Perpetual Plan B

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Continuation of the Mire (Yes, I'm Sorely Needing a Vacation!)

Okay, so immediately after my last post one of the children (still not naming names) "blew up" a hot dog in the microwave. Have you ever done that? Well, let me just spare you the agony and tell you that they explode into a million tiny pieces that affix themselves to every surface inside the microwave and then bake on, making them virtually impossible to just wipe off. For Family Home Evening we had a small lesson on how to clean the microwave. (Boil cup of water, let sit in microwave for a few minutes and WIPE OUT ALL THE CRUD!) We also had the little mini lesson of Loading the Dishwasher 101, AGAIN!

Monday while I was doing laundry, I found something disturbing as I was transferring the first load from the washer to the dryer. It was little waxy pieces of chocolate with nuts embedded in them. They looked suspiciously like the outside of a piece of Almond Roca, which also happened to be the Easter candy my kids were caught red-handed with. (I guess the toffee part dissolves.) I then shook out every piece of clothing individually, flinging chocolate and nut bits all over the place (which was also a pain to clean up), then I loaded the clothes into the washer again. After round two in the washer, I transferred it all to the dryer again. The chocolate smell from the dryer let me know pretty soon that I still hadn't gotten it all out. What a waste of a perfectly good piece (or possibly two) of candy. Not to mention my valuable time and resources!

On the bright side, I'm leaving tomorrow at 6:00 a.m. for the airport, yay! The bad news is that there's supposed to be another snow storm and icy commute. And I have a huge sinus headache and I'm feeling dizzy. (And I'm the designated driver the whole time - we don't drink, I'm just the name on the rental car.) Bummer. (Of course, Kim did want to try out an Oxygen Bar. Maybe that will help my head. I'm kind of scared though, more of looking stupid than anything else. But you know what they say, what happens in Vegas... Hey, do you tip at an Oxygen Bar? I need to know.)

Now I'm rambling.

I REALLY need a vacation!

Try not to miss me too much.

(I know my kids won't. They want their nice, happy mom back. I know she's out there somewhere. I just need to go and find her. I'm going to begin looking as soon as we get there. I'll start at a buffet that has nice, fresh shrimp and really good desserts. Oh, and maybe a nice inexpensive shoe store. Now we're talking.)

I wonder what my house is going to look like when I get home. (Maybe I'd better hit the Oxygen Bar twice.)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Ox is in The Mire (Literally)

It started out as just a regular Sunday. In fact, as I sat in Relief Society today I realized that I had nothing terrible to blog about today. Church was pretty uneventful, which was good because I had the usual Fast Sunday headache.

Then we walked outside.

My car (and everyone else's) was totally covered with at least eight inches of snow. You probably think I'm exaggerating, but if I were, I'd say it was an even foot.

When we got to church today, it was blowing really hard and raining or maybe kind of sleeting, if that's a real word. I never dreamed it could turn into this so quickly!

Luckily we have good windshield wipers, so I just used them and started on the way home. I kept telling the kids that if I hit the brakes, a ton of snow would slide off the roof onto the windshield, but it never worked. Why does it always happen when you don't want it to, but not when you are trying to get it to? I bet the neighbors wondered what was the matter with me as I drove home, hitting the brakes every few yards.

Anyway, we got home and I sent the kids into the house and I stayed out in my dress and heels and grabbed a broom to sweep all that snow off the car so it wouldn't flood the garage. I finally realized how dumb I was being and went inside to bundle up properly and then went back outside to finish the task. I also went and got the snow shovel from the shed, where we had placed it only Saturday, thinking we were done for this season. It was really heavy, wet snow, but I did the whole driveway and front walk by myself. It's the only time I've been able to shovel this whole year because of various ailments so I felt pretty proud of myself by the time I was finished.

Even that much was not enough to blog about. I just wasn't going to do it.

Then it all started to spiral downward.

Let me just preface this by saying that our Sunday School lesson today was entitled "Children Are An Heritage Of The Lord". (I looked it up to make sure that was actually the title. I don't want to start giving out false information here. Then you'd never believe any of these stories, but let me assure you, they are all true. You couldn't make this stuff up.) Anyway, the idea was that we should appreciate our kids and treat them kindly, not yell or get after them too harshly, etc.

Well, I walked upstairs and caught one kid red handed. (Just for today, I will not name names. I'm feeling particularly Christian - and I have cooled off a little. Maybe the lesson did rub off on me a little bit.) This kid was eating something that looked suspiciously like some of the Easter candy I had bought and was saving for Easter. (I like to plan ahead. I also hate having to run to the store last-minute for any holiday item. I like to be totally ready for any given holiday at least two weeks ahead. This doesn't always work for holidays that involve candy, because sometimes I go a little nuts and eat all the candy myself.) I was not planning on buying anything else and I was doing my best to stay out of the candy this time.

This kid had no qualms about pointing the finger at a sibling and letting me know that they had also been eating the Easter candy. One of these kids still believes in the Easter bunny. Now what do I do? I really didn't want to buy more. Should I just let them suffer the logical consequences? I looked in the hiding place and sure enough, they'd done a pretty thorough job. Maybe the Easter bunny will have to bring them some lettuce and carrot sticks.

As I was downstairs pondering the meaning of life, or more accurately, dreaming of the (well deserved) trip to Las Vegas I will be going on later this week with my sister-in-law, the only non-candy stealing child came up to me and casually asked me if I was in a good mood.

I sat there for a minute trying to think of a witty comeback. Then I sensed a small amount of urgency in her countenance.

"Why do you ask?"

"I just need to know."

"Why, what's going on now?"

"Well," the child says calmly, "the toilet just overflowed."

"You turned off the water, didn't you?"

"No, but don't worry, I jumped up onto the counter so I wouldn't get wet."

Picture in your mind the sound of alarm in my voice as I ask, "Is the water still flowing?"

Calm reply: "I think so."

At this time, pretty much all heck broke loose. I ran down the hallway and, sure enough, water was still coming out of the toilet and had already made it clear to the hall carpet. I'd hate to see what would have happened if we hadn't had that lesson today about not yelling at our kids. I started yelling for Hal, who was upstairs. He was still in his church clothes because he had another meeting to go back to in about an hour. He was speaking at it and he hadn't had time to get his talk ready yet.

I grabbed the first available towel I came to and threw it in the doorway. Then I picked up the cord of the flat iron that the girls and I use, that was hanging over the counter top and mostly submerged in the filthy water and threw it up onto the counter. (I really won't go into all the yucky details of the clean up. Just know it was like when Austin took off a dirty diaper when he was one and smeared it all over himself, his bed, his books, the wall, etc. You just don't know where to start cleaning up. And it all smells bad.) Luckily Hal showed up to help.

I'll tell you one thing, flowers and candy are things I can buy for myself if I want to. What I really appreciate is a guy who isn't afraid to mop up toilet water for me, suit or no suit. Also throw up. Nothing says "I love you." like a man who will vacuum up vomit at 3:00 a.m. Luckily, I am married to just such a guy. (It almost makes up for the Nerf football he bought me one year for Christmas. Just a Nerf football, nothing else. Or the year he bought me a bathroom scale. And nothing else. True stories, both of them.)

Hal had me run downstairs to see if it had started leaking into the basement. I hadn't even thought of that. It had started leaking a little around the toilet into our little tiny storage area. The only thing it really got on was the extra gift I had bought for Austin to take to his next birthday party, a plastic golf set. So here's my moral dilemma of the day: Since it got wet with toilet water, should I really be giving it to a little kid to play with? I guess it can be hosed off, but I can't do it myself because it would ruin some of the packaging and the stickers on it. I guess we'll have to wait and see if it's a kid I like or not.

(Also, along the lines of "be careful what you wish for", I was lamenting today that I wouldn't have enough days to do laundry before I leave on my trip. Since the ox really was in the mire, I have now done two extra loads of towels, rags and bathmats. Isn't that a nice Sunday activity?)

So, anyway, Hal had most of it mopped up when we remembered our wet/dry vac. Why hadn't we thought of this sooner? Oh, I know, because we were too busy yelling at our "precious" children. I kept telling them to turn off the water first next time and Hal kept telling them to use the plunger when necessary. (I think you should turn off the water and THEN use the plunger.) Somewhere in the conversation, we came up with a new family motto, Respect the Toilet.

Personally, I like the old one better, it's Do Not Annoy Your Mother.

Of course they never really lived by that one. Maybe we at least have a fighting chance with this new one.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Music to Fix Dinner By

Here's the playlist for while I was fixing tonight's salad:

1. Just a Little Love by .38 Special (one of my top 10 songs of all time)
2. Summer of '69 by Bryan Adams (same)
3. Why Don't You and I by Nickelback and Santana
4. Winning by Santana
5. Smooth by Rob Thomas and Santana

Can you tell it was a lively salad?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My Stupid Criminal Story (The Long, Tedious Version)

Now that I am pretty sure I'm not going to be hauled off to the big house, I can share my whole, traumatic story.

It all started at Ikea. (Who would have thought?)

About a month ago, Morgan and I went to a baby shower for my niece and somehow ended up at Ikea. I've already chronicled most of those details so I'll just jump in with the problem.

We bought Morgan a new bedside lamp base and shade. When we got home, we discovered that there was a piece missing from the lamp, because when I went to twist the light bulb in, it was threaded on the outside, except for one little tiny part down in that is too skinny for a light bulb. After being sidetracked for about two weeks, I finally got around to contacting Ikea to see if I should have bought another part or what the problem was.

I first sent an e-mail. They wrote back and said to call the Draper Ikea and talk directly to them. It took another week or so to get around to that. I lined up everything I thought I would need, lamp base, plastic packaging, complete with all numbers that would possibly be needed and receipt. I called and the man was nice and it sounded like no problem at all, they would just find the part that was missing from the lamp and send it out in about six business days. He kept apologizing that I would have to wait that long to get the part. I told him it wasn't a problem at all, I was just thrilled that they would send it to me and the problem would be solved.

We were almost finished when he asked me to read off the transaction number on my receipt. I read it to him and he asked for another number. Then he paused for a long time and asked if I had another receipt. As he was quiet I started looking on the receipt to see how much I'd paid for the lamp base. I realized pretty quickly what the new problem was. The lamp base wasn't on my receipt. I started to panic when I remembered that we had used the self-checkout! Let me just reiterate here, I hate the self-checkout for this very reason. Whenever we are at Macey's, Ally wants to use the self-checkout and I usually tell her no because of the potential for error. I didn't even want to use the self-checkout that day but we were running so late that I agreed to let Morgan do it. If you go back to my original post I think I even mentioned that I didn't want to use the self-checkout.

So the guy was very nice and he said it would probably be fine. I asked him if I could pay for the lamp base right then with a credit card but he couldn't do it because he wasn't set up to take payments. He again said it would probably be fine and he could probably send the part anyway. I told him I didn't want the part until I had paid for the lamp. Then he gave me a case number and hung up.

I realized that if they thought I'd taken the lamp on purpose then they would probably also think I'm a very stupid criminal to steal something and then call and request a part for it. Honestly I felt sick about it for days.

And then I forgot all about it until I got home from somewhere and Hal told me a lady had called from Ikea and asked specifically if we'd used the self-checkout.

"What else did she say?" I asked.

"That's about it." he said.

"Did she leave a number so I could call her back?"


Hal also reassured me that it was probably fine and not to worry about it but I now had visions of two cops showing up at my door and cuffing me and throwing me into the paddy wagon. It haunted me again for days. I was actually starting to feel physically ill whenever I thought about it.

There was one faint glimmer of hope when I started thinking that just maybe they would have a video camera set up at the checkout and they could go back to the tape to see that we weren't trying to steal anything. I'm pretty sure I even said, "Make sure you get everything." I promise, I am so paranoid about a situation like this happening that I don't even hardly dare open my purse in a store to get out a shopping list so they don't think I'm putting anything I shouldn't in my purse. I always put my shopping lists in my pants pocket. I was also hoping they would look me up and see that I had no criminal record (so far anyway).

About another week later I got home from somewhere else and Morgan told me the lady from Ikea had called back.

Great, now they probably think I'm totally avoiding them. How guilty does that make me look?

Luckily, she did get a phone number but it was Saturday night and the lady had already gone home. I had to wait for Monday to call back.

Monday came and after about 4 calls back and forth, missing each other, I finally got her on the phone at around 2:00. She was very nice and started off asking me what the problem was with the lamp. I breathed a sigh of relief and told her there were two problems. First of all, I needed to pay for it and second, it was missing a part. So far, so good.

She said to describe the part I needed, but I said I wanted to pay first. She said she could e-mail me a credit card transaction form but then I would need to finish the transaction over the phone. Would I like to do this tomorrow, or when was it convenient?

"Right now is great for me." I said. I really needed to get this over with. I had literally felt sick to my stomach for days now.

So, she said she'd e-mail the form and keep the transaction open for 10 minutes.

I sat at my computer to wait.

It showed up as a fax form. I don't have a fax machine. I seriously have the worst luck ever!

So, I started to edit the form, rather sloppily, to just fill in my information and erase most of the underscores. It worked sort of okay until I got to the part where it needed my signature. By now eight of my ten minutes were up. I finally just changed the font to Vivaldi. My signature never looked better.

I mentally patted myself on the back as I remembered to save the new form with a new name. Then it was time to send it back with just a minute or so to spare. I hurriedly dashed off an e-mail and went to attach the document. Then I couldn't find the document anywhere. It wasn't in my docs and it wasn't on my desktop. It wasn't anywhere that it should be. This took about five more frantic minutes. I finally went back to the original e-mail to find the original document to start over. There in a random temporary internet file I found my file. I sent it and I was only about seven and a half minutes late.

Now I had to wait for Marzela (we were on a first name basis by this time) to call me back to get the rest of my credit card info. Ten excruciating minutes later she called. The transaction was now complete.

Next I explained to her what the problem was. I had looked at the lamp base online to see what it was supposed to look like. I noticed that it was not available online any more. I wondered if that was because they were all missing parts.

She said she would pull one and send me the part the next day because the mail had already gone out that day. She also said we wouldn't need to talk again unless she needed to ask me a question and then we hung up.

Whew, finally the problem was solved.

And then I got looking a little more closely at the lamp. There was a sticker on it that I hadn't noticed before. It said to use a type G bulb. What is a type G bulb? Is it a Swedish light bulb? Finally something sort of clicked in my very slow brain and I went and got the very tiny bulb out of the night light. Um yes, it fit. I had stolen (but now bought) a lamp that used a puny little night light bulb. After looking at it with the shade on, Morgan and I both agreed that this would never put out enough light for a good reading lamp. So, I had to call my new best friend, Marzela, back and explain why I now didn't want the lamp. She kindly informed me I had 90 days to return the lamp for a refund and that she would mail me the receipt the next day.

Honestly, crime truly doesn't pay, especially stupid accidental crimes.

Now here's my stupid honest person story that happened the very next day:

So last night I had to go to Macey's to get some food for Activity Days and some groceries for us. It was the really busy dinner hour (I was waiting for Ally to get out of karate) and people (myself included) were tired and cranky. As I was quickly flinging my groceries onto the conveyor belt, I noticed Austin was slipping something under his shirt.

"Oh great! Now I have to deal with this." I thought to myself. So, I physically dragged him to the cashier and explained what happened, hoping she'd give him a stern talking to that would scare him from ever doing it again. Instead she happily told him it was fine.

"No it's not." I said. "I want you to tell him it's wrong and he shouldn't ever do it again."

"No really, it's okay." she repeated. (She was a teenager after all. I don't think they get the whole concept of trying to teach little kids lessons.)


He had smashed the candy, so I insisted on paying for it and it wasn't even a kind I like. And it was expensive. I'm not even sure if I ended up with it because I didn't see it when I unloaded the groceries. With my luck, Austin probably found it and ate it while we were in the car.

Next I hefted Austin into the cart to keep him out of further trouble and kept emptying the groceries onto the belt. By this time the guy behind me had given up and went to another line.

As I was swiping my card, I chatted a little with the guy who was bagging my groceries. I think he has Cerebral Palsy or something similar and he's really friendly. He handed Austin a roll of Smarties. I tried to tell the guy that he couldn't have them because he was naughty but I don't think he got what I was trying to say. Austin smugly took the candy and started eating it. I couldn't wait to get out of there!

They still had quite a few bags to finish putting in my cart so they called another girl over to help. As I was waiting, I noticed the four gallons of milk on the bottom. I couldn't remember putting them on the conveyor belt so now I would be stealing the milk if I walked out. I was already a would-be lamp stealer, I didn't want to start becoming a milk stealer. I felt like crying from sheer exhaustion from the events of the last couple days.

I said, to no one in particular, "I think I didn't pay for that milk."

Nobody really paid any attention to me. I repeated myself. Finally I enlisted the help of the new bagger and told her I needed to pay for the milk. (Now, note here that there is one small but very important detail that I forgot to pay attention to. Do you know what it is?) She said I could run to the self-checkout and take care of it. I gave her such a look of horror that I think she felt like she had no choice, other than open up a special express lane just for me.

I paid my $7.00 and went on my merry little way, feeling rather proud of myself for going the extra mile to be honest when it was clearly inconvenient. I still had the problem of Sticky Fingers Austin to deal with.

We picked Ally up and Austin just sobbed in the back seat, afraid I'd tell her his dirty little secret. I told him I wouldn't tell her, but we would need to talk to dad about it when we got home. Austin was just hysterical and kept telling me he didn't want to be in my family any more and that he wouldn't be my little boyfriend ever again.

When we got home Austin hid in the basement, still sobbing and wouldn't talk to Hal. I was hoping that by then he was sufficiently scared. (He had already done this once before, about six months ago so I really wanted him to learn his lesson this time.) We talked to him and hopefully that is going to be the end of that. He must not have been too traumatized though because he said our family prayer and he said it was "the best day ever". I think he really did find that piece of candy and eat it.

So, here's the final straw. After Hal and Morgan left for a meeting at the church I got looking at my original receipt to check the price of something. Right there in black and white were four gallons of milk, paid for the first time. Why didn't I just take two seconds and double check it before I paid for them the second time? (I'll tell you why, because I'm stupid!)

Do you think it's worth the humiliation for me to try and get my $7.00 back?

(And really, how much more can I take? I have got to quit being so side-tracked all the time. I should get that $7.00 and put it toward the purchase price of that Focus Factor vitamin that they sell. Does anyone know if it works? Really, I'm serious.)

A Big Pet Peeve of Mine

I really, really hate it when I am eating a nice little snack and I have one or two bites left and then I leave the room, only to come back to this:

(And it was the last cookie of this kind in the house.)

Blond Peasant Soup

Are you like us?

If so, then you name your food too.

We don't name everything. Just things that are extra memorable.

Like the marshmallow brownies my cousin, Janet, and I made when she was sleeping over and we watched Pee Wee's Big Adventure. I will never eat marshmallow brownies again without thinking of Pee Wee. (Or watch Pee Wee without thinking I should be eating those brownies. Of course, I think I should be eating brownies when I watch EVERY movie, don't you?)

Anyway, back to the soup.

This is a new recipe that I'd pulled out of a magazine. It has polish sausage, red potato, onion and collard greens and it is really tasty! In fact it is a lot better than I had expected it to be.

So where did the name come from? You'd never guess in a million years.

The first time I made this soup, Morgan and I were watching Anna and the King. I can still picture myself chopping the onion and potato while watching the beautiful cinematography in that movie. While we were watching the movie, Morgan figured out that Anna's little boy was played by the kid who is now Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films. It was sort of funny, but also kind of distracting once I knew. Hal always called Malfoy the "blond tur-". I can't stand it when anyone uses potty language like that so I won't let him or the kids say it in front of me. (I know, pretty ironic for me to get after someone else for their foul language when I'm the only one with the minor swearing problem around here.)

We ate the soup for dinner and it was as close to a winner as we get. Four out of the five of us like it. I think it's a little too much on the creamy side for Hal's taste. I said that it reminded me of a good hearty peasant-type soup, one that you'd picture them eating in "the old country". (Which old country? I have no idea, just one with a nice thick forest and big, handsome woodsmen and chilly weather and sturdy little peasant children running around in hand-knit sweaters with chubby little rosy cheeks.)

The next night Morgan and I ate the rest of the leftovers while we finished watching Anna and the King. As we were eating, I said I was going to call it "Peasant Soup" from now on whenever I made it.

Morgan countered and said that it reminded her of watching Anna and the King, so we should call it "Blond Tur-" Soup in honor of the little boy. This kind of threw me for a loop. There is no way I was ever going to cook a soup called that. So, once I threatened her with never being able to eat her beloved soup again, she relented to a compromise.

And so, "Blond Peasant Soup" was born. (I told you you'd never figure it out on your own.)

Morgan and Ally have only slipped and called it the other name once or twice. And then I threaten them that I will eat it all myself and not give them any if they don't knock it off.

Either way I'm happy.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Is There Anything Cuter Than This?

Seriously, I just love it when little kids stare up at you from where they are standing, almost underneath the kitchen countertop. Austin, at age 4, is now getting almost too big to do this any more. I'm starting to miss some of the cute little baby things.

But big boy things are fun too. Like being potty trained. And going to preschool so mommy can have some time alone. (Oh, and did I mention being potty trained?)

First Days of Spring 2009

Spring came into Cache Valley with some really nice weather. It was unseasonably warm.

Friday we decided to have a campfire in our back yard to celebrate. That's my idea of "roughing it". I'm not into camping, partly because of the lack of showers, but especially because it takes hours to pack up everything you might possibly need, food, utensils, bedding, etc. (clean clothes, optional) and go somewhere for one or two nights, realize which things you forgot that you really needed, try to sleep on the hard ground because in the confusion, you forgot the mattress pad thing and then go home tired and grumpy in a day or two, only to now have to unpack almost everything you own. Not my idea of fun. So, we like to have campfires in the comfort of our own back yard.

Anyway, this was a fine campfire, complete with hot dogs and marshmallows. Morgan wasn't there because she went with her friend, Angela Rigby, to the Mr. MC contest, which is kind of like a beauty pageant for freshman boys.

The rest of us sat, ate our hot dogs and enjoyed ourselves until I looked over and saw Alley (the cat) running in circles around the yard chasing something. On closer examination, I realized it was a big, fat mouse. I've never seen such a big one. It was enough to make one lose one's appetite for hot dogs, which was not that great to begin with.

We all ended up running over to the cat, who had now released the mouse, much to my dismay. Hal cornered it under the slide of Austin's castle but we couldn't get the cat to go under and finish off the task. (She is scared of Hal and doesn't like to go near him too much.) The kids, of course, were totally on the mouse's side.

So, that pretty much broke up our little party. We didn't even get to the marshmallows.

Morgan called a little later for me to pick them up at the school. I was heading out the door when Austin called out from the bathroom that he wanted to go too. I called Morgan back and told her it would be a few minutes before I got there.

Once Austin finished we headed over to Mountain Crest. I was so surprised that I could only see about two cars there. I realized that I must really be late in picking them up. It didn't seem like Austin was in the bathroom THAT long. So, I sat in front of the school in the car for a while, probably about ten minutes. I then got a little annoyed that they weren't watching for me. I drove over to the pool side of Mountain Crest because there were more cars over there. I realized that maybe the program was in the new gym.

It didn't really look too promising over there either. I drove back over to the main part of the building. There were some gnarly looking skater dudes outside, honing their skills. I finally decided I'd have to go in and find the girls. As I walked to the building, I made eye contact with one of the boys there. He looked harmless enough so I asked him if he knew anything about the Mr. MC contest.

"It's over." he answered.

"I know that." I said, a little annoyed, "I'm just here to pick up my daughter. Do you know how long ago it ended? I can't find my daughter."

"Do you know where South Cache is?" he asked.

"Oh my gosh," I said, "I am such an idiot." and then I left after thanking him profusely, restraining myself from giving the peace out sign.

Austin and I headed immediately to South Cache. Morgan and Angela were sitting happily on a bench, making videos with my cell phone, which I didn't know you could do.

I apologized over and over and they were nice about it. I think Morgan was more worried I'd be mad about all the photos and videos they had made on my phone, so she was relieved that I wasn't mad and I was relieved that they weren't mad that I went to the wrong place.

I never used to do things like that, ever. It's very frustrating to me that I've started doing dumb little things and not paying full attention when I should. I used to pride myself on being on top of all the little important details. I hope this is not an example of things to come. Between you and me, I'm terrified that either Hal or I will end up with Alzheimer's disease. That would not be a fun one to deal with.

Saturday morning I helped Austin learn how to ride his new, bigger bike. One of the things I've had to learn with our new car is that it swings a lot wider than our Blazer when I'm backing out of the driveway. This was bad news for Austin's old bike. Luckily he had pretty much outgrown that one and the neighbor, Chandler Lund had given us his old one, which is almost the perfect size for Austin this year. Now we just need to get rid of those training wheels.

That afternoon we did some yard work and I learned how to prune an apple tree. Hal asked me to come out and help him with a ten minute job. I wonder if he realized how grossly he was misrepresenting the time it would take to prune the tree. Last summer I had shoulder surgery so I was pretty much worthless in the yard work department. Our trees and garden were pretty neglected so it will take some doing this year to make up for it. We finished up the one tree quite nicely. Unfortunately, from the pruning standpoint anyway, we have many more fruit trees to go.

After that, it was time to clean up and go into town. We saw our neighbor, Vickie Barnard, who had had a knee replacement. She seems to be doing well and looked good for someone who has been in the hospital for almost a week now.

When we got home from the hospital we all went for a bike ride until it got dark. Our first bike ride this year and nobody got a flat tire. That is definitely worth writing about. We actually have a spare bike now so if someone gets a flat we can just use the spare bike to go on our rides until we have time to fix it.

Church today was almost uneventful except for one small incident in Relief Society. I was sitting off to one side by myself. Before the meeting started, my friends motioned me over to sit with them. They said I looked lonely over there by myself. As I walked over to them a girl in the same row blocked my way and said "Stop!". I wondered if she had a problem with me personally. Actually, somehow the bottom of my skirt on one side had gotten attached to the top, so it was hiked all up and showing a little too much. Too much of what, I'm not really sure. I didn't dare look, I just yanked my skirt down to where it belonged. (And no, I had not just come from the bathroom.)

Luckily I was just in a room full of women so I didn't have to go home humiliated. I actually even had nylons on today. I'm just really trying not to wonder if it was like that when I walked down the hallway a few minutes earlier. All in all, in the grand scheme of my life it was a pretty minor incident.

So anyway, everything so far this spring has turned out fine, except for the mouse situation. As far as I know, he is still at large.

Why I am Writing this Blog

Many people write blogs for many different reasons. Here is why I am writing mine:

I've never been one to keep a journal. I've never wanted people to know what I REALLY think about a lot of things. With five brothers, four of them younger, the odds were pretty high that whatever I wrote in my journal would probably be used against me at some point in time.

I also have this other little problem. It's the fact that once you write something down, it's there, pretty much, permanently. My handwriting is not always the best (it's gotten progressively worse over the years) and if I misspelled a word or decided to change something, it looked bad. I hated having things written in ink scribbled out in my journals. (Seriously, I am NOT a perfectionist. That would be way too hard on my poor self-esteem.) With the computer has come the ability to change and fix things as necessary and nobody can tell the difference. Here, I can edit to my heart's content. Rarely do I ever leave a post alone once I hit "publish".

Okay, there is one other reason I never kept a journal when I was younger. I am way too lazy. The journal I had all through my growing up years consisted of the same basic entry, "I am cleaning my room today and I found this journal under my bed so I thought I'd better write something." accompanied by a little face doodled in the margin. Once I ran out of different silly faces to draw I lost any motivation to write again. I really honestly never thought I had anything worth writing about until I was in my 30s.

So, with the invention of computers I tried, once again, to start a journal. I wrote a little bit when I was about 34. I entitled my journal "My Life So Far - A Comedy of Errors". I had about 10 general information entries in it and was slowly adding to it when one of the kids (who shall remain nameless, but - for the record - she is the oldest) found it and made fun of my title. So I let it sit, once again, for a few more years. I've taken one post out of the old entries so far, but one of these days I might put them all in here. It takes me a while to get around to things.

Now I'm at the point in my life where stuff is starting to happen. And not always good stuff. I'm getting older and now I realize that there are stories of my kids that aren't recorded anywhere else. Things that their kids might like to know about someday. If something happens to me, there will be no other way for anyone else to know about these particular little people and their quirks and personalities. I like having a blog because I can also throw in a photo here and there and be done. I used to be big into scrapbooking until Austin was born. There are pages and pages of the girls, but not one scrapbook page at all with Austin in it. I was the kind of scrapbooker that would take hours just to do one page and that amount of time just isn't realistic any more with the way our lives are.

I like having the blog because I can post in little (or long) entries as I think of them. I can finish a story and be done. I can also go back and add to it if I want and also add photos once we get a new scanner. (It will be soon, I almost have enough money saved up. Once I add the photos in, I'll delete this sentence. That's the beauty of blogging!) I can also share this information with family who may live far away from us and want updates. Again, the laziness factor. I can type a story once and all the relatives can read it. Also, there will soon be a way to make a little book of your blog posts, so that's one less step for me. I can edit what I have, cut out some of the nonsense and then print out a copy for posterity.

I have recently become aware of some "blogging etiquette" that I am not observing. Apparently it is bad form to post more than once a day. Well, unfortunately, I have always been somewhat of a non-conformist. I blog when it is convenient or when a story hits me that I want to remember. Sundays are particularly conducive to blogging because I'm not trying to do laundry or other household chores. Also, Hal is gone pretty much all Sunday so I have some uninterrupted time to sit down and chronicle our adventures. Some people think it is breaking the sabbath, but I totally disagree. This is pretty much the only form of family history work I'm going to be doing until Austin gets into school.

And so, there you have it. I do think that pretty soon I'll run out of funny stories of the kids to blog about and I will slow down in my posting. But for now, it is a relief to get some of these stories out of my cranium to make room for new, important information. Like why Pi is called Pi. And memorizing the names of all the presidents in order. I haven't mastered that one yet.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Dumbest Thing My Parents Used To Say That I Now Repeat On A Regular Basis

"If I buy that, you'll just eat it."

(This is usually said when my kids ask for expensive, sugar-bomb type cereal.)

The reply I usually get back from my kids:


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

So Much To Say, So Little Time

Oh, there are so many things I need to catch up on from the last week or so. I'm writing this to remind myself, mainly.

Ally went to the Young Writers and Artists Fest at USU, we had our Fronk family adult Christmas party (yes we know, it was late, we all had "stuff" at Christmas time), St. Patrick's Day (and why we had to celebrate it a day early with green enchiladas)....

And now last, but certainly not least (especially because it is weighing heavily on my psyche right now), you may find Morgan and me on an upcoming episode of "Stupid Criminals" on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The problem is, we were so stupid we didn't even realize we were exhibiting criminal behavior. More on that later, if I dare tell the story. (And I still need to chronicle my medical disaster from December.)

I'd write more, but I've had enough fun for one day, including unclogging the toilet with a stick (I don't enjoy using the plunger). I may or may not go into detail on that one. Just know that I am publicly announcing that I have had enough of kids today, mine and the neighbors'.

Now somebody please write in and tell me something happy for goodness sake!

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's Almost Scone Weather!

I love to make scones. (The British, baked kind, not the fried kind.) Actually, I really just love eating them. I'd be happy to skip the baking segment if I could get someone else to bake them for me.

Every spring I get in a scone-baking mood. I even make a nice lemon curd to go with the scones. Yum!

Last week I went to Sam's Club to buy a big container of craisins but I couldn't find them. I wonder if they were out.

They did, however, have every other kind of dried fruit under the sun, including dried cherries, blueberries, apricots, pineapple, etc. I ended up buying a package of every kind, including a big bag of pitted prunes. I have no idea why I bought the prunes. (I just ate one because I thought it might be a good idea and it was disgusting!)

Anyway, when a nice spring day comes along I will be ready! (As long as I can keep the kids out of the dried fruit. I'll have to put the bag of prunes in front of the others and hope that will keep them from investigating any further.)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Day I Met President Benson in the Pig Barn at the State Fair

Today in Relief Society, something in the lesson reminded me of this story and that I have never written it down anywhere else.

So, here goes:

When I was a kid, I was in 4-H. I've done quite a few different things with the 4-H program including cooking, sewing, leather work, public speaking (I gave a talk on cuts of meat, of all things) and showing livestock. I showed steers when I was really little - starting at age 7, and still lived in Nebraska, but once we moved to Utah (around 1977) I mainly stuck to lambs and pigs.

Showing pigs was actually my favorite because there is less grooming involved. Also, you can't really train a pig so you don't have to take a lot of time working with them (this all is starting to make me sound pretty lazy, isn't it?) and back then you made a lot more money selling pigs.

When I got older, we started showing pigs at other fairs around the state. I didn't really enjoy this because my dad was too cheap to pay for a hotel so it pretty much involved staying in our horse trailer and sleeping in straw (the same straw that we used to haul the pigs down in the first place). Since I was the only girl (I had five brothers) this was not my idea of fun. I think the State Fair is the one I went to the most. It seems like somewhere there we were able to take showers.

Anyway, the first year I was in college (and actually the last year I could show in 4-H) I was showing a pig at the State Fair. I was right in the middle of the Fitting and Showmanship class. My dad came over to the side of the ring and motioned me over. This was not a good thing in Fitting and Showing because you are judged on what you are doing, not the pig's attributes. It is not good showmanship to be talking to people outside the ring and my dad, of all people, knew this. (My dad is actually usually in charge of all the pig stuff at the State Fairs these days.)

My dad said, "Holly, come here."

I said, "Dad, I'm in the middle of something here." (or something to that effect.)

Then my dad pointed over to a golf cart at the entrance of the barn. I still had no idea what was going on.

Then he said, "There's President Benson over there. Go shake his hand."

Well, the last thing you are supposed to do is leave the ring when you are being judged on your showmanship, so I was somewhat reluctant to do this but I realized that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I handed my pig cane over to my dad, hopped over the fence and walked over to President Benson in the golf cart. He was flanked on each side by a young man that was maybe missionary-age or a little older. All three were in dark suits. (President Benson was the Agricultural Secretary for the U.S. under President Eisenhower, I think. I'll have to look that one up.)

I can't really remember what I said as I approached President Benson, but I do remember so well that as I shook his hand it felt as if a jolt of electricity surged from down his hand up into my hand and up along my whole arm. I will never forget that feeling.

It was a great thing for me personally, because I really loved President Kimball so much that I had a hard time accepting President Benson. I remember that I didn't really like the sound of President Benson's voice. I did hear him and his wife speak at Utah State University a while before this experience. I liked his talk and his wife, Flora, was so cute, so I did start to kind of like him at that point.

The whole thing lasted under a minute, I'm sure, because as soon as we shook hands I headed back into the ring and grabbed my pig cane from my dad. I don't even know if the judge noticed that I was gone. I wish I could remember how I did in the contest but I must not have placed too high or I probably would have remembered.

And so, that's the story of how I met President Benson.

Three Sentences I Never Want to Hear Again For the Rest of My Life:

1. I think I just wet the bed.

2. I'm going to throw up.

3. I'm from the government and I'm here to help you.

(Actually, I've never heard number three, but I don't think I would ever want to hear that one either.)

Guess which one I heard at 5:40 a.m.? (Hint, we all went to church today.)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Keeping Me Humble Part 3

Today Austin had two birthday parties. They both happened to be at McDonalds. One ended about an hour before the other one started. Did I let him go to both? Of course I did. If he was going to get in his RDA of chicken nuggets somewhere, it might as well be at McDonalds.

On the way to the first party he said to me, "Ryan (the boy whose party it was) lives with his mom. His dad lives in Logan. Why?"

I said, "Oh, they must be divorced."

"What does divorced mean?"

"It means his parents aren't married any more and don't live together so he just lives with his mommy."

"I don't want you and dad to get divorced."

"Don't worry, we aren't planning on it."

"Good because I don't want to live with just you. That would be so boring."

In case you are keeping track, that's 3/3 of my children who like their dad better.

Should I be taking this personally? I'm starting to get a complex. I think my husband still likes me, but I almost don't dare ask him!

Saturday Snow Fun

Here is the latest installment in a long line of snow masterpieces that have graced our yard with their presence.

Austin made the litte shrimpy snowman and Hal built an igloo. For a minute I thought he was going to start pelting me with a stash of snowballs that he might have hidden inside.

Fortunately, I was mistaken.

My Great Idea to Avoid Ironing

First of all, in the spirit of full disclosure, I really don't iron much. Really not at all.

In fact I can't remember the last time I ironed an actual article of clothing. My husband irons his own shirts when absolutely necessary. Don't be too jealous. He doesn't cook. At all.

I have, however, ironed quite a few curtains in the last few years.

That said, this is how I avoid ironing clothes:

First of all, hang things up while they are still damp. I only dry shirts and pants in the dryer for about 10 minutes (this also helps so they don't shrink too). Then I hang them up on hangers and smooth out the wrinkles. (Also saving money on your energy bills. Yay!)

If something you pull out of your closet to wear is still a little wrinkled, take a squirt bottle with water in it and squirt the item lightly then smooth out the fabric. This actually works really well while you are wearing the shirt, skirt, etc. (Unless it is wet and you sit down and press more wrinkles into it while it is damp.) I will usually squirt down something I am wearing and then stay standing to do my hair or makeup while the article of clothing dries completely.

I learned this tip from one of my college roommates the day I went to a Catholic worship service with a guy I worked with. It was an interesting experience. (The worship service was interesting, the guy was "interesting".) I borrowed a dress from her and it was wrinkled so I said I'd wear something else. She had me just squirt it off and I couldn't believe how well it worked.

This is especially good to do in the summer (kind of like the swamp cooler effect).

We also take a little squirt bottle of water with us when we go to the fair, the zoo, etc., any place where you get really hot. You can just squirt down your little kids and they will stay cooler. (Um, obviously if you are wearing a white shirt you might want to only squirt the water down the back of your shirt.) Also make sure to squirt it only on your clothes if you are wearing sunscreen so you don't wash the sunscreen off of your skin.

That's it for now. I'm off to get a load out of the dryer.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Random Rambling

Today I went to a wedding. It was for my sister-in-law Kim's sister Carly. I really love weddings but this one was a little different. I looked around and realized that I didn't know as many people as I usually do. In fact I hardly knew anyone very well at all. Luckily my little neighbor, Leah, showed up and we stuck together. It was fun to catch up with her.

I wore a dress that I bought at Sam's Club this morning. I was there to buy food, not clothes, but I just happened to run into the dress. (Sam's Club really is the place to buy clothes, though, isn't it? That's where I got my latest pair of jeans. Also, my mom bought me a grown-up trench coat there this year, for a really good price. London Fog. One thing though, why are all the knit shirts so short and boxy shaped? There was one set of t-shirts that had such a cute shape, cute colors too, but they had a big butterfly on them. I am so not into butterflies on my shirt. Rainbows either, or other warm, fuzzy type graphics. Just so you know.) I had already seen the dress on Lacey's blog because she had bought it for a wedding. It actually matched the wedding I was going to too. As I was putting it on for the wedding I started thinking, what if this is the SAME wedding as Lacey is going to? That wouldn't be cool, since she is the one that bought it first and blogged about it. Luckily it wasn't.

That reminded me of one time when I was a senior in high school. I went to the Junior Prom (which was our formal dance) and saw another girl with the same dress. Luckily, I was older than she was, so I dared go over and talk to her for a second. I wanted to make sure she knew it was fine with me. She was nice so we sat together for a minute. The yearbook photographer took a picture of us together. I kind of waved to the camera like "Yes, we are wearing the same dress." They ended up putting it in the yearbook on the Junior Prom page, but in black and white you don't really notice it's the same dress (unless you're observant). It's actually one of the better photos of me in that yearbook. It was kind of a bad hair year.

Anyway at the wedding, while I was sitting by myself, I was thinking if Kim needed a break, I could take her and we could sneak out for a minute. That reminded me of another time I sneaked out of something I was supposed to be at.

Every year, for quite a few years, Hal's family held a dance outside on their slab of cement that they used to use to play tennis on. I used to have fun dancing with Hal's dad and his Uncle Delbert (who passed away last year). Once in a while I could get Hal to dance with me but he was usually busy visiting with all his old neighbors and parents' friends, etc. It was also fun because if I really wanted to dance, I could go out and dance with my kids, nieces, nephews, etc.

One year, Hal was pretty busy and I wasn't really dancing and I was getting bored sitting on the sidelines. I was also getting hungry too. (At the dances we usually have cookies or cake, not real food.) Bored and hungry is not a good combination for me. It usually spells trouble. I was talking to my niece, Andrea, and somehow convinced her to go with me to get something to eat. We ended up at Wendy's getting a cheeseburger and frosty. It tasted so good! Anyway, I didn't think anyone would miss us, but apparently they did. And they were not amused. It was kind of fun though. (As the adult I had to take all the blame, which was only fair since it was my idea.)

That's about it for today.

(P.S. I asked the girls if there was anything else I should write and Morgan says to say, "Ally is awesome." and Ally says, "Morgan is flippin' sweet." Funny, they forgot to mention me.)

My Biggest Complaint with Sarah Palin

It's her hair.

Sometimes someone will say to me, "Oh, I like your hair when you wear it like Sarah Palin." Well, that kind of ticks me off because I've been doing this for years and now all of a sudden people think I'm trying to do my hair like hers. This is my lazy hairdo. It's what I do when there isn't time to do anything else. (Actually, it usually looks better than this. This is at the end of a LONG day yesterday. In fact, I just tried to PhotoShop some eyelashes onto my right eye, but I think I forgot to flatten the image, so I lost the effect. I really did have mascara on. Looks like I should have tried to PhotoShop some blush on too.) This hairdo actually kind of gives me a headache from the clip I have to use, so that's another problem with it.
I also wear glasses when I drive (so I don't run into anything important). This may very well be the only photo in existence of me wearing my glasses.
My kids are funny and had me try to be Sarah Palin for Halloween. I don't think anyone even tried to guess that I was supposed to be her. There must not be as much of a resemblance as they had hoped. For the record, I think Sarah Palin is a lot cuter than I am.
So, I'm now looking for a new lazy day hairstyle. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be happy to listen to them.
As far as any other complaints with Sarah Palin and her politics or lack thereof . . . let's not get into it. It's too complicated and that will give me a whole different kind of headache.
(Ok, now I have to explain myself. I'm not a huge Sarah Palin fan but I'm not against her either. I like her well enough as a person. I was also fine with McCain picking a woman. I just think there may have been other women who were more qualified. Rats. I just talked politics on my blog. I was trying to avoid that.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Keeping Me Humble Part 2

When Lexi (now Ally) was about 3, she LOVED the song Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle. She would listen to it over and over on the cd player and sometimes she would even get emotional and cry.

One day I was brushing her hair and she was listening to the song. I asked if she wanted to look like me when she turns 16, like the girl in the song.

She said, "Yes mom, I do want to look like you."

As I kept brushing her hair for the next minute or two, she gazed lovingly at me. I thought, "How nice. She really does love me and want to be like me when she grows up." (She usually wasn't this sweet.)

After a couple more minutes of her staring at me fondly, she finally said, "Mom, I decided I don't want to look like you. I really just want to look like Daddy when I grow up."

Keeping Me Humble Part 1

When Morgan was little (about 3), I had my mom watch her for an hour or so one day.

When I came to pick her up, she was outside waiting for me. She started running toward me with her arms outstretched. Of course, I played along and ran toward her with open arms also.

We met in the middle and hugged for a long time.

I said, "Morgan, did you know that you're my very favorite?"

She answered back, "Mom, did YOU know that DAD is my very favorite?"

Question of the Day

Where are the two pillows that are missing from off our dining area couch?

I've searched high and low, all over the house, including the kids' bedrooms.

I hope someone didn't take them outside. That would not be fun to find when the snow melts.

Cutting Costs

It seems like these days everyone is having to tighten their belts in some ways. We are no exception. Right now Hal is doing commercial developing, which isn't really so hot right now. We have a gravel pit in West Weber, some lots on 10th West (which now we are paying for all the improvements, since his partner, sadly, died last fall), part of a strip mall in Pocatello that is for sale and the old Anderson Lumber building on South Main. If any one of these came through we'd be in good shape. The problem is, nothing is moving right now. But, we have enough to live on, so I can't complain.

I always get interested when I hear or see an article about cutting costs. "Good," I think to myself, "maybe this will help us out a little." I'm usually bummed when I find out that I'm already doing pretty much everything on the list.

For example:
  • Quit going to the movies: We rarely go to the theater, maybe once or twice a year, once in a while we go with with one of Hal's business partners and he gets free tickets

  • Cut back on your cable: Done. A few years ago, when we had financial trouble I cut back to the basic cable, $10 a month.

  • Cancel your magazines: Again done. I do have some free magazines that I got with my frequent flier miles because I don't fly frequently enough to actually earn an actual flight.

  • Turn down your thermostat: Yep, I dress warm if I'm the only one home.

  • Quit drinking pop: We never did drink much pop. Maybe 2-4 liters a year, on special occasions.

  • Don't eat out as much: Hal hates to eat out, he does it enough for business so we only go out on birthdays, or once in a great while with friends.

  • Don't drive as fast: One of the great features on our Pilot is the little bar that shows what gas mileage you're getting. Instead of seeing how fast I'm going, I watch the gas mileage go up (or down). I think I'm actually driving the speed limit most of the time.

  • Pay off credit cards: Already done. Credit cards scare me. We have two (in case something happens with one) and use them for monthly expenses, like groceries. They each have an incentive program, like cash back or free groceries. We pay them off all the way every single month, without fail. This is one lesson I hope our kids will take from us.

  • Use your library: Yes, we are library junkies around here.

  • Don't buy bottled water: Check

  • Garden: Well, we try anyway.
  • Don't buy things you don't need: It's interesting, because it seems like the times we have the least amount of disposable income, I start to get into "we have too much stuff" mode and start trying to pare down. I guess that's lucky for me. I also don't love shopping as a recreational activity. My favorite store for clothes is Ross because I like how it is set up. You know what you want, you walk in, you go to the skirt (or whatever) section, you find your size, see what they have and either find what you like and buy it or don't find it and walk out. Done. I do, however, have a fondness for shoes and boots. Luckily, I'm not too proud so I will buy them at Payless or anywhere else that they are affordable. My last three shoe purchases were $8 each. That's a number I can live with. (Now that I think of it, I'm going to call Hal right now and remind him what a low maintenance wife I am.)

And so on.

The only money saving tip I refuse to do is play the coupon game. I absolutely HATE coupons. I feel guilty if I don't use them, so sometimes I end up saving them but then they float around all over the house. Then I stuff them into an envelope and leave them in the car, only to be found usually after they've expired. If they are a dollar or more off and for something we actually use, I sometimes remember to get them into my purse but honestly, of probably 25 or so coupons I try to save a month. I really only probably use two or three. I need to just give up on that idea.

Well, that's my soapbox for the day. If you have any other good money saving tips I can try, please leave me a comment.

For now, I'm going to go turn down the thermostat some more, throw on a couple more layers and run around and find all the coupons in the house and throw them away!

I'm Stealing This Line

I saw this on someone else's website (Her name is WowClaire):

Brevity is a virtue. One that I lack.

I'm totally going to steal this.

I literally cannot give a short answer. My life is so strange that I always feel the need to explain what is actually going on and why something is the way it is. I think people are actually asking me fewer questions for fear of the long answer they are going to be on the receiving end of.

See, I couldn't even write the line and leave it. But I think I'll stop explaining at this point. (If you know me well at all, you get the picture.)

Okay, I'm done. Really.

Over and out.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Now I Know How Charlie Brown Feels

Poor Chuck. I feel his pain.

Today as I was walking Austin to his class, a big bunch of heavy snow fell off of a branch above me and landed right on top of my head. I couldn't believe it. As I was shaking it off and thinking it was kind of a Charlie Brown moment, another load on the next tree tried to get me. Luckily, with my cat-like reflexes, I dodged it and it only got my shoes and shoulder.

Later, in the grocery store it wasn't really our day either. Halfway through my list, Austin started complaining of a stomachache.

"Will you be okay until we're done?" I asked him.

"No, I want to go home."

"Are you going to throw up?"

"No, my stomach just hurts."

I quickly scrambled to get the essentials; milk, bread and apples. I really hate grocery shopping so I didn't want to have to come back later.

"Can I get a few more things?"

"No, my stomach really hurts."

"Do you need to use the bathroom?"

"Yes, I really need to go."

So we rushed to the bathroom. I had the nice lady at the Play Place watch my cart.

He used the bathroom but (how do I put this delicately?), not as much came out as I was hoping. Not enough to help his stomachache anyway.

He then proceeded to sit on the bathroom floor, stark naked from the waist down. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I was mentally making a note of everything we were going to have to sterilize once we got home; him, his clothes, socks (why did he take them off?), etc. (He had also dropped his ever-present colored pencil in the corner of the stall. I had to pick it up for him. I then added myself to the sterilization list.)

We got him put back together and washed our hands and headed back to our cart. I asked him if I could get some more groceries and he started to cry. I took that as a no. I did ask if he thought he was going to throw up and he again said no.

We got in line to pay for our groceries. Austin ended up spread eagle on the floor on his stomach in front of my cart. Germs were the last thing on my mind. I just wanted to get him home in case he really was going to throw up.

We paid and I hustled him and the groceries to the car. Luckily I still had some towels kicking around in the car from the Activity Day that we used them for. I strapped him in, handed him a towel and told him to just rest. He was asleep by the time I loaded the car and got us home.

At least I'll get some time alone while he sleeps, I thought to myself. We got home and I hurried to make a little bed on the floor of my bedroom, complete with more towels in case he threw up. I carried him in, got him settled in on the floor and started to unload the car. By the time I had the second load in the house he had popped up and was in the kitchen asking what he could eat. He said he felt fine and that was the end of that. I'm not sure what was really going on. He's acted normally since he got up.

I am a little unhappy that I only got half of what I needed. We'll see what we end up eating this week.

The last episode of my day (so far) happened after I dropped Ally off at karate. It's only a mile or so away from my mom's house, so sometimes I head over there to help her do things or drop off or pick things up. Today she wasn't home yet from town, so I parked in front of her house. The walk wasn't shovelled all the way to the road, but there was one set of footprints. Since the snow is pretty deep, I tried to walk in the prints. I'm not sure what happened, but somehow I ended up slipping and sliding way down into the ditch, with snow up to my waist and all the way up my back. It was wet and it was COLD! (But it was soft, so I didn't get hurt. That was a plus. Hal reminded me later that there was re-bar in that ditch, so I was lucky I didn't get impaled.)

I wanted to come home and eat some Easter candy to make myself feel better, but it was on the part of my shopping list that I didn't get to buy.

What would Charlie Brown do?

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Worst C-Section I Ever Had

Okay, to be fair, it's actually the only c-section I've had. But, I'm pretty sure it would qualify for a rotten one. Here are MOST of the gory details:

Austin was due in September (8th or 9th, I can't remember now) 2004. It was a lousy pregnancy, like the others, with lots of throwing up, visits to the Perinatologist (for the Big C and Little E problems and to rule out physical abnormalities and watch the cysts on his brain).

One thing that made this pregnancy stand out from the others was the added bonus of having pneumonia twice. I was pretty sure I was going to have to resort to Depends eventually (please don't ask me to explain why).

A month before he was due, we decided to hurry and paint my bedroom. I was so tired that when I woke up in the middle of the night, I had to drag myself to the bathroom. I actually ended up getting rug burns on my stomach because it was so huge and dragged on the carpet. Isn't that sad!
We had just found out a week or so before that Austin was breech so we were looking at a possible c-section.

I went to the doctor on Monday the 16th of August (3 weeks before he was due) to talk about trying to turn him, but the number one reason to not turn them is if the placenta is in the front. It is too dangerous and that's where my placenta was (of course). (I was actually relieved to not have to make that decision for fear I would make the wrong choice and hurt the baby.) When he checked me, I was already at a 3 1/2 and also the cord was prolapsed (in the opening of the uterus), which is dangerous if your water breaks because it can compress the cord and cut off the oxygen. Also, the baby was getting really big for his age and the doctor was worried about that.

I had enough medical problems that he called the hospital to see about admitting me but they said I couldn't go up because they were too full. Also, he said I had eaten too recently for a c-section. So, he stripped my membranes and sent me home, saying that if I went into labor to just show up at the hospital, not call first so they wouldn't try to discourage me from coming in. He also said to call him in the morning if I didn't go into labor first and then he would try to fit me into the schedule.

Well, I did end up going into labor that started really slow and painless, but by the time I got Hal motivated to take me in, I was having really hard contractions every 5 minutes. They ran around fast at the hospital trying to get us ready and the anesthesiologist (it took an hour before he could get started) for some reason had a hard time with the epidural and I went numb all over and went into anaphylactic shock. My tongue started to swell up and I couldn't talk (this had happened before, so I knew exactly what was going on and wasn't happy). He then had to inject me with a lot of Benadryl to counteract the drug I was allergic to. Anyway, he finally got me all fixed up and the nurses came in and said my doctor went out of town and it would be another hour before he would get in and they were going to inject me with something to slow down the contractions. (Why did he strip my membranes and then go out of town? I have no idea.) Anyway, he finally showed up and they started the c‑section.

I was really loopy by now from all the different drugs. I remember I kept hearing myself saying really stupid things, but I couldn't really stop myself from saying them. After they got Austin's feet out, the doctors started acting funny and finally someone said "Get the forceps." and I said "You're not supposed to have to use forceps with a c‑section." Then he said "You just had a really big contraction and we can't get the baby's head out. I'm going to have to make a really big cut in your uterus." So he basically sliced it in two (with a vertical cut called a “j” cut) and got Austin out. (So, it would be safe to say I've earned my flabby stomach with both a horizontal AND a vertical cut. My poor abs don't really have a chance, do they?)

I kept asking what the baby's apgars were and everyone kept ignoring me. I finally found out later that they didn't want me to panic because his first number was a 1, which is practically dead. He ended up staying the first night in the ICU because of this, but seemed to do better later. I was really loopy on whatever medicine they gave me and quite out of it, which is probably a blessing. If I were coherent I would have kept on the doctors and nurses until I had answers for all of my questions (and having gone through major medical problems with other babies I knew all the right questions to ask). I did grill the doctor about it later and he said Austin was without oxygen for about 5 minutes. He'd checked the cord blood and it looked fine so I shouldn't worry. It wasn't until he was about two and talking normally that I agreed that he was fine. He talked really late, so I was worried. Now we can't get him to be quiet.

During the c-section I kept saying to the anesthesiologist, "Hey guy standing at my head, I can't remember your name, but my shoulder hurts. Will you push on it?" And I kept saying stuff to the doctors like, "C‑sections are bad." and "I'm glad you are good doctors." I said to the one assisting, "Hey, I think you are my cousin's doctor." He asked me what her name was and I said, "I don't remember. It's not really important."

Hal said something because I couldn't finish one of my sentences and I said "That sounded like my husband." and they said "It is your husband." and I said "Where is he?" and they said "Holding your hand." I said "I was wondering who was holding my hand." Anyway, they ended up tying my tubes because of my pregnancy history and now my very weak uterus. I had actually talked to my doctor about it before, so was not upset, but it has by far caused worse pain than the c‑section. I wish I had the presence of mind at the time to talk the doctor into taking out a little extra stomach flab. If I weren't on so many drugs I would have tried.

Well the next day was a pretty ordinary recovery until in the afternoon, when I asked my nurse if I could take off a bandage they had wrapped around my elbow. She got this funny look and started ripping it off my arm. I got looking and my forearm was swelled to about 3 times its normal size. They were supposed to take it off the night before and it was too tight, like a tourniquet. It did go down eventually, but then I started getting a rash.

A few hours later, my legs started to itch. I looked and they were covered with all sorts of funny zigzagged red sores with raised white centers. I called the nurse and she got more people to come and look. The sores grew bigger until I had a few really big hives on me that covered most of the surface area of my legs. No one knew what to do so they gave me lots more Benadryl and Prednisone too. I didn't think that was a good idea for the baby, but was in no position to argue too much because it really itched. I did take digital pictures of my legs, although I didn't know what I would do with them. (Maybe for evidence?)

One of the nurses said “You better find out what you are allergic to or you may end up in anaphylactic shock. Do you know what that is?” I said “Why yes, I do happen to know what that is.” So that night passed and I actually got some sleep, the only night I did sleep at the hospital.

The next day the baby ended up with bad jaundice, so he was stuffed in the little light box most of the day and night, poor thing. The nurses did say that he was a lot calmer than most babies are in there. One thing that made me mad is that they sent us home after only 3 days (mostly because of overcrowding I think). I tried to argue, but then realized that if they didn't want us there, they probably wouldn't take very good care of us.

The release hours are about 6 hours short of when I had him, so I was probably only there closer to 2 1/2 days. I really dislike insurance. The kicker is, too, that they told me I would have to rent lights to take home for the baby and that once we left the hospital his deductible would kick in and I would have to pay an extra 500 dollars that I wouldn't have had to if we could have stayed.

I could tell the pediatrician felt really badly about it. He kept telling me to stay in my pajamas for at least a week so if people came to visit they would know that we weren't doing very well. My doctor didn't even show up the second day. I don't think he dared face me.

Anyway, we survived it all. Austin stayed under the lights (which looked suspiciously like a suitcase with a heat lamp retrofitted into it) another 3 days, with us taking him back to the hospital every day to have his bilirubin checked.

I had a huge amount of pain for many more days, especially where my tubes were and all across my insides. My incision on the outside wasn't too bad, although looking at the staples reminded me of Hitler and his experiments on the human body. I felt so sorry for the Jewish people and having no pain meds. I couldn't really even get in and out of bed by myself. Once I got up in the morning I just stayed out of bed because it hurt too much to climb back in.

I kept thinking that Austin was so good and slept so much except at about 2:00 a.m. when he was wide awake and I finally figured out that my pain meds were keeping him sedated and wore off at night. So I quit them all, cold turkey and decided it was better that way. He still stayed a pretty calm baby.

The first week was a blur of pain, and I didn't even think to do anything to take care of his cord, etc. but his cord fell off quicker than the girls’ and actually healed up better too.

One highlight of Austin's first few weeks of life is when I was changing him on the makeshift little table that was set up in my bedroom, right next to my dresser. It was an actual card table because I couldn't bend down for a long time. I was changing his diaper and I guess when I took off the old one it felt freeing to him because he wet in a big stream that arched right into my open dresser drawer. The girls got a big kick out of that. It would have been a lot funnier to me if I didn't have to wash everything of mine that was in the drawer.

We were certainly blessed and watched over that's for sure. I was quite relieved that he is my last baby. I don't think I could live through that experience again. But he is sure worth everything I have had to go through. A very sweet little boy, even from the very beginning.

To Whom It May Concern:

I'm sorry, but I just have to get this off my chest once and for all:

I like the Pseudo Echo version of Funkytown much, much better than the original Lipps Inc. version. If you've never heard it, you must google it and listen to it immediately.

If you disagree, please comment here and we can debate it.

I love a nice lively debate where there are no facts to back you up, only personal opinion. At least I have a fighting chance that way.

Look What We Woke Up To

This morning we woke up and there was a LOT of snow. We weren't really even expecting it, though the weather said there was a 40 percent chance of it later today. Here's the view out our back window (there was no snow there yesterday):

And here's the view out our front window:

It is now 2:00 p.m. and the snow is almost 17" on our deck (and it's still snowing). Addendum: 18 1/2" at 3:30 and still coming down.

I wonder what it will be like tomorrow, after the BIG storm hits. (Can you say SNOW DAY?)

My Personal Version of the 80/20 Rule

You know how they say that 80 percent of the time you use only 20 percent of your things? Well, that may be true.

I've also heard from a famous nutritionist that you should eat as well as you can 95 percent of the time so the other 5 percent you can eat whatever you want.

I've combined both of these theories to meet my own personal needs.

80 percent of the time I eat like this. (I forgot to put the dressing on before I took the photo. A salad like this needs dressing.):

So that the other 20 percent, I can eat things like this:

Works for me!

Juggling Dinners

We have a big problem in our house. Well, as you probably know by now, we have a lot of big problems. This one just happens to plague me every day.

It's dinner.

No two of the people in this house like the same things. Or, more specifically, they all dislike different things.

There is actually no single meal that everyone will eat. There was one once. It was a specific meatloaf recipe that I'd tried. Everyone actually ate it and liked it. Even the girl next door (who liked it because it was actually her aunt's recipe).

But then Ally threw up that night and hasn't touched the stuff since.

So here's the list so far:

Hal won't eat anything creamy, no creamy soups, no mayonnaise type sauces, no casseroles of any kind. He isn't fond of food mixed together. (One night a few years ago, at a Stake dinner, I told our neighbor that our girls said they didn't know what a casserole was - they really didn't. He actually high-fived Hal across the table.) Hal is, however, big on tacos. I could serve tacos every week and he would be happy. In fact, when I do serve tacos, he eats the leftovers for about a week because no one else really likes taco leftovers. Hal is Mr. Salad man (although he never eats dressing on his salads). He also likes a good baked potato. Hal likes to whip up a drink that he calls liquid health. The rest of us have another name for it (liquid he--). My smoothies taste a lot better than his. Hal is not fond of chicken, he's more of a ground beef sort of guy.

Morgan is pretty good about eating. She'll eat a lot of the same things I will, which is pretty much anything. (Except I don't like warm tuna casserole, I'm not fond of that at all, or peanut butter sandwiches. I wouldn't eat a peanut butter sandwich for $100.00 - well, maybe these days I'd try to choke one down. The funny thing is that I like candy with peanut butter in it and I'll eat it in my oatmeal along with banana flavored protein powder. Morgan will eat peanut butter sandwiches, so we are different that way.) Morgan will only eat eggs if they don't taste like eggs (also like me).

Ally won't eat things with tomatoes. That pretty much rules out lots of soups, spaghetti (she eats plain noodles), sauces, etc. She will, however devour pizza, which makes no sense to me. She also doesn't like to eat cheese on top of things, which makes her love of pizza even more perplexing. Ally is the one who comes home from school and eats everything in sight. Then she's too full to eat a good dinner. She does love apples and toast. She also likes chicken nuggets and fish sticks.

Austin is Mr. Grilled Cheese. He requests grilled cheese sandwiches every day for lunch. He also loves chicken nuggets. I usually tell him he has to eat a fruit and/or a vegetable before he can eat anything else. He will eat baby carrots. He's the only one of the kids who will eat any kind of dressing or sauce on things. He's also big on ketchup and eats it on all sorts of strange things, like toast and carrots. He's the most resistant at trying new things. Sometimes he'll try something new and declare, "I love it!" and then not touch it again, ever.

So what I have to do for dinner is juggle. First I'll make something Hal likes, like tacos, and then make sure there are enough leftovers for later in the week. The next night I'll make something Ally will eat, like corn chowder. After that I do something plain, like turkey steaks or baked chicken. Once in a while I'll throw in a new recipe to see if anyone likes it. When I do that, I have to make sure there are enough of a variety of leftovers to feed everyone with their different tastes.

I used to have people eat cereal when they didn't like what I fixed but now I think they eat too much cereal, so it's pretty much grilled cheese and an apple if they get desperate. If I'm lucky, they'll clean up after themselves.

Can anyone else understand why I'm exhausted? I think I need to take myself out to dinner since Hal doesn't like to eat out. (And why would he when he has a perfectly good short-order cook at home?)

Nice Surprise

I need to make a note of this because it rarely happens that I am surprised in a good way.

Yesterday I went to take a 1-2 hour nap. I woke up 4 hours later when Hal looked in on me to make sure I was still alive.

I dragged myself out of bed, steeling myself to face a houseful of hungry people.

To my surprise, Hal told me they had just put away dinner, but it should still be slightly warm.

While I was asleep, Morgan and Ally made spaghetti (they even followed an actual recipe!). They also kept Austin out of my hair, which is a big feat in itself.

This may be my best Daylight Savings day ever.

(Note to self for next year: If you take a 4 hour nap during the day, it makes it awfully hard to fall asleep at night, therefore making it just as hard to wake up the next morning.)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Daylight Savings and 9:00 Church

Can you already see where there might be a problem?

Well, anyway, in an effort to make things not too difficult this morning, I set all the clocks forward last night at about 6:30. I also packed the church bag last night and set out my clothes and took a shower last night because I knew it was not going to be an easy morning. We all were actually in bed by 10:30 (old time) last night too. I did about all I could do, so I hoped it would be enough.

So this morning, at 6:00 (new time) I heard Austin talking to Hal. I finally figured out what he was saying. It was "My pajamas are all wet. I think I wet the bed." (He did.)

I'm not proud of what I did next. I pretended to still be asleep. (I decided to do this when I realized that it was really 5:00 a.m. old time. And plus, Hal was already up.) Hal got Austin some dry clothes and then Austin got in bed with me while Hal finished getting ready and went to the church for his 6:30 a.m. meetings (ouch). Austin then started asking for his darn colored pencil that he had slept with (yes, he still takes one or two of them with him wherever he goes, even to bed). Luckily I found one on the floor so he fell asleep pretty quickly. Unfortunately, I didn't. (Maybe it's payback for pretending to be asleep when this whole business started.)

I finally fell back asleep sometime after 7:00, which made it a pain when the alarm went off at 7:30. I hit what I thought was the snooze button and promptly dozed off again. Unfortunately, I woke up again about a half hour later, which was going to crunch us for time.

Morgan was already up and getting ready. Ally was sleeping with a blanket wrapped all the way over her face, as usual. I gave her her first warning and then hurried and got dressed and got Austin's clothes and had him start to get dressed. Since I washed my hair last night, it looked all weird today and wouldn't curl. I ended up putting it up and it looked kind of like a messy bird's nest but it would have to do.

We finally got everyone all up and dressed. I had to decide between eating breakfast or being on time, so the whole time during church I was starving. That gave me a headache, which wasn't helped by the fact that we sat behind a 14 year old kid who apparently didn't have time to take a shower this morning either. (For the record, I did have on deodorant. I also had on perfume, which didn't help my headache much either.) The kids behind us must have had a hard time adjusting to the time too because they cried the whole time. I should have brought some aspirin to take with my Sacrament water.

I could have gone home during Sunday School to eat, but I really like my Sunday School class these days. It's the Marriage and Family Relations class, taught by Brother and Sister Sidwell. In the spirit of that class, I apologized to Hal for pretending to be asleep this morning. I decided to tough it out and stay for Relief Society too and I'm glad I did. It was a good lesson given by Carol Searle.

We came home and I promptly ate some mini-wheats to make up for missing breakfast. I will now go eat some lunch kind of food and take a nap (and hopefully get rid of my headache).

Hope you had a nice Daylight Savings Sunday.

Failing To Keep My Composure

Last week as I was driving Ally to karate, I yawned while I was driving. A really big yawn, the kind you end with kind of an Elvis sneer. You wouldn't think this would be a big deal except I kept both hands on the wheel, as a good driver should, so I didn't cover my mouth. (I was actually being lazy, not worrying about my driving habits. I realize now that I should have covered my mouth. I was just too tired.)

None of this would really be noteworthy except for the fact that I passed another car when it happened. I remember seeing the guy's face in the other car. I think he thought I was making a really ugly face at him. How embarrassing!

This actually reminded me of something that happened in Relief Society a few years ago.

I was the Relief Society secretary. Carol Searle was the president then. She is a WONDERFUL person and I enjoyed spending time with her and also Melissa Houser and Sue Giles, the counselors. They all brought such good, different qualities to the table. I learned a lot from each one of them. Not sure if I contributed much, except in the way of a little comic relief every now and then.

Here was one of those times:

Norene Brown is our Relief Society chorister. She is a very formidable woman and I don't think I would be exaggerating if I said most people are a little afraid of her. (I actually really like her a lot. She has a good sense of humor and tells it like it is. I may actually grow up to be like her someday, except I don't think anyone is afraid of me, not even my own kids.) Sometimes when we sing in Relief Society she stops us and makes us start over if she thinks we aren't doing a song justice. She's very particular about her music and lets us know if we aren't doing our part.

One Sunday we were singing a new song. Sister Brown started getting after us because it didn't sound as good as she thought it should. She stopped the pianist and said "I want all you good singers to help us out." She then singled out Melissa Wootton and chastised her for not singing.

"I'm sorry," said Melissa, "but I have a sour mint in my mouth. I'll sing in a minute."

Well, for some reason that struck me as funny. I started to giggle. Unfortunately since I was the R.S. secretary, I had to sit up front, facing most of the other women. (We all sat in a row. First Carol (who may or may not have been there that day, I can't quite remember) then Melissa H. (who I know was there, I can still see the looks she was giving us), then poor Sue and then me. The reason I say "poor Sue" is because I soon dragged her down with me.)

What Melissa W. had said reminded me of the Sour Starburst commercial where a girl comes down the stairs and her prom date is waiting. She looks all nice and dressed up, but right at the moment her date sees her, he pops a sour Starburst in his mouth so he makes a really ugly face. The girl's dad sees the boy's expression and gets really mad. The final line is "Sour Starburst, eat responsibly."

When I started giggling, Sue asked me what was so funny. I tried quietly to explain the sour Starburst commercial as quickly as possible. Soon Sue was giggling too. Sister Brown stopped the music and asked us if there was anything we wanted to share with everybody else. We swiftly assured her there was not.

Well, that was the end of my composure. As the women started singing again, I started giggling, which set Sue off again. I was laughing so hard that I had tears streaming down my cheeks. I had to hold the Hymn book up right in front of my face so Sister Brown wouldn't see and get after me again. I was really afraid that I was going to burst out laughing really loud. I think that was the longest song we have ever sung in Relief Society.

I almost lost it again when Melissa H. turned to Sue and asked, "What was so funny." All through the lesson I had to keep biting my lip to control myself from giggling again. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.

I do miss working with those women, but I don't really miss sitting up front.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Morgan's Mild Obsession With All Things Scottish

Here's a fun fact about Morgan: She loves Scottish things. Well, not exactly Scottish "things", like kilts and bagpipes. It's really more about the accent.

About four years ago, when Morgan was 10, we went to Thanksgiving Point (SUCH a beautiful place, if you haven't been there before, you really need to go). The girls caught a grasshopper. We were in the Secret Garden when some other people there saw the girls with their new pet. They commented, with a Scottish brogue, "Look, it's a grasshopper. Aye, it's lucky you know." Morgan was intrigued. "It's lucky you know." (complete with Scottish accent) is now one of the favorite phrases in our house.

So, fast forward a couple of years to UEA weekend in Salt Lake. We had driven past the Scottish store, which was a block or two away from our hotel, and made plans to go there the next day. That night we headed for the pool. Since I can't swim, I spent most of my time lounging in the hot tub. I had Austin with me and a nice, older man in the hot tub made a comment about him. I noticed he had an accent but I really didn't think much about it. He was the only other person in the pool area besides our family.

Later, as we were leaving, I saw the same man at the drinking fountain. He had a towel wrapped around him, which I thought was kind of interesting, and we exchanged a couple more words. I realized then that it was a Scottish accent.

Well, later on, Hal and the girls commented on the guy in the hot tub. They were all grossed out because when he climbed out he had on a speedo. (That would probably explain why he was wearing the towel.) He was kind of a big guy too, so it was not a pretty sight.

I said to them, "Oh, you mean the Scottish guy?"

"Scottish guy?" they asked. "No, we were talking with the Scottish accents."

"What?" I replied, "No, I mean the guy in the hot tub. He was Scottish."

"No, we were the ones talking with the Scottish accents in the hot tub."

"What? What are you talking about?"

"What are YOU talking about?"

We finally got the story straight. They never talked to the guy, so they didn't know he was Scottish. While they were in the hot tub, they started talking in fake Scottish accents in anticipation of going to the Scottish store. I asked if they actually mentioned the fact that they were going to the Scottish store so the guy wouldn't think they were making fun of him. They didn't. How embarrassing. No wonder he left the hot tub. He was probably really offended. At least he didn't know I was with them so he was still nice to me at the drinking fountain.

The next day we finally made it to the Scottish store. We spent a long time searching for my Scottish family name from the Nystrom side, which is McClinchey, so I could buy something with the McClinchey tartan. Well, we couldn't find it. We even had the guy who worked there search for it in his two books that he could special order things out of. The name wasn't in either book. I'm starting to wonder if I'm legitimately partly Scottish or not.

I can't end this post without mentioning our (Morgan's and mine) favorite thing about Scottish accents. It's the men who sport them. Two of our personal favorites are Gerard Butler (think Dear Frankie, not necessarily P.S. I Love You) and Craig Ferguson. Craig Ferguson actually reminds me of a slightly demented version of my brother-in-law Thom. I think he's pretty funny when he keeps his humor clean and silly. When it's not, clean I don't really appreciate it. (That reminds me, I really, really like Chris Rock too, when he's clean. I like watching him on network t.v. because he has to keep things PG.)