Sunday, December 16, 2007

Mona who?

Kyle got this idea from a website we found where you can pay someone to put your photo in a famous painting. Pay someone to do what he is already talented enough to do? Ha! Meet Mona Karen and Mona Courtney!
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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Santa needs a diaper and Rosita the Snow Woman

Yes, you heard me right...Johnny came in with his new box of diapers and told me that "Tantas is stinky. Need wipes. Need diaper!"

Then, and this is a big deal for him, he took the diapers outside and spoke to Santa face to face. I think he was trying to find common ground with Santa. This kid loves the idea of Christmas, but is scared to death of any life size Santa. We went to see Santa at the Mall. Twice. Scared both times. When we inflated this Santa in front of our house, Johnny has been scared of him, but he will talk to him....through the window, from the car as we are driving away. But "Tantas" is right outside the front door and you have to walk right by him to get to the car. He runs! So anyway, we are outside with the diapers, and Johnny said, "Tantas, you're stinky. Need wipes. Need diaper!" He actually talked to him! He's not the real Santa, but hey. If he can talk to a larger than life Santa, maybe he'll talk to the one at the Church party on Friday. We can hope, anyway!

On another note, we had a 2 hour delay this morning for the 3 inches of snow received overnight. It was great packing snow, so since Kyle had the day off too, we all went outside and built Rosie and Rosita (we had no sticks for arms, so we improvised with roses Kyle brought home to me recently). First we made Rosie, then her top few layers fell off, so I put her head back on and we renamed her Rosita:

By the way, I am wearing a coat I bought recently, with the help of Bettie. I realized that my fleece jacket, which is all I have had for a winter coat for the past three years in NC and OK, would no longer cut it! :D

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

We Elfed Ourselves!

Kyle and I had a lot of fun tonight elfing our family. First, the kids:

And then, us:

Check us out, then try it yourself...and show us your results. Have a very Merry Christmas season!!

p.s. Here is the best one (Mom, Dad, and Nate)

p.s.s. Here are the Grandma Grandpa Patches elves! Get down Grandma!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Funny story about Ben when he was younger

We've told this story many times, but I've finally preserved it for posterity:

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And just in case you need a close up on the journaling:
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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving cooking lessons

We shared Thanksgiving with Bryce & Bettie, our game playing friends. We made a list of what food we had to have and split up who did what. Bettie said she would do the turkey, since I said if I were in charge, I would chicken out (no pun intended) and just buy a turkey breast. But when it came down to Thanksgiving morning, it ended up that since the turkey was at my house and we were eating at my house, and Bettie was not at my house yet, I had to cook the turkey.

But guess what? I did it and it worked. I realized that it really wasn't hard to do at all. I also learned this about pie making (4 pies and one cheesecake for 4 adults and 5 kids ages 7 and under??? crazy Bettie!), mashed potatoes, and Mom's stuffing. And her turkey noodle soup that I made last night with leftovers. I get afraid of cooking sometimes, but I realized that most meals are pretty simple to make and I don't need to make a production out of it!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tag, I'm it! 7 things about me...

My friend Jenny tagged me for this blog game. Seven random thoughts about me.

1. I love to play games. For the past 2 years, here and in Oklahoma, we have had our game playing friends. We don't plan ahead, it's just, Hey, let's play! Our kids get free reign of the house while we play Pinochle, Settlers of Catan, or whatever. Sometimes we stay up too late (aka...the kids stay up too late). But we love it!

2. I love Christmas, especially the music. I've been listening to Christmas music for a couple weeks now. I'll occasionally listen to it in the summer too. I love it!

3. I've got a new habit. For some reason, I have to have a glass of ice water in the evening after dinner. I guess it could be worse! :)

4. In our house, we like to surprise people. ("Mom, don't tell Dad what I chose for dinner for Family Home Evening, I want to surprise him!) Kyle likes to try to surprise me for Christmas presents....unfortunately I've got a knack for seeing right through him. Somehow, I almost always figure it out. It's a gift. And a curse. I'd rather be surprised....really.

5. Speaking of which, I love to watch Monk. It's a show about a detective with OCD. Unfortunately, I think I can relate to him just a leeeeetle too much!

6. I love chocolate. It didn't happen until sometime in college. I didn't get the whole chocoholic thing when I was younger. But now, I get it. But, it's gotta be worth the calories. Right now I've got a Chunky with peanuts and raisins sitting next to me. Yum!

7. I'm a homebody. Some people love to travel. I like with spending time at home with my family. And I'm OK with that.

OK. Your turn. Tag, you're it!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What is it about the doctor's office?

Yesterday we had doctor appointments for the two boys. Kyle had the day off, so we had the whole family there. Why did I do this? I've told myself before I will never take all three kids to the doctor's office at the same time. And yet, I did. In my deluded state I thought the kids were older, Kyle would be there, we would be ok. NOT!

Poor doctor. It was our first time at this clinic....AND I work with his wife at church. (He has seen us at church, but he is not LDS and doesn't always come.) The stories he will have for his wife!!! Well, I guess it all depends on how strictly he adheres to the HIPAA regulations at home. Maybe he didn't tell her how all three kids were climbing all over everything and everyone in the room and how often he had to stop talking because the noise level was reaching a deafening pitch in the room. Maybe his hearing has recovered. At least he doesn't have to buy a new laptop...but it sure came close to being kicked off of his lap.

We told the kids we could do something fun after the doctor's visit....IF they behaved themselves. They had received dire warnings before arriving at the clinic. Everything was fine until the doctor showed up in the examination room. Then, all, um, heck broke loose. The one benefit is that their behaviors did nothing more than confirm to the doctor that our son did indeed have some ADHD issues. It worked...we came home with a diagnosis and prescription! Then again, I'm surprised that he didn't just add on a diagnosis for the other two angels as well.

Next time I tell you I am taking all three kids to the doctor, slap me upside the head. Oh and by the way, did I mention that I'm taking them all of them for their flu shots 5 days before Christmas?!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Maybe I should make this a website sharing site...

My friend Vivian on SS had this link on her blog:

You get to cut snowflakes online! Here's the trick, I was trying to aim the scissors, but all you do is move the scissors with the red dot around until it turns green over the spot you want to cut. You don't have to try to aim the scissors at just the right angle, like I was trying to do! :D Just go try it, and hopefully you'll understand what I mean. Enjoy!

Free Rice

Here's another website to share! This one is a little more useful than the last. This one is a vocabulary quiz...for every one you get right the corporate sponsors like Office Depot donate 10 grains of rice to world hunger. When you get one wrong, it tells you the right answer. A lot of these words I haven't heard, but I was surprised how many I got right! I ended with 830 grains and a score of 40. Try it!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A fun website to give you a smile

This site is in Dutch, I hear...but don't worry. You don't need to know Dutch to enjoy the website. Just give it a second for the fun to begin!

Thanks Cheery Bunny for sharing this site with me.

A fun email I got from Emily today...

Tag, your it!!!! If you want, you can answer these on your own blog or email. Or just read mine and be done with it. :D

Two things you are wearing right now:
1. Jeans
2. Scrapshare 777 shirt

Two names you go by:
1. Mommy
2. Loverdumps

Two of your favorite things to do:
1. Scrapbook
2. Watch Monk

Favorite pet have/or has had
1. Gerbils Mork and Mindy
2. Our betta named Alpha

Two things you did last night:
1. Watched Race to Space with Kyle
2 . Took the kids to Karate

Two things you ate today
1. Mandarin Oranges
2. Cocoa Pebbles

TWO people you've talked to today
1. Kyle
2. M'Liss from church called to get a food storage order

Two things you're doing tomorrow:
1. Parent Teacher Conferences
2. Hanging with the kids!

Two longest Car Rides you've been on:
1. Maryland to SLC, UT many times when I was a kid
2. Our move from SLC, UT to Sylva, NC

Your favorite holidays:
1. Christmas
2. Groundhog Day

Two favorite beverages
1. Ice Water
2. Stephens Hot Chocolate

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Family Photos

We went to the park on Saturday and had lots of fun. Here we are posing with our new friend at the park:

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Trick or Treat!

Last night we attend our church Trunk or Treat party. Very popular activity around here, apparently. It was well attended and a lot of fun for the kids. For the first time ever we won the cake walk...something unheard of in this family. And all three kids won! (We let them choose someone else when Ben and Johnny won at the same time). Here are the costumes:

Johnny likes to hang on the handrails and yell, "Super-man!" We found that pageant dress for cheap at a thrift store in Oklahoma, so we just added the wig and called it good for Courtney. Benjamin was going to just wear his karate uniform with a ninja hood for his costume, but they will be having a dress up party at karate, and it didn't seem like much fun to not really dress up for that, so he got the full outfit.

Kyle and I have done these costumes before. It's easy. I made, (or was that Mom made), the skirt 21 years ago, and it still fits. It's getting holey and has rust spots all over it. I'm thinkin' it's time to let it go.

Johnny loves candy, so trick or treating was a no brainer for him. Afraid of walking up to strangers? Not if they have candy! We practiced beforehand at home, and when he finished the piece of candy in his basket, he just walked up to me and said Trick or Treat again. Courtney and Benjamin loved the day, too.

For Family Home Evening we painted pumpkins. Johnny did the green "dragon", Courtney's is a princess, Ben did the vampire, and Kyle did the witch in the moon. Painting gets a little messy, but nothing compared to cleaning out a pumpkin. Yuck!

Happy Halloween everyone!

Mahna Mahna

This may be old news for some, but here it is again...

Here are the Muppets doing Mahna Mahna. Watch this first because it was Johnny's inspiration for the next video:


Here is our one and only you tube video for you to enjoy. Johnny singing Mahna Mahna:


Friday, October 26, 2007

Our new home!

In August we moved from hot and humid Oklahoma to sunny and warm Santa Fe, New Mexico. We are so excited to be able to shop somewhere besides WalMart. That's all we've had for 3 years! And we are now a day's journey from Utah and only about 45 minutes (not 3 hours) from the Albuquerque temple. And 10 minutes (not 2 hours) from the Stake Center.

We haven't sold our house in OK yet, so we are renting for now. Here is our home:

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We were so excited to get rid of our lawn mower before we moved....yard work isn't exactly our favorite activity. Here is what our backyard looks like:

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The kids have made friends and are enjoying school. We have made friends and Kyle is enjoying work. Our friends and the kids' friends are in the same family, so we get together with them at least once a week to play games. The ward has already put us to work. I teach the kids who turn twelve this year in primary. Kyle is teaching Gospel Essentials/ Spanish! We do have lots of opportunity to use our Spanish here. I get to visit teach, and be visit taught, in Spanish. I'm a little rusty, but not too bad.

We have a guest room and we'd love to entertain any family or friends who'd like to come visit beautiful Santa Fe!!

Finding my inner doodle...

I am taking a doodling class. Crazy, I know, to pay someone to teach me how to doodle. But, it is working. I have learned confidence in my swirls, which is what I was hoping for. Here is a layout I did in my scrapbook:

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The journaling says:The year 2000 was a very big year: I had my first baby & I graduated with my master of Social Work degree. Benjamin was born just 3 days before the beginning of my last semester of school. I was determined to not stop just one semester short of my degree. So with my Mom & Dad to babysit I finished. Benjamin came to class with me many days, but he couldn't come to my internship with me. He became something of a fixture at school, so dressing him up to graduate with me seemed like a perfect option. I made the hat after a fruitless search. I guess I did a good job--a professional photographer gave us these pics in exchange for using one in a book he was writing. As important as it was to me to finish my degree, even more important was my role as a mother. Once I gradutated I hung up my career hat and was blessed to be able to be a full time Mom. I am grateful Kyle provides for us so I can do this. Perhaps when the kids are grown, I'll return to my career. But until then, I truly feel I am doing... "what matters MOST".

(Photos by Ron Nichols.)

On a different note...

I have had the unfortunate opportunity to study about spiders for the past week or two. Benjamin's teacher has them working on spider reports and dioramas. I can't stand looking at closeups of spiders. Ewwwwww. So what did I do? I took a photo! (the closeup is edited...I wasn't that close.) This is our new neighbor we found on our front doorstep today. NOT OK. He has been outside our house two days in a row. As long as he stays outside, I might tolerate him. Did I mention I hate spiders???

Ben and Courtney earn their orange belts

Last month Ben and Courtney started karate. I wasn't sure how Courtney would like it, but she is having a lot of fun. I wanted to get the kids into an activity, but I wasn't thrilled with juggling two different schedules. With this, they are in the same class, so all I have to do is keep Johnny busy for an hour each time we go. And you can choose which days (and how many days) you go. Heaven! Anyway, yesterday they both promoted and earned their orange belts. It was exciting! Here are some pics from the day:

Benjamin was first to receive his belt. Renshi (master instructor) tied it on for him. Renshi is an all star and is the state rep for New Mexico. He has a lot of patience with all these kids! They have fun in class.

After putting on the belt, Renshi bows to them and they bow back. Then they bow to the black belt next to him. Renshi calls Courtney, "Courtney San". I think it's cute, but she won't let me call her that. Just Renshi gets to.

Next they face the class who all bow to them . In Japanese tradition, the deeper the bow, the more respect you have for a person. They learn culture and vocabulary as part of their lessons.

Their favorite way to end the class: sock ball. Ben is throwing a sock at Courtney who is bending down to pick up a sock. This was before the belt ceremony, so they still have their white belts on. White is the first belt. Then orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown and black. It will be a few years yet until we get to the black belt level....if we stick with it that long. They love it. We'll keep up with karate as long as they are still having fun!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Cute words from Jonathan

That kid is too much! When you offer him something he wants (like chocolate milk, or as he likes to call it, coclate water!) he says, "Thank you much!" If he doesn't want it, he will say, "No thank you much!" Even if it is something like when I tried to cut his nails last night...he was mad and crying out "NO THANK YOU MUCH!!"

When I tell him he needs to go take a nap, or come inside, he will huff or put his head down and pout, and go marching obey! Crazy kid. :) Not that he obeys all the time...not in the least! I think this is the first time the terrible twos has hit one of my kids while he was still two. The other two got it more around age 3. He is so animated and dramatic...a hoot to watch his facial expressions!! This pic is one of my favorites of his. This is his "Please??????" face that is so hard to say "No" to.

Friday, April 13, 2007

New insight from Book of Mormon

This morning I read something that made me go hmmmm. Abinidi, who preached before the wicked king Noah and was then put to death, only had one convert that we know of...Alma. Abinidi was a martyr, not even knowing that he got through to anybody. One one soul saved by his preaching. But yet, Alma went on to teach and baptize many, many people. Puts a good perspective on the work we do here on this earth. We should do our best doing what we know to be right and good. The results of our work aren't what matters. Our intentions do matter. Some good will likely come from our good actions. But what others do doesn't impact our own salvation. What we do, and why, is the only thing of real import.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Learning to let go.

I like to have control over my life. And when I live with four other people (husband and 3 kids) my life is affected by what they do. SOOOOO...I tend to try to control what they do so that my life is how I want it.

I'm learning, slowly learning, to let go. Let go of trying to MAKE them obey, especially. I am realizing that my kids will not learn to make their own decisions if I am forcing them to make the right decisions. Yes they need to be taught, but not in a dictatorship. They need to learn responsibility and consequences. I want them to be happy, which I know comes by making righteous choices. But THEY need to learn that. I am afraid to lose them to "the dark side." But it isn't really up to me what they do.

It is coming out all jumbled on the screen. In my mind I know exactly what I mean! I think what I want to say can be summarized by this prophetic quote: Teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves. It's so hard to let them fall and make mistakes. But in the end, if I don't let them learn now, they will fall harder later. Am I making sense? Thanks for listening!

Friday, March 16, 2007

I know it's been one of those days...

...when the only reason I unload the dishwasher is because my 22 month old son starts unloading it for me. He will unload the entire thing, with or without me. I'd rather it be with me so things get put away! AND he brought me his full laundry basket of dirty clothes, so I washed them. Otherwise, I doubt I ever would have gotten anything done yesterday!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Lice Life Lessons (say that 5 times fast!)

You know, I'm not the only one to learn a lesson from lice. One of my favorite books is The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. It is her story about being a victim of the Holocaust. She learned to be grateful for lice because the guards didn't want lice too, so they stayed away from the prisoners.

My story isn't so compelling, but I learned from it, nonetheless. Last night before bed (just before midnight...) I discovered that I have been reinfested with lice. Or more accurately, for Dad's sake, a louse. Hopefully just one. After a couple arduous hours of combing and shampooing and changing bedding and checking the kids...we discovered that I am the only lucky one. Wahoo. Then, finally came bedtime. At 2:30. Double wahoo.

This comes on the tail end of almost two months of torture at our home. It started, and hopefully will end, with lice infestations. Benjamin went back to school today after a week of sickness. He was sick of it; I am frustrated by all of it. Last night I went to bed praying for answers. "Why? Why me??"

This morning, I have the answer. Make that a few answers. The first answer was that this is teaching me patience in suffering. And gratitude that I can be a stay at home mom and take care of sick kids or just be there for them. Then I thought about making mountains out of molehills. This is suffering? Not really! There are so many people in the world who are so much worse off than me, in health, living conditions, financially...every such way. (Like Corrie ten Boom, for example.)

One last answer to my question of WHY...specifically, why lice? And why twice?? It didn't take long for me to make an important realization: If my kids hadn't brought it home from school 6 weeks ago, I wouldn't have the lice comb and I wouldn't have had any reason to check my hair. I check every so often now. If we hadn't had the first bout with lice, how long would I have gone before checking my hair? Until I had a whole colony living and breeding in my hair? EEEEEW!!!

I am grateful my kids brought home lice last month. I hate to say it. But it's true.

Monday, February 26, 2007

One of my favorite quotes

The first time I encountered this quote was on a handout I received from a church friend, (my vistiting teacher, maybe?) while I was attending college. About 3 months ago I searched for it to use on a scrapbook border for some friends. Two nights ago I heard the quote on a movie called "Akeelah and the Bee" (about a girl winning the national spelling bee--very good!) Every time I hear these words, they hit home.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. - Marianne Williamson

Thursday, February 22, 2007

No time like the present!

That is my mantra...for today anyway. I set some goals and decided to actually keep them this time. Goal number one is actually helping me accomplish all of my other goals. Goal #1? Get away from the computer during the day! I am allowing myself two hours a day. It is helping today. For example, I got on this morning and as my hour ended, I typed up my to do list. I have been checking things off of my list! I only get to come back to the computer to update my list, then off to do something else. Blogging right now doesn't count toward my computer time because blogging was on my to do list. It's all that time chatting with my friends on Scrapshare that usually takes up my time. But no more! I'm not abandoning them, just limiting my time there. That's all.

I enjoy how I feel when I get things done...when my house is cluttered, I feel cluttered and get cranky. When my house is clean, and I have worked to make it so, I feel satisfied and can enjoy relaxing and doing fun things. This is all part of the goal I set for the year to learn to keep up with keeping house. Slow and steady wins the race, and I think I am in the lead. Today, anyway.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The plagues continue...

First it was lice: shampooing, combing, laundry, combing, laundry, combing.... Then, colds: coughs, runny noses, trash cans overflowing with used kleenex. Now it's gastrointestinal yuck: well, we'll just say it's comin' out both ends. When will it end? We haven't had a break from it. And I got it every single time! It used to be that I didn't get sick when the others did and I could take care of them. But not this time! The house gets to be such a mess and then when the plague is over I almost get it all cleaned up and then BAM. We get hit again. I THOUGHT MOM WASN'T ALLOWED TO GET SICK???

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Head Lice or Potty Training

It's a tough call. Which one is worse: head lice on half of the family or potty training? I despise them both. Horrid, horrible processes to inflict upon a mother. I was dabbling in potty training with my youngest (only because he kept pulling his diaper off) but not now with this horrendous plague infesting our house. I even got it...and let Kyle cut my hair to make the process easier since I have very thick hair. I almost couldn't get the comb to work on my hair because of how thick my hair is. Speaking of which, the comb I ordered and received yesterday was the best $15 (including shipping) that I ever spent. The cheapo plastic combs that come with the kits in the stores are useless, comparatively. Here's a link to what I got:

Amazing product! It doesn't solve all my problems, though. It doesn't do the mountains of laundry that have resulted from this. Or help my neck stop from hurting from bending over inspecting the kids' heads or combing my own head.

Potty training, well, I have yet to discover a miracle product to help me there. If it weren't for potty training, I might have more kids!

On a more postive note, this has been a learning experience for me. As much as I hate the lice and the potty training, it has been a reminder to me of what a blessing it is to me to be a mom. I would rather deal with all of this than not have my beautiful children in my life!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Do it right the first time!

Kyle and I are tackling our first major home improvement project together: painting the living room. I am new to painting and learning alot. But, I did a lot of research by watching Trading Spaces and Designed to Sell. :) This house is 45 years old and needs a lot of loving. Someone, years ago, put up a wallpaper border in the living room. The next person painted OVER the border. But didn't cover the edges, so the edge was very visible, and didn't prime, so the flowers were showing through, too. Hmph. WE got the pleasure of ripping off the wallpaper and today we finished spraying and peeling off the paper and adhesive underneath. It wasn't that big a deal. Why don't people just do things right the first time? It saves a lot of time and hassle. Like when I make my son redo his homework because he sped through it and the handwriting is huge and messy. Do it right the first time, or fix it when you realize there is a problem!

Soapbox over. Back to work.

Monday, January 08, 2007

"No" DOES mean "Yes" in our house

When our baby Jonathan says it, that is. He is 19 months old and learning to talk more every day. He knows how to say "No". He hears it all the time! But then he started saying no everytime we asked him a yes or no question. Do you want milk? NO, he states emphatically. Put the milk away and he screams! Um, you said no silly.

Finally, after months of trying to change his ways, we have made one step forward.
Me: Do you want milk?
Him: NO!
Me: Do you mean yes?
Him: Yeah! (while shaking head up and down vigorously and a huge grin on his face.)

So, it takes asking twice, but we finally get the answer he means to give. It really does work, because if you ask him if he wants to go to bed? He says no. BOTH times!
Check this out! Who knew?
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?