Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hand Crafted

I, like many others, have purchased toys and products which have labels that state, "hand crafted." yeah, right. whose hands? who's craft?

Introducing our FIRST hand crafted toy.
Crafted by: Grandpa Geoff.
his hands.
How do you know this is a hand crafted toy? Oh...let me tell you.
He made only 4 of them. How many Melissa and Doug puzzles are there out in the world? Trust me Melissa and Doug...your products are no where NEAR hand crafted.

Each barn is individually different. Ours has paint drips, screws and different cut windows than the other three. Becasue, of course, it's HAND crafted.
I also know it's hand crafted becasue other toy companies use the bare neccesseties to make a product. NOT so with Grandpa Geoff.
After screwing in 10 screws, my hands were hurting and sore and the barn seemed very stable. But, alas, it's HAND crafted by Grandpa Geoff. If the barn is sturdy with only 10 screws...we better add thirty more. I was screwing screws with my OWN hands until I couldn't screw strait. The SCREWS never ended. Trust me...this is HAND crafted. And it's not coming apart. EVER! I am NEVER screwing 40 screws into this barn again. Plus, I stripped a few. I'm not messin' with it!
How do you know it's hand crafted? There are pencil marks showing cutting lines, estimates and approximations. I have NEVER seen pencil marks showing the hand crafter where to cut on any of my other hand crafted products.

This HAND crafted product had to be hand crafted because it came with ABSOLUTELY no instructions on how to put it together. After getting a couple of walls sortof into place my six year old looks at it funny and says, "mom, you're doing it wrong. That's not how Grandpa Geoff does it." With the help of my child, I was able to recreate the hand crafted, no instruction project. Hands hurting, head aching, the barn is now done.
Back home, my dad's hands are covered in calluses. He has screwed, let's see, 40 X 4 maybe 10 different times during the HAND craftsmanship of these barns.
I would love to see Melissa and Doug's hands. The first thing I would ask is,
"where are your calluses?"'re aren't fooling this American anymore. How do you sleep at night? I can not believe that anyone selling anything would ever lie to me. It's just so Un-American.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


We went to the Cleveland Science Center today with some friends. Here are my boys wrestling. Humiliating, I know. That's all they did.

My Moochie

Scout liked putting her face under the fan and get blown away.

William playing with Carl

Two little ones teaching each other the practicalities of science

You know how each of your kids has this ONE thing that you just LOVE? I guess one of the things you have to do as a mother is to find a trait that you LOVE about each of your children at EACH stage of their life. keep you sane. Right now, Jakes is HUGS.
Let's just say, I can't get enough. I am obsessed. Addicted.
To my 4 year old's hugs.
They are the Best.
It's like this. He's pretty he's pretty light too.
When he gives me "this" hug, he kindof does this jump thing.
He gets wayyyy up high around my neck and starts kindof shaking. Grinning.
he likes it as much as I do. We are both grinning.
here's the wierd thing.
To get these hugs, Jake doesn't have to do anything, really. he just exists and I hug him.
This is how bad it's become. Anytime jake says something remotely exciting, i smile and reach out my arms. He smiles and does his little jump thing right up around my neck. We both grin. it's just our thing.
I realized this last night.
Jake came to me at bedtime and with a smile he said," "I chose I book I have never picked before."
Perfect time.
"Oh my goodness. That's awesome. Give me a hug."
Hugs have also resulted from everyday not so important events that we find a way to make important.
"I want peanut butter and jelly for lunch". HUG
"Look what I made with my legos." HUG
"Did you have fun at preschool?" HUG
"Look what I did?" HUG
"I drank my whole glass of milk." HUG
"Let's go take a bath." HUG
Can I have a snack?" HUG
"What time is it?" HUG
Get the point? I'm addicted.
Thanks Mooch.
Can I have a hug?
I think I'll go get one.......

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Middle Aged Motherhood

I have finally hit it. The middle aged mother. Now, this has NOTHING to do about your age. Just about your children's age.
and so it begins.
The young girl realizing that she is pregnant for the first time. It all starts with a simple pregnancy test.
The pregnancy turns into a life-changing event and the young mother joins what is now called "young motherhood." The young, new mother decides she is going to go crazy if she stays home all day and finds herself attending and joining various play-groups, playgrounds, and doctor appointments if there is any reason whatsoever to get her out of the house. The child may not be "that sick" but sick enough to schedule an appointment and have it take up an hour of her slow and laborious afternoon. At church, the young mother stays in nursery and coddles the crying toddler. People talk how cute her young children are. How precious. "Oh, what a cute young mother."
Then the children grow.
The mother soon finds herself at what she now calls "middle-aged motherhood."
That's me.
I have undoubtably and officially turned in the play-groups for what is known as the PTA. This picture is from Grandparents Day at William's school. His grandparents weren't able to I stepped in. Actually, I had to be there. I was in charge of taking all the kids pictures with their grandparents inside this rigged-up frame. As we were shooting grandparent after grandparent for over an hour, William lovingly attends to my side waving and carrying on conversations with his friends who patiently wait their turn in the picture line. He finally looks up at me and says, "why are you always at my school. Do you think you work here or something?"
My time is now managed differently. In fact, Naomi is three moths overdue for her 18 month doctor visit and Jake I just realized is 10 months overdue for his 4 year. I guess I forgot. I called the office and they informed me that they couldn't combine the 4 and 5 year old visits even though his 5th birthday is in two months. Fine, I said. Just schedule the 4 year old visit. Maybe I'll wait until he's 6 for his 5 year. Now at church, your kids are in Primary. No one really comments on how cute your children are anymore. But you find yourself telling all the new young mothers how cute their kids are. I guess that's what you talk about with young mothers. How cute their kids are.
I wonder what older motherhood is like. I guess high school stuff. Police officers, parking tickets and prom. I'll just hold on for now.
P.S. I LOVE middle aged motherhood.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Downeast Outfitters

back to the grind...we got home from Utah and James and Scout headed out to shovel the snow

this is at 5 P.M. at night. We were still in our pajamas putting together Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. nearly 1000 pieces. Prettty cool, huh?

Downeast Outfitters. A must stop for me every visit to Utah. First visit.
I buy a pair of jeans.
a little expensive but my mother in law had me sell her old gas stove on and gave me the proceeds. I sold it for $75 but classic Cheryl style, she gave me $100. what would I do without my mother in law?

to preface: james has given me much recent feedback about my clothes (especially my jeans) being too tight. Every time I wear tight jeans I hear President Holland in my head from many general conferences ago saying: "mothers, let's not try to dress like our teenage daughters."

the jeans were a little loose. and you know with jeans, if they're a little loose before you wear them...they are going to be really loose after a few wears.
which leads me to my 2nd visit.

I had my three kids with me.
grabbed two pairs of a smaller size and went back to the dressing room. I had my pants off and the new jeans not even buttoned when Naomi escaped and ran out into the store. Jake, of course, ran after her. I quickly put my pants back on, grabbed the jeans that fit, and left the dressing room running without my pants buttoned and my shoes in my hands. I got out just in time to hear the tight jean wearing 15 year old say, "oh noooo, please don't do that."
Jake and Naomi were spinnig the sunglass circular around as fast as it could go. I saw a few pair of glasses flying into mid-air.

I grabbed their arms and buttoned up my pants. I put on my shoes.
I proceeded to exchange my jeans as Naomi grabbed the glass bowl of accessories and threw them to the ground. Now the tight jean wearing 15 year old declared, "oh, dear" and called for back-up. The other tight jean wearing 15 year old came to her rescue.
Downeast Outfitters lost a few $5 plastic accessories that day. The young teens were speechless. I could sense the tension as they watched my two boys wander around the store with looks of destruction in their eyes. I decided to brake the awkwardness.
"does this happen often?"
" not often."
I left with the smaller jeans.

I tried the jeans on the night before we left SLC. I climbed the staircase to seek James' opinion.
He looked at me. Then he looked again.
"well, if you are going for the spandex look, you've succeeded."
I look at the clock. James and I have 30 minutes before the store closes. We jump in the car and James parks in the handicap spot while I run in to exchange them for a different pair.
The pair I really wanted was on clearance for $98. Yeah, right.
so I settle for a light blue pair of partially good looking jeans that aren't too tight. maybe a little baggy. but I had no choice. This store doesn't do returns. go figure.
I take the tight jeans up to the counter and ask if I can exchange them for the bigger size. the two tight jean wearing, accessory overdosed teenagers looked at me wondering why I had exchanged three pairs of pants in the last two days.
"sorry I keep exchanging pants but I thought the first pair were too loose and my husband told me that the second pair were wayyy tooo tight." they looked shocked. so i continued. "yeah, he said they looked HORRIBLE."
The tight jean wearing 15 year olds didn't know what to say. it was as if the wind was knocked out of them. "That is sooo rude," the one said.
"ouch," said the other one. They were in shock.
I couldn't help but take it up one more notch. I was having an internal party watching them react so negatively to my innocent husband waiting in the car.
"I know, can you believe it, " I went on, "he told me I should stop trying to dress like I'm 15."
Now they about lost it.
"oh my goodness." "are you serious?'
As I grabbed my oversized jeans off the counter and walked out of the store, I knew they were taking bets on how long my marriage would last. They were probably telling each other that they would never marry anyone who would treat them that way.
Oh my young friends. If you only knew how insanely lucky you would be to marry someone just like that! I know your tight jean, not quite developed young brains don't think like that quite yet, but I promise you, one day, you are going to want someone who DOESN'T want you to dress like a 15 year old. There are already way too many of those out there.
I got in the car. I told James I used him as a victim of my conversation. he laughed. i really am lucky, aren't I?

This is Utah

Two Best Buddies

7 grandkids eating ice cream

raoarrrr...dinosaur museum hear we come!

lounging on the couch

putting together our legos

playing with the bunnies

Thanks for letting us visit UTAH! We love you.

William's First Time Skiing

In spite of blizard conditions, my brother Sam forgetting his son's snowpants and the Nissan Quest slipping it's way up the canyon, Wiliam did Awesome.

learning how to get up after a fall

Uncle Dave waiting in line with our boys. We are so lucky to have 7 boy cousins all in a row.

coming home from one successful ski day

Zach, Sammy and Josh hiding from the camera

Christmas Eve

it wouldn't be christmas eve without a live nativity. this year was super special... we even had a "live" baby jesus, nemo and a boy in a batman cape.

Christmas 2009

a special "thanksgiving" Christmas dinner. we all loved it. just us. just our little family.

James told the boys they had to run upstairs and put their nice clothes on because they were still in their pajamas on Christmas Eve when we were going to eat dinner. I said, "No pajamas at our special Christmas Eve dinner." They took us seriously and put on their church clothes.

oh...i'm so grateful that james is going in to pediatrics. we woke the kids up at 5:30 a.m. christmas morning so james could watch them open their presents before he had to go to the hospital. he was so cute dressed up for the "sick kids" on christmas. can you imagine him going to work as an uptight surgeon in these digs? they would have sent him home! ha ha

we LOVE christmas at peaceful. so quiet. so perfect.
how did James and i get so lucky?