Saturday, September 27, 2008

And We Know That Deliv'rance is Nigh

My family has a tradition when a delivery is imminent: we all try to see who can guess what the baby's statistics will be. (My oldest sister has a crazy knack for outguessing the rest of us much of the time.) When we were children, we got a dime for each correct answer. It's a good thing they gave up passing out dimes, because it would have become exponential, what with their rapidly increasing posterity (lots of babies, lots of contestants).

So, since YONF is due to deliver a sweet little mini-yonf on October 22 , I'm making it a Year of No Fear contest! (Hey YONF, if I dare you to deliver naturally, does the Year of No Fear require you to?)

Here's what you can guess at:

  • Date (Hint: The doctor suspects she'll go early)
  • Time
  • Weight
  • Length
  • (We already know he's a boy)
Make your guesses in the comments. The closest guess for each stat wins . . . um . . . a dime?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Confession Wednesday: YONF Me and Accepting Help

In a previous post I mentioned how I was ready to accept some challenges, some fears to overcome. Those that left a comment obviously know me well and were able to come up with some good ones. Here is a follow up to those comments:

Cricket: I loved your suggestions! Being the first is something very hard for me to do. I recently was the first to tell someone I liked their outfit, they were surprised (either that I told them or that someone noticed.) I want to keep doing this, I want to keep being the first! Great suggestion!

Anonymous said: "What about mending a past relationship. Is there someone out there whom you no longer speak with, for whatever reason, that you have been thinking about lately? Now, I know you're married so I'm not talking about a past boyfriend but a good friend who you maybe think about from time to time that you have had a falling out with. Maybe this is the month that you should call and renew that friendship."

To be honest I was afraid that whoever anonymous is was thinking I need to renew their friendship. I thought long and hard on this one, I couldn't think of anyone! If you had asked me a year or so ago there were some people that I needed to renew a friendship with, and am proud to say I did it. Best decision ever. I'm still thinking on this one and seeing if there is someone that I'm overlooking.

Julie's suggestion was:
Julie said... I think you should hold a tarantula. Mean I know. I don't think I could do it. Yuck, just thinking about it is creeping me out!

JULIE! I'm saving this one for when I get to see you again! Maybe I shouldn't say that, then you will avoid me so you can avoid the tarantula!

Christy said...
Hey, I've got one. I overheard you at church saying that you didn't want a list going around for either your shower or dinners,not sure which one. I wasn't really listening in, really, I just sort of caught some of the conversation. But I remember you saying that you don't want people to feel obligated. How about you change your mind on that and let them pass around a sign up list. I have learned this past couple of weeks that taking help is awesome, for everyone. I always so "no thanks" when they ask if I need help out with my groceries but lately I have been saying "yes, please" and it really is a help. Also, I told Darren that I would love help with Ryland while Chuck was at scout camp. I usually say no because I have that feeling of I'm the mom, I should be able to do this on my own. but I am learning that accepting help isn't saying you're weak, it's just saying that yeah, I'm not superman, I do need help every once in a while. Think about it. Plus, I bet there are lots of people who would love to make you meals or bring your son a gift but wouldn't have the chance unless a list was circulated at church.

This suggestion was very good as well. And Christy will be proud to know that I have since said I will take the meals the ward has to offer. Which was hard for me to do! But this is the topic of my post, asking and accepting help when it is needed an offerred. Mrs. B and I are both terrible at accepting help. So in preparation for posting today I said yes to help today when I really didn't want to. I am hosting a Relief Society Bread Recipe exchange at my house tonight. One thing I love about hosting these is it makes to do small projects around the house, such as getting rid of a clutter area. So I love it! There were a few things I needed to do around the house today, my mom offered to help. My first thought was "no, I'll be fine, I can do it myself." But because I was planning on posting about this today I accepted her help. Not only did we get a ton of stuff done but we also had fun doing it! Plus I had time to play with the kids this afternoon and type this post!

Mrs. B is having surgery on Monday for her eyes. It is a "good" kind of surgery but none the less she will be laid up for a week and have sunglasses on for quite a few weeks. Just like me she is struggling with accepting help. So I YONF Mrs. B to accept help, and for her friends who read the blog to not let her say no!

Blogging friends~confess if you have a hard time accepting help and if you've overcome it. Also, how can we help others to accept our help when they say no?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Confession Wednesday: Kitchen Catastrophes

You'll have to click on that picture to see what's really going on.

Cooking has never come easily to me. I am related to several fantastic cooks, and I was trained by one of the best, but apparently when everyone else was lining up for that gene, I was back in the SPINE line, begging for a heftier helping. I can recall teenaged failures at things like popcorn (who messes up popcorn? People who open the popper mid-popping to check the progress, that's who!), and crockpot casseroles (who messes up crockpot recipes? People who fill crockpots with meat and vegetables and fail to add any liquids, that's who!). My siblings and I used to take turns cooking dinner, but you know, I don't remember cooking dinner that often. I think even my 10-year-old brother knew it was more palatable to take an extra turn than to let me loose in the kitchen.

Once when I was about 15, I was trying to make an apple pie while my mom was gone. The apples were coming along well enough, but I was mystified by the crumbly crust. Knowing I was in over my head, I called my grandma (who got a double dose of the cooking gene) and asked her what I should do. She gave me some advice, and five minutes later I called her back because it hadn't worked. She gave me another idea to try, which produced the same results. On the third phone call, her final words of wisdom were, "Good Grief. Crumble the crust over the apples. You've just made an apple crisp."

Lucky for me, I married a man who will eat anything he can douse in hot sauce, ranch dressing, sour cream, and/or ketchup. I'm a little better at making dinner than I used to be, but I'm still on the shady side of average. In fact, there's only one thing I make well: rolls. They're nothing special . . . no secret ingredient, no slaving over the stove. They don't even begin to compare to my Aunt Arlene's rolls, but it's the only recipe that rarely fails me. I've got a lot of people fooled, because rolls can be disguised as a wide variety of concoctions (bread, cinnamon rolls, breadsticks, cinnamon bread, sticky buns), but in the end it's all the same recipe.

If I had my way, I'd bring rolls to every potluck gathering until the end of time. I always have the ingredients on hand, and it doesn't require any creativity on my part. Salads, on the other hand, stress me out. You can't just bring lettuce, carrots and tomatoes anymore! Gone are the days of cool whip and colored marshmallows! Jello and fruit cocktail? History! A salad isn't a salad anymore unless it's full of nuts, craisins, strawberries, mangoes, cilantro (ack), ramen noodles, and that lettuce that looks like it was pollinated by a spider, and that you can't cut, stab or corral with a fork, so you have to resort to balancing it on the fork and cramming it rapidly into your mouth while hoping that all the tentacles will make it in before your advancing fork triggers your gag reflex.

Please understand, I find these salads utterly delectable (even the gangly spider lettuce), but the creation thereof perplexes me. I end up wandering through the produce section of the grocery store trying to decide which fruits and vegetables can peacefully coexist in a salad bowl. Green onions and mandarin oranges? Bell peppers and pears? Meanwhile my gaze keeps wandering longingly over to the aisles where jello, canned peaches and cool whip sit in all their simplicity. It's like trying to match up skirts, shirts, shoes and accessories when your fashion sense has been flat-lined since leg warmers came around the first time (or was is just one time? I haven't really been paying attention. ***See picture above.).

Please, oh please, just let me bring the rolls.

Lately, though, even the rolls have been failing me. Something just wasn't right. They looked funny, and they tasted like they needed salt, but I knew for sure I was adding just the right amount. I feared I was losing my precarious touch. What the heck was left to bring to potlucks?

A scientific investigation (I tasted the salt, my daughter tasted the salt, and then we made my husband taste the salt) revealed that my salt had lost its savor. Actually, I think it was mostly sugar and just a little salt. SOMEBODY had tampered with my baking cupboard . . . . a jealous fellow baker? A husband who will do almost anything to get out of a potluck? A three-year-old who gleefully discovered open ingredients left on the counter? The recipient of my last anonymous (I thought) April Fool's joke? Whoever it was, they've doomed me to a paranoid life-time of tasting the salt (blech) before I add it.

But the rolls are good again. (Until someone goes after the cooking oil.)

What's the best dish you make? What's the worst thing you've ever made?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Makeover Mayhem

One day last spring, I was lamenting the perpetually chaotic state of my older girls' (10&12) room. Holy toledo, it was bad! So I threatened my daughters with, "One of these days you're going to come home from school and find that I've cleaned, de-cluttered, and rearranged your room the way I want!"

I expected some eye-rolling in return, but what I got was two wide grins and two enthusiastic OKAY's!

Dang it.

So I struck a deal with my girls: if they would watch the two younger children for me, I would lock myself in their room and prepare a surprise makeover. They readily agreed.

Daughter #1 is a ginormous fan of "Lord of the Rings." Daughter #2 loves monkeys. The room decor evolved into something like "Lord of the Monkeys." (The motherless living room and kitchen, meanwhile, were more like "Lord of the Flies," but that's another story.)

Long story short, it was a BOATLOAD of work! I had furniture, power tools, sewing equipment, painting supplies, and hardware scattered from corner to corner. There was stud-finding, counter-sinking of screw heads (I might be a wee bit proud of that one), hot-glue, repairing of dresser drawers, duct tape, shelf-building, custom-sewn bedding, yard-sale scavenging, and hours upon hours of peeling extra vinyl around quotes from "Lord of the Rings."

Here's where Year of No Fear came in (aside from tackling a gargantuan project that I put off for 4 months . . . ): Not long before my self-imposed deadline, I ran to Wal-Mart to quickly purchase some monkey fabric for a bulletin board. As I was choosing my fabric, the fabric girl wandered out of the fabric section. I waited at the counter for her to cut my fabric (that's 5 "fabric"s in 3 sentences, if you're wondering), but several minutes went by with no assistance. I even dinged the "ring for help" bell! I hate dinging those bells. It makes me feel all bossy and pushy. (Stop mocking me.)

I was anxious to get back home and nobody was coming! More customers were beginning to line up behind me. One lady had even gone to automotive to request a page, but no luck. So I stood there feeling more and more irritated. Visions danced through my head of a smug fabric girl engaged in all sorts of irresponsible, time-wasting activities while I stood helplessly waiting!

Then a thought came to me: If I was my friend, K, who's not the kind to stand around waiting for assistance, what would I be doing? I would be picking up the fabric desk phone and demanding some help, that's what! (K later confirmed that I was correct.) So I did! I picked up the phone, hit some numbers until someone answered (the fitting room, as luck would have it?), and explained my plight.

Turns out the fitting room carries about as much clout as automotive. Nobody appeared.

By now I had been waiting at least 15 minutes. What would K do next, I wondered? Of course she would pick up that fancy pricing gun, print her own sticker, cut her own fabric, and skitter off to the checkout stand, that's what! (K informs me that I was WRONG, but I didn't know that until later.) So I grabbed the pricing gun, scanned my fabric bolt, and started fiddling around, trying to get it to print a sticker.

You know, they make that look really easy. IT'S NOT. Ten minutes later, when the fabric girl FINALLY showed up, I was still punching buttons with a furrowed brow. Upon being caught red-handed, I immediately decided that the poor girl had probably been the helpless victim of sudden and prolonged gastrointestinal distress, and who was I to judge? I sheepishly handed over the gun with a flimsy apology, which she sheepishly took with NO apology (it's hard to apologize for gastrointestinal attacks), and nothing more was spoken while she cut and priced my fabric.

My audacious courage didn't save me any time, but I did watch her like a hawk so the next time she goes AWOL, I'll be all over that pricing gun!

The makeover was a success, and the children survived their week as orphans. (Yes, that's a hammock. She's slept in it going on 2 years now. I will either be known as the coolest mom ever, or the chiropractor's standing Caribbean cruise fund.)

My Belated Wednesday question for you:
Who wants to makeover the younger kids' room?

Ha, just kidding.


Confession Wednesday

I confess that I worked on a post on and off all day, but forgot to finish and post it.

Anyone else have something to confess?

Friday, September 5, 2008

Year of No Fear Me!

Today marks one month until my birthday! There were many fears conquered, attempted, and put on hold.

Conquered!-Christmas ornament exchange party I had avoided for years! Can't wait to go again this year!

Attempted?-Making phone calls to people I don't know. I have done well with some people but I still have a phone number of a new friend that I want to call but just can't get the nerve to.

Put on Hold*-Shooting a gun. My doctor recommended I wait until I'm not pregnant. She was confused by why I was wanting to shoot a gun anyway.

So I post the question, what should I do in the next month? After my birthday hits I won't be stopping my year of no fear, I do have to give birth shortly after so I'll need no fear more than ever! But in the next month what are some suggestions of fears I should conquer? I'll pick one suggestion and let you know how it turns out!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Confession Wednesday-Worry, Worry!

I came to a new conclusion on Sunday. Probably one of the best yet for my year of fear. I worry to much! I worry about everything! There have been many nights I haven't gotten much sleep because I worry too much. I worry about money, kids, husband, business, parents, friends, the house, the future, the list could go on and on. I know that worrying is bad, but it is in my blood! If you think I sound like a worrier you haven't met my dad and brother!

So now that I figured this out what will I do about it? To stop worrying would be a major overhaul on who I am. What will I think about all day and night if I don't allow myself to worry? Well I will tell you, nothing! It has been a fabulous few days where every time a worry creeps into my head, no matter what time of day, I tell myself that worrying doesn't do any good and I am not going to do it. I have found my thoughts filled with positive, wonderful things.

The worst part of worrying is the "what ifs" which get me no where. Case in point: I've been dreading my oldest starting 7th grade, I had a terrible 7th grade year and I didn't know any other kind of 7th grade year could happen. I could write an entire post on the terrible 7th grade year I had. I've been worried for at least the summer months, if not longer. What would it be like for her? Would she be sad? Lonely? Overwhelmed? Hateful? Angry? I've been worrying all summer. So yesterday she starts school. Since I no longer worry I thought about her often during the day but not worried about her just curious what she was doing. She came home a completely different child. I think I picked up the wrong one from school! She has struggled with attitude issues all summer with me, moped around the house often and didn't engage much with the family. She said she had a wonderful first day and didn't stop talking all night. She apologized when I casually mentioned please don't leave your shoes on the pillows. This morning she happily put away the clean dishes, cleaned up additionally around the kitchen, made her lunch, cleaned up after herself and left with a smiling, happy attitude. What is going on? Is it the week she spent at grandma's and realized I wasn't so bad? Is it my attitude-more happy, less worry? Is it her, where she changed from something else? So far 7th grade is shaping up to be her best year ever! I won't worry about why she is so great-I'll just enjoy it!

Confession time: Are you a worrier? What do you worry about? How do you deal with your worries?

Monday, September 1, 2008


Hey everyone, thanks for your bids! The Year of No Fear Auction will be donating $205 to the Nielson's Recovery Fund!

Winners are as follows:

Diaper/Wipes Holder #1 goes to Melissa, Ryan & Addy (that's one bidder) for $15.
Diaper/Wipes Holder #2 goes to ~love for $10.
The Portrait Session goes to Liz for $80.
The Cinnamon Rolls go to a bidder who wishes to remain anonymous for $100. (Wouldn't you want to remain anonymous if you had a pan-full of tasty baked goods?)

If you're a winner, please click here . . .

. . . and make your donation directly to the recovery fund (Paypal account not required). Then please forward your Paypal receipt to yearofnofear at gmail dot com, along with contact information, and we'll get your items to you!

Thanks so much for helping the Nielsons!