Thursday, January 29, 2009

Getting To Know You...Getting To Know All About You!!

My friend Suzanna tagged me this in an e-mail, but since I don't do a lot of correspondence that way, I decided that I'd tag people here on my blog. It's a long one so don't feel like you have to do this. I love to read these types of post on other peoples blogs though. I just helps me get to know you better...

What time did you get up this morning? Slept in till 6:00 a.m.- usually up at 5:20 a.m.
Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds
What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Wall-e...don't get to go that much...
What is your favorite TV show? 24 and American Idol
What do you usually have for breakfast? Some sort of cereal
What is you middle name? Gayle
What food do you dislike? Never had it but liver, heart...internal organs. YUCK!
What is your favorite CD at the moment? Nothing particular...Mix of songs...what ever is on my IPOD
What kind of car do you drive? Dodge Grand Caravan
Favorite Sandwich? Any Subway sandwich
What characteristic do you despise? Kids that don't listen to their mom
Favorite item of clothing? Jewelry-makes an outfit
If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? England with Dave and Portugal with Suzanna
Favorite brand of clothing? Anything on sale
Where would you retire to? Any place that didn't have ice on the sidewalks for half the year.
What was your most memorable birthday? When I was 6 and got a brand new bike
Favorite sport to watch? Packer football when they have a really good season...last year!
When is your birthday? March 22
What is your least favorite chore to do in the house? Cleaning bathrooms and putting away laundry
Are you a morning or night person? Used to be a night person, now I'm a morning person.
What is your shoe size? 8 1/2
Pets? 1 dog, 1 hamster, and 1 snake
What did you want to be when you were little? A mom and a hairstylist...did both!!
How are you today? Stuffy, tired and a bit lazy
What is your favorite candy? Reese's PB cup mixed in frozen custard...does that count?
What is your favorite flower? Lava Tera Mallow and Hollyhocks
What day on the calender are you most looking forward to? Middle of May...snow should be gone by then and also sometime in June when we go to Utah!
What was your maiden name if you are married? Ficklin
What are you listening to now? King Fu Panda, the movie.
What was the last thing you ate? Sushi roll
Do you wish on stars? No, but I love to look for shooting stars
What is your favorite color(s)? I love red, celery green and saffron yellow
How is the weather right now? Cold and it's making me depressed!
The first person you spoke with on the phone today? My friend, Jenny
Favorite soft drink? Dr. Pepper, but hardly ever drink it
Favorite restaurant? Victoria's for Italian and White Gull Inn for a fish boil.
Real hair color? What it is right now for the first time in 18 years, brown.
What was your favorite toy as a child? Barbies and dolls
Favorite season? Late spring and early fall
Hugs or kisses? Depends on who's giving them, but of course Dave's kisses and my kid's hugs.
Chocolate or vanilla? No brainer...chocolate.
Coffee or tea? Neither, but I love steamed milk with flavors.
When was the last time you cried? Right before that special time of the month a couple of week ago.
What is under your bed? Nothing
What did you do last night? Went to YW and made scripture cookies.
What are you afraid of? Something bad happening to one of my kids
Sweet of salty? Both, whatever the craving is.
How many keys on your key ring? 3
How many years at your current job? 12 1/2
Favorite day of the week? Saturday when everyone is home and Monday when everyone leaves!
How many towns have you lived in? 6, Lisbon, Portugal; Orem and Provo, UT.; and Gresham, Sturgeon Bay and Algoma, WI.
Do you make friends very easily? Yes, but sometimes I'm not in the mood to be social and I don't reach out.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Little Miss Chloe

This is just one of those things as a mother that I was so excited about. I called my mom to tell her what Chloe has been doing and told her that I'd post her drawing on my blog so she could see. So, if you don't mind the little brag session about Chloe so that my mom can see just how smart I think she is (OK...I'm a little over the top about this!), feel free to read on.
On the first day of Christmas break for Dave last month, Chloe decided she wanted to color her dad a picture while he slept in a little. I got her out some paper and the markers and set her on the table while I worked on doing the morning dishes. Up until now she didn't really ever draw anything particular. She kind of scribbled around and drew circles and stuff. About twenty minutes had gone by and I came to check on her project. When I first looked at it, I thought, "Well...which brother helped you do this, Chloe?" Then I realized that they were all at school still and that she had done this herself.
This was the first time that she actually drew little figures for people. I liked how she drew herself and her dad. She, with the longer hair and her Dad, with the shorter hair. She even got the faces pretty right. Then, the most amazing thing to me was the fact that she wrote his name down the side of the daddy figure! Wow!
This little girl loves her dad. She's got her dad wrapped right around her finger too!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"Coooooommmme Maaaaggggic!!!!!"

This story was written by my nephew, Gary Crofts (17) on his blog. I read it yesterday and was laughing and crying at the same time. This story absolutely captured the essence of my dad and his special little tradition he does with the grandkids. Even when he flies here to Wisconsin to see his "Cheesehead grandkids" he totes the treasure box along! I called my dad after I read this to see if he had read it. He was so tickled that Gary wrote the story and that the grandkids love the treasure box so much. My dad made me promise that we would have it read at his funeral no matter what. Thank you Gary for letting me copy this to my blog. I could have never done the "magic" justice.

Ever since I can remember, Papa has had the Magic Treasure Box. Coming across the Atlantic from Spain, the miniature pirate's chest sits on the top of Papa's armoire and is usually brought out on Sunday evenings and special occasions like Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July, and especially the Grandkids Extravaganza. He used to send us to go fetch it, but NO PEEKING or else. . . "see this belt right here?! (he hardly ever really had one on) I'm gonna. . ." "Spank your bum!" came our reply. hahaha. Papa loves to tease. :) We'd go get the box and obediently keep it shut tight. Papa would be in a big chair with about ten grandkids all gathered on the floor around him looking up in quiet anticipation and astonishment. There would be excited whispers and suppressed squeals of delight. The Magic Treasure Box always had a certain air of mystery that hung about it. How it produced handfuls of saltwater taffy and chocolate kisses was always a topic of debate and awe among the cousins. Each time before the ritual began, Papa would slowly shake the box and take a quick peak to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was nothing inside beforehand. I could have sworn that one time he let me look all the way inside and it was completely empty - just as I thought it would be. Now that everyone was comfortably seated, the quiet had settled in, and the suspense was starting to build, it was time. . . Time to "Call the Magic." (Looking back, this sounds like a horrid voodoo ceremony arising out of the misty swamps of Louisiana. . . *cough cough* :-/ . . . haha but it was just wonderful and innocent excitement.) Papa's wide eyes and solemn countenance would do a slow scan of all our faces to make sure we were paying attention. Twenty wide eyes would stare back at him. The silence was excruciating. Finally, holding the Treasure Box on his lap, Papa's arm rose high above his head and the haunting strains of his shaking voice started to be heard, first very quiet and low. . . "Cooooooooooooooooooommmmmmme maaaaaaaaaaaaaaagggggic." With each phrase Papa's hand made its descent, drawing the magic and its accompanying sweets into the box. "Coooooooooommmmmme maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaggggic!" Each call successively intensified in volume and gusto causing more and more excitement to boil up in our little hearts. "Briiiiiiiiiiinnnnng usss some CAAAAAAAANNNNNNDYYY!" If our eyes could grow any larger. . . they did. "NOOOOOOOOOONE of that NAAAASSTTYYY kiiiiinnndd ooooooonlyyyy the GOOOOOODDDD kiiinnndd!" By now Papa's thunderous voice was billowing throughout the house, his large flabby cheeks violently flapping back and forth, as the magic words flowed from his mouth, some of them indecipherable. We knew not whether they came from Portuguese Gispsies, Brazilian Indians, Louisiana Cajuns, or Mozambiquan tribesmen. "COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMME MMMMMMAAAAAGGGGGIC!" Papa was exhausted from all the work. As he asked for our help, ten little arms would spring into the air and with the anticipation spilling out of our capacities we'd let out a final shrill wail of "Cooooooooooooooooommmmmme mmmmmmmmmmmaaaaaaaaaaaagggggic!!!!!!!!" We could hardly contain ourselves now. Again Papa stared at us with eyes as big as saucers and said in a whisper, ". . . Should we see if it brought us anything?" The lid of the Treasure Box popped open and there before our eyes was a bounty of sugary treats. A jumble of hands flew for the box in a chaotic scramble, each of us taking enough to fill our mouths and our pockets. Wow!! . . . He had done it again.
"...None a that gummy kind, only the chocolate kind!!..."

I think I know the lesson this dog is trying to teach me...

I think I've got it figured out!
I'm about half way done with my doggy duty and to tell you the truth my attitude has been pretty stinky! I appreciated the kind words of compassion that some of you shared with me from my last post but I realize that that is just what I'm missing in my life...compassion!
Just as an update, the dog has been great at his own pee! (Well of course there's been pee, but only in the appropriate places!) It has been somewhat of a trail in my life to go there more than several times and day and spend a couple of hours there or sleep on the couch for the night to let the dog stretch his little legs. I have vocalized that you couldn't pay me enough to ever do it again. But, I have done my fair share of complaining about this and being a martyr...time to move on and grow a little from this experience.
I was talking to my sister Emily today and she had been blogging about a recent trip she and her daughter made to El Paso, TX. (They were suppose to go to Mexico, but because of recent violence there they had to move there trip) My niece, Jane and her fellow classmates, had saved and fund raised a bunch of money to go and do service and help with the less fortunate there in El Paso. Emily's blog was filled with inspiring acts of service and great attitudes. This got me to I have to go on a service mission to Mexico or El Paso to gain a better feeling of charity? No, I decided. I don't need to go any where. I can change my attitude with my family, friends, acquaintance's and even dogs that I agreed to help watch to be a more Christ-like person.
Lately I have felt a little down in the dumps...maybe from being cooped up all winter or maybe from not having Dave around very much to help out as he is highly involved with the musical at his school right now. But I do know this...I need to stop feeling sorry for myself and have a more positive outlook on my life. There...I feel better already! :)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Amazing Peeing Pooch!

If any of you have been on my Facebook page you would've seen that I've had a bit of doggy drama in my life. I don't know how I get myself in these predicaments but lately it seems to me that I have found myself in some positions where I'm asked to do some things that I really don't want to and then they turn out to be more drama than I care for.
Last week an acquaintance called me to see if we'd doggy-sit her dog while they went to Florida for 10 days. I was a bit hesitant to do this but I thought well, it might come in handy for us to have some one we could call on if we ever needed anyone to watch our dog for us. I asked if the dog was house trained and all that and she said of course; that he had never peed in her house before. I suggested that before they go, they bring the dog over to see if he's get along with our dog, Poppy.
The dogs were doing their doggy thing...running around, playing and smelling each other. Things seemed pretty normal and it looked like everything was going to be OK. About a half hour into the visit, Poppy was smelling him and he lifted his leg and peed on my living room rug. The owner just about died and said, "COSMO, WHAT THE H*LL!?!?!" Well, that should've been a sign! She apologized and just summed it up to being the nerves. Oh well...
A few days later they brought him over at about 7:30 p.m. The owner told me she was going to be going to bed early since they had to leave for the airport at 3:00a.m. They brought over all his stuff and bid him goodbye...that's when the drama started.
I'm telling you, that dog started to pee, and he peed and peed and peed! I was near hysterics! Every time I finished cleaning one pee he'd go and pee some where else. Now I don't want you to think I'm totally dense by not putting him in the kennel right away, but I didn't realize what was happening till after he'd peed 5 times. That includes on the couch, the carpet, the rug, the rug by the front door, and a blanket...
I didn't know what to do. I felt bad to call the owners because I knew they were in bed already and it seemed too late for them to make other arrangements. But after talking to a friend and my sister, Natalie, they both HIGHLY ENCOURAGED me to call the owners. I took the dog to their house and decided that it would be best to have the dog stay in his own house and then I'd go three times every day to play with him and take him out.
Now, two days into this arrangement I'm realizing what a pain in the butt it is to go out to their house for a half hour in the morning, have the boys go and spend two hours after school and then go for an hour before bed. How do I get myself into this??? I'm glad I can help out but originally when I agreed to it, it was just going to be having another dog around to play with my dog. Oh well...I guess I still have lessons to learn.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oh What Do You Do In the Wintertime, When It's Freezing Cold Outside?

As many of you know, we have been very cold here in Wisconsin this month. We have also been very cooped up in the house and are all suffering from cabin fever. Last week it got so cold here that school was canceled Thursday and Friday. They also had Monday off for Martin Luther King Day. With the babysitting job I have, this leaves me with six kids to keep entertained! Luckily for me they are pretty creative kids so I didn't have to do too much, but I took some photos of some of the crazy things they did to keep themselves busy. I got a kick out of some of them.
Here they spent some time putting as many bows and clips in Oliver's hair as they could.

I was pretty impressed how many they got on his head.

Chloe and Sadie spent some time organizing my fingernail polish. Who would've thought! They would group them by colors and then line them up by their favorites. Of course we had a painting party with the girls. The color of choice was pink with green polk-a-dots.

This little activity has become an annual tradition of the kids. (And by annual I mean ONE TIME ONLY! As they would love to do this every week...but I say no!) What they do is draw names out of a hat for each other. Then they take some time and use my scrapbooking stuff to make a card for that person. Then the chaos starts! They start at the kitchen table with the name of the person they had, then they each take a ball of yarn and weave and wind it ALL over the main floor of the house. At the end of their line, they hide their card they made and a treat from the cupboard for their person. Then they each take turns trying to follow their line of yarn to find their prize. This takes most of the afternoon, a great way to blow alot of time!

Chloe said it best..."It looks like a spider web in my house!"

Another fun thing they did was to get into the Halloween costumes and play dress-up.
Whatever it takes to keep them happy and out of each others hair.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Who would've thought... Lima Beans???

You know, as mothers we think we know what our kids will eat and what they just won't...or so we think we do! Last night I was making dinner and asked Stuart to go down to the freezer and get a frozen vegetable. He came up with what he thought were frozen peas. I said, "Stuart, these are Lima beans. I don't think you guys will eat these!" I asked him if there were any other vegetable and he said no so I thought what the heck I guess I'll try.
I know I didn't buy the Lima beans. I believe they were from Camp Susan and we ended up with them when we divided the left over food.
I cooked them in the microwave, sprinkled them with salt and put a pat of butter on them. I almost didn't even put them on the table because I thought there was no way they were going to eat them, but they were all willing to try... which surprised me as well.
It was a success! They ate them and some even said that they were their new favorite vegetable!
I let that be a lesson for me...if you don't try, you'll never know!

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Every year for New Years the Robertson family has the traditional gathering. Dave's family is getting so big that it's hard to get together in one place with out trashing the place or feeling like your going cuckoo-crazy with all the kids and noise everywhere. So for the last couple of years we meet at the YMCA during the day to swim, play racquetball and basketball. We found that this works really well so that not one house is getting destroyed and the kids have some where to get together and play. After we did that we went to Paul and Lisa's house for pizza. It worked out prefect!
Not wanting to call it a night, we took the party to the Torbenson's house for a party in Green Bay. (yes, we were all invited...we just didn't crash the party!) They have a large house to accommodate such an event. There must have been about 70-80 people there! The picture above shows all the shoes by the front door. I couldn't even fit them all in the frame!

When we walked into the kitchen to bring the snack that we brought, Connor's and Oliver's eye's almost bugged out of there heads! They couldn't believe all the bottles of soda! (This picture was taken after about half had already been thrown out.) They thought they had died and gone to heaven! Dave's brother, Adam and sister-in-law Ruth with their youngest, Trent, are in the photo.

Connor eyeing all the yummy treats and snacks!

Dave, Adam, Oliver and Calvin watching a football game.

Connor playing darts.

Chloe sleeping on the couch while her best buddy/cousin, Olivia watches. She was wondering if Chloe was going to wake up and bring the New Year in with her. I don't think so!

Chloe was out for the night and I wasn't too far behind her! I could not stay awake! I ended up sleeping the night away with her on the couch while everyone else partied and played. I'm getting too old to stay awake this late!

I did manage to wake up right before the clock struck 12:00 am! Everyone piled in the kitchen to do the count down and enjoy a glass of sparkling cider. The kids all had noise makers so even if I had stayed asleep on the couch, there would be no way to sleep through all that noise!

Looking old and tired for 2009! Oh well, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Our Christmas from Mama and Papa...a pukey experience!

This year for Christmas, my parents sent us a gift of money with instructions not to spend it on bills, but to do something as a family to make a memory. Well, that we did! So as a family we decided how we wanted to spend the money. The kids decided they wanted to go to eat at the Chinese Buffet. We don't take the kids out to eat at restaurants very often because with six people in the family it's about $60 a pop! So we headed down to Green Bay with empty stomachs ready to get our money's worth! It was a smorgasbord of yummy food. Everything from sushi to General 's Tso's chicken to the jello square that the kids love! We were all looking forward to it. I realized that this was probably my "Last Supper" as the New Year was a few days away so I kind of let myself loose. We all loaded our plates full of Chinese delights and went back for second and third helpings! As the meal wore on we all started to feel the effects! Oliver was the first to show signs of the abuse we gave our stomachs. He came up to Dave and I with puffy cheeks signaling that something bad had happened in his mouth. We directed him to the bathroom where he could take care of things. Stuart wasn't looking so good either, as the picture below will show. By the end of the meal, I was absolutely nauseous! I knew that if I got in the car I was going to "loose my lunch" as well! I sat there for a minute hoping it would pass. It didn't. I excused myself to the bathroom and came back feeling...shall we say...much more comfortable. We paided the bill and walked out to the car where Connor started looking "green". Oh no! You guessed it, Connor started puking all over the parking lot! Dave was mortified, saying he was the the only responsible eater out of the lot of us! He's probably right! I called my mom and told her that we made a memory with the Christmas money and puked it up all over Green Bay! What a waste!

Another fun thing we did with some of the money was to go to St. Vincent de Paul (like a thrift store). We had so much fun finding treasure for each of us. We found a sweater and shoes for me, two shirts, jeans and some cool Sketcher loafer's (brand new) for Dave, ties for Stuart, a shirt for Connor, a game and shirt for Oliver and a doll for Chloe! What fun! All for $27! I love bargain hunting!

With the rest of the money we bought an epansion game that goes along with our favorite game series, Settlers of Catan. My sister, Liz, introduced us to this game about 2 1/2 years ago and we've be playing it ever since. It's a blast!

Well, thank you Mom and Dad for the great memories you helped us create! We had fun spending (not puking) the money!