Friday, October 31, 2008

She's Off to BE the Wizard.....

Riley is wearing an easy costume to school today. She loves this cape and hat!

Happy Halloween!

(Yes, this is her third costume of the season...)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Costumes....Round Two.....

Last night, we went to a Trunk or Treat at church. There was dinner, games and trick or treating through the parking lot. The kids enjoyed themselves.

Before we left, we took this Lava Girl Meets the Vampire picture. You may think that Lava Girl is looking worried because of the vampire, but really, she didn't like her costume. She expected to look movie-perfect, and when she wasn't the real Lava Girl's twin, she was unhappy. I worked on that silly thing most of the day. I was loosely basing it on this idea I saw online:

Bratty Lava Girl perked up when we met with Shark Boy at the church. She still wished we had ordered a costume, like Shark Boy's mom did, but she had some fun anyway. They are quite a team, these two. They have played Shark Boy and Lava Girl a lot during this last year, and it has been a cute connection with them. The real Shark Boy and Lava Girl look like this:

What Lava Girl needed was the amazing costume helper that Miss Vampire had.

My Aunt Gerry has been so great for helping Emilee with her sewing. Emilee's machine gave us some trouble this week, so Aunt Gerry ended up doing all the sewing on this costume. Here she is, all dressed for Trunk or Treat in her pjs.

Kaitie didn't go with us last night, so here is the kids, and my sister Natalie's kids. We didn't get a smile from the sweet, adorable cat, but cats that smile are kind of creepy anyway, right?

Nat called me while they were driving home from the activity, and said that Someone in her car...that's the way she said it....had just prayed out loud that Riley could get a different costume. It really cracked me up!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Family Home Evening, in October

Monday night around here is family night. This is actually something encouraged by our church....the setting aside of Monday night for family time. We take turns being in charge. Last Monday, it was Emilee's turn, and we had some fun.

You have probably seen these haunted house cookie kits in every store. It was a fun little project. (The black frosting made me nervous, but it didn't stain anything!) As you can see, Jeff and Riley headed up this project.

Close to the decorating project, Kaitie worked on another October favorite. Apples! Kaitie declined the opportunity to appear here with her creations, but those are her fingertips...

Riley popped over to the apples, for a little more decorating. After she covered her apple with candy corn and marshmallows, she stated, "I'm going to name him, Horny." Kaitie's look was perfect for October....horrified. I said, "Hmmm, that's one possibility, but he looks a little like a cloud too." I think that during the apple's short life, his name turned out to be something like Doodle Drop Marshmallow Cloud.

Emilee named hers, Spike.

There's no place like Home.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Casual Weekend

On Saturday morning, Jeff and Riley went for a bike ride. He rides his all summer, but she had to dust hers off a bit. As I was driving to pick up Emilee from a sleep over, I stopped to take this quick picture of them:

Riley still has her training wheels on that bike, but I'm sure they are coming off in the next little while. Now that the weather is getting nice, these rides will be frequent, and she's more than ready for that next step.

Also on Saturday, Emilee and Riley each had a costume party to go to, so it was round one of the costume season. I say it that way, because I think there will be a few different costumes worn around here for the various events that are going on...before and after Halloween. (I'm a little concerned about one particular event after Halloween. I have consented to some craziness, that is a little out of my comfort zone. I will write more about that another day.)

Here is Emilee as a pirate, and Riley as a plum fairy:

Kaitie and I shopped on Saturday, and it was fun. She commented that it seemed like I didn't really hate the shopping. I was in good company, I guess...:)

Jeff and the girls went swimming too. They had a great time. He got the pool temp up more than before. I haven't been too sure about getting back in this year, but we'll see.....

On Sunday, Ryan called from Argentina. He had a good weekend there with friends, and was waiting for the bus to go back to Chile. I am looking forward to some pictures, but so far all I have is the one here of Riley talking to him:

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Last Time I Dressed Up for Halloween.....I Think....

I think this was the last time I ever dressed up for Halloween:

Those sheep are in college now. ("And what are you, A SHEEP?" - movie trivia.)

Do you think if I leave them alone, they will come home wagging their tails behind them?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Now I Have a Face for the Name!

Today I met a famous person....well, famous in my family anyway.

One day, Riley came home from first grade, and announced that there was a new boy in her class named Hey Hor. I had an immature laugh about it, and assured her that his name was really Hor Hey, or rather Jorge.

Riley told me that I was as wrong as I could be, and we all enjoyed her sincere defense of his "real" name, Hey Hor. She likes to argue with me. She eagerly disagrees with me. It is a good thing she is my fifth child, and I rarely get caught up in power struggles any more. I did however, really try to get her to believe me on this point. I couldn't convince her.

A day or two later, she came home and told me that the name was Jorge, and not Hey Hor. I guess she had finally heard it enough times. (I heard it a few times today too.) I went to Riley's class today to help out a little. I enjoyed putting faces to all the names I have been hearing....but especially that one....:)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Six Things

Since I was tagged by Sabra, Alison, and Brenda, I decided to do this "six weird things" post.

1. See my previous post. I think the whole entry counts as my first thing.

2. I like blogs with the play list on the side bar instead of the I can mute them faster.

3. I have never, for any occasion, worn acrylic nails. I can't imagine that I will start now. I like my finger nails to be short, clear and real. (I do like pedicures and manicures...but I don't think that's too weird.)

4. In seventh grade I got straight A's, except for F in sewing. That curse follows me to this day.

5. I don't allow people to be near me or talk to me when they are brushing their teeth. Same goes if I am brushing mine.

6. I can't stand to watch shows where there is too pathetic of a character. I feel very sorry for them, and can't get into it. (For this reason, I can't handle American Idol.)

I tag Nat, and Kimmy....and anyone else who wants to play....:)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just My Humble Opinion.....

I just finished a conversation with someone, which triggered my memory of this post written about two years ago. The conversation I had today was pleasant, not uncomfortable like the exchange I describe in my just reminded me.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Today, Riley went to dance class for the third time. She loves it! I like taking her, but mostly just to watch her. There are several other moms over there. I don't know any of them from anywhere else. They are nice and everything...but...

I think it must be me. I don't like to talk about dance bags, shoes, or shopping. These are common topics. I don't even like to shop.

Today, they really got talking about how hard it was to find just the right preschool situation for their daughters. That's fine. Of course they want to find just the right one. Who can blame them? Who doesn't want what is best for their child?

Today, they were talking about how the local preschools were having more daily programs, rather than 2 or 3 day a week type programs. One mom said, "I didn't want her to go every day, but her teacher said that the children who go every day are learning so much more." This is where my mouth couldn't maintain her horizontal position any longer. I said, "Of course that's what the preschool teacher will tell you. It is easier for her to have them there every day." Five pairs of eyes stared at me. I continued, "That's like listening to the kindergarten teacher when she tells you that preschool is very important. It makes her job easier, but it's not necessarily the best thing." Five pairs of incredulous eyes continued to stare. I went on, "I don't do preschool. I don't think there is any thing wrong with it, but I don't think it is important. My kids have been at the top of their elementary school classes without it." You might have thought I said, "We aren't into personal hygiene. I don't think it is important," because I am pretty sure they all took a step backward.

Okay, I am exaggerating, but it wasn't the greatest conversation ever. Everyone was polite, but a very acute sense of loneliness filled my heart. Maybe that's why so many people do preschool, so they can be on the same wavelength as the other moms. I guess I haven't come into the 21st century. Actually, since I didn't love the conversation, I ended up sending text messages to Ally. That's 21st century enough, so it's not like I am stuck in some dark time.

So there you have it, my post from the past. I happen to have this opinion about preschool. I know that I am the one off the beaten path. There is nothing wrong with preschool, but I figure kids have at least 13 years of school, and perhaps four to eight more. The years tacked on to the beginning do absolutely nothing in the long run, and that fact is backed up by research...unless the child has special needs.

Often, when I give this opinion, people throw their defensive reasons at me. Silly! Like I said, I don't think there is anything wrong with it. I just hate to see people feeling pressured into it. The end.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Missoula Play....

A week ago today, Emilee and Riley tried out for a Missoula Children's Theater play. They rehearsed each day last week, and put on the play, "Rumpelstiltskin" Saturday night.

Riley played a Busy Bee. She is the third one over. Her job was to smile, sing with her group, and shake her stinger from time to time. She didn't really shake her stinger much. She said it was embarrassing.

Emilee was a villager, called The Big Boaster...also the third one over. She had a couple of lines to speak, and a couple of lines to sing as a solo. She did a great job!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

All the Ingredients for a Good Baby Shower

Yesterday was a combination of many good things. Like following a recipe, or a formula, when you put enough good things together, the results are great!

Here is a formula for a baby shower that worked:

From the left:

First, you need an idea person. This person is creative, and a good communicator. This person can be counted on to arrange for decor, and dessert to die for.

Next, you need someone to provide a place for the party. It is helpful if this person has cooperative children who are willing to mop, dust and rearrange furniture.

Third, and so important, is the beautiful expectant mom. You cannot go wrong if "Mom" is someone who EVERYONE loves.

Last, and not anywhere near least, is the friend who is willing to travel hundreds of miles to surprise our beautiful expectant mom, and share a good day with us.

See how cute the cake turned out? It was a gift from one of the guests....that she made herself.

As in many recipes, sometimes things don't go quite as you plan, and it is not guaranteed that the results will be satisfying. I was concerned that I might have missed inviting someone who should have been invited. I made way too much food. The gift I set out to get was out of stock.

The over all experience was too good to let those details spoil our recipe, and so they didn't! (But if anyone is hungry for some pasta primavera, or bread with artichoke dip, come on over.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Another Entry from the Past

This entry is a year older than the one yesterday. It is from Fall 2005.

A Little Negotiation.....

Picture from Hometown

The coloring on this picture is a little would think Riley had brown eyes. Her eyes do tend to take on the colors she is around, but they are not brown.

This entry should show her in a red shirt, but oh well, I made her change the red shirt this morning.

She put the shirt on Monday morning....nice and clean. It is a red t-shirt with long sleeves. She loves it. We recently bought it at Old Navy, which Riley calls Old Lady. How I love my little girl!!! I really bought the shirt to go with the monkey pajama pants we also bought, so when she wanted to go to bed in the shirt I figured it was no big deal.

Tuesday morning, Riley looked down and saw her shirt was a little dirty. She didn't want to take a bath, or change her shirt. So, she just turned the shirt around and wore it backwards. The funny thing is, I let her do it. She wore a shirt that was dirty in the back all of yesterday. When we went out, I simply put a sweater on her....

I am almost ashamed to admit that she slept in the shirt again. Forty eight hours of the same shirt. She really loves the shirt. This morning, I had to tell her, not ask her, when it came to bath time. She did not want to part with the shirt. Maybe if I were a stricter mom, there would be less negotiation in my life. My kids would know they were absolutely bound to whatever I say, or tell them to do. It's that word "bound" that gets me. So, I deal with a little negotiation.

Riley soon ended up in the bath, with layers of bubbles. The little shirt practically came to life and jumped in with her, I think. Well, maybe not so much that, but it could stand by itself next to the hamper.

When she was clean, shiny and in a green shirt, we were off on our errands. Yesterday, I deposited some unexpected insurance refunds. Yes! What timing! I have been wanting to send a video camera to Ryan on his mission, but it is really expensive to send him things. With the refund, the decision was made. Riley and I went and bought a camera this morning. Even though the store was packed, and insane, I was happy.

We stopped at a convenience store on the way home. Once a week or so, we buy a "Bug Juice" for Riley. It is a small koolaid type drink. I don't mind buying them for her, because they are small, and they come in a squeeze top bottle, so nothing gets spilled.

One time, Riley got a green Bug Juice, and a few people in the store spoke to her that day. She associates the green with people talking to her, so she never got green again. This is so funny to me. I told her today, that we were buying a green one. Her eyes got so round, as she stated that could not get green, "or people will talk about it."

She chose a pink Bug Juice, and I grabbed a green one. She froze. She looked around. She told me we couldn't get that. She was so sweet, and sincere.....and so funny. She's not even really that shy. She will tell people her name and age, and warms up to people at a reasonable rate.

Since I was in a good, and kind of free-spirited mood, I told her the green one was for Emilee (9.) But Emilee was in school, so I told Riley we could go get her out of school and give her the green Bug Juice. Riley agreed, and we giggled all the way to the checkout, the car, and down the road to the school.

I went to the office, and told them I needed to pick up Emilee for the day. The kids get out early on Wednesdays anyway. It was only an hour and a half early. I have a friend who used to teach school, and is now home with small children. She is appalled when I do things like this, so we won't tell her, will we? I don't do it often, but once in awhile, it is so fun. Emilee has been bouncing, and skipping ever since we left the school. Maybe there is a secret ingredient in the green Bug Juice, but somehow I don't think it was that!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Blast from the Past.....

I wrote this in fall 2006. Many things have changed since then, but some haven't! I think you will know what I mean....

A Wallet...A Textbook....and Maybe My Mind

Ryan has been on his mission in Mongolia for a year and a half. He says he feels like he is half Mongolian now....but he is apparently still half "me" too. I got an email from him yesterday (not his usual day to email) saying that he lost his wallet, and needed me to cancel his debit card and order him a new one. I am on his checking account just for times like this. He is 20 years old, and so I normally wouldn't be on his bank account, but he is pretty far away right now.

His expenses have all been paid, (largely by him) but he takes out a little money every month for extras. It is amazing how little he takes out, really....but the dollar apparently goes pretty far over there. When his bank statement comes each month, it shows him spending between $15 and $40 a month.

So I got on the phone with the bank, and got frustrated. I was told by the bank's fine representative that there was no way to order a debit card for another person. I explained his location. I explained that I was also on the account. I asked if I could cancel all the cards on the account, and order all new ones. She asked, "What would you want to do that for?" I said, "Because I am looking for a loophole in your policy." She said he would have to call and order it. "Well, I guess he could buy a phone card, and place that call," I thought...."Oh wait, he DOESN'T HAVE ANY MONEY..."

I was grateful for Saturday bank hours, as I was standing in front of another fine representative in about 10 minutes. I had the card ordered, and was back home in about 10 more minutes. I should have known the phone idea was no good. It will still be awhile until I can get him that card. I am glad this is happening this year, instead of last year when he first got there. I would have been so worried, but I know that he can communicate well and deal with whatever he has to deal with.

I would be frustrated with him maybe....if I didn't know exactly where this trait of his came from. I know the feeling of losing things all too well. I spent most of the week looking for a text book. A text book! It wasn't small, or interesting to others...not even interesting to me, to be truthful. I found it last night...after a whole week of tearing the house apart. It didn't make any sense for it to be lost...but yet it was. Now that I have it, I sort of wish it was lost again. I would be ashamed to tell you how much trouble I have had with an easy I won't.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Yesterday, Jeff decided it was time to start heating the pool. He is determined to keep swimming!

Jeff and the girls got me outside yesterday, but I wasn't sure about getting into the water that was supposedly heated. It still felt very cold to me, and I was happy to just watch the jumping game that was going on. I encountered opposition when I suggested that I wanted to photograph the jumping game. I had to negotiate.

In order to get a picture or two of the "cannonball express," I had to agree to jump in too. (I usually get in a millimeter at a time.) The "cannonball express" was the four of them jumping at the same time. After their jumps....I had to keep my deal. Believe me, there is not a picture of that one!

Kaitie didn't make it into this first one, but I included it because I love these "poses."

Here are all four. You should have seen the splash!

This is almost the splash....:) I missed the actual one, sorry. I had to move out of its way!

Now here is Emilee, coming over to bug me about my promise to jump in. There is my dry toe at the bottom of the picture. That is the only pool picture of me that is available at this time.

After this picture, I had to go put away the camera, and keep my deal. I walked around the pool for awhile, making a bit of a scene. They were amused at my pain...
I was told to try to jump into the warm spots....where polar bears had peed. Yeah, doesn't that sound appealing? I finally screamed, and jumped. I nearly cried from the shock of the cold water. How do I get myself into these things?

I actually stayed in for awhile. As long as I was numb, why not?

THEN, Jeff decided we should swim again at night. I knew I wasn't getting in at night, but the more adventurous people did.

We invited my two nearby sisters, and their families. The dads and kids had a fun time swimming.....crazy people!

I thought that the party might end, when it was time to thaw out the children. It had actually just started! The "man talk" got going in the kitchen, and so the kids got out the Wii.......

And the girls.....


I just love these people....:)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

THE MOST Amazing Story......:)

Riley has been obsessed with a loose tooth for weeks, and the only surpassing obsession has been the Tooth Fairy herself.

In the last few days, Riley has been trying to get me to tell her that there is really no Tooth Fairy. I have been, as usual, vague and silly when answering her. I neither confirm, nor deny....

Last night, the tooth finally came out. Riley begged me to tell her what was going to happen. I suggested that she probably should just try to stay awake, and see for herself.

This morning, Riley is one dollar richer....and full of THE MOST amazing story. She saw the tooth fairy.

She is about as big as a Barbie, with blond hair in the front, and brown in the back. She wore a silver dress, and she does fly. (I was wondering.) Riley also confirmed that she carries a sparkly wallet. Riley said she asked the Tooth Fairy if she needed help finding the tooth, but the Tooth Fairy said she could get it without help. (So she speaks too!! Who knew?)

Here is my little dreamer (?) story teller (?) with one more space through which to poke her tongue....

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dad!

The quality of this picture isn't the best ever. I took it in 2003, before I had a digital camera. But, the picture still captures the Dad I love best.

In this picture, my dad is holding Riley at the zoo in Phoenix. He is giving her a good dose of grandpa, and sharing the world with her at the same time. I have watched him share this way with all his children and grandchildren. I love how he is convinced that each one is the best and the brightest.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Our Weekend

My weekend started on Friday evening, in a fairly cold pool with Emilee and Riley. There were clouds, and quite a breeze, and I wasn't so sure about the whole swimming plan. They coaxed me in though. Now before you go thinking that I am a nice mom for getting in a freezing pool with her girls, let me assure you that I wasn't giddy with joy or anything. I think if you say things like, "If you touch me, I am going in the house," that doesn't count in the Nice Mom category. Okay, once I was all the way in and used to it, then I was kind of nice....

Saturday and Sunday were filled with General Conference. Twice a year our church holds a two day conference, and the talks given by church leaders are broadcast throughout the world. We can watch these sessions at home. There are two sessions on Saturday, and two on Sunday. Each meeting is two hours in length. Yes, that is a lot to take in.

I thought the meetings were quite inspiring, and I enjoyed them very much. I knew I needed to break things up a little for the kids though, so I consented to get back into the cold pool between the sessions on Saturday. But the sky was cloudy, and it was windy. Although I did consent, I didn't actually go through with it. I put on my suit, but I brought my phone. I told them I had some calls to make (true) and then I would get in. I probably would have kept my deal, but by the time I was off the phone, they got out of the pool. They were cold, and it gave them ideas....

Kaitie, Emilee and Riley wanted to do the cold thing a different way. They showered, and put their pajamas on. They asked for hot chocolate, and an extra cold blast from the air conditioner. I decided that we could afford to blast the a/c on Saturday, so I agreed to it. After all, I had previously determined that I needed to break things up a bit for them. I just thought I would be pretending it was still July, not skipping ahead to December!

The girls watched the Saturday afternoon session with me, wrapped in blankets and sipping hot chocolate. (Jeff wasn't able to join us for this session.) We haven't spent too many Saturday afternoons this way, but it was nice.

We have a couple of family traditions for the Sunday sessions of conference. We make a deluxe breakfast for the morning session. I should say, I make it. I try to deliver breakfast to each person who is watching.

I take notes, and type up a quiz after each session. It is not a very tricky quiz, and we have had fun with it. It is a competition to see who can win. Riley gets to be on a team with Jeff. She answered at least two in the morning, and two in the afternoon that her dad didn't know the answers to. I loved it! Everyone got this one right:

Emilee was annoyed by: (a) Kaitie (b) Riley (c) Dad (d) Mom (e) all, but d

(Most of the quiz is about the actual content of the sessions.)

Even Ryan and Ally got that one right. Yes, I'm a nerd, and I email them each a quiz. They humor me, and send it back. Can you guess which one is right?

We didn't even experience violence until toward the end of the last session, so I am going to go ahead and call the whole thing a success. What violence, you ask? Well, when a foot goes over the imaginary boundary on the couch for the 100th time, during hours of conference talks, people sometimes have to start fighting and screaming. That's all I've got to say about that.....

Friday, October 3, 2008


A month or so ago, Ryan told us he was invited to apply to speak at a conference that his university was hosting in Chile. This is the link he sent to me back then about the conference:

The theme of this conference was to be "The Role of Higher Education in the Formation of the Universal Citizen." He was happy to be invited to apply. A few days later, he was excited to let us know that he was accepted to speak.

This picture is from Tuesday, when he delivered that speech:

He gave this speech in English, as he was asked to do, but he feels like his Spanish is really coming along. He says that he is about ready to call himself tri-lingual. He used to say he was going to study French next, but now he is saying Russian. It will be interesting to see which road(s) he decides to travel.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Swimming in October......and a Note to Brenda

I swam with two mermaids yesterday. They had mermaid names, and they dazzled me with mermaid maneuvers.

AND they increased my gratitude for the ongoing summer.....

This leads me to yesterday's comment from Brenda...who wrote:

So my Dear Tina,
I have a question for you. Do you think our children remember mostly the good when they are adult children? Do you think they reflect on their happy memories growing up and forget the not so good memories?

Dear Brenda,

I wish it were always true that adult children would remember their happy memories of growing up, while letting the less than happy ones fade away. That is generally not the way human nature works. I have been both gladdened and hurt by what my older children remember about growing up.

That said, there are ways to help them remember the things that are good. You are doing many of them right now! The things you make a record of, in pictures, journals, video, etc. will have a big place in their memories. You know that is true, because the things we make an effort to record tend to stay with us.

Besides formal recording, make sure and verbally point out the things that are good each day. Praise the good work your children do. If something really good happens, suggest that they might want to write that in his or her journal.

Thanks for asking!


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

To Make a Short Story Long.......

This is kind of the long way to tell a quick story, but here it is:

Last Sunday was what we call Fast Sunday. In theory, we go without food and drink for two meals, or what is about 24 hours. We do this once a month. We give the money that we would have spent for food, as a fast offering to help those in need. Many people give much more than the total of those two meals.

This quote from Wikipedia is about members of our church and the purposes of fasting:

"Fasting is also encouraged for members any time they desire to grow closer to their Father in heaven and to show self-mastery of spirit over body. Members may also implement personal, family or group fasts any time they desire to solicit special blessings from God, including health or comfort for themselves and/or others.

Individuals can also use fasting as a part of their repentance process or to show gratitude towards God."

I have had good experiences as a result of fasting. I have also seen it drive children into dark closets, to eat as many cookies as they can while no one is looking. For this reason, my children are not forced to fast. I like it to be a choice. The guideline we have set up in our family, is that the children begin to skip breakfast on Fast Sunday when they turn eight. They usually do well at first, because they want to show how grown up they are. At the age of twelve, the kids go to the whole two meal fast. I know many families in our church do it this way, but it is just a tradition, not an official guideline. My kids usually do it just this way, but when they feel like they are fading away, they are free to eat at any time.

When we come home from church on Fast Sunday, I generally give the girls the day off from helping me prepare dinner. Sometimes they help anyway, to speed up the process. Usually they enjoy the break. After they eat, I'm happy to let them use their energy toward the clean up...and I have my break. It's a good system.

On Sunday afternoon, I decided to make braided bread. The girls usually like helping me make the braids. When I called out, "Who wants to help me braid?" I expected to hear an answer only from Riley, but Emilee came to help too. I was more surprised than usual, because she was already pretty irritated with the annoying sandwich-flaunting Riley. (I HAD put a stop to it, but you know those things hang in the air longer than you want them to.)

When we make our five mini loaves, which is our favorite, we need fifteen ropes. I used to make most of them, but the girls do most of them now. Emilee usually snatches bits of dough to eat, but she was a well behaved rope maker. When she picked up her first completed rope, she looked at it lovingly and said, "I feel like Edward, when he wants to eat Bella."

p.s. This is my 100th post!