Saturday, January 30, 2010


From his bed-head... his eating habits... his ability to find anything - and I do mean anything - to use as a stool... his teeth brushing habits...

...and his tongue-brushing habits...

I love this little handsome man.

My Little Artist

There's this boy named Eddie that used to be in Kelsey's kindergarten class.  Although they switched him to a different class, Kelsey says he "still loves her".  She, however, does not love him.  She loves Jaden, so she says.  But when she got the invitation to go to his Lego Birthday Party she couldn't wait!

Instead of making him a card, she decorated a large mailing address label for his gift bag.

Didn't she do a great job?


Thursday it was freezing rain.
Friday it was this:

Today we had this:


Don't you just love icicles?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Borrowed" Blog

I was reading the blog of my friend, Christy P., and laughed so hard at her post!  Unfortunately, though, I can't remember if her blog is set at private.  Just in case it is, I'm re-posting it here so  you can enjoy a laugh and some earthy wisdom for the day.

Old Farmers Advice:

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.

Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.

Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.

Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.

Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads.

Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.

You cannot unsay a cruel word.

Every path has a few puddles.

When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

The best sermons are lived, not preached.

Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.

Don't judge folks by their relatives.

Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.

Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't bothering you none.

Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.

Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.

The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.

If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The "Furminator"

I'm not making it up.  That's really what this thing is called.  And let me tell you, it's a gem.  If you had told me 2 weeks ago that I would have spent almost $60 on a brush for my dog, I would have asked you what you had been smoking.  But then my neighbor loaned me hers to try out.  Oh. My. Goodness.

We've been brushing her with this thing every day for the past week.  And yet still, every day, we get out piles of hair like this:

No wonder I was turning into "that person" that had dog hair all over her house no matter how much she vacuumed.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The "Off" Brand

This, my friends, is why I have finally switched to Huggies.

And this hilarious picture was taken at the same "photo shoot".  Any guesses on when he's due?  I'm thinking he looks about 7 months along...

The Powers of Observation

This weekend we have not been able to find either our thermometer or stapler.

Usually they live on the kitchen counter and on top of the computer desk, which Ben cleared off for me on Saturday morning.

I asked him to put anything he didn't know what to do with in a laundry basket for me to put away when I got the chance.

Here is the conversation that took place:

Anita: "Ben, have you seen the stapler anywhere?"

Ben: "Nope."

Anita: "It's always on top of the computer.  Are you sure you didn't put it in the laundry basket?"

Ben: "Yep.  I haven't seen it."

Anita quickly checks the laundry basket to make sure and doesn't see it on top.

Anita: "This is so weird!  I always keep it there so Connor can't grab it."

And then yet another conversation:

Anita: "Ben, did you see the thermometer when you cleaned off the counter?"

Ben: "Nope."

Meanwhile, Anita is dumping out and going through the basket on the kitchen counter where the thermometer usually lives.

Anita: "Crud, Connor must have walked off with it.  I can't find it anywhere!"

Enter Monday morning.  I'm doing laundry and getting around to putting away all the stuff that ended up in the laundry basket.

Can you guess what I found?

Thanks right, Sherlock.  Don't quit your day job...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Air & Space Museum

This week we had our first field trip with the local home educator's support group.  We went to the Stafford Air & Space Museum and Planetarium out in Weatherford.  Because it's the first time I've really done a field trip with Olivia (other than the zoo) it never occurred to me that I should actually learn about the space program or General Stafford before we went to the museum.  If we had, I'm sure she would have gotten more out of it.  Despite my lack of preparation, however, we really enjoyed ourselves, despite the long (and I do mean long) drive there.  Fortunately, I DID have the foresight to invite another family of kids along.  They are very, very well-behaved and all Olivia's age or older.  Therefore, their mom got to have a day off and Olivia had playmates to pass the time with.  Brownie points for mom! 

A few things that I learned today:
- It is possible to get motion sickness sitting still in a planetarium.
- Flying a plane is harder than it looks.  (Olivia and I kept crashing the flight simulator.  But for some reason, the boys with us didn't crash.  Is it that Y-chromosome thing again?)
- The cockpit of a fighter jet is really, really small and crowded.
- The first space shuttles were launched with rockets that were originally made to launch bombs.
- They used to hide these rockets in silos underground.  Ben insists there are still some hidden in silos, though the lady at the museum said they were all dismantled... (It's a conspiracy I tell you!)
- Astronauts in the space station eject their "poo" in little capsules that then burn up in our atmosphere.  We think they are shooting stars.  Kinda puts a damper on your romantic star-gazing, doesn't it?

I didn't get a ton of pictures from our trip, but I did get a few.

Olivia is the astronaut on the left...

This is a model of a space shuttle.  If you look at the launch rocket on the right side, the second cylindrical section (the short one) is what the kids are standing in...

... right here.  Maybe it's just me, but I thought it would be bigger.

And here's one of those launch rockets (i.e. fuel tanks) that was hidden underground in a silo.  Or part of it anyway.  It's actually about 90 feet long.

They had this ejection seat from a fighter jet set out for the kids to sit in.  Connor climbed in all by himself.  The real trick was getting him out.

Olivia and her friend Megan in another vehicle.  I didn't catch what it was for.  I was busy trying to get Connor out of that ejection seat when they explained it and couldn't hear over his screaming.

This is probably my favorite picture of the day.  The tour ends in the gift shop (of course) so I got all the kids a sucker shaped like a rocket ship.  While trying to get a picture of Connor eating his, I knelt on the floor to get a good angle.  He took one look at me and knelt down, too.  Monkey see, monkey do...

The Technology Gene

It's attached to the Y chromosome, isn't it?

Grossed Out

Connor has figured out a new way to share his food with Trixie.  First he eats it.  Then he swallows it.  Then he goes over and opens his mouth and Trixie licks inside it.  I'm so disgusted.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A "Workation"

First we had vacations...

Then I learned about something called a staycation...

And now I'm going on a month-long workation!

Where, you ask?  Well, where else? 

South Carolina!

That's right... the kids and I are coming to South Carolina from the middle of February to the middle of March.  Ben will stay here with the dog and work.  He'll fly out for a long weekend in the middle so we don't miss each other so terribly bad.  And what will I be doing out in South Carolina?  Working, of course!  The Woods (my former employers) have made me an offer to come back and help them meet some March deadlines.  The kids will be in "daycare" with family, mostly, and since Olivia is already in homeschool it won't be a huge deal.  Kelsey will continue her Kindergarten education on the road, and re-enroll in school once we get back.  She'll miss about 4 weeks of school and we'll get back during Spring Break.

This is a great blessing for our family and will help us meet some financial goals for this year.  As an added bonus, we get to spend some time with our family and friends in the Palmetto State.  And it helps that I really loved my job.  So... workation, here we come!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Living a Lie

I have debated whether I should write this blog post for a couple of days.  However, it has been on my mind a lot and I think it would be worthwhile to share it.  If nothing else, this blog is our family journal and this is a big deal to me and therefore important to document.  And maybe - just maybe - some of you can relate.

Over the past few months I have been struggling off and on with some emotions that I have ignored for a very long time.  Without going into too much personal detail, let me say that I have struggled with poor self-esteem and feelings on inadequacy for most of my life.  Recently I have gotten to a point where it hurts more to stay where I am than it does to change.  Although I have identified things that have gotten me to this point, I haven't really been able to figure out why I have been struggling so much (and crying so much).  I have even had good friends of mine suggest getting some counseling to try to resolve some of this. 

In desperation this past week I went in to see my bishop at church to get a referral for an LDS Family Services counselor.  The bishop gave me a copy of a talk to read that was given by Hyrum W. Smith in 2002 at the funeral of a friend that had committed suicide.  In one section of this talk he addresses the difference between pessimists, optimists, and realists.  He refers to observations made by Admiral Stockdale who was a POW in the North Vietnamese prison camps for over 6 years.

"The pessimists saw the brutal facts around them and quit.  The optimists had boundless faith and ignored the brutal facts.  The realists saw the brutal facts and had faith that they could be dealt with... The interesting thing about these three groups is that the first two groups of people died in the camps in Vietnam."

"I understood why the pessimists didn't make it... The second group stunned me!  The optimists died as well!  How come the optimists died?  Because the optimists had boundless faith but were not willing to look at the brutal facts.  And they said to each other, 'You know we'll be out of here by Christmas.  We'll be out of here by Valentine's Day.'  Every rustle in the bush was the marines coming to save them.  And when every rustle of the bush wasn't the marines coming to save them, and when they weren't out by Christmas and they weren't out by Valentine's Day, they died.  They gave up and died."

"The optimists ignore the facts - put on smiley faces and pretend it didn't happen.  However, the optimists live a lie." (Emphasis added)

As I read this I cried all over again, because I realized this is the root of my problem.  I have been living a lie.  What's the lie?  What are the "brutal facts"?  I could say that it was my tough childhood or the drama that happened with my dad, or the result of poor decisions I made growing up.  But you know what?  It doesn't really matter how I got to this place.  The brutal fact is that mortality hurts.  And I can't avoid it.  That's what being mortal means.  The problem is that, as an "optimist", I have been relying on my faith and expecting things to be fine.  And when I have to face the fact that they aren't always fine I feel like a failure, and like nothing I ever do will be good enough.

With this realization has come the ability to change.  The only way that I can truly love myself and know my worth is to come to see myself as God sees me.  And a week ago I didn't want to know how God saw me, because no matter what my mind knew about God's love, my heart was afraid that I just wasn't good enough.  But God doesn't love people based on whether or not they are "good".  He loves us because we are his children. 

Now I can start moving forward again.  Change still won't come easy, and I still need to retrain my heart to be a realist instead of an optimist, but the walls are starting to come down.  Because I did not learn a father's love from my own father, I am immensely grateful for the constancy of my husband's love.  He shows his love for me every day, and it heals me.  Granted, he doesn't understand what I'm talking about half the time when I get all analytical and introspective at times like these, but he loves me and supports me anyway.  And that is more than enough.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Making My Day

I have been so behind on my blog reading the past couple of weeks, and when I finally sat down to catch up this morning, the first blog I read (Shannon's) included a Blog award passed on to me!  What a way to start my day.  Thank you Shannon!
This is the Happy 101 award.

I am supposed to list 10 things that make me happy and then pass this award on to 10 people. Here are my 10 things (in no particular order):

  • Sunny days with a lovely breeze
  • The smell of fresh-cut grass
  • Laughter, especially that of my children
  • Music, music, music!
  • Sleeping in late in my warm, soft bed with Ben beside me (doesn't happen much, of course, but one day...)
  • A good workout
  • Quiet time
  • Seeing the funny contortions my kids get themselves into while sleeping
  • Spending time with good friends
  • A great massage

Now, the 10 lucky blogs who I am awarding the Happy 101 award to are:

My Name is Mommy
Daniel & Shannon Smith Family
Delicious Bass
SC Chesleys
Maseda Mayhem
The Maxfields
Thurgood, Stucki, McCaddon, Miller, and Thurgood
Carol's Stories and Things
Mom's Musings
Loose Lemons

Congratulations, folks!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


For the past month or so I feel like I've been really slack in keeping up with this blog.  I have been dealing with some personal things and have felt pretty disconnected from the "bloggerverse" in general.  Looking back I can see that I've posted quite a bit of fluff, but I still feel like I haven't kept up with the family stuff that's been going on.  And we HAVE had a good bit going on that I haven't blogged about: Christmas parties, Christmas Cantatas, family visits, making new homeschool friends, and much, much more.  But since I hate having to play "catch-up", I'm going to play "snapshot" instead.

BEN took off about a week around Christmas, which we thoroughly enjoyed for the first 5 days.  By that time the effects of being cooped up together, snowed in, and unable to get out much (even outside) and not seeing anyone else (they even canceled church!) started getting on our nerves.  Stir Crazy doesn't even begin to cover it.  Now he's back to working hard and bringing home the Big Bucks.  And now that the weather has finally started getting back to normal ranges, I might even be able to convince him to get up the ladder and take the Christmas lights down from the house with me.  He's also growing his Annual Facial Hair.  He is cultivating quite the nice beard.  He's quite dashing in it, don't you think?

ANITA (i.e. ME) is working hard at maintaining her sanity.  She is taking Julie's advice and getting up most mornings extra-early for some quiet time to read the scriptures and work on music.  She's not making it much further than mascara most days, and is in desperate need of a haircut.  Fortunately, her most favorite and talented hair stylist/therapist (aka Brandi) has finally gotten her shop back up and running after moving this summer.  She is scheduled for a cut tonight! As you can see from the way he strategically placed the chandelier behind her head in this photo, her husband thinks she's an angel and close to perfection.

 OLIVIA is back in the groove of schooling at home after Christmas break.  She was able to have a play date this week with another 4th grader and they did crafts and played games.  She also joined the chess club at the library on Monday.  She's really starting to get to know other kids her age and have a great time.  She also found a pair of roller blades this week at the local thrift store.  Now for a whopping $3 she has a great new hobby.  She can't get enough of them and doesn't understand why I won't let her ride them around the neighborhood by herself.  Maybe it's just me, but I'm thinking she needs more than a few days practice before I let her go off alone.

KELSEY is reading like crazy.  She was just given some beginner reader books by one of our neighbors and she feels brilliant being able to read all by herself.  We think she's brilliant, too.  She got a $3 pair of roller blades along with Olivia.  However, she doesn't have a helmet yet so she's required to wear her Christmas hat that Aunt Kristi made for her to help cushion her head if she falls.  She's also not allowed further than our back porch till we get her one.  As you can see, her favorite thing to so is roll forward into a split.  Very talented.

CONNOR is growing like a weed: tall and skinny.  At his check-up yesterday he weighed 23 pounds and was 33 inches tall.  He's started running up to Ben every day when he gets home from work and giving him a big hug around the legs.  Unfortunately, he's also started whining to get what he wants.  Mom's trying to curb that bad habit before it goes too far.  Most of the time he just wants to draw and love on Trixie.  Trixie generally tolerates it pretty well, but sometimes in the evening she's had enough and will growl lightly when he climbs on her.  Connor thinks this is funny and keeps going back for more, which causes us stress.  That's another thing we're working on.  One thing is for sure - he's sure keeping us on our toes!

TRIXIE gets a spot in the update just because we have a great picture of her and Connor in her crate.  She'd gone in there for some quiet time and to gnaw on her bone, and Connor decided to follow her in and shut the door.  He cried when I took him out.  Trixie's probably the most excited out of all of us that the weather is finally gotten back to normal.  We've been covered in half-melted snow and ice since Christmas Eve, and the weather as finally warmed up enough to melt the snow and dry out the sidewalks.  We've started walking again regularly, and you can tell she's ecstatic.

Friday, January 8, 2010

My Beautiful Ladies

Today we have some special things going on, and both my ladies got dolled up "right nice" (be sure to say that with a southern twang, now!) this morning.  They were both so beautiful we had to take some pictures.

Olivia is going to a play this morning at the High School called "Chasing George Washington".  It's being put on by the Kennedy Center.  Since they closed the OKC public schools for the rest of the week, suddenly a large number of seats opened up for additional homeschoolers to attend.  Bonus for us!

Be sure to check out her new Christmas boots from Santa!

And my favorite feature of her ensemble... her shirt can double as a disco ball - check out the wall!

Kelsey's "big thing" today is that I let her wear a pair of dangle earrings.  Normally she's too young for that sort of thing, but her best friend from school made them for her with an earring-making kit she got for Christmas.  So I relented.  Of course, then we had to clip back her hair behind her ears so everyone could see her fancy earrings...

Getting this girl to be serious for more than a minute is impossible...

See what I mean?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Five and Two-Thirds

I'm amused by many things today, it would seem.  Another story I wanted to share from my afternoon excursion to get Kelsey from school.  We live about 4 streets down from the school and I normally walk to get her, unless it's freezing (literally) like it has been lately.  On these days I drive to the school, park across the street, and walk to the place I normally pick her up.  Here's the conversation Kelsey and I had on the way back to the van:

Kelsey: "Mommy, when I came outside you weren't there yet and I thought maybe I was supposed to walk home by myself."

Anita:  "No, honey, you're not allowed to walk home alone."

Kelsey:  "But next time if you're not there could I start walking home by myself?"

Anita: "No, Kelsey.  You are not allowed to walk home alone.  You're too young."

Kelsey: "But I'm a big girl!  I'm five and two-thirds!"

Anita:  "I know you are, but you won't be allowed to walk home alone until you're at least 7 or 8."

Kelsey:  "But I'm five and two-thirds!  That's the same as seven!"


This is our dog, Trixie.  It was taken back in October at the dog park near our home.  Doesn't she look so sleek and graceful?  Don't let her fool you.

This afternoon as I was walking with Trixie and Connor to pick Kelsey up from school, I had to swerve off the sidewalk to avoid a pile of icy snow in my way.  As I went around onto the grass, something caught Trixie's attention and she turned back to look at it as she walked.  She turned around just in time to run head-first into a metal pole.  This is becoming a family trait - I've done it, Olivia's done it, and now Trixie!  Apparently, klutziness is catching.  And here I thought it was just in the DNA...