Sunday, March 30, 2008

We're Going Private!!!

We've decided to go to an invited readers only blog format...we would miss all of you tremendously if you didn't continue visiting our blog! So...send us your email...either leave it as a comment or email us at and we'll make sure that your email is added to our permission list. Watch the ticker at the sidebar for the exact date of the transition!!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Crackers and Sprouts

I started a little project a few months ago. I haven't had much time to devote to it, but little scraps of time here and there have been found to write a few lines. I started a compilation of short stories from my childhood. I finally finished the first story a few nights on if you'd like...if not...that's okay too! :)

Crackers and Sprouts

I remember one beautiful summer day when I was five years old. My younger brother Kyle, who was three at the time, was a spunky, inquisitive, button-pushing, knob-pulling, Tonka truck-driving bundle of energy, who could always make you laugh just by pulling a funny face. On this day, however, his spunky little face-pulling self happened to be missing. I don’t remember when, or how we noticed, I just remember that all of a sudden there was a frantic stomach-turning fear when we realized that he was gone. We couldn’t find him anywhere. Our house sat on about three and a half acres, and on those acres were a shop, a chicken coop, a barn, horse corral, two pastures, a large garden and yard, and the canal. The canal was a near constant worry for my parents for many years, and on that day it was a significant concern looming in front of all of us. The canal ran along the back of our property, and Mom and Dad always worried about us falling in and not being able to climb out of the steep bank.

When Mom realized that she didn’t know where Kyle was, the search began. We called and called, but he didn’t answer. I remember searching every room in the house; behind couches, under beds, in the storage room, in fireplaces, in cabinets, under tables—literally everywhere that a three-year-old may have hidden. When we couldn’t find him, Mom called Grandma Belnap, who lived just down the road from us, and Grandma, of course, proceeded to call the neighbors. Pretty soon, we had quite a group out searching for him. Dad, who was at work was also called and on his way home, the volunteer policeman was out in full force, and of course Trever and I were on the search and rescue team as well. The adults were walking up and down the canal bank, Grandpa was worried about his ditch, which was full of water, and after searching the house Trever and I were probably just in the way.

I remember being really scared to think that my brother was lost. Being lost is a child’s worst nightmare, at least it was mine, so the thought of my little brother being lost was terrifying. I remember that sick feeling in my stomach, wondering if I would ever see my little brother again. The clouds of anxiety started coming in thick and fast as my little heart worried for my brother. But then in the midst of the fear and worry, I remembered that my parents had taught me that if I prayed to Heavenly Father, that He would answer my prayers. That little ray of sunshine drove the worry away. I believed them, and I trusted that my Heavenly Father would help me. In my little five year old mind, there was no question that my prayer would be heard and answered.

So, I went to my room, knelt down by my bed and prayed, “Dear Heavenly Father, my little brother Kyle is lost. I know that You know where he is. Will you please help us find him? In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”
As soon as I was done praying, I had the thought come to my mind that I should go downstairs and check underneath his bed. This thought seemed strange to me, because we had already checked there. I paused for a moment to wonder if maybe I was just imagining the thought that had come to me, but, acting on the faith of a five-year-old, I went straight down and looked under his bed. I didn’t just casually glance under it, I got down on my tummy and scooted halfway under in order to see all the way into that dark abyss of the under-the-bed world. Sure enough, tucked way over against the wall was my three-year-old brother, hunkered down under some blankets while busily munching graham crackers. It was amazing that we hadn’t heard him chomping away on those things. He must have been born with some inner stealth and had silenced himself during our initial shakedown of the house. This time, however, he was pinned. There was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and he knew it. He had this sheepish grin on his face for he knew he’d been caught red-handed. I seem to remember him offering me a cracker, which was, of course, a brilliant plan by a three-year-old to escape full blame.

He hadn’t answered us when we had called him earlier because he was afraid of getting into trouble. So while the entire community was out looking for the poor assumed-to-be lost or drowned or kidnapped child, that poor, sweet, innocent child was snuggled up in a favorite blanket quietly enjoying a little afternoon snack.

Good does come from frightening experiences such as this. I suppose a few neighbors had their presumptions validated that the Belnaps really weren’t perfect people after all, Kyle was made to realize through the full-scale rescue operation that his family loved and cared about him, and a five-year old girl was given the opportunity to test that little seed of faith that had carefully been planted a few years earlier. That day is a vivid memory for me, because it is one of the first memories I have of receiving a direct and immediate answer to my prayers. My little seed of faith had sprouted a tiny new bud which would later blossom into a sure testimony that God, our Heavenly Father not only hears, but answers even the smallest prayers. Thanks, Kyle.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Day

The girls looked so cute in their spring dresses, that I couldn't resist a picture. I wanted one of the boys too...but about .2 seconds after running through the door, Taylor was out of his church clothes and into shorts and a t-shirt...and Matthew's pants had somehow fallen off and he was running around in his sweater and a onesie. Go figure. So here are our beautiful girls! And after the kitchen fiasco of the day before (if you're confused...just read the previous post) I'm still smiling...and everything turned out fine. Ham, potatoes, salads, deviled eggs, crescent rolls, and....trifle.
Um...Andy wanted me to take a picture of the masterpiece. I told him that for Mother's Day, I'd really like a trifle dish...he told me that's not entirely "legal". What does that mean?
Yummy... I love trifle.
And I just thought the kids were so cute. I had come around the corner, and all four were sitting in the living room eating Peeps and getting ready to play a game that the Easter Bunny had left for them. And as always...Matthew is right in the middle of things. But by now, someone has found him some pants to wear, so he's in his church sweater and jogging pants. Nice.
It was a great Easter day. We had some friends come over for dinner, and were so glad to have some help eating all of the yummy food. (I seem to have a difficult time with small portion sizes.)

The talks given in church were so good, as well as the Relief Society lesson. (Thanks Mayfield Ward!) And after we said good-bye to guests, we were able to visit with family on the phone, put the kids to bed, and then Andy and I read a chapter out of President Monson's book, "Pathways to Perfection". The entire chapter was about the miracle of Christ's resurrection, and how we will be reunited with our loved ones again...that death is not final. It just seemed like a perfect ending to a great Easter Sunday.

Eggciting Stuff!

In our home, the day before Easter is usually spent baking various dishes for Easter dinner, cleaning the house in preparation for guests, and of course decorating Easter eggs for the big occasion! This year...things went a little differently...

Andy woke up and said, "Well sweetheart, what do you need to get done today?" I thought about it for a minute (thinking of a million things that needed to be done, picking and choosing what I had time for, motivation for, etc.) and said, "oh, I have a lot of baking to do...I need to make the angel food cake for trifle, mix up the puddings, get the potatoes mixed together and ready to bake tomorrow, make the salads, and bake rolls." "Hmmm...okay, that sounds like a lot." (or something of that sort was Andy's reply.)

But before I get started on the kitchen stuff, I realize that I also have a mound of laundry to do, so I go downstairs to sort laundry and get a load going. (You know, multi-tasking.) The next thing I know, he has a power saw, yes a SAW in the kitchen. Not only a saw, but his tool box, and other miscellaneous power tool items. Before I can say anything, he has the microwave uninstalled, the oven covered with a sheet, and is in the process of sawing out the upper cupboards. I'm just standing there speechless. What do you say? Seriously...WHAT do you say??? How does this remotely help me in the Easter baking/preparation process I'd like to know??? At this point, I zip my lips and begin counting., you get the picture. It took a lot of numbers for my heart rate to calm itself.

Well, to make a very long story 2:00 a.m., Andy had moved the stove to where the fridge used to be, installed the microwave above the dishwasher, taken out the cupboards above where the microwave and oven used to be and put our fridge in that corner along with the spice cupboard. He had moved a gas line, AND a water line. (We had talked about doing this procedure for a while...but I thought we would wait until his spring break...guess not.)

Meanwhile, I had cleaned up behind him. (Lots and lots of debris.) Finished the laundry, cleaned the house with the kids help, given all four kids baths/showers...laid out Sunday clothes...fixed a lunch (this takes talent when the kitchen is non-existent)...and believe it or not, we even decorated eggs. The egg decorating didn't happen until 8:30 at night...but hey, it got done.

The baking? Well, I started the cake at 10:00, pudding layers all ready to put together the next day, I mixed up the potatoes to bake the next day, but when it came time to do rolls? Nope. That's where' I drew the line. Thank goodness for Pillsbury refrigerator rolls...that's all I have to say. :)

Here are some pictures of the kids' egg decorating fun.

Friday, March 21, 2008

It's Officially Spring!

Yesterday, March 20th marked the first offical day of Spring! The snows may come, the temps may drop yet again...but is Spring.

To celebrate this blessed day, I decided to pull out a project that I purchased last year but then never did get started on. I had Matthew the week after I bought it, and then I just didn't feel like painting an Easter craft during fall...or winter...but now that it's SPRING, I started and finished it all in one day! I love tole painting, and think this little guy turned out pretty good. You can't see the details very well in the picture, but I added some pink tulle underneath the bunny to give it some depth...and a little bit of leaf green fabric to balance out all of that fluffy pinkness! Happy Spring everyone!

Thursday, March 20, 2008


The past couple of days I’ve been very congested. Last night was terrible, I could hardly breathe and I could feel my chest getting heavier with congestion as the night progressed. This morning I woke up, and have no voice. Nothing. Not even a whisper escapes. So, I trudge around the house feeling like I have an extra 20 pounds on top of my lungs, wheezing along, wondering why I even got out of bed. (Well, of course I know why…because I can’t call in sick to my job.)

It’s days like these that make me realize a few things.

One: When Mom doesn’t have a voice, the kids also decide that mom’s eyes, ears, and brain are also dysfunctional, and therefore it is an “anarchy day” to do as you like as fast as you can.

Two: When Mom doesn’t have a voice, Zippy the cat thinks he rules the roost. Well, secretly, Mom thinks he ALWAYS thinks that, but on days when she can’t yell at him to “get down,” “I’m not playing now, Zippy!”, and “Zippy leave the goldfish alone!” he just simply turns a deaf ear to her miming techniques and does as his feline brain sees fit.

Three: When Mom doesn’t have a voice, the phone doesn’t have to be answered. See? Losing your voice isn’t always a bad thing. No, the phone can ring all day if it feels like it, and Mom can just sit and smile at it, knowing that she's not neglecting any duty, she's not shirking responsibilities, and she's not cowarding away from the “do you think you could help with….” phone calls that always find their way through any calling filter system. No, she doesn't even have to answer messages because she simply cannot talk.

Four: When Mom doesn’t have a voice, she doesn’t have to make telephone calls. Nope. The Young Women will wait, Recognition/Broadcast Night will wait, the school will wait, the appointments will wait, the visiting teaching will wait, the bills will even wait, Idaho will wait, everything... Will. Just. Wait.

Five: When Mom doesn’t have a voice, she has a temporary vacation from those inquisitive, bizarre, and sometimes unanswerable questions that come from her three talking children. Questions like, “Mom? When the Sun comes around the corner of the N. Pole, how long does it take for it to hit Cleveland?” “Mom? Why is daddy always putting crowns on people’s teeth? You have a few crowns. Did your dentist give you your crowns? Why are your crowns so big? Do they fit in your mouth?” “Mom? If Heavenly Father created the dinosaurs, and He loves everything that He creates, why did He let them die?” or, “Mom? If you’re so happy, then why are your eyebrows coming down and making lines in your head?”

Hmm. No, she gets a vacation from all of that. She simply has to shrug her shoulders, point to her throat, and smile sweetly. Not bad.

Sometimes, it takes a small thing like us losing our voice to compel us to quiet down and realize what all the voices around us are saying. It takes a small thing like us losing our voice to help us realize which questions should be answered, which phone calls should be made, and what directions should be given to those around us…a small thing…but very profound.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Can You Say MEG-uh-loe-SAWR-uhss?

Two weeks ago, Taylor was given the assignment to write a report, make a poster, and do a presentation for his 2nd grade class on a dinosaur called Megalosaurus. He was thrilled--about all the parts except for the presentation--which was very scary to him.

But, I took him to the library, and he found some great books and a picture encylopedia about his dinosaur and he got to work. It was so cute to see him sitting at one of those round library tables with his books spread out, scanning through the pages to find what he needed. He looked a little too grown up for 2nd grade. With his backpack on the table, and his coat slung over a chair and the look of concentration on his face...he reminded me a little of how Andy used to look when we'd study together at the ISU library.

We had a lot of fun on his poster. I let him use my stencils, his new markers, and I even let him use the rubber cement instead of glue sticks. (I think that was his favorite part...being upgraded from glue stick duty) He was pretty proud of it, and rightly so, when he was finished.

The night before he was to hand it in, he was having a difficult time going to sleep, so around 11:00 Andy and I got him back out of bed to let him run through it a couple more times with us. He did a great job, and those last few practice runs seemed to do the trick because he was finally able to fall asleep.
The next morning, I drove him to school while he carefully held his poster. I wished him luck and watched him disappear through the school doors. That was one of those moments when a mother just prays that all will go smoothly so as not to make the next time even more traumatic.
He got home from school that day and was so excited to show me his grading sheet. He had been given full marks in all the categories, and had said that it was actually fun to tell his classmates everything he had learned about the Megalosaurus. Hooray! Prayers answered. :)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Matthew's First Haircut

Matthew turned one, so it was time to cut the hair.He didn't really enjoy it...poor little guy didn't know what to think of those clippers.
But he looks so handsome with his new "do"!
And he's right back to his "old self" being silly and everything so we don't think that the clippers traumatized him too badly.
Here is a video for your viewing pleasure...

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Little Motivation

Cross-stitching has been one of my favorite crafty hobbies for a long time and I'm currently working on another wall-sized creation for our living room. (Audrey, Katie, and'll remember it from our temple trip a few months ago!) Anyway, the wall-sized pieces get a bit tedious and sometimes it's just nice to finish something quickly, so I made these little bookmarks for Taylor and Rachel. They were fun, and it only took a few days to complete both projects. The best thing, is that my two little bookworms are now reading even more furiously than before because they each have their very own special bookmark.

A ballerina for our little dancing princess...

And...a dinosaur for Taylor, who is currently reading a book entitled "Megalosaurus." Go figure.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Highlights of Matthew's First Year

I hadn't remembered until today, but I had started this slideshow of Matthew's first year a few weeks ago. So, in fear of being completely are some more pictures of the little guy and some of his first year highlights.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Watch Out World! I'm One!

On Sunday, March 9th, in the midst of the Cleveland snowstorm...little (yes, that can be argued) Matthew turned one year old!

He has been such a fun baby, right from the start. He came into the world weighing more than double the size of our little 4 lb Brooklynn, weighing 8 lbs, 6 oz and measuring 21 1/2 inches long. Yes. He was a "healthy" baby! In the hospital, he was very content to stay right in the room with Mama...and he didn't want anyone else to touch him. No Way. He made his point clear right from the beginning whose babe he was.

Just when Mommy thought she couldn't take anymore sleepless nights, Matthew did two very smart things. The first, he said "Mama" very clearly, and continued to say it as he goobered her with baby kisses. And second, he started sleeping through the night. What a brilliant child. At around 6 months he further displayed his genius by very clearly saying "dada" during a middle of the night crisis. What a sweetheart. Mommy was able to wake up Daddy and say, "Sorry dear, he's calling for you," and then peacefully roll over. ahhh......

He loves food (could you tell?) and his favorites are (in order of when they were presented to him) peaches, pears, carrots, then he graduated to other foods and this is what he loves now. Oranges, bananas, mac-n-cheese WITH hot dogs (gotta have the hot dogs), homemade bread, and....(drum roll)....POTATOES. Matthew loves his taters.

He is also a bit of a tank. Size does not intimidate Matthew. If anyone is on the ground, he will run to them at full speed and push them over. If he bounces off at the first try, he will keep pushing until they are laughing so hard that they collapse over. Taylor doesn't last 5 seconds with Matthew.

And even though he has his own toys...his favorite toy to carry around the house is Taylor's light saber. He is a cute little "youngling" and we do think that he will make a good Jedi Knight someday.

Lastly, at his one year checkup, he weighed in at 22 lbs, 11.5 oz., and he is..... 32 1/4 inches tall. He is nearly as tall as I was when I was three years old. Wow. I was such a little midget. He definitely takes after Andy for size. Oh, and out of all our children, I think he looks like Andy the most...

Bring Out the Buckets! It Snowed!

It is so interesting the way different types of weather bring out the best, or worst, or the strangest parts of people. Snow is a wonderful way to bring out the quirkiness (is that a word?) of people...and we thoroughly enjoyed our being snowed in here in Cleveland.

Unlike our old neighborhood in Idaho, where at the least hint of snow the neighbors would be out with their huge tractors with full plows, ready to play and wreak havoc with gutters and sidewalks, here in our little Cleveland Heights neighborhood...people tend to go at it a little differently. Sure, you get the occasional snowblower, the occasional pickup truck with a little plow in the front with a driver who couldn't make a straight shot into a driveway if it was 200 feet wide with yellow flags lining the edges, and you know? You even get a few people who just go out and grit their teeth and use a ..... what is that?? A SNOW SHOVEL!!! Whoa!

But...this video is dedicated to those of us who think outside the box...who put a little imagination into the everyday...who...if nothing else...provide some great entertainment for the neighbors on a day when there's nothing much else to do but gawk out the window at everyone else. House number 3809? This is for you....

Just a sidenote: After the gawking...we really did go out and help...


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Remember this?

I was going through my baby book, comparing pictures of me to my kiddos and came across this picture. Oh the memories it brought back! I think I'm about 4 in this picture. That chubby little bumpkin of a baby is my "little" brother Kyle, (Ash, I hope you're enjoying this) and Emily, there's Trever "back in the day"! I think he was upset because I always got to "steer" Fancy and he always had to be in the back because he was the biggest. Poor kid. And this is Fancy in her younger days because her dapples are dark grey and not white.

Someday we will move out of the city and get some land so that our kiddos can have evening horserides before bed in their pajamas. I grew up on this horse. I used to go out and sit on her while she was eating in the pasture. My mom caught me galloping her around the pasture one day while standing up on her back (I had watched a circus and was trying to be one of the circus riders). My brothers and I used to take her down to grandpa's irrigating ditch on hot summer days and trot her up and down the ditch because the water would splash us...and Fancy liked it too because it cooled her off. Grandma used to get so worried and tell us we were all going to drown. Mom used to get mad because we were running a horse on a hot day...but we argued that we were running her in the water so it was okay.
Kyle, remember all of those mountain trailrides when we had to ride together on Fancy? Remember the day we saw that bear on the Rainy Creek Trail and you were facing backwards in the saddle and I was sideways? We both scrambled to get straight in the saddle as we went cantering up the trail. Remember how we used to lean over as far as we could reach to pick the huckleberries, and to grab the cattails to throw at mom's and Trever's heads? I remember getting loads of pine cones to throw at everyone ahead of us...and mom would just calmly call back "Knock it off guys" while Grandpa Orme would be chuckling from behind. And we thought we were being so sneaky. All of this done while walking along a mountain trail on our trusty steed. And Kyle, do you remember feeding her banana peels? Don't deny it buddy, it's on video tape.
hmmm....what else... oh ya, and my Jr. year of high school, my friend Jennifer and I dressed up and rode our trusty steed Fancy in the homecoming parade in front of our class float. (By the way, our class float won the float competition that year...HA SENIORS!) I found this old picture in one of my high school scrapbooks and I'm wondering whose cheerleading skirt I borrowed for the parade, YIKES! Oh well, Jen and I had a great time.
As I think back, I can't believe we won that float competition. First of all, we WERE the Trojans, and our float was the notorious Trojan Horse. For those of you who have read the Iliad...the Trojan Horse is NOT a good thing for the Trojan side of the War... (oops) and also, it was made from a big refrigerator box, with another box for the neck, and another one for the head and then covered with chicken wire and stuffed with napkins and then spray-painted brown. We put maroon and gold and white streamers for a mane and tail, and a big R on the side for Rigby...but even so, it just looked like a huge ugly boxy thing. And I can say this because I was one of the Jr. Class Officers and helped design and make the thing, and so have a right to say that it was very ugly. All I have to say, is that the Seniors' float must have been HIDEOUS.....

Oh the memories a picture can bring. Thanks for bearing with me folks. :)

Monday, March 3, 2008

What's on Your List Today?

Shopping. It's what we women do best, right? Well. I remember the "good ole days" when I used to spend an entire day just wandering the mall trying on clothes that I didn't need, didn't really like, knew I would never buy but just really wanted to try them on to see what they looked like "off the rack"....the good ole days when I used to spend a fortune of my hard-earned money on perfume for me, colognes for Andy, accessories that I wore once in a while, but that I "just had to have" because they went with a belt that went with some jeans that had stitching that perfectly coordinated with the stitching on a favorite sweater which HAD to have a scarf because a scarf would create "the look" that I wanted when I wore that one hat......


Now I'm a MOM. Get real. Yes, I still do some shopping, and yes, I still enjoy it, and yes, I still have style. But. Most of the time...."shopping" really means "errands"....

Today I had a very light load. This is what I bought.

-posterboard for Tay's dinosaur report
-markers for Tay's dinosaur report
-ruler for Tay's math/design projects
-erasers for Rachel
-pencils for Rachel
-new puzzle for Brooklynn
-sippy cups for Matthew
-a toy that has knobs, buttons, levers, (boy things) for Matthew's birthday
-mechanical pencils for Andy
-pens for Andy

AND.......(drum roll)..........

-new sunglasses for ME because once again my sunglasses have been dropped/lost/broken/torn apart/drowned in ocean/dropped off cliff/smashed by bike/sat on by dear husband/accidentally tossed out car window/flown off while waterskiing/stolen.

I don't have much luck with sunglasses.