Sunday, January 31, 2010

Report Card Reviews

It is the end of the second marking period and we are halfway done the school year. Report cards came home on Thursday. Although my kids grades were fantastic, that will always fall second to the comments that the teachers make. My favorite tidbits...

"Isabella is an outstanding student. She is an independent thinker and brings interesting insight to any discussion..."

"I enjoy having Wyatt in my class. He comes to school ready to learn everyday..."

Although I love knowing that my children are smart I appreciate even more that they stick out among their peers for their personalities and good manners. I love that their teachers are so impressed that they almost always make comments on their report cards. Warm fuzzies of appreciation spread throughout me. I think I may be doing something right.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Unknown Blessing

In a family of strong personalities and ridgid opinions, Wyatt is our calming force much like Travis is.
By far my easiest baby since the day he was born Wyatt has been nothing but smiles and charm ever since. My neighbor sums it up best for me when she says, "Seeing Wyatt every morning just makes me smile."
His happy attitude is infectious. The best part of my day is usually when he pops over to me, unsuspecting, to plant a smooch on my cheek. How could you not love this sweet face?

Happy Birthday Wy Man!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Women In My Life

When I think of the women in my life right now two main ones come to the forefront of my mind. Both of their names start with A. One is Anya the other Audrey.
Why are these women so important to me?

The answer is simply. In the harried and fast paced life of a mother of four kids under the age of seven and only five years and some months apart a women needs a babysitter on speed dial for those sanity saving moments. These are my two.

Audrey is my after work hours weekly babysitter for datenight and other evening events. She is like the older sister my kids wished they had especially Bella, but as such she also gets added sass from them since they are so close.

Anya is my homeschooled, middle of the day babysitter and this particular weekend's warrior. She is the almost adult second mother. I know that she is old enough to lay down the law, but the kids still love her.

And yes I am in the Poconos with my husband, kid free for just under 48 hours. I trust these girls, I depend on these girls, and I love these girls as if they were my own very grown up children.

The other women who have made this weekend fabulous are the lovely, local librarians. I see them typically three times a week. I have a bit of an obsessive personality when it comes to reading.

These are the women who grab a new book when it first comes in anticipating that I will love/want it. These are the women who despite, Lancaster Counties new five hold limit policy, will override the system and add the extra items I desire onto my list.

These are the women who upon hearing about my weekend collected their favorite pick recommendations to send me away with. I love these women in my life as well as many others not mentioned.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Calories: Can't live with them, Cant live without them

Health Math
1 lb = 3,500 calories
500 calories less eatten a day + 500 burned daily at the gym = 1000 calories a day
3500 calories/1000 calories = 3.5 days to lose a lb
21 days into the New Year = o lbs lost for Mary

What gives with this Math. For every trainer who told me it was all about calories in and calories out to loose weight I say come count my calories sucka' because I defy your logic/science.

To this extent I still love the gym and working out. I love the health benefits and feeling strong and being the toughest girl I know. Additionally it doesn't hurt that despite being red and dripping with sweat I seem to have a friendly teasing banter, that some may call flirting, that goes on with some of the guy regulars one being a trainer.

So amidst this teasing I said to the one trainer earlier yesterday who is teaching the kickboxing class, notorious for being tough, so is this class any good? Am I going to get a good workout? He looks at me incredulously and almost offended. Note: He is a totally lean beefcake. He responds that if I punch and kick hard like you are supposed to, it's a good workout. He then says, "When I am done with you, you'll be like a wet noodle." And winks. Excuse me I think I was just slammed with a double entendre. Then I wonder if my very active imagination is playing with me, I am after all a sometimes bored housewife who can create fantasy daydreams.

Regardless of all this, what I have most picked up on is the intended challenge, "If I punch and kick hard like I'm supposed to". Oh, game on sucka. Upon entering the class I pick a spot front and center so he doesn't miss one moment of me doing it the "right way" and out working him every minute of the class. At times throughout the sixty minute class I can see him watching, I know he is impressed as others are dropping around us to less intense modifications. Near the end of the class he shouts to the class one minute left, what do you want to make of this class. And we start a fast as you can jogging in place. A little screw you attitude left in me, puts my hands straight above my head in the air, for those who aren't gym rats - this increases your heart rate rapidly and expends a ton more energy and takes more effort. I run my heart out. He looks over at me with a laugh and a nod. It says to me Touche.

After the class he comes up to me and says "You might just be the toughest chic I know. " I agree and walk off feeling rather smug. But I still wouldn't mind losing some weight too.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Eatting Less

This seems like an equation for a miserable Mary.
But as part of my New Year's Resolution I am eatting less and not after 7pm.
But to compensate I am making more delicious food for myself.
I am not hungry so much as suffering mainly from a mad case of munchies.

(lunch anyone?)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Ballerina

"Isn't she lovely
Isn't she wonderful
Isn't she precious...
Isn't she pretty
Truly the angel's best
Boy, I'm so happy
We have been heaven blessed
I can't believe what God has done
Through us he's given life to one
But isn't she lovely made from love."

Stevie Wonder was onto something. I am in awe when I watch her.
Take a peek night at her ballet studio.

Isn't she beautiful?
video

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

She's Always My Baby To Me


Bella got her ears pierced. I love it and I hate it.
I guess she's all grown up. I wish I could keep her young forever. I wish she would always think of me as a perfect mom. I wish she would always climb in my lap curling up like a baby to be held. I wish she would always think I was the funniest person ever. I wish that she would always be perfect and innoncent like she is now. I am filled with horror that she is almost eight, that these years have passed me by, that I have somehow missed something, that they have gone too fast. I hate that she will now be responsible spiritually for her own mistakes. I would gladly take a lifetime of her sins upon my shoulders. I hate that I feel so strongly about something that shouldn't be that big of a deal. I think I may be having a midlife crisis.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tony's Mining Company


For Travis's birthday dinner we headed to a place we had never heard of, Tony's Mining Company prompted by a gift certificate from a friend. Following is my personal review:

Being a food adventurer I was stoked to try this new restaurant in hopes that it would become a new favorite. Included with the gift certificate was a menu. It was a newspaper menu with a sketched drawing on the front of “the Timbering Gang”. The back side of the paper was in newspaper article form explaining the history of the area, the mining, and a small map to find the location. My initial impression from the menu’s style was not to expect too much. The inside of the paper contained the menu. The prices inside reflected a higher end eating establishment for this area, $25-35, and I was hoping it wouldn’t be just another dark and cold restaurant with a theme and terrible food like some “tavern” and “inn” establishments I've been too.

It turned out the map was quite useful as the restaurant was located off the beaten path and located along a road that was unlit. The outside was unremarkable but upon entering I was quickly impressed. The wait staff was prompt, polite, and helpful pointing out a coat check area. Although we had no reservations we were quickly seated. The restaurant’s atmosphere was bliss. It was dark but with ample ambient lighting to give it the intimate feel that I crave while dining. The tables weren’t overly crowded together and the noise level was a perfect din despite a fair number of diners producing a diverse makeup. Instantly I was in love with the huge wood beams, open expanses, faux copper tables, the pewter plates, and candle centerpiece lighting. The server joined us quickly and was helpful with the daily specials and an offer of recommendations.

Immediately set on the table was a cheese dish with assorted crackers. It was quite good, but I showed restraint hoping that the meal would prove to be a better use of my eating capacity. Ordering an appetizer of bacon wrapped scallops proved to be divine. The bacon was perfectly crunchy while the scallops were still tender. This is a rarity and likely a result of cooking the bacon partially before wrapping the scallops to get the perfect combinations of textures meeting and melting in your mouth.

My house salad came and was perfectly acceptable with my Balsamic Vinegar dressing, although not spectacular except the impressive croutons that left a lasting impression as they were divine and obviously homemade since the heady flavor of yeast and bread remained after eating them whereas generic ones leave a preservative filled bitterness in your mouth. It was simple upgrades such as this throughout the entire meal that filled me with excitement to continue each course.

Next was the bread course and I was sold. A place that had gotten the appetizer, salad, and bread so fantastically couldn’t possibly screw up too badly on the entrees. The bread took me to a little French provincial town with an old and weathered baker leaning over an open oven with a real flame. The texture was perfect as the crusty outside yielded to the most succulent soft and warm center. The real whipped butter was not needed, this bread was the best I have ever eaten in a restaurant, but an upgraded luxury I couldn’t refuse since warm bread with melted butter is my favorite course.

The timing of the meal to this point was precise and I felt neither rushed nor impatient to continue. The waitress was excellent at checking in but not to the point of annoyance. Our glasses stayed full and she cleared with such fluidity and tact that rarely did I notice the dishes were gone until afterward.

As our entrees came out I was feeling rather smug with my choice of Filet Chesapeake, a six ounce Filet topped with lump Crabmeat, Broccolini spears, and a Bearnaise sauce. For my side in addition to the salad I had chosen the rice. The rice was well rounded full bodied multigrain rice that was absolutely light despite the density of the grain itself. As I cut into the filet I was delighted to find that is had been cooked flawlessly. The juice oozed and the meat yielded to the knife easily indicating the absolute tenderness. The bite left me lingering a moment to fully savor the combining flavors and the mingling tastes of filet, crab, and the Bearnaise sauce. Each worked in full compatibility and no one flavor dominated the meal.

Travis had ordered the surf and turf. His filet also proved to be ideal and the lobster tail quite delicious despite being overcooked by minute or two and cooling rather quickly. The flame heated whipped butter had been additionally salted and acted as the perfect balance to the mild, sweet flavor of the lobster. In addition to the slightly overdone lobster my only complaint would have been a slightly sloppy presentation of the entree.

As the meal ended I was disappointed to not have room for dessert despite my desperation at knowing how it would compare to the rest of the exquisite meal. By and large the meal and the added promise of dessert will prompt me to return in the near future.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

C...C...C...Cold

NOTE: Excuse my car's very dirty windows - DONT JUDGE ME!
Seriously I am used to the cold for the most part. Not that I don't feel it, I do, I am just not dying because I am almost always hot. But while driving to my mom's this past week I expected the river to have some serious ice chunks floating since it hasn't gotten above 25 for three weeks or so. Instead I saw that most of the river is frozen, over half, and that the snow is laying on top of the ice.

(Up - Northern View, Down - Southern View)

And for my Utah friends, this is a river. The Mighty Susquehanna, and it measures one mile wide here. So over half of the river being frozen on top with snow is a major feat. Now if it insists upon being this cold for much longer I'm going to need more snow, at least three more feet of it :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Never Could Words Compare

to this man...I call him, T-rex, my husband, Lover, and my best friend. He is everything I wish I was. A perfect husband and father. A good man. He may be naturally quiet, but when he speaks it is either very funny or very wise. Born 33 years ago today, I swear Heavenly Father had me in mind when he created him. Happy Birthday Luva! I can't wait to spend eternity with you and everyday in between.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Final Question Friday

Anyone know why half of my pictures when you double click on them they open enlarged and the other half don't?
And can anyone tell me how to fix it so they all can be enlarged?

Thursday

Path of destruction. I swear that is the definition of boys. Lovely little find while cleaning rooms.
These were Kody's socks, they were found in Kody's room with Bella's scissors nearby.
Hmmm I wonder who did this?
DAKOTA

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wednesday

So I still have my Christmas Stuff Up. What's it to you?The boys help to disassemble.
Impulse control issues??? Apparently Issac didn't like this particular ornament at least that is what he told me when I asked why he would purposely throw the glass bulb.
"Serenity now".

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tricky Tuesday

Santa brought the kids flashlights for Christmas.
Our new favorite family home evening activity is hide and seek in the dark.My camera flash lit up the room so that you can't even tell that it was pitch dark.
And what would it be like to have a day in my life where neither Issac or Kody cried once?
A miracle - that's what.
4 years, 1 month, and 11 days of crying everyday.
I repeat - A FLAMING MIRACLE!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Manic Monday

Woke up early with my New Year's Resolutions buzzing in my head. Kids off to school I came back in read my scriptures, prayed, exercised for 30 minutes, showered, dressed - hair and makeup, got the other kids up, and started the day.

Later in the day I took the kids to the school just down our road and we rode bikes. Issac is becoming a pro at his tricycle. He can turn tight circles and make it up mid sized hills now. Pump those strong little legs. He is still to short for a bike really.
It may look sunny, but it is still only twenty degrees and that is freezing cold. So we were only out for about a half hour.
Tonight ballet, wrestling, and library for Bella and me. Not to be confused with Wednesday morning story time with the two younger boys.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sunday

Choir Treats - one of the joys of being choir director is the mandatory bribing with treats.
It works my choir is awesome.
Recipe commandeered from my fabulous baking mother-in-law.
(Pecan Ring)
My new Sunbeams, Church Sunday School, class.
Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy.
Going from eleven sunbeams last year -seven regulars, to four this year - three regulars should be a cake walk. But in the beginning it's all about the training.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

What's In A Decade

This tricky thing called time has snuck up on me again. A decade doesn't really seem that long to me. But when I think that ten years ago I graduated high school and in the interim I met and married the love of my life, graduated from college, had four children, moved ten times, and purchased two homes it starts to feel like it must be a long time because that is a lot to do. My greatest joys have been my family and the small moments. Even as I write this I paused to change a poopy diaper. As I finished Kody jumped up and ran in circles so excited was he to be half naked in just his diaper. And I laughed knowing that his simple pleasures are my greatest happiness.

My goals throughout the years have been chronicled as I witnessed another friend, Mendy, and her husband doing this many years ago. My goals have included being a better student, having a better relationship with my mom, improving my finances, writing in my journal at least 52 times in a year, reading my church lessons, attending the temple monthly, being less judgmental and thinking of five good things for every negative thought, less yelling at my kids, starting a weekly date night with Travis, memorizing scriptures, praying with more sincerity, giving of my time and money more freely, and of course the dreaded weight/health goals which seems to reoccur each year.

This year I have decided to pick two spiritual goals and two physical goals. As I ponder what will have the most value I have been struck speechless by the dedication and devotion my seven year old has already shown in picking her own goals too. Isabella inspires me and at age seven is more wise and beautiful than I have ever been. When I think of my life in another decade I feel all sentimental, because Bella will be preparing for college, my babies will be grown with Kody being twelve and already in YM/YW. I know that the goals I pick for this year will only be another tread in the stairs of my life. But I know that if I can be a better person through these goals that being a better mother will only naturally follow and that is what is most important to me right now.

Here's to goals and another decade of precious moments and time warp.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Here's Your Sign

Q: How do you know that you are in Texas at a Whiting Family gathering?

A: When you run out to grab something from your car and realize there are four trucks and two SUV's in the driveway. Cars are useless here. A: When you wake up on the day of your wedding to see a dead fox draped in the basketball hoop as a present. A: When throughout the week several other dead animals make an appearance in the yard including a raccoon, another fox, and a deer. This trip yielding the lowest slaughter numbers ever.

P.S. I hope this turtle is grateful because my incessant pleas saved his life.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wanted:

Who: Babysitters for one to four children.
Yes I am willing to divide them but would perfer to have one courageous, ambitious, and fun friend or relative watch my kids.
Why: I am trying to whisk Travis off for a belated birthday/romantic weekend getaway.
When: January 22-24
Where: Your house or mine - You pick
Reward: One totally grateful and indebted friend. Cash in future favors whenever needed!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Catch Up

Christmas Morning

And then that afternoon

Headed for Texas - To See This Cute Couple Get Married

Going for a walk Sunday after church we explored the ranch and all the new work they had done on the creek. I love the cool trees, the abandoned buildings, the campground firepit where for FHE on Monday we roasted hot dogs, and finding fossils of shells, climbing trees, and watching the dog play in the creek.

Other Texas trip highlights include Kody being extremely shy of all grandparents and relatives except this one time it was safe because Grandpa was sleeping. And he thinks his sneaky cuddling is hilarious.
A last minute bachelorette party including best marital advice, biggest relationship lies, and of course a game I made up "Pin the Kiss on Edward". Like pin the tale on the donkey but you blindfolded with fiercely red lipstick and kissing blindly. Gifts included smut novels, smelly candles, thongs, candy, and all other neccessities for a night of ridiculous girly fun.And one day I decided Issac didn't have to take nap because he was having so much fun. About four he had a little meltdown and I sent him to his room. I told him he could come out and he said he didn't want to. After a minute or two I went back to check on him and found this. Issac vs. Tiredness. Tiredness won this round.
New Year's Eve was a hilarious night. The boys played 42, a serious game of Dominos, and the girls actted retarded. Well we also did impressions of our husbands, played a game of "I Never", and made our own version of Karoake. Ashley sang lead vocals as she is the most skilled, I did back up pips clearly out of tune, and Shauna wowed us with her instramentals and beatboxing skills. Well at least at midnight they seemed funny. We missed the dropping of the ball entirely so much fun we were having, but I managed to grab Travis and land a smooch within the minute.

The Wedding

Well of course it was beautiful. The sealing was short and sweet under ten minutes. I almost cried. They looked georgous and throughout she fluttered her eyelids in the most cartoonishly cute way. I adore my new sister-in-law, Rebecca. She is sweet but underneath sexy and sassy too. Perhaps the best combination. And she appreciates my belly dancing skills too. As she has her own history of belly dancing for monopoly money.