Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Note to Ed 'n Marie

Hey, you guys!  We hereby relinquish the top honors we received in Ed and Marie's Wedding Mystery to Lisa Matthews, and will gladly take honorable mention in her place.  She did all the sleuthing- we just documented it.  (And what's the deal?  We tried "" as a possible wedding website yesterday morning, but you must not have launched it yet . . .)  You guys must be having a blast!  We are so excited to meet you in London next summer for the festivities!  (Now if we could just get Dallas to board a plane . . . )

P.S.- Thanks for viewing our blog while you were in Europe- it made our map look really cool!!

P.P.S.- Mom, will you watch our kids for a week next summer??  ha ha

P.P.P.S.- Jess & Dannii (our lil' world travellers)- will you meet us in London next summer and then show us around Paris??  he he

Friday, December 19, 2008

Locked inside Our Snow Cave

Marie & Ed,

We are excited for whatever news you have to tell tomorrow!!  We think (with a little help) that we have narrowed down some clues about your impending wedding.  Here goes:

Clue #1:
"Endowments" in the Boston, Massachusetts LDS Temple

Clue #2:
"The London Temple, London, England, United Kingdom"- which is on West Park Road
(for the marriage ceremony, we are guessing?  but when??  tell us, tell us!  tell us before you tell anyone else!!  ha ha)

Clue #3:
Somewhere on the Durham campus??

We wish we could figure the 8-letter website at the end of your list of clues, but you didn't give us any letters.  Do we have to buy a vowel, or what??  We are so excited for you guys!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Who Wants to Be My Blogging Buddy?

So Lindsey sent me this funny comment about how she can't believe that she's not on my LIST OF FRIENDS . . . ooops.  So I may as well throw this out there: I know that there are some secret viewers of my blog that I don't know about (as well as friends who made comments and wanted me to add them, but they are far enough back on the postings that I haven't taken the time to find them.)  If I haven't added you, can you please make a comment on here?  (ie- Bryn, Laura, Angela, Delores, etc.)  I don't have your blog on here!  Plus, maybe you read my blog, and I don't know you . . . I'll still add you!  Unless you still enjoy spying on me . . .

Fresh Decor

These are the decorations I made with the magnolia leaves and holly my dad sent me.  Nothing like fresh greenery!!  I gave the wreath a little haircut after this picture was taken to even it out a little.  Thanks, DAD!!

The Snowsuit Video

Little Miss Kensington got a new snowsuit.  As you can see, there's still a little room to grow!  She's a cute little squirt.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"Tuesday," or, "The Day That Raleigh Ran Away," or, "The Day Dionne Lost Her Cookies"

Ah, yes.  You can see by the title that today was eventful.  And we've had such a good weekend, too.  You would think we'd have a good TUESDAY!!  Well, it starts like this:

I've had a row of cutely-bagged mint chocolate fudge square cookies from Costco (that are absolutely divine, in my opinion) sitting on the counter to hand out to friends and family and people who have come over.  Kind of for the holidays and stuff.  Obviously.  You may have even received some from us.  Anyway, there have been two bags left on the counter that I've been eyeing the past couple of days, hoping in my heart of hearts that no one would come over so that I could eat them myself.  (HA HA!  Don't even THINK about coming over right now- I love my chocolate more than I love you!!  Just kidding.)  It's just been my secret wish, that's all.  But today ruined it for me.

To make the story short, Raleigh RAN AWAY FROM SCHOOL all the way home today (in a blizzard, no doubt) because of a misunderstanding with her teacher.  Luckily, I was home, but we had quite the afternoon trying to repair a little kid's emotions and our relationship with her teacher and the front office staff.  

So the cookies on the counter??  Gone.  We had to give them away as a peace offering.  Gladly, it worked.

But I couldn't help but smile as I chided her about RUNNING AWAY FROM SCHOOL: she told me, "But Mom, halfway home, I stopped and prayed to Heavenly Father that he would keep me safe.  And he DID!"  Sheesh, kid.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hibernating of Sorts

With all the snow packing us inside our cozy little home, we have spent more time in and less time out.  I love it, though.  When my "plans" don't materialize because of the weather, I am forced to be spontaneous and relax a little.  Our hibernation began on Saturday with Dallas working a 15-hour shift, and I was at home with the girls on a FREEZING COLD day.  The blizzard blew in, and the girls and I decided to take it easy at home.

I helped them get their "'sponsibilities" done first thing, and after that they put on a gymnastics performance for me.  Miss Choobers was in her own world looking at books while they literally bounced off the walls and furniture. 

Then I agreed to play dress up with them.  I have to admit that I have never actually played dress-up with them.  If they ask me to play with them, I usually ask, "Can I just watch you play?"  Probably because their dress-ups don't fit me, and I have never put forth any effort to come up with a creative costume for myself.  Plus, I have a hard time breaking out of my "mode" to pretend with the girls.  Especially Raleigh.  Because when she pretends, she wants so badly for the ENTIRE family to participate, she pulls out mountains of props, and it lasts for at least a couple of hours.  It is a full-on PRODUCTION.  And I tend to be such a control freak that I begin telling her our STOP time before we've even STARTED.  

I know, I can really be lame like that.  (Mom, I know you are thinking, "That's exactly how you were, Dionne!"  Yes, it has truly come back to bite me.  Do you remember when I dressed you up in my ballet costumes, David and Jess??  he he.)

We rummaged through the dress-ups and found a costume for me that I had forgotten about.  It's this rhinestoney-pearly-OOOOGLY dress that you would find your great grandmother wearing on a cruise ship.  And you won't find me posting a picture of it here.  The reason I own it is because I had to wear it for a performance at a Regional Girls Camp.  (Huh, another thing to add to my list of reasons why I hated Girls Camp.)  So I put on this outfit, (and maybe it was the snow outside and I was feeling a little RELAXED), but I really got into Raleigh's little production.  

Kensington wore a fairy skirt and crown and fed her little bunny a bottle on the rocking chair while us thespians performed.  

Madeline had on a yellow froofy number.

Raleigh was dressed as a WITCH.  

She had me act out "Christmas morning" complete with her own script and choreography.  And the more I got into it with her, the more I could see how much fun it was.  We were crazy and loud, and we finally stopped when I started getting dizzy.  The fun part was teasing Raleigh and getting more into it than she really wanted me to.  Or acting like I didn't understand my part or the directions she was giving me.  I think it is so fun to tease kids.  I think it's one of the best ways to bond- I don't know why.  It's like jokes they can actually understand.  Now I'm reminding myself of my dad. 
"I Love Lucy" was on after theatre class, so the four of us got back into our comfy clothes and vegged in front of the t.v. for awhile.  The girls had never seen "I Love Lucy," and it was hilarious to see Raleigh and Madeline actually understand the humor in it.  I laughed myself to tears at the show AND at them.  The girls got a big kick out of Lucy.  Who doesn't?

When the show was over, I thought about maybe braving the weather and taking the girls shopping, but before we got out the door, Willard came over to play.  He is the cutest boy.  He's Raleigh's age and in her class at school.  He came in his snow pants, snow boots, snow gloves, and parka.  It took him a good ten minutes just to get out of his warm things and off of the rug at our front door.  (I say "front door" as if we had other doors in our place.  Ha ha!)  So we broke out some kitchen goodies and made some little festive winter treats together.  I couldn't believe what a cool mom I was.  We made snowmen out of marshmallows, pretzels, and gumdrops, etc., and then we made little reindeer faces out of Nutter Butters, pretzels, chocolate chips, and gumdrops.  

By the time the kids had a chance to play without me following them around trying to entertain them, the snow had finally stopped.  So at 4:00 pm, we finally got out of the house to shop and had a GRAND time.  I love to shop with the girls because, well, they love to shop, too!  

On Sunday we felt like we were still living in a snow cave, so we broke out our aprons and made some sugar cookies.  When I was young I remember my mom making these candy cane-shaped cookies that actually had red and white twisted frosting to make them look authentic.  But they were made out of this not-so-great-tasting dough.  (Sorry, Southern Living, it's your one bad recipe.)  So we decided to make some out of sugar cookie dough.  What made it even more fun was the way the girls got into it.  They could maneuver the dough fairly well and made some pretty cute candy cane cookies.  Notice how intent they are.

Then Dallas's (sorry, I just HAVE to add the "s" after the apostrophe even though it isn't grammatically correct because it drives me a little crazy) parents came over, and we enjoyed visiting with them while the girls ran around the house like maniacs on their little sugar-high.  What is it about the holidays and snow and sugar cookies that makes us all so giddy?

I think it's the abundance of memories-in-the-making.  We had such a great time together.  But MONDAY!  Now Monday was a good day.  And TUESDAY!  Tuesday was memorable, that's for sure.  I'll think my next post will be about Tuesday . . .

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Kind of Music Video

My Dad Loves Me!

I got this cool package in the mail today from GEORGIA!!  It was stuffed with magnolia leaves, holly sprigs, and some other unidentifiable plant.  There were even a few pine needles that accidentally made their way inside the box.  Ahh.  Georgia.  sniffle.  I think I will make some cool Christmas creation out of this greenery.  Thanks, Dad!  I love you!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

More Pictures with Santa

This tongue never stays inside Choobie's mouth anymore.  She uses it to concentrate.

Meeting the Big Guy

Yesterday we braved the mall and went to see Santa.  He arrived via helicopter again this year, BUT WE MISSED IT!  We stood in line for an hour to let the girls tell him what they wanted for Christmas.  I know these pictures are really bright, but I love ALL of them- they really capture the everyday looks I see on the girls.  And I think the lighting actually looks cool.  Thanks, Rikki, for the use of your camera!!
Choobs was entertained by a rocking horse at Santa's feet.

AAaah.  Priceless.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I Have Something to Say:

Misery is waking up to the shrieks of your now-five-year-old (at 6:30 am Thanksgiving Day) sitting on the toilet: "Shoo fly!  Don't bother me!" to a gnat.

Bliss is ten minutes later, listening to your five-year-old and her older sister chatting happily in the kitchen, emptying the dishwasher and doing their 'sponsibilities.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Only for You, Kenda!!

This picture shows how I feel about being "tagged," but I'll do it for you, Kenda!

umm . . . I don't really watch t.v. very much.  But when I do, I like the following-

Studio 5 (a local daytime lifestyle-type show)
Rachael Ray
Curious George (yes, I like it)

uhh.  that's all.  ok.

Macaroni Grill (love the bread and appetizers, love the entrees, love the dessert)
Tony Caputo's (SLC- yum, yummy Italiano)
Olive Garden (order the Tour of Italy- three meals in one!)
Tuscany (SLC area- bring lots of $$$)
Cafe Pig (GA- pulled pork so good that I bottled the sauce and flew it back to Utah with me.)
Los Hermanos (and, no, I don't go there for the "authentic" Mexican food.  I like the fake kind.)
California Pizza Chicken (love the BBQ chicken salad)
Little America Hotel Breakfast Buffet

I ran into Karli Haglund from ATL at my favorite boutique, found out she WORKS there (lucky dog), and she ordered in a little birthday surprise for Madeline on the house in their cute little bistro!  We had a maahvelous time, and little Miss Middle felt like a princess with her own little birthday cake on a doily, (which was on a silver tray), frosted to perfection with a tall. lit candle and a Fizzie Lizzy to drink.  (Think Delta Crown Room- Sprite with grenadine on the rocks) with REAL freshly whipped cream in a tall clear plastic cup and a tall straw.  Ah!  I really envied her!  (Madeline)

I packed Madeline up for school with her basket of "corn" (Caramel Rice Krispie Treats wrapped in corn husks) for her pilgrim feast at preschool.  She dressed up in an old-fashioned-looking dress that I wore when I was little.  (And it was also the one I wet my pants in at the Fox Theater in ATL on a third grade class field trip.  Now that was fun!)

I made some MEAN fajitas for dinner.  And I ate the leftovers this morning at 9:55 am.  Close to lunchtime, right??

I attempted to take a nap.  Madeline sNOreS, and Choobers decided for the first time in like a month that she wasn't going to take her afternoon nap.  Yep, it was a POOPER!  (Not that I couldn't take a nap, but the reason for Kensington's naplessness.)

I got to hang out with my hubby!!  Very precious time spent together.

I sang Happy Birthday to Madeline.

I ate chocolate cheesecake.

I almost said to an unmentioned person, "I know you are, but what am I?"

Bedtime tonight
Seeing Dallas tomorrow
Eating turkey dinner
My next workout
Playing Santa (or should I say, "Mrs. Claus")
Putting on my doggie pj's and curling up with a good book
Chocolate cheesecake leftovers
Spending a day with my family tomorrow

Crisp air
Apple butter on homemade bread toast
Pumpkin pie and cinnamon smells
Lots of cozy blankets
The holiday season starts
Hee Haw Farms
Orchard apples
Comfort food

All-Clad saute pan 
French lessons
Violin lessons
Living closer to my parents
Stability in the world
A clutter-free life (but then what else would I do all day?)
Can't think of anything else; I enjoy the here and now.

People I Tag:
JT Tolsma
Heather Walker
Amanda Frye (because you really need to update your blog.)
Trina Van Ausdal
Bryn Starr (what's your new last name??)
(Amanda Lewis, I WILL NOT tag you because you have too much going on in your life right now!)

I think this is the last TAG I will ever participate it.  R.I.P.

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Kids Concert Photos (Because I Know You're Dying to See Them)

Sweet little Downs Syndrome fans.  Melts your heart.
If I had traded places with Shayla, I would've been like five people away.  But alas, she didn't offer to trade with me.  So I was more like eight people away.  sniffle.  Joey McIntyre was my imaginary boyfriend in 5th grade.  (The one in front in all black.)
The one in the front right here was my cousin Jessi's boyfriend.  (Or was it Jon?  I can't remember.)  Wait, no.  Our boyfriends were actually the Osmond brothers, who we hooked up with at EFY when we were 14.  Was the New Kids infatuation before or after that???
This is how we felt about the first opening act.  Really lame cover band. 
Overall a lot of fun!!

New Kids on the Block Concert

I don't know if this concert is necessarily blog-worthy, but we had an interesting night!  It was Lisa's 50th, and Allana (Dallas' cousin) bought six tickets to go see the New Kids show, so all of the Matthews girls went for a girls night out.  It was me, Shayla, Meridith, Lisa, and Allana.

You may not remember this about me, but when I was little, I was a HUGE NKOTB fan.  (See, I even use their initials like we're on a first-name basis.)  I collected their trading cards and pins, had their posters, went to their concert in 5th grade (Yeah, it's been twenty years.  Literally.)  Luckily, the whole infatuation died down, and when Allana invited us, it felt like more of a joke than anything.  Little did I know that New Kids on the Block has a SERIOUS following of hysterical fans.  And they have a new album- did not know that either.  And they have a really BAD opening act, whose name will go unmentioned because she is NOT worth mentioning.  Although their second opening act was Natasha Bedingfield, who is a DOLL.  I loved her.  Too bad it was too loud to really hear her music.

I have to say that they really built up the anticipation before they came onstage, and I think I was screaming like I did back in the 5th grade!  (Only this time my mom and Nate weren't there.  Poo.)  I didn't brush up on any of the songs beforehand, but they all came back to memory when the New Kids started singing!  It was hilarious!  I was in a constant cycle of screaming like a die-hard fan, laughing at the stupidity of it all, plugging my ears from near-deafness, and covering my eyes when they threw in their Michael Jackson moves.  It was a blast.  But funny enough, we ended up leaving a little early because it started getting pretty suggestive and inappropriate.  Not the squeaky-clean boy band I remember.  And I stayed up til 2:00 am telling Dallas all about it.  (Not a good way to prepare for the Sabbath.)  But we were glad we could take Lisa out for her crazy 50th!)  Happy Birthday!

Oh.  How could I forget?  We sat on like row 38 on the floor- really good seats.  But even better: in the middle of the show, they came up out of the floor RIGHT next to us.  We were like 8 or 10 people away.  So close that I made EYE CONTACT with them.  And then the security guards started roping off a path for them to run back up onto the stage, and we were on the front row for that and got to touch their hands as they ran by!  Hilarious.  I think I must be a little infatuated still because I'm going on and on about this.  ha ha ha  Check out the video.  It was fun.  Thanks, Allana!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I feel so empowered!

I just hacked into Dionne's blog (okay, she gave me the username and password...) so I'm going to play a little guessing game for you all to guess who I am! Here are some little known facts about me:

1. When I was 14, my brother let me drive his rental car to a friend's house. (don't worry, I had him and another brother in the car, telling me how to drive...not that it makes it any better...)
2. When I was little, we had the missionaries over for dinner on my birthday, so they were there when I opened presents. I got this cool waxy stuff that you can make artwork out of, but before I could open it, one of the missionaries took it out of my hands and opened it and started playing with it! Shocking, I know!
3. I have a secret desire to become a potter. I love working with clay and I just loved my ceramics class in high school.
4. I used to work for used-car dealerships, taking pictures of cars and putting window stickers up with all the information about each car. My favorite place to do that was at the Jaguar and Mercedes dealerships in Salt Lake. Obviously.
5. I LOVE spaghetti.
6. When I was little, I had crazy crazy crazy hair.
7. Here's one that NO ONE KNOWS. When I was in 3rd grade, I had a crush on Benjamin Creighton. He was in a different class than me. In the mornings before school, we would sit in the commons area and have announcements and stuff. One day I decided to write him a little love note and put my phone number on it. I did, and took it to school. I had a bunch of kids pass the note along to him. Later on that day, my friend Ashley told me that Ben was going to be waiting outside by the bathrooms in 10 minutes and that he wanted to talk to me. I went out to the bathroom but he wasn't there! So I went inside the bathroom to avoid it all and I waited in there so long because I was so afraid, and when I came out, he wasn't there. Scarred me for life... Just kidding! But it's kind of an embarrassing story now...eeek.
8. My favorite color is yellow, my favorite movie is You've Got Mail, my favorite season is summer, my favorite candy is skittles and dark chocolate, my favorite band is Sigur Ros.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Quick Quotes

Madeline: "I like when people trace my feet because it tickles a little and feels good."  

Raleigh: "This owie on my arm used to be on my wrist, but now it's down here because my arm grew."

Friday, November 7, 2008

True Love is . . .

waking up at 6:15 am to cut Dallas' hair.  

Dionne, you are one cool wife.

(This is actually Dionne typing.  But Dionne, you are nice.)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

More Sad Photos

Here are some more sad photos of Tinkerbell.  I think we might just have to recreate Halloween and try to take some new ones.  Of course now there's 6 inches of snow on the ground, and our pumpkins are frozen solid.  That big puffy thing that Madeline is holding is the end of her wand.  We'll get some pictures of Raleigh in here, too.

By the way, Madeline got lots of "Milky Wave," "Butterfoot," and "Nestle Crutch" in her stash.

A Happy Halloween (with sad pictures to show for it)

I spent hours and hours working on the girls' Halloween costumes, and these pictures are what we have to show for it.  sad  Something is obviously wrong with our camera.  And I couldn't get the pictures to upload to iPhoto to rotate them either.  Well, I've been wanting a new camera anyway.  sad sad  My mom made Madeline's cute Tinkerbell costume, and I made the wings (with a little help from Dallas), her slippers, wand, and ring.  (I will try to keep working with the pictures so you can see them better, k, Mom?)  I made Raleigh's complete costume, and Kensington's for that matter, and Rikki got Raleigh her cute witch's broom.
Dallas put together his own costume for our Ward party.  I'm not sure if he was a prince or a footman, but  I thought he sure looked good in my jacket!  (I was some kind of princess.) We had a ton of fun, and we're excited for all of the other holidays, too.  Can you tell I'm not in the mood to blog??  Sorry.  Just had to get these so-called pictures on here.
Our sweet puffy butterfly.  (In its second round of use- Madeline wore it when she was little.)
Tinkerbell and the Butterfly

Two Sweethearts

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Proposition 8, YES, Proposition 8

Yes, folks, it's time to get political.  I'm not overly opinionated (a little laid-back for my own good sometimes), but I guess it's time to speak up when I am passionate about an issue.  

If you've read our blog recently, you've probably noticed our little widget-guy over there--------> and even if you are not a Californian right now, this issue is a big one for all of us.  I won't tell you what you should think, but it's a good time for all of us to be informed.  Check out these links:  (They're overwhelming in their entirety but good places to get started.)

My friend Leah has an amazing blog where a lot of her posts lately have been devoted to this issue, and she has some well-thought-out opinions.  You've gotta scroll through her blog to see some of her past posts, too.  I was talking with Amanda, another friend of mine who lives in California, about her experiences lately with Prop 8, and she says it's been pretty crazy out there.  I won't go into details, but there are a lot of similarities in CA to what has been going on in Massachusetts, where gay marriage has also been legalized.

Read the links.  It's a hot issue.  But be careful: a lot of the info is pretty sickening.

And here's another one worth paying attention to:  it's a BYU devotional address given by Boyd K. Packer in March of 1992, entitled "The Fountain of Life."  I saw it on tv the other day and was refreshed by the pure doctrine available to us.  It is only available to listen to, though.  (No written transcripts.) 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Just in Time for Halloween

I finally finished Raleigh's Halloween "Good Witch" costume this morning.  It's taken me about a month to find spare hours here and there to work on it.  I always like to have some kind of work-in-progress as a creative outlet, but I am glad this one is finally finished.  I really enjoy working with felt and fleece and tulle for costumes because the edges don't fray, and I don't have to be an expert seamstress to figure out how to piece it all together.  Plus, I can make up my own design, which I did here.  Up there is the cape.  I cut up a feather boa to line the collar, and stitched silver beads around the edges on the sides and bottom.
Here is an up-close of the hat.  I wanted it to look like a Mary Engelbreit illustration.  The flash is a little bright, so the colors are a little crazy.  I added a blanket stitch around the edge of the flower and spider in a shimmery-silver thread color.  And since I love tulle, I put some underneath the flower in black and purple.
More of the hat.
These are a pair of shoes of Raleigh's that she wore to Rikki's wedding.  They lasted about two days before the cheapo fabric began falling apart.  So I stitched some sturdy canvas to the broken places and then glued felt on top of it with an adhesive spray glue.  I sewed darts into the felt to make it lay flush to the shoe.  

Here's the skirt.  She wanted it to be a floor-length skirt, but I made it just above her ankles so the shoes would show.  Now I have just one last thing to add to the costume (and it will be a surprise for Halloween): I'm going to make her a matching ring to wear out of one of those white seal-caps that you take off of the Tropicana orange juice cartons.  They have a little "ring" part that can fit through kids' fingers and a circle on top that is great for gluing things onto.  I'll finish it all in time to be burned out on Halloween and excited to create things for the next holidays!  Au Revoir!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

This is What Happens Every Month . . .

 . . . when our home teachers start giving the lesson.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Selflessness and Selfishness of Parenthood

This morning I stayed home from church with Kensington, who has a virus called EM Minor (or something like that).  Her most noticeable symptom was a splotchy rash all over her body, but that has mostly died down, leaving her with just a lingering fever and green, yucky nose.  

I have to say, though, that I enjoy it when the kids are sick and all they want to do is SCHNUGGLE.  It's the best.  Kensington didn't want me to put her down this morning, so after I gave her a soothing bath and dressed her in some cozy clothes, I laid her on my shoulder, and we spent some quality time together.  Honestly, she has got to be the cutest baby ever.  (But aren't all babies when they're your own??)  She was really not feeling well because she never lifted her head up.  But the best part was when she started SINGING!  She sang this sweet little contented song with no real words (because she doesn't know any), but it was the happiest tune I've ever heard.  I think it was angel-song.
That got me thinking: why do people WAIT to have kids??  I hear things like: "We'll have them when our lives are more in order," or when it's more "convenient," or "when we feel more ready."  I've said those things myself.  And I think there is actually A LOT to be ready for.  And, true, having kids does bring an added measure of disorder and inconvenience.  But GOSH- let's not undervalue the SUBSTANCE they bring!
When I found out that I was pregnant with Raleigh, (our first child, albeit UNPLANNED), I cried for a week and felt like my life, as I thought it would and should be, was OVER.  I called my mom, and the first thing she said to me was, "Oh, Dionne, it's going to be so HARD."  (thanks, mom, you were right.)  I felt like Dallas and I hadn't had enough time to establish ourselves as a couple and as a separate family group- now we were adding a third party into the mix.  And she was COLICKY.  And a TERRIBLE SLEEPER.  And Dallas was working the night/early morning shift at UPS and going to school full-time.  And I gained 50 LBS.  But somehow, amid the constant stress and sticky, stinky mess that came with Sweet Raleigh-Kroggies, our life really began to take on an unexplainable substance that was sweeter than the sticky-ness, brighter than our basement apartment, and even stronger than the stink coming from Raleigh's lil' bum.  We love those whom we serve.  And parenthood brings countless opportunity for that, don't-cha think?  I'm thinking that regardless of all the time we spend together with our families, it's the times that we spend in service of one another that have the most substance, therefore, binding us together through our experience of mortality.
Consider this: a newborn baby does not have the ability to care for itself.  We, as parents, act in a literal Christlike manner as we care for our children, doing those things for them that they cannot do for themselves- if only they could.  We act in proxy.  We form lasting, eternal bonds with them in the prosaic, daily life.  The hum-drum now seems heavenly.  Life takes on more meaning.  (If only that thought could last with us when the nitty-gritty gets down-and-dirty and we forget.)  

A few months ago, I could feel this Christlike love as a recipient of its goodness.  It was in the form of MY MOTHER.  Dallas was supposed to go out of town for work for two weeks, and my mom had scheduled a trip to come visit all of us girls while he was gone and help me out a little.  But the day she came, I had been to the doctor and was diagnosed with INFLUENZA- not the yucky-stomach-kind, but the lay-in-bed-and-eat-only-applesauce-with-a-104-degree-fever-for-ten-days-and-lose-14-lbs-while-you're-at-it variety.  And she had come to PLAY this time!  We were all disappointed, and I was mostly out-of-it, but she got right to work, LOVING our girls, CLEANING the house (and all of my germs everywhere), doing LAUNDRY, wiping noses- and four-year-old BUMS, COOKING, and taking care of me.  And basically doing everything I would have been doing if I had been well.  And not only that, but doing for me what Dallas would have been doing if he was in town.  AND never making me feel like it was a burden for her at all.  I know it was a big sacrifice of her time out here to VACATION, but will I remember it forever?  YES!  And does that experience remind me that GOD KNOWS ME and knows beforehand all of my needs?  I think so.  Does He forget about us as soon as we have kids and leave it all up to the trusty parents??  NO!  I feel a greater measure of His interest in my life because He doesn't want me to ruin these kids!

I have a lot more to say about parenthood.  But for now I will leave just one thought: I remember when I was younger hearing Andrea Houghtaling say that she LOVED being pregnant.  (What?  Are you kidding me?  Read on.)  She said, "It's nine months that I get to spend with my baby that no one else does."  Aw, cute!  I cannot second that- because the last pregnancy I experienced with Choobers was pretty bad from day one: lots of crawling on the floor because I couldn't walk.  I couldn't wait to pop her outta there for everyone else to enjoy besides just me.  BUT I am starting to learn that those late-night "inconveniences" when I am ripped from my sleep to help a crying baby or 4- or 6- year old (is she really six?-holy cow) are some of the sweetest memories I have of our little critters.  They've only become as sweet as my outlook.

And THAT, my readers, is all I have to say about populating the world right now.  And, no, I am not pregnant.  

American Girl Dolls for Sale

"Lesa" by Raleigh
"Lile" by Raleigh
"Little American Girl Dolls are made to be great fun, costing a lot of money, although they keep your child busy when you are working.  Find all about them online or call us at 181005598."  
"Kmia" by Madeline

"Alaska" by Madeline

These American Girl Dolls are not the only things for sale.  Raleigh got some weird "candy brain" on Walk-to-School-Wednesday for walking to school, but she doesn't want it.  I asked her what she is going to do with it.  She's "going to sell it.  For four dollars.  Because why would I throw it away when somebody might want it?  And then I can get money from it."  So if you want to buy Raleigh's weird candy brain, I'll send it to you.  Really.  We still have it.  Although it looks more like an ear.  Not sure.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

So You Think Your Kids are Smart Until . . . .

You have a conversation like this:

Madeline: "Are baby dolls real mom?"
Dionne: "Like real babies?"
Madeline: "Yeah."
Dionne: "No, they're not real."
Madeline: "Oh."

very long pause

Madeline: "So, are they like the bodies of dead persons or what?"

another long pause

Dionne: "No."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Which Disney Princess are You?

You Are Snow White!
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Pure and trusting. You are a gentle soul who can get along with just about anyone. Everyone you meet instantly falls in love with you. How can they resist? You have a pure, lovable nature that's irresistable. Just don't trust everyone who comes across your path.

Which Disney Princess Are You?

(Thanks Kenda! That was fun.)