Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Days Are Here Again

Finally something nice to say!

Our sweet baby was born about two weeks ago, give or take, and she's beautiful! 6 lbs, 6 oz, 19 inches long, and a teeny tiny head, bless her. : )

Thank you all for your kind love/prayers/comments/thoughts. They have all been so appreciated. If I didn't publish your comments it's because you used my real actual name.

I am hoping to get back to blogging after the first of the year. Mr. Yuke(5) is still keeping us supplied with lots of good material. : )

Friday, November 7, 2008

In Loving Memory

My Father-in-law passed away Thursday morning, about 12:15 am. His funeral will be held next Thursday in that place where he lived. Thank you all for your prayers and kind words of support through these trying times. I'm really beginning to look forward to this baby (4 more weeks and counting!), if only to have some GOOD news to share for a change.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Grandad passed away night before last. He seems to have gone as peacefully as could be expected.

Father-in-law is in the ICU in critical but stable condition. He was supposed to see a specialist tomorrow about getting his gallbladder removed but I guess that will have to wait now. The procedure is high-risk because he has NASH syndrome and the possibility of knicking the liver during the surgery is highly dangerous.

He has severe dehydration, a urinary tract infection which has spread so that his blood is septic, liver failure, kidney failure, low blood pressure which is being medicinally raised, and he has been intebated due to a build-up of fluid in his lungs. Any prayers on behalf of our family would be appreciated.

Friday, October 10, 2008

One Nation Under GOD

Since the Pledge of Allegiance and The Lord's Prayer are not allowed in most public schools anymore because the word 'God' is mentioned....

Supposedly a 15 year old kid in Arizona wrote the following:

NEW School prayer :

Now I sit me down in school
Where praying is against the rule
For this great nation under God
Finds mention of Him very odd.

If Scripture now the class recites,
It violates the Bill of Rights.
And anytime my head I bow
Becomes a Federal matter now.

Our hair can be purple, orange or green,
That's no offense; it's a freedom scene.
The law is specific, the law is precise.
Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.

For praying in a public hall
Might offend someone with no faith at all.
In silence alone we must meditate,
God's name is prohibited by the state.

We're allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,
And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks.
They've outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.
To quote the Good Book makes me liable.

We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,
And the 'unwed daddy,' our Senior King.
It's 'inappropriate' to teach right from wrong,
We're taught that such 'judgments' do not belong.

We can get our condoms and birth controls,
Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles.
But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,
No word of God must reach this crowd.

It's scary here I must confess,
When chaos reigns the school's a mess.
So, Lord, this silent plea I make:
Should I be shot; My soul please take!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cake Wrecks

TOO FUNNY! It's really short and worth the extra clicks.


I said I wouldn't blog about negative stuff but I'm not very good at finding the silver linings I guess so I have dropped off the face of the earth. Here is the laundry list. I keep thinking when I get a little distance/perspective I'm going to see so clearly how it was all for the best.

  • FLOOD (AND OTHER VARIOUS LANDLORD PROBLEMS. I QUOTE, "Well how much water is there?" ME: About three inches right now but it's still coming in really fast. "Oh, so it's not SIX inches. You don't need to call a plumber." NOT JOKING.)
  • FIRE (the vacuum)
  • STOLEN IDENTITY (when they say, "Illegal immigrants just want a better life.", ask them whose.) THE GUY BOUGHT A HOUSE WITH HUSBAND'S SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER IN NOVEMBER

I'm hoping that things are going to settle down for a little while now and y'all will hear from me again.

Friday, August 22, 2008

To Save A Few Pennies

You get what you pay for.

I've always said it and I've always believed it. I think if you don't want to spend twelve dollars every single year on a toaster you should probably just spring for the fifty dollar one to begin with and have it last a decade. (That is of course unless you have a two-year-old.) Don't get me wrong. I shop the sales. I use coupons. I seek to be thrifty. But when it comes down to it, I still believe- you get what you pay for.

Monday my three older children headed off for their first day of school. (Wow. Listen to that angelic choir sing. ) Anyway, as soon as they were dropped off I headed to the city to go to what us country bumpkins like to refer to as "the mall". I had a coupon for Gymboree. Their clothes are really sturdy but also very expensive so I go there when they put everything on clearance and I have a coupon. Then the prices are almost but not quite as good as Target's. AND, the clothes there are not exclusively made in China which is a plus. The mall is a good 30-40 minute drive away and I wanted to get there early. I did. By early I mean that the stores didn't open until 40 minutes after I arrived. This presented a problem. See, I don't have the LUXURY of a double-stroller at the moment; something I have clearly taken for granted the last six years. (The stroller was a casualty in what we are calling The Despereaux Incident.) So I had Krptonite(1), MonsterTruck(3), Mr.Yuke(4), and a whole bunch of senior citizen mall walkers whom I had to keep from hurting each other for the better part of an hour without anything for the kids to do.
And that's when it hit me. That thing I had been waiting for had finally arrived. For those of you who live in places that have a sales tax, you know what always happens to the change section of your wallet after not too long. It becomes completely filled with pennies. Even if you try to spend them any chance you get, eventually the pennies will make it impossible to close your wallet anymore and you will hope that it is December so that you can give them all to the Salvation Army guy in exchange for three minutes of no-bell-ringing. My wallet has been in such a state for almost a month. Several times I started to empty it into my piggy bank (yes, I have a piggy bank- a real piggy-) but every time something stopped me. Somehow I knew there was something I was going to need those pennies for. And here it was. I could take the kids down to the mall pond by Macy's department store and we could throw in pennies until the store opened for business. Genius! (Yes, I actually had 40 minutes-worth of pennies in my wallet. Ah, the joy of sales tax.)
So we're throwing pennies. The boys are having a great time. They can't believe how fortune has smiled on them and they are getting to throw SO MANY PENNIES for SO LONG into the fountain pond thing. Even Kryptonite(1) who was sitting on my lap was getting into it. She hasn't really mastered throwing yet so most of her pennies ended up on the floor in front of me where the boys would scramble to be the first one to scavenger them. Occasionally hers would bounce into the water though, and this made her extremely happy.

Aim notwithstanding, she had good form. Her windup would have rivaled Paul Byrd. She meant business. On one of her bigger throws, she whipped that penny back all the way to my face, and then- she accidentally hooked my glasses and hurled them with her penny onto the floor. Unfortunately, this was one of those throws that had enough force behind it to bounce into the pond after hitting the tile.

Fortunately, the glasses landed where I could reach them if I got on my hands and knees and pulled up my sleeve and reached really far and hoped that while my face was turned away from her for 1.3 seconds she would not fall into the pond and drown. Remember those mall-walkers I mentioned? Yeah. I got several disapproving looks from them as they passed by, clearly not impressed with the hugely pregnant woman taking money (I WAS NOT!!!) out of the fountain. They tutted and averted their eyes and shot me second glances and crusty looks. I fished my glasses out and thank goodness did not have to catch any children in the process. I smiled at my children and was explaining how we NEVER put our arms into the pond except to reach our glasses and we don't touch the water and get back from the water please stop that right now- when I put on my glasses only to discover-
Remember when I said that my glasses BOUNCED into the pond right after they hit the tile? Well apparently, that collision caused the right lens to pop out, cuz- it just wasn't there. I looked all around the ground near the bench and the offending tile and everywhere within twenty feet. It wasn't anywhere. I KNEW it had to have landed in the water. GREAT.

The lens was completely invisible. I got back on my hands and knees, felt all around and searched with one eye/hand, while the other eye/hand tried to play lifeguard to a by-now extremely curious set of toddler/preschoolers. MonsterTruck(3) of course wanted to be extremely helpful and within 2.1 seconds he was laying on his belly with both arms in the water. That's when he noticed it. "Hey! There's money in here!" Um, yeah?

I palpated the bottom of the fountain every place I could reach for fifteen minutes and then realized I was going to have to resort to more extreme (and embarrassing) measures. I walked over to the Hallmark store and called to the employee through the gate. She looked at me with an insipid expression that seemed to say, "Um, are you like- stupid or something? Cause see that gate thingy? Yeah, that means like- WE'RE CLOSED." I said, "Hi. : ) I know you're not open yet, but could you please call mall security for me? My baby accidentally threw my glasses into the fountain and the lens popped out. I can't find it and I was wondering if they could turn the lights on in there?" She glared at me but she did call the maintenance guys who deal with this sort of thing.
We sat down on the bench again and waited for Mr.FountainPondRepairandMaintenanceMan for ten minutes. When he finally came he looked extremely harrassed, as if he was thinking, "Every day it's the same thing. You come to work and next thing you know you're fishing in the mall pond. If I had a dollar for every right lens I fished out of this stupid fountain, I could quit this glamorous line of work and follow my real dream of becoming a world-class figure skater...." He looked me up and down once, sighed and said, "Where did they fall in?" I pointed out the spot very specifically and then Mr.F. proceeded to use his pool skimmer ("shovel", according to MonsterTruck(3)) to scrape the bottom of the entire pond. Every single inch of it. Except for the 2 foot space I had pointed out. I actually paused to wonder if he was doing it on purpose just to make me wait longer because he was put out about having to leave the clogged toilet situation he was previously dealing with. I pointed out the area for a second, and then a third time but it was sort of like he had a blind spot. It didn't matter how many times I pointed out the area, he was not going to actually scrape the bottom of the pond there where I couldn't reach and my lens most likely was. He sat down on another bench across from me for a moment, heaved a big sigh, and said, "Wellp. There's only one other way." His gaze turned to a scowl as he began removing his work boots and socks and rolling up his pants. Okay, so maybe he wasn't ignoring me on purpose. Maybe he is just really dense.

I felt guilty now because it was obvious that he was very displeased at the turn of events from the looks he kept shooting at me and my children. The boys' eyes grew wide as they watched Mr.F. STEP DOWN INTO THE FOUNTAIN. You could see the wheels turning and I knew that from that moment on, for the rest of the years those boys live with me, I am going to be having to repeat to them each and every time we pass a fountain, "STAY OUT OF THE FOUNTAIN!!!! YES, I KNOW THE MAN DID IT ONCE BUT HE WAS A WORKER AND HE WAS HELPING ME AND YOU MAY NOT GET IN THERE!!!!!". It is going to be a long 16 years. : ) ("I just cleaned this fountain YESTERDAY." Um, sorry? Is my lens dirtying up the water that much?)

Well, Mr.F. walked the entire pond, feeling around with his foot. I cringed when he got to the area that I thought my lens could actually be in because, what was he thinking? That stepping on my lens was a better solution than not having one at all? But I did appreciate that he was actually in the correct vicinity for the first time in half an hour and had some little hope that he would find it.

He didn't. He emerged from the fountain at about the same time that MonsterTruck(3) realized how to remove the money from the fountain so that he could throw it back in. (Hey, at least he was occupied.) Mr.F. had me write down my name and number and said they would call me if they found it. I did so, telling him I was mostly worried because I live WAY OUT in the country and that's a long way to drive without being able to see.
Right about that time Mr.MaintenanceMan#2 came on the scene to join Mr.F. They conferred for a minute and then decided that if the lens was plastic maybe it floated away under the bridge to a different part of the fountain. They decided to try turning the fountain on to see if that would float the lens over to one side. They opened up some panel in the floor and fiddled with a lot of different controls, raising the water pressure in first one place, then another. Mr.F. was by this time CONVINCED that my lens was not actually in the pond at all and that it had somehow just evaporated. Mr.M#2 began scanning the floor around me and Mr.F. took the skimmer thing and scraped the bottom of the pond right in front of me one more time (actually, right there it was the FIRST time). As he did this Mr.M#2, with his hands held out as if he were about to stop a major car accident, shouted, "WAIT!!! I SEE IT!!!" (The mall stores had actually been open for quite some time by this point and his hollering attracted the stares of many unsuspecting shoppers.) Sure enough, right where I had pointed those three times that Mr.F. had either ignored me or did not understand what I was conveying about the pretty water, was my lens. Mr.F.: Well I SURE didn't feel that when I STEPPED there.
(And you thought God doesn't answer prayers. ( : )
Mr.F. handed me my lens and said with not a little malice in his voice, "If you go down to the optical shop we have here in the the mall they can TIGHTEN THAT UP for you." Me: Ha ha! Okay, thanks! REALLY, thank you so much for helping me. : ) He was annoyed enough that a "You're welcome" was quite out of the question. I have some nerve.

So, we gathered up our stuff and headed (FINALLY!) to Gymboree. So much for getting there early. Luckily, they weren't busy and they had just moved everything to clearance the day before when they got their new inventory in so there was tons of good stuff 20 and 40% off. I picked through the racks and racks of clothes and finally had my choices narrowed down to a couple shirts each for the boys and a few outfits for Kryptonite(1). I got up to the checkout counter pleased that I was going to be able to get the things I wanted to get last week, only now instead of paying full price, I would be getting 40% off AND I had that additional 20% off coupon I'd been saving. I pulled the mailer from my bag to tear out the coupon and my face fell. THAT STUPID THING EXPIRED AT THE END OF JULY. I am so glad I drove all the way to THE MALL in the CITY so that I could waste 400 pennies and an hour of my time apparently trying to scoop lunch money out of the fountain, so that I could save an extra 20% off the clearance price JUST TO FIND OUT MY COUPON IS EXPIRED!!!!! I needed a moment. The salesgirl asked me if I had any coupons today and I said, well yes, I thought I did but I JUST discovered it has expired. She smiled at me and said in a professional voice that if I came in on Thursday, everything in the store would be an additional 30% off. My head was about to explode. Um, okay. Can you hold these for me until then? She did and we went home to wait with anticipation (and dread) for our return trip to the mall.

So to save a few pennies, I threw away hundreds more and half a tank of gas and very nearly my glasses, but- you get what you pay for.

I'm expecting great things from these clothes.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Nope, NOT Dead.

Of the last four weeks, Husband was business trippin' for three of them and I had company for the other one. I survived the business trips. Barely. More on that later.

School is starting Monday. (Insert ecstatic shriek of joy here.) I survived the summer. Barely. : )

I'll get back to blogging soon.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Aussies Ain't Perverts


I check my stats. Obsessively. I find no end of entertainment in seeing where you live, when you come here, how long you stay, how you got here.... Which brings us to-

What is it with foreigners surfing for p*rn?!!! (Trying to avoid getting more googlers here.) I am not kidding. In the last six months I may have had three or four Americans end up here by googling something sick and twisted. But Italians? Asians? South Africans? I can't even count 'em. I've even had a few from Germany, although I have some actual readers there as well. Australia is the only country that has not had even ONE pervert come searching A Bunch Without Alice looking for who-knows-what. (Actually, I do know what because I read the google search queries on my stats.) But still!

I would like to thank you Australia. Would that more countries had people like you. If I could award Australia a prize on this blog I would. Hmm....

Family Time and Lord of the Flies- It's All PG-13

Well it's been a crazy few weeks. We went to the every-other-year Brady family reunion at the end of June and had a great time. I always love hanging out with Husband's cousins and seeing the kids all hang out together. Altogether we're almost 100 people with half of those being kiddos. It's always really fun and somewhat exhausting.


Mr.Yuke(4) finding his BEST BUDDY Mr.J.T.(5) and spending every single minute together. Mr.J.T.(5) has a rule at his house that he can't visit friends/they can't visit him if his mom doesn't know their parents. He was shocked and then overjoyed to discover that I KNOW HIS MOM!!!!! so Mr.Yuke(4) can come over. !!!! I said, "Sure. SOMEtime. Not tomorrow. Not this year. But SOMEtime."
Mr.Yuke(4) didn't miss a beat: Yeah! I know! Like maybe when I'm PG-13 THEN I could go there!!!!!
They made plans to "be best buddies until [they] DIE. And after too."

CousinPA put together a funniest home videos night that had a special tribute to Husband's Grandma who you may remember left us the same week I lost the twins. It was really beautiful and had that "Let me go home" song on it that I love so much. Everyone was in tears. It was great. The woman lived a very full life. I told Husband later that I hope I live even half that full. (With this many kiddos that may be unavoidable. : ) )

They had a BIG GI-NORMOUS INFLATABLE WATERSLIDE on the first day. No, seriously. It was BIG.

We do a generations dinner one of the nights. I LOVE that. This year the grandparents all went out at 5:30 while us parents took our kids swimming in the hotel pool to get them tired, fed them fast food, and got them ready for bed so that the Grandparents could watch them at the hotel when they got back while we went out to dinner. We went to Chili's and had a great time. My favorite part of the evening was when SingerGirl told us an Emily Watts story. Essentially the story was about a trip Emily Watts took to Vegas and the intimidation she felt in hanging out in her bathing suit at the casino pool next to all the bronze hard-bodies. She ended up deciding that she would do them all the service of having someone to look better than in order for them to feel good about themselves. Charitable, no? Well at this point NotAFuddyDuddy says, "You know, I guess I always thought- it's not like people don't know what I look like. I'm not going to take off my clothes and they're going to go- 'OH MY GOSH!!! She's FAT!!!!! I had NO idea!' I thoroughly enjoyed that. Hopefully the humor wasn't just limited to her delivery of it.

The day after the reunion was over, we spent the day in one of our country's beautiful National Parks, just the eight of us. (Hee hee. That sounds funny.) Anyway, it was just us. It was really nice. We saw some beautiful scenery, hiked to a watertrickle, went to a museum, and drove THROUGH a mountain. MonsterTruck(3) got heat exhaustion and we didn't know the extent of it until that night as we were making the road trip back home when he started HALLUCINATING. I am not kidding. I'm talking FULL-ON acid-trip-style freak-out. Poor little kid. He just couldn't understand why we weren't DOING ANYTHING ABOUT THIS. (!!!!!!!!!!!) He screamed bloody murder for half an hour until we got home and got him in the shower. He never was convinced that what he was seeing was not there.

He had a fever the next day so I took him to the doctor. Turns out the heat exhaustion had combined with a virus we picked up at the reunion (The Pinkiest(5) got it too) and caused an extra-special side effect. Scary.

A couple days later I got said virus. Then I felt REALLY bad for the boy. It was HORR. I. BLE. It was some sort of infection of the spinal fluid that was localized in the neck and upper back. You know that feeling when water gets up your nose? Well it was like that only in your upper spine and the base of your head. It hurt A LOT and my arms got really weak like I couldn't lift them. Luckily the terrible pain and fever only lasted about a day and a half, but the recovery took almost a week of sleeping. The three of us slept a lot when we got back.

So I finally recovered from that fun (during which time the 4th of July came and went). [You know I was sick because the 4th is my MOST FAVORITEST holiday ever and I was so tired that all I was able to blog about it was the sentence I put down there about that stupid, terrible waste of $40 we spent at the movie theater that day. SO- happy 4th everyone! Freedom is a privilege that must be carefully guarded. : )] So anyway- I recovered. The next day I thought, oh good. I can finally get up and some stuff done. I got up. I showered. I put in a load of laundry. And I got a migraine. This pretty much only happens to me when I'm pregnant (migraines, that is). It was one of the really bad ones when you can't SEE. Sight is something that I depend on pretty heavily. Like toothpaste. And underwires. I NEED to see. I laid down in bed and sent the kids to every single neighbor within 5 houses in any direction in search of a caffeinated beverage. (That is DIVINE advice from my old OB.) Nobody had anything. I had no choice but to try to sleep it off, knowing full-well the Lord of the Flies scenario that would ensue. At one point during the day I vaguely remember hearing someone yell, "Kryptonite(1) ate the WHOLE jar of jelly!" I had visions of jelly stains on every surface of the first floor as I dozed. Fortune smiled on me in the form of the ProprietoroftheAllenCafe. She had loaned me a library book and she dropped by to get it so she could return it (hopefully before any overdue fines?). I'm a little hazy on the details but I know that upon seeing my children and the state they were in (I can only imagine, having spent my day gaining an appreciation for the blind,) she asked Little Mommy(9) if I was ok and did I need any help? LittleMommy(9) promptly replied that I had a migraine and what I needed was caffeine. TheProprietoroftheAllenCafe offered to get me something on her way back from the library and LittleMommy(9) sweetly informed her that it would need to be Dr. Pepper. (She's a good kid.) That angel of a woman brought me 2 liters of Dr. Pepper and took my jelly-slathered baby home with her. I picked Kryptonite(1) up about 4 hours later when the caffeine had kicked in and I could see again. I don't know what she looked like when she left but apparently it was bad enough to neccessitate a bath. THANK YOU ALLENCAFELADY!!! YOU ARE A LIFE-SAVER! (Unfortunately I think I probably mean that literally because who KNOWS what could have happened to her before Husband came home?)

Now I am trying to hang in there for a couple more weeks until FedEx brings my Twilight book. I re-re-read the three I have but there is still a couple weeks to go. Someone give me something to read, quick!!!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

People are Lard-Sucking Killers of the Earth

There. Now you don't have to waste any money seeing Wall*E.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


The hormones are a ragin' I tell you. Pregnancy is a funny thing. It's no wonder that just a century ago they were locking pregnant women up in asylums. That doesn't look like I spelled that right. Oh well. You know what I mean. The water works are just really primed and ready to go at any little thing. Like freedom. And fireworks. And Kryptonite(1) driving cars on my arm.

I read THE BEST book this week. For the official review you can look here, but suffice it to say, I broke up with Mr. Darcy over it. I loaned it to AmishAtHeart, but when she finishes it I am reading it again. I cried my eyes out at some parts so hard that my shirt was soaked. But that could be the hormones. Because I did the same thing last week when Maverick lost Goose. Again. : )

Friday, June 20, 2008

More Than You Ever Wanted To Know

A friend of mine posted this on her blog and I felt like I knew her tons better after reading it. If you don't really care you can just skip this but for those of you who'd "come in and know me better, man", here are 200 things I have done (in red) and have not done (in blue).

1. loved someone unconditionally
2. ridden in a hot air balloon
3. gone hang gliding
4. shot a gun for target shooting and was good at it
5. gone scuba diving
6. visited England for Spring Break in high school
7. written a children's book
8. been to a tea party
9. backpacked through Europe
10. flown in an airplane on Christmas day to surprise my family by showing up
11. been a published author
12. driven a convertible
13. switched classrooms in grade school with my identical twin (don't have one)
14. earned a Masters Degree (not yet, anyway)
15. married the man of my dreams and the love of my life
16. swam with dolphins
17. gone camping with no flush toilets
18. sung a solo
19. had nightmares
20. run 5 miles
21. made brownies and then eaten the whole batter
22. been stung by a jellyfish
23. had a pedicure and manicure
24. regifted
25. lost a loved one
26. been in a movie (nope, but there is someone else in the movies I used to get mistaken for ALL THE TIME.)
27. taken a martial arts class
28. won a scrapbook contest
29. gone rock climbing
30. learned a second language (not fluently anyway)
31. been horse back riding
32. tried digital scrapbooking (I like the hands-on-ness of the old school way)
33. won money
34. danced on a table
35. ridden an elephant
36. been in a dance contest
37. been a worrier
38. flown in a helicopter
39. met someone famous
40. kissed under a waterfall
41. attended the Olympics
42. hiked the Grand Canyon
43. donated blood
44. ridden in a limousine
45. served in a soup kitchen
46. eaten fried green tomatoes
47. been on a blind date
48. seen a play
49. raked my carpet
50. double-dipped
51. toured the White House
52. owned a hybrid car
53. thrown money in a trash can by mistake
54. used my finger as a pacifier to calm a crying baby
55. exercised while on vacation
56. been on a cruise
57. had bon bons lying in bed
58. seen a crime take place
59. had a couples massage with my husband
60. been to Niagra Falls
61. water skiied on one ski
62. seen a penguin
63. collected ash from Mt. St. Helen's eruption
64. seen Old Faithful erupt
65. slept on a cot
66. killed a snake
67. become a reality show addict
68. won a costume contest
69. gone to a drive-in theatre
70. been snorkeling
71. had a privately guided tour
72. caught a fish and cooked it for dinner
73. been homesick
74. eaten hardshell crabs
75. been a nanny
76. been a room mom for my child's classroom
77. neglected my kids because I was reading a good book
78. come face-to-face with a shark [but it was in a tank : )]
79. read the Bible from cover to cover (ALMOST!)
80. been skydiving
81. ridden a roller coaster
82. watched a parade
83. ridden a tandum bike
84. walked holding hands with my husband on the beach
85. been to Lake Tahoe
86. owned a vacation place
87. been to a movie by myself
88. bought a brand new car
89. killed a black widow spider
90. found an arrowhead
91. been deep-sea fishing
92. hit a home run
93. put up a tent all by myself
94. bowled a turkey
95. cooked a turkey
96. hidden treats for husband and me
97. had a frozen drink at the side of a swimming pool
98. eaten in a restaurant by myself just so I could say that I did (that wasn't actually my reason though.)
99. been embarrased or ashamed by my behavior
100. read a chapter book with my son
101. played in a ping pong competition (does middle school lunchtime count?)
102. payed for a bag of candy with all change
103. been on a deserted island
104. enjoyed a romantic evening in front of the fireplace
105. run in a marathon
106. met a street beggar
107. ridden an unicycle
108. been able to fake an accent
109. taken a dance class in college
110. taken my children to the circus
111. slept on a trampoline
112. tried to change the oil in my car
113. climbed a tree
114. switched political parties
115. participated in a pagent
116. swam the English Channel
117. found a shark's tooth
118. freaked out on a Ferris Wheel
119. been on a safari
120. been afraid to say sorry
121. seen a bear on the side of the road
122. baked a pie from scratch
123. been blessed with a green thumb
124. always felt loved
125. climbed the stairs of the Statue of Liberty
126. always controlled my emotions
127. laughed uncontrollably during the most inopportune moment
128. danced in the rain
129. pet a baby lion
130. vacationed in Asia
131. been elected to a public office
132. wanted to be a rock star
133. been happy with my life
134. been to Coney Island
135. taken a bubble bath
136. been in a photo shoot
137. been President of a fan club
138. pulled "weeds" in a friend's garden only to find out they were wildflowers
139. been a financially high-maintenance wife (depends on who you ask!)
140. been an emotionally high-maintenance wife
141. touced an iceberg
142. taken voice lessons
143. roller skated in the last three decades
144. hugged my sister in a year
145. talked with her several times a week for the last year
146. played dumb to get my husband to help me with something
147. ever liked olives (until that fateful day....)
148. learned to like mushrooms because they are good for me
149. gotten a 100% on a test or exam
150. been on a news program
151. been the class clown
152. hiked on a glacier
153. milked a cow
154. taken in a stray cat or dog
155. entered a photo in a photography contest (someday I will)
156. never had a crush on a college professor
157. taken piano lessons
158. written my congressman a letter
159. had a lemonade stand
160. polished silverware
161. had a facial
162. paid the toll for the person behind me
163. had pnemonia
164. talked my way out of a speeding ticket (no, but I dreamed about it last night)
165. had to pull over from driving because of a rain storm
166. had a pet cat
167. broken a bone in my body
168. stuffed my bra
169. dated two guys with the same name
170. had all my children by c-section
171. had a sinus infection
172. joined a sorority my first year of college
173. been in combat
174. eaten sushi
175. met a set of triplets
176. learned to surf
177. gone spelunking
178. flown first-class
179. had tubes in my ears
180. suffered from allergies
181. worn a tutu
182. been athletic my whole life (athleticism has always sort of gone in spurts for me)
183. done a belly flop
184. had my portrait painted
185. sent a message in a bottle
186. participated in a book club
187. dated someone with the same name as my brother
188. been great at keeping in touch with old friends
189. seen a beautiful sunset
190. been controlling
191. read the ending of a muder mystery before reading the book
192. been to Africa
193. had a song dedicated to me on the radio
194. been white water rafting
195. been on a cruise
196. been stuck in an elevator
197. sat on a jury
198. had stitches
199. lied about my weight
200. been given 6.5 beautiful children to love

Interestingly enough, of the 86 or so have-nots, Husband has done 18 of them and MyBeautiful has done 18 others. I must be attracted to people who balance me out. : )

Friday, June 13, 2008

Virginity and Death: Despereaux Rides Again

"When you have a family of eight, there necessarily needs be a system of rules to manage the inevitable chaos. Some of these rules are important. Some aren't."

Remember that? Remember when, a little less than a year ago I posted about Max and I gently poked fun at Husband's declaration that THERE IS NO EATING IN THE CAR?

Yes. I remember that.

"Max lost her virginity a long time ago. Max is my car." Recently Max has been defiled. I'll come back to that.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting LindseyLonglegs, a blogger whom I read with some regularity and who, until very recently (when I sort of went under the radar with post-partum depression and then morning sickness), had a link to this site on her blog. (HINT HINT.) : ) Meeting Lindsey was really fun. Maybe some of you remember that a while back I offered a little prize to the first commentor on my 100th post. Well Lindsey was the lucky "alert reader" who won that distinction and in light of this post, I felt the only possible fitting prize would be one of every kind of cupcake from Flour Girls and Dough Boys because seriously? Can anything else compare? So I procured the cupcakes and drove the long way to meet her. The weather was gorgeous (it's about time!) and as long as you were in the sun it was "not even cold!" as ThePinkiest(5) put it. I was really excited, both to meet her and to present her with those beautiful cupcakes. I wish I had a picture of them but my phone got a VIRUS and I can no longer send pics. Very sad. I was going to steal the pics from Lindsey's blog but she can't find her cords to upload them. Let's just say that the cupcakes are a work of art and that nothing else I can say would do them justice. She was adequately impressed and said they received her highest recommendation yet. That place should really start putting me on their payroll. : ) (Just kidding, Carol! I DO wish you'd put a link to your menu on your blog though. It would make telling people about you SO much easier.)

Apparently, one of the benefits of living out in the country, is that when your kids leave the van door open for five minutes or so, you can have a mouse live in your car. So I get to the meeting place to find Lindsey, go to get the stroller out of the back of Max, and that is when I saw it. A cute, furry little butt scurrying its Hanta-virus-carrying self away from the stroller up to the front of the van- my beautiful, wonderful, just-completely-vacuumed-out-in-March van. THERE WAS A MOUSE. IN. MY. CAR. I did the only natural thing I could do: I screamed, threw the stroller on the ground to make sure the little vermin didn't have any friends, and slammed the car shut. I opened the stoller up (it was safe by the way), debated for a second, put the baby in it, and then opened the front door to see if I could locate the disgusting little creature. Nope. He was long gone. To his deluxe condo (which I pay over 5oo$ a month for) up under the dash. I decided there was not much I could do at that point and my kids were already heading off to see the sights without me so I just locked the car and tried to forget about it temporarily.

Ever try to forget there's something crawly pooping in your very own car? It doesn't really work. So although I enjoyed meeting Lindsey, my pregnancy brain was pretty much fixated on two things and I am sure I was not a sparkling conversationalist. (For example: Lindsey asked me what blogs I read. I couldn't think of any. I didn't even think to tell her about Pioneer Woman. I LOVE that blog. Nope. I had nothin'.) (Thanks for hanging out with me Linds, sorry I was not all there.) The two things I was fixating on were these- 1) Do we have Hanta virus in ThePlaceThatILive and 2) Is there a way to possibly take care of the whole entire mess without Husband actually finding out? The answer to #1 is sadly, yes. I confirmed that with the county health department today. Hopefully we won't all die in two weeks. The answer to #2 is HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! I have children! The rodent fumes must have been interfering with my ability to think clearly because not even pregnancy brain would bring on an idea THAT ludicrous. I figured it would be about .2 seconds after Husband pulled up to the house before the kids had run out to his car and were knocking on his car window to tell him the wonderfully exciting news: THERE IS A MOUSE IN OUR CAR!!!!!!!!! So there was only one thing to do. I had to call him and confess the entire situation to him, admitting my own partial guilt in the situation for disregarding his Rule that THERE IS NO EATING IN THE CAR, thus creating an environment which would entice any half-sane, olfactorily challenged mouse into setting up residence there. Husband is very good and did not even get angry or gloat. I wish I was that good. I'm going to be. Someday.

Remember that post about Max from last year that I mentioned earlier? You may remember that in that same post I also blogged about our tradition of reading aloud. The book we are almost finished reading right now is The Tale of Despereaux. It is the story of a brave little mouse who fights against all odds to save the Princess he loves. It's a pretty ok story. Definitely not my favorite but the kids have really seemed to enjoy it. There are a lot of annoying asides to the reader that say stupid things like, "Now dear reader, you know of course...". The whole "dear reader" thing makes me kind of want to puke. The nice thing about readalouds it that you can leave that part out and then it's not annoying to anyone but the person who actually sees the page. Well anyway, Despereaux is a favorite around here.

Last night as Husband and I were systematically removing all the items from the van with our nitrile gloves on so we could get to the mouse STUFF to spray it down, to clean it up, to take the car to get it steam cleaned/detailed (aren't rodents FUN?), Bubba(7), who by nature is a very sensitive child, realized what was imminent. "Do you have to KILL the mouse?"
Me: Yes, honey.
Bubba(7): Why can't you just let it go?
Husband: Because it would just come back. Or try to live in our garage. Or our house.
Me: The mouse HAS TO DIE. Honey.
Bubba(7) tearing up: But why do you have to kill it?
He cried the rest of the evening and was still in tears as he went to bed, knowing full well that his evil parents were going to send poor little Despereaux to his untimely grave. I really AM that cruel. (Now right off, any mom is going to tell you that my priorities are exactly right on target. Of course "no food in the car" is WAY more important than reading "Charlotte's Web" before watching it- let's just get that straight right now.) And of course killing Despereaux is WAY more important than allowing a child's literary character to maintain residence in the family automobile. I didn't let Charlotte and her disgusting little egg sac live in my doorway and I'm not affording Despereaux any such luxury either. Some kids would tell me I'm wrong. That's why we're the moms. And why there is a mouse trap with a dead mouse in the garbage can right now.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Taste the Old El Paso

I couldn't take it. The blog could not go on looking like a can of refried beans. Hope this is better. It still feels summer-y to me.

The F-Word

So, if I take fresh potatoes, not even from a bag, just the loose ones in the produce section and I cut them up with the peels still on, and then I cook them in healthy oils (one part extra virgin olive oil: 2 parts canola)- can they be considered somewhat healthy? Or are they automatically junk food because they are fried?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Warming Up the Blog

I realize the new color pallette is a little garish. It's not permanent, I assure you. But as I sit here with GOOSEBUMPS and blue feet, I had to do something to convince myself it's warm right now. I tell you, if I actually believed in all that stuff about fossil fuel emissions I would go outside right this very minute and leave my van idling in the driveway all day long to try to warm up the globe a little. But alas.... It wouldn't work. I guess I'll stick with the more effective method. Posting bright sunshiny colors on the internet. Later.

One Less Way to Die

Kids are dangerous. I think they should come with a warning label for their potential level of danger and mayhem. Maybe on the DEFCON scale or something. Some kids would just be at DEFCON-1. Those are the kids who may throw their bowl of applesauce off the high chair tray once or twice and maybe occasionally poop in the bathtub. (Yes, that happens.) I'm thinking of Valenzoo's children here, and you, Dharma. ThePinkiest(5) was once in this category but she was upgraded last year to DEFCON-4.

DEFCON-2 are your kids who don't get themselves into trouble but if left there, will continue to roll off the bed hoping that this time gravity will not exist, even though they have tested this theory 500 times to date and are old enough to retain the results of all their previous experiments. [LittleMommy(9)]

DEFCON-3 are the kids who think they are invincible or that they have super powers. I'm talking specifically about Mr.Yuke(4) here. Did I ever blog about the time he thought he actually WAS Superman? If I did, I apologize for repeating it here.

This is what happened. The boys all share a room. Bubba(7) has the top bunk, a twin. Mr.Yuke(4) has the bottom bunk, a double. Across the room a few feet is MonsterTruck's(3) bed, a toddler. Well, Mr.Yuke had on his new Superman jammies and he was sure that those pj's were all he needed to attain all the powers of Krypton. He decided the best way to test his power would be with flight. Specifically, he would fly from a standing position on MonsterTruck's(3) bed UP TO Bubba's(7) bed. Really, as far as SuperHero flight patterns go, this really was a small and easily attainable first attempt. Well, he made the leap, fell short of his goal (the top bunk), and SMACKED his head on the metal edge of the bottom bunk. Ever seen a headwound? Yeah, they're messy. So after slowing down the bleeding I ascertained that Mr.Yuke(4)-(then 3) was going to need several stitches. I took him to the emergency room- and here is the part where he warrants the DEFCON-3 rating as opposed to just the accident-prone DEFCON-2: As the doctor was stitching him up, asking him all those slightly insinuating/accusatory questions to make sure the parent didn't just make up a phony Superman story and actually bludgeon him with a blunt object, the doc says, "So you can't really fly, huh? (Then with confidence and somewhat in the tone of a gameshow host-) Well, you're not going to try that again are you?" Mr.Yuke's(4) answer? "Well, I fink it's because I didn't have my cape on. You need your cape to fly. I need to try it again WITH my cape." The doctor didn't even know what to say to that. He just gave me a look that said, "I pity you."

DEFCON-4: These are the kids who learn to open the child safety locks and pill bottles when they are 7 months old. They have advanced motor skills so many of them are also climbers and escape artists. MonsterTruck(3) falls into this category. I've mentioned before that we have called Poison Control more times for that kid than all the other kids put together. UPDATE: Since that post, we've called Poison Control four more times. He is just bent on killing himself, ok? DEFCON-4 kids are also the ones who are the evil genius masterminds behind all the naughtiness that takes place in a given household. This is where ThePinkiest(5) fits in. Last week when I posted the In A Word meme tag, it was because I needed a few days to find the humor in her latest scheme. It was still too fresh to be funny. Here is what happened.

I mentioned I'm clueless, right? Well, in spite of past experience, I left an open bag of flour in the kitchen overnight. [I guess that makes me a DEFCON-2 : )] ThePinkiest(5) and Mr.Yuke(4) discovered it the next day while I was upstairs laying down with Kryptonite(1). We were both just recovering from some sort of flu bug that was pretty nasty and we were plain dog tired. I heard the two of them downstairs laughing their maniacal laughter- and really, if I had been on top of my game instead of in a sick-induced stupor, I probably would have realized from the sound of that laughter that something insidious was taking place and would have put a stop to it before it escalated to where it did. But my pregnancy brain was not functioning at that Supermom level so I missed my cue for intervention. The first clue I got that something was not right was when MonsterTruck(3) came upstairs with white hair and said, "Mo-om. ThePinkiest(5) and Mr.Yuke(4) are pwaying wif duh fwower." I sent him to the shower and spent the next several minutes trying to work up the energy to go downstairs and see what the extent of the mess was. Now, the next part is unclear but from what I could gather it went like this: There had been a flour fight where handfulls of flour were thrown around (about 20 pounds worth, give or take). Then someone looked around and realized that they were going to be in BIG trouble so they decided they better clean it up. I think this must be the point when they added the water (about 2 gallons worth, all over the kitchen floor). At least I think they were using the water to clean it up with. I was a little too ballistic to gather accurate details at the time. You know what you get when you mix flour and water, right? Yep. They paper mache`d my entire kitchen floor. And then tried to sweep up the goo up with the broom. Oh- by the way, Lowe's has an excellent broom selection, just FYI. So I was exhausted, angry, still not feeling all that well, and was NOT under any circumstances going to get my pregnant self on my hands and knees to clean up that mess. I supplied the two of them with scrapers and later rags, and allowed them the joy of cleaning up their fun. ThePinkiest(5) actually said to me after about ten minutes of scraping, "It's NOT FAIR that WE have to clean up this mess." HA! MyBeautiful put it best when she said, "It's not fair. WE already spent FIFTEEN minutes making this mess. We shouldn't have to clean it up too." Things like this are why ThePinkiest(5) is permanently at DEFCON-4. That night I left the minute Husband came home and went to a movie with Smunchie and MyOtherMother. Husband is good like that. Sometimes it's necessary to leave your children for a short while in order to love them properly when you come back. We saw BabyMama. It was WAY better than the previews made it look.

DEFCON-5 is reserved for kids who bring drugs into the house and act violently against their family members. We don't have any of those. Knock on wood.

Kryptonite(1) has been a DEFCON-1 kid since she was born. I call that "the tender mercies of the Lord". She is easy and low-maintenance. She has only had two or three minor accidents in a year and she learned quickly from all of them. This week she learned two new things. She has expanded her vocabulary from "No" to "No" and "Hi!". And she learned to crawl down the stairs!!! (Insert angelic choir and applause here.) I am ecstatic. One less way to die. Now if I could just get her to stop playing in the potty every time someone forgets to close the bathroom door upon exiting the restroom, we'd be good. Because let's face it, the only thing worse than your baby drowning, is your baby drowning in pee-water from a toilet that was left unflushed by an older sibling. WHY can't they flush the toilet?! WHY? I just don't get it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


When Husband read my post about our movie date, his first question was, "Why didn't you put a link to Indiana Jones?" I cannot believe I made such a blunderous oversight. : ) [Here is a link to Indiana Jones.] Then he proceeded to tell me all the details I had gotten wrong because I am, as I said, clueless. Here is a printed correction:

The hat from the original Raiders milliner is from Canada, not Brazil.
The leather jacket is from Brazil. (I knew that.)
The sucker with the picture of Indy on the wrapper was not purchased in Disneyland. It was actually procured in Switzerland. That is cooler I think.

So there you go. I'm a clueless wife. : ) I say at least I knew he had all that stuff.

My cluelessness is not limited to the collection of Indiana Jones paraphenalia which sits in my house. When I am pregnant I get a SEVERE case of pregnancy brain. The kiddos keep doing all these funny things and I think, "Oh, I'll have to blog about that." Then I sit down four hours later and cannot for the life of me remember anything funny they have ever done in their entire lives. Mr.Yuke(4) has not ceased his antics but I can't seem to retain any of it for longer than two seconds.

The funny stories are not the only thing my brain has a hard time with when I'm pregnant. Day before yesterday, I got a call from the anesthesiologist's billing office. Apparently, we owe the balance after what the insurance covered and they would like to get paid. That is all fine. I was unaware that the insurance didn't cover all of it. No problem. But the conversation went something like this:

Caller: Hi. Is this Aberjaber?
Me: Yes.
Caller: This is Caller from SomeplaceorOtherAnesthesia.
Me Huh. Have I ever had that? When did I ever have that? Then looking at my hand comprehension dawns: Yes?
Caller: We show you have a balance with us of SomeAmountorOther for Anesthesiology.
Me: I have insurance. Don't they cover (what's that word? Dang. I can't think of it.) Anes...thesio...lo...gia? Anesthesio...? Anes...?
Caller: Which company is your provider?
Me: Anesthesia! InsuranceCompanyX
Caller: Yes. It appears that they paid the part they cover and you are now responsible for the balance.
Me: Oh. Ok.

Yes. This sort of thing happens to me several times a day. I go from a working vocabulary of 20,000 words before I'm pregnant, to barely communicating through a series of grunts and pointing for nine months every time I conceive. It's a little funny. And a lot frustrating. Even this post is taking me forever to write because I keep having to delete words and put the correct ones in their place.

The pregnancy is going well. I am now in my 14th week and feel like I can sit back and celebrate the fact that I'm pregnant without worrying anymore. I hope that's not naiive.

The child of my youth has been gone to visit her grandparents on an extended vacation. LittleMommy(9) left a week before school got out and we won't see her until the family reunion at the end of this month. I'm really missing her. I hate letting my kids grow up. It stinks. : ) She is having a good time but she misses her siblings and has found out ThatPlaceThatWeUsedToLive is not ShangriLa after all. I think that she will appreciate us more when she gets back. At least that's what I'm hoping.

MonsterTruck(3) is finally pooping in the potty. I sort of- through a series of unfortunate events which were largely out of my control- didn't ever potty train him. PianoGirl believes that kids will potty train themselves when they are ready and that formal potty training doesn't really work. I have hoped this to be true since I have been unable to potty train him for the last eight months. Having done it both ways now, I can say that for me- the frustration of two intense weeks is far less than the frustration of eight months of unnecessary diaper/pullup changing. But that's just me. I am SO THANKFUL he has finally decided to get on the band wagon.

You know who else is clueless? I'll give you a hint. It is June. Until yesterday it was 55 degrees outside. I'm just sayin' is all. Thank goodness it is beginning to warm up. Summer vacation should feel summer-y. That's all I have to say about that.

Friday, May 30, 2008

In A Word

I liked this one, so here you go. Feel free to share your own answers.

1. Where is your cell phone? Desk
2. Significant other? Yes
3. Worst bad habit? Procrastinating
4. Hair? Yup.
5. Favorite food? Italian
6. Your Favorite thing? Rain
7. Your dream last night? Forgot
8. Favorite drink? Agua
9. Dream/Goal? Graduate
10. Room you are in? Hall
11. Your ex? Pathetic
12. Your fear? Inability
13. Where do you want to be in six years? School
14. Where were you last night? Rejuvenating
15. What you're not? Pushover
16. Muffins? Yum
17. Wish list item? Alice
18. Where did you grow up? Northwest
19. Last thing you do? Sigh
20. What are you wearing? Red
21. Your TV? Off
22. Your pets? None
23. Your computer? Messy
24. Your life? Busy
25. Your mood? Relieved
26. Missing someone? Yes
27. Your car? Minivan
28. Something you are not wearing? Ring
29. Favorite store? Bookstore
30. Your summer? Starting
31. Love someone? Many
32. Last time you laughed? Yesterday
33. Last time you cried? Yesterday

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Family: Isn't It About... MINE?

Ever heard of the Toddler Rules of Acquisition? It's a paraody on (I cringe as I type this-) the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition. (Deep Space Nine. A moment of silence for my dignity.) Anyway, the Toddler Rules of Acquistion are as follows:

1. If I like it, it's mine.
2. If it's in my hand, it's mine.
3. If I can take it from you, it's mine.
4. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.
5. If it's mine, it must NEVER appear to be yours in any way.
6. If I'm doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.
7. If it looks just like mine, it is mine.
8. If I saw it first, it's mine.
9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.
10. If it's broken, it's yours.

I've always liked that and found quite a lot of truth in it. I was reminded of The Rules recently when MonsterTruck(3) had his birthday. Husband asked him what he would like for a present and without hesitation he anwered, "A lightsaber that is MINE." Poor kid. In early childhood development they will tell you that the reason toddlers are so possessive is because their identity is tied to their belongings. Well, lucky for us he seems pretty well-adjusted because the boy has got nothin'. We have EVERY SINGLE TOY in that famous toy chain worth having at this house. This last Christmas there was nothing in that ENTIRE store that my kids wanted. We did three laps. I'm not kidding. But the problem is, the toys at our house all have owners. The children all share, of course, but when it comes down to it, at the end of the day, those toys belong to individuals. Of which MonsterTruck(3) is apparently not one.

We were more than happy to accomodate his wish for his own light saber. We threw in a Thomas train as well since those all belong to Bubba(7) and Mr.Yuke(4). MonsterTruck(3) was ECSTATIC. He has walked around with a light saber strapped to his underwear every day since then. (Don't ask me where his pants are. All I know is that I put them on him and then they are gone.) Incidentally, underwear doesn't really hold the weight of a light saber very efficiently....

So we got him presents. He was happy. Mr.Yuke(4) was not. Because trains are HIS, see? And so us giving one to MonsterTruck(3) is really quite unacceptable. And why doesn't MR.YUKE(3) have that particular engine? And it's not fair.

There are a lot of things in family life that belong to us. I have realized that although the idea that everything is mine starts in toddlerhood, it really stays with us our whole lives. There is the ever-so-trying period of life from 7-ish to I-don't-know-when that girls think everything in the house is part of their domain and therefore fair game. Like scissors and masking tape and lip gloss. (THOSE ARE MINE.) And computer paper. (HUSBAND'S) And brownie mixes. And....

It's not all possessiveness though. My children are sometimes very generous with their things. Like when I say clean up your room and they all say that those clothes on the floor belong to their beloved sister/brother who they share a room with. It is just really so kind they way they give up their stuff like that. Warms a mother's heart. Or temper- one of those. : )

They are also very generous with fault. Blame is something that is never anyone's "MINE". It is ALWAYS someone else's. The floor must truly bleed jelly. It is the only logical explanation.

We continue the compulsion to claim what is ours even into adulthood. Show me one woman in this country who has given birth who has not at some point or other felt compelled to tell all about their labor and delivery- in detail. I am telling you, she doesn't exist. We all want credit for what is OURS. Even if it's blood, sweat, and tears. Especially if.

We judge comments we hear from others based on our experience. "Yes, that's true with MINE." or "Not with MINE." I recently went to a class on holding effective Family Home Evenings where the teacher (whose lesson was great, by the way) made a comment to the effect of "Your kids idolize you. They want to be you. There is no one they admire more." Forgetting temporarily that her children are 2 and 7 months or something like that, all I could think was, "Are you INSANE? Not MINE." But she does not have a pre-pubescent daughter at the moment. She was teaching from HER perspective. And I was hearing from MINE.

Everywhere I go people are always asking me, "Are these all YOURS?" I have yet to come up with the perfect snarky comeback to that but really? If you had three or four kids, would you round up three MORE to do a little grocery shopping with? Yes. They are all mine- which brings me back to MonsterTruck(3).

A few days after his birthday, he was laying on my bed, looking up at the wall where all the family pictures are. He said, "There's Gwanny, and Gwamma, and Gwampa, and Daddy, and Mommy, and LittleMommy(9), and Bubba(7), and Mr. Yuke(4), and Kryptonite(1), and ThePinkiest(5), and MoneyBags, and Sumping.... Those is MY PEOPLE." Looks like he had something to identify himself with before the light saber after all.

Yeah. Those IS my people. That's who I am. And I'm so glad they're MINE.

This 'n That: Movie Edition

Okay, first- Twilight. For those of you who went to Indiana Jones in the last couple of days, you've probably already seen this. For those of you who haven't, all I can say is my faith is restored in Cedric Diggory. A little.

Now, if that was too short a bite and you had to watch it a minimum of six times in a row, try this one on for size. It's a behind-the-scenes look at filming and it changed my almost-made-up-mind about skipping the movie. It looks pretty action-packed.

Getting excited? Maybe just a teence? (Yup. Just made that word up. Actually no, I didn't. Someone really annoying one of my pseudo-brothers used to date used that word. A lot. She was a psycho cleptomaniac. Okay, I take it back. I'm sorry. I take it back. What was I thinking?) I digress.

Where was I? Oh, right. Excited. Well, this- in a round about way- brings me to the aforementioned movie recommendation. If you have not seen Penelope, I highly recommend it. It is a sweet, poignant, beautifully/artistically rendered fairy tale starring Christina Ricci and James McEvoy. James McEvoy has as much... I don't even know what to call it- appeal?- as ever. (Which I don't get, by the way. How can he be so simultaneously unappealingly scrawny and to-die-for desireable at the same time? It makes no sense.) Yes, in this movie you just love him. Again. If you haven't seen it, you can rent it when it comes out on July 15th. What, you ask, does this have to do with Twilight? I will tell you. The video of Penelope is going to have never-before-seen footage of the Twilight movie on it. So, for all you diehard Stephenie Meyer fans, the good news seems to be that they will spare you a Twilight famine by periodically releasing tidbits until the movie comes out. All the way in December.

For the two of you who've not read the Twilight books yet, you have time to read the three in print approximately ten times at average reading speed before the next book comes out in August. : ) HA HA HA! They're all right. Brain candy. But yummy delicious goodness.

I went to Indiana Jones. Husband is a true fan. The kind that has all the stuff. Stuff like a real, honest-to-goodness fedora purchased from the same Brazilian millinery company that made Indy's actual hat in Raiders. And a whip. And a hand-made leather jacket. And a sucker purchased in Disneyland when Husband was like eleven years old with Indy's picture on the wrapper. And other stuff. Needless to say, he's been checking on the progress of Indy 4 periodically ever since the Holy Grail (3) came out. It is the thing he loves. He has read the books. He owns all the Young Indiana Jones chronicles (special edition with the extra documentaries) on DVD. (Those are really cool actually.) So, naturally when they announced the premiere of the fourth movie, I knew I was taking Husband to see it.

Have you ever tried to get a sitter for 6 kids? You know that sequence in Cheaper By the Dozen when Steve Martin is trying to get some domestic help for his 12 kids and everyone in the phone book hangs up on him? Let's just say that I did NOT find that funny. At all. I was worried how we were going to swing the babysitting thing. Well, Husband did a shocking and wonderful thing. He actually took the day off to do something for himself. Granted, taking time for oneself may not sound like a milestone to you- it certainly isn't for me, I'm a regular. (It keeps me sane.) But Husband on the other hand, does not do things for himself. He is a very self-sacrificing person. Almost to a fault. So I was flabbergasted/overjoyed when he announced that he would be staying home on Thursday. My next thought was that I would have to secretly arrange the babysitting and purchase the tickets and then just shanghai the man to the movie theater because otherwise he would spend Thursday cleaning up the basement or something. Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, he decided Wednesday night that he would like to see the movie on his day off. I jumped up Thursday morning and sat down with Fandango before I even went to the bathroom and purchased tickets before he could back out. Even as the receipt was printing I sensed he was balking as he asked doubtfully about the wisdom in purchasing tickets before we had sitters. But he was GOING, darn it! so I would make the babysitting thing work. I managed to farm out the kids to two friends and one entrepreneur (Thank you, StairstepMom and RanchWife!) and there we had it. A real-live date with no children, planned and paid for all before 9:00 am.

I knew that Husband probably wasn't going to indulge himself like this for another decade (or until the next Indy comes out- whichever happens first) once the guilt set in for doing something for himself this time, so I knew I had to make this one good. There is a new authentic "Virginia bbq" place in the town nearby where they have really good bbq pork that's not all saucy. After dropping Mr. Yuke off for his last day of preschool before summer, I headed right on down to the bbq and bought a pint of that delicious pig. Then I went to the local overpriced grocery store and got salt-and-vinegar Kettle Chips (I don't recommend this particular brand by the way. The original flavor is great, but those things are like the Altoids of salt-and-vinegar chips. Don't buy them! At least not if you value certain things like taste buds and intestines), because nothing goes better with bbq than salt and vinegar potato chips in my opinion. I also got Henry Weinhard's cream soda (Husband's favorite beverage, if not his favorite brand), and a medium bag of the Indiana Jones plain m&m's (Husband's favorite treat of all time. And the fact that they had pictures of hats and whips and relics on them, just made them near divinity). I took all that stuff back to the house and left it in the FREEZING COLD car (because TheWeatherPeople decided that summer vacation should start off in the mid-40's apparently) and sauntered casually into the house in order to ascertain if Husband was in the shower yet so I could pull off the suprise of the century. I walked in just in time to see MonsterTruck(2) jump back from a box of Cocoa Pebbles that he was about to swipe from the food storage with a look on his face of, "OH MAN!!!! DID YOU SEE THAT BOX OF CEREAL JUST ATTACK ME LIKE THAT?! RIGHT OUT OF NOWHERE! BOY I'M GLAD YOU GOT HERE JUST NOW! RIGHT IN THE KNICK OF TIME LIKE THAT!!!!!" Heh heh. Nervous laugh. "Mommy! You skeer me!" Heh-heh heh-heh.
Me: What were you doing?
MonsterTruck(2) drops the cereal box behind him with a thud: Nuffing.
Me: Is Daddy in the shower?
MonsterTruck(2): No, he's out.
Me: Did he already take one?
MonsterTruck(2): No. He not inna show'r. He out it.
Me: Ooookayyyyy....
I gave him the stinkeye just for good measure and went upstairs to check on the hygiene status of Husband. He was just getting into the shower. Yay! Now for phase 2!

I have this bag. Well mine is black with hot pink polka dots, but it's the same bag. They come in a million colors. It is awesome. It is the greatest bag of all time. It's good for many things but my favorite use for it is sneaking food into movie theaters. It looks small, holds a ton of stuff, yet is stylish and not cumbersome. For Indiana Jones I packed into my bag:

  • 2 bottles of cream soda
  • one full-size bag of potato chips (Okay, that barely fit- but it did.)
  • one pint of bbq meat
  • four whole wheat hamburger buns which did NOT get squished
  • two paper plates
  • two plastic forks
  • four napkins
  • 4 little cups of special sauce and
  • a medium bag of m&ms
Buy the bag. You won't be sorry. I did all this, stowed the bag in the freezer-car, packed two diaper bags for different destinations, got MonsterTruck(2) ready to go, and hid all the evidence before Husband got out of the shower. He fixed sandwiches for The Pinkiest(5), Mr. Yuke(4) and MonsterTruck(2) to take to the sitters' and we were off. We dropped all the kids everywhere, and we headed for a during-school-hours matinee at the movie theater. Without children. Sorry, I just gotta type that one more time. Without children. Look! I've got goosebumps! : )

We got there, sat down, and like Mary Poppins I started pulling things out of my bag. Stuff just kept on coming. It was great. Husband was shocked. In a good way. The old lady sitting next to me did not seem too impressed however, but whatever. I'm pretty sure she thought the cream soda was beer. Oh well. It was a perfect date and thanks to my bag, a pretty good lunch too. The movie was all right, not the best one and not the worst either. I liked Shia LeBeouf, I don't care what all the diehard Indyfans online have to say about him.

It was a good day. I can't help lovin' that man of mine. Thank you Husband for doing something you enjoy!

Power: of Christ, of Women, of Music, of Faith

More Highlights from BYU Women's Conference

Elder and Sister Merrill J. Bateman

[The Batemans spoke on the temple, but I think a lot of the things they said can apply to those who do not attend the temple as well.]

  • -Desire is the first step of learning about spiritual things.
  • -Spiritual things are not revealed to doubters.
  • -Ponder: The Holy Ghost speaks to the heart.

  • "If one wishes to find the Savior, the temple will be the most likely place."
  • -Baptism has the power to cleanse
  • -The Holy Ghost has the power to teach and purify
  • -The Priesthood has the power to bless and to serve
"I can think of no better way for children to come unto Christ than [for parents] to model their home after the House of the Lord."

In the temple:

  • -People speak in soft voices.
  • -Everyone is trained in their responsibilities. It is a house of order. First you teach the importance of a task, then you demonstrate the task; you have the child perform the task with assistance, and eventually you have them do it on their own.
  • -Begin and end with prayer.
  • -Everyone is treated with kindness. Kindness is the order of things.
  • -Begin the day early in the morning.

Also, for those of you who are LDS (and the curious among the rest of you), Elder Bateman shared the following scripture: Revelations 1:6.

Julie B. Beck
[Sister Beck spoke about the divinely apponted roles of men and women. Men are given the responsibilities of the Priesthood. Women are given the responsibilities of influence. As daughters of God, we all have this gift. Both parts are equally important and necessary in the Plan of Salvation. Whether we, as women, influence for good or for evil is the choice we have to make every day. I loved this talk so much.]

Each of us has a divinely appointed role to play. If we don't do our part, no one can do it for us.

"Influencing is ever so much more lasting than managing."

YOU have control over your mind- where you go and what you think about.
Home is a small fort. There you are safe.

Put the most effort in the area where you are weakest. [I have tested this principle this year. I truly know that the Lord will make weak things strong unto us if we put our trust in Him. I have always struggled reading my scriptures on a regular basis but this year I have put the most effort into that. The reward has been an outpouring of both the Spirit and personal revelation like I have never known before.]
Fortify and strengthen your child's school so they are safe. We always hear "They" will fix it. There is no "They", there is only You. YOU are "They".
Serve WITH your family.
Our Heavenly Father gave us half the responsibility [our brothers have the other half]. We cannot delegate it.

Dianne Bytheway: Fear Not: For They That Be with Us Are More Than They That Be with Them
[It is a dark time in the history of the world. The end is upon us. The signs of the times are all around us. We need not fear.]
Dearest children, God is near you,
Watching o’er you day and night,
And delights to own and bless you,
If you strive to do what’s right.
He will bless you, He will bless you,
If you put your trust in him."
~Hymns #96

Though deep’ning trials throng your way,
Press on, press on, ye Saints of God!
Ere long the resurrection day
Will spread its life and truth abroad,
Will spread its life and truth abroad.
~Hymns #122

Be thou humble in thy weakness,
and the Lord thy God shall lead thee,
Shall lead thee by the hand and
give thee answer to thy prayers.
Be thou humble in thy pleading,
and the Lord thy God shall bless thee,
Shall bless thee with a sweet and
calm assurance that he cares.
~ Hymns 130

"Faith and fear cannot coexist."
Quoting Elder James E. Faust from this excellent talk on hope, she said,
"Everybody in this life has their challenges and difficulties. That is part of our mortal test. The reason for some of these trials cannot be readily understood except on the basis of faith and hope because there is often a larger purpose which we do not always understand. Peace comes through hope."
2 Kings 6:15-17
15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

2 Timothy 1:7
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

"The Lord has confidence in us. We need to have trust in him."

Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, upheld by my righteous,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.
~ Hymns #85 (How Firm a Foundation)

John Bytheway: Fear Not: For They That Be With Us Are More Than They That Be With Them
"It's hard to have a negative attitude about things if your life is focused on the Prince of Peace."

"Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is a power to be reckoned with."~ M. Russell Ballard

"The only thing to fear is sin- and that is no matter for our Savior."
"Religion is not a crutch, it is a sword."

Saying, "Lord, Thy will be done."- that's where we get peace.
[He quoted Elder Boyd K. Packer, who, speaking about the 9/11 tradgedy said,] "This is a great time to live." (Things of the Soul, p. 195)

[He quoted President Gordon B. Hinckley who often said,] "Things will work out."

36 Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.

President Thomas S. Monson

"I plead with you not to let the important things in life pass you by. Find joy in the journey."
"Every day in your life is a special occasion."
"Try not to delay anything that will bring joy and laughter into our lives."
"There will be regrets. Try to keep the list as short as possible."
"Always express your thanks."
"Never let a problem to be solved seem more important than a person you love." [That one stung me a little. : )]
"Our mortal life was never meant to be easy."
"We become better, polished, and more beautiful with the things we overcome."
"No pain that we suffer is wasted."
"All that we endure, especially what we endure patiently builds up our character, purifies our hearts,..."
Remember, it is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)

Awake, Arise and Come Unto Christ

Noteworthy Thoughts from BYU Women's Conference

Shari Dew

"Rally to the cause of Jesus Christ."

"We rarely understand how the Lord uses us."

"We are here to influence the world."

"If we would unleash the full influence of covenant-keeping women, the kingdom of God and the world would change overnight."

“The place of woman in the Church is to walk beside the man, not in front of him nor behind him. In the Church there is full equality between man and woman. The gospel, which is the only concern of the Church, was devised by the Lord for men and women alike” (Improvement Era, Mar. 1942, p. 161). "Much of the major growth... in the last days will... happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world. " ~ quoting President Spencer W. Kimball (Ensign, Nov. 1979, pp.103-104)

We should ask "Are we the women God needs us to be in the latter part of the latter days?" "Why has the Lord brought me here today?"

"Seek to have influence in as many ways as possible."- [One of her suggestions was to start a blog to share your testimony and thoughts about spiritual things. I was surprised by this. I have read an awful lot of blogs that are negative and contain all kinds of inappropriate content, comments, inuendo, and flirtation. I think we have to be just as careful to beware of the negative influence we have without even meaning to, as we are to spread our positive influence in the world.]

The time to awake, arise, and come unto Christ is NOW.

Romans 13:11-12

11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

Pray about who the Lord needs us to be rather than living to impress one another.

"The Holy Ghost shows us all things what we should do."

"The power to influence comes when the Atonement changes our hearts."

Sue Egan- Cherish That Role That Is So Uniquely Yours: Parenting for Young Mothers

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Ask, "How do my children feel when they are around me?" Ask the Lord, "What should I do to invite the Spirit?"

[One of her suggestions I liked for those of us constantly battling our way through Mount Maytag: As you fold laundry, think of a blessing that the child whose article of clothing you're folding brings to your home/family. For each article of clothing think of another one.]

"We mustn't wallow in our imperfections."

"What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else."~quoting Elder M. Russell Ballard

Nona L. Maxwell: Cherish That Role That Is So Uniquely Yours: Parenting for Young Mothers

"The essential things often take a backseat to nonessential things."

"Stop what I was doing, look at their face, listen to what they were saying. Make them feel like they are one of my priorities."

"Is what we're spending time on consistent with what we want?"

  1. Remember children are a gift from God and our role is a sacred privilage.
  2. Look to Christ "No career approaches in importance of that of a mother."

Jesus fed 5000; We feed our families.

He washed the disciples' feet; We wash hands and faces.

He healed the sick; We take care of the sick.

He taught the Beattitudes; We teach them too.

He gave His life; We give our lives.

He gave His time and talents; His Father's will was His priority. So should ours be also.

3. Be obedient.- Obedient mothers raise obedient children. [Hmmm....?]

"I'll be a Heavenly Mother in training."

More later....