Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bowling With Kate

Katie and I did something fun this last Thursday with some friends. We went bowling. Kate's first time....she was SO excited. It was so super fun. I think she and I will have to go again. (this time with out Sara who I had to either keep stocked full of food to eat or chase her all around the bowling ally)

Kate and I both played with bumpers, which made it extra fun for me. Sadly the bumpers in the lanes didn't prevent me from still getting a few gutter balls. I'm THAT bad. We played with many of Kate's little friends. It was so fun to watch them do their little victory dances, slap high fives and bowl balls that barely made it down the lane.

Here she little bowler!


These are the baby clothes. The two piles on the left are girl baby clothes up to size 12 months. The pile on the right are boy baby clothes up to 2T. It is a visual study in the increase of our financial security over the years. And a witness to how much I spoil my children.

I unpacked, divided and mailed all of these clothes to my sister (baby boy) and two sister-in-laws (baby girls) this last week. That is what I have been saving them for. Yet it was harder to do than I thought. Isn't it amazing how a small, tangible, physical piece of history can bring you back to the moment. The tiny little premie outfit that the girls came home in. The blankets I swaddled my babies so snugly in. Christmas dresses, favorite pajamas, gifts that meant something special and of course the totally amazing dress I found shopping with my Mom the day after coming home from the hospital. A soft little jumper that makes your hand want to fly up to your shoulder and stroke a baby's back. Only that baby isn't a baby anymore he is 10 and wouldn't fit on my shoulder if I tried.

Lets just say I cried a few tears. There was even a moment when I considered not sending anything. But I really do try hard to inside the boxes they all went. Bound for places far away to start a new history on some other baby's sweet little body.

Isn't it just amazing how something like baby clothes can just bring you back...

Sara's Disappearing Trick

I was talking on the phone with Dave while he was on his most recent and last (at least for a while) trip to California last week. We had been talking for a while. The bigger kids had all been put to bed and Sara was up for a few more minutes keeping herself busy with all the toys her big sisters so generously had left out all over the floor for her. All of a sudden I had to interrupt Dave because there was an ominous silence in the house. Knowing I still had one child awake I knew that silence wasn't "good" news. So I started looking for my little 15 month old. What was she up too? I started in the girls room and then quickly covered the upstairs and in progress panic finished a down stairs sweep. She was nowhere to be found. Huh, I thought to myself. She can't reach the doors yet...she has to be here in the house. So I searched again. The whole time with Dave on the phone probably wondering why he ever chose me to be the Mother of his children. (How does someone lose a kid INSIDE?)

I still hadn't found her. I went back to the girls room a third time with the intent to check their beds in case on of them had brought Sara into bed with them and then they had all fallen asleep. I was close. This is where I found her. Under Emily's bed.

Now mind you I have tucked up the dust cover to get a good picture. The only thing that tipped me off was a tiny pajamaed toe sticking out. Thank goodness for that toe too. I have a feeling I would have been searching for a long time if it didn't just barely catch my eye. Sweet, isn't it? Sweet if you don't think of the neglect that allowed a poor 15 month old baby to be so tired she crawled under a bed (probably couldn't get out) and fell asleep.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Looking Forward To April

I have always loved April. It's way superior to its fellow months. Few can compete. For me July and December are the only ones with even a small chance. April is the birth month of two of the worlds most famous people, Christ and myself. Not that I'm lumping myself in with the Lord as an equal. But He was and is great and April is a month for greatness.

Me with My Grandpa Dewitt (it's the only baby picture not in storage under the house...I look like a piglet for sure!)

Not only is April my birth month which alone might be a strong enough reason to justify it's veneration, but it is also the month we usually celebrate Easter (The Lord's birthday aside). Commercially I LOVE Easter. I have always felt like it was "My" holiday. My Mother went into labour with me on Easter Sunday and if I hadn't decided to take so stinking long to show my head full of lovely locks...I could have been an Easter baby. I realize that every once in a while March gets all uppity and tries to lay claim to it for its own. That's just the way things are. Those with inferiority complexes always trying to steal the show from the stars. March, oh March...just give up already. But Easter is mine. My sixteenth birthday was on Easter. How cool is that! And this year Easter is the day after my birthday. I love dying eggs, I LOVE finding eggs, I love eating eggs. I love getting a new dress. I love candy. I LOVE EASTER.

April also lays claim to one of the coolest holidays on the calendar. April fools. This day of whimsy and pranks was never that exciting really until I got married. It got even better when we had kids. I can remember the earliest pranks on poor Dave involved ice water in the shower, packets of kool-aid in the shower - anything in the shower was fair game. The kids are treated to an April fools dinner extraordinaire every April Fools. Chase is not a big fan because of the continual use of mashed potatoes. This year will be different. We are having sushi - Mom style (AKA Family Fun Style). I am really looking forward to using some other great tricks I've got up my sleeve this year too. It is going to awesome...stay tuned.
This April is going to be extra special though. Emily and I are going to see PNB's production of Swan Lake. I have never seen it live. I am so excited. It is a classic. Not only is the music superior to ANY other ballet. The romance and story are unequaled. I am so excited. I knew they would be doing it this year. But I wasn't sure I would still be here. So that's one more tally mark for rock!
But best of all. The Pièce de résistance. Something I (and the rest of my little clan) have been looking forward to since September of last year....drum roll please....WE ARE GOING ON A CRUISE!!!!!!! Just the thought of soaking in lots of glorious sunshine, visiting new places and getting to spend some good quality time with our friends the Flakes makes my toes tingle. In 14 days we will be boarding a plane to New Orleans and embarking on an epic adventure. I have to admit I might be looking forward to the kids club and prepared meals for a week the most. Maybe cruise ships are the real answer to every mother's dream. We are going to Progreso and Cozumel, Mexico to see what no Wilcox has ever seen before... In case you are keeping count, that's five stars for April.So I'm asking you what month could possibly be better than mine. And this April compared to all others is bound for the history books as the best of all time. VIVA April!

Monday, March 23, 2009

House Hunting

So you may already know that we are looking to relocate. We have chosen Vancouver (Washington). Many people have asked me why Vancouver? Well when I think about it we don't have a really great reason. The weather is marginally better than the Tacoma area. The Church is super strong. There are I think five stakes in the Vancouver area. One of the schools districts even supports release-time seminary. There is good opportunity to but houses that some with acreage. It is still in an outdoors-man's mecca. By that I mean lots of great hikes, mountains, water falls, river etc... We know people that grew up there and liked it. It is two hours closer to family in Idaho and Salt Lake and I guess California too (though the two hours doesn't make much of a dent in the California trip). We would be closer to the beautiful Oregon beaches! We would be right across the river from Portland. We have never been so it will be fun to explore a new big city. So nothing really serious, just an all around "like" for the area.

Dave is looking at two practices that are available. One in Camas, and the other in Battleground. Depending on the day he feels differently about which would be a better fit. And I don't blame him. What a loaded decision full of consequences. I don't envy him.

In order to help make the decision maybe a bit easier we went to Vancouver last weekend to look at houses and the two areas. We thought, "hey, if we can't find a place we would like to live than that will make it easier to cross a practice off the list." I was not convinced there was anything that I would be happy with in the Camas area, and so we focused our attention there. Dave was leaning at the time towards the Camas practice and so I really felt I needed to find a happy place there.

We saw like 15 houses. It was a whirlwind real estate frenzy. We had the awesomest agent who had everything all lined up. She had this super cool portfolio all made up for us with pages of information about each house. We liked a lot of them. But only loved three. Two in the Camas area and one in Battle Ground. We did visit my blog house. It was everything I had hoped it would be on the outside but the inside broke my heart. It was so poorly planned and OLD!!!! Dave says we could totally make it work with some elbow grease. But even after years of watching HGTV "Hidden Potential" I couldn't muster up a vision of change.

So here are our three favorites!

This one is in Battle Ground. It would be 8 minutes to Dave's work and all the schools are right down the street. The schools are good (they score mostly 8's on Great It is right on a river, nestled in the woods. The garage has huge finished living space upstairs with a kitchen bathroom and laundry. But I love how beautiful it is. And I must admit the play structure alone sales it for me.

Click here for more info

This next house is near the Camas practice. Though officially in Vancouver (the Fisher's Landing area) it is only 12 minutes to Dave's possible office. I have to say it is my very favorite. I would totally be giving up on our dream to have property, but the house is so amazingly perfect that it might be worth it! The schools are the best. It would be in the school district with release time seminary. It is also only like a two minute walk to the Columbia river.

Click here for more info

This last house is actually in Camas but it is so out in the boonies that it would also be about 12 minutes to work for Dave. But it is a really great house with an awesome 5 acres!!!! The schools are still top notch but no release time seminary. I think we would eventually close off the breezeway for more square footage downstairs. But this is a great house.

Click here for more info

Later that evening we met one of the Docs and his wife for dinner. They gave us a tour around town and took us out to eat. We really enjoyed there company. I got to see the practice which was fun too.

On A Side Note

Do not ever, I stress EVER go house hunting with a sick baby. We didn't know she was sick until she was throwing up all over the floor of a home we were looking at. Not pleasant. Let me tell you. Fortunately she did her horrible business on the laminate floor of the dinning room. I always say people are crazy for carpeting their dining rooms. Thankfully this home owner was feeling my vibe. It went everywhere.

So on the plus side...
It was a vacant house. No one there to smell the evidence right after we leave. She did it on a cleanupable surface.

On the down side...
The house was vacant with no running water, TP, paper towels or any other of those handy things us Moms need when our kids throw us a curve ball.

So we used every wipe in the diaper bag. And borrowed paper towels from the neighbor. Windows were opened for fresh air and Sara was stripped down to her diaper for the next few hours until we passed a target to by new clothes.

All I could think was thank goodness she didn't do it on carpet. What would we have done? What would you have done? Seriously!!!!

We decided Sara was too much of a risk to enter anymore houses (wisely, since she threw up several more times that day). Dave and I took turns watching her outside or in the car while the other checked out the home for the rest of the day.

Our agent probably thought we were coconuts for not calling it a day. But it isn't very often that Dave has the day free and we have an opportunity to look around down in Vancouver. Plus it's not a short drive either.

I still don't know what we would have done though if there hadn't have been laminate. Sara should do commercials!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Chase's Four Leaf Clover - A Saint Patrick's Day Story

The story was that we were in Fern Canyon, California on our way to moving to Washington the first time. We decided to take a hike. I remember talking to my Mom and Dad about finding clovers. Mom told me about four leaf leaf clovers and how they were lucky. I started looking for one. The day went on with me finding millions of three leaf clovers. Everyone decided to take a break and eat some blackberries that we found in a meadow. Emily and I decided that there wasn't enough blackberries for the two of us on the bush that Dad found. So we started looking for our own bush. When we found one we also saw a little trail. The family decided to take the trail together. The trail was almost over and I found a really big patch of clovers. I started looking again for one. Right when Mom said, "Come on Chase, don't be a slow poke" I found a four leaf clover.

I ran up shouting to Mom and Dad, "Mom...I found one, I found one!" But they didn't believe me. I ran up and showed them. That's how I found my four leaf clover.

I think it has brought me lots of good luck.

When we got to Washington my Mom framed it for me. It has been in my bedroom on my nightstand ever since.

The End -Chase

It Took Me All Morning...

So check it out! I am now sporting a fancy dandy signature at the end of all my posts. I also tried making my own blog layout. I think I'll need Dave's help with that one.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Born Again

Chase has been born again! Yes it's just like your thinking re baptized and all. It happened this last Saturday. We were at the church for Anne Harley's (a sweet young lady from our ward) baptism. It was my first baptism as the new Primary pres. We came early to get the font filled with nice warm water. The kids and I were able to get a game of Ticket to Ride in as we waited. Then we were there for her very special program (I'm so glad we were, since Laurie Layer and my crew were the only "visitor" people there).

After the program we went to drain the font. Poor Brother Pace went to pull on the chain connected to the plug, (I put in the plug really well because I didn't want any leaking) and it broke in two. Now we had the problem of trying to pull up the plug that is now three feet under water! No ones arm is that long!

Chase saved the day. We stripped him down to his underwear and he dove down to take care of our plug problem. It took him several tries but he was finally able to get it up.

So, does sacred water post baptism re cleanse his little soul. I don't know, but it sure was a relief to have the problem solved!

Do You Think They Would Want Us Back?

A few weeks ago we took the family down to some spying on wards we might possibly move into. We have already been to the Lacamas ward and now we can add the Hockinson ward to the list.

The funniest thing happened though in sacrament meeting and I am not so sure the poor members of this ward would be happy to see us come back.

As it happens we are in a ward right now with dozens of babies and toddlers. And the din during sacrament meeting is equal to a low roar. So we didn't really have any idea how load our own little Sara was. Her own noises are masked the many others.

It was very apparent though in this ward, where I am pretty sure she was the ONLY baby!
We were sitting as quietly as a family of four with a toddler sitting on the very back row can sit. They young men were passing the Sacrament and Sara started getting squirrelly. In an effort to keep her in our laps we pulled a book out of her diaper bag. It is her favorite, Dear Zoo. She immediately let lose with a roar. And then roared, and roared every time I turned a page. Even the poor little puppy roared. Emily started giggling. I was trying really hard not to giggle. But Emily got progressively loader and loader. I finally told her to control it or leave. She clasped her mouth trying her best. Then Dave looked over at me, I nearly lost it, he started busting up and then Emily ran out of the Chapel. What a scene! We were the zoo.

We were much more comfortable the next Sunday in our own ward with a bazillion other babies to mask the noises of little Sara.

I Want To Be A Quitter

That sounds bad I know. But this whole trying to get in shape and lose weight thing is not for me.

Dave and I joined LA Fitness in January with the hopes of enjoying working out dates and both getting slimmer and trimmer. We signed Kate and Sara up for the kids club program, which they love. I hired a personal trainer. And off we were to grand goals and hopes or smaller clothes.

I wanted to give it a fair shot, though I must admit to a fair degree of pessimism on my part. So I stopped eating a bag of M&M's every time I went to the store. Tried really hard to cut out other snacks and fight the constant craving for more sweets. I went to the gym for an hour three days a week and was sore every minute of every day for a month.

So what did I get in return? Nada, nothing, zilch, niente (I wish I knew more languages to add more emphasis to the lack there of, of progress)! OK, I gained a pound of muscle, gained a 1/4 of an inch in my calves(what girl wants that..right!), and lost ONE pound!!!!!!! Now you tell me...does that seem like it's worth all the trouble?????? Is being a size 12 all that bad. Especially since becoming a size 8 now seems entirely unattainable! AHHHHH!!!! Girls can you feel my pain. I gave up all the foods I love, even ate salads for lunch and did things I loath, namely exercising, all for one stinking, measly, worthless pound.

So I haven't wanted to go back. It's been a month since that evaluation and I have been back maybe two or three times. (mostly for the childcare, I can suffer through an hour of exercise when the kids are driving me bonkers) Granted I was really sick for a week, and then the girls were sick. So that two weeks I felt exempt. But I just don't have the gumption to try anymore. Dave says it takes more then a month and that it builds on itself kind of exponentially. But in my opinion I have now found the one crucial flaw in God's plan (no-disrespect). It shouldn't be so impossibly hard. After all I'm trying to repent of my glutenous ways right. Repentance isn't supposed to be so entirely, utterly, seemingly impossible. It should be easier. At this point I think it would be easier to repent of gross crimes against humanity than try to repent for being a lazy food connoisseur!

My only really good piece of incentive small as it is was when Katie asked me today why I wasn't eating M&M's anymore. Sweet girl...I think she is the only one who can tell. I sure don't see a difference, and my body sure isn't showing any signs of rewarding me for my efforts!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Gone In Three Seconds

That was the title for Chase and Emily's science project. (aren't I clever to have them do it project is totally easier than two!)The kids had watched a Myth Buster episode a few months back that sparked their inner scientist. The guys were testing an age old myth that goldfish only have a memory of three seconds. They tested the myth by making a maze and training their fish to swim through it. That wasn't too practical for them, so they had to come up with there own way. Here's what they did:
Pretty clever I think. We now know that Blue Wave, our beta fish, has a memory of at least a week. He responded the the kids conditioning after a week without the trigger right away. So in the words of my kids, "Get your fish a bigger tank!"

I Spy

Katie's cousin Carina loves doing I Spy games in her dollhouse. She posted this picture on her family blog a few days ago with things for us to find. We have all had lots of fun playing her game. She inspired us to make one of our own.

Here is Carina's Game
Find the following : race car, puppy, shower brush, one die(not two or it would be dice), ribbon spool, tiny magazine, fish tank, bear rattle, peeking horse, cup with an umbrella, horse's tail, and a baby.

Our Game (our dollhouse doesn't lend itself to the game as well)
Find the following: a giraffe, gem, frog, pink bead, cake, ice cream cone, pasta, pony, purple heart, kitty, bunny, pink teddy bear, shovel and pail, unicorn, a giant pepperoni, a pair of slippers, brush, toy car, bone, squirrel, and a purple crayon!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A New Love

Every child has a love affair with peanut butter at some point in there lives right? Sara's began today. She and Dad had an afternoon snack together. I came home from preschool to see my sweet little toddler dipping graham crackers, and her arms up to her elbows, into JIFF (it is the best) peanut better. She sure did indulge herself. A minute or two later I looked over at her and she had a stack of five crackers that she was trying to squeeze into her mouth from all different angles. Needless to say a bath soon followed...

Inspired By Lisa Again!

What I am doing: catch-up on blog
What I’m proud of today: dave for trying
What I’m thinking about: creating clever answers
Who is home: me, kate and sara
Plans tonight: dinner with judy
My weekend was: relaxing thank goodness
What’s for dinner: judy's taco salad
Feelings about love: can't get enough
Feelings about life: sometimes real hard
What I need: chocolate, love, sleep
What I want: stuff, sleep, peace
What I have: stuff, stress, kids
My pet peeve: pillows on floor
My guilty pleasure: shopping on line
What you don’t know about me: struggling with faith
What I can hear: kids coming home
What I can smell: my stinky cat
My style: I need one
My hairdo: same since birth
My outfit: jeans, t-shirt, pj's
My mood: up, down, all-around
The weather today: chilly, blue skies
Thoughts on parenting: worth it all
Thoughts on marriage: best thing ever
Thoughts on politics: just real scared
Thoughts on celebrity gossip: I don't care
Thoughts on beauty: wish I was
Thoughts on sleep: always love to
Thoughts on writing: love to blog
My favorite appliance: does computer count
My favorite car: my honda odyssy
My favorite splurge: clothes, chocolate, camera
My favorite beauty secret: wish I knew
My favorite treat: brownies from Downey
My favorite everyday pleasure: surfing the net
Ten years ago: surviving arizona heat
Five years ago: new to military
One year ago: cuddling baby sara
One year from now: own dental practice
Five years from now: last kid, school
Ten years from now: out of debt
I’m famous for: planning, persistence, creativity
I’ll never be famous for: neatness, orderliness, scheduled
Who I am: sarcastic, honest, real
Who I hope to be: better all around
What I’m thankful for: family, nature, friends

Jumping Off The High Dive

OK so I didn't really jump off the high dive anywhere, literally. But I feel like it. For the past few weeks I have felt like I am standing on the edge of comfortable footing looking down into the great unknown and big wide world of photography trying to talk myself into making the jump. Every time I thought about having to redo the way I manage my files on the computer I swear I turned right around and took several steps back. But then the beautiful blue waters of what could be so enjoyable and totally awesome always tempt me back.

* The big decisions included deciding to upgrade my photo editing software and change the way I manage files and my work flow.

* Trying to come to terms with the balance between extra work and value if I decided to start shooting in RAW.

* Is it a good time to upgrade my camera body or just continue with upgrading lenses?

Those were the biggest things to think about anyway. My friend Troy Baker has been telling me about Lightroom, the program he uses to manage his work flow, for a while now. I didn't believe that it could be so different and totally awesome until I saw him use it a bit. I was totally in love after that. Can you be in love at first sight with a computer program. So we now are proud owners of fancy editing software. Lightroom for management and C4 in case we ever are insane enough to try to use it. It has been a hard change for me. With changing my software came the almost natural progressing decision to shoot in RAW.

Some sample pictures of photos taken in RAW and edited in Lightroom

Boy has that been a massive pain in the butt! I am still suffering growing pains. But just being able to get perfect white balance alone is enough of a carrot to keep me plugging along! I also love being able to use the great presets I have downloaded to my Lightroom program. I still don't know what I am doing. A few classes would be so totally awesome.

The camera upgrade is totally the result of my ever persistently biting shopping bug. I have been so good lately. After periods of trying really hard, I always get an itch to binge a little. So it didn't take more than a little advice from Troy (and a happy tax return) to send me to the Internet spending long hours trying to find the best deal on a new camera. I justify my probably not so necessary purchase by saying, "I am going to have the best vacation pictures ever! And video of our cruise this April!!!!" So in the next few weeks I am expecting a few packages on my door step.

-my new Canon 5D mark II
-the new wide angle EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens that will come with said camera
-a new 8GB memory stick
-Adobe photoshop C4
-an of course new field guides and DVD tutorials

I am so excited. So I jumped...a huge swan dive right out into the middle of the looking back...just thoughts of one day maybe being as good as all of my friends! Here's to hoping!!!!