Wednesday, December 31, 2008

6 Births and 1 Epidural Part 3

That December in 2000 was one of the most organized in my life. And I made no plans. I was due to have a first millennial baby: January 1, 2001. (Everyone knows the millennia really began 2001 NOT 2000.) My first two children had come early and I was petrified that my third would arrive at the most inopportune time- Christmas. This fear drove me to finish buying before the first of the December and wrapping before its first week was over.

And then I waited. The eternal wait of the last month of pregnancy. Any day, any hour, any second. Every RSVP ending in “unless I have the baby, of course.”

Two mornings before Christmas morning, we planned on heading over to my parents (in case I wasn’t there for Christmas, grandparents would have to substitute). My family was lounging around in bed with me when the first contraction came. By baby number three, labor was routine and we didn’t panic. We leisurely got ready, loaded the car, and headed over to my parents. All while timing the contractions. Then I helped my mother finish wrapping (she was not as prepared as I and needed to get finished quickly now that her next few days were going to be otherwise occupied).

We were still wrapping later in the morning when the contractions contracted to 4 minutes apart and we headed off to the hospital. When the nurse found out it was my third labor and I waited till 4 minute spacing before coming, she wisely decided to call the doctor before getting me checked in and checked out. And she was glad she did, because I checked out at 8 cm. Do you know what that means? I will tell you. No epidural.

Being strep B positive, I needed two shots of antibiotics, an hour apart, before the baby was born. Someone forgot to tell my baby. The doctor came in to check me and I mentioned I felt like pushing. “Well give it a try next contraction.” I know he wasn’t expecting the reaction to that push. I know because he was still dressed in his street clothes. I pushed, the baby entered the birth canal, and things started moving quickly around me. Through the intensity of pushing, I remember nurses frantically dropping the table down, throwing scrubs over the doctor, and preparing the baby bassinet. Less than one hour from entering the hospital, I was holding Ethan in my arms. Born two days before Christmas with beautiful, angelic white hair.

His voice, however, was not so angelic, unless you’re including the angels with trumpets. Ethan’s cry was loud! That adorable raspy newborn cry has never exited my son’s mouth. He was born hollering loud enough for the entire floor to hear. Nurses came to see who was making the commotion. I could hear him from my room as the nurses tended him in the nursery. Even now, his voice can rattle the windows.

In fact the doctor decided his lungs seemed so healthy, we could go home early, skipping the 2 day watch period necessary for missing the second shot of antibiotics. (I’m sure this had NOTHING to do with the fact that the doctor would otherwise have to come in on Christmas Day). Ethan left the hospital on Christmas Eve in a cute red stocking.
And I missed my first try for an epidural. Reason? Waiting too long before coming into the hospital.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

How I can tell I've had a successful Christmas...

  • My children have worn their new skates or rollerblades more than their shoes.
  • I went 1 1/2 days wearing my PJ's.
  • I may not be able to eat/buy more chocolate for a LONG time (after the chocolate I still have around is gone, of course) .
  • We've gone through a couple of beef sticks, boxes of crackers, and cans of spray cheese.
  • I didn't run out of wrapping paper (but I came close).
  • We have a finished 750 piece puzzle, well at least 749 of the pieces.
  • We have played Clue, Life, Rook, Go Fish, Phase 10, War, and Uno, and Settlers of Catan (although that one wasn't a recent present).
  • We have slept on the couch for a week because our house is full of visiting family (I would gladly sleep there longer if it meant they were staying).

I have had a wonderful Christmas and hope you've had the same. I have some posts of the presents I made (and couldn't tell about till now) and posts about our visitors. Plus Ethan's birth story, birthday, and baptism. But those will have to wait a while longer, I'm busy enjoying my family before they leave!

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Ethan Baptism

Due to the fact that

1) it is Christmas,

2) Ethan turned eight 3 days ago (wasn't he just being blessed yesterday?),

3) I have three families at my house (in addition to my own), and

4) church was canceled last week,

I am not sure I have given out the information about Ethan's baptism this Saturday. For all who are interested in coming, email me or comment and I will give you the information. Otherwise you'll have to wait till I post about it (which might be a while due to the reasons already listed).

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Christmas Spirit

What is the Christmas Spirit? It is a hard thing to quantify. We have all felt it and can recognize it, but how do you explain it to someone? It is something that can be known only by experience It is partly peace and joy. It is an increased sense of generosity and kindness. It embodies excitement, innocence and awe. The Christmas spirit focuses us away from ourselves, towards others. It is trying to be like Jesus while feeling gratitude for the miracle of the atonement. At this time of year we get a glimpse of the love Jesus Christ has for us and our fellow men. You know you have found it when you feel the Holy Ghost, expanding your soul and filling your heart with peace. So how do we find the gift of a true Christmas spirit?

It isn't traditions and decorations. These things are meant to help wrap the Christmas Spirit, not replace it. Traditions are an important part of our Christmas celebrations. They help us connect to our families, our past, and our communities. Just remember traditions and activities are not the Christmas Spirit, but tools to help us welcome the True Spirit into our homes.

When choosing which traditions to start, or continue, keep in mind the advice of Dallin H Oaks in general conference, “Some uses of individual and family time are better, and others are best. We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families.” Those are excellent qualifiers to the worth of our Christmas traditions. Do they strengthen our families or our faith? “That is just what we have always done,” is not the best excuse to keep tradition alive.

Decorations can also help focus us to the Christmas Spirit. Mankind forgets so easily. A constant visual reminder of Christmas can help remind us of the spirit of Christmas. Decorations don’t have to be extraordinary or expensive to serve that purpose.

Be careful that, like a 1 year old on Christmas morning, you don't become so distracted by the "wrapping paper" that you overlook the gift inside. Allow traditions and decorations to invite the Christmas spirit in our homes, no to stand in the way of it!

The Christmas Spirit can be found in simple ways. One of the easiest ways to find the true spirit of Christmas is through small acts of kindness. As the busy world gets in our way, it is easy to get frustrated and grouchy. A small change in attitude can make a world of difference. The next time you are waiting in a check out line (you know, the one that never seems to move), try taking a deep breath, smiling and sincerely offering the checker a good day. Their spirits will be lifted, and so will yours. It doesn’t take much to find the Christmas spirit when you try small acts of kindness. This is true in our homes as well. A smile instead if frown, a hug and encouraging word. These small, ordinary things hold the Christmas spirit in them.

The Christmas Spirit can be found while worshipping the Savior. It is funny how we can get so swept up in “celebrating Christ’s birth” that we forget to take time to worship Him. Is it the Spirit of Christmas that keeps us from family and personal prayer, family home evening, or scripture study? As President Howard W. Hunter once advised, “If you desire to find the true spirit of Christmas and partake of the sweetness of it, let me make this suggestion to you. During the hurry of the festive occasion of this Christmas season, find time to turn your heart to God. Perhaps in the quiet hours, and in a quiet place, and on your knees—alone or with loved ones—give thanks for the good things that have come to you, and ask that His Spirit might dwell in you as you earnestly strive to serve Him and keep His commandments. He will take you by the hand and His promises will be kept.”

If everything you are doing is getting in the way of focusing on Christ, perhaps you are too focused on the outer wrappings of Christmas. If you feel devoid of the Christmas spirit and a little hum-buggy, maybe you have forgotten to look in the ordinary, simple places for the Christmas Spirit. I pray we can all feel the Spirit of Christmas throughout this season.

This is an adaptation of a talk I was supposed to give in Church last year. Snow cancelled church that day, but I thought I should put all the work to some good. Hope that explains the "preachiness" in the post, since it technically began as a sermon of sorts.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I left my pants in NYC

Have I ever mentioned we can be impulsive about day trips in our family? I'm sure I have. Well, since my brother and his wife are in town visiting and she had never been to NYC, I decided to spend Saturday making Christmas graham cracker houses. Then my husband adeptly pointed out we might want to take them to see some of the sites. So we did the houses the night before and I decided to take them into Boston. Finally, I had a glimmer of reality and realized they really wanted to go into the BIG city. We decided to make this trip. About 1 hour before we actually left.

Luckily, while my husband cleaned out the van so we could actually put our feet on the floor, he noticed it was a little chilly and we decided to dress extra warm. We FINALLY pulled out of the house, but made a "quick" stop at the warehouse store to buy a GPS. Because we have no idea how to get anywhere in NY and it isn't a good place to "just try to figure out."

Plus the night before, I got lost, on the road I drive down almost daily, trying to find Dominoes Pizza. Why didn't I have it delivered like I would normally? Thought I would save some time. But in my defense, there was NO lighted sign at the road and the building was down a long narrow drive that you would only see if you happen to look directly left as you pass it. I would still be driving around looking if I hadn't seen the delivery guy pulling out of the parking lot. Needless to say, the GPS was going to come in handy.

Finally we were off, with an early start of 1:00PM. While driving we tried to decide where we were going to go. I mean, there are so few options available...we decided top priority were for Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building. Our new GPS told us our arrival was 3:00. When I looked up the ferries, the last one went to Ms. Liberty at 3:30. Impulsiveness does have its drawbacks. So we hit no traffic, didn't get lost for the 1st time EVER, and found parking for the cheap price of $28. And Peter made me carry our new GPS, my old XM radio, and my cell phone. Plus my wallet, car keys, and extra diapers. Luckily I just bought a coat the contains about 300 pockets- this should explain the bulges in pictures (the candy I've been eating have nothing to do with it).

Did you know that they practically strip search you to get to the Statue of Liberty? Well, we had to take off our coats, shoes, hats, etc. And as we crossed the metal detector, the speakers kindly informed us the last ferry was leaving in one minute with or without us. What took us 3 hours to do at home, we accomplished in 45 seconds in NY. Mainly, loading everything back into my pockets and dressing everyone for the cold. We made it. It was beautiful. And COLD.

We headed back on the next ferry (COLD COLD COLD). Once back on shore we decided to walk around. Because obviously that is the easiest way to find places in NYC. I mean, everything is so close together. After making it to the 9-11 site, past the Meryl Lynch bull (yes, we joked about the kids being bull crap and took pictures of it), and then a few blocks more, we noticed a few things:

  • First of all, Joseph was wearing pants with the adjustable waist strap broken. And no belt. Every three steps his pants were halfway off. Look closely in all the pictures, he is pulling his pants back up. THE ENTIRE NIGHT.
  • Second, Matthew does not like me to carry him when Dad is an option. Sorry Peter.

  • Third, Joseph will let me carry him. He is heavy. Too heavy to ride comfortably on my shoulders for several blocks.

  • Fourth, Ryan thinks every cab in NYC is the Cash Cab. He thought for sure that if we would only take a taxi, we could play on the Cash Cab. Because there are only a couple million taxis in NY. Needless to say there were numerous "sightings".

  • Fifth, Kirsti does not like the cold. Poor Uncle Gordon had to carry her almost the whole night. This is because her own parents were not kind enough. We would have made her walk. We made her younger brother, whose pants were practically at his ankles, walk a lot of the time. She for some reason brought her stuffed animal with her and it had to be carried, too.
So, after our legs were about to fall off from walking and our arms and shoulders from carrying the younger children, we decided we needed a new plan. Walking around in the hopes of eventually hitting on Times Square was not working. Even though we had no idea where it was. Go figure. Peter wanted to take a taxi. (Ryan almost exploded from excitement. "I know it will be the cash cab!!") We would only need 3 taxis to fit us all. I convinced him the subway would be a better option. Ryan was a little disappointed, until he saw what a subway was.

My conversation with Joseph went something like this:

"Is this a train?!?" Kind of. An underground train.
"We're underground?!?" Yep.
"Watch me circle this pole and then fall over when the car stops." Turns out even me, the queen of ungermophobia, can get grossed out by some things. And three of my boys sliding stomach down on a NYC subway car is just the thing to do it. (Luckily we were the only one in the car)

We finally arrived at Times Square where we ate pizza (yes, you observant people, that is pizza two nights in a row), took pictures, and Peter almost got stepped on by a police man when he lay down to get the right angle. Then we asked that police man how to find the Empire State Building and found out we only had to go down a mere 15 blocks and over 2. So we walked. And walked. And held up Joseph's pants. We did pass Macy's window display. Beautiful!

The Empire State Building was very cool. You know NY is big, but to see the lights going out as far as you can see on every single side? Awesome. We were definitely tired and frozen by now. We walked a few blocks to Penn station and caught the subway all the way back to our original starting point. If we had used the subway at the beginning, we would have had to walk about 3 steps to get there. That is about how far we walked from the station to our parking garage.

GPS took us out of the city and we got home at midnight. All in all a perfect family day.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gingerbread Houses, if Gingerbread was made out of Graham Crackers

As a Christmas tradition, Gingerbread houses are awesome. As a reality, they are a lot of work. Because they involve mixing, cutting, baking, etc. So we use a simpler, lazier alternative. Graham Cracker Houses. One box makes 5 houses. I doubled the frosting recipe (but you could also half it easily)

  • Make one bag of icing per person, it is easier!!
  • This is a great project for inviting people over (the frosting and graham crackers are cheap and the candy lasts FOREVER- even making 10, we had tons of leftovers)
  • You can dye the frosting red and green (forgot till after I made the houses)
  • The houses need to set for an hour before using, but put the rest of the frosting in bags right away so they don't also set
  • Waffle Icecream Cones are great Christmas Trees

Cookie cutter houses are so boring!!

Wouldn't you rather live in this neighborhood?
(minus the frosting splattered EVERYWHERE)

You'll have to click to enlarge this collage:

1. Ryan likes to build walls 2. I have my white picket fence

3. Uncle Gordon likes lots of SNOW 4. Matthew enjoyed eating the candy the most

5. Kirsti added presents around her tree 6. Ethan likes the overgrown garden look

7. Elise added a little of Everything 8. Simplicity was the key for Aunt Jessica

9. Joseph takes us inside the mind of a 4 year old 10. Peter likes Candy Pavers, Stones, and Ponds.

Here are pictures of Uncle Gordon setting up the frosting, the mess left over, and what we did instead of cleaning up (which made the frosting set on the table=a lot longer to clean up)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Elves are Coming...

There is a family tradition we love around here. In a large part because it helps keep me sane. The twelve nights before Christmas (Christmas Eve counts as night #12), the elves come and visit our house. They sneak in and check out our bedrooms. And if they're clean and the house is picked up, they leave a small treat in our stockings. Like a Hershey's miniature chocolate small.

The cost is minimal (even when you multiply by 8), the kids keep their rooms cleaner (without any fights or reminding) during those 12 days than they do the entire year, and there is nothing cuter than watching a toddler walk down the line, patting everyone's stocking to see who got a treat.

At least once during the 1st couple of nights the elves leave something that I don't really like. Surprisingly, my room doesn't pass inspection that night. The kids are decently scared enough to keep their rooms spotless. One year they made sure to clean my room the next night so Peter and I wouldn't miss out on the treat.

The first night is Saturday and my children are already pumped for the elves to come. The boys even cleaned their room already in preparation. I know, I was shocked too. I should have warned you to sit down first.

Anyone who comments that all I need to do is make a habit of my children cleaning up every night so I could always enjoy tear free clean rooms will get me sticking my tongue out at you. In fact, shame on you for even thinking such a thing. If I did that, what fun would my once a year clean room tradition be?

And I really like my stockings- my friend Mary had these in her house and I liked there was no need to keep a supply of matching fabric, just the pattern. I made 4 that year and have since added 4 more.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

*updated* Why I am behind on my blog- a snapshot of a typical day right now.

6:00-6:30 Alarm goes off, try to ignore it and sleep as long as possible because I have had many days like this already.

6:30-7:00 Make four lunches, check my email for the first time since yesterday morning. 40 in one account and 60 in the other. Reply to a couple of emails, search for any pressing ones. Begin looking for my quilting ruler that Matthew wandered off with yesterday and I need today.

7:00-8:00 Send oldest off to school, eat breakfast, find Kirsti clothes and socks (laundry pile). Find Ethan and Joseph missing shoes (one hidden in plain sight, the other on the bed). Find Kirsti and Ryan homework folders (desk and kitchen counter). Find Kirsti and Joseph their missing coats (Joseph's room- for Kirsti- and boys' bathroom- for Joseph). Sign Kirsti and Ethan's reading logs and Ryan's field trip permission slip. Still can't find the quilting ruler (and by this point I have searched the whole house- including basement and garage). Send 3 kids to school.

8:00-9:00 Order more Christmas presents online. Eat breakfast. Print needed coupons for shopping trip today. Put pants in washing machine for me, Matthew and Joseph since none of us have clean ones. Gather the rest of laundry. Put pants in dryer and start a real load.

9:00-10:00 Get dressed. Put Matthew in shower with me since he threw up last night (ate too much dinner) and fell asleep before we got home (yes, he threw up at a restaurant) so still smells terrible. Get us all dressed, change laundry, make shopping list, leave for store.

10:00-11:00 Hit AC Moore. Try to shop their sale for Christmas presents while I have two kids. Involves hiding things under coats and constantly pointing interesting things out to Joseph, who loves walking through the store. Successful again, but it is tiring. They do NOT have quilting rulers, but use 40% off coupon on shrinky dink paper.

11:00-12:00 WalMart for grocery shopping. Realize that I am running later than I thought and forgot to grab Joseph's backpack when leaving the house. Having dealt with him not having his backpack for preschool before (he had a melt down), decided not to risk it. Will have to make a stop at home.

12:00-12:15 Get gas in Suburban because gas gauge is broken and 1/4 tank could mean 4 gallons left or 0 gallons left (but never 1/4 tank left). Do a little dance when I see the total (under 1.75 a gallon!!) Try to convince myself I have time to run to the last grocery stop, but just can't do it. When I check my calendar to make sure he really has preschool today, realize it is my sister's birthday. And no luck, preschool is today.

12:15-12:50 Run home. Grab backpack and diet coke (getting tired by now). Drive to school and drop off Joseph.

12:50-1:50 Run to Target (they have something we want for the kids on sale this week and this is the only time I could get it kid free. Not completely kid free, but Matthew is too little to "get it" or tattle and will forget before Christmas, anyway.) Get out with 10 minutes free (because I practically ran through Target) before I have to head back to the school. Run to Michael's across the street- they have the ruler!! Use my 40% coupon to buy it. Get to the school with 4 minutes to spare so I quickly update my Christmas spreadsheet with all the new stuff I bought today (I keep track of ideas, bought items, and cost for each child). And yes, I carry the folder around with the spreadsheet in it all the time just in case I get a minute to spare.

1:50-2:45 Run home. Unload groceries. Hide Christmas presents (this must be done before the older kids get home. TV won't distract them like it does Joseph). Open two boxes from Amazon that arrived while I was gone and hide them, too. Change Matthew, who insists on sitting on the toilet. Clap when he actually pees. Add underwear to his Christmas list. Leave him on the toilet while I change laundry (he refused to get off). Start the dryer, chase a now naked 2 year old running around the house, and clothe him. Yell at Joseph to put his shoes back on, put away the frozen and refrigerated groceries, leave a note for Elise to call me when she gets off the bus, and head for the warehouse store (which I could have done earlier if I didn't have to go back home for the dang backpack).

2:45-3:30 Run through the large warehouse store, did I mention I was there earlier getting gas? Load the car and get home 1/2 hour after Elise, but just as the other three arrive home.

3:30-4:00 Unload car again and put away all the groceries, only missed one frozen thing earlier.

4:00-4:30 Call and email the other room mothers in my kids' class to go over holiday stuff. Also call my brother because I missed a call from him. He called to tell me Joseph accidentally called him earlier while we were at the store. Right as he was getting in trouble for saying "shut up". Call and wish my sister happy birthday.

4:30-5:30 "Help" the kids do their chores, change laundry again, "encourage" the kids to finish their chores. One child in screaming the ENTIRE hour and another screaming for 1/2 of it. Did I mention that I could have done all 5 chores in 20 minutes? Got to love teaching responsibility.

5:30-6:00 Call my mom (missed her call earlier) to go over some projects she graciously agreed to take over for me, make dinner, load dishwasher, wash dishes, and help Kirsti with homework. All simultaneously. Make the tacos, feed the kids, get Matthew and Joseph dressed again.

6:00-6:15 Put on coats and shoes (alas the youngest 2 lost their socks and I was making them go sockless) and put the boys in the Suburban to take them all to scouts. Peter pulls up as we pull out. Stop and give him the scout age boys. Take the younger two back inside.

6:15-7:45 Brainless watching of child programming.

7:45-9:00 Use my new quilting ruler to cut the square and strips I need for a Christmas project that must remain nameless for now. Apparently at his instistance, Elise takes Matthew to the bathroom again and he goes again. Try to get kids ready for bed. Legs so tired, it hurts to stand. Peter gets home late with boys (stopped to pick up the Dark Knight at store).

9:00-9:40 Realize how late it is, force kids to bed. Watch a TV show with Peter. Pray he doesn't make some snide comment about what I did today because the floors still aren't swept and dinner is still not put away.

9:40-11:00 Cut out pattern, iron and pin and get ready to sew. When go to wind the bobbin, realize I am out of the thread I need. Take it as a sign that I just need sleep. But, in the interest of honesty, I did consider a midnight WalMart run for thread.

11:00-11:30 Since he is headed out of town tomorrow and needs the trunk space, empty Peter's car of presents I bought last week . Load dishwasher and put away dinner. Change laundry. Do a suduko puzzle. Go to bed.

This is pretty typical of my days right now. Monday you could exchange AC Moore for JoAnns, take out shopping but add 3 dentist appointments, piano lessons and dinner with interviewing doctor (where Matthew threw up and Elise watched the other kids for the first time by herself). Finished one project (which I also can't mention yet) and started this one (which is when I found Matthew had lost my ruler). Also, doing laundry would be replaced by gathering and sorting dirty laundry. Oh, and Peter did make a snide comment that day and it was all I could do to not sock him one.

Should be done sewing by the end of the week. I hope. Never be done with dentist appointments, though. Or feeding the kids dinner.

*update* As I was getting dressed to go get the thread I needed, Matthew walks up to me carrying the missing ruler. Guess I have two now.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What Kids Know Tag

Last tag. I told my friend I didn't want to know my kids' answers, so she tagged me in her comments. I asked the kids as they woke up so they didn't know each other's answers (except the youngest two). Please note that we are in the midst of nighttime wars, making them all sleep in their bed at night (this has been hard on the youngest two and the last few nights have been pretty tough battles). That helps make some of the answers make sense. Also, if you can't tell, Matthew is in the parrot stage. Answers are listed oldest to youngest.

1. What does mom always say to you?
  1. Quiet or you'll go to bed.
  2. Get off the computer or turn off the TV
  3. I love you
  4. Go to bed
  5. I don't know
  6. I da-no
2. What makes mom happy?
  1. When we go to bed
  2. When I do my chore and take out the garbage
  3. my smile
  4. Dad
  5. reading me stories
  6. mom happ-ee
3. What makes mom sad?
  1. When she has to clean up stuff she already picked it up (too true, Elise, too true)
  2. When I don't get off the the TV when she tells me to (got grounded last night when I found him at 10:30 watching TV)
  3. Me going to school
  4. A lamp getting broken (Random)
  5. When I have a bad dream, that makes you sad. Last night I dreamed . . .
  6. Mom dad (sad)

4. How does mom make you laugh?

  1. When she does something funny on accident
  2. When she complains about me not laughing
  3. tickle me
  4. tickle me
  5. Ha,ha,ha. You just made me laugh
  6. Mom waff

5. How old is mom?

  1. 32
  2. 32
  3. 31
  4. 30
  5. 29
  6. Josive two
6. How tall is mom?
  1. probably 5'2'' because I am 4'9''
  2. 5'7'' (how does he know that?)
  3. 62 inches?
  4. 20. (Me: feet or inches?) Um...inches?
  5. 20 and one half pounds
  6. How taw mommy?
7. What does mom like to do?
  1. drink hot chocolate
  2. write comments on blogs
  3. clean
  4. yawn (Kirsti is on a random streak I guess)
  5. clean the house every day, duh. (it was the duh that really got me)
  6. cwap (clap) (it was either that or he was saying lap, as in "I want on your wap". I couldn't tell.)
8. What is mom's job?
  1. To help us and clean the house
  2. to stay at home and watch the younger kids
  3. clean
  4. cooking dinner
  5. clean the house
  6. mommy jab
9. What is mom's favorite food?
  1. chicken, maybe?
  2. teriyaki chicken
  3. chicken and rice
  4. Mexican soup
  5. stir fry
  6. bagel (Again, I think he was actually asking for a bagel, not answering the question)
10. How do you know your mom loves you?
  1. you're always nice to us and help us in places and times we need help
  2. because you give me lots of hugs and kisses
  3. you give me hugs
  4. you give me lots of hugs
  5. I don't know how you love me, I only know how I love you
  6. luh-you. Maw-maw luh-you.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

6 Quirks

I was tagged by my friend Brookeh (sorry, private blog) to list 6 quirks. I figure this is like the 7 random things but more focused on my idiosyncrasies (and I have enough random things to do many variations on this tag). Anyway, here goes . . .

1. I HATE being touched when I am really tired. This can make kisses (especially if hugs are involved) after family prayer a very unpleasant thing if I've had a particularly long day.

2. I have to put Dominoes (and Qwirkle pieces) away in the correct order. We had a set that went to 14 and I always started with 14/14 and ended with 0/0. If they are put away out of order, I will dump them out and do it correctly.

3. I chew on pen lids- I know, terrible habit, but hard to break.

4. I am a free range snacker. If there is food out, I will keep picking some up to eat. This can be bad at parties and I have to remind myself that it is not polite to keep taking more and more food. If I'm not careful I'll eat the entire plate of cookies, candy, bread, whatever while more polite people are taking their time.

5. I can't stand the sound of styrofoam rubbing against itself. It pierces my brain. If packaging comes with it and the kids get into it, I cover my ears and force them to get it away from me.

6. I'm still scared of dogs. As an adult I know to put on a smile and ignore the unreasonable fear. I will even pet the dog and compliment the owner. But always (unless I know the dog well), there is an undercurrent of fear there.

Monday, December 1, 2008

100 "Have You Ever"s

My friend emailed me this meme and, being to lazy to hit forward, I decided to post it here instead. I highlighted the ones I've done in red. Enjoy!

1. Started your own blog (obviously)
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (does the junior high marching kind count?)
4. Visited Hawaii (honeymoon)
5. Watched a meteor shower (ask me sometime about Peter's and mine UFO experience)
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland (post coming someday about a funny story that happened then)
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo (not that well, though)
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea (and took pictures)
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty (closed when we went, but we walked around it)
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill (more likely to go in sick than stay home well)
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping (will NOT elaborate)
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community (lived near their communities twice- just thinking about them always makes me crave shoofly pie)
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (financially secure anyway)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater (best way to go to movies as a family- wish they had them here)
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class (I went to one whole class)
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets, or plasma (been rejected a few times, but Peter's plasma payed for my wedding ring)
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check (overdraft protection has helped this out)
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square (yes, I know I only live a couple hours out of New York)
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle - (see this post)
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car (still driving it around~ Audie A4)
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84.Had your picture in the newspaper (most recently wearing these Halloween costumes)
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone's life (unless you count not strangling my children)
90. Sat on a jury (got called for duty in Utah, but was living in Missouri at the time)
91. Met someone famous (but my husband has)
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit (I still say the dealership should have honored the correct deal- cost a couple thousand dollars and taught us to ALWAYS take home contracts to review before signing)
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day (more like 3 or 4)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Eye Doctors, Malls, and Black Friday crowds

I had another brilliant, well thought out scheme the other day. Two of my children were sent home with the "your child failed our vision screening test, how could you not know they were blind?" note. The third already wears glasses, just had them replaced two months ago, and was kind enough to tell us the NEXT DAY he sees much better when he wears his prescription sports goggles and regular glasses together. Anyhow, it only took being knocked in the head a couple hundred times before I realized I needed to make some eye appointments.

For some odd reason, I kept avoiding making the call. Could it be the thought of sitting with 6 kids in a tiny waiting room for hours doesn't sound like fun? Perhaps I dread finding out I need to spend a small fortune on accessories that I will then have to monitor constantly (where are your glasses?), fix (I just need to screw that in tighter), and replace (I mean it, WHERE ARE YOUR GLASSES?). Probably I'm just the master of procrastination. For whatever reason, I kept putting off making the call until guilt, and Kirsti's constant reminder that she can't see, finally got the better of me.

I took the 1st available appointment. 4 of them in a row (if I need to do the other 3 kids in school, I might as well do 1 more). For the Friday after Thanksgiving. Did I mention our eye doctor is in the MALL and it was BLACK FRIDAY? Yep, I am the well-thought-out-plan-making guru. Some might say this was punishment for not Black Friday shopping for the first time in years.

So I loaded up the kids and got there early so we could make the 4 mile trek through the parking lot. We arrived at 2:45 for our appointments starting at 3. We left the mall at 7:30. With the exception of 1/2 hour at the end, spent getting pretzels and walking around waiting for the glasses, it was all spent in a waiting room the size of my closet. Jealous?

Although gratefully, Matthew slept the 1st two hours in his stroller, the receptionist happened to have the American Girl movie for them to watch, I had them bring in books and coloring things and, thankfully, they all decided to be pretty well behaved most of the time. It could have been much, much worse.

Oh, and Ryan's prescription had doubled (which is why he saw better wearing two sets of glasses), Kirsti and Elise need to wear theirs all the time except when reading or on the computer, and Ethan got a clean bill of health.

And during the "extra" 1/2 hour I found a store with a great deal. Buy one get one free on everything AND spend $50 get $40 in gift cards. I would tell you where I bought the girls an outfit, but I'm embarrassed that I shopped somewhere so expensive (even if I did get a deal). You will just be LIMITED TOO your imagination.

Here are my kiddos with their brand new glasses. Sorry for the glare, I was a little tired.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Matthew's New Game

We might be the first parents in the history of parentage who spend exorbitant amounts of time encouraging our baby to cry.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Can someone who doesn't like to cook enjoy Thanksgiving?

Yes, yes you can. But you must invite the right dinner guests. So here is my shout out to all my company this year. Thank you Mrs. Smith for providing the pies. And Mr. Stouffers? Your stuffing is always a favorite at our home. The McCormicks gave the right touch to the gravy and Mrs. Rhodes, your rolls melted in my mouth. Finally, thanks to my assistants, Mr. Hefty and Mr. Reynolds. Without your help my turkey wouldn't be moist.

I am in awe for those who cook their dinners from scratch. I think if I had one thing to concentrate on, I might have had the patience to make something great. But when faced with the daunting task of making the entire dinner for my family, I'm glad I opted to let my friends help. Keeping me from slaving in the kitchen all day I was able to enjoy my Thanksgiving with my family. You holiday guests are nearly as dear to me as my everyday best friend, Betty Crocker.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

(and Kirsti wore that hat for days and all through dinner)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Proof that Batman and Robin made me crazy

A couple of weeks ago the kind people of the Cartoon Network decided they wanted all parents' heads to explode. So they decided to put Batman and Robin in their program lineup. The plan was ingenious. They must have known that 1) parents would have blocked such a terrible movie from their memory and 2) children seeing an old batman movie coming on would beg to watch. Anyway you look at it, my head was about to explode. However, I did learn a couple of valuable tidbits while trying to avoid watching or listening to this movie.

First of all, I had the pleasure of informing my children that the actor, and I use that term loosely, playing Mr Freeze is the current governor of California. Not only was I proud of the fact that I did not use the term "governator", I learned my children must know something of California (because it did not surprise them in the least that a man covered in silver paint was California's governor). I even took a moment to pause and consider that my children will think of Arnold as the politician who used to act (again loosely held usage) and not the actor who became a politician. Unfortunately, this only took up a minute of time avoiding watching the movie.

Next, in an attempt to avoid more of the movie, Peter and I began discussing Batman, aka George Clooney. I believe things were stated along the lines of "Too bad his politics are so crazy, because he is so good looking." Out of respect, I will not tell you which one of us said that. And I apologize for anyone who agrees with Clooney's politics . . . because you must be crazy.

Anyway, it comes out that Peter has met George Clooney. Not actually met as much as saw him in a restaurant eating. He would have introduced himself, but was worried he might actually say something along the lines of what we were just saying (crazy . . . good looking . . . feud with Bill O'Riley . . . etc). Plus, and we know this as parents of a toddler, who wants their dinner to be continually interrupted by slobbering, adoring fans wanting to sit on your lap? Um, not that Peter would do that to George Clooney, but it was probably wise to just admire from afar.

I was shocked! This is the man who calls to inform me he just saw Obama- with his window down and holding a bottle of water- drive past him in NYC. He never mentions hobnobbing with George Clooney? I mean they're practically best friends now! What other famous people encounters must he be hiding? I want to see paternity test results for Angelina's twins!!

(Actually this is unnecessary since the the discussion of Clooney naturally evolved to the admission that Peter thinks Jennifer Aniston is better looking than Angelina Jolie. What? Seriously? Has he seen pictures of Angelina Jolie??)

Thankfully, I managed to avoid most of the movie. There is no telling, however, how much brain damage was incurred by my children watching the entire thing. I just checked and it is still on our DVR. I will erase it now before I'm accidentally sucked in again. Although maybe if I mute the sound I can just watch George Clooney, Chris O'Donnell, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Uma Thurman dance across my screen. Man, maybe I am already brain dead. Curse you Batman and Robin!!!!

And although I like to tease my husband, I am compelled to admit that I said the line about crazy, good-looking Clooney. And Peter would never fall all over him. However if he were ever to meet Ben Affleck . . .

Friday, November 21, 2008

O Amazon

O Amazon,
O Amazon
I love you so much

I Christmas shop
with kids asleep
and hubby gone.
Sanity I keep.

O Amazon,
O Amazon,
I love you so much

Your prices rock,
Selection's great.
I’ve never had
You ship too late.

O Amazon,
O Amazon,
I love you so much

Supersaver shipping
changed my life.
Ship straight to friends
Saves me some strife.

O Amazon,
O Amazon,
I love you so much

Come home and find
At my front door
Another box arrived
from your great store.

O Amazon,
O Amazon,
I love you so much

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mom, this piggyback's for you

I remember the moment quite distinctly. I can’t tell you what I was doing or wearing or even the exact date. It isn’t that sort of memory. What I remember is the thought, simple enough and yet paradigm shifting: I realized that I have distinct memories of my mother in her thirties, my age.

It couldn’t be true! I remember my mother was old, she had it all figured out. She could do anything, fix anything, make anything. When she didn’t do something, it was because she didn’t want to do it. She was the master of her universe (and mine, too).

But me, in my thirties I’m still figuring things out. I make mistakes ALL THE TIME. I have a list of things I need to do so long I know it won’t all be done. And the things I’d like to do? Don’t get me started. I’m learning and changing all the time.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the demands of motherhood. My children need me to love them, help them, fix their problems, show them attention. Constantly. I panic that I cannot live up to the ideal they’ve unconsciously set for me and they'll realize their mistake. (I know that I will have a different battle as they grow older, but they are still young and adoring now).

And then I looked at my daughter, almost the exact age I would have been when my memories of my mother became clear. And I realized she had the same utter confidence in my abilities. If she thinks of me the same way I thought of my mom, could my mom at 32 have felt the same way I do now?

Remembering my mother taught me something. Doing my best is good enough. It doesn’t matter than I can’t do everything and fix everything. It doesn’t even matter that I make mistakes sometimes. What matters is that I am there for my children, trying everyday, loving them every day. I don’t remember my mom failing, but I remember feeling secure in her love for me.

On a side note, what is it about moms? Even though in my head I know she is a fallible person, I still believe she can fix everything for me. Can’t get my Christmas PJ’s finished? She’ll mail them to me. Advise for the kids? She is the go to person. When she is coming to visit I count down the days till she comes and makes everything better. When she leaves I’ll have a clean house, happy children, and projects finished.

Maybe, after my children are finished being teenagers, their childhood adoration and dependence will mature to appreciation and gratitude as mine has (I wouldn’t mind some less-dependant adoration, either).

So today when my youngest asks me for the 300 billionth time for a “peacock” ride, I will think of my mom and my childhood memories and my respect for her and let him climb on my back one more time. Mom, this piggyback ride’s for you.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Falling in Love with Connecticut

Last year, the Saturday before Thanksgiving, we loaded up our car and headed to our new home in Connecticut. I loved North Carolina. We lived in a great town with fantastic neighbors and wonderful friends. We were moving to a place I had never dreamed of living. And we were leaving warm weather for the frosty northeast. Peter had already lived and worked there for a month and a half. Since our home wasn’t sold yet, we had leased a furnished off season rental.

Sometime during the 12 hour drive Peter mentioned that the place he’d rented had no dishwasher. And the dryer was broken.

So I was missing my family and friends while living in a drafty house (you could literally sit on the couch and feel the wind blow throw it). It was dark and dusty and the furniture was 30 + years old. And the kids were not adjusting to their new school. And Peter was working all the time. And I didn’t ever want to move from North Carolina. I hated Connecticut.

And then one day I was hanging my laundry in the basement to dry. I was pondering the reason for living here. With 6 kids and no dryer, I had a lot of time to ponder. I had felt strongly this was where we should be and leasing this house was the right plan, so why was I so miserable? And as I silently whined, a thought came to my mind, as clear as day. “Why are you complaining? This is the answer to your prayer.”

You see, for many months I have worried about my near teenage children. How was I going to guide them? What could I do to direct them during this difficult time of life? I had prayed for the wisdom I needed as a mother. As I stood in that basement, God let me know that these experiences were the direct answer to that prayer. I was here specifically to receive that wisdom.

And slowly, I began to fall in love with Connecticut. The people I have met here have been nothing but kind. The parks and libraries are much nicer than our old town. And the summers? I can stand the cold winters if I can have New England summers. But even the summer can’t compete with the autumn. Wow. Beautiful can’t begin to describe it, but to try any further would almost be an insult.

Our second rental is perfect for us. I’m glad to have my furniture again. Our new school is wonderful. The kids are thriving. Peter’s work is at the crux of easing up. We are making great friends and great memories.

Even though I still miss my family and friends, my old house (which has yet to sell), and warm winters, in the last year, I have fallen in love with this place. I don’t know what the future holds for Peter’s work, but it will be hard to ever leave Connecticut.

I am thankful that God answers prayers. Sometimes to get where I need to be, I have to travel where I’d rather not. And to find love unexpectedly along the way has been a blessing.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Who has the harder job? Let's compare.

I often hear men lovingly proclaim that their homemaker wife has the hardest job. Just once I would like to also be awarded “toughest job.” I do, after all, have 6 children. But you see I have some stiff competition; my husband is an ER doctor. (And technically it is an ED doctor- it is a department, not a room after all) Let’s compare job duties:

Me: I was up all night (figuratively) with the baby.
Peter: I was up all night (literally) working my 5th all night shift, then stopped in on a morning meeting, then stayed up as long as possible so I could flip back to daytime hours.

Me: My kids were bickering all day. Possible even had an all out fight to referee.
Peter: I had a shooting, retaliation shooting, and then retaliation for the retaliation stabbing.

Me: Have you ever spent all day with a tantrum throwing 3 year old?
Peter: Have you ever had an OCD schizophrenic (who is off his medicine and on cocaine) punch you in the face?

Me: I changed a ton of diapers today.
Peter: I gave a 500 pound man a rectal exam.

Me: My kid threw up on me.
Peter: Know what an obstructed bowel is? Stuff has to come out one end or the other.

Me: I was running kids around all day. While doing laundry, cooking dinner, and reading Silly Sally 500 times.
Peter: I had a stroke, heart attack, car accident, and 1st time mom with a 99.0 degree “fevered” baby come in AT THE SAME TIME and I was the ONLY doctor on duty.

Me: I had to practically force the kids to brush their teeth and/or clean their room.
Peter: I had to hold down a screaming baby while I stitched him up and/or gave him a spinal tap.

Me: Had to help the boys deal with a bully.
Peter: Had to bully the consulting doctor to actually see and admit his patient.

Me: Diaper rashes to sooth, hurt feelings to mend, virtues to teach
Peter: You-don’t-want-to-know rashes to diagnose, death notifications to give, Plan B asked for often.

But then again, Peter is well paid and has nurses who think he’s wonderful. I get paid in “love” and “beautiful memories” and a husband who comes home and asks, “What DID you do ALL day?” Maybe my job is harder after all…

And if my husband and I come across as a little crass, this post should prove that it is merely a coping mechanism. Otherwise we would both be totally insane. Which we aren’t. No, really. Why are you looking at me like that? What do you mean, “inappropriate dinnertime conversation”?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A whole bunch of random

Well, I made some aprons last week. They took under 1/2 hour (closer to 10 minutes I think). Below is the pattern I used ...

- More cool how to projects

... and here are the finished results. Yes, I know this photo is an awesome display of my photo taking skills. I tried to skimp on the ribbon, wouldn't recommend it. Didn't sew on the buttons because I can't find my needles. Maybe next week.

Elise gave a talk during the main meeting at church today. She did a great job. I printed off a conference talk for her to read and she wrote (and typed) it all herself. I don't know why they had an 11 year old give a talk, but for a minute a member of the primary presidency thought they had missed her birthday. I am going to post her talk here.

I am so proud of my family. Every single adult on my side dressed up for Halloween this year. Half have private blogs, but you can find the rest of the pictures here, here, and here. And if you aren't sure we're crazy yet, check out my Mom and my Sister. As you can imagine, our family reunions are a blast.

Peter and I lost at Settlers of Catan today. Only because 12's were rolled twice as often as 9's, so Elise was rolling in cards. Somebody forgot to teach our dice the laws of probability.

Yesterday we ate hamburgers for a late lunch. Then at the mall (for the boys' haircuts) we bought some pretzels. On the way home we hit Wendy's to use some free Frosty coupons. Dinner were some hot leftover hot wings Peter had (we all got about one hot wing) and rootbeer floats. Since breakfast is always a loosely held tradition in our home, we were VERY healthy yesterday.

And maybe that is why I am incapable of pulling together a coherent post tonight. Better luck next time.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

For the Love of HFCS

I’m sure everyone has heard by now that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is to blame for all the evil in the world. So out of sheer curiosity, I looked in my pantry. My favorite teriyaki sauce, the only one I'll use? It is the number one ingredient. Soy sauce? It was in there, too. In fact, practically everything I like contains HFCS.

So that got me thinking.
Maybe I should make my own HFCS and add it to my home cooked stuff too. I hate broccoli. Perhaps not after infusing it with HCSF! Meat a little tough? Marinate with HCSF. Kids complain about dinner? Pour some of this yummy syrup over it. Want to win the next chili cook off? I have a secret ingredient!

I could even save money on my grocery budget! Just take all the left-too-long leftovers and mix in HFCS. Just like new!! Maybe I could just go outside and bring in a bucket of dirt. Mixed with just the right amount of HFCS (and the perfect dishes and center piece), and I’ve made a gourmet dinner!!
No more complaining, great cook reputation, my 6 year old gaining enough weight to be out of her car seat. I’m not really finding a down side.

In fact, maybe it isn’t just for cooking! I bet pouring it all over my house will make it look great without cleaning. Who needs to workout or use makeup? Just shower in HFCS (for an added treat see what happens if your husband does it too). Maybe it can be made into a hairspray to fix a terrible haircut. I wonder if lame TV shows are funny once you make a HFCS screen? The possibilities are endless.  

HCSF just might be a panacea for all my problems!!
So, anyone have a good recipe for high fructose corn syrup?

(And a quick note to my book club: don’t worry, I am not using HFCS for the pumpkin rolls I’m bringing this week, they are strangely delicious all on their own. But I wonder if they could taste even better. Hmmm.)

Monday, November 3, 2008

We Found a Boat?

My kids are determined this came from some poor, shipwrecked boat
(even if it looks like a regular two by four).
Something interesting is always washing up in our backyard.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Costumes & Results of an All Candy Diet

This year I went with an easy, no-sew costume idea. All I used was felt, under wonder, fabric paint, and hot glue. You'll notice that my "quirky" dresser opted for a lollipop over a candy bar. And yes, we dressed as Almond Joy and Mounds just for the joke you could make.

Trick or treating was a lot of fun. I was worried when at dusk there were no lit porch lights. By the time we went out there were plenty of lights. Everyone in the neighborhood gave out candy bars (see diagram at right)! By the time we finished half the neighborhood, our bags were full and heavy (chocolate weighs more that smarties, I guess).

Anyway, today after an all candy 24 hour diet, my kids reacted quite strangely. The older three had to take turns. Not on the computer, or the wii, or even the TV. They took turns using my sewing machine and proudly displaying their creations. Then they spent at least 3 hours playing on the beach (except Elise who opted for rare, alone, creative time upstairs). This gave me time to clean up the house and catch up on old Clark Howard Podcasts. If this is how they react to candy, I think that is all I will ever feed them.
PS We had spaghetti with bread sticks and corn for dinner and now they are fighting. I think my theory IS true . . . .

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Painting Pumpkins

I will post the pictures of our Halloween later today, I promise!! Anyway, here are the photos of our annual pumpkin painting.

Top to Bottom: Ryan, Ethan, Kirsti, Matthew, Elise, Joseph, Me

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I Blame Facebook

Last weekend my brother did a bad thing. He pointed out that my father and I were the only two family members not on facebook. If you ask my father about social networking he probably thinks about business cards. In an attempt to not be the unhip sibling, I promptly signed up for an account.

First, I invited people from my email accounts. I figured if I ever sent you an email, you must be my friend. Then this little "People You May Know" thingy popped up. So I looked through and tried to click on people I did, in fact, know. And then the emails began.

At first it was blast from the past. Friends I hadn't thought of for years. Yes, I will be your friend. Then came a few names I remembered, barely. OK, I will be your friend, too.

And then came the people whose names were a total blank. Nada. But we have like 500 friends in common so I know I went to school with them. This started to bother me, so, in desperation, I went to the basement and PULLED OUT MY HIGH SCHOOL YEAR BOOK. Which is something I haven't done since 20 seconds after graduation.

And that is when things got scary. Because I actually started looking up people in my yearbook. And then I started reading what people signed. And a couple of the name blanks ACTUALLY SIGNED MY YEARBOOK. Unfortunately, I only remember well about 10% of the people who signed my yearbook. Another 10% I think I vaguely remember. The other 80, well apparently I did not follow your advice to "never forget me" or "lets get together this summer."

You know how many inside jokes are written in there? You know how many I remember after 15 years? Of course, I don't feel too bad. I wasn't even invited to the 10 year reunion. And those people who want to be my friend on facebook, even though I am 95% sure we never spoke a word to each other in high school, yeah I said they could be my friend, too. Just in case I've forgotten we were once best friends.

(And if you just clicked on my blog from my facebook profile, I am TOTALLY NOT talking about you)

I now have proof that I have lost my mind. Or at least my memory. Do I know you?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Last Look at Halloween Past

Here is Halloween last year- Peter had already moved and I was busy getting the house ready for us to follow, so we went with easy. The red alien is my mom, who was visiting for the birth of my nephew. Isn't she a good sport?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lessons from a Motorcycle Trip

As a teenager, I once went on a motorcycle trip with my parents. My father, having grown up in rural Oklahoma on the back of a motorcycle, always remembered fondly the thrill of riding. Strangely enough about the time he hit middle age, my parents bought a Gold Wing. They promptly decided to take a trip to Yellowstone with some friends. For some reason I cannot remember, I came along on the back of their friends’ son’s bike. The trip was wonderful. And by that I mean I only remember three things about it.

First, let me explain that I have a bizarre sleeping habit. Being in a car puts me to sleep. Out. Zonkers. Drooling, snoring, nap fests. There is just something about the hum of the engine or the rhythmic undulations of potholes. Luckily I am usually not the one driving at the time.

Originally I thought this was instinctual, derived from cavemen’s nomadic lifestyle; an inborn way to prevent boredom while driving their cars from place to place. It turns out they’d yet to invent the modern wheel and driving with square wheels is way too uncomfortable for snoozing. So instead I theorize that this tendency has its roots with my childhood propensity for carsickness. After years of hearing, “just shut your eyes and try to relax,” whenever I felt sick, I eventually skipped the carsick and went straight to the sleepiness. Just call me Pavlov’s dog.

I am not one of those people who can force themselves to stay awake. I once fell asleep walking, although I promptly woke up after hitting a wall. I can sleep anywhere, anytime. Motorcycles and sleepy car drivers should never, ever mix. You would think that driving down a highway with the wind (and bugs) on my face (actually the helmet’s visor) would be enough to keep me alert. But it wasn’t. I think the poor guy had to practically hold me onto the bike. Not my brightest moment. Nowadays my husband gets annoyed when I fall asleep instead of keeping him company during road trips. At least he doesn’t have to simultaneously drive and try to keep me from falling out of the car!

Secondly, I remember our bike breaking down at the beginning of the trip. I remember having to stop at some small mechanics place to get it fixed. While there my dad decided to order a deli sandwich. I vividly remember the conversation my parents had:

“Dear, what kind of meat do I like?”

“You like the turkey.”

“What is my favorite type of cheese?”

“You want the American.”

I found this conversation hilarious until I was married a few years and my husband asked me where his socks were kept.

Last, but not least, I remember a valuable agricultural lesson. On the way home we all pulled over to rest. I think this had something to do with a sleepy lump on the back of one bike needing stimulus to keep awake (which makes calling it a “rest” kind of silly I guess). It was a gravelly ramp and, as my parents began to slow, cows began to cross the roadway. Now swerving on a bike on gravel is NOT a good idea. They didn’t have time to turn; they didn’t have time to stop. They were going to make some hamburger meat, spiced with that elusive flavor of motorcycle. An instant before they hit that cow, it JUMPED out of the way. You heard me right, it jumped.

So now you know: don’t expect witty conversation on car trips with me, husbands store all their knowledge in their wives’ brains, and, given the right circumstances, cows know how to jump.

Friday, October 24, 2008

More of our Halloween History

I've finally finished this year's costumes.
The pictures here are from 2006.
Be kind, my baby #6 was only 1 1/2 months old so I was not looking my best! Although all those costumes were sewn by yours truly (I even made up baby Matthew's costume myself)! I'm the 1st to admit, sometimes I can be a little crazy.