Today is a good place to be.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Popsicle Stick Jokes

So, we have popsicles on occasion--- well everyday when we have them--- and they have the cute litle jokes on them. My kids LOVE the jokes. I can be upstairs on the computer, or in the shower, or vacuuming out the car and Nathan will find me to have me read the joke to him. He always appreciates the joke- laughs like he means it or understands it. Several months ago he would answer the jokes with his own punch line, which was: "A Dump Truck!" But lately he has learned that you are supposed to listen for the punch line(It always makes me kind of sad when they learn enough to do what is socially acceptable-- I really like it when they do thier own thing, like Leila combining the letters in her name, the "e" and "a", and only writing down one "l" to make writing her name more efficient. She too has figured out the "right" way to write her name. Bummer.)

Anyway, my kids laugh at my popsicle stick jokes. I think I am the funniest mom around!

Leila's Profile

Name: Leila
Age: 4 1/2
Favorite Color: Red, purple and pink
Favorite Toy: Little Mermaid Doll
Favorite Movie: Little Mermaid
Funny quirks: Doesn't like having her hair done, but likes to get dressed up. I can usually persuade her with some lip gloss to do her hair. :o) She is scared of being alone, stopped liking bugs -including spiders- about a year ago(before that she loved them and would catch them in the yard and hold them).
Recent Accomplishments: Finished her year of 4's preschool. Since she is born just 4 days after the cut off, she has another year of pre-school ahead of her.
Bedtime Routine: Teeth Brushing, PJ's, Books, Say prayers with Nathan, say prayers in her room, song with Mom, song with Daddy, put on some music, read some more books, color, cut, dance, do whatever, ask for a few more songs from mom or dad(whoever feels like getting back up), finally sleep after about an hour of goofing off.
Best Friends: Carina, Sadie, Lucy & Elizabeth. Annalina is her best cousin ever. And tho she won't admit it, her brother.
Favorite Activities: Singing(LOVES her singing class with Ms. Stephanie), coloring(wishes mommy would let her paint more), learning to ride her new princess bike, holding and loving her kitty: Alli Cat.

Nathan's Profile

Name: Nathan
Age: 3 1/2
Favorite Color: Red or Blue, sometimes orange and brown and black and red
Favorite Toy: Car
Favorite Movie: Herby, Cars & Ratatouille
Funny quirks: Loves to have his head scratched. Loves to dance and shake his bod. Is either very happy, or in the midst of a tantrum. Picky about his clothes. Knows everything about everything and is always right. He has a great memory. Likes to point out luv-bugs on the road. Loves tires. Hates getting his hair cut or washed.
Potty Training Status: Complete- YAHOO!(With an occasional accident when he is playing too hard and doesn't have time to think about it and mommy forgets to remind him.)
Recent Accomplishments: Received a certificate of completion for his "Sports Fun With Me" class he took with mommy. He loves to play bowling, basket ball, kick soccer balls, and jump on the trampoline. He still gets the type of ball mixed up, but that is OK, he will learn.
Bedtime Routine: We brush teeth, get on Jammies(lets hope the ones he wants to wear are clean.), read books, "time to say some prayers", Daddy sings to Nathan while Mommy is with Leila, then Mommy sings to Nathan. Usually he falls right to sleep(good sleeper like his daddy), but there are nights he doesn't and falls asleep in the hallway in the pile of laundry usually there, or with a car under his head for a pillow. Around 3 or 4 in the morning he might come and get in bed with mom and dad, with his pillow, his blanket(ducky blanket his Grandma made for Leila, but he took possession of years ago), and whatever car he went to sleep with at night(mommy has tried to get him to sleep with something soft because she usually ends up sleeping on top of whatever it is he brings in.)
Best Friend: His Daddy. And though he won't admit it, his sister.
We LOVE Nathan. He is our comedian, our goofball, our wonderful little ball of joy. We can not imagine what life would be like without him-- it would be quite calm and very quiet to say the least. And that just wouldn't be our life. What a sweetheart.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My list- revisited

A week in review(See earlier post on my to-do list):

So, I had two nights where I was up past 11:30-- I was up much later actually not being able to turn my mind off to sleep. Made for a rough next day. This is somthing I still need to work on.
I did give blood.
I didn't do all my laundry-- just the basic needs.
I got thru Nathan's clothes, started on Leila's.
We did go to the library, got new books, more music- I love the library.
I did not cook every night.
I didn't get studying in every day.
I did write back my new Iranian Pen Pal. I hope to hear from her soon.
I did get Bonnie's invites out-- took me a few days.
I did visit my parents.

I did OK. I did what I could. My headaches are getting a bit more intense. It might be some allergies or changes in weather or an unstable sleeping schedule, so I had a rough week last week.

I refrain from doing another list because if an item stays on my list too often, I just forget about it.

So, this week I will simply set a goal, and it is about parenting: I want to have a happy home. If some of my bigger items don't get taken care of, that is OK. I want to get along with my kids. I want to be a good mom and not yell or be part of the cause of an unhappy home. I want happy children, I want a happy husband. I know I will get the basics done, I always seem to(Or Wonderful Husband helps me when he gets home). So, lets aim for Love at Home, the rest will take care of itself this week.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Finally- My Goal Acheived

So... it took 1 year, 4 months and 28 days, and I FINALLY hit my Weight Watcher Goal!
On Monday May 5th, 2008, I hit goal! I started on my journey Jan. 7, 2007. YAHOOOOOOOOOOOO!
I am not posting exactly how much I lost, but I am not shy about it-- so just ask me. I will tell you privately.

Things I learned from my almost a year and a half "on plan":

1- Life is too short to diet. I need to make good choices, but not deprive myself. A way to do this to keep a plan and track what I put in my mouth. If I know what I am eating and when I am eating it, I do much better than looking at an open day full of open temptations. Or, if I know I can't escape a quick trip thru a drive thru because my day is so very packed, I can plan accordingly for dinner.
2- Can you say portion control? Any idea what a real portion size is? Do you know that 3 oz. of steak is a healthy portion(Not that you can find that on a menu anywhwere), and do you know what that looks like(look at the palm of your hand, a bit smaller than that)? Can you tell at a glance what a 1/2 cup of potato salad is, or 1 cup of pasta? If you aren't sure, get out your measuring cups or food scale. I learned early on not to even serve bread with my meals because I couldn't stop at one serving of bread (This was really bad when I figured out to use my breadmaker to knead my dough and could actually make really good rolls- see previous post- I can not stop at one- just look how beautiful they are.).
3- Drink Water. I have always been able to drink a lot of water- I am lucky in the fact that I do love my water. Drinking at work was a snap-- at home its a bit more tricky(I don't stare at my cup next to my monitor all day long). I reward myself with flavored water after I have my daily requirement, or splurge with a diet soda if its early enough in the (Caffine will keep me awake all night).
4- Keep good food in the house, and the junk I can't keep my hands off out of the house(Or put it somewhere I won't think about). I have no self-control when it comes to eating treats. I can't just eat a small amount and save some for later- an opened bag of m&m's is an empty bag of m&m's, no matter the size of the bag.
5-Along with keeping good food in the house, I try to have meals planned out. The nights I don't plan meals I am more likely to make somthing less healthy, ask hubby to stop for take out, or simply eat whatever we pull together and not even look at what I am eating.
6- If I have a bad day(or a bad meal), its OK, start over tommorrow(or the next meal). Don't beat myself up... just start over.
7- Move when I can. If you read my earlier post you know I don't feel good a lot of the time. I do think on some level if I exercised every day I would feel some benefit, however I am not there yet. Maybe soon?
8- Learn to love me for who I am and how I look, no matter what that may be. My body has changed from the days before children and other stresses caused me to gain those extra pounds. As a person I have changed too from those days, so I wouldn't say its a bad thing. I am satisified with who I am- how I look is just a teensy tiny part of that. I love my body and how it has served me. I am grateful I am treating it better so it can continue to serve me.

I am trying to be healthy and I am trying to be happy. I have goals for my future:
1-Maintain my weight(Weight Watchers has a great plan for this... now that I have hit my goal I maintain for 6 weeks and if I can be within my goal weight by 2 pounds I become a 'lifetime' member. I no longer have to pay fees so long as I am within 2 pounds of my goal weight.).
2-Keep up my exercise routine.(WW again reccomends 4 activity points a day-- you earn these a vareity of ways, but I seriously need to get more movement into my daily life-I have it, just not daily, or at least not enough daily).
3-Keep meals healthy and exciting.
4-Live as an example for my chidlren and family. When I decided to loose weight I wanted to do it for myself of course, but I also wanted to be healthy for my family. I said I had an excuse, two babies in two years... but then my youngest just turned two and I didn't feel I could use that excuse anymore. Becoming a mother has been such an amazing change of life for me, that I need and want to do what I can to ensure that I am around for them for as long as I possibly can be. I want eating healthy and living an active life to be second nature to my children.

Thanks to my husband who let me try out WW-- he was pleasently surprised I found somthing I could stick with! What will I do with the extra money each month? Get a cell phone maybe????

I will post an after picture(and look for a before, but honestly I didn't take many pictures of myself) once I get to Lifetime-- three more weeks! Now that I am halfway thru I am finding maintaining is a bit tricky, but as with everything, I will learn and I will find what works best for myself. Learning is exciting, afterall isn't learning how to learn one of lifes most important skills? [By the way Julie- I am so glad you joined and am so excited for you, and I think I will start joining you on Saturdays-- never got your e-mail but lets talk!]

Monday, May 19, 2008

List for this week

I am list person. If you read my earlier blogs, lists make me feel very comfortable. I can usually write down a list and be OK with never looking at it again, the mere act of writing down my needs/wants/whatever tends to make them stick in my mind(including shopping, its true!). So, you will look thru my purse and see list after list.

Here is my list for this week:

Get to bed and asleep before 11:30(last night I couldn't sleep, was up until after 2! Eeek!)
Go give blood(I have an appointment today, so its an easily attainable goal- I love the items I can check off almost as I write them)
Get caught up on Laundry. At some point in time I want to see the bottom of all of our laundry baskets AND not have a pile in the hallway.
Purge the kids drawers of clothes that do not fit them. Give away what I can, store the rest.
Get all the library books back to the libary.
Cook, or provide some sort of resemblance to a meal every night(I want Jeremy to be happy to come home again-- I only cooked once or twice last week, and he didn't outwardly show his dissapointment, but I know he appreciates it I cook. The days I don't cook end up being "fend for yourself" or "eat these left-overs".)
Do my daily studying for personal growth(in my books, scriptures, book research) for at least 1/2 hour each day, or more if I can get away with it.
Write back to my new Iranian Pen Pal.
Get Bonnie's Baby Shower Invites OUT!
Visit my parents.

Note, I did not put "go work out" on my list. I may or may not, but I just can't put that down.

I have a week to do the above along with my other daily things, and those things that will come up that I can't think of right now. Some of them I HAVE to do, others won't kill me if I don't. Well nothing will kill me, but some consequences are harder than others. I may let you know how I did? What are you lists? Are lists as theraputic for you as they are for me? How do you organize your "to-do" list? How do you set your priorities?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tillamook Forest Center- Conser Adventure Part I

Today we set out for a Conser Adventure-- non-shopping style... and we headed WEST!

First stop was at the Tillamook Forest Center. I am breaking our trip up on two blogs because this place was sooooo cooool I want everyone who reads about it to understand how cool it is and go there with thier families. I first heard about this a year ago with from my neighbor Mandy who told me how kid friendly it is. There are places to picnic and fun things to do- my toddlers were impressed and amused. Best yet, admission is free and it took us less than an hour to get there. How family friendly is that? It is open from 10-4, and starting next Friday (May 23rd) it will be open 7 days a week (only open Weds-Sun on the off season). Check out thier website for more info:

So, on a beautiful warm Saturday, around 10AM, we drove up and saw a 40 foot tall look-out tower. Of course that is what my kids wanted to climb first, and we did. They had all sorts of educational stuff that we only glanced at. We will look at it in depth when we visit again this summer I am sure.

Back down to the lodge, we saw Smokey the Bear, we explored different eras(Leila churned butter and dressed the part), we looked at different forests. It was a lot of fun.

Out back they have a 250 foot long pedestrian suspension bridge that goes over the Wilson River. They had several trails to take that would be easy enough for our kids to go on, and we plan to do that again this summer when we have our Guest Wendy with us.

We saw a lot of other visitors there today. There were a bunch of scouts. There were two boys with Nathan's same McQueen Shoes(He called them his friends right away!). We saw some people with Dogs. We saw some people that spoke several different languages. Thrilling... the short stop has definately made us want to go back for more... but we were beach determined and had to keep going.

Cheese Factories & Ocean Side- Cons. Adv. Part II

Onward West!

We continued our journey west, the kids wanting to go directly to the beach. Until we brought up the cheese factory and ice-cream that we always get no matter what time of day, no matter what we ate and how soon we just ate, or how soon we plan to eat(Heidi & Rick, I get the PB&Choc every time, I can't help myself).

First stop is the Blue Heron Cheese Factory. This is a little cheese facotry that makes Brie. I LOVE BRIE. I didn't before my stay in Belgium, but compared to all the stinky cheese they eat, brie became my favorite. Actually I adore most cheese(I think there was only one really really stinky kind I wasn't able to stomach), and have no idea how I gave birth to a son who hates cheese, but I have hope one day he will realize what he has been missing. If you have always wanted to stop here, but never have, I suggest you do. I wanted to stop here for years and years. Jeremy and I finally did on our anniversary weekend last September and we LOVE it. We took the kids back last winter on a weekend at the coast and they had fun feeding the Llamas. Leila loves llamas now and wants one for a pet. I might look into that someday, maybe we can sell our lawn mower? Anyway, they have an old London Bus out front, and Nathan just got a "Victoria" english bus from Grandma Conser who is back from her cruise, so we needed to visit that after we fed their livestock some oats and stuff. Leila wasn't so sure about letting them lick her hands, but Nathan didn't have a problem. He also feed one of the goats the plastic bag on accident. OOPS! We ran inside to tell them, but they were OK with that. SO- if you like brie, check it out sometime- they have several flavors to sample and if you buy some the usually have fresh french bread to go along with it. YUM.
Next stop: ICE CREAM! And cheese curd- or squeeky cheese as the rest of us like to call it. We did our walk around the plant, walked thru the sample line, bought our squeeky cheese and beef sticks, then went to have ice cream. But, as we drove up the parking lot seemed unusally full. They were having an Old Time Car Show! Nathan just about DIED and WENT TO HEAVEN! We had to walk thru it. Nathan kept saying "Holy Cow!" maybe because we were in cow country? He would stop dead in his tracks to point at a really cool car and yell out his new catch phrase. Made a few old timer men shed a tear at this pure unadulterated love of cars. Leila was happy they had a pink car for her. So the Tillamook Cheese Factory was in its usual form, and then some with the help of the car show.

Last stop was finally the beach. Our desired stop was Pacific City, but they had some cycling thing ending there so we were not allowed. So we headed up to Oceanside, and it was one of those perfect days on the coast. We loved every minute of it. We had a hard time keeping our little fish(Leila) out of the water. She was ice cold, but running around so much she wanted to keep going. Nathan dipped his toes in a few times and managed to get his shorts soaked, but then decided he had more fun creating race-tracks in the sand with his cars. Both kids found some rocks and shells. I found a pretty little agate. I made a few sand sculptures, but I did not take a picture of them because they were not good, but what a fun relaxing thing to do. The one good sand sculpture both Jeremy and I worked on included Miss Leila, as she sang the Little Mermaid song . Funny, a little toe or two kept poking out.

We decided to do some more exploring after changing out of wet clothes(And making people mad at us for waiting for our parking spot when we weren't even leaving-- ha ha). They have a tunnel thru the mountain and we did more exploring. What a wonderfully beautiful day to spend together as a family. We enjoyed every minute together. We did not stop for Seafood on the way home... much to my, Jeremy's and Leila's dissapointment(no, Nathan did not care), but we will enjoy that another day. Leila made a comment today that made us chuckle. She said," Mommy, if you have another baby, I hope that kid will like the beach." I replied, me too.

I love my family. I am so thankful we get to spend days like this together. We love spending time together, and its so fun to have children so sweet, smart and healthy. Even better I get to enjoy them with my sweetheart, Jeremy. How blessed am I?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Happy Birthday to AMY!

Happy Birthday Dear Sister!
A little bit about my sister who is three years and two months older than me:
She has an inner strength inside her that I do not believe anyone really knows how strong it really is, on several occasions that I will keep private I have seen this strength come thru.
She is smart and wants to excel, not just pass or be good at, all she does.(This annoys me who is very happy with just skating by.)
She is crafty: In the Arts(I am thinking scrapbooking, she always does an amazing job), In Business(not only has she worked for my dad for years, she has her own e-bay business, has wholesale contacts and a loyal customer base- this is a great and successful side business), In Raising her children(She comes up with ways to get them to help her out or behaving or keep taking naps way longer than I ever could).
She has a strong sense of what is right or wrong. This has gotten her into trouble because everyone knows if you stand up for what you believe in, you don't always make the most friends or become the most popular girl around.
She let me be an obnoxious Aunt to her children-- I wanted my own for so very long, that she let me take hers pretty much whenever I wanted. We had a blast and a lot of fun memories.
She is a wonderful mother. She had two wonderful children and found herself a single Mom. She raised them well for years and was fortunate enough to meet a nice mad and have two more wonderful children. She is patient with them and teaches them well, but she is also a normal mother and understands when I confess to her that I may have yelled too much, or turned on the TV one time too many the week before. Oh, and we had our baby boys 4 months apart-- that was fun!
She is my friend.
She put up with me when I was a bratty little sister.
She puts up with me now that I am an insecure mother, friend and wife.
Happy Birthday Big Sis. I love you.

She is always smiling!

Here Amy & I are holding our babies with our Dad and Grand-Dad Thanksgiving 2005.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mothers day to My Mom, My Mother-in-Law, My Aunts, My Sisters, My Sister-in-Law, My Friends who have taken care of me and my children regardless of whether or not you have had your own children. A Happy Mother's Day to my Grandmothers who have been gone for a long time... I still think of you and miss you and remember your qualities and all the good things I learned from you.

Mother's Day 2004

Nathan, around a month old

Bunk Beds- Yahoo!

We have been wanting to get Bunk Beds for Nate's Room for a while... and this weekend proved the weekend to accomplish that task.

We had several reasons. First reason: Wendy is coming to stay with us from Belgium. I will post more on her later, but we are very excited to have a "big sister" come and stay with us from the end of June thru the end of August. She is a daughter of one of my good friends from when I lived in Belgium my senior year of HS. We wanted her to have a little bit of privacy, and she will have Leila's room to her self, at least at night. Second reason: The kids get afraid at night, Leila especially, and I wondered if they were in the same room if that might help the situation, and KEEP THEM OUT of our room. Time will tell on that one. Third reason: What little kid doesn't want a bunk bed? I hope they will take my word on it that blankets do not act as parachutes. I grew up with bunk beds and Beth and I shared a room most of childhood years. I think its good for kids to share spaces. Time will tell if this will be a successful pairing. Last night the room became quiet around 10. Not so good... but we might get better.

So, we bought a bunk bed after searching far and wide and going on an extensive "Conser Adventure". One tip: If you want something like this on craigslist, you have to call the second it is posted, otherwise it will be gone later that day. We bought ours new. The instructions were in Spanish. I guess I got lucky in the fact my Husband used to design furniture. He was able to put it together nicely, and enjoyed himself while doing so. Enjoy the pics:

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Under where? No, underwear!

Yay-- Nathan is wearing underwear!
Today for the first time he has put them ON! He has previously tried on the "cars" and "Diego" ones that HE picked out. He has claimed he is "scared" of underwear. Didn't even want pull-ups for the longest time. Last night I picked him up some of the thicker training cotton pants with baseballs and basketballs on them. Daddy told him he would take him to a movie (Speedracer, I hope its OK, its a PG) if he will wear these the rest of the week. Nathan wanted nothing to do with them this morning. This afternoon after a trip to the Potty, I put them inside his shorts after convincing him to go commando earlier. He didn't realize they were even on. We were at the Nature park again(Milo was a porcupine today), and I told him that I tricked him when we were taking a rest at the tadpole ponds. He looked in his shorts and laughed. It was OK.
We have major headway here... I am so happy!

This morning we had Jeremy's parents over for a quick visit before their cruise from San Fran to Vancouver-- can't wait for the pictures and details of their trip. The kids had them both reading and I was able to unload the dishwasher in peace! Leila and Nathan love their River Grandparents. It was definitely the highlight of their day (Sorry, my highlight was the underwear, obviously) :o>

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

What would Grandpa Think?

Mmmm... rolls... nothing beats a nice warm roll fresh from the oven. Last year I decided I would simply make them. Wasn't so simple.

Being a Baker's Granddaughter you would think I would know how to knead bread dough, but I couldn't. My sweet friend Annie would praise my rolls saying, "They have a great flavor" not mentioning they felt like a brick in her stomach. They weren't that bad, but still... I needed help. Wasn't sure where to turn until I noticed a note on a my neighbors recipe for her cinnamon rolls. She uses her bread machine to make the dough. GENUIS! That was all the direction I needed... my rolls are perfect now. We prefer to cloverleaf formation. Its fun for small hands to roll them up. What would my Grandpa Schouten think of a machine making my dough? I think he wouldn't mind. Maybe he would be disappointed in my efforts of kneading and giving up so easily. But he for sure had machines to make his dough and other goodies in his bakery on Main Street in Springville, Utah. I know both he and my Grandma are tickled pink to see me and my children making rolls together. My mom lived for many years above this bakery, it was really a family business. It was put out of business when they took out slanted parking and put in parallel parking(darn city planners), and the Thriftway down the street moved in, the small community didn't have any need for a hometown Bakery anymore. We ran across an album of wedding cakes with the prices, the most expensive, and very elaborate too, was $25. Wow. Sounds like life would have been a lot of fun to live in a baking world, and its been fun to have a friend who manages a bakery now. It was a lot of hard work too from the stories. I feel like when I bake from scratch I am a little closer to Grandpa. And when I can eat and enjoy my creations, yum, I feel like there is nothing better.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Just Chillin in the Tub....

Just Chillin in the Tub.... So cute... Picture by Jeremy...