Thursday, December 31, 2009

We Are Getting This House Cleaned Up!

The dreaded words of every child's Saturday morning. Or in this case the dreaded words for my children this morning when they woke up. We are having a New Year's get together with another family at our home, where we will eat for six-plus hours straight, play games, play rock band, and laugh too loudly.

While I couldn't possibly be considered a contender for the title of "clean freak", I do have some standards. We're talking basics. Clothes put away, beds made, dishes done, toys put away, uncluttered countered, cleaned bathrooms, swept floors.

So this morning, in a effort to avoid conflict and confusion, I made Clark, Bethany, and Elinor lists of jobs they were in charge of. They are fairly accustomed to such lists, and although the lists were a bit longer than usual, there was only minimal gnashing of teeth.
They completed their jobs and things were looking okay.

But that was at 12:00. The party isn't until 6:00. HOW AM I SUPPOSE TO KEEP THINGS CLEAN FOR SIX HOURS????
Sure enough, out come the dress up scarves to be mermaids. Out comes the skateboard and a cardboard box to make a life size robot. Out come the dominos. Out comes the sheet to make a background set for the movie they are making. Out comes Cannon from his crib (he'd been asleep, which aided in the initial quick clean-up). Oh gracious.

I believe my children are the brightest, most creative, clever creatures on the planet. But must they be so when I have a party to get ready for?

Clark's assortment of homemade weapons. Made from wooden train tracks and aluminum foil. I believe he made them as Christmas gifts for the girls, but they were not as well received as he's hoped. Cannon appreciated them. Brothers are like that.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Now What?

Like most families, we are on break from Christmas to New Years. We're not doing our school work, rules about computer, Wii, and movies are seriously lax, and healthy meal preparation is at a minimum. It is a time to relax from our normal schedule, with the exception of regular chores because the house would explode if we didnt.

The thing is, a family of our size and shape doesn't function very well without our normal routine, and rules and workload. Several of us, myself included, get quite out of sorts without our schedule. There is no dance, Tae Kwon Do, basketball, violin or piano lessons. There really is no reason to leave the house. We are going stir crazy.We can't go out shopping to entertain ourselves (no money). Dollar movies are out (Cannon is a nightmare at a theater). I can't sit and read a book these days (Cannon thinks I'm a jungle gym). The kids do go play in the snow quite a bit, but then the snow clothes aftermath drives me to drink. Some of the children enjoy having friends over to play, but that bothers the ones who don't enjoy having friends over.

I suppose our purpose this week is to relax. I don't think I'm very good at relaxing. I'm good at running my ship and making sure my people are being productive. I have got to chill out, but my idea of chilling out doesn't translate to well taken care of and happy children. Can anyone relate? Does anyone have any advice for me?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

"The Aftermath" is the favorite Christmas picture of 2009.
We'll go backward to review the Christmas festivities.

The girls got American Girl books and mini dolls.Their pajamas were a gift from Grandma and Grandpa Cannon.

Clark has somewhat moved out of the"toy" phase of Christmas and into the "really useful gadget" phase.
Grandpa Cannon gave a compass and the headlamp he is wearing. Santa brought him fireworks. He also got new hiking boots, a knock-off Leatherman, a new coat, and an MP3 player.

Santa also brought Clark his first real Boy Scout shirt.

Faith got a little scooter.

I hope you can see this picture clearly. This was the most amazing thing this Christmas. Mrs. Claus, AKA, Barbara Sherman made all these amazing doll clothes for the girls. I gave one little hint that the girls were really into their dolls and would love some clothes for Christmas and THIS is what she did! So cute and the girls couldn't believe it. They were screaming and jumping around. It's pretty fun for the mom too.

The night before Christmas. I like Cannon crawling on Faith behind Abe.

Snuggly Christmas jammies.

We've adopted the English tradition of Christmas crackers. You pop them open and find a little toy and a fabulous paper crown.

Cannon got cars for Christmas. A big car for him to ride in and matchbox cars.

It was a wonderful Christmas Eve and we are having a very relaxing Christmas Day. It is my policy to NOT get dressed on Christmas and I don't expect my children to talk to me for at least 3 days because they are so involved with their new treasures.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Every Christmas we drive down to Spanish Fork and pay $5 to drive through a fun lights display.

This year I mentioned to Abe that maybe we could go to a lights display that is just as good, but a little closer to home. Geez, you'd think I'd tried to sell one of our children!
NO! It is tradition!
Abe is the Czar of Christmas tradition.

So we drove. We arranged the seating with the least likely possibility of Elinor getting car sick.

And it was really fun. The favorite part is each of the children get a turn to drive.
Bethany was first. She improved from last year, but she gets a little distracted-- by all the lights (go figure).

Then Cannon got a very brief turn. Not so interested in driving, but very interested in having his picture taken.

Elinor was next. She is only 6 so the expectation wasn't too high, but she did very well and took it very seriously.

She was like a crazy little old woman on the road.

Faith got a turn, but she was more interested in snuggling with daddy while he drove.

What have we here?
First of all, it can't be proven that he was operating a moving vehicle! Secondly, if, in fact, he was operating a moving vehicle at the age of 10, surely his dad would be right next to him taking care of the gas and break pedals.

He did great.

But, I still had some concerns.

You can drive around as many times as you want and all normal seat belt rules do not apply. In fact, we let our people hang their bodies outside the car. All the girls are sitting in the window of the passenger seat.

I'm guess I'm grateful I live with the Christmas Czar. It makes for good memories.

Can You Say Naughty?

Naughty, but delicious. Last week we had a Cannon/Behunin Christmas gathering at Steve and Candee's home.

We did a kids' dollar gift exchange. I feel torn on kids' gift exchanges because it always, and I do mean ALWAYS, ends in tears. It's usually my kids in tears. This year was no exception. It was Elinor, bless her heart. She opened a little set of rackets and a ball. She quickly traded them away for an glitzy "ipod" that played horrific electronic music at an outrageous volume (It since mysteriously disappeared). Shortly after making the trade, regret set in. She didn't know how much wanted that racket set. It was too late though, the deal was done. The tears began to flow. Every single year. Without fail.
I don't know what Clark is doing to Bethany. Sometimes it is best not to ask until there are tears.

They were good brownies.

Piggy Back

Cannon gets a piggy back ride from Grandpa Cannon. I don't know who is having a better time!

This reminds me of a childhood memory. When I was about 10 years old--too big for a piggy back ride-- I wanted a piggy back ride from my dad. He agreed on the condition that I promise to care for him when he was 70 and an old man.

I promised and he gave me a ride. But I wanted a longer ride so I promised I'd take care of him when he was 65. He kept carrying me. I wanted more so I promised I care for him at 60. This kept going until I had sworn an oath to care for him when he was 45 years old.
I'm glad he hasn't taken me up on it yet. Just like I'm glad he hasn't made good on the bet I made when I was 11 that "I would NEVER wear bell bottoms and if I did I would buy him a steak dinner". But do flares really count as bell bottoms? I hope not.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Clark's Lego League Team

The coach of the team put this clip together.

The Bunnies

Allison taped Faith in her Snow White Bunny dance. She is the shortest bunny, who keeps looking at the floor to find her "spot".

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

God bless us, everyone!

We had our December Kids' Book Club yesterday. We read Dicken's A Christmas Carol and performed a simplified readers' theater play for ourselves. I assigned parts and everyone came in costume. The kids did such a great job and they were really into it. We recorded it so they could watch themselves afterward.

From top left: Taylor-Bob Crachit, Clark- Scrooge, Raven- Ghost of Christmas Present, David- Narrator, London- Marley, Josh- Fezziwig, Jacob- Fred, Bethany- Ghost of Christmas Past, Emily- Tiny Tim, Faith-herself, Rachel- young Scrooge, Grace- Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, Kara- Mrs. Crachit, Elinor- Belle.

We enjoyed hot chocolate and candy canes and played a few rounds of "Yes and No" (like 20 questions) and answered some Christmas trivia questions.
I've been so happy with this group of kids for the book club. They have read or listened to all the books and been so willing to participate. I look forward to our next semester. The books we've picked are Anne of Green Gables, King of the Wind, Carry on, Mr. Bowditch, Caddie Woodlawn, and Treasure Island.

We Have Arrived

Abe and I went to my cousin, Kajsa's wedding today. It was wonderful and they are a beautiful, well-matched couple.

We had a neighbor come over to tend our people because we were a little ways away and were not reachable by cell phone.
We came home to reports of wildness, wrestling, screaming, throwing of objects. I do not hold the tender responsible. I know whom to blame and their last name is Fox.
Clark says to me, "Mom, we do better without a babysitter. We get too crazy when we have a sitter".

We had the wedding luncheon in the afternoon and left the kiddos home alone for that. Sure enough, we came home to a clean house, quiet music, children playing peacefully. So, we have arrived!!!!! We don't have to pay for babysitters anymore!!!!!!!!!!!!! Granted, Cannon was asleep the whole time, which simplified things greatly, but still. It worked. I suppose there will still be occasions when a sitter is necessary, but this is a good start.
The girls had made themselves into triplets. Well, triplets in that they all had headbands, t-shirts, jeans, and lipgloss. That's all it takes, really, to be triplets. I bet you didn't realize how simple it was.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Send your own ElfYourself eCards
Too much fun.

Love Grows

Oh, yummy! Faith was a bunny in the Snow White ballet last night. She hopped right out onto the stage and did her little dance. I think it might have been the cutest thing I have seen. EVER. She loved it.

But this little guy is the funniest thing I've seen. He saw that the camera was out and in action. He kept darting in front of Faith and giving us his big cheesy grin.

He never misses an opportunity to have his picture taken.

Just seeing the camera lying on a table induces a chorus of "cheese. . . cheese. . . cheese" from our little ham.

Do you think he needs more attention?

Which brings me to my next point.

As you add more and more children to a family, each kiddo gets a little less parental attention than did the previous. There are no more hours added to the day just because another person is added to your family. It's kind of sad for the parent, because its fun to dote incessantly on each little creature, but there are plenty who would argue that it is a bad/sad thing for the younger children.

I beg to differ. Exhibit A:

Clark GUSHING over Faith in her costume; hugging her and telling her she looks so cute.

Exibit B:

Does this look like a bunny who is starved for affection?.

Are you kidding? Faith and Cannon have built in playmates every moment of their waking lives. I was never that fun for Clark, Bethany, or Elinor.

That is how a family works. We all love and help take care of each other. There is not a finite amount of love a family can have. It grows to include every member. It seems to multiply exponentially with each addition.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Day!

Our laptop has been out of commission for about 3 months. Blogging is not much fun sitting on a hard chair at the main computer. It is much more fun in my comfy red lazy boy in my bedroom.

Abe brought me home an early Christmas present: A repaired laptop computer!!!!! Oh, happy day! Even though it is late, I had to share this piece of good news. I am in my lazy boy even as I write. All is right with the world.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


My girls woke up sick this morning. Faith, at least, was legitimate. She had an evident upset tummy (no more details are necessary). Bethany and Elinor immediately claimed sore throats, and who am I to argue -- I'm only their mother. Since Abe or I was definitely staying home with at least Faith, we gave the other girls the benefit of the doubt and they stayed home too. Cannon stayed home because we are afraid of him at church and it was nap-time anyway. So Abe stayed home because I was doing Sharing Time.

Clark and I went to church alone. We sat on a small bench. It was marvelous. Testimony meeting was beautiful. Is it always that good and I'm just too distracted to notice? I was uplifted. I'm ready for another week.

I did not like Sunday when I was a child. It was so boring. We couldn't do anything. It was always sunny on Sunday, but we could never go out and play. This is all from my young perspective, of course. Oh, how I LOVE Sundays now. They are by far my favorite day of the week. Yes, church can be challenging with Cannon, and their are responsibilities at church to take care of, but those few hours at home in the evening with all my people around are THE BEST. Time to prepare yummy food, sharing an evening with good friends or family, reading together, talking, games. There is no pressure to go out and do anything. No need to spend money on Sunday.

Sunday is the day I do not worry about the stresses of life and have a day of peace. Tonight I feel grateful for the Sabbath Day.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Must Share

WARNING: The following images are disturbing and should not be viewed by young children.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!!!!!
Here's my dad at Halloween!

This is the funniest thing I've ever seen. Here's more.

Many of you don't know my dad, in which case, these pictures are still hilarious.

But if you do know him, this is hysterical! This man is UBER conservative.

Have I Fallen So Far?

I have a matter I need to discuss.

Yesterday I took Bethany to the Festival of Trees for a dance performance. She was great and I loved watching her. But I want to know why EVERY woman I saw there was dressed to the nines, had the most stylish handbags, had no hair out of place, and had faultless make-up---- including the ones with perfectly stylish babies and strollers.

I'm aware that I fell off the fashion train some time ago, but SHEESH! Where are these women coming from? What do they do all day? Does it come naturally to them? Do they do anything besides worry about what they're wearing and how they look?

Listen to me. I sound horrible, but I'm truly flabbergasted.

Honestly, I try to make myself lovely. I put on makeup everyday. I do my hair almost every day. I don't wear t-shirts and jeans with holes in them. I suppose I do wear my tennis shoes too often, but they are really comfy and I'm a busy woman. I exercise regularly.

So my question is-- Have I fallen so far off the fashion train that I cannot even sort of relate to these very "done up" women?

I take the time I need to get ready in the morning, but then that's it-- I'm done thinking about my clothes and hair. I've got my people to take care of; we've got school work to do, books to read, music to practice, scriptures to read, meals to make, jobs to do, friends to call, cardboard spaceships to build, hugs to give, ouchies to make better, a toddler to keep off the table, piano lessons to teach, callings to fulfill.

Years ago a friends told me what she told her daughter: "Pretty is as pretty does".

I don't think I'll be able to catch the "fashion train" again, but hopeful I can catch the "pretty train" by doing pretty things.

Faith Gets a Phone Call

Faith got her first phone call from her cousin, Eliza. Eliza is Baden and Mary's oldest child and they live in Spokane. Eliza and Faith have always had a special friendship. They are very attached whenever we get together. Eliza is a very articulate, talkative, and spirited. Faith is not so articulate, not usually very talkative and perhaps the sweetest little spirit ever born. They LOVE each other.

Abe snapped these pictures of Faith during her first phone call.

"Eliza? Is that really you? I can't believe it!"

"Okay, serious question. What are asking Santa for Christmas?"

"You don't say!"

"Please, Dad, this is a private conversation."

"You can't be serious!"

"Does your mother do that too? Mothers can be so exasperating!"

"I guess it is time for bed."

"I'm so happy you're my cousin!"

The actual phone call lasted much longer. I think they would have kept on talking indefinitely, except that a much needed potty break on Faith's side ended the call.


Three bedrooms, one living room, and one family room.

Four adults, and 10 children- ten and under.

2 days and 2 nights.

A lot of food and one VERY DELICOUS turkey.

Not much peace and quiet, but a lot of good times and good memories.

Please forgive this horrible, beyond horrible picture of me. We can't all be beauty queens at every moment!

But I had to put this picture up to show you the secret way Emily taught me to cook a turkey. In an oiled paper bag.
No, it doesn't catch fire. We didn't do anything else to the turkey (except wash it). We put it in an oiled (with vegetable oil) paper bag and several hours later----WALAH!!! The moisted, most delicious turkey I've ever eaten.

Emily is one of those people who just knows how to do everything. She whips up perfect pies, she does construction and home improvement projects on her house. I get tons of homeschooling/mothering ideas from her. She is a good person to know!

Here was our masterpiece as we unwrapped it. Glorious!

Abe and Justin were childhood friends. Abe has a remarkable memory about his childhood, but Justin's memory put's Abe's to shame. This man remembers EVERYTHING; every detail about not only his own life, but everyone elses.
They love to tell stories about the past.
I'm kind of glad I didn't know Justin in my youth. I don't think I'd want to remember every detail about my past that he would remind me of.

Clark and Issac. The computer was generally a peaceful place for these two strong personalities.
Here you have two oldest children who each have masses of younger sisters.

They had a good time playing some Turkey Day football at the park.

And then there were girls. Lots and lots of little girls. In this picture they are helping clean the kitchen floor, "Pippi style", with baby wipes on their feet.
This is Abe's idea.

Little girls, little girls, everywhere I look I can see them.

The feast.

The kiddos.

Grandma and Grandpa Cannon to join us for the festivities. Grandpa showed those young boys and dads that he can still play football.

Oh, happy day! The pies.

It was a wonderful day.