Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Gratitudes

Huge gratitudes to my ward choir, ym/yw choir, Primary, women's choir, duets and solos for a fabulous Christmas Program in Sacrament Meeting. The best part was singing Kevin Pace's Silent Night/Joseph Smith's Testimony for our closing song. The congregation joins in singing the third verse of Silent Night while the choir sings Joseph Smith's Testimony. I had the organ joinin playing the hymnbook version of Silent Night when the congregation sang. It was beautiful. You can obtain a copy here.

I'm also grateful that my drive to Utah with my kids today went nearly uneventful (if you don''t include dangerous amounts of fog).

I am so very thankful that finals are over.

Another gratitude for only having to spend $368 for textbooks on Amazon compared to the $420 B&N wanted or the $489 it would have cost at my university book store.

Last gratitude: I had comfort food at my mom's Sunday dinner table.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Surviving Finals

So far and A on all of my finals, including the class that gave me the most stress. Unfortunately that A on the exam still left me 2 percentage points short of an A for the class. Ugh.

One last final that I will probably take tomorrow night just to get it done with. Then I am freeeeeeeeeeeeee!

psst - at least for 2 1/2 weeks

I will admit that I loved this semester. Getting into my major and working towards a goal has been wonderful.

I need to talk to the department head but I think I know a direction already that I want to take for graduate school and a final project.

Oh, did I mention I still need to study for the GRE and start taking it this summer? Yeah. More books during vacation.

psst - during my freedom of 2 1/2 weeks, I get to spend part of that taking a vacation sans kids. I get Mr. Wonderful to myself for a few days. Woo-hoo! But I have to whisper the plans. The sickly demons are hunting us down and I do not DO NOT want to be sick over Christmas. Even more so, I do not want Mr. Wonderful getting sick. Know any way to ward off the sickly demons?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Gratitudes

A huge, heartfelt, overwhelming, seriously thankful gratitude to my stake for allowing me to conduct the Halleluja Chorus at our Stake Christmas program tonight. It was amazing.

(I have have to admit, this Mo-Tab version on my playlist sounds a bit tame compared to my stake. Perhaps it seemed, well, more because my heart was beating so fast.

Serious fun. Oh. My. Heavens.

I hope we do it again next year.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Go Tell It On The Mountain

The Love Magnet preformed with her grade at the Christmas Music program. All week she has been singing "Go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born". In the car. At the grocery store. Playing in our house. But ask her to sing it to people and she clams up. She might whisper it if she's feeling generous. I went to the dress rehearsal. Mr. Wonderful went to the program and played photographer.
The Love Magnet being escorted by her aide, The Divine Mrs. M.
She was so excited, she applauded with the audience before the singing even started. TLM also ended every single song with a grand bow. (Unfortunately we weren't quick enough to capture that. Too bad.)

She knew exactly when to 'ting-a-ling' with her bell in the first song. She kept pointing at the bell in between to make sure we saw she had one.

She knew when to hold up her mask and sing S-A-N-T-A.

Then came her favorite song. She had a hard time keeping up with the verses, but when it came time to sing the chorus she sang her heart out.

I am so grateful that our fabulous music teacher treats my daughter like everyone else. The Love Magnet loves music and absolutely loves her music teacher. Many thanks and much gratitude for all the effort out music teacher puts into her program at our school. Many thanks especially for including a song that really tells about the celebration this season. Most schools won't mention the name of Jesus during this time. Our schools chose to sing out the good news.


Saturday, December 05, 2009

Happy Birthday Secondborn!

Secondborn is a bit of an odd duck. At least he was the day he turned into a teenager. He wouldn't tell me what he wanted for a birthday cake (hates chocolate, can you believe it?) or dinner. At least he is the easiest to shop for. All he wants is books, books, books. I bought him a gift card so he could choose his own.
Finally the afternoon of his birthday, he told us he wanted to go out for steak and a loaded baked potato. Off we went. I told him I didn't make a cake since he didn't specify what he wanted. I felt bad.
He ducked every time I tried to take his picture.

Finally snapped him with my stealth.

His brothers wouldn't stop posing.

Even The Love Magnet had to get into the act.

I promised him I would make him a late birthday cake when Grandma and Grandpa B come to visit next week. Right after dinner we went to the book store so he could pick.

Secondborn is my most generous child. He has been know to spend all his birthday money on Christmas presents for his siblings in previous years. This year He has already started earning money for them. He helps the younger kids with homework. He reads to Thirdborn every night (and Thirdborn loves it). Thirdborn loves to play chess. He hates the grief Firstborn gives him for liking such a 'nerdy game'. I have pointed out to Secondborn that he is incredibly smart and chess teaches him strategy, observation and thinking skills. (Pssst, don't tell, but he is getting an awesome chess set for Christmas).
Heavenly Father blessed me with this generous old soul, too. He reminds me very much of a generous brother of mine. (Do you think all 5 will claim that or does the brother know who he is?)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Thirdborn

My Thirdborn is 9 today. This kid caused me great pain when he was born (my epidural didn't work so I gave birth to him with no drugs).
Good thing I love him.

This is my child who always shows his love and appreciation over my cooking.

He has been looking forward to this day for weeks.

I just hope he survives it without torching his eyebrows off.

Happy birthday, my dear, sweet child. Heavenly Father blessed me the day he loaned you to me. He knew I would need you.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Love Magnet Moments

I asked The Love Magnet to tuck herself in bed tonight. I had to start a birthday cake and blow up balloons. She said okay and trotted off. Just not far enough to her bedroom.

"Bed" must be a relative term meaning anywhere you choose to flop down with a quilt.

Obviously she felt left out that Firstborn and Secondborn were allowed to stay up and help. She didn't want to miss anything.

She is so darn cute!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Hosting the Missionaries

We hosted the missionaries for dinner tonight. Sign ups to feed the missionaries go fast in our stake so I felt very blessed that we were able to get a spot.
Elder N (left) and Elder S (right) are both from Florida. It was fun to hear their accents and it made me homesick for my Grandma B in southern Georgia.

When I asked the kids what we should feed the missionaries for dinner, Firstborn insisted on Pastrami Swiss Burgers and that he would grill them himself. I made Tomatoes Teruel, deviled eggs, roasted red potatoes, and a fruit salad. Banana splits for dessert. Totally different than traditional holiday food. I think the elders liked it. I brought out a dish of pecans., I pronounce it "pea-cans" (or /pikaenz/ which is as phonetic as I can get without pepper font on Blogger). Elder S was cracking up as apparently I am the only person in Idaho who pronounces 'pecans' the proper way.

My boys loved listening to the elders' stories. Thirdborn was enamored with them

Elder S talked about tracting, hating the cold, missing paint-balling, hating the cold, practical jokes the missionaries played on each other, hating the cold.........
His favorite dish is Chicken Spaghetti, a concoction of chicken, cheese whiz, and mushroom soup. I'd love to find the recipe and make it for him, but he is being transferred next week.

Elder N was incredibly patient with The Love Magnet, especially when she tried to finger paint his white shirt with her stick fingers. He was pretty quiet for the most part until he started to talk about home and family. He likes chicken (I never did understand if he meant fried, rotisserie, baked. I'll have to find out if I get the chance to host him again.)

These sweet guys are welcome at our house anytime. God bless the missionaries and their families who willingly support them while they serve.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I Hope They Call Me On a Mission

My parents opened their 2nd mission call last night:

Uganda Kampala Mission.

It isn't clear what they will be doing there. They will leave in March and head back to Africa. I can't wait to read their blog posts.

Please keep them in your prayers.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Gratitudes

1. My family.

2. My parents going on another mission (to Uganda!)

3. Going back to school.

4. Good grades.

5. Fran's Dark Chocolate Covered Salted Caramels (and Zuzu the Pirate who sends them to me).

6. Grandma S.'s cookbook (especially her recipe for Date Pinwheels which I am going to try for the first time this year.)

7. St. Lucia traditions (and Miss Morgan who introduced them).

8. Decorating Christmas Cookies the day after Thanksgiving (and my mom who started that one).

9. Kindred Spirits.

10. Every single one of my Cookies.

11. Every single one of my T-21 buddies.

13. Black Licorice and the memories of Grandpa S.

14. I'm healthy.

15. A ward choir that rocks!

16. A youth ward choir that rocks!

17. A sweetheart who loves me even after 18 years.

18. Teachers and aides who influence me kids for the better.

19. Great Scout leaders.

20. Asparagus in the spring, strawberries and raspberries in early summer, fresh corn and watermelon midsummer, peaches and pears late summer, pumpkin flavors in the fall, and all other good-for-me foods.

21. Reliable electricity, clean running water, and decent roads.

22. Mr. Wonderful's job and his willingness to work.

23. Mr. Wonderful's parents who raised boys (6 of them!) right.

24. Temples.

25. The Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, and the Bible.

26. Creativity. My own and others who bless me with theirs.

27. The Love Magnet who teaches me to slow down and really enjoy the little things.

28. Singing I Am A Child Of God. I love that song.

29. Jane Austen's books.

30. Caring people.

31. Finding a jar of my Grandma's S's raspberry freezer jam just in time for Thanksgiving dinner. (Way to go, auntie M!)

32. Listening to the sounds of my children getting along with each other.

33. Spending a week alone with my sweetheart.

34. Date night.

35. Date night with one of my kids.

36. All those years of piano lessons.

37. An entire year where none of my children had to go to the emergency room. (YES!!!!)

38. The United States flag and everything it stands for.

39. Memories of Grandpa B, especially his gentle voice when he gave me my patriarchal blessing.

40. Food storage.

41. Stocked grocery stores with decent prices.

42. My sons' opportunities to play basketball, soccer, and swim leagues.

43. Living close enough to see my family for a weekend whenever I want.

44. Email

45. Really good neighbors.

46. Mr. Wonderful, especially when ignores my annoying quirks and praises my attempts at being a good wife and mother.

47. Mr. Wonderful for never failing to thank me for a meal I prepared in all of our 18 years of marriage.

48. Good, intelligent, clean movies. They are so very rare.

49. My son's willingness to help out.

50. That we aren't wanting for a single thing. We have everything we need.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Gratitudes

Tonight I am so very grateful for a big Stake Choir working on Handel's Hallelujah Chorus. I absolutely adore directing big choirs, especially when singing one of my all-time favorite songs. Especially ones who put up with me. Those poor altos are overwhelmed right now. I dearly wish I had my sister singing with them. As it is, I have a section practice planned that will set things to rights. The choir sounds marvelous for the most part. And I get to see some dear faces from my old ward.

Yet another gratitude for my Young Men/Young Women's Choir. I had 18 teens who showed up at my house today. We worked on three songs, talked a bit about the difference between criticizing and critiquing, and inhaled a double batch of brown sugar cookies. I am so grateful for these kids and their willingness to learn something outside of their comfort zone.

I am grateful that The Love Magnet is finally feeling better. As soon as I got home from my 4th (!) choir practice of the day, she ran up to me and told me to feel her forehead. No fever! And look, Mom, no stuffy nose! No chappy lips! She is so excited to go to school tomorrow. Now if I could just get Thirdborn and Mr. Wonderful feeling better. I hope Firstborn and Secondborn do not get sick just in time for Thanksgiving.

A sweet gratitude for Zuzu The Pirate for sending me a box of Fran's Salted Dark Chocolate Caramels to get me through my crazy week. You, my dear pirate, are an absolute darling. I shall repay you in kind.

A pen-pal from my elementary years, who became one of my best friends and kindred spirit, suggested that her firstborn and my Thirdborn become pen-pals. I'm so grateful for this opportunity. My son will find the joys of getting snail mail, have the benefit writing about his life, and hopefully it will stick around and long and strong and my friendship with Gingersnap. Much love to you my dear, sweet friend.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Oh what a beautiful morning (you know you want to sing it!)

This morning while I chauffeured the kids to school.

Home Teacher Heroes

I was making a comment to Dandelion Mama about how I relied on HT's when I realized that I never told those stories here.

Home Teachers are assigned to each family in the ward. You can find out more about the role of home teachers here.

I've had to rely on my home teachers many times throughout the years, especially when Mr. Wonderful was out of town, usually in the form of giving blessings to my sick children. One night is was for something much more.....well, more Hollywood stuntman worthy.

It was midnight when I heard calls for help. Secondborn (who was 10 at the time) was in the bathroom. Some how the doorknob on the bathroom broke and he couldn't open the door. I was unclear if he had locked the door before it broke.

I called Mr. Wonderful, who was out of town. He tried to walk us through taking the doorknob off the door. It wasn't rocket science, I know, but that doorknob would not come off. We tried sliding tools under the door for Secondborn. Nope. Firstborn joked that Secondborn would have to live in the bathroom. At least there was running water and we could slide sandwiches and crackers under the door. He could sleep in the bathtub. Secondborn began to panic with thoughts of eternal porcelain detention.

I broke down and called my Home Teacher around 1 a.m. I didn't want to call so late. But this is what Home Teachers are for - they help whenever it's needed. One of my home teachers arrived with his wife. I know she was there there to preserve the propriety of his coming over so early in the morning without my husband there. But Home Teacher also claimed that his wife had mad skills of opening doors with credit cards. She tried to demonstrate on our bathroom door. Mad skills obviously weren't going to help. Home Teacher's wife then locked the bedroom door to prove her mad skills and repair her reputation of being able to break in anywhere.

Home teacher took up the tools and worked on door knob. He tried to talk Secondborn through removing the door hinges. After an hour of futility, he asked permission to do the only thing he had left in his talent arsenal. He told Secondborn to climb in the tub and cover his head.

Mr. Blackbelt kicked down the door.

Applause and cheering all around. My boys were swooning with hero worship. Thirdborn yelled "This is better than ninjas!" I was floored. Somehow the door was still intact (although on the floor) and only minor damage to the door frame. Secondborn was so relieved to be released from the bathroom.

We thanked our home teacher and his wife profusely as they left. I finally tucked the kids in bed. The next day we made fresh orange rolls to take to our home teacher. Their house was quiet, we assumed they were still sleeping and left the basket on the porch with a thank you note.

Ever since, home teachers have retained a hero status in our home. God bless the home teachers.

PS: Go to Dandelion Mama's site. She sells the cutest quilting patterns on Etsy. And she draws and paints. She is one of those creative artsy people I wish I could be. One of these days I would love to meet her in person and give her a hug.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth!

This just happened 10 minutes ago!

Sunday Gratitudes

I know I've been a neglectful blogger. My days have been loaded up with projects and study that my professors want done next week so they can enjoy Thanksgiving without a lot of grading to do. While I can't blame them, it sure does make my November hectic. At least I can say that I am grateful that my Child Language Sample project is halfway done and I did finish my Describing Errors exam (SODA, phonological processes, and feature tables - just because I knew you were curious).

Last night, Mr. Wonderful took me to see 2012 at the movie theaters. Okay movie, but they did rip on religion and tried to convince their audience that the power of prayer was futile. I was keenly aware of little things about Mr. Wonderful during the evening: He puts one hand on my back and his other hand hold mine while escorting me through the parking lot. He tucks his coat around my legs (without being asked) because he knows I get cold in movie theaters. He buys candy he thinks I will like. I am grateful that my husband shows me, in so many little ways, that he loves me. Oh yes, I felt very loved.

One of my Cookies in Denver had a food dryer that she didn't use. She sent it to me. I'm grateful for unexpected blessings like a free food dryer. My kids are excited to attempt to make jerky and fruit leather. I'm excited to add one more item to my food storage. First up will be dried apples, bananas, and pineapple. Many thanks and much love to Cookie B.

The Love Magnet is just about over her cold. It looks like the boys have avoided getting it. I'm grateful that The Love Magnet is getting over being just sick enough to be onery. I'll bet her teacher and aides are grateful for that, too. It was a rough week.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

It happened! Again! (actually the fourth time...)

But this time it was a top tooth. A front and center tooth. "A BIG TOOTH, Mom!" The tooth that she fiddled with all through our Primary Program practice this morning. The tooth she tried to get strangers to wiggle while we were at the grocery store. The tooth that was her obsession.

Thank you, Secondborn for helping her pull it out.

Now she can obsess about her other top tooth. It is also loose.

Friday, November 06, 2009


Today I took the kids to get haircuts. The Love Magnet climbed up onto the chair, smiled sweetly at the stylist, and announced "I want a mohawk."

(no, of course I didn't let her get one.)


Yesterday was parent teacher conference.

The Love Magnet: At grade level in reading, thankyouverymuch. As I was talking with her teacher and the head of Extended Resource about it, I got teary. What an incredible blessing. My daughter can sound out new words. She can take spelling tests with her class. She gets more confused in writing paragraphs (because she wants to write as fast as her classmates and thoughts get jumbled before they get on paper) and math is difficult (hands on blocks are great, writing math with just numbers is hard).

Thirdborn: Still struggling in reading, writing and math (darn that dyslexia and dysgraphia!) But he got great grades for effort and attitude. Best of all he got a great grade in science. And, his teacher noted, that he does great in language when the books are read to him. He participates in class. And he is a very sensitive, sweetly endearing kid. (I already knew that but it was still great to hear him praised by others).

Secondborn: This kid does A work. But he suddenly became a teen.......every single one of his teachers said he talks too much. Really? My kid? My kid? Wait, didn't my mom hear the same thing about me? Yeah, I guess he is my kid. Darn it all. That was a trait I did not want passed down the gene pool.

Firstborn: He started out rocky but caught up and is doing much better. His teachers are please with his efforts and how respectful he is. We went to the seminary and met his seminary teacher. He participates, knows his scriptures, and is really loved over there. I got a bit teary. God bless the seminary teachers. God bless ALL the teachers. Every single one of them want to see my children succeed.

Halloween was a riot. The Love Magnet lasted for about ten houses. She hates anything remotely scary or evil looking. All the blood makes her very concerned that somebody needs to go to the hospital. She'd rather have chicken noodle soup and hand out candy to the cute kids and pet the dogs wearing costumes.

That being said, it was funny to watch: when the neighbors saw her coming, suddenly everyone who could remove scary parts of their costume, did. Weapons were hidden. Masks were taken off. One kid who couldn't take off his exposed ribcage costume was so sweet and made sure that my daughter understood it wasn't real. She told him "You look gross" and wouldn't have anything to do with him. It made him feel bad.


Last night was cub scout pack meeting and I took Thirdborn by myself. The theme was heroes. A lieutenant from the Sheriff’s department let the boys ask him questions. There were the usual “Do you get to shoot your gun?” and “Are you ever scared?” Then Thirdborn raised his hand and asked “How do you deploy your spike strips to catch a criminal in a police chase?” Everyone did a double take (including me).

The latest Rachael Ray mag had a blurb about a website you could use. This website would let you send emails that would self destruct after being read or if they weren't opened for awhile. The mag said it would be great for sending gossip without getting caught. This really bugged me. Gossip is malicious. Why are people promoting it? Obviously, if you want it to self destruct, you know you are doing something hurtful and wrong.

Is it just me? My mom taught me not to gossip.

Another Rachael Ray moment: Julie Andrews was on the show. She is one of my all time favorite actresses. Julie and Rachael talked about an magazine interview Julie did where she was asked "Which virtue is overrated?"

Julie answered, "Chastity".

My heart was sad. As they joked about it I kept telling myself that not everyone believes as I do. Everyone has their own moral agency.

I believe in chastity. I teach my kids that it is not overrated, but highly valued. Enough said.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mama's In The Kitchen

Stuffed Acorn Squash Moroccan
Main Dish
Servings 10 (see notes for why)

My notes: I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted online for a recipe so I made up my own. I made a lot of filling which ended up stuffing up to 10 halves. When I tried to changed the amounts on Master Cook 9 software it came up with weird amounts. I think the filling would keep well in the fridge or freezer. This could easily be made vegetarian with vegetable broth and chickpeas instead of chicken broth and ground beef. Some of my kids loved this. Others didn’t.

1 cup couscous
3/4 pound extra lean ground beef
1 large onion, minced
1 cup baby carrot, diced
clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup dried cranberries
8 dried apricot halves, diced
5 whole acorn squash, halved, seeds and pulp removed
10 teaspoons butter
10 teaspoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
2 cups fat free chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim bottom of each acorn squash half so it will sit flat. Place acorn squash in deep roasting pan. Place 1 teaspoon butter and sprinkle 1 teaspoon brown sugar in each half. Sprinkle each with a pinch of kosher salt and a grind of black pepper. Pour water into the pan to come halfway up the acorn squash. Bake in oven for 45 minutes or until tender.

2. Meanwhile, bring chicken broth to boil. Turn off heat and add couscous, cranberries and apricots. Set aside (couscous takes about 5 minutes to be ready).

3. Pour olive oil into pan over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrot, and garlic. Cook and stir for 4 minutes. Add ground beef, cumin, and cinnamon. Cook, breaking up beef, until beef is cooked through. Salt and pepper to taste.

4. Stir couscous mix into ground beef mixture. Spoon 2/3 Cup couscous filling into each acorn half. Serve with fresh bread and fruit or a salad.

Cal 312, Fat 12g, Fiber 5g, Chol 34 mg, C

Monday, October 26, 2009

From our house to yours - Happy Halloween! (be sure to turn off my music playlist before you watch)

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Hey, Wasatch Front 'Twilight' fanatics....yeah, you!

My sis-in-love is hosting a giveaway of two movie tickets to a special showing of Twilight that will include giveaways. Find her blog here. And tell her that Scarehaircare sent you.

FYI: If you win, I accept thank you's for the heads-up by way of chocolate. Really good chocolate like from Cummings or another local Wasatch Front chocolatier. Not a bag of Hershey's Kisses or M&Ms. After all, this is a special showing of Twilight.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Gratitudes

First of all I am grateful for all the kind words I've received from people who care. Heavenly Father has blessed my life by bringing all of you to me. It's good to know that I can vent once in a while and not be accused of being selfish.

I am grateful for a good night's sleep. It does wonders for the attitude. I highly recommend it.

I'm grateful that The Love Magnet and Thirdborn received the H1N1 shot this past week. I just wish that Firstborn and Secondborn could have, also. I hope it happens soon. The Love Magnet and Thirdborn are doing just fine.

I've also got to throw in a gratitude for datenight. We haven't had time for one for a few weeks. Last Saturday, Mr. Wonderful and I had some celebrating to do. Both of us have October birthdays, I survived midterms, and Mr. Wonderful's bonus was better than we anticipated. So we headed to our fave seafood restaurant and thoroughly enjoyed a quite dinner for two where we did not talk about kids. Afterwards we went for a drive, just to prolong being together. Did I mention today how much I love Mr. Wonderful? Life is so very good.

Last of all, today my Firstborn received his patriarchal blessing (click on the link to access a definition. Our stake Patriarch is a wonderful man to whom my family has tender feelings. He reminds me of my Georgia granddaddy. This brought back so many memories from when I my granddaddy came from Georgia to give me a patriarchal blessing (he was his stake's ordained patriarch). We went to the patriarch's home after church, having fasted. Firstborn received incredible counsel. The blessing was a glimpse for me is seeing the potential of my son. I was in tears when it was over. So was our patriarch. I am grateful for the priesthood, yet again, and for the blessing of being able to witness this moment in my son's life.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sometimes I want a vacation from Holland.

The Love Magnet is not always the sweet, loving child.

Kids with Down syndrome exude love. I know that. It would be impossible to forget as people love to talk about it everywhere I go. But the general populace does not seem to understand that kids with Down syndrome also pitch fits. Whine. Mimic speech if only for the purpose of annoying their older brothers. All the things that typical kids do as they learn just how far they can push the envelope.

The Love Magnet has decidedly taken on the "push the envelope" challenge. She has gotten into the habit of acting out during the last 30 minutes of class. Swinging her backpack at the kids while they are lined up at the door. Pushing. Smacking.

Calling her fellow classmates 'poopyhead'. (It's the worst word she can think of at her age.)

She sometimes has a hard time understanding facial expressions. I visited her class to talk to her classmates. I explained that she has a hard time understanding their feelings by how they look, and to use words with nice manners to explain it. Telling her"Stop it! I don't like that, it hurts" gets the point across. These kids have been trying to work with me this way.

I have to admit, though, that there are times where I hate having to explain my daughter to children her age. It makes me feel that I am yet again pointing out that my daughter is different. I know they are going to figure it out anyway. I know that she looks different, acts different, is different. Truly, I do know this. I live with that knowledge ever single day.

Why is it so hard for me to deal with different? I have had 7 years to accept and get used to the fact. It is not a big deal to me that my daughter has Ds. But there are still times (still!) where I wish I could take a vacation from Holland. Along with all the great tulips, windmills, and Rembrandts, Holland also has guide book that is at times 3 feet thick, requires memorization and too often doesn't have all the current information needed, a language barrier, a myriad of doctor and specialist appointments along the way, and the siblings who feel you're spending too much time in Holland.

Usually that is my personal cue that I just need a vacation, period. Mr. Wonderful and I haven't had a weekend alone since we moved here. We're trying to find time and coordinate plans, but it just hasn't happened. We have been able to give the boys their own personal vacays away. EFY, scout camps, and a week here and there visiting a cousin's house all by themselves.

Okay, I vented. I allow myself to do that once in a while. I think any parent is allowed to vent.

Trust me, though, when The Love Magnet gets home today, I will hug her tightly and be thrilled that she is home.

I love her.

Down syndrome is not who she is.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mom, take a picture of you and me.....

Yesterday the Love Magnet received the H1N1 flu shot (at the suggestion of my family doctor. His reasoning was b/c of her health history). She fell asleep at 5:00that night and didn't wake up until 8:00 this morning. Highly unusual. She did wake up with a low grade fever. Very typical behavior after receiving vaccines. The elementary school has a no-fever policy so I had to keep her home. Luckily, my professors are willing to video record the lectures I missed. Just one of their ways to make sure no one brings the Swine Flu to school.
The Love Magnet ate breakfast and watched a movie. Then she asked for one of her favorite forms of entertainment. "Mom, take a picture of me. And you and me."
Things started our well. But, she couldn't resist. She started doing something her brothers taught her very well. My daughter started pulling faces. She told me this was her surprised look.

Her "tough" face.....

Then her "silly sleepy face" which she learned from Secondborn. I kid you not, he loves pulling this face, too, and he is 12.

After a series of poses, my daughter begged for "just one more".........

Yep, she loves me. That one is a keeper.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Gratitudes

First of all I am grateful that I survived midterm week. I earned A's on all midterms except one. That was was an absolute bear for all of the class. I have not received a grade yet. I am not looking forward to it..
This past week Mr. Wonderful and I had a meeting with Firstborn, one of his teachers and his counselor. The meeting went very well. I think Firstborn thought so, too. He needs to learn organizational skills (what teen doesn't?) and everything will be okay. I'm grateful for teachers who truly care about their students.
Secondborn started basketball practice. This was his first time having to try out for a team and he did great. He has been looking forward to this league for months. Even better, one of the coaches is in our ward and the other is the father of one of Secondborn's best friends. I'm grateful that Secondborn will be involved in basketball. It will be fun to attend his games. The Love Magnet loves cheering at ball games.

Last Friday, Mr. Wonderful took me into the mountains. He needed to check on a job site. I was hoping to get some good pictures to enlarge for our dining room. I found some unusual moss. Not great formal dining art, but unusual. I took a pic just to document it:

It started to get foggy in the higher elevations. I tried to show the steam coming off the river. (I still need to learn how to use this camera.

I did get a picture of a ghost cow worthy of Pioneer Woman. At least I think it's worthy of Pioneer Woman status. She sets the bar high. Okay, I just thought it was pretty funny to find this white cow in the fog, staring at me from the top of the hill.

Lazy circle contrails in the sky. Still not worthy of formal dining room art.

Sheep! Cute for a picture. Until they all decided to turn tail just as I snapped. All I got was a shot of a bunch of sheep bums. Definitely not worthy of the dining room.

After that, we got lost while looking for cabin property. The satellite maps did not match the roads we were on. We were in such a hurry to find out way out and get home in time that there was no time to stop and find a few good shots.
Maybe the ghost cow would look good in a framed and matted 16 x 20 in the dining room.
At least I am grateful for nearly 8 hours of uninterrupted time with Mr. Wonderful. That is a complete luxury since I started school.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dear blog lurkers in Australia, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and Belgium -

I'm really curious about you. Would you mind introducing yourselves? :)

Thanks so much!

(as for the rest of you in the United States. I think you are either my family, T-21 buddies, or my Cookies. Why don't you introduce yourselves, too. )

Much love to you all,


PS - heading to the mountains tomorrow. Will post pics of fall color and Mr. Wonderful. A whole weekend with no textbooks! This is my reward after a crazy week of midterms. I'll tell you about those tomorrow, too. I'll probably vent about The Love Magnet. She has been acting odd.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Gratitudes

We drove to Utah yesterday afternoon to see my family. This morning we attended the homecoming of one of my nephews. Ate lunch. Drove home. Not a good way to promote family harmony between my children. But a good way to spend time thinking up gratitudes:

I'm grateful for teachers who contact us on their own time to let Mr. Wonderful and I know about their concerns (late homework) before it becomes a big problem (as in final grades).

I'm grateful for teachers who contact us on their own time just to let us know how much they love our child in their class and what a sweet, incredibly sensitive, polite child he is. (I love phone calls of that nature.)

I'm grateful for my close extended family. On both sides. I think I am the only person who loves her parent-in-laws and brothers and sister-in-laws. I even get along with my sibling-in-laws parents. I love it when my sister's mom-in-law hugs me or Mr. Wonderful's brother's mom-in-law (did that makes sense to you?) comes over to talk and remembers what is going on in my family and celebrates the exciting times with us.

Despite the not-so-fun travel time, I am grateful that I was able to spend an evening with my parents and see some of my sibs and their families. All we did was talk. Face-to-face is so much better than on the phone.

I'm grateful that I've got one midterm down and only four more to go.

I'm grateful for LDS General Conference. My two favorite talks this year were by Elder Jeffery R. Holland and President Thomas S. Monson. Click here, select English translation and then selected Sunday PM session. You'll see them both. Also the song just before Elder Holland is Mo-Tab singing O Divine Redeemer. It is absolutely exquisite.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me

Breakfast in bed. No picture as I was the one in bed. But just so you know, it was divine. I felt very loved. I also received an I-love-you-you're-the-greatest-mom-in-the-whole-world letter from Thirdborn. I told him it was the very best present.
Went to school. Forgot to make cupcakes to take to my classmates. I'll make some for tomorrow's class.
Lunch with Mr. Wonderful at our fave sushi place. No pictures as I didn't take my camera.
Mr. Wonderful even turned his phone off. I felt very loved.
(He told me he wanted to buy me a laptop for my bday but decided I'd better pick it out myself.)
Quick dinner fix. Wednesdays are spaghetti night at our house. There was absolutely no time for a birthday celebration as we were trying to juggle tutoring/scouts/homework. Time later for that this weekend.
I did receive this in the mail. Is there anything better than a beautifully wrapped package in the mail?

With an absolutely gorgeous card.

Want to know what it is? You'll be so envious....

Handmade chocolates from somebody named Fran. Actually it was from my friends Sooz and Captain Midnight from the Pacific Northwest. Thanks so much! I shall limit myself to one a day and really savor them.

The kids asked if I was going to share. Uh, no.....well, I will with Mr. Wonderful. The kids wouldn't appreciate these any more than a bag of Hershey's Kisses.
Tonight I tried the smoked salted caramel (bottom right in the photo). Oh *swoon*, these are soooooo divine.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Corn Maze

Navigating the corn maze: $20.00/family

Hunting for pumpkins: $0.30/lb

Running thru the hay bale maze (six times!): free

Riding the barrel train: $2.00/person

Really hoping your friends don't see you riding the barrel train (because your mom wanted you to make sure your little sister didn't jump ship): not enough money in the world....

Petting zoo: $2.00/person

Watching your daughter hug a 6 week old baby goat: priceless
(until she wanted to take it home).

Family togetherness for one afternoon: also priceless

tired kids on the way home: Cha-Ching!!!!!!

Ebelskiver's and Butter Syrup

I inherited an Ebelskiver pan form my grandma. This is a pan I've wanted for years but could never bring myself to purchase as it is good for only one thing. (If you know other uses, please let me know.) Today we had guests and made Ebelskivers for the first time. I think my Grandma came to hang out with us this morning. Love and good will abounded....along with a steady subconscious stream of "No, do it this way". *smile* You had to know my grandma. I sure miss her.


4 eggs separated

1 Tablespoon sugar

2 Cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 Cup melted butter

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

2 Cups milk

Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. In separate bowl beat egg yolks, vanilla, melted butter, and sugar together. In third bowl mix dry ingredients. Alternate stirring egg yolk mixture and milk into dry ingredients. Fold in egg whites.

(How I figured it out.) Grease ebelskiver pan using a bowl of oil and a silicone brush. Set aside and repeat this process for every batch. Heat pan over medium low heat (the other directions I found all said heat pan to smoking point but that was way to hot for what we were trying to accomplish). Fill each depression with batter. When bubbles appear on top of batter use a table spoon to turn the ebelskivers over (other recipes said to use a fork or wooden skewer. I found it much easier to use a spoon and a wooden skewer.) Let cook a few more minutes before scooping out of pan with a clean spoon. Ebelskivers can be served with syrups, jams or powdered sugar and melted butter. We really like the following butter syrup recipe.

Scarehaircare's Family Favorite Butter Syrup

1 Cup butter

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon or orange juice

Zest from that lemon

1 Cup milk

2 Cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 Tablespoon vanilla

Bring butter, milk, lemon juice, and sugar to a boil. Remove from heat and add baking soda, vanilla and lemon zest. Let it foam for a minute before serving.