Friday, August 29, 2008

Go Ahead, Make My Day....

Before Ally left to go back to school, we had one more birthday party. We have had quite a few around here. The last one was a little party for me, and for Jeff. The kids added up some um...random numbers, and came up with what you see on the cake.

My real birthday is tomorrow, August 30. (Jeff's is a few days after.) I told my family that I don't need any more celebration. I am good. We have had all the parties, gifts and treats any one family can take.

I look forward to some phone calls tomorrow...and the next day. (Some people regularly confuse my birthday, and think it is on the 31st. It doesn't offend me at all. I like calls on both days.)

Blog pals, you too can make my day. Just this once come out of the shadows, and wish me a happy birthday! You can keep lurking the other 364 days, with absolutely no obligation...:)







Thursday, August 28, 2008

Someone Must Be Getting a Little Crazy......

This blog has a silly story about someone who doesn't even know how to put on matching shoes.

I can't imagine such a thing....;)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ally

Although she is not skiing in the Chilean Andes (see post below) Ally is feeling a little adventurous too....

Before:



After:





Someone help me figure out how to anchor the clock hands, please. The time is flying much too quickly....:(

Ryan Update

Ryan, in the Chilean Andes at Valle Nevado:







"I've never let school interfere with my education." ~Mark Twain

Monday, August 25, 2008

This Morning...



This morning, I got up to make a jello salad. And why is this news? Because I have only made this once before in my life....

Jello rarely even crosses my mind. When it does, I don't think of it as an actual food. I used to make "jigglers" when Ryan and Ally were little. They were more like art projects than snacks.

Plenty of jello has been served at my table....by my dear mother in law. I believe she makes more meals with jello than without. I eat it when she brings it, but now only after careful examination.

Once, she brought this innocent looking, little red jello number with a white topping, and I too hastily took a bite. It looked like something strawberryish, with cream topping. It was really (approximately) this:


• 4 pkgs. red jello
• 4 cans Julienne Beets
• 2 #2 cans pineapple (crushed)
• 1 cup sweet pickle juice
• 1/2 cup water
• 2 cups mayonnaise
• 2 bunches green onions (diced)
• 1 large green pepper (diced)
• 4-5 stalks celery (diced)
• 2 cups sour cream
Drain beets and pineapple well. Use juices plus pickle juice and water heated to dissolve jello. Let stand and set. Make dressing from remaining ingredients.

In time, I did recover, but I learned my lesson!

Last year when a woman from church asked me to make a jello salad for a funeral, I did it, but I warned her that it was my first one. She was very surprised. I guess it didn't turn out too badly, because it is the same woman who asked me to make it for today...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Yet Another Birthday Girl.....



Don't you wish you had a sign like this on your pool fence?

Ally loved martial arts in high school. She loved to fight. She didn't mind the bruises much, or even the concussion she got one night. It used to make me nervous sometimes, and I think she enjoyed that aspect of it as well. Somehow, she admitted to her friends that she liked watching "Walker, Texas Ranger" with her dad. It was awesome watching Chuck win impossible fight, after impossible fight. She didn't care about the lame dialog, or poor acting. She took plenty of teasing for this admission....

Ally turned 21 yesterday, and her high school friends gathered here to celebrate. While she was not here, they put up some Chuck Norris signs in the back yard. Hilarious! A couple of the guys skipped shaving for some days, to get into Chuck mode. I love this crazy, fun group of kids!



I learned some very important Chuck facts last night from the signs in my yard:

When the boogey man goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.

There is no chin behind Chuck Norris’ beard. There is only another fist.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Riley's Birthday!

Yesterday we celebrated Riley's sixth birthday. In our family, the even number years are family parties, and the odd number years are friend parties. Sometimes the family party doesn't feel like it is a friend party as well, but for Riley it really worked out that way. She is the only one of my children who has a lot of cousins her age.

We bbq'd some hot dogs, had cake and ice cream, and headed out to the pool. I love it when things are simple, and yet just right....

(The camera didn't make it out to the pool.)









Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Trivia Question!




Six! Six! I'm six! I'm six!

I'm six years old today!

Ya - a - a - ay!

I'm six! I'm six!

I'm six years old today!

I'm more than one.........

I'm more than two.........

I'm more than three.......

I'm much more than four....

I'm even more than five....

Can you guess how old I am?




(So, do you know what this is from? Did you have the "tune" to it in your head, when you started reading? Hint: Riley has never heard this in her life, but you don't have to be as old as I am to have heard this "classic.")

Happy Birthday, Riley!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

'Tis the Season.....

Yesterday we rang in the beginning of a very important "season" at our house.

Birthday Season!

We have two of those in the year....now, and about six months from now.

The summer birthdays at our house begin with PJ's birthday.

After we swam last night, we had a little cake for her on the patio. (Let me just say that a birthday for a dog is the perfect time to satisfy your curiosity about the inside of the Oreo cakes at the grocery store.)

We lit a candle, sang to her, and fed her a little piece of cake.









I remember so well when she was just a puppy. It was 1998, so it was Emilee I was trying to potty train. The last thing I wanted was a puppy. My dad's dog had this adorable litter of puppies, but I was not going to have anything to do with it! I am not an animal person. I wish I were, but I just can't seem to find it in me.

Ryan and Ally were 12, and almost 11. They wanted a puppy so badly. They made this contract. I wish I still had it. The glowing contract promised I would never have to lift a finger for the dog. They would take care of her every need. You think I am going to say that I ended up doing it after all. Not so! They were actually pretty good on that contract, but here we are 10 years later...

Ryan and Ally don't even live here any more! Luckily, Kaitie and Emilee have taken over the contract....and they even remember her birthday each year....

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday Morning.....

It was almost fun two weeks ago, getting ready for the first day of school. So much planning had gone into it. Outfits had been laid out the night before. There were new backpacks and...we can't forget...a new Hannah Montana lunch box.

The second day, it wasn't quite as exciting. Sleepy eyes did not fly open. I live in a house of girls, so the outfits were still planned and all, but the first day was...over.

Today is the beginning of the second week. The routine should be so smooth by now. The adjustment is past due.

Our family seems to be exhausted. We were so far out of structure that it is real work getting back into it.





This is one part of the routine that Riley is very happy about each day. She loves making her lunch. She is my first real lunch packer. (My preference is to write one big lunch ticket check for the semester, and have it over.)

The happiest part of still being out of routine:

Ally is home for a couple of weeks!!!! If you know me, and you know Ally, I don't have to say any more than that....:)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ryan Update

Ryan has been in Vina del Mar, Chile for two weeks now. Things seem to be going well for him. I do have some concerns that his face appears to be stuck in this expression:






I have received regular emails from Ryan, and a few phone calls. There are call centers where he can call for reasonable rates. The open communication does wonders for my peace of mind. He is having a really great experience so far.





I am almost positive this is the group of foreign exchange students. (I get confused, because he associates with a church group down there as well....) These kids come from all over the world.



In this picture they are having a boat tour off of the neighboring city of Valparaiso.

Ryan lives with a single mother, and her adult son. He says he finally has a brother....:) He seems to get along with Gladys, his Chilean mother, very well. He will certainly miss her when he comes home. She won't let him lift a finger. His cooking is all done for him...oh, and his laundry as well. When he offers to help, she doesn't let him.

Ryan had this type of experience at home only right after he got his wisdom teeth out....

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Yesterday

I had some company yesterday morning. It was a real bonus for me. My sister, Jana, brought her two kids over for an hour while she went to a meeting.

It was a different dynamic having them here, when Emilee and Riley were at school. I loved it. I got to have them to myself.

For a minute, they were quiet around me. They hadn't been here for a little while, and they weren't used to it without the kids. I put a couple of snacky foods on the table, and told them they could grab that whenever they wanted to. They made no move toward the snack, so I told them I was just going to check my email. I could hear the rattle of wrappers about two seconds into my computer time.

When I went back to the kitchen they joined me there, and the quiet was over. I got caught up on things with them. They told me about their lego sets, some ebay adventures, and thoughts about their upcoming school year. They start this Monday. They each got the teacher they wanted, but I learned about kids there who they like, and some other kids....not so much.

These kids have so much Jana in them, that talking to them is like a little trip down my childhood memory lane....a good trip. She and I are close in age, so we were each others built in best friend back then. I'm glad she's close by, so we still can be...:)





Lizzie wasn't too sure about the first picture, because she wanted to be smiling....but I really like the first one too. So, the first one is for me, and the second one is for her.




Henry was at the counter with me too, but he didn't want his picture taken there. He moved to the couch. I particularly like his expression in the first picture, but I didn't mean to cut his head off like that. When I managed to get the picture right, he didn't make my favorite expression again...but he is still being very Henry.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Today



Kaitie looks happy for her first day of school, doesn't she? There's nothing that scary about tenth grade, when it is in the same school as you had ninth grade....

I think her attitude was great, considering this picture was taken a little before 6:30 this morning. I certainly wasn't picture ready at that hour!

So. It was my first day home with everyone in school. Strange.

I ran errands all morning. I had the pedicure I have been needing for at least two weeks now. Not a bad morning at all....

I came home to post Kaitie's first day of school picture, and I felt sad. I didn't expect it. Although I tried hard to block them, the words of an old song kept coming into my mind. (I don't even know how I know it.) I did not invite these words into my peaceful afternoon. They barged in quite unexpectedly, and really overstayed.

Where are you going
My little one, little one
Where are you going
My baby, my own
Turn around and you’re two
Turn around and you’re four
Turn around and you’re a young girl
Going out of the door.....

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sisterhood

Nat invited me to celebrate some Sisterhood yesterday. (We wanted Jana to celebrate with us too...but we didn't get everything we wanted.)

In a funny twist, Emilee and Kaitie ended up at the afternoon movie with a group of friends from church, at the same time. Nat and I had our plans first, so I honestly didn't plan to stalk my girls. It was fun though....;)

Nat and I sat far away from the row of girls in the theater. Maybe we did that to maintain a respectful distance. Maybe we did that so we didn't have to share the amazing chocolate and popcorn combination. Maybe we did that so we could make any comment that came to mind. I'm going to go with the first answer....yes, that's the one I'm sticking to.

This movie is not graphic, but there are definitely sexual situations. I mentioned to Natalie during the movie, that while Kaitie and Emilee wouldn't want me to talk to them about it, that there were a couple of things I would be bringing up. I had to laugh when after the movie, my girls said they had commented to each other that they KNEW they would have to endure some "talking." Love it.

I liked the movie, more than the first Sisterhood movie. It's not amazing or anything. There aren't any awards coming up for it. It was light, and fun. That's all. I told Natalie that our next girls trip definitely has to be to Greece. Of course, that's if I decide to go anywhere with her again after she grabbed my foot while I was in the bathroom stall!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Glad to be Home....

The last three Saturdays I have been out of town.

A week yesterday, Ryan flew to Chile. He left from Phoenix. (One of these days, I will post a serious Ryan update. He is doing well.) We stayed over there in the Phoenix area until Sunday, for a baby blessing. My brother blessed his sweet, baby girl.

This picture was outside our hotel last Saturday. I just took it because it looked like Emilee and Riley had purposely dressed and done their hair alike, but they hadn't really looked at each other until we were outside:



We were mostly school shopping on Saturday. Since we were at Arizona Mills Mall, I took as many detours from shopping as possible. (My poor "shopping" girls, just do not have a "shopping" mother.)

Here is a picture of Jeff and Emilee....oh, and Atlas....at The Rainforest Cafe:



And the aliens I saw a couple of IMAX movies with:



That night we went to Organ Stop Pizza
with the gathering extended family. The guy on the huge organ takes requests, and seems to be able to play just about anything. I think my favorite was the theme from Mission Impossible. Kaitie and Emilee requested Phantom of the Opera. (Before he played it, he commented that it was the most requested music.) It was awesome!






Okay, my real favorite was the patriotic stuff, because that got to my mom. She cannot hold still if there is music she really likes....:) I wish I fully captured here how she was trying to conduct the full military band playing some John Philip Sousa:





I have written about the previous two Saturdays already. The one before last, I was coming home from camp. The one before that, we were at a wedding reception for a friend....with Ally!

It's been fun, but I'm glad to be home today.

Friday, August 8, 2008

08/08/08 (I Just Had to Type Out That Date!)

I am obsessed with something today, and it is not "Breaking Dawn." (And it's not all the eights in the date and time either.) Oh, I was obsessed with BD a couple of days ago. I finished it on Wednesday morning, and it has been nice discussing it a little. I wish everyone who is planning to get it read would just do it, so I can speak openly. Kaitie and I went to lunch today with a mother and daughter, and I was SURE they would both have it read by now. The daughter did, but not the mom....she better hurry or I might give something away!

But that is not my topic today.

I woke up thinking about being a parent. That should come as no surprise, since it is such a focus for me. I looked up an old talk from Dr. Brent Barlow (BYU Faculty) about parenting. I felt practically driven to do it. I'm not sure why. I guess I need a review.

I have heard the talk a few times, but it was originally given in 2001. The talk contains a lot, but I decided to share the part that has made the biggest difference to me. It is a little parenting formula:


Rules without Relationships = Rebellion


Relationships without Rules = Chaos

Rules + Relationships = Maturity



(I think he said maturity...but I couldn't quite be sure when listening to it again today. The message is clear, even if I don't have the exact word, that harmony is needed between Relationships and Rules.)

I think it is a common sense formula...BUT....it is not uncommon these days to see families that are overboard on the relationship thing. The children are in charge. Not good. Then there are the families who are so afraid to have the kids running wild, that they suffocate them under heavy rules and restrictions.

As in everything else, I am still looking for that elusive balance, that harmony. I don't know why I am focused so much on it today, but I am hoping now that I have written about it, I can get it sorted out in my mind.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"Do Not Disturb"




Can you see how much farther she is in the book? She has been instructed not to give me even a hint of the outcome. I don't even want to see what mood she is in when she finishes!

Monday, August 4, 2008

First Day of School

I can't believe it is already the first day of school, but it is. Emilee was up bright and early, to get ready for her first day of 7th grade.

It was very easy getting her off to school this morning. I wish I could say with certainty that she will continue to pop up like toast at the right time each morning.




Emilee is not happy about the "uniform look" that the schools have adopted. Her shirts have to be plain red, white or blue, in either a polo or crew neck style. Emilee will just have to express her individuality in accessories....that's just what kind of a girl she is....

Riley doesn't mind her polo shirt and uniform skort at all. (She doesn't have the color restrictions that Emilee has.) The only "accessory" she was concerned about was the Hannah Montana lunch box she recently picked out. It was easy to get her off to school too. She didn't seem worried about her first day of first grade.



I have so much more to write about, but I will have to get to it later.

For now, I will just say that my stomach ache is gone! Ryan has had a great beginning on his new adventure in Chile. He lives with a family (a single woman and her 20 year old son) in a nice high rise apartment. He starts classes today too.