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 conversation...so 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

Regarding Annie's Budget (and other issues)

*****FYI, I have been granted permission from Annie to post the following - with certain stipulations, which I have adhered to completely. For the most part.****

So just in case any of you haven't read Annie's column about her SEVEN PAGE budget, and how she and her uber-responsible husband spent the morning going over it together, let me tell you the rest of the story.

I'm sitting innocently in my kitchen, trying to make up for the chinese food I'd eaten the night before by lunching on a head of steamed cauliflower, when my phone rings. It's Anne. She's irritated. She goes on for several minutes about their budget, how they're sticking to it, and how her husband thinks they should amp up the penny-pinching.

Then, after a lengthy tirade about how he tried to pry twenty-five dollars out of her "grocery" envelope to cover the salt for the water softener (which I totally agree should come out of the "household maintenance" envelope regardless of the fact that salt is technically a food item), she says the following:

"How dare he tell me how I should spend my grocery money. I am responsible. Our grocery budget is under percentage - UNDER PERCENTAGE!" (They follow this budget plan that says what percent should go where. They're very responsible. They have a SEVEN PAGE budget. Now back to Annie's tirade...) "Well, he and the kids are gone, and I need to get out of this house. I need to do something. I need to spend money. But I don't have any money." (slight pause...) "Yes I do have money - I have a credit at the kids' clothing consignment shop! I gotta go." Click.

I literally said almost nothing during this monologue. And then, about two hours later, she called me and we had the following conversation:

Annie: I got the best stuff at the kid store...blah, blah...Gap shorts for $3...blah, blah.

Me: Sounds great.

Annie: And then I found some money (from an undisclosed location) and I found this cute...blah, blah, blah...at Down East, which was totally justified because...blah, blah, blah.

Me: Wow, sounds great. Where are you, anyway? It sounds noisy in the background - are you in a store or something?

Annie: Oh, I'm taking myself out to lunch at Cafe Rio. Jason and the kids are gone, I'm alone, I can do whatever I want.

Well. And yes she can. And will. And this cracked me up because I would no doubt have done the exact same thing.

I think Annie and I need to read a few chapters from that infamous book of mine, Do's and Don'ts For Husbands and WIVES (circa 1913). Something tells me the illustrious author would never approve of such behavior from the "modern wife".

I prefer to think we're just way ahead of our time.