February 28, 2009

Piece of Cake

I like to make and decorate cakes for my kid's birthdays. And I have done a few for other family members. What I can think of off the top of my head: I have made a carosel (with animal cookies), bowling pin, backyard with a swingset and sandbox (crushed graham crackers for sand), Power Ranger, Pokemon, panda bear, butterfly, race track, chess board, watermelon. I have a few here on digital film that I want to share.
Andy spent his birthday at Dinosaur Park this year and wanted a dinosaur cake.

My mother-in-law loves sunflowers. This is made with starbursts that were rolled out and cut up. And gummy bears around the edges.

This was for Janess's 5th birthday.
And this princess castle was when my little princess turned 3. (Wasn't she so cute! she still is. this pic was before her hair turned curly)

Cameron's #2 Birthday


I get my ideas online, mostly family fun magazine. I have fun with it. One of these years I would like to take a class to learn how to use the decorating tips and all that.

Happy Birthday to Andy Jordan!

Andy's birthday was yesterday! Seven years old. Wow! Andy came to our front door as a tiny three-week old baby, weighing maybe 6 pounds, but probably less. He was so little and had a glow of orange hair. His red hair looks mostly brown now. He needed a family to love him and take care of him. And our family needed a baby. There are 4 significant dates in his life: his birthday, Feb 27; the day he came to our house, March 21; the day he was adopted, April 19 a year later; and the day he was sealed to us in the temple, April 21, two days after he was adopted.

Andy is a very fun and happy kid. He says the funniest things, though he really isn't trying to be funny, and keeps us laughing. He has so much energy and is a go-getter. He loves life.

He is a people person and loves everyone. He has memory of people like you wouldn't believe. He remembers faces, names, who belongs in whose family, etc. and even what pets people have! A few years ago at a Christmas party our neighbor, Brother Madeo was Santa Claus. After Andy sat on his lap, he asked me if that was the real Santa. I replied something like "it is probably Santa's helper." Andy said "It's Madeo!" Couldn't fool Andy!


Andy and his cousin Caleb

February 23, 2009

Last Week's News

A brand new week! Last week I didn't do so well with getting people where they needed to be and on time, including me. Monday there was no school. We had a great day actually. I played Mario Bros. 3 with Andy and Tetris 2 with Brennen. And all of us, including Scott went to the church and played basketball. And I made my kids clean. But on Tuesday I realized that I forgot Brennen's piano lessons Monday afternoon. And at 10 minutes to 7:00 Scott reminded me that I had enrichment meeting which had started at 6:30. (tonight is tuesday?) Blame it on all the snow and the holiday. On Wednesday my older boys had late start at school so I was a late starter too. We were 10 minutes late to Cameron's speech. I barely made it on time to my Young Women's basketball game I coach on Thursday night. But I don't think I forgot anything else. And I did remember to turn the library books in that were due on Wednesday--even 1/2 hour before closing time.

Things I did for me last week: I read a book, Zoe's Gift; got out twice, enrichment night and my basketball game; took a 3 hour nap on Saturday.

My headaches are doing much better. The medicine must be working. I haven't had them as frequently, and when I do get them, they haven't lasted as long. Which means I am getting much more done. It feels good.

We decided to put Cameron on the state insurance--called HIP Utah. For a higher deductible it is only $150 per month. We thought our only option was the $300+ a month. I went to Ogden today to get a letter from the dermatologist stating his condition and prognosis to send in with the application. The only way he won't be covered by the state is if the state feels his condition should be covered by insurance. Then we have to go to battle again with the insurance companies. But I am not worrying about that now. I am just so greatful that we have been blessed with a healthy child for the past 6 months. (He has not had insurance since July 31).

Brennen scored his first basketball last week in his basketball game. That was exciting for both him and me. He got a rebound and put it in. I admit I have to take a book sometimes because I have a hard time watching his team! They don't pass the ball very often. The little point guards bring the ball down and get screens and then shoot. Tonight is his last regular game, and then a tournament.

Dustin bought himself an Xbox 360 with his newspaper money.

I cleaned out Janessa's closet on Friday and am quite proud of myself. I was going to take a picture and post it, but . . .

We sold our car, which doesn't run, for $400.

February 21, 2009

Perfectly Normal for a Mom

I have been brooding over a comment my husband made to me yesterday. He wondered why I left the spoon that I used for the yogurt while making Dustin a smoothie at breakfast time on the counter. "Why don't you just rinse it off and put it in the sink?" My response was "Because I was probably doing a hundred other things and I didn't notice it. I did rinse out the bowl I used and the mixer." He apologized and said he shouldn't have said anything. But it didn't end there for me. (you know us females).

I am not upset at my husband, but at myself. I do things like that all the time. Not because I am lazy but because I don't think of it. I don't pay attention or else I get distracted. I just don't notice things. Nine times out of ten I hang my keys up when I get home. But the one time I don't is because I forgot that I had them in my hand and don't remember even putting them down. Scott says I need to focus more on what I am doing, or holding. I agree. I wish I could! I wish I didn't forget things like birthday parties and or returning videos; or spend half my life looking for things.

Scott is very opposite from me. I don't know how he has managed to live with me and my distracted, scattered mind all these years. He is an accountant by profession, and his mind seems to work like columns and rows. In his mind, things are simple. Just put it away, throw it away, rinse it off, use a planner, a place for everything and everything in its place. (And I am sure there are many reading this who agree). I wish it were that simple for me. I don't seem to have a place for everything, and if there is a place for it, it doesn't always get there. Sometimes, I admit I am lazy about it, but mostly I'm just busy or distracted. So I have piles. I set things down, and then when I'm busy trying to get dinner or whatnot, or clean up in a hurry, it goes in a pile. And most of the time I know what is in those piles. Of course I have to dig through them to find it! But it is hard for the people who live with me, because they don't know what pile to look in!

Having my choas isn't alway easy for Scott, I know. A few weeks ago when he wanted to iron a shirt he asked if I had any idea where the iron was. I knew exactly where it was--on the kitchen counter. (I had been doing quilt blocks. And I forgot to put it away. I really meant to. It had been sitting there for a few days). Poor guy. He needs a shirt that I probably forgot to iron, and then not complaining, he goes to iron it himself and can't find the iron--something he can't blame the kids for using.

Well today, I was reading the Reader's Digest and I came across a very enlightening article. The article is titled "7 Dumb Things We Do." It is actually an article about making mistakes. According to the article, the brain slows down when it has to juggle tasks. "Multi-tasking makes us stupid. Switching from task to task creates problems. We can forget what we were doing or planned to do . . . The contents of our working memory can evaporate like water in a desert; only after two seconds, things begin to disappear. Within 15 seconds of considering a new problem you'll have forgotten the old problem." Also "it can take up to 15 minutes to regain a deep state of concentration after a distraction."

Okay. My job title of MOM says it all: multi-tasker with many interruptions and distractions. (I wonder if I have ever been in a deep state of concentration in the last 14 years). So I am basically perfectly normal, right? but there is more!

"Sometimes a person can look directly at something and still not see it." Further on down: "Often we fail to pick up major changes to scenes while we're actually viewing them" because we notice on a need-know-basis. This was refered to as 'change blindness.'

There were studies and experiments to back up the statements in the article. And there are 8 tips to mistake-proof your life. I'm just happy to know that my brain, though frustrating to me at times, is just responding the way it's programmed to!

(However, I am still working for continuous improvement as I do try to put things away in the correct place as I use them, and put dirty spoons in the sink instead of leaving them on the counter. I am very good now at putting the peanut butter away before I even hand the sandwich to the kid.
I am just more aware of how the unending distractions of motherhood affect me).

February 19, 2009

Teenager #1

Parenting a teenager is getting harder. Dustin has been grounded from the computer this week, and he was mad at me because I made him get his hair cut. It is still long, but less shaggy.
We had to tell him no to a friend's birthday party at Bear Lake this weekend. His friend's parents are taking 7 or 8 boys to their cabin for two nights. Dustin even had Nick bring his mom over to meet and visit with us. It sounds fun. We are not worried about the supervision or the friends--it's just the whole over-nighter thing and a bunch of boys "hanging out." I feel bad for Dustin but know we made the right decision. I am glad I am not a teenager anymore.

And Dustin has a paper route and has been doing great at getting up and sticking too it. He has surprised me actually, and impressed me. However, he wants to spend $250 plus to buy an X-box. I suppose that is okay but I told him I am worried about him playing video games too much, and not wanting to do anything else. He already quit guitar and doesn't know if he wants to play soccer this spring. I don't know what to think. He makes good grades and is a good kid. The mental part of parenting is tough! But I know that I just have to do my best to teach and read and pray with my family, and follow the prophet, and then have faith that my kids will make the right choices and turn out okay.


I just got done playing basketball. Wow, am I tired!--no subs, just 5 of us. It was way fun. I did pretty good and even made about 10 or 12 points. The awkwardness of playing with a team of gals I don't know has worn off. I even know all their names now. Oh, we lost by one point.

Had the big snowstorm on Tuesday. It snowed all day and I got stuck at school when I went to pick up Andy. I wasn't the only one. I saw quite a few cars getting a helping push. The person in front of me was stuck and someone was digging her out I helped push and then I was helped next and went in her tracks.

Later that afternoon I took the initiative to actually start dinner before 5:00 and made rolls. But when I went to put them on the pan the dough just didn't feel right. It was sticky but also just had a strange texture. I made a pan of them anyway. Later I left to go get the little kids from their friends' and had Dustin put them in the oven. I got back and the rolls in the oven had not risen at all. So we had some lumps. I tasted it and found out the problem--salty. Apparently I put salt in for the sugar. I was talking on the phone when I was making the dough.

So here is my roll lesson: every ingredient has a role and affects the other ingredients. Sugar is needed to help the yeast make the dough rise. Too much salt make the dough very heavy. Without the right ingredients and the right mix of ingredients, dough does not turn out. We are like the ingredients in bread dough. We all have our own strengths and purpose, and our actions affect others. (And maybe don't talk on the phone while you are cooking something with more than 3 ingredients).

Here is a picture of our back yard on Wednesday morning. The fresh snow was beautiful.

February 18, 2009

Insurance Woes--Denied Again

My sweet little Cameron has been denied insurance by yet another company. The fourth now. And the state CHiP wouldn't take us either because we apparently make too much money. There is the other state program we can apply for but that will run us $300 something a month.
(In July we had to apply for private insurance because we are now self-employed).

Why was he denied? Because of a birthmark on his face. Okay, so it is a large birthmark. It is known as a port wine stain. And if you want the technical jargon it is a hemangioma along the trimengial nerve on the left side of his face and his chin and part of his neck. But it is a birthmark. A birthmark is concentrated and dilated capillaries near the surface of the skin. The doctors have told us that there is no medical concern. When he was 16 months old the dermatologist at Primary Children's Medical Center recommended that we get an MRI on him to make sure that it is cosmetic only. We did. The MRI said that there are no underlying vessels in the tissue and that everything looks normal. Yet in hindsight, had we never gotten the MRI the insurance companies would not have know about the port wine stain.

I worry about this not just for now, but as he gets older. Will he ever be able to be insured? Is he going to end up having to pay enourmous premiums just to get covered? He will eventually have laser surgery to remove or lighten the mark. Maybe after that we can get insurance for him. But that won't be for two or three years. In the mean time I guess we need to keep in from being an active 2 year old who likes to climb and run and jump! Yeah, right!


I got to play basketball the other night. Hurray! Our church stake isn't playing women's basketball this year and it's very disappointing. So last Thursday night I went and played with another stake. It was fun. And it felt good to exercise and tired myself out. I am going to play this week too and then in the region tournament with them after that. For a few weeks anyway I have a basketball game to look forward to.

This is my attitude about exercise: Give me a game and a ball and I am there to play--volleyball, basketball, soccer, softball, raquetball, tennis, football, frisbee. (But not golf). I am ready and willing to get tired and sweaty and feel great. I love playing sports. Other than that, I am not too good about exercising. And it isn't too often that there is a game to play in.

I did semi-train and run in a 5K this winter. That was the first of December. I haven't run since. I really want to exercise because I know I will feel so good when I am done. I know all the benefits of it. It is just so hard for me to get motivated to do it. I know I will feel better both mentally and physically if I will just do it. I know it doesn't have to be complicated and I don't even need to leave the house. I can do jumping jacks, walk up and down the stairs, dance around with my kids, jump rope, do crunches and push-ups.

So why don't I just do it?!?

February 13, 2009

The Magic of Childhood

I learned how to become a knight. Before breakfast Andy told me. He said:
"Mom, anyone can be a knight. All you have to do is turn 21, buy some armor and buy a weapon, and then find a king. That's it."
Then he added that it costs a lot--you know to buy all the armor.

Later today as we were driving Janessa saw the reindeer dust in the snow. The sparkly part of the snow is reindeer dust, in case you didn't know.

February 11, 2009

Taking Care of Me

So I actually took a sick day. That, as you probably know, is very hard for a mom to do. But I do have a husband who works at home so he was around to keep an eye on the kids. He shuttled Janessa to preschool and built a snowman with her and Andy after school. He even ran some errands for me. Cameron was sick too and he slept from 10:30 to 4:30 with me--poor little guy.
(Yes, I had another bad headache. --I have seen a doctor about my headaches and am taking a med to prevent them. He prescribed a painkiller but it costs $194!!! so I passed on it. I did get a few free samples though).

I have learned through experience and counseling that in order to be able to function as a Mom, or whatever else you may need to function as, you have to take care of yourself. So I did that yesterday, even though it was and is hard not to feel 'guilty' about it. Everyone did fine without me.

And taking care of yourself means more than just physically. Emotionally, mentally, socially, spiritually--all those areas.
One thing Scott and I did for me was that I used to have Tuesday nights off. It was great. I would go to the library, catch a movie, hide downstairs and sew, get a yogurt with a friend. Whatever I wanted that didn't involve being a mom. We stopped doing this after we bought the business. Things got more hectic and stuff got in the way. But the kids are older now, and I have other things to compensate for Tuesday nights. Just the fact that Janessa is in preschool three afternoons a week while Cameron takes a nap is enough. And I even have freedom to leave the house then because Scott is home to "tend" the sleeping child.

I wrote a poem a few years ago about this subject. So I guess I will be brave and post it here.

Take Care of Me

Take Care of MeAs a tiny new baby
I knew how to cry
And somebody would come
To take care of me.

Through childhood fun
And childhood tears,
With guidance from parents
I learned how
To take care of me.

Out on my own,
Independent and proud,
I could take care of this,
Take care of that,
While I take care of me.

Then a wife and a mother—
Take care of this,
Take care of that,
Take care of him,
Take care of her.
I forgot to find time
To take care of me.

More responsibilities,
Life’s frantic pace—
Take care of this,
Take care of that,
Take care of him,
Take care of her.
Somewhere I forgot how
To take care of me.
Doubt, darkness and fear,
Feeling alone,
Can’t take care of this,
Can’t take care of that,
Can’t take care of him,
Can’t take care of her
Because I didn’t
Take care of me.

Though the journey seems long
And sometimes too hard,
I am once again learning to
Take care of this,
Take care of that,
Take care of him,
Take care of her.
While I take care of me.

Happy and confident,
Fulfilled and content,
I can take care of this,
Take care of that,
Take care of him,
Take care of her
Because I remembered
To take care of me.

February 9, 2009

Creating Valentines

I made Valentines today. Like pretty much all morning and into the afternoon. It's a wonder my kids got lunch. (I ran out of laundry soap so I couldn't do laundry, darn it.)
Creativity is not my strong point, but today I did okay. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. Janessa stuck with me for a while but then watched TV and played Polly's. I decided to put a picture of some of my creations on here. Some are already mailed. The reason I posted this is because I felt so good today. Maybe it's the winter blahs but I have been tired and sort of grumpy lately. But today I made valentines and I felt happy and even maybe energetic. Sounds weird. I just had fun cutting and pasting and creating. And then this evening I remembered that heard a talk somewhere or read a book about how to be happy or whatnot, and one of the things that was talked about was creating. Creating makes the soul feel good. Apparently I didn't heed that advice then and even forgot about it until today. But now I am a believer. So if you get my valentine then know that it made me feel good to 'create' it for you. And if you are having a rough go of it, try creating something.

February 3, 2009

Keep on Swimmin'

This is how I felt yesterday morning:

A headache that won't go away.
Breakfast that needs fixing.
Piles of laundry that need folded and put away.
Kids that need attention.
A husband needing a clean house.
Dustin needs new shoes.
Cameron wants but doesn't need a Binky.
Andy didn't finish but needs his homework.
Family scripture study that needs but is not getting done.
I need a pain reliever and a pillow!

But my headache went away after lunch. I got most of the laundry folded and more washed. Some put away, but at least the piles are folded piles now and people can find their own clothes. Dustin got new shoes after school. We had a wonderful dinner of leftover turkey and potatoes and gravy from our wonderful turkey dinner of a few days ago. Scott and I went on a "date" to Brennen's basketball game while Dustin stayed home with the other kids. It turned out to be a fine day after all.
I got to sleep all night as nobody visited my bedroom last night and I was up on time this morning and we had scriptures with the boys and I even exercised.
As Scott reminded me last night, "this too shall pass". Whether on top of the world or feeling low, change is constant. Just gotta 'keep on swimming.'

February 2, 2009

Sleep--Never Enough

Sometimes I wish I didn't need to sleep. Like the vampires in Twilight. How would that be? I would never be too tired. The kids wouldn't wake me up at night from my warm bed because I wouldn't have to be there, which means my husband wouldn't be awakened by them either. And because I wouldn't need a good nights' rest to re energize, I would be happy and energetic and have tons of patience. And think of all the things I could do at night while everyone else is sleeping! I could read, watch movies uninterrupted, sew, cross stitch, scrapbook, even fold laundry if I so desired, write, play video games, read some more, bake cookies without little helpers (if I am quiet).

But mostly, I would enjoy just not being a tired mom.

They tell me one day my kids' won't wake up at night. But they also say by then I will be waiting up late for them to get home.

Generally, Cameron and Janessa sleep through the night and Andy is only up a few times a week. But this last week, it seems like they have all wanted to get up during the wee morning hours.