Always Crazy, Always Fun, Always Love

Ray Romano once compared life with twins to living in a frat house. As he put it, "no one sleeps, there is a lot of noise and a lot of throwing up." I find this very true with 4 young children, including twins. However, though things are always crazy, we always try to have fun and, most certainly, always love each other.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

To Plant a Garden- 2nd attempt

Last year, I became inspired to finally plant a garden. I loved the square foot gardening idea- it seemed to simplify it a little, which is what I need for my brown thumb. So, I started with just one 4X4 garden. I quickly learned just how much I had to learn. Last year, this same week, this is how my garden looked:

I didn't realize UNTIL I was planting all of the seeds, that it was really later than it should be for some. I didn't know until then that tomatoes and peppers were supposed to be started inside in early spring and then transplanted; or that lettuce seeds are supposed to planted outside in early spring. But, I started it all from seed then anyway, figuring I would try. Though not perfect, it turned out decent enough for a flawed first attempt. We did get a few tomatoes- though not until September. We never did get any peppers, and only a few green beens (before bugs ate them and I didn't know how to prevent it then). But, we did get several cucumbers, good parsley and a couple heads of lettuce.

So, this year, I took what I learned last year and am trying again with hopes it will be better. I am still sticking with one garden this year, but if it goes well, I will likely add another next year with more veggie variety. Here is my garden as of last night:
If all goes well, in a few months, we will have (from left to right, top to bottom): tomatoes, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, corn, beans, green peppers, green peppers, corn, beans, beans, cucumbers, parsley (grew back from last year!), romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, and cucumbers! Looking a little more promising this year, so I am excited! Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Just Us!!!

As many people know, my husband is a VW nut. He loves to drive them and work on them and has even turned that hobby into a profitable part time job at home. He even has this decal on his car that explains it all:(translation: Eat, Sleep, VW!!)
Often during the year, he will go for a day or a weekend to a gathering of other VW nuts to hang out and play with their cars all day. On a weekend in May, there is a gathering near Baltimore, MD that he likes to go to, called "ImpexFest" (sponsored by a parts supplier, Impex) held at that business. He really wanted me to go with him this year. I have NO interest in the car stuff, but I was honored that he wanted me to go. He said while at the gathering, I could do what I wanted- just relax or whatever, and after we were there for a while, we could go to nearby D.C. or anywhere and just spend time together for the weekend. I decided it did sound nice just to be able to get away and my parents HAD mentioned wanting to take the kids for a weekend sometime to give us a break.....so, I asked and mom was able to rearrange her work schedule so they could take them! We had an AMAZING weekend! Here is the recap with pictures and (relatively) few words...

We actually stayed at the Hyatt at Dulles airport even though it was a distance from where we were going. But, it was a super nice hotel that Aaron got for a STEAL ($75/night!!) with a promo he found online. It was probably one of, if not THE, nicest hotel room I have slept in. When we got there, we met some of his friends for dinner at a Thai restaurant. I had never been to one before. The one who took us went on and on that we HAD to try the duck rolls. I had to laugh though when I saw the chef's specials menu:I couldn't help but wonder how I was supposed to eat them when they had this cute picture of a duck next to it. But, I did and it was good! Everything was awesome. I soooooo over ate!

Saturday, we went to the Impex gathering, and even there I had a great time! While Aaron did his thing and helped someone fix their car, I literally sat in a lawn chair and read this book:
In fact, I finished it before we got home today. I have NEVER been able to finish a book so quick. It was nice to have so much spare time to relax and read! It is sooooo good. This is book two; the first is called the Hunger Games. It is a little dark and very bizarre, but so interesting I had trouble putting it down! I don't know how I will wait until Book 3 comes out in August!!!

After reading for a while, I decided to go on a walk. Several people had brought their dogs with them. One person in particular brought this beautiful dog:His name is, appropriately, Diesel (considering this was a gathering of VW's with turbo diesels engines....). Apparently, the dog was given this name before his current owners got him! It was a match meant to be! Anyway, the dog was so good and so cute so I borrowed him from his owner so I could take him with me on my walk. We both enjoyed the exercise and scenery.

Aaron took time out during his day to hang with me also!
When we left there, we followed the advice of others there and, instead of going to D.C., we went into downtown Baltimore, to Chesapeake Bay.
One friend suggested the National Aquarium there.
So, as we were walking toward the aquarium (pictured above) we saw these little electric boats you could rent and ride on the water (see picture above). It looked fun until we saw it cost $20 to rent a boat. That seemed expensive so we just kept walking. But then found out it would cost $60 (!!!!!!) to get into the aquarium! Suddenly, the $20 boat ride didn't seem so bad, so we went back there. It was actually well worth it- very fun!This duck paddled right past our boat:
And I remembered dinner from the night before....

We saw these street performers:

(this guy was painting on cardboard. I wish I had gotten a close up of one of his pieces- they were VERY good!)

Then, we went to the top of the Baltimore World Trade Center
(and you can see the affects of being outside ALL day...I was transforming into a lobster...)
And saw THIS view:
Then, based on several recommendations, we went to this area of town for dinner:
which was filled with little authentic Italian restaurants- which we quickly came to realize were all above our price range, despite someone telling us it was actually cheap..... ha! But, we were already there and it was a loooooong walk back to our car, so we settled on this adorable little restaurant:
It had such a neat atmosphere to it- it was all open to the outside with breezes blowing through and the food was soooooo good. It was very expensive, so we shared our meal- and it was STILL too expensive, but we never eat at fancy places and we were on vacation so we decided it was worth it!

Driving back to our hotel, we saw THIS as we got on the freeway near D.C.:
This is the Washington D.C. temple of our church. A totally breathtaking view and this picture does NOT do it justice.

Sunday morning, we slept in enjoying the fact that we never had to get up to take anyone potty, or deal with a heavy cat sleeping at our feet. We drove home happy after the wonderful weekend we spent together. We really had a lot of good quality time that we were well due for. I am lucky to be married to such a loving man who enjoys spending time with me and was excited for me to come along on what started as HIS weekend. I am lucky for two wonderful parents and a sister who helped care for my kids all weekend. Thank you!!!!!! Though it was quite funny just how thoroughly EXHAUSTED my parents seemed we we got back. My mom said, "There is a reason why raising children is meant for the young....." I am sure they passed out about 60 seconds after we left.... But, I know my kids had an amazing time and have told me many stories of all the cool stuff they got to do. I really needed this break and I really enjoyed it and am now happy to be home with my babies!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

On Motherhood

Today, on this special day for all Mothers- those with children and those are like a mother to many, I thought I would share some of my thoughts on motherhood.

I have come to believe that Motherhood is the most important job a woman can have, but yet the most downplayed job by society. Being a mother is one of the hardest, low paying, demanding, and exhausting jobs there is, but by far more rewarding.

I think whether a mother chooses a career or to stay home with her children, it is important to remember her most important job is at home. I am not saying woman shouldn't have a career; I am only saying that it is easy to let the world confuse us as to our most important role. I recently read a book by Jane Clayson Johnson called "I am a mother." I highly recommend this book to anyone needing to feel uplifted in their role as a mother. I literally laughed and cried as I read this book and felt so much more secure as a mother. Jane Clayson Johnson was a journalist with a very promising career. She was on the Morning Show as an anchor. When she found out she was expecting her first child, she walked away from her job to stay home and raise her children. All of her coworkers told her she was crazy to give up her career and that she would never get it back, but she did not let that phase her. She saw the beauty in her work at home.

I, as well, have chosen to stay home. It is hard at times- financially, we must count every penny.
Sometimes, just as Jane Clayson Johnson mentioned in her book, I have found myself feeling down saying I am "just" a mother. But, I know it is so much more than being "just" a mother. It is a role to wear with pride! I AM a mother! I think whether a mother stays at home or not isn't what matters- I know that woman have careers for many different reasons. I just think it is easy to forget in the day-to-day craziness just how important our role as mother is. Elder Neal A. Maxwell (one of the general authorities of my church) said, "when the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peace-making of woman in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congress?" I love this and think it is so true. As mothers, we have so much more influence in the world than we realize! Who do you think raises and teaches all of those amazing leaders? Our influence as mothers dictates what kind of leaders our children will become.

I am sure I will someday have a career as well. There are certainly roads I would like to pursue someday, but this is the job I need to do now. I know that no matter what awards or promotions I receive in the world, it will never compare to the simple worded notes I have received from my children today and many times over the years. For example, my children presented me with these beautiful letters this morning: (spelling is just as it is in the letters- it makes it all the more endearing!)

From Kenny:

Dear Mom, I hope you have a grat day. I am going to make a speshol brekFest For you. When I start makeing it you need to go to your room. I made a nother card. this book mark (pictured above card) is very speshol. Love Kenneth.

From Jacob:
Front of card.

Inside of card
Dear Mom, You are the best person in the whole wide world. This letter is very speshel. I love you mom. Mom here is your card. I am going to make something even speshler then this card. I made alot of purple on it because I know you love purple. Today is your very speshle day mom. Now gwess what the other speshle thing. I know you love me and I love you too. Love, Jacob

And, the story Jacob wrote at school titled "My Mom Knows"

My Mom knows she loves me with all her heart. My mom knows monney does not grow on a tree. My mom knows how to feed me. My mom knows how to take care of me. My mom knows how to take of everyone including me. I love you mom. (in the picture, there is Jacob saying, "Mom what do you know?" and I am saying "I know how to take care of you Jacob."

I feel like the luckiest mom in the world!

Happy Mothers Day to all of the amazing women out there!!!!!!