Friday, January 27, 2012

Basketball. (A Derekimony)

That one word pretty much describes the theme of our life for the past three months.  For the three months before that the theme was:  football. 

Those are the two sports that the majority of my boys are interested in.  Except for Michael, he is his own man, but the other three?  Football and basketball.  Because we are in such a little town and in a new charter school just starting a high school sports program... Derek helped coach some football this year and was the head coach for basketball.

I had zero I mean zip nada clue as to how much time this commitment would take.

Derek works one hour away, he is the Young Men's President in our ward, and he has to be on call for his job. Various of our children do scouts, dance class, activity days, wrestling, music classes... we are a busy family.  (I'm in the Primary Presidency but when I look at Derek's "to do" list it feels like I shouldn't even mention it...)   It's a lot.  I mean, we are a great team but I'm thinking that we found our limit this year. 

Anyway, if you all ever wonder why my blog is almost "seasonal" now you know, it is.

HOWEVER... Derek is a fabulous basketball coach.  He took a bunch of boys that never played organized ball and turned them into a serious team.  He is a great mentor and helped these boys be better people, including our own son.  I am very proud of him.

I can't even begin to list the good he does as Young Mens President.  Suffice it to say, he really blesses the lives of the boys in our ward.  There are a few boys here in crisis and he visits them and helps to meet their serious needs.  (He is seriously awesome... wouldn't want to do life without him - love him.)

As hard as it is to live in a small town where both of us have to volunteer so many hours for our children to have all the education/activities we feel are important and each have big church callings, I see the growth that Derek and I have experienced and the opportunities we have to bond with our children... and I am grateful.

In so many ways it is a sacrifice for us to live out here in our little run down desert town and sometimes we get tired and wonder SERIOUSLY WHY CAN'T WE MOVE?  (We are told big fat NO every time we ask in prayer) ... I'm thinking it's probably Derek's fault, (just sayin')


I know it's Heavenly Father, working his plan.  And I am thankful.

PS.  I re-read this and decided that since this entry was pretty much about Derek and his awesomeness I really needed to plug the fact that not only does he do everything listed above, but he is also 911 - literally.  He currently works in the Special Victims Unit and works all crimes against children.  So he goes to work for ten hours helping people in crisis, then he comes home to me (usually having some kind of crisis) and THEN he helps everyone else until bedtime.  He is a real life super hero...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The End Of An Era - Potty Train Has Left the Station...

This is a life changing week for me.

My baby Bella decided to be potty trained.  She's traded out her pull ups for panties.  It's official.

I've pondered so much about potty training over the years.  And it's kind of funny how much HOW a child potty trains defines them as a person.

I certainly didn't know when I started mothering these children and teaching them "basics" like potty training it would give me so much insight into each of their personalities, but it shouldn't surprise me. One of the biggest thing a child controls in his or her world is the decision to "go on the potty" or not.  It's a pretty life changing choice...  It's the step from baby to child.  Now that I'm ending this phase of life (the baby phase) it's given me a lot of time to ponder.

Tyler (now 16) REFUSED to go on the toilet. He potty trained at three and three quarters.  He appreciated what we had to say about it... I mean he could hold full on conversations regarding going on the toilet.  I asked him once, why don't you go on the potty Tyler?  His response?  I don't want to.  Let me be the first to say that Tyler is still EXACTLY the same.  He appreciates what we have to say, he is even mostly respecful and nice.  However, he still does things his (the hard mostly) way.  But in the end, I know he'll be okay he just does things in his time.

Michael potty trained literally about one month after Tyler.  At two. I mean, if Tyler was going to do it he WOULD NOT be outdone.  Michael?  He is still exactly the same.  He does not like to be outdone by his brother, or anyone else so he works very hard at everything he does.  A little over-achiever.  At fourteen he gets straight A's in honors classes, plays five instruments and westles.  There is more, but we'll just stop there.  When you potty train at two and one month and you are a boy, your standards are high.

Jules?  Right on time.  At about two and a half without any fuss she decided she'd be potty trained.  No problems.  Jules now?  Easy going... sweet and eagar to please girl that likes to do everything just - right.

Joshua.... oh he was so messy.  Just too busy to really sit and clean himself up completely.  He was on the go.  I probably had more poop all over the toilet from all of Josh's rushing than any other child combined.  So how is Josh still, at nearly ten?  On the go go go.  It is a true blessing he has that he is also very athletic like his brother Tyler.  A gift from Heavenly Father to channel all of that energy. Jules... "easy peasy" and right on time.  Not too messy, not too rushed.  Pretty careful.  And that is exactly Matthew (at almost 8.)

Now with Bella, she came five years after Matthew like her very own "TaaaaDaaaaa"  and she is potty training the same way.  Every time she goes she asks whomever is around, "are you so happy? I (insert verb here) on the potty".   It's a celebration every time.

That isn't a bad way for me to end the baby stage of my motherhood, with a celebration.  It does make me sad to say goodbye to the "babies"  part of my life, but ending with a party sure makes it fun.

Friday, January 20, 2012

So Random....

So, Bella and I were shopping at our friendly neighborhood Walmart the other day. 

Bella treated our shopping trip like her very own little Miss America pageant.  She smiled and said hello to every person she passed (every person).  She also sang away thoughout the store when she couldn't help herself.  She was just "on."

Our checkout clerk was an friendly older gentleman and he got a huge chuckle out of Bella singing "My Darlin' Clementine."  (I have no idea where she first heard this song, maybe from Grandpa but she sings it over and over.)  He said, you know, I was a singer once, I'm sure you're not old enough to remember the "Love Boat."

What?  Me?  I assured him that not only was I old enough, but I was a die hard fan. (It was "Must see TV" at our house when I was a child. ) He said,"I sang the theme song for the show", and proceeded to belt out "The Love Boat" while he rang through my groceries.  He also threw in a few lines of My Darlin' Clementine for good measure.

How. Cool. Is. That. 

I mean, maybe he was just a random man off the street, but he sure SOUNDED exactly like the Love Boat theme singer.  No, really.  Evidently he retired and his wife wanted him to stop sitting around the house so he got this job at Walmart because he likes interacting with people.  I'm a believer... but he also said that Bella and I had pretty smiles so I guess I'm a sucker too......  Well anyway, he was SOOOOO slow ringing up our order that I'm positive that grocery checker wasn't his first career.

Hey, between the Osmond that was in our ward for two weeks and the Love Boat theme singer, Coolidge is nearly on the map, I mean c'mon!

And now I'll look for him every time I go because who wouldn't want to be serenaded at the friendly neighborhood Walmart every once in a while right?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Standard

As I was working on my much neglected blog tonight I found this draft.  This needs to be published for my posterity.  Maybe they will have the same genes I do.

My Standard
I have one. (A standard that is.)

After all the mornings I sent my chidren to school in dirty clothes, torn knees, mismatched socks, turkey tails and tangles... you name it and as some point or another my kids have left the house with any number of these "situations". (Even dirty socks - I thought I already had my limits there, but after smelling my children's feet after school the other day I guess I was wrong about that.)

I found my limitation (only one so far) this morning

Josh came downstairs dressed in these:

It's hard to tell in this picture, but the hem on these pants is long gone, they've been ripped to shreds.  Both knees are completely torn out.  The legs are so worn you can actually see through them in parts.  To top it off, they are about an inch too short for Josh.  I guess I have to draw the line there.  No. Way.

So now you have it, when your pants are ripped and worn beyond recognizing what they are, AND they are too small, you can't wear them. 

There.  I have a standard.

Her "Highness"

This is how we go to Walmart.  I gave up on making her wear "normal" clothes in public.  As long as she is covered up, she can pick how she leaves the house.  I'm pretty sure she is MUCH more strong willed than I am. 

PS.  In case you can't tell, in both pictures I'm in trouble.  She won't even make eye contact.  Sigh...  hard to share my "princess" title in the home with another person.  But she sure is fun...


I hope that all of my loved ones had a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Sorry that I continue to leave my blog untouched for sooo many weeks on end.  I won't even re-read my post from last year with my New Year Resolutions on it.  Not saying that I won't set more again, but I'm pretty sure I didn't come close to putting a dent in my list.  I will simplify this year's goal.  "Survive" will be the theme.  :) 

So that you all start your New Year's off right, and because I love you all I'm going to include the recipe for "Mexican Shrimp Cocktail" that so many members of my family enjoy.  It's easy and we have it on New Year's Eve and other "special occasions".  Love you all!!!

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail:

1 large bottle of Clamato.  This is sold in the juice isle next to the V- 8.  Clamato is a Hispanic tomato juice cocktail and it does have a different taste than anything else you can buy.  It is the authentic ingredient to make perfect shrimp cocktail... ok I'll be honest, it's made with clam juice but don't be afraid.  You're not serving it over ice and drinking it for breakfast and it makes perfect Mexican Shrimp Cocktail.   If you can't find Clamato, use regular V-8 or spicy V-8 if you like some heat.

1 small can El Pato.  (the yellow can)  This is a Mexican tomato sauce.  I think this can be found in most grocery stores.  If the Smith's in Sandy, Utah carries it (it does), I'm pretty sure you can find it just about anywhere... just sayin'.  For some reason if you can't find this ingredient then just stick to regular old shrimp cocktail...  ok, just kidding.... maybe you could use some juice from pickled jalepenos instead and extra extra seasoning.  The El Pato adds a lot of flavor.  (Or some Herdez red salsa may work, that may come close to the flavor you need.)  Just TRY to find it.

1/2 cup Heinz ketchup (it has the best taste in my opinion)
1/2 - 3/4 bunch cilantro or more to taste
3/4 a medium size red onion, or more to taste
4 stalk celery
1 cucumber, peeled and cubed.  (Cucumber pieces may be larger than the other vegetables.  Small cubes.)
2-3 avacado
approximately 2 pounds frozen shrimp, shells and tail removed
the juice of 1 to 2 large limes
salt, pepper to taste
(A de-seeded, de-veined jalapeno or two, chopped is also optional - just depends on who is eating it...)

Use a "slap chop", food processor or knife to cut the cilantro, celery and red onion into very small pieces.  Really the slap chop makes the veggies a perfect size, a food processor can be too much - you still want some crunch when you eat but the vegetables need to be small.

Pour Clamato into a large bowl, add the ketchup and stir together.  Pour in about 1/2 to 3/4 can of the El Pato.   This keeps the shrimp cocktail fairly mild.  For more kick, add the whole can.

Add vegetables into Clamato mix, then add frozen shrimp.  Juice lime over the entire bowl, add salt and pepper.

Taste test:  VERY IMPORTANT!  Like all things Mexican everything is "to taste."  You may want more crunch from vegetable.  You may need more salt and heat.  Add ketchup for more sweetness. Taste the mix and add any ingredient you think you need to add.

Cover your large bowl and let it sit on the counter for about 20 to 30 minutes.  The shrimp will defrost into your mixture and make it a perfect cold temperature for eating.

Right before serving, cube 2 or 3 avacados and add them into your bowl of cerviche.  (Or shrimp cocktail).  Again, anything you add is to taste.  The final product here should be a soupy consistency that is a little sweet and spicy, almost like eating a cold shrimp soup.  It is fantastic.

Enjoy a little bit of our family tradition and eat up!!!  You will love it, I promise.

Happy New Year!