Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Version of Spring Cleaning

I guess you could call what I am doing spring cleaning.  It's not washing the house form top to bottom and making the windows shine, but it is spring and I am cleaning :)  I have organized clothes for six children, getting rid of 3 garbage bags of clothes in the process.  I have organized the books in the toy room and put all the toys in the proper bins.  I even vacuumed the toy room.  That is something that isn't done as often as it should be because in order to vacuum the floors in the room would have to be clean.  Yeah right!  I rearranged furniture.  I hung up all the coats in the coat closet.  Short people (as in my children) can't seem to quite reach high enough to get the coat hangers on the rod so they end up in the closet floor.  I put all the hats and mittens in the hat and mitten bucket.  From the looks of things my kids will never be basketball players because none of them get their things in the bucket when they run by and toss.  I emptied three more boxes and hid the rest behind the wet bar :)  Unfortunately our garage door is stuck shut so I can't get the empty boxes out of the house.  I also started hanging up pictures on the wall.  That has been slightly frustrating because my landlord only wants me to use a certain kind of nail and hook so the hooks show and the pictures don't lay completely flat.  At least we have pictures up though!  It is a work in progress and I am sure I will get sidetracked some where along the way, but for now it's working and what I have finished looks kind of good!  I think I will celebrate my successes with some chocolate and a diet Dr. Pepper!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Is This Your Best?

The other day I took the kids to the track.  They ride their bikes and play ball while I run.  On this particular day Makenna came riding up alongside me on her bike and this is the conversation that followed:

Makenna:  How many laps do you have to run today
Me: 9
Makenna:  How many have you done already?
Me: 3
Makenna:  Oh, so you have 6 laps left.  Are you going to run any races this year?
Me:  I hope so.
Makenna:  Is this as fast as you are going to run in your races?
Me:  Maybe.
Makenna:  Is this your best?
Me:  It is today.
Makenna:  Oh, that's okay then if you come in last - as long as you do your best!

Then away she went.  Maybe I should start doing some speed work, you think?

Trip to Idaho

This last weekend we decided to go to Idaho since Michael had the weekend off.  Maddi stayed here with my mom and dad.  She went to school with my mom on Friday, which she loved.  Friday night she and my dad watched John Wayne movies.  Those are a favorite around here.  There was supposed to be a track meet on Saturday (the reason she wanted to stay) but it got cancelled so she just hung out with them for the rest of the weekend and had a great time soaking in all the one on one time!  The rest of us had a great time with family.  We visited Michael's grandma Friday afternoon before heading out to his parents house.  Saturday the boys and Olivia went with Michael to an auction.  Michael's dad works for one of the auction companies in the area.  Later Makenna, Michael's mom and sister, and I went there too.  We ate auction burgers (always good) and then took Olivia with us and went to town to do some shopping.  It was a nice afternoon.  I have a new favorite store but unfortunately it is not easy access for me!  Michael will appreciate that though.  We spent Saturday evening at home.  The kids all piled on Kelli's king sized bed and ate M&Ms while they watched TV.  Sunday we went to church and got to see a lot of old friends.  I love going back there.  Even though we haven't been there for 5 years now, it still feels like home.  The kids had so much fun running around the farm, enjoying the freedom that they have lost since living here.  The boys went out one evening to help Michael's dad with the chores.  Zane got to drive the feed truck.  He was in heaven!  It's all he has talked about since then.  We do miss the out of town life style.  I love being able to live in town close to school, church, and shopping, but I have decided that it does not out weigh the space of country living.  Anyways, it was a lot of fun.  The kids had a great time and so did Michael and I.  We are looking forward to going back at Easter.  Maybe next time I will remember my camera so I can take pictures!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Night With Zeke

Last night, since Michael was working, I let Zeke sleep with me.  We also slept with Scat the Cat, Bridgett the giraffe, momma and baby raccoon, a puppy and an alligator.  We had a very emotional discussion about animals we've had that have died.  Zeke was in tears as he asked why certain ones died and if they were in heaven and how he would find them when he got to heaven.  They never came when he called while they were on earth so he assumed they wouldn't come when he called them in heaven either.  I assured him that they would.  Then he went on to talk about when I died.  He didn't want me to die.  He wanted us to die at the same time so he wouldn't  have to be here all by himself.  I told him I would wait for him.  That settled him right down and after a hug, a kiss and a giggle about sleeping in daddy's spot, he was sound asleep.  He is such a sweet little boy, but he is very tender.  He gets very upset during sad parts in movies.  He gets very sad about people and animals dying.  He has always been very aware of that and has talked a lot about heaven and seeing Jesus again.  At the same time he is a huge goof ball!  He is always doing something silly and making some one laugh.  He is my best buddy.  Since we have kissed, that means we are married and that thrills him to death!  We are going to spend our lives together.  He will never leave me because I am his best buddy and he would miss me too much!  If that just doesn't melt a mother's heart :)  I know it's not true but I love it right now!  This morning when we woke up I noticed he was clear over on the far edge of the bed.  When I asked him why he was over there he told me that he had gotten sweaty next to me and so the bed had gotten wet.  I pulled back the covers - it was not wet from sweat!  We put a towel on the wet spot and he went and changed.  He got a little nervous about wetting Michael's spot.  He asked me if daddy would know it was him who wet the bed or if daddy would think it was me!  I told him daddy would know it wasn't me.  "Oh, because the towel is there he will know it was me?"  "Kind of," I told him.  He got all dressed and then insisted that I take a picture of  him to send to everyone.  I did.  Isn't he handsome?  He holds a very special place in my heart and I am so thankful to be able to spend my days with him.  He'll always be my little Zekie (I'm the only one who can call him that :)  He gets mad if any of the kids do.)  Love, love, love him!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fun with Hair

Lately, with the patience of the girls, we have been trying new hairdos.  The girls do actually seem to enjoy it, especially Makenna.  Maddi has even gotten into it and lets me do her hair.  Here are a few pictures from the last week or so.

Olivia before church this morning.  After two braids she was tired so we left it at that!

Maddi's hair this morning.  She likes her hair in ponytails so we found a fun way to do it.

Makenna's hair.  I wanted to curl the back but ran out of time.  It turned out cute though.

Makenna's hair for St. Patrick's Day.  We put three hearts around the pony tail to make a shamrock.

This was last Sunday's hairdo.  I did all three girls the same.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Need a Nap

My house is a mess, Olivia's knees are all scraped up, Michael is asleep, laundry needs done, my house is a mess, groceries need put away, pie dough needs made, my house is a mess, every toy in the toy room is dumped out on the floor, I have a dozen young women coming over to my house this evening and MY HOUSE IS A MESS!!  Slightly overwhelmed today.  I didn't get a whole lot of sleep last night.  I got more than Michael, but he gets to sleep today - I don't.  He got home around midnight I think.  Olivia woke up crying shorftly after that. She has been having growing pains in her legs at night.  She and Michael ended up on the couch last night and slept there.  She slept more than Michael.  I tossed and turned in bed, going in and out of sleep until the alarm went off.  Michael got up long enough to see the kids off to school and then he went back to bed.  I cleaned one bathroom, folded three loads of laundry and started more.  I also made the apricot filling for the fried pies tonight.  Then I went to the store to get the last few things I needed for tonight.  When we got home, Zeke and Olivia helped me carry the groceries in.  As Olivia was going to the door with her arms full of gatorade, Jack kind of circled her with his leash and she fell on the cement.  She had a dress on so her knees got all skinned up and she started screaming.  I yelled at the dog, picked up the gatorade and helped Olivia in the house.  Zeke and I finished the groceries and I cleaned up Olivia.  I had bought a big pail of ice cream for tonight to go with the fried pies.  It was the only vanilla pail left in the store.  I put it in the freezer but I guess not good enough.  When Zeke and Olivia went to put the milk in the fridge, the freezer came open and the ice cream fell out.  The pail broke and ice cream splattered all over the floor.  I cleaned up the mess, put the ice cream in a bowl, covered it with plastic wrap and put it back in the freezer.  Won't that look nice when I serve the girls this evening?  All this happened before 10:30 this morning.  I'm not too sure I want to stay up to see what the rest of the day brings.  I am still worn out from my emotional draining over the weekend.  Yesterday was nonstop.  I got the kids off to school, got Michael to bed, went to the library then to Rock Springs.  I got home at 3:15, brought in all the bags, the kids came home from school, Michael went to work, I loaded the kids up, dropped Maddi off at the track, dropped Makenna off at a friends, took Olivia to dance, took the other kids to the park, came home, cleaned up dog poop, ate supper, took the kids to school for a meeting, walked home, loaded them up, went to my parents to drop some things off and pick up Maddi, came home, got the kids ready for bed and started soaking the apricots.  Today, I am tired.  I never got to exercise yesterday and I'm not sure how I am going to fit it in today either.  That gets me frustrated.  I need that time but so often, that time gets pushed aside when there are other things to do.  Today I still have to finish the laundry, make pie dough, clean the kitchen, vacuum the house, clean the other bathroom, and get everything ready for tonight.  Plus I would like to get the yard cleaned up before it snows again.  On top of all that, tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day and the kids are expecting the leprechauns to come and do a treasure hunt like they do every year.  I have the treasures ready, but I don't have the hunt ready.  I wonder if they will be upset if the leprechauns just come in the night and leave the treasure on the table?  I know they will because the hunt is their favorite part.  I guess I know what I will be doing after I put the kids to bed tonight!  Sorry, this is probably kind of a downer post, but that is what I am feeling today.  This is my life right now - crazy!  I hope I can keep up with it!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy Birthday Katie!

Today is my sister, Katie's birthday.  She would be 41.  Isn't she beautiful?  As I've posted before, I never knew her in this life.  She died when she was two.  Her impact was huge though.  It will always be felt as long as there is Cantrell blood on this earth.  Her birthday has once again turned my thoughts to life, what we do while we are here and the impact that will have on us in the eternities.  Katie came here perfect and, we believe, for a certain purpose.  She didn't need all the testing and proving that so many of the rest of us need.  She came, touched lives, changed hearts, and left.  I look at my own life.  What have I done?  What will my actions mean?  How have I impacted those around me?  This weekend has been a difficult one for me.  Michael has been working.  I have been single parenting.  Normally that would be fine.  However, I have one child that is a test for me.  A test that I feel I fail miserably over and over again.  I have been emotionally, physically, mentally drained for three days now.  I was hoping for a rebound this morning but it hasn't happened yet.  I struggle, with this child and with myself.  Why do I let it get to me?  Why do I act the way I do when I am  pushed by this child?  Usually it happens in the not-so-quiet of our home.  This weekend though it carried to church and to my parents house.  I was glad in a way because they were then able to see what I was talking about when I would describe the situation to them.  They gave me encouragement and advice.  But then I went back home and had to face it again.  My thoughts came back to Katie.  What do I need to do so that when I leave this earth, I can have the same positive impact?  How can I help this one child and this one heart the way she helped so many lives and so many hearts?  I know it is a different set of circumstances, a different kind of change.  As a mother though, I feel such a need to help but I feel so helpless in trying to do it.  Katie's birthday always brings about contemplation and desire for betterment.  This year it has done the same.  I know that there are things I need to do.  Things I need to change in myself.  I can't force this child to change.  That's not my right or privilege, but I can change myself.  Hopefully as I change myself and my heart, the same will begin to happen in this child's heart.  As my heart softens hopefully it will be more open to the spirit and guidance from my Heavenly Father so that I can know what I need to do in these situations and things won't end up in such a frustrating, depressing disaster.  So as I celebrate Katie's birthday in my heart today I also make promises to try to do better so that when I leave this earth I will have impacted this child the way that Katie has impacted those she touched.  Happy Birthday Big Sister and thank you for your short, sweet life here on this earth!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Finding Alone Time

Michael was supposed to start his two week shift yesterday, but it got postponed until today so he was home this morning.  He knew it would be my first and last chance for quite some time so he suggested I go to town all by myself.  It was so nice.  I didn't do anything particularly fun but I got to look at what I wanted to for as long as I wanted to and I didn't have to stop every 20 minutes to go take some one to the bathroom.  When I got home, I felt much more relaxed and ready for the next two weeks.  It will be hard and I am sure by tomorrow I will wish I had some more time to myself but I am grateful Michael suggested I go.  It is the first time I have gone anywhere by myself since we moved here.  I have, however, found other ways to get some time that feels like "alone time".  I have fallen in love with my Kindle.  I take it everywhere with me.  When the kids go to bed, I read.  When I am running on the treadmill, I read.  When I take the kids to McDonalds with an indoor playland, I read.  Who would have thought that McDonalds could be a place to relax and be alone!  Especially when you are in the playland surrounded by crazy, hyper kids running all over the place!  I also get up a few minutes earlier than the kids so I can have a little time to get ready for the day before they all get up and need my help.  I have had to be creative and we have all had to adjust to our new lives here in Green River, but we are doing it.  Things are good.  I am thankful for the noise my children make because it reminds me of my many blessings, but I am also thankful for the quiet times when I can be alone and not needed :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Added Blessings

Last week I was asked to help with the Relief Society (our women's Sunday school class).  I am supposed to help find people to provide a nursery for our monthly, non-Sunday meetings so that everyone who wants to can come to the meetings and not have to worry about what to do with their kids.  Not the most fun thing for me but that's okay.  After church the Bishop called us all in to his office.  He told us that he had some more "blessings" for our family, if that's how we wanted to look at it.  Zane immediately leans his head back against the chair and groans, rather loudly, "Oh no"!  That brought some laughter to the room!  Anyways, the Bishop then asked me and Michael if we would be willing to teach the adult Sunday School class.  I would teach while he is gone working and he could teach on his off weeks.  Yikes!  I've done this before but as always, I am nervous.  For one, Michael is gone much more than he is here on Sundays so basically I will be the main teacher with him stepping in every few weeks or so.  No big deal.  For another, this is a brand new group of people for us.  I know no one!  I don't know the personalities, the names or the backgrounds of anyone.  It will be a challenge, especially in the beginning.  Another, I am a totally different teacher than the last one.  He did a great job and his style of teaching is completely different than mine.  I hope the class responds positively to the change.  Last, we are studying the New Testament this year.  That overwhelms me too.  I have never taught that.  It will be a challenge for me to learn things well enough that I can then turn around and teach them.  I am grateful for the job and I know that we do receive blessings for serving, but right now I echo Zane's words - "Oh no"!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Picture Catch Up!

I finally got my pictures downloaded to  my computer so now I can play catch up and let you all see what we've been doing for the last couple of months!

These are pictures of the kids the Sunday after Christmas all dressed up and shiny clean :)

Zeke celebrated his 5th birthday after we moved to Wyoming.  As you can see he was very excited about it!  We are so thankful for him and his funny personality.  He always keeps us laughing!  He is also so kind and gentle and he still loves to cuddle which makes me very happy :)

The girls started taking ballet classes from the community college here.  The person in charge is the one who is also in charge of doing the Nutcracker every year so the girls are hoping to get to participate in that next winter.

We managed to make some sugar cookies for Valentine's Day.  The kids enjoyed decorating - and eating them!

Naptime with Daddy.  Michael is gone a lot now with work and Zeke and Olivia love it when they get to spend time with him on his days off - even if it is just laying with him on the couch.

Dillon lost his first tooth and was very excited for a visit from the Tooth Fairy!  Big stuff for a little kid!

Today is crazy sock day at school.  The kids really went all out!  Even Zeke and Olivia are participating from home!  They were quite the sight heading off to school this morning.  Michael told them it would be really funny if it really weren't crazy sock day today and they were the only crazy ones in the school.  That thought didn't seem to bother them.  I think they were as excited about getting to wear shorts with their socks as they were about getting to wear the socks!

So that is our picture catch up.  There are tons more, but I didn't think it necessary to post them all.  Now you know the basics of what life has been like in the Christiansen house since leaving South Dakota.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Today I took Zeke and Olivia to storytime at the library.  It was so much fun!  We have been trying to go for several weeks now but we have had school kids home sick so we haven't made it.  This week is Dr. Seuss week.  The kids helped act out a story and then they had one read to them.  Then they made treats.  They were Cat in the Hat hats.  I took pictures with my phone but unfortunately I don't know how to get them on my computer :(  Anyways, you get a round cookie for the brim of the hat.  Then attach half of a marshmallow to it with pink frosting.  Then more pink frosting and another white marshmallow (for the red and white stripes).  They turned out really cute.  Then you get to eat them - the best part of all!  Tomorrow night they are doing another Dr. Seuss event with games, stories and drawings.  I think I will take all the kids and let them enjoy a night there.  We are slowly starting to discover the different things that the area has to offer.  I am excited to discover more!