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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Titles Stress Me Out

Last summer, (dear summer, I miss you) I was picking my 12yo up from the dentist's office, and she and I were waiting while the gentleman ahead of us was being checked out. It was taking a while, but we weren't in any hurry. I can't remember what we were talking about . . . maybe the upcoming family reunion, or our mutual gratitude that she had no cavities?

As we were headed out the door after checking out, the gentleman we had waited for approached me and shook my hand, then congratulated me on my daughter's good manners, my parenting, and the rapport he had observed!

As I thanked him, he handed me this card:





I'm not going to lie; it made my day! What a kind, thoughtful gesture!

Also, I'm not going to lie; had he seen me about 24 hours prior in Wal-Mart with my 7yo and 5yo, he most definitely would not have handed me that card. I wonder if he has a card in his other pocket that says, "Hey, lighten up and realize that if your kids are a little wired, it's because they're making the best of yet another boring shopping trip."

Actually, I kept that card out on my dresser for quite a while, because that was the week when the baby nausea started, (and the ensuing survival mode: just keep them fed and clothed and get them to and from school on time). I had to remind myself that there was a time when I felt like being a good mom.

I'm hesitant to write much on here about this baby, because there are a few people very near and dear to me who would give anything to be in the same place. At times when I've felt the same way, even when I was genuinely happy for those with better luck, I didn't always want to read all about it. (Not that women shouldn't be writing about it - I just chose not to read it sometimes.) (I've rewritten this paragraph about 6 times, so I hope it's taken as it's meant.)

But anyway, I'll save all the nitty-gritty details for my own personal journal, and just say that we're all terribly excited and grateful and just a wee bit nervous, but mostly excited. And grateful.

You know what else I'm grateful for? Everyone in this house (except he who is gainfully employed) has been sleeping in until 8:00 during Christmas break. I don't think we've enjoyed that any time in the last 14.9 years! Next week is going to be torture.

But this week is bliss!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sincerely

Dear October,

Deer AND elk season, two soccer games per Saturday, and the long-term departure of my beloved warm weather?

Your only redeeming features are fall leaves and multiple birthday celebrations.

Sincerely,
Is it Spring Yet?

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Family,

Did I really take a whole, entire shower without anybody trying to talk to me through the door? A whole shower in which I didn't have to holler that truly, honestly, I can't hear what in the world you're saying, and that if it's not blood or fire, it can wait?

Love,
Stunned, but Grateful

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Halloween,

I was in costume. I was a nudist on strike.

Sincerely,
HAR HAR

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Dearest, Sweetest Automotive Seat Warmers,

Where have you been all my life? You are rising quickly to the top of my short list of things that make winter bearable.

Love,
Please Don't EVER Leave Me

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Kids,

Tonight when we watched videos of you from 3 years ago, you were all so young and cute, it really did hurt a little to see how fast you're growing up. And then I realized that in 3 years, the videos we shoot this year will be young and cute and a little painful, too. I wonder if you all could just stop growing up for a little while? My heart can't keep up with you.

Love,
Mom

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Dear Crunchy Crab Sushi Roll,

Is it wrong that I can't stop thinking about you? And that I offered a date with you to my daughters as a reward for good grades? (They seemed a little confused by the offer. Weird.)

Sincerely,
Report Cards Come Out This Month

------------------------------------------------------------------------


Well, whaddya know? It worked! Just about 4 weeks after the last bag of baby clothes was given away, actually. The excitement around here is tangible, and the kids' anticipation might be the funnest part of all.

Sincerely,
I Still Can't Believe It!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Complete Slacker

Since it's common knowledge that I have got some fears, it should also be noted that I hate change! I don't deal with it well at all. So 6 months ago we moved. It's been the hardest thing for me! We moved one mile away. I realize this is pathetic but I've had every emotion hit me about moving. However, it's not just that we packed up our house and moved our belongings, I have a theory as to why it's been so hard:

  • We changed Wards-we went from a very small, close knit ward, to a huge ward where I hardly know anyone! Making new friends if very hard for me!

  • Two of my greatest friends moved away, I miss them terribly!

  • I started learning who my true friends are and who was just "friends" with me because we were in the same ward.

I've had some great help though in dealing with the change and some recent realizations:

  • My three year old was having a hard time adjusting and stopped sleeping through the night, she went from sharing a room with her brothers to having her own room. A great friend brought her family over for dinner and it normalized everything for my girl and she started enjoying her own room and started sleeping all night again. Thank you!

  • I came to the realization that having not moved wouldn't make me feel better. I didn't miss our ward as much as I missed our ward of a few years ago when my great friends were still there.

  • I have still got some great friends that will always be my friends and that after a really bad day I can call at 9:30 at night to meet me for a movie and they let me complain and they make me laugh and we enjoy our movie.

So my conclusion is I've been neglecting blogging because people don't want to hear me complain about how difficult things have been lately, but now that I'm on the other side I can say I love my new house, the space is amazing, and I'm so glad we switched wards, all the kids have made so many new great friends that it was completely worth it! And I've got great friends that haven't moved and I really do enjoy them. And I made a new friend! So I am back and I did do something completely for the sake of the blog this summer. Stay tuned.....................

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Many, Many Unrelated Pictures, A.K.A. At Least It's a Post

Some fearlessness for your viewing pleasure:









Obviously not me, but I'm raising them. Does that count?


Just one of my favorite pictures ever:




SHHH!! If he finds out I posted this, I'm toast. (The kids put that on him, and I snuck a picture without permission.)



Another school year. Thirty-six second-grade spelling tests to study for. It's a full-time job. So when O got 100% on her spelling test, I let her pick a candy out of the forbidden Halloween candy jars. Right away, Little J (5) asked for one, and I told him he had to do something spectacular.

"What's spickspackular?" he asked.

"Something amazing!" I told him.

"Like cleaning my room?"

"No, even more amazing."

About half an hour later, he came out from his bedroom with his magnadoodle and asked, "Mom, is this spickspackular?"


Why, yes indeed! (Has he got my number, or what?)

Speaking of written correspondence with the kids, here are a few of my recent favorites:




(Did you know if your child gets high fevers around age 1, it can damage their still-forming permanent teeth? I didn't. Now I do.)



Home school for college? My child thinks I'm a genius! (She may brst with teers when she finds out the truth.)

When Jason & I got back from a real, bonafide dinner date (what's that?) last weekend, we discovered the following:


A three-bedroom, one bath (you think I'm kidding) fort! (Our 12yo's specialty.) Allow me to take you on a tour:

The hallway:



The living room:



Three bedrooms:



I didn't get to see the bathroom on my tour, but the kids tell me it was just off the master bedroom. The babysitter was worth every penny we WOULD have paid her if we weren't saving to send her to college someday.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What Blog? Where?

Sorry, little blog, but I'm drowning in squeaky wheels, and you're not one of them.

Given adequate time, I would try to write a post about how my amazing mom received a kidney recently from my amazing aunt, and what an honor it was to be part of that experience, and how grateful I am to my family for allowing me to spend a week at my mom's side, and how I feel pure joy every time I see my mom in renewed health. But then I would realize how close to my heart it all was, and still is, and I would decide that the internet is not the right forum for something so internal and tender. And then I would just tell you how much I love all of my family.

But if you were really interested in the whole story from my family's perspective, you could go to www.ushassells.com and read the 50+ posts, staring around June 21, or if you just wanted a little taste of how amazing these two women are, you could just read this and this and this. And maybe this.

But since time is in short supply, and I'm supposed to be doing a whole lot of something else, I'm just going to throw some syrup on this waffle, as Mickie would say, and call it good.

Going camping with 6 people and adequate equipment requires some serious packing skillz:



And some serious redneck skillz:



10 hours into the camping trip (we were asleep for 7 of them), we already had wet laundry:



And by that night, all the children had one dry outfit left:



So with my sanity in mind, we went here:





Where everyone else was happy to wait while doing this:



After which I loaded up clean, dry, folded laundry and breathed a contented sigh of enormous relief.

How cool is this?



HAR:


(Camping Glam. Awesome.)

We celebrated the Home of the Brave:



And, after that horrible, sickening how-did-I-let-my-child-get-hurt feeling ebbed a little, we said a prayer of thanks that he only fell against the firepit, and not into it.



So here we are, 10 loads of laundry later and gearing up for our next camping adventure. What an excellent day for a little bitty bladder to soak right through my giant bean bag, making it necessary to throw away the wet stuffing, unstuff the whole doggone thing, wash the cover, vacuum everything in a 6-foot radius, and pack 9 bags of shredded foam rubber into the garage for another day's project.



Shredded foam rubber, you are NOT my friend.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh

The rules of the Year of No Fear go like this:

  1. If a new opportunity is offered, it has to be tried out. Just once.
  2. Rule #1 may be broken if it poses a threat to safety, sanity, finances, or marital harmony. It can also be reconsidered if one's neighbor-in-law declares it more dangerous than driving Hwy 140. *wink*
  3. Rule #2 does not apply to *irrationalizations such as a fear of public embarrassment. Clearly.
  4. *I just made that word up. Google says otherwise, but miriamwebster.com and dictionary.com back me up. (What nerd? Where?)
  5. If Rule #1 is carried out with unsatisfactory results, the aforementioned opportunity may be freely rejected at all subsequent offerings.
I am hereby Rule #5-ing cold-weather camping.

Had a great time. Not doing it in 40 degrees again.

But on to the good times!

Looky! My whole family held still for a picture? Would you like an 8x10, Mom?


Hee hee!


Oh my stars, he posed for ANOTHER snapshot! Note to self: get a large, dead fish for the next family picture.


I may have done just a leetle bit of fretting grumbling doomsaying voicing my concerns about the forecast for rain before we left. Mr. B pretty much ignored me until we were on the road, and then assured me that I would be "the dryest, happiest wife that ever went camping," and to leave it to him. So I did. And he was right! Check out our campsite!

The girls LOVED scaling the fish!


Ok, one of them did.


(And THANK YOU, Mr. B, for not Rule #1-ing me on the whole fish-cleaning process!)

The nights were just cold. And yes, I thought sadly of pioneer mothers and children, and said many prayers of thanks for sleeping bags and blankets and hats. And woke up every 30 minutes to make sure this guy was still under blankets:


Thank you, US Air Force and military-issue sleeping bags:


Perk of camping: it's totally OK to look like this:


Mrs. F, we LOVED the cresent-rolls-on-sausages-on-a-stick breakfast! Thanks for the yummy idea!


Also, props to Mrs. G and Mrs. R for the hip new s'mores idea! Even the skeptics loved them:


Another perk of camping: Undying love for home, sweet home, and children who are too tired to fight bedtime. Or intrusive feet.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Movin' right along, footloose and fancy free . . .

A few things that I struggle with:

1. Long-distance road trips. (I'm always afraid I'll die.)
2. Long-distance road trips without my kids. (I'm always afraid I'll leave them motherless.)
3. Long-distance road trips alone. (All of the above, but I'll be asleep at the wheel when it happens.)

You guessed it: A solo trip to Utah was in order, something I had NEVER EVER done, and I was pretty sure I was going to die alone somewhere in Nevada. (Who said anything about being rational?)

So sure, in fact, that I cleaned my ENTIRE house and took my family out to dinner the night before I left.

Some snippets from dinner:
Kids: WOW! What is that flashy buzzy pager thingy?
Kids: Um, are we supposed to follow that guy?
Kids: What? We can CHOOSE our food off of this BIG paper folder gizmo?
Mr. B: Hey hon, when's the last time we took the kids to a real restaurant?
Me: Hmm . . . um . . . WHOA. Yeah, about five years ago.

Me: You know, since I'm going to be driving alone with sketchy cell service, maybe I'd better take your handgun with me. (I know, I'm so edgy.)
Mr. B: I've never, ever been as attracted to you as I am right now.

Me: So all the bills are paid and everything is clean, but I didn't get around to cleaning our shower.
Mr. B: Sounds good.
Me: So if I die on the road, will you clean our shower before the Relief Society shows up?
Mr. B: Uh, no.
Me: What? But if I'm dead, I don't want anyone to see our shower!
Mr. B: Oh ok. You mean, like . . . "Oh man, Mrs. B's dead. I'd better go clean the shower."
Me: Exactly!
Mr. B: Yeah. No.

For the record, he DID clean the shower while I was gone. And I wasn't even dead! Also for the record, Mr. B is AWESOME about taking over when I leave town. He doesn't complain a bit, which would be highly insulting (or perhaps suspicious) if he wasn't so happy to see me when I come back home. I'm also very grateful to wonderful friends who took my 4yo during the days.

And, as is generally the case with these YONF-ish things, I LOVED that drive! The sweeping vistas! The uninterrupted thoughts! The conference talks! The belting-out of my geeky playlists! The record-time pit stops!

I don't know when I've ever spent 13 hours totally alone, but it was a treat. I had NO idea how much I would enjoy it. (That sounds like an ego gone wrong, but you get what I mean, right?)

Two brownie points to anyone who can tell me where this picture was taken (Put your hand down, K2, I know you know!):


So I got to spend a delightful week with these two beauties . . .
. . . and their lovely, amazing mother. She makes mothering newborns and toddlers look like a BREEZE! It's also possible that a sweet little 2yo had her "Aunt Meena" wrapped around her finger from the moment I arrived. (I miss you guys!)


I took advantage of one quiet night to go meet some friends. This was also a little scary for me, because I had never met any of them in real life before! Not scary in a they-could-be-mass-murderers sort of way (although I suppose they could have been, being internet friends and all), but in a don't-be-a-goofus-don't-be-a-goofus (name that movie) sort of way.

Lucky for me, not one of these ladies was homicidal, and they were all every bit as lovely in real life as online. It was such a fun night out enjoying good food, excellent company, and many funny stories.

For the love, can't I just look decent in a picture for once?

And THEN I got to drive my big sister and my little brother all over SLC, which was like a very fun mini family reunion on wheels. In fact, over the course of my trip, I got to see four of my siblings, which makes for a pretty good week in and of itself.

Did I ever mention that I'm no good at ending posts?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Eight Ways to Stay Busy

This . . .
. . . is me getting ready to run TWO MILES NONSTOP. This is BIG stuff. (No really, I'm in the picture. You can see my shoulder somewhere near those cute, cute girls in pink.)

And this . . .

. . . is a very excited group of girls on a quick and fun little road trip. We were invited to a sneak preview of "Wicked," which will be coming this direction next year. (I'm submitting a group order. Email me if you want in.) The t-shirts say "defy gravity" on the back. Get it?


This here . . .
. . . was decorated by me! BIG thanks to K2 and KW for the awesome fondant class!


This . . .
. . . is NOT a hyperactive hamster going crazy in her food dish, but that's what I thought the sound was as the glass slowly cracked into a bizillion pieces after a weed whacker kicked up a rogue rock.



Now THIS . . .
. . . is just one little example of how much we LOVE our newest neighbors!

One of my favorite conversations since moving day:
My 14yo: Hey mom, does E really need to knock when she comes over? Can't she just walk in?
Me: Well, E, I certainly wouldn't mind, but you might see Mr. B in his underwear.
E: Oh, yeah, um . . .
Me: You know, it would teach him a good lesson, but it would be at your expense.
E: Yeah. No. I'm good.

And just so you know, if coming home late at night and finding this . . .
. . . waiting for you doesn't melt your heart into a puddle, I don't know what will.

And finally, this . . .
. . . was the kids' April 1st after-school snack. (Caramel/Tootsie roll bacon, white chocolate/reeces pieces eggs, and frosting/whopper/jam/cinnamon roll spaghetti.) (April Fools! You're headed for a diabetic coma!) I promise the "spaghetti sauce" looked much more like strawberry jam in real life, and much less like a blood clot. Gross.