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

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Naked as a Jaybird and Raspberries..not at the same time

Brigham is at that age where he has all sorts of neat tricks. His neatest trick is climbing up the ledge of his window and standing there. I have a lock so he can't get it open, a trip from the second floor is not my idea of fun. At first, I thought we was climbing things in his room to get up there, so I took everything but his bead out. No, he isn't using assistance. This is quite a feat when you consider the ledge comes up to his chin. He is using pure force. Well, one day, I heard him doing his I'm-stuck-on-the-seal squeal, so I went in to check on him. There he was, with the blinds pulled down behind him, NAKED AS A JAY BIRD! He got his diaper off (yes, he is un-potty trained) and climbed in the window. I am sure the neighbors think I am a neglectful mother. But, it was pretty cute, all things considered.

And, today we went back on the spur of the moment and picked raspberries. I must say, much better picking. I came home with about seven pounds..I think I ate three!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Girls Night Out - Rock Band!

I am in need of a Girls Night Out, and I am too impatient to wait. So, Thursday (31 July) at 7:30pm, let's do Rock Band at my house. Bring a snack to share, if you are so inclined, and we will let our hair down and have fun!

Only Four Left!

I haven't followed up much on my exercise regime, but I am happy to say that I ONLY HAVE 4 POUNDS LEFT 'til I hit the weight I was working toward! I have fallen off working out with the business of life, but I stepped on the scale yesterday, and realizing that I only have four pounds left until I am my pre-baby weight is extremely motivating! I think I may have to pick those kettlebells up after all! (I think I have used a lot of exclamation points, do you think I am excited?)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Raspberries Take 2

Last week the raspberries weren't so ripe, so let's try again. Tuesday at 10am worked for me, so how about that this week too? Leave a note so we know who to watch for. And, hopefully, there will be more ripe berries this week!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

My Sweet Little Man

I have made it a habit to go in and check on the kids at night before I go to bed. Tonight is a good example of why I do it. When I went in to check Paul, I found him asleep - wearing a backpack with a bunch of books in it and arms wrapped around a child-sized suitcase. I removed the backpack, but he woke up and insisted that I put the suitcase back next to him. What a sweet little bugger!

My newest blog

As usual, I am trying something new. I am now the Laurel Advisor in my ward, and I have started working on Personal Progress. My goal for knowledge entails learning to cook healthier and use a menu. So, I started a new blog. A Place for Food is my attempt to create healthy, tasty weekly menus. Please feel free to visit and contribute! I admit, I totally stole the idea from This Week For Dinner, please visit and see her really cool site, then come back and contribute to mine! I like what she does, but I don't usually have recipes for her food, so that is why I am doing my own. And, I am not really happy and fulfilled unless I am doing something new.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Car

This week, my life seems to have been consumed by the details of Charlie's life, and I am very grateful to be able to say that. Yesterday, I was able to go remove his personal belongings from his vehicle. This is the first time any of the family has seen what is left of his car. The towing service was very gracious and stayed open a little late so I could get there. After we took care of all the paperwork, I was told to brace myself before looking at the vehicle. I had seen the picture in the paper, so I thought I was somewhat prepared for what I would find. Let me state here and now that there is NO WAY Charlie should still even be alive. If that boy wasn't as thin as a rail, there is no way he could have survived, and I am sure that the only way he did was that the Lord was protecting him. I did not even try to go around to the driver's side of the vehicle, there would have been no point. How any human being could have been in the space left is beyond me. I think the Lord watched over me too as I removed Charlie's stuff; the sight of his car should have been overwhelming. I am a bit of a crybaby as it is, and this definitely should have sent me over the edge. How grateful I am for a Heavenly Father who loves and watches over his children. If I was grateful for Charlie's safety and surprised at how minor his injuries were before, I am now in awe.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Charlie 25 July

What a great day for Charlie! This morning he woke up and talked to Dad. Dad asked how Charlie was doing, and he said, "okay". Dad asked his name and he said, "Bill." Dad was puzzled and asked again and he said, "Bill" and smirked. He was making a joke! Hugely exciting for us. Of course, he went immediately back to sleep.

As the day has progressed, he has gotten even better. Dad was on the phone and Charlie opened is eyes, looked around, and asked about Mike's mission call. When Dad told him where it was, he said, "Wow!" and went back to sleep.

After a while, he opened his eyes, looked around, saw Mom and said, "Hi, Mom."

Later he was awake and talking to Dad. Dad asked how he felt and he said he hurt and was hungry. Dad asked if he had any questions and he asked, "What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?" For those of you who aren't familiar with the question, it is a Monty Python line famous in our family.

And later, a family from our ward came down to visit. Katie went to a Spanish-speaking mission, and she and Charlie had a conversation in Spanish.

Oh yes, and the medical part. Charlie had surgery done on his hand last night. He now has four screws, two on each side of the break, and they are screwed to the next bone over. He will be in a soft cast for two weeks and then in a hard cast for six weeks. He will have to wear the collar for six weeks because of some stretched ligaments in his neck.

I don't think I can tell you how pleased I am. We were (and still are to some extent) concerned about the head trauma Charlie received. John warned me that he might have some problems with planning, memory and organization. However, I don't really think Charlie had any of those skills to start with, so it won't be much of a change really.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mission Call

After much waiting (okay, not really that long, but it felt like it) Mike's mission papers came. And he is going to...(drum roll, please)... Jakarta, Indonesia! Wow! Talk about a surprise! I wasn't there when the papers were opened, he took them down to the hospital to open them with Mom, Dad and Charlie, so I can't tell you the look on his face, but we are SO excited. He will go into the MTC on October 22nd. YEAH MIKE!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Charlie Update

Things have been crazy around here today, but I wanted to take a moment to let you know how Charlie is doing. I talked to Dad this afternoon, and Charlie has been taken off the sedatives. He has woken up and said "yes" and "no." He has opened his eyes several times, but is still mostly resting. Dad is very optimistic. He will have to have surgery on his hand tomorrow (the bone broken in his pinky is actually a compound fracture in the palm part of the hand and so has to be set and taken care of surgically.) The MRI from his head to sternum showed nothing other than the fractured disc in his neck, which is not effecting anything else. They have taken all the tubes out of his mouth and he only has one in his nose now. Charlie is doing MIRACULOUSLY well. He has been moved out of the ICU into another part of the hospital. I am sure that he was being protected in this accident.

The below is a picture of his car after the accident taken from our local paper. I am including the picture only so you can see what a miracle it is that Charlie was not more seriously injured. A state trooper called me today trying to positively identify Charlie. When I talked to him, he said that the paramedics on the scene did not expect Charlie to last the night. He was amazed when I related Charlie's injuries to him, he was sure they would have been far more critical.

I have to, one more time, thank all those who have called and offered help and sympathy. It has been wonderful to feel such love at this time. Thank you for your prayers, I know they were answered.


Today, my brother Charlie (yes, of the infamous garage) was in a car accident. He is in stable condition now, but we did have a bit of a scare. It was really rather interesting that I found out about the accident about six hours before I realized Charlie was involved.

We went to pick raspberries today, and on the way home, they were re-routing traffic because of an accident. I think I was probably there very shortly after it happened, because they were just starting to turn cars around. I didn't think much of it until this evening when my brother Mike called to say that Charlie was in a hospital two hours away. Mom and Dad are both gone (Mom in Nevada with my sister who is getting ready to have her baby, and Dad at Scout Camp with my two youngest brothers) so Mike went to work. After a while, he had called Mom and started the search for Dad. I called my friend Becky, and within minutes I had several calls from friends in our ward volunteering to help. Within the hour I had the kids in bed, and Chivaun, Laurie and Katie at my house to watch them. They were doing dishes and cleaning before I left. Becky came over a little later to stay with the kids (it was 8pm when we left) and field phone calls. You don't usually find out how much people care, but I feel it now.

When we (John, Mike and I) got to the hospital, I was prepared for a shock. We were told he was in a head-on collision going 55mph, and that he had head injuries and assorted breaks. The shock was how good he looked. They had him hooked to a ventilator because he was sedated to keep him from ripping tubes out, but the reality was, he looks great. He had some stitches above one eye, a compound fracture in his pinky and a broken wrist on his left arm, he has a broken disc in his neck and a bruised lung. But, the break in his neck seems to effect only that bone. He is in miraculous condition considering the severity of his accident.

How grateful I am to have a Heavenly Father who was watching over Charlie, and great friends who were watching over me. I will post more as we find out more of how he is doing.

Monday, July 21, 2008

"It's All About Mom" tag by Joy

1. What is something mom always says to you? "clean my room"
2. What makes mom happy? "when I obey her" - she's right on that one!
3. What makes mom sad? "when I don't obey her"
4. How does mom make you laugh? "tickling"
5. What was mom like as a child? "a helping child"
6. How old is your mom? "(giggle) she's 31"
7. How tall is your mom? "Woah, I don't know that! 33" long?"
8. What is her favorite thing to do? "play outside with the kids" Hmm, hers must be mine, right?
9. What does your mom do when you're not around? "that's a hard one, play with my brothers"
10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? "being such a great mom"
11. What is your mom really good at? "being a really good mom" I promise, I did not coax her on this!
12. What is your mom not very good at? "okay, that's pretty hard, I've got to think for a little while. Sleeping when Dad's around." When I asked why, (I was perplexed) she said, "cause he snores"
13. What does your mom do for her job? "be a mom"
14. What is your mom's favorite food? "egg salad sandwhich"
15. What makes you proud of your mom? "for being such a great mom"
16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be? "a dancer" We don't do many cartoons at our house, so I am not really sure she knew what I meant. However, me as a dancer is definately fictional!
17. What do you and your mom do together?
18. How are you and your mom the same? "brown hair"
19. How are you and your mom different?
"blue eyes, brown eyes"
20. How do you know your mom loves you? "for being such a great mom, that's how I know"

Joy tags Gabby, Kara, Francis, Maira, and Brady

Sunday, July 20, 2008


I am always interested in people and what they think and remember, so when I found this on a friend's blog, I had to try it.

1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you.


I think I am going to have to start posting in mass. Since John is home now (yes, he did make it!) I have to spend more time doing wife-ly things. I guess I should say I GET to spend more time doing wife-ly things. As a tangent, I was talking to a friend on Saturday night, and she asked how I got so much stuff done. Firstly, I don't feel like I get even half the things I want to done. But secondly, I didn't have a husband around. Lots of bloggers I know don't have the time they want to blog because they have so many other roles to fill. When a big one gets knocked out, you can fit other stuff, like blogging, in. Okay, end of tangent. So, since John is still getting accustomed to the time change, I am going to take a moment and do a mass post.

Pioneer Day Picnic
Our ward had a Pioneer Day picnic this Saturday, and it was a lot of fun. They did a bunch of races and Joy competed in all she could. She did the sack, wheelbarrow, and three-legged race. She tried hard and had fun. Brigham even tried the wheelbarrow. I was chasing around Paul and Brigham so I didn't get pictures of them all, but here are some I got. Joy and Brigham are wearing their duck hats, so just look for the yellow hat and you will have located them in the picture.

Sack Race

Wheelbarrow. I don't think it is a good sign when you start laying down!
Or on your head! Leith and Brigham had a bit of a hard time figuring things out. Brigham got the stand-on-your-hands concept, but he never did figure out that he was supposed to move forward. Eventually, Leith just picked him up and ran.
Joy and Dallyn understood things a little better.

They did another Wheelbarrow, and Joy and I did that one. Things were really bunched at the beginning (and Paul thought it was a wagon race),
and with those darn hats on, Joy couldn't see where she was supposed to go. About five feet out, she started going sideways across the field, and there was a pile-up when she and I went down.

However, we did get up and try again.

And, just because I have to brag, my friend KellyAnne and I won the adult three-legged race. In fact, we won by such a long lead, I don't think it was even really fair to call it a race! If you check out the picture of the pile-up, you will see KellyAnne in the pink driving her wheelbarrow. We are very similar in height and build, and lots of people mix us up. I think that similarity gave us a big advantage over the husband and wife teams in our ward who were so mismatched in size. We'll let them believe that, anyway!
And, we found a wagon for Paul at a garage sale. If you have had the pleasure of meeting Paul, you will know that he is a wheel man. If it has wheels, he loves it. This particular wagon was built for legos, but Hyrum fits it just right.
I think Hyrum needed the helmet more than Paul!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Raspberries Tuesday at 10am

The date has been set. We will meet at my house at 10am on Tuesday to pick raspberries. You don't need to bring any equipment, just yourself and whatever children you want. Raspberries are $1.89 per pound. We will probably only stay about an hour, the kids tend to get restless after that.

John is coming home TONIGHT!

Due to the public nature of this blog, I have not mentioned the fact that John (husband and father of our family) has been in Iraq since June of 2007. He worked for a contractor over there providing support services for the military. But, tonight, he comes home for good! I cannot possibly tell you how excited I am! And, I cannot possibly express my gratitude for my parents and brothers who live just down the street and have helped and supported me while John as been gone. Being the single parent of four children is not easy, but it would have been impossible without their assistance.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Car Care

Why am I blogging? I have too much to do, and this is totally a non-essential topic! However, I am an addict.

I was cleaning the car out today, and decided it was time to replenish my car kit. I am quite fortunate to own a van with space under the seats. Just pop up the floorboard, and there is all this nice extra storage space. So, a couple of months ago I decided to start utilizing the space. Under one seat I have:

  1. A sweatshirt for each member of the family (yes, we live in the Pacific Northwest, they are essential even in JULY!)
  2. A Moby wrap
  3. A change of pants and underwear for the three boys
  4. Juice boxes
  5. Water
  6. Snack bag - nuts, granola bars, fiber bars and fruit snacks
  7. Quaker Oat chips
  8. Monkey backpacks (leashes) for Paul and Brigham
  9. Sunscreen
  10. Antibacterial wipes
  11. Diapers
  12. Changing pad and
  13. Bags for dirty diapers, wet clothes, etc.

When I am really on top of things, I replenish the kit every week or so. I find that having all of this stuff in the car saves me a lot of hassle. When it is time to go, I can usually pick up and go without having to take an extra 15 minutes to get stuff together. And, having the stuff I need keeps whining to a more manageable level. I wish I would have thought of this years ago!

Mr. Fix-It

I have been saving a bunch of little things around my house that need a real fix-it man. So, I called Dad over tonight and asked if he would take a look at my vacuum cleaner that won't turn on and my dryer that has suddenly started taking longer to dry stuff. I explain the problem with the vacuum, push the on button, and it does just what I describe. Dad takes it, pushes the on button, and it starts right up. Just to be cute, he does it FIVE more times in a row. Vacuum taken care of. I explain the problem with the dryer and he asks where the outside vent is. We go outside and he asks if I have the slats that cover the hole. Yes, I have the slats. The kids love to take them off, so I just keep a hold of them so that someday I can put them back on. "Well, you may have a build up of lint in there." So he sticks his arm in the vent. No lint, but about FIVE semi-largish rocks, as well as an assortment of smaller rocks! I don't need three guesses to figure out who put those there. We call Paul Paulie-Pocket because he likes to hide pockets of stuff in odd places for future use. Tomorrow I go to Home Depot to find a different cover to put over the vent!

Raspberries anyone?

We did pick strawberries at Dugwalla yesterday, and while we were there, found out that U-Pick raspberries are available on Monday. So, sometime next week, we will go. If you are interested, leave a comment with the best day and time for you. I will also be checking out Cresent Farms for blueberries, and we will go soon.

Joy's schedule

I woke up Wednesday morning to Joy busily working on drawing/coloring in my room. She was being quiet and I was up late the night before, so I rolled over and went back to sleep. When I woke up 10 minutes later, Joy had a masterpiece to show me. "Mom, this is our schedule for the day." If you look close, you can see that we are having waffles for breakfast, getting dressed, playing outside, having snacks, watching a movie (instead of taking the normal naps or quiet time) and spending most of the day playing outside. There are a lot of arrows, because, like her mother, she didn't want to waste time making more pieces when she could just do an arrow. She even put the times next to activities. I must say that I was quite impressed. I think the schedule board is working. Maybe I need to schedule at least one day this week! :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More strawberries

Yes, we are going again. If you want to go (Dugwalla this time), meet at my house at 9:50am on Thursday. We will be back in time for playgroup at 11am.

I made brownies in a box!

Okay, so I just helped. But, I did make the box oven and the brownies. Okay, the brownies were from a mix, but I added the peanut butter chips!

I am the group leader for the Prep Rally Enrichment group in our ward. We do preparedness topics in this group, and this month the topic was Cooking Without Power. Since I have a good in (what dad can resist when their daughter asks them to teach?) I volunteered to coordinate. Dad came over and came up with a great outline for the class, involving cooking using four different methods of powerless cooking. One was baking using a box oven. Never heard of it? This is what it looks like:

Basically, you cover the inside of a cardboard box with aluminum foil, shiny side out, making sure there is no uncovered cardboard. I am a little paranoid, so I did several layers just to be sure I got it all. Then, I taped the whole thing around the outside with duct tape. Viola - a box oven. And, you can bake anything in a box oven that you can in regular oven. To bake, put a layer of aluminum foil on the ground (the aluminum keeps the ground from starting fire or absorbing heat and reflects heat back into the oven), add charcoals around your pan to equal your desired cooking temperature (one briquette produces 40degrees of heat), rest your pan on a couple of rocks, bricks or other stable objects, and put your box over the top. Make sure to rest your box on a couple of sticks about 1" high so you get ventilation all the way around, the charcoals will go out without the air for fuel. Then, you just let your oven sit for your normal recipe time, and you are done. I know, pretty amazing. We did brownies, and I never can get those puppies done just right. I think these were better than most I do in the oven. It was really cool. I think that I am going to have to invest in a cast-iron dutch oven and do a powerless dinner once every two or three weeks, just so that, should the need arise, I could do it. Plus, it is just fun!

Monday, July 14, 2008


Brigham was playing with the other kids in the backyard today when I heard a cry of pain. (I can tell I have been a mom for a while now, because I can finally tell the difference in the kids' cries.) I ran out to see Brigham laying face down in the grass right next to a cement step. He must have been running after Joy, who just went into the garage, and somehow tripped and caught his head on the edge of the step. I guess I should just be glad that he hit his forehead and not another part of his face. Can you imagine what that would have done to teeth? Yikes! I tried to put ice on the bump, but Brigham really wanted to eat it, so I let him. I figured that if it calmed him down, it didn't really matter where the ice went.

If you leave his bangs alone, they cover the spot pretty well. I guess I will put his haircut off another couple of weeks...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Organizational Mastermind

I am a bit of an organization/schedule/compulsive freak. I find life runs much more smoothly when it is well planned and executed. Okay, in reality, I do better when I am intentional. We are happier, get more done, and the things we do are more worthwhile. And, I tire of constantly telling the kids what comes next. So, I came up with a plan. I created a board on which we plan every day. Okay, almost every day; we usually have one day a week that starts running and we don't take the time to plan. This is a Tara original, my own invention, and I LOVE it!

What's that you say? This is so amazing that you must have more details? Well, if you insist. First, click on the picture so you can see it bigger in all it's beauteous glory. Alright, now that you have seen the bigger picture, let me give you some more detail, but only because you asked. :0)
  • Each day has a column and is divided into 13 hours, 7am to 7pm. Each hour square is 2.5".
  • Activity pieces are sized according to time. Activities that take about an hour are 2.5" squares. (nap time, lessons, art time, etc.) Activities that take a half hour are 1.25x2.5" rectangles. (get dressed, eat breakfast, do dishes, read books, etc.) There are a few activities that take 15 minutes (set table, snacks) and they have 0.75x2.5" rectangles. But, usually I stick to 1 or 1/2 hour increments. This gives us leeway time for set up, pack, clean up and life in general.
  • On the far left side of the board are the hours, with clocks showing what the analog time looks like, and a digital font underneath showing the time. I have an analog clock hanging on the wall just above the clock column. I want Joy (and the boys eventually) to learn to read analog clocks, so this is a tool to that end. And, although we aren't usually completely on time, it does help a bit.
  • Down each day column is a strip of Velcro. On the back of each activity piece is another piece of Velcro. This allows us to move things easily, but they stay pretty firm, unless Hyrum gets them.
  • The arrows are time extensions. Instead of printing a million of each piece, I just made hour and half hour extensions that can be used to lengthen activities.

I have found that this really helps. We get up in the morning, have breakfast, and plan our day. When I am really on the ball, we put the big things up for the week at Family Home Evening. Here's how I have found it helpful:

  • I am more intentional about what we do in the day. Since it has to be posted, I think about what we are doing. It looks bad when there are big chunks of "watch a movie" every day.
  • The kids are involved. They have input as to what happens. They understand a little better that I have to do dishes when they see the dishes piece on the chart. They learn time better, not just on the clock, but what things take what time, and that things actually do come to pass.
  • It saves countless hours of, "When are we going to ___?" I simply refer them to the board.
  • I am more accountable. The kids know what to expect and are free to hold me to it.
  • There is flexibility. The kids learn that sometimes things change. It happens almost daily that things don't go according to plan and we have to make changes. So, we look at what is going on, and figure out how to adjust. Great lesson.
  • One of my favorite pieces are the kids' time. There is "Joy Time", "Paul Time" and "Brigham Time" - 15 minutes each. These pieces have the kids' pictures on them, and they know that, during that time at least, they get Mom's undivided attention.
  • We do more fun stuff. Because we are planning, we get more done.
  • I also have free time pieces. It is important to have unplanned time daily, and we've got that too.

Now, if this sounds like bragging, I am only bragging about the idea, and I have to admit that it is FABULOUS! But, our lives aren't perfect. We still have most of the normal problems. However, when I come across an idea that works, mine or someone else's, I want to share it. So, I am sharing with you. If you are interested in trying something similar, I would be more than happy to share what I have done. The activity pieces are all on a Word document, I just don't know how to link it to the page. Leave a comment and I would be happy to send it on.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I was out doing some shopping the other day and came across a tie-dye kit on clearance. I did tie-dye once or twice as a kid and really enjoyed it, so I decided to give it a whirl. The box said the Mega set I got would do up to 20 shirts - we did 18 things. Not just shirts, but underwear and onsies too. If I do one, I do 50. And, it was a LOT of fun. Back when I was in high school, homemade tie-dye did not come out bright and with lots of colors. Times have changed. We got bright colors and lots of them. The shirts came out looking like something you would buy, not something you did on the back porch. However, there are a few tricks I learned, so let me share with you.

1 - COVER YOUR WORK SPACE! I used a sheet of vinyl that sometimes covers our table top. Since we worked on the back porch, it probably wouldn't have been a big deal if we had spilled, but on anything else, it would have made a difference.

These are the assorted items rubber-banded and ready to go. I would recommend running your stuff through a spin cycle in the wash before you apply. That bit of dampness helps the shirts to absorb the dye more easily.

2 - (Which you should probably do before #1) Plan and band in advance. Once you get the dye out and start squeezing, things get messy. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), I could not touch the camera after we started, so I don't have any pictures of the work-in-progress. However, you do not want to have to stop, take off gloves, and rubber band. Of course, you could just be sane and not to so many at one time, but that wouldn't be nearly as fun.

3 - WEAR GLOVES! I did, and I still ended up dyed! 24 hours later I only have faint traces left.

4 - Allow small children to be involved in the placing of rubber bands and the choosing of colors, and then ship them off somewhere safe. Dye and kids under the age of six really shouldn't mix.

5 - Don't be scared. Things really turn out quite nicely. Just have fun!

So, basically the process works like this: You prep your shirts according to what you want them to look like. Then you mix your dye and put on your gloves. Take your shirts out back, apply dye, stick them in a plastic bag for 6-8 hours, take them out, cut off the rubber bands, rinse under warm water, and wash in as hot a water as is appropriate for the fabric type. Don't wash them with anything else for a few more cycles, because they are said to run. Today, Joy took off the pair of dyed panties she was wearing to try on a bathing suit, and she had blue, pink and purple dye on her skin. It was pretty cute, but considering they were washed before she wore them, I would guess there will be more dye coming off in the wash. This is our mess immediately after being removed from the bag:

So, if you want your shirts to look like this:

Choose the point at which you want the burst to start, pinch that point, and lift the shirt up from there. Use your rubber bands to section it off, and apply colors to each section. These are the tube-y looking ones in the pictures.

If you want swirls (obviously my favorite):

Lay your piece out flat and choose your center point. Grasp the fabric there and twist it around that center point. Try to keep your fabric lying flat so that eventually you have a swirl and a circle. Use your rubber bands to enclose that swirl. Squirt your dye on the shirt as if tracing and then filling in pieces of a pie.

Color blotches:

Lay the shirt out and pull up sections. Wrap a rubber band at the base of each section. Squeeze one color on the rubber banded section and another over the other areas. Pretty simple, but pretty cool.

If you want a design to show up, don't use something little like underwear!

Nuh Uh!

I was having a chat with Charlie this evening while taking pictures of the stuff we tie-dyed today. I was taking pictures so I could blog, and he made an outrageous accusation. He said that only stay-at-home moms and other desperate people blog. He said that normal people who have normal human interaction don't blog, because their needs for expression and interaction are met in normal real-person, one-on-one interactions. He even cited me saying that the reason I blogged was for the love of expression, and if I had real friends I wouldn't have to blog. What a twerp! I ardently disagreed and told him that I really blogged because 1 - it is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family all over the world an d 2 - I enjoy the writing and keeping my skills in that area honed. I don't write many papers anymore, and it is good to do something that requires me to use a vocabulary above that of a 1st grader. At that point Charlie gave in and admitted that those were the exact reasons I quoted when I started blogging. He feels it necessary to hassle me constantly. But, I have to admit, that this is a nice way to feel like I belong to the larger world and community. I am totally flattered that anyone reads my blog and it does make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 10, 2008


It is berry season up here again. Can I just say that I LOVE berry picking? We went today for the first time this season, and it was a blast. A friend and I decided last night at YW to go this afternoon, and we mentioned at playgroup today that if anyone wanted to go, we would love to have them. We ended up with four moms and 17, yes SEVENTEEN, kids! I didn't stop to count them before, but now I know why the field seemed to be just crawling with kids. Granted, two of them were teenagers and my two youngest stayed in the car, but it was still a lot of kids. And, they all seemed to have a lot of fun. Who wouldn't have fun with big, fat, red berries all over the place. I was really impressed with how well the kids did with picking. Paul picked a couple of green ones, so I had him taste one. Then I had him taste a red one (so he would only pick the reds). Before the tasting he was just putting them in the basket. After the tasting, I don't think a single one made it in the basket. We bought 16 pounds, so I think we paid for the ones he ate. My only regret is that, in all the getting stuff together to leave, I left the camera at home.

Anyone who is local who wants to go some day next week, just leave a comment and we will all get together again. Bells said they would have berries for a couple more weeks, and it was a lot of fun for all!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Suited Up!

The weather was FINALLY nice enough here to get out in bathing suits. And, Hyrum wore his first bathing suit. It was simply too cute to pass up. Can you believe this kid isn't even 10 months old yet?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Finger Paints

Last year Brigham got a set of finger paints for his birthday. Yesterday, we opened them. I have been waiting for a day with no rain, the right set-up on the back porch, and aprons for all the kids. Speaking of the right set-up, let me share my fabulous idea.

I have been looking for some kind of a surface for the kids to do art work on that is big enough for a massive piece of work, or several small pieces. I wanted it to be vertical, because a vertical surface is more conducive for kids to learn proper pencil grip. And, I wanted it to be weather-able and inexpensive. I love plexi-glass. I went to Home Depot and bought a sheet of plexi that was 48"x36" for about $20. I drilled a set of holes in the top and bottom corners and used some heavy string to tie the plexi to our back porch.

Then I just use binder clips to attach the paper for the artwork. I have to say, it is one of my more brilliant ideas. The kids now have a place to work and I don't have to worry about my floors; a quick rinse with the hose and we are ready to go.

So, we pulled out the finger paints and went to work. A word to the wise - DO NOT USE FINGER PAINTS THAT ARE NOT WASHABLE! Aprons are no match against small children with finger paints. What I did not anticipate was the kids stepping in the paint. I finally had to remind myself that the paints are expendable. It really isn't going to hurt if Paul mixes bright yellow and purple or if Brigham dumps the gold on the porch. Joy wasn't really impressed when the boys started painting on her paper, but she quickly got over that when I told her she could paint on theirs.

Monday, July 7, 2008


John decided that he needed to talk to Joy about the "you're not the best mom in the world" comment, and we found out what occasioned her statement. The other day, Joy had a friend over to play. The girl said she had the best mom in the whole world. When I asked why, she told me that her mom let her have all the candy she wanted, and she still didn't get cavities. Apparently, if I want to be the best mom in the world, I need to take out stock in candy and toothbrushes!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Joy the Hairstylist

The last few days of school for Joy were filled with fun. They had field day and a talent show, and a bunch of other fun events. Well, Joy wanted to sing a song in the talent show and felt she needed a special hair style for the occasion. She piled her hair sloppily on top of her head and said she wanted it to look like that, but with flowers all over it. I was having a hard time visualizing, so she decided to draw me a picture. This is what I got:

When I asked her where the hair was she pointed to the scribbly line at the bottom. I have to admit, I failed in my attempt to make this hairstyle a reality. Joy obviously needs a fancier mom.

That's Just Great

When we went to the parade on the 4th, my friend related a funny story. Our daughters are about the same age, and one day, her daughter said (of Joy), "Sometimes I wish we could just trade lives." Obviously, she wouldn't really. But, I felt good that, from the outside at least, Joy's life looked appealing to another little girl her age.

I was humbled today.

As we were walking down to visit with my family before my mom leaves for Nevada tomorrow, I talked to one of the ladies who live on the way. She was sitting on her front porch, and one of her little girls was calling to her from in the house. She explained that her daughter was a momma's girl. "You must be a good mom then." I told her. And, Joy said, "You're the best mom in the whole world." I appreciated hearing that and told Joy that I appreciated it.

"No, I said you're not the best mom in the whole world. You're a good mom, but not the best mom in the whole world."

Good to keep these things in perspective.

Friday, July 4, 2008

4th of July!

After a week of prep, we finally had the 4th! I have to say, I love the 4th of July. We went to the local parade (which we left early), got naps, and went to the beach where my family was camping and had a cookout. Lots of fun.

We went to the parade with my brother Mike and his girlfriend Allison. They were really a big help with the kids. On the way, we ran in to our friends the Wrights, so we stuck with them. I find the kids do much better at these kinds of things when they know the people they are sitting beside. And, people who we know don't give me as many dirty looks. Anyway, we stopped by the Wells Fargo (our friend manages) and got a family picture with Jack the Dog. Okay, everyone but Paul who was not about to buddy up to some strange person in a dog suit. While there, we saw Joy's primary teacher across the street saving places for his family. Fortunately, he didn't mind us sitting with them. He was also a big help with the kids. Hyrum is not pictured because he was on my hip for the whole event (thank goodness for Hotslings!) He fell asleep after about 30 minutes, and that was good for everyone involved. The parade was not bad, but too many cars and too much politics for my taste.

It was during the parade that my alter-ego came out. Mean Mom said no to allowing her children to be plastered with campaign stickers. She refuses to let her kids be turned into billboards for candidates whom she does not support. And, since she is unfamiliar with local politics, no stickers were worn. Fortunately, the kids know better than to argue with Mean Mom, so there wasn't too much grumbling. Besides, who cares about stickers when there is candy to be had?

We parked several blocks away from the parade, so the wagon ride back to the car had Joy about to die. When I informed her that if she died I would have to leave her body on the side of the road, because I couldn't carry it, and I couldn't leave the boys in the car alone to come back to get it, she decided that she could make the last two blocks. That is why she looks surly in the van.

Also, I have decided that glow sticks are a great alternative to fireworks for small children. Mean Mom also said that kids whose bedtime is 7pm cannot wait until 10:30pm to do fireworks. So, I picked up a couple of packets of glow bracelets/necklaces/sticks at the dollar store, and the kids got to play with them instead. What a hit! They had so much fun, and no one came close to a spark. Sometimes, I amaze even myself with my brilliance!