Thursday, January 28, 2010


Today was frustrating. (Yes, the word has two r' s. Please stop now and evaluate whether you say frustrating or fustrating. I know. . . I'm in a mood.) Would you mind if I let it all out here, for a minute? Graw-see-us.

*Two of my kids take dance from a really wonderful teacher. She does everything she can to keep costs low so we can afford dance for our people. One of the way money is saved is the mothers of the dancers take turns making, buying or otherwise creating the costumes. I have paid as little as $7 for a darling costume--a heck of a lot different than $50 or more! Anyway, it was my turn. I ordered most of the costume from Old Navy. They sent the wrong tops. I returned them. They sent me the right tops, but only two (instead of six). They were sold out of larges. I decided to make some. They turned out like this:
I thought they were fun and cute, but they were rejected. All of that work for naught. I finally bought something else and got my second rejection. Now what?

*Second frustration: I keep getting nasty spam on my comments. I'm sorry if any of you happened to see them before I erased them. Erg!

My girls decided to take their own nail polish off one day. They left the lid off the remover and it spilled. Today I bought a brand new bottle. It was on the table (I was still putting things away) and someone spilled it, too. To make it worse, it spilled on paper which helped make these perfect lines on my table where the finish was completely removed.

*After waiting over 30 minutes for a program to download, at 90% completion, my baby clicked cancel.

*I went to use my camera and found the memory card full. Here is a sampling:

*After looking all over town for the "right" tops (which turned out to still be wrong), I was starving. I forced myself to not stop for tacos . . .or a bag of burgers . . . or a bucket of chicken . . . because I knew I had put last night's stew in the crock pot this morning and it would still be warm.

Stew set on Warm and left in the crock pot will mold.
In one day.
Still starving.

*My dishwasher is still broken and is starting to smell. If you judged by my belly alone, you would think I was 68 years old. I need to sweep--for the third time today. I miss my husband. It's cold. Someone is always touching me. My baby is dripping wet. Why? Growl. Gruff. Simper. Cry. Blow.

Okay. I'm done. Thanks for listening. (I'm living an incredibly happy life . . . there are just some days.)

If you need me, I'll be in my bed, on my new heated mattress pad, reading my book. And by need, I mean, you better be bleeding.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I've Been Promoted to Normal

A few days ago, I posted about an odd conversation (odd, but not unusual, I'm afraid to say)between my son and I. He says stuff like this to me all of the time and I've always thought it so strange.

I've been married to the man in my bed for twelve years now. We talk a lot. We are great pals. I don't understand half of what he's saying, but tonight, as we laid in bed, I suddenly connected the dots and understood my son much better.

Me, reading.

He: What do you think would be worse: Jumping out of an airplane with no parachute or jumping out of an airplane with no parachute and tied to a chair?

Me, looking at him with a completely confounded look: What?

He: I think I would rather have my arms free.

Me: Who are you? What the heck are you talking about?

He: Oh, nothin'. I was just thinking.

**A few minutes pass, I continue reading. He continues thinking . . . apparently.**

He: What would you do if you woke up in the morning and your hand was missing?

Me: What???

He: What's the first thing you would do if you noticed your hand was gone?

Me: Where do you come up with this crap? That is the second question tonight that makes no sense.

He, ignoring me: I would go straight to the freezer to see if it was there. 'Cause if it was, then, no big deal. I can have it put back on.

Me, incredulous: You can't just "put" a frozen, dismembered part back on your body!

He: Now, if the fingernails were painted red, I would really begin to wonder what happened during the night.

Me, putting down my book, sitting up and turning to look at the man by my side: Are you serious? You wake up in the morning and your hand is missing. You think to check in the freezer (because that is the logical reaction to a missing body part) and find it is there. And the thing that makes you wonder about what happened is the red fingernails?

He: What? Don't you ever think about stuff like that?

Uhh, no, nope, huh-uh.

If that was weird, I've been officially promoted to normal.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Roald Dahl's Big Mistake

I am not one to complain about books--especially books we love. I'd like to complain to Roald Dahl, today. We love Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. So much, in fact, that it is one of the books in our emergency kits. It is optimistic and funny, creative and odd, moral and . . . funny. There is at least one major flaw, recently discovered.

During the Sacrament (when we eat the bread and an especially quiet time), my six year old decided to be just like Violet Beauregarde and "save" her gum behind her ear.

Dis. ast. er.

The gum was absolutely stuck--to the hair--in the middle of the meeting--with no peanut butter in sight.

Chewing gum is really gross
Chewing gum I hate the most

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dog Owners, Please Explain

I do not own a dog. I do not own a dog, not because I dislike the animals, but because I like the big dogs. We live on a very small lot and in an urban neighborhood. I happen to believe it is unkind to make a big dog live in a place where she cannot run as much as her body desires. Also, many tend to dig when they are confined and I like my flowers. And there's the whole relinquishing your back yard to the dog poop issue. When we have a bigger yard, with room for the dog to run and to be potty trained to a far back corner, we will get a dog.

Having made that disclaimer, I need some help understanding a specific breed of dog owner; the one who thinks their dogs are children and equal in value to my people children. Three stories, three separate owners:

  1. Through the slats of the back yard fence, I notice the neighbor's chocolate lab rummaging around in my front flower beds. I clap my hands and say, "Coco! Get out of my flowers!" I didn't holler or screech or throw things, I just firmly asserted that big dogs are not to be tolerated digging up my flowers. She leisurely wandered off and I went back to work. I didn't think anything else about it until 10 o'clock that night. Crazy Tom had obviously been stewing about the situation the entire afternoon and evening because he was pretty hot under the collar when he informed my husband that we needed to "clear the air" after that day's incident. In no uncertain terms, Justin was told, "I do not discipline your children, please DO NOT discipline my dog!" Well, first, he does try to discipline my children and, second, COCO IS A DOG! She was on my property and was doing damage. I was not unkind to her. Was I supposed to do? Give her a lollipop and sit on the porch with my arm around her as I explain the sometimes delicate structure of the root ball she was destroying? Should I have asked that she work off the cost of the replacement plants? Maybe I should have winked and said, "Ah, shucks, she's just a kid. She can do whatever she wants."

  2. Another neighbor recently purchased her fourth animal (her lot and house are even smaller than ours). Because the cat didn't get along with the new dog, the hound is relegated to the back yard. He barks all. day. long. Now, I know that part of living in a neighborhood with close quarters requires patience with noise. I've never called Animal Control and wouldn't, unless I really thought that a person or the animal was in danger (or neglected). Even then, I'd try to talk with the dog owner first. The other day, our neighbor issued a kind-of apology for the barking by saying, "My dogs bark, your kids bark, so . . ." Huh? No, my kids do not bark. They play and laugh and sing and cry and otherwise act like children, but they are children. They are growing up and learning to be responsible citizens and kind adults. It could be argued that we should stop cramming more children into our small house, just like she should stop cramming animals into her small house. Did God tell her to buy another dog, 'cause that's how we got another child!

  3. Any time we talk about our pods, an associate starts talking about her dogs: What they did at daycare that week, how much their insurance costs, what things they are learning, funny things they said. This person had the audacity to tell my husband (father of five, homeowner, part time employee, husband and student pharmacist) that he just didn't know what it was like to be stressed. Really? Those dogs are so much work and so much rests on whether their insurance will cover their braces or if you are teaching them to be generous or responsible with their time and money. Oh, wait. Those are attributes of PEOPLE not dogs.
So, dog owners, am I way out of line? Because I just don't get it.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


An old friend recently posted our fourth grade picture on Facebook. I hated my fourth grade teacher. He was rude and thoughtless. I remember yelling at him--several times. (Fourth grade = nine and ten years old.) One specific thing I remember was that he wouldn't let me advance in my times tables until the whole class was ready to move on. Idiot. Another time, I had to stay in from Play Day. I do not remember the crime, but I'm sure it had something to do with my sassy mouth. Now, Play Day was a big deal; something that one would look forward to the whole year. Play Day was the end of the year celebration that included an entire day of outdoor carnival type games and foods. The special item was the foot long hot dog. A very nice boy, Brock Rogers (back row with the Viking ship sweater), snuck a foot long hot dog to me through the window. I was supposed to compose a three page essay about how children should respect their elders. I wrote one page about that . . . and two pages about how people should respect the dignity of deserving people of all ages.

And yet we survived that wretched year. Fourteen of the twenty-five students in that class graduated together. Fourteen dear friends with whom I rode the bus, attended Blue Birds (Campfire's answer to Brownies), watched break bones and vomit, and pick up an instrument for the first time, then become quite good at that same instrument. I know their mothers (they helped us overdose on sugar at every classroom Halloween party), we helped each other through the awkwardness of ages seven through seventeen, and we cheered each for each other as we learned our respective sports. There were a few more of us that went to the same schools from Kindergarten through Graduation who weren't in this particular fourth grade class. We weren't all always close, though I don't recall any major fighting. They each hold a sweet place in my heart--my longest friends. Different from family and most I haven't seen for many years, but I love them, kind of like family. They saw me skidding through adolescence, but they also saw me crowned a princess. We offer so much trust to those old friends. They've seen me in it all, just as I've seen them in it all.  That trust makes for a sacred tenderness toward them.
Did you find me?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What I Do All Day

We wanted to go ice skating this afternoon. Ice is located outside--in all it's glorious wintertime. In order for everyone to wear two pairs of socks, I had to locate 26 socks. Having a bit of experience with children in cold weather, I know that it all comes down to warm fingers. I had to find 6 pair of stretchy gloves to go under 6 pair of ski gloves. Everyone needed to use the bathroom before pulling on the snow pants and boots. Once hats were on and coats were zipped, I sent them to get buckled in the car seats while I quickly got myself ready. When I finally got out the door, I found that the four year old had decided to play in the snow in her socks. I ran back inside to get another two pair of dry socks.

It took 45 minutes.

Once at the rink, we had to jerk and pull and coax ten sock-thick feet into the old, leather, rented skates. I, of course, was last on the ice. The baby was already done before I got out there.

Dad swooped in and saved the day. He took the one year old and the four year old home. The rest of us had a really fun time until we were tired and blistered. We enjoyed each other on the ice and on the walk home.

When we came home, I said, "Put all boots, gloves, hats, coats, and snow pants (I have to specify all of them or they will claim I didn't tell them to do it) away in the mudroom. When I say away, I mean on the hooks and in the baskets. Then, and only then, get ready for dinner."

I just thought I'd show you what my children think are hooks and baskets.

What do stay-at-home moms do all day, anyway?!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Truth in Advertising

My brother-in-law sent this book to my husband. He's always on the look-out for a good anti-Christ candidate. He called one day to talk about this book: "I'm not kidding, Emily, it's going to Blow your Mind!" He's not kidding. I mean, just look at the picture the author put of himself on the flap.

Yep. He's serious. I am sure to believe Everything. He. Says. Period. (Except, doesn't he kind of look like a Russian Dictator?) It's a load of bull--sorry.

So, the other day, when I came across some pictures of my baby and I reading together, all I could see was this book's title blaring in the background.

I photo shopped the cover so you couldn't read what was on my end table.
I just felt like you should know the truth. I will change pictures--not to erase fine lines or age marks, but political propaganda? You betcha!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Educating yourself is a delight; it is fun, interesting, and, very often, plain old hard work! Our book club selected Crime and Punishment to discuss this month. It is hard reading. It is not a story I enjoy or, frankly, understand. Here I am working for my education:This is part of the problem. Anytime I sit down to read, she crawls up next to me. Sometimes she brings a book (like this time), but usually she just wants to stick her fingers in my nose, inspect my teeth, demand that I get her something to eat or "help" me read by turning pages--a heck of a lot faster than I can read.

It's okay. She's way more fun than Dostoevsky. Way.

New post today on The Mothership Home Schools: Where To Start

Friday, January 8, 2010

In the Mail

A box from my mother arrived in the mail.  She is really good at gifts--really good--so I always get excited when her boxes come.

Inside was this pretty little box.  I opened the lid to discover this:

"Oh, cool!" I thought.  I love graph paper.

Lifting the graph paper, I found this:

I know it's silly and I know I shouldn't have, but I cried at the sight of this gift.  My mother knows me.

It has all of the Katrina Cottages, which have long intrigeud me.  (Plus, it's from my favorite store.)

 It shows a couple of examples in which small homes can be built and then added upon as finances permit.

So smart.  Build as you can afford, instead of building a house for the bank to own for the first thirty years you live there.

After the Katrina Cottages, there are hundreds of other plans--all for small houses!

Many are designed with the option of building part, then building on later.

Stone . . . Dutch gables . . . porches . . . shutters . . . fireplaces . . . Oh, help.

Many, many hours will be spent with this gift.  Anyone interested in schooling my children for a few weeks?  I'm gonna be busy.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Conversation

My dad is not a real talker. I mean, he talks, just not as much (or as fast) as some of the others in my family. When we were growing up, I remember my mom telling him to turn off the radio when driving with one of us kids. If the radio wasn't singing then the communication became possible.

Driving my son around today, he led the following conversation:

He: What would you do if the person behind you was trying to kill you?

Me, completely confused at the question: Wha . . . who . . . wher . . . I . . . what are you talking about?

He: What is your game plan if the person behind you tries to kill you?

Me: Well . . . um . . . OK. That is too broad of a question. Am I walking? Is he in a car? How is he trying to kill me? Why is he after me? Is it daylight?

He: Right now. Think on your feet. You are driving. He is behind you and he's shooting. What do you do?

Me: Wa . . . I . . . drive faster.

He: Mom! He's right behind you. What do you do?

Me, realizes that I'm not getting out of this and starts to play along: Well, I drive fast enough that I can loose him in the side streets. Then I go to the police station.

He, an eyebrow raised in doubt: Mom. Do you really think you could outrun a killer in this car?

Our speedster is a fourteen year old minivan. Fast. Really.

Me: First I do this (explain for a while). Then I do that (explain for a while). Then (getting into it now), I go like this (explain excitedly, thinking I have come up with a great plan)!!

My heart pounds a little and my breathing has accelerated as a result of my imagined, but nonetheless fabulous, slip from harm. For the duration of my narration, I was Jason Borne . . . in a fourteen year old minivan . . . driving 25 on residential roads. Still! That was good!

He, flatly: You're dead.

He, looking out the window: I need to install a defense system on this car.

He, after a momentary pause: Mom. You've been kidnapped. What do you do?

I turned on the radio.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Fun in the Sun . . . er . . .

One Decemberish day last week, we decided to go for a drive. Dad is on Christmas break so although he is working full time, we are seeing him a lot more than usual. We live not too far from Yellowstone National Park--famous for it's geothermal features. Our area boasts of several of the same types of features that remind us that we are very near melted rock, scalding water, and explosive pockets of air. Heck yes! Let's go stand on top of it all and take pictures! But, I digress. The neighboring town had some people searching for hot water to build a swimming pool and were blowing up rocks with dynamite. Their fooling around caused a severe backlash by Mother Nature and they created a geyser. They let the thing do it's thing until the folks from Yellowstone called and told them they were messing with Old Faithful's faithfulness and they needed to fix it. They now have the worlds only captive geyser. They cap it and let it blow every hour on the hour. It blows over 100 feet in the air and makes quite a scene.

Look closely. Do you see my pods?
It was December. It was cold, snowy, and windy. This is what my children were doing:

They were completely drenched by the spray of the geyser. I was up on the platform when it started--a long, slippery walk down to them--and didn't get there in time to be their brain.

I keep emergency blankets in the car. I always thought they would be used if we were stranded by a blizzard somewhere in the mountains. Why would I think that? Obviously, they were for the children who realized that winter isn't the ideal time to run through sprinklers. Even hot water, they discovered, FREEZES.

Friday, January 1, 2010


It seems like there is a time in everyone's life when they see a picture of themselves and notice themselves for what seems like the first time. For some, it may mean losing weight, getting a haircut or never wearing red again. For me, it was stand up straight, you fool!
My great-grandmother had terrible osteoporosis which resulted in a C-shaped back. But she was old. I have that same back at age thirty-two. Here I am opening my new Crock-pot on Christmas. (My . . . um . . . maturity is showing in the fact that I was thrilled with that gift.)
Look at my back! Ewww. I refuse to believe that it is too late to correct my hump. Therefore, I resolve to be vigilant about my posture. I resolve to strengthen my oft stretched and parted abdominal muscles to prevent the slump. I resolve to stop allowing my knees to hyper-extend, fuller encouraging the slouch.

Parenthetically, I recently looked down at my weird, wrinkly belly and my sad, post-weaning nursers and wondered aloud, "Whose body is this?"
Has that happened to anyone else?