My children just don't always like to do their chores. This is the sort of sentence that makes my friend Rebecca burst out laughing. She says that I am mistaken in my belief that there are kids out there somewhere in the world who do their chores and obey their parents without a fight. Well, whether or not that is true, our family has spent the month of July learning about the pioneers in an effort to gain an appreciation for hard work and also to illustrate in no uncertain terms the fact that my kids lead charmed lives in which they are required to lift only the tiniest little finger most days. Yesterday was Pioneer Day which meant a lot of parades and also that Weight Watchers was closed because there aren't fat people on Pioneer Day. My children and I spent the day as all pioneers would.
We started the day by doing all of our chores before breakfast. Nobody got to eat until all the work was done. This forced them to help each other for a change instead of fighting about who is making whose job harder. When the chores were finished we got dressed in our pioneer outfits. The Pinkiest(4) looked the best. She could have been taken from a painting. The rest of the kids tried hard. Little Mommy(8) had nothing but jeans to wear. Bubba(6) dressed in suit pants, a white button-down shirt, a suit vest, cowboy boots and a cowboy hat. He looked pretty cute. Maybe not too pioneer-ish but definitely like someone out for a fancy dinner in Nashville. Mr. Yuke(3) and Monster Truck(2) both wore random printed t-shirts, shorts, and suit vests, buttoned up. Mr. Yuke(3) had asked me what kind of pants pioneer boys wore. When I told him brown ones he decided that since he couldn't find his brown pants he had better change to his brownish camoflauge Jurrasic Park t-shirt with the suit vest that has pictures of firetrucks and dalmations on it. He put on his tevas and was convinced that he was the most authentic-looking member of the pioneer family. Then, in true pioneer fashion, we hopped into our Honda Odyssey minivan and drove down the valley to Krispy Kreme doughnuts where we went through the drive-thru and ordered our pioneer breakfast of doughnuts with sugar. (I could have made these from scratch from wheat, but I already did that once this month and we were in a hurry. Besides, you can't tell me that the pioneers would not have done exactly what I did if there was a Krispy Kreme next to the Great Salt Lake when they got there.) After eating our doughnuts in the cool air conditioned car, we went to the fabric store to buy some calico to make a pioneer skirt for Little Mommy(8). I chatted with Cute Sister on my cell phone as we stood in an interminably long line waiting to get our fabric cut. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home to buy bottled drinking water, prepackaged, boneless, skinless chicken breasts and a bottle of prepared marinade for our dinner at the neighborhood bring-your-own-meat barbeque. It was my intention to leave the car at the store and walk like pioneers the three miles home with the stroller and groceries. The kids found reprieve in the form of a massive thunder storm that hit just as we were paying for our purchase with a plastic debit card. We drove home where we ate beef jerky and a slice of bread for lunch. (Probably the most authentic thing we did all day, actually.) By this time the kids were getting very thirsty. I left Bubba(6) to guard the family while The Pinkiest(4) and I walked down to the "river" to fetch some water. (We took a plastic pitcher and three water bottles, walked in the rain to the end of the street, checked for imaginary animals upstream, and pretended to fill our pitcher from the imaginary river. (water bottles) ) Then I had The Pinkiest(4) carry the pitcher back to the house being careful not to spill because water is so precious. Once we got the pitcher home, everyone had a drink from a ladle. We microwaved some popcorn and took it up to the playroom where the kids watched a movie about the Mormon pioneers on their VCR and shook whipping cream in a jar to make butter while I sewed a skirt for Little Mommy(8) downstairs on my electric sewing machine. The Pinkiest(4) tended Babyloo and Little Mommy(8) started to cook Cornmeal Mush to take as our sidedish to the previously mentioned barbeque. The kids thought the fetching water/drinking from a ladle was so cool that they repeated the process about 4 times. I don't think they've been so well hydrated in weeks. I finished the skirt with some lace on the bottom hem, finished the cornmeal mush which had lost Little Mommy's interest, and we walked to the barbeque where they had cotton candy and ultimate frisbee. We grilled our chicken which was delicious (Use Lawry's Lemon Pepper marinade- it's SO GOOD!) and played with our friends. When it was almost dark we walked home and watched the neighbors set off fireworks.
The kids begged me to have another pioneer day this week. They thought it would be especially funny to see the looks on people's faces when we went out in public dressed like pioneers on some other day. I reminded them that they had to get all their work done before breakfast on Pioneer Days. (Read- I don't want to.) They all said, "YAYYYYYY!!!!!" Huh? I guess we should have come up with costumes for doing chores a long time ago.
So maybe we didn't do everything exactly like the pioneers did, but we tried. It still helped me to realize what a great many things in our day there are to be grateful for. And those pioneers were amazing people.