Friday, January 30, 2009

The 6th baby's vocabulary

Once upon a time, when my oldest was a sweet little baby and not a hormonal tween, I was walking with her in the foyer of our church. A stranger stopped and asked me if Elise was my first child. Perhaps he noticed that at 20 I looked 16 and was too young to have more than one. Maybe it was the fact that I was letting my months old baby "walk" by hunching over and holding her hands with my fingers. For whatever reason, when I beamingly told him, "Why yes it is!" he said, "I could tell." And his horrified wife whacked him in the shoulder as they walked away.

I was left scratching my head and wondering what that comment meant. But now I have 6 children. I know.

For instance, when Elise was a baby we listened in continuous rapture for those first words. "I think she just said Mom!" "Did hear that? That was definitely Dad" "Did she just said ball? I think she just said ball!!!"


You want to know what a 6th baby starts saying? Matthew's began talking more in phrases that slowly became intelligible. They included:

"My turn" ~ "Watch me" ~ "Look at me"
"He hurt me" ~ "Stop it" ~ "Don't" ~ "Mine"

And there is always this talking, caught on tape. Need I go on?

Apparently there is a difference between the 1st and last child. Of course his 4 year old brother's first word was "hotdog." Said in the checkout line at Sam's Club while pointing at the food court. But that is OK, because his next word was "chocolate." And after "popcorn" and "ice cream" he finally expanded out to "Mom" and "Dad."

Anyway, now that Matthew is better at talking, I am learning Matthew-ese. Here is what some things mean:

"Joseph did it" = I know what I did is wrong and I should be punished.

"He took it from me" = I want whatever my brother/sister has and am too weak to steal it myself.

"He hurt me" = I hit/kicked/punched my brother/sister trying to steal what they have and they retaliated.

"Watch out!" = I'm about to jump on you.

"Mommy, where are you?" = I think you're trying to sneak into the shower again. I will find you, strip, and give you a heart attack when I sneak into the stall behind you.

"Be fair." = Give it to me now.

This morning he had a new one. After telling his brother to share, he ran up to Joseph and said, "Mom said to!! Mom said!!" I don't think anyone would mistake Matthew for my first child. Even if they didn't hear him speak, they might notice the way he's dressed...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ethan's Party

What do you mean he turned 8 a month ago? You mean it isn't customary to celebrate a month late? What if the boy wants a party at a skating rink and his birthday is right before Christmas? Isn't it OK then? What is with all the questions I keep asking?

Ethan wanted to go to a skating rink. Even though this is not how I typically do parties, Peter pointed out that we only have them every four years and we did buy them all rollerblades for Christmas. This was our second time at a rink (the first being a birthday party the day before Ethan decided he wanted his party there and the reason we decided to buy skates for the kids). We sent out the invites a little late (like three days before the party), but still had a nice turn out (6 of the 10 kids invited). I realized it would be rude of me to post his friends pictures without permission, so all you get are my own family. Minus me, who was behind the camera (although I took the picture in the post below that same day).

Here is Ethan and the cake and cupcakes (he wanted a sport theme):

And in case you adore seeing pictures of my family:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Google Saved my Reputation

A few years ago, google was nothing more than a really, really big number. But now? Now it is my yellow pages, encyclopedia, worksheet finder, and craft idea keeper, and housekeeper. Well, they haven’t introduced the housekeeping function. YET. They do, however, run my blog, picture organizer, and email systems.

But one of the best features of google? It doubles as a dictionary. Because I can’t spell. All I now do is start typing the word in google toolbar and the correct spelling pops up underneath. Saved my reputation a lot. Just yesterday I used it to see how many s’s and r’s are in embarrassment.
But google-as-dictionary has an even more important function. Type “define:word” and the word’s definition will come up. This is handy, because I mix up definitions A LOT. Like the time I was telling my friends about some urban legend wiji board party (only I called it an orgy party).
So the other day I was writing a comment and wanted to say something may be a faux pas {define:faux pas ~ a socially awkward or tactless act} Only I wanted a less snobby word, so I was using what I thought was a synonym {define: synonym ~ two words that mean the same thing} . Half way through the comment I decided I better double check the meaning of the word. Turns out the word was really an acronym {define:acronym~a word formed from the initial letters of the several words in the name} with a completely unrelated meaning. It stands for “Situation Normal. All #@*!&# Up”. That's right, not only was I about to put in a word that wouldn’t have made sense in the comment, I was about to unintentionally swear. Or at least allude to swearing {define allude~To refer to something indirectly or by suggestion} .

These situations are not uncommon for me. Just ask my husband. I probably look up a definition at least once a day (and normally I'm right, but there are those other times). So if I ever use a word that doesn’t make sense in the context {define: context~discourse that surrounds a language unit and helps to determine its interpretation}, please forgive me. I don’t mean to commit a faux pas, my brain language storage is just in a state of snafu.

I am a little disappointed. I thought snafu it was a double acronym (because every one knows that THAT bad word stands for Fornication Under the Crowned King), but Snopes has corrected me, I was wrong all along. That could have been embarassing embarrasing embbarrassing embarrassing!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Peter's T Shirt Quilt

I could have done a lot of things last night.

I could have kept up my streak of getting the house picked up before I went to bed, but I have all day today for cleaning, so I put it off.

I could have started reading my book for book club, but CS Lewis' Mere Christianity is such light reading, I can put it off a little longer.

I could have finished washing and folding my towels, but I already finished washing and folding the rest of my laundry so I was laundried out.

I could have watched the movies I got from netflix, but Peter kindly made a last minute shift trade with a friend, giving Peter the last Saturday of the month off, and I wanted to wait till he was home to watch them.

I could have finished every sentance with a prepostion, but that would be bad grammer.

I could have quilted Peter's T-Shirt quilt I made for Christmas. Since the kids have used it a couple times unquilted, it needed washed AND finishing it is on my to-do list for January, which is quickly coming to and end, so that is just what I did.

Here is the whole process:

Gather, wash and fold all Peter's saved T-shirts (some from when he was 10!). Measure the designs and decide on a square size (I needed to use 15 inch squares)

Cut out the sleeves and open the side seams. Iron interfacing onto the back of the designs (interfacing was 2 inches larger than the finished square size)

Cut the squares out. I used a template I made from cutting boards I bought at All A Dollar. Cut out sashing.

Go to store to buy more sashing material because you miscalculated. Then go again to buy more material for the backing because the miscalcualtion affected that, too. Then go back again because you ran out of thread. Try to make as many trips to the store as possible.

Combine designs too small into 15 inch squares. Piece the quilt top- first make rows with the vertical sashing and then connect the rows with horizontal sashing. Put quilt together by putting right sides together and batting on top of this and stitching around edge (pillowcase binding), leaving a space for turning. Turn quilt and wrap for Christmas.

Wait a month until quilt needs washed. Slip stitch opening. Fix top to bottom with quilting pins and quilt (I went up and down and across along the sashing edges).

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The (Card) Game of War

Sometimes, during brilliant bursts of (in)sanity, I come up with great ideas. So it was last night, when Kirsti and Joseph both kept pestering me to play war. Knowing that Joseph is at an age where he thinks playing games means he should always win and Kirsti is at the tender age of unmerciful taunting, I gently suggested they play each other instead of me. And it would have worked perfectly, if Kirsti had lost.

But the luck of the cards were with my 6 year old and the game of war quickly transformed into an all out war. As I jumped in to begin peace talks and negotiate a truce, they decided to escalate from screaming to an all out assault. So I decided it was time for them to learn to get along, by doing a mission together. Their mission? Put the skates (all 6 pairs) away in the correct closet.

But, there was a catch; they needed to learn to get along together. So I totally tied their hands together. They thought it was great fun (at least for the 1st trip up the stairs).

And the plan worked. Well, at least it saved me a few runs up the stairs myself. After being released from bonds, Kirsti wanted to finish the game. I thought it would be good for Joseph to learn that sometimes he will lose a game, so I allowed it to continue (another brilliant idea). Joseph came in a few minutes later crying.

"Kirsti won't let us trade hands!!"
"Why would she trade hands, she's winning?"
"It's in the rules- if you get tied together and then untied, you have to switch hands."

Well, at least he is learning the art of negotiation.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Guess Who Learned to Write his Name?

There is a point in every parent's career where they learn the benefit of hiding all permanent markers. And of having a year supply of Mr. Clean erasures. Having been a mom for almost a dozen years, I can say I have gotten so good at hiding markers that I can never find them. However, I haven't perfected my technique because my children still can. All the time. At least now some of the beautiful wall art will probably be signed. And maybe one day he will always write left to right (but with his strong left hand tendency and his stubbornness, we might all start writing right to left first).
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Thursday, January 15, 2009

uɐ ǝpısdn uʍop ʎɐp

ʎɐp uʍop ǝpısdn uɐ ǝʌɐɥ ı sǝɯıʇǝɯos

sdrawkcaB era syad ym semitemos dnA.

soɯǝʇıɯǝs ıʇ,s qoʇɥ

and then I can be reflective
ɐup ʇɥǝu ı ɔɐu ɹǝɟןǝɔʇıʌǝ

And then my kids can have yet another ʍous ʎɐp and stuck in the house I can get pǝɹoq and play with ɐ ʍǝu' unɟ ןooʇ.

Thanks to my friend- (who blogs at School in 'R Home) - for giving me an idea for something to do on my snow day!! That was the best facebook update EVER!

Want to know how? oƃ ǝɹǝɥ

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Finding a missing library book

So the other day I lost two library books. I didn't actually LOSE them on that day, I just realized they were overdue and tried to find them that day. Which, in my house is no small chore. Although I have a library basket, it always seems to be empty. And, because I believe books should be "well loved," they are EVERYWHERE.

To find a missing library book I must first look in all the places books belong: the 3 huge bookshelves in the living room, the bookshelves in the girls' room, boys' room, and other boys' room, the playroom, the basement cupboards, the library basket, and the other 5 baskets of books.
If all these places prove useless (as they did the other day), I have to search the next tier of hidden books- dressers, under beds & couches & dressers (where I find all kinds of useful things like missing pairs of pants, candy wrappers, half eaten candies, a few monsters waiting to gobble children, and a grumbling mother realizing how the kids manged to get a clean room so quickly last week), cars, kitchen countertops, kids' backpacks and other such places.
If the book is yet to be found, it is time to search the "Really?" places. This includes bathrooms, laundry hampers, INSIDE dressers, UNDER couch cushions, BETWEEN mattresses, the garage, and closets floors(actually this probably is in the same group as beds because I often find the same things in them), etc. All the while thinking, "The book couldn't have just disappeared!!"

But sometimes it has done just that. And no searching can find the book. Of course, most times I've just overlooked it in the mix of books we own. Because I have a bit of a problem. Not helped by scholastic books fairs, $25 free super shipping option on Amazon, and the great used book store 3 miles from my house. I have baskets of "early reader, non-fiction"; "beginning chapter"; board books; workbooks; and "cover ripped off so I can't keep them out, but we still love the story so I will hide you in here". On a side note, I have taped together more books than I would like to admit.

And the illustrated classics? I have a half shelf devoted just to them. And an entire shelf to award winning books and authors. But my true weakness is books in a series. I did a quick count, I own 16 series of books and a few more where we own a few books in the series but not the whole thing. That is the list you see on the side (because I went to all the trouble of writing them down when I was counting). I also own lots of adult books, but not a single copy of any book written by my favorite author, Charles Dickens. You know he wrote so few... But that is a different story, I don't lose MY library books.

Anyway, I found one of the missing books (behind the girls' book shelf), but not the other. Not wanting to continue racking up a fine, I went in and confessed my crime and paid the $3 replacement cost. And 1/2 hour after getting home, Kirsti found the book. In a cabinet in her bedroom (that I had checked 3 times). I might take it back and try to get my money refunded, but I was thinking of going to the used book store to start a "Henry and Mudge" collection instead. After all, I now already own one.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

8 Things Tag

I was tagged twice on this one by Robinson Rugrats and Aubrey before Christmas. Can you guess which one the picture goes with? Here we go:


  1. Post rules on your blog.
  2. Answer the 6 "8" items.
  3. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving them a comment.

8 Favorite Shows

  1. the Office
  2. Criminal Minds
  3. Jon and Kate + 8
  4. the Amazing Race
  5. anything on the History Channel
  6. That's it, if none of these things have something new, I usually turn it off.

8 Things I Did Yesterday

  1. Ran to the store because I was totally out of diapers
  2. Made the kids help me clean the main floor of the house
  3. Danced to Crazy Frog with the kids
  4. Put up a new "You choose the caption" on my blog sidebar
  5. Ate lunch at McDonalds by myself & made lasagna for dinner (which didn't get eaten and will be used tonight)
  6. Folded 2 weeks of laundry and 3 weeks of socks
  7. Watched "Becoming Jane" on Netflix
  8. Spent 6 hours alone when Peter took all 6 kids to the Air Museum and dinner at Taco Bell with his friend (hence #5-7 on my list)

8 Things I Look Forward To

  1. All my kids being potty trained
  2. All my kids in school so I can finish off MY degree
  3. July, when Peter becomes fully staffed and cuts back on hours
  4. Our house in NC to sell so we can stop renting
  5. A really good book to read
  6. Bedtime
  7. A clean house
  8. Vacations with Peter and the kids
8 Favorite Restaurants
  1. Olios
  2. Ruths Chris
  3. Chilis
  4. Ruby Tuesdays
  5. McDonalds
  6. Wendys
  7. Panera Bread
  8. Dominos

(wow, I am really not a restaurant connoisseur- I don't experiment a lot)

8 Things on my Wish List

  1. Bosch mixer- my kitchen aid broke 2 months ago and I want to start making my own bread
  2. Year supply of food- I'm working on it!
  3. Up to Date Scrapbook- I'm not currently working on it!
  4. Be debt free- Working on it (although we are currently squirreling away for a down payment on a house)
  5. Happy, strong, faithful children
  6. Weekly temple trips
  7. 15 less pounds
  8. Live closer to family
8 People to Tag
  1. Brenda
  2. Kim
  3. Gordon
  4. Twinlinebackers
  5. Tausha
  6. Tami (private)
  7. Andrea (private)
  8. Mom (private)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

December visitors

MIL reading with Kirsti * MIL kissing Matthew * Kirsti with her cousin (they sure had fun together, Kirsti is such a little mother)

Matthew enjoyed spending time with his same age cousin. * Peter's parents helping Joseph with his puzzle * Uncle Gordon on the beach with Joe (everyone else was wearing coats, he is just nuts!)

Me, my mom and my sister practicing our eye crossing * my dad is known for his great story telling (here he is entertaining Kirsti)

Jessica and Matthew on the beach (I told you we all wore coats) * my mom with my niece.

December was wonderfully filled with visits from family! My brother, Gordon, and his wife, Jessica, flew out to visit in the middle of the month. We had a lot of fun with them and were glad they were able to take some days during their vacation to share with us. Besides spending more time on the beach than is decent in the middle of winter (including going on the sandbar during low tide), the highlight of their visit was our day in New York City.

Two days after they left we (and by we, I mean Peter) picked up his parents. We decided to save the $150 per ticket and fly all our parents into New York. What we didn't realize was that meant 5 5 hour round trips instead of 5 1.5 hour trips (we won't make that mistake again!).

Anyway, they came just in time to save the day. Since Peter had been out of town or working every day (except the New York trip day with my brother) of December, I was a little unprepared for Christmas. They watched the kids while I took several trips out to finish up shopping. Plus the extra help around the house ( including fixing the heat AND the 4 month broken toilet). Plus all the yummy food. Plus finishing the scarfs I had barely begun for my girls. Plus the great company. Thanks guys!!

Five days of Christmas preparation later, my parents finally arrived. Late the same night my sister's family arrived. Then there was the hustle of Christmas Eve, Christmas, the baptism, sister's birthday, seafood restaurants, confirmations, etc. My in-laws left the Monday after Christmas. My parents and sister stayed and partied longer. My sister left the 2nd, my dad finally had to go back to work the weekend after New Years, but my Mom was able to stay until last Wednesday.

It was so nice to have them all stay longer. I loved watching Matthew play with his cousin. She started vocalizing more (still getting used to hearing with her implant) and his language exploded while they played together. Plus my sister and her husband help keep her boring older sister and husband young (if I get brave I will post the pictorial proof). My dad entertained the kids with stories and my mom and I tackled my disorganized craft room. I tried to get them all to just come and live at my house, but no takers. Yet. But I'll keep working on them.
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Friday, January 9, 2009

One of My Favorite Stories

I have a tendency to get in strange situations. Mostly of my own making. I have often wondered if I watched too many reruns of I Love Lucy as a child and have somehow channeled Lucille Ball's character. But then I remind myself, it must just be a genetic abnormality.

Case in Point:

When my mother was around my age and I was around my daughter's age, we lived in a teeny, tiny town in northeast Arkansas. It has some attractions: 3rd Walmart ever built, lots of great smelling turkey farms nearby, my birth town, and a future General Authority of my church was the Stake President. But those have nothing to do with my story.

We were renting a large (in my 13 year old mind, anyway) home in town. "In town" means we had paved roads and no cow pies to throw around when we got bored. Our neighbors were a little strange, in a what-you-would-expect-Arkansas-neighbors-to-be-like kind of way. Meaning, I remember them being a little loud, owning a mean little pit bull, and surrounding their entire (junky) yard in a run down chain link fence. This yard ended about 1 foot from the edge of our house so we had a gorgeous view from our dining room window: of a chain link fence, loud neighbors, barking dog, and junky yard.

Actually, I loved this house. It had a lot of interesting quirks. Like the claw foot bath tub, bay front window, built in book shelves, huge field behind and huge porch in front. It also had one of those weird front door knobs that are always locked from the outside. Whoever invented that, should be shot.

And so my story begins.

One night, my mom left me watching my siblings (while we were all asleep) so she could run to the store. Upon arriving home, she realized she had forgotten the house key. Waking us up to let her in wasn't working out too well for her, so she had to think of a way to get inside.

Aha! She had left the dining room window open. All she had to do was crawl through. She left the bags on the front porch and began to wedge herself through the 1 foot space between our house and the chain link fence. Then the neighbors let their nasty little dog out.

So there she is shimmying down the fence line with a dog yapping at her rear end. She finally reached the window, opened it all the way and tried to lever herself inside. It would have worked, too, if she hadn't lost her center of gravity. Which she would have found quickly, if the window hadn't shut on her back.

I can picture her, halfway in the now shut window, frantically kicking her legs to regain balance. How astute of you to notice; yes, her legs were now stuck out over the fence. Yes, that dog was jumping up attempting to eat them. Good thing pit bulls are small (and my mom knows how to kick high) or she might have lost a foot (or at least a toe).

After a couple minutes (that felt a lot longer) she finally regained enough balance to open the window up and crawl inside. Relieved that the ordeal was over, she went to the front porch to retrieve the groceries. And, as she bent down to pick up the sacks, she heard the door click shut behind her. I told you the inventor of the always locked outside, never locked inside door should be shot.

She says the second time went off without a hitch, but I always chuckle at the thought of her shimmying down the fence one more time.

And THAT is my proof that genetics work. I just hope it's a recessive gene!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ethan's Baptism

Top to bottom, left to right:

My sister and her family; moments after the baptism; Dad and Ethan;

Elise did great conducting; Ethan; Matthew getting desperate for his turn;

watching the font fill; did I mention Matthew was a little obsessed?; Ethan; Ethan again;

my mom with my nephew; My parents; Dad and Ethan in white; and Peter's parents

We are so proud of our Ethan. It seems like yesterday he was on his way home in a stocking, and now he all baptised and a member of the Church! Eight years and his smile still takes my breath away. He is very much like his father, both in looks and personality (which might explain my reaction to his smile).

Since his birthday is so close to Christmas, we hatched an evil plan; family would want to be there, and if they were coming out the weekend after Christmas, why not just come for Christmas itself? We knew this would limit the friends who could be there, but it did allow both grandparents and his Aunt Tami and Uncle Jared to be there.

Ethan and his Dad did wonderfully! We ordered him a tie from our Church distribution center and the night before I made up some easy white pants. Grandpas were witnesses and Grandmas gave the talks. Uncle Jared played the piano, Elise conducted, and Aunt Tami and I gave the prayers. Thanks to those who were able to make it, I really appreciated it (even if I forgot to get any of your pictures!)

Matthew was fascinated with the large "bath" and thought he could get in (if only we would help him undress). He was not happy when we drained it before he had his chance!

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Sunday, January 4, 2009

2 Birthdays

If I ever had cause to worry that Ethan would feel bad about a birthday so close to Christmas, his choice of birthday cakes would calm that worry. He ALWAYS wants something Christmas related. Normally I force suggest he make a different choice, but sometimes I give in. Since he is having a friend party in January with a cake, I didn't mind making him the Santa cake he wanted. I did try to talk him out of the lemon frosting (clashed with the red), but he persisted. I was pretty happy with the results. Unlike my regular cake decorating (described by my sister in this post), I hand drew this one.
Getting his gifts (he asked several times for those Perplexors- the level C was too easy, he wanted level D and Expert). If you look closely at his gifts you'll notice I'm still in love with Mindware. Almost as much as Amazon and Google.
Blowing out the candles. We picked up my parents on Ethan's actual birthday. Why we thought picking someone up in a NYC airport on the day before Christmas Eve was going to be easy, I don't know. It took WAY too long and the presents were opened late that night. The cake had to wait till the next day (because I hadn't decorated it yet- I underestimated the driving time for my parents by hours). I just noticed that he is wearing the same shirt two days in a row and the second day it is a LITTLE dirty. Oops!

My sister has a birthday 2 days after Christmas. This happened to be Ethan's baptism day and she happened to be at our house (a mere 12 hours away) so we had cake. Actually we had cheese cake.
This is her husband lighting the candles and everyone digging in.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Trouble with Garbage

There is a fast held, unintentional tradition at our home: I will forget garbage day before Christmas. I'm not sure why this tradition persists. After the first few years you'd think I would make a more concerted effort to NOT forget. Yet, every year you can find me hitting my forehead with my palm as I see the line of now empty garbage cans lining my street.

The worst part of this tradition is that I am too cheap/lazy/determined to see it through to take the excess garbage to the dump myself. I choose the much less fun option of extra stuffing my garbage can every week until all the garbage is gone. During most of the year this can be accomplished by the next week (as long as I don't decide to clean out my fridge/basement/closets that week, I'm sure I'm too smart to accidentally do that more than a few dozen times).

But Christmas provides enough trash for a week all by itself. In fact I have more garbage the entire month of December. Add to that the missed week (or two) leading up to Christmas and there is a lot of build up. One year, I forgot two weeks before and one week after Christmas. Yes, I do hold to this tradition that strongly. I spent three months compressing sacks and filling my can overflowed. If you don't believe me, ask my neighbor who had to notice the sacks of extra garbage piled on my back porch. I really am that cheap/lazy/determined to see it through. (I do make sure the garbage waiting to go has the paper, packaging remnants, empty food boxes, and other nonrotting type things in it.)

This year I was determined to break with tradition. Until two Mondays before Christmas. As I drove through my neighborhood on the way home from running errands, I couldn't help but notice the blue garbage cans sitting along the curb. In front of all driveways but one. Palm, meet forehead. How did I not notice the cans on my way OUT of the neighborhood? I must have a strongly developed BLIND spot for tradition.

I went out to the garage for some forgotten reason early the Monday before Christmas. While frowning slightly at the unsightly pile waiting its turn from last week I realized the day. ACK! I almost forgot again. It had snowed all weekend so I ran into the house grabbed my boots and coat and ran the garbage can over the icepacked driveway entrance and out onto the street.

Then the week after Christmas, Monday morning again, my mother-in-law was kind enough to remind me of the big day. Of course, I don't know what led her to believe I'd forgotten. Hmmm. Anyway, she saved the day and my forehead from another slap.

So now I sit exactly where I am every January, with a pile of garbage sacks waiting their turn to enter the garbage bin. With all the extra company and accompanying trash, I should be trash free by at least February. As long as I don't forget garbage day again. I mean, who would be silly enough to forget garbage day on a regular basis?

Once a month isn't regular, is it? In fact, while writing this post I realized this isn't so much a Christmas tradition as a monthly tradition in my house. Christmas just makes forgetting garbage day A LOT more annoying. I hold that it is Peter's job to take out the garbage, even though I am the one who has always done it. "Always" not being the most accurate term in this case. But if I can pretend it is his job, then I can pretend it is his fault, right?