Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tell the Guy with the Jack Hammer It's Naptime

I'm a reasonable woman. I'm just dreaming today. I hired the guy with the jack hammer. I invited him in to rip out our basement cement to install the sump pump for the greater good of the family. I just wish he wanted to take a break for about two hours from 2pm to 4pm so Maddie could take a nap. At least if he has to work I wish I could leave the house and take the kids on a walk to keep them happy and distracted. But not today. I have an imaginary ball and chain around my ankle the size of the house. I hear it will be removed in three days. Lets hope all goes well and they finish tomorrow. At least after today there shouldn't be anymore jack hammers involved...

I Think He Likes Me

For my birthday I planned on going to a Martina McBride concert. Carol was trying to sell some extra tickets so I was going with her. Brian doesn't like country much at all, but puts up with it for my sake in the car or around the house. To my complete surprise he wanted to come to the concert with me. In my mind it was a great idea for me to go with my friends so that he didn't have to suffer through the concert he wouldn't enjoy. Turns out that even though he didn't want to go see Martina, he wanted to go out on a date with me. I thought that was really sweet of him to want to come, especially when I had provided him with a get out of jail free card. I got to go to a good concert and have a hot date too! What a good birthday treat. The concert was really fun. I hadn't realized before I heard a slew of Martina McBride songs all in a row that it was like going to a "girl power" concert. Most her songs are uplifting sort of you-can-do-it songs. I really liked it. I guess I'll have to pick up one of her "greatest hits" albums. Maybe for Christmas.

Monday, September 29, 2008

It's All About Me

I feel I should apologize for my whine about no one leaving comments on my blog. It actually wasn't a whine, it just sounded that way. It isn't really a big deal. I just figured it meant no one was reading it and was surprised when someone mentioned me not writing. I just felt no pressure to write on a regular basis. I wasn't actually upset. I read tons of blogs and rarely comment, so I don't want to be a pot calling the kettle black. Just wanted to set the record straight. I love you all.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday Night Date Night - Sump Pump Prep

What is the value of having a dry basement??? We've been debating that the last few weeks since our last basement flood. We finally decided that it was getting worse not better and maybe it was the quantity of rain, but it was A LOT worse during the last flood than it was in the spring. So we are getting a sump pump installed next week and feel like we're paying through the nose for it. But, we can't sell the house later without disclosing that our basement floods now, so we feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. If we'll have to fix it eventually, why not fix and enjoy the benefits rather than do it right before we move for someone else to enjoy? Friday night date night therefore was a fun game of "Empty the Basement to Upstairs." We worked for a few hours and got most everything up. Ben was our cute little helper again. Only a little bit remains to take care of before the work crew comes on Tuesday morning. Our main floor looks like a mess again, but I realized it's been that way so much lately it doesn't bother me like it used to. Between May and September (5 months) it's all been up here for two months anyway. Sad. I hope this ends it and the basement will forever stay where it belongs...in the basement!

Paperless Society

Does anyone else think a paperless society sounds nice? My kitchen counter says YES!! I remember when I had a real job though. There was NOTHING paperless about it. We had to make multiple copies of everything official to file in multiple places and get the details or work orders to multiple people so everyone could do their part. Paperless just isn't very realistic. In my house, I've been collecting cute stories, amazing talks, fun handouts and the like since I was 12 years old. That makes 18 years of great stuff! It was a fantastic resource for me when I planned lessons, organized my thoughts for talks or prepared to speak at different events. I realize now, that for the last 5 or 6 years, I don't even use it. I just move it from house to house...and that much paper is heavy. Right now it is two complete file drawers filled from front to back so tight I can't easily remove papers anymore. When I'm given a topic to speak or devotional to prepare I go straight to the internet and scour the links saved in my favorites for good resources. As I've come to this realization, I think I'm finally ready to ditch the monster paper file. Brian has offered that we could scan in everything, save them as pdf files and burn it to a DVD. Sounds good, but is it worth all that time? I just don't know. Maybe when I have the new baby I will have tons of extra hours sitting, bored, while I feed him and can scan stuff one-handed. I doubt it. I don't think life will get easier by adding another kid to the mix. Still, ditching my collection feels like I'm throwing a piece of me away. Maybe I will ponder a little longer before I start chucking stuff...

Child of God

Maddie Mae chose to watch a church video tonight because it had Jesus on the cover. They sang the song I Am a Child of God several times. Ben was around, so I asked him, "Are you a child of God?" Ben: "Yep." Mom: "How do you know?" Ben: "Because I go to Sunbeam class and Sharing Time at church." Mom: "Is Maddie a child of God?" Ben: Laughs. "No way." Mom: "Why not?" Ben: "Because only kids in my class are childs of God." Mom: "Did you know that I'm a child of God." Ben: "No you're not." Mom: "Yes I am. I'm God's very own kid." Ben: Laughing again, "But you're a grown-up, Mom. You can't be God's kid."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Maddie Mae's First Playdate Away

My good friend Catherine took Maddie Mae to the park yesterday with her twins so that I could teach preschool uninterrupted. It was such a huge help. We got to do some super cool stuff and she didn't ruin it. We were almost done when they returned and sure enough, she couldn't keep her hands out of anything. What a life saver. Thanks, Cath.
It was so different to send her off than it was for Ben. Ben freaks out anytime I leave him at all, anywhere, with anyone. I told Maddie she was heading to the park that morning with Catherine, Ali and Sami when she woke up. She was ready to go right then. She kept her shoes on and kept asking, "Slide wif Cafwin?" Finally she came at the appointed hour and Maddie waved goodbye and walked right away to leave. She came back totally happy and keeps asking today if Sami and Ali are coming to get her again. Too bad for her they did come play today at our house, but she napped the whole time so they had to play with Ben instead. What she doesn't know won't hurt her.

Whisper Dinner

Sometimes there is just too much noise in my world. Both kids, but Ben in particular have a tough time using their inside voices inside. At the dinner table there must be some magical spell that comes over them because it is all amplified and more animated while we eat and it drives us nuts. Yesterday Brian had had enough of the noise. When Ben couldn't seem to dial down the volume with gentle reminders about his inside voice, Brian finally said, "Let's have a whisper dinner." We whispered through the whole dinner. It was painfully hard for me at times to whisper, but oh it was nice that the kids did. It was a total game to them but the grown-ups really enjoyed the noise relief. Maybe we'll have a whisper dinner on a regular basis.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

How Much Interupted Sleep Equals Uninterupted Sleep?

Tonight, or rather this morning, I am wondering how much interrupted sleep equals an 8 hour night of uninterrupted sleep. I ask because I was so tired yesterday that I went to bed at 7:55 with the kids. I fell right asleep, woke when Brian came home from the youth activity, said hello and fell asleep again. At 2 am I woke up and noticed he wasn't in bed yet. He often sleeps on the couch so as not to disturb me with his tossing and turning, so I didn't think much of it and rolled over...and over...and over. By 3:30 I was up reading a book when he came in to our room. He had been working on a work project in the basement and had been up the whole time. Poor guy. I was excited to see him and we had a good chat for about an hour before he dozed off. There I lay, wide awake. Finally I was too hungry to sleep so I came down to get a snack and do a little blog reading. Now it is 6 am...I don't know how I'll stay awake with the little people today. Plus, I have to be nice, friendly and animated while I teach preschool today. Wish the kids luck...they may get an extra minute or two of free play time today.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Is Anyone Out There?

I talked to my mother-in-law today. I guess people really do read my blog, even if I get about two comments a month. Go figure. Anyway, I haven't written for almost 10 days and she noticed. I didn't drop off the face of the earth, just nothing big or fun or funny has really been happening. Life as usual. Crazy busy Saturday between church service projects, primary activities, youth dances and planning meetings (basically, our typical babysitting swap of a Saturday as we trade kids and run to the next thing on the schedule). Brian and I have laughed (or lamented we're not sure which) for years that no matter what is going on or what season of the year, our family calendar is always open "next week". By the time Sunday rolls around and you pick up the program at services, you're booked. I know I'm not alone in this "Next Week Syndrome." This last week I did go to quilt group for the first time ever with ladies from a neighboring congregation. It was so much fun, even if Maddie did come along. Ben was at preschool just down the road from the church and I worked on a sewing project I was supposed to have completed in June of 2007. My super seamstress friend and hero Carol Baker made a pattern for me for my hand puppets. Now I just have to whip them out. Hurray!! I've also been busy the last two weeks, well, playing. One of my BEST friends, Marti Miles, got shipped back to Virginia from Ethiopia with the State Department. I guess it just isn't safe to schedule a c-section in a third world country, so we get her back for a few weeks before and after the baby. I've had so much fun having her back, whether we just sit on the porch and laugh while the kids play, do our grocery shopping for each other while one of us watches the kids or walk and exercise together. It has been great to have my buddy back! Ben and Maddie are in heaven too, Ben's best friend was her daughter Glori and Maddie LOVES them both. There is our update in a nutshell. Nothing exciting. I'll try to be more regular in posting, but check for back posts. I'm notorious at doing that.

That Makes Me Want to Be Sick

Last night Maddie went down to bed at about 8 o'clock. Around 10 o'clock, she came walking a bit aimlessly into our room. No binkie. No plan. No real need. We looked at her and asked what she needed. No response. She just stared ahead and stood in the doorway. I went over to her and sat next to her, no response. She walked past me to the rocking chair, touched it, turned around, walked back, walked to Brian, you get the picture. We started wondering if she was sleepwalking. Anyway, it went on for a while, she never responded. Finally, she laid down on the carpet near the bathroom door and wiggled a while until she fell asleep. After 20 minutes or so, she started whimpering. I went to check on her and she had vomited on the floor. I quickly picked her up and ran to the bathroom sink where she proceeded to vomit more than a 2 year old stomach could possibly hold. She was miserable. Finally, we had her wiped down and she must have felt a little bit better because all of a sudden, she said she wanted a bath. No problem, she had vomit chunks in her hair anyway. She took a half hour bath at 10:30 and enjoyed herself completely. When she got out, she couldn't seem to get warm for a while and just wanted to snuggle by laying on top of my stomach (less than comfortable for me right now). At 11 o'clock Brian took her out to read books downstairs and I went to sleep. We had no more problems other than she wasn't willing to sleep until about midnight. Brian slept on the floor in her room just in case and stayed home from work for the morning with Maddie quarantined in our bedroom while I taught preschool. Tonight Ben started asking questions about how we knew Maddie had "tummy yuckies" as we call them in our house. I told him about Maddie and Dad's night together. He thought for a while and said, "That makes me want to be sick!" We laughed and told him he would have to feel terrible inside too and that wasn't fun. After I sent him to bed, he started saying, "Mom, I think I feel sick, but the tummy yuckies just aren't coming."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Glow in the Dark Preschool Today

Thanks to the youth group and Brian being involved with them, I had a super fun activity for the kids today at Joy School. Last night they played glow in the dark volleyball. They had well over a hundred little glow sticks that they taped to the net, the players, the ball, the outer limits of the court. They had a lot of them. When they were done with all these fantastic glow in the dark sticks Brian got to take home about one hundred for our kids to play with. Wanting to take full advantage of the glow sticks, but knowing we didn't need anywhere near a hundred at our house, I planned a lesson with them. When the kids were ready for our kindergarten prep portion of the lesson, we headed to the basement. Lights off. They were so confused. It was fun for me to pull out the glow sticks and help teach them how to make their shapes, simple letters and other fun things by using their imaginations and their glow sticks. They thought it was really, really fun and they giggled the whole time.

Monday, September 22, 2008

You'll Do It On My Terms

Brian and I made a great Sunday dinner. We cooked a whole chicken until it was so tender it fell off the bone, homemade mashed potatoes with homemade chicken gravy and sauteed carrots. Yummy! The kids were both less than appreciative. Every bite Maddie ate would magically eject each and every carrot bite completely untouched. She got up and down and up and down from her chair and was not interested in eating at all. We were both pretty frustrated. Brian washed her hands and we moved her plate out of her reach to signal she was done. After a while she came back to the table saying she was hungry. Brian asked if she wanted more, to which she responded she did. He said, "Okay, but you'll do it on my terms now." He loaded up a bite of mashed potatoes and smothered them in grated cheddar cheese so she wouldn't detect the potato. She opened her mouth and as he inserted the fork, she clamped down hard at just the exact instant and angle to capture all the cheese and sweep all the potato back onto the fork. She was lock jawed. I busted up laughing. "Your terms, huh?" He was outdone by a two year old. Aren't we all at some point though? She's a smart one...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bowling - Ben's Strategy

Brian and Ben were supposed to go bowling with the youth on Saturday night, but they ended up leaving early and Brian had agreed to put on his magicians hat once again for the annual magic show for the kids at the chili cook off. Ben was really disappointed to miss bowling so we promised to take him soon. Today was Marti's birthday, so to celebrate, we took the kids bowling and had dinner at our place. Marti chose to sit and hold her bowling ball sized baby while she watched. Brian did most of the helping with the kids and they had more fun that I could have possibly imagined. It was so fun to watch them get excited.

I'm not sure if bowling my way is the best strategy anymore. Glori beat us all with a score of 90 and she faithfully used the ramp thing and Brian was quite skilled with using the side bumpers to get those pesky side pins for her. She was super cute trying to carry the ball. Of course, it's all about the color of the ball. The pink ones do the best job hitting the pins.

Ben was next in the mid 80s with a mix of strategies, Brian got 80 and I think I was close behind but can't remember. Brian and I both shared our turns with Maddie who only cared about pushing the ball down the ramp. Before it even hit the ground she had turned around to head off and pick up the next ball, totally missing the point of the game to hit the pins. Oh well.

Now for Ben's master bowling strategy... We are totally going back again with a camcorder. It was priceless to see him bowl. He started out with the ramp and thought it was pretty cool. Then he wanted to try just pushing it. Brian would help him get it pushed hard enough to make it to the end. Several times I was positive it was going down the lane so slow it would stop before it got to the end. Once he got the bright idea to kick it down the lane like a soccer ball. All three grown-ups yelled in unison, "NO!" and got him stopped as he ran up on his approach for a serious hard kick. He stopped just before he broke his foot. It was so funny though. He was genuinely confused why we all freaked out.

My favorite approach had tears rolling down my face time after time. He did it over and over again. He would insist on carrying the heavy bowling ball up to where he wanted it, place the ball just behind the foul line. Then walk back to the very back of the wooden floor before the step down. He would gear up his body and then run full speed toward the ball, come to a dead stop just inches before the ball, kneel down really fast and roll the ball, exactly the same as the times when he would just stand at the foul line and roll it with Brian's help. Who am I to judge? He beat my score...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Houston Update

Good news in Houston. The neighbors said the house had been looted, the door had been left wide open even though they had locked it when they left. They couldn't find anything missing though, so even though it was scary to hear they had been looted, I guess nothing was small enough or valuable enough to run with. What a blessing for our tenants and for us too. The final report:
  • no major damage...HURRAY!!
  • brand new fence installed in December was ruined and has to be rebuilt
  • all window screens are long gone
  • roof probably leaking over kitchen from wind damage to shingles, will watch with upcoming rain storms
Our tenants are great and doing fine. I guess life is getting back to normal in the Clear Lake Area. Not so just a few miles away in areas harder hit. We are grateful for the blessing of safety.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ben Heads Back to Preschool

Ben has headed back to preschool again. We are all adjusting to the new routine. He is tired most evenings. I'm doing Joy School again so it's a mommy-swap type thing in our homes. We have 5 families involved and so far they are all amazing! Pre-visit - We had a preschool play date so that the kids could all meet each other before we just abandoned them at random houses with people they had never met. Maddie had a wonderful time. Ben wouldn't leave the side of my leg the entire hour and a half. I explained that I wouldn't play with him. I could see him and he could see me where the other kids were playing. He whined and cried. I encouraged him to go play, but ignored his whining. I was pretty nervous how this new year was going to go. Week 1 - Day 1 - Ben was prepped and we had talked through our routine for days. No surprises. We arrived and went in to drop him off. He was so scared. I stayed and played for 15 minutes to help him settle in. We brought Potsy, as was our deal, to be his comfort toy to help him be brave. I gave him warning that I was leaving in 5 minutes, 3 minutes, 1 minute, etc. Then he clung to my body like I was trying to drop him over a cliff. That kid has never been so strong as that morning. Finally another mother held him so I could escape up the stairs. He screamed and cried. I was so nervous the entire time. I was sure he was going to be a disaster and a distraction the entire time. When it was time to pick him up, he saw me and started screaming, "NO! I don't want to leave yet. I'm playing, mom!" I guess he settled down within about 3 minutes and was totally normal the rest the day.

Day 2 - I was totally nervous about leaving him again and how the drop off would go. I walked him to the door expecting to have to escort him to the basement again and redo the entire fiasco. I asked if he could carry some papers for me to give to the teacher (my intent was so my hands would be free to carry Maddie). He says, "Sure. See you later mom." and runs down the stairs. I stood in the doorway dumbfounded. Then reality hit and told me, RUN - before he figures out what he just did. Upon my return, he again screamed and cried that he didn't want to leave. I guess it's going well.

Week 2 - Day 1 - Slow morning, arrived late. Drop off brought tears and fear, but he was able to go in and let me go pretty fast again. He was unhappy to see me return...again. Day 2 - Same story. He's doing great and having fun! Maddie is totally jealous and hates that she can't stay at preschool. She usually cries when I take her home. Poor girl. I'll have to try to do some special Maddie stuff while Ben is gone.

How Long Ago Was Daylight Savings Time?

Tonight Ben wanted to go on a bike ride. I told him we had to clean up quickly so we could go before it gets dark so we would be home and could be in bed on time. We had a lovely time and got home as it was getting pretty dark outside at 8:30. Right at bedtime. I rushed to get them changed, brushed, have prayers and snuggles then toss them into bed a little before 9:00pm. Once the kids were down, I went to the basement and sat on the couch to veg for a minute. Brian had told me that I needed to return a call, so I checked my watch to see what time it was before I called. It said just a few minutes past 8:00pm. Weird. I looked again and again. How long ago was the last time we had daylight savings or spending time? How long had my watch been an hour off? Wasn't it in April or something like that? Have I been off for 5 months and didn't even notice? Brian had worked on the electricity tonight and flipped all the breakers so all the clocks were flashing and needed to be set. Ben had been telling us earlier that his favorite show was on TV, I insisted it was over and he was wrong. We turned on the TV and found out I was wrong. I put the kids down to bed an hour early. My watch was right. I guess I'm extremely tired and just living out my dreams of going to bed.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Maddie Turns Two

Maddie had her second birthday today. She was so on board for the party, cake and presents. While I decorated her cake this afternoon, she tried with all her might to be obedient when I told her "no touching" the cake. She would climb up on the chair and watch, edging closer and closer. Finally, she figured out how to make it work. Obey the rules but still get what she wants, you know, "have your cake and eat it too" for lack of a better phrase. Miss Maddie Mae put her hands as far behind her back as she possibly could and interlocked them. Then she leaned forward as far as she could and stuck her tongue out as far as she could and licked the entire side of the cake. YUCK!! Of course she did it three more times, each time when I got distracted. Little devil. Sorry to all my party guests that now know more than they wanted to know about the cake they ate...hehehe. What you don't know, won't hurt you, right?

When the party guests arrived, the Helmicks were about the first to come. They brought her a balloon bouquet. I can't even properly describe the literal squeals of delight that erupted from her tiny little mouth as she chased them around and ran in circles until she was too dizzy to stand. Talk about a hit for a present! So she started to catch on that people were bringing her stuff and when Claudia came, she took the envelope right out of her hand and started ripping it open right at the front door. I probably should have stopped her, but it was so cute, I just let her. She would just say, "Fouw Me! Fouw Me!" Maddie didn't understand how cool the $2 bill was for her second birthday. I love $2 bills, they are so COOL!

Maddie got all sorts of wonderful things, two ponies, a Dora doll for the bathtub, super cute clothes and some fun baby dolls with a little bathtub and motorcycle. Jackpot! She was so happy it was hard to get her to bed after our spaghetti dinner party wound down.

World's Most Expensive Dinner Rolls

I thought I needed to take a picture of the world's most expensive dinner rolls so I could remember them forever. They really cost me a bundle.
I invited a lot of people over for dinner last night because we thought it would be fun to have company help celebrate Maddie's birthday with us and we love to entertain. There were 23 people, so I doubled the roll recipe to make 4 dozen or more rolls.
I was within the guidelines of the Kitchen Aid Mixer restrictions on how many cups of flour I can use, but it still gave up the ghost. At 37 seconds to go before they were done, the mixer turned itself off. Ugh. I quickly turned the switch off and unplugged it. About two minutes later some light wispy smoke started wafting gently out of the motor casing. Double ugh. I let it cool completely and with very little hope, but a tiny little prayer, tried to turn it on. Nothing.
What's a girl to do? It only has a 3 year warranty and it lasted me 8 years. I guess I cut my losses and be happy with what I got out of it. Still, those rolls are the most expensive rolls I'll ever make. Maybe I need to upgrade to a Bosch. They are cheaper and have almost double the power rating for the motor as Kitchen Aid... Yeah!! Then I will triple the roll recipe just because I CAN...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Maddie Found Her Nose

The other day Maddie smiled as she walked up to me. She showed me she can pick her nose. "Watch me mommy! I eat it!!" She just won't stop eating the stuff she finds in there. What can a mom do but tell her no and WASH HER HANDS!

Hurricane Ike - Bad News about our Home in Houston Texas

We got a text message today from our fantastic renters as they headed back home to Clear Lake. They had been in contact with the neighbors who said that the brand new fence installed in December was totally blown away and looters had hit our house. We're hoping for the best for both their personal belongings and our actual physical house. My stomach would be turned upside down to hear my house had been looted and things could all be missing... They are supposed to be home in a few hours, but who knows how traffic will treat them. I'm sure there will be lots worse stories from the neighborhood and the area (Galveston...), so we'll keep a prayer in our hearts as all our old friends and their families return home and hope you will too.

Twister Party

The movie & game party for the youth last night was pretty fun at our house. Most of them played games upstairs. Marian broke out the Twister board almost immediately. She's a serious Twister competitor. There was a lot of pushing in their vain attempts to be the first to the green circle or the red one. Plenty of laughing and everyone falling over in a heap when they just couldn't balance for one more second. When I woke up today my body was totally sore. It was hard to even roll over in bed, every joint seemed to ache. Just imagine how I'd feel if I actually played with them...

I Saw Myself Today

When I returned from church today, Brian and Ben were in the living room. Brian was offering Ben a snack or something to eat. He gave the options of apples, oranges, bananas, etc. As he finished his offering list, I sat next to him on the couch just in time to see him shove a candy wrapper in his pocket and from the chewing he was doing, let's just say he wasn't eating a banana as he had offered Ben. I snickered and asked what he was eating. "Fruit," came the reply. Ben prodded, "What kind of fruit." Brian, "fruit chew." ie Starburst... Hypocrite. Like I said, I saw myself today.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I Can Lift It...

Ben is such a sweet kid. This morning I told him I was glad he was getting so big because now he could do lots more fun big kid stuff. Last night Brian had the ward youth over for a movie night and games. Ben got to stay up until 11:00 pm watching the movie in the basement. Is that the coolest thing a four year old could ever do? He would tell people it was past his bedtime with a smile. Plus, Brian borrowed the projector and a screen that went from floor to ceiling to watch the movie and hooked up the full stereo compliment. It really was a sweet set-up. After our conversation about Ben being such a big kid, he came back and told me, "Don't worry, if you need to lift something heavy and dad isn't home and it's just a little bit heavy, I can do it for you mom. I'll just lift it right up."

SUPER Kids!!

I finally took some time to go through the gold mine we shipped back from our latest trip to Utah. Matt & Laura have twin boys about three years older then Ben. When they outgrow things, they graciously save them in huge boxes and give them to us when we come into town. Seriously, we typically check on the airplane two or three huge boxes of clothes from them for Ben and Maddie (from Megan).
One of the fun treasures we got this time was Superman pajamas, complete with capes. Ben put one on and Maddie was jealous about him having a cape. Good thing Gavin and Ethan are twins...Maddie got one too. She was elated to be a match to Ben and have a cape too!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Anything Else I Can Do?

Ben has the purest heart of any kid I've ever met. When we were trying to reassemble our basement after the latest flood, Brian and I got Maddie down in bed and were directing Ben to change, brush, etc. He finished and came down to the basement where we were working. He put his hands on his hips in the most grown up of ways, sighed and said, "Well guys, is there anything else I can help with before I head off to bed tonight?" It was the cutest thing we had ever heard. I know I'm a softie sometimes, but I could even see Brian's heart melt right in front of my eyes. How can you deny a kid like that? We decided to let him help until he showed signs of being too tired, so we got him some super cool projects like taking the screws out of the monster size fan so we could get it back in the box to store for the next water event, arranging the toys in a way he though was great and stacking the movies so he can see them when he wants them. He was in heaven to feel like such a grown up to be given assignments he could do alone. He did a good job too. He has the most pleasant conversations with me sometimes while we work together. I love working with Ben. When his work pace slowed to a crawl and he was too distracted to do much more, we both thanked him for all he had done to help our family and gave him huge hugs and sent him to bed. We love Ben! He's such a great kid.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Even A Little Bit Can Really Hurt

Anyone ever had a lesson where someone makes a pan of brownies that look fantastic. Then they tell you they found a super, super tiny piece of poop and put it in the mix. Don't worry, it was just a little bit, it shouldn't make that much difference? Point being that even a little bit of a bad influence can taint something? A friend wanted to do something nice for me and offered to take me to lunch at the mall as a thank you gesture. Sounds good. I'm allergic to seafood, but anything else would be great! She picked a restaurant called "Todai: Japanese sushi and seafood restaurant". Okay. They assure me there will be plenty of chicken, beef and other things to eat. I'm nervous, but agree to go. Everything I ate was great and there was quite a selection. At exactly one hour after our lunch, I got sick, really sick, in the bathroom at JCPenny. If it is going to happen, it is always within minutes of exactly of eating the seafood. I had already gone out to the truck and loaded up the kids when we had to run back inside...FAST! We found the signs to the restroom and I was sweating and feeling like I was going to die. The elevator took about 3 minutes to come and I thought I would loose it while we waited. We got in, got out and searched desperately, quickly. I got to the restroom and grabbed the kids, both barefoot now and ran into the stall. Yuck. We hung out for a while until I could gather myself together again. I'm sure we looked classy, barefoot in the bathroom with a wild eyed mom. Lesson learned...trust my instincts. If someone wants to thank me at a place ripe with cross-contamination issues...just say no. I'll be happier in the end. Gospel lesson learned...even a little bit of exposure can leave it's mark on you. Guard yourself against all evil influences.

Too Many Noodles

You know you feed your kids too many boxed noodle lunches when your almost two year old hears the timer ring at 7:30 in the morning and says in response, "My noodles are ready!" and runs to the stove to check. I might be able to dismiss the comment, except that Ben did the same thing at about the same age. Any and every time he heard the timer go off, he would say, "Time a add da milk, mommy!"

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dirty, Wet, Stinky Socks

Today when we came home from MOPS and the park, I opened the front door and was almost overcome with the stench of something very closely resembling dirty, wet, stinky socks that you find a week late wrapped up in a plastic bag. Ugh. It was bad. I'm tired of our basement flooding. On the up side, you don't notice it anymore after about 5 minutes. The carpet, pad and furniture are almost all totally dry. The basement feels like a sauna between the heat put out by the three dehumidifiers, three high powered fans and the humidity of all that water down there. Brian is having a movie party down there for the youth on Saturday night. Wish him luck with that optimistic idea...no really, it should be ready...we hope.

Christmas Letter 2007 Finished

My sincere apologies to everyone who didn't get my annual Christmas letter for 2007. I think they all got lost in the mail. Or maybe they never got mailed...oops. With our kitchen remodel last Oct through December, me hosting the craft extravaganza affectionately known as "Super Saturday" mostly alone and planning for my super family of 18 people to come for Christmas it just didn't get done in time. Then I told myself, I'll get it done and mail it the first week of January, late, but not too late. Next, instead of writing the darn letter and getting it mailed, I felt so bad about it, I spent an entire day hand making Valentines cards to send and enclose the letter as a cute Valentine...of which I never mailed a single one. It just became one of those things I decided I probably would just not ever do. The year 2007 would be forever lost to the world. Then my mom forwarded me a copy of some family history sort of work my two cousins had worked on. They found every Christmas letter my Grandma Robinson had ever written they could get their hands on. They started back in the 1960's!!! What an amazing record of her life and of those she loves. RESULT: Guilt trip for me. I finished my Christmas letter for 2007 in September of 2008. Oh well. It's done. Maybe I should start working on 2008 now so you can all get a copy before summer 2009 rolls around. P.S. - I'm not mailing the letter anymore from last year, so don't start watching the mailbox. It isn't coming. Instead, I'm going to print it on cute holiday paper, put it in a sheet protector like I always do, put it in my scrapbook and pretend that I sent it to everyone. Then deny, deny, deny that I didn't mail it out. :) I love you all.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Angry Dreams...I Don't Feel Bad Anymore

For the record, Brian basically punched me tonight in his sleep. Really hard too, right in my back. I don't have to feel bad about dreaming about being mad at him anymore.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

"No Eat It Mommy!"

If anyone can help me figure out a way to do Maddie's hair without getting in trouble, I'm all ears. I brush her hair, pull it up out of her eyes and hold the hair with one hand. With the other hand I grab an elastic band. Lacking a third hand, I use my teeth to hold the elastic band long enough to open it up and squeeze another finger in so I can wrap it around her hair. At this point, Maddie turns to look at me and without fail says, "No Eat It Mommy!!" If she catches me using my teeth, she wiggles and squirms, trying to get the elastic band out of my mouth until I loose all the hair and have to start over. She knows that she isn't supposed to put stuff in her mouth. She's just trying to enforce the rules with me, but come on! I can't do it any other way.

Stand Up, Stand Out, Stand Together!

Here are the thoughts I shared at Stake Conference today. Stand Up, Stand Out, Stand Together Most of the youth have just gone back to school. In the four days you spent in the hallways last week, on the bus, at team practices and in the cafeteria you have likely been slapped in the face, figuratively at least. “Welcome back!” to the way the world operates. Language, skipping classes, drugs, alcohol, smoking, gossip, modest clothes, behavior at school dances, etc. Hopefully, summer was a retreat from those types of things for you. In particular, I hope youth conference was a special break from all those influences. Because you are, who you are, you will have situations arise this school year that will challenge you. When that happens, remember the youth conference theme from this summer. Remember the things the spirit taught you while you were there. Stand Up, Stand Out, Stand Together. Standing Up In the book of Alma, chapters 39-42, Alma is counseling his son Corianton. In chapter 40, he perceives that Corianton has specific questions about the resurrection. Alma testifies to his son about Jesus Christ and of all he knows about the resurrection. At least 5 times in the first 12 verses, however, he tells Corianton, basically, “I don’t have a perfect knowledge of this gospel principle either.” But he was still willing to share the parts of his testimony he did know to be true. What a great example of standing up for the things he knew. Do we dare to follow the example of Alma? We certainly must try, whether it be in a deep gospel discussion or about the simple reasons we choose not to go boating on Sunday. I challenge you to always be ready to share those parts of you testimony that you know, without fear, even if your knowledge is not 100% complete. If you have the courage to begin, the Lord will put the words in your mouth to share. You never know when the spirit will whisper to you to do something. Three years ago this September, I was listening to the radio at home in the morning. An ad came on for a local carpet cleaning company. The ad was the inner thoughts of a mother who was excited the kids were back in school. She said something along the lines of this: “Oh my goodness! The kids are back in school, now I can finally get my carpets cleaned!” only instead of saying “Oh my goodness!” she took the name of the Lord in vain. I know that people in the real world talk like this all the time, but I was horrified to think that we might be at that turning point where it was becoming acceptable to broadcast it over the radio. It ate at me all morning and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Finally, I felt I needed to do something about it. After all, if no one protests, how will anyone know there is a problem? I was totally petrified though. I had NEVER stood up for something in such a vocal way, especially to someone I didn’t know. I found the phone number of the company and dialed. I was so nervous my hand was shaking. What would I say if they challenged me or were rude? The receptionist answered and I asked to speak to the marketing and advertising department. She was totally confused, they were a small company and she didn’t know what to do. She just told me she would transfer me to the owner of the company. I almost hung up the phone! He came on the line and I explained that I had concerns with the radio ad I was hearing say “Oh my God!” He was courteous, but genuinely had no idea what I meant, so he probed a bit. I simply explained that I was a Christian woman in the community. I asked if he knew what the 10 commandments in the Bible were. He said he wasn’t a Christian, but knew about them. I told him I believed it was a code of conduct that God has asked his people to live by and that one of the commandments was, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain.” He was floored and completely embarrassed. He apologized and said he would do what he could to fix it. I thanked him for listening to my concerns and we hung up. The very next day, I heard the same ad and it was changed. This experience taught me to listen to the spirit when it tells me to stand up for something. You can make a difference when you stand up for the little things. Even in the smallest of situations, your opinion matters, so share it with those around you. So, Stand Up! Next, Stand Out. Remember if you have made the decision to live by the teachings of the prophets, found in the scriptures, in other words, to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, I’m sorry, but you WILL stand out. No “if”s “and”s or “but”s, you will be different and other people are going to notice. The next step then, is to choose not to be ashamed or embarrassed about who those choices make you. Most people will respect you for it. Many things could set you apart from your peers. Your choice to not cheat in school, not date until you are 16, be selective in the parties you attend on the weekends, the words you choose to speak, going to seminary every day or the music you choose to listen to. Basically, everything you read in the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet might set you apart. Be proud of who you are and stick to you choice to follow God’s way. If that sounds daunting to you, consider the last part of the youth conference theme. Stand Together. Youth conference this year was a multi-stake event. We had over 400 youth show up and participate this summer. Add to that number, the youth that were unable to attend with you. You are one person in a group of well over 400 in this immediate area doing the exact same things you are doing. You are not alone. If you start to feel alone and hopeless or need extra strength and reassurance, go find it with those who are like you. Be at your mutual activities, wake-up for seminary everyday, come to the stake activities that are planed for you, worship on Sundays with your ward and participate in your classes in YM and YW, partake of the sacrament each week to remind you of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for you. These are the places you will find strength when you are feeling weak and alone. I know the Lord will bless you in every honest effort you make to Stand Up, Stand Out, and Stand Together.

Speaking in Stake Conference

One major up side to speaking in stake conference I realized right off the bat. Typically, Brian translates all the meetings into spanish, so I'm left handling the general session with both kids solo. It makes for a less than amazing stake conference experience. Until Maddie hit 18 months, I was basically able to keep us in our seats. Last time, I gave up on Maddie and took both the kids to a side room so she would stop screaming. I felt totally defeated. When President Erickson called to ask if I would speak to the youth at Stake Conference, I knew I would get to sit on the stand and enjoy the meeting. What a treat! Brian translated the meetings on Saturday, but took the kids for the general family session. I sat on the stand for two lovely hours and got to be fed by the spirit. The choir was amazing and being that close, made me feel totally immersed in the sound of their voices. I loved it. I posted before that I have had trouble sleeping this week. I think Monday morning was one of those days. I took my scriptures down to the kitchen table at 4:30 in the morning and started thinking through what I might say. I was supposed to address the youth about the youth conference theme from the past summer, "Stand Up, Stand Out, Stand Together!" They couldn't have given me a more easy topic to prepare my thoughts on. I didn't want to give a youth conference recap though, so I did put a lot of thought into my talk. I came up with several personal experiences for each part of the topic, searched the scriptures a bit for youth leaders in them and read words to hymns about the youth. By the time the kids got up, I felt I had a good start. Then for five days, there was just no connecting glue to my random thoughts. Everything individually was fine, but it was a hodge podge of random information. It would not come together. Saturday was supposed to be my day to gather my thoughts and get it together. Then we had the basement flood and I spent most the day moving things upstairs and sucking gallon after gallon of water out of the carpet. Finally it was late and I really needed some inspiration. I offered a sincere, humble prayer for help to bring my thoughts together. I sat to write and things instantly came together after days of frustration. I should focus on the transition the kids were going through as they returned to school and all the challenges that can bring. I wrote it out one time and was done. I didn't struggle or agonize at all about my message as I usually do. I felt right about it. I'm so grateful for help from above when I need it most. Sunday morning I looked over my talk and we headed to the stake center. I was totally calm until the moment I spoke, second to last. I stood, delivered my message exactly how I wanted and turned to sit down. Presidents Erickson and McClelland both had huge grins on their faces. President Erickson said a quiet, "YES! That's it." It felt good to have confirmation I had delivered the message he had intended. Patriarch Evans also told me it was the perfect message to share. The Lord was with me today and I am so appreciative. It wasn't me that put that talk together or delivered it today. That I know for a fact.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Angry Dreams

I always dream a lot when I'm pregnant. I'm not sure why, just one of those things I guess. I dream crazy things and remember them in the morning. Like the other day I dreamed that I was so hairy there just wasn't any point in shaving anymore. My arms looked like the top of my head. End of dream. Weird. Today I dreamed a dream I have a couple times a year all the time. I don't usually remember the content of the dream, I just wake up feeling ready to punch someone in the face. I am so angry when I wake up I really have to walk around and calm down. In the past, for no reason in particular, my anger is always aimed at one of two people, Brian or his poor dad. I have no clue what either of them have done to upset me so subconsciously. They are just always the target of my anger. When I wake up, my fists are tightly balled in fists, my arms are tensed up like I'm ready to punch and my jaw is clenched. This time the dream wasn't about either of the usual targets. It was about Ben. I was so incredibly mad at Ben. I actually remembered some of the dream this time though. Ben and one of the YW in our ward were having a sleepover with a bunch of other kids, like at a ward campout or something. Ben had been told to go to bed. The YW friend kept telling him to get out of bed and egging him on to do whatever she could think of to make me mad. I remember putting Ben back in bed so many times that I was getting really angry. I was in tears, pleading with him to please obey me and stay in bed. When the YW saw me crying and how upset I was, she stopped talking to Ben and looked totally sorry for what she had started, but there was no stopping Ben now. I was having to pick him up and forcefully put him back in bed time after time, then hold him down while he screamed and cried so he wouldn't get out again. I told him I didn't have much self control left and begged him through my tears to stay because I didn't know how much more I could handle before I snapped. It was at this point, I woke up. I was so mad at him I wanted to go yell at him right then in the middle of the night to go to bed. Scary, huh?

Hanna Flooding

The basement flooded again. Ugh. Brian discovered it about 10 minutes before he had to leave for stake conference priesthood meetings at 1pm. He got a few things moved and said he'd be back to help between sessions. Then it ran late and lots of streets were closed because of flooding and downed power lines so he barely got home in time to head back to the stake center to translate the adult session. I got most everything moved except the heavy furniture over the hours he was gone. When he returned around 9:30pm I was sucking water with the steam cleaner and dumping it by the gallons. We probably got 40 gallons out of the carpet...you just stop counting after so many dumps. When you walked around the worst part, water would literally squirt out from under my feet. It was pretty depressing. When Brian got home, I turned over the steam cleaner work to him and headed upstairs to work on my talk for Stake Conference the next morning. Sometimes we receive blessings in the oddest of ways. When President Erickson called to ask me to speak in Stake Conference, I was actually online at that moment trying to book a hotel for the weekend to take the kids to the beach. We planned to be home for Sunday services, but not until late Saturday night. In the end, a crazy weekend wouldn't really allow me time to prepare, so we didn't go to the beach. That choice resulted in us being home and finding the flood early on Saturday rather than late Sunday night. It would have been a big loss if we hadn't found it when we did. You never know how God will choose to deliver his blessings. Sometimes they come in the oddest of packages, but we have to always keep our eyes open for them.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Unity - He Got Something Out of It

Our great home teacher, Fran Dougherty, came by tonight. His message was on unity and he had a cool object lesson to keep the kids tuned in. He had Ben break a thread. Ben said it was easy. Then each member of our family got a thread. Ben helped Brian wind them up together. Then he tried to break them but couldn't. Fran tried to help Ben process what it meant in simple 4 year old terms. Our family was stronger when we were unified and worked together. It didn't look like a whole lot of the message got through, but he was at least entertained by breaking the thread. Before bedtime, Brian asked Ben to clean up the trains in the living room. He worked for a minute, then as Brian passed by, Ben said, "Dad, remember the strings?" He then whispered in Brian's ear, "work together!" Brian stopped what he was doing and helped Ben clean up, because, together we're strong and it makes things easier. Thanks, Fran.

"Yes" - How Quickly We Forget

Yesterday I noticed that Maddie was saying the word "Yes" like a grown-up. It's only been two days and I really couldn't remember this morning what she used to say. I'm pretty sure it was "yip" or "ya." If I don't get things written down, they are lost so quickly.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Eleven Great Things About Benjamin

Ben wants to play with me. I want to play on the computer. Our compromise is that we think of 5 great things about Ben, then he said more, I said 10. He says 11.
  1. He is excited about learning to read and doing a great job.
  2. He helps Maddie with lots of things she needs help with like opening the sliding glass door when I am busy.
  3. He has a really great dolly named Potsy that he loves so much that his fingers cannot stretch far enough apart to show how much love he has.
  4. He can make Maddie laugh and laugh and laugh.
  5. He builds really complicated train tracks that fill the floor of the whole room that curve and wind all over the place.
  6. He always tells me he loves me and gives me great snuggles.
  7. He can do lots of chores alone, like brush teeth, take out the trash, water the flowers, clean his room and get dressed.
  8. He helps me cook and set the table.
  9. He can ride a big kid bike with training wheels.
  10. He can vacuum the floors with the big vacuum.
  11. He is dad's special helper whenever he has a big building project.

Time to go play trains.

One More Beef with Pregnancy

Everyone is pregnant for 9 months, right? That means 40 weeks, right? I may not have majored in math, but lets try a little something... 1 month = 4 weeks 40 weeks / 4 weeks = 10 months There. Now that wasn't really very difficult math, but HELLO!!!! I claim that I've been pregnant for 10 months with Ben, 10 months with Maddie and will be pregnant for 10 months with this little guy. Right now I'm in that "fuzzy" period of time where when people ask, "how far along are you?" I don't really know what to say. I just finished my 24th week of pregnancy. 24 weeks / 4 weeks per month = 6 months. I have 16 weeks left. 16 weeks / 4 weeks per month = 4 months. So what do I tell them when they ask? 5 months? 6 months? Ugh. I hate the fuzzy time...it also makes me feel hopeless that the end just got farther away than it really is. PS - If you are technical and define each month as 30.5 days to average the months with 30 and 31 days, you still are pregnant 9 1/2 months.

Sleep Is For Wimps

So we must be entering a new stage again, which is all too familiar to me. No matter how much I clean, take out the kitchen trash and empty the diaper pail, my house stinks. I'm well aware, that it will continue to be nasty until a few weeks after the baby comes, but it doesn't stop me from trying all sorts of futile efforts to "fix" the non-existent problem. The weather has even been so fantastic most of last week and the weekend that we had all the windows open and fresh air blowing through the entire house. My nose is on high alert and making up stuff to make my mind nuts. I have also apparently gotten all the sleep that I will need for the next few months. I now wake regularly to use the bathroom during the night. The last week, however, I cannot get back to sleep if it is any later than 4:30 am. It's killing me. I'm a cranky mom too. Who wouldn't be when your body is in overdrive growing a little wiggle monster, demanding more sleep than normal, but not giving it to you? Ugh. On the up side, as soon as I accept the inevitable and start getting up to clean the house and read my scriptures at 5 am, I'll certainly get more accomplished. I remember some incredibly productive nights while I was pregnant with Ben and Maddie.

Brett Has Left the Witness Protection Program

We got something so different, so special today that I'm considering framing it. We got a thank you card from Uncle Brett and Aunt Missy from their wedding. The card in and of itself was of the usual variety. What was almost earth shattering was the envelope it came in. It had...A RETURN ADDRESS!! For five years or so, anytime we needed to mail Brett a check or a gift or something like that, we'd call to ask where he was living and get his address. The response was always the same, "Just send it to Mom & Dads house. I'll get it there next time I am home." We were fairly sure he was in the witness protection program. Now, finally, we can find him. I'm tempted to publish his new address here, but on the off chance it was a mistake and he is still in the program, I will refrain myself. Brian has a good point though, once they find more long term living accommodations, they may enter the program again. We love you Brett & Missy! Congrats again!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Beautiful Day

Today was so nice. We spent the morning visiting Claudia and Aimee our neighbors with Eliza and company. The kids had lots of fun running around outside, though 5 of 5 kids fell and most scraped knees or hands. It's tough being small. Then we walked down the street a few buildings and parked ourselves on the curb to watch the heavy equipment tear up the road and replace the bad parts. I couldn't believe how long they watched, at least 30 minutes where all 5 kids were just silent, watching in amazement while I got to chat with my good buddy Catherine. Then it was back to the house for popsicles and painting on the back deck with ice cubes and water. After all the friends went home, we had lunch on the back porch, at Maddie's request, in the lovely September afternoon weather. Maddie took a snooze, Ben got to eat some of his precious candy bar he earned by giving a great talk in primary on Sunday and I sat down to get organized for Joy School that starts next week. I sorted out all the random pictures we had just thrown in a file from last year and labeled it all. It was sort of nice to feel I had finally made some progress with that project. Maddie woke up and we played for a while, mostly store, Ben has lots of things to sell from the piano bench at his store everyday. There is a three day return policy however, not that you can return it in under three days, but all things MUST be returned in three days, sort of like the library. Lately, Ben has also been supplying the money, so that helps the family budget a bit that he buys it all with the store's money. Eventually, Brian came home and we ate homemade chicken noodle soup from Sunday (thanks Brian). Then Brian installed my birthday present from last year in the kitchen. It is an under cabinet mounted TV/DVD/CD/radio. I LOVE IT!! Now I can make dinner and listen to my favorite music or catch up with Dr. Phil during nap time. I'm really going to enjoy this birthday present. I know, my next birthday is in about 6 weeks, so we're slow. It once took Brian 3 years to install a Christmas present I bought him, a remote car starter, oh well. While Brian worked on installing my DVD player, I took the kids out front to play in the field in front of the house. They ran and ran with the neighbor, Jacob, kicking soccer balls, searching for bee holes in the grass and chasing each other around. I worked on trimming up the bushes under the front window so our tiny yard would look tidy again. Then Ben went in to get sidewalk chalk. He came out with water balloons instead. They had fun launching the balloons, even if they weren't strong enough to make them go far. We chatted with our neighbor Katie and her mom Karen before they went in to do homework. Then Ben wrote a love note with sidewalk chalk at Katie's door (she's 13 years old) to come over to our house and that he loves her with all the innocence of a child. It took forever, but we got the message written. Then Ben had some more chocolate bar, brushed his teeth and put himself to bed. What a good kid. Pretty good day I'd say.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Ben's First Primary Talk

Ben and I have been talking about him giving his first talk for a month now since he was given the assignment. He has been adamant that he isn't going to do it. In reply, I gently told him that everyone needs a turn and it's his turn to give a talk. After much negotiation and eventually me offering a bribe of a candy bar (which was totally rejected) we have come to an agreement. His talk is on baptism. I found 4 pictures from the Gospel Art Kit and about two sentences for each picture. He reluctantly agreed to say the words to the first picture and I will say the rest. Even though this was the agreement, I didn't think for a minute that he would actually do it. When it was his turn to do the scripture and prayer, he had a total meltdown, crying in Brian's arms at the podium. Brian had to juggle keeping him from falling off the stool and giving the scripture and prayer himself over the noise Ben was making. When I came into primary, he was happy to see me. They announced for Ben to come get ready to give his talk. I put my arm around his shoulder and handed him the first picture. I whispered the words in his ear. To my great surprise and satisfaction, he repeated the words about Jesus getting baptised!! He did a great job. When it was time to change pictures, I asked if he wanted to do the next one. "No!" he said. "You said just ONE picture!" No problem, I finished the words and he held the pictures and was willing to end with, "In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." I was totally satisfied. I really did anticipate another crying disaster, but he did great!!

It's Really Me Inside These Fancy Clothes

Brian commented one morning after I got dressed for the day about my outfit. "You are like a different woman when you are pregnant." Curious what exactly that meant, I probed a little. Turns out, I have flashy, fancy clothes that I, left to my own shopping choices, would never have picked out. When I'm pregnant, I end up using a lot of hand-me-downs and borrowed outfits. I actually have some style and class above my standard plain colored t-shirt and blue jeans. Luckily, my friends have good taste and style much more current to the real world today than me. Not in a direct attempt to spite Brian or "show him" but sort of in response to his thoughtful observation, I did actually go shopping today while I was at the mall alone. I bought a few maternity tops that are "in" right now, but when I look back at the pictures in 20 years will wonder "what was I thinking?" I really do like them. It was hard to break out of my box though and get a few things that won't stand the classic test of time. Oh well, cross my fingers, this childbearing stage of life won't last for too many more years... I'm not likely to be one of those saintly women that can handle 12 kids. I'm more inclined to say we're closer to the end of our baby days than the beginning, though many parts will be missed. Each stage of life comes with its challenges and its special, irreplaceable treasures. We'll take it one kid at a time. For now, I'll just be a smokin' hot pregnant lady with totally stylish clothes...(yeah right).