Wednesday, January 31, 2007

a few things worth reading

Here are two sweet and wonderful real-life stories I've read this week from the blogosphere. Go check out Living in Grace and Owlhaven.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

do I have any takers?

There are things that will probably always be a mystery to me, calculous among them. Leap into the business world and there are terms and ways of operating that are quite foreign. Take the idea, for example, of a hostile takeover. I guess right now Delta Airlines is still fighting against one. From what I have gathered listening to Marketplace and NPR in general, I think it has to do with another company making a bid for a company that doesn't want to sell, but if that company's share holders decide it's a good idea, then, takeover??? Okay, that is a complete guess. I honestly don't know. But the idea intrigues me. I wonder how something like that would work in my world.

For example, if someone wanted to come in and make a bid for the cooking position at our house, I'm guessing the shareholders, who have to eat my cooking, would whole-heartedly give me up for the chance at better, more constistent meals. They may not be so keen on someone coming in to take over the house cleaning, because I think I do a decent job at that. Also, they pay scant attention to the level of cleanliness, it means little to them, so sadly, all you maid services, I suggest not trying. My kids are pretty attached to their dad, so I don't think I'd have to worry about a husband hostile take-over. And hopefully the same could be said of my position. Although, let's be honest, given that I am home with the kids a heck of a lot more than Ben, I have more chances to screw up. And I have and do. Several times in the last week in fact. So maybe I'll have to rely on pure biological attachment to hang on to my spot.

I'll be honest, though. There are days were someone to offer to come in and take over, I would gladly let them. I heard a great poem the other night on Writer's Almanac. Really splendid. And I think it sums up how we all feel from time to time.


She just wants an understudy, a body
double for the days when she does
not feel like appearing in any of the roles
she has assumed and/or been assigned.
She places an ad in the paper. Wanted:
one wife, mother, daughter, neighbor,
friend. Live-in OK. Own car necessary.
No lines to memorize; everything ad-
libbed. No days off.

by Beverly Rollwagen, from She Just Wants, The Writer's Almanac

Monday, January 29, 2007

it's a new week

I'm sitting by a vacuum that's running so that I can't hear the tortured cries of my son who has just been put down for a nap. He has a cold. A new one, I think. Or just a reoccuring state of goo that is occupying his sinuses and draining constantly out his nose. I need to take him into the doctor. I hate doctors.

Okay, I don't really hate doctors, and both pediatricians I have had for my kids have been great. But when you have doctor bills that have to be paid from broken legs and vaccinations, etc., then I start to do a transference number from the check I have to write to the doctor whose office I'm writing the check out to. Silly me.

But the poor boy really needs to sleep. And I really need him to go to sleep. So the vacuum is humming away, suggesting that maybe I actually use it for it's original purpose at the same time I am using it for sleep inducement. And I will. Once I get the scattered baby toys all picked up.

All in all, today, albeit cold, is sunny (for the moment). No one woke me up at 5 a.m. for breakfast, and although I am still in my pajamas, I think today is going to be a good day. I have some energy which is going to be spent in the newly minted, as of last Monday, weekly ritual of getting the house entirely clean! It's a good day for that, coming on the heals of our Day of Rest. Which is semi-restful, in some sense I'm sure. But also ensures that the house does need a good pick-up because I don't clean on Sundays. So, off I go! I may even try to throw in some leg-lifts and crunches while I'm at it.

I used to not be so much a fan of Mondays. But with the vacuum sucking up air noisily beside me, I can't help but feel that Mondays aren't so bad, after all. I'll let you know it if turns out I've been overly optimistic!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

how do you spell....?

My daughter is at that age where she wants to write things out, but can't yet spell. Well, she can spell a few words. How do you spell love? How do you spell duck? How do you spell Christmas? Some of them she has figured out on her own. For example, she likes to draw on a few pages and then staple them together and make a story book. One day I noticed that on the back of a few of these books was written "D End." Funny, huh? She also was careful to draw a barcode on the back, thus making her books authentic and purchaseable. My favorite, though, was the other day when she came downstairs, pen and paper in hand, and asked in all earnestness, "Mom, how do you spell 'No Pigs Are Allowed To Get Dirt On Nothing' ?"

It's a long word, but I agree with the sentiment.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

input, people. I need input.

With the upcoming addition to our family we are going to need some new wheels. Which is good, since we are already about to pop out of our 4-door Elantra. Who knew you could fit three car seats back there? Actually, I'm pretty convinced you can't and that it's a miracle from Heaven. One that will disappear as soon as we have a larger transport system and no longer need to cram the safety seats into one smallish back row. Someday we will try again to smash three kids, ages 5 and under, back into our little car and it won't be possible. Because we won't need it anymore. And that will be that. But back to the original purpose of this post...

So, we're moving on to the minivan stage of life. Except I'm not so superkeen on minivans. I know my mom loves hers. Swears by it. Wants to keep it for life. But I dunno. However I am open. Open to ideas and suggestions, and free perks. Here is where you come in. I'm curious about different vans. Also I am interested in the Honda Pilot and other seven seater mid-size SUV's. What do you like, what haven't you liked? Do you own a car dealership? Do you want to give me an amazing deal? My husband will bake you some chocolate chip cookies, if you do!

Please, please, let me know. I have to do some research myself, but it's always helpful to have to real life people with their real life experience. Alrighty! Isn't this what blogging is all about? I'm waiting for some good advice, people! Don't let me down.

Monday, January 22, 2007


It's tax time, again, people. Tax time! I picked up Turbo Tax from Costco on Saturday, and I'm ready to start. I'm not kidding. I love to do our taxes. Okay, there have been years when it backfired on me, and no refund was in the works. But usually I get a real kick out of watching the little dollar amount in the upper (right/left, whatever they decide) corner inch up and up. Even if just by a few dollars. Several years ago, due to some cars on the brink, and some nice charitable donation tax laws, we were returned enough moolah to finance a trip back to France. This year, due to our status as student family, is a big mystery. I doubt we owe. I'm not sure if we'll get anything back. But I tell you what. I'm pretty dang excited to find out. Yes, it's an odd thing about me. But Ben appreciates it.

Friday, January 19, 2007


Well, it's here. The snow. Not a lot, but enough that at 7:38 in the morning the girls are rushing around frantically pulling out snowboots and winter coats for the entire 1/2 inch that has coated the ground.

Yesterday afternoon we got our first flurries. I congratulated myself on suggesting that they just look out the window for awhile because it didn't last very long. I thought, yes, it is a wise mother who knows that the time taken to get the kids dressed for the outside will be equal to or greater than the amount of time there is actually snow falling through the sky and then melting on the ground.

And then I thought, as I looked at my 3 year-old, just running around in her underwear, that it's a wise mother who has her children actually dressed, and thus could be prepared for such events as the first snowfall. But oh well. They are out this morning. Enjoying the first little skiff of white, even if it's not enough to make snowmen, or snow balls, but maybe a few sad looking snow angels.

For me, the first snow coming after Christmas has been sort of anti-climatic. I would have been fine at this point if it just didn't snow for the rest of the year. But the girls' excitement is getting to me. The first snow is magical and fun. Although not so much when it's being announced loudly at 5 a.m. by the same three year-old who hates to get dressed. But, hey! It snowed! It actually snowed! And it's only the 19th of January. Amazing.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

if only

I'm sure I have some very deep and profound things to blog about; something about Ella and her ideas about being a mom, or about Michelangelo, or you know, something else. I don't know what, but something. But this darned cold won't leave my head. Sometimes during the day I will swear, it's gone! Hooray! Only to find when I go to bed at night that I can't breath through my nose, and am therefore drying out my insides in a rapid fashion since I have to inhale air through my mouth. I have booked through the box of sudafed as fast as I felt comfortable doing (not a big med person, especially when pregnant or nursing). I think I have one dose left.

Today the cold is making me a bit tired. And I am glad that it's "big movie" day. I am attempting to limit the consumption of fluff, particularly of the Disney variety, that permeates our T.V. Once a week we get to watch a feature film. The other days, it's more educational stuff. And it doesn't go over an hour. But this cold is testing my limits! Fortunately my cold seems to be having some on and some off days, which lets me have off and then on days. So yesterday I got some good cleaning in. And this morning my bed got made. And that's good enough for me.

And when my stuffed sinuses stop constricting the blood flow to my brain, I hope to be able to elaborate in witty and profound fashion about some topic of which I know fairly little about. Or at least have some idea of something to blog about. I know you are all looking forward to that.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

the rest of the story

So. You know how life can sort of catch you off-guard? Take you by surprise? Shock your socks off? Well, when I gave you my year in review, along with a look ahead I left something out. (An aside: I'm listening to Writer's Almanac, and Garrison Keillor just informed me that Victor Hugo wrote Hunchback of Notre Dame in four months. Four months! I give up.) Anyway. When I wrote those posts I was still recovering. In truth I still am recovering. And in all likelihood, I will probably never quite recover, because things like this actually never quite end, they just continue on in a different manner. And on, and on and on...are you curious, yet?

If you recall, or even if you don't, the night before Halloween I was afflicted with some dreadful stomach bug, or maybe just a revolt of my body since I had downed a ridiculous amount of cool ranch doritos. I spent several hours being miserable until my body decided enough was enough and then I got to spend some quality time in the bathroom throwing up. Which wasn't very fun. It made me feel a little better. But made me wary of enjoying too much the spoils of the next evening.
Having already eaten an entire bag of Halloween candy, I shouldn't have felt too bad for myself. Plus, I noticed that my slacking exercise routine along with all the junk I had been downing wasn't doing me any favors in the pants and mirror department, if you know what I mean. I vowed to do better, eat better, and was glad to have an appetizer suppressant for a day or two to get me back on track. A few nights later I puzzled to Ben over what had made me sick. Some bug? Something I ate? He said to me, "You aren't pregnant, are you?" And I laughed and said "Nooooooooooo." Which meant "Are you kidding? No! We have a wee babe with a broken leg! And even if he didn't have a broken leg, we have a wee babe, and the Lord knows what I can handle and at the current moment it's not another baby. Plus, I swore if I could help it, I wouldn't deliver another child in New York!"

So, you know where this is going, don't you. Once the suggestion is made, signs, real or imagined start popping up. Like the fact that my vitamins had been making me feel a bit queasy, or that my need to be near a bathroom was increasing (which I rationalized by saying this: It's a lot colder, so the amount of water I am used to drinking in the hotter weather doesn't get sweated out like before. It's logical, right?). And so I started to wonder. And one night while combing the bathroom cupboard for a new tube of toothpaste I came across a pregnancy test. It stared at me. It dared me to take it. And I pulled it out, put it on the counter and went and did the dishes thinking, "This is ridiculous. I am not pregnant. I can't be pregnant." But I'm not sure I believed myself.

For whatever reason, I always have to get my courage up to take pregnancy tests. Probably because they have potential to initiate the knowledge that a change of the bigger kind is on the horizon. And while I roll with change pretty well, it's not something I'm actively looking for around every corner by any means. But the dishes were done, and the test was there. It turned positive so fast I about fell over from the shock. It didn't even give me the requisite three minutes or however long it is you're supposed to wait. Heck, it didn't give me three seconds.

Ben got home late from a meeting and when I told him, I just started laughing. Which was considerably better than the alternative. Which alternative I took advantage of once I was in bed and the lights were out, and the rush of agitation and adrenaline was wearing off. Although it felt overwhelming, I think what I was really crying about was that I had just packed away my maternity clothes, and now they had to come out again and I hate maternity clothes.

So there you have it. A new baby. I should add that we are excited, of course. But I'm not experiencing this without some trepidation. It has nothing to do with adding another person to the clan. It has everything to do with doubts about my own capacity and ability. But there is someone whose capacity and ability are unlimited and I try my best not to doubt Him. And since my Heavenly Father has sent me someone new, I'm sure that those characteristics I'm lacking will be filled somehow. So there you go. My news. In anycase, it justs adds to the drama and suspense that is the year 2007!

Monday, January 15, 2007

more tales of Rabbit

On the way to church yesterday my daughter asked if I wanted to hear a story. Of course, I said. She proceeded: This story was about Rabbit, and Rabbit's sister; both of whom have had extensive stories told about them.

One day there was a bad guy coming to Rabbit's house. The only people home, because they weren't on vacation, were Rabbit, rabbit's mom and rabbit's sister. Rabbit's dad was at work. Anyway, this bad guy went around Rabbit's house breaking all of the windows! In the living room, in the kitchen, in the bedrooms... And nobody knew it was a bad guy who was doing it!

My daughter paused and I waited, curious to find out what fate awaited the Rabbit family. What would the bad guy do next? Would he capture the helpless rabbits? Would he take them away, or at the very least, steal their carrots?

But the storyteller continued in a more practical vein as I asked, "So what happened?"
She answered, "They had to buy new windows."

Friday, January 12, 2007

come out, come out, where ever you are!

Let me just start by saying I spectate with the best of them. I am, by nature, more inclined to watch things happening and observe than to jump into the fray. You can learn a whole lot by being a spectator. That said, there is something to participating. In all truthfulness, those who never stop to watch and look often lose the big picture. But those who are always standing at the edge can't quite gain the experience of actually being in the thick of things. Someone who learns how to do both has an advantage indeed.

Anyway, this week is National Delurking Week, apparently. In this spirit, I invite you to delurk. I have nothing against lurking (except the name which kind of bugs me) in fact I find great pleasure hanging out reading people's blogs and seeing what others have to say. But it would be kind of fun for me to know who stops by from time to time, so if you feel like saying hi, whether you have before or not, go ahead and wave, so that I can wave back. I'll be the one with the box of kleenex in hand. I promise not to sneeze on you.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

double birthday

Today is the birthday of my amazing sister, Lorien. It is also the birthday of my amazing brother, Christian. They are not twins. In fact they are eleven years apart. What are the odds of sharing your birthday with a sibling? What ever they are, I imagine they are greatly increased when you have 10 siblings.

If there is one thing I've loved about being the oldest of oh-so-many, it's being able to enjoy the different personalities that have emerged as my sisters and brothers have gotten older. It's so fun to see them come into their own, to be able to have real conversation, and to be awed at their talents. There was no cookie cutter used in my family. Everyone is delightfully different.

Lorien is an artist. She has this flair she's carried with her since her wee years when she would dress up in multi-colored clothing with matching hair accessories in her three (yes, 3) ponytails. She plays the banjo and the fiddle. She recently graduated from BYU and is working as an uber-talented landscape design artist (if you want someone to take a look at your yard, she specializes in residential work, but I think she can do basically anything). Her work is gorgeous.

I've always been impressed with how Lorien decides to do something, and then does, including her triathelon. When I was in high school we shared a room and had a lot of fun. We used to keep each other up laughing and listening to music way past bedtime. But since I was six years older, I was always the one who got in trouble for it. Something she thought was hysterically funny. We used to have this one black shoulder pad, you know the huge ones from the eighties, and we would hide it in random places for the other person to find. In a backpack, an instrument case, a pillow, a shoe. It kept us in fits.

* * * * * *

Christian was born my junior year of high school on a day when I had a drill tream competition. He's number nine of eleven. When he was about three or four and I wasn't home very often he specialized in ignoring me. Really truly ignoring me. I swear he did it on purpose. Maybe he thought I was just some random person who occassionally showed for dinner. Maybe he thought if I wasn't going to hang out at home he wouldn't bestow any attention on me. One Sunday morning I was getting ready for church and ran down stairs to grab something from the laundry room. He was playing in the next room. He glanced at me as I passed, then resumed playing. But as I continued up the stairs I hear a little boy say casually "Nice dress." I think it was the only thing he said to me for two years.

Christian is a smart person. He's very astute and observant. He can read the true motives of people like you wouldn't believe, epecially adults (sad to say, usually not to their advantage). He has a great imagination. He writes. He makes movies. He reads like crazy. Once when he was about nine I was driving him up to a Little Leage game. His team was the White Sox. They were playing the Giants. (Or something like that.) He commented to me that it would be pretty funny to watch a game played by real white socks and giants. And we laughed together because the image was a funny one.

So today I say, Happy Birthday, Lorien! Happy Birthday, Christian! I wish I were home to celebrate. It's always a bummer to miss out on the opportunity to eat two birthday cakes. I love you.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

why, oh why

...would your almost 5 year-old think that walking over to the newly recovered kitchen chair and casually dumping her apple juice on it would not get her in trouble?

It's coming after me

The current dreaded family affliction. The one that has managed to hang on to Ben, the man who usually can beat a cold down flat at the onset with a gallon of orange juice. The one that has made my children extra grumpy, but not tired enough to nap or get the extra rest they could OBVIOUSLY use. The one that has my little guy completely congested and has given him a fever for the past three days (he slept, however, hallelujah). This horrid curse is finding it's way in. It's making it hard to breathe at night and giving me a jolly sore throat to wake up to in the morning. My muscles are getting a little achy.

Sometimes I have this happy family fantasy that when we're all feeling sick like this everyone will curl up happily on the couch with some books, or maybe fall asleep watching a movie together. Except that I would have to be the one reading and when I'm sick it's not an activity I easily spend hours doing. Also, the only one who will fall asleep to the movie will be me, and that's probably detrimental to the rest of the household.

In otherwords, I'm waiting for my family to all be sick together in about 10 years when all my kids will want to do when they're at home anyway is lay around watching movies and reading books and sleeping. And by that time I guessing the novelty will be worn off.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

say that again?

"Mom! Mom!" came the frantic cries as I heard footsteps patter quickly to the top of the stairs. The horror in their voices was apparent. The panic was real. It was horrible and icky. It was an emergency.
"There's a bug! There's a bug up here!"

I dispatched Ben in calm fashion, seeing as the last "bee" they had seen was a fly, as was the last "spider."

Not two minutes later the same feet fluttering to the upper doorway, the same voices calling down the stairs, but this time with a question. "Mom, can we watch Bug's Life, please?"

Monday, January 8, 2007

in the wee small hours

The last few nights of normally blissful slumber have been interupted by our little guy who is a bit feverish. He wakes up crying, very warm to the touch, gets some tylenol, a bottle, and then cheers right up. At least long enough to be happy crawling all over his parents' faces for a few minutes before melting back into an "I'm not feeling very good" mode. Neither of these conditions is helpful for us to get any sleep. Ben has a cold that I am trying not to get, everyone is a little run down, and in this state, sleep deprivation can be a problem.

One of the more surreal moments of this experience was early this morning when the baby really wasn't feeling good and was having a hard time going to sleep. He was not happy and he was letting us know. Ben pulled him over and started to sing "Hush, little baby", at which point said babe stopped fussing, let out a little noise that sounded like a "yay!" and then clapped his little hands, after which he settled down and went to sleep.

Nothing like a soothing night time performance by your scratchy-voiced father to ease your fever and calm your soul. Sweet dreams!

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

post-holiday recoup

Happy After-the-Holidays, everyone. If you're at all like me, you are looking around at a house that could use some touch-up, the last of the gifts received need to find a home, and the ornaments and decorations need to be put away until the next year. Actually, my decorations are down and put away. There are a few items that got left behind, but since everything was so tightly and efficiently packed in, they will have to wait until next year to be re-united with the Christmas crew. The items include: some little Christmas movies on VHS, Scrooge on DVD, Christmas pillow cases, and a little rubber reindeer that can just hang out in the toy box until it next year, or until it gets thrown away.

Anyway, I can tell my brain needs to take a brief break from the serious thinking that, obviously, this blog requires, and clean out a cupboard or two. So, if I miss a few consecutive days of posting this week, that's why. I'm recharging.

Monday, January 1, 2007

2007 - the year of the question mark

We rang in 2007 by making milkshakes with the kids and then playing Scrabble and then laying in bed trying not to fall asleep, waiting for midnight to arrive. Okay, we may have dozed off but we set the alarm to wake us up just in case (nothing like getting older). Cheers! Here's to a new year.

Someone at church told us that this was his year. Seven is his lucky number. Well, I sure hope it's our lucky number, too. The seven in my year has a little dot underneath it and it looks like a question mark.

The important things like mother-love and apple pie are still going to be there and constant during 2007. Well, maybe not the apple pie so much because I've never actually made an apple pie. But my mom makes a great apple pie and you know, those are things that our country was founded on, right? Moms being able to make apple pie? I guess I'd better learn to bake if I don't want the good ol' US of A unraveling before my very eyes. What I'm saying is my mom will always love me and I'll love my kids. And I do like apple pie.

But some of the minor things, like where in this great country one is going to be situated, are a little more up in the air. When our families ask us, "So, what are you going to be doing now?" We get to respond with the very exciting "We have no idea." It's very comforting to our mothers. So stay tuned. I'm staying tuned! I'll be curious - maybe a wee bit anxious, but not too much- to find out how our question mark turns out.

Happy New Year!