Thursday, August 30, 2007


We live .3 miles away from the elementary school, living on the same road. I can actually hear the school bells ringing if I'm outside. I was pretty excited about this when we moved in, figuring the kids could walk to school. As we settled in, however, we realized our road is not really conducive to children riding their bikes (what my kids want to do). It's a fairly narrow road, with a speed limit of 30 mph. If people actually followed the speed limit, I'd feel better about it. But, most speed quite a bit.

When our school opened, they had a map up of the school, and the "safe walking routes" for the kids. Some kids were given a bus because although they lived close to the school, a safe walking route wasn't available. We have zero sidewalks between us and the school. About a third of the way to the school, there's a street. Our "preferred walking route" takes my kids up this road, over a couple blocks and back over to the school. So, instead of walking .3 miles, it's over a mile. I'm sure if there was more than just my two kids, we'd get a hazardous route bus.

And to top it off, the kids who have the hazardous route bus now have a nice walking trail that gets them off the street almost entirely for their walk to school.

I really wish our city would put a sidewalk down our street. I asked the city planner about that, and he said they were going to make whoever developed the field on the way to the school put sidewalks in.

I know the road doesn't look that bad. The road itself is fine. We just have a problem with people driving down that road at 45+ mph.

So, I guess I should be mad at the city. I want the speed limit better enforced, and sidewalks so my kids can go safely to school. And since I'm going to be annoyed, husband is really irritated that the road is so chewed up and in poor condition. I think that slows cars down, so it doesn't bother me as much.

I let the kids take the longer route on their bikes to school today, but M got a flat tire, so I ended up having to go rescue him, trying to cram his bike into my car.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Living "Green"

I stayed up the other night watching Living With Ed, an HGTV show about a couple who tries to live really environmentally friendly. He has a roof full of solar panels, and has even installed a little windmill. From what it sounds like, he has no electricity bill at all because of his gadgets. Bill Nye the Science Guy lives a couple doors down, and he has so many energy producing gadgets that his power box was actually running BACKWARDS, meaning he was actually producing excess electricity that was going into the grid. Theoretically, the power company would pay him! After two months of electricity bills in excess of $180, that sounds so nice.

I need to research these alternative power sources and see how feasible it would be to add them to our house. I'm not sure if I would want to invest too much into this house. I don't plan to live here more than a year or two longer, but for "THE HOUSE", I think it would be a fantastic investment.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The police busted up my playgroup party today

I was even on the phone with my husband as the policewoman came walking back into the backyard. "Oops, the police are here to bust up the party, I'll call you back". Husband was freaking out.

No, the real reason the police came was because there'd been a report of a child about three-ish years old, walking a collie around with no supervision. They were coming to my house to see if 1- we were missing anyone or 2- we knew who the child could belong to.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Diaper Cake

I had a bunch of size 1 diapers that Z outgrew before we used them. However, the package was opened (thank you S!), so I couldn't return them. I used my diapers to make a diaper cake for a girlfriend having a baby boy. Here's layer one (that's a tub of baby wipes in the middle)
I used little elastics to secure the diapers in their little tube shape, then yard around the whole layer to keep them in place
All three layers without the pretty bows to hide the elastic and yarn
Finished product!

A weekend away

We spent this weekend at my parents' cabin in the mountains. It was a lot of fun, and very relaxing. There's usually a few moose running around, but this time around, my husband was the only one to see any, much to my older kids' disappointment.

We hiked around a bit. The kids explored the property a little, S cuddled with her grandpa, crafts were painted, games played. M brushed up against the wooden railing of the porch and got literally hundreds of splinters in his arm. The rest of the trip, he muttered to himself about how it's really stupid to have wooden handrails and some other material ought to be used.

The picture above is the road to the cabin. That switchback is a little nervewracking in a large vehicle, and there have been some close calls. It makes for a pretty picture though, doesn't it?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Shower with a frog

Today I was taking a shower when I felt a cool gush of air. Soon after, a bath toy frog came flying into the tub. He was soon followed by the other bath toys and S's excited chatter that I needed toys if I was going to take a shower. She was horrified that I was trying to take a shower with company.

It is a bit touching to me to watch my children try to care for those around them. I see shadows of my parenting in how S cares for her dolls, how K & M watch after S when they're playing outside. I love to hear S sing to her Thomas the Tank Engine as she (attempts to) put a diaper on it. M is so sweet and encouraging when he helps S climb down the stairs. K has really shown an interest in getting Z's diaper changed and picking out clothes. They are all so sweet and gentle, and it touches my heart. Hearing them repeat things that I've said to them gives me hope that they are listening, and that I am doing an ok job of raising kids. Watching S take care of her dolls lets me see just how closely she's watching, and how she imitates almost everything I do. Except for when S throws her doll at the wall. I swear she didn't learn that from me!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

MMMM homemade spaghetti

K has been begging me to make homemade pasta sauce with all of the tomatoes we've been growing in our garden. She picked a whole bunch of them and we made sauce yesterday. I showed her how to put the tomatoes in boiling water, then ice water to split the skins.

She then peeled the tomatoes while I chopped. I let her read the directions and then add all of the ingredients to give her a nice cooking lesson. We made a big vat of sauce, and then invited my BIL and his kids over for a delicious spaghetti dinner. I think it turned out very nicely. Here is the recipe we used:

Marinara Sauce
3 +/- onions, chopped finely
1/2 c. oil (I use olive)
12 c. chopped & peeled tomatoes
32 oz. can tomato SAUCE
12 oz. can tomato PASTE
3 tbl. oregano
2 tbl. basil
1 tbl. pepper
1 tbl. salt
6 tsp. sugar
2 tbl. garlic powder (or a few chopped cloves)
3 bay leaves

Brown onion in oil, add rest of ingredients. Let simmer for two hours.

I usually will let cool, then put in freezer bags in our family size, then freeze. When we want some, I'll take it out of the bag and cook in a saucepan til it's hot.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Since I'm blogging about gross stuff...

Now, before I tell my story, I have to give background. My dh is not squeamish, and can deal with gross, icky things that I would not want to touch. However, he hates vomit. Really, really, really hates it. He hates it so much he has somehow mastered his body to not do it. Seriously. I've known him 15 years now, and he has never thrown up in all that time.

Over the weekend, we went to Ephraim to visit the family ancestral home. We took dh's new (to him) truck so that we could bring his ATV. He was going to do some repairs on my grandmother's home, then go ride ATVs with my dad and his dad.

It was the first time we were in this truck all together. DH has only had this truck a couple weeks, and had to do some minor repairs to it before it was ready for a family outing. So, the truck is nice and shiny and clean (dh is a real stickler for a clean car, which I love and appreciate). We get out on the road, and not more than 20 minutes later, M throws up all over. We pull off at a Chevron (thank you, nice Chevron people for having free, high pressure water at your station!!) and I clean up the mess. We grabbed some anti-nausea medication for M, and continued on. He says he feels much better, but dh is looking squeamish because his truck has now been vomited in.

We stopped at One Man Band Diner in Nephi for dinner, and M and S both had soup. S seems a little quiet, and doesn't eat too much soup. About a half hour later, SHE proceeds to throw up. She looks shocked for a second, then starts to cry and says, "Mommy, I spilled my soup!"

Dh and I couldn't help it. We had to just laugh out loud at that.

They both seemed fine the rest of the weekend, so maybe it was car sickness? DH's truck has officially been initiated.

Mmmmmm, boogers and mortification

I think my kids know I have grand plans to humiliate them when they reach their teenage years, so they're getting even before I strike. Today I shall talk about how my kids embarrass me with their booger pickings.

Last week, we were at a sporting goods store. M wanted to buy a snorkel and mask with his birthday money. While I was checking out, he was jabbering nonstop as usual. I turned to answer a question, and discovered he was knuckle deep into his nose. The idle cashier, a teenage boy, was watching with great interest and trying not to snicker. I snapped, "M, get your finger out of your nose!!"

He immediately took the offending finger out of his nose and stuck it in his mouth. Ewwwww! This was too much for the cashier and he started laughing out loud at this.

This did prepare me for a recent shopping trip with S. She discovered that there's stuff in her nose. Weird! She stuck her finger up her nose, pulled out a booger, and then handed it to me, deeply concerned it came out of her nose. I usually put a shopping cart cover on the seat to protect her from germs and stickiness, but it was in the wash that day. So I'm standing in walmart, half horrified, half amused with a booger on my finger, and S is about to go in again to see if she can find more! I quickly found a paper towel designed for a wet spill and cleaned off my finger, then went to a bathroom to wash my hands.

I need to start plotting for their teenage years. As Miracle Max said, "Humiliations Galore!"

Thursday, August 16, 2007

How Geckos are like Children

We have added a new member to our family. We're proud to announce the arrival of a baby leopard gecko. He/she is unnamed for the moment, as he/she is too young to be able to tell gender, and K wants, no NEEDS to know the gender before selecting a name. She got money for her birthday to buy the gecko, and we finally bit the bullet and bought it a couple days ago. I will guess it's a boy because I've got to use one pronoun or another- "he/she" is driving me crazy.

He is so darling! He's about 5 inches long, and very colorful. I did my research before buying him so that we could make an educated choice. We knew we wanted a leopard gecko. They're relatively easy to care for, inexpensive, and most importantly, friendly. K really wanted a reptile that would be ok with being handled. Dogs and cats are out due to allergies in our family.

We bought him from *THE* pet store to go to for reptiles. First off, I noticed that the baby geckos had a sand-like substance in the bottom of the cage. Most sources online say not to use sand for geckos, particularly young geckos. I asked the salesperson about it, and he said they use a "digestible" sand, so it was ok. Now, I thought that any and all sand could cause impaction in geckos, but hey! What do I know? He also said that we should feed the gecko crickets; mealworms could chew their way out of the gecko's stomach if not properly chewed. Well, if the gecko is anything like my kids, chewing food properly is a major problem, so I was properly horrified.

$75 later, we walk out of the store with the gecko. We already had the cage, feed dish, lights, heating elements etc from K's iguana, so I was a little surprised that it was so expensive! I put their special digestible sand in the tank, and find out the next day that it is absolutely wrong for a baby. -sigh- So, I bought some slate tiles to go into the tank.

I do more reading online (I really need to step away from google) and discover that baby geckos that are fed mealworms live longer than cricket fed geckos. Sheesh! And I thought the breastfeeding vs. bottlefeeding debate was hot!

The day after we bought him, he starts looking kind of grayish and pale. Oh crap. We've had him less than 24 hours, and I'm already killing him. I spend the day googling like crazy, and confusing myself in the process. Such conflicting information! Having four children is a cake walk compared to this! By nightfall, I realize that the gecko is simply shedding it's skin. Today, one evening later, most of the dead skin is gone, and he is gorgeous once again.

I've been stressed to death, trying to figure out what is the "right" way to take care of this gecko. I was muttering about how taking care of a baby is so much easier. A quick trip to a parenting board gave me the slap I needed. There's just as much, if not more, conflicting information on taking care of babies. I think when it comes to raising a living thing, it's more of an art than a science, which means there will be a lot of opinions and a lot of different "right" ways to do things. I guess I just trust my mommy instincts more than I trust my reptile instincts.

Here is the famous new gecko, right in the middle of his skin change.