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.