Monday, November 28, 2011

Driving me crazy

Nathaniel has been a driver for three weeks now. It's been weird but nice. For the record, all merit badges are finished (yea!) but he still needs to do his Eagle project. At church last Sunday he went to another Eagle Court of Honor. Apparently this boy finished hours before his 18th birthday. Then another boy was passing out information on gathering his Eagle project stuff together and I was unhappy that this wasn't my son. At the DMV they told Nathaniel I could take his license for any reason and could even walk into the DMV and revoke my signature at any time just cause I felt like it. Nathaniel wasn't loving that speech.

Nathaniel finds all sorts of reasons to drive. Need lettuce? Forgot propane? I can get it! He's taken John to the store and Rebecca to her violin lesson. I love that he can drive himself to the stake center for a mutual activity. I haven't worried too much yet because we've only let him go a few blocks away so far.

Sunday was the first day we saw him bless the Sacrament. I say the first time we saw it because the first Sunday he turned 16 he had to bless it twice for people that were home bound. So we weren't there for that obviously, which I think is kind of nice for him since he didn't have a very large audience for the official first time. Now I guess I join the ranks of mother's who worry during the Sacrament prayers.

The idea that Nathaniel is not far from mission age has not escaped me. He reminds me of it from time to time and I can't help but think of a missionary that spoke in church a couple of Sunday's ago. We've got several out in this ward right now--like eight-- and one of the missionary moms just lost it completely for the rest of church and finally went home for Relief Society. I was feeling for her. Peter and Nathaniel think all the mother emotion over missionaries is hilarious and are clearly going to have no empathy for me whatsoever when I get to that point.

So later that Sunday we were all kneeling around our bed for family prayer when Peter stretches out over the bed and says, "You know what would really make me sad? If this mattress went away for two years."

It really is unfair.

Friday, November 18, 2011

School Events of the last 24 hours

John had his Thanksgiving program last night.
They sang lots of songs about unfortunate turkeys. So adorable!

Here is John and his turkey.
Speaking of turkeys, have I ever mentioned Peter's rather extreme feelings on the subject? If not, know this: Peter lives for Thanksgiving dinner. He loves turkey. As in weeks ago he started worrying about whether I had secured our turkey yet. I don't know why this is. Maybe he is afraid they will run out before I buy it. I think more than anything it just makes him feel better knowing his Butterball is safely tucked in the freezer awaiting the big day.
Every year he wants the same menu--no deviation. He has reviewed this menu with me this week, he's afraid I'm liable to I forget something.
And it has to be my turkey dinner. This is key. If we travel I still have to cook.
He's so cute:)

Today was the 5th grade wax museum at Art City Elementary. Rebecca was Mary Edwards Walker, a civil war doctor and spy who is to date the only women to have been awarded the Medal of Honor. (See how educational this blog is?)

She was a big woman's rights advocate too, as you can imagine. She was also very outspoken about the restrictiveness of women's clothing and frequently dressed as a man.
Rebecca was not impressed by this at all.
She did marry (in pants, not a dress) but later divorced, surprise surprise.
She was buried in her suit.

Below you can see the gym filled with all the kids dressed as Amelia Earhart, Babe Ruth, various astronauts, presidents, explorers, inventors, and even Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's and Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek.

This is a 2 1/2 hr ordeal so Rebecca was very lucky to be set up with her good friend Brooke!

My personal favorites?
These guys . . .

Bonnie and Clyde! Check out that cigar!

And only because we live in Utah--

Joseph Smith!
Love it!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Happy 11th Birthday Rebecca!

Here is a scene from the low-key party we had for Rebecca last night. After some significant burn-out of late I told her this year I wasn't going to do a craft, or games, or a theme. I'd do pizza, a cake, and that was pretty much it. She could invite friends from the ward only. (We did make one exception to this but that girl didn't end up being able to make it anyway.)

They had plenty of fun as evidenced from the wild screaming in my house that went on for several hours. They were planning to watch a movie but that never came to pass. I think they were having too much fun in the basement playing games like "murder in the dark."

Peter and I gave her a pogo stick, a Jessie Doll, the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and not one, but two pair of moccasins. We had bought two different styles with the plan of returning the one she didn't care for but she ended up liking them both. I think it all went great considering how much work I didn't do so mission accomplished.

Today was the primary program (which was really well done by the way!) and also Rebecca's official birthday. She wasn't feeling very well so she went home after Sacrament. I taught in Relief Society so I had to stay and worry about her from a couple of blocks away. For the record John refused to stand up for any of the songs in the program and would only pop his head up occasionally to see if we were still smiling in his direction. He was all the way in the back so we basically didn't see him for much of the meeting. Bugger.

Cold Kitties

A few weeks ago Rebecca kept having hives that wouldn't quit. When she broke out in oozing blister hives on the one side of her face I was determined to get to the bottom of it. I was racking my brain one night trying to think--what has changed? What would be coming in direct contact with her face? And specifically on the right side?

Then if finally came to me. It was one of those few moments in my life of instant clarity--she is allergic to our cats! She had been sleeping in the guest room more than usual and just around that time the cats had been sneaking in a lot more because it was getting cold. Carmel would frequently take up residence on the pillow there, sometimes even sleeping with Rebecca there by her face. And Rebecca always sleeps on her right side. With all the allergies Rebecca struggles with this shouldn't have come as such a surprise to me. It's just that we've had these cats for eight or nine years and so I wasn't really making the connection.

When I broke the news to her the next day she was not pleased and denied that this could possibly be true. But whether she believes me or not was not going to change my mind and as soon as I took control of the situation her hives magically disappeared.

The cats are no longer allowed into the house at all. I feel bad about this but there was only one room they really hung out in and it was the guestroom right off the garage and that is now off limits as it is frequently in use by my insomniac child Rebecca.

Even with the cat beds out in the garage it was obvious to me from the way they flocked to the engine of a recently driven car for warmth that they were still cold.

So I got with it and ordered these heated airbeds for them and set them up in the garage.
Carmel took right to them but I kind of had to direct Jill.

She eventually got it figured out.
Now instead of watching for stolen moments to dart into the house they are pretty happy right here. So far seems to be a win-win.

Friday, November 11, 2011

5 Random things

1) The other morning Peter was running late for some appointment when I noted that he was ironing a new shirt in the basement. I had to question his judgement on this. "You're late! Why are opening a new shirt when your closet is full of shirts I just ironed for you yesterday?"
His answer? None of them were blue.
Something funny about Peter: he likes blue shirts. A lot. A whole lot.
Maybe this is because they look great with his eyes and I have told him so in the past. Maybe it is because he just likes blue. I'm not exactly sure.
So I called down, "Why don't you just buy all blue shirts then?"
He said he hadn't thought of that but that he thinks it may be a good idea.
He was entirely serious, which made me laugh.
I counted all his shirts this morning that were either blue or good enough for Peter because they had solid blue stripes. There were 10.
Then later this morning I pulled out 2 more out of the dryer.
Twelve blue shirts. Twelve.

2) John drew this last Sunday. It is his depiction of the baptism of Jesus.
The bird is saying "I know the scriptures are true. Tweet tweet."

3) Rebecca's birthday list complete with what she needs for her party:

For the record she wanted a horse ("which I'm not getting") an American Girl hair set, a Jessy Doll (from Toy Story), a "bird suite" (meaning suit) for her bird Rocky (which is actually a harness that can be used to "walk" her bird,) a pogo stick, and she wants her own room. Unfortunately she is right about the horse and I haven't seen any new rooms pop up in our house recently so that probably isn't going to happen just now either.

Also this is her depiction of the kids eating me for dinner thanks to my kitchen sign.

4. I have a pet peeve with short skirts. For the record, I'll never approve of your short skirt.
If you struggle to find modest skirts I do feel your pain. Even at the "modest" stores they are still too short on me. I probably try on 8 or more dresses or skirts for every one that is going to be long enough. So one day I was checking out skirt extenders online and was dismayed to find they were like $40 bucks!

So I found this this website and decided to make my own:

Note that in theirs they only used the tule. I used fabric under the tule for more coverage. They are the greatest thing! It's like I have a whole new wardrobe of options now. This red skirt I hadn't been able to wear in forever after it shrunk slightly in the wash. So far I've made a gold, black, and white one.

The Young Women asked me to come in and demo for them and it was a great opportunity to share my opinions. Such as how your skirt should hit your knee and if it does so barely in the front you should bend over and see what it is doing in the back. That if you can stand outside and see through your skirt you should be wearing a slip and because it was me teaching and I got to say what I wanted I also threw in that I didn't think you should be wearing hoodies to church. Or flip flops. And that goes for their moms too.
Okay I didn't really say anything about their moms:)

5) Lastly, is it bad to brag about my kid's grades?
I say not since this is my blog and she worked her butt off for them:
(Go Sarah! Go Sarah, go!)

Cub Scout news

Mouth a-l-m-o-s-t to the marshmallow. . .

Nathaniel and volunteer mom rescuing our dying fire.

A few weeks ago we had our most anticipated event of the year--
our Annual Wolf Den Cookout.

It's like Christmas for the Wolf Den. Hot dogs, chips, and smores is all we do. Course I always provide a tray of veggies and dip in case anyone is feeling healthy. Surprisingly some boys take advantage of it. Others just use the dip for their chips. It's all good.

Up to now I've never had an official assistant. For the first year we met with the Bears. Then the numbers began to climb and when we split the Cubmaster Assistant became my temporary substitute assistant. Fast forward many months and on Sunday I got my new assistant.
I'll call her Sister Jane for today.

Sister Jane was the first person I worked with in this ward. She and I co-taught the Sunbeams for a few months. We were a good match. No nonsense kind of people.
During our meeting this week Sis. Jane made her first appearance. She was a good sport because she hadn't been there when she was finally sustained on Sunday and no one (including myself) bothered to mention it to her.
In my defense I did think of calling her several times.
That counts right?
So as I'm sitting in the parking lot with 10 boys running about I called her and apologized for not contacting here this week but could you please come over to the church--like now?
She did. What a sport!
As we settled into our room in the church I was trying to call order to our first activity when Sis. Jane barked out "get over here and sit down! Now!"
It was music to my ears. And for the record, the boys were golden.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Yesterday I was making dinner and John was yelling to me about some spider with a million legs. I told him I was kind of busy right now and really I wasn't all that concerned.
Later John and I were playing Monopoly on the floor when this crawled on by:

We do not know what this thing is. We do not know how it got in the house. The 1 1/2 inch body is almost transparent has an awful lot of really long legs! We made Peter catch it in a jar and one of the antenna came off and was twitching all over our Monopoly board. Nasty doesn't even begin to describe it. It moved completely fluidly, kind of reminding me of John's Hexbug he got recently. So, so creepy.

Rebecca was not impressed when she learned we found it just crawling across our family room floor. This was how I found her later that night:

Because just being on the bed isn't good enough she was taking extra precautions.
I love it.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Nathaniel turns 16

It's official. I am the mother of a sixteen-year-old. When did this happen?
On his birthday I was utterly exhausted from the prior week, wherein I did waaaaay too much so I wasn't exactly filled with energy and great ideas, but I did my best.

Nathaniel is a lay low kind of kid. Much like his father I'd say. His seminary class consists of all juniors and seniors who are on the student body council, or the football team, or in other ways well known around school. Nathaniel somehow ended up in this class as one of only two sophomores. This information has been kept low because he is so exceedingly tall he looks like he is older and according to Nathaniel some of the kids probably just think he is some new kid moved here at the beginning of the school year.
That is just where he has left things.

So of course I wanted to bring in donuts to this class.

On the morning of his birthday at about 9:30 we had a major power outage here in Springville. All the businesses closed, the traffic lights were out, etc. I couldn't buy donuts at the store and was forbidden by my husband to leave the house until order came back to the streets.
(Utah drivers tend to be bad enough with the traffic signals in full swing.)
So I waited.
And waited.
I knew his seminary class got out somewhere around noon (release-time seminary--how I love thee!) and it was looking like a lost cause when suddenly around 11:30, like a birthday miracle, the power came back on.

I headed on over to the store and bought four boxes of donuts which I precariously balanced on into his seminary class. They were sitting there in the dark, which was funny to me since I'm not sure if they knew it had come back on yet or were just doing that by choice. Nathaniel was not expecting my entrance and it was pretty hilarious seeing the look of trying to remain cool on his face.

The seminary teacher was puzzled. He said that not only had Nathaniel played the piano that day but had given a very nice devotional.
Yet surprisingly, had never mentioned it was his birthday.
Yea, big surprise.

I told the class it was not only Nathaniel's birthday, but that it was his 16th, and then left.
I could hear the class singing as I walked down the hall.
It was truly a moment I'll never forget.

Apparently later the teacher announced that Nathaniel was now eligible and he would be posting his number on the board for after class.
Seminary teacher: I advise you not to hold your breath. The gods of parenting have smiled upon me and my son has yet to show interest in girls.

I made this nice dinner of bread and artichoke dip, lobster bisque, and salad. Nathaniel wanted no part of it. He wanted a meatball sandwich from Subway.
At least he ate cheesecake with us after Mutual that night.
His Teacher's Quorum advisor wanted Nathaniel to teach indexing to the Young Women and so he set up the activity on the only day that was available where Nathaniel would technically still be in the Teacher's Quorum. That would be November 2nd--the big day.

Nathaniel didn't get a car. That isn't in our budget. He can get a job now though, which is just as good, right? He might be lucky and get a license if he finally gets that Eagle Scout project going. His permit is expiring November 8th and I have seen some small, but noticeable movement the last couple of days. I've got my fingers crossed.

Happy Birthday Nathaniel! We love you!

Snow on Autumn leaves

John's little snowman:)
Note the pattern in the snow of him pushing the ball around.

Poor Yuuki missed out on the snow. I think he would have been into it.
I don't mind the winter but would still prefer to enjoy my fall before the snow horns in.
Driving on slushy roads as the leaves blow just isn't the same.

Peter doesn't like the winter at all. In fact he seems to dread it more every year.
I wonder if we'll be able to stay in this great state of Utah for long with him suffering all winter from cold and lack of sunlight.

I recently bought him this light from Costco that is supposed to to be helpful for this and he turns it on every morning while he reads his scriptures or works at the kitchen table.
It's rather cute, don't you think?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Our Halloween Exchange Student

Here is Yuuki when we first picked him up from BYU.
He is very nervous here in this picture he tells me later.

It was especially fun because he got to be here for Halloween
which is something not celebrated in Japan, and therefore really fun for everyone!
His English wasn't the greatest. Sometimes I would be talking to him and Nathaniel would be standing there and say, "Mom, he isn't getting a word you are saying" right out loud! Or he'd just shake his head at me. The girls would talk to him like he was a deaf Indian.
"Yuuki! You having fun in A-mer-i-ca?"
John would skip around the house singing, "Yuuki likes to dukey! Yuuki likes to dukey!" I was really glad in moments like this that his English was so limited.

Yuuki's pumpkin came out great even if this picture doesn't do it justice!
This was his first pumpkin carving experience. I think he thought I was a little crazy when I roasted up the seeds and offered him some but he ended up really liking them and I sent some home with him. He said they tasted like peanuts.

Left to right John's, Rebecca's and Nathaniel's.

Sarah was especially impressive because she free-handed it.

I went into John and Rebecca's classrooms to do this Halloween craft with the kids I got out of a Family Fun magazine. I spray painted 60 gourds and cut out twice as many bat wings for this project!

Here is John's class all holding up their bats.

This was followed by the school Halloween parade. What a madhouse!

John's teacher is the cutest isn't she? Love her.

Rebecca and Brooke. Check out those fake lashes I put on Rebecca.

Some of the neighborhood kids. John is front left and Rebecca, who had sprayed her hair black with her friend at some point, on the top left.

We of course made Yuuki get dressed up and trick-or-treat. These are Nathaniel and Sarah's last minute costumes. Sarah is the 80's aerobic instructor and Nathaniel is a leprechaun I guess.

Gettin' ready for some Jane Fonda, baby!

John wasn't feeling so hot and ended up peeling off his costume and parking himself on the porch to hand out candy.

We took Yuuki to Boondocks. We all had a blast.

Laser tag. Love the missing tooth!

There were smaller go carts for the smaller kids.
I was very impressed when John finally agreed to drive one.

There's John waaaay in the back!

The jet lag started in pretty good after Yuuki was here for a few days.
This was on the way home from Boondocks. We all but had to carry him into the house.

It was dark when we left Boondocks and I ended up going past a turn to get to the freeway and drove a few miles down a road that was looking more and more dark and abandoned by the second. The GPS wasn't receiving signal and so Nathaniel filled in by saying in his best GPS voice, "You are now entering serial-killer zone."
Ha Ha!

Took him to Temple Square on Friday night, which ended being a disaster. The road construction was so bad it took us almost 2 hours to get there.
Then I managed to get lost in Salt Lake somehow--good grief. We got to the temple just as they were starting to close gates and such. We missed our show at the planaterium and everyone was exhausted, cold, cranky, and hungry.
No doubt it was a real eye-opener for Yuuki as the night wore on and I began to lose it.
At least we had a good dinner that night on the way home at a BBQ restaurant.

Yuuki ended up being a great kid. We razzed him quite a bit about his picture that was sent in his application. It was obvious he didn't think it was a great portrayal of him either and he laughed. He was a very kind, warm, curious, and polite boy. Just as we've found all of our Japanese exchange students to be really. It was a great experience.