My Shelfari Bookshelf (These are seriously just a FEW of the hundreds of books I've read lately)

Monday, June 30, 2008

No More Binkies!!!!

That's right, folks, we've finally taken the plunge. We have removed binkies from Brooklyn's life forever. This girl is seriously attached to her binkies, and it's been a long time coming, but we finally did it. A really good friend of mine (who teaches preschool and kindergarten and is in my opinion a master of early childhood teaching) told me that she read somewhere that if you take a binkie away from a child before or by 18 months, they don't really have as hard a time with it because their brains aren't developed enough to realize you're "taking something away" from them. However, if you wait longer than that they realize what you're doing and it can affect them negatively. So, she's always let her kids keep their binkies until they were 3 and could make the choice for themselves. Well, I was all for it! I decided if she did that it was a good enough reason for me to let Brooklyn keep her beloved binkie. Well, she is now 2 years 3 months old, and we've noticed that her already pronounced overbite (she has her dad's Simpson mouth for sure!) was becoming even more pronounced. This worried us a lot. We have been telling her everyday that big girs don't need binkies, and usually during the day she wouldn't need it (just for naps and night time) so she was getting prepared for making the choice to give it up. But because we decided her dental woes (which are already a sad state in this family--we all have bad genes when it comes to teeth) outweighed the need to keep her binkie fixation going, we finally just took it away. It really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be! She has been taking her naps and sleeping at night without it. She doesn't sleep as soundly because she wakes up screaming (she did this at least 3 times last night). We used to just be able to pop the binkie back into her mouth and she'd fall deeply asleep...not anymore. So, as soon as we can get her over this high-pitched-middle-of-the-night screaming, we'll be totally free and clear of the binkie! (Lesson learned? Take it away before 18 months!)

Let Them Eat Cake

Alright, so the other day I'm sitting at the table eating lunch, the boys have just returned from piano lessons and are puttering around in their room. They happened to have brought home a large piece of cake from Dana's house (from Jayce's birthday) and set it on the counter. I'm pretty sure that Brooklyn has the ultimate sweets radar in her nose because she immediately found it. (It was covered by another plate and sitting far back on the counter). She runs right up to the counter and grabs it before anyone knows what she's doing, and then bing bang boom! There is cake all over the floor and she is happily gobbling it up! Yikes. All I can say is, this blogging thing is helping me to remain calm in these situations because instead of yelling, I grabbed my camera and caught the mess on film for posterity. (The bad thing was, this was just after she had spilled an ENTIRE large bowl full of watermelon on the floor and I had swept and mopped. At least the floor was clean for her cake eating experience...)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Naughty Little Girls

OK, so as I'm trying to put some videos on this here blog today I noticed that it was suspiciously quiet in the back of the house where Brooklyn and Maggie were playing. This cannot be good. Unfortunately my sweet little Brooklyn has become quite a sneaky, and seriously naughty thing as of late. She closes the door if she wants some "privacy" (and this is not just to poop, although she refuses to be anywhere but her own room, or some other private spot for that as well--I'm telling you, I'm never going to get this girl to poop on the potty. She just cannot relax enough! But seriously, I'm off on a tangent now). She will close the door to her room and pull out every single wet wipe from the package to wash her face, her body, her door, her books, her name it - they're squeaky clean now! She will pull all the earrings off the card they're on (losing them frequently). She will go into the bathroom, shut the door and do who knows what with the water getting herself, the bathroom, the toilet paper, pretty much everything soaked. She's recently decided the toilet cleaning brush is quite interesting and is sure she cannot live until she's cleaned the toilet properly with it. So I have to keep taking it out of her hands and telling her how disgusting it is. Apparently she didn't believe me.
This brings us back to the suspicious quietness of my house. When there's quiet, there is sure to be mischief brewing. So, I quickly jumped up and ran to her room (which is where she and Maggie were last spotted, playing nicely with the toys and books). Obviously they were MIA. I checked the kid's bathroom. No luck. This made me quite nervous because if she goes into my room there are all kinds of things she's found lately to tamper with (my expensive makeup being her favorite...grrrr!) Alas, there they were. Two partners in crime. Not in my room. No no no, that would have been too easy. No, they were in the bathroom. Guess what Brooklyn was doing? She was cleaning the toilet with that disgusting toilet brush I had been warning her about for days. But not only was she cleaning the toilet...apparently she was giving Maggie and the floor a thorough cleaning, too, because there was toilet water EVERYWHERE, and Maggie was literally drenched from head to toe. Happy as a clam sitting next to the toilet watching her hero Brooklyn scour out all the little nasties that like to hide in the bowl.
Did your throw up in your mouth a little, too? Because I did. First I screamed (yes, literally--and I think it scared those cleaning ladies a tad), then I grabbed the brush, put it away and assessed the situation. My floor was drenched, and unfortunately both of their binkies were swimming in the pool of toity water on the floor. I promptly scooped up Maggie and the binkies and told Brooklyn to strip down while I ran a bath.
Unfortunately (due to the fact that I'm new to this blogging stuff, I'm sure) I forgot to capture the moment on camera. However, I did the next best thing. I caught the two little criminals on camera in the bath. (They really were cute and I couldn't resist). So here are some shots of the world's (now) cleanest bathroom ladies. Brooklyn and Maggie--partners in crime!

Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars!

Just thought I'd show you a few pictures of the boys after their workshop performances. (And some during the performance). It really was great!

The Magic of Musical Theatre

So, the boys just got done with their very first year at MCC's Magic of Musical Theatre Workshop. You would have thought they had died and gone to heaven. Truly, I think I've finally found something they both love, they could probably be fairly good at, and that they will work at. It was so much fun to see them perform, and it also was weird--because I don't think they (or I) should be that old yet. I can't believe how big they're getting. Actually, let me rephrase that. I can't believe how old they're getting. They were actually the two tiniest kids up there and it made it that much cuter to watch them. They were a little bit young for the program, but they were allowed to be in it because I'm watching Maggie for Allyson (who is one of the teachers) in trade. It was a pretty awesome trade if you ask me. They spent from 1:30 to 5:30 Monday through Friday for two weeks at MCC learning songs and blocking them for the stage, then they had 3 performances with lights, costumes, props, music...the works. It's amazing to me what these teachers get from the kids in such a short amount of time (I mean, there are 87 kids in the show...and sometimes they're all on stage at the same time. YIKES!)

So, here are three of the songs that my boys performed in. The first one is both boys in a song called "What a Game" from Ragtime. Carter is the one that is being "taught" about baseball from his big brother, and he and Cooper have the "play fight" in the middle. They're both on the front row, and both short! The second is with Cooper in the song "When Somebody Loved Me" from Toy Story. Cute. The last one is Carter in "Newsboy" from Working. It's not the greatest vocally, but it's pretty darn funny, plus I think Carter's very cute. He's the shortest one in the middle. :) Enjoy!

(These are all much cuter in person, I promise.) :)

And last, but not least...Newsboy:

On Motherhood

So last night at 2 in the morning when I finally tried to go to sleep (refer to insomnia post), I actually thought that maybe this blogging thing was detrimental to me. Here's why. Let's refer again to the OCDness of my insomnia. When I'm kept up late at night by thoughts that keep repeating themselves, there are these devilish ponderings about what makes a good mother that keep plaguing me. What makes a good mother? Probably not me...because I don't do this or that or whatever. I read these blogs of people who sound like such amazing mothers, and I think...who am I kidding? I hate cleaning my house. I hate cooking even more. And my kids do actually watch TV and play video games (at least now it's the Wii, so there's a bit more exercising action going on, but still), and I get upset and raise my voice. My boys are 10 and 8 and they still can't remember to flush a toilet. Their teeth are probably going to rot out of their heads because they won't brush no matter the amount of nagging I confront them with. My thoughts go on and on like this, with ever more self-deprecating remarks from the devil inside me, and then there's this little voice from the corner that says: But you read to them. And you take them to the library. You taught them how to make food (OK, so maybe it was for selfish reasons so that they could be self-sufficient and you'd get a good meal on Mother's Day, but that's entirely beside the point), you sign them up for piano, swim team, baseball, basketball, and singing groups. And you suffer through their complaints about it all. You actually make them practice (but not nearly often enough). You make them finish the season even if they hate it (because we're not quitters). You attend every single game, performance, or activity they participate in. You take pictures of said games, performances, and activities they participate in (so that at least it LOOKS like you're all having fun and enjoying this life you're living). You take them to church every Sunday (but you absolutely stink at scripture/prayer/FHE during the week). You answer any tricky questions about life/sex/birds and bees and other embarrassing subjects they might have (because if not me, then holy cow, who??) You are always there for them, and really you pick them up from most everything on time. You take them to the dentist and eye doctor regularly, and you give them medicine and love when they're sick. You limit their amount of TV and video intake (probably not nearly enough, but definitely more than the drug addicted mother down the street).

The argument goes on and on. The little voice in the corner trying to outdo the big devil who makes me feel defeated. It's usually a losing battle. I end up thinking I had better start trying new recipes (oh who am I kidding...any recipes at all would be great) to be a more domestic mom. I should be like the mom with 17 kids in Arkansas who has every minute of the day planned, and the sticky sweet disposition that most kids would love to be descended from. She can solve a crisis with a hug, a scripture, and a little tater tot casserole. I can't because my kids just yell back at me, and there's no food in the house to remedy it with because I've forgotten to go grocery shopping again. I realize there are all different types of moms, and I can't try to be every single one. I really should focus on being me and just buffing out the little imperfections, but when I read these blogs I feel like I need to become them. I need to love unconditionally and sacrifice all and bake 3 casseroles (to share with the less fortunate) and have a missionary experience (with my kids around to observe) and be the fun mom that all the neighborhood kids want to hang out with because we have the cool stuff at our ultra clean house. So maybe the solution is to find all those moms out there who neglect their kids because they're hooked to their computer, and read their blogs. It would probably make me feel better. But then again, maybe I'd start trying to be more like them???

What makes a good mom? Maybe it's just loving your kids no matter what. Maybe it's sacrificing your job (that you're really good at) to stay home with them and be there for each step of their amazing lives. Maybe it's not caring what anyone else is thinking or doing, and just following your own instincts. Maybe what really makes a good mom is someone who has found the perfect sleeping pill so that she can sleep at night and is therefore refreshed in the morning and ready to tackle the many challenges of a child-filled day without argument, complaint, or fatigue. Anyone know where I can find one??

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Sadly, I suffer from insomnia. This isn't a recent development. If you ask my family, I could always sleep like the dead...but unfortunately, that blessing left me when I went to college. Maybe it was the stress. Maybe it was the cold Utah air. Maybe it was just a latent post-pubescent trauma being stored up to haunt me the rest of my days. I don't know, but whatever the reason, I'm plagued. The sad thing is I will be bone-weary tired, sure that I can't go on a minute longer without my eyes just glueing themselves shut...but when my head hits the pillow it's literally like BOOM! My eyes open, my brain whizzes and whirs in a million different directions, and I feel adrenaline pumping into my stomach making me worry and wonder about stupid things that probably don't even matter in the scheme of things. The most annoying side-effect, though, is that certain songs or sayings or even just words will just keep repeating themselves over and over in the back of my head (even as the worries and wonders are going on in the front) like a sleep-depriving mantra "that's how you know...that's how you know...that's how you're in love..." and I cannot, no matter how hard I try, get it to stop.

This is when I start thinking these random thoughts like: "I did lock the door, right?" "Remember when - 10 years ago - Troy spent that $200 on a stupid speaker system...I wish we still had that money" "When school starts I want to be sure I have red folders for the students' homework" "When I lose 50 pounds, I am totally going to get a lead in that show" and on and on and on.

Tonight I can't sleep because I'm allowing myself to be bothered by some stupid things. I'm sure I'm making a bigger deal out of them than I should, and yet I can't seem to be able to stop myself. I'm also annoyed real bad with a family member right now, so of course all those conversations you have in your head with that person (that are always so perfect and say so much) are playing out in differing versions constantly. (How come in real life those conversations never even happen?) Actually, I've found that usually if I just let things go and stop thinking about it it's usually better, and it will never really do any good to have these conversations with the person in real life anyway because they're not going to change just for usually I do just let it go. I'm sure I will soon, but right now I'm just frustrated and venting. (I think I'm really liking this blog thing because it's giving me something to do at midnight instead of toss and turn in my bed!)

After re-reading what I've posted so far, I think I sound like I'm a bit crazy. I hope I'm not alone. Does anyone else out there suffer this trauma?? AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

The Life and Times of Brooklyn Dian Crandell

Miss Independent (See slideshow)

Brooklyn Dian Crandell...the lowdown

Born: March 12, 2006

Stats: 8 pounds 11 ounces 21 inches long

Info: This one came out STRONG and independent from day one. She was holding her head up and wanting to SEE the world and experience it right from the start She never wanted to be cuddled because that meant not seeing the action (much to my sadness). She wants to be right in the middle of things and is sure that whatever the rest of us big guys are doing, she should be able to do, too. She adores her brothers, but is tough and can fend for herself. She loves to read (never wanted anyone to read to her for so long--she would "read" to herself from the time she was a baby), loves to sing (and makes up songs and sings constantly throughout the house), absolutely loves Baby Signing Time, and can sing and sign most of the content on those DVDs, can count to 15 or 20 depending on her mood, sing the ABCs, and speaks in almost totally complete sentences (leaving out the non-important words like with or and or to..."I want sit there you" translation: "I want to sit up there with you"). She is all girl (much to my joy) and loves to get her hair done and look beautiful (and then loves to show everyone in the house just how beautiful she is, and expects a compliment from everyone), loves cute clothes and shoes, shopping, and jewelry--halleluia!! (I now have my shopping partner in crime!) She's 2 and tall as the day is long--wearing 3Ts and 7 1/2 size shoes. She's been literally off the charts since she was born, always in the 95 - 100th percentile. Luckily, she's also skinny and perfectly proportioned (lucky dog!) She's going to be our piano playing, swimming, volleyball slamming, reading, singing champ!! We love her so much, and can't believe we were lucky enough to have her in our lives.

Sad News

So, I just found out last week that one of my former students died. I taught him 2 years ago at Zaharis, and he would have just been entering 7th grade this upcoming school year. He was such a character! Seriously, he was funny and goofy and full of life. What a sad loss. Apparently he somehow "hung" himself??? in a tree house or fort he had made. He wasn't even home--he was up in Flagstaff with his stepdad when it happened. In my 11 years of teaching, this is the first one of my students I know of that has died. I don't like it. Here'a a pic for you to see what he looked like. His name was Harold (I know) Thompson. It makes me want to hug my kids a little bit more, and a little bit longer.

Monday, June 9, 2008

My Very First Blog

So, I guess I'm officially entering the world of bloggers. I'm actually excited, and a wee bit nervous. Will my blog be interesting enough to read? Will other bloggers be interested in my rantings? Will I have anything to say? Alas...with such trepidatious thoughts, I begin! I don't normlly have time to do this blogging stuff because my life is so hectic crazy with teaching full time and raising three VERY ACTIVE youngsters, but I thought summer would be the perfect time to begin. So, you may get a lot from me in June and July and then almost nothing during the rest of the year. But who knows? Maybe I'll be all blog-crazy and write every week. I'm loving reading other blogs these days and realizing that it is such a great "time capsule" of sorts. All those cute (or obnoxious) things our kids do that we wish we had written down we now have a place for! I wish I would've started this sooner because my kids have done some very journal-worthy stuff in the past, and I'm sure I've forgotten most of it. Oh well. No time like the present, right?

So I guess I'll just start by telling a little bit about the Crandell family. Troy and I have been married for 13 years (can you believe it??) and we have 3 very cute kids (if I do say so myself...I can't help it, we create well together)! Cooper Jay Crandell was born May 16, 1998 and is just about to enter 5th grade. He is extremely bright and talented, and extremely difficult to manage, but we've learned a lot about parenting through him. :) He is musically talented (singing and piano), and an amazing reader and writer. He has ADHD and ODD, and that makes life challenging (for him and for us), but we're learning to deal with it more and more each day. Carter Davis Crandell was born Nov. 20, 1999 and is just going into 4th grade. He is also very bright and talented and super cute to boot! He lives in his own world most of the time, but is hilarious and very loving. He has discovered a love for baseball and a talent there that makes him happy. He also has a beautiful voice and is doing well in piano. He thinks being the class clown is the best, and we're trying to teach him otherwise... Brooklyn Dian Crandell was born Mar. 12, 2006 and she is absolutely a joy to have! She came into this world strong and independent and already knowing what she wanted. She is also very very smart, and keeps us laughing all the time! She LOVES Baby Signing Time and will watch it many times a day. She also wants to be right in the middle of things and is sure that whatever the boys are doing, she should be able to do, too. Luckily for me, though, she is a total girl and she and I enjoy doing our hair and nails and shopping. She really loves to look "pretty" and can't stand getting her hands dirty. She loves helping and cleaning up and I hope that lasts!

Troy graduated from ASU in architecture in 2005 and is currently working for a firm called SmithGroup as their Revit master (basically). He teaches the other architects how to use the software and trains them. He helps them with their projects, and is basically their go-to guy for problem solving. Apparently he had many hidden talents that came out when he started working--computer guru, teacher extraordinaire, and all-around favorite person to work with. He has been quite sought after in his field, and it's been great to see him develop so much over the last 3 years. He's very happy, and obviously doing a great job!

I am still teaching--it will be 12 years this August. I am currently teaching 5th grade at Zaharis Elementary School, and I absoluely love it! It is seriously the greatest school ever. It is different from all other schools because we don't focus on test scores, memorization, worksheets, and basal readers. We focus on helping kids be LEARNERS (not test-takers), who have a lot to contribute to their classrooms and society. We have reader's and writer's workshop using real literature, and we publish their pieces regularly. We have so much fun with our social studies and science, and I have never enjoyed teaching (or worked harder and been more exhausted) in my whole career. I love it! However, I am hoping this will be my last year, because I really am ready to stay home and make being a mom my full-time career. We want more kids, and in order for it to happen, I have to be able to focus all my energies on that. (If the economy could help us out that would be awesome).

So there you have it! A little bit about the Crandell Fam...hopefully my blogs will be more entertaining from here on out! :)