23 December 2007

It's quickly approaching

The busiest two weeks of my year are about to start--and I love it!

24 Dec- Christmas Eve festivities
25 Dec- Christmas
26 Dec- Wedding anniversary
28 Dec- Dogger's birthday
31 Dec- New Year's Eve
5 Jan- Lew's birthday
8 Jan- My birthday

Forget a partridge in a pear tree-- I've got 3 birthdays, 2 holidays and an anniversary crammed into a fortnight!

18 December 2007

I'll Be Home for Christmas

Oh, what a great holiday season! We are spending Christmas with my husband's family in Spokane this year. We get to stay for six weeks. Yes, you read that right. Craig can work from anywhere, so we decided to make the cross-country trip worth it. The kids are having a great time, and the we're enjoying ourselves too.

On a personal note, I'm loving Christmas this year because it's the first time since 2003 when I haven't been 9 months pregnant, or moving, or both! Hurray for me!

07 December 2007

Sí, hay

I teach a conversational Spanish class at church. Last week we learned to converse about things that we like to do. Someone asked how to say "go to the mountains." The following conversation took place:

Me: Mountains. Las montañas. And, you can remember it because it's like Montana, but with an ñ.

Student (born & bred in NH, probably never been farther west than Pennsylvania):
Do they even have mountains in Montana?

Me (trying really hard not to make her feel like an idiot):
Yeah. Really big ones. (Thinking to myself, you have no idea what mountains really are.)

04 December 2007

Christmas in New England

Our neighbors' house

There are some New England traditions which absolutely delight me. The traditional holiday decorations are one of them. A green wreath with a red ribbon is hung on each window. At night a single candle shines from each window, signifying that Christ is the light of the world.

It's so lovely to drive around and see these classic decorations--so homey and warm.

22 November 2007

Thanksgiving Tradition

This "relish tray" turkey is a tradition that we've inherited from my husband's family. I love it! The kids get to help and it keeps their tummies happy until the real turkey's done. I'll walk you through it.

A red cabbage serves as the body. Cut one end to that it rests flat on a plate. Insert the turkey head into the body.

I made the turkey head from fabric scraps and googley eyes that I had in my craft supplies--it's on a kabob skewer. I keep the head and re-use it each year.

Have bowls of yummies for the turkey "feathers". We always have olives, cheese(s) and pickles (this year we used pickle chips, though we usually just chop some into little chunks). I might try cucumbers next year.

Let the kids skewer the yummies with toothpicks, then stick them into the body. I like to use the the toothpicks with the frills on the end, but had trouble finding them this year, so we just used multi-colored ones.

And, voila! Happy kids who got to "help". They're ready for their snack on Thanksgiving Day.

20 November 2007

03 November 2007


It's time to decorate our new place. I've got two fabrics that I like:

This one...

and this one.

So, I'm soliciting opinions/advice. What do you think? I want to choose one of them, and then pull my color scheme from it. I've also considered the second pattern in this color scheme:
Other information: We currently have hideous, 1993 green carpet. That will be leaving next spring when we lay hardwood. My walls are white, so I'll be painting to go with the fabric. I have no window treatments to speak of--just cheap mini blinds that I'll be replacing. Our main level is open concept and includes 2 sitting rooms, a dining area and the kitchen.

29 October 2007

from the mouths of babes

RADIO DJ: And what a weekend! Between the Red Sox and the Patriots....

GOOSEY: Mom, everyone's talking about the Red Sox.

ME: Well, they won an important game. They're the best baseball team in the United States.

GOOSEY: I wish they'd stop talking about them.

ME: I know.

25 October 2007

Fall 101

Our Fall colors peaked last week. I'd like to say that I spent lots of time taking pictures of the amazing foliage, but the kids come first. I did manage to snap a couple of shots, but they don't even come close to the brilliance of the real thing.

Driving down the road to our house.

A farmer's field.

Peeking into the woods.

New Hampshire countryside.

A local cemetery.

In other news, this is my 101st post.

21 October 2007

A Visit to the Pumpkin Patch

What better place to visit the pumpkin patch than New Hampshire? Well, evidently that's what Michelle and the girls thought too. I'm sure you thought I was exaggerating when I wrote this, but it's happened again.

When we got to our pumpkin patch of choice we discovered that there was a children's fair being held, featuring a visit from Michelle Obama. No joke. We left before Michelle and the girls arrived, but enjoyed the multitude of activities for the kids.

Oh, and I'm invited to a house party to meet Governor Romney this Thursday. Gotta see if I can find a babysitter.

Can you believe this?

05 October 2007

04 October 2007

Goosey is 5!

It's Goosey's birthday week. She celebrated by having a "Hawaii Party" with her friends (her first friend party). She had a great time and was a wonderful hostess. What a grown up girl!

20 September 2007

Mitt sighting

Since New Hampshire has the first primary in the nation we have presidential hopefuls here all the time. Seriously. ALL the time. On a typical day we might turn on the news to hear, "Senator Obama visited the Manchester Boys and Girls Club today and tomorrow Rudy Guiliani will hold a town meeting in Milford."

But, imagine my surprise when Craig came home from stake clerk business last week to announce: "Guess who went to church in the Wolfeboro Branch today?" Yep. It was Mitt Romney. His summer home is in our stake.

And, to answer the most common question heard thus far: Yes, his hair was perfect.

16 September 2007

theory tested

I've been thinking about something for the last year. Well, okay, lots of somethings, but this one is a recurring theme.

I think that as fathers left the farm to work in businesses, mills, etc. we lost something in the home. I think that there must be a strength in children coming into contact with fathers throughout the day. I often tell my husband that I think those were the good times--father at home for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Children working beside him in the barn and fields when they got old enough. Winters cooped up inside, children learning practial skills from parents.

Now I know it. Craig started a new job three weeks ago, and he works from home. His office is set up on the 2nd floor while the kids play in the basement most of the time, but he's here. He eats all three meals with us. The kids can pop in to show him a drawing, and he runs down to see what they're playing at. Best of all, I think, I feel SO much better. I'm not as tired or stressed out at the end of the day. He can take a minute to change a diaper if I'm in the middle of making lunch. I can leave the napping boys at home while Goosey and I go to the grocery store. I'm loving this.

12 September 2007

I say potato

As I'm dressing Lew after an exam the doctor says to me, "And what are you doing about salads?"

"I'm sorry?" I say, thinking that I'm not paying attention and misheard him.

"Salads. What are you doing about them?"

I must looked lost because he makes eye contact and says, "Salad foods...has he started any?"

"Oh!" I say, "No he hasn't."

I got it! SOLID foods! Thanks to that New England accent the family practitioner now thinks I'm an idiot.

10 September 2007

too much information!

I have so many things I've filed away in my mind to blog about....it's just too much! So, here are a few quick ones.

Craig teaches the 10-12 year old boys in Primary. He was giving a lesson on faith, and told them that
"faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen"

Boy #1: Like my faith in dragons.
Boy #2: Except dragons don't exist.
Boy #1: But I believe that they do.

Craig continues with the lesson.

Goosey in the shower.

Goosey: Mom! I have powers!
Me: What?
Goosey: Look! Water is coming out my fingers.

Craig discussing Nursery with Dogger at the dinner table.

Craig: Isn't it great to have a teacher who's so nice?
Dogger: ...ALSO she's funny!

30 August 2007

The Maine Attraction

Nubble Light
Cape Neddick, Maine
Uncle Shawn desired a visit to a lighthouse, so we indulged him. Did you know that Maine has 63 lighthouses? I told Craig that we should take a vacation just to see the lighthouses. Several of them are on islands off the coast, so you have to take a boat to see them--I'm okay with that.

The lighthouse pictured in this post is the most accessible one on the southern coast. It's on an island, but not far from the shore. The keeper gets to the island either by boat or by gondola lift. So cool! I like imagine living there. I'm enthralled by the ocean and think that living in a lighthouse would be so romantic.

29 August 2007

A Day at the Beach

Uncle Shawn came to visit, so we spent 10 days running around New England, seeing the sights.
Here are Goosey & Dogger at Wallis Sands, NH.

Some things to know about going to the beach in New England:

  • You have to pay to go to the beach--this one was $10 to park for the day.
  • It's crowded.
  • Any inhibitions that women might have about bathing suits seem to magically disappear on the NE beach.
  • You have to carry out your own trash--no garbage cans.
  • It's shallow for quite a way out into the ocean.
  • The seagulls will snatch food out of your hand.

24 August 2007

It's almost here....I can feel it!

Fall is so just around the corner. A few trees are starting to change colors, the nights have cooled down, the school buses are making their dry runs. Soon the humidity will fade and the months of growing will yield a bountiful harvest. I'm so excited.

15 August 2007

Because New England isn't the ENTIRE world, lesson 1


Craig came home last night with story that I must share.

The office manager at work was in charge of ordering take out for their business lunch. Mexican was the cuisine of choice. Well, it seems that the office manager (a middle aged woman) had never ordered Mexican food. She needed help with the menu, so she asked Craig's boss. Since she couldn't grasp the concept of a quesadilla (I mean really--tortillas and cheese! It's not that hard), his boss resorted to likening it to a pizza.

Fast forward to her ordering..."yes, and quesadillas, um, those are like a pizza, right? So how many slices to we get out of them?"


Assignment for this lesson: Take a trip out west, preferrably to the Southwest, and eat Mexican food.

09 July 2007

My new favorite

My new favorite 4th of July tradition:

Sitting in front of someone with a proper New England accent while he sings
The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

02 July 2007

YW Camp

I spent last week at Lake Winnipesaukee. Yes, as in What About Bob?. I lounged about by the lake for about six hours each day while the YW enjoyed the waterfront. I am T-A-N!!! Sometimes being a lifeguard sure pays off.

22 June 2007

The Man With The Hat

I am SERIOUSLY so excited for this. I think Harrison Ford is one of those men who just gets better with age.

03 June 2007

Once A Month Cooking

Due to many inquiries, here's an email I wrote to a friend:

Hi Smileynann!
I've been reading your blog too....how's the running? Brave woman!

I am liking the Once a Month Cooking. I made 15 meals, 2 each. I started my meal list with things that we like to eat that would freeze well, i.e., chicken enchiladas, lasagne, tacos (just the meat), crockpot chicken, etc. Then I searched online for other recipes I thought we might like (search "Once a Month Cooking" and "OAMC"). From there I took each recipe and made a grocery list of everything I would need (remember to double it).

I actually spread my cooking over 3 nights so that I wouldn't have to take up a whole Saturday. It also worked well since the kiddies weren't underfoot.

I am loving the ease of grabbing a meal, and having it mostly ready (I still have to make fresh veggies, rice and noodles). And, best of all, I cut my grocery bill--I'm still buying milk, bread and fresh fruits and veggies each week, but I expect to only spend 75% of what I had been spending, and I think that'll go down even more as I watch for sales, i.e., chicken is on sale this week, so I can stock up and make lots of chicken dishes.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

We've eaten the meals for an entire month. It was great! I think part of the fun for me was using my seal a meal which my in-laws were kind enough to get me for Christmas.

01 June 2007

Adjustment Period

You know how when you move into a new ward it takes some time to adjust? I'm there. Again. Two wards ago, in Utah, I never got there. I spent a little over two years there and never felt like I fit in, or had any friends.

Our last ward was great. It took about a month and I felt perfectly at home--great families, good leaders, outstanding Sunday School teacher. It was good. Really good.

Four and a half months ago we moved. To the other ward in our town. It's been a harder adjustment. I didn't have a calling for the first three months. I think they were giving me a break since I had c-section #3 just three weeks before we moved. That was a little bit hard....not getting to know people.

A month ago I accepted a call. As Enrichment Counselor in the Relief Society. I don't feel overwhelmed (I can't think of a time in my life when I've ever felt overwhelmed. That's just not me. I figure I can do anything--it may take more time or work, but I just don't get overwhelmed). I DO feel awkward. I've never served in RS before. I've always been a YW and Primary girl. So, it's weird to me to be so "grown-up".

AND, I'm still getting a feel for the ward. I don't know people that well. For example: I went visiting teaching yesterday, and something bothered me a little. It shouldn't, but it just seemed odd to me. My comp has a baby boy two months older than my little guy that she just adopted. The sister we were visiting has a baby boy two months younger than mine. They spent the entire time gushing over how cute each other's babies were, and discussing feedings, sleep schedules, baby gear, etc. No one asked me anything about Lew or said he was cute. I think he' pretty darn cute. It just felt weird....and a little sad for me.

Still adjusting I guess.

03 May 2007

Book Recommendations

I went to our new ward's book club for the first time last night....fun! But, I am tasked with choosing the book for June. I'd like to hear some suggestions--so please tell me yours!

Here's what they've already read:

The Great Divorce
These Is My Words
I Love you Ronnie
Left to Tell
Mrs. Mike
My Sister's Keeper (for May)
Audacity of Hope (for July)

01 May 2007

April in review

Do you ever look around you and think, "What on earth have I done lately?" That's what I did yesterday. The house was messy, I had two sick kids, laundry needed to be done, etc., etc., etc...

Just as the gloom and feelings of inadequacy were about to set in, I told myself, "No! I won't do this. I'm going to focus on what I did do this month."

During April I:
helped hubby search for a truck to replace the car he totaled during a snow storm.
organized the computer desk.
rolled a 401(k) into an IRA.
attend Stake Women's Conference.
survived multiple snow storms and flooding.
read two books.
taught two lifeguarding courses for the American Red Cross.
successfully transitioned Lew from the bassinet in my room to the crib in the nursery.
substituted as the Primary chorister for two weeks.
had lunch with hubby during the week while the kids were playing at a friend's house.
pulled weeds in the front flower beds.
slept for 7 straight hours.
taught a Relief Society lesson.
mailed out pictures of the boys to relatives.
took the kids outside to play.
added to my food storage.
found coordinating Easter outfits for all three children.
completed my first try at Once A Month Cooking.
met two sets of neighbors.
attended my first RS presidency meeting.
endeavored to support those I love, despite feeling that they were making poor choices.
found a second hand couch and two chairs at a killer price.
read lots of books to my kiddies.
took dinner to a friend who just had baby #4.
washed and put all the 0-3 month baby clothes in storage.
got out and washed the 3-6 month baby clothes.
did my visiting teaching.
delighted in the crocus that surprised me by poking through the snow.
drove the the seacoast for the sole purpose of smelling the ocean.

23 April 2007

88 Degrees

That's what it was today. 50 degrees warmer than last Monday.

17 April 2007

We're okay

We're okay. No flooding here--our sump pump has been running non-stop for 24 hours, but no flooding. Craig's route to work is unaffected. We're great.

10 April 2007

Desperately seeking spring

Because the 6 inches of heavy, wet snow we got a week ago wasn't enough!

04 April 2007


This is the view from my backyard RIGHT NOW!!! It's been sticking for about 1/2 hour and is supposed to continue until the wee hours of the morning. Will spring ever come?

02 April 2007

A letter

Dear Netflix-

I want to thank you for fulfilling my movie dreams. You haven't let me down yet. Because of you I was able to catch up on the first two seasons of Grey's Anatomy. I needed that back story--I really did.

My queue is full of movies I've always wanted to see, ones I haven't seen for a long time, and even a few that you recommended (like The Notebook, which I watched last night). I'm also eagerly awaiting The Office, and JAG.

I love your red envelopes and peek out the window to see if the postman has one each day. I'm amazed by the turn around time--I mail it, and two days later I have a new movie to watch, without the video store hassle.

You have taken away my basic cable blahs. You're the best. I'm sorry I ever doubted you.

Loyally yours,

27 March 2007

We didn't part well

Yesterday I took ALL three kids to BJ's with me for the first time. It started out just fine--Dogger and Lew were in the cart, and Goosey walked with me. We waved to the senior citizens getting their groceries and ate some yummy samples.

Now that we're in our new house I'm switching to a new wholesale club that's closer (once my membership expires at the end of the month....I'm cheap so I won't pay for a 2nd one if the 1st can still be used). I was making this trip worth it! I stocked up on items that I like from BJ's just in case Sam's doesn't have them when I make the switch.

I decide to roll my cart into the one lane with a check-outer person. I mean, who wants to do a self-checkout of that magnitude while managing three kids? As I bring the cart to a stop and look up I can tell that this is going to be the end of my happy shopping.

The checker gives me a look that clearly says, "Could you have bought more stuff?"
Come on, I think to myself, it's a wholesale club! Are you trying to tell me that you've never seen a cart with 2 boxes of diapers, 5 gallons of milk, 12 lbs. of rice, 24 rolls of toilet paper, etc. before?

"So, do you want me to put your stuff back in the cart with the baby?" she asks.
"Yes, if possible. Unless you have someone who can push the second cart out to my car."
"We don't."

Lew starts to fuss.

"He's not happy." I feel like she's really saying, look lady, keep him quiet. Gosh! Do you have enough kids?
Hey! I have a college degree, but I choose to stay home! I don't ship my kids off to someone else just to fulfill my own need for validation. And, thankfully, we've been blessed so that I don't have to work to be able to feed our kids.

"Yeah, he's getting hungry."

I look at the travel board, wishing that I was on that $599, 7-night Bermuda cruise.

"You have to buy these in a two-pack now." She says holding up a bag of potato chips.
"Oh, I was wondering why they weren't the family size anymore. I didn't see a sign and they weren't taped together or anything....." She puts the bag under the counter without asking if I'd like to grab a second, or offering to do it. I have been punished for my ignorance.

She's obviously not concerned about fitting everything in as well as I had. So, I move to the cart under the pretense of helping to arrange more room. Really, I just can't wait to get the pack of 5 dozen eggs off my two loaves of bread, where she had just dropped it.

"Your total is $188.46. Debit or credit?"
"Credit." She raises her eyebrows, almost imperceptibly, judging me for putting my groceries on a credit card.
Look missy, I can use my debit card if I want. But we're doing this thing where our money sits in a high yield interest account during the month, then we just pay off the credit card when it comes.....we're making money (and earning airline miles while we're at it)!
I push the cart away from the lane as quickly as I can.
I think to myself, at least it's the last time I have to come here.

16 March 2007

What to do?

School registration is just over a week away. I have to make a HUGE decision--send Goosey to kindergarten or not? Her birthday is on the deadline.

one less kid for a few hours each day
she would love it
she could almost be done with college when she hits mission age
she'd be in the same grade as her best friend
the school system here is more advanced than other places where we've been
she wouldn't be able to date or drive until her junior year
she's mature for her age and very intelligent

she'll be exposed to all the "yuck" that kids pick up at school at an earlier age
less freedom for running errands, trips, etc.
I'd be sending my baby off to college at age 17
she'll be farther along in school when we leave NH (harder to adjust?)
she can't drive or date until her junior year
will she be behind? (she's never been to pre-school and most of the kids here have because both parents work)
I'd miss her

13 March 2007

Life at our house

Lew is starting to smile and coo .

Dogger tells his daddie, "Dad, you're my best friend ever!"

At the dinner table Goosey asks, "Mom, is fruit good for our bodies?"
(We're trying to teach her about healthy foods)
"Oh......then why did God tell Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit of the tree?"

09 February 2007


I've lived in three parts of the U.S so far. In each I have noticed sayings, usages or pronunciations that are peculiar to that region of the country (in my experience). I'm not saying any of them are wrong--these are merely observations.


carriage-- grocery cart

highway-- this includes not only highways, but what we call freeways in the West (because they're not free here....curse those toll roads!)

auntie-- pronounced "awntie"; no one has an "ant" here, it's "Awntie Bertha"

Mass-- the locals never say the full name of Massachusetts

seacoast-- that's the beach or ocean to the rest of us


sluff or slough (I'm not sure on the spelling)-- when kids don't go to class; everywhere else it's skipping, cutting, or ditching

tour-- pronounced "tore"; other people say "too-ur"

dropping the "t"-- i.e., it's not mountains, it's "mow-ins" (I can't really type the sound. It's like a grunt and then slight pause in place of the T.)

OREGON (or the way I talk)

milk-- pronounced "melk" ( I didn't know I said this differently until I was in college)

measure-- pronounced "may-zure" (again, in college)

skiff of snow-- means a light dusting of snow

what's-his-bucket-- a person whose name you can't remember

25 January 2007

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