Friday, September 28, 2007

Flashback Friday!

This is one of my favorite pictures in the world. From left to right: My oldest sister Amy, me, my older brother Joel, my older sister Amber. We are in the bed of the wooden trailer, "the flat," attached to my grandpa's tractor. My sisters and I are wearing hats crocheted for us by our aunt (look closely, Amber and Joel have scarves on, too!).

My grandpa's tractor was once his father's. My dad has memories of riding on that tractor; I have memories of riding on it. Now my children enjoy going for tractor rides on their great-great grandfather's tractor.

My grandmother loves tractor rides through the snow. Each year at the first snow fall, my dad still goes out to his parent's house to hitch up the old wooden trailer to pull his mother through the snow-covered fields and woods. This tradition is enjoyed by generations of my family.

One of my most idyllic memories on this tractor happened almost five years ago. It was Christmas Eve and while we were all congregated at my grandparents' house, it started to snow. Someone suggested a tractor ride and soon we were all borrowing extra coats, hats, gloves and scarves from Grandma and Grandpa to gear up for a ride.

It was dark outside but the moon shone brightly as we watched the snowflakes float from the sky above down onto the fields. My dad's family is full of pleasant voices and soon someone began to sing. Our impromptu harmonized caroling echoed in the hills that dark night as a we rejoiced in our family and the birth of our Savior. The Spirit stayed with us even after our weight (I guess we're too big to all pile on the old tractor now) temporarily broke the trailer. I still felt the love and peace of the night as we lightly crunched through the snow on our way back to the house where my grandparents raised their four children.

So, when I look at this picture I see a symbol of my happy childhood. I see a legacy left to my children by their great-great grandparents of being hard workers and loving God. I see the love of an extended family--from my aunt who made our winter wear to my dad who now delights in taking my children for tractor rides. I see the little girl Mendy who was surrounded by love...and who has never had a prayer of having thin cheeks!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Happy Birthday, Teensy!

Today is my Teensy's fourth birthday. She truly has left toddler-hood behind and is a preschooler. She is a hilarious, happy, spunky, bright spit-fire of a girl. I love her to death; she cracks me up!

Teensy's Birth Story:
I went to bed as usual on the night of September 26 and was awoken by a single strong contraction at about 1:15 a.m. Although it was solitary, I knew it was strong enough that it might mean something was coming. I decided to get up, take a bath, and see what happened. The second contraction didn't come for another fifteen minutes. The third was just five minutes later. I got out of the tub and got dressed into fresh pj's. Each contraction was coming faster than the last so I thought I'd better wake up Michael. I wanted to put clean sheets on the bed for our friend, Jessica, who would be coming to stay with Maia and Mason when we went to the hospital. (Looking back this was not the best use of time, but hind sight is 20/20.) By the time I'd changed the sheets and called the doctor's office the contractions were like 45 seconds apart. Michael was a little nervous about us sticking around the house waiting for the doctor to return our call (go figure) so we were out to door before Jessica was even in it. (Of course, we didn't leave Maia and Mason alone--we crossed paths with Jessica on the front steps.)

The drive to the hospital seemed eternal. I tried to do my breathing but was basically overcome by horrendous pain. I had Michael drop me at the curb because I didn't think I could walk from the parking lot. When I walked through the ER door and told the triage nurse that I was in labor she wanted to know where Michael was. I told her that he was parking the car. She replied, "Well, I am the only one here. I can't take you down to Labor and Delivery." I said, "Okay" and asked for directions to L&D. She asked, "You're going to walk there?" I shrugged, "I guess so." And off I went.

It was slow going. I kept having to stop the put my hands on the wall while I bowed my head and tried to breathe through the contractions. Michael caught up with me at some point in my journey through the labyrinth that is HCGH. We walked up to the nurses' station and I introduced myself. They were expecting me because my doctor had called my house, talked to Jessica and then called the hospital. Two nurses took me into a room and gave me a gown. I remember changing in to it and having to stop to breathe through contractions. I was relieved to get on that bed.

The nurses performed the usual stuff to get me situated and when the one nurse went to check my cervix she made a "huh?" noise. Immediately, I thought of a breech baby. "Did you feel a crack?" I asked. "No," she replied, "but I can't feel your cervix." The other nurse said, "She might be complete." I said, "I probably am. Okay, I'm ready to push." They wouldn't let me. Imagine that. Something about them getting into trouble if a doctor isn't present. I got a little whiny. I remember telling them, "It's just mean. I am ready to push. I want to push!" At one point I said to the one nurse, "Look, I don't care who catches. You look good to me." She just laughed.

Finally (or so it felt), the on-call doctor came in. The nurses told her I was ready to push. She saw my bulging bag of waters and replied, "I can see that. Go ahead!" And I did. The bag broke and that poor doctor was wet from head to toe! She laughed as she wiped off her glasses and said that it was her fault for telling me to go ahead when she could see my bag of waters was about to pop. I pushed a second time and Marlee's head was out. She was delivered eight minutes after I arrived at the hospital (Christie, tell Brent I have witnesses if he needs them:).

When they put her on me I said, "Oh, she's an angel!" I could see all the vernix on her and knew she was a wrinkly mess, but I knew she was heaven-sent. My own doctor arrived in time to deliver the placenta. He was very funny about the whole thing. He told me that I had "tongues wagging at the nurses' station" because they get women in there who have called 911 and are carried in on a gurney but when they are checked they are only 1 cm dilated. He said, "Then there's you, who walks in here on your own two feet and calmly tells the desk who you are, who your doctor is, etc and when they check you, you are completely dilated." He was like a proud father. It was kind of cute. Oh--and I did apologize to my nurses for getting whiny and they laughed. Apparently, begging to be allowed to push out your baby when you are fully dilated is not bad behavior. Go figure.

Marlee was my biggest baby girl at birth: 8 pounds 0.4 ounces (so, basically, 8 pounds). As a baby, she didn't grow. Okay, she grew, but not a lot. That's why we started calling her "Teensy" and it stuck. After she turned a year, she got taller, but she's never been a little chunk like my other kids.

Teensy, at four years old,

* You claim to resemble Sleeping Beauty, Hannah Montana and Ashley Tisdale
* You are learning to perform a cartwheel
* You love to ride your bike
* You like your hair "long" (all down) or "half up half down" with "curlies"
* You are curious about letters and sounds
* You insist on wearing skirts most days
* You love your "blue eyes and yellow hair"
* Your favorite foods are corn and cookie dough
* You are insanely entertained by Hannah Montana and High School Musical
* You suck your thumb when you are tired
* You get up before the other kids and eat breakfast with your daddy
* You "make" Maia read to you in your room at night
* You are afraid of people in animal costumes (Chuck E. Cheese, etc.)
* You are fearless about most things and try new things before your older siblings
* You learned how to swim by yourself this summer
* You love to play dress-up
* You make me laugh every day!

This is Teensy in her Halloween costume last year: Sharpay from High School Musical.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

When It Rains...

This is my time to vent a little frustration.

This week I have had some people doing work on my house to please my hard-to-please home owner's association. We got written up to replace and repaint all the trim around all our windows, on some of our porch posts and on the sides of our house clear up to our roof. It was quite a project. Of course spending money on things the HOA wants you to fix is never fun. I'd just rather spend my money on things I choose, you know?

So, in the middle of all this, our air conditioning broke. Again. (It broke like two months ago.) So, I've been living in a sauna for the past few days, trying to look for the silver lining (surely, I've sweat off a good 5 pounds by now!).

Tonight we dropped Michael's car off at the shop to get his windshield wipers repaired (a long-overdue task) and his radiator looked at. It's been leaking. Fabulous. Our poor little savings account is crying, "Can't you people leave me alone?!"

While I was waiting for Michael to turn his keys in to the mechanic, I looked at his license plate and was reminded that his registration expires in four days. Time to cough up even more money on something not-so-fun!

When I got home and opened the mail I had a notice that my checking account's overdraft had kicked in. How had this happened? Well, here's the story: I mailed by mortgage check with an outdated stamp. I didn't know that I had used an old stamp until my dear friend, Tracy, noticed me using old stamps a few days later. I panicked because I knew I had used those stamps to mail my mortgage payment. I kept checking my mortgage account and when the due date came and they still hadn't received my payment, I thought I better take some action. I figured that my check was in some dead letter box (if those even exist) and made a payment by phone. So, what do you think happened? That's right, I paid my mortgage twice! No wonder my poor checking account has jumped into panic-mode! Somehow, the mortgage company did get my check and they, of course, accepted my phone payment. So, the good news is that my mortgage is paid ahead, but the bad news is that I am now shuffling money between accounts to straighten everything out.

The timing of this is all just wonderful. Why is it that things like this always happen in clusters?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

My New Stress

Okay, the more I run errands right now, the more stressed I feel. Halloween is everywhere! There are pumpkins and costumes every place I turn. This is totally stressing me out because I don't know what my family is going to be for Halloween this year. It's late September and I have no clue what magic I will create to please my kids this year.

Usually, by now we at least have a couple of choices we're mulling over. This year, we've got zip. Nada. Nil. I really never thought I'd be in this situation. When Maia was a baby and we dressed up as Fred, Wilma and Pebbles I never thought I'd still be doing a family theme nine years later. I thought by now my kids would want to do their own things. Boy, did I think wrong.

Over the years we've done the Flintstones; the Crocodile Hunter, Terri, their dog & a croc; Veggie Tales; Peter Pan, etc; Alice in Wonderland, etc; the Incredibles; and High School Musical. What's left that has meaning to our little family and that will please all six of us? I'm sure we'll think of something. Never fear--we won't be going to the ward party naked.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Today is my Maia's ninth birthday (which means I have been married for exactly nine years, nine months and one day--but this post isn't about my fertility :). I can hardly believe that it has been nine years since I first laid eyes on my sweet angel girl. Allow me to give a quick (let's hope) overview of her entrance into the world.

My water broke at about 1:15 a.m. I thought I was peeing the bed, but when I awoke and went to the bathroom it just kept coming out. I woke up Michael and called my parents in PA to tell them that we were heading to the hospital. When I got to Orem Community, they checked me and told me that I was like 2 cm dilated. I knew I had a while to go and that it was the middle of the night, but I was just so excited that I was about to become a mother that I couldn't sleep; I didn't even try. Instead, while Michael slept on the couch next to me, I sat up in bed doing crossword puzzles and anticipating meeting my baby girl.

Periodically, the nurse would walk in and ask me if I was feeling the contractions because they looked pretty strong on the monitor. I could feel them but they didn't hurt and I smugly thought to myself that I could have a dozen kids. Because my water had broken, the nurses were hesitant to keep checking me. By late morning, though, they were unhappy with my slow progress and put me on Pitocin. That kicked things up a notch, to be sure!

After a few more hours and a shift change, a new nurse checked me and asked if I'd been told that my baby was head down. I answered affirmatively. Later, another nurse checked me and then silently raced from the room. She returned quickly with an older nurse hot on her heels. The younger nurse was saying, "I felt a crack." The older nurse checked me and confirmed that my baby was in a frank breech presentation.

I was slightly panicked. In my prenatal class they had taught us that breech = c-section and I was terrified of that possibility. My doctor came in and talked to me and actually gave me the choice of trying a vaginal birth or getting a cesarean. Since I had already been in labor for 12 hours and was 8 cm dilated, I chose to try the vaginal birth.

They prepped me for an emergency c-section (giving me that dreaded epidural that looked really scary to me) and even wheeled me down to the operating room to do the pushing--just so they'd be ready if things went sour. On my way to the OR I saw my mom who had already flown across the country for her latest grandchild's birth! I pushed for quite a while and found myself 15 minutes away from having a c-section when I was finally able to push out Maia's little bruised bottom. (Pushing was such hard work! I couldn't feel A THING and couldn't get the angle right until a nurse tied a towel in a giant knot and then played tug-of-war with me between my straddled legs.) After Maia's bum came out, the doctor fished out her legs; I gave a little push of her body and then he fished out her arms and shoulders. He used forceps to get her head out.

She weighed 7 lbs. 13 oz. and was 21 inches long. Because her feet were by her head in my womb, her hip sockets never formed. When the respiratory team laid her down her feet went right back up to her ears. It was the funniest thing! She had to wear 3 diapers at a time to keep her legs in place until she was fitted for a brace; she wore the brace for about six months.

She was a little celebrity in the hospital. People would pop in my room all day to peek at "the vaginal breech baby." She had the most beautiful head of any first vaginal baby around, but her butt was black! Poor little thing.

I remember just holding her and singing to her that first night in the hospital. "All mine in your loveliness, Baby, all mine..." I was so thrilled to be her mother and couldn't believe the trust Heavenly Father had in me to bestow upon me such a gift.

I still feel that way. Earlier this week I touched on Maia's creative gifts. She has such a wonderfully unique mind and I feel humble to be her mother. She is very tender-hearted, talented, clever and creative.

To help document your ninth birthday, Maia, I celebrate

* Your gift for writing (journals and journals full of gems)
* Your amazing illustrations
* Your love of fairies
* The intense care you take of your Tamagatchi
* Your commitment to being a vegetarian (over two years strong now)
* Your grace in the swimming pool
* Your recent attempts and successes at overcoming fears (like escalators and dogs)
* Your wish for your hair to reach your waist
* Your naughtiness for reading far into the night
(2:30 a.m. with a flashlight-- naughty!)
* Your enjoyment of ketchup bread and spaghetti
* Your improvement at playing the piano
* Your excited smiles when you come home from Activity Days at church
* Your willingness to help me when I need it

Thursday, September 20, 2007

"M" Meme

Thanks for Julia for this fun quick game!'s harder than it looks! Copy and paste into a new email. When you are done, send it on, including to the person who sent it to you. *Use the 1st letter of your name to answer each of the following... *they have to be real places, names, things...nothing made up! Try to use different answers if the person in front of you had the same 1st initial. You CAN'T use your name for the boy/girl name question.

What is your name? Mendy

4 letter word: Meme

Vehicle: Mercedes

TV Show: Married..with children

City: Memphis

Boy Name: Max

Girl Name: Mallory

Alcoholic drink: Miller Lite

Occupation: Mason

Something you wear: Mini-skirt

Celebrity: Marlee Matlin (double points!)

Food: M & M's

Something found in a bathroom: Marble floor

Reason for Being Late: My GPS couldn't find your address

Cartoon Character: Mighty Mouse (see how good I am at double points?)

Something You Shout: Make me! (to older sibling when parents aren't home :)

Okay, that was fun! Do you like how I managed to use two of my kids' names without listing them as the girl and boy names? I really know my "M" stuff, huh?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Flashback Wednesday

In an effort to reach my goal of posting each day this week I am going to cheat a little. About six or seven weeks ago my little family went to Lake Tobias with my parents, grandmother, sister, nieces, and brother and his family. Time got away from me and I never chronicled our fun time. I'd been thinking to make it a Flashback Friday but haven't even gotten around to that. Today, I am going to post some photos and memories of the day before it totally escapes my mind.

First of all, let me bear my testimony of Lake Tobias...I love this place. It is just a great day-trip and fun for all. It's a wildlife park with four basic parts: a petting zoo, a little regular zoo, a reptile show and a "safari" ride. It is amazingly affordable and very fun!

After spending the initial ten minutes at the petting zoo outside the fence peering in, Maia had a major breakthrough and came into the animals' area. I was shocked! She said to me, "I just asked myself 'How many times have you seen a goat and how many times has one hurt you?'" I was so proud of her. She enjoyed petting the miniature horses and even named them. She did always keep a wary eye on the goats and wouldn't touch the larger llamas, but hey, she came in! (By the end of the day she had also petted a ring-tailed lemur, baby porcupine, python and alligator! Who is this child?)

Mackenna was, of course, a maniac chasing and feeding the goats. She basically accosted the alpaca and had to be pulled away from the petting zoo kicking and screaming. She is fearless around animals and just loves them.

Mason loved the reptile show and was first in line at the end to pet the giant python (it must have been like 12 feet or more) and baby alligator. He also spent more than his share of time with the adorable baby porcupine. Who knew that the babies were so pet-able?

Teensy had one goal and one goal only for the day: to feed a buffalo! She got her chance during the safari ride. (This is my favorite part of Lake Tobias. They have these sawed-off school buses that you ride in to go and see all these animals on the property--and you feed them from your hands!) Teensy had remembered the buffalo from last year and kept asking the whole ride when she'd be able to feed one. She kind of chickened out when she saw those big black tongues coming her way!

My favorite animals in the safari ride are the elk. At the time of year when we went, their antlers were in the velvet stage. Those gentle giants just walked right up to the bus and I could feel their soft antlers and feed them endlessly from my hand. A really big guy quickly discovered I had a big supply of crackers and was instantly my new boyfriend. I'm not a huge animal person, but I could have fed that sweet buck for hours. He was just so gentle and soft.

So, that's it. It was great to share our time there with all kinds of cousins and other relatives for my kids. I loved going on the safari with my grandmother. She loves animals and nature and it was just nice to see her so happy. My mom packed a huge picnic lunch for all of us and we had a great time.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Maia Tresure

Cleaning Maia's room is a bittersweet experience. First of all, the child is a disorganized mess. No matter how I rearrange her books and things, they end up in huge piles all over the floor. It drives me nuts. So, occasionally I wade in and dig myself back out. All of that is the "bitter" part. The "sweet" part of cleaning Maia's room is finding what I refer to as her "treasures."

I know every mother thinks this, but my daughter truly is very creative, bright and clever. Whenever I go through her room I am amazed at the things I find, primarily her writings. She writes everything from chapter books to martial art pamphlets to advertisements to poems. She also illustrates quite well.

Today, I read a little magazine she wrote called, Girl Friend. I tried to scan all the little pages, but you can't see them so well, so I'll provide a translation (you can click on it to make it bigger if you'd like). The girl is a crack up--you'll see!

Front Cover: Girl Friend, Girl Talk

Table of Contents: Contents:
New Stuff: pg 1
Dear Ayo pg 3
How to be Popular pg 5
Magic Tips pg 6
Jeli Jokes pg 7
Fashion Clothes pg 8
Products pg 9
On Cutie Planet pg 10

Page One: New Stuff
The new movie The Three is coming soon. It's about 3 girls who have secret powers.

Page Two: Maia Hunter says, "Playing the part of Mygria is awesome. I get to sing a lot."
Elisha B. says, "Being Elizabeth is cool. I always know what's going on."

Page Three: Dear Ayo
Dear Ayo, me and my friend both have a crush on the same guy. What should I do? Kate V.
Dear Kate, Just ask him if he likes you more than her. Ayo

Page Four: Dear Ayo, My friend has a boyfriend now. All she talks about is her guy. What do I do? Zoe
Dear Zoe, Just wait until the romance is over. Ayo

Page Five: How to be Popular
* Have a lot of friends
* Get pretty
* Be nice
* Make a lot of phone calls
You're Popular!

Page Six: Magic Tips
Do not use a spell unless you remember it!!

Page Seven: Jeli Jokes
What fruit did 2 girls share? (answer written upside down) A pear

What toys do dolphins play with? (again, upside down) Dolls!

Page Eight: Fashion Clothes
(some sketches of girls in vogue poses)

Page Nine: Products
(sketches of products and their prices)

Page Ten: On Cutie Planet
Girls only
perfect weather

Page Eleven: Design of the Month
(sketch of heart) C
(sketch of swirl) U
(sketch of flower)T
(sketch of girl) E

Page Twelve: Draw and design and mail it with your name to...

Page Thirteen: If you win, you will see your design in the magazine.

You would think that we have subscriptions to all kinds of magazines in this house, but honestly, we get the Ensign, Friend, Family Fun, Reader's Digest, and Ranger Rick. "The Three," her alias of "Mygria," and the invention of "Cutie Planet" are recurring themes on many of her writings. My favorite parts of this magazine have to be the letters to Dear Ayo (the name of a friend who moved away after second grade) and the advice on becoming popular. Who does she think she is...Galinda?

How Quickly Things Change

This morning was an exercise in the roller coaster of emotions that come with my occupation. Overseeing my oldest two children getting ready for school went as smoothly as it usually does. Maia was ready a little faster than usual and required few reminders from me to stick to her morning routine; that was wonderful! Mason had a little melt-down over something that I cannot even remember; that was annoying!

After they went to school, I loaded up my little ones and took Teensy and Selena to preschool. For the first time since it started, Teensy happily entered the strange new house without a single tear! Hallelujah!

I took the chance to run to Costco to fill-up my gas tank and buy my week's worth of milk. (Buying a week's worth of milk at a time is a recent discovery of mine and I don't know why I never thought of it sooner; it's a dream!) Anyway, I cruised through Costco, managing to buy only items on my list (okay, except for one Barbie DVD--but two of my girls have birthdays coming up and it was such a good deal!) and keeping Mackenna in the cart the entire time.

After we came home, Kenna and I had a little chill time and I chatted for a minute on the phone with my sister. Then, we loaded back up to go pick up the girls. Teensy and Selena had had a wonderful morning at Miss Rebecca's house and were somewhat loathe to leave the My Little Pony toys and the pet turtles, but they came without putting up too much of a fuss.

The weather is just so perfect today that I promised the girls we would have a picnic lunch outside. They played happily while I made sandwiches and washed grapes. We headed out to the front where they ran and played between bites. I was overwhelmed with a feeling of contentment as I sat outside on this gorgeous day, enjoying my turkey wrap and watching the girls giggle and play.

Then Marlee had to go to the bathroom. I herded all the girls in since it was time to start reading books before nap time. I wasn't quite in the house yet when I heard commotion in the powder room. I knew the toilet was overflowing before I even saw it. I dropped the lunch trash and lunged into the bathroom to reach around the toilet and shut off the water. Too late. Water was going everywhere! I ran to the basement to get a towel.

Well, one towel was not enough! When I went to look for a second towel, I ventured into the laundry room which is directly below the powder room. The exposed duct work was dripping with the toilet water from above! Yuck! It dripped all over my back. Isn't that lovely? There is no way to escape being under the duct when you are in my laundry room; it's just that tight of a space.

Grumpy to have toilet water now on both the hem of my pants and soaking through the back of my shirt, I ran back upstairs to finish cleaning up the flood and mop the powder room floor. (Ironically, and irksomely, the last chore I did before going to bed at two o'clock this morning was cleaning and mopping my powder room! Ugh!)

While I was mopping I could hear the girls behind me in the living room saying something about...cotton candy? I turned around to have a peek. They had unzipped the throw pillows on my good couches and were pulling out the stuffing! BIG No-No! All feelings of contentment were long-gone when I growled at those three girls to put the stuffing back in the pillows zip them back up.

How quickly I let my mood change. I was a real grump. Happily, I report that I got over it and read a few books to the girls, put them down and am now enjoying some nice quiet time. Ah, the contentment is back.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Family Fun at Renn Fest

Saturday was our annual outing to the Maryland Renaissance Festival. This is something we've been doing since Mason was a baby. All of our kids really look forward to going and seeing the jousting as well as the other shows. Usually, the girls wear princess dresses, but the morning was a little chilly and it had rained all day Friday so I was worried about mud. Everything was pretty dry; I shouldn't have worried at all.

The photo above is Mackenna watching "Fight School," a show about weaponry. She liked watching the men swing their swords at each other at "fight speed."

For lunch we purchased all kinds of yummy treats. Michael thought be bought the giant turkey leg for himself alone, but Marlee and Mackenna had other ideas. The end of the drumstick was practically as big as Teensy's face! Both girls loved the meat and wore a nice shiny coat of turkey-fat lip gloss by the time lunch ended.

In the category of "New Things Tried This Year" would be the knife throw. First, Michael had a go. Then, Mason wanted to try. Just look at my sweet little boy between all those grown men. The knife throw must be a lot harder than in looks; only one man got one knife to stick in Mason's whole group. Mason was thrilled to have tried.

After doing some family favorites like the pony rides (Teensy and Kenna's second this week!) and the giant wooden slides, we let the kids run free in the kids' free play area. This area has really been growing in the past few years. In the photo above Maia is climbing the rope ladder on the deck of the giant wooden pirate ship. It was great for the kids to play and climb in between sitting and watching the shows. In addition to watching "Fight School" and the jousting tournament we enjoyed Johnny Fox's sword swallowing show.

After three hours of festival-ing, it became evident that some of our kids needed a little lift. Michael suggested getting the snow cone things that come in oranges. What a splurge! Add that to the "New Things Done This Year" list as well! All the kids really seemed to enjoy their frozen treats, as did Michael. I abstained, still happily digesting my part of our "cheesecake on a stick" from earlier.

The last show of our day was a new one for us. It was called "The Sword in the Stone." The book listed it as family-friendly so we thought we'd check it out. Well, it was done by a mime. If you know my feelings on mimes, you must know that after two minutes I had a head-ache. It's just not natural not to talk, that's all I'm saying. And I think Maia agrees. The entire time the show was going on, Maia kept asking when it was going to start. I kept trying to shush her and tell her that the show, in fact, was going on. When it was over, she pronounced, "That was dumb!" And it was--even using more than one definition of the word "dumb," if you know what I mean! The three younger kids didn't seem to mind the mime, but my Maia is her mother's daughter on that point.

All in all, it was a great family day. We had the most beautiful weather we've ever had for the festival--no humidity, no rain, no oppressive heat. It was great!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Petting Zoo Fun

Okay, I have got to get it together and do dome posts! Michael's been using the computer a lot at night; I've actually had to learn to share. I just don't seem to have a ton of free time during the day to write, but I'll have to come up with something. I've made a goal to post each day this week. That way I'll be able to catch up a bit.

This week we went on a field trip for Teensy's preschool. We went to a petting zoo. The weather was fabulous. Somehow all the humidity left and we had a blue sky and temps in the seventies. It was the perfect day to have an outdoor outing.

Both Marlee and Mackenna got to ride a horse. They also enjoyed feeding the goats and lambs. Mackenna is such a little animal lover. In the pen with the smaller goats and chickens, she was chasing those poor goats around endlessly. She would stop to bend over and wrap her little arms around their bellies and they'd try to get away. One with long, curved horns even butted her in the head; she cried, but when I picked her up to comfort her, she demanded that I put her back down with the goats. She's a real farm girl, that one.

Teensy was thrilled to see the Enchanted Forest, which highlights all kinds of nursery rhymes and folk tales. She absolutely loves Goldilocks and the Three Bears and makes me tell her that story almost daily (I think it's because I tell her she looks like Goldilocks when her hair is curled). Anyway, I thought she'd be thrilled to go up to the cottage of the three bears, but she was terrified. She actually thought that there would be bears in there! After I convinced her that there were no bears in the cottage, and walked her to the door while holding her hand, she agreed to get her picture taken only if Kenna and Selena were with her. She cracks me up; she is so courageous and spunky about some things and such a wuss about others!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

More Lists

Jobs I've Gotten Paid For:
1. Care-giver at a day care
2. Nanny
3. Telemarketer
4. Telesurveyer
5. Custodian
6. Laundry Worker (on the Mangler)
7. Folklore Archivist
8. Temp Employee (production and clerical)
9. Office Manager
10. Hair Stylist

My Guilty Pleasures:
1. Reading
2. Napping
3. Cookie Dough
4. Thursday nights out of the house

Places I have lived:
1. Glen Rock, PA
2. Hoffman Estates, IL
3. Shrewsbury, PA
4. Provo, UT
5. Ploiesti, Bucuresti, and Brasov, Romania
6. Laurel, MD

What were likely the 1st things you thought when you saw your significant other for the first time?:
1. He is cute! (I had been hearing about my roommate's "cute cousin Michael" for some time.)
2. That's a cool hat. (He was wearing a hat he'd bought at a horse race.)

Places I’ve Been on Vacation (in the U.S.):
1. Alabama (Birmingham and wherever the group "Alabama" is from)
2. Arizona (Globe-Miami, baby!)
3. California (Southern, Central and Northern)
4. Colorado (Denver area)
5. Florida (Orlando, Daytona Beach and Ft. Meyers)
6. Georgia (Evans)
7. Idaho (Rexburg, Boise)
8. Illinois (Chicago area)
9. Indiana (don't remember exactly where; I was in 4th grade)
10. Iowa (Iowa City)
11. Maryland (Ocean City)
12. Montana (Billings)
13. Nevada (Las Vegas)
14. New Jersey (Englewood, Stone Harbor)
15. New York (NYC, White Plains, Palmyra, the Catskills)
16. North Carolina (Raleigh)
17. Ohio (Cleveland, Kirtland)
18. Pennsylvania (Poconos--honeymoon :))
19. Utah
20. Virginia (Shenandoah Valley, Blacksburg, Richmond)
21. Washington, DC

Places I've Been (out of U.S.):
1. Mexico
2. Canada
3. England
4. France
5. Germany
6. Italy
7. Romania
8. Czech Republic
9. Hungary
10. Bulgaria

Favorite Foods:

1. Chicken Caesar Salad
2. Brownie Sundae

Websites I Visit Daily:
1. GoogleReader

Nicknames I’ve been called:

1. Mend, Men
2. Petunia, Tunie, Tunis (These are the only names my dad uses to address me. They are short for "Petunia Pig." I don't take too much offense; I was 9lbs 15 oz at birth, which is when he came up with the nickname.)
3. Freddie (my Michael calls me this more often than he calls me "Mendy")
4. Soeur, Kin, Sister (my sister, Amber, and I used to use these instead of each other's names)
5. Mendelson Q (from a childhood friend's dad)
Mendolyn ( from the father of a different childhood friend)
Mokers, Mo, Mendolinian Rain (from my best friend from high school, Dawn)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Teensy Starts Preschool!

I still haven't quite found my back-to-school groove, so this is a few days late. On Tuesday morning, my Teensy started preschool. Five other mothers and I are taking turns teaching a little co-op preschool; we bought a curriculum off of the Internet. Marlee was so excited to go to school like Maia and Mason.

Actually, I don't know if she was more excited to go to school or to wear her new animal print skirt I bought just for the occasion. When I went to snap the above photo, instead of saying "Cheese!" she happily piped, "Cheetah-licious!" What a funny girl, I tell you.

She enjoyed her first day of school and was thrilled to show me the little barn she made and all the animals she colored. She told me that they all got to pretend to be farm animals while they played a game. "Which farm animal were you?" I asked. She looked at me with a "Duh!" look on her face and replied, "A cheetah!" What was I thinking?

Monday, September 3, 2007

North Beach

Several years ago Michael read about North Beach in the travel section of the Post and we tried it out; it's been a keeper ever since. Since the unofficial end of summer was today and we hadn't been yet this year, Michael insisted we load up the car and the kids. To be perfectly honest, I didn't want to go through the hassle of packing and loading up the car and driving an hour but I am so glad we did. Kudos to Michael for packing the lunches while I got everyone in their suits and gathered towels and floaties and such. I am so glad Michael suggested we go. The weather was beautiful and the water felt wonderful. It was a perfect day at the beach!

You can't exactly tell, but that's Mason in the above photo. He loves to get a huge running start and then sprint through the water until he falls over. He had a great time at the beach today--especially since we let him invite our neighbor, Dallin, to join us. Those boys had a grand time swimming, splashing, building sandcastles and hunting for jellyfish (which, I elatedly report, were completely absent from the water!).

Teensy and Kenna both loved swimming out to the nets with their dad. In this picture, however, they are helping him sift through the pebbly sand to find treasures like multi-colored rocks (blue, orange, pink) and a shark's tooth.

After spending a good amount of time swimming with her dad and the boys, Maia decided to relax in the shallowest part of the water and let the waves wash over her. She loved the feeling of being carried further up the beach with each new wave. (Note my finger splint on stupid broken pinkie on the right side of this photo; you wouldn't believe how many pictures said splint has ruined!)

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Christmas is coming!

Just thought I'd document the day my children started fighting over the JC Penny Christmas catalog. It came yesterday. In August!?! I mean, I love Christmas and am a total believer in shopping early, but a Christmas catalog in August? Gimme a break!

And Mason is thrilled because he says Santa can just bring him the frog/terrarium kit and that's how he can bypass Mommy's "no pets" rule. Lovely.

Quotation of the Month

There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one.

-Jill Churchill