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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Back When I Was a Flasher

*WARNING ALL MALE READERS - This post is going to deal with (gasp) breast-feeding. Just letting you know in case you want to make your escape now before you get sucked into the estrogen vortex that unfailingly surrounds such womanish topics.*

Breastfeeding. Remember the joys? The pains? The ridiculous increase in size (that some women get so excited about)?

And the flashing.

Seriously. How many people have seen your naked breasts? Friends, family - complete strangers at Denny's - I don't think I could count the number of my own personal victims. I got to thinking about this after reading Alison Wonderland's post about being comfortable with nudity. She is a nurse, and says bodies don't bother her at all. I couldn't really understand what she meant if I hadn't breastfed four children, but I think I get it.

Remember when you had your first baby, and it was so freaky/uncomfortable when the La Leche League lady manhandled your breasts for the first time? A week later, they are no longer breasts at all. They are just suppliers of milk for that little bundle of hunger who wants to be attached to them every waking (and sleeping) moment. And half of that thirty minute break you get between feedings is spent letting them "air dry". They hurt, they bleed, the BOH won't latch on correctly - and so your mother, your neighbor, your grandma, and her friend all come over and inspect them so they can commiserate (with their own breastfeeding horror stories) and advise.

Everyone sees your breasts. You cease to care after awhile.

Right at this moment, the thought of flashing a naked boob to, well, pretty much anyone I'm not married to, makes me feel a little uncomfortable. So isn't it amazing that while breastfeeding - other than feeling sorry for the flashee - I really didn't care when strangers got the full meal deal? Back then they were just "things". Not much different than arms or legs, they were simply appendages that served a purpose.

And when I was breastfeeding, it was a show, let me tell you. When I had my first child I ballooned to a (dare I say it?) 36 I. As in A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I. Regular stores don't even carry that size. I was a freak of nature. How could I not care about flashing those to the world??!!! Yet, strange as it may seem, I was more uncomfortable walking around with clothes on, than I was with flashing a naked boob while nursing.

Example: That poor, poor man in Denny's. He has probably never recovered. You know how some of the Denney's Restaurants have curved, rather than straight walls? So if you're sitting in a booth looking down the aisle there are people on the other side of the curve looking straight back at you? Well, I was attempting to nurse my first baby in a discreet fashion there in the booth, because it was cold outside, and there was no place in the bathroom to sit other than a toilet.

I'm nursing. The blanket is camouflaging any and all inappropriate views. Everything is totally respectable. Then the child decided he was done, threw back his head and his arm - and with it took the blanket. I look down, see the boob - and look up to see this man, paralyzed by the sight, just staring back at me.

Oops. This was seriously my only thought. I think I even chuckled about it. How is this possible? If I flashed my breast in Denney's tomorrow I might never recover!

Yet, due to the constant over-exposure and clinical aspect of them at the time, all sense of modesty completely vanished. What a concept. I'm so glad I returned to normal when the breastfeeding was over. Do you suppose there are women who don't? So Alison, I get what you're saying. For myself, however, I'm happy to remain sensitized to human nakedness for the rest of my life. Somehow, it just makes things more exciting. And dangerous. Ya know?

(And can you imagine how many hits I'm going to get from typing "naked breast" so many times in this post? Too bad I don't have a really good stat counter - this may even beat out working Donny Osmond in! Ya think?)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Joys of the Christmas Cold (that would be the sniff, sniff variety, rather than the Brrr I'm freezing type)

I detest being sick. It was bad enough when I was young and my mom would take care of me. Getting sick when you are the mom is so. much. worse. It all started late Christmas Eve when I started sneezing. Just innocent, harmless little sneezes. By the time I had everyones stockings taken care of (including my own, because The Husband was busy sawing logs on the couch - and I'd bought most of the stuff for myself anyway, so what difference did it make?) and the house ready for Christmas morning, my nose was running. I took some medicine and went to bed.

The next morning when I woke up (at 4:30, 5:00, 5:30, 6:00 etc. because my nine year old "just couldn't sleep") I was miserable. I've spent two days on the couch, and apparently should have spent a third there, because today's activities have me right back where I started.

At least there's no throwing up. And no sore throat. Although, come to think of it, those are the two types of illness that lead to instant weight loss, which is EXACTLY what I need after that stupid cookie exchange. Instead I have major congestion merging nicely with perpetual-running-of-the-nose. Yesterday my lucky husband walked in to find me sweeping the floor with a tissue hanging out of my nose. Nice. Vic's Vapor Rub is my constant companion, as well as that head-stuffed-with-cotton feeling, and a sort of out-of-body experience every time I get up to walk around.

And can I just suggest that getting sick and/or becoming extremely-low-functioning on Christmas Day is a real pain? Not because anything special was going on - our family gets together Christmas Eve - and not because people are waiting for fancy food - I never cook on Christmas Day. (Who needs more food after the Christmas Eve binge?) No, the real problem is the mess that is Christmas morning. I swear I have picked the whole place up twenty times over the last two days. Well, my children the lucky little slaves did anyway. Every time I bend over to pick anything up my sinuses congeal into a solid mass of impenetrable mucus. Believe me, I've done as little as possible.

But still, all those stupid new toys have no homes yet, so my toy closet is a disaster waiting for me to rescue it. Unfortunately, the rescue is going to have to wait, because there's no way I'm tackling that project while I feel this rotten. Consequently, having to stare at all these toys for two days has made me re-think a few things.

a. What genius decided fully automatic Nerf guns were a good idea? (answer, Mr. Darling). Can I just say how sick I am of Nerf darts? Seeing them, stepping on them, looking for them, getting shot with a fully-automated-stream of them. Left to my own devices, these toys would never have entered my world.

b. Why do I always add army guys to the boys stockings? Aside from the fact that they apparently make great targets for the above mentioned Nerf guns, I hate them. They are constantly everywhere I look. In the Christmas tree, hanging from my kitchen cupboards, hiding in my fake plants - everywhere BUT the "army guy drawer".

c. What made me think that the cool, expandable, Dora house I picked up at a garage sale for Little Miss Two would remain unmolested by her brothers? Apparently, it is the house of a Colombian drug lord, and they have constant busts there. With fully automatic Nerf guns blasting away the army guys strategically placed in the little pink and yellow house. It's just so wrong. At least I made them stop shooting the family that goes with the house - that's something, right?

All in all, however, despite being sick it was a great Christmas. Hope yours was fantastic - and I certainly hope no one else feels as lousy as I do!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Doing What I Can To Provide Entertainment To Those Bored Enough To Blog During Their Vacay

I know most everyone is still Christmas-breaking from blogland, but just in case you want something entertaining to read, I thought I should help you out. Not that I'm the one who's going to use precious vacation-braincells to bring it to you - I'm simply going to point you in the direction of the best Christmas Short Story I've read, well, ever. It was conceived over in Machen Land, and you'll need to scroll down to Christmas Short Story Part I to start at the beginning.

P.S. This story is not for the humor-impaired.

Enjoy the rest of your vacation everyone!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

In Which I Prove I'm Good For More Than Just Limericks...

Tis days before Christmas, and all through the house
the children run wild, acting very un-mouse.
Decorations are up, and Bing Crosby is singing
Of Snow, and of presents, and bells that are ringing.
Speaking of snow, what's the deal with the weather?
Fun for awhile, it's now become quite a bother
As twelve times a day they all want to go out,
So I bundle, and boot them, and haven't a doubt
That in no time at all they'll be there at the door
Because someone is cold, and the snow's now a bore.
But cheerfully I, their dear, patient mother,
Let them back in and give thanks for the dryer.
But despite all the hassle of snow on my floor,
If it means a White Christmas, then bring on some more!
And then there's the baking of too many treats,
Cookies, cakes, pies, and pastries and all other sweets
Are around every corner, where ever I turn,
I can't seem to resist them. Oh when will I learn!
But alas, and alack, I have nothing to fear,
That old resolution saves me every New Year.
Meanwhile I plan, and I shop till I drop
Buying presents for children, my Mom and my Pop.
Braving the roads, which are covered in ice,
So I can make sure that our Christmas is nice.
So far my list is all doing, and seeing,
But what's much more important is how we're all feeling.
And whether we're thinking of more than just stuff,
And counting our presents to ensure there's enough.
For everyone knows that the true Christmas season
Comes 'round every year because of a reason
Much bigger than presents (or even the treats)
That fill up our thoughts, (and our tummies with sweets).
It's all about giving, and sharing and love,
And remembering the one who came down from above
To ensure we could all make it back there someday,
And be with our families; He provided the way.
So put down that cookie, and tune out the noise
For a moment or two, and remember the Joys
That will last for forever, and all the real reasons
We all share together this greatest of seasons.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Stringing You Along Once Again...

After suffering the inevitable (if you're me) affects of a cookie exchange, I decided I needed to post about it. Then, once I got started, I realized it was a post more suited to my other blog, Desperately Seeking Skinny Pants, and so if you want to read about it, you'll need to go here.

If laughing at someone else's folly gives you warm fuzzies, I highly recommend following me over there, as I am always willing to sacrifice my personal dieting-dignity for the self esteem of women everywhere. Because let's face it - I lose all dignity when faced with a cookie.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How Santa Saved My Sanity

I will be very sad when Santa finally comes and goes this year, because (brace yourself) I have been shamelessly using his good name to keep my just-turned-five year old in line for at least three months. We all love and appreciate the parenting tools implied in the lyrics "You better watch out!" and I am no different than any other mother out there. When it comes to things that may coerce my kids into cooperation, I'll try about anything.

But I put a new spin on Santa threats this year. And can I just say that the success rate is through the roof? This has got to be the best mom-deceit scheme I've ever come up with for keeping little people in line. If only I would have thought of it way back when the first two were still susceptible to these kind of tactics - September (which is really just about as far out as you can go with the whole "Santa's watching" bit) to December would have been my favorite time of year for more reasons than just the Fall fashions.

It all started with C's fits. I know you're all about to be shocked (and I'm SURE none of your children would EVER act like this), but he is known for throwing fits when things don't go his way. One moment, he will be standing there talking to you like a civilized person, and then you say something horribly wrong and totally unacceptable (like "No"). His head falls back. His mouth opens. A hideous shrieking noise issues forth. Simultaneously, as if the effort of the sound actually renders his legs useless, he collapses to the ground - always landing on his face.

And there he remains - completely incapacitated in his continuing shriek (because he doesn't breath, but just carries on with enviable diaphramatic control) - completely deaf and blind to me, and any and all threats/suggestions/reprimands/physical-removals-to-the-naughty-corner.

And then September came. And in one desperately-trying-not-to-abuse-my-child moment, the heavens opened, divine inspiration struck, and the following words came out of my mouth:

"Santa's going to bring you baby toys for your stocking if keep acting like that. Don't you know that Santa decides what toys to bring little boys by how they act? If he sees you throwing a baby fit, you'll get baby toys for Christmas because he'll think you're only two. Do you want baby toys in your stocking?"

Bingo. It was like breaking through the tantrum-force field. The shrieking stopped, his face lifted from the floor wearing a VERY concerned expression.

C: He will?

Me: Yep. You don't want a dumb old rattle, do you?

C: (vigorous head shaking)

Me: Well then you'd better get up off the floor and start acting like a big boy, because Santa's watching.

C: (eyes furtively glancing up, down, and all around as he jumps to his feet) Now will I get big boy toys?

Me: As long as you stop throwing those baby fits, and keep acting like a big boy.

There are not words to express the victorious feelings overwhelming me at that moment. Take THAT! almost-five-year-old mentality! I am mother, HEAR ME ROAR!!!!

And can I just say how many times I've used the phrase "Do you want a rattle in your stocking?" since that blessed day? It's been saving my precious patience reserves for three months! AND, the tantrums have definitely slowed down. (Which is the only thing keeping me from panicking about January and the loss of my new best threat).

So although I know many feel Santa is a representation of all that's wrong with Christmas, I would like to disagree. He definitely serves a worthwhile purpose for a solid three months out of every year, and I think I'm giving him my vote for Most Helpful Citizen of the Year.

Thank You Santa!!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

"When Cookies and Crafts Collide" or "Why I'm Not in the Kitchen"

I should be in the kitchen right now, finishing off my TWELVE DOZEN cookies for a cookie exchange tomorrow night.

Instead, I'm giving myself another lame blog makeover. Why the makeover? Because my cookies require dipping in chocolate, and for some reason that's feeling just a little too "crafty" to me. I hate crafts. (And if you don't understand what that statement means, OR want to commiserate as a fellow non-crafter, click here for further enlightnement). When I attempt crafts, everything always goes wrong, takes too much time, and makes me tired. I got two cookies dipped, ate one of them, and shelved the whole thing till my energy comes back.

Why is the makeover lame? Because blog makeovers can only be as cool as the person giving them is blog-savvy. I am obviously blog-lame, because every time I search the world wide web for non-lame blog templates and find one I like, it always gives me some infuriating statement about how it "isn't allowed."

I'm tired of disappointment. Which unfortunately limits my choices to the Blogger templates, and their VERY limited color pallet. (Which, consequently, doesn't look the same on my computer as it apparently does on everyone else's [possible reason for some of it's lameness], and one time I gave my background this really pretty yellow, only to discover [a month or two later when viewing on my parents' computer] that it was actually an extremely obnoxious/bright lemon yellow on every other computer in the world. Sorry for that viewers! Who knows what my new selection of lame-blogger-colors looks like to all of you... I'm crossing my fingers).

The worst part about it? I've wasted all this time not-finishing my cookies, and I don't even like my new look. I'm already missing the old one, and no, I did not save it. (Because I - lame blogger that I am - have no idea how one goes about doing such blog-savvy things).

And I keep thinking about the dipping of all those cookies. And then I start regretting my decision to go for the "dipping" cookies, when I could have gone for the "rolling in sugar" cookies. I can handle rolling. I learned that one in kindergarten. The dipping, however, (all two cookies I dipped) is giving me a real headache. I made these no-bake peanut butter crisp balls, and the recipe said to "use a toothpick or fork to dip them in chocolate."

Right.

They fell off the toothpick, and the fork left suspicious looking fork-marks all over the cookie. Currently, the cookies are resting in the fridge, where they will hopefully harden enough to stay on the toothpick and not fall off/apart when dipped.

I should have rolled. And baked. No bakes are worthless - one hundred and fifty cookies later, and my house smells like nothing. It's almost as if I never made the blasted cookies for all the holiday-aroma they provided.

And now (if it isn't already painfully obvious) I'm just killing time, rambling on, and on, about absolutely nothing.

But I should be in the kitchen dipping.

I can do it. I can actually be very "dippy" at times, so it shouldn't be beyond my abilities, right?

But next year I'm rolling.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Way Back When I Was Young...

The other day, as I was teaching piano lessons, we had a near disaster. Tired of trying to find someone willing to do it for him, C (now five) decided to make his own piece of bread and peanut butter - which he of course wanted to warm up in the microwave like his brothers always do. Always willing to help himself (whether or not he's able), C came in and asked me if how many minutes to put nuke it for.

Yes, a brief thought of caution flashed through my head, but I quickly pushed it aside. I was in the middle of a lesson, and he does know his numbers, so it shouldn't be too hard, right? So I said, "Push nine."

Meaning, of course, nine SECONDS.

Thankfully, the Lord blessed me with a phone call a few moments later, and I had to go into the kitchen. The smokey haze was seeping out from around the seal on the microwave door, and already hanging in an ominous cloud throughout my kitchen.

I looked at the microwave. I have no idea how long it was initially set for, but by the time I got there, it had nine MINUTES and fifty seconds left to go. The piece of bread? A charred chunk of very hard, unidentifiable black stuff. Black smoke billowed out, and my house stunk like burned-microwave-food for two or three days. Nice.

This experience, and conversations with my mother, have taken me back in time to the acquisition of our family's first microwave. I am certain that I am not the only one in the blogosphere who remembers the day/night the modern miracle of the microwave made it's appearance in their life.

It was evening. I must have been about eight years old. My mother and brother staggered into the kitchen lugging a humongous and very heavy box between them. Our microwave had arrived, and boy were we excited. Baffled, and completely clueless as to what we should do with it - but definitely excited.

We all stood around and watched while my brother got it plugged in and settled on the counter. Can I just say that it was HUGE??! I probably could have climbed in there if I'd wanted! I distinctly remember all of us trying to decide what we could put in the amazing new toy we knew nothing about. I think are first experiment was with something really exciting like a piece of bread and butter. Woo Hoo.

For quite awhile, we didn't really do anything constructive with it. Well, not when Mom was around, anyway. When she was gone, my older sister and I would experiment with different things. Some of our better attempts were microwaved s'mores (graham cracker, several chocolate chips, marshmallow, and another graham cracker cooked until just before marshmallow exploded), and microwaved toasted cheese sandwiches (achieved by toasting bread in toaster, while nuking slices of cheese on a plate, and then using a spatula to scrape cheese off plate and onto toast).

Apparently, several other families in the ward were dealing with similar we-have-a-microwave-and-don't-have-a-clue-what-to-do-with-it issues, because it wasn't long before we had a "Microwave Cooking" Homemaking Lesson at our house. I still remember learning how "all microwaves have hot spots where they cook faster," and to find them you were supposed to cut a paper bag to fit the bottom of your microwave (of course there was no rotating plate), dampen it with water, and cook it to see which spots dried up first.

My favorite microwave memory, however, was our first Sunday roast cooked in the microwave. Of course it was Fast Sunday (when we fore go dinner and breakfast, and come home from church famished), and apparently my mother missed the memo about how microwaves cook in A LOT LESS TIME than conventional ovens.

She stuck it in the microwave, set it to cook for three hours, and we left for church.

Three hours later, with my teenage brothers dying of starvation, we pulled into the garage. We could smell it before we got in the house. Devastated, my brothers rushed to the scene of the tragedy, and emerged a few moments later with our dinner. It was roughly the size of a baseball, black, VERY hard, and fit right in with the rocks in the driveway. What a tragedy.

I could go on with stories about "crustless" microwaved bread, and all the special "microwave cookware" everyone bought, but I won't. I am kind of glad, however, that I get to remember things like "life before the microwave." For some reason it makes me feel just a little bit cool - almost like someone being able to say "I remember life before indoor plumbing." It's not necessarily something to be envied, yet it says something about me. I lived before life was as easy as it is now. We didn't used to be able to make s'mores in our kitchen. Wow.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Reminiscing Rexburg

I was recently reminiscing with some friends about my days at Ricks College, and there's a topic I just have to bring up.

The ice.

Seriously. Whether it was in my nose, under my feet (where it belonged), or flying at my face as I did a triple-twist-land-on-my-rear in front of all those people, I have to say it is one of the top three things that instantly comes to mind when I think of the most memorable aspects of Ricks College life.

I'm from the Northwest. We don't do cold over here. Occasionally we'll get a little cold snap, but it rarely gets below 20, and doesn't usually last more than a few days. On average, if it hovers around freezing everyone here thinks it "sooo cold." I definitely belonged in this club.

Until the first time my nose hairs froze.

Can I just say what a shock it was walking out into Rexburg's sub-zero-freeze-your-rear-off temperature and having my nose hairs freeze? One innocent sniff of that arid, frigid, Rexburg wind and my nostrils became an ice forest. So unpleasant.

Then there was the battle up to the Smith Building. Eight o'clock am religion class - aka good-luck-getting-there-alive-because-they-haven't-salted-the-east-campus-sidewalks-yet. I vividly remember trying to make it up the sidewalk (in the dark) as that same arid, frigid, Rexburg wind (that was busy freezing my nose hairs) hit me so hard I would find myself sliding backwards down the hill. You can bet I was more careful in my schedule planning after that first semester. Nothing uphill until after nine. (Nothing period until after nine, if you really want to know).

But the worst thing about the ice, hands down, was the regular public humiliation that came with falling. It's almost like the Lord put the school in Rexburg just to ensure humility in all prospective students. You'd be walking innocently along, thinking you were doing fine, when all of the sudden BAM! Down on the ice. It wasn't so bad if you had a roomie or friend with you, because then the two of you could laugh together and you could act as if falling in front of hordes of people didn't bother you at all. On a good day, your roomie would go down with you (which could sometimes be arranged mid-fall), and you could share your humiliation as you crawled to the safety of a clear patch before attempting to once more attain a standing position.

But then there were the solo falls. The walking-all-alone-and-really-look-like-a-dork falls. It was like time froze as my feet flew out from under me, my arms desperately windmilling, and my legs flailing in a sad attempt to keep from actually hitting the ground. As I'd sense everyone suddenly slowing to watch the show (no doubt secretly hoping it was a worthwhile crash) I'd try to decide how to salvage a little self-respect once I was lying on the cold, hard, ground.

It doesn't matter how you play this one off, you're a loser either way. Try to act cool and get up as if you didn't just make a complete fool of yourself - and the crowd of people who stopped to watch just stand there and stare, reminding you that no, you are not cool.

Try to look like you're so well adjusted and secure that you can laugh at yourself and do your best to demonstrate how hilarious you think your acrobatics were - and the staring crowd doesn't crack a smile. In fact, you get the impression that they're all thinking you're a little insane, and that none of them have ever been the victims of icy-sidewalks. Liars.

Seriously. Staring people are so annoying.

Looking back, however, I have to say that overall that these repeated (and humiliating) falls were experiences in self-discovery. I learned that humiliation actually wouldn't kill me. I learned to be more considerate of others falling around me. And I learned that despite the hazards, I was not willing to resign myself to clunky old hiking boots every day. For me, feeling cute was worth the risks - both physical and emotional.

Let's face it - at the end of the day, it's all about the shoes.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Getting My Just Desserts

This weekend was our ward (church) Christmas party. I was in charge. Somehow I managed to live through it. And I haven't looked at a single blog in three days, not to mention the laundry, dishes, or my children. Sometimes I envy people who get paid by their churches to do this sort of thing - not saying I think we should, just saying wouldn't that be nice.

After three days of non-stop running around, phone-calling, tablecloth-dilemmas, decorating, stressed-out-runs-to-the-store, and general feelings of panic and coordination-anxiety, I would just like to say that it all came together, and was a smashing success.

But my feet still hurt.

And next week I'm going to the other ward's Christmas party, I'm not bringing my children, and I'm going to spend the whole time eating, socializing (since it's not like I don't know most of them anyway) and enjoying myself. And secretly crying because their menu has mashed potatoes instead of scalloped/funeral/yummy style like we did, and I didn't get any, and can't seem to get over it. I was very depressed when I cornered their activities person in the hall today (skipping the last bit of sacrament meeting to do so) and found out this sad, sad, piece of news. I don't even like mashed potatoes - except with cottage cheese, which they obviously won't have. Maybe I should bring my own? Hmmm, a possibility...

But then again, I may come out on top after all, because they're having home-made desserts (we did Costco pies), so there's no telling what kind of yummy things people might show up with.

So next Saturday night, I have a date. With myself - and the entire First Ward. And my husband if I can talk him into coming. (Yeah, the odds on that one aren't so good, so I suggest holding off on the bets). And now, just to prove how exhausted I really am after this whole ordeal, I am going to bed. BEFORE ten-thirty. Without reading a SINGLE blog (although it's extremely tempting). And I can honestly say, I don't remember the last time this combination of early-bedtime/non-blog-reading happened. So have a great week, and send lots of little mind-messages to the ladies in the First Ward to make really delicious desserts, because I deserve it.

(And I'm definitely considering the cottage cheese option - do you think I could keep it hidden in my purse? I'd stuff it down my bra, but somehow I think that might not work so well... Wish me luck!!)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Too Much Information" or "Another Mom Brain Fried in the Wal-Mart Checkout"

There seriously is nothing like the microscope of the Wal-Mart Checkout to fry a mother's brain. We've all seen it. We've probably all been victimized by it.

But some incidents are more painful to watch (and hear) than others. Such was the case tonight.

The scene: 9:30 in Wal-Mart's Garden Center Checkout.

The players: Me, a young mother with her two children, and about twenty other witnesses.

The situation: Very, very, very sad.

Here's how it went. After a long, meandering, child-free shopping trip, I purchased all my goods but one and loaded my car. I then drove over to the Garden Center to pick up a bike (for C's 5th birthday tomorrow) that I'd set aside at the checkout. As I came around the check station to get in line I see the following:

The said young mother and her kids. She was standing behind her cart, about five yards behind the last person in line, pleading with her 3-4 yr old boy to let her move forward.

His foot (and body weight) were blocking further progress.

Me: Oh, are you in line?

YM: Well, kind of. I'm trying to be. I've been standing here for twenty minutes.

Me: (thinking she meant she'd been waiting in line twenty minutes like I just had) Well then I'll just get behind you.

YM: (Look of panic and desperation set in as I move in behind her)

She then begins explaining how he wants this toy (which I'll call a "blah,blah" since that's what it sounded like when she said it), but there weren't any more - all the while desperately pushing against the kid to get him to move toward the line. He doesn't budge. Two more customers get behind me. She gets more desperate.

Apparently desperation makes her want to talk.

So as she moves to the front of the cart to battle more effectively with her child, she tells me (loudly - definitely loud enough for the man behind me to hear) that she "just needed to get tampons" (waves box in air to prove point). Then she turns to the child:

YM: They don't have a blah,blah. They're all gone. You need to move.

Child: I want blah,blah (whine, whine)

YM: They don't have a blah,blah! You need to move, there are people behind us.

Child: I want blah,blah (whine, whine)

YM: (sounding a little frantic, but still sane) We need to move! They don't have the toy! (physically tries moving child - child goes limp - she gains about three inches - woman two people back sighs loudly).

Child: I want blah,blah (whine, whine)

YM: (to me)(loudly)(getting VERY frustrated)(and probably starting to sweat) I was just sitting on my couch, and I started my period! So I just had to come and get some tampons (waves box again)(I feel man behind me cringe).

Me: (to make her feel better, and to get her off the tampon subject) It's okay, I have four of my own.

YM: How do you do it! I am done. I'm not having any more. (tugs on kid, gains a few more inches. There's still a few people in front of her, so she's okay).

Me: Really? Are you sure? (don't ask why I said it. I don't know. I was trying to make conversation).

YM: (again, speaking loudly) When I had HIM (points to angelic 15 month old in cart) the doctor asked me if I wanted a TUBAL LIGATION. I asked him, "a TUBAL LIGATION?" and he said, "Yeah, a TUBAL LIGATION." I said, "you mean get my TUBES TIED?" and he said "yes, a TUBAL LIGATION." I said "of course I want my TUBES TIED!!! I don't want ANY more!" and he said, "well we could have, since you had a c-section, but you have to give us twenty day's notice, so it's too late."

I swear she really did say TUBAL LIGATION at least that many times. And what's up with her doctor?

About this time the person in front of her moves up. This is when she really started to lose it, and started bargaining with the child. (And where I wished I could help her, but knew that every mother must do her time in the Wal-Mart checkout, and there was nothing to do but watch, and feel a LOT of pity).

YM: (to child, who has been incessantly saying "I want blah,blah" since we last mentioned him) You have to move. If you move, I'll come back in the morning and get you the toy.

Child: I want blah,blah (whine, whine)

YM: Fine. If you don't move, I'll take away the "blah,blah" you already have when we get home.

Child: I want blah,blah (whine, whine)

YM: (repeats this last exchange at least five times before moving on to...) Don't be such a cry baby! I'm taking away your toy. You're such a whiny brat, why can't you be good like your baby brother? You're the one acting like the baby. Don't be a whiny baby.

Child: I want blah,blah (whine, whine)

YM: You're being such a brat! Stop it! If you don't stop crying like a cry baby, I'll call you a baby - I'll call you Riley! (apparently they know a crybaby named Riley) Did you hear me? Do you want me to call you Riley?

Child: No.

YM: Well I will. I'll call you Riley if you keep being such a bratty cry baby.

Child: (miraculously stops crying, moves away from cart, and line proceeds forward).

She then admitted to me (loudly) that she really had always wanted three, but since her first two had different dads she was worried people would think she was a whore.

Another mom-brain fried, compliments of Wal-Mart.

So I think we should all have a few moments of silence for this poor young mother, and all the others like her, who have been recent casualties of the Wal-Mart checkout. If you're among the fallen, you're included. We salute you. (we've all BEEN you). There is no mother who is immune to this hazard (except for those that do all their shopping online), whether it is because of inexperience, over-confidence, crabby/sick/difficult children, or any other contributing factor to public meltdowns of offspring.

Please don't feel bad. This too shall pass.

(But whatever you do, try not to mention your period, tubal ligations, or suggest {under ANY circumstances} that you might be a whore. And if you must mention any of these things, I advise whispering).

(ouch).

Sunday, November 30, 2008

My Amazing Self Control (which totally deserves to be rewarded at the earliest opportunity)

I've been living in the same house as a milk chocolate Symphony Bar for over 48 hours.

And it's still intact. But only because it's not the kind with toffee. My self control only goes so far, after all.

I bought it on (Black) Friday to send in my MIL's birthday package, thinking I could have it out of the house by Saturday morning at the latest. Unfortunately, sending the package requires several other things - like letters/pictures from my kids, school pics of my kids, and other little birthday-ish things - and Saturday was so busy I never got around to any of it.

And it's just sitting there staring at me. And I refuse to eat it, because it's not really mine. It's my MIL's. And I should have a LITTLE self-control. Considering the fact that I've managed to fall asleep TWO TIMES with the stupid thing calling my name is really pretty good for me. Let me just put it into perspective for you:

If I were Edward, the Symphony Bar would be my Bella. My husband (who would be thoroughly disgusted with me for losing control and eating his mother's gift) practically had to physically restrain me earlier.

If it had toffee chips in it, I would have overpowered him.

In fact, the only thing keeping me from the offending piece of chocolate right now is the fact that it is void of toffee. Well, that and the knowledge that tomorrow, at the earliest opportunity, I will go buy myself one (with toffee) and eat it alone so I don't have to share a single bite.

Maybe I should go to bed early so tomorrow comes a little faster. (And I'm seriously salivating RIGHT NOW just thinking about it. Like when Edward talks of his mouth "filling with venom"...) (And I can't believe I'm actually using a Twilight analogy. I didn't even love the books the way I was supposed to - being LDS AND female...)

So, farewell until tomorrow - and the long awaited and totally deserved chocolate attack. You know where I'll be (in a closet), and you know what I'll be doing (inhaling Symphony Bar).

Try not to be jealous. (Or better yet, go get your OWN Symphony Bar!)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Rebel

I didn't eat any turkey. Or gravy. Or potatoes.

And it wasn't because I was dieting.

I seriously don't know what happened to me this year! I went to my sister's house with my other sister, and a few assorted acquaintances, and there was a HUGE spread of food. What threw me off? To those who know me well, this will come as no surprise - over half the available entrees were dessert.

I was afraid. Afraid that if I wasted precious room in my stomach digesting boring old turkey/gravy/potatoes, I wouldn't be able to fully appreciate all those wonderful desserts.

Especially after all the snacky food I ate while waiting for the actual feast.

My first trip through the line was for my two year old, and I dutifully put all the appropriate things on her plate - while looking longingly at the desserts. She sat on my lap while she ate, and I helped her pick at her food - thinking of the cheesecake the entire time.

Finally it was my turn to eat. My strategy wasn't premeditated, I swear. I picked up my plate, moved towards the potatoes, planned on a big spoonful - but somehow breezed right past. Same thing for the turkey. And the stuffing. And the gravy. (Obviously. Who wants straight gravy?)

Before I knew it, I was putting a large helping of this yummy pudding-with-real-raspberries dessert on my plate. Then I grabbed a few of those (totally sinful, and EXTREMELY buttery) crescent rolls my sister made. Then I went for the cheesecake. I was the first one there. Same with the pumpkin.

Are you visualizing the food on my plate? Dr. Atkins would have had a stroke! I had every available carb (sans potatoes), and a sampling of every sweet treat on my FIRST plate.

I'm such a rebel. (Good things my kids didn't notice. Especially my oldest, because I'd made him put down his first plate when all he'd dished up was dessert. Wonder where he gets it?)

I would also like to publicly declare that I do not regret my actions. I know I laughed in the face of tradition, but it was worth it. There's no way I could have downed that much dessert if I'd done my turkey-duty, and that would have been a real shame. And while my Thanksgiving diet was completely void of protein, just think of all the calories I saved! Because seriously - I would have eaten the same amount of desserts anyway.

It just would have made me a little sicker to do it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Results...

As many of you know (or have figured out), I love limericks. Why? Because it fascinates me to see all the different combinations of words that can go together in the same format to say similar things so many different ways. Just think about it - you could put a thousand people in a room, have them all write a limerick about the same topic, they could all come up with something, and no two would be the same.

Like I said, fascinating.

But before I get any farther ahead of myself, I must acknowledge our reigning champion Lisaway (aka, the American in Poland), who won the last competition (topic: housework) with this fabulous limerick:

My house is one big laundry pile.
Well, there's two, but they each stretch a mile.
There's "dirty" and "clean"
(and some in between)
You'd never know underneath there is tile!


And let me just say that we had some pretty fascinating entries this time around! (If you missed the competition, go here and check out my comment box). It was very hard to choose, so I'm going to post three that made me laugh out loud. The first was by McFarland. I loved this one - it puts such a "glass half-full" spin on the joys of over-holiday-eating, while tying in a little bit of the diet-gospel as well:

I love eating all of my dinner
It makes me feel like a winner
A winner of what?
A big, jiggly butt!!
But does this make me a sinner?


Didn't that crack you up?! The next one is by Annonymous Jim Pettit (who has no blog), and all I can say is that his three entries were a scream. I have no idea what brought him fortuitously to my blog at the time of my limerick contest, but I sure hope he happens along for the next one! I had a hard time choosing a favorite between his three entries, but finally settled on the following:

Oh, this incline I'm on has me huffing!
It's steep, and my lungs are a-puffing!
I need oxygen! Prayers!...
What? It's only some stairs?!
(Note to self: need to lay off the stuffing.)


And I happen to know that several other people are giving him their vote. (Then again, several people are voting for McFarland, so how to choose?) Moving on, however, is my third pick. This one I love for personal reasons. It's my sister Annie's entry, and it so perfectly describes our holiday-feast attitude that I can't ignore it. If any of you want to visualize Annie or me at any feasting occasion, read on:

I gorge on sweet yams and cooked stuffing
So full that I'm huffing and puffing
I think I might die
Until someone yells, "Pie!"
I roll back in, stopping at nuffing.


This is so me.

Just for kicks, I'm going to throw in the Hubby's number one pick - especially since it was also one of my favorites. It was an early entry by another annonymous male, Doug998. I love his creative meter! Not easy to do in a limerick, and definitely worthy of a little spotlight:

So, my doctor is finally sending
Me back to the gym. Now I'm wending
My way there. I'm keen
On a favourite machine ...
(It's the one that does nothing but vending).


But how to choose? This is the hardest contest to judge so far, because all four of these reached out and grabbed my funny bone. There's actually several more I could have included, but I have to narrow it down somehow!

And then there's the sad fact that poor Doug998 and Jim won't even be able to appreciate the (lame) privilege of being on my sidebar. Then again, there's still the World Title... That may come in handy on their resumes in this lovely econimic climate we're having - so who's to say?

Annie, of course, already has her own place of honor over there, so what good would it do her?

And I actually do think that McFarland's got the loudest actual laugh out of me, so...

YOU WIN MCFARLAND!!!! Please, please, try to contain yourself, I know you're excited (and no doubt hyperventilating - anyone have a paper bag for the poor girl), but it's true, you really have won the highly coveted title of "The World's Greatest Limerick Writer EVER!!!"

You must be so proud.

It's like Christmas in November! Too bad you'll have nothing left to wish for...poor girl...

And I promise I'll get you posted over there within twenty-four hours, so just try to be patient. (I know it's hard).

Thanks again everyone, I loved every entry! And I'd also love to hear which limericks appealed to all of you the most too, if you want to let us know (and give more people the credit they deserve) leave a mention in my comment box. And never fear - I'm sure it won't be long until you'll all have a chance to try once more for that elusive title (and lame spot on my sidebar), so make sure you don't miss it!

And Happy Thanksgiving!

The End.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Get Ready To Limerick! Yes, YOU could win a world title (just think of putting that on the resume!) For more info, read on...

So, with all this talk about holiday food, and holiday diets, I've decided it's time for a....LIMERICK CONTEST!!!!

That's right, another shot at a spot on my illustrious side bar, and the title of "The World's Greatest Limerick Writer Ever!" I know, it's been awhile, and I'm afraid if Lisa goes any longer unchallenged, it might go to her head. Then again, she may hold onto the title...you just.Never.Know. So let's talk about the rules:

1. Five lines.

2. Lines 1,2,5 have to rhyme.

3. Lines 3,4 have to rhyme.

4. In case anyone is wondering, all lines can rhyme.

5. If you aren't sure of the meter, read the limericks on my sidebar, or the ones I'm no doubt going to dash off a little farther down in this post.

6. You DO get points for making me laugh, and you DEFINITELY get points for having a good meter.

More about the topic. Anything that has anything to do with tempting holiday treats, trying to not eat food, craving food you can't have, exercising to justify food you gave in to, or anything else that in any way correlates with dieting, holiday food, food-in-general, exercise, etc, goes. Let me kick this thing off, and get you all warmed up with a few limericks of my own...

Why is it a Holiday diet
Sends my cravings into a riot?
Pies, pastries and roast,
I love them all most,
The only hope for my mouth is to tie it.


Get it? Tie it shut? If only that were an option. Let's try for another one.

On my stupid treadmill I run
To make up for my holiday fun.
I ate that whole pie
And I think I might die,
By New Year's I'll have put on a ton!


Or how about,

I love thinking of Holiday food
It puts me in such a good mood!
A month worth of eats,
All kinds of good treats!
To not eat it would simply be rude.


And I'd never want to be rude. So there you go, have at it, and write me some good limericks. Contest will be open until Wednesday night, and if I get a chance I'll post some highlights between now and then. Leave your entries in my comment box, and multiple entries are definitely okay - enter as many times as you want.

Well what are you waiting for? Go write a limerick!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Just Doing What I'm Told...

The other day I posted my not-getting-fat-during-the-holidays plan over on Skinny Pants, but not very many of you made it over there, and I've had several people tell me I should post it over here, so I am.

Good thing they didn't tell me to go jump off a bridge...

If you've already read it, I apologize, if you love giving yourself a reason for that January diet, you are excused, and if you're curious, read on:

Holiday Strategy for the Battle of the Bathroom Scale

So, it's November - aka "The Most Critical Time of the Year." Well, for me and any of you hoping to hold steady (or maybe even gain some ground) in that annoying battle with the bathroom scale. At this time every year I put the battle strategy into play, and get ready to come out victorious on New Year's. And just so you know, this plan is geared ENTIRELY around eating Holiday food, and avoiding goody-deprivation at all holiday food gatherings.

And it never fails me.

Just thought some of you might be interested.

I really should have posted this right after Halloween - since I always get things started at the beginning of November - but I was too busy not thinking about Halloween candy to organize my thoughts... But better late then never, right?

So, the plan. The strategy. It all revolves around advanced planning and preemptive striking. In other words, lose now, gain later, and it all comes out in the wash.

I know, I know, you're thinking, "Like it's that easy to just 'lose now.' If I could do that I already would have. Duh." But just hear me out. This is all about mind power, and is totally doable. I swear. Why? What magic formula will make it easier to lose this time? Motivation. Hanging before you every day from now to Christmas, are all those goodies. The feasts. The cookies. The party foods and appetizers constituting a meals worth of calories in a single bite. All the foods you know you'll want to eat, and should be able to eat because it's Christmas. Do you really want to be the one at the party saying "Well, that hot, steamy, overly cheesy, completely delicious looking, and divine tasting artichoke dip looks great, but I'm really just into celery right now,"???

Trust me. You can do this. You can do anything for a couple of weeks and a big piece of guiltless-pumpkin-cheesecake, right?

So here's the goal. Lose at least two (solid, meaning more than just water weight) pounds before Thanksgiving, and then again before Christmas. And here's the plan to accomplish it.

1. Pick your most favorite eating time of the day and leave it alone (meaning, eat as usual, no suffering necessary). You love breakfast? Fine. Lunch? Fine. Dinner? Evening snack? No problem. All of them? Pick one. And no complaining - it won't work if you're not willing to suffer at least a tiny bit.

2. Look at your two remaining meals, and usual snacks, and start sacrificing. Cut them in half, substitute with healthy/low-fat/low-carb/low-sugar/smaller portion/or-what-ever-it-is-that-works-for-you meals, grit your teeth, think about your favorite holiday treat and how you will guiltlessly consume a second helping, and bear it.

3. Add an extra gimmick just to kick start things. For instance, this year mine is "turn down one thing every day." Sounds so small, but I've given up an ice cream sundae (with LOADS of toppings, all you can eat), brownies (the plural because you know I wouldn't have stopped at just one), pastries, my late-night handful of milk chocolate chips, and a few other things just this week. Other years I've ditched sweet-treats altogether, or eaten one salad a day - whatever. Just pick some small thing and be strict. No cheating allowed.

4. If you have a party to attend, eat light all day to make up for it. (And don't go totally overboard when you get there. It's not Christmas YET). If you have to make goodies, go ahead and have some, but set your limit before they're done, stick to it, and get them out of the house fast. If someone brings you treats, eat them. Then skip dinner. (Well, that's what I do, but I suppose I shouldn't try to sell you on such obviously not-healthy strategies. But it does work...)

5. Look in the mirror at least three times a day (no complaining, if you've read this blog before you TOTALLY knew this would be part of the plan) and tell yourself you're going to be a skinny babe by Christmas.

6. Exercise is extra-credit.

7. When the morning of the big day comes (first Thanksgiving, then Christmas), save your calories up. For instance, have an apple for breakfast. Eat a pile of lettuce for lunch.

8. At the actual event? Enjoy yourself. Eat up. Gain back those two pounds all in one sitting if you want - you earned it. (Or, not. Besides, like you can gain two pounds of actual fat in one sitting. I personally believe one meal never hurt anybody).

I would just like to bear my testimony that everyone should get to eat at Christmas dinner without "watching what they eat." I also believe that gorging on good food for the entire holiday season is going over the top, and should be considered a diet-sin. I know that every woman has at least four weeks of solid diet-self-control in her - especially when the reward is turkey gravy, Christmas croisants, and chocolate trifle. I also know that my little battle strategy works for me, and will work for anyone who undertakes it with real intent. Losing two pounds is really not an impossible task. And you'll thank yourself on New Year's. In the name of Holiday Food, amen.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Just In Case You Didn't Know...

Today is Tuesday.

NOT Wednesday.

Just though you might want to know, because no one told me until AFTER I dropped my child off at preschool. And went home. And was in the middle of blogging about my holiday weight-control strategy over on Desperately Seeking Skinny Pants.

Yeah. I felt cool. And smart, because there's nothing like NOT KNOWING WHAT DAY OF THE WEEK IT IS to make a person (especially a mom of young children) feel brilliant. This isn't my first calendar casualty either, sad as that is.

Wouldn't it have been even smarter if I hadn't found out until I showed up at the dentist office with the other two for their WEDNESDAY appointments? After getting them out of school?

Yeah, glad that didn't happen...

So now I'm gonna go and think about life, and sing the "Days of the Week" song my preschooler loves...and HOPE IT SINKS IN TO MY HEAD!!!

So have a nice TUESDAY everyone, Wednesday's TOMORROW.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Day My Stars Aligned Thanks to a Crash Test Dummy (and my mother)

I haven't shopped for clothes in a long, long, LONG, time. Those that know me will be shocked. This is not like me at all. Sometimes, however, the budget cramps my style, and I simply can't justify more clothes.

Did I mention how much I love clothes?

I love clothes. A lot. Especially Fall clothes.

I did go shopping last Fall - and I distinctly remember getting lots of cute things, and never feeling like I couldn't find something to wear. So now, considering that all of those exact same clothes are hanging in my closet, how is it that I suddenly have nothing to wear? Does this happen to anyone else? I see those clothes...I remember wearing them...even feeling cute in them... Yet they leave me completely uninspired now.

And they all look alike to me.

And I'm SURE some of them must be missing, because otherwise I'd be able to feel just as cute as I did last year, right?

But I don't.

Today I was sitting there thinking about trying to find something to wear to church tomorrow, and I got depressed. So I started thinking about shopping. And how I'd dropped a pound this morning. And how that was clearly a sign that the stars had finally aligned, and I was supposed to go to Ross.

Besides, my mom still owed me birthday money so I had fifty bucks to spend. Me+Ross+fifty bucks = at-least-enough-clothes-to-get-me-by-till-after-Christmas. The whole winter if the clearance racks are full and I don't count shoes...

And then I received divine confirmation that today I truly was destined to go shopping. Just as I called Hubby to let him know I was taking off when he returned, the mail came in. What do you suppose it had for me? Honestly, you'll never guess, so let me just tell you.

Remember Crash's little contest? The one where I won $50 for my little Sasquatch tale? Well, she'd emailed me to get my info, but I kind of didn't give it to her because I felt weird taking money from a stranger. What I didn't know, was that she is a woman bound by her word - and that she has amazing stalker-skills.

I got my $50 in the mail today. From Crash. With chocolate covered macadamia nuts, a pack of cards, a totally cute retro post card, and lots of little balloon foil thingies that went everywhere. And I have no idea how she got my address. (Well okay, I'm pretty sure I know her source, but still - very impressive).

Did I mention they were fifty one-dollar bills? My kids were totally awed by the wad of cash - and I chuckled all afternoon. Or should I say "All the way to Ross, Baby!"

It's been so long since I went shopping (my birthday in June, to be exact) that I was actually a little nervous I wouldn't know what to do when I got there. See, I have a system at Ross. If you give me an hour, I can walk away with an armful. I have a shopping uniform (cute jeans and a black t-shirt), a shopping pattern, a system for putting the clothes in the cart, and a system for trying them on (which has everything to do with the shopping uniform). I am like a machine in that place!

But I was on a time frame.

What if I couldn't do it anymore? What if I was only halfway through my cart when it was time to go? What if my time deadline made me so stressed out and flustered I missed all the super cute nice stuff, and ended up with the cheapo won't-last-after-one-washing junk I've sworn I'd never fall for again???

Can I just say that my game was ON?!

I rocked that store. The clearance racks were packed, the store was practically empty, I got my favorite dressing room (the one where you can see yourself in the community mirror with out actually leaving your room), and that lost pound made all the difference.

So thank you Mother, THANK YOU CRASH!!!, thanks to you lovely ladies I can finally stop setting my alarm thirty minutes early to allow for time to put together something to wear. I made a major haul today, my closet is packed with way cute stuff, and I didn't even have to touch my budget money. (Except for that really cute pair of {extremely necessary} brown shoes I was forced to put on my credit card. With maybe a couple other items. But don't tell).

Anyone want to place bets on whether or not I'll need to go shopping next Fall?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My "Moment"

I got a little teary eyed at the school today. It was one of those moments. I'm not exactly sure what we call this particular brand of "moment" but I'm sure others have experienced something similar.

Conan was at preschool, the other boys (obviously) were at school, and Meara and I had run into the elementary office to take care of some business. (Namely, turning in some important paperwork and paying the preschool bill - now that it's November. Did you know they actually will let your child attend school without birth certificates, shot records, or cash? Not forever, but at least until November...)

So anyway, Meara and I were just walking along. It was raining, and she was adorable, and I was helping her unwrap a piece of candy and thinking about nothing in particular, when I was struck by a fleeting - yet very vivid - memory.

All of the sudden, I remembered me. I was just starting to think about getting pregnant with my fourth and last child. I had dropped something off at the elementary school, and was walking back to my car. I looked up, and ahead of me walking across the parking lot, was a mom and her little girl.

The little girl was about three, and had long brown hair. She was adorable, and it was just her and her mom, doing nothing special - just walking along together.

A mom. And her little girl.

I got teary that day watching them. I think I got in my car and cried because I wanted a daughter SOOOOO bad, but didn't know if I would get one. I was trying so hard to prepare myself for the possibility of all boys, but I couldn't help coveting the experience of that mom, just walking around taking for granted the fact that there was a little person with long pigtails, wearing pink, (and not doing any fighting moves OR making any sound effects) skipping along behind her.

I wanted to be her, and I felt horribly guilty.

And today, there I was - at the elementary, doing nothing special - with my little girl. It was the most wonderful moment I've had in a long time. And in case your wondering, we may have been doing nothing, and we may have been together, but I was NOT taking it for granted. I am still so overwhelmed by the fact that Heavenly Father gave me my heart's desire, that I honestly can't get over it. Every single thing she does that proclaims her female warms my soul and reminds me of how much the Lord must love me.

Why else would He have sent me my Meara?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Blogging Verdict

Wow. You all should be totally "peaced out" by now, if you read my last post and followed the farewell instructions... That was like almost a week of peacing. You've probably never felt better. In fact - I may have changed your life!

I should get into blogging funks more often.

Actually, this last week has been a rather interesting experiment. You know how when you get sick you can't remember what it feels like to be well? Am I the only one who's noticed this? Or pregnant. You're about eight and a half months pregnant, and you really, truly, can NOT remember what it feels like to not be pregnant?

That's how I was feeling about blogging.

As many of you know, I didn't have internet access in my house until July. Of this year. Shocking, I know. Amazingly, however, we had managed to get by just fine with out it. Emailing me information wasn't always the smartest idea - especially if it was urgent - but otherwise, I (we) were pretty normal.

I really didn't know anything about blogs, except that Annie had one. I would occasionally read hers at my mother's, laugh, and wish I had a google account so I could rat her out on stuff, but that was about it.

Then came that fateful day, when I decided to go big, spend the dough, and get hooked up.

Within the week I was blogging.

At first, I thought that like Annie, I was supposed to blog every day. That lasted about one week. Then I regained my sanity, remembered my children, and toned it down to once every two or three days. I was still only reading a few blogs of close friends and family though, so my blogging world was very small.

Enter mormon mommy blogs.

Can we say total takeover? All of the sudden there were countless cool/funny/witty blogs out there, and not only was I finding them, they were finding me!! I comment, they comment, we comment - before you know it, I have some hysterical blog-friends from all over the place.

And I love to write. What could be better than having something to say (even if it's actually nothing but senseless drivel), putting it into words, and having all these people relate/validate/commiserate with you? Especially if you can occasionally make someone smile. To me, that's the greatest.

And in the faculty room, I can say cool things like "Yeah, I have a blogging friend who lives in Poland. She could probably find that recipe for you."

But then, there was the rest of the story. Like the part where you get on the blog to "check your comments" and enter the phenomenon of blog-time-warp. You know, the one where you SWEAR it's only been a half hour blog-time-warp time, but in the real world it's been two hours?

And there's the hungry/neglected/learning-to-fend-for-themselves children (because Mom is stuck in blog-time-warp and thinks it's only been two minutes since you asked for that sandwich). When they started pointing out my computer time, and making certain accusations (that I will not name, and which many of you have probably heard in your own houses anyway) I decided to take a little control of my blog-life.

Like a responsible adult, I imposed computer time constraints on myself, and have been pretty good at sticking to them - but still. Blogging took things over so fast and furiously, I felt like I was pregnant again. Pregnant with a blog post. I just couldn't remember what it was like to not have one rolling around inside me, waiting - demanding even - to be let out into the wonderful world of Blog.

And then there's the matter of my book. Yes, I am finally coming clean - before the blog, I was taking my creative energies out on a novel. It was coming along nicely before the blog. Now it's more like an orphan... kind of like my actual children...

So anyway, I began to have that feeling. That "what was my life like before the blog?" feeling. I really couldn't remember. Did I get more done? Was I a better mom? If I just stopped would life go back to normal, or would I miss blogging and feel a hole in my soul with out it?

Enter Blogging Funk.

I was at odds with the blog. There was no karma there. I could think of nothing to say, because I wasn't sure if I should keep saying something. So I stopped. For almost a week. The results? (I'm sure I have you on the edge of your seats...)

At first, it was like a big sigh of relief. The pressure (inflicted on myself, by myself) was lifted. I wasn't writing, so no one was commenting, so I didn't have to go look and see what they might have said, so I wasn't also going to see what else they said, and what everyone else said about that. Whew. I had fleeting thoughts about how people might abandon me if I went a week with out contributing, but I recklessly pushed these aside. (We'll see how that one turned out now, won't we?). After all, as of Wednesday... Thursday... EVEN Friday, I wasn't sure if I'd be blogging again anyway.

Then Saturday afternoon I looked around at my house.

Destroyed. Just. Like. Usual.

And I hadn't blogged for DAYS.

I smiled. I "Hmphed". I felt a little giddy.

It wasn't the blog after all! It was just me! I'm just a rotten keeper-up-with-the-messes-everyone-is-making-around-me kind of mom! I know I shouldn't feel so excited about this (I'm sure my husband wouldn't), but the verdict finally came in - blogging is okay!

I can blog.

Just not always three/four times a week.

And that's okay. (Right? You'll still love me???)

*Sigh* I feel much better. Now if they'd only let us access Blogger from work...

Monday, November 3, 2008

I Won!!

Yes, in case you're wondering, I WON THE CASH!!! (And a great big THANK YOU to all of you who voted for me too:). I really can't believe I finally won something. Now what should I do with all that cash...

Yet, strange to say (for someone coming off the high of winning big), I really don't feel much like blogging at all right now. I attempted to write about my house-cleaning funk, but it was a flop. I just couldn't manage to put into words what it's like to have the house you've spent all day on be destroyed every evening while you do piano lessons, homework, dinner, reading, baths, football taxi-ing, etc. I know exactly how Pat feels over there on her hamster wheel - since apparently I'm running around on one of my own.

And then I tried writing a post about child #2 getting sick this weekend. Yes, I thought it was the Halloween candy too - the first four times he threw-up. By round seventy-six, I'd changed my mind. I wanted to express the beauty of having a child old enough to graduate from the "bowl" to the toilet, but it was all just a little too graphic and throw-uppy, if you know what I mean. (But still, can I just say Hallelujah!?!? Talk about convenient! I tried to look sad for him, but really I was totally giddy at the thought that all I had to do was flush...)

Or I could tell you all about how Mr. Amazing Hubby totally cleaned and organized my catch-all room on Sunday. True, he was angling for points so he could head off into the mountains, but still. Shelves were assembled, furniture was rearranged, "stuff" was cleared out - it was enough to break through my house-cleaning funk, and today I even dusted. I know, amazing isn't it? I actually like that room again.

Unfortunately, however, none of these things are that interesting, and so I have nothing of any real value to write about. There are other ideas rolling around in my head...but they would all take an amount of mental effort I somehow just don't feel up to at the moment. Maybe this means I'm in a blogging funk? Is there such a thing?? Hmmm. I'll have to think about that. Maybe tomorrow I'll have something amazing to say that will change all of your lives forever...

But until then, Peace Out.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Halloween Candy Devil

So I've entered a pact with the devil. Not the Devil, just the little one who sits on my shoulder, looks just like me, and tries to compete with the little angel on the other side.

The subject matter?

Halloween candy.

If you have similar little friends on your shoulder, trying to persuade you to eat/not eat all that candy, I would love to have you follow me over to Skinny Pants today for a little motivation and commiseration.

I'll be eternally grateful, I swear!

P.S. FYI, there's still time to vote for me over on Crash's blog! (See last post for details). Did I mention I could win cash? Not enough to remodel my house or anything, but still!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Pssst...

Just a little note to anyone who cares! I am in the running for a really cool prize from Crash over on her blog! But currently I'm getting whooped by someone else, so if you like me even a little, or thought my Bigfoot story was the least bit entertaining, could you please go here and vote??? The poll is on her sidebar, and I'll be forever grateful to any voters if I win. If you want to check out the competition, go here. I mean, that's only fair, right?

(But you're still supposed to vote for me - let's not get confused about THAT!)

Thanks;)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Repetitive Tears and Talking Animals

When my hubby and I got married, we were too poor to buy a TV. We were married in July. For our first Christmas, my mother-in-law gave us one. But we were too poor to afford cable,and since apartment living put an antenna out of the question, it didn't really help our TV-less condition.

A few months later (right after we FINALLY purchased a microwave), we scrounged up enough for a VCR. It was so exciting! We owned a whopping five movies, and they were all from my personal collection of old musicals. While I was more than content to watch Doris Day and Judy Garland every day, my husband wasn't quite as entertained.

We lived in this TV-deprived state for almost a year and a half. Then we moved. In our new duplex, sticking out of the wall, was a cable hook-up. Hmmmm. T.V. was finally an option.

We passed.

I know it sounds crazy, but we both had no real desire to sit around watching cable all day. Why? Mostly because with no children, a whole 900 square feet to clean, and no yard to take care of, we both knew that's exactly what we'd end up doing.

We've been married for eleven years. We have four children. We still don't have TV. What do we have? A huge video collection. This means that essentially, we sit around watching the same movies over, and over, and over again. But that isn't the strange part. The strange part is how I keep crying over the same scenes, in the same movies, over, and over, and over again.

It's blowing my mind.

Take the movie Ever After with Drew Barrymore, one of my personal favs. It's on my go-to list of movies I feel like watching almost anytime. The incriminating cry scene? The big reunion. The old servant guy gets sold by the mean stepmother, and is being shipped to America. Danielle (Barrymore's character), saves him and brings him home.

The scene changes, showing his old wife hoeing in the garden.

Camera pans. Danielle and old man are walking toward old wife/woman.

She looks up. She sees him. She drops her hoe, picks up her old dress, and runs towards him. Tears streaming down her face, scrawny legs going as fast as she can, while he runs to meet her with arms outstretched. They embrace. Triumphant-yet-emotional music plays, as other old servant and Danielle join the embrace.

I cry EVERY TIME I watch this scene! How can you not cry? They are so old. They have so little. They love each other so much!

My husband thinks I'm crazy and laughs at me, but it gets worse. At least in this movie I'm crying over people.

The next offender? Both the Incredible Journey, and its re-make, Homeward Bound. The remarkable thing? I don't really even like these movies. Especially the new one with the talking animals - way too obnoxious for my taste. Yet despite this, without fail, the reunion scene brings tears to my eyes.

I have been known to break down and bawl.

I'm not even an animal lover! (I like them, but come on - they aren't people) But when those little kids hear those dogs barking off in the distance, and then see them barreling down the hill, I start to feel the tears pricking. It's bad enough with the first dog and the cat, but when the oldest boy thinks his old dog couldn't make it and turns dejectedly back to the house only to hear that far off bark - I'm done for. By the time the boy and his dog collide (even with that ridiculous dog voice practically ruining the whole thing in the talking-animal version) I am a mess.

But this is not the most ridiculous example.

You know the movie Babe? That's right, the one about the pig? There is a scene in this movie (again, a movie I could totally do without) that will actually cause me to drop what I'm doing, move into the living room, and watch with rapt attention (shushing my kids if necessary, so they don't ruin the mood), knowing I'm about to cry.

Over a talking pig.

??????

Which scene, you want to know? Or does it make you cry too, so you've already guessed.

Fine, I'll tell.

It's the end of the movie. Babe and the old man have just taken the field during the sheep herding competition. All the people are laughing, mocking the crazy old man with his pig, and you know he's got to be feeling a little insecure.

The pig runs over to the sheep and holds that ridiculous conversation (revealing he knows their secret "sheep chant"), and the old man just stands there silently watching.

The people are still laughing.

His wife is hysterically crying because she's sure her husband has gone insane.

And then the sheep start to move. In a column. With the pig behind them.

The crowd goes silent. Jaws drop as they watch in disbelief.

More ridiculous animal-conversation happens, and the sheep do everything they're supposed to, ending up in the little pen.

The silent old man walks forward, grasps the gate, swings it shut on the amazing, pig-herded sheep, and the latch clicks in the heavy silence...

And then pandemonium breaks out! Everyone is jumping and shouting, and cheering for the old man and his pig! You think they couldn't be cheering any louder, but as the judges all present perfect scores, the crowd goes wild!!!

And I cry.

Because I'm so happy the old man doesn't feel stupid, and everyone finally appreciates him and his pig.

Why do I get so involved? And why do I feel extra sympathetic because he's a tall old man??? And why don't I get desensitized? I was crying over this scene just two days ago. Crying, and marveling at my ability to continually empathize with made up characters, doing made up things, in movies I don't necessarily even love, involving talking animals.

I'd ask if anyone else does this - just for re-assurance - but I'd be scared of the response. I have this sinking feeling that I'm alone on this one. But if someone wants to lie, and pretend like Babe makes them cry too, I'd be totally grateful.

If you think about it, I am now kind of like the old man. Here I am, feeling a little insecure about what I've just shown the world, and there's that crowd of readers - laughing, mocking, and jeering at the crazy lady...

Except I'm not so tall. Why does that help?

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Sad Tale

I have this really cute pair of earrings. They fit into that "perfect earring" category, if you know what I mean. They're smallish, so they don't overwhelm. They're pewterish silver, so they go with anything. They're dangly but not very long, and they have this cute little rosette at the bottom with a cute little low-profile pink stone in them.

And I can never wear them.

And no, it's not because I'm allergic. The real reason is much, much, more pathetic and sad than that. The story goes something like this:

Two years ago (yes people, that said TWO YEARS AGO), I was doing my thing, just walking around my house (cleaning again, because as you know I am ALWAYS cleaning), when I find this cute little pair of earrings lying on the bureau in my living room. They sparked the following conversation:

Me: Hey, does anyone know where these earrings came from?

Liam: (seven yrs old at the time) Oh yeah, those are from Grandma.

Me: They are? How do you know? Did she give them to you?

L: No, I found them in the mailbox.

Me: The mailbox? Well how do you know they're from Grandma if you found them in the mailbox? (My mother always writes old-school cursive, and I knew there was no way he could have deciphered that).

L: Because it came with a note.

Me: What did the note say?

L: I can't remember.

Me: Well, where is the note?

L: I threw it in the garbage.

Me: The kitchen garbage?

L: No. The big garbage out by the road.

Are you following this? That would be the big, disgusting, garbage garbage, that all the other garbage goes into. The big smelly one the actual garbage truck dumps on Wednesdays. The garbage way too disgusting for me to scrounge around in looking for some mysterious note from some really nice, thoughtful person.

I was irritated. Frustrated. Exasperated. Why? Why, why, why would he think it was okay to throw away a note? A note written to his mother, accompanying a gift? If he hadn't been so cute - and so pathetically sorry when he realized he'd done something horribly wrong - I would have turned into "Mean Mommy".

But I didn't.

I still had hope. After all, surely I could find the giver of the cute earrings, right? I mean, I don't know that many thoughtful, generous people, right?

Wrong.

I called everyone I could think of. For weeks, I would randomly think of names and call people to ask them if they, by any chance, left a cute little pair of dangly earrings in my mailbox.

No one knew anything about it.

"That's okay," I told myself, "even if I can't thank the person, I can still wear them - right?" Wrong. I can't wear them, and it's so unfair. It's bad enough that some kind, thoughtful person was generous to leave me cute earrings and a note, and I never even thanked them. They no doubt already think I'm the most ungrateful person ever.

But how much worse would it be if they saw me WEARING the earrings - actually utilizing the results of their generosity? There I'd be, with the cute earrings dangling from my earlobes, talking away, STILL not thanking them for the kind, thoughtful gift. Then they'd know - without a doubt - that I really was the most ungrateful person ever.

As it is, the mystery giver probably thinks I just didn't like them. But why, oh why couldn't they have ever called just to say: "So, did you ever get those earrings I left in your mailbox? I was worried one of your kids might have taken them and thrown the note into your big nasty garbage can, and that you might not have known they were from me."

But no, instead they were just too kind and thoughtful to bring up the subject of a pair of earrings I no doubt hated.

And so, the moral of this story is - If you ever mail (or leave in someone's mailbox) a cute, thoughtful gift accompanied by a note, but then never hear from the person regarding the cute, thoughtful gift - CALL THEM! Make sure they actually received the gift (and accompanying note)!

And if anyone reading this blog is the sender of my cute, anonymous earrings, please reveal yourself! I'm tired of only wearing them when I'm out of state visiting strangers, or taking the risk, wearing them anyway, and then feeling compelled to ask every person I know if my earrings look familiar to them.

It's bad enough that someone out there thinks I'm the most ungrateful person ever - I should at least get to wear the earrings

Friday, October 24, 2008

Psychic Drawings and Sasquatch Sightings

FYI: The following story is one hundred percent true. It is NOT made up. It ACTUALLY happened. And believe me, it was REALLY, REALLY, REALLY spooky. If you're easily scared, please - TURN BACK NOW!!! This incident scared me to death for years after it happened. I'm still not sure I'm over it... But in the interest of winning a Stupid Twilight T-Shirt as a possible prize for CTD's Spook-A-Rama, I decided reliving it this once was a risk I would just have to take.

I was born and raised in Bigfoot country. (I KNOW! It's scary already!) For those of you somehow unaware of the more familiar term (Bigfoot), the scientific name would be Sasquatch. That's right, big, hairy, telepathic, but extremely shy, man-like creatures who leave gigantic footprints, seen by hundreds, yet still discredited by the rest. But believe me people, they are real. I've seen one (sort of), and that's what this story is about.

Generally speaking, my family is big on Bigfoot believing. If you don't believe me, check this out(this is supposed to be a link to Annie's Bigfoot post, but I can't get it. I'll update it tomorrow - sorry). This may seem strange to those of you non-Bigfoot-country-dwellers, but trust me when I say around here, we're normal. Everyone (especially grade schoolers) believes.

Now, back to my story.

I was in second grade. I was at my friend Lisa's house. Tired of making paper airplanes and taping grasshoppers to them (as the pilot, co-pilot, and passengers, of course), we wandered inside where our two older sisters were hanging out.

They were watching TV. The news was on. THERE HAD BEEN A BIGFOOT SIGHTING!!!!

WOW. We were totally into it. Within moments, Lisa's older sister's VERY active imagination was working over time, and she was using her psychic abilities to sketch a picture of Bigfoot.

She had her eyes closed while she sketched. It was VERY convincing.

Then she let us in on the big secret. Bigfoot lived on the hill behind their house.

Yep. That's right. You know that logging road we were supposed to stay away from? The one never used, and all grown over? It wasn't the transients and drug dealers our parents were worried about - IT WAS BIGFOOT!

Whoa. The idea was so intense Lisa and I had to get out of there. We went back outside. Our grasshoppers were dead. There was nothing to do. Until Lisa conceived her brilliant plan.

"I bet if we go up there we'll see Bigfoot."

Chills ran down my spine. I immediately pictured the hairy beast from the psychic drawing. I was terrified. I was chicken. I was seven. I wanted to go home.

"Yeah," I replied noncommittally.

"Well, come on then - no one's looking, let's go!" And before I could back out she was headed for the logging road.

I almost peed my pants, but I followed.

The main road came to a dead end just past Lisa's driveway, and turned into the old logging road. As noted, it was all grown over, and led straight up into the hills behind the girls' house. As we headed up the path, we were soon surrounded by the dense brush and trees that quickly fill any open spaces on the Washington Peninsula. Tall trees bordered the old road, and sunlight trickled down through the green canopy.

Did I mention I was terrified?

As we walked, Lisa kept up a rambling monologue about Bigfoot, and everything she knew about them. We were getting farther up the road. Farther from safety. We went round a bend, and looking back I couldn't even see where the main road started. I tried not to panic.

Then we saw the stump.

It was small. It was right on the side of the road. IT WAS CHARRED.

Yes, it had obviously been blackened by some kind of sinister fire, and as soon as we spotted it Lisa grabbed my arm and jumped back, pulling me away from the stump.

"Oh my gosh! Look at that stump - this is not good."

"Yeah?" I replied, trying to control the urge to run screaming down the trail.

"Wait. I better check..." she muttered, creeping closer to the stump with an outstretched hand.

"OH MY GOSH!!!" She yelled, jumping back the moment her fingertips made contact, "It's still hot! Do you know what this means?" she asked, looking at my terrified face with expectant authority.

"What?"

"Bigfoot. Don't you know they breath fire? One was JUST here. IT BURNED THIS STUMP," she continued, looking quickly into the trees surrounding us. "It could still be right here..."

She continued walking. Having no brain, I continued to follow.

We went about ten yards farther, when she stopped abruptly, eyes wide, frantically sniffing the air. She grabbed my arm again and said, "Do you smell that?" while continuing to sniff as hard as she could.

I sniffed. I SWORE I smelled something... I just didn't know what.

"Yeah," I replied, waiting to be told what it was I was smelling.

"It smells just like rotten fish and garbage - do you know what that means?" she asked me, eyes wide with both excitement and terror. "That's what Bigfoot smells like. We've got to be close."

Before I could gather my wits to make another intelligent response, she gripped my arm tighter, and swung us around. "Did you hear that?" she whispered, her eyes darting all around, peering as far into the trees surrounding us as possible. Standing in complete silence for several moments, we listened to the forest around us.

There was creaking, and snapping (I swear), and the breeze was moaning through the treetops. This ominous sound drew Lisa's attention, and tightening her grasp on my arm (like that was even possible at this point), and clutching me in genuine terror, she pointed into the treetops.

"There! Up there! He's in the trees!" she cried, literally screaming in my ear.

"Where?!" I yelled, half sobbing, knees shaking, as I gazed up into the trees above me. It was all leaves, and dark, and light, as the bright sun cut its way through the canopy of the trees. It was impossible to make out any distinct shapes as the trees moved with the breeze, swaying and moaning and creaking like tall scary monsters.

"Why would he be in the trees?" I yelled back - finally coming up with something half intelligent to say in the midst of my terror.

"Don't you know that Bigfoot can fly?" and then, before I could digest this last comment, "OH MY GOSH, THERE HE IS!"

"WHERE?!"

"THERE! Can you see him?" She asked, pointing madly into the treetops. My heart was pounding wildly. My mouth was so dry I could hardly swallow. Almost out of my mind with fright, I followed her gaze into the dazzling light of filtered afternoon sun. So many shapes were forming and morphing as the trees moved this way and that, I didn't know where to look or what I was seeing.

"Over there! Over there," she yelled, practically crying herself, "Can you see him, CAN YOU SEE HIM???!!!!"

"I SEE HIM!" I yelled back, and without another thought we ran screaming, pel mel, as fast as our seven year old legs could carry us, back down the old road, past the stump, around the bend, and were both sobbing by the time we hit the pavement. We ran into the house and stumbled over each other relating our Bigfoot sighting to our sisters, who sat in rapt attention absorbing every word.

"I knew it," Lisa's sister said meaningfully when we finished. "That picture was a sign. You saw the Sasquatch I drew."

It was a solemn moment as we took this in. We had witnessed both Bigfoot, and Lisa's sister's psychic abilities in the space of an hour.

What a day.

And I've been a true believer ever since.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Regarding Annie (and giving hope to mom's with young daughters who don't always get along)

Sisters. They can be so many things. And given the fact that these relationships are founded in infancy (and all the obnoxious years of childhood and adolescence) they don't always get off to the greatest start. Somehow, children often fail to see the "potential" behind their siblings behavioral characteristics, and mistake these qualities as "annoying." I was guilty as this as a child, and now I have an opportunity to make up for my lack of foresight in a small way.

So here it is - a big plug for my little sister Ms. Regarding Annie, on behalf of her help-me-see-my-hubby fundraiser.

In case any of you missed the memo - or haven't discovered her blog yet - her husband is currently across the country at "spy camp", training for his new job.

He's been there since July, and won't be home until December.

She has three kids five and under.

She deserves a little support and sympathy.

But I'm worried that if people feel like they don't know her (or anything about her) they won't feel compelled to buy one of her Stupid Twilight T-Shirts. So I've decided to give you all a little history.

She was born bald, red, and big (over nine pounds) and with a good set of lungs. Since I was only two at the time, I don't actually remember hearing her cry, but the volume potential of her voice had to have started at birth. I'm sure of it.

Somewhere around age three (okay, it may have been a little sooner) she finally grew hair. Although I never would have admitted it at the time (or for over a decade later) her platinum curls were pretty darn cute. She truly was "the little girl who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead." For those of you not familiar with this rhyme, it goes on to say "and when she was good, she was very, very good, but when she was bad she was horrid." I remember repeating this rhyme often as a child - we were sure whoever wrote it knew Annie.

One Christmas she had chicken pox AND scarlet fever at the same time. I spent a lot of my childhood being irritated with Annie just because she existed (totally not fair, and I take it all back), but that Christmas I remember feeling genuinely sorry for her.

In first grade (and several after that) she was know to get off the bus proclaiming it to be "the best day in her whole life," come into the kitchen, read her chore list, and change her tune to tears, and her proclamation to "this is the WORST day in my whole life!" Despite this, however, her chore-completion record was somehow always better than mine. Just to be fair, I thought I'd better throw that in.

She started planning her own birthday parties at a ridiculously young age, and my poor mother was swept along by the determined, and extremely social tide that was "Annie". These parties were not small affairs. EVERYONE was invited, and there was "itinerary." (Does this surprise anyone who knows her?)

Jr. High. Keeping in mind that I considered being annoyed by Annie a full-time job during this time period (because I was bratty like that), I'll just say a few things. She had a lot of friends (all of whom I found annoying, proving my opinion was tainted), she did some very impressive science fair projects, and she talked so much she developed vocal nodules.

When I was sixteen, and Annie was fourteen, tragedy struck. Our older sister left for college. Up until that point I had always managed to stand/sit/associate with Laura. Now she was gone. There was no one left but Annie. What was a bratty older sister like myself to do?

For a couple of months I moped, and gave no ground. But as most every one knows, there is a HUGE difference between a twelve/thirteen year old girl, and a fourteen year old girl. Think Mia Maid vs. Beehive. It's like a universal truth. At sixteen, even I was forced to (slowly) acknowledge that she wasn't really that annoying. She'd stopped pinching boys' butts, and was actually kind of fun every once in a while. (Probably the same "while's" when I wasn't successfully ignoring her). I was finally forced to admit that Annie wasn't so bad. We started to "hang out." I actually enjoyed having her around. It was crazy.

Eventually, I came to appreciate most all of her finer qualities. That out-going, center-of-attention thing? Kind of nice to have on hand when you go somewhere out of your comfort zone, want to meet people, but don't know how to go about it. Her dorky sense of humor? Well, since mine is frighteningly similar (and almost as dorky), we do tend to "get" each other. The event-planning, jump-in-and-get-it-done (dare I say bossy) side of Annie? Even this has been known to come in handy on several occasions. What can I say? The girl knows how to get things done. She has way more energy than me for making and following through with big plans.

And she has some great embarrassing moments. Like the time she flashed the painter. She's accidentally flashed so many people the girl could be considered an exhibitionist.

She has tons of other talents, and there are countless stories I could tell, but this post is really about her latest project. Her Stupid Twilight T-shirts. She called me last week and forced me to brainstorm some possible slogans. Within a week she had the t-shirt designs ready to go, and a blog up and running.

Amazing. Only Annie would turn a hair brained scheme into a viable fundraising project in under a week. You've got to give the girl credit. And she really does deserve a trip across the country to see her hubby - I mean, she wanted to go bad enough to conceive, plan, carry out this t-shirt thing, right? I say that kind of ingenuity and determination deserves to be rewarded. So (right after you leave me a comment) go visit her Stupid Twilight T-shirt sight, and put in an order. And leave her a comment by your favorite design so she'll know you were there. She really does deserve this one, so let's not let her down!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Help Me! I'm Drowning In Indecision!

As most of you probably know, I have four children. And if you've read this post, or this post, you know that I hate my house, and have only two bedrooms. And a husband, let's not forget him! That makes six people, and two bedrooms. To be fair, they are very large bedrooms, but still. Only two.

Right at the top of the stairs we also have a fairly large room, but the stairs come right into it, and there's no window that would be in the room if we walled part of it off (and the fabulous 1925 construction of this house won't support a dormer), and you have to walk through it to get to both the other bedrooms. Currently we use it as a family/catch-all room. "Family" because it has a tv and a futon, "catch-all" because it's also crammed with everything normal people, with normal closet-filled houses would put out of site.

So you can see that this room is not a proper bedroom - just a space where someone could sleep.

One of the bedrooms houses all three boys. The other - the math is pretty simple here - belongs to my husband, myself, and my two year old.

Can you see the problem here? Can you see the difficult position I'm in? Can you see how I need an answer to this dilemma? (Moving would be an acceptable solution, if only it were an option). What do I do with all the children?? When do my husband and I get our room back??? I have a few possible scenarios, but none of them seem all that great.

First lets take the boys room. Do any of you know what it's like to have three kids in the same room? It isn't always terrible - especially if we stagger their bedtimes, but it definitely has its drawbacks. For instance, all it takes is for one kid to be feeling very awake, very obnoxious, or get the giggles, and bedtime becomes a joke. Especially if someone else is legitimately tired, and trying to go to sleep. The other night when the Missionaries stopped by just after we'd shut them all in there, it sounded like a war zone with all the boys yelling simultaneously at each other to shut-up.

This word is not even allowed in our house! I'm sure I would never say such a thing...

Anyhow, listening to all the yelling (and wondering why they couldn't understand that if someone actually WOULD shut-up they might get some peace), and trying to nod and smile at the Missionaries, brought my problem into the forefront again.

How do I get peace at bedtime? What to do with the girl-child? Can that room hold one more? Can that room stand ONE MORE VOICE??? I know this will come as a shock, but despite her very feminine and lady-like manner, the girl can hold her own when she's around her brothers. Besides that, she would be way too much of a novelty in there. They'd be so busy playing with her, and trying to make her laugh, no one would EVER get to sleep.

So much for option one.

On to option two. This would be moving someone out into the "family/catch-all" room, and then filling the void in the boys room with Miss Meara. Sound good? Maybe not. In the first place, we like to use the family room. And (even though this sounds totally paranoid) I worry that if there was a fire, anyone sleeping out there would die fast from smoke inhalation, since there's no door. PLUS, even with one kid out of the bedroom, putting Meara in there would cause all the same problems. She'd still be loud, and she'd still get everyone distracted from sleeping.

This makes me wonder if I should just stick with plan one after all.

Or, we could just leave things the way they are and hope that some miracle will occur, making moving an immediate possibility.

But I really want her out of my room. I am NOT a kid-in-the-bedroom kind of mom. I can't stand it that whenever she wakes up - night or morning - she knows I'm right there.

And so it goes. I run these exact options through my head, with these exact arguments, follow this exact pattern, and end up exactly where I am now.

Completely undecided.

So if anyone out there has an opinion - or can see an option I haven't thought of yet - please share your wisdom with me! There must be a best (or at least better-than-all-the-rest) option out there... If only I could see what it was.

I'll be waiting in suspense for all your sage advice.

Please don't disappoint me.

(But if you can't think of any advice, sympathy and commiseration are totally acceptable). (Thanks).