Rawlins Family

Rawlins Family

Monday, November 21, 2011

Breaking Bella

Okay, so after some semi-public ribbing from my supahcool niece about my Thursday night plans last week, I have some things to say. So listen up, Tay.

I like the Twilight books/movies. I'm still not entirely sure why. I haven't been able to put a finger on it. I mean, I've been a book snob since I was five. And a movie snob since high school. Twilight is so out-of-control BAD in both book and movie form that it really makes no sense. But at the same time I JUST LOVE THEM, OKAY?

I'm not going to act like I'm too cool for Twilight. When have I ever been too cool for anything? (Except in high school. But all high schoolers are too cool for, well, I don't know. Everything but air and water.) It's starting to seriously grate on my nerves when I read about women who went to the movie, but are too cool for the movie. Um? How exactly does that work? Just admit that you love it too, okay? JUST ADMIT IT.

Now, as for the movie itself. It was pretty okay. I loved it and it was okay. There were parts I wanted to cringe because of the cheese, and parts where the cringe was because of bloodyicktasticalness (hello, bella's blood all over Edward's face for like 25 minutes?).

But for all the stuff I didn't like about it, there was just enough that I DID like about it. First, let's talk soundtracks. Twilight has always done a good job with music. But this go-round they brought back some oldies at just the right moment - like during the wedding scene when we heard the Iron & Wine song "Flightless Bird, American Mouth" originally heard during Bellward's prom dance? I thought that was so money. Carter Burwell's original Lullaby made a reappearance (re-a-hear-ance?), too.

Beyond music, I thought there were some great cinematic moments. The best was Bellas' transformation scenes...Hard to describe since I've only seen the movie once (for now), but I was pretty impressed...

And hi. Kellan Lutz. In this movie. How can you not like...?

At the end of the day, I don't think it's going to break your cool-o-meter to like Twilight. So maybe we can all put on our big girl pants and our capes and fangs and get along, okay?

Also, read here. I like how Nat (the sophisticated New York lifestyle blogger) puts it.

Friday, November 11, 2011


I just gave Haley her very first ever taste of a Reese Peanut Butter Cup. She responded by demanding more immediately using grunts, pointing, trying to crawl over me to get to the package and by generally acting like a cave baby.

When I shook my hands to sign "all done" she cried, whined and, finally, turned her back to shun me.

I know how she feels. I feel the same way after a PB cup has gone bye bye.

And as I sat down to memorialize this, my daughters first of many PB cups (if she's like me, anyway, which she appears to be), I realized I totally skipped All Hallows Eve in my memory keeping.


Let's just say it wasn't a really stand out year. Trenchy was complete just days before Halloween and I didn't have much time to decorate or cook halloween related meals or anything fun. We just trunk-or-treated AND trick-or-treated, which I think i should get bonus points for.

So here are the few measly pictures I managed to scrape together.

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This is a post-trick-or-treating photo op I was scrambling to get. The first thing you'll notice is carpet. And no trench.

The next thing you'll notice is cute kids strung out on high fructose corn syrup, and lots of it.

Cameron was the new Captain America, not to be confused with Captain America 2009... Miles was Thor. This was serendipitous because his BFF showed up in the EXACT same costume. Sophie was Cinderella (first princess costume ever! Thank you for finally picking something girly, Soph.) And Haley was Snow White. But only for Trunk or Treat. Mommy and Haley stayed home, cleaned the house and went to bed early on Halloween.

I hope for a better Halloween next year:) I expect that we'll still have construction at that point - we're thinking floors and counters will be fall of '12? - but construction by choice and construction by force are two totally different beasts. Just ask my sister, her overflowing toilet and her three kurdish boyfriends.

So on a funny note (funny odd, not funny haha...what's funnier than kurdish boyfriends and overflowing toilets?), while my house was undergoing major surgery I somehow got all into crafts. Like, I spend time looking at CRAFT BLOGS and planning what will go on my MANTEL for the upcoming holidays. This is so weird to me. And yet, so fun. I've been having a blast. I'm still a complete newbie. I haven't made anything out of this world yet, and don't plan to, but it's fun nonetheless. And moms need fun every now and again.


Ghosts made of my children's foot prints? Sign me up.



P1060713 This looked a lot fluffier/prettier before the construction crew drilled two access holes directly underneath it, completely covering it with concrete dust. Que sera.

P1060752 This is a gray yarn wreath. It looks lavender in the pic, but it's a better gray.

P1060719 I made those apothecary jars...you can tell because they're crooked:)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Turns out...

Turns out that once you get your house back after not having it for two months, you don't really care that much about the cracks. They're almost pretty. It's kind of like stretch marks. I hate them at first, then ignore them and hope they go away, then I almost appreciate them for what they gave me. So while I don't really APPRECIATE the 1000 stress cracks all over my ceiling/drywall, I appreciate that I have a house that keeps me safe, secure and warm/dry/cool. Those cracks remind me that there are so many people out there struggling with problems so immense and soul-draining. House problems, while annoying and money-sucking, are NOT soul-draining. My house may be kind of broken, but my family is intact and my happiness is whole.

So it's time to put the Trenchy Talk to bed. I'm sure I'll post lots of "after" pics (once I discover my camera cord). I know I sure as heck am going to post pictures of my kids sitting right in the middle of our living room tonight. But I'm officially OVER IT. Trenchy can't keep me down!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Botox for Trenchy

Apparently, Trenchy's new young wife - whose holes are all filled in and firm, thankyouverymuch - is messing with his mind. Because he's started to pay attention to all of his deep lines and wrinkles, crevices and chasms. Today Trenchy is taking the long-anticipated plunge and getting trench botox. Also known as FILL DIRT AND CONCRETE!
Good riddance, Trenchy.

p.s. While I'm really, really excited to be in the final stages of Project Plumbing/Foundation, I also have been taking a good look around my house, and I'm feeling a little bummed out about having to spend the next six months staring at the cracks and sagging ceiling that will be left behind. Why is that? What is wrong with me? I just spent two months living in near-third-world living conditions and I'm going to complain about some cracks? Sigh. I just really want to fast forward to my new floors, my new ceiling, my new drywall, etc. And of course we still have a master bath remodel coming, and we've been talking about doing a kitchen reno, too. New countertops, new cabinet doors, new sink. And while I'm excited I just want it done yesterday.
Bah. Way to suck the excitement out of the day, Anna. (But I still blame you, Trenchy.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Trenchy takes a wife

If you're wondering, we've been kicked out of the house again while the foundation guys get to work...work that includes ripping up YET ANOTHER room of my house. Last Friday we had to give up our master bedroom/bathroom so they could pull up the carpet and install interior piers. This means digging more holes in the middle of our house. So far there are three. So, if you're counting, we are living in two bedrooms, one bathroom and one kitchen. And there are six of us. Yes, that math seems odd to me as well.

And while I am annoyed to be living in such circumstances, I can finally see the light at the end of (this) tunnel. Monday the plumbers come back to fill in Trenchy and he will be no more. Wednesday Melton the Carpet Guy comes back to lay our carpet, and we'll have it cleaned. Thursday I will make my cleaning appliances and a few boxes of Mr. Clean magic erasers wish they had never been born.

So, for now I'm feeling good. Like, really good. Talk to me in another six months when it's time to PULL DOWN OUR LIVING ROOM CEILING AND REHANG IT. (and put in new floors, and patch up the drywall, and repaint, and, and, and...)

There's no place like home. Right Dorothy?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What are the odds?

Today was one of those Good Mom Days. You know, those days where you feel like you woke up, looked at all of the things vying to get onto the To Do list, prioritized and got the most important stuff done. One of those days that makes you look in the mirror and say, "I just knew you had it in you." I did what I needed to do, I did what my kids needed me to do, I did what my house needed me to do. Did I get EVERYTHING done? No, but I think I spread myself evenly enough that I still have some leftover (because it's 4:30, which, to most mommies, is like mile 22 of the Boston Marathon. That is to say, it's about half-way there.) for whatever comes next.

Today we got new games like Zingo and Guess Who, and I sat down with Sophia right away and played them for over an hour. Zingo is a hoot, if you're wondering.

Today we folded laundry while listening to Fictionist and Justin Bieber. It makes the time fly to watch Sophia twirl and spin while I sniff my whites. (I use Biz bleach on my whites and it smells super good - I'm obsessed).

Today we hit up the library and I got my movies back ON TIME. I got a couple old issues of Real Simple and a stroller-full of Halloween books for the kiddies. Sophia only wanted to get back to Zingo, but managed to pick out a Disney Princess magazine.

Today I sat with Cameron and pointed to every. word. as he painstakingly made his way through his assigned reading. I wish they would let him pick his own books, but I know he needs this push.

Today I tried to sit with Haley and drowsily read The Napping House...until Haley informed me in no uncertain terms that she was neither drowsy or napping, and scooted off my lap.

And that made me wonder. What are the odds I'm going to have to remind my children of these Good Mom Days? Will there be enough of them in their little memory banks that they'll never need reminding? Will the GMDs just get shuffled in with the Distracted Mom Days, or the Hormonal Mom Days, or the House Cleaning Ninja Mom Days? I sure hope not. I hope these moments are the ones that stick out to them as they think back through time.

And if not, I'm okay with reminding them.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Covering his bases

"...and please bless the sheep and other baby animals that are being born tonight, or another week, or another month, or another year."

-Cameron, in his bedtime prayer.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

RawlTown Police Blotter

On 10/08/2011 at approximately 6:59PM, parents responded to a disturbance call outside of their bedroom window, approximately in the location of the deck. During the initial follow-up, parents processed the scene and identified an individual that had been involved in the suspected releasing of a balloon belonging to the victim, Miles R.

Prior to the release of the balloon, Miles R could be heard screaming, "NO! DON'T DO IT!" Additionally, it was said that at one point he rushed into the bedroom of his parents and claimed that "He's going to do it! He's going to let it go!" The female parent involved was initially concerned before being persuaded by the male parent that the perpetrator should be "left alone". Shortly after that the balloon was said to have been released, proving that the female parent shouldn't have listened to the male parent.

Due to the nature of the victim’s emotional injuries, the Brutal Teasing / Assault unit was contacted and responded to assist with the continuing investigation.
These efforts lead to the early bedtime and forced purchase of new balloon by the suspect involved and he is identified as:
Cameron R
8 Yr Old Male of RawlTown USA.

Any persons with information regarding the location of the blue balloon, said to have "a face on it, and some Chinese stuff" is asked to contact the department immediately.


Thursday, October 06, 2011

Why can't life be more like kindergarten?

I love when progress reports come home from kindergarten. The grading system there is all kinds of awesome. Our school gives out "e"s, "s"s, and all manner of other letters, signifying various levels of trying. I think the general idea is to lift kids up and show them support while they're in the process of learning. They wait a whole year before sending papers home with 60% written in bold, red letters across the front. (Though, those are often peppered with phrases like, "nice try!" and "showing improvement!")

What would life be like if, instead of always feeling beaten down by the stuff I'm not getting JUST RIGHT, I got points for effort?

Like, how great would it be to get a report that said:

Laundry - A for almost there. As in, we noticed that, while you didn't get the laundry COMPLETED, per se, you certainly showed good intent by leaving the laundry basket in the living room...so close! Better luck next time!

Dinner - W for well done. As in, you probably didn't mean for the pasta to be this mushy and the steak to be this tough, but we know you had to leave the kitchen when you heard your kids trying to break each other's bones in the other room, so we'll give you another shot.

Childcare - L for living. As in, your kids are still alive today, even though you neglected to tell the school nurse Miles would need a breathing treatment, and they haven't had vitamins in several days because they keep reminding you AFTER you brush their teeth and there is no way in h-e-doublehockeysticks you are brushing their teeth TWICE before bed. But we know you love them, even if their clothes are covered in foodstuffs and they need baths.

Husband - C for at least you're cute. As in, we haven't had a date night in awhile, and you're usually pretty, ahem, tired at the end of the day, and your shirt has snot on the shoulder. But from the neck up you're not horrible to look at, so at least there's that.

What kinds of grades would you like to get??

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Out of the mouths of babes

The other night, during scripture time, Miles was telling us stories about Jesus' life. It's so funny how kids think about things. He said, "A man had blonde and asked Jesus to take it away. So he spit in the dirt and made mud and put it on his eyes and that taked away the blonde!"

Now, if we could figure out what to do about the gray?

And I just want to give a shout-out to my kids' Primary (Sunday School for little kids) teachers. They are all amazing. We teach our children out of the scriptures each night, and I know they're listening - even when they're rolling around on the floor or punching each other. But there are times when my kids will, completely out of the blue, tell me stories from the Scriptures that I don't remember teaching them. Or at least giving details beyond what I know I've taught them. And I'm so grateful. So thank you, thank you, thank you. I don't think teachers hear it enough, but they are literally changing the lives of the kids they teach. Yay for teachers!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

By Request: Caramel Pecan Conference Rolls

I'm nothing if not a people pleaser, so without further ado, I give you:

Caramel Pecan Conference Rolls

  • 1 C. + 3 T. water
  • 1/4 C. butter or shortening
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/4 C. sugar,
  • 1 pkg. yeast
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 3 1/4 - 3 3/4 C. flour
  • 1/3 instant powdered milk

In microwave, heat water and butter until half melted. Blend in salt, sugar, powdered milk and 1 C. flour. Be sure mixture is not too hot before proceeding. Add yeast, stir. Blend in egg. Stir in enough flour to form a soft dough. Turn out on a lightly floured surface and kneed in enough flour to keep dough from being sticky. But remember - less is better than more. Place dough in a greased bowl and allow to rise until doubled in bulk. After dough is done rising roll it out into a large rectangle - about 11X15.

On the dough, spread softened butter over the whole surface, leaving a 1" strip along one long side unbuttered. Over the butter sprinkle brown sugar to your hearts' content (or malcontent, as it were). Roll dough toward the UNBUTTERED side so you have a long skinny roll. Rub the unbuttered strip of dough with a little water and pinch the dough together to seal it.

(Am I making sense?)

In a sauce pan melt 1/2 C. butter, 1 C. brown sugar, 2 T. light corn syrup over medium heat until blended. Remove and spread in the bottom of a greased 9X13 casserole dish. If desired, sprinkle some chopped pecans over the caramel.

Cut the long dough roll into about 15 slices (I always end up with 16 - always) and place in the casserole dish over the caramel mixture.

Bake at 375 for 15 - 20 minutes. I find I even need up to 30 minutes to keep the middle rolls from being too doughy. If I need extra time and the tops are getting pretty brown, I just throw a sheet of aluminum foil loosely over the top of the dish and let it keep baking.

When the rolls are done, remove from oven and allow them to sit on the counter for a few minutes before inverting on a serving dish. Remove the casserole pan from over the rolls.


From my arteries to yours, happy hardening!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Conference Weekend, coming at ya

I'm so ready for Conference this weekend. Having the opportunity to hear the Prophet, Apostles and other divinely-called Church leaders speak is such a great blessing. I can't wait to learn, be edified and strengthen my faith in Jesus Christ.

And I'm not going to lie. There are the rolls.

Several years ago - maybe all the way back to the Days of Provo? - I got a hold of my favorite roll recipe. The one my seminary teacher used to make for us when we were good. It happened to be right around Conference time when I started working with it, getting my technique right and what have you. And thus a tradition was born. No conference weekend can begin without what are now known as Conference Rolls. My kids have a Pavlovian association between hearing President Monson's voice and tasting a gooey caramel roll melting in their mouths.

Maybe this makes The Word sweeter to their taste?

So that's what I'll be doing tonight - getting out my Kitchen Aid and going to town with some dough.

What are your Conference Weekend traditions?


My kiddos all hopped up on Conference Rolls last October...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Doing what it takes

Sometimes, when Miles is stomping his feet and whining, head thrown back, saying, "THIS IS THE WORST DAY EVER!"

That's when I know I'm a good mom.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Revving up

I need to get into the corners of this house and CLEAN IT. I hate when life gets so busy that I ended up straightening all the time, and the big jobs get pushed off until a later time, a time that never appears. I have to force myself to take time out and get everything done.

Last week, while my parents were visiting, we all took turns getting the stomach flu. It was horrible on every level. The only blessing is that Haley somehow managed to escape it, which is the number one thing I prayed for. I was on the tail end, too, which meant I was healthy while everyone else was sick and I could take care of them (which was the number two thing I prayed for, if you're wondering). But it was late nights followed by full days. My parents - because of trenchy - were staying at a hotel, but even THEY managed to get sick. What a bummer of a trip. We had even planned to all go to my brother's house and see three (well, two, after Sam's collar-bone-crushing accident pulled him out) of my brothers compete in a Redman triathlon, and my sister-in-law compete in one the following day. Mom and Dad still went, but we stayed home for the sake of the athletes' health. We were so sad all weekend.

Anyway, even though it's Wednesday I feel like it's a Monday! Cam was the last sickie and he's back to school today. Mom and Dad went home yesterday, too. SO, it feels like a new week and I'm armed with a list and lots of ambition. I just wish we could skip dance class, car pool and cubs so that I could dedicate the entire day to getting it all done! You know what they say, when a mommy's in the zone, leave her alone. But alas, such is my life.

What's on your schedule for today?


Just for fun, this is some of Cam's homework from a couple weeks ago. I like how his brain works. I made him re-do it to actually SHOW his work, but had to take a picture, naturally.

And...just some random pictures of my kids. Except for Miles? I can't find him in a single recent pic! So weird. I'll have to take a whole slew of him when he gets home tonight.

P1060297 P1060310 P1060350

Thursday, September 22, 2011




Dearest children, God is near you

Watching o’er you day and night.

And delights to own and bless you,

If you strive to do what’s right.

He will bless you, He will bless you,

If you put your trust in Him.


Dearest children, holy angels

Watch your actions night and day,

And they keep a faithful record,

Of the good and bad you say.

Cherish virtue, cherish virtue,

God will bless the pure in heart.


Children, God delights to teach you

By his Holy Spirit’s voice.

Quickly heed it’s faithful promptings.

Day by day you’ll then rejoice.

Oh, prove faithful, oh, prove faithful

To your God and Zion’s cause.


-Charles L. Walker

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Update: Life With Trenchy

I've had lots of people asking me about the status of Trenchy. The bad news is that Trenchy is still with us. The good news is that he's almost on his way out.

The hold-up, once we stopped the plumbing job and decided to have the foundation work completed, was finding a structural engineer to give us a third evaluation and analysis. Maybe one day I'll tell you more about that.

Thankfully, the third engineer is literally on-the-scene RIGHT NOW AS I TYPE! Have you ever noticed that engineers have super cool toys? They do. And this guy reminds me of my grandpa Jim, too, so that's a bonus.

Anyway, once we have the report from this engineer we'll forward it to our foundation company and set a date to have that work done. We'll have 36 pressed concrete piers placed at specific points around the entire foundation. Some will lift, others will be in place only for stabilization. The end result should be that all of our doors square up, our sagging ceiling goes back up, and, once everything settled, we can repair the cracks and breaks that have appeared over the last nine months. I can't tell you how distressing it has been to watch those appear all over the house. I'm just so glad we're nearing the end of this situation.

SO, I still don't know when we'll have a normal house again. The foundation will take a week, the plumbers need another day or two and then the carpet guy has to come and re-install the carpet. I just hope it's soon enough that I still have time to put up my Halloween decorations.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Food for Thought

When my parents come to visit they are always equipped with books. My mom usually buys books while she's here, too. And then they talk about their book club books. We are a family who loves to read.

Since I know I'm always on the look-out for good book club selections, I thought I'd share with you their book club's website. It's called "Food for Thought", and it has archives going back several years. If you're like me, you see a book club list and want to read them all immediately.

Happy reading!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Quick Update

My mom and pop are here and we're having a blast! Love them! Here's a quick peek at the weekend's activities. I thought it would be a fantastic idea to get a picture of our group of 20 people...in the middle of a narrow hallway. I'm super smart like that.


We are so proud of Cameron's decision to be baptized. Why do we baptize at age eight (or older)? What do Latter-day Saints believe about baptism? Go HERE to find out.

Cameron was baptized by Tony Rawlins, Chase's dad. The Rawlins have a family tradition that kids are baptized by the person they are named after, if they choose. Cameron had a hard time deciding, but in the end decided to be baptized by Grandpa.

Daddy confirmed him a member and blessed him to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

Speakers included Grandpa Kilgore (on baptism), and Uncle Brian (whose talk on the Holy Ghost included a 5 pound bag of sour patch kids - that was a new experience for me). Uncle Kevin and Cousin Brandon provided the music, along with a good family friend (who likes to remain anonymous on blogs, but it sufficeth me to say she's a rock star).

Grandma Kilgore provided the chorister-ing, and Nana Rawlins and Grape-Grandma Rawlins provided opening and closing prayers.

The room was filled to the brim with family and friends. It was a joyous and lovely, spirit-filled occasion.

P1060604  P1060606

Have a great week! I'll be back later.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

You got 151 seconds to spare?

....or, if you're like me and you plan to watch this six times consecutively, you may need 906 seconds.

A couple comments, though:


:34 - OhEmGee, I think I just saw Bella smile, y'all.

:45 - Yeah, lean in and get a wiff, Bella. He's been living as a wolf for the last two months. I bet he smells AWESOME.

:59 through 1:02 - I closed my eyes. I'm trying to maintain my innocence.

1:04 - Feathers. *Snort*

1:19 - Oh, snap. It's about to get creeptacular!

1:26 - (whisper) Why is Carlisle whispering? Is he afraid the fetus will hear?

1:40 - Nice authoritative tone, Sammykins. Way to alpha it up.

1:49 - Holy crap Bells, it's called a tanning booth. No, but seriously.

2:14 through 2:20 - Chills.

All jokes aside, I'm seriously excited about this movie. I think, apart from the tragic hair (AGAIN! THEY MESSED UP THE HAIR AGAIN! WHY IS HAIR SO HARD???) they did a great job on the trailer. I'm not afraid to admit I'm all sorts of excited for November 18.

Midnight showing, baby. Who's with me?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sensitive Topic: Proceed With Caution

Today I'd like to talk about an issue that has been close to my heart for quite some time. It's been bothering me so much that I just don't know if I can take it anymore.

I'd like to talk about my hair.

Not ALL of my hair. I have some specific ones in mind. And I'm not even referring to my grays. No, today I'd like to talk about the wild and plentiful baby hairs that have taken over my scalp in the last six months. Is anyone else going through this right now??

For the uninitiated, it goes like this: Once you're pregnant you usually stop losing your hair. For me, my hair gets thicker, shinier and generally awesomer. I like to think of this as Nature's way of saying, "Sorry about those nasty cankles and horrific heartburn; here, have some sweet hair."

After the baby is surgically removed from your body (oh, wait, is that just me?) you are reminded that, like sleeping through the night, all good things must come to an end. It's time for Nature's Extensions to take their leave. For some, this starts right after child birth. For others - usually those who are nursing - this process is a little slower in coming.

At first, you just notice a couple of strands falling out while you shower and wash your hair. That's IF you ever manage to shower and wash your hair. But then, out of the clear blue sky, one day you're washing your hair and you notice that you could make a baby bald eagle his very own wig with the hair in your hands. It's actually sick - not gonna lie. And it just keeps coming for a month or two. And, if my anecdotal research is correct, this problem gets worse with every kid. Which means I'm one kid away from starring in a Rogaine testimonial ad.

If the losing part isn't bad enough for you, you get to move on to the regrowth phase. I'm six months into this phase and I'm pretty much ready to whip out my Flowbee and chop it all off.

image Remember Flowbees? Brilliant.

All over my head right now I have these wiry, awkward baby hairs that refuse to comply with my wishes. I say go this way, they go that way. I say sit up, they lay flat. I'm completely at their mercy and it's driving me insane. I look in the mirror and this is what I see EVERY DAY.


I need some calgon up in here.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Life with Trenchy

Since it has become clear that the holes in our living room floor are going to be with us for awhile, we've decided to make the best of it. Here are just a few of the wild adventures we have planned for Trenchy.

  • Fill the holes with water and host a mud wrestling tournament.
  • Build a castle on one side of the living room, complete with a drawbridge. Perhaps invite a small alligator to live in the moat - just to keep out the pillagers.
  • Film our own reality show. Call it "Stupid, No-Good Homes: Holes Edition."
  • Play a killer game of hide 'n' seek.
  • Open a spa featuring mud mask facials.
  • Indoor pool party.
  • Human Whack-a-Mole!

Any ideas? We're taking requests.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Part Deux

Hey, do you remember that one time when your living room carpet was pulled back and several burly men came in and jack hammered through your foundation and dug tunnels under your house to replace plumbing lines and then in the middle of it all you realized that you had to stop the plumbing work and call the foundation company and have them come and put piers in around the exterior of your house to make sure that one of your bedrooms didn't fall off and float down the street but then you had to make sure that the plumber guys came back and filled in the mammoth holes in the middle of your living room and you needed to do that all in the ten days before you had company coming?

OHMYGOSH that totally happened to me, too!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Waiting Place

Do you know that book "Oh, The Places You'll Go"? It's the very first children's book I was ever given when I was pregnant with my first (thank you aunt Pittsburgh Sara!). I used to read that book to my belly - I was convinced Cameron could hear me, and that I was enriching his little soul. Maybe I was. Or maybe not.

My favorite part in that book is the description of "The Waiting Place." This is exactly what it sounds like. It's a place for everyone who is just kind of stuck - in a self-imposed rut, a stagnant relationship, or a life circumstance. And TWP is a pretty lame place to be. No progress, no forward movement. Not necessarily misery, but no real happiness.

That's how I've been feeling for about the last month. I really want to blame it on the heat. It's been a brutal summer here. This is my fifth - and easily the worst - summer. And last summer I was 9 months pregnant, so that's saying something.

Anyway, whatever the cause, I just want to get over it and move on! And I think that's why this week with all the construction has made me grumpy. I have very little control over my home, and since I'm a stay-at-home mom that translates into me having very little control over my LIFE. It's not a pleasant feeling.

I have plans. I have The List of Things To Do that is floating around in my head, waiting for a peaceful moment to come out and play. I want to get a new routine in place now that the boys are in school, so that I can maximize my time with each of them and make sure we're all being productive(ish) and having fun.

I need to get into the gym! Waaaaaaaay back in January I said my goal was just to get into a single digit size jeans (which, I know, sounds shallow). I've managed to lose the SAME five - seven pounds more than once this year. That leaves me pretty frustrated with myself.

I need to be a better visiting teacher. I need to pay more attention to my friends. I need to get Cameron on that piano bench more than once a quarter. I need to get Miles there as well, come to think of it. I need to pull out E.B. White's Elements of Style and re-learn some basic writing skills that have gotten rusty through too much casual typing in emails and blogs and what not and because I have a passion for the run on sentence but only because it makes my sister Chrysta go crazy and that kind of makes me smile and if something is making me smile in the midst of all of this I should probably just stick with it so maybe I'll forget about that last one for awhile.

I think with the house falling apart around me (or at least having it look/feel that way), I'm falling apart with it.

Is anyone else feeling this way lately? I'm sure it's just me. But if you're out there, throw me a line and tow me to shore. We can sit on the beach and share our (virgin) margaritas. Or we can just sleep.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Things that would have been good to know yesterday...

It would have been good to know that Sophia planned to wear a winter coat to her first day of preschool on a day that happened to be 106 degrees outside. I would have hidden the coats.

P1060418 (Heat Stroke enter stage left...)

It would have been good to know that Haley was going to get the worst diaper rash she's ever had. I would have bought more Desitin during one of my fifty trips to the store this morning/yesterday.

P1060348 (Love the face)

It would have been good to know that my kids were going to spill chocolate milk, caramel dipping sauce and ranch dressing on my bedroom carpet tonight. I wouldn't have brought our McDonalds dinner home.

image (I didn't do this at all. Except for the part where I totally did. There's a chance I even stomped my feet like a three year-old. But it's mostly because I had just come home and seen my living room.)

It would have been good to know that the plumbers planned on doing THIS to my living room. I'm not sure what I would have done, but it would have just been nice to know.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hunger Games Trailer

Have you all seen the new trailer for Hunger Games? I'm suuuuuper psyched to see this movie. The books were excellent. If you haven't read them yet you're in luck because all three are out. No waiting for you!

Personally, I had a couple of thoughts as I watched this trailer.

1. The Hunger Games will take place in Forks? Really? That's weird.

2. When is this trailer going to start? Has it started yet? Oh wait, it's over?

3. "Oh, look! Katniss is running through fire. That's really indicative of how great the movie will be! Let's put that in the trailer." Um, great job Lionsgate?

4. What's with the wild west whistling at the end?

5. WHERE WAS GALE? WHERE WAS PEETA? (p.s. I was, am, and will forever be Team Peeta (and Team Emmett (oooh, we haven't talked about that in, like, forEVer...November baby!))). <-- I'm pretty sure the grammar on that sucker is right on.

5. I'm still excited, regardless of how lame-tastic this trailer is.

Get More: 2011 VMA, Music

Also, I saw that Beyonce is going to have a baby! Which, I presume, means her next video is going to look a lot like this one:


All the pregnant ladies, all the pregnant ladies. Put yo' hands up!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

School Days

Miles and Cam started school yesterday. We've counted down for the last six months (yes, before the last school year let out - Miles was excited!), but the day finally arrived. Sunday night Cameron kept asking over and over if I would remember to wake him up on time.

That ended up not being necessary. I'm pretty sure he woke up early and stared at the clock until 6:45 when he knew it was time to get up. So cute.

P1060326 Grandpa showed up early to stay with the girls while Chase and I went to school.

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I practically had to put a harness on Cameron to keep him from running away from us! He couldn't wait to get to his class and see his friends. He pretty much ignored us after these pictures were taken.

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When we had gotten Miles all situated and it was time to go we kissed him and wished him good luck. And he ignored us. He could have cared less! It was only slightly heartbreaking. Okay, more than slightly, but less than majorly.

For the last two weeks there has been this raging debate in my mind about whether I was ready for school to start. On the one hand, my kids were excited about it, and school makes them happy. So that made me happy.

On the other hand, I really like summer. I like the no-schedule ease. I like when the house gets quiet and I realize it's because my kids are wrapped up in some make believe game, and they're actually enjoying each other's company. I like that I'M the teacher and I set the curriculum.

As my kids enter school, I become painfully aware of how little time I've truly had with them. Time when they were just mine and I didn't have to share. And I begin to wonder if I did it right. I think of all the time I may have wasted worrying about clean carpets and laundry when maybe I should have been reading a book with them, or building a Lego castle.

So, overall I'm happy. I know the boys are in the best school we could find. I know they're surrounded by diversity and life experiences I can't provide in my home. I know they're being challenged and pushed to do hard things. And I know they're learning the joys of success and how to deal with defeat. All good things.

And I know that I'm learning how important those little people are, and I'm resolving to do an even better job as their mom.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Taylor Tale

There's this story that everyone in my family loves to remind me of. It involves my niece, who we'll call Taylor (because that's her name).

The summer that I was 17 and Taylor was three, I went to San Diego to live with her family and take care of her. My SIL, Sara, was interning with an accounting firm and my brother was working.

One weekend my older brother, Jerry, and I went mountain biking. Well, Jerry mountain biked and I spent the day alternating between whining and falling off my bike.

When we got back to their apartment, we took the bikes upstairs and parked them against a book shelf in the living room. Why we didn't walk them eight feet farther to park them on the balcony I don't know.

That was Saturday.

Monday afternoon, Taylor and I were watching a Disney movie when she decided to walk over to the book shelf and check out those bikes that had been sitting there for a couple days. I wasn't paying close enough attention because a second later I looked over to see her pulling one of the bikes down on her head.

Now, I should mention that Taylor has never been what I would call a hardy child. She was born at 30 weeks and has always been petite. Healthy and happy, but a little on the skinny, delicate side. That summer she was barely into her size 2T clothes.

Upon seeing my tiny charge trapped under the bike I sprinted across the room and pulled the bike off of her only to see blood spouting from the top of her head. BLOOD. From her HEAD.

I had been to Girls Camp enough times and sat through enough First Aid lessons to know that, a.) head wounds bleed like crazy, and b.) you need to apply pressure to any cut and it will staunch, or at least slow, the bleeding.

Did either of these things come to my mind in the middle of the crisis?


You know what DID come to my mind?


So I did.

And then Taylor and I sat calmly (okay, Tay was calm, I was hyperventilating) watching the rest of the Disney movie while we waited for them to arrive. I didn't really notice that Taylor's head had stopped bleeding. And it never occurred to me to try to look at the cut and gauge it's seriousness. I figured the 911 Professional People would take care of that.

Side note: Did you know that when you dial 911 people assume there's an actual, real live emergency taking place? They send police cars, an ambulance and a fire truck. And, like, 20 people. It's spectacular.

And you know what? The 911 People? Turns out they weren't so impressed with my ability to correctly assess life threatening situations.

They all took turns examining Taylor's scalp very closely to see if they could find the cut. Eventually they located it (at the epicenter of the bloody mess of hair). It was maybe a half inch in length and had already stopped bleeding.

So everyone left.

And that's when the phone rang and it was Sara on the other end of the line. I can't remember why she called. Sometimes, in the afternoon she would call to have me start dinner, or get something out to thaw. But in any case I figured I'd better tell her about how I almost broke her kid but don't worry because I took care of it. The 911 People promised she was good as new. Just needed a bath.

Sara's reaction doesn't really need to be addressed on this blog. Let's just say it was appropriate. And Jerry's too. And I was in the room when they received the bill for the ambulance. There's a chance they considered sticking me on a plane and shipping me off.

But, like I said, no need to go into that.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Since I'm sick today

If you've read my blog for more than five minutes you probably know by now that I'm super awesome at being sick.

So I'm going to let my sister entertain you today. Because she is surely entertaining to me. And she doesn't know I'm sending everyone to her blog today, either. Which I think is kind of fun. Big sisters get to pull crap like this on little sisters. It's our privilege.

And now, back to bed. I'm almost done with that Tiger Mom book and I've decided that a summer's worth of completely restricted television access is about to go out the window. See kids? Mommy rocks. So does PBS Kids. And drugs. I like 'em.

Peace out.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

This would be funny if it didn't happen every day.

I appreciate the comments on the Tiger Mom book. I'm right in the middle of it, but I'll blog more about it when I'm done. LOTS of thoughts on that one.

On Monday mornings I usually sit down and plan out a menu for the week and put together my shopping list before hitting the stores. When I commenced this activity my house was pretty darn clean. This is what I found when I was done.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tigers Are People Too

Stayed up until 3AM this morning reading "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother." Shock and awe, baby. Shock and awe.

I don't know where I'm going to land on this one. I mean, on the one hand it's really hard to relate to someone who gets results through horrific means such as calling her small child garbage, and threatening to burn her stuffed animals if she doesn't finish her piano practice. On the other hand, this woman is clearly getting results. Her children are polite, obedient and virtuoso musicians at a very young age. And she claims to have a very loving, healthy relationship with them.

Personally, I'm intrigued.

Has anyone else read this one? What are your thoughts on it?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

American Idol Mom

If you've ever watched the audition phase of American Idol, you might know what I'm talking about. You get these completely deluded kids who have HORRIBLE, TERRIBLE, NO GOOD voices standing there embarrassing themselves in front of millions of viewers. And back in the Days of Cowell, they were also subjecting themselves to some serious raking-over-the-coals...because Cowell isn't known for niceness.

As the audition progressed, it would inevitably cut to the corridor where mom was waiting with baited breath, telling Seacrest all about her amazing child: She was just sure s/he was a shoe-in for the show.

Meanwhile, inside the audition room some kid is trying to explain to a slightly incoherent Abdul that s/he KNOWS s/he has talent...because mom said so.

So here's my question: Is it okay to completely delude your kids?

Because this morning Miles asked me to take a picture of his "big muscles."

And I did.

And it was awesome.

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Now that I think about it, I know just where those moms are coming from.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My $10,000 Dyson

So, Chase got me a Dyson. Finally! And she is a BEAUT, let me tell you. It's cleaning capacity is off the hook. Crumbs? Got it. Wood chips dragged in by the kids? Got it. Dimes, nickles, pennies, Pokemon coins, Legos, hair ties, bits of toilet paper? Got. It.

But she truly shines in the kitchen where she's put to the test daily. She's easy to maneuver under the table and around the chairs, and she's a master in the corners.

She's changed my life for sure and for certain. I mean, sure she took about a year to get up to full cleaning strength, but I hear that's normal for my particular model (see below). 








Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Exasperation Station: Not a state of mind, but a destination.

Recently, we were at dinner with some friends and I was challenged about the name of my blog.

Friend: "Anna. What's up with your blog name? Are you from Chicago?"

Me: "No. But we lived in Chicago when I started my blog. I'm not going to change the name to our ACTUAL location! Confuse the stalkers! That's what I say."

So there you have it, stalkers. Ever step we take, every move we make; it ain't in Chicago.

I've known this was coming for a long time. Chi-Town just isn't appropriate anymore. At first it was somewhat sentimental for me. I loved our time in the Windy City, brief though it was.

But over time, the hold up wasn't my nostalgia; it was just plain apathy. Well, equal parts apathy and technological impairment. I mean, I just figured out how to put links in my sidebar!

I have spent some time thinking about what our new name could be and nothing seemed to fit. I like the flow of Chi-town Rawlins. Pretty easy. Not much pretense to wittiness. It doesn't give too much info (I let the actual content of my blog do that). It was about as nondescript as the rest of my life. It felt comfortable.

If you've read my blog, you know that, while I love my life, I need to let off steam every now and then. Just like a train...fully loaded with lunatics....careening out of control...headed for CrazyTown.

So, the evolution to Exasperation Station wasn't hard. It's where I live most of the time. And goshdarnit I like it here.

Winkin' blinkin' and nod

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Last night after dinner the boys were begging to go play in the sprinkler. Sophia was also begging to go, but she didn't finish her dinner, so I didn't feel like she had earned that treat. She stayed inside howling while the boys ran around in the water. (As a side note: Can anyone tell me why boys seem genetically predisposed to putting their bums in the sprinkler and thinking it's hilarious? It flummoxes me.)

Afterward it was bath time.

I love bath time.

The boys don't need any mommy help anymore but the girls are still 100% my domain. They are SO FUNNY in the tub. Sophia - who was bummed about not getting sprinkler time - decided that she was going to wear her swimsuit into the tub, which was fine by me.

Haley spends all her time pouncing on toys in the tub. She reminds me of the part in the Lion King where Mufasa is teaching baby Simba how to hunt. She has no grace at all. She just sees a toy she wants and hurls herself at it, usually landing on her face. She comes up sputtering and laughing and it's hilarious.

At first I was a little bit unnerved by her baby water play, I'll admit. My other babies were all pretty timid in the water, but not Haley. She's all about it. I've tried to keep a handle on her. I don't love the idea of her rolling around in water like that! But she's starting to assert herself and her lovely (lively) personality. So I'm helpless against it. I just park myself right next to her on the floor and try to stay dry.

Plus, there's nothing like a rousing tubbie to steal the last of a baby's energy for the day. She comes out so ready for lotion/jammies/songs/bed. It's soothing for me, too. I love sitting in the chair rocking her and singing while her siblings keep coming in trying to make her laugh.

Some days are hard. Just really, really hard. But even in the midst of those hard days you can have good moments. Like deep down, soul satisfying good. And then suddenly the day doesn't seem so hard.



P1060282 I like Sophia's face in this one.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Dear Children of the Future

This weekend I set my children about the task of cleaning baseboards. I got the idea from Shawni over at 71 Toes. Her children are forever cleaning baseboards and her house always looks so sparkly! I thought maybe this was the Magic Bullet I was missing.

So on both Miles' and Cameron's Saturday chore list I included "Clean baseboards in ______." Cameron was a little bit baffled, but I handed him a magic eraser and showed him how it was done. Then I left him to it while I went off to deal with laundry.

About 30 seconds later he pronounced himself done.

Moral of the story?

Dear Rawlins Children of the Future,

In 2011 you sucked at cleaning baseboards. Yes, mommy just said "sucked." I believe we were commanded to keep an accurate record.

Please tell me you are now better at cleaning baseboards.


Your Mother

Saturday, August 06, 2011


I've been promising pictures in the last couple of posts. And I'm nothing if not a woman of my word. Here are some shots from the summer so far.

P1060049 P1060050

I told you Cameron is really into Pokemon cards. He has become obsessed with making money to buy more. While I wish he would be less money-crazy and stuff-crazy, I do admire the big guy's determination. We woke up one Saturday morning to these signs. Cameron was convinced that the only way to make money (aside from cleaning the garage, which was OUR suggestion), was to sell our property.


P1060054 Does anyone else experience this phenomenon? You tell the kids to go get their shoes on and come back to find that every shoe we've ever owned is lying in the middle of the floor. And the kids are usually still barefoot.


Sunday afternoons on the couch are dreamy.


 P1060071 P1060070 P1060069 P1060084 

The kids painted some patriotic rocks to put around our flag holder outside. Thought they turned out cute. And Miles ate the paint. Which means it was a normal day, by our standards.

P1060182 Cam and Miles came up with this game where they put Haley on a blanket and drag her all over the house. I think she liked it at first, but then she had a traumatic roll-off and that was the end of that.

P1060187 This is Danielle. She and her brother Brandon (I can't find a pic of him at the moment - and you should know that I refer to them collectively as "Branielle") are Chase's cousins and they come a couple days a week. They manage to save me from insanity. They work for slave wages and seem happy about it. Plus, as a bonus, my kids love them! They read, do crafts and play silly games. But they're not afraid to be tough.

P1060219 The boys competed in their first karate tournament. You may remember that I had to purchase protective gear for this. And you may remember that I was emotionally scarred. I'm still recovering. But it was worth it, because those boys are adorable.

P1060217 " P1060239

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And just to show you how much I love you...

We call this one Miles Doing The Transformer: