Friday, April 30, 2010

Last Day on the Bus

Ella is less than thrilled about moving, because she loves her house, her ward, her school, her friends, her room, her everything.  This is her last day riding the bus and going to school with her BFF Courtney.  They're very cute and run to meet each other at the corner every morning and then walk the half block to the bus stop together. Isn't the weather just lovely for the last day of April?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Taking the Cake

Ain't she the daintiest little thing?  LOL

One of the problems with trolling the grocery stores looking for boxes is that I run into good deals all the time and just have to buy them.  Everyone was pretty happy with this german chocolate cake, but I also brought home what amounts to a whole lot of junk food that was cheap. No veggies, no real meal products, but if we need to snack, we're all set.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Out Like a Lion

April is a bit confused and trying to roar out like a lion. Apparently, she doesn't know that job belongs to March' and it's IN like a lion, not out like one.  In any case, April is causing me a few difficulties with this chilly weather.  Ella's soccer game was about 40 and rainy.  We have no winter coats since they're all packed, so our spectatorship was from the side window of our illegally parked minivan.  At least Ella had a hidden coat when I packed, so she didn't freeze. Bonus feature: it kind of matches her team color.  See, now I'm impressive instead of that lame mom who won't get out of the car.

Andrew's parents have been hard at work on our back deck and even showed up to build today in the snow.  That's far more dedication than I have, and it's my house that's being sold, not theirs.  They worked until about 10 pm to get it mostly done.  It's a bit hard to pour concrete in weather like this.  I bet they'll think twice before volunteering to do a project for us again.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

That Doesn't Make Sense

Owen woke up this morning to a possibly slightly over-exuberant mother saying, "Happy Birthday!! You're four now!  You're the birthday boy and now you're four!"

Owen: No, I'm not.  I'm three.
Me:  It's your birthday, so now you're four.
Owen: But that doesn't make any sense.  I can't be four yet, because I'm three.
Me:  You were born on this day, so each year when it's this day, you have a birthday and you get to be another year older. Now you're four.
Owen: But I like being three.  I think I'm going to just be three today.

Then he got presents and birthday cards with money and dinner at McDonalds, and donuts, twizzlers and cookies (not quite a cake, but cut me some slack, we're moving!)  Suddenly being four was a really cool thing and O was happily telling us all about it.

So now it's bedtime, and Owen and I just had another birthday conversation.

Me:  Goodnight birthday boy.  I'll see you in the morning.
Owen:  I liked being four.  Is tomorrow my birthday, too?
Me:  Nope, today was your birthday.  Tomorrow's just a regular day, but you can play with all your new toys.
Owen:  Oh, when do I turn three again?  In the night or in the morning?
Me:  (just insert long explanation about how he has to be four for a whole year, and he's done with three)
Owen: Oh.

We'll see what he says when he wakes up tomorrow.

The Bold, the Brave, and the Beautiful

Some days are just more trying than others, and this was one of those, particularly for Bryn.  Boldness and bravery were earlier in the day, but the orchestra concert was all about the beautiful.  She played well, had a good time, and we all enjoyed getting to be there and see our talented daughter and sister play.  I might have to take that back about Claire, because all she wanted was to get on the stage and dance.  I guess we can call her bold, too, just not in necessarily good way!

Here's my beautiful (and growing up way too fast) Bryn:

Sunday, April 25, 2010

"I Kiss You!"

Claire is a big fan of kissing right now.  She will randomly walk up and kiss your knee or forearm, whatever's in reach, and then happily declare, "I kiss you!" before she does it all over again. She was all snuggled up with Andrew and watching the Cubs game today, when she decided it was time for a kiss.  Who would ever want to resist that?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

She's Obviously the Fourth Child

This doesn't happen to first children, because you keep everything even remotely dangerous or troublesome up high or locked up.  Add three other kids who get things out and down and don't really like to clean up, and that equals a whole lot more trouble for Claire.  Today she has done such exciting things as taking handfuls of cat litter directly from the litter box, putting them into the cat's food bowl, and then eating the litter-sprinkled cat food.  Somehow in between getting her clothes off and her pajamas on, she also enjoyed some art time in Ella's room.  Don't worry, she drew on walls and tables, too.  Why limit yourself to just your own body, when there's so much more canvas available?  And to top it all off, she used a dry erase marker instead of one of those lovely washable crayolas I try so much to only have on hand.

Friday, April 23, 2010


We rented a storage unit when we were putting the house on the market, and I started decluttering.  Then I started packing, and kept packing, and kept packing.  Ironically, our house doesn't look particularly empty, but the storage unit is sure starting to look full.

Owen absolutely loves the storage complex.  He calls it Oboeland and says all of the "garages" are his.  Going there, and getting out of the car, and helping with the door and getting to stand on a box were all highlights of his day.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Breaking it in

Here are the kids running around in the backyard of what will hopefully be our new home.  This was the first time they've been inside, and we're moving in about a week so it seemed only fair to give them a little heads up.  Owen's big concerns are if we can bring his Snakey, blanket and pillow and if we can bring our big garbage cans.  He was a bit disappointed to find out we'd get new garbage cans with the new house.  I'm always amazed at how kid minds work and where they put the priorities.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Here's Your Sign

Old Man Winter, this sign is for you.  Spring is here, and it's her turn to stay a while.  I know you enjoy visiting but enough is enough.  No more hail, no more pouring rain, no more thirty degree temperature drops.  Thanks for listening, and for staying out of Spring's way.  We'll see you later.  Way, way later.

Update the next day: SNOW!  Are you kidding me?
The day after the next day: Rainy and grey.  *sigh*

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Here's What Happened Today

8:00  Bother people until they get up, except Claire, who is always up and wanting a) food or b) a dress.

8:45-9:15  Kick Andrew out the door, put Ella on the bus, load up the rest of us and drive the carpool.

9:30-11:45  Clean, clean, clean like crazy because today is the home inspection, appraisal and FHA inspection on our house.  Supposedly no one cares if your house is perfectly clean, but I am not planning to take any chances.  (Plus it really needs it, but don't tell anyone my house was that messy.)  In between cleaning, feed children and turn on Elmo over and over so they stay distracted and don't bother you.

11:45-12:30  Lunch for Owen at Target since he was so helpful all morning and it's his favorite place to eat.  We are some high class foodies around here!

12:30-1:00  Head for the dorms to pick up remarkable cousin Rebecca who is finishing her freshman year and going home for the summer.  Load all her stuff, drive to storage, unload.

1:00-3:00 Drive to the airport and enjoy talking to Rebecca for the first hour.  Pretend to enjoy singing the same two Beach Boys songs over and over with Owen for the second hour.

3:00 Run in the door, turn on lights, open windows, etc for home inspection people who pull up three minutes later.

3:15 Kill time in the grocery store by eating samples and looking for boxes.

3:30 Pick up Bryn.

3:45 Pick up Ella at the bus stop across the street from our own house.  Hope the new owners don't think we're spying on them.

4:00 Mail a package, buy a bean burrito, kill time in Target (again with the free samples and looking for boxes) while inspection is finished.

4:50 Home, change Bryn for soccer, run back out the door while other children all sit in the car and wait.

5:00-6:15 Soccer practice for Bryn.  Playground time for Ella and Owen.  Claire decides to look through a fence at a dog.  We meet the owner and end up with Claire petting the dog, chasing a chicken, feeding a baby goat, and riding a donkey.  Nice strangers are the best.  (Shhh, don't say that to my children.)

6:30-7:15 Children run around outdoors and I sit in the house and stare into space, then go take pictures.  Owen can stand on his head!  Please note Snakey and a happy Ella in the background.

7:15-8:30  Dinner and showers for kids

8:45 Children in bed.  Andrew makes it home at the last minute to say goodnight to the oldest three.

9:00 I am cranky and hungry, especially since Andrew picked up Sonic for him and the children ate all the other food.  Decide to update blog, after checking email, etc.

11:56  Actually update blog after mindlessly blog hopping and making garlic bread for the last three hours.

11:57  Claire starts crying, just when I think I'm going to bed.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fluff N Stuff

Ella is one of the sweetest and most easy going people I know.  She's very accommodating and always puts others before herself.  But when she breaks down, she really breaks down.  Today's meltdown was because I gave her a choice of a deli kid's meal or the Pizza Hut snack bar kid's meal.  She didn't know which to pick, wouldn't choose, and I finally told her we were leaving and she didn't get to make a choice, since she'd now lost out on both.  I haven't seen a fit like this since she was two.  I think she even shocked herself.

Fortunately, she has her beloved Fluff the Bunny to help her out when she's feeling down.  Much like she got Snakey for Owen, Bryn got Fluff for Ella.  About five years ago, Bryn found him at a garage sale and proudly used her own money (ten cents!) to buy Ella a gift.  Anything that came from Bryn was a wonder, and Fluff promptly became a best buddy.  Fluff has seen better days.  He's losing fur, looking pretty ratty, and just today has his eyeball scraped against the playground pavement giving him a bit of a cataract, but he is just as much beloved and comforting as he's ever been.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Let's go to the Circus!

On our way home from CA, we stopped at Circus Circus and let the kids waste money quickly play games on the midway.  Now when we get in the car, "Let's go to the Circus again!" is the first thing out of Owen's mouth.  Due to Mother Nature's miracle of sleep, he thinks it's just around the corner, and I won't let him go back.

Snakey is Owen's new friend, courtesy of Ella's great skillz at Tic-Tac-Toe with softballs.  I don't think I've seen anyone more thrilled to see a win than Owen watching Ella play that game.  Snakey is his new best buddy and goes to bed with him, takes car rides, everything.  Here's how you know it's true love: Owen woke me up in the middle of the night scared from a bad dream.  The ever beloved Car Pillow and Fuzzy were nowhere to be seen, but he was clutching Snakey to his chest.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Important Things to Know About Claire

She will only wear dresses.  "Pretty 'resses" to be specific.  And she shouts and claps and dances when one comes out of the closet in the morning.  If you want to be appreciated by Claire, then give her a dress.

Shoes are a girl's best friend, and they must be kept on at all times.  They don't have to be hers, but if the footy pjs are off, the shoes are on.  Case in point, Owen's crocs shown here are her current favorites to borrow.

A girl must accessorize.  Claire's main preference is "hats" which is her term for any type of item worn in or on the hair.  She usually has a few bows in, but if no one will help her, she helps herself to ponytail holders worn as bracelets.  In this picture, she's got a few of those plus a pacifier holder that's clipped onto itself.  A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

Purses!  Kind of like shoes, a girl can never have too many.  She's got two looped on her stroller in this picture, and she does like to change them up and carry a different one each day.  Or each hour.  Her favorite thing to put in them?  Batman figurines, blocks, and a plastic camel.  See, she's not just a girl!

And Claire is exceptionally cute and entertaining to have around.  Not so much in this picture, but you can blame that on her pestering mom and a deep need to say "cheese" if you think it will make your mom go away.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Our house is under contract again, and I'm packing again.  It took 8 days the first time, and 48 hours the second time.  I'm thinking our expectations will be high if we ever sell again.  Not that we want to because ten days of keeping the house clean was enough for me.  Now we just have to hope these people don't fall through like the others did.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Taxing Times

In keeping with today being the tax deadline, I'm giving my top 5 taxing items of the day, in no particular order.

The contract on our house fell through.  But of course, we already have a contract on a house we want.  Now we just need someone to buy our current house in the next three days, so we can have a chance of keeping our contract on the house we want, and so we can get the tax credit.  Everything was just too easy the first time.

Also taxing was the number of times I got up and down with the many small children who needed things in the middle of the night.  I realize it's part of the mom job, but sometimes I think the kids get together and plan these things just to see if I'm tough enough to take it.

Bryn had Espanolandia today--the big language competition--and her school won!  Bryn got four superiors and one excellent in her events, so she was quite pleased.   Her parents may be a tad proud, too.  Mentally taxing for her, and taxing for me to get up and get her out the door so much earlier than usual (see above).

Ella went on a field trip to a farm, and came home with a "We Think Mink" activity booklet sponsored by the fur commission.  It's a "positive publishing book" and tries to put mink in the same category of farming as chicken and cattle.  It would really be funny if it weren't being given to small children.  I'm calling for a tax on this tax, stupidity tax, propaganda tax, it all works.

Today was warm and gorgeous, so we spent lots of time outside.  I'd find it taxing to jump this much, but the kids love it.  I know every medical professional in the world warns against trampolines, but the kids have more fun on here than anywhere and it gets the most use of any of their toys and activities.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

So Stinkin' Cute

Oh, how I love my kids.  It's moments like in this picture when I can spout every smarmy greeting card sentiment about motherhood and mean it in all sincerity.  Owen and Claire were sweetly snuggled together this morning and looking at a book and chatting back and forth.  It just doesn't get any better.  Well, except maybe if I'd caught on camera that part at the end, when Claire kissed Owen and he hugged her back.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Crazy Bryn

It's crazy hair day at school.  We forgot.  Then we can home and threw this hair together as quickly as possible and got Bryn to school only fifteen minutes late.  The front part is sparkly purple, so I think she looks like she's trying to be a unicorn.

And yes, that's snow in the background.  *sigh*

Monday, April 12, 2010

Red, Ripe, and Luscious

Yummy!  I can't wait for all the fruity goodness of summer, but I'll take the tasty teasers when they come along.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Claire at 4am

You'd think children would fall asleep in the car.  None of mine are particularly good at it, but Claire has some pretty strong willpower and stayed awake for the entire trip.  Yelling, kicking the seat back, singing, watching Elmo and pulling Bryn's hair all seemed to help her stay awake.  I should probably count my blessings that she wasn't screaming.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Imitation is the Highest Form of Flattery

Shoeless Claire was inspiring other small children to remove their footwear in Wendy's.  Other small children's mothers weren't so thrilled with the plan.  And why was Claire shoeless, since we know that would never be her personal choice?  Well, thanks for asking.  In keeping with this trip's theme, Andrew spilled soda on her and her shoes were busy drying out, along with her skirt.

Thank goodness for a convenient pair of pants for Claire, or she would have been setting an even more interesting example. Also, thank goodness for our guest photographer Ella, or there would be no photo of the day.  Sometimes being bored and going through your mom's purse pays off.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Legoland: Splash Battle

AKA the best ride in the park.  The kids and Andrew had such a great time that they rode it over and over and over, and on multiple days.  I just wish they had a protective bubble option for wimps like me who don't want to walk around in wet pants all day.

I think Owen's happy face says it all.

The pirate ship with water slides and the splash pad were also bit hits.

This is what Claire did all day...and most of the trip.  Legoland is seriously lacking in things for the littler ones to do.  There were a total of two rides she went on all week.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Legoland: The Journey Begins

We have five day passes, so get used to seeing pictures of Legoland for the next little while.  This is Andrew's favorite of the day.

There's also a Lego mom with a baby girl in a stroller.  Bryn and Ella want to know where the two Lego sisters are.

My favorite is Owen on the race course.  I'm glad to see all his hours of Mario Kart on the Wii are having some real life application.  He can weave in and out of other three and four year old drivers, avoid obstacles and achieve some serious laps in these things.  They even gave him a license when he was done.  Now he wants to drive the real car.

Bryn and Ella also showed off their motoring skills but they were on the water.  Kellie and John are brave to ride with them at the helms.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

Make that a Happy Easter with palm trees, the beach, swimming pools, perfectly fitting random kindness from a stranger (a batman kite for Owen while on the beach), a good meal my mom made, alone time for me to read and nap, and dyeing Easter eggs in weather so much warmer than any we'd be having at home.  Oh yeah, and an earthquake.  What Easter would be complete without one?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Hello, SoCal!

After a looooong day of driving, we are in Oceanside and ready for Spring Break!  We'll be living on the wild side with some time spent on the beach and in Legoland.  Crazy us.

Here's Claire playing with almost Uncle John and being hugely relieved to run around again.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Parenting Super FAIL

The scene: Claire standing in my tub, waiting for me to get her out.  Me with my back turned, getting her a towel.

Me: (turning around) Okay, Claire Bear, let's get you ouAAAAAAH!  No, no, put that down, that's owie, oh no!  Give it to mommy, Claire, give it to mommy.

Claire: Care brush teef!  Mommy's teefbrush for Care!

Now what was it Claire had in her mouth that would have me freaking out?  On kid number four, moms just don't have the need to freak out so much.  No simple dirty washcloth or toothbrush here; Claire was chewing on my razor.  Yes, that's right, my freakin' razor!

So I quickly and carefully take it away, check her over, to find there is no blood anywhere on her face and her pretty little lips are still perfect.  Parenting fail, yes, but all is okay.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

New scene:  In the bedroom, me with my back turned, getting Claire a diaper.  (Sound familiar?  I really should not turn my back....ever.)

Me: (turning around) Okay, Claire, let's put on your....oh, Claire, where is that blood coming from?!

She had blood on her face, stomach, arms, hands, and one leg.  I'm searching for a cut and not finding one, but new blood drops keep appearing on the towel and bed.  Finally, I figured out it was her thumb.  She had one little slice across it, but it wouldn't stop bleeding.  And there are no band aids on that floor, so I had to football hold her and make it up a flight of stairs, while hoping she doesn't pee on me, to get one.

One Batman band aid later, Claire is diapered and clothed and happy.  Until naptime, when I figure out we've bandaged up the thumb she sucks.  Now it's a parenting superfail.

Yup, that's blood on her hand.  Aren't you glad it's not in focus?

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Ella's class at school has hatched baby chicks and been watching them grow.  They go back to the farm tomorrow after school (sniff, sniff), so the class all wrote poems about them today.  Goodbye to Fluffy, Stretchy, ummmm I forgot their names...Ella, a little help here?

Help me out of hear!
Scratch! Scratch! Scratch!
Up I go! Flap flutter flap!
My home is tiny let me out!
Peck! Peck! Peck!
I'm flying.
Tweet!  Tweet!  Tweet!

(And yes, the spellings and exclamation points are all hers.  Chicks can be very exciting!)

PS: Speaking of nature, Mother Nature got in on the April Fool's jokes this year as we had snow all day.  What is that all about?