Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Five Scheduled Births: Baby #3

My middle baby is now eight years old! The story of her birth is an appropriate Christmas edition in this series. It was the Christmas season 2001. Mary was great with child and there was no room in the...hospital. (I'm so glad I didn't give birth in a hotel, let alone a barn.) Here is the story.

This third pregnancy was pretty easy. I'd had very little morning sickness and almost no discomfort. If I weren't due only a week before Christmas, I would have been content to go past the due date and get through the holiday with the baby still inside me. However, Kent was very excited to meet our third child. I wanted to be surprised with the boy/girl announcement, but Kent couldn't wait. So at the ultrasound, he had watched while the tech typed in the sex on the screen and I kept my head turned away. For the second half of the pregnancy, he had done a good job calling the baby a him and a her so I had no idea what we were having. On December 2, I had some constant contractions through Sacrament Meeting, so after the meeting as we left the building to drive to the hospital, Kent told a few anxious friends the baby's sex. Well, the contractions stopped right about the time we reached the hospital, and they sent us home. Kent had to call all the friends and spread the word that I still didn't know and no one better let it slip! My doctor found it quite humorous that an entire ward was trying to keep the secret from me. He also plotted with me to trick Kent. We agreed that at the birth, he would cover the baby's parts and announce the opposite. That way I would know the truth and we could enjoy Kent's reaction.

Kent could barely contain the surprise any longer, so he convinced me to get induced on the 18th, my due date. We went to our doctor's appointment that day with bags packed, expecting to spend the night at the hospital. However, the hospital was filled, patients were sharing rooms, and they were not admitting anyone wanting an induced labor. My doctor got us scheduled for Friday, the 21st because I didn't want the poor kid to end up sharing a birthday with Christmas. That morning, the hospital called to let me know they were again completely out of beds. I asked what they would do if I went into labor on my own, and the receptionist answered that she really didn't know where they would put me..."maybe in a closet"! With baby plans again delayed, we got tickets to see "Lord of the Rings", which was in its opening weekend. When a nurse called that afternoon to let me know a bunch of patients had gone home early, I told her we now had a movie conflict. Knowing which movie it was, she was completely accommodating and said we could come in when it was over. I remember sitting next to a man who was nervous and fidgety throughout the movie after I answered his question about my due date with, "We are going straight to the hospital after this film to have the baby." Poor guy!

At the hospital, the shift leader was busy helping a pre-term mother stop her labor, so we entertained a lot of the nurses with talk about the movie. Finally at midnight, they gave me Prostiglandin gel to prep me for Pitocin in the morning. Once again, the gel started contractions almost immediately for me. After an hour, my contractions were one minute apart and I had dilated half a centimeter. (I hope this isn't too much information. Sorry.) After another hour, the contractions were right on top of each other and I had dilated only another half centimeter. I had wanted another natural birth, but it was late, I was tired from Christmas stress and recovering from a long cold, and I was anxious about the possibility of several more hours of constant contractions. The hot tub wasn't helping like it had with my previous two labors. Kent gave me a Priesthood blessing, promising peace. At that point I felt good about getting my first ever epidural. It was so nice! I could still feel a part of the contractions, but it took the edge off and made it all manageable. My doctor came and broke my water, and then Kent and I dozed off.

At 4:40 a.m. my nurse woke me to check the progress. She went to measure my dilation and said, "Oh! Hello baby." The baby was crowning, and I had slept through most of it! Everyone took their positions. The epidural-induced rest had restored my energy and in only one-and-a-half pushes my baby was born. My doctor announced, "You have a boy!" and immediately covered the baby with a towel as he wiped her off. Kent hurriedly dodged around the bed trying to get a better look. He was surprised to have been wrong all along! One of the nurses leaned down to me and said, "Dr. Baird is so mean. That's not a boy." Then the doctor held her up for me to confirm for myself and I laughed and told everyone about our little plot of trickery!

Just moments after her birth, I got to clip the cord. When Kent and I were left alone with our new infant, he pulled out a name book and started with the A's. His first suggestion was Adrienne, which I considered but threw out when he did an impression of Rocky: "Yo, Adrienne." Just a few names down, we agreed on Andrya, adding Naomi, which means "a comfort" in Hebrew. 16 hours after her birth, we posed by the hospital's Christmas tree with the babe in a stocking, and then headed home. (She was healthy, and I was full of endorphins and ready to be home.)

Andrya Naomi is the perfect name for our sweet daughter. She was a very easy baby, which was a true comfort to me after getting through a very difficult first ten months with #2. #3 rarely cried, was happy to cuddle or lay by herself, ate well, and liked to sleep a lot. Most of those things haven't changed. Andrya is a lovely child who is happy with friend or on her own, and still likes to sleep a lot! As she matures, I've loved watching how careful she is in creating things for others. She is a very good artist, has an active imagination, loves to be moving, and is my only child who likes to work beside me in the garden. She is a wonderful part of our family and I love her.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cute or Gruesome?

 A few minutes ago I decided it was too quiet and I'd better check on the youngest two. I heard their voices from inside their room, so I opened the door expecting to see a mess of goop of some sort. (A closed door hiding two quiet children is never good, right?) Instead, I found them dressed up in dance outfits with dolls and stuffed animals arranged around them. I went to grab my camera to capture this cute playtime "picnic", which was slightly enhanced by the fact that my boy was wearing a dance leotard and a tutu on his head. When I came back with the camera, I realized the picnic was not with their dolls. It was of their dolls. They were pretending to be lions that were eating the prey they had just hunted. But at least they were being quiet!
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pretty Funny

Kent found this for me today. I found myself thinking of all the people I would forward it to, and decided it would be easier to just embed it here. Enjoy!

Twilight Years from Tom on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I Lost A Quarter Pound Today

It's gone! That weight has been steadily growing for two (or more?) years, and finally, today, I took it off. See for yourself.

A professional stylist friend of mine asked me several months ago if she could have the "honor" of taking off my locks when I was ready. I've listed it for sale online, and planned to cut when the offer was right. I got all sorts of wrong offers, but that's another story. Last week I was sick of my hair getting caught in the seat belt guide, my coat, and #5's grip. This week, when it got caught in the hair dryer, I was so glad I'd set the appointment to chop it. I can't wait to figure out how to style it and try new hair accessories. But mostly, I'm just glad that my head feels like it's floating with all that extra weight gone! Yea!

So Spicy!

My mother-in-law got me involved in a bulk spice order from San Francisco Spice Co. that a friend of hers organizes every two years. 2007 was my first year participating, and I got a few items. They were high quality and priced well. This year, having a better idea of the deal I would be getting, I ordered a lot more. I planned my order with the idea that these spices will enhance my food storage and I needed a two-year supply on the quantities. Check out what I got:

That's 13 lbs. of spices: basil, lemon pepper, paprika, nutmeg, vegetable bouillon...and more! My total was $70, which for 13 POUNDS of spices is, I believe, excellent!

If you want to get in on the deal, let me know and I'll help you get on the email list for 2011. Besides basic spices, you can order blends, potpourri mixes, essential oils, cooking oils, etc.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

A relative asked me to email some pictures of my kids. She just needs head shots. Here's a sample of the recent photos from which I have to choose:

Maybe these pictures are only worth two words: "What the...?"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Apples Galore

Kent's mom has what we consider a small apple orchard in her front yard. Each fall we hope for mostly not-wormy apples to make apple butter. In October, the kids and I helped their Grammy pick several boxes of apples. Two days later my sister, Carolyn, came to Provo to help us process the fruit into yumminess-in-a-bottle. I was happy with our 21 bottles. I thought they would surely last until next Fall. But we've already gone through five quarts! (We really like apple butter!) Luckily, the apples kept coming. Our Aunt Jan offered some from her trees and a neighbor had a bunch of Golden Delicious left over from the harvest from her parents' yard. Adding that to the few I had left from before, we had enough for another two batches. So Carolyn came again last week and ran the process while I ran kids around town and pitched in when I could. We had 14 more quarts, plus a dehydrator full of cinnamon-sprinkled Fujis, plus a dozen apples left to just snack on. Here are some pictures of our work. I am so grateful for everyone's help.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Super Duper Super Saturday...and Weekend in General

Yesterday I attended our ward's Super Saturday. I was there to set up and stayed an hour past ending time trying to finish projects. (I always sign up for too much.) Coming home, I realized what an enjoyable time I'd had. I've been dreading the cold winter months, which snapped into place yesterday morning. However, walking home from the church, I was cheerful and ready for winter. I love spending time with friends snacking and chatting. We hosted Kent's Young Men's presidency and their wives for dinner on Friday. It was so nice to visit with adults in our cozy home with a fire going. Tonight we gathered with my extended family for dinner and FHE. And Kent and I squeezed in a dinner out for just the two of us Saturday night, too. For me, it was a perfect, if cold, weekend.

A friend of mine took a few minutes at Super Saturday to teach us ways to take stress out of the holidays. She asked us to consider what we want out of our holiday season, be it a family tradition to continue, events with children...whatever we most wanted. I immediately knew that what I most wanted was time with my friends and family. I truly wouldn't mind getting rid of the gift giving and just focus on gathering. Although...

...we did make some really cute flower clips for hair or for a clothing accessory. In my parallel universe where I have undemanding children and all the time in the world, I would make a hundred of these clips to give away to my friends and fam and then sell the rest on Etsy. In reality, I'll be lucky to finish the ones I started for my girls' stockings in the next forty days. (Yep, that's the countdown.) Happy holidays!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Halloween Gamut

Halloween is not my favorite holiday. Something about it stresses me out. Yet I always find myself enjoying the festivities. (Plus my childhood favorite color was orange, which always looks happy in photographs.) I went into the season with no plans other than to dish out candy at the end of the month. Here's a quick look at everything that we found ourselves doing, thanks mostly to other people's planning. (Pictures are at the end, so you can skip all the "journaling" and just check out my cute kids if you like.)

#s 4&5 and I kicked off the month with a preschool field trip to Pumpkinland where we picked out a nice jack-o-lantern candidate. (We grew six other pumpkins in our garden this year too!)

Mid-month I found a coupon for the Halloween River Cruise, so our whole family went for about $10. The cruise is set up by CLAS Ropes Course, about a two-minute drive from our home. #2 paid extra to climb their rock wall, and we took candied apples that the kids had made at my sister's home, which helped get us through the 30-min. wait. The cruise itself was so-so. The river was decorated with jack-o-lanterns and lights, and our boatman told stories in between visits from a pirate. The kids loved it. I was glad I hadn't paid full price.

A friend of mine gave us tickets to Cornbelly's, which is a Fall "amusement park" and corn maze at Thanksgiving Point. We had my nieces and nephew with us too, so I was glad we didn't pay $110 to get in. But I must say they had A LOT to keep us entertained. We were there for two hours and didn't get to do everything. We went during a BYU game and the sky was shadowed by thunderheads, so attendance was down--and that made our trip all the more enjoyable. My family drove tractors, got bored in a corn maze, played dress up, rode the cow train, jumped in a bounce house, and was eaten by The Creature...among other things.

We left Cornbelly's to go to the Harvest Party with Kent's extended family. We always have lots of soup to sample and games for the kids. #3 broke the pinata this year. She gently tapped it three times to let the older kids in line behind her have a whack at it. When she turned around to get back in line, the bottom half broke off and the candy came pouring out!

Monday and Tuesday we carved our pumpkins, saving the seeds for toasting of course. Thursday I taught our neighborhood co-op preschool group. I had the children's undivided attention for the entire sugar cookie activity. They (the cookies) were yummy!)

Today some friends threw a party at lunchtime where we enjoyed good food and the kids decorated treat bags. Quick story about #3's costume in the party picture. She wore a witch dress, added a sweater to stay warm and modest, and since she couldn't find a witch hat, she borrowed a friend's bee headband. She bent the antennae forward and said she was a [granny] witch who could shoot lasers out of her head. !!! Then we came home and Kent and I cleaned out the garage because the weather turned out to be so nice. We made a pile of DI and metal recyclables in our front yard to be dealt with next week. Kent says our household now looks like poor white trash for Halloween. This was also the first year I let my two oldest go trick-or-treating unsupervised with friends. Kent took the youngest three. They all had a great time. When I prepped my candy bowl, I discovered that someone had found my Snickers Bar stash, and fourteen candy bars were gone! (No one will fess up.) So this was the first year that I ran out of candy. :(

This year, Halloween is on Saturday. I now vote that Halloween either be declared a federal holiday or always be the last Saturday of October. There was no big rush after school to make dinner and assemble costumes. Instead, we had time to spend visiting with friends and not just ringing their doorbell. And the kids are staying up late sorting candy, instead of being pushed into bed on a sugar high to get enough rest for school the next day. It's been pretty relaxed, and I don't feel so stressed out. I have loved it!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Out of the Mouths of Babes

I know I do a lot of these posts, so I'm sorry if you get bored with them. I think they're funny and it's my blog anyway!

This morning when I woke up #4, she was very lucid and said, "Can I just finish this dream first? It's almost over." I think that's pretty cool that her dreams run like TV shows! Three minutes later she said, "Okay, it's done. I'll get up now."

After the girls had gone to school, I was eating breakfast with #5 who asked me, "Who lives under the sea?" Thinking I would be funny, which usually backfires with this little guy, I answered, "Spongebob Squarepants." He sucked in his breath with a warning look on his face and stated, "Then Spongebob Squarepants is going to get eaten by a shark."

A little while later, Kent joined us and while he and I were talking, #5 interrupted with, "You're getting married today."

Me: We are?

#5: No, just you. Not Dad.

Me: I'm getting married but not to Dad? Then who will I marry?"

#5: I don't know.

Kent: Is Mom getting married because it's Wednesday Wedding Day?

Then Kent explained that while I was gone last night, he told #5 about Wednesday Wedding Day and #5 wants to marry me so he can sleep with us. When I don't want kids crawling into bed with me, I usually tell them it's because that space is reserved for Kent because I only sleep with my husband.

So #5 proceeded to tell me more about my wedding day today. Then he paused, pointed to the east end of the kitchen, raised his eyebrows and informed us, "The toilet is downstairs." His next sentence two seconds later: "I am going to your wedding to see the fish. There is a pond and a river there with fish."

I know little kids are random, but should I be concerned about this kid's mental health?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Love-Hate Relationship


I love that I can get an unlimited amount free books that have to be returned. That way they don't end up cluttering my shelves for years. Plus, the library provides a huge selection of material to challenge my children's reading levels while still keeping their interest. Mostly, though, I like the free part.

I hate that I can get dozens of free books in one trip that have to be returned. More often than not I miss out on the free part and pay a late fee and/or lost book fee at almost every visit to the library. I didn't make it there to return our books on time today, so tonight I sat down to renew everything online before the library closes and the fines begin. I was horrified to see that we have 25 items out, and as I scrolled through the list of checked-out books I was more horrified to realize I've never seen most of these books, even though they are supposedly in my house. I recognized four titles that I've read many times in the past 21 days because they were the lucky few that turned out to be my kids' favorites. Those select four are in the basket waiting to be returned because I make sure they are put away each night. Additionally--of course--two of the items didn't renew, so now I'll have that familiar fine waiting to greet me next time I go back to check out more books I can't keep track of.

Monday, October 26, 2009

It's That Time of Year

With elections coming up next week, I've been getting candidates' brochures in the mail a lot. Last week I got one from a mayoral candidate that focused on his opponent's track record of switching political parties. I guess in our very dominantly Republican valley, pointing out that someone is not a true-blue Republican will ruffle some voters, and maybe that would have been the case for me in the past. But now I find myself thinking that if I were a candidate and didn't feel a strong allegiance to either party, I would probably switch because a candidate in any party besides the big two doesn't have a chance. So maybe this guy just wants to accomplish some good things as a public servant and doesn't care about party loyalty. That's fine with me. Besides, the mayor's race is non-partisan, so who cares if he's an elephant or a donkey?

I'm pleased to discover that I have no strong ties to either party anymore. I just want candidates and elected officials who will represent my interests, which are hopefully aligned with the majority of citizens, and who will make changes for the better. Do I consider myself an Independent? Maybe. I doubt I'll be voting straight party ticket anymore.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Every so often I organize an activity for any women in the neighborhood who want to come. I love playing with my friends, so when I'm in the mood I just pick something fun and announce a date and time to everybody. Last Saturday six of us got together for a bike ride down Provo Canyon along the river trail. One friend drove us and our bikes to the drop off at Vivian Park, and off we went. At least, off everyone else went. I decided to bring up the rear, and before I knew it, I was alone on the trail. It turns out that a seven-speed bike doesn't easily keep up with those 24-speed mountain bikes. My absence was quickly discovered, and the group waited for me to catch up and then slowed down for me. So we had a wonderful afternoon enjoying the colors in the canyon, stopping for treats along the way, and resting in a park. My friend, Martha, put together this video to recap the trip. After watching the video, I realized that my windbreaker sort of acted like a parachute, and fully inflated tires would have helped too. (I'm just finding all the excuses I can so I don't have to wonder how out of shape I am.) Martha toyed with taking the "fat bottomed girls" line out, but I thought I was really funny and asked her to keep it. Overall, it was a great fall day with my friends, and next time I'll borrow someone's mountain bike. :) Enjoy the video! (The blurby lyrics are to cover some questionable ones.)

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I found this "iPod" in my daughters' room. I'm so glad they can now quit asking for one. I'm also glad I won't care if this accidentally ends up in the washing machine. I think the earbuds are a disposable pair that Kent got on a JetBlue flight at some point. Looks like the girls got some tunes on there already. Should it make me feel old that I don't recognize some of the songs on this paper iPod?

Luckily, we do have some real electronics that make our life easier...except for those times when the only quiet place to set up work is on the water storage in the furnace room. Poor Kent!

(Real story: The wireless something on the laptop isn't working, so he had to connect directly into some box in the furnace room. I know, I'm so well-versed in tech speak. The kids wouldn't let him kick them off the PC, so he resorted to that sad little corner of the house.)

Sunday, October 4, 2009


A few days ago when the cold snap of Autumn hit us, I went searching through my drawer for a pair of jeans that weren't already in the wash. I thankfully found a pair that I'd forgotten about. When I tried to put them on, I wasn't so thankful anymore. I hate finding clothes from seasons past only to discover that they are too tight. As I jumped and yanked and shimmied them on, I glanced at my bookshelf. The first thing I saw was one of my old college textbooks: "Money, the Financial System, and the Economy". I immediately thought about how much my life has changed. Even though I'd always planned to be a stay-at-home mom, I used to imagine myself as a banker or a corporate executive in one of the jobs my fellow alumni were getting. The ill-fitting jeans also forced me to realize that my body continues to change as age creeps in. I wasn't distressed by these thoughts. I'm happy with the life I have. It's just different than I sometimes thought it would be. After a minute or two, I was glad to finally button the waistband. At least I hadn't gained too much weight since winter.

By 5:00 p.m. I had to admit defeat. The jeans were cutting into my gut and I could pretend to stand it no longer. However, when I changed into pants from my current wardrobe, I was pleased to discover that the jeans are a size 6. I must have been that size two years ago, and I remembered thinking at that time that I needed to gain weight and lose some stress. That size tag gave me some perspective. Even if I'm not a corporate manager somewhere, I am still very tuned in to current political and economical events, and I have a busy and complex household to manage every day. Besides, when I was a kid, I wanted to be an artist or a writer; as an adult I still find ways to be creative, and I've recently written the first chapter of a novel. So I guess I don't have to accept a changed me. I am quite content with the healthier, tweaked-for-improvement version of the me I used to be and pretty much still am.

Friday, September 25, 2009


My #3 loves to find loopholes in the system.

When she was five, #3 took to layering all her clothes, including her school uniform. In this stock photo, she is wearing a long sleeved polo shirt and slacks under a short sleeve polo and jumper dress under a skirt. She was never written up, but the next year in the school handbook, they had added a phrase about only cardigans and jumpers can be worn over other uniform pieces. I guess her creative outfits defeated their purpose for the tidy uniform look!

She found a more recent loophole at the beginning of this school year. For one of her first homework assignments, her second grade teacher directed, "Write ten sentences using words from the spelling list." #3 wrote a paragraph that was ten sentences long, and a few of those sentences included a spelling word. I think she used four of the words total. I mentioned, "I think your teacher wants you to write ten sentences with at least one spelling word in each and ten different spelling words altogether." Her reply: "But that's not what the directions say." I had to agree with her...and I wrote a note to the teacher advising her that #3 likes to find loopholes. The following week, the teacher's homework instructions said, "Write ten sentences with a different spelling word in each sentence." #3 complied. Last week she found another loophole. She earns "Johnson Dollars" from her teacher for good behavior. Five Johnson Dollars buys a homework pass, so if she earns $15 each week, she is home free from any spelling homework at all! She's really working that system now.

One more. On her math homework yesterday, she had to solve a logic problem: Frisky the cat is 4 years old. Tiger is 2 years older than Spot who is 3 years younger than Frisky. Find their ages. #3 did so. Then the directions said, "Explain how you found your answers." The idea was to write a few sentences about the process she went through to find the ages. Her answer: "I read the question carefully, and then my brain helped me a lot." I just laughed, tried to redirect her answer, and then had to agree that she had answered the question, which only asked "How?".

Looks like she has a promising legal career ahead of her!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Games

I'm about two weeks late on this post, but this is one I didn't want to skip. My sister organized our family's first Glauser Olympics, which we played on Labor Day. Each family came up with uniforms and games to compete for the prestigious gold(fish crackers). The games included a torch relay...

(by the way, after viewing these photos, I saw a lot of cheating going on!)
...a hand's free doughnut-eating race, which I'm not so proud to say was the reason my family took gold, but our sheer numbers had a lot to do with that...
a game of Twister that #2 proved to be adept at...

...a speedy ice melting contest, some treat tossing, and my favorite, a dizzy relay.

If you zoom on this first photo, you can see the top half of my nephew headed one way while his legs are headed another direction.

Sorry about that Dad.
And Christy--but at least I didn't get a photo of what dizziness did to you! I don't think anyone noticed anyway.

I know I already gave it away, but our family took the gold! Like our uniforms? They double for our weekend wear during the Fall. Go Cougars...and "Y-t"s.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Play Those Pipes

Kent and I have very different tastes in music. There is some overlap of classy songs, but for a large part, I think his music is too loud and obnoxious. I do like almost all of his Latin music preferences, but I'm guessing that's because I don't know what the lyrics mean so I can't get offended.

Anyway... Kent has been out of town (and is back tonight!), so last night when I was driving home with the kids, I got to choose the radio station with no one in the front passenger seat to change it when I switched lanes. I thought I'd expose the children to some classical music and tuned into KBYU's Classical 89.1. We caught a program called "Pipe Dreams", which is devoted to organ music. Honestly, I'm not a big fan. But when my kids started complaining and requesting The Twilight Zone, I decided to be obstinate and stayed with the station. We tuned in at the beginning of an energetic, loud piece. This wasn't your Sunday morning Church organ. More like horror movie organ. A couple kids started whimpering and asking me to turn the scary music off. I answered that it wasn't scary music, it was organ music. (Here comes another dialogue.)

Them: "It sounds like vampire music."

Me: "It's not. This is the same instrument that Brother [So And So] plays at Church. He teaches this music at BYU. That's how much he likes it."

Them: "Brother [So And So] is a vampire?!"

Another of Them: "Now it sounds like scary-clown-at-the-carnival music. Oooooh! I'm a scary clown." Now they were laughing.

Their giggles continued mixed with remarks that I heard randomly through the piece, such as "Hey! This is The Twilight Zone!" and "Scooby Doo, where are you?" That one got me laughing too!

When the piece ended, I changed the channel, and they all begged me to turn it back! I'm glad they could enjoy it. (Or at least enjoy making fun of it!)

BTW, isn't that a cool picture?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Vinegar Victory!

I was at an Education Week class a couple years ago, and the topic was cleaning tips. When it came to the bathroom, the instructors said they had a product to be given as a prize to whomever in the audience had the most sons. I remember thinking that wasn't really very fair. I mean, most of us were there because we have kids to clean after. Why do boys win the award? So the prize went to some lady who had eight sons, and I felt a bit cheated out of the competition.

But no longer!

I have a boy who likes to mark his territory and brags about how high up the wall he can "shoot". I think I've finally broken him of the on-purpose out-of-the-toilet practice, but he still misfires occasionally. So I have been fighting a pretty nasty scent in the bathroom for several months now. Because we have a septic tank, we can't flush harsh chemicals, and my "green"/edible cleaners weren't doing the trick. I came up with using antibacterial wipes on the floor and toilet, but they didn't work on the sand-finished walls.

So I did a little research on the internet and found several proponents of vinegar who said it would neutralize the urine smell. Most said to mix it with a 10 or 20:1 ratio of water to vinegar. But I wanted to make sure it would work the first time. My ratio was 2:1. Today I spent over an hour scouring the kids' bathroom. I sprayed the solution on every surface, floor to ceiling. I hand-scrubbed the entire floor so I would get every crevice that a mop might miss. I used a soft bristle brush on my sandy walls. The result? My bathroom no longer smells like pee!

Now it smells like I pickled the toilet.

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Post Only a Mother Could Love

This is a post that is mostly for my benefit. I'm afraid the rest of you will find it boring and/or pointless. If you still want to watch the slide show, it's only 36 seconds long, so that's not too much of your life to waste, I guess.

I keep my old camera in the glove box. The flash is broken, but it still works okay for outdoor shots when there is sunlight. More than once, when away from home, I have retrieved it to capture the cutest or most amazing thing ever only to discover that the batteries are dead. The batteries only lose life as they are used. So who used my camera? When I recharge it, these are the types of pictures I see. I've already edited (deleted) half of them off, which were too blurry or too dark to make out. Here's what my kids are up to:

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Why Oh Why?

Why do I always forget how many questions a three-year-old can ask in one day...until I have a three-year-old? I wish I had prepared myself for the barrage.

After ten hours of interrogation yesterday, I nearly cracked. Here is a sampling of our latest conversations. My thoughts are in italics.

#5: Why can you drive?

Me: Because I'm a grown-up.

#5: And grown-ups can drive?

Me: Yes.

#5: Then where is Grandpa?

Me: That was random. At work.

#5: What does he do there?

Me: He works.


Finally, while he was watching me make dinner yesterday, I saw how he had trapped me with his constant questions.

Me (after answering the latest question): ...and please don't ask me any more questions. I can't answer anymore right now.

#5: Why?

Me (not realizing I was about to answer a question I had just asked him not to pose): Because I just can't... or my brain will explode. I'll still talk to you, but no more questions.

#5: Okay. This is not a question. I just will tell you something. Could you...?

My brain: KABOOM!!!

Luckily, my solution came today in the form of a two-year-old that I babysit during the school year. She and #5 were sitting behind me in the van, which is usually prime questioning time for #5. But guess who bore the brunt of the attack?! She did! I literally breathed a sigh of relief when I realized I could ignore the babbling because none of it was directed at me. And she, being two, just responds to all his questions by repeating the last few words, so #5 feels satisfied that someone is listening intently, even if she doesn't answer anything. I LOVE IT!

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Students Are Back In Town

This became obvious to me when, in the middle of the day, I pulled into the parking lot at Macey's. It was packed! Almost all of the carts were being used by moms (and one dad) helping their grown children stock up. It was cute to see a mom ask her late-teens son, "Do you like oatmeal?" and he replied, "No. I mean, actually, yes. I guess I do." That's a kid who had never had to select food from the shelf for himself before.

The other sign of the students' return is the busy traffic. I do enjoy the improved driving conditions from May through August. However, it's also fun to see license plates from Colorado, California, Washington, and sometimes Missouri or one of the Carolinas on cars trying to maneuver with the crazy Utah drivers.

It all takes me back 15 years when I was settling into my Deseret Towers room for the first time. During my four years, I came a week before everyone else to attend band camp, so it has always impressed me how the campus swells in so short a time. The students bring a certain energy to the city. Where I live, I only rub elbows with students every so often. I like to catch an on-campus show or exhibit a couple times each year, and definitely a sporting event of some sort. Occasionally, I can hear the drumline practicing BYU's signature cadence from my house a few miles away. My favorite is seeing the Y lit up for Homecoming or graduation. Sometimes Kent's dad, a BYU-ward bishop, will invite our family along to an FHE barbecue. I like hearing the young adults' plans for the future and their thoughts on varying subjects. It's also always interesting to be an observer of the flirting and teasing. And THAT takes me back to another event: my first kiss, fifteen years ago this weekend. It was a good band camp that year! ;o)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Life Is Good

I'm starting to get a handle on our new back-in-school schedule, and it is BUSY! But I like it. I guess summer break ends when the crops no longer need tending, just harvesting. I have the equipment I need to process and preserve the food from my garden, and I love having the dehydrator running or a canner boiling while I do my regular chores. Today my day started early with some weight lifting and a quiet half hour with the scriptures and my journal. Once the kids were at school, I managed to pick up the downstairs in time for a meeting to organize a neighborhood preschool co-op, then eat a sandwich of homemade bread and freshly picked tomato and basil. I finished that just in time to drop off the younger kids and have a few minutes alone in the temple baptistery before Kent's aunt and uncle's family joined me with their relatives' names. It was so nice to have that peaceful, joyful hour-and-a-half with that good family. Then I lingered a bit at my friend's house who was babysitting before running errands with #2 and making a yummy dinner with a cream-based squash soup. After dropping by a neighbor's for a quick visit and checking off homework, I played a board game with the kids. After our evening devotional I read books with the younger children and caught up on blog reading. I still have an hour of work before I go to bed, and even though it's been one thing after another all day, it has been very satisfying and fulfilling. I am grateful that Kent works so I can be home, and I am grateful for days like today when running the household is more of a joy than a chore.

...Probably For the Same Reason He Did This:

Yep. That's ice cream. Actually it's imitation ice cream, which is important to note because it smells worse than genuine ice cream when warmed. I found this in his closet...on a school uniform...and a library book...and the carpet...about an hour after the perp committed the crime. (The fake ice cream was kind of dried out. It looks slightly frozen, but it's more just a foamy mass.) I guess #5 was too chicken to follow through with stealing the ice cream to eat it, so instead he just hid the evidence.

The good news? I didn't get overly upset in his face. In fact, I handled the whole matter rather calmly. This incident occurred last month, and I am also happy to report that the smell is finally gone--or at least it's overpowered by the smell of cat that we get whenever we have moist weather. (I didn't know until a couple years ago that cats spray their territory with their scent. Gross! My apologies to all who drop by after a rain storm. I can only imagine what it would smell like if they were indoor cats.)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Why Would He Do That?

I have to apologize in advance for sharing bathroom-related stories. However, the nature of my work at home revolves around them frequently. Now you know what's coming. I decided to write this little story backwards. In reverse, here's what happened at our house last night while Kent and I were waiting for the kids to get ready for bed.

Kent inspected the damage to discover little puddles all over the floor. Because he is such a good husband, he grabbed the mop and went over the bathroom floor twice!

#5 flushed the toilet and left the bathroom. As he walked right up to where Kent and I were sitting in the front room, we noticed that his shirt was soaking wet around the navel area and his shorts were soaked around the crotch.

I yelled, "[#5]! Don't you dare put that in there!" He pulled the elastic headband back up from the toilet and threw it in the tub. Since he couldn't put that particular accessory in the water, he instead decided to practice some swimming strokes with his arms in the toilet bowl.

From where Kent was sitting, he could see #5 standing at the toilet. "[#5], you have to hold it steady and aim!" To me, "What is he doing? Is he wearing a blindfold?!" He was indeed; one of his sisters' headbands. Kind of makes it hard to aim when you can't see your target, let alone having only two months of practice under your belt, so to speak.

#5 announced he had to go potty for the third time in ten minutes. Talk about procrastinating bed time. He know the one line that will keep him up as late as he wants.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How Romantical

"Romantical" is a term Kent coined back in high school. It's kind of a way to point to a truly romantic situation and then tease it a little so we don't take ourselves too seriously. This past weekend, we went on a date that turned out to be romantical.

On a tip from my sister and her husband, I decided I wanted to see a demolition derby. I'd never heard of one, and after they told me about it, I really wanted to see one for myself. Happily, Kent's dad was asked to parade around the arena on horseback at the demolition derby that was part of the Utah County Fair last Saturday, and was offered some free seats as a thank you, so my in-laws invited us along. We had a blast!

We saw a car catch on fire, cars stuck together that would ram other cars in a team effort, and cars pushed over the barricades. I've included a picture of a "hatchback" that wasn't a hatchback at the beginning of the round! Just as entertaining as the demolition was watching the tow trucks and pallet lifters pull everyone apart at the end of each round. I can't wait to go again!

It doesn't sound like a romantic date, does it? But the fun, the summer evening, and just being together at the fair brought nostalgia with it. We felt carefree, which, after twelve years of marriage, is quite romantic.

By the way, click on the pics to enlarge them. You'll see in the pile-up one that car X25 was limping around on only three tires!

After the derby, we walked around looking at the blue-ribbon animals and talking about which carni rides make us sickest. Kent wanted to ride the ferris wheel together, but I couldn't bring myself to cough up eight bucks for it. (So maybe I wasn't completely carefree, but it was the the thought that counted.)

My parents had all our kids Sunday night to Tuesday morning. When a friend found out we were childless on FHE night, she offered us some tickets that they wouldn't be using. We saw Big Bad Voodoo Daddy perform at the outdoor Scera amphitheater. (Click on their name to go to their site. Their music will automatically start playing.) They are a swing band that was absolutely entertaining for 90 minutes straight. I was even familiar with some of their songs! We spread our blanket by some friends we saw there and enjoyed another evening under the stars. A lot of people were dancing on the sides, and one couple that knew their steps well was dancing in front of a lighted background, so they were silhouetted all night. It was, again, romantical.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


You know, toes are funny things. When they are relaxed, some curl in a bit. It takes some concentration to spread and bend and flex them, and then they really look weird. When I was a teenager, I used to pick things up with my toes all the time. Back then, my knees were limber enough that I could spend more time with them. But now I hurry through pedicures to save my knees the ache.

I believe toes are generally taken for granted--until you stub or break one. Then you remember how necessary they are for keeping balance. Until you injure a toe, you just expect them to be crammed into uncomfortable shoes without complaint. So take a minute today and appreciate your toes. :)

Monday, August 3, 2009


During last October's General Conference for the LDS Church, the prophet, Thomas S. Monson, gave a talk about finding joy in the journey of life. Here is one thought he shared that I heard with disbelief:

"If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled will disappear all too soon and that you will—to your surprise—miss them profoundly."

When I heard that, I thought, "I hope that's true, but it really doesn't sound like me." When people ask me what I'll do when all my kids are in school full time, I answer, "Clean the house." Seriously, it hasn't been clean to my liking since I was pregnant with #5 almost four years ago. So when President Monson warned that I would miss that, I thought, "Not likely."

Last week my kids were playing with their cousin who is visiting from England. They wanted to "paint" with shaving cream on the windows, and since I am trying to say yes to my children as much as possible (within reason), I let them go ahead. When they were done, I saw the window and immediately thought of the prophet's words. I still can't appreciate the constant mess of five young children, but it does blow my mind that I have no babies anymore and that #1 is giving our phone number to boys she meets at the pool. (Fortunately, Kent and I are screening their persistent phone calls so they don't get to talk to her much.)

I know I will have regrets as an empty-nester some day, but I hope to use the time I have my children in my home to enjoy them as people and pass along some wisdom too.

If you want to read the full talk, click here It's one of those that I've read a few times and always lifts my spirits and puts things in perspective.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Vacations Are Exhausting!

My parents have a time-share condo at East Canyon Resort east of Salt Lake City, so we go there once or twice each year. As we looked at our schedule and our budget, we realized that East Canyon would be our big family vacation this year, so we made the most of it and extended our usual visit to five days. Looking at the trip as a vacation rather than a weekend away shifted our paradigm and we had a better time than we've ever had there.

We played tennis and mini-golf, went fishing and hiking, watched movies, played board games they have for 24-hour check out, and got in lots and lots of swimming. Actually, I never went swimming, but I got in nine hours of reading and chatting at the poolside while the kids swam. Monday my sister's family and my parents were there, so we went boating most of the day. I was so diligent with the sunblock and reapplication that no one got burned! I also tried wakeboarding and was able to pop right up every time. Someone took a video of me on the water, and I now see how awkward I am on that board, so I won't post that, but enjoy the rest of the photos. (I can't remember how to keep the captions on, but you can turn them on in the bottom left corner to see explanations for the pictures.

Because we were up late playing games or watching movies with my family each night, I came home sleep deprived. Finally last night I got a full night's sleep to help me recover from vacation.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I Am Against Nationalized Healthcare

If you are too, click www.FreeOurHealthcareNow.com to sign a petition. I checked it out and it is legitimate.

Monday, July 20, 2009

24 Years in the Making

My friend posted some pictures of her wedding day to mark their anniversary today. I've been meaning to post a note about my anniversary date this year, so thanks for the reminder Mindy G.

Kent and I were married on July 3 twelve years ago. This year he wanted to work on his new business website, so we celebrated on the second. We grabbed dinner at Carl's Jr. and saw "The Brothers Bloom" at the dollar theater. Sounds lame, I know. But this year all we both really wanted to do was get out of the house for a little while, and our date-on-the-cheap took us back twelve years ago to living on a shoestring. (On the night Kent proposed, he was wearing his construction work clothes, including jeans with the knees ripped out, and we ate for under $10 at a little dive in Provo. You have to admit, too, that Carl's Jr. six-dollar burgers are pretty great. I hate their advertising, but love their burgers. The movie was fun too. Happy dozen!

On the big day, July 3, my kids and I went boating with my sister's family and my mom. It being a holiday this year, we thought a lot of boaters would be out. But Utah Lake's size usually allows for that to not be a problem. The day was gorgeous and sunny, as evidenced by my sunburn the next several days. The kids had a blast, except when the couch-sized tube got submarined (we were going too slowly) and #5 got dunked. But he eventually got over that.

My first experience trying to water ski was when I was nine. My patient grandpa gave me lots of tries, but the only thing I could "get up" on was the knee board, mostly because you don't have to stand; you just kneel. I had lots of other attempts at water skiing and wake boarding at youth activities and in-law family trips to Lake Powell. But I have never once stood up on the water. The tubes and water weenies were my friends. After my brother-in-law bought a boat a few years ago, he also spent lots of patient coaching sessions with me. Last year, I declared that I was done wasting everyone's time and I would stay exclusively with tubes from now on. July 3 was my chance to stick to my guns. (Have you noticed? I'm using as many cliches as possible this post, just for fun.) Then my mom offered me $20 to get up and stay up for ten seconds. Well, with money on the line, you know I'm not turning that down!

Here are several pictures of how my attempts this year were pretty much identical to my attempts in the past:

And then, miracle of miracles, this was witnessed by ten bored people on the boat:

My mom said I earned the $20, though I think I was up for six seconds max. Funny thing was, I had never concentrated on anything besides not flipping nose-first into the lake, so once I was up for those precious six seconds, I figured I was done and let go of the tow rope. At least I have a goal for doing something else if I ever get up on a wakeboard again!

Photo tip for the day: Taking pictures on a moving boat of a person moving all over the wake is really hard. My sister and her husband of course can pop right up, and I got a few good shots of her. But when he started jumping the wake, I got a lot of shots of water. (Maybe my sister is just a crazy driver.) Here's the best picture I got of him jumping:

That's him in the far right. His wakeboarding skills are pretty good. You'll just have to take my word for it!

P.S. For the record (is that five cliches?), I turned down the prize money. The accomplishment was reward enough!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Two Great SNL Skits

I don't watch Saturday Night Live anymore because I am always offended by something. Instead, I let my friends refer their favorite skits. Here are two that I find myself sharing a lot, so now all three of you who read my blog can enjoy them too. I found nothing offensive about either one. Please excuse the five-second commercials at the beginning.

This first one I shared with Kent's cousin when she mentioned that in Japan (they live in Tokyo) she buys biodegradable diapers. SNL went one step better.

This last one is my favorite. Kristen Wiig is hilarious!

Monday, July 13, 2009

To Flash or Not To Flash

I am, of course, speaking of photography.

As I experiment a bit with the tips I learned at a digital photography class a few weeks ago, I'll pass on what I learned.

Our instructor had a lot to say about lighting, aperture, and shutter speed. I learned, for example, that ISO does not stand for "Image Stabilizer On", but rather it's "Is the Shutter Open?"...or something like that. ;o) I haven't mastered much with lighting, but I've been practicing with the flash a lot.

We learned about different lighting situations. Harsh light is mid-day with the sun overhead and everything bright. It creates shadows, and is to be avoided. However, you can use a flash outside in harsh light to diminish the non-flattering under-eye shadows. It does tend to flatten features out, but at least you can see them. I had never thought to use a flash with plenty of light, so I'm happy to have learned that tip. Here are two examples:

I hope it's obvious that I didn't use a flash on the left (just the automatic settings) and did use the flash for the picture on the right.

The instructor cautioned against using a flash indoors. He said it makes everything look flat and boring. Rather, you should bring in as much natural light as possible and be near white walls that will reflect the light. If you are working with fluorescent or incandescent bulbs, some cameras have settings to adapt. (I think that's where the ISO setting comes in, but it doesn't have to do with flashes, so I haven't studied much about it yet.) The automatic settings on the camera usually use the flash indoors, but in these examples, you can see the difference.

The picture on the left had the flash on.
I turned it off for the one on the right. It definitely added dimension, but didn't do much to make the food more appetizing.

I have been trying recipes that use broccoli leaves, which are said to have the same nutrients as the crowns. Because I grew broccoli in my garden, I felt bad about just composting the leaves. The crown is really a very small part of the plant. The leaves are bitter, sort of like chard or kale. This recipe called for spices used in Indian cuisine. At first it tasted pretty good. About halfway through my dinner, it started tasting like grass. I thought maybe the temperature had something to do with that, so I reheated my plate...and could barely gag down the next two bites. So I picked out all the tofu, which wasn't ruined too much by the taste, and composted the rest of it. Kent said he liked it well enough and even ate the leftovers for lunch. After this dinner, I pulled my broccoli plants out of the soil and tossed them in the composter. Maybe my other plants will appreciate the nutrients more than I could.

If your kids ever complain about their food, you can pull up this post and threaten to send them to our house. We always welcome dinner guests!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Five scheduled births: Baby #1

My friend Charlotte wrote a series of posts telling about the birth of each of her children, and because birth stories are so varying and interesting, I thought I'd follow suit. It's a good way to celebrate their birth days. Note: I wrote this post on the 10th. On the 11th I found my journal and fixed a few details, but it doesn't change the story much.

Before Kent and I married, I received direction from the Spirit that I should never use artificial birth control, so we were surprised, and a little disappointed, that it took three months to get pregnant. (With my current perspective, I count our blessings that that's all it took. But as a 21-yr-old, I didn't know anyone who had struggled with infertility.) Her due date was to be the day before our first anniversary, and I knew she would be a girl. We wanted to wait to announce the pregnancy until after the 18-week ultrasound, but I inadvertently gave it away by snacking on nothing but saltines and pretzels in a morning religion class that Kent and I took together at BYU. The professor figured it out and drew the class' attention to my morning sickness for us. Fortunately, I only had mild morning sickness and it got to where if I could throw up (is there a nicer way to put it?) once in the morning, I was good to go for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, the daily throw up, which I worked into my morning routine, lasted for seven months.

As July 2 approached, we enrolled in a prenatal class with a local doula who counseled us to write out a birth plan and review it with our doctor. I don't think she was happy that we were going with a doctor because she gave me all sorts of statistics about C-sections, forceps, and circumcision, but I was not willing to have my first birth experience outside of a hospital. She told us not to feel pressured by societal norms, but I felt more pressure from her about what the experience should be like than from anyone else. However, her instructions on relaxation techniques for a natural birth were very helpful, which was good because I wanted to experience everything about this birth. As it turned out, I also got to experience an extra week of pregnancy.

When our anniversary passed and I had to answer "When are you due?" with "Last week", I started getting very anxious to get the baby out of me. Relatives reminded me that pregnancy isn't chronic and she would come when she was ready. The doula told me how horribly painful Pitocin-induced contractions would be. But when my doctor told me the complications of having a baby come too late, I decided to be induced. Kent and I went to the hospital at 6:00 p.m. for the first dose of Prostin, which is used to basically loosen things up in preparation for the Pitocin. The nurse advised me to eat a good dinner because she couldn't give me anything besides ice chips once I was admitted, so we headed to JB's to enjoy our last meal as a married-without-kids couple. After dinner, we stopped by Kent's cousin's apartment to visit his aunt who was in town. I remember standing there being annoyed by the cramps that had started, not even thinking that I hadn't had them for nine months so maybe they weren't just cramps. At midnight we were back at the hospital for the second dose of Prostin and I learned that those "cramps" were contractions that were coming every five minutes. I was in labor and I wouldn't need the Pitocin after all! (The nurse said that Prostin will induce labor in a small percentage of patients.)

Our nurse was great. She got me settled in and explained to Kent, who was keeping everyone entertained with his sense of humor, that when I stopped smiling at his jokes, he should call for her because the baby would be close. It was at that moment that I threw up for the last time of that pregnancy...all over Kent. The doula hadn't told us about THAT, but the nurse said it's actually quite common during labor. I bet she wished she hadn't advised me to eat a big dinner because she ended up cleaning it. I sat in the jacuzzi for about ten minutes, and within a few more minutes I had transitioned and Kent was helping me through all the relaxation and breathing exercises we had learned. They worked really well! I basically knew what to expect and I felt like the pain was manageable. The doctor came in and in an extra long single push our daughter was born in the early hours of July 10. One more push produced the placenta and then I noticed a group of nurses hovering around the baby with an oxygen mask on her face. The doctor thought that because the placenta came out so quickly, it had partially detached while she was being delivered and she was having trouble getting oxygen through her body. But only a minute or two later, she was fine and they handed me the little bundle.

Kent and I remember a great rush of joy flooding over us when we held our little girl. She has been a joy in our family ever since.

A little more about the birth story. One thing our doula hadn't told us, maybe because she never got this treatment at home, is that my nurse would start punching me. She said she was just kneading my belly to get things contracting back to normal size, but it felt and hurt like punches to me. We spent the next day in the hospital trying to get Kassidy to eat, but the poor thing just couldn't stay awake. She had nursed for an hour right after her birth, and I think she was full and tired. My nurse told me to wake the baby every few hours to eat, but rubbing her back and tickling her feet barely made her open her eyes. The lactation specialist came and took off Kassidy's t-shirt and held her up by the armpits while gently scratching her back. I was shocked at the treatment, but she taught me that babies are actually quite tough. Her method worked, and I used it again at home to keep the sleepy girl awake long enough to eat.

Eleven years later, Kassidy is a charming and responsible girl. I have loved watching her grow, and it makes me sad that her childhood is coming to a close as she nears the years of adolescence. It frankly scares me that in eleven more years, if she follows in my footsteps, she could be a mother herself! I look at the pictures of our family back then and wonder what our parents were thinking to let me and Kent get married and have babies at such a young age! I am definitely not the same type of parent I was a decade ago, but it has worked out alright and I love being Kassidy's mother.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Wave

In case you don't re-check all my posts every day, this post will point you back to the one from June 24 if you want to see the belly wave. We recorded it later that day (with her wearing more than just underwear).

Monday, June 29, 2009

Down By The River

Last week it finally heated up here in Utah. (We had lots of rain this month and I started thinking I could really like living on the northwest coast area. I never get sick of the rain.) So anyway...the kids have been begging me to take them to Provo's Veterans' Pool, which has a great splash pool. But we've been crunched for time and I don't want to spend $20 to splash for two hours or less. Then it dawned on me, after living here for almost six years, that we are within walking distance of the Provo River and never have gone there to play in the water. DUH! So last Thursday we headed over. (#3 was at her Grammy's for a few days.) We took a picnic lunch, an inflatable water chair, and a bottle of bug repellent. The temperature dropped as soon as we reached the river trail, and it dropped noticeably again when we were within a couple feet of the water. So even though the rest of the neighborhood was baking at 92 degrees, we had a pleasant afternoon in the shade. Our favorite spot on the river has a long swing hanging from a tree. You really get that flying sensation on it. #s 1 and 2 took turns walking up river a little ways and gliding down on the inflatable. The water is quite high and fast with all the snow melt, so I was glad we brought lifejackets. To stop themselves, the girls had to catch a tree branch that was hanging down by our spot. After one of #3's tube runs, I noticed the water shoes she chose for the trip: new Church sandals. Lovely.
#s 4 and 5 just played in a calm spot by our private "beach". They tried to build a mudman there, but he kept absorbing himself. It was a good thing I brought the repellent because we were attacked as soon as we picked our spot. I sprayed everyone down, and too late realized I had forgotten #5's head. (Click on the picture to be impressed.) We counted 14 bites across his forehead, poor kid. All in all, we had a nice two hours and we look forward to going back when the water is calmer. I think it will be fun for all of us to tube down a mile or so together.