Thursday, May 29, 2008

I Kid You Not

Before Jared & I moved to Northern California, this L.A. girl had always thought of this part of the world as full of farms and hicks, etc. We quickly found that our area has beautiful nature to offer that you can't find for all the concrete in L.A., (like my beloved oak trees) and I find it charming that I can catch a glimpse of a Pottery Barn and a horse barn in a five minute drive.

But our town is pretty suburban and track-home-ish, so imagine my surprise the other night when I went out on my front porch to see one of these running down the street with a police car in hot pursuit:

Behind the police car were a few kids on bikes and a minivan, all trying to catch this runaway pig. They had it cornered in the back of our cul-de-sac when the cop made the mistake of chasing on foot and the pig got away and ran out of the cul-de-sac and around the corner. It was possibly one of the funniest things I've ever seen. I didn't know that pigs could move so fast. I just hope it was safe and sound in the end.
(Of course, Jared thought it was the perfect opportunity to pull out all the pig references for cops that he could think of. If he were posting, that's what this would be full of. But I'm not completely comfortable with such humor . . . . )

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Climbing Out of My Hole


I'm so sorry. You must be so tired of the purse post! This is definitely the longest I've ever gone between postings. Thank you to those of you who inquired after my well being when you noticed my absence in the blogging world. I have a dozen things that I could post about right now, so I think I'll give you the Reader's Digest version of my life in the past two weeks.

Things that have been keeping me too busy to blog:
  • I sent my boys and DH off on the Fathers and Sons' campout two weeks back and took advantage of the peace and quiet by painting my master bedroom. I'm sure there will be requests for pictures, but I want to wait until I have some drapes made and a few other touches done to the room before I show it off.
  • Planning two funeral luncheons. It is my responsibility in our congregation to help coordinate compassionate service for families and individuals in need. Unfortunately, the past two weeks have seen two funerals in our little flock and I have needed to organize luncheons for the families. Thank goodness there are so many people who are willing to help.
  • Preparing for a four day camping trip in Santa Cruz by going to 47 stores, making 17 lists of things to remember, laundering everything in the house, packing bags for five people, planning meals and making sure that we have absolutely everything we need to make them . . . . I spent four days running around to prepare for the trip and was exhausted by the time we left!
  • Camping in Santa Cruz, which was so much fun! We went with some good friends who have gone every Memorial Day for over 20 years. We borrowed an enormous tent (14x14x8), which took up 1/3 of the entire campsite--oops. The campground was woodsy and nice and full of families; apparently many many LDS families have had a similar tradition, so there were kids everywhere and mine wasn't the only baby trying to fall asleep in a strange place, which was nice! An added bonus is that our "neighbors" weren't getting smashed around the campfire. (By the way, lest you be too jealous, the weather was quite chilly and we spent most of the time in many layers. Henry told his kindergarten teacher today that he had fun, but his hands were cold the entire time!
  • Visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium, one of our favorite places. We went there for a three day trip last summer and our kids still talk about it all the time. They told us this time that they like it as much as Disneyland! The jelly fish exhibit is still my favorite. They still like the sharks best. Go figure.
  • Cave painting with my kids. We are loving our history curriculum right now. I am two weeks behind on my weekly report on my homeschool blog as well.
  • Tending our garden, which is growing like crazy. Like weeds. Does anyone know why my tomato plants are huge with lots of blossoms (not in this picture) but hardly any fruit? The zucchini and yellow squash will be ready to start harvesting in a day or two, since I like to pick them before they get too big and tough.
  • Trying to make my family and their needs a priority over my little blogging hobby. Striving to find balance. Failing:). Don't worry, I'm not being too hard on myself. What is life if not a constant struggle to find the right balance?
I'll try to post again soon. But the next few days look to be pretty crazy, so don't hold your breath!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Keeping It Real


This is possibly the most humiliating thing I will ever do on line. Certainly after this post, no one can accuse me of sugar-coating reality to make myself look better! My former friend, Jana), tagged me for a meme: What's in Your Purse? My purse is always a wreck, and lately it has been especially bad, which means that I have been saying to myself for at least a week that I need to clean it out. But did I clean it out before Jana tagged me? No, I did not. And I couldn't feel good about cleaning it out before posting. So now all of you will know how absolutely filthy and unorganized I am in my secret places (please don't look inside my beautiful stainless steel fridge). It's not too late for you to turn back and not read any further. I'm warning you that this may too graphic for some neat freak eyes.

So, here is what my purse contained until one hour ago:
My wallet, which is bulging to the point that I have to strain to snap it closed. $1.86 in change, which I can never find when I need it because it is loose in the bottom of the purse. A small map of parks and bike trails in my community (which I have never opened, but I grabbed at the library one day because it seemed like a good thing to have.) Approximately 25 various business cards, some of them duplicates. A coupon for a kid's dental visit (we are cash patients, so I'm all about the coupons). A coupon for Cold Stone, which I will probably never use because I've only been there 3 times in my life and you have to buy the huge one to get another one for free. A $50 gift certificate to Learning Express, which I can't wait to use, but am waiting until I don't have to take four children in with me--the $50 goes way too fast if everyone is asking for something.This book, which I am only one chapter into, but keep thinking that I might have time to read while I'm waiting somewhere, so it's in my purse. On the day I got tagged, I actually had 2 books in my bag, but I finished reading the other one last night, so it was not there this morning.
So far, I'm doing okay, right? Well, read on. Or better yet, stop now, before my image is tarnished forever.
My cell phone. My old cell phone (because I still haven't transferred all the numbers over). My keys. My valet key. A list of phone numbers that I want to add to my new cell phone. Three pencils (only one of them sharpened). Two pens. (I can never find anything to write with in that purse.) A baby spoon. A pencil sharpener that I probably took away from one of the kids months ago when he had it in his mouth. Two notepads, one of which is covered in Ian's scrawls.

Three tubes of lipstick. (I can't remember the last time I wore lipstick instead of gloss.) Two tubes of lip gloss. One lip pencil. One Burt's Bees tinted lip balm. One SPF 30 face stick.

Assorted Weight Watchers literature and my weigh in card. I haven't been in 3 weeks. Sigh.

Four batteries that need to be recycled (I took them at my Mom's when she planned on throwing them in the garbage can.) Earbuds for my mp3 player. A handsfree earbud for my cell phone. They are too tangled together to tell them apart. A roll of film which needs to be developed. (I have no idea what is on it, as I have been using a digital camera now exclusively for a year and a half.)

Some family names that I am working on in the temple.

Some church literature that I found in my junk drawer two weeks ago and thought, "I should give this to so-and-so. She might enjoy it." I have seen her 47 times since then and forgotten Every. Single. Time.
My "just in case" stuff: 2 diapers. 1 disposable bib, which has been in there for six months and not used. 1 chew toy. 1 spongy lego-like toy. A ziploc bag with Cheerios in it (off brand.) Some baby sunscreen. A tampon whose wrapping looks somewhat worse for wear. Two half-gone packages of Kleenex. A thingy to clip your binki to the baby--who has not used a binki for a year now. 1 409 wipe. 1 Shout wipe. 1 Desitin sample. 3 half-gone packages of gum, 2 for me, one for the kids in sacrament meeting.Fabric and paint samples and a sketch from Christine of possible drapes solutions for my master bedroom. (The two swatches at the top and the paint sample are probably the final choices.)

And lastly:

This pile of trash, consisting of old tithing slips, random receipts, 2 recipes, 1 ward newsletter, 2 Relief Society bulletins, many gum wrappers, 2 menus/grocery shopping lists, a spreadsheet of compassionate service assignments, and old tissues. This is the most embarrassing of all; that is a ridiculous amount of literal garbage that I was carrying everywhere.

Now that I've got that off my chest, it's time to tag someone. I've debated on this, as it might require someone else to bare their naked soul to the world. Then again, how bad can it be after mine? So, if you are game, I tag: Allison, Ice Cream Diary (Happy Birthday!), and Scrap Chair Potato. Have fun, girls!

Monday, May 12, 2008

What's Cooking


Here's what is my in my oven right now. Perhaps the last cookies of the season, at least made during daylight hours, as the temperature is rising in these parts. (Sigh.) Not that we need more sweets around here, after the oh-so-amazing strawberry-lemon curd-almond pound cake trifle that hubby made yesterday. But that was so yesterday, and today we need "refreshments" for our Family Home Evening. Plus, this is Teacher Appreciation Week in public school, and that means that we need to send some cookies to Henry's kindergarten teacher. It sounded like a good enough excuse to try out this new recipe. I found it pulled out of a Martha Stewart magazine when I was visiting my mom. Here's the rundown:

Banana-Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies
  • 1 cup (poisonous) white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (to make you feel better about these cookies)
  • 1 t. coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 3/4 c. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c. (lethal)white sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. ripe mashed banana (see how healthy these are?)
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not steel cut, but still approved by your doctor)
  • 8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped coarsely (think of all the antioxidants)
  • 1/2 c. coarsely chopped toasted walnuts (Omega-3s, people!)
You know the drill. Mix the dry ingredients and set aside. Cream butter and sugars, then add egg, vanilla, and mashed banana. Incorporate dry ingredients, then stir in oats, chocolate, and walnuts.
The recipe calls for baking in a 375 oven for 12-13 minutes, but this was too much in my oven. I recommend a 350 oven for about 12 minutes.
Now go make these almost healthy cookies and have a Family Home Evening tonight, even if you never have before. Your kids will love it and you'll be glad you did. After all, if there is chocolate involved . . .

Sunday, May 11, 2008

For Nana Part II

videoSo I figured out that some of the videos I was trying to post were too big and I have to go to YouTube, which takes a while. Here's one of Isaac developing the famous Johnson sweet tooth (don't worry--he only got to have it during the video.)



And here's one of Bronwen playing with a ladybug that flew on her when we were trying to get her to sing for you.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

For Nana on Mother's Day

My other readers should just take the day off. If I could figure out how to send an email with files this big in it, I would have done that!

Here's some video that Alli and I took of the kids on Friday. At the beginning, my camera was on an alternative color setting, unbeknownst to me. I can't even say how many takes we had to do on Ian, Bronwen, and Isaac--and never got the perfect ones. Oh well, hope it makes you smile on Mother's Day, Mom!

videoHere's Kimball singing his favorite hymn.


videoHere's Henry singing a home-cooked version of Mother, I Love You. (At the end you can tell that he has the words written on the white board and is trying to figure out why it doesn't sound right! Too cute:).

videoIan required several takes because he likes to be so silly. Here's the best I could get. Wish the color were better.

video
This is taken when Bronwen climbed out of her high chair during one of Ian's takes. I turned around to see her standing on the counter chanting, "Nana, nana."

I had a couple more to post, including one of Isaac--but Blogger seems to be having a hard time uploading any more. It may be that I've maxed out. So I'll try another post. Happy Nana's Day!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Book Exchange, anyone?

So, I was invited to participate in a chain-letter style book exchange. I need to pass it on to six people and I only want to send it to people who will actually do it. (I am generally the person to drop the ball on such things--fair warning if you send a recipe swap my way!)

Here's how it works: You send one book to the kid on the top of your list. (I bought this one online that I found cheap and then I didn't have to go to the effort to ship it, because you know how postally challenged I am. Go to half.com.) Then you photocopy the letter, move the names up, and put your kid's name at the bottom of the list. You send it on to six friends. If everyone plays, your kid gets 36 books in a couple of weeks. I figure, even if everyone doesn't play and just some of them do, my kids will be thrilled to get a book or two in the mail.

So, who out there would like to be included? I would love to send this on to you. Please please please! Send me an email if you do. My address is sleepymumATgmailDOTcom. Here's hoping that I get at least six takers. And don't worry--if I get more than six, I can always share you with my sister, who has the same task.

Monday, May 5, 2008

I Love Pigtails



I can't help it. They make me smile (even though it makes her squawk and wriggle to have them put in her hair.) This daughter of ours is dearer to me with each passing day.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Why I Could Never Be a Professional Photographer

Have you ever tried to get three young boys to look at the camera at the same time? Anytime that we attempt this, we take countless pictures and it always goes something like this:

"Why don't you all stand on this cool rock while I take a picture?"
"Ian, come over here for a picture, please."
"Now look at me and say, beach!"
"Guys, look at ME!"
"Henry, Ian, look over HERE!"
"Come on, guys. I just need ONE picture with everyone looking."
"Let's pretend that we're explorers who discovered this beach. Look at the camera for your picture in the newspaper."
"Boys, please look at me."
(Saying nothing and hoping that by some magic, that will work.)
"Forget it. Go play. I guess we won't get a great picture on the beach."

For more on our beach exploring, check out our nature walk post on the homeschool blog.