Monthly Archives: June 2008

Random Post in under 5 minutes

So, I have literally been swamped. I will have family visiting/staying with us, some of which whom arrived yesterday, until July 28. We are excited to have everyone here, but having so much family coming into town meant lots of cleaning. Which is the reason I haven’t been writing much. I have been scrubbing, scouring, and organizing – believe me, I would much rather have been writing.

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I am back to working on my children’s novel again. I finally dug it out, dusted it off and have officially begun the editing process. Most of the major bugs, such as time-line and incongruencies, have been worked out, and I know what sections I need to work over and add. Woohoo! It feels good to be making progress on it again.

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Paul’s bro arrived last night and his two cousins came down as well for a fun family gathering – 17 kids in the house and a mass of fun. At one point we had a jam session with all the kids on rythm instruments while I played the piano. It was a hoot, and defening to boot – it was so loud I could hardly hear myself play. 🙂 We had such an awesome time.

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While James was waiting for me to feed him yesterday, Jacob pulled up a chair and began to entertain him. When I saw what he was doing I had to snag the camera and snap a few:

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The plan for today is to head to OMSI and baby is beckoning…. seems he thinks he should eat… or something 🙂

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Filed under Family, Jacob, James, Writing

Pennsylvania Summers

In the dead of summer when the heat crackled around you and the hummidity made your clothes cling to you like limp rags, those were the days when we would beg our parents to take us to the local sportsmanship pond and go swimming. Playing chicken, and squelching the soft mud at the bottem of the pond between our toes. We would beg dad to take us on the froggy swim across the pond. We would lie on his back as he did the breast stroke, going up and down, in and out of the water.

When we were finally feeling waterlogged we would lie out on our beach towels on the grass in the hot sun and dry ourselves beneath it rays. Often our trips to the pond would include a picnic lunch – or even a birthday celebration for me if it was near my birthday.

In the evenings the heat would cool as the sun dipped low in the sky, but the humidity continued to drape itself across our skin. Fireflies would begin to wink across the night sky and we gathered on the porch to catch the slight breeze. I am sure there were evenings when Mom played her accordian on the porch and we all sang along.

Rarely a night was spent inside – we made pup-tents, or slept in our kid made teepee, sometimes we would just sleep out under the stars, rising early to help with the chores.

Summers were full of fun and hard work as we spent hours sitting on the porch husking corn, or in the kitchen listening to General Conference tapes as we canned peaches, tomatoes, and a bazillion other things harvested from our huge garden. I’m surprised that the fruit and vegetables we canned didn’t have an extra salty taste from the sweat that poured down our forheads and dimpled on our skin in the heat of that kitchen on humid Pennsylvania summer day.

Some of my most vivid memories take place in those hot humid summers – playing Annie Annie I Over until twilight set in, talent shows on the front lawn as we danced and acted out crazy skits. I hope my children will be able to share in some of the same summer memories…

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Filed under Memory, Personal History

Solids

It hardly seems possible that James is one week shy of six months – and when I started feeling like a major milk machine again I knew it was time for solids. I procrastinated for a while thinking he surely couldn’t be old enough, but when he began nursing every 2-3 hours again I knew it was time. I got out the rice cereal and mixed up a little and set James up in his car seat. He must have known what was coming because his little feet started kicking and he broken into the biggest wide open mouth grin he could muster. And of course, like any respectable parents we caught some adorable photos.

His Very First Bite:

Very first bite

Oooh! That was good…

This is good!

Oooh! That was really good – give me some more!

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And my favorite – my heart soars everytime at those adoring eyes that say, “My Mom/Dad is the best in the world!”

Adoring Eyes

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Filed under Children, James

A Boy and his Berries

So we went back.  They were that good.  We decided we wanted a few more to freeze, and took some requests from some friends. We told them if they paid for the berries we’d be more than happy to pick them.  One of my really good friends sent her teenage boy along to help – which was wonderful because I took Jacob and the baby this time.  He (Jacob, not the teenager, heh) spent most of the time we were there running around being silly. But he did pick a few berries with me.

 Jacob picking 2

Jacob Picking 3

Jacob Picking 1

Towards the end of our picking mania he had his own bucket. He would race to the edge of the field pick a berry or two and then run back by the car and eat it, then he would race back. It was really fun to watch him run back and forth – the red berry smudges on his face gave him away. We also caught him red handed at it since the berry juice stained his hands.

So, we ended up picking another 4 gallons of berries – two for friends and two for our freezer. I washed and destemmed them yesterday, then I spread them out on cookies sheets and stuck them in the freezer. Once they were mostly frozen I took them out, whack the cookie sheet a few times on the counter to loosen the berries and then double bagged them – now they won’t all clump together in the bag – when we need some we can just grab a handful or two.

I am officially finished with strawberry picking….but soon there will be raspberries, boysenberreis, marionberries, blueberries, cherries, peaches….. ok – maybe not all of those, but if the price is right you might end up with pictures of us picking at least one or two other things. 🙂

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Filed under Family, Jacob, Nature, Photography

These Feet Were Made for Walking

And that’s just what they do. The beginning of summer and the rising gas prices has found us trooping around town like champion walkers. If it is in town we walk. Last Friday had us walking to the library – not quite 2 miles round trip. We played in the park across the street and checked out some great books.

Saturday I realized that we needed to head down to Fred Meyers at the other end of town. At the kids urging we loaded up the stroller and away we went. We hit Fred Meyers, the Dollar Store, and a treat at MacDonalds (so they could play in the play area) before trudging our way home again – probably a total of 4-5 miles. With no complaints until we were less than 1/2 mile from home.

Sunday we walked the 1.5 miles to church, with the kids singing primary songs all the way, and then home again, for a total of 3 miles.

Monday we headed to a fresh produce stand on the edge of town – just over a mile away, but ended up making a detour down to Memorial Park – a favorite of the kids – for a picnic lunch and playtime. In the end I thing we walked somewhere between 3-4 miles. We even got to see two trains, much to Jacob’s (and the other kids too – but especially Jacob) delight.

Tuesday we didn’t walk – we picked berries instead and made lots of the jam.

Wednesday we walked down to Blockbuster to return a movie – probably 2 miles round trip or so.

So, water bottles in hand we are marching all over town. It’s healthy, its fun, and it keeps kids busy for large ammounts of time and they don’t get ‘bored’ as easy (What you’re bored? Time to go for a walk or clean the house) – and when it is time to get in the car they are a lot more excited about it and happier to be driving rather walking. 🙂 All in all it is a lot of fun. I am getting nice and tan – and my hair is getting lighter – so I don’t have to spend money and have my friend do highlights – see its a win win situation. 

The other really fun thing about our walks is that I have had to figure out some things to do to keep the walks interesting.  There are a number of games we can play as we walk, but so far the thing the kids like the best is listening to stories. So as we are out traipsing all over town I am telling them all the crazy stories from my childhood and youth.  I often get requests for repeats, “Tell us about the time you swung on the rope and landed on the rotten egg.” or “Tell us about when you swam in the yucky pond.”  It is a lot of fun to tell them stories and what it was like for me as a kid, and I hope it makes our walks that much more memorable.

And that is what has had me so busy – I’ve been walking all over town, pushing a loaded double stroller, with three little girls trailing behind, running ahead, or clustered around me listening to stories, as the case may be.

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One other cool thing I forgot to mention about our Strawberry picking trip:  I was chatting in Spanish with some of the moms there.  At one point one of the moms asked me where I learned Spanish and I told her I learned Spanish when I served a mission in Chile.  “I wondered,” she said, “because you speak Spanish with a Chilean accent.”  I speak Spanish with an accent – a Chilean one! Woot!! Over ten years, and I still have got my chilean accent – I can’t describe how happy that makes me.  😀

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Filed under Every Day Life, Family

Strawberrylicious!

We’ve been having a lot of fun at the start of this great summer.  The kids’ last day of school was last Thursday and we have been having a ton of fun ever since. I will write about all we’ve done in another post.  For today I need to tell a tale of strawberries.

Every year I track down some berries and churcn out strawberry freezer jam – the yummiest stuff in the world. 🙂 This year strawberry prices were high and after talking with some friends about u-pick farms in the area I decided that my girls and I would go on a berry picking adventure.  The farm I chose was in a nearby town and had just opened for strawberry season. You could pick a heaping 1 gallon bucket for $6.  So, I arranged a sitter for the two boys and the girls and I through a giant container in the car and took off.  Everyone was excited when we saw the berry field and were hopping out before I even had the car shut off.

 Strawberry Field

We each grabbed a bucket from off the table and raced into the field. The picking was a bit slow at first as each kid showed off how big and red their berries were – in the midst of many oooohs and ahhhs and giggles. It was a hoot!

Picking Berries

It might have been a bit slow going at first too – seeing as I was the one snapping all the photos…

Strawberry

But soon the kids settled into a rythm and the plunk, plunk of berries accompanied their giggles and smiles. Occasionally we could get the excalamation, “Wow! Look at how big this one is!”

Emmy Picking

Lizard Picking

Dorothy Picking

Once my bucket was full I was off to help fill a kid’s bucket.

One Bucket

We filled all four bucket till the were heaped and overflowing with berries. I had a huge yellow tub that we emptied our buckets into – I was amazed at how many berries there were. Aproximately 28 pounds of strawberries, which cost us only $24 = lots of yummy jam (and hard work too).

Look at all those berries!

We got the berries home and I picked up some pectin and set to work making jam. I filled the sink with water and began dumping berries in and detopping them around 1:30. I smashed, mixed, and poured as batch after batch of strawberry jam I turned out. In the end I used 8 boxes of pectin -had a mountain of strawberry jam, and a huge bowl of straberries left over for devouring – and possibly freezing. I was finally finished at 6:30, with feet so sore I could hardly stand – I didn’t think about grabbing a stool and sitting on it at the sink to wash and detop berries.

Strawberry Jam - Mmmmm

Thanks to a loving hubby though who took care of kids for the evening so I could rest my feet. He even served the strawberry shortcake after dinner – and boy was it GOOD! Here is the delicious result of all those berries. Aproximately 28+ (there is probably closer to 36 or so – but the markings on the containers are hard to read now that they are full) pints of strawberry jam!!! And lots of berries to eat!

We have our year supply of jam – and with the way my kids go through peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches – we’ll need it. 🙂

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Filed under Children, Dot, Em, Lizy, Nature, Photography

Blame it on the Soy Sauce … or … Soy Sauce is Evil

The second and fourth Wednesday of every month finds me hosting a writing group in my home. There are anywhere from 2 to 4 ladies besides myself who attend. Usually I try to make sure my house looks semi-decent, ie: avoid the bomb just went off look. This Wednesday found my house looking just the opposite. All the effort I put into getting the house straightened yesterday had evaporated into a fine mist, leaving not even the slightest trace behind.

The morning was packed, rushed and busy with little time for feeding the baby, let alone cleaning anything. Upon picking up Emily from kindergarten I plead with her to be my super-duper helper, and she happily agreed.

I should have known based on the powers of destructiveness in the morning – what small things I did get done were immediately undone – that success in presenting a clean home was not meant to be. I was chatting with one of the writing group members on the phone when Emily walked up to me in near tears.

She held up the glass syrup container that we keep soy sauce in. “This spilled. It was an accident.”

I told her that was find and came to clean up the mess. It hadn’t just spilled – it had been accidently knocked out of the fridge. There was a massive puddle of soy sauce that Jacob was dropping napkins in in an effort to “Holp.” (There is nothing cuter than to here his little three-year-old self say, “I holp you, Mom! I holp you!”) The napkins would quickly turn black and drip their way across the floor as Jacob carried them to the garbage can on the other side of the room. Obviously this was not working.

I quickly grabbed a towell and mopped up the soy sauce mess. Then I snagged the mop and zipped it around. Emily was trying to make peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches, and I was try to clean things up when I happened upon a phone that needed to be charged. I walked into the kitchen – momentarily forgetting that the floor was wet from mopping because of the blasted soy sauce.

I was not walking slowly, nor carefully. I was on a mission! I hit that wet floor and I knew in an instant I was in trouble as my feet did this crazy side step/ slide move that would have impressed the best dancers and I found myself momentarily suspended in air.

I felt like a cartoon. It seemed to me that I hovered in the air above the floor – looked down and thought “This is going to hurt,” just before slamming into the kitchen floor on both knees – my arm coming down on the top of an open cupboard. I think a nice sized crater could have been made by those knees – I hit that hard.

Emily and Jacob looked on with awe as I tried to gingerly move off my knees. The minute I eased off the knees the pain sensors hit my brain and with a sharp intake of breath I uttered, “Yep. That hurt.” And promptly laid down on my side wishing the pain away.

“Are you ok?” an anxious Emmy asked.

“Mommy die, Emmy,” Jacob answered in hushed tones.

At that response I couldn’t help a hearty chuckle. (we frequently have death scenes in our house – he didn’t think I was REALLY dead) “I’m not dead Jacob.”

“I think we should jump on her,” says Emily. (we also have frequent jump on and wrestle sessions in our house when people are dying on the floor)

That comment got me moving – pain or not – and lauging too. Maybe I shouldn’t have put the Goofy display up on the piano this month. That’s two goofy momments in less than a week. Personally though, I blame it on the Soy Sauce.

Evil, evil soy sauce.

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Filed under Em, Goofs, Humor, Jacob