Thursday, August 30, 2007

When he's bigger......

Garrett wants:

"Mom, when I'm older can I go to school and wipe my own butt?"

Now I don't have to wonder what long term goals Garrett has in mind for his future. I'm impressed. Pretty good attainable problem solving planner is a champ!

Monday, August 27, 2007

The fad this week

in my house is dressing up as cowgirls. Let me introduce Annie Oakley and Calamity Jane. The girls were sweet enough to let me be "big nose Kate" and wear regular clothes.

Grace, aka Annie Oakley
Emma, aka Calamity Jane

Children's museum anyone?

The Children's museum in Portland is pretty small (and over priced I might add) and the older kids were not impressed. I guess it's no wonder since they are used to bigger and better museums like the Children's Discovery Museum in Boston, MA or Charlotte, NC. The babies loved it though and we had to drag them kicking and screaming out of the exhibits.
Emma, Grace and Alexandra
Garrett and Nicolas


Sofia and one of the twins (I think it's Jacob)

Isn't Sofia a doll?

My favorite shot. John facing forward, Jacob crawling away.


What's fun for one......

is not necessarily fun for all. My sister and her kids flew up for a visit and one of the things we did was take the 8 kids to the zoo. They have an incredible butterfly exhibit (closing next week, boo hoo), and everyone loved it except the twins and my neice who didn't like all the "flying" things.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I've been thinking.....Why is it

one can compliment another on their child(ren) and it's perfectly normal and acceptable, yet an adult would be considered totally odd if they complimented a stranger on something besides their behavior? For example, I could tell another mom (a stranger) that she handled a situation I witnessed well "good save" or that her children were adorable , and I'd get a smile and "thank you". However, if I just went up to a stranger and told him or her that I thought they had say, a nice smile, for no other reason than I thought so, I'd be looked at like I was a freak. If it was a woman she'd probably wonder if I was attracted to women, and if it was a man he'd wonder if I was trying to hit on him. So, why is it that we don't compliment other adults (strangers) on impressive outward attributes like we do a child? Of course, I'm only talking about people like me here who actually do talk to strangers! Random, I realize. Just something I've thought about today.....

Recently I've tried to smile at strangers when I'm out more and you know what? I like it! I like it when they smile back and I think "things" always look better when a smile is on your face, especially if it is a reflection of your heart. Of course I always have a barrier of children so I'll have to see if I still smile at people more when I'm alone, or if my kids give me a sense of security......hum???????

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

And here's the rest of us

Anyone recognize the vacant stare? Remind you of those moments when you've just changed the 10th diaper to many in one day? You've just fed all your piglets, as successfully as possible accomplished everthing you were supposed to and you're wondering if it's possible to go 10 minutes-no 5 minutes without a request for your services? Well, that's me here......hum, vacation, vacation, vacation.
And the rest of my bunch.....recording the twins acting silly. I think I caught the moment well, don't you?

In case you've been missing the twins

I've think I've actually captured some of their personality in these first two photos. Typical Juanie
Typical Tiki

A friend of mine works for Nike and brought the boys their first pair of Nike's. Thanks Julie!

More progress

The main floor is almost done. Just 2 rooms to go. Part of the kitchen and the guest room. Sorry, Rachelle, we really tried to have it looking spectacular for your visit, but, maybe next time.
Formal living room

Entry way. To the left is the living room, to the right the red dining room.
From the family room into the kitchen

Monday, August 20, 2007

Would you like to take a walk

...down memory lane with me? Here are a few of my favorite shots:
This is my favorite baby picture of my mom. It was 1956 and she was 2.
This is my mom exactly one year before she died in 1982. It was my traditional birthday dinner at Benihana's. She was 5 years younger than I am now in this picture!

I was about 2 here.

Angie, Rachelle and Matt. LOVE this shot. And look, our sundresses are back in style! It only took 25 years.
This is the early 90's baby! Jeff and Angie right after our high school graduation. My handsome devil. The best part is that he's more beautiful inside with a heart that never stops giving.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

She rocks

I just obtained these photos and had to share them. My older blog friends will recall me talking about my maternal grandma before, but I haven't shared this. She rocks! These are pictures of my grandma now. These were used for publicity when she competed in the Ms. Utah Senior pageant this year. Mother of 5, grandmother to 13, and great-grandmother to 17 (Jeff and I have produced almost 1/3 of her great grand kids! Yikes).
This is my grandma in 1977 when she was crowned queen of the Mrs. Utah pageant. To give you a little perspective, at the time she had 5 children and 5 grandchildren.
And did I mention that she earned the "Utah's Business Woman of the Year" in 2005 and "Top 16 women of the Year" in 2004?

Saturday, August 18, 2007


I think one of the greatest things to ever happen to our family was moving to Massachusetts. We spent almost 3 years there, and loved every minute of about 5 months of each year. The streets are a world unto themselves. Navigation is a nightmare, and I thought California drivers were aggressive. Winters are rough. Spring lasts about 1 minute. Summer can be oppressive at times with high humidity, crazy thunderstorms and very little air conditioning. Fall though is absolutely amazing. Every second. We did a ton of exploring, and since I'm a huge history fan, I was in heaven.

Our duplex in Worcester. We owned the right side.
Garrett, Angie, Grace, Emma and Jeff in our backyard in the fall.

Boston. USS Constitution. Fanueil Hall. Paul Revere. Old North Church. Freedom Trail. Newbury Street.

Cambridge. Harvard. MIT. Henry Longfellow house.

Salem. My favorite city. Not even because of the Salem Witch Trials. For the city. For it's history. For it's diversity.
Concorde: Louisa May Alcott house. Transendentalism. Emerson house. Emerson house. Emerson house. Loved the Emerson house.
Sturbridge: living history museaum. Set in the 1830's. Awesome.
Word conversions: bubbler=drinking fountain, carriage=shopping cart, and in case you are wondering, irregardless is NOT a word, even though you'll hear it there a hundered times AND grow to love it.

So much to love, so much to see. And, I haven't even touched upon the OTHER New England states. I'm grateful for the opportunity. Most grateful though for the strength we found in our family and marriage. For the opportunity it gave Jeff it finish his schooling allowing for a profession. Thankful for friends that won't be forgotten. Thankful for glorious falls and for being provided for.

Friday, August 17, 2007

What do you think?

Are you pathetic if the biggest risk you are willing to take is whether or not to paint your dining room red?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Epithelial Ingrowth

So, shall we revisit the issue of my eyes? The good news is that my vision is great. 20/15. And the redness is pretty much gone. The not so good news is that my flap didn't heal properly in one area on my left eye (the eye that did not have to have the flap re-smoothed) and a space was left where the flap should have been. For a visualization, it is like the edge of my flap smooshed up a little. So, epithelial cells have grown in that area where the flap should have been, which is perfectly fine, as long as they only stay in that "filled in" area. If they spread and move up under my flap then then it could cause my vision to appear as if there is a veil covering my eye, or like wearing a dirty contact. If that looks like it might happen, they'll hav to re-lift my flap and irrigate the epithelial cells. Ouch. So, keep your fingers crossed that those cells will do their job and stay put. I do NOT want to have to have the flap lifted again. The conjecture as to why this happened? I'm a vigorous blinker. Whatever.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Favorite Quote......

"Girl, you're my favorite". I love this so much that it keeps replaying in my mind (bringing a gleam to my eye that makes Grace cringe because I then say it to her) and I had it add it to my blog permanently. Jeff and I went to IKEA and a little boy said this to Grace in the play area. She was so embarrased. I wouldn't mind someone saying that to me. But only those exact words. I won't hold my breath. :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Do Friends.....
Bring lunch to your family the day you move into a new state?
Dinner too?
Help unload the moving truck?
Make sure you get settled and help in anyway they can?
Do Friends.....
sit in a house that's 92 degrees allowing a friendship to blossom?
make sure you know that if you need anything they are there?
Do Friends......
laugh with you? cry with you? stay positive no matter what?
Do Friends.......
move away but still stay in contact?
Do Friends........
Drop everything to meet you on your 30th birthday in a hospital WITH a birthday cake because she called?
Do Friends.......
call you while you are in the hospital and send you numerous care packages?
Do Friends.........
Go out of their way on vacation just to see you?
We are so lucky.
John, Kirsten, Anson, Mark, Jacob
Emma, Jacob, Grace, Levi, John, Garrett, Anson and Stephan

Monday, August 13, 2007 new best friend

Today I had to call poison control for the first time. John got into some Tea Tree shampoo and slathered it in his eyes. I rinsed his eyes but because of the tea tree oil and menthol I was nervous that I wasn't doing enough. If you've ever used this Paul Mitchell shampoo, you'll be cringing right now imagining what it would feel like in your eyes if it can make your scalp tingle/burn. So, Betty told me what to do and then followed up with me an hour later. In case you are wondering, the remedy was to stand in the shower with him for 15 minutes to make sure his eyes got properly rinsed. I love that there is this organization out there totally free, and totally helpful in which I can call anytime! LOVE it.

Now, does anyone know of an organization with child muzzles? You know, the ones that stop toddlers from biting? ha ha.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


In my mind there are three different types of museums. The first type is the type where you quietly walk through, sit on a bench and really look if something really speaks to you, and wonder how someone learned to paint or sculpt or photograph in that way. This is the type of museum I rarely haunt these days. Not because te arts don't mean anything to me, but because they don't quite fit into my lifestyle if you know what I mean. The next type of museum is the type that I can take my children to, and are in fact geared towards them. At these museums we learn together. We learn how the eye functions with hands on experiments or the anatomy of the ear by climbing through a big model. We see how butterflies emerge from their chrysalis or how ants work together to accomplish their goals. We learn about physics and music and art and we have FUN. Then there is the third type of museum. It is designed to teach a lesson or showcase something of historical significance. This is the type of museum that touches me the most.

Ever had a museum touch you? I mean really touch you? So much so that you remember the exibits and feeling years later? The Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria and the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam really moved me. Not because I'm obsessed with The Holocaust (or maybe I am?...when given all the time in the world during my hospitalization to read any genre of literature available I chose two books by Holocaust survivors) but because it represents to me what can happen any time, any where to any one. I found an old college assignment (remember dashing off papers in as little time possible and hoping they'd fly with the professor?) that brought forth all those memories and illustrates what these places evoked in me.

The Museum of Tolerance is a site that is intellectually stimulating, emotionally wrenching, and personally demanding. It is significant because it challenges one's personal, cultural, and intellectual ways of viewing the world. The museum entreats all of us to reflect on our lives and the things we believe in, in order to make any changes that are necessary. It asks us to realize the power of our words, to take responsibility for our actions, and to understand individual choice.
The museum is an incredible facility that promotes the learning and application of tolerance. It vividly reenacts events that happened in Nazi Germany in what is now called the Holocaust. It has an outreach program devoted to the research and education of students and teachers. It contains artifacts from Nazi Germany concentration camps that remind us that what we see and experience in the Museum of Tolerance is real. And lastly, it is important to know that the museum is specifically set apart in remembrance of all of the Jews who were exterminated. This is done with the goal that something like this will never happen again.
There is nothing in the museum that can be taken lightly. The purpose of the museum is not to depress the masses of people that visit every year, but to educate them about hate and scapegoating, and the possible results. It shows us real examples of this to explain how such a tragedy was allowed to happen. It illustrates how a nation as a whole in their passivity allowed such atrocities to take place.
Unfortunately, history does repeat itself. There have been many instances in the world in which masses of people were exterminated because they did not fit the mold of what that particular society deemed ideal. It is easy to forget that things like this happen, because we do not want to believe that humankind could possibly do the things they have done. That is why the museum is so incredibly important. It educates us, and it reminds us of the atrocities that happened both in Germany, and historically throughout the world. The goal is that we learn to be less biased, more tolerant, more knowledgeable, so that we never allow something like this to repeat itself anywhere, but particularly in the United States. We need to be reminded that the United States has had its own Holocaust. This happened when we colonized the states, and virtually wiped out the Native American population. Anyone can be a target for discrimination if they do not fit the accepted mold. We need to make sure we broaden our perspective and totally get rid of a general accepted mold. Everyone is different, so no matter what the mold is, someone will not fit.
When I was in Europe a few years ago, I visited a concentration camp in Austria called Mauthausen. Instead of entering the camp in the traditional manor by being dropped off right in front, I entered the camp walking in the same way thousands of Jewish people did everyday. I walked up a few hundred precipitous, slate steps built into the side of a quarry. In the camps emaciated bodies were required to collectively carry huge slabs of rock to the top. If one person fell under the weight of the load, they all toppled like dominoes. In silence I traveled these steps, and when I reached the top, I could hardly catch my breath, or contain my tears. Silence permeated the concentration camp as tourists visited the site of fear, misery, and unjustified death. This is the same atmosphere that can be felt when visiting the Museum of Tolerance.
The museum makes one question their own convictions. It raises questions like, "What would I have done if I were a Jew in Nazi Germany?", "Would I have stood up for what I believed in in light of the circumstances?", "Would I have sheltered Jews? Or would I have flushed them out?" It makes one sick to their stomach, knowing what happened to people just like themselves, in a Western culture just like their own.
The museum has the same psychological impact as a real concentration camp. As one descends to the lower floor of the museum, it gets darker and colder. As one goes through the Holocaust presentation, they realize they are locked in rooms for twelve minute increments. Some people are separated from their families , divided by gender and physical health. They are sent down different hallways, not knowing when they will meet back up again. An explanation of how things got out of hand (which was discussed above) is conveyed during the tour. It makes the whole experience take on personal meaning. It makes one see how we can so easily be misled by authority figures. And finally, we are each given a card with a child's picture. We view the Holocaust through their eyes, which makes it even more horrible. In the end we find out the fate of the child whose card we hold. By the time we find out whether the child survived or was killed, it almost does not matter, because knowing what they went through weighs so heavily on the mind. The whole tour makes one feel to a very small degree the emotions the Jewish people must have felt in the camps.
The museum educates vicariously as well. One does not need to go to the museum to learn about tolerance and the Holocaust. One can simply access the information on the Internet. They have a wonderful web site at that contains the information contained at the museum, particularly in the learning center. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the mass media were to get involved in an educational venture like this? The message could be spread across the globe.

The Museum of Tolerance definitely achieves its goal of educating the public about the Holocaust and teaching people about tolerance. There are very few sites that convey a strong personal, social and religious message that is both not likely to be forgotten, and worth conveying. The Museum of Tolerance stands out as a great example of what can be taught within specific parameters. The Museum of Tolerance provides information that challenges us to think about our personal, cultural, and intellectual ways of viewing the world.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

What makes a mother?

Today an arborist came to my house to give me an estimate on how much it would cost to trim a few of our maple trees. Don't even ask! We have some really beautiful trees on our property but we're most concerned about the maples. My favorite is a Japanese maple whose delicate leaves are purple most of the year, but then turn scarlet in the fall. Secondly we have this "big boy" sugar maple in front of the house that is spectacular. It has presence! In the fall there is nothing like it......the leaves turn this incredible pinky peach red color and it's glorious. In the summer it's leaf leaden branches provide a ton of shade. The tree that needs trimming the most though is a large leaf maple or Oregon maple. It's leaves turn yellow in the autumn, and towards the end of summer (like now) these winged pods appear that spin and flutter to the ground with the breeze. You should see the leaves on the tree.....the size of giant hands......or at least the size I'd imagine them being. I'm convinced trees like these are what made Oregonians fall in love with trees. So blindly in love that some cities passed laws about cutting them down. So, if you're thinking of moving to my city, think red tape if you want to remove trees and think arborist if you want them trimmed because not just anyone can trim a tree correctly!

But this is all beside the point of this post. The arborist commented on all the kids (I actually had my nephew over to play so there was one extra) and was really observant. He complimented me on all the children being happy (that can be a feat in itself, can't it?) and then said I must be a natural born leader. No one has ever said that to me in reference to my role as a mother. It makes sense, I think it happens to be true in my situation as I love to take charge, but does being a "leader" make one a mother? Is it a pre-requisite to having many children? I don't think so, but I think it helps. My pack better know what rank their mamma carries! :)

But what are the requisites of being a mother?.....not someone with the capability of bearing children, but one that nurtures children? Here's what I'm thinking. Patience. The ability to give of one's self. A heart that never stops overflowing. Ingenuity. Common sense. Self preservation. Intuition. Imagination. Control. Self respect. The ability to forgive and ask for forgiveness in return.

What do you think? What attributes make you a good mother?

Spanish Galleons

Here it is: the grand unveiling of our first totally complete room. Trim painted, walls painted, furniture in place, and I'm in heaven. I love this color (replaced the other sagey color with this much warmer swampy, mossy, olivey color)! I think the room looks awesome....I spend a lot of time in the office, so I'm really, really pleased.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The conversation with a doctor

Garrett and Emma went yesterday for their yearly well check visits. Garrett was actually really excited to go to the doctor and I was amazed at how well he did. He didn't even cry when he got a shot, and he answered all of the doctors questions with complete sentences. The conversation went something like this (in part):

Doctor: "Garrett, do you know how to kick a ball?"
Garrett: "yes (pronounced as if english is actually a second language, Spanish being his first), I know how to kick a ball very high."

Doctor: "Garrett, do you know how to throw a ball?"
Garrett: "yes, I can throw a ball very high."

Doctor: "Do you know how to jump up and down?"
Garrett: "yes, I can jump up and down very high."

Doctor asks mommy. "Any problems with peeing?"
Garrett answers: "I Never pee the bed."

Doctor asks mommy (about Garrett). What about pooping?
Garrett replies with surprise: "I NEVER poop in my bed."

Oh my sweet Garrett. He makes me laugh. I'm such a lucky mommy.

Monday, August 06, 2007

another of my favorite things.....

Recently a fellow blogger posted pictures of neat rings designed for parents of super twins (as in more than 2). It reminded me of a gift given that I will always hold dear. Not because of it's monetary value, but for what it represents. I was about 8 weeks into my hospital stay and feeling anxious and tired and disconnected with the world and my children when Jeff walked into my room one evening and gave me this ring. It contains 5 stones. One for each of our children. At the time I still didn't feel confident that the twins would make it despite the intensive monitoring, so it was a super poignant moment. I never take it off. Ever. Well except when I had surgery. My husband is pretty spectacular.

Our summer long project

Trim, trim and more trim. Jeff has replaced the trim throughout our whole house....baseboards, doorways and windows. The trim is all prepped and all that is left is to paint...the trim and then the walls with overspray. Oh, and re-hang the doors. You can imagine the fun it has been to keep the twins out of rooms, closets and pantries with open access. This has been so much more invasive, time intensive and tedious than I ever anticipated. I'm so grateful Jeff is willing to put the time and effort into making this project look amazing. And it does!

The three others......

Grace, Garrett and Emma don't get as much "picture" time as the twins for no other reason than I only seem to take pictures of trouble in the making. So, here's my three singletons that hardly get into any trouble!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Master's degree

How cool is this?
A 94 year old woman earned her Master's Degree. I think an education is so important, whether or not you do anything with it in the work place. My twins will start kindergarten in about 5 years, making me about 37. I'll give myself 8 years (which is VERY liberal since I only have about a year of course work to earn one) to achieve my goal. So, by the time I'm 45 I want to have a Master's degree in Anthropology for no other reason than because I WANT one. Anyone else have a long term goal they want to achieve just because?


I was supposed to get together with some girlfriends to can jam today. I suspect Jacob has pink eye once again so I had to bow out. My lifes story it seems. Instead I made freezer jam. For the first time in about 5 years. It reminded me of making jam with Jeff's grandma Doris. We made jam together a handful of times. At the time I didn't appreciate all the effort she made to allow the opportunity for me. She provided the jars, pectin (only MCP for us), berries, lemons and sugar. I made up the jam under her supervision and then got to take the jam home. How generous is that?
Today's batch was a raspberry/marionberry mix. Sadly, it's the end of raspberry season so no more fresh raspberries for us. These particular berries were handpicked by my friends the Gates. Thanks so much! This gift will last throughout the year! The gift that keeps on giving.
Next batch........strawberry.

that screw

So we've had choking instances before with the kids, but the one last night really scared me. I heard Jeff ask Juanie (that would be John) what he had in his mouth and then I heard Juannie start to cry then choke. I KNEW it had to be a screw since Jeff was hanging doors and stealing screws would be a trick that would be right up the twins alley. So I started freaking out inside because I knew the screws had sharp ends. Jeff started finger swiping his mouth, but the screw had been swallowed, but was still causing John pain and was blocking his airway. Jeff finally had to stick his finger down Johns throat to get him to vomit. Thank goodness he was home because it was really scary and if that screw had punctured or cut inside his throat I don't know what I would have done. Another disaster diverted. I don't know why we've been so lucky, but I'm thankful.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Dinner last night

Jeff and I went out to dinner to celebrate our Anniversary although a little late last night. Benihanna's. Yummy! August 1st. The day we saw two heads on the ultra sound and found out the twins were monoamniotic. August 1st 2007. The day I saw a grown man at our table pick his nose at dinner and wipe it on the woman next to him. Really. The woman treated him as if he was exculpable because he picked up the tab. WHO does that? And what is this world coming to when that is acceptable?