Sunday, January 19, 2020

The Blog Post With Few Pictures.

Have you read The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak? You should. It's a real winner with the kids. Especially my kids because it has the word "butt" in it, and we don't say that word. So it always slays.

Well (or as June would say, "Welp"), I didn't take a lot of photos this week. It's been more of the same--registering for things, unpacking, organizing, etc.

It's getting a lot better, but parts of the house still look like this:

Gwen started school this week. Kindergarten is only a half-day here. That's fine with me! But Gwen was pretty bummed about it. June=homebody. Gwen=NOT a homebody.

BUT. Do you remember how bummed Gwen was that she couldn't ride the bus this year? Well in our new school district, she's a TOTAL bus rider, and she's so happy.

Her kindergarten class won a class party for good behavior, and she was able to reap the rewards of that even though she'd only been there two days. They all got to wear their pajamas to school for their party.

So here she is living her dream at the bus stop with the big kids AND wearing her unicorn pajamas.

The big kids at our stop were so nice. The fifth grade boys came up to me and asked if we were the new neighbors. I introduced Gwen and asked if they would watch out for her, and they said they would. They asked her teacher's name and reassured her that Mrs. Wolfgang (the BEST name) is the nicest teacher at the school.

June starts school this Tuesday at a different school. I was a little taken back (read: highly emotional) about this decision and prepped myself for the big talk with her. I carefully and lovingly told her she would be attending a different school, and that girl barely looked up from what she was doing, yawned, and said "ok."

Glad I'm stressed enough for all of us.

For Friday FUN Night, I rented a favorite from my childhood.

The girls loved it. We shall be renting the original soon.

The End.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

We Moved.

Well, we did it. We moved to Pennsylvania.

The last few days in NJ were emotional. Emotional goodbyes with neighbors, ward members, school peeps, etc.

In fact, my friend Amy invited me to her house last Sunday night for dinner with the kiddos. Dan had already left to head to Hershey for his new job. Amy often feeds me when Dan's out of town, and we are all very casual about it. Elastic waistbands are the dress code. I love it.

So I showed up in my casual garb. Not even my "nice" sweats, mind you, because Beck had spit up on those. My trashiest trash sweats. And my glasses. And my makeup smeared from a post-church Sunday nap.

I arrived to Amy's house to find chairs set up throughout her living room. 

"What's going on?" I asked her.

"It's your SURPRISE GOING AWAY PARTY!" She exclaimed.

And at that moment, many people looking dressed up nice and beautified and hygienic appeared and showered me with love.

They probably wish they could have just showered me. I looked foul.

But they didn't care. We had a good laugh about it and spent a great night with people who love my family.

A couple of days later, I came home from dropping the girls at school to find the moving truck waiting for me.

We had the BEST movers. Top notch guys. I'm a weirdo who loves to find out about people's jobs and how the whole process worked, so I asked numerous questions. And because they were stand-up guys, they talked to me instead of saying "shut up lady" which is probably what they really wanted to do.

Farewell, teeny tiny "eat in" kitchen.

They packed Wednesday and loaded up the truck Thursday. I went to the girls' school Thursday for their going away parties.

Gwen's teacher gave her the Berenstain Bear's Moving book. Gwen got to sit in that special chair. 

 I should mention at this moment that the night before this party, while we were in the drive-thru line at Wendy's (and my girls were giving me a hard time about going to a fast food restaurant because they had a musical nutrition assembly at school that day OF ALL DAYS and I had to explain to them that we had zero food because we were moving and that they better eat their nuggets and not sing another musical nutrition fact at me thankyouverymuch), that Gwen dropped the bomb on me. She told me of her plan to kiss her crush ON THE LIPS the next day (her last day) of school. At lunch. Because nothing says romance like a kiss after a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

But she wimped out. She blew him a kiss instead. But as we were leaving this class party, she ran to him and gave him a very aggressive hug. Then a bunch of other kids lined up to get hugged too. So it looked a little less obvious. Smooth, Gwen. Smooth.

Before that, we went to June's party. The kids gave her a book they made.

June with her personal aide of the last two years. She's the only reason I was hesitant about moving. She's been a wonderful aide to our June.

And a class party with snacks, including popcorn. June LOVES corn and LOVES popcorn.

And now we are digging ourselves out of lots of boxes.

And Dan and I treated ourselves and bought a new bed. I can't believe we've been sleeping on this full sized bed for 10 years. Now June sleeps in it.

And we get to sleep on this king sized bed. We don't even have to hear each other breathe. It's like sleeping alone, but with someone. A real marriage-saver.

And I've been trying to get a lot done every day but don't. I asked the girls to watch the baby while I did something in the garage today. One minute later he was screaming. Gwen was nowhere to be seen. I called her name, and she told me she put the baby on the couch and then went upstairs. Wonderful! And June was on said couch reading and never even looked up from the page she was on. Sigh. I guess I should be glad she loves reading?

Gwen starts school tomorrow. June maybe next week? Feeling ready for some normal in my life again.

The End.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Princeton!!!!!! Prince! Ton!!!!

It happened. We DID it. We went to Princeton University yesterday. No one can say that we aren't do-ers. We did! They can definitely say we are the worst kind of procrastinators. They can also say we are terrible whiner and entirely too loud for our own good, but that's a whole different conversation.

 Spot the Gwen! On the stairs in the pink coat.

Beautiful cathedral.

An auditorium. That was locked because they heard we were coming.

And next--a sculpture by Picasso. I know that because I'm a mega artsy intellectual. Also, there was a plaque.
Why is Gwen the only kid in these photos? Oh that's right, she was the only person excited to be there (besides me) and ran ahead. Big open spaces to run around? That has Gwen's name written all over it.

We stumbled across a circle of animal statues staring at each other. I was VERY proud of myself because I realized that they were the Chinese Zodiac animals (withOUT looking it up). Each member of our family took a picture with their animal.

Beck was born in the year of the pig.

And the only thing worse than a pig--my year, the rat. Here I am impersonating a rat. I've studied a lot of Chuck E. Cheese in my time.

Harris's is the rooster. He did not want to take this picture. Or do anything with this trip. Until we stopped for ice cream at the end.

Dan hit his head on the rooster sculpture.

Dan was born in the year of the rabbit.

And June was the year of the DRAGON. She's very excited about this.

And Gwen was born in the year of the horse.

And here's some tomfoolery that I'm sure isn't allowed.

And we stopped at the library to use the bathroom, but never was there a better bathroom trip because we stumbled across the children's library, and it was awesome.

Puppet show!

More I Spy games. Spot the Harris and the Gwen in the window of the treehouse.

The final verdict? I loved it and am so glad we went. Dan? He says he's glad he went because it made me happy. Womp womp. Dan likes to look at a pretty building now and again but just walking around is not his thing. He wants a museum to go through. Walking around aimlessly is pretty much everything I am.

The kids? Loved the children's museum and loved the ice cream (not pictured) though there was much fighting over said ice cream, and of course an entire scoop ended up on the sidewalk. It was really good ice cream and I just wanted to lap it up off the ground but we were at Princeton University with all of the smarties, so I just blended.

Dan and I also went to IKEA and bought some stuff for our new house. The kids needed dressers and some other things. He did most of the work, and I documented said work.

And Harris put both of his legs in one pant hole and got stuck. "Mer-man!"

Sunday photo: In front of the house. Our last Sunday in this house. Our last Sunday in New Jersey.

And just for funsies, Harris attended primary today. He really has one year left of nursery. But this was too cute.

He's raising his hand to volunteer to read something. That would have been reallll special.

This week: Goodbye New Jersey and Hello Pennsylvania!

The End.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020


I'm writing this from my sick bed. For New Year's Eve last night, I went to bed at 6:30. That's a new record for me. But my friend Amy took my kids today so that I could rest, and I just took the most wonderful nap. I feel like that nap changed the course of this sickness, and now I might actually get better. May I remember this the next time I know of a mom who is sick--watch her kids, let her sleep, and she may actually get better!

My mom leaves on her mission tomorrow. I'm excited for her, proud of her and missing her so much already. I talk to my mom a lot. She's a great source of comfort for me. Did I mention where she's serving? The London Temple. Does it get any better than that? I really don't think it does.

I just wanted to write a couple of resolutions quickly and then go back to sleep. My record with resolutions isn't amazing, but a friend pointed out to me that I kept my resolution to blog every week last year. I didn't blog exactly every week, but I had over 52 entries, so I'm counting it. Knowing that I did that gave me a boost of self confidence that I can reach my goals.

I have a ton of things I want to work on but this is the biggie. It's something I've wanted to do for years but I've put on the back burner because of pregnancies and newborns.

One of my favorite books of all time is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. My BIG goal is to re-read it and implement it. There is a LOT to implement, but my first two sub-goals I want to work on are from the first two habits.

Habit No. 1: Be Proactive. My goal to help with being proactive this month is to shut off the tv and either get something done that needs to get done or to go to bed early, read a book, or another type of truly beneficial rest besides watching tv or looking at stuff on my phone. I'm as pious as they come in condemning TV.  But underneath all that, I've developed a terrible TV habit. I think I speak out against it because I know how challenging it is for ME. So it feels like I'm making progress when I speak against it.

(This is all probably really revealing how nutty I am.)

So no TV this month. We will continue to have Family Movie Night on Fridays, and I will participate. I think that's great.

Habit No. 2: Begin With the End in Mind. I'm going to work on my personal mission statement. I don't know if I will ever share it here. We'll see.

More later.

The End.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Merry Christmas Sickness and a Barfy New Year.

I feel like I always hear of a family sick the week of Christmas, and this year it was US! Or IS us, as it is still going on.

We've had some really good non-sick hours though and have filled those with lots of fun things.

Christmas Eve brought my favorite event of the year. My friend Annette hosts a big Christmas Eve party at her house. There are tons of people of all ages, and there is a fantastic dinner, games, singing, and chit chat. Annette's family is Swedish, and we participate in a bunch of Swedish traditions, including St. Lucia and gifts to the people who find an almond in their rice pudding (yours truly TWO years in a row, baby! Dan found one this year too but he had to eat all of the kids' pudding in order to do it. Haha!)

I love it. I used to think I didn't want to Christmas Eve with people outside my family, but I have changed. I love the feeling of family within the larger community. I love that my little family still does some stuff on our own before the party. I love that my kids get worn out at the party and go straight to bed after the party. I love the feeling while we sing the sacred Christmas hymns. Dan told me on the way home--I felt the Spirit so strong during the hymns. He was right.

I need to carry this event on to the next place we live. I'd miss it too much if we didn't have it.

We came home and lit the tree and left out the cookies and went to bed. And Dan and I got to work putting presents under the tree. We can't put any presents under the tree or the babies (Beck and Harris) will rip them open. And then I went to bed, and Dan hid the Santa presents and made a scavenger hunt for the kids to find their Santa presents.

The next morning, they all lined up. And we led them to their stockings, where their first clues were. 

June's Santa gift was a new bike, Gwen's was a soccer net, and Harris's was a little basketball hoop.

And then we opened presents from each other and grandparents.

June was very excited to give Dan this nutcracker. She got it at her last dentist appointment. Our dentist always has really fun prizes. She picked it specifically to give to Dan, which touched my heart.

And June gave Gwen a "cat" she made out of a toilet paper roll.

And Gwen gave the family a picture of herself she made at kindergarten.

And Dan gave this to me. Can't wait to play it.

He also bought me a spa day at spa in Hershey. I'm so excited!!!

And I bought him a kindle.

The kids also received books, toys, gloves, art supplies, etc. Harris received a racetrack. June received an art tracing projector. Gwen received her beloved magic wands that she has been begging for. And poor Baby Beck got new crib sheets because that's what you get when you're a baby.

It was a great year.

Oh! And Harris got this most-coveted-by-all-the-kids gift of a recycling truck from Grandma Sandy. This is no regular truck. It does LOTS of things, and the older girls have stolen it from him many times, which results in many tears. 'Tis the season!!

Another awesome thing we ALL received was tickets to the science museum from Papa and Grandma Kristi. Kristi had asked me what she could send, and I thought an experience the day after Christmas would be nice. And it was! I want to do this instead of a material gift every year!

At the Liberty Science Center:

In front of the beehive. Dan LOVED the beehive. He probably could have stayed all day at this exhibit. They had plaques up describing how they have tracked some of the bees' journeys throughout their lifetime, and that just really pulled at Dan. I think he wants to find more meaning in his life by tracking bees.

The music and sounds room.

My favorite part was the animals exhibit:

Harris and a turtle.

Monkeys and our monkey:

It was the best exhibit except for this. Cockroaches. So disgusting. I took a picture to punish myself for anything wrong I had done that day.

Btw, I read an article earlier this year that cockroaches have become immune to almost all pesticides and will not be killable in the foreseeable future. So instead I will be exiting the earth. We cannot co-exist, cockroaches and myself.

The girls with whatever this weird, big fish was.

This suspended-in-air play area.

Snake class!

Rock climbing!

Dinosaur Train Exhibit!

Captain Forced Fun attempting to force Harris to wear the pterodactyl wings that were available. The forced fun did not happen. 

Beck taking a nap during the museum, making it a much more wonderful experience!

Playing with the big blocks!

And the "touch tunnel" (they should really come up with a better name) where it's pitch black and you have to feel your way though. Somehow I was volunteered to take the girls through that one. The employees sit you down before you go through and explain what to do, what not to do, how to get help if you need it, etc. I truly felt like I was about go on a space ship or tightrope across the Grand Canyon. And then the whole thing was as easy as could be and only lasted like a minute and a half, but one of the girls must have looked pretty freaked out because they flashed the lights on for us. 

Dan took a picture of us up on the camera. Pretty comical.

There was also an amazing Angry Birds Exhibit, and it was truly cool. We were at the museum for four hours, and then the Angry Birds Exhibit turned into the Angry Jolleys Exhibit, and everyone was crazy hungry and then everyone got crazy cranky and mean, and we had to run to the car before the whole museum exploded from our wrath. Luckily, I packed sandwiches in the car.

And then the sickness. Here is the sickness order: June, Harris, Beck, Me, Gwen, and Dan got the final touch last night. 

So we've been lying around ever since.

Including today, which is why I have no Sunday church picture. We figured they were better off without us.

Harris is currently in my lap with his eyes closed while I type this. But no one is allowed to move him to his bed because he'll scream. 

I wish he would have left that wrath at the museum for the general public instead of for his sweet mother.

Me, guys. I was talking about me.

The End.