The 10 things I have been doing besides blogging...

A few people have commented on my MIA status in the last 10 days... here's what I have been up to instead.

10. Dealing with this naughty girl... she is my climber-est kid.

9. Finally took Perry into the doctor. He had an ear infection.

8. Yesterday I got on to blog but got distracted by making a Spring-y header - I know I am jumping the gun... but I also decorated the house for Easter as well so I am just going to pretend that we can skip the whole March business and head right into April.

7. Celebrated Valentine's Day - well, the kids celebrated with heart pancakes, school/playgroup parties, and Lego Batman with Dad... Blake and I are celebrating tonight and I am giddy with joy for our date.

6. Reading. I am on a refugee memoir kick - their stories... WOW... unbelievable! Could you put your 11 year old son on a plane knowing you would never see him again but by so doing that you are giving him the greatest gift you possibly could?

5. Painting. I finally forced myself to get back into the house love thing. I painted the laundry room a Ummm-that's-a-little-bright green.

4. Laundry - I wasn't allowed to paint the room until all the laundry was "caught up." I am looking forward to Summer just for a decrease in worn clothing.

3. Starting poems... I wanted to present Blake with a poem for Valentine's day. I started 3 different times but was continuously interrupted by Luna's antics. My declaration of love in rhyming verse never came about so we will just have to settle for:
Roses are red,
violets are blue,
I want to write more
but Luna just poo'd.

2. THE PARK!!!

1. Thinking about the world's most ridiculous board game. Our friends introduced us to Scythe. I think it crossed some line... like the I just went from playing complex strategic board games to I'm going to start wearing all black and carving my own characters out of graphite. With all that said - I am dying to play it again because I think it took until 11am the next day (12 hours after we finished playing) before I actually got it (on some small level).


It's melting!!!

I don't know who is happier - me or Luna!!!


Cosie's baptism...

Cosette had a big day yesterday!

Her dad baptized her a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

It was a beautiful day. Cosette was the only kid getting baptized so we had the ceremony to ourselves which was really nice. 

Family and friends made it a special day. Thanks to the ward members who helped with talks and music. Teachers, leaders, and friends who shared the day with us. And thanks to Grandparents for being there!

Family photo attempt... 

My life is richly blessed because of my faith. I hope that Cosette sees the good that comes into her life through her membership in our church. A neat experience yesterday for me was when I watched Blake invite my dad and his dad and various friends and leaders (all male) up to confirm Cosie a member and give her the gift of the Holy Ghost. As these men encircled her and laid their hands on her head, I saw the power of good men. There has been a movement/criticism of my church that women hold a lesser place - that because we can never be the prophet or hold the calling of bishop or be the ones that give a blessing to our children that we are less than. As those men did their role by providing a priesthood ordinance for my daughter - I was content in my role as wife and mother. I did not feel left out - I felt grateful that I had done my part in preparing Cosie for this day so that they could do their part. As I looked at those hands placed gently on my daughter's head, I was grateful for the goodness of these men and the safety that I have always felt when I contemplate the priesthood of God.


February 1st...

It is February 1st - you can know this by:

The fact that there are 3 bikes in my living room.

We have overstayed our welcome at every library in the valley. (Picture sidenote: I told Perry to pick a book for Luna and this is what he came up with.)

New recipes for a new year. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Waffles - yes, please! I love when Blake is here to help feed the masses... plating up 5 kids with food takes forever - especially since the first asks for seconds as soon as you get the last one done.

Fielding had a birthday bash in school - the kids devoured the fruit rainbow we brought... even 6-year-olds are ready for summery food.

Paisley has been awesome at getting Luna ready every day - the poor girl would look homeless if not for her big sister. High piggies is my favorite hair-do Paisley has come up with so far.

The chickens are a mess - a total mess. I am dying to get their coop cleaned out but can't until it thaws... please thaw, please thaw, please thaw.

We hit up the church gym any chance we can get. Here is Luna taking a chill with her orange in the corner hiding from the mis-aimed basketballs, runaway bikes, and Nerf gun wars that filled the rest of the room.

And there is a creepy stray cat staring at me from the back deck while I blog this...

Everyone in this valley is over the winter. We have lost the ability to communicate about anything else - "It is SO cold.", "Is it going to snow again?", "I think it will get above freezing this week." We are frozen, stagnant, and unchanged. This is how we spent the entire month of January and we are all 100% over it... here is to February and the hope of one good thaw!


Book worm...

I've been reading a lot lately - something to do with the bitter cold combined with low energy levels (last year at this time I was re-doing our entire dining room and I am so confused how I ever had it me). I'm on Goodreads and use it to keep track of what books I read/make library holds based on it's recommendations for me. And I have decided that their ranking system is awful. They give you the option of 5 stars. 

1 - Didn't like it
2 - It was ok
3 - Liked it
4 - Really liked it
5 - It was amazing

First, if they are going to offer this - they should at least offer the option of half stars because sometimes 3 seems harsh and 4 seems to generous. Pretty sure, most books I read fall into the 3.5 category. Another thing is most books I read start at a high ranking (this totally is a 4) but by the end when I am slogging through the last 50 pages where the author has already made their point but just fell in love with the sound of their own voice, I would give a much lower rating. Also some books I give a high rating to yet I would never read them again - they are a once-read-only kind of book and that seems unfair to put them on the same rank as the beloved worn copy of the best book you have ever read. And then there is the guilt of the not finished books - some because something better came along, some because they contained one too many f-bombs, and some because they are of the classics genre and at around 50 pages all I can think is, "I have no idea what these people are talking about." I've come to a point in my life where I am comfortable walking away from a book that doesn't hold me captive (this used to not be the case). Am I supposed to rate these books? Sometimes I want to because I feel like I have read enough to have a valid opinion - but I don't because what if the last half/100 pages/final chapter were phenomenal and I passed judgement too soon.

So if I was in charge of Goodreads - this would be my rating system... and half stars would be allowed... and separate rankings for the 1st half of the book and the 2nd half... and asterisks for once-read-only's and never-finished's... and it would all be very complicated.

1 - Threw it across the room in anger, disgust, frustration, etc.
2 - This could be good - if only it was much much shorter
3 - Recommended it to atleast 1 other person
4 - Had to take it into the bathroom with me
5 - Finished it in less than 24 hours

These are the books I have read this month - ranked according to my scale.

This was a 4 that ended in a 3. The author chose a random date and detailed all the deaths that day of children due to handguns (not including suicides). I found the gang culture narratives harrowing and feel awful that babies are being raised in such circumstances. It is one of those books that makes you want to change something but it is hard to pinpoint just what should be done.

This was a 4.5*. I finished it in less than a day - I would never read it again but the story is unforgettable. Don't read any description about this book - just go check it out or download it and start reading. You will be blown away. One of those books that makes reading fun again - quick and easy and captivating.

Covenant Motherhood
Britt recommended this to me after a mommy-breakdown post on here. I would give it a 3.5.  There were insights in this book that really helped me in regards to how I view some of my mothering tasks. But here is a little known secret about Cyndi - I really struggle with church books. There I said it and now you can know that I am the most awful Mormon around. The thing is when I pick up a church book I look at all the text and think, "How could anyone have this much to say on _______?" And then I read it and feel like they are just repeating themselves over and over and over again. And then I feel validated in my first thought and my awful Mormon-ness. I am forever grateful that this book was short and sweet... or I wouldn't have finished it and therefore would not have felt worthy enough to rate it.

I gave this book a 4. It was crazy fascinating and reminded me why I love memoirs - there is no need to make up stories when people are out there living lives such as this. The author recounts her chaotic childhood in Africa and it makes you want to scream... and laugh.

This would be a 3.5. Probably a 4 if the author was a little more relatable - at one point she was flabbergasted how a neighbor was raising 3 kids with no help... no nanny or housekeeper or chef... I mean how did the poor women ever survive... BAHAHAHAHAH - insert crazy-mom-of-5-with-bananas-smeared-on-her-floor-at-the-moment laugh. This book was haunting - it was a self-proclaimed perfect marriage that ended the day a new professor came to town and her husband fell instantly in love with another women. Basically my all-time worst nightmare. I did not enjoy the writing style or the dramatics of the author (but she is an actress so what can you expect) but reading the story was like watching two trains hurtling towards each other - horrible with anticipated disaster and you are incapable of looking away.

Read any take-to-the-loo-with-you books lately? I'm always taking recommendations. 


Party's over...

Handed off thumbtacks to two little boys this morning with the instruction, "Pop all the balloons." They were thrilled - I was thrilled. I like a good party but I also like a good clean up.

The final hoorah for Fielding's birthday was last night with dinner and cake/brownies/cake with Grandma and Grandpa Taylor. 

Before that on Saturday evening we did our annual family activity in honor of Talmage. This year we took the kids to the mall to ride the animals. 5 cute towheads driving these around was great advertising for the guy... we boosted his sales 10% that night... at least.

Then we headed to downtown Boise.

 To hit up a coffee shop because we had a $20 giftcard and cookies seemed like a good use for it.

And here is just some random everyday-ness between all the partying.

Perry fell asleep in the car on the way to the store - we never ended up getting our groceries but Luna did a good job ransacking the van while I attempted to clean it.

Waiting for Dad to finish up his run at the gym (The gym transferred ownership and I now have unlimited guest passes - want to come with me?!?). He went so far that we would have went over the childcare time limit had I not grabbed the kids and let them "arm elliptical" for a few minutes.

 "Look Fielding - Mom made a triple-decker-double-decker sandwich." -Perry

 Found this pair of jeans out back - frozen solid. Made for a nice piece of abstract art on my counter.

Perry has finally decided to wear dress-ups and I absolutely love it!

And just as Blake commented yesterday that some grass was finally poking through the snow - we got another dumping of white stuff.  I am feeling a little like our snowman about it.


Camo party...

Fielding had a hard time decided what he wanted to do for his birthday - first, he wanted only a family party but when he learned that no cousins would be in town than he quickly changed to Jumptime with a friend or Chuck-e-cheese then back to Jumptime. Eventually, he settled on wanting an at-home friend party because he couldn't pick just one friend (which made me happy because the kid has some awesome friends)! But then he said, "I know Mom, it can be a Minecraft party." 

"Really? Ugh?"

You see the kid has never played Minecraft - the only reason he chose Minecraft was because he has heard everyone talk about Minecraft. We are Minecraft ignorant around here and I really didn't want a party featuring something we know nothing about. So I dug deep in the trenches of mind to try and come up with a counter offer that he wouldn't balk at. What is something Fielding loves? Then it came and I knew the second I said it that I could get him on board. "What if we did a hunting/camouflage party?"


So here is Fielding's camo party - a total win for all involoved.

Thank you to:
The dollar store for the awesome hats/party favor
D.I. and Wal-mart for outfitting the family in camo 
Leftover Halloween candy for being resurrected once more in the form of a candy ball
Paisley running the fishing booth - the kids loved this and wanted to fish for pure garbage after all the goodies had been fished out
Thrift store cake toppers - that deer knows he is about to become jerky

And thanks to all of Fielding's buddies for showing up. 5 boys descending on your house makes for an instant party especially when you add it to the 5 that already live here.

Fielding and Jed - both of their birthdays are tomorrow!

2 hours later Luna is still going strong with the hat - even if it doesn't do much for her line of sight!

Happy Birthday Fielding - glad we could spend the weekend celebrating you!