If you have found me through Mother Letters, welcome to my house. Feel free to make yourself at home and look around.
Put your feet up on the coffee table, see what I have in the pantry, and enjoy our time together.
If you would like to read my entire Mother Letter, click here.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Super not-so-secret identities

Hubby reminded me today of the super identities he gave the boys a few months ago. We still haven't determined whether these identities make them super heroes or super villians. Usually it depends on the state of our sense of humor.  #1 is Captain Obvious and Freckles is his sidekick as Literal Boy!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santa's cookies, HO, HO, HO!

Tonight, we tested the snickerdoodles we made for Santa. Then we set out Santa's cookies on the special Santa platter and milk in his special Christmas glass on the coffee table, lovingly placed the Christmas Quilt on the couch for him to snuggle in and set off to brush teeth and jump quickly into bed. I was in the boys' room reading Polar Express and Hubby was brushing Little one's teeth. Suddenly, Hubby came in and informed me that Sunshine had been dunking Santa's cookies in Santa's milk and frantically eating them. When he asked, "What are you doing?" she answered with a grin, "I eating Santa's cookies, ho ho ho!"

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Somedays I'm Mommy tired!

Ever have one of those days when you'd like to stop being a parent, just for a little while? (If you've never felt that way, don't tell me, I have enough guilt thank you!) Don't get me wrong, I'd never in a million years give up my kids or the joy of being a mommy, but sometimes I'd like to step outside of myself, just for a little while. I'd like to take that nap I promised myself last night as I stayed up late again tying a quilt, unloading and loading the dishwasher, and putting breakfast in the crockpot to prepare for another crazy Thursday. (Some people hate Mondays, I hate Thursdays. Everything hits at once.) As I looked forward to that nap, I realized I only have 3½ hours to finish what will amount to 5 loads of laundry which I haven't sorted yet, the breakfast AND lunch dishes have yet to even be rinsed let alone loaded into the dishwasher, I have costumes to sort for the children's nativity I have planned for the extended family Christmas party of which I am in charge, and there is an inexplicable noise growing in volume coming from the basement where Little One and a friend are playing. Boy does that bed look soft....(sigh).
And the whole self control thing, wow, is it tiring. When I want to yell at the visiting neighbor kid, "stop rolling your yogurt covered fruit snacks off the table for me to retrieve" I have to stop and say "oh no, your snacks are escaping, don't let them get away!" When a visiting friend whose mother is gone for a couple hours continually whines "I just want to go hooooommme", I can't tell them "well you can't, so get over it". And when I want to scream into the night "You rotten kids, stop doorbell ditching! I just got my kids to bed only 30 seconds before I completely lost my sanity and so help me if even one of them gets out of bed, curious to see who's at the door, I...WILL...HUNT...YOU...DOWN!!!". Instead I just have to let it go. I can't ruin my kids' chances of having any semblance of a normal social life by being known as the crazy witch mother of the neighborhood!

As I mentioned before, I have guilt. I think this is imbedded in the female DNA but becomes magnified a google (Freckles' favorite number) times as soon as a woman becomes pregnant. Logically, I know every mother has strengths and weaknesses and there is no such thing as a perfect one but there are so many who are just so close. Why can't I have yummy, healthy snacks ready and waiting for my kids and all their friends who love to be at my house because it is such a welcoming place? And why can't I want the whole neighborhood camped at my house all the time? I should. Why is it hard for me to let it go when a neighbor kid walks into my house at 5:30 pm opens my pantry and helps himself and my kids to half a package of oreos effectively spoiling their dinner? And why do I ever so slightly (okay, not so slightly) resent the neighbor who looks like she has a professionally decorated house that is always uncluttered and clean? I bet my socks wouldn't even stick to her kitchen floor! Then of course there's the mother who makes all meals from scratch and they're so good her kids don't even know they're organically healthy! And don't even get me started on the family of five children who all look like they've been dressed by the most fashionable designers and have their hair professionally done EVERY day! Their children would never TRY to be the record holder of the least pairs of underwear in the weekly laundry. Oh yes, true story. We're lucky to even locate a comb most days, and navy socks are close enough to black aren't they? They'll be black by the end of the day anyway. Then there's the kids who never forget to say please, thank you, no thank you and call me Mrs. Mombrud.  They would never say "ewwww, that looks so gross, it looks like...." at a large family dinner. And the guilt goes on and on and on and on.......
Somedays, I am mommy tired and would love to be all by myself somewhere that doesn't have to be cleaned, with people who don't have various body parts needing to be wiped, whining voices, or complaints about trivial things. A place where clothes and dishes don't need to be washed and dried, food to be planned and prepared (Isn't figuring out what to fix the worst part?), floors that need to be vaccumed or mopped, toys and clutter to move from one surface to another......It never ends. I guess what I need is a nice quiet, white room with lots and lots of chocolate. Anyone know where I can check in?
I argue with myself all the time, pointing out to myself that I have so many things to be grateful for, healthly kids, a beautiful, warm home, a dishwasher to wash those dishes and a washer and dryer to wash those clothes.... but then I have to tell that part of my brain, "Shut up, you're interferring with my pity party!" (Shhh, don't tell my kids I said that, we don't say shut up in our house. Just my attempt at that well mannered ideal.) Well, I'm off to climb Mt. Laundry, wade through the dirty dishes swamp, be nice to the neighbor kids, change a poopy diaper, turn off every light in the house AGAIN, serve leftovers nobody wants to eat, and sort though costumes my supermom sister sewed from scratch.
If you'd like to come to my pity party join right in. If you have positive, uplifting comments save them until tomorrow when I take the duct tape off the mouth of that other side of me, you know, the party pooper.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Quilt Tradition

We have a favorite Christmas tradition. We call it our Christmas quilt. My wonderful and creative sister-in-law, Sallie gave us everything to start this tradition a few years ago. She gave us a small lap quilt, a storybook, and a beautiful poem with all the kids' names in it telling us how to use our "Christmas quilt" each night of December. Over the last few years it has evolved into quite the production. On December 1st, after pjs are on, we bring out the quilt and lay it down in front of the Christmas tree. Then we read our poem about the "Christmas Quilt Magic" Each night family members take turns choosing a Christmas carol to sing, and a story to read.

We have family prayer on the quilt and then rush to watch the chosen person open the advent for the day and hang the mini ornament on our felt tree.Then, in procession, we all help to carry the Christmas quilt to lay on the foot of their bed ensuring sweet Christmas dreams that night. Each person really looks forward to their turn and we are true believers in the magic!

This tradition has led to another. As one of our family Christmas gifts, we must get at least one new Christmas book each year. As you can imagine, we have quite a collection by now!

We made two of these quilts to give to some friends this year complete with a poem describing the tradition. It was a bit of a race to get them finished, but I think they were appreciated. It is sure a fun DIY gift. Though not a usual crafty gift, it is the gift of a tradition.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thanksgiving Traditions

One of the blogs I follow asked for ideas for Thanksgiving traditions. As I responded I realized I haven't recorded here the things have become part of our month of November. We have two traditions that my kids absolutely love! A few years ago we made tukey hats. We put on some music with a good beat and danced. That particular song will forever be the "Turkey Dance Song" at our house and we do the turkey dance every Monday night during November. I had no idea it would become a cherished family tradition, as silly as it is!

The other tradition is to make a thankful tree. I just got some brown and white craft paper at the craft store, drew and cut our a brown tree and glued it onto the white. Our is about 3'x4'. Then I went and had it laminated. This way I don't have to make a new tree every year. I have also seen a branch stuck in plaster paris used as well. I like to paper one for storage purposes. Then we take leaves (I save time by buying big packs at Oriental Trading because we go through about 150 every year) and throughout the month write things we are grateful for and hang them on the tree. On thanksgiving afternoon or evening, after we are finished with extended family activities, we read all the things we wrote outloud as we take the tree down to get ready for decorating for Christmas.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Stop for a Good Blower

Today, we went on a bike ride around the track behind our house. Even Little One was game with her little training wheeled bike. I pulled Sunshine in the wagon.

At one point, as I approached Little One on the track, I saw that she was off her bike hunched down on the ground. My first thought was that she must have crashed and gotten hurt. I called to her, asking if she was hurt. She looked up with a grin and it was then I saw that she was hunched over a perfect specimen of a dandelion gone to seed. It was begging to be blown. With a smile of pure pleasure she took a deep breath and blew. She watched the fluff float away with delight, then mounted her bike and took off shouting a challenge for a race.

I looked around and realized that I hadn't even notice the great blowing opportunities around us. I picked one and handed it to Sunshine. I was equally fascinated to watch her tentatively reach out one chubby finger to slowly touch the soft fluff. The look on her face was one of wonder and delight. Her persistence in trying to blow hard enough to make the seeds fly was a lesson in itself.

As we continued around the track I found myself wondering how many "good blowers" I was missing in my daily life. How many times do I stop amidst my daily race around in circles to notice the good things? The things that lighten my heart and make me smile. Taking time to enjoy tickling one of my kids, playing hide and go seek, really listening to made-up songs or looking at "special" rocks. I forget to notice how blue the sky is, or how the breeze carries the smells of fallen leaves and the approach of winter. God has given us so much beauty, laughter, love, and daily miracles. Unfortunately, I spend much of the time staring down at the track as I daily circle around again and again, cleaning, laundry, meal preparations, etc. Only to find myself coming around to the starting point again, ready for a new day to begin, lost in the monotony. Not realizing the beauty, laughter, excitement, and connections I could have enjoyed but have missed.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Yep! We're old fogies

In our ward Sunday bulletin, they post a family history challenge each month. This month we have had a lot of fun waxing nostalgic and discussing the topic. The assignment is to list things that you remember that your children would not know anything about. We came up with an extensive list!vinyl records (I owned Thriller, Grease, and Sleeping Beauty) I used to dance and get in trouble for making the records skip and scratch.
  • cassette tapes for that matter
  • Easy Bake oven (I always wanted one)
  • Snoopy Snow Cone machine
  • Weeble Wobbles
  • Big Wheels
  • The dolls that grow hair and then it sucks back into their heads
  • Barbie heads for make-up and hair styling
  • Manually changing channels and volume on the TV
  • TV shows as: Brady Bunch, Fantasy Island, Romper Room, Love Boat, Buck Rogers, Dukes of Hazard, Welcome Back Kotter, Mash, Hart to Hart, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Murder She Wrote, Muppet Show, Family Ties, Scooby Doo, Charlie's Angels
  • Movies: Star Wars, Better Off Dead, War Games, Dark Crystal, Sixteen Candles, TeenWolf, Back to the Future, Footloose, Rocky, Superman, Somewhere in Time, Fame
  • drive-in movie theaters
  • typewriters and why they ding
  • carbon paper
  • rotary dial telephones with coiled cord
  • Atari
  • having to go to an arcade to play video games like Pac Man
  • Roller skating at the roller rink
  • Station wagons with rear facing seats and no seat belts or car seats, no power anything or ac, rolling down windows manually
  • clogs
  • thongs (the shoes)
  • long white socks with stripes on the top worn with shorts
  • stirrup pants
  • peg legging your jeans
  • bleach spotting jeans
  • rockers and wavers
  • mullets (yes Hubby had one)
  • feathered bangs
  • hair to heaven bangs
  • Having free rein of the neighborhood until dark
  • Not having a computer, Internet, cellphones, microwaves, etc.
  • Carrying dimes for the pay phone
  • glass pop bottles
Even though many toys and shows are being recreated as "retro" they're just not the same.
We just realized that most of the people who read this blog wont know half of the things we are talking about. If you do, give us a shout out so we don't feel so alone in our old age.

No Idle Curiosity Here!

Through a couple of  Freckles' recent comments I have realized that I am becoming a true veteran of motherhood. Notice I said "becoming", I don't believe I, or anyone for that matter can know or catch everything their children think or do. 
The other day, while driving on the freeway, we noticed a motorcyclist passing us. Freckles piped up from the back seat and asked us, "Is it against the law for dwarves to ride motorcycles?"  Hubby and I looked at each other, puzzled, and laughing. Then it hit me. We have been having "discussions" lately why he cannot have a minibike. I guess he figured if he was too little to have one then maybe a dwarf would be too little to ride a motorcycle.

A few minutes later, he asked "Could a thorn from a rose bush pop one of the tires on this car?"  Hubby said no. About 30 seconds later I realized we need some elaboration and clarification. I said "But, a nail or any other sharp object will pop a tire, so don't start poking things into the tires or you will really be in trouble!"  Hubby gave me an appreciative glance and said, "Good catch! I thought he was just asking from idle curiosity."

Around here, there is no such thing as idle curiosity!

Monday, June 29, 2009

School Photos

I don't know about you, but I get a really big kick out of school photos. Of course I look at my kids first, but then I like to peruse the faces of all the kids one at a time. I know most of these kids from working in the classroom with them which makes me smile all the more. I took all of the names off to protect the innocent, hopefully they wont be famous one day and have a photo they thought they had buried forever turn up to mock them.
For example, in this class photo, what is the boy in the upper corner thinking? You can't see it very well, but he looks terrified! And I love the kid in the orange t-shirt on the front row.
Or in this one, the boy in the middle in the red shirt makes me smile! The girl in the front row with the piggy tails brings back memories.

In this preschool picture, how can you not smile at the little girl in the middle with the scrunched up nose? Or, the one being held by teacher because he doesn't want his picture taken. I love that they took the time to insert a picture of the little one who was absent on picture day.
I am so proud that my children get to be on the front row of their pictures because they are the cutest! I know it has nothing to do with the short genes they have inherited from their parents. :)
I would put in class photos of Hubby and me to make you smile (translated: rofl) but luckily uh hum, I mean unfortuately, they are all packed. Just be assured that we were always on the front row too because of the whole cutest kid thing.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer Bucket List

I saw this idea on a blog and decided it would a good way to keep us motivated to do fun things together this summer. It also gives tangible evidence contrary to the "we never get to do anything fun" comments. We began with the disclaimer that this is an idea only list and by no means a guarantee! We have already checked off a few items. Although it is somewhat childish, this also helps me feel a little better about being the "mean mom" who makes their kids do chores during the summer.

We have been talking about being a team and how we need to work and play together as a team. Last night for Family Home evening, we had a short intro and then went out to work in the yard. While Dad mowed, the kids and I weeded and replanted peppers that were destroyed in the worst wind storm last week. Because it was light for so long, we were able to work until 9:30 or 10. After we cleaned up, we took a couple of blankets out on the lawn and did some not so serious stargazing. We also did plenty of squirming and giggling. (Gardening, check. Stargazing, check. Summer fun, check.) We talked about constellations, and the possibility of other solar systems with planets with people on them. It was interesting to talk to my 7 and 10 year olds about the nature of their Heavenly Father, that we are His children and that any other children He may have on other planets would probably look like us rather than little green men.  #1 then went so far to suppose that Heavenly Father would want them to know of the plan of salvation too and therefore they would probably have scripture too. Scripture written by different prophets. It's amazing where a conversation can lead. 
Hubby and I have decided that this will be a fun, productive summer solstice tradition.

Monday, May 18, 2009

One Brief Moment

Yesterday, for one brief moment, time stood still. My big, lanky nine year old (He looks big and lanky to me no matter where he stands in his class pictures.) came and snuggled up to me on my bed. As we lay there, he let me stroke his hair and reminisce about how he has grown and my good memories of him as a baby. Sometimes, I miss my first baby terribly. We argue about homework, and how he chooses to use his time. I worry about the world out there, the one he is immersed in daily. To a mom, it is a minefield of influence and corruption bent on attacking his innocence and wearing down his self-esteem. I miss the days when his whole world was contained in his parents' arms. The worries are bigger and scarier and loom even larger for the future.
But... for a moment, I held him again, basked in his innocence, and the love he freely shared with me. Just for a moment, it was just the two of us in our own little, snug world.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


The boys recently learned the subtle joy of refering to bathroom happenings as #1 and #2.  Freckles had to use the restroom during dinner last night. He came back to the dinner table and asked, "Did you know there is a #4?" He somehow skipped #3 and I didn't ask. The mere hint of the continuation of this descriptive conversation had me shouting, "No! And I don't want to know! Especially not during dinner!!" And, like every 6 year old who gets his mind wrapped around telling you something, he was determined to explain his reasoning. He continued talking as I shoved my fingers in my ears, and said, "no don't tell me". With a gleam in his eye, he said, "I don't have to tell you, I'll just show you". This sent me into a full blown panic causing me to squeeze my eyes shut, push my fingers so far into my ear canal it endangered my brain, and begin chanting la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la! Needless to say, my childish response was understood by my intelligent 6 yr. old and I was spared any further references to the #4. Meanwhile, Hubby was having trouble staying in his chair due to the gales of laughter!
Despite the fact that I still don't know what he was thinking and that I mentally refuse to dwell on the topic too long, I fear the #4 will inspire incoherent babbling for some time. Oh, the insanity (er um) joys of parenting boys!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Another funny kid story

I was reminded of a funny story that happened a couple of years ago. Hubby and I were out of town, taking Little One with us, and my sister-in-law was babysitting the boys. I was talking to her on the phone when I heard some yelling in the background. My SIL excused herself for a minute and when she returned she reported that Freckles had flushed a pair of #1's underwear down the toilet! SIL was understandably flustered and wasn't sure what to do. I surprised myself by calmly asking if the toilet had clogged and when she told me it hadn't I shrugged and said, "Oh well, there's nothing we can do about it now." It was at that point that I realized #1 I was becoming a seasoned mother of boys, and #2 I deal with situations in a much calmer manner over the phone than in person!

It Does My Heart Good...

Monday was one of those afternoons. The kids were out of school early, the weather was a little warmer, and mischief was high at our house. Sunshine had been into and out of many things all day and decided that she didn't want to nap. As I was explaining to Little One and her friend why "we shouldn't hit someone over the head with a maraca" Freckles came racing down the stairs yelling that the toilet was clogged. I verified that it was not overflowing yet and so finished my conversation with the girls ("I only apologize to my sister..."), contained Sunshine in her highchair with a snack because like any other toddler, she loves the bathroom, and went to investigate the source of the clog. A clogged toilet, reported by a six year old always makes me nervous about what I might find. This wasn't as bad as it has been in the past. It was clogged with half of the last roll of toilet paper in the house. When the story finally came out, our son had been trying to see how much of the water he could splash out of the toilet by throwing big wads into the bowl. When he attempted to flush, the toilet just couldn't handle the volume and filled within an inch of the rim. After I fished it out and got things running again I continued with my usual afternoon of begging, pleading, cajoling, and bribing the kids to finish homework, set the table, etc, etc.
We began Family Home Evening a little later than I hoped, as usual, but pressed forward nonetheless. Freckles was so excited to read his scripture and did it very well. He is becoming such a good reader. As I explained that we were all going to be secret service agents for the next two weeks, performing acts of service for our family, excitement rose and bubbled over. The kids were so excited they refused to get ready for bed until they had done some things for other members of the family. It is so fun to see them transform from bickering, teasing, annoying, siblings to loving, serving, kind friends. It does my heart good, especially after a hectic day, to see our family lovingly and willingly helping one another. As I looked at each of my sleeping children (some days that's when I love them best), I felt so grateful for all the things I get to experience as a parent. I was especially thankful that those good moments always overshadow the difficult ones.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Middle Lane of the Parenting Highway

We seem to be in the middle lane of the parenting super highway.

There are those parents in the Right Lane who are just beginning, merging into the chaos and confusion. There are so many worries, so many questions: which diapers, bottles, pediatricians, what should we do now? There are the blissful moments, pulled over on the side of the road while baby naps or is adorably cooing and wrapping those small pudgy fingers around your finger. The rapture at baby's firsts: smile, laugh, steps, words... I can still remember the right lane in a fuzzy, rose colored way. I even get to visit over in the right lane every once in a while, usually when I'm up in the middle of the night for some one on one time with a child. Though the right lane seems peaceful to me now, I wouldn't want to go back. Yes, we really are done! I am content with fond memories to help me remember that I love these crazy kids.

The Middle Lane seems to consist of parents who have multiple growing children. Parents who speed from one place to the next frantically trying to get from point A to point B, C & D in their day. We kiss boo boos and soothe feelings, nag them to make their beds, and try to remember to laugh as the laundry piles ever higher. The worries and questions get bigger: schools, extra-curricular activities, friends, etc. We are no longer questioning the things we did in the beginning. With subsequent children we don't buy brand name, measure formula exactly, wake with every sniffle, or make all baby food from scratch. Not to mention that those multiple children start to get more expensive! (Dear Santa, we would like A Wii, snowboards and lessons, electronic devices etc.) Time is not your own. You have basically given up individuality, hobbies, and selfish desires for the privilege of being somebody's mom or dad! You realize that the little moments of love and joy that happen amid the chaos make it all worth it.

The Left Lane, consisting of parents with teenagers and children leaving home, appears to speed by at an alarming rate. Though I haven't reached this lane yet, I watch my neighbors, siblings, and people in public places. It seems your IQ drops a few points as well as your popularity. And although you have 6 blissful hours (or so it seems to me) during the day to accomplish all those things left unfinished for the last 10 or 15 years when there was still a little person shadowing you, the after school hours seem to be even more jam packed. Increased independence in the form of children getting themselves from point A to point B and hopefully doing their own laundry has it's appeal. However, the worries multiply like rabbits and are big ones: college education, preparing for missions, friends and society with more influence than their old, out of date parents. Boyfriends, girlfriends, and marriages are coming at you head on! The prospect of changing to the left lane makes me shudder with trepidation, nay terror!

As parents speed along in their own lane, they often look at the other parents in neighboring lanes. Those in the Right Lane invariably say, "I will never let my kids do that!" or My kids will never act like that!" We in the Middle Lane, often look at the sweet new parents in the Right Lane with indulgent smiles and chuckle with nostalgic reminiscing about their protective concerns. All the while, those parents in the Left Lane are laughing heartily and somewhat maniacally at our concerns about beds being made, force fed balanced meals, and actually
stopping the car to breastfeed.

As for those parents who have pulled off the superhighway of parenting for good, except for tending the grandkids once in a while, I find myself wondering what they think. I tend to think of these matriarchs in two categories, (usually at the grocery store checkout). There are those who seem to sympathize and want to help and cheer those of us still speeding along. Thank you!
Then there are those who seem to have lost all memory of what being a parent on a daily basis was all about. The disapproval in their stance and glare is almost palpable as they watch me go through the agony of keeping my kids from the candy displays. Grocery stores cleverly set these up at the checkout as the last and final torture in the never ending game of "pleeeease can I have?" "Preeety pleeease..." "pleeeease pleeeease pleeease..." Sorry, I got a little side tracked. I digress. I tend to ignore these disapproving folks and pass them off in my mind as never having had children or suffering from post traumatic amnesia brought on by having their own.

If you see us passing or being passed on the superhighway of parenting, honk and wave. You just might make our day!