Friday, December 19, 2008

SNOW- And lots of it

Here's some pics of us playing in our newly aquired 10-12 inches of snow. What a blast! Ian was sliding down a small hill made by a courteous neighbor with a snow plow on his truck. Carley wasn't a big fan of the outing. Billy was all over the place, making tracks everywhere. Skit- well, Skit hates it when stuff sticks to his fur- especially snow. Although, he insisted on romping in it every chance he got. Carl and I each took turns on the shovel and between our two neighbor friends-one with a plow and the other a snowblower, we were able to make short work of the job. Hope you're enjoying the white stuff and not cursing it today.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Carl Passed!

Not that we are surprised by any means, but CARL PASSED HIS SERIES 7 TEST. Now he'll be ramping up for another test to be taken at the beginning of next year. He's so smart! For those of you who don't know- Carl went into the banking field this February. He's learning more about investing and such. I'm pretty ignorant about these things, so I'm sure lucky to have him.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wanna see something gross?

Here's a picture of Billy's new silver crowns-there are two on opposing back teeth (upper and lower on his right). The doctor was surprised that he didn't have any cavities that required additional attention. He did have sealants put in the deep crevices of his baby teeth. The two in the back were pretty bad with decay and required a baby root canal and then caps. I'll have to monitor his brushing more closely. And you'll be glad to know Billy is now an expert flosser.
As for the procedure, Billy did well. He did wake up pretty upset because mom wasn't there and they put in an IV while he was under anesthetic. He woke up pretty quickly and gulped his apple juice down and then took a little nap. When he woke up we went home and on returning home he threw up all of that apple juice in the staircase. Yuck! He's feeling much more normal tonight and I need to start getting everyone calmed down for bed. Thanks for all of your prayers and concerns. And a special thanks to Carl and our home teachers for the pre-surgery blessing.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Packing Peanuts Catastrophe

First...Let me say that at the time this seemed like a harmless and even remarkable idea. I thought this would be a great way for my kids to have fun in the "snow" without the effects of the freezing cold weather or melting snow and therefore mud outside. When this box arrived I knew it would bring great joy to my children. My kids love large boxes. I underestimated the joy the "snow" inside would bring. Let's just say around here we enjoy Iowa snow and will never again accept Florida "snow" as a substitute. Did you know packing peanuts stick like syrup on the table!?! These things will not go away. They are in the bathtub, the washing machine, the carpet, the sofa, the vacuum, the dog... everywhere. Carl warned me not to allow them to play with the foam vermin, but I laughed it off saying he was being ridiculous and that they should be allowed to have fun... they're children. Wow, am I eating my words. The clean-up will be going on for as long as we live here, no doubt. But (hush, hush) it was a good time. My kids did have great fun. The pictures are worth it. So, just a warning, should you choose to let your children enjoy this kind of good "clean" fun, be ready to find little white fluff for a long time.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


As I was heating up pizza for myself in the kitchen, the kids were eating corndogs at the table. Billy called out, "Mom?" and I said, "What?" And then I got a real laugh...
"If you would give me more ketchup please then I would be happily glad."
Hope you smiled today!

Carley's New Girlfriend

Carley and our new friend Lydia had the best time hanging out together the past two days. It has been so fun watching her relate to another girl. She's usually around her two brothers- which sometimes means she must fight to have her way. Lydia just loved for Carley to show her her toys and they were so good at sharing with one another. It was fun to watch them in their pig tails and pacifiers on Thursday. By Friday they were good friends. They both cried when I separated them for nap. Thursday when they "rested" together (because there was no sleeping going on in that room) Carley stroked Lydia's arm in a sweet comforting way. I'll admit it does make me think Carley having a sister would be way fun. Though I'm not ready for another brother- so we're still on hold. Well, that's my post this morning. Sweet girls! Oh MG I can't wait for yours!
As for the status report, Carl's got strep... bad! And I woke up with a sore throat again- though manageable, not like the strep. Ian's coughing terribly and Billy is still zonked out sleeping. Carley's doing well this morning- no complaints. A huge box arrived yesterday from my mom and stepdad and brother and wife. It was bigger than the kids. WOW, what a shipping costs, for sure. Lots of great stuff- including a new camera. I'll be playing with that new gadget all day. I'm glad we waited for Carl to open it- he thought to remember that the presents might not be wrapped. He saved the surprise for the kids. They weren't happy to be left out of the opening though. Thanks MOM AND MIKE AND ANDREW AND JACKIE. Can't wait to get the kids reactions on film. Til next time. See ya!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Another Mom School Love Post

Just another post to say, Mom School's the best! I love having the opportunity to sing with, teach and play with your kids. They are the sweetest and most intelligent little people. We had another fun day and after having such fun- I was a little sorry to be happy with a snow day Tuesday. Sorry MG, I didn't pull the camera out until after Cullan left. I promise to get him good next time. The boys just loved watching the Cars crash on the Cars Track- Jake insisted I put new batteries in it. I was glad I did. The girls went off and did their own thing, though Kate was interested in the cars for a little while.
As for Girls Night In... it was a great time. I'm so glad Meagan and Melissa could join me. There's still so much food left over. Looks like I don't have to cook tonight :). Meagan and I tried out the homemade facials and Melissa had a warm bubbly foot bath. It was so fun to have my friends over and not to have to worry (too much) about kid intruders. Billy and Ian tried to break the party up, but to no avail. Those that couldn't be there: don't worry, we'll see you next time, I'll try to plan away from the holidays. Thanks again Meagan and Melissa. I really enjoyed your company. Carl's home tonight, so I promise I won't be so lonely.
Look later for a Lydia post. Carley and her new little friend have been having lots of fun yesterday and today. I'll try to snap some pics too.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

snow day...not a snow day...snow day after all

As soon as I got up this morning I just knew it would be called a snow day. I bundled up the kiddos and let them romp in the snow and crash their little feet through the ice sandwiched between snow layers. We had lots of fun and I even got a few pictures- of course they're all overexposed. But then, when we came back inside... to my dismay... 2 hour delay. YUCK. So, I got Billy all ready for school and when I couldn't get the ice off my van I remember Carl's car in the tuck-under garage- he's outta town. I took Billy to school and got him dropped off. Just 2 hours later the school calls. Billy's been coughing and can't stop, they say. Okay, guess I'm off to pick him up. So, I pick him up and ask about the letter I got demanding doctor notes for his absences. I expained that I will not be taking him to the doctor every time he gets a little cough or sniffles. They agreed pleasantly, but warned me that I would need to clear it up with the attendance clerk. BLAH! So, now I have to get the kids' doctor to write a note explaining that Billy has asthma that sometimes requires home maintenance and that he does not need to see a doctor for every attack. Anyhow... it ended up being a fun day with the kids home. Ian didn't seem to miss mom school too much. Billy was bummed to have to come home, but seemed fine to hang out with us. Carley's been coughing too and Daddy called to let us know he's been well medicated today also. Well, here's hoping we're all better soon! I need to plan a fun day for my kids tomorrow- I've been kinda boring lately- all work and no play, ya know.

What you've been missing from the Hartson's

The Ward dinner was Saturday, so for days before I didn't post because I was too busy freaking out about getting everything ready. The dinner went well. It wasn't terribly well attended- due to sicknesses and families out of town. Also, dinner was 15 minutes late and Santa couldn't come. But I think we have been forgiven of these shortcomings. All in all I thought it was a nice night. Maybe we'll be kept on long enough to give it another try next year. So that was my week through Saturday.
Sunday I woke up with another sore throat- what gives! We did manage to get to church only to find the heat not working properly. We stayed for sacrament and then everyone was shuffled out. It was a wonderful testimony meeting. I especially enjoyed Bishop Keefe (still bishop to me, can't break the habit) and Sandra's comments. I only wish my children could have been more quiet so we could hear all of you who shared your testimonies. Carl left for Des Moines Sunday night.
Monday I ran around to a few stores returning the things we didn't use for the ward dinner so I can turn in receipts. I ended up spending more than I got back from returns. I let the kids shop for Dad for Christmas at the dollar store. I was just giggling at their choices for him. Billy picked gardening tools- yeah like Carl's the gardener. He does mow and rake and shovel, but garden-not so much. Ian chose coffee cups with scriptures written on them- very sweet, but they're cocoa cups at our house and we only drink cocoa a few times a year. Carley chose the most practical gift- bath poufs for shower gel- though I'm sure her choice was only a matter of sensory excitement. Oh well, the kids truly chose their daddy's presents and they were thrilled to wrap them last night. It was such a sweet time.
Last night we also delivered some homemade cookies to a few neighbors while it rained ice. We tried singing too, but the kids had stage fright. It was nice to visit with our kind neighbors. All of them let us into their houses- even with the wet boots and noisy kids. We're lucky to live amongst some wonderful people.
It looks like today will be a snow day. I have little motivation to leave the house. The snow is swirling outside the window. I know from walking the dog this morning that it's slippery out there. I can't imagine taking my three little ones out in this. Plus, I'm warm and cozy right here, thank you. Maybe I'll work on the photo calendars for my family. Hope you all are doing well.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Time for a New Post

I am planning a lovely Saturday (the 20th) for my hubby and I to enjoy while my mother-in-law watches our kids. I've planned a ski lesson at Sundown Mountain- by the way they're free through the 21st for first-timers- and hopefully a dinner theatre engagement later that night. Carl has not been entirely supportive of the plan. He seems to think skiing sounds less fun than I thought it could be. He also thinks the dinner/show idea is too expensive. I'm loosing my patience. We don't run away often. Why can't he just give in and let me have my way this time. GRRRR. Oh well.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A day to surprise and bless

As many of you know, my in-laws (Carl's parents) lost their home in the flood this year. Well, we were working on decorating our tree this morning and I couldn't help but think about mom and dad's artificial tree- kept in their basement. They lost so many things in the flood and I didn't want them to be sad about Christmas coming and them not having their decorations. So, I suggested we deliver their Christmas start. We loaded up the kids (too sick for church anyway) into the car and headed in to Cedar Rapids. We remembered to grab a tree base from the basement. And yes, on Sunday, we purchased a Christmas tree. We called Carl's brother and sister who bought ornaments and lights and we all met up before the surprise. Donned with Santa hats and singing Jingle Bells we reached their door and knocked. Their expression was so priceless. It was the best day ever! We put the tree up, put the lights on, decorated it and listened to Christmas music. Then we went to see the house they'll be closing on soon. And we enjoyed chicken noodle soup at Grandma's. It was a wonderful day. So, here's to Christmas and making things merry and bright for others. It was a day I hope my kids never forget.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The end of spelling out loud???

Today we learned that Billy is really getting the hang of this spelling/reading thing and that he is becoming a super-observant little booger.
We were in Wal-Mart doing a little shopping-the boring kind (laundry soap, lemonade, etc.), and Daddy said he couldn't wait for the boys to receive a t-o-o-l present from some relatives. Billy then says T-O-O-L and proceeds on sounding out each letter, eventually merging them into towel. Phew and Sigh! We got lucky with that one. I guess our days of spelling out secrets are almost up.
On the housekeeping side of things, Ian got his stitches out today. Carl says Ian didn't even flinch. Carley's had a bit of a fever, but she's doing okay. I only pray she didn't get my strep. Which, by the way, I'm feeling much better. A little tired and ouchy throat, but still much better. The Christmas tree is bare, but it is up. I'll be working on getting the lights on tonight, so we can decorate it tomorrow. Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Who would've thunk it?

As if we didn't have enough on our plate lately...
Carley took a huge bite out of Uncle Josh and Aunt Stephanie's brand new coffee table. And as an added bonus, she became our first child to loose a tooth. Ironically enough, we had just counted her 12 pearly whites at our wonderful Thanksgiving gathering with everyone to witness. Then, Carley went and fell into the table. How worried we all were. I, of course, took her straight to the ER with her whole tooth (root included) in a cold cup of milk... just like any good mom would. And they simply said, well, she was bound to loose it anyway. Her new one will come in when she's 5-7 years old. JOY. Thanks. Sigh.
So, if you see my smiling, you'll know it's because either 1. I'm just so grateful it wasn't worse or 2. I've officially gone crazy from the hazards of my life. I haven't figured out which category to put myself in yet.
UGH! I'm finished, really, I am.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


This all came on so quickly. I had a low-grade fever after a committee meeting Tuesday night, and all of that night was torture. Who knew that Strep was such a painful and tormenting sickness? I've reached temperatures of up to 103.7 and I've experienced chills where I shook so badly I could barely accomplish a thing. I've been weak and tired. And swallowing, yeah right. It has been a nightmare. Carl asked me if I wanted a blessing tonight and boy did I ever. Right after my blessing the fever left and I slept peacefully. When I woke up, even swallowing was a bit easier. Hopefully the Penicillin will take care of all this quickly. Thanks to NJ for helping me get Ian to his doctor appointment today. Thanks to KN for bringing over dinner and dealing with my dazed looks. And thanks to ML for helping Carl with the blessing. I can't believe what great friends we have here. I'm so grateful to be surrounded by people who care about me and my family.
Wishing you all a HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Guess what... Carl made my pumpkin pies from scratch since I didn't feel well enough too. Isn't that too sweet! Hope your holiday is great.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Healing and Learning

For all of those who have expressed concern for Ian, I am truly grateful. He is doing as well as can be expected. He's been mumbling to talk and is eating very little- I'm sure because it's painful. But he's doing okay. I'm always glad when dad's here, because he can make anyone smile. Dinner was full of smiles for Ian. I'm sure in just a few days more the pain will subside and Ian will feel and look a ton better. He's decked out in his snowsuit today. That's what he wanted to wear. Carley wanted to wear her new panties. I said that was fine... if she would sit on the potty during WonderPets. That sounded fair to her. Hopefully we're on our way to a diaper-free zone. Wouldn't that be nice! Well, I'd really like to get this place straightened up, so more later.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A hard lesson to learn

Last night, as we were all getting ready for bed, a terrible thing happened. We had just discussed in Family Counsel that Billy would now be sleeping on the bottom bunk to help him learn to get up and use the bathroom once in the middle of every night. Ian would now sleep on the top bunk. Everyone seemed pretty pleased with this plan, but something went awry during the execution. I was in the bathroom when I suddenly heard Carl yelling something to the effect of oh no, it's awful, Charity I need you... now. I replied that I'd be there in just a moment and then Carl with Ian clad in his arms burst through the door and set Ian on the sink counter. I started washing away the blood that was spilling over his face, looking for the origin. I just figured, bloody nose, no big. But then I saw two huge gashes cut into his sweet little chin. I started yelling, "OH NO, OH NO, OH NO." It wasn't my best performance of keeping it together. I paniced like I never have before- I'm usually the calm one when blood flows.
I told Carl to get him to the car and get to the hospital. He scooped him up with the hand towel from the bathroom held forcibly at his bloody chin and went for the van. Ian had no shoes and no jacket. He rode to Covenant ER in Carley's carseat- it was more accessible than his. Soon after they left, my panic would not subside. I looked for my other little ones, to calm them. I found Billy hiding and sobbing behind some furniture in the living room. I held him and told him Ian would be just fine. Carley climbed into my lap and she seemed nervous too. Once the kids were mostly calm, I started thinking about Ian again. I quickly called over a friend- who was there in record time (yeah Krista). I put Carley down for bed and left Billy watching Veggietales and in capable hands.
When I arrived at the ER I was pointed in the direction of Ian's room. As I walked through the door, Carl and Ian's faces were full of surprise. Ian smiled instantly. I helped to apply the numbing medicene to his chin and I got to be there to comfort him through the procedure. Besides the two large gashes under his mouth, the inside of Ian's mouth is a mess. He bit his lip in three places. One place is very deep. His mouth is swollen. Ian received 8 stitches. He slept while the doctor sewed him up. He was very patient and a good listener to the nurse and doctor. Both of which were wonderful! They were kind and personable to Ian. They were both careful to explain what they were doing.
When we got home we heard the whole story. Billy confessed that he pulled Ian off the ladder when Ian grabbed his toy puppy. He was feeling VERY guilty. Right after the incident, Billy was running around the house yelling in terror. Then he hid. Billy asked for his brother's forgiveness when we got home. He hugged him and watched over him. And this morning we talked about repentence. Billy prayed, so earnestly about his feelings. It was very humbling. He asked forgiveness and promised to be more careful. Ian will have stitches for 7-10 days. We're praying for a quick recovery.
I was so grateful that I was lucky enough to have a friend to call on to care for my little ones with no notice. I needed to be there for Ian. The nurse and doctor were wonderful and it was a blessing to have them watching over our Ian and accessing his needs. Carl lost a dress shirt last night-it was covered in blood. We lost a hand towel- I threw it out at the ER. I got naeseated and light headed from watching the stitches go in. But our family learned a hard lesson- one of repentence and being made humble. As parents, we learned how to hold our tongue and let the natural consequences speak for us. It was an experience that, at the time, seemed just horrible, but I can't bring myself to regret it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thankful Heart

I went to the Nauvoo Temple yesterday with some friends and what a fun day it was. I do miss the days of Burlington when I could be at the temple in just 45 minutes, but the drive this time wasn't all that bad. As always, at the temple I enjoyed a great feeling of calm and reverence. Afterwards we stopped by my house in Burlington and buried a small statue of St. Joseph. The theory is that St. Joseph was the ultimate in keepers of households. He protects and lifts families. And apparently, he is a great realtor. So, after receiving the statue in the mail from my father I promised to bury it as soon as I could. Well, he is safe in the ground and here's to good old faith in making this sale come to pass.
Little things my little ones have done that have brought a smile to my face this week. Carley pushed a dining room chair across a room (they're heavy) when she heard the water running in the sink. She insisted on helping me with dishes. What a blessing! Billy is paying closer attention to the scriptures when we read together. He's been asking lots of great questions- especially about Korihor. Ian is getting better about being sweet to his sister. He has been hugging her and tickling her lately- what an improvements. They do still have their rifts, but I can see their closeness improving. And then there's Skit... he loves the snow. On his walks he loves to run through the snow and sniffs at it wondering. He usually comes up with a muzzle covered in snow. I even caught his rolling in it!
Carl is another great source of happiness, as well he should be. He's been studying hard and happily letting me read too. He has also been a great help with the kids lately. Sometimes I walk in and they're reading or playing Candyland or he's already got their lunch going. Carl was surely one of the best choices I have ever made. I'm so grateful for him.
Well, the ward dinner is coming up and we have lots to plan to make it a success. Let me know if there's something you're itching to help with :).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Something new

Okay, a little break from the norm here. Things I'm loving right now...
1. Dollar Tree's Winnie the Pooh kid ice pack. Target's is nearly $3
2. Target's One-Spot $1 Family Calendar- you add the pictures
3. The idea of getting my girl a tutu and dolls for Christmas
4. Getting lost in a book- even if it's probably not the healthiest reading for my mind :)
5. Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes- no really!
So, there it is a post that's truly mine today!

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Teeth, LarryBoy-Crazed and the Unscathed

Well, doing my duty as a mother, I first feel compelled to share how my children are faring. Flanking her two bottom teeth that have looked lonely for so long, Carley now has 2 new teeth. They are just breaking through, one came yesterday and another today. That explains her low-grade fever, increased temper and need for a few extra naps. Ian has had a low-grade temp for a few days, but not today. Today, he was LarryBoy, over and over and over. Ian's feeling much better and his energy level is through the roof. As for Billy he is the only one in the house to be left unscathed in the health department (knock on wood). Carl and I have not felt well and Carley and Ian have had their days, but Billy's doing great!
As for me, besides battling migraines and other not-so-enjoyable sicknesses... I've been loving the Twilight series. I'm nearly done. I'm 1/3 into the last one. Well, it's a short post, but I did get it done. That's one more check on my list! :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Here to stay

I want to take this opportunity to really journal for a minute. When Carl left his job in Burlington it was terribly scary. But we knew it was the right choice. His job meant he wasn't around much. Often, I felt like a single parent. We prayed often about how to keep our family close. When we started talking about Billy beginning school the realization came that Carl (who never had weekends off) wasn't going to be seeing much of his big boy anymore. Neither of us could manage the thought.

So, my brave hubby left his job and we began the tormenting search for something else. We tried looking only in Burlington, so we would not have to move away... to no avail. We looked everywhere. Then we started discussing where we most wanted to be. Evansdale/Waterloo quickly became the answer. This is where we started our family. This is where our friends are. It is close to family. And as soon as Carl made the drive here to continue his search, he said he felt as if he were coming home. The Spirit strongly testified that this was the place. For several months Carl lived here without us. I frantically prepared the house for a move and to sell. When we joined him, it felt so right.

So lately we have been worrying about needing to move again because our house won't sell. We have prayed, fasted, made trips to the temple, everything (well, except burying a statue of St. Joseph- we're working to check that one off too). It has been a faith-trying, despairing journey. But... our landlady isn't giving up and just offered us a lease. We won't have to move! Hopefully, we can still purchase the home within a year or so. What a blessing. We've been looking at other rentals, and have been so sad at the thought of leaving our imperfect home and Billy's school. So, just so you know, we're staying, right where we are.

I'm betting that few of you will truly understand what a relief and blessing this is. I have moved many, many times in my life (over 15). Carl hasn't experienced too much stability either. And, even our children have experienced as many as 5 moves. We're so glad to be staying. I hope we are done with moving for a long time. The Lord has been with us in our journey. Gently leading us where we needed to be. We only hope we can be close to the Spirit so His will can be revealed in time. We are praying for each of you in your trials and hoping you will feel the Lord guiding you.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Busy Week

Every Sunday we have Hartson Family Council, where we discuss what we've done in the past week and what's coming up for the next week. It's looks like another busy week around here. Meetings and planning. We are looking forward enthusiastically to the Stake Youth Dinner Saturday. If you have some free time, bring a peeler and head to the church Friday night at 5 p.m. We'll be peeling and cutting potatoes and carrots in preparation for the dinner Saturday. I'm sure it will prove to be a boring and endless time of servitude, but hey, it could be fun... really. Or if you have time Saturday night you can help serve up the grub. Also, in a few weeks, Saturday the 22nd is Stake Temple Day, let me know if we can trade kids so we can attend with our hubbies! Wishing you all a happy week filled with good happenings!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Reasons I'm blessed

Wow, it has been a day filled with emotions of every sort. But all in all I must say I feel a peace makes no sense to have at all. I know that living the Gospel brings blessings. I know that praying- even and especially when you don't want to- invites the Spirit. The things of this world are fleeting. They truly "don't amount to a hill-a beans." Success, money, even friends come and go. Fortunately my family can be forever. I shall try to focus on these feelings now, while we are undergoing so much struggle and heartache with our finances. Christmas is magical and it is because of the Christ Child, born for our sakes. I know happier times are coming. Bless us all to make it there... with our faith and hope intact.

Christmas is coming

So, I took Skittles for a walk yesterday morning, as I always do... and besides being freezing I was in awe of how everything looked with a slight layer of fluffy snow. My children were thrilled at the snowfall and I even got an adorable call from two more snow lovers. I LOVE SNOW TOO! You may think I'm crazy, but it's beautiful and fun. Sledding, snowmen and snowballs, you can't have any of that in Florida. I really enjoy it, especially with my kids-although before they came Carl and I were a snowman-making, sled-crazy and snowball-throwing couple. The kids add to the fun tremendously. They race to put their snowpants and boots on. They always love new hats and gloves too-just like mom. So, to all of you whiners complaining that the snow is here already, I say *raspberry*. And the Christmas music is nerve-settling and with my nerves I'm appreciative. I feel like I have so much to be grateful for, even in my difficult circumstances. Look how lucky we are, what blessings we enjoy!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Halloween pics

Just a few additional photos (mostly from Meagan- of mom school).... For the sake of my far-away family! Miss you all. Wish you were experiencing all of this first-hand. We're so lucky to have this technology.

A little girl and her dollhouse

Special thanks to J.J. for the darling dollhouse. Carley adores it and pulls it down from it's shelf often. Here's just a couple sweet pics of her enjoying it.

Having a girl is different than the boys. While my boys have been so wonderful and darling, Carley is great in a different way. It's fun to shop with her and do her hair. But there are special moments like helping Billy and Ian with their superhero-wear that I probably won't have with her. I'm so glad I've been blessed with them all!

Pictures again, after all

Thanks to M.G., who came to the rescue with photos of Ian and Carley from Halloween. And thank heaven for my camera phone for the others. They aren't as clear as I'd have hoped, but they are pictures and with family far away I must be grateful for that. Sorry for my little rant yesterday. I know the Lord loves me and watches over me. But yesterday I was sure I was at the bottom of his list. Here are a few pictures, since I've been denying you all for over a month!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pictures no longer

Unfortunately I gave up on my camera this week. It hates me. My kids come out in all my pictures white- with halos, gleaming like heavenly beings (like little angels mocking me for trying to preserve this special time). I must say, it has been a challenging Monday for me. A coughing and struggling-to-breath kindergartener. One tire on my van is flat. No action at the house for sale. No stamps for the rent that's due. Frustration. Irritation. Sadness. And yes, tears. I've been trying to focus on the good, the silver lining that is ever evident in my life... but I've lost track of the positive. The negative has enveloped me today. My kids are napping (tired and sick) and I'm going to take a break too.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Seed Planted

Today at church, a wonderful thing happened for our family. When we first arrived we were handed a program and all sat down as we normally do. Then I handed Billy the program and he asked me about the blank face (a circle with ears) and the lines underneath it printed on one side of the program (THANKS STERNS). I explained to him that he should make it his face and then write his testimony underneath it on the lines. I briefly explained the purpose of testimony meeting is to share our beliefs with one another. He asked if anyone could share their testimony. I said yes, anyone who wanted to tell what they believed in and knew was true could do that in a testimony meeting. This interested him very much. I encouraged him to listen to what the people said on the stand today. We talked about what he believed in. We talked about Jesus and the prophet and the scriptures and family. He then went on about the meeting in his normal way, playing with quiet toys and listening every now and then. Towards the end he showed me the face-all colored in with hair, eyes and a smile. Then he asked if it was his turn to tell his testimony. I said in just a moment when the brother at the stand is finished. I told him I would go with him and sit behind him while he did it. Billy bravely led the way to the front. Bro. Keefe pulled up the step stool for him and lowered the microphone (Earlier in the meeting, I made sure to warn him not to be very loud- if you know Billy you understand the importance of that warning). Then, Billy stepped up and... froze... solid. I gave him a few seconds and then stepped up beside him. I told him to say "I have a testimony". Then I asked him to remember what we talked about... he couldn't. So, with a little prompting we got through it. His heart was willing, but the flesh was weak. My sweet little boy led the way and wanted to share with everyone his belief in Jesus Christ. Upon returning to our seats, Ian exclaimed "Billy, you did it." I am so blessed for my little children. They are so close to God. I know they hear me when we read together and teach of Christ- even if at the time it seems hopeless. I'm grateful for the opportunity to teach them. What a glorious day at church. My heart is full.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

So Blessed

Just a quick post to say we're brimming with blessings at the Hartson House. (No we haven't sold our house in Burl yet). We got to the temple and had a remarkable session. It was beautiful. The kids are doing great for Family Home Evening and our Family Councils have been running very smoothly. Things have really been going well. More later.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Productive Day... Tired Me...

Quick re-cap of the day...
  • Got Billy off to school for picture day- with trimmed hair and his photo envelope
  • Got a new FHE lesson from Relief Society activity- woo hoo (these are so handy)
  • Washed and brushed the dog
  • Walked up to Billy's school to pick him up (pushing a double stroller, brought the dog too)
  • Pulled weeds and loaded brush into the blue bin
  • Mowed the yard (gotta keep up with the Jones'es, ya know)
  • Made dinner, did dishes
  • Washed kids, did bedtime routine
  • Planned temple trip, packed for temple trip

We leave early in the morning and we're stopping in Burlington to pick up our babysitter for the kids and dog. She's a very dear friend- and has opened her whole day up for me. After the temple we're going to the old house to do yard work. We got a notice that the hedge in the alley is overgrown and yada yada yada. So, busy day tomorrow. Busy day today. Must get rest. 'Night.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Three weeks ago a few moms and I started a mom school for our 3/4 year olds. We each take turns hosting and teaching the kids. There is a schedule and a focus letter/color/shape. The kids are absolutely loving it. It was so fun to be their teacher this week. Ian wasn't happy at first, because when we arrived at mom school (after dropping Billy off at Kindergarten) he saw we went home. He didn't want to go home, he wanted mom school. I explained that all his friends would join us here at our house and soon he was on board again. Well this past Tuesday and Thursday I've taught for the letter B/color red/shape square. Here are some of the activities we've been enjoying...
  • A red toy hunt- with a red pillowcase to collect them in
  • Butterflies from coffee filters and clothespins and red pipe cleaner antennas
  • Stuffing red square bean bags full of beans
  • Singing "Banana Phone" and pretended bananas were phones
  • Ate Bug Bites (graham bugs)
  • Ate BlueBerry Muffins and Banana Muffins
  • Singing "Bringing Home a Baby BumbleBee"
  • Went on a Bear Hunt
  • Read Brown Bear Brown Bear
  • Any many other games, books and songs

It's been a lot of fun being the teacher this week. But I have to say... I've earned my 5-week break. Six 3-year olds is a lot to handle all at once. But they are good kids, and oh-so-smart!

So, from me and Ian... WE LOVE MOM SCHOOL!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Wow, as of this morning both of our boys have had dry mornings for 2 days. No more pull-ups for us overnight. Thanks to Eric J.... who accidently put Billy in underwear (instead of a pull-up) and Ian in a pull-up (instead of a diaper) when he was babysitting. Both woke up dry that Friday. Since then we've been wondering if we should give Billy another underwear night- try. Well, he talked us into it this week. No more wetting pull-ups for him. He's so proud of himself. And we are pleased as plums. Ian has been staying dry overnight since Eric J. switched him to pull-ups. It was a simple change for him. I have had to make a small sacrifice by waking them when I get up and reminding them to use the potty. But it's worth it... HOORAY!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Potty Humor

Okay, so if you don't enjoy kid potty humor, please read no further. I really felt I had nothing new or exciting to blog about until the following conversation happened tonight with my husband and 3-year-old.
Ian-sitting on the potty, Daddy- waiting to use the bathroom...
Daddy: Ian, do you need any help?
Ian: No, I'm just going potty.
Daddy: Be sure to wipe.
Ian: I don't want to.
Daddy: Here, let me help you, I'll show you how.
Ian: I don't want to, it's yucky.
Daddy: Ian, I'm not going to wipe your butt for the rest of your life.
Ian: I'm only 3. (with emphasis on "only")
Commense laugher...
Then Daddy proceeds to wipe Ian's bottom for him with a promise that Ian will have to do it all by himself tomorrow. Hahahaha!
Where does he get this stuff? Well, it sure was our highlight tonight.
At FHE we talked about King Benjamin and Ian lost all his animal cookies in his bag to the naughty bag because he wouldn't listen, stop talking or stay in his seat. It was so hard. Some days Ian does great and others not so much. Billy was wonderful. He listened and answered questions very well. Carley- at this age- is a lost cause. We keep truckin' along though, hoping in the long run it'll make a difference. Routine is everything, right? Well, I'm sure tonight our downfall was starting an hour late. Dinner wasn't ready until 6:15 (an hour late) so then everything got pushed back. Better luck next Monday.
Tomorrow is Mom School and my turn to teach. Billy's had some asthma trouble over the weekend, but did well today at home, so I'm sending him to school tomorrow. I hope Carley behaves during Mom School. I worry she'll be in the way. She often demands to be the center of attention. Ian's excited to have school tomorrow. I hope it goes well. New update tomorrow.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Kindergarten- A not a day too soon

Well, my biggest boy, is a Kindergartner. As he says, "I'm real 5 now." Apparently May 22nd doesn't mark his birthday, the start of school does. He has been waiting for this day since his Preschool Graduation. So, better late than never, here are a few pics. Billy comes home singing songs and loves to show me what he's done. I can say he really has needed very little time to adjust. And he already loves his teacher.
Ian's had 2 weeks of Mom School as of today and boy does he ever enjoy it! The last two times I dropped him off, he said, "I go to school all by myself mom, you and Carley can't come." Well, I guess he told us. We're thrilled that he's loving it. The socialization will be so helpful. I teach Mom School next week and I'm excited! It ought to be fun.
Carley and I are enjoying our alone time while Ian's off at Mom School 2 days/week. It's fun to be with just her. She's becoming so independent and it's apparent that I no longer have a baby. She's a toddler, through and through.
:( well :)

Camping Trip

We went camping a few weeks ago and I realized that since I've been having trouble with the computer, I haven't had the chance to post new pictures. This includes Billy's first day of school. So, I'll be posting some pics today that are a little old- by just a couple of weeks. Camping is getting more and more fun the older the kids get. The boys are really becoming able to help- setting up the tent, gather kindling, and other small but important tasks. I can't say Carley loved the experience.. it was a windy day and she was not happy about the whole thing. Come bedtime Ian had a little trouble falling asleep. But we had a great opportunity to look up and see more stars than I have ever seen at one time before. It was breathtaking and mind-blowing. WOW! All in all it was a fun day and night, but after breakfast we were off to Grandma and Papa's new FEMA trailer. I think by then we were pretty ready to say goodbye to camping for the season. Swimming at Grandma and Papa's was a great highlight. Their neighborhood has a free pool and it was very nice. Well, I have to post about Billy's first day of Kindergarten and Ian's first day of Mom School. I've been missing a lot.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


I was tagged by a sweet friend, so I had to respond. Plus, it gave me a reason to blog tonight, when I wasn't feeling up to it and not sure what to write. Thanks MLS.

One-word responses...

1. Where is your cell phone? table
2. Your significant other? Carl
3. Your hair? wet
4. Your mother? crazy (in a good way, of course)
5. Your father? practical
6. Your favorite thing? sleep
7. Your dream last night? embarrassing
8. Your favorite drink? Powerade
9. Your dream/goal? serenity
10. The room you’re in? dining
11. Your hobby? reading
12. Your fear? inferiority
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? debt-free
14. What you’re not? lazy
15. Muffins? please
16. One of your wish list items? wardrobe
17. Where you grew up? everywhere
18. The last thing you did? bath
19. What are you wearing? jammies
20. Favorite gadget? email
21. Your pets? Skittles
22. Your computer? crashed
23. Your mood? overwhelmed
24. Missing someone? mom
25. Your car? minivan
26. Something you’re not wearing? socks
27. Favorite store? books
28. Like someone? many
29. Your favorite color? green
30. When is the last time you laughed? dinner
31. Last time you cried? yesterday

I tag any of you that read this... beware I check your blogs!

As for the update... Billy's testing the waters by talking back, Ian's playing mommy's boy this week and Carley is getting smarter and sneakier. The dog needs a bath. The dishes need washed. The laundry's due. Busy with my calling. Deadlines coming all the time. Homework and paperwork abound. Getting hard to keep our heads above water with two houses. Trying to keep my smile on.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Another Dimension

I'm writing you all from another dimension... SAFE MODE. That's right, unfortunately two days ago my computer crashed. I've been trying so many things to save it and I've been scrambling to back up all my information so I don't loose it. It looks like I'll have to give up and start fresh. So, in case that takes awhile, please know that I am "safe" and well. Hopefully I'll make it back. Wish me luck!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Random Jabbering

Okay, so it's been a week since I've posted to my blog. Looks like I'm falling off the train. It's such a shame since lately some of my dearest friends have been hopping back on the blogging train. In all reality, I've been meaning to post. So many fun and wonderful things have been happening in our home. And I've been trying to take pictures of it all too.
Billy started Kindergarten... he loves it. Ian does not. He cried and cried the first day of school- not Billy, Ian. He misses his brother every day. The second day Billy went I found Ian laying on the top bunk- Billy's bed- talking to Billy's bear. He's getting used to it, but the peak of the day is when Billy comes home. When he's off half days it will get harder I'm sure.
Carl and I are co-chairpersons on the activities committee for our ward- at church. We have been terribly busy planning an upcoming activity for Sept. 6. It is a Book of Mormon Activity and has many facets involved. We are planning geocache-ing, trivia, crafts, games, lunch and much more. It is sure to be a good time. We appreciate all of the help we've been getting. Everyone has really been reaching out to make this happen.
Our family went camping this weekend (for Carl's 31st birthday). The kids did pretty well, though Ian was not happy come bedtime. The stars were amazing and the weather was beautiful. It was a nice family trip. We learned Carley does not like wind. Billy is terribly curious about many things in nature. And Ian loves to watch the animals, but does not like sleeping in tents. And I learned Carl is a great smoke signaler- not as great at starting fires.
We also visited Grandma and Papa in their new FEMA trailer. That's right, they finally have a place of their own. Annette and Ronnie were so great to host them out at their place, but now they can have family over to their place again and feel more independent. It's a nice place and comfortable. The park they live in is very clean and accomodating. We went swimming at the pool while we were there too.
Today has been a blur. Laundry from camping, still unpacking boxes, haircut for Carl, reorganize the toy room... again. It's never ending around here. And the paperwork Carl and I have been buried under with our most recent venture of becoming licensed as foster parents has been astronomical. You can rest assured that foster parents are well prepared for the task at hand. They are also very analyzed and must have all their ducks in a row before taking on such a task. We look forward to providing stability and love to foster children though. It will be a great experience for all of us.
Well, we've been busy. I'll try to post pictures and more soon. Thanks to all of you who have been keeping up on your own blogs. I love to read them and know you are all doing okay in your new places and new roles. It's fun to see your families grow and change. I'll do my best to jump back in with two feet.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Can't catch my breath

Talk about crazy busy. The house in Burlington is empty. We loaded up Saturday morning and unloaded Saturday evening. Thanks to all of you who came out to help in both locations! It's very full in our new little house, but everything's here. As soon as we can make some sense of it all, we'd love visitors. The house in Burlington also had one big zucchini in the garden and I harvested all of the carrots- there were enough to fill a 3 gallon bucket. There were only 7 ears of corn that were close to ready. Well, I know this will be a short post but I wanted to be sure to put one up today. I feel like I haven't posted in ages.
Carl and I are taking a class up at the community college and it's turning out to be a nice date night for us. We made trades and found babysitting for all but 3 nights of 10. We're so grateful to be among so many friends here. Well, I have to start on boxes and I need to mow. More soon... until then... goodbye.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Busy Busy Busy

Cinnamon rolls, yummy. Pan-licking good!

Relaxing with Papa.

It's been days since I've posted. Sorry for the lull. I've been 1) busy with getting the windows completed 2) watching the Olympics and 3) getting the house ready for the furniture move. Yes, that's right we're finally getting our furniture here. How exciting is that!? Well, many people have assured us we'll have the help loading and unloading that we need. Grandma and Papa will come up and watch the kids for us. Saturday is the day.
As for the windows, I'm finally done scraping, caulking, priming, painting, cleaning up and washing. No more ladder work for me for a long time. I do have 6 basement window to do, but they are small and close to the ground. That should go very quickly. And as for the attic, we're not doing them, because we're replacing those windows and turning the attic into a dormer for the boys. More work ahead.
And the Olympics, wow! What fun it has been to watch the athletes compete. There have been amazing Olympic moments all along the way. Some have been so sad and others tremendous. It has been great to include the kids when possible too. They get exciting whenever swimming is on. Gymnastics comes on too late for them. We try to watch the highlights with them the next day. It's been exiciting and we're looking forward to track and field starting soon.
So, sorry for the absence of new posts around here. I'll try to be better. It's just been busy busy busy here. Hope you guys are having a more relaxing summer than the Hartsons!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Busy Day... Olympic Night

So, for a friend, I wanted to share Carl's take on why the Olympics is so exciting and special. This is the explanation he gave the boys tonight during the opening ceremony... Do you know how countries fight with each other all of the time? Well, the Olympics is a special time of year where all countries decide to stop fighting and play sports. They play all sorts of games and have fun together. It only happens once every four years (so, Ian and Carley, this is your first time), but it's the closest we'll ever get to peace on Earth. And with the globe in our laps, we showed the children where many of the countries represented were on the globe. Billy couldn't believe how small Iowa was on that big globe. It was a pretty special moment. So, hooray the Olympics are here. We'll be watching.

As for today... Ian helped me rinse the dishes this morning. Billy helped fold laundry. Carley fell asleep at the table during lunch and mommy painted the porch. It's been another busy one.

Oh yeah, and last night we planted strawberry plants we got from freecycle. Our neighbor Erma Jean let us plant them in her garden box. And while we were planting them Ian was bit by many mosquitos. He has 5 more bites on his face (plus the one that the doctor deemed terrible looking- but not harmful). That kid needs some bug spray. It's too bad they love the outdoors.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Swollen Eye and Caulking/Priming

Ian woke up this morning with his eye swollen shut. This sweet child of mine is my daily worry. I noticed a bug bite on his eyebrow Tuesday night. It looked a little irritated, but nothing terrible. I gave him some Benedryl and put him to bed. The next day the eye looked puffy. More Benedryl, but it didn't look too bad. Then, this morning, he couldn't even open his eye; so we're off to the doc this morning.
Carl had yesterday off so we decided to get some work done. After a day like yesterday I feel like I should be finished with these crazy windows. We scraped the old paint off a few weeks ago- that took a few days. Then Carl removed the old caulk and replaced it. After he was finished, I primed the windows. And now... we have to paint them. Luckily it's a one day job at best. But I must say besides feeling terribly sore, I do feel accomplished! The end of the windows is in sight. Then of course I'll need to clean them! ;)
We're doing well on getting sitters for the upcoming class Carl and I are taking at the community college. There are 10 classes and we have three sitters planned. We've only been asking for a few days. It looks like we'll make it. If you're interested in sitting for us the schedule is 6-9 p.m. Thursdays from Aug. 14th thru Oct. 16th. I will trade babysitting or cakes or your choice for your service!
More after Ian's doctor appointment, which we need to be getting to.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ernie Laugh

Yesterday, Carley revealed a little piece of personality we've never heard before. She has an Ernie laugh. Hilarious! I couldn't stop laughing when I heard it. It's so funny. Anyhow, besides the maybe-not-adorable-but-surely-amusing Ernie laugh our day was normal. Skit got his shots at the vet. Neighbor Larry took our mountain from the backyard for fill dirt and the kids, of course, played in the dirt. Great fun, dirty day! Pics of that later...maybe.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Has anyone else ever noticed how much lemon pez taste like Lemon Pledge? I personally have never tasted Pledge of any variety, but this is just how I imagine it to taste. How gross! I'm a Pez lover, but the yellow ones... you can just throw them out as far as I'm concerned. Yuck!

Underwear are all the craze

So, now my baby girl is excited about underwear too. On Saturday- because of the tax-free weekend and school shopping- I went ahead and picked up a 10-pack of underwear for little miss. Now, I know she's only 18 months, but she is telling me when she's stinky now. She pulls up her shirt and pulls at her waistband and shouts at me. I'm waiting until she is verbal before I train her. So, here she is trying on some underwear just like her big brothers. And speaking of big brothers... Ian loves his undies now. He protests diapers when we offer them. And Billy picked out some new Diego underwear for school. So, we're underwear crazy around here. I'll bet you can imagine the giggles we've been having.
Yesterday I went to an eye appointment at 6 p.m. (how nice that I could wait until after Carl was home from work). They dilated my eyes and when I went to bed last night at 11:30 the right one was still huge! It was rather creepy looking. Even this morning, the right pupil is abnormally large. But as cooperative as I tried to be it was difficult keeping my eyes open for the drops. I wasn't exactly an easy patient. And well, when I asked about contacts and expressed a concern that I wouldn't be able to put them in, my doctor politely said, I don't think contacts are for you. So... nocontactforyou... as my buddy Lisa might say of her recent experience! :) Well, that was my day.