Tuesday, August 31, 2010

School Starts Tomorrow

I know that many of you are sending (or have recently sent) your children off to their first day of school for the year.  You've gone through the ritual laying out of the new clothes/backpacks/school supplies, you have had the how-to-socialize talk (be kind to everyone--especially that one, how to avoid bullies, what to do when you are scared or confused, how to choose good friends, etc.), you've planned a nutritious breakfast and packed a varied lunch, and you have fresh batteries in the camera for the traditional first day pictures.  Many of you are (were) excited to send them back knowing you would be able to clean your house and have it stay clean for up to three consecutive hours.  You know you won't have to take the whole crew to the grocery store or post office or bank.  You are looking at the stack of books you've been wanting to get to all summer.  Tomorrow, you'll get to read in peace.  You might even get to take a nap or go to lunch with a girlfriend.  As much as you are going to miss them, you are going to love that one-on-one time with your sweet toddler.

But me?  I've got a headache . . .

because school is starting tomorrow . . .


Oh, Crap.

Don't forget to enter into my First Ever Giveaway!  You have just a couple of more days to win some super stuff.  (Did anyone else notice that PW was inspired by my giveaway?  Yes.  Yes, she was.)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Oooh, This is Fun!

You are going to want to get in on the cookie sheet giveaway!  After reading the comments, I'm adding to the cache.  You will be getting, not only the 2/3 sheet baking sheet (that fits in nearly all home ovens and makes so many more cookies/bars/brownies than the other guy), you will also get my favorite spatula,

my favorite pump soap,

 and my favorite toothpaste for when the cookies are gone.  (:

I will likely add other things as comments are made.  If it is a life-changer for someone and if it doesn't cost a million dollars to ship, it may end up in the package.  Make sure to enter!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Changed My Life (And a Giveaway!)

You know those things that happen that change your life?  I'm not talking about your wedding day or when you first held that slippery baby or even when you walked through the door of the first house that was actually yours. No, those are too obvious.  I'm talking about those finer things, those simple things that make such a difference in the quality of life.  When I only had to buckle two kids in car seats, for instance, it changed my life.  When my son was finally old enough to tend my children so I didn't have to find shoes for everyone, wash faces, brush hair, and buckle them all in the car just to go buy a gallon of milk was another life-changing event.  Having a home office for my husband so we could see him at least sometimes during the school year has made it possible for our children to recognize their father's face--and not from photos.

Today, I would like to introduce you to my most recent life-changing event.  I got one of these:

I know, it just looks like a cookie sheet, but look closer.  It is 16 x 22 inches!!  Instead of an hour baking and scooping and waiting, I was done in less than half that time.  With a LOT of cookies.

So . . .

For those of you with many children--or only one child who happens to be a male between the ages of eleven and twenty-six . . .

For those of you who don't even remember what it was like to make a single batch of anything . . .

This is a vital tool.  (Thirty-two cookies.)

The other guy:  (Eighteen cookies.)

And it fits in a normal sized oven.

Available Here or Here or 100 other places on the web if you Google 16 x 22 cookie sheet.

Or, heck, I think I'm going to have my first giveaway!

I'll send you this pan and some other stuff that goes with it (I don't know what yet because this is a completely spontaneous giveaway.)

To enter, tell us about some little thing that has improved your quality of life.

In the meantime, I'm gonna go have a cookie.

The MotherShip

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Magic Fairy Glen

I thought I saw a few fairies . . .

Doesn't it make you want to be a little girl again?

Thank Heaven for Little Girls.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

School is In

When I walked out to visit my husband in his office this afternoon, this was on his white board:

What the hell does this mean?

Maybe he made it up just to impress me.

I'm so glad that some people want to be pharmacists--I have no brain for it.

Sending the Wrong Message

On my recent trip, I decided I needed to get hot chocolate at a convenience store.  I'm not really sure why, it is August, after all, but this girl gets what she wants . . . if it costs less than 99 cents.  (You can call me a diva if you want--I'm totally used to it.)  

Back to the cocoa.  I got to the checkout and placed the Styrofoam cup on the counter.  The cup was covered with images of steaming coffee mugs, coffee beans and words like Coffee.

Before I go on, you need to understand that I am bound by a religious covenant to not drink coffee.  It is a kind of physical reminder of spiritual commitments I've made.  Similar to the Jews' choice to avoid pork, or the Seventh Day Adventists' vegetarian diet.

"Just the coffee?" the checker asks.

Not wanting to complicate a simple transaction with, No, actually, it's just hot cocoa.  But, yes, just this, thank you, I replied with a shrug and an "Um, yeah."

I knew it was just cocoa, but he didn't.  He doesn't know me, he'll likely never see me again and wouldn't remember me if he did; I was just one more in a line on the day of a very busy gas station.  But I felt ashamed for holding that cup, for letting him believe that a good Mormon girl was drinking coffee on her vacation (something I would never do).  I felt like I was a disappointment.

Yesterday, I had to take my wedding ring in because one of the prongs had become loose around the diamond.  After nearly thirteen years of always wearing it, my left ring finger is a little thinner and bears a distinctive tan line.  I am feeling a bit like I did when I walked out the glass door holding the steaming cup of what looked like coffee:  False.

I don't really have a point, though I guess I would just say that if you see me with a cup of coffee or a thick tan line where my wedding band should be, don't let your mind wander.  It's not how it looks.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I've never been cool.  I mean, if I go into a cool store like Abercrombie or The Buckle (those are cool stores, right?), I feel like an impostor.  I've always been conservative, I wore dresses to school, and I really wish the zippers on my jeans were longer.  In high school, a cool car was a Toyota 4x4 or a Jeep Cherokee.

I drove a pale yellow, 1984 Ford 12-seater van which, through a series of unfortunate events, reeked of rotten milk and gasoline.  And, oh yeah, had a bullet hole in the back.

At a time when this hair was cool,

I am sorry to say, I had a bit of a mullet.  You are wishing I had a scanner, aren't you?

Last week was a family reunion on my husband's side.  Even now, as a grown-up, I am not cool.  Even as they included me in their activities, I felt like maybe I wasn't quite qualified to be there.  I mean, look at these people.


I mean . . . come on.  Wasn't even trying.

Honestly people, cool with a kid pack.

And the kids are cool.

Do you see the problem here?  Freaking darling!

Of course, there is Grandpa.  Maybe I'll just stand by him.  (:

But, really, even he is cool--check out the hat.  

I had a great time--all of us did.

Thanks for letting me sit at the cool kids' table!

That was pretty cool.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I'm Home

Two weeks is a long time to be away.  My husband had an internship near our home town so we decided to make a vacation out of it for the rest of us.  We stayed with The Grandparents (who have taken to calling us The Lost Tribe) during the week he worked.  The second week was spent at a gorgeous lake just barely south of the Canadian border for a family reunion of Justin's side of the family.  I have two weeks of pent-up thoughts and pictures and ideas to share--I'll get to those.

Right now, I'm watering nearly dead grass and taking on the massive pile of laundry that has invaded my laundry room.  The bunch of blackened bananas are begging to made into bread and my mass of offspring need fine-toothed grooming.  I was waiting until we got home before attempting to wean the four year old from her pinky.  (She had sucked her thumb until a year ago when I put the stop-sucking-your-freakin'-thumb-or-you'll-get-a-mouth-full-of-this-nasty-stuff on it.  She switched to her pinky and has never turned back.)  I was also waiting to get organized about school.  (We are trying K12 this year--I'll let you know how that goes.)  There is a list on my fridge of small fixes that need to be made to our house to qualify for FHA buyers when we put our house on the market in six months and many of those fixes need to happen before winter.  I have book clubs to organize,  church assignments to fulfill, and library books that need returning.  It is good to be home, to sleep between my own sheets, to use my own toilet--I can do things there that no coaxing can make me do on a strange toilet.  My table is heaped with mail and papers, my flowers need my love and attention (which I am happy to give).  We have no fresh anything and my fridge houses only really cold water and a door full of condiments.  I need to register the kids for dance classes and finish stocking up on school supplies.  Wowzers.

Whose idea was it to go on vacation?

Today is a get it done day--and I will!

Or maybe I'll just get some of it done.

Or maybe I'll go hide in my closet and suck my pinky.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Hidden in the Notebook

Every year I buy a kazillion 10 cent spiral notebooks.  Lucky for me, my kids are around all of the time and their schooling is done by my side.  This means that I see nearly everything they write.  As those notebooks fill up, I have made a habit of quickly flipping through them to make sure there is nothing I need to keep.  I do this because every once in a while, I find treasures.

The first example is a nineteen point check list my son made in anticipation of a one night stay at a hotel room.  It goes as follows:

  1. Help carry stuff to room
  2. Go to 9th floor
  3. Go to room (watch TV, Sponge Bob, cartoons, etc)
  4. Go downstairs for snack with 2 (I think that means his sister, the second child)
  5. Do whatever on elevator with 2, 3 for 10 min
  6. Snack
  7. Gift Shop
  8. Go to 9th floor
  9. Go to room
  10. Whatever
  11. Maybe go swimming with 2,3,4,5
  12. Get dressed
  13. Ride elevators with 2
  14. Watch TV
  15. Ride Elevator
  16. Me and 2 on 9th floor
  17. Go on every floor
  18. Dinner
  19. Wander around hotel
He was sooo looking forward to this trip.  Now I see why.  Elevators.

Then I found this:

  1. He was hitting us
  2. He was bossing us around
  3. He was telling me to do the dishes
  4. He was telling me my handwriting is bad
My guess is that the nine year old recorded the events while her big brother was babysitting.

But this is my favorite:

Want to go to a movie tomorrow?
Iron Man II?
I'm not positive we can go tomorrow because of Chesterfield.  (A ghost town we had planned to visit.)
Oh yeah.  Let's ask Mom if we can.
(Apparently they asked me and I said, "No."  I was probably telling them to "no" to talking about movies at church.)
Tuesday then?
How much is it again?
$8.50.  I don't have enough to pay for treats, but I have enough for tickets.
Okay, I have that much.
Pop and Popcorn?  I'll pay for tickets.
Oh, yeah!!

I'm pretty sure this was written in church.  I'm so glad that my kids are friends.  And I'm glad I didn't just toss that notebook without checking for these treasures first.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Today, I just want to be MAD at stupid people.  I want to forgive, but not until I get my digs in.  I want to write something scathing, but I won't.

Today, I'm going to take my own advice and count my blessings.  I taught a lesson in church on Sunday about being content by being grateful for what we have.  There is a fabulous old proverb that goes:

The greater wealth is contentment with little.

Beautiful, isn't it?  It applies to so many areas of our lives and I've decided to make it a mantra of sorts.  So, I went on for half an hour about being content--and not just resigned.  This morning a friend stopped by and I asked her, "Did my lesson bug you?" because it seemed too.

Today, I am grateful for a friend who said that, yes, my lesson bugged her.  She was quite upset because, "This is not what I want to hear, Emily!"

And she loves me anyway.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What We Do

My sister and her family and I and my family each drove towards one another's town and met in the middle.  There is a pretty little camp ground not too far from the highway, so we pitched a tent for a quick camping trip.  The real purpose of this was to switch around the cousins for a week.  But Mollie and I were okay with the getting together part, too.

I love this picture that my husband snapped when none of us were aware.  It's not because it is any kind of a fabulous picture, but because it captured part of the relationship I have with my sister.  We are tending to the children and the home (or campsite) and we are visiting.  Those are the actions, but we are both smiling while we're doing it.  We love doing that short, but rather encompassing list.  

We each love 

our families

our jobs and 

our sister.


The other day, I was with my son at the park.  I was looking at him with a rather critical eye:  Those shorts look ridiculous--they are huge; His hair is sticking up all over.  I wonder if he even combed it.  The high top converse look silly with the too-long basketball shorts.  Why is his shirt so wrinkly?  I wash and carefully fold everyone's clothes.  He must have unfolded it and jammed it into his drawer.

Tsking away, I noticed another boy, about the same age, also at the park.  He looked exactly the same.  Too big shorts, stupid shoes, messy hair, wrinkled shirt.

Maybe this is what eleven looks like for all boys.

Oh, my gosh, I love that kid.  Even when he is a train wreck.