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?

Monday, September 8, 2008


Today I feel sad. Or maybe lonely. Or maybe just old.

Today I sat among shiny straight forks. All the dumb blondes in my classes were clearly faking and are actually really smart.

Don't get me wrong, I have zero jealousy for the time these young people are in their lives. I am grateful beyond words to be done with that season of life. I've had my kids. I am done with diapers and nobody wails when they see my bosoms because they are hungry. Peter says the next time he holds a screaming baby it will be his grandchild and he can give it back. 

I don't have to date (hallelujah!!). I never have to plan my wedding again, or meet my in-laws-to-be or go through the super-fun first year of marriage. I get to live with people I want to (most of the time) and I'm not starving through school. Instead of living in a basement with mold growing on the walls I get to live in a nice house. My husband is done with college. Not to mention that I have a car and my own washer and dryer.

But I don't know anyone and everyone else seems to. I wish I could take one of my kids with me to talk to because they are my present friends. I think I'm naked without them.

I know you are thinking that it is going to be fine and bla bla bla. I know that too and I am still thrilled to be in school. Only now is now and for today I feel like the bent fork.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

School report

Just as an update I started school yesterday. I can now report back that I am the oldest person in all my classes, however I am not the biggest. I couldn't help but notice kids these days are really letting themselves go, surprisingly making this old mom-o-four look smokin' in comparison to a lot of teenage girls. (ok, well, maybe in a more mature kind of way.) Very different to when I was last in school.

ANYWAY, I got out of my first class and had to hold back tears. I can't believe this day has finally come...I get to go back to college.

In summary, I AM LOVING IT.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

College Crisis

So tomorrow I start school. 

"Mrs. Mitchell can you volunteer Wednesday's in Rebecca's class?"
"No, I'm in school on Wednesdays-- gonna have to be Fridays."

"Can we visit teach you on Monday morning?"
"Sorry, I'll be in school then."

I've been telling people I'm going back to school since March. But somehow I still haven't entirely prepared myself. Even when we went to get my books, I felt excited, but it was still a whole 3 days away. Three days is forever! I don't need to worry! I have all the time in the world!

Except that now it's tomorrow. My parking stickers came in the mail today. I drove all the way to Orem to look for a bag at Target to carry my books. (This bag is too bulky, this bag is too bright, this bag is too trendy...I ended up with no bag.) I have nothing to wear. I can't remember how to spell anything anymore. Pregnancy fried my brains. Mine will be the only mini-van in the parking lot with soccer treats and baby wipes. I am completely petrified.

No, seriously,  I cannot remember the last time I was so afraid. 

Peter was a very good, wonderful, supportive (stroke, stroke, nice Peter) husband and took me to get my books because I feel like the oldest person on campus. The only older people in the bookstore were parents buying books for their kids. I can never navigate around the super-sized campus. At Women's Conference I bring friends specially chosen for their navigation skills.

I am the oldest mom at the college and the youngest mom at the junior high. Peter threw in a subtle plug and said if I lost just another 10 lbs. I'd fit in better.

Maybe if I just sit in a corner in the back no one will notice me, but if anyone needs a band-aid, I'm there.