Monday, June 20, 2011

Goldie’s Red Balloon

Goldie has a pet balloon. It’s a helium balloon and has lost a little of its original heliumatic strength, so it tends to hover and bob between three and six feet off the ground. And, it does seem to float about as if perhaps it were following Goldie – which might be considered creepy – but is seen by Goldie as signs of its affection for her. (Hey, as I Redballoonflies[1]typed that I recalled that Red Balloon movie we watched in elementary. Did everybody see that? This boy becomes pals with a large red helium balloon – it’s basically his best friend. Probably his only friend. Then some mean kids pop it. And it is very depressing except that then all the other helium balloons in the town unite and come flying to comfort him. And it ends with him being lifted away by the bunch of them. I’m not making this show up. I guess that ending was supposed to be happy, but I believe I always left the showing feeling rather empty inside.)

Anyway, I just mentioned Goldie’s balloon because it makes for a rather low maintenance pet for any of you who can get one to behave similarly. Of course I fear that old balloony’s life expectancy might be rather short, and I may soon find myself outside with a shovel conducting a small balloon funeral to a backdrop of Goldie’s sniffling tears.

Sunday, June 19, 2011



When I was little, summer was a seriously significant chunk of time. Once school let out, the world was mine for THREE whole months – which may as well have been a year for how much time that seemed to set before me.

I hope it is that way for my kids because June is already drawing to a close. Summer is nearly a third of the way through and I swear school only let out yesterday rather than three weeks ago. I keep thinking my kids are going to wake up in horror, feeling tricked and cheated, one morning because their summer was blinked away, but hopefully it is only mine being blinked away. Hopefully for them these summer days are lasting a little longer than they are for me.

I love them being here. I love the more carefree pace of things. I love that our time isn’t filled with needing homework done, needing instruments practiced, etc. I love that they can have a spontaneous trampoline sprinkler party or stay up late with me to watch our Founder’s Day fireworks (which, incidentally, we have a perfect view of right from our own backyard).

Yesterday was also our local parade. There is nothing especially grand in our small parade, but I love that is part of summer. The kids ask all morning if we can go yet, if I’m sure it starts at 10:00 – if I’m sure they aren’t missing it. The parade begins only a few blocks from our house and is small enough that we can walk there 15 minutes early and still find a good spot. Since it starts so near us, the participants are often lined up – practicing their band instruments, filling balloons, etc. – right on the street next to our house. The excitement of it all makes waiting nearly impossible for the kids.

As I snapped pictures of them laughing as they soaked themselves on the trampoline the other night, and again, as I lathered them up with sunscreen in their eagerness for the parade  yesterday, I felt especially lucky to be experiencing summer through and with these kids of mine. I wish it wouldn’t speed by quite so quickly.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Few Cool Things

002 (2)Have any of you ever bought your kids any of those weird rubbery things that grow several times their size when placed in water? No. Of course you haven’t. And neither have I because they are kind of disturbing and they don’t just grow big naturally. They grow in uneven bulging lumps and spurts here and there until finally, after days of sitting in a glass bowl of water that you try not to look at even though it is right on your kitchen counter, they have reached something that is several times their original size.

I said I have never bought such things. Unfortunately they have still wriggled their way into my home – they sneak in as part of small birthday party fun sacks, they make themselves available in prize boxes at school, etc. And it isn’t as if they go through one disturbing growth cycle and all is done. Oh no. Once you take them out of the water, all blubbery and wet, they slowly shrink down to their pre-enlarged size . . . and then you can grow them big all over again. It’s probably kind of like how the Incredible Hulk works . . . only slower.

Anyway, the above picture is Goldie’s growing skeleton. He’s already gone through several growing and shrinking cycles this summer. But, during his most recent period of smallness, Goldie decided he ought to be a little more modest. Or, perhaps he was cold. Maybe he just had a special event to attend and wanted to look his best. I’m not sure. All I know is that a small shirt and matching trousers were fashioned for the fellow by Goldie’s skillful hands. I only hope she doesn’t forget to remove them when he goes back in the water – we all know how the Incredible Hulk’s clothing faired during his enlargement spells.

And what about this:


I was trying to hurry Penny up to bed tonight. She was protesting as she madly tried to finish her drawing before I dragged her away. Afraid that I might not let her finish, she made her way up the stairs – drawing as she went. She threw herself onto the ground to make use of a children’s book as a hard surface to get the last of her picture done before I made bedtime official. Then she held her picture up angrily and said, “This doesn’t look like a chicken!”

I disagreed. I thought it was the coolest chicken I’d ever seen – especially for one drawn so quickly and under such duress. And, when one considers it was her first ever chicken drawing, one must feel, as I do, that if she were to pursue a career of sorts in chicken art, it couldn’t fail to be a success.

Plus, look at this cute bunny:


Oops. I mean dog. I think it is spectacular. Only I keep forgetting and telling her what a great job she did on that bunny and she gets mad because it is a dog. She always wants to color pictures that she prints off, but I love when she colors free-draw style. So she will say, “Can I print a picture?”

And I will reply, “How about you just draw me a picture? I love the pictures you draw. Like, remember those trees you drew?”

“A forest, Mom.”

“I loved that forest. And remember how great you drew that rabbit the other day?”

“It’s a dog, Mom.”

“A cute dog.”

Anyway, I just really liked the skeleton clothes and the chicken and the cute little . . . dog.

Reading and Building (and a little throwing away)

Well, Mike has gone and left me again – as he often must for one work related reason or another. (Let’s hope it is work related. The other night I had a terrible dream that we were just his “work family” – something like co-workers, I guess. His REAL kids and family – the ones he loved and looked forward to seeing – were the ones waiting at home for him at the end of the day. I saw them, waving and running to meet him, and I couldn’t bare that those kids were the ones he truly loved, I was horrified and sickened at the thought that he might greet his real wife with so much as a kiss on the cheek).

I told him about my awful dream. He has proceeded to comfort me by offhandedly mentioning his other family on occasion.

BUT, what I was getting at here, is that it seems to have become a tradition of sorts (for my little self) to blog away my loneliness as a means of passing a quiet Mike free evening. Usually, I would be doing something with him. Or, if not with him, then at least near him. For example: sitting right next to him on the couch reading a book. Of course, he would be complaining about my lack of attention towards him. There may be nothing in the world so vexing to my husband (when it comes to me) as my apparent lack of wifely attentiveness when I am reading a book. I think I could even be sound asleep next to him and he would feel less neglected. Something about my being engrossed in a book just smacks of disregard.

The only thing that might possibly vex him more, when it comes to his wife, is my tendency to throw away things that weren’t to be thrown away. Speaking of which, I must have thrown away several “valuables” the other day because he questioned if, in my cleaning conquest, I was just going to go ahead and throw him out as well (as long as I was throwing away all his most important things –  broken sprinkler parts,  a paper or two of seeming insignificance).

“No,” I responded, wrapping myself into his arms, “are you going to throw me away?”

He smiled mischievously and said, “Of course not. You’re one of my precious things. I wouldn’t throw one of my precious things away.” And we laughed as I pushed myself in mock anger back out of his arms because saying I am one of his precious things is, well, basically saying I matter at least as much as those broken sprinkler parts and old receipts – which all fall into the precious things category.

Still, I can perhaps understand his grumbling about my lack of attention when I am reading a good book. I can relate because it might be similar to how I feel when he is building something – wood in hand, tools at the ready. He is off in another fascinating world and I am only barely on the very edges of that world’s existence. I like to be very near his thoughts, and I don’t mind that he can sense when, similarly, I am off in a book world with out him. I like that he wants a little of his wife’s attention back on him. In the end, I’m sure he is pleased that I am somewhat well read, and it is that very man himself who often surprises me by bringing home a magazine I might enjoy reading, or buying me a book he knows I might like. And, I must say that, as for me, I am always rather ridiculously proud of his finished building projects. Take this recent masterpiece: A dock built on his dad’s pond. I mean look at it. Who can just build such a fine dock? Who can build a dock at all – just like that without ever having done it before? And did I ever put pictures of his finished chicken coop on here? I don’t think I did. I must. It’s lovely.


Anyway, there it is: whatever rambling thoughts come out when I am here all alone at night. I think I’ll stop now though. All this talk of me reading books has brought to mind the fact that I am only a few pages off finishing my most recent read (A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner. It is actually fourth in a series of books that begin with The Thief). My sister-in-law Kimberly recommended them to me. I, in turn, recommend them to any of my reading friends out there who are looking for some quick and enjoyable reading. I’ve quite liked them. And I’m off to finish this one. Good night.


Just seeing if my new layout will work with windows publisher. Here’s a cute picture to make this post worth something. I sure like when my kids do happy nice things together:


P.S. While I’m here, I’ll add this: Someday soon Jesse will quit saying that things “need new blueberries,” and he won’t say things like, “I think the blueberries are kind of dead in this. We need to get new blueberries at the store,” because, he will realize that what he really means to say is “batteries"; and, that will be a sad day.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Smith and Edwards

We have my nephew Connor with us for a few days. For some reason, he and Abe have been pleading to go to Smith and Edwards: a store which, for those of you who are not familiar with it, boasts having anything you could possibly ever want or need – if you can just find it.

And, if all of the things you have ever wanted or needed happen to be along the lines of military surplus, that is probably a fairly accurate claim.

We just mostly looked at toys; rode the old plastic bull that must always be ridden; glanced at army gear and tents; bypassed fishing, guns and ammo, horse tack, camping goods and Wrangler jeans to get to the ten-for-a-dollar candy section; then bought some Scouting rope for the kids to make bracelets.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Sad ABC Song

After heading into bed last night, Abe came back out smiling to himself and told me something I loved. Here it was:

“Mom, sometimes when I go in to go to bed Jesse asks me to sing him the ABC song. Only I usually sing the end a little different like, ‘Now Jesse knows his ABC’s. LaLaLaLaLaLaLee.’ So, he asked me to sing it to him tonight, and when I finished he was just quiet for a second and then he said, ‘This makes me sad.’”

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Making People

When I mentioned Charlotte’s Web the other day it made me think of another cool quote from that movie:

Charlotte: I’m versatile.

Wilbur: Does versatile mean full of eggs?

Charlotte: Certainly not. Versatile means I can change with ease from one thing to another.

Which also reminded me of this funny sticker I’ve seen around:


And while I am actually not very crafty nor necessarily very good at changing “with ease from one thing to another”, I’m not bad at this whole producing people business:


Thursday, June 2, 2011

New Baby, Finest Creations, and so forth

We had our “big” ultrasound yesterday. Mike pointed out that it doesn’t feel quite so “big” as it might have if we hadn’t been having ultrasounds all along with this pregnancy. Still, it was fun to hear that all is looking great with this little boy – and fun to hear that he indeed is still clearly a boy. Also, on a side note, with Penny I recall them finding some type of choroid plexus cyst during the ultrasound. Since it can be cause for alarm, we were slightly panicked and had to have some further more in depth ultrasound done. I suppose that is warranted since the cysts can indicate a serious trisomy condition, but I asked our ultrasonographer about them yesterday (even though there were none present in this particular ultrasound). She told me she sees them in probably nine out of ten ultrasounds. I just thought that was interesting – and that it would have been a reassuring thing to have heard back during Penny’s ultrasound worries.

Anyway, I am currently 23 weeks along, but nearly everything she measured measured closer to 25 weeks – which gave me a due date of something closer to Sept. 18th than Sept. 29th. But do you know what I say to that, “BAH!” Baby after baby I get so excited those last three weeks – thinking I might be like you lucky girls out there who have your babies a few days early, but each and every time, my babies hold on fast ‘til my first official due date has come and gone. So. I’m not going to try for one second to start throwing out any of that, “Oooh! I might actually be farther along than we thought!” business. All that would make me do is think I am three weeks rather than several days past due when baby does actually come.

Though, I’m not actually needing baby to come any earlier than he is supposed to. I feel so . . . scared for this new baby. I know I should be an old pro at this, but life feels so . . . I don’t know . . . steady? Calm? right now. Everything isn’t easy. Mike still is gone often for work; Jesse still breaks things, asks to eat bugs, and dumps out garbage cans; things still don’t get done that need getting done. But, life feels pretty good. I feel pretty in control and pretty content in our routines and the current freedoms I seem to have – freedom to get up early and run if I want (because kids all sleep through the night), freedom to accomplish tasks I want or need to (because I know pretty well what I have to work with in any given day between kids needs and routines, etc.); and freedom to do things more frequently with Mike:

2010-12-17 19.04.30_edited-2

This is us at The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert in December. Last week, we got to go see Les Mis (tickets were compliments of Mike’s mom). Yesterday, after the ultrasound, Mike had a little more time before having to be back to work, so we went to Costco and got lunch and wandered around together.Thinking of these things reminded me that we’ve enjoyed more trips and dates and freedom together this past year than at nearly any other time in our marriage (except for maybe the one married year before kids). I’m not sure how exactly. It seems an unlikely time for things to be easier what with us now having five little kids, maybe things have just fallen together by chance, or maybe it goes back to what I’ve said earlier about numbers of kids not necessarily correlating logically with hardness levels.

Anyway, I just feel a little (or more a lot) scared to be tossed back out of my comfort zone for a bit. I’ll settle back into one of course, but I feel like I have my leaves all nicely raked up – with only the few stray ones blowing out here and there and needing to be collected, and a new baby feels kind of like some trickster is going to set a small bomb off in my nicely raked pile of leaves . . . and . . . well . . . THAT will make for a tougher re-raking of everything than the occasional breeze coming by. I am really quite nervous.

Only, right as I typed that, I felt a definite kick in my lower left side, and it made me get a little sniffly. I have no idea or feeling about who this little boy is. I have no name. I pictured another girl and can’t even begin to imagine who this sudden little boy will be, but that kick reminded me that whoever he is, he is someone I will love. Maybe someone I already know and love. Someone my kids will be closest friends with. Someone who might have been waiting ever since Abe left -- then Daisy, Goldie, Penny and Jesse -- to finally get his chance to come be with them again. He is someone important and he will be FAMILY. My family.

I’m still scared.

But, man. Family? Seriously, I feel like I have almost been unfairly blessed by way of family in my life. No. I certainly have been unfairly blessed. I almost feel guilty mentioning it.

I grew up assuming my in-laws would be second fiddle – there would be MY family, and then, my husband’s family who we’d politely visit now and then. It wasn’t strange for me to think such a thing because I quite literally couldn’t imagine anything that could compare to the wonderfulness and friendships and connections that existed in my own family.

Then I married Mike and gained another HUGE family of people to rely on and love and want to be with. Truly. That isn’t just a polite thing you might type in a letter to a mother-in-law. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but I am every bit as excited about and content being with my in-laws as I am with my own family and never mind at all which family we happen to be with on holidays, etc. They have become MY family rather than just my husband’s family.

Then, even the continuing relationships that, I guess, will never stop forming even amongst my own family. I’m sure my parents prayed their children would be close, and they are, but did they have any idea of the ever expanding and growing relationships and love and connectedness that would come further down the line?

A few weeks ago found me spending an evening making cupcakes, playing Pictionary, and all around laughing with two of my nieces over at my mom’s. They are both in their early twenties and just thought we ought to have a little fun girls’ night together.

Only a week or two later found me sitting around the same kitchen table with my oldest brother. He could nearly be my father (his oldest son is only a few years my junior), but we were laughing and teasing and having a great time. My younger sister had been mocking his artistic skills and was testing them by giving him things to draw for me to see if I could guess them. He flatly refused to do “liger” and it was left to me to demonstrate how it was done by drawing a creature with an obvious lion’s mane but tiger stripes.

Driving home near midnight that night, I thought how incredible that I could be placed where I am in my family – in a spot that allows me to share such close bonds with siblings old enough to be parents as well as nieces old enough to be siblings.

And, I guess, that is what I am getting a chance to do here now with Mike – create a whole new family. Well, new isn’t right, but another branch. All our own – but still connected to both of these families that I love so much. What an amazing thing for us, and for our kids with each other and who knows, maybe their kids as well and on and on.

When I think of it that way – that I am in the middle of creating something lasting and important, I feel (well, kind of I feel like the spider in Charlotte’s web talking about her magnum opus – her great work – the finest thing she has ever created) but also I feel like it is OK if it means leaves will be scattered and life will be tricky again for a time. It doesn’t mean I’m not scared about it. It just means, you know, if this family is going to be my magnum opus and all then maybe a little sacrifice isn’t too much to ask.

My Little Addict


I took the kids to Arctic Circle the other day for lunch. On the drive home, I was telling Abe (who loves a good fried corn dog) that while generally speaking I have very little interest in a corn dog, while I was pregnant with Daisy, I would drive to Arctic Circle to get a corn dog pretty much every week.

“I wish I got cool cravings,” he said. Then, “Wait. I guess I do. I mean if I go for like a whole month with out soda, I get all depressed and it’s like the only thing I want.”

We’ve discussed addictions before, so I burst out with a laugh, “You ‘get all depressed’? Abe, that makes you sound like you’re totally addicted! That’s it, we can’t buy you soda ever again.”

“Don’t say that!” He protested, “Then I’d just have to steal some!”

And there you have it. We may as well have been talking about prescription drugs. My little soda addict. Lovely.

I sought you’re my friend . . .

For being such a wild little child, Jesse is surprisingly scared of many things. Fans terrify him. The new temporary fence at the park upsets him. Etc. What I like is how he tells me something scares him. It always makes him scary. For example: “The fan makes me scary.” Also some foods make him yummy and some foods . . . “No! It makes me yucky!”


Also, I think he’s been picking up a few too many things from certain sisters of his who can, on occasion, be a bit dramatic with one another – throwing out statements like: “You’re not my friend anymore!”and “I thought you were my friend!”

Last night we had put Jesse to bed, but he was still mostly standing in his crib throwing toys and demanding someone retrieve them, and yelling at and harassing poor Abe who was also trying to sleep in the room. I came in and told him he needed to lie down and go to sleep. He looked up at me in his little shark jammies then cast his eyes down and quietly said, “I sought you’re my friend.”

Later, when I asked Mike if I could ever talk him into doing something with the open shop vac in our room, he sadly repeated those same words to me.


(This trampoline picture is kind of a big deal because trampolines also mostly terrify him).

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