Sunday, June 24, 2012

Maybe we're building a house.

We just might be building a house, which is crazy, right?*  Building a house was actually never on my life list, but I've been looking at plans, and now I can't decided if I'm more nervous or excited.  Or more both.  :)

But if we are building a house, then maybe it'll look like this:
Or maybe like this (which is nearly identical to a house I loved in my old South Bend neighborhood):
Or maybe like this: (but without those arched windows.  I dislike the formality of arched windows.)
Because I like both colonials and Cape Cods.  (Actually, and Craftsmans, too.  And I was really hoping we could pick up a great 70's style ranch with a daylight basement, but I don't think I want to build one of those.)  Except I think I want my house to have grey siding, white trim, and a yellow door, like this:

So, if you have helpful advice or pleasant encouragement, please share.  If you have information that is only likely to increase my anxiety and decrease my excitement, please don't share.  My stomach is jumpy enough already over this.

*Meaning, we've put in an offer on a lot and it has been accepted.  I think it's almost inevitable.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Some of our favorite things

Maddie's favorite activity is to shove as many little pebbles down the drain as possible.  When they have to bring a super-industrial vacuum to the hospital parking lot to get those babies out, I'm pretty sure they are going to present me with a bill.
 This tree is the favorite play spot for my big girls.  Zoom in, and you'll see several interesting things.  First:  the treehouse in the bottom.  My fun-loving mother-in-law cleared that space out and hung some small swings as a we thought it would be make-shift, but it turned out to be awesome little house.
 Second, two girls near the top of the tree.  And yes, that is the power line across the photo, just to give you a sense of how high they are.  (They're at least 25 feet from the power line in horizontal distance, but they are definitely higher.)
 And about halfway down, you'll find the third interesting thing:  Bella--doing what her sisters are doing.  Only I've had to put my foot down about how high she's allowed to climb.
And to think, I thought pine trees were only good at Christmas time.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Nine! Nine Years!

I recently figured that it has been more time since I left college than it will be until Olivia goes to college.  Seriously.  She's nine--halfway done with her life at home.  Give me just a minute . . . . 

If I think about that too much, I can't handle it.  Since this was an odd birthday, she was granted a "friend" party, and given Olivia's proclivities, we invited eight of her closest friends to a Creative Party.  (With a capital C and P, of course.) 

Each of the girls made their own apron, beaded their own bracelet, decorated their own little cake. . . 
. . . some with more frosting and candy than others . . . 
 . . . and generally, were the best and most fun group of girls I've associated with.  (I didn't post the pictures of the other participants, since I didn't know how their parents would feel about it.)
Mimi had saved a special book to give to Olivia for her birthday.  Her other friends treated her to all the things she loves:  art supplies, chocolate, games, and more art supplies.She couldn't have been happier.   
 And just for a look back to last week nine years ago:
 And eight years ago:
 And six years ago:
 And four years ago:
Luckily for us, she just keeps getting better--more fun, more helpful, smarter, and happier.  I love you, Liv!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

One of my newest favorite movies

I especially love the eyeroll at the principal.  I rewound and rewatched that section 20 times, gearing myself up for the teenage years.  :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bug Collecting

Our life consists of swimming lessons every morning and swimming for fun nearly every afternoon, so--needless to say--great hair is not really a priority. That's just the disclaimer.

Olivia took her old butterfly house out this afternoon and caught two bugs.   
 A baby grasshopper (not terribly photogenic)
 and a baby praying mantis.
She told me, "I named them Hopper and Christian.  Hopper because he's a grasshopper and Christian because of all the praying.  I think I'll keep them until Christian eats Hopper."


Monday, June 11, 2012

When one bath just isn't enough. . .

Saturday nights can be a bit hectic.  I never really have a great plan for Saturday dinner, and I'm always trying to simultaneously toss four kids in the bathtub and throw something together in the kitchen.  Olivia and Naomi are both working on their certification* for washing the two younger girls, and last Saturday they had washed Maddie, Bella, and themselves, and gotten out.  I dried and dressed Maddie in her pajamas and went back to the kitchen.  

Then I heard a splash.
 It seems when Mads realized her idolized Bella was not yet out of the tub and into her jammies she decided that she was in the wrong place.  Back into the tub she slipped until they both got out together.
I really should know better by now. 

*Have I discussed John's policy on certification here on the blog?  John determined years ago that in order to qualify to do a task (such as pouring milk, brushing their own teeth, watering the plants), a child must successfully perform the task four times under supervision.  If the child then subsequently makes two mistakes performing the task, they lose their certification and must repeat the process to recertify.  It's genius.  The two older girls, especially, know what they are certified and not certified to do, and they follow the lines pretty obediently.  Bella. . . . . well. . . . Bella knows what she is and isn't supposed to do but does what she wants regardless of whether or not she is certified.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Grapes of Wrath

Most of our furniture has been with us since we got married.  I call the look "med-school chic", and for the most part I am very happy to repaint, refurbish, restyle, and just live with it.  However, when my lovely sister-in-law Lauren informed me that her very stylish sister was selling all her furniture and moving to China (wouldn't that be exciting?), I immediately grabbed the opportunity to update my old living room look with some of her used furniture.  ("It's new to us" is my mantra.)

However, when I purchased the items, we were in John's little Sentra and two hours from Roosevelt.  Considering we are the only people in the Uintah Basin who do not own an enormous truck, I was afraid we'd have to rent a U-Haul to get my newfound furniture finds to my house.  And then I remembered my dad and his trusty pickup, Old Whitey.
 This truck has nearly 300,000 miles on it.  The make and model are listed, officially, in the Consumer Reports Auto Buying Guide as a "Do Not Buy."  However, my dad and Old Whitey are determined to prove Consumer Reports wrong.
 Can you imagine the looks my dad was getting, as he drove through Provo Canyon and over the passes of Wasatch and Duchesne county with an eight-foot sofa, a large club chair, a big Expedit bookcase, and eight baskets (plus two boxes of fabric from my mom) in the bed of this little truck?  I don't think you can tell, but he had to buckle the spare tire into the front passenger seat so everything could fit.
He, my sister, and Kathryn loaded everything by themselves*, and when I called to see how it had gone, he asked me, "Have you ever seen The Grapes of Wrath?  That's what it looks like."

I agree.  It's awesome.

*The original plan involved my dad and I loading the furniture--I didn't plan to shirk my furniture-lifting duty--but then the schedule changed and it worked out this way.  Awesome and easy, but a little guilt-ridden, for me.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


This is my newest niece, Caroline.

She's Dave and Lauren's darling new baby, and we're so excited to have her.  Plus, in true Anderson-brother form, Mike and Kelly had their baby the very next week (one week apart--best cousins ever!), and Rob and Kasey should have their baby any time now.

Because of the miracle of Facetime on John's phone, we got to see that baby "live" when she was just two days old.  I called for me; I thought I was the most excited to see that tiny baby and watch her do that new baby squirm.  However, I found my enthusiasm completely overshadowed by this girl.

Thirty minutes (but only a couple minutes are shown here).  She kept cupping her hands and saying "Beebee hands" because she wanted to hold that tiny baby in her little hands.

I'm not kidding.

And she could have gone all day.  And all night.  And then she did it again when Baby Wendy was born.  And now that Dave has put up some videos of Caroline on the interwebs, I just have to push replay over and over again while I work on the dishes.  She never gets sick of talking about the baby.  Ever.  Plus, she thinks all of us should be every bit as excited as she is, for as long as she is.  That's a girl with an obsession.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Mini Marathon

Olivia and recently completed her elementary school's mini marathon!  It's a little shorter than a marathon (26.2 miles--my sister's running one this weekend), of course.  It's even a little shorter than the Indianapolis Mini Marathon (at 13.1 miles).  However, it's still a tremendous 2.0 miles, and we are very proud of ourselves for finishing, along with these other runners from Mrs. Heiner's class.
 I had my stroller, with two little girl passengers, and my agreement with Olivia was that we would run five minutes and then walk two minutes.  (She's never run two miles at once before).  She kept meticulous track on her watch, counting down the minutes until we could walk, and then watching every second before we'd have to run again.
 Her friend, Tayri, (in the blue) ran with us the whole way and these two finished as the 5th and 6th place girls from the whole third grade.  I was pretty darn proud of them.  (I was also proud of me--coming in first in the "moms-with-strollers" category, although my competition was not particularly fierce.)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Keep Out (but thanks for coming!)

We've had an extra two-year-old (our niece) for 9 days, and she's wonderful, but Olivia was feeling a little overwhelmed with little kids in her room.  Her solution:
 A cardboard bedroom door gate, complete with rules and warnings.
My favorite:  "Children under 3 may not come in without a human being 3 or older."  (She said later that she wished she had realized that meant Bella could bring the two younger ones trooping in, and she would have changed it to "4 or older".)

 The gate was easily opened, but she made it clear she wanted it replaced when you were safely inside.
 And here's the other side.  As you leave, you find yourself told "Come back soon!  We loved having you!"  (I'm sorry I can't orient this picture correctly.  Every so often I find myself with a stubbon picture that thinks it should be turned one way when I want it turned the other.)
So there you go--don't come in, but if you do, we're happy to have you.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

High Tea

I have discovered a no-fail recipe for making girls (ages 2 to 92) happy.  Tea Parties--fabulous tea parties-- that include:
*beautifully dressed friends
*making bracelets out of gorgeous, plastic, animal-shaped beads
 *tiny food on toothpicks
*delicious hot chocolate "tea"
*cream you can pour for yourself (Or, if you are another little Bella we know, you'll be completely confused, and ask, in astonishment, "Sour Cream?!?! In my cocoa?!?!")
 *little cakes to decorate with loads and loads of frosting and plenty of sprinkles
*a "fancy" PVC pipe tent that makes it actually feel official
*and the surprise hit of the day?  Me.  With a British accent, identifying myself as "Maaahhhhge."  Everytime I'd offer the girls some strawberries or cheese cubes, the girls would giggle themselves silly, and when I'd walk away, they'd whisper to Bella "Your mom talks funny."

So, if any of you out there are looking to make some little girls really happy, just follow my foolproof steps.  And don't forget the British accent.  I'll call you "Aaaahhgatha."

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


My only sister is eleven years younger than I am, so I feel like I grew up in a family of boys (six brothers will give you that impression).  Because of that, I'm new to the sisters dynamic in my house.  So, any of you with sisters, enlighten me if you will:
Did you have a sister whose greatest joy was to either tie you up with the jumprope and call you her trapped elephant or tie the jumprope around her waist and make you lead her around like a dog?
And, if you did have such a sister, was your greatest joy to try to be just like her, even if that meant putting on seven pairs of panties in a misguided attempt at imitation?

And, if both of those were true, did you still feel the need to whack her face every five minutes, just to make sure she didn't get the wrong idea about your adoration?

Because, sometimes--I'm telling you--I just don't get it.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

This year I was super lucky on my birthday because there was a new performance group in town.  I mean, really new.  They'd only ever done small gigs before--nothing big-time like my birthday.  But they agreed to do it, in full costume, just for me.  (Because I'm awesome like that.  And because they love me so much.)

You can see how they were interpreting nature through their costumes--channeling flowers with the head tutus and goggles.  
 This smallest performer was both enchanting and energetic.
 I think this oldest performer had been moonlighting as a make-up artist.  I loved the judicious application of lipstain on all the participants.

 There was acting, and singing, and many happy birthday wishes.
 I was especially enchanted by their original musical compositions--songs about flowers and growing.   The harmonies were novel and interesting, almost atonal in nature.
 Plus, again, I have to say:  I just can't resist tutus on heads.  They could have just walked around the room, and I would have been thrilled.
Happy Birthday to me!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

There are days. . .

. . . when it's 4:00 p.m., and it's too much work to even think about finishing the Snoopy Easter book you love so much.
 Too bad you wasted all that energy throwing the tantrum about desperately wanting the Snoopy Easter book that your older sister had.  If you'd just waited until she was done instead, you might have been able to look at the whole thing.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Easter Dresses, v. 2012

You know how sometimes you have a pretty concrete vision for a project, and you feel like you are working toward that vision, but when the project is all done, it's nothing (NOTHING) like your original idea?  Well, that happened to me on this year's Easter dresses.  (And yes, I realize it's June, but I'm trying to catch up.)

My idea was gingham shirtdresses--a different color for each girl--all in the same pattern.  Something like this:
 But with less tongue sticking out, and maybe in a green, a blue, and an orange for the other three girls.
But it's harder to find gingham in just the right shades than I originally considered.  And then I found a fantastic twill, with polka-dotted stripes in all my favorite colors.  And it coordinated quite well with the yellow gingham I had already found.  So I made this bubble dress for this crazy soul.
 And this seventies-inspired sheath dress for this child who like things simple.
 With four extra inches of length to cover those Anderson/Nielson legs.
And then reused the gingham with some white piping to cover this squishy little body.

 And added just a peek of the polka-stripes because I couldn't resist.
 Maybe next year I'll find all the right ginghams. ( But I've also got some ideas bouncing around my head involving eyelet. Do you think I'll still be able to talk Olivia into matching next year?)