Sunday, January 31, 2010

Son, You're the Man Around Here Now . . .

Mike has been gone the entire weekend working. This morning (after doing a million other things) I was just dawning boots to go shovel the driveway when Abe (all dressed in his church clothes) said, "I can do that, Mom." And, it wasn't the kind of "help" kids so cutely generally give. Like . . . say . . . this kind of help: (she was trying to help)He really shoveled the entire driveway, sidewalk, and walkway. Once, when the dog had escaped into the front yard and Abe was getting him back in the fence, I came out and picked up the shovel to finish the job. "You're not supposed to be out here," he said, taking the shovel out of my hands and sending me back in.
I already try to make my kids pull their weight -- you know, folding and putting away their laundry, emptying the dishwasher, etc., but there are some things that it hadn't really occurred to me that my own kids would be able to one day do around here. It is strange to think that when Mike is gone, Abe can shovel the driveway and, maybe in a little more time, mow the lawn, or run errands for me.

That sounds like I am just evilly drumming my fingertips together and thinking, "Oh good, they can soon do MORE MORE and MORE work for me!!" but that isn't what I mean. It just seems so unreal that they are on the verge of being able to do actual grown up kinds of helpful things. Strange that if something were broken in the house, it might actually be my son who would get out the tool box and fix it, my daughter who would make dinner on a hectic evening, my kids packing their own things for a family vacation, or putting a younger sibling down for a nap for me.
I have just been so much living the life of a mother of many young children -- whose every need is my responsibility, that imagining them not only handling things all on their own, but actually taking care of some of my needs is totally novel (and a little crazy).
My kids do help a lot, and even cleaning up is great. It was just that today was so hectic. Mike gone, one kid throwing up, another kid dumping a chocolate drink all over the carpet, me trying to make calls to get someone to cover for my calling at church so I could stay home with sick kid, and trying to make other calls to see who could let my older two sit by them in Sacrament mtg., etc. Abe just taking over and shoveling the driveway for me made me feel so much like it wasn't just me here alone handling everything. It felt like I had a responsible and capable teenage son rather than another little one needing my total care. It was just a very surprising and very comforting feeling.
Thanks, Abe. Don't forget that you are only nine too quickly though.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rashes and the Need Ads

Me: Penny, hold still. We need to change your diaper.

Penny: NO! Don't change me!

Me: We have to change you honey. Do you want to get a rash?

Penny: Yes!

Me: Silly. Rashes aren't fun. You don't want a rash.

Penny: YOU'RE A RASH!!!

Well, she bested me there. What kind of a comeback can one give to that? That darn girl. She should 100% be potty trained anyway. But she screams like I am trying to stick her in a vat of burning oil when I try to encourage her to sit on any type of potty. "You're a rash."? Sheesh.

And, speaking of rashes, here is something that has nothing to do with rashes. Although . . . now that I typed that, it occurs to me it might . . . if snake bites cause rashes that is.

The other night Mike was looking at the want ads on the laptop as I was slowly drifting off to sleep next to him. I made some clever remark about his precious want ads which prompted Mike to say that they were the need ads. I must have laughed (as I slipped closer to sleep) -- wondering what exactly we'd find in the need ads. Before I totally drifted off, Mike suggested anti-venom as one item we'd certainly find in the need ads. Anti-venom? Why would that be the first thing to come to Mike's mind when thinking of things people might need? I don't know, but before falling asleep I thought, "Huh. Anti-venom. Funny. . . . (drifting drifting) . . . remember that for tomorrow . . . just remember venom . . . zzzzz." Then, the next morning, all I could recall was, "v-v-v . . . hmmm . . . Vaseline . . . vinegar . . . what was so funny?" Luckily, a few days later anti-venom popped into my head again and with it, the whole conversation. When I told Mike I thought it was funny that anti-venom would be the first thing he would think of that someone might need, he simply pointed out that if you did need anti-venom, you would really NEED anti-venom.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Cool Text

I don't know that my niece Ashley has any knowledge of this, but Lorna Doone and Precious Bane happen to be two of my favorite old classic novels. That is why I got such enjoyment out of this tiny texted conversation today.

First, I received this text from Ashley:
Isn't Lorna Doone the story with the girl who has the harelip?

My reply:
You wish. That's Precious Bane. I have it if you are still here and want to borrow it. (Only, to be honest, my text didn't exactly say that -- some words were left out and some were spelled wrong altogether because I still don't really know how to text -- but, that is what it tried to say).

Ashley's response:
I wish? :) That is awesome that you said that. Dang. I guess I do wish actually. I checked out the movie Lorna Doone and kept waiting for harelip, but she never showed.

I love that she waited and waited through all of a movie that has nothing to do with a harelip for the girl with the harelip to make her appearance. And, I love tiny little moments in my day when someone gives me some tiny thing to chuckle about.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Daisy's Post

I made a butterfly, first mom made a butterfly then I put on papers.It had pinkish eyes, a purple face, a indigo mouth, pink antennaes, and a bunch of designs.I got pink eye so I had to stay home with Penny, Jesse, and mom.
P.S Mom did NOT write this.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"A Proper Welcoming" or "Our Story isn't Over Yet"

Last night I told Mike I could never think of anything to blog about anymore. "Maybe our story is told," he said. It was a good run while it lasted.

He should be the first to know our story isn't all told. In fact, our story has just begun . . . again . . . with the purchase of our new van.

When I called my sister Megan today to tell her about the van (see previous post), she said, "Sweet! Now we have a van to run the Ragnar!"

We were just joking at first. The Ragnar is a 189 mile relay race through some of the hilliest places around here. And, of course, everyone uses vans to transport/sleep in as they pick up runners, drop off others, and wait their turn.

Before long, Megan and I were working out all the details about really running the race. (Yes, I know my foot is a wreck, but we aren't considering that). When I told Mike about it, he asked how it came up -- if it had come up because of our van, and, I had to admit that it had.

"See," he said, "Our van is a dream maker!"

Then, when I told him about my last mean post about our van, he told me I was approaching it all wrong. My van post should have been less, "I'll never be cool again," and more, "Good news! I am now officially and finally THEE coolest person ever. That's right. I own a full size van. Look at it and weep!"

So, that's what this new post is. A proper welcoming to our van.

Dear Van,

Welcome. I am so happy you joined us and that you are clean and new and a comfy ride. I am so excited for this Summer when my sister Shannon and I want to take our kids swimming or to the zoo because we'll all be chilling together -- in you. I like that my kids think you are the greatest thing that ever happened, and even though I am a little vain, I have only talked nicely about you to my kids so they won't ever think you are anything but AWE-SOME. And, even though I still mostly drive the truck, I realize from this sudden Ragnar business, that Mike is right -- you are a total dream maker. Who knows what adventures we will dream up now. And that is good because it was looking like our story was done -- it had all been told, but now that you are here, we will still have a stories to tell for years to come. Plus, it turns out that ONLY the coolest people even own full size vans. I can hardly believe I am now one of them.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Losing my Cool

Well, it's official, I can never ever be cool again. Ever. Again.

Of course, that presupposes I ever actually was cool. I'm pretty certain I must have been though because do you know what I was voted my senior year of high school? Well, I'll tell you. "Best Personality," AND "Best Sense of Humor." What is that if not C-O-O-L? Oh, alright, who am I kidding. Those awards were quite the honor, but they are only a step under "Most Likely to Succeed" in their coolness ranking, which means, quite frankly, not cool at all. Nice? Yes. Better in the long run? Why certainly, but cool? Nooooo. If you want to prove coolness by the senior bests votes, you know darn well that you would have had to be voted:

a) Best Looking or

b) Best Pockets (Which of course is complete Greek to me . . . I have no idea what that means . . . oh alright, I do. I know because my older brother was voted, "Best Pockets" and I, in my youthful innocence, was shocked to hear what that meant -- and that there was an award for it in high school! He was cool though, so, you see my point).

Even if the other categories had been enough to classify one as "cool," I have no real proof I ever received the awards at all. No proof but my word and two tiny paper weight plaques lost somewhere in my parents' attic. There was a big scandal with the year book staff trying to choose finalists with no preliminary voting. Then there was an uproar from the enraged student body. In the end, the votes were done how they should be with the outcome being that the yearbook staff angrily sent the yearbooks off to be made with the Senior Bests excluded.

So, maybe I have never been cool, but any allusions of coolness I may have retained have now been squashed. I know it's fruitless now. And you'll know too . . . just as soon as you see these pictures:
Yes. That is a full size van. Full. Size. I just lost all of my young cool readers permanently with those last three sparse sentences. (And these pics are the best we could do with cars parked on either side and Goldie as the photographer).

Even Mike's brother said (when Mike mentioned getting a roof rack or "cool" rims) that it was just like "putting lipstick on a pig."

It seats 12. That means our family plus a whole other family of 5! 7 + 5. 6 and 6. 10 and 2 more.

Mike has always wanted one. ALWAYS. He does think it's cool. He thinks it is the coolest thing he's ever owned. Maybe because he's cool enough to handle it. (In fact, this minute he just said something about his van and I think I heard the words "hot" and "best purchase we ever made").

Anywho, despite my pride making me want to hide when I drive it (which, let's face it -- is impossible), I actually did love being in it tonight with the kids. They have been squashed up close to me in that truck for the past 2 1/2 years. I can never even hear myself think as I drive. But tonight . . . oh tonight . . . they mostly wanted to sit on the back row. I couldn't even hear them! It was dreamy. For all I know they were screaming and crying their heads off for the whole drive. AND, oh how Daisy and Goldie usually whine about who is touching who when we drive. Now, not one kid even has to sit directly by another kid! What? Plus, we've never had even one extra seat to cart a friend or cousin along with us. Now, as I mentioned, we have FIVE extra seats.
So, there are some perks to having just gone from a girl who could pass for 20-something (maybe -- if the viewer were generous and didn't quite do their math in accounting for all my kids) to a motherly 48 year old. And don't get me wrong about being a mother. I love being a mother, but mother is a very different word from mother-ly.

But, before you mock, consider that you might not want to burn any bridges. One day you and your band might need a ride to your latest gig and who will you call? Me and my van. Actually, let's call it Mike's van. You might need to call me and my husband's van.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Why it's best not to teach your kids to read.

My nine year old: Mom, how do thieves take over computers from another location?

Me: Ummm . . . I . . . they . . . uhhh . . . I think they . . .

Nine year old: Because that is how they steal your identity and all your information. (Pause). Without ever even firing a bullet.

Me: Umm . . . I . . . Wait. Who are you again?


Awhile ago I heard, or saw, or maybe read the word "happify."

Well, I guess "saw the word" and "read the word" would really be the same thing. Unless, of course, I saw the word but didn't read the word. I think that to get away with that though one would need to either:

a) not be able to read -- isn't that weird that combined letter symbols become so ingrained in us that we can't really ignore a word -- that our mind sees it as a word and not just nonsense symbols? Hmmm.


b) have seen the word from a great enough distance or with bad enough eyes to not have been able to make out the word.

Anyway, somehow -- read or heard -- happify entered my conscious brain and I kind of liked it and wondered if people could really be happified (grammatically speaking). So, I went to the library and searched the periodicals.

HA! Periodicals. Those were the days.

I googled, "happify," and what I found was most happifying. It was this: Many people are enraged by the use of the word happify -- in any of its various forms.

Here's a little of what I found:

I regularly read a periodical written in the US which makes frequent use of the word "happifying" meaning, apparently, something which makes one happy or generates a sense of happiness. I loathe the word. . . .

And, for your enjoyment, several of the responses:

I think this periodical should be named and shamed. We could deluge them with letters from unhappified logophiles until they promise never to do it again.


I am mortified not happified.

Back in 1895, Austin Phelps (a writer on English style) said this about the word:

"Happify is a barbarism which I have never met with but in the dialect of the Methodist pulpit. Even 'dictionaries unabridged' do not contain it."

(Apparently the Methodists weren't the ones preaching the hellfire and damnation sermons that we read in 10th grade English -- you know, the ones about how we are like spiders dangling from a tiny thread over a burning pit of fire and lava and the like? I mean, that certainly isn't the kind of sermon you'd expect to find anything happifying at all in).

Anyway, despite Austin's disdain for the word, it turns out that it actually has been around since at least the mid-1600's. So there is no way of getting around it.

And isn't it ironic that all those people feeling so disgusted with the word happify is something that I find quite happifying? They all expressed themselves so well that I feel they completely deserve to dislike any word they choose.

P.S. Spellcheck is not happified at all about all of the happify business in this post.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

My Usual Type of Background Noise

A: You're trying to annoy me!

D: I'm TRYING to do a tap dance!

I don't know why this makes me laugh so much. It just does. I mean, who could find a tap dance annoying?

Friday, January 8, 2010


See this? It is my Garmin Forerunner 405.

A watch? You are wondering. Is that what this is?
Yes, a watch.

But, a watch is the very least of what it is.

On the box it is called a "GPS-enabled sports watch with wireless sync." Older models are big and bulky and people wear them up high on their arms. But this one is like -- a watch.

All day long my Garmin and I sit and stare at each other.

It used to be on my nightstand table, so I could lie there on my bed -- staring -- as it stared back.

But, I knew that a spot like that was too low -- too easy for little grabby one year old fingers to reach, so it moved to the tall dresser at the foot of our bed.

Now, it stares at me from up there -- asking me why. And I sit at the foot of my bed -- staring back -- shaking my head.

That is what we do. All day long.

Well, maybe not all day. Sometimes, sometimes, I have to do one or two other things.

A dinner here. A car ride there. A laundry load everywhere.

And, sometimes, SOMETIMES, I take my Garmin Forerunner 405 down from the dresser and push the little finger touch bezel to switch it to training mode. Then I look at the training mode and think what a great mode it is.

Other times, I touch the top of the bezel to see it switch to the screen that tells me how much battery life it has left before needing to be charged. Today, when it beeped, "battery low," I rushed to charge it back up again -- because, at least, that was something.

Mike bought me this for Christmas. It can do all kinds of crazy stuff and relay that info to your computer, but the main thing really is that it tells you your distance as well as your pace as you run.

I have been so excited about this cool present. Some elite and granola groups of runners act too cool for GPS watches. I don't know why. Maybe it isn't cool to pay more attention to a device telling you your pace? Maybe you won't listen to your own body anymore? Maybe it isn't hip to be aware of your exact distance?

But you know what I like.

I don't care.

I say pshaww to those fancy pants runners. I say, I am a runner, and I can love and enjoy and be excited about my GPS all I want. It's fun. It's awesome. Take that.
Only, I can't enjoy it yet.

I can only look.

But I will enjoy it. I've run since I was 14. I can listen to my body pretty well. I know about how long it takes me to run any given distance, etc. But it will be so fun for me when I am training for longer races to just head out the door and run wherever the wind takes me with out having to chart a course the night before -- with out having to stick to that course if I feel like turning a different direction. Plus, I am wanting to work on my pace. How fun to keep tabs on it as I go!

A few days before the gift was unwrapped found me sobbing unreasonably into Mike's shoulder that I would never be able to run again. Weep wail. All was lost. I loved running. Did he understand that I LOVE RUNNING?! How could he understand? Sob. How could anyone? And now, it was certain I would never ever ever run again. Ever.
Of course, I had been reading things online.

And Mike thought that perhaps, one day of severe pain in my lower heel didn't necessarily mean I would never run again. Yes, he knew I loved running. And maybe (very gently suggested maybe) maybe it was a bit premature for sobbings of, "I'll never run again."

It's called plantar fasciitis -- the foot problem. Something to do with the tendon that runs along the bottom of your foot from you heel to your toe -- supporting your arch. I always thought injuries were for . . . well . . . other people. People who weren't me. Or, maybe even . . . sheepishly I'll say it . . . people who were too wimpy to push through a tiny little bit of pain?

I see I was wrong. I see I've needed a little humbling. A little punishing?

I keep getting all messed up. My knee. My ankle. My foot. Only this one scared me the worst because everything I read sounded like you were doomed forever. "You must never wear bare feet." (I love bare feet). "Orthotics." "Pain." "Never run hard. Always take it easy. No hills. No speed." "Ten years with no relief."

Those were the things I was reading.

But, I've calmed my little self a bit. I've been talking to folks. Asking. Listening. It's starting to seem like everyone has had it. My sister-in-law has had it before. She doesn't have it now. She is almost an Olympic level marathoner. My neighbor has it. It flares up now and then. Etc.

It isn't so hopeless.

Mike was right.

He's always right.
I love him.

That's why he still gave me my GPS (not because I love him -- because he knew he was right -- he knew I'd be up and running ere long). That's why I love it.

I'll run again . . . soon. I've been wearing arch supports, and stretching, and rolling my foot on a ball at night, and being careful. I'm a little impatient because I want to run hard right now and I'm not always in a season of being able to run hard. And, well, I want to train for another marathon soon. As in very very soon.

In the meantime . . . my forerunner 405 and I will keep staring at each other . . . waiting . . . waiting and waiting.

On a positive note. I got a gym membership for the first time ever. In the past it was always too expensive or too far away. Plus, finding the time to work out at all has been so hard at this time in my life that when I have found it I have always wanted to be running. BUT, with running on pause, I've tried the cycling class twice (no foot pounding there) and I have to say that it felt like a seriously amazing work out. Of course then I come home and must glance guiltily at my Garmin. He looks back -- questioning my loyalty.

I should add that it is not as if I am ever getting to run (or now go to the gym) easy as pie. I always feel sad when I think of those of you who can and do. I'm lucky if it is three times a week and that usually involves getting up at 5:30am -- not something easy or pleasant for someone who rarely gets to bed before 11:30pm.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Jesse Walks

Logically I know that it may not be that fun for someone else to watch my children's developmental milestones, but logic and I must lead very separate lives because I find myself wholly unable to imagine that anyone could not want to watch Jesse walking or that they even could watch it without beaming and clapping. Perhaps that is what makes us moms? That feeling about our own children's adorableness?

Really though, it was so cute and so surprising. It happened a few nights ago. I was reading Harry Potter to Abe and Daisy when Jesse decided he was ready to walk. There was no warning. No signs that walking was near. He is nearly 13 months (which I know would have most moms anxiously watching for steps), but none of my kids have walked before 15 months. Add to that the fact that he hasn't so much as stood with out aid of the table or taken any practice steps in twos or threes, and you can see why I wasn't even thinking to see those first steps for a few more months.

That is why it was so fun and exciting for all of us that Jesse, seemingly out of the blue, thought, "I guess now is as good of a time as any to start walking."

These films are of him after only two or three tries. He spent the whole evening crawling to our coat closet door and then walking from it to us.

These clips also give you some idea into what it is like being a mother to five small children. It is nothing if not an everyday exercise in multitasking. Here I am reading to some kids, filming another's first baby steps at the same time, as well as random things here and there with Penny and Goldie. Not to mention just having coaxed the older ones to get pj's on and teeth brushed while I cleaned up dinner (and all with no Mike, mind you -- which is part of the reason we had to get all this on film).

He doesn't walk very far in this one, but it is so funny to watch his sadness and frustration when he encounters an obstacle. I had asked Penny not to keep throwing her finished books in his path . . .

And then, of course, after the excitement died down, I got a little sad. I love the stage Jesse is about to enter. Toddlerhood is my favorite. It's just that him being a baby has passed by in such a blur. I feel sad that he is leaving it when I've hardly even noticed it passing.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Left Behind

This was after Mike shut the door to go sledding with the other kids.

Sometimes it's hard to be the littlest guy.

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