Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lacie-ism

looking at a picture of herself much younger, Lacie said:
"I miss being that age..."


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Andrea-ism

"OH NO!! We didn't put up any Christmas lights! Now people will think we celebrate Hanukka!"

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fighting kids

Andrea is upset that Lacie won't play the game her way. I mentioned it's possible that Lacie needs to have some say in the game or it isn't any fun for her. Andrea's reply:
"Yeah, well, she didn't even pick the game!"
...
Kinda my point, kid.

The scene continues with Andrea chiding Lacie, "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit."
Lacie answers, "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit? I don't like that game."

I try to separate them into different rooms. Lacie doesn't want to be in the bedroom, she wants to play in the living room. Andrea doesn't want to be in the toy room, she wants to be in the kitchen. The kitchen and living room connect, and the girls are still visible to each other. Obviously a problem.

Later...
Andrea: "Hey Lacie, maybe we can play together but not fight."
Lacie: "Ummm, no."

Now they're arguing over whose cup has more eggnog.
And now over the movie selection.

I'd ask if this ever ends, but after looking down at my legs and seeing my own childhood battle-scars (ahem, Lexye), I realize what a dumb question that is.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Blabbermouth

I just posted these thoughts as a comment on a friend's blog (yes, really; hence the title!).
Then I thought, since I do this blog for my own journal-ing purposes I really ought to record my thoughts here. So I am.

"I don't recall ever having anything but meager Christmases growing up*. However, there were some more meager than others. I remember one year we had no money for anything, let alone a tree. Then my mom saw the neighbors trimming their (as luck would have it) pine tree. So she went and swiped a bunch of the branches from off the curb and tied them together into the most pathetic looking "Christmas Bush," as we dubbed it. Truly, it was sad. And yet, that is by far our most memorable Christmas, hands down.
Our family was never grand in our holiday celebrations. I don't think my mom had the time, now that I think back. But at Christmas we did have certain things that we did regardless, that had nothing to do with money or gifts or anything but the Christmas spirit itself -- acting out the nativity, caroling, making bread together, visiting rest homes -- stuff like that. And although now that I have my own family I try to make a big deal about holidays, b/c I just like to, I'm realizing it's more about creating the atmosphere of fun, togetherness and love that makes the excitement.
Sorry for the sermon. Not meant to be such. I think there are a whole lot of people this year feeling the pinch of the economy. You're right - it is depressing. For me, it's easiest if I put blinders on to what everyone else is doing and just concentrate on making things fun for my kids. After all, my kids would rather have me play Barbies with them for an hour than get another toy. Seriously.

One last thought --
last night our neighbors behind us had their house burn down. (That makes 4 houses in our neighborhood that have burnt in the time we've lived here. Eek!) Anyhow, it was a really good wake-up call as to how much we have that could so easily be lost."


*Just to clarify - I'm sure we had Christmases that were not meager. :) It's just that, ironically, those are not the memorable ones that stand out.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mark-ism

Mark: "I did something new today."
Me: "Really? And what was that?"
Mark: "I hung a $250,000 picture of dogs over a toilet."

Knock, knock

Remember the post where I admitted my freakishly-paranoid antics? Yeah. Well, turns out I need to give people more credit.
Example 1:
About a month ago there was a knock on my door. As divulged, I do not answer my door unless I know/expect the person. On this day, there was a man standing on the porch, looking a little agitated. Normally, that's all it would take for me to justify leaving the door un-answered. However, I noticed his car pulled to the side of the road, still running. I figured if the guy wanted to kill us all he either was super-duper speedy or didn't care about wasting gasoline. I figured most serial killers probably take at least a little while to kill off a family, so I threw caution to the wind and answered the door...
Turns out, the guy the guy tracked down the address on the insurance info he had found in the parking lot of Chuck E Cheese. OUR insurance info. He was simply returning it.

Example 2:
A few days ago when the weather turned freakishly cold (well, for Texas anyway!), I got a knock on the door. As always, I peered through the peep-hole, only to find that our Christmas wreath was blocking my view. Blast!
Again throwing caution to the wind, I opened the door. Standing there was a man from the electric company who had come to shut off our power.
(Over-due bill. Fret not; when they asked me the reason for missing the payment I told them to put down "stupidity.")
Anyhow, the man told me he saw the car-seats in my car, and figured he'd give me a head's up on the situation in the event I could quickly take care of it before he had to shut the power off.
!!
Wow! I am so grateful first, for the guy to be so kind and second, that I recklessly answered my door.

Guess maybe I ought to ease up on suspecting the worst of everyone?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Our Christmas Miracle

Okay, this is late. Lacie's birthday is December 4th. But I wanted have time to do this right.

Lacie turned 5 years old this year.



That's 5 years of life with this beautiful little girl that we were told we weren't going to get.



Five years of learning her quirky characteristics, like her classic tilted-head, squinty-eyed, grimaced-mouth look of inquiry. Or her running around corners using her head to "lead." Or the sly, nonchalant ploy she uses before swiping the object of her desire.



Five years of being a younger sister/best friend.



Two years of being an older sister/tormentor.



Five years of absolutely winning our hearts in every way possible.



When Lacie was born we had no insurance so we brought her home the same day, ironically, to save money. The pediatrician didn't actually check her out before signing the early release form. So it's not a huge surprise that we didn't initially catch just how perilously sick she was until day 4. We took her to a (different) pediatrician's office and left on an ambulance to Children's hospital. Her oxygen level was at 71%. We suspect now that that was the cause of some major brain damage she sustained.
Within an hour her little body started literally shutting down. Had we come half an hour later, had a series of mini-miracles not happened to put us with the right people in the right place at the right time, they wouldn't have been able to save her.
Instead, she remained at the hospital, baffling doctors for the next few weeks before making a LITERAL miraculous recovery.
In that time we witnessed several more miracles, received several blessings, had so many friends and family step up and help us out in ways we can never re-pay. The worst part came when the doctors told Mark they were fairly (95%) certain she would either live brain-dead for a couple years, or just die in the next 6 weeks, if not sooner.
Instead, we brought her home on Christmas Eve.

Lacie will surely have her struggles through-out her life because of her rough beginning. But nothing like what medical science would have predicted.
I don't know why she was miraculously healed.
I don't know why some little spirits are allowed to stay with us and others are not.
I could (and have) speculate over and over about some higher purpose in her living, or me not being strong enough to endure the loss or whatever. In the end I just don't know. And that's okay. I will just be grateful.
So very, very grateful.


This movie is one I made a year after she was born. I've watched it a couple hundred times since, and I'm finally now able to watch it without bawling. Mark isn't there yet.

video

Lacie, we love you. We are so grateful for you. Second only to our Savior, you are the greatest Christmas gift we will ever receive.

Pic-torial

Random pic I left out of the Thanksgiving post

Mom & Lex, it was so fun "shopping" with you! Wish we could do it more!


Speaking of wishing...



...wishing this was less mountain, more molehill.



At the Primary activity Andrea loved meeting with Santa.




...Hyrum did not.




Lacie's school did a "Polar Express Week" complete with a train ride around the parking lot in their slippers and jammies.








A father & son activity:


peering out the back-door window, waiting for the possums to come... to their death! Woohaha!


Super cute kids


Lacie


Hyrum

Overheard

Last night I was standing outside the toy room, putting away some towels, and overheard the girls playing a game I hadn't heard before. It's called "Rich woman, poor woman" and the coveted role is the poor woman. At least that's what they were fighting over -- who got to be the "orphan" poor woman. Apparently the rich woman has to wear too much jewelry.

I have strange kids.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Exploding heads

That would be our heads. Mark's and mine. Exploding.
Ka-Blam.
Did you hear it?

Poor Mark.
He has been working tirelessly on trying to get his "new" work car to work. Run, that is. Well, run legally.
We were recently blessed -and I do mean that- with a stellar deal on a replacement car for Mark's work vehicle. And we're grateful. Really, we are. It's just that some blessings you have to work harder on than others. This would be one of them. And some cars are made more logically than others. This would not one of them... blast.

Poor me.
I've battled ants all year. Stupid, stupid ants. I would have thought with the weather turning colder we wouldn't see them at least for a while. I would have thought.
A while ago Mark got out my 72-hr kit so he could use the pack for a scout camp-out. I guess you could say the blessing in disguise here is that we found the ants now instead of during a disaster. But I don't know. I might not have minded them so much in a dire situation. As it is, I am blowing fire out my ears that by transferring the food back into our pantry (you know, to rotate out and all), I unwittingly introduced a new colony to our food supply... Aargh!

Poor possum.
Perhaps he got the worst deal in all of this. After all, his head actually did explode. Sorta. Well, enough. See, Mark has found a great new way of managing stress and ridding our yard of vermin all in one.



Gotta love that crossbow!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Have to say...

I love Christmas. I love Christmas music. I love seeing other people "getting into" the Holiday spirit.
BUT
there is something fundamentally wrong about a hearing a country-rock version of the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's "Messiah," blasting away outside a gas station.
Call me Scrooge, but I may actually have to write in a request for them to stop playing the music.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Random bits


Not a great pic of Hyrum, but man! Mark looks great!


Hyrum has a thing for hats... and glasses...


Proof that I haven't yet killed my flowers that I planted early October!!!


I have a pic of my mom identical to this, except at my house.
I thought it was funny.


Thanksgiving dinner.


A Thanksgiving "play." Of sorts.


My cute niece and nephew.


Story time!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Stupid dinner

Lately I've been quite the slacker where dinner is concerned. Okay, in more areas than just dinner, but let's not go there.
Anyway, I decided to put some effort into it tonight.

Glazed carrots & curly cheese potatoes (ok, the potatoes look pretty nasty, but I promise that's just bad lighting/photography... and that the Parmesan cheese looks weird... and I had to leave them in the fridge pre-cooked for a couple hours so they grayed)


Rice pudding and "party" meatballs (ridiculously yummy)


And some rolls. They aren't pictured because I may have 'darkened' them a bit much. doh.

Point is that I tried.
The result?
Andrea didn't want to come to the table because she said it was so stinky.
Lacie didn't want to eat the carrots because they were orange.
Mark wouldn't eat the carrots because he's anti-vegetable.
Lacie didn't trust the potatoes because they were curly.
Andrea wouldn't eat the meatballs because she's crazy.
Mark thought the rice pudding was too sweet & the girls thought it was too weird.
Hyrum, who had just awakened from a too-short, too-late nap wouldn't eat anything but a roll.

Tomorrow night we're having corn dogs and top ramen.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tradition

It's hard to be held to a standard where you have no control in the outcome. Well... maybe 'held to a standard' is a little strong. Hopes were high.
In any case, we managed to follow suit and pull off the Viehweg brothers' kids' gender pattern tradition -- 2 girls, 2 boys.
In other words...
IT'S A BOY!
HOORAY!
We are absolutely thrilled. Truthfully, I would have been delighted to be able to dress up another little girl, but we really, really wanted a brother for Hyrum. Yay!
And really, it is pretty cool that the Viehweg boys all have the 2-boy/2-girl thing going on.

And now onto the naming process... aka: torture phase.
Yes, our last run was not as easy as I thought it should be. The girls and I all called the baby by the name I liked the whole pregnancy, only to find out that Mark hated it. Well, more like he didn't 'come around' by the time baby arrived. Rats.
3 weeks later we found ourselves holding a 4-hour scramble-to-find-a-name session the night before he was to be blessed. AHHHH! My mom, Nick and Lexye are all witness to the agony that took place. And it was a good thing they were there, too. Lexye read through the name books, my mom refereed and Nick provided MUCH needed comic relief when things started getting tense.
(I know, you're all thinking, 'Mark? Jeanette? Arguing and it getting ugly? Never!' haha)
In the end, my mom gets the credit for pulling the chosen name out of thin air. She suggested 'Hyrum' and I loved it; Mark didn't hate it, so we jumped on it, and the next morning Hyrum Scott Viehweg was blessed & given a name in church. Whew!

So...

Needless to say, we're a little trepidatious at the prospect of going through that again. :)
We figured a good solution would be to ask the girls. Here are their suggestions:

Chomper
Slider
Time-for-dinner
&
Hyrum 2

...

anyone else want to throw your 2 cents in? Cos I just don't think I could ever get used to any of those.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wrong

Last night we arrived home from our Thanksgiving trip. We spent it in Spring, TX with family. Good thing, too, because the way our house is right now, you'd have a hard time finding your way to the kitchen, much less cooking a turkey dinner.
So why is it, that whilst I still have a coffin in my dining room, a ginormous spider hanging from our front entry light and various gargoyles, skulls & tombstones all around the house I am still determined to get out the Christmas decorations right now?
Maybe I ought to at least take down the ghosts hanging outside...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

God is Good

I don't know if it's more the human factor, or a personality quirk that I'm constantly needing reminders that God is aware of me. Even though I already know it. Kinda like how I'm constantly wanting Mark to "prove" he really, actually loves me.
I know.
Chalk it up to insecurity.
Anyway.
In the last couple weeks I've been given the heavenly head's up so blatantly - 2 times! - that I can't just let it sit and not say anything. So naturally I blog! :)
Actually, the first experience was a little too personal to share with everyone. Sorry. But it was one of those times that made it so clear that not only is our Heavenly Father aware of me, but really truly knows me. And when it's so pointed out so obviously, how can you not just feel awesome?
So let me illustrate with my 2nd case-in-point:
Last Thursday night Mark declared that his car had, indeed, bit the dust. Maybe. And unfortunately, in order to determine this he had to tear apart the engine. Not something he was looking forward to. It was a slow, laborious process and by Monday night Mark concluded that either we could spend $100 and a lot of time changing out the gaskets and maybe it would fix the problem, or the problem was a whole lot more serious and we could waste the $100 and still be up a creek. Mind you, this is our beater car we bought on ebay for $537. Yes, we've put $ and time into it since then, of course, but you see the quandary?
In the meantime, Mark had to take my car to work, leaving me car-less and unable to pick-up/drop-off the girls to school. So we turned to our good friend, Craigslist. Sadly there were only 3 vehicles that fit our criteria, and none really looked promising. Mark was depressed. I felt helpless. We discussed our options and just as Mark was concluding that we'd have to just wait for another viable option to post, it did. Right then. Literally. Mark called and we picked it up that night. The guy even dropped the price $100 just to get rid of it faster. And it turned out to be a better purchase than we [nervously] hoped.
It wasn't a million bucks falling out of the sky. It wasn't Clearinghouse Sweepstakes at the door. It wasn't a free-ride, easy out, genie-in-a-bottle wish come true. But it was an answer to a prayer. It was an opportunity when we were hurting for options.
Mostly, it was just one more time that our Father in heaven let us know He cares.

Ummm... thanks?

Last night Andrea was having fun playing with a fan. She kept trying to blow everyone's hair until I finally pointed her in Mark's direction. He put up with it for a while and as his patience was wearing thin Andrea exclaimed:
"There! Now you look like the daddy I always wanted!"

???

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mark-ism

Mark: "What day is Christmas on this year?"
Me: "Saturday."
Mark: "And what day is Thanksgiving on this year?"
Me: "Uhhhh... really?"

Love you Mark!

Friday, November 12, 2010

REAL reality

A week or so ago a friend hesitantly shared with me a story illustrating how bad the mess in her kitchen had gotten. I say 'hesitantly,' because she was completely embarrassed and terrified I'd judge and think less of her. Instead I laughed and related my story of shame. Yeah... it involved maggots and a neglected cheese fondue pot.
[pardon me while I go vomit]
So why on earth would I blab and expose my humiliating "dirty secret?"
Good question. Except...
see, for years now I've been developing this theory of mine that I like to call The Game. It's something we all play although it is never discussed. Actually, that's kind of the point: we all try to appear more perfect than we really are. You know, 'put on a happy face,' 'shove the mess in the closet,' 'don't hang out your dirty laundry,' -- all that. There's even a scripted dialogue that is followed when company arrives.
You've been madly cleaning for the last 15 mins. Now you're vacuuming and the doorbell rings. You quickly hide the evidence and then answer the door. Your company comes in, all smiles. You cheerily greet them and then say,
"excuse the mess" or "sorry it's such a disaster" or whatever.
Your company then laughs and says,
"no, no, it looks great - you should see our house!"
And the evening commences.

Why?!
Why do we do that?
I mean, I realize there is an amount of logistics involved when the couch is required to sit upon rather than hold laundry. And then there is the courtesy factor. But I daresay I'm not the only one who stresses over unannounced visitors, or cringes when the neighbor comes over to use the phone and has to walk through your living room in order to do so. Heaven forbid anyone need to use the bathroom because the kids' bath is always disgusting, and my bath? Yikes. That would require walking through my bedroom! I'll admit I've even canceled Visiting Teaching appointments last minute because there was no possibility of cleaning up in time.
Even with all the light-hearted dialogue of everyone else saying their house is just as messy or worse, it's not enough to feel okay exposing yourself like that. After all, when you go to their house everything is spic-n-span and they're apologizing profusely over nothing. Just like you did. But you don't actually ever SEE the mess in the closet, so you can't really be sure.
And then there are the freaks of nature who you know that really cannot go to bed at night if the dishes are not done.
I used to tell myself that they were just minimalists, and that's why they could keep the house clean -- there was nothing there to clean up.
But I know better.
I know now that there really are people in this world who are just innately able to contain mess. How? No idea. Talent, skill, whatever. I still think it's freakish. But only because I'm jealous. And it makes me feel inferior.
But WHY?
I don't feel ashamed that I'm no Picasso. I openly admit I have no athletic ability and yet have never thought myself less of a person because of it.
So why all the shame over my house?
Part of it is that for a long time I didn't believe anyone else truly was as messy as I/my house.
Irrational, I realize. But still. I'm just beginning to believe that there are other people out there like me. And not just criminals or bad people. Regular folks. Probably... maybe... most folks.
This brings me back to my theory -- that we all play The Game: make yourself look better than you really are.
The problem is, it's a stupid game. It benefits no one to put up a pretense. In fact, it isolates you in your time of need, which, for me, happens to be quite often. But I'm too embarrassed to ask for help. Someone might find me out and discover what is already plain knowledge -- that I'm not perfect. Surprise!

I'm rambling. Sorry.

It's something I've been thinking about a lot lately.
I'm feeling overwhelmed and therefore way under... par? Sub-standard. Out of sorts. Not up to snuff. Flailing. Failing.
Seriously.
And just to prove my point, here is proof of my disgrace:

My house, in all its glory.
(note the Halloween decor yet to be put away)


kitchen


dining rm - yes, that's a full-sized coffin instead of a table


living rm


kids' rooms - in all fairness, they were making forts


hallway, kids' bath


"music room" aka: storage


my bedroom, and yes, I did just make my bed.
(note all the bags of food storage piled up)

And with all that, all I can do is take pictures and show everyone! LOL

Reality is, this is reality. (Brilliant, I know)
I'm not gifted in the house-keeping arena. Even worse with kids & pregnancy.
But I'm tired of feeling inferior, ashamed and like a horrible person.
Because at the end of the day,
this is what I get to do --



-- and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

So just be warned, I'm giving fair notice right now:
if you come to my house there is an overwhelmingly good chance that it will be a disaster and look like a tornado (or 3) has gone through it.
And I'm not going to apologize anymore. It is what it is.
But I also promise you won't hear a word of complaint about your house. Not ever.
Bring on the mess!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

another Lacie-ism

"Mom! Mom! I really love Hyrum now, see? I don't poke him in the eye anymore!"

Friday, November 5, 2010

I am AWESOME

Just had to brag...
cos I'm just a little bit proud.
Okay. A lot proud.
As of tonight I am completely done with the shopping AND wrapping of all gifts for Hyrum's birthday, Lacie's birthday, our anniversary, and the kids' ENTIRE Christmas - including all gifts from Santa's workshop plus stocking stuffers!
Oh yeah!
I ROCK!
Additionally, I'm scouting out the best deal for Mark's gift, my plan is in progress for the sibling gifts, I'm waiting for my present to come out in stores so I can give it to Mark to give to me, and I've got 1 of 3 school teachers covered.
Seriously,
tell me I'm not amazing!
(actually, don't - let me enjoy my moment)


In other news...
Mark is the coolest dad ever. His girls tearfully waved good-bye to him tonight as he left for a scout camp-out which they each wanted so very much to attend. As luck would have it, only 1 boy showed up so they had to cancel (camping policy). Sooo,
Mark is now currently snoring away with his 2 little honorary scouts in his tent set up in the living room.
And yes, he really is snoring. Good thing the girls are heavy sleepers!!

Lacie-ism

Mom: "Lacie, you need to go get some pants on -- you're sick, you need to be warm."
Lacie: "No no no no no; I'm sick because I eat my boogers."

Sunday, October 31, 2010

oh yeah... the kids

Sometimes I get a little wrapped up in all our festivities to remember that Halloween is still about the kids. Oops. So here are the kids!




Lacie - Princess, of sorts...



...who almost missed the whole party when she fell asleep on the way to the Trunk-or-Treat!



Andrea - the butterfly garden fairy with a random bunny. She wanted to wear bunny ears as well, but I insisted that was just too strange.



And of course, our little monkey! (Literally! Mark & I were the Baron & Baroness and made Hyrum our exotic pet monkey.)



SO CUTE!!


Rewind a day...
The schools here aren't allowed to celebrate Halloween. Lame. However, to appease outraged parents like me, the Elementary school has cleverly inserts their annual "Storybook Parade" at the end of each October. Only the Kindergartners dress up, and they must actually bring the book with the character they are representing. Ya know, making it legitimately non-Halloween and all. Oh, except all the other teachers dress up, too. How that is fair I do not know.
Anyway, Andrea wanted to go as a genie. We decided to call her "Princess Jasmine" soas to be inline with the rules since we didn't have a girl-genie book.


Awwwww!


Lining up. (notice the books)



Andrea's teacher


Another teacher.


"Eloise."


"Pinkalicious & Purplicious."


Crayons of the Hanes brand.
(it's Hanes Elementary school)


Rita Skeeter (awesome!).


From "Little House on the Prairie."


Principal & Vice