Monday, July 28, 2008

Check It Out

At the very bottom of my side bar, you'll find a cool blinkie link. That will take you to my friend's awesome new website at Her name is Sara and I love her to pieces. Her husband Eric and Jared were the only 2 LDS guys in their class in P.A. school at Pacific, so we've become good buddies.

Sara and her friend Kate started up this foodie site. I am beyond impressed. It's so cool. They've got neat info. about different foods and ingredients, tips on how to prepare food, they give step by step instructions and pictures, they share what they've learned along the way and best of all there are recipes! (Who doesn't ever need new recipes??) I don't know Kate at all, but I know Sara. She's creative, she's computer savvy, she's got style (from clothes to interior decorating to cards and gifts to table spreads) and she's so funny. I have a feeling Sara and Kate are two peas in a pod.

So...if you like learning or trying new things where food is involved or you just like food, go check out this site. You won't be disappointed.

Hey Sara, will you promise to remember me when you're making your millions on the Food Network??

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Jared will probably get mad at me for this but too bad. This post is to announce that Jared has been published! Again! He found out recently that his Master's project that he did at Pacific University as a Physician's Assistant student was published in a correction's journal (not that he's criminal). His project was related to the health issues of prison inmates. Hooray for Jared!!

Jared's thesis from his first Master's degree at Western Michigan University was published by Kinesiology Publications out of...get this...the University of Oregon before we left Michigan. The title was (I should have this memorized because I did most the editing for the 30-odd page report): "Employment Trends in Athletic Training Before and After CAAHEP Accreditation." So he's two for two!! What an accomplishment. P.S. No more Master's degrees for us!

Home Teachers Beware!

Tuesday night, our home teacher came over. We had just finished up a late dinner. Jared and the kids gathered in the living room while I quickly finished the last bit of kitchen clean up. When I came into the living room, Karcyn was acting WILD! She was on all fours, bucking up on her knees then going down on her hands and lifting her knees off the floor like a crazy bull. And she was doing it all over the living room. Jared asked what was up with her and I said I had no idea. Seriously---we had never seen her act this way. It was as if she had gotten into the catnip.

I sat down and we talked with our home teacher about pop-up trailers and camping. All the while Karcyn kept bucking around the room. Then she stood up and started twirling around in circles. After a minute or two it was making me dizzy and I couldn't watch her anymore. The adults continued our conversation for another 5-7 minutes trying to ignore Karcyn-gone-ballistic. Then Karcyn stopped in the middle of the room and started choking. I jumped up, confused and ran to her side. I couldn't figure out what she was choking on. Then it was clear. She was vomiting. Right in front of our home teacher. (Fun-for-him). She just stood there and threw up a solid mass of eck. Not to be gross, but the contents of her stomach surprisingly weren't runny at all. She did that about 4 times. Didn't cry or anything. When I thought she was done, I took her into the bathroom to clean her up while Jared took care of the living room floor. I had no sooner gotten her to the bathroom when I heard a little "urp" and knew she wasn't quite done. Fortunately one of the boys left the toilet seat up and I guided her little head over the toilet. She threw up another 4 times. Good grief! Where was she keeping all that stuff? And what had she eaten? I didn't recognize any of it. Her eyes were sunken and her face was pale but she acted like she felt better. What a silly girl. She had spun herself sick! Hmmm, no Tea Cups for her at Disney Land.

Shortly after Karcyn and I rejoined the group in the living room, our home teacher looked at the clock and said he had to get going. He was going to visit another family. Jake was sitting on the couch by him and said in a shocked voice, acting all short changed, "What?? That's it??" Then accusingly he added, "You're supposed to give us a lesson!" Omygosh. Jared and I wanted to crawl in a hole...that was worse than vomit. I tried to gently tell Jake, hoping to smooth over the uncomfortable moment, that sometimes our home teacher just visits and we're lucky that he comes. Hopefully he'll return!!

Calling All Runners!

I've been running 3 times a week for about 6 weeks now. This is the most consistent running I've done, EVER. I ran a 5K (3.1 miles) in Sept. 2006. But I wasn't able to train for it like I am now. I came in dead last (complete with a police escort) with a time of 36 minutes and about 30 seconds. Though it would be nice not to come in last, real goal is to improve my time. Hopefully shaving off minutes, not just seconds.

This morning I set a personal record for running distance. I ran 6.1 miles around our old ward boundaries. I still can't believe it. I never dreamed I'd be running anything more than three miles in my lifetime especially with my exercise-induced asthma, my fractured back history and after having 4 kids. What's totally weird, is that I feel stronger now than I did after having Karcyn. Why would that be? I was a couple years younger and my body had gone through less. Bizarre.

Now...for those of you who have been running consistently for 6 months or longer....Tell me honestly....Do you REALLY love it? Or do you run out of obligation for physical or mental health reasons? I have not found the love affair with running yet. I just don't like it. It takes every ounce of discipline I have in my body to get dressed and to walk out my door. That's half the battle for me. Will that ever change? Will I ever just jump out of bed and sing and dance around my room while I get dressed, happily looking forward to such bodily torture?

Working around a nursing baby and Jared's work schedule, I have to say I'm pretty impressed I've not missed a run yet. It hasn't been easy. I don't want to stop, though, because if I'm going to continue this personal feat, I need to keep on this schedule. Really it's become a battle within myself. I want to see how far I can go. Gotta see what my body can do. It's a pride thing. My poor body hasn't exercised in--oh, about 3 decades, so I know it's going to take me awhile to get speed in my runs. Right now, it's about running without stopping.

Okay, here's another problem...potty issues. I don't feel like I can run any farther than 5 or 6 miles because nature starts calling, sometimes outta nowhere and I find myself in a very uncomfortable situation. That happened this morning in fact. Fortunately it wasn't until the last mile or so. But I had driven to the rental house we were previously in to run one of Jared's old routes. I still wasn't close to home. Lucky for me and my colon, I manage the rental home and my tenant and friend, Karissa answered the door at 7:30am. (Bless you, Karissa!) It doesn't always work out that well, though, so I gotta think about this....Any suggestions?

One good thing has come out of this. All of the running I'm doing has made me grateful for my body (with not-so-perfect organs) that is holding up under the pressure and allowing me to do this. Not to mention, I now have an even deeper respect for marathon runners. I think it's total madness, but what an amazing accomplishment. Right now, my marathon is whatever my next distance is.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

In-house Artist

We usually have the boys make homemade birthday cards for their friends. Jake had a party he was going to on Saturday afternoon and I had reminded him several times that he needed to make the card. About 15 minutes prior to us leaving he started working on it. He decided to look at the Transformer picture on his new backpack and tried to reproduce it. He gave me frequent updates, "I have the first leg done"...."Here's his arm"...."Do you like his head?" I was concerned Jake had started something he didn't have time to finish. But at the last possible minute, he wrapped it up and I have to say, I'm pretty impressed. Neither Jared nor I have one iota of artistic talent in our bloodstream, so we're not quite sure where he gets it. But good for him.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

That's the Ticket

About a month ago, before school got out, I was wracking my brain trying to figure out how I could control the use of TV, computer, and video plug-in games without being controlling or feeling like I'm always saying no. It's easy to spend a couple hours (or more) without thinking about it in front of one of these devices, especially when your schedule is so laid back. (And because, sadly, we don't have a trampoline or a swing set or cool video games like a Wii or Playstation). I love watching TV, too. Everything in moderation, but how?

We've already been giving the kids "ratings" for a while. Cooper mainly. For anyone who has watched or taught Cooper, you know all about his ratings. So I decided to incorporate that into our home life this summer. We told the kids that during each day they would get ratings based on behavior and willingness to help out and how they are or aren't inviting the Spirit into our home. They start at 10 every morning when they wake up. If they do their duties (AKA chores/jobs) the first time or without being asked, they stay at a 10. If they start fighting or complaining about the breakfast menu, or throw a fit because I say no or cause contention for any other reason, etc. then they drop down a rating. If they persist. They continue to drop down. However, even if they get down to a 4 (which Cooper has!) they have until bedtime that night to turn it around. I must say, we've had some pretty amazing comebacks.

Once the boys are tucked in bed, the day is done and their final rating dictates how many tickets, if any, they get. If they are at an 8, they get one ticket. 9=two tickets. 10=three tickets. Each ticket represents 20 minutes of time they get to use to watch an approved TV show, or play on the computer, or use a plug-into-the-TV video game to be available for redeeming the next day or whenever they choose. They do not expire.

However, there have been a few days that one of our boys, who shall remain nameless, didn't earn any tickets at all. So the next day wasn't as fun for him because he couldn't be around the TV or computer. He managed to survive (imagine that) and as he lamented about not having any tickets, we gently reminded him that not having tickets was because of his choices, not ours. It's up to him how many tickets he gets.

So far, this little program is working very well for us. Turning in tickets only takes place once their duties are done and if we don't have places to go or other things to do first. Once the kids have tickets to redeem, they are the ones that make the choices about what they get to do and for how long. They even set the timer. Then when the tickets are gone, they find other things to do around the house or yard and I don't feel like I'm constantly putting a limit on their time spent on these things (although there is a 60 minute maximum on the computer). I'm no longer the bad guy. The responsibility falls entirely on them for earning the privileges and how long they have to enjoy them. It has set me free.

About a week or so after we started this program, I found that some days the boys stayed on 10 for quite a while and were doing things that would make their rating go up, if it could. After some thought, we invented Bonus Tickets. These can only be earned if the boys are already at a 10. Bonus tickets are a little harder to get because they're special. Even if a boy's rating goes down from the 10, he can't loose any earned bonus tickets. For example, they may end on a 7 with a bonus and get 1 ticket the next day. Or they could end on 10 with 2 bonus tickets which gives them 5 altogether.

When I give out the earned tickets, I flip them over and at the top, in small writing, record their name and the date that the ticket was earned and clip them to a magnet on the fridge. When the tickets are turned in by the boys, I make a dash on that same line and write what activity the child wants to do and the date and put it in a drawer to use again another 6 or 7 times. This helps me to know who owns the tickets and when they've been used.

This may only be effective for the summer, but that's fine with me. Seems like you just do what works, then when it stops working, you figure out something else. I can't tell you how many things we've tried over the years. Hopefully my creativity won't fail me.

The Plunge

We've been in our own house now for 7 months. It's about time we took the painting plunge and really made it ours. I don't know why painting is so scary to me. It doesn't have to be permanent. I guess that's what happens after living with white walls for 10 years. Any decorating sense we might have had has been white-washed. We don't know what colors "go" together. We don't know what would look "good". So it's scary to me. Plus, who wants to waste money on a quart or gallon of paint you don't use. Not me.

Well, we tried a couple of colors in our kitchen...three actually, before we found one we liked. It was a cheery shade of yellow. The reason for getting it is because the kitchen and family room were very cave-like when we moved into the house in December. But that's also because the backyard was a jungle and that's changed. There's a lot of light that pours through those windows now, so I'm thinking a yellow might be too much. So then we thought we would just paint the kitchen in the yellow and do a different color in the adjoining family room. But there isn't a definitive cut off line to distinguish the kitchen wall from the family room, so we nixxed that idea. Plus, the yellow we had chosen, though it is a nice shade of yellow, doesn't go with the red in the dining room and to me, these colors need to flow. They need to be in the same hue family. The yellow was much too pale. But we did find a color we believe will work. We HOPE it will look good anyway. We're excited for it. But you'll have to wait to see that. Maybe we can use the yellow paint in Karcyn and Calvin's room.

Our first painting plunge was the dining room and it took place this past weekend. For those who have seen the dining room or remember it from pictures, the previous owners painted it a bright red beneath the chair rail and left it white on top. I was shocked to discover I actually liked the red in the dining room. Though I never would have picked it myself, we decided to keep it but put a fresh coat on and add a color above it.

We had some extra red paint in the shed, but couldn't tell where it came from or the name of it, so we took it to Home Depot and they color matched a gallon of it for us. Woooo-doggy! That paint is bright and we had our doubts. Serious doubts. It went on as pink!!
But to my great relief, that paint does indeed dry darker. It looked just like the shade of red that was originally painted on. So here is our painted dining room, Hough-style. The top color looks kind of pink to me in these pictures below, but I assure you it is not. It's called "sands of time" and is beige in color.
The living room color will be changing, but it will probably be the last room we do since it involves moving bookshelves and a back-breaking upright grand piano.

The 4th of July

This year we were able to continue our young tradition of going to a Seattle Mariners game on or close to the 4th. It just so happened that this year, the Mariners had a day game on the 4th of July. We left our house around 8:30 in the morning and arrived at the Mariners parking garage around 11:45am. We were all in shorts and short sleeves and I was surprised to discover it was cool in the garage. When the wind blew it was almost cold. I groaned inwardly because we weren't prepared for the weather to be like this.

We grabbed the backpack that housed the snacks and water bottles and made sure we had the diaper bag, but it wasn't til we were already in the park that I realized A) I left the camera in the van--hence no pictures [I took it into the park last year but forgot to get a family picture--ugh will I ever get it right??] and B) I left our frozen Capri-suns and a sippy cup of milk for Karcyn in the small cooler in the trunk of the van. I was mad about the camera of course (just ask Jared how many times I said I wished we had it) but worried about the milk. Karcyn likes her milk and I had none. Not even a juice box for her. None of us had eaten lunch either. We figured we would just eat our snack stuff during the game but my grumbling tummy convinced me that probably wasn't a good idea.

The first thing we did was buy Mariner shirts for the kids which actually started out as sweatshirts to stay warm, but before we made our purchase, it began to warm up. Thank goodness. After we found our seats in section 103 (a non-alcoholic section), I gave Calvin to Jared, still sleeping in the front pack, and took Karcyn with me (because whoever had the baby, couldn't also keep track of Karcyn). That was no problem. I needed to go potty and Karcyn needed food.

I bought Karcyn a Minor dog (translation: a small hot dog. A larger one is called, you guessed it: a Major dog) and a popcorn. Costing me 9 bucks. Surely she'd eat one or the other. The gal behind the register asked if I wanted anything to drink with that. I jokingly said, "Not unless you have milk." The lady said they didn't have any where she was, but there was milk in-house near the Kids' Club. We were in the other non-alcoholic section in the high 300s last year so I wasn't familiar with anything in this area of the stadium, but we had bought their t-shirts at the Kids' Club so I knew where to go. What a joy to find that for $5 I could get a hot dog or PB&J sandwich with Cracker Jacks or a large soft pretzel and a drink which included a large cup of milk. Oh, and this all came in a cute Mariners bucket with a handle. I was all over it. I got the last hot dog and pretzel so the other two buckets had the sandwiches and cracker jacks. I also got THREE milks. One for Cooper, one for Karcyn and another for Karcyn. Jake doesn't like milk anyway and had his water bottle. I couldn't believe my luck. What a deal! So the kids got lunch, they shared the popcorn I bought earlier and Jared had the other hot dog.

The other highlights included buying "Dippin' Dots" that we had seen on "Unwrapped" on the Food Network and were hoping would be at the park when the 5th inning started. And the garlic fries! I think they are a Safeco Field must. And finally...during a not-so-great season, the Mariners beat the Detroit Tigers 4-1!

Karcyn, though she was tired, was a trooper. She totally head jammed to the music when it played. (Again, wished I had that camera) and the boys were really good. We didn't catch any fly balls in the outfield (they even had their mitts) but we did have a photographer for the Mariners take pictures of our family. (Somebody should, I guess.) They are putting together a magazine to show how family friendly the games are at this Stadium. Who knows? Maybe we'll be in it.

The game ended around 4:30 and we left the parking garage with ease (totally worth the extra price for that convenience especially since I'd classify us as Seattle tourists!) and drove to the hotel where we had made reservations for the evening in Federal Way--about 20 minutes south of the field.

We found our suite since our family is now the size that requires one, and had pizza delivered right to our hotel door. After that we took the kids swimming, even Calvin got in and didn't once object. What a gem he was. He just laid his head on my shoulders and kept those big eyes open. He didn't whimper or cry. Just took it all in. The hot tub wasn't so hot, so we all got in that ,too. We were the only ones in the pool area when we went swimming. And it's a good thing...

When we were in the not-so-hot tub, Jared motioned around the corner at a timer. There was a timer and a red knob. He thought that might get the jets going for some bubble action. So I turned the timer to about 15 minutes, but I didn't hear anything happen so then I pushed on the red button. That's when I thought we were doomed. An ear-piercing siren started blaring from every wall and it only took me a second for my mistake to register and I frantically pulled the knob out. Fortunately for my pounding heart, the horrible screeching sound stopped. But we all just froze. I think Jared laughed. I was kind of panicked and didn't take my eyes off the entrance to the pool. I was just waiting for the feds or the fire department at least to escort me out of there and kick my family out of the hotel. Jared asked me why I pushed the RED button. I told him because I thought that it would help get the bubbles going. Okay, maybe in retrospect, that was probably a dumb idea. However, if I may add, I think whoever put that RED button there RIGHT NEXT to the hot tub timer is stupid!

Well, we all made it through our swim and tubbing time without any further ado and retired to our room. The boys loved that they had a big TV in their room. Karcyn got the plasma TV from the sitting area where her hide-a-bed was. But she was out like trout. We all slept soundly and awakened ready for our big Deluxe complimentary breakfasts. Boy, if you left hungry it was your own darn fault. And back home we came around noon on Saturday, July 5th. It was a weekend worthy of repeating. Minus the RED button.

Beach Reunion

Jared's sister, Nicole and her cute little family who live in CA, happened to be on the Oregon Coast for the week of July 4th. We already had plans for the 4th, but juggled our schedule around and managed to swing a visit out to Pacific City on Thursday, July 3rd. Our family had not been to this coastal town, so that was a bonus for us. Apparently Nicole's in-laws have a tradition of renting a house on the beach and the extended family gathers and hangs out for some R&R. It was really great of Rose and Jack (Nicole's in-laws) to allow us to crash their party and share their BBQ feast and let us play on their private beach for a few hours.
The last time I was at the beach, was in March and I was 7 months pregnant. So this was Calvin's first trip to the ocean. He slept through most of it, of course. Karcyn loved her "partial" freedom. Jared had to run down the beach after her a few times. She also loved flinging sand as she dug around with the shovels. I think the waves knocked her down early on and she decided she had had enough of that. The big boys had a blast in the surf, taunting the big waves to come get them. And a couple of waves did!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Summertime Treat

On Sunday, June 29th, the conditions outside were simmering and building just right and we were able to witness some cool displays of lightning and hear the roll of the thunder all from our front window. This is actually the second time this year we've experienced this type of stormy weather in northwest Oregon. Eastern Oregon gets all types of weather, which seems normal, but not us. Usually it's just lots of rain or ice. Sometimes a light dusting of snow but to my dismay, RARELY thunder and lightning. So for our family, it was a real treat. I had to chuckle though because the next day the news reported this storm as "vicious". Okay, okay, lightning did strike a couple people and blew down some big trees. Clearly it's all relative. But once you've lived in the Midwest or South and experienced personal run-ins with tornadoes and wall clouds, this was "nuth-in". I miss the severe weather from our days in IL and MI. Just a couple good thunderstorms every once in a while like in UT would be fine with me. But living so close to the coast, we have pretty boring weather. Don't get me wrong...I would never WISH the damaging and life threatening weather on anyone, especially in the dark, because those storms are scary. But I do eat up any chance I get to view, in the daylight, from a healthy distance, a severe storm that has potential to turn into a tornado. In another lifetime, if I was ever good at science and math, and didn't have little people depending on me, I probably would have been a tornado chaser.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Baby Story

Early this morning my friend Meredith, from my old ward, went to the hospital to have her planned C-section to bring baby #5 into the world. Happy Birthday, Baby Boy.

Well, I just got a call from my friend, Tony and found out that his wife, my other friend, Amanda, (also from my old ward) had her baby today. She was due a couple weeks later. Amanda went in this morning for a version to turn her breech baby and 5 minutes before they were going to let her go home, Amanda's water broke! So off she went for an unplanned C-section to bring baby #3 into the world--and her first girl.

Not only did my two friends from the same ward have their babies on the same day--they both had C-sections and in the same hospital!!! How cool is that?

So now I'm thinking this little boy and little girl need to get married! What a story to be able to say they were born on the same day in the same hospital!

Congratulations Meredith and Amanda and families!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Wow, What a Difference!

Today we got new windows in the kitchen and family room and whoa! Jared and I can't believe the difference they make! Our kitchen is so much brighter now. The replacement windows have given these two spaces a whole new fresh look, even more so than the bedroom replacement windows seemed to do. We can't really figure out why that is except that maybe it's because we spend more time in the kitchen and family room and were used to the older windows more than the bedroom windows. Regardless we are soooooooo pleased. Now it's time to paint and make curtains.


I guess this is what happens when you put your two year old on the toilet so she can do her thing and forget about her. It was only about 10 minutes. But...on the up side, or should I say "butt, on the under side," she did poop on the potty!!

Karcyn's been pooping on the potty for a couple weeks now. My earliest potty trainee. However, as I was telling a friend earlier this week, I have no technique for this. I just wait for the kids to do it themselves which has worked out fine. Hopefully, since Karcyn is starting so early, this won't be a long drawn out process. In fact, Karcyn cannot stand diapers or pull ups and isn't thrilled with panties. Unfortunately for her she's going to have to get used to one of those things because we can't leave the house with her streaking everywhere! (Oh but wait, let me post her naked on my blog.)

Two Months Already!

I can't believe that it's already been two months since Calvin joined ranks with us crazy Houghs. Sometimes it seems just like yesterday that he was born, other days, not so he's been with us forever. He has quickly forged a special place in all of our hearts.

He is a lovely baby. He did start out on the serious side...alert but reserved. However, around 5 1/2 weeks he started smiling and cooing. It was amazing! I think that's the youngest age for my children to start interacting like that.
Calvin is definitely a chameleon. When he was born, he reminded me of Cooper (clearly the Hough side of the DNA). Then, around 4 weeks, he started taking a turn down the Jake (Lee) side of things. But now, I really think he's going back to looking like Cooper. Calvin does look like he belongs with us, which is funny to me because I feel like with my family, we were all hodge-podged together, like you wouldn't know I was related to my siblings just by looking at us. There isn't a consistent Lee look. At least I don't think so. But only time will tell how Calvin will fare....more like a Hough or a Lee or somewhere in between.

I swore his eyes were going to go brown. I predicted Coop's would go brown when he was about 4 weeks old and I was right. The eye color assignments are as follows: Jake has blue, Cooper has brown, Karcyn has blue, I have green hazel and Jared has brown. Sometime in my life I was told brown was the dominant eye color (whether that's true or not, I don't know, but I trusted my source as reliable) so I figured Calvin would lean that way. Though his eyes are turning dark, they are almost gray in color. Quite striking actually. Maybe they will go brown yet.

Calvin and I took a field trip to Dad's office this afternoon to get weighed and measured. His official 2 month appointment isn't til the 10th because the girls at the office fight over who doesn't get to give shots to our babies. (They're so silly. It's not like the kid will remember.) Anyway, it's so nice that we can just go to the office whenever and get that extra special treatment.

The little big man weighed in at 8 lbs. (almost) 13 oz. and is 22 inches long. Dad is not thrilled about the slow weight gain, but that's a whole other post that ain't happening on my blog. Calvin has been a sweet piece of goodness to me. He's been sleeping 5-6 hours through the night for several weeks now. My only complaint and it's more like an inconvenience, is that he holds on to his burps longer than I would like....takes me forever to burp him. least he doesn't have the projectile vomiting like Karcyn did. Other than that, Calvin continues to be a very happy, content baby (even if he is in the 3rd percentile for weight).

Note to Self...

(This was the chant that repeated frantically through my mind during the last half mile of my two mile run last night.)

"Run, run as fast as you can--
No more bran muffins!
Just make it to the can!"

Interestingly enough, I ran the two miles in record time for me...18 minutes instead of the usual 19.