Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One year ago...

I just had to post something over that weird head cake.
Last week marked the one year anniversary since Rachel had her last surgery. Can I tell you how thrilled we are to have gone one entire year without any major medical event?! (even before Rachel, we dealt with Christian cutting off the tip of his finger and several sprained ankles--much smaller, but still...)
She's doing really well. We're working on getting her set up with a specialized speech therapist, but for now the things that she does at school are a huge help. She is so close to saying a few words, but can imitate the vowel sounds of many words. Her sign vocabulary is increasing, as well. Her balance is improving, as well as her confidence.
One of these days I'll post a video of her attempts at speech, but I don't think it'll be very clear what she's trying to say.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Keeps me smiling

This is the third week that Christian has been gone all week, home only for the weekends. I'm about at my limit. But these two websites have helped me make it through. I've shared these with some of you, but they're too good not to share with everyone. If you need a laugh, check these out.
cake wrecks
seriously so blessed
Let me know what you think!

A little something to whet your appetite for funny:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Feeling Inspired--almost?

In school, we took great pride in the term "designer," as opposed to "decorator." (This difference is theoretically in the training...) I still tend to think of myself that way. My skill is more in planning and thinking up ideas than in following through. For that reason, we still haven't hung up more than one picture in our home. How sad is that?! In my defense, my kids went on a smashing-spree shortly after moving here, and broke most of my frames (not to mention the pictures inside) so I'd have to purchase a lot to fill my walls. I do have some things, though, and I keep holding off hanging things, partly because of painting, but also because---what if I change my mind later! I can't do anything unless I know its absolutely the right place to put something. I feel none of this stress when I give advice to other people, though.
Lately, though, I've spent far too much time searching through crafty blogs and I'm rethinking the whole designer/decorator thing. For all my designer-pride, my house looks so plain! I want a cutesy, decorator house!
I'm planning on making a cute growth chart like DeAnn did make out of a simple plank of wood and craft paint and cut numbers.....
I'm planning on changing the color in the girls' room and hand-painting flowers and butterflies as detail.
I have a wire clip-thing from Pottery Barn (we had an outlet near our home on NC) for displaying kids artwork and I can't decide if it would look best in the kitchen or near the kids' rooms.
I don't have any family photos on display and am in serious need to picture frame shopping! (Funny--my Mom is seriously addicted to picture frames and has more than she has pictures....)
I want iron-work for my walls...
I want to add to my Christmas decoration collection and start a Halloween/Thanksgiving decor collection. I want to make fun things!
Plus, I want to make a twirly skirt for Rachel (and maybe for myself...)
We have stacks of wooden signs left over from Kinderhoff that have yet to be stained.
I also want to be more of an artist and start actually using my oils and watercolors, pencils and canvases, that haven't been touched in years.

It all comes down to priorities, I guess. We always seem to have somewhere else to put our money. Maybe I just have to contain all my crafty-cravings.... we'll see. There's also the dilemma: make it myself, which may or may not happen and may or may not be cheaper, or buy something I love when I see it...For now, I'm working on costumes (super-heroes, princesses) and trying to organize all my art stuff.

Monday, October 20, 2008

School Pictures

I need some advice.
I've said before that its a struggle to get good pictures of Hannah. She likes to do "model"poses and make overly dramatic faces rather than just smiling naturally. Its school picture time; growing up this was a time of stress, but as a Mom I love it.
Here's Rachel's picture from this year:I mean, she's so cute and sweet, I wonder how she came from me.

Last year, Hannah's kindergarten picture was beautiful.
But this year, Hannah came home with this:Now, I know its not good. Is it weird enough to warrant retakes?

Also, just cuz its cute, here are the girls dressed like twins (they did it, not me). Hannah is even wearing Rachel's ear.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Potty Prize

Last summer we promised Nathan that when he was potty trained, we would take him to the AirZoo, an interactive airplane museum near our house. Last Saturday, we finally felt like he was ready. He loved it so much, he didn't want to leave (and I think Christian had almost as much fun--he wants to go again!)

Definition: Hideous

At dinner today, Hannah told us her definition of the word "hideous": the ugliest, scariest thing you've ever seen. We asked her what she thought was hideous, and she started by saying a ghost and vampire in a scary house. But according to her definition, she had to actually see a thing to call it hideous, so we asked her what she had actually seen that she would call hideous. Her answer: a tickle monster who's really big like you, Daddy, wearing a big white shirt with big black pants.

Tagged by Tiffani

Rules: Go to your 4th photo file, go the 4th picture and post it! Then pass the tag along!
This is from our last year in Provo--our entrepreneur year. Just after Christian graduated, we we involved in the start-up of a family business that made high-end wood products (rocking horses, etc.) but by the end, we were making kitch Mormon signs for Quilted Bear. We made some pretty cool things, and now we have boxes of things left over. My favorite was the "Lackof Manor" sign we made to put by our front door (and have yet to finish). Kinderhoff, LLC lasted for about a year before we got sick of poverty and got a real job, ending up in Baltimore. It was ultimately unsuccessful, but overall a good experience. I knew Christian wanted to try running his own business and testing out ideas--I thought it best to get it out of the way while we were used to being poor.
I tag....anyone interested?

Friday, October 17, 2008

I had to share this

Read/watch this.
This is probably the first time I've completely agreed with something on ABC news, although we did used to watch 20/20 clips in my MFHD classes at BYU, so he must be right more than the usual ABC folk.

update: In fact, just about every segment on 20/20 last night was interesting and accurate. A first! Take a look at the website.

This is why, when I consider who to elect, I look more closely at a candidate's character than the things they say (isn't this how we usually evaluate people in our lives?). Its also why I'm not extremely worried about this coming election--not only am I not thrilled with either candidate (although I am very clear on who I am voting for), I know that the President doesn't have nearly as much power as the public seems to think, so the crazy, extreme, or, elaborate promises these candidates are making are unlikely to actually happen. Here's to a Conservative congress in 2010!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Our new pet

Yes, we have a pet. For those of us who have heard us for years say we'd never get a pet, I guess this is a big turnaround. My kids love animals--dogs, cats, squirrels, birds, elephants, giraffes, bunnies, horses, and....worms. Yes, our new pet is a worm.Actually, do be more specific, our new pet was a worm. Because as much as my kids love animals, they don't actually take care of them very well (part of why I refuse to have a pet--cuz I don't know how to take care of them either!). Between Megan and Natalie and the neighbor boy, Bryan, my kids have become very well acquainted with bugs and creepy crawly things. After last weekend with all the cousins around, I found a 10-in worm crawling around my basement. I disposed of it. But the next day, Rachel found another (thankfully smaller) worm while digging around in our from yard. She adopted it. She gave it a name sign (and even spelled it out--Nal). She made a home for it in the basket on Nathan's big wheel, and gave it a bath (or swim) to clean it. She loved it (squeezed it) so much, it started gushing something, so she said was sick and made a bed for it. By this time, it was moving still, but not very much. Rachel also found a bow left over from Hannah's party and sang "Happy Birthday" to the worm--and Nathan joined in. By the time she left for school, I'm pretty sure it was dead, so I disposed of it, hoping she'd forget. She didn't. Rachel didn't believe me when I said it crawled away and was hiding, and blamed it on me. I told her to look for it, so its just a matter of time for us to have our next pet.
I still say that with Aaron around, and his canine teeth and puppy-ish crawl, who needs a pet?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Hannah turned 6 years old on October 3rd--yay for Hannah! Instead of actually buying her presents this year, we let her have a party. I did, however, give her the quilt I've been working on the for the past few months, and I think it turned out pretty well (and it goes with Rachel's). The party got a little out of hand. I don't know why I do this to myself--I don't like being in charge of things (Christian says I like to be "behind the scenes"--and its true! Please don't put me in charge of anything!). We ended up having 14 kids, including mine and the cousins, and I thought a few simple activities would be enough to keep them entertained. Unfortunately, during the party we realized that Rachel's bus was 1/2 hour late and I had to spend some time on the phone tracking her down, and then consoling her after she finally came home (she was so scared! She kept signing that she got on the wrong bus--actually, she just switched routes for the day). So--my attention was severely divided. During this time, two sets of kids got into fights--pushing, yelling, even a few punches! Happy Birthday! The things that were fun: Hannah loves friends and she plays very well; we made bubble cups again, and the kids always love them; bobbing (or, in Christian's case, swimming) for apples; and a yummy applesauce spice cake with cream cheese glaze and sprinkles.I'm taking a break from parties for a while!

Good Stuff: Why I love Poetry

From "Underground",
Under water grottos, caverns

Filled with apes

That eat figs.

Stepping on the figs

That the apes

Eat, they crunch.

The apes howl, bare

Their fangs, dance . . .
by Barak Obama, printed in 1981 in a literary magazine at Occidental College (quoted on americanthinker.com)

It just gets me, you know?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Just because they're cute

almost twinners

Rachel and Nathan are 15 months apart, and we've wondered for years when Nathan would catch up to Rachel in size--and its happened. Although Rachel is three inches taller, the two kids both weigh 33 lbs. Skinny Rachel, solid boy...I'm kind of surprised it took this long. Rachel is still the bully, though. Now I wonder how long it will take for Nathan to realize he can fight back...fun times ahead!
Otherwise, they're healthy and happy. We've been referred to a pediatric opthamologist to get Rachel's eyes checked. Its a reminder that our time at Johns Hopkins was less than satisfactory. Rachel's eyes were checked two years ago and she was far-sighted, but due to her surgery, the doctor wanted to postpone glasses (remember, Christian has had glasses since he was 18 months old). With all the other medical stuff we've dealt with, it was easy to put it off...so now we need to revisit her eyes. Without her hearing, its kind of important that she can see as well as possible. We also need to check out her kidneys--we started (at JHH) but never heard back from the doctors (the geneticist), assumed that we knew where we stood, and haven't looked further. Our pediatrician reminded us that for people with genetic deafness, there is often a corelating kidney problem. So--more to do, more to look into, and have I mentioned that I hate JHH? She also has another check-up at U of M next week, and is due for implant mapping soon. I'll update when I have more info.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Milwuakee and Michigan Mommies (and families)

What a fun weekend! DeAnn, Jonathan and family drove down for Conference weekend and, coincidentally, Hannah's 6th birthday. The guys supposedly took Friday off (but both spent hours on their laptops and cell phones--and Christian actually went in for a few hours...) and we kept Hannah home so the kids could play. We enjoyed beautiful weather so we could send the kids outside and they did really well together. On Saturday, we took the kids to the children's museum, where they played twister, built a race car, and experimented with magnets, among other things. The Moms and Dads watched a bit of conference, but its hard to get much out of it with all the kids running around. The Dads helped us try out Hannah's new hair-beader. That evening, we let the kids stay up for a movie night, and then after they went to bed, the Moms watched Iron Man while the men-folk went to Priesthood session. On Sunday morning, we used the online archives to select two talks for the kids to sit through, with a few songs and some question-and-answer sessions, then finished with ice cream. Mostly, just good fun and good conversation. We're so glad they came!
Check back soon--I'll be posting about Hannah's semi-disastrous birthday party, her finally finished quilt, and the kids' dr. check-ups.
Christian is headed to Mississippi this week--and he only bought a one-way ticket! Here's hoping he can come back for the weekend..... and wish me luck!