Sunday, January 31, 2010

Not my idea of comfortable.

Rob pointed out a good photo-of-the-day opportunity this morning before church. Both of the boys were sprawled out reading. These are actually conservative positions for Robbie:
I'm pretty sure he is not even conscious of his location or movement when he's in book land.
Then tonight, I had to follow up with the symmetrical version:

To go along with the reading photos, I thought it'd be fun to record what we're all reading now:
Rob: The Old Testament (he's on his second time through cover-to-cover—currently halfway through Numbers).
Me: The Old Testament Made Easier: Part I by David J. Ridges. Hoping the commentary will help me make it through this year.
Robbie: The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. LeGuin.
Joey: Kingdom Keepers II: Disney at Dawn by Ridley Pearson.
Ellie: Anything and everything by Dr. Seuss.
Ainsley: Loves to be read to, and usually makes up a great version of the story while she looks at the pictures.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Runners make better friends

"Beyond the purely physical aspects, there are four elements to the running experience: competition, contemplation, conversation, companionship."
~George Sheehan

I did not warn anyone that I'd be bringing my camera this morning, and no one really wanted a photo at eight a.m. Thanks for being good sports anyway! (left to right: Lisa, Lupita, Mandy, Krisse).

Every time we move, one of the first things I do is put the word out that I'm looking for running partners. I've enjoyed running races, and sometimes I need the quiet of a solo run, but I love the conversation and companionship of running with friends. I love the added incentive to get out of bed, knowing that someone is waiting for me. I love how I push myself a little harder, and how fast the time flies. I love the variety and depth of conversation that running seems to generate. Most of all, I'm grateful for the friendships that have been formed over the miles.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Circle Cycle

Joey's class went to see Ririe-Woodbury's Circle Cycle at the Capitol Theatre this morning, and I got to tag along. It was a fun show—unique choreography and beautiful dancers, and some interaction with the kids. Here's Joey's statement: "It was a good show. But it was kind of weird, and some of it didn't make sense."

Thursday, January 28, 2010


It's the perfect way to end the day. I love changing into some comfy pajamas and warm slippers, having a few minutes of family time, and then...the quiet. I'm especially happy tonight that I haven't had a sick husband in bed all day, so it's actually made. Freshly laundered sheets too. I think I hear it calling my name.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New Beginnings

I wonder if the person who named this annual young women's activity realized that it is redundant? Or if they knew how time-consuming it would be to plan and prepare? :) So worth it though, we have some great girls coming in this year.
We went with a Chinese new year theme, and Cara made us these awesome calligraphy signs for each of the values:

And, in other news, Rob is showing some signs of improvement. Food is starting to appeal to him again, and he perked up a bit when he saw the iPad. He has lost eleven pounds in six days on the I.P. (influenza/pneumonia) diet. He swears that it's not worth it, but if that's not a silver lining, I don't know what is. His office sent these pretty me, with this message:

"Wishing you the best while you nurse your sick husband! We know he will get better, we hope you can recover too from your double duty. Rob, we hope you feel better soon! Friends at Logoworks"

I love it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fitness challenge

Robbie's working on his Tenderfoot, and has to show improvement on several fitness indicators. Here are his scores today:

Push-ups: 5
Pull-ups: 0
Sit-ups: 19
Standing long jump: 4'6"
1/4-mile walk/run: 3:40

I've decided to join him, so I'll add my stats tomorrow after I go to the gym. This'll be a good motivator to add some high intensity interval training to my regular runs, and to be more consistent doing weights & core. We'll re-test in 30 days and hopefully this public accountability really works.

Edited—here are my stats:
Push-ups: 15 (on toes, not knees)
Pull-ups: 1/2
Sit-ups: 15 (before my back hurt too much and I called Melissa to ask for a modified version.)
Standing long-jump: 4'8"
1/4-mile run: 1:50 (I probably should have pushed a little harder on this).

It's pretty awesome to have a sports psychologist and exercise physiologist in the family—we appreciate the use of your treadmill, plus all the personal coaching and training tips, Shawn & Melis. Feel free to leave more of those in the comments, or revise this challenge. Anyone else in?

Monday, January 25, 2010


I'm really wishing I had made Rob go to the doctor on Saturday. Or yesterday. He'd be feeling human again by now if I had.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day of rest

It's day four of Rob being so sick he doesn't even want to try a piece of homemade bread just out of the oven (he has promised to go to the doctor if he's not feeling better in the morning). This means day four of single parenthood for me. Luckily I'm now used to getting the kids ready for church by myself, and sitting alone with them during sacrament meeting. When we got home I wanted to keep them quiet and out of Rob's way, so we had a movie night. I made it through one segment of Planet Earth, then slept through another. I love Sundays.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Productive or lazy?

It's an ongoing dilemma on Saturdays—should I get stuff done, or just relax? Today I went for a six-mile run, made Rob some freshly squeezed o.j. in the hopes that he'd feel better (no luck), did ALL the laundry, cleaned out my storage room clothes, made bread, went to Costco (again for Rob, who wanted Chicken Noodle Soup), and cleaned the kitchen about five times. Looking at this picture of Joey, I'm thinking I made the wrong decision. :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

G'day mates.

I spent the morning at school helping at the boomerang decorating station for 1st grade Australia Day. I need to go dig out my photos from my trip to Australia to show Ellie. I will NOT be posting them here because the only things worse than scary 1980's high school photos are scary 1980's junior high photos.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Remembered my camera, forgot to check the battery...

This is where I lugged my big camera, only to discover that the battery needed recharging. I did take all the photos posted on Melissa's blog, just with her camera (put those in the iPhoto folder for me, will you Melis?) It really was fun—in addition to being super-talented, Pete is great with kids. As we were on our way there, I reminded Ainsley that Scout's dad was going to be there teaching about music, and she said, "You mean Peter Breinholt?!" Just doing our part to make sure the next generation of fans is in place. :)

So, my daily-photo-by-default is a "before" picture. Even though Ainsley comes by her obsessive-compulsive organizational skills very naturally, my house has plenty of chaos. Exhibit A:
I actually have two drawers in my kitchen that hold all of my cooking utensils. And they are both organized by the "toss it in wherever you can fit it" method, simply because the kids usually put the dishes away these days, and they haven't learned to read my mind, which has a clear picture of where everything belongs. We had a professional organizer come to our ward tonight and she gave a great presentation on the process of organizing so that your family can maintain it without you hovering over them every minute. I've been planning on going through my house room-by-room to de-junk, reorganize and finish what is unfinished, so I'm excited to use some of her tips. I looked for the handouts she passed out on her website, but didn't see them—she does this presentation for free at local libraries in January and February, so if anyone is interested, here's the schedule. I'm hoping that my "after" picture won't be too long coming. :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I still forget to take photos

I thought about pulling out my camera and setting it on the counter several times before Peggy came over, but didn't do it, and it wasn't until she was backing out of the driveway that I turned to Melissa and said "Shoot, I forgot to take pictures!" Peggy's been baking homemade wheat bread for twenty years and offered to teach us how, even coming to my house to do it, and grinding fresh wheat flour for both of us. I don't even deserve the title of photo nazi after this. Seriously.

So instead, here's my photo-of-the-day:
Our joint YM/YW activity tonight was a speaker. He's a retired prison warden, and had a powerful message about how we allow ourselves to become bound, and the key to escaping our bonds. He could have benefitted from some organized notes, but I think the kids got the point. Handcuffs are a memorable object lesson.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

OCD: it must be genetic

Well, I was saving my photo of the day for book group tonight, but I couldn't resist posting this one:
Ainsley came to me and said, "Mom, want to see how I cleaned the bathroom?" Knowing how that kind of "help" usually pans out, I hurried back to access the damage. I was pleasantly surprised and slightly alarmed to find this. I think it's safe to say, genetic testing will not be necessary to prove she's mine. :)

Another great photo op happened when Ainsley wouldn't stop chasing Robbie around, trying to stick on her "Dancer of the Day" heart from ballet on him. I suggested that he just let her catch him, so HE could be the dancer of the day. They both thought this was hilarious, and he even posed for a photo:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Taco night

I don't really want to get carried away with the food pictures, but, if it merits a haiku, I guess it deserves to be the photo-of-the-day too. Rob suggested that tacos would be an appropriate dinner to pay our respects to the late founder of Taco Bell. Luckily we had all the ingredients, and it's easy to make. As a bonus, Ellie even tried one for the first time and liked it, so now that brings our total number of dinners that the whole family will eat up to about three. I'm not counting any "breakfast for dinner" foods, which are always a hit. The other meals that don't induce whining and requests for cereal are pizza, and steak/chicken with potatoes. Maybe burgers in some form, on a good day. No young gourmet prodigies here.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Since I wasn't blogging at the time...

Another photo from the archives. Sunday just isn't a day I pull out my camera. This photo isn't very old, but last May through July I was on sabbatical from blogging. I don't think it's a coincidence that it's the same location as my last archive photo. I'm still craving blue skies and sunshine. After scrolling through my favorite photos from 2009, I'm kind of wishing that I'd done a collage of them for our Christmas card. This one would have been front and center.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


It has been approximately 23 days, 13 hours and 40 minutes since I opened my new Bosch Universal Mixer for Christmas (Rob's been keeping track). And I have FINALLY made my first attempt at homemade bread (at least the kind that requires kneading). It turned out pretty darn good too. There were four loaves, and one disappeared within minutes. I used the recipe from John and Jennie's Bosch Kitchen Center, called "Foolproof Bread." I'm happy to report that it was, in fact, fool proof.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Fancy Nancy

Ellie went to a fun Fancy Nancy birthday party today—they took all the girls to the salon and had their hair and nails done. I think that's what I'm going to do for my birthday party next year. :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Great books

I read The Peacegiver by James Ferrell yesterday, and loved it. Our ward book group read it last year but I couldn't make it and never got around to reading it. When our stake president recommended Ferrell's book The Hidden Christ as a supplement to our Old Testament study I picked it up as a Christmas gift for Rob, and after starting that book he went out and bought The Peacegiver. He's not big on church fiction—if it's not doctrinal, it's not worth his time. The fact that he liked it is probably a better endorsement than mine. Click here if you want to read a summary, reviews, etc. I included Bonds That Make Us Free by Terry Warner, another of my favorite books, because it goes right along with The Peacegiver, although it's written for a larger, non-denominational market.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Jake

At Christmastime Ralph and Judy mentioned that Rich and Sandra might be here next year for Christmas, and I said that was great and we should try to get a family picture taken while they're here. Jake turns to me and says, "Is that REALLY the first thought that went through your head?" Yep. And that's why I brought my camera along for tonight's birthday dinner, much to the annoyance of Photo Scrooge and probably everyone else there. You can all thank me in fifty years. In addition to capturing the memory of Jake's birthday I'm documenting one of our yummiest family traditions, eating at El Farol's. Thanks again Ralph and Judy!

Also, I couldn't resist pulling out another photo from the archives in honor of Jake's birthday. This would have been taken about a month after he turned ten, fourteen years ago. As you can see, he hasn't changed a bit. We love you Jake!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Just for the record

This is the last time we were at Kiddie Kandids. It was 2005. Photo Scrooge wasn't even there. I think he's only been there once. I guess I'm not the only person in the family who likes hyperbole.

Monday, January 11, 2010


By 6:45 I could tell Ainsley was ready for bed. She was whining, crying and wanting to be held. So I held her, and it wasn't long before I had to call Rob to come and get her off of me and into bed. I love that limp, completely sacked out little body. This photo is a good representation of how I feel during my least favorite month of the year: tired. I think there might be something to hibernation. I'd like to give it a try. Somebody wake me up when it warms up.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

From the archives

I had plenty of photo opportunities today. Cute girls in Sunday dresses...handsome boys in freshly ironed clothes...the sexy guy sitting next to me in Sunday School. We had our monthly birthday dinner with my family, and Rob even reminded me to bring my camera, but I was carrying food to the car and forgot. Here's my solution to this dilemma:

Yes, that is my daily photo. And no, I didn't take it today. Obviously. In addition to the fact that it was taken in a different season and location is the stunning realization that it was taken TEN YEARS AGO. That is Robbie. I've decided that if, in spite of my good intentions, I forget the daily photo, I will just go to my favorites folder in iphoto and post one from the archives. I couldn't resist this one, partly because the weather looks SO nice, but mostly because I'm feeling especially nostalgic about my oldest. I went to a stake youth fireside tonight, and realized that Robbie will probably be attending the next one too. This photo of the day is just a little reminder that I need to slow down and enjoy where we're at right now. And know that great things are ahead too...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Procrastinated project

This year we are giving the young women in our ward cute, paper-covered, pocked-size (military edition) Books of Mormon for their birthdays. One of the wards in our stake had made them at an activity, and we got a copy to look at, assuming that we could figure out how to do it. I could see how it was put together, but didn't know what kind of adhesive to use. I searched online, knowing that we are not the first to do this (while I was at the distribution center picking up the books, there was a lady ahead of me in line with at least 30 of them in her basket, and she told me they were making them for each girl in her stake). I had no luck finding any reference or instruction for this, so I'm posting my trial-and-error results in case anyone else is in the same boat.

Here are the supplies you'll need for each book:
1) a military-sized Book of Mormon
2) a cute piece of cardstock
3) a paper cutter and scissors
4) ribbon
5) two brads
6) a small hole punch
7) adhesive (I used Krylon High Strength Spray Adhesive, which worked great).

First, I bought a variety of cute 12x12 paper (all on sale or clearance) and had the YW write their name on a piece that they liked (without telling them what it was for—we told them it didn't have to match their room or anything, just something they liked).

Next I laid the book on the opposite side of the paper and traced the spine and both sides to make a template. I cut the paper about 1/2" bigger than what I traced, using my paper cutter, so the edges would be straight. Then I used the scissors to cut off the corners, just leaving the traced point. Cut a notch where the spine is, as pictured below.

This next step may seem sacrilegious, and definitely felt wrong to someone who doesn't even like to bend pages or crack the spine of a book, but I couldn't figure out a way around it. I had to rip out the first and last pages, because they were glued to the cover about a quarter-inch in, so there was no way to fit the cover on. I can only hope that if the young women need to look up referenced to ziff, zion or zoram, they have a standard size set of scriptures at home.

After desecrating the holy book, take the paper, lining up the notches for the spine, and fold the edge in around the cover, so that they are creased.

Here's what it should look like:

Once you know it fits properly, I recommend removing the paper and using it to make as many templates as you need, so you don't have to repeat the tracing step each time.

Next, place your ribbon around the book, leaving enough length to tie a small bow where the pages open. Use the hole punch (a small one—I think mine is 1/8", or maybe even 1/16th") to punch through the ribbon, paper and cover, as below on both the front and back (don't worry, this will get covered):

Cut two coordinating pieces of cardstock (often two-sided, so you may be able to use the opposite side) to use on the inside of the cover. I cut mine 3 1/4" x 5". Then spray these pieces with adhesive and apply immediately (the directions say it will be a stronger bond if you wait 30 seconds before applying, but I found it was too tacky to position and made a mess). There is no need to glue the outside cover first, the inside cover will hold it in place. I used a piece of wax paper to set the inside pieces on while I sprayed them. Also, while we're on the adhesive, I mentioned trial and error, and I don't recommend a glue gun—it'll work, but it's too thick.

Here's the finished product:
I think they turned out super-cute, and they're just the right size to carry in a purse. Ellie is begging me to make one for her. She may get the one I used the glue-gun on for now.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A fond farewell

Tonight we went out to celebrate Joey's reflections win and to say goodbye to sugar for a while. We have definitely had too many treats over the past few weeks, and it's time to focus on healthy, nutrient dense foods. January is going to be the month of the vegetable.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Still winning

Joey went on to win an award of merit at the district level for his reflections entry and tonight was the awards ceremony, so this has to be my photo of the day. We're proud of you Joey! And I won another blog giveaway in December! My friend Mandy has the greatest preschool blog, Not Just Cute, and I won a copy of The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. If Melissa ever gets around to deciding what to give away on her blog, I think my chances are pretty good. Do I need to add a tag for prizes? :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy birthday to me

Since I'm turning forty this year, we thought a retirement vacation would be appropriate. I'm happy to say that as of yesterday, our tickets are booked, our babysitters are lined up, and we are ready to set sail on The Love Boat. I can't wait to meet Gopher. And Isaac. And if we're really lucky, Charo will be on board. :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Keeping it real

There. Next year's slideshow will be a little more realistic. Ellie spent dinnertime in another room pouting and crying because she wanted some chocolate chips.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Check it out (pun intended)

One of the things I'm hoping to achieve with the daily photo is to better document our day-to-day activities, not just the big events. It worked tonight—I took my camera with us to the library, and only got a couple of weird looks as I snapped pictures there. It's one of our favorite places. And no, I don't feel compelled to limit myself to only one daily photo.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Tradition, improved

Last year we started what I knew would have to become an annual tradition. This year we actually improved the tradition by inviting the Stringhams over. We watched their 2009 slideshow, and then ours. Root beer floats all the way around, of course. In the words of Jack Johnson, it was definitely "better together." We're glad Ralph made it back from St. George just in time to see the shows too. We'll have to have an encore showing for Judy and anyone else willing to lose an hour or so that they'll never get back. :) We came to the conclusion that our lives look much better with a soundtrack, and without the working, whining, bickering and complaining that go along with the fun. I offered to shoot some video of Amelia refusing to leave our house tonight, just to make next year's slideshow a little more realistic... :)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I love primary teachers

Today the kids had a meet-your-new-teacher primary party. Ainsley's cute teacher called yesterday so she could learn a little about her before they met. All of my kids have had primary teachers who go the extra mile and really love them. I can't begin to tally the cumulative hours these teachers have voluntarily spent preparing lessons and teaching my kids. Not to mention the hours I've spent enjoying lessons without having to wrestle my kids. :) They have blessed our lives so much.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

It's Scrooge's favorite part of the holiday season: the day the decorations come down. And to make him even happier, I am bringing back the photo of the day. I would even go so far as to call it a resolution. It's much easier than my other goals for the year, which are 1) to read the Old Testament and 2) another marathon. They say public commitment increases the probability of success, so there you have it. Hard to imagine how 2010 could be better than 2009, but I can't wait to try!