Sunday, December 28, 2008

For Christmas I got a book called Mommy Mantras: Affirmations and Insights to Keep You from Losing Your Mind. I love it! I'm so glad Heidi found it and blogged about it and that Eric got it for me for Christmas.

The inside cover says:

Mommy mantras are phrases you can say in your head, or out loud if you need to, during those trying moments of mothering. They act to empower you, revive you, and remind you that there is always another way to see your situation.
I just started reading it this week, but it's already been good for me. I woke up this morning saying to myself, "The pump is primed." That's the mantra for acknowledging that you're already on edge, already mad, already "whatever". It can help you move past that feeling more quickly and react to the feeling less. In my case, the pump was primed because Esther woke up early waking up Autumn in the process, they were both not quiet, and I was SO tired still. But I told myself, "the pump is primed" and left the room to get breakfast going. I didn't yell. I didn't snap at them. But I was able to talk to them about being LOUD and about waking up EARLY....although the latter is not something you can convince a 2 1/2 year old NOT to do...

Saturday, December 27, 2008


I love music with strings. I'm trying to make a playlist right now - violin, viola, cello, but not orchestral. Ensemble or solo (ensembles with other instruments are okay, like Eroica trio which is piano, violin, and cello). I want the playlist "just because" but I'm also thinking I'll pull from it to make one of a few playlists for labor.

Here's what I've got so far:
No. 3 Miero vuotti uutta kuuta from Five Finnish Folk Songs
(Silk Road Journeys: When Strangers Meet, Yo-Yo Ma)
Chi passa per'sta strada
(Silk Road Journeys: When Strangers Meet, Yo-Yo Ma)
Danse macabre, Op. 40, Camille Saint-Saens

(Devil's Dance, Gil Shaham)
La Ronde des Lutins, scherzo fantastique for violin & piano, Op 25, Antonio Bazzini
(Devil's Dance, Gil Shaham)
The Swan from Carnival of the Animals, Camille Saint-Saens
(Essential Yo-Yo Ma)
Berceuse from the opera "Jocelyn"
(Eroica Trio)
Bach Cello Suites (not sure which ones yet other than #1)
(Bach: Cello Suites, Yo-Yo Ma)

If you're not familiar with the ones above, I highly recommend hopping onto iTunes and listening to clips of them. They are all GORGEOUS.

But I need more!!!

Suggestions? Favorites?

Friday, December 26, 2008

I grinned and chuckled to myself today when I saw a thin, white-haired old man leaving the grocery store with one bag in hand, running across the street. He was wearing a gold-yellow stocking cap (not the Wee Willie Winkie kind, but the kind that still have a bit of the hat bunched atop the head, not flush with the head), carrying a brown/gold cane, wearing a white t-shirt, short gray shorts, black socks almost to his knees, and tennis shoes.

I shared with Eric when he came out of the store. He had seen him too and hoped I had.

Thank you sir, for making my day. For something to smile and laugh about. Someday I will have grandchildren of my own and they will giggle at the silly things I do too.

Last week my grandma died after a long battle with cancer. She was diagnosed in 2005 and told it would be about 3-4 months. 40 months later...I was able to fly to Utah to be at the funeral and with family (thank you Mom & Dad!!).

It was a beautiful service and I am SO thankful for the time I was able to spend with family. We were all especially grateful for our testimonies of the gospel and to know that grandma is happy where she is, no longer in pain, and reuniting with family and friends who went before her. She brought so many of us together at such a special time, Christmas time, and I know she was happy that we could all be reunited as we remembered the wonderful life she led and the great example she was to all of us. It was a sad visit at times, but overall there was a great feeling of peace.

And despite the bad weather that the whole country has seen this week, I made it back in time to snuggle with my girls & Eric on our bed and read The Night Before Christmas after setting out cookies & milk for Santa.

We all had a wonderful Christmas and are still enjoying our presents. We are blessed. Soon I'll take a picture of Eric playing Guitar Hero to add to the other Christmas pictures that I'll upload to this post.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

No pictures will accompany this post. With good reason.

As I've been sitting here checking my email, Esther has visited me several times for help dressing and undressing. Help snap a onesie (on right-side out and right-side-up!), unsnap said onesie, snap onesie....she's gone from no onesie to onesie several times this morning. But the most recent unsnapping was followed by "I take off my diaper." And as I protested, "NO!" and reached for her, the diaper was already off and she was running down the hall to her bedroom.

So naturally, I followed her.

Only to find...THREE naked bums, water all over the room, an empty spray bottle, and Pachelbel's Canon in D playing on their stereo.

Pachelbel's Canon in D? It was like some weird movie scene where people are doing something crazy but the music is beautiful and calm....making it a dreamlike know the ones?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Headbands and shades are always winners.

Add shoes.
Any two will do.

Wear your clothes upside-down and inside-out.

Don't forget to take a picture of the bum-flap.

(This was completely her idea. My only contribution was to do up the snap at her request. This is why I don't dress her until right before we walk out the door. I think I could make a book from all her different outfits.)

Today is St. Nicholas Day, or Sankt Nikolaos Tag. Last night the girls put their shoes by the door to await the arrival of a few goodies from Saint Nicholas.

This morning Autumn & Heidi were so excited that they were up at 6:15. Esther slept until 7:00 despite the ruckus her sisters made. I'm so glad! Eric and I were able to grab a few extra winks by telling Autumn & Heidi to stay in their room but as always, once Esther was up, so were we.

After several attempts from us to keep Heidi & Autumn in their room, Heidi came in to say:
"Mom, it's time to get up! The clocks are all wrong."
"Heidi, look outside. It's still dark."
"No-o! The sky is listening to the clocks."

Is it Christmas season or what? I think kids make the holiday season magical. Their excitement is contagious (as if I'm not already excited enough on my own...I was listening to Christmas music before we got to Thanksgiving!).

On a sidenote, I've had a small piece of white pvc tubing sitting by my sink for several weeks now.

It looks like this, but white...

I've been keeping it there to remind myself to blog about it.

Several weeks ago I walked into the bathroom and found Heidi using this pvc tubing to siphon water from the faucet into a cup. We've never talked about how that works. It was just something she was discovered on her own. :) So cool!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Excuse me?!

Yesterday at the grocery store a checker at the register (not even my register) commented to me that I must be hoping for a boy. When I replied that we're having another girl she practically begged me to try at least one more time for a boy! And then she said to the woman whose groceries she was checking, "The more kids you have, the better they friend has seven kids and they are SO well behaved..."

OKAY. Faulty logic at work here. More kids automatically means better behaved kids? Yeah...

She then looked over at Eric and said to me, "He must be doing something wrong!"

I know, and we all know, that it's the man's side of things that determines gender - but despite that, I was still a little terked (Is that a word? I'm making it one!). Excuse me? That's my husband you're joking about and I don't appreciate it! I almost told her with a huge grin that he does everything RIGHT. Not really a very witty comment, but sheesh lady. Come on! I decided not to say anything at all.

See, I know she was just trying to be nice. But it rubbed me the wrong way all the same.

I wonder now if I need to come up with a whole slew of comebacks for comments of this sort since this surely won't be the last in a family of four daughters. Or maybe I'll just decide to smile and nod while inwardly letting out an exasperated sigh.

Anyone have any witty comments I should save for later?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I subscribe to a fun blog with opinions about baby and children's products and children in general, from the point of view of a dad and found this on there today. Lots of fun pictures of Thanksgiving cupcakes lots of different people have made.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

So Thursday night I went to the midnight showing of TWILIGHT. :) It was very fun. Fun to hang out with friends, fun to be without the kiddos, and fun to see the movie.

I don't know that I'm going to do a whole review -- but I liked it! A lot! More than I expected to actually.

The other day my friend Liz posted this video her sister made about TWILIGHT. It's hilarious! Go see!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

As I was reading today about a new Motrin campaign ad that makes babywearing look bad, I found a really cool travel website for mom's with kids.

As y'all know, I've done my fair share of traveling with kids. First with a 2-month baby flying from SLC to Frankfurt. Then two years later flying with a 2-month old baby AGAIN and a 2-year old from SLC to Frankfurt. (With lots of road trips in between) And then flying without the hubby with a 5-year old, 3-year old, and 1-year old from SLC to San Francisco to Nagasaki Japan. And then of course there were the flights to return back to the States too. We are a well traveled family.

So I was excited to see that Mom Most Traveled is hosting a giveaway (it ends on the 18th) for a CARES restraint! I first read about CARES restraints last month as I was doing research and planning for our upcoming flight to Germany (yeah, I like to plan ahead...we still have about 10 months to go...).

As described on their webpage, Kids Fly Safe:

Forget about hauling a heavy, bulky car seat through crowded airports and narrow airplane aisles. There's a better way to keep your young children safe while flying. CARES (Child Aviation Restraint System) is designed specifically for airplanes and is FAA certified as having an equivalent level of safety to a car seat for all phases of flight. CARES is manufactured by AmSafe Aviation, the foremost manufacturer of airplane seatbelts and other safety restraints. Best of all, CARES weighs only 1 lb, fits in a 6" carrying case, fits on virtually all airplane seats and takes a mere 1 minute to install.
I would have loved one of these on our flights to and from Japan last summer. We took along one of our carseats and used it on our first, shorter flight but it made the tray on the sit in front of it unusable. It was a nuisance. But I knew that if my girls could have been in a 5-point harness, they would have an easier time staying in their seats. It would help them feel like we were going somewhere, even though they couldn't really feel the plane moving.

I'm crossing my fingers that I get lucky and win a CARES restraint because they cost 80 bucks!! Crazy huh?

But I googled it and found someone who rents them through ebay. $15 for a vacation that is no longer than 21 days.

And while I'm on the topic of flying with kids, here are some things I've found helpful. If you've been following along for awhile, you'll remember some of these from last summer (Yep, that's three different links. I'm feeling a little link-happy today).

Safety Harnesses
Make sure you get something that goes around the torso like this.
If it only attaches to the wrist it's a waist of time and money.
I put these on the girls and just unclipped the leash when we got on the airplane.
That kept me from having to worry about taking the harness on in a rush.

Baby Bassinet
The details for how I made this are on a past post, here.
Whatever you do, try to have some plan that accomodates a sleeping baby.
You'll be glad you did.

If I had to give one piece of advice on traveling with kids, I'd say
You know your kids,
what keeps them entertained,
what helps them feel secure,
what triggers tantrums.
Do a little planning to address those things and you'll have a great time!

(And trust yourself to come up with solutions based on what you have at home too!
You don't have to buy the whole store!)

Also, here are some blogs I subscribe to for travel tips:

Mom Most Traveled
Delicious Baby: Making Travel with Kids Fun

Update -- I've been asked for ideas for car trips and here are some of the things that have helped us:

* Make something your kids can use as lap desks in the car so they have a way to draw. Or buy a lap desk. We got ours at Borders for $15 each. I think that's pricey, but they were birthday presents. You could always try using a wooden puzzle flipped over.

* Read out loud to them or have them read to you or siblings, for those that can.

* Let them take turns listening to music or books on tape/CD on an mp3 player or walkman/discman.

* Let them each bring a stuffed animal, pillow, and blanket.

* If you have a Nintendo DS or know someone who doesn't need theirs for the Thanksgiving week, those are great and have some really fun kid games.

* Depending on how much charge your laptop gets, let your kids use it to play some of their favorite computer games.

* My girls also love dot to dots and things like that. You can find tons of printable activities online.

* And when all else fails, watch movies on a portable DVD player!


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Right now Esther is walking around the house swinging a toy-filled ice cream bucket singing,

catch a tiger
by his toe

She also says gark for dark, gink for drink, and gared, for scared. So sometimes I hear,

"Mommy, i's (that's her "it's") gark in here. I's gary!"

Funny is HUNNY.

And every time she takes her shoes off in the car - which is just about every time we're IN the car...she says,

"My shoes feel a little HUNNY Mom!"

Phone is HONE.

"Your HONE is ringing Mommy."

What a kid!

* These pictures are from the night Esther woke up screaming and unable to go back to sleep. I took her to Urgent Care and discovered she had a really bad ear infection in her right ear. On the way out the door to the doctor she said, "Get it out, Mommy! Get it out!" She was not a happy camper.

She's had more than her fair share of doctor/urgent care/ER visits and is usually very mellow and even smiley for the doctors and nurses. That night she was in no mood for smiles. We could barely get her to allow them to do take her temperature. Or check her pulse.

But after the doctor visit and a dose of motrin, we picked up her prescriptions (antibiotics and ear drops) and headed home. I think once that motrin kicked in she was feeling euphoric because she couldn't feel anymore pain! She was really goofy on the car-ride home. She kept talking about kitties, about getting the kitties in, and hurry hurry, and how doggies say "wuf", and chickens say "brawk". At home it was more of the same and that's when I snapped those pictures. :) Eric and I were worried she was too hyper to sleep. But we laid her down and she didn't even try to get out of bed once.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I almost used a yogurt raisin as ticky-tack.

10am and Heidi has asked for a snack multiple times. I suddenly remembered the rest of us ate breakfast while she was still sleeping. Even she had not realized she hadn't had breakfast. She is now eating honey nut cheerios.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

We missed Esther's nap today. Fast forward to 6:30pm -- she fell asleep in her booster seat at the table. Poor thing! Of course, as I called Eric over to look - she woke up. She was waiting for ice cream. So I got her the ice cream and then put her in bed. I sat on the floor next to her bed and held her in my arms, wrapped up in her blanket, and sang to her. :) Just the two of us in the room. How rare! And so sweet.

Monday, November 3, 2008

WOW. All I can say is WOW. I've had so much going through my head regarding Proposition 8 and for the first time -- I understand why I will vote YES on Amendment 2 here in Florida to declare that marriage be defined as between a man and a woman and why I would vote YES on Proposition 8 if I lived in California.

Up until now, I knew I would vote yes. Because the prophet of our church has asked us to do so. But I hadn't resolved in my mind, why it was so important that for the first ever, the leaders of the Church are actually taking a position in something political.

I get it.

Read this. It's a bit long, but so worth it, and so riveting.


I am going to attempt the impossible: I want to try to discuss Proposition 8 in an honest, equitable manner.

To demonstrate the divisiveness of the issue, let me first point out that I could only call it "Proposition 8." If I'd called it by its original name, "Proposition 8: California Marriage Protection Act," you would think that I want you to vote "Yes on 8." After all, who wouldn't want to protect marriage? If I'd called it by its new name, as determined by California's attorney general and legislative analyst in July, "Proposition 8: Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry," you would think that I want you to vote "No on 8." After all, who would want to eliminate someone's rights?

And, to demonstrate how far-reaching its effects, I didn't even need to call it "California' s Proposition 8." No matter where this email goes, to any of the 50 states that may have propositions up for vote, I'm confident people will know which state's "Proposition 8" I'm talking about.

Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times describes the Proposition with poetic imagery: "it is raging like a wind-whipped wildfire in California." More poetic still...from an article in Monday's San Francisco Chronicle:

"Michelle Sundstrom and her husband gave $30,000 to the Yes on 8 campaign and put a sign on their home. But in response, two women
parked an SUV in front of their home, with the words 'Bigots live here' painted
on the windshield. Sundstrom believes such responses must come from deep places of pain-and that gays and lesbians are entitled to the same rights as
heterosexuals, just not the word marriage. Any animosity toward gays or lesbians is wrong, she said.

"There must be such deep, deep, deep hurt; otherwise there couldn't be so much opposition," she said. "They've lived with this. I guess we're getting a taste of where they live."

Wow. Perhaps all this craziness and hate-slinging is actually getting us somewhere. A heterosexual Mormon couple has a "Bigots live here" sign parked in front of their house, and what's their response? "They've lived with this. I guess we're getting a taste of where they live."

And she didn't just say "deep hurt." She said "deep, deep, deep hurt." I know the depth of that pain. I grew up Mormon and gay back in the 1970s. That was when we were shunned, ridiculed, bruised, battered, and discriminated against by nearly everyone, religious or otherwise. We hid in the closets because it hurt too much to come out. People who did come out were called perverts, child molesters, predators, queer, sick, you name it. For those of us who were Mormon, it was even worse. We were attracted to the same sex, yet Mormon doctrine stated we were supposed to get married only to a member of the opposite sex. It is a direct conflict between the two strongest, most significant desires in life.

When I was in college, I met a woman with whom I thought I'd spend the rest of my life. But after a couple of years, we broke up. That was when I had this feeling, an impression, to talk to my bishop. I had no idea who he was because I hadn't gone to church in years.

That bishop used the power of the priesthood in my behalf, just as the divine plan had been laid out. He met with me for almost three years as I struggled and faltered. Suicide was a very real threat. I feel blessed, or lucky, or both, not to be among the many who have already pulled the trigger. I wasn't suicidal because of the Church's unwavering stance on marriage, however. I hadn't been forced to believe, or guilted into it. I had not been brainwashed. My testimony came from the heart.

In time, my spiritual identity began to gain strength over my sexual identity. I
was finally able to choose the right. But it was a troubling choice. I had no
desire, whatsoever, to spend a lifetime with a man - much less an eternity. So
that left me with celibacy. To this day, sacrificing same-sex relationships is
the greatest sacrifice I have made.

Years ago, a friend said: "The sacrifice of a loved one for an attempt to live righteously cannot go unnoticed. The loss is real, the sadness is real, in a world where so few things are real." Now, the loss and pain are being publicly recognized by Church leaders. In a fireside for Latter-day Saints in California, Elder Quentin L. Cook said, "There are faithful temple-worthy members of the
Church who struggle with this great challenge, often in silence, fear, and
great pain. Our hearts go out to these good brothers and sisters even as we
uphold the divine truths the Lord has revealed about marriage."

Back when I was struggling with same-sex attraction, I couldn't find any LDS resources that dealt specifically with the issue. I'd insist, "The Church doesn't
understand. They don't even care enough to help." Finally I realized the
Church I was critizing was not just "they", it was also "I". And perhaps "I" should quit complaining and start writing. So I did. The title of my book sums it up: Born That Way? A True Story of Overcoming Same-Sex Attraction. Few people were offering hope back then for people who wanted to overcome same-sex attraction. I felt compelled by the spirit to provide hope for others with struggles similar to mine.

The secular resources did more harm than good. Back then, the only claims you heard from the "experts" were: "Sexual attractions are a permanent part of who you are. They're indelible, unchangeable, and unavoidable. " Fortunately,
the "experts" are now realizing that, just like other aspects of who we are,
sexual attractions are influenced by genetics, environment, upbringing,
experiences - all of it. Nature and nurture are no longer pitted against each

I've had the unique opportunity to witness the journey of many people who struggle with same-sex attractions. In 1990, I volunteered as a phone counselor - originally referred through Evergreen, an organization established to help Mormons who face this trial. Over the span of almost 20 years, I've seen some Latter-day Saints get married in the temple, and others work to remain celibate - either because they have not found a spouse yet, or because they have not developed attractions toward the opposite sex. I also have friends, who once had very strong testimonies, who tried desperately to bring their lives into accordance with gospel principles, but finally gave up. At least for now.

Some people, no matter what they do or how hard they try, will never find
themselves attracted to the opposite sex, in this life. They deserve our utmost
respect. So do those who identify as gay or straight or bisexual or none of the
above. They all deserve our respect.

It's not difficult for me to understand how the body of the Church in California has become divided over this issue. I have felt divided, too. Our family lived in California in 2000, when the Defense of Marriage Act came up for vote the first time. My husband and I were sealed together for time and all eternity, and our children were born under the new and everlasting covenant. We, as an eternal family, were and are the direct beneficiaries of the Church's unwavering stance on marriage. What once created angst so severe I considered suicide has led me to a life I never thought possible. One in which I have been happily married - to a man - for 15 years.

However, I know all too well what it's like to be discriminated against. "Eliminating" someone else's rights seems wrong. And up until this past week, it seemed to go against my sense of fairness, democracy and justice as a citizen of the United States. It also seemed to run contrary to the core of my faith - the second greatest commandment - to love one another.

Despite my apprehensions in 2000, my husband and I acted in faith and supported Proposition 22 because the prophet asked us to. I hate to
admit this, but it wasn't until this week that I was finally able to reconcile
the opposing viewpoints I continued to debate with myself. I finally realized
why the leaders of the Mormon Church have been taking such an active role in
all this. It happened when I read a National Public Radio report entitled "When
Gay Rights and Religious Liberties Clash". It says, "In recent years, some
states have passed laws giving residents the right to same-sex unions in
various forms. Gay couples may marry in Massachusetts and California. There are civil unions and domestic partnerships in Vermont, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Oregon."

I was astonished when I read: "So far, the religious groups are losing." They listed examples such as Catholic Charities in Massachusetts. They had to pull out of the adoption business because they refused to adopt to same-sex couples. Even individuals' religious rights are being revoked. A woman
declined to photograph a same-sex couple's commitment ceremony, saying her Christian beliefs prevented her from sanctioning same-sex unions. She was found guilty of discrimination.

When I read that article, it was like a light bulb went on. More importantly, I also felt a spiritual confirmation that the prophet truly is prophetic. Here is the impression that came to me as I read:

It's not that the Mormon Church is trying to get into politics. It's that politics is trying to get into the Church. And not just our church. Any church or congregation or individual who believes that only a marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.

I'm sorry I couldn't see what the prophet could see-until this week. I'm sorry I'm not sending this letter out till now. And I'm sorry for my apathy - for being "lukewarm". Why, just last week I thought it was only a matter of time before same-sex marriages became legal everywhere. How wrong I was.

Yes, we're behind in the polls. Yes, it's the Friday before Election Day. So PLEASE, email this letter to anyone and everyone you think could benefit from it - as quickly as possible!

Unfortunately, someone has to lose with Proposition 8. Somebody's right to something will be limited at the end of the day on Tuesday. I, for one, do not want it to be my right to worship as I please.


Erin Eldridge

P.S. For those who would like to respond to this letter - whether in anger or frustration or support - I will do my best to respond to every email I receive. But please, be patient. All our kids are still at home and I work part time. Email riverwalk8@gmail. com.

Friday, October 31, 2008


Today I got a box of baby girl clothes from my awesome sister, Rae, and as I was looking through it Eric asked for the ultrasound pictures. So we pored over them again. And he's not sold. I still think it's a girl, although I admit that the ultrasound is a little fuzzy.

The ultrasound did end up being at 18 weeks rather than 20 since our dates were off, so the picture's not as distinct as it's has been with all of our others. And we did think we saw something "boyish" earlier on in the ultrasound but then the doctor said, "I think I saw girl parts." But it wasn't in a questioning "I think" but just a conversational "I think" if you get my drift. But then the technician puts ?? next to the technician wasn't sure even though the doctor said girl? Or are they supposed to put question marks so we don't get mad if they're wrong??

What do you guys think?

A little "ultrasound 101" if you're not sure what you're looking the bottom are two roughly roundish shapes, that's the bum. And you can also see a leg & foot. And contrary to popular opinion, you can see girl parts when it's a girl. It's not simply "lack of boy parts" that make technicians and doctors say you're having a girl. I've seen enough girl ultrasound to know that's DEFINITELY true. Question this one of them?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Publix, one of our local grocery stores, has a HUGE scale in each of its stores. Yesterday was actually the first time I'd noticed the scale (probably because it was right next to the bathroom and half of us HAD to go).

The girls had fun.

Autumn is 7 years old and weighs 45 lbs.

Heidi is 5 years old and weighs 35 lbs.

Esther is 2 yrs 5 months and weighs 23 lbs.

The dryer works!!!

We had a technician come look at it and a cable had broken. He said it's not uncommon in dryers as old as ours. He had checked pretty much everything else first, so by the time he was finished he could also say that everything else looked just fine. :)

He also gave us a REALLY good deal because our referral had quoted a lower price when they referred us. Really nice considering otherwise we could've gotten yet another dryer for less than the original price.

And next time (knock on wood?!), I think I'll feel a little more comfortable trying some things on my own now that I've seen the "innards" of my dryer and watched the technician use his V-ohm reader. I read about those when I was researching dryer problems but they sounded so complex! After watching how they work, I'm not so intimidated.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I am SO done.

It just wasn't meant to be.

Dryers + Me + Florida = Tragedy

That's right, the dryer we bought to replace the one that caught on fire has stopped working. At first I was tempted to feel bad that we continue to get used dryers instead of caving in and going with a new one. But then I remembered:
  • three dryers for a total of $50 is a good thing
  • three dryers over a total of 3 years is not so good, but still pretty good for only $50
  • two of those dryers were free
  • a new dryer would cost $300
At this point, I have flipped the circuit breaker hoping it would be that simple. It wasn't. Next I will pull out the dryer and see if I can take off the back. Not because I know what I'm doing, but because maybe I'll see something that screams at me, "I'm what's wrong! Fix me!"

Wish me luck!

Friday, October 24, 2008

I have never felt so conflicted about who to cast my presidential vote for. I'm about 60% sure I've made my decision, but that other 40% keeps me thinking about all the issues and double and triple checking all of my reasons behind who I will vote for. It is a strange feeling to be less than two weeks from Election Day and realize I may still end up changing my mind. BUT at the same time, isn't that the beauty of the system? We can change our minds. We can vote for whomever we feel will best represent our concerns and values.

Along that vein, I have been frustrated recently as I have searched high and low to find out everything that will be on the ballot. Finally, this morning I found what I was looking for.

If you live in Florida, specifically Leon County, you'll be interested in all of this. If you don't live in Florida, but still haven't looked into what else will be on your ballot, I suggest googling something like "city name ballot candidates" or "city name ballot amendments". I had a lot more success using my city name rather than state because there are many issues that are county/city specific.

So on to what I found that will interest my fellow Floridians/Leon "Countians". If you go here you will find a searchable database with most of the candidates running for office. If you go here you will find another list with many of the candidates from the searchable database as well as a few others. Go to this page by the Tallahassee Democrat for a run-down of the amendments on the ballot, or this page for another summary, or this page for the actual language of the amendments.

Because I've already done some legwork on this and was frustrated at how long it took -- I want to share what I found on the candidates running. Be forewarned, this is quite a substantial list. Does anyone know if we're allowed to take a paper in with our own notes?

My apologies in advance if you were hoping to see what party these candidates are running under. If it's not listed, I don't know. I pulled this list together this morning and have yet to actually GO to all of the links and make my own decisions regarding these candidates.

UPDATE: I was just looking through my "Official Sample Ballot" (anyone in Leon County should have received one of these). While it doesn't list the specifics on each candidate, it does include a Special Pull-Out Section that you can use to vote at home and then take with you to refer to as you actually vote. So, if anyone else had the same question I asked above -- there's the answer!

ANOTHER UPDATE: So, I was bugged that the "Official Sample Ballot" said "not every race listed on this Sample Ballot will be on your actual ballot". Thank goodness it directed me to where I could see an actual copy of my ballot. If you live here in Leon County that link will be helpful. You'll need to go look on your voter registration card to see what precinct you're in and then go from there. Each precinct will list four ballots, but only the one ending in G is for November 4th. The rest are all from August 26th.

But after looking over my actual ballot, I am confused! I know that I only need to vote for candidates in my district when there are other districts involved -- but how is it that so many of the names listed here in my post (from the Tallahassee Democrat) are not on the ballot? I'm going to be referring back to this post as I pick my candidates so I'm adding bold highlighting to all of the candidates I will be looking at. Also, apparently I don't get to vote for the county sheriff?

And then there were other issues I didn't even know to expect -- so I will also be looking into whether or not the following judges should be retained in office:

Justice Charles T. Wells of the Supreme Court
Judge Robert T. Benton of the First District Court of Appeal
Judge Marguerite H. Davis of the First District Court of Appeal
Judge Joseph Lewis, Jr. of the First District Court of Appeal
Judge Ricky L. Polston of the First District Court of Appeal
Judge Clay Roberts of the First District Court of Appeal
Judge William A. Van Nortwick, Jr. of the First District Court of Appeal

(I think the "judge" was a little redundant...ah well.)

Ochlockonee River Soil & Water Supervisor - District 1
Brian Acosta
Sean McGlynn

2nd Judicial Circuit Judge, Group 16
Bill Miller
Angela Dempsey

2nd Judicial Circuit Judge, Group 3
David Frank
Kevin Davey

2nd Judicial Circuit Judge, Group 4
Charles Dodson
Dawn Caloca-Johnson

County Judge, Seat 5
Nina Ashenafi Richardson
Sean T. Desmond

2nd Judicial Circuit Judge, Group 7
Frank E. Sheffield
Lisa Raleigh

Capital Region Community Development District Supervisor, Seat 2
Barry G. Brooks
Correy W. Dietz
Wayne Toothman

Capital Region Community Development District Supervisor, Seat 4
Twyla Sketchley
Gil Ziffer

City Commissioner, Seat 1
Larry Hendricks - no webpage, write-in candidate, but this link has a debate between Henricks & Mustian on green issues
Mark Mustian

Leon County Commission, At-Large
Akin Akinyemi
Alma Gonzalez

Leon County School Board, District 1
Derron Bennett
Forrest Van Camp

Leon County School Board, District 2
Dee Crumpler
Dianne D. Williams-Cox

Leon County School Board, District 4
Dee Dee Rasmussen
Floyd Self
Jon Conley
Jose Lorenzo
Rosa L. Lovett

Leon County Sheriff
Larry Campbell
Tommy Lee Mills

State House, District 10
Don Curtis
Julie S. Conley
Leonard Bembry
Mike Williams

State House, District 9
Jerry Sutphin
Peter Boulware - Republican
Michelle Rehwinkel-Vasilinda - Democrat

State Representative, District 8
Alan Williams
Anthony Viegbesie
Carolyn J. Roberson
Hubert R. Brown
Rodney Moore
Rudolph Maloy
Sean Shaw


Allen Boyd - Democrat
Mark Mulligan - Republican


Ander Crenshaw - Republican
Jay McGovern - Democrat


Charles S. Dean - Republican
Suzan L. R. Franks - Democrat

Monday, October 20, 2008

I've lost count. I think this is "hair episode" 3 or 4. Heidi found scissors...again. I thought she was over it, being 5 and months having passed since last time. Obviously I was wrong. Here's Esther "pre-haircut".

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a picture of Esther hair before I fixed the damage. Although actually, I didn't have to do a whole lot fix it! Heidi did a pretty good job. There are some bits that are uneven but they're hard to see. And after I cut off the obviously too long parts, here's what we ended up with.

And guess what? I love Esther's new haircut!
Too bad I can't exactly thank Heidi...

I remember that when I was growing up there were dolls with hair you could cut and style and it would keep growing? I did some searching but couldn't find anything like that anymore. I did however, find these hilarious grass heads.
Eggheads - kind of weird lookin'

Much cuter. I think we could try making some of these.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I just found this on and it is also backed up by the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics). Okay, I knew that it was important to keep kids rear-facing till they are at least one and 20 pounds in weight. Each of my girls had to wait until somewhere between 15-18 months, being such featherweights. But after reading this, I'm seriously considering turning our 2-year-old, 23 pounder rear-facing again!

A common question asked by parents is, "How soon can I turn my child to face forward?" The universally accepted response is to keep your child rear facing to AT LEAST one year of age AND 20 pounds in weight. In fact, it is preferable to keep your child rear-facing as long as possible, and that may mean up to 30 or 35 pounds for most convertible car seats. The American Academy of Pediatrics and other Child Passenger Safety organizations endorse this philosophy.

  • Rear-facing is safest for both adults and children, but especially for babies, who would face a greater risk of spinal cord injury in a front-facing carseat during a frontal crash.

  • Rear-facing car seats spread frontal crash forces over the whole area of a baby's back, head and neck; they also prevent the head from snapping relative to the body in a frontal crash.

  • Rear-facing carseats may not be quite as effective in a rear end crash, but severe frontal and frontal offset crashes are far more frequent and far more severe than severe rear end crashes.

  • Rear-facing carseats are NOT a safety risk just because a baby's legs are bent at the knees or because they can touch/kick the vehicle seat.

  • Rear-facing as long as possible is the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatricians, and can reduce injuries and deaths. Motor Vehicle Crashes are the #1 overall cause of death for children 14 and under.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I've been lying on the couch all afternoon trying not cough or laugh. I woke up this morning thinking I had pulled some muscles from sleeping in weird positions and figured it would go away. But by the time I took the girls to gymnastics, I realized it was that "sick" achy and not pulled muscles. I've got a little bit of the chills and just want to lie down and I have no idea what this could be. Just one of the many bugs that are going around right now, I suppose.

But, I think I can manage writing a post to say....




Yep! Apparently, we're specialists. :) She's healthy and everything looks good. However, they did change my due date. I knew there was a good chance this would happen. I'm fine with it. I'm due mid-March rather than March 2nd. One day before my mom's birthday, March 17th.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I find myself thinking a lot about how our family will get around when we are six. In some ways, it feels like we'll revert back to how it was with two children. The older two can fend for themselves in ways they couldn't before. They can help a lot. BUT, they're still kids so I can't pretend they're not there. :) They still figure into the equation when I think about outings and how to corral our crew but they don't need their own seats. I just have to remember that whatever we do for the younger two should be as easy as possible since there are still two more. :)

Lately, I've been thinking these things may be helpful:

The ERGO Baby Carrier. I love how it can be used on the front, the hip, or the back. A lot more options than my Baby Bjorn. And a higher weight limit.

Baby Trend's Sit 'N Stand Plus. This stroller rocks! (or at least, it sure looks like it would...) It converts from a double tandem stroller to the sit 'n stand option. I think that could be really valuable since Esther is still only two. The more options, the better - right?

One Step Ahead's Sit 'N Stand Elite. From what I understand, these strollers are actually made by the same company. So it's hard to tell if there are really differences between the two other than color choice. BUT, when we bought our Schwinn jogger, I learned that Schwinn also makes the InSTEP joggers. Similar idea. I found that the Schwinns were nicer and a little bit higher-priced. Maybe it works the same with these strollers. If so, it looks like One Step Ahead comes out on top.

I should also mention (or announce really!), that we are moving to Germany next fall. Yep. It's time. We've been running away from the idea of moving to Europe but the idea keeps catching up to us. Hmm...coincidence? I think not. Anyway, for that reason side-by-side strollers will be out of the question. Except that we'll take our double jogger and still be using that for exercise and outdoor-wide-open-space places like the Schwetzingen Schloss but we'll have to do something else for places like the Fußgängerzone (pronounced foos-ganger-zone) and other tight places.

So all you Moms & Dads (yes dads, you can comment too!) -- how do you get around with your kids? Do you wear your babies in slings? In carriers? In your arms? Do you take a single stroller for the toddler? Does your toddler hold your hand? Do you have a double stroller? Is it side-by-side? Is it tandem? Is it a sit-n-stand?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Have you ever won anything? I haven't.

I now have close to 200 entries in the handbag contest! Wow. My apologies if you got one or more invitations and weren't interested. I'm amazed that they're offering one extra entry per person you invite without them even having to accept. That's pretty awesome. Now I just it enough? What are my chances to win the handbag I want? Maybe I should have left the "Support" email addresses on the list and all the company emails I have....hmmm...yeah, I'm not going there.

Oh, and if you're a little worried -- handbagplanet won't be keeping your email. They only sent the invite and then discarded the email info.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Go to and register to win! They are giving away a free handbag every hour for 24 hours on Oct 15th!

There's absolutely no catch - this means no shipping/handling fees or credit card required. Yes, it's really that simple!

(thanks Melody for telling me about it!!)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I'm so excited! One week left till our ultrasound. Please, please, please let this baby not be shy! I am (not surprisingly) hoping for a certain gender...BUT, ultimately I really just want to KNOW so I can stop trying to guess.

What do you guys think we're having? Take a sec and vote in my poll!

Sunday, October 5, 2008


hodge-podge: (noun) any jumbled mixture; mess; medley

In no particular order, these are the things that have been on my mind the last couple of days...

**Like my dear sister Rae, Conference this weekend did not go as expected. Saturday actually went very well. I was so impressed with the girls. Autumn watched the first half of the morning session and then both Autumn & Heidi played outside while Esther slept. And they played outside through the other session as well. Esther stayed in with Eric and me and was happy about that (thankfully) since we provided some good distractions.

But, I am so grateful that we could watch from home! Today did not go as smoothly. Not by a long stretch. Granted, the girls still did very well for their seven, five, and two years. I keep imagining our little family at the chapel trying to watch four sessions and I know we would have made it through only one. What a blessing to be at home and watch one all together and then for Eric and I to be able to watch what we could while the girls did other things.

**Yesterday Eric was frustrated and snapped at Esther. She walked over to him, put her hand on his leg, and said, "Daddy, calm down. Calm down Daddy." Who's the parent here? The frustration was quickly forgotten as we laughed at the reversed roles. Whose kid is this?!

**And earlier this week Heidi asked me, "When are we going to Japan?" (That's where Grandma & Grandpa are and we visited them before moving here.) I explained that G & G will be moving back to the States next summer and that we won't be making another trip to Japan. We talked about how they'll probably live in the Northeast close to Oma & Opa and about how long it would take us to drive to see them. She then said, "But Uncle Phill, he lives far away on a mountain." Hah hah! Awesome. Of course, he doesn't. But he does live in a state where there are mountains and that must be one of the things she remembers most from our time living there. Funny kid. Autumn then added, "But Heidi, if we visited Uncle Isaac it would take us 5 days to get there. And dad would have to drive the whole way. And we would have to bring 3 plus 3 plus 3 plus 3 plus 3 meals."

Funny, funny kids.

And I am so glad to be reminded of these things as I'm typing. Because I've left this post 10 times to say, "Stop licking that frosting bowl-Keep the fridge closed-Get out of the bathroom-Please stop flushing the toilet-No you can't play outside-Everyone GET in the living room and SIT DOWN!"

Again, time just flies and even some of the most important posts for the blog get lost in the shuffle of LIFE.
No worries though. We enjoyed Autumn's birthday last year, regardless of when I'm blogging the details!

Looks like she's gonna have to watch those new toys if she wants them to herself for a bit!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Alright all you bakers. I need help. Heidi's birthday was this past Monday and we had chocolate cake (not homemade) with cream cheese frosting (homemade). I think the frosting was alright but not as exciting as I'd hoped it would be. The cake was awful. Boxed cake mixes are usually fine. Maybe it was my pregnant taste-buds. I don't know. But it was fluffy and had no real substance to it.

Autumn's birthday is on Sunday and I have to redeem myself. No one else had problems with Heidi's cake -- but I can't eat another bite of it and I was looking forward to good cake this week.

So here's where ya'll come in. How do you make a box-cake taste more substantial? More homemade? Because I'm not up for making a cake from scratch. They just never work out for me. Plus, I've already bought a vanilla cake, as Autumn requested (and she's requested pink frosting). I've heard you can add sour cream and pudding. Does it really work? How does it change it? And what makes a frosting taste good? So many have way too much sugar. I usually do the Betty Crocker buttercream frostings and they taste okay, but I want something that tastes really good.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Um yeah...a year + later. Better late than never! I'm glad to mark this off my "to blog" list.

I could use some practice on my piping but the important thing was that she was happy with the cake!

Found a picture of a bug she knew.
Always bugs.

Enjoying her new magnifying glass and huge bug from Grandma & Grandpa.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

General Conference is coming up and I'm working on things for the girls to do while listening. I hope that the activities I've found for them will help them listen to the messages (as much as developmentally possible for each of their stages...).

In April I made something that I was really excited about using with the girls. It didn't go over the way I hoped it would because we had company watching with us but we'll try again in a couple of weeks.

I found pictures of all the General Authorities of the Church and Presidencies of Auxillaries (Sunday School, Relief Society, Young Men, Young Women, Primary) and the idea is for the kids to find the speaker's picture, glue it into their booklet and then draw or write what the speaker talks about.

I couldn't find a way to upload PDF's to my blog. If anyone knows of a way to do that, let me know! I did a fair amount of research and I guess it's just not possible yet.

But if you're interested in the packet, let me know and I'll email you the files I made. I also have some ideas on how to revise the packet to work for younger kids (I'm thinking 2-3 year olds).

Saturday, September 20, 2008

One day as we headed out to run some errands, I told Heidi not to open the door or the alarm would go off. She said, " You mean, the alarm will go on."

A couple of days ago we were playing outside and I noticed that Autumn was sitting all by herself across the yard. She sat there for awhile, just looking around. Then she laid down in the grass for awhile. When I asked what she was doing, she said, "I was looking at the clouds and thinking of their names." (She's been learning about clouds in science this week.)