Monday, September 30, 2013

My Sister Does Cool Things

It is so rad to know cool people who know how to do cool things.

I was searching around on the webs for some activities for the children to do during General Conference next weekend, and I came upon this great idea to turn photos of your children into coloring pages.

But it required photoshop.  I do not have photoshop, nor do I know how to use it if I did.

A quick email to my sister, and voila! It's done.  She's so super rad.

I thought I'd share, in case you want coloring pages of your kids.  Or of yourself, come on!  To color during the songs, of course.

Of course.

If you don't have a copy of photoshop yourself, I sincerely and truly hope you have that special person in your life who does, and beg them to cook you up some fun.

Photoshop Instructions So You Can Make Your Own!

And yes, I am planning on putting them in protective sheets so they can color them over and over, taking turns coloring on their sister's picture, you know.

When He's Away

Devin is out of town for a while.  When he first started this job, Devin went on trips a lot more often than he has lately.  Which is great, and I love to have him around.  The only thing is that when he was gone more often I was more used to it, and so were the girls.

Let's just say that when he leaves it becomes abundantly clear who is the steady rock in this house.

This morning Heather went to church without shoes, because even though she kept demanding "shoes! shoes, ma ma!" I plain forgot to get them for her.

Yes, I have gotten to the point where I can forget to do something WHILE the person is telling me to do it.  I don't want to talk about it.

For lunch we had frozen pizza.  I mean, it wasn't frozen when we ate it.  Things aren't THAT bad around here.  To make up for the nutritionally lacking lunch, I was going to go all out fresh fruits and vegetables for dinner.  Then I completely forgot about dinner until 8:00, so we had applesauce, raisins, and cheese, and ran off to bed.

I broke a Redbox, box, thing, at a Wal-Greens yesterday.  I hope I don't get arrested and then people will make fun of me for confessing on social media to the crime... but yes, if you tried to get a movie from kiosk b at WalGreens yesterday evening, that was my bad. I don't know what happened.

I believe that their combined mess making capabilities triple the minute Devin walks out the door with a suitcase.  But really, this makes me crazy. 

I find it incredibly hard to sleep at night.  I come up with a million "reasons" to not go to bed until "later", in a "little while", I'll just do this "one last thing" and eat a "few more" skittles.

Heather wanders around the house in the morning looking for her early morning pal, calling "da? home? da, is? da, home? are you?"  and I don't know how to answer those questions to that tiny face.

Hanna says things in her prayer like,
"Thank you that mommy gets to stay home with her girls and take care of them."
"Thank you that mommy gets all the jobs done that she needs to."
My favorite, "Thank you that we don't bother mommy so she can get her work done."

That was her personal prayer after I said our group family prayer in which I prayed for Devin.  When it was her turn she said, "Well, mommy, you just prayed all for daddy, so I will pray for you."

Thanks, Hanna. I guess you can tell I need it.

Today at church Hallie got a brand new fancy notebook as part of her prize for memorizing all 13 articles of faith (she worked so hard), and she wrote a message in it, "Dad I mis yoo".

I think that pretty well sums it up.

I mis yoo too, Devin.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

And then, because:Updated

(I made Devin look at this post and try to figure out which baby was in each picture, and he couldn't do it.  So, kudos to you Al!!  You got them all right, so let me know if you want skittles.  I'm impressed!)

Seeing all those old pictures made me want to look at old pictures, you know how that goes?

And I stumbled on a picture of Hallie that I thought was lost forever in the big computer crash of '09, (as opposed to the little computer crash of '12).  I don't know if my sister had it and sent it to me, or where it was dredged up from (possibly the same place as the mysterious and curious pictures from the last post?)

When I saw that picture I immediately, of course, wanted to compare pictures of all my babies in their just-born-state.  Which led me to pictures of me with my brand new just born babies, and I marveled at the differences in each picture.

Can you tell who is who?  If you guess right, I'll put some skittles in the mail in an envelope with your name on it.  Promise.

Baby and Me #1:Heather

Baby and Me #2: Hallie

Baby and Me #3:Hanna

My Baby #1: Hanna

My Baby #2:Heather

My Baby #: Hallie

Can you tell they are sisters?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

We May Never Know

Well, thanks for those who tried to help me figure it out, I think I am going to log this in as one of life's truly great mysteries.

And now, a walk down the most random memory lane.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Computers and Trash and Pictures and Me

Let's just make this clear once and for all:

I do not understand computers.

I was working on another project for Hallie, not because I don't trust that her teacher is going to give her a good education or anything but because... well, it's what I do, alright?  We all have our hobbies, mine is making worksheets.

So there I was, copying and pasting images to corresponding letters and when I was done I had some extra files to send to the old trash pile.

I was just about to delete everything in the trash pile, when suddenly I thought to myself, "Self, why don't you check what is in your trash before you empty it?"

Which I never do. My philosophy in life is, if it is in the trash, it's trash, and why bother check it every time?

But I gave in to the little whisper in my head and took a peek at the trash.  First thing I saw was a folder called "Amy's Shower Plus".

I've never seen this folder before.  Naturally, I opened it. 

Now this is where, if any of you do understand computers, could help me figure out how this happened.

I will list the strangeness in bulletin form so you can digest it more slowly and perhaps come to a possible conclusion for how this happened.

The pictures were from back... I mean, it's possible Devin and I weren't even married yet.  In fact, I think probably we weren't.  Thus, seven plus years ago.

They were not taken on my camera, because I don't take pictures as a general rule, and if I do then it is other people in them, not me.

This computer is new, and I would have remembered putting these pictures onto my computer somehow, and I didn't.

And if I did put them on my computer somehow, I would certainly not have put them in the trash folder.

I ask you. Where did they come from?  How did they get here? Why are they in the trash?

And now, please, to enjoy this random snippet of my life from seven years ago.

Actually, there are too many.  If anyone can figure out how this happened, I will upload the very most priceless of this find.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A New Baby Is Coming

 Let me begin my explaining what it has looked like in my head the past few weeks.

"Well, that family has four girls.  Maybe I could have four girls too."
"But, if this baby is a girl, then... it isn't a boy."
"And if it isn't a boy, then I won't get to hold my David Jonathon."
"Maybe there is no David Jonathon."
"But maybe, maybe there IS one!  Maybe we'll have a boy!"
"Just imagine, a little boy... could I do it?  Could I teach a boy all the things he needs to know?"
"Well... maybe it will be a girl."

Thus I went round and round in circles, my pregnancy hormones taking me up one side and then down, down the other, and then up up up I would go again.  One moment elated at the thought of another girl, and then sad at the thought of no boy.  The next moment excited at the prospect of a little boy person running around this house, and then sad at the thought that I wouldn't have one more girl child to wear all my favorite pink outfits one more time.

It was exhausting.  But the day finally came, and we all got dressed and ready to go "meet" this newest little baby.  In the car on the way there, Hallie firmly declared herself to be of the "boy" opinion, and Hanna was firmly in the "girl" camp.  Heather remained staunchly neutral.

I was nervous, as I always am on the way to the ultrasound, worrying about seeing baby's bones and heart and brain, and making sure baby had all baby needed to be healthy and strong.

The technology has improved so much from when we saw Hallie this way, I could immediately pick out fuzzy grey features and limbs, and it was fun to point them out to the girls and see them get excited about baby - watching this new little person become a reality to them.

And then the technician asked if we were ready to hear.  Now that I knew all was healthy, I was much more relaxed.

"Well," she says to us with a smile, "looks to me like you're going to have one more girl!"

And we all cheered and laughed, and it was a perfect moment.

But then, in the quiet corners of my heart,  I grieved.  I said goodbye to dreams of a Lightning McQueen Superman Jake the Neverland Pirate Mickey Mouse person.  Gone now were visions of a little boy all dressed up to show off his heroes, running to the door when his real Hero comes home, squealing "daddy!" all the way through the house.  I closed the door on the image of a boy with sunshine in his hair, and blueberries for eyes, and apple pie cheeks.  I packed him away with other childhood dreams that have come and gone, and went back to rejoicing with my family over news of baby girl.

Because I really am excited.  Clearly, I love girls.  Clearly, I have fun doing flowers and pink and braids and dolls and princesses and all of that is a good time.

In quiet moments throughout the day however, as my body reminds me that this really has to be the last baby, I've tucked that dream of David a little deeper in the softest corners of my heart.

I'll tell you this.  My girls better warn their husbands when they get married - I never got to have sons, and I plan on loving the men they pick like they were my own.  These men may be grown all out of Lightning McQueen and Jake the Neverland Pirate, and I certainly hope Mickey Mouse, but if I hug them tight, and hold them long, I hope they understand.

They will be the boys I never had.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Devin was hoping to do an ultramarathon this fall, so he wrote himself a training schedule and got to work.  As it turns out, he won't be able to do the ultramarathon, but as usual he will be doing the Market to Market.  I am sad to miss it this year, but am hoping to talk friends into doing it with me next year!  I am also hoping that I will be faster next time...

My soccer coach used to "motivate" us for our sprints and other drills by yelling these phrases at us.  Devin asked me to print them off so he can display them in the workout room.  So, for any fellow Muncie Central High soccer alumni, please enjoy.  For the rest of you, did you ever have a coach yell "motivational" words at you?

Nightmare Daydreams

I have a confession to make this morning.

It may shock you.

First though, let me clarify.

I like feeling the baby move. I like knowing that she (he - I'm practicing, just in case you know?) is moving and exercising and stretching her (his?) limbs.

But really, I don't like feeling the baby move, except for of course, what I mentioned above.

There are various reasons, but mostly I just don't like the way it feels.

Also, it reminds me that baby is growing bigger... and bigger means coming out sooner... and coming out means pain and a million possible things that could go wrong.

It is at this point that the nightmare daydreams begin.  I mean, have you ever considered the incalculable number of things that could go wrong?

Let's say, for instance, that I'm taking a shower.  A contraction comes, and it is so sudden and intense that I slip a little.

Which causes me to overcompensate, and factoring in my awkward center of gravity, and the wet floor, I fall down.

I break my leg.

I am in the shower, having contractions, with a broken leg.

Devin is at work.  My children are playing outside.

There is no one to hear me scream for help.  Or deliver my baby.

That was delightful, wasn't it?

Let me introduce you to scenario number two.

I am dropping Hallie off at school in the morning, Heather and Hanna buckled in their seats, Hallie is grabbing her backpack and about to hop out the door into the chill autumn morning.  It is probably raining, hard.

A contraction comes, and it is so sudden and intense that my foot presses down on the gas instead of the brake, accidentally.

I tap dance into the car in front of me, and since it is so wet he goes slip sliding into the car in front of him.

A 15 car pileup.

We all have to wait for the officers to arrive, and when they do, amid my contracting and steady breathing I realize that I didn't bring my driver's license.

And my insurance is expired.

So is my vehicle registration.

The cop thinks I'm faking contractions to get out of the whole mess, because it is after all my fault, and I have no identification and no proof that the car is even mine.

He is scratching his head trying to decide what to do with me.

(What would they do with me?)

Contractions keep coming.

He is forced to deliver my baby, Hanna and Heather still buckled in their seats in the back.

That's why I might look tired if you see me today.

It's hard to sleep with scenarios like that running through your mind.

And I know, I know. Highly improbable, both of them.  But also, entirely possible.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

On My Desktop

Right now my desktop is full of coloring page images of random things that I downloaded from the internet: an apple, an ant, a bookworm, a butterfly, a cupcake, an ice cream cone, a bird, a dog, a baby, a door, a dragon, a school bus, a little boy by a stream...

Some of it is for teaching the tiny people music at church, some of it is for Hallie, some of it is for Hanna, but all of it is because I am a huge nerd.  Apparently, you can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you can't take the teacher out of me.

In case anyone else is interested, here are some of the things we've been cooking up over here.

To help Hallie practice her sight words, I put these cute apples into powerpoint, wrote her sight words on them in a font I downloaded (huge new hobby there), and then printed them, colored them red, and taped them to the wall.  As Hallie learns new sight words, her bookworm will enjoy eating more apples.

I colored the bookworm too, and Devin will attest to the fact that I sort of have a little crush on him.  I think he's kind of the cutest thing, ever.  Yes, I know. Weird.

I also used the apples in a lesson for Hanna, I printed ten of these apples, some large and some small, and then I cut off the leaves of some, and colored some green and some red. Then we counted the apples, found the differences between them, and counted each according to what was different. (How many green? How many big? How many with leaves?)

At school Hallie was tested in letter recognition, and she got all of them except for "fancy g", and apparently had some trouble discerning between the lower case "b" and "d".  She also wants to practice writing her name with lower case letters.  I cooked this up for her.

If you'd like something similar with your child's name on it, let me know and I'll see what I can cook up for you.

The little boy by the stream I printed and colored to use as my visual to cue the littles (ages 18 months to 3 years old) in nursery when we will sing "Give Said the Little Stream".  He is in competition with the bookworm for cutest thing I've ever colored.

And back to the apples, I made this maze for Hanna to begin recognizing lower case letter "a".  Help the ant get to the apple!

And to be clear, this post is mostly for me so that if I delete these things from my computer they are still saved somewhere, just in case I ever want them again.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Pep Talk For Me

On Facebook a few weeks ago, I posted a picture that I thought was funny and encapsulated pretty well a lesson we are trying to teach Hallie right now, that of when it is reasonable to cry about something, and when it is not.

Recently, I commented to a friend that I wished I knew where to get my hands on a poster of an adorable kitten hanging on to a tree branch, with words written in a large bold font something like, "Just Hang In There".

More recently, Hallie brought home a cute little book from her library at school about a little family of bunnies getting ready for bed.  The last page says,
Always lovely,
Always new,
Tomorrow's waiting
Just for you.

Even more recently than that, Hallie and I have been working on memorizing the last Article of Faith she needs to learn to get her big prize.  One phrase in particular kept sticking in my mind as we recited the words.  That phrase is, "we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things."

All things.

That's a lot of things.  Especially when you consider that you have already endured "many" things.

All day yesterday the angry voice in my head kept screaming "I can't do this! I just can't!"  and then the hard, logical voice inside my head kept saying, "Well, you just have to.  Which means you can."

And then I cried.

When I woke up today, the sun shining on my very own "tomorrow", things didn't seem quite so bad, and as I've gone through the day all the little pep talks that I've been giving to other people kept running through my head like an old sitcom on late night television.  You know you've seen it before, but you just can't change the channel.

I think this is one of those decisions that you just have to keep making throughout your life, when the crazy days come and you are screaming inside your head that you just CAN'T do it, or you just don't WANT to do it, or you just SHOULDN'T HAVE to do it, that you are going to do it anyway.  Because that is what is in front of you, and there is no choice but to go through.  So you do.

I love the sentiment in Hallie's book.  Tomorrow is new.  You might have some ideas about what will happen tomorrow, possibly some very educated guesses, but you don't actually know.  And so why not hope that it will be the best day ever?  That you will fall in love, or get a promotion, or not be in pain anymore, or learn to ride the bike, or pass that hard test, or patch up a soured relationship.

Who knows!  It could be tomorrow!  Why not?  Tomorrow is lovely. It is new.  It is waiting, just for you. 

Just for me.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Stories of Us

Hallie loves her kindergarten teacher.  She also loves making crafts and pictures and anything with crayons and glue and scissors.  She was covering me in little art projects, so in desperation I suggested she make one for her teacher.  She finished it today and was showing it off to Hanna.

"Look what I made, Hanna! It's a love note that I made because I made it!  See look, I made it out of paper because paper is what I used and then I folded it like this and then I glued this flower on and I wrote a message on the inside.  See how I made it?"
I have no idea where she learned the phrase "love note", but I'm sure her teacher has NEVER gotten one of those before. (yes, sarcasm)

Hanna and Hallie sometimes have the funniest conversations in the backseat.  Sometimes it is peaceful and friendly, sometimes not.  One day I overheard:
Hanna - "Hallie, are you asleep?"
Hallie - "No, I'm not asleep."
Hanna -"Mommy, Hallie is asleep."
Hallie - "Hanna, I said I was NOT asleep."
Hanna - "It's ok Hallie, I told mom you were asleep."
Hallie - "But Hanna, I'm NOT! I'm awake!!"
Hanna - "Shhh, Hallie, you're asleep."

Heather is learning new words every day, and discovering new expressions she can make with her face.  She has also learned that her sisters think it is funny when she is naughty, which encourages her to be naughty all the time.  What makes it really hard is that sometimes I also think she is funny when she is being naughty.  Why do these little people have to be so ridiculously cute?

 Yep, we're all just trying to make it through each day around here.

These nice pictures make it look like it all must be so easy, don't they?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Impossible Things

"It is inevitable", I told him.

"It is impossible", he told me.

"Just keep trying", I told him, trying not to sound condescending when I added, "It's probably so easy for me because I've been doing it since I was little."

He stumbles and grumbles attempting this simple task, and I try not to laugh out loud as I watch.  You know, I really like this man.  This man, this professor and scientist, this math enthusiast who talks about statistics, and not the baseball kind, like other guys talk about football, who spent his Saturdays in high school doing calculus, not for a team, or for a club, but for fun.  Just good old fashioned fun.  The man who has run 25 or so marathons, and had to be hospitalized after three of them because he would not stop running when his body was clearly begging him to Please Stop Running.

Those things weren't impossible.  They probably didn't even register as hard.  Tying a ponytail up in a hair tie?  Impossible.  His fingers get all tangled and mangled in hair and elastic and he gives up the whole effort.  For a while.  But in a house with three girls who need hair pulled out of their faces, it is nice to have him step up every now and then, and so he tries again.

And would you believe it, after years of trying and failing, he tried and succeeded. Mastery!

"Now", I tell him, "it is time to learn to braid the hair."

"It is impossible", he tells me.

"It is inevitable", I tell him.

"I can't do it", he tells me.

"Just keep trying", I tell him, and I try not to sound condescending when I add, "It's probably so easy for me because I've been doing it since I was Hallie's age.  You know really, I should probably start teaching her to braid.  Then even if she can't do her own yet, she could do Hanna's."

Then he looks at me with the look that says, I Am Not Going To Give Up On Something You Think My Five Year Old Could Do.  Thus he tries again.

Seeing him on the edge of despair at ever learning to braid last week, I finally caved in and told him, "You know, when I was little I learned how to do braids with ribbons.  Do you want me to cut you some ribbons? You can sit on the couch and practice while we watch the Care Bears movie and cuddle tonight."

I think he thought I crossed a line with that last bit, but that method worked for me, you know?

Next step after braids?  I made him promise to learn how to cut my hair.  Hey, I do his haircuts, don't you think he could learn to cut mine?

We shall see.  We shall see.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

I Talk Too Much

Scrolling through my blog, yet again, I notice that it is a picture wasteland.  Some people's blogs are just stuffed full of pictures and smiling faces, and mine is all words, words, words.

Because that's all I do is just blah blah blah all day long.

See look, this was supposed to be a post with just some fun pictures, and here I go messing it up with all this talk talk talk.


We washed the car on Labor Day!

Well, no. I didn't wash the car at all. I was heavily involved in the rinsing, with the hose, though.

There you go! Pictures!!

Friday, September 6, 2013


It occurred to me a few days ago that since this is the first week of September, that means we are a month away from General Conference.  I got that familiar thrill that comes from knowing that soon all my cares and worries will be lifted for two days as I bask in the glow that comes from listening to the testimonies of men who are calm and secure in their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

This morning there was some discussion on my Facebook feed about Thomas S. Monson and his testimony.  It sparked within me a desire to read and hear for myself his testimony.  Thanks to the fancy internet, I don't have to wait until next month.  I share with you now some bits and pieces of his testimony that I found on my search this morning.

“With all my heart and the fervency of my soul, I lift up my voice in testimony as a special witness and declare that God does live. Jesus is His Son, the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh. He is our Redeemer; He is our Mediator with the Father. He it was who died on the cross to atone for our sins. He became the firstfruits of the Resurrection. Because He died, all shall live again. ‘Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: “I know that my Redeemer lives!” ’ May the whole world know it and live by that knowledge, I humbly pray, in the name of Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior, amen.”
( “ I Know That My Redeemer Lives!” Ensign, May 2007, 25. )

“I testify that with God, all things are possible. He is our Heavenly Father; His Son is our Redeemer. As we strive to learn His truths and then to live them, our lives and the lives of others will be abundantly blessed.”
( “Becoming Our Best Selves,” Ensign, Apr. 2006, 6. )

“Many of you … [already know] that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith is indeed a prophet, and that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ. Some of you, however, may still be living on the testimony of others—your parents, your friends, your Church leaders. May I suggest that . . . you set aside time every day to find out for yourself if the Book of Mormon is a true book, for it will change your heart and change your life. If you seek this knowledge ‘with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ,’ I promise that you will receive an answer. And once you know that the Book of Mormon is true, then it will follow that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. You will have that burning testimony and knowledge that this church is true.”
“Such knowledge,” President Monson says, “such a personal testimony, is essential if we are to safely navigate the sometimes treacherous paths through life with the adversary attempting to deceive us at every turn. As you keep the flame of testimony burning brightly, you will become a beacon of righteousness—even a light—for all to see.”
(You Can Know It's True)

“I declare my personal witness that death has been conquered, victory over the tomb has been won. May the words made sacred by Him who fulfilled them become actual knowledge to all. Remember them. Cherish them. Honor them. He is risen."

This beautiful and simple video, recorded July 2013.