Sunday, December 29, 2013

So...I guess we' people?

I love animals.  Ben loves animals.  The kids love animals.  So why have we failed so much in the pet area of our lives??  I don't know.  Maybe it's because I get stressed easily.  Maybe it's because I can't stand fecal matter or urine to touch any area of my house.  Maybe it's because I have my hands really, really full.  Maybe someday I'll have the mental strength to do the dog thing.  Because I really want to.  I love doggies. 

Oh, did I ever tell you we got rid of Xena?  This was...awhile ago.  Last spring, maybe?  She was peeing all over our beds.  Ben had had enough and took her to the humane society.  At least this time it was him, and not me that got rid of the pet.  And he's a big-time cat person.  But again, bodily fluids touching any part of our house...not cool with either of us.

Anywaysssss, whenever the kids bring up getting another pet, I always tell them that maybe I'll be ready to do that when Gage gets potty-trained.  Which I'm beginning to think will never, ever happen.  He definitely regressed when we moved.  Because of me.  When a woman is packing an entire house and moving it, she doesn't often have time to ask if her developmentally-delayed son needs to pee, listen to the silence of him not saying whether or not he needs to go pee, put him on the potty and him maybe or maybe not peeing, etc.

This is so funny - Gage's new sunbeams teacher came over this week to introduce herself and give him a cookie, which was really sweet.  And she was sitting down with him and telling him that he needs to raise his hand if he has a question, and to fold his arms during the prayer, etc. And he's looking at her and, like, drooling.  And Ben and I are thinking, "He has no ideeeeea what you're talking about..."  Funny, and sad.  I hope someday he'll catch up with other kiddos his age.  But for now, he's just not at their level yet.  I get envious of normally-developed three-year-olds that I see.  I get sad.  And I get scared.  But we're doing all we can.  And he is making progress.

Sorry.  Huge tangent.

Kay, so Sadie, for weeks, was all, "I really want my own fish for Christmas."  And Ben and I were all, "Yeah, we think we can do this.  Not too hard.  Clean their tank once a week.  No biggie." 

I picked out a betta fish.  They're so pretty, and you only get one of them, and I felt like that would work for us.
I had to take Micah with me to get the fish, and then, of course, he decided that he needed a fish, too.  And I was all, fiiiiiiiiine.  So later on, I went back and got him a different kind of betta, a crowntail:
He's gorgeous, right?  So we kept them hidden in our closet, but Ben was feeling all badly for them.  "They need interaction and light, Kar.  Let's put them on our dresser and just keep our bedroom door closed."  Ha!  Like the kids don't ever enter a closed room.  So one day, I'm in there, and Sadie and Micah walk in, and they see the fish, and this dawning of realization comes across their faces, and they slowly start smiling, and their eyes become as wide as saucers, and I'm like, "Um, Merry Christmas.  Early."


The kids were sooo excited.  They insisted on keeping the fish in their bedrooms.  Sadie named hers Rosie (she knows that only the boys are the beautiful, colorful ones, but she wants us all to pretend Rosie is a girl).  Micah named his Blue Star.  Rosie is very, very friendly.  When you come in the room, she's like, "What's up?  How are you?  Are you going to feed me?  I'm so happy!"  Blue Star is grumpy and very antisocial.  He hides in his Squidword house all the time. 

Ben was obsessed with these fish.  He would worry if they were warm enough.  He worried about any level of warmth in the water giving the water a small amount of saltiness (because we have a water softener in this house.  WHICH I LOVE).  So when Ben cleaned the bowls, he would fill them with cold water, then microwave the water until it came to room temperature.  Not kidding.  He obsessed about their food.  He worried that they weren't eating well, so he got the pebble kind instead of the flake kind.  He was always visiting the fish and talking to them.  And staring at them wistfully. 

Finally, on Christmas Eve, I said, "Ben, do you want a fish?  Because we can get you one, too, you know.  They're, like, $3.50."  He was like, "OKAY!!"  and off we went to Petco on Christmas Eve.  He got another kind of betta fish - I think they're called Double Tail or something:

He's really so beautiful.  It took Ben about an hour to decide which one he wanted.  He named his fish Flit, because he flits all around.  He went back to Petco a couple of days ago and got a moss rock thing for Flit's bowl, along with two shrimp that can clean said moss rock and eat up leftover food that Flit doesn't eat.  He named the shrimp Jacques and Pierre.  I love watching the shrimp do their thing.  And they are quite the little acrobats. 

Ben quite happily takes on fish feeding duty and bowl-cleaning duty.  He won't let anyone else do it.  He's so funny.

So yeah, now we have three fish.  But so far, they aren't stressing me out, which is good.  Because I have a house full of unpacked stuff still stressing me out.  But the kitchen is all in (except for some 9X13 inch pans that I forgot at the other house), and I've been able to cook, which is really important to me.  So we're making progress.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Put your prongs in the holes of my sweater...

Um, yeah, I'm still alive.


Moving BITES.

We haven't moved in six years, and in that time, we've added two more kids to our family.  And I'd like to consider myself a minimalist - I regularly purge unneeded items from our house - but somehow, some way, we moved about 1,000 pounds of stuff to the new place.

The first night we were here, Ben and I were lying lifeless in bed, and I realized, as I lay there, that I was WARM.  That our house is really, just...warm.  Our old house was just plaster inside, bricks outside.  And that was it.  This house has actual insulation.  And it's just so dang luxurious to feel warm.

You learn a house's quirks as you live in it, and we've found that the floor in our living room is freeeeeezing.  We figured out why - we have a "rock room" in our basement.  A big room, sealed off from the rest of the house, full of rocks.  Back in 1979, when this house was built, it was built with solar panels on its roof.  Apparently that didn't work out so well, because there is no sign of said panels, though in the attic, you can see the piping that went from the panels into this rock room.  I'm no expert on this kind of thing, but apparently, the sun would hit the solar panels, the warmth or energy or whatever would go down these tubes and heat these rocks, and the rocks would radiate heat into the house.

So they didn't want insulation surrounding that room.  Because it needed to radiate the heat.

The knowledge of this rock room is driving me crazy.  It's a huge room full of rocks.  It could be the last bedroom we need.  A nice, big room.  What a waste of space!

Word on the street is that there is a, on my street... that had a rock room.  There are lots of houses with rock rooms in our division.  And these guys broke into the room, got those rocks out, and made it into usable space.  That's what I want to do, guys.  It will be a huge pain.  But imagine it with me.  You get a back hoe and dig up against the foundation where this room is.  You cut out a big square - big enough to create an egress window.  You get a huge dumpster thing and stick it in the yard.  You get a conveyer belt going from the basement to the dumpster.  And you get in there with your gloves and throw these rocks onto the conveyer belt.  You cut a doorway on the other side of the room.  You insulate it, sheet rock it, put a closet in, paint, carpet, and voila.  You have usable space.

So this is my dream.  We'll see if it is ever fulfilled.

For now, to help with the freezing floor, we brought one of our oft-used space heaters from the old house over:
Want to see our fireplace?  It's come a long way, baby.  From dry rot and huge wasp nests under the floor:

To this:
Could you die???  The minute Ben told me he wanted the front of the fireplace area to be corrugated metal, I immediately yelled, "YES!" I love corrugated metal.  As you can see, he's off-centered the hearth and the mantel.  It took me awhile to feel okay about that, but now that the metal is on, it centers the design and looks really great.  His plan is to put cement on the hearth.  Not sure what he wants to do with the mantel.

Ben is so handy.  I'm lucky to have such a handy and artistic man.

Speaking of artistic, he is watching Cirque du Soleil on Netflix right now.  On purpose.  Talk about artistic.  I don't think I know any other man who would do that.  He also suggested we watch The Nutcracker on Netflix on Christmas Eve.  It was a really, really jacked up version.  Dr. Drosselmeyer was having, like, pedophilia feelings toward Clara.  And when Clara goes into the land of sweets, she becomes a woman.  And she and Nutcracker are in love.  And Dr. Drosselmeyer is competing with the Nutcracker for her love.  And there is no sugar plum fairy!!!  Clara does the sugar plum fairy dance!  Duh!  What IS this nonsense?????  Oh, and Dr. Drosselmeyer doesn't give Clara the nutcracker for Christmas.  He gives her a dollhouse.  And the nutcracker falls off the tree and Clara prefers the nutcracker to the dollhouse, further complicating his pedophilia feelings toward her.  Weird, weird stuff.  You got it wrong, Pacific Northwest Ballet Company.  So, so wrong.

Anyways, today Ben was getting some kind of wire thing prepared to put on the hearth to put the cement on, and he decided to quit working for the evening.  And where did he put the wire thing?  Onto my pile of clean clothes.  Piercing my sweater.
Ah, that man.  Obviously, as soon as I snapped this picture, I removed the offending prongs from my sweater.  But it reminded me of that song that I'm so in love with right now, called "Sweater Weather," by The Neighbourhood.   It really is quite fitting:

"And it's too co-o-o-o-old
For you here and now
So let me hold
Both your hands in the holes of my sweater..."

Kay, it's not entirely fitting, because it's about a person's hands, and not the prongs of a wire thing, but the cold part is right, eh?  And the sweater part?....Too much of a stretch?

Friday, December 13, 2013


My poor Dylie.  He got braces last week, and I think he has buyer's remorse. :)  I keep telling him over and over again that it will be worth it.  But I well remember the pain.  I've been down that road three times, dude.  Three times.

In a lot of ways, orthodontia reminds me a lot of torture.  I vividly remember my ortho kneeling on his chair beside my reclining chair and yanking on teeth and wire with his whole body.  Kind of PTSD-inducing.  Plus the headgears, the spacers, the errant wires that poke your cheeks...  Having to brush with that little skinny brush after lunch every day - standing in the girls' bathroom and brushing the leftover sandwich pieces from between each brace...

That first day, he was so miserable.  After he got his braces on, he begged to go home for the rest of the day.  I told him I'd get him a Jamba Juice if he'd go back to school.  He reluctantly agreed with that plan.  Plus I had given him some ibuprofen to help with the soreness.

Apparently, Dylan is a tongue-thruster.  He's never had a lisp, but the doc says that he has been pushing his tongue into the back of his teeth to swallow, instead of the top of his mouth.  So the doc put these horrible-looking prongs behind his teeth:
Ouch, amiright?  This will train his tongue to swallow correctly.  Poor kid.

This morning, exactly one week after the braces were put on, I decided it was time to teach the kiddo the ways of flossing with braces.  He caught on really quickly.  He was surprised to see that I, too, have flossers.

"What do you need those for?"

"I've got permanent retainers behind my teeth, hon."

After I showed them to him, he was like, "Am I going to have to have those??"

"Most likely."

"Aw, maaaaannnnn..."

So we flossed together.  I plan on making it our morning ritual.  It will make me floss more often and keep his teeth healthy during this braces process.

We decided not to do the paper route thing.  And I'm sooooo glad.  I was really, really not looking forward to that.  My parents said he could work for them doing various things to earn money, and he's been really vigilant about earning those braces.

And he's so cute.  He cuts up everything into little bites, "so that he doesn't ruin his braces."  He's been staying away from sugar, too, and brushing really well.  I cut up some apples for him last night, and he's like, "Um, can I eat these?"

"Yes, babe.  You just can't bite into a whole apple."


I love this age.  He and I are in a really good place.  We're buddies, and I love it.

Monday, December 9, 2013

You know it's really cold when...

There's frost inside of your windows. This is what we woke up to this morning.  (Pay no attention to the dirt in that windowsill.)

I remember on Saturdays, we would gauge whether or not it was skiable weather by the presence of frost on the inside of our windows.  We knew it would be a no-go if there was frost inside that you could scrape with your fingernails.

I have a box of Coke on a shelf by the wall.  I went to get one and put it in the fridge this morning, and IT WAS ALREADY COLD.  Cold as if it had been in the fridge all along.

The butter in our kitchen was hard and cold.  As if it had been in the fridge all along.

The rolls I left to rise in the kitchen yesterday never rose.

School was canceled this morning, because with wind chill, it's -21 right now.

Did I ever tell you that our circa-1945 house isn't insulated??  The walls are plaster, and outside of that, brick.  And that is all.  So we really feel it when it's this cold outside.  I'm so grateful that our furnace works.  I remember the first winter we were in this house - the furnace and heating system weren't working, and it was a really, really cold winter.  We had space heaters all over the house, and we kept tripping the breaker with all the power those use up.  I was pregnant with Micah, and I kept having to pull on my boots and trudge outside to flip the breaker switch.  It was good, good times.  Our pipes in the basement froze and Ben had to tear out the ceiling to find the pipes and wrap that heating tape around them.

Our new house is insulated like crazy.  If the heat is turned on to 68, we're boiling.  I can't wait to get in there!!

I remember when I was up at Ricks.  My roommates and I were having a party, and all of our friends who came to our door couldn't get in, because it kept freezing shut.  Hahaha!  That was some crazy cold.

It's days like this that I think that, when Ben retires, we might have to move somewhere warm.  I've done winter.  Been there, done that, gotten the t-shirt.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Breath of Heaven

I was sitting in my bedroom this morning, folding clothes on my bed and listening to churchy Christmas music.  This is a dangerous activity.  (Not the folding of clothes, but the listening to Christmas music.)  Because I can get a little emotional about some songs.  I've been known to cry in my car more than once when a really beautiful song about Christ's birth comes on.  I know when to hurry and turn the radio off when I'm in the car or in front of my kids.  They get really freaked out when I cry.

So this morning, one of my historical tear-jerkers came on the radio, "Breath of Heaven."  I looooove this song so much.  Anything involving Christ brings tears to my eyes, because I love Him.  He is my Savior.  He is my brother.  He is my redeemer.

But I think another reason this song means so much to me is that it kind of echoes my feelings as a mother.  I don't mean in any way to compare my motherhood to Mary's motherhood, or my situation to her situation.  She bore the son of God.  She carried a very, very heavy burden.  She would eventually watch him die.  I cannot even imagine all that she went through.

But the lyrics really echo how I feel a lot of the time:

Do you wonder as you watch my face
If a wiser one should have had my place?
But I offer all I am
For the mercy of Your plan
Help me be strong, help me be, help me

Breath of Heaven, hold me together
Be forever near me, Breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your holiness for You are holy
Breath of Heaven

I often feel that I'm not worthy to be a mother to these beautiful, amazing children.  I often feel very overwhelmed.  And fearful that I'm doing a terrible job.  And I pray, more than once a day - more like constantly, in my head - for Him to hold me together.  To help me be strong.  To be near me.  To lighten my darkness. 

I think that's why this song means so much to me.  It's an echo of the thoughts that constantly run through my head.  But this I know - the only way I'm going to be even a little successful is with His help.  I absolutely cannot do it alone.  I am weak.  I am impatient.  I'm often in darkness.  But part of Christ's atonement - and I learned this through a lot of gospel study - is that He can give us the strength we don't have.  He can help us do good things - and raising children correctly is a good thing - when what we can give isn't enough.  I'll offer all I am, and He will help make up the difference.

It's that hope that holds me together and keeps me going.

Friday, December 6, 2013

A cool way to wake up.

I have yet another chest cold (my fourth since school started - I seriously have no idea why I'm catching so many this year), and I went to bed early last night.  Ben left for work this morning and kissed me goodbye.  The kids don't have school today (parent-teacher conferences), and they were still sleeping, so I went back to sleep.

I woke up to the screams of my oldest three kids. 




"Closet door!"

I opened my eyes, and Micah was all bloody.  I was like, "Whaaaa?"

Turns out that the kids let me sleep in until 10:15.  Which is reeeeeally unlike them.  They're usually needing something at 7:30 or so.  It also turns out that Dylan, in his ADHD-ness, somehow knocked the hall closet door onto Micah in some way (the hall closet has been waiting to be painted, sitting propped against the wall in our living room, for, oh, two months now).

Head wounds bleed a ton, whether they're big or small, so I was pretty calm while I cleaned Micah up.  It was nothing.  A little scratch, really:
I texted Ben to tell him about it.  He didn't even mention Micah's head in his response, which was, "The kids let you sleep in?  Dang, I'm jealous!!"

It shows you how often the kids wound each other in our house, that this event didn't even elicit a response from my husband. :)

I remember, when we lived in San Diego, I had a friend who had two kids who fought all the time.  They were a little older.  Mine were toddler and newborn, so I was still kind of new to the mothering thing.  I remembering them yelling and screaming and tattling all the time, and my friend just ignored it.  Once, she said something like, "Yeah, if they're not bleeding, I don't even address their fighting.  They need to learn to work it out."  At the time, I thought this was kind of cavalier of her, but now, I totally see where she's coming from.  If I rushed to see what was happening every time my kids fought, that is ALL I WOULD DO.  So yeah, if they're not bleeding, I'm like, meh.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Dang! That's a cold-arse honkey!

Hahaha!  Ohhhhh how I love that song (Thrift Shop by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis).  The edited version, of course.  The following explanation is for my mom, who reads my blog (but never comments, except by calling me and saying, "So, I read your blooooogggggg...."):  In Thrift Shop, Macklemore, who is a white rapper, says something to the effect that people think he's black, but then they see him, and he's white. 

Anywayyyyyys, my sister Beads looooves that song.  She just moved to a new house in the Buffalo, New York area, and she and her husband found out that they are now in a church branch on a Seneca Native American reservation!  So she and her hubs are one of just a few caucasians in their branch, and the rest are Native American.  She texted me the other day and said she thought of those lyrics when she was in church:  "Dang!  That's a cold-arse honkey!" She feels a little bit out of place, but she said the people in the branch were just so excited to have a couple of more members to add to their little flock and have been very warm to them.  She'll probably get like five callings, poor girl.

I totally thought of that song when I was at Zumba last night with my friend, Megs.  I think about half the class was Latina.  And dude, those ladies could shake what their mama gave them.  I was seriously so admiring.  A lot of them have my body type - apple.  Thick around the waist, but normal legs.  And there are all these moves where you have to wiggle your booty and shake your thing, which made me feel really embarrassed, because essentially, I was just wiggling my fat around.  But so were these cute ladies, and they just didn't care!  They were so confident in their own skin!  They shook that belly fat and had no problems with it.  They all stood at the front of the class, where they could see themselves in the mirror, and they were loving it.

I felt like such a dork, because some of these moves....kay, I was a ballerina, right?  So when you're essentially doing moves from Dirty Dancing, and you've always been kind of a prude anyways, and you add to the top of that my ballet training, I'm sure I looked like a robot.  Pelvic thrusts, robot-style. 

There was this one dance where it was like a dance war, one side against the other, and these cute latina ladies got right up in the front lines and up in each others' faces, like, "Oh, you just watch me shake it.  I'm going to beat you in this dancing fight." 

I stood at the very back during that part.  I was not going to even pretend I could fight a Shake Your Butt Battle.  I would never come out victorious in that battle.

It was great.  And so much fun.  And it hurt my foot sooo badly.  But dude, if I didn't work out every time my foot hurt, I would never work out.  And then I'd have twice the belly fat to jiggle. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Stupid parka...

So last month, my friend Megs took my kids' pictures.  We really wanted to do them outside, but the weather wasn't cooperating, so we just took them inside in my living room.  She did a really good job photoshopping them.  Here are the very, very best ones we could get of each of them.

Dylan, in all of his Corn Nut Teeth Glory (he gets braces this Thursday!  Woot-woot!):
 Sadie - this one turned out really cute:
Micah - cute, cute, cute:
 No, your eyes don't deceive you.  Gage, my little twit, is wearing his stupid parka.  I told you this is his new obsession, right?  He was wearing a cute little red shirt underneath his parka, but he would not take it off.  Of course, we tried to force it off, but then every picture was him screaming and thrashing around and howling.  So we left the damn coat on.  And now, forever, the picture of him from when he was 3 years old is this stupid picture with his coat on.  Or this one:
Yep, I totally ordered this one from his school.  It was too funny to pass up.  It's sooooo going on my picture wall.  When I have one again.  When we move.  Which seems to be never.  I need to figure out where to put everything on the walls...hmmm.

Megs took one of all the kids, and this was my favorite one:
Bare feet and a parka.  Classy, Gage.  Classy.

It's weird that Sadie looks taller than Dylan in this next picture, but he wasn't being terribly cooperative, hunching over and doing the dead weight thing:
 Micah is a total ham.  He wanted to have a full-on photo shoot of just him.  So funny:
 Kay, I need to put Senor Psycho down for a nap.  He has made my morning a living hell.  I kid you not.  I don't even want to talk about it.  It was that bad.

Sorry I haven't blogged in awhile.  The problems with the new house, doubled with my kids being at home all last week and fighting every second of every day, plus having half my stuff at the new house and half my stuff at the old house, has me going down the depression road again.  I'm hoping I'll pull out of it when everything is settled again.  When I'm depressed, I don't feel like blogging.  Or doing anything, really.  If I'm not blogging for awhile, that's a cue to you that I'm not in a very good place.  So I haven't been, but I'm trying to hang in there.
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