Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Broken Broom

Today was a sad day. This orange broom has been through a lot. He served us well over the past five years or so. His metal handle got badly bent yesterday, due to improper use by a child. Today as I was trying to straighten it, the broom snapped. Consequently, my kitchen floor is kind of mess tonight. I even went to Target this evening and failed to buy a new one, because I was fixated on everything but cleaning supplies. Clearanced school supplies were much more exciting.

Other news:
This morning at about 9:30 AM the doorbell rang. As I walked to the door I could see a uniformed officer through the glass. My heart raced wondering why there was a police officer at my door. I opened it and he said, "Is everything ok here?" I must have looked confused because he continued, "We always check on any calls that we get." That was when my mind rewinded about a half hour and recalled seeing George sitting at the foot of the stairs with the phone next to him. I apologized to the policeman and explained it must have been one of my children. He seemed very understanding.

My next objective was to figure out which kid it was. I checked the redial on the phone that was next to George. Sure enough it said, "911". I thought it was too coincidental that George dialed only 3 numbers. So the next person of interest was Jason. He denied doing it, but his demeanor reflected guilt. I explained to him that we only call 911 in emergencies. I told him that the policeman might take him with him if it happened again. Jason looked pretty scared when I said that. Later in the day, Jason walked in the room. I said, "What's up, Jason?" I gave him a hug and said in a light-hearted tone, "Jason, did you call 911 today?" He paused trying to figure out if it was a trick question, but finally confessed to doing it. He told me that Wendy taught him about 911. I asked him, "What happens when we call 911?"

He said, "The policeman comes to our house."

So today Jason had a nice lesson in cause and effect. I think he now understands that 911 is for emergencies. I also explained that sometimes the firetruck or ambulance will come too. If there is a fire, or if somebody is sick or hurt we can call 911, like if Mommy is laying on the floor and looks dead. I better be careful where I fall asleep now. The floor is probably not the best spot for a nap anymore. Not that I fall asleep on the floor a whole lot, but I have been known to doze off while watching movies with my kids....

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Passport to Pizza

I came up with a system to get my kids to accomplish their responsibilities each day. So far it's been successful. It's called the Passport System. I made these Passports for my kids.  It took me a really long time to get the alignment right in Microsoft Word, but it's two 8.5 X 11 inch pieces of paper cut in half lengthwise. They are stacked and folded in the middle and stapled to look like a little booklet of four or five pages. I let the kids decorate the front. They get a new one each month.

Each day the kids have certain responsibilities. In the morning they:

1. Brush their teeth
2. Make their beds
3. Clean their assigned portion of the room, which is on a monthly rotating schedule. The cleaning assignments are:
Floor. It needs to be cleared of clothes, stuffed animals, and other junk. It's amazing how much it can get messed up between the time they go to bed and fall asleep.
Books. Books need to be put away on bookshelf. My kids read in bed and since the little ones don't read, they look at lots of books with pictures and they are all over the room by morning.
Bathroom. The toothbrushes straightened, counter wiped down, and floor clean of debris.
Closet. All clothes are to be hung up and floor cleared. It's amazing how out of control a closet can get if not regularly maintained.
Dressers. Tops neatened.

So these responsibilities are divided among the oldest five kids and they have that particular responsiblity for the whole month. Don't let me fool you into believing that Jason actually accomplishes his responsibility all by himself. After much stubborness, hunched over shoulders, and a pouty face, I'm lucky if I can persuade him to put one book on the shelf.  (Just to be clear, Jason is the one with the hunched shoulders and pouty face.) I have to keep telling myself that he's in the training phase...

Then they have to accomplish their school assignments (material for another post) and their afternoon clean up, which is also material for another post, but it's pretty much 25 minutes of cleaning their assigned downstairs rooms which are on a rotating daily schedule. The rooms are kitchen, playroom, music room/hallway, and family room.

My husband asks them at dinner if they did all their things one by one. If they say, "yes" to everything they get a sticker. If they don't finish everything, they have to do some make-up work the next day or that evening, which is an extra chore such as scrubbing toilets with a toothbrush. Ok, it's not really that bad, but the point is that it's an extra duty that helps us get the house cleaner.

The inside of the Passport.
 I buy cheap reward stickers at the $1 section at Target. If a kid does an extra something special that day (i.e. dry and put away the dishes) they get a "big" sticker, like Sarah did on Thursday. Believe it or not, but a sticker quadruple the size of a the normal sticker is effective motivation (or at least it was for the first month.) As you can see, we only award 6 days of stickers. We take off on Sunday because it's the Sabbath, and seven days would've made Word chart more complicated.

So at the end of the month if they have all their stickers on their Passports, they qualify to go out to a special place to eat. This month's destination was CiCi's Pizza. What can be better than an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet?

The Passports were redeemed today:

Emily's Passport
We have temporarily lost our reward stickers, so we had to dig into the stash of Melissa and Doug farm animal stickers.

Wendy was upset about something. I think she didn't like the way I tied her shoes.

I learned tonight that George loves cherry tomatoes. He ate a dozen of them while watching Hurrican Irene on the Weather Channel.

One of the most exciting things about Passport redemption is that all kids can have their own drink. No sharing required.

George also ate 3 brownies while continuing to watch the Weather Channel. He didn't seem too interested in pizza today.

Pretending to ride the games. We let the kids use their imaginations with video games and rides like these. We didn't pass out any quarters.

Here is a video of George drinking from a straw. He doesn't realize that the angle of the straw makes a difference when sipping. If you're wondering what is on the side of his cheek, it's a cherry tomato seed. You can hear Rachel talking in the background. If you are wondering what she is saying, here is a key:  "Baba" = "Spongebob" and "Neenee" = "Wendy" The brownies were very gooey and she didn't like touching them so she said "I don't want it get on me." But once she took a bite, it didn't matter to her anymore.

The kids have discussed and agreed that next month's Passport redemption will be Chuck E. Cheese. It's a five week schedule in September so they get a little bit of an upgrade from CiCi's. for longer months. I promise we'll allow them to have some tokens when we go. Maybe even a lot of them.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Biloxi Blues

Biloxi Blues. I'm watching it.

I was just going to write "Biloxi Blues" and publish, but let's face it, I can't be that brief. I also watched The Incredible Shrinking Woman with my kids today.  It's rated PG, but it was a 1981 PG and they were a little more liberal with the rating system back pre 1984 (so I learned today.) Anyway, the dad in the movie had a job of coming up with names for products. He was in charge of naming a perfume. He brought it home to his wife so she could help him. She wanted to name it "Sex Pot". Do you know how many times they said "Sex Pot" in that section of the movie? A LOT. I'm hoping that Jason doesn't think he needs to use that phrase in his Primary Class at church someday. There was also a scene where a guy was trying to promote Easy Cheese at a supermarket. He gave some to a lady and asked her how she thought it tasted. She responded, "It tastes like sh**." I have to admit, the surprise factor cracked me up, however, I think this world needs more G and PG movies that aren't animated and don't randomly throw in a curse word. I don't have time to preview PG movies before watching them with my kids. I also hope none of my kids learned how to really tell me what they think dinner tastes like. Aside from those two things, the movie was kind of fun and I loved the closing jingle "Galaxy Glue". If you click the link and you can hear it too.

My family moved to Southern California in 1984. One of the first things we did was go to Universal Studios. I remember seeing a giant rocking chair at the park that was supposedly used in the The Incredible Shrinking Woman. I don't recall seeing an enormous rocking chair in the movie. I'm confused. Now I think Universal Studios is a fraud.

I'm still mourning the loss of my AC units and filling the void with 80's movies.

I liked That Funny Feeling, by the way. A nice 1960 romantic comedy. I think I have a crush on Bobby Darin. It's too bad he died when he was 37 years old. That's sad.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Wow! Has it been 12 days?

I'm a slacker.  Bad Blogger. Twelve days of not blogging is shameful.

Tonight I'm watching That Funny Feeling.

I'm getting my school calendar ready for the school year. We're starting after Labor Day.

Both our AC units need to be replaced. I'm not happy at all about it. It's going to cost $12,500. I've cried tears over it. They are still running (barely), but both are leaking Freon and the cost to repair the leaks is too much to make it worth it on 14 year old systems.

I just ate a Mint Chocolate Chip Klondike Bar. Ice cream can always soothe stress.

Now back to my calendar......Sorry I'm so boring.

But pictures are rarely boring:


Jason took apart the See and Say because, "Mommy, I just wanted to see what was inside." This picture shows it right after I gathered all the parts that were scattered all over the Family Room floor. Daddy was successful at putting it back together. I knew I married him for a reason.

 Rachel giving George a ride on the upside-down stool.

 Rachel sad that I poked fun at her choice of hair accessories before church. ( I wore that silver hair comb to my prom.)

I didn't dare laugh at her shoes on the wrong feet. I just took a picture.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


When I blog I don't watch movies. When I watch movies I don't blog. So tonight (and perhaps other nights) I am going to simply post what movie I'm watching.

Ok I'm turning on my TV.....

I'm going to my recorded shows......

I'm scrolling down and picking a movie....

I'm going to watch.....hmmmmm....... Paper Heart
"This quietly touching mockumentary stars Charlyne Yi as a woman who claims not to believe in romance and interviews a number of random people in order to discover if love exists. However, her research project takes a strange turn when she falls in love."
I have no idea why I have this desire to watch lots of movies. I think it kind of makes me feel cultured. I would probably be more cultured if I read books, but books put me to sleep and I can't multitask or eat ice cream easily when I'm holding a book, so movies it is. Movies it is until the first day of fall. Then maybe I will switch to books, but unfortunately I won't be able to read one book per night like I can watch one movie per night.

Since a post needs a picture or three, here you go:

See? It's hereditary. Rachel falls asleep when reading books too.

I'll be making banana bread tomorrow. My laptop stays open most of the day, so I forgot about them. Somebody put the bananas behind my computer on Saturday evening (don't know why, but they did.) I was wondering where they went. It's a shame, because I was hungry for a banana all week.

Today we updated our state quarter map. My sister gave this to us for Christmas 2000 before we had any kids. You have to use a hammer to get the quarters in the hole.  It's like playing the Whack-a-Mole game: while you're hammering in one quarter, another one or two pop out. It's quite challenging. We spent so much time sorting our quarters today. Emily and Bradley have pretty much memorized what each picture is on the back of each quarter. I really hope there is a category on Teen Jeopardy called Quarterbacks when I send Bradley on that show in five years to win his college tuition.

We have hundreds of state quarters, but not a single Montana, Idaho, or Oklahoma. I posted this picture on Facebook just for fun, and people actually checked their quarter stashes. I already have somebody across the country sending me a Montana and somebody local from church giving me an Oklahoma. Idaho? Anyone? I'll pay you 70 cents for it...

Monday, August 08, 2011

Suzy Q's

I've been rather verbose lately. Tonight I'll give you break from my blabbing and be picturose. The Suzy Q's  were a hit. Daddy and George were the unlucky ones to get 1/2 of one.

I took George for his 15 months check up today. It was actually supposed to be his 12 month, but I'm three months behind. He was:

31 inches (50th percentile)
20 pounds 3 oz. (Not on growth chart. He's a pip squeak.)
19 1/4 inch head circumference (90th percentile. Pip squeak with big head.)

The doctor asked me if George was saying words. I laughed and told her I'm still trying to get my 3 year old to say words. The doctor must not know about the Einstein Syndrome. Rachel is my little Einstein.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Hostess Happiness

Today we had an exciting trip to Walmart. Is that an oxymoron?

Awhile ago Bradley made a goal of trying every Hostess dessert that exists. (We like to encourage our kids to set high goals and I'm feeling very successful. Bradley also counts school buses. He's counted 700 and something in the past couple of years.) The Hostess goal all started in April of last year when my husband and I felt ashamed that our kids were never introduced to the Twinkie, so we bought a box and ate them for our Family Home Evening treat that week. 

For the longest time Bradley has been in search of Suzy Q's after I reminisced about my childhood and described to him how I would use my tongue to lick the creme up each side of the chocolate cake sandwich. Good times! I found them last October in the snack section of a gas station while on a road trip. I purchased a twin pack and cut them in thirds for the kids to try. I guess that instance did not qualify in Bradley's mind because he continued his quest for Suzy Q's after that road trip. I think part of the fun for him is to find the colorful box of treats on the grocery store shelf and be satisfied by eating a whole one, not a measly portion of a treat from a gas station. Every time we go to a grocery store, especially a new or different one, Bradley asks, "Mommy, can I check the Hostess section?" My reply is always, "Of course."

So today was super exciting because when Bradley checked the Hostess section......

.... they had Suzy Q's!!!  
I wish I had a video of Bradley's reaction when my husband said, "Bradley, I don't think we should get those." Of course he was kidding, and Bradley claims he knew his Daddy was joking, but his look of shock and disappointment led me to believe he was fooled. We bought one box, so unfortunately one person in the family won't get one, or two people will get 1/2 of one.  I can place a sure bet that Bradley will not agree to be one of those unlucky people.

The excitement of Suzy Q's was just too much for George to bear.

Emily has a lot of experience with newborn babies considering she is only ten years old. Even Emily could tell the ridiculous size of this baby doll that is labeled "New Born Baby", and she had to show it to me. I placed it next to 15 month old George for scale. I can tell you, I would not want to push a baby that size out of me!!

My exciting purchase of the day. I could go a good trip to Disneyland right now, but now I don't have to because I can have churros every morning for breakfast! It's the happiest breakfast on Earth!

So according to what you've read so far, it looks like all we eat is junk food. I promise we eat our fair share, but it is always balanced with highly nutritious foods as well (moderation is key). Also in our cart(s) were 2 watermelons, 2 cantelope, 4 avocado, 4 loaves of whole wheat bread, 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, 12 drumsticks, 6 ears of corn, 11 oz. blueberries, 7 pounds of bananas, 2 pints of strawberries, 2 bags tortilla chips, 6 whole wheat bagels, 6 ears of corn on the cob, 1/2 gallon orange juice. I know, not many vegetables, but I just wasn't in the mood today. Plus, my vegetable drawer in my refrigerator is filled with bags of shredded cheese right now because it was buy one get one free several weeks ago, so there's not a whole lot of room for veggies in there. We also had 2 boxes of diapers, 6 Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, a bottle of baby wash, Vitamin B6, and Equate cotton swabs.

So, yes, my day was very exciting today. Oh, one more exciting thing was that we bought a new DVD player. Apparently, you get what you pay for when you spend $19 on a DVD player made by Coby. Our current Coby plays DVD's, but it gets skippy after a while which takes the fun out of watching a movie. Anyway, we went big guns and got a blue ray, not that we needed it, but you can also stream Netflix with it. Not that I have Netflix, but one day I might when I'm finished watching all these Encore Channel movies I have recorded on my DVR.

I'm taking a little vacation from the vacation photos, but more are coming soon. And at the end of the summer I'll give you a list of the movies I've watched. I watched my first Elvis movie the other night. That was fun.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Uterine Utopia

I went to the doctor on Tuesday. Good news! My uterus is back in business. Apparently what the doctor thought was a polyp two weeks ago wasn't a polyp, but most likely just left over miscarriage business. I told him that I guess I needed to be more patient while recovering. He said, "That's exactly right. It's not like ordering a hamburger." I'm not exactly sure what he meant by that, but I think it means that reproduction can be complicated. He also told me that it all would've been over much quicker if I had opted for the D&C, but he understood my wishes to wait it out. So, YAY!

I had an ultrasound and my endometrium looked very normal. It was beautiful. I kept asking her, "Are you sure? What's that dark spot? What's that? Are you sure?" She assured me she knew what she was doing.

So to sum everything up, I bled for six weeks. It wasn't fun. But listen to this....On Sunday, July 24th, after church I was carrying a sleeping George as I was stepping into the van to put him into his car seat. As I stepped up into the van, my foot slipped and I came crashing down and banged my shin on the step of the van and hit my left rib on the armrest of the back seat. It totally knocked the wind out of me. My husband was just staring at me wondering what the heck just happened, because I dropped George onto the seat, and I was just laying there stunned and unable to breathe or say anything while tears were dripping out of my eyes and I was exposing everything under my skirt to the rest of the parking lot. Finally I managed to gasp, "I got....(gasp)...the wind...(gasp)....knocked out...(gasp)....of me." I suffered much shin pain that day and I'm still suffering bruised rib pain almost two weeks later. But here's the weird thing....I didn't have a single drop of blood after that incident. You know what I think? I think I knocked my reproductive system into working order when I fell. I decided not to bring up my theory to my doctor this time. I didn't want him to tell me he didn't think my theory was true because I'm pretty sure I'm right. Or maybe it's just a coincidence.

So that is my status. Now to post a few more vacay photos. Here are some from our third day, July 2nd. I know I said that I would combine days, but it's kind of difficult and tedious to sift through photos and make decisions on which ones to post.

Harrisburg, PA
For those of you just joining in, I have a goal to have my picture in front of every state capitol building.  It all began in 1995, or maybe it was 1996. Anyway, a college friend of mine who was from Seattle asked me to drive home with her after school was finished for the year. So we drove from Southern California to Washington State. The route included three state capitals. It was by the time we stopped at Olympia, WA that I was hooked.  I think I have 35 or something now. I've been to Harrisburg, PA before, but it was before the days of digital, so I redo any capitals that I've been to before digital. Supposedly this capitol has been voted by the Smithsonian to be the most beautiful capitol building. My husband voted it gaudy. There was a lot of gold and enormous chandeliers.

Hill Cumorah Visitors' Center
This is at the Visitor's Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Hill Cumorah in Palmyra, New York. It is so rare to get a family photo where you can see the face of every single member of the family. 

Family photo in front of the Statue Moroni.

Another family photo where you can see everyone's face. I'm convinced this place is truly a place of miracles.

A picture with a Sister Missionary. I hope she doesn't mind me posting her picture on the Internet, but I had to take one. (She shouldn't mind because she is very photogenic. A lot more photogenic than Rachel.) If you look closely, her name is Sister Hill. I just thought it was really cool that Sister Hill was serving a mission at Hill Cumorah. I covet her teeth.

We finally made it to Nani's house! Rachel was so excited to see her Papa. They are total buddies. 

A picture with Auntie. I wish I had a picture of Nani, but I didn't get a very good one this day. But she is sitting over to the right in her brand new recliner watching all the chaos.