I'm having a wee bit of a struggle, and I can't quite put my finger on it. Don't worry, in the next few hours (maybe when I get a little sleep under my belt...), I will get up, brush off my knees, put the smile on my face, and be as happy as can be for the arrival of the big Christmas Day. For right now, in this little private (okay, so now that I'm posting it on the blog, it's a not-so-private-anymore) moment, I need to be able to just be sad. If you aren't in a 'I can take a little downer post once in a while' mood, feel free to exit blog now... consider yourself warned...
Maybe it's the fact that I really really, REALLY love extended family visits, and came a hairsbreath away from doing a semi-spontaneous cross country drive to surprise some family members over the New Years Week, and have just come face to face with the reality that it's not going to happen. I guess I kinda hoped that with all of the little obstacles that came up along the way, we would some how still find a way to head out for some MUCH needed cousin/brother/sister/aunt/uncle/gramma/grampa together time. I kept telling myself not to hold my breath, that it probably wouldn't happen, but when we made reservations tonight for a hotel stay... in the opposite direction... for a little mini-trip with the kids, the reality kinda slapped me in the face.
Don't get me wrong - nothing means more to me in this whole world than these 5 souls I am blessed to share a roof/bed/blood with. When we go on a trip, it's just not the same if all members are not present and accounted for (part of why, in my mind, our last visit out west doesn't really 'count' as a full visit, since the kiddos weren't along for the ride...). It's not that at all.
Maybe part of it is that there are so many unknowns in our life right now, with working on our little invention (if you don't already know about this, consider yourself blessed that you haven't had to endure the endless talks about it from my end!!) which is sucking way more energy/money/time then I originally bargained for.
Maybe part of it is that the gift we (meaning all 50 bagillion people on the Petersen side) spent so much time and effort putting together for Gramma and Grampa did not arrive in Argentina in time, and I can't seem to find a way to email it intact so that they can know that their family is thinking (and missing them terribly) about them on this day (there's something about having the perfect gift, ON the perfect day... as opposed to getting it 4 days later). I'm so sad that I didn't get it in the mail earlier.
Maybe part of it is that we are buried in 3 feet of snice. This may be a term unfamiliar to those of you not in the 'arctic zone' of the US - it is actually quite a common occurrence here in tundraland. Picture constantly falling snow in temperatures that literally freeze your face into whatever expression you were making the nanosecond before you walked out the door. I'm not kidding about this, people - you try to fall back to make a snow angel here, and you get a concussion! (okay, maybe not a full blown concussion... more like a baseball-sized goose egg)
Maybe part of it is that Nebraska and WyOming (Yes, Brian and Michelle, you will hear me wine about WyOming every single time we drive through your new-home-town state... I'm afraid your going to have to get used to it... just like Stewart and Shannon 'ever-so-lovingly' endure my whines about Nebraska, Right??!) are just WAY too long, and stand in the way of being able to make weekend trips out west.
Maybe my heart is just two sizes too small.
Whatever the reason... I just need a little 'downer' time. I'll bounce back. Life will go on. There will be other visits out west. There will be other great gifts (that I will send on time!). There will be great memories made and laughs had. I know that. Going through the sad 10% will just make the 90% that much sweeter when I get back there :).
For now... well, I'm going to bed. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good/better/best night (wherever your happiness barometer happens to be at the moment :) ).
Is NOT, I repeat, NOT a good sign when your son is no where near a bathroom... and no longer in a diaper... and standing with his legs wide (picture cowboy stance)... in the middle of a white carpet room...
... I must say, there a a LOT of things I am going to miss terribly when our children get older (snuggles, kisses, general little kid-fun-times just to mention a few!!). Cleaning up nasty, squishy, stinky poop piles: NOT one of those things!
And on that note... Happy Holidays!! Have a good last week before Christmas!
If any of you know anyone contemplating marriage, and they say to you, "Hey, I think 7 days before Christmas would be a great time to get married!" PLEASE, calmly walk up to them and sweetly say, "This is from Jen," then give them an ever-so-friendly slap upside the head.
Okay that's all. I'm off to figure out what to stress over more, Christmas or Anniversary.
In an effort to stave off the inevitable struggle to get the daily countdown candy pulled off first, and deal with many-a-fight that I just don't have the patience for right now, each of the kids got to make their very own Christmas countdown...
They even got to start today and eat one of their countdowns...
and after tasting day 1, Sarah realized that she doesn't like the flavor...
... that she chose for the next TEN days...
May your holiday Season be merry and bright (and may the next 10 days sail by to get to the 'good candy' for Sarah's benefit ;) ).
(WARNING: Cheese Factor is VERY HIGH on this post, consider yourself warned...)
Excerpt from a phone conversation a couple of days ago (don't worry, I'll edit out the lovey/dovey stuff!)...
Hubby (from store), "Hey honey, they have some fun gingerbread house building kits here, should I get one for the kids?"
Me (at home), "Yea, that would be fun! But while you're there, why don't you grab a couple of extra bags of candy - they never seem to have enough in the kits (well, not enough to snack on while you're decorating, and after all, what fun is building a gingerbread house if you can't snack on the candy in the process??!)"
Hubby, "Sure, no problem"...
...and this is what came through the door...
I think we could build an entire gingerbread house out of the actual candy :)
... and this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I love my husband so much (keep reading, it's more than just bringing home truck loads of goodies... although that does help... but I digress...).
He is a complete over-achiever in EVERY sense of the word. He will do EVERYTHING he does to the upmost degree. He never cuts corners on ANYTHING...
If I ask him to help clean the bathroom, I can guarantee that thing will be spotless from top to bottom, in every nook and cranny (let alone the fact that he will, in fact, help in cleaning the bathroom!).
If he decides to put up a fence, you can bet money on the fact that the fence will be better built than most professionally built fences out there.
If he is in charge of 'pizza night' our table will be FULL with every imaginable (and some not-yet imaginable...) pizza toppings.
If he is going through medical school, you can also bet that he will go for it with gusto, and open up every possible avenue of future career path for the family (okay, so this one wasn't always a positive in my book, as many nights home alone spent begrudging this quality will attest... but now that we are on the home stretch, I can see how it was worth it... mostly ;) ).
If he is secretary of the elders quorum, you can bet he have every possible aspect of that quorum organized, categorized, and accounted for. (He was the person I got the announcements from when I was RS secretary!)
If he is in charge of date night, you can bet he will have every possible new eating option within a 50 mile radius scoured, complete with menu options, driving directions, and reservations made in a few different places (just to make sure)
I could go on, and on (and on, and on...) but you get the picture: That's my hubby - the 'go for it with gusto' man that I completely admire (and mock on occasion...) and with whom I am madly, deeply, hopelessly in love!
Okay, these pictures won't mean anything to you unless you were ever a part of the
Petersen "Gathering" night...
If you can believe it, this is the first year that I have actually attempted scones. Since we don't have a fry-daddy (or baby, or grampa, for that matter... c'mon guys, I'm a dietician - that is against the law in this household ;) ), I did the old-fashioned fry in the skillet method. I know, I know, these aren't the super-cute-golden-delicious-mom-like scones, but hey, they are scones, and they were yummy!
After a frantic call to mom in the store to make sure I was getting all of the right ingredients (Yes, this DOES merit a trans-continental call to Argentina to make sure that I'm not leaving out any of the sacred ingredients!!), I came home and got to work on the stew.
So, we may be far away, and our gathering was very small, but we gathered nonetheless to officially open the Thanksgiving festivities!!!
So if you made it over the river and through the woods, or just out the bedroom and down the hall, we wish you all a
I don't know... after the elections, and now last nights game... things are starting to get pretty shaky around here...
We all got into the game spirit yesterday, and since we have quite en eclectic group in our ward (read: some people from that OTHER team are here in the ward... ((is that even legal??!))
We got a good little 'smack talk' going on before the game.
Sarah even got her hair in the traditional "Y" braid...
... and then we did receive the 'not-so-anonymous' phone call with the Ute fight song blaring through (I'm surprised the phone lines weren't singed in the process with such blasphamy blaring through...)
And yes, CERTAIN people did show up at church today sporting the abominable RED color scheme (but since it's so close to Christmas, we just decided they had started to show their Christmas cheer a bit early, RIGHT??!)
Here is my synopsis of the game: Our beloved BYU football team took their primary lessons to heart, and if you could have seen their huddles, I'm sure you would have heard their musically inclined voices singing, "Give Said the little Stream, Give, oh Give..."
And when wondering what that put the spring in their steps after an interception, you would have heard them humming, "When we're helping, we're happy..."
So there you have it, the real reason why BYU was so GIVING in last night's contest... And why we are still TRUE BLUE!!!
We will be staying right here in the tundra-land of Minnesota :). It was such a hard decision, but it feels good to have it made and be able to make plans for 'life beyond medical training'. I can't believe we actually get to grow up after all... :).
... I love listening to my kids have conversations - although I usually have to be some distance away so they don't here me giggling so much.
.... Today's conversation was over breakfast when I was gathering things up in the other room to dash out the door to violin, and then stopped to listen... and laugh...and learn...
Seth, "Ben, you are my best friend."
Sarah, "Hey, Seth, you said that I was your best friend!"
Seth, "Well, yea, I did say that, but you aren't anymore." **I almost intervened from my post in the other room to give the 'motherly' advice that we could all be best friends in our family, but heard this...
Sarah, "So, you are breaking up with me??"
Seth, "Well, yes... but we can still be friends." ** what have they been listening to at school??!**
Seth continues, "Well, Sarah, sometimes when I do something mean to you, you don't be nice back."
Sarah, "What??" **which is what I was asking in my mind, What??!
Seth, "Like when I do something mean, you don't say, 'may please can you stop?' ... you just be mean back."
... okay, so I had to laugh right out loud at this 6 year old logic... and the fact that his being mean in the first place wasn't even an issue to him... it was her being mean back...
... and then I had a little 'ah hah' moment... how many times in life do we not consider our own issues and instead insist on pointing out how someone else is really wrong... for reacting to our original wrong... (kind of a little beam/mote type of a situation...)
... and I thought they were sent here to be taught by me - instead they are teaching me :)
I knew it would come, the day I heard, "When I'm a mommy..."
... I just didn't know it would come so soon...
This seems to be Sarah's latest line of defense when she doesn't agree with my parenting things... especially on things as torturous as, say, bedtimes, and cleaning rooms....
The past few months it started, first it was, "When I'm a mommy, I'm not going to make my little girl go to bed. She is going to get to stay up as late as she wants!"
Then it moved onto, "When I'm a mommy, I'm not going to make my little girl clean her room. She is going to be able to keep it as messy as she wants!"
Then we moved into, "When I'm a mommy, I'm not going to make my little girl brush her teeth so much!"
(The boys that come to Sarah will have no such protection, however! Something I will remind her of in the future, I'm sure!)
Today I had to laugh when she jumped right into mommy status as we were watching word world. I have a perfect "nerdy mom" jig that I do to one of the main songs on this movie, something that annoys Sarah to death. When we flipped it on this afternoon, I jumped right into the song, and Sarah turned to me and said, "You need to stop. I'm going to turn it off if you don't stop right now!" Oh, the horror - no Word World!!
... so I couldn't resist, I just kept right on going to see how long it would take her to realize that she is the one who would suffer more from her sense of 'disciplining' me...
... she got almost to the TV, and then turned to give me a few more warnings. I had to laugh over this one. She is definitely 6 going on 26!
... and yes, mom, this is where you see the "one day you're going to have a daughter just like you" come full circle. Feel free to give that little 'ahh yes' smile, because it has happened :).
... No, it's not to vote, although it does have to do with voting...
So I was reading an article on how we should bring our kids with us to vote so that they can learn how important it is and we can model 'good citizen' behavior, etc. etc, and I thought, "well, that sounds like a good idea."
... my friends, I'm here to tell you, bringing your kids - (especially if they are prone to repeatedly make very loud comments like, "We are voting for John McCain, because he is nice to doctors!" in the middle of a VERY crowded auditorium of mostly Obama-ites) is NOT, I repeat, is NOT a very good idea... also especially if the line is extremely long... and there are only 4 voting booths (on a presidential election day, are you KIDDING me, only 4 booths??!)... and your 15 month old decides at the very end, when you have made it through the long, harrowing lines, that he doesn't care about privacy, and he wants to 'make friends' with the people on both sides of the voting booths by using every muscle in his squirmy body to pull the dividers down (and almost succeeds...), No, bringing your kids is NOT a very good idea. Please, Keep them home. If you live by me, CALL ME, I will babysit. I will come with you and stay outside with your children.
.... and this is the end of the public service announcement. You may now return to your regularly schedules lives (just as soon as you go vote... for John McCain... without the kids :) ).
... Off and on through the years I have heard people say of younger...umm... 'more spirited' children, "Man, if this one had been born first, he/she would have been an only child"...
... and I would think to myself, "c'mon, no one child could really make you rethink having more children"...
....Until our latest entry into the Brewer Bunch...
... we have had bumps/crashes/screeches/climbs/falls/on multiple occasions. I have replaced things from glasses to clothes, to yes, even our digital camera courtesy of our lovable 'more spirited' child.
... but it wasn't until this morning, when I finished Sarah's hair and had just congratulated myself on the fact that we were all ready to walk out the door in plenty of time for church, and I wouldn't have to be running in with Joshy barefoot with me holding his socks and shoes...
... and rounded the bathroom corner to behold this...
Yes, that is milk left over from some cereal. Yes, it really is all over Joshy... and the table... and the chairs... and the floor. And Yes... it is about 8 minutes before church is starting...
... and YES, there is a reason why he came with this ultra cute-how-can-you-stay-mad-at-me-smile!!!!! It is what has kept him alive for the past 15 months!
He got the worlds fastest tubby, new church outfit, and yes... I was running in with him barefoot and me carrying his socks and shoes.
... And I am a believer. There is a reason why he came 4th, and not 1st. He really would have been an only child :).
Our kids are usually raising the roosters out of bed each morning, and have so eagerly been counting down the days until Halloween, I thought for sure they would be out of bed at 12:01, ready to get their trick-or-treat strategy worked out.
Instead, we had a sick little Ben all day. We had a well child visit already set up, so just revamped it to a not-so-well child visit. The Dr. didn't find much wrong other than a fever, but we decided to swab him for strep, mainly because there was little else we could do...
... At the same visit Josh got 3 shots (note to self, DO NOT do shots on Halloween afternoon if you want a happy toddler on Halloween night...)
I was all prepared to stay home with the not-so-happy children while the rest braved the spooky streets for the traditional loot, but when Ben saw everyone else gearing up, he feebly got his costume and, with all the energy his germ-infested body could muster, mumbled a plea for me to help him into his costume.
We got everyone costumed up (I am absolutely convinced there is a HUGE reward somewhere in the Heavens awaiting mothers everywhere who have valiantly braved the yearly costume hunting, designing, and dressing for the majority of their motherly lives :) ).
Our cast went like this (can I just say I am a wee bit sad that the kids are old enough now that I can't form them into a cute little theme - we have has some fun ones in their younger years!)...
Seth: Power Ranger (even though he 'really' wanted to be a clone, which he decided AFTER I got the power ranger costume. It is a good thing Halloween will come again next year!)
Sarah: Rapunzel (which she had wanted to be last year, until I talked her into being a witch after I learned how to make the cutest witch skirt. She acquiesced last year, saying she would be Rapunzel next year. I honestly thought she would forget and move on to whatever craze hit this year, but she held true and didn't waver one bit when costume design time came around. I've got to give it to her, she had determination to stick with her plan!)
Benjamin: Mr. Incredible... pretty much because that was the cheapest costume in his size, and he didn't really have any strong opinions on the whole costume thing, as long as it semi looked like Seth's (his hero!)
Joshua: Mr. Alligator - only because he has absolutely no opinion in the matter, and we already had that costume ready to go (from a previous 'themed Halloween a few years back...)
We did the annual trek with the Jacksons, and met up with the Childs around out little block area, so we had quite the kid crew descending on each house! (Reeds, you were missed! Come back quickly!)
Ben sat in the stroller, and Jerry or I would carry him up to the door of each house. We tried to keep him quarantined as much as possible, but I will give an advanced sorry it we ended up inoculating the entire neighborhood!
I new he was feeling pretty bad when it wasn't even worth the candy to him anymore and he just wanted to stay in the stroller, poor guy! We opted to come home a little early for him, and while the other kids dug into their loot, Ben and mom promptly fell asleep on the couch, missing all of the post trick-or-treating treasure hunting through the bags.
A couple more random pictures from the night:
Pictures at the neighbors. Kathleen - I still love Tommy's 'airline pilot' attire - that was classic!
Sarah and Jocelyn by one of the GINORMOUS pumpkins in a neighbors lawn. Jocee - your Tinkerbell costume was to die for!!! So cute!
Post note: so I called the automated 'strep test' center this morning, and sure enough, the test we did yesterday 'just because' turned out to be positive. Yep, mother of the year award right here for taking her strep child out trick-or-treating on Halloween... can you say: guilt??!
Hey, I need your help! What are some of your 'secrets' to the best dishes for the Thanksgiving dinner? The radio show next week is on how to make the Perfect Thanksgiving dinner, from start to finish (and some healthy tips in any of the categories...). So, ladies and gentlemen - what are your tips??
The kids had a good trial run of their costumes...
He truly gets husband of the year award for jumping on board with my, "Hey honey, let's go as each other!!" Suggestion.....
... winning him the overall prize for Halloween Man/zumba instructor of the year... ... topped only by the "role reversal" Halloween of 5 years ago when he posed as a pregnant woman. (Yes, I do have pictures of that one also!).
... All I can say is, "Look FAST" - I don't know how long he will let me keep these pictures on the blog!
You know you are neck deep into mommy hood when even your shower is not a place of refuge :). Well, at least we saved some water - I just put in the plug, stripped him down, and let him have his tubby... which would have been ideal had he not had a poopy diaper... :) Ahhh, the joys of the fine print of motherhood (I swear the job description didn't mention this much poop would be involved in every facet of daily life!).
... but how can you not love life with a smile like that beaming up at you, wet, poopy pj's and all??!
Yours truly. (... If you are not familiar with the movie "Mommy Dearest," just know that this is NOT a compliment to win this award!)...
Yes, within the past 48 hours, I have succeeded in: getting in a fight with my hubby, and making all four children cry - at separate times, for separate issues. Yep, all in 48 hours. Now THAT'S some creative time management!!
Okay, in my defense - the younger two cry at some point over random issues pretty much every day (especially if they are past their nap schedule), so that doesn't take much on my part :). The older two, well I do take full credit for that...
Yesterday it was Sarah, and it was over one word. a r e. That's it. Three letters. A sight word from Kindergarten. She knows this word. I know that she knows this word. It was on EVERY page of her take home book to read. We reviewed it when she forgot...(on every page!). Then, when I had her re-read it, just to be sure, the melt down occurred, and not from her. I'll spare you the details, but it ended with me just sending her to her room to clean it up and take a break before we tried again. A few minutes later when I walked by her room, she was curled up in her bed, almost crying. After some snuggle time, she was back to normal, but I felt like a buck ninety nine...
Then this morning, we had a tight schedule to make, including an extra violin group practice for an upcoming concert, then shoot off to drop the twins at school, then off to get the kids into the kids gym, and set up to teach a 9:15 muscletone class... (but no time pressures there!)
... when we pulled up at the school (just a few minutes behind schedule, but still doable), we discovered that Seth's backpack was missing and he informed me that he had taken it off... at the violin teachers house... completely in the opposite direction of the gym...
When I tried to reason with him that he could just go in and I would get retrieve the backpack and get it to school right after my class, he became the 'statue'... his completely immobile, won't talk, won't move, won't respond defense mechanism... and then promptly broke down in tears, saying that we HAD to go back and get his backpack, and he had to go with me (he couldn't possibly bare the humiliation of showing up on the playground without the backback).
Again, my patience fled like the dukes of hazard (okay, so I totally just dated myself!), and I pretty much forced him out of the car, only to have him stand on the curb and start crying. I tried to drive away a little, hoping that he would see some friends and get perked up, to no avail - he just stared after me with those hurt puppy dog eyes. So I flip around, trying to get him back into the car while he is again doing his 'statue' pose, but this time surrounded by about 4 friends who are all trying to help out. I finally get around and get him back into the car, only to tell him that he will then have to go to kids care and come to school late if he wants to come with me to pick up the backpack. Then I add, "and you will feel silly, because there won't be any big kids at kids care, they will all be at school." Really, truly, did I HAVE to throw that out??! Why didn't I just give him a paper cut and pour in some lemon juice?! He, of course, starts crying more, saying, "Mommy, PLEASE just take me back to school!" (we are now 1/2 way to the gym and way behind schedule...
... so we whip around to go back to school, drop him off, probably even more shaken up then he was before, but he ran to play with some friends this time, so I gunned it off to the gym.
... of course my karma came right back at me, as I run into class and start the music, the cd player chokes on me. We did the warm up literally to 'air music' as I tried frantically to play with the cd player, count beats into the mic, and give movement cues all at the same time. When the 3rd cd started and stopped on me, I so wanted to turn to everyone and say, "Okay, I'm done, let's just all go home now!"
... Please can I just push 'delete' button on the past 48 hours??!
(It would be easier to name 5 places I wouldn't want to go!)
Disneyland (for the kiddos!)
Argentina (at least for the next 17 months!)
5 random things
I love to listen to my kids talk to each other
I love getting a great deal on something
I really wish wyoming and nebraska could be sucked out of the US (sorry, Stewart and Shannon - not at all because you live there! - I just hate driving through those states to get close to family!) - it would make staying here for work so much easier!
Deep inside of me, there is an organized person just waiting to come out!... if I could just sift through the piles of papers I have on top of her to actually let her out...
I crave having people come and visit - I love having people stay at our house - even with all of it's craziness!
But in my mind, I am still somewhere mid May (don't let the Christmas music fool you into thinking I am actually ahead of the season... Christmas music is usually a standard around our house year round!) and keep waking up to frosty weather wondering what is happening before I get my bearings and realize that yes, the summer HAS come, and it IS gone... and I will see a boat load of SNOW and ICE before my beloved summer re-appears!
In fact, I was driving a couple of weeks ago and saw a 10k race with a sign that said, "Harvest Classic" and thought, 'Now, why are they doing a Harvest Race this time of year??' before I remembered, 'Oh yea, because it IS Harvest Classic time of year, duh!'
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE FALL - it is one of my favorite times of year.
I even LOVE snow (did I just say that??!)...
From the first snow fall, clear up until Christmas - I love everything (okay, Almost everything) about snowy days.
... But come December 26, BRING ON THE SUN!!
So for now - we will suck every last minute out of the crisp, crunchy leaves stomping, autumn days...
The kids had a blast running through the 'Hay maze'
Joshy thought he struck gold with all of these 'orange balls' and tried in vain to pick every one up he could get his hands on.