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

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

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A New Tration?

One of the things about year round school -- year round school which I ate-hay -- (that's "hate" in Pig Latin...it's obviously more extreme if you mean it in two languages) is that when the kidlets are off track you get to concoct activities to keep them busy and happy.  Don't misunderstand me, I love doing things with my kids, but I still hate year round school. 

Anyway, so this week one of our outings (doesn't that sound all Mary Poppinsy...love it!) was to wander over to Gardner Village and visit their elf displays.  We have never been before because, to be honest, I always thought the elves looked a little bit creepy in the online pictures.  Along that same vein I really don't care for dolls that people display either, they seem eerie to me.  One time Josh and I stayed in a quaint little bed and breakfast in Ephraim and the room next to ours was decorated with dolls and I was sooooo glad we didn't have to try to sleep there.  Eek!

Well, the point is, we went to Gardner Village and the elves were adorable and much less villainous than I'd imagined.  The kids had a great time.  Because they were off track and everyone else wasn't we were just about the only people there so we had the run of the place.  We talked to the ducks (Aubrey swore they were croaking like frogs not quacking) and inspected the shops and ended our trip with a stop at the bakery for a fresh cookie.  We had a wonderful morning.

The kids told me they liked the elves even more than they like the witches in October, but I think that was really just the cookie talking.  Still, it was a fun and free (purchase of cookies not required) and fabulous way to keep everyone smiling for the day. 
Singing carols with the fake people.

Bryce trying to help a sad stuck little elf down.

G found his name at the very top of the "nice" list...YES!

Six little cutie pantses and two little elves.

Fun for the fam at Gardner Village. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Singin' in the mall (and the streets of West Valley)

After watching her brothers participate in sports and more sports for years, this year we finally put Aubrey in a class of her own.  We've let her do community education classes before, but lets face it, a six week dance class for kids age 3- 14 is not going to be a super awesome experience. 

So this fall we enrolled her in Miss Margene's Creative Generation musical theatre show choir.  The group sings and dances and is a lot of fun and Aubrey LoVeS it!  We love watching her learn and grow and have so much fun and we especially love that Margene is so sweet and amazing with these kids.  We trust her with our little girl because she cares for her "little angels" in a way that feels more like family than a dance group.  She is an incredible woman and we are grateful to have her in our daughter's life.

So, this weekend was the group's first of a bazillion holiday performances (I may not love trotting from venue to venue the entire month of December, but for Aubrey it will be worth it!). The group sang in the West Valley City day after Thanksgiving Christmas parade and then performed in Valley Fair Mall.

Marching in the parade.
Ellie had the time of her life waving at all the passing
cars and people.  She got TONS of individual attention
from color guard and firemen and the WVC mayor
who singled her out and waved directly at her.  What a ham!
(She gets that from her father).

Who is that most adorable little elf that you've ever seen in the road?  Oh yeah, that's my girl.

Performing in the mall.

Add caption

Ellie was with us at the performance and she sidled right up to Margene throughout the show.  She literally screamed bloody murder when I tried to pull her away since Margene was trying to help the kids remember to smile and help the little ones remember their parts.  Ellie has a new friend for life, guess we'll have to join her up in a few years.

Here's an exciting snippit of the performance to welcome in the Christmas season.  Have a wonderful holiday everyone.  Merry Christmas.

Friday, November 25, 2011

How do you know when it's done?

(That title is a shout out to all you "Hudsucker Proxy" fans out there...and if you aren't a fan, you should watch it and become one...GrEaT MoViE!).

However, this post as nothing to do with Hudsucking (??), it is instead about Crohn's Disease (yup, the old bait and switch).

When last I visited my GI she told me my exciting colon issues were subduing nicely but that I was not yet in remission, but hopefully would find my way there soon.  Abdominal pain has decreased dramatically and most days doesn't really bother me.  Joint pain only rears its head on occasion and is very muted compared to what it had been.  Mouth ulcers are all but gone (just learned I could credit Crohn's for that one...another exciting symptom).  Dread of eating has all but vanished.  And so it goes.

So I've been patiently waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting some more. 

And I have no idea what I'm really waiting for.

Everything I read seems to say that even when in remission most of my Crohn's pals seem to experience some symptoms.  Most of them have symptoms that I have never had from the beginning (like diarrhea and bloody stool...sorry, I know that's gross).  I feel so much better than I did when I was diagnosed, but I am nowhere near symptomless.  I still have moments of pain, but they are moments, not days.  I still feel exhausted some days, but who doesn't.

The thing is, any symptom that shows up in my life I automatically wonder if it is Crohn's related.  It seems like just about anything you can think of CAN be seen as a Crohn's symptom (skin problems, eye problems, joint problems -- you name it)...but that doesn't mean it IS a Crohn's symptom. 

I guess what I am saying is will I even know if/when my Crohn's is actually in remission?  Am I going to feel better than I do now, because what I've got now I can live with. 

I don't know how to find this magical land of "remission," or maybe I'm there and I just don't realize it.  I'm just grateful to be able to get through life without having to focus on working through random pains.  That is a very good thing.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gobble, gobble, gobble

Q: What did the widowed mother turkey say to her son who kept causing loads of trouble?

A: If your father could see you now he'd turn over in his gravy.


Q: If April showers bring May flowers what do May flowers bring?

A: Pilgrims.


Q: What do you call a rude gobbler?

A: A jerky turkey.


Q: Why was the turkey the drummer in the band?

A: Because he had the drumsticks.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fall, you came late and your stay was too short, but winter, we love you too

Well, after a whopping 8 1/2 days of fall (Booo!) winter seems to be here to stay.  The kidlets are THRILLED and even though I could use s'more autumn, it is the end of November so I guess I need to suck it up and be grateful for what we have rather than wishing for something else (least wise that's what we tell our sprites when they are "I wishing" away so I guess I should take my own medicine).

Lively SpotLast Friday Josh and Aubs and I trundled our hineys downtown to watch a dance performance by Repertory Dance Theatre.  I still occasionally do articles for the newspaper on dance events and this happened to be one of them.  This dance piece was geared toward children and it was a lot of fun.  Aubrey had a great time and it was fun for Josh and I to be with her while she ooohed and aaaahed over the dancers (the super adorable guy in the pictures is by far our favorite dancer...Nathan, you are fabulous!).  It was a great way to spend a Friday evening.  (Read all about it in the Deseret News review of "Snapshots" here.) 
When we came out of the theater we found our car coated with a soft frosting of snow (and we were glad we decided to shut the side door of the van parked across from us...hopefully whoever owned the van wasn't locked out or anything, but at least their interior didn't end up snow covered and soggy). 

The next day, we had a few inches of snow to play in and the kids were eating it up.  I mean that literally because Aubrey decided to make "snow apples" which she pedaled to the other kids and everyone ate them.  Yuck!

They boys wrestling in the snow...that's what boys do.

Aubrey teaching Ellie the finer points of snow angeling.

Ellie's chilly face needed daddy smooches to warm
it up when she came inside.  Daddy was not sad about that

Everyone enjoying hot chocolate after our frigid outdoor adventure.

These are not snow related but they make the house so much more inviting
when it is cold outside...Thanks honey, I love you too!  (He can be such a sweetheart.)
 Also this weekend the kids had some friends over (at one point we had 10 children in the house, but very seriously, when you have six wild tykes already four or five more is NOTHING!  No kidding.) One of their mothers brought us some very tasty treats (because she is sweet like that). 

Ellie decided to sample them for us. 

Every single one of them.

I came in the kitchen to find her perched on the table with a guilty look and some frosting on her face.  She was more than happy to let me take a couple pictures of her exploits (while she continued to finger dip mind you).  Funny girl.

So, I sigh and say "Welcome Winter."  I'm sure this will be a beautiful season.  There are few things I love more than snuggling into a comfy couch surrounded by my little ones and reading a story or two together as a curtain of snow floats quietly past our front window.  Fall may be my favorite, but winter definitely has its moments.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Finally going digital

So, this fall I decided I wanted to try my hand at digital scrap booking.  I have never been a very good regular scrap booker.  I mean, I keep books for my kids and all but I just don't have the patience to cut and paste dozens of cutesy bits and pieces on paper to spice up my pages.  Our scrapbooks are mostly just pictures on colorful sheets of paper with printed captions glued nearby.  I do have cute photo books from Snapfish printed for our family every year (sign up for their emails and you get great deals if you are patient), but kids need school papers and pictures and ticket stubs in their memories which don't really translate to a photo book. 

I want to have cute books full of memories for my tykes, I really do, but it just has not really been in me to manage that. 

Until now...

<em>Scrapbook Factory Deluxe</em> - PC - DVD-ROMMy fabulous sister-in-law, Jenny (I really do have the best bonus sisters in the world) gave me this wonderful scrap booking program and I am completely addicted. As an added bonus you can google search "free digital scrap booking" and find TONS of free pictures and brads and buttons and whatever else that you can download and use.
 I started by making 12 x 12 Halloween pages to go in a spooky project I put together this year.  I printed them at Costco and slid them into plastic sheets and BOOM, done.  No cutting, no pasting, no headache and WOW, the time savings.  I love it. 
But why stop there.  I have always made my own greeting cards mostly because I am too cheap to pay for cute cards and I hate sending dorky packaged ones (why do they always look so ridiculous?).  So, now I have started making them on my fancy new program (which has much cuter stuff than any creative desktop publisher I've had before and is a piece of cake to maneuver).  I still make some cards but often I print up things and then just add buttons or clips or a bit of 3D effect without having to do as much to dress it up.

I've also found the program handy for a couple things in our house.  Following general conference and Elder Holland's awesome priesthood session talk about missionary work (perfect for a quartet or more of future missionaries), we had a family home evening lesson on preparing to be a missionary and sharing the gospel in every day life now.  We committed our kids to be part of that goal and printed up this page for everyone to sign and then hang in our house. 

 Last, but not least, I had the kids help me design some ornaments for our Christmas tree.  We love to add an ornament with a picture of our family every year and every year those are the kids favorite ornaments to hang because there is so much to remember and it's sooo much fun to look back.  We used our scrapbook software to design a couple ornaments, mounted them on chipboard and then laminated them.  They will be fun for us and we'll share some with our Grandma's (close your eyes, moms) to start the holiday season. 

Anyway, I know I'm slow to get on board with this (it is pretty old news), but it has been a great discovery for me.  Any other hold outs out there, just give in, digital scrap booking is FaBuLoUs!!

P.S. Thanks, Jenny!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

...I'm watching, honey...

The phrase of the week is "Momma, watch this."  These words regularly tumble from the lips of my two year old and are spoken as though her mouth is full of marbles (kind of garbled but also kind of adorable).

Then, my little fairy girl performs death defying leaps off the couch or fantastic spins that would make a ballerina jealous.  Either that or she knocks a tower of blocks into oblivion or falls face first into a self made pile of pillows.  Her balance is not fully developed so she often ends up sprawled on the ground after these daring feats which sometimes ends in crying and sometimes ends in laughter, it depends on her mood. 

If, by chance, I don't turn and look at the princess when she calls out "Momma, watch this," then she says it louder...and louder...AND LOUDER until I give her my full attention.  She just keeps repeating the phrase over and over, never getting mad, but definitely getting insistent, until she gets to show me her stuff.  What a funny little sprite. 

Not to be outdone, Logan often pummels himself into the mix and tries to one up his baby sister.  He has no interest in my attention until she has claimed it for herself and then he wants to be sure he gets his share.  It makes me smile.  It makes me crinkle up and laugh. 

After all, how many more years of this do I have.  How many more years until they want nothing to do with me and are embarrassed when I am around instead of thrilled that I am watching.  I am trying to enjoy every moment of this while I can (although when I am in the middle of making dinner or on an important phone call the shrieks of "Momma, watch this," are a tiny bit less endearing). 

I am always amazed at how fast these little ones grow.  It isn't unusual for me to wake up in the morning, blink my cloudy eyes and slowly focus on the picture of six little sprites that hangs opposite my bed and wonder in awe how in the world all of this happened (No -- I don't need an anatomy lesson, I just don't feel old enough/mature enough/adult enough to be the mother of six). 

But somehow these half dozen blessings toddled their way into my life, into my family and I want to love every single moment I have with them.  That doesn't mean there aren't moments where I feel like slapping a "return to sender" sticker on them and shipping them back (not the way they came, they'll have to find some other route), but those bits are much fewer than the bits where I feel so very grateful that God sent them to me.

I love that that little call of "Momma, watch this," is aimed at me and that I get to watch every one of these precious moments unfold before my very eyes.  I'm going to try to enjoy it while I can. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Family Home Evening is a piece of cake

Let me start by saying I am not a very crafty person.  I have never been one of those "Molly Mormon" moms that makes cute little bits and pieces for the house and the kids and all that.  I do put together a craft project from time to time, but it is really not my strong suit.

Anyway, a bunch of years ago I went to a church training meeting and the lady teaching the class brought her personal family home evening files to help present some ideas.  Each file folder had an awesome lesson plan with visual aids and games and all kinds of fun things to spice up the lessons and teach different gospel principles. 

I LOVED it and decided I wanted to work on putting something like that together for my family. 

So, bit by bit I have worked on it over the years and I have found that one of the best ways to expand our lesson repertoire is to keep my eye open when I go to DI (a local second hand store).  I watch for primary class and sharing time aid books (like <------- this one that I found this past week).  They usually cost $1 or less so they are a steal if you ask me.

Anyway, then I color and cut the lesson pieces (sometimes I find ones that are printed in color and so I am super lucky) and laminate them so my kids can't ruin them after one use (we invested in a home laminator when Josh started teaching school and that has been a FABULOUS investment...it only cost about $30 and we use it ALL the time for things...feel free to come use it if you want). 

Then I either copy the lesson plan from the book or make up my own and glue it in the front of a file folder.  I try to include a couple of relating primary songs, a scripture or two and maybe a story from the Friend magazine.  I put the rest of the new lesson stuff in there too.  Now it is all ready to go for family home evening. 

One of the best parts about this stuff is that we now have a drawer full of ready-to-use family home evening lessons so as each child is assigned the lesson (we take turns every week) there are a bunch of options all ready to go.  It helps the kids be able to participate without as much stress and it makes things easy for Mom and Dad when they forget to plan family home evening until just before it is time to start (which happens more often than I would like to admit at our house).

These are the lessons that I took from this last lesson book that I bought (except that tool box stuff, that was from another book all pre-colored and everything).  What a great find!

Anyway, to me this is a great way to strengthen your chances of having good, focused family home evenings without feeling overwhelmed.  You also get super cute ideas and fun pictures and art without having to be crafty and I LOOOOVE that.

If your second hand store doesn't really do these, or if you don't want to leave the comfort of your own home try printable family home evening ideas at sites like these.

(or just do a google search for family home evening printables)

It's good stuff.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ellie gets bugged!

At our house we like to tease, and no on is immune, not even the baby.  Poor kid.

I can't really blame her.  After all, who does like cockroaches? 

But don't worry, no permanent damage was done.  By the end of the day she had mostly recovered and even managed to do some dancing while we sang bedtime songs.

Does it get any better than this?  I think not. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

. . .a TINY bit of bragging. . .

This past week a couple of things happened at our house that made me just so proud of my munchkins that I can't help but share. 

First Story: Bryce went to play with a couple of neighborhood friends.  They headed to one of the boy's houses to have some fun in the back yard.  When they got there, the two boys started gathering small piles of rocks.  Then they proceeded to throw the rocks at the wooden fence at the back of the yard.  The rocks clattered against the wood and some vaulted over the fence into the yard behind.  After every throw, the two non-DeMoux boys scuttled behind a bush to snicker and hide.

Bryce felt awful.  He didn't feel good about this activity, especially with the other boys hiding.  They eventually told him that the old lady that lived on the other side of the fence had asked them many times not to throw rocks at her fence but they just loved to torment her.  Bryce told the boys that what they were doing wasn't nice and he suggested they all go do something else.  No dice.  They were set on harassing their elderly neighbor. 

Bryce came home nearly in tears (he has a very soft heart).  He felt awful that the boys were being mean and said he had decided not to play with them anymore.  We talked about that bad feeling he had had that helped him choose to leave.  I told him that was the Holy Ghost trying to send him a message. 

He got a huge smile on his face and said, "I better go say a prayer and thank Heavenly Father for sending me a message to help me know what to do."  I think I nearly burst with pride and happiness.  What an incredible guy!

Second Story: At our house each child is assigned a day of the week that is "their" day.  They choose the shows that day, they choose any treats, help with any needed errands and say the family prayer. 

It was Aubrey's day and for her show, she asked if she could watch the 4th Harry Potter movie.  She had just finished reading the book (we normally don't watch movies until after we have read the book, it is a great motivator to keep our kids reading) so she wanted to see the movie.  I said sure and all the kids scurried downstairs to watch the show.

A couple minutes later Aubrey came up with tears in her eyes (why do all these amazing moments always seem to involve tears?).  She said, "Mom, I'm not sure if you knew this, but Harry Potter 4 is rated PG-13 and you don't usually let us watch PG-13 movies.  I thought about just watching the show anyway, but I decided I better be honest and come and tell you."

Incredible.  We don't normally let the kids watch PG-13 movies, but honestly, I didn't remember that this one had that rating (I'm not entirely sure why some of the Harry Potters and PG and some are PG-13, it doesn't seem clear to me but whatever). 

I told Aubrey we would need to turn the movie off until I had a chance to watch it again and see what is there (it has been a looooong time).  She was disappointed, but she felt so good about the choice that she had made to be honest and up front that it hurt less than it would have otherwise.  I couldn't stop smiling.


My kids are far from perfect.  They are not obedient little angels who never do anything wrong and constantly pull others onto a higher plane of existence (you would know that FOR SURE if you ever glimpsed their bedrooms) but they are good people and I am so proud of the choices that they are making and amazing souls they are growing into.  I adore these little monsters, and I am thankful for the bright moments that litter our otherwise pretty normal days.  Forgive me for bragging, but I think they are fabulous!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Throw those legs in the crock pot

A couple of weeks ago I learned a trick that has become one of my favorites.  I love chicken legs but I have never found a way to cook them that was painless enough for me (you may remember that I hate cooking so anything that takes too much time or effort I do not do).  Anyway, I was browsing the Internet looking for a new way to cook them when I stumbled on this idea.
You coat the chicken legs in your favorite flavors (I'll put the recipe I found below...it was pretty tasty).  Then you pull out your crock pot.  Now, normally things cooked in crock pots are sort of limp and soggy (which can still taste good) but my new favorite idea is that you crumple up tinfoil and place it in the bottom of the pot so the chicken legs are suspended above the bottom.  This lets any juices run to the floor of the pot without having your chicken soak in them and get soggy. 

I cooked these legs on low for about 6 hours (just less than that) and they were pretty crisp and very tasty.  The kids even liked it (which is the ultimate measuring stick).  The cooking was painless, the dinner was yummy -- what more could I ask for.

Crock Pot Chicken Legs
2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. paprika
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
4 lbs. chicken drumsticks, skinned if desired

Put all the spices in a zip seal bag and then add the drumsticks.  Shake them around until they are evenly coated.  I let mine sit in the fridge overnight to really let the flavors sink in.  Then I put them on top of crumpled foil in the crock pot and cooked on low for about 6 hours.  They were good.

(This is the website where I got the idea if you are interested in exploring more ideas by this creative thinker).
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