My 3 Monsters: May 2009

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A Few of His Favorite Things

37 years ago today, the man for whom I've forsaken all others was born. His children commemorated this momentous event by teasing him mercilessly. It's kind of a tradition. Last year they wrapped up a Jiffy corn muffin mix with a note that said "Oh, Snap!". THEN they gave him his real gift -- a Wii Fit. This year we had the real gift (James Bond DVDs), but the kids could not rest until they had a prank gift, too. We were running out of time. And just happened to be at the grocery store. The jar of Fluff set us on a roll. You may or may not know that my man has a few food-y quirks. An aversion to "fluffy stuff" being number one. Also high on the list of dislikes: bananas, nuts, and cream soda. The only thing we forgot was the Velveeta. Blast.

Anyway, Happy Birthday, baby. Your kids have learned from the best in the business . . . YOU! We love you.


Zoom! Zoom!

It's Pinewood Derby time!!!! This was Riley's first go at building a "cub car", as my dear Canadian spouse calls it, and he did a fantastic job. They did a Swiss tournament -- don't ask, I don't know, but it's supposed to be supremely fair. He made it to the semi-finals where he lost to the car that eventually won the whole shebang. Afterward, in free-racing, he beat the other kid who lost in the semi-finals so he's the "Unofficial Third Place Champion". Whatever. I think in free racing he also beat the Second place kid, but who's counting. The winner, a nine year old autistic boy, was the clear winner. No one ever beat that car all night. I'd like to draw your attention to the certificate in the top picture. Riley won a special prize for "Most Artistic Car". Yep. That's my boy. Boo Yah!!


Tag-Team Parenting

I'm coining a new phrase for the way my family has been operating since school let out. On a typical day in our home the children awake at the crack of dawn (for what reason, I'll never understand.) Unfortunate Brent is also up getting ready for work. He is "it". Sometimes he feeds them breakfast. Around 7:00 a.m. he leaves for work. TAG, I'm it. But I'm going to be "it" all day and the kids are big now so I linger in bed contemplating my day until the bickering begins somewhere between 7:30 and 8:00. The kids and I hang out all day doing a little of this and some of that. Until 4:15 when Brent returns home. We chat about our days for a few moments. I apologize for the general chaos in which he finds himself surrounded. Then . . . TAG, he's it so I can sneak out to the gym. I rush home around 5:45 to throw dinner in the oven. We ALWAYS eat together. Family rule. As soon as dinner is cleared from the table there is usually another TAG as one or the other of us runs out the door on another errand, with or without a child in tow as appropriate. Some days we are both on the run taking children in different directions or attending simultaneous church meetings and activities. And we're not even a very busy family!! My friend Tammy was telling me the other day about a friend of hers who unknowingly left a child at Tammy's house because she didn't remember having the child with her in the first place. She had met up with her husband, done a kid swap, and had forgotten which of her children she was responsible for at that moment. Crazy!! And not at all uncommon.

I think back on the younger days of our little family when everything we did, we did together, kids and all. Partly because we only had one car, partly because that's just the way we did things then. I stress about leaving Brent and the kids home "alone" in the evenings. He says I stress too much. I do. I know they're only home watching Wipe Out while I do the grocery shopping or attend meetings, but what if I miss some especially important bonding moment?! It is what it is. And it won't be this way forever . . . Soon, I fear, it will be our children tagging in and out of our lives as Brent and I sit together in our home desperately wanting them to just stay put. Ahhhh well.


A Perfectly Lovely Afternoon

That beautiful yard and pool belong to our good friends the Schicks. (Thanks guys!! Your dogs are fantastic fun for Sydney to care for.) I sat in the shade re-reading Twilight while the kids splashed around for what seemed like minutes (but was probably more like a good, long hour).

So . . . I'm not a photographer. I took about a thousand pictures today and this was the only one I thought was really fun. That is one great kid, right there.


Positive Reinforcement

As I was working out at the gym Friday evening, an older lady came and got on the elliptical trainer next to mine. We smiled and nodded to one another, acknowledging our mutual acceptance of the close proximity. She seemed nice enough. At the end of my 45 minute work-out as I was gathering up my things and wiping down the machine, she looked over and said, "Very good! You did well today!" I blushed a little and said, "Well, I've got a long way to go," and she quickly replied, "You're fine! We're all fine! You must be healthy if you can work out that long. Good for you." What a sweet, perfectly KIND lady!! She made my day. That day and every day since. So what if I weigh 30 pounds more than I want to (and at least 40 pounds more than I ideally should). So what!! I'm healthy. I'm FINE. We're ALL FINE and I think we should tell each other so more often.

Always Looking Out for One Another

My sweet almost-11-year-old daughter is deeply entrenched in "puberty" with all of its associated good, bad and ugly. Remember the days? Needing deodorant for the first time. Needing to wear a bra and being really excited at first and then realizing how much it sucks and trying to get away without it as often as possible. Was that just me? Just me and my baby girl, I suppose. So, many days as she descends the stairs for breakfast we gently tell her to go back up and reconsider her undergarment situation. No big deal. Until yesterday when, as I was blow drying my hair in just my "g" top (undergarment similar to a thin t-shirt for those of you unfamiliar with our odd Mormon lingo) and jeans (so as not to get my real shirt covered in stray hairs), Dylan comes in, looks at me for a moment and says, "Mom, you should probably wear a bra with that." I was stunned for a moment as I gathered my thoughts. Ummmmmm . . . really. Did my baby boy REALLY just tell ME to put a bra on?! And did he REALLY think I was leaving the house in my underwear?! Have I EVER given him cause for concern about me exposing my breasts in public in even the SMALLEST WAY?! I'm so freaking modest that I usually wear my "g" top, a bra, a tank top and THEN a regular shirt. Sometimes with a little sweater on top of that. And still he was concerned about me? Really?! But deep down I know that he is just looking out for me. Because that's what families do. Keep one another from exposing their privates in public. Really.


Try As I Might

Since I changed my blog background on a whim the other night I decided that I need a new header photo to go with it. Something bright and fun. Something that displays my children's more, um, whimsical side. Wouldn't you know it, the past several days have been completely gray and overcast. Still warm enough to swim in between sprinkles, but not exactly what I had in mind for my new photo. BOO. But, it has given me time to read up on my new camera and hopefully figure out how to TAKE just the kind of picture I WANT. Be warned, folks. Change is in the air . . .

So, we ended up taking the kids (and my friend Maura) to see Brian Regan last weekend even though it was too expensive (it's only money, right) and it was the night after the Father/Son Campout. It was good, good fun. We laughed. Hard. And Dylan took a $30 nap. Whatever. Click on the pictures to hear some of our favorite classic bits. If he comes to your town, promise me you'll go. PROMISE!


600 SF of CRAP

I spent the day de-junking my upstairs. THE ENTIRE DAY!!!! I've really let my kids' rooms go to seed lately. It's easy. I just avoid going up there. I only have one child who still wants to be tucked in at night and B and I take turns doing that. So I only ever venture up there for a couple of minutes every other day. And I put the blinders on. BUT . . . deep in my subconscious I know that they are living in (self-induced) squalor and it gnaws my nerves to shreds. I knew that something had to be done. AND I knew that, today being the last day of school, it had to be done NOW. See, if the kids are actually present when I de-junk I can't actually de-junk at all. We simply end up shoving all the beloved junk into nooks and crannies. Not today. I was ruthless. Old school projects? Buh-bye. Broken toys? See ya. Perfectly good toys that no one will miss? Adieu. Out-grown clothing? Sayonara. SOOOOOOOOO cathartic!!!!!! I feel about a thousand pounds lighter tonight. Exhausted, but more peaceful. My kids are up there right now sleeping in fresh sheets with clean windows, closets and floors. We don't need to wake up early in the morning and have not one thing planned for the entire day. Life is bliss tonight. Next up, mommy's room.


Hero Worship

This is what Dylan was doing one Sunday morning instead of putting his church clothes on. Click on the picture to enlarge it because you just can't quite fully appreciate it this small. Do you think the kid loves his dad?

And I'm loving my fancy friend Tammy today for making this beautiful pie. It was almost too pretty to eat. Almost. I want to be as kind and thoughtful and talented as Tammy when I grow up.


Girl's Night In Review




Oooh la la.


It's Girl's Night!!!!

Tonight is the annual Father & Sons Camp Out. Sydney and I aren't over-excited or anything, but is it 4:00 yet? We've got a full evening planned. Pedicures, pizza, a movie, late-night TV and giggling until mom falls asleep. (I fall asleep first every year.) My dear daughter has this evening micro-planned, right down to getting cherries instead of flowers on our big toes and the chocolate covered cookie dough bites at the movie theater. She only gets ONE NIGHT a year of her very own and she wants what she wants. No surprises. Good times.


Happiness is . . .

. . . a perfectly sharpened Dixon Ticonderoga pencil. My heart just skipped a beat. And that's why Brent gave me that glorious X-ACTO pencil sharpener for Mother's Day. An unorthodox choice, sure. But, I tell you, that man GETS me. Like on a cellular level.



School's out in one week.
ONE WEEK, folks.


The Older I Get . . .

. . . the less forgiving my skin and hair are. I'm not super high maintenance now (as opposed to my younger years), but gone are the days of using "just whatever's cheapest" and still being able to look presentable. LONG gone are the days of perming, straightening, doing my own color, going 6 months without a trim and still having generally pretty, shiny hair. I'm finding a good haircut every 6 weeks and salon-brand shampoo and conditioner to be my best allies in this battle against visible aging. I still do my own color . . . for now. I have an almost violent physical reaction to dropping $50 on 3 hair products, but it's nothing compared to what my dear husband feels about it. I just gently remind him that I never claimed to be a natural beauty. And that, most of the time, he finds me reasonably attractive, so maybe it's worth it.
Anyway, I'm getting off track. Here are a few of my very favorite discoveries. Let me know if you've found anything that you can't live without.

Favorite Shampoo and Conditioner. Smells like mint with a hint of rose. Sounds yucky, but trust me, it's real good. I still try to use Herbal Essences a couple days a week, too, just to make the good stuff last longer.

Want to know a secret? A Dirty Secret? I don't wash my hair every day. EWWWWW! Whatever. This stuff is pretty great for those in-between washing days.

Because I've learned recently that people don't really tease their hair anymore. Who knew?! I'm a child of the 80's and old habits die hard. This gives me just enough poof without creating a helmet-like effect.

As the name implies, it makes your skin feel like velvet. Awesome. It's tempting to put it all over your face, but if you're cheap (like yours truly) you just need it to smooth over flaws before applying other makeup. Like around your crepe-y eyes and to fill in the gigantic pores on your nose, maybe. Not that I would know for sure . . . Moving on . . .

Faithfully. Every night. I don't KNOW if it helps, but I like to hope that it does.

Not an expensive product, but good for preventative maintenance. Avoiding sun exposure and all that.

I'm reading this back now and worrying that I sound really vain. I'm not really worried about getting older. I say, bring it on. Age and wisdom and freedom. BRING IT! And I'll wear my shiny white hair and wrinkles with pride. When I'm ready. Which is not now.

To Go or Not To Go . . .

Our favorite stand-up comedian, Brian Regan, is coming to town this weekend. He's completely clean and hilarious and we've listened to his CD in the car oh, six million times as we run errands. Brent and I really want to go. Our kids really want to go. We all want to go and bond as a family. But having just returned from a cruise, can we justify this extravagance?
5 tickets @ $30 each = yikes!
Then again, having taken the cruise without our sweet children, can we really afford to pass up this opportunity to have a memorable experience with them?! We can easily blow $150 on fast food and junk. $10 at a time here or there. Why is it so hard to pay it all up front when I know it will be worth it in the end? Practicality is soooo overrated.



I've been a very naughty girl today. I rented Slumdog Millionaire and watched it this afternoon while everyone else was gone. And I loved it! I haven't watched an R-rated movie in more than 10 years and I feel good about that choice. I think it's wise. But I just could not resist this one. It was entertaining and educational (maybe that's pushing it a bit) and WAY more worthy of a portion of my brain cells than Talladega Nights (PG-13, folks) which I have seen with my dear husband several times. Here's my one gripe: The vulgar language. It kills me when they take an otherwise perfectly entertaining movie and ruin it with a truck-load of f-bombs. Sure, that's how people talk now days. Maybe, I'll grant you, it's more "authentic". I just don't like it. Classic case in point: Hancock which came out last summer(also PG-13). My children would LOVE that movie, but they'll never see it thanks to the foul-mouthed dialogue. BOO! I don't really feel guilty about seeing Slumdog Millionaire. But I AM hiding the DVD in my purse until I can return it tomorrow so my kids won't see. Yep, add deceit to my growing list of "Things That Will Ultimately Keep Me Out of Heaven". I'm human after all.


Mother's Day

I love my mom. Yeah, the lady in the back of the group with the Farrah Fawcett hairdo. I think she went on EVERY ONE of my school field trips. And that was back in the day when they made the parents drive the kids in their own cars. She was much braver than I am. She was ALWAYS one of my Young Women leaders in my teens. I loved having her around. Especially for those late nights at Youth Conference when my friends and I were just dying to know if we chose our bodies before we came to this earth life. She was there imparting wisdom every step of the way. Even still, when I can't for the life of me figure out why my kids behave just exactly like they do, I can call mom and commiserate. And laugh. And feel better by the time we hang up the phone. So, thanks mom. And Happy Mother's Day.


Etsy Favorites

I've been lurking around Etsy again. Still. Whatever. Here are some fun finds. Click the picture to go straight to the Etsy listing if you feel like you might want to buy me an early birthday present . . .
Vintage Soda Labels. I'm imagining printing these out on sticker paper then wrapping gifts in brown paper and baker's twine with one of these fab stickers holding the twine in place.
Oh, how I love the vintage images . . .

. . . and anything monogrammed. Sure, these are MADE for kids, but how could anyone so young appreciate their beauty? I use washcloths, too.

Simple. Elegant. Lovely.

More ornate. Brent would probably HATE this one. I'd have to buy a new outfit to wear it with which only adds to its' appeal.

The "piece de resistance". I don't EVER go anywhere fancy enough to wear this, but I think it is GORGEOUS!!! Dupioni silk. Rosettes. Just slay me. Maybe for a date night with nice jeans and a white baby tee, some cute ballet flats and an up-do. Could I pull it off? Mark my words, I will own this one day.

A Little Fieldtrip.

As is my personal custom, I've been feeling decidedly uninspired since returning from my travels. It's hard to transition back into the "day to day" after having a wee bit of diversion. This time has been better than most, but still. Frustrating. I think I've gotten preety good lately at finding joy in the simple things. I hadn't realized I was developing that skill until this week's lack thereof. I've kept busy, to be sure. A funeral, a trip to the IMAX with the third graders, a Cinco de Mayo lunch with friends, exultation over Shiela's newly discovered pregnancy (they have struggled with fertility for years, have two beautiful children, and now she just got knocked up all on her own!), helping the sister I visit teach run errands and move out of her apartment after the death of her mother, visiting teaching, presidency meeting, chauffeuring kids to birthday parties, etc . . . Don't get me wrong, I'm profoundly grateful for the wonderful life my husband provides for me that leaves me with time to do all the afore-mentioned activities. I just haven't been really excited about doing many of those things.

So, yesterday I decided to take the bull by the horns and reclaim my positivity, so to speak. And I went grocery shopping . . .at Trader Joe's. Sounds like a real riot, right? There is just something about breaking from the normal routine and doing something "new" that sends shock waves throughout all of life for me. I bought food that's all organic and wholesome . . . things I've never cooked before so maybe this excitement will last all week. Every time I open my refrigerator and see the carton of Tzatziki sauce and the Carne Asada and the Guac con Pico, my stomach does a little flip-flop. I don't know what to cook first. I want it all today. And my pantry full of Unburied Treasure (a puffed corn snack) and honey whole wheat pretzels and organic blue corn tortilla chips, and strawberry cereal bars (called "This strawberry walks into a bar . . . " Funny) is pure bliss. That's not even to mention the Joe Joe's (a simply divine Oreo knock-off with vanilla bean cream filling) and the ice cream cake waiting in the freezer for mother's day tomorrow. I. Am. BACK!!!!!

I've got a vase full of daffodils on my kitchen table ($1.29 at T.J's), a glass of strawberry lemonade and a brighter, sunnier disposition all thanks to my personal field trip yesterday. Family, you're welcome.



Our Cruise to Not Mexico

Catalina Island
Why, Why, WHY did I not sit up straight and suck in that gut for the photo? I guess it's just proof that I was really, truly relaxed and at ease for one week of my life. But still . . .
That's as close as we got due to the "Swine Flu Epidemic of 2009".

I love the cute towel animals and the chocolates.

Greg, Tammy, Shiela and Mitch.
They were in the "fast" golf cart. Ours was slow. Boo.

Me, Chris and Brent.
Shortly before we all almost died the world's slowest death in a golf cart accident. Brent's a good driver. Really.


12 years and 51 weeks of wedded bliss.

'At's a big boat!

Just after sunset on the Carnival Paradise.

"The Compound".
Is it so weird that 8 grown adults would want to live together in a compound once our kids are grown and gone?! . . . Really?!

So, Brent and I are NOT the photographers of the group. These are the highlights from our camera. We also sang karaoke, got dressed up for formal night, ate ice cream in our pajamas, and WON $750 AT BINGO!!! Good times had by all. Can't wait for the next one.


A Little More Basic Math:



20 years


Happily Ever After
Yes, I'm home. Yes, I'm exhausted. Yes, it's my 13th anniversary. Brent, I love you man.

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