Rawlins Family

Rawlins Family

Sunday, December 16, 2012

These days

Christmas is less than ten days away! And this is our last week in public school for awhile, too. And my house is just barely coming together. Time for an update? I think so.

Remember that time when our house had a 20 foot trench in the middle of it? Trenchy? We had all of that plumbing and foundation work done, and then had to just sit around and wait for everything to settle before we could put everything back together. Well, that was over a year ago, and in October we started the process with the siding/windows/doors, which made the outside (excepting the lawn/weed pit) look great. Unfortunately, the inside was still seriously lacking. Thankfully we have some friends who own a painting franchise, Five Star Painting. They happen to be awesome, and they've been helping us with the work on our house. The worst part was in our living room where, over time, our ceiling had started to look like this
And our fireplace had an enormous crack running down the center
But NOW? Things are really looking up. We still need to texture the walls, fix a few more cracks and paint, but we're getting so close I can feel it.
LOVE these people.
(Chase was not supposed to be in this picture, but Haley wasn't
going down without a fight. Classic.)
We are going to be homeschoolers as of January, 2013. This week I have to go in and sign the withdrawal papers and get it all legit. There are a million reasons that we are making this decision, but it comes down to this: It's the right time, and right thing for our family. I can feel it in my bones, and it seems to be the answer to our prayers.
In case you're concerned that my kids are now going to be ignorant, let me ease your worried mind! I've studied and researched like crazy and we have a solid curriculum set up. I've cobbled together several different things from all over the place, but may switch to an all-in-one curriculum in the fall if I feel like we need something different. I've got homeschooling friends in the area, and we'll continue with our regular extracurricular activities (swimming and cub scouts among other things...). So don't worry that they won't be socialized. They're as social as it comes.
Will we homeschool forever? I don't know. I know we need to do it right now to address some pressing issues, but maybe we'll be back to public school soon! Maybe later. Maybe never. I'm open to whatever works best for my kiddos.

We try to sleep every now and then. That's the only hobby I can think of that either of us are currently working on.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 02, 2012


It's been a bit crazy around these parts since school started. If you stick around for the next 20 minutes I can tell you every single detail.

Or, 30 seconds worth of pictures? Let's go with that.

Miles and Cameron on their first day of school. Miles is in first grade and Cameron is in third. These pictures mark the first and only morning that both boys were excited to get up at 6:15 to get to school.
Soon after school started we dove into home repairs. Yes, still with the home repairs. This is what you get for buying a 30 year-old fixer-upper home in Texas. Foundation repairs first, and then fixing everything else that broke when the foundation did. It was siding, doors and windows this time around. We've still got loads of work ahead of us, but at least we're not drafty anymore.

The sliding doors leading into the living room.
This is the view from the living room. We have a deck that basically sits right in the middle of our house. That sliding door leads into our master, which is in the back of the house and wraps around our deck (which needs to be repainted). We love the layout of this house.
New front door/lighting fixture/siding. The door has been painted, but we're still working on getting it to be the right color of red. Also, the Halloween decorations are down. We ate Frankie (using THIS recipe, minus the green beans. We do this every year, but this is the first time I've used this recipe. This is my fave so far!)
Old front door that was sticking like crazy. Also, it weighed a million pounds. And that's the yucky old siding.
Piano lessons are also in full swing. I have 4 new students, and 13 total. It makes for crazy afternoons, but I'm passionate about it. These are two of my new students enjoying my "How does a piano work?" lesson. They all love to see me start pulling the piano apart.
We've had our fair share of yucky germs come our way. Oh, the joy. But I always appreciate how cute they are when they are sleeping or starting to feel better. I do not appreciate catching puke.
Miles continues to amaze me with the inner workings of his brain. Here I caught him being super efficient. Leaning on the cup (which depressed the dispenser) and using a straw to drink while the water was filling.
Thirsty much?
Since Chase started teaching early morning seminary this year (Seminary is a scripture study program offered by our church and taught to high school age youth. Most seminary programs are taught BEFORE school, starting as early as 5:30 - 6 AM.), we've been really into donuts. Here are the girls enjoying some Shipley donuts. They are a Texas thing, and I think they put Krispy Kreme to shame.
Trick or treating. Cameron and Miles were power rangers, Sophia wanted to be a "spooky witch." I wanted her to not be any of the trampy costumes that are available in the children's section at Walmart. So witch worked out wonderfully. Haley wore glow in the dark bones pajamas. If I've learned anything as a mom, it's that children rarely wear all the pieces of their costumes, and itchy dresses and toddlers do not get along. Cozy jammies? Yes please.
Here's Cameron. This was taken yesterday. He's getting to be huge! His size 10 pants are fitting a little too perfectly for my comfort.

Halloween decorations are down, Thanksgiving and fall are up.

I have no reason to post this, except that Haley looks awesome. She loves to accessorize!

The weather has been amazing lately. We're enjoying the park as much as we can. These two are getting to be the best playmates. I love it!

This is what we see coming back from swimming every Tuesday (both boys are swimming year round now). This intersection is literally COVERED in these icky birds. The kids and I are constantly amazed. And disgusted.

Thursday, October 11, 2012



Well, you know, it's been a couple years since Haley came along, and we've really thought and thought and thought about having another baby...

And you've probably noticed that I'm eating a lot more, tired all the time and haven't been feeling well enough to hit the gym...

And you've probably noticed that I'm starting to get a little round in the mid-section...

So I'm here to confirm that the rooms are TRUE!

I've let myself go:)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I'm feeling all kinds of emotional tonight because my kiddos are tucked in and snoozing, all ready to start another year of school tomorrow! How on Earth did I get here?? How do I have two kids in school (1st and 3rd grade...unless you're Canadian - then that translates to grade 1 and grade 3, eh?)? I love watching the little suckers grow up, but they have a certain knack for leaving me in the dust of which I'm not especially fond. Sigh. Am I the only one suffering from this weird feeling of being really, really happy about school starting, and yet, really, really sad? I think the already-sad parts of me get even SADDER because I feel guilty about the smaller-and-less-significant part of me that is happy.

Let me explain the happy. You see, at the end of the summer the season just becomes abusive. It's like the sun itself is so tired of being so freaking hot that it sends cosmic rays of crazy to land on my innocent children, who then turn into raving lunatics, the end result of which is just a general atmosphere of armageddon at my house. Or maybe it's more Lord of the Flies. Either way, there's only so much that I, or the kids for that matter, can take. The pool isn't fun anymore. Bounce houses are only moderately amusing. The slide at the park is actually a giant cauterizing tool.

I refuse to disclose the amount of time the kids played Wii last week.

So can anyone really blame me for being the teensiest happy that my kids are going back to their friends, teachers and social lives?

But the sad part is SO SAD! My wee ones are not wee. The day is not far off that Cameron is going to be taller than me, and I'm pretty sure I'm not okay with that. And Miles, who has had that redneck hick gap-tooth grin since he was two is now growing a big person tooth in that spot. A BIG PERSON TOOTH! Oh, the humanity!

Clearly I need a distraction from the melodrama that is my brain. So I figure I'll go back to blogging. Or not. I'm such a commitment-phobe with blogging these days. But at this moment the stars are alligned (and my friend from elementary school - How's it hangin' Stanilla?! - messaged me and said I had to start blogging again. Who can say no to their friends from elementary school? She knew me when I owned a Max Headroom t-shirt!).

Stay t-t-t-tuned for pictures of me sobbing hysterically and jumping for joy as I kiss the big kids goodbye!

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Fallout

So this morning my eyes popped open at 6:20 and my head was full of my post from yesterday. My very tongue-in-cheek-yet-extremely-emotionally-charged post. All I could think of was the conversation I had with Chase last night about this whole mess. My comment to him was that I think the biggest problem with what Hillary Rosen said (and I still think what she said was wrong - I've seen all the tape, and I've seen her rebuttals, and I get that she was pointing out Ann Romney's richness and therefore her inability to understand what the working poor are going through, and yes I actually have feelings about that argument as well but that's not what this post is about), is that one woman's attack on another woman was going to explode into LOTS of women attacking LOTS of other women. At the gym this morning CNN was playing a segment called (and I hate this term more than I hate most things in life) "The Mommy Wars."

So let me step back for a minute and say that yesterday I felt defensive. I'm an educated woman living in 2012 who made a choice to get married young, start a family almost immediately and then to stay home with that family. I have worked at different times during my mothering career. Some in the house, some outside of the house. I am currently working at home and can attest to the fact that, on the days I have students, my whole day is oriented around those working hours. It's a juggle to get kids and house taken care of, homework done, meals prepared, kids babysat and then home again to meet my students. And I do all of this not because it's good for my children, or because I need a small amount of extra income (though I'm enjoying it, I assure you). I do it because it was time for Mommy to become Anna again, if only for 4.5 hours a week. It's the same reason I recently started running a community food co-op a couple times a month.

I have friends who work outside of the home full-time and part-time. I have friends who run daycare in their home. I have friends who struggle to be stay-at-home-moms because their husband's salary is enough, but not a lot. Each of these women is different in amazing ways, and I've learned from all of them. And most of what I've learned is that there is no ONE right way to be a mom. And we ALL want to be the best mother and person we can be.

Unfortunately, something happens in public discourse that can be frustrating and hard to correct. Often, when someone gets up and says that they believe in something, or claims that something is good, that comment can be misconstrued to mean that something else is bad. Yesterday I wanted to stand up and say, "Being a stay-at-home mom is good! I choose this because it's good. And it's work! HARD work!" But that is all I was saying. There was no implication that not staying at home isn't hard work, or that there aren't other hard things out there. I wasn't rattling off a list of jobs I do to show that my life is harder than yours.

I think if you sat down with a group of moms who work outside the home and moms who stay home full-time you'd find that there are pros and cons to both. I have it good in SO MANY WAYS and I know it. And there are days I wish with every fiber of my being that I could put on a smart suit and pick up my briefcase and head off to work and do something that feels more productive or exciting than making peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches.

So, I hope we can make peace. And I hope that this idea of "Mommy Wars" goes away. It doesn't get anyone anywhere and is completely pointless. The only assumption we should ever make about anyone else is that they're doing what is best for themselves and their family.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Where I live: SAHM Utopia

Hey! Ms. Rosen! Over here. Or should I say DOWN here! Can you see me? Your nose is kinda high up there, so I can't tell? Do I have your attention?


So, man. You're having quite a day, huh? I mean, your hair is STUNNING! Who does your highlights? Kudos to them on a job well done.

But, is it just me, or are you feeling kinda stressed? You seem like maybe you could use a vacation. I have an idea! Let's switch jobs!!! You can take over my ultra-lazy job as nothing but a stay-at-home-mom and I'll do your interviews. I've been trying to get on TV, like, FOREVER. Is it cool if I leave you with a list of instructions for while you're here getting some much needed R 'n' R?

Okay, first, there are four kids. I know, that's a lot. But seriously. Not a big deal. Just make sure you feed them at least five times each day. The boys are in school, so get up early and throw together a couple lunches. Just be sure not to put any junk food in there. I'm kinda picky about that. No lunchables, k?

Backpacks on and get 'em out the door by 7:30 sharp or they'll be late.

The girls are pretty easy. Sophia will probably throw her first tantrum by about 7:35 because you don't let her turn on the TV. The important thing is to NOT GIVE IN. It may last all day, but again, no biggie. Haley isn't speaking yet (yeah, still waiting to see what that's all about), so you'll have to make sure to repeat all your words like a billion times so she knows that APPLE means APPLE. And then you can decipher her sign language from there. She is also still in diapers, so stay on that, okay? She gets rashes really easily.

So yeah. I think that's it! Have a great time! I'll see you soon!

Oh wait, crap. No. Um, can you clean up the kitchen after each meal? And can you throw a couple loads of laundry in? I promise it's super easy. Please be sure to use the laundry soap that I make because it's hypo-allergenic and it's easier on the budget (and the environment). Oh, and speaking of the budget - just maybe sit down and pay the bills and enter all of the spending into the spreadsheet?

Whew! So that's it. Done now. You'll be great at this!!

Shoot. No. Sorry. I forgot - can you put together the student directory for the PTA? And just type up a quick newsletter for all the parents. And you know, the fun run is coming up so you'll need to be there to mind the corners or the students might try to cut through. Yeah, you'll need to take the girls too, so bring the stroller and the sunscreen - don't forget Haley's part or she'll get a sunburn on her scalp. And since you'll be out, you should stop at the gym for an hour or so. Us stay-at-home-moms are so lazy we often get fat! LOL!

I feel like I'm forgetting something...Oh, right. Don't forget Haley's nap. Then there's carpool. And please engage with Sophia in some meaningful mother-daughter diaglogue so that we will still have a strong relationship when she's a teenager. And homework! Make sure both boys get spelling, math and reading done - and sign their folders! And please deal with any discipline issues that may have come up during the day. Those can be real doozies. And would it be okay if my 9 piano students stop by for a lesson? And cub scouts is Wednesday! Don't miss it! Also, there's a family at church that just had some bad news and they could really use a visit, and maybe a meal? Just throw something easy in the oven like lasagna, homemade rolls and an apple pie. Oh! And on Saturday you'll be running the community food co-op, just FYI.

Okay, that's really it! I'm sure of it. This job is so easy it practically DOES ITSELF, amiright?! ROFL!
Don't get hooked, though! Because I love this job, so I'm totally taking it back from you as soon as I'm done hanging out with all 360 of Anderson Cooper. Oop! They need me in makeup now, so you're on your own! Oh, did you bring your pillow? That's weird. Didn't anyone tell you you don't need a pillow for this job? You are too funny!


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

I almost did it...again

Today I'm sick. Well, sort of. I think today I'm on my last day of being sick. It started Saturday morning with the dreaded scratchy throat and I've had a little bit of a cold every day, but mostly at night. Why are colds so much more horrible at night?! Why?!

Anyway, I've tried to be very careful not to touch people, or breathe on them unneccesarily. So if you've seen me, no worries. I think I probably didn't infect you. Except maybe the people sitting around me at the Radiohead concert. I totally infected them while I blew my nose all night. But since the amount of nose blowing was probably in direct correlation to the pot/cigarette smoking (shame on all of you! There was a pregnant woman sitting two rows in front of me who could do nothing but sit and absorb it all! And don't tell me you didn't see her, in her lovely lavender shirt! FOR SHAME!), I have no remorse.

Plus, it was Radiohead. I didn't have many options.

Anyway, today is, I've decided, my last day of this cold. And, as with most last days of colds, I'm starting to feel the upswing of energy. But despite that I solidly resolved this morning that I wouldn't go crazy and start cleaning every corner of the house, go to the gym, bake 2 loaves of bread and fold Mt. Laundry. I ALWAYS do that to myself on the last day of colds. I get sick of being sick, and I'm tired of staring at the house that won't clean itself. And breathing through my nose is kind of a novelty! It, at first, feels so good to be up and moving.

Until I've done too much, that is. And I NEVER realize that I've done too much until later that day when I'm a sick, crying mess.

And today, I almost did it again.

Until I didn't. 

Whew! That was a close one.

p.s. I think I'm totally going to be a blogger again. For real this time. I mean it!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


This is the email that I just sent to Chase.

Subject: Would it surprise you to hear...

...that while I was baking Sophia decided to steal the cap to the bottle of vegetable oil?

...that after I was done cleaning and couldn't find the cap, I left the uncapped bottle of vegetable oil on the counter in hopes that the cap would show up. Because putting it in the pantry, of course, would have been dangerous. Someone would have definitely found it and spilled it there.

...that after I was done cleaning, I went to check my email and ended up checking Facebook (only for a minute. I'm definitely getting better)?

...that while I was checking email and facebook our youngest daughter climbed up on the step that was next to the kitchen counter (Sophia was helping me bake)?

...that she discovered the oil and attempted to drink it, resulting in an oily spill all down the front of her shirt and all over the floor and counter?

...that the shirt was so completely soaked in oil I had to cut it off her body?

...that I remained calm through the entire situation?

...that our baby now smells like the pantry, but has unbelievably soft and smooth skin?

Monday, January 16, 2012

A coincidence? I think not. **Edited.

Saturday night I had a girls' night with a few good friends. We gathered to watch the Miss America pageant. While we talked I found that a few of my friends have been heavily involved in pageants. The friend who was hosting was actually Mrs. Wisconsin in 2007 and competed in the national Mrs. United States pageant!

Now, I've never given much thought to pageants. I knew that a lot of them offer scholarships and community service opportunities. And I knew that, as long as you stayed away from the trashier ones, it was usually good, clean fun.

But as we were chatting, the subject of platforms came up. Not the platforms that you wear on your feet, but the platform that each contestant has; what she plans to work toward during her reign as Miss or Mrs. whatever. And I was SO impressed with what I heard. My friend, Mrs. Wisconsin, had a platform she called "Less Viewing, More Doing." She went all through the community, to businesses and schools, promoting TV Turn-off Week, and the idea that we need to unplug our electronics and get plugged back into life. I immediately fell in love with this idea.

And I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.

Like everyone else in the world, I've slowly devoted more and more time to things like Facebook and blogging. At first it was so novel. How great for me, being so far away from my family and friends, to be able to easily keep up with their day-to-day lives and activities. What fun to be able catch up with people I haven't seen since high school or college, and watch as they get married, have kids and travel.

But somewhere along the way this lovely little gift has started to weigh me down. If I post something on Facebook I find myself checking back in multiple times each day to find out if anyone commented. And, since I happened to be there anyway, I would take a few minutes and scroll through everyone's status updates or new pictures. And, sure enough, little by little, I was robbing myself of precious time that could have been spent so much more productively! And I knew it was happening. I could feel it happening. But it was also very easy to rationalize it. "I'm a stay-at-home mom!" I'd say. "I need to feel contact with other sentient beings, because if I hear one more Barney song there's a good chance my brain is going to explode." Or, "I think my friend/sister/acquaintance is having a bad day. I should really check up on them."

And really, there's nothing wrong with those arguments. To a point.

Yesterday, while sitting in Sunday School, we were discussing the Lehi's vision of the Tree of Life. In this vision there is a description of a mist of darkness that confuses and disorients people, ultimately leading them away from the Tree (away from God). As we related this mist to our own lives, a few people made comments. They called the mist a "distraction" or something that made it difficult for us to accomplish what we set out to do. Another congregant pointed out that the mist never takes us anywhere. It's only purpose is to keep us from the staying on the straight and narrow path that returns us to God. The mist offers us nothing.

And again, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.

Do you ever get the feeling Someone is trying to tell you something?

**EDIT: I want to point out that I'm talking about something that's really affecting ME right now. I can't speak for other people's habits. Also, I don't plan to abandon FB or blogs anytime soon. I have too much extended family to keep up with. I just want to put some serious limits on it and cut back. Like, only checking FB after the kids are asleep, or only checking it once/day. I don't know yet what is going to be the right answer, but I know I need less of it, and quick!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

I'm still here

I'm still here. I am. Sometimes I have these enormous breaks in my blogging, journal writing, or whatever, and I don't really know why. I think it's probably more a habit thing. When I'm actively writing it's almost as though my brain is set in blogging mode. When things happen each day I feel like I'm writing captions on each moment and squirreling it away in my brain for a new post.

But when I get out of the habit? I don't know. It seems like nothing sticks in my brain. Even though I know I've been busy - fun busy and tedious busy - I couldn't tell you what I've been up to.

I blame it on the holidays. Things really went south blogging-wise right around Halloween.

But now it's 2012, the year that the world will either end, or a Mormon will become President of the United States of America. Or maybe that's what some people are referring to when they say the world will end. Who knows?

And let me tell you, this year will be a doozy. There is my new adventure: teaching piano. And then there is the on-going adventure: home renovations. And the best adventure: being a wife and mom to the best people on the planet (and I'm even including Miles in that, even though he has decided he'd rather not give up tantrums).

For now let me leave you with a few pictures of our wonderful Christmas together. We stayed here in town and kept it relaxed. I missed our trip to see my side of the family, but it really couldn't have been a better holiday. I hope everyone enjoyed theirs as well, and here's to a hopeful, happy, healthy 2012!

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