Monday, March 30, 2009

On the way to Mexico!

We are so sneaky! When Bruder turned 8, we surprised him with a trip to Disneyland. When Lucy turned 8, Lyle just happened to have a dental continuing ed in Orlando, so off we went to Disney world. Both times we completely surprised the kids. With Lucy, we told them they needed flu shots in Tacoma. They were so totally sure that's what was happening, that even after they read the final "clue" while they were in the airport, they said, "Soooo....we go to Disney world and THEN we get flu shots?"

This time, (now that the kids feel it's a tradition to go to Disney when you turn 8), we had to be even more sneaky. We did let the big kids know the plan, but wanted to surprise the littles. Luckily for us, the kids knew we had a trip planned to Idaho next month. We told Rose that we just wanted to make sure we were ready this time and that I wanted all of our bags packed early. Rose also completely believed me when I said it was extremely hot in Idaho and that she needed to pack shorts. Whenever we'd mention the Idaho trip Bruder would do his Kronk (from Emperor's New Groove) impersonation and say "Riiiiigggghhhht." Rose never suspected a thing.

On the morning of our trip, I told Rose that we needed to do a test run for Idaho and make sure that all of the luggage fit in the car. I had to go that morning to traffic court---- O.K., this deserves an explanation. Right before Christmas Lucy and I were at a service project (it's important to throw that Good Samaritan bit into this story) when everyone was told to go home because the weather was turning scary. We left and were slipping and sliding and slid right through a red light that took a very uncomplimentary photo of our car. The ticket was quite hefty and I felt I had mitigating circumstances. The judge agreed, but I left the courtroom and told the kids that the most RIDICULOUS thing had happened! The judge said that she'd take my licence away if I didn't go see Judge Lawrence Mikey in California. He's the only one who could take care of it.

I was indignant. "Can you BELIEVE this?! It's our Spring Break and now I've got to go see a judge?!" Lyle agreed that it was completely ridiculous, but what can you do? Since he had the time off, and since we already had packed bags in the car.......why didn't we all just go? Rose started to cry. This was totally unexpected. She sobbed that she'd had things planned for Spring Break! Now it was all ruined. Maybe we'd laid it on a bit thick.

She was clueless until we walked up to the Disney gate. Her smile was priceless. We so love our almost 8-year-old Rose. We had one whirlwind Disney day where Bruder managed 3 back-to-back heave-free rides on California Screamin'. Cholita loved Monsters Inc and Soarin' Over California made me very happy.

Sunday morning we went to church in Anaheim where we found that the people had better tans, but still seemed to preach the same gospel, and then we boarded our cruise to Mexico.

We are being spoiled. Life is good. Internet here is expensive. Forgive the typos.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Images of Greatness

My lovely eldest daughter doesn't take projects lightly. She devotes her whole self to research and authenticity. The year she was Sacajawea for Halloween she was holed up in her bedroom beading a head dress. She became interested in Sacajawea after researching Lewis and Clark. When she learned of Merriweather's sad fate, she was nearly inconsolable. "If only Clark had been there!" History for her is not a casual endeavor. She lives and breathes it.

Her class at school totally channels her eccentricities. As a matter of fact, they encourage eccentric, parent-exhausting behavior and call it giftedness. As soon as I caught wind of the "Images of Greatness" project, I felt a headache coming on. My girl chose Abigail Adams (the President's Day John Adams' outfit was an off-shoot of the already seriously-researched Abigail). I have no problem with my daughter writing a paper, but she needed to dress like Abigail and bring her favorite food to class. I highly doubted (with hopeful fingers crossed) that any information on Ms. Adams' favorite food would be available. Unfortunately my girl is tenacious and found that Abigail's favorite food was veal. Seriously.

I talked to another class mom and her son is doing Steve Young. He's not even dressing as the football player Steve Young. He's dressing as the tie-clad ESPN commentator Steve Young whose favorite treat is chocolate chip cookies. So this mom just had to make sure her son's tie was straight and send him to school with cookies. That's what I call a gifted mother/son combo. I had to find a hoop skirt and baby cow.

We experienced numerous mess-ups and alterations in our path back in time--including the bodice ruffle because without it the dress was a bit revealing and Abigail was nothing if not modest--but we persevered. So without further ado, I present to you the wife of a President, mother of a President, advocate for women's rights, patriot, rebel, and one heck of a letter-writer, Ms. Abigail Adams:

May she honor her mother throughout her long and accomplished life.

Monday, March 16, 2009


The number of bulbs I planted in the Fall.

Come on, Spring!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

While I was busy....

Mom, I made breakfast myself!
Some people put sugar on cereal, others put cereal on sugar.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

German Pancakes 101

Hello everyone. Eileen has granted me temporary, provisional, short-term, just-this-once guest blogger privileges so that I can respond to some of the requests for the German Pancake recipe seen on her recent Valentine's Day post. She's frantically hovering around me right now making sure I don't completely ruin her blog. I feel like a four-year-old who has just been given the chance to hold the new family baby.

German Pancakes (or pannekoeken if you're Lisa)

6 eggs (Egg Beaters puff even better)
1 Cup White Flour
1 Cup Milk
1 tsp salt

1/4 Cup Butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut the butter into pieces and place in a 9 X13 pan and put in the oven while it preheats. Put the eggs, flour, milk, and salt in the blender and let your three-year-old turn it on. (Try and get the lid on before she pushes the button if possible). When the oven has preheated, the butter should be melted. Give the egg mixture one more whir for good measure and pour it into the hot pan. Close the over door and turn on the oven light. No need to set the timer. Just park one of your kids in front of the oven and have them give you updates. They'll say something like. "Hey Dad, it's starting to puff." Then, "Wow, Dad, its getting puffier." and finally "WOOOOOW, it's climbing out of the pan!" Then it's ready (about twenty minutes if you lack a kiddie timer). Get it out quick and admire it in all its puffy German glory because it doesn't last long. Robert Frost and Pony Boy both said it. "Nothing gold can stay."

Our family and members of the Greasers I'm told both prefer German Pancakes topped with strawberries. Slice them up, add some sugar and a little lemon juice and let them sit for a few minutes. Powdered sugar is good too. Just don't inhale when taking a bite or you'll likely start coughing and shoot a partially chewed pancake fragment across the table onto the plate of your fellow diner. If it is a family member, you'd likely be O.K. If it's a Greaser you're in for some fist-a-cuffs.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Lest We Deceive

I got an "Honest Blogger" award, but I don't deserve it. I'm really not that honest. For example, I can see how someone might peruse our blog photos and come away with the notion that our house is always clean and organized and that the kids are perpetually smiling. Not so. I crop piles of dirty dishes and heaps of laundry out of my pictures and I bribe the children to grin and look happy. The Cleavers we are not. So if someone only knew us from the blog, they might be somewhat deceived.

The same holds true for the parking lot attendants at Sunday's stake conference. If they knew us only from that particular parking incident, they'd be misinformed. I hope they come across our blog and read the following: We do NOT typically forget one of our children in the car when we go into church. We don't make a habit of locking them in while we saunter into the meeting, ready to hear about love, kindness, and forever families.

How exactly this happened is up for debate. I know that I was the first to enter the church with our older daughters. That left not one but two capable males to remove the toddler from her car seat and carry her across the parking lot and into the building. When they joined us without said toddler, I gave them the frantic raised eyebrow, upturned arms, "Where the heck is Cholita?!" gesture. The older of the two males ran back to the car where the parking lot attendants were trying to comfort the hysterical solo occupant of the minivan. If she didn't already have legitimate abandonment issues, she probably does now. So you see, if you get just part of the picture, you're missing something. I like to think we're a little closer to the idealized blog parents than the lock-your-toddler-in-the-car type of parents, but some days it's kind of a toss-up.

I can't even say that this was the first time we'd somehow misplaced a child. We lost Lucy once at the rodeo. And unlike the Cholita incident when we realized the mistake within a minute or two, we had been watching the rodeo for a LONG time when the announcer said in his best cowboy drawl, "We've got a little lady here by the name of Lucy who seems to have lost her parents....." I turned to smile at our Lucy (certainly not the poor lost Lucy). "Lucy? Lucy?" I was getting frantic when the announcer handed our own dear daughter the microphone. "Hi Mom and Dad," her pathetic little voice boomed throughout the stadium. Not our finest moment.

And not an isolated one either. The weekend before the toddler-locked-in-the-car episode, Lyle had taken the two big kids on a snow trip with the rest of the youth from our church. There were several drivers and apparently everyone understood that Lucy would be returning home in her dad's truck. The dad was the only one unaware of the plan. Thankfully another man from our church happened to stay behind and he saw Lucy wander out of the bathroom in search of her father. He offered to take her home, but first had her call her dad's cell phone. Have I ever mentioned that Lucy has got some serious acting skills?

"Hi Dad, this is Lucy. I'm still here and everyone else is gone...." Sniffle, sniffle. "....but don't worry. I met these nice teenage boys and they said I could jump in their car and that they'd bring me home."

Lyle swerved his truck over to the side of the highway and came to a screeching halt. "Lucy, do NOT get into their car! I am turning around right now."

He heard laughter and then jump-started his poor heart.

So I think the take-home message from this post is:

We're not deadbeats; but we're not ready to write a how-to book either.

Just had to clear that up.