Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I know, I know

Like I said-I know. It has been over a month. But in my defense I WAS out of town for 10 of those days! Good excuse, right?

Between the vacation, lots of laundry from being out of town for 10 days, birthdays, Halloween, trying to get laundry done after the vacation return, church stuff, laundry, and now sick kids with the stomach flu (which incidentally has added to said laundry), well, you get a slacking blog. But never fear! I have jotted down drafts for everything that needs to be posted, so maybe sometime this week I'll get around to that.

Although now that the basement is taped and mudded and ready to be primed and painted (WOO-HOO!!!!), I may be even more scarce.....

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Lincoln's Story

As is noted in the post for Malia's birthday, I have decided to follow in my friend's footsteps and share the birth stories of each of my children on their birthdays. Not only is it a good reminder of what a wondrous event it is each time, but it is also good to remember that no matter how much of a stinker they may be today-no matter which birthday it is-that they will always be my perfectly sweet little babies!

Lincoln's Story.....

(I guess you'll have to copy and paste-the link isn't working so well!)

Click on "baby journal" on the menu on the left side of the page. (lovely site, yet another reminder of how I don't do so well at continually updating all these great online things!)

Happy Birthday Malia!

Wow-really?!? NINE years?!? That makes me feel old! It's really been nine years since I went from being myself to being someone's mom. Time really does fly. What a blessing it is to have Malia here in our family-even though she does sometimes get confused and think she's the mom too!

Her birthday is a bit scattered this year, a few gifts in the mail yesterday, gifts from Beebs and Pomps this morning (they are in Greece today-a stop on their big Mediterranian cruise), and the family thing tonight with our family, Aaron's Dad, and hopefully his brother. Whether or not we'll do something with my siblings this weekend has yet to be decided! We are also taking a big leap this year and having a friend birthday party. I know, I know, we are mean old parents for not having them before for our kids, but really-with this many kids, it's always a big party even when it's just our family! They've asked for years, and to be honest, I was hoping to do it last year since 8yrs old is a big birthday is this neck of the woods, but Lincoln being born just 8 days before Malia's birthday kind of made that prospect not so attractive. So this year we caved, and she gets a friend party on Saturday afternoon. 7 or 8 eight and nine year olds should be all kinds of fun!

Malia's biggest bonus for this year came in the form of UEA break ("fall break" now-watch my eyes rolling here), giving her a looooong weekend off for her bday; Thursday, Friday, AND Monday off school! She got to celebrate and take treats to her class yesterday, and the party will just keep going all weekend long! Not such a bad deal!

(I'm warning you up front-Here's where it gets long!)
A friend of mine shares her childrens birth stories on her blog each year on their birthday. I have loved the idea, but since my blog has been not so active until recently, I obviously haven't taken the chance to do so. I'm changing that today. So the following (LONG story) is Malia's story. Funny-I remember wanting to cry when she was born, thinking that I should be so overwhelmed with emotion, and wondering why it didn't come. I was too much in awe of what was happening-and never really did cry at the birth of my first child, yet it happens now as I reread and relive the events of that day. Becoming a Mom really was the best thing I've ever done. (second only to becoming a wife of course!!)

We married in August of 1997 and planned on having years of fun together. We were both in school and working with awesome travel benefits, and we wanted to take advantage of that! We had a great five-year plan. About two months after we were married, I started feeling like I needed to have a baby. I wasn't baby hungry, in fact I thought I must have been going insane because that was not at all in my plans! But I just couldn't shake the feeling. I kept it to myself b/c I knew Aaron would think I was crazy too, but one night I just couldn't do it anymore. I remember lying in bed staring up at the ceiling and saying, "Aaron, I think we need to have a baby." His reaction was like mine was initially, shock. After much discussion, we decided that I must just be feeling like that must be what needed to come next, because the natural order of things was get married, have a baby. We decided not to act on it; I pushed back into work full speed, began working as a supervisor, and began traveling with my job. I was feeling accomplished, life was good. We put having a baby on the back burner. Little did I know I had experienced motherly intuition before even becoming a mother. I was a day late and dying to test, but was so nervous that I didn't tell Aaron. I bought a test (that stayed hidden under the seat in my car for a day) and snuck it upstairs to test, still not telling him. I will never forget walking down the hall to the living room with a plastic stick in my hand saying "ummm, Aaron? I think you should see this!" Surprise, our first birth control baby! 

We got over the initial shock, although I was still very nervous about telling anyone, I feared that something would go wrong. Aaron on the other hand was already playing the proud daddy role and wanted to tell everyone. Just days past the 12 week mark, my worst fears were confirmed. I was at work when I felt something, upon getting to the bathroom I discovered that I had bled through 3 layers of clothing down to my knees. I was devastated. I went home and broke down; Aaron was wonderful to me as I spent the next 3 days on bed rest. Because of confusion in paperwork, we had been told that our insurance had been cancelled, so I didn't go to the hospital. I spoke with an on call doctor who told me to monitor the bleeding and take another pregnancy test in a few days if the bleeding stopped. Those were the longest days of my life. The test came back positive again, we found out that we DID have insurance after all, so I finally went to see my wonderful OB at 14 weeks. We heard the heartbeat right then, it was amazing. What an indescribable feeling to KNOW that life has been created inside you! 

The pregnancy went very well, except the nausea in the beginning and the swelling over the hot summer months. I kept our thermostat set at 62, which helped me. Aaron kept a sweater on while inside the condo for the month of August! I loved the eating for two and took full advantage of it, gaining 40lbs! 

October finally rolled around, and four days before my due date, I had regular contractions. "Here it is!" I thought! I prepared myself mentally, and slipped into the tub to relax myself into labor. No good, the contractions stopped. Dang! At my 40-week appointment, on my due date, I was still only about 50% effaced and only a bit past 1cm. Dang again! I remember sitting home that night while Aaron was at work. I was watching Friends, the episode where Phoebe gave birth to triplets. I cried because she got to have babies and I was going overdue. 

On Friday the 10th, I told Aaron that if he wanted be "intimate" any time in the near future, that was the night. We ended up having a pillow fight instead. Go figure! Apparently that did the trick, early Saturday morning I woke up wet. I didn't tell Aaron, I knew he had an appt at 9am that morning. I waited until he went to work, and then called the hospital, they said not to worry about rushing in unless I was having contractions. I wasn't, so I waited until 10am when Aaron's appointment would be over, called him and told him not to worry, but that we should go to the hospital when it was convenient for him. He was home in ten minutes! I showered, got dressed, did my hair, put on makeup, it made him crazy as he was dying to go! We arrived at the hospital around noon, they confirmed my water was broken and began Pitocin b/c my contraction were so small. I put up with the pain as long as I could, by about 9:30pm, I was through with it! I called for the epidural, which was very painful, but provided complete relief from contractions despite the nausea it brought along with it. I slept from about 11pm until a flurry of dr's and nurses woke me up around 1am, her heart rate was dropping, she was not tolerating labor anymore. They told me that the time had come. Aaron walked back in right then, he had gone home to get some things--what timing! I was having a very hard time pushing because I was so very numb, but when the nurse said, "look! You can see her head!” I found my motivation! My dr was out of town, so the on call dr delivered. As her head came out, Aaron just kept saying "tiny ears! Look! Look at those tiny ears!" Wow! I did have to have just a few stitches, a huge relief for me! At 2:18am, Catherine Malia Ball made us an official family! My perfect little girl, 6 pounds 15 ounces, 19.5 inches long, with lots of dark hair...all over her body!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Lincoln Log is a Twig!

But at least he is not as much of a twig as he was a couple of months ago! YAY for that!

After struggling with anemia, his weight plummeted, and he dropped from the 50th percentile (15lbs) at 4 months, to the 40th (17lbs) at 6 months, down to the SECOND at 9 months (only 16 1/2 pounds). At 10 months, he was off the charts. No good! Even worse were the extra supplements, blood tests and dr visits to try and nail down what was wrong and why he started losing weight.

But today brought GREAT news! No, not that he has returned back up to average, but he is finally growing again. He's made it clear back up to 6th percentile! After dropping completely off the charts for a couple of weeks, he's moving on up! (sing it, ala Jeffersons of course) And even better is that his height has gone from 26th percentile (to which it had dropped at 6 months, It had been at 60th+ for a while), now back up to 52nd percentile! Hope for some height after all! : )

So, the official stats are that he is weighing in just over 19lbs, and is up to 30inches long. Grow baby grow!

The bad news is that his iron levels have dropped a fair amount again so we are going back to supplements, but as long as he is still growing it's all OK. The three shots today weren't a joy either, but hey, you do what you've got to do.

All good until January when we'll go in for a 15month check, and hopefully even higher numbers on the growth curve!

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Hey all you people who have complained about me not updating anything, HERE IT IS!

Enough posts to entertain you for at least a few minutes. And hey, if you just read one a day, it could keep you going for weeks! HA!

Complete with photos, quick wrap up of what has been missed over the past couple of weeks. One day I'll get back to putting up photos on the old posts where I had promised them, but for now I've spent an entirely too large chunck of my day doing this, so for now, I'm back to real life. If you do not see any posts for a couple of days, NO complaining!

The REAL thing- Happy Birthday Lincoln!!

If it's good once, it's even better twice, right?

Despite the fact that he had no clue, we did have a little family thing on his real birthday too. Well, if you count our family as "little"! Grandpa Tal joined us for the evening as Lincoln officially turned a year old. He loved his little gifts; a giraffe ball sorter thingy (good description, I know), Crazy Turtle, and his favorite fruit puffs. (note Alaina's stellar wrapping job-I asked her to get a "gift bag" and this lovely plasitc shopping bag was the result)

Happy Birthday Baby Boy!

Baby Birthday Party

Holy Cow! It's really that time already! My baby is turning ONE!

Since he doesn't know the difference, and it's more convenient for everyone else involved, his Birthday Party happened on Sunday, three days before the actual day. Thanks to the fam for driving ALLLLLLLLLLLLL the way out here to our place and joining us for dinner and some not so great cake! (not sure what happend there, sorry! good thing the kids aren't picky I guess!) Lincoln thoroughly enjoyed himself, especially the cake. That boy put it down like I have rarely seen! Takes after his mother I guess! : ) And the bonus-he didn't throw any of it up!

Here's my baby boy putting it down-maybe he will retain an ounce or two for his 1-yr check up this week!

If the shoe fits.....

Hi, my name is Catey. ("Hi Catey") I have a shoe fetish. I love shoes. I really do! It used to not be so bad. As a kid, I had a few pairs, you know, the necessities; church shoes, tennis shoes, sandals or jellies in the summer, and some boots in the winter. It wasn't until my teenage years that I added to the colleciton, you know, your style needs become a bit more varied. By the time I got married I had nearly 50 pair of shoes. My poor husband didn't know what to think! He had the standard guy collection, which is strikingly similar to the kid collection! Over the years I finally started streamlining-getting rid of the things that weren't worn very often (or really at all!), and finally cleaning out the closet. I was down to around 20 pair-including the rubber slippers that I had picked up for me in Hawaii to stash away, and the multiple pairs of flip-flops that wear out so quickly. That was until I found a lovely little thing-a new option in home parties. SHOES!!! And, well, here I am, adding to the closet again. I did take a big step last week, and passed 11 pairs of seldom worn shoes on to someone else. (applause from group for making an effort) But really, it was mostly in part to make room for my new shoes! (*gasp*) The bonus in all of this-they have been free! And really, how can you blame a girl for taking advantage of free shoes? you can't! So, here it is, the spoils of my adventures....

(not including the boots and mary janes for each of my girls)

To the lovely ladies of 4theloveofshoes, many thanks for expanding my shoe selection! The other certificate for free shoes is burning a hole in my purse still! The shoe parties are entirely too much fun! And seriously, if you have missed both of them that I've had-hit up one of the other neighborhood ladies that has booked a party and mark it on your calender NOW. Too much fun to miss!

What Would Jesus Do?

I realize that this has become a trendy little saying, spawning a jewelry line and everything. Seemingly the mainstream Christian's answer to the CTR rings (and everything else CTR). But really, how often do we think about this? I'm sure many of us say it to our children in hopes of avoiding issuing a long drawn out guilt trip. These four little words sum it all up quite nicely and save you your ten minutes of rambling-which you know will be mostly tuned out anyway. How often though, as adults, do we really stop and ask ourselves this question? Not often enough in my opinion.

Many people have asked why the delay in my postings for a few weeks. A few of them I actually admitted to having too much to say about a certain occurance, and choosing instead to say nothing at all. I've decided-now that there has been plenty of time to process everything-to touch on it vaguely anyway.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine wrote a piece on what is an unfortunate truth about too many people. Of those who choose to participate in the privelege of calling ourselves Christians, how many of us really use that title the way it should be used? For the most part, her writings focused on the sad fact that often times it is people who call themselves Christian who are often the most judgemental and least forgiving and accepting. Yes, that ugly word; Hypocrite. While I knew what events has inspired her writing, and I had mixed feelings about the entire situation, I have to say that she was more right than I wish she was. I've taken the past 2 1/2 weeks to reflect upon some things that have been said and done, and find it sad that in attempting to preach what is right, many people are immune to their own voice. In other words-you're not listening to what you are saying!!! That old axom, "do what I say, not as I do." It was unfortunate also that those who tried to mediate and stay neutral ended up being blamed for things that they hadn't done-nor would they dream of doing. Too often we forget that accusations in the heat of the moment can be very hurtful. Yes, they are usually an unjustified outburst due to the "heat" of the moment, but I very much believe that it would serve us all well to step back, and cool off before we choose to open our mouths. You know, count to 10 and all that good stuff. Those who were not completely honest know who they are (even if I, or the rest of the people involved, don't), and that is for them to worry about. Leave it at that, plain and simple.

It is always sad when trust is fractured, when feelings are hurt, when friendships are damaged. I suppose that it is a double-edged sword that as the dust settles you can see who you can count among your true friends. Good to know how people really feel and who is willing to stick around, dress the wounds, and clean up the mess, but sad to find that those who you may have thought were your allies in life are long gone across the lines of battle-headed in the opposite direction.

Despite what happened (or any delayed fallout that may result), I think the wisest thing said in the entire exchange was when this was brought up; "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you" Matt 5:44. And may I add to it, "Judge not, that ye be not judged. forwith what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure yemete, it shall be measure to you again." Matt 7:1-2

May we all be willing to step back. May we all ask ourselves more often, "What would Jesus do?", and not only ask it, but MEAN it.

The bird says....WHAT?!?

First I will say it is such a treat to have my sister in the Stay at Home Mom ranks. Even more so is the fact that she is brave enough to embark on public outings with me! And to make things even better, Mom had some time off work and got to join us!

We took a little trip to Thanksgiving Point to spend the afternoon at the farm. This has become one of our favorite outings, even if it is mostly for the pony rides! Not to mention it is always entertaining to go out with people who aren't used to taking a wild little herd out anywhere!

The kids had a great time, as always, and got the double treat of a wagon ride and a pony ride. It is always fun to watch them with the animals, and especially this year to see just how much the calves and the foal have grown! *sigh* they grow so fast, don't they? ; ) heehee And I am admitting it out loud, I enjoy the chickens. I miss my chickens-even though they weren't MY chickens (they belonged to the kids). You may think I'm crazy, but they really do make good pets. And if it weren't for the HOA, I would totally have chickens again~! I never got my Barred Rock Banty...... WHOA! Sorry-crazy chicken lady coming out of hiding!

Anyway, between a killer shopping trip (Quaker sale-YAY! Spent $83, saved $364 just incase you were curious), and lunch out, the real highlight of the day was playing with the turkeys at the farm. Now, turkeys are not usually creatures that like to play. But as a parent you may as well be talking to yourself when trying to warn a 4yr old to stay away from something they want to do. Jacob was certain that the turkeys wanted to be petted. After repeatedly warning him NOT to stick his finger in the turkey pen, he got what we all knew was coming. One of the turkeys pecked his finger. Poor kid. Adding insult to injury was the immaturity of his mother, aunt, and grandma who all laughed their heads off when it happened. (not to mention the other moms who witnessed the results). NO-lest you think we are mean, it wasn't the actual injury that had us laughing. It was his repeatedly showing us the injury.......

HEY! None of those birds at this farm!

One small step....

Famous words, no? Fortunately not famous LAST words! Quite the opposite, they have always signaled a new beginning. Appropriately so, even on a small scale.

No one has been to the moon here, although I will admit to being a bit spacey lately. (ha)

Lincoln, my sweet little baby boy, is walking! Setting the record for the oldest walker in our family, he is finally preferring to walk-at least part of the time-instead of crawling. He started out with a few steps here and there just a few days before he hit eleven months, but it has taken a month (until about a week before his first birthday) for him to give this walking business some serious consideration. Again-a rare thing for us! All of the other kids got a taste of life on two feet, and immediately took to running! It has become the game at our house to up the count of steps. You know he is feeling adventurous when you can hear the older kids progressively getting louder, "eight...niNE....tEN....ELEVEN....TWELVE!...THIRTEEN!!!" I think we are still topping out in the high teens, but he is making progress! It is fun to watch him start to prefer standing to sitting, standing himself up, and try walking before resorting to crawling after falling or sitting down a few times. Balance is a tricky thing!

My baby is walking! It is always so exciting, but just a tad bittersweet. One step closer to independence....

But hey, at least he isn't totally being shown up by his younger cousin Hallie. (Kelsey-She's SO advanced! rofl!) While she is much steadier on her feet, at least he's up on his with her. It is interesting what you can see about a personality in something like learning to walk. Watching the two of them together on Sunday was so fun. Little Hal is so deliberate and steady in each calculated step, while Lincoln is up, stepping as fast as he recklessly can, until he plops down long before what he was trying to reach. Interesting statement on boys vs girls, on first children vs way down the line kids, or just fear in one about the craziness of a large group and excitement in the other to see someone the same size? Time will tell I guess!

The Wheels on the Bus part 2

More cars? Really? In what has become a weekend staple (let's hope it doesn't REALLY become a regular things!), Aaron has been off to get a vehicle. No, not for us, we had that privelege already. But really, when someone is willing to take a day off, fly to a different state, and help you drive 11hours to get back home all in the same day, it is only right to repay that!

A couple of years ago I would have been very wary of buying something big, like...oh, I don't know....a CAR, over the internet. Scary business those cars... After Aaron worked in car sales for a time we got first hand experience with what car salesmen can be like. Notice I said *CAN* b/c not all of them are truly scumballs. Every once in a while you do run into a decent and honest person selling cars. Unfortunately it is not the norm, but it does happen. Even taking that into consideration, buying cars is always such an interesting thing. So take the convenience of online shopping, avoiding the hassle of dealerships and all their extra fees, and the desperation of some owners trying to sell you their "perfect" used vehicle ("my grandma only drove it to church and back, I swear!"), buying a car through a computer didn't look all that bad. Well, though I am sure there are some bad stories out there, we did have a good experience. (and there was intrepidation on the sellers end too! another story for another day)

Apparently all of our online car searching sparked the same in a friend (we must be spending too much time together or something! HA!). And before you knew it, there was another car sitting out of state waiting to be picked up! This time not in the middle of the desert, but nestled away in the mountains of Colorado! Road Trip!

It is interesting how these things work out. Sometimes, you find exactly what you want, where you want it, when you want it. Other times, it ends up being the car you didn't necessarily want, but you just know it is the right fit! Hopefully it is still the right fit nearly a month later! : )

So a day later, and another 10hours or so in the car, the boys rolled back into good old Eagle Mountain. It has got to be a good sign if you can spend that much time in a vehicle together, not get bored or irritated with each other, never run out of things to talk about, and STILL want to hang out together when you finally get home!

And one day, the road trip will actually be a vacation, not just an expedition to retrieve a vehicle!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Uh oh. NOW I've done it!

All right, all right. It has been brought to my attention by multiple people now that I have created the great blogging sin. I have gone more than a week without a post. Apparently it is OK to go a few days without a post, but over the week mark, well, goodness! You know it's bad when people are bringing up the title of the post that has been sitting there for so long! My deepest apologies! You'd think I have 6 kids, a potty-training toddler, a preschooler I'm teaching to read, and umpteen loads of laundry to do a week! Not to mention, well, life! : ) I promise I'm getting there. I have a backlog of posts all tucked away in my head that I just need to throw down in print, then I'll give you hours worth of reading.

See Kel, I promised there'd be something here to read this afternoon! There will be more tonight or tomorrow! And maybe I'll even get around to adding those pictures in too.....

Friday, September 14, 2007

The princiPAL is your friend

This is the only way I ever remember the difference between "principle" and "principal". No, I'm not dumb. I do know the difference in definitions of the two, but spelling isn't exactly my strongest suit! But as cheesy as it sounds, this came to mind this afternoon when the girls came home and related what had happened after school.

The kids got home today, and poor Alaina was fighting tears. Hoping desperately that it wasn't related to the recent switch to first grade, I was relieved to hear that is was only a missing backpack! I say *only*, but this girl was SO excited to get her very own backpack for school. Especially one that was purple! She was just so devastated at the thought of no longer having it that she couldn't quite figure out what to do.

I asked what was wrong and she told me it was missing. Apparently when she went to get it out of her cubby after school it was gone. I asked if she had talked to her teacher about it, she said that she had and Mrs. Taylor had reminded her the appointed cubby number for her things and suggested she check again. Well, it really wasn't there. I asked the kids if they'd go back to look for it, while telling Alaina that someone likely took it on accident, and that as it had her name and phone number in it we would hopefully find it. Hopefully if it didn't turn up then someone would bring it back on Monday. The girls went back to school and looked, checking the lost and found repeatedly. A sweet person in the office even announced over the intercom that there was a missing purple backpack! Then came the part that made me very happy to hear. The girls were looking through all the common areas in the school, and Mr. Conley, the principal, came and helped them look! How wonderful is that? I have only met him briefly one time, and while he certainly seemed like a nice person, it was really very generous of his to take extra time after his day was finished to help my girls in their quest for a 5yr old's backpack.

There is a happy ending-after checking everywhere and not turning up anything, they checked the lost and found one last time, and there it was! Talk about relief for a little girl who loves her purple backpack!

And what a nice reassurance for a mom; that the man running the school to which she has entrusted her most precious treasures is willing to go the extra mile for the kids over whom he presides, so much as to searching with a broken-hearted first grader until she found what she needed.

Thank you Mr. Conley!

School Days, Part 3

My, how the time flies. It seems like just yesterday my little Alaina was starting Kindergarten, and now she's off to first grade already!


It WAS nearly yesterday!

After staring this entire process back in May, we FINALLY got some answers from all appropriate parties. After two weeks in K, her teacher realized that it just wasn't a good fit. We had a meeting. She then met with the principal. I then met with the principal. He then got with whatever district people needed to be involved. And on Wednesday afternoon we finally got the big thumbs up!

On Thursday morning Alaina started first grade! Though I will very dearly miss Mrs. Weber (her most extremely amazing K teacher), she has promised me that she won't be going anywhere, so if Jacob does K next year we should be able to sneak our way into one of her classes. Alaina's new teacher is Mrs. Taylor. She seems absolutely wonderful from the five mintues I spent with her, and from the reports of two wonderful days that Alaina has brought home. Alaina was thrilled to find that Rebecca and McKenzie are in her class, and before I even left her there that first morning she already had a half a dozen new friends. While she still says there is a lot of free time and play-like activities, I know this will be much closer to her level than K was. The last comments I heard were that she would fit in better academically in second grade, but with her age, size, and the fact that Taylor is in second grade, to us that really isn't an option.

So far so good-and she is especially loving that she gets to eat lunch at school! : ) I am loving that she has a lot of friends to walk to and from school with (including her siblings), and that she feels like she fits in well and has friends there.

On the school front life is good, the kids are adjusting well. Though I have heard comments from them about what they liked better about homeschool, they genuinely seem to be enjoying most of what they are doing now. Let's hope this keeps up for the remainer of the year!

The wheels on the bus

So here I am playing catch up again. Ah, well, one day I'll be on top of it-and I'll add the necessary picture to these posts!

We've had a big addition to our family recently-our new bus! : ) OK, so really it's not a bus, it's just a 12 passenger van. I say just like it's a tiny thing! heehee Well, since we *were* looking at 15 passengers, it does feel like a tiny thing!

And let me just say right now, NO, we didn't get the bigger van because there is an immediate need! Contrary to popular rumor, we did not upsize due to a soon-to-be upsizing in our family. Yes we all still fit in our good old Fire Engine (the red Astro), and will for at least the next 10 months. (AGAIN-do the math, this is not an announcement!!) But with 6 kids in car seats, it was quite cozy, and we figured better sooner than later. You know, let the kids have some space while it's still an option!

The search for the car was all the fun that car shopping is. After not finding much in the market here unless you want to drop 30K for a new one, we decided to get creative in our hunt. Our first stop was at the Auction where we got our beloved Fire Engine (hey-I've never lost the thing in a parking lot). The beauty of Government Surplus! The first auction seemed to be golden! Four 12 passengers, two of which were CNG, and all of which were in great shape. A little high on the miles, but hey, beggars can't be choosers. Well, the auction went well, things were shaping up to fall into our price range, and even a little less than we expected. The magic time rolled around and just as Aaron went to bid-well, nothing. Upon feeling impressed not to bid, he didn't. Why? who knew. Often things that we feel we need to do don't make sense. (many of our choices in life fall into this particular category) So, going with that which he felt directed to do he came home empty-handed. A real bummer. It was kind of frustrating for a couple of days, but hey, you pull your head out (pardon the expression), suck it up, realize that when you do what you are asked to do things have a way of working themselves out.

Fast forward to a month later and we decided to go the online route. LOTS of choices there! Again, mostly out of our price range, but hey at least there were lots to look at! After finding a few on ebay that we liked we still just didn't feel great about anything. Then one night I was online randomly searching places where I might find a van. I checked out local online listings again and then realized that there might be cars on craigslist. I looked locally and found zip. Looked in places not too far away-in the entire state: nada. Looked in Idaho, Nevada and Wyoming, zilch. Ok, there were a few, but really hammered vehicles!! After thinking of all the most common places for larger families to live (thanks to a vast email network of large homeschooling families!), I realized that this checking city by city was going to take me years! Finally a stroke of genius hit; a little nudge to google craigslist and the vehicle I wanted. Voila! A beauty in Phoenix. Not all that close to home, but not all that far away!

We called on this particular van as the photos looked promising and the miles weren't that high. Sweet little (HA!) Catholic family that was upsizing from their 12 to a 15! Wonderful people who through birth, adoption, and fostering have a family that was growing much larger than average and just didn't fit anymore. After hearing a few details, and thinking it over (and of course praying about it!), we struck a deal. A little bit more than the auction, but still within our budget, and loaded with extras that certainly we wouldn't have otherwise. DVD and VHS, two screens, cd player, limo tint, and Aaron's favorite most coveted feature: rubber flooring. For those of you wondering, "rubber flooring" translates directly into "easy cleanup". While it wouldn't necessarily been my first choice in flooring, I have to say that after trying to scrub a good amount of chicken soup (crockpot spilled) out of the carpet in our last van, it really isn't a bad thing!

The arrangements were made, flights caught-which is always the trick with stand-by-and one long day of driving brought our new family car home. It really is kind of a nice drive, and the AC is nice and cold! : ) The kids love not being stacked on top of each other too. And though I am used to driving bigger cars (vans and SUVs), I will admit that I am quite glad not to have to worry about the extra 2+ feet that a 15 passenger would have added.

Bonus points: It tows the boat! : )

Now.....all we need is a road trip!
Only 40 something days until California!!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

School Days Part 2

And yet another first day of school!

(and yes-I do realize that I am days behind! This sort of thing happens when your husband takes apart ALL of your computers, decides to get a mac, and you are too, um, lazy? intimidated? we'll go with BUSY to learn how to use it yet)

Alaina started Kindergarten on Tuesday the 28th of August, after waiting for an excruciatingly long week while the other kids had already started. Her teacher is AMAZING, and yes, that is amazing in all capital letters! Mrs. Weber is a god-send, and the fact that she is in the ward is a bonus! What a treat that has been as we have tried to sort out the confusion of whether she would be starting first grade or K, and working through the process of deciding where she will end up. For now the plan is two weeks of K, then a possible trial of 1st depending on how the K goes. The evaluation with Mrs. Weber went quite well, she said Alaina would have no problem in first but she worried about Alaina being smaller than the rest of the kids-as she inherited my vertically challenged genes. Alaina is in heaven, and loving every second of school thus far. Though it is mostly play time for her (they are pracicing letters and colors right now while she is reading 3rd-4th grade chapter books during her free time). Mrs. Weber has been great about giving her some extra work; like yesterday instead of just practicing writing the letter P she sat with Alaina and gave her a spelling list of words that start with the letter P for her to practice.

It will be interesting to find out where Alaina ends up, and to find the right fit for her not only educationally but emotionally and socially as well.

So far so good with the school if Jacob can just survive until next year (and hopefully slow down on the daily "is it my turn to go to school today?), then we will be doing great! I look forward to getting back into all of my fun pre-school things to do with my little boys and getting them started in the next week or two.

Next up on the list: Teach Jacob how to read, and get Dallin potty-trained!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

On the Water

I think I vaguely mentioned in a past post that we inherited a boat. If not, then hey-guess what? We inherited a boat! Aaron would call it the boat he “grew up on”, despite the fact that he was I think 13 when it was purchased. Anyway-it was the Talmage and Barbara family boat. The last couple of family summers boat. An now-it is parked on the side of my house! As we live in the middle of nowhere and do a fair amount of driving, we often pass at least 3 boating stores, thus Aaron and I have talked about boats; about how much fun his family had, but how it just wouldn’t be practical for our family, even if we could afford one. And even if we could afford one we’d then have to purchase a vehicle with which to pull it. And THEN there is the cost of gas (for said vehicle and the boat), and upkeep and all the other things (life jackets! Oh wait “PFD’s”) that are either necessary or wanted in conjunction with a boat. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. Dear FIL calls and says “hey, come get your boat”, then calls again and says “I’m on my way, I’ll park your boat in front of your house!” He arrived the next afternoon. Surprise!!! And what a fun surprise it has been. After sitting parked in a friend’s barn for entirely too many days, we finally broke out the boat!

Wanting to make sure that everything was functioning well, and that I wasn’t totally clueless about boating, we took the boat out-just the two of us-for a little test run before daring to take the whole family. Aaron and I spent Friday evening out of Utah Lake, just the two of us! What a blast! Although we always have fun together, this was such a treat! As Aaron said “BEST DATE EVER!” I’ll leave it at that.

So Saturday rolled around, and since Aaron had now broken free from the UMA chains, we had the need for an afternoon/evening out. Hmmmmm….what do do? Go boating! ;)
We invited some friends out and took off. Bummer that some friends had to bail, but at least I didn’t have to sit next to a certain very slim someone in a bathing suit! (love you!!) I have to say again-it was a blast! Not only did I get the chance to ski (which I love, although I’m very rusty on it!), but I also wakeboarded for the first time as well. Maybe one day I’ll also get that whole slolam skiing thing down, but Saturday saw no progress in that department! Aaron trusted me to drive while he boarded-whew! Talk about nerve-wracking! But hey, he tried me out on Justin first, and since I didn’t kill or seriously injure Justin, I guess that was good enough for Aaron,. Justin-you are a good sport! Anyone who will let a first time driver pull them when it’s their first time being towed behind a boat, AND smile like that, deserves a big gold star on their forehead! : )

Anyway-we had entirely too much fun (even though we missed some of our good friends-next year for sure!), and fortunately Rheanna was smart enough to bring a camera as somehow I forgot to do so-two days in a row! So the fun pics are thanks to her-and are the reason she isn’t in any pictures. And double thanks to Rheanna and Justin (and the parents!) for providing the transportation to tow the boat! We literally couldn’t have gone without you guys! Thank you!

We are really looking forward to next summer when we have enough weekends to do plenty of adult boating trips with all of our wonderful friends here!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

School Days, School Days

Dear old Golden Rule Days....

(Bright and early was REALLY bright this morning! Out of nearly 30 pictures, this is the closest we got to "open your eyes!" and has anyone ever noticed that "open your eyes" effects the smile more than the eyes?)

The intention was to do this on Tueday, the actual first day of school. How life was more chaotic with fewer kids at home all day I still can't figure out. Fast forward two days later, things are finally calming down a bit.

This week marks a momentous occasion for all parents-school is back in session! Typically all this means for me is that it will be much easier to get things done with my kids, as the rest of the neighborhood isn't constantly banging on the door asking "are you kids done YET? Can they play now? When will they be done?" As we have home schooled, we have always started the school year earlier than is traditional for the public schools here. This may seem just plain mean, but really it's a treat for the kids! Trust me, just follow for a second. Earlier start date and regular end date means less school days in between! AND shorter school times each day! AND more field trips, more days off, more "holidays"....see-it all works out! Well-after months of weighing options, and pros and cons, many sleepless nights, and mountains of prayers and fasting, we made the decision to give public school a go this year. What a huge change for everyone! Malia began 3rd grade, and Taylor 2nd. Alaina will begin Kindergarten next week, and then will be giving 1st grade a try after a couple of weeks, which then hopefully will allow us to better decided where she should be. Malia and Taylor seem to be enjoying themselves, and adjusting quite well to an experience that while standard for nearly every kid we know, is a foreign thing for my children. No complaints yet about long days, and too-short recess, or too much work in class or mean teachers. So far, so good! Granted we are only 2 days into this....

I don't mean to sound like a cynic.
I truly am hoping for the very best, as any parent would. Even if we are to go back to home schooling sometime in the future, I truly believe that this is what is right for our kids right now. How long it will be right-I do not know. Whether it be one year, or ten, we will see. Whether all the kids will follow in this path or some may take different routes, I don't know. I suppose that in itself is a comfort-knowing that there are options, and that I have and can do that which is right for each of my children individually, even if it is something that I would have balked at previously. (10yrs ago the thought of homeschooling was akin to that of natural childbirth! What are these people thinking?!? Nutjobs! HA! we grow and change....)

Anyway-as we embark on this latest and greatest adventure that life has brought us I am looking forward with optimism. I will take the time that Jacob so very much needs with me right now to see to his immediate needs, to get him reading well and establish his educational foundation for whatever his schooling needs become. I will have extra hours for storytime, crafts, outings geared for just little children, and (hold on to your hats) shopping with only 3 or 4 kids in tow! How easy will that be now? YAY! And hey-with 3 little boys who nap and Alaina gone for at least the afternoons...I'll get to those sewing projects I've been putting off, the ironing that builds up so quickly, maybe some work in the basement (when it's ready for me) or *gasp* possibly even a nap! I feel overwhelmed and giddy at the possiblities, yet as a typical mom does, selfish and vastly guilty that my entire day is not now solely devoted to building up all of my children in the various facets which I have been teaching them for the past few years. Ahhhh, the conflict of being a mother!

So-here's to a very successful coming 9 or so months-may all of my children learn and grow, be happy and confident, and most of all enjoy their days. And may I enjoy watching them do so, while appreciating the days gone by without longing for them, and looking forward with anticipation for what life brings, while truly appreciating what each today is.


As promised, pictures from our outing to Thanksgiving Point...

Jacob on the pony ride
Taylor with his favorite goat (well, aside from DeMarco that is!)

Kelsey and the kids

Please note the sign.....good listening, huh?

Frankenstein meets dinosaurs

Taylor having fun with the Dinosaur that the kids built

Me and myherd- a couple whom are obviously ready for naps!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Is your bathroom clean?

Mine is. Thankfully. I usually try to give it a really good scrubbing at least once a week, and randomly as needed-which unforunately isn't all that rare with this many kids. Monday is the big cleaning day. As Aaron's dad was coming to town and dropping by on Monday night (bringing us a boat! Another subject for another day), I gave the hall bathroom an extra good scrubbing. What good timing it was!

I'm going to tangent here (like that never happens with me!) to explain that my kids love water. I have never had to fight my kids to take a bath or shower. Most often I have to restrict baths and showers. My kids just don't understand why they can't all have a bath and a shower at least twice a day. OK-if you need it, sure! Otherwise I am not paying for that much water use! We live in a desert you know....

So-as Dallin also love water just as much as the rest of them I often find him playing in the sink. Whenever it gets quiet or we can't see him in the immediate vicinity or we hear running water, we can usually find him in sitting on the bathroom counter playing in then sink. So that is what I expected to find Tuesday morning when I heard him in the bathroom. Quite to my suprise, he was not in the sink.
Does this mean he's ready to potty-train now?

Where are the days going?!?

Seriously. I had a great intention back in, what was it....March?, to actually catch up. Apparently I just don't care that much until peer pressure kicks in. Thanks a lot Ashley and Rheanna! ; ) Really, had some lovely stories to share about many of the wonderful mishaps we frequently experience here (read back on the quarter, styrofoam peanuts, etc), maybe I'll get there. And yet here I am after having blown off nearly five months, now being asked by friends and family where my blog is. Well-Here it is! Told you it's nothing fancy. The real catch is that now I HAVE to stay caught up so that people really get the details of my fascinatingly sordid life.

Catch up will have to wait for bedtime or naptime (I promise I will do it!), so I'll start new again today and move forward randomly moving back a little at a time. I know, it's hard to read a story when you start in the middle, then go back and read the first two chapters, skip ahead a bit again then go back again, but anyone who knows me well enough to be reading this is smart enough to figure it out!

Today I had the first of what I hope will be many mommy/kid outings with my sister. We strapped up my rowdy herd and her well-behaved, sweet, smiling, petite little princess and went to Thanksgiving Point. She was brave enough to join us for the Museum and the Farm, and despite it being crowded, crazy and hotter than hot, it was a good time! It isn't every day that someone who detests flies and chickens agrees to come to the farm and make kissy faces at the goats. And wishes that the pig wasn't wallowing but was up at the gate available to pet! heehee We'll have to go back again when it isn't 100+ degrees. Many packages of wipes and 6 bottles of Purell later (Kelsey....; ) HA!), we made it back to the cars with 5 children dripping in ice cream bars. Glutton for punishment? I suppose, but hey-it's summer! That's what summer is for! Pics to come as soon as I get them.

Well, as is the norm-the baby is crying for me so it is back to life.

P.S.-Kel-Bell, thanks for a fun afternoon. Let's do it again! Much love, "the skinny Mexican"

Thursday, March 15, 2007

What's missing here?

Well, to answer that question appropriately I guess I'd have to say two full months! YIKES! Has it really been that long? So much for trying to write at least once a week....

My oh my, how there have been things that I've missed! So much happens in a two month time period when you are surrounded by little ones. The quick condensed off-the-top-of-my-head list: Finished Malia's 2nd grade Math curriculum, and Taylor's 1st grade Math curriculum (YAHOO!! Ahead of schedule for the year even with maternity leave!), we took a trip to Vegas, Lincoln has his first two teeth, Dallin turned 2, Jacob is starting to put letter sounds together for words (reading, here we come!)-oh, and he'll be FOUR in 3 weeks, we are finally making some progress in the basement again, and, on the entertaining side-wow, stolen smarties, styrofoam peanuts, more sticky fingers, and a missing quarter just begin to scratch the surface. My goal for the next week or two is to actually take a few minutes here and there to write about these little things before I forget.

Also missing today is a fixture in our lives for the past 12 years. Our sweet old Sadie had to be put down last night. OK, so technically she wasn't "ours" as she belonged to my parents, but my kids have all known her and looked forward to playing with her each time they visit "Pomps and Beebs", I was there when she was born, and we've dog-sat her when the folks have been out of town (including one weekend gone very bad for our place thanks to the answering machine-heehee) although we didn't own her, she was ours too. As it goes when things get old, the poor girl had progressively lost function of her legs-she couldn't walk at all the past couple of days, and seemed to be losing her sight as well. You could tell just by looking at her that she was hurting, so the decision was finally made to let her go. Last night we made our last trip up to see Sadie, take a few photos of the kids with her and say goodbye. The kids seem to be doing well with it all, though Taylor is so very worried about when he'll have another dog to play with. I have to admit I am a bit sad that the big lazy yellow dog won't be there next time we stop by, and that Lincoln and Hallie won't ever know who Sadie was, and I guess Dallin really won't remember her either. Hopefully the rest of the fam is doing OK today after being with her last night (she was put down at home by a vet who does home visits). Everyone seemed a bit more somber than I expected yesterday. Mom pointed out that when Rebbe (Sadie's mom) was put down a couple of years ago, at least they still had Sadie there to make it a bit easier.

This doesn't help the fact that I've been looking at and contemplating getting a dog for the past few weeks. Add the 6yr old boy crying about not having a dog to play with and, well....let's just say that if the yard was completely fenced in, I'd be picking up a little fur ball this week. How long will it hold out?

We'll miss you Sadie.

Friday, January 12, 2007

We believe in being honest...

There are only three rules in our home. Yup, really. The kick is that those three create the others!

Our Rules:
#1-Listen and obey
#2-Follow Instructions
#3-Tell the truth

And yes, I know, #1 and 2 are a tad bit redundant, but hey, with this many little ones underfoot, redundancy is a way of life! And you see, with rules #1 and 2, when an instruction is given it should be followed.

With lovely rule #3, the kids learn that honesty is more important than winning, than making mistakes, than coming out better than someone else in whatever the situation.

In the quest for honesty, I have found there to be some roadbumps. You know that whole theory of do you tell your friend that her butt looks huge in those jeans and she shouldn't wear them, or do you just answer "yes" when she asks if they look ok and call it an insignificant fib for the sake of saving feelings? Well, I'm one who would rather have the truth. I'd rather have my husband answer me honestly when I ask him if my jeans look like they are fighting my thighs and screaming for mercy, or if a dress makes me look like I'm wearing two pigs that are fighting under a blanket-you get the idea. Most of the time that is.....

So what a wonderful learning opportunity presented itself when my darling 8 year old daughter felt the need to be honest with me the other day. Here I am feeling happy with myself...I got up two days ago, pulled on a smaller size of jeans AND zipped and buttoned them without sucking in AND was able to breath and move comfortably and not look like they were painted on. YAY! I put on a cute new shirt and thought I was looking good! Imagine my surprise when halfway through the day my daughter randomly says, "hey mom, you still look pregnant!" Well, thank you very much. After a briefing on why that is something that she should avoid in the future, especially with people other than me if she plans on living to see adolesence I took my vain self back to my mirror. Ok-so the kangaroo pocket on the front pokes out kind of funny. I still contest the looking pregnant bit though!

Yes-I still believe that honesty is the best policy, even if it means comments like that. It reminded me of the first thing that my 6 year old son after I walked in the house when arriving home from the hospital, having delivered baby #6 just the day before. "Mom, your tummy is still huge! It's not supposed to be any more because the baby is out!" Ah, out of the mouths of babes.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I am not a Superhero - part 2

Superheroes don't get sick.

This dang cold has stuck around long enough! My baby is finally sleeping better and now I'm not.

Lovely. Enough already! Maybe it's just so I don't yell at my kids (I've lost my voice on top of it all), certainly their behavior the past few days has tempted that!

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

I am not a Superhero

(Reader be warned-this is a post of epic length. If you have anything you actually plan to accomplish toady, skip it completely. You can always come back if you acquire insomnia...)

I am borrowing the title from a Ryan Shupe and The Rubberband song that I was listening to last week. It's a song I've heard before, but had never paid much attention to, until I heard it on a day that made it all too appropriate.

You see, I am the one who is always on top of things. I don't have bad days (HA!), the house is usually clean, anytime we leave the house the kids have not a hair out of place and are often times coordiating in what they wear-especially at church, I still fit in the same jeans I wore before I started having children, and I bake like Betty Crocker. Add to that the task of homeschooling, a church calling, and an insane love of making the baby gifts that I give (bows, bracelets, towels, quilts, yada yada...geesh), dresses for my girls for special occasions, and matching pjs for my kids for Christmas, and, well, you see where this is going. I have created a certain image that I feel pressed to uphold. I know, I know, really it's a pride thing and I should just humble myself and get over it, but being one who typically doesn't back down from a challenge, I seem to have created for myself one heck of a challenge and don't plan to back down any time soon. Let's face it, women are strange creatures, and I don't stray far from that stereotype!

So when something obnoxious like postpartum depression rears it's ugly head, it really throws a kink into things. I've been working to fight it, I've been through this before and made it out without any permanant damage, so I know it's possible. It made for sort of a frustrating holiday season-it's hard to be jolly and cheerful and sing obnoxious songs when you'd just like to crawl back into bed and pull the covers up over your head, but you suck it up, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, and plunge ahead. By the time I found someone who had an idea of how to treat PPD without medications (Thank you Heidi-the queen of natural remedies! ;D Somone else who undertands my dislike of meds), I was finally starting to come around. After five good days in a row, I really felt like I was in the clear, much to the relief of my extremely patient husband! That was a week before Christmas, and the timing couldn't have been better.

Don't get me wrong, I was still functional, none of that scary psychosis stuff. No days of crying for hours and fighting to hide it (which did happen after baby #4), we still managed to do a decent amount of school, I put on a lovely smile for all the Christmas parties and still made nearly 30 dozen (yes thirty, that is not a typo) of my traditional Christmas cookies that all ended up decorated in my ridiculous OCD style (run Martha-here I come!). But geesh, it gets old to feel just generally crappy for that many days (weeks) with only random days of feeling normal.

Back to the point; it had been a few weeks, and life was coming along nicely. I figured that the PPD stint for this time around had come to an end. The hormones were finally bringing themselves back into check, I lost a few more pounds, and broke out a couple pairs of the smaller jeans. All is well in Happy Valley, right? So I thought. I guess I'm still more vulnerable than I thought. It's always the little things.....

My sister had her baby! No, no-don't misunderstand, this is wonderful news! All went well, I'm FINALLY an aunt, with a beautiful little niece to whom I can send loud, battery-operated toys! haha! Little Hallie arrived without incident, the labor and delivery went about as well as they can (although after needing a second epidural to fix the first one that didn't work, my sister might disagree), baby and mom are both in great shape! A little blondie weighing in at 8lbs 1oz, and 21inches long-the biggest baby our famliy has ever seen-and also one of the most beautiful!

Anyway! (there is a point, and an end to this I promise) We have all been anxiously awaiting the news of Hallie's arrival, as family typically does with any baby. I certainly didn't expect to be the first one called-in my opinion that honor should always go to the grandparents-but I did expect to GET a call. That's right-no one called me. I found out by default. I called my sister's cell phone to ask for ideas for her husband's birthday and he answered her phone. I was surprised that he answered and when he said "she's here", I assumed he meant my sister so I asked if I could talk to her for a minute. He clarified with, "No, SHE! Hallie is here!" Fearing that I had happened to call within a short time after her birth, I of course asked when she arrived. At about in over 12 hours before I had called. Hmmmmm, silly me, I thought someone would call and tell me! So I offered my congratulations, left word for my sister to call me when she was up to it, and then called my mom. When I called Mom, she said "hi, how are things? Oh, and did you know we had a baby?" NO! Because no one bothered to call me!!! To top if off, there was further, um, miscommunication later in the afternoon about finding out if I was able to visit the new family at the hospital, making the whole situation even yuckier.

I probably owe my mom and apology (Sorry Mom!), as I wasn't very nice about the whole thing-making a number of snide comments about me having been the only one of us kids who has actually HAD a baby before, you think maybe I'd like to know-especially after she told me that they had called her when they arrived at the hospital earlier the previous day. Did people actually think I would have run up to the hospital and stuck my face in the delivery room? Did they think I'd strap up my whole herd-including the one with a runny nose-and just barge in? Wouldn't it stand to reason that of anyone I just *might* be the most understanding of them all?

Well, to come full circle here-I learned last Friday afternoon that I am much more vulnerable than I like to think. The girl who just rolls with the punches isn't invincible. It really hurt my feelings that no one called to tell me that my sister had had her baby. I don't blame her at all-it was after 11pm by the time she was all cleaned up and put back together, and after a very long day, I'm sure she wasn't up to playing the phone tree game. But I did think that at least my parents would have called. At least they hadn't called anyone else either, so it's not like they slighted me or anything, but I still had a hard time getting past that all day. ALL day. I haven't been that emotional in a long time. I did suck it up and get through the day, and get everything done, but realized by that afternoon that maybe I wasn't all back to normal yet-at least as far as emotions are concerned.

All is well that ends well-I did get to go to the hospital to visit, I got a chance to hold little Hallie for a minute, and as anyone with a heart knows, nothing soothes the soul like getting to love on a perfect little being, so fresh to this world. But hey-note to all: People are excited about your new arrival-call and share the news. Decide on a calling tree of something, but share the joy! If the new parents aren't up for visitors, I don't know anyone who would be offended by being told that-certainly not someone who has been there many times over.

But hey, if my sister and her husband are brave enough to do this a second time in the coming years, I think my parents will call and tell people. At least, one can hope so!

And now that I've vented, I can break the spandex and my cape back out! WHEW!

Friday, January 5, 2007

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Well, I did it. I actually severed my security blanket. When your 8 year old child is brave enough to do something, it sets quite the precedent! So I finally (I say finally-she cut hers on Dec 23rd) went through with it. I bit the bullet and chopped nearly a foot and a half from my head! It's not the first time I've done it, but I found it harder to do this time-I guess I am getting old and finding comfort in the same-old, same-old. I suppose that is when it is best to be willing to consider a change anyway, no?

So, a new year, a new hair cut, and with any luck in the next couple of weeks I'll add a new pants size to that list too! I've found enough will power to get a decent start, down a pound and a half so far this week! That leaves me 7 pounds left to get to my pre-pregnancy self, and with any luck (or with enough effort I suppose) another five to get to my pie-in-the-sky goal. Ironic that my "new me" will be the result of trying to get back to the old me.....