"We can do no great things, only small things with great love." - Mother Teresa

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Another Video

So, I am thinking about starting to charge people for the service of posting their videos on my blog! My friend Chivaun told me about a video she edited for the singles ward up here a bit ago. And, since my brother-in-the-garage is "Danny Zuko" I figured I really ought to post it too. Yes, he does carry a pocket watch; no he doesn't collect antiques or part his hair on the side like that...any more. Enjoy!

The most impressive thing about this video (aside from the fabulous acting!) is that it was not made using a video camera. When the activity started, there wasn't one available, so they used a digital picture camera. That means the most they could film at one time was 30 seconds! Wow!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Talented Brother

So, not only do I have a brother-in-the-garage, I also have a talented brother (Mike). When he was in high school, he did this really cool video, and I just had to include it. So, here he is, playing guitar and singing.

Okay, so it really was a video editing class, and he did all the planning, photography, acting and editing. He even combed his own hair. I was quite amazed. When I make my Rock Band video, I am totally hiring him!

Thursday, March 20, 2008


For those of you who are unfamiliar with how Easter happens at our house, it is a bit different. Here, the bunny comes on the first day of spring. he knows that Easter is about the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, so he comes on the first day of spring, which happens to be today. So, last night we dyed our eggs and prepped for the bunny. As expected, he came. He also knows that if there is candy around our house, the kids don't eat anything else, so he only brought a little of it. The kids got eggs, croc-type shoes, kites, bunny straws, and a few other spring-related things to make up for the lack of candy. Oh, and instead of doing baskets that lay around for weeks getting in the way before they get thrown away, they got shovels and pails. Now they should get some beach use too.

We came down about 7am and found what the bunny had left. Joy is definitely old enough understand looking for eggs, and was actually very good about helping the boys look too.
As for Easter, we actually work on that all week long. I found a great book called "A Christ Centered Easter" that is full of great ideas of how to make this most important holiday focus on what it should. Each day of the week leading up to Easter we talk about what happened on that day in the week before the resurrection. Tonight we will be having a special Jerusalem dinner, washing feet (as Christ did for his disciples) and discussing the last supper and the sacrament. It is always a neat event, and I can't wait to do it this evening. The book has ideas for a very simple observation to a very complex. With all the little people, we are doing the simplest at this point, but we plan to continue the idea every year.

Hope you all have a glorious spring. Oh, these are the eggs we did last night. If you put a sticker on them before you put them in the dye, you can peel it off after they are dyed and the stuff under the sticker stays.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Six Months

Hyrum is now six months old! I can't believe it! What a cutie! He doesn't have his check-up until the beginning April, so I can't post his stats, but he is officially BIG. As you can tell, he isn't fat, but he is big. He is taller than he is heavy. Anyway, I am a little tired, so I think I am no longer making sense. I'd better get my last couple of posts done and go to bed!

Beanie Babies

I try to have an art project for the kids once a week. And, they have been after me to get a pet. Solution - Beanie Babies. We cleaned out some spice bottles, added a few cotton balls and dried beans (pinto and great northerns), and attached some ribbon for necklaces. Now, in a few days, the beans should sprout and the kids can watch their pets grow. Even Brigham maintained attention and really seemed to enjoy the project. Not quite art, but fun.

St. Patrick's Breakfast

We like to have fun on St. Patrick's Day. We had green eggs and ham, toast with plum jam (dyed green), and milk (also dyed green). I was really impressed with the kids, they ate everything quite well. Sometimes color throws the appetite, but the kids did great.

Friday, March 14, 2008

To Dump or not to Dump?

So, I was talking to a friend today about exercise and the difficulty of staying motivated. She said she is working on a program called, "Dump Your Plump" that she liked. It sounded interesting, so even though she said she would send me the info, I looked for it and found it on the Internet. I am not sure if my friend is doing the web-sponsored version or a take off, but I am thinking about doing my own take off. It goes like this:

You get points for the good things you do and loose points for the not-so-good things you do. Easy enough. Good things are worth a point and consists of things like: get at least 6 hours of sleep, do 20 minutes of exercise, drink 6 cups of water, eat x number of vegetables, eat x number of fruits, etc. Bad things are worth a negative point and consist of eating treats. They have to be bad things you do, not good things you don't do. And, treats are my worst thing I do (health-wise, that is). However, I suppose there could be other bad things.

You start with a group, and in the beginning each person puts $10 in the pot. You keep track of your points for a specified amount of time, and whoever has the most points at the end gets to pot. I thought it sounded like a great idea. It encourages all-around wellness and doesn't have such a strong focus on pounds lost. Weight lost by starvation is not a great idea (and I can't do it since I am nursing.) So I was thinking, is there anyone else who would be interested in trying this? We would have to agree on exactly what constitutes points and how long we would do it, but it would be a great motivator for me. Mom and I have already decided we are going to do it, and the more who participate, the bigger the pot! If you are interested, let me know! And, I guess since Dump Your Plump is an already-in-use name, a new name would be great. I am good at lists, so I will put together some tracking lists you can use, but I am horrible with names. I am so excited! And, since proximity doesn't matter, anyone who wants to can participate. Scouts honor.

Mission Completion

Yesterday, Joy got off the bus just bursting with emotion.
Wow, talk about relief. I was worried that we would have a week of tooth checking before it finally came out, and it took less than 24 hours. I hope all the rest come out so easy.

So, I found a super tasty new snack, and I think I am addicted. I keep eating it even though I know it isn't really very good for me. It started out innocently enough, graham crackers and peanut butter for the kids sounded really good. The addition of a few chocolate chips sounded even better. We had been eating them for a couple of weeks when I happened a glance at the nutrition information on the peanut butter. Yikes! Did you know that TWO tablespoons of peanut butter has 190 calories, 130 of those from FAT! That is 16grams of fat, 25% of your daily fat intake! Has this deterred me? Only marginally. They are good.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Food Storage

John and I decided that we should be a little more proactive in regards to long-term food storage, so we purchased an impulse sealer from the church distribution center in November or December. In January, we went to the bishop's storehouse and purchased wheat, beans, and oatmeal in bulk. It has been sitting in big bags in my garage since then, waiting for me to do something with it. So, after talking to Mom (who also bought bulk food in January and needs to package her stuff) suggested that we start work. As it turned out, Mom and Dad had some things come up that evening, but I decided to start by myself. The above is the sealer the first time out of the box.
And this is the first successful bag of food packaged - oatmeal. It wasn't terribly difficult, but it there were a few things that have to be done to make sure that you get a good seal. A little practice, and it works fairly smoothly.

Mom came over after a while and helped me, and it was fairly short work with her help. A finished bag (with label) looks like this.
And, this is what we got done in two hours. You can see that there is still one bag of beans left, but it was a good night's work. You add oxygen packets to the bag before you seal them, so over the next couple of days, most of the bags had some of the air sucked out. They store better without the excess air making them slide around. I can't wait to do some more!
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For Family Home Evening this week, we combined with my parents and two youngest brothers and made egg-grass heads. We took eggs I hallowed out previously and decorated them with Sharpies and googlie eyes. Then, we added dirt and grass seed and put them on the window sill for sun. Hopefully in a short while, the eggs will grow hair. I noticed that some of the dirt in the eggs has settled down a long way, so it may be that the grass has to grow quite long before it can be seen. The kids had fun, and we only got a little dirt on the floor. All in all, it was a successful evening.
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Leprechaun Trap

Joy's project this week for school was a leprechaun trap. We took a box from cookies that Mom got for the kids, and Joy painted it green. We added glitter and buttons and a bird for luck. The plan is one of two things:
1. Put in gold jelly beans dipped in sleeping potion (powdered sugar). Add a blanket and when the leprechaun came in and ate the beans, he will fall asleep until we find him.
2. Glue a stack of gold coins (Chuckie Cheese tokens) together, and glue them to the floor of the house. The leprechaun will spend so much time trying to get the gold, he won't notice when we catch him.
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Diagnosis - Paul

Well, it appears that there is nothing whatsoever wrong with Paul. He has had several wet diapers and has successfully passed a bowel movement with no pain, so that seems to have taken care of itself. I called the doctor this morning, and they said it takes a while for urine culture results to come back. If nothing is wrong, it could take four weeks; if something is wrong it will come back sooner. The swelling in his abdomen is gone and he is acting totally normal, so we will be sending him back to school tomorrow. The pediatrician recommended keeping him home today, or I would have sent him; his behavior is great. So, in the end, it appears that it was just another fluky Paul thing. I guess I am grateful for that!


Joy and I had a conversation today that went something like this:

"Joy, why did you spread grass seed all over the trampoline (at Grammy and Grandpa's house)? You just saw Grandpa get all the seed off yesterday."

"How come I am always in trouble?"

"Well, if you thought about what you were doing before you did it, you probably wouldn't get into trouble so often. You do lots of things you know you shouldn't, and thinking about it first could keep you out of trouble."

"Well, if you didn't hit me and smack me and spank me for no reason..."

Let me just say that I NEVER hit or smack Joy. She does get a swat on the bottom every once in a blue moon, but that is all. Sometimes I wonder if we are living in the same world. Joy has a great imagination, and it appears that I must beat her there!

First loose tooth

It is amazing what things make you feel old. Joy discovered her first loose tooth last night. I guess I should have known this was coming, since she has classmates with gaps, but it still snuck up on me. The tooth isn't terribly loose, and I am glad, because it gives me time to think about how the tooth fairy will respond. I think, in addition to a quarter, the tooth fairy will also be bringing some dental care item to help in caring for the new tooth - toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, or other such stuff. I am also a little unsure of what to do about the extraction process. Joy wanted to set an appointment with the dentist, but I don't think that will happen. When I was a little girl, if we didn't want to pull it out by ourselves, Dad used the magic tooth pullers (a pair of needle-nose pliers.) Usually, we would work the tooth until we were bored, and by then it would be ready for the pullers. Joy is a normal child and is ready to have it pulled now that it has started to get loose. Fortunately, we live right by my dad, so we have an appointment in 10 minutes to see if the tooth is ready for the magic tooth pullers. Hmm, I think after seeing them, Joy may try to work it out a little more on her own!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The saga continues...

Just when it seemed the conditions were ideal for potty-training, something else came up. Tuesdays are always a little busy around here. In the morning a friend comes over and stays with the kids for a couple of hours so I can run errands. Today I got to the commissary for groceries, another grocery store for produce, and the dollar store for a few Spring items for the kids' baskets. (By the way, I had a stroke of genius on that one. We always have baskets laying around after the first of spring, and what do you do with them? Nothing, they just get in the way until you throw them away. So, I got Spring colored buckets and shovels instead of the traditional baskets. Now, they can be used later. I digress.) Mom went with me on all these errands, so when we were done, we ran home and Mom put up the perishable groceries while I fed Hyrum and got the older two kids ready for school. Once that was done, Mom, Hyrum and I loaded up for quick trip to Mt. Vernon. (When you live on an island, the shopping has to be done elsewhere.) We got through JoAnn's, Kohl's and most of Costco when I got a call from Paul's pre-school teacher. Paul was having major problems. He didn't want to participate in his usual activities and was grabbing at himself. So, they tried to take him to the bathroom. He went into hysterics and from that point on could not be consoled unless he was sitting on someone's lap. He was obviously in pain and had not urinated yet in the day (it was about 2pm.) So, since I was 45 minutes from home, Charlie went over and picked Paul up. On the way home, I called the doctor, who said, after several calls, that we could get Paul in at 3:30pm. We got home in time to pick Paul up and go straight to the doctor. We were told not to be surprised if we had a bit of a wait because they were squeezing us in where there wasn't really a spot, but we got in quicker than we ever have for a regularly scheduled appointment. I think in future I will have to pinch one of the kids so they scream with pain. That certainly seemed to work for Paul. They did a urine sample and couldn't find anything wrong, so they sent us home. Paul had a little bloating in his abdomen, so I am watching for vomiting or funny bowels, but otherwise we just call in the morning to see if the urine culture (I didn't even know they did those!) yielded any results. So, after consulting with John, we decided that we need to hold off on the potty training yet again. We decided that writhing in pain on the potty seat really wouldn't be conducive to successful potty training!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Potty Training

We are attempting (yet again) to try and potty train Paul. I think we have a much greater chance of success this time than we have had previously. Paul is the one who has initiated this try. He wants to wear his big boy underwear, sits on the potty seat by himself, appears to be aware of when he needs to go, and shows that he has potty power. We watched a video called "Potty Power" and the kids throw their fists up in the air and say, "I've got Potty Power!" Brigham is running around the house saying "Pa Power!" and Paul is throwing up the fist. I think it is time to try again.

Mealtime Tool

My very favorite mealtime tool is a pizza cutter. I never discovered the many things you could use a pizza cutter for until I had several children it became a necessity to cut lots and fast. We use the pizza cutter on french toast, pancakes, and obviously, pizza. Anything that doesn't have layers and isn't terribly thick is a candidate for the pizza cutter. Just set it a line and drive. Don't try thick sandwiches, though. They are VERY messy!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Paul at Children's Hospital

Just a quick note to let you know about our visit to Children's Hospital in Seattle. Paul went down today to see if we could try, yet again, to figure out what is troubling him. We met with an intern and she spent about an hour talking to me about Paul and our concerns. The end result is that she is going to talk to Paul's pediatrician and pre-school teachers and try to gather more information. I am going to get Paul in to see a speech specialist here in Oak Harbor so that we can get some local services. Then, in three weeks, we will meet at Children's again to go over what we have found out. They hope to be able to get and give us a more accurate picture of what Paul is experiencing as well as some kind of what to expect for the future. We have had a lot of evaluations and recommendations for therapy, but not a lot of what it all means for Paul's life. So, that is what we are going for with this. And, the intern is going to talk to the NeuroDevelopmental section and see if what they are planning on doing with Paul is just going to be a repeat of what we did at Mayo one and a half years ago. I wouldn't mind not doing the same thing again.

So, I am hopeful that this more comprehensive treatment of Paul will be revealing. All we can do is pray and keep working.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

So, after working like the dickens to get rid of some of this extra pregnancy weight, I have only lost two pounds in seven weeks. I admit that I was getting a bit frustrated with the process and was extra aggravated when I got sick and couldn't work out. However, there is a silver lining to every cloud. The five pounds I lost while sick still haven't come back! Being sick may not be so bad after all.

Cutting board birthday

One of the advantages of living near my parents is that I get cool, customized gifts. For my birthday, Dad made me a cutting board fitted to my kitchen sink. It fits in the rim around the sink so that it is steady. I can cut on the wood side, or the other Formica side. And, on the wood side, there are circles bowled out so that round things can set there without rolling away. In the right bowl is the kanji wood-burn of Dad's kanji - blacksmith. It is the closest thing to our last name Dad could find. When I told Dad I was blogging the cutting board, he said he would take orders!

Baby in a towel

I love pictures of Hyrum after a bath, but they are hard for me to get. Mom was over yesterday, and took these adorable pictures. I love those baby blues!

Crazy lady with a saw!

We have this table set that we purchased at a garage sale for $75 shortly after moving to the area. When we left Minnesota, we got a truck that was too small and we moved in a ridiculously short amount of time and I was on light duty with the pregnancy - so we left a lot of stuff there that we would have liked to take, including my kitchen table and chairs. Anyway, the set we got isn't the world's highest quality set. After repeatedly being knocked over and stomped on by various children, the back of one became so loose that it broke off. Well, that seat became the most coveted seat in the house, and I was constantly breaking up arguments on who got to sit on the stool. So, I borrowed a hand-saw from Dad and cut the backs off three others. They now look like this:

Lest you think I am completely insane (I am only PARTIALLY insane) I did think it out quite thoroughly. Now, we don't spend forever sitting at the table and munching on what is still sitting there, so we eat better. And, it is great for the posture. With no back to lean on, you have to sit up yourself. Anyway, that is my crazy for February. I am planning on buying some black paint and painting the whole set. It should help.