Sunday, July 31, 2011

Vacation Series Part 3: Sea


Homemaker Monday: Preventing Huge Zits

Welcome to the 134th weekly edition of...

Thank you for joining us! If you're new to this carnival and would like to enter your post, please check HERE for the rules and regs.

YOURS: This portion of Homemaker Monday is in progress....

MINE: Sometimes I like to stretch a topic to make it fit into Homemaker Monday, which is exactly what I will do today.

When we are homemaking, we like to look our best. I'm not talking about meeting Dear Husband at the door in a cocktail dress and new apron with a hot dinner on the table and all the kids coloring quietly in an immaculate house, I'm just talking about trying our best to look our best.

During the last three weeks, my body has gone through a WILD range of fluctuating hormones as it prepared for carrying a life, then helped through recovery after losing that same life. As a result, I began to develop a HUGE, unsightly zit on my chin, near the corner of my mouth. I new it was going to be ginormous because it was painful and red underneath my skin and the area around it was starting to swell. In fact, the last time this happened, John came home and said, "What's wrong with your face?" The worst thing was that this time I was traveling to our family reunion, and would meet many new people, people who would only have one chance to meet me and who would always remember that I was the girl was the huge zit on her chin.

Also, I hate getting zits on my chin, near the side of my mouth, because it makes me look like I'm frowning, when in reality, I try to be a very happy person and smile a lot. This was absolutely NOT how I needed to start out my vacation.

Sooooo..... I remembered a trick I learned from the wonderful missionary couple who we were privileged to have as our next-door neighbors for four months. During their stay, this same insidious zit tried to rear it's ugly head, literally, and while visiting with them, I lamented my plight. Sister Missionary suggested that I apply antibiotic ointment to the area. I argued, saying that it hadn't come to a head yet, but Elder Missionary said that antibiotic ointment is absorbed through the skin.

So I tried it then, and that little beast never came to a head but faded into oblivion before John could return again from out of town.... and I was able to present my best self at the door!

This time, during my travels, my results were even better, though, because I caught it earlier and applied the Neosporin more often, about three times a day. The redness faded after a day, and I was able to meet friends and family without embarrassment. Thanks, Elder and Sister Missionary! Just one of the many ways you've improved my life just because I knew you.

If you give this a try, I hope you meet with the same excellent results I did. Thanks for listening. :)

OURS: Okay, what homemaking tips, recipes, how-tos or instructions do you have for us today? If this is your first time, feel free to dig through your archives for anything homemaking. Thanks so much for your visits and links and I hope you have a wonderful Homemaker Monday!

Monday, July 25, 2011

When Hello Means Goodbye

John: What are you going to say about this?

Me: I'm going to tell them. I share my personal life with them and this is part of it.

On July 5th, the day after I arrived at my mother's house to start our summer vacation, I went to the Dollar Store and bought ten pregnancy tests for ten dollars. You can't beat that deal, and although I normally don't use that many tests at a time, I like to have them on hand for friends who think they might be expecting. It's just something nice that I do, a service I offer, so to speak, because that's the kind of person I am. (That was supposed to be funny.)

And because I was 3 days late, I decided to put one to use, and Lo and Behold.... I was pregnant. The second pink line was so faint, however, that it was almost imperceptible, so four days later I took another test, and Lo and Behold.... I was more pregnant, as the second pink line was definitely there, and darker.

I was so happy. Over the past months my feelings had been changing from unwillingness to comply with The Lord's desires that John and I continue to have children, to slightly more willing compliance, then, after an experience I had with a young missionary who shared a meaningful scripture with me, the last two verses in THIS chapter, in fact, to a cheerful willingness to do whatever The Lord wanted John and I to do. In fact, in recent months, I had even been disappointed as each month passed that I wasn't pregnant. And how do John and I know that this is The Lord's desire for us? We just do. It's that simple. We both feel it in our hearts and know it's right that we allow Him to plan our family.

John was out of town when I became certain that I was expecting, and I wanted to wait and tell him when we were alone in a quiet restaurant. An opportunity like that doesn't come up easily while vacationing with 8 children, so it wasn't until five days later that I was able to tell him in a small sushi restaurant by the high school. He was surprised, then surprised that he would be surprised, then suggested that if his late mother had anything to do with it, this one would finally be a girl. I broadly smiled and said that if that was the case, we should name her after his mother, thus.... Adelaide Louise. He happily agreed.

A week later all of my sisters were to meet in Santa Cruz, CA for a mini-family reunion, so it became my plan to tell them all at the same time. I had never, and knew that I would never, have an opportunity to tell all of my family members in person, at once, that we were expecting, and I thought it would be wonderful and entertaining to see their reactions. I couldn't wait.

So we left my mother's home on Friday and began our drive to Pasadena, CA. We arrived the next evening and spent a wonderful weekend visiting with one of my sisters and her four children, but on Tuesday I began spotting. I told John that I thought it was nothing to worry about and that I thought this was common during early pregnancy, but that I would do some research on it. I did, and my findings matched what I had told John. However, by Wednesday, the bleeding was becoming quite heavy and I began feeling very weak, and felt like this was the beginning of a miscarriage. My mother and sister could see that I felt bad, but didn't know why, as I had been planning on telling everyone the news of my pregnancy the next day. However, by that night things were progressing towards the inevitable end, and I asked John if I should just tell my family what was happening. He said yes, that I would need their support, and that even though we weren't sure what the end result would be, that they needed to know.

So after the kids had left the dinner area, I told my mother and sister that two weeks ago I found out that I was pregnant. Before I could go on, my mother clapped her hands in the air and cried "I knew it!" and smiled and laughed. I then continued to say that I thought I was losing the baby, but because my mother doesn't hear like she used to, she continued happily making comments and my sister had to place her hand on her knee and say, "Mom, she says she thinks she's miscarrying." My mother's countenance immediately fell, and I thought she was going to cry, and she quietly said, "Poor Jennifer."

She hugged me as we went inside, then John and I went back to our hotel to put the kids to bed.

The next day the bleeding subsided a little, and I was still feeling somewhat nauseated, so I thought that perhaps this had all been a fluke, and that there was still life in me. My emotions were riding high not only for this reason, but because this was a special day my family had planned many months ago. We were to go through a ceremony in our temple in which our family would be sealed together for all eternity, not just for this life. We would become a family that would remain in the heavens in the next life and it was a day we had awaited for many years.

As we walked into the temple, my body was weak and I had begun to feel heavy and achy, but my spirit was strong and happy that this day had finally arrived. I was worried about wearing white, but was blessed that things turned out fine and we ended up having a touching, beautiful experience together. After the ceremony, we took pictures outside the temple, went out for Indian food, then drove the six hours to Santa Cruz. It was a long day, a day filled with physical uncertainly about our baby, but a spiritually uplifting and memorable day where love and joy were shared by the entire family.

The following two days the bleeding remained the same, and when I went into the drug store I saw that pregnancy tests were on sale for 3 for $10, not as great of a deal as in my mom's town, but still, so I purchased a box of 3. I retook the test to see that the hcg hormone was still being registered and the test was positive. I thought this was a good sign and hopefully told John that perhaps we were still pregnant.

On Saturday, however, while we were in Costco, I began to feel very heavy and achy and told John we needed to finish up our shopping and leave. We checked out, went to my sister's and there I lost the baby.

John and my sisters and my mother via phone (she had stayed with my sister in Pasadena) continually asked how I was feeling, and my mother said, "And I don't mean physically" and were so supportive and helpful during my time of need. I still feel weak and tired, and John continues to fulfill his responsibilities as the dad and mine, as the mom. He is entirely amazing and my love for him has grown on this trip to surpass even what I felt before. I couldn't ask for a better husband and father to my children and I love him with all of my heart.

Yes, John and I are disappointed, but we know that this was God's will and that if He wants us to raise more children, he will give us that opportunity and we will be happy to take it. In the mean time, I will continue to enjoy the time I have with my sisters, my mother, my children, and my nieces and nephews. Incidentally, a silver lining to this entire vacation was that my 22-year-old daughter surprised me by flying into San Jose and spending the weekend with us! Over the past few months she had said that she wouldn't be able to get away because of school, but all that time she had been conniving with John to meet us here. It was a wonderful surprise and it's been so fun to see all of the little kids get to know her again.

Although I won't get to surf like I'd been planning, and I can't squat and run and walk to the perfect locations to take the perfect photos, I'm having a beautiful vacation with the people I love most in the world, people who have showed compassion and caring and consideration. My love for all of them has grown in unexpected ways, because of what I have been through, and I thank God for every opportunity I have to grow, even if it sometimes hurts. Life is good.


(Twin B and I enjoying Santa Monica beach last week, with an unsightly wadded up beach towel in the background. And I think my eyes are closed.)

Thanks for listening. :)

Homemaker Monday: My Most Valuable Travel Purchase

Since I'm still on vacation, I'm going to do an abbreviated version of Homemaker Monday. Soooooo, here's my tip of the week....

My favorite purchase for summer travel in a 15-passenger van with 8 children? A cordless car vac like the one below...


It's wonderful having a tool that you can just grab to suck up Goldfish crackers from four car seats, beach sand off the van floor, and crumbs off the seat for when guests pack in with you. A vac like this is also perfect for use in hotel rooms for when the kids carry around their muffins taken from the continental breakfast area because there are only two chairs.

 Truly, I'm really enjoying have the portable capability of keeping our surroundings a little tidier. Thanks for listening!

Okay, here's Homemaker linky. Please share your homemaking tips, recipes, how-tos and even disasters! We learn from those, too! Thanks so much for your visits and links and have a wonderful Homemaker Monday!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Santa Monica Beach!!!

K, here are the pics from my long-lost camera, which was retrieved. Most of them need no explanation except for the last four, which explanation will follow.....

Oh, and P.S., these photos were taken with my cheap camera. I'm totally spoiled and wish I could have used my DSLR, but I didn't want to get sand in it!


Okay, the first shot below was taken as I was simply trying to get the twins to put their arms around each other, unsuccessfully. The second shot is of them directing their attention to the 11-year-old boy as he called their names. The third and fourth are the twins reacting to something the 11-year-old boy did. If I could learn to do whatever it was he did, I'd be an amazing photographer...


Thanks for listening. :)


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Update on Missing Camera

I just thought you all would like to know that I did drop my camera out of my purse during our beach visit to Santa Monica. However, I dropped it on the floor of the driver's side of our 15-passenger van while I was digging through my purse for a diaper for Baby Hippo. I had changed him in the driver's side seat, put everything back into my purse, except the camera, apparently, buckled Baby Hippo into his seat, then myself into the passenger's seat and went home through downtown L.A. The night drive through L.A.'s skyscrapers was so beautiful that I NEEDED a picture, but as a rummaged through my purse, my camera was nowhere to be found.

When we arrived home, I looked on the floor of the van everywhere I remember putting my purse, I looked through all of the beach clothes and towels, I called my sister to ask if it could have ended up in her bags, and as per Emily and Life Happens' suggestions in THIS post, I posted my lost camera on Craigs List and "liked" and left a comment on THIS site and THIS site.

I kept waking up all night, thinking about the photos I had lost, the ones where the twins were both standing next to each other in the cutest matching sweaters with not even the smallest crack of a smile on their faces, then as their 11-year-old brother stood behind me and did something to make them laugh (I still don't know what), catching them burst into uncontrollable laughter. I thought of my niece, with her curtain of hair in her face after diving into waves and Baby Hippo's upside down face and he struck a pre-summersault pose and of John in silhouette, as he walked down the beach with the twins and Baby Hippo, an amusement park in the background.

I thought of all these photos I had lost, and tried to stop thinking of them because I needed to focus on the fact that we were all together and having fun and we still had our memories and we were safe.

We went to the beach again today, a different beach, and after spending five hours there with many small children, I was exhausted and ready to go. When it was time to head home, John and my sister loaded up all the kids in the van while I went to the dressing room to change out of my swimsuit and into my street clothes for the long drive back to our hotel. When I returned to the van, as I lethargically opened the door, I looked towards the driver's side to see John with a big smile on his face holding out my red camera in its gray case! I threw up my hands and my mouth fell open and I exclaimed something really happy, but I don't remember what and I asked where he had found it.... Under the driver's side seat, right where I took it our of my purse to get the diaper for Baby Hippo the night before.

Thanks, John, for looking under your seat for some reason. I never did ask you why. Remind me to do that. I love you! :)

Thanks for listening and thanks for your concern about my camera. Love you guys!

Oh, I'll post pics from found camera soon!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Missing Camera.... HELP!!!

I know this is a LOOOOONG shot, but I lost an inexpensive point and shoot at the beach in Santa Monica, CA this evening. It is a red camera in a grey case. It's got super-adorable pics of my kids and nieces and nephews, including the twins, taken immediately before it apparently dropped out of my purse and into the sand. If there's a one in a million chance you happened to be in Santa Monica and know someone who might have picked it up, please leave a comment. Thank you! :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Homemaker Monday

So sorry, I should have posted this earlier, but due to having an amazing time in California with my sister and her family, I will not be posting my Homemaker blog today. However, for those of you who did, here's Homemaker Linky! Thank you so much for your visits and links and have a wonderful Homemaker Monday!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Creative Deprivation: The Benefits

Some of my kids nag incessantly for money. They say they need sunglasses, because if they don't have them, their eyes will hurt on their trip to Alaska, or if they don't have a new IPOD, they will get too bored during the flight to Alaska, and perhaps get into unexpected trouble. Or... they need new pants because their old ones are too small, or too wrinkled or the wrong cowboy brand.

Then others play the martyr, saying with a sad countenance things like, "No, I don't want to go to the mall with you. I have no money, so what fun would it be," or "I sure wish I could afford these earrings. They're only $10, but I don't even have that much."

My kids seem to think, or hope, that these tactics will work, but they rarely do. I did give into the 14-year-old boy and bought him two pairs of jeans but I told him that they were his birthday present and he shouldn't expect anything else.

Now, let's contrast the above behavior to that of the 11-year-old boy. All of our kids have ample opportunity to earn spending money. The 14-year-old boy has mastered the art of the chocolate chip bar cookie, and sells these at school to awaiting crowds. The 16-year-old girl caters meals to parents who would like a break on a Friday night, and makes quite a bit of money when she's actively involved in this pursuit. These endeavors, however, require time and labor, both of which the 14- and 16-year-old children declined to expend recently. Thus, they went to Alaska penniless.

Now, back to the 11-year-old boy. Yesterday he was pacing around the house with his hands in his pockets, his head down, repeating, "I'm so broke." When Grandma walked into the room, he asked her if there were any ways he could earn money. She said yes, and listed a few very difficult, dirty jobs he could do, with a big paycheck as a reward. One job was to hack down a 20-foot hedge of bushes that had died during the hard freeze last winter, and the other was to sweep an enormous covered patio of a several-months build-up of dust, rottweiler hair and other debris. These were jobs that even I, a seasoned laborer, wouldn't want to do, but the 11-year-old boy rolled up his sleeves and got to work. He finished the brush job in less than half the time we thought it would take, coming to me midway through and stating that he was getting too strong, stronger than metal even, because he had broken the hedge clippers and a screwdriver.

As far as the patio job, there was so much dust created that he had to wrap around his nose and mouth a damp rag in order to complete the job. When I told him I wanted to take his picture, we were standing in the garden area of my mother's yard, a lovely, potted-flower and ivy sitting area, and I raised to camera to my eye, but before I could take the photo, he suggested that we take it in the patio area where he had been working, where the air was still thick with dust. Great idea!


He is now nearly $100 wealthier than when he arrived at Grandma's, stronger, as he pointed out, and obviously pleased with his accomplishments and more confident in his ability to complete a difficult task. I'm grateful he sets such an amazing example to his siblings, bother older and younger. You rock, 11-year-old boy!

Thanks for listening!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Posthumous Birthday Party, a Bad Hair Cut, a Great Sale and Much, Much More

Today …

…we had toast with jelly for breakfast.

…we sat on the swing together, my mother and I, vehemently trying to avoid a water gun assault. Twin B, standing across the yard, held his feet in guerrilla stance, pressed his gun, about two feet long, to his hip, and with a look of pure focus and an evil laugh aimed the barrel directly at our faces. He usually missed, but once in a while he sprayed us… directly in our faces. My mother stated that this would be a perfect photo op, but I told her that although Twin B had terrible aim, there was a chance he could douse my camera. Not worth it.

…we did our chores, including laundry.

…we ordered burritos from my father’s favorite dive, and ate them for lunch at the park, since it was his posthumous birthday. We call it “Special Ed Day”, and all of us do something he would have done to honor him. My sister, in his honor, sat on the throne and had deep thoughts. Toilet time was when most of my father’s inspirations came, like when he decided to purchase 50 buses that didn’t run. They still don’t.

…I asked my mother and older kids to babysit while I went to get a haircut. I had no idea what the end goal was to be, so after leafing through the 1001 hairstyles magazine, I found something I thought would be different, easy, and cute, explaining to the hairdresser that I didn’t want the back so short that she would need to get the razor out. At the end of the cut, she got the razor out, and my hair now looks like it always does, except much shorter. And because she told me that there was a great sale going on right now at Ross, I had her style my hair rather than leave it wet, which cost an additional unexpected $20, plus tip.

…I went to the great sale going on right now at Ross, and bought four outfits for $80. Excited!

…I came home, put my head under the faucet, and redid my hair.

…I did more laundry.

…we had peanut butter and honey half sandwiches for a snack.

…we reinflated and hosed down the baby pool, as we must do daily due to the slow and undetectable leak, and set up the Slip ‘n’ Slide. The six littlest, who are the only ones currently at home, mostly just fought, but I think Baby Hippo had fun digging in a 3-inch mud hole between the flagstones.

…I called my sister to tell her that the 11-year-old boy asked me if I was pregnant. I asked, “Why would you ask something like that?” and he said because he had heard Daddy John mention something about that on the phone. I told him no, that he was talking about the parakeets, and he asked, “Are you sure?” and I said, “Yes.” and then he said, “Anyways, I was able to extract the DNA from the peach like the internet instructions said. It was awesome.”

…,after John arrived home, we headed to Sam’s for snack shopping for the trip to California. John refused to put anything in the cart without my presence because he said if he messed up, he would get “the look”. He was right. The only unhealthy things we purchased were Nilla Wafers and Goldfish crackers. Disaster almost struck when he tried to stack two boxes of Caprisun, which happens to be on the top-ten list of horrible foods for kids, on the flatbed. I had said I wanted juice, and he said that was juice, and I said, no, it’s sugar, and he pointed to the box and said that it was 25% less sugar, and I said “still”, so he put it back and we purchased real juice, you know, like from an orange.

…, after our trip to Sam’s, we went to Burger King since it had an indoor play place, as a refuge from the heat and humidity. The restaurant itself smelled like grilling burgers and bathroom cleaner, but upon entering the play place, we were assaulted by the smell of old urine. After a few minutes of sitting there, I went back to the register to ask to speak to the manager and told him about the problem. I went to sit back down, repeating to my family how horrible it smelled, and John said, “You get used to it.” Soon thereafter, the manager came in with a spray bottle of air neutralizer and sprayed it near all the patrons. It greatly improved the air quality, but only for about six minutes. He profusely apologized, saying that they deep clean it every Tuesday and Thursday. I assume he wanted us to come back.

…., when I couldn’t stand the stench anymore, I called the kids down from the stinking play tubes and told them we had to go. They kept saying “One! More! Time!” so I let them, but then I forgot who I said could go one more time, so everyone kept repeatedly going one more time and it took another ten minutes before we were able to escape. My mother had gone to the Hallmark store while we sat in the play place. I think she owes me.

…we came home, gave all four of the little boys a bath together, John told the twins a story of The Three Bears and tried to rock Baby Hippo to sleep (He’s such a doll.). He’s still awake.

…I blogged.

…after feeling bad that Baby Hippo wouldn’t be rocked to sleep by John, I will now take him and try myself. Wish me luck….

Thanks for listening. :)

…Here I am again. After trying to take Baby Hippo, John refused to allow it, and is still rocking him. He’s not fussy, just talkative, Baby Hippo, that is, so he’ll fall asleep soon. John is an angel.

Addendum: Baby Hippo asleep. :) Now time for cheesecake! :) :) :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Homemaker Monday: Pay Days

Welcome to the 132nd weekly edition of...

Thank you for joining us! If you're new to this carnival and would like to enter your post, please check HERE for the rules and regs.

YOURS: This week's "YOURS" goes to K over at "Cooking With K" for her refreshing "Candied Jalapeno Mango Salsa"! The title says it all, but just in case you missed something, here, look at the photo.....


This looks so delicious and I can't wait to try it! Thanks so much, K, for your homemaking inspiration. I'll give a report once I make this. I know it will be a hit! We'll look forward to hearing a lot more from you in the future, and if you'd like, feel free to take the "I Was Featured" button from my left sidebar. :) For K's Candied Jalapeno Mango Salsa, click HERE.

MINE: Raising ten kids is hard work, but sometimes you have a pay day, like when the twins cooperated with an "emotions" photo shoot between slip 'n' slide runs. This is just a fun way to spend an afternoon! Here are....

The Many Faces of the Twins

Twin A...


Twin B...


Twins A and B...


The End


OURS: Okay, your turn! What summery homemaking tips, ideas, recipes and how-tos do you have for us today? Even if it's not summery, that's okay... link up anyway! Thanks so much for your visits and links and have a WONDERFUL Homemaker Monday!

P.S. My sister and I are finally getting skinnier!

See how we're doing it HERE! :)