Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hey Blogland! Is Anybody Out There???

The good news, is that I actually remembered my login AND password. How are all of you?!? I mean, all three of you who might still occasionally remember me, and wonder where I am...

I really have nothing exciting to report - either that, or I have way too much to even begin to get into it. It depends on whether you want the rundown since the last time I graced you with my presence here in Blogland, or whether you just want this week's exciting list of mundane events. I suppose for starters, I could just give you the rest of the story on the Disneyland saga:

Shortly after my last appearance, I became overwhelmed with the desire to tell my family about Disneyland. (Could have had something to do with the payment in-full on the non-refundable/too-late-for-husband-to-back-out-of-them plane tickets, and the half-payment {also non-refundable, etc.} on the Disneyland package. Or it could have just been a coincidence. You decide...)

It went over well. Considering. I mean, yes, Mr. Husband's first words were something on the order of "Great. Have fun. I won't be going," but never fear, that didn't slow me down a bit. With a few choice words - like, "too late honey, it's already paid for" and he was putty in my hands.

True, on the plane he was still saying things like, "this is going to be so lame," and "I'll just stay in the rooms while you take the kids," but I was confident. No one can go to Disneyland and not love it. Right?

So right.

By day two, he was a worse Disneyland junkie than I am, and by the end of the week when I was saying, "Maybe we don't need to use today's pass, let's hang out at the pool instead," his response was, "Fine, you stay here with the kids, I'm going to Disneyland." And he meant it. Not to mention the fact that he was already planning our next several trips by the end of the week. (Including the one where he and I go with only little Miss Meara, and then when we get to come back just us - as in no kids.)

Mr. Husband LOVED Disneyland!

(I knew it.)

But now we're back in the real world, still sans computer, and I'm lucky to check my email a couple of times a week. With Christmas coming (along with a possible lay-off) I don't see a new laptop in my near future, so you may not hear from me for awhile. Which includes me visiting you, because it's too painful to be only half a part of Blogland. I want it all. As soon as I see what everyone else is blogging, my computer-less depression starts all over, and I have cravings to spend all my free time at my mother's kitchen table (on her laptop) so I can reclaim my place, and spout my opinions once more. So sad.

But before I go, I would like to dedicate this post to all of you who have actually taken the time to visit my nearly-dead blogstop to tell me you missed me. Seriously, it's enough to make a girl get misty eyed, and it totally makes my day to know I'm not completely forgotten. And who knows, someday my ship just might come in and I'll be back for good.

I hope...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Vacuuming Karma

When I was a kid we had chores. We actually had a lot of chores - which were solidified into permanence with the chore charts my mother hung on the wall. There were inside chores and outside chores, and as far as the inside chores went, we each had certain things that were "our" chore. I suppose you could say Mom had us specialize. For instance, Laura (age ten) mopped the kitchen floor and cleaned the upstairs bathroom, and I (age eight) vacuumed the living room and dusted. (I don't have any recollection of what Annie did, but I'm assuming she must have had to do something).

Anyhow, when it came to vacuuming I definitely specialized. As in, I vacuumed in a very special way. And might I just add that it had nothing to do with how well or quickly I did the job. My specialty was in style.

Every Thursday (i.e., vacuuming day) I would come home from school (Mom was usually still at work) and get ready to vacuum. Eagerly, I would hurry into the living room, sort through the records and make my selection - "Million Dollar Sellers Vol. (1,2, or 3, I can't remember)" side Two. Straight out of the 1950's, these were some rockin' songs. Songs like "The Wheel of Fortune" "Mule Train" and "Three Coins in the Fountain". As noted, we had three volumes - which translates into six sides - and I always vacuumed to the same record, side two.

It usually took me at least three renditions of "Wheel of Fortune" (using the vacuum as a microphone, of course), and a couple rousing trips through "Wild Goose" (or whatever the official title of that one is), and at least a few repeats of "The People of Paris".

These were all performance numbers, by the way. I had routines. I danced, lip synced, and/or sang my way through the entire record - sometimes twice - before I considered the job done. It took me a really, really, really long time to vacuum the living room.

And I relished every second of it.

And I have no doubt that had my mother been home to witness this recital, she would have gone mad watching me and wondered (and possibly yelled about) how long it took me to finish vacuuming.

Today I told N (my eight year old) to vacuum. I want you to know that every single time I came in the room and found him standing in front of the mirror vacuuming up his lower lip whilst making strange noises (which got even stranger as they echoed out of the vacuum), I tried to have patience. I pictured myself waltzing around the living room with the vacuum extension (which wasn't even hooked to the hose half the time), and I took a few deep breaths.

And then - in my most patient mother-voice - I would say, "Um, do you think you could do a little vacuuming?"

I love that kid.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

What If I Posted Something on My Blog??

So, I'm up here at my mother's house looking at my very neglected blog, and I'm wondering. What would happen if after almost an entire month I were to post something?

For instance, what if I decided to inform Blogland that my husband finally got a job? Or that it ended yesterday, but he has another one coming up in a week? Would anyone even care that he'll spend the entire summer driving at least five hours a day in a car with no air conditioning?

Maybe people would assume that thanks to our state of employment I am now saving for a computer.

Unfortunately, this would not be a correct assumption. Often times when large, critical pieces of information are missing we make these incorrect assumptions, so I forgive any of you who may be guilty of this. How could you possibly know about the vacation I locked my family into back in February? This would be the one where Annie called me and practically forced me to take a seven day opening at a two bedroom condo half a mile from Disneyland for $250 for this coming October.

Of course in February we had a job. And a computer - which is why none of you know about this vacation. At the time, my husband was known to occasionally glance at my blog, so I didn't dare mention the vacation I locked us into without telling him. Now, however, since we're computerless and there's no chance he'll ever see my blog, I can tell you.

That's right, he still doesn' know. At the time, seeing how he hates Disneyland, hates crowds, hates flying, and loves taking a week off every Fall to go elk hunting (which he will be foregoing in favor of our California adventure), I decided back in February that it would be better if I didn't tell him until I purchased our plane tickets and there was no way out.

Then came the layoff. And now, although we may be currently employed, due to the hit our finances have taken I'm not sure now is the time to lay it all on him. Especially since I just purchased five non-refundable plane tickets, and five four day hopper passes to Disneyland.

Possibly it would have been much wiser to take the loss on the $250 for the condo, but somehow I just couldn't stop myself. As a family, we have never taken any real vacations. We have no debt but our house, and sink most of the spendable portion of our tax return into fixing the house. And now my oldest is ten, and I'm feeling a bit desperate. I want this vacation. I'm determined to do it, and one way or another I will make it work.

But when do I have to tell him? I thought waiting until it was fully paid for would be a good idea, so meanwhile I'm prepping him with conversations like:

Me: Wouldn't it be fun to take the kids to Disneyland?

Him: No.

Me: Why not?

Him: Disneyland is dumb. Besides, it would cost a fortune.

Me (carefully sidestepping the issue of cost): Seriously honey, you would have fun! We really should just take a week and go to Disneyland.

Him: A week?!? What would we do there for a week? I mean we only need one day to go to Disneyland.

So do you see the kind of progress I'm making? It might not seem like much to the pessimists out there, but to me we're making some significant gains here. Did he not just say he'd go there for a day? This is progress. Pure, unadulterated forward progression.

Maybe I just won't tell him till we board the plane - you know, "Surprise! We're taking a complimentary airplane ride! I wonder where they're taking us?" or something like that. It could work...


Friday, May 22, 2009


***Note - I'd like to thank my sister Annie for making this post possible. Without her there to cut an paste, it would have remained in my email forever. To show my appreciation, I'm letting her choose the title, AND giving my permission for her to give herself a little link - because we all know she'd do it anyway. Thanks Annie.

Role reversals - aren't they fun? Is it bad that I've kind of enjoyed watching my husband be mom for the last four weeks? I can't really count those first two weeks, because back then (in my innocence) I was still coming home and picking up any and all slack, i.e., laundry, dinner, dishes, general cleaning, etc.

Then I got sick.

It was a Monday morning, and I felt awful. We're talking lay-in-bed-actually-sleeping-because-you-feel-too-rotten-to-do-anything-else. Just think of it - I stayed in bed until ONE O'CLOCK IN THE AFTERNOON.


Seriously. When is the last time you got to do that? (And if this is what always happens to you when you get sick because your husband is some kind of award-winning saint, we don't want to hear about it. Maybe later, but not right now. This is MY moment to shine!) As I lay there watching him take care of everything - and enjoying making comments like, "what are you fixing for dinner?" and "will you please go help L with his math now?" - I got to thinking.

How will he ever understand what it's like to be me if I keep being me? How can he appreciate what I'm doing if he doesn't ever do it? How can he know what it's like to work all day and then come home to a house full of people who strip out of their clothes as they walk through the door, leave a trail everywhere they go, and expect ME to pick it all up, AND make dinner, AND clean up after dinner, if I keep doing all of it as soon as I walk through the door? So I stopped. Tuesday came, I went to work, I came home from work, and I pretty much just hung around reading my book.

Now, in my husband's defense I have to say that he does pitch in around the house. He definitely has his stuff that he does - like mowing the lawn and home improvements/repairs (which are kind of constant at our house) - and he has assigned nightly tasks such as C and M's story, teeth brushing, bedtime, etc. He's also known to randomly do things like clean and organize my laundry room, or tackle the family room, and when he takes on the bathroom it's with boiling water and a toothbrush. (He was a Marine, remember?)

However. On a nightly basis, he generally remains completely unaware of what's going on around him as far as household maintenance goes. He'll play with the kids and let them sneak upstairs to watch movies with him (we have no TV, and movie watching is strictly for Friday-Sunday after school during the school year), but I have to say it rarely occurs to him to pick up toys, run a vacuum, help in the kitchen, or do anything related to laundry during the week.

Times are a changin'.

That first week of me doing nothing was a real eye opener. Even his usual daytime routine (which he does pretty well at during the day when he's home with the kids) suffered, due to several days of errand running. By Friday things were looking pretty bad, and I was still coming home saying obnoxious things like "Hey, what's for dinner?" It might sound heartless, but it was worth it. And kind of fun. As far as the husband goes, let's just say he noticed the difference between "helpful wife" and "oblivious, book-reading wife".

I must admit, however, that after that first week or so I put down the book and started picking up some of the slack. But overall, I think it's been a successful experiment. A few highlights:

I love how when he's the one keeping things clean, NO ONE is allowed to make a mess, and the kitchen is closed when he's done with it. Every time he says, "I JUST cleaned in here, what happened?!?" I get a thrill.

I love that he makes dinner. I never knew roast could get mushy, and I've never seen noodles boiled that long, but every time I sit down to a dad-meal it makes me smile. He can never say he doesn't know how to cook again. (And it's cute when he calls me all concerned, and says things like, "Was I supposed to turn the oven to 250? Oops, I turned it to 350. Is that okay?")

I'm amazed at how he can still block out jobs like the bathroom and laundry.

I love how every time I send him grocery shopping it's like Russian roulette. Let's just say we have some serious communication problems, and he is apparently completely unable to ask store personnel for assistance. (But Walmart really did stop selling my hair product, so he actually wasn't blind that time - I just haven't told him yet). (Do you think I have to?)

Overall, I think I just love him - employed or not.

Monday, May 18, 2009

To Whom It May Concern:

I am at my mom's, my kids are in the car waiting for me, and I have about five minutes to spare on this computer. I thought I'd read a couple of blogs. I had no idea I'd been gone so long. Seriously, like every single person on my sidebar has posted AT LEAST once during the last week, and I've missed all of it. There are about zero comments from me out there in blogland, and I feel totally out of the loop.

This stinks.

And it doesn't even take into account the posts I wanted to write this week - all of which have completely escaped my brain. My original plan was to get up here sometime over the weekend and write a couple of posts I could schedule for this week - but life kind of got in the way.

That said, I just want everyone to know how much I appreciate those of you still taking the time to read my blog (AND COMMENT!!) while I totally neglect you in return. I just have to say that my life is a bit stressed right now (week six of husband's unemployment) and every comment I got this last week really put a smile on my face. I'd been thinking about dropping my blog (since who knows when I'll be able to get another computer), but there is no doubt that being able to reach out and share things with all of you truly makes things better.

So really, this post isn't a post at all - it's just a big THANK YOU!! To all of you who care. Seriously. You may never know.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Three Year Old - Proving the Existence of God One Tantrum at a Time

I so don't have time to do this right now, but here I am blogging. My old computer that was briefly resurrected after the loss of my regular one crashed last week (hence the lack of posts), so I am once again computer-less, and at the mercy of using other people's computers.

In other news, this past weekend Little Miss Two officially became Little Miss Three. But between you and me, this actually started happening some time ago. You know the whole now-that-the-child-is-three-and-talks-in-complete-sentences-this-should-all-get-so-much-less-frustrating feelings you have as your child nears three? I hate those. They are COMPLETELY false, and in reality this is NOT what happens. At all.

Instead, it gets worse. You think they'll become more reasonable, when in all actuality they're the definition of "unreasonable". They have opinions. They have preferences. You get major meltdowns over what color cup they want, which stool they sit on, which one of you is going to get them dressed, etc. Oh what I'd give for the days before color-knowledge and independence.

Miss Three has a particularly bad case of independencitis - aka, an irritation caused from three year olds who think they can and should do everything themselves, when in fact, life would be much easier if they just let you be the parent. Seriously. Do you have any idea how long it takes her to put on her shoes/climb into the car AND her car seat/get her pj's off and her clothes on? I'll bet that in the last few months I've spent hours of my life watching her accomplish these tasks.

And then there's the other category: The things you wish they would do for themselves, but insist you do for them.

Doll dressing falls into this category. Miss Three has an insatiable urge to strip and re-dress her dolls over, and over, and over again. Only she can't get the clothes back on, so I have to do it. Over, and over, and over again.

Thankfully, three year olds are also living, walking, and whining proof that the Lord does, in fact, know exactly what he's doing. Why else would he make them the cutest things on the face of the earth? Seriously, they are so cute. And they say the most hilarious things. And they do the most hilarious things. And they can be so incredibly loving as they wrap their cute little arms around your neck and tell you how much they "wuv you".

Clearly the Lord was well aware of just how maddening and exasperating the human three year old would be. Knowing the feelings a single tantrum would cause, he blessed them with fat cheeks, dimpled elbows, and complete adorableness, just to ensure their survival. Somehow, even when they're at their absolute worst three year olds manage to be cute.

And it's a good thing, too.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Rummage Sale Blues

This week was my kids' school's annual rummage sale. In case I've failed to mention it, my boys attend a little three room school house, and there are only about seventy kids in their K-6th school. It's a close little family, to say the least.

As usual, my boys (L ten, and N eight) have been drooling over the treasures to be "rummaged" since the sale opened on Tuesday, and by Thursday night they were dying to make their purchases. This year, I decided that rather than go with them, I'd let them take five dollars of their own money to spend however they wanted.

Friday morning as we're getting ready to walk out the door, we have the following conversation:

Me: N, how much money do you have in your wallet?

N (without hesitation): Five dollars.

M: L, how much do you have?

L: Uh, fifteen.

(Keep in mind N is sitting right there, listening to all of this)

Me: I don't think so, I said you could take five.

I then sent him to put ten back in his cash box, and (again, with Niall right there watching) counted what was left in his wallet to make sure he'd put enough back. All the way to school they talked about the things they had their eye on, and how they hoped no one else would get there first.

At this little school of ours, most kids get picked up by parents rather than riding the bus. So every day after school, I pull through the drive and sit there while the teachers or aides find, collect, and deliver my children to my car. I've had children in this school for five years now, and we all know each other very well.

Imagine my surprise on Friday, when as I pull around the drive I see all the aides start snickering, and trying not to smile as they see me pull in. Confused, I quickly review: Am I at the wrong School? No. Is today one of the days I'm not supposed to pick them up till 4:00? No. Do I have food on my face? No. So I park, and wait as Mrs. W approaches my window while Mrs. P gathers my kids. Mrs. W and I have the following conversation:

Mrs. W: Well you might as well pull back around to the front door, because you've got some loading to do. (quickly hides laughter by coughing into her hand)

Me: Loading?

Mrs. W: Oh yes, your kids made quite a haul at the rummage sale today. Most of it's still inside.

She added this last as I looked over to see L carrying a small end table to the car.

Me (Looking rather confused, and slightly concerned): How much did they spend?

Mrs. W: I have no idea, but N sure got a lot of stuff. Unfortunately none of us were out there while he was, uh, shopping, and the parents running the sale just let him keep buying.

At this point I, got out of my car and headed for the school as I informed her that the boys each had a limit of five dollars.

Mrs. W: Oh I'd say N spent quite a bit more than five.

I walked into the second grade class to see N - who's satisfied smile froze on his face as he saw me - standing amidst the following items: An exercise bike, an old manual typewriter, a standing lamp, a coat tree, a talking fish, a desk lamp, a world atlas, and various other small items.

It turns out he brought $32.00 - i.e., every bill in his possession. He'd spent $24.00 on his treasures, and (as tears filled his adorable and pathetic eyes) he tried to tell me he didn't know he was only supposed to bring $5.00.

Unfortunately (as illustrated by the above conversation from earlier that morning) we all know this to be a falsehood. A lie. A complete, and unquestionable untruth. I hate being a mother in these situations.

With a sigh and a grimace, and feelings of great regret, I informed him that because he had lied about how much money he had, he wasn't going to be able to keep any of it. Every last item - including the beloved typewriter AND the antiquated exercise bike - had to go back out to the sale.

And we hauled it all back.

And I felt horrible.

And he was very good about it, and even went back in and collected his funds all by himself.

This was seriously one of the hardest things I've ever had to do to to one of my kids. Did I mention how excited they were about this sale? Or how much my son wanted that typewriter? (His best friend quickly offered to buy it off him when he found out it was going back. Apparently it was a pretty hot item as none of them had ever seen one before). But I honestly couldn't think of anything else to do. Even letting him keep five dollars worth of goods didn't seem right. (Which is a blessing in disguise, since the price of the typewriter was exactly five dollars).

And now today, I have to reflect on this whole thing as it pertains to Mother's Day. Being a mom is not easy. Most of what we do (laundry, dishes, potty training, etc.) is not fun. Possibly the most unpleasant task of all however, is discipline and the stress of having the lives of these dear little people we love in our hands. I've often told my children (as I send them to their room, or take away their treasured possessions/privileges) that my most important task as their mother is to teach them right from wrong, and make sure they know that when they make bad choices, bad things happen.

What a rotten job. But when you think about it, it's a concept that will literally shape the rest of their lives. Integrity, accountability, and a love of the Savior and knowledge of his love for them are some of the most valuable gifts I could ever give my children. And if we all have to suffer a little heartbreak so they can learn these lessons, I have no doubt that it will be more than worth the pain. So, I'm sorry kids, for occasionally ruining your lives (I'm sure it will be an ongoing occurrence), but in the end if it means you're better, stronger, kinder, or more like your Savior, I have no doubt it will have been worth it to all of us.

And don't worry N, someday you'll get over the typewriter. I promise.

Monday, May 4, 2009

In Which I Almost Craft, and Other Stories

I had a crazy, crazy weekend. It was so crazy, I was actually thrilled for Monday. Is that pathetic or what? And the worst part about a crazy weekend (for our purposes the "weekend" started on Thursday when I got called to work - I know it makes no sense - work with me here) is the state of the house by seven o'clock Sunday night.

Can I say seven million loads of laundry?

Seriously. Between Thursday morning and Sunday afternoon, I spent approximately nine hours and three minutes at my house. The three minutes were on Friday after work when I SPRINTED in to collect piano books before dashing off to my kids lessons. I didn't cross my threshold again until 2:30 AM Saturday morning. Why, you ask? Because I was decorating for a wedding/wedding reception. And when I say "decorating" I mean that in the broadest sense of the word.

As in I personally arranged all the flowers for the wedding because as of TEN O'CLOCK THE NIGHT BEFORE NO ONE ELSE HAD DONE IT.

I still can't decide which part of the above sentence is more shocking - that the flowers still needed arranging (for fourteen centerpieces and twelve church pews), or that I did the arranging.

As in me. Yours truly. Who hates and detests all things craft. (Although, I still say flower arranging isn't really a craft...)

In my defense, however, it had to be done. And as all my piano students know, when the impossible needs to be done what do you ask yourself? "If I were stranded on an island and the only way off was to figure this out, could I do it, and how long would it take me?" (Have I mentioned how much my piano students love it when I ask them this question?)

So I did it. One more successful island escape proving the impossible can be accomplished with the right degree of desperation. And just in case curious minds want to know, my flowers rocked. Even my mother was impressed, and she's a Terry. (The significance being that the Terry women {of which I am technically one of, since my grandmother was, in fact, a Terry} have a knack with flowers. Legend has it that all they need to do is touch a bouquet and it becomes pleasing to the eye, and fascinating to behold. For obvious reasons I have never claimed this gene. But I'm claiming now).

Anyway, it was a long night. And can I just say that while marriage may be of the Lord, weddings are (without question) of the Devil? Seriously. Can we say irritating-tradition-designed-to-distract-the-bride-from-what's-really-important-and-cause-serious-depression-stress-anxiety-and-unChristlike-feelings-moments-before-walking-down-the-isle? As a successful elopee, I would just like to say that no one should have to worry about refreshment/flowers/tuxes/etc. while pledging themselves to another, and entering a solemn covenant - whether it be the till-death-do-you-part or time-and-all-eternity variety. I'm all for the grand reception - just not hours after the grand commitment. One tends to overshadow the other, if you know what I mean.

(Disclaimer: Note the use of the word "tends". I am not claiming that it is impossible to achieve a peaceful and perfect wedding/reception. I'm just saying it's pretty rare. Please do not be offended if you're combo deal was the greatest no-regrets thing you ever did, and believe me when I say I'm happy for you. Meanwhile, I will begin indoctrinating Miss Two with the concept of reception-two-weeks-later.)

But they were married AND are happy - despite some rather stressed out moments - and all's well that ends well. And I got six loads of laundry done today - despite being gone for five hours - so I believe I can now face tomorrow and all the other thankless tasks left to be done around here.

Housework stinks. Can I get an Amen???

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bigger Really Is Better

I have some exciting news. Seriously - hold on to your hats people, because....


I know, you're having a hard time containing your excitement. It's always so exciting when someone else gets a new purse. Actually, however, you really should be happy for me because I've been wanting - no, needing one - for a very long time. As in, over a year. I don't know about anyone else out there, but that is a really long time for me in purse-years. (Kind of like dog-years, i.e., one purse year is equal to about seven people years. And seven is really old for a purse).

Anyhow. For at least six months I've been on the lookout for the perfect purse. When I choose a new purse, it must speak to me. I must LOVE it at first sight, and immediately be able to visualize it gracing my arm/shoulder, and enhancing my entire wardrobe.

I love purses.

This time around, I was looking for something smallish. Something with pockets - as I detest the big open holes most purses these days seem to have. I wanted a print, but nothing too light, because I hate purses that show dirt. And I only wanted one strap - because I hate when you have two, and one of them is continually falling off your shoulder. And I'm cheap. Before the lay-off, my purse-budget was has-to-be-under-twenty. Then the layoff happened, and purse-budget turned into pretty-much-non-existent-so-stop-looking-you're-only-torturing-yourself.

Good thing I'm not someone who has unreasonable expectations, isn't it? I'm sure you're amazed I didn't find this perfect purse long ago...

Then the other night it happened. I was going shopping with the girls to buy stuff for the honeymoon basket, and my mom slipped me ten bucks. (Thank you Mom!!!) We walk into Target, and what do you think we see RIGHT in front of us?


We're talking five bucks. Yessssss. Five minutes later I had selected a VERY large, mostly-white-with-a-little-orange-print, two handled, one-pocket number that was totally cute, for FOUR DOLLARS AND NINETY-EIGHT CENTS. And despite the fact that it is almost completely opposite of what I thought I was looking for, I love it.

It's amazing what a budget can do for indecisive, hard-to-please people, isn't it?

And I'm serious about the love. Ever since buying it I've been wondering why on earth I ever thought I wanted a smallish purse? I can fit my trench coat in this thing! Can I just say how nice it is too be out running around in a trench, think to yourself, "Gee, I'm getting a little warm in this coat," roll it up, give a shove, and realize it totally fits in your ginormous purse?

And what about this summer? It will totally double as a beach bag. The other day I shoved my water bottle, book, and Miss Two's coat in there with room to spare. Heck, on Sunday I fit my scriptures and TWO lesson manuals in this amazing (and possibly magical) purse.

Do you realize what this means? I can be that mom now - you know, the one who has everything under the sun in her purse at all times. It reminds me of a mother's day card I saw, and wanted to buy for my children to give to me in a decade or two. On the outside (with a pic of a fully loaded mom-purse) it said: Mom, Where ever we were, whatever we needed, you were always prepared...(open card and read)...It might have had a life saver stuck to it, but you had it!

So for now anyway, I'm sold. Who cares about back problems when compared with such convenience? Just today my husband was looking in the new purse for something, and his exact words were, "Geez, this thing is like a five gallon bucket."

But way cuter. (Insert imaginary picture, since I no longer even HAVE a computer to download pictures to). Thanks again mom - you're the BEST!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Because Apparently I'm Helpless

Okay, I need your assistance once more regarding our little bachelorette party. Just so you know, things are coming along swimmingly, and it's bound to be loads of fun. We have our fruity little drinks planned, and I'm building a luscious triple layer chocolate cake with fudge icing especially for the occasion. The guest list is out, the honeymoon basket is bought and half way put together - this party is going to rock.

But about our little mix tape. (CD, whatever). I need some help putting one together. I've just sent an email to the music-mixer master Camille (who really does have the BEST music ever at all times on her blog), but I also thought it couldn't hurt to get suggestions from Blogland at large.

So here I am, asking for suggestions.

First, do we want a romantic "honeymoon" CD, or do we just want an awesome love song CD? And are these two things synonymous?

Second, what songs? She's twenty-seven, so you all should know a song or two that are completely necessary for a CD of this type (that is, the type you all decide I'm making). Please don't leave me alone on this one! I'm counting on everyone out there to give me at least one suggestion - you know you can all come up with at least one song.

And just for the record, I remembered to go to work this morning. Things are looking up. (Although no one gave me any chocolate while I was there...)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Chocolate--the true cure-all

I just want to say that chocolate really does make you feel better. Truly. Here's my proof:

As you all already know, I am a substitute teacher. High school being the grade level of choice. I'm actually here at work right now, as a matter of fact. I generally work two to five days a week, depending on how bad I need work, and what's available. Currently, my husband is going on week five of being laid off, and the need is high. As in, I-MUST-WORK-AS-MUCH-AS-POSSIBLE high.

But this is a rotten time of year for subbing. There's a week of state testing, then Spring Break, then another week of state testing. This translates into very few sub jobs. So the few that I've managed to get this month - all whopping seven of them - I'm extremely grateful for.

So you'd think I'd have remembered that I was supposed to work this morning. That I'd have written it down somewhere. That I wouldn't be my totally irresponsible, scatter-brained self, and COMPLETELY FORGET THAT I WAS SUPPOSED TO GO MAKE MONEY!

Especially since two days ago our brakes and alternator on the family wagon decided to fail simultaneously. To the tune of over five hundred dollars.

Alas and alack, however, I managed to space it. In my defense, she did schedule me for these days way back in January or February, and I wasn't at home by my calendar when she called. (I know this, because as soon as I got the where-the-heck-are-you call this morning, like a sudden flash it all came back to me). And I will say that in eight years, this is only my third offense. And it was much better than the first time, when I'd taken a call at another high school that morning and was actually working somewhere else. It was even better than the second time, when I was relaxing in the tub when she called. This morning, I was simply changing into my workout clothes, getting ready to sweat away the pounds.

Thankfully I wasn't already sweaty, because it wasn't like I had time for a shower. Heck, I didn't even brush my hair (unless running my fingers through it counts). I grabbed the first pants and shirt I saw lying on the floor of my room, and proceeded to put the world in danger as I applied make-up whilst speeding down the road on the five minute drive to work.

Now, back to chocolate and it's therapeutic properties.

I think I'm stressed. I don't feel stressed - actually I feel just fine. But apparently I'm not. I know this because when I went crawling in to the office to beg forgiveness, I started crying. It was supposed to be one of those ha-ha-at-least-I-wasn't-bathing-or-working-somewhere-else conversations, where we all sit around an mock my ability to function like a responsible adult, but instead I sat down in a chair and felt that awful oh-my-gosh-I'm-going-to-start-crying-and-I-can-do-nothing-about-it feeling. And then I cried.

On the up-side, it definitely got me forgiven. On the down-side, it was like a little glimpse into the inter-workings of my soul, and I can no longer pretend that I'm perfectly alright, and completely non-stressed. Frankly, I suddenly felt rather horrid.

And then the other secretary offered me chocolate. Well, actually, I asked if I could help myself to her candy jar - sensing that sugar was a vital need at the moment - and she offered me some of her personal stash. The wonderful angel gave me TWO Lindor's Truffles. And as I popped the first one into my mouth and tasted all that nice, sweet, creamy chocolate - I FELT INSTANTLY BETTER! Truly, I did. It was actually kind of amazing.

So my tip for the day, is to make sure there's some kind of really good chocolate in your emergency supplies, because in the wake of some disaster, you just might need the feel-good boost that comes with good chocolate.

Do you think she'd give me one more if I went back down and begged?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Bitterness of Hell

Sorry to disappoint, but I am not Jenny, I am Annie (hence the melodramatic title of today's post). As for her absence, it's nothing personal, if she could I am sure Jen would be here right now, clicking keys faster than smoke to get one of her fantastically funny posts out to the blogosphere for all to enjoy.

But alas, Jen's dead. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration. Her power cord is dead (and possibly her computer, but the jury's still out on that one). Considering her current budget, it will either be a short period or a long period before she's got her laptop up and running, we're not sure which (again with the absent jury).

But don't you think for one second that she's not going to be blogging, no sirree. She will be here just as much as ever--or as often as she can run to Mother's house and escape her four children (who I will not name at this time because she's afraid one of you pregnant ladies might steal her names and then the entire planet will be littered with American children with Irish names--ten points to anyone who can guess them).

And so I give my solemn oath as a Sister of Jen's Jingle that I will do everything in my power to ensure that she posts really funny stuff on a regular basis--despite her computer's uncooperative nature.

And if she doesn't you can always come visit me here. What? Like I would waste precious minutes of Junie's nap to post on her blog without any compensation? Come on, you know me better than that...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Put On Your Thinking Caps, I Need Your Brain...

So my babysitter Harmony is getting married. This would be the woman who brings her own two children (boys, ages five and three) to my house in the mornings, so that little Miss Two and C can get up at their leisure, and at least be at their own house - if not with their own mother - on the days Grandma is unavailable.

They love her. When I come home, Miss Two clings like a clinging vine (movie anyone?) to Harmony, and will have nothing to do with me. As in, her mother. The one who gave of my own blood and sustenance for nine months to bring her into this world.

The little rat. (Said with great affection, of course)

But aside from the ungrateful aspect of my two year old, just think what this says about my babysitter. One morning I had the audacity to be home, and when I went up to get Miss Two out of her crib (which Harmony does when she's here, since the child sleeps in till nine or ten), I walked in and saw her great big smile turn into a scowl as she yelled at me - "You're not Harny!" (throwing herself back into her bed, and using that whiny-cry-baby voice only a two year old can really master) "I WANT HARNY! NOT YOU!"

Nice. I mean, really it is. If you have to leave your children with someone, you do want them to love their caregiver - although I think MT is overdoing it just a tad...

But anyway, back to the topic at hand. Harmony is getting married. As you may have guessed due to the fact that she already has children, Harmony has been married before. She's been alone for awhile, and has recently found a fabulous guy, and on May 2, they're getting hitched.

And a couple girls and I are throwing her a shower.

Only other than the fact that there will be gifts, we don't want it to be a regular shower. We want it to be a bachelorette/girls night shower. In other words, we want it to different than her just-got-off-the-mission/blushes-at-lingerie shower.

So now I'm turning to all of you super-fun, creative women, because I need some fun (yet clean and appropriate enough for my mother) game ideas. After all, at a bachelorette/girls' night, you can't be making wedding dresses out of toilet paper. This has to be good. (And very unlike the one actual {non-LDS} bachelorette party I attended where they did some rather inappropriate things just before getting wasted on tequila shots. That is NOT what I'm looking for).

So if any of you have any brilliant ideas for me, (or you can't think of anything, but want to console me regarding my daughter's Benedict Arnold tendencies), just leave them in the comment box. Or email me. Or call me (if your privileged enough to have my number). And don't worry, Harmony doesn't read my blog, so there's no need to worry about spoilers.

I'm looking forward to what all you fun ladies will come up with - so don't disappoint me!

Friday, April 17, 2009

The First Frightening Signs of What's to Come...

So I had this conversation with my ten year old today:

Me: (looking admiringly at his handsome-cuteness) L, you're a good looking kid.

L: ("Awww shucks" expression)

Me: No, you really are. Do you know you're nice looking?

L: Not really.

(about twenty seconds of silence)

L: Mom, there's something I have to tell you. But I don't know how to say it.

Me: What?

L: Well, it happened a couple of weeks ago.

Me: And...

L: (getting close to my ear and whispering, even though no one was around) This girl asked me out.

Me: What! Who? What's her name? (the hussy, I silently think to myself)

L: Uh, (thinks for a second) I don't know.

Me: Well what did you say?

L: (with an appropriately shocked and horrified look on his face) NO! I said "Sorry, I can't have a girlfriend till I'm sixteen," what do you think I'd say?!

Isn't he a good son? Just look at him -

Any girl would want him.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Desperate Moments Call For Desperate Measures

I've had it. Enough is enough. My new motto is just say no - to chocolate/birthday-cake/pie/chips/and everything else I've been eating with reckless abandon. And to prove how serious I actually am, I would like to make an announcement:


As in this morning. And it's for real this time, too - as opposed to all those other times I've threatened to begin a workout regimen, only to give it up after a week or two. You may doubt me, you may wonder why I think this time will be any different from the last several attempts, but I can assure you it is. I know. I can feel it.

Does this ever happen to anyone else? You go along stuffing your face, laying around, taking a long bath, sleeping in, reading a book, or blogging with those few precious moments of personal time you get everyday. Meanwhile, you feel your muscles atrophying, your clothes get a little tighter, and you move from your cute, I-can-wear-everything-in-my-closet wardrobe, to the irritating, and much more limited I-can-only-wear-these-few-items-strategically-put-together-in-certain-ways-to-hide-the-fat-around-the-middle-that's-been-accumulating-since-Christmas wardrobe.

It's so irritating.

And if those of you who know me are tempted to leave a comment saying how I don't look any different to you, you're forgetting one important detail:


And you want to hear the sad part? A couple more pounds and I won't be able to hide it. My secret will be out, everyone will know.

So, back to how I know this time is different. Once I go through all of the above, (and once I realize just how close swimsuit season actually is), I start having thoughts. These thoughts remind me of the time in fourth grade when my friend Miriam and jumped on my bed while eating out of a box of Grapenuts. Have you ever had Grapenuts in your bed? It's very uncomfortable. Like my thoughts. Thoughts like, "So what if I never do get back into those clothes?" and "If I never work out ever again, will I still be able to make it up the stairs when I'm fifty?" and "Just how far down my leg can my buttocks fall?"

These thoughts make me feel squirmy. They bother me. Apparently, they drive me straight toward the drawer where I keep my amazing library of workout tapes. (And yes, I said tapes. As in VHS. There are several DVD's in there as well, but somehow in my moments of desperation it always goes back to the tapes).

At first, I only think about it. I start thinking about how good it actually feels to have leg muscles. And about how nice it would be to get my backside back up where it belongs.

Then I start thinking about how I really don't like the answers to any of those Grape-nuts-in-the-bed questions, and I take a few pathetic stabs at working out. You know, the ones where you aren't really working out, but you kind of hope it will be enough anyway? But it isn't, so it doesn't work, and you give up a week or two later feeling discouraged?

Then something like Easter comes around, and I'm slapped in the face by my complete and total lack of control. Seriously. It didn't help that L and N both had birthday parties, and after L's I sat down and ate an entire bag of Doritos. And that was after the cake, the pizza, and the bowl of BBQ potato chips. I can't even talk about Easter - or that bag of Reese's PBCups I bought for "the kids".

And so it's begun. The official I'm-excited-to-work-out-and-feel-immediately-panicky-if-I-don't feeling has arrived. And it comes with an important little perk I always forget about - I'm just lazy enough that I can't stand to eat junk after sweating and suffering along with some over-zealous work out Diva.


And so I'm off. I'm back in control, I'm exercising, and I'm headed back to all those cute clothes hanging in my closet. Okay, I lied. I have no closet. Most of these clothes are strategically "draped" around my room. Sad, isn't it? But I'll be wearing them, and that's the important part.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Reality Bites

Hi, remember me? I'm the one who spent last week avoiding reality, partying with my sister, and doing some wild road-tripping across the fruited plains (and mountains of ice) of the land known as Wash-Ida-ta.

Reality's returned, and it's such a letdown.

Unfortunately, in the days before my (thankfully FREE) trip, my husband joined the ranks of the unemployed. In the carpenters union, becoming unemployed is a normal thing. Staying that way for any length of time, however, is not necessarily so normal. Unfortunately, we have reason to believe this could be an extended situation.

Which makes me desperate. Desperate enough to subject myself to the sixth grade two days in a row. Do you have any idea how desperate this is?

As a sub, I am used to high school. And the kids who are in high school classes. Kids who can sit quietly for extended periods of time being productive, and contributing to the learning environment with little to no help from me. There are exceptions, of course, but in the last seven years I have had few problems with 9th-12th graders. I like them, they like me, we're like one big happy family.

Sixth grade, not so much. Don't get me wrong, I like them - individually. Collectively, they kind of drive me nuts. They cannot be quiet for more than a few minutes. They cannot be allowed to talk without it erupting into chaos. They need help with everything.

Subbing in sixth grade is like having a real job. This is not what I signed up for.

Here's an example: When dealing with sixth graders, you cannot simply tell the class to quiet down and expect it to be immediately effective. Instead, you get something like this:

Me: Hey! You guys need to quiet down and get back to work. (generally aimed at one specific group of kids)

Kid in group - Yeah, be quiet!

Kid a few seats down - Would you guys shut-up!

Kid a few more seats down - Geez! Could everyone just be quiet already?!?

Kid across the room - Hey! She said to be quiet! Can't you guys listen?

Me - (Slowly going insane as this rebounds all. around. the room.)

And this lovely chain-reaction is set off continually. My favorite ones are when you're dealing with the I-love-attention-and-being-class-clown-because-I'm-eleven-and-proud-of-my-obnoxiousness-and-don't-know-when-to-quit sixth grader, and you tell them to settle down after they've made their little buddy laugh. Instead of be-quiet's, you get it's-not-funny's accompanied by a room full of giggles.

Did I mention headaches? Because you get those too.

Under normal life circumstances, I politely decline these jobs, and wait for something better. (i.e., older) (The elementary secretary stopped calling me years ago, and I'm not desperate enough {yet} to re-open that door). With our current situation, however, I just need to work as many days a week as possible. If that means the sixth grade, so be it.

I just won't be getting any books read.

And I'll use up all my patience reserves on them, and my family will pay. But at least we'll have food, right? (It's important I keep these important details in mind. It makes future forays into grade six a tad easier to deal with) (Emphasis on the word tad).

And I can't blog at the middle school either, so we may not be seeing as much of each other for a while. Try to deal with it as best you can - I won't mock your tears. (I'll be crying my own).

PS - FYI, that little link up there will take you to my sister's photographic montage of our crazy week. So right after you leave me that comment (the one I desperately need for my morale), you should go check it out and see what kind of a nutcase I have for a sibling...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I Was Gone, I've Returned, and I've Been Nominated. The Timing Couldn't Be Worse.

We left Utah at midnight.

There was more snow. And ice.

Along the way, I learned that my sweet little two year old cannot sleep in the car if it's dark. (Which totally defeated our purposes, btw).

Four out of five kids (all under age 9, for those of you who missed the trip down) were sick. Fevers, and a case of pneumonia including a hideous, blood-vessel breaking cough. We spent the entire trip dosing out meds to keep everyone happy.

We made the twelve-hour trip in a mere fifteen hours - as opposed to the eighteen and a half it took to get there. Can I get a Woot-WOOT for progress???!!!!

And now, I'm tired. VERY tired. Way too tired to write a funny, noteworthy post for all the lovely readers coming to visit from MMB. I finally get nominated for something, and have no time/energy to take advantage of it. For the last two days, I've had a total of ten minutes on a computer. To make up for it, here's a few things from the bin that will hopefully give you a chuckle, and make your trip over here worthwhile: My Near Death Experience, Fat-Around-the-Middle, and Doing the Shuffle.

If something in there makes you chuckle, hopefully it will have been worth the visit. If not, I'm afraid there's nothing I can do for you.

Peace Out.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Hidden Dangers of the Tom Tom

Tom Tom's and every other brand of GPS thingies, may sound like a great idea to the rest of you, but I have a public safety announcement regarding the hidden dangers of putting these navigational tools into the wrong hands.

Hands like mine. Who don't know their left from their right.

Please, no lectures. No telling me that if I'll just hold up my thumb and first finger the one that makes the "L" is Left. And PLEASE don't tell me it's easy, and that I should just think of which hand I write with, or remember that the driver is on the left. If these things were that "easy" I would not have a problem.

And neither would my old Driver's Ed instructor, who was forever saying "Go left. No, you're other left."

I do want to say, however, that I am not to blame. I think it's genetic. I'm sure of it. My mother, you see, has the same exact problem - as does my sister Annie. (Except she fell off a horse when she was four and has a crooked right arm that doesn't touch her shoulder, so she just attempts the shoulder-touch and then she's kind of okay. Except that after almost three decades of doing this both arms now touch. Bummer).

Anyway, we have a problem.

So, as you know (if you've been faithfully following along with all my jingling) I am in Utah. I came down with a friend, and I'm currently staying at Annie's house. Last night I decided to go pick myself up something to eat for dinner, and took Annie's vehicle. Which is very large. (This info is important for visualizing things later on).

I initially was on the hunt for real food, like Mexican or Chinese, but somehow came around to the decision that Cutler's Cookies with popcorn and a diet coke really sounded way better. I didn't know where CC's was, but I did have a handy-dandy GPS thingie sitting right next to me. So I pull over, and put in Cutler's Cookies.

Bingo. It immediately tells me to pull out and head left. (SEE!! I just started typing right! This is pathetic). Thankfully, this one took zero brain power thanks to the bright green arrow. After waiting for a break in traffic, I turn left across two lanes and a turn lane, only to be immediately told to turn right.

Which way was right? There's two going-straight lanes, two turning (what I now know to be) left lanes, and one turn-only right lane. Feeling instantly panicked (because imagine if I never made it to Cutlers!), I head over to the right lane. Then, just as I start to enter the turn-only part, doubts assail me: "Is this right? Am I going the wrong way? Is the GPS woman going to yell at me? OMgosh, I think I'm going the wrong way!" Clearly I was too far gone to look for another green arrow).

I quickly checked for cars, veer across THREE LANES OF TRAFFIC - not even making it to the actual turn lane - and turn what I think is right (but is, in reality, LEFT), out of a go-straight-only lane. And there are cars coming. And I'm so busy stressing about whether or not I'm actually going right, I almost forget to yield. And come to a screeching halt in the middle of the intersection, looking like a completely deranged crazy woman in an over-sized SUV.

Which apparently, is exactly what I was.

Because I'm over thirty, don't know my left from my right, and was willing to risk my life (and my sister's vehicle) for a couple of cookies. (Fine, I bought a dozen. But I at the time of the incident I only planned on a couple, I swear!) Oh, and don't forget the wrath of the "re-calculating" navigational device that was thoroughly confused by my maneuver. When I headed back the right way and cut across traffic AGAIN after being in the wrong lane, the thing started telling me to head to the Interstate.

Do you think it was trying to save all the other drivers on the road? I mean seriously - by this time I was checking the rearview for lights. Surely it was only a matter of time before the erratic woman in the SUV was called in and picked up. I was literally starting to feel like a menace to society.

The good news - I've learned my lesson. People like me shouldn't be allowed to use navigational tools. It just. isn't. safe.

So my next question? WHY IS ANNIE USING ONE??!!! (Watch out Utah! She's on the loose!)

PS - when I got home and said "it's dangerous for people who don't know their left from their right to use those things", she said "I know." With emphasis. Like maybe this has already happened to her...

PPS - This is totally off topic, but..... Sue Q. gets a great big bloggy-hug for nominating me for MMB's spotlight blog award! Thanks Sue - you rock. (As will anyone else who nominates me :)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Where In the World Is Jen Baxter? (you'll never guess...)

So I've been absent from Blogland, because....I'M ON A ROAD TRIP!!! Don't you love it when someone says, "Hey, I'm driving twelve-ish hours to Utah - with my four children, ages 8, 6, 3, and 4 months. I'm leaving in three days, wanna come?"

And you say yes. And just to make things more exciting, you'll be bringing your two year old. Because everyone knows two year olds are REALLY FUN to road trip with.

We actually did pretty well until we hit Utah. Granted, we were running a bit behind schedule, due to nursing stops and a family visit to her great uncle's house. Then in the lovely (and rather desolate, frigid, WINDY) town of Jerome, we took an hour break at McDonald's Playland.

Have they been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize yet? Because they should be. McDonald's Playlands are bringing relief to travel worn parents of small, road-tripping children across the nation - and perhaps the world. (Does anyone know if McD's has playlands overseas??? Because if they roadtrip over there, they pretty much should. Maybe I should send them a memo...)

So running about three hours behind schedule, we head south to catch the I15 junction on our way to Logan. Almost delirious with relief, we see a sign informing us we're a mere 45 minutes from our destination.

And then we come to the roadblock: "Highway is closed due to a whiteout. Detour through Pocatello to reach Logan."

A WHITEOUT???!!!! IN MARCH???!!!! And following this mind blowing information - POCATELLO???!!!! Seriously.

From where we were (45 min from destination, with FIVE tired, bored, uncomfortable, crabby children representing each stage of child-development, i.e. versions of get-me-out-of-this-car-ish-ness) we now had over an hour ahead of us. And that wasn't counting the COMPLETELY iced-over roads of the lovely Pocatello.

Can we say long, narrow, skating rink for minivans??? 'Cause that's what it was. With my own, lovely and adorable two year old screaming in my ear as I drive. And I'm no slouch on bad roads, either. I may be from the NW, but I've done six winters in the Utah/Rexburg/Spokane regions of winter driving, and a little snow and ice doesn't bother me.

To make a long story short, TWO AND A HALF HOURS after being a mere 45 min from Logan, we pulled into town.

A full eighteen hours after our departure.

And I have never been so happy to arrive ANYWHERE in my entire life.

And in a few days, we get to drive home. Wow. Hard to contain my excitement for that one...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Wow! Pictures! On MY Blog!

So I'm at my mom's, and I figure I should seize the day and post some pictures off her computer since I NEVER HAVE!

So here you go:

Fun trip with one of my sisters and my mom to Annie's a year ago. I brought M. but other than that (and Annie's little rugrats) we were kid free. It's a beautiful thing.

If you want to know what it's like when we all get together, this pretty much says it all...

No, we don't usually dress like this. (And I don't usually wear this much makeup - I swear).

C. He's really cute, don't you think?

Mom again (it is her computer) (and it was her birthday) and two of my sisters. If Annie was in this it might look like I was related to somebody.

And here's my little Miss M. What a doll.

I'd love to throw out a couple of my older boys and my husband, but Mom doesn't have any on her computer at the moment. Maybe someday soon...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

To Homework, or Not to Homework? That is the question...

It's teacher conference week, and I've decided I love half days. Seriously. It's the best of both worlds. You have you're mornings free, while your school age kids run off for a little enlightenment and lunch, and then return with plenty of time to be kids and contribute to the family farm.

Okay, we don't actually have a farm, but we are definitely raising several little animals who all need to be fed, groomed, and cleaned up after. And if you think that sounds farmish, you should hear them at feeding time.

Back to the half day issue. I love that they come home with hours to do homework and chores, and still have time to play. I get so sick of our entire evenings being spent on homework, piano practice, chores (which I believe children MUST have to appreciate what it takes to run a family, and become responsible adults), reading, and all the other scheduled activities (like cub scouts) that tend to take away from their free kid time.

I'm a big believer of kid time. When I was growing up we had chores to do (and when I say chores, I mean CHORES!!! i.e., feed cows, haul wood, AND the usual dusting/vacuuming/bathroom cleaning/window washing/dish-doing that a person thinks of when they think of chores), but we never had homework. I literally can't recall bringing home more than the occasional book report or special project during my entire elementary school career. Am I alone here?

So anyway, I love that if my kids have to do homework, half days give them a chance to get it done, make some real household contribution, AND have time to play. And I hate it that the rest of the time I'm constantly trying to decide whether it's more important to deprive them of play so they can be responsible and get homework and chores done, take away chores so they can focus on homework and play time - sacrificing the whole family-responsibility argument - or lighten up on the homework thing and let their grades suffer, so they can concentrate on the two things I feel are actually most important - chores and playtime.

How about now? If I wasn't alone before, is anyone still with me on this?

To clarify, I'm not suggesting we have half days all the time, and I'm not saying school, and occasional homework aren't important. I just believe that homework should be limited to work that could have been finished at school, but wasn't. And as for the half day thing, they're just the catalyst for this argument, because having all the extra time just magnifies the time-shortage we're usually dealing with.

I know that there really isn't an immediate solution to this problem. Unfortunately, we have to wait for the people in charge of education trends to move back to the "no homework" argument (which you know will eventually happen) before this noxious aspect of every school day can be eradicated. Until then, I will just have to suffer through with my kids, watching the one who struggles in school have extra work piled on top of what he already can't finish in class, and the other one review stuff he already gets for no apparent reason. I mean really - aren't seven hours of school a day enough???

I'm just saying.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Story Contintues: How Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Turned the Tide...

So if you've read this post, you know how we met. Wasn't it magical? Identity confusion is a great opener - believe me. Now, on with the story...

Once we determined we actually did not know each other, we introduced ourselves and chatted away like a couple of old women. Can I just say that the guy is hysterical? And cute. And very nice. (Had to slip into present tense there, because these things are all still true).

But I still thought he was too short, and kept my eye on Mr. Tall-Dark-Motorcycle. The game ended before too long, and we all went inside the church to the gym to hang out. Shortly after we got inside I realized I'd landed in the jackpot - the only singles ward on the planet with more available guys than girls.

And I was the new girl in town. And there's nothing like fresh meat at a singles ward. Let me tell you, it was quite the switch. If you're a regular around here, you'll know that at just-turned-twenty, I was only four months out from my first kiss. (Although I had managed to squeeze in another boyfriend during those short months - whom I was still {very tentatively/long-distance-relationshippy} dating). I had only been asked for my phone number once in my two and a half year stint at Ricks College. This night was possibly the highlight of my dating career.

Three guys got my number that night. Rusty was not one of them. When I left, I was feeling a bit disappointed, but secretly I was hoping he'd memorized it (since he was standing right there) and was going to call me anyway...even if he was only 5'11.

He didn't.

That Saturday, (now that I had cast off the ugly cloak of loner-ism) I headed back over for a day at the lake. (Not to mention girl-starved available men). I met Angie there, walked down to the beach area, and witnessed something that no doubt turned the hands of Fate in Rusty's direction for all eternity - He was playing volleyball. With out a shirt. Or a hat.

I think I had to grab onto Angie's arm for support when my eyes first beheld his rippling muscles. Seriously. The clincher? HE WAS A REDHEAD!!! Hello-oh, as a good little girl who'd been properly raised on Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, I had a MAJOR thing for redheads. Almost every one of my college crushes had red/sandy/auburn hair. My secret desire was to marry a man with gorgeous dark red hair (just like Benjamin - didn't we ALL want Benjamin?), have redheaded babies, and sit at church every Sunday for the rest of my life looking down the pew and seeing red.

How had I missed this! How does one not see gorgeous, dark, Benjamin-red hair on a guy who's already cute, funny, AND talking to you?!! When it's been buzzed into an almost-military cut, and the owner of said red locks wears a hat and has a nice (although freckly) tan, that's how. He didn't even have any hair on the part that showed with his hat on, so I'd had no opportunity to appreciate this fact at our prior meeting. Mr. Motorcycle's dark good looks suddenly slipped into the background, and for that afternoon I pretty much focused on Rusty.

Who, I have to say, was focusing on me. Despite the fact that he was the only guy who hadn't asked for my number in this girl-starved singles branch. Again, I don't remember much of what we talked about, except that his opening line was asking if my number was 867-5309.

My name is Jenny. Like I hadn't heard that one before. (For you innocent babes of youthful years, that is the number in an 80's song, belonging to a girl named Jenny. The guy gets the number off a bathroom stall. He apparently wants a good time.)

But still, he didn't ask for my actual number. So I tried not to get my hopes up. In fact, I even consciously concentrated a little flirtatious energy towards Mr. Motorbike (who HAD got my number). After all, he was cute...

But Rusty was really funny. What is it about hot redheads with big muscles who constantly make you laugh? What girl could resist such a deadly combination? Whether I wanted to admit it or not, I was definitely not up to the challenge...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Lessons From Life

Sue Q.'s post about her daughter getting her license takes me back. Wayyyy back to my first real driving experience.

When I was eight.

It was summer, it was hot, and we were putting up hay. As kids we were always out there, rolling bales in to the truck for the guys to buck. I'm not sure what happened - probably someone had to go home - but all of the sudden they were out of a driver. (My ten year old sister Laura was no doubt driving the other truck. The automatic.) So the crew called me over, and initiated me into the mysteries of "The Stick Shift".

And told me to drive.

Might I add that the truck was stacked at about three or four bales high at this point, making a rough clutch just a tad treacherous for the poor guys trying to catch and stack.

And my clutch was rough. It was kind of like that song, "Bounding on the Billows." They kept making it sound really easy - just push that one down, then give it some gas, and then lift that one up - easier said than done when you're eight. But somehow I managed, although the quality of the ride was in serious question, and no doubt their were lives in danger.

This was also the year I learned to drive a tractor.

Enter Tim, my brother.

Ten years older than me, he was living close by and had apparently been at our house playing with the heavy equipment - because he got the Cat (bulldozer) stuck in the crick. My parents were gone, and even I knew he'd be in trouble if they got home and found out. Apparently, it wasn't a risk he was willing to take, and unfortunately for him, I was the only one home.

So we took off on the tractor, and he got the Cat out, and then stuck me on the tractor and said, "Okay, follow me to the house." I'm sure there was a short lesson in there about how to make it go, and how to make it stop, but all I remember is being eight years old, and feeling absolutely exhilarated as I drove that big piece of machinery across the field ALL BY MYSELF.

Can I just say how empowering that was? Dangerous, no doubt, and it's true I almost hit a phone pole, and he had to run after me, jump on, and steer me around it, but still. It was one of the greatest feelings in the world to be the sole operator of that tractor, with the wind blowing my hair, and my two little hands on the steering wheel.

In fact, I think you could say it's had a lasting effect. First off, I still love driving tractors - although I seldom get the opportunity. But even more than that, I think how much those experiences of responsibility and accomplishment must have done for me as an individual. I've always kind of felt like I could do anything if it was required of me, and looking back I think that confidence must stem from situations like these.

And no, I'm not endorsing underage driving of vehicles or tractors.

Instead, I'm just trying to invoke these feelings of empowerment as I tackle an insurmountable challenge: Homemade Birthday Invitations.

Please don't laugh, this is serious. I might have to cut and paste - and lets not even talk about a stamp pad. I would never have brought this on myself, but my turning-eight son just informed me that he wants to make his invitations in a conversation just like the following:

N: Mom, I need invitations for my birthday party.

Me: Okay honey, we'll go to the store and pick some out.

N: No, I want to make them.

Me: (reeling at the very idea) What??!!! No, no, no. Store bought ones are way better. We'll find some cool ones.

N: But I want to make them. Like Skyler did. He took paper, and made it cool, and wrote everything on it himself and put it in an envelope. Why can't we do that?

Me: (Cursing Kyler, and speechless at having produced a child who expresses a desire to voluntarily engage in crafts).

I know most of you are thinking I'm over-reacting, and that this really isn't a big deal. But that's because you don't know me. And you've never seen me try to craft. It's not just that any and all crafting projects of mine look so bad, it's that I hate doing them. And I can never think of what to do. And if I ever manage to make something that looks halfway decent, I can't stand the thought of parting with it.

This has happened about two times.

So anyway, I'm stuck. I must craft. I must pull from the resources of self-confidence gleaned from being forced behind the wheel at a tender age, under stressful situations. The worst part? They're invitations, so other (no doubt craftier) women will see them. My brilliant strategy - tell everyone the kid made them himself. After all - no one is going to laugh at a kid, right?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My Epiphany

Last night I had cause for reflection. Don't ask me how, because there was so much going on in the chaos around me that I shouldn't have been able to string two cohesive thoughts together, but somehow I managed. It went kind of like this:

My kids came home from school. I had approximately forty-five minutes until my first piano student arrived. By some miracle (no doubt related to two consecutive days off of my other job) my house was actually clean. (And no, I'm not counting the upstairs. So there). I immediately sat one child at the piano to practice, ushered the other one in for Homework War I, and started making dinner.

I'm frying hamburger, yelling at N. that he needs to play and F sharp, redirecting L. (again, and again, and AGAIN!!!) to the maps of Washington he's trying not to color, sending C. to the corner for tormenting his sister (at least four times before finally exiling him to the upper floor purgatory also known as his bedroom), and trying to explain to M. that no, Mommy could not pick her up right now, and would she PLEASE stop crying.

I believe I was rinsing the noodles when the reflection began. All of the sudden I was in Brazil, with that Girl who lives there, and I was spending my morning eating blackberries, floating in the pool, and loving the easy, carefree moments of life. It was kind of maddening.

Because I remember when my life was like that.

So I thought (as I dumped the sauce over my noodles, and yelled at C. that NO! he could not come downstairs yet), what's happened? Why the chaos? Have I lost it completely as a wife/mother? WILL IT EVER BE EASY AGAIN??!!!

And then the epiphany happened. It's not how many kids you have, it's how many age groups of kids you have. Those easy days? There were three of them, but everyone was five or younger. Everyone had the same needs, the same toys, the same troubles (for the most part), and their laundry was WAY smaller. As in, a toddler's entire wardrobe fits in one load, vs. a giant ten year old's getting-bigger-all-the-time jumbo wear. You can't tell me this doesn't make a major difference.

Now, I have a ten, eight, five, and two year old, and must simultaneously juggle everyone's VASTLY different needs, toys, troubles, activities (because eight and ten year olds definitely have these), and laundry. Instead of two precious preschoolers playing with dinosaurs, I have the G.I. Joe combat zone in one corner, Dora's doll house in the middle, and a rousing semi-automatic dart gun war going on all at the same time.

While I teach a calm, cool, and collected piano lesson. My poor students.

So I have come to a conclusion. If it was easier the last time everyone was in the same basic age/needs/interests category, it (philosophically) should get easier when they meld together once more as "school age kids". Plus they'll be able to do their own laundry - and don't think I won't make them.

This is something to look forward to - while I treasure these crazy, hectic, chaotic, never-quite-finish-doing-anything years of having adorable young children,of course. Because they are adorable, and I really don't want them to grow up too fast. (Well, there are moments...)

So for now, I figure I can do anything (as long as no one expects me to do everything and do it well), and while I'm doing it I'll try to remind myself that I used to have things under control too, so surely I can't be a total disaster...I mean, I actually remember mopping my floor because I had nothing better to do. That can happen again someday, right?

And by the way Girl in Brazil, I will be forever grateful to you for that reminder. It was seriously just what I needed to find that light at the end of the tunnel.

Monday, March 16, 2009

And the Story Begins...

***This story is dedicated to Lisaway, because if she hadn't kept insisting she wanted to read it, I probably would never have started it. Even though I always wanted to. But I'm not going to try to do the whole thing one post after another - just so you know - because it's going to take me awhile. It's a long story...***

It was June. I had just turned twenty. I had been staying with my brother since the middle of April (I was between Ricks and BYU), and I had exactly zero friends. Each Sunday, I took my strangely-shy-when-I-don't-know-anyone self to the large singles ward, sat alone, and wished I had the guts to make friends.

It was pathetic.

Then my sister Annie came to visit. While she was there, we attended the Spokane Regional Conference (for our church). If you've never been to a regional conference, let me just say that they are HUGE. Thousands of people start showing up hours early, traffic is a madhouse, and parking is impossible. Annie and I were only about twenty minutes early, and somehow secured a spot only yards from a door. I'm not even sure what we were doing in that parking lot, other than being extremely optimistic.

We parked, and for some reason I felt like sitting in the car for a few minutes. Shortly thereafter, this familiar looking girl walked in front of our car, and I suddenly realized it was Angie - an old roomie of mine, whom I hadn't seen for about two years. It was so nice to see someone I knew, and we sat together and exchanged info.

Then I returned to my hermitage, and Annie left. Did I mention that after two months of no social life I had become completely anti-social, and convinced no one would want to be my friend anyway? So when Angie started calling every week to invite me to her little singles branch Sports Nights, I conveniently had "things" to do. Why go face more rejection? Besides, they were playing softball, and I hate softball. Girls with my equipment don't exactly enjoy running bases in a co-ed environment.

Finally, the third week she called, my brother gave me a lecture. I was ungrateful. I was rude. That nice girl had been inviting me for weeks, and I needed to go at least once. And I needed to stop being such a lame-o, loner, loser anyway.


So I called Angie back, and planned to go late, take my basketball, skip softball, and leave early. It was about a forty-five minute drive to her branch, and I showed up a fashionable thirty minutes late. As I pulled in, I noticed three things:

1)That guy on the pitcher's mound with the hat on was cute, but a little short. (My previous {and only} two boyfriends had been 6'5, and 6'3).

2)That guy standing next to the motor bike was cute. Tall, dark haired, and totally my type.

3)Angie was in the outfield. There was no way I was going over there.

So I grabbed my ball, waved at her, and headed into the church. But it was a little boring to be in there alone, when there were all those people out there. I mean, I am - by nature - a sociable creature, and I was completely and totally starved for after twenty minutes or so I peeked outside. Angie's team was up to bat, and she was sitting on the grass. I decided to take the plunge.

Carefully avoiding any eye contact - lest anyone think I was there to make friends - I beelined for Ang, and sat down. We chatted for approximately two minutes before she was up to bat.

And I was left all alone, sitting by myself, with no one to talk to.

Until this guy comes up to me. He says something funny - which I can't recall at all - and starts talking to me. I quickly realize it's the guy from the pitcher's mound, and next thing I know we're chatting. He's totally hilarious, really friendly, and I keep thinking that it's almost like he knows who I am. And then we have the following conversation:

Him: (With a questioning look on his face) You're Jen, right?

Me: (Wondering if Angie told everyone all about her anti-social friend, and ordered them to be nice to me) Yes.

Him: You play volleyball, right?

Me: Uh, I did until eleventh grade.

Him: And you used to come here, right?

Me: No, I've never been here before.

Him: But your name's Jen -

Me: Yes.

Him: And you play volleyball -

Me: Kind of.

Him: But you've never been here and played volleyball?

Me: No.

Him: Oh. I totally thought you were this other girl I used to know named Jen. She used to come here. And play volleyball.

And that was how we met...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

And the Winner is....

Time for the big verdict. Can I just say I hate this part? And no one even offered one single opinion, so I am entirely on my own here. As usual, I have not made my decision yet. I always do this the same way - I copy over the ones I got the biggest kick out of, and start typing away, and hope that at some magical moment the choice will seem obvious. Here we go.

We'll start with one of McFarland's. Just for the record, she is our reigning champ. One look at the prolific limericking she's capable of, and no one should wonder that she's in the running every time. My McFarland-favorite this round is this:

Help! I just saw my reflection.
What made me look that direction?
It's the swimsuit you see,
I put it on me!
But why, I have no recollection.

I love how she captured my feelings exactly. I decide I need a swimsuit. I think I know what will flatter. I think I'm thin enough to pull it off. I pick one (or a dozen) off the rack, get into the dressing room, put on a suit, and think, "Why am I here? Why did I think this would work? Why, why, why can't I remember what swimsuit shopping is like!" So sad, yet so true.

Next we have my sister Annie's little gem:

How could this suit do that to me?
I've been wearing it since 2003
I wish I were dead
My face is all red
And my boobies? The public can see

I have to admit, at one point I had this one picked as the sure-fire winner. First off, it's hysterical. Second, what a visual. And third? This would totally have (and probably has) happened to my sister. There is only one small technicality - I said it had to have something to do with swimsuit shopping. Which it doesn't. Unless you can rationalize that she went shopping in 2003, and will now obviously have to go again. We'll see.

And from a new contender, Steph @ Diapers & Divinity:

Swimsuit season is coming in sight.
But shopping for suits? What a fright!
My butt's a sedan.
Maybe I should go tan;
or is cottage cheese meant to be white?

This one is just great. I love the whole to-tan-or-not-to-tan (or possibly more appropriately, to-tan-but-HOW-to-tan) question. As one of those "lucky" women blessed with skin white enough to put the most severe cases of anemia to shame, for me this is an annual debate.

Then there's Alison Wonderland's. She always has some good stuff to throw out there:

For most gals suit shopping's a pain.
Its like money they pour down the drain.
But believe it or not.
I always look hot.
I'm gorgeous. And not at all vain.

The beauty of this one? I wish it were me. I would so love to feel this way when trying on swimsuits. Instead, I feel like all the little issues that are so easily camouflaged by regular clothing are suddenly (and very rudely) put on display, informing the world that I am, in fact, a fraud. Strip me down to an unforgiving piece of spandex, and every little problem glares out, revealing all my disillusionments about being thin and fit.

And now I have to choose. Unfortunately, I feel I must rule out Annie's on the technicality. I'll be expecting her irate phone call anytime. (You can hardly blame her - winning this title is one of her major goals in this life). And of those left, the one that seems to most capture the universal irritations of swimsuit shopping is....

STEPH'S!!!! From DIAPERS AND DIVINITY!!!! Wow. I am just going to go out on a limb and say how incredibly honored she's feeling right now! This is no doubt one of the defining moments of her divine existence. A world title. A PLACE ON MY SIDEBAR!! Steph, don't worry, it's normal for winner's of this title to feel the elation you are currently experiencing. I assure you, however, your feet actually are still on solid ground - despite that floating sensation. Put your head between your knees, take a few deep breaths, and you'll be just fine. Fame can't ruin you unless you let it.

And thanks everyone, for all your limericks. You have no idea how much of a kick I get out of this! Now I just need someone else to host one of these so I can get some of my own limericking out of my system!

Friday, March 13, 2009

It's Not Too Late To Limerick - THE CONTEST IS STILL GOING!!!

And I have to say, these are some of the most hilarious limericks ever. The swimsuit-shopping limerick-worthy scenarios are apparently endless, so don't miss your chance! Scroll one post down, get out your rhyming dictionary, and go for it!

Or, leave me some opinions. I think I'm going to need some help with this one. So if those of you who aren't up for writing a limerick of your own could tell me which one's you like the most it would be most appreciated. I mean after all, surely someone has an opinion?

P.S. The contest will be open until sometime tomorrow evening. Just so you know.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Prepare Your Brains, IT'S TIME TO LIMERICK! Yet Another Chance for YOU to Win My Highly Acclaimed Limerick Contest, and Become the World's Greatest!

Work + the housework you didn't do because you were at work + the dinner you have to make because for some strange reason people keep insisting on being fed = Complete Lack of Creativity.

If math had made this much sense I'd have aced it. And since I have zero creativity of my own at the moment, I've decided to be a creativity-leech, and steal some of yours.....


But what for a topic? Never fear, I have just the thing. In honor of the coming of Spring and all things Springy, I've chosen a topic near and dear to all of our hearts: Swimsuit shopping.

It's also in honor of the one I recently purchased via the internet, that was a bit of a disaster. Word to the wise: February Funks often lead to a bit of over-eating. In my case, one could even say Reckless Abandonment. This makes swimsuit shopping in March a hazardous experience, and I strongly caution against any and all swimsuiting until a full FebFunk recovery has been made.

Meanwhile, back to the limericks. In case any of you don't know how this works, here's a basic rundown:

1. Your limerick can have to do with any aspect of swimsuit shopping.

2. This is a family blog, so please keep things clean and refrain from mentioning things like, well - what that one guy mentioned in his limerick the last time I had a contest.

3. Leave your entries in my comment box.

4. Enter as many times as you want - the more the merrier.

And now, a crash course on Limericking. A limerick follows these rules:

*They have five lines.

*Lines 1, 2, and 5 MUST rhyme.

*Lines 3, and 4 MUST rhyme.

*For the meter, read the limericks on my sidebar, or the ones I'm about to write in this post. It's pretty basic. Let's try one out for size, shall we?

The mirror is not a good friend
When a swimsuit the mailman did send.
I'm definitely no model,
And may hit the bottle,
When what I need is clearly Fen fen.

Hmmm. Not the greatest, but at least I got to the end. Let's go for another:

There's nothing can make a girl cringe
Like swimsuiting right after a binge.
I squeezed myself in,
And tried to "think thin"
Do you think I'd do better with fringe?

And how about one more, since I like odd numbers...

The sales lady promised delight,
When all I got was a fright.
Either she's a big liar,
Or I have a spare tire
That no tummy-tucker will right.

Enough. My poor, tired brain can do no more - the rest is up to you. I have a fabulous plan for a giveaway, but until someone can make Tia a button, you hopefuls will have to make do with the exciting promise of replacing McFarland on my sidebar.

I know. It's beyond your wildest dreams to be there, right under the title of "The World's Greatest Limerick Writer EVER!!!!!!" And to think the honor can only go to one lucky winner. Such a travesty, when so many crave limericking distinction. But then again, no one ever said life was fair, right?


If you want to look at past limerick contests to check out the competition, go here or here

If you want to write a limerick but just can't seem to do it, go ahead and throw us some poetry just for fun - although only actual limericks are eligible for the "Big Prize". Good luck.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

My Amazing Day...

First, I slept in. Or not. It depends on whether or not you take Daylight Savings Time into consideration. Personally, I found it refreshing to have a "good excuse" for being late for church. And there were people who were way later. So there.

Then, I had the privilege of helping out the primary presidency since they were short staffed. Can I just say how relaxing it is to be in there when you aren't the prez? And don't have to do sharing time? Or singing time? Or all of the above??? It was like I had no responsibilities. It was bliss.

Then I went home. It felt a little less blissful to be trapped in my house with my four children and all their pent-up energy. Seriously. I swear Sunday is their most energetic day of the whole week.

And then something magical happened. We had company - and not just any company either. Hansey, and his wife Hottie stopped by. Apparently, they have magical powers, because as soon as we'd we gone through the family-greet, my children disappeared upstairs never to be heard from again. Well, we did hear them a few times, but it was still rather miraculous.

Just in case some of you don't know who Hansey is, I'll tell you. He is Mr. Hilarious. AND he has a blog (which can be found on my sidebar) where he displays his particular brand of hilarity. I've known him and his wife since forever, and I suppose you could say he's one of a kind.

So anyway, here they were at my house. My living room was quiet for the first time all day. It was a miracle.

And then something even MORE miraculous happened. Hansey mentioned he knew something about computers. I think it was at about this point that I threw my laptop at him. (Remember my laptop? The one with all the issues this last week?) By last night I was so completely irritated with this computer because I'd done what someone told me, installed this spyware program, tried to run it, aaaaand...nothing happened.

And Hansey saved me.

I sat there and watched the whole process (in a state of almost complete mystification), and finally - FINALLY!!!!! - MY COMPUTER WAS BUG-FREE!!!!! Seriously. It was a beautiful thing. In fact, it still is. I have managed to type an entire post without any attacks from unwanted/super-persistent/uber-irritating pop-up windows telling me my computer is ABOUT TO CRASH. And it didn't take five thousand years to boot-up, either.

It is so refreshing. Just like the sleeping in, the non-primary-prez primary, and the magic silent/invisible children affect. And might I just point out that Hansey and his lovely wife are responsible for half of these phenomenons?

I told them to come again soon.

And now I think everyone should head on over, read Hansey's blog, laugh hysterically, and tell him how great he is in his comment box. Especially since it seems he's been experiencing a bit of a blog-funk (left over from February), and needs a little boost to jolt him out of it. After all, anyone who makes an innocent social call, and then allows themselves to be roped into computer-fixing, deserves a little love and appreciation - don't you agree?

Hope everyone's Sunday's were as refreshing as mine!

Friday, March 6, 2009

I'm Alive!

I really haven't disappeared - my computer has some nasty spyware that is basically shutting it down. Lovely. And then there's the "I can't blog at work" factor, which is SUPER annoying. Tonight, however, I have vowed to take the time and fix up my computer, and then I'll at least be able to read all your blogs - and maybe even give you all that update on my life I know you're all dying for...

Because you are all dying for it right? You can't live without me, and life has become meaningless this week? Right? Right?

Never mind - you aren't required to answer that question...

Monday, March 2, 2009

When Jeremiah Johnson meets Sound of Music...

***WARNING - this post contains information that my cause nauseousness. If you've been known to feel sick/irritated/disgusted by posts dealing with marital happiness, DO NOT read any further.***

I should be sleeping right now, but... I just finished watching the season finale of The Bachelor. I have watched almost all of the Bachelor/Bachelorette seasons, and without fail, they all have the exact same effect on me:

Every year, I wonder what would have happened if I'd been the Bachelorette, and my husband had been amongst the twenty-five gorgeous contenders.

And every year I come up with exactly the same answer:

I totally would have picked him.

Seriously. There is no way I could have ever chose someone else while he was in the running. And believe me, I know what I'm talking about. I tried extremely hard to NOT pick him in the first place (for all the wrong reasons, because I was young and stupid), yet in the end I had to finally admit the truth. Life could not have gone on with out him. No matter what other kinds of charms they could have brought to the equation, anyone else would have been found lacking.

Tonight, when Jason dumped Melissa because he finally realized he was in love with Molly (and no, I'm not saying I'm sure they're actually going to make it, I'm just saying if I were him, and Molly was Rusty...which just sounds so wrong...) I suddenly knew that if I'd been Jason, and Rusty had been Molly, I would have had to do the exact same thing.

Just a little background. My husband and I don't necessarily fit as your "typical" couple. Everyone has been saying it since practically day one (with the exception of a few brilliantly insightful people who instantly saw that we were made for each other). Just tonight, my SIL asked me again how it is that he and I work together. I suppose you could say we're a bit like Jeremiah Johnson meets Maria from The Sound of Music. (Seriously. If you want to know what I'm like, I'm a LOT like her. And he basically IS J.J. - minus the squaw and the bear coat).

I know it sounds crazy, but it's true. He makes me laugh. Constantly. He's a bit moody, rather reclusive, a total babe, completely off the wall, and totally unpredictable. He hates emotional confrontations, is a fabulous father, and the most humble man I know. True, I catch him wearing his running shoes with his church slacks, and if it were up to him his entire wardrobe would be made up of hunting camo, but somehow we manage to get along just the same.

You'd really think that a Chatty Kathy like me wouldn't do well with Silent Man, and that his need for alone time in the uncharted wilderness would clash with my panic-attack tendencies. But, while it's true that I have my annual Rusty's-hunting-alone-in-the-wilderness anxiety, I would be lost without him. He is a true, what-you-see-is-what-you-get (and I mean this so literally), one-of-a-kind original guy, I seriously doubt I could ever replace him if he actually did get himself eaten by a cougar.

So while I'm doing my best to keep this love-fest from becoming overly nauseating, I just have to say it. My husband rocks. He is the man for me. He makes my world go round, and just the thought of him can still put a smile on my face. I love when I see him unexpectedly and get butterflies. Because I do. Even after eleven-almost-twelve-years. And four kids.

So thank you ABC for giving me one more chance to reflect on the rightness of my decision to pick the wild-card and go for Rusty. It was seriously the best choice ever