Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I'll let you connect the dots

Dot 1- Suzie's aforementioned affinity for choosing a word and then finding all the words she can that rhyme with it.
Dot 2- Suzie finding words to rhyme with one of the words in this sentence she recently heard from Ice Age 2- "Never disagree with Buck."
Dot 3- Suzie having some serious conversations about some serious never to be said again words!
Apparently making sure your 4 year old has good phonemic awareness by encouraging rhyming can have some down sides too!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Another Day in the Life...

It seems like the only posting I have time for these days is just quick stories about funny things my kids say or do. But it is what it is and here's the latest:
A few weeks ago we had our 2nd annual Grandma Talent Show. My mom's birthday is in November and instead of presents, she requests that all the grandkids perform in a family talent show. We have only done it twice but it is already turning into a tradition that everyone enjoys. I must say that the highlight the past two years has been Finn playing his tuba. What makes is so entertaining is the tuba is not really a solo instrument, but Finn plays it with such pride, gusto and heart that he makes it seem like it should be in the spotlight of any orchestra performance. This year, before the talent show began, Finn was practicing in my sister's living room with some cousins listening in. The rest of us were finishing up dinner in the kitchen. When Finn was done he came into the kitchen and my mom remarked, "Finn, I really enjoyed your practicing." To which he proudly replied with a smile on his face, "I wasn't practicing. I was changing lives!"
Suzie has a little friend in her preschool whose name is Claire McDonough. Claire's mom is a high school friend of my sister, Natalie. We were visiting my mom one day and Suzie started talking about her friend, Claire. My mom, wanting to know if the Claire Suzie was talking about was the same one she knew, asked, "What is Claire's last name?" Suzie replied, "Claire Old McDonald."
Yep! That's the one she knows!

Friday, November 4, 2011

My Favorite picture of...

Suzie in her "itchy b----y" dress!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Next Installments of Adventures in Vocabulary

If you want to read the first installment go here.
But here are the latest:
Each week Suzie has to bring something to preschool that starts with the letter of the week. She was going all around the house one morning looking for something that started with "D". She finally decided on a doll. She proudly held it up to Katie and said,"Katie, I am taking a duh-duh doll (that is Suz emphasizing the D sound, in case you couldn't tell) to preschool today."
Katie's response, "I don't kuh-kuh care!"
Then the other day Suzie wouldn't get dressed for school. I usually let my girls dress themselves so I told Suzie if she didn't choose something to wear, I got to choose it for her. She said I could choose it so I got a sweater out. It was probably the first time she has worn a sweater this season. She let me know this by saying, "Really, mom? You are introducing a sweater?"
Finally yesterday we were getting ready to go to a family Halloween party and Suzie was putting on her Princess Fairy costume. She often will rhyme words as she is talking to herself. Like if I am holding keys she will say "key, tree, flee- hey those words rhyme Mom." Well as she was putting her dress on she was commenting on how itchy the dress was. Then she must have gone into her favorite rhyming game in her head because after a few minutes she told me her dress was "itchy- bitchy."

Sunday, September 18, 2011

It wouldn't be our family vacation if...

Over the part few years many of our family trips have been centered around Utah Football and this year is no different. So to record this most recent Utah football-driven trip to SoCal I thought I would describe some of the things that make our family trips "our" family trip. So here is the non-comprehensive list of "It wouldn't be our family vacation if..."

*There weren't several, varying comments made by the male family members about the tiny size of the female family members' bladders.

*The tiniest of those bladders didn't quite make it to the first bathroom at the very first place we visited. Sorry if you happened to be walking into the bathroom right outside the entrance of the San Diego Zoo around 11am on Labor Day. That wasn't a puddle of water you walked through...

*The owner of that bladder then didn't get a sweet new dress as her not-planned souvenir (We have established a strict "Souvenirs are only purchased on the last day of the trip" and this was the first day) to wear around the San Diego Zoo. (She also almost went commando in the zoo too but Eric insisted on her wearing her rinsed out underwear. But it kinda worked out well for her cause it acted as a sort of swamp cooler.)
*All the owners of the other tiny bladders didn't complain about Suzie getting to break the "Souvenir Rule" and wearing down Mr. Moneybags for a souvenir from the zoo too.

*We didn't force our kids to go on rides they don't want to go on, have their picture taken, buy the picture and then laugh and laugh! For another example of this check here.

*I didn't play MY favorite Disneyland game... "Spot the Mormons." To a trained eye they are so easy to find and Disneyland is crawling with them. Of course there are the telltale signs like a "BYU" hat or a bajillion kids. But a more subtle indicator is we are the only ones who have a white shirt under our tank tops when it is like a 105 degrees! *The Utes didn't lose on a road game we go to. :(

* We weren't spoiled by Dad with a week of fun and entertainment!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Celebrating Pioneer Day the Pioneer Way.

The alternate title for this post was "The road to h--- is paved with good intentions" but I decided to keep it clean in honor of the pioneers!

It started out innocent enough. Last Monday was the day designated to celebrate Pioneer Day. We didn't have any invitations to or plans for a bbq. Eric called from work, because appraisers don't get the day designated to celebrate pioneer day off from work, at about 5pm saying he has a fun idea for pioneer day. He suggested we go up Emigration canyon and have dinner at Ruth's diner then do a slightly uphill 4 mile round-trip hike along Emigration ridge to a look-out point where we could watch the fireworks go off across the valley. Sounded perfect. I was to get the girls ready to go. Finn was at scout camp. At 5:30 Eric got home and we all had our hiking shoes on, bottles of water, flashlight and the camera ready to go. We were prepared for the hike we thought we were going to take, unfortunately we weren't prepared for the hike we got.

After a yummy dinner at ruth's diner we drove up the canyon a little farther and parked right by the "Little Dell" reservoir. Luckily (and this is about where our luck ran out) there was a pit toilet the girls could use to empty their teeny-tiny bladders one last time before the hike. (They had used the bathroom at the diner at least twice each already- no exagerration!)
And off we went on our hiking adventure to the best pioneer celebration day ever. Cries of "Our dad's the greatest dad" could be heard echoing through the canyon. The air was pleasant, the scenery beautiful and the conversation lively.
Eric even led a discussion about how Brigham Young knew this was the place because of scouts he had sent out before to find the place Jim Bridger had described between two lakes.
About 1/2 way up it started dizzling. But we kept going- our biggest worry being that Annie AGAIN had to go to the bathroom and didn't want to squat behind a tree. The rain started getting a little heavier but at this point we could see Parley's canyon too and it looked like the storm was heading up that canyon. If we could just get over the ridge we would be out of the rain, or so we thought. So on we went with the rain coming down even heavier. Everyone was still in pretty good spirits until Eric almost stepped on a rattlesnake. He, Suzie and Katie were about 20 feet ahead of Annie and I so he turned back to warn us about the snake. This information was meant to be helpful to Annie and I, but it had the exact opposite effect. Annie went into a tailspin after seeing the rattlesnake curled up on the side of the trail. I must admit, it was a bit unnerving but it had turned so cold and rainy that I'm sure the snake had no intention of striking or even moving for that matter. But it should have served as an omen to Eric and I because things only went downhill from there- and I don't mean the terrain. The wind picked up, the rain became steady and hard and the temperature dropped about 10 degrees. But on we went, like our pioneer forefathers, ignoring the whining of our posterity to reach our well-worth it destination.
About a 1/2 mile from the ridge it was still raining hard and the cries had gone from "Our dad's the greatest dad" to "I hate hiking" and "Why did you think this was a good idea?" and "Why didn't you bring an umbrella?" and "I'm never going hiking again." we decided to stop by a bush and let the girls get in under the branches and leaves, hoping they would get a reprieve from the rain and we could get a reprieve from the moaning and complaining. I snapped these two pictures-

One of the beautiful sunset, although you can't really tell how much it is raining.

And one of the misery of our girls. You can only see Katie's face contorted in a cry that says, "My parents are the meanest, most abusive parents ever." But really they all had the same look on their faces. After exchanging sly smiles, Eric and I decided we better turn around. So off we went back down the mountain in the cold, rain and now dark.
It was interesting to see how everyone coped with the situation. Eric tried to be the cheerleader and keep everyone's spirits up. Annie grumbled most the time, except when we passed by the rattlesnake curled up in the same position and she didn't dare talk and had a death grip on my hand. Katie was put in charge of the flashlight by Eric to keep her distracted. Suzie was on Eric's shoulders talking nonstop most of the way down. And I wrote this blog post in my head.
It was a day designated to celebrate the pioneers to remember! And we even got back to the valley to watch the Liberty Park fireworks in time in the comfort of our car. Eric and I agreed that it would be a good hike to try again to watch the sunset when it wasn't raining. And much to the girls chagrin, Eric has vowed to "hike the princess" right out of our girls!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Adventures in Vocabulary

You can tell I am learning about the importance of building up a young child's oral language and vocabulary when Suzie says to me, "Mom, if you don't read this book to me, I will literally kill you, literally." and I am more excited about the fact that she knows how to properly use the word "literally" than I am disturbed about the fact that she wants to end my existence.
Also another vocabulary highlight is this past weekend I finally learned the meaning of the word "shawty" in current hip-hop songs. I have heard it in many songs recently like "Shawty always burning on the dance floor." Or more often in the Justin Bieber song- "Shawty is an eenie-meenie-minnie-mo-lover." I was concerned it might be a dirty, vulgar or derogartory term (because even Suzie will sing the latter Justin Bieber phrase over and over again). But my young women came to my rescue this weekend at youth conference and informed me that it is just a slang term for "girl." Good to know cause I don't want to be like my mom and misuse it in my testimony by saying something like "I sure do love all my shawties." like my mom did when she was a seminary teacher and a group of boys told her that "bad-a" meant "bad attitude" so she proceeded to say across the pulpit when she was released "I will sure miss all my bad-a students." Then of course there was the "b----in'" incident. But we'll save that story for another installment of Adventures in Vocabulary.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Good thing I wasn't swearing....

Annie turns the big double digit tomorrow. On Sunday as we were getting ready for church Annie asked if I would make her some toast for breakfast. I was rushing to get ready and said, "Annie, you are almost 10 years old. You are old enough to fix your own breakfast."
Suzie must have overheard this because that evening we were having a friend over for dinner whom Annie told it was her birthday this week. When the friend asked how old she was going to be Suzie quickly replied, "Old enough to fix her own breakfast."

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Dance of our Marriage

Eric is a little heavy-handed when it comes to bleach. He can't stand it when our whites start getting that moldy smell, so often when he does a load of whites he will add bleach. I appreciate this because it means he is actually doing laundry and I'm not a fan of that smell either. But when I do a load of whites, not everything is completely white. Some things may be off-white or have a little bit of color in them, so I generally don't add bleach.
Last night I put a load of whites in and unbeknownst to me Eric added some bleach after I had started the load. This morning I was getting the whites out of the dryer and could smell and see the results of the bleach. My off-white tank top was now more of a white-gray color and one of Eric's light colored shirts was faded and unwearable. I went to discuss the dos and donts of adding bleach to a load with Eric. Without seeing the laundry, he claimed that the bleach didn't fade anything. But after seeing the clothes he said, "That bleach really did change the color of your tank-top. Sorry."
Me: "That's ok. I can replace it easily. I was more concerned about your shirt."
Eric: "That's alright. I didn't really like that shirt anyway."
Me: "Hey! I gave you that shirt."
Eric: "And I appreciate it."

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What Suzie is and isn't a big fan of.

We live in the same neighborhood as David Archuleta. Recently David and his mom were visiting our across the street neighbor. Eric was in the front yard with Katie and Suzie. He saw David and said to the girls, "Hey girls. David Archuleta is across the street. You should go say hi." Suzie replied, "No thanks Dad. I'm not that big a fan."
Another day Suz and I were going into the mall when she spotted two little baby birds hopping along the parking lot. She grabbed me hand and pointed to the two birds saying, "Mom, look at the cute little birdies!" Without missing a beat she followed this up with, "Oh man! We should've brought Finn's gun so we could shoot 'em and eat 'em!"
So to recap, here is what Suzie is a fan of:
Little, cute baby birdies
Shooting cute baby birdies
And eating cute baby birdies
And here is what she isn't a fan of:
David Archuleta

Sunday, May 1, 2011



Jenessa is what Suzie named our Schizophrenic Springtime Snow-Woman! We just wish that if Mother Nature decides to give us 6 inches of snow on April 30th, she would at least have the courtesy to kill the weeds (but not our spinach) with the snowfall. Seriously... have you ever seen grass that green under a snowman!?!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Lesson Learned

I bought some of these :

for the Salt Lake 1/2 Marathon I ran a few weeks ago. My kids love these little individualized Crystal Light packets to add to water. But I wasn't about to let them have any of these babies because drinking one is equivalent to drinking about 4 cokes- which is okay for a race but no so good for already energy-laden children like mine. I attempted to hide them in the back of my cupboard, but my kids can sniff out anything that is off-limits... Annie especially. (Although I have found one food hiding place that no one has yet to find. It's pretty good, so it may take awhile to be discovered.)
Anyway Annie asked several times if she could have one of my Crystal Light Energy packets with no success. So the other night while I was at my class she hit up Mr. "Sure, whatever, have what you want"- aka- Eric. And in Eric's defense he didn't know they had so much caffeine and I can guarantee Annie didn't say anything about that fact. She probably just casually asked, "Dad, can I have one of the crystal light packets in the cupboard?"
Well the minute I walked in from my class I could sense something was amiss. Annie was standing in the front of the TV cheering extremely loudly, "GO, RULON GO!" She was watching "Biggest Loser" and there was some competition with the contestants. She was jumping up and down wildly like it was a horserace. Annie is an excitable child anyway, but this was over the top for her. I sat down with my dinner to watch the show with her and she kept coming up in my face and saying things. I think Eric told her 5 times in 10 minutes some version of "Settle down" or "Quit freakin' out." I wondered what was going on with her when I saw the almost empty bottle of pink tinged water and all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place.
I asked Eric, "Did you let Annie have a Crystal Light?"
Eric: "Yeah, why?"
Me: "Cause that is like drinking 4 Diet Cokes. I bought them for my race, but I tried to hide them in the cupboard."
Eric: "Uhhh... you might want to find a better hiding place."

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Things I Don't Want to Forget

If I weren't in school right now or trying to get my job application ready to be sent or getting Easter baskets ready than I would weave these stories into a great, funny tale. But the truth is I don't have the creative energy to make integrated units for kindergarten and resumes and easter baskets and witty blog entries. So the well-thought out blog entries will just have to be put on hold for now. But my kids' funny sayings never stop so I am getting them written down so I don't forget.
Suzie: I don't know if I have mentioned this before, but Suzie has the most endearing quality of saying "She" in the wrong part of sentences. (I could go into a lengthy discussion here of the different parts of a sentence here- the subject, predicate, prepositional phrases, etc. to give you further understanding of where Suzie uses "She" inappropriately, but I don't want to lose my sister... since she is probably about the only one who reads my blog these days!:) Anyway she says things like "I want a dress like she." or "Katie won't let me play with she." It is so cute and I don't want to correct her because it is such a hallmark of her age and I'm not ready for my baby to not be a baby. There is a little girl, Hannah, almost exactly Suzie's age who comes over to play regularly. She was over the other day and they started having a fight. Suzie came up to me and said, "I want she to go home." Then the other little girl came up to me and said, "Hers being mean." I think these two were made for each other. They may not complete each other's sentences, but together maybe they could properly complete a sentence.
Also this week I was "itching my nose" and Suzie walked into the room. She looked at me and said with disgust, "Oh, you are picking your nose. You're like a child." Nothing like being chastised by your 4 year old.
I took Katie and Suzie over to Wheeler Farm as part of the integrated unit I am creating for my class. Our professor encouraged us to do some of the activities with children so we get a good idea of what works and also so we can get real examples things like qualitative and quanitative assessment- (again not the time for that discussion.) Anyway we were talking about the difference between boy and girl animals. As we were looking at the piglets, I asked them if they could tell if it was a girl or boy. They correctly answered that it was a girl. Then I asked how they could tell she was a girl (Or as Hannah would say-"Hers was a girl"). Suzie replied, "Because she has eyelashes." A much safer, less anatomically correct answer than I was going for.
Katie- On the same above mentioned trip to Wheeler Farm I was asking the kids a lot more questions than I normally would because I was "supposedly" taking them on a kindergarten core curriculum supported field trip. During one of my question and answer periods Katie said, "Mom, could you stop asking so many questions and just let us look at the animals?"
Annie- At the kids' school ,there is a playground aid that goes by the name "Po-po". He is an older, retired gentleman who I assume enjoys being around children because I can't imagine who would want a job that pays approximately $7 an hour and only works 5 hours a week. Anyway I have been hearing stories about "Po-po" for years. He gives out little candies and tells you not to clog up the slide. Katie and Annie were having a discussion about Po-po while we were driving. Katie asked Annie if she had ever gotten in trouble by Po-po. Annie said, "Yeah, once when I was in 1st grade I was giving Finn a hug and he told me to keep my hands to myself." I don't know if you have to have an understanding of Finn and Annie's relationship to truly appreciate this story, but it so tickled my funny bone. I laughed out loud when Annie said it and I laughed as I typed it. And i just reread it and laughed again.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

My baby is all grown up...saving china!

If you haven't seen "Mulan" the title of this post will make no sense to you. But my first baby is all grown up. Finn turned 12 last month and it has been a whirlwind in our house since he turned 12 so I am finally getting to posting about it. He received the priesthood about a week after his birthday and today was the first day he got to pass the sacrament. And I'm not too proud to admit that I got a little teary-eyed watching him. He also got to sit on the stand, being the bishop's right-hand man and every time I caught his eye, he would give me a sly smile. I can't say it enough, he is such a good kid.

He also went on his first scout camp-out this weekend. He was so excited, despite the snowy, cold weather and the fact that the campout was about 10 minutes from our house. He probably asked me no less than 15 times during the day whether I thought it would be cancelled. He had his stuff all packed a few hours before and was the consummate boy scout being prepared for himself and then some. It reminded me of when he was 8 and became a cub scout. He was so excited to go to his first den meeting that he got his blue shirt on with the yellow scarf and then went and sat on the curb by the mailbox with his Cub Scout handbook in hand waiting for his ride to pick him up. I wish I had taken a picture. I only have the mental picture, but believe me- it is pretty darn cute!

On the night Finn was ordained a deacon we had a special dinner with his grandparents to celebrate him. I'm usually not a fru-fru, centerpiece kind of girl, but I wanted to do something special to recognize him. So I decided to put the lego space shuttle he made as the centerpiece along with a picture of him. Then I put some of his hats that represent his hobbies- like one with a fish on it, a camouflage hunting hat, a red Utes hat, etc. all up and down the table. I was so impressed with myself that I took a picture.

Also in honor of Finn's big day, after dinner we went around the table and each shared something we love about Finn. I wrote down what everyone said so we wouldn't forget:

Grandma Shauna- His sense of humor

Grandpa Mike- his acting skills

Katie- that he shares his car mat

Annie- that he plays with her but doesn't tell his friends about it.

Suzie- that he lets her sleep with him

Grandpa Craig- his thoughfulness and tenacity

Grandma Susan- that he says "I love you" back

Dad- that he loves to do the same things his dad loves to do

Mom- that he has always been so obedient and responsible and he is a protector. I tell him that he will be taking care of me when I am 80. (I like to encourage this line of thinking now so it won't even be a question 40 years down the road.)

And even though Finn's 6th grade teacher wasn't at our dinner she did recently share what she loved about Finn too in an email to me. So in her own words, here is what Ms. Allred loves about Finn too:

"He is such a WONDERFUL kid. He is so kind to the other kids and he works really hard to get his work in. I am just really impressed with the way he treats other and how responsible he is. I love ALL the kids. But there are a few that I could clone and mass produce and have a class full of that would make my job stress free and Finn is one of those kids."

Now that I am done bragging about Finn, I am going to do one last thing. I am posting his VERY favorite meal. So now you can try Finn's "Can we pleeeeeeeease have Shepherd's Pie for dinner?" shepherd's pie.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Slice of life

I don't have any big story to tell this week, just some cute stories I don't want to forget.
We actually made it to the library this week. A feat I wish I could make happen more often. One of my favorite sounds, or should I say lack of sounds, is the silence during the car ride home from the library when everyone is engrossed in their new books. During that evening I over heard Katie reading a library book to Suzie. One of the characters in the book had a particularly difficult name to pronounce. So Katie asked Suzie what name she wanted the girl character's name to be, to replace the name she couldn't pronounce. I was expecting Suzie to give a suggestion like Makenna or Sally or Jessica- her usual go-to names when naming her dolls. So i was surprised when she came up with "Suck-ha." I couldn't help but smile every time I heard lines like..."Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Suck-ha." Or "Every night, Suck-ha put up a terrible fuss about going to bed."
One evening this week Eric and I were exchanging some PG, maybe mildly PG-13 texts before he came home from work. I have one of those phones that shows the whole text stream between two people like a conversation with those conversation bubbles. I had left the text stream open, set my phone down and turned around to make dinner. After a minute I turned around and saw that Finn had picked up my phone and was reading the texts between Eric and I. I asked Finn what he was doing and swiftly removed the phone from Finn's hands. He just turned red and started giggling, like only an 11 year old boy can giggle. I was afraid I had scarred him, but apparently all I did was jog his memory because a few minutes later he handed me a note about the 6th grade maturation program next week while saying, "I just remembered you have to sign this."
And if you want to know what those texts said, you'll have to ask me personally!
Another night during dinner the kids started having one of those "How come we never....?" conversations. One of my personal favorite whiny conversation starters where they list all the perceived injustices and deprived aspects of their childhood. The list can include such huge grievances such as "How come we never go on a Disney cruise?" to smaller infractions like "How come we never have chocolate milk?" An interesting phenomenon with these conversations is how they feed off each other. All it takes is one "How come we never...?" statement and the whole dinner conversation is ruined. Kind of like when you find that one moldy berry in the container. You know it won't take long before every other berry is ruined. I don't remember any of the other "How come we never...?" statements from this particular night. (I tend to go to my happy place when these conversations start.) But I do remember Suzie's compliant. I'm sure in an effort to keep up with her siblings and because she has been learning about colors in preschool, she came up with "How come we never see any rainbows?" Well that's a "How come we never..?" statement that though I can't do anything about, I certainly can appreciate. Maybe we should spend more time outside when it rains.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

To Be or Not to Be

This past week was the 6th grades' Shakespeare performances at our school. And Finn, being in 6th grade, participated. Now if you had asked me a year ago that Finn would be excited to perform these plays and would even excel at them, I would say (with a Nacho Libre accent) "You're craaazie!" In the past I would never call Finn the dramatic type or the type that likes to draw attention to himself. He can be shy and quiet at times. But Finn has an awesome 6th grade teacher who works all year to help these kids "release their inner dork"- as she calls it. And the Shakespeare plays really highlight all her hard work. These plays are extremely well done. And it isn't a dumbed-down version of Shakespeare- it is the real thing- with costumes, set designs, staging and all. They do shortened versions of four different plays- "Hamlet", "Taming of the Shrew", "Macbeth" and "Mid-Summer's Night Dream" You can tell the teacher and parents who help really work with the kids on expression, dialogue, projection, style and humor. She even encourages them to add their own personality to their parts. Here is Finn as Demetrius in "Mid-Summer's Night Dream". He is fighting with Lysander over Helena. Originally they just fight with swords, but it was Finn's idea to add a light saber.

Soon after this fight, the girls- Helena and Hermia fight and it was Finn's idea to have the boys sit down with a tub of popcorn to watch the "Cat-fight."
And just to prove how much these plays have stretched Finn outside of his comfort zone, here he is begging Helena for a kiss:

Sorry- that would be Pertruchio's hat in the way!
These experiences really help the kids grow. It is awesome to see their humor, personality and confidence blossom right before your eyes.
Earlier last week Finn texted one of his friends who had missed the first day of the performances. This friend was playing Hamlet so Finn was letting him know he really needed to be there. The friend decided to text back right in the middle of scripture reading. I gave Finn "the look" when he got the text. He looked at it quickly and started laughing. I told him since it interrupted scripture study, he needed to share it with all of us. In response to Finn's pleadings for his presence, the friend texted, "I shall come to fulfill my role. Thou needst not worry."
Now you tell me, what other 6th graders would text that and think it is funny if they hadn't been exposed to Shakespeare.
Me thinks I needst not worry about what Finn is doing at school.
Helena, Hermia, Lysander & Demetrius

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Heaven Help Us, Not only do we have a persistent cough affecting our house, but we also have a bad case of Bieber Fever!

So I'll start with the persistent cough. It started with Finn about 2 months ago. He kept complaining about his cough, but since he had no other symptoms, I reassured him that it would go away eventually. It was just lingering. Then Annie , then Katie, then Suzie all got it. When Annie got it she also complained about her stomach & throat hurting and she had a low-grade fever too. Since I have been a mother for coming on 12 years, I have finally figured out that if your stomach hurts and your throat hurts, it could be strep throat. The third component in the strep throat trifecta is a headache. So for a few days when I woke Annie up I would ask her how she was feeling, focusing on if she had a headache too. One morning Finn was in the room when I was inquiring Annie about how she was feeling. He said with disgust, "How come you are so concerned about Annie and her cough? When I had that cough all you did was tell me it would go away. Then last year when I had a sunburn, you didn't do anything. But when Annie got a sunburn you rushed out to get medicine to help her feel better." I reminded him that Annie could rattle off a whole list of times we seemed to favor him over her. I mean how many times have I heard, "Dad, ALWAYS does (fill in the blank) with Finn and he NEVER does anything with me!" Needless to say, "Life isn't fair." is a common refrain in our household.

Which leads me to the next part of this post. Another recent common refrain in our house, also much to Finn's disgust, is "I just love Justin Bieber!" So my girls were too young to catch the Britney Spears craze, Hannah Montana was a glancing blow and the Jonas Brothers were just a flash in the pan compared to the case of Bieber Fever we got going on in our house. It began just a few weeks ago when Annie was watching her favorite show, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" with Justin as a guest star. Annie's quick rise in emotions and adoration for Justin mirrored the singer's career path itself: fast and furious. The spark ignited by the Makeover show roared to a blaze when she went to school and soon discovered other girls suffering from the same condition.

Pretty soon "Never Say Never" and "Baby, baby, oh" lyrics were filling our house and Annie was begging me to see the new Justin Bieber movie. I adamantly denied this request until I was talking with some girlfriends who told me they had taken their girls to it and said it was actually good. They even admitted they would see it again. So yesterday I gritted my teeth and took my girls to see the "Never Say Never" bio-documentary of a 16 year old who I am old enough to be his mother. Annie was literally on the edge of her seat with her mouth gaping half open during most of the movie. She didn't even eat a single kernel of popcorn. Katie on the other hand was quite bored by it and said all it was was singing and talking. She also admitted that all the girls screaming gave her headache. But she assured us all after that she still loved Justin Bieber. Suzie did pretty good during the movie. She was rockin out with the rest of the theater, but she did fall asleep during the last 20 minutes of the movie. I guess the climax of Justin getting over his sore throat and being able to perform at Madison Square Garden just didn't enthrall her all that much. (Sorry if I just spoiled the movie for you!)

And even though as an adult all this tween crush stuff can at times seem really silly to me, I do know that it is part of growing up. So I find myself biting my tongue when Annie talks about "how beautiful Justin Bieber is" because I too had a preteen crush. And it wasn't on someone cool like Michael Jackson and I was a little too old by the time New Kids on the Block came around. It was Jack Wagner. Ever heard of him? Don't worry... not that many people had either back in the eighties when I was 9. But my sister and I were big General Hospital fans where he played Frisco Jones. He also sang the one-hit wonder "All I Need." We even went to his concert, my first concert ever. I can't imagine what else he sang to fill the two hour concert, but it didn't matter. Because I too thought he was beautiful.

At this point I wanted to provide you with a little eye-candy in the form of a picture of Jack Wagner with his sweet mullet circa 1984, but I couldn't get the picture to load. So I will just direct you here if you really must see a picture of him. And in my search for a Jack Wagner picture I found a book called "Getting Over Jack Wagner: Love is Nothing like an eighties song." So I guess there are more people out there besides my sister and I who had a crush on Jack. I just wish there had been a cute name for our condition like there is for Annie. But having "Wagner Whooping Cough" just isn't as cool as "Bieber Fever!"

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My Recurring Nightmare, Come True.

I believe dreams can be quite powerful. I have had dreams that have conveyed important messages. I have had dreams that have warned me. I have had dreams that have given me comfort. Of course I have also had dreams that have been complete nonsense. But I do have a few recurring dreams and one in particular I consider a nightmare of sorts.

This recurring nightmare goes something like this- I am back in college, it's toward the end of the semester and I still can't remember what my schedule is. I don't remember where my next class is or even what my next class is. Then I realize that I haven't done most of the work for the class and I will probably fail. And if you were me in college, that is a definite nightmare.

I'm not exactly sure what the deeper meaning of this recurring dream is- probably something about not feeling prepared. But I do think it is interesting that I always go back to a previous stage of life. My mom also a recurring nightmare that has varying settings, but she is always having to do something difficult with a bunch of little kids in toe. Which would be a step back in her life too.

Well about a month ago, my step back in time nightmare became my current reality. I am back in college for real. I am taking an Integrated Early Childhood Curriculum course at the U. There are various reasons why I am working on earning my Early Childhood License and renewing my teaching certificate at the same time, but for the main reason I can thank Mr. Obama and how his "generous" healthcare bill affects small business owners like Eric. So I have started on the path toward becoming a part-time kindergarten teacher so we can have reasonable insurance. Which is a reality for a lot of teachers who work for insurance and I'm just grateful I have a degree in a profession where I can get insurance as a part-time employee.

But it has been interesting being back in college as a 30 something way closer to her 40's than her 20's. On the first day I was worried I wouldn't be able to find my class. Where would I park? Where do I buy my books? Should I take just a notebook? If I do, would I look ancient because I don't have a laptop to take notes? But what if take a laptop and I look like a major geek? (In the end I decided it would be better to be "underdressed" rather than "overdressed" and just took a notebook. ) But the point is I found all the "insecurities" I felt in my recurring dream coming out for real before I started the class.

But now that I have been in class for a month now, I have found that being in college at 36 is way different from being in college at 18. It isn't nearly as stressful to me. Granted, I'm only taking one class, but I think I have commented more times in my current class than I did my whole first year of college. I've realized that having 4 children and being a stay-at-home mom for almost 12 years really has been useful when it comes to understanding child development. Obviously my confidence in the class is bolstered from already having my degree in elementary education and having taught for 5 years, but I am honestly enjoying it more than I thought it would.

And good news, since I started my class, I haven't had one nightmare about being in college and not being prepared. But I am a little worried about what recurring dream I could start having now. I'm afraid it may have something to do with being labor!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

"I Like Me Too."

My baby turned four this week, so this whole post is going to be about her. So if you don't like Suzie stories, you might just want to move on.
I just love my Suz! She is such an independent, confident, charming, bossy little bugger. She has the mentality of an oldest child combined with all the spoiling of the youngest child.

So the first Suzie story relates to the title of this post. A few weeks ago I was drying Suzie off after her bath. I gave her a kiss on her cheeks as I was drying her face. She said, "Why did you kiss me?" I said, "Because I love you." Then she asked, "Do you like me?" I responded, "Yes." I fully expected a "I like you too." response. But instead she replies with a, "I like me too." Well who wouldn't?!?

Suzie loves, loves movies. She will even quote them. My favorite one she quotes is Nacho Libre. She will say, "Go away. Read some books." Or when I give her hug when she is going to bed she will grab my neck and say, "I give you da squaa-weeze!"

She is also my best eater. She loves most food. I had made some noodles the other day and gave her a bowl. She saw that there were still noodles in the pan and informed me that she wanted ALL the noodles. I told her they wouldn't all fit in her bowl. She said, "Then get a bigger bowl." Well of course. Why didn't I think of that!

She has discriminating taste in clothes. She has a outfit that she calls her "rockstar clothes". It has a ruffly top and pants with a crazy design. And when I wear a sweatshirt and my camouflage pants she will ask, "Why are you wearing your ugly clothes, mom?"

She is voted the favorite prayer-giver by the kids because her prayers last about 2.5 seconds. They usually go something like this, "Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the food. Amen." Or "Dear Heavenly Father, Bless that we won't have bad dreams. Amen." One time I suggest she make her prayers longer by thanking Heavenly Father for all the things he has blesses us with. She took this suggestion to heart because her prayer went something like this, "Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for all the things. Amen."

She also knows her place in the family. One night Eric and I were in our room discussing some "criminal mischief" that had taken place in our house that day like a shelf in the pantry being broken from being used as a ladder to the top where the "good food" is. Suzie's room is across the hall from ours and she overheard our discussion from her bed. Without being asked if she was the one who broke the shelf, she offered up, "I didn't do it. I'm too small."

She also knows Eric's place in the family. She was naming everyone in the family and ticking them off on her fingers. Like touching her pointer finger and saying, "There's Finn." then moving to her middle finger and saying, "And Annie." After she finished the whole family she turned to Eric and said, "Daddy, you're the thumb."

Her view of Eric as the thumb might also explain the comment she made to him while lifting up her shirt and proclaiming, "Daddy, our tummies match!" (Eric is another one of my best eaters too!)

One day she was playing house with Katie and her friend Ellie. When I walked past them while they were playing she told me, "I'm the mom and these are my two sweeties."

But my most favorite recent Suzie story is when she was giving me a kiss and said, "Mom when I give you a kiss, it means love." Absolutely.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A big dose of reality

I usually blog on the weekends, but this story is too good.. it deserved a midweek post.

Let me preface this story with another story. On Christmas Eve, we saw some neighbors who we lived by when I was in my twenties. They have a son who is in his early twenties who was just a kid when we lived by them. Well his mother, my friend, told me that he had told her,"Kari doesn't look like she is getting older at all. In fact she looks like she is getting younger and younger." I mostly attribute this to the fact that I have grown my hair out longer. But this didn't stop me from fully accepting this compliment and proclaiming it as the best Christmas present of the year, if not ever!
Now fast forward to this week. Suzie is in a 3-4 year old dance class and there is a mom of another 3 or 4 year old in that same dance class who has looked so familiar to me. I have tried and tried to figure out how I know this woman. She is kind of quiet and keeps to her self, so I have never spoken with her. I figured maybe she just works at Costco. (See sometimes when I am at Costco, I will look at the people that work there and think. "How do I know you?" and then I remember that I know them because they work at Costco and I am there once a week.) Anyway I gave up trying to figure out how I know her.
Until this week. After dance class, the little girl of this woman passed out birthday party invitations to all the girls in the class. As Suzie and I opened the invitation and I read the mom's name on the R.S.V.P. line, it hit me like a ton of bricks who this "woman" is.
To be sure I went home and pulled out my scrapbook to find my class picture from those years and sure enough here she is in overalls on the front row of my first year of teaching.
Now in my defense I am only 10 years older than these kids, but it still stung. And it didn't help that I later went to the pharmacy and dropped of my prescription to a pharmacist who was a former student too. Seriously, I am suppose to only be 25 and how can I be 25 if these former students are 26!
Then to add insult to injury, I had this exchange with Katie recently:

Katie: Mom, you don't look like you are 36.

Mom: How old do I look?

Katie: You look like you are 28.

Mom: Silent, but smiling.

Katie: (Adding after a moment) Except for the wrinkles.

Mom: Silent, but not so much smiling.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

More Kitchen Capers

Ever since I did the Great Chicken Experiment, my kids often ask things like, "Are you doing another experiment on us?" or "Are you trying to give us salad every night until we tell you to stop?" Nothing like causing paranoia in your children.
Well recently Eric conducted a food experiment of his own. Last fall he went deer hunting and came home with two big, black garbage bags full of deer meat. I'm not a big fan of cooking or eating venison, so Eric said we were going to donate it. He put the meat in our deep freezer and I didn't think much about it.
Then one night last week Eric called to see what was for dinner. When I told him spaghetti, I didn't think twice about him saying he would fix it when he got home. See, if I am being perfectly honest here, Eric is probably a better intuit cook than I am. I can follow a recipe with the best of them and I can even change and doctor up a recipe fairly well, but Eric has more of a "kitchen whisperer" sense than I do. I have a bigger repertoire of what I can make than he does but that is just because I have to cook more often, but if all things were equal, he would beat me anyday in the cooking department. But don't tell him I admit this. I like to keep a psychological edge in my kitchen.
All of this is to say I wasn't surprised when Eric offered to make the spaghetti, especially spaghetti. Italian is his forte. If I ever invite you over for dinner, insist that Eric make italian. Anyway, Eric makes dinner and I move from head chef to sous chef. As good a cook as Eric is, he is a bit unrealistic about what he expects from his kitchen. I think he expects the cabinets to magically divine what ingredient he needs and move it to the front of the shelf right where his hand would reach for it. So this is where I come in when he is cooking. My place is not to question his methods or do the actual cooking. My place is to make sure all the ingredients are within quick reach of his hand. I've never been in an OR, but I can imagine that the set-up in our kitchen is very similar to a doctor asking the nurse for a scalpel during surgery, except without the masks. Mine is a supporting role, not a life-saving role.
So after we have conducted this life-saving task of making spaghetti for our family and have enjoyed the fruits of our labor, Eric asks everyone, "So can you guess the secret ingredient in the spaghetti tonight?" I knew immediately what is was not because of the taste of the spaghetti, but because the one ingredient I hadn't divined for Eric was the meat. It was deer meat. I was honestly surprised because I couldn't taste the difference at all. I think if I ate the meat straight, like in a hamburger, I could taste the difference, but because it was in a sauce it tasted just fine. In fact we have been so impressed with this deer meat that we have made sloppy joes and chili with it and they have both been fantastic.
So my cooking club may have to watch out. Last year I fed them fish and this year they may just get deer!

What we have Mastered in 2010

If you got a Christmas card from me, then you have already read this. So sorry to not give you any new reading material, but I thought it was so clever it deserved to be posted. And if you didn't get a Christmas card from me and would like one, let my know in the comments and I'll put ya on the list for next year! So here is what we have mastered this year:
Finn: The art of eye-rolling and pre-teen sighing, playing tuba solos and making us and his classmates laugh with his wit and humor.
Annie: The art of noticing each and every slight or injustice committed against her with statements like "That's not fair" and "Finn always gets to go and I never do", being an excellent piano player and constantly creating new games and activities for her sisters and friends to do.
Katie: The art of infuriating her brother and sister by taking her own sweet time getting ready for school in the morning, having more friends than a 6 year old needs and being an expert reader.
Suzie: The art of getting whatever she wants through charm or sheer will. (Part of this art may also lie in the fact that she is the baby and her parents are just plain worn out), getting everyone to adore her and she is still working on the art of sharing her Polly Pockets.
Mom: The art of getting dirty while she runs (Dirty Dash and Warrior Run), remembering when each kids' library day is and what the letter of the week is in preschool and when the kids' run out of lunch money and when scouts is and when she is suppose to drive to band... you know just the art of motherhood, although she wouldn't claim to have mastered it yet!
Dad: The art of repairing dings in the walls (Turns out raising girls can be just as hard on a house as raising boys!), keeping his heart rate in check through the ups and downs of this year's Utes football season and getting his girls to squeal with delight when he walks through the door each night.
Can't wait to see what we master in 2011!