Sunday, August 25, 2013


As he was making dinner tonight, Brent started singing:

Wash your hands after changing baby's diapers.
Wash your after going potty too.
If you don't you'll be getting hepatitis,
Or rather hepatitis will get you...

He swears he heard it on a commercial.  I think it's one of his many made-up songs.

A few minutes later we heard Lincoln singing:

Wash your hands after changing baby's diapers.
Wash your hands after going potty too.
Wash your hands after touching Mercedes...

Monday, August 19, 2013

This morning as I perused our local Target Weekly Ad, I made of list of things to buy on our next trip.  

"Mercedes - we need to look at shirts - they're $5.00 this week!"

Her response?  I kid you not.  "NO!!!!!!"  

She would rather play with friends than buy new clothes for school.  Where did this girl come from??!?

Then, "Mercedes!  Bras are only $6.00 this week!"

Lincoln: "Bras!  I want a bra!!!!!  Buy ME a bra!  Wait, what's a bra?"

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

10 going on 15

I took this photo BEFORE she added the p.p.s.-
"it also punishes my brothers because then they can't play with my friends either."

The greatest part of this is that I SAW it coming.  

Two weeks ago when M asked to go to "CreationFest," a Christian Music festival, with her friend's family I told her that she'd have to pay her own way.  I was happy to pay for her food, but she would have to pay for her ticket ($90) and spending money ($30).  While Brent and I could pay for it, we want the kids to learn to earn, learn to work.  She used the $80 she had in her savings account and begged to be able to earn the rest by doing chores.  She earned $10 before the trip, and then begged again to earn the rest AFTER the trip.  I agreed with the caveat that if she complained at all about the jobs or gave me a hard time about them, then I would NEVER lend her money again.  Ever.

She returned home very late Saturday night, and I didn't mention chores on Sunday or Monday.  She spent yesterday playing with a friend and watching some TV, came to the store with me to get a treat for Family Night.  We all (with the exception of a daddy still at work) spent some time pulling weeds in the front yard to earn the purchased Ice Cream Treat.

So this morning after she'd spent an hour riding her skateboard with her friend Erin, I figured it was time for her to get some work done.  I let her know that she'd need to spend an hour or so today working on her jobs before she went back out to play.  She not so nicely reminded me that I hadn't yet given her a list of chores to do, so how was she supposed to do them?  In response I quickly created a list of jobs with monetary value attached.  

Vacuum stairs - $2.00
Clean downstairs baseboards and windows - $5.00
(We have a VERY small house - so it's not a huge job).
Clean upstairs baseboards and windows - $5.00
Clean downstairs bathroom - $3.00
Weed backyard $5.00
(There was another one or two that I can't even remember now.)

I gave the list to her.

Queue the EXPLOSION.

And explosion is not at all an hyperbole.  

She went crazy.  

She tore up the list.  

She slammed her door.  

Finally, I told her that she wouldn't be playing with friends today, and if she slammed her bedroom door again, it would be gone.

After she'd spent a very long time pouting in her room with the blinds closed and the lights off, I called her down for lunch.  Another fit was thrown because the smoothie I made was "SO BORING!" and she didn't want to have to eat what was prepared.

The note appeared on the fridge after I let her know that if she didn't do at least two of the jobs today, she wouldn't be playing with friends tomorrow; I knew that she'd just sit around all afternoon pouting.

And still, it's 2pm and she's upstairs in her room pouting.

The thing is, I understand that she's experiencing all of these emotions right now.  I try to be patient and understanding.  But at some point, she has to be held accountable for her behavior, right?  She's such a good kid.  Most of the time.  Most of the time when she's not at home.  

When she's at home, though, and has to do something that she doesn't want to do...
"I hate my life" can be heard over, and over, and over.

These hormones are seriously killing me.  
That may be an hyperbole.

But at the very least, they are proliferating the number of gray hairs on my head.
I'm not sure of how we are all going to survive the teenage years.
These "tweenage" years are getting scary.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

notes from france

I don't have many pictures of me with my mom.
I love this one from 1987.
It was taken for a "Merrie Miss" program.
San Ramon, CA

I've been anxiously awaiting news from FRANCE.

Yesterday, Mercedes got an email from Dad.  I was jaloux (we're working on our French in preparation for our visit).  She got very upset when I told her that he wrote to her and not to me because he likes her best.  (But come on; we all know it's true!)

But hallelujah!  I got home from church and found a new message from mom!  (Dad has yet to write to me.)  

Sister Jeppson was very sweet to mention to Pres. Roney that mom hasn't been able to sleep because of the heat (fan too loud, like a sauna w/o, have to keep door shut for privacy).  Pres. Roney straightway sent some Elders out to buy a portable air conditioner for her.  I'm so glad that she's being taken care of!  Brent bought one for me last summer and it has made summer life much more enjoyable.  

Mom and Dad attended their first church meeting today.  They took two metro trains and walked a few blocks to get there.  Mom was asked to accompany on the piano in Relief Society and then in Sacrament Meeting.  She was amazed at being able to do both without performance fright.  "We are blessed when we are willing to serve," were her wise words.  After church she was asked to accompany the ward choir.

Tonight they're off to have dinner with the Jeppsons at the Roneys' home.

I'm still waiting to hear if she was asked to share her testimony in French today.  I know that she was pretty worried about that.  I'm guessing she would have mentioned it, though.  

And Dad:  if you're reading this, your children are waiting to hear from you!


they kind of like each other.
they wanted to be twins with their new matching haircuts,
so they coordinated their outfits.

Lincoln's looking just a tiny bit different these days.  I LOVE his thick yellow hair, and was sad to see it all go...


But every time Lincoln came in from playing in the sun his hair would be soaked with sweat.  I was feeling bad for him.  Cooper looked so much more comfortable without a mop heating up his noggin.

My four year old suddenly looks so much older, and that makes me a little sad.  Yesterday I sat Lincoln on my lap and asked him to please!please!please! stay four years old for forever.  He said, "OK Mommy, I will stay four forever.  I promise!"

I'm having so much fun with him these days.  Even when he gets a time-out for doing something naughty, he's still happy and loving.  The "olders" aren't my biggest fans.

Cooper's new phrase (which he uses liberally any time he doesn't get his way) is, "I HATE YOU!"  (Which really is better than the venom I spewed at my mom when I was 6; "I don't have to listen to you.  You're not my real mom!"  Geesh.  I was so mean.  And, of course, mistaken.)

Mercedes can often be heard lamenting, "I hate my life.  Whah whah whah."  At the moment, she's 10 going on 15. 

But Lincoln ALWAYS loves me.  He makes his own fun and sunshine wherever he goes.  I love that he can't pronounce his "R's"; Cooper is still "Coop-ah!"  I know that it won't last much longer... but I'm enjoying it while I can.  Isn't FOUR the greatest age there is?  

I think so.

Here's Mercedes at FOUR:

at the Newport Beach LDS Temple

photo taken by my very talented cousin Andrea

And Cooper at FOUR:

in the ER with croup, waiting for a steroid shot
raking leaves, just before his 5th birthday

And just for the grandparents, Lincoln at FOUR:

at Liberty Square Park, June.  

daddy did this.  of course.

Motherhood really is the greatest blessing there is.

Friday, July 26, 2013


uncle chris, we miss you

A few people have been asking for news from the French front.  

I was super-excited when I got an email from mom on Tuesday night.  I expected dad to write, but not mom.  Anyone who knows Nancy, knows that writing just isn't her thing.

Unfortunately, I haven't gotten word since that first update.  What I'd hoped would be a daily ritual was simply an anomaly.  I've tried calling at least once a day (I figure if it's 8:55 pm here, it's 5:55 am there - and they plan to walk every morning at 6 am), but their line still goes straight to voicemail.  Ugh.  

So here's what I know:

They left their house at 8:10am Monday morning bound for the SLC airport, and didn't get to their apartment in Lyon until 10:30 pm Tuesday night.  They may have caught a few stray hours of sleep here and there during travel, but at 4 am (Lyon time) on Wednesday morning mom was emailing me because after being up for something like 36 hours straight, she still could not sleep.  Hot apartment (no a/c) + foam pillow + fan noise + street noise + "someone" snoring = no sleep.  

Their flights were delayed: 1- in Salt Lake City (1.5 hrs), 2- in Chicago (4 hrs), 3- I'm guessing London? (it was their final leg).    I never heard if they paid the $50+ to "be afforded the luxury of sitting next to one another" during their flights.  I mean, really.  Can you believe that?  Reminds me of Les Miserables... "Master of the House!"  Miserable, indeed.

The couple whom mom and dad are replacing, the Jeppsons (call me, maybe?), are very nice.  They will be staying in the apartment with mom and dad on and off until August 6th (when they fly home).  August 6th is also the date when a large group of new missionaries arrive.  Mom called it "trial by fire."  (That seems to be what their last few months before leaving for Lyon were, so why should things change now, right?)

The Jeppsons have been working six days a week and never taking breaks, so we'll see if dad gets his trip to the Swiss temple anytime soon.  There is only one office couple to the mission's 260 missionaries because it's hard to find French-speaking couples.  So they're VERY busy.  

They plan to walk every morning at 6 am, and were hoping to find a bakery open that early.  Everyone buys their bread daily, and it's usually sold out by 11 am.  The largest mall in France is within walking distance of their 2 bedroom apartment, and there is a metro entrance just downstairs from them.  

Mom's birthday was Thursday (Happy Birthday Mom!), so I'm hoping that dad bought her a very fancy French cake (Fancy Nancy style).  I'm also hoping that she's gotten a feather pillow for herself.  We sent her a few videos of the kids singing birthday songs, but who knows if she's even checked her mail?

I was planning on starting a blog just for Nancy and Herb's mission stuff... but I've decided that that is entirely too much work.  It's summer.  I have children to entertain and sun to enjoy (it only really shines for 1/4 of the year here).  I'll put the updates here on this blog.  Hopefully they'll send some photos soon!

Bonne soirée!

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Last friday Mercedes spent the day at our local zoo with her two best friends.  Naturally, Cooper was NOT happy to be excluded from such fun.  So I loaded the boys in mom's little blue car and we set off in search of some tide-pools to explore.

There is a State Park just south of us with "more than 1,800 feet of saltwater shoreline on the Puget Sound" (or so it's advertised).  A friend told me about the fun to be had in the tide-pools there.  When I hear the words tide-pools I remember exploring Laguna Beach as a teenager, and I was envisioning the same memories being created in my boys' minds.

After a winding drive down a road that seemed to lead to nowhere (and in the middle of nowhere), we finally entered the park.  Yay!  And it was only then that I realized that we couldn't park there without cash for a park pass.  The two options offered (according to signs posted almost everywhere) were to 1- deposit $10 into a box, or 2- go to wherever fishing and/or hunting licenses are sold to buy a daily "Park Pass" for $10, or an annual "Park Pass" for $30.

I NEVER carry cash.  This is because it is much too easy to spend.  It literally burns holes through fabric. Rather than ruin a perfectly good purse, wallet, or pants, I conscientiously get rid of it as quickly as possible.

Since I'm no dummy I chose part b of the second option.  Why pay $10 for a day (maybe 2 hours - if that) when we could enjoy all WA State Parks for an entire year for just a bit more?  Good for us there was a Cabela's back near the freeway (and civilization).  We high-tailed it over there and entered a very crowded adventure-supply wonderland.

After purchasing our annual pass we spent some time checking out the array of "stuffed" wildlife, some (living) trout and catfish, practiced our aim at a "shooting range", and chose some tasty treats for our movie night.  (Thanks to an indulgent and loving :) pair of grandparents, my kids think that movie night is NOT movie night without a treat).

Walking to the car with Lincoln's hand in mine and Cooper leading the way, Lincoln looked up at me and said:

"Mommy, does Santa work with Jesus?"

"Did you say Santa?"

"Yeah.  He must work with someone.  So does he work with Jesus?"

I don't even remember my answer.  
I'm still trying to figure out how an elk and some moose and a rhinoceros lead to thoughts about where Santa works. I think I said something like, "Well, I can see how you might make that connection (they both give us gifts continually), but I think that Santa works at the North Pole..."

What I love about our littlest is that this is the kind of conversation we have every day.  

Maybe one day soon we'll actually use our new pass...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Throwback Thursday

Because sometimes crying is funny...

Coop, 22 months 
Coop, 2 yrs.

Lincoln, brand spankin' new

Cooper, 2 yrs

LOVE this picture of Aiden...

Just TRY to tell me that didn't make you laugh.

Monday, July 8, 2013

boys and poop

I don't understand what it is that makes boys fascinated with anything gross.  Maybe it's just my boys?  I don't think so.  Cooper told a joke on our drive from Utah to Washington.  It's one he heard while watching "Wreck It Ralph." 

 It goes like this: 
"Why did the hero flush the toilet?... 
Because it was his DUTY!"  

And Brent LAUGHED.  
He loved it.  
So now Cooper says it all of the time.

Well, this afternoon when Lincoln needed some "assistance" in the bathroom, he told me that what he had deposited in the toilet was: 

"STAR WARS poop."  

Then he explained that he was playing STAR WARS and described everything going on in his imaginative little brain.  

Again, I ask:  "What is it with boys and gross-ness?"

Sunday, February 3, 2013

monkeys and bananas

This morning Lincoln was fascinated by the vein in my hand. 
 I told him that there was blood in it, and he tried to "listen to the blood."  
Alas, he did not hear anything.

Brent advised him to put his head on my chest, so that he could hear my heart pumping blood.
"Did you hear mommy's heart beating?"
"Yes.  I hear-ed it."
"What did it sound like?"
"It sounded like bananas or monkeys."
"What do bananas sound like?"
"That's what mommy's heart sounds like?"

Thank you Doctor four year old.

Friday, February 1, 2013

more Christmas 2012

Playing the Wii with Gram.
The best part of Christmas this year was definitely having Gram and Grandpa B with us.

About to open Christmas Eve jammies from Grandma.

Lincoln named his giant pillow pet "Mr. Chum-Chum."
It's pretty amusing to watch him lug the giant monkey up and down the stairs.
It takes up half of his bed at night.

Cooper's elephant (which Brent named "phanty"),d and stocking.

An embarrassment of riches.

The power went out right before we called the kids down 
(and right after I'd turned the oven on to pre-heat for breakfast). 
 We opened gifts by candlelight and snapped a few pictures once the sun came up.
Then Grandpa B and Gram treated us to breakfast at IHOP 
(one of the few restaurants open on Christmas morning).  
I've wanted another cup of gingerbread hot cocoa ever since.
We got home around 11 and - hallelujah! - the power was back on!!!  
So we finally cooked breakfast (overnight french toast - yum!) and served it for lunch.

it's the most wonderful time... of 2012

Christmas crafts.

Copying Daddy.

Ornaments made by my Grandmother Allphin and Grandmother Clark.

Birthday Card from M.
So sweet.


Brent helped the kids to make 3 snow-people: a Mercedes, a Cooper, and a Lincoln.After which, Lincoln destroyed them with a plastic bat.

This wet snow is great for making "things."
I remember when I lived in humid Michigan, we used to make snow forts at recess.
We don't get quite enough snow for that here.
It was all melted by afternoon, but Lincoln had fun while it was on the ground!
He was ready to go out there before sunrise (which isn't too early here).
Poor guy froze his hands off with "yarn" gloves, but he stayed out the longest of the three.
Brent was working a half-day (his version of Christmas break).
I just leaned out the sliding door to take pictures - the California girl in me means that I DO NOT play in snow without the proper attire (because I will FREEZE to death).

6th birthday

Race Cars from Grandma and Grandpa.

Stencils and a SuperMarioBros. Wii game from Gram and Grandpa.
An Avengers airplane from mom and dad.  
Basketball shoes from M and L.

"Skateboard" rainbow cupcakes.  

He REALLY wanted cupcakes with Spiderman rings on top.  
He'd seen them once in a grocery store.  
Unfortunately... I couldn't find ANY spiderman/superhero party favors that 
would work as cupcake toppers.  
Luckily (whew!) he approved of the mini-skateboards.

10th birthday... in pictures

We don't have any pictures of her opening her gifts - rrrr!
But we had lots of fun.  This is M posing in her outfit from Grandma.  
I guess the 80s are back?

Brent got off early, and being the day before Thanksgiving the kids only had a 1/2 day of school.
We took a trip to Nordstrom and she picked out a pair of Tom's... I didn't dare pick them out for her.
Then we went out for Mud Pie at a local restaurant.  
It seemed like a good idea in my head... but we probably won't take the boys to share a dessert in a nice restaurant again anytime soon!  Still, the best part was no left-over cake for the next week.  

all i want...

C lost his front FOUR teeth just in time for his 6th birthday.  
Watching him eat is pretty funny.  
He bites his apples with his back teeth.  Poor guy!

worker bees

Fall gives us a great way to teach our kids to work.  
Cooper loves to make big piles.  
Lincoln mostly plays around.

The best part of raking leaves is jumping in the big piles - the payoff for all of the work!