Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sister's Trip

I spent last weekend in sunny Tucson at a wonderful spa resort

celebrating my mother-in-law's 75th birthday

along with my 3 sister-in-laws.

We started off with pedicures the first day and massages the second.

Lots of good food, book reading, laughing, and birthday cake for breakfast.

Doesn't get much better than that!

We also "shopped" at a jewelry auction -- my mother-in-law

brought some of her old jewelry and a stack of play money

for each of us to use to bid on the jewelry.

If you ran out of play money, up the ante with a stick of gum!

My mother-in-law, E.C., is a young 75, taking the only two granddaughters on trips each summer and taking whichever grandson is 10 to grandma and grandson summer camp in New York for a week. She loves making memories with her children and grandchildren and having fun while she’s at it.

She’s the consummate gracious host, opening her home and pantry not only to family and friends, but to friends and family of friends and family as well!

She seems to never back down from entertaining—whether it’s at her home or at their vacation camp in Pagosa, she cooks and gives gifts and listens and plans entertainment, all with her big, beautiful smile!

All my siblings love E.C. because she’s made them feel like family. She hosted my family at her home the summer Dan and I were married and the next year invited us all to Pagosa together. The first question I always get from both E.C. and Marty whenever we’re together is, “Tell me about your family. Tell us about every single one!”

She has dedicated her life to family research and collecting and compiling family stories. She doesn’t just find names of who we’re related to, she find’s their stories as well and has made several books with photos and stories of their lives.

Jo Ellen, Dan's only sister, lives just down the street from us. She’s inherited her mother’s generous nature and regularly treats our family to Sunday dinners. Everyone always loves going to Jo's house and we all love Jo's cooking!

She gives each of the kids special attention and teases a bit too, which is the hallmark of a caring older sibling (as I, as the oldest of my siblings, can attest to). She has her PhD, always looks beautiful, loves to read, (we’ve enjoyed sharing our greatest reads together for years) and her two boys are a reflection of her caring. They’re kind, generous with compliments, also love to tease, and tons of fun.

Erin, originally from Boston, married Dan's oldest brother, Marty. She is creative in every way, which makes the year Erin has your name for Christmas extra special. She quilts beautifully (she's given me two), made me a messenger bag that I LOVE and receive compliments on wherever I go, turns wood bowls on a lathe and most recently started turning pen and pencil sets. In addition to everything else artistic, she's also a photographer and has an eye for what would make a fabulous photo--and then is able to capture it!

She’s also not afraid to take on home projects and remodeling and of course whatever she does turns out fantastic and artistic. She’s also athletic—played lacrosse on the men’s team in college--and is a dedicated sports mom (did you ever miss even one of your boys’ hockey games, Erin?)

Kristin married Dan's brother Duncan just 2 months after Dan and I got married.

I love listening to her tell a story--she's so animated and remembers the details that bring it to life! Her facial expressions and reenactments are hilarious and I never get tired of listening to her!

In the last few years she’s started vegetable gardening and knows how to grow anything and grows practically everything. For the last 2 years she’s kept 6 chickens and this year she butchered them. You can imagine how hard we laughed while she told that story!

She’s an artist and musician and has written plays and musicals for kids in her community and wrote the most beautiful song in honor of my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary.

I love having these women as my sisters and having E.C. as my second mother.

I am blessed!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Snow Day

Yesterday the weather was warm and all the snow was melted.
Today we're having a storm.
It's definitely a book and pajama day!

And in other "not-news," I'm so glad I bought this rug!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


The day before Friday can either be very hectic or very quiet. Last week Thursday was the day after Nick's Birthday Party. Lots of recovery needed. Two Thursdays ago I was in charge of the Jr. High Spelling Bee. The weeks before that were in December--Christmas shopping. The month before that, Thursday was Thanksgiving. And before that every single day was filled with football, soccer and Lacrosse.

But today, Thursday meant a walk, an hour helping in Nick's class, a trip to Target to pick up a few things, a trip to Basket Loft to find something cute, a sandwich to go from Paradise Bakery, wander around World Market to look for something else cute and then enough time to pick up Courtney from school to go buy new soccer cleats.

So this Thursday there was no rushing and no organizing. Shopping for a few needed things and time to stop in a few other favorite stores just to see what they had. It's nice to have time to not rush when out and about but to just slow down and enjoy myself.

After the kids got home from school and started doing their own things, I took an hour to read my book. Leftover pizza for dinner then out to watch Marty's basketball game -- a neighborhood game where no one kept score and kids switched sides. It was all just fun.

Bedtime was a bit more hectic because it was after 8 when we got home and Chris and Nick still needed to read and be read to and everyone was getting tired and a bit grumpy. But we did it without too much frustration. Even remembered to read scriptures and say family prayer--I'd already turned out Nick's lights and was laying back with him when I remembered, but I still remembered and we still gathered together and did it.

Dan came home from a trip last night too, so he got up with the big kids this Thursday morning and made breakfast and lunches and I slept in until Nick got up. Kind of set the tone for the whole day! Aaaahhh.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Wednesdays can start early--at 6:15--making lunch and breakfast for Marty who leaves at 6:30 to Encore, the Jr. High singing group. But when Dan is in town he gets up and does it and I enjoy sleeping in until 7:30.

Marty likes an egg, veggie sausage, piece of toast and glass of juice for breakfast or swap the egg and toast for pancakes--that's a favorite too. But Courtney says eggs are too hard to eat first thing in the morning. She prefers Greek Yogurt or a smoothie. But she'll never pass up a bagel.

This morning after Marty left at 6:30, I cleaned my desk and tidied up the kitchen until 7:00 when Courtney came down. Then Courtney left and I had until 7:30 before the other boys got up. So I crawled back in bed. Nick came in bed 15 minutes later and we cuddled for a couple of minutes. Then he wanted to check out his Lego plane he made the night before. ("Can you believe I made it all by myself?!")

I finally got up with him at 7:45 and made breakfast for Chris and Nick. Chris likes fried eggs but Nick likes his scrambled. I made them practice the piano even though it was lesson day because we didn't practice at all on Sat, Sun, or Mon.

Usually they walk to school but today we were late and it was raining so I drove. Which is sometimes nice to drop them off and watch them walk in to start their school-day. Chris never leaves without blowing me a kiss and then waiting to catch my blown kiss in his hand and then press it onto his heart. It's a great way to start my day too.

Wednesdays are my day to pick up the Kindergarten carpool from morning K, bring them home for lunch and then take them to afternoon K at a different school.

So usually Wednesday mornings I try to get organized around the house. I also exercise and before I know it it's time to pick up the 3 boys. They are good friends, great at finding solutions to conflicts and expressing how they feel. They're always so excited about playing for 30 minutes before it's time for lunch and heading off to school. I really look forward to getting them on "my day." Nick really looks forward to it too!

I drop off the boys and run a few errands while I'm in the car -- go to the bank, fill up with gas, grab a few groceries for dinner. Then head home and finish working around the house.

On Wednesdays our piano teacher comes after school. She is enthusiastic and positive and all the kids actually look forward to their lessons (and the treat she gives them after).

The evenings are pretty peaceful with everyone doing their homework and after I get Chris and Nick in bed I look forward to Me, Courtney and Marty watching Modern Family all snuggled in my bed together eating ice cream!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Tuesday is carpool day. And trash day. I get up at 6:45 and make lunches and get Courtney some breakfast and then drive her and 4 boys to school. They entertain me with their last minute studying before a big test or discussions of school assignments. They all get straight "A's" and are always on time, ready to walk out the door, when I honk just after 7:00.

When I arrive back home I honk for Marty and then drive around getting his carpool. The kids in the Jr. High carpool are much quieter-- unless a big sports game was on the night before. If so, then the boys have a lot to talk about.

I get home by 7:40, just in time for Christopher and Nicholas to start making their way downstairs. They have breakfast and then we do piano practicing and by 8:20 they are heading out the door. Or running upstairs looking for socks. Or sometimes running upstairs to get dressed. It all depends on the day. Or the night before.

Today I went walking after the kids left. I try to leave by 9, but often there are dishes to wash, phone calls to make and e-mails to send. And I enjoy my walk much more if the pressing things aren't hanging over my head.

One Tuesday a month I have lunch with a group of friends. Today we went to Corner Bakery to celebrate a birthday. Another Tuesday I volunteer in Nick's class. Another Tuesday I try to go to the temple. The final Tuesday we keep saying we're going to have breakfast with my high school friends, but we haven't yet.

After a long lunch today, lots of laughs and catching up, I had a few minutes to run some errands and then it was time to pick up the high school carpool at 2:15. After I drop all the kids off, I head back to get the Jr. High kids. After I pick them up and get them home by 3:00, I've got a few minutes before heading to scouts at 3:30.

I'm home by 5--just in time to get dinner going and ready by 6. At 7 the big kids and Dan head off to Young Mens/Young Womens and I help the little kids with their homework, reading and getting to bed.

We finish up just as the big kids are getting home. Today we remembered to read scriptures and say family prayer. Sometimes we forget. We're trying to be better about remembering.

I like the routine of Tuesdays. I like knowing what comes next as we move from one activity to the next. I like being the carpool driver and listening to the kids talk and laugh and hear what's on their minds. I like the enthusiasm of the scouts and learning new things to teach them and sneaking in a few minutes to chat with my partner while the scouts are busy working on stuff.

Routinely Tuesday.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Nick Is Six!

I'm sitting here surfing and eating leftover birthday candy and finally deciding I'm tired and should head up to bed when I realize I need to post about Nick's Birthday today! How could I forget? Post-Party Decompression. But now I've remembered Aaaaannnd... I still have more candy.

Nick has been very excited for his birthday and has been counting down for over a week now. He even made his own countdown chart on post-it notes. Favorite quote to Courtney last night, said with complete awe,
"Courtney, can you believe I'm going to be six tomorrow?"

We usually have a birthday breakfast and open presents before everyone heads off to school. But today Marty had choir at 6:30 and Courtney had to leave by 7:00. So we had a special breakfast with just Nick and Chris and Mom and Dad. Dad made waffles -- Nick's special request. We only opened two presents so we could save the other two for when Courtney and Marty were home.

When Courtney was three, she LOVED Elmo. As an adventure, I decided to try to make her an Elmo cake. I had fun making it and it turned out pretty cute. After that I tried to make my kids' cakes each year. Sometime after that I found myself with 3 kids and then 4 kids and opted to buy cakes from time to time. However, this year I made Nick's cake. And it turned out pretty dang cute! (I bought the Costco cake so there would be enough for everyone and made the magician's hat and bunny to add to the top!)

Yep, I'm amazing!

Nick had a joint party with his friend, Will. 25 Kindergarten boys as well as 6 brothers and 1 sister and two sets of parents. It was crazy! For the first 45 minutes the boys just ran around playing with balloons we'd scattered all around the floor. Then we had a fantastically fun magician who was able to keep 25 5- and 6-year-olds' attention for 45 minutes!

Last, but not least, presents!
Nick will be building Legos all year long!

Right after the party our family went to Bonsai.
Nick was so excited to get to add his birthday picture to the wall!

Happy Birthday Nick! Can't believe you're six!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I've got a cold, creating a tightness in my chest that's making it hard to breathe. It reminded me of a poem I wrote in college. It actually got published in a student literary magazine. I was on the committee to select submissions. They told us we could submit our own work but had to do it under a pseudonym. I think I used Marie something. Wish I could remember. Everyone voted for their favorite and my simple 21-word poem got the most votes.

When I was in high school I remember giving my first church talk -- a 3 minute youth talk. I wrote out what I wanted to say. I felt good about it. I wasn't nervous speaking to our congregation...until I got up there. I couldn't breathe. Suddenly I became nervous--more so because I couldn't breathe. So I started reading faster and faster. I don't think I took a breath the whole time. Of course nobody understood a word I had to say since I was bulldozing along as fast as I could.

It took a lot of talks in public to figure out how to calm down and breathe. So here's the poem:

I saw him.
And it was hard to breathe.
Just like when I have to give a talk in church.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

It's a Bit Addicting

I just downloaded the Flipboard app onto my iPad. Apple voted it the 2010 App of the Year and it's easy to see why. I'm jumping out of bed in the morning just to see what it looks like now!

Add your Facebook, Twitter, any magazine with a Twitter feed or any of their news feed or magazine partners and it will turn them into a beautiful, easy-to-read magazine layout style.

Makes me feel like I'm reading real important stuff when my friends' Facebook feeds look like they're from the cover of a glossy magazine. Gorgeous! Takes away some of the guilt of time spent on Facebook. "Look they're published...I need to read this stuff!"

My favorite partner app is Smitten Kitchen -- recipes and beautiful photos of each to boot. Also added Real Simple Magazine through the Twitter feed. And National Geographic. And Fortune. And Roger Ebert's blog. That's when I realized I was addicted. You're going to love it!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

I Think I Would Have Pulled the Plug On This One

I'm trying to think of what it's like to work in City Government.
Lots of red tape. Very bureaucratic.
Just wondering... How many people would you have to get approval from
if you wanted to create a new sign?
Your committee that was created to address the issue
would have to be in agreement.
Your boss would have to sign-off.
I'm guessing her boss would also have to give the okay.
And then would you get your new design approved by City Council?
So... just how many people, exactly, saw this sign
and thought it was a good way to spread a message.
The dog squatting is offensive enough;
but a mound of poo under him?
Are you kidding me?

Sunday, January 02, 2011

What Christmas Brought For Me

12 Pans of Sugar Cookies

11 Programs & Parties

10th Grade Winter Formal

9 Dozen Friend Gift Deliveries

8 Scouts to Bowling

7th Grader Christmas Party

6 Parties at our Home

5 Homemade Gingerbread Houses

4 Kindergartners Making Cookies

3 Sets of Christmas Legos

2 Days of Aunt Marge Bringing Presents

1 Big Happy Shaeffer Family!!