Monday, April 30, 2012

Trip Prep: Chores

Everyone knows that no matter what kind of rush you are in, no mother will leave the house messy.  In the words of every mother in the universe, much to the chagrin of every child in the universe, "No one wants to come home to a mess!"

On today's checklist, the biggest, boldest To Do was Clean the House.

So we did.  Bedrooms are clean, dusted and vacuumed.  Dishes are done and sink is scrubbed.  Windows are washed, floors cleaned.  Bedding is washed, dried and beds are re-made.  I know we will get it somewhat messed up before we leave, but all of the every-once-in-a-while jobs are done. . . except the bathroom.  Tomorrow is Patches' bath and I will scrub the bathroom down after the grody dog is clean!  I finished a bit of last-minute sewing on the fourteen shirts I altered (not an exaggerated number).  There is one more load of laundry to do, then all of the clothes will be clean and ready for the great sort-n-pack (more about that tomorrow).

As far as trip planning is concerned, today I printed all of the maps.  (No GPS yet.)  The map from the Bellagio Fountains to our hotel; the map from the Atomic Testing Museum to the Rain Forest Cafe; the map from the Avenue of the Giants to our hotel in Eureka.  It is pretty much a book.  But, wasting time being lost in a strange city is not at the top of my priority list.

Justin picked up his graduation robes today and sent me a quick note to tell me so.  His closing line said, "On to the future with Disneyland as the appetizer!!!"  

Amen to that!

A Busy Weekend

Waiting for Cinderella to start.  That is one good thing about my long commutes to pick up
Pod A:
I get to have a nice long date with one other pod.  
Good Monday Morning, friends!

This past weekend was filled, but fun.  Thursday night, I got my husband and son packed and sent off.  They are spending one week in our old town while Justin completes Board Review and submits a lot of carefully prepared paperwork in anticipation of Saturday's graduation.  Moving this small army is an undertaking, to say the least, but it did help to get the boys done and out of the way.

Friday night we had a preparedness fair at the church.  I presented some things about my Pint Size Emergency Kit.  I've never blogged about that, but I really should.  It would be useful to a lot of families with small children and small budgets.

Saturday's main focus was a Primary Activity.  The theme for the year is Choose the Right (CTR).  We decided to have a Spotlight kid each week, but instead of just spotlighting them, we are making them CTR Spies.  After they are spotlighted, they are to "spy" out someone choosing the right and report it to the primary the next week.  It has been a completely rewarding experience.  There is so much bad in the world that we feel it is important to focus on the good.  Our bulletin board has pictures of all of our CTR Spies with a note describing all of the good they see around them.

So on Saturday, we had CTR Spy Agent Training.  We had several stations that taught gospel principles, but in a fun way--ways that would be inappropriate during Sunday meetings.  We had a scripture station (holding to the "Iron Rod" rope in the darkness leading to the lighted picture of Christ), taking care of our bodies (obstacle course complete with tire jumping and army crawl), honesty--or the Web of Lies (yarn-laser course wherein the entire Young Women's Room was a labyrinth of yarn Thanks for the idea, Bets!), and so forth.

My station was a prayer treasure hunt.  The idea was that we are given direction (from parents, teachers, prophets, scriptures) but they aren't always complete.  We need revelation (clues) from the Holy Ghost to solve our problems.  All of the directions in our treasure hunt needed a clue (take out the red letters, read it backwards, etc).  The kids had a completely fabulous time . . . heck, I had a completely fabulous time!  One of the best compliments I received came from a freckled six year old. When she saw that my station was next on her rotation, she smiled and said, "Oh, GOOD!  I like her!  Sister Sanders is always fun!"  :)

Sunday came and it was my turn to present Sharing Time.  That does require a bit of prayer, preparation, and prayer.  I want the Spirit to be there and I want the children to learn something.  We have 70-90 children ranging in age from 3-11 so you can imagine that it is a challenge to prepare lessons that will engage them all.  But it went off.

My favorite part of church was when a four year old was giving a talk.  He was listing good things that Jesus did.  His mother was whispering in his ear and he was doing well with speaking into the microphone.  Then he misheard the word "healed" because what he said was, "And Jesus Killed the sick."
  Hmm, not quite!  Primary is never a dull place!

Now it is Monday and I can fully focus on the celebratory vacation that is rapidly approaching.


To be continued . . . . . . . .

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Here I am!  You thought I was missing, but I am not.  I am just super busy right now.  Some things to share:

Isaac with his (very tired so a bit spazy) sister and some of his
beautiful ballerinas.

  1. 1.  Our trip is officially on the 10 Day Forecast.  Barely, but it is there!!
  2. Today is my husband's last day of his internship.  Next week is board review.  Then he graduates.
  3. My son is home this week.  I feel emotionally stable when I can hear his breathing in the night.
  4. I am not usually emotionally stable.
  5. For the past month, my girls (kind of) and I have been working about 10 hours per week.  It is satisfying work because the gardens were terribly over-grown .  Neglected is not the right word because she has really been trying, but she didn't always know what to do.  After all of the pruning and clearing, the property looks like it is taking a much needed deep breath.
  6. My eight year old and I were able to see our boy dance in Cinderella last weekend.  It was magical--I mean, Disney is good, but you really should see the ballet.
  7. I have about ten important phone calls to make.  I don't want to make them.  I'd rather do anything else.
  8. It is raining and it is SO beautiful.
  9. I have allergies.  I've never had allergies before, but now I have allergies.  They are kicking my behind in a serious way.  My mouth itches, my nose is a constant faucet, my sinuses are swollen, and my eyes . . . well, itch isn't a strong enough word to describe what is going on there.  
  10. After 6 months of lessons, my daughter is learning actual pieces on the piano (this week is Moonlight Sonata) and it is so delightful to listen to her practice.
  11. My house is small.  I'm glad we've decided against the Katrina Cottage.  :)

Well, I'm off!  Phone calls to make, laundry to wash, menus to plan.  The life of the MotherShip is never dull!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Driving the Tractor

I know her hair is in her eyes.  I'm trying to decide whether to grow them out for the summer.
I need to decide soon.
For most farm kids, eleven would be late to get started driving the tractor.
It sure was exciting for  my  wanna-be-a -farmer eleven year old!
"Mom!  Again with the pictures?!"
My Dad.  At home in the seat of a John Deere.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Listening to Lyrics

The Easter Bunny brought three of our girls clearance MP3 players.  He must have known we have a long trip coming up that includes a lot of time in the car!

For each girl, I downloaded a free audio book (from here) and a bunch of songs.  One soundtrack I included was from the musical Annie.  It is one of my favorites and has been since I was a little girl.  Over the last couple of weeks, there has been an uptick in singing around my house--especially from one specific musical.

This morning, I woke up to two girls belting out "You're Never Fully Dressed without a Smile!"  It was a great alarm clock and I lay there smiling while I quietly listened in.  Then the line Who cares what you're wearing on Main Street or Savile Row . . .

"No, it's not Samuel Road, it's Several Road!"

Thereafter followed a little bickering back and forth until the oldest girl quieted the argument with, "You guys, it's Main Street or Av-e-nue!"

Now to explain Hey, Hoboman.  Hey, Dapper Dan. is actually Not Hey, Zapperman.  Hey, Damn her damn.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Planning a Kitchen

I have avoided writing about my hopes for a Someday House Kitchen simply because there is too much to say.  I have some definite must-haves, some things I would like and some things I know I do not want.  I decided to sit down and really work out a few kinks.  (I thought planning a trip to Disneyland was overwhelming until I started looking into all of the kitchen advice available on the web!  Holy Schmokes.)
While I was checking out dry goods bins, I stumbled across this video.  It is a Step-Saving Kitchen developed by the housing staff at the Bureau of Nutrition and Home Economics which, as far as I can tell, is no longer with us.  This video was made in 1949 and I was surprised to see how many great ideas they had--especially because I cook in much the same way they did those many years ago.  I go through flour, potatoes, onions, salt and so forth.  I even have a phone on my kitchen wall--with a cord!

I may have to re-think all of my plans.

Well, at least add a garbage hatch to "eliminate stooping" while I'm peeling those pounds and pounds of potatoes and carrots!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Word to the Wise

If you are booking hotels online using a discount reservation company, always call the hotel and check with them to make sure they got the reservation correct.

I called one of the hotels because it had some confusing language about smoking or non-smoking rooms.  Turned out, not only were we booked into a smoking room, we also had been booked into a room with one double bed.  There are seven of us.  Seven.  (I know we're supposed to get two hotels rooms . . . we aren't.)  The standard two queen bed rooms will be cramped enough.

Since one placed had things mixed up, I figured it would be a good idea to call all of our hotels.  Boy am I glad I did!  Three places had us booked in a one bed room.  One hotel had our date totally wrong.  One didn't have our reservation at all.  Out of ten hotels, those are not good numbers.

So, while you can get a good deal, better call ahead to make sure the hotel knows you are coming!


My beautiful three year old and her first dipped ice cream cone.  
We went on a date.
The ice cream was good,
but it wasn't the best part.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Building a Tipi

A few days ago I wrote a post about creating a more organic playground for our children--one that blends in rather than stands out.  This is one of the inspirational photos I found.

Well, we decided to build it.  First, we went into the forest behind our house and cut down a bunch of saplings of similar height.  We cut off all of the branches, then lashed the top together.  It is too cold to plant vines just yet, but we have a skeleton vegetation tipi!

It looks better in real life . . . oh well.  Since we can't plant the vines just yet, we leaned a bunch of recently trimmed branches on the legs of the tipi.  It makes it feel a little more secluded.  

Giving Dad an after-work tour.

They cut a bunch of the tall grasses from our meadow and made a carpet for the floor.  In the middle, you can see a "fire" for cooking.  Not shown here are all of the mud pies they also made yesterday.
This weekend was the first warm days of the year so it will still be a while before we can plant, but I will be sure to show you this same tipi after it is covered in living vines!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

How Many People Does it Take . . .

My church has produced a number of short but very effective and accurate Biblical videos.  For our Easter lesson in Primary, I wanted to show them to the children.  (I knew they would be hopped up*Ha! on the sugar they had had for breakfast.  I thought sitting in a quiet, dark room with these reverent movies would do better at keeping them calm than any lesson I could prepare.)  It should have been a one-man job.  It turned into something much more than that!

My husband's laptop isn't working, so Emily (me) asked Tami to download the videos onto her computer.  She was having trouble so she called Berenice to help.  I asked Eric where I could find the projector.  It wasn't where he thought it was, so we asked Dan.  Dan knew where it was, but didn't have a key.  I was referred to Jim, who did have the key.  Then, the portable screen wasn't in the library, so I asked Eric and Jacob if there was another place it might be.  We found it.  Meanwhile, Jim and Tami got the video set up and working.  After pushing Play, we realized the small speakers on the laptop were too quiet to fill the large Primary room.  Jen went into the hallway and caught her husband, John.  John hurried home to fetch his computer speakers.  After church, Hailey, Robbie and Justin helped me put everything away.

Good grief.  Justin's response after I gave him the above outline?  "Many people must have needed the blessing of service today."


But, you know what?  The children sat quietly so they could hear the videos.  I hope they felt a little bit of the Holy Spirit on this Easter Sunday.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Learning More About Mercy

Last week, I listened to an address entitled, The Laborers in the Vineyard by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.  He is a speaker I always enjoy so I sat up in anticipation as he took to the pulpit.  The talk was stellar.  I did not expect to chastened.

It was a masterful interpretation of one of our Savior's parables.  I won't try to explain what was said, I'll let you watch it yourself, but I will tell you that I was struck, as if hit between the eyes, by this statement:
We consume such precious emotional and spiritual capital clinging tenaciously to the memory of a discordant note we struck in a childhood piano recital...
This. is. me.  While I worry somewhat about things that cause most people worry, I have found it impossible to let go of my own stupidity, immaturity, or plain old mistakes.  I still flush over the thought of, not necessarily the discordant note at a childhood piano recital, but certainly its equal.  Not only that, but I also stew over decisions that were made and set in stone.  Most of the time, they can't be undone, but still I analyze myself sick.

A little later, another speaker, Elder Uchtdorf, gave an address entitled, The Merciful Obtain Mercy.  In it he said, 
When the Lord requires that we forgive all men, that includes forgiving ourselves. Sometimes, of all the people in the world, the one who is the hardest to forgive—as well as perhaps the one who is most in need of our forgiveness—is the person looking back at us in the mirror.
While I am nowhere near perfect in the matter of forgiveness, I generally forgive others fairly easily.  In the case of mercy, it isn't generally too much of a challenge for me to offer mercy, it fact it brings me great joy to be merciful . . . to everyone else.  

Is Christ pleased with the mercy I've shown myself?  Is He happy with the way I'm spending my precious emotional and spiritual capital?  

No!  Our Savior who suffered so much so that he could more fully offer mercy, is not pleased!  If I have repented of a sin or, in humility, admitted a mistake, I need to stop beating myself up and show mercy to myself in the way I so easily offer it to others.

Yesterday, after making another controversial decision, my husband demanded that we not worry about it any more.  He said, "We've done enough worrying.  We felt good about the decision, we made it and it is done."  It was such a burden off my back!  Yes, it is the right decision for our family 

and I have vowed to stop wasting my emotional and spiritual capital.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Another Snow Day

PW's home school blog has a post today about avoiding Spring Fever.  We don't have the beautiful weather many other parts of the country are experiencing so my kids aren't fighting school work.  We are just all pulling our hair out from being stuck inside a very small space for a very long winter.  In fact, it is heavily snowing as I type!

What is our solution?  Techno dance parties.

The good thing about techno is that it is made for dancing yet has none of the language or suggestive beats/sounds that go along with other forms of dance music.  Right now, for instance, we are dancing to "Blue (Da Ba Dee)" by Eiffel 65.  This song makes no sense, but it is sure fun to get off the couch and shake your thang to it!  (Can I say thang?)

On Pandora, I found a techno station and we have been partaying for, well, several days.  Try it with your children.  It will not disappoint.  I promise!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

I Crafted

Just so everyone knows, I crafted.  My good friend, who is not a runner, ran a 1/2 marathon yesterday.  I cannot say that my accomplishment compares well with hers, but it does compare poorly.  :)


This is what happened.  A friend from college has been following my preparations for Disneyland.  She sent me the above picture of a Minnie Mouse hair clip she had found on Pinterest.  She encouraged me to make them for my daughters.

I went to collage with her in 1995.  That is a long time ago--a long time for her to forget that I don't craft.  I would rather build you a new deck than do the tiny, repetitive movements required to craft.  But the picture was so-o cute!  Darn that Pinterest!

Last night, my son and husband went to the Priesthood Session of General Conference and I determined to have a fun girl's night with my daughters.  I found the required scraps, asked my girl if I could use the new glue gun her aunt gave her for her recent birthday and prepared myself to have fun, crafting away with my daughters.

It was everything I could do not to swear and not to scream and not to throw the glue gun out the window. I know some of you live and breath for the Crafting Channel.  I know your "me time" is any time you can have a glue gun in your hand.  I love you for your talents, but I have to admit that I do not understand you. Crafting time for me is a practice in patience.  How many times did I count 10 or take deep, calming, don't-freak-out-here breaths?  I made mistake after mistake and the worst part is that I couldn't even blame it on anyone else!  I was the screw-up every flipping time!  But alas, we finally completed eight Minnie Clips (though it still wasn't enough to make me lament having been blessed with so many daughters).


Don't look too closely.  No, I'm serious. I made the picture small for a reason.

The red ticking Minnie's will go with this Classic Mickey tee-dress.

While the white and blue will go with these simple t-shirts.

There are many flaws in my character, but no one can say I don't craft.

Because, clearly, I do . . .

at least once every 10 years or so.