Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!!!

To celebrate the new year, I've set up a new blog.  You can see the link at the top of this page "New Blog" or you can go directly to  I'm adding all those that subscribe through email to the new blog. 

Every post on the new blog will be addressed to my kids, but are for everyone to read.  Things to look forward to include, how my sweetheart and I met; goals and accomplishments; and other things that are really important or humorous to me and to them . . . eventually. 

Note to self:  Confetti is strictly an outside deal.  I think I may be cleaning this up for the next few days. . . I've been vacuuming for over an hour.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

How are your dreams going?

The other day I had someone ask me, "How is your . . . dream going?" The dot dot dot stands for what this person assumed my dream was.  I answered, "It's not really going right now. It's on the back burner."

It made me really think about what I said. My dreams are still cooking. I'm still contemplating what I truly want and how I want to get it. At present my dreams/hopes/plans are all on schedule as far as I know.

So what are your dreams? Are you living them?

I think I am. :)
Remember, just because some dreams may be on the back burner, does not mean they are done and over. Some of the best dishes require some simmering to taste just right to you. ;)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Why do we forget epiphanies?

You know when you have that glorious ah-ha moment and you feel like your life will never be the same?  That happens to me about three times a week (at least).  For example my ephiphanous moment yesterday included me realizing that no matter the circumstance, I have control over my reactions (a la Man's Search for Meaning).  If only I could remember that.
I love the look in the photo of the seal and S's face.

Then I was reading a book on relationships.  I was reading a section that I felt described me perfectly.  I almost didn't buy that book; it is used and is heavily pre-highlighted; and again another epiphany.  Mostly it has convinced me that we're all extremely emotional and all that pressure can make diamonds or coal, depending on our reactions.  

I don't have this reaction, much. 
This is from the Julia Child exhibit at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.

Now as my children are vying for the computer next to me and now with that computer off, the seat next to me. I am typing as the hollering escalates and now I'm turning off my computer to deal with it and we're all going to go make the minestrone soup for dinner tonight that has 4.5 stars from 1,299 people on because I have everything except the zucchinis and fresh basil.  

And I wonder why epiphanies don't stick. now to go react positively and smile and emote motherly confidence, peacemaking and awesome cook-ness.

Later added addendum:
We had a doctors appointment a little later and we waited 1.5 well mannered hours for the doctor--with confirmed cases of croup and strep, went to the pharmacy and waited one hour when a hunger strike broke out, ate at the Golden Starches (McDs) and then back to the pharmacy where we waited another 40 minutes, including a bathroom break in the off-limits-an-associate-will-stand-guard-of-stockroom-merchandise-as-you-go area of the store. Also, I got a flu shot. Then we window shopped back to the other pharmacy where another prescription was waiting.  It was all cheerful, except for the hunger strike.  It also helped that the second pharmacy gave gumballs to all my kidlets (there was much rejoicing in the land, if you know what I mean). Then to top it off with gladness, W was home and greeted me with a big kiss and hug, which was much needed by then.  Yay! It is the weekend.  Minestrone tomorrow! :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Details

Christmas started last night at 11:30 when S woke-up excited as could be. Santa was getting prepared and she woke up T and said, "T, Santa has come!"

It went something like that at 1, 3, 5 and finally at 6:30 a.m, when R woke everyone up. W and I gave up and gave in.

The VDG tradition has all the family members stand behind a curtain.  Then once the curtain is opened all can come out and see what Santa left.

R got a lot of legos, which he put together all day.  He also got a spy kit and walkie talkies so they played a lot of spy too!

I relaxed and it was so nice!  W did too!  Just what we needed.

This was W and T's gift from Santa--a  piano with light-up keys.  

After I originally posted the first time, I found this exceedingly handsome photo of my sweet husband. I love you W! :D

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Oh come let us adore Him! 

There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night.

This photo was difficult to get because T kept pretending to eat the sheep.  

Next year, we'll have a real baby to play the part of Jesus. :)

Oh and 11 years ago, today the love of my life proposed to me.  Sweet memories in the making and been made.  I love you, W, R, S, T and baby ? !!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Biggest Tree in NYC

Do you like my 1940's hat-inspired hair?!  W said it was wild. I got a lot of double takes from onlookers. :)

When the kids got out of school they were tired and were depressed when I told them we were going somewhere. But I did not pay them heed, because I needed desperately to go somewhere.  So we got some snacks and headed into Manhattan. All I told the kids was that where we were going was a surprise.

The kids and I made a trip to the Rockafeller Center Tree and Swarovski Crystal star.

We also went to the Paley Center for Media and watched our own movies for 35 minutes.  I thought they would have many more television artifacts to see, but they had all the shows from TV from the beginning of television. They have an awesome theater in the basement.

I got to watch The Scarecrow and Mrs. King from 1983; once one of my mother's favorite television shows and now I can understand why--the premise is about a homemaker that has three children, I think, and she gets wrapped up into a spy scheme and becomes the eventual partner of a spy.  The thing I like about her is that though she is trying hard to be a good mother, her children are not angels--they act like normal kids and she acts like a normal frazzled mother (it's free to watch with Amazon Prime). 

We got in free with the Cool Culture Pass that is given to Universal Pre-Kidnergartens in NYC that gives access to 90 museums in NYC, including the Intrepid ($28 per person) and the Guggenheim.   We are planning on doing all sorts of really fun things through the break.  This time we saved $25.

Then, one of the restaurants that a person I respect suggested Carnegie Deli.  She suggested the pastrami sandwich and the pickles--ends up being $18.95.  She also suggested the cheesecake--which at $10 a piece, pretax, I was more skeptical to try, especially since cheesecake is not my favorite.  The sandwich was good, but did not agree with my prego stomach.  I hope cooked/warmed pastrami is okay to eat when prego.

One of the best things that I loved about this journey was that the kids kept asking for stories where the baby in my tummy was already born.  They really want to know if I think the dear is a girl or a boy, but I really have no idea, but will be happy either way. Their delight in talking as if the baby was already here just made me feel happy and proud.

The story today included us on the train when all the sudden the train kept going back 20 years and all the passengers except us changed--but our clothes and accccessories changed to fit the times, then when it got to the 1940's Fred Astair walked on board and so did a 24 piece orchestra.  The orchestra played and Mr. Astaire started dancing and invited the kidlets to join him, which they did; except for the baby.  Then all the sudden the car pushed straight up into the air and up through the floor of a stage of one of the premier Broadway theaters of the time.  Whereupon the sides of the train pulled open like an Easter egg and 65 other dancers came dancing onto the stage and we all danced off the train--then a tyrannosaurus-rex roared offstage and began to walk out onto the stage.  I pulled my kids out of the theater really fast onto the 1940s NYC street and a couple of the Orchestra members found us and told us that as soon as they figured out how to get the dinosaur back to it's own time, they would help us get back to 2013 (after the baby is born).  At this point T was a little worried and had me change the story to we were all hope safe, especially the baby, back in our apartment; waking up from a funny dream. 

Also, it really helped to tell them it was all a surprise, the whole time, because then they weren't disappointed or whiny about where we were going, they were just surprised. Goal of the whole break--make all outings a surprise!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

To T

Dear T:

This is the last year I will have you at home with me almost all day.  I won't lie, it has been nice to have 2.5 hours to get errands done while you play and learn like crazy at your pre-k that you love.  You come hopping out with the biggest grin on your face and almost every day try to run past your teacher to me.  You still snuggle with me and you want to learn to read, sort of.  You are learning sight words like "you," "and," "a," and "I."  Daddy is your most favorite person in the world and you will send him loads of texts all day if you're not stopped, and sometimes other people whom you think are Daddy. You love playing electronic games and would seriously play all-day-long if you could.  You know the computers well and how to get to your favorite game sites.  You say you want to be an artist and a daddy. You love running errands with me and like S will run to get your shoes and coat to zip out to go anywhere, even if it is just down the stairs.  You love to be the first one in and out of the door.  You wrestle with R a lot and it starts with gales of laughter and once in a while ends in tears.  You love babies and little children and will herd them like a shepherd when we're at playgroups or play dates.  You laugh a lot.  Going stroller-less has been a challenge for you, so we play games all the way to school to get S and R--this last week the game was aliens, where you had to stay on the sidewalk lines if you wanted to be invisible to the alien--me--and then when you were off the sidewalk lines I could see you and you would run like crazy.  You love yogurt, especially peach.  You like fruits and vegetables sometimes and meat once in awhile, unless it is a hot dog and then you love it all the time.  If there was a choice to go to Ikea or a museum, you would choose Ikea.   You love making friends everywhere you go and are very outgoing.  I love you, T! So glad I've been blessed to have you!



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

For S

Dear S:

You are my happy skipping girl.  I like to sing to you the song "My Darlin' Irish Girl" from Disney's Darby O'Gill and the Little People only I change the words every time to "My darlin' S girl" and you always give me a big smile.  You skip everywhere. Sometimes you even skip if you're feeling upset.  It's not a full sized skip, kind of a mix between a skip and a shuffle. I love it!   You are very focused. You have a dear sense of fashion and the teachers can't wait to see what combinations you'll come up with the next day.  You really don't enjoy wearing jeans, at all, but you love skirts with leggings.  You are really patient with T. You like to make sure he does his homework. You do your homework first thing after getting out of school and the only thing that stops you from doing it on the playground is if you do not have a pencil or a pen or if there is a really good friend there waiting to play with you. You are the one that keeps R and T awake at night, you are the night rooster; if that makes sense.  You love to keep playing games and telling stories. You run, not walk, to me the moment I ask you for a hug and give me one of those I'll-never-let-go types of hugs and it makes my heart soar! You are one of the most persistent people I have ever met. If there is something you want or want to do you do not give up, until given a loud ultimatum.  You still like to turn the music on our electronic piano and dance around the room, provided T or I are dancing with you.  You love to squash into R's tiny bed with R and T and we come in later to find you all asleep right next to each other and you can sleep there, like that, all night.  You like it when I've done your hair--though you do not care much for the time that ridiculous blow dryer takes.  You love mysteries and your favorite tv show is Monk--which makes you wonder if there is going to be a crime and a detective in every other show or movie you watch. You love little children and going with me anywhere--especially when it can just be we two, for mommy-daughter dates. I love you so much S girl.  I am so thankful Heavenly Father sent you to me!



Monday, December 17, 2012

Because I feel so blessed to have you!

Dear R:
You make me so proud. I love the way you are an example to your brother and sister.  You strive to show them the proper way to do pretty much everything.  We don't get too much time for just you and I to talk, but every time we do I just think to myself, "How did I get so lucky to have you for an oldest boy?"  You love to make people laugh.  There were a few times last year you wanted to be a comedian.  You love to make up and tell stories. You love describing things that are important to you.  In church you are the first one out of the door to go to your class, right after Sacrament Meeting. You're the first to obey, usually. When there is a project you want to complete you are very focused. Right now your favorite toys are legos; they've been your favorite for awhile; but you like all things Mario, Nijago, and interesting.  One of the toys you've been asking for all year, since we went to the Natural History Museum is a rock polishing kit.  I've yet to get you one, but you love feeling the polished stones that they sell at all the science museum shops.  You love being home with the family and if there are errands to be run, you'll happily let someone else run them.  You have great courage, like when you saved me from that mouse--my hero.   You work hard in school--though you claim it is not your favorite you seem to really thrive.  You love to talk in English accents with me (which you know I adore).  You love tickle wars--but remember, family only.  You are learning to play the trumpet better and better every day. I love it when you come to me and ask me to listen to the new songs you are learning. Little children love you and you love them. You'll be a great older brother--again in a few months.  I love you, Charlie Brown. I am so glad that Heavenly Father sent you to me!


P.S. (added later) You told me today that you found out about the Connecticut massacre today and that you cried. You have such a sweet, kind heart. I was trying to help you not worry about it, but I should have known you would find out from school.  All the people there are in our prayers, especially the parents and loved ones of those whose lives were lost.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Four Children

My friend, Lindsay shared this with me on Facebook. It was exactly what I needed. It's so true!  The responses that I've gotten when telling people that I'm expecting a fourth are exactly what he gets. And I adore the part when he talks about getting children to bed. :)

For those of us with or expecting four children. . . . dealing right now with the kids going to bed, "It's like they've never been to sleep before."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How Do You Say?

I recently read this post on A Blog About Love.  These people live in Brooklyn and I've met them.  They're very kind.

When I read the post I linked, it made me smile.  In my family growing up it was expected that we would tell each other every day that we loved each other. When Brent, my brother came home from his mission he really impressed me with his optimistic outlook and how sincerely complimentary he was of everyone he met.  It made a huge impression upon me and I tried really  hard to mirror that in a lot of ways.

My Great Grandparents M.

In fact, it is one of the many things that I love about my sweetheart, W. Especially when we were dating and newly married. It made me so happy every day to see his sparkly eyes and hear the great things he had to say about me and see how he could make anyone feel appreciated moments after meeting them.  How dearly I love him!!!

When I met W, I was taking this class at BYU where the professor told the class about expressing love and  he and his wife would squeeze one another's hands three times for the beautiful words "I love you." Then even when he and his wife were expecting children they started patting her tummy in sets of threes (and were shocked once when the set was returned--from inside).  It impressed me so much I wanted to use the same practice in my future family.

I've never had it returned to me from in-utero (but I did have some dancing when the hymns were played by R--while inside me).  But my kids all know what the set of three squeezes means (I love you!), but we've adjusted it to our family and we add one more for the subtly competitive word "more!" :)

We've also started using the one handed sign for "I love you!"  Which I like because sometimes the silent but happy "I love you!"  I thought this was great until at T's Thanksgiving party a  little girl's mother informed me that my son (age 4) had gracefully signed that he loved her daughter (in class) and then he gleefully told her what it meant.  Where is the handbook for this?!

Also, we say "I love you!" about 40 times a day, so there is no doubt that I love my dear ones.  In W's family they say, "I love you more than air."  And my mother says, "I love you profusely!"

We also have three songs we sing to each other that mean a lot to us! "Together, Wherever We Go!"  "I Love You a Bushel and a Peck" and "I'll Be Loving You, Always!"

How do you do it in  your family?

Monday, December 10, 2012

2013 Goal

Would you like to hear my goal for 2013?

Declutter to the maximum and keep
only what I love!
I have many good friends that have made city living look easy, but as you may or may not know, it's no piece of cake.  It's just different than suburban living.

It's like this: no yard, washer, dryer, driveway, dishwasher, questionable heating/cooling of the home, roaches, mice, walking everywhere, taking a little grocery cart that is crazy to drive to get groceries for the day, etc.  

Granted there are several things that make it amazing to live in the city like: culture (museums, concerts, restaurants, oh my!), friendships, love of neighborhoods, more in shape from walking everywhere-maybe, church members are almost like family, etc.

Source and one of my new mantras.
Several women absolutely amaze me.  One of them is Emily and she has five children in a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan (it is smaller than my apartment and we're bursting out at the seams, so it doubly amazes me).  She home schools her exceedingly talented children and the youngest, T's age, has Down's Syndrome.    Her husband writes novels, plays, musicals, and movies.  She is a published writer and mom-extraordinaire.

So please, read her blog about how she has organized her house and look at the pictures and, in the words of one of my favorite movies Meet the Robinsons, "Prepare to be amazed!" 

Go to

What do you do to motivate yourself to declutter?

Oh, guess what--I got rid of a desk!  Tomorrow is trash day and I'm going to get rid of an old chair that got too close to the heater for too long and a lamp that no longer works.  Also, someone is going to take my cheap-o stroller because they need a lightweight stroller for city outings--since I refuse to let T in a stroller now since I can't lift him all over the place and I'd really like a stroller that will work for a newborn--this is great! Yes!!!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Remembering Christ at Christmas

Grandpa VDG (or Dad VDG) sent us an email earlier this week. I thought it was so good and wanted to remember it for future years.   

Dear Family,
After the First Presidency Devotional last Sunday, V presented a suggestion to help us focus on our Savior during this Christmas season.  Her idea was to list His qualities/traits/gifts and then to discuss them daily.  The daily discussion was to include not only examples from His life, but also a discussion of ways we can individually incorporate those qualities/traits/gifts into the activities of our day.  (Wonderful idea, V.  You should be in the Stake Relief Society Presidency.) [Note from M, V is in the Stake Relief Society Presidency-heehee].
Each family member then suggested several qualities/traits/gifts.  Here is the list for the remainder of the month:
5 - humility
6 - patience
7 - strength & honor
8 - mercy
9 - long suffering
10 - hope
11 - love
12 - compassion
13 - meditative
14 - understanding
15 - giving
16 - love for children
17 - happy
18 - enduring
19 - diligent
20 - peaceful
21 - respectful
22 - live in the moment
23 - kind
24 - dedicated
25 - meek
26 - reverent
27 - friendly
28 - deliverer
29 - honest
30 - trusting
31 - charitable
Last night, as part of our Preach my Gospel study, we discussed yesterday's quality - generosity - and previewed today's quality - humility.  I must humbly acknowledge that it was an uplifting experience for us.  If this idea has merit for your family, perhaps we can all focus on these gifts throughout the month.  With unity comes strength!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


I went to the school today to help with the Santa and Snowman photo shoot.  I had a new gadget to experiment with and I loved it. . . but I haven't officially received it until Christmas (shhhh).

This is a photo from Macy's Dec 2011. 
Santa was there.

It was so sweet to see all the little children coming into the rooms.  Their eyes first went over to Santa and I loved their responses. Some of them looked away shyly and then back again--because who can really keep from looking at the man in the red suit, when you're a kid?!  Then there were the indifferent children--who were really there for the candy canes.  But then there were the kids whose eyes lit up and they practically hopped out of their skin with "Santa!!!"

Santa waved at all the classes the moment they came in.

Several times during the day I had children come to me and ask dubiously, "Is he the real Santa?" At one point one of them said, "No, he's so-and-so's dad!"

But then I had one little girl who asked me curiously, "Is he from the north pole?" Then concernedly, "If that's Santa, where are his reindeer?"  I let her know that Santa had left his reindeer in a safe place so that he could come in the school because reindeer are not allowed in the school.

The children, these comments, and the doughnuts, made it all worth it. :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Just What I Needed

Yesterday was atrocious. One of those days where inept does not begin to describe how I felt.

I wrote a rant post, but I'm attempting to be upbeat on this blog so it's not here.

But, about four we got into our van and drove to pick W up from work.  I am so grateful for W.  I had previously called and wept over the phone to him because of everything.  He calmed as well as he could.  Then when I picked him up I told him I was really in the mood for Olive Garden.  So I drove us there (quite a jaunt) and we had the yummy salad, bread sticks, and fettuccine alfredo. Then S and I went to Old Navy and found a five foot area of maternity clothes and found a pair of pants that I think will look great on me.

Just. What. I. Needed.

When we got home W put the kids to bed and then we watched a funny sitcom (so glad we have those).

I am sooooo glad I married W!!!  The Lord must have known that I needed him!

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Baby Moved!

Of course, I know the baby, now the size of a lemon is moving a lot, all the time probably--I think I actually felt it move today.  We were doing the swimming move in Pilates and all of the sudden, in the exact place the lady took the ultra sound the other day, I felt some very light bumping--like a "Hello, Mom! Swimming on the ground, really?!"
The good news is also that I think I'm over the morning sickness for the most part (hip, hip, hooray!)--the bad news is the headaches have started (and 2 measly Tylenol don't do much for me) plus all I want to eat is junk food. This pregnancy as far as I can remember is more like S's because I crave rocky road ice cream a lot.  Also, the baby is not up in my ribs. I sat in the car for awhile yesterday and I felt okay. But good posture is key for me to avoid those headaches, I think (and then you can't see my baby pouch as much).

In celebration of feeling the baby move, I bought a hat.  It is a hat I've been debating on purchasing for two years.  T took the picture for me.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What Would You Do?

The other day I was walking and I saw this lady that crossed the intersections at an extremely busy intersection when the oncoming traffic had a green light.  She moved about three inches per second.  Gratefully no one was honking or being rude, but I was shocked that that was how she was crossing, like she wanted to get struck by a car.  So when she got across and the oncoming traffic was stopped I went over to her and asked with a smile how she was doing and if she needed anything. She smiled at me and said she was fine and started digging through the garbage can.  I walked on, feeling comforted that she could converse and smile normally.  Then she did crossed on the red light again, facing the more aggressive and busy side of the intersection.  I just sat and stared and silently prayed that no one would hit her.  Then she walked into one of the small stores. I got to the gym and told the people that worked there about the woman.  I asked if they would keep an eye out for her and they told me that if they saw her doing anything dangerous that they would call the police to come help her.

I asked a woman in my class what she would have done.  She said she would just walk away because people like that are like stray dogs.  I felt like I could swallow my tongue.  When is a person ever not important?

Then, today R told me that some of his friends use really bad language a lot.  They are the kids whose parents are really involved with the school. I was a little shocked.  The Friend magazine had an article about it suggesting the same thing and advising them that if they cannot get away from the swearing to sing a primary song or a hymn.  I told him first to ask them to not use that language around him and if they continue to use that language to go hang out with other friends. I will also mention the primary songs.  I think this is also the advice my parents gave me growing up.

What would you have done in these situations?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Parade that Wasn't

While we were walking down the white lines (our own unofficial parade) someone stopped and asked if we'd like them to take our picture.  I said sure (I don't think we have enough pictures of we parents and our kidlets).

The man asked T, age 4, "What did you like about the parade?"
T answered, "We didn't see it.  But I liked it on facebook."

I chuckled, the guy looked unimpressed. For the record, T is never on facebook.  He does not have an account and I'm not sure how he came up with that answer."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

 Instead of the parade we went to the famous Crumbs Bakery near 37th St and 8th Ave.
It started like this.

And then we did this (a lot).

And very soon this is what was left. 

And this is how we felt.

And like this.

So we went down the middle of one of the cross streets and played on the white lines that are usually packed with traffic and then we went to B&H where the kids got loads of penny candy and I got Christmas gifts (yes!!). 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving at Pre-Kindergarten

The other day T was vehemently discussing with S the prospect of having a baby girl. It went like this.
S: What if we have a baby girl, T? Would you like that?
T: No, I don't want a sister.  I want a brother!
S: You've already got a brother.
T grumpily: I don't want a sister.  I don't want it to be a girl, unless she's cute!!

One thing that makes me believe that everything is going to be okay happened today.

I went to the Thanksgiving Feast at T's school.   The moment I walked in I was greeted with a huge smile.
As I stood there, ate, talked with the other parents, saw the children dance the hokey pokey I just had this happy feeling that if this these children are the future of our country, we're going to be just fine.  Now if their four-year-old amazingly happy and enthusiastic selves (as in 4-year-old style) can just stick grow up with  past learning to read, math and puberty, teenage-hood, university debt, and then we'll see what great things they will do! 

This is T's special friend that he talks about every day.  He thinks she's pretty great!