Thursday, July 31, 2008

Politeness Matters

Our children are typically polite. The girls are even learning to say "No, thank you" when appropriate. Thursdays are Lana's therapy days, and at the clinic today Lana thanked both sets of automatic doors and the elevator.

"Gank you."

PS--If you liked my new glasses, you should check out Lana's. She borrowed them from Mr. Potato Head. He didn't mind.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Out with the old...

DSC00980 old glasses 

...and in with the new!

DSC01042 new glasses

After wearing the same glasses for probably eight years, I finally got some new ones.  Thanks to Chelsea, I found two new pairs for only $20 each.  If I hadn't heard about the place from a friend, I probably would have been skeptical about the quality of the glasses because of the low price.  The glasses are great.  The only drawback I can think of is that you can't go to the store where you bought them to get them adjusted.  Considering the money I saved, I don't think that's a big sacrifice to make .  I don't even want to think about how much we paid for Cary's glasses.

If you're ready for some new glasses, you might want to check out this site.  I got my eye exam done.  Then half-a-year later (I take care of myself last), I tried on some frames at WalMart with my sister along to give her input.  Thanks Jolina!  She took pictures of our favorites, and I finally ordered the frames online.  What do you think?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The "Romantic Getaway"

As Cary mentioned in his post, we went away for two days--without our children!

Bright and early we dropped them off with two different families (thanks again!) and we were on our way. It was wonderful! I haven't seen Cary this much in a long time, and the time together is so different when you're not being parents. I even took two naps in the van. Cary knew it would happen, so I didn't feel too bad.

On the first evening, we saw the Hill Cumorah Pageant. I saw it when I was little, and though I don't remember much of it, I'm sure the special effects have changed quite a bit. They are doing some really neat things with water and light. We really enjoyed the pageant, despite the guy with the megaphone just outside the parking lot who was taunting everyone who passed. We spoke with at least a dozen cast members before the show. I guess we look friendly.

DSC00974 cumorah 1

There were about 700 cast members in the program this year. Before the show starts, they all enter the stage. This picture probably shows about half of them. (My picture with everyone was even worse than this one.)

DSC00984 cumorah

Probably the strangest thing about this trip was breakfast on the second day. Don't get me wrong--breakfast was delicious! We stayed at a bed and breakfast, and were served a three course meal. I sat there, spoke with other adults, and ate my food. I didn't have to take care of anyone. I felt like I should be clearing the dishes or something. It was nice. It also made me miss my kids--sort of.

After that we went to Treman gorge. It was beautiful. You can get an idea of the size of this place if you look at the stairs behind the falls.

DSC01004 Treman gorge

DSC01011 Cary Treman

It was interesting to see how the water had cut the landscape.

DSC01031b DSC01036

And here I am once again in my goofy hat. (By the way, I am tan in this picture.)

DSC00997b Treman

My dad typically wears a straw hat and long sleeves when he's working outside. I always thought it was a little strange, but it is my dad and so I love it too. As of this summer, a large hat has become part of my standard garb when I do my garden work. And it has eliminated my former, sometimes daily, summer headaches. Too bad I didn't try it sooner.

Getting back on topic, I want to thank you once again for a wonderful trip, Cary. I may have wished for it, but probably never would have tried it because of Lana's eating issues. I'm so glad we went.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

You know it's getting bad when... need to wash a pot before you can cook dinner because just about every one you own is dirty.  Before you can wash the pot, you have to remove some other pots and pans from the sink to make enough room to even be able to wash the pot.

This is what happens when I don't do dishes every day (besides running the dishwasher).

Another strange thing seems to be happening.  If my kids were older, I'm sure I could blame it all on "notme", but I think for now I'll blame it on space aliens.  Someone is removing objects from their designated put-away places and strategically placing them in the middle of the floor or on any flat surface in various rooms of the house.

Ok, so it's really our fault, but it is happening at an alarming rate.  Is it always worse in the summer?

In any case, I have a lot to blog about, but it is going on hold until I can get things more under control around here!  Thanks, Cary, for stepping in.

Friday, July 18, 2008

More Word Fun From Mandy

Hi again,

Cary guest blogger here.

Enough is enough. I've been working dog-hours all summer so far on a job that required heavy hours for excellent pay and to leave me free for the last half of summer. The last half is here, so we farmed out the kids and had a little retreat. We had a great and uplifting time at the Hill Cumorah Pageant, stayed at a charming bed and breakfast in Ithaca (Thomas Farm, for anyone in the area--we highly reccomend it!), and spent a hot muggy morning hiking a delightful nature trail with some breathtaking falls at Treman State Park.

But the best part of it was how long I had Mandy alone in a van, just talking. We had a lot of fun. I wanted to share 2 of the highlights just because this side of her personality she will not write about herself--I think it's against her code or something...But I can do it!

#1. The Spunky Side

Mandy: "I think if I wanted a bumper sticker I would get one that just says BUMPER STICKER."

#2. The poetic side
You know how some people have the gift of putting together two seemingly unrelated words or concepts to make the most perfect description, or capture the most pure essence of some phenomenon? My literary studies have given me to admire that in almost every poet I can cite. Mandy has that gift. She's got the soul of a poet. I'm sure reading her blog many of you get that sense. It's not the "flowery overflowing" language of some kinds of poetry, but rather the "those two simple words together nails it better than any dictionary ever could" kind of poetry.

What's the phrase? Picture a yard we're driving by at 60 miles/hour where you can barely see the lawn for all the eclectic collection of variously shaped ornaments and trinkets.

Mandy, with her usual spunk: "Now there's a plague of knick-knacks".

A plague of knick-knacks! On par with a pride of lions, a herd of cows or a gaggle of geese, right? But a PLAGUE, no less: captures in a word the process by which such a yard was most likely created, like some sort of disease unstoppably spread.

Mandy will never cease to give me things to admire her for.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mandy's Vocabulary

Cary guest blogger here.

Mandy's got a humungous vocabulary. Anyone who's ever tried to take her on in Scrabble (or her latest Facebook application craze: Scramble--check it out here) knows she can't be beat. So the other day I was mining her considerable resources to help me come up with a definitive list of verbs derived from "mettre" for a French lesson I was writing as part of my summer job. The root is the same in English, so I started the list and asked her to come up with similar ones: admit, commit, permit, emit, omit, etc.

Her answer:


Yup...She's a mom!

We had a good laugh.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Garden Recipes

I left what I thought would be adequate space for a path in the garden, but those plants sure have proven me wrong! I don't remember bean plants ever being this tall. And I've been chopping leaves off of my broccoli and zucchini plants to make room for the peppers and peas.

Here's the list of veggies in case I piqued anyone's curiosity with my last garden post:

in the main garden:
red peppers
green peppers
sugar snap peas
swiss chard

in a smaller bed:

Now I am in search of great recipes. I can hardly keep up with this stuff! If you have a recipe using any of the above-listed veggies that you really like, please, please, pretty please write it in a comment on this post. I enjoy all of these veggies plain, but I would love to expand my repetoire and make some things that the whole family will love.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Let's Fight!

I consider it to be one of my greatest rewards of parenting when my children all get along and make up fun games to play. Lately though, we've had a few screaming/ pushing/ hitting matches. I'm sure most of their interactions have been pleasant, but these moments of drama tend to stand out to me. The main contenders have been Lana and Gwyn. I try to quickly put an end to these fights, but I think that despite their appearance (and sounds) of distress, the girls actually like it. For example, Gwyn and Lana both wanted to stand directly in front of the TV as we were watching Sesame Street. No one is allowed to stand there, but this didn't matter. They started pushing and screaming. My first attempts to break it up were verbal, and then I physically moved both girls away from the TV. They both immediately ran back, still screaming, and now starting to hit. I turned off the TV and it had no impact whatsoever. I moved them again and one girl ran back to the TV and waited for her opponent, looking intently over her shoulder as if to say "I'm ready. Are you coming?" I finally put both of them in the penalty box, at which point they both finally snapped out of it.

There are also times when I can be the Mommy of only one child. This means that no one else is allowed to sit on me, sit beside me, be held by me, or look at me. If any of these incursions occur, immediate screaming and pushing result. Sometimes I just want to run away!

I'm guessing that there are normal struggles for dominance among triplets, but nothing wears on me more than my children fighting and screaming. I suppose this will all get sorted out eventually. In the mean time, should I buy a whistle and a referee shirt, and maybe some boxing gloves for the girls? Maybe some earplugs would be a better idea.

On a brighter note, today Everett and I were playing around, and I said, "You're going down, punk!" Everett said, "No, you're going down!"

Maddie came up to me and said, ever so sweetly: "You going down, Mama."

I asked her where I was going.

She thought for a second and said: "Down to the park."

Tunnel Duty

After I resigned from my duty as "tickle tunnel", Lana quickly stepped in to fill the post:
DSC00813 Lana tunnel G    DSC00815 Lana tunnel M

The other children thought this was hilarious, but it didn't work out too well when Everett attempted to go through.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Independence Day Celebrations

This year we celebrated twice.  Jordan and Celina were picnicking with Celina's brother on the 4th, so we had a little informal get-together at our house.  We lit some sparklers and a few butterflies and fountains, caught some lightning bugs, and then watched the fireworks.  Our house is close enough to the river that we have a great view of one town's fireworks from our back porch.

The kids all enjoyed the sparklers--especially Lana.  The fountains and butterflies were just their speed too.  Gwyn particularly liked the city fireworks.  She cried when we put her to bed before they ended.  I'm glad that no one was really scared.

 LanaGrandma, Cary, Jolina, Arthur GwynMaddie, Gwyn, Lana Arthur, Everett, GwynLana, Maddie 

(Lana's been wearing that hat for about a week now, and she gets upset if it falls off.)

On Saturday we celebrated at Grandma and Grandpa's house with the whole gang.  We had a wonderful time.  Once again, I forgot my camera, but the kids had a blast with the new sandbox, Grandpa's makeshift seesaw, Grandma's fish pond, and any balls and rackets they could get their hands on.  We had a few badminton games going on that involved three or four adults and about five children, each one holding a badminton or tennis racket, or even a ping-pong paddle.  We really had to watch our step!  Grandpa also lit a bonfire.  We left before dark this time so that we could get the kids to bed in time to get a good night's rest before church on Sunday.

A Day at the POOL

Last week, we were able to go to the pool at the Y, thanks to Celina and her membership. There were 11 of us total that day: Jolina, Arthur, little Arthur, Emily, Lily, Rosie, and myself and the four kids. (Celina is recovering from a surgery and had a car appointment, Melina stayed home with Daniel, and Cary and Jordan were working.) There were three pools. After getting everyone changed, I went with the girls to the little pool while Everett went to the big pool with Arthur and Arthur. This was one day that I wished I could make a copy of myself so that I could be two places at once, but Jolina stayed with the girls for me for a while so that I could go over to the big pool to see how Everett was doing. He was pretty much on his own with Arthur watching him from the side of the pool. I don't know that I've ever seen him more excited! Left to his own devices for his first time in a big pool this year, he taught himself to doggie-paddle. When I found him, he was just gleeful, pushing off of the bottom of the pool and paddling with his eyes wide and a huge smile on his face. He was also repeatedly climbing out and jumping in. It was a joy to watch him.

Unfortunately, I didn't bring a camera that day, but I hope the image of his happy face never leaves me. I love watching all of their firsts!

The girls had fun with the toys the other children had brought. They spent most of the time making dinner with little plates and pitchers.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

The harvest has begun. It's so exciting for me to watch everything grow and then to be able to eat things from our own backyard. I don't think I'll ever get over this. It's a little miracle to me every time.

This is our second year having our own garden. I helped in our garden when I was growing up, and my mom set aside a 4x4 frame for each of her kids to plant whatever they wanted. (I always did flowers.) We planted our first garden as a married couple the summer after we came back from France, in 2005. It was great, but the end of the harvest was somewhat wasted because at that point I was having major morning-sickness and didn't want to move any more than I had to to. But I really don't want to think about that. We took the next year off because we had three new little ones to care for, and moved at the end of July. In 2007 I took it easy and just planted tomato plants. It's really nice to be able to get back into it again. Hopefully next year we'll be able to make it even bigger.

So here's the garden:

DSC00816 garden

There are 7 kinds of veggies planted here. Can you name them?

DSC00817 garden 2

And here's Everett with the first of our harvest. He didn't want to touch it because of the little prickles, but he let me set it on his lap:

DSC00821 Ev zucchini

We have another small bed with lettuce, cucumbers, and two volunteer tomato plants. I have a little more space, so I might plant something else. It's just a matter of timing!

Friday, July 4, 2008

It's too late for me to do a long post, so I'll talk about our 4th of July celebrations later.

Lana is doing better. She hasn't thrown up in a couple of days, and we're slowly building back up on the volume of her feedings. We're still under quota, but definitely improving. I took her off of two of her medications when she was having problems because they seemed to be making things worse. Hopefully this won't have detrimental effects.

We were in Wal-Mart this morning, and someone stopped us to tell us how beautiful our children were. A woman said to Everett, "You're all so beautiful!" I asked him, "What do you say?" Everett's response: "I'm not beautiful--I'm handsome."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Why I Haven't Been Blogging

I've really missed this blog, but have been super busy with other good things. I probably shouldn't even try to catch up at this point. Aside from the normal work and play, here's what I've been up to:

  1. I was asked to be the second counsellor in the Primary (the children's organization at church) a few weeks ago. After I was able to attend and observe for two weeks, the president and first counselor went on vacation and left me alone--sort of. I still had all of the wonderful teachers, the chorister, and the pianist there to support me. (Kathrin, if you're reading this, don't feel bad!) I really love the kids in there. It went pretty well, and I definitely learned a few things!
  2. I had a stamping workshop. I always have a lot of fun with these. I said it was going to be my last one, but I'll probably do another one in November.
  3. Lana started throwing up, a LOT. We're still unsure of the cause, but we've been very careful with her for the past week. I have a suspicion that it is related to teething. I don't even want to weigh her. I'm sure she's lost weight, but I'm trying not to think about it because we're doing the best we can.
  4. Jolina and her fiance Arthur and his 5-yr-old son, little Arthur, are here for a visit! They arrived last Saturday and will be here through this Sunday. We are spending as much time with them as we can, and enjoying every minute of it. I'm not getting as much sleep as I should, but we don't see them very often, so it's worth it.

*I forgot to add this fifth reason:

Cary's summer work deadline is rapidly approaching and he's been working really long hours. I have been taking over some of his normal activities to give him even more time to work (mowing the lawn, doing more "family" outings solo, etc.). We've missed him, and will be happy when all of the work is completed. Then he'll start working hard on his dissertation, but he'll be able to breathe a little easier and be around a little more.