Saturday, February 21, 2009

Goin' Old Fashioned!

Well, after a nice couple days in California (even with the sad reason for the visit), we are heading to Utah in a couple hours. Our plans have been constantly changing for this visit. We were originally going to drive there on 2/13 and back today. Then the apartment wasn't available unti 2/25 or so. So we pushed it back a week. I was originally going to spend the whole time staying with my friend Gayelinn, who is a big part of the reason for the extended stay (rather than just a quick trip to pack up the house). Then when my timing changed, I wasn't going to be able to stay with her the whole time. Now she has pnemonia, so I don't think I'm staying there at all!

So where does that leave me? The kids and I are staying in our house from today until next Sunday. The telephone, internet, and sattelite are all long disconnected. The movies and most of the toys are packed up. And the kitchen is totally packed up! Eight days in a house with empty cupboards! I'm thinking I need to see if I still have paper plates, bowls, cups, etc. in the garage. If not I'll go get some. And I need to come up with a whole week's worth of food that doesn't require a pot, pan, or cookie sheet to prepare! I suspect we'll be fast foodin' it a lot, especially because I really don't want the kids to mess up the cleanliness of the house. I hope I can get by without spending too much money on McDonalds. And what about tomorrow? I don't think it's quite an ox-in-the-mire kind of thing, but it is going to be tricky to feed my family while observing the Sabbath! Maybe I'll stop by Costco and get a take and bake pizza that I can just cook on the rack. I'll have to cut it with a plastic knife though. That should be interesting.

The other major hard thing is going to be not having internet. Not having TV is a bit sad, but not having the internet is much sadder. So for the next week, anyone who needs to get ahold of me is going to have to rely on my cell phone! Not that people need to get ahold of me a lot. I guess the bigger question is, what on earth am I going to do with myself?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

parenting = birth control

I love babies. I really, really love them. I love the way they smell, I love all their little noises, I love their tiny little fingers, and the way they rarely stretch out for the first few months. I have always thought I'd have at least 4 children, and although the "at least" part is gone, I still plan on having 4. However, as it becomes more and more of a possibility (Katy is 20 months, if we were to decide to get pregnant ASAP she'd be about 2.5 when a baby could be born), I am more and more worried about my ability to handle another child. I sometimes feel like I am capable taking care of these guys, but frequently I feel like I am incapable of handling all three of them at once. And NEVER do I think "Boy, this is easy! I can totally do this AND handle all the physical demands of a newborn!" I don't want to wait and wait until the age difference is too much - I like the idea of being young empty-nesters. So I feel like it's soon (within a year or so), or not at all. And after certain days of parenting these children, "not at all" seems pretty attractive...

I did another flight-alone-with-three-kids thing today. When we were down in California 2.5 weeks ago, we were thinking that it might be a decade before we made it back, since my in-laws are probably moving at some point. Now, here we are already for Grandma's funeral. The flight itself actually went really well today. We had a stop in Sacramento, and Katy fell asleep when we took off again, and slept for almost an hour! The total time on the airplane was about 3.5 hours, and the kids were very well behaved.

However, traveling alone with all those kids is so hard! And not just because of the kids, but because of all the stuff! Trying to walk through the airport with 3 kids, enough stuff to entertain them for the flight, and a carseat (which I carried through the airport in case there was an empty seat, but there wasn't) is a major ordeal. And when we have the luggage as well...I should have taken a picture. I take the double stroller, put Katy in the front seat, then put the big duffel bag in the back seat. And stack all 3 booster/car seats on top. Then try to walk without dropping anything, not being able to see over the pile-o-stuff, while making the boys wear their backpacks full of entertainment and each pull a rolling suitcase for me. It is absolutely exhausting!

Oh, and before that, getting everyone out the door is another adventure. I was up late last night packing, then up early to make sure we were all ready on time. And we still weren't. I had Blues Clues on to entertain Katy while I did my last minute stuff, but it made the boys unable to focus long enough to dress themselves. So I did a lot of reminding them while walking through the room dealing with other things, but not focusing on them enough to really help. Then we finally get everything ready, take 15 minutes to load up our Home Teacher's wife's car FULL of our stuff (big suitcases crammed between the boys seats and the front seats, so they had zero leg room), and THEN Ryan says the 6 dreaded words. "Mommy, I need to go poo-poo." So I had to leave David and Katy waiting in the car with Sister Hainer, while Ryan and I went in to take care of his business. Awesome.

In none of this am I claiming my children are any more difficult than any others. Except for maybe the inability to get dressed while Blues Clues is on, all of that would be hard with any children. But still, that doesn't negate my point. I barely survived the travel with 3 kids, what would I do with another one?

On the other hand, some of the naughtiness this evening is more child-specific. Katy was really whiney and cranky all evening. She kept getting into the snack cupboards, making me get her some food, then not eating anything she had been whining at me to give her. I put her to bed at 7:15, and she went right to sleep. So at least we know what was wrong there.

Then, I thought it would be nice to snuggle with the boys and watch a movie. I get this bad idea every couple months, then eventually forget why it is such a bad idea and decide to do it again. We had started watching Star Wars II earlier in the day, so I turned that on and popped some popcorn. They were in their jammies and had their loveys, and we cuddled in the recliner. It ended around 8:30 I think, then I had them brush their teeth, read a chapter in a Pokemon book, and took Ryan to bed. He was WILD! He kept pretending to have a light saber. Oops. So, Ryan had lights out around 8:45, I thought he was settling down, then I went out to read with David. He read me 2 stories, then I looked at a magazine while he looked at another book. 20 minutes later I took David into the bedroom, and Ryan was still awake! So, I laid between them (here at Grandma & Grandpa Morrill's house they're sharing a bed). And stayed there for 30 minutes, until Ryan was asleep (and I was awake again). I left and went to go prepare myself for bed. A little while later I hear David whimpering, and go to find this!

David had woken Ryan up! And Ryan somehow did this to him! I asked David why he woke up Ryan, and he said "Because I wanted to have a little fun." Well, how'd that work out for ya? Then my well-intentioned mother-in-law came to help David feel better, getting him a band aid and letting him tell her how awful it was. He was lucky she was there, because I had absolutely no sympathy for him! Ryan was asleep, I find this a pretty logical consequence to waking him up!

It's been an exhausting day, I suppose I should stop whining about it and just go to bed. Tomorrow morning is the funeral, and I've decided to take the kids. After this post that sounds like a silly decision, but I think it's an important thing for them to experience. And I want them to see all the family that will be there. So cross your fingers for us, that the kids don't cause any huge problems during their great-grandmother's funeral!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Memories of Grandma

My mom called me a couple hours ago to tell me that her mom had passed away. I have kept my hands and mind busy since then going through all the family photo albums. There are lots of pictures with Grandma Maughan in them, but I narrowed them down to fifteen that I think are a good representation of our times together.

Here I am at one month. Look how happy Grandma looks to be holding me! I guess these first few aren't exactly a memories of her, but pictures of time we spent together.
Here we are together a couple months later. Now I can smile, too, showing how happy I am to be with my grandma!
I love this picture. I'm 2 years old here, and Grandma is playing lincoln logs with me! What a special grandma, to take the time to get down on the floor and play with a two year old!
My grandparents' house is less than an hour from Disneyland, so every trip to their house included a trip there as well!
I've never noticed this picture before today. Look how happy I am to see Grandma! Seriously, seriously excited!
Grandma came to help when Miriam came along.
Grandma wasn't able to come right away when Danny was born because she was on a mission, but she came a little while later.
She came up from California for my baptism!
Spring of 1991 Grandma came up and we went to Mt. Rainier together. We stayed a night in a log cabin and spent some time hiking and looking at the beautiful scenery.
Here I am almost ten years old. I sure love my grandma!
Another one of many trips to Disneyland. In later years my dad would push Grandma around in a rented wheelchair. It was partly for her benefit, partly to get to go to the front of the lines! And she was such a good grandma, going on all the wild rides with us so we could use the wheelchair entrance!
Here we are, me a couple months pregnant with David. Ryan is one month old, and Great-Grandma Maughan patiently holding him in the only position that made him comfortable.
Here is Katy on her blessing day, clearly very relaxed in the arms of her great-grandmother!
Four generations of women, the only one with Grandma. My grandparents have 15 great-great-grandkids at this point, and only 2 of them are girls! The other girl is through a grandson, so it isn't a women line like this one.

We went out to lunch with Grandma & Grandpa just two weeks ago on January 28th. I forgot my camera that day, darn it! Grandpa had his, though, so pictures do exist of our last time with her. I'm so glad we were able to see her so recently. It was a really good lunch, too. The kids were all well behaved (Grandma & Grandpa even called my mom to tell them that!). And Grandma was really sweet, sharing her root beer with the boys (something I sure wouldn't do!) because I made them just get water. And she had gone shopping before that day to get a toy for each child - a Bionicle for David, a little Lego four-wheeler for Ryan, and a set of doll house dolls for Katy. How thoughful of her! I'm so glad to have that last happy memory of my grandma.

I'm sad that Katy won't remember her at all, and the boys won't really remember a ton. I'm sad that any future baby won't even get to meet her.

I'm going to miss getting our birthday cards from her a couple weeks late, and having her call to say that she believes in celebrating birthdays for a whole month. I'm going to miss going out to lunch with her any time I'm in California or she's near my house. I'm going to miss the loving and patient way she is with my children.

I hope she's having a great reunion with her parents, siblings, and two children that are already passed on! I am so greatful for having the Gospel, and the knowledge that we'll see her again. I will miss her until then!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I believe in ADHD meds

I've been reading two different books lately about parenting children with ADHD, and the authors have dramatically different ideas about a lot of things. One of them is trying to convince us that ADHD is a gift, and we shouldn't mask the symptoms. I'm getting a few good things from that book, but that is not one of them. I'm sure there are positive things that can come from the extra energy and enthusiasm of ADHD. But I think for the most part those will come with age and maturity. This book claims that ADHD meds only make life easier for parents & teachers by masking the symptoms of ADHD. For one thing, why is that made to sound like such a bad thing? The parenting & teaching that the child receives will then be far superior, because the parents & teachers aren't totally stressed out. Now that I think of it, I'm pretty frustrated with that book. I think I'll stop reading it and just keep reading the other one (which has a much more medication-friendly attitude).

The reason this is on my mind is that David's class is having a Valentine party today. The older grades have half days all week, so the kindergarteners only have a half week (because half days would be ridiculous when class is already only 2.5 hours). I didn't get David's class list until yesterday, so we had only 1 day to do the Valentines. Last night we started a little before 9:00. Katy was asleep, Ryan had recently had lights out, and the house was quiet. He worked for about half an hour before I finally sent him to bed. In 30 minutes (or so) he got 8 Valentines done. He frequently got distracted mid-word. I was CONSTANTLY having to remind him to stay on task. Like, nagging him to write every individual letter! It was hugely frustrating!

This morning we got home from aerobics a little before 11:00. They're supposed to get to play on the Wii at 11, but David needed to finish his Valentines first. So Ryan was playing on the Wii & Katy was climbing around us while he was doing it - a much more distracting environment. He did need to be reminded to stop watching the Wii game a few times, but not too many. And he finished the second eight in 15 minutes! Seriously, HALF the time! Not only was he faster, his handwriting was far neater. And I had to leave him a couple times to attend to something else, and he kept working without me! It was like a different child!

Now, some of the difference might be morning instead of night, but I really believe it was mostly the medication. He takes his pill around 8 or 8:30 every morning, and I think it lasts around 12 hours. I can't believe how night and day the difference was in his ability to stay on task. I LOVE his medication! Think about how school would be if he wasn't medicated - a teacher can't be constantly nagging him to finish every word he writes. Being medicated is going to make a HUGE difference in his ability to succed at school! I am definitely a believer.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

my project-of-the-evening and the latest kids' pictures

First of all, here's the link if you really want to see all of the kids' pictures:

You just need to enter "Rachel Morrill" as the customer name. These were taken about a month ago, and I emailed the link to family members a little while ago. It just occured to me I should put it on here for any blog-stalkers I may have. Oh, and for posterity's sake. Not the link, that'll be dead in a couple months. But here are my favorites of the group:

This first one isn't a particularly great one of any of them so I didn't buy any of it, but I love how it shows how big they are. All my babies are growing up!

David had a really hard time making cute faces this day. Seriously. I even had them try to get a better single shot of him after Ryan & Katy had gone. I guess it's the age. But this one is cute of Ryan & Katy!

This has the cutest story! Katy, being a difficult little 1.5 year old (most of the time, not just this particular day), wasn't cooperating particularly well. Then the lady got David & Ryan set up for this pose, and told Katy to go sit on David's butt (my mom & I were both thinking "What? You don't say 'butt' to a little kid!" and rephrased it to her with gentler terms). She ran over to them, and did this! Totally her own idea! I am SO glad the photographer captured it!
I think this was the best shot of David all day, Ryan looks pretty Katy isn't smiling. Such is life. Or at least, such is a picture of three small children.

And here's the best one of each individual child:

Handsome, handsome Ryan. Always cheesin' for the camera!

Yup, a floating head. Oops. I spent much time and many text messages debating about what to have her wear. I guess I should have gone with the white turtleneck instead of the black.

Looking a little goofy, but still pretty handsome. As a side note, David has had two school pictures taken this year (since he's gone to two elementary schools so far), and this is FAR better than either of those. I just saw his one from Meridian today on the class Valentine list (The teacher included the pictures so the kids can cut them out and paste them on instead of write the names. Way to strive for excellence.). It is ridiculous. Seriously.
So, you're wondering about my current project. I always do like to have a project. It frequently costs us lots of money, as I go through phases of wanting to make hair bows, scrapbook, etc. I'm going to try and get a handle on that. But I digress. Today I decided was the day to start keeping a printed record of our blog! I've only done 10 so far (I think this is post #195...yikes!), and I don't have any page protectors here to put them in. But I'm starting.
And I've decided exactly how I want to do it. It takes a little bit of dinking around, but I didn't print out TOO many before I decided how I want them all to be. Because they must all match, after all (OCD? ADHD? What IS wrong with me?) I'm going to copy and paste each individual post into a word document. Then select all, change to size 12 font, and put all the text in black. The top, bottom, and sides should all be 1 inch. UNLESS changing the bottom by a little bit will move a large picture up, avoiding a silly big blank space. I'm pretty sure I changed one of the top margins to .9 before I decided to probably only change the bottom. I have a little nagging urge to go back and reprint that one, but I will supress that. Because that is ridiculous.
So, that is my plan. Seeing as how the evening has gotten away from me (go to bed, silly Rachel!) I will have to limit my progress to the first ten this evening. Hopefully my energy and enthusiasm for the project will remain intact for a little while. Because I'd really love to have a nice record of this, in case the old posts ever disappear or something. Oh, and it is so fun for me to go back and look at the pictures from the first few posts. It was almost a year ago, so Katy is so wittow (little, said by a certain little guy at our house)!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Part of the In-Crowd!

Today I found out, yet again, how cool Rachel Morrill really is. Oh, and many, many thousands of my fellow alumni. You see, BYU is the second most popular school in the nation!

What, exactly, does that mean? This particular article ranked colleges based on "yield." For some reason, "yield" means the percentage of accepted applicants that end up attending that school in the fall. So a school with a high yield means that most of the people that were accepted there decided to go there. A low yield shows that people chose another school (or I suppose not to go to school at all). BYU has the second highest yield in the nation! 77% of accepted applicants in the 2007 entering class decided on going to BYU! The only one higher is Harvard, with 79%. MIT...Yale...Princeton...all lower on the list!

Of course, it says BYU has a 74% acceptance rate, while those other schools have way, way, way lower (9% for Harvard). I'm not really sure what that means for popularity. Maybe just that pretty much exclusively LDS people apply, and most of them pretty much know if their grades are BYU quality or not.

So, I am cool.

U of U only has a 47% yield. I guess half the people repented after applying.

Friday, February 6, 2009

we found a place to live!

Here it is! We have a place to live! After my long, long day of digital apartment hunting, we ended up with one of the places we looked at when we were down in Vancouver. But when we went there they didn't have any 3 bedrooms available, and they don't keep a waiting list. But while I was looking at apartments online the other day I thought I might as well email them and find out if they had had anything open up. I'm positive that was inspiration, because they did! She emailed me at 5:37, but I didn't see it until after they closed (at 6). So Dan got permission to go to work late, and was there at 9:00 the next morning when they opened! And we got it! Apparently they never have 3 bedrooms available for longer than like a day and a half. And there were other people in the complex that wanted it, but they don't allow people to do that unless there is more than one open. So we are so very lucky and blessed to get it!

One of the most awesome things about this complex is the elementary school. It is aparently the only apartment complex that attends Fishers Landing elementary, which is ranked 21 out of 1058 elementary schools in the state of Washington! The average WASL (a standardized test taken in 4th grade) score is 180.4 out of 200, 89.17/100 in math, 91.3/100 in reading. gives it a 10/10. It is a seriously great school! We're signing an 11 month lease, so David will finish up kindergarten then start first grade, and Ryan will start kindergarten there!

Oh, and really, really close by (kitty-corner across the street from the complex) is a transit center, where Dan can walk, and take one bus all the way to work. He's been taking the bus while living in Portland, but he either has to drive to a transit center or walk a ways to a stop. So this is perfect!

Since one of the main purposes of our renting an apartment is to try and get to know the area we want to buy in, this is definitely a great place to live. I would definitely like to stay in that area! At least, I think so, from what I know about it. I guess if it doesn't end up as wonderful as it sounds, better to know that now before we buy!

Now we just have to figure out all the many details about getting all our stuff from Utah to Vancouver...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

at least he's having fun?

When we went to Vancouver, WA a little while ago to look at apartments, we found a few possibilities but nothing perfect. So I've been needing to start looking again, this time in the Oregon suburbs of Portland. At 1:00 today I dropped David off at school, came home & put Katy down for a nap, let Ryan start playing on the Wii, and started searching. I made up a nice chart and tried 3 different apartment searchers. And totally lost track of time. David came home from school a little before 4, and Katy woke up a little while after. I finally decided to take a break to make dinner a couple minutes ago, shortly after 5. And I realized that Ryan had never stopped playing on the Wii! I just let him play for about FOUR HOURS! Oops!
What kind of mother does that, especially without even realizing it? Well, I guess that might be better than constantly telling him to leave me alone, like I'd probably be doing if he weren't playing on the Wii. Right?
I guess I'll wait until after bedtime to get back to my search!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Aunt Pretty?

One of Katy's favorite things to do here at Grandma & Grandpa Smith's house (yes, we're back in Washington!) is to look at the pictures on the mantle. In the time we've been here she's become quite the talker, and likes to practice saying everyone's name. Grandma was just doing that with her, and she went all the way through saying everybody's name pretty well. Then they got to the end, and went back. So she said "Hannah," then "Danny," then when she got to Miriam, she said "Pretty!" Yes, Katy, Aunt Miriam is very pretty. She'll be happy you think so, too!

On a completely unrelated note, Molly (our dog) just opened the sliding glass door all by herself! I gave her a shower just a few minutes ago and didn't want to let her outside until her fur is all dry. I was just typing, then turned around to see the door about a foot open, and Molly out back! Naughty pup!