Monday, August 31, 2009

The Best Laid Plans...

I like to plan-I am a planner. Sunday nights I like to sit down and plan out my week. I like to plan for things way ahead of time (for instance, much of my Christmas shopping is underway already).

Today I had beautiful, well laid out plans featuring one mom, three cherubic children, and a loving family gathering together with daddy once he got home for a nice dinner and family home evening. Here were my plans:

Get up at 6:30 to read my scriptures and start to get myself ready for the day before the boys got up.

Take Nathan to school and head straight to the first grocery store just to grab some quick deals.

Drop Jack off for his first day of Preschool! (After of course taking pictures and all that.)

Me and Dallen take a trip to the other grocery store and finish off this week's grocery trip.

Come home and make M & M cookies for Jack as a surprise for his first day of preschool.

At 10:25 my VTers were going to come and then that was going to morph into a YW presidency meeting right at my house where of course we would all sit around making lovely plans for our dear YW.

12:00-Pick up Jack from Preschool. Come home and eat lunch together while he told me all about his day. Then we would surprise him with the warm cookies.

Nap-Mondays are always our best day for naps-the one day I can count on both Jack and Dal really sleeping.

3:35 (after Nathan got picked up from school) Swimming lessons for J and N

Dinner of potato soup (despite the hot weather) because Nathan prayed last night that we could have it.

FHE-already planned a theme we feel is important to teach our kids. And of course everyone would sit nicely, pay attention, learn and feel loved.

Then reality hit:

1:30 a.m. Light flips on in the bathroom and before I know what is going on Josh jumps out of bed to respond. Nathan is up and from what I can tell, he has thrown up. Good news-I was wrong. He has pink eye and his eyes were glued shut. Still, this means he is going to need to stay home from school.

6:30-Alarm goes off and I hit snooze once, knowing we don't have to be out of bed early since Nathan isn't going to school.

6:40-Alarm goes off again and I stir. Nathan and Jack are already awake and in the backyard (what?!) and I can hear Dal yelling.

I ignore Dal and let the boy play outside so I can get my scripture reading in at least.

Feed everyone breakfast, call school and neighbor about Nathan not going, shower and get dressed, get Jack dressed for preschool.

Jack gets undressed and into his Spiderman costume instead.

Get Jack dressed again and, after some nice pictures, drop him off at preschool. No grocery trip since I can't take Nathan to the store really.

Come home to make cookies. Since I can't do M & M because I can't go to the store, I decide to try a nice peanut butter cookie and I am going to mix chunks of Reese's PB cups in. While I am not paying attention to my mixing, the Reese's get pulverized and become part of the cookie dough instead of chunks, thus changing the consistency and frankly, ruining the cookies.

VTers show up. Nathan is supposed to take Dal upstairs and play quietly. Dal is having none of that. He wants to be with me. And Nathan is having none of that. He wants Dal with him. So much for quiet.

Meeting starts-things are sort of random and chaotic thanks to my kids and whatnot. In the middle I have to leave to go pick up Jack. Teacher says preschool was sort of chaotic. Kids got hurt, didn't sit still, etc. Jack had fun though.

Come home and meeting is still going on so I tell the boys to play for a few minutes while I finish up. Instead they start whining and crying and yelling because they are hungry and tired.

Feed Jack lunch but more in the hurried and chaotic way than the nice sit down and eat together and talk about our day way that I was hoping for. And he doesn't like the weird cookies.

Put kids to bed. Unfortunately though, my nap day is not going to happen because Nathan is home and keeps coming out of quiet time to tell me things.

We will go to swimming lessons-but Nathan won't be able to swim.

No potato soup for dinner because I can't go to the store to buy potatoes.

Wonder what FHE will be like? :)

Ah, and as we all know, THIS is life. THIS is reality. And that is fine. I still love my life.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blog Fiesta!!

Tonight I finally got caught up blogging. I write posts in my head but never get the chance to sit down and write them, but tonight I did-so enjoy. If you want to. I know I put too many words but those are for me really. I plan to turn my blog posts into a book for our family each year, so I want a lot of documentation.

Dallen's Antics

You can't help but love this kid with his big blue eyes, pretty blonde hair, ever present smile and darling dimples, but what lies behind this facade?

Well, ok, in truth it isn't a facade. Dal is adorable and wonderful and happy and fun. But boy does this kid get around. And he tires mom out!

A few of Dallen's most recent antics:

Yesterday he opened the fridge, took out a jar of salsa and dropped it on the floor. It shattered.

The day before that he went to the fridge, found the bowl of cake batter I had in there, dipped his cracker in it (I know-clever really) and walked all over the house smearing chocolate on everything he came into contact with

He regulary attempts to scale the pantry shelves, stands on the kitchen table, climbs on top of his car outside, sits on top of the piano...

He colored on the carpet and my desk with a marker today

He frequently loads the VCR full of things like hotwheels cars, seashells and DVDs. So full that I have had to take the top of the DVD player off with a screwdriver to get it all out

And the best-I found him laying on the top shelf of the boys closet (the boys had pulled their bunk bed ladder over to the closet)

Those are just a few but you get the idea. This kid wears me out! And I love him. Especially when he is asleep. :)


First day in the first grade. I can't believe it has come and that the summer is over. Nathan is back at school.

We hit the jackpot this year as far as classes go-we got the teacher we wanted and all of his friends are in his class. (I think it just might pay to be buddy buddy with the kindergarten teacher.)

He has come home on top of the world both days so far and he and Jack walk hand in hand as they tell each other about their days. As much as I miss having my Snood home with me, I love the closeness of a brotherly relationship that is no longer strained by too much time together!

The Very Best of Friends

In Madison (ah, sweet Madison-how I miss thee), anyway, in Madison we had some wonderful , wonderful friends. We spent everyday together (save a few here and there) and sometimes we were together in the morning and then again in the afternoon.

Nanci (also dubbed my "girlfriend" by our husbands because we spent so much time together or talking on the phone) was simply one of those people that I just clicked with. A "bosom friend" to put it in Anne of Green Gables terms. Always happy and positive, always busy making the world a better place, a great mom and so easy to talk to. One of those people who is so close to perfect you almost want to hate them-but of course you don't because they are so darn nice. Of course I wanted to spend time with her!

And then there was the convenient fact that she had 2 little boys-who were 3 and 1 when they moved into the ward-the same ages as mine. In fact, I was out of town when they moved in but I saw a picture (in the ward photo email directory) from Denver and immediately thought that their family would match up nicely with ours, so before even meeting them I sent her an email and invited them to dinner. Anyway...

Trey and Nathan (our then 3 year olds) became best friends. They were known throughout the ward for walking down the hall at church holding hands and insisting to be next to each other at all times. (This might have had something to do with the fact that we were with them so often.)

Conveniently, a month and a half before we left Madison our friends also left Madison to move to CA. Inconveniently they moved to the Bay area about 8 hours from us, but still, it means the possibility to see them is there. Last week they came to visit us! Yay!

Reunion of best friends (although they did fight quite a bit this time around)
Dal adored her baby (these guys weren't really around in Madison so they didn't get the chance to be friends then.) Dal followed "nanci" (which is what he called the baby) around the whole time they were here and tried to make him laugh:
And here are Jack and sweet Justin. Don't they look adorable?

Can you see how our families match up so well? 3 boys each and all about the same ages: One more shot of the boys:
We had so much fun with them here. I felt like I couldn't stop talking....I just droned on and on. We went to Carl's Jr. to let the kids play and eat lunch and two hours later I was still jabbering away and couldn't believe how fast the time had gone. Love it!

The most "interesting" part of the visit was the trip me and Nanci took with all 6 boys in tow out to dinner Monday night for her birthday (neither husband was with us-Josh was out of town and Ryan had gone home). Let's just say that the old lady who loudly announced to the whole small restaurant as we walked in that "this is going to be a circus" was right.
Food was sort of the center of our fun-homemade ice cream, kabobs, cafe rio salad, brownies, large cookies, dessert crepes, the list could go on. But we also went swimming, played outside, went to Lake Poway and celebrated Nanci's birthday:
Gotta love great friends!

When did I forget?

Somewhere between my last trip to girl's camp (I think I went like 7 times) and the recent present, something got lost in my life-something that I didn't even realize was lost.

I grew up in Colorado-where there are big beautiful mountains, burbling brooks, pine trees everywhere you look-and camping. I guess I camped quite a bit as a kid and as a teenager.

And then I became a wife and mother, and somehow that translated into thinking "I don't like camping. I don't go camping" and so I would send Josh off with the boys for some father/son bonding whenever they wanted to camp.

And then Josh bought a new tent. And he set it up in the backyard. And it was big-very big. And I realized that if he was going to have a tent this big, I should probably spend at least one night in it camping. And so, hesitantly and suggested "maybe we should all go camping sometime." And so we did.

And I remembered-I like camping. I really like camping. I like sitting by the campfire, I like being in the quiet nature, I like eating hotdogs on sticks and s'mores.

But this was even better-because now I am a mom. And I have an endless to do list at home and the phone ringing and my business to run and places to go. But when we were camping there was no to do list and nothing to do but sit down by the fire with my boys and talk and snuggle and relax. I loved it. And I realized that this could be a vital part of keeping strong family connections as our kids age, because when we camp there is nothing to do but spend time together. And pick up sticks and roll in dirt. Just the sort of thing a family of boys loves.

Disclaimer (CA "mountain" camping has nothing on CO Mountain camping. Not even a close comparison. Next time I think we will try beach camping.)

Josh worked while I ran around snapping pictures:

Dal loved the chance to roam free and get DIRTY! Hotdogs by the fire:
These two apparently were having a dirty face contest. At least that is how it looked by the state of their faces:
Pam, this one is for you. I don't know if this can fully capture the amount of dirt on Dal's hand. I understand why you don't camp. :)
And proof that I actually was there:

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Day that Nathan was in Charge

Yesterday Nathan filed some complaints with the management around here, so as a result, he was put in charge for the day.

I went into it wondering how I could best manage things to make this day a learning experience for him. It felt like one of those things that truly profound mothers do to their children to help them learn, to shape them into the people they want them to be. But I felt at a loss as to what exactly being in charge should involve that would really teach Nathan.

Josh and I ran through some potential scenarios last night so I could be prepared.

When we got up today and Jack asked for breakfast I reminded him that Nathan was in charge and to ask him. And then I politely asked for my breakfast as well. After his jaw dropping, he got to work...and we had cereal for breakfast (we are normally a waffle family).

When Jack needed a drink, help coloring his picture, when Dallen woke up and needed his breakfast, I referred everyone to Nathan. Not what he had in mind for his being in charge day, but he did it with a smile on his face. Although he did mention, just an hour after getting up that he was ready to be done being in charge. I didn't let him off the hook.

We were going to go to the beach today, but Nathan decided that wasn't in the cards for the day so we stayed home-all day. Not something we usually do. He made us lunch, he retrieved chairs and drinks, he settled arguments. I was impressed.

And in the end, what did he learn? I don't know. I think he enjoyed the experience way more than I wanted him to.

But, what did mom learn? I learned that Nathan really likes to feel like he is in charge of his life. He was absolutely good today. No fighting. No whining. No complaining.

I learned that both Nathan and Jack can and will do more for themselves than I usually let them. When Jack needed a chair at lunch I told him to ask Nathan and instead he shrugged his shoulders and went and got it himself! I think I do too many of the little things for them.

I learned that sometimes my boys just want to stay home and be slobs for a day. Sure the beach would have been fun. It was our last chance to do beach day before Nathan goes back to school. But staying at home was fun too and there was no mad rush out the door, no scrambling to find the sunscreen, flip flops, and towels, no telling the boys to strap into their car seats 34 times, and no sand in my van on the way home.

I guess some days are like that. I guess some days mom learns more than the kids.


Josh and I saw Wicked about 2 weeks ago. Wow! What a show. I have now seen 5 Broadway shows (all off Broadway) and this blew them all out of the water. (I should mention that 3 of those 5 were Phantom-I just happen to have seen that quite a few times-the other was Annie.)
Unfortunately we were way up in the balcony. Josh didn't think this mattered but if we ever get the chance to see this show again we will sit closer.
The music was amazing, I love the story line and the message, I love the unexpected twists and surprises. What a show! And thanks to cousin Laura for watching our boys so we could go!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

On to Denver

Finally it is time to post about our Denver trip. In some ways it was a fiasco, in some ways it was paradise.

Before we left on our long road trip I typed out that blog post a few posts back about everything breaking. As I finished writing, a feeling of doom swept over me as I realized that we were about to embark on a 1000 mile each way road trip and I had just mentioned that Murphy's Law seemed to be happening in our lives. Oh no-what was our trip going to bring?

We spent our day and a half in UT as mentioned in the previous post. Sunday morning we went to Sacrament Meeting and then hit the road for Denver with a goal to be there by about 6:30 or so because all of my family (cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.) were gathering for a party. We were making amazing time-flying down the road, going to hit Denver early.

Bam-an hour out of Denver we come to an almost complete stop, crawled along the highway at 5-10 miles an hour, and what should have taken a one hour journey became 3. To add to our joy, Jack desperately announced that he had to go potty. And not just any kind of potty but I won't go into details. Let's just say it was urgent and not the easy kind of urgent.

Luckily we were near a rest stop so we stopped. Got back on the road and crawled along. Finally got past all the traffic 2 hours (only 10 miles) later when Jack again announced a desperate need to go to the bathroom. We raced for a potty and again were lucky-found one quickly.

Got to my family gathering about 2 hours after it began and got to stay for 20-30 minutes is all. Then we headed "home" to Grandma and Grandpa's house. And then...Jack started throwing up. I guess the potty breaks should have been a sign but I didn't catch on. And then Josh started throwing up. And then Nathan. Oh the joy. And just for the record, I am not someone who deals well with throw up. At all. See my list of dislikes at the top right of this blog? Not something I deal well with.

Anyway, Monday in Denver was shot because of sickies. Although by Monday night everyone was feeling mostly better so we spent the evening in my parents' backyard hanging out on the hammock and chatting. Can I just say that there is nothing better than a summer evening in Colorado? Nothing.

Anyway, the rest of week progressed a little better other than random things like tornado sirens waking us up in the night (which is a really freaky sound in the middle of the night), being up in the night with Jack time after time after time for his potty issues, pizza stores that we wanted to get pizza at burning down, my sister in law and nephew getting sick as well, that sort of thing.

The highlights of the trip included:

Boating/beaching at Cherry Creek (Lake)
Several trips to the pool
Playing cards with Granny and Gramps (one of my all time favorite things to do)
Getting to hold and snuggle my 2 month old Nephew Michael
Being outside in the evening
Badminton in the front yard
Playing games with all my brothers and parents
Going out to lunch with Josh at Fuddruckers
And just being with family

I don't have many pics of the trip and I know some people don't believe in blog posts without pictures, but I wanted to record this trip either way. Here are a few pictures:

The quality on this picture is not good, but I love the shot. Think he is actually going to make contact with that ball?

Grandma Allen (sorry, no pics of Grandpa that turned out)
And this one-we attempted to get a shot of the 5 grandsons. No one was excited about that!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Polkas, Kazoos and Germs

This year, for the first time in hmmm, maybe 5 years, we went to Josh's mom's side of the family's reunion in Utah. We had toyed with the idea of driving to Denver to see my family anyway and when we realized we could time it to hit the Family Reunion in UT we decided to go for it.

We spent about a day and a half in UT is all, but it was fun to see family. We stayed with Josh's grandparents in their better than a five star hotel basement. Seriously-the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in. It was fun to be there with them AND to make things even better, Josh's parents were in town (they left San Diego and went straight to UT and then we followed them there just a few days later) and Josh's sister and her husband and son were there, so we had the entire gang for the first time in forever.

The reunion involved a cleanup Grandma Delma's yard involving cutting down tree branches and dragging them out of the yard. My boys were all over this! They LOVED helping and I loved that they had a chance to serve and feel good about it. Then, after a lunch of sloppy joes and salads and cheetos, we went to a church building where the families put on a program.

Josh's dad is a hugely talented musician and poet, who for some reason can whip up a full length polka complete with lyrics and music in the course of an afternoon and then teach it to us all and we perform. This musical number was definitely the hit of the program and included some mean kazoo playing by myself, Nathan and Jack. We still have the chorus running through our heads...Nicholas and Mary, came across the sea. Walked from there to Utah, 1863.

Ahh, and the title of the post mentions germs. It would appear that someone at the Webb reunion, or someone who sucked on a kazoo and then passed it off to the next lucky player was harboring some nice germs. But we will hear more about that at a later time.

For now, here are just a couple of pics from our Utah trip.

The family:
The Great Grandparents with the 4 grandsons:
Seriously, do kids get any cuter than this? I don't think so.

Oh, and don't worry. We fit in a trip to Cafe Rio during that day and a half. :) And we had Smart Cookies.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

So many posts, so little time

I am so behind on blogging right now, and really, on life in general. Let's just say that being a stay at home mom to three kids during the summer while also trying to run a business that is going really well right now and is super busy because of back to school is sort of kicking my butt. Add in 2 doctors appts. with all three kids in tow and 1 dentist appt. with all three kids in tow along with the usual day to day stuff in the past week and basically I feel like I am barely keeping my head above water.

OK, the truth is that I don't HAVE to take the boys to the beach, swimming and camping all in one day and you know, then things might be a little easier, but where's the fun in that? Gotta make the most of the end of summer (moan! I don't want summer to end).

So anyway, several posts about the past few weeks are coming, but here is just one.

In Denver (which is one of the coming posts) we had pictures taken. They went reasonably well-ok, quite well really although my expectations might have been a little high. We love to go to Portrait Innovations while we are there and decided to go all out and get lots of pictures again this year. So here are a few for your looking enjoyment.

Dal, the little stinker, would not sit still for a picture. But, that actually meant we got a few cute "action" shots. Here he is about to get up, but looking like he is posing nicely: And then he was running away, but what a fun picture:

My little Jack. Oh, I have to mention-as some of you may know, Jack, in general does not get dressed. If he had his way he would have been wearing his Darth Vader pajamas for this picture, but of course, mom wouldn't let him. But, he had nothing to wear that matched what the rest of us had, so immediately prior to the pictures I ran in Target and grabbed the one and only shirt I could find that had blue in it to match what the rest of us were wearing. And, on a whim I decided to grab a pair of matching shorts, knowing that he probably wouldn't wear them but figuring I could return them if he refused. I got to the car and showed him the outfit, fully prepared to bribe him to wear it if necessary and he screamed in joy and wanted to put in on immediately. And he didn't take it off for two days. This is the one and only outfit Jack will wear. And isn't he handsome in in:

Nathan-wish I could have gotten a pic with a genuine Nathan grin because they are so endearing but I still think he looks handsome:
The three boys, looking moderately happy to be having their picture taken. Funny that Jack is the one with the smile on his face. If you have seen last year's version, you know why this is unusual:

And the group. Same shot as last year, just different clothes and we are a year older:

Don't they all look so innocent in this one:

And I loved this shot of Jack. He looks so happy. We didn't buy this one because I am not a fan of the phony beach background. I mean, I live in San Diego (and happen to know the world's greatest photographer) so why would I want a phony beach background, but still, doesn't he look cute?

And last, my favorite picture of the bunch. Now this is reality. This is what a family is really like. And no, this is not staged. We bought this one in a huge 11x13 size and yes, we are going to mount it on the wall:

Sunday, August 2, 2009

It's always fun when Grandpa comes...

when Grandpa comes hooray! (and Grandma too!)

Josh's parents came to visit us about 3 (or was it 4?) weeks ago. It was the first time we had seen Josh's dad since we moved here and the boys were really excited. Their favorite things were swimming with Grandpa the shark (or was it a porpoise?), the tide pools (which I think actually grossed Grandma out), and having a night with just Grandma and Grandpa while mommy and daddy went out on a date (that was a favorite of mine too!)

We had a lot of fun with them here. Two other highlights:

For Father's Day we promised Grandpa a special breakfast when he came to visit. We made him stuffed french toast drizzled in raspberry sauce, fruit kabobs and egg souffle. And-even more exiting, the boys made him a crown and presented it to him before leading him to his breakfast.

Our other favorite activity was going to Coronado beach. It took us forever to get there and even longer to get home, but it was such a beautiful beach. The sand had millions of gold flecks in it and sparkled in the sun.

Whose adorable kid is this?

Didn't manage to get any good pics of Jack that day.
But Pam posed for a nice Facebook profile pic-if she would sign up for facebook.
Me and my man: (heh heh heh-I had to edit the girl to the right of my head. She was showing way too much of her butt.)
And Dal loved walking the beach with Grandpa: