Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Another take on Diana's Sr. Pics

I love this face.

My Nana and Me

So these are from Dani's angle...I like these alot. I tweaked them on Picasa...I don't know which one Diana will want to submit for the yearbook tho. Any suggestions?? On the one below, I added a soft focus

Picasa tweaks

Okay so I figured out how to put the picasa ones on here.

Diana Senior Pics

We headed over to Fox Run Park this morning before school and snapped some pics for her senior yearbook.
Because we were "in transit" all summer from Idaho to Colorado, there has been no time to get a photographer. So we just used her little Kodak point and shoot and got some nice ones. These have yet to be enhanced using Picasa.

This is one of the ponds over at Fox Run. Fall is settling in on us and I love it!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Dawn's Yummy but not famous chicken noodle soup

*Dawn's Not-Very-Famous-Chicken-Noodle-Soup
Swanson's Chicken Broth (3 large box containers)
4 chicken breasts, skinned
2 c carrots (chopped in a food processor, not mushy though!)
1 stalk celery chopped
1/2 red onion
2 TB minced garlic
fresh crunched pepper
a couple dashes of red chili powder, garlic powder, celery salt
3 TB Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 bag Egg noodles
1- Olive oil in a wide pan. Saute onions and minced garlic. Add chicken. Add chili powder, garlic powder, celery salt. Cook until chicken is golden brown and done inside. Then chop into small bite size peices.
2- Pour Broth into big pot adding every thing else, but noodles.
3-Bring broth to boil, add noodles.
4-Turn heat down and let noodles cook until tender.
**If you want to cook this in the crock pot, count on about 2-3 hours for the noodles to get tender, depending on how much you cook and how big the crockpot is.Voila!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Top 10 Reasons Not to Move to Nebraska and Dump Your Teenagers at a Hospital!

10. It's Nebraska.
9. Who will take out the trash?
8. It'll cost you more in gas money to get there than a college education!
7. You'll have to pay someone from the Geek Squad to fix your PC
6. If you don't have a teenager, how will you know how to drive?
5. They know Everything!
4. Your sense of style will stagnate.
3. Who will translate the latest Pop songs for you?
2. Who else will you get to mow the grass for free?
And the Number One Reason for not moving to Nebraska so you can Dump your Teenagers off at the hospital: It's easier to blackmail them the older they get!

Elvis and Jed Clampett!

When I was a kid, Elvis was it. My dad convinced me that Elvis was a relative. My dad has blue eyes, black hair, and a noticable grin when he was younger and was a convincing storyteller.
As I got older tho, I thought he looked REMARKABLY like Jed Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies. He even talked and danced like him. He said things like, "Waillll dogey" and "I'll be dern." The next time insomnia hits and you're channel-surfing, when you come across the Beverly Hillbillies, stop for a second, and think about me. I need to get a pic of my Dad just so you know I'm not kiddin.
Okay, so what has this to do with my day? Well, Jed Clampett has nothing to do with my day-- that's just where my brain went when I think about my Dad. But Elvis, yeah, I am embarassed to admit this, but against my better judgement, I dyed my own hair last night. I wanted to cover the hi-lights I'd gotten earlier in the summer back to my normal color. Nothing dramatic. Just my same ol same ol. Diana even went with me to pick out the color. I wanted my basic brown. So we chose L'Oreal natural medium brown. Ugh. There is nothing "natural" about this. It is Elvis Presley blue-black. I did this one other time in 1987. Only it was Loving Care's Medium Ash Brown. It's been how many years since I did that? 21. I haven't dyed my hair since then. NOTE TO SELF: Stop It!!!
When I get good and brave, I will post a pic. Right now, I am going to wash my hair again.
I have an itch to curl my lip up and say, "Thank you. Thankyouverymuch."

Meet our Siamese Fighting Fish "Killer Po"

This is Killer Po. He is my new responsibility, because my kids got wind of all that "unaccounted-for-time" I last spoke of and plotted against me.

When we went camping last wekend up at RMNP, we saw alot of fish in the streams. Cutthroat Trout, and brown trout. Arianna, for whatever reason decided that she needed a fish in her life. I can't emphasize her need enough. You had to be there.

So what does her daddy do? Being the "I-live-to-serve-my-children-kind-of-Daddy" he is, told her she would get a fish. Someday.

She didn't forget that. She talked about it all the rest of the way home and into the next day. At dinner on Tuesday, Joseph says his friend across the street has a fish tank they're selling or giving away--he wasn't sure which. I said, "After dinner, go ask about it." He was out the door in two shakes, with Arianna on his tail. He walked back in with a gallon size gold fish bowl and gravel. FREE.

The next 15 minutes are a blur, but suddenly we were standing in Pet Smart looking at fish. We went there thinking we'd bring home a guppy or a goldfish. The PetSmart guy sold us on a betta. We asked if there were a guarantee of any kind? He said there was!--14 days and if anything happened to this fish, we could get another. So we let Arianna pick out the first one, and told Joseph when this one died, we'd let him pick out a red one next week--they were fussin about which one to get...that seemed to settle the argument quickly.(hey, I"m just being realistic here.)

The next feat to overcome was where to put the bowl? Ari was pulling for the bathroom counter. She said something about it being the place with all the water in the house. Hunh? We opted to let each child have the fish in their room for a few days and then switch. We may make this poor betta schizophrenic.

As of this morning, Day 3, *Killer Po is still swimming strong in his little world.

The best part of this experience was when we were leaving PetSmart and our kids announced that WE ARE THE BEST PARENTS IN THE WORLD! True story. Joseph even offerred up,"When I'm a teenager, I'm going to buy Dad a convertible AND a SUV!" Arianna siad she would buy me a SUV too, but I told her that if they bought Daddy a car, I would just ride with him. Then her eyes lit up and she said, "Oh I know what--I will buy you TWO German Chocolate Cakes for your birthday!!"

That's my girl.

*Killer Po is a combination of the kids name choices..Ari picked Killer, Joseph chose Po after the Kung Fu Panda movie...I wanted to name it Jackie Chan.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Home Staging and Harvests

So this week has been so productive! I have joined forces with a good friend, Kelly to start our staging business together!
It's called "UpStaged!"
We worked together on another friend's house that is going on the MLS this week.
Here are some BEFORE and Afters. I hope they are distinct enough that I don't have to label them BEFORE AND AFTERS!

Master dresser

Same Dresser

Diningroom completed!

okay this is the Before. You probably figured that, but because the pics are out of order, the "mother" in me had to point out the obvious. My sincere apologies. I can't help it.

Anyway, we had a blast doing this! We already have other opportunites knocking on our UpStaged! door that it's just so great.

I encourage you, whoever you are, to do something you love.
Being a Home Stager and a Doula is a natural extension of what I've been doing for 25 years---making a home and having children, it's the right thing for me! I am having a blast doing both!
I'd heard years ago that we all have different seasons in our lives...the season I have mostly been in has been "Motherhood"...I know that season inside and out. There were times in that season that I wondered aloud if I were ever going to experience anything else?!! I had moments of feeling lost in that season...asking myself "is this it? is this all there is for me? will I ever get my turn at something else?"
I just kept working in that season, seeking peace in it, looking for deeper ways to enjoy it, embrace it, and be content in it (learning how to cook, how to sew, learning the language of a "soft answer", diplomacy, patience, hard work, etc.), and reminding myself that what I was doing was more important than anything else--raising my children in faith.
Then, with very little notice, my season changed. I no longer have babes at my ankles, pulling on my apron, demanding every fiber of my being to be focused on their needs. I was given the Gift ( it demands a capital G) of Time. Unaccounted-for -Time. Time to spend as I choose.
I used to think that once I had that kind of time, I would use it for naps. Long, peaceful uninterrupted sleep.
I do not. I have other things to do! All those talents that I have procured in my Motherhood Season are the very tools I use for my new Season. It's the Me Season. It's the reward for doing my best in the Motherhood Season. It is a season of Harvest.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sleeping in the Dirt part Deux

Every Fall, Rocky Mountain National Park is THE place to be! Elk are everywhere to be seen, as they come down from the high country to the meadows where they begin mating season. The bull elk are the stars of the show, however, as they appear with their beautiful antler racks, and "bugle" to herd up their harems. That's why I love going. That's why I asked TWICE if we brought the camera. You will notice that there are NO pictures of Elk in this post (the one above is an online copy). Why? I naively asked Diana to be the photographer for this trip. Apparently, she didn't think the massive amounts of wildlife around our campsite, along the roads, on the trails, etc., were worth taking pictures of...I love teenagers. So what we have here are pics that Diana thought was worth having.
It should be noted that while the forecast called for sunny skies and mild temps in the 70s, that was not exactly our experience. It rained. Alot. So we spent more time in the tent than we planned. Someone brought out the UNO cards.
That's me. I'd gone with Diana after dinner to a meadow (again, no pictures!) to look at the Elk...and a downpour ensued shortly after we got there.

I had to ASK what these pics of Dani and Nana were supposed to be? Dani said it was a recreation of a scene in the Lion King....the girls were facing a mountain. I still don't get it. But in an effort to embarrass these girls, I'm puttin 'em on my blog.

Dani & Brad in the tent. Does he look like he knows he's been "caught" yet?

Beautiful Rockies!

Dani likes to share her food experience. And Brad with his "Jim Halpert" face. (I know, right?!) He's never even seen "The Office"--but he makes that face ALOT around us...no clue.
We're all affected by the outdoors...some more than others.

See that smile on my Mountain Man's face? That look alone is why I sleep in the dirt.

Oh, I did actually SLEEP on this trip, taking no thought of bears or other creep crawly things. We listened to Elk bugling and coyotes calling both nights, accompanied by the sound of raindrops on the tent. Sounds all nature-y and stuff--but I also lay next to Joseph who yammers in his sleep and thrashes about like a cat in a bag, just to keep things interesting.
On a sentimental note, I love that Park. There's something about other campers that gives you the warm fuzzies. We respect nature, we are all there to soak it up and remind oursleves of the "bigger picture", and teach our kids to love it as much as we do. There is "trail etiquette"--you step aside, with a nod and a smile as others pass you by, noone's grimacing or huffing--in fact, most everyone, old and young alike, are their "best selves" camping and hiking. I love to see the work of God in nature, soak it in, and leave it to resonate for a season. It makes me happy.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sleeping in the Dirt.

We're going camping this weekend. We're taking all 47 kids, 2 tents, 50 bottles of water, 250 lbs. of food, 400 sleeping bags....no wait, I am not doing this trip justice by exaggerating. Nope, here is the REAL deal:

9 people, 9 sleeping bags, 9 sleeping bag fleece liners, 9 pillows, 6 duffle bags with clothing ( I have 4 daughters [who will bring their mp3 players, ipods, Barbies, hair dryers, journals, cellphones, etc.], a boy scout [read: gameboy & sticks] and a husband who packs enough for an Apocalypse), and 2 friends(who KNOWS what they'll pack?!), 3 coolers full of water & food, camping stove, 3 tents, 3 tarps, 8 hiking poles, and one Suburban with a THULE on top.

For TWO days.

Now the deal gets sweeter--it does! I LOVE to go to the mountains and spend the whole day hikin, scrambling up rocks, checkin out the wildlife that is so abundant in the Park (that's the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado)...I love s'mores around a campfire, just relaxing and all that goes into a long day outdoors. I love a day like that.

The part I hate is right after all that. The sleeping in a sleeping bag in a tent made of nylon...outside. In the dirt. Where animals live. Bears. Mountain Lions. Snakes. I hate that part. I don't sleep. I rest my eyes.

On our first camping trip ever ever ever up at the Park, at an area called Olive Ridge, in the middle of the night, a cub brushed up against our tent and huffed...I was the only one who heard it, sending a panic straight to my heart. I didn't know at the time it was a bear. I just heard the huff and after a minute, I whispered to Kent. He being the Mountain Man he is, put his headlight on, looking quesitonably like a Miner, poked his head out of the tent(!) and announced that whatever it was, had left. He was back asleep in a milli-second.
For Kent, sleeping in a tent is "cheating"--he grew up in the mountains of Montana. He had no tent. "Sleeping under the stars" is not a cliche to him--it's his childhood. There are few things better for his psyche than sleeping with the earth under him, in his ears, under his fingernails, and a full days' beard growth. Camping where there is modern toilets is almost an affront to him--but since he has daughters who would not go otherwise, he has come to compromise his ideals to appease the masses.

But I digress...back to that night--I lay there til daybreak with eyes peeled w i d e like a Watch Tower Guard.

The next morning the camp Ranger came around and told us there had been a cub in the area that night.

Camping has never been the same since.

SO come Saturday morning, when you are snuggly warm in your bed, hold a thought for me, please. And again on Sunday morning. By then, I will surely need all the karma in the Universe after 2 nights of sleeping (and I use that term lightly) in the dirt.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Forgiving Ourselves--book reveiw

This is a book that every person on the Planet should read. Seriously. Wendy Ulrich writes with clarity, compassion, and a perfect understanding of our psyche's and emotions as we all struggle to "get over" and get through our weaknesses. Every page is more and more fulfilling. A few weeks ago, I read the entire "TWILIGHT" series over a weekend. Easy read, nothing complicated. And when I was done, I thought about the series for about 10 minutes longer, and it was gone.
I began reading this book soon after, and found myself transformed with every page. It is not an easy read, it is a HEALING read. I still have not finished it, because it is a substantial amount of thought-provoking movement inside of me. It is not merely going in and running out. Her suggestions linger inside to the point that I find myself re-reading some passages, hoping the words will cement into my DNA!
Some of her words:
"Repentance is not the back up plan; repentance is the plan." Repentance is not what is left after we botched the true goal of obedience and undefiled righteousness. When learning from others' experiences and failure has not been enough, repentance is a blessed part of how we get to obedience and undefiled righteousness--learning by our own experience and failure, trusting in God's love and sure provisions, activating our own reluctant resilience. This is the only path for us."
And another one:
"Self-forgiveness requires a mature understanding of the purpose of life, which is not to get back to God in the same state of innocence and purity we were in when we left Him. Rather our charge here is to learn the compassion, humility, discipline, and understanding of good and evil that come only with experiece and risk, failure and resilience. Our charge is to get back to God much, much wiser and better than when we left Him, something we can only accomplish thought traveling the bruising, bloodying roads of mortal temptation,affliction, and periodic failiure, as well as the roads of triumph, satisifaction, and ultimate joy."
And one more quote from her book, altho it is a quote from President Boyd K. Packer, November 1995 Conference address, talking on the consummate power of the Atonement:
"Restoring what you cannot restore, healing the wound you cannot heal, fixing that which you broke and cannot fix is the very purpose of the atonment of Christ.
When your desire is firm and you are willing to pay the "uttermost farthing" (See Matt:5:25-26), the law of the restitution is suspended. Your obligation is transferred to the Lord. He will settle your accounts.
I repeat, save for the exception of the very few who defect to perdition, there is no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no apostasy, no crime exempted from the promise of complete forgiveness. This is the promise of the atonement of Christ."
So, go get it. Order it online at Amazon, buy it at Walmart, or your local LDS bookstore.
It is worth every stinkin cent.
WHY? Because I said so. And I'm the Mom.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Politics Hit Home!

This is my ambitious eighth grader. Her political stance is one of Fun-dRaising and Ownership for her fellow students.

I am definitely Voting for her!

okay, so when I was in 8th grade, I too, ran for Student Council President. I did.
But I lost to a gal who promised a Pop machine in the cafeteria! A far-fetched dream in my day!
Go Dara!!!!

NEWS for nursing Moms!

As a Mother and a Doula, I am always on the look-out for information that can enhance my mothering skills or my doula skills. I came across this article today from a DONA e-newsletter that I think is one of those "WOW" moments...if you have experienced this, or know someone who is, it's worth passing along!

When Breastfeeding Feels DarkBy Alia Macrina Heise, CLC, PCD(DONA) Word about a newly recognized condition in breastfeeding mothers has been making its way through on-line networks of breastfeeding communities. Not yet in the literature, Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex (D-MER) is getting recognized as a physiological let-down phenomenon by the top lactation consultants in the profession. D-MER is defined as "a newly recognized condition effecting lactating women that is characterized by a brief surge of dysphoria, or negative emotions, that peak before the milk ejection reflex, or letdown, and then dissipate quickly after the milk release." The emotions mothers feel during D-MER can fall into three different spectrums ranging from dread to anxiety or anger. These intense emotions last a few moments, 30-90 seconds, before every milk release. This leaves a mother confused and worried as to why she is feeling these things while she nurses her baby. It also causes an exhausting emotional cycle, as these mothers feel just fine before and after they experience a D-MER. Formal investigation has been underway to figure out the mechanism and treatment of D-MER and the evidence is pointing to an inappropriate drop in dopamine upon initiation of the milk ejection reflex and treatments using dopamine increasing drugs have been effective in treating D-MER. Education and awareness about D-MER seems to be one of the most important aspects because it has been shown that a vast amount of breastfeeding mothers are affected by this phenomenon, and yet each and every one is often silent about their feelings, thinking they are the only ones who feel such horrific emotions while nursing their babies. Some professionals have gone so far as to call it "breastfeeding's best kept secret." It's time to shed some light on Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex and let mothers know they are not alone and there are treatment options.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Legacy I am leaving?

As a Mom of seven children, I sometimes wonder what kind of legacy I am leaving. They say kids learn our bad habits just as quickly as our good ones. Kinda nauseating, but true.

Yesterday as Arianna (my 7 yo)and I were getting ready for Church, I was fixing her hair and I told her when I was finished to go see if our guest, Brad, needed anything and to make sure he was taken care of.

She then proceeded to talk to me very grown-up and said, "He's part of the family! We always take care of family, Mom. And even if they're not family, we still take care of them, cuz that's what we do! We're the Andersons and we are POWERFUL!" ,She said as she raised her right hand in a tiny fist.

My heart was touched by her boldness, her confidence, and the identity she has of our family and how we treat others. "Yes!" I thought. "Yes!" If that's something she has learned about us, then I am doing something right.

What a Weekend!

These two cutie-patooties are Taylor and Diana. Taylor followed Diana home from 2nd grade & she spent nearly every weekend with us, including most weekdays. Her parents divorced and someone forgot to tell them who had custody. So she chose Us.
She even came out to see us in Idaho and since we've been back, it's like we never left. So we claim her, and against her good judgement, she somehow is okay with that.

We went to Garden of the Gods to take some Senior Pics for Diana...and the light was too bright (it was mid-day), but we still took some fun shots.

It was also Homecoming this weekend.
Nana loved the fun red shoes!
Well these pics are loaded on here kinda goofy, but scattered about are pics of Dani and Brad and Diana and her Homecoming date, Ben...he had several personal references, and was slightly intimidated by Brad who waited up for them both until midnight...announcing,"I got her home on time!"
I like boys like that.

We are going to keep Brad. I don't know if he knows that yet, but we are.
This young face is Dara aka Daisie...she is 13 and sometimes feels left out of all the dating stuff as she watches her older sisters in motion. I hope she is taking notes, because her sisters have some very nice young men in their lives.
I love the beautiful Blue skies in Colorado almost as much as I love her blue eyes.

I think Nana and I decided we liked this pose the most--but seriously it was too bright, so re-takes are a must.

He looks innocent enough, right?

Nope, he can hold his own.

Sometimes they don't know what to do with each other. But they're learning.
So that was my Saturday. Sunday I taught my first Primary lesson as Joseph's teacher in the Valiant 9 yo class. It was about being the Salt of the Earth and the Beatitudes. I challenged all the children to look for opportunities to be the "salt" in their families this week.
Sunday nights are always relaxing: we have dinner, then we play games, bake goodies, dance in the kitchen, have a devotional and family prayer to end the Sabbath. Good times.
What did you do this weekend?