Friday, June 29, 2012


Last day of conference.  I was pretty excited that we were on the home stretch.

I connected with my cousin Nichole, and was able to go see her.  She was watching a couple of kids, so between her 4, my 4, and the 2 extras... I was impressed we were able to actually talk a bit with 10 kids running around.  (Actually, Emma wasn't there for half of the visit.  Grandma kidnapped her to go get her first pair of "Show Boots."  Emma is showing a 4-H pig at the fair in August.  More to come on that.)
Afterwards, we drove up to Bellingham again.  Ryan had a break, so we drove around Bellingham looking for Boulevard Park.  I lived in Bellingham and went to college there once upon a time.  You'd think I'd remember how to get to the place Ryan proposed...  Well, we found it eventually.
 The bench where Ryan asked me.  Awwww.  Photo courtesy of Emma of us 11 years later.

Again though, Bellingham has become a little over-grown.  The bushes have become so big, we couldn't see the bay.  Lame.
 The good news is, I did remember that the park had some play equipment.  Children's play areas were not on my radar 11 years ago.  The girls liked playing on the "ship."

At about 5 pm, Ryan was done.  (And Rick and Caitlin too.)  Hooray!  We went out to dinner with Ryan's parents to celebrate the end of conference.
Ryan decided that we might as well go home as stay another night and then get up at the crack of dawn to make it home.  So we packed everything up, and left at about 8:15 to come home.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Adventures in Babysitting

Wednesday.  Two days done, two more to go.  I was supposed to meet up with my cousin and her kids today, but she got busy.  So the kids and I hung out, did some laundry and whatnot until after lunch.  Then we drove to Bellingham to go to Bellis Fair Mall.  Emma is growing and the number of dresses that fit her is dwindling.  I think she has 2 or 3, so I had this great idea to buy her one or two more.  At the mall.  With all 4 children.  All 4 of whom haven't slept at home in 3 nights and might be a little extra tired.  Ha.  I should have known better.

Fast forward.  I have a bag from Target holding a new dress for Emma, two new duffle bags (a story for another post?) and a bag of Goldfish crackers.  I am also holding a screaming 3-year-old and making my way to the other end of the mall where my car is parked.  I'm trying to ignore the stares from college-aged kids ("control your children already") and the pity-looks from the older mall patrons.  Why did I think this would be a good idea?

We let ourselves in to Ryan's hotel room and I signed up for Netflix's instant streaming videos and plugged the kids into mindless entertainment.

Ryan was supposed to be done at 5 pm.  5 pm came.  5 pm went.  No calls, no texts.  No responding to my questions.  At that point I was ready to be done with the hotel room, so I packed up the kids and we left.  I drove out to Sehome Arboretum and drove to the top.  We took the trail out to the look-out tower and climbed up.  The view was a little disappointing.  What was once a beautiful view of Bellingham Bay has turned into a nice view of the growing trees, and if you look hard, you can almost see glimpses of the bay.
 Yah, we were kind of disappointed at the lack of a view.  But at least there was a big tower to climb, which almost made up for it to the kids.
They liked the tunnel too.
Ryan finally called and said he was done, and then I got 3 texts at once.  Either his cell phone or mine had it out for me.  So we got some dinner and went swimming again.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Deception Pass

Today Ryan went to his conference a little bit late.  We drove to Deception Pass in the morning.  It had been too long since our last trip to the beach.  We bundled up, expecting the weather to be cold and blustery.  As it turned out, it was blustery but not too cold.
While the kids were throwing rocks, Ryan picked up drift wood logs and started chucking them into the surf.

We took a picnic lunch of sandwiches.  When the kids were done, we took the crusts, broke them into pieces and threw them in the water.  We hoped fish or ducks or something would nibble on our left-overs.

Unfortunately it didn't seem to be the fishes lunch time (or maybe they just don't like peanut butter), so we watched the crumbs drift out to sea:

Monday, June 25, 2012

Conference Week Begins

Every year Ryan has a conference he goes to.  He earns "clock hours" there which in turn can be redeemed for "credits" (when a sufficient number is reached) which means he can keep his teaching certificate current.  This year's conference was a half hour away from Ryan's parents, so the girls and I spent quite a bit of time there.  It's a lot nicer than a hotel room for longer periods of time.

Today while Ryan, his dad and his sister Caitlin were at the conference, I was the official girl wrangler.  Luckily, I had notice and came prepared.

After breakfast, getting dressed and hair done, we started off with Craft Time.  The kids made 4th of July paper lanterns.
Afterwards, I taped crepe paper streamers to the hall wall and made an obsticle course.  I was trying to explain what it was exactly, but luckily everyone had seen Barbie and the Princess Charm School, so they all understood the ducking between the laser beam concept.
 One hallway wasn't enough, so I had to do the stairs too.
After lunch, we played at a nearby elementary school playground.  The kids played Billy Goats Gruff, except there were four goats, and I got to be the troll.
At the end of the day, I piled everyone in the minivan (Emma got to ride in the front seat, which she was very excited about.  I had run out of back seats...) and we drove up to the conference at the Best Western hotel.  And then we enjoyed the hotel pool.

Whew, day one done.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Queens of Drama

Emma and Elizabeth really enjoyed Drama Camp this year.  It was a nice way to start off the summer, still seeing friends and doing something everyday, but shorter hours than attending school.  Today was the performance and the theme was The Wizard of Oz.  Each grade got a different song to perform, and they displayed their props and little costumes they worked on over the course of the week.

It's always tricky to try and pick out your progeny from far away, especially when they are all wearing the same shirt.  But I found them!
Elizabeth is the second over from the right (below).
Emma was in the back row (inexplicably- why on earth do they put the short ones in the back??) and can be seen between Dorothy and the Scarecrow:
For the finale, all the groups came back on the "stage" (or the gym floor) together.  Emma was on the very top of the riser, on the left under the Pepsi sign:
Afterwards, some of the kids from church got together for a picture:
The kids all did a great job.  It's so fun watching them sing and dance.

At some point during the course of the morning, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to go to the performance.  After I dropped the kids off at the middle school for camp, Maddie started complaining that her tummy hurt.  Then came the squirming, followed by the retching.  Oh.... guts.  Ryan was at a training and would not be able to go anyway.  What on earth was I going to do?  And why do I need more drama in my life?

Ryan saved the day.  He found a student willing to watch a sick child for an hour, so Annie and I were able to go.  Maddie had finished being sick by then, so the babysitter only had to endure a Barbie movie.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Small Town Perks

Ryan was caught taking pictures of the kids on their last day of school.
This is what happens when you live in a small town.  Everyone makes it in the newspaper eventually.

3rd Grade Cabbage

Emma brought home a cabbage start this spring.  Ryan took it, transplanted it in a bigger pot, and left it under a grow light in his greenhouse.  It got impressively huge.

WSWW- The Thursday Edition

Emma and Elizabeth are attending a local Drama Camp, put on by the high school drama club.  Each day they've had a different dress-up theme.  Today's was "Crazy Wacky" day.
"Crazy" wasn't enough, so it's crazy wacky.

As for their outfits- Emma is wearing black suede boots, camo shorts, a rainbow butterfly shirt (worn inside out), a blue plaid shirt over and a swim skirt on her head.  Elizabeth is wearing black Hello Kitty boots (worn on the wrong feet), mismatched socks (the striped one belongs to her mother), red shorts, Fancy Nancy tutu, green and white striped t-shirt (worn inside out), and a really old tie of her dad's.  They looked awesome.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Last Day of School

Emma and Elizabeth had their last day of school on Friday.  
Elizabeth with her teacher.

Emma and her teacher.
Emma's class had an on-going "rivalry" of sorts with another 3rd grade teacher, Mr. B's class.  The classes took turns pulling pranks on each other.  Emma and her teacher wanted something good to end the year right.  Ryan offered his services, and brought a chicken into school and turned it loose in Mr. B's classroom during recess.  From what I hear, Mr. B's reaction was everything they'd hoped for.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

We appreciate Daddy.  
The kids think he makes a great pillow.

When I asked Ryan what he wanted for Father's Day dinner, he said he wanted to grill something, and he wanted Chocolate Cake.  (And yes, when he said it, you could tell there were capital letters involved.)  I turned him loose in Costco to look for his grilling supplies, while I took 3 little girls to the bathroom, and he chose some Hebrew National hot dogs for his Father's Day dinner.  Ok, I might have been picturing something a little different, but if it makes him happy...

So after church today, I rolled up my sleeves and made Ryan his chocolate cake.  Literally 2 minutes before our company for dinner was due to arrive, I finished frosting the cake and I started to pull the wax paper out from under the sides of the cake.  One of the pieces was sticking a little.  Then I noticed the cake was tearing.  In half.  One side was moving with the wax paper towards the side of the cake plate.  Oh..... dear.  I started freaking out.  Ryan and the kids came running to see what the matter was.  Ryan told me it didn't matter, and it would taste fine.

Wrong answer. 

The cake is supposed to look pretty.  We have company coming.  I don't care if it tastes fine.  It will be seen.

What time is it?  Do I have time to hide the cake and make cookies?  No. 


So I used a fork to try to scoot it back together.  Then I used a little of the ganache that was left to try and fill in the gaps.  It wasn't too noticeable. 

I think dinner went well.  My kids have a tendency to get in other people's personal space and talk a blue streak.  I always hope we come across as tolerable, and semi-normal.  And our guests were polite and did eat a piece of my ugly cake. :)

This is the left over cake, after Ryan helped himself to a second piece.  You can kind of see the fault line where there isn't cake.

Happy Father's Day Ryan.  We love you!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Baby Blessing

I am waaayy behind in posting this.  My new niece, Claire, was blessed at church at the beginning of the month.  My sister's ward starts at 11 am, so we were up and left our house well before 7 am to make it there in time.  We made good time and arrived just before 10 am, which left us an hour to get the kids dressed (since they traveled in their pjs), fix hair, eat some snacks and get our wiggles out before church started.
After sacrament meeting and the blessing, everyone who came for the event were invited back to Janelle's apartment for lunch.  It was a full house! 
 The kids had a picnic on the floor in the kitchen.
Emma and cousin Alex.

After a nice visit, we piled all back in the minivan for the trip home.  The kids did really well with all that sitting and traveling.  I was impressed.

Mess Makers

The other day towards bedtime I walked into my bathroom to this:
Sadly, I have no idea when this happened or who the culprit is.  Judging from the size of the hand prints and rough placement on the walls, I'd say it was one of the twins.  The entire contents of the bottle of foundation was in the sink.  Oh well.  I had to go to the store anyway.  The night before the twins got my bottle of body wash down and by the time I found it, their bathwater was very soapy and the bottle was filled with water, and they were working on the face wash.  I already have to put the shaving cream up on top of the shower doors.  It looks like all the various bottles in the shower will join it up there.  The rack hanging from the shower head just isn't quite high enough.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Emma brought home a medal on Friday.  Her school has an Accelerated Reader program and Emma got over 2000 points.  This was more than any other 3rd or 4th grader at her school.  Kids get points for reading by taking a short test about the book.  The sad/funny/interesting part of the story is- she read more books than she took tests on.
Great job, Emma!  We are so proud of you!

Sugar and Spice

Last night we were invited for a pizza and movie night at a friend's house.  Between our 4 children, the 3 children of our friends, and another family with 4 children... well, it was a houseful.  Once dinner was consumed and the kids were settled with popcorn and "An American Tail: Fievel Goes West," the adults settled in for a game of Trump.  With all of the interruptions that seem to be standard for any parents, the game progressed slowly.  The movie finished before the adults had run out of cards, so we told the kids to go play.  Pretty soon there were swords brandishing, squeals, and a parade of feet running everywhere.  It was boys against the girls, and the girls out numbered the boys.  There were my four girls, plus two other 3 year olds on the Girls Team (there was an almost 1 year old as well, but I don't think Team Captain Emma counted her).  The Boys Team consisted of a 7, two 6, and a 3 year old.  I have to say, considering we have no brothers at home, my girls can hold their own against the boys.  At one point, Annie was being chased by one of the 6 year old boys when she turned around, grabbed his shirt and took that boy down.

That sweet-faced, dress-wearing, 3-year-old girl showed him who is boss.

Then Ryan suggested that the girls try to kiss the boys.  That made the boys (or most of them) run away.  Little Elijah (who is 6-year-old) had a thing for Emma though.  By the time our card game was over and we collected our kids, Emma said Elijah had kissed her 4 times.

(Stadium seating for the movie.  Picture courtesy of Tiffany.)

Friday, June 8, 2012


Earlier this week we were outside playing.  Two Frisbees and a soccer ball were flying back and forth.  Emma had the Frisbee and was winding up to throw it to her dad.  She threw it good and hard, but let it go a little late.  Instead of going straight towards Ryan, it shot off to the side and got me (standing about 2 feet from her) in the stomach. 

I doubled over.  Ryan came over, lifted my shirt a little and admired the red welt forming.

Once it was decided that I would probably live, Emma giggled.  "We should have got that for America's Funniest Home Videos!"

Such sympathy.

A Look Back to Mother's Day

I know I've been sort of MIA for a while.  Spring is crazy busy around here, and I've been just feeling tired and grumpy.  Not the best frame of mind, but it is what it is. 

Now that I'm far enough away from Mother's Day to have a sense of humor again, I thought I'd share.

Ryan was away for Mother's Day weekend for FFA State Convention.  It was done at midnight Saturday night/Sunday morning (at least that's when the dance was officially over), but they thought they would spend another night there and head home first thing in the morning.  This means I had two nights of sleeping with my cell phone and clutching the covers up to my eyes.  Every squeak of the house, every time the kids kicked the wall in their sleep, I heard.  It was not the most restful.  I am positive there were serial killers, maniac burglars and ninjas outside my window, waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike.  After a few hours of fitful sleep, my phone beeped at me with a text message at 6:45 am.   It wasn't Ryan saying they are home early.  It was a "Happy Mother's Day" text from someone else.  "@#$@% Mother's day" to you too, I thought to myself.

I wrangled 4 children into dresses, church shoes and decent hair-do's and made it to church before it started at 10 am.  Then came the fun of keeping them all quiet for 70+ minutes.  Aside from the sweet musical number from the Primary children (which all 4 of them participated in for the first time!), I didn't hear much of the meeting.  I was too busy being a mother to hear the heartwarming tales and lessons of motherhood.  Oh well.  I refrained from pulling out my hair and hogtying my children, so I figured I had done well.

About halfway through church (the 3 hour block), Ryan showed up.  He was home early!  I saw him in the hall and tried to hug him.  His eyes were bloodshot, and he winced when I embraced him.  Uh oh.  This does not bode well.

I knew he hadn't been sleeping well in the dorms.  Teenagers away from home don't tend to go to bed early or quietly.  I knew he'd be tired.  What I didn't expect was that he'd come home wounded.  He wouldn't even tell me how he'd hurt himself, so I knew there was a story and probably a dumb explanation.

About 24 hours later, he finally told me.  He was racing one of his students.  After beating this particular student, he went back and jogged backwards while taunting.  Whether or not the trip was accidental or on purpose we'll never know, but the student fell, pushing Ryan into one of the vans they drove. 

His back and ribs were all messed up, and it hurt him to bend, move and breathe.

So Ryan took it easy and got a nap while I watched the children, made the meals, and cleaned up our messes.  Then I set him up an appointment with a chiropractor for Monday morning. 

Happy Mother's Day indeed.  I think for Father's Day, I'm going to let Ryan fix dinner and I'll take a nap.