Saturday, May 24, 2014

Cockadoodledoo

 My laundry room has evolved a lot.  I take that back.  What has evolved a lot is my ability to manage laundry.   And when you have a bunch of kids, that's what it is, right?  Managing laundry.  But I haven't always been able to manage the laundry.  I had work my way up the ranks.  Laundry used to manage me.  My laundry room used to hide under piles of it until the day would come when I would haul it all out to the family room to finally fold it all.  And then I would place a bunch of neat little stacks into my kids' drawers, and those stacks would look great just long enough for my kids to open the drawers to find something to wear.  And then no more neat little stacks.  I was bemoaning this one day when Erin presented an idea to me:  stop folding the laundry.  Why not just sort it and cram it into the drawers, since that's how it ends up five minutes after folding it anyway?  Such a good idea, right?  So I started doing just that.  And then another day, Erin suggested that I get some baskets for my laundry room so I could just sort the laundry right as it's coming out of the dryer.  So I did, and that has REALLY worked well.  And when the baskets get too full, the kids take them to their rooms and sort their clothes into their drawers.  Later I added the wire baskets to manage everyone's socks as well.  But the socks always stay in the laundry room.  I sort them and put them in their respective baskets when they come out of the dryer, too.   The other day when a lady came to look at the house, I was excited to show her my laundry room and explain the way it now functions.  She wasn't impressed.  She did only have one kid, though, so.....

Do you guys even care about this?  You don't, do you.  Well, thanks for humoring me.  Oh, and one more thing, just in case you're wondering--  Brian's and my clothes go from the dryer into that white basket you see and then into our room to be folded and hung.  I fold or hang all of Brian's clothes, and even roll his underwear together in pairs.  That's something I do to show Brian love.  I hang all of my nicer shirts and church clothes and fold my jeans, but all of my underwear, swim suits, work out clothes, etc., just get shoved into the baskets hidden inside my armoire.  And I'm totally cool with that.  I only care about outside appearances.  :)  And I fold towels and rags right out of the dryer and then put them away.

So my efficient, but ugly, laundry room remained undecorated for quite some time.  It wasn't until I finally got my tools (which I also keep in the laundry room) an appropriate home (the Original Pink Box), that I finally decided that a little spiffing up was in order.  So while this is definitely NOT one of those laundry room makeovers that you see on Pinterest or HGT--in fact, it is mainly just a bunch of new accessories---I did it entirely myself, and don't you just love my rooster?!!



Ribba frames from Ikea.  My favorite.


 I got this little box on clearance at Homegoods to contain the mismatched socks until their twins surface.

Shugee painted me this picture for Mother's Day and that little pink box contains my dryer sheets.  I got it, the clock, and the rooster from Homegoods, too.


The jars are from the dollar bins at Target.  I made the boxwood wreath from preserved boxwood I bought wholesale online.  The pink wreath and the woven tureen (is that that it's called?)  are from...Yep, Homegoods.

I never buy safety pins.  I just save the ones we get to pin our numbers on at races. :)








Homegoods.

Ironing board cover:  Homegoods.

Roses:  Homegoods.  Original artwork by my Gain Goo.


Rooster:  Free range  Homegoods.



















All of my dirt rags go into this bucket and then I was them together.  I got it on clearance at Fred Meyer.  I buy very few things (other than food and spray paint) at Fred Meyer.  I'd rather shop at Homegoods. :)




Doesn't this picture kill you?!  Thanks, John!
So there it is.    Before:  


And after:  

Thanks so much for reading, guys.  

P.S.  A special thanks to Erin....and Homegoods.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Think Pink

I have a confession to make.  Sometimes when I'm at the gym, I put my earphones in--even though I'm not really listening to anything.   I do this because sometimes when I'm at the gym, I don't feel like talking, and I feel like earphones helpfully label me as (at least somewhat) unavailable.  I do this because sometimes I want to read my book and not be interrupted.  And for whatever reason, just reading a book while on a machine at the gym does not effectively evoke the same unavailability as earphones do.  You know what I mean?  And isn't it funny how difficult it is to read when you are having to put forth an extra amount of effort while on a machine--like when the resistance jumps?  It's not like you are suddenly having to use your hands or eyes for something else.  It's just that the only thing your brain can process for those moments is the pain. So at those times, I put down my book and turn up my music.

...............

I think the day has come.  I think Camp likes a girl.  I don't think he realizes it, but I think he likes a girl.  I won't tell you her name, because some of you surely know her, and I'm taking the first steps at being trustworthy of the secret that Camp doesn't even know he has.  :)  But it's been so funny to have him talk about her.  And it's not like he's talking about her in any kind of an admiring or adoring way.  It's just that he's talking about her at all.  He wrote her a note yesterday--a response to her apparent teasing about his soccer skills.  He wanted to tell her how well he had done in his soccer game and that he had scored one of the two goals.  He wrote the note on an index card and then asked me for an envelope.  He made sure to spell her name right.

I did tell you that Brian and I had the big talk with Camp a year or so ago, right?  I did a little self-training with a book that Sarah recommended called "How To Talk To Your Child About Sex."  Creative title, no?  It helped a lot.  I'm still reading it because it walks you through preparing your kids for the big talk and then how to continue to follow up afterwards.  So far, the part of the book that has impacted me the most is this:

 ....any parent who does whatever it takes to keep communication open with kids and who works continually at teaching and exemplifying the principle of delayed gratification in all wants, desires, and appetites will succeed, and children of such a parent will survive and thrive physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

So anyway, since the big talk (which went fine, by the way),  I have made an effort to revisit the subject of sex from time to time.  And a couple weeks ago, I had a very sweet experience.

Brian had flown to Vegas for a week to attend a shooting course and to participate in the Tough Mudder again down there.  One of the nights he was gone, I was praying with my children and in my prayer, I asked Heavenly Father to please send angels to be with Brian and give him power to avoid the temptations that would be around him.  (As a side note--I often ask Heavenly Father to round up any available angels--Scotty?  Grandad?  Terry? --for work that I need done.   Come to think of it--they're probably pretty behind in the work they get up there because I'm always pulling them to the work I've got down here...)  Anyway, after the prayer, Camp asked me what I was talking about when I prayed about those temptations and all that.  I first answered him kinda vaguely, but when he continued to press me for further explanation, I told him I would be in to his bedroom to talk to him in a few minutes.   I can't remember if I said a little additional prayer after or before I went to Camp's room, but I asked Heavenly Father to help me to say the right things and in a way that would help and benefit Camp the most.

First I told Camp how horrible and evil Las Vegas is.  Just kidding.  But I did tell him that there are some additional ...er...more obvious, maybe? temptations there and that there can just be some additional temptations when you are alone.   I asked Camp if he remembered our talk about sex.  He said he did.  I asked him if he remembered what pornography is.  He said he did.  I told him that pornography is very much a temptation to most men and that Daddy is no exception.  I told him that at some point he (Camp) would start thinking about sex and that he would be tempted by pornography as well.  He seemed to disbelieve that Brian could be tempted by anything--least of all pornography.   I reassured him that Brian's being tempted by pornography is not bad.  Most men (and some women) are tempted by pornography and EVERONE is tempted by something.  What's important is what you do with the temptation.  I told Camp that Brian works hard to avoid and reject temptations.  I reminded him that sex is a good thing that God created and that it is Satan that distorts and perverts it.  I told him that God wants us to have the best relationships we can and that viewing pornography diminishes our ability to experience and enjoy relationships the way God wants us to.  (I'm just learning some of these things myself....)   But anyway,
 I felt really grateful for the way the conversation went and for the opportunity to have the conversation at all.  I was even more touched and grateful when I received the following text from Brian shorty before his returning home:

Just letting you know that I am at the airport.  It has been a fun weekend.  I want you to know also that I was very well behaved.  I made a point of listening to Christian radio while driving.  Not turning on the television  And keeping myself busy and occupied until I crashed in bed each night.  The screen saver of the kids in their Easter clothes that I saw every time I opened my phone was very helpful.  Being able to talk to you was a bigger help.  I am looking forward to seeing you and the kids.  Have a good Sunday.  

THAT, folks, is my love language.  

My prayers were answered.  My angels were hard at work.

I asked Brian if I could share his text with Camp.  He said I could.  I want him to know our prayers were answered, too.


I also asked Brian if I could share this experience here on my blog and he said I could.  I said, "It's kinda private."  He said nothing is private after the physical examination he had this morning.  Good news!  No testicular cancer!


Aaaaannnnnddd, I've been working on a mini-makeover in my laundry room (where I also happen to keep my tools).  Brian approved my getting this little beauty for myself for Mothers' Day, and it just got my decorating wheels turning like crazy......


 Here's a couple before pictures of our laundry room for you.    It's small and definitely nothing fancy, but do you see how I have the socks organized?  One basket for the kids' socks, one for mine, aaaaannnndd....TWO for Brian's.  Crazy.









As for the afters?  Well I'll just say this:  Think pink!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

No News Is Good News

I started the following blog post a while ago and then never finished it.  However,  I go to my blog page a lot because it contains the links to all the other blogs I follow.  And I had gotten to the point that if I were to see that Christmas tree picture from my last post one more time, I might put a fist through my computer.  And I like Christmas trees a lot.  So it was definitely time for a new post, and at least a partial post would alleviate the problem with the Christmas tree picture.  Anyway....



They say that no news is good news.  And at least this time, for me, they are right.  I am at a very good spot in my life right now.   This has been a good year so far.  (Which means there will be more than just a few words again in my Christmas letter.  :) )  Things are really, really good.....

For whatever reason, typing that previous sentence got me to thinking about what it means when I say "things are good" and mean it.  I mean, if things really are "good" for someone, what does that mean?  I  would imagine it means something different for everyone, but i'll tell you what it means for me.  It basically implies three things--First, that Brian and I are really getting along and enjoying one another; second, that we have the money we need to cover all of our expenses, plus a little (which is probably why we are able to get along :) ); and three, that there is general peace in our home where our kids are concerned--meaning that we do not currently want to kill them and they do not currently want to kill us.    There may still be a fair (really fair) amount of fighting, but there is still some level of control that keeps everything manageable.  You know what I mean?  And these are all things that are true of my life right now, so I am good.










In March, I went to Hurricane, UT for my seventh mom-and-sister reunion.  And I think it was my favorite so far.  As it happened, none of us was pregnant....I don't think.....and there were no babies--not that babies aren't super fun, but their absence just makes planning and certain activities a little easier.  And everyone was able to be there:  My Mamacita, Sarah, Laura, Audrey, Kat, Allecia and me.  We stayed at my Grandma Hatch's again and had a wonderful time.  We went hiking twice, watched two movies (the Curious Life of Walter Mitty and Departures), rode bikes through Zion, ate out, made Oreo blizzards, talked, played cards....  Oh, and we did this thing a few times where we would challenge our waitresses to match each of our names with the correct person (do I look like an Ann or do I look more like a Kat or a Laura, etc?)  and if they could get at least two matches, we would give them a prize.  That was fun.  It was all fun.  I feel so grateful to have sisters.  I feel so grateful to have a family.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Christmas Past and Camp's Room "After"

I have a bunch of stuff in my head---like how hard marriage is even when I am totally in love with my spouse, and how I always feel a little bit trepidatious when I find out someone is getting married because I hope he/she knows the work he/she has ahead of him/her; and how I think I have figured out Janey's love language ( I think it may be gifts!), and Danin's is definitely physical touch; and some other stuff, too.  But I'm tired.  It took too dang long to upload all these stinkin' pictures and stuff.   And they're like two months late now, but I want them to be part of my personal history.  Because Christmas trees are important to me.  So anyway...


The Christmas Tree I decorated for a fundraiser for my friend's daughter

'Twas the night before Christmas....

And this is what my kids are doing while waiting for Santa to come....




Did I tell you I preserved my own boxwood this year and then made these wreaths?  Not perfect, but not too bad :)


Driftwood tree


The eagle has landed.  Santa Came

One of the best Christmas gifts ever:  a family portrait painted by my Janey Mac.

After Christmas Steals

Got these pillows at HomeGoods the day after Christmas for 1/2 off.  Yay!






The after party.




I fulfilled a childhood dream this  year by making my own gingerbread house.  We each decorated a side and then stood the house.  This is right before demolition.  

And after.










This IS in fact the picture we sent out with our Christmas letter (which follows).  I know.  We're all photogenic.


Dear Family and Friends, 

Man, I’ll tell you what.  Thanksgiving’s having been late this year really screwed me up big-time.  No matter how much I’ve hustled to get everything done, I’ve still felt a week behind in all of my Christmas projects this whole month.  And the fact is--I have been a week behind--at least in comparison to last year, when Thanksgiving was a full 6 days earlier.   The thing is, decorating is a big part of Christmas for me.  And when Thanksgiving falls early, I have plenty of time to decorate my trees and house--without cutting into the time when I should really stop thinking about my trees and start thinking of others. So if my front room tree dies super quickly, for example, I still have time to indulge myself by undecorating it, throwing it out into the yard, and redecorating a new one--without feeling guilty that I am not yet embracing the true spirit of Christmas.  As it is--or as it was (on the 10th of December)--with each light I restrung and each bulb I rehung, I kept thinking about how I should have been taking bread to a widow or at the very least reading a Christmas book to my kids.

So I’ve decided something:  in the future, when Thanksgiving falls late, I will start decorating for Christmas before the turkey comes out of the oven.  I’m sure Thanksgiving will understand.  Thanksgiving and Christmas are friends, after all.  The spirit of the first naturally prompts and enhances the spirit of the other, so to me--it’s all just one big happy season, for which I should be able to decorate whenever I please.  (Inhale.....siiigggghhhh....)

So other than that, this has been a decent year.  We have a good life and continue to learn new things that will make life better.

Brian has learned that it takes all kinds of different people to make things happen properly.  

Camp has learned that fourth grade is horrible, that Nolan and Ryder don’t like watermelon, and that if you fall into frozen water, you need to immediately remove your clothes and start a fire.  (Thankfully, he did not learn that last pearl through experience. :) )

Jane has learned how to do a back walkover and that ‘cian’ makes a shun sound (a sound that she is not yet able to pronounce).

Danin has learned---well, actually, Danin refused to tell me what she’s learned.  Man, that girl is feisty!

Skip has learned to identify Jesus and that on Christmas Eve, Ho Ho Ho will come and bring “yot of presents and put tandy in his tocking.”  Oh, yes he will.  Lots of it.

And I have learned--among other things--ahem--see first paragraph above--that I MUST learn to not always say so much.  My need to verbally hash everything out is indeed a dangerous weapon that has beat many a poor horse (and kids and husband ) to death.  Hmmm....So while everyone else has actually learned something, I’ve just learned what it is I need to learn.  Does that even count?  Oh, geez.   

So anyway...  I have five days left to cram in all the good deeds, cookies, caroling and fun with my kids that I can, and I am committed to leaving my trees alone.  Wait...is that ornament crooked?...

Merry Christmas, everyone.   We love you.

Love, 

Ann

P.S.  For Christmas, we all got rhinoplasties.  What do you think?! :)



And at some point I decided to repaint these night stands again--much to Brian's disgust.





....And after...  What do you think?

And now that it is totally anticlimactic, here is Camp's room after I did a little to it.  I couldn't even find a 'before' picture.  Lame.  Just know it was a lot uglier.  This room could obviously use a lot more:  crown moulding, first of all (I wonder if I'll ever get crown moulding up in my house?) and another shelf to hold books that could go under the one above the desk.  And other stuff....but like I said.  It's better.  Way better than it was before.  And do you love these beds?!!  Brian is seriously amazing.  I LOVE them.  The pulls are from IKEA.