Thursday, January 31, 2013

Willpower

 When we were growing up my mom would spend time every summer giving tours of the Pioneer Museum in Ogden.  It had all the artifacts that you would expect those early settlers to have left behind.  There are hats and journals and even embroidery done with human hair.  I always thought it was interesting but the item that was my favorite was this biscuity type of cookie that had basically become a rock.
The story behind it was that the cookie was given as a gift to a little girl by her grandmother.  The grandma told her not to eat it until she was REALLY hungry.  The girl had carried it all the way across the plains and only took one little nibble that was visible.  I think the story was fascinating on a lot of levels.  I always stood in awe of this brave girl who, as we all know, walked and walked and walked and walked and still managed to hang on to that cookie.
It always resonated with me the tangible symbol of hope that the cookie provided.  No matter how bad things got she knew she still had the cookie to rely on.  Even as an adult I think that kid had guts.  If it had been me the cookie would have been gone before I was even out of the door.

Today when I was getting ready to head out for a little run I thought I would give Daisy a piece of pumpkin bread for a bribe an incentive.  Usually pumpkin bread wouldn't even be an option for a jogging stroller snack for the obvious reason that it can be eaten in five seconds flat.  Usually we go for something that takes a little more time to consume, like an apple or a bag of cereal, but I was rushing out and the pumpkin bread was the quickest thing I could grab.
Since it wasn't raining for once I added a little extra distance and was a worried that the girls would get grumpy but they seemed to be uncharacteristically cheerful.  And when I say "girls" what I really mean is Daisy because Rosy is always happy.  I was all ready for the meltdown to happen at any moment but then I looked and saw that Daisy was still holding the entire piece of bread.  Once we came within view of our apartments she started in on it but there was still enough left for a picture.  I'm not kidding about this.  She deliberately waited until she could actually see our home.
The thought of looking forward to eating the bread got her happily through the whole run.  Luckily for all of us we were just going a few miles instead of crossing the country or she might have ended up with a petrified piece of history instead of a snack.
What could be better after a run than a snack and some stretching?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Funny Feet

The other day Rocky begged me to make spaghetti and when it was almost ready she said, "My feet are so excited to eat."  We were all confused why her feet had this enthusiasm about pasta but she explained that it is because when she eats it goes all the way down to her toes and makes them feel warm and good.  I can't really blame them because eating is also my favorite activity.


While I was finishing up some dishes on Saturday morning Rosy was kind of getting fussy so I put her sisters in charge of cheering her up.  This is what they came up with.  Obviously it worked.
There are several things I like about this picture.  The first is that they are in their p.j.s which is always a plus.  I like how Rosy's feet are kicked straight out and her hands are clutched to her chest making it look like she is hanging on every word.  The book, in fact, is Mr. Silly Learns to Swim and is as compelling as the title sounds.  I also appreciate that Daisy is wearing Mu Shu as a hat.  While Rosy never really seemed to notice, Daisy thought it was hilarious. 
About 3 minutes after I put away the camera Brandon walked in the door and announced that there was a rainbow and the big sisters abandoned the little one and ran out to check it out.  Rosy was immediately shattered, but regained her smile when they returned.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Resolutions

 This year, just like every other year I have re-dedicated myself to physical fitness.  With a little bit of help from the Shed and Shred DVD that Atom gave me for Christmas Daisy and I have been burning calories indoors.  The weather has been frigid and even though our apartment is only a few degrees warmer we manage to survive by working up a sweat.  If you look closely at the TV in the photo you will see a ghost image of Jillian Michaels.  I managed to snap the picture just as it was changing camera angles.  I'm considering sending the image out on the internet to try and start spreading a story about a headless aerobics instructor ghost that haunts the halls of student housing.
Rosy also participates in the exercise regimen.  To tell the truth, her pushups are actually a little better than mine.  I'm working on it, but those things are tough.  I'm guessing it is even harder for her because her head is like a quarter of her body weight.  Just getting that melon off the ground probably works every muscle in her core.
 The chilly weather keeps fooling us.  It isn't raining so when the girls beg to go outside we'll all get bundled up and walk out the door.  In less than five minutes everyone is crying frozen tears, including me and we retreat back inside to thaw.  Because I don't want their brains wasting away in front of the boob-tube I make sure that they get in some reading.  Captain America is good for child-development, right?
 Daisy's favorite hidey-hole is underneath the computer desk.  She's got it all pimped out with pillows, blankets, books, and her doctor's kit, just in case anything goes drastically wrong.  If you look closely you can see Wally peeking out, he is there for security in case any monsters come by.  Come to think of it, that is probably the reason for the medical equipment too.
 Rosy sits atop the table in her throne and presides over the activities in our home.  She likes watching her sisters play but not as much as we like having her in a spot where we can constantly be entertained by her cooing.  I know this is coming from me, but I am serious when I say that she is unbelievably cute.  I could lie in my bed wrapped up in warm blankets while eating brownies and watch her all day long.

I would even do it without the brownies, she is that cute.
 Daisy wanted me demanded that I take a picture of her puzzle.  I won't lie, she is pretty much a genius when it comes to princess puzzles, but I don't know if this far along deserves a photo.  We had an argument because I thought she should wait until it was finished and she was actually proving something.  In the end she won because I really did want documentation of how she rocks the side ponytail.
 My other resolution was, as sad as this is, to actually do something with their hair.  Because they both have such phenomenal curls I have slipped into letting them sport the hair they wake up with.  At Christmas my mom and sister gave me a printed form of my blog and I realized that I used to be a better mother.  Or, at least, I looked like I was a better mother, and isn't that what these blog things are all about?  The purpose as far as I can deduce from what I've seen is proving to your children, and everyone around that you do all kinds of enriching things in your happy home.  Now every morning when Rocky whines about pigtails I tell her that I have to do it so other people know that she is loved and that someone takes care of her.  Then I add a bunch of sexist crap about how beauty hurts and that it is important that we don't look like slobs.  Blah, blah.  The real truth is that when they have their hair combed, they look so cute it is much easier for me to be patient with them.  I know that we put too much emphasis as a society on how people look, and I really don't think I'm that obsessed with the outward appearance, but when my kids look like wild animals I find myself yelling at them like they are wild animals.
When I put their hair in those two little pigtail nubs that stick out kind of like horns, it is even worse.  It is like I expect them to do naughty things and when they do it doesn't stress me out as badly and sort of just becomes cute.  What?  You just flushed your toothbrush down the toilet?  Isn't that just the cutest ever!
So basically for the sake of my sanity during these long days stuck inside this small apartment, I'm making an effort to spend the extra 10 minutes and get everyone ready.  Once I get the hang of that I'm planning on trying to look half-decent myself and we'll see if I can get away with more trouble too.

Speaking of quality parenting...Rocky and I have been reading my favorite kids book, Matilda.  I'm sure everyone knows that my favorite chapter is the one where Bruce Bogtrotter is forced to eat an entire chocolate cake.  In the spirit of literacy we put aside our healthy eating strategy and made our own cakes.  To be fair, they were low-fat...well they were until we covered them with chocolate chips anyway.
 What can I say?  Kids cannot live on lentils alone.

Since we haven't been watching any movies around here we have found that Rocky and Daisy are best buds.  They have become quite creative.  One thing they have started doing is gathering up all the pillows in the house and linking them into a long snake which they call the water slide.  The run along until they get to the end and make a dive onto the couch.  They also like to tell jokes.  Here is one.
Rocky:  You are a Cheese.

Daisy:  I not cheese, I quesadilla.
Both girls burst into uncontrollable laughter.

For the moment I feel like Rosy is still on my side, but it is only a matter of time until the kids completely take over.

I know...she is just so adorable.  

Wink, Wink
 This picture just really makes me laugh.  I didn't take it, but when I found it on the camera it just seemed really funny.
 
Bonus Video:  Nothing interesting happens but it shows the sweetness of this little girl.
video
I'm not sure who makes better sounds, Rosy or Brandon.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Home Again, Zippidy Doo

 We are back to business here in Eugene.  After the millions of movies that were watched over the break we have been having a TV fast and the girls are really getting some use out of their new toys. 

 Last night we had a visit from the Tres Reyes.  The Three Kings have been bringing toys to Spanish speaking children forever and this year we got into the action, due to some generous hand-me-downs.  I hope that they had fun because I'm not sure this miracle will ever happen again for these chicas.

Till We Meet Again

 The Favorite Tio Gavin will be leaving on his mission to Pittsburgh at the end of this month so his nieces wanted to spend some extra quality time hanging out.  These girls love him so much and he always has them laughing their heads off.  We hope that he has a great mission and are excited to see him again in 2 years.
 We'll see the rest of you in March.

Sledding

 With some help from Oma getting all the kids outfitted and equipped the Howard grandkids headed out to South's hill, which is a little bit strange now that South Jr. High is no more. 
 The hill worked just fine.
 How many Rigby's can you fit on one tube?  Answer:  All of them.
It was a beautiful day and one of those moments when it is clear that my kids are from Oregon.  Brandon said that Daisy was with him in the car and she said, "What are those things?"  He didn't understand so she said, "The big rock things."  Then he realized that she was talking about the mountains.

Christmas Morning

We left out a piece of fudge for Santa and watched the Shrek the Halls Christmas special before going to bed.  When Rocky woke up she just ran upstairs without permission and when I chased after her to make her wait for Daisy she returned to her sister saying, "Daisy, it is GREAT!  Santa ate the sudge."  I don't know if she hadn't noticed the presents but she tells everyone about the sudge and nobody understands.  To me, sudge just really doesn't sound that appetizing but Santa didn't seem to care because he left a bunch of loot.
 The princess dresses and castle barely made it out of Utah alive.  In fact, the Hello Kitty costume already looked like it was 10 years old after about 15 minutes on Daisy.
 Rosy was a little disappointed that none of the dresses fit her and immediately made a resolution to grow.  She has been working hard on it too, putting on the pounds.  It probably won't help her much though because it all goes right to her chin.

It seems like the holiday and our trips to Utah just go like a big blur and when I get home I can hardly remember anything except the things that I caught on camera.  We did a lot of fun stuff with Brandon's family, and hung out with Mark and Emily.  We also spent a lot of time working because Kristin was trying to move her dad out of his house.  This meant that there was a lot of cousin time and since we have been home Rocky and Daisy both have been talking about missing them. 
Jill spent hours telling Rocky scary stories, which led to Rocky spending hours telling those stories to other people.  She tends to get kind of confused on the details so if you are in need of a laugh just ask her to share one with you.

Homemade Gifts

 I wanted to document the things that everyone makes for the Howard exchange but I forgot to to take photos of everything.  Jill made the panda hat for Rocky.
 Brandon made thumb wrestling masks for Ethan.  They looked like little luchadores.
 The felted Gizmo came from Jilly too and it is the cutest thing in the world to hear Daisy say his name.
 Matt and Kristin made this AT-AT herb garden for Brandon out of garbage. 
 Brandon did family portraits of calaveras like we saw in Mexico.  He worked away all of his pre-Christmas time figuring it out and they turned out amazing.

I didn't get any photos but I made a couple of cross-stitch family pictures and animal magnets.  I was pretty proud of them.  It is a good thing that I was challenged to make gifts because sometimes I think it is the only time in the year when I do something creative, and by creative I mean that I go onto Pinterest and copy something that someone else did.

Quinceñera

We put off our trip to Utah for a couple of days because we had some serious business to attend to here in Eugene.
 We hit up the ward Christmas party.  The idea was that all the families would be assigned to tables and that each table would bring its own side dishes.  This was another one of those moments that being assigned to the Spanish Branch section ended up being a bonus because we had the best tamales that I've ever tasted.

It was the first year that I was actually in town to attend the highly acclaimed Cookie Queen contest.  Dianna Robinson has hosted this event for a few years now and apparently the competition is getting more and more intense each year.  I didn't want to look like a loser so I pulled out the most butter-laden recipe that I could find.  It was the Congo Bar recipe that I learned from my friend Katrina and as they say on Sesame Street it is definitely a "sometimes food."  Think oatmeal, chocolate and a lot of caramel.  It was good enough for first place in the bar cookie and candy category.  All the cookies were awesome and it was super fun.  Now I've got to start brainstorming for next year.  Thanks to Dianna and to Jen the outgoing cookie queen who was truly an ambassador for the cause.
 And then we came to the real reason that we stuck around town.  Gaby's quinceñera has been the talk of the girls in young women for the last 6 months.  I've never been to one and always wanted to, and this was the perfect opportunity to dress the girls up like princesses.
Gaby looked beautiful and it was fun to see her honored. 
 I've had Gaby, Savannah and Lizzy all since they were brand new Beehives and they are growing up so fast. 

We left directly from the party and hit the road, driving all night through a snowstorm.  There were a few times that I thought we were going to be stuck out there because we had gone too far to go back, but we were in a big snowy mess.  In the end, slow and steady, we made it through to the morning.  Rocky and Daisy got the loopy car trip crazies as always.
 Rosy was just chillin' like nothing had happened.  I think she was fascinated by the glow of the snow.
 Last year we didn't even get a single snowflake while we were in Utah and we had made all kinds of promises to Rocky that she could go sledding and make a snowman.  Her disappointment last year didn't stop me from making the same promises this year, but luckily the sky came through.  I'm not sure that I was so thrilled that we had to drive through it, but it was fun once we got out of the car.
 We got there just in time for another party with my dad's family.  I couldn't resist how cute Grandma and Grandpa Howard are with these kids.



Tuesday, January 1, 2013