Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nie Nie Day...

Hi friends and family,

Many of you have heard the news about Stephanie and Christian Nielson who were injured in a plane crash a few weeks ago. Stephanie is the author of the famous Nie Nie blog ( Over the years she has shared with us some amazing pictures, a sweet soul and some pretty awesome food! She makes mothering seem just a little bit more special and a lot more adventurous than it seems in my house. Their recovery will be long and expensive. Gabby at Design Mom ( ) encouraged anyone that has read or known Nie Nie to find something, anything, to auction off on their blog. All proceeds will go to the Nie Nie Recovery Fund. So, Thursday is Nie Nie day and I am doing my part. I only have one small thing to auction off, but if you go to you will find a list of all the wonderful things that the blog world has to offer for sale. Everything from homemade crafts to concert tickets. The goal is to open your checkbook and help raise money for their recovery fund. They have four small children that are being cared for by relatives until Stephanie and Christian are well enough to come back home (it will be many, many months before this can happen).

The whole Internet has been alive with news about this wonderful family. The accident happened while we were in Utah and I have not been up to date on this blog about the developments. If you haven't heard of any of this yet (or if you just want to cry big, fat, sloppy tears of happiness and gratitude) visit the blog of her sister at . This is where you will find everything there is to know about the amazing Neilson family. I first met Stephanie when she was only 10 or 11 years old. My best friend married her brother and for the last decade I have had the privilege of watching the Clark family in action. They were remarkable people before, but they are even more remarkable now. I am so proud of all of them as I watch them come together and embrace the needs and changes that are happening. I wish I could do more.

My auction is for this print. It is titled "Waiting". If you have followed Nie Nie's blog (or checked CJane's) you will know that it was a tradition in the Neilson family to let off balloons on special occasions with wishes written on them. Last Saturday, friends and family across the world did this in honor of them. When I saw this print at Sara Jane Studios Etsy shop, I knew that I wanted to get it. Not only does this young girl look like she could BE Stephanie (retro dress and all) but she has the balloon and is looking into the future. It seems very fitting for this auction. I have been a HUGE fan of Sara Jane for a long time and own several of her prints. She is also having a sale at her Etsy shop, so check her out at . The following is the description of the item:

--This illustration was drawn with pencil on paper, then digitally colored.
--Image measures 7x9" printed on 8 1/2x 11" paper, leaving a margin perfect for framing.
--Printed myself on gorgeous Hahnemuhle Museum Etching Paper: 350 gsm, Natural White, 100% rag, acid free, no brighteners; printed with archival pigment inks.
--These prints are lovely!All prints are shipped in a cellophane sleeve pieces of with a plastic panel for added support.
--I send my prints off to their happy new home within 1-3 days of payment.
--This print will come signed and dated in the lower right hand corner.

How this silent auction works:
--Please place your bid by leaving a comment with your Bid Amount in the comments section of this post.
--Following the close of the auction, the winner will pay for their item via the Stephanie and Christian PayPal account (access it via CJane's blog--I can't figure out how to put the button on here).
--The winner will then forward the PayPal receipt email to with their mailing address. I will then have Sara Jane send the print directly to you.
--Please bid in increments of one dollar.
--The auction will end at Midnight (Your Time Zone) on Sunday, August 31.
Happy Bidding!!!
Also up for auction...

--My undying gratitude, manifested by my never asking you to babysit my kids.
--Household services (as long as you come to my house to get them and I can do them in between running the littles all over town..and that they don't take longer than 20 minutes. Oh and not ironing, I hate doing that).
--the best birth control money can buy (also known as 4 hours with my kids after a sleepless night--preferably during teething season). Just imagine it now, you can comb out Norah's hair while she screams "MINE" all the live long day (isn't age 2 a treat?), Jacob will tease the girls and hit things with sticks and Lu will be her typically cute, but bossy boots, 8 year old self. (I am not saying that I don't love my kids, I am just saying that after a day with them I can feel my ovaries shrink). Notice that I left Gracie out of this package deal. If I let you have her for any amount of time you would want to run out and have triplets with Down Syndrome. She is THAT yummy).

That print isn't looking so bad any more, eh? ;-)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Summer Vacation..

Words cannot express how happy I am that school is about to start. There will be no more fighting (at least during school hours) with the big kids and I can have a schedule again. I finally get why moms dread the dog days of summer. For me, it is because my children turn into dementors. They pretty much have sucked the joy out of all things fun this summer (I like them still, but seriously???? ).

We are going to have another summary post because I am very lazy. AND, I never get on the computer anymore and I just want to get a #*$&@ laptop and be done with it already. I want my blogging life back.

--We have our new nanny Maria. She is AN. ANGEL. STRAIGHT. FROM. HEAVEN. I worried about the expense and drama of having someone in our home all the time while I was here (some of the time). She is awesome. It is like having a smarter, more patient version of myself here with the kids. When I am running around trying to be the kids fed so we can get out the door, she has the time to help Norah (and at some point, Grace) practice the things she needs to learn how to do on her own; walking, dressing herself, going down the stairs, using a fork, etc, etc. I have seen SUCH changes in Norah already. She is confident and sassy. She is not a baby anymore (and as Maria told me on about day four "you must stop doing everything for her and stop treating her like a baby"). I am so proud of Norah and how hard she is working. I watch Maria turn every single experience during the day into a learning lab. Me too. Sometimes Maria deals with the big kids and I do the littles. All day long there is an internal dialogue running through my mind and it goes something like this "who can I make this activity help Norah practice her gross motor/fine motor/social/cognitive/speech skills?" All day long. It is work, but it is also WORKING.

--Grace is so cute and happy. She has a special face that is reserved only for her father (or, in her world, the bringer of all things wonderful). It is a sight to behold. It is almost like her face will split in half because she is so happy. I am still dealing with my issues over her life and future but have gotten to the point where her Down Syndrome is so much a part of who she is that while I still wish I could change it, there is the fact that changing that would change who she is because it is part of who she is...and I like here just how she is now. Confusing? Yes.

--Jacob has finally, finally mastered the potty. He has also mastered riding a bike with no training wheels. I really didn't think those things would happen in the same month, but this kid always surprises me. He also just figured out the whole "I am sick, can I have a Popsicle/candy/stay up later" thing. Good boy. I am always amazed and thrilled to see how gentle and kind he is with the little girls, especiall Norah. The other day he came in to tell me that she had taken her diaper off. He was very quick to follow up with "Mom, it was an accident. Don't get mad at her, just take a sticker off her chart, don't get mad mom". For the record, I don't get mad when NORAH takes her diaper off, but I do get mad when JACOB decides to take his big boys off and use the backyard as a bathroom.

--Lu has an opinion on what she wears. There is an excellent chance that anything I like, she will hate and vice versa. We had quite a time finding a dress for her baptism (for all you non LDS readers out our church kids are baptized at age 8 and some families get a special "sort of nicer than a normal church dress" dress for their kids. Our main difference is that she wanted to look like a street walker (in the sweetest 8 year old way) and I wanted her to look 5. We finally found something that both of us liked, and by that I mean it had sleeves and no rhinestones and was longer than her knees. For her that meant she chose the color and it was the one dress that fit my standards but I liked the least. We both win/lose. Good times ahead for this mama and daughter team. I need to fortify myself before I will even think of school shopping with her.

--Derek has been working hard. It is a blessing to have work that he loves and does so well, but I had forgotten how it used to be. He used to put in these kind of hours all the time. Now it is the odd week or two, but still. I am thankful for his hard work and how well he takes care of our family. It isn't easy to pay attention to all the kids, help me out and do the things needed around the house all on 3-4 hours of sleep. But he manages to do it and I am very, very thankful for that. I am also thankful for the thousands of times when it would be so easy to snap at the kids (because after all, he is tired too and has put in a full 8 hours of work by lunch time) but instead he almost always puts on a patient face and listens to them (because seriously... they want to say more in the last 5 minutes of the day than in the rest of the day put together). Just when I think I can't hear ONE MORE Sponge Bob quote, he saves the day and acts interested. He sees them so little each day that it isn't OK for him to be short with them. It isn't technically ok for me to be short with them either, but they get other interaction with me all day long. He gets that and is really, really good about it.

--Me..... I am busy, busy, busy. Shocking, right? Mostly I am just spending my time taking children to doctors, therapists, preschool and trying to fill the needs of all my kids. I am tired. I can do this, but it might take more Diet Coke than normal. I am thankful for the DVD player in the minivan that lets the kids watch their kids stuff while I listen to things like books on tape and NPR..things that make me feel like my mind is still KIND OF working. I am meeting lots of really cool people that I might not have crossed paths with if I wasn't doing all the stuff for the little girls. I am very thankful for that.

We are off to Utah for a visit with friends and family in just a few hours. We have a few birthdays, two anniversaries and some hard core catching up to do while we are gone. I am looking forward to having my mom pay attention to my kids, teaching Lu to water ski, sleeping in, eating at Dairy Keen, celebrating my 11th anniversary and eating at Training Table this week (I am seeing a food theme....).

Happy End of Summer to you all! See you in a few weeks.