Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dining Room Makeover!

When we bought our house the owner asked us if we wanted the dining set. He didn't need it anymore and none of his kids or grandkids wanted it. We agreed because the chairs to our set were falling apart, literally. We've twice now had a chair collapse under someone.

This is what the chairs to our new-to-us set look like.

Darling, right? Butterflies on blue. It's retro, vintage, whatever you want to call it, which I normally love. The house's vintage vibe is a big part of what sold me on it. However, this little bit of vintage charm isn't exactly my taste.

And we've got rolls and rolls of the material downstairs. A couple weeks ago we noticed that a few of the chairs were getting rips in the material and we'd already known that the material was N-A-S-T-Y. The kids spill and drop their food on the chairs every day. They are gross. I'm constantly having to wash off every part of the chairs after they eat.

I decided now was the time to recover the cushions. I was given two gift cards to a local craft store for Christmas and decided to use one of them to buy the needed materials.

So now, two of my chairs look like this.

Here's a close up of the material.
I also bought some plastic to cover the material so it will actually stay nice.

I've been trying to get one chair done a night, but I'm thinking I'd like it all done before New Years. It's been interesting trying to learn how to recover a chair. All those lovely video people make it look so easy. I hate them.

Anyway, I love my new chairs. With the neutral color and the dark wood, they will work in whatever kind of dining room we choose for our next house when we move away from Cleveland, as far away as possible. J/K. Kind of.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Jeoparody Post Winners!

It was really hard picking the two winners from the Motherhood Jeopardy post. There was lots of encouragement and so many good answers. Whether I could use them, will use them, have already been using them, or won't be using them, I appreciate them. And a special thank you to everyone who said I should hunker down and write. It made me smile and breathe a bit easier.

I love being told to go off and write. I need to be told it more often.

The two winners I picked are . . . . . .

Kristine, because she has a sense of humor when it comes to motherhood and can joke about straitjackets and muzzles. In my opinion, mothers who absolutely cannot joke about those two items are hiding their frustrations and lying.

And . . . . . . .

First time commenter Juggling Motherhood because she gave a great tip I hope to use. I loved her idea of creating a fort for the kids to play in while I cook dinner. I'm not the best fort builder, but I am willing to improve my skills.

Thank you and be sure to email me at ksbimagine at with your address so I can mail you some candy that I won't let my kids eat, but will stuff into my face as soon as their little backs are turned and out of chocolate-smelling range.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas at the Zoo

Today we had breakfast with some friends who were super awesome to prepare a wonderful meal including the most delicious chocolate-cinnamon rolls, or as Nathan called them Happiness Solidified, we've ever eaten. (Thank you, Weights!) After breakfast we all gathered together at the Cleveland Zoo to see Santa and his reindeer.

Here are some fun pictures from our adventures today.

Santa and Mrs. Claus were in the wolf cabin. When we walked in the kids had the option to make bird feeder pine cones, which was something I was planning on doing with them this week anyway, so now I don't have to buy bird feed -sweet!

Megan was the only one of our kids that wanted to see Santa and she almost chickened out at the last minute. She suddenly got really shy and silly when it was her turn and became super glued to my leg. Santa was great! He told Megan that she reminded him of a couple of his reindeer, that Prancer is the silliest of his reindeer and Doner is the most shy. That got her attention and she agreed to sit on his lap.
Megan asked him where his reindeer were kept and so when everyone was finished with their visit with Santa and their pine cones we walked down to them.

The Zoo has special winter rates that included the Rain Forest where they had an area set up with cookies, frosting, and sprinkles for the kids. Here's Jeremy about to take his first bite of his Christmas tree cookie.

We had more fun today, too, but that story and corresponding pictures will have to be told later as the pictures haven't been through Photo Shop yet.

We had lots of fun today Weights, Brimhalls, and Monsons!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Jeoparody! The Motherhood Version

Ever hear the phrase, life is a test? If you're LDS (Mormon for the rest of you), I know you have so raise your hand. Anyone else?

Today I have come to the conclusion that some aspects of life test harder than others. For example, motherhood* (do yourself a favor and see the fine print at bottom for a warning if you have begun feeling uppity or concerned for me).

It is the test that never ends.

Question One-Wake Up Time: How do you handle one overly happy child (you not being a morning person cannot understand her chipperness), one extremely grumpy child (while you identify with said grumpy child, his grumpiness still bugs you, because hey, you're grumpy), and one child you know will have either oatmeal or cereal in her hair in five minutes.

Question Two-School Time: How do you handle a child who won't let go of your leg when you drop him off at school?

Question Three-At Home: What do you do with the other two now? They want to color on your nice, painted walls and new couch, paint pictures on the dining room table, and eat candy at 8:45 AM. How do you handle this?

Question Four-Temper Rising: Youngest child has emptied your purse for the fifth time this morning (it's only 10AM) and you are running out of hiding places for it. She's eaten 53 cents and scattered the few dollar bills you were planning on using as your tithing. Oldest child is pretending she knows how to whistle and is actually shrieking at the top of her lungs. What is your answer?

Question Five-Lunch Time: Grumpy child is home from school and you have 20 minutes to feed all your children lunch before getting Oldest child to school. Youngest daughter wants to wear the peanut butter and jelly, Oldest child wants to talk instead of eat, and Grumpy child wants to pout. What is your answer?

Question Six-Sleep: Youngest child refuses to take naps now, but still desperately needs them. What do you do?

Question Seven-Repetition: Grumpy child is finally happy. Because he's throwing a ball in the house. He is told every day not to throw anything in the house. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. How do you handle this?

Question Eight-Dinner Hour: All three children are home now. You must now entertain, watch over, keep them clean, the house clean, and make dinner on time so that bed time can finally come. How do you juggle everything?

Question Nine-Bedtime: Youngest child arches her back, screams, and cries because she doesn't want to go to bed. In the same room, Grumpy child who eventually became happy is grumpy again because he doesn't want to go to bed. Small reprieve with Oldest child who has a 90% chance of going to sleep on her own. You put Youngest child in her bed when she calms down. She gets out. You put her back. She gets out. You have been told and have read that if you just keep putting her back and letting her cry she will eventually figure it out and learn to fall asleep in her bed on her own. This is a lie and you must find some other method. What will you do? Curve ball: Grumpy child shares a room with Youngest child and refuses to lay still or be quiet. How do you handle this situation while getting Youngest child to sleep?

Question Ten-Bonus Points: Once they are actually asleep for the night, what do you do?

A) the dishes, laundry, and any other chores that didn't get done during the day
B) craft or sew-not something for you, but for one of your children
C) watch TV/read/relax
D) do something for yourself
E) eat the candy you didn't allow them to eat at 10AM

Leave me your answers to any two questions, I'll pick my favorite answers and send you a prize. Seriously, I will. How about a package containing my favorite candy that I only eat when my kids are in bed? Or eat when they are at least not looking because I can't always wait until after 10AM.

*If you are one of those people that can't stand my posts where I talk about how hard motherhood can be, either read somewhere else today or try to understand that I LOVE MY KIDS AND AM GRATEFUL TO BE A MOM, but I also need to vent and complain sometimes about how motherhood is hard and demanding. That's part of having a blog about family life. Please don't worry about me, like you did in the past, over whether or not I'm "ok." I'M FINE. And the mere fact that I'm able to write this and that I'm trying to make it funny (whether I succeeded or not is irrelevant) shows that I'm normal, that I love my kids, and that I'm fine.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

That Was Totally Wicked!

As I mentioned earlier, Nathan got us tickets off of Craigslist to see Wicked. I checked Craigslist everyday for weeks hoping to find someone desperate enough to sell us tickets that we could actually afford.

We went a couple weekends ago (the Saturday after Megan's birthday) and it was awesome! The Elphaba we saw was the understudy, Meridith Kaye Clark and she was terrific. I can't imagine a performance better than hers. And when I compare our Glenda to the Broadway Glenda, I have to say that I like ours much more. She was more animated and looked more the part.

Our seats, which were the cheapest possible seats, technically could have been further back in the theater, but only by two feet. And a group of people two rows ahead of us arrived half an hour late and left early, so everyone between them and the aisle had to stand to let them pass. It was pretty annoying.

But I guess we were actually pretty lucky because the next weekend a woman down near the orchestra seats was drunk and decided to start yelling obscenities and nearly got into a fight with another patron. She was eventually escorted out of the theater, but it took quite a quite a while for the theater to send anyone to get her.

So we lucked out! Thank you Nathan for my great Christmas present, taking me out to the theater to see a great show. I loved being with you, hearing the fun music, and seeing the great performances.

Let's do it again next year:)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Happy Birthday and Happy Birthday. And oh, yeah, Happy Birthday Again.

5 Years Old!

We always celebrate Megan's birthday early if we are with my parents because usually they have to leave before her actual birthday. Those pictures are with the Thanksgiving post and cover the first "Happy Birthday" in this post's title.

The second "Happy Birthday" came yesterday for her actual birthday.

I made some yummy cranberry orange muffins for breakfast for her and baked up some delish cupcakes with flower sprinkles for her preschool class (and our neighbor who donated the needed eggs. Thank you Lebanese neighbor!).

The third "Happy Birthday" is for today because we didn't get to the cake and ice cream yesterday. We were so busy and we had a Church Christmas party we all wanted to go to (I checked with Megan to make sure she was ok with us spending the evening at the Christmas party before telling her we were postponing her cake and ice cream). So the cake and ice cream part of her birthday was tonight.

I can't believe I have a five year old. It is really weird and yet at the same time I look at her and think, "You're only 5? I thought you were 13. . . ."

Here are five things I love about Megan

1. She is the sweetest and most loving little girl I've ever met. She always wants others to be happy and does everything she can to make others feel loved and wanted.

2. Her sense of humor is very well developed. She loves to laugh and loves to make others laugh.

3. Her imagination is wild. Just as it should be. I love listening to her play with her toys when she thinks I'm not listening. It is fun to hear the stories she comes up with for her toys to act out.

4. She is so smart and learns so quickly. Anyone who has read my blog or knows Megan already knows this. But you may not be aware of how big a blessing it is to have Megan be full of her daddy's smarts. She grasps on to concepts so quickly and then loves to teach others about what she's learned. And she entertains Jeremy and Emma by reading to them which is the BIGGEST help in the entire world some days.

5. I love looking at her happy smile. When I see her smile I can't help but be happy and feel blessed for having her as my daughter. God has truly blessed me.

I love this picture because she's staring almost in fear at that flame.

Sweetie, it's only going to get bigger every year.

Get used to it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bowling for Turkey

I didn't get a turkey on Thanksgiving.

Well, I ate turkey, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the three strikes in a row turkey. But, and here's where I pinky promise I'm not lying, I did get multiple strikes and for the very first time in my life got a score above not only 85, but 100.

Nathan promised to take me out to ice cream if I bowled a 300. If you combined my scores of the five games we played, I got way more than that. Unfortunately, he didn't mean combined. That's ok, we've got sherbet in the freezer.

Janeen, I know what you're thinking. (I think you're the only Rick's College roommate that reads my blog, right? If there are others, please fess up. Admitting it is the first step to recovery.) You are thinking No way, Kellie. I saw you bowl at Ricks. We took a class and you sucked. Well, Janeen. You would be right. I did suck. I am pretty sure that my average bowling score in that class was 60 and that the written part of the final is what saved me from actually getting a C in that class. I have no idea what happened on Thanksgiving. My first ball I got a strike and then they just kept coming.

Actually, when we got home and told my parents who were kindly watching the kids, I attributed it to the beautiful bracelet my mom got me for Christmas.

Ok, so you know how I said we played 5 games? After the first two we thought our arms were pretty much done (see how in shape we are?) but because we paid to play for two hours and only half an hour had passed, we thought we should play another one. After that third game we thought we'd gotten little bit of a second wind in our arms and decided to play a fourth. That was probably our worst game . . . except for the fifth one which we both played left handed since our right arms were shot. Still, I won three of the games we played (including the left handed game) and scored above 100 in the first three games and a 99 in the fourth. Some of you who know me well are probably thinking, like Janeen, Um, Kellie? You're left handed. Remember? Duh, I remember. But the only things I do with my left hand are write and eat (and I eat with my right hand a lot of the time, actually). Yeah, I can switch hit, but I haven't actually played softball in a long time. Everything else is strictly right hand.

Don't worry though. I'm sure the next time I go bowling (we go like 3 times a year) I'll be back to normal.

Bowling, anyone?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Book Review, I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews >>
This book was excellent. I read it for our Relief Society book club. It isn't a book I think I would have picked up normally since I hadn't heard of the author (she wrote 101 Dalmatians, didn't even know it was a book) and hadn't really heard of the book, either.

I went to Borders to look at it since the library copies were all checked out. I opened it up to the first page and read the very first line. Then I bought it. I couldn't help myself; the first line grabbed me and I wanted more. It is rare that I pick up a book that grabs me with the very first line. Usually it is somewhere in the first paragraph, page, or at the end of the first chapter.

The format of the book, though it isn't obvious, is journal entries by a young woman, Cassandra, about 16 or 17 years old. I don't think she ever stated directly how old she is. Her father is a writer, but has been unable to write anything since his first big success and now she, her father, brother, sister, step-mother, and family friend are living in an old dilapidated castle, waiting and wishing for life to happen and save them (preferably in the form of her father writing again or a convenient and rich marriage). When life does come at them, Cassandra records it as honestly and openly as a person can in their own journal.

The story is funny, interesting, and kept me captivated. As a narrator, Cassandra is perhaps one of the best and most reliable.

If I could, I would rate it 4.5.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thank You

Thanksgiving this year was a lot better than last year. For those of you who don't want to click on the link to last year's Thanksgiving post, we are grateful that this year, no one was in the hospital during the days leading up to Thanksgiving.

My parents flew out here again and this time were able to stay with us in our house! Usually when they visit they have to stay in a hotel because we haven't really had a lot of room, being in apartments. But this year we had a room all prepared for them and an extra bathroom. I don't know if I can express how grateful I am that they actually stayed with us, in our house, the entire time. It made the visit so much more wonderful for me, and I hope it did for them, too.

Here are a couple pictures from their visit.

We went to Kirtland because neither of my parents have ever been there before. They were getting ready for their Nativity display and even though it hadn't opened yet, they let us have a sneak peek. Then we took the tour and got to visit with a sister missionary that used to serve in our ward.

We also went to the house from the movie A Christmas Story, but their website was off and they weren't open after all. Still, my dad got a picture of us outside the house.

We also celebrated Megan's birthday since it's next week.

Then the next day we celebrated Christmas:)

It was great having my parents here. I miss them so much and it's really hard not living anywhere near them. I really want my kids to know them better and spend more time with them, so I'm grateful for the time we had this week.

I loved going out with them to see New Moon (my mom's a fan, my dad deals with it, Nathan doesn't want to have to watch the movies--it worked out great). Also, they watched the kids while Nathan and I went to our parent-teacher conferences for the kids and later bowling (and that story, or both, really deserve their own posts, so I won't go into those here).

Mom and Dad, I love you. Thank you for coming. Thank you for Thanksgiving. Thank you for Christmas. And thank you for staying with us. That really meant the most to me.

The Road to Dessert . . . .

Thanksgiving Day Conversation Between Jeremy and Myself

Jeremy: What's that?
Me: [trying not to laugh] Green Bean Casserole
Jeremy: Green beans?
Me: [still trying not to laugh] Yep. Green beans.
Jeremy: What's that white stuff?
Me: [barely containing it] Cream of Mushroom Soup.
Jeremy: Mushroom soup?
Me: [laughing] Yep.
Jeremy: What's that black stuff?
Me: [still laughing] Pepper.

To find out why this is so funny. Go here. I read it not a full ten seconds before Jeremy started asking those questions.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sick Kids, No Naps, Not Fair

About a month ago all three of my kids had some nasty colds. This week my oldest kids have bacterial conjunctivitis (a bacterial version of pink eye instead of the nastier viral version) and double ear infections.

When they were sick a month ago, they were still bouncing off the walls and playing just as hard as usual. It was like pulling teeth to get them to lay down for naps, and in the end I only ever got Megan to take one and Jeremy to lay down for half an hour. Emma took her normal naps, no extras.

Now they are sick again and still have normal energy functioning! What is wrong here? Why is it that my kids don't feel tired when they are sick? I remember going to bed and staying in bed, or sleeping on the couch when I was sick. I don't remember wanting to run around my parents' house like a maniac or go outside to play.

Any suggestions?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Things That Make Me Smile #14-20

14) I've got a story or two in here. It'll be for sale in your local LDS bookstore (or online for those of us outside the Utah/Idaho world) on December 9th.
Makes a great Christmas present:) --->Mormon Mishaps and Mischief

15) Nathan surprised me by saying yes to buying tickets off of Craigslist for WICKED!!!!!
I'm so excited! (As if you couldn't tell by the 6 ! I just used. I have been checking almost everyday for cheap tickets.)

16) Surprising Megan with a day out,
just her and me and having it be a Fancy Nancy party at Borders.
She decorated her own tiara, got butterfly hairpins,
a set of Fancy Nancy binoculars,
Fancy Nancy stickers, cookies, a Fancy Nancy coloring page,
and got to hear quite a few Fancy Nancy stories read to her.

Megan and I needed some time together, just us.
I hope to use this as retaliation when she's mad at me and says I don't let her do anyt
hing and am mean.

17) I love it when I find Nathan playing with the kids like this.
There are actually few things that make me smile bigger or more than when Nathan gets on the floor with the kids and makes them laugh.

18. Getting real mail in the mailbox. (Thanks Amber O.!)

19. Getting out of nursery duty two Sundays in a row :)

20. Getting to sit with a friend in Relief Society during Church.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Things That Make Me Smile #13-18

14. Emma finally saying, "I love you."

15. Jeremy giving me a high five after reading a word all on his own.

16. My parents will be here in 12 days.
17. Abuelita Hot Chocolate
18. Watching Emma give kisses to Nathan.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Things that Make Me Smile #7-12

7. Books. All kinds of books. Kid books, adult books, YA books.
Mysteries, sci-fi, fantasy, biographies, non-fiction, fiction. It's all good.

8. Sweets. Mostly chocolate, but just about anything sweet is wonderful.

9. When a sewing project begins to take shape.

10. Warm, sunny days.


12. My kids actually eating their dinner and not complaining.
(Don't have a picture of this since it happens so rarely, but still, it does happen.)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Things That Make Me Smile #1-6

1. Hugs from Jeremy (seriously, the kid gives the best hugs ever).

2. Megan coming up to me every day and saying,
"Mom, I have something to do to you!" and then giving me a kiss.

3. Emma laughing with her mouth open really wide.

4. Nathan doing the dishes.

5. Finding really weird things--like the Beer Can House in Houston.

(this picture is really, really old)

6. Having a day where I don't feel like the world's worst mom, but like I did ok.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I'm Laughing on the Inside. Maybe.

I'm trying to laugh about this.

Really, I am. But it just isn't coming today.

Normally Emma eats just fine on her own, but not lately. I was busy with Megan and Jeremy, double checking that their new winter gear fits perfectly.

When her food and bowl became her shirt and hat.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Book Review: The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner The Maze Runner by James Dashner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I first heard of this book about three years ago. This was way before it had been published and still had a lot of editing needed. I met James and he told me a little of the idea behind the book (a little less than what's on the back of the book) and I was intrigued. The last time I saw him he told me it was being published and would come out Fall of 2009. I didn't think I could wait and wanted to ask for an advanced reader copy.

I bought it almost as soon as it came out, but had to wait to read it because I was reading a book for book club and wanted to give my full attention to my friend's book. As soon as I was finished with the book club book I started on Maze Runner.

I think James did a great job. The idea behind the book, which is the first in a trilogy, is interesting, the way he developed is amazing. The characters remind me of characters in The Outsiders, a group of teenage boys who have their own language, slang. The boys have created a lot of their own slang that gets used frequently. Having their own words seems to help bring them solidarity.

The story itself is terrifying and the ending, of course, left me wanting more. It is, after all, the first in a trilogy. I found myself ignoring my kids all day and almost fed my family hot dogs without the buns because I had such a hard time putting the book down. In the end I had to stay up until almost 1AM finishing it.

My only complaints would be 1) the characters do sound very similar to one another. Occasionally I couldn't tell who was speaking because their language was so similar. The main character stuck out from the others, but among the rest of the boys I did have a hard time. However, I understood that all the boys were in exactly the same situation, with exactly the same background, not remembering anything before showing up in the maze and some of them being there for over two years, and so they would sound very similar because of that.
2) I have to wait for the next book!

All in all I really loved this book. It was scary, emotional, and fun. Great job, Dashner!

View all my reviews >>

Saturday, October 31, 2009

What do you get when you cross a fish, a ballerina, a chicken, and Edward Cullen?

A Very Fun Halloween!

Nathan was Edward Cullen for Halloween. Just kidding. He would not be happy if I let you believe that. He actually made these fangs in the sim clinic at school.

Here are the kiddos. Megan is a ballerina, Jeremy is a fish, and Emma a chicken.
It was too cold for Emma to go as a ballerina like Megan,
so we brought out the old chicken costume to keep her warm.

We went to a fun Halloween party some friends from the dental school were having and then went trick or treating around their neighborhood. Here's a picture of the kids when they were still going strong. Emma was practically running from house to house saying, "Candy! Candy!" She was very excited.

Here's just a good back shot of his fishy costume.

Megan was actually the first to admit being tired
and said, "Mom, I think I have enough candy. Let's go home."
What a funny kid. I don't think I ever would have said that when I was her age. Or now.