Wednesday, November 10, 2010

blogging out some grief



I am supposed to be heading to bed, but a quick stop by my sil's blog has the tears rolling. Since I've been avoiding blogging because I haven't wanted any MORE chances to cry, I thought I might at as well seize the moment. I have a friend that talked about how grief is good at blindsiding you and, to that, I say "Amen, sista." You never know when it is going to hit you or how hard it is going to hit.

The last 8 months have been full of experiences that showed me just how hard our Heavenly Father was trying to make a very horrible experience as easy as possible. When I sit down and think of all of the little things that made such an enormous impact on all of us, I am beyond grateful. How could I be anything but grateful when it has been made so blatantly obvious that my Heavenly Father is so very aware of each and every one of us?

Every time I am in a crying mood, I figure I'll journal one of these moments. I know I have already posted about how appreciative I was for Heavenly Father's preparation for this "tornado". (or more like a category 5 hurricane) I realize that Heavenly Father can't really send you advanced notices regarding upcoming trials in your life, but I think he did just about as much as he could for me. About a month before we found out that Becky's problems went beyond a benign lump in her breast, my family made the trek to General Conference. As I was sitting in the Saturday morning session, Julie Beck's talk spoke to my soul. I could not escape the message that I received, which was a message to simplify. I knew that I needed to stop my photography adventures and focus on my family. I needed to hear the message that a mother doesn't need to do something just because she can.

I came back from conference and put the kibosh on my photography. I pretty much stopped crafting and many other things that were insignificant yet were sucking up a lot of my time. I simplified in a major way. Little did I know that I was being prepared for Becky's phone call (on Chris' birthday, overlooking the Cape Meares light house) telling me that her tumor was malignant. Having just emptied my life of many things that lacked any eternal importance, my schedule was free for quick trips to Washington to spend time with my sweet sister. I did not have anything going on because Heavenly Father had already helped me with that. I count each of those trips to see her as treasures and sacred moments that allowed us to talk about the paths ahead. I always felt like I was on holy ground when I was with her over the summer. There was a special spirit that was with her throughout this and I kind of feel honored just to have been able to spend time with such a choice soul in the midst of this monumental trial.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Becky


Rebecca L. (Tunnell) Veatch
Rebecca L. (Tunnell) Veatch passed away surrounded by friends and family on Friday, October 8, 2010. Becky was the beloved mother of four children and loving wife of Michael Veatch. She left this life after a courageous eight month battle with sarcoma cancer. Despite the difficulty of her struggle, Becky maintained a positive, upbeat attitude and laughed all the way to the end.
Becky was born on January 7, 1980 in Fairbanks, Alaska. She graduated from Snohomish High School in 1998. Her high school nick-name, "Amazon Woman", exemplified her talent for tackling every obstacle that stood in her way. After high school, Becky attended massage therapy school in Orem, Utah and graduated at the head of her class. It was there that she met Michael and married him in the Mt. Timpanogas LDS Temple a mere four months later.
After helping support her husband through college, Becky was a stay at home mom by choice. She loved her children with all of her heart and loved to see them laugh and play. Becky always had a ready smile and faced trials and difficulties with optimism and good humor. Her hobbies included scrapbooking, sewing for her children, doing fun things as a family and just having a good time with those that she loved. Becky was always thinking of ways to make people feel special. She enjoyed shopping the sales at Target and rarely paid full price for anything. She was never late paying a bill and her frugality was legendary. Her goal was for her family to live within their means so she could be a stay at home mom in order to spend time with their children.
Becky was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She relied on the Lord throughout her struggle with cancer and gained strength from the many prayers in her behalf. Over the past eight months, she saw the hand of her Heavenly Father as he blessed her family in many ways. She fought the battle courageously and often wowed her doctors with her positive attitude and will-power.
She will be missed by her husband, Michael; and her four children, Madelynn, Abigail, Natalie and Conner. She is also survived by her parents, James and Linda Tunnell; and her siblings, Annalia Romero, Sarah Kang, Rachel Tunnell and James Tunnell.
Her older brother, Jonathan, set an example of courage and faith in fighting his own battle with cancer seventeen years ago. She was the proud aunt of 34 nieces and nephews. She took great delight in instigating tickle fights with them, which she always won.
Funeral services will be held at 12:30 p.m., Saturday, October 16, at the LDS Chapel in Lake Stevens at 10120 Chapel Hill Rd. The viewing begins at 11:00 a.m. Friends and family members are encouraged to bring memories and stories about Becky on 4 x 6 cards.
Rebecca L. (Tunnell) VeatchRebecca L. (Tunnell) Veatch passed away surrounded by friends and family on Friday, October 8, 2010. Becky was the beloved mother of four children and loving wife of Michael Veatch. She left this life after a courageous eight month battle with sarcoma cancer. Despite the difficulty of her struggle, Becky maintained a positive, upbeat attitude and laughed all the way to the end.
Becky was born on January 7, 1980 in Fairbanks, Alaska. She graduated from Snohomish High School in 1998. Her high school nick-name, "Amazon Woman", exemplified her talent for tackling every obstacle that stood in her way. After high school, Becky attended massage therapy school in Orem, Utah and graduated at the head of her class. It was there that she met Michael and married him in the Mt. Timpanogas LDS Temple a mere four months later.
After helping support her husband through college, Becky was a stay at home mom by choice. She loved her children with all of her heart and loved to see them laugh and play. Becky always had a ready smile and faced trials and difficulties with optimism and good humor. Her hobbies included scrapbooking, sewing for her children, doing fun things as a family and just having a good time with those that she loved. Becky was always thinking of ways to make people feel special. She enjoyed shopping the sales at Target and rarely paid full price for anything. She was never late paying a bill and her frugality was legendary. Her goal was for her family to live within their means so she could be a stay at home mom in order to spend time with their children.
Becky was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She relied on the Lord throughout her struggle with cancer and gained strength from the many prayers in her behalf. Over the past eight months, she saw the hand of her Heavenly Father as he blessed her family in many ways. She fought the battle courageously and often wowed her doctors with her positive attitude and will-power.
She will be missed by her husband, Michael; and her four children, Madelynn, Abigail, Natalie and Conner. She is also survived by her parents, James and Linda Tunnell; and her siblings, Annalia Romero, Sarah Kang, Rachel Tunnell and James Tunnell.
Her older brother, Jonathan, set an example of courage and faith in fighting his own battle with cancer seventeen years ago. She was the proud aunt of 34 nieces and nephews. She took great delight in instigating tickle fights with them, which she always won.
Funeral services will be held at 12:30 p.m., Saturday, October 16, at the LDS Chapel in Lake Stevens at 10120 Chapel Hill Rd. The viewing begins at 11:00 a.m. Friends and family members are encouraged to bring memories and stories about Becky on 4 x 6 cards.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

my sweet sister, Becky

Becky passed away last Friday with all of her family around her. It was actually just the kind of gathering Becky would have orchestrated because she was always trying to figure out ways for all of us to get together. She hated when one sibling would be missing from plans and on Friday, everyone was there. It was also just the way we had hoped it would happen. Besides the horrible, horrible headache that she had the day before (which was from the tumors increased growth), she passed away having felt a relatively small amount of pain. The doctors had discussed different ways she might pass away a few weeks ago and there were so many worse ways it could have happened. We had all been praying for her to go quietly with minimal pain and Heavenly Father answered our prayers.


Another thing we noticed? Becky's two youngest have always had perma-runny noses. We had remarked on the miracle that those runny noses disappeared while Becky was going through chemo, which was great because of her weakened immune system. Well, the runny noses are back.


Heavenly Father really does love us and has given us so many things over the past eight months to ease the path. He knows we have to experience these trials, but he still finds ways to show us that he is in control and that he does want us to be happy. Yesterday the girls and I were talking (they are so great at telling us exactly how they are feeling) and Madelynn told me that she was sure it was hard to lose a sister. I told her that it is for I have lost a best friend. I will miss her everytime I want to call her or want to get together with her. BUT I told her that it is nothing compared to losing a mother. Last night, as Becky's niece left holding her little boy, my mom cried for the mother's touch that Connor will not have. The other day, a Connor that is normally very wiggly and active cuddled me for a good 30 minutes (and no, he wasn't tired.) He kept looking me in the eyes and I knew he missed his mom just as much as the rest of the family.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Conference recap

I am trying to distract myself while waiting for Becky news. (really horrible headaches, mri's....you get the idea.) So I thought I would recap conference a little because...I love conference. We have figured out with our little gaggle of girls that our efforts to listen to conference at home are pretty futile. Kids running around, at normal volume and the speakers are easily drowned out by well meaning kids who have too many toys around to want to sit still enough to listen. For this very reason, we dress everyone up and head off to the church to watch the broadcast with the other 2 families within 30 minutes that do the same thing. When they are in a dark chapel, they at least fill restricted to whispering and hear tidbits of goodness while I get to hear at least 5 times as much as I would at home. (and 1/4 of what I would hear if I didn't have my kids there, but Elder Bednar helps me feel fabulous none the less.) We made it to all 4 sessions, but the two that included Lilly were the ones that I have 2 lines of notes on. I have a standard for my girls and it is that they misbehave in age order. And fittingly enough, Rachel took pretty intense notes, Autumn and Chloe worked in their workbooks I printed up, Hannah goofed off a little more, Elise colored and talked bugs (but did keep it to a whisper) and Lilly....distracted us all with her cuteness. When President Uchtdorf spoke, I held her close and whispered, "Lilly, that is Dieter F. Uchtdorf. He is an apostle. Let's listen to him." She turned to our friends behind us and said "That's Dieter Uchtdorf." And now let's fast forward to Wednesday. In an effort to rationalize a trip to the beach, we listened to some old conference talks. Dieter F. Uchtdorf started speaking and what did Lilly say? "That's Dieter F. Uchtdorf." And tonight at dinner she told Chris "Dieter F. Uchtdorf talked in our car." And there we go. All of the wiggling and slight chaos was totally worth it.

Conference Funnies (the part I enjoy about this one is imagining a cartoonist watching conference through his silly glasses.)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bald for Becky Auction






And our fun little auction (that is actually not so little anymore) is off and running. Stop by for a visit and shop guilt free as every bit of this money goes straight to Becky's family. And be warned: it is all cute. And wonderful.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

bald for becky



This fundraiser is just part of the fundraising that we are doing for Becky's family. We are also looking for donations for an online auction to benefit them. If you have or know of anyone that has any offerings that they might be willing to donate for this, please let us know. We need all of the help we can get and know that there are so many talented people out there that are generous and ready to help.

hello, my long lost friends.

Ok. I am back. I don't know how often I will be getting on, but here I am. For updates on Becky and her adventures, you can go to a few different places. We have her facebook page, her family blog and last, but not least, the blog with information about the fundraiser that we're putting together. It has been a rather emotional summer that could easily be compared to your favorite roller coaster ride. I'll fill you in later, k? I guess it would suffice to say that I am glad I was inspired to clear my plate off before all of this started. It may sound silly to all of you non crafty people out there, but I seriously have a continuous struggle where I have to remind myself that creating things is *not* what it is all about. Strengthening my relationship with my Heavenly Father, creating moments, creating relationships, and serving. THAT is what it is about. Everything else....not so important. I am grateful for every day that I get to spend with my family, whether it is in slight chaos or not. (which it is, more often than not)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Update: numero tres

Becky Update: numero tres

Today Becky had *the* oncology appointment that we have all been waiting on pins and needles for. This is the one that discussed a more solid treatment plan and the pet scan results....and (can I have a ominous drum roll, please? kind of a dum, dum, dum, DUM?) The cancer has spread to the lungs which means a surgery to remove the tumor from the lungs (that includes 3-5 days in the spa. You know...the spa that has their needle "therapists" wake you up during all hours of the night making sure you can't recover a bit because they won't let you sleep?) and a very not so lovely 4-6 month supply of chemotherapy. Yep. Not exactly what we were hoping for, but a treatment plan nonetheless. And we will all unite, being powered by the love of our Heavenly Father, and press on. We will carry Becky along and make this road as smooth as we can, whenever we can. We love you, Becky.

So after having a good cry (I don't know if my kids knew quite what to do with a mother sobbing in the laundry room while folding clothes and singing comforting hymns....I got some intrigued looks as they passed through the hallway!) I got online and did my research. And registered for the Race for the Cure. Anyone want to join us? Team Becky is going to rock it in Seattle on June 6th and we'd love to have anyone join us. Bring a pink bandana and we'll have a Becky love fest for a leisurely 3.2 mile jaunt.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Updates and such

Becky went ahead and had a mastectomy on Friday, which "took a big weight off her chest". (7 lbs 4 oz, to be exact and that is her quote, not me making light of heavy things.) Funny how much a tumor infested breast can weight. This is very uncool of her because now she weighs less than me and is putting even more pressure on me to loose my toddler weight. (I can't really call it baby weight when Lilly is running around carrying on conversations, eh?) Tomorrow she goes in for a pet scan and then a mere week later (which is way too long, if you ask me) we will find out the results and see if the the cancer took any extended vacations to other parts of her body. That is the low down and pretty much all we know right now. Coming from a person that can't stand not knowing if she is expecting a boy or a girl, the waiting is akin to some sort of medieval torture device. And what do we do while waiting? Knit a new boob for Becky, of course. Apparently there is also a long gap between having a mastectomy and getting a prosthetic, which I find pretty intolerable for someone who is now going around with one breast that is at least a DD. I never thought my knitting skills would be put towards something so useful, but here we go!

And my scripture for the week:
Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you. Seek me diligently and ye shall find me. Ask, and ye shall receive. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
Doctrine and Covenants 88:63

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dear Breast Cancer: Bite me.

Dear Breast Cancer,

Bite Me. Your little cousin, lymphoma, sucked enough. You are not welcome in these parts.

It turns out to be good timing for some simplifying as last week my little sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. We are all sitting around in the "calm before the storm", waiting for a biopsy to determine if it will require "just" a mastectomy or a mastectomy and chemo/radiation. When thinking of the fact that she 4 small children, ranging in age from 5 months to 8 years old, this is huge. Breast cancer sucks royally at any point in your life, but when I picture a young mom trying to juggle a baby and a toddler and throwing in the lovely side effects of chemo, I am just plain old sad. Please include Becky in your prayers....

and I will leave you with my favorite quote of the week:
If you will put God first in your life,
everything else will fall into its proper place
or drop out of your life entirely.
{Ezra Taft Benson}

Monday, May 3, 2010

sarah, the nut

Welcome to a brief synopsis of Sarah, the nut. You aren't going to be seeing me as much on here as I am trying to overcome some of my nuttiness. You know, the side of me that says "Why buy a $3 pack of cards when I could spend an hour making them?" or....the real trouble maker: "I'm already sewing one _______, so I might as well make 20 of them!" I have always said that I plan projects like I have 1 child yet I finish them like I have 10 children.

There is a John Bytheway (did I tell you than I also met him while in SLC???) talk called "What's in Your Backpack?" that we listened to on our little car trip to SLC. Now, John was actually talking to teenagers and he was talking about things that they put in their backpack (teenage stuff like negative self talk, etc) that make their hike/earthly journey so much harder than they need it to be. And all I heard while listening to this was all of the junk that I throw in my pack. You know...mom stuff like sewing projects, a frivolous photography business, crafty crafty fluff, a Pottery Barn house, the perfect birthday party....you get the idea, right?

So I have been playing with this over the past month and these are hard habits to break! I am trying, but it is not easy. I was proud of myself because we had this fun little carnival party but instead of having a long list of things I had done for the party, I had a long list of things that I chose not to do for it. No super cute snacks. No pinwheels for the cupcakes. No handmade signs. (Quickly printed in a matter of minutes and just as cute.) Some things were already in motion and it was too late to eliminate, but I still did a pretty good job and eliminating the unnecessary. I am trying to catch all of these little things and am not doing it all the time (The girls and I started 4 quilts for Mother's Day, but I decided that they will be gifted later in the year after realizing the irony of me being a bad mother to give a good mother's day gift), but am trying to throw all of these stinky bricks out of my backpack. Too bunch junk in the trunk. (Ok, that could apply to my life in a few different ways, but I digress.) Ok, enough rambling. I just thought I would explain my sudden absence. I'll be here and there, but just not so much. I am just trying to refocus a bit and prioritize. Thank you, conference, for reminding me of the end goal here. I am a little dense, but I think I am starting to finally get it. (I know! It's about stinking time!)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

may day failure

I feel like today was a slight failure. Yes, we made it to the soccer games, the birthday party and even had time to run into costco. (and I do mean run.) The two things that I really wanted to do today that didn't even get close to happening?

1. I SO wanted to deliver some May Day bouquets today with the girls. We didn't even get far enough to get the flowers.
2. I wanted to head over to our local cemetary to start photographing gravestones with the girls. I *did* carry my camera around all day, planning to go. Does that count?

And my question of the day: When did May Day turn into a day of protests instead of a day to deliver flowers and walk around a pole with ribbons? I say we go back to the cooler one.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

its been a long time....

but here I am again. (and look what I have to show for it!) I took a nice little trip up to Snohomish to work on family history with my grandma and mom. I am almost done with a book about my Grandma Cozette and got to scan in a whole load of very sweet and priceless pictures that we found of my Grandma McAllister. We also got to make a trip to the temple to seal my Grandma McAllister to her parents and to seal my Grandpa to his parents. Rachel got to be baptized for my Great Grandma Robinson and for another ancestor that she is researching right now in an attempt to find her parents. I have gone from needing information for genealogy to feeling a little overwhelmed by all of the information that I have. It doesn't take long to have a gazillion different directions that you are going in! The girls are all begging to work on genealogy, so we are about to fill out their pedigree charts and pass the genealogy bug onto them. I have a theory that there is a great need for youngins to learn more about genealogy. As I have required more help (I think I am going to need to tread this next statement carefully) from the missionaries at the Family Research Library, I have found them to all be sweet as pie and very willing to help. BUT you know how we joke about the technology learning curve for the older generations (I am not excluded from this as texting is something I still haven't learned!).....I think that if the younger generation could combine their knack for technology with a love for genealogy, the genealogy movement would definitely benefit. And seriously: Ancestry.com rocks. You can get sucked up into that site so easily!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A little announcement.

Since my blog has been a little neglected and will continue to be so in the future, I thought I would copy over my post from my photography site for you folks:

Two weeks ago my family and I packed up and headed down to Salt Lake City to hear our prophet and other church leaders speak to us. To keep us busy on the trip down, we listened to some inspiring talks. By the time the weekend was over, I felt like I had plenty of time to evaluate my life and decide on a few things to change. (Doesn't it help sometimes to just step back and look at the big picture?) The biggest change that I decided to make was to stop my photography business. And I guess all of the changes that I plan on making come back to this quote by Julie Beck.

"A good woman knows that she doesn't have time to do all that her heart yearns to do." {Julie Beck}

That pretty much sums it up. Ten years from now, will I care that I have photographed ____ families and ____ seniors? Nope. Will I care if I have neglected my role as mother or if I have done all that I can as a mother? You betcha.

Since Chris and I embarked on the journey of parenthood, we have always been blessed. He has always supported our family and with each additional kid (there have been a few, you know.) there have been blessings to help us make ends meet. I have started feeling a little ungrateful to Heavenly Father. Here he has made sure that I can be a stay at home mom and blessed us accordingly yet I am working for this extra money....just so I can have a little extra money. Quite silly now that I step back and reevaluate.

Now that this has turned into rambling...I will stop my jibber jabber. I am off to the tulip festival with my little herd of girlies to partake of this amazing sunshine that we have today.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

traveling with a full load...

On the way to SLC, the kids were fabulous. We drove 13 hours in one day and the girls read most of the way, with Lilly and Elise playing, singing and eating a whole lot of goldfish, pretzels, oranges and string cheese. Lilly cried for a whopping 10 minutes of the drive down and this was only because her seat was wet. (from her pouring water on herself, of course.) This trip was made possible by having a house full of bookworms. There were no video games or movies and the most we did to entertain was having John Bytheway booming through the speakers every now and again. (and he IS entertaining.) Are you ready for true brilliance that only could come from a mother of 8? A dear friend of ours brought over some packages for our trip. They were wrapped and had tags on them reading things like "Open when you get to Le Grande." They weren't anything major, but little treats that definitely served as something to break up the trip. This was more than a gift for just this trip as I can guarantee you that it will be used on many future vacations.

Now, to the hotel....on the second night there, Lilly woke up and would not go to sleep. After being up with her for a good two hours, I fell asleep for a little. (I think about 30 minutes.) What would you do in a hotel if you were 2 years old and unsupervised? I know this much: When I woke up, she was in the fridge and had already gone through a few cheese sticks and had leftover strawberries on her face. She as tearing apart my purse and had also discovered my lipstick. No, she didn't call 911. She saved that for while mom was trying to watch conference the next day. I must confess that I did not prepare well for the hotel. Too much sitting and not enough to keep them entertained. I should have brought some playdough, coloring stuff (I know! I didn't even bring coloring stuff!) and handcuffs. :) (for them, not for me.) And my final word on hotels: If I can't watch conference at home, why would I be able to watch it with the younger of the bunch in a hotel with minimal toys (6 LPS) or chance at entertainment? I think Elder Bednar described my conference experience somewhere in his talk from last October.

And for the trip home? We heard the unfortunate announcement from the back that Hannah had finished Little House in the Big Woods before we hit Burley, ID. Yes, you would think that was good news, but Hannah is a mischievous one and books are amazing at keeping her...busy. I told Chris that she was going to have a hard time for the rest of the trip, but what I really should have said was "Let's stop at a book store and stock up!". She really did have a hard time, which meant that Elise and Rachel, her row partners, also had a hard time. She is our instigator and is frequently at the center of conflicts in the car. Pretty soon, I found myself in the backseat, bribing anyone who would take a nap with an ice cream cone. And 30 minutes later, Hannah was asleep and peace was restored in the Kangmobile. The ice cream bribe was really so I could take a nap, but Elise was pretty sure that spelling her name in pretzels and spotting every train and cow that we passed was way yummier than any ice cream cone around.

Our little conference vacation

Last Friday we drove down to Salt Lake City to take the girls to our church's General Conference. Conference is held at Temple Square every October and April and we normally visit our church building to watch it via satellite. (because they actually listen when we are in church and if we watch it on the computer at home, it is a zoo.) When Rachel turned eight, we told her that we would take her to Salt Lake to watch it in real life, but real life kind of got in the way. 2 new babies, a stroke....all sorts of things to get in the way and to make the trip a little difficult. And this year, things have calmed down enough that we decided to go for it. It was wonderful. We met Chris' sister and my nephew there and we each got to go to at least one session. There is really nothing to explain the feelings associated with being in a room (no matter how large or with how many people in it) with a prophet of God. Wow. Conference is always a good time for reevaluating your life and setting new goals so amongst my notes are a few things I am going to be working on. There were a lot of talks on motherhood that were so inspiring that one of my goals is to go back this week and listen to them again! My personal favorites from the session that I attended were by Julie Beck and M Russell Ballard. And here is a quote that I really need:
"A good woman knows that she doesn't have time to do all that her heart yearns to do." {Julie Beck}

Thursday, April 1, 2010

los pantalones de fuego


Ok...so I am a big fat liar. Or, to quote Shawn Spencer, my favorite psychic detective, los pantalones de fuego. No picture of my beautiful shoes and just a poor neglected blog for you folks out there. This week I've been running around getting all sorts of errands done while getting ready for the big girls' conference trip. Make up piano lessons. Hair cuts. (what? Autumn wants her hair short? fabulous!) Oil Change. Easter party. (ok, that wasn't really getting ready for the trip, but it was splendid springtime goodness.) Packing. Costco-ing. Laundry. Oh. And the mandatory endless hours in front of the computer doing genealogy. If someone would have informed me that would be quite so addicting, I think I would have waited for two more weeks to start. Bad timing, but so much fun! Rachel got me started and we have loved making all sorts of ancestor discoveries together. BUT if I hear her say "It is so fun seeing you on Ancestry.com instead of facebook, doing something worthwhile...." one more time, there will be trouble. It is nice having a twelve year old who is helping me grow up, but can she be a little less of a sassafrass pants? ;)

Passing on the genealogy bug: Here are some links to get you addicted, too.
This little book I picked up for my trip (I flipped through it and it looks like an easier read that the other, more laborious genealogy books)

And, por supuesto, we've added a day onto our trip to explore the Family History Library in SLC. Yippee! And I am packing my mom's History of Baxter County book. Jennifer: I will be coming to visit you soon!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

just the cutest shoes EVER

disclaimer: not sure why the picture isn't showing up and I have to run. (figuratively, not literally) I will try to get a picture done tonight. You will have to trust me. Just imagine grey pumps with adorable ruffles.

Are these not the most beautiful shoes on earth? (Forgive the picture, but I am lazy and Amazon is helpful.) Can you believe those ruffles? Last night, after an inspiring YW broadcast with my new little young woman, we decided to do a little shopping a la the only store open, Fred Meyers. We ran across nice and....gasp....MODEST dresses for both of us. On a quick run through the clearance section, I fell in love with these ruffly scrumptious shoes but they didn't have my size! So I batted my eyelashes and the very helpful freddy's employee called nearby stores on a search for my dream shoe. Nobody had it. I was a big girl about it and didn't cry for too long. We ended up having to run to a different store to get the right size dress for my girly, getting there a few minutes before closing. While she grabbed her dress, I (being an eternal optimist and doubter of employees) double checked their clearance shoe section. I couldn't find any of these shoes, much less one in my size! Right as I was about to give up, I checked one last spot and there they were. One pair in 8.5. My size. Sweet. And I will now confess to a little bit of jumping up and down and giggling. Just a little, but can you believe my luck? They didn't completely match my new dress, but I had to give them a spin today.

Now, for a little laugh: When I tried on the dress I got, I asked what Rachie thought of it. The best she came up with? "What look are you going for?" Thanks, Rachel. And today at church, two women told me that they almost bought the same dress last night. It is a pretty bold dress, so I am glad the three of us didn't show up sporting it. (Yet they are super cute ladies, so I feel a little better about my purchase, considering the scathing review given by my daughter!)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

a little mother help out there?

Not that our house is ever dirty or anything (winky, winky), but do you motherly folk out there have any suggestions for getting your kids to clean their rooms? I would love to hear the tricks that have worked over the years so I don't resort to anything drastic. My next step right now? Packing up all of their belongings. Back in the good ole' days when our house was on the market, keeping rooms clean was easy because just about everything was packed up. And since I would feel pretty mean doing that again, I would love some input here. Thanks, ladies.

Monday, March 22, 2010

ramblings of a crazy and slightly tricky mom



today? Its been a pretty crazy day. I think it was a combination of a cranky mom, kids that decided to ignore said cranky mom and a general feeling that I have no control or say in anything that happens in our government. Anywho....I started working on Elise and Lilly's birthday parties. Do you know what that means? I am planning the last party of our birthday season. Isn't that great? And this party is going to be quite the happening to do because the whole family is involved. We're all in charge of different booths at this mini carnival that will be made complete by the cotton candy alone. Doesn't that sounds great?

And now I will brag about some motherly trickery. Yep. Motherly trickery that worked! (It doesn't always happen that way so I need to brag it up when it does!) As a book addict, there are many books that I buy simply because I hope that having it close on hand will make one of the girls read it one day when they are feeling like reading something a little different. And it doesn't always work. So here is where the trickery comes in. Thanks to a suggestion from my wise older sister, I was putting some miscellaneous books on the nook right next to the girls' toilet. When choosing which books would win the coveted spot, I chose books that I have been dying for a certain daughter to read. (a certain daughter that isn't ambitious in her book choices and....a certain daughter that loves to read in the bathroom) Emma. Tom Sawyer. Vintage books about famous composers and authors. And the next morning Autumn was reading Emma. (and liking it, to boot.) What did I have to say about it? Mwahahaha......My evil plan was successful! I guess a real tricky mom wouldn't reveal her plan as soon as she saw that it worked. Oops.

bonnet love

And the bonnet(s) go to Bethie Poo. Beth is my awesome and wonderful sister in law who just purchased a very cool falcon wagon. I would only be more jealous if it was an early 50's truck. (Yes, that is my dream truck. Chris laughs it off, but the girls point out every "cute car" that we pass by. Someday.....) Beth, I will get your bonnets in the mail asap. And since you are my sister in law, you know what asap means in my dictionary.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Elise-isms

Elise, you smart little cookie. How does a three year old get what she wants?
Elise: Dad, put your hand up. Ok. Now say "I will make Elise popcorn and I will watch Dog Whisperer with her." Say it, dad.
Pretty smart, right? I was impressed even if she was a little disappointed that her little master plan failed so miserably.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Extra! Extra!


I don't know what it is (possibly the fact that I just love my blogging friends) but I have just been in the mood for a giveaway! Run on over to my website and enter yourself (or a friend) for a free photo shoot. Yep. Gratis. $Free.99. Share the love, right?

And yes, you Seattlites. This is for you, too. (I'm up there enough that we can figure out something!)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

a little bonnet lovin'


Because we have a few extra bonnets lying around the Kang abode now and because I think every little girl should have a bonnet to put on when the mood hits (like when head off to visit lambs and my 3 year old deems that a very pioneer/bonnet friendly activity), I thought I would giveaway two of my extra bonnets from Autumn's party. Leave a comment and I will pick someone ever so randomly on Sunday, March 21st.

And now I am off to find a way to make our food nice and greeny today. Did I ever tell you that green is my favorite color? Yep. Our last two houses have had at least two green rooms. I am still working on getting a green room here, but have temporary settled for painting everything that gets in my way green. (insert even laugh here)

Monday, March 15, 2010

little pioneer children


Autumn's little pioneer party? A complete success. From the weather (it waited to rain until we were pulling our car away from the Barn) to the chickens (who *happened* to lay enough eggs for everyone to find an egg), it went just exactly how we had envisioned. The party ended up going 4 hours as we had a lot of fun to pack in. There was candle dipping, potato sack races, feeding the goats and chickens, felting eggs and making the biscuits and butter. Whew. It makes me tired just listing it. I didn't think we would have time to do it all, but it came together quite well. The best part of the whole thing? Seeing a bunch of girls in bonnets and aprons. It was just so stinking adorable!! And Autumn has pronounced it to be her best birthday party yet. (I suggested we aim to make this a climax, but she didn't buy it.)

The key to this whole shebang? Our wonderful friends, the Woodwards. They have become our 2nd family since moving out to Forest Grove and I must say that this party would have been quite dull in our little neighborhood. Move it to a barn that is complete with a creek, goats and chickens? Yeah, it makes it about a gazillion times cooler.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

my little reader: it's about time!

I swear by Teaching Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and have used it with all of my girls so far. Hannah is 6 and finished it when she was 4, but unlike the rest of her sisters....she just didn't get into reading. I have felt like she was staying at the same level, but I did know from our scripture reading and reading aloud here and there that she was progressing, even if it was ever so slightly. She just didn't feel drawn to books yet. (Until yesterday, that is.) She has her little passport from Magic Tree House and read a good 7 books yesterday. Yes, I realize that if she can read them in 20-30 minutes, they are probably a little too easy for her, but it feels so good to call her and realize that she is in the corner reading. I am just overly happy right now that she is being a book worm. I figure she should be done with all of the Magic Tree House books on our shelves in a few days and then I will get her into Charlotte's Web. And in quizzing her (because I was just positive that she wasn't really reading the book in 30 minutes or less) she is remembering every little detail of the book as she zooms through. Whoot! Whoot! for Hannah!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

mom tip #3672

Since there isn't a whole lot that I have to blog about right now, I will blog about what has been taking up my day. An ear infection. Luckily, it was with a daughter that is old enough to deal with it in reasonable fashion, but it has been very painful for her. Her "scale of pain" is a little off as she describes her pain at a 10 when I am pretty sure it is a 3 or 4. How do the Kangs deal with an ear infection? It is stinky, but it is on the cheap and works with amazing speed. We have a nice little bottle of garlic tablets that we've had around for eons. We poke a hole in it, squeeze the super stinky (this is coming from someone who has been known to love garlic) garlic oil in the ear and have them lay on their side while it drips into the ear. With past ear infections, it has only taken one treatment to clean it all up. We've done it three times today, but she is much better. No doctor visits. No antibiotics. Just a little odor. Rachel was on antibiotics all the time when she was a baby. Elise has been on them once for a tooth issue. 6 kids and one time on antibiotics in 10 years. I swear by garlic. If I see gunky noses, I up the garlic in our food and the noses clear up. So there you have it. Mom tip #3672.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

a rundown of the week

Humor me. I am mainly doing this for myself to get my week in order. Next Saturday is Autumn's pioneer birthday and I am a wee bit behind for a party that requires this much sewing. (What a time for me to start going to bed early!!) I have 14 aprons and bonnets to sew. Invited still need a ruffle sewn on before delivering *today*. I probably should try the candle dipping ahead of time so I don't look like a shmuck in front of a bunch of 10 year olds. I need to practice felting eggs for the same reason as listed above. I have no idea what we will be eating, but I am thinking of us making biscuits with jam and of course having some very simple cupcakes. And then I plan on throwing some flowers in mason jars and maybe picking up some hay or something for the barn. Luckily, if all of the above goes to pot, we'll be at the Woodwards'. This means there will be chickens and goats to entertain if things get sticky. Oh. And their lovely land to romp about. Wow. I don't think that helped at all as I now realize that there is even more for me to worry about. Great.

At the same time that we are in the final stages of Autumn's party, we are planning Elise's party to happen right after we return for Utah. I am thinking carnival with popcorn and cotton candy and lots of games. I am going to assign the older girls to each come up with and man a game for the kiddoes and I bought a whole stack of beautiful matchy paper to make all of the decorations with. On Elise's list of important details? Balloons, blue cupcakes, water, games and for me to drive 4 hours north to pick up her cousins and bring them in for the fun. Easy enough, right? Oh...and pony rides. We'll have to thank our neighbor for letting her know that people can have ponies at their parties. I told her no way, but I am thinking she is still planning on it. I have a month to get it through her head, right? And I am rethinking having everyone's birthday party years on an even number. It would work better if I hadn't had all of the girls 2 years apart. Why be slammed one year and have the other year completely off? It just doesn't make sense!

Oh. And we've been letting Lilly run around free and nakie for day to top it off. How many accidents has she had? Two. One on my lap, due to a sister asking her if she needed to pee while sitting on my lap.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

birthday crafties.


On the morning of a birthday party for Autumn's friend, my thought process went a little like this: I can spend an hour getting a present for the party or an hour making a present. One would be junkier and cost me a good $15-$20. The other would be free (or at least using supplies I already have bought) and would be 10 times cooler. So we crafted away and didn't have to get out of our jammies.

The result: An apron with a matching journal.

every party needs a pooper


I finally got around to hanging up some prints that I splurged on last Thanksgiving. I had to find the perfect frames (a la Goodwill, of course.) and then you have to factor in a 3 month turn around on spray painting when sunny days are hard to come by. Then top that off with general slackerness and a lack of ability to focus (SQUIRREL!) and it brings us into March. After hanging these up, I couldn't keep my eyes off of them. They just make me happy. The green frames, the fabulous artwork....they really brighten up our family room/kitchen. And then there is Chris. I wasn't home when he met them, but rumor has it (from a very reliable source) that his reaction included a long moment of silence, followed by several complaints. We grew up singing the party pooper song to my dad and I am happy to say that I can pass that tradition on to my daughters. I did humor him and adjusted them to center them on the wall better this morning, but the majority of his complaining involved the frames and the cohesiveness with our existing home decor. I, on the other hand, think it is a perfect fit. Like I said, pure happiness every time I waltz past them.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Latter Day Homeschooling

I was just turned on to what I anticipate being a great homeschooling resource for me. This is coming at a time when I am feeling like I sure do need a little teacher pick me up! When I started homeschooling a good 8 years ago, I had a small list of reasons why I wanted to homeschool and to be quite honest, I can't really recall what those reasons were now. My list has grown substantially and I still am in love with homeschooling. With that being said, I also am feeling the need to change things up a bit. I am rethinking a few subjects and am hoping this LDS Homeschooling site will be just what I need in the form of some good ole' inspiration. Thank you, whoever you are that thought this up!

the 3 wee bears


Rachel apparently knows me well enough to know that when she is babysitting, I would like to come home to a cleaner house or to come home knowing that the girls were doing something so fabulous with their time that cleaning would seem altogether trivial.

While we were at the temple, we got two phone calls from home. The first one was asking permission to use my makeup. (at first, they got a resounding "No way!". After a little explaining that they were needing stage make up for bear noses, I couldn't resist.) The second one was requesting that I bring primroses home with me. After a little investigating, I found that they were looking for cut flowers in general and once again, I couldn't resist, coming home with a few bundles of daffodils.
Chris and I came home to tickets to the girls' production of The Three Little Bears, complete with stage (don't you love backdrops), curtain, set changes and 3 of the cutest bears of all time. I can't decide if my favorite part was Autumn's tie and glasses perched on her nose, Hannah's freckles or Elise's fake crying for her part as baby bear. Let's just say that it was the hit of the season and that it was so good that I was ok with the pigsty that we came home to. It reminded me of the plays that the March's attic must have seen. Oh, my sweet little women!

Friday, February 26, 2010

cheap thrills

How is this for a good laugh?

After choosing out Rachel's glasses today, we came home and broke it to Chris that the only pair she liked were.....Adidas. Gasp! After enjoying the reaction for a few minutes, we let him in on our joke and assured him that she chose a pair of Nike glasses. And since Chris can't stop laughing now (its a stroke thing.), we enjoyed watching him laugh for the next 5 minutes. And then we giggled about it all evening. You would think that Chris would remember my undying faith to Nike after their amazing support during his stroke, but not so. Anyhow, it was great entertainment for Rachel and me.

We will post pictures as soon as her glasses come in. In the mean time, the 12 year in me that always wanted glasses will be a little jealous that Rachel rightfully earned them with bad eyesight. Some kids get all the luck!

Keys, wherefore art thou?

ok. it is really way past my bedtime, but I am going to post a super cute funny from my day to make up for the intense neglect that my blog has been suffering.

I am trying to leave to take Rachel to her first night of YW's and cannot find my keys anywhere. We searched high and low for a good 10 minutes when I finally went to the car (where kids were waiting, nicely buckled and all.) and asked if Hannah or Chloe had seen my keys. Elise pipes up from the backseat that she had and that I should look in the coloring drawer. Since most of you have probably not seen my coloring drawer, let's suffice it to say that this clue was only slightly helpful. (It is actually a cabinet and let's just say that its cup overfloweth.) After looking with little success, I had Elise unbuckle and come show me herself. She ran in the house, reached her arm back in the cabinet and immediately returned with the keys. (She is actually pretty lucky that something wasn't lurking in there, waiting to bite off her tasty fingers. Yes. The coloring drawer IS that bad.) While she was doing this, I was grabbing a handful of Hot Tamales and little Elise pipes up. "Can I have candy for finding the keys?" Why, yes, Elise. I always give out treats to kids who hide keys and subsequently find keys. No, really. I do. Or at least I did. If they are missing again tomorrow, I guess I will pull out the Hot Tamales to reinforce Bad Parenting Lesson #1543.

Side Note: This just reminded me of the time I lost my keys when Elise was barely 2. She was learning her body parts in Korean at the time and when I finally turned to her and said "Elise, have you seen my keys?????", she pointed to her ears and said "Keys here!" (Ears in Korean is more of a Gwey, but she did find those for me!) And we did find the keys...in the trash can. (which she was probably also responsible for.)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

my favorite daughter of the day

disclaimer: we have a little running joke at our house that the favorite child status is something that can change at the drop of the hate, even because of something as out of their control as if they came into this world before their due date or not. My theory is that every kid thinks one of their siblings is the favorite at some time in their life, so why not make the whole favorite kid thing sound like nonsense?
That being said, Rachel is my favorite kid today. Why? Because tomorrow is her birthday party and I woke up today unaware of it. What kind of mother would do that? The kind who has a daughter awesome enough to choose a party that requires little or no effort on my part. We did cute little invites with silly knee socks for the girls to wear to her skating party but that is where the effort ended. At some point tomorrow I am going to throw in some cupcakes and buy some ice cream, but that is ALL! Isn't that great? So today is your day, Rachel. Enjoy it because it is the only thing keeping you from being adopted out on this cranky day of yours. (another thing we joke about rather openly in this little non-pc home of ours.)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

ramblings of a country bumpkin wannabe


Ok. We did go to the park, I didn't get to exercise, I didn't get to take Chloe's pictures and we didn't make it to the wetlands. Yikes! That to do list was a complete failure. And to top it off, the house is still a mess. Maybe tomorrow will be better? Nah! We did play at the park for a good 2.5 hours, soaking in the rays. And I did get a lot done Smiling Eyes wise. And I fed the kids! Beyond that? Not so hot.

Oh! I found some fabulous houses in the country that are calling for me. I e-mailed them to Chris and his response was something like: WHY are you looking at houses again?!!??!? I'll tell you why! My neighborhood has something against chickens (what is that about, huh?) *and* I will forever hear the call of the country and the ability to let your kids wander around in nature. I would live in a shack if it meant living in the country. Chris, on the other hand, would have to live in a pretty sweet house to make it worth living in the sticks. Sigh. This house was probably the closest I'll get to a compromise. (you know, living in a neighborhood that is in the sticks.) city rules (no chickens) with country perks. (close access to all things country and a beautiful drive anywhere you are headed.)

Note: this desire for chickens was only slightly hampered after hearing discussions from my 3 lovely friends about the times their chickens have had an egg stuck...and what you have to do about it. My plan if that ever happens to me when I have my own little flock of chickens? (see that optimism?) Call my dad. Or my home teacher. And get the gloves and KY for them. Yuck.

Friday, February 19, 2010

priorities

On today's schedule?

•Presidency meeting (at the park! Who could sit inside on a day like today?)
•Entice the kiddlings to plant the peas
•Take Chloe out for a shoot in her baptism dress (Yes, I have *planned* to do this with the older 2 girls and never have...so cross your fingers for me!)
•Go to the wetlands for some bird watching (although I am pretty sure our noise level will scare away any birds that we are planning on watching.)

What I should be doing today?
•laundry (lots of it)
•overseeing the cleaning of bedrooms
•vacuum
•mop
•clean my bedroom (novel concept that is unheard of in our house)

See where my priorities lie? Off to the park! We're going to get there early and try to get some mommy exercise in.

Monday, February 15, 2010

weekend wrap up




This was the big weekend for Chloe that has already ignited a count down for Hannah. Our family all gathered together for her special baptism (minus James' family...missed you guys!). I must say that I enjoyed not being 8 months pregnant this time around and am pretty sure that had a lot to do with us not being on time, but being early! No pictures of little Chloe to share on here, but I do have a picture of my nephew to share with you. I barely missed his arrival on my last trip to Snohomish so this was my first chance to shoot him. (in a photographic sense, of course.) His big blue eyes were quite spectacular, even if he is a little beyond the newborn cuddle up and sleep phase.

Chloe has been so excited for this day and you could see her sweet little spirit was just shining all day long. Her big goal was to read the Book of Mormon before her birthday, which she beat by almost a month. I love seeing her strive to choose the right and trying to help people at every turn. What a fabulous person she is! Ok. Enough bragging on my sweetness. (But she is exactly that!)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

the needles and hooks are flying


Yes, the Kang house has been staying busy with all sorts of knitting and crocheting. Even our cat-dog who loves to play with the yarn-o cannot keep us away from it. I think I am up to 3 knitters and 3 crocheters, ranging from 6-11. Elise likes to knit, too, but hers is the position of assistant knitter. She loves the knitting poem (thanks, Kylene!), saying it for me as I do each stitch and her job is to "run around the back" and then get angry if anyone dares to touch her work. Hannah has become the expert knitter, but attempts to learn crocheting turned into many shed tears today. Autumn, on the other hand, loves to crochet and pretty much lacks the desire to even try knitting. Someday.

Here is the confession: (shhh) I didn't teach 2 out of 3 of my knitters how to knit because of a lack of patience with bad form and primarily because my dad was there to bail me out. He was more than happy to teach them as he definitely has the heart of a teacher, always willing to take things a little slower if it means inspiring someone to learn a new skill. (This is probably why he was the one to teach Rachel how to bake pies so deliciously, too.) Anywho, he was intrigued by this knitting poem I referred to and requested I blog it. And a picture of Hannah's first knitted goods, to celebrate. Everyday it is something new, but it is always something for Haiti. She told me today that she was so glad that she knew how to do something that could help people. Hannah, my dear, I love you.

How to Knit:
In through the front door
Run around the back
Out through the window
And off jumps Jack

How to Purl:
Under the fence
Catch the sheep
Back we come
And off we leap.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

happy {heart} day to you

I am not too big on Valentine's day as I feel like it is pretty commercialized and Chris and I pretty much give keep it at giving each other a big hug and making sure we are extra nice. BUT I couldn't resist a few pieces of eye candy of the red, pink and white nature. First of all, these fabulous valentine's from my favorite antique store in town. I think they will be on each plate this Sunday night.
Then there were these simple paper chains that Hannah and Autumn have been cranking out that involved no new purchases. (see what happens when you have a year supply of paper?)
And these yummy treats for the girlies' friends, a la etsy and their many printable options. Like I said, nothing big.

We are keeping low as we prepare for a house full for Chloe's big baptism day this Saturday. Lucky for me, grandma makes the dress and costco is making the post baptism BBQ. What is left for me? Cleaning the house and....making sure I bring extra undies and towels on Saturday and getting to the church on time. (sounds simple, but I do have a record of failure.) This is the first baptism that I won't be 8 or 9 months pregnant at, so I think we're good.

Monday, February 8, 2010

a moment of relaxation {mommy style}

Today was not a day that I would like to think is typical in my life. Gosh. I really hope it isn't. There was not a lot of patience in the air and there was an abundance of trying the patience that was there. Whew. I am now glad it is over and that all of the kids are fast asleep in their nice little beds.

Chris worked a little late, which was not so welcomed on a day like today. (I mean, geesh....could we coordinate crazy days with those 5 pm arrivals?) After dinner, I got on all fours and just sat there stretching, closing my eyes and relaxing. Breathing in and breathing out. And along came Elise, putting my saddle on (remember my zig zag saddle?) and going for a ride. Lilly thought that it looked like quite a bit of fun and climbed on Elise's back and we were all ready for our meditations, dog pile style. This progressed to Elise and Lilly jumping on my back (full force, of course) and Elise telling me to hold on to the end of her stick horse as she attempted to pull me, her wagon, along. As Lilly's jumping became more vigorous, Elise chastised her while reminding her that I was trying to rest. Yep. That is how a mommy rests.

Here is to a better day tomorrow. Today reminds me of the song "A lullaby for me" by Joy Gardner. Let's hope tomorrow has less crazy kids, less crazy dogs....but most of all, less crazy moms.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

thank you for waiting


I am glad I have you to remind me of projects that I never post as I have the memory of a rock! My mom was just pointing out to me that I really should blog about the things I do, showing just how little of my life I actually blog about. So here is my art wall. I love it. I would like to add the disclaimer that if I wasn't in a marriage that requires some levels of compromise, this frames would probably be painted in a much brighter hue. With that being said, I do think the white worked still. I am almost certain that I copied this idea from someone, but I can't give credit because I can't remember who the stink it was. Sorry, guys. Enjoy!


Saturday, February 6, 2010

old blue

photographer's disclaimer: these pictures were taken as we were rushing out the door for a meeting. picture quality, not so high. time to make sure her shirt matched the sweater? non-existent.

Meet Lilly's newest sweater, my second sweater that I have knitted in my 5 years of knitting experience. Sweaters scare me because of the whole sewing on arms and what not that I didn't feel like I did to my satisfaction the first time around. (heck, my mother in law did most of the work!) This is why I jumped when I found this pattern that required little assembly, with most of the sweater just magically coming together. It is written by a lady in England (at least I am assuming that that is why I paid in pounds.) and so there were a few terms that I had to look up via google, but it was a pretty easy pattern. Don't be fooled by the cabled yoke. As I was explaining to Chloe, cabling is a wonderful thing in knitting because it looks super duper hard but is actually quite simple. Ah, that there were more things like that in life!
Wrap up: I love the pattern, am thinking about making it again but I do recommend making it with yarn you love simply because it is a lot of knitting for something from your stash that you feel rather indifferent to.
The big question: What color should I make my next one?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

tea party wrap up


Yes, my darling little Chloe is now on the eve of turning eight. She has been counting down to her baptism for a good year (possibly more but my memory just doesn't go back that far any more.) and had her heart set on a tea party. I tried my hardest, in a discrete manipulative mother way to persuade her to have a pioneer party, but she was set in her ways. (which is not normal as she is pretty indecisive and malleable but worked out for me this time as the tea party was so much easier!)
there were the cupcakes, which were super duper easy peasy. I even used store bought frosting. (audience: gasp!)
There were the ice cream balls that came as the result of a special request from the birthday girl. They would have been extra easy if it weren't for the first batch getting ruined because the freezer wasn't shut all the way. (we won't mention any names, but she sure was lucky that it was for her own stinking party!)

Beyond that, all of the food was store bought after a kitchen epiphany that reminded me that eight year olds don't care and that it just wasn't really worth it. The biggest hit? Hot cocoa with endless marshmallows and whip cream. (thanks, Shana!) We made some felted strawberries during the party and beaded some necklaces towards the end. All in all, a success. Why? I simplified. I spent less than $50 on the whole thing and didn't do anything for it until Thursday. And it went quite well (if I do say so myself), Chloe loved it and...it is over. Yeah! 1 down. 3 to go.

Oh. These were the favor boxes. (Thanks, Kylene for the inspiration.) They are made from cups and topped with these flower barrettes that we made from an old white t-shirt. The total for 10 boxes? $6 flat, $5 of which went towards candy to fill them. As if the price didn't make them cool enough, the flowers look like icing on little cupcakes and look absolutely gorgeous in hair. Muy bueno.

The bad news? Although I didn't succeed at convincing Chloe to have a pioneer party, Autumn was eavesdropping and now has her heart set on one. I think I should start sewing now. See how I make my life difficult?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

goals shmoals.

Out of the four not so lofty goals that I made for myself this year, I have been successful at one. Yikes. And it is the hardest of the four that I have actually been doing. Silly me. I figure I want to be successful at these goals by the end of the year, which gives me a lot of time to screw it up and get back on the straight and narrow again. The car is still filthy, I have definitely not been staying off the internet until school is done (thanks to working on my website and other, less important endeavors such as cough...ahem...facebook...clearing throat.) and I am only in chapter 12 of 1 Nephi. And I didn't even dare put weight oriented goals on there! I will pick myself up and get my rear in gear. Pinky promise.

On another note, birthday season has begun at the Kang abode. We have 5 birthdays from here until April. Plan A, which included combining 3 of the 5 into one big shindig, has been thrown to the wayside after realizing that it might lead to some bad birthday memories and many hours in therapy. Plan B includes 2 rather low key parties (when it comes to my time commitment, that is), one overly ambitious party that includes many hours at the sewing machine and a search for a barn and a combo party for the youngest two, who I am pretty sure won't give a darn. And then will come my day of rest. I am sure pictures will follow. or maybe not. (you know me better than that by now, right? You could see them if you are lucky or you might see them 5 months post-partym) Until then, I have a tea to put on this Saturday and invitations to get made for the next birthday in the line up. So goes the poor planning of a mother who did not have the foresight to have her children's birthdays spread out throughout the year. Next Kang baby? You will have June. June hasn't been taken yet. (wink. wink. that was just to see if Chris reads this. NO, I am not pregnant.)

Side note: I do not think it is a coincidence that most of my blogs are categorized under Kang Craziness. That's my life summed up in two words for you.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

blah blah blog

Gee...I don't know what my deal is but I just haven't been feeling the blogging love lately. I am *making* myself blog right now. I'll get over it. Promise.

Check it out: Every time Chris has gone to the temple since his stroke, he gets some new movement back. (That night. Seriously, folks.) It is right up there with Jesus healing the blind miraculous, although it appears that there is some desire for Chris and I to form a habit of it. Last week he was able to straighten out his fingers (which is amazing!) and last night he was able to move his fingers together horizontally. Our new ritual? We now get out of the temple and figure out what new trick he has. Thank you, Heavenly Father. In short, physical therapy and spiritual therapy, all in one.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

finally...


Well, I finally have my website up in a decent form. Change your bookmarks and I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

quote of the day

Elise: Oreo pooped on the table! (a minute later) Oh. It's pie.

Ymmm....

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

a riddle of sorts

On Sunday, our church now starts at 11:30, which means that Lilly is absolutely exhausted by the time church ends three hours later. Add in a 30 minute choir practice and she has had it. While checking my e-mail after laying her down, I glanced at the clock and thought "Oh, I guess the power went out a mere 56 minutes ago." Fast forward to Tuesday night. The clock still hasn't been changed (probably because I've been trying to hammer out a website or something) and I look at the clock again. This time I think "Cool. Since I haven't changed the clock, it says it is only 11:54. Sweet." What time did I *really* finally roll into bed last night?

Monday, January 11, 2010

my sodium soapbox

If you have or know someone with high blood pressure, please pay close attention. Chris' stroke was said to be because of high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Before his stroke, he was told to lose weight to help his blood pressure. It didn't work. After his stroke, he was told to eat less than 1500 mg of sodium a day and lose weight. (But only in passing....their main solution was for him to pop a pill to solve all of his woes.) While Chris was in therapy, I was reading up on how to cook for this man with health problems common to a 60 year old. It kept coming back to sodium and saturated fat. At his first appt. after getting out of the hospital with a heart specialist, we asked the doctor if he thought his blood pressure could immediately be affected by food. He said that it could be, but continued to suggest us doubling Chris' meds to bring his bp from 140 to 130. Chris took on the challenge to lower his blood pressure through diet and refused the additional meds, but dedicating himself to eating low/no sodium.

•He eats around 100 mg of sodium a day
•His blood pressure hovers around 120/80
•He is completely off of bp meds
•Yes, he has lost weight. Still, if he eats too much sodium (more than 100 mg), his bp sky rockets.
•when you are on bp meds, they tell you to avoid eating too many potatoes or bananas since they naturally lower your blood pressure...and we'd hate to do THAT, now wouldn't we?

Why don't doctors focus on sodium in blood pressure patients? I don't know. Do you know how much sodium is in most of the food you eat? A freaking ton. His dining out options are sushi, mongolian grill or...a salad with nothing on it. At home, just about everything is made from scratch. And it has paid off.

On to cholesterol.

After Chris' stroke, we met with a doctor and pointed out the strict diet Chris was on (no more whole milk and butter, plus grassfed beef and lots of fish) and asked if it might be possible to eventually get off of cholesterol meds. Mind you, we brought this up and might not have heard the next bit of info if we hadn't. Replies the doctor: Yes. And it might be a good idea since cholesterol meds cause liver failure. YIKES. So Chris has been slowly getting of his cholesterol meds while testing his cholesterol regularly to make sure all is a.o.k. For the last year he has suffered MAJOR back pains. We attributed it to the way he compensated for his right side and he dealt with it. He would come home early from work and sit in bed (the only comfy position) until bedtime. It was horrible times ten. Ok...I'll cut to the chase. He's off his cholesterol meds and his back hasn't bothered him since. Yep. Who would have thunk? We were thinking more physical therapy would fix it. Nope.

The moral? In general (I am sure there are exceptions), look at your diet before looking to a magic pill. Yes, it is easier to pop a pill, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is best for you. Blood pressure is this great epidimic in the US, but if you go check out the nutritional info on most food in the grocery store, you would know why. We don't even bother eating chicken since it is injected with so much stinking saline. Are things a little blander at the Kang abode? Yep, but we have adjusted. When we splurge, you can hear everyone complaining about the saltiness. (They say it takes 3 weeks to adjust)

The end. My novel is complete. Eat less sodium. Amen.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

better late than never


oh, dear sweet Anthropologie....I am sorry that it took me so long to visit. You see, normally when I pass you by, I have 6 girls on my arm. 4 of them would love you just as much as I do, but I am pretty sure the other 2 would rip you to shreds and then some.

I finally made it in your magical doors while my cool lil' sis was visiting and immediately fell in love. Yes, most of your wares were well about my price range. I have six little darlings and I am certain that I would get angry if they broke a $200 ____________. So I have a little rule about buying such things. But I can handle a few $4 mugs to help my peppermint tea look a little better. And your amazing measuring spoons? I don't think they can break those! All in all, a fabulous visit. Thanks for having us...and I will try to sneak over for a visit more often. I just have to find a babysitter so I can bring my regular babysitter with me. I am pretty sure she is going to fall head over heals in love with you. Now that is a crush I can handle!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

oh, you poor neglected blog


Meet Oreo. He prefers yarn to dog toys, hasn't quite grasped the where and when of pooping and is always on the lookout for left overs. He is proving to be good therapy as Chris runs around the house with him and Chris swears that he has lowered his blood pressure.

How did this all come about? It all started with a fish. Yep. We went to the farm store in Forest Grove because the girls thought there needed to be a fish in Chris' stocking. There was sweet little Oreo, being the perfect small dog that I wanted in a nice little no-shedding package and being exactly what the girls wanted (a dog of any sorts) and kind of being what Chris wanted. (he did want A dog, but he was aiming for a chihuahua of a yippy, not child friendly sort) Since I didn't really want a dog at all, I kind of got to call the shots on breed. Sounds fair, right?

It worked out quite perfectly as the kids had been debating on what they wanted to do for Halmoni and Halapoji's present and here we are, 2 weeks later, being full fledged dog owners. Yikes.