Monthly Archives: June 2008

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men…

…Get their necks snapped by morons.

OK, so maybe that’s being a little harsh but, really, how many days does it take to replace a cigarette lighter in a car? We started trying to get it fixed last Wednesday. They finally got the part we needed yesterday morning. So, instead of leaving on vacation when we had planned to, we sat in a mechanic’s shop (with all four kids) while they took over an hour to do a “fifteen minute” job. It made us late picking up my niece, S~, who is going on this trip with us to help with the kids.

By the time we left my state (which would normally take about an hour from my house) it was already about 5:00 pm. And we left the house at 10:30 am. Which means we had already had a full day, mostly in the car, before we even officially got on our way. We drove until midnight last night, and still didn’t even begin to get as far as we normally go on our first day of driving. As a result, we didn’t reach Orlando today until around bedtime for the kids.

But we’re here!

And, holy crap, the hotel is HUGE. OK, what was I expecting? It is the largest Marriott in the world. S~ and I went for a walk (she promptly lost her wallet and, amazingly, found it again) and didn’t begin to cover the whole thing. We were both stunned by the size of the main swimming pool (yes, there are several). We will have to take some time to get in that thing at some point. Wow.

The one thing they don’t have, though, is free wireless service. Someone explain this to me. I mean, cheap hotels have free wireless, but every time I stay someplace really nice, they want to charge me out the wazoo for it. Aren’t we paying enough already??? Fortunately, the Sheraton across the street seems to take the same attitude as I do, and they have one rockin’ wireless connection. It reaches my room.

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And now, since I know you are dying to hear about our two days in a car, some observations…

First, it is amazing that it only takes a couple hours driving south of my home for me to suddenly seem like a huge yankee. As I already said, I only live about an hour north of the state line, but crossing it seems like crossing into another dimension. A dimension with loogey-hochin’ grannies and Cooter from the Dukes of Hazzard. In case you are wondering at this point, Granny hoched the loogey in the Walmart parking lot, next to Cooter’s truck (with most of a four-wheeler strapped in the back). You just can’t make this stuff up.

Something else I couldn’t make up…seeing a Cozy Coupe broken down on the side of the highway. I know that gas prices are over the top, but I just wouldn’t think that was street-legal…(I also saw a bedpan with handles on the side of the freeway, but trying to get anywhere in that would just be silly.)

I also have the winning entry for the world’s biggest idiot driver. At one point, we got stuck behind a cop who (annoyingly) didn’t feel like driving 75-80 mph (speed limit was 70, so we weren’t being that bad). So we slowed down and followed. And followed. Aren’t cops supposed to make little treks up and down the same basic area? We tried to stay patient, but another guy wasn’t doing so well with it. He started tail gaiting the cop. OK, now that is dumb enough. What is dumber, however, would be to pass the cop after several minutes of riding his butt fails to get him to speed up. I’ve never seen someone pulled over with the cop out of his car so fast in my life.

Stupidity like that deserves a ticket.

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Tomorrow, the real fun begins. We have passes for the week to Universal Studios. The kids are all ramped up to see Shrek and Spiderman. I’m just excited to have a day where I’m not one of seven people crammed into an Explorer.

 

*OK, this was written last Wednesday, obviously. It turns out that the Sheraton’s connection wasn’t as good as originally suspected. I couldn’t keep the connection long enough to post. I will write more about the vacation as I am able, now that I am home.

 

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Filed under Idiot Files, just plain bizarre, Kids, vacation

Down to the Wire

What happened to Sunday being a day of rest?

OK, in all honesty, Sundays never feel very restful for me. I mean, come on, trying to deal with four wiggly boys five and younger through an hour+ sacrament meeting? Restful doesn’t begin to describe it–more like sweat inducing. Oh, speaking of which, Sean had his first week with his new primary class. Let’s just say that he came home proclaiming our children’s extreme reverence. Amazing what perspective can do.

But that is the great thing about Sundays. For two hours, someone else takes my kids and teaches them about being good people. Two whole hours of only having the baby AND getting to listen to uplifting gospel messages. God bless the primary teachers and presidency. Really.

But I didn’t get my two hours this week. All of my kids have been fighting colds. It’s not that they didn’t feel well enough, but you just don’t want to be that parent who sticks your hacking kid in a room full of healthy ones. So I stayed home and let Sean go fulfill his teaching duties. By the time he came home I had:

  • Dressed the kids
  • Made the beds
  • Vacuumed
  • Prepared and taught a primary lesson to my kids (yep, we still made an attempt at keeping it Sunday)
  • Cleaned up the kitchen
  • Did laundry
  • Sang songs with the kids
  • Negotiated the great peace treaty of the Western Block (OK, I sorted out blocks into equal piles so they would stop yelling at me about who had more and wasn’t sharing)
  • Made and ate lunch
  • Put the kids down for naps/quiet time

The rest of my day was much of the same. Cleaning, organizing, preparing, and making lists. Why? Because…Drumroll please…

We leave tomorrow for Florida!

Every year, Sean’s company does a trip for the agents who meet certain goals. In five years, we’ve only missed it once. This year’s trip is to Orlando, so tomorrow starts the drive…

And, of course, every year Sean tells me how much he appreciates all that I do in getting us ready to leave. I believe him. Of course, I still don’t think that he even begins to comprehend just how much I really do to prepare for a trip like this. The preparation takes good chunks of several days leading up to it, and the actual packing takes several hours (even though everything is listed and organized).

And, of course, I end up doing weird things like making dog tags for my children (Don’t worry, they aren’t shaped like bones. I’m talking military style, but with their names and mine and Sean’s cell phone numbers in case they get separated from us at a theme park. No, it’s never happened, but I’m neurotic.), and sewing portable DVD holders that can hang from the back of a seat (haven’t even bought the fabric yet). Oh, yeah, it’s gonna be a late night.

On the plus side, preparation for this trip has forced a couple of issues that should have been dealt with before. Such as, I am getting new lighters in my car (both had blown) so that we can plug in the DVD players. Oh, and I am finally archiving all of my pictures to CDs in case something were to happen to my laptop while we’re gone (since anything happening to my computer would mean the loss of, oh, every picture that I have ever taken of all of my children). Almost a dozen CDs later, I am currently burning the very last one.

So I’m stressed. I’m wound just a little too tight. I’m rapidly approaching the point where it feels like my skin is on inside-out. And, of course, the more that I need my kids to just entertain themselves so I can get everything accomplished, the more they must.get.mommy.to.notice.me!

Pray for my sanity. By the time this is all over, I’m gonna need a vacation.

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Filed under Daily Life, I think my head might explode, Kids, vacation

Broads and Bowels

As we were taking a trip to the local mega-store last night, N~ was telling Sean and I a story that neither one of us was really getting. It involved one of his friends at church saying something about an “old lady.”

“You know,” Sean said to him, “older women really don’t appreciate being called ‘old ladies.'”

“Why not?” N~ asked.

How do you explain that? Anyone? Anyone? Really, the best I could come up with was “Because they don’t want to be reminded that they are that much closer to dying.” Don’t worry. I didn’t share. (Well, I shared with Sean, but I was quiet about it.) And, in case you are wondering, I have a pretty narrow definition of “old.” I consider 70’s still on the “young” side. So if you are one of my “older” readers–I’m not saying I think you’ll kick off soon.

I can’t speak for N~, though. 😉

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Right around lunchtime yesterday, our little world fell apart. E~ was yelling because he wanted to be held (being a baby, and all). N~ was complaining that he wanted lunch. C~ had suddenly spiked a fever, was miserable, and wouldn’t let me put him down (making it impossible for me to pick E~ up). And W~? He was having potty problems. I had reached the point where I told him that I wasn’t letting him off of the toilet until he finally pooped.  He had already gone through several pairs of underwear attempting to hold it in, and there is a limit to what I (and his underwear drawer) can handle.

So, as I am trying to calm babies and sick kids while also attempting to make lunch, W~ is back on the toilet alternately screaming and clenching. Poor kid. I had to explain to him that, at this point, it was going to hurt no matter what, so he needed to just get it over with. I felt like a labor coach, chanting “Push, push, push!” as he’s trying to clench, clench, clench. We finally got there. All I’m going to say is that it would have hurt an adult to get that out. And, yes, it did require copious amounts of plunging.

So, Sean comes home from work yesterday. W~ runs to the door to greet him.

“Daddy, I had a great big poop today! Could you hear me?”

Bwa ha ha ha ha ha!

The way he was yelling, I could see how he was curious.

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Filed under Daily Life, Kids

A Little of This, A Little of That

I usually post when I have something on my mind, or had something significant happen. I actually have a big post that I need to write about online scammers and the saga of the new camera.

Oh! My camera came today! I took Nicki’s advice and got the Cannon S5. I’m still trying to figure it all out but, whoa nelly!, freakin’ cool camera. I am very excited.

Anyhow, as I was saying, I tend to forget to write about a lot of the little things. So I’m just being random tonight:

 

I suck at coming up with nicknames for my kids. I have thought about this for awhile now. I can think of things that fit, but that I wouldn’t want to carry over into real life. For instance, I have toyed around with calling E~ “Frodo.” Aside from his distinctly hobbit-like eating patterns (Hey Mom, is it time for second breakfast yet?), there is another tie that I’m not going to say since it would give away too much information. And I’m not even referring to the fact that, given my genetics, he has a great shot at getting hairy feat (I know, I know…your day has now been enriched by the knowledge that I have to shave my toes).

I can also think of a character that totally reminds me of C~. See, he has my eyes. Which, on a little kid, are heartbreakingly enormous. There are times that he wants things, or is upset, and he looks up at me with these huuuuuge eyes and looooong eyelashes–mere mortals can not resist the power of the eyes. If you have seen the second or third Shrek movies, he totally does the Puss in Boots look.

But you can’t nickname your little boy “Puss,” no matter how much his eyes fit the character.

So, for now, you just get initials.

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N: Mom! I still have bug bites. I have this weird cough. I might throw up tonight!

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Sean: Hey boys, does anyone want cauliflower with dinner?

W~ (Without missing a beat as he walks past with his plate): Nice try, Dad.

(Remember, folks, he’s three.)

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W~ (Looking at our male ferret, while referring to the female that died awhile back): Mom, who’s going to resurrect the other ferret?

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N~ came in the house a couple of days ago, all excited, wanting me to come outside and see the toad they had found. I went out and was showed one of the fattest toads I have ever seen.

N~: I think we should name him Slim.

After awhile of petting the toad, I told the boys I was going back in and that they should now leave the toad alone (and don’t pick the poor thing up and carry it around).  Shortly thereafter, N~ came in to tell me that W~ was carrying the toad in his shirt. I went outside and saw W~ pushing a stroller. I didn’t even have to ask. I told him to get the toad out of the stroller.

Surprisingly, he didn’t reach for the stroller seat. He started digging in the mesh bag hung off of the back of the stroller.

Obviously, toads don’t gossip. If they did, word would have gotten around by now, and there would be no toads in our yard.

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Lately, when I’m doing various “mom tasks” (dishes, laundry, whatever…), W~ has come up to me a couple of time, looked up with a smile, and said, “Good job, Mommy!”

Even if it’s just from a three-year-old, I’ll take my praise wherever I can get it.

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C~ has gotten into saying prayers, lately. Usually, it is just, “Dear Heavenly Father, Amen.”

Today, he expanded it some. “Dear Heavenly Father, Daddy come home, Amen.”

Too cute.

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Sean got a new calling at church this week. He and another man will be team-teaching a primary class. As soon as he was called, he told me that he felt sure there would be a reason that they were asked to teach the class. He found out on Sunday that there are some, um, energetic kids in the class. I told him I’m going to start calling him “The Enforcer.”

 

So there you go–totally random pieces of what I experience every day. It’s never dull.

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Filed under Church, Daily Life, Kids

Auntie Em! Auntie Em!

Last night, I sat in my living room watching tv and waiting for my children to finally fall asleep. As things got quieter in their bedroom, I started noticing occasional flashes of light outside. I finally realized that it was, in fact, lightning. But it was obviously far away since I wasn’t hearing any thunder. A few minutes later, we noticed that the wind was starting to pick up a bit outside. And then, out of nowhere…

Da-dump, da-dump, da-daa daa….

OK, fine, the Wicked Witch of the West didn’t really come flying by my window–but, holy heck, plenty of other things did. We’re talking about massive winds. Scary winds (remember–I have 100+ trees on my property). Bad enough winds that Sean and I were on the verge of carrying our sleeping children into the basement. And then…

It stopped.

Just like that. The wind started; the wind stopped. It rained some, but never really felt too much like a storm. But, shortly after the rain stopped, the power went out.

Crud.

I found the flashlight, pulled out the step ladder, and got down our oil lamps. Hmmm–I know which group of virgins I would be hanging with at the feast. My lamp was quite low on oil. I lit it and hoped that the lights weren’t going to be out too long.

A few minutes later, the lights came back on.

I decided to fill the lamp (I do have the oil). I was having issues, so I decided to call my dad, who was in Utah at that point, and ask him how to fill it. As he was trying to explain to me how to carefully but forcefully loosen the thing with pliers (?!), I happened to glance out of my window.

And I happened to notice sparks. Lots of ’em. Showering down from approximately the area where the power lines go through the woods.

Not a good sign.

So, I quickly got off the phone with my dad so I could use it for more pressing things–like calling 911. Apparently, given the severity of the wind, sparks showering down amongst a lot of trees aren’t as high of a priority to the emergency responders as it would seem to me. They just advised me to make sure to leave the house, should it catch fire. It was over half an hour before a deputy arrived, and probably at least an hour before the fire department showed up. In the meantime, the power had gone back out–for good.

And we knew it was out for good as soon as the firefighters started shining their spotlights down there. One of the utility poles on my parents’ side was at a 45 degree angle.

HPIM0066

It was snapped at the base, with the remaining wires serving as the only barrier between it an the ground. There was a power line down through their yard. The shorter end of it dangled from the utility pole in my yard–hanging right next to our trampoline.

HPIM0057

Kind of hard to see, but if you count three yellow pads from the left, you can see the wire hanging just to the right of the third one, going up the middle of the tree.

Massive limbs were down in the area where I first saw the sparks flying.

There was plenty going on around us, too. Two houses down on one side (my parents’ other neighbors), huge limbs had come down. One landed part-way into my parents’ yard. Another flew across the street, taking out a stone wall lining the driveway on that side of the street.

HPIM0062

Two house down on the other side, I huge limb came down and (I think) landed on a car. Poor people–same thing happened to them a couple of years ago.

And, of course, as I’m calling my parents back in Utah, telling them what is going on, my mother has what was (for her) a totally predictable response. Totally disappointed that she is missing it all. Seriously. Her exact reaction was, “All of the exciting stuff always happens when I’m gone! Like the time the people across the street got drunk and blew up the hot tub–I was out of town that time, too!” (Yeah, true story. It is not advisable to throw an old hot tub on a bonfire. Especially when the motor–and its oil–are still in it. Sounds a lot like a bomb, and makes it look like your deck is on fire. Also makes you look really stupid.)

So, anyhow, the electric company came around two or three in the morning. Sean woke up and talked to them. They determined that there was no way they could try and get a new pole down our hill in the dark. So we had to go to the YMCA to take showers this morning. I took the kids to the museum all morning so that we wouldn’t have to be stuck in the house without television or air conditioning to make our imprisonment bearable. I guess the electric guys showed up around 11:30. I think  it was past 4:00 when the lights finally came back on (we had been home for a couple of hours before it happened).

Things are still looking interesting down in the woods. Sean and the kids cleaned up what they could, but the large limbs will require the assistance of a chain saw.

HPIM0058

There is a new utility pole in my parents’ back yard, but they didn’t take the old one away. Instead, they, um, propped it back up and tied it to the new pole with one piece of rope. Uh????

HPIM0116

HPIM0117

They didn’t say anything when they left about needing to come back to finish the job (the old pole still has stuff attached–cable lines, maybe?), but there is no way that they could seriously think that would be sufficient, right?

Oh, and the sparks I saw flying? Totally obvious where that was happening…

HPIM0113

Really, this will do nothing good for the nightmares I have about my backyard catching fire and burning to the ground. Yikes.

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Motherhood Myths

I have been thinking a lot about the role of a mother/wife lately. More specifically, I have been thinking about the attached expectations, and how realistic our own expectations are.

When I was about ten-years-old or so, I started a journal (separate from my other, daily journals), where I was writing about what a mother should be. Basically, I decided to write an instruction manual to my future self–the me who is now–about how to raise my children. Oh, how I wish I could find that book. I know that I didn’t write a lot, but I’m sure the minimal contents would still be good for a tremendous belly-laugh. The only thing that I remember for sure was that I was going to play the piano with my babies on my lap, telling them the notes as I hit them, so that they would grow up learning music just like they did language. I actually tried that with N~. It maybe lasted 15 minutes. Babies aren’t interested in music theory.

As an aside: I did find some of my other early writings. Most notably, I found short stories and poems that I wrote for writing contests in middle school. Be prepared, I plan to share. If for no other reason than to preserve them for my future.

But, anyhow, back to motherhood. I have been planning on writing about the expectations that we place on ourselves (and I still plan on writing about it, but not today). From talking to other mothers, I am fairly convinced that most of us feel like we aren’t measuring up. I know that I feel that way on a regular basis. So I’m curious:

What are your motherhood myths?

What are the things that you entered into motherhood/wifehood believing would be, that now seem unattainable or unrealistic? What ideal do you look back on now and think, “Yeah, right!”?

Seriously, folks, I have never begged for comments before, but I’m really curious. And I think that it could be a fun conversation. So how about it? What hasn’t turned out exactly as you imagined?

And if everything has gone just as you thought it would, I suppose you can tell me that, too. But I’ll warn you: Perfect people creep me out. 😉

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Much Ado About Nothing*

What the heck is the deal with bathing suits? It has only been two years since I bought my last one (which had gone kaput in the elastic department, resulting in an unfortunate show of areas I didn’t want shown every time I took two steps), but I certainly didn’t remember having such an issue last time.

Sean informed me yesterday that he and his brother wanted to take the kids to the water park at King’s Island for our Saturday activity. OKaaaaay. As I said–swimsuit, walking, flesh, *shudder*. So I went to Target. I found one that looked cute. I tried it on. I decided that I either needed a lot less modesty, or a lot less cleavage.

I put it back.

Next, I tried the local mega-store. Everything was either tankinis, or the kind that old ladies wear where the top half floats around you as soon as you hit the water. I am not a tankini person, nor am I geriatric.

I left that store.

I headed to Kohl’s. They did have a small selection of one-piece suits. They were on sale–40% off. The original price was $88.

I didn’t even bother.

I tried a department store. Same basic story as Kohl’s, except some were up over $100.

We’re talking about a minimal amount of fabric! 100+ Dollars???

On the way to King’s Island this morning, we stopped at the mall and I went to JC Penny’s. Several one-piece suits. 50% off (although, again, originally $70-90!). I found one that I loved, but, again with the cleavage (I came *thisclose* to justifying it since it wasn’t as bad as the one at Target, but then remembered all of the modesty talks we have been having with our girls at church and couldn’t let myself be a hypocrite). Sigh. I bought one that I liked instead.

And then we went to the amusement park side instead.

Gah!!!!!!!!

OK, so at least I have a nice bathing suit for our trip to Orlando in a couple of weeks. Now, I just need something to make me feel better about the time I spent trying to use Veet this morning in an attempt to be smooth and histamine-free. (In case you’re wondering, I didn’t get hives from it. Of course, I didn’t get smooth from it, either.)

King’s Island was fun. Well, it was fun after if finally stopped raining. We’ll just pretend that the first two or three hours didn’t happen.

I really am glad that we have season’s passes again this year. It is far enough away that we can’t do it too regularly, but it is so much fun when we do. As young as my kids are, they still have so much fun on the rides. Even C~ can ride the smallest “roller coaster” now. And as I go whipping around with him and his brothers, watching their huge grins, I know we are making memories for them. I remember going there with my parents as a kid. We only went once a year, but we were always so excited to go. I love having that experience now with my kids.

 

*Quite easily one of my favorite movies of all time. Aside from being an awesome Shakespearean comedy, you just can’t beat the cast! Denzel Washington, Michael Keeton, Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Kate Beckinsale, Robert Sean Leonard, Keanu Reeves (who, unfortunately, seemed constipated through the whole thing). If you haven’t seen it, you really should.

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