Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Toys From...

Last night I ran to the bathroom, can someone please tell me how many years of daily kiegel exercises it takes to overcome the bladder control issues of carrying and birthing seven children? OK back to topic, so I'm running to the bathroom only to find the door locked. I knock, nicely I thought considering the urgency of the situation, I'm thinking, hallelujah! one of my children has discovered the need for their privacy while using the restroom, perhaps soon they'll give me some. Wrong, Benjamin my 10 and 1/2 year old opens the door fully clothed, wet hands and cupboard, a bundle of towels on the floor, a guilty look on his face; I sit down, while I ask what are you doing and begin picking up the towels, now that's multi tasking. Before Benjamin answers Buzz Light Year, soaking wet and covered with soap rolls out of the towels; I, assuming it must be Adam(it's his Buzz Light Year and he has a thing for chaos in the bathroom lately), yell "who did this?
"Mom, I'm just washing him," Benjamin finally answers.
"Benjamin he takes batteries, you don't wash battery operated toys, you know this! Does he still work?"
I push his buttons, he still says "Greetings, I am Buzz Light Year, I come in peace." Only now he sound like one of the green alien guys from Toy Story, creepy! I usually don't mind to much when noisy toys lose their voice, but this one has to last till Christmas because Grandma, who gave Adam Buzz for his birthday(picture), found the matching Woody toy for Adam's Christmas gift. I wonder what strange voices we can conjure out of poor Woody?

A few minuets later, as I'm not so much helping my rug rats pick up the toy room but picking it up for them, I toss a little stuffed dog in the toy box only to hear an eerie child's voice start into a prayer..."Dear God hear my prayer for all your creatures everywhere..." This is a sweet little child's prayer but coming from a four inch stuffed dog with his eyes closed and arms folded who cannot be shut up until he gets through the entire prayer is frightening.

Lights out, every one is down for the night in their own bed, Yea! I'm walking in the dark around my bed when suddenly an engine revs under my feet I jump into bed nearly beheading Richard and we lay there hearts pounding as motion activated Lightning McQueen revs his engine for about a minuet. It's surprising how loud a toy can be in a quiet dark house in the middle of the night.

The thing that gets me is I am intending to spend the next month buying the loudest, most frightening, creepy toys I can find so that my children, and some of yours, will think I'm a really great parent/aunt. Go figure!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Brown Sugar Muffins

I used to make these muffins for breakfast all the time. Jeremiah and Benjamin often say, Mom, remember those really yummy muffins you always used to make us?

Cream together:

1/2 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs

Sift together:
2 c. flour
1 t. soda
1/2 t. salt

add to creamed mixture with

1 c. milk (I use buttermilk)
1 t. vanilla
1/4 c. nuts (optional)

mix well, don't over mix
fill well greased muffin tins. Bake at 375 for 15 - 20 mins.
18 muffins

Crumb Topping
1/2 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. nuts (optional)

blend together with pastry knife or fork until crumbly.
Sprinkle evenly over muffins before cooking.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sick of Sick

I'm starting to get a clue, it only took seven sons, that sleeping face to face with a coughing, feverish, child is not so much an act of motherly love but an act of insane stupidity. I took all the vitamins and tried the Zicam pills; still, this morning as I'm holding Adam on my lap at the doctors office, while he's experiencing the miraculous disappearing symptoms at the doctors office cure, I'm coughing my lungs out. We didn't have to see the Doctor, the nurse, who's such a sweetheart, told me that croup is going around and they can't do anything, she gave me some more medicine for my breathing machine and sent us home, always nice to get out of the Doctors office without spending $100.00.

As as I feel myself getting sicker and sicker I'm noticing that I have a child in each of the childhood stages of illness. So for those who don't know, or for those who need to know they're not alone, here are Susan's stages of childhood illness.

The What is Wrong With You Stage:
This stage takes place before acttual symptoms appear and may be characterized by incessant whining, and heartbroken crying about everything..." My chicken nugget is to crisunchewey, wahhhhh!" In certain children (Adam) this stage exhibits as a mad dash to do everything that they know perfectly well they shouldn't while sassing, back talking and threatening you with every punishment you threaten them with. Towards the end of this stage you will probably hear yourself scream"You're going to the doctor and you had better be sick."

The Doctor Stage:
This stage is marked by the child's rapid descent into symptoms, fevers, coughing, runny noses, vomiting, diarrhea. The Mother then, feeling guilty over her less then tender feelings toward her stage one child, cares more tenderly for her child while going through the, do I take them to the doctor debate. During this stage you will hear yourself thinking, "Do I take him to the doctor? I don't have three hours to waste today; maybe it's just a virus; he'll be okay, maybe it's pneumococcalhantamenengitalecolitic mutating bacterial viral disease; I can't afford another trip to the doctors office; he's burning up, I'll let him sleep with me; I'm a terrible mother I should make him eat more veggies." It's important to know that no matter how deathly ill your child appears the second you walk in the door at the Doctors office all symptoms will disappear so that you can feel like an idiot as your, desperately ill, child dumps out every toy, fights with all the other symptom free children over the slide the bead thingey, manages to pull the wires out of the slide the bead thingey so that all the beads fall off, rips a book or two and nearly tips over the fish tank.

The Futile Attempt to Get Medicine Down Them Stage:
Why is it that a child who will eat candy they find on the ground in the grocery store parking lot, school glue, boogers or three week old pizza they found under their teenage brothers bed, will fight each and every attempt to get fruit flavored liquid in a cute little dropper within three feet of their mouth.

The I'm Once again Invincible Stage:
"I don't need a coat." "I hate broccoli, and carrots." "I couldn't find my shoes." "Why can't I have chocolate cake for dinner?" "I don't like vitamins, they taste nasty." "I'm not tired...all my friends stay up till 11:00"

There you have it my stages of childhood illness, it should be noted that all of them are greatly exaggerated by mom getting sick herself.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Little Blessings

Yesterday as I stuffed my face with my brother-in-laws, awesome rotisserie turkey and Richards incredible mashed potatoes I found myself thinking of little things I'm thankful for. Of course I'm thankful for all the big stuff, but lately, it's the little things that get me.

So here is my 2007 Little Blessings List:

*I'm thankful when my mother-in-law does Thanksgiving day at her house, last year it was at mine.
*I am thankful when I wake up an hour or more before I have to actually get up, there is nothing better then a little more sleep.
*I'm thankful for the nights when none of the three children in bed with us blow out a nitetime and saturate my sheets.
*I am thankful for my weaknesses, they teach me more then my strengths.
*I am thankful for others weaknesses, they make mine seem more bearable.
*It's always nice when the suspicious looking underwear in the clean clothes turn out to, actually be clean.
*I'm really thankful when I notice that the toilet has been sprinkled before I sit on it.
* I'm thankful that my sons games of front yard football have pruned all my plants (grrr! I'm trying anyway).
*I'm thankful that Adam tells me "You my best friend, Momma" when he's not telling me he, "hates me" and he's "gonna tell his daddy to spank me."
*I'm thankful for a little spanking every now and then.
*I'm thankful for slobbery hugs and kisses instead of sticky hugs and kisses.
*I'm thankful for a sixteen year old who still views hauling his two brothers back and forth to football practice every night as a chance to drive.
*I'm thankful for primary teachers who show up or get substitutes.
*I'm thankful that my failure to lose a single pound this year hasn't caused a single New Years resolution...yet.
*I'm very thankful for Jeremiahs' teachers over the last two years and great teachers everywhere.
*I'm thankful that what gets talked about with girlfriends, stays with girlfriends.
*I'm thankful for boy hugs.
*I'm thankful for smiles at the grocery store from understanding strangers.
*I'm thankful for Thanksgiving, a little holiday tucked between Halloween belly aches and Christmas shopping, that makes me slow down and thank God for all my little blessings.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Erections lasting longer then 4 hours...

I walked in the bathroom tonight to find Adam sitting on the cupboard with the entire contents of my mirror cabinet pulled out. He had opened my hair gel and left little finger marks in it, he had opened my foundation and makeup and smeared them on the counter top and his shirt. He wouldn't have any clue what to do with make up because he never sees his Mom put it on, I consider myself lucky to get out the door with a shower, deodorant and clean clothes.

I began putting things away, not to worried because this was nothing for Adam... I'm just glad n he's hasn't repeated the Apple Beer bottle incident(see post Mom Enjoy a Little TV). As I was putting things away I noticed he had opened a pill can which had contained an unknown number of herbal female libido stimulants. I looked all over the bathroom and couldn't find any pills and all Adam could say was, "Dey're up high, I pup up high mama".

I even looked on the top of the mirror only an inch of dust... As I recall these pills are two years old and were very nasty herbal tasting greenish looking things. Since lately, Adams' diet consists of a gallon of milk and a force fed bite or two off my plate each meal, I'm pretty sure he didn't eat them; but, I sure don't want to have to make that call to the doctor. "Hi, my three year old has an erection lasting longer than 4 hours???

Monday, November 19, 2007

Playing in the Leaves

Saturday was leaf raking day. I love my three huge trees and I love my two big boys who did all the work and I love my three little boys who played and played and played.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Everyone in the Smith household got a haircut yesterday. Thanks Grandma, you're awesome...just a couple little things we noticed, you didn't wash Adams face
and Benjamin's
hair (bottom picture)
looks like it
could use just
a little more
off the top.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

We're Penguins

Yesterday, as I was reading a book on Penguins to Adam and Isaac, I think I may have discovered the answer to one of life's most perplexing questions. Why do they eat my food?

I don't like to think of myself as a selfish person, It' not as if 99.7777777% of our grocery budget isn't spent on kid friendly food; I promise all the Macaroni & Cheese, peanut butter and cold cereal in the shopping cart aren't for me. I also promise my offspring do not like adult friendly food; because, with the exception of my chicken cordon blue recipe (which is disqualified due to the time, effort and frustration it takes to prepare), and steak(also disqualified due to expense and the amount of A1 they drown it in), they will not eat any of the adult meals we occasionally treat ourselves to. However, any item on Moms' plate, or in a very expensive tiny little bag tucked away 'just for Mom', or on a fork headed to my mouth, is a delectable morsel that simply must be devoured by all seven sons, each time I eat it and, preferrably before I get a bite.

The penguin book may have answered the whole dilemma...My children are baby penguins and I their Mommy Penguin have stuffed my belly with squid and fish for the past months, then have waddled, slid and clawed my way to the middle of a polar icecap with the sole purpose of feeding my chicks from the partially digested contents of my own stomach. My grade school librarian was right, you really can learn anything from a book.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Touching Moments

Here are my recollections of some tender moments in the practices for, and presentation of, our wards primary program.

We have a sweet, 10 year old boy with downs syndrome in our ward. Chase is part of a very musical family; his father plays piano and organ, his mother plays and teaches most of the stringed instruments and is a violinist in the Utah Valley Symphony, all of the children play instruments and perform. Chase came to the practice on Saturday, due to his challenges and the general chaos of 60+ children and 5 adults figuring out how to put everything in order, Chase wandered around, sat in many seats and climbed over things. At one point he ended up on the conductors riser in front of all the children, the pianist had just began playing the prelude to the next song when Chase stood up straight in front of all the children raised both arms, glanced over his shoulder at the chorister so that they could begin together then led beautifully, powerfully, the first measure of the song. It only lasted a second or two but for those few precious moments we caught a glimpse of Chases eternal spirit, his love for music and how perfectly he fits into his family. We are blessed to have him in our primary.

On both days I sat next to a very wiggly little 5 year old girl. On Saturday at one point she got so wiggly that I sat her on my lap, she wiggled a bit then got very still. I realized that she was focusing on her breathing and how her stomach was moving my arms in and out as she breathed. We both became very quiet and peaceful, her wiggles disappeared, my frustration evaporated and was replaced with love for one of Gods' beautiful children. Then on Sunday, same thing, she wiggled, I was already holding a little boy so I reached over and squeezed her hand, when she squeezed back I looked down and met her gaze, I mouthed the words, "I like you," she immediately asked, "how can you like me? you're not my Mom." I just smiled at her and for another few moments we held hands. The peace that comes from looking past behavior and loving the spirit of each person is a miraculous lesson that I am learning from this calling.

Our program was a beautiful presentation of the journey of faith that takes us from being a squirming three year old to an almost twelve year old who feels the spirit tell her to change her part at the last moment, overcomes her nervousness, presents what the spirit tells her and makes the program complete. Thank you to all who prepared, participated and encouraged it was "well done!"

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Primary Program

This is My part in our ward primary program.

Brothers and Sisters, I love the primary program, I love serving with these beautiful children, they are both a literal and a symbolic representation of each of us and our relationship with our Father in Heaven. Our father in Heaven delights in each of us as we proudly belt out our ‘little part’ or as we panic and forget our ‘little part’. He loves our efforts to become like Him.

As we exercise faith in Jesus Christ, follow his example and try to be like Him, we are born again, we receive His image in our countenances; we experience a mighty change of heart. (Alma 5:14)

As we strive to Follow him in faith “May the grace of God the father, whose throne is high in the heavens, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who sitteth on the right hand of his power, be and abide with us forever,” (Moroni 9: 26) until faith becomes perfect knowledge and each may proclaim, “I Know that My Redeemer Lives.” (Hymns pg. 136)

In the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Brothers and Sisters, Behold Your Little ones. (3Nephi 17: 23)

One of the sisters took pictures at our practice yesterday I will see if I can get some to post.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Mom Enjoys Some TV

Last night Richard went to the football game with his Dad. I was looking forward to sitting in blissful peace watching two of my favorite shows. OK, so I'm really not naive enough to think that, 'blissful peace', is a term that could ever be associated with my household, especially when Mom is trying to watch something she enjoys, without interruption; but, I was hoping for some semi-chaotic, TV escapism, for two hours.

There were all the usual interruptions, "Mom, I'm hungry! "We ate dinner an hour ago, how can you be hungry?" Mom, I want milk!" "On a commercial sweetie. " I want milk, NOW!" "Go to your room until you can talk nicely to Mom." "I DID TALK NICE; BUT ,YOU SAID NO!" " It's a commercial, now, Mom will get you your milk; but, you need to learn to ...." You don't want to read a commercial long lecture it was completely ineffectual anyway.

"MOM!" My ten year old runs in followed closely by his sixteen year old brother.

Ten year old: "HE'S GOING TO KILL ME!"

Sixteen year old ,with his knee on his brothers chest: "HE DESERVES TO DIE! HE'S BEING MEAN TO ALL THE LITTLE KIDS!" (Is it just me or is there some irony here?)


So, overall my evening was going well when I heard glass break in the kitchen..."ADAM, STOP, DON'T MOVE! "No, I didn't even bother to wonder if it was someone else. I ran into the kitchen to find my
three year old standing in the middle of the room, dressed in nothing but a pull-up, holding a broken off
Apple Beer bottle.

After each of my sons was born, I have held them
in my arms, gazed into their perfect little faces and
been overwhelmed with Madonna like feelings about
their potential and what amazing possibilities may await
them. Then they turn three and I face the
possibility of my sons future as... a bar room brawler?

All in all, the evening was a huge success. Dad got to go to the game and Mom got a little TV time. Maybe next game I'll try a candle lit, bubble bath.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Dr. Seussan

I am Mom.

Mom I is.

I do not like to cook for kids.

For dinner, chicken was a thought.

I will not eat it, one boy fought.

This dinner thing could turn out great.

Maybe we could all eat Steak?

Two boys proclaimed, steak, icky! ish!

Said Mom, all right, we'll all eat fish.

Yuck! they all together screamed.

OK then, maybe ham and beans?

No Ham, no beans, we won't eat dinner.

Fine, said Mom, we'll all get thinner.

We're hungry! was the whiney shout.

I know, said dad, we'll all eat out.

The boys said, Dad you are a whiz!

That's how you do this dinner biz.

Sigh! I am Mom.

Mom I Is.

Maybe, I should cook my kids?!

...Just Adam

Allow me to introduce my youngest, I still call him 'baby' even though he is 3 1/2. I should start with the comment the nurse made as she handed me my 9 lb. bundle of joy, "I have never cared for a baby like this, I don't know how you carried him for 9 months." Don't get me wrong Adam isn't mean or grumpy, he doesn't throw tantrums, he is just... Adam.

He is 4 inches shorter than his 5 year old brother but out weighs him by 3 lbs. Richard and I often joke that his bones are made of titanium, I don't recall any experimental medical procedures or alien abductions during my pregnancy so once again I guess it's just... Adam.

I have learned from experience that any area where Adam eats will resemble a blast site. This seems to occur no matter how much food I give him, this mess is from about 7 pieces of popcorn.
Trust me he could make an equally impressive mess with one piece. The really impressive thing is that he can use his food to create such messterpieces and still gain weight...just Adam.

Last night at Jeremiahs' championship football game I was holding Adam on my lap trying to keep both of us covered with a blanket, I would compare it to holding a satin pillow case containing a monkey, four boa constrictors and a 25 lb. plastic bag of wet peeled potatoes. To calm him down I was holding an apple and encouraging him to take bites; which he was taking with Adam like gusto. Suddenly, he mistook my thumb for his apple, took an enthusiastic bite which drew blood and hurt so bad I actually cried. He felt so bad he started crying; so there we sat him crying, me crying, freezing, thumb throbbing...just Adam... at least we won the game.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Why Do I Let Them Trick-or-Treat

Every year, on November third or forth as I run out to the garbage can in bare feet and my nightgown to dump the dregs of the trick-or-treat candy bowl (salt water taffy, unfinished suckers stuck to disintegrating smarties), I ask myself why?

I'm now dealing with two cases of diarrhea and vomiting, three colds and a three year old that may never come down off the sugar high. Now I'm not opposed to the idea of children running for three hours through dark cold streets with no coat on because "it will cover up my costume", collecting 3-5 lbs. of candy which will constitute the entirety of their diet for the next three days; after all, my children only fully began to comprehend the American revolution when their father enforced taxation without representation on their Halloween loot. I just don't want to deal with sick days, sugar highs and the three to five lbs. I've inevitably gained despite not making all three of my favorite recipes.

This year was a banner year for trick-or-treating at the Smith home thanks to my dear husband who told a sixteen year old and a fifteen year old, (who were told two years ago that they were to old to trick-or-treat) and a 12 and 10 year old, (who were told this was their last year to trick-or-treat) that, if they could fill an entire extra strength, extra large, black, garbage bag with candy he would give them $20 bucks. The only thing my four oldest would do with $20 bucks more candy. Fortunately they failed but they did manage to collect enough candy to fill my three largest bowls.

Next year no one is Trick-or-Treating! ha ha.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Really Practical Cleaning Tips

I have, as you can imagine, many day to day cleaning challenges in my life. Trusting that I could find anything on the internet I Googled: how do I clean a melted, congealed, dried, hardened, pool of purple Popsicle in which is stuck two Popsicle sticks, half of a Lego Bionicle, three coins, some M&Ms, and most of the leaves from the now dead houseplant that I kept meaning to water from my stamped concrete floor. After a polite suggestion from Google that I "narrow my search margins" I typed in cleaning tips.

I know now how to clear up cloudy pool water, apparently there is more to it then chasing away the two year old with the hose and the four year old with a bucket of dirt, pushing down the side of the blue plastic kiddie pool, letting the water run all over your shoes until the water level is low enough that you can dump it, then trying to wrest the hose away from the two year, who has returned to douse the back side of you with water. Then, if you can pry the hose out of his chubby little manacles before the neighbors call you in for child abuse due to the hysterical wailing coming from your slightly hypothermic, nap deprived two year old and your equally hysterical shouts that "mommy only needs it for a minuet so she can spray the dirt and melted sidewalk chalk off the bottom of the pool, then Mommas big boy can fill it up again", voila clear pool water...until the four year old reappears.

I also discovered how to clean the grips on golf clubs??? If the husband who left me to supervise an under5 year old pool party while he plays golf with his buddies to, "unwind after a stressful week" wants his club grips cleaned he can Google it himself.

But alas I am still left with no clear direction as to how to deal with my Popsicle mess and danged if it isn't just three inches from being far enough under the couch to escape the notice of myself and any guests whom I want to think of me as a good housekeeper.

So here you have the tried and true "Dried Popsicle Cleaning Tips" of the mom of seven boys.

Step one, push aside couch, not too far you don't want to reveal too much.

Step two, wander into the kitchen to peruse the contents of your cleaning closet, if the 1 year old who's been following you around all morning is left with the mess the M&M's and most of the leaves will be in his mouth, you could never pick them out...there is magic in 1year old fingers. So if this is say your third child and you are still under the illusion that you can know and should monitor every little thing that goes in their mouths you'll want to time it to come back just after he's picked out each M&M and just before he gets it in his little mouth. If it's your seventh child and you're hanging on by a thread because your mother-in-law is coming to visit in 20 minutes and you still aren't showered, you'll celebrate that part of the mess is gone.

Step three, soak, in what ever commercially prepared cleaning agents you can find, the large sponge that you finally found in your seven year olds stash of treasures and place on the Popsicle mess. After, I dunno maybe ten seconds... your mother-in-law called to say she's "on her way", lift up the sponge and use whatever fingernails you have left to try to scrape the Legos, coins and sticks out of the mess, at this point they probably won't come out. Stop after breaking off your last two nails.

Step four, dump what ever is left of the bottle of cleaning agents on to the mess and scrub alternately with the sponge and a brand new toothbrush that 'I didn't' dropped in the toilet. Continue until your cleaning shirt is soaked with sweat. Give up for now, take off your cleaning shirt place over the mess, including sponge, toothbrush and empty bottles of cleaning solution, shove the couch over the whole thing and jump in the shower. After your mother-in-law leaves, if you can still move, you can gather the whole mess up in your cleaning shirt, most of it will have dissolved by now, and throw it in the trash.

Step five, buy a plastic house plant position it over the residue and resolve never, ever to buy Popsicles again.

There is also the challenge of cleaning the entire ink content of a large permanent marker off both arms , both legs and the face of a very proud three year old, but that will have to be dealt with another day.

Our Family

Our Family