Dec 31, 2011

The Final Wrapup 2011

Joining with some of my blogging friends to wrap up the last three months of 2011...hard to believe it's almost over. So much has happened this year! For the first three months, click here. Second three months, click here, third three months, click here. Last three months, don't click, you are already here!

My Silly Sweetie
We had an amazing October! We shared several stories about Halloweens past including a vintage Cheetah costume worn by all of our kids down to Scout that was originally made for my sweetie. I told you about my first real job and my first speeding ticket. And don't forget the amazing light show put on by the Dog Walker. We also attended my sweetie's 30th high school reunion! The drive down was a little crazy... The Dog Walker was featured in a huge article in the Deseret News' Mormon Times section. But my favorite post was the one about my grateful little Curly and his sweet prayer .

Baby Doll surrounded by Halloween candy.

November was filled with home repairs and an impromptu kitchen remodel after Princess cracked my ceramic cooktop.

New Countertops, yay!
Remember that my sweetie thought that meant we needed new countertops too? We had a bunch of birthdays, Bossy turned 27, Dog Walker turned 18, Scout turned 6, and Taco turned 7. And our Thanksgiving was an amazing time filled with family and fun. Bossy's birth story stretched into three days and the Dog Walker did a guest blog on his Disneyland trip with the Marching Band. Sport's football team won the state championship! But my favorite post was about my silly Dog Walker and a trip to the swimming just have to read this one.

Fall, leaves, fall!

December was busy and crazy and full of family activities and fun. The girls did an amazing job in the Dance Recital. Scout had her very first visit from the tooth fairy. We shared tons of Christmas memories and traditions.

The Dog Walker put up another awesome light display and our extended family love the annual Christmas party. Christmas Eve meant Christmas jammies, and Christmas day was filled with happiness and love. My favorite post had little to do with Christmas, in fact it was a camping story that couldn't be told until Christmas was over.

This wrap up has been so fun! I love looking back over the stories from the past year. It makes me remember why I started this blog in the first place, to record the crazy happy fleeting moments. It makes me sad that I didn't start years ago. Thanks for sticking with us in 2011. Excited for 2012...Happy New Year!

Dec 30, 2011

Food for Thought - Eggnog Shakes

The first Christmas my sweetie and I spent with his family, I learned of a fun new tradition called the Nut Prize. My MIL would make a yummy treat, usually chocolate pudding, then hide a nut down in one of the bowls. As the kids were eating, one of them would discover the nut and then they would receive a gift.

So I participated that first year, but when I discovered the nut in my treat, I was surprised that all of my sweetie's siblings were rather upset that I won. The gift happened to be a large bag of M&Ms that I promptly shared, but I still felt like an outsider that was not really welcome. Thank goodness that only happened the first year!

Despite my discomfort, my sweetie loved this tradition and it is one we have adopted into our own celebrations although he likes to make it a bit different from what his mom did. First of all, our treat of choice is generally eggnog shakes. Secondly, he likes to put in more than one nut so we have several winners each time. And he also prefers to award the Nut Prize away from the main holiday so the gifts are appreciated more.

Last night was the chosen night this year. After my sweetie made these delicious shakes, I stowed almonds in four of the twelve cups. (Bossy's family didn't join us this year.) Baby Doll, Sweetie, Drama Queen, and Princess were the lucky ones. Four inexpensive board games were revealed and enjoyed by everyone. By the way, I never liked eggnog until I had it mixed with ice cream. Now it is the required dessert at our family Christmas party every year although I usually make my baby sister get down on her knees and beg before I pull the ingredients from the freezer. Give it a try!

Eggnog Shakes

1 gallon vanilla ice cream
1 quart eggnog
freshly grated nutmeg

Scoop slightly softened vanilla ice cream into the bowl of your mixer. Add the eggnog slowly. Beat until smooth, but as little as possible. When we have beaten it too long, it adds air to the mixture and that's no good. Add freshly grated nutmeg if possible, if not, the ground stuff works well too. Add nuts and gifts as desired. Mix with plenty of laughter and love...serve immediately.

Dec 29, 2011

Birth Story: Prima Donna

 It was late June 1998, and I was immensely pregnant with our seventh child. The days were long and hot and I was more than ready to be delivered. Since my two “big” babies, the doctor had decided that inducing about ten days early was perfect for me. The baby was due about the fourth of July, but our ultrasound had not revealed for certain the gender since the babe was sitting with legs tightly crossed. So we scheduled the induction for June 27.

As usual, I could barely sleep the night before. The doctor had promised us that the nursing staff would call between 5:00 and 6:00 AM and tell us what time to be at the hospital, but we had better be ready to leave immediately if that is what they wanted. When the call finally came through, they told us to sit tight, that they were busier than expected and to wait for another call. We went back to bed and tried to sleep again, but it was nearly impossible.

Prima Donna!
The second call came in just after noon and they told us to come down. Finally! We gathered our things and headed to the hospital. It was so nice to have kids old enough to mostly take care of things at home. It took us about 30 minutes to make the drive downtown, but by the time we got there, beds had filled up again and they turned us away at the front desk. I was so disappointed that I was in tears. The frazzled nurse kindly suggested that we go somewhere and get a good lunch and then come back. My sweetie steered me toward the elevator and we headed back to the street. It’s a good thing he had it all together, because I was falling apart.

Normally we would be pinching pennies, especially with the pending birth and associated expenses, but I think my sweetie knew that this day needed to be special. He took me to a restaurant called Windows on the Square (I think, it doesn’t exist anymore and I didn’t write the name in the baby book). It was high above Temple Square and the view was amazing! So was the food, but it should have been for the price. We took our time and talked and lingered until the appointed hour and then we headed back to the hospital.

Prima Donna and Princess
It was nearing 5:00 when we again approached the front desk. This time they were ready for us! We checked in and got the induction started. I felt my first pains around 7:00 PM. As the evening dragged on, I wasn’t progressing much and they kept turning the Pitocin higher and higher. My sweetie sacked out on the sofa and I was having trouble keeping my own eyes open. The nurse kept coming in and making me turn this way and that, trying to get the baby and me into more active labor.

About 4:30 AM, we decided my sleeping wasn’t helping the baby any, so I sat up on the bed as best I could and tried to stay alert. That’s all it took. Within about 15 minutes the baby had crowned and was on her way out. She was born just after 5:00 AM. We got to keep her with us extra long because the nurses were changing shifts. She was so beautiful with long straight black hair and dark blue eyes. Right from the beginning she was playful and happy. She was and is a bright spot of sunshine on a warm summer morning. And I was so grateful to finally get a chance to sleep!

Dec 28, 2011

Catching Up

I spent my day trying to catch up. The holidays had me behind almost everywhere…from laundry to paperwork to housework and I’m sure to several more “works” that I’m not remembering right now. I don’t even DARE show you what my laundry pile looks like this time.

We did manage to get the tree out and most of the decorations put away. The kids complained, of course, like they do every year. If I left it up to them, the tree would be in year-round. It’s not that I don’t love Christmas; we’ve been talking about that nearly every day this month, it’s just that my mom always left her tree in for the entire month of January.  It was often still there for Valentine’s Day. That was a little embarrassing when my friends stopped by to deliver their valentines. I just like to move on when it’s over.

Sometimes I feel like I’m caught in that movie, Groundhog Day. My sweetie and I were talking about it this morning. This January will be very much like the last 15 Januarys before it. We will ring in the New Year. The elementary school kids are off-track so we will get to sleep in a little more. The older kids will complain that the little ones got to sleep in more.

Mid-month means Girl Scout cookie sales and they will dominate until the end of January. I will have a birthday and so will my blog. I guess that’s actually a first. How do you go about celebrating the first birthday for your blog? For most of my kids’ first birthdays we have had a big party with the extended family. So you are all my extended blog family, what should we do? The Drama Queen is suggesting a giveaway…what do you think? I have until January 19th to decide, so send me all your best ideas so we can pick one…or two…or twelve…

Dec 27, 2011

Pancakes to Go

I’ve just been dying to tell you this story since last summer! So remember our camping trip to Community (or Lake Hill) if you aren’t a local? I want to give you a few more details. The Dog Walker is always responsible for packing up everything for us when we go camping since he loves to camp and me…not so much. I make a long detailed list and then he heads out in the garage, gathers up everything and stows it in the van.

This particular trip was no different. After he was finished and nearly everything was crossed off the list, I quizzed him on the particulars. Did he pack the charcoal… lighters…hot dog sticks? How about the Volcano…the huge frypan…and the griddle for the pancakes? Check, check, and doublecheck…he had it all. Perfect, nothing for me to worry about but the clothing and coolers.

Fast forward to our campsite and unloading the van…the Dog Walker was setting up our tent and my sweetie and I were unloading the food and necessaries for the camp fire. That’s when I came across the “griddle” that he had packed. It was still in the box which would have been OK, except that this was an electric griddle I had purchased for the Gym Rat for Christmas rather than the little camping griddle that fits over the burners of the camp stove.

I called the Dog Walker over and asked him how he was planning to scare up a little electricity…was he going to plug it into a tree? He sheepishly shrugged his shoulders and went back to blowing up air mattresses. My sweetie and I giggled a little longer as we attempted to rearrange the menu now that pancakes were not possible.

Living life with an autistic is fun because you never really can figure out exactly how their brain works. After a few minutes it dawned on me that Teach was driving up by herself early in the morning and we could have her grab the griddle as well as the half dozen other things I had forgotten. I sent her a quick text (thank goodness we were low enough in the canyon to still have service). She responded with a “no problem” so we settled down and went back to enjoying our campfire.

It was fairly early when we heard Teach’s tires crunching on the gravel road leading up to the campsite. We were excited to see her and grateful that she was safe. After a quick hug, we walked to the trunk of her brand new car (well, new to her anyway) to unload. She popped the trunk with her fancy new key and the first thing I saw was the griddle. I nearly fell down laughing…she had grabbed the griddle that I bought for the Drama Queen for Christmas…it looked just like the one for the Gym Rat. “What’s wrong?” she asked. “I thought you wanted the griddle.” She still didn’t get it.

No, she’s not autistic, she’s just blond.

Dec 26, 2011

Christmas Day

 Just completing an amazing day! I’m tired and I’m stuffed and so are my garbage cans…good thing tomorrow is trash day. I heard the kids shuffling around in the hallway just before six this morning. They are a certainly smart about who they send in. It’s always the cutest, littlest one with the biggest eyes.

We dragged ourselves out of bed and met them at the door. Since I was carrying Baby Doll, that meant I got to go down the stairs first. We have always done age order starting with the youngest. Teach wasn’t very excited about taking pictures, but I convinced her we needed to share with all of you, so she spent the morning snapping pics here and there.

We always start with the stockings and as usual, Santa didn’t disappoint us. We found oranges, chocolate, movies and small toys. The pile of gifts under the tree and piled around was massive although not as big as some years. I volunteered to spread the cheer (and the presents!), so I started handing things around.

The little kids got tons of packages! Curly was so excited every time he opened something. It didn’t matter what it was; it was the best thing ever.  He has always been such a grateful boy. His big gifts were a scooter and a remote-controlled Cars2 set. 

Scout got a big-girl scooter and Barbies. Sport got thousands of Legos and a Cars2 set. Crafty and Prima Donna both got digital cameras and Ipod shuffles.

Princess and the Dog Walker waited for ages watching the little kids open the colorfully wrapped packages until I finally handed them two that had been stashed on the piano, away from little feet that might step on them. Princess opened hers first and she was excited beyond belief to find the thing she hadn’t even dared to hope for, an Ipod Touch. The Dog Walker opened one too, although I’m not sure he even knows what it really can do.

The Gym Rat, Drama Queen, and Teach opened a variety of Tupperware products including a fry pan and some amazing knives. They were so excited! Something I gave them instead of something I was trying to convince them to buy…

I surprised my sweetie with a new camera and he surprised me with some lights for the living room (I’ve been complaining for years how dark it is) and the promised labor to replace them over the holidays.

We opened about half the gifts and then I took Baby Doll for a nap while my sweetie started cooking dinner for the 26 people we were expecting (although that’s not really that many more than the 18 we normally have). At 1:00 we headed off for church. I loved the chance to sing the Christmas carols and remember why we celebrate Christmas!

After church we grabbed a quick lunch and finished opening that stack of gifts. Then we spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning while my sweetie and half the crew cooked rolls, turkey, prime rib, and mashed potatoes and gravy.

Bossy and her family showed up at 6:00. We sat everyone down around 6:30. The food was amazing! We were entertaining my youngest sister and her family as well as Grandpa and my brother and his family visiting from New Zealand. Then there was another round of gift-exchanging as the kids took care of Grandpa and he took care of them.

Finally, it was just us, so we shared our gifts with Bossy’s family and she shared hers with us. Somewhere during that time Scout fell off a folding table and she is carefully nursing a sore arm…I’m guessing we will be in for a trip to the doctor’s office in the morning. I’ll let you know.

Teach put together chocolate fondue with lots of fruit and marshmallows and the kids pulled out some games. I love having them all together, getting along and just loving each other. That’s what family is all about…Hope your Christmas was as sweet as mine. Maybe now I can  finally get some sleep!

Dec 24, 2011

Christmas Jammies

About a dozen years ago I read a book about a family where the mom made Christmas jammies for all the kids, even though they were grown up and coming home. I loved this tradition and decided to adopt it as my own. I haven't managed to make pjs every year, but ALMOST every one since then.

These gifts are always opened on Christmas Eve. For the last three years I have had shirts custom-made with our family name. This year the Drama Queen wanted to be in charge. She wanted all the shirts to have the blog names and the front and on the back. My BFF did an amazing job on the shirts and the Drama Queen made all the pants (except for the cutting which I helped with). SO FUN! Thanks Drama Queen.

And thank you all for letting us share our Christmas with you! And thanks for all of your Christmas wishes. I promise I will get caught up on the comments after the big day! Merry Christmas and Best Wishes from me, my sweetie, and my kiddos at Twelve Makes a Dozen.

The End.

Just kidding...I'll be back tomorrow.
(And the puns just go on and on...)

It Only Takes Nine Months

Linking up again for the Review Extravaganza! July was a crazy month for us. We started it with my Tupperware obsession confession. We spent the fourth at Grandma’s and then we took a trip to Idaho that included two grandsons. My sweetie was amazing, figuring out how to hook me up in the hotel rooms so that I could post every day of our trip. The elementary-aged kids started school near the end of the month, but not before we had a couple of days of camping. After a temporary blog setback, we finished out the month with one of my favorite posts, Six Seconds of Confusion…cause we’ve all been there…Sorry, Gamer.

Iron Chef Entrees
August was mostly a collection of stories from our past, an anniversary party the kids set up for my sweetie and me, all my broken bones stories, and my dramatic debut. We talked about our visit to the UP house and all the fun activities we did from the summer list, like our Iron Chef competition, a trip to Logan, and the County Fair. We also sent all the older kids back to school and I explained how in my house you might feel like you are seeing double!  My favorite post was Baby Doll’s desperate attempts to get out of church.

September was a difficult month for us, full of highs and lows. The Dog Walker finished all of his Merit Badges and we held a HUGE court of honor the included television interviews and then national and international coverage culminating in the story being run on CNN and other major networks! We celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary and the Dog Walker attended a major school dance. We lost my sweet Grandma near the end of the month. She was 93 and had lived a full and active life, but it was still hard. The stories about the Dog Walker are definitely amazing, but my favorite post was about our garbage strike when we were first married. It turned out to be a fitting tribute to Grandma even before she passed away.

Oh for the warmer lazy days of summer! We spent the evening celebrating what we affectionately call “Christmas Adam” (because Adam came before Eve, of course). We started this tradition about 8 years ago of having a family activity. One year we took a cruise on the Great Salt Lake with Santa. The second year we did the Polar Express in Heber City. We have gone to the movies, out to dinner, had a Rock Band competition…this year we took the kids miniature golfing, then to Sizzler to eat dinner, and finally to see the amazing light show put on by Ogden City. We also had the grandsons and Grandpa. The only one missing was Gamer and he had to work. So fun having all twelve of them together! That’s the best Christmas gift ever.

Dec 23, 2011

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

Every year (usually a bit closer to New Year's Eve) my sweetie and I spend an hour or two evaluating the year and what our new year might bring. Since I started on this Charles Dickens thing, I decided it might be fun to speculate on where my life and the lives of my loved ones might be next year at this here are my thoughts on Christmas 2012 or Christmas Yet to Come. Keep in mind that this is all guessing (and wishing) and not necessarily backed up with any amount of certainty. I'll let you figure out which ones are wishes and which are inevitable.

Bossy and Gamer and their little brood...
Gamer will re-enroll in school and finish the last few classes he needs to complete his Associates Degree. Bossy will keep working for DCFS and maybe (hopefully!) get pregnant. Bean Dip will continue to improve in school and become an excellent student. Taco will win in several Reflections categories and become the star of the soccer field. Burrito will start Kindergarten and learn to read. He will NOT become the soccer star because he doesn't really seem to like soccer that much...maybe basketball.

Gym Rat...
He will finish his degree and get married! 'Nuff said.

Drama Queen...
She will graduate with her degree in Secondary Ed and find a nice guy to practice the scenes from Romeo and Juliet. No wedding bells, but maybe some kind of a ring???

She will graduate with her degree in Elementary Ed, get an amazing job at her favorite elementary school where she will meet a cute single male teacher, get married within six weeks, buy a house and and work hard to fill it with cute little baby Teaches.

Dog Walker...
He will graduate from high school and become an amazing scout leader until it's time to go on a mission for our church. With his strong testimony he will be an amazing missionary!

She will bring down the house with her performance in Sleeping Beauty, convincing dance studios everywhere that she could single-handedly revive their weakening programs...but she will stay at C&C because she loves the people there and after all, they made her what she is today. (lol) She will also start high school, earn her drivers license, turn 16 and start dating. Maybe there is even a first kiss for her somewhere in 2012. We are going to have to invest in a big stick!

Prima Donna...
With her six Reflections wins, she will advance our first entry to the National competition but just to keep her from getting too big-headed, she will only take second place.

She will finally be old enough to join the Young Women's group at our church. Pointe shoes have got to be part of her 2012 as will another amazing run at being the Girl Scout Cookie Queen. Who knows? She might even start looking at boys!

After basketball, maybe baseball will be part of 2012. Defnitely a little more football, some cursive, and multiplication tables. He already likes girls, so I'm not too worried about that.

She might become the very best reader in her class! With five entries moving on in Reflections she could easily be declared the PTA Queen or maybe the king...she much prefers cute little skirts to pants.

A first kiss might be in his 2012 too...all the girls around here, old and young, just LOVE his curly blond hair. In the fall he will start preschool (he's already signed up!) and he can start swimming lessons and learn to ride a two-wheeler. Maybe he can teach the Drama Queen. That's one of the few skills she hasn't mastered.

Baby Doll...
Talking, running, jumping on the tramp...there are so many things for a one-year-old to learn! I can't wait to see what the new year brings for her. Hopefully not the stomach issues she has had this week...she ate Princess's little clay nativity (all non-toxic) but the diarrhea has been awful. Like they say, this too shall pass.

My Sweetie...
He will be happy and healthy and content with his job. He will be silly and attentive and paint my toenails once a month. He will also take me out to dinner and listen while I yack his ear off because women need to say about 5000 words each and every day. Hey, maybe that's why I like blogging...

I will try to update my blog at least every other day because if I keep up with every day I may just run out of stories to tell. Maybe I will sell a little Tupperware, maybe not... I guess a new baby could be part of our new year (NO, this isn't an announcement), but if the Lord is willing, we would be happy to have one more, although next month I'll be 47 so my biological clock must be ticking although since I'm so old, I can't really hear it. I will try for the ten thousandth time to be more organized, lose weight, and be more patient.  You would think after almost 30 years of setting the same New Year's goals that I might be able to accomplish ONE of them! And maybe I will even learn to troubleshoot my own computer since I've been off the network all day and I'm typing this on the laptop because my computer doesn't want to play nice.

What are your plans for 2012?