Perpetual Plan B

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Few Things That Made My Afternoon Nap Very Un-Relaxing Today:

I have not taken an afternoon nap for a very long time. Now I remember why I don't usually attempt it. Here, in no particular order, is what happened today:

1. Austin kept waking me up every 10 minutes. I think I've written about this problem before. It makes me feel much worse than I did BEFORE my nap. I know I was actually asleep at least once because I was dreaming that I was in Austin's room and it was a mess. I was very unhappy about this. I was glad to find out later that it was just a dream and his room was still clean.

2. The fly that kept buzzing around my head and occasionally landing on me. If I were a Transformer, I'd have at least one hand that could turn into a giant flyswatter when necessary.

3. A toothache that hurts in at least three different places in my mouth and won't settle into just one tooth so I can get it fixed!

4. My children found the harmonica that I bought for them a few years ago. They never play it when I ask them to, only when it is very inconvenient for me to hear it.

5. The couch smells much worse than it did when we bought it in 1990. (19 years ago for those of you who don't like math.)

Heaven help me, I need a nap! (And some aspirin.)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

John Wayne Fronk 1919-2009

My sweet father-in-law passed away early this morning after a long, painful battle with prostate cancer and other ailments. He was 90 years old.

While he might not be described as sweet by many other people, he was always very kind and loving toward me, which I've greatly appreciated. I feel like I've lost a kindred spirit, as we share a lot of the same personality traits, some of which other people don't always understand or appreciate.

My father-in-law lost his mother when he was young, to Parkinson's disease, so I think a lot of his life was spent looking for that same kind of love that he missed out on as a boy.

He had a wonderful sense of humor. One of the first things he said to me when Hal and I became engaged was, "Do you think you can keep him in the manner to which he is accustomed?" I, not knowing him all that well yet, gulped and squeaked out a terrified, "No, but I'll try." He grinned at that response.

One other thing that stands out in my mind is how kind he was to me the day I about burned his tongue off. The family was at my house for a baby blessing (or maybe a baptism). Hal's family is fond of drinking Mate', which all started on Grandpa Fronk's mission to Argentina. That day I said I'd make him a Mate' but I didn't realize you weren't supposed to boil the water before you served it. He took one long drink on the bombilla (metal straw) and immediately spit it out. I can't remember exactly what he said, but it was kind. I'm sure he suffered for days with a burnt tongue but I never heard another word about it.

He also loved shopping. When he was healthier, Grandpa Fronk would buy all sorts of treasures, year round, which he would distribute mainly at Christmas time. The children and then the adults would have a "trunk opening" where an item would be held up to (hopefully) be claimed by someone who would be excited to receive it. You never knew when you might come home with a new frying pan, an address book or five bottles of fingernail polish. We got many good articles of clothing and some fun toys from those trunk openings. He loved a good bargain and many years there would be multiples of any given item. A lot of times he would get matching sweatshirts or sweaters for the men or the women. Grandpa always really loved high heeled shoes and loved to buy them for Grandma.

Books played an important part in Grandpa Fronk's life. He loved reading and learning. He stressed education strongly to his children. He read a great deal as long as he physically could. He would walk to the library in Tremonton almost every day to see what books they would be foolish enough to sell for twenty five cents each. It would not be unusual for him to come home every day with two big sacks full of books, much to Grandma Fronk's chagrin.

One thing we all know for sure is that family was the most important thing to Grandpa. Since he didn't have much of a strong family support growing up, he knew he wanted his children to have a better home life. He worked hard to give them material blessings, but most importantly he taught them the gospel and gave them strong family ties. I've never seen a family that is more loyal and devoted to one another. That is truly a great legacy to leave.

It was so difficult to see him struggle the last couple of years and also to see how hard it was for Grandma Fronk to take care of him. We know he is now with his mother, making up for lost time and also at peace from his physical pain.

Grandpa Fronk, we love you and will miss you so much.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dear Blog.....

Hello Blog.
I've missed you.
I have so much to tell you when I get a minute. I even have pictures to show you.
I've been busy taking care of one very busy husband and these three rambunctious characters:

We've had a fun summer but now it's time for me to clean up a few things (actually a lot of things) in the house before I go nuts!
Hope to see you again soon and spend some quality time.
Love, Holly

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Healthy Food

Today Austin was telling me how sad he felt when he saw a commercial full of kids with cleft lips and cleft palates.

I said, "Aren't you so glad you were born healthy?"

He said, "Yes, it must be from all that healthy food I ate up in heaven."

(No Austin, it's from all that healthy food I ate - and also had a hard time keeping down - when you were in heaven.)

Austin's Harry Potter Birthday Party

Here is part two of Austin's birthday - the party. Of course it was a Harry Potter birthday party. I'm glad the girls are old enough to help me get ready for it.

First things first, the cupcakes. I don't know if they look very magical or not, but they still tasted pretty good, even if I do say so myself.
Now, on to the sorting hat to see which house you will end up in.

On the table, on the left hand side of the photo, is the "goblet of fire", which actually did light up, though you probably can't see it here. It held the magic wands.
Here come the cousins! The older, more devious ones ended up in Slytherin.
First we played "Pin the Glasses on Harry". Morgan graciously made the game for us.

The game stayed on our house for about a week (well, maybe longer), because we forgot to take it down.
Next we did a craft project with the little craft noodles that are biodegradable. They are the best! (Sorry, no photos.)
Next was my personal favorite: Potions Class!

I would suggest only having about 4 different choices to mix. Six was way too many. We mixed potions with all the neighbor kids for days. I finally ended up pouring a lot of the Kool-Aid down the sink. Don't tell my kids!
Of course, our little Harry had a few gifts to open. Ironically, most of them were of the Spiderman variety, his other current obsession.

Grandma did come through with his very own copy of the first Harry Potter book and some Harry Potter glasses that looked even better once we bent them into the right shape.

Whew! This party ranks pretty high on the preparation scale, but I think they all had a pretty good time.
We sent the kids home with little magic sets. (The ones we had left over for the cousins who couldn't come at the last minute also magically disappeared. My money would be on Slytherin.)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Groundhog Day? No, it's Austin's Birthday.

This is the conversation Austin and I have had, word for word, first thing every morning for the last month or so:

Austin: "So is it my birthday today, or what?"

Me: "No, it's not your birthday yet."


That is, every day until TODAY, which is his birthday.

Here's how our morning went:

(First, a little background info. I have been extra busy this past week getting things ready for school next week, Ally had her birthday and Morgan had her birthday party, though her birthday isn't until next Saturday. We also have a family party today for our nephew, which I made a big cake for yesterday and Austin scraped all the frosting off one big corner and ate "Because it was so, so yummy!" We've also been getting ready for Austin's major Harry Potter birthday event with his cousins and other side of the family tomorrow night. We've been staying up late every night and getting up early every day. In the midst of all this I've had a killer toothache, having had a big filling re-done last week and the dentist accidentally hit a major nerve with the needle. I'm hoping this will eventually work itself out! As an added bonus, I ended up with a huge stye in my eye at the bottom of one of my eyelids. After talking to my eye doctor brother-in-law, I found out that it is something else and will probably grow BIGGER and last for over a month. Nice. Also, we still have at least three major family crises we are trying to help with, etc., etc. It's at the point I've instructed the kids not to even think about picking up the phone unless I know who it is and what they want. I can't deal with one more thing. This morning would be the only morning I would have any chance of sleeping in because the church we will be going to starts at 1:00, instead of our usual 9:00 time. I was looking forward to getting a little extra shuteye. At least sleeping in until 8:00, that's not too much to ask is it? Last night I stayed up too late talking to my friend Melinda, who moved to Colorado, on the phone. She was telling me about picking up a hitchhiker in Laramie, Wyoming. I spent a lot of time telling her she was nuts. I might get to see her today or tomorrow if I can fit it in between family parties. And hopefully a nap.)

So Hal left around 6:00 or 6:30 for his regular meetings. Promptly after he left, Austin woke me up.

Austin: "Mom, is it really my birthday today?"

Me: "Yes Austin, now go back to sleep."

Austin: "But mom, you said I could have my magic set today!"

Me, after weighing my options: "Okay, go get it, just let me sleep."

Two minutes later:

Austin: "Mom, where is it?"

Me: "On my dresser, in a bag."

Two more minutes later:

Austin, holding a bag: "Mom, is it in this bag?"

Me, opening one eyelid: "No, it's in the other bag."

Another minute:

Austin: "I don't see it in this bag either."

Me, opening another eyelid: "How many bags are on my dresser?"

Austin: "Three."

Me: "Well then look in the other bag and let me sleep!"

Five minutes later, Austin taps me on the shoulder.

"Mom, will you help me open the magic set?"

"Austin! If you don't let me get some sleep, you'll never live to see another birthday! Go get one of your sisters to help you!"

"I can't, they're asleep."

I open the bag and rest my aching head for a while. Ten minutes later Austin shows up by my bed.

"Mom, I don't know how to do the magic tricks. Will you read the directions to me?"

"Austin! Go wake up one of your sisters. Let me sleep!"

"I don't need to wake Morgan up, she is already awake."

"Well then go ask her, let me sleep."


I groan and roll over again. It is now about 7:30 a.m.

Five minutes later:


"What? I thought you were going to ask Morgan to help you!"

"I did, she read the directions. I need a dime for one of my tricks."

Me, getting more annoyed: "Austin, don't you remember the rule? If I'm sleeping, you are NOT supposed to wake me up unless it is an emergency!"

Austin, very calmly: "It is an emergency, Morgan didn't have a dime."

I called, not very calmly, for Morgan to come upstairs. She said she'd keep him busy. She went ahead and gave him her birthday presents to keep him busy. He had already found and opened everything else that Hal and I had bought him. I hid them in what I thought was an ingenious place, under his own bed. Austin doesn't sleep there or go into his bedroom alone because he gets too scared, so I was sure they would be safe. Unfortunately the neighbor kid, who is older, was here playing with him and got curious. They both ended up playing with all Austin's new birthday presents last week while Ally and I were in New York. So much for that great idea.

So Austin kept busy with the little alien and rocket ship that Morgan had given him for about 15 minutes. Then he woke me up to cut the tag off the little stuffed alien. I should have just given up then and gotten up. I think it's harder on your system to keep waking up and drifting back to sleep, but I was TIRED! (I still am.)

Morgan then got into the shower and I drifted back off to sleep. Ally was now up, so she gave Austin her present, a Rubik's Cube. I dozed for another few minutes when a very ironic thing happened. I had actually fallen asleep and was dreaming I was with my mom and girls in a park in Italy eating dinner. They were eating spaghetti. I had picked what looked like a big bunch of grapes off of a tree and was eating them first. When I was done and ready for my spaghetti, they had already cleaned up dinner. I was HUNGRY! Oh well, story of my life, a day late and a dollar short. Anyway, I woke up to the phone ringing, which is not a particularly pleasant sound if you are dog tired and groggy to boot. Since Hal was gone and Morgan was in the shower, I knew I'd have to be the one to get it, and since it was Sunday it might be an important call for Hal. I looked at the clock and couldn't believe it, it was 9:30!

Anyway, the even zippier, ironic twist was that it was my mom calling.

"Did I wake you up?" she asked, genuinely surprised. Usually I'm the one calling HER after 9:00 a.m. and waking her up.

"You told me to call this morning so I could wish Austin Happy Birthday." she said. "I wanted to catch you before you left for the day."

"At the rate I'm going, we're not going anywhere today." I muttered under my breath. I was truly not feeling well at this point. My mom then proceeded to tell me something about a Martha Stewart magazine and I somehow misunderstood and thought she had said that Martha had died. (And to be honest, I really didn't care at that point. I just wanted some sleep!)

After the phone call, Austin said, "Mom can you just get up and get me a drink of milk?"

I finally quit fighting it and got up.

He wanted Marshmallow Mateys for his birthday, which is usually a no-go until he eats something else healthy first. He did keep reminding me, "But it is my birthday!" As if I could forget! I gave in.

I sat down to start this post and then Ally came in later and pointed out that he had eaten all of the marshmallows and left the mateys.

So here we are today up to this point. Hopefully I will have something more pleasant to post about Austin's birthday later.

If I haven't sold him to the gypsies by then.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Foods I Don't Enjoy Eating:

I don't like celery, though I will use it in soup, when it is called for in the recipe. I have to chop it very fine to trick myself into eating it. Even the smell is unbearable to me.

I'm not fond at all of peanut butter. The strange thing is, I like it in candy, but I wouldn't eat a peanut butter sandwich for $100.00. I just couldn't choke it down. Believe me, between my mom and my mother-in-law I've had plenty of opportunities to try and eat one to be polite. It just doesn't happen.

And raisins? Just the thought of those sinister looking, little dried fruits makes me shudder! (And yes, if they are in a cinnamon roll, I do pick them out, like a little kid. I just can't make myself eat them.)

So, my nightmare food would pretty much be ants on a log.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Another Pet Peeve

Since I'm already feeling peevish today, I thought I'd get out on paper (in cyberspace, whatever) one thing that drives me absolutely nuts.

It's when people will call and leave a message that just says, "Call me back."

Why don't they say what they want? Tell me what they need? That way if they have a question I can find out the answer before I call them back. If they need to borrow something I can round it up so I can tell them to go ahead and come over and get it.

I'm not a real big fan of the telephone and I hate wasting time!

So from now on, when you call someone - especially me, please leave a detailed message so I will know what I need to know or do before I call you back.

Unless I decide I don't want to do what you want me to. In that case it may be a while before I get back to you.

This has been your public service announcement for the day.

(You're welcome.)

A Warm and Fuzzy Thought For the Day:

Mean people stink.

Actually, now that I think about it, I wish they really did stink. Then the rest of us would all know who to stay away from.

I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone would want to be mean and vindictive and hurt other people on purpose. I know some of us, myself included, sometimes say and do stupid things accidently, but I am talking about someone who is being mean just because they can, and for some strange reason it makes them feel better about themself. It doesn't matter who they hurt in the process, even their own children.

It was pointed out to me today that this person doesn't have any friends. That still doesn't make me feel any better.

I only want them to stop being so darn mean.

It just isn't nice.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Headache, Etc.

Oh boy, does my head hurt!

They refinished the floor AGAIN in our church's cultural hall. I don't know why they feel like it must be done every year, but they do. Today I had to be there for all three parts of church or I would have skipped out on some of it. I did go sit in my car and read the Relief Society lesson by myself at the end though, because I could feel my I.Q. dropping by the minute from all the toxic fumes. And I do need all the healthy brain cells I can keep to handle my crazy life right now.

This week I have: registration for both girls on two different days, lunch with some fun friends that I worked with 20 years ago, a dentist appointment to get a very old, very big filling re-done, an appointment with Morgan's school counselor to totally overhaul her schedule, an Activity Day daddy-daughter party to finish planning, gather supplies for, decorate for and throw, two birthday parties to plan, and throw - one is a slumber party, bake yet another cake for a missionary report back, an orthodontist appointment, a trip to the laundromat to wash two sleeping bags (don't ask), dinner to take to my sister-in-law, getting the house in order for a family party that will be here, etc. etc. And that's just what all I can remember. I'm too scared to look at the calendar to see what else I've forgotten. We were also hoping to fit in another day at Bear Lake since we've only made it there once this year so far. I think that one's going to have to wait.

We've officially entered what I lovingly like to call "Birthday Month". Ally's birthday was yesterday, Austin's is Sunday and Morgan's is the next Saturday. I keep telling myself that when they are all grown up it will be a good thing. We'll have one big family dinner and call it good. These days it about kills me.

For Ally's birthday I took her on her 12 year old trip. We went to New York City and just got back late Friday night. Hopefully she or I will write more on that later. My head hurts too much to think about it right now.

I keep thinking about a conversation that happened a few Sundays ago. It happened during our "Good News Minute" in Relief Society.

R. S. President: "Any good news today?"

Me, raising my hand: "Yes, one of my brothers and my favorite sister-in-law are going to be building a house in our ward." (Can you see where there might be a problem with what I said?)

R. S. Pres.: "Oh, is it the one I know? Jennifer? The one that grew up by me?"

Me (a little too emphatically): "No." Then as an afterthought, "Her name is Kim." (Forgetting that I have two sisters-in-law named Kim.)

Another girl, turning around and smiling: "Oh, I know Kim!"

Me: "No, it's the other Kim. I have two Kims in the family."

Someone else: "Is it the one that lives in Boise?"

Me, feeling pretty stupid by now: "No, not that one either."

Finally at the end of the meeting, someone else came up to me and said, "Is it Tanner's mom?"

Me, feeling very relieved: "Yes, that's the one."

So somehow in trying to say something nice, so the women would know how excited I was, I inadvertently insulted all my other sisters-in-law. I really do like *most* of my sisters-in-law. It kind of didn't sound that way though, with the way the conversation went.

Here's another sign that I should just keep my mouth shut all the time:

I woke up early last Sunday. Hal was already gone to meetings and the kids were all still sleeping. I walked into the kitchen and, for some reason, looked out the screen door onto the deck. Hovering there in mid-air was a little hummingbird. He (or she) and I were just mesmerized by each other. We must have both stood still for a full 30 seconds just studying each other. I just felt so happy!

Then I said, "Hello." softly and the hummingbird took off. I felt so sad for ruining such a nice moment.

I'm already planning what flowers to plant next year to lure the little guy back.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


We are going through a rough time with quite a few of our extended family members right now. At least three or four of them are going through very serious struggles - some with health issues that we know now will not be healed, some have problems caused by very bad choices they made, consciously or otherwise. At least one or more has issues they've dealt with all their lives but are now intensified to an almost unbearable level.

One problem has the potential to break up a young family and destroy an individual, another has pushed a caregiver almost to her wit's end. Still another has offers of help all around, yet literally cannot figure out where to begin to fix a life that seems out of control, they are too afraid of making a wrong move - almost paralyzed by fear.

The situation I learned about yesterday has just knocked all the wind out of my sails. I ache for this person and the series of choices that has led up to this point in their life. I hurt for what it means for them and others close to them. I want to place blame on another person who I think was selfish and mean and the cause of many of the problems. But I know I shouldn't. These people are all adults and should be accountable for their actions.

Just because someone is basically a good person doesn't mean they won't make terrible mistakes, out of spite or by slowly getting into dangerous situations, one little step at a time. I literally feel sick to my stomach thinking of all that has happened and all that will need to happen in the next few months or years to help repair this sad situation.

And through this, I am now starting to realize that there is not much I can really do. That awful helpless feeling is just devastating.

I've always tried to help "fix" other peoples' problems. I would give what I thought were good, rational suggestions as to what they could do. Now I realize that it is not my job or even my place. I need to be there to love and support, lend a listening ear where needed and keep my mouth shut. Instead of saying, "You should....", I need to say, "What are you going to do?" or "What are your plans?" and then possibly follow up with, "What specifically can I do to help you accomplish this?"

Some problems will only be helped with time, some can never be "fixed" back to what they were before. Some can hopefully be made better once a decision is made and then followed through on.

Until then I can only love these individuals and pray for them as much as I can. And try to learn from some of their mistakes. And also not repeat some of my own, for I've had my share of personal pain, both from circumstances and also from situations I've put myself in. That's why I feel so badly for the ones who are going through it right now.

It's true, nobody gets through this life unscathed. I know this was supposed to be the plan but that doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt.

Oh Dear, It's Compulsive Now

So today after church I had to take Ally back for her 12-year-old interview with the bishop (a.k.a. her dad).

It all seemed to go well until we got back into the car and were driving home.

I looked at what I had just set down between the front seats: a church magazine that belongs in the foyer of the church that I had been thumbing through while I was waiting for her - one I already have at home.

And NO, I did not turn around and go back. I'll send it back with Hal next week.

If I come to your house, HIDE ALL YOUR MAGAZINES. I am now doing this subconsciously!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Guest Blogger: Morgan

Hello, everybody, this is Morgan Fronk, your guest blogger and humble correspondent from the Fronk residence. Today's topic is Harry Potter.

Austin is as obsessed with Harry Potter as Grandma Gail is with Twilight and "Robert". (See post on Thursday, May 14, for more on this subject.) Austin plays Harry Potter, watches Harry Potter, draws Harry Potter, has me read Harry Potter to him, and practically lives on Harry Potter.

A while ago, after reading some Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Austin asked if he could watch the movie. We (Ally and I) put it on downstairs for him and decided to stick around as neither of us had seen the movie for quite a while. Austin loved it. This was, I think, the first time he had seen that particular HP movie and he loved pointing stuff out that he remembered from the book.

When Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the rest of the first years have their first flying lesson, Neville manages to injure himself and is taken to the hospital wing. Malfoy picks up Neville's dropped Remembrall and says, "Maybe if that fat lump had given this a squeeze, he'd have remembered to fall on his fat arse."*

I turned to Ally. "Did he just swear?"

She wasn't sure, so we rewound it to check. Sure enough, Malfoy had sworn. Ally and I were in a state of shock for the duration of the movie.

I forgot about it until Austin, a few days later, was quietly playing Harry Potter by himself in my room. Suddenly he looked up.

"I know what Malfoy said in the movie," he said brightly. "When Neville fell off the broom."

" do?" I asked warily.

Putting on his best British accent (which is really quite good for a four-year-old), he said, "Maybe if he'd squeezed this, little fat owls would have come out."

Feeling highly relieved, I replied, "Why, that's exactly what he said, Austin! Good job!"

I even managed to add this memorable line into the Harry Potter book when we reached the flying lesson.

"That was from the movie!" Austin said excitedly. (He has a very good memory for what was and what wasn't in the movie and is very critical when one or the other leaves something out.)

"It sure was, Austin," I said, returning to the book.

*Just for the record, Mom and I had a lengthy discussion on the most tactful way to post this last word. We came up with nothing. So if you are offended, I'm sorry, and if you have any ideas, do share.