Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sophomoric Pranks

Ours is a house divided. And there is no other time during the year that that is more evident then during football season. I am a BYU Cougar and Eric is a Utah Man. Although I constantly like to remind him that I am the only one with a degree from the university I cheer for! But I must say that I am not one of those pushy, obnoxious fans who is always antagonizing or referring back to the glory days of the Cougars. For the most part our children are being raised as Utah fans and I feel just fine about that. I like cheering for the U as well, especially over the past few years when their star has been rising so fast and high. But every once in awhile I like to assert where my true loyal lies.

I attended BYU in the early 90's and absolutely loved it. When I look back at my formative years, I can say I had fun in high school now but I'm not sure I could say that while I was going through it. But I can say with assurance that I knew I was having a good time in college while I was going through it. I think even while I was in my "Provo Bubble" I was oblivious to the true, full nature of the BYU-UTAH rivalry. I knew they were a foe but back then BYU was generally the dominant team. So I took pride in being the winning team without losing a lot of sleep of what the U of U students thought of me. Since my years at BYU I have since discovered the at times over-simplified, generic stereotypes that some fans from both sides like to place on each other. I won't go into those now because I don't want to perpetuate groups of people being painted with a broad brush. But needless to say there are a lot of both Ute and Cougar fans whom I love and adore.
But like I said, my children are inundated with a whole lot of Ute propoganda and paraphenalia. We have Ute blankets, t-shirts, sweatshirts, magnets, rugs, Christmas decorations, footballs, foam #1 hands, hats, pencils, banana chairs, flags, stickers, license plates, beads, pajamas, etc. And I am so not exagerrating. We have every single on of those items in our house and not one Y to be found. Well last weekend I decided to remedy that situation. Eric was at a scout camp overnighter with Finn. Friday afternoon a young guy knocked on my door offering to paint my house address on my curb. I had just recently had it done so I wasn't interested, but then a lightning bolt struck my head. I asked him if he painted letters too, like so many Y and U fans have on their curbs. I explained the college rivalry situation in our household and asked if he could paint a royal blue Y next to my house number. He said he could but he would have to come back tomorrow because he didn't have the paint or stencils. He thought it was so funny that he was happy to come back the next day. I warned him that he had to come in the morning because if my husband caught him, he would for sure stop him. So at about 9am Saturday morning he showed up with a buddy to paint this beauty on my curb:

After he was done, he had me come admire his work and told me he would come back in a month to see if it was still there. He even offered to later paint a U on the other side, free of charge, because he thought it was such a great joke.
Now the trick was waiting for Finn and Eric to get home and see how long it took them to notice. I made my girls swear not to tell them. Remember they have been indoctrinated too, so I pretty much had to threaten them with their lives to keep their "Utah Man" song holes shut! But when they did come home the girls kept saying things to them like , "Notice anything different?" or "What has changed around here?" But luckily the men in my home are use to vague, probing questions made by females in a vain attempt to get attention; that it didn't even faze them. So Saturday passed by with no reaction. Then Sunday nothing, and Monday the same. But Tuesday Finn and Eric needed to mow the lawn before the garbage man came on Wednesday. It was during a pass with the lawnmower down the front park strip that Finn noticed the inconspicuous Y on the curb. He immediately called Eric over to take a look at it. After which Eric marched right in to me, while I was in the bathroom no less and demanded, "Was that you or Harold who put that Y on my curb?" Now I must say here that Harold is a neighbor of ours who is a devoted BYU fan and an avid reader of my blog. So, Harold, I want you to know that I exonerated your name and took full responsibility. But I was curious to know why he thought it was you so I asked him. He responded, "Because that seems like the kind of sophomoric prank he would pull." So I'm sorry you got pulled into our household rivalry!
Eric informed me that evening that the Y would be gone by morning, but I am proud to say that it is still there. This probably due to laziness rather than any newly developed sympathetic leanings toward the Y. But I did find this on my front window the next morning as I was driving my kids to school:
I commented to Eric on the subtlety of his U response to my Y. But I think that just speaks to U fans... they are kind of loud, obvious, in your face people whereas Y fans are a bit more refined and soft-spoken. In fact I think the term I'm searching for is "meek." ;) Oh, did I say I was going to stay away from stereotypes? Well I just couldn't help myself. But if you would like to help me continue these sophomoric pranks, I am up to suggestions. I have a few ideas ruminating in my brain, but I could always use more. After all we still have 3 more months of college football to go!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ahh... School pictures

This week in honor of having school pictures taken, I am going to share some of my own classic school pictures.

This is first picture was taken in 4th grade. What is so great is I think it was the first time my mom let me do my own hair for my pictures. "Feathering" was all the rage back in 1983. I'm not sure if I didn't use enough hairspray on the right side of my hair or if I played dodgeball extra hard during recess, but somehow only one side of my hair stayed "feathered." Which I was probably mad about when I got my school pictures back, but now I think it tells a story about what I was like when I was that age. I'm glad my mom didn't insist on me getting a retake so my hair could look perfect. That wouldn't be near as interesting. And speaking of retakes, this is another one of my favorite school pictures.This was a year later, in 5th grade. Apparently I got the feathered look down, but not the keeping my eyes open look-because this was a retake. And even though this was my second and last attempt at a good 5th grade picture, I'm once again glad that my mom didn't destroy the picture because it wasn't perfect. Something I just noticed about these pictures is that in both of them I am wearing a button-down shirt with a sweater. I was living in Georgia during this time and I assume they took pictures in the fall back then like they do now. I can imagine I was hotter than hades in my sweater and button-down shirt in the southern heat and humidity. No wonder one side of my hair fell flat!
Needless to say, I have carried on the tradition of not requiring that pictures of my kids look perfect. I absolutely adore pictures of screaming kids on Santa's lap. Not that I enjoy making my kids scream, but what I like is that it accurately reflects the experience they had at that age. Last year I was out of town when my kids had school pictures taken. Before I even saw them, I decided I would keep them no matter what they looked like. I was very interested to see how they would look when their dad got them ready for school and especially on school picture day. And I was pleasantly surprised:

Sure they don't have bows, braids or curls in their hair and it looks like Katie and Annie have some static-y hair goin' on and could have used a quick comb-through but for the most part they look pretty good. I mean this is a more accurate reflection of what they look like day in and day out at school than any other school picture. Now don't get me wrong I did plenty to get them picture ready this year- Finn got a haircut the day before, I blew dry Annie's hair and Katie got braids but I think we should say no to retakes and let our kids' childhood shine through. I mean what says childhood more than big glasses, big-gaped teeth, half down hair and half open eyes!

P.S.- I got a little BYU/Utah rivalry experiment going on in my house right now. I'll let you in on the joke as soon as the intended targets figure it out!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Silly Bands and other Silly Stories

Really. She hasn't posted in close to two months and she is going to post about silly bands?!? I know that is what you are thinking. And my answer to that is ... "Why, yes. Yes, I am." See over the past two months I have had plenty to post about but nothing has really written itself in my mind. I know this sounds weird but often when I post a story the story has already written itself in my head. Sometimes the telling of the story will take a different turn when I go to write it, but I usually have a general idea of what they story will be like. But I've had a bit of a blogger's block over the past months and nothing has formed itself. Then today I had a lesson on journals in church and it inspired me to blog again even if the story isn't there to begin with. So my new goal is to post every Sunday and it may be a recall of events from the week or it may be my recording a past event or just my musings. Either way I trust that for good or bad some story will present itself. So in the name of recording our family's history of both the significant and the mundane this week's post is about the all important Silly Bands. If you don't have a 1st-6th grader you may not know what these are. So here is a picture of them along with the most Silly Band obsessed member of our family.

They are little jelly/rubbery bands (I like how they are named "bands", not "bracelets" so as to not be gender specific and thus exclude the profits from the allowances of half the elementary age population). Kids wear multiples of them at a time and of course trade them. When they are on their wrists they look like most bands except they are a little more wavy. But then when you take them off they take the shape of all kinds of things... animals, crowns, wands, hearts, stars, lips, looney tunes characters, automobiles, etc.
What really struck me about these things is how quickly they became a pop culture sensation/kid fad. Katie got some for her birthday the first week of school; this being the first time I had seen them. Then within a week Annie was coming home from school begging for me to take her to the store so she can spend her allowance on them. Before i knew it every kid I saw was wearing them. It got me thinking what makes these fads and who decides them. It seems like a few years ago pokemon cards were the big thing. And I remember when i was in elementary school trading stickers on the bus. I even had a photo album I stored them in so I could see all my prized possessions at once. And of course the scratch and sniff stickers were like the Snickers in your Halloween loot, meaning they were the most sought after. Annie has informed me that the Tie-Dye silly bands are the Scratch and Sniff of the silly band world and that the simple ones like an ice cream or a heart are like the Bit O Honey of the Halloween loot, meaning they will take them because they are technically candy but they won't be happy about it. So my purpose in recording all this is maybe one day twenty years from now Annie will read this and say, "Oh, yea! I forgot how much I loved those silly bands."

I also wanted to tell another funny story about Annie. When Annie was little I was chalk full of "Annie" stories. She was such a character and everyone loved hearing about her antics. This was all during the pre-blogging era and I tried to write them down but I don't think I got this one down. When Annie was about 3 or 4 years old we were down in St. George with my family- meaning my parents and siblings. My sister was the only other one with kids and we decided to take them to McDonalds for ice cream. When we got there my nephew, Jeffrey, decided he wanted french fries. So we gave everyone, including Annie, the option of having ice cream or fries. Annie said she wanted ice cream so that is what she got. But then when everyone got their order Annie experienced 3 year old buyer's remorse. She really wanted fries once she saw Jeffrey's. But being the mean mom I am I told her she had to have her ice cream because that is what she told me she wanted. And I wasn't even offering to get her fries if she ate all her ice cream because I am that mean and that cheap! It was eat your ice cream or eat nothing. Well Annie relented and finally started eating her ice cream. But between her pathetic, weak licks at her ice cream she kept casting jealous glances at Jeffrey's fries. It was hilarous to watch because you knew exactly what she was thinking without her saying a word. Her look spoke loud and clear "I don't want this stupid ice cream. I really, really wish I could have those fries." So now when me and my sisters make a decision and then realize we made the wrong choice and start coveting the choice we should have made, we pretend we are licking an ice cream with a frown on our face that says, "I really wish I could have those fries."