My inspiration for this record of my days:

“The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. . . . I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less” -Anna Quindlen

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Let’s go to the movies


Today, in an attempt to be a fun mom, I took all six kids to the dollar movies.  Actually, my motivation may have come more from terror at the idea of having all those children at home all day with nothing to do.  At any rate…we went to see G-FORCE.


I can tell you nothing about the plot or the characters of the movie, but this is what I can tell you:

I heard the word B-U-T-T used way too many times.

It takes about 10 minutes to go through the first gigantic tub of popcorn.  Then a refill becomes urgent.

They have booster seats in back for the kids who can’t see over their brothers’ heads.

Not all of my children are generous enough to share water with the brother who forgot to pack a water bottle, but some are.

Simon did not choke on any of the  popcorn he ate.  And it smells cheesy when it gets spit up on you.

About one third of Jonah’s water went to waste… in my lap.

Simon can army crawl down the entire aisle/runway in about 20 seconds.  It may have been faster, had he not been temporarily distracted by the wad of chewed up gum in the carpet.

Monday, December 21, 2009



Sometimes I feel like this at the end of the day.


Today was one of those days.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My specialist day

Friday was the Alston family Christmas party. Chinese food, talent show, pass the present game, and cousin gift exchange.

When I say gift exchange, what I mean is… everybody toss the gifts that you brought in the general direction of the intended recipient, then tear into the pile that has landed near you.

I was feeling just a tad frusterated with the amount of chaos. I was sure nobody knew who had given them what, let alone got a chance to say "Thank you," or "you're welcome." And I was correct in my prediction that all the candy would get mixed up and things would mysteriously disappear under the piles of discarded wrapping and packaging. My sister told me, "There is no point in disliking the chaos," which is, of course, true.

Despite the lack of formality, (or quite possibly because of it,) the kids thought the evening was a smashing success. The next morning Jonah was reviewing all of the wonderful gifts he received, and apparently feeling very blessed. He sighed and said, “Everybody is so good to me. This is my specialist day.”

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Role Reversals

Yesterday I found myself sick with the bug that has been making its way through my family. Not surprising, with as many times as I have been slobbered, slimed, and thrown up on. I woke up feeling nauseous and achy, and unable to do more than lie on the couch all day.

While it wasn’t my first choice of how to spend a day, it made me realize what a sweet, helpful family I have. Jeff got up with the kids and got everyone off to school, as well as going to the store and helping out with Simon as much as he could during the day. And when the kids came home, they all pitched in. Becca and Savannah each said “I’m sorry you’re not feeling well Mom. What can I do to help?” Then they spent the afternoon taking turns with Simon. Caleb refilled my soda and brought me something to eat. Josh helped by making something for Jonah to eat.

I’m happy to be feeling better today, but what a blessing it was to see my family all pitch in and take care of me when I needed them!

Side-note: Jonah was sleeping in a “sick bed” on my floor, in case he threw up again last night. At 4:00 am I heard a little voice, “Mom? Mom?” I whispered back “What do you need, honey?” “You forgot to listen to my prayers.” So I lay there in bed and listened to his prayers, and 2 minutes later he was snoring again.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Choirs of Angels


angel choir


Today I went to a Sacrament Meeting that was also a musical Christmas program.  The ward choir was fantastic… especially one soprano.  During The First Noel she sang the high part that rang out beautifully above everything else.  It reminded me of an angel singing with the choir to announce the birth of the Christ child.  How I want to have been in that choir!

It is a dream of mine to be in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir one day.  I haven’t figured out yet how I will work the commute to Utah, but I haven’t given it up!  If for some strange reason that doesn’t work out, then I’m aiming for the angelic choir in heaven.  In the meantime, I’m boosting my resume. 

I figure that singing in (or directing) my ward choir, singing in church, helping with the music in primary… all of these things should be earning me extra points.  When it comes time for my audition in Heaven,  my voice will be decent, but not the best they’ve heard.  Then it will be my musical service given on earth that will be the deciding factor!  Maybe I will even be blessed with the angelic voice that can sing the high part, ringing out above everything else…

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I love it, I love it not.

I love freshly-cut roses sitting in my window sill. I do not love chicken poo on my porch.

I love cold, windy days. I do not love shallow kitchen sinks.

I love the yellow leaves falling from my apricot tree, eating things I didn’t have to prepare, and lounging in my cozy bed.

I do not love wearing pants.

PS Don’t worry… I do wear them every day, I just find them (the socially acceptable ones, anyway) restrictive and unpleasant.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sissy moves in

I should have posted this when it happened, but better late than never!

This was my storage room a couple of months ago:


And this is my storage room now:


When Theresa got married, Lindsey found herself homeless, and desperate enough to clean out my (unheated or air conditioned) storage room and move in with the Davis family!

I don’t know how long  we’ll get to keep her, but we sure love having her here!  She is a breath of fresh air.  Quite literally… the storage room always smells lovely and welcoming now.  We’re hoping that her sweet smells will rub off on us to cover up some of our not-so-pleasant household smells.

The girls also pointed out that “ever since Aunt Lindsey moved in, we’re a lot more fashionable.”  Her room is a gold mine of clothing and accessories!

My favorite is when she joins me for a box of oreos and an episode of   The Office or So You Think You Can Dance!

We love you Lindsey!

Friday, December 4, 2009



Jonah has a pretty advanced vocabulary for a 4 year old.


He can carry on an intelligent conversation about gravity or a hypothesis.  He surprised me the other day by describing something as multi-colored.

But even Jonah can be stumped.  The other day Rebecca’s friend was over, and Jonah was showing her a trick.  She said, “Wow!  That’s NEAT-O!”

Jonah looked at her with a confused look on his face and said, “Wait… sometimes don’t you speak English??”

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Kids live here


My house is filled with signs that kids live here.


Things are always dumped out… toyboxes, bookshelves, kitchen cupboards, etc.

IMG_2712 Jonah’s countdown to Christmas chain. In theory, this is so I don’t have to answer the question “Is Christmas this day?” ten times a day.


Josh’s job was to fold and put away the towels.


My collection of classy kitchen decor:  bubbles and homemade crafts.  I love it!  Oh, and that paper on the wall is a checklist for cleaning the kitchen.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A boy becomes a man


The Boy


The Little Man   sniff…sniff…


PS  If you can’t tell what qualifies him as a man now, it’s the haircut and a tooth!

Sunday, November 29, 2009



I don’t feel jealous of other people, because that would be petty and immature.   But if I did ever feel tempted…

I might feel a slight twinge of envy when I see one of those people at the grocery store in cute, well put together outfits.  You know… the ones that are leisurely browsing the aisles with a little basket dangling from their arm.  The basket usually contains a sampling of several fresh fruits and veggies, some expensive health-conscious cereal, and a very small but luxurious treat.

I try not to glare at them when they smile at me over my heaping basket of bulk items.  I, too have something dangling from my arm.  It’s Simon, who has grown tired of riding in the cart, and is busy throwing up crackers into my shoe.  While I smear that around with a rag, Jonah manages to get the cart moving, and is off down the aisle, trailing items that have fallen off the top of the pile.  The only way for him to stop it is to ram it into something. 

I’m really not jealous when we get to the checkout counter.  “You saved $50 today!”  I’m quite sure that is the lady in the cute outfit’s grocery bill for a week.  My total is usually closer to one million dollars.   The clerk will usually ask me something along the lines of “are you stocking up?”

Unfortunately I will be back in a few days…

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Traditions


 Every year, as Jeff grudgingly helps me roll out hundreds of homemade potato rolls, he tries to tempt me into skipping the hard work this year and just getting my rolls from Costco.  It took me a couple of years to put into words the reason why I will never do that.

Making everything from scratch on Thanksgiving is a tradition that makes me feel connected to my family.  I'm making the same recipes that I remember from my childhood.  I plan on teaching my children those same recipes, and hope they will teach them to their children.  Making homemade rolls and pies is a skill that could easily be lost and forgotten in a generation, but it won't be my generation.

 At least once a year I will spend time cooking with my mom, my sisters, and my children.  I will hand down those skills along with the recipes.  And hopefully, in that process, I will hand down the wonderful, secure feeling that I associate with our Thanksgiving feast.


Grandma and Grandpa Webb, daughters Andrea and Virginia (Mom)


Thanksgiving 2005 – Descendants of Grandma and Grandpa Webb

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Life is rough


Life is rough when you’re a baby.  Sometimes after you finish eating, you turn your head with your eyes still closed and milk dripping off your cheek, and it takes your mom WAY too long to put your binkie in your mouth.  The best thing to do in that case is to squawk your disapproval and then open your mouth again.  She’ll get it right eventually.

Life is rough when you’re 4.  Sometimes your mom tells you that you have to turn off your video games after an hour of playing.  The best thing to do in that case is yell “YOU’RE RUDE!” or “IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!”  Or maybe both.

Life is rough when you’re 7 and you have scabs on your elbows and knees from bike wrecks.  And then brothers and sisters keep on bumping into your scabs “on purpose!” and your mom fails to punish them as severely as they deserve.  The best thing to do in that case is let out a giant roar and throw something at them.

Life is rough when you’re almost 9, and your mom is always trying to take control of your life by insisting that you brush your teeth and do your homework.  The best thing to do in that case is to yell at her to let you live your own life!

Life is rough when you’re a pre-teenage girl, and you’re like, the ONLY ONE you know whose mom won’t let them have sleep-overs or a cell phone.  The best thing to do in that case is to bring it up as often as you can, adding an occasional eye-roll for emphasis.

BUT… Life is good when you’re the mom.  Then all you have to do is boss everyone around and try to think of ways to ruin your children’s lives.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Duct Tape


We have had many uses for duct tape around here.   It’s been used to tape forts together, to turn an ordinary tupperware container into a top secret treasure chest, to tape mouths closed that can’t seem to say nice things, and make a screen for a bedroom window.

Jonah recently came up with a new idea.  Because of his expressions and animated gestures, we were suggesting that he could be an actor someday.  Jeff asked him “Would you like to be in a movie someday?”  Jonah responded with characteristic enthusiasm:

“Yeah!  So could you ‘duck’ tape me to the TV?”  When he saw us chuckling he thought about it some more.  “Or… how does that work?”

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Happy Place


desert rainbow

Tucson is a magical place for us.   It’s the land of dress-ups and Nintendo; of Ranger rides and kitties all year round.  It’s the place where kids can run free with cousins all day, without having to do chores first; where those tired, dirty kids can fall asleep late, watching movies on the projector screen.  It’s the place where a day could include a trip to Circle K with Grandpa to pick out candy, or a baseball game with Uncle Brandon and Aunt Alicia.


A few days ago, Caleb was having a rough morning.  We didn’t have any good snacks to pack in his lunch, he couldn’t find his homework  folder,  and his socks just didn’t feel right.  He turned to me on his way out the door, and with tears of frustration in his eyes asked “When is the next time we’ll be going to Tucson?”  I told him I didn’t know, why?  His response was, “That’s just the place where I remember feeling the happiest.”

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Mind

Back in the day… if you asked me, “Did you pay that bill?”  or “Will you be at the meeting?”  I could answer you with a definite yes or no.  Yes, I have a library book checked out.  Yes, I can bring cookies to the party.  No, I won’t be able to make it to volunteer on that day.  I have another commitment. 

But lately I just don’t trust myself.   A couple of days ago I told a friend that I was on my way to her house to return something, then I promptly hung up the phone and went shopping!  Almost every week I make some commitment for Friday afternoon, and then have to call and reschedule because I had forgotten about piano lessons.  Last week I forgot to pick up Rebecca from school.  Just forgot!  I was clipping roses.

Last week the treasurer for Savannah’s synchro team asked me… “Did you pay your bill for this month? I can’t find it.”  I had a fairly specific memory of sending a check with Savannah, but I didn’t trust it.  Luckily I found proof online that it had been cleared.  Only then did I feel confident enough to say “Yes, I’m sure I paid that.”

I swear that I haven’t always been this confused.  I swear I used to be an organized, responsible person.  At least that’s how I remember it…

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The perfect body


I was so surprised during church today to look down and see, folded neatly in my lap, my mother’s hands! I remember sitting next to her in church, looking at her hands and thinking how old they looked. Now those old hands are mine… complete with club thumb!

I feel some pressure from society to feel horrified by the fact that I don’t look as young as I used to, but today I don’t. As I sat looking at my hands, I thought of all that they accomplish. Just like my mother, and her mother, and her mother before that…these hands have done a lot of work. They have washed dishes, scrubbed floors, changed MANY diapers, wiped away tears, applied band-aids, and the list goes on and on. It’s only right that they are looking older and well worn. They have earned that!

I thought about the rest of me, too. The slowly deepening creases on my face have their own stories to tell. Those lines mean that I have smiled much, and cared enough to worry sometimes. There are marks left behind by the sunshine, and some left behind by times of stress. I have a scar that will always remind me of a trip down the river. And I have…ahem… “saggy-ness” and stretch marks that are a constant reminder that I have born and nurtured many children.

In spite of the aesthetic imperfections, I am in awe of what a gift my body is to me. It is strong enough to work hard, to love and to serve and to care for my family. It has enough flaws to provide me with trials and opportunities for growth. It somehow knows how to create beautiful little bodies for my children. What a miracle is the gift of life! I can honestly say that, for me, I have the perfect body. And I am grateful.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Life lessons from a 4 year old



In general, I believe in letting my children make as many of their own choices as possible.  So Jonah was a little confused the other day when I tried to choose what he would wear to preschool.  I was trying to convince him to wear his new “family picture clothes” to school.

“But you looked so handsome for pictures!  Wouldn’t you like me to do your hair spikey and you can wear your new clothes and look so cool for school?”

Finally he asked very sincerely, “Why, Mom?  Is there gonna be a contest about who can wear the nicest clothes?

Point well taken, Jonah.  Life is not a contest about who can wear the nicest clothes.  Wear whatever you feel like wearing!  Maybe I will, too.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Family Fun

I don’t know why I have been dreading and putting it off for 3 years.  It wasn’t that bad.  In fact, I think everyone enjoyed it!  Last night my fabulous and oh-so-entertaining sister in law Leah came over and took our family pictures.  The kids couldn’t help but smile at all of her antics, and she got some great shots!  Here are some sneak peaks…







Thanks Leah!  Now the next big chore for me is to make sure they actually make it onto my wall!

PS.  This morning as I was trying to get everyone ready for school, lunches packed, breakfast cleared, etc.,  Josh said to me,  “Mom, you’re lucky.  ‘Cuz all YOU have to do is boss everyone around!”

That made my day!

Sunday, November 1, 2009



Halloween is not my favorite Holiday.  I could get excited about it once a year… maybe.  But we had to do it 3 times this year!  Anyway… that is not the point of this post.  The part that I do love about Halloween is the sorting and bartering.  After trick-or-treating, my kids all sort and re-sort their candy into piles.  It gets organized by colors, size, ingredients or how much they like each piece. 


Then the bartering begins.  “I’ll give you 2 tootsie rolls for that Reeses.”  “No way!  Reeses are worth at least 4 tootsie rolls!”  “How about 2 tootsie rolls for a gumball?”  Some of the kids drive a super hard bargain, others just like to make others happy, so they give up their favorites.   As much as I dislike the fact that we have so much candy,  I can’t help but smile.

Here are our costumes this year:


Simon was a mummy


Jonah was a ghost


Josh was a phantom


Caleb was a vampire that does card tricks


Savannah was a cowgirl


Rebecca was a vampire girl

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Ups and Downs of Raising Boys

Up:  Owning little black dress shoes in EVERY size


Up:  Finding a suit hung up “neatly” in the closet.  Good boy, Caleb!


Up: Jonah getting to be the “ring burier” at Theresa’s wedding.  It’s not the best picture, but he was covered with black from the trampoline.  Luckily that happened after his walk down the aisle!

dirty ringbearer

Up: Teaching them young to mow the lawn


Up:  The fact that I have a picture of a giant worm on my camera???


Down:  We had to have a family home evening lesson on the evils of wiping boogers on the walls. 

This is not the first time we have had this lesson.  I’ll spare you a picture.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Just for the record… in the next three days, these are the festivities expecting some sort of contribution from me:

One preschool party

One synchronized swimming party

Three elementary school class parties

Three spanish fiestas

One church pot luck dinner, plus trunk-or-treaters

Regular trick-or-treaters

Not to mention that I have six children hoping for best-ever Halloween costumes, which I have yet to round up.  And we’re supposed to decorate our trunk.  And Saturday morning is swimming team pictures.  And we have tickets to a play on Saturday afternoon.  And family pictures this weekend, which requires that all children have a pair of jeans with no holes, all on the same day.  And tonight is my turn to cook dinner for three families, and then we have Cub Scout pack meeting.  And I have a sick baby.

And  now I have a headache.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009



This morning I asked Jonah where he put the camera after playing with it yesterday.

“I put it right dere on da counter, and den POOF!  It disappeared!”

So until the camera with all of my pictures on it magically reappears, and I feel fairly confident that it will, here is my thought for the day…

The Book of Mormon says :

“And ye will not suffer your children that they… transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another… but…ye will teach them to love one another and to serve one another.”  Mosiah 4:14-15

But how?  How will I do that?  I need more information!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rough morning

I have found myself, ever so sweetly and gently, telling my children…many times… that when it seems like EVERYONE else around them is being extra annoying, that maybe, just maybe, they need to take a look at themselves.  Statistically speaking, chances are better that they are they one having the problem.

This morning as I am griping in my head about all the unreasonable things done by EVERYONE ELSE around me,  it occurs to me that maybe, just maybe, I have woken up on the wrong side of the bed!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My to do list


This morning I did not accomplish one thing on my to do list.  Consequently, I have all of those things still looming ahead of me.  But… as I was crawling into my nice, cool sheets for a nap (which, incidentally, I did not get to take because Simon woke up an hour before he was anticipated) I felt completely content with the way I spent my morning. 

I read the boys a few stories.  I worked with Jonah on his chores.  I went egg collecting.  I helped  watched Jonah climb a tree “just like a big boy!”  I blew his hair dry, at his request, so it would stay spikey. I played motorboat.  And I gave Simon a bath and rocked him to sleep.  I could not have planned a more productive morning.

I’m so grateful to have a husband who makes it possible for me to stay home with my kids!  Thanks, Jeff (I think you’re actually the only one who reads this, anyway!) for taking such good care of us!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Number 1


Today Jonah (4 1/2 yrs.) came to tell me a story about his cousin:

“When I was at Jackson’s house, we went in his room, and we were watching a movie, and he said ‘Hey!  I’m going to go potty behind the TD!’ (That’s the TV)  So I said ‘Ha! Nice one!’   But Mom… he was serious!”

Upon further questioning, I found out that at least it was only number 1.

IMG_2599 IMG_2598

The partners in crime.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The new arrival in my closet


I am generally not a shoe person.  Or an accessory person at all, for that matter.  I can never justify spending money on things that, however sparkly and beautiful they may be, are impractical or unnecessary.  Every few years a new pair of shoes will become necessary, in which case I will head on down to Payless (if I can’t find any appropriate hand-me-downs from my glamorous sisters) and pick an inexpensive pair that will go with everything I own.  Now you can fully appreciate how extraordinary it was when I came home with these beauties:


Silver and blue sequined heels!

It just so happens that on my most recent trip to the store, as I was browsing down the shoe isle, my sister Lindsey was sitting on my shoulder whispering words of temptation into my ear.  “You know you love them…  You never make purchases like this.  Just this one won’t hurt…Look at them sparkle!”  Before I knew it, I had bought the shoes, and was feeling giddy all the way home.  I do love them.      In fact, I can’t take my eyes off of them when they sparkle in the moonlight!  

I’m happy to report that I have already found two very appropriate occasions to wear them!

IMG_2591                                                       Performing at a tribute to WWII veterans.     I know you can’t see the sparkle, but it’s there!


A concert at BYU with my sisters

It has always been a dream of mine to wear a sequin dress.  Hopefully these shoes will satisfy that desire, so that nobody ever has to endure me sparkling from head to toe!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dad’s spare change



The task:  Sorting the change in Dad’s big change jar

The reward:  We get to keep the pennies for our vacation jar

The conclusion: (from Josh) “If this is Dad’s extra change, he must have earned at least 2 kabillion dollars in his life!”

The request: (from Jonah) “Mom, could you help us?  ‘Cuz I fink dis job will take more dan a week!”

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Noises I heard today


One of my favorite morning sounds: the chickens and ducks clamoring to be let out of their coop.

One of my least favorites: Caleb talking back to me “Why don’t you be quiet?”  Don’t worry, he got grounded.

My cell phone ringing at least 10 times while I was running errands:

“Hi Mom, this is Josh.  Do I have to do my jobs?”

“Hi Mom, this is Josh.  These jobs are taking forever!”

“Hi Mom, this is Josh.   I bumped my head while I was doing my jobs.”

“Hi Mom, this is Josh.  How much longer are you going to be?”

“Hi Mom, this is Josh.  You said 20 minutes and it’s been almost 30 minutes!”   Hmmmm, I wonder why!

I’ll spare you the rest, but I’m not even kidding!

Every mother’s favorite sound:  banging on the door while I’m in the bathroom.  He had to bang loudly to be heard over the screaming baby trying to climb up my ankles. 

“Mom?  Can we sleep on the trampoline tonight?”  (This was in the morning.)

“Can we talk about it when I come out?”

“But can we?”

“I’ll be out in a minute.”

“What Mom?  I can’t hear you because Simon is crying too loud!”

And then, mercifully, a nice loud rumbling from Simon’s diaper, and nothing but smiles and happy gurgles.

And two truly joyful noises… Savannah cheerfully practicing the piano, and Rebecca singing in her first ever school choir concert. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Josh!



Yesterday we celebrated Josh’s 7th birthday!  We rode our bikes down to Discovery Park, where dad grilled some hamburgers and hot dogs while the kids rode bikes up and down the big hills.  After presents and cake we all slid down the hills on cardboard boxes. 

Who gives their kid an automatic weapon (an air soft gun) for their 7th birthday?  How long do you predict before somebody "shoots an eye out?”IMG_2514 The cake, double-layered at Josh’s request was made and decorated by Savannah!  What a great sister!


Even Simon got in on the fun!IMG_2538 IMG_2528

Everyone tried their skill at “surfing.”

  IMG_2530 IMG_2523

Thanks for the great party, Josh!