...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Friday, April 29, 2011

No More Monkeys Jumping Down the Stairs

Do your kids ever do things that niggle the back of your brain because they are vaguely dangerous, but still oh so much fun that you don't want to stop them?

Well, mine do...pretty regularly.  Here are a couple of favorites at the moment. 

The kids love to hunt up every pillow in the house and pile their loot at the bottom of the stairs and then plummet from the stairs into the fluffy mass.  This one concerns me because (besides the minor possibility of broken bones) there is also a lip on the wall at the bottom of the stairs. Logan has earned himself more than one black eye by smashing into that lip while simply walking down the stairs.  Imagine the facial damage if he face planted after a flying leap.  It wouldn't be pretty...but the danger seems small, so we pile pillows and jump anyway. It's too much fun to resist.

Our second death-defying (maybe slightly exaggerated) favorite feat is "swing surfing."  Gavin and Parker like to take our skateboards and balance them on our swings and then ride the imaginary waves.  The combination skateboard/swing is not super stable (surprising, I know) and the boys fall a lot, but they love it and I figure they probably won't break themselves so I just cringe and look the other way.  
Sometimes finding that balance between paranoia and harmless childhood adventure is tougher than...swing surfing. 

What things do your kids do that tickle your worry nerve, but not enough to make you stop them from enjoying it?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

One Tasty Afternoon

Yesterday, Josh had to stop at Walmart on the way home from school.  He is out of tissues in his classroom (and a classroom without tissues simply cannot function...true fact). 

He called me from the store to see if there was anything that we needed (he is sweet and thoughtful like that...not to mention well trained -- hehe).  I said we were ok.

But he knows me better than that.

So he came home with ice cream.  I love that man.

Watch out, he may croak at any minute
Also yesterday, I decided to be a little bit creative with our after school snack.  I wrote an article this month about what to do with hard boiled eggs after Easter, so I decided to take my own advice.  Growing up, my mom used to make us this egg salad dip that was great with Ritz crackers, so I whipped it up all proud that I wasn't just plopping something from a box onto the table.

No dice.  This is reaction I got.  Bryce abandoned his and suddenly wasn't hungry (even though he is usually STARVING after school), he fled the scene.  Gavin screamed and cried because I asked him to at least try it before he decided it was disgusting. 

Surprisingly, he gagged and nearly died because of the two bites he had to eat.  Poor child.

Ellie loved the stuff.  She (and her messy hair) gobbled down all the bits no one else would touch.  I think she did it just to make me feel good for my efforts.  It worked, just a little.  Thanks Ellie Belly.
A disheveled one year old munching on egg bits left from Easter.  

Monday, April 25, 2011

Holy Chocolate, Batman

Easter Saturday I was exhausted.  That may have something to do with the fact that the Easter Bunny visits our house Saturday morning which I suddenly remembered at 11:30 Friday night.  All the Easter goodies and plastic eggs were still nestled in their packages in Walmart sacks.  Yikes!

Anyway, we got it covered, but I was pretty tired the next afternoon.  Josh was a sweetheart and volunteered to let me have a nap (it is impossible for both of us to nap at the same time because some child will inevitably have an emergency that requires a parent -- like a broken toy or lost shoe -- so one parent has to run interference so the other can sleep).

Anyway, I was just drifting into dreamland when I felt someone tapping my face (someone slipped past Josh's defences).  I opened my bleary eyes to find my three year old standing by the bed.

He whispered so he wouldn't wake me up, "Mom, where's my Jesus chocolate?"

Now,  you have to understand we have been trying to help our kids remember and focus on the real reason for Easter, not just the eggs and treats.  It is a tough balance because, of course, kids love eggs and treats!

So, I guess to some degree Logan got the message because when he wanted his missing Easter candy he knew it was candy about Jesus.

I got a good laugh out of that, and it warmed my heart just a smidge too.  Then I went back to sleep.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Maturation Update

Bryce's maturation clinic was on Wednesday.  He came home that day with a bag of "goodies" which included some dental floss, a mini sun screen, a single wet wipe...and a razor.  I'm not sure who thought it was a good idea to hand fifth graders their own personal slicing device, but I'm not their biggest fan.   

Bryce has come to see me each morning since the clinic to see if I think his voice is deeper or his shoulders broader or if his upper lip is sporting enough hair that it needs a shave.  I've created a monster!  Serves me right, I think.

I'm glad he is excited about growing up.  It will be thrilling ride for both of us.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The fun of small people

 At our house, every day is an adventure.  I imagine that is true of anyone that has kids trotting around their abode. 

We have had adventures galore lately (some of them not stemming from the kids, but many that have). 

On Monday our computer would not turn on.  It wouldn't respond at all to anything.  This sad little light on the back blinked at me but that was it.  My dad came to check things out and we discovered that the motherboard was dead.  We needed a new computer (of course, that one was five plus years old so I guess it was time).  But this was not how we wanted to be spending our savings (broken van, remember).

Still, we trundled to the store and came home with a happy, simple little Dell and after a gigantic three set-up day headache it seems to be finally working well (FYI McAfee may or may not throw up a firewall that blocks web browsing...at least according to customer support...it has been a nightmare).

Anyway, the point is that we got a new computer, and as our sad old CPU waited for attention from me, Logan moved in.  He decided the old computer made a fabulous castle for his action figures.  He has played with his new "castle" for two days straight.  He has trap doors and magic ropes and bombs and all kinds of things inside.  He loves it.  What a creative little sprite.
The evening we brought home our new technological family member, we gave the kids baths (as always).  As I pulled Ellie out of the tub I wrapped her in a towel and sent her into the living room while I drained the water and got her brother a towel too.   I came back into the living room to find her standing with her little legs spread while she peed on the floor (what is it with this girl and pee lately!!).  It has been a long day.  I stood there in crumpled silence for a moment before I headed to clean it up.
But little Ellie beat me to it.  As soon as she finished watering the carpet she grabbed her towel, bent down and started wiping up the mess.  I just had to laugh.  We worked on the cleaning (and disinfecting) together.  That little pixie always seems to be able to remind me to smile instead of scowling.  I guess there is a reason God sent her to me (or lot of reasons -- I am awfully grateful He did).

We are hoping for a little bit less adventure in the coming week.  With the van in tatters, the expense of a new computer and a now broken lawnmower (don't get me started...broken pull strings and shattered springs that may not be made anymore...goodness gracious) I am really hoping for a week of just the normal chaos instead of the inflamed version we've had this week. My dad says home disasters come in threes so we should be good for a while. We'll see how it goes.  I'll be crossing my fingers.

If nothing else, I know no matter what I will be well entertained.  That is just the way of life at our house...and I wouldn't change it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It may be surprising, but I did do something right

As a mother, there are TONS of things that I get wrong.  Just ask my kids.  I really do try and I want to be the best mom that I can be, but I screw things up pretty regularly whether it is losing my temper or just being lazy or flat out making a poor parental choice.

So it is really nice when those moments come around that feel like a warm hug to my soul and I hear that whisper in my mind that says, "This you got right."

The other night I took Parker, age 7, to his soccer practice.  It was just the two of us in the car so we chatted as we drove to the rec center.  It was really nice to have some one on one time with him.

As I pulled up to the drop off zone he jumped out of the car and sprinted toward the door.  I always watch to be sure he gets in alright (paranoid, remember), and just as he got to the glassy double doors he lurched to a stop and turned back toward the car.  With a gigantic smile he stretched his skinny arm as high as it would go, his hand making the sign language "I love you" sign and he waved at me.  Then he sprinted into the building for practice.

It brought tears to my eyes.

Every morning when my kids leave for school I stand at the front door and wave at them until they can't see me anymore.  I hold my hand in that same "I love you" sign so that the last thing they will see every single morning is their mom telling them they are loved.  I know it sounds silly, but it is really important to me.

I look horrible at those times.  My hair is NEVER done.  I am rarely dressed (no, I'm not naked, just in my pajamas), but I don't miss a morning.  Most days the kids just run off and barely even look back.  But other mornings, just like this soccer practice, they skid to a stop and turn around to wave at me too.  Sometimes they blow me a kiss.  I never close the door until they vanish because I don't want them to turn and see an empty doorway.

It isn't much, just a brief pause in the chaos of daily life.  But these little moments make my heart squeeze (in a good way) and sometimes my eyes leak a little bit too.

It is really nice to get something right every now and then. 
Me and all six of my sprites.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

School maturation, oh the joy

My nearly 11 year old, blissfully unaware that a few short
weeks from this time his wicked witch of a mother will
force him to attend the dreaded school maturation clinic.
This morning, just after the kids left for school, I was in Bryce and Parker's bedroom to turn off the light (I don't know how things are at your house but flipping the light switch and pulling the door closed are two rare and exotic feats at our house).

I noticed a bright pink paper in the garbage that looked official, so I pulled it out.  I found that it is a permission slip for an upcoming school maturation clinic for Bryce, my fifth grader.

I guess he didn't want me to see it, so he threw it away.

Now, if you've been reading my blog long you know that I am not shy about sharing reproductive truths with my kids.  I want them to hear it from me, not their friends.  Words like "penis" and "vagina" are pretty familiar in our house, even with our small ones (and not just as jokes, although the older boys and their school friends are heading in to that phase...grrr).

Still, I think a school maturation clinic is a great idea.  Maybe I should tag along just to embarrass Bryce even more (since it seems he doesn't even want to go).  Making the child attend with his mommy might be a bit too much. (Josh just told me about a boy whose mother came with him to his maturation clinic.  The mother sat there cross stitching while her son wriggled in mortified silence.  I think that is pretty hilarious...Josh says I am under no circumstances allowed to attend.)

I imagine there is nothing they will cover that we haven't talked about before, but I think it will be good for him to hear it from someone other than his parents.  The list of covered topics does seem pretty thrilling.  "They physical and emotional changes one can expect at the onset of puberty," "Maturation has its own timetable and often poses problems for both the early and the late maturing student."  Sounds like an exciting afternoon.  I'll be interested to hear all about it when he gets home that day. 

Of course, he'll probably come home with more jokes.  Sigh.  I guess that's the price you pay for having boys.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Good-Bye tax refund, Hello car payment

Last fall our trusty window swamp cooler bit the dust.  It was in rough shape when we moved in nearly eight years ago, and its number was finally called.  We knew we would need to do something to combat the stifling dry heat of our Utah summers, so we planned to use our tax refund to install air conditioning (Oh, the luxury!!).

So, today about 11:30 the guys from Whipple showed up to install our fancy new unit (ok, it isn't fancy to anyone but me, I am easily impressed).

About the same time this morning, I got a call from the transmission place that was working on a $250 simple repair on the van.  Unfortunately, when they removed the oil pan to dig in to the system they found some tiny bits of metal that used to be attached to the transmission.  The problem was very hidden, but much worse than they originally thought (these guys are very good, they felt awful that they didn't find this at first but said the transmission fluid looked and smelled fine and the car drove alright so this sneaky problem was nearly impossible to see).

The van needs a new transmission.  The problem is that to replace the transmission costs about the same amount that the van is worth.  Yikes!

So, it looks like we will need to look for a different car for Josh.  This is NOT what we had in mind.  Josh's teacher salary, plus that from his part time job help us manage, but they don't leave much (if any) fluff money.  I'm not quite sure how this is going to play out.

That said, I know that something will work out.  We try really hard to be frugal and live within our means even though it isn't always easy for us (or anybody else for that matter, we know we are not special in this venue.  Everyone has to deal with this stuff, it's called life.).  We faithfully pay our tithing and while that is no guarantee against hardships, it is a comfort to know we have done all that we can to secure God's help in the matter.

When it comes down to it, I am really grateful that this is happening now instead of three months ago (that would have been a gigantic mess).  We have managed to stash away a bit of money since Christmas so we aren't totally without savings (not enough for a car, but every little bit helps right).  We are doing the best that we can and somehow, God will help us through it.  I don't know how (that's the frustrating/annoying part for my type A personality), but He has never let us down before, and I don't expect He will start now. 

Guess we'll see what happens.  At least we will be cool while we are worrying.  That's something, right?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Oh my GROSS!!

(Warning: The following true story may cause dry heaving.  Proceed with caution.)

It had been a rough afternoon and Josh and I were sitting in our room discussing the day.  Our bedroom sits right next to the family bathroom. 

We started to hear little clinking and dripping noises coming from the bathroom meaning that someone had forgotten to shut the door tight and our 18 month old daughter was in there playing around.

Josh sauntered in to chase her out, only to screech for me to come in and help.  I found Josh holding Ellie's hands away from her.  They were soaking wet.  He had a now empty cup in his hands and Ellie's face was dripping.  She had been dipping her cup in the toilet and drinking the water.

The seat was up and the toilet glowed a sickening yellow.  Not only had someone forgotten to close the door, they had forgotten to flush the toilet as well.

That's right, my little girl was drinking pee water!!!!

I went to work trying to kill every possible germ on every possible surface I could think of.  How do sanitize the inside of a babies mouth?  We scrubbed her skin and changed her clothes...but ewwwww. 

A little while later Ellie approached me wanted to give me kisses.  All I could think was "Pee water!  Pee water!  Pee water!"

But I must be a real mom at heart because I kissed her little lips anyway.  Then I brushed my teeth.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Vegas: Round II

Ok, so now that the laundry is mostly done and the house is sort of cleaned up, lets finish the fun of our Vegas Vacation.
Museum of Natural History:

We explored the animal room and everyone was most impressed with the polar bear (he's the tall fuzzy one in the back).

Kneel like an Egyptian...this was a great interactive exhibit, the kids loved it.

Josh feeding Logan to a pre-historic alligator (or crocodile, I don't know the difference really).


Fun On the Strip:

We really didn't spend much time on the Las Vegas strip. We ventured there twice and that was really enough for us. Despite the cool things to see there is just too much smut and filth everywhere you look and especially with little kids it just didn't feel great being there. Besides every time we turned around Gavin was commenting on how all these gamblers littered so much and looked at too many naked ladies (at the top of his lungs, I swear...his mother was totally red in the face, who raised that kid anyway...we have taught him that in our family we don't choose to gamble, but we NEVER taught him that people who gamble are automatically litterers, he made that up on his own.  Sorry to anyone we may have offended).

While on the strip Josh even watched a camera crew following a policeman filming for the show "Cops,"  maybe we'll end up on the show and become famous...maybe not.

The fountain show at the Bellagio.  It is really cool and was not even a mile from our condo so it was an easy walk.

M&M world was four floors of M&M stuff and a movie that the kids loved (except Ellie who screamed until I took her out). 

Red Rock Canyon:
 My very favorite thing we did on the trip was to visit the nearby Red Rock Canyon. I LOOOOOVE hiking and climbing and nature and all that good stuff so this was right up my alley. I cannot recommend this place highly enough.

Gav and Aubs walking the little trail leading to the red rocks.  Gavin kept falling, I dont' know why.  Every couple of steps he tripped on nothing and fell over so Aubrey was trying to help keep him upright.

This is why I don't usually let Josh be in charge of the camera.

Triumphant little climbers.

See that stressed look on Josh's face...that is how he felt the whole time here.  While we both grew up camping and hiking, he didn't do much wild free scrambling up rocks (and he's afraid of heights) so he was worried one of the kids would fall to their death in the sandstone canyons.  He was pretty bothered that I was so laid back about it all, it is usually my job to worry excessively. 

So, while Josh worried, the kids and I scampered up every rock face we could find.  We didn't get pictures of the heights or the view, but it was awesome.  I could have spent days here.

Ethel M. Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden:
Another favorite was the chocolate factory and cactus garden. The botanical garden was awesome. Even the kids liked looking at all the different plants and chasing after the poor innocent lizards.

Why doesn't PJ look happier, it is a chocolate factory after all.

Logan made weird faces in every picture this day.  That kid!

PJ, still grumpy, refused to be in pictures, so I helped him out.  I didn't throw him in the cactus (which is what felt like doing with the grump).  I'm pretty sure that makes me a hero.

Lied Children's Museum:

By far the kids favorite part of the trip was the children's museum. There are a lot to see and do, we spent several hours here and they still whined when it was time to go.

Aubrey running her grocery story.
Josh and Ellie blowing giant bubbles.

A more cooperative PJ doing car repairs.

Finishing Up:

The rest of the time was spent at the resort swimming, watching tv, playing wii and just having fun as a family.  This really was a great trip. 

Ellie and the giant chess set at the resort.  Josh and Bryce had a lot of fun playing with this, and Bryce beat his dad for the first time.

Josh and Ellie at the pool.  Ellie screamed if we put much more than her feet in the water...spoiled little thing!  She and I hung out on the edge of the pool a lot.

Six little DeMouxs having a fabulous family vacation!
If you are headed to Las Vegas and are looking for fun family things to do check out my favorite site with great Vegas attractions for kids here.  If you are headed somewhere else and looking for family adventures just search google for "fun things to do in Boise or Salt Lake or wherever."  You will find some great ideas.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


This is the weather we left in Vegas two days ago.  It was a blissful 86 degrees that day.

This is the view out my front door here in Salt Lake this morning.  It is NOT 86 degrees.  Not awesome!

April fools day was a couple days ago, Mother Nature seems to be a bit slow with her prank. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Hey Baby, let's go to Vegas!!

Did you miss me?  Of course not, you have a life and you were off living yours while I was living mine...but I missed blogging just a touch (does that make me pathetic?).

What a great week!!!
For the past seven days my little clan and I have been in Sin City (although we tried to avoid the sin part as much as we could).  It has been fabulous.

We stayed at the Wyndham Grand Desert Resort (thanks to my parents who have a timeshare in a condo so we swapped for this place...good trade). 

We arrived on Friday, March 25, after a miraculously quiet 7 hour drive from Salt Lake.  We got all checked in and then poor Josh trucked to the nearest Walmart (thank you Walmart, we love you) to grocery shop for the week.  He called me about forty six and a half times with questions about my list (mom lingo), but he came home with all the essentials and we happily collapsed into bed.

The spare bedroom where we housed the four boys until constant wrestle
mania wore us out and we moved the older two out to the hide-a-bed and
moved Aubrey's calming influence into this room.

Amazing kitchen table that actually fit all eight of us thanks to
the bench...that was nice, something we don't usually get away
from home.

Our decadent master suite with huge jetted tub and gigantic shower...
and a lock on the door to keep out the hooligans (wink wink).

Pretty much anytime we stay anywhere we aim for a place with
a kitchen because feeding eight people at a restaurant over and
over gets SUPER expensive.  Almost every hotel chain offers
suites with full or partial kitchens.  They are great.

This is part of one of the pool areas.  We didn't go that first night,
but we spent time there other days.

 Saturday, Hoover Dam and Exploration Park

Saturday, we took to the streets like the tourists that we were.  We headed off to visit Hoover Dam which, as it turns out, is really crowded on a Saturday.  We didn't even get to walk the sky bridge (in the background of this first picture) because there was nowhere to park the car.  Aubrey was not sad to miss the bridge, she was literally in tears because she was sure her weight would break the thing and she would fall to her death.  I told her I'd hold her hand and we'd fall together.  That did not comfort her.
The fam at the dam (we had to explain over and over the difference
between "dam" and "damn" because I kept getting scolded for swearing).

Hoover Dam with some strangers...at least to us
 After our dam visit, we went home for lunch and then headed out to the park for an afternoon of fun.  This part was wonderful, even if it was a bit crowded.  There was also a hill behind the park with a little hike that was maybe a mile to the top.  It overlooked the valley and offered a great view of Vegas.  What a great way to spend the afternoon.
Gavin, Ellie and Aubrey having oodles of fun on the lawn
It's like Rescuers Down Under...those guys ride lizards too.

Gavin, snake charmer extraordinaire!

Bryce excited to reach the top of our hike, and impressed with the view of Vegas.
Sunday, Church and Temple
Sunday morning we got ready and headed off to church.  The ward we went to was called the Tropicana ward and it was a very friendly, very sweet group of people.  We thought for sure our eight members would be a big bump to the attendance....nope.  The chapel and overflow were filled, although there were not that many children so we probably added to the overall din of the meeting.  Still, the people were kind and wonderful.  Josh and I both met welcoming, patient people who were glad to share their meeting with us.  It was a nice morning.

That afternoon, we headed to the grounds of the Las Vegas LDS Temple.  It was really beautiful and peaceful...more peaceful before our crew got there, but still. 

Aubrey and Ellie at the doors of the temple.

Family picture compliments of a nearby cement post.

Logan, he can be so cute when he isn't causing trouble.

Yup, that's my kids trying to roll down the manicured slopes of the
temple grounds.  And what do I do, I reach for the camera.  There was
a time when I would have mentally tsked any parents who let that happen
at the house of God, especially on a Sunday.  Now I am more realistic.
No one was screaming and these poor kids had been really good at church and on the grounds. 
It is hard to be still all the time when you are small.  Besides, I bet God wants kids
to feel welcome in His house too (in a respectful way...we did ask them to be reverent, but we let this moment go).

Josh and I on the temple grounds.  We kissed the single life goodbye nearly twelve
years ago and we weren't sad to see it go.  So far, it has been a fabulous ride.
Well, enough for today.  I'll finish it up in a day or two.  This really was a wonderful trip.  We had a lot of fun, saw a lot of things (a few we didn't care to see, but I think you have to expect that in Vegas).  It is always great to head off for an adventure, but then it is equally wonderful to come back home as well.

Hope you all enjoy general conference this weekend.  I am excited to hear the words of living prophets.  What a great blessing.
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