Perpetual Plan B

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Inspiration Please?

So, every year I bug Hal and the kids about writing a Christmas poem, story or song.

And every year I'm pretty much the only one who comes through with something. It's starting to get embarrassing. In fact, I'm starting to re-think the whole thing. So far I've had no inspiration whatsoever. Maybe it's the stress of trying to keep afloat with both houses and having the big family Christmas Eve party here this year. My mom has pretty much relinquished all hostess duties indefinitely. I'm starting to think I shouldn't let her off the hook so easily.

I really am in a pretty good mood in general, so I don't know what the problem is. Of course, some of my best work is written as a result of less than ideal circumstances. One of my favorites was written during Sacrament meeting, a day or so before Christmas. I'd scrawled it on a little tiny notebook when I should have been listening to the meeting. You can read it here if you're wondering what kind of literary masterpiece I could have possibly created. (Yep, I'm not holding my breath for any Nobel prizes for literature any time soon.)

So, maybe I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop to see what kind of calamities await us this year that I can write about. Ah, the pessimism rears its ugly head once again. Am I one of those people you hear about who can only be happy when they're miserable? Boy I hope not!

Maybe I should just give up on the poetry and write a song. You know, with all my musical talent and all. (Not.)

Well, a stocking just fell off of the front of the mantel and crashed to the ground. You think I can work something up around that?

At least it's a start.

(If I would have been lucky, it would have caught on fire. I bet I could write a really good poem about that.)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Apparently The Children In China Are Not Just Starving...

So, Nutmeg Jim showed up today. We decided to start decorating for Christmas and he came to see what we were up to. Austin was sooooo excited!

Until he opened the present Nutmeg Jim brought him. Then he promptly burst into tears. He wasn't just sad, he was MAD.

What horrible thing did Nutmeg Jim bring my little adorable child that would cause such a reaction? Underwear? Spiders? Broccoli?

No, Nutmeg Jim had the audacity to bring Austin some flannel sheets, complete with cute little penguins on them. Austin has been stealing my flannel pillow cases for months and begging for a set of sheets of his own since last year. And honestly, between you and me, I thought it was quite an upgrade from the Christmas ornament he usually gets from Nutmeg Jim. (Ally got sheets this year too, which she seemed very satisfied with, and Morgan didn't need sheets so she got a sock monkey hat and key chain.)

After we all recovered from the initial shock of Austin's outburst (and tried quite unsuccessfully to hide our laughter), we asked him what was wrong.

"Sheets are so BORING!" he cried. "I don't want sheets! You can't play with sheets." (Apparently he was expecting some Bakugans, even though I had some he could earn and he was too lazy to do it by learning to tie his shoes or ride a two wheeled bike so we can all go for bike rides together.)

"Besides," he went on, "these aren't new. We already had these." He said he had seen them in the storage room where I had (rather unsuccessfully) hidden them. I patiently explained that Nutmeg Jim must have been using our storage room to store things in too.

"Yeah," Ally said, "that's why they call it a STORAGE room."

Then he got REALLY mad. So mad that it started to make me mad because of how ungrateful he was being.

I had the kids read the note from Nutmeg Jim, which included the usual about keeping their rooms clean and being good because he was going to report back to Santa. This is usually when I have them hold Nutmeg Jim then for a nice, happy picture, but Austin started to punch Nutmeg Jim so we put him up on the tree, out of harms way.

By then I had had enough, so I went to get the sheets and take them back to decide later what I was going to do. But funny thing, Austin was holding the package and trying to open it. I took it away and he started to get upset.

"If you don't want these I'll give them to someone who is cold and will be grateful for them." I said. "Lots of little kids would love to have nice flannel sheets like this."

"I want them!" he said, "I like them. Don't give them to the children in China."

"No you don't want them," I replied, "or you wouldn't have acted like that."

"Yes I do. I like them, I really do!" he said, seeming pretty happy all of a sudden.

So, I told him he needed to apologize to Nutmeg Jim, who was still stuck in the undecorated Christmas tree for his own protection.

Austin picked up Nutmeg Jim, gave him a hug and said "It's okay Nutmeg Jim. I forgive you."

(Later Austin came back and told me he had a warm feeling, so it must be true - forgiveness is a good thing, I guess it doesn't matter if you're the forgiver or the forgivee.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

'Tis the Season

Well, Austin has already hit his annual holiday brattiness phase with a vengeance. His teacher even commented on it, sending home a note to ask me if something is going on at home. I was hoping his monstrous behavior would be reserved for us, the ones who know how rotten he can act at times, but still love him anyway.

Today he hit a new low. He cut most of the hair off of one side of one of the girls' little Kelly dolls that we found when we were cleaning up the playroom for our guests (who are now delayed by a day because one of their kids threw up last night - let's hope if it's contagious they figure it out BEFORE they head our way!). I keep finding more hair stuffed in various odd places. I supposed he thought he'd break up the evidence to make it look less obvious.

The little doll had survived years of use from both of my girls without a hair on her head harmed in any way. Austin had access to her for roughly 14 hours and she looks like she's been attacked by wild savages. Not exactly the look I was hoping for when I pictured my cherubic granddaughters enjoying them in a few years. Sheesh!

Anyway, the icing on the cake came when he denied any responsibility, despite the fact that when I asked him where the scissors ended up he showed me right where they were - in the now hair filled drawer.

I reminded him that this morning when he gave our family prayer he asked Heavenly Father to help us not tell lies. (We have been discussing this at length lately and for good reason.)

Austin looked at me and with a straight face answered back, "Well mom, you know sometimes [when you ask Heavenly Father for something] the answer is no."

Productivity 101

The guests are on their way. There is food to be cooked and baked. A guest room to freshen up. A playroom floor to dig out from under all the miscellaneous toys that are intermixed with each other (and ideally sorted into categories).

Etc., etc., etc......

So, what did I spend my time doing?

Yes, I re-folded and color coordinated my sweaters. You wanna make something of it?

I feel much better now.

(Except for the fact that I still need to cook and clean and.....YIKES!)

Next up, getting rid of those cardboard boxes on the top shelves of our closet. Maybe Christmas Eve would be a good time for that.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Another College Incident

I thought I had already written all the embarrassing college stories, but something reminded me of this one today.

A few friends and I used to study at a certain spot of the USU library most days. We would study and visit and of course, since it was college, try to meet new people. (By the way, did you ever notice that people you barely knew in high school suddenly became your best friends in college because I think we were all just so happy to see a familiar face? Okay, back to the story now...)

One day I was sitting with some of the regulars and someone had brought Oreos. Though they are not my favorite, I ate a few (just to be sociable, I'm sure). We then got back to studying, visiting, whatever we were doing.

Later on, someone else came by - a boy I was somewhat interested in. I visited with him a little, flashing what I thought was a cute smile every once in a while.

It seemed like he left pretty abruptly, and it wasn't until later that either someone told me or I looked in the mirror and saw what he saw; lots and lots of little Oreo pieces were still stuck in my teeth. It looked like what people do to their teeth for Halloween, though it was nowhere near the holidays, I can assure you.

Let's just say he didn't ever ask me out.

(Ooh, that reminds me of another story that I would prefer not to print. A girl's gotta have some secrets, right?)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Happy, Happy, Beautiful Fall!

Okay, so it's really raining cats and dogs today, but I've been meaning to post this for some time. It has truly been a most spectacular autumn this year.

Now look closely at the photo below. Click on it to make it bigger and see if you can see a cute little face peeking out the window on the right side.

If you could hear what he's saying, you would hear, "Mom, let me out! I need to go catch the bus!" Yes, he actually likes school. Another big reason I really, really love fall.

And in other news: We just found a mouse, minus the guts on our welcome mat. You would think that would upset me, but it actually makes me very, very happy! First of all, the mouse is still outside and not in the house (but don't think it didn't make me check the 81 traps I have hidden all over inside the house). And second, that means our cat is not mad at us any more for moving her around the corner and not letting her into the new house and is back to earning her keep!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The New Hot Ticket Items At Our House

I got a package in the mail the other day. Check out what was in it! (And yes, I know my photography skills are quite lacking. Just get over it and click on the photos if you want to see more detail.)

(The quote on the front of the Jesus medallion says "I am with you always" and on the back is the scripture from John 8:12. "I am the light of the world: He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." The back of the Logan Temple medallion says "Establish A House of Prayer, Fasting, Faith, Learning, Glory, Order & God")

A friend of mine from high school and his wife have just started a new business called Cherished Emblems. They are faith based medallions and are pretty nifty. They are really heavy duty and high quality. They are about 1 3/4" round. There will be more information coming up on their website,, this weekend and they also have a facebook page "Cherished Emblems" that shows photos of some of the other medallions. (Actual photos by an actual professional medallion photographer. I took about 30 shots and still couldn't do them justice. So trust me and look them up on facebook. You'll be glad you did.) I love the Beehive one.
(Okay, I just found some official photos of the medallions. The one of Christ comes in gold and silver.)

If you're in the Cache Valley area, they are going to debut the medallions at the Logan Gift Show this coming Friday and Saturday (Booth #30). I have some 2 for 1 entry passes if anyone wants one. Just e-mail me or leave a comment here. (Or call me if you are old fashioned and have my phone number.) I've got 3 or 4 passes left that I'd be happy to give out so they get used so PLEASE ask if you want one. There are also 2 for 1 passes in the Hometown Values booklet that came in the mail for this month.

Anyway, Austin in particular has been enthralled with the medallions. He wanted the one with the Temple to be his and keep it in his room. I'll probably humor him eventually, but for now they are on the display area in my entry way. I keep trading off which one sits in the wooden base, and also which side sits out. I happen to really like what is on the back of each one just as well as the front.

It's funny, because when I heard what the company was selling, I pictured buying them for older people but, like I said, Austin has been all over them. He has tried to take the Jesus medallion to school in his pocket so he'd have a good day and he has also been sleeping with it under his pillow so he wouldn't have any more bad dreams. The other night he crawled into bed with me (after he'd wet his own bed) and when I woke up in the morning I found the Jesus medallion under MY pillow!

Austin truly believes in the powers of the medallion. I know this because he has been learning to ride a two wheeler and one day after practicing on the bike I let him go over to his friend's house. As I dropped him off at the door he ran back and handed me the medallion. He had it in his pocket to help him not be so afraid to ride the bike and to protect him so he wouldn't get hurt. I thought it was kind of sweet. His friend's mom said, "Is that a big Jesus coin he just handed you?" with a bit of surprise, so I had to explain what was going on.

I think this may be the new thing we hide in each others' rooms, backpacks, underwear drawers, etc. The David Archuleta picture may have been replaced by the Jesus medallion.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Favorite Photo Friday!

A quick photo of our little Harry Potter before we went out Trick-or-Treating and got soaked to the skin.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Our New Kid Bathroom

Long story short: New laptop = PHOTOS on the blog again! Yay!

So, here's the first installment of the remodel of our new home, the kids' bathroom.

Here's a photo of what it looked like before:

(The paint was kind of a light pink and the linoleum was gray and pink. I'm glad one of my friends really liked the shower curtain, so it went to a good home.)
Now, onto the new bathroom. First a little background. I told the kids (especially since Morgan wasn't 100 percent thrilled about the idea of moving) that they could pick out the shower curtain for their new bathroom. When they picked this one I was the one that wasn't thrilled. I told them we'd wait and look around a little more. When they didn't find anything they liked better I went to Target and bought this one and 2 others, hoping they would get confused and pick a different one. But, they didn't, so this is the one we went with. It was a while before I could walk into their bathroom without humming the theme from the circus. Now I like it just fine.
Here it is:

We had our carpenter put board and batten on the walls and we got new tile. We also re-did the cultured marble trim, changing it from mauve to white, and changed out the hardware on the vanity. (I found a really good, inexpensive source on e-bay. It cost about $100 to do the bathroom, whole kitchen and linen closet in the hallway.) We debated for quite a while over what color to paint the top, but this is what we ended up with. I'm happy with it and Hal really likes it, which is a plus. Austin won out and got his orange bathmats. (I won out because they were $6 on clearance for both of them.)

Here is my favorite part of the bathroom. Whenever anyone comes to look at the house I make them step into the bathroom and shut the door so they can see it.

Each kid has their own colored towel(s) on their own hooks. I love this because there is no spreading of boy germs to the girls and vice versa.

I really wanted to frame out the mirror too, but since we were in such a time crunch to get it done to move in, I had to wait - thinking Hal and I can do it later. Only problem is that the top rail for the board and batten runs right into the front of the mirror, so we'll have to do some creative cutting later. I think we'll start with the easy mirror downstairs when we work on that bathroom in the spring.

Well, that's the grand tour. It's a little bit of a cozy (small) bathroom but it'll do for now.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Recent Conversation With Austin (After A Lot Of Rambling)


Yes, it has been a while. No, nothing out of the ordinary going on, just life. You know what I mean? Nothing more than the usual bad haircuts, home maintenance, family parties, ward parties and kid parties at the house. Cooking and cleaning, family stuff, extended family "stuff", etc. Oh, and we have mice.

And, honestly, fall IS my favorite time of year. I'm really glad it's fall because with everything going on here, I might tend to get a little depressed. I've really been trying to enjoy the little things. And the not so little things. We really are enjoying our new home. It has made a world of difference in our family dynamic to have a floor plan that works for us. (And a fireplace that works when you hit a switch isn't so bad, either.)

So now, two haircuts (within two weeks of each other, don't ask), EIGHT mice (yes, one more and I'm calling in a professional) and almost a month later, I'm back.

Oh yes, I think I found a way to start posting photos again. Our main computer won't recognize my digital camera and the laptop is long gone. BUT, I just realized I might be able to get things to work by putting the memory card in the old digital camera and download that way.

Oh and p.s., no luck yet on selling our other house. Only I would try to sell a house during "the worst market in our lifetimes".

So, even though life has gotten even crazier than usual - if that's even possible, my kids have not had any shortage of amusing things to say. Here's one. (Some of the things Ally says are NOT fit to print.)

Austin: "Mom, why don't you love me?"
Me: "Of course I love you. Why would you even say that?"
Austin: "Because you never change my sheets."
Me: "I do change your sheets. I just keep putting the same ones on your bed because I thought they were your favorites."
Austin: "Oh, well they still need to be changed."
Me: "Okay, why do they need to be changed?"
Austin: "Because I wet them about 100 times."

And, by the look of things on the mattress pad, he was telling the truth. It did NOT look like that the last time I changed his sheets.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

And Last Years....

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rule Number One: Know Your Audience


I was just getting ready to wax philosophical in a very splendid post, if I do say so myself.

But then I remembered that the person who inspired such wisdom might likely be reading this blog.

And they might not appreciate what I was going to say.

(Note: If you aren't related to me in a fraternal sort of way - meaning that you're not one of my brothers- this post was NOT going to be about you. You're safe. If you ARE one of my many brothers and you're worried that it might be about you, just shape up and then you'll have nothing to fear in the future.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Question Of The Day

Why am I wearing full length boots, even with my pajamas on?



The End.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

In Honor Of Sunday....

Last Friday we had Hal's sister Jayne's family over for dinner and to hang out for a while. We had a great time with them.

Jayne didn't quite believe that there was not one good family photo that didn't have either Austin looking mad or someone else doing the wrong thing. So, I showed her the photos to prove that I was right. (Sometimes I like proving that I'm right, but not necessarily in this case.)

After looking through all 151 images, she pretty much had to agree with me.

After she laughed a while at our expense.

But, to redeem herself, she came up with a pretty good title for this next photo. From now on, it will be referred to as "Lot's Wife".

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cosmic Payback

Okay, so the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. At least not in my family (in some ways, anyway - and usually it's not the good ways.)

We had some family photos taken on Wednesday, which was actually the night after I had set my last blog post to publish later in the week. The reason I did this is because I usually can't ever get around to Favorite Photo Friday on a Friday and if I have a photo earlier in the week and I try to save it, I usually forget to post it the next Friday. (So basically what I am trying to say is that these were taken AFTER I posted the photo of me from our family reunion. I had no idea it would turn out to be so ironic.)

So, we were scheduled to do photos and it was difficult to find a time that worked with every ones schedules, including cute Katie, my friend who was gracious enough to take these for us.

I wanted a shot of our family in a cornfield, which reminds me of my childhood in Nebraska.. Unfortunately, it didn't really work out because of the light at that time of day. The girls had a volleyball game later, so we were supposed to be done by 6:00 and we didn't get started until about 5:20 because Hal was running late/forgot (or maybe both). And, as usual, everyone was pretty GRUMPY and mad at ME because they hate having photos taken. It's hard, even for me, to look happy when you are ready to thump on a few people who are in the picture with you.

And then there's Austin. He has been TERRIBLE at looking at the camera lately anyway. He either looks away or closes his eyes. How do you explain to a first grader that if you don't cooperate THIS time, there will have to be a NEXT time. And it won't be any more pleasant either. In fact, probably less so.

Some of these are pretty great shots, I just don't think they are ready to be hung on our living room wall, as I had hoped. The reason we had these taken is because my mother-in-law wanted new photos of all her kids and their families in specific frames that she gave us. I know I can deal with it, but somehow I don't think she'll be so pleased at what she's going to end up with.

What do you think? (And again, feel free to click on any photo to make it bigger.)

Ally held herself in check until the very end, but Morgan seemed to hold it all together pretty well on camera. Inside, I was FUMING!

Now don't you feel better about your own family?

Favorite Photo Friday!

Where's Waldo?

See if you can pick me out in this photo. Click on it to make it bigger if you need to.

This is from a family reunion in the late 70s, with all the relatives on my dad's side. (Except for my brother Russ, who I can only guess must have been the one taking the photo. That's the only explanation I can think of for him not being in it. He would have been too young to be doing anything else important.)

I found this photo a while ago and was always going to post it here, but just didn't get around to it. It is photographic proof that I have always had the same personality, even when I was a kid.

(Yep, that's me. Far right, second from the bottom. The one with the attitude.)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Can You Keep A Secret?


Yes, it's true.

Off and on over the years my mom has watched my kids as I've gone out of town for different things. She's made me promise that when my youngest kid was in school all day that I'd go on a trip with her. Well, he's in 1st grade and we are going on a trip to Italy for 8 days. (10 if you count travel time.) I've never been on an actual organized tour like this before. It is a relief to have someone else worry about all the logistics. A big relief, actually. Especially for a country where I don't speak the language AT ALL, except for a couple of words. (Last time I was there I kept accidentally saying "gracias" instead of "grazie". (I actually don't speak Spanish either.)

We leave in about 2 weeks. I am so excited!

My mom and I are quite opposite in a lot of ways so it should be "interesting". I'm sure I'll have lots to talk about (vent) when I get back. She most likely will too, but since she doesn't have a blog, or even a computer for that matter, I can write whatever I want for now.

Here's a little taste of what I'll be dealing with. We went to the meeting for our tour group last night. One of the tour guides is Keri Evans, the wife of Richard Paul Evans, and it was at her house (which is VERY beautiful, I loved it). The other guide is Alicia Richmond from Chic on a Shoestring and Good Things Utah. I've already warned Keri about my mom's freakish obsession. Every little town they talked about that we are going to, my mom kept asking "Is that one of the towns they filmed New Moon in?"

Yes, I can now say "embarrassing" in both English AND Italian.

(Keri isn't much of a Twilight fan either. I'm not sure about Alicia. I think you know by now how I feel about the whole thing.)

Oh, here's another funny, somewhat related story:

Years ago my brother was married to a fun, though somewhat "blond" girl who was a travel agent. I loved having her as a sister-in-law and was quite sad when they divorced, though they did not seem to be the best match for each other.

One day she was booking a trip to France for some women. The front of the brochure had "Oui, oui, oui!" printed all over it. My sister-in-law, who didn't know a bit of French, was reading the brochure to the women. She looked at the front and said, "Oooo-eeeee, oooo-eeee, oooo-eeee. I don't know why that's there, just ignore that part."

I don't think I'll ever let her live that down!

We actually traveled to London and Paris together (which we tried to keep a secret from my brother because they were divorced by then) and had a ball. (We also took her roommate, and I can tell you very definitely that it's easier to travel as two people than with three.)

I was the designated translator in Paris and did pretty well. My proudest moment was when I asked a policeman for directions and he actually understood what I was asking with no problems and I also actually understood what he told us to do and got us to the Metro station safely.

We did have a scary moment on one of the RER trains with a creepy guy about our age who was doing things he shouldn't have been doing to himself and trying to get us to look by hitting our legs with his knee. Ick. I thought he kept accidentally bumping into me so I didn't even look at him because I didn't want to embarrass him. Luckily right at the time we realized what was going on, I jumped up and said that we were on the wrong train so we got off as quickly as we could. One of the girls said "That was quick thinking." And I said. "We really were on the wrong train."

Another fun thing was meeting a Chinese guy at Versailles. Since we didn't know Chinese and he didn't know English, he and I conversed back and forth in French. It was kind of surreal. (I LOVED Versailles. I need to go back with Hal someday. He would just love the gardens.)

One of these days I need to dig out the old photos from that trip. That's when I saw Winged Victory, and for the first time understood how people can feel so emotional about beautiful art.

Okay, so what does any of that have to do with my trip to Italy? Not much, but here's the small similarity:

Yesterday, in the car on the way to the meeting for our trip, my mom was reading the welcome letter that they sent us with our itinerary, etc. As she was reading, she kept saying "See-o."

"See-o?" I started asking. "What are you talking about?"

Finally I realized that she meant "Ciao." She had never seen it in print before. After I corrected her she said she hadn't realized it was Italian.

"Um, yeah mom. It is."

The End

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

An Un-Quotable Quote

I took the kids to the fair last month. The weather was not as hot as it usually is in August, it was really mild. I kept telling the kids that in all the years I've gone to the fair - and there are a lot of them, I don't remember any other day that nice.

They each rode a ride and we shared "fair food", including the Texas Tornado drink that cost $6.00 and was mostly ice and fruit rinds, but still tasted really good.

Anyway, Hal is not much of a fan of the fair, or more accurately some of the people who go to the fair. (To be honest, I am more amused than disgusted. I like to watch people, but only if I'm pretty sure they don't know I'm observing them.)

Morgan, in the spirit of the fair, was wearing her new bright yellow Sponge Bob t-shirt that says "Nerd is the Word" (we got it on clearance for $4.00). I'm not a Sponge Bob fan - to be fair, I've never actually sat down and watched an episode of it, so maybe I shouldn't judge something I've never seen.

Anyway, Hal called my phone to see where we were. We were in the big grassy area where they were selling food. He was across the way and immediately spotted Morgan in her bright yellow t-shirt. She had answered the phone because I was busy buying a funnel cake for us to share. Morgan started to laugh, so when she hung up I asked her what was so funny. She said he had said, "Oh there you are, I can see you over there in your white trash t-shirt." We had to try and explain to Austin what this meant, because he got pretty upset.

Apparently we didn't do a good job explaining. That night when I tucked Austin in I asked him what the best part of his day was. I can't remember what he said, but he said the worst part of his day was "when dad called Morgan a white trash can".

An Unfortunate Food Incident (or two)

One night, when Hal was going to school in Texas, I came home from a LONG day at work. It was about a half hour drive from my work and Hal's school (Baylor University) to our house. All I wanted was a little comfort food.

Of course we were too poor to eat out, so I spent a LONG night in the kitchen making a most delicious lasagna (my favorite). We ate a little of it and I went to bed exhausted.

All night I kept thinking of having lasagna for breakfast, and all the other days of really yummy leftovers.

The next morning I woke up and realized I had left the whole pan of lasagna out on the counter overnight. I can still remember how distraught I felt. I kept thinking of all the ways I could save it, but with meat in it I knew it just wasn't safe.

It just killed me to throw it away!

I have the tendency to get food poisoning even if something is "probably" safe.

(It's happened quite a bit at my mother-in-law's. Once when I was pregnant we had hamburgers there. I saw her grab the buns when she still had raw meat on her hands from forming the patties out of raw ground beef. I skipped the burgers and STILL ended up with food poisoning. Hal had to pull the car over on the way home so I could throw up. Not fun.)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Facebook Photos

I have a good friend who has a new facebook photo almost every week. How does she do it? She looks beautiful in ALL of them. Of course she IS beautiful, both inside and out, but that's not the point. The point is, HOW does she do that? (Kristi, if you are reading this, I'd really like an answer.)

I'm lucky to have the one decent profile pic that I do have. I think the reason I don't like most pictures of me is because of my hair. Morgan says I am obsessed with hair. (Just because she was telling me about her hurt toe and I absent mindedly cut in with a "Do you think I should change my bangs?", doesn't exactly mean I'm obsessed. Maybe just a little sidetracked. Once I get the hair under control I'll quit thinking about it. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened since 2005. And, unfortunately again, we don't have many photos to document my good hair days.)

Somewhere I saw an interview with the people who started facebook. One thing they said that they thought was interesting is that people always put on the most flattering shot ever taken of them for their profile picture, whether it was recent or a "few" years old. Um..... GUILTY. My photo is from when my son was two and he will start 1st grade this month. And, to be honest, I don't think I ever really did look like that in real life. I keep trying though..... I told Morgan they need save that photo to use for my obituary. (I did think it was pretty amusing hear that in the interview though. I'm happy to hear I'm not the only one who has a picture that is a few years old, and with good reason.)

Really though, wouldn't you rather have people meet you in real life and have them say, "You look so much better in person than you do in your photo."? I'm always afraid people are going away, after seeing me, thinking, "Boy, she looks a lot better in the photo. Not so good in person. She must have been PhotoShopped." So, maybe the strategy should be to post a bad (or at least not real good) photo of yourself so people are pleasantly surprised when they see you at the grocery store on a Saturday with no makeup on and you still look better than your profile picture.

Maybe it's time to stretch myself a little bit and move out of the comfort zone of my familiar facebook photo after all. As soon as I can find my darn camera or get my family to a portrait studio (or a neighbor with a camera phone) I may have to get brave and post an updated photo. I will. Really, I will.

Just as soon as I can grow out this poodle perm. (It's a long story. Some day I may be able to tell it without crying.)

P. S. Now might be a good time to reveal my secret identity. It's another photo from a few years ago, but it might explain a lot:

That's right, folks. Before my son was born, I used to be a Smurf.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Things I Say Far Too Often These Days

To the almost sixteen year old:

"Brake! Brake!"

"You are the only one who gets my humor around here."

"If you don't want to go to college it's okay with me. You can live with us forever." (She just got a 5 on the A.P. European History test. I'm not proud or anything....)

To the almost 13 - going on 18, year old:

"Get off the phone!"

"Get off the computer!"

"Did you make your bed yet?"

To the almost 6 year old:

"Did you make your bed yet?"

"Aim! Aim!"

"You really do need to take a bath today."

I would really like to retire most of these statements.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Things Are Not Always As They Seem, Part 2

This is not a continuation from the last installment but another episode that happened to me the other day.

Hal bought some ice cream the other night and Ally, as usual, has worked her way through it pretty handily. Morgan was especially bummed that Ally had eaten most of the chocolate chip ice cream before Morgan had even realize that we had chocolate chip ice cream.

Anyway, the other day I walked to our old house to check my e-mail and get phone messages. I was pretty ticked off because there was lots of chocolate chip ice cream all over the countertop by the computer. First of all, I was mad because that meant that Ally had dished it up at our new house and then walked over to the old house to eat it. Second, I was ticked off because she didn’t have the decency to clean it up off the counter and hide the evidence.

Of course, I hate to let some good chocolate go to waste, so I was about to lick it off the counter when something stopped me. I might have been thinking of the fact that I hadn’t cleaned that countertop myself in well over a week. Also, it did look kind of funny. Plus, I didn’t know how long it had been there. It kind of looked like bird poop, though it was smaller than any bird droppings I’d ever seen. Also, I hadn’t eaten anything else yet that day, even though it was probably well after ten o’clock. If I eat sweet things, especially chocolate, on an empty stomach it’s an instant migraine for me and my blood sugar goes nuts. And last, but not least, I did think that it would be stooping to an all new low to be licking someone else’s leftovers off of the countertop, even if it were clean to begin with. So, no matter what the reason, I didn’t lick it off.

I went upstairs to get the vacuum to take to the other house and when I came down there was a strange dark shadow on the dining room fan.

Upon further inspection I realize that it was a BIRD, right there inside my house. It was one of those really pretty yellow, red and black Western (something or other, I can’t remember the name) birds that are here in the valley right now, but are usually up in the mountains but it has been too cold this year. I have no idea how long it had been in there but I’m sure with all the moving and doors being left open for hours at a time it could have been there for a while, maybe even days.

All of a sudden it dawned on me that it wasn’t chocolate chip ice cream on the countertop. I am SO GLAD I didn’t lick off that countertop. (I was just thinking of the “ick” factor. My dad later reminded me that I could have gotten salmonella or some other disgusing side effect from the bird droppings.)

So anyway, I opened the back door and luckily I knew exactly where a butterfly net was. I went out and got it and tried to gently guide the bird out the door. He flew all around the room, leaving still more evidence to prove that it was indeed NOT chocolate chip ice cream that was on my countertop.

I was finally able to get him out and all was right with the world again for a little bit.

Later that day I was in the house and a bird with a red head was sitting on the outside of one of our big living room windows tapping with his beak, as if he wanted to get in. (Hal later said he saw the same thing happen.) I have no idea if it was the same bird or not, but maybe he told all his friends about how much fun he had making himself at home.

This next story is not really related, though kind of the same idea:

I finally made it to get groceries this afternoon. Grocery shopping is always a nightmare, especially if you need EVERYTHING, plus in the middle of a Saturday afternoon when everyone else seems to be there. Yeah, not my idea of fun.

When I got home Hal and a bunch of our neighbors, ward members, and assorted nieces, nephews and Hal’s brother had all shown up to help move the big pavilion from our old back yard to the new one. I ran out to help and then a couple of hours later I realized that I hadn’t put away one of the big containers of yogurt. I wanted to put it in the front of the other one so it would get eaten up first.

Somehow in the process of juggling both yogurts and various other containers I dropped one of the yogurts and it splatted on the floor and basically exploded.

It just made me sick to see that whole container of yogurt wasted so I grabbed a spoon and started eating the top layer, being careful not to scrape all the way to the floor. (Because at this point, my kitchen floor is NOT fit to eat off of.)

Hal walked in as I was crouched on the floor eating the yogurt off of it. I assured him that yes, I had sunk to a new low and that he was witnessing it. I also told him to just go about his business forget that he had seen anything. He complied and just walked right back out. I’m sure it’s not the craziest thing I’ve done in the last few weeks, not to mention the last 20 years of our lives together.

Oh yes, one more story.

The girls and I came home tonight from cleaning the old house and our new house smelled really strongly of gas. I ran to the stove and one of the burners was set on “light”. (I’ve never had a gas stove before, I’ve always been kind of afraid of them. This is one of the reasons why.)

I had the girls hurry and open all the windows and then we got the heck out of there. Someone must have been leaning against the stove and accidently turned the knob just enough to put it in that position. We had been over at the other house for at least two hours so it had been on for at least that long. Also, it could have been any one of the 25 people who came over today to move the pavilion in the back yard.

It would have kind of ruined my day if we would have blown up our new house, after all the hard work we have put into it.

Have you missed hearing about our exciting lives here?

I’ve missed writing about it.

The End.

Edited to add: A bird flew into our new house the other day too. Austin and his friend left the back door open and a bird flew into our dining room. We had to trap it in a laundry basket to get it out. The girls say it's because I have ceramic birds all over the house.

Things That Are Stressful:

Here are a few things, off the top of my head, and in no particular order, that are stressful:

Buying a house: stressful.

Finding out some of the appliances in your new house don’t work: stressful.

Finding out the hinges on most of the cupboard doors are broken in your new house: stressful.

Selling a house: stressful.

Fixing up a house to sell: stressful.

Getting all the new carpet, air conditioning, tile, etc. (that you always wanted while you actually lived there) put in before you sell the house: stressful and some other adjective that I can’t think of right now.

Remodeling a whole house before you move in: stressful (and smart, I think).

Picking out new paint, moldings, fixtures, hardware, carpet, tile, etc. within a few days: sounds fun, but in reality is pretty stressful.

Putting together light fixtures that were made in China and don’t have the holes drilled in the right place: annoying and stressful.

Packing: stressful.

Moving: stressful.

Having two different doctor appointments for two different kids scheduled for moving day: stressful.

Having the doors open so much from moving that the kids now forget to close them on a regular basis: stressful.

Flies as a result of the doors not being closed on a regular basis: stressful.

Having birds fly into your house: stressful and messy.

Having other people help move your stuff: stressful.

Having everything arranged in your new house and going back to the old one and realizing that you still have over half your stuff there and nowhere to put it: stressful.

Carrying two mortgages: very stressful.

Carrying two mortgages while paying for remodeling and a new washer and dryer (and water softener, which is very necessary here): extremely stressful.

Running out of money, so needing to keep the dark teal kitchen countertop with a white racing stripe and pink laundry room countertop: stressful.

Arguing with the painter about what color to paint your kitchen because the color you have your heart set on clashes quite terribly with your dark teal kitchen countertop with the white racing stripe: stressful.

Driving to your old house to do laundry every day because your new washer and dryer won’t be in for two weeks: stressful.

Showing a house where your cat still lives to people who are allergic to cats: stressful.

Trying to move your cat to a house around the corner: stressful.

Taking care of two yards: stressful.

Picking a phone company: stressful.

Picking an internet provider: stressful.

Picking a t.v. service provider: stressful.

Deciding to bundle: not so stressful.

Deciding who to bundle with: stressful.

Having people come and go to and from both houses at all hours of the day and night: stressful.

Not knowing when to take a shower because you never know when someone will show up: stressful.

Waiting a long time for people to show up (or sometimes not show up): stressful.

Needing to get a pedicure (though I haven’t had a real one in over two years), and not having time: stressful.

Needing to get a haircut and not having time: stressful.

Needing to get a life and not having time: stressful.

Not having a regular routine for meals, etc.: stressful.

Having a husband who works long hours that vary from day to day: stressful.

Having a husband who is on the phone 24/7 so I can’t have an uninterrupted conversation with him: stressful.

Having a husband who is caring for our two yards AND his mom’s yard that is 30 miles away (each one over ½ acre): stressful.

Having a husband who is bishop, while doing all of the above: stressful.

Having a husband who is doing all of the above, when you are trying to remodel a house and need his input to help make some of the decisions: stressful.

Teaching a 15 year old daughter to drive: stressful.

Teaching a 15 year old daughter to drive in a car you really like, that is your first new car in over 15 years: very stressful.

Having a 12 year old daughter who doesn’t like to work: stressful.

Having a 12 year old daughter who acts extremely unpleasant when you are trying to get her to work: stressful.

Having a 12 year old daughter who thinks she’s 18 and should have all the freedom in the world: stressful.

Having a 12 year old daughter who thinks you’re an idiot, and so do her friends: stressful.

Leaving your 12 year old daughter and her 11 year old cousin “in charge” while you take your 15 year old daughter out driving and coming home to find every breakable cup in your house in the back yard full of milk, peanut butter, granola bars and unidentified “potions”, also finding out they had made a volcano and “goop” while you were gone, using all your vinegar, baking soda and cornstarch: stressful.

Having a five year old son who has run wild and basically been an orphan for the last five weeks, so he now thinks it’s normal: stressful.

Having a five year old son who hasn’t taken a bath in over three of those last five weeks: stinky.

Being the designated driver for all your childrens' friends: stressful (where ARE their parents?).

Not eating well because you are too busy: stressful.

Going to the store to buy food, but forgetting to buy actual food and instead come home with more items to decorate your new home: stressful.

Not sleeping well because you are up all night, itching, because you are allergic to something in either your new house or yard: stressful.

Not being able to sleep in the next morning because workers need to show up early to finish up some work: stressful.

Waiting for carpet to be delivered for 3 extra weeks, when everything else is ready for you to move in: stressful.

Having your carpet finally delivered and installed in the pouring rain: stressful and soggy.

Having workers in your home while you are trying to put stuff away: stressful.

Waiting for workers show up when you need to go do other things and run errands (like buy food): stressful.

Still not being able to take a shower because you never know when a worker might drop by to finish something: stressful.

Having your child in summer Driver’s Ed. the week you are trying to move and having to drop everything twice a day to drop her off and pick her up: stressful.

Having your child in the Nibley City play the week you are trying to move: stressful.

Pulling your child out of the Nibley City play because you are too busy and the time conflicts with your other child’s summer Driver’s Ed. Then feeling guilty because they don’t have enough help so you say you will still help, so they give you 12 Indian costumes to unfray the fringe on, which take over 2 hours each: stressful.

Bribing your mom (by mowing her lawn) to help unfray the fringe on Indian costumes while she watches t.v.: brilliant (she had them done in two days, I was done in two hours.).

Also agreeing to help do the Nibley City play blog, even though my child is still not in the play: stressful.

Feeling guilty that I haven’t helped more and am letting people down: stressful.

Having people show up to “help you move” that bring lots of little kids: stressful.

Having people drop in to see your new house, when you still have a million boxes lying around to unpack: stressful.

Showing your neighbor the big drawer for dirty laundry and then realizing your underwear is right on top: embarrassing and stressful.

Having people try to help you unpack: stressful.

Moving a pool table from one basement to another, almost killing my husband in the process: stressful. (I was standing at the bottom of the stairs watching it head down and about crush him. I was literally weighing my options of whether I should jump in to help, with the possibility of having it kill both of us, making my children orphans in the process, or if I should stay away, thus ensuring them at least one parent. As you can tell, I’m still around, though I did talk encouragingly to him from a safe distance.)

Moving a 2000 pound structure from one back yard to another with about 25 people to help: stressful, but satisfying.

Freaking out in front of my neighbor when the girls told me that Hal had told a lady she could come see our old house in one hour, when we had just started moving out and it was a wreck: stressful.

Feeling like you now “owe” at least 100 people who have helped you in one way or another over the last few weeks; moving our things, feeding us, etc: stressful and grateful.

Feeling like I should apologize to at least half of those people for my behavior: stressful.

Helpful people moving our piano, not waiting for Hal to get there to supervise, and having it get lots of scrapes on it and the walls and chips broken out of it in the process: stressful and sad.

Still needing to move our entertainment center that I really like: stressful.

Really needing to go to bed, but feeling like I really want to catch up the blog: stressful.

Still trying to keep our other house presentable to show during all this chaos: stressful.

Deciding which realtor to go with once we list the house when we get our new carpet in: stressful.

Realizing we have ticked off ALL our realtor friends/relatives/neighbors who have come to give us a sales pitch, that we will not hire: stressful.

Dealing with any realtors at all: stressful (no offense intended to anyone who may be a realtor, it just has been really stressful).

Wanting to go to the home show this week and not having time: stressful.

Leaving my five year old with a neighbor, unsupervised (I thought there was an adult there), and finding out that they have gotten into the Otter Pops and gotten the entire kitchen and the new living room carpet sticky: stressful.

Hiding the box of Otter Pops and having my 5 year old and his little friend find the box in the garage and drinking the liquid out of the entire box of Otter Pops: stressful and disgusting.

Realizing that I have a good enough reason to never buy Otter Pops again: liberating.

Waking up on Father’s Day and realizing I’ve forgotten to do anything for either my husband or my father: stressful.

Sluffing Sunday School to just sit down by myself for a few minutes to do nothing: honestly, very relaxing.

Trying to scare up a nice Father’s Day meal and realizing that I still don’t have anything in the house to fix a decent meal with: stressful.

Trying to decide which is worse, making your child wash off the Harry Potter scar tattoo so he can go to church or letting him show up at church with the tattoo and making your husband (the bishop) unhappy: stressful.

Having my son's speech therapist finally call to make a summer appointment and having her insist on the one time my daughter is scheduled to have some suspicious moles removed (I've had melanoma): stressful.

Trying to reschedule, but the phone is here and the calendar is there: stressful.

Driving back and forth for to do laundry because we live in one house, but the washer and dryer are at the other house: stressful.

Catching your son guzzling water out of a 10 year old jug of distilled water that has been in your garage: stressful.

Still not finding my camera and missing lots of great photo ops in the last few weeks: stressful!

Having all of the above happen within a one month time period, give or take a few days: DEATH DEFYING.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Carpet was (finally!) installed all day Friday and Saturday in the pouring rain. It was quite soggy. Not exactly a great beginning, but it is in, just the same.

We moved some stuff late last night and had our first meal there, including running back and forth for all the missing ingredients, pans, etc. It was kind of fun, especially since I can hand Morgan the keys and have her run for me. She is getting a lot of experience driving around the corner and back.

This morning it was not so amusing when Morgan wanted some toast and all the jam had been moved to the new house. It was even less amusing that the second she drove away I realized that there was no milk here for our breakfast and I had no way to contact her over there. I had hoped that she would figure it out and bring the milk anyway, but no such luck. As soon as she got back I jumped into the car, wet hair and all and brought back some milk and butter. (She said SHE didn't need milk for breakfast so she didn't really think about bringing any back.)

The carpet fumes are quite strong so I got a headache this afternoon when we were there because it was pretty cold so we left the windows shut. Hal and I opened them before we came home to air the place out. Seriously, this cold weather in the middle of June is starting to get old, though it's better than being too hot to be moving all our stuff. (But the rain has seriously put a damper on things, pardon the pun.)

It about killed me that today was Sunday, so we couldn't really officially move stuff in today. Tomorrow, in between an orthodontist appointment for one kid and a doctor appointment for another kid, we will be moving in our beds, at least. I can't wait!

I'll wait to post some "after" photos (until after we move in, obviously), but I was going to post some "before" shots and I can't find my camera.

Wish us luck for a productive day tomorrow! Good night.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

There Is A Light....

at the end

of the tunnel.

(I think.)

The carpet that was scheduled for May 24th,

and then June 4th,

and then the 8th

is on a truck

headed to Utah.

(So they say.)


we are scheduled for carpet to be installed

on Friday

and Saturday.


we can move in.


life can move on.

(I hope.)

p.s. living in limbo is not fun.

Monday, June 7, 2010


I'm trying to let go of them.

It's hard.

BUT, I've finally figured something out. Our blue bathroom here helped me do it.

When I first painted our bathroom blue in this house I was upset with the result. It was not the blue I had pictured in my head. It was way brighter, way more "in your face" than I had wanted. I had envisioned a nice, calm, "beachy" blue. Instead I got a bright, happy, almost turquoise blue.

I really wanted to change it but I had painted during Austin's naptimes on the last week of school and school was ending, so I was running out of kid-free blocks of time.

Plus, the kids liked it.

So I kept it "just for now".

Well now, I've realized that I will really miss that bright blue bathroom. Someone told me it looks like a spa. Honestly, it's the closest that I think I'll ever get to a real spa, unless I win a contest, but I can kind of see what they mean. It's kind of soothing, in a bright, cheery sort of way.

Once I released the expectation of what I thought I wanted and accepted what I ended up with, I realized that I liked it.

Same with our new house. The paint colors that I used that I already had here, I am happy with, because they turned out just as I had expected. Some of the others are good and I'm happy with them, but there are a couple that I am not thrilled about. They are just so not what I had expected.

But really, thinking it through rationally, I think it's the same thing. If I can just let go of what I thought I wanted, or what I had pictured, they might turn out to be good colors. They are just darker or brighter than I had expected.

It's hard to let go of expectations, especially for a control freak like me.

I think it's the same with my kids and their personalities.

Once I can let go of the expectations I have for them, and how I think they should turn out (or even the fact that I expect them to turn out somewhat the same as each other), maybe then I can just let them turn into who they really are and accept it and figure out that maybe I really do like these unique little individuals and their different personalities, crazy quirks and all. They just may not be the sweet, docile little children I had pictured in my head before I had children.

Wow, from paint to children. Maybe all the paint fumes have finally gone to my head. That was deep, even for me, don't you think?


I've just decided I'm all for it.

In some cases anyway. Or at least a good filter or editing tool. Kind of like the VCRs that screen out stuff you don't want your kids to see. I'm on the verge of getting one of those too.

Lately I haven't had as much time to read. In fact, I've renewed my current library books no fewer than 5 times. Mostly they are just home idea books, but I haven't had time to even look at some of them because I've been working on the real deal.

The library called last week and told me that two of the books I'd requested for them to order had come in. I was thrilled, though the timing wasn't great. They were autobiographies of Andre Agassi and Craig Ferguson.

I love a good autobiography.

Not a biography, because anyone can say anything they want about somebody else. You still take an autobiography with a grain of salt but at least it's the version of the truth that the person themself wants you to know.

The last autobiography I read before these two was Home, by Julie Andrews. It was good, though somewhat depressing. It was sad how she was raised and the adults in her life, at least her mom and step-father, lived off of the money she brought in. So much, in fact, that she felt fully responsible for the livelihood of her whole family from a really young age and worked herself into the ground on many occasions, even through serious illnesses.

I started the Craig Ferguson autobiography, American on Purpose. And then I stopped. Now I realize that he's Scottish and all, but in the first two chapters he'd used the f-word twice. I decided to shelf the book while I decided whether to continue or not. Really, if I would have thought about it, I should have known it would be like that.

So, on to Agassi's book, Open. It was fascinating. He started out describing a tennis match at the end of his career and what his body had to go through just to get on the court. He really is a good writer. I was hooked, I couldn't put it down.

But then he started describing his childhood and how his father had tormented him and talked to him. F-words all over the place. I tried to cover them with my fingers as I read, but then on some pages I ran out of fingers. The language in his head and out of his mouth was no better during tennis matches. I left the book feeling disappointed and sad for him and his crazy childhood, or lack of it. It actually reminded me of Julie Andrews' childhood, the pressure to make money to support the family.

I don't suppose there is anywhere they have an "edited" version of books, is there? I don't dare go back to Craig Ferguson.

These are stories I really want to read, but I really don't want the garbage left in my head. I wouldn't say I have a photographic memory by any means, but I do know that I can remember things better if I see them. If I needed to study for a test in school I would do a lot better if I would write out what I needed to remember first.

Now I need to go back to a nice, happy, cute book again to rid my head of what was in it last. Any suggestions?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Comfort Food These Days

I've gone back to one of my old standby comfort foods, Peanut Butter Crunch cereal. Good stuff.

I've even found a hiding place that the kids haven't discovered yet, so this last big box has been totally mine.

There's nothing better to eat at the end of a long day than a nice bowl of Peanut Butter Crunch. Don't tell, but I actually always eat four bowls of it. I fill the first bowl of it and when it's gone there is always a lot of milk left. So, since I hate to waste, I put more cereal in the bowl and eat it up. After that, I realize that I'm still a little hungry, so I fix one more bowl of cereal with fresh milk and, once again, that milk needs to be used up so I pour in more cereal. This is exactly what I get mad at the kids for, but since I paid for the cereal, I figure I'm allowed. Did your mom ever use the line "I won't buy good cereal (or whatever) because you'll just eat it up."? I always thought that was a dumb thing to say, but now that I have kids I know what she meant (although it kills me to admit it).

It has been a stressful month, full of surprises, most of them not good so maybe it's just the routine of sitting down with a bowl of cereal and watching Frasier with Hal after the kids are in bed that is so comforting.


Morgan is in the middle of summer Driver's Ed. at the school. It has been a little nerve wracking.

I was under the mistaken impression that all kids were like I was and had "borrowed" their parents' - or someone else's - vehicle to practice on by this time. (I did already tell that story, didn't I? It's not pretty. My parents' neighbor still hasn't forgiven me and that was 30 years ago.)

Who knew I would be blessed with such an obedient child? I was literally shocked the first time we went out driving and I realized that she really didn't know what to do because she had never done it before.

We've gone out a few times now and today was the first time on the highway. Even though I'm not Catholic there were a couple of times I almost said a Hail Mary under my breath and crossed myself. I wish we still had our old Blazer back so she could learn in that and have it for her car. It's big enough to keep her safe in case someone else runs into her, which is my biggest fear. She's a good kid and I know she'll be a safe, conscientious driver.

It's just hard watching her learn in MY car.

Our Little Casanova

Ally had a couple of friends over the other night. One of them said or did something to make him think that she likes Harry Potter almost as much as he does. Now he is smitten.

I drove the girls somewhere and the one in the middle of the backseat had to get out. The other one (the one Austin likes) got back in the car and stayed by the door, opposite Austin.

He gave her a look, patted the seat next to him and said, "You can scoot a little closer."

On the way home, after dropping off all the girls Austin asked me which one of Ally's friends was my favorite. I said I didn't know. Then I asked him which one was HIS favorite.

He said, "Casadie. We have a lot more in common than the others."

Whoever thought a five-year-old could be so romantic?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Our Fitness Plan

We've had a fitness plan in place for a while now. It actually kills two birds with one stone.

Whenever anyone says the word "crap" - which I think is a pretty ugly word, they have to run around the house three times. Ally seems to be the biggest perpetrator these days, which works out just fine because she seems the most inclined to sit around and watch t.v. or spend time on the computer. I won't tell you who is the second biggest offender. I have enough stress in my life right now without having to worry about what people think of my language.

At one of Ally's recent soccer games she said the offending word twice. To soften the blow of the punishment I offered to run with her. We took off pretty fast. She had a head start so I raced at full speed to catch up with her.

This seemed like a good idea until we raced around the house and ran right into our neighbor, who was standing out front waiting for Hal to get something. I, feeling like I needed to explain what we were doing, started into the whole explanation. Halfway through, it didn't seem like such a great idea. I then muttered something like, "Never mind." and then ran into the back yard again.

I let Ally off the hook for the rest of the laps.
(I may be owing a few more.)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Austin's Words To Live By

Austin has been very NAUGHTY lately. I can't take him anywhere. I finally got Hal to go to the furniture store and Home Depot and Lowe's with me today to give his opinion on a couple of things before I bought them. Austin was horrible. I think it's the lack of attention he's had these last few weeks.

Anyway, all night tonight he was just rotten and mean. He kept lying on the floor with his tongue hanging out, pretending to be dead and then he kept hitting the pantry door and being obnoxious.

Hal had bought some doughnuts and Austin kept sneaking them and wouldn't eat anything healthy. Then he kept saying he was going to throw up. I was not happy with him.

When it was time to go to bed he was still rolling around on the floor, just being a pill and acting very mean. Finally I gave him a hug and said, "Do you need some attention?"

He answered back, "Mom, remember that famous quote."

"Which famous quote?", I asked.

"The badder you treat your kid, the sicker they get."

Point taken. One way or another he will be getting a lot of personal attention tomorrow. (And I will hide the doughnuts, just to be on the safe side.)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Too Optimistic Too Soon?

Maybe I was, because I have had nothing but headaches since my last post. Everything is going to take longer, be more complicated, and cost roughly twice as much as anticipated.

No new countertops for this girl any time soon. Instead I have a shiny new water softener. And even it cost more than originally estimated.

My head hurts too much to go into detail, but it doesn't always pay to have "friends" in the business. It especially doesn't pay to have more than one friend in any given specialty. Then they have to compete with each other for certain jobs. Friends don't like it if you don't end up hiring them to do the work. What's really bad is if they both think they are doing the work and you don't know how to tell them they aren't. I am especially traumetized by the carpet "friends" who gave us an outrageously expensive bid on inferior carpet that the other guy said they pay $8/yard for. There's a whole long story, but I don't feel like telling it. And don't even get me started on how many realtors we are related to, friends with, neighbors with, etc. We need to make a decision on that one soon to get the house officially on the market by June. I'm just dreading the reaction of one of the realtors who has campaigned for the job and probably won't get it. I just keep wishing we could find someone on our own, but so far that hasn't worked out so well. I can't get the exposure a realtor can.

I have officially dubbed the kids' bathroom the Rubik's cube. There are so many things that need to be accomplished in such a small space, which is fine. I'm just having a problem figuring out the order of what needs to be done. Tear out pink cultured marble trim and install new, white trim, or paint first? Install new baseboards or board and batten first - or at the same time? (The painter and carpenter talked me out of beadboard in an area that will actually get wet.) Board and batten before painting? No, we need to wait until the trim is up so we can evenly space the boards. Catch 22. And when do we tile? Before the baseboards, of course. Well the tile is backordered so now everything else is on hold!

Let's also not think about all the wallpaper I need to rip down very soon. I need to get the kids over there to let out some of their pent up aggression toward us for making them leave the only home they've ever known. I'm starting to feel it myself. I didn't realize how attached I was to this place. I always figured that as long as we were moving somewhere a little better for our family, I'd be fine. I might have been wrong.

There is something good that has come out of all this. I haven't watched any t.v. or been on facebook all week. Last week I kept wasting a lot of time, just waiting for the second they were done moving out so we could get started.

Need to run for now. The Excedrin is calling my name.........

At least it's cheap. (Relatively speaking, anyway.)

Monday, May 10, 2010


Today was a really great day.

"Why?", you ask? Well, I'll tell you why.

Because I was able to actually do a few things to get the process of moving rolling along.

The painter got started, handyman got started, I scheduled the water softener fixer, Hal and I went to the flooring store to finalize and order carpet and tile, I had some friends come see both houses, got some things moved out of here and into there, AND, in-between it all, a nice couple came to see our home.

I'm not going to count my chickens by any means, but they are exactly like who I had always pictured will live here after we move out. They are young empty-nesters, who seemed to like and appreciate the library and they asked appropriate questions, which made me feel like they really are interested, not just looking for fun. (And really, they may not be interested, just nice, but it was fun to show them around. They kind of reminded me of my favorite aunt and uncle.) They also noticed details and things we have done here to try and make things nice. So, out of everyone, I hope they end up buying this place. I even got a little choked up while I was talking to the wife about the house and how much we have loved living here. Embarrassing.

Anyway, tomorrow brings more fun; calling the countertop guy to come give me a bid so I will know for sure if I can afford to change the kitchen countertops or not. The pink trim around the bathrooms may get a fresh coat of Krylon paint if I can find out for sure if it will work on cultured marble. If so, it will save me around 400 dollars. That's money I will gladly transfer to the painter.

There's lots to do, but it will be good. I don't mind keeping busy if it's working toward a goal that is so worthwhile.

Well, I'm off. My neighbor wants most or all of the other house carpet, so we are going to try and tear it out and roll it up ourselves.

Wish us luck!

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Saturday morning, 6:54 a.m.

Still waiting.

Still not patient.

10:30, still waiting. Getting less patient.

And later:

Walk through was supposed to be done at 12:00 noon. Got a call that it won't be until the end of the week now and that one of the toilets in the new house is leaking. Great.

1:00 p.m., finally in - but so is a lot of their stuff, one whole garage bay (including a tiller or something that is sending the nice gasoline smell through the fancy air exchange system in the house.)

But..... we were able to throw some things, althrough somewhat willy-nilly, into the basement in between Ally's soccer game and my brother's 40 birthday party. Not quite the nice, organized move I had envisioned.

Right now it looks just like home.

But not in the way I had hoped.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Favorite Photo Friday!

Everything today may be jumbled, like my brain is.

Today we officially take over our new house! (I hope.) It was supposed to be May 1st, and then got moved to the 5th. On the 4th I found out the the previous homeowner had told our painter that she should be out by Friday. I'm glad she happened to mention it to me in passing because I had plans to show up on Thursday, guns blazing, to start arranging and putting stuff into my basement. We are re-carpeting and painting the whole upstairs but pretty much leaving the basement as is for now, except for the bathroom. I was going to start setting up the playroom to get most of the toys out of here. I was also going to work on the workout room and the kids' t.v. room. And start ripping wallpapaper off the downstairs bathroom walls. It's in great shape - but it is covered with elk, not quite our style.

AHHHHH, my patience is being tested! She said she should be out by tonight by 6 at the latest. If not, it will be too late for her to drive, and I wouldn't want her to have to drive in the SNOW (which we have still been getting) in the dark, so I may have to wait until tomorrow afternoon.

Patience, patience, patience.


Okay, I'm better now.

I think.

Except for the fact that my camera is also M.I.A. Sheesh. I need to find it, or someone else's to borrow to get all the "before" photos because starting Monday, bright and early, the place will be on its way to the "after" version.

Okay, on to the photos.

Again, because of my missing camera, AND the fact that my computer with all the photos on it is on the fritz, I was going to scan the kids' photos that are on the mantle. Well, I'm too lazy to take them out of the frames (and Austin's is too big) and the quality is not good unless I take them out (I tried it), so I'll just have to show you something else SO cute that I can't stand it. Austin's 5 year old photos. I can't believe I haven't shown any of these before now.

This is the shot that matches the girls' photos at that age the best. It's too bad that instead of looking contemplative he looks mildly ticked off.

In this one he looks reverent and happy. Pretty much opposite of how he actually looks in church. Then it's usually grumpy and bored. Maybe he's happy because he's NOT in church.

I love this one. It's what he looks like most of the time, especially when he's thinking of something happy, like Harry Potter. Actually, he was most likely thinking about Harry Potter while this was being taken.

My brother-in-law likes to call this next one the "author" pose.

"Austin Fronk resides with his family and his pet cat in Utah, where he spends his free time drawing pictures and arguing with his mother about how much computer time is appropriate for a five-year-old. He is never seen without his constant companion, his authentic Harry Potter magic wand. He dislikes going to church and taking baths."

Looks like he better grow up a little before he publishes his first novel.

That's why I haven't written one yet either.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Favorite Magazine

Lately I've been drowning in magazines.

My mom cashed in all her frequent flier miles for a bunch of new magazines to try (mainly ones that include anything about Robert Pattinson), including some that she thought I might like. She was pretty right on in some cases. This Old House and Health are two that I enjoy that I had not read before.

The Martha Stewart Living magazine? So not my favorite. Martha makes things too complicated. She also stresses doing things "the right way", which I have neither time nor money (not to mention the lack of patience) for. I also think I'm a little too casual at this point in my life to be a Martha fan.

In the real world, Martha and I would not be friends.

Anyway, the other one that mom got right was this one, Coastal Living.

I had already been getting Coastal Living, so for a few months I was getting duplicates, a concept that my mom didn't quite grasp.

Anyway, I like Cottage Living for the cottagey-beachy style of houses they show. I am a huge fan of beadboard, which shows up in abundance in Cottage Living and will hopefully show up in a few places in our new house. I also kind of like the semi-rustic cabin style, though not too rustic. I'll have to post some examples to show what I mean.

We'll be re-doing our new kitchen soon, hopefully within the next year. We (Hal) decided that we need to live with it a while and see if we want to change more than the superficial things like counter tops and hardware. It is a good idea, so I agreed. (And our nice, though a little outdated, medium-oak kitchen table already matches the nice, though a little outdated, medium-oak cabinetry. Right now a new kitchen table just isn't in the budget.)

Now I don't feel as guilty spending so much money on all the new bedding and towels I've been collecting.

Ahhhh, don't you just love new towels? I do!

Now you won't need to be scared to use our new guest bathroom when you all come and stay with us.

Though not at the same time, of course.

Martha might not approve of how I would handle things if I had too many guests at once.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

One Thing I Know For Sure

Having the flu is not very fun.

Taking care of people who have the flu is no picnic either. (Especially cleaning up the aftermath.)

Doing both at the same time is pretty much physically impossible.

(And that has been our week so far - at least for the last couple of days.)

The End.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

We Now Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Chaos.......

I've been feeling like I've neglected Austin with all this house buying/selling nonsense that has been going on. I don't think he knows it, but I know it.

Actually, I think he rather enjoys it. I've let him have a friend over EVERY SINGLE DAY, except for Friday last week (when we got to go see some other friends), and most days so far this week. In fact he had three little friends over yesterday and it was fine, as long as they stayed outside. The big windstorm and rain put a stop to it though.

Anyway, I found this today while wasting time on the internet (which hopefully I won't do so much of in two weeks, when I can start to slowly move into our new house).

It made me feel rather guilty in a good way, the way that makes you turn off the computer and play a board game with your child, even though you hate board games because they are tedious, take too long and have a million tiny little pieces, which you know the kid won't help you pick up later.

I am going to go play Life, which he has been begging for for quite some time. For some reason, I really dislike this game.

Today I'm going to do my best to pretend to enjoy it.

Or I'll just let him win. Either way, he's happy.

(Later: So we played Life, which was interesting because Austin refused to pay any taxes or responsibilities. I may have a future Ted Kaczynski on my hands. After the game was over, I asked if he wanted to play again. He begged me to invite a friend over instead. I'm fun, aren't I? I'm starting to get an inferiority complex. And there are still a million tiny little game pieces all over my bedroom floor.)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Things Are Not Always As They Seem

Here are two quick examples:

A couple weeks ago I drove the girls to Ogden to go shopping for new bedspreads. On the way through Brigham City, Morgan and I were having a philosophical discussion about why someone famous (allegedly) beat his girlfriend. It got to the point where we were being silly about it so as I was driving I gave her a little pretend punch to the side of her head.

Well, I didn't really think about how it would look to anyone else until the truck behind me started swerving and honking. I was horrified when I realized that he thought I had really hit her.

I couldn't think of any way to let him know we were just kidding, so we did the only thing I could think of: I had her pretend to hit me back. Once. (Just once, so we were even. He couldn't have a problem with that, I figured.)

This was right about the time that we decided that our family needed our own reality show.

(Or maybe a reality check is more what we need.)


Last Saturday Ally had a soccer game. She wasn't quite dressed when we needed to leave so I told her to hurry and get ready and then I would drive Austin's friend home and come back and get her. I also told her to be watching for me when I pulled up (or else).

Well, I dropped off the friend and talked to his mom for a few minutes. I pulled around the corner and was about a half a block away from our house when I saw Ally trotting up the street in her soccer uniform. I thought, "Good, she really was listening and is trying to make things a little easier on me."

And then I saw her go to get into a car that was parked up the street about 100 yards ahead of me. She got all the way up to it and grabbed the door handle. I could not figure out what in the world was going on. I wondered if she thought I wasn't coming back and she had called someone else for a ride or something like that. And I have to admit, I wasn't thrilled.

But, as quickly as she went to get into the car, she got away from the car and started running toward me with a funny look on her face. (Luckily she saw me or she would have had to run clear home.)

It was then that I noticed that the car in front of me was identical to ours.

Now really, what are the odds? In the year and a half we've had this new Pilot, I've only seen one other that is this same dark gray color. Anywhere, even on vacation. Now one just happens to be parked a half a block away from our house? Crazy.

So she jumped into our car, looking more than a little freaked out and as I drove past the other Pilot the guy got out and started taking a little girl out of the back, probably to look at the horses in the pasture they were parked in front of.

I realized then that I was heading the wrong direction for the game, so I turned the car around in the driveway directly across the street from them and rolled my window down to make some comment like "Nice car." but Ally told me to put it back up and just get out of there. I have no idea what that guy thought was going on with us.

It wasn't very funny to Ally at the time, but now it's hilariously funny to me.

I thought I was the only person stuff like this happened to.

I wonder if it's hereditary.