Saturday, December 31, 2011

At Arms Length - 2011

 This is what Travis and I look like
-at arm's length. 
Man I love these pics.
I love "US"!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kick Off To Christmas

So the first weeks of December were crazy busy.
Our PTO does a Holiday Craft - each student makes a gift to give to someone.

Women's Club of Manheim assembled cookies, had a cookie auction, and a Holiday Tour of Homes.

Bella's dance studio did multiple Saturday preformances at retirement centers and the town square.

We went to the Manheim tree lighting with friends and their kids.

We took the kids to the Washington DC Temple grounds to see the lights, a Bell Choir, and enjoy the Christmas Kickoff.

I'm totally entrenched in the Christmas Spirit.  What about you?
What do you do to get ready for Christmas?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Issac Birthday Wrap Up

Issac's Big Day - Enthusiastic as always Issac treated his 6th birthday as the best ever.

He wanted a dragon cake!

To go to Chuck E' Cheese!

To get a Degadar race track!

And to stay up late to play with his toy after all the kids were in bed.

All of his birthday wishes came true.  What an easy kid to please!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Below the Knees

So ran a new personal best mile today.
 7 minutes and 21 seconds.
Feeling pretty proud.
 Hoping to get below 7 minutes by February.
Someone told me today that I have the most defined calves in bootcamp class.
They are getting quite toned.
Especially when I am running/jumping.

But still I can't find a pair of knee boots that fit around these calves.
There is way too much muscle.
Let alone fitting the jeans I want to wear tucked into them.
And let's be honest, it wouldn't be a great look on me anyway.
Big thighs too.  Mostly muscle.
But I still want to wear it.

And speaking of limbs I have fingers.
They have been used for the past month to create beaded masterpieces.
Christmas stockings from Mary Maxim.
So many inappropriate jokes have been made in our house recently.
About my beadwork being Native American.
About Asian sewing sweatshops.
And occasionally a bit about more sequins than a wedding dress.
But I swear these babies will be done by Christmas.
Even if it kills me.  Which it won't because
"I'm a survivor, I'm not gonna give up, I'm not gonna stop, I'm gonna work hard".

Yeah sorry about the Destiny's Child lyric quoting.
This is what happens if you work out at the gym to much.
Crazy tough girl music gets stuck in your brain.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Dear Issac,

I love your blond hair that is as shocking to me as Kody's red. I guess I just expected brown in all of my kids.  I love your eyes that change color with some frequency alternating between blue, gray, and green.  I love your little pug nose, your full little kid lips and kisses.  I love that your hands are always warm and super soft and that you love to hold my hand still.

I love your fierceness, your energy, your enthusiasm.  I love that your whole personality is infectious and wherever I go people comment on all of these things.  I love that you are a leader and not a follower.  I love that you are the first of all the kids to say thank you for anything whether it is a little snuggle time, taking the family out to eat or finishing a family vacation. 

I love that your passion extends to those things religious and how deeply you feel them.  I love that you pop off the bench for dinner to kneel for prayers extending that to almost every time you pray whether the rest of us or kneeling or not.  I love that you love when I sing to you at bedtime and always request church songs.  I love your sleepy little voice that sings along fading in and out of relaxation so deep you are barely singing at all, but you can't help it.  I love that when you are in church your singing is filled with as much excitement as you have when playing sports.

I love how much you adore learning and school specifically.  It makes my job so easy when you soak up knowledge like a sponge trying to absorb every last drop.  I love that you walk around the house all day saying words and then spelling them out as best you can.  I love the notes you leave for me all over.  I love that your Kindergarten teacher laughed at parent/teacher conference and said, "You warned me.  He isn't like Bella at all.  But he is equally great."  And then went on to gush about how much she loves you and how well you are doing acclimating.

If you haven't guessed yet, I just love you.  I love the little things and the big things.  And I love even more that people always think that you and I not only look exactly alike, but act the same too.  Because I love who you are and it makes it a little easier on those less than great days to look at you and know there is even a modicum of so much good floating in me too.  I am in awe of you and know that someday you are going to be the man that every girl dreams of calling her husband.  I love that about you too.

Love, Mommy

PS Happy 6th Birthday!

Monday, November 28, 2011

I Like It That Way

Insert: (if Travis were here he would say):  That's what she said.

So today I was at the gym trying to get my kids from the daycare room.  Other friends and gym mates were picking up and some were dropping off.  It was madness in the room and one friend said, so I see Manheim Central doesn't have school today.  And I was like you guessed right.  She asked, "Why not?  Hunting season???"

Actually yes.  You see here in Manheim we are a farming community.  We are the hunting, small town, good ole' boys established city.  And with every Thanksgiving break we have, we give the following Monday off to respect the start of hunting season.  And logically let's be honest to avoid all the absenteeism they would encounter if they had school anyway.  A local Manheimite commented "Geesh, I didn't know that is why we had off.  We get off for Farm Show week and hunting season.  Man we are hicks."

And to this I say, "yes-sir-ee" and proud.  Because I moved from one small town, Spring Grove - Pennsylvania and established myself in another small town Manheim - Pennsylvania.  And it wasn't because I had never been anywhere else and just settled.  It was because after 6 states, and 10 plus addresses I realized that I love small towns with all their "Funny Farm" charm.

Note:  We also have Ladies Night, the same Monday - start of hunting season- at the local hardware store, although that hardly does justice to the store that carries a little of everything - Longeneckers.  And I swear to you it is the Manheim equivalent of Black Friday.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Celebrity Visits Baron's Ridge...Again

And he's back.  Edward Cullen.  Yeah we could care less about Robert Pattenson or whatever his name is.  The builders and realtors hate when we cover their signs with our signs.  But we all laugh for days. 
Tonight is our neighborhood viewing night.  First time for some, repeat viewing for others.  My first.  I'll let you know tomorrow what I think.  We're silly, but that is why I love these girls.

Amelia Bedelia and Other Literal Things

I get my groceries at half price.  This is not an exaggeration.  Just like the books where Amelia Bedelia takes everything to a ridiculous and very literal conclusion I do the same when it come to grocery shopping and my bragging rights.  It's why I can feed our family of 6 and always some extra neighborhood kids for a whole month for under $400. 

So where do I shop, well for the most part I shop monthly to avoid the impulse purchases I know I can't help and stock up on bulk stuff from stores like Amelia's.  I know I have blogged about this store before, but seriously people each time I come out I am a little amazed.  Note:  they are super overpriced on certain things.  Not everything is a good deal, but some things are and when they are - they really are.  Buy tons.

This week I got:
14 Boxes of cereal
2 boxes of Wheat Thins
3 bags of Chips and 1 Heluva Good Dip
2 boxes of Gogurt
3 boxes of granola bars
4 packages of cookies
3 boxes of crackers
2 bags of pretzel sticks
2 boxes of fruit snacks
1 cake mix
1/2 gallon of Tropicana OJ
2 gallons of milk
2 lbs. of string cheese
4 32 oz. bags of frozen veggies
4 lbs. of frozen mozzarella cheese sticks
4 lbs. of frozen french fries
3 lbs. of chicken nuggets

How much would you pay for these groceries? 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Twins or Look Alikes

I'm always just a little nervous when someone says I look like someone they know.  From past experience when I finally meet, see, or view a photo of that alleged person I'm a little woebegone and sometimes a bit offended.  In my head I am often prettier than the person they thought I looked like and it is always a temporary let down. 

Likewise about five years ago, people started saying that this newer actor looked like my husband.  Initially I had never heard of him.  Then as his career picked up more momentum so did the claims that my husband and him could be twins.  Even today at the gym, the claim was made again.  You see I think my husband is much better looking than this guy, Jason Statham.  What do you think?

I see similar head and face shapes, wrinkle lines between the eyes, and no actual ear lobes, and a near constant state of 2 day beard growth, but otherwise my husband's way hotter.  Case closed.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

When Church Is...

at 11am - the perfect time - 
there is time to start your day with a romp in the snow. 
Especially when there is fresh snow from the night before.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Give The Man an Award

Travis came home the other night and asked "What's for dinner?" 
I promptly responded, "Whatever you make." 
Not out of rudeness more just sheer exhaustion from the day.
After a bit of hmming and hawing, I gave him a recipe and said try this.
It was for Cajun Chicken Pasta. 
The man went over board and even made his own Cajun spice from online too.
Who says men can't follow directions?  It was delish.
And I repeat...Travis rocks my world.
That's what she said.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

October in Headlines

Life seems to be slipping by me.  I can hardly keep up in terms of living it let alone documenting it for posterity's sake.  Here is the wrap up of October that I haven't gotten around to.  Yeah just ignore that fact that we are over halfway done November and the week before Thanksgiving. 
  • The Beauty of Fall 
my mom's back yard has one of the best views ever this time of year

  • Bats, Wolves, and Cats Oh My: Pumpkin Carving Was a Huge Success   
  • Corn Meal Made With Cars

Lancaster County = Spilled corn, cars and cornmeal

  • Best Teacher: And the Award goes to a Man 
I love Wyatt's teacher so much!
  • Homecoming Football Game:  Barons vs. Crazy Kids
  • Freakish Snow Storm Pounds the East Coast on Super Saturday
  • Last Minute Costume Changes Imminent

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thirty Things of Thanksgiving

For the month that celebrates an attitude of gratitude
 here are 30 things I am grateful for,
one for each day of the month.

1. my home being my refuge
2. older pictures
3. a husband who can follow a recipe and cook me dinner
4. the excitement of a first snow - even if it comes early in the season
5. wet kid kisses
6. the beauty of the Earth
7. cute pictures of me
8. the gym, gym friends, and pushing myself everyday
9. going out to eat
10. reading a book with absolutely no substance whatsoever
11. watching my husband turn our old VHS family videos into DVD's
12. crafting Christmas stockings
13. hearing the primary children sing really loud and full of excitement
14. children who consider each other best friends
15. attending sporting events
16. bread bowls filled with hot soup on cold evenings
17. forever friends
18. a vacuum on each floor of the house
19. posing for family pictures - sometimes I'm thankful, sometimes I'm angry
20. this blog to record life's little moments
21. parties, social gatherings
22. educational toys - i enjoy them more than most
23. new recipes
24. really good fast and testimony meetings
25. cuddling with a child and talking about their day
26. listening to music while i pay bills - it eases the stress
27. getting stuck in traffic and being able to get to know the person in the car with you better
28. sunny, cool autumn days filled with the smell of burning leaves
29. being a part of and living in a great community
30. the birth, death, and resurrection of our Savior

I hope you are considering the things you are grateful for this month too.  What are they?

Thursday, November 3, 2011


What happens when you go to
Texas Roadhouse and get
the world’s best, friendliest, and gay waiter? 
This!  And I love it and he got tipped big time.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Great Underwear Debate

Many have heard the argument on the great underwear debate.  Boxers or briefs.  The great compromise was made and some company came out with the boxer brief  starting in the 90's.  Kudos to them.  Since then few have heard the underwear debate much.  This solution has satisfied every man, women and child alike. 

But in our house we still have the great underwear debate.  Names have been changed to conceal identities and avoid teenage embarrassment when the archives of this are found.  I have one son we'll call him Willy - he is under the distinct impression that the only time your underwear needs changed is coming out of the bath/shower (every other night in our house) or if some kind of damage has been incurred.  I'll spare you the details on that.  But you get my drift.  Willy gives me the heebie jeebies with his distinct beliefs on underwear.

Then we have Isaiah.  He thinks that underwear should be changed at a minimum daily, but often times will do a mid-day change, especially if there is a clothing change already taking place for some reason - say into a Karate uniform.  Each time I do laundry this child always has at least double the pairs everyone else has on their piles.

And last we have Dexter.  He is a precocious child.  And although many conversations on underwear have taken place, he is under the distinct impression that this is an optional item.  More days than not he is sporting nothing under his jeans, pants, sweats, etc... And on those days that I take matters into my own hands and wrestle a pair onto the child, say for Dr's visits or something, more often than not I will find hidden pairs of underwear behind the toilet.  Yes that is right, he takes them off after peeing and hides them.

So I implore you, lest you think the great underwear debate has been solved, to weigh in on your boys  underwear habits so I don't feel like I have three little freaks running around.  Unless your kids do it the right way.  And then by all means keep it to yourself.  I don't need to feel anymore silly about this than I already do.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

In Other News:

We took the kids to the Hirshhorn Museum in DC. And my kids who claim to love art thought there was no art in the place. I told them to go tell their art teacher that in school on Monday. Wonder what she thought of that?

Also in other news:
Our first official case of croup struck for this season. Suck.

And last in the news:
What would possess a grown man to wear blue spandex pants? Well Halloween. More updates – read posts – on this later.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rick's Will Live On Forever

Many people ask me about Rick’s College. It was where I went for my first two years of college. Yeah it has a funny name. People joked about going to Sam’s college, etc… When they heard it was in Idaho, I would get a lot of comments like “Yeah you are ‘da ho!” Clever I know. Perhaps I surround myself with some lesser scholastically minded individuals. Regardless the college is now known as Brigham Young University – Idaho. It’s a legitimate 4 year college, accredited, etc…it just had a crazy name back in the 90’s when I went.

When people ask my general consensus is that I loved it. I think everyone should go. Sure there were dumb activities such as Prayer Meeting(s), despite meeting my husband at one, and sure they give fake assignments like Family Home Evening Moms and Dads for our little college groups, but overall all these social events they thought up lead to a great education and a whole lot of friends and fun.

So when I was asked to come up with games for Women’s Club of Manheim meeting, I went to my old arsenal of Rick’s college standby favorites. And it didn’t matter that the demographic of these two groups is largely different. Fun is fun and watching someone shove 8 full size marshmallows in their mouth and then try and talk is fun. Doesn’t it look fun?

Thursday, October 27, 2011


How does this boy spend his time?
• expending more energy than any human has ever known
• and then promptly falling fast asleep while sitting up

That’s what happens when you play as hard as he does.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


You know how when you buy something but then it's junk that overwhelming feeling of disappointment.  Likewise it's a good feeling to see the quality when you pay for something.  Well after putting some money into the two middle kids (wyatt and issac) into Karate it was good to see them learning something.  They are in different skill classes, issac's more fun based while integrating skills while wyatt's is more disciplined with some fun.  Well wyatt this week earned his first belt by completing his first Kata (read the first paragraph and background section) and passing a physical fitness type evaluation. 

I'm thinking we have our first official Karate Kid in the Whiting household.  What do you think?  Would you mess with him in a fight?  Well I hope not because the reality is I would hunt you down and kill you with my bare hands, but potato - patato.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Punk Rock Band - Kabuki Style

Bella has a little “Bestie”. They spend lots of time together at our house and her house, which is only like ½ mile away. Fantastically convenient if I do say so myself. Well during Farm Show week in Manheim and the 5 day vacation, Allie spent several days here. The girls are great at occupying their time.

This particular game was dressing up like different genre punk rock bands. Well they dressed in inverted colored clothing and matching makeup with Geisha style lips and then danced their hearts out. This girl is awesome and I totally give my 100% parent stamp of approval on her. I love these silly girls.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Trends I Don't Want to See

Lately I've been seeing some trends I'm not so excited about seeing.

First - Non Matching Socks; okay this is just me; but it looks dumb.  Will I let Bella do it?   Sure.  I mean I am not so staunch a parent as to repeat the Graver household tight rolled jean crisis.  Oh yeah, my parents took an official stand on this one and absolutely forbade it.  And since this was the height of fashion for quite a few years many Graver children could be found once they boarded the bus tight rolling their jeans.  And on the bus ride home you would see them un-tight rolling those jeans and also making mighty efforts to smooth out the creases and wrinkles.  What I learned?  That if everything becomes a battle you will make even the most obedient child (myself)- disobedient.   Okay so perhaps I wasn't the most obedient child, but you get my point right.  A silly thing to fight over.  And also you give a Graver child a problem and they will find a way to solve it.  Who knew my parents with all of their rules were creating resourceful children.  And fear not those who are non resourceful you need not create your own, you can buy them unmatched.

Second - Boob Gems; be still my heart.  The first time I saw it, I thought okay - trashy girl.  The second and third time I was like - what is going on here?  After a little tete a tete with my girlfriends I found that body gems are in and that just happens to be where they are landing.  Will I let Bella do it?  Heck no.
*Note - don't google this phrase.  Bad news.  But I did find the body gems done on the hands and that is sort of cool looking.  Also saw them on your teeth.  Freaky deaky.
Third - Shoulder Pads;  I was watching the evening news the other night, when low and behold I notice news lady is wearing shoulder pads.  Not the huge square shoulder pads of the 80's but not too far from it either.  Whoa I knew the 80's were coming back.  Really I did, but this was one of those things I thought would never return.  I mean what women really looks good with linebacker type shoulders.  I for one, having been born with them naturally, try to minimize their breadth whenever possible.  Unless of course I am trying to distract you from my even bigger hips.  Will I let Bella do it?  Sure, but once puberty hits, I'm pretty sure genetics are going to take over and provide her with the all natural ones too.

Amendment - okay if you are this skinny, you sort of can rock the shoulder pads.  But they are not made for the likes of me.
* Note: while having a massage the other day, the massage therapist said (oh look how PC I am in saying that instead of masseuse) told me I had the broadest shoulders and chest she had ever seen on a woman.  Awesome.  She then asked if "people were always confiding in me".  She told me that people are drawn to confess, disclose, and confide in people with broad shoulders.  But Travis was laughing when I told him.  Because he thinks people always tell me things they normally wouldn't tell other people.  I thought it was just because I ask a lot of questions and am generally curious.  But maybe all these years it was the shoulders working for me.  So for one specific husband of a friend who thinks I am a scuttle butt or bug, I can't remember which he called me - please note I do not go out trying to gather every detail about every person.  It's my shoulders.  Wife of this husband - I know you are reading this.  Pass this on to him.

So what kinds of crazy trends are you seeing in your "neck of the woods"?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bambi Lovers

Go no further.  I swear you won't like what you see.

And what you see is that Travis is the ultimate "deerslayer".  On his last hunting trip somewhere in the outskirts of nowhere Texas he shot this guy with his bow.
What does this tell me?  Well that I'll never starve if a crisis comes, but more importantly that I am going to have one happy husband for the next few months.  Yeah!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Measure of a Man

Okay I admit it.  I'm biased.  I'm totally prejudiced.  I have favorites.  It's true.  And lucky for me I got the one I was biased towards, the one I preferred, the one I thought was the best - Travis.

Many ask me how I got so lucky with Travis.  I joke I knew immediately I wanted him and so I "cave woman style" clubbed him over the head, drug him back to my cave, and seduced -okay I wish, this should actually read brainwashed- the heck out of him.  When he finally was aware of what was going on it was too late for him.  He was under my power and control.  Mwahhh ha ha ha! (hearing the evil laugh?)

The real answer is I have no idea.  But I did know almost instantly he was the one.  Tons of clues really but one that still sticks out is this:  He had asked me to a dance in college called Cabaret aka Prom in high school.  I was shopping for a dress to wear since I had nothing this formal and modest at Ricks College.  He knew I didn't love shopping so he went with me.  I picked a dress and as he bulked at the cost $80ish, I know a deal right?, he drug me from the store with my new purchase in hand for a surprise.  He took me to Payless.  And said pick the shoes that go with that dress and I'll buy them for you."

What does this all mean?  Well it means he knew what was important.  The shoes - yes I am still to this day a shoe girl.  But he knew all kinds of stuff about the inner workings of me and I'll spare you those details, but to know a guy for only a few months and realize he cares about all those details, it was a big sign.  So long story short, I got shoes that would go with the dress...but just barely because what I really wanted was something I could wear over and over to remind me how great he was and still is.  This was over twelve years ago.  Sadly the shoes have been hot glued, super glued, polished, and protected as long as possible.  In Texas they met their untimely demise, but I took pictures to preserve their memory because I knew these shoes were only a symbol to determine the measure of "my man".