Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas pictures

If I were sending out Christmas cards this year, which I haven't decided yet, I might include these pics we took last Sunday. The sun was right in our eyes--John kills me!

John looks a little like a pirate here--heehee

Sucker for animals

I'm a complete sucker for animals, and so are my kids--especially Rebecca. Peter not so much, so we have to stay in his animal quota--2 cats, 1 bird, and a dog (and only one dog).

Charlie, our terrifying black poodle that scares children and adults alike.

Caramel--Rebecca's personal pet.

Jill is so enthused by John's show of affection. FYI, we named her Jill because there used to be Jack, but he disappeared one night after a particularly loud catfight on our roof.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Decisions, decisions...again

Sarah made this the other day with her pretzels--had to take a picture(:

So I'm finally back here on my blog. 
Now that I'm at the end of this semester (last final on Tuesday of this coming week) I can look back and try to decide whether this is what I want to continue to do. Going to school was kind of a trial thing, and overall it has been a great adventure.

Here are the positive things I have learned from this experience:
--I know what I want to do! There is something to be said just for that!
--I am good at it. I got A's on all my papers (still crossing fingers on this last major one) and got the highest score on my midterm exam for one of my classes. This proves I am capable of doing it. In other words, my brain has not completely melted during the last 14 years of having children and being out of school.
--I love it. I mean, really love it. School is great and BYU is ideal.
--Peter can do dishes-BONUS! He has totally been holding out on me with this hidden talent

But, (yep there's a but) there have been some negatives too:
--Next semester is tax season (No Peter)
--I want to be home with John all the time. He is still my little guy.
--At least one parent needs to be entirely plugged in to the kids. The kids think things have been going fine, but what the heck do they know?
--. A semester goes in waves, you mostly coast along and then once in a while a wave comes along and you feel like your head is being drug along the ocean floor. These times always seem to coincide with when the kids have a school project they need help with.
--I am just a tiny bit OCD (ok--I needn't hear your eyes actually rolling about in your heads quite so loudly.) I can't do as good of a job as I want to on everything I want to do (does that even make sense?)

 The fantasy is nice, but reality comes knocking at my door quite a bit these days. For example, Thursday was my last night class. It was the last review before the final. It just so happens it was also the night of the ward Christmas party, where my kids were singing, and also the night of Rebecca's choir performance. I had to miss the last hour of my class so I could run to the performance,  then run to the ward Christmas party where all the food (including what I sent) was gone. I was tired, I was hungry, I was stressed,  and all I wanted to do is be in the moment.

I knew this was coming. I knew I would have to make this decision and I frankly thought it would be easier. I am all signed up for my upcoming classes this next semester which, thankfully, will only be Tuesday and Thursdays. I have financial aid paying for my tuition and only have to worry about paying for care for John. But guess what? I don't want anyone to take care of my John anymore. I just want him to be with me.

Let's see, family or school, school or family... 
See, if only the MOST IMPORTANT THING IN MY LIFE was not BEING A MOM this would be easier...

Opportunities like this are great for giving us perspective on what is most important, or at least what should be most important. The window of when I can be with my kids is small, whereas the window of when I can go to school is basically limitless.

Here comes Peter wanting me to come to bed, now
Did I mention that my man needs attention too?...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Birthday month

Happy 8th birthday Rebecca!

Alternate ways to extinguish stubborn candles

All she wanted for her birthday was a giant stuffed animal and to get her ears pierced--Here she  is in front of the TV with her new friend.

Rebecca was out of her mind excited to get her ears pierced--my girls have to wait until they are 8 years old. It is a highly anticipated event.

Nervous anticipation.
We got this on video--so funny! Rebecca got the first one pierced (seen here) and then looked at us with bewilderment--"That's it? Are you sure it is pierced? Check--I don't think it's pierced..."

Nathaniel turned 13 on November 2nd and got one present from his parents--an Ipod Nano
Pretty lucky kid if you ask me. 
He was pretty excited and can now read lips as he never takes out the earphones.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Yep, I'm all that--

Friday October 17--I have a paper due on Monday. It is not small. I have been furiously searching through our textbook to find a story that I either love, or hate, and then formulate my thesis. The teacher said he was eagerly anticipating what we did with this assignment. I said we were too. 

I had yet to chose one by 6 pm Friday night. 
I  am not a procrastinator. I am a little OCD with my papers. They are like the children of my brain or something. So Friday night I'm at the park with Peter and the kids and *bam* I get the idea for my thesis. 
It is brilliant--like a revelation from above.

Back at home it is 8:00 and I get on the computer. I am so in my element. I had to get this paper out so I could spend the rest of the weekend in a state of non-hysteria, leaving me plenty of time to revise. I typed madly until 6 am. I know, I haven't stayed up that late (without a screaming baby, anyway) since I was a teenager. A young teenager.
By 3 am I start to think about tomorrow, and I realize I am hungry. By 4 am I realize I am cold. By 5 am I really have to pee. But who cares about food, sleep, clothing, or annoying bodily demands? The keyboard and I are one and I am in the zone. I finally run out of steam at 6 am around page 11.

So, fast forward to this Wednesday. I am a few minutes late. The teacher is passing back our papers. I have been in anxious anticipation of this moment. But I don't get mine back. When I raise my hand to ask why he informs me that because I was late I did not catch that he held three papers back as examples of a good thesis. I feel like an idiot, but am also thinking, this has to be a good thing, right? Unless of course, he lost it or something.

So today, Friday, --FINALLY--I get to see my paper. It is like a sweet reunion. I could scarcely look to see what he had done to it. "A thoughtful self-analysis. A sensitive, careful reading. Final grade 'A'"

I could cry. Am I pathetic? Slam dunk, baby!

But before you consider me overly boastful--my last analysis, which was just a 2-pg deal, was also a source of pride for me. He gave me an "A" and I was elated. As part of the assignment we are supposed to pass out these shorter papers to the rest of the class. So, a few days later I did so and um....yea--he graded it again, this time with an A-. 
Apparently it didn't make enough of an impression on him to remember he had already graded it.

While he likely hasn't thought about this latest paper beyond the last minute before he moved on to grade the next one, today I am a happy woman.
So, in light of all this literary theory, is there something Freudian about me wanting to get this thing professionally framed? I'll analyze that one later-- For now I'll just sit back, and bask in the warm light of my temporary success.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Exhibit A: My husband is really a goofball.
He is also a sourpuss when it comes to Halloween and thinks it is a lousy pagan holiday. It is dangerous for kids and good for dentists, bla bla bla. 
"Every party has a pooper..."
I try to make Peter feel guilty by telling him that Halloween was my mom's favorite holiday, and since she's gone, we should be celebrating it in her memory. That usually does the trick. 
Thanks, mom.

Batman clutching his candy to his bosom in a token of love.

We went trick-or-treating down Mainstreet where they have vendors from all over town pass out candy to the kids and coupons to the moms. Great PR and kids love it.

I told this guy he was lookin' sexy and Sarah scolded me for embarrasing her.
Well, he was hot, after all. I dreamt about entangling my fingers in his fro all night long.
Hubba hubba!!

There was a long line of people all up and down Mainstreet. I noticed a significant bottleneck at the nursing home, where they had lined up residents and were letting them pass out the candy.
Very cute idea, I thought.
I did take note of how Halloween is an excuse for women to dress up like whores. 
Very tasteful, especially in broad daylight.

Sarah the gypsie. She and 7 other girls in the ward all decided to dress up as the same thing together.

Rebecca and best friends Cadie and Alecia. I think Rebecca was a vampire.
Nathaniel and good friend Mason. Mason is a swimmer and went as Michael Phelps. I thought it was very creative! I'm not sure what Nathaniel is, maybe the chain saw massacre guy?

Just before I left for my night class on Thursday I came into the bathroom to find Nathaniel doing this. What did I do?
A. Accuse him of watching "Silence of the Lambs"
B. Congratulate him on his creativity and talent
C. Tell him he'd better clean up the bathroom after he is done
D. Advise him to put some straws up his nose so he can breath when it dries
E. Laugh at the hair band

Enter your vote and let me know(:

Fall at last!

The weather here has been pretty warm for this time of year, and I'm about done with it. I know I shouldn't feel that way because every day I walk to my classes without snow on the ground is a blessing. But fall came through yesterday and it was gorgeous with leaves everywhere. It was perfect.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Family Fun

Last weekend we decided to get out and do something fun (and cheap) so Peter came up with the idea to do a little hike.
So we head out in some pretty frigid temperatures to hike and have a picnic lunch complete with smores. 

Having never been to this place I didn't realize that hiking really meant climbing up large rocks with four kids and a dog. It was some pretty strenuous climbing for us beginners, but John and Rebecca busted right up. Sarah was a little stressed and would occasionally cry that she wasn't going to make it. I'd push on her butt from behind and try to encourage her, but she would get mad at me for laughing. I couldn't help it-- I was thinking--what are we doing? Who else would do this?

The whole way up I was silently contemplating the big question--how are we gonna get down? The dog was billy-goating himself up with his long ol' poodle legs like a giraffe. (Funny!) We get to the top and Peter announces that we need to find another way down, as the way we came up isn't going to work. So after sending Nathaniel down to scout different trails we find one that seems pretty doable, except for one small part that's like a 10 foot drop.
Peter's master plan is to position himself to help lower/coach us down one at a time. Sarah and Rebecca went first and seemed to make it OK. I'm thinking to myself, I don't wanna take this dog down with me--Charlie is going to have to figure it out for himself. He's a dog, after all. You know, instincts and all, right? 
So I let him loose and Charlie goes bounding down, then slides on his stomach sprawl-eagle down the rock and leaps right off the edge in a ten foot rolling finale right into a cactus. We almost killed ourselves laughing. (He was fine--don't worry.) 
Peter says, "Well, Charlie took the quick way down, I guess."
So much for dog instincts-- he didn't even look to see how far down it was before he just took off the edge! Peter had the camcorder but didn't catch it on tape--bummer! We almost made $10,000 on AFV!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Over the hill?

My visiting teachers were over the other day and we were discussing school. Sister Gordon commented on how she thought I fit right in with BYU because I look so young. In my classes I have often had other students be very surprised that I have four children. As you might imagine, this has pleased me immensely.

Yesterday I stood in line to get my fix at the candy counter of the BYU bookstore. When I got to the register the 12-year-old student working at the register said they were conducting a survey.

"Are you faculty, staff, or a visitor?"

I look at her with my piercing eye. I am wearing a backpack. I am holding a textbook in my hand.
"I am a student...just an ordinary very old student."
I snatch my receipt from her startled (and undoubtedly youthful) hand and walk away with my chocolate.

Wait...did you hear that? Yea, umm, that was the bursting of my bubble.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The desire of my son's heart

My son's latest interest is "jumping stilts." If you haven't heard of them you are not alone. The reason I know anything at all is directly connected with my being the mother of 12-year-old boy. 
If not for Nathaniel I would be completely ignorant to the important things in life such as--
*duct tape skills in sword, wallet and mask making
*creative ways to scare friends, family and perfect strangers
*every Chuck Norris joke known to mankind
*the highly refined art of rejecting 98% of the clothing in the mall and then complaining that shopping takes too long
*the various lingo and body language of junior high students

Jumping stilts are only this year's obsession. If my life depended on it I could not even try to guess what next year's will be.

When I ponder on the reason why my son's thinking is so diverse (ie: wacky)  I naturally blame it on his father. The same man who asks me questions like:
"What if I was harboring all these years the secret that I could professionally tap dance?"
"What if I wanted to name one of our kids Beowulf?"
"What if you found out I was a actually really rich?"
"What if you discovered I was a government spy?"
"What if I had a secret passion for synchronized clogging?"

My favorite part of these "philosophical" questions is not imagining him doing synchronized clogging, but watching him laugh at his own jokes.
Most people don't know this hidden side of my husband. In my last ward people would ponder out loud how we ended up together, me so goofy, and Peter so sober and serious minded. They assumed my children's quirks were solely the responsibility of their mother. 
Not so. If they only knew. Anyway, I guess the secret is out now. I can't be sure anyone will actually believe me. He is, after all, very convincing.

In case you have the inclination to be enlightened on jumping stilt skills, you can check out this site:

Friday, October 10, 2008

My hair and the sad attempt at cuteness:(

I have lousy hair. 
Don't try to empathize with me because you simply can't.
Sorry, not to be rude, but trust me, you can't.

It is very rare, almost never, that I see someone with as thin of hair as I have. As a kid my hairdresser used to think I would eventually grow out of it. So did I. Unbelievably, it has only gotten even thinner.
It stinks. I can never just get up and go. It is like a cyclone hit my hair in the night. It is so thin it rats up while I sleep and sticks straight up in all different directions in the morning.

There has never been a single day in my life where I could just throw up my hair in a ponytail. It does not grow long enough to do that and if it ever could the ponytail would be like 1/4 in thick and would look ridiculous. I have permed it, cut it, colored it, taken hair vitamins, got extensions and bought expensive hair-thickening shampoo. All for naught--Cute hair is not to be for me. (hee hee--that rhymes!)

I had a friend in my last ward with hair like mine. She referred to it as spider webs. Perfect analogy, I thought. Like spider webs. Exactly.

So today I showered, I blow dried, I flat-ironed, I curled it down, I curled it up. I flat ironed again. It was not cute. It was disastrous. I resigned myself to not being cute today.

Then, I put on a hat. I thought it looked cute. I would be very model of sophistication in my hat. No one would even suspect the fright lurking underneath.

Peter comes in and says, "Bad hair day, huh?"
I say, "What do you mean? You don't think it looks cute?"
Peter says, "Too late for me to take it back now."

Too true, too true.
Peter, I will have you know someone in my class today complimented me on my hat.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Was a good mom and went to the PTA meeting this morning...
where I found out today was picture day.

I told my kids picture day was overrated and their prices are like mommy-guilt-blackmail because they have a monopoly on the market anyway.
They seemed pretty satisfied with that.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Caution--sensitive material

This morning I got up and found Sarah on my computer playing a game. She found the game at school, where they have educational websites listed. The site is called "Edheads."
"Mom, you can do surgery on people with this game! It's so fun!"
I totally had to check this one out.

So we are doing a virtual total knee replacement on a 72 year old man. First we check the vital signs. Then we knock him out and prep the leg with iodine and drapes. You have to choose the correct answers in a series of questions along the way.
Next comes the drawing on the knee and the cutting, where the fatty tissue is revealed (this is all in animated form.) Nathaniel comes in to check it out.

After some drilling, sawing, hammering and screwing we close him up. Sarah said the stiching was the hardest part. I told her she was using the wrong end of the curvy needle. After that it went much faster and Sarah finished up her operation with staples.

Nathaniel--"That would hurt so bad when you woke up." I'm glad my child is still sensitive to the feelings of an animated man.
The animated doctor who has been our guide then says, "Good job! Are you sure this is your first total knee replacement?" Yep, we're pretty sure, but then again, some people are just gifted.

Following our "surgery", we are presented with a series of actual pictures of the real procedure. Sarah and Nathaniel say it's disgusting, but of course this does nothing to encourage them to stop staring at the screen with rapt attention.
Sarah, "They're using a fork! Awesome!"

She tells me that in the computer lab there are conflicting opinions about this learning site and while one teacher thinks it is fine, the other one thinks it needs to be taken off the list because it is "inappropriate."
For myself, I'm pretty liberal in these areas. I think it is fine. I do wonder however, what we kids who grew up with the game "Operation" would have thought. (I, for one, think I would have been into it.)

Bodyworld is here in Salt Lake and we are all psyched to see it. Rebecca has a special interest in the plasticated dead babies. She clearly remembers going to a museum three years ago where they had a display of fetuses in jars at different stages of development. (The museum made a point of saying that all were severely malformed and died of natural causes--which was evident.)

I read a book this summer called, "STIFF The Secret Lives of Human Cadavers" by Mary Roach. I was delighted to hear that someone else in my Brit Lit class had read it too. It is amazing the information and uses for cadavers that help us live longer and fight disease. Plastic surgery is practiced on them. They test them to create accurate test dummies. They send parts of them all over for scientific research. (Interestingly, Roach writes a regular humor column for the Reader's Digest.)

We are indeed a strange family. How many four-year-olds do you know that drag around a giant skeleton on a leash to the library or to get ice cream, not just for Halloween but year-round. I can see our neighbors, "Timmy, don't play with those Mitchell children. They do operations on their computer." Or are we really so strange? I have a feeling there are some people fascinated with anatomy, surgery, and/or death who haven't "come out of the closet" yet.
If you are one of them, we welcome you.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Aaron, the missionary

My little brother Aaron flew out here to Utah Sept. 20 and we have been busy getting him ready ever since. Talk about stress! I've been half out of my mind with going to school, soccer games, kid stuff, and trying to keep up house on top of getting Aaron ready. 

My other brother flew out a few days ago to see him off as well and he was a big help. He taught Aaron how to pack and was very patient with him in teaching him how to iron his shirts. Jay is very anal about his shirts I have learned, and he made Aaron a special bottle of stain-remover that was portable.

We did a family get-together with root beer floats on Monday night and everyone got to say goodbye to Aaron.
Tuesday we three siblings went to the Mt. Timpanogos Temple, picked up his suits from the dry cleaners, and took Aaron to Walmart for some last minute things.
"Aaron, are you absolutely sure you won't need this?"
"YES! I have plenty! Stop! I have enough stuff!"
"Ok, but let's get some more just in case."
(Aaron rolls his eyes)
This went on and on. That boy is stocked. He is like the walking pharmacy and personal hygiene store.

So then the big day was Wednesday. I had classes and so went directly from class to the MTC (which was awfully convenient as it is directly across the street!--hee hee) I was a nervous wreck. Peter said to take a pill.

We took the standard pictures in front of the sign in front and then went in where Aaron got his tag and a family member is supposed to put it on him. I let Jay do the honors. Aaron was even more nervous than me, though I was doing a pretty good job being nervous for him. Aaron remembers that we forgot to buy him a watch. I tell him I'll send him one soon. Do you want black or silver? He doesn't care right now.

We went into the chapel there and watched some tear-jerking LDS commercials for a while to entertain us while we waited. Peter was already teary-eyed. He is so excited for Aaron I can't believe it. I think it was very sentimental for Jay and Peter to be there in the MTC again. I didn't cry. I would be strong.

The opening song was, "Called to Serve"-- what are they trying to do to us? Jay was losing it now. Then came the talk and the movie "Called to Serve"--what the heck???!

They used the analogy of saying goodbye like ripping off a band-aid. Do it fast and it hurts less.

Then came the great parting. Mom's saying goodbye to their sons. Siblings are sobbing. Dads are crying. Missionaries are crying. My little Sarah girl is crying. Guess what? I cry when other people cry. My friend Diana says it is the best kept secret in the church how hard it is to send your missionary out. She has done this three times. 
I told Nathaniel we are just going to drop him off at the front door--

Aaron was the only missionary that hadn't been set apart yet, so when they sent people through the "family exit" we stayed together. As if we weren't emotional enough we had to go with him into the presidency office where a member of the presidency talked with us and counseled Aaron. Then Peter, Jay and my Grandpa Johnson joined in with the setting apart. We all watched Aaron receive the responsibility and great privilege that it is to be missionary, and a representative of Jesus Christ.

Aaron was crying and just really having a hard time. Poor Sarah is very upset now. Jay is crying. I am crying. You feel a little bit like you are abandoning them there. It is a very bittersweet moment as we watched him head down the hall all by his lonesome. As we walk out Rebecca says, "I already miss Aaron."

Went to the creamery for ice cream afterwards. I had to rush to my next class where there is always a quiz at the beginning. I look slightly better than death.

Come home, take girls to their last soccer games, Peter takes Jay back to the airport.

When I got up this morning the house felt a little empty. I think I'll write him a letter...

Boys will be boys

This is what happens when you leave it up to your husband to get your son to preschool.
(I was at the temple with Jay and Aaron)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

update on tall man

I moved to a different area today in class to avoid tall man but he came in late again and stepped right on my foot as he wiggled his way on down the aisle. I was wearing sandals.

At least he didn't eat his lunch again today. 
If I had the choice I think I'd take him stepping on my foot.
I did notice today that he has very soft womanly hands.

Monday, September 29, 2008

What in the h%#@ are people thinking?

In my New Testament class there is this guy...
He is not small. He is tall and big. He usually comes in late and has to squeeze himself into a row of the small auditorium-type classroom. 
He takes out his laptop and gets all settled in--all comfy now. 
How nice.
Those of us around tall man resume focusing on the lecture.
11am  must be lunch time for tall man, and tall man cannot be having his lunch late!
So not out of a small, quiet bag, but instead a large plastic grocery sack, tall man draws forth his carefully assembled and toasted sandwich and proceeds to eat.
After the sandwich, comes the chips, because of course-- what kind of lunch would it be without chips? Tall man finishes up his chips and then tilts the bag into his mouth to catch those last few crumbs. (No sense being wasteful.)
So tall man is satisfied now right? Silly us! Now comes the yogurt. He opens his yogurt and eats it happily with his plastic spoon. Once he has reached the bottom tall man is not yet done! He must hold the container over his head through the florescent light to make sure to scrape out the last bits carefully. Then he licks the spoon. Yep, licks that puppy clean.
Now for the granola bar. (What??!!) A nice crackly-packaged one. Lets listen to tall man open it! Now he is eating it because apparently he still has room somewhere in one of his hollow legs to put it.
What is a complete lunch without a dessert? Tall man is unwrapping his chocolate protein bar. Gotta make sure you get enough protein, and plenty of calories to keep tall man's rather feminine shape.
Not to leave out the rather obnoxious comments that have the ring of nerdy know-it-all peppered throughout his meal. (He is quite the multi-tasker!)
What can I say? Not only did I pay for a quality education, but I got the entertainment package too!
This faintly reminds me of a time when I was on a plane and a man, utterly repulsive in every other way, further completes our opinion of him when he actually pulled out a can of tuna and opened it with a can opener and ate it right out of the can. In a plane. TUNA FISH--OUT OF THE CAN
 I swear, if I hadn't seen it myself I wouldn't believe it either.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The guilt ship lollypop

This last week was a little rough and the guilt ship made several stops by my house. 

Going to school has made for some hard choices. I don't get as much time with my kids, especially John since he is the one still home most of the day. I don't get as much time with Peter, which he can't help feeling slightly resentful about. The house suffers, the laundry suffers. We eat a lot of breakfast foods for dinner.

My week in a nutshell
Monday--class, pick up kids, dinner, FHE
Tuesday--clean, homework, shop with brother Aaron for mission stuff for 5 hours
Wednesday--class, study, more class, race home, dinner, unhappy children, 2 soccer games, late night of homework
Thursday--sleep, must sleep--laundry, homework, dinner, class, miss parent-teacher conference with Sarah's teacher--she calls house and Peter goes while I am in my night class
Friday--class--(get A on paper!) kids have day off--take them to lunch and movie--sleep--clean--go on hot date to Walmart with Peter--homework
Saturday--soccer games--head to Salt Lake with my stake in chartered buses to Women's Conference--(study on bus)
Sunday--pick up Jay from airport--teach lesson in primary--spend quality time with my brothers

No matter how hard I try, I will never be all things to all people. I could never manage a perfect house before this, so why would I now? I was in this class on Wednesday where they were giving us a presentation on study habits. "Make sure to fit in some time for play as well as study time. As students, your lives are out of balance right now."

I happen to have a small chat with my neighbor today and she actually said to me, "I think what you are doing is suicidal. Sorry if I sound blunt." Way to be supportive!

Am I crazy? Am I over-ambitious? Do you think I haven't agonized over this? Are there not nights when I want to crawl in my kid's rooms just to sleep next to them? I stood by my man for five solid years when he got his BA and Masters degrees and had babies coming all the while. It was hard! I often felt neglected! Does it make me horrible that I want my turn?

Well guess what? I may very well be all of those things. I'm never going to be super-mom, but I work really hard at it. John is in daycare 10 hours a week. I have never put a child in daycare before. I fret about it all the time. When I cry to my kids they laugh at me and say, "Mom--its fine! You're still here most the time!" But the ever-present mom-guilt never takes a vacation.

I'm never going to have all my ducks lined up in a row. I have never missed a single parent-teacher conference before. Ever. Every child, every quarter. Like clockwork.

This is not something one does unless they really, really want it. I still walk around campus in a cloud, wondering how I got so lucky to be there.

So think what you want, maybe I really am crazy! I certainly wouldn't doubt it--but I'm a the happiest damn crazy woman you've ever seen.
So there.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

John's thumb

Today was the primary program in church. This is a good and bad thing as we know. Good because it is finally over, and bad because it is pretty much as much fun for us teachers of the four and five-year-olds as getting a root canal.

Somehow I got extra lucky and ended up not just with my class, but sitting next to my four-year-old son John, who is in the class under mine. I think the idea was that as his mother I would be best suited to keep him in line but as we all know, sometimes parents are the worst choice for this purpose. 

For one thing, John knows that mom isn't going to beat him in public. So, this is prime time to do something unexpected and especially naughty. Even more fun is that she is trying to control her own class, so her attention is divided.

You're wondering what I'm getting to, aren't you? Don't worry, you won't be disappointed.

John is bored. He has been through the laborious practices and from experience knows to go straight from contented happy child to bored cantankerous child as soon as we sit down. We are in the front pew, facing the pulpit. I am feeling safe as this means everyone in the congregation cannot observe his behavior, only those on the stand.

After about song #3 John gives up on his first few plans and starts in on the "I have to pee NOW" ploy. He pulls this all the time and mom isn't going for it. I ignore him as he does his crotch-holding bathroom dance and tries to look desperate. I silently chant to myself, "I will be strong. I will not give in."

Finally he is quiet. Success!! I have shown him who is boss! I was strong! Mom scores!

Then I look at him. Something is not right. He has a look on his face I can't interpret. Has he peed his pants? He is focused on something in that region. I find myself looking for a wet spot and instead see something that looks like a thumb.

Only its not a thumb. And it is pointed right at the Bishopric.

John is grinning. Mom did not see this one coming. How very interesting! What will she do?

I grab his unmentionables and stuff it right back in his pants. He is darn lucky I didn't just twist that puppy off. I was so ticked. Beyond ticked--there are not words to describe my fury. I was sorely tempted to give it at least a good pinch, but again, there is an audience. I cannot scream. I cannot discipline. All I can do is march him directly to his dad.

John scores again.

Honestly, I couldn't make this stuff up.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sometimes you just gotta be there...

When Lily came to visit John was into some mischief or another and I said something that made her laugh. I don't remember what, only that she said, "I bet you've never said that before." 

As moms we say weird things all the time. Things we could never have anticipated saying before we became moms. Things we will probably only say once in our lives. Here are a few of the ones I remember:

"Who put potato chips in my dresser drawers?"

"Is that lipstick on the cat?"

"I don't know, but if I see Spiderman/Superman/Batman I 'll be sure to ask him."

"As long as you're quiet I'm not sure I care what you do."

"Because if you squeeze it the eyeballs might pop out."

"Why is there vaseline on the wall (bed/counter/computer etc)?"

"I don't have one. Yep I'm pretty sure. Because I'm a girl. I don't know, go ask your dad."

"Don't lick the table (grocery cart, checkstand, wall, friends, etc)."

"If I catch you wiping your boogers on the wall again you're grounded."

"Share the frog/snake/lizard with your sisters."

"If this has to do with your penis, go talk to your dad."

"Nathaniel, church is not a good time to draw scenes of carnage. If you're bored draw something uplifting."

"Don't pee on the dog. Ever."


"I hope aliens have taken over your body because you did not just say that to your mother."

"Because I gave birth to you and I say so."

"John, we know you did it. Because the dog doesn't have arms."

"I don't know, you'll have to ask an old person."

Soccer mom

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Mad Momma

I am mad.  Really mad. So mad I could cry. In fact, maybe I will.

Wednesday I came home from school and when I had to leave again my keys were missing. The keys I religiously put on the hook by the door. Every time. Without fail.

 Immediately the red flag goes up for us because we have problems with our children and keys. I have two car keys with microchips and two keyless entry devices on that ring, in addition to the keys to the office, home, and the gate to the backyard. They will cost at least $300 to replace.

What is it about your most important things that children have a kind of sixth sense to destroy, hide, or otherwise contaminate beyond salvage? (i.e.: toilet bowl glowing blue with my cell phone)

Places we have found our keys:
toy boxes
buried in the sand box
in our neighbor's yard hanging from a tree
in 5 inches of water at the bottom of a sprinkler box
in the doors of random stranger's cars
crammed into the cavity of a stuffed animal
innumerable other tiny, obscure and random places-- you get the picture

The point is somehow through the grace and mercy of a higher power we have always been able to find them, even if there was damage to our keyless entry devices. We've had to replace one already.

I sweet-talk John. He insists he doesn't know what I'm talking about. He is very believable. I resort to begging. Threatening. His mouth is like a airtight vault. I seriously begin to wonder if I am jumping to conclusions, though I know in my gut this kid is holding out.

So today I am done. I mow the lawns looking for them. I have carefully walked them at night with a flashlight to see if there is any glimmer shining back at me from the darkness. I have dug the sandbox down to the dirt. I have checked behind the washer, the freezer, ransacked the garage, dug through bushes and alerted the neighbors.

Then it comes to me. John has been unceasingly pleading with me for some toy I didn't even knew existed. Apparently one of our neighbors has one and John is desperate for it. I have my ammo.

"John, if you find momma's keys I will buy you the yellow transformer guy."

"OK!! I'll show you!"

Without a moment's hesitation he leads me directly out to the garage and to the side of the house. 

"I put it in the trash--this one." He even knows exactly which of the two trashes he put them in. Because I have mowed the lawns and thus the reeking trash is filled with grass clippings glazed with dog crap I bring myself to make the futile motions to remove the pile of composting grass/garbage from the full trash to the empty one, all the while knowing full well they are already gone. After shoveling out what I can I enlist (force)  Nathaniel to help me dump it over into the other empty trash with straining ears yearning  to hear the jingle of the hopelessly lost phantom keys.

The keys went missing Wednesday.
The trash went out on Thursday. 
Today is Saturday.
John is not getting a yellow transformer guy.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My son has a blog

Ok--so this is weird.

Nathaniel has a blog now. (On top of his my space and facebook and whatever else he has that he thinks I don't know about.)

Side note on Nathaniel-- he has issues involving giant homemade swords, capes and other handmade armor. I have warned him that he is stamping "dork" on his forehead but he pays me no heed, and so far his neighborhood friends are buying into it. The other day I saw a kid ride by my window on his bike carrying a giant homemade sword.
So apparently they really are buying into it.

For now.

I like to quilt

 It is fun to look back and remember and I need to take pictures of my quilts more often. Most were given away long ago and there are no pics. Here are some of the ones I've done this year.

John's batman quilt. My boys go through a major super-hero phase and for John it was Batman/Spiderman this year. My friend Gaye gave me the backing for this one.

I'm into pinwheels these days. This one was for a TraCee Woods--a friend in my ward whose daughter was getting baptized (thus red/white theme). Friends and family at her baptism signed inside the white sections. We made it in one night.

Just threw this one of John in because his hair was strugglin' bad and I finally got around to cutting it--handsome guy! He starts preschool today and is totally beside himself with impatience.

This was for Liza Barnes (in my ward). I made it last month for her new little premie baby. Her little girl is 2 months old and mine don't even come out as small as she is now! So for now Liza can use it because the baby can just about fit in one of the squares and might drown. 

This one was for Lorainne Neilson in my ward. She is our primary president and I just love her. She is the cutest thing and was never married until a couple of years ago (she is in her late 30's I think). Her current husband was our bishop a while back and he has several grown children. They are so cute and now have this eat-um-up-adorable-baby below who loves the minky I used on the back of her blanket. She is totally underfed as you can see:)

Shepherd and sheep quilt. The colors were to be Christmas but I made it for year round so chose my own. Note my favorite sheep, the black one.
Machine quilting this one for Sarah right now. Turning out way cute as you can see. I had the material for this for like six months and kept fretting and buying more. I was afraid to start it--never done a Buggy Barn before and instructions were confusing. But easier than I thought and I whipped the top out in two nights.

Often people ask me how I find the time. As my fellow-quilters would wonder, how can you not?