Monthly Archives: November 2005

Ode to Pepe & Tribute to Joplin

I woke up on Friday morning and found it strangely quiet, but couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I got busy with the kids and cleaning things up for some company that was coming later that day. In our family room there is a built in bar. Seeing how as we are such big drinkers (very sarcastic here) we have turned the bar into our zoo. We have two degus (Chilean squirrels) named Bonny & Clyde, two turtles we call Fred and Adagio Oscar, a hamster named Dilly Dally, and a cockatiel called Pepe (pronounced pay-pay). I went behind the bar to get something and that is when I realized what the difference was. Our usual happy whistling Pepe was silent. Now that was odd, and when I looked at his cage I realized that he wasn’t sitting on his perch. Alas he was dead as a door nail. Lying on the bottom of the cage. I was rather sad, he was a great whistler and would keep me company with his whistling, in fact he could whistle better than I could. (Though that is not saying much). So we greeted our company with forlorn faces and sad tears (on the kids part, I’ll miss the poor fellow, but one less cage to clean . . . ) Dad had a ceremonious carrying to the garbage and we all bid our tearful goodbye reminding our children, “There are other worlds to sing in.” (From “Information Please” by Paul Villiard) I must say it is a lot quieter around here lately . . .

On a completely different note . . . My son loves Scott Joplin. Well, actually he loves all music in general, but his favorite is Maple Leaf Rag. All I have to do is play the first three chords and his eyes light up and he squeals in excitement and his whole little body starts boppin to the music. It is adorable. I must say my playing lacks though because I am so interested in watching what he is doing I don’t pay attention to my self. While my brother was here visiting he took some video, so if you click on the link below you can see my little man rocking out, just ignore the mistakes on the piano please. 🙂 Personally it reminds me of an old silent movie that someone put to music.

Jacob & Joplin
Jacob & Joplin 2

I have the video files on: Putfile

8 Comments

Filed under Children, Jacob, Music

The Peril of the Pears and Other Cooking Disasters

We make our own baby food. Why buy it when I can blend it, right? So my hubby this evening blended a can of pears for me tonight. Not just a small can, but a giant costco can. There was just one tiny glitch in the execution. I was on the phone. That should really sum it up right there. Hubby with important question + Distracted wife = Pear disaster. He looked at me, I looked at him. He pointed to the pears and then to the sink. I thought, “ahh, he wants to know if he should blend them with the pear juice or with water.” I point to the Cuisenart. Therein lies the fatal mistake. He was not thinking what I was thinking (are they ever? 🙂 ) He was thinking, “should I pour out the juice or dump it all in?” Now those of you unfamiliar with Cuisenart anatomy, let me give a brief lesson. In the center of the Cuisenart bowl is one of those little plastic tubes sticking up that you set on top of the base and the plastic center of the base comes up through the hole and that is where you attach your blades etc. We were using just a metal chopping blade that sat in the bottom of the bowl. I had previously told Paul that when grinding the baby food that it would not leak. So in he dumps the pears, juice and all. Quite instantly the juice overflows the center part and there is pear juice quickly flooding onto the Cuisenart, counter, and floor (which I mopped yesterday). Paul looked at me and I started laughing, and looked changrinned. “You said it wouldn’t leak!” I laughed even harder, “I hadn’t meant if it was just water or juice.” I teased him some more and he gave me a bad time and cleaned up the mess. (I think I’ll still have to remop though.)

After, and during, the pear episode I was trying to make brownies. I got everything mixed and put in the oven. I forgot to set the timer (gee I wonder why?) and so Paul guessed at a time and set the timer. When it beeped I went to check on them an discovered that the oven hadn’t been turned on. They were partially cooked however because the oven was still hot from the stuffed peppers I had cooked for dinner. So I finished them up. About 5 minutes ago, a good hour after they were down, Paul called to me, “Aren’t you going to add the caramel stuff?” AAAGGGHHH!!! I was supposed to add it before the brownies were cooked, guess I’ll save it for the next batch. What a night!

There is also the time when I was baking cupcakes I put them in the pans, realized I forgot the papers and shrugged thinking I’ll just bake them as is, then I realized I forgot to spray the pans. As I was scooping it all out again I realized I forgot to add the eggs.

Last week was actually the first time I tried baking my bread. I put in the warm oven to help it raise better, then promptly forgot about it and woke the next morning to realized that I had bread all over my oven.

One time when I was pregnant I fell asleep while waiting for the macaroni to cook and it turned into a strange kind of mush. As a teenager I set my mom’s toaster on fire accidently. I could rattle off my cooking disasters for ages. I just shake my head and laugh at myself. Not only am I a goofy when I am walking around, etc. I am goofy in the kitchen too!! At least I am blessed so that nothing terribly drastic has ever happened.

8 Comments

Filed under Goofs, Humor, Memory

Bread, Underwear, and Cracked Eyelids

I baked bread today and was immediately transplanted back to my childhood. Isn’t it funny how little things will trigger a flood of memories? I grew up on a little farm in Pennsylvania. I remember waking up early in the morning to do the chores. It was so cold in the fall and winter, I slept in my jeans sometimes because I didn’t want to put my cold clothes on before heading out into the snow. There was nothing better after smashing the ice out of the water bucket for the chickens then coming into the glowing warm kitchen and being greeted with the sound of the bread mixer and the smell of hot fresh homemade bread. Yummmm. I love eating fresh baked bread; I always have to make at least one or two extra loaves or it will be devoured in less than two days and we’ll have nothing left for sandwiches.

Ok, side note, I was just watching Amazing Race and one of the families who was afraid of being the last team to arrive was putting on all their clothes in case it wasn’t an elimination round. They saw another family arrive behind them and took of running with their underwear on over their pants and I was just laughing so hard because I found it extremely funny . . . I personally would be mortified to realize that all the world would see me in my underwear, even if I was fully dressed underneath, but I suppose that is why I will never participate in reality TV. At least they were clean . . . hee, hee, hee (sorry, I couldn’t resist)

Dorothy informed me the other day with all the knowledge of a 5 year old, and we all know that even at this age they know everything, that Jacob’s eyelids were cracking. I raised my eyebrows at her amused and asked, “And what tells you that they are cracking?”
“Oh, the lines all over his eyelids (veins of course) mean that they are cracking.” She said this all very seriously and I was trying my hardest not to crack up laughing. Then she adds as if to seal any question or doubt with utmost authority, “Elizabeth told me.”

4 Comments

Filed under Children, Dot, Humor, Lizy, Memory, Opinion, Personal History, Things Kids Say

Heroes and Cows


After blogging about each of my four kids I realized that I can’t leave off my fifth child. Okay, well I supposed he isn’t my child, but there are times when . . . Actually I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way. My hubby is funny, goofy, and often times a flat out cornball, but that is what makes him such a great father. He always makes me laugh and has a very strong testimony of the gospel, which is so important to me. He is my best friend in the world and he puts up with my corny moments, sad moments, “emotional” moments ;), and my crazy angry I’ve had enough of the kids moments. He is my strength, my love, and most importantly, my comic relief.

He is a funny guy. I think most people would probably think that we are just a couple of nut jobs. We “sing” to each other about feeding the children or other everyday activities in silly operatic voices, we moo (there is a story behind that), we yodel out the car windows as loud as we can, we tease, and play at the park (without our kids sometimes). Our poor children are doomed, they will probably be the poor teenagers that hide from their parents saying, “I really have no idea who those wierdos are”

Sometimes I think that it was a good thing that I was blessed with a good sense of humor. Not only am I a miserable klutz (I’ll have to write about that another time) but sometimes my hubby will start off trying to say the sweetest thing and something entirely different will pop out. Its that whole not thinking about how what you say is really going to sound like and it has given us a lot of laughs. I try not to tease him too bad. Probably the funniest moment was the story of the cow.

We hadn’t even been married for an entire year yet and I was pregnant with our first. (We honestly didn’t want to have kids right away, we had that whole wait at least a year plan and Heavenly Father obviously disagreed with us) It was toward the end of my pregnancy so I was probably at least 8 months pregnant and huge 🙂 . We were living in a small apartment in Provo, UT and because we had nowhere else to put it we had all of our food storage under our bed, so our bed was up on cinder blocks. It made it interesting being so pregnant getting in and out of bed. This one particular evening I had snuggled down with a good book on the bed and was just relaxing. Paul came in and sat down and suggested we had family prayer (I think I must have been looking sleepy). Well, there was no way I was going to climb off the bed and then right back on, I was staying. So we just knelt on the bed for prayer. After prayer I leaned forward so I was on my hands and knees and then Paul reaches over pokes me in the side and knocks we over (all in good fun). I kick my legs a bit and laugh and then Paul pipes up, “Gee! That’s just like cow tipping!” he immediately realized what he had said and clapped his hand on his mouth looking horrified. I of course have to take full advantage of the opportunity to harass him as much as possible and said, “You just called me a cow!” Now, keep in mind here that I found the situation immensely amusing and I knew that he hadn’t meant anything derogatory at all and was just trying to be funny. He looked even more mortified and shook his head and insisted that he had meant nothing of the sort and was apologizing profusely, so I looked at him sniffed and said, “Fine, every time I say I love you I’ll just mooooo!” and started laughing insanely. At that moment he realized that I was not upset and that I found the whole situation hilarious. We have been mooing to each other ever since and it has provided a great source a fun. In Jan. for his birthday we had a “cow” party and I made him some cow pajama pants. And then for Easter I had found another pair of cow pants that said “Got Milk?” on them. Seeing how as we were at the hospital for Jacobs surgery on Easter we wore our matching cow pants for comic relief that day.

I think he is an awesome guy and a marvelous father and husband. He’s not perfect but he tries to help and do as much as he can. He is thoughtful and caring and is always willing to serve and help someone in a tight spot. I could go on forever but I’ll spare you all 🙂 In short I think I’m pretty lucky and wouldn’t trade my life for anything or anyone’s. To my Hero : I hope you read this, “MOOOO!” 🙂

7 Comments

Filed under Family, Goofs, Humor, Love and Marriage, Parenting

Quiet Strength

I find it strange that my oldest daughter is the hardest to write about. She can be just as joyous as Emmy, and as funny as Dot, maybe it’s just that she is more complex and her personality isn’t sitting out there on her sleeve. Most people can’t believe that she was my huge temper tantrum thrower, she doesn’t seem the type now and thankfully we are pretty well past that stage. She still has moments . . . (but don’t we all?)

Tender and loving, her smile comforts and reassures; her eyes hold wisdom beyond her years. Unsure and yet so confident striving to stride in her Daddy’s big steps. Shy and reserved, and yet spunky, goofy, and fun. She thinks of others and is so observant of what they need. She makes lots of mistakes as all of us do, but she strives so hard to choose the right. I am impressed by her everyday. She is an example to me and keeps our family on track. She will not let us go to bed without reading scriptures and saying family prayer. A great big sister always watching out for her younger sisters. (though tonight she pulled a stunt that split Dot’s lip, Dot is okay, but Lizard felt terrible that she had hurt her sister. I think we are all over it now. . . drama, drama 🙂 ) She’s a fun little buddy to have around and a great little helper.

So, now you have had a chance to meet my four wonderful children. They each have their own contribution to make to our family and with each I have my own special challenge. I love the wide scope in their personalities. There is one major common thread running through them and that is love. Love is inherent in children, especially when it is encouraged and reinforced. They don’t complain about giving to others in need and always have a hug and kiss ready for anyone who walks in our door. I think my children are great and the cutest, funnest, best kids in the world. But then, I am their mother and it should be that way.

1 Comment

Filed under Children, Lizy, Parenting

Desitin and other Misadventures

My five year old’s nickname is Comet. Well, actually it is Dot Com, but we ended up calling her Dot or even more often Comet because she rockets around everywhere. I have never seen so much energy and mischief bottled into one tiny person. And boy does she have a strong will; and she’s smart too. That can be a very dangerous combination: mischief, strong will, and intelligence.

Don’t let that sweet innocent looking picture over there fool you, I’ll simply recount some of her greater antics and let them speak for themselves. When she was just over one she, with the help of her older sister, ate half a bag of ginger snaps and that was when all the trouble began. 🙂

Some of her most memorable moments:

  • She was two and a half when she ate half a bottle of tums (I think she won’t have any problems with osteoporosis any time in the near future!) while supposedly going potty, our poor babysitter nearly died, but Dot was just fine 🙂
  • Desitin . . .

Charming Dot was turning three and because we were celebrating her birthday with Grandma and Grandpa on a Saturday Paul and I ended up going on a date on her actual birthday, a Friday. We got home and were greeted by excited Elizabeth and Emily. I noticed that a certain daughter who had a knack for trouble was not bashing into my knees with excitement to see us home, so I asked our babysitter where she was hiding. (now don’t get the wrong idea here, our babysitter was awesome and was in no way irresponsible or accountable for Comet’s fixes) She mentioned that she was in the bathroom but had been there for a few minutes already and was about to go check on her when we had walked in. I headed up stairs (we were managing in Hillsboro and had a cute townhouse apartment at the time) and noticed that it was awfully quiet. Now, those of you with young children, know that quiet is not necessarily a good thing. I opened the door and looked around. No Dot, just a little white ghost standing by the sink! Ahhh! That was my daughter! Dot has always had a dry skin problem that we used a really thick Eucerin cream for, well apparently she was feeling dry but. . . grabbed the desitin instead, it’s all the same color anyway, right? Yikes, have you ever tried to wash desitin off of anything, especially out of hair? She had it all over her face, all through her hair, and all over the bathroom. Funny, we should have nick named her “Casper” at that point. 🙂

  • The Closet . . .

This by far has to top them all off. She was four and she and her sisters had been playing in their room. Weeelll, they had taken out every toy, every dress, every article of clothing and they were all over the room, it was a monumental nightmare and mommy was MAD! So I bagged everything up and for lack of a better place I shoved it all in their closet. But how to keep the out of the closet? I had a brilliant idea and got the ratchet strap that we always used to strap things on top of the car with. I wrapped it around the doors and ratcheted that strap down as tight as I possibly could; I could barely get my index finger between the door and the strap. I was still fuming however so I left them all to stew a bit while I taught my last piano lesson for the day. Dad came home shortly after and I told him what had happened. Just then Dorothy began to cry so Paul went to check on her. A moment later I here his voice floating down the hall, “Julia need to come see this . . .” Up I got and headed into their bedroom. Because of the angle of the door all I could see as I walked in was the edge of the closet. I notice that the girls had some how loosened the strap enough to poke their baby dolls behind it so they were hanging in a row. I walked further in and there was Dorothy, strapped by the waist to the closet door, her feet approximately 2 feet off the ground! It was absolutely hilarious, I had never laughed so hard in my life. What parent doesn’t have a secret desire to see their disobedient child strapped to a closet, especially self inflicted? Of course we made sure she wasn’t hurt or anything. What she had done was cling up her bunk bed ladder, about 1 1/2 feet away, climb up it, stick her feet our behind her and hook them into the strap. Of course I had the strap so tight that she could only wiggle down to her hips/waist and then got stuck, she couldn’t move in either direction. I still laugh about it today, does that make me mean? I sure hope not, I do love her dearly. 🙂

  • Syrup . . .

Okay, you probably know what is coming. She and Emmy decided to get into the syrup this last spring. I had just filled the syrup container that morning. I thought it was awfully quiet, and by now well schooled in the fact that with Dot quiet meant trouble. Not only will she have these “brilliant” ideas, she will usually con her younger sister into them as well. The catch was this: I was overdue with Jacob by a weak and a half, so I am past 9 months pregnant. I went walking into the kitchen ( where I finally found them) and there they were. The syrup was gone. I estimate they ate half, had a quarter of it on them, and the other quarter? All over the floor. I mopped twice, but left the scrubbing (it was still very sticky) to hubby when he got home, there was no way I was getting on my knees being that pregnant!! He tried to defend them by saying they were curious about the texture, etc. I simply looked at him and said, “They had a spoon.”

  • Pam . . . this one was just recent. She somehow got a hold of the Pam and then convinced Emmy that she should spray it . . . into her face! Luckily Emily was fine.
  • We’ve had diaper painting (ewww, icky, and yuck to cleaning that up), bunk bed jumping, “cleaning” with whatever she can find (at least she’s trying to help?), spilling red gatorade all over my mom’s carpet (rule is no drinks out of the kitchen), having a hayday in my make up drawer, and “weeding” my Dad’s iris, just to name a few. Have you seen the Cheaper By The Dozen movie with Steve Martin? The little brown haired girl that soaked the underwear in the meat? That would be Dorothy. 🙂

I hate to give the impression that she is all trouble, she is also the one that has the sweetest nature and is very loving and says the most incredible things. She’s the one that opened her prayer by saying, “Dear Heavenly Daddy”, and if that isn’t adorable I don’t know what is. Once at a parade when some Native Americans were passing by she excitedly grabbed my arm and asked, “Mom! Are those Nephites?” I busted a gut it was soooo cute. I love my little Comet who rockets through life and with out her life is boring. But boy, does she give me a run for my money!!!

3 Comments

Filed under Children, Dot, Goofs, Humor, Parenting

Joy of Life


Ray of sunshine come to play
Scatters rainbows dancing merrily
Chasing storm clouds from my face
Teasing me as I try to catch it in my hand
It breaks into a million pieces
As giggles bounce off the walls
Infusing everything with sheer delight of life

A splash of gaiety to even the darkest of days
I never thought I could hold a piece of sun
Until I held you.

-J.H.Schmidt

Some children are infused with happiness and no matter how they try to contain it it just spills out all over the edges and creeps its way into every nook and cranny. Like filling up every hole on a waffle with syrup it continues to spill over. My 3 year old is such a one. I joke with my husband that her happiness and twinkle in her big blue eyes seeped into her hair and curled it. Her mischief is innocent and fun, except when it involves crayons and walls. 🙂 She has two modes of transporting herself, a dead run or hopping like a bunny rabbit, there is no walk because her energy and joy infuse her feet and they just take off dancing and jumping to the beat of life. I think I was blessed with her to remind me of how much joy there is to find in our lives.

3 Comments

Filed under Children, Em, Family, Parenting, Poetry, Writing

CHD, TGA, ASO – a few small letters that have changed my life


My son has a Congenital Heart Defect (CHD). He was born in March, adorable, snuggly, starving, and seemingly perfect. It was a moment when nothing could possibly go wrong he was ten days old, gaining weight and loved a good cuddle. I gave him one last big snuggle and then left him and two of his sisters with grandma while I took the other sister on a mommy daughter date. I had no way of knowing that it was the last time I would hold him for another 2 weeks, and possibly forever. Life was perfect and wonderful, then I came home. The first thing I heard as I walked through the door was my frantic mother-in-law saying something was wrong with Jacob. I rushed into his room and there he was in his crib, eyes closed gasping for breath, moaning, limp, and non-responsive. I remember thinking at least he isn’t blue yet. I have never been so scared in my life. I called my pediatrician and talked with our incredible nurse and was told to bring him in straight away, but if he turned blue to go straight to the ER. I charged for the car and zipped over to the doctor’s office, only 2 minutes away. I grabbed my boy and charged in with the blanket on his head to keep the wind off, he must have turned blue in the two minutes it took to get there because the nurse snatched him out of my arms and went charging across the street to the hospital ER. We pounded on the ER door and before I knew it he was stripped on a table with doctors swarming around him responding to a code blue, wait it was my sons code blue! What was happening? Bewildered and shocked don’t even come close to the feelings that were charging in on me from every side. My pediatrician came in on his day off and my husband came rushing out from work. The Bishop from my ward (congregation) met us at the hospital. I’d like to say I was the picture of calmness and confidence and that I held it together so well, but I didn’t. I was a basket case, sobbing, scared and praying my heart out.
They stuck a breathing tube down his throat but nothing changed, and that is when they knew that he had a heart defect. We were grilled, any history of congenital heart defects, and they rattled off a few, to which we shock our heads blankly wondering what the jumble of words even meant. Then they were talking about transport to ICU in Emmanuel Children’s Hospital, and I knew we were in for a ride. They called for ambulance transport but when it arrived it was 5:30 p.m. and they were worried that with the traffic he wouldn’t survive the trip, in fact they weren’t sure if he even had another 20 minutes, so life flight was called in and my husband and I watched as the helicopter landed from our car and then we took off.
When we arrived at the hospital we raced up to the ICU and stopped dead in our tracks. There was a huge sign hanging on the ICU doors: STOP! EMERGENCY SURGERY IN PROGRESS! We knew it was our son and so we let them know that we were here and went to wait for a nurse to come explain what was happening. We were informed that his condition was called Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA). His Aorta and Pulmonary arteries were switched and so the blood from the lungs with oxygen wasn’t making it out to his body it was just being sent back to his lungs. He was basically suffocating because he couldn’t get any air. They were doing a special procedure that would open a small hole in the wall of his heart that would allow the blood to mix and oxygenize to keep him alive until surgery. They had to do it in his room because he was close to death when he arrived and they didn’t have time to set up the lab. Well it worked and he stabilized a bit and we had to wait until his body recovered from the immense shock it had underwent. Doctors explained to us that his condition was correctable through a surgery call the Arterial Switch Operation (ASO) in which they do open heart surgery and switch his arteries and all the little connecting vessels that go with them. It’s amazing they can even do all that. Jacob had surgery on Easter Sunday. He had priesthood blessings, countless prayers and fasts from all denominations, and the service we received from members of the church was amazing. We witnessed so many miracles. We finally made it home after 2 weeks in the ICU, 1 week on the regular pediatric floor, and more scary moments of collapsed lungs and low oxygen levels. He is doing fine now. 30 years ago he wouldn’t have lived much beyond his teens with the operation they did then, and 10-20 years or so beyond that he just wouldn’t have lived. I thought my life would somehow return to normal, or as normal as it can get with four kids, but my life is now filled with doctors appointments and worries of development and lung problems. But I will choose every time to have these struggles and have my son than to have to bury him. I now know tons of families that are “Heart” families where before I knew maybe one. I thought heart defects were rare, but they are more common than childhood cancer. And I live everyday grateful that I have a son that I can hold and snuggle and kiss on his cute little head. I have come to realize that we never know when we might hold or hug someone for the last time, so I give my kids the biggest hug every day just in case. I’m sure they will love that as teenagers. 🙂 God is a God of miracles I see them every day.

26 Comments

Filed under CHD, Children, Heart, Jacob, Miracles, Parenting, Religion, TGA

Trick or Treating

Our family joined the throng as we scampered from door to door last night. We enjoy choosing family themes and our theme this year was nursery rhymes/fairy tales. My six year old made a very charming Little Bo Peep complete with her bloomers, ruffley hat, and staff. Our little shepherdess shepharding us along from house to house. My five year old led the pack as little red riding hood. I can still loose myself in the image of her galloping ahead, her red cloak flapping around her as it caught air and in those especially joyous moments as she jumped her hood falling back exposing her pigtail braids flapping at the side of her head. Then our little curly haired blond three year old running to keep up holding tight to her big stuffed bear as goldilocks. Anxiously pointing to each house and showing off each treasure with shear delight. My husband and I even joined in the festivities as Jack and Jill toting along our pail and our youngest little tyke of seven months cloaked warmly in his Humpty Dumpty costume. His eyes growing sleepy in the gentleness of papa’s arms, not aware of the excitement and energy in the air. The Oregon rain subsided just long enough for us to make the rounds and we rounded off the evening warming up with corndogs and chili at a friends house as the kids galloped about and the adults chatted. I love these special family times and memories forever fixed upon my mind, after all isn’t this the joy of motherhood and parenting? Creating these special good moments that will last through the years. I will never forget the excitment in my children’s eyes the curls bouncing up and down running from house to house, and the red cape flapping in the night. These will become those special moments and thoughts I can cuddle up with on a cold day with a cup of hot chocolate.

5 Comments

Filed under Children, Family, Parenting