Friday, May 30, 2008

Picture Tag

I stole this post idea from Brooklyn. I figure that I can participate in a tag even if I haven't been . . . ummmm . . . tagged . . . right?

My first job (in this case, a picture is not worth 1000 words):

My goal for the next year:

My favorite place to go (hangin' with Juliet would be a bonus):

My favorite food:

The city I live in:

My favorite color:

A nickname I have:

A place I'd like to visit:

How old I'll be on my next birthday:

Something I fear:

A talent I'd like to develop:

So there you go. If you feel so inclined, consider yourself tagged. I love learning about people!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My trip--I can't tell you how much I needed that

For Memorial Day weekend, I flew to see four of the coolest people in the world: my brother David, his sweet wife Brooklyn, and their two adorable girls Cambria and Maya. They are such gracious hosts and treated me to everything they knew I liked--a farmer's market in San Francisco, where I had tamales and the best peaches; a play (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which was awesome); manicure/pedicures; a rousing game of Settlers; long walks in lovely surroundings; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Chinatown; and great restaurants all along the way.

As you know, I was at the end of my rope when I left, and when I came back . . . wow, what a difference. I'm ready to be a mom again.

Thank you, Cooks, for helping me regain my sanity. I love you all.

Here are some pictures:

At the Farmer's Market. Sorry I cut the girls off but Brooklyn sure looks nice.

Here is a lady who sold jewelry. I don't know if she's posing for me or saying, "I've got my eye on you, paparazzi."

David and Maya.

A really cool water structure. Caima loved to jump from square to square around it.

I tried to get the cool background at the SFMOMA in the picture but all I got was black.

A beautiful bridge at the SFMOMA. As you can imagine, it was very popular with the little girls.

Inside the glass tunnel--notice how the colors have changed!

I just love Chinatown. I wish I lived right here.

If you're going to become a monk, please make sure your institution is sagely.

Cambria makes an adorable little Chinese girl!

Cambria and Maya are super huggable.

Can you believe he's my little brother?

Back at home all seemed to go well, if the kitchen is any indication. In there I found leftover pizza, donuts, and snacks of all kinds. I'm totally grateful and embarrassed that Bryce had the house spotless when I came home. How does he do that?

I was very pleased to discover how much I missed the kids. I love them so much!

Friday, May 23, 2008

A few pictures

Check out the very first fruit from my garden!

These beauties will be lemons when they get bigger.

Cameron and Harrison are obsessed with the TV show Caillou. If you're like me, this is a very annoying interest. j/k

This is Tyce, just 12 days after his accident. You can't even tell he was injured, eh?

P.S. I am getting over my bad day. And get this . . . I'm going to the Bay Area this weekend. By myself! I can't wait to party with my bro.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

How true

See this book jacket? This pretty much sums it up right now.

Yesterday was the WORST. DAY. EVER. Most of the time I have it together, the kids are great, we get along, I have patience, etc. But yesterday I thought I might commit myself to the mental hospital.

I won't go into the details what horrors the twins came up with.

Well, maybe I will. Here's the thing. I was a psychology major and family science minor. I keep telling myself that. I was an expert at child development back in college. I don't think my education is helping. I don't remember reading about what to do when kids take apart the entire food storage closet, pile everything they own onto a bed (including a floor lamp), jump into a bathtub that someone forgot to drain (with their clothes on), make mud pies outside (after a bath), or pretend that lotion is soap and lather themselves into a slimy mess. And the crying . . . oh, I would love it if kids came with a mute button.

The pressure and stress has just been building and building and building for days, and yesterday was the day that the twins finally broke me down.

Yes, Dr. Freud, what would you say I should do? Dr. Jung? Dr. Erickson? Oh, I should commit myself to the mental ward for evaluation? Thanks, that was my first thought too. I packed my bag after I found the twins squeezing out my lip gloss onto the carpet.

Monday, May 19, 2008


My house is under attack by robbers and vandals. Well, not the whole thing, not all at once. I find little clues to let me know they're here . . . and they walk among us.

For example, I went to put in my favorite lipstick. Gone. I went to clean the kids' bathroom. There's the lipstick, stuffed inside an empty tissue box.

I found my hairbrush in the undrained bathtub, full of conditioner.

My tin of Altoids is empty . . . again.

I discovered he hose nozzle, broken, by the trampoline. No one knows what happened.

My spoons keep disappearing. I started with 24. I now have 10.

Full, entire bottles of shampoo get poured into the bathtub.

Someone has written on the walls. I'm pretty sure it's gang related.

I can never find my scissors.

Clean, folded laundry has been thrown and scattered, only to be stuffed back into a laundry basket for next week's washing.

A list of foods we can't keep around or they will be stolen:

Crystal light mix
Lemonade concentrate
Paremesan cheese

How to get through to a criminal? I try to use "love and logic" which is harder than it sounds, being that I feel neither love nor logic when I discover such matters.

Maybe someone could recommend a good military school or boot camp or something. Or invent a way for me to be four places at once. Nahhhh . . . just send me a magic wand . . . and a tin of Altoids.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Book Club

Last night we met at Kathy's house, where we each reported on a book about relationships. This was Carmen's good idea and I really enjoyed our discussion. The books we talked about were:

1. Parenting Teens with Love and Logic, by Cline and Fay (me)
2. The Five Love Languages, by Dr. Gary Chapman (Carmen)
3. Lies at the Altar: The Truth about Great Marriages, by Dr. Robin L. Smith (Angie)
4. The Peacegiver, by Jim Ferrell (Rebecca S.)
5. A New Earth, by Eckert Tolle (Karrie)
6. The Power of Now, by Eckert Tolle (Kathy)

Angie said she couldn't imagine a man being able to handle all our talk about feelings and introspection. LOL

As usual, it was awesome to talk with people who have such good insight and intelligent commentary.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tyce's progress

He continues to get better and better. He looks amazingly better than before. Part of that is that I'm used to looking at him though; I think he'd still look pretty gruesome at first sight. I took him to the dentist per the ER doctor's orders, and she said exactly what I thought she'd say.

"He looks good and I don't seen any damage. Make a follow-up appointment with me in 6 weeks to see if there are any changes. That will be $2000--thanks for making the downpayment on my new Prius!"

Just kidding. I wish I were a doctor.

Bryce took him to the maxillofacial doctor yesterday and the report was the same.

I think Tyce enjoys his newfound celebrity status at school. For him, the accident has improved his social standing. LOL

Okay, here is a picture of one of the cookie jars. Isn't it adorable? I am so glad all I did was bake 20 dozen cookies and left the "cute" part to someone else. All in all I think we made a pretty good profit (the Camp director has the numbers). Girls Camp is less than one month away! Woo hoo! The sooner it comes the sooner I can stop thinking about it!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Madness!

I love this one because it looks like Harrison is saying, "Please Lord, give me a new family."

Today was a great day and I took a ton of pictures (or had them taken for me) but what it boils down to is this: I love my four wacky, goofy kids!

The kids (and Bryce) made me breakfast and it was delish. Then we went to church, where all the women got a box of chocolate-covered cinnamon gummi-bears. I know. They sound bizarre. But they are really quite good. Then I helped with opening exercises in YW; after that the girls combined with the boys and I went to RS. Truthfully, I'd have rather stayed where I was, but the men sure were nice to take over our classes so we could hang out with the ladies.

After church we played Settlers with the big kids and I WON but I think there might have been some mercy plays on my behalf. Even so it feels good to WIN. Oh yeah!!!

I got a blender to replace the one that ? broke, and a GC for whatever I want. Have you noticed that I get a lot of kitchen appliances for gifts?

I say this a lot but I am so grateful for how my life has worked out so far. I am grateful to be a mother to the four children I have been given. They are my greatest blessing. I am grateful for our kids' birth mothers for bringing them into this world and I think of them with love and respect. They gave them the ultimate gift--the gift of life. Even though their circumstances were rough, I know that they love their children. I hope I'm doing a good enough job of raising such beautiful children of God.

And . . . I love my mom and mom-in-law!!!


The big kids are busy making horror movies starring Tyce's scary face. I know this is a ploy to get out of going to bed . . . and it's working. I love to see them getting along and having fun. (I think they also use this tactic when they have chores to do.)

More pictures of Tyce

I was going to make apologies for my camera, because remember when I blamed my bad pictures on low lighting? Well, that was partly true. but I knew the big kids had recently played with my settings and I was desperate to correct whatever they had done . . . if I could figure it out. I played with it for quite a while until I looked at the lens. Ohhhh. Fingerprints. A little cleaning off, and **voila!** Good as new.

Tyce felt worse today, and frankly looked worse. He was sore and tired but he is totally going to be okay. Guess what. Bryce asked the doctor to write a note for P.E. and he wouldn't do it!!! Would you make this poor child run 5 laps to get full points for the day?

His back, which really bothers him.

Some of his injuries captured in one glorious shot.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

What it looks like when you fall off a cliff

Warning, disturbing image alert . . . seriously, keep your eyes half-closed if you have a weak stomach.

Where do I begin? Bryce took the three boys to Logandale for the father-son camping trip. Tyce climbed up the side of a mountain with some older boys this morning, and when he got ahold of the next rock on his ascent, it broke off in his hands. He tumbled 20 feet down, faster and faster, bumping and banging the whole way. He landed with a huge THUD on his face. He lay there for a minute to get his bearings. The other boys started yelling for help, and finally their cries rose above the din of noisy campers. When Bryce looked over to see what was going on, he saw Tyce standing there and said to himself, "Good. It's not my kid." But when he got closer he noticed the blood gushing from his facial wounds, and Tyce was on the ground.

The other men administered first aid, clearing out his nose and mouth of blood, elevating his feet to keep him from going into shock. Tyce cried, "I can't see!" until somebody said, "That's because your eyes are closed!" He later said that he had dirt in his eyes and they hurt to open, not to mention the massive amount of swelling causing pain to that area--all the bystanders suspected that Tyce had a broken nose. Tyce could hear one of the twins saying, "Tyce are you bleeding? Tyce Tyce Tyce are you bleeding? What happened, Tyce? Are you okay Tyce? Tyce Tyce you have a bloody nose!"

Bryce almost went into shock himself. He could feel himself hyperventilating and getting light-headed. Someone asked, "Are you okay to drive?" and he said no. Justin McEwen gave Tyce a blessing. Luckily Bryce had to make arrangements for the twins, and that more concrete and mundane task took some of the attention away from the trauma. The boys were invited into an SUV by their friend's dad they who promised to show them a movie. (A movie in the CAR? Woo hoo!) Like little moths drawn to a flame, the boys climbed in.

Bryce heard that there was an urgent care in the neighboring town. When he drove there he found out that it was closed on the weekends. A helpful woman said, "You should drive him right over to the fire station. Only call 911 first, because its a volunteer fire department and the call will get them moving faster." Bryce smiled politely and then sped as fast as he could back to Las Vegas.

During the car ride Tyce alternately groaned and . . . sang. Apparently he sang "A Whole New World" over and over (remember I said his choir concert was heavy on the Disney songs?). He was trying to distract himself from the pain but it really freaked Bryce out.

Finally they made it to the "good" hospital with a pediatric ER. Tyce had several x-rays taken of his neck, head, etc. He has an orbital fracture, which is located on the upper cheekbone / lower eye. It requires a follow-up visit to a maxillofacial doctor, but it's mainly a wait-and-see issue. He also needs to go to a dentist because of a tear in a spot where the skin and jawbone connect. He does not have a broken nose.

So basically he has a beat up face and gashes on his back, elbows, and knee.

He feels lucky to be alive.

Right now he is watching TV on the couch. He looks terrible . . . but he feels okay. Not great or even good, but it's better than before. He did some serious soul-searching after the accident, as anyone would, and I think he's amazed that he's not worse off. Grateful to be back home. Wondering a lot of "what ifs." How is it that he nearly feel to his death and now he's zoning out in front of Sponge Bob a few hours later?

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for protecting my boy.

Here are some more pictures from the trip.

And one more of Tyce . . .

Friday, May 9, 2008

Melodies and Harmonies

Wednesday and Thursday this week we had the pleasure to hear Tyce perform in two concerts. The first was for choir, where Tyce sings in the acapella group. If you know Tyce, you know he has a gorgeous voice, perfect pitch, and impeccable rythm. His English teacher heard him during class one day and couldn't get over it. Because of that Tyce was specially invited to be in the elite acapella group, even though he's not even in Choir.

He has loved his before and after school practices. I think actually singing is just an excuse to hang around all those pretty 8th grade girls. LOL They all love him. I've never seen a little kid get so many hugs.

In front of the "Brown Bear."

His acapella group. Sorry for the lame picture. Whenever I zoomed in the picture got really grainy and dark. They sang two songs--the National Anthem and "In the Jungle." Tyce is still a soprano so he and two other girls got to sing the "weeeeeeeeeeee . . ." part and they sounded awesome!

The next night was the Band concert. Where the choir teacher was heavy on the Disney songs, the band director loves his 70's rock. The beginning band played "Smoke on the Water," as well as "Alpha Squadron" and "Guanamaro" (a "Mission-Impossible"-type song and a Cuban-influenced song). I was quite impressed with how well the kids have done in one year.

A close-up, where you can see Tyce if you click.

With his French horn.

All of the bands.

It was a great couple of nights and I'm so glad Tyce is involved with music.

Monday, May 5, 2008

I was too angry to take a picture

I forgot all about documenting the incident for the Naughty File. But trust me, it was not pretty.

Yesterday afternoon Bryce and I had a meeting to attend and asked the big kids to be in charge for about an hour. When we came back the twins had gotten into the garage refrigerator and opened four cartons of cottage cheese. They apparently had an elaborate make-believe going on because they'd schlepped most of it into the trunk of the trike. The worst of it was the large amount just dumped (left?) on the garage floor. In addition, they ripped open a package of cream cheese, which must have made it largely to their mouths because there was no real mess on that one. Can you see that I'm trying to look on the bright side? "Thanks for eating my cream cheese, boys, because if you hadn't then I would have. Oh, and good job being so tidy about it."

When we freaked out and asked the big kids what had gone on, they were full of, "Uh, this all happened when I was in the bathroom" and "I told Mary to be in charge of Harrison," and "Well, I told them to get out of the garage but they wouldn't listen."

Ugh, is it too much to ask the almost 12-year-old to monitor the two younger brothers for an hour?

According to my dad, yes. You gotta know that Grandpa Jim always has his boy's back.

Well, on a normal day I think things would have been better. Apparently C. and H. ate a big bowl of crazy for breakfast because they were difficult all day.

Spraying cottage cheese off of a garage floor is much harder to do than it sounds. If you ever find yourself needing advice on this subject, I have two things to say: 1) Ask Bryce what he did, and 2) take a picture.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Ward Party

We also attended a really great ward activity. One of the best parts about it was that Bryce and I weren't in charge. j/k I think that Christmas party we planned was enough to cure us of ever complaining about how things are run. Anyway, this activity was a heritage celebration and each auxiliary a part in the program. The Primary kids sang, the YW sang with the RS, some of the YW did a dance, the YM did a stick-pulling demonstration, Tyce did a narrative on Joseph Smith's life, Bryce played "Nephi" in a humorous Dr. Seuss-style reading with other HP.

I don't know if it was the cultural hall's lighting or if someone has messed with my camera but the pictures are a little off.