Thursday, October 30, 2008
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
Sunday, October 26, 2008
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
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Peter (Obi Won), Ryan (Vader/Anakin), Elise (Leia), and Joseph (Yoda) wore handmade costumes.
I bought mine (Amidala), Ethan's (Darth Maul) and Kirsti's (Chewbacca), although in the little picture I handpainted Ethan's face.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Elise has been doing great in middle school. She got all A's on her progress report and just found out she made it into Chamber Choir.
Matthew has learned the value of talking. He talks all the time and seems to add at least 3 new words every day. Last week he learned "uh-uh" and "ya". Now that he can tell us his opinion, he thinks he should always get his way! He is starting to put words together. His favorite song? We Will Rock You. I will try to get some video one of these days.
Ryan is enjoying school, too. Last week he finished testing for the gifted program. He was accidentally signed up for flag football (there are 4 Ryans in 4-5th grades and somehow his name got added to the list). That means he is doing tackle football and flag. His last tackle game is this Friday during the high school football team's half time. He really enjoys it.
Ethan loves, loves, loves football. He kept circling the play, always holding back, and then on his last game of the season, something clicked and he was in on every play. You can find him outside playing pretty much all the time. Only 2 more months till baptism time!
Kirsti has become a reading fiend. She can finish the Magic Tree House books, although her true heart is with Henry and Mudge. This is a picture of her school project. Those are strips of paper we wrapped into circles and glued onto a the pumpkin she brought home. We had a blast finishing this project together (although it did take a little longer than I expected).
Joseph has started preschool. It is 1 hour twice a week. He gets so excited every week. Matthew, however, gets upset every time we drop him off. He loves to tell stories and they totally crack me up. Today he told Peter and I about the billy goat gruffs. It involved "the highest number" of goats, grass that was made into necklaces, and jumping over the trolls.
He had two birthday cakes. The Pirate for his party and this one the week earlier on his actual birthday. For the last year, ever since he saw this cake, he has told everyone, "I am having a Transformer birthday." I knew he would eventually realize if I didn't make it, so I did. The picture was taken after some frosting surgery to repair Matthew damage to the cake.
Peter is doing well. Lots of recruiting and what not. They lost a doctor last month, which was hard, but a new hire starts Monday and another in November. And at least one in July. We are hoping for 2-3 more hires this year (which means lots more work). He is going to the American College of Emergency Physicians conference in a couple weeks and is hoping for some good leads while out there.
And me? I have 8 costumes to finish by Friday. I also have a basement to clean out, library books to find, 2 school parties and plan, and a wheat grinder to still buy. I'm keeping busy.
Friday, October 17, 2008
- The person in charge of laundry should always own at least one less pair of underwear than the rest of the household.
- If your children fold their own laundry, expect 75% to go directly into the dirty clothes hamper. That explains why, after putting 8 pair of underwear and 5 pairs of socks into their folding pile, they claim to have no underwear or socks the very next morning.
- On a related note, just after you put in your last load, expect your kids to magically find several hampers of dirty laundry they must have hidden somewhere under their bed or in their closets. If you carefully searched those places, expect to find out your husband forgot to clean out his suitcase until the evening after you're finished.
- (My brother taught me this one, it has been invaluable when I have to gather my children's laundry) If you smell it twice, it's clean. This applies especially to socks and underwear. You must learn this because the other 25% of clothes you give your children to fold end up directly on their floor.
- The only time you will splatter bleach is the time you risk it while wearing "good clothes".
- Chances are very high your children will spill, wipe, or snort something onto your favorite pants/shirt right before you leave the house. If it is the last of your clean (and not out of style) pants/shirt, the probability rises to 99%. Just learn to leave the house a little dirty or out of style.
- You should expect to loose 20% of all socks you wash. Combat this by only buying one type of sock per person, loosening your "that matches" standard, and making your family wear sandals whenever feasible. If you keep the lone socks for future matchmaking, expect to eventually fill an entire room.
- Boys' idea of "clean" is not the same as yours. When they start wearing jackets, remember to check underneath the jacket.
- Kids will eventually decide bedtime routines are easier if they dress over their pajamas (no need to interrupt what they're doing to change, just strip off the top layer). This can lead to very smelly PJ's. Watch for it.
- Putting clean clothes on your bed because it will force you to sort it will not work, it will result in rolling a huge pile onto the floor come bedtime.
- Do not start a load in a Hot Water cycle right before you get into the shower.
- A 2 year old will open your dryer mid-cycle at least once per laundry day. Try to catch it within 5 hours.
- Can't find a clean towel? Check the dryer (hope you don't need to check the washer).
- If, when you sort laundry, any children only have one pair of underwear, make them bathe immediately.
- If they claim (and it can be substantiated) that they have bathed and/or showered recently, try not to gag when you explain they can NOT put back on the same underwear. Try to emphasize that, unlike T-shirts or dress up, it is wrong to have a favorite pair of underwear.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Let me be clear, I’ve paid my dues. When my children first started school, I was all about joining the PTA. Although I couldn’t actually join the PTA because the school had a PTO. Apparently organizations and associations are different. Anyway, I not only joined the PTO, I joined the board. In this school that meant I was one of the 4 parents who did EVERYTHING in the school. After two years I was burned out.
So when we moved to North Carolina opted out. I still went on field trips and sent in school supplies, but I decided it was time to let someone else run the show. Instead of attending all the meetings, I attended none. Except the one I was tricked into attending because it was disguised as the holiday program and my children were singing.
Well I intended to go to a meeting here. Really I did. If I remembered. Yesterday I had to pick up a couple of kids early for a dentist appointment and I was leaving the school, one of the teachers handed me a letter. It was telling me about a room mother meeting after the PTA meeting that night. Now how am I supposed to forget about a meeting when they remind me 4 hours before hand? Plus, besides vague memories of my mother from elementary school, I was unclear what a room mother actually does. Which is totally why it was a great idea to sign up twice.
But Peter has church meetings tonight! Surely I can’t be expected to drag my kids out. Ah, they provided child care. And 3 of the kids also have church meetings. And Peter agreed to take the 4 year old with him. Which leaves me 2 kids and no excuses. So I went.
I got there right on time. Only to find out the post room mother meeting was really a pre room mother meeting. Oops. 3 minutes after the meeting started, I realized I had to use the rest room. These things only last 5-10 minutes. I could wait. So I did. 1 ½ hours.
In an attempt to compensate for a shrinking number of school age children, our district is consolidating schools. We moved into a school which a year ago was two schools. There are co-presidents of the PTA. And every item on the agenda had to go through agonizing detail on how each school did everything before the merger.
At one point I thought I might excuse myself and ask where the restrooms were, but I was worried that might lead to a discussion about how the two different schools used to handle potty breaks. Instead I yawned a lot. And fidgeted a lot. And didn’t say a single word. After all I had no idea how either side ever did anything and there was no need to add any other ideas to the mix. Although a 5 hour meeting does sound appealing . . .
I think the truly sick part is I will probably keep going to the monthly meetings (if I remember them). I might even join a committee. I’m actually looking forward to being the room mother. I blame you, Mom.
Monday, October 13, 2008
It takes great talent to make maternity clothes that do not resemble gigantic tents. I would argue that it might actually be more effective to head over to sporting goods, buy a tent, cut holes for your head and arms, and wear that. The tent’s storage bag makes a nice matching purse and you can even use the poles to prod your children from the comfort of your couch.
Of course you may be a better seamstress. You might look better pregnant (chances are pretty high). You might even have enough style to pick a print that looks good in tent size. But there is more to this tale than just that one warning.
Several years ago I went a little crazy. Proof? I was pregnant for a 6th time, it was Easter, and I decided to make matching dresses for me and the girls. All went well, more or less. In an effort to look less tent-like, I choose my pattern with a skirt and top. When I sewed the skirt, there was an interesting maternity panel; it called for stretchy material around the top of the skirt. No elastic or anything. Sounds comfortable, right? And it was. Easter was wonderful. I finally pulled off a successful home sewn maternity outfit!
A few weeks later we went on a trip up to our old home in Pennsylvania. Since the trip included a Sunday, we packed church clothes so we could visit our old congregation. Of course I packed our new Easter outfits. I wanted to match so we wouldn’t get lost, not so I would look like a domestic diva. No really. Why would someone want to show off like that?
So we went to church. Everyone oowed and awed over how adorable our family looked. This was a surprise and totally not why I dressed my family that way. Everyone gave the necessary congratulations on our upcoming baby. And after the main meeting we chatted in the foyer with old friends. And then my youngest, in an attempt to get my attention, tugged on my skirt’s hem.
You know those dreams where you find yourself in public wearing just your underwear? Well, at least I was wearing a slip. Yes, I found myself standing in the middle of church with my skirt around my ankles. Even though I couldn’t see my face, I still laugh about the look on it. What to do, what to do? Melt to the floor in mortification? Buy a paper bag to permanently wear over my head? Be thankful we were visiting and I didn’t have to come back next week? Look up a lawyer to sue the pattern company for negligent humiliation?
I reached down, pulled up my skirt, and laughed. That’s what I get for trying to show off. I mean, that’s NOT why I was wearing that skirt that day, but if it were the reason, I would have gotten what I deserved. And it was pretty funny. How often do you get to undress in front of the pious?
Of course I never wore that skirt again, will never sew another maternity outfit, and deeply, deeply understand the necessity of elastic in sewing.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
I wanted to get into what the year has brought to my family, but I am tired and not feeling like retrospection right now, so I'm just going to go to bed. If you're that interested you can just look through all the documentation I've made over the last year. There's only 116 posts.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Our first stop (after bathrooms at the visitor center) was Independence Hall. Our free tickets were 45 minutes away, so we walked around a while. Above are the pictures of things we saw outside. While waiting my children found their true calling: they were born to be squirrels (please note that these acorns were not in any way involved in voter fraud).
This is where it all happened. This is where our nation began. This is where those great men stood. Here where I stand now. It was a wonderfully overwhelming feeling.
Our next stop was the Liberty Bell. Joseph was fascinated! He kept talking about the bell with the crack in it.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Notes were sent into the children’s classes with warnings of early check out times, an overnight bag was packed (after many such impulsive trips the mother had perfected the art of packing quickly for any length trip), dishes were cleaned, garbage taken out, alarm clocks turned off and dentist appointments canceled.
As the mother packed everything into the Suburban, while simultaneously emptying it of unneeded items, she noticed the unlock button was not clicking when hit. It only took her 20 minutes to realize she might check to make sure the battery was working. And it wasn’t.
In the SUV’s defense it had not been driven in over a week. This was due to conference weekend and the father’s work schedule leaving the smaller, more stylish Audi A4 available during the day. Who wouldn’t die after such prolonged neglect?
Since the father had meetings in the morning, these parents had agreed upon a 1:00 departure time. When the father showed up on the doorstep promptly at 2:00, the mother
The mother, by the way, knew the proper places to put the cables on her behemoth Suburban, having to jump it once with the help of a friend and an owner’s manual. After a slight power struggle, the father finally agreed that the cables should be hooked at the spots marked “+ battery” and “ground” and not on the battery itself.
After two minutes the Suburban clicked when started, but since the door unlock and radio now worked, the parents kept hope alive and waited 5 more minutes. Miraculously the car started. On the way to the elementary school the father informed the mother that hotel reservations were still nonexistent. Yeah iPhone! The mother looked up a hotel number and the father called while the mother gathered the children (an hour after the note had indicated).
Then off to the middle school where the oldest daughter was slightly flipping out because school was letting out, she was unpicked up, and she was unsure of getting on the bus or not. Fortunately the mother beat the dismissal bell by 30 whole seconds. (The daughter had attempted calling, but the parents were on hold with the hotel and had to make a choice). Since the magic internet had given directions to the father’s dinner, all that was left was to look up how to find the hotel. Again, yeah iPhone!
Finally off to the great Philadelphia adventure.
After an exciting journey of toll roads, one bathroom break, and a stop for gas, the family arrived. Due to
Keep in mind this family has lived for many years in rural places such as Eastern North Carolina and Central Pennsylvania. There are more golf carts headed to the beach driving past their current home then actual cars. So the mother was wholly unprepared to navigate down town Philadelphia at night in a Suburban. With a car full of hungry, grouchy kids.
What was William Penn thinking, not planning for humongous SUV’s when planning his city? And the iPhone directions? Wrong. Terrible, mean iPhone instantly fell from grace. After several passes past the iPhone’s ending place (driving all one way streets so there were numerous right turns involved; a couple left ones, too) the poor frazzled mother called the hotel and got real directions.
Praying for valet parking (imagine parallel parking that monster) and braving the unfamiliar traffic of pedestrians, bikers, taxi cabs, and buses, the mother continued the journey. Despite almost hitting a few people and bikes, almost side swiping a few taxis, nearly rear-ending a car stopped to parallel park, and a total miscomprehension of the purpose of the “bus only” lanes (which apparently includes everyone), they arrived safe and mostly sound at the hotel.
Think the mother headed out to find fast food for her hungry children? No, she spent a king’s ransom on room service hamburgers. And eventual the father traversed the city to reunite with his family. After two taxis because a taxi driver insisted he was at the right hotel when he was not.
And so the family made it through their journey and spent the next day enjoying Philadelphia. Which is a whole other (more pleasant) story . . .
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Also, a big thanks to my friend who came over to watch Saturday's conference sessions, which we watched back to back thanks to DVR's and Ethan's football game inexplicably going an hour over time. During that time, she helped me sort and fold 1 1/2 weeks of laundry. I couldn't have gotten the house ready for company without her help. Did I mention that Peter told me 3 months ago his brother was coming and then not mentioned it again until the day before his brother arrived? And I had spent the week preparing for Joseph's birthday party and ignoring my upstairs and laundry. At least I had a clean house for Sunday!
And can I just say, I really enjoyed conference this time around. There were some really great talks and I can't wait to read them in the Ensign next month. I may even cheat and listen online when the audio becomes available.
All in all, a very satisfying weekend!
Friday, October 3, 2008
Stop 5: "Book Rest Stop"
Read How I Became A Pirate by Melinda Long
If you include my children (6) and little baby siblings of the older kids (3) and a couple of older siblings (3),
there were 22 kids at the party
Before the party I made the cake, cleaned the house, wrapped the presents from the family, put together 24 eye patches, and decorated (I finished up the games last night during the debate). Peter took the boys for several hours so I could get done, thanks Sweetheart.
I will be sleeping well tonight.
(And maybe tomorrow I will show the presents, the extra cake we had last week and the story on why we had two cakes for Joseph's B-Day)
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Until I was in my late 20's I used to be terrified someone would sneak into my house and hide in my closet until I was in bed. And then sneak out and kill me. I don't know why I was so scared, but whenever I accidentally left my door unlocked, I would search all my closets. I remember having this fear as young as 10. For some reason I stopped worrying about it when I lived in NC (maybe I had too many closets by then?).
So I turn on Criminal Minds tonight and guess how it starts. Yep, the exact scenario from sneaking into the house to hiding in the closet until after they were asleep. Remember how I outgrew this fear a mere two years ago? Excuse me while I go check all my closets.
Before I begin I need to explain my previous experiences. There are two facts that help make sense of my state of mind. First, my last delivery had never hit hard labor, and second, in four deliveries I had never felt false contractions. Of course, I was terrified (and a little hopeful) that I would be doing dishes one day and the baby would just fall out.
The baby. This was the first time we didn’t know the sex of our soon to be child. Pennsylvania had a “great” custom of doing the ultrasound at 12 weeks and then charging $300 to do a later ultrasound to discover the sex of the baby. Since we already had 2 boys and 2 girls, we opted to skip the 2nd ultrasound.
Three times I started contractions. Three times I waited to “make sure.” Twice the contractions didn’t stop until after I went to the hospital. That was a joy. No really, now I was worried the baby would fall out without warning and determined not to go into the hospital unless I was 100% sure I was in labor.
So one morning I woke to contractions again. Ever resolute, I said nothing and went about my daily business. With such a great poker face, my mom (who had flown in to
And just my luck, when I arrived at the hospital and got all checked in, I was only dilated to a 3 to 4. I am probably the only woman in the world to be ecstatic to find that, upon arriving at the hospital, I wasn’t progressed very far. If I hadn’t been 9 months pregnant I would have leapt for joy. “Yes! I am only at the beginning of labor. That is awesome!”
You see, I, ever observant, had noticed- during the ritual telling of labor stories required whenever in the presence of someone in their last trimester- that many women’s eyes slightly glazed over during certain parts of the labor story. One day I realized they had no idea what I and others like me were talking about. You mean most other women use pain medication? Twice I had tried and failed at getting an epidural. But determined to see how the other half lives, I wanted to one day make it to the hospital in time to get one. And this rather stubborn and teasing baby had provided the opportunity.
My husband agreed, “Do you have any names in mind?”
There was one name I kept thinking, but I didn’t want to suggest it because in all our numerous name discussions- for all the children- this name had never been seriously discussed. Ever. But my husband wanted me to start the name game.
P.S. Trying to get this written in the morning before my preschoolers woke up caused the kids to miss their bus. I hope you appreciate my sacrifice ;o)