Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Day in the Life of a Double-Tasker

Warning: These are not things that I am necessarily proud of. Do not attempt at home....
-Breastfeeding while blogging

-Watering plants while holding baby

-Breastfeeding while doing bank transactions online

-Breastfeeding while blogging while telling my eight-year-old which position his piano song is in
-Making english muffins while talking on the phone to the bank

-Driving the mile to the school on the tiny Mexican roads while holding either a three-month-old twin or a two-year-old (yes, Robyn, I know the laws of physics still apply in Mexico and I'm wrong to do it)

-Listening to a chapter in The Book of Mormon being read on while folding clothes

-Letting a baby sleep on my lap while figuring out directions to Phoenix on Google Maps

-Putting on makeup while talking on the speaker phone

-Breastfeeding while teaching my thirteen-year-old what a double flat is

-Eating while cleaning the kitchen (not a good idea)

-Doing scripture study with the kids all clustered around the bathroom doorway while I sit next to the babies in the bathtub
-Breastfeeding one baby while breastfeeding the other

-Walking to grandma's house while carrying one baby in the sling while carrying the other baby in my right arm while holding Johnny's hand with my left arm

-Getting asked out on a date on the phone by a college student from the Maritian islands, accidentally, while separating the cream from the milk

-Listening and appropriately responding to one older relative's narrative while listening and appropriately responding to the spouse's completely different narrative that is going on at the same time

There, now perhaps you won't think I'm superwoman anymore, just a crazy lady trying to get the basics of life done every day!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Another List

I'm going to share another random list of things for which I am grateful. Why? Because it might make me feel better......

Times I don't have mastitis, because I do now

Times I have energy to work, because I don't now

The hour long conversation I had with my daughter in college

A brilliant husband who understands me

An eleven-year-old son who knows the two-year-old's bedtime routine and willingly puts him to bed every night

A six-year-old girl who spent an hour cleaning her room then came downstairs and said, "Mom, I just LOVE to clean!" She even cleaned and organized her teen-aged sister's closet

An eight-year-old boy who made funny noises for about ten minutes over the twin's playpen to try to keep him entertained

A teen-aged daughter who did the same

The same teen-aged daughter, for deleting all of the songs from her IPOD that were morally questionable

The millions of varieties of beautiful flowers

Friends that understand what it's like to have the hardest job in the world

A sister who calls me AT LEAST twice a day

A mom who is my best friend

Two daughters who are darn good at writing poems. To read them, you can click here or here

A son who can drive, but isn't in town right now, so I have to

The pills that keep my thyroid functioning

A toddler who kisses me dozens of times every day

Dora on Nickelodeon, for when I can't stretch myself any further

Having the blessing of bringing two babies into the world at once

Blogging, because it causes me to look at things in new ways

A friend who came over to hold babies while I potted my plants and who told me my newest container creation was a masterpiece and sounded like she really meant it

A sixth grade teacher who really, REALLY cares

The amount of time my kids spend holding the twins when John is out of town. I don't know what I would do without them

Finally getting the twins on a schedule and being able to sleep for five hours straight!

The fact that God created music

The fact that God created rainbows

Going to bed on a memory foam mattress

And Yet Another Picture of the Twins

Aren't these outfits adorable? Joseph is on the right, Hyrum on the left.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

More Container Craziness

Yes, for those of you who don't know, I get obsessed once I start something. Above are pictures of my latest obsession - container gardening. I couldn't resist sharing these!

Things that Bring Joy

I've noticed a pattern. It seems as though I like to blog my life in the form of lists. Well, here's another one...

Things that brought me joy in the last twenty-four hours:

My twins waking up only once during the night. Progress!

Going to my daughters blog and seeing that she wrote a book of poems about love, nature and God, took related photographs and had it printed and turned into a beautiful coffee table book.

My 6-year-old asking where the broom is....because she actually wanted to sweep her room!

Driving down the road to see Uncle J taking a walk after an extended stay in the hospital from which he wasn't expected to return. He was wearing an old cowboy hat and using a cane. I stopped to say hi and to let him know that it was great to see him out walking. He was happy to talk to Johnny and seemed sincerely grateful that we had stopped.

Talking to my husband about the possibility of him taking a different job that would allow him more time with the family.

Going to CG, the big town near us, with a dear friend, to visit the plant nurseries and get some girl talk in

Eating the bread Kyla made the night before with fresh ground wheat from our food storage

Eating the butter John made the day before with the cream from our cow

Eating the homemade raspberry jam someone anonymously gave me out of the goodness of their heart

Nursing the babies

Getting a visit from John's mom and showing her the progress on our house

Going to Pat's house for a get-together with friends by the pool

Seeing Kyla take Johnny around the pool to try to get him used to the water

Hearing my contractor telling a couple that I did a good job designing the kitchen and that I was good at drawing out the plans on graph paper

Seeing my carpenter actually here working, as he has been AWOL for many weeks!

Buying a huge, beautiful terra cotta pot for $14! You've gotta love Mexico!

Buying a plant that John loves to put in the pot

Asking Johnny, "Donde estan tus zapatos" (where are your shoes) and listening to him answer, "No se" (I don't know)

Talking to my dad on the phone

Knowing that kissing Johnny's booboo actually did make it feel better

Seeing the babies smile as I brought the kitchen chair over to their swings, sat down on it, and put on my makeup in front of them

Going to Reid's Court of Honor to see him earn his second class

Having three people offer to hold a baby at the court of honor

Watching Kyla lovingly put Johnny to bed after a long day without being asked.

The Terrible Twos

Even though Johnny isn't quite two yet, he has definitely entered "the terrible twos". Although this age has to be one of the cutest stages a kid goes through, there are the difficulties that also come in tow. Not only is it hard for his parents and siblings to deal with the frustration of not being able to understand his needs, he also has to learn how to deal with new emotions and a new body that can do more than his infant body could. For instance.... climbing up onto the kitchen island unbeknownst to us, but not remembering the effects of gravity. Here are the pictures to prove it:



Sunday, May 25, 2008

Laughing Quads

I just wanted to share this YouTube video with you. Is it just me who thinks this is hysterical?

Click below:
Laughing Quads

BJ tagged me

Okay, BJ tagged me, so I guess I won't be a lame brain and ignore her. Here goes.....

Jobs I've Had: Hamburger flipper, pizza deliverer, convenience store clerk in Germany, piano teacher, Candle lady and El Paso candle team trainer. Oh, and wife and mom.

Movies I can Watch Over and Over Again: Shadowlands, Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre, Elf

Guilty Pleasures: The dark chocolate icecream I make from my fresh cow's milk, Doritos, and too much surfing the internet

Places I've Lived: Texas, Louisiana, Germany, Mexico

TV Shows I Enjoy: Seinfeld, Jon and Kate plus eight, Kids by the Dozen, Fox News,

The first things I thought when I saw my significant other the first time: "I'm going to marry that man! Wait....what? He's probably already married and just visiting from the stake."

Places I've Been on Vacation: Hawaii, Guaymas, San Carlos, Puerto Penasco, Paradise Island in The Bahamas (earned a trip there selling a lot of candles), Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Luxenburg, The Netherlands. Belgium.

Favorite Foods: Sushi, peanut butter and honey sandwiches with psyllium husks and, again, the homemade dark chcolate icecream

Websites I Visit Daily:, my bank. com

Magazines I Subscribe To: The Ensign, The Friend, The New Era, Home, Parents

Nicknames I've Had: Nerner (that's the only way I could say my name),
Genoveva, Hennie

Your Turn. I Tag: Bobbi

1. pick up the nearest book: I'm at my mom's house, there are no books around me, and I'm breastfeeding, so I can't get up!
2. turn to page 123: Same as above
3. find the 5th sentence: Sams as above
4. post the 5th sentence on your blog: Same as above

Okay, BJ, don't ever say I never did anything for you!

Friday, May 23, 2008


Diapers I've changed today - 17

Loads of laundry I've washed, dried, folded, and put away - 4

Plants I've potted in containers - 9

Number of times I've nursed the babies - 18

Number of times I've checked my blog for comments - 9

Annoying kid movies I've gone through - 2

Gallons of milk our cow produced - 4

Gallons we sold - 2

Number of times I've tried to distract Johnny from having a meltdown by asking him if we should buy some kitties - 2

Number of times I've looked really closely at Johnny's black eye in amazement at how purple it is - 11

People I've waved to on the road in our tiny Mexican town - 14

Number of times I've pretended like I understood spanish, but really didn't - 6

Number of times I've gone out to see my plants and just stared at them - 2

Number of times I've wandered through our house under construction to see the progress - 3

Number of times I've been disappointed at the progress - 3

Number of times I've loaded, run and unloaded the dishwasher - 3

Eggs we've collected from our chickens - 7

Number of people who attended our scripture study and prayer - 11

Number of times I've nursed the babies from midnight to 6:00 AM - 5

Number of times both twins smiled at me at the same time - 4

Raising a bunch of kids in a rural Mexican town - PRICELESS

Ways My Kids Impressed Me Today

Bethany, almost 19, wrote an amazing_poem about a difficult experience she had.

Conor, 16, babysat for two hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon without complaining. Later in the evening, he asked me if I needed help with the twins' baths before he went to bed.

Kyla, 13, drew an awesome color pencil sketch of a picturesque place and hung it up on the fridge. She also willingly babysat while I performed at a church function.

Reid, 11, played an awesome piano solo at his band concert. He rocked!

Landon, 8, initiated a tutor session with his friend's mom to be sure to finish his homework.

Claire, 6, carried the twins around all day, even though they weigh about a third of her weight.

Johnny, 2, didn't have any meltdowns today. Progress! He also learned how to say "Nemo, and Devon's stupid". I know, not very nice, but he said it very clearly! (Sorry Devon.)

Joseph, 3 months, slept through a trip to two nurseries, to pick up a friend and a trip to the torta stand, and made about fifty people smile at a ward dinner!

Hyrum, 3 months, did the same as above and also sat through a two hour rehearsal happily listening to the music.

(I know, the pictures don't match up with the comments, but I can't find my camera. :( )

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Just an Average Day

I guess if I wait for something spectacular to happen before I post, I'll wait a long time, so I'll just give a summary of my day.
Today began a little earlier than usual as Johnny woke up crying at 6:00 am. Reid and Landon were trying to console him, but to no avail. I brought him downstairs and we cuddled together on my favorite recliner for about half an hour, then the babies woke up and I started the day.
At 9:30, three sisters from our ward came over to practice for a performance we will be giving on Thursday night for the high priests. It was really fun practicing with them as they all sing like angels. Directly after this rehearsal, I met with another singer to practice his piece. However, to my utmost humiliation, the piece was too difficult for me to sightread, so I had to tell him that we would have to forego his number. Conor helped me immensely during these rehearsals with the twins and Johnny.
The day progressed with me planting some beautiful trailing geraniums in a terra cotta pot and creating a container arrangement for the guest suite. I found that I kept going into the guest room just to look at the new plants. They quite literally bring such life into the room!
Around lunch time, I got a call from Landon as he was feeling sick and dizzy. These seem to be the symptoms of a bug that's going around town. The weirdest bugs show up in this small community and EVERYONE gets a turn getting to know them! Claire was also sick. Her fever got up to 103 degrees, so I finally broke down and gave her Motrin. I recently bought an otoscope, so I will use it tomorrow to see if she has in ear infection. If so, John's dad will pick up some antibiotics in town and hopefully, that will fix the problem. That is one thing I truly love about Mexico. Easy access to prescriptions drugs!
During the afternoon, I made several rounds of the house to see the progress the men have been making. Small decisions had to be made, like ceiling color and which way a bathroom door should open. Hopefully we made the correct choices!
In the evening, I remembered that the kids had their church activities tonight and as I reread the email announcement for it, I was horrified to realize that Kyla was supposed to bring cookies or brownies. And she had to leave in 15 minutes! I cried to her, "hold the baby, whichever one is fussing, and I will find a no-bake recipe!" With help from her and Reid with the babies, and Mary having taken Johnny to talk to her cows, we were able to get a batch of no-bake oatmeal things ready in time for her to take to her activity. Thank goodness for!
After getting her and Conor off to their activies, Mary returned with Johnny and told me that John's parents hadn't gone to the temple after all. I asked her to go with me to visit them, as I needed help keeping the twins awake until 9:00. She agreed and we had a great visit. However, not only the twins, but Johnny also, fell asleep while we were there, defeating the purpose of the visit, but it made the time with them all the more relaxing.
I arrived home, bathed the twins, put Johnny to bed, fixed Landon and Claire a vitamin C drink, did scripture study, said family prayer, did a double nursing session, put the babies to bed, set the timer for 20 minutes and cleaned stuff, ate a salad and now it's midnight and I'm blogging it. And after this, I am going to eat some ice cream. Okay, boring, but that's all I got!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

How I Do It

Because I have nine children, including a set of three-month-old twins, peoople are always asking me how I do it. I thought I would take some time to answer that question.
One way I do it is by having fun kitchen appliances. Here's what I have and why:
P.S. I'm not getting paid to advertize for these companies, I would just like to show you how you can make your life easier, too!

First we have the automatic icecream maker. You don't have to worry about having rock salt and ice on hand and you don't even have to use a freezer bowl. This baby has a compressor built right in. It only makes a quart and a half, but for me, it is worth it if my eight-year-old can use it.

Next, to make my ice cream, I always use my vitamix blender. I use this to blend the milk, sugar and chocolate to ensure that the icecream doesn't have a grainy texture. This blender is extremely powerful and can even take care of rock-hard frozen strawberries in a few seconds. I love it!

Next we have our rice maker. This is only a 10-cup model, which is a little small for our family, but it works for now. I like it because it has a timer which will let you decide when you want it to start cooking. Awesome!

We now have our wheat grinder. After careful consideration, I chose the Golden Grain Grinder because it is close to industrial strength, yet very beautiful to have out on the countertop. It also actually grinds with stones instead of metal, which doesn't allow the flour to heat up and lose valuable nutrients. Isn't it gorgeous?

To use the grain I grind, I have this bread machine. I like it because it makes two-pound, upright loaves. Of course, it has a timer so you can add your ingredients into the pan at night and wake up the next morning to the smell of baking bread. It's a GREAT way to start the day!

Next, onto our our crockpot. I love this one because it has a lid with a rubber seal that can be latched down for easy travel. Great for when you sign up on the clipboard for compassionate service!

Last, but not least, we have our double cereal dispenser. It looks so nice that we can leave it out on our counter. The kids don't leave half-opened bags of cereal in the pantry anymore and it is a great conversation piece in the kitchen!

What do you use in your kitchen to make your life easier?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Our Kitchen: A Work in Progress

Here are some photos of the kitchen in our new home in Mexico. John and I designed the house on our own and we had no idea what we were doing. Still don't. I spent over a year and a half on the kitchen alone. I completely filled up two graph paper notebooks full of pencil drawings until I finally thought I got it right. Obviously, there is a lot more work to be done, but what do you think so far? Although we have never done this before, both John and I are thrilled about how things are turning out. John couldn't have done a better job at tackling all the big stuff and I'm grateful he left the small stuff to me!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Succulent Success

yes, I know, enough already with the alliteration (sp?)

So for some reason, I have been obsessed with succulents lately. I even dream about them. Yes, my life has come to that. The most exciting thing I can think to dream about is plants. Here are some pictures of my new succulent container garden. I love them because they are very hardy and can survive on little water. Perfect for people like me who are easily distracted!!

Container Craze

Last summer I learned about container gardening. I learned that you could mix several different kinds of plants in containers for a gorgeous tiny garden! I learned that there is a rule that you can follow for beautiful results every time. The rule is Thriller, Filler, Spiller. You first place a tall, exciting plant in the middle of your container, the "thriller". You then plant shorter, "filler" plants around that, then on the outside, you plant draping or "spilling" plants that hang over the edge. As long as you read the tags on your plants at the nursery to make sure they all have the same sun or shade requirements, you can't go wrong! This is one of my greatest joys in life, to create something beautiful with the gifts that God has given us. What are your greatest joys?

The Suite We Want You to Visit

This post is linked to Talk About Tuesday. This is a great blog about lazy organizing, so check it out here!

These are pictures of the guest suite we are putting together. We would love to have you come visit us in Mexico!
I had a great time decorating this room with thrift store finds, good will donations and Ross sales. We also got some stuff really cheap at the market in Juarez. Even the dinette set was second hand. There is nothing better than getting a good deal!

And last but not least, a view from the upstairs guest bedroom down the wrought iron circular staircase, my favorite part of the suite!

The Spiral Staircase

This is a view from the upstairs guest bedroom down the wrought iron circular staircase, my favorite part of the suite!

A Rare Shot

This is a picture I took of the twins right after being fed and changed. It's the first shot I've been able to get of them smiling at the same time as I have a cheap camera and by the time the camera actually snaps, they've changed expression. The one of the left is Hyrum and the right one is Joseph. You can't imagine how loved you can feel having both darling babies smiling at you at the same time. Babies can't fake it!

Monday, May 12, 2008

My Family: Bethany

Meet my daughter, Bethany. Bethany is special because she is my first born. I probably have the most regrets about her because I was nineteen when she was born and had no idea how to be a parent. I didn't know that her juice bottle would turn into wine if left in my diaper bag for four days and that was why she made so many faces when I tried to get her to drink it. I didn't know that milk gets caught in the fat folds of babies necks and that it has to be cleaned out often and well. I didn't know that there were ways to teach principles without spanking.

And then there were the wonderful surprises. I didn't know how much fun it would be to listen to your daughter play Moonlight Sonata as you cook dinner. I didn't know how it would feel to sit in church and listen to her sing a solo in front of the congregation in a clear, beautiful voice. I didn't know how it would feel to listen as she told me on the phone, after she moved away, that she wanted to be just like me.

Having Bethany makes me realize that all the dirty diapers, all the late nights up with sick children, all the late nights up waiting for teenagers to come home, all the insisting that the kids help cleanup and listening to all the reason why they shouldn' worth it! Seeing the beautiful woman that Bethany has become is the joy of my life! Thank you for being who you are, Bethany. I love you!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

"Questions About Mormonism" Live Chats...

Thank you for coming! Please click below for the "Questions About Mormonism" Live Chats listed by date, most recent to oldest. Thank you!

Questions About Mormonism - October 2, 2009
Questions About Mormonism - September 29, 2009
Questions About Mormonism - September 22, 2009
Questions About Mormonism - September 15, 2009

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