Thursday, September 15, 2016

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Courtney Osborn Softball Tournament

Playing second base

Talking to Coach

Getting some encouragement from our first base coach

Resting between games

Taking off from third base to steal home

(Barely...both the catcher and Penguin froze and then looked up to umpire
for the call, ha ha! It was a squeaker!)

So pleased with herself for stealing home!

Penguin's first tournament for her accelerated softball team is in the books!  It was only twenty minutes away, and it really was a lot of fun for her!  I had a feeling that she wasn't too terribly sure about being on the team, what with the extra games and practices outside of city league, but she really seemed to warm up to the idea over the two days of this tournament.  While eating dinner after her last game, I asked her how she was liking her new team, and she said, "I LOVE it!"  Whew!

It's a brand new team, and most of these teams have already been together for a year, if not longer, so our team got beat pretty bad each game; BUT, when you compare how the girls played this weekend to how they were playing just two weeks ago, it's amazing how much improvement they're already showing.  We'll be fine once we get the bumps ironed out.  The girls were getting kind of wound up over losing so much, and their coach went on a personal mission to remind them that above all else, we play softball to HAVE FUN.  Winning's nice and all, but ultimately we show up to play because we like to play the game.  Once they got that into their heads (or, really, got the anxiety of losing off of their radars) they relaxed, and played better.  Sweet girls.  Life's too long and full of things to worry about to start worrying when you're ten years old.

I love these pictures so much.  I'm so glad that she gets this opportunity to play a game she loves.  Lucky, lucky girl.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Homemaking Highlights: September 3-9, 2016

Hello, Brooketopia groupies!  (Hee hee.)

Thank you so much for your prayers and kind words after I let you know that I was having a rough go of things, my symptoms have been improving greatly ever since.  I think I'll be more on the "two/three weeks of symptoms" side of things than the twelve weeks side.  Thank goodness, I did not know how I was going to handle feeling that awful for three months.

Knowing that I was just suffering from withdrawals, and that I didn't actually have food poisoning or the flu, made me all that more adamant that I was going to plough through my discomfort and finally get some things done around here.  It was hard work, but I'm pleased with my efforts.

And I must say that I'm SO GLAD I started up with these Homemaking Highlights posts--I was really getting down on myself for being such a slacker, when I remembered that I had written that I'd been sick for three weeks straight, plus the last two weeks, which makes for five weeks of feeling like crap.  You can't get a lot done when you feel like crap.  I would have failed to realize all that important information were it not for keeping a record.  It may feel narcissistic to write these posts, but goodness, are they helpful to me.

I'm also going to change things up a bit in regards to my weekly goals--I will only list a maximum of three in each category.  It's too overwhelming to list more, and I'm still working up to my full potential after this slow recovery from back surgery.

I have fallen hard for the magnetism of autumn food!  We have a dinner plan (more on that later), I'm loading up the pantry, and I'm eyeing some lovely apple and pumpkin recipes.  Oh, autumn cooking, I love thee!  I also made the best carrot cake muffins for breakfast on Wednesday!  So good.


  • Create shopping list for autumn meal plan.
  • Make and can spaghetti sauce to use up the last of the basil and oregano in the garden.
  • Harvest the rosemary.

Laundry is caught up, which was no small feat, and I've gone through all the kids' dressers and closets and culled out the too-small clothing.  I also think I've got all their clothing needs taken care of, except for closed-toe shoes.


  • Closed-toe shoe shopping
  • Clothing inventory for Michael and myself
  • Hem Penguin's pants (I don't think this will get done this week, but I don't want to forget)

 Ugh. Got the living room and entrance cleaned up.  Dishes have been extra insane this week.


  • Office/Desk
  • Master Bedroom
  • Master Bathroom

A lot of my week has been spent on the phone, sending emails, and scouring the internet searching for information that just HAD to be out there somewhere, despite everyone telling me that it wasn't.  (Really, there's no schedule posted at all?  That doesn't seem right.  Oh, hey, here it is.  Amazing!)

Bluebird decided to join her school's tennis team, so that's taken up a bit of my time.  I'm very glad that she decided to go with it, but it meant last-minute shopping for gear and practice clothes, and rearranging my schedule to facilitate picking her up after practice.  Not a big deal, but an adjustment that requires some extra brain cells until it becomes automatic.

Music lessons started in earnest this week as well.  More running around.  Penguin's accelerated softball team started their season, too, with two games on two nights, and then a tournament Friday-Saturday.  More running around.  We'll figure it out.  :)


  • Mail all the things...whoa.
  • Pay the last bit of back-to-school fees, etc.
  • Clean out cubbies

 I'm behind on my Beehive Swap, boo.  I've decided to opt out of the #100blocks100days sewalong, my quilt guild's #wordart challenge, and sewing Bluebird's Halloween costume (because I found it pre-made for less than what fabric was going to cost me, SWEET!).


  • Beehive Swap blocks for August and September
  • Clean out garden, and plant bulbs

  •  Back-to-School:  We're almost done.  Need to pay tennis fees, and sign up for the teachers' texting app.
  • Bear Cub's birthday:  I have his gift.  Here.  At my house.  His birthday is in two days and it takes fourteen days for a package to get to him.  #auntfail
  • Family birthday prep:  Gotta get going on it
  • Halloween:  Almost done with acquiring all the elements of all of the kids' costumes, which is good because all the stuff they wanted to be has already sold out.
  • Thanksgiving: Keeping my eye on my china collection in case pieces of it go on sale.  I want to purchase four soup bowls so we have enough for my family this year (yay for a soup course!), and maybe the gravy boat.  Unfortunately, this is the time of year that it all starts to rise in price, until Black Friday...but I need it the day before Black Friday, ha ha.  (And, no, I do not pay the prices listed on that website, EVER.  I'm patient and wait for good deals.)
  • Christmas:  Added some items to the secret gift stash, three of which I'm really excited about giving, come December!  Trying to work the House & Holidays Plan, but it's taken a backseat to Back-to-School stuff.  This week is Master Bedroom week, which is also where my office is, so I'm hoping to concurrently finish up Office Week alongside Master Bedroom Week.

It's a big mess.  With me being so sick, the other Activity Days leaders have been running the show for weeks, we've had to reschedule a million things, and the year's calendar still isn't final.  Ugh. I need to get better, like, yesterday.  Tried to sing with the stake choir for Stake Conference today, only to have gone to the effort of learning the songs and then waking up with practically no voice thanks to allergies.

*deep breath*  This area will improve.
Waiting for her ride to the dance.

  • Bluebird's first harp lesson went well, AND her harp teacher went to BYU, AND she majored in Genetics.  I think Bluebird is in love.
  • Bluebird went to her first school dance and loved it.  It was an "Aloha" Dance/Luau meant to be a bit of an icebreaker, and she went with one of her friends and it was just so cute driving them home as they laughed and chattered about how much fun it was, and how glad they were that there were only two slow songs so they didn't have to worry about dancing with boys.  Oh, to be twelve again.

  • I have Moonflowers!
  • Penguin's first tournament was so much fun!  More pictures to follow.
  • I was having a rough morning on Friday, and so I sat down in my recliner while the Littles finished getting ready for school.  Monkeyboy came out, saw me, spun on his heel to return to his bedroom, and came back out with his blankie and the book, Dragons Love Tacos, climbed into my lap and said, "You look like you need someone to read you a story."  So he did:

  • Penguin had to miss a set of games this week because she had a fever and had to also stay home from school for one day.  She looked miserable.
  • Melted Scentsy wax was spilled on the living room carpet.
  • I dropped the maple syrup container, and, while it didn't break, it DID force the cap open and a lovely fountain of it arced perfectly into the air so as to drench me from head to toe in syrup.  Never thought I'd experience spluttering through syrup, but now I can say that I have.  (And a big SHUT UP to those of you who are going to suggest that this should actually be filed under "Funnies of the Week."  It was definitely not funny in the moment.  It's hilarious now.  But not then.)
  • We were having pancakes for breakfast one morning, and Michael was helping Junebug with her butter and syrup and stuff.  He always draws a face out of whipped cream on her pancakes because it makes her so happy, and on this day he gave the pancake face a full head of whipped cream hair.  Junebug was ecstatic, and yelled out, "BEST DAD I EVER HAD!"
  • Penguin is SO jealous of Bluebird's Junior High lunch options.  I've had to read Penguin the Elementary's and Junior High's lunch offerings almost every morning, and if it wasn't so funny I'd feel really bad about how bummed she gets when she hears them and sighs that Bluebird is so lucky.  (Junior High has the option of pizza almost every day, and Elementary only gets it on Wednesdays.  Supreme jealousy from Penguin.)
  • Monkeyboy thinks "mayonnaise" is pronounced "neigh-neighs," which explains why he always whinnies when I say we're having sandwiches for lunch.  I laughed so hard when I realized this.  I'm laughing now.  (He did it all summer long and it was just so weird, and I now I know why!)
  • Michael told me that he overheard Junebug and Monkeyboy talking about what cars they were going to drive when they grew up, and Junebug told Monkeyboy that he wouldn't be allowed to choose his cars because wives always chose the cars.  Michael stepped in and told them that not all husbands let their wives choose everything, only the nice husbands.  And then Junebug said that she didn't really care if her husband was handsome, just so long as he was nice...but he still had to be cute, or at least OK-looking.
  • Every time I walk through the front door, I see a movement out of the corner of my eye, and I look up and see this:

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Please Excuse Thursday's Rant

Hello friends and neighbors!  My, things were fun around here on Thursday, weren't they?  I appreciate your kind comments and emails after my very ranty blog post went live, and I've laughed when I've read the humorous promises to never try to contact and/or try to help me while I am ill.

Since that post went live, we have found out that I do not have food poisoning or the flu, but am actually experiencing "withdrawal symptoms" of the anti-anxiety/nerve pain medication that I stopped taking last weekend.

I had my psychiatrist's blessing to discontinue the medication after I reviewed how things had been going since I started taking it in April and I put together that I had dropped into a zombified slump and accomplished absolutely nothing since then.  Yes, my anxiety was very manageable; but only because I straight-up did not care about anything at all.  So discontinuation it was.

Since I was on the lowest dose available, my psychiatrist said I didn't need to worry about weaning off.

I didn't make the connection that my "flu" could be withdrawal because there were no warnings to expect withdrawal symptoms outside of a slight headache or some slight irritability.  Completely blindsided.  And one of the withdrawal symptoms is intermittent RAGE.  Serious, serious rage.  I literally have a "raging flu" of sorts.

But it gets so much better!  I can expect to experience these symptoms for two to TWELVE weeks.  No big deal, just a quarter of a year.  Oh my gosh, my luck...

So...I am putting it out there, on every channel available to me, that I (and my family, no doubt) would really, really appreciate your prayers on my behalf in this matter.  I am downright desperate that this horror show NOT continue any longer than it has to.  Please keep me in your prayers.

I'll keep you updated.

Thank you,


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Things I hate about today

1. Being sick since 1am Wednesday morning with the flu from Hell.

2. Being sick and having every one of my kids stomp through my bedroom this morning to use all the things that won't fit into their bathroom because it's so small and we STILL haven't even begun finishing the third bathroom downstairs.

3.  Junebug running home from the bus stop because she forgot her glasses.  Of course, this meant that she knocked on the door and rang the doorbell NON STOP while I dizzily tried to navigate the stairs, praying that I didn't pass out or puke.

4.  Noticing that Junebug was wearing tights as her pants when she ran past me to catch the bus.

5.  Having an argument on my front step, bra-less, sweating buckets and feeling like death, with my eight year old about why tights AREN'T PANTS until she would finally come back into the house.

6.  Having to go down the other flight of stairs to Junebug's bedroom to help her find pants when she tried to leave wearing pants four sizes too big for her.

7.  Finally finding her some pants, telling her to STOP CRYING and just go catch the bus.

8.  Laying down in my bed, only to have the knocking and ringing of the doorbell start all over again and being able to hear Junebug BAWLING on the front step because she missed the bus.

9.  Trying to find someone to drive her to school because I can't even make it down the stairs without worrying about my own consciousness.

10.  Having to listen to Junebug BAWL and BAWL and BAWL about her field trip that she's going to miss because she's missed the bus to school and the field trip bus leaves school at 9:00 am sharp and the person who is going to take her to school hasn't shown up yet.  (OMG, SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP)

11.  Junebug forgetting to lock the door when she sprinted out to her ride.  Another trip downstairs for me.

12.  Not being able to find any of the Powerade Michael bought for me last night--AFTER I had already told my sweet visiting teacher (who drove Junebug to school) that I had Powerade for life when she asked if she could do anything else for me.

13.  Being woken up from sleeping by someone texting me to see if I need anything.  Not only because it woke me up, but also because I was groggy and dizzy and forgot that I couldn't find my Powerade, and so I said I didn't need anything.

14.  Dreaming stupid dreams based on the stupid "The Office" television show.

15.  Being woken up from sleeping by someone asking about Activity Days.

16.  Stupid dreams about a condemned trailer with abandoned kayaking supplies in it.

17.  Being woken up from sleeping by someone asking me to sub for them this Sunday in their church calling.

18.  More stupid dreams.

19.  Being woken up again by a different someone asking me to sub for them this Sunday in their church calling.

20.  Not even falling asleep before getting a text from another person asking about Activity Days.

21.  Stupid dreams about the stupid trailer stupid again.

22.  Being woken up AGAIN by a different someone asking me to sub for them this Sunday in their church calling.


23.  More stupid dreams, this time in the mode of "The Office" mixed with an Alaskan version of "The Walking Dead."  It ended with me trying to drive a very big pickup with three scared children in it away from the city and sucking at changing gears.

24.  Being awoken by a text asking how I'm feeling.

25.  Giving up on sleep, only to fall asleep and dream more stupid dreams.

26.  Being awoken from sleep by non-stop knocking and ringing of the doorbell.

27.  Looking at the clock and realizing it's probably Bluebird coming home from school.  Phoning her on her cell phone and asking her why she just doesn't use her key.  Arguing with her that she does indeed possess a key, which I know from when I cleaned out her backpack for the start of school last week.

28.  Hearing her unlock the door and come into the house.

29.  Being mad at myself for how strongly I feel like strangling her and dumping her body in the woods.

30.  Knowing that I'm too weak right now to do it.

31.  Asking her to go find my Powerade, and having her repeat back to me all the things she needs to help her younger siblings with when they get home from school, and eventually falling asleep while I wait for her to come back with my Powerade.

32.  Waking up an hour later to her screaming at her younger siblings to be quiet because Mom is sleeping.

33.  Waking up because my house is too quiet.

34.  Calling everyone upstairs to find out if their homework is done, only to find out that Bluebird's been on her phone all afternoon and her younger siblings have been playing on the computer.


36.  Making two of my kids cry.

37.  Asking for my Powerade and Bluebird telling me that we don't have any.

38.  Telling Bluebird to phone Michael and have him tell her where he put it.

39.  He left it in the downstairs fridge.

40.  Having Bluebird tell me that there isn't any Powerade in the downstairs fridge because she's already looked.

41.  Threatening to take away every single blessed thing in this entire universe that makes her feel remotely happy if she does not go find me my Powerade and deliver it to me within thirty seconds.

42.  Hearing her open the downstairs fridge and then say, "Who puts Powerade in a drawer?!?!"

43.  Junebug breaking down in tears because she's so hungry.

44.  Asking Junebug what she had for her afterschool snack and finding out that not one of my children have had an afterschool snack, despite having Bluebird repeat back to me that she was in charge of it.

45.  Finding out that Bluebird was playing on her phone instead.

46.  Taking away Bluebird's phone.

47.  Being mad at myself for how strongly I feel like strangling her and dumping her body in the woods.

48.  Knowing that I'm too weak right now to do it.

49.  Almost passing out while sitting at the kitchen table making sure that my children do their homework because nobody else in the world is going to make sure it gets done today.

50.  The multiple texts that I'm now getting from people freaking out that I have not gotten back to them about insignificant, stupid things that really should have been a phone call many days ago (instead of a text today) if they were indeed as important as the sender is insinuating they are.

51.  That I worked so hard on Tuesday to clean the kitchen and get caught up on laundry, and you wouldn't know it by looking at my house today.

52.  I think my entire family would die a naked, dirty death of starvation without me.

53.  I created these people.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Homemaking Highlights, August 20-26, 2016

Another crazy week, combining back-to-school and the joy of sagebrush pollen season smashing through the doors.  To be honest, I'm still reeling from the sucker punch that is sagebrush pollen season, and I haven't gotten my allergy meds totally adjusted yet, so I'm a dizzy, dried-out, itchy-all-over, wheezing, snot factory mess.  Once again, why do we live in the desert?!?!  Ugh.

So, the abbreviated version, mostly because I'm getting dizzy sitting here, and also because I just plain did not get much done this week:

1. Harvested 1/4 of the basil, with the help of the kids, and froze it.
2. Ordered all of Penguin's softball uniform pieces, and they arrived as scheduled, which is good because her first game is today.
3. Dropped off outgrown clothes at various friends' homes who have children that they'll fit.
4. Signed the mountain of paperwork that accompanies the start of school.
5. Getting lessons and practices scheduled.

And the goals for this next week are pretty much the goals from last week, and it's bumming me out that they're still not done, so I'm just going to leave it at that and re-use last week's post to remind me of what I'd like to accomplish.

I really hope your pollen counts aren't messing with you, and that your weeks were far more productive than mine.  I've been sick for three weeks, people.  THREE WEEKS!  Ugh.  I'm thinking about breaking down and buying one of those face masks that filters the air you breathe...just in the hopes that I can go outside and be normal again.  But, I mean, this what it's come to?  Wearing an air filter on my face so I can function?  I just don't know why, despite our repeated efforts to relocate to somewhere NOT infested with sagebrush, Heavenly Father continues to keep us here.  Sigh.  Ignore me, I've officially entered into whininess.

Gonna go lay down.  Have a lovely week.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Back to School!

I seriously wanted to shoot a video of them getting onto the school bus, and then, when it started to pull away from the curb, have the "Hallelujah Chorus" start playing.  Man, were we ever ready for summer vacation to be over this time!  The kids have been chomping at the bit for school to start, and yesterday their school had their Open Houses, so they all got to meet their new teachers, and it was an exercise in impossibility to keep them calm afterwards.  Excited kids!

(Please excuse the quality of the camera is really having a hard time lately!)

Mr. Monkeyboy is going into the first grade this year, and he is so ready for it.  He was pretty miffed last year that Kindergarten lasted only half a day, and so this summer really wore on him while he waited for "all day long" school to finally start.

His teacher seems very nice, and last night he told me, "I really like my teacher.  I think she's going to be good."  Alright then!

She sent him home with a little bag that said to open it before he went to bed last night, and when we did open it, it was filled with confetti and a cute little poem about sprinkling the confetti under his pillow so it could magically help him sleep well and be ready for his first day of school.

I checked under his pillow as I was tucking him in, and he had sprinkled his confetti.  Oh my goodness, the cuteness of it all.  This morning when I woke him up for breakfast I asked if the confetti helped him sleep, and he stretched and groaned and said, "I think it helped me sleep TOO well.  It's hard to get up."  Hee hee.

Miss Junebug is not that excited about returning to school, but she was pretty happy about wearing her new clothes.  AND her classroom is decorated with Pete the Cat, Bad Kitty, If You Give a Dog a Doughnut, and all sorts of cute little animals.  She's very excited about all that.

Miss Penguin is happy to go to school again.  Her teacher seems like a sunshine-y ball of energy, so I think Penguin will enjoy her school year.

Her teacher is on the short side, just barely taller than her fifth grade students, and last night as Monkeyboy was talking about school he randomly exclaimed, "And Penguin's teacher is just so cute I can hardly stand it!"  Oh, how I laughed.

And little Miss Bluebird starts JUNIOR HIGH this year, which means she heads out to catch the bus fifty minutes before the rest of the Brookelets.

Today is actually her second day of school, as yesterday was "Seventh Grade Day," where all the incoming seventh graders come in for half a day in order to learn how to work their lockers and get a feel for changing classrooms without all the extra commotion of having the eighth and ninth graders in the hallways.

I think she's going to have a good year, just as long as she stays on top of her homework.  In addition to getting into Honors Science ("It's almost ALL BOYS in there!"), she also was placed in Honors Math.  Proud of my girl.


They're getting so big, so fast!