07 September 2012

Garden 2012: Part 3

Every single year I get frustrated with how long plants take to actually produce edible veggies here in the northwest, but, as usual, it is worth the long, long wait.

I wouldn't say that 2012 has produced my most successful garden, but I am thrilled to eat what is growing, and I really didn't give it as much TLC as I wanted to or hope to in future years. When the children are older and less needy, tending to the garden more will be a big priority for me. But for now, I am reaping exactly as much as I sowed and trying everyday to enjoy the little people that need me so much.

11 August 2012

The hated tree

Today we said goodbye and good riddance to a gigantic, horrible tree that we have hated from the day we moved into this house two years ago.

Picture about 6 more branches this size all over the tree--it pretty much covered that whole large window. This was at the very end, when there was just one more large cut to go. Hallelujah!
 Not only did it shade a big portion of our backyard, making us unable to plant anything that needed sun to grow (yeah, most things), but also it was loaded with small, red leaves that dropped all over our yard and patio all year long. You can't even believe how annoying those leaves were. Sweeping them up was like doing laundry or cleaning a house with a toddler --the minute you finished sweeping them, there were more dropping on your head--wind or no wind, these leaves were falling off. I don't know how there were any left on that gigantic tree.
Proof of the constant mess on our neglected patio

It was a huge, overwhelming job, but Jeffrey was up for the challenge. He really did most of the work--I hauled away the branches and helped with the rope but he gets credit for all the cutting. We have officially cut down about 8 large trees in the last two houses we have lived. Hopefully this is the last for a long time. We hope to pull out all those ugly bushes, plant some grass and I want a few more garden boxes now that the sun can shine on this side of the yard.

08 August 2012

Fullympics 2012

I live in a house of competitive big and little boys. We have thoroughly enjoyed watching the Summer Olympics these past two weeks, and it has inspired much Olympic-themed play around here. 

  • Froggy taking a rest after completing his events on the imaginary uneven bars
  • masking tape to mark long jump attempts 
  • medals all in a row
  • beanbag toss: so far quite the hit at the Fullympics 2012
  • A little Michael Phelps-style warm-up and "take your mark" on the pillow blocks
  • It's a photo finish in the running 100 freestyle!
  • Everyone's a winner: Go Fullers and Go USA!!

30 July 2012

Summer Bingo

The idea for summer bingo was originally inspired by this post back in 2010, and last year we added it to our summer routine. Like many things, my older boys were excited and gung ho for the first little while, then it wasn't as exciting. But when I brought the first card out the week after school ended this year, they couldn't wait to finish every square. Things have slowed a bit, but I still like having it around to say, "what's on your bingo card?",when they tell me they are bored, or they want to earn money.
The rules I adopted for ours go like this:


1.      You must be dressed, morning chores done, scriptures read and breakfast eaten before starting Bingo activities.
2.      You will receive a new bingo card each week. Squares in green earn an immediate ticket
3.      Mom or Dad will give you stamps/stickers so you need to let them know which one you’ve done.
4.      Each time you complete 5 in a row, you receive a ticket.
5.      You get one free stamp/sticker each week
6.      The maximum amount of bingos you can get per card each week is 5.
7.      HAVE FUN!


1 ticket –                    bag of chips
                                    one can of soda/bottle of gatorade
                                    coupon good for mom or dad to do one of your jobs
2 tickets –                 $1 to fun money
                       30 extra mins of electronics
              (maximum screen time per day is 1 hour)
3 tickets –                 rent a Wii game at redbox
BLACKOUT             date with mom or dad
           $3 to fun money

Funny & surprising: the gatorade has been the biggest draw.

this was another post that was helpful last year when i came up with the cards & rules. the things i put on the cards are things i want the boys to do anyways, mixed in with some fun and funny ones. i try to change them up each time i make a new card. included every week is finish saturday jobs by 9:30 am--how boring is that? lol.

29 July 2012

Summer, Summer, Summertime

Busy, fun summer so far:
 Trip to Portland Rose Garden (amazing, as usual)

Olympic Track Trials with the Suttons
 Happy Birthday to Jeffrey

 Ride on Frontrunner with Fuller cousins to see Church Museum & City Creek in Salt Lake 
Family Reunion in Midway
 Lovely visit with Great Oma and Opa Muelleck
 Tubing on Jordanelle

So glad we still have a whole month to play!

24 May 2012


In parenting, if I have learned anything, it is that you learn as you go. I find myself at each new stage with growing children feeling challenged, frustrated, and looking for any help in any form.

One thing with which I struggle is in finding the balance between having high expectations for my children, but also showing mercy when they fall short of those expectations. Being mortal, they are not perfect, and will fall short. I cannot reasonably expect that they will even go through one day without making a mistake. None of us will. We all live life trying our very best, while making many, many mistakes along the way.

When I find myself in a specific parenting challenge that seems impossible, I try to stop and think about how I am parented from above. How does my Heavenly Father handle this situation with me, his child? God, being God, is bound to high expectations and standards. He cannot deviate from these, and expects his children to follow. But He is also endlessly merciful and patient, and wants in every situation to extend this mercy and patience to his children.

These quotes by Joseph Smith, found here, (pg. 428), give me great insight into this struggle:
"God does not look on sin with allowance, but when men have sinned, there must be allowance made for them."
"There should be no license for sin, but mercy should go hand-in-hand with reproof"

This taught me to see that I can and need to set high expectations for my children in our home and in their lives, but when they fall short (and they will), I need to be forgiving, merciful, & long-suffering, just as God is with me.

"I do not dwell upon your faults, and you shall not upon mine. Charity, which is love, covereth a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8)

18 May 2012

Garden 2012: Part 2

These pictures were taken one month apart. Check out the raspberries up against the house!! They are growing like crazy, and if every blossom we see right now yields a raspberry, we will have a banner year! This is good news for the husband who loves raspberries like no other fruit, and was disappointed in the 15 total we got last season. It is also great news in general for the garden, because there are bees galore on the plant, and this means they might stick around to pollinate the other plants that always desperately need it--squash & cucs-- later on.
The broccoli is, however, not doing well. I might just have to give up on broccoli after two bad years. It turned out spindly and tall, with one tiny little head on each that was only one bite. With that kind of yield, I would say it is not a good use of the garden space and, thus, it might just get kicked out of the rotation. Sad, because broccoli is one of my favorite veggies, and I really would love to grow it well. I need to do a bit more research about it.
We have had an unbelievably dry May, which is thrilling for the gardeners. The ground has actually been warm and dry enough to put in the warm weather plants. Tomatoes are in the ground (no picture yet), bush beans are planted, spinach, carrots, and peas are growing and I am on the lookout for some good variety of cucumbers that will actually grow, as that was another crop that was a dud for me last year.

03 May 2012

Firmness & Boldness

In Mormon chapter 2, we read about a group of Nephites who are in the midst of fighting many battles with their enemies.These particular Nephites were a wicked and unbelieving group, living in the city of Shem, being led by the young & righteous army leader/prophet, Mormon, when, in verse 22, it says, ". . .they (the Lamanites, their enemies) began to come upon us again."

This word again, really stood out to me as significant, because it made me realize that, just as these Nephites had faced the same types of battles with the Lamanites over and over again, so do I face the same kinds of battles in my own life over and over again. Some of my most recent battles include:

  1. discouragement (I recently wrote about waging a war against it, but I haven't won the war yet)
  2. confusion about how to raise & nurture my children in a challenging world
  3. being overwhelmed at the sheer amount of: food that needs to be planned, bought, put away, cooked, served & cleaned up daily, clothes that need to be washed, folded & put away daily, children that need, demand & deserve individual attention daily, and many, many other tasks that face me every single day.
I know that it is valid and perfectly normal to feel these things, but it is not okay to allow myself to be beat up, daily, by these challenges. So what can I do about it?

What did the Nephites do, even in their state of ignorance and willful disobedience?

They looked to their righteous leader, Mormon, who, in verse 23 says, "I did speak unto my people and did urge them with great energy that they would stand boldly before the Lamanites and fight for their wives, and their children, and their houses and their homes."

v.24 - 25: "and my words did arouse them somewhat to vigor. . .that they did not flee from before the Lamanites, but did stand with boldness against them. .  .and we did stand before them with such firmness that they did flee from before us.

My ability to stand before these particular challenges with firmness & boldness, and look to my leader, Jesus Christ, for encouragement and strength will be the determining factor in the way I face these battles and not allow them to beat me. I know that as I choose to do things each day that will bring peace to my heart, I will be:
  1. energized & happy in the face of discouragement
  2. given specific instructions through the spirit to know how to help & encourage each of my children in their specific needs and situations
  3. blessed with the ability to see mundane tasks as essential & necessary for an organized, Christ-centered home, and to see that completing them, daily, with happiness is a great way to serve those in my home.

19 April 2012

Spring Cleaning

I've never been one for spring cleaning, but I do appreciate a cleaned-out garage, an organized closet, and a large box of discards in the back of the car ready to donate to the local second-hand shop.

But how does one overcome the hate of organizing? Well, finding these two rules has helped this hater:

The two questions are:
If I needed this item, where would I look for it? (take it there)

If I needed this item, would it ever occur to me that I already have one? (If not, get rid of it because I’d just buy a new one if I needed it.)
Rules found here. Also, love this post: laugh out loud about de-slobbing your life and the real challenges that one might face while trying to do it. Very helpful. 

18 April 2012

Garden 2012: Part 1

In the past month, amidst all the rain, and even one freak snowstorm that dropped 6 inches of heavy, wet snow, I have found the inspiration to get my garden beds filled with fresh compost soil and ready for planting.  

This is the before--leaf mulch and black plastic for months to stave off weeds:
This is the after: filled to the gills with compost, and leaves tilled in with my brand new pitchfork. Also, cabbage and broccoli planted with garden cloth to protect those tender leaves from snails and pouring rain.
Also, found still planted in one bed were these wintered-over carrots: a little stunted in their growth, but extremely sweet and crunchy probably due to being in the cold ground all winter long. That was a fun surprise.

17 April 2012

Just a few thoughts

  • Lately it seems I get the inspiration to blog once every month. I wish it was more often, but I have been trying to limit my time on the computer and focus more time on the kiddos. Also, during the little free time I have each day when babies are napping and older kids are at school, that time that perhaps was once used for blogging, I have been trying to focus on having a real, meaningful personal scripture study time everyday. I am here to say that has made all the difference in my attitude and the ability I have to really learn how to be a better person and mother. 
  • But that's not to say I want to give this up, because I really enjoy reading past posts, and I love reading other people's blogs and keeping up with friends and family in this way.
  • Henry is finally potty trained and Thomas is finally sleeping through the night and I am remembering how it is not to feel completely sleep-deprived and short-fused all day long. How glorious it is to get 6ish hours of continuous sleep. Glorious, I tell you.
  • The winter rains here in Oregon arrived later than usual, but have just been relentless and about this time of the year, when I look at the whole country forecast and see that so many other states are having a real spring with 70 degree temps and sunshine I have moments of real frustration about our climate.
  • But that's not to say that I don't love living here, because I do, and I would rather deal with rain, rain, rain than tornadoes and hurricanes. 
  • Also, to anyone who loves podcasts, do you know about the mormon channel? There are so many amazing, inspiring podcasts that you can download to computer or ipod. I particularly love conversations, stories from general conference , and ces firesides.

16 March 2012

Handmade Replacements

Owen and James both made valentines for their classmates this year. The actual making of the valentines was such fun and great time spent together, I hope to do it every year even with the little boys as they grow up.

Owen's idea came from here except instead of handing out little animals, he drew his using this great book as a helper. 

James came up with his own idea, of which I don't have a picture. It went something like this: I (picture of a mustache) U a question. Will U B Mine? 

Another handmade replacement idea came to me during a middle-of-the-night nursing session. I really, really didn't want to participate in the buying of trophies for every player of James's basketball team this year, as I think they're too expensive and kind of a silly tradition, so I was trying my best to think of an alternative. 

Fortunately the other moms on the team were supportive of the idea, and it turned out to be a lot of fun to make. I used this frosting, as my regular go-to cream cheese frosting would have been too soft, and sewed the blue webbing to the plastic bags.

25 January 2012

Wage a war against discouragement

Six hours into this work day and I'm feeling like I chose the wrong career. This feeling is not new--evidenced by the pages of frustrations recorded over the years in my journal, this feeling is a frequent visitor. Potty training failures, trying to dry laundry with a dryer held together by duct tape, hearing my name spoken a minimum of 100 times just this morning, and rushing the three littles into their clothes and to the school to cheer on the oldest in a battle of books competition, only to hear "why did you even come, mom?" are just a few of the items contributing to this today.

I know that discouragement is a strategy of He who wishes to see us fail, and sadly, it is effective in accomplishing what He desires: that is, to make us feel angry, depressed, selfish and irritable and like our lives are horrible.

I also know that this is just not true. My life is wonderful, and I am thrilled and blessed each day with the family and things that surround me. So, today and in the days to come, in my moments of selfishness, when all I want to do is lace up my Sauconys, turn up my ipod and run away, I will remember that I did not choose this job to bask in my selfishness and wish for more moments to do only what I want. I chose it, though I didn't know it at the time, to learn about that essential attribute of godliness: UN-selfishness.

Today and everyday I will wage a war on discouragement. I will choose to believe the words and feelings poured into my soul during my moments of scripture reading and meditation that this work is so important, that I am loved, that I am forgiven, and that my failures will be made strengths. I will choose to believe the words of living prophets when they tell me to "be thankful for all the small successes in your home, your family relationships, your education and livelihood, your Church participation and personal improvement. . .these successes may seem tiny to you and they may go unnoticed by others, but God notices them and they are not small to Him."

I will accept that many more days like this are up ahead, but I will dig deep, pray hard and win.

13 January 2012

Spending Freeze

Perhaps like some of you, we overspent a little this Christmas, and decided to put ourselves on a spending freeze for the final two weeks of our fiscal month. For us, spending freeze=staying out of all stores, restaurants, and buying nothing that wasn't absolutely essential, so we didn't stop buying milk or gas.

We are now two days away from being able to spend money again, and, although, at the beginning of this, I was so sick of stores because of all the shopping done at Christmas, I'm at the point where I could use a good trip to Target. I think having a shopping fast was good for me in several different ways. I have never been so resourceful in my meal making as I have these past two weeks. We don't eat out a lot, but we definitely do a trip to Costco or Taco Bell for lunch or dinner here and there, and I am missing the convenience of that. I love to cook, but 16 days in a row with no help can make you dream of a gut-buster Costco food court hot dog merely for the fact that someone else cooked it and we can throw away the mess when we're done.

In other news, I am more than a little obsessed with this caramel corn/moose munch recipe. I made at least 4 batches to give away to neighbors at Christmas, but since then it has been made about 4 more times just to eat. I have made it with and without chocolate and can shamelessly sit and eat almost the whole batch all myself. The difference with this and other caramel corns that I have made is the honey. It adds a whole new layer of flavor that is unique and addicting.

05 January 2012

This little guy

is officially 6, almost 7 months old. His cute little mug hasn't been seen a lot on this blog, since his arrival has made my life so much more full and busy than even I imagined, but he has been growing and is loved on every single day by all of his big brothers in their own special ways.

Around here, he is mostly just called baby, as Thomas just seems like a big name for such a little person. He'll eventually grow into his name, but for now, we like baby.

I'm discovering the joy of having older children and young children growing up in the same house, and the love and concern the older ones have for the little ones. It brings me so much happiness to watch their interactions and expressions of love and adoration.

04 January 2012

Handmade Christmas

During the month of December, our boys turned into little elves for each other, as we followed the tradition found last year here. This is such a fun tradition, and one that I can see us doing for years to come because the planning, the making and the giving is so much fun for Jeff and me and the kids. I love the one-on-one time and the secrets we keep as we come up with ideas and go about making them together. The kids open these gifts from each other on Christmas Eve, and they are just thrilled to see what the other one has made for them. I look forward to when the two littles are older, and can participate as well.

James's handmade gifts:
For Owen: decoupaged a box, where he stores all his special "stuff" (pokemon cards, lego sets, gum, silly bands, you get the idea),
For Henry: made an elmo bank from a peanut butter bottle.
For Thomas: sewed this cute little snowman stuffed animal.

Owen's handmade gifts:
For James: freezer-paper stenciled him an Oregon Ducks t-shirt
For Henry: Using this fun technique, made him a bag to take to the library

Henry, being a little craft challenged at age 2, picked out new toothbrushes for his older brothers and was thrilled about it.

I also love to wrap a handmade item for the boys and put it under the tree. This year, James got a new bag for his piano books, and Owen got a bag to hold the loose legos that usually end up all over the floor anytime they get used. This is a pretty great tutorial, if you have legos or any small toys that need a home. Next year I hope to make the little boys something as well. I just ran out of time.

I also did a little post-Christmas sewing for some things that Santa brought. My boys love to do lego sets, and they love to keep them together, but ziploc bags and boxes just haven't been working. So I made a few of these bags for the sets and the instructions, and a padded bag for their new ipods.

 We stayed home for Christmas this year, and had my oldest sister, Alisa, to visit. Although we missed all the family we normally see, it was very relaxing and pleasant to be on our own schedule and not have to make that LONG drive to Utah.
Happy New Year!