 

Thursday, July 9, 2009

independence day photos

We didn't do a lot to celebrate this year.  
We spent most of the day packing.  
We managed to squeeze in a little bit of fun, though.

Brent said that this is a picture to illustrate what 
he thinks of South Carolina.  He loves the people, but can't stand 
the sandy dirt, heat and humidity, bugs, pollen etc.

Cooper having fun on the tramp.

Cooper not having fun on the tramp. 
 The girls were bouncing so hard that 
he kept falling right on his face, poor guy.

Our neighbor brought over her Slip-n-Slide, 
but Cooper was the only one who 
really enjoyed it.  Here he's sporting his awesome 
Thomas the Train swim trunks.


Our neighbor and friend Kaley, Cooper and Mercedes 
in the back seat on the way to Chili's.  
Our propane ran out right before the 4th, 
and since we're about to move 
we didn't see the sense in re-filling it.  
The 4th just isn't the same without a grill.

Mercedes and Kaley.

Cooper Mercedes and Lincoln.

We tried to get a group shot.

And tried.

And tried.

I just hope that it's a day that the kids will remember.  
Mercedes was tired and not feeling well by night-fall, 
so we didn't make it to the fireworks.  
Guess we just have something to look forward to next year!

bath time with cooper

I must preface this by explaining that a few weeks ago, Cooper got a "temporary" tattoo.  It took FOREVER to get rid of.  We washed and washed and still it would not come off.  Finally last week, Brent scrubbed and scrubbed and got most of it off.  Cooper was not pleased.  Since then, he's been asking where his tattoo is.

Tonight on the way up to the bath, Cooper began asking again.

"Where's my tattoo Mommy?  It's in the bath?"

"No Cooper, it's gone."

"Gone where Mommy?  In the bath?"

How to explain such a thing to a two year old?  I just kept repeating, "it's gone," hoping that he'd accept it and move on.

When we got to the tub, he noticed that some beads from Mercedes' face wash were left in the tub.

"Wutz zat, Mommy?  Wutz zat?"

I replied that it was simply some soap left in the tub from Mercedes' bath earlier that day.  Apparently he wasn't happy with my simple answer, and continued (in two year old fashion) to repeat his question; over and over and over.

Once he was sitting in the tub full of water, he was not comfortable with the various "company" in the tub.  He pointed to each little blue bead.  I think that since he's paranoid about bugs, spiders, and flies, he was worried that there might be insects taking a bath with him.  

He then pointed to a long blonde strand of hair on the side of the tub (I know- it sounds gross, but Mercedes had just taken a bath a while earlier and didn't rinse out the tub), and asked again,

"Wutz zat, Mommy?  Wutz zat?"

"That's just a piece of Mercedes' hair."

"Oh, that's Mercedes' hair?"

And then, pointing to a very short piece of hair floating in the water, "Wutz zat Mommy?  Wutz zat?"

"That's a piece of Cooper hair."

"Oh, that's mine?  From my head?"  And then anxiously, "put it back, Mommy!  Put it back!"

"I can't put it back.  It's okay, you'll grow new hair."

He eventually accepted that I would not be putting the stray strand of hair back into his head, but was no longer willing to sit the the bath water filled with various unwelcome guests.  I hurriedly washed and rinsed him while he stood and then hurried him out of the tub and onto the bath mat.  Once he was out I unplugged the drain.

Pointing to the drain, "Wutz zat, Mommy?  Wutz zat?"

"That's the drain."

"The water's going down the drain?"


"Put it back, Mommy!  Put it back!"

I am seriously starting to wonder if this kid has some anxiety issues.  Hopefully it's just a two-year-old phase, and he will soon lose his paranoia for insects, dirt, lightning/thunder and separation (from Mommy, Mercedes, Lincoln, tattoos and water).

"Even in a world as strange as this one, a mouse and a princess cannot marry."

The house is finally peaceful; quiet except for the sound of my washing machine.  Lincoln is sleeping.  Cooper is sleeping.  Mercedes is on the couch and very soon will be sleeping (doesn't normally nap but has been spending her nights coughing).  Wish I could be sleeping!

Mercedes and I just finished reading "The Tale of Despereaux" together.  I'm so glad that I didn't watch the movie before I read the book, and I'm glad that I restrained myself from reading ahead on my own.  It was completely wonderful; and yes, I did cry at the end.  It was a good cry, though.  I'm sure that the theme of good and evil (in the form of: light and dark, forgiveness and torment, love and hatred) passed over her head, but I sure did enjoy it!

I've always loved to read, and since I was in high school have looked forward to reading "real books" with my kids.  The time is finally here and I am loving it.  So far, we've read all of the Junie B. Jones books (that girl is hilarious) and we're moving on to the "Magic Treehouse" series.  

Can't wait until she's ready for Harry Potter... now that will be a blast.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

what to do?

I'm liking Sarah Palin more and more.  I respected her during the 2008 campaign.  I'm not saying that I want her to be the President of the United States, but  I agree with her.  I like her honesty.  She seems to be genuine and without guile.  I was surprised to see her resign as Alaska's Governor this past weekend, but find her reasons completely understandable.

By Robert Shaffer and Dan Springer,

Sarah Palin was coy about her presidential aspirations but criticized both President Obama and the Republican Party in her first interview since announcing she was stepping down as governor of Alaska.

Standing astride a fishing boat she would later climb aboard to haul in fishing nets and salmon, Palin expressed bitterness at bloggers who peppered her with ethics accusations, whom she said brought government in Alaska to a grinding halt.

"The critics want to put you on a course of personal bankruptcy, so you can't afford to serve," she said, calling the attacks "bull crap."

The governor made the remarks in an interview with FOX News in Dillingham, where she was fishing with her husband, Todd, and daughter Piper. Reporters from three other networks were also in attendance. 

Palin said she has started a legal defense fund to raise money for legal fees.

She said Obama is taking the country in the wrong direction, and while she wouldn't reveal her future plans, indicated she has fight left in her.

"Average, hard-working Americans need to be able to get out there, unrestrained, and fight for what is right," she said. "Fight for energy independence and national security, fight for a smaller government instead of this big government overgrowth that Obama is ushering in."

Palin also offered criticism of the Washington, D.C., political establishment, and even the Republican Party, which nominated her to be vice president last year. 

"Obsessive partisanship" has hurt the party, she said, striking a more independent beat than the partisan tune she sang on the campaign trail.

"We have so many people who offer advice, but I'm going to continue to be, whether some of them like it or not, pretty darn independent, and not get wrapped up into a strong political machine that hasn't been extremely successful in some ways."

Palin also decried the state of the American media and said news coverage of her children was unfair.

"Most candidates, most public officials get to look into a camera and say, 'you better leave your hands off my kids,'" she said. "Well I haven't been able to say that. And that double standard that's been applied, that's been a little bit frustrating."

Asked if she wanted to be president, she repeated she did not know what her future holds.

"I want to work, right now, for people who are going to work either in office or out of office for the right things. Those principles that build up America, those who are inspired by the values of America, and will not deride or apologize for the values we hold as Americans."

Palin had cited attacks on her family and multiple ethics complaints that had forced her family to rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills. As a result, it's unlikely she'd run for president in 2012, suggested Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.

"Not having talked to the governor, I take 2012 off the table right now simply because given everything she's going through personally, dealing with the financial mess that all these ludicrous investigations have put her and Todd in, at the moment, I think she's trying to focus on getting her house in order, her personal house in order," Steele told FOX News.

"I look forward to welcoming her out and helping us in our campaigns this fall if and when shes ready to do that. Sarah Palin will be the ultimate arbiter of when she will engage and how she will engage," he said.

As Palin spoke, she and her husband Todd Palin loaded four news crews into two small fishing boats and headed into Bristol Bay from Dillingham.

The Palin family -- Todd's sister, mother and father, as well as nieces and at least two children, had picked the journalists up at the airport in Dillingham and shuttled them to Bristol Bay in old pickup trucks and SUVs.

On the bay, Sarah Palin showed how they spent time each summer hauling up pre-placed nets, emptying them of captured salmon, and tossing them back into the water.

Todd Palin was all smiles as he captained the fishing boat in Bristol Bay out to nets filled with Sockeye. 

He grew up commercial fishing these waters and Sarah Palin has been making the summer trip to Dillingham for many years. She joked that even though she's been helping her husband haul in fish for decades he still yells at her for doing it wrong. The governor and another hauler lifted the nets out of the water and pried the salmon out.

It was tough work. She wore rubber gloves, knee-high boots and waders.

This was a portrait of the moose hunter and folksy hockey mom that emerged soon after she was picked by Sen. John McCain to be his running mate.


I don't like ANYTHING that is going on in Washington these days.  In fact I am afraid of what is happening to our country, and feel that it soon will be unrecognizable to me.  The "bigger" our government gets, the less freedoms we have as individuals.  It seems that soon we won't have the freedom to fail or succeed.  I'm just frustrated and feel powerless to stop the whirlwind.  Any suggestions?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

the difference between men and women

We've got twenty-five days left until departure.

Two weeks ago, Brent informed me that our Bishop had asked us to speak in Sacrament Meeting on July 12th.  Our Bishop is an incredible man.  He is kind and thoughtful.  He is friendly and warm.  He has FIFTEEN children (no multiples); and is wife is the sweetest woman alive.  But even knowing this, I did not react well to the news.  

"WHAT???  Doesn't he know that I am already stressed beyond my capacity?  Is he TRYING to send me over the edge?  It's only been like eight months since the last time that we spoke in Sacrament Meeting!  No.  No way.  You'll just have to tell him that I can't do it.  What about my NURSING baby?  And Cooper?  What are we supposed to do with the wild one while we're sitting on the stand?"

I admit it; I'm a bit explosive.  And then I breathe and calm down and I'm fine; sort of.  So a minute later, feeling a bit embarrassed, I asked Brent what topic it is that we're speaking on.

"The Temple," he said.  

"OK, I can do that."  (At least I think I can; at least I was given three weeks to prepare, right?)

Flash forward to two days ago.  Our stake was just re-organized and we lost some members in order to make a branch into a ward.  Our wonderful RS Pres. emailed me to say that she is re-organizing Visiting Teaching and would I mind if she just took me off of my route a month early?  She said that I'm welcome to continue if I'd like, but that she understands that I have a lot going on and doesn't want to add to my stress.  She then proceeds to apologize for being out of town (she was gone for just a week), and for her PTA position taking too much time from her calling, and is there anything that she can do to help me prepare for our move?

That, my friends, is the difference between men and women.