Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tyce has a blog!

I have posted a link to it at the left.

Also, if you have a blog, please send and/or resend me your address so I can link you to . . . me. I erased all my former widgets when I experimented with exotic templates.

Foodies forgive me, but I am weak. I made a dish right off the cover of my Betty Crocker casserole book (copyright 1971) and I liked it.

My dad never liked casseroles so we rarely (if ever) at those growing up. Why do I have a fondness for cream soups and crunchy cornflake toppings?

Perhaps some sort of Freudian answer lies in my subconscious.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Die is Cast

You know how you kinda hope your kids like what you like, and maybe even want to do what you did when you were younger? Well get this. Tyce wants to play the French horn! You might remember reading that Tyce wanted to play the trumpet in band, and he did--until yesterday. The band director asked what kids were good singers and suggested they consider the French horn. I don't know if flattery motivated Tyce, or he just thought, "You know, I could be really good at this," or some other reason that made him want to switch. I was really surprised and pleased . . . But wait, there's more. He asked me to give him private lessons. I know, I almost fell off my chair too. This is the kid who can't take one word of correction or advice regarding his piano practice from me, and yet he wants me to teach him the mysterious ways of the brass beast.

I feel such a bond with him over this. Is that weird? I wish I were back in 6th grade and full of excitement about learning something new. We've been talking shop, and even caught him singing Mozart's horn concerto No. 4 after dinner!!! He is just so *alive* and positive. I have to admit I haven't seen him like this for a long time, and his enthusiasm is absolutely contagious.

I'm messing with the blog template

I'm as impulsive as the kids. If you don't like this one, feel free to tell me. I looked through hundreds, literally. What was wrong with the old one, you ask?


Monday, August 27, 2007

The first day of school!

Oh blessed day, you've finally arrived and given me the tiniest sliver of hope and sanity.

But seriously folks, another day of summer and some of us might not have survived.

You should've seen how adorable and excited my big kids were to get back to school. (And I'd show you, IF I had a camera.) Mare had a new brown and blue shirt and brown capris and her hair braided really well, and Tyce looked sharp in his red polo shirt and navy pants. They got themselved packed up and couldn't wait to start the school day.

We had to do some revamping of morning schedules and chores now that Tyce and Mary Rachel start and end school at different times (two different schools, you know). Here's how the morning went:

5:55 a.m. Tyce gets up, showers, etc. (*He* set his alarm for that early!)
6:15 a.m. Grown ups get up, dressed, etc.
7:00 a.m. Wake up Mary Rachel, step over Harrison who is sleeping in the hall.
7:15 a.m. Twins wake up, demand a snack. Preferably something in a shiny wrapper.
7:30 a.m. Breakfast (muffins, eggs, and canteloupe), family scripture study/family prayer. There were no spills today!
7:40 a.m. Bryce takes Tyce to middle school.
7:45 a.m. Harrass Mary to do her morning chore of clearing the table.
8:00 a.m. Harrass Mary to finish making her bed.
8:10 a.m. Harrass Mary to stop bothering the twins.
8:20 a.m. Harrass Mary to finish making her bed AND clear the table.
8:30 a.m. Mary changes out of her brand new shoes because they feel "funny".
8:35 a.m. Dress twins for the day.
8:50 a.m. Clenching my teeth to keep from losing it, take Mary to elementary school.

The morning seems way too long.

I dropped the boys off at the Shapiros' house so I could attend the results meeting across town re: Cameron's and Harrison's developmental evaluations last month. Cameron *did* qualify for services (meaning preschool at the elementary--early childhood). His eligibity was based on his behavior and his fine motor delays. Of the two boys, I felt Cam did a much better job of "performing" so I was surprised to find out that Harrison did not qualify. I think two things kept Harrison from being eligible: he's dark and brooding and not constantly pouncing like Tigger on caffeine, and he can draw a circle.

I either want them both to go to school, or both stay home. I was told there's a possibility Harrison could go to early childhood as a sibling, but I'm not sure about that. The principal wouldn't talk to me when I called. I guess I shouldn't be too offended being that is was the first day of school and all.

After picking the boys up from the Shapiros, we ate lunch at home and went down for nap time. (Slept easily.) I read a book for a few minutes, tidied the bedroom, and 55 minutes later had to wake the kids from their naps to get Tyce from school by 2:11 p.m. (Woke grumpily.)

We picked up Tyce at the curb and I pumped him for details about his day. Guess what--he LOVED it. Here's what he said at Family Home Evening:

Me: What was the best part of the day?

Tyce: Having Bligh in three of my classes, my teachers, my locker.

Me: What was the worst part of the day?

Tyce: Locking my locker combination in my locker. (!)

Me: What was the scariest part of the day?

Tyce: Meeting my teachers.

Me: What was the most surprising part of the day?

Tyce: That all of my teacher are really cool.

He was chock-full of stories and observations and it sounds like he's really happy (so far). :)

About 45 minutes after returning home, I had to go get Mary Rachel from elementary. I left the twins in Tyce's care, and as I was leaving I heard, "Mom, Cameron took off his diaper and pooped in the backyard!" (What is up with that?) Anyway, I arrived at the school and chatted with some friends while waiting for the 3:21 bell. Finally my 2nd grade cutie came bounding over to me and reported that she had a wonderful day, loved her teacher (a man!) and even ate lunch with Sara, though they are in different classes this year.

Did you keep track of that schedule? School at 8 a.m., 9 a.m., then pick up at 2:11 p.m. and 3:21 p.m. Don't worry, I do understand the virtues of carpools and school busses. I just wanted to do it all myself today. And probably for several days hereafter. Yes, I'm a bit of a control freak. I like to be right there whenever I can.

Now I'm exhausted and thinking, "Boy, we get to do this all over again tomorrow!" Ahhhh . . . All in all, life is good.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ooo Ah Ah Ah

You are Count von Count. You are down-to-earth (mentally, not physically), mature, and precocious. You have many talents, and many friends that appreciate your quiet level-headedness.
Find Your Character @

Friday, August 24, 2007

Welcome to our *OOL

I geared myself up all week for our excursion to the pool yesterday. The big kids pestered me all week: "Mo-ommmm! Pleeeeeease can we go to the pool? Pretty please please please" ::hopping up and down:: I have tried to explain that this is one of my many pet peeves--begging while hopping and repeating one word over and over--but apparently I'm not getting through to them. And I guess I never will, since I gave in.

Here were my two biggest reasons for not wanting to go:

1. Cameron
2. Harrison

I'm sorry, but two toddlers without a healthy fear of the water are hard to keep track of. Luckily the pool had life vests, so at least if they drifted away they'd be stuck like a roach on its back (in the water) .

My dear friend Rebecca invited us to go with her family, which was incentive enough for me to take the plunge. (get it?)

First stop: Grocery store for milk, bread, etc. Oh, and swim diapers. Annoyingly, the store carried the swim diapers, but just size Small. Second stop: Walgreens. Even worse, they didn't carry swim diapers at all. Third stop: K Mart (my least fave place, but close to home). They DID have them, and even in the right size so we were set.

We got home. My job was to put groceries away. Tyce's job was to dress the twins. Mary Rachel's job was to gather the towels. She doesn't seem to know the difference between beach towels and bath towels. I have explained this more than once. I gave a sigh and let it slide.

We had to borrow sun screen from Rebecca once we got there. I didn't want my friend or my son rubbing goo on my back, so I just gambled that I would get too fried (mostly correct). The big kids disappeared with the Shapiros' big kids, and I was left with the twins.

Cameron wanted to hold my hand, so the two of us sloshed around running after fearless Harrison, who wanted to go on the slide and jump off the side of the pool. I was very, very lucky that Cameron wanted to stick nearby, because my worst fear was chasing two kids two different directions. See, it's always worse in your mind. Or shall I say, worse in *my* mind. (Your mind is probably fine.)

After about 2 1/2 hours (and some of Tyce's long-lost friends showing up, which was a treat) I was ready to pack up. This is where things started to fall apart. Cameron refused to walk, so I had to carry a soggy, uncooperative 35-pounder to the grassy area under the shade. I set him down, took off his vest, and found that Harrison had bolted for the water. I left Cam in the care of Rebecca and raced after Harrison. He took my hand and came back pleasantly. I took off his life vest just in time to see Cameron bolting back into the water. This time I asked Mary Rachel get him, but she was no match for her little brother. He managed to render her immobile in the very shallow end (6 in.) by sitting on her and refusing to move. So I had to intervene. I shot Harrison the "look" to stay put and he smiled his little evil smile. Luckily someone offered him food.

Finally I got everyone ready to go but I Cameron still wouldn't walk. So I had to make two very, very long trips to the car to get all of our stuff. The little boys fell asleep on the way home and were out for a few hours afterward.

I think the long nap alone may have made the trip worth it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

12 Years Ago . . .

I got married to the best guy in the world. Happy anniversary to us!

Highlights of the day: Bryce going to the doctor, me cancelling the babysitter, and watching our wedding video with the kids. :)
Some of the last 12 years I imagined as a young bride: Bryce going to law school and becoming a lawyer, becoming foster parents at some point. I never would have guessed we'd have four adopted children and live in Las Vegas! Life has its ups and downs but I have a great life and a great person to share it with.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Weekly Wrap Up

We thought of going to Utah this weekend. However, Bryce's cold/mystery illness nixed that plan. What to do, when you've already declined a speaking invitation in the new ward because you were supposed to be "out of town?" Let the fun come to you, of course. Bryce's newly retired dad is always up for a road trip. And, ta-da! He's here.

Grandpa Al has done some handy man stuff for us, which is ALWAYS much appreciated. We even got a babysitter and went out to eat on Saturday night--the three adults and Tyce. (M.R. opted to stay with the fun babysitter.) Today (Sunday) we went to Mt. Charleston for the afternoon. No, that's not a casino. It's an actual mountain. Grandpa Al somehow convinced the ranger at the campground we stopped at for lunch to let us eat there for free instead of pay the day rate for a camp site. Phew.

Tonight we played some board games. Luckily the hiking wore the twins out, so getting them to sleep was pretty easy.

I think B. has a cold, but it could be something more sinister like strep. I don't see any white bumps in his throat though. He felt so bad he almost went to the doctor today! Send some virtual chicken soup his way.

How's the potty training going, you ask? Back and forth. Up and down. Cameron liked to go to the bathroom in our backyard. Is that normal? Yeah . . . I didn't think so. Harrison isn't really interested in going on the toilet himself. But he sure likes to keep tabs on Cameron in this department.

Our lead on a buyer for the old house is tenuous at best. They've tried twice to arrange financing, and in this super-tight market, few options exist besides conventional, 20% down loans. Bryce and I called some lenders ourselves to find better deals and we think we've succeeded. We will hold their hands all the way to the bank if we can just use our voodoo to make them buy our house.

I have not yet located the camera. I am really annoyed/depressed about this fact. Here are some pictures from Bryce's birthday (overdue anyway).

Bryce received the card I made.

Bryce thought it would be funny to stuff his mouth with confetti so that when he blew out the candles on the pie, he would spew glitter into the picture.

Bryce and Cameron play a game while waiting for their turns at Pin the Tail on the Donkey.

Bryce's turn to be spun around by Tyce and Mary Rachel. His tail landed somewhere off the poster.

Tyce helps Mare get ready for her turn.

Tyce hams it up (he doesn't even like whipped cream). Notice the table decorations: Mary Rachel got out all the party stuff herself, chose the table cloth, hung the banners, and planned the games. A girl after my own heart!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

5th grade graduation

It's really, really hard to believe that Tyce is done with elementary school. Friday was his promotion celebration. Some of my best memories of living here so far are volunteering in Tyce's 1st grade classroom with his awesome teacher, Mr. West. I blink my eyes a few times, and--poof!--I have a middle schooler. I think with all the drama surrounding our decision to adopt, then the waiting, then the physical and emotional demands that came with caring for the twins--well, this sentance is getting really long and I'm afraid I'll lose my point, so here it is--normal stuff (like changing grades) has gone by in super-speed mode. For the past 2 1/2 years I've been there for all of the school stuff but my attention has often been divided.

Take the graduation ceremony, for example: both boys were obsessed with the balloons that were attached to the tables and even convinced sympathetic bystanders to wrangle some loose for them. Harrison kept wanting to run onto the stage and the Cameron wanted to run outside onto the playground. I held Cameron during the slide show and swayed to the music with him, which made him shout, "Don't dance with me!" over and over till I stopped. Then I noticed Harrison, who had been with Tyce, made his way over to the computer from whence the slide show was coming--Powerpoint presentation--and nearly succeeded in pushing some keys. Through all of that I tried to give Tyce an encouraging smile, a thumbs-up to show that I was proud of him and glad to be here for his final hurrah to elementary school . . .

I did enjoy seeing (most of) the slide show and chatting with some of his friends. So if I had such a good time, where are the pictures, you ask, hmmmm? Well after taking my camera to the talent show (and not taking any pictures) I have misplaced said camera. Again. I can't blame it on any klepto parents at the park this time. Don't cluck your tongue at me--I know I'm not responsible enough to carry a camera and two 2-year-olds. I have grounded myself from taking the twins out in public ever again.

Monday, August 6, 2007

A Mary-ism

Mary: Did Mopsie--that's your mom--ever have another boyfriend before she married Jim? Who was her first boyfriend?

Me: Yes. There was one named Danny. I think her first boyfriend was named Len or Lew or something like that.

Mary: How about Grandpa? Did he ever have another girlfriend?

Me: Yes, I think there was one named Cheryl. I can't really remember.

Mary: What do you do if you love someone but they don't love you back?

Me: Then you go to your room and cry your eyes out, and then try to move on.

Mary: I'm going to have a black jack family. All I need to do is find a black husband and then I'll have some black babies. Or I could always adopt them. I just want to marry the first boyfriend I have because I don't want to have my heart broken. How old do you have to be to get married?

Me: You should definitely be over 20. I was 21 when I got married, but it depends on when you're ready.

Mary: That's still pretty young.

Me: Well, maybe you'll get married at 31.

Mary: Ha! That's pretty old. I wouldn't have much time left with my husband then, would I?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Sunday Wrap Up

My, my goodness it's been a big day. First of all, Bryce was released today. He bore a beautiful testimony, and I know that he served the ward members with all his heart. It's hard to believe that we're attending the new ward next week. I will really miss my weekly associations with the Newport ward. But . . . expanding the circle and all that. I must keep that in mind.

Guess who our new bishop is . . . Jim Shapiro! I know what you're thinking: Wait, isn't he your age? Doesn't he have 5 little kids? Yes. And I think (know) he will do an outstanding job. I only wish we could remain in the ward to support him and his family in that new capacity. Bryce is hoping that this calling doesn't put a damper on their BYU football excursion plans this fall.

Anyway, that was the big news at church today.

My second child, whom I love with ALL MY HEART and is a WONDERFUL GIRL has been driving me mad today. The drama! The tears! The refusal to do her chores from yesterday! I finally had to laugh when the conversation had devolved into this:

Mary: Mom, you just don't understand! Even when I'm happy I'm still a little bit sad and I want to get that happiness back!

Bryce: You're too sad to pick the trash up off your floor?

Mary: NO! I mean, I think if I just had a dog or a pet to play with, I'd be all the way happy!

Me: So if you had a dog . . you'd pick the trash up off your floor?

Mary: Yes, and I'd love it and play with it all day and I just think it would be so good for me. There are stray dogs out there that no one takes care of! How do you think they feel?

Bryce: Okay, here's the bottom line. Go into your bedroom and get those little pieces of paper and stick them in your trash can.

Mary: Listen. Okay. CAN I BE ANY MORE CLEAR ABOUT THIS? There are stray dogs out there that need homes! How do you think they feel out there all alone? What if you were out there and people just passed you by when you were hungry and cold? (sob sob sob)

I think we were having two different conversations, you know?

I tell ya, the laughing was for a moment but the frustration lingered for quite a while. FINALLY she has done the 15 minute job in her room, which she'd dragged out for two days.

I shaved the twins hair yesterday and the are nearly bald. I kind of like that look but Bryce . . . not so much. Oh, get this. The twins are potty training themselves. They completely initiated it and Cam especially is obsessed with the toilet and "going" on it. Do I dare believe they could be out of diapers in the forseeable future?

We have a lead on the old house . . . our fingers are crossed so hard . . . I will keep you posted. I don't want to get my hopes up but boy, it would be ideal to have that taken care of . . .

So much suspense, eh?

Friday, August 3, 2007

My husband has returned.

What I said: "Have a good time, Bryce!" What I was thinking: "Man, why couldn't he have been released from the Bishopric last week so he wouldn't have to go to Girls Camp?"

Bryce went with the Young Women to Duck Creek, where they all really "roughed it" in cushy cabins. He gave a devotional that had the girls talking about spiritual matters an hour after it ended. He played Speed and dominoes with the girls, who were delighted to discover that the "Brother Jones" they thought they knew was one heck of a competitive game player. I think he kept the trash talk to a minimum.

I'm glad he went (now that he's home).

This was his last act as the 1st counselor in our ward. Thewhole bishopric will be released on Sunday--exactly 4 years ago he was called. Back then Tyce was 7 and Mary Rachel only 3 and the twins . . . not even a glimmer in anyone's eye. I look forward to having reinforcements on Sunday, though I will miss Cameron standing on my legs and calling out, "Hi, Daddy!" from the back of the chapel.

Guess what. Tyce performed in his school's talent show yesterday and today, one of his piano pieces from the piano festival. I took the little boys yesterday and you should have heard the wild applause of the crowd when they announced his name to perform. Man, he was a little rock star that day. I would have taken a picture but I was at a horrible angle. Suffice it to say that he looked dashing in his Alex P. Keaton wardrobe . . . I think it made it all the stranger to have him play a recital piece, in slacks and a blazer, when the girls were screaming like he was Bon Jovi (or for my sil Brooklyn, Rick Springfield). j/k

Tyce did a great job.

A thought

You know what I like? Wheat germ. That's right. An excellent source of vitamin E and folic acid in every serving (so says the label). You can add it to stuff and not even know the difference. I've added it to my homemade breakfast bars, muffins, and even tuna salad.

I used to be in love with flax seed. Then someone knocked the wind out of my sails by saying I was supposed to use *ground* flax seed, not the whole seed like I had, and what was I supposed to use--a grinder? That's how the poor flax seed got demoted off the front top shelf and pushed back by the "hey, I didn't know I still had that!" section of the freezer (home of orphaned popsicles and 1/8 bags of frozen vegetables).

(Flax seed, you're in my freezer lonely and confused about my unexplained absence. Now you know the truth. I'm sorry.)

Here is a recipe for my very good breakfast bars. If you are the kind of person who craves specific directions, then be prepared to be frustrated by this one.

Breakfast bars

A bunch of marshmallows (I'm thinking 1/2 to 3/4 of a bag, depending on how many bars you want to make)
A small lump of margarine
Two big lumps of peanut butter
Some corn flakes, bran flakes, oats, WHEAT GERM! (and maybe flax seed)


In a large pot, melt marshmallows and marg. over medium heat. Turn off heat and stir in peanut butter until melted. Stir in enough cereal flakes, oats and WHEAT GERM! to go with the amount of goo you made. Spread in a pan you like, maybe an 8x8. I usually make this the night before so it will "set" for breakfast (though right out of the pan is mighty tasty). Then cut into bars or squares.

See, it has peanut butter and WHEAT GERM! so it's okay to eat marshmallows for breakfast. (Right?)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Pictures from our Utah trip

As promised, here are pictures from our Utah excursion, which fell on the heels of our San Diego trip (we left the next day!). Tyce was ecstatic to be reunited with cousin Ben, and Mary Rachel loved playing with cousin Kess. We barely saw those kids all weekend. It was great to hang out with all three of Bryce's sisters, and his parents too. I personally enjoyed going to Silver Lake for a beautiful walk. And then we went to an Indian restaurant afterwards, so you know I had a great time.

Ben, Tyce, and Mary Rachel keep it real.
Our kids with Grandpa Al and Grandma Judy.

The whole family at Silver Lake.

Looking for birds at the visitors center.

Andy and baby Kira.

The girls: Kim, Judy, Betsie, and Heather.

Tyce and Ben are #1.

Part of the gang.

Cameron gets a kick out of Harrison riding in the stroller basket.

Betsie, Kess, and Mary!