Sunday, December 28, 2008

I don't know if I should let anyone into this part of my brain ...but here it goes

I'm sure there are several people out there who share this same after Christmas pattern with me- cleaning out old toys to make room for new toys. I'm sure this is a very smart, efficient idea that is in several books with titles like, "Organize your house and everything in it." "Clear your home, Clear you mind." or "Peace in the soul begins with peace in the playroom closets." (I don't know these are actual books but I believe they could be with all the self-help, organizational info out there. Hasn't Oprah done a show about something like this?!?) And I do agree that this is a good, solid yearly practice. But my problem with this practices lies in the innerworkings of my mind and somewhat from my nurturing environment- you know the nature vs. nurture debate. I have mentioned this several times before but I was raised by a financially careful father and a clutter careful mother. Please know that there are several more facets to both of my parents personalities but these are the two parts that have strongly been endued in me and are often battling it out in my mind. Therefore they are great fodder for posts. (I'm trying to get my sister to have to use an online dictionary by using words like fodder and endued- because that is part of my personality- although I don't think that is a nurture trait. I believe that is just me.)
But back to my inner dilemma- I want to have clean, organized closets like my mom taught me, but in order to do this I have to throw stuff away, which goes against my father's mantra of "Use it up, wear it out, make it due or do without." So when I go to throw away the one of seven baby dolls we have that has an eye missing and a marker-decorated head, I find myself creating a scenario where I would need this mutilated doll and if I don't save it, I will have to go out and buy a new one. What this scenario really is I couldn't tell you, but it causes me to have a playroom filled with semi-useful, semi-fun toys that don't really get played with but are there just in case.
And another factor that complicates this in my mind is (and shhh!- don't tell Eric this part.) ,but I don't know if I am done having children, so I should keep that Bob the Builder Memory Game just in case I have another child and just in case it is a boy! AHHHH! I really need help. Plus my mom who attacks unuseful clutter the same way one should attack a stuck on band-aid- just rip it right off- is halfway across the world so she can't tell me to finally throw away that Chinese checkers game that I bought from DI 13 years ago when I started teaching school but I have never played with my kids. But really who knows when the mood might strike me to play a game of Chinese checkers-which truth be told I don't even know how to play. And so the cycle plays through in my head. And if anyone has any suggestions on how to break this cycle- please let me know! But for now I will just sleep peacefully knowing that if anyone gets the urge to play with a talking barbeque whose lid falls off every time it gets opened- I'm their woman!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My nomination for "Mother of the Year" should be arriving anyday...

I have observed a certain phenomenon in motherhood. I am not sure what its title might be, but some possibilities include: "ying/yang," "opposition in all things," "even stephen," or "one up/one down." Whatever you call it- it is this: As a mother everything/everyone around you is not allowed to be at peace with you at the same time. Case in point- Let's say you are cleaning a part of your house- the bathrooms for instance. You spend hours making them look spotless and you are quite proud of them. Then you walk out into the Family Room and it is a disaster because you banished your kids out of the bathrooms so you could clean them in peace. See according to this phenomenon the family room is not allowed to stay clean when you are cleaning the bathrooms. The universe just won't allow it. I imagine they are several more for instances in a mother's life that would demonstrate this phenomenon, but the one I am choosing to focus on for this post relates to how my daughters see me. It has already been established that my second daughter thinks I am mean as Matilda's mom. So just when I work to become like Ms. Honey to her, my oldest daughter thinks I have become like Ms. Trunchbull. (This is the second reference to "Matilda" in just as many posts, so if you haven't seen or read this delightful story, stop reading my blog and go do so!)

But I am getting ahead of myself. This past Monday night was Katie's highly anticipated "Christmas Dance Recital" on the big stage. I felt like I had truly out done myself in getting her ready and being prepared.

Sewing her dress so the heart stays still- check.

Taking her to get her hair done at the salon- check.

Putting her make-up on and bringing it with me to reapply between shows- check.

Bringing her a sandwich and drink to have between shows- check.

Taking crayons and a coloring book to keep her occupied between shows- check.

(Her dance does two shows in one night- long story and not worth the time to explain.)

Inviting grandparents- check.

Bringing a treat for her to share with the class- check.

Buying her flowers and asking her dad to bring them when he came to the show- check.

Little did I know the last one was my Achilles Heel. Here is a picture of her looking quite adorable in her Peacock dress.

Who wouldn't be proud of this little munchkin?!? And I was feeling quite proud of my mothering abilities as well up until Eric and Annie got to the auditorium with the flowers for Katie and THE note! As they were sitting down Annie hands me a note folded up in a homemade envelope. Here is verbatim what was on the envelope and the contents inside:


To: Kari (No "mom"-very significant!)

From: Sad Annie (drawing of frowny face and the back is covered with frowny faces.)


Front-Very Sad (Big frowny face)

Inside: Dear Mom, I am very sad that you got Katie flowers and not me. You never got me flowers when I was in dance. I will never talk to you again Mom. P.S. Don't be mean. (Another big frowny face) Very, very, very, very, very sad.

Back: (Huge frowny face) Very, very, very,very,very,very, very, very, very sad!

Now some punctuation and spelling was changed in the transposing of this note, but no frowny faces or verys were added. It is all authentic. So my basic feeling after reading this note was, "All those who think they are a good mother, please step forward. Not so fast, Kari." And in Annie's defense when she was in dance she asked for flowers at every recital and I always forgot. I wasn't really playing favorites. I think I just remembered to get them this time because Annie had asked me so many times before to get them for her and it finally stuck. Unfortunately it stuck after Annie stopped wanting to do dance. So now there is an $8.99 Albertsons flower bouquet to be bought for Annie next time she passes a level in gymnastics because she has informed me that her flowers have to cost the same as Katie's. But by then I am sure I will want to lock Katie up in the "chokey"- I'm telling ya- "Matilda" is a great show.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tales of the Mousehunter

I have posted so much about Katie recently and with Annie having her own blog now, I decided Finn needed a little face-time. I have a great story about him, but first I must explain this picture. It was taken at his recent piano recital, but not by me. I had fully intended to video his stunning interpretation of "Sultan's Caravan" by Bastien and post it here for all to enjoy, but in true-to-mom- form I got my camera out to find that the battery had been exhausted. Fortunately for me, my good friend, Lori- who by the way is excellent at documenting her six children's lives- she really should teach classes- was at the same recital and she took this picture for me. He looks so grown up and handsome in this picture. Now on to the story:

We had Thanksgiving at our house this year for my family. Finn invited his two cousins- Michael and Jeffrey to spend the night after the big dinner. I had finished cleaning up from the shin-dig and had just settled into bed to watch a movie with Eric. Finn came into our room and said, "Mom, I just saw a mouse crawl under the door in the family room and go into the craft room." I really was not surprised at this because I had seen evidence that a mouse was in our house, but I hadn't seen a mouse therefore there wasn't a mouse. The same denial tactic Katie uses when she closes her eyes when I ask her to clean up the mess she made. "If I don't look at the mess, maybe it won't be there anymore." So I had rationalized the mouse out of our house in 4year old fashion. Eric told the boys to just ignore it and he would get a mousetrap the next day. They seemed to accept this and went back downstairs. We then heard all kinds of thumps, bumps and rattlings coming from downstairs. After about 10 minutes Finn comes upstairs with his cousins in tow. He is proudly holding a shoebox at arm's length and proclaims, "I caught it!"
"Caught what?", I say. (Remember in my mind the mouse was never in the house because I had not seen it.)
"The mouse."
"Ehhhhhh" and retreating to the farthest corner of my bed was my appropriate female response. I also immediately pictured it my head the scene in "Ratatouille" where there is one mouse seen in the house but there are hundreds in the walls and ceiling. My denial bubble had been burst. Eric said, "Ok- give it to me and I'll kill it."
"Nooo!" Finn and his cousins said. "We want to set it loose outside." As they did this, I am thinking that Michael and Jeffrey must think they are spending the night in a filthy, mouse-infested basement, but then I remember that they are 9 year old boys and this will probably go down in history as one of the best sleepovers EVER!
Even though the mouse had been caught and set loose outside, I still called Orkin the next day because of said "Ratatouille" scene. A really nice, chatty Orkin lady came over and I told her about Finn the mousehunter and recounted my "Ratatouille" fears to her. "Don't worry." she said. "I've only seen that once." WHAT?!? I was just telling you that to be funny and folksy because "Ratatouille" is only an animated movie and those things don't happen in real life. But she proceeded to tell me about a house she saw- up closer to the mountains she assured me- where you could literally hand feed all the rats in this lady's house and yard! Comforting! But after inspecting my house, she told me there was probably only one or two mice in my house. And also that the one Finn had caught the night before would probably come right back because there was evidence in my crawl space that the mouse had been making bedding with imsulation in there so it knows this is its house. "Ehhhhhh!" again from me but this time internally because I didn't want the Orkin lady to know what a fraddy-cat I am of mice. (I still say my prayers on top of my bed at night because one night about 8 years ago I was kneeling by the side and a mouse came scurrying out from under my bed. This was in a different house, but still.) She set some traps and said if I had any more problems to call her.
So I am happy to report that thanks to Finn and the Orkin lady, my house is mouse free. Although I should note that there was a mouse hurt in the telling of this story. Sorry Finn but Mama needs to have a little more reassurance than just seeing the mouse scurry down the street. Which is why I spent $70.00 on the Orkin lady and worth every penny!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Self-Esteem Booster

Mom: Katie, hurry and get in the car. We have to go get Finn from piano lessons.
Katie: No, I'm going to stay home.
Mom: You can't stay home by yourself.
Katie: But I can be brave like Matilda and stay home alone.
Mom: I know you are brave like Matilda but I'm not mean like Matilda's mom and leave you home alone.
Katie: Sometimes you are scary like Matilda's mom.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

All in the Family.

Looking for something to do this weekend, Annie asked if she could start a blog. I thought it would be fun for her so I willingly started one for her. But now that is has been 3 days and she is constantly asking me to put pictures on for her and make videos of her and her friends so she can put them on, I am regretting this decision a wee-bit! I barely have time to keep mine own up let alone hers. But hopefully she will learn and become a little more self-sufficient. For obvious reasons I made hers private, so if you would like an invitation, let me know in my comments. It is quite cute to read what she puts in it. And she and her friends like to make several comments. So if you do read, know she isn't that popular, just a bit "into herself"- like most 7 year olds, I imagine. And of course Katie wants a blog too, but I told she has to be more than 2 years diaper free and know how to do more than just play Polly Pockets on the computer!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Diddy!

I know my posts have been a little heavy on the videos with Katie as the subject matter, but when Katie came home from preschool today reciting this poem, I knew I had to post it. My mom and dad are all over this kind of stuff, so this is a mini- Thanksgiving talent show for them. I hope you especially enjoy the mach-speed Katie goes into at the end.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Peacock's Dance Debut

Katie has been patiently watching Annie in her dance classes for three years and now it is finally her turn to wear a fancy costume, put on makeup and dance on the "big" stage. She calls her costume a "peacock" dress. I'm not sure why. It may be because of the color or maybe because of the big plume like skirt. Either way she loves it. This video is her class practicing with their costumes for the performance in December. And since my parents won't be here for that, this video is mainly for their benefit. But if anyone else happens to watch it also , please know that Katie didn't get her skipping skills from my side of the family!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

48 years of Friendship and counting

Three weeks ago I went to California to visit two of my oldest and dearest friends- Lisa and Lara. I talk about these two friends a lot, so I thought I would introduce them to you.

This is Lisa- Lisa Bay to those who know her in California. But I have known her since she was 6 years old and she hated her middle name "Bay" back then so I believe I am the only one who can call her just Lisa. We have been friends for 28 years- through elementary school, middle school- that's what it was called in Georgia- high school, college and all the years beyond. How many people can claim that! This is her at Norcross High School cheering on the mighty Blue Devils.

This is Lara- Oofer K. Johnson to only me and I know I am the only one who can call her that! We meet when we were 14 years old and had 3 classes together our sophomore year. Those were some good times- way too many memories to bore everyone else with here- but let's just say we thought we were hilarous! This is her playing basketball for the mighty Lady Blue Devils. Please note that I did not include an early nineties big haired sporty picture of myself because a.) I did not have big hair, b.) I was not what you would call "sporty" in high school- my sports career consisted of church basketball and a one week stint on the track team- and c.) I think I have included enough embarrassing pictures of myself on my blog to last a lifetime, but I'm sure Lisa and Lara are very glad I began my introduction of them with those pictures. Here are some more:

This picture is of Lisa and I when we were in Brownies together in Florida. I am the one holding a book in the middle with the glasses- beauty, eh! Lisa in the middle one on the front row with the extra pins on her uniform and the sassy yarn ribbon on her shoulder. Its pretty safe to assume that these were symbols of her going above and beyond in her Brownie duties! Lisa has always been an overachiever- but it takes one to know one and I think we are both working on that one!

This is Lara and I posing with IBC root beer bottles on Lara's high school ride- aka- "The Bruised Banana." If either one of us decides to quit our day-jobs- being a car model is a fairly safe bet for us to fall back on! It is still a mystery to us why we didn't have a date to the Homecoming Dance. In fact I believe this picture was taken on said "Homecoming Night" when we didn't need those lame dates and created our own fun. I'm just wondering when pleated, high-waisted pants are going to come back in. We rocked those!

This is the three of us, as Seniors, after we schooled the Juniors in Powder Puff football. (And by "we" I mean everyone else...notice how Lisa and Lara's black face paint is smudged from sweat and mine is still perfectly in tact. Oh- I forgot to put the powder puff game on my above- mentioned illustrious sports high school career list!)

Here we are with our boyfriends- well not really- but we talked a lot about this event- Lisa's 17th birthday surprise- during my recent visit to CA so I had to put this picture on.

Here we are at our high school graduation. Look at all that "honors" flare! Yea- we were all pretty much nerds and just in case that was up for debate- just check out our matching white flats.

Even though after high school we all went to different colleges, we stayed in contact and saw each other quite a bit for living across the country. The summer after we all graduated from college Lisa and Lara made a cross-country trip and stopped to pick me up. We then went up to Jackson Hole and Yellowstone. This picture was taken in Jackson Hole.
We really have been very good about getting together and making girls' trips a priority. This is us in the summer of 2005 at Eric's family cabin up near Park City. This is our version of Glamour shots or as we like to call them- "Laquisha Senior Pictures."
This is us at Panama City Beach back in 1991...

And this is us at Santa Monica Beach in October 2008! We were hot then and if I do say so myself- we are hot now! I really love and adore these two incredibly strong women. Besides my siblings, they have seen me through more stages of life than anyone. They are two of the most loving, authentic, caring and passionate people I know. Even though our daily lives are extremely different we all love, respect and support each other in our varying journeys. They have helped me become who I am. Here's to 48 more years of combined friendship. I can guarantee we will be doing Girls' trips when we are in our 80's! I'll be bringing the new recipes for everyone to try, Lara will bring the gifts from Mother Earth and Lisa will be making sure we are all on track with our lifetime goals and dreams. Thank you ladies for making me a better person. I love you!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What do you do to entertain yourself now that daylight savings is over?

This is what we do!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Nothing says the day after Halloween like....

1. A Happy Birthday Shout-Out to Mama Missy. Today is her birthday and she is very, very far away but we want her to know we love her and miss her. When we were little we would often make her "candy-grams" ("What's a candy-gram? I want one!"- Name that movie. If you really don't know, I will make one for you!) for her birthday with our Halloween candy. It was cute the first time we did it, but after a few years she got mad at my dad for letting us continue to make them. I suppose she wanted something a little more thoughtful and not just our sloppy-seconds from trick-or treating. Gosh- who does she think she is- the one who gave us birth or something?!? But I am guessing she would give anything for a hand delivered candy-gram from any one of us right now! I tried to find a fun silly picture of her to post with this, but I couldn't so I settled for this one of her with her several of her favorite people- her grandkids!

2. Grandpa and Grandma Pumpkins smiling without their dentures! Their lighted candle days are numbered, but they don't seem to mind.

I don't know why I think this so funny, but I do!

3. Posting of the kids' Halloween photos. Here are the cast of characters that will soon be added to our dress-up box.

Jack Sparrow

In my humble, unbiased opinion, Johnny Depp has nothing on this Jack Sparrow.

I loved telling people what Annie was going to be for Halloween- especially if they hadn't seen "High School Musical." They would look at me with a questioning look and say, "Sharpay- like the dog or the pen?" But if you know my daughter at all and have seen "High School Musical", it shouldn't surprise you in the least that "Sharpay" is the character Annie wanted to be.

Belle and a Ladybug.
Katie had insisted on being Sleeping Beauty for Halloween for most of October, but then she called a last minute audible- my husband should be extremely impressed with my correct usage of football terms- and decided she had to be Belle. Thank goodness for Aunt Jessica who had a Belle costume she could wear and have no less! And the Ladybug was completely enamored with the whole concept of Halloween once she figured it out.

4. Checking out everyone else's blogs for photos of their kiddos on Halloween. I think I'll go do that right now!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Would you rather....?

Have you ever played that game "Would you rather...?" It is that game where you chose between two things that are equally bad or good or have different drawbacks. So your answer reveals what is important to you or something about you. For example, "Would you rather be rich and fat or poor and skinny?" or "Would you rather be pretty and dumb or ugly and smart?" Well, I know Annie's answer to the pretty/dumb or ugly/smart question. Here is the conversation that revealed the answer to me:
Annie: Mom, how come you can't marry your cousin? (Now remember Annie is 7 and boys are starting to become interesting to her. She doesn't have any weird tendencies toward her family members. We are close with her cousins and she has several boys cousins, so naturally those are the ones she would be curious about first.)
Mom: Who do you want to marry?
Annie: Jeffrey. (Good choice- Jeffrey is quite the ladies' man!)
Mom: Well, if you marry your cousin, your kids would be squirrelly. (For lack of a better word.)
Annie: What does that mean?
Mom: They could be retarded. (I know not the most PC word, but I was trying to make a point by making the desire to marry a cousin less desirable.)
Annie: What does that mean? (Point not taken.)
Mom: They could be dumb.
Annie: Yeah, but why can't I marry my cousin?
Mom: (Desperate to find something unappealing about marrying your cousin.) Your kids could be ugly.
Annie: OHHH, never mind. I don't want ugly kids.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Up for daughter of the year!

These are my parents and right now they are serving a mission for our church in Czech Republic, Prague to be exact. I am a 34 year old woman and I have never been without my mom and dad for more than a few weeks. Even at college, they were still only 40 minutes away. Pathetic , I know, but nonetheless true! I have been doing surprisingly well without them- thanks for asking- but it has only been two weeks. I do miss them a lot, but I know they are where they should be. They have been planning this mission since the beginning of the year and this is the first time I have mentioned it on my blog. My sisters have written about it several times each- so they are probably in better contention for the "Daughter of the Year" award. But I am about to remedy that.

Now my intention here is to write a tribute to my parents, but first I must tell a little story. But stick with me, I will eventually tie it back to the parents. A few nights ago I was with some friends having dinner. The conversation turned to "What is your passion?" I think I may have asked this question because I am always curious to know what other people's passions are because I don't think I could name a specific passion or interest that really drives me. I enjoy many different things, but I can't think of one thing I just couldn't live without. The girl I asked answered that dancing was hers. I have also heard people say music or sports or writing or decorating or you get the idea. I have had this conversation with my mother as well and her feelings are similar to mine in that we can't think of just one thing. I think we both feel like this is some sort of shortcoming. Like we aren't a whole, complete person without a "passion." During this same evening with my girlfriends, the conversation at one point was about "getting over" some of the mistakes our parents made. Everyone expressed love for their parents, but I could tell a few people have had rougher childhoods. It made me think about what I have had to "get over". I mean sure my mother likes a clean house and sometimes I can hear the "a place for everything and everything in its place" echo in my ear. And my dad is a big proponent of saving and I get the image of Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins singing "If you invest your tuppence wisely in the bank safe and sound, soon that tuppence safely invested in the bank will compound." (And no, I didn't remember all the words to those lyrics. I LOVE google!) When I was younger, often when I came home from babysitting with cash or got a paycheck from whatever measly job I had, my dad, with a sly grin on his face, would sheepishly ask, "Do you want me to put that in the bank for you?" But really being clean and saving money- are these really vices I need to "get over?!?" I think many people across the nation and world could benefit from such upbringing. In fact, all this government bailout mess has happened while my dad has been gone and I am dying to know his opinion on it.
Now I am not trying to say my parents were perfect, I mean they made mistakes too. Just ask any one of their children- we will be able to recall any number of incidences by reciting famous Robbins' parents' sayings- i.e.- "Where's your brain- in you foot?" or "I'm mad now, you can move." (At this point, my parents are thinking "Hey wait a minute! What kind of tribute is this!") But what I am trying to say is that I think I have discovered my parents' passion... raising stable, healthly, well-adjusted children. I am learning this is no small feat and requires passionate dedication. I'm not saying if a person has another passion, they can't be a good parent, but I am eternally grateful my parents did devote so much of their energy to raising their family. I can't speak for my siblings, but I always felt like we were their #1 priority. One of the miracles of this kind of sacrifice is what is called the "ripple effect." When they put in the time, energy, love and devotion it requires to raise children well, the effects can be far-reaching. You see, because I had a childhood with good memories, a feeling of well-being and an understanding of who I am, I am in a better position to provide this for my children who then can provide this for their children and on and on. The effect can literally last forever. And really what better purpose in life is there than that! This is also why I am amazed at people who may have had a harder childhood, who can overcome it and still be the kind of parents they didn't have.
But for now the lucky people of the Czech Republic can receive some of the love I have so selfishly taken for granted for 34 years. Thank you mom and dad for making me who I am! I love you both and miss you terribly!
(And if that don't raise my standing in the "Daughter of the Year" competition, I don't know what will!)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

You Might Be My Sibling If... Addendum

If your Saturday nights were not complete without the musical stylings of "The Lawrence Welk Show", you might be my sibling. I saw this on SNL and couldn't stop laughing. Even after I turned the TV off, I kept shaking the bed with my giggles. I hope you enjoy it as much as I "doo-doo-doo-oooo!"

Thursday, October 9, 2008

"If all your natural instincts have been wrong, then the opposite must be right."- Seinfeld

This is a lesson I have had to learn this year. Without going into too much detail, I have come to the realization that some of my thinking and actions have not been the most beneficial for myself or my loved ones and this year I have had to not only learn this, but also put it into practice. This is no easy task I tell you. But let me give you an example- last week was my birthday. (I know, I know- I'm a week late posting this- but I'm a recovering perfectionist, so I am OK with that!) Anyway, in the past I have just sat back and waited for other people to recognize my birthday and for the most part I have been fine with it. But this year I knew I had to do something different. I decided I was worth celebrating in a fashion I enjoyed- man even typing that is hard! Why do we women think we have to do so much for everyone else and not take the time to recognize what we like and who we are? I suppose that is a post for another day because I just wanted to share my little "breakthrough" in planning and carrying out my own birthday party ever. Yes, I am 34 and this is the first time I have thrown myself a party and I must say it was a damn fun party. And yes, it has been my natural instinct to swear and if that is wrong, I don't wanna be right! I gathered together my sistas both literally and figuratively and had a night on the town. So here is what a group of moderately conservative women with a combined total of 34 children do to celebrate my 34th birthday.

They eat incredible food at "Epic."

They go to a silly play called "Scary Poppins." I love plays and have enjoyed Desert Star Theatre before. This one was cute, but the company was a lot more entertaining.
They just have fun being together.

And although these last two pictures would indicate otherwise, they don't drink!:)

I know a few of my friends felt a little weird, like they should have been the ones planning my birthday, but this was honestly something I needed to do and I'm glad I did it. I am so thankful for all these wonderful women who surround me and make me a better person. I love them all dearly. Just wait until next year when I have learned even more life-changing ideas and put them into practice at my birthday party. Bring on the mid-thirties!

7 year old logic will not be outdone by 9 year old logic.

Riding the coattails of the previous post, here is a small taste of Annie's thinking /personality. The other morning Finn was telling me about a movie they watched in school that was about animals in the future and what they will evolve into. For example he said, "Scientists say that in millions of years there will be octupuses that can crawl on land. There could also be rodents as big as humans. But they say the humans will all be dead by then." Annie overheard the conversation and piped in, "And so will all the scientists."

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

9 Year Old Logic

Finn had some great one-liners this week, so I had to get them documented.
*Here's the set-up: We are having dinner and there are some brownies on the counter. Eric and I tell the kids they can't have any brownies until they finish dinner- you know parent manipulation 101. Annie of course is protesting.
Annie: Please, please can't I have some brownies. I don't like my dinner.
Eric: No, you have to finish your dinner first.
Annie: If you don't let me, I will just sneak them anyway.
Finn: It's not really sneaking if you tell everyone first.
Well said, Finn. Well said.

*I put up our Halloween decorations yesterday because my kids think it is a mortal sin if we don't have our decorations up by October 1st. This was the conversation this morning.
Finn: We need to get some scarier decorations.
Mom: What's wrong with the ones we have?
Finn: They are all smiling.

Then this afternoon, Finn came home from school and I was cleaning up after another day of canning- although this time I was training my padawan- Amber in the ways of Jedi canning, so none of the canned peaches he saw were for us.
Finn: How come when I come home from school you are always canning stuff?
Mom: So we can have good things to eat.
Finn, while putting chips and home canned salsa in his mouth and his sisters are downing a bottle of canned peaches: But you can stuff we don't even like to eat.
Mom: I guess you can just call me crazy because I like to do incredible amounts of work with little to no thanks or recognition. On second thought, you can probably just call me mom.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Meet the newest member of our family.

Contrary to what the title of this post might imply, I'm NOT pregnant and we are not adopting. But we have made an addition to our family and it has caused a greater stir with members of the opposite sex than if I truly did have another child. Meet Eric's newest hobby:

Assuming most of you who read this post are female like myself- you are thinking, "Oh, a truck." But oh no this isn't just any truck- its a 1964 Chevrolet truck that has been restored and it is catching the eye of garbage collectors and tattooed men everywhere. I've been told this is an investment and that Finn will drive it when he is old enough- assuming refined oil is still around in 7 years. Eric bought this truck on Monday and I have already been stopped several times about it and I haven't even driven it yet- Eric tells me he has to teach me how to drive it. But I have decided if I was single, this would definitely be the car to drive to attract men - especially if I was into the kind who sport barbed wire tatts and don't mind manual labor. The best time I was stopped was when I was walking outside to go get Katie from preschool. The garbage man was dumping my cans and stopped his truck to ask me about it. Apparently he had made an offer on it awhile ago, but it was too low. Now I guess he can admire it every Wednesday as he drives by. With all this attention I have decided that this baby needs a name. I have narrowed it down to a few selections, but I need your help to pick one.

1.- Eula May- I had a math professor in college with this name who was from Kentucky. I could totally see her driving this truck.

2.- Cooter- This is a shout out to the "Dukes of Hazzard" or the "Chasing Boys" as my brothers use to call them. To me this truck screams Bo and Luke Duke, but it just don't feel right to steal "General Lee."

3.- Leland- As in "Leland, get back in your cell. Don't make me get da hose." Ooops- I think a bit of my Southern roots are showing!

4.- Ruby- Don't she just shine like a ruby!

Well ,those are your choices so leave me a comment with your vote. And feel free to write in other options. If you need to- use the picture to help you be inspired.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Zucchini doesn't fall far from the vine.

What -another post about zucchini! Yes, I wanted to show that my preoccupation with playing games with my vegetables is genetic. This is an ongoing joke that has been going on in my family for weeks. My sister, Michelle, documented it very well and I refer you to her to enjoy this little nugget out of the Robbins family storybook. And thank you to Amber and her mother for providing us with Brother Zucchini. They should be a proud Aunt and Grandma!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Look who came to our house yesterday...

Mrs. Sally Nesbit!
We always thoroughly enjoy her visits!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

All in a Day's Work

What do you get when you put 3 mothers, 1 grandmother, 7 children, bushels of tomatoes, lots of garlic, basil and oregano, 40 glass jars with rings and lids and several diet cokes together for 6 hours? Well, besides a ginormous mess, you also get this:

I have been canning for about 11 years. My mother-in-law taught me when I was first married. This is probably something I should've or could've learned from my own mother, but I can imagine it is a lot like when my husband tried to teach me to golf. I just didn't want him bossin' me around and I guess I didn't want my mother doing it either. But since I have learned my mother and I have canned several things together. My sisters-in-law wanted to learn how to make this spaghetti sauce that I have canned for many years, so we got together yesterday and boiled, peeled, measured, poured and canned our little hearts out. Canning is not hard at all, but it is very time-consuming especially when you have little ankle-biters constantly wanting to be feed or wiped on various parts of their bodies. That is what is so great about canning with other ladies. Even when one of you gets distracted by offspring, there is someone else who can be moving the product forward. Ideally the best scenario is to invite a grandma or your own mother who doesn't bring any more little people to the premises, but one isn't always so lucky. We were fortunate to have my mother-in-law with us yesterday- even with her gimpy knee! She had knee surgery about 2 weeks ago, but she was a trooper and played "Mother, may I" with the kids and even would chop oregano or peel tomatoes. She is a canner at heart. And I think I am too. There is something so satisfying about being able to look at those filled jars on your counter and think, "Wow, I really accomplished something today." Plus you get to enjoy yummy food for a long time. I know I am weird; sometimes I think I should have been born a century ago. But I still have a plethera of tomatoes in my garden so i think I will be doing several more batches of spaghetti sauce and salsa. So if anyone wants to join me- you are welcome to. Just be forewarned if you do it:

A day of canning="left to their own devices" orphans=

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Many Fashion moods of Katie

Several posts this summer have been devoted to Katie and since today is her 4th birthday, I thought this post- which has been a long time coming- would be appropriate to celebrate the spirit of our little Katie-bug. She has a very unique spirit that is reflected in her clothing choices. I don't micromanage her attire because it is honestly not worth the fight. So without further adieu I present to you the "personality dressing" of Katie:

Katie is the one on the right hand side of the photo, directing traffic. I included this picture because if you saw Katie at all this summer, she was probably wearing this skirt, even with her patriotic tie-dyed shirt on the 4th of July. No holiday is safe from her fashion sense.

Seriously, does it get any better than finishing off a brownie trifle in your princess dress.

Katie doesn't really buy into the theory of less is more. More is more when it comes to having flowers in your ensemble.What goes better with a dirty white shirt than shorts that are just a shade whiter although probably not less dirty.Pink is a neutral- right?!?Ahh- a classic combination in Katie's wardrobe- pink and purple. The week just isn't complete without some combination of these two colors.

We call this outfit "Desert Sunset Meets A Tiptoe through the Tulips in Hot Pink Clogs."

Also in honor of Katie's 4th birthday I am including some new vocabulary Katie has begun to use.

*"Duh"- as in "Duh, mom! I'm a big girl now. I don't need a sippy cup. Duh."


"Actually"- like "Actually mom I don't want macaroni and cheese (after mom has already fixed it, mind you) I want chicken nuggets."

Mom's thought response to this is-"Actually, you'll eat this macaroni cheese because I'm not fixing anything else- duh!"

Really we love our "Katie Kathryn Sara." Our family wouldn't be the same without her.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fun with Vegetables

Ok -so I am a little obsessed about what comes out of my garden and how I use it. Besides the aforementioned zucchini, we also have a bountiful harvest of some pretty gnarly squash. I have made some things with this squash, but my kids have found a much more entertaining use for it. If you have ever seen the TV show "Whose line is it anyway?" you know about a sketch where the comedians take turns using props in different ways. Now picture that with squash and you've got just one example of how my kids entertained themselves this summer!

"Hey, batter, batter- Suh-wing Batter."

You may have heard of the elusive jack-a-lope, but we found a new species in our house- the Suz-a-lope.

"Uh- if you'll excuse me, I have to take this call."

Finn's impression of Sherlock Holmes.

"They call me 'Squash'... Double O 'Squash'!"

And of course after a hard day's work as a double gourd secret agent who wouldn't need a vegetable-powered jet pack!

How sweet! It looks like two swans forming a heart!

And of course "Repeat"-pictured has to follow "Pete"-pictured from above.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

You might be my sibling if...

I saw this post on a friend's blog and thought the idea was so cute, so I had to copy it. Thanks Emily and Kelly. So you might be my sibling if...
*You lived with a "goddess of nursing."
*There was pineapple juice mixed in with whatever other juice was in the fridge.
*You know who the "Ray Coniff Singers" are.
*You got half an orange in your lunch that had the top edge of rind cut off for you.
*You love Bill Cosby stand-up.
*You can quote several Shel Silverstein poems.
*There are several pictures drawn of you with rosy cheeks and a beveled chin.
*You know what the ledger is.
*The ledger still owes you money.
*You can sing many Oakridge Boys songs.
*Patriotic music reminds you of Saturday mornings.
*You don't see the need to turn the A/C until it is at least 95 degrees outside.
*Your "stomach hurts real bad" when you are crying.
*You remember the party wagon.
*You've ever won the "Sunshine Room Award."
*You know what "Come on Bloser" means.
*You understand a few hells and damns.
*You also know what "Who wants to dance with Heddy Larue?" means as well.
*You know who "Freddie" and "Frankie" are.
*You have been asked "Where's your trial?"
*You know that hunger has nothing to do with eating.
*You've ever had Norwegian pancakes.
*You've ever been spotlighted at FHE.
*You've played "Sacks on the Miller."
*One of your childhood heroes was Dale Murphy.
*You've been asked to check the window wells or if the iron is still on.
*You still will check to make sure the iron or the curling iron is turned off before you leave the house.
*You've been told, "Okay, I'm mad now- you can move."
*You've been called a "Primary low-life."
*You've had a sign put up on the garage welcoming you home from girls camp, scout camp, vacation, or a sleepover.
*You can come up with a song for just about any occassion.
I'm sure there are many more that I didn't think of and if my siblings can think of any -let me know! I know that few people outside the 6 other people with whom I share similar DNA will really appreciate this post, but I want them to know that I love them and am so grateful for their love and support. I am who I am because of them.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"Mom, take a picture of us and put it on your blog."

That is what Annie and Katie said to me when they found big glasses in our dress- up box. They said they are lawyers working at their desks. Oh-kay!?! But I thought I would indulge them and put them on my blog. They love to see pictures of themselves on the computer. And no they are not the glasses I had when I was 13. Although if you want to see those glasses click here. But I do have a funny story related to big glasses. Yesterday I was making breakfast and somehow me having boyfriends came up in the conversation I was having with my kids. Annie was shocked that I had boyfriends and I assured I had them before I married dad. She wanted the particulars and wanted to know how old I was when I had a boyfriend. I told her I was in my twenties. Then she asked if I had a boyfriend in high school. I told no I didn't. Finn looked at me slyly and said, "Is that because you had big glasses?" I beg your pardon- no that is not the reason! I just didn't want to be fettered by a boy. At least that is what my parents and Young Women's leaders told me!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Why a 3 year old should never, ever have bubble gum.

The other morning I was making breakfast when I saw Katie coming up the stairs. Her hair looked quite different from when I put her to bed the night before. It almost looked like it had been curled, but as I got closer I realized there weren't any curls in her hair. It was gum- lots of bubble gum. And it was in several spots in her hair. I had put her to bed the night before and didn't remember her having any bubble gum in her mouth but I'm sure this isn't the first time she has slipped something past me and I can guarantee it won't be the last. But this is one of the blessings of having a blog- normally I would get upset by this kind of predicament, but instead I reach for my camera and think about what a great post it would be. So for any husbands out there who think blogging is a waste of time and are tired of their wives blog surfing- here is proof positive that blogging can be good for your family. It prevents child abuse! Here is the photo:

Isn't she adorable!?! The best part about this was the excuses she started coming up with about why the gum was stuck in her hair. The obvious first excuse was to blame it on Annie and she tried to. Then she was saying how stores shouldn't sell bubble gum. Well sure blame it on corporate America. But the best and most accurate was, "I shouldn't have bubble gum because I just do crazy things when I am three!" Amen, sister! I couldn't say it any better myself. Although I don't think it will deter her from wanting more gum sometime in the near future. After we got down to the bottom of who was responsible I googled getting gum out of hair and got a whole list of suggestions from using vinegar to peanut butter to olive oil to ice. I decided to try the olive oil and here's why. Just about everytime I google a problem,olive oil seems to be the answer. Case in point- a few weeks ago I was chopping a jalapeno and burned my hands from the seeds. I googled jalapeno burn and rubbing olive oil on them came up as the answer. I have read olive oil is a good furniture polish and the other day my mom heard that oilve oil is good to put in your hair to create a nice shine- although she did use a bit too much! So I think olive oil is going to my "Windex." If you have ever seen the movie "My Big, Fat Greek Wedding" you know what I am talking about. In case you haven't the father in that movie thinks "Windex" cures everything and even soaks his elbows in it to help with arthitis. My Grandma Sara had her own "windex"- but it was cranberry juice. She thought it cured everything and there was always a bottle in her fridge. Not to discredited her or anything, but she also thought that if you put a big bottle of water at the edge of your yard it kept the cats away. You can't help but love grandparents for these quirky things. But the older I get the more quirky I become. And the olive oil did get the gum out of Katie's hair without having to resort to scissors. So who knows maybe in 40 years I will be soaking my elbows in olive oil with a big bottle of cranberry juice in my fridge while my grandkids blog about how crazy their grandma is. I hope so!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I want to play too!

I know many people have been putting this on their blogs and I was a bit resistant to do it- because you know I can't be like everyone else- but it has been so fun reading what everyone else puts so I had to do it. Plus I could use a good walk down memory lane. My present isn't always the best!

Heres a little game! Leave a comment on my blog of a memory that you and I have had together. It doesn't matter if you've known me for a short time, or a long time, anything you remember! Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you.Ready, Set, GO!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Zucchini out the wazihinni

Yes, that is how I feel. Its that time of year again when everyone locks their cars at church so they don't end up with any "charitable" contributions of zucchini left in them. I have already been inundated with "altrustic" offerings of bountiful zuccihini from family and neighbors. But I have to put my foot down and say "no"! I have enough, thank you. Already we have had zuccihini 4 ways this week alone. Don't get me wrong- I love zucchini, but my garden provides me with sufficient for my needs. But I did want to share the ways we have enjoyed it this week. It is the season for putting zucchini into any and everything- sometimes the zucchini is out in the open revealing its true self and sometimes it has gone incognito. First- out in the open- Easy enough- I put it in a salad today with dinner and last night I made a really good pasta with it. I found the recipe on Pioneer Woman Cooks- I just added her link on the right. All her recipes are amazing- although I did alter it a little because I don't drink wine and I didn't have any arrowroot. If you really are interested in how I changed it - let me know, because otherwise I won't go into the boring details for those who don't enjoy cooking. Although I suppose if you don't enjoy cooking- you probably wouldn't bother to take the time to read a whole post on zucchini! Either way here is a picture I took of my lovely zucchini pasta dish.

Now the incognito ways- (for my sister- "incognito" means in disguise-:). First I grate up the zucchini like this:

Then I sprinkle it into any dish that can handle its stealthiness. For us this week it was a scrambled egg dish and spaghetti. My minions were never the wiser, but unfortunately I still have 2 zucchini sitting on my counter. So if you come to my house be warned- you will probably be offered a zucchini- but of course only out of the goodness of my heart!

Wow- did I really just do a whole post on zucchini. Man it must be a slow Sunday! But if you do have any good ideas for eating zucchini- let me know. And don't be sayin' zucchini bread. I know that one already!