Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Only In My Neighborhood

I swear I am not making this stuff up.

A little back story:  Rhode is not the most well behaved of children.  He likes to outright refuse to do just about anything he is asked to do.  It only slightly makes me want to pull my hair out.  But we have found a punishment that seems to really do the trick.

When he is being extra ornery, I say something along the lines of, "Rhode I am sorry you don't want to be a helpful part of our family but only helpful people get to live in those house."  I then send him out the front door and shut it.

We have a little courtyard so he isn't actually visible from the street and so far, from my window observings, he just sits on the front step for a while and eventually knocks on the door for reentrance and has almost always found his helpful side.

Well, on this current afternoon, he outright refused to empty the dishwasher.  So, we followed our normal routine.  I had just shut the front door and walked back to my kitchen when there was a knock on my back door.  I turned to find a K9 officer in my backyard with his trusty police dog in tow.

In the few seconds it took my mind to process this, I imagined the conversation that just might be about to take place.

Officer: Excuse me ma'am, do you realize you have a child outside your front door?

Me:  Umm... yes?

Officer:  What kind of irresponsible, horrible, unfit mother kicks their child out of the house because of something as ridiculous as his refusal to do jobs?  You should be ashamed...  I will be taking these children with me now...

I was a touch panicked.  So imagine my next level of panic when, instead, he asked me,
"Did you see someone run through your yard a minute ago?"


"Well a guy who was involved in a stabbing last night just ran through those two yard and either ran through your yard or your neighbors.  We caught him on the other side of your wall."

I turned my ashen face to Scarlet and yelled, "Go get your brother, now!"

The officer then continued, "So if you find anything in the yard that doesn't belong to you, you need to let us know."


Don't worry there was more.  "Cause there's a chance he dropped the knife that was used."

"Would you mind if we searched your yard for the knife?"

Hmm, who would I rather have search for a bloodied murder weapon in my backyard?  My children or the K9 dog?  Tough one...

The dog found nothing of interest in our backyard.  Instead we just got to be the awesome house with six police cars surrounding us for the next several hours.

Sometimes I fantasize about life in other cities... so much calmer, so much more clothing on people, so much quieter.

But, if we do ever get out of this city, what the heck will I blog about?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Field Trip

Sewing Club has become so much more than a club of people that sew.  We take that simple title to include oh so many different adventures.  

We expanded our definition once again this past week.  We went on our first field trip.  Our intended destination: the goat farm.  

We drove just on the outskirts of town, following a friend who knew the way.  I still would have driven right by it if I hadn't been paying attention.  It was basically someone with a little house and a lot of property who decided to turn it into a ranch.  There were cows, chickens, roosters, a whole yard full of dogs, and, of course, goats.

The kids got to explore the property and then the farmers handed them a Styrofoam cup.  They got to fill the bottom with chocolate milk powder and then hand their cups back to the farmer.

Then right before their very eyes, the farmer squirted milk straight from the goat into their cups.

They handed the warm frothy cups back to the kids to stir and drink their fresh chocolate goat milk.

They LOVED it!  I am not sure warm milk is really my thing but it was cool to be able to show my kids where food comes from and to try something out of the norm.  
Yes, Rhode did choose his own shoes for the occasion.  I have finally ruled that cowboy boots are not proper shorts attire.  He whole heartedly disagrees with  me, but I usually win out in the end.

We went home with smiles and a gallon of goats milk.  Asher is still a little dairy sensitive and is not a fan of any of the formula options available to him.  So he has been doing a goat milk/carrot juice + supplements formula.  To use a Peggy phrase, how granola of me right?  But he loves it and is handling it really well.  So, the gallon of goats milk went to good use.

Sewing club, is there anything we can't do?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Simon says...

I used to be a good babysitter. I had no doubt in my mind that people could trust me with their most precious belongings. And yet somehow in the process of having my own children, I have lost my babysitting skills completely. This has been proven time and time again by a little guy named Simon.

Simon's parents, who were unaware of my lack of babysitter skills, entrusted me with their 21 month old while they took a trip with their older daughter to Disneyland for 4 days. Four days with four kids, how hard could it be?

I got a test run a few days before the big trip. Simon came and hung out with us while his parents had an afternoon date.

I was still confident in my child care abilities when I opened the front door to let Rhode, Scarlet and Simon head out to the car. I turned to Jon just for a moment when I saw my husband glance out the window and take a dead run out the front door. While my other two children had stopped at the car, Simon had headed straight for the middle of the road and, obviously tuckered from his sprint, decided to lay down right there on the blacktop.

That was the first time he almost died on my watch that day. The first, not the last.

At the end of his visit, the kids were playing in the backyard. I admit I am not always very good at checking in on the kids when they are back there but I had already almost killed the kid once so I was being extra vigilant. It had only been five minutes since my last check when I peeked one last time and Simon was nowhere in sight. I took a mad dash around the yard and around the side of my house to see the side gate had been propped open by an unassuming husband earlier that day.

I hit my driveway just in time to see my across the street neighbors walking him back over to our house.

Even after full disclosure of my disappearance of any nurturing skills, his parents still entrusted me with the child with nine lives.

Simon came to our door bright and early Monday morning. He was sleepy from his early departure and a little sad mom had left him behind but, in all honesty, lethargic Simon did a lot less sprinting so I was a tad bit grateful. The kids were acting so well I decided to squeeze in a Costco run and lunch.

I really had learned my lesson. I parked my car and brought a shopping cart around for immediate load in. With two kids (Simon and Asher) securely bucked into the front and Scarlet and Rhode hanging on the side, I was on top of my game.

We made it through the parking lot, through the front door, past the televisions and just about ten feet down the main hallway when Simon started vomiting. And it just kept coming, and coming like a vomit fountain. By the time I finally got the wherewithal to stop the grocery cart, we had left a six foot wet and chunky trail and Simon and I were covered.

It was just one of those moments when, for at least a few seconds you just have absolutely no idea how your life has lead to this moment and what the next step should be.

Thankfully, the incident occurred right in front of the Verizon booth. The Verizon lady turned to me and said, "Wow! Whoa... umm........I'm gonna call someone!"

She then handed me a roll of paper towels and a water bottle. I love that Verizon lady.

Then I had to wait for my "help". Time slowed down to a crawl while the entire Costco population walked by me, my four children under the age of 5 and the vomit pond.

The looks varied from "that poor mother!" to "wow, she obviously has way too many kids to handle." It was the longest five minutes of my life. Finally, the Costco man with the mop arrived, glanced at my situation and said, "Hmm, glad I brought the big mop!"

I made a beeline for the one item I could not leave Costco without, found the shortest checkout line and made the shortest trip to Costco in the history of mankind.

Now the fear was kicking in. What kind of throw up was this? Am I potentially facing a week of four children with stomach flu? Luckily that was not the case but I did get four days of frequently diarrhea filled diapers. So now I had almost killed the kid twice and helped him contract an unknown disease. Awesome...

Simon went down for a nap shortly after arriving home as I assessed the situation. I then learned something else about Simon. He slept in a packnplay in my closet while he was here and not ever once made a peep the whole time he was in there. Awake? Asleep? Who knows? He never made a noise. Which meant at some point every day I had to just peek in and see what was going on. If I peeked to early, I woke him up. If I peeked too late, I was greeted with those wide brown eyes that had the strongest sense of abandonment behind them.

This became a problem when I went to get him out of bed Wednesday morning. I opened the door and a horrid sour smell filled the room. The poor child had vomited in his bed at some point during the night and had not felt the need to make a single noise to alert anyone. This was also throw up #2, which happened more than 24 hours after the first incident...

Throw up #3 occurred on my kitchen floor just an hour before his parents got there. I got to hand them a child without a shirt and without any sense of what might be troubling his little tummy.

I am so not a good babysitter.

On a more positive side, we actually had some very fun times with our new addition. My kids taught him to say "Superman!" with his fist in the air. I took him to the library one day with his baby leash and fed him little graham cracker snacks to keep him walking and couldn't help but occasionally say, "Come on little Simon puppy! Good little Simon puppy." I also got to giggle after every request I made was met with his little voice asking, "why?". "No Simon, the answer is yes Kacey."

"Yes Kacey!" It never got old.

I really truly love Simon to pieces. His mom gave me permission to tell my overdramatic little story because she knows Simon will always be like an extra nephew to me. And, someday when he gets bigger and his mom makes him invite me to his wedding I will pinch his little chubby cheek (in my imagination, he gets taller but keeps his baby face even as a 25 year old) and remind him of the time he puked all over me at Costco... and then give him a very generous wedding present to make up for the embarrassing baby stories.

But just to make sure he makes it to that age, it might be advantageous for his mom to find a new babysitter.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Easter-ish Festivities

Our Easter weekend was one crazy roller coaster ride of activities. We shoved so much fun into three days that we forgot to sleep, thus causing the Easter Sunday previously shared. But those three days were so fun, it was almost worth the sleep deprived Sunday.

Our buddies, the Stouts, came back in town for a visit and crashed at our house. Their kids and our kids are just 7 peas in a crowded little pod. They hit the ground running like they had seen each other not months but hours ago. They pulled in late Thursday night and after some impressive kid wrangling we finally got all 11 of us asleep.

Friday was a day of party prep as we were hosting a double birthday get together for Blaze and Bennett that evening. But we did manage to squeeze in some egg decorating.

Side Story: Why Jon Wasn't There
Jon loves decorating Easter Eggs. It is probably one of the only holiday traditions he gets excited about. The night before, the boys had casually thrown around the idea of fitting in a round of golf. I heard this only through some inadvertent eavesdropping and also heard them conclude that there really wouldn't be enough time for that.

The next morning, Adam needed to make a stop on the other side of town briefly. Jon volunteered to drive him over there. It wasn't until we were traipsing down the aisles of Walmart with our 7 children under the age of 7 that Ashley got a text. "Hey, hope you guys are having fun. We decided to hit a few balls."


Now don't get me wrong, we didn't care about the golf. That was totally cool by us. But what was with the trickery? I can only picture them sneaking their clubs in the car when our backs were turned and snickering to each other as they escaped. They feigned ignorance, even after it was discovered that they called a friend on the other side of town to join us hours before either of them even thought of mentioning it to us.

My conclusion: they are afraid of us.

So in punishment, egg decorating proceeded Jon-less. No holiday fun for you until 2013 dude.

Side Story Ended

We kept it simple this year. Just a basic Paas dye and a few crayons.

Rhode decided to grab for an egg when I had just asked everyone to wait a moment before I handed them an egg. The delay was devastating.

He is a tad bit touchy these days... about everything. Sure hoping this is a three year old boy thing that improves with age.

This picture cracks me up. Ashley was trying to show much how much little baby Cate does not like food. She has been describing to me for months over the phone the disgusted look she gets whenever they try to get Cate to eat different foods.

Turns out they haven't tried pineapple yet.

The babe gnawed on that stick for a good ten minutes. Don't worry, I still believe you about the disgusted face. Mostly.

Ashley threw a killer party that night. We had over sixty people fill our house and backyard, snacking on pizza and cake, opening present, and chatting like we hadn't seen each other in years.

With a combo of factors involved (early church, family obligations, trying to get some real Easter stuff in) we decided to do baskets and egg hunts on Saturday. To make sure nobody started the party early we were prepared.

Another Side Story:
The crepe paper gate of mine was a great idea until Asher had an incredibly long and cranky night. Both Jon and I got to make our way past this sometime during the midnight hours without tearing the whole thing apart. It is truly amazing neither of us made it down the stairs head over feet.

And Now Back On Track.

Down the stairs was a trail of bunny marshmallows. When we finally broke the gate, Bennett jumped into action.
Yes, he literally slid headfirst down the entire staircase, grabbing and munching every marshmallow he passed leaving a devastated number of children still in awe at the top of the stairs.

Luckily, bunny marshmallows had found many perches in the downstairs, plenty for the crowd to share.

Baskets were given to great success. I remembered at the very last minute that my parents used to buy us kites every year for Easter. They were cheap and usually only lasted a few weeks but I loved them. So, I picked up a couple for my kids this year and they were instant winners.

And then the Stouts had to leave us once again. When we were headed out on errands the next day, Rhode asked, "Will Blaze and Bennett be there?" I wish... Drowning our sorry in Easter candy was very effective though. But we are down to our last few pieces. Might need to plan a trip very soon.

Quick Trip

Our whole family got to take a quick trip up to Utah a few weeks ago. It was a last minute trip, the kind where you call up your in laws and find out how mad they would be if you showed up at their door in less than 24 hours. Thank goodness they like us.

It had been way too long since we spent time with the Marshalls. We stayed up way too late and didn't have nearly enough time but, as always, it was way too much fun.


- I have some of the best nieces and nephews. I really do. Eden and Olivia are Scarlet's favorite people in the world and they just keep her fully entertained the whole time we are with them. But my absolute favorite thing to see is Hawkins, who is almost 10 years old, who takes the time to play with Rhode. Rhode thinks Hawk is about as cool as a kid can get and I love that my rough and tumble nephew takes time to play with his little cousin.

- I got to see Courtney compete in her ballroom competition! Oh to be able to do what she does...

- I have discovered I have an undying love for the ballroom category, Cabaret. That and Cougar Tails. Kylie tried to convince me they had both of these things around when I went to BYU. Cabaret maybe... but Cougar Tails? I am pretty sure I would have noticed.

- I didn't actually bring any form of media capturing while I was there, but my niece did! Watching Asher and Barrett play together was hours of entertainment. Who will end up with the toy? Who will claw who's face first? And it was all done with a friendly indifference that can only be captured by babies.

- We also discovered Asher is terrified of dogs. We got several good laughs out of watching the Marshall's chihuahua, Bruno, stealthily approach Asher, get inches from his face before Asher even knew what was happening and then watching the terrified panic that ensued. I am a good mom.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

You found me again!

This is what I say to Asher all day these days. I take care of all of his baby needs (food, diaper, etc.) and then find him a nice and happy play place where he can only cause so much damage. Then I high tail it out of there as quickly as possible and hide somewhere to get my work done.

When successful, this usually results in extended periods of happy play time for my son. If 1) he sees me go or 2) one of his siblings tries to 'help', playtime is officially over and he returns to his six inch diameter of gravitational pull from mom.

Well, it was a very well constructed plan until he decided to start really crawling.

Rhode has a new favorite storybook right now called "Peepsqueak" about a small baby chick who doesn't give up in his attempts to fly high. Every page ends with sentence, "But not Peepsqueak, he was on the move!"

Asher has now officially been dubbed Peepsqueak.

Not only does he use his lithe frame to move all over the place but he is constantly on the move to find me. He usually meanders on his journey, stopping to taste every treasure the carpet can hold but before I know it, he is peeking his head around the corner of the doorway in pure delight because, yes, he has found me once again.

Not only is he crawling, he is also pulling himself to standing. And now on three different occasions I have watched him let go and balance himself on two legs before dropping to his diapered bottom.

He is seven months old and he is on the move.

I have also decided he is a musical genius. You know how they are always bragging that Mozart wrote his first symphony when he was three? Notice how they are never playing said symphony. I have always wondered how technical this symphony was. I think Asher may have him beat.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Best Laid Plans

Easter Sunday To Do List:

Make Matching Easter Accessories for Family - Check

- Two purple ties for boys - check
- One pair of purple suspenders for Asher - check
- Refurbished skirt for mom - check
- Matching necklace for mom - check

Make Little Books about Jesus's Life to Present to Kids Easter Morning - check

Wake Up Early Enough to Get Myself and Kids Ready So Pictures Can Be Taken Before Church - check

Pack Snacks for Asher - check

I was so prepared. I was so ready. I was so hopeful.

Until, Rhode woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

Until, Scarlet professed intermittent symptoms of some crazy sickness that affects her ability to eat, talk, and behave nicely to people.

Instead of a morning filled with plans, I had a morning filled with crying, fit throwing, threatening, pleading, yelling, and screaming. I had two purple ties sitting on the floor of the living room. I had church hair rubbed back down into bed head. I had not a single moment to present the new church books I had lovingly made for them. I had a church row that did not once contain my 3 year old son as he never calmed down long enough to walk into the door. I had a graham cracker stained baby onesie and new mom skirt. I had a broken necklace with beads running along the underside of the pew. I had baby bottle stains running down my blouse. I had a daughter that was brought to me twice during primary for more surprise symptoms. I had a daughter refuse to read her primary scripture, instead choosing to knock her sleeping brother in my arms and then crumpling to the floor in a full out tantrum when I finally read the scripture for her. And even after a very necessary 3 hour nap for both children I still have a boy that has chosen to spend the last two hours in his room because the 10 dishes left in the dishwasher have proven to be the insurmountable task.

And I have no pictures. Not a one.

I guess sometimes we need a day to realize that even when life is not perfect, or not even slightly pleasant, the Atonement is still perfect as is His Plan for us. This day is not about my cute skirt or matching purple ties, it is about the miraculous event that is the Resurrection. And that is why even after a day like today I can still genuinely say...

Happy Easter