Sunday, January 31, 2010

I'm trying to be like Jesus

I've only been the Primary chorister for a few weeks, but today the Primary kids were scheduled to sing something in Sacrament meeting. They had already been working on learning the sign language to "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus" so I just reviewed that with them, then took all the credit today when they sang so sweetly. Of course, I had to scramble to learn the sign language so I wouldn't look like a fool up there...but check out this page at! They have a ton of videos with someone signing to the music so you can learn it! Sure beats trying to learn sign from a book; I remember being a Primary kid, and our leader trying to teach us from a piece of wasn't pretty. Funny how I still remember how unprepared she was.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Snow day in the desert!

We've lived in the high desert of Arizona for almost four years now, and we've gotten a couple dustings of snow since moving here. This, however, was our first really good snow day. We woke up to about three inches of snow everywhere, and it was still snowing! Mason and Bree were so excited--they've never played in the snow in their lives, which, frankly, is a little sad. I bundled them up as best as I could without proper snow gear. They have coats, but no boots or snow pants or gloves. So we did the plastic bag thing over their feet, and vinyl gloves over Bree's mittens (Mason wouldn't allow those). We probably spent as much time prepping for the play time as we actually spent in the snow! They got a kick out of the snowman--I was so excited that we had enough snow on our little patch of lawn to make a decent one. All day long Mason kept pointing out the window saying "So-man!" All in all, a pretty fun snow day. And beautiful too! The snow stuck around all weekend in fact, and wreaked just enough havok so that we were without phone or internet for almost a week. We're just thankful for cell phones, and at least we had electricity!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Reading Challenge Update

I haven't been reading as quickly as I'd hoped. Maybe if I set a goal to read one book a week, in addition to the children's books I read to my kids. Right now, I stand at 21.1 points:
  • 1.1 points for reading 11 picture books
  • 10 points for City of Bones, a book that takes place in a city I'd like to visit (New York)
  • 10 points for City of Glass, a book about war (okay, so it's fantasy war, but still war)
The whole point of this challenge is to get me to branch out into genres that I wouldn't normally dabble in. Right now I'm reading My Cousing Rachel, a mystery first published in 1951. Then I'll take on David Copperfield, which, at more than 800 pages, will earn me a whopping 25 points. And, since I've never read one of Dickens' novels before, I thought I'd start with his own personal favorite.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Right Now

Right now I'm SO over:

Diapers, diapers, diapers. This particular variety is the cheap White Cloud brand found at Walmart, of which Mason wears a size 4. Mason will be turning 2 in a couple weeks. I do not expect potty training to happen any time soon based on his level of interest in the little potty in the bathroom. Changing a smelly diaper this large takes rubber gloves and a gas mask. And although Riley's diapers are so tiny and non-smelly thus far, the soiling frequency is enough to drive me crazy. Not to mention that we figure it costs us at least $2.00 a day to keep that little guy's tush dry.

"Mommy, can I have a snack?" I hear this once an hour. Do I not feed you enough? Is your stomach seriously that small?

Chad, when Riley is crying: "Do you think he needs to be changed? Does he need to be fed?" Gee, let me turn on my x-ray vision/ESP to look through the bedroom wall into the baby's diaper, and simultaneously read his mind to ascertain the reason behind the crying.

Laundry. I can no longer get by doing laundry once a week. And I hate to fold laundry. Wait, let me re-phrase that: I hate to fold little tiny clothing in massive quantities. What's the point? Bree is always changing her outfit, and the other two spill, spit up, or in some other way soil their clothes so frequently, that the hamper fills much too quickly for my liking.

Insurance companies. Ours is threatening to not pay for the kids' last Rabies shots, which are very expensive. Maybe they think preventing our kids from getting Rabies is optional...

Right now I'm into:

Princess Cake and Cookie flavoring. I have finally found how to make my cookies taste just like the ones I crave from Subway! This is it. I bought some online, at the advice of my chef-friend, and this flavoring truly does the trick. I just replaced half of the vanilla called for in my White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookie recipe, and voila! I'm in love.

My new phone. I was never big into text messages in the past, but now for some reason I can't resist flipping out that cute little keyboard and sending someone a message. Plus, it's red. Gotta love cell phone companies and the way they hook you for two more years with a new phone.

Using the pressure cooker my parents got me for Christmas. Yesterday I cooked a lemon-herb chicken and potato dinner in 8 minutes. Gotta love that.

Exercising with the Wii Fit Plus. Chad and I have an ongoing competition to see who can maintain top score on the Hula Hoop challenge.

Preschool with Bree and her friend Calan. Here's a snippet from their conversation today as they traced their K's:
Calan: "Why do you always say we have to dance together?"
Bree: "Because you're the prince and I'm the princess."
Calan: "Well, I don't really like dancing."
Bree: "Well I do."
Calan: "I don't."

Monday, January 18, 2010

7 Weeks

Riley smiled at me today! I'm pretty sure smiling at 7 weeks beats my other kids and their smile-stinginess. Now if he would just hold that smile still for the camera...

New Calling

Yesterday was my second Sunday as our ward's Primary Chorister. Oh boy; I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. So far it's been going well. I've been in the Primary for several months now, teaching the 5-year-old class, so I'm at least familiar with the ins and outs of what goes on during Singing time. The woman who was chorister before me had been in the calling for like four years, and she was great at it. Being up there was like second nature to her, and the kids always had fun. I hope I can make singing time as fun as she did!

This month the kids are learning the song "I Know that My Savior Loves Me," which is a beautiful song from the Friend magazine. They already knew the first verse before I got to them, so teaching them the second verse was a breeze, and they caught on right away. And they're practicing "I'm Trying to be Like Jesus" with the sign language for Sacrament meeting on January 31st. The kids are so sweet and eager to help me as I'm learning the ropes. And the other Primary leaders are super-helpful, especially when I'm busy up front and Riley wants to be held. I really love the Primary music, so I know I'm going to enjoy this new calling, even if I might feel overwhelmed for a while!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Another clone?

I've been thinking that Riley looks a lot like my other babies did. But after reviewing the evidence closely, I'm not so sure. These pictures were taken when each of my kids were four to six weeks old. Bree and Mason are virtual clones of each other (aside from the old man hair Mason started out with). But maybe Riley will a little different. Maybe his hair will stay brown; and his eyes could stay blue. Well, at least we know the chin is here to stay.

Riley's Many Faces

Riley at almost six weeks old.
Nose, ears, eye shape, hair color: mine.
Cheeks, mouth, eye color, chin, scowl: Chad's.
January 10th, 2010.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Back in the swing of things

This week I'm back in the kitchen, trying new recipes and loving it. I presented the family with four new dishes. Two were from a Campbell's Soup cookbook that my grandma gave us for Christmas (Ham and Cheese Noodle Bake and Chicken Broccoli Divan). One was Pork Scaloppini from Cook's Country Magazine. And my favorite of the week was the French Onion Salisbury Steak from a free copy of Cuisine at Home that I got in the mail. Usually I hate it when I get junk mail from companies that obviously got my info from a source that I thought I could trust. But in this case I was thrilled to get a great magazine filled with cooking tips, recipes, and no ads! Anyway, I found the recipe here on Recipezaar. I served it over garlic potatoes since Chad is not a fan of soggy toast, and we decided to mash the potatoes next time. Just make sure you use low-sodium broth, or cut back on the salt in the sauce. And I found the parsley on the top a little much, so I'd cut out the green garnish. But 5 stars on French onion flavor! And bonus: I made my own "ground" chuck with my new food processor and some chuck roast I got on sale. Amazingly enough, Chad's favorite recipe of the week was the Chicken Broccoli Divan: cooked chicken, broccoli, Campbell's Broccoli Cheese Soup, Milk, and sharp cheddar on top. I was all, "Seriously? THAT was your favorite? I made that because I was feeling lazy." So he's easy to please. Frustratingly so.

On an unrelated note, we've started the new year with a bang, getting check-ups left and right. Dentist: no cavities. Rheumatologist: Chad tested negative for rheumatoid arthritis (although he's got some signs of arthritis in this fingers). Family doctor: Riley is a healthy and CHUBBY boy--11 pounds!!! I can't believe he gained almost 4 pounds and 2 inches in a month! That puts him in the 70th percentile for weight, which is totally new for us. Bree and Mason were lucky to pass the 15th percentile mark!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2010 Reading Challenge

I ran across this book challenge on The Brambler blog, and I am going to go for it and see how many points I can rack up! Join me?

Rules: First book to count for any category has to be a new book to you. Rereads only count after you’ve completed the category. One book counts for one category even if it could fit into multiple categories. No double-counting a book.

.1 Points (Meaning 1/10 of a point)
1) Picture books

.5 Points (Meaning 1/2 a point)
1) Easy reader books/children's books under 100 pages

5 Points
1) Author to match every letter of the alphabet (Last names, that is. And 5 points for every book.) * x: You get a free five points for x. Make that 15 points if you actually find an author whose last name starts with x. :)
2) Retold fairy tale
3) A book written between 1951 and 2009
4) Throwaway category – Any book that doesn’t fit in any other category.

10 Points
1) A book you own you haven’t read yet
2) A book with a body of water in the title (river, ocean, lake…)
3) A book with a Title in the title (The Count of Monte Cristo)
4) A book with a plant in the title (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn)
5) A book set in a place you’ve wanted to visit/have visited
6) A book with a movie adaptation. Read it, then watch the movie.
7) A book written between 1776 and 1850.
8) A book written between 1851 and 1900.
9) A book written between 1901 and 1950.
10) A book about war.

15 Points
1) A book from the London Times' Best Books of the Decade list. (Can look at either or
2) A book about science
3) A book about American History
4) A book about language/writing
6) A book by a Goodreads author
7) A book written in 2010.

25 Points
1) A book with over 550 pages
2) A book you’ve been meaning to read for years (maybe have even started), but haven’t gotten around to finishing yet.
3) A book about a political figure/politics
4) A book written before 1776.

Looking back.

1. What did you do in 2009 that you had never done before?
Remodeled and camped in my own camping trailer
2. Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions and do you intend to make any for 2010?
I never make measurable resolutions at New Year's. I do, however, make concrete goals during the year, and I think I did pretty well with those.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Me, Jaime, Mackenzie.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Not really, unless you count my parent's dog.
5. What countries did you visit?
6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you didn't have in 2009?
Fruit trees and berry bushes. A day to play in the snow.
7. What dates will be etched into your memory from 2009 and why?
December 1st: Riley's birth date.
8. What is your biggest achievement of the year?
Natural childbirth. Hands down.
9. What is your biggest failure?
Asking to be released from a calling. Sort of felt like failure.
10. Did you suffer any illness or injury?
Nothing major; just the routine gastroenteritis and sinusitis.
11. What is the best thing you bought?
LCD TV and computer tower for the living room. And the Suburban and trailer are pretty cool (although we technically didn't buy the trailer).
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Chad's. I can be pretty difficult to live with while pregnant.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled or depressed?
Politicians and celebrities.
14. Where did most of your money go?
15. What did you get really excited about?
Cooking and trying new recipes. Gardening. Watching my kids experience the world.
16. What songs will remind you of 2009 and why?
"Oh Danny Boy." First song I learned in voice lessons.
17. Compared to last year...
a. happier or sadder? Happier. New babies bring happiness with them.
b. thinner or fatter? Gained 40 pounds this year. Only 7 lbs 2 oz of that didn't belong to me.
c. richer or poorer? Chad got a raise. Don't know if we're actually "richer" though.
18. What do you wish you had done more of?
Helping my kids learn. Poor things.
19. What do you wish you had done less of?
Watching TV.
20. How did you spend Christmas?
With family at our house.
21. Did you fall in love in 2009?
Yes. He's small, chubby, and has blue eyes and his father's chin.
22. What was your favorite TV program?
Had the most fun watching the Bachelorette, but that was because of Jaime, not the actual show.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate at this time last year?
Hatred takes too much energy.
24. What is the best book you read?
Jane Eyre.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
A great voice teacher right here in Globe.
26. What did you want and get?
A healthy baby boy.
27. What did you want and not get?
An annual visit to Disneyland.
28. What was your favorite film this year?
29. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
I turned 28. Didn't do much on my birthday, but had my first massage the day after.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A landscaped yard.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2009?
32. What kept you sane?
Chad. And chocolate.
33. What celebrity did you fancy the most?
I fancy Ryan Reynolds (of The Proposal and X-Men Origins: Wolverine). And his abs.
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Not much into politics. Mostly because if I were, I would be "stirred" to distraction.
35. Who do you miss?
Jaime. Adam and Heather.
36. Who was the best person you met?
37. Valuable life lesson learned in 2009?
Don't try to have it all. Just try to have enough.
38. What is the one thing you said this year that you never thought you'd say?
"So help me!" Who says that? What does it even mean?
39. What was the one thing you heard that you never thought you would hear?
The state is considering laying off police officers.
40. What do you anticipate will be the biggest change in your life in 2010?
The crazy factor in my house will multiply exponentially. Bring it on.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Eve: Streamers at "Midnight"

December 31st, 2009, 10:00pm Arizona Standard Time. Ringing in the New Year with the East Coast.

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