Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Christmas is over:(

How was your Christmas break?

Ours was good. Uneventful. Full of sleeping, eating and movie watching. 

The kid went back yesterday and I am once again, alone. *sob*

Okaay. Not really. Jeff works from home 3 days a week. But he is really quiet! I like a little noise in my life. 

Oh, and Anne Marie is home with the stomach flu. Did I say alone? Not alone really, as much as bored without all of them home with me. Y'all know, I've never been one to wish them back at school. Ever. 

So here is our break in a few pictures. They are all from my phone because our good camera is broken. And since I am  broke ;) I don't know when it will be fixed. 

We slept a lot. I know she is five. But since she is also my baby, she will be cute sleeping forever. FOREVER!

We went to a church party and every got to sit on Santa's lap.

And no, I did NOT make the older kids sit with Santa. Why do you ask?

I got to go to the Christmas program for the Damman school.

Nora's class. Yes that is all of them.

Henry's class. Also all of them.

And Anne Marie's class. No one was sick that day. 

We love their little school. They have made some friends and we love the way it feels like a family.

They were going to the largest elementary school in Washington state. So it's been a change. But a really good one. Life feels so much more relaxed for us.

And that is always a good thing. Now I'm off to prepare for Jeff's birthday. He is 39. Finally as old as me;)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Poetry Out Loud

Just a shout out to my girl Julia who placed in the top 8 for Poetry Out Loud.

She will be moving on to the finals for her high school on January 15th.

If she places in the top 2 there, she goes on to regionals, then state, then nationals.

She writes really great poetry, but the kids recited poems from a set list. It was really neat to watch everyone.

Its the first time I've ever seen her nervous. But she did great. The only thing I was disappointed about what that we clapped instead of snapped our fingers. I wore my turtleneck and beret for nothing!

My girls are so glad that I can say I am only kidding about what I wore;)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Why I am the Grinch

Yesterday on our way home after school we saw an awesome sight.

It was Santa! Driving around Ellensburg in his red Miata, with a load of presents in the back seat and his sleigh car all lit up.

I got all excited and said, "Lets get closer and wave!"

We followed him into the Goodwill parking lot, rolled down the windows and all yelled, "Hi Santa!"

At which point he gestured for my kids to come over to him. I wish I had the presence of mind to have my phone out and take a picture, but I didn't.

My littlest 3 got out, with Charlie as chaperone, and went to see him. And much to our wondering eyes he took 3 of the presents, (which I had assumed were just decorations) and handed them to my little kids.

Just as he did with the next little kids he saw.

It was so awesome to see someone so full of the Christmas spirit that he would dress up, travel around Ellensburg in the 14 degree weather, and deliver toys to children.

We were so excited, it was so wonderful. And then I heard the children talking about opening them when they got home.

To which I replied, "Oh, you have to wait for Christmas day. It's a Christmas present."

And then, all heck broke loose.

"What?!!! Why?!!!" and much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

To which, honestly, I probably should have just said fine.

But sometimes, as soon as I hear whining, and arguments, I dig in. I get stubborn and decide that it is more important for me to be right than for me to preserve what was a great moment.

But I didn't do that.

I argued that it was a Christmas present, so we should wait for Christmas. I told them they were being greedy and ungrateful. Yeah, it was a good solid parenting moment:(

They countered back that it wasn't given to them on Christmas, so they should be able to open  it.

Pretty soon I was hearing that I was the worst mom ever, that I was the meanest mom ever.(True at that moment) And my older son was in agreement with them, which meant he unleashed all of his argumentative powers,( which are not small), on me.

Needless to say, it was awful.

Once we got home, someone threw their wrapped present at my face.

I reacted by behaving just as badly.

They all went in crying. I locked myself in my closet to complain to Jeff who said, "I'm sorry. That's awful. I probably would have just let them open it. "


I came out of my closet just to be assailed again. So I got in my car, drove around and cried and cried.

I came home and told them I didn't care if they opened them. The moment was over and ruined whether they opened it at that moment or on Christmas.

The awesome, giving gesture of that man was completely lost on me, and because of my behavior, it was lost on my children.

I was sad the rest of the evening. My 10 year old daughter was sad the rest of the evening.

Henry and Nora were fine as soon as I told them they could open their gifts.

The lesson I learned was that there are a lot of times where things are just not a big deal.

I would have loved if my kids had responded with, "Of course mom. We will wait til Christmas."

But they didn't, and I was being unreasonable to expect them to always act the way I want them to or think they should.

They were happy and excited and I stole the moment.

Aren't you glad I share these things so that you can say to yourself, "At least I didn't do THAT."

Being a parent. *sigh*

But to quote my favorite literary heroine, Anne Shirley, "Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day, with no mistakes in it yet?"

Yes that is nice. But I do think it would be nice if yesterday could be rewritten from time to time as well:)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Stuck in the snow and a tree so big it needs an anchor!

We began a tradition a few years back. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, we would go get our tree.

For years we had a fake tree. Hated it.

We started getting real trees by going to a tree farm.

72 dollars a pop later, we had perfectly grown trees to hang our homemade and quirky ornaments on.

We had often considered going into the woods to get our own tree, but that was back when we owned this.

With rear wheel drive, it could barely make it up a hill in the rain let alone the snow.

So when the Ram Van died, we purchased a Yukon, and suddenly realized that we could travel over the pass in the winter! Go off road a little to find trees!  A whole new world opened up.

And with tree hunting permits only 5 dollars on this side of the mountains, it was both more economical and more fun!

So Saturday we headed up to Lyons Rock. We in fact were searching for two trees. A smaller one to shine from the front porch window. And a larger one for our family room with it's 16 foot ceilings.

We also brought sleds for the kids to play around in the snow.

We found a perfect spot. Jeff pulled off the road a little, and we set to having fun.

It was lightly raining. Which didn't seem a big deal. But we were there long enough that the snow we were parked in became slushy. And even in 4 wheel drive, wet, slushy and mildly frozen snow becomes difficult.

We found our first tree and had it on top of the car. Ready to go and find our next one.

Well, seems our car did not want to leave.

So we dug with our hands, and we shoveled with bark, and watched as our car slowly slid 30 feet further off the road.

I initially was trying to drive us out so that Jeff could help push. Being in the driver's seat meant I had to filed questions from Henry like, " Are we going to die?"

Seems the hour we sat there trying to dig ourselves out made him nervous. Well, that and the sideways slide we were making.

"No Henry." I answered. "We are not going to die. Did you say a prayer?"

In fact, when I asked around, everyone had. We were a good ways from anywhere without a winch. Which, even with a 4 wheel drive SUV seems a good idea now.

Jeff remained in pretty good spirits the whole time.

Which is good. Because having him there is what kept me calm.

Charlie is apparently from a different species than the rest of us. He doesn't seem to get cold.

After laying down all the lovely boughs I had cut, and pushing just at the right moment, we got enough traction that we made it out.

Needless to say, we decided to stay firmly on the road when we say this beauty. He was my pick. I saw him and fell in love. Then I made my human love spend half an hour trying to cut it down. You can't even see him buried in the bottom branches.

You are allowed up to a 15 foot tree.

Which it is. Just barely. It also took 3 of us to get that on the car. It was soooo much heavier than I expected.

We tied that puppy down and headed home.

Halfway home, however, the tail end started to shift and flap a little as we were on the freeway.

That is never good when you have a very large, very heavy tree on your roof.

So pulled over, stole the nylon rope from one of the sleds and REALLY tied it down this time.

We made it home and despite lots of fatigue and sore muscles, we put it up AND decorated it.

Every ornament, scrap of paper that sort of looked like an ornament, and any other Christmas decoration that might remotely work, were added to the tree. Half of them via a very tall ladder.

It doesn't look it in the photo, but this baby is tall. And that is after we hacked off another 3 feet.

And then the next day, it fell over.

Luckily not on anyone. It missed Kate sitting on the couch by a foot. But it was crazy.

It is now anchored to the wall so that even Elf himself could not pull it down.

Elf- star on the tree

I then took the extra boughs and made this!

And finally, the little crooked tree that lights up the front room.

Total cost, besides Henry's heartache and worry that we might die, 10 bucks for two trees and a wreath.

Not bad. Not bad at all. And hopefully this will be a memory for my kids that begins with, "Remember that one time we got stuck in the snow.........."

Cuz everyone needs at least one story like that:)

I love Christmas!!!!!!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Kate the great

16 years ago I was the very young mother (23!) of a redheaded wee babby.

She was round and pink and never slept it seemed, cried all the time, and spit up on me constantly.

I was in love.

She is still redheaded, but she sleeps now and cries at sad parts in movies.

And she loves clothes. LOVES THEM! Hence the shoes she had been eyeing forever.

 She had a really fun birthday surprise as well. She had asked this very nice boy that we go to church with if he would go to TOLO with her. (I will share those pictures soon).
She asked him with the help of Henry and Nora and Nora's little pink Mustang.

So he answered back this way.

He said yes. On her birthday even:)

Kate also loves the piano, so my mom bought her tickets to see the Piano guys. She might have been a little excited.

And then we surprised her one more time by having two of her cousins show up with Grandmas and Grandpa Granger. That's Emily twirling her hair, and you can see the back of Megans head. Sadly, that is all the pictures I have of them because all the rest were fuzzy. Stink pot.

Kate very rarely asks for a regular birthday cake for her birthday. Some years it's been apple crisp, other years pumpkin bars/cake.

This year I asked her how she felt about a chocolate fountain.

She might have loved it.

Now if you're asking yourself why such a low key 16th birthday, especially after the effort that went into Julia's birthday, do not doubt our love for Kate.

This is what she wanted. At this point she knew very few people well enough to want them over for her birthday., So despite our best efforts at being annoying parents, we finally backed off and let her pick what she wanted to do.

And the chocolate fountain made it a party. Being sick from the chocolate fountain made it an awesome party!

Kate is now 16 years old. She has gone on her first date. She is driving. She is preparing for life after highschool.



What was I saying? Oh yeah, my baby thinks she's big enough to do things without us.

Get back in your crib baby.

No really, it is surreal that I am pretty much done raising her. She is a fantastic young woman with goals and dreams that will bring her huge amounts of happiness and satisfaction.

We are so proud of her. ( She is going to LOVE that I posted this picture of her when she was 11. )

Things you should know about Kate-

She is dazzling. Inside and out. Her lovely, put together and stylish exterior only hints at the glorious inside that she possesses.

She is smart. Like crazy smart.

She is a fabulous second mom older sister. I couldn't run the house without her and Julia. They make my life much easier.

She knows who she is. She has not had to spend her teenage years figuring out her identity. She just knows.
What an enviable gift to possess.

She is always honest and kind. I have decided that she is missing the genetics to utter an unkind word. No joke.

She has been a gift since she arrived on this earth. I am grateful to have been trusted enough by my Heavenly Father to raise her.

We have 2 years and 10 months with her until she goes on a mission and starts the rest of her life.
That is awesome and sad all at the same time.

She will be amazing at whatever she does and I know she will be fine.

But she will always have two parents waiting here whenever she needs us.

We love you darling. Happy 16th Birthday!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Every Mama thinks her children are the most spectacular, the most wonderful and beautiful creatures ever.

That's because it's true, for each of us.

Children are a gift.

7 Years ago, we were in the middle of the MBA program at BYU. We were just given our fifth gift..

We named him Henry.

He was round and chubby. But not scratched. That's just the photo.

But that little boy grew. He stayed as cute and sweet, not quite as chubby:)

But now instead of sandy shells, he loves Spiderman

And opening presents, apparently.


Henry is a squishy. Do you have a squishy at your house?

He's the child that just sort of melts into you when you hug him. He's snuggly and soft, and well, just squishy.

He is also kind and loving. He really is. We have this little friend who loves Henry. She calls him Haundry.

She bosses him slightly, convincing him to be her puppy. But it's ok because she's two. And he loves it. He never gets annoyed.

The other night she picked up a purse and said, "Come on Haundry. Lets go to Fred Meyers."

She seemed pretty confident he would listen. He's nice like that.

He will be a husband like his daddy someday. I just know it.

Thoughts on Henry.

Henry is a sensitive little man. Mainly because he does not understand when others are unkind. Simply because he would never purposefully hurt anyone's feelings. Ever. It's just not in his makeup.

He has this giggle. I don't know how to explain it. But when you hear it, if it doesn't touch your soul and make you happy just hearing it, then, well, you must be a grouch. Or an ogre. Or a grinch. Something grumpy.

He loves all of his siblings. But Anne Marie and Nora are his best friends. They are together constantly.
He plays dolls with them. They play Legos with him.
They perform plays, pretend they are different animals, play school even.

It's awesome and I hope they all stay the best of friends forever.

He is loyal. If you are good to him, he will be good to you. Always.

He loves his daddy. A lot. Which is nice. His dad is such a good example. I'm glad that Henry adores him so much.

Someday Henry will be grown up. But he will still be my squishy. He will still let me hug him and kiss his head. I hope.

Happy Birthday Mr. Henry. We love you.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Julia the brilliant

Something special happened in August.

As you know Anne Marie turned 10.

But Julia also had a birthday and turned 14.

It's a fun, crazy age.

She went to her first Youth Dance for our church(you have to be 14).

She started high school.

Milestones that add some spice to life.

We wanted to make her birthday special. Kate especially was teeming with an idea so grand and wonderful that it had to be done.

You see, there is this global phenomenon that has taken over the spare time of many teenage girls, and their parents ;)

It is a little television show called Doctor Who. And Julia is one of the biggest fans.

So Kate thought we should have a Doctor Who themed party. Not a small task

There had to be actual planning on this one. No last minute stuff.

The first thing that had to be done was to build a T.A.R.D.I.S.

That stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space.

It's a time machine. And the pilot is a time lord who travels the universe with different companions(friends), usually humans, saving civilizations and planets and having adventures. Oh, and he is over 900 years old.

The Tardis is bigger on the inside and the outside looks like a 1940's British police box.

So of course we, I mean Jeff, had to build a Tardis, and Kate and I had to figure out how to make it bigger on the inside.

Because the Tardis can takes it's occupants back in time, we thought what would be more fun than having the Tardis take Julia back in time to eat dinner with other time travellers in a Titanic inspired way?

Wee hoo this was so fun. You ready for the pictures?

We landed the Tardis in front of our garage. Seemed like a perfect spot.

Then I drove Julia around while everyone arrived and finished things up.

I made her close her eyes when we got back so that all she could hear was the whooshing noise that the Tardis makes.

When she opened her eyes, she saw the 10th Doctor waiting for her.

He took her hand and told her to run. The Doctor says that a lot. She seems a bit stunned.

She walked into the Tardis to discover that it is in fact bigger on the inside.

And it's ready for it's next flight.

Grandparents, parents and siblings all joined in the adventure.

It was really, really, fun.

She turned 14, she really did.

She is an amazing girl. We call her our Renaissance child because she does a little bit of everything.

And she does it well.

She is writing a book.( And it's really good.)

She writes beautiful poetry.

She is a budding artist. She draws all the time.

She sings and acts and writes songs.

She is a 4.0 student and most importantly to this mother and her dad, she is a good, righteous daughter of God.

She loves her Savior and desires to do good.

She is amazing.

Her and Kate are inseparable. Best friends. And Kate's love of Julia not only made this wonderful party a reality, but I know it is part of why Julia succeeds at so much.

Her sister/best friend is her biggest fan.

Happy Birthday Jules. We love you!
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