Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Just some pictures from a precious, mostly non-crazy afternoon during the kids' week off school last week.

Daddy time


Mischief time

Here's hoping they remember this time.

And not all the other times during the week when they were fighting and trashing the house and I had lightning coming out of my ears.

I think the key is pulling out the camera at the correct moment. Already I am starting to remember this staycation as kind of blissful and funny.

Accentuate the positive, right?

Sunday, February 22, 2009


We had quite a weekend. If I didn't know better I would swear we somehow got a houseful of malevolent sprites causing things to go wrong (and I don't mean the kids).

Saturday morning I left for my walk about 8 a.m. The big boys were in the tub. They'd run out the hot water and asked Dr. G-to-be to heat some on the stove for them. He was doing this because he is a nice dad. He got it a little too hot ... and he also spilled it on himself on the way into the bathroom. He ended up with a nice salmon-colored burn in the shape of an artist's palette about 4 inches in diameter on his belly. He still managed on his own until I returned, clueless, an hour and a half later. Poor G! He iced it all day and it's much better now. No blisters or anything.

I made chicken nuggets for lunch. I'm telling you, it's gourmet. They were even shaped like dinosaurs. I bet you can't imagine how I managed that. Well, I set the pan on the table with kids gathered all around - and G was there, too - and went to get the ketchup or something. Next thing I knew I heard a two-year-old wail. Z had grazed her wrist against the hot pan. Oh, I felt like a loser! Poor baby! She did get a little blister.

Then, here is the crowning moment: Late in the afternoon I decided I should squeeze in a little bathroom cleaning before heading to the evening session of Stake Conference. (I had been graciously told I should run away for a while. The kids have been off school all week and I've built up a good bit of crazy.) After getting the fixtures all shiny I remembered I have been meaning to wipe the dead ants down off the ceiling where they were left after being repelled in their last invasion by G and a can of Raid. We won't say how long ago this was. 

So there I was, standing on a chair inside the shower. Can you see this coming? If you checked my Facebook yesterday you already know the ending. I will tell you the story anyway.

I felt the chair slip. I thought I could shift my center of gravity. I failed. I felt myself beginning to fall. I started to scream. I landed on Z's Dora the Explorer potty chair, shattering the plastic and making a well-defined print on my behiney. I lay prone on the floor crying for a few minutes. I thought my tailbone might be broken, which would be horrible but also karmically just, given the number of years I have spent laughing about a middle-school teacher named Mr. Butz who sat on a table, which broke, sending him to the floor and breaking (yes, really) his tailbone.

My family asked me if I was ok. I was too mad and hurt to talk. Sometimes I tend to lose power of speech when I am overwhelmed. They were baffled. Eventually I determined that I was ok, and I got up and cleaned up the shattered red plastic potty. I got dressed and even did my hair with a straightener for stake conference. I think I needed extra self-assurance after this debacle. After the meeting I checked my bruise, and I have to say it is awesome, but I will not be posting pictures.

There is actually a song about me and my accident-proneness written by a famous songwriter. I worked as a cafeteria line server - burning my arms all the time on hot pans - in the Morris Center at BYU with Cherie Call, whom you can see on any number of Time Out for Women dates and stuff. I find her really quite good, and not just because she penned the following for me (sung to the tune of "Walk on the Ocean" by Toad the Wet Sprocket):

Walk on the lotion
Slip on the stone
Fall in the water
Accident prone!

I am ready for Monday in so many ways.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Today was the big day - the Tour of California bike race came by just a few blocks from our house. And it couldn't have been more perfect. After a week of rain, the breeze blew and the sun shone and our little town (which sometimes smells like onions and/or car exhaust and/or manure) was fresh and clean and lovely. We saddled up and walked/biked/scootered/strollered up to the creekside trail where I do my weekend walks to wait. 

We waited a long time. We threw a lot of sticks in the water. Smart S brought along some Legos. Z got to pet a lot of "goggies." She is soooooooo dog crazy. Lucky Sally has a dog for her to love now, so I don't have to get one.

Pretty soon the motorcycle cops and the team cars started coming through and we heard people say, "No more traffic," and "They've just gone by the courthouse."

Then we saw the peleton coming. 

(not my backside here, by the way)

Then they were there!

Then they were gone.We watched some more team cars go by - fun, with the crazy marketing paint and the equipment and stuff.

Then we packed up and walked back home.

Man, that happened fast! It was fun and exciting. My regret: I watched it through the lens of the camera and I'm not sure whether I saw Lance Armstrong or not!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Remember when I went to the Goodwill and bought the vintage sheet?

It's now a dress.

This was such a fun project for me. I haven't been much of a seamstress. I am too impatient and not perfectionist enough to be really good at it. Straight seams are great for me. So, for example, I can make curtains pretty darned well. Anything else is an iffy proposition.

But I wanted to do this dress for Z. I had to find a pattern with gathers and elastic that would be very forgiving of my mistakes. I think it worked out all right. I even made myself a skirt. A-line. Mostly straight seams. I did get brave and put in a zipper. (Some of you out there are laughing at me right now. That's ok!)

In my world this is What Mothers Do For Their Daughters. My mom made dresses for me my whole life.

1990. Two days after my sixteenth birthday. First in a line of prom gowns. You can't exactly tell how amazing it is but it is gorgeous, with watermark satin and dotted tulle, ruffly sleeves (the kind you see in Napoleon Dynamite, only truly pretty, even 19 years later) and boning in the bodice. It was a perfect fit for skinny 16-year-old me, too. Thanks to Facebook friends I have a picture. The dress is still in my closet, waiting for the perfect confluence of events where I am a size 8 and need a formal gown.

Anyway, this is what my mom did. She made sure I always had amazing gowns - even on the limited budget of an assistant professor with six kids, and even in a remote location where there was almost nowhere to shop. I am going to have to work hard and build up some serious skills if I want to get ready to do that.

If I were the dad I would sit at the piano and play Gershwin while my daughter sang. Actually I do sit at the piano and play "Bingo Was His Name-oh" while she sings. And when I stop, she says, "Mo' peese!" So maybe I am doing just What Parents Do for Their Daughters. And maybe if I practice I can get good enough to play Gershwin passably by the time she is ready to sing it.

I have awesome parents. Clearly I have a lot of work to do to live up to what they have given me, and not just in dresses and songs.

My mom, by the way, just made bathrobes for my boys. Here's K posing in his. Very debonair, yes? He just needs a pipe (bubble pipe? Can you still get those?) and a newspaper.

I can't figure out whether that's a cracker or a barrette on the floor. We may never know.

Have a great week, everybody. Make something homemade. Maybe toast. I think that's what I'll be doing.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Do you remember your last two-year-old and all the funny things they said? I have forgotten so much about S and A, and of course K I did not have for most of age two. But for Z, there are so many funny things, I just don't want to forget.

"Tummahn ... dude!" (Come on, dude!)
"Hiddow Hun" (little one)
"Higgle Hong" (Wiggles song)
"I wan' two books, peese"
"I wanna did it" (I want to do it)
"I wanna hungee" (I'm hungry or I want something to eat)
"Geeka mook, gacko ennat" (Drink of milk with cocoa [Ovaltine] in it)
"Daddy bite it" (pointing to the yogurts at the store ... Daddy loves his Yoplait)
"Uh-hunnit" (Open it)
"Eyes. Hohts." (every time she washes her hands with soap she says this, remembering the time she put it in her eyes)
"Tummeen!" (Coming! Said in a very exasperated voice. Heaven forbid you try to hurry this child)
"Geekup" (Makeup)
"Geek-hen" (Chicken)
"Abey-ham" "Mammo" and "Heywie" (strange variations on her brothers' names)

What's your name?
How old are you?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I seem to be filling up my time without blogging much. Shocking? Not when you consider Facebook.

But I'm not even doing that much of that, compared with how much computering I was doing when I was at work. So what am I doing all day? Yeah, I know you all want the blow by blow.

6:40 a.m. - Alarm goes off. On a good day, NPR is coming into the clock radio and I listen to the business news for a few minutes before I drag myself out of bed and start rousting the troops, getting out the cereal, and administering medication ... with lots of help from Dr. G-to-be, lucky me.

7:30 a.m. - I get the big boys into the car to take them to school.

8:00 a.m. - Having dressed myself and the little kids, I get them into the car and we head for the gym. I take Z to the potty when we arrive at the kids' club so she can stay dry while there. Then I am free. Usually I am plugged into HGTV while I do run/walk intervals on the treadmill or to my little MP3 player while I lift some weights (said in my A-Rod steroid voice) for about an hour. Then I shower and dress alone, something I could not do without my gym membership. I highly recommend it. It may not have made me skinny yet but it does keep me sane.

By the way, this time is a little flexible. If it's raining, we take G to work before we get to the gym, for example. Or some days, I am just slow getting ready. It is nice to have that flexibility that didn't used to be there.

9:30 - 10 a.m. - We do errands around town or come home for housework.

11:30 a.m. - Gourmet mama is in the house, cooking chicken nuggets, hot dogs or peanut butter sandwiches for the littles and microwaving leftovers or fixing tuna sandwiches for herself.

12:40 p.m. - We leave to take K to school. Z insists on checking out the scooters, sand table and slides in the schoolyard before we go home. Then she usually zonks out before we arrive. If not, I have to snuggle her to sleep. (Oh, what a chore, poor me!)

1:15 p.m. - My precious hour of peace. Maybe housework, maybe crafts, maybe (let's be honest, probably) e-mail and Facebook. Sometimes, when I am smart, I get a jump on dinner prep.

2:35 p.m. - Big boys arrive at home and the real fun begins. Homework, chores, rewards and negotiations. This is where I see the biggest change since I came home. I can stay on top of things that I could not before. And we have a lot of ground to make up. Some days it feels like an insurmountable task. But today we got S all caught up on missing spelling homework assignments, and I am feeling hopeful ...

4:15 p.m. - Pack up the van and go get K from preschool. Try to ignore the impatient looks from the teachers who just want to get the heck out of there while I wrestle Z away from the baby dolls in the dramatic play area (I think she really thinks she is their mother) or the cute short toilet in the kids' bathroom adjoining the classroom (just her size!).

5 p.m. - Check on homework and chores, start dinner, let kids watch a little TV - just movies at our house - no broadcast or cable so we don't even have to worry about the now-postponed digital transition. I love the element of control over what comes into our home! And say what you will, the good ol' boob tube is a pretty good babysitter for the price when mama's in the kitchen.

6:30 p.m. - G gets home and we round kids up for dinner. Z and A both eat my cooking lately. K tries (practically at gunpoint) and often gags. He's an onion hater. I always dreaded that. Big sigh. S still feeds himself cereal or crackers most nights.

7:something p.m. - G works on cleanup, kids play, I ... what am I doing by this time? Hiding, probably ... This is also the time when Z usually brings me her potty-seat insert with something inside it and I get to help her complete the final steps of the process. She is doing awesome, I have to say! Eventually I hope to help her learn to stop bringing the poop out into the living room, though.

7:45 p.m. - last call for bedtime snacks, final warning that bedtime is coming, and I start putting the littles in their pajamas. On really hyper nights there may be a couple of Trader Joe's low-dose chewable mint melatonin tablets involved for selected minors at this point.

8 p.m. - Toothbrush time. G puts the bigs down. I put the littles down. We are a lean, mean, story-reading machine. Z requests, "two books, peese." She and K both like to say their prayers without help now, which is funny and cute.

8:30 - 8:45 p.m. All quiet on the eastern front (where the kids' rooms are). We pick up a lot of stuff. I fold laundry until my hands feel like they're gonna fall off, or maybe indulge in a little Lexulous. G heads for the gym or works on grading. On the weekends we catch up on The Office and 30 Rock. It's all good.

10:30 - 11 p.m. Bedtime for grownups. Fervent prayers before we hit the pillow. There's a lot packed into these days.