Perpetual Plan B

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


My kids are sick.

Two of them have diarrhea. (Gee, I wonder where THAT came from!)

Do you think it's true that no good deed goes unpunished?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Part 2, Read Last Post First.

Ok, so I need to update what happened after I closed the last post. The extra kids were getting really wild, so Hal decided to make a little campfire. I'm not sure if he thought through having the kids around fire and our pointy hot dog sticks.

Anyway, it kept the kids busy for a while. One of them fell and hit her lip so Hal held her for a while and then she fell asleep for about an hour. Unfortunately, she was the easiest of the kids to watch.

The other kids seemed to be entertained by the campfire.

That is until it began to rain. (If you're thinking that we have the worst luck, read on. One thing I've learned in my life is that things can ALWAYS get worse. And they did.)

We stayed outside for a while while it sprinkled lightly and then the boy had to go to the bathroom "Right NOW!" So I ran with him as fast as I could. And he seemed to make it in time. Whew!

I kept checking on him and he seemed fine so I went back outside where it was now raining quite heavily, to get the other kids inside.

When I got back in the house, not more than two minutes later, the boy was yelling. "I had an accident. I got poop in my pants."

Can I just state here, without being too graphic, that that is the understatement of the year. Yes, technically, it was in his pants. And on the floor, and all over the toilet - inside and out, and on the bathmat. It was one of those accidents where you just don't know where to start cleaning AND I still had a five-year-old kid, that I barely knew, dancing around naked with it all over his backside.

Can I also just say here that it's true, no matter how awful it is to clean up a mess like that of your own kid's, it really is a heck of a lot worse cleaning up someone else's kid's poop. (Let me also state here, for the record, that "poop" is a word that I couldn't even say out loud until I was potty training my third kid. - And yes, there is a story that goes along with that but it is almost as bad as this one. Now the word "poop" is practically part of my everyday vocabulary. A part that I'm not particularly proud of.)

Ok, so after cleaning up the mess and filling the washer with the dirty pants, bathmat, and other causalities of the bathroom (basically anything else in the room that could be washed, except the shower curtain), we got the kid put in his back-up outfit, which was his swimsuit. It had stopped raining, so the kids all played outside again. I had my girls stay outside to supervise.

I went back to the bathroom one more time to make sure I got everything as clean as possible. It was then that I noticed the interesting yellow pattern on my white shower curtain. And it was still dripping. The kid was pretty thorough. I wasn't thrilled about washing the shower curtain again since I had just washed it last week (the neighbor kid has bad aim). Let me just tell you right now that a white shower curtain and bath mat are NOT a good idea. (Ironically I bought them thinking that way I would know when they were dirty so I could keep them clean. That was BEFORE I had potty trained a little boy or had his "potty trained" little friends over.)

After starting the next load in the washing machine I went back outside to supervise the kids. About an hour later the boy got a funny look on his face and said, "I have to go poop again!", so again we ran to the bathroom.

And again he had the shooting diarrhea. I found out this time why it went all over like it did. The kid was literally standing on the toilet seat on his feet and then crouched down like an Aborigone. I told him to sit down but he didn't want to because he said the toilet seat was too cold. I put some strips of toilet paper all around the seat, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but when he was done I found them on the floor half soaked with urine. (Sometimes I say "pee" now, but I still don't like that word either.)

One unfortunate thing I also forgot to do when I cleaned the bathroom the first time was put away the bathroom cleaner. It was still sitting out on the counter, within reach of the toilet. Now it was being used as a weapon against me. The kid kept squirting everything with it, the mirror, the walls, but mostly me. Bathroom cleaner does not taste good, in case you were wondering. Next time I'll try not to yell when I'm un-arming a naked five-year-old with a fully loaded can of bathroom cleaner. I'll use the Ninja tactic and sneak up on him silently. (Oh boy, did I really say "next time"? There better not be a next time. I don't think I could survive it!)

So now the kid's swimsuit was also dirty. I had to get him a pair of Austin's pajamas to wear, which didn't make either one of them very happy. But we didn't have a choice, now did we?

Hal now had a pretty good excuse to call his friend and see how soon they would be back. It had now been five hours, about the time they said they'd be back. When he talked to them they were just barely leaving Salt Lake, so we had about another hour and a half. My girls both groaned out loud when they heard the news. That's when I started getting punchy. No sleep for a week and cleaning up someone else's kids' diarrhea will do that to you.

We got all the little kids rounded up in the basement, with the sick kid sitting in a sleeping bag in case of any other accidents.

After the parents finally came and got the kids I had to laugh when I walked into the house. Morgan was wearing her sombrero and playing the song "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang.

It was then about 9:00 and we decided to run get some cheap pizzas to eat for a snack, because I was not feeling like cooking anything and I was hungry. I made Hal walk in to get them because I really hadn't even combed my hair or put on any make-up all day because I kept waiting to get into the shower and didn't even get five minutes to do more than brush my teeth because people kept showing up at our house. I was still actually wearing the same loungy clothes that I'd crashed in the night before, that's how bad it was. I asked the kids for a hat or something to wear, and Morgan graciously offered me her sombrero.

My favorite part of the day was when we were all waiting in the car for Hal to come back with the pizza, and I told the kids that Hal's friend had put in his will that we would get to raise their kids if anything happened to him and his wife. Ally thought it was true and she made this sound, sort of like a sick cow. I let her believe it for a few minutes. Maybe now she'll appreciate the family she has. Actually, I think we ALL appreciate our little family more now that the ordeal is over. Austin didn't fare too well either because those kids played pretty rough and he's not used to that. I think he cried more this afternoon than he has the whole last month.

When we got home we were ready for the pizza. Somehow we always buy one pepperoni and one cheese pizza, though most of us eat cheese better. Ally, our main pepperoni eater looked at the cheese pizza and said in a sad voice, "Oh, it looks really good."

I told her she could have cheese and I'd eat pepperoni, which I usually won't touch with a ten foot pole. I didn't really care at that moment, I just wanted to eat. She seemed so grateful it was funny. Then Hal started to bless the food and I couldn't help it. I tried to hold back a little snicker. Then all heck broke loose as the girls both started laughing too. Hal finished the prayer and gave us all a disgusted look.

Now I'm off to take whatever kind of sleeping pill I can hopefully find in the medicine drawer. I've got to get some sleep tonight!

Rats! I just realized that nobody has bathed yet today, we were so busy, so now we will all have to take showers in the morning and try to be ready before 9:00. That means we will have to get up early. I almost wouldn't worry about being late, the way I feel, but Hal is speaking tomorrow. There's always something.

I hate 9:00 church, but not as much as I hate babysitting other peoples' kids. Maybe a good night's sleep will sweeten up my attitude.

Or not.

Will Work for Sleep (Part 1)

I need sleep. I really need some sleep.

I haven't slept well for four nights in a row now and it's starting to affect me terribly. (This post will probably be full of punctuation errors and misspelled words. I don't care. I'm too tired to wonder if I misspelled the word misspelled. Usually this would be a big deal to me. Today, not so much.)

I can't really remember why I couldn't sleep the first night. (The memory - or at least what's left of it - is the first thing to go when I'm tired. My short term memory is shot. Morgan said I have asked her the same question at least three times in the last hour. I'd tell you what it was, but for the life of me, I can't remember.)

The next night I was up a lot of the night with a really terrible sore throat and an earache. I've only had one other sore throat that came close to it. I was sure I would need to call a doctor the next day, but luckily, I didn't need to. I just had a nice raspy voice for a few hours.

That day I wasn't going to have to go anywhere, which is rare, so I was happy to just lounge in my pajamas for quite a while. I finally got dressed before the girls got home from school. Then Morgan came home and told me she could just get a ride that night if I couldn't come.

"To what?" I asked.

"My last orchestra concert."

So I jumped into the shower and got dressed. And it was a nice concert, truly it was. At least I think it was. I really can't remember anything very specific about it. But I did get it on video, so I can watch it again when I'm feeling better.

Anyway, that night I stayed up late to watch something on t.v. I was really tired and kept dozing off. I stayed awake just long enough to see what I wanted to see and then I couldn't fall back asleep! I was up until well after 1:00.

So, last night (Friday) was going to be the night to catch up. I could sleep in on Saturday, which was a bonus, so I was ready.

Unfortunately my insomnia jag has coincided with a "normal" weekend for us.

"Normal" means nothing goes as planned.

First of all, my nephew, Justin, wanted to come stay over with us. This really wasn't a problem at all. His parents are wrapping up a two week cruise down the Panama Canal. Justin has stayed with Grandma Fronk most of those two weeks and I think they were getting a little tired of each other.

Last night at around 9:00 (I can't remember why it was so late) we started the movie, Bolt. It looked cute, but after about 45 minutes, I just couldn't stay awake. I got the kids as settled as I could and made sure Justin had all he needed and then I went to bed.

I fell asleep pretty immediately, and then Austin started coughing at around 11:30. I got up to get him a drink. And then he started coughing again at about 1:30. I got up to get him some cough medicine. Then he got in my bed about an hour later. Then I woke up another hour or so later because his blanket was in my face and it did not smell good.

Honestly, on a good night I don't do well sleeping in short spurts. In fact, I think this is one way they used to torture P.O.W.s, by waking them up every time they would fall asleep so you don't get any REM sleep. Not good. Especially not good after three other nights of no sleep.

The night was finally over, so I dragged my carcass out of bed, so I could start fixing breakfast for the kids and cleaning up the house a bit. Justin was going to go home at about 1:00, so I was just going to wait until then and take a LONG nap.

I couldn't find Hal, but then he finally came in all covered in dirt. The neighbor's water pipe had broken in the night, so he was across the street, helping them fix it. He needed to run into town to get a part. He finally came home just as Justin was leaving with his sisters.

I said something about taking a nap and Hal got a funny look on his face. Then he told me that his friend, the one with the four "rambunctious" little kids, had called. They were going to a wedding in Salt Lake and their babysitter had fallen through at the last minute. They needed help, so Hal told them we'd take their kids for the five hours (or longer) so they could go to the wedding.


So, it is now about one hour into the five.

I'm sleep deprived, Hal is looking pretty worn out and our kids aren't doing much better. We've already hidden most of the heavy, breakable and/or pointy objects.

On the upside, the kids we are watching are having a great time. They've been running around - inside and out, hitting each other, fighting, throwing things, etc. They've dumped out all of Austin's little toys in his bedroom, the ones that I lovingly sorted into bins last week. And they've already eaten most of our food.

One hour down, four to go.

Did I mention, they've only been here one hour?

Sometimes I forget things when I'm tired.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Deadly Sin Number One, Gluttony

When I was a teenager I used to babysit once in a while for people in the neighborhood. I am ashamed to admit that I was not a good babysitter. I had lots of little brothers at home that I babysat on a regular basis, so I certainly wasn't doing it out of the goodness of my heart. I did it for the money and the fact that the food at other peoples' houses was usually a lot more interesting that what we had at my house.

My mom wasn't big on cooking, at least by the time I was a teenager. I think she was tired of pretty much everything by the time I was a teen. I do remember her making Spanish Rice once in a while when my older brother would complain loudly enough and she would usually do a roast on Sunday. I can't for the life of me remember eating much of anything else. Our house was one of those houses where you would eat a lot of leftovers, but you didn't remember actually eating the meal the first time.

Anyway, one night I was babysitting for a family in the neighborhood. This family usually had bags of Pepperidge Farm cookies in the freezer. The fact that I even remember that all these years later must say something about me. (And it's probably not a very good something, is it?) This particular night they also had a nice, big family-sized bag of licorice. Black and red. The mom said the kids and I could have some.

Now I was just at the point in my life where I was learning to appreciate black licorice, so this was intriguing to me. I put the kids to bed as early as I could and then proceeded to eat the whole bag. By myself. Black AND red.

Well, I paid dearly for that because I was up all night, that night, throwing up.

Black and red.

And I haven't touched the stuff since.

Especially black licorice. Even the smell of it can send me over the edge. Hal is a big fan of licorice, so I try to always have some on hand for him but I don't buy the black stuff. Once in a while he comes home with it, but he has to eat it far away from me.

Nice, huh?

When Morgan was little she had a problem with picking her nose. Actually, I think all my kids have had that problem. I think it's genetic. They got it from their Uncle Brett, who, hopefully doesn't read this blog.

Anyway, one day when she was little I was trying to come up with yet another reason why she shouldn't pick her nose. I figured if I kept coming up with reasons that eventually something I said might click in her brain.

So one day I told her that if she kept picking her nose it would stretch out her nostrils and they would get all big and ugly.

She looked at me with big eyes and said, "Is that how YOUR nose got so big?"

Not Sure How to Title This One

When the girls were little they would always wake up before I would. I'm not sure if it was because I worked swing shift, or I was just so exhausted from taking care of them. My kids tend to be quite lively and high-maintenance.

Anyway, one morning when Ally was about 2 years old, she woke me up. I told her I wanted to stay in bed for just a little longer.

After a minute, I started thinking it seemed awfully quiet. I asked her to go see what Morgan was doing, mostly to buy myself a little more time.

Ally walked over to the couch in my bedroom, where Morgan was sitting quietly and reported, "Morgan is picking the nose."

I looked over and, sure enough, Ally was right.

That is the longest sentence I had ever heard Ally say at that age.

Guilty Conscience?

The other day we came home from somewhere. Ally told me that someone had been mean to Austin and that he was sad about it.

I went into the bathroom, where he was, to ask him if everything was okay, or if there was something he wanted to tell me.

He looked puzzled for a minute and then he said, "I didn't steal anything."

A Loose Tooth Story

When Morgan was little she didn't like to have her loose teeth pulled out, either by herself or anyone else.

She would just leave them in her mouth, even once they were just barely hanging by a thread. She even had one turn dark, it was hanging there so long. I was afraid she was going to swallow it accidently.

One day when she was about seven and Ally was about four, they were playing behind the couch under a blanket. Of course, you know what usually happens when kids are playing and there is a blanket involved, someone usually ends up crying.

That day it was Morgan, and she came out from behind the couch with blood streaming from her mouth. Ally had accidently kicked her in the head.

Once I got Morgan cleaned up, we realized that her loose tooth had fallen out. She was pretty upset, so I tried to cheer her up by telling her the Tooth Fairy would come to visit that night and bring her a dollar.

Ally, always interested in money - even from a young age, suddenly started paying attention. She popped up from behind the couch and I could see the wheels turning in her head.

All of a sudden she said, "Hey Morgan, come back here and you can kick ME in the head!"

If only it were that simple.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Obama, The Amazing

My dad came over to visit last night. He had just returned home from Korea on National Pork Producers business.

He started telling us about his new baby donkey, Obama. (Now before anyone gets offended, remember that a donkey is the symbol of the Democratic party. This donkey is also black and very cute.)

Dad said, "He is really cute and does crazy things. He runs around and jumps and does all sorts of crazy things."

Austin said, "Hey Grandpa, does he juggle?"

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Unnecessary (Twilight) Interruptions (Warning: Long, Rambling Rant Ahead.)

I've been trying to think how to broach this subject for a while now without sounding mean. I don't know if it can be done delicately, but I really must get something off my chest.

My mom is obsessed with Twilight.

And it's ruining my life.

Now before you start to think that I'm being overly dramatic, just hear me out.

It wasn't when she read the books, or even when she knew they were going to make a movie about them, I think it all started when she saw on Entertainment Tonight who was going to be in the movie. My mom immediately called me up to have me look up who Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart are.

Now my mom doesn't have Internet, or even a computer for that matter. I've been trying to talk her into buying one for herself for months. She has the money, she just doesn't want to deal with learning how to use a computer yet. (And why should she when she has a perfectly good, computer literate daughter that is just a phone call away?)

Once she realized that Robert Pattinson was in some of the Harry Potter movies, she started watching them all over again, wanting to see who was going to be Edward, the vampire.

Then one day she asked me if I knew anything else Robert Pattinson had been in. I made the mistake of telling her I could look him up on the Internet to find out a little more about him. So then she started calling me, having me look up other things.

This would have been fine, if kept to a minimum. Unfortunately, it was like having another kid around. One who called a lot and asked a lot of questions.

Where do you think Robert Pattinson was born?

Has he been in anything else besides Harry Potter?

Has Kristen Stewart been in other movies?

Then her interest started to move into obsession. My mom bought every pre-Twilight book that was printed. And somewhere along the way, she discovered Again, since she doesn't own a computer, guess who she called every time she wanted to buy a book.

Things finally calmed down for a while about the time the movie actually came out. It turned out to be the calm before the storm. (Yes, she did drag me to the movie one of the 15 plus times she has seen it on the big screen. I thought it was all right, not my favorite though.)

Once my mom saw the actual movie things got way worse. Everything was "Robert Pattinson" this and "Robert Pattinson" that. She started buying more books about Robert Pattinson and magazines with him on the cover. Every conversation was about "Robert" or "Edward", as she sometimes called him.

How do you tell your mom that she is a raving lunatic without being disrespectful?

One day she had me on the computer on looking up each and every book about Robert Pattinson. I went through the extensive list and had to read each and every title out loud over the phone. We (she)ordered over $100 worth of books about Robert Pattinson. I came to one book and said "This one just looks like a stupid little teenager book." She said to tell her the title anyway. I read it and she said, "Oh, I already have that one."

Someone please help me!

Can I just say here that I have no desire to read any of the Twilight books. First of all, I'm not into vampires, or any other mythological creatures for that matter. Even the Harry Potter series is pushing it for me. At this point if I were to read the Twilight books I'd have to discuss them all with my mom at great length. And, honestly, I really don't have time for that.

I'm too busy ordering other Twilight-related paraphanelia for my mom on

She actually ended up ordering not one, but two special edition, double DVD Twilight movies. I told her I hoped she didn't think one was for me, because I was certainly not going to buy it. I buy all our DVDs used at Hollywood video for $5.99, even ones that I really want. She was sure someone else would want one so she went ahead and ordered both.

My mom went to all the midnight release parties for the movie, even though she had it ordered already (twice). She called me the next day and said, "Guess what! At Wal-Mart they drew numbers and they picked mine, so I was able to buy the special edition movie for only $17.99." I gently reminded her that she already HAD two other movies for the same price coming from Amazon that day. I started to panic because I didn't want to get stuck with one. She assured me that one of her friends would buy one and that she would keep the other to loan out to her friends.

Who does that?

If her friends liked the movie so much, they would buy their own, wouldn't they?

Well, things have calmed down somewhat, though my mom continues to buy any magazine that has Robert Pattinson on the cover, mostly teenage magazines. I have kind of enjoyed that part because she gives me the posters inside them, thinking my girls will be interested in the Miley Cyrus or Jonas Brothers posters. I use them to terrorize Morgan and Ally by taping the posters to their doors while they are sleeping. (They are not interested in Miley or the Jo Bros. Ally is a little past that point and Morgan was never interested.)

I went to my mom's house the other day and she had actually bought a G.Q. magazine because Robert was on the cover. I try not to give too much attention to things like that, because if I act at all interested then she takes it as an invitation to talk on and on about Robert and how wonderful she thinks he is. She talks about "Edward" and then when I act confused, she says "That's what I like to call him.", as if they are on a first name basis.

I need to know, should I call an intervention for this type of behavior?

My mom was on a new kind of kick today. She could buy magazines with leftover frequent flier miles so she called to ask for my help. Some of the titles were unfamiliar so she wanted me to look them up on the Internet to see if any of them were the type of magazine that would have "Robert" on the cover. I got as far as looking up New York Magazine when my Internet locked up. It was so bad that I told her I would need to shut the computer all the way down and pull it back up and it would take at least 20 minutes. I was also in the middle of the orange crayon incident, so I asked her to call me back in a couple of hours, after I had scrubbed all of the crayon out of the clothes.

Exactly one hour and 59 minutes later she called. I was still working on Hal's church shirt so I asked her to call back in 45 minutes. Exactly 45 minutes later she called. I swear she must have set a timer!

I put the clothes on hold and looked again at the magazines for her. My mother is nothing, if not persistent.

Oh yes, last week Morgan and I took my mom to the play, Wicked. While we walked to the theater from our hotel, my mom started telling Morgan about how "Robert" is afraid someone will stab him with a hypodermic needle and kidnap him (or something like that). When Morgan had the audacity to ask her grandma who Robert was, my mom snapped "Robert Pattinson." as if Morgan was a silly little fool who should have known.

I did buy my mom a box of "Twilight" candy hearts (leftover from Valentine's Day) for May Day. When Morgan and I presented them to her she said she was glad we'd bought the ones with Robert on the front because she already had the ones with Kristen. She told Morgan she bought Kristen because she already had so many things with Robert on them.

Does anyone else have a mom with similar qualities that we could put into contact with my mom? They could keep each other company talking about Twilight trivia.

Today I started thinking of all the time I've wasted hearing trivial facts
I've wasted a lot of time, but I have learned a lot of interesting, though useless information.

Like when is Robert Pattinson's birthday? (It's May 13. Yesterday. Do you know how I know? She told me yesterday at Austin's preschool graduation. Twice. Loudly. And once more at my house because I didn't respond at the preschool graduation.)

That woman has got to get herself a computer!

Oh, and p.s., Robert Pattinson smells like roses too, in case you wanted to know. My mom read it somewhere, so it must be true!


I just found a whole, fully wrapped sleeve of Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies in my underwear drawer.

I wonder how the kids missed them.

Preschool Graduation and Another Annoying Mess

Last night Austin graduated from preschool. We are all so proud.

They had a cute little program, which was not too long, only about a half hour.

Each child had a little two line part and they sang lots of cute little songs. Since Austin is my third kid to go to this preschool, I pretty much have the whole program memorized by now. His teacher, Jean Hunter, said she was going to make a new program for parents like us, but I kind of like knowing what to expect. (And did I mention that it only lasts about a half hour? Why mess with a good thing?)

Aren't they cute little crayons?

Well, anyway, to celebrate this rite of passage, Austin did something he has been doing a lot lately. He stole a crayon. Or, to be more specific, an orange crayon.

It started one day when he came home from preschool with an orange crayon in his back pack. Orange is his favorite color and he usually drags along a toy or two in his backpack to preschool, so I didn't think anything of it until I realized it was a whole crayon, not one of the broken ones we use around here. And it still had the paper wrapper around it. Definitely not one of ours.

Upon further questioning, he confirmed that it was, indeed, one of the crayons from preschool. I told him to take it back, end of discussion. Until I found another one (or maybe still the same one) in his room later. This one I returned personally.

So now, the day after preschool graduation, I've done a load of white and light colored laundry. Guess what I found in the dryer, along with lots of ruined clothes? If you said a half melted orange crayon, you'd be right. (With the paper still halfway on it, so I knew where it had come from.)

Usually it's only Ally's pockets I've had to be really careful to check well. We've had more than one half eaten candy bar wreak havoc on the laundry. So far Austin's pockets have usually only held rocks, which are annoying, but not destructive.

So, I frantically searched the web for advice on how to handle this particular catastrophe. WD40. Darn, there was no WD40 to be found in the garage. I called Hal and asked him where it was. He said he'd run to one of his workplaces and get some. In the meantime I filled the tub with water, borax, detergent and the stained clothes, most of which were some of my favorite summer clothes, one of Hal's good church shirts, Austin's church pants and Ally's favorite school shirt. Then I checked the shed out back and found the WD40. I then checked the website again for the specific directions, only to find that WD40 is not so great to put in the dryer because it is flammable. (I know it probably wouldn't happen if you wash the clothes a few times, but with my luck....)

Anyway, I found another post that recommended De-Solv-It. I happened to have some of that from when Morgan was in preschool. She had fallen asleep one night with gum in her mouth that (of course) magically transferred itself into her hair. I sent her to school for two full days with the gum in her hair until I found a solution that I trusted would take out the gum without ruining her hair. (The things I do for these kids!)

So, anyway, after LOTS of scrubbing I've successfully gotten most of the orange crayon out of most of the clothes. Hal's white church shirt is the biggest casualty so far. I think it's because the weave is so tight and doesn't really have any "give". Also, it's hard to tell which side of the fabric the orange is on because when it's wet it looks the same on both sides. At least his shirt is replaceable.

I finally remembered to call Hal to tell him not to worry about the WD40 but he was already on his way home, which was a good thing because he was able to get the big fan down and run it in the bathroom for me so I didn't asphyxiate myself. De-Solv-It has very potent fumes. I had a killer headache after just a few minutes of using it and the open window just wasn't cutting it.

One great tip I learned on the Internet was how to get the melted crayon out of the dryer. Magic Eraser. It worked like a charm.

You know, while I was scrubbing I had a lot of time to think. My kids are pretty thorough when it comes to a lot of things. Unfortunately it is the wrong kinds of things. Thorough is good when it comes to cleaning your bedroom or editing a paper for mistakes. Not good when it comes to making messes, like ruining a whole batch of laundry. I need to work on this little problem that we have. I'll add it to the list of things I'm planning on teaching the kids this summer.

In the meantime, does anyone know where I can find a box with only orange crayons in it, so I can give them to Austin's teacher for a thank-you gift?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Still Waiting for Tulips!

My tulips still aren't showing themselves very much. We've got a bit of a start in the front,

but still not much action on the side.

I do like this one little clump that has shown up in front of our front window.

I don't think the purple was supposed to be there but it bloomed proudly anyway.

A good lesson for us all. (I think.)

Summer Shoes

I just love colorful summer shoes. I didn't realize that I had so many.

Don't tell my husband, okay?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fish Stick Friday

Ok, so I know it's Tuesday, but that's how we roll around here sometimes. Bear with me and I'll explain the title in a minute.

Have you ever gotten into the habit of eating the same thing for the same occasion? We've gotten into an American Idol food jag. And we've kind of enjoyed it.

Last year it was grilled cheese sandwiches. Not just any old grilled cheese, I'll have you know, we ate the best darn grilled cheese sandwiches ever. You take good bread, add cheese (I like mozzarella, but the rest of the family is more into cheddar), tomatoes and onions and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning. Then you place it carefully on a George Foreman grill, maybe shred a little more cheese on top to add a nice effect, and there you have it. If any cheese oozes out, you need to make sure it gets nice and crispy and black. Or, wrap it around the bread until it gets dark and crispy. Yum! (The George Foreman does really good spinach quesadillas too.)

This year we ended up eating fish sticks during one of the first days of American Idol. And they tasted pretty darn good. They are Van de Kamp's Crunchy Fish Sticks in the blue box. So the kids asked for them the next week. And the next week. And the next. (You get the idea.) They were on a really good sale, so I stocked up on them and bought just enough boxes to get us through the American Idol finale next week. I'd buy more but they are kind of expensive and I think they make me break out.

Now, I'm not really a big fan of fish sticks but these are really good fish sticks. The are even good enough to eat with nothing else on them. And they really are crunchy. We actually fight over who gets the last fish stick. They are NOTHING like the fish sticks from my childhood.

At my elementary school in Nebraska, Alcott Elementary, we had fish sticks every (can you guess which day?) Friday. (You got it right, didn't you?) Apparently we had a large number of Catholic students in the area and it was a religious thing to eat fish on Friday, I guess. I should ask the Catholic family that lives next door if that is the case.

Now these were nasty, soggy, rotten, fishy tasting fish sticks. The only thing that saved fish stick Friday for me as a kid was the chocolate milk they served us as kind of a consolation prize. I still always drink chocolate milk when I eat fish sticks.

It just wouldn't seem right without it.

On an even more disgusting note, the cat threw up on my car today.

I saw a little of it on the hood and upon further inspection I found out that she had originally thrown up on the windshield and then it slid down almost under the top of the hood. That was not a fun thing to clean up, but I figured it would be better to take care of it before it got baked on once the engine warmed up.

I had to hurry because I was on my way to get Austin from preschool and I always time everything down to the minute. I leave at just the right time so I'm there in time to get a parking spot but not too early so I don't have to sit and wait too long.

I need to quit being like that because it gets stressful when something happens that slows me down for a minute. Even something like a neighbor stopping to talk to me or a kid needing to use the bathroom at the last minute will throw me over the edge because it will make me only four minutes early instead of my usual five or six minutes. One of my few OCD tendencies that I'm trying to overcome.

Why is it that these days they call it OCD and in earlier generations they called it "being responsible"?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day is Now Officially Over

We woke up this morning and Austin had wet the bed (again).

I started to tell him very gently that he needed to get into the tub and that I was going to have him start wearing pull-ups at night, etc.

This is what I could hear him mumbling from under the covers, where he was hiding:

"Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah."

Sunday, May 10, 2009

An Unfortunate Phone Mishap

A couple of years ago, I needed to call my little brother, Scott, on the phone.

I can't remember the reason, I wish I did, because it might shed some light on why I said what I did in the message. I can remember distinctly what I said, because of what happened when I figured out that I had dialed a wrong number.

Anyway, I dialed the number that I had pulled out of my mental Rolodex (big mistake). I got a generic answering machine message (which I think should be outlawed, by the way) so I left my message.

The message went something like this:

"Scott, this is Holly. I need to talk to you. I forgot to ask you something when I saw you last week and I need to talk to you soon because Todd (one of my other brothers) is being a jerk. Give me a call back soon. Thanks."

Now this message by itself wouldn't be that bad, except for the calling my other brother a jerk part, which I really, honestly don't do very often, and only for very good reasons. I really do wish I could remember what was going on at the time and why I said that.

Okay, so here's the rest of the story.

After I hung up the phone, something didn't seem right. Then I remembered that Scott's answering machine always had his daughter talking on it and it was always the same message, even after the power had been out. I must have mis-dialed, though I knew that I knew the number that I had called.

We have the kind of phone book where you can look up a number to see who it belongs to. So I looked it up.

I had just called my old high school boyfriend's parents.

Oh darn.

Did they have caller i.d.?

Who doesn't these days?

Do they know my married name?

Probably not, but maybe. They had been invited to my wedding and had met my husband so they would have known my last name at one point.

Ok, well that shouldn't be too big of a deal.

Then I started thinking about the message I had left.

Let me just put it here again for reference:

"Scott, this is Holly. I need to talk to you. I forgot to ask you something when I saw you last week and I need to talk to you soon because Todd is being a jerk. Give me a call back soon. Thanks."

Sound innocent enough? Well let me fill you in on a couple of minor details.

My old boyfriend's name: Scott. I was his girlfriend for about three years, all through high school. When his parents hear the name Holly, it's probably me they would think of.

Name of his best friend: Todd. (Todd hated me and was very mean to me in high school because I spent so much time with Scott. Todd was very close to Scott's family. Their families even shared a cabin at Bear Lake, so Scott's parents would naturally think of him when I said the name Todd.)

Can you see where this might be a problem?

Let's just look at this one more time in the context that Scott's parents might take it in:

"Scott (their son), this is Holly (old girlfriend from 25 years ago). I need to talk to you. I forgot to ask you something when I saw you last week (why would we see each other last week?) and I need to talk to you soon because Todd (Scott's best friend) is being a jerk. Give me a call back soon. Thanks."

I wanted to cry! How do I get myself into situations like this when I'm just minding my own business?

Well, I guess that didn't matter right then, what did matter was how I was going to get myself out of the situation.

Here's what I did:

I called the number back and left another message that went something like this:

"Hi, this is Holly. I think I accidentally left a message on your machine by mistake. I was trying to call my brother and I think I must have mis-dialed. Please disregard the previous message."

One thing I learned from this whole episode is not to call anybody a jerk on an answering machine, even if they deserve it.

The other thing I learned is to always look up Scott's (my brother) number before I call him. I'm rather paranoid about that part.

I don't want to have a repeat performance of what happened the first time. (Seriously, am I the only person things like this happen to?)

Mother's Day 2009

I think I've just learned the trick to this whole Mother's Day business.

All guilt and feelings of inadequacy aside (that's a whole other post), you just need to ask for what you want and, hopefully, you'll get it.

This year I've told my family that I don't want gifts (we don't have the money or space right now), I told them I want TIME and EFFORT. Specifically, time to do whatever I want, with no interruptions, and effort, on their parts, to get stuff done.

It sort of worked this year.

I told them Saturday was my day to do whatever I wanted.

The first thing I wanted to do was color my hair. It's really difficult to find a block of uninterrupted time to do something like that. I also think there are some things my husband and kids don't need to see me doing, so I firmly locked the door behind me and told them not to bother me unless the house was on fire. I don't know how other people get their own hair done. (Oh yes, they go to an actual salon and/or they have kids in school all day and/or husbands who have regular office hours so they know in advance when they will get to be alone for an hour. I like to plan things out! I would be happy if I knew everything I was going to do two weeks in advance. I still don't do well with this fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants lifestyle that we've been living for so many years now.) Anyway I think it's time to camouflage the gray hairs for another six weeks or so, even though I have earned each and every one of them, and then some!

Well, since I had to give up on using permanent color for a while, I've had to go with demi-permanent. One big problem with this for me is that it always goes on so dark. All the brown shades actually look black on me. Every time I color my hair I go with a lighter shade than the one before. I am now down to using a color called Medium Natural Blonde and my hair is still a very dark brown, kind of the color of chocolate, which isn't a bad color at all if you're a candy bar. My favorite question to ask everyone this weekend is what color they think my haircolor is called. I tell them I'll give them ten bucks if they can guess the color. So far nobody has been close yet.

The other thing I wanted (and needed) to do was go through everything in my closet. I needed to rotate the clothes and put the fall and winter things away (yes, I do that semi-annually, don't you?) and then I tried on EACH and EVERY questionable thing in my closet to see if it really still fit, if it looked stupid, etc. One thing I did learn is that my girls, especially Morgan, are pretty good critics when it comes to deciding what to keep. For example, if I walked into Morgan's room to show her something that I had tried on and she burst into laughter, I would know it was time to give it up for good. (I only kept one thing she laughed at because it is a good basic skirt and it just "might" come back in style. The fact that it's almost to my ankles didn't deter me. At least I can always make it shorter, I can't make other things longer.)

This process took about five times longer than necessary because Austin had two friends over to play all day. I had to keep pausing in between wardrobe changes to get them drinks of water, snacks, more snacks, check on the strange thumping sounds coming from his room, etc. It's funny they didn't seem to notice that every time I helped them with something I was wearing something totally different from what I'd had on the last time I helped them. They also had a water fight in the back yard, which was a dumb idea because it was still kind of cold. Young boys don't seem to take cold well.

Next year I'll have to stress the "uninterrupted" time part a little better.

The other technique that worked for me this year was to say "All I want you guys to do for Mother's Day this year is ....." and then tell the kids a specific chore, which they would work at half-heartedly for a while. The beauty of this idea was that they would never really finish a task, so a day or so later I would give them another job and say "This is really all I want for Mother's Day." and again, they would start the job and work at it for a while. I started doing this a good week or so before Mother's Day. They never really finished anything, but they did do (and at least start) a lot of things they wouldn't have done otherwise. The girls did a really good job of cleaning up the kitchen and setting the table nicely one of the days.

The actual Mother's Day turned out to be a nice day. We went to church and had no real mishaps, except for the few minutes when I was in the room with all the Mia Maids and some of their parents, because Morgan was being put into the presidency and they were all getting set apart. During one of the prayers, something someone did reminded me of something funny that had happened at the Fronk adult Christmas party this year and I started giggling somewhat uncontrollably for no apparent reason to everyone else in the room. Luckily I was able to pull myself together a little better than I usually do, so it wasn't too bad. Morgan asked me later what was the matter with me, so I guess it was somewhat noticeable.

For Mother's Day each of the women got a little package of chocolates. They matched my new haircolor quite nicely. And they were tasty too.

After church I took quite a while putting music on the MP3 player that one of my brothers and I had bought for my mom for Mother's Day. Hal came home from church after a while and he cooked steaks on the grill for dinner. They actually turned out really well, even though when he went to shake the grill seasoning on them the lid came off and poured the whole bottle of stuff on the first steak.

After dinner we went to see my mom (my dad is in Korea) and then went to see Hal's mom and dad.

Hal's dad isn't doing well. He's been in advanced stage Prostate Cancer for over a year and a half now. He's really in a lot of pain and not in good shape. We've almost lost him a couple of times recently. He's also really hard for Hal's mom to take care of. She can't leave him alone for very long at all. Things are hard on both of them right now and also very sad to see. Hal's dad and I have very similar temperaments so he has been kind of a kindred spirit all these years we've been married (20 years, this coming October). Hal's mom is very social and outgoing, so staying home this much has really been challenging for her. I think she really needs to interact with people and she has really been missing that lately.

During the visit with Grandma Fronk, she told me something that Austin had said last time he was there, a few days earlier. Austin told her and Hal that one of my brothers had said that "Grandpa was a loser." I wonder where he got that? My brothers barely even know Grandpa Fronk. What goes through that kid's head? Someone please tell me!

We had a nice visit, even though by then Hal and I both had headaches and didn't feel too well. As we headed home my stomach started churning too, kind of like I was getting a migraine.

In the car, Austin was complaining because we wouldn't let him play with any friends today, even though he got to see his cousin, Justin, at Grandma Fronk's. He asked if he could see Madelyn and Chandler Lund and I told him since it was Mother's Day (and Sunday) they would be busy doing things with their mom.

He said, "What? You mean on Mother's Day you have to do whatever your mom wants? I really hate Mother's Day!" and then he started to cry.

So there you go. We came home at about 7:30, Hal fell promptly asleep on the bed and I just crashed too and watched the finale of Celebrity Apprentice, which wasn't that great. When it was over I came down and ate something and got the kids in bed. Hal is still sleeping. I guess this is my uninterrupted time. I'll take advantage of it while I can.

And that's about it for this year.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Easter 2009

Easter was emotionally exhausting for me this year, though it really was a pretty good day.

We started off the weekend by doing the usual things, coloring eggs, hiding them, (and then throwing them at things and smashing them when Easter was over), etc.

Here is Austin about 30 seconds after he dropped and smashed the rainbow egg I so lovingly made. (I think I make one of these every year. Maybe next year I'll get a little more creative.)

This is the best shot I was able to get of the kids before church. They weren't thrilled AT ALL to have a picture taken. Morgan's glasses have a worse glare in all the other ones. Ally is going through a "gray" phase. This is the most springy thing I could get her to wear. She is also going through another sort of phase. One that involves her calling me "homie" and saying "yo" a lot and calling us all her "peeps". I hope she moves on to another phase soon. One that doesn't involve saying "Peace out." every time she leaves a room. Enough said about that!

During Sacrament Meeting I was a mess.

It all started off when Nate Bringhurst blessed the Sacrament for the first time ever. Nate has Williams Disease and is quite an entertaining character. He has finally outgrown the phase where he would go up to bear his testimony and he would throw back his head and then laugh hysterically into the microphone. I kind of miss those days. Anyway, since he has turned 16 he has been asking to bless the Sacrament for a few months now. I actually didn't know that he could read. It took him a few tries and once he calmed down a bit he did fine. I don't think there was a dry eye in the place, except for my parents, who didn't know the situation because they were just visiting, so they just looked confused.

Morgan had to give a talk and she really did an impressive job. She quoted some really good Conference talks and threw in some of her own perspective on the Atonement. She even used terms like "woefully inadequate" in the process. She is very poised when she speaks, much unlike I am. She did such a good job that they commented on it in all the other classes I went to that day. Both teachers in Sunday School even commented on it. I was really proud of her. Unfortunately for me, I also cry when my kids do something that I'm proud of. It's embarrassing.

One of the other speakers told a story that I hate. I really despise it because it is so painful to listen to. It was a story about a man who controlled the switches at a railroad and (long story short) one night he had to make the quick decision of whether to save a whole passenger train full of people or his own son. It is then likened to the Atonement and how Heavenly Father must have felt sending Jesus down to die for all of us. One reason I really hate this story is because I have a little boy that died and I always think of him when I hear it. I sat there just crying, trying to control myself so I wouldn't break out sobbing. I sat and clutched Austin tightly the whole time.

I was quickly running out of clean Kleenex to dab at my eyes and nose. By the time the meeting was over, I was in dire need of cleaning out my nasal cavities, because they were so full of everything I had held back during the meeting. (Unfortunately, when my eyes run, my nose also runs.) I thought I'd be pretty safe putting the Kleenex up my nose during the prayer since nobody would be looking at me then.

Mark Leishman was saying the prayer and just at the second I had my fingers up both sides of my nose (covered with a Kleenex, of course), he said, "And thank you for Sister Fronk..."

What? What was he talking about?

I felt very conspicuous as if everyone had opened their eyes and was staring at me. Well, hopefully they weren't. I'll never know because I kept MY eyes tightly shut out of sheer mortification. It was one of those moments when you can literally hear the blood rushing past your ears.

I finally figured out that he meant Morgan (YOUNG Sister Fronk) for the talk that she had given. Whew.

I made it through Sunday School with only 1/2 a dry Kleenex left, which I promptly went through because I couldn't get that ($@#^) story out of my mind. I was finally down to only soggy Kleenex shreds and the last limp Kleenex that had someone's gum in it and I had probably already used another day, which I ended up having to use because I had nothing else left (I'm not proud).

I made it through about ten minutes of Relief Society, just long enough to hear them say nice things about Morgan's talk again and then I went home, blew my nose properly and pulled myself together somewhat. I then decided to play Easter Bunny, so the kids were pretty impressed to come home from church and see that he had already been there and hidden their baskets. I made it back to church in time to sing the last song and hear the closing prayer in Relief Society.

I'm mad because this is the first year I haven't gotten photos of the kids with their baskets. Last year I was smart and got a picture of the baskets BEFORE they found them, with everything still intact and looking cute. Oh well.

This year Grandpa and Grandma Hendricks came over for dinner and then we had another Easter egg hunt for Austin. We used my china for the first time in a long time. When I put it away, I made it more accessible so we can start using it again. There's no reason to have nice things if they are just packed away, right? I do need to get a better table cloth to use though. The only one I have that is off-white melted in the dryer the last time I used it and I haven't gotten a new one yet. Of course I only think about it when I need a table cloth and there is no time to get one. We have a pretty big table too, so it's hard to find one that is big enough and on sale.

What else? I can't think of anything else, but this is my favorite photo of me from Easter. I think I was fixing my shoe that was falling off and Ally took a picture of me.

I think it's my best side.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Preschool Chatter

The other day I was driving Austin and Kate Daines, the girl we carpool with, to school. Kate was telling us that her mom was putting water in bottles because their water was going to be off that day.

She then started listing all the other beverages in their fridge. Austin had just one question for her:

"Hey Kate, any alcohol?"

Upon further questioning, I found out that Austin had learned about the Word of Wisdom and that alcohol was bad for us, in church the day before.

Of course, the way he asked sounded like he was interested in trying some, so I was a little concerned about that.

That afternoon I was driving past our neighbors', the Saraivas', house and waved to their teenage son.

Austin plays with their daughter, Drianna, and had seen Derek before, so I was a little surprised when he said to me, "Do you even KNOW that guy?"

I'll have to be careful so I don't wave to real strangers in front of him, I guess.

The next time Austin went to preschool, he came home and asked me what a math geek was. I told him it was someone who was good at math.

I then asked him where he had heard the term (thinking it must have been from t.v.) and he said, "Connor called me that."

"Why did he call you that?", I asked, feeling so proud.

"Because I told him a math problem."

"Which one?"

"One plus two equals five."

Friday, May 1, 2009

Spring Flowers

I'd love to post some photos of my beautiful tulips here, but they still haven't bloomed! I feel like we are the only house in the neighborhood where they haven't shown their faces yet.

I kind of feel like the Giant in the story where his garden never bloomed until he let a little boy play in the corner of it.

Maybe this is a sign that I should be nicer to the neighbor kids.

Hopefully in the next day or so we'll see some action because I LOVE my tulips. They are definitely my favorite flowers.

On another note, I just realized that I forgot to write about Easter. I'll have to do that soon before I forget all the good parts. (Morgan gave a really good talk and I thought I got caught with my finger in my nose. Details later.)

I can't write about it now because I am packing to go to Salt Lake to go see the play Wicked! Can't wait.

Have a great weekend!

Mother's Day Already?

Ally came home from Activity Days with a special surprise for me for Mother's Day that she promptly hid. She also generously offered me a piece of taffy.

An hour or so later I saw her munching on some more pieces of taffy.

That night she asked if she could give me my Mother's Day gift early, because she said it would be for the best. Of course I said yes.

Look at how cute it is!

What you don't see is the empty toothpicks on the back where a lot of the taffy is missing!

That girl is more like me than she will ever know.

Trick Pony

For some reason my younger kids have been pulling the feathers out of my feather duster lately instead of using them for the intended purpose. One day I found Morgan in this getup. It's what I lovingly like to call her "Trick Pony" look.