Monday, April 26, 2010

The Birthday Girl

My girl turned nine. Where did the time go?

She made a paper chain to countdown the days to the big day. We celebrated all weekend.

She asked for rollerblades and couldn't wait to get them on. Cousin Tyler gave her some great tips. She is getting pretty good on them.

She also loves to go shopping at Justice for a birthday outfit (or two.) I am not a huge fan, so I bite my tongue and we go and she picks out what my sister Camille has aptly named "Punky Brewster" outfits. This year the shopping trip wasn't too bad. She picked out some cute things.

One of her favorite gifts was her cat pillow pet. She is also enjoying new art supplies, earrings, knitting stuff and pool toys.

I just love the person that she is becoming, so I can't be too sad that she is growing up.

Here are a few things about my girl, also known as Bev, BevyGwen, BG, Pinkie Pie:

She is creative. Everyday she makes something. She is such a talented little artist. She draws, writes, paints, does cross-stitch, knits (thanks Grandma,) crochets, sews and scrapbooks.

She still loves to help--cook, fold laundry, plant and weed the garden.

She is nurturing and loving to the babies (also known as Christian and Jessi.) She plays school with them, she plays church with them, she does projects with them and reads to them. She loves them and plays with them (and only occasionally yells at them.)

She takes good care of her older brother--you know, only when he really needs it.

She is spunky and at times can be a bit fiesty. (I wonder where she got that from?) We have no shortage of sass around here.

She is smart. She is a wiz at reading.

I love that she can be girly girl one minute and then filthy from playing in the field the next.

I love her freckles and her wild hair.

I love that she is not a follower. She is her own person. (Please stay that way!)

I love her love notes to us, and her poems and her stories.

I love that she feels safe to ask me anything--even though answering her questions is not always easy.

I love the presence she is in our home. I miss her when she is not here. The babies miss her when she is not here. Andrew doesn't necessarily pull his attention away from his DS or Wii to notice when she is not here, but I'm sure he misses her too.

She is a lot like me. We both make messes and piles. We both hate the mornings. (Mike gets a kick out of the two of us hissing at each other as I am helping her get ready for school.) We both like to dabble in lots of projects and activities. We both struggle with math, or as I like to positively frame it, we both have strengths outside the math realm. We both are passionate about our causes--animals, the earth, crafts.

I love her to bits.

Birthdays always remind me to really enjoy these kids while I have them under my control, I mean while I have them under my roof.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

crisis averted and project complete

Andrew was assigned a report for school. It was on an animal found in Utah--the beaver.

A few nights ago, he decided to get a head start on the project (aka: not leaving it until the night before it is due.) We were just finishing up dinner and he asked if he could go do research on the computer. I said, "Yeah, sure--start by Googling beavers."

Mike instantly shot me "the look" and then I realized...well, um...I think you probably know what I realized. (And if you don't, I am happy for you that you don't.)
So I told Andrew to wait--that I would come and help him.

So glad I did. That was an explanation I was glad not to have to give.

The report and poster turned out great. We learned a lot about beavers. We learned that they are monogamous, they are actually rodents and they are second only to humans in their ability to manipulate and change their environment.

I am happy that his report is done. I am even happier that his report was completed while retaining a bit of his innocence.

Monday, April 19, 2010

the ninety-percenters club

I hung out with some of my besties this weekend and we got to talking about projects. Why is it, we asked, that the first 90% of our projects get done fairly quickly, but the last 10% is the hardest?

I don't know the answer. I just know that it is a recurring theme in my life and affects so many areas of my life--it always has. Papers and projects in college, home improvement projects, decorating projects, cleaning projects.

Right now our garden is about 90% planted. My craft room is about 90% done. Laundry was about 90% done--then the kids put their laundry down the chute. Now it is about 75% complete.
I know I will not ever have laundry completely done--because we must get dressed in clean clothes every day. But, I am trying to incorporate the rule that I must finish one thing before starting the next. I am making progress, but it's still a challenge.

I started this birthday banner in August--for Andrew's birthday. It is on my list to complete for Bev's birthday this weekend. I finished it and Bev helped me tie it together with ribbon.

Part of my problem is that I may just be a bit of a perfectionist/over-achiever with the projects. I figure if I am going to spend the time and money on something, I want it done right. After I put it up Mike pointed out that no one would really care that I sewed the paper or made the embellishments by hand. No, but I care. I did it for me--you know, to be creative.

Bev decided to be creative herself. She made Tiger a little necklace with the leftover ribbon. Tiger lets her put it on and she even leaves it on.

Next project--clean that window so poor baby Tiger can see out it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I got injured...injured bad.

Before I begin my tale of woe I will share with you one of my old favorites from youtube. Enjoy!

I had big plans this week. I was going to get so many things checked off my list. Then, I decided to make fajitas.

I was slicing three beautiful peppers--a yellow, a red and a green--with my favorite santoku knife. It is the knife I use several times a day.

I realized that the knife was a little dull, but I decided to just finish the peppers and then sharpen it. Bad idea. I was on the last pepper when the knife slipped off the skin of the pepper and sliced off a quarter of my index fingernail (along with a big chunk of flesh.)

I howled and called for Mike. The kids all came running and I heard Andrew say, "Let me guess, she cut herself again?"

Again? It's not like I do this that often--at least not this badly.

There was blood. There was whining. I think at one point I actually called out for my mommy.

I got bandaged up and went back work on the fajitas--with only one hand. I suppose I should mention that I did discard the peppers I was working on when the incident occured.

The fajitas were good, but my finger is not doing so well.

I can't get it wet, so I am doing dishes with one hand. Everytime I do a task, I tend to bump it. I have to wear stretchy pants (now I want to watch Nacho Libre) because I can't zip and button.

Hopefully it will heal quickly so I can get back to my chores. First thing I will be doing--sharpening my knife.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

reality bites...and hopefully, so will my kids

I bought this DVD several years ago when the kids kept seeing it advertised on TV. It is produced by John Walsh and Julie Clark (of Baby Einstein fame.) I highly recommend it. (Let me know if anyone wants to borrow it.)

I love the DVD, but I hate that perverts and abduction and child-killers are part of the world my kids have to live in. I hate that part of their innocence has to be destroyed to keep them safe.

Okay, I have stepped away from the soapbox--back to the story.

Every few months the kids pull out the DVD and we watch it. It isn't scary, but really teaches kids about staying safe.

The problem is that every time we watch it, every time we discuss stranger safety, Christian says something to the effect of: "I will just punch them and kick them in the ___." (The blank stands for all the various names I have heard him use for that part of the anatomy--another discussion for another day.)

We constantly teach him that should he ever be in that situation, he should run and yell first. He continues to talk about beating up the bad guy.

Last night at dinner, the topic came up once again. Once again Mike reiterated the importance of running and yelling. He reminded him that even though Christian is tough, adults are bigger and stronger. Once again Christian insisted that he would "kick the bad guy's trash."

Next thing we know Mike and Christian are in the family room. The rest of us sat at the kitchen table and watched as Mike gave the little guy a reality check. Mike taught the kids another important fact in fighting off a bad guy--when he covers your mouth, bite him.

The kids went to bed and I went downstairs to the death chamber (aka the home gym) to exercise. I watched yesterday's Oprah. It was about child sexual predators. I ended up exercising a little longer than usual because my blood was a boilin'.

But, after ruminating on the special place in Hell that will be theirs, I focused on the message of the show. The information the predators shared was disgusting, but helpful. They all talked about the type of child they sought out--vulnerable, at-risk kids. Kids that didn't get a lot of attention, affection and supervision. They also talked about how they won the trust of the parents.

The most important part for me was that several of them talked about potential victims that didn't become victims because they fought back, were difficult, and were big-mouths.

I think manners are important, but after shows like that, I am reminded to teach my kids that there are times they need to be difficult.

I am reminded to build their self-confidence.

I am reminded to teach them to listen to the still small voice.

I am reminded to give them the attention and affection they need.

I am reminded to talk to them about the evil that exists in the world.

We will be watching the DVD tonight. We will practice yelling together: "This is not my mom. This is not my dad." I will be giving them lot of snuggles.

Hopefully, we will not need to have another abduction reinactment in the family room--that gave me anxiety.

Monday, April 12, 2010

My name is Alisa and I am a list-maker.

I am a list-maker. I have been one for as long as I can remember. I had a mission companion who said that I had a list-making illness. Um, yah, it's called OCD. (I know OCD is real--mine is a self-diagnosed, mild case that only affects certain areas of my life.)

Through college I had my beloved Franklin planner. I couldn't live without it. Then, I used something similar when I worked. After I quit working (for a salary) I had a hard time remembering appointments and grocery lists and things I needed to to. I have a huge calendar in the kitchen and I have notebooks for my lists everywhere--the car, my purse, the kitchen, my bedside table, by the computer.

Making lists helps me remember what I need to do, but there is a deeper reason I like lists. I like, no, I love crossing off the things I have accomplished. I know this is sick, but I will even add things that I did that weren't on the list--just so I can cross them off.

Anyhoo, last night I made the dreaded "spring cleaning and projects" list. It is long. I will not accomplish everything on that list in the next few weeks. But, I will try. My goal is to knock out at least one thing everyday.

I am also dejunking as I go. We have only lived in this house for 1.5 years and already we have junk.

I read this quote several years ago. It is my goal for home organization and decorating.

"Have nothing in your homes that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."
William Morris

I know Mike is probably snickering to himself right now because he knows my dirty little secrets. He knows that I have a junk drawer in almost every room. He knows that I like to hold onto stuff. (Hey, the day I get rid of the forest green with leather cording cowgirl dress will be the day I need it.) Like I said--it is my goal.

I have to really kick it in gear. The day is half over and I have not checked off an item, and I really want to check off an item.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

this one goes out to the one I love...

(and yes, I am singing REM in my head right now...I love that song.)

I overheard a sweet conversation tonight. I grabbed the camera to capture the moment.

After dinner Andrew was reading. Bev was doing times tables while I did the dishes. Christian asked Dad to do Legos. (Notice the cookie sheet--between Christian and Andrew I will often have to go find one of my six to use for actual cooking. They make good portable Lego desks.)

So, they were over there working on Legos when Christian says, "I'm glad dads were invented."

And Mike says, "I'm glad they were invented too."

Then, as they were finishing up Christian says, "I'm glad I have you."

And Mike says, "I'm glad I have you too."

I would like to add my Amen to Christian's statements tonight.

I am so glad my kids have Mike. I am so glad he is there to do Legos and coach soccer and listen to them read and put air in their bike tires and let them sneak treats when I won't and cook Sunday morning breakfast with them and teach them how to fish and take them to McDonald's when I won't and do homework with them and teach them how to work and to pray and take them on dates and make them a priority and let them sneak in bed with us and wrestle with them and tease them and love them.

I am glad that he is there to remind me of important things and help me keep perspective and remind me not to swear.

I am glad that he gets up and goes to work everyday to support us.

I am glad that he is ours.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring Break 2010

What a weekend. It was busy and fun and I am still recovering. I love having my kids home, but I have to admit that I was happy to have the weekend come to an end.

Our fun began with three little visitors. When Mike gave Jack the chicks, we offered to chicksit (say that carefully) when the family went out of town. Bev insisted that they stay in her room. The cute little darlings were a little smelly, so Bev did not stay in her room. We also had to make sure and keep the door closed because of this little darling:

She really liked watching them. She would just sit and stare at them. Then, when we left the room, she hopped on top of the cage. I do think they would have gotten along famously--if we had given them the opportunity. I was not, however, willing to chance it. I did not want any "accidents." I am sure Tiger would have been most appropriate, but I really didn't want to have to give Jack some sort of bad news. That was my goal all weekend--keep those chicks alive.

We played a lot of Wii and Guitar Hero. We read a little. We stayed home where it was warm. Mike and I had our mission reunion. We watched Conference.

We went to the neighborhood egg hunt.

Christian had his last indoor soccer game. They were not victorious, but he did get a cool cup trophy--a cup trophy that he really wants to drink out of.

We had the annual egg hunt at Grandma and Grandpa's. Ryan and Erika hid the eggs and the kids gathered the goods.

Sunday, the kids got their baskets and their marshmallow eggs. After three egg hunts, there was too much candy in the house--so it went bye bye.

We saw the Dragon movie. It was great! One of the first lines in the movie was something like, "We are vikings...we have stubborn issues." I relate to that quote.

Seriously, one great movie.

So, now we are back to reality--busy, hectic reality.

Sunday, April 4, 2010