Wednesday, December 17, 2008

An important conclusion

I have reached an important conclusion. Pregnancy and blogging just don't mix in my world. I have only so much energy in a day and by the time I've taken care of the more necessary things in life, there's nothing left for blogging. It has literally been weeks since I have read any blogs so I feel so behind on everyone's lives. (I feel like I've really accomplished something if I check my e-mail every few days.)

Despite my lack of posting, we have actually been quite busy. So, for those of you who care, I am going to pretend that I have been on top of things and postdate a couple of things - so you can go back and read up on our goings on. And for those of you who don't, just look for my next post in a couple of months or so. (I have high hopes of posting Christmas photos before March.)

Have a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Getting a Tree

Not necessarily a very exciting event, but one that we look forward to each year. I think we are one of the few who still get a fresh, real tree each year. I just love the smell of having a real tree in the house at Christmas time. There is alway some discussion and attempts to convince each other which is the best tree to choose. We always get the same kind. I don't remember what they are called, but we refer to them as Charlie Brown trees. They don't have full big branches and typically have big spaces between the branches as well. Apparently Samantha didn't remember that this is the kind we always get, and it wasn't what she wanted - AT ALL!!! She threw a HUGE tantrum at the Christmas tree lot. This might be somewhat typical of my 2 year olds, but my almost 8 year old?!!! We gave her several quiet, polite warnings that she better change her behavior, but she didn't take our suggestions. Shawn finally hauled her off to the car and locked her in. It was pretty embarrassing to have all of the tree lot workers commenting on it. Being locked in the car didn't stop the fit either. She just kept screaming and kicking and yelling. Needless to say, we had to put in a direct call to Santa and she lost her ticket to see the Nutcracker. (She managed to earn that back by spending the next morning doing housework, but she is still working on earning her place back on the nice list!) Ah, the joys of children. The rest of us were happy with our pick.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


After returning from St. George, we had just a few days to do the laundry and pack up again before heading to Chicago for Grandpa Quincy's wedding. In a nutshell, it went something like this...

Bitter cold, lots of eating out at fancy places (not an easy task with 4 kids), lots of wedding festivities, pink fluffy dresses, pink ties, dancing, saw a show (The Million Dollar Quartet), new American Girl dolls for the girls and lunch at the American Girl store (a highlight for them), a trip to the Museum of Science and Industry for the boys (Jonas would have spent days there if he could), 3 trips to The Fudge Pot for chocolate treats, an attempt to see the zoo, but too cold, hats, scarves gloves, coats for all and still bitter cold. We look forward to returning in warmer weather!

Meet Fred

Fred is the newest addition to our family. He is our family's head elf. He joined us on December 1st and plans to stay until Santa comes. Although we have several elves watching us all the time, Fred is the only one who willing shows himself. We are allowed to talk to Fred, but we can't touch him or his magic might leave. He uses his magic every night to go and visit Santa and give him the daily report on everyone's behavior. He lets Santa know which of us ended up with nice stars and which of us ended up with naughty stars at the end of each day. And he can keep Santa updated on the latest additions to our wish lists. (A very nice bonus for those of us who just can't make up their minds about what we want most of all.) The most fun thing about Fred is that every morning when he returns to our house, he is in a different place. We all try to be the first one to spot him each morning. Amazingly, he even followed us to Chicago and back again with out missing a day!

Monday, December 1, 2008


We went to St. George this year for Thanksgiving. There was no improvement in the weather despite traveling south. It was cold and rainy the first couple of days. It was fun to be with family. We met my nephew and niece from Atlanta for the first time. The kids enjoyed getting to know their cousins a little better and it was good to see Rich and Sandra again. We had dinner with Shawn's extended family at his aunt Marci's house. Thanksgiving day involved playing the wii, launching rockets that we had made, and haircuts for the boys at the barbershop. (Shawn's cousin is married to a barber.) Jonas was not happy about getting his haircut, but he was beginning to look a bit like a full-maned lion and what with a wedding coming up and all.... well, we just hope he'll forgive us before too long. The rockets were definitely a highlight for the older kids in spite of the rain. It was amazing to see how high they went. Samantha's managed to last through 2 or 3 launches which was quite a feat since they were made of paper and it was wet. Although, I did remember to take my camera to St. George, I don't have a single picture from the weekend! Here's some video of the rocket launches.

We did manage to squeeze in one last adventure on our way home. While we were driving on the freeway, the hood latch on the suburban broke. It was very windy and we were obviously traveling at highway speeds, so the hood flew up, bent back and smashed into the windshield. Despite being unable to see anything, Shawn was able to slow down and pull over to the side of the road. It was pretty frightening and we felt extremely blessed that it all ended so well. Samantha cried and yelled "we're doomed, we're doomed!" over and over again until we convinced her that we couldn't call the tow truck and get help unless she stopped. Fortunately, Shawn's mom and Doug were just 10 miles ahead of us in Beaver. We stopped there and were able to secure the hood down so we could drive the car home. It doesn't look pretty, but it could have been so much worse. We figure we will at least need a new hood, a new windshield, new wipers, etc. , etc... One of the first things we did after pulling over was to give a prayer of thanks for our safety. And despite the delay, we still managed to make it to Thanksgiving dinner at the Stewarts - almost on time.

The damage:

A little like this...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fall Activities

Jonas on the soccer field.
Fall was full of soccer. Jonas did Impact Soccer Academy this year. This involved a lot of time. We were all relieved when the fall season finally ended. But Jonas did have fun playing on the team with his friend Stuart and his cousin Robbie.
Of course, fall also involved a trip to Red Butte Garden for Garden After Dark.

The kids went to a primary party where the dress-up theme was cowboys and cowgirls.
Samantha, Amelia and Megan in their "duds".
As always, here in our own personal land of trees, fall involved lots of leaves. We loved the warm weather and Megan and Amelia especially liked to be outside. Everyday after sending Amelia off to school, Megan insisted that we eat our lunch out on the front porch.

And last, but not least, fall included dressing up for Halloween and going trick-or-treating. This was the first year that neither of us had to go out with the kids. They all went with friends or neighbors. It was kind of a nice change. It's been years since Shawn and I were both home on Halloween night.
Megan was an elephant although she did not want to wear her costume trick-or-treating. She just went as herself. It still worked though, as far as I know, she got candy at every house she stopped at.
Amelia was a pumpkin. She loves Halloween and talks about her costume, sings songs, etc.. for weeks in advance and then is very disappointed when it is all over.

Samantha was a gnome on a toadstool. We saw this costume in a magazine at the dentist's office and she decided that was what she wanted to be. Somehow, we managed to make it work and it held together until she got home.

Somewhere Jonas got the idea that he wanted to be a mop. (It could be because that is what we always call him - due to the amount and length of his hair.) At least it was an easy costume to pull off. He especially enjoyed spraying everyone with his "mop and glo".
And that is the quick version of October at our house.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Beignets or Semi Annual Sugar Fest

It is a meal of sweet glutony. It is also a family cooking moment. Everyone participates. Everyone gets coated with flour and powdered sugar, (note the before and after photos of the kitchen counter) and everyone takes in enough calories to fuel us for at least a week. Mmmm.

Samantha got into the festivities by donning not only her typical apron and chef hat but also a hairnet and purple eyeshadow. Maybe she is an aspiring lunchlady.

We all ate our fill and then it was time to clean up. (Darn it!) This includes baths for everyone - to remove the sugar coating. We love conference Sundays!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Doh! A Deer

So, once again I have long been absent from the blogging world.  What can I say, I'm a busy person!  We have had several events that deserve blogging - a couple of birthdays, a pair of shoes made from a bageldog wrapper and duct tape, 3 first days of school, Lotoja, and so on and so forth.  I do have hopes of one day organizing my photos and attempting a catch up blog of the highlights, but I wouldn't advise holding your breath.  Maybe it will happen, maybe it won't.  Just to try to get back into the swing of things here, I'm going to start with the tale of the deer.  Sorry - it's a long one.  (Reader discretion is advised if you are overly squeamish, but I don't think I will include any photos, although Shawn did take some with his cell phone that if you would really like to see, he would be happy to show you.)

On an evening a couple of weeks ago, as we are prone to do occasionally, we went boating up at Echo.  This being a school night, we were making a great effort to get off the water and home at a somewhat reasonable hour (something that previously, we have not done well.)  All things considered, we did pretty well, but it was still dark by the time we were on the road with the boat.  Now keep in mind that this is a suburban, pulling a boat, so a rather large object that has no chance of braking and stopping on a whim.  Anyway, we are driving along and from the side of the road, out jumps a buck.  Shawn exhibited his great driving prowess and managed to brake and swerve enough to avoid the deer.  Just as we were settling into the feeling of relief of having avoided tragedy, I look out my window and realize that the deer wasn't alone, so I say "Oh no, there's another one." (Profound, I know, but there wasn't time for much else.)  Shawn and I brace ourselves, and sure enough there is a thump, and he says, "I got it." 

 At this point the kids are aware something has happened but they don't really know what and we are trying to keep it that way.  I look back to see if I can see the deer or any obvious damage, but it's too dark.  Then, I glance in the side view mirror and I can see deer legs!  All I can say is, "Oh, oh , oh, it's on the trailer!  Eeeww, eeewww!"  I'm trying to keep this quiet but the kids are definitely curious and concerned as to what is going on.  

By this time we are now in the town of Coalville and Shawn pulls over across the street from the Polar King.  We don't quite know what to do - we don't want the kids to turn around and look because we don't really know what, um, state everything is in - whether all parts are attached etc.  Finally Shawn gets out to take a look and I follow.  Fortunately, (I guess) the deer is all in one piece but definitely dead, definitely stuck on the trailer under the boat and definitely large.  No clear signs of serious damage to the boat that we could see- in the dark at least- just a bit messy if you catch my drift.  But we still have a problem.  We are very clearly city-folk and not of the hunting persuasion and have no idea how to get the deer out or what to do with it if and when we do.  So we call the sheriff.  In a small town like Coalville, you'd expect the sheriff to be able to show up within 5 minutes or so, but after 45 minutes of waiting, we decided we were going to need to find help somewhere else.  By this time all the kids are so tired and cranky - it was well past their bedtimes, and I was freezing and we still had this dumb deer to deal with.  (We did briefly entertain thoughts of just parking the boat and leaving it for our co-owners to discover, but tying on the cover would have been rather problematic and disgusting.)  We could, however, occasionally see the humor in the whole situation and despite the sadness over the death of the poor doe, did manage (and still do manage) to laugh at the improbability of the whole thing.  Finally, Shawn went and asked some fine gentlemen (line painters who had been dining at the Polar King as we waited in vain for the sheriff to come) for a little help.  They found him some rubber gloves since Samantha had been continuously yelling from the car, "Dad - you are never, never supposed to touch a dead animal!!  (And really, who could argue with her on that point?)  

When they walked around to the back of the car, one of them said, "Smells like deer."  (Those were the only words he uttered.)  It was all Shawn could do to keep from cracking up right then.  They probably do a little more hunting and such than we ever have.  But thankfully, they just grabbed on to the poor deer and yanked her out of there so Shawn didn't have to have the oogie feeling of touching a dead, but still warm animal.  Of course all we could do was leave it on the side of the road.  We felt really bad because it was in front of someone's house.  We did call the sheriff again and let them know that it was there.  (Apparently, they were busy that night.)  But as of 2 days later when our friends went up, it was still there.  So our sincerest apologies to the family living across from the Polar King and to the doe whose life we took and to the buck whom we unintentionally left all alone in the world.  (At least we spared him though.)  Tying up the boat was gross, and we didn't get home until 10:15, but we have a unique story to tell and we can still say that we have never been in a car that has hit a deer.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Stringham Diet

Michelle has referenced "The Stringham Diet" a couple of times on her blog.  Food is sometimes optional.  There is no secret that we operate in a "Food as Fuel" paradigm.  It just takes way too long and there is way too much mess to make something fancy.  Although we do sometimes eat real meals, (we made fajitas for dinner just tonight), often times we eat cereal.  But that sounds so simple.  I have found that you can make a meal out of cereal alone.  But lets just say you need to be a little "crazy" and think out side the "cereal box."  

It could be genetic, my grandfather "Papa Homer" would create a vast concoction of mingled cereal.  When we lived with them Melissa thought he was nuts (insight into the rest of the Stringhams).  He had a huge container that he would put about 15 different cereals in, shake it up and add fruit.  It was awesome.  You could call it the Stringham Secret Cereal Recipe.  It is a full fledged health tonic.  Homer and Phoebe both lived till they were 94 and 95 respectively.  Mixing cereal the entire way.  By the way, Melissa can no longer eat just one cereal, it is so passe.  

Really there are a lot more cereal options than Papa and Deedee could have ever imagined.  I no longer "pre-mix."  Every meal is an adventure.  A Stringham Adventure.  So if you are looking for the fountain of youth, here is my contribution.  Michelle, you may want this for your recipe book.

Stringham Cereal

Implements needed:  Sizeable cereal bowl, large spoon

Stringham Cereal requires at least 3 layers: Base, Middler, Topper

Base:  Like any structure, the foundation is key.  The wise man did not build his house upon the sand or his cereal on Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  Hands down the best Base is Quaker Oatmeal Squares.   Seriously, you can build a cereal mansion with this stuff, holds its crunch and lowers your cholesterol.  That's win-win.  Don't buy it anywhere other than Wal-Mart.  Really, this is the only reason I let Melissa shop at the Global Evil, $2.49 a box, compared to $4.99 at Alberstons.  Anyway, something not too sweet and it has to hold together.  Melissa thinks that Frosted Mini-Wheats are a base.  They are not.  She is just confused.

Middler:  The middler is often where you find the essence of the cereal.  I like flakes, chex, stuff with clusters.  As you progress you can add "sub-middlers."  Not for the faint of heart, I have been known to layer up to 5 middlers.  That is like super-hero status.  You need a big bowl.  The best middler hands down is Golden Grahams.  Low in fat, high in taste.  Love them.  Wheaties also make a great Middler of Champions.  

Topper:  Oh... the sweet stuff.  Kind of like dessert in a bowl.  This is the visual stimulus that makes you feel like a kid again.  Anything you shouldn't eat a whole bowl of counts as a topper.  Trix, Lucky Charms, any thing with sugar in the first three ingredients.  The best topper... Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  Truly lovely. Go easy on the topper, too much throws off the balance.  

Fruit:  Every bowl of cereal deserves to be accessorized with the best seasonal fruit available.  Fruit of the Gods = Blueberries.  Strawberries a close second.  Together, a real 1-2 punch.  Love it. 

Fill to just below rim with 2% milk, whole, if you are feeling "saucy".  Enjoy. 

Beware, once you try the Stringham Secret Cereal Recipe, you can never go back.  Start with the basics:  Base: Oatmeal Squares.  Middler: Golden Grahams.  Topper:  Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  Fruit:  Blueberries & Strawberries.  Milk.  Oh Yeah!
Let me know if you find any other great combinations.  As you advance, you will find the right combinations for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.  The palate calls for different flavors at different times.  But that is for another time.   

Taking the Plunge

A few weeks back, our neighbors approached us about buying in on half of their boat.  We have always talked about owning a boat, but it hasn't ever reached the top of our priority list.  We went out on the boat, and talked to everyone we know who owns a boat.  In doing this we heard every time, without fail, that boating has been the best family time that any of these people have had.  (Also several warnings that it makes absolutely zero financial sense - which we heartily agree with.)  After taking a couple of boating trips with all the kids, we decided we had found an activity that everyone really enjoyed (a rare thing in and of itself.)  When Jonas first climbed in the boat after tubing, he yelled "that was totally awesome!"  On her first time out, Amelia literally didn't stop giggling the entire time and she begs daily to go out on the "big boat" again.  So, we decided that for a 10 year old boat, the price was just about right, and we took the plunge, so to speak.  We figured this was a good way to see if we truly are a boating family.  So far, so good.  We are having a great time!  An open invitation exists to anyone we know to come and join us on the lake.  Just call us and tell us when.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


On a recent trip to Walmart for diapers I (Melissa) discovered that all of the summer pool toys, bubbles, etc. had been removed and replaced with (gasp) school supplies!  It was still early July.  I just can't believe that the return to school is coming that quickly.  Oh I dread that day.  As busy as we are this summer, at least we're busy with fun stuff and not spelling lists and flash cards.  Here's to the rest of the summer (even if I can't get anymore pool toys)!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

And Yet Another Fine Parenting Moment for the Stringhams

After an immense amount of frustration and annoyance with my inability to place pictures within my blog, I have decided to just skip over the many important events that have taken place in our lives (trips to the zoo, Red Butte Garden, the end of school, our Summer Solstice party, our trips to Bear Lake, swim meets, Megan's 2nd birthday, etc.., etc.), leave those posts undone, and give this blogging thing another try.  If this doesn't go well, I may have to quit the whole thing. ( It seems so sad that none of this is documented but at least I have some pictures.) 

So, now back to the topic at hand.  Partly due to the astronomical cost of filling the suburban with gas, and partly just to see if we could do it, Shawn and I made a decision to try to cut down on our car trips this summer.  And, we have been relatively successful.  Shawn has been commuting to work on his bike whenever possible, and our daily trips to the pool for swim team practice and lessons have been almost exclusively by bike.  I pull the 2 youngest girls in the trailer and the 2 older kids ride their own bikes.  (Now by some standards, we are already considered cruel parents for making our 9 year old and 7 year old ride their bikes 6 miles round trip and swim 1 1/2 to 2 hours in between.)  For some time (and by this I mean weeks)  Jonas has made the biking a bit unpleasant with all of his whining and complaining.  "It's too hard!"  "My legs are so tired!"  "My legs hurt!"  "I can't do it!"  (Of course this is all said in a rather unpleasant voice.)  We tolerated it for a short time and then became frustrated with him and stopped being so nice about it.  "What's the problem Jonas?"  "If you would just change your bad attitude, you would be fine!"  "Samantha and Robbie are doing fine - stop complaining!!!  (My nephew rides over with us too.)  And finally, on one particular day where I was completely fed up, I told Jonas (in a rather angry tone) to just turn around and go home so I wouldn't have to listen to him anymore.  (Hopefully, no one will report me to child services.)
Now on this bike ride, there is a place where Jonas seemed to have fun.  We ride past one of the signs that measures the speed of the passing cars (and bikes).  So, we always make it a point to see how fast we can go and watch the speed flash up on the screen.  This led to the thought that maybe if Jonas had a speedometer on his bike, he might be a little happier doing all of this bike riding.  So on Monday we got speedometers for the kids bikes.  As Shawn was attaching the speedometer to Jonas' bike, he discovered that his front brake was stuck on.  We checked this a couple of times, but yep, it definitely was on permanent braking.  We felt so bad!  The poor kid has been doing all of his riding with the brake on!  No wonder it was so hard and made his legs hurt, and made him so tired!  Oh, the guilt we felt!  The very next morning, (after Shawn fixed the problem) he rode great and kept up with no problem.  We have apologized for our cruelty and tried to make him feel better by telling him how much stronger he is for having to work so hard.  (He doesn't seem to be buying it.)  But we are somewhat relieved to know that, at least in this instance, it wasn't just his bad attitude that kept him from accomplishing what we knew he could do.  Although, it doesn't make us feel any better for being so mean about it.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

My son is Jim Morrison

"Break on through to the other side..." Jonas may be the reincarnation of Jim Morrison (minus the chest hair, drug habit and alcoholism). Quiet, sometimes sad, and from the looks of his 3rd grade papers, really a pretty good poet. It may be time for a haircut, or not.

"I woke up this morning and I chose not to comb my hair" sung to the chorus of Roadhouse Blues.

"Let it roll, baby, roll!"

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Craziness That Is My Life

This is my car.  This is an essential part of my life.  Without it, I could not run the Stringham Family Taxi Service, and where would I be then?  (In a much simpler, possibly dull place,  I am sure. )  May is an absolutely insanely crazy time at our house.  And I think it all culminates in this one week.  We have 3 kids playing soccer with either practices or games 2 days a week for each of them.  I play soccer once a week.  Shawn has lots of extra band practices because Studentfest is this weekend, plus since Summer Solstice is only weeks away, the Eddie band has also commenced practicing.  And swim team started this week for Jonas and Samantha.  Of course, we also still have piano, harp and dance going on.  
This is how my afternoon went: Pick Amelia up from preschool.  Run home to get swim stuff, ballet stuff and snacks for all.  Load it all into the car.  Load kids into car to go pick up Samantha from school.  Samantha in car.  Toss her her swimsuit to change into, then toss her a cheese stick and some crackers.  Drop her off at the pool.  Drive back to intercept Jonas and his friend, Tanner who are now off the bus and walking home.  Drop Tanner off.  Toss Jonas his swimsuit to change into, followed by his snacks to eat as well.  (All this time I am, of course, driving very carefully since I have children not buckled in and removing clothing - safe, huh?) Get back to the pool, unload everyone, watch Samantha swim for 5 minutes.  Get Samantha out of the water and Jonas in.  Hustle all the girls back out to the car where Samantha now changes into her ballet clothes while we drive to ballet.  Drop her off, return to the pool.  (Yes, this is now my third trip there in an hour!)  Unload and watch the last 10 minutes of Jonas' workout.  Then reload everyone, take Jonas home, unload all of the clothing, backpacks, towels, goggles, shoes, wrappers, papers, etc., from the car and dump it in a pile on the floor.  Load the girls back up and go get Samantha from ballet.  Bring her home.  Whew!  Now the problem is, they all want dinner, and I've clearly not made any yet.  Say hello and good-bye to Shawn as he heads off to scouts with some mention of how it would be nice to see him for an extended period of time in the near future.  
And to think we chose it all.  At least it will only be this crazy for a couple of weeks.  After next week, preschool ends, soccer ends, Studentfest will be done and things will settle into a slightly more manageable groove until school lets out for the summer.
It kind of makes me nostalgic for the days of a couple of young kids when the days seemed long and we were looking for things to do.  Anyway, it brings me back to my point of the necessity of my car in my life.  It's a sad state.  I wish I were less dependent on it, especially since, as Samantha puts it so gently, I am killing the penguins.  (They apparently learned something about global warming at school and my driving the car is clearly a direct cause - but she doesn't seem willing to ride her bike everywhere either.)  So there you have it - my life of craziness.  If you think you don't see me much or hear from me often, you can now understand that I barely have time to come up for air and my antisocial behavior is nothing personal. :)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Ah, The Joys of Motherhood or The Weather Needs To Improve Soon

This cold, rainy, snowy, weather is making me crazy, and therefore quite a bit less tolerant of all the lovely things that my children do.  Four times in the past 2 days, I have walked into a bathroom to find the entire roll of toilet paper unrolled and piled up on the floor, with parts of it shredded and spread all over. (Kind of makes me wish I hadn't bought the big rolls.)   I dream of cleaning up a room and coming back 5 minutes later to find that it is still clean.  But alas, it is not to be.  (Perhaps if it would stay warm enough, I could send the kids outside!)  Instead I come back to see that my 1 year old has poured herself some cereal or that both Amelia and Megan have helped themselves to yogurt, and in the process, Megan has painted both herself and the counter with it.  And one of my favorites is to find my girls making "phone calls".  (We have quite a history of dialing 9-1-1 around here, so this is never a good situation.)  This all happens in the time it takes me to go change a load of laundry or run to the bathroom, mind you. 
                                                                          I've heard that some kids 
will sit in front of a t.v. and stay put, therefore allowing a parent to accomplish some tasks, but I'm not that lucky.  And even if I leave the younger ones under the watchful care of an older sibling for a few brief moments, I may find when I check on them, that they have all colored themselves blue!  (So much for hoping that with age comes the ability to make good and responsible choices.)  I think even my kids are feeling a little cooped up if I am to judge from  all of the screaming and fighting that is going on between my two youngest, who are usually good buddies.  
All I know is that it better warm up quick if we are all going to survive!!!!


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Another Race Done

I have been extremely negligent in my posting lately.  I just don't know where all my time goes.  Anyway, on Saturday, I completed the Salt Lake half marathon with Shawn and my friends Becky and Charisse.  So that's two down and two to go - at least of races I am committed to at this point.  The race went pretty well - with Shawn dragging me along.  Without his help, I would not have been able to go as fast.  (Fast, of course, being a relative term here.)  My time was about 8 minutes faster than Moab and about 11 minutes faster than last year's Salt Lake half, so it's good to know I am still improving.  But that downhill course made me so sore.  
I am blaming the race on my forgetting to call my brother Dan on his birthday.  It's not really a good excuse, but after getting up really early and running and then being wiped out for the rest of the day, it just got away from me.  So Happy Birthday Dan (and Lisa, since I clearly am in a trend of forgetting to call on birthdays.)  And also Happy Birthday to Matej yesterday.  (I think I'm all caught up now.) 
Well, since there is no rest for the weary, there is no time to sit around, I have to get on my bike since the St. George triathlon is only 31/2 weeks away!  (Oh, man!  I thought I had at least one more week!)  Cross your fingers for me that the weather will warm up enough for me to ride outside. 
At some point, I will have to pull out the camera and catch you up on the rest of our doings.  No telling when I'll get around to that though, so don't hold your breath.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My ABC's

My friend Rachel tagged me with this ABC list so here it goes...

A-attached or single:
I am definitely attached.
B-best friend:
Fortunately, I am married to him.
C-cake or pie:
This is a tough one, however, if brownies were an option there would be no question, so I guess if the cake is somewhat brownie-like, then cake.
D-day of choice:
Anyday that isn't packed full of carpooling, cleaning, grocery shopping, etc.. or a day that has some freetime or a day when I don't have to go anywhere.  (I can't remember the last time that happened.)
E-essential items:
Food, water and a little sleep.  Plus sunglasses and a little chocolate.
F-favorite color:
I love so many colors that it's hard to choose, but probably something in the green family, although yellow makes me happy, too.
G-gummy bears or worms
Bears - especially if they've been dipped in chocolate.
Salt Lake City, UT
Probably books and an occasional treat from the bakery.
J-January or July:
Absolutely July!
So far, I have four: 1 boy and 3 girls
L-life would be incomplete without:
family, friends, sunshine and books
M-Marriage date:
September 1, 1994 (Wow! going on 14 years!)
N-number of siblings:
I have 6 brothers; 3 older and 3 younger
O-oranges or apples:
I like them both but it depends on the time of year.  I love those little clementines at the beginning of the winter, and I love apples in the fall, but will eat either anytime of year if they're good.
P-phobia or fears:
Rodents! and failure
I love so many quotes, but this is a current favorite: "If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room."
R- reason to smile:
warm, sunny days, my kids, good music, good books, good conversation, etc.
Summer (there's a reason we have a big party for summer solstice.)
T-tag 6: 
Shawn, Katie, Becky, Charisse, Matt and Anne (and Rob if you feel so obliged)
U-unknown fact about me:
I wish I were 3 inches taller (although many of you may know that so, how about that I am certified to sail a 48 foot boat on the ocean.  Sailing, anyone?)
V-vegetarian or oppressor of animals:
I'm about as close to vegetarian as you can get without actually being vegetarian.  I could easily go through the rest of my life without another bite of meat, but I will occasionally partake.
W-white or wheat:
Definitely wheat.
X-x-ray vision, invisiblity or flying as a super power:
I can see the value of all 3, but how much would I really use x-ray vision, and I might learn more than I want to with invisiblity although I find that highly tempting, but I really have always wanted to be able to fly,so flying it is. 
Y-Your favorite food: 
I don't know for sure, but I am definitely a fan of pastas.
Z-zodiac sign:
I am an Aries.

How I Spend My Time

My sister-in-law Michelle keeps a running tally of laundry loads on her blog.  I thought it might be interesting to keep track of a few of the things that make up a very large part of my daily life (and thus prevent me from spending much time doing the things I really want to do such as reading.) Anyhow, this is how things turned out for the entire month of March.

Loads of laundry:  65

Dishwasher loads:  29

Diaper changes:  91

Sixty-five loads of laundry in 31 days including all of the sorting, folding and putting away that goes along with it!  (No wonder I'm tired.)  I think I saved myself a couple of dish loads by traveling and having a Sunday dinner at my Mom's, because in general the dishwasher has to be run everyday.  I'm not entirely sure if the diaper count is accurate.  That was the hardest thing for me to keep track of because I just didn't remember to mark it down everytime I changed a diaper.  Now I just need to figure out a way to cut back on all that laundry...

Conference Sunday Beignets

Along with being able to stay home and watch church on t.v., one of our favorite parts of conference Sunday is our breakfast of beignets.  For those of you unfamiliar with these tasty little treats, they are french doughnuts.  Little bits of dough fried in oil and covered with powdered sugar.  (There's a reason we only eat these 3 times a year - Christmas being the only other time that we indulge.)  In New Orleans you would find these to be square shaped, but in the Stringham home, they are shaped to fit the occasion.  On Christmas, they are shaped as trees, Santas, stars, reindeer, etc., and at conference time they are shaped as beehives, covered wagons, temples and angels, with some hearts and stars thrown in for fun.  As you can see, the whole family pitches in to help.   We have finally learned to not bother with Saturday night baths and instead give post beignet baths - for obvious reasons.  Despite all of our best efforts, everything and everyone gets covered with flour and/or powdered sugar, but it's fun for everyone, and no one complains about the post breakfast "sugar lips".

Monday, March 31, 2008

The Princess Turns Four

I don't quite know how it happened, but my little Amelia isn't so little anymore.  I can't believe she is four!  She has been talking about her birthday for months (as all little kids do) and has been very specific about having a princess birthday with a princess cake and exactly which princesses should be on it.  Plus, she wanted 2 purple balloons, 2 pink balloons and 1 princess balloon.  Of course, I obliged.  She was very excited to have her Grandmas and Grandpas and Aunts, Uncles and Cousins come and share in the festivities.
I really can't believe how quickly she is growing up.  Considering that I've been changing diapers daily for the past 91/2 years, sometimes I get caught up in the slowness of the days and don't realize how quickly time is flying by.  I am trying to enjoy these days as much as I can with these sweet little girls, because Jonas is already so big, I feel like I missed out on a lot of the enjoyment aspect with him since I was so busy learning how to be a mom.  (This does not mean that I have yet learned how to be a good mom - somewhere along the way, I figured out I would always be learning.  We'll see if I ever achieve.)
Anyway, Happy Birthday Amelia!

The Rest of Easter Weekend

As per our request to the Easter Bunny, he came and filled the Easter baskets and hid the eggs on Saturday morning.  The kids enjoyed hunting for their baskets and eggs and spent the morning playing with the fun things they got.  We spent the afternoon at the dinosaur tracks and then went swimming at the pool with the rest of the city.  We also made a stop in the ghost town of Grafton on our way back from Zion on Friday.   Our kids were remarkably good despite the lack of sleep and constant busyness of the weekend.  We were all very sad to have to return home.  We were really enjoying the sunshine and warm weather, but all good things must come to an end I suppose.

Easter Weekend

For spring break, we took a little trip to St. George.  We spent a day hiking at Zion.  I couldn't believe how pleasant and happy the kids were.  I kept asking Shawn,  "What's going on here?  Who's kids are these?"  Most of our outings result in a great deal of whining and crying by at least one, if not all of the kids at one time or another.  They all did a great job hiking and seemed to have fun.  We hiked the Emerald Pools, and it was beautiful. It gave us hope that we may actually be able to do this a little more regularly - and enjoy it.  (At some point in our hiking past, it was determined that one of our children - I won't mention names here - would never be invited to hike again.  I think we may have overcome that particular obstacle.  Hooray for the Stringham children!  (This doesn't mean that we are yet ready for general public appearances.  This whole weekend may have just been a fluke.  Only time will tell.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Accomplishment

I realize there are many of you out there who are real runners and therefore would find my accomplishment something to laugh at, but for those of us who plod along at a 10 minute per mile pace (maybe 9:30 on a good day), going faster is something to be proud of.  Last night Shawn dragged me on a little 3 mile run that I managed to finish in 24 minutes and 52 seconds!  If my calculations are correct then I ran at just under an 8:20 pace!  That's huge for me.  Granted I could barely breathe, and had to stop to walk in the middle just to catch my breath so I could stay upright, but still, quite an accomplishment for me.  It gives me hope that I may still be able to improve.  Maybe by the time I'm 80, I can win an age group title.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Leprechauns Strike Again

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

As with past years, we awoke this morning to the fun of a visit from some friendly leprechauns during the night. Fortunately, they weren't too destructive.  They left green shamrocks and stars spread around  the bedrooms and hanging from the ceilings, and hid chocolate coins all around the house. (I was kind of hoping for some real gold, as I have quite a list of projects that need some funding, but oh well.)
The kids spent the morning searching for the coins while munching on shamrock sugar cookies.

(Cookies for breakfast is not a common occurence here -  and I feel a little bad about sending them off to school on a sugar high, but what's the point of a holiday if it isn't different from the rest of the days?) The leprechauns even left a box of Lucky Charms on the front porch! (because we all know St. Patrick's Day isn't complete without some lucky charms - after all, they're magically delicious!)
So, now I need to go and clean up the mess and all of the St. Patrick's Day decorations and get ready for Easter, so that the Easter Bunny will still remember to stop by in a few days. (As if we 
haven't had enough sugar already!)

An Irish Blessing (courtesy of my Aunt Ginny)

May you be blessed always with
A sunbeam to warm you,
A moonbeam to charm you,
A sheltering angel so nothing will harm you.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!