Beauty Eludes Us ... Again

I was starting to get hopeful that *maybe* this would finally be the year that Ruby would start the school year without a funky haircut I'd given her, hiding her own handiwork.

I hoped too soon.

Somehow she got a giant wad of gum (from who knows where) tangled in her bangs right before church. We had only minutes to go, and I was under the gun. I grabbed some scissors and snipped --- some really, really short bangs.

Woo (as I was cutting): Have you tried freezing the gum out?
Me (holding a freshly sheared shock of blond hair + gum): Ummmm ....

Sorry, Ruby. I guess we're both at fault on this one.

Herbie: Dad doesn't know as much as Mom, cause Mom's older.
I appreciate that vote of confidence, Herbie, and it's mostly true. Except where it concerns getting gum out of hair.

Earlier this week, we assembled our 72 hr kits. It was really fun for the kids. They asked all sorts of questions about natural disasters, and came up with their own creative survival solutions and scenarios. Herbie, for example, suggests we camp by a stream while using our emergency kits so that we'll have water to wash our clothes.

But, by far, the most popular topic was the handful of hard candy in each pack. Moses was particularly obsessed with them, and asked us over and over again why he couldn't eat them right now, and what constituted an emergency.

The next morning at breakfast:
Moses: I dreamed we had an earthquake and a tornado, and we got to get our emergency kits and eat the candy!
A few moments later:
Moses: Mom, if you die will that be an emergency?
A living mother or a handful of hard candy? That's apparently a really, really tough choice for Moses.

Linus has a new favorite book: "Caps!" (Caps for Sale)

The first time I read it to him, he laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed at the opening picture of the man wearing all the caps on his head.

Of course, it only gets better from there, because the story includes monkeys, which are always hilarious. Linus calls all monkeys "George mon-key!"

We have a little boy Herbie's age on our street named Lincoln. Linus calls him Link-y.
"Hi-O, Link-y!!"
We also read a knockoff Curious George book this week where George and the Man with the Yellow Hat visit Mt. Rushmore. Linus was having a field day shouting "Link-y!" and "George mon-key!"

Penelope is going through several outfits a day. I'm glad she's moving, but she's collecting all sorts of debris from the ground and grass on her clothes.

Woo went to Boise this weekend to help an old friend pack his moving van. He worked his rear off and hardly slept so he could return late last night, just so I wouldn't have to wrestle 5 kids by myself in church. Thank you, Woo!


In Search of the Perfect Sofa

You may remember that I mentioned that I was looking for another sofa for the living room.

I've been looking on-and-off for a long time --- 2 yrs? But, recently I've been looking every day.

I'm sorry to break this to you folks, but in Utah we have something much better than craigslist (which hardly anyone here uses) called ksl.com.

It's awesome because all pictures are shown on the front page, in-line, and you can just scroll down and see what people are offering.

It's not awesome when you're looking for a sofa, because this is Utah, and not many people appear to have bought a decent looking sofa in the first place.

used sofa ads classifieds
After looking at this kind of stuff day after day for a couple of weeks, I think you can see how I was starting to get a bit discouraged.

Maybe if I was a wizard with reupholstery (just so-so), and if I were made of time (not right now), I could whip one of those up into something I could be happy with, but I don't see it in my immediate future.

I started to wonder if a sofa even existed that I could just buy and immediately love.

That search led me to this lovely sofa:

home decorators emma sofa
I really would love a tufted sofa, and at $599 (plus $160 shipping), this was the cheapest I could find. From my tufted couch searches, I understand this to be a pretty good price, but when you go into it expecting to pay no more than $100, $760 is a bit hard to swallow (okay, really hard).

So, I guess I'll just keep searching ksl.com, until I happen upon $1000, and can think of nothing better to do with it. (Not likely --- just think of all that character I'm building!!)

And if I get a $2000 windfall, I'm buying this one:

home decorators greenwich sofa
What are your criteria for buying a couch? Price? Comfort? Design? And do you think a couch is something worth splurging on?



Odds & Ends

little boy running suspenders instagram
A missionary was speaking in church, and I leaned over to Moses,
Are you going to be a missionary when you get older, Moses?
(That's something a good mom would ask, right? Not a cloying mom?)

And Moses was instantly irritated.
I'm a kid missionary NOW, Mom!

little boy blue three piece suit instagram
Herbie and Moses got to visit some neighbors who take their slip-n-slide much more seriously than we do.

slip slide water slide little boys instagram
Ruby started a bottle cap collection and invented a game to be played with them.

bottle cap collection game instagram
You may think that Ruby's about to take out the recycling. Don't be fooled. That's a robot of her own invention.

little girl homemade robot instagram
Penelope is now more comfortable on the go. She seems to be a little nervous sitting still for a picture.

baby girl dress instagram
And she doesn't stay there long.

kids ready for church instagram
Linus had hand, foot and mouth disease this week, and was not a happy camper for a lot of the week.

little boy crying on beach instagram
Having his picture taken made him really mad.

little boy tie instagram
Ruby (reading the back of something): It's made in China.

My favorite place!

Me: Oh yeah??

Herbie: My favorite place is California!

Ruby: Mine's really Arizona ...

Moses: Mine's Disneyland!
They've never been to any of those places. But speaking of travel, Woo tracked himself mowing the lawn.

mow lawn gps track instagram
I think he was trying to see how far he was walking mowing our 1/2 acre of lawn. It didn't turn out to be very accurate. As you can see, it looks like he mowed through our house.

kids shoes park instagram

And lastly, did your kids leave some shoes in the park? Because my kids found them.


Dear Cheltz

Today I'm posting something different. I recently had a friend ask me a mothering question, and after I'd written it, I realized I should post it.

Maybe some of you have the same question, and also, it'd be nice to use that writing time to kill two birds with one stone.

Back to our regularly scheduled program next week.

May I ask you in all seriousness, how do you manage mothering so many kids? I always feel like I am doing a bad job with my two. I really am asking. Do you have any secret hints or tips?

Mine both want my attention all of the time, and I never seem to have enough time in the day.

You're flattering me, plus it's all an illusion :). I was pretty depressed and frustrated (and feeling pregnancy-yuck) today at how I'm too tired to do pretty much anything, and it will be a year until I feel good again. It didn't help that we visited a friend who's doing amazing things with her yard, and I can barely keep on top of the laundry.

I had planned to make frozen pizza for dinner tonight because all I wanted to do was curl into a ball and hide, and when I went down to the freezer, I saw that I'd removed the 4 Costco pizzas (we'd bought on sale) to get the hamburger buns out a few days ago, and forgot to put them back.

They were all moldy.

I sat down on a bucket in the basement and cried for a little bit.

Now after that tale of woe, I will admit that my kids are pretty good at entertaining themselves. I don't know exactly what it is, but I have a few ideas that I'll tell you.

1. I have never made myself responsible for their entertainment. Even as little babies, when they get grouchy, I don't try to find something exciting to keep them quiet. I immediately put them in bed because for me grouchy=tired (never bored).

2. We have a daily routine. When Ruby was a toddler and Herbie was a baby, I sat down and wrote down the things I wanted to do with my kids daily, and when we were going to do it.

I'm not a nazi about it. We don't do it on weekends. We scrap it if something comes up. I change it up every couple of months for the seasons, new kids, variety, etc. Also, they have plenty of free time, it just happens at about the same time everyday.

This helps because my kids know almost every day we're going to get up, eat breakfast, do chores, and then they can play outside! (They are more than happy to get away from me at that point :). We eat lunch and then I read stories, and on and on.

If a kid asks me to read a story (for example), I can just say, "Sure, for story time. Put it on the couch." I think that they feel comfortable in knowing when they get my time, and when they get
to play by themselves, so that they don't feel like either one is in short supply.

3. I try to have them do as much as they can for themselves. I leave snacks I approve of within their reach, have taught everyone 4 and up how to make a sandwich, there's a bench in front of the sink, etc. If they say, "I'm hungry," I can say, "Eat a carrot. Make a sandwich."

Even if I do all those things above, there are a couple of situations, where they are unable to entertain themselves.

1. They don't get enough sleep. I try to get ALL of them (ages 7-1) sleeping 11-12 hrs a night. And I leave them all in bed 12 hours. We used to do 8-8, but now do 7-7 because of school, and never changed back for summer.

They are SO much better at entertaining themselves (and getting along with each other), if they get all their sleep, and we get 4 hours without them every night!

Plus, I have all my children not yet in Kindergarten nap. I nap with them, and my older two have "quiet time," where they read to themselves.

2. They watch TV or play on the iPad or whatever. We actually only let our kids watch a movie once a week, and do other media very rarely. The day they watch the movie? They often have a hard time entertaining themselves afterwards, but because of our other stuff (above), I can say, "You need to be outside right now." or "You need to be reading a book right now." or "GO OUTSIDE!!" if it's a bad day :).

We once tried having our weekly movie before they went to bed, and noticed they had a hard time falling asleep. Weird. They're quiet while doing it, but also riled up and unable to be quiet within themselves afterwards? I don't know what it is.

We have friends who cut their kids movie/tv time down to one show, once a week and were amazed at how well they could entertain themselves (after a couple of hard? days of transition :).

I forgot to write the following to my friend, but there is a number 3 here.

3. Recovering from too much excitement. Life happens, and there are going to be times where you're traveling, or family's visiting, holidays, illness, etc. I find that for a week or so (or more depending on the extent of the excitement) after these things, the kids have a hard time. I try to be patient, concentrate on making sure they get their sleep and wait. Everything will settle back to normal.

If your every day life is too exciting for little kids, it will take a toll on you and them. Consider what you can do to calm it down.



Happy Birthday Woo and Penelope!

All of the kids get really excited for anyone's birthday, and Moses was easily the most excited person in the family for Woo and Penelope's birthday.

He wrapped up several toys from the playroom in blankets and presented them to Woo.

presents wrapped in blankets instagram
And Woo did a great job of being excited about or interested in every single one.

dad opening presents from yound son instagram
Moses was feeling all kinds of warm fuzzies, and even did a happy dance, that I unfortunately missed on camera.

dad and little boy hug instagram
Herbie also lost his tooth that morning.
Herbie: I'm going to let Dad have my tooth for the day.
We don't do a whole lot for 1 yr olds in our family. Penelope did get a slice of cake with a candle, and I was pretty confident that I had that candle out of her reach.

baby girl cake one candle birthday instagram

But she exceeded my expectations. Again.

baby girl grabbing cake and candle instagram
Happy Birthday, little Lopey-Lope!

baby girl eating cake instagram
We also went to the children's museum, which was having a free day.

boy and girl riding toy horse instagram

Ruby played for half the time in the little school room, meticulously copying anything that the kid/s playing teacher wrote on the blackboard.

little girl at desk instagram fuzzy
Herbie milked the cow, and then settled in for a good book in costume in the front seat of the firetruck. I think he was the only kid in the whole place to even pick up a book.

little boy milking pretend cow and reading on firetruck instagram
Linus and Moses were the happiest playing with the trains and cars.

little boy at train table instagram
Driving home up the canyon, Moses exclaimed,
Mom! I saw an elf!

Me: You did? What was it doing?

Moses: Getting behind some bushes so no one would see it.

But I saw it.

Herbie (knowingly): I saw it.

Moses: Oh, you guys saw it too??
Hmmmmm ...

My week was good in that I got a steal of a deal on a new rug.

purple living room brown vintage couch grey floral rug instagram
Bad, in that I was super tired.
Me (lying on the couch, taking a break): Do you think you could make my bed, Herbie?

Herbie: I can try!
And sprints to the bedroom.
Ruby (very upset): I want to make your bed! I'm better! Herbie will make it all crumpled and stuff!

Me: Well, let's let Herbie try, and then you can straighten out the wrinkles later.

Ruby (satisfied): Ok.
wrinkled bed instagram
(We had to leave before Ruby actually got a chance, but I declared it --- Good Enough!)

I should add a disclaimer. My kids are not always this excited to help. Just when it's an exciting, new chore that I don't usually let them do by themselves (like make my bed, of course!!)