Friday, January 30, 2009

"Forced Togetherness"

Growing up, there was a standing rule--if one of our siblings had an activity, we ALL went to support them in that activity, be it sports, plays, concerts, or cheerleading (which I still maintain is NOT a sport, Julianne). The only exception was if we had an activity of our own, and then things got a little more complicated. As a teenager, this was not my favorite rule. In fact, I was so busy with my own life that sometimes I just wanted to stay home and be ALONE! But, alas, with 4 siblings, that was never to happen. Looking back, I'm grateful to my parents for their "forced togetherness" that I'm sure has contributed to the closeness we now enjoy as a family, and probably kept us out of a LOT of trouble in those precarious years.

In that same light, and with the same intentions, last night we attended out first extra-curricular activity as a family--Maggie's choir concert. (I know, we're slow at getting our kids involved in things--we figured once it starts, it never ends, right?) It was crowded, hot, and we couldn't see Maggie over the hundreds of heads in front of us, but we had a surprisingly good time! Katie and Bridget danced their little hearts out to the Latin beat as Maggie sang Spanish songs, including "Guantanamera," a childhood favorite of mine. Brooke found a hole in the crowd & was able to watch Maggie deliver her line, "Music brings the world together, and makes us better friends." It was a GREAT night--the first of many, many, for this little family!
Passing the time...
They put the tall 4th graders on the stage and the short 2nd graders on the floor...they obviously didn't ask for my opinion.
Maggie is the first blue shirt on the left...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ward Conference

We had Ward Conference last week where we got to hear a couple of really great talks from Bishop Jenson and President Saviano, but unfortunately Mike was on-call, so I took the girls to church by myself while Mike picked someone up at the ME (Medical Examiner for those of you who don't run in death circles...). After church, we were having dinner and Mike asked the girls how church was. Four-year-old Katie replied with, "Dad, you should have come! Bishop Jenson and President Obama talked to us!" Hmmm...wasn't aware that President Obama was a pale Italian guy who works in the Missionary Department in Salt Lake...wonder if his wife knows?

Monday, January 26, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

I got this as a tag from a Facebook friend, but thought it would be fun to keep here on my blog, since it took me FOREVER to come up with all of these!

1. I ran away from Kindergarten. I hid behind a sand dune during recess because I decided I didn't want to go to school anymore. Then after everyone was in, I walked the 1/2 block to my house, only to find my mom was gone, so I played in the backyard until I got bored and walked back to school. I'm surprised I didn't get into trouble as my Dad left work and the cops were everywhere looking for me!
2. I went to school "Little House on the Prairie-style" when I was in 5-7 grades. There were less than 50 kids in K-8th grade, so I shared a classroom w/ my older sister and the principle taught both grades!
3. At the same school, in Swan Valley, ID, we got every other Mon. off to be bussed up to Grand Targhee to ski for the day w/ the whole school...ahhh...that was the life!
4. I played Varsity volleyball, basketball, softball, tennis & track in High School.
5. I have a crazy hyper-memory, so I remember things and people, even if they don't remember me!
6. I had 36 different roommates through college, (most of them marrying after 1 semester...) and thanks to my hyper-memory, I can name them all, and the addresses we lived at!
7. I hate doing things twice. Movies, books, chores...I think that's why I get so frustrated with my children. I'm CONSTANTLY cleaning up the SAME messes!!!!
8. I'm so NOT detail oriented! I love the big picture!
9. I climbed to the top of Mt. Timpanogos when I was a Sophomore at BYU.
10. In college, I told everyone I was going to have 12 kids...11 boys & 1 girl for good measure....ironic?
11. I'm always right.
12. I used to skip out of Mr. Jamison's 7th period choir class, drive out to the lake, jump off The Rocks, then come back and start tennis practice early. I think he liked me, because I never once got in trouble.
13. I had a mission call to Oakland, CA, spanish speaking, temple visitor's center, but decided to to get engaged instead--thankfully I didn't follow through with the marriage, but I wish I'd gone on the mission!
14. Our first daughter, Hannah Rae, was stillborn. We miss her, but definitely have our hands full with the ones that are still here! Besides, we look forward to being perfect parents, raising a perfect child--definitely a change...
15. I hate root beer and black licorice. Believe me, I've TRIED to like them, but they make me gag!
16. I've lived in New York, Texas, Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Utah.
17. I want to get my Master's degree in Public Administration, then start running for public office after my kids are all in school. I guess that will be a few years down the road!
18. I designed & built our back deck w/ minimal help from my hubby, the builder!
19. I LOVE working out--just wish my knees would love it as much!
20. I love watching Masterpiece Theater--Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, Charlotte Bronte...I even got my hubby to watch with me!
21. I've started to really enjoy cooking, and have perfected a number of dishes. My fave website is I can usually find good recipes, then tweak them to my liking!
22. I sent my kids to a Charter School this year, and am LOVING the new changes!!! They seem to be thriving, unlike at the local elementary. They are challenged so much more and are leaps and bounds beyond where I expected them to be. Needless to say, I'm impressed.
23. I unashamedly LOVE Josh Groban!! He has the most perfect voice of anyone I've ever heard, and I could just get lost in his songs!
24. When I was 4, my sister lost her first tooth & got a quarter under her pillow. I decided I wanted money, too, so I drew a paper tooth and put it under my pillow, fully confident that I'd get my quarter, too. To my dismay, I awoke to find that the tooth fairy left me a paper quarter...thanks, Mom. ( I still have the paper tooth & quarter in a scrapbook!)
25. I grew up with the understanding that you work first, play later, and I've kept to that my whole life. The problem is, now there is ALWAYS work to do, so I never take time to play! I hope to be better about taking time to just PLAY with my kids & spend more time with my husband!

Ok, Your turn...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Brooke Turns 6!

Brooke had her 6th birthday party with just our family this year. It was really nice not having to plan a friend party because those are a LOT of work!

Brooke always gets so excited about everything. It's so much fun to watch her open presents because she's just giddy with each one. Sure do love this girl.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday Box

So, with my newly organized life (she says, tongue-in-cheek), I've decided to conquer yet another project...a Sunday Box. I got the idea from a yahoo FHE group I'm a part of, and I'd love to hear some ideas about what to include in it. The whole purpose of the SB is to give the kids something to do , in keeping with the spirit of the Sabbath Day. It's only brought out on Sunday, so everything in it stays fresh & hopefully they won't get bored with its contents. I thought about putting in paper & crayons or colored pencils, envelopes, stickers & stamps to write letters & make cards for family members & missionaries. I also want to include issues of The Friend w/ copies of their coloring pages, mazes, word searches, etc. for each of the girls. That's where my creativity hits a brick wall, which at this point, I'm just going to blame on the pregnancy...because I can. I'd LOVE to hear your ideas about additional items & I promise to share my completed box contents with you all!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Seeing the Light

Mike & I have spent the day trying to rearrange the house in order to make room for our newest addition. We moved our bedroom to the smaller office, and are in the process of moving all the computer stuff, including the desk, bookcases, file cabinets & craft gear into the master bedroom, where half the room will be reserved for the crib & a small dresser. Of course, that means that the entire office is in my tiny living room right now, as we try to fit things into their new homes. Maybe it's my nesting instinct kicking in already, but I really hope to purge as much as I possibly can in order to feel less crowded. I think I'm going to try to sell a bunch of stuff, either on ebay or'll see how far I get.
The point is, there's just something to be said for cleaning up your life! Whether it be physically, spiritually, emotionally, financially, etc. Light just seems to shine through when there are no obstacles to block its path, and I feel as though I've been in the dark for a while with all my clutter! Of course, my mind is a bit cluttered since I'm off my meds, so I think that's manifesting itself in the rest of my life...but that's an entirely different story. For now, the house will hopefully be coming together tomorrow & I'll once again be able to see the Light!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Change of Pace

So, it's official. The days of buying 4 pink dresses, 4 Barbies, 4 My Little Ponies and 4 of anything princess, HSM or Hannah Montana will forever be altered by what the ultrasound revealed to us last week.


I'm not sure I even spelled it right, it's been a not-oft-mentioned word in this house for the last 8 years. As you can imagine, Mike's reaction was one of complete TRIUMPH, as he raised his fists victoriously in the air (as if he was Rocky finally making it to the top of those ominous stairs) and exclaimed, "I CAN do it!" Then, afraid it could all just be the unreachable dream, he continued to ask me if I was "sure."

Mike, "Are you SURE it's a boy?"

Amanda, "Yes, Honey, I'm sure."

Mike, "Are you SURE the doctor said BOY?"

Amanda, "Yes, Dear, she said it's 100% boy."

Mike, "So there's NO doubt that it's a boy?"

Amanda, "I think that's what 100% means."

Mike, "So there's not even a CHANCE it's a girl?"

Amanda, "If there was a chance, she would've said 99% or less."

Mike, "So we're REALLY having a boy?"

Amanda, "No, Honey, it's twin girls--good luck with that."

Three hours later....

Mike, "It really IS a boy?"

I don't think he'll really be convinced until this little guy is actually born on June 19th. He's already told me that the first thing he's getting for him will be a Laker's onesie--except that I cheer AGAINST the Lakers, no matter who they're playing, and I'm the one who'll be dressing our little man, so you figure that one out!

I'm still a little shocked and unsure of how this little boy will fit into our family. It's been so easy so far--same toys, same clothes, same movies. No wrestling, video games, light sabers, or fighting over Saturday morning cartoons (sorry you never got to watch He-Man or Transformers in your houseful of sisters, John David), which I have to admit has been REALLY nice! I guess the Lord thinks we're ready for little Dixon or Eli or Ace or Jack, or whatever his name ends up being. But no matter what reservations we may have, we're grateful for this new adventure in our lives. We're grateful that Mike will have a son to pass his name on to, and we're grateful our girls will know the joy of having a brother--though it may be a few years down the road before they feel the same!

All I can say is--Change, it is a-comin'!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Goodbye, Hello!

It's certainly been an interesting month. Having John David and the girls here and visiting with Mom & Dad & Julianne & her family was so great, though I'm now utterly exhausted. I wish we lived closer together as to avoid these kinds of marathon visits, which tend to wear on everyone. We spent our days shopping, which included about 3 trips to the grocery store per day on average, since no one could seem to get it together enough to compile just ONE list! Maybe that had something to do with the 16 kids cooped up in the house for the week with nothing to do but harrass each other and remind us of how bored they were. There were a few setbacks, including a nasty storm 2 days before Christmas, which thwarted our attempts to travel to Salt Lake. We missed out on the lights at Temple Square, going to the Planetarium, my roommate reunion, and a photo shoot for Julianne's family. (I'm SO sorry, Heather! They'll be back at the end of summer--maybe we can try again then!) We also had some sick monkeys, which thankfully got over it quickly, because Christmas morning was sure fun for all of us! You can just imagine these 16 kids all tearing into their presents at once, (not to mention the 9 adults) squealing with delight at whatever they had received. It made all the madness somehow worth it.
Now life is getting back to "normal." At least it will be, starting Monday when the girls go back to school. I can tell they're getting bored being at home because the arguing has escalated in the last couple of days. It will be good for them, and me, to get back on schedule.
I'm grateful to have another year laid out in front of me like a blank slate waiting for me to write the next chapters of my life. I think I've inherited some of my Dad's cynicism because by the end of every year, I just can't wait to close the chapter on all my failures and start all over again. I hope to be more optomistic this year. Not that I think life will get any easier for any of us, but because I'm putting my trust in the Lord more than ever before. I think that's the best any of us can do as we face a time foretold by prophets, ancient and modern. Because of that, I'm truly excited for the opportunity to teach the Doctrine & Covenants this year. Teaching has given me a new thirst for learning, and the more I learn about the gospel, the more I realize I don't know nothin'! (Which, of course, only makes me eager to learn it all!)
Yes, 2009 is going to be full of challenges, trials, & adversity (I told you I was cynical...), but I will continue to cling to the hope that I will rise to my challenges, grow from my trials and overcome all adversity that will most assuredly crowd my path. I hope I've learned from this last year, that as much as I hate to admit it, I can't make it on my own, and that it is painful to even try!