Thursday, May 31, 2007

Not quite what I had in mind...

Friday was the last day of school for Bria and Joel. Saturday I taught my lessons at Tuacahn and then we were out of there...off to visit family and relax for at least a week.

So far we've had a nice time. Except we all have the stomach flu.

Add to that the laryngitis I got immediately after getting here and I am just feeling lovely. I think my body was so stressed from all the craziness that the vacation gave it good opportunity to just let it all go. Which of course left me feeling like crud.

And who knows where the stomach flu came from? Perhaps one last hurrah from the first year of public school teaching. Or something like that.

Oh well...at least I got my IKEA fix yesterday.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Leaving a cute little trail of disaster behind her wherever she goes

Why is it that with each new baby I have to relearn all of the baby proofing tips and tricks? Not only that, but I have to reteach everyone in the house. Only Chloe is excused from not remembering because this is her first stint as a big sis. The rest of us must have experienced some sort of head trauma or something since we (mostly me) thought the house was sufficiently baby proofed when we moved in.

It goes something like this: You have a baby, and you go along not really changing anything in the house, until one day that baby starts to get around. Even then, it's not too bad...she just gets into the CDs on the bottom shelf and finds random stuff on the ground. So just a few lectures to the older kids about not leaving Barbie shoes and pennies on the floor, and we're good.

But then the army crawling little baby graduates to a full fledged crawler. It's still not horrible. Now she can more quickly get into the bottom shelf items, but mostly she tries to stay around you as much as she can (this particular baby has a healthy case of separation anxiety). You're still constantly reminding the older kids to watch it with all the Barbie accessories, but for the most part nothing is too alarming.

And then one day the baby figures out how to pull herself up. Now you're really in trouble. Because now she is knocking down picture frames off the end table, eating candle wax from the pillar on the same table, pulling out everything on the second and sometimes third shelves, ripping pages out of any books she comes across (including tearing out almost all of 2nd Nephi from your scriptures), finding pens and pencils left lying around by her artistic older sister and unwittingly drawing on herself and on the wall with them, thoroughly emptying the diaper bag, dumping out buckets of toys (even the tiny variety that you have so carefully trained your older kids not to leave on the floor), climbing into the fridge as soon as she notices it is opened, getting a huge kick out of pushing all the shampoo and bath toys into the tub, retrieving disgusting bits of trash out of the bathroom wastebasket, crawling under the desk and unplugging the computer, and emptying the shoe basket by the front door every chance she gets.

So you baby proof the house. Every day. And just when you think there is no possible way she can create any more disaster you hear her laughing in the bathroom. You go in there, exasperated at the older girls for leaving the door open yet again, and find your baby happily swishing her daddy's toothbrush in the toilet water.

Do you think I should tell Joel?

Friday, May 25, 2007

A series of unfortunate events
(or just my luck)
(or why am I so darn stupid sometimes?)

You may remember the brand-new scooter that Bria received for playing her violin at her school arts night. It was a great little scooter: Barbie, pink and green, totally sleek and girly. She practiced religiously for a few days and then she begged to be able to ride it to school.

So we let her. I walked along with the other girls in the stroller, of course. I was a bit concerned that we didn't have a lock for it, but when we got to the school and discovered only 1 of about 20 bikes and scooters was actually locked up, I decided to let it go. She happily showed it off to her friends during recess, but when Joel went to pick her up it was gone.

You knew that was coming, didn't you? So did I. I was uneasy about it the whole time and I don't know why I didn't just take the darn thing home with me after I dropped her off. So when Joel called from the school I knew that it was gone.

But there was a twist. Another scooter just like Bria's, but much more used, was left in its place. We initially just left it there, but when it hadn't budged after 9:00 that evening, we took it home with us so that it wouldn't be in danger of getting stolen. I was sure it was a mistake, that this girl just accidentally took the newer scooter and rode off into the sunset never realizing what she had done. I had written Bria's name on hers, so I hoped that someone would notice. Or, at the very least, she'd ride her scooter to school again and we'd just trade back. Right?

Wrong. Today is the last day of school and there is no scooter. I'm beginning to think it wasn't an honest mistake, but a dishonest way to get a new scooter. And I'm annoyed. At myself mostly.

And to top it all off, when I went to take pictures of Bria and her teacher this morning, I realized my memory card wasn't in my camera. Which was fine, since one was in my bag, except I didn't realize that when I took last day of school pictures of Chloe and her teacher. So, I took 4 cute pictures and don't have them. One of the downsides to digital cameras, my friends. Of course, if I was using my film camera, with my luck I'd be out of film and still miss the moment.

Unfortunately, my type of luck seems to be created by my lack of common sense lately.

Which is just my luck.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Drum roll please...

Okay, so my brother has wanted me to start a "money earning" (ha!) website for some time now and I finally decided to do it in all of my newfound spare time, especially on Wednesdays.

You may have noticed that I have been scrapbooking an awful lot lately. For a while there, mostly due to my pregnancy, Sophia's birth and a move to a new state with huge adjustments, I had basically given it up. I have since found a renewed passion for it and have even started submitting more regularly and had some things picked up pretty quickly, which makes me feel super validated.

So, I decided to combine my love of scrapbooking and my love of collecting random things that I think are pretty and make a website out of it. I call it Inspired Scrapping. (Actual address is www.inspiredscrapping.blogspot.com) Each month I will choose a different genre of inspiration (this month is greeting cards) and a guest designer (this moth it's Hilary, anybody else want to volunteer?) and scrap my little heart out.

Please come visit. Come be inspired. I'll be posting weekly challenges every Friday, too. So come pariticpate. It'll be fun.

Sorry for the shameless self promotion, but hey, it's my blog and I can self-promote if I want to...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Another new do

We were just getting ready to walk over to our neighbor's house to play games tonight when Chloe came running out of her room and said, "Bria has bangs now!!"

That didn't really register with me as anything to be overly alarmed about until Bria followed her out with handfuls of hair in her hands. I looked at her face, and sure enough, she had bangs.

I admit, I screamed. Out of shock, mostly. Definitely not at Bria, although I scared her enough for her to burst into tears, which is really what I felt like doing. I gave her a hug, asessed the damage, got the scissors to straighten it up a little and tried to not over-react (although I think that moment had already come and gone).

Although she did an amazingly good job for a 6-year old (not too short, and surprisingly straight), she is not pleased with how she looks...she doesn't feel like she looks cute. But, she does understand that she has nobody to blame but herself.

And,as I said before, it's a good thing that hair grows.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Just a couple of crankpots

Sophie has been incredibly cranky the last couple days, and frankly, so have I. And I'm just stupid enough to not realize that she is teething (top 2 teeth both starting to poke through) and that I most definitely have PMS until a couple hours ago.

Motrin is helping Sophia. I thought holing myself up and scrapbooking might help me, but I hate everything I created and I'm in just as sour of a mood as I was when I started.

I know that my PMS is virtually non existent when I am not eating sugar and following that yeast diet I once used to follow a couple months ago. So, this is nobody's fault but my own.

I'll start the diet again tomorrow and cross my fingers that I don't feel this way next month.

Please make me do it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Some layouts for you to love

Here's more of my recent pages:

different For the Pub ad inspiration 2 weeks ago.



Tooth Fairy For the Pub ad inspiration last week.



Make way for the Princess Just for fun. And yes, I am very into journaling strips right now. Possibly need an intervention.



I am aware that I need to do more pages of Sophia. I actually did one of her birth the other day, but I haven't scanned it. Probably won't, as it is a picture of me holding her for the first time, and well, who looks gorgeous after just having a baby? But, I plan on doing more of her very soon.

Monday, May 14, 2007

New do

For lack of anything better to write about (and I don't know why I feel I have to in the first place...if you look at my post numbers I've posted more this year already than I have in the previous 2 years. But I digress) I will post a picture of Bria's new haircut.

We went to get her hair trimmed and she insisted it be cut this short. I am not in love with it yet (such a huge change) but she is thrilled with it. Loves it so much that I'm very glad I let her do it. I would have had to draw the line at a mohawk, but I figure a short bob is cool. Easy for the summer, anyway. And, the great thing about hair, is that it grows.

Friday, May 11, 2007

violinista

It's only fair that I devote an entire post to Bria's amazing musical talent, since I recently posted about Chloe's artistic talent.

Bria is an incredible musician...she sang arpeggios for the first time (perfectly in tune) at the age of 8 months. Yes months. I was teaching a lesson and doing arpeggios with my student and she just started singing them. She started playing the violin at age 3 because when she was 2 1/2 she saw someone playing in Church and talked all the time about how she wanted to play. So we found her a teacher as soon as we moved to Arizona and started her the week of her 3rd birthday.

She has been playing for about 3 1/2 years now, with a couple long breaks due to moves (both ours and the teacher's). She is quite shy about playing for recitals and things, but she is doing much better. She played in the String Festival a couple months ago and received a Superior rating in her division. That's when she earned her sparkly shoes.

Yesterday, being bribed by a scooter, she played in her school's Arts Night. I am thinking the next thing we need to work on is not looking like she is going to die while she is playing. Hopefully I won't have to buy her a new car to get her to do it. Actually, I do think we are getting better and better at the in front of people thing. And amazingly enough, the certificate she got at the end is something she is extremely proud of...maybe that's all the motivation she needed.

Again, I realize I have extreme bias. But, is she not a fabulous violinst?

(Also, I apologize for the lovely back end view of moi, but Joel uploaded the video and didn't think to stop it before that!!!)

A pretty kitty and a beyooteeful butterfly

Tonight was "Arts Night" at Bria's Elementary School. Lots of stuff going on: Kids sharing various talents, the 5th grade orchestra playing, art displays by all of the classes, Bria playing her violin. Yes! She did it. Video coming soon. Well, as soon as I can figure it out, that is.

There was also face painting. And not just some person trying to paint little designs on the kids' cheeks. This was amazing face painting. She did anything the kids wanted. There were tigers and Spidermen and Frakensteins and rabbits and ladybugs.

And there was this kitty:

And this butterfly:

Aren't they adorable?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Artista

So, I know I've written about Chloe and her art a few times before. Not much more to say, really. So, I'll let Chloe and her pictures do most of the talking today.

This is Chloe about 15 minutes ago. She is always sitting at this table. She is always drawing something. The area around the table always looks like that. And, also, she is always stealing paper from the computer printer.

This is an ice skater, drawn last week.

This is a girl dancing to music on the radio. Chloe is very into ice cream cone clothing on her artwork lately. I'm thinking that radio is pretty cool, too.
This is a birthday party with 3 cakes, 2 pinatas and lots of presents. She just drew it for me 5 minutes ago. May even be what she was working on when I took the picture.


She just barely turned 4 years old. I know I'm biased, but I think she's incredible.

Don't you?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A layout

I never posted my layouts on the blog until recently. So let me know if you hate seeing them all the time. Also let me know if you love seeing them so much that it bring tears to your eyes. If you are indifferent, you may remain so.

Here's one from last night, there is a shadow on the scan, because scanning things is not one of my special talents. Scrapbooking just might be, though.

A case of the every days

Chloe has been really into watching the Electric Company lately. Remember that? Got the DVD set last summer and we love it around here. Easy reader that's my name....

Anyway, today while I was listening to her watch it, I heard one of the characters say that she had a case of the "every days" and that she just needed an "un-day" in which she could relax because every day was always the same.

And that's totally how I've been feeling. I mean, sometimes I feel like I am in the movie Groundhog Day, (and also, The Electric Company, apparently) except that I have seven distinct days that happen over and over and over and over again.

Monday: Preschool, grocery shopping, violin lessons, FHE, 24 at Matt and Ashley's.

Tuesday: Voice lessons here at home, Big cleaning day, Young Women.

Wednesday (revised version): Preschool, Early-Out Day, Group Violin lessons.

Thursday: NOTHING. I clean my heart out, scrapbook, waste time on the internet, read. Whatever I want. It's my day.

Friday: Catch up day. Big projects. Pay bills. Sometimes Scrapbook. Rent DVD. Date night. Go to bed extremely early.

Saturday: Up at dawn. Voice lessons at Tuacahn. Maybe shop in St. George (read: Costco). Nap. Family time.

Sunday: Church. Choir. Family time.

Add to that Joel's schedule of school, church meetings and Jazz band stuff, plus all of the things we do daily, like get Bria to school, practice violin, homework, housework, etc. And you have a picture of my every day. I know that it is a very loose schedule compared to some other schedules out there. I realize most people suffer from this "every day" condition. And I can see that I definitely have quite a bit of time to just let my hair down and do something crazy.

But I never do.

I am so looking forward to summer so I can do something totally wild. Like, I don't know, actually leave my house for something other than music lessons and grocery shopping.

I don't know if I can handle the anticipation.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Who knew?

We have blue shampoo for kids that smells like blueberries. And we have pink shampoo for kids that smells like strawberries. You'd think it wouldn't matter which one we used, but apparently I was wrong. Because tonight, while I was helping Bria wash her hair, I used the blue variety. And she totally flipped out...

"Why are you using the blue shampoo on me? I wanted PINK! Now I'm going to smell like a BOY!!!"

"No you aren't...you're going to smell like blueberries."

"No I'm not!! Blue doesn't smell like blueberries, it smells like hippopotamuses! And I don't want to smell like a hippopotamus! I want to smell like a sweet fairy! That's what pink smells like!"

And now I know.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Mad Bag: Making my life easier one toy at a time

This is my mad bag. Not sure why I call it that, except that my mother called it that when we were young. What, you ask, is a mad bag exactly? It is the place where all the stuff that doesn't get put away goes. And let me tell you, my mad bag is currently bulging with such stuff: Bria's jumprope, which is her favorite item as of late, nearly every Barbie in the house, a shoe, some clothes, several books, 2 or 3 ponies, lots of Barbie and other doll clothes, jewelry, Littlest Pet Shop animals and the list goes on. And on.

I haven't brought the mad bag out for a few years. But lately, I've been going crazy cleaning up all the toys that are strewn all over the house. I just decided I'm not doing it anymore. We had a Family Home Evening a couple weeks ago and I made them sign a contract, which is currently hanging up in their bedroom. There are several items on it, each with an attached consequence, all signed and approved by Bria and Chloe themselves.

So, I give them a time limit (and it's usually very generous) and whatever's left out once that timer goes off meets the fate of the mad bag. I've been trying to teach them how much easier it is to clean up if they only have one box of toys out at a time. (Our toys are organized in boxes by type: Ponies, Barbies, Littlest petshops, puzzles, etc.) That way, when you're finished, you just throw them all back in the box, put it away and get the next one out. No overwhelming sorting involved. What an idea. They're slowly getting it now.

I love that instead of feeling like I have to go clean up their messes when they don't follow through, I just bring the bag to the designated area and start throwing things in. While I'm doing this, they try to save every item they can by quickly putting them away.

The other thing I love about the mad bag is that it is the perfect "bribe" to get other chores done. If they successfully put a dish in the dishwasher, clean a mess, put books away, practice the violin or whatever else I ask them to do, they can retrieve one thing out of the bag. The last few days (the mad bag ate a lot this past weekend) they have been asking for jobs to do so they can get their favorite toys back.

And, there's one more thing that I like about this. I can sneakily sort through it while they're asleep or at school and throw stuff away. The stuff I know they don't really care about, but would absolutely protest if they saw me doing it.

Ah, yes. I love my mad bag.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

From the inside out

So, yesterday I was feeling very overwhelmed with the amount of laundry I had going on. I'm generally pretty good about getting it done in a timely manner....but actually folding it and getting it put away is a completely different story. And, for some reason, this last week kind of got out of my control and I had a couple mountains of clean laundry and also a ton of dirty laundry.

Part of the issue here is my daughters. My fashion-conscious, always want to look pretty, change their clothes about 30 times a day daughters. Seriously, even though Bria spends 7 hours at school in the same outfit, she still manages to change it about 4 times after she gets home from school. Consequently, their room is usually littered with clothes and I don't often have any idea what is dirty or clean. So I wash them all.

When I am feeling overwhelmed with something I tend to start doing things that don't seem to help the overall problem. Like when the kitchen is a mess with dishes strewn everywhere and junk mail all across the counter and the floor in dire need of a mopping, what do I do? I start organizing the pantry or something. For me though, it helps a lot in the long run.

So guess what I did yesterday? I cleaned out the girls' dressers. I got rid of underwear that is past its prime, I put away clothing that is too small, I threw away socks whose mates have been long lost and I even trashed a few things that are just plain worn out. I found all kinds of lovely treasures in the drawers too. Things like rocks, doll clothes, jewelry, books, dead dandelions (thanks Chloe) and tons of those stupid air pellet gun BB things that Bria finds all over the ground when we walk home from school. I hadn't noticed all this junk before because of the tons of clothing that is always in there.

So, now that their drawers are manageable, hopefully the laundry will be, too.

I was thinking about how this applies to so much in life...the scriptures tell us to cleanse the inner vessel first. In all my struggles this past year, one of them has been trying to stay close to the Lord in all the craziness. I don't know about any of you, but it is so hard for me to even remember to pray until the baby is down for her first nap of the day. Studying the scriptures often falls by the wayside. Doing the things I know I should in order to have personal peace and stronger faith just aren't happening like they should. I've committed to work on that. To organize that part of my life before I tackle the really big things.

Hoping that once my spirituality is better on track, the rest of my life will follow. Just like the drawers and the laundry.