Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Lucky Recipient

I have to say that you haven't officially been welcomed into your own home until you answer that first telemarketing call. Yes, even in the day and age of caller-id, I do, occasionally, answer the unknown callers ring. This time, and more often than not, it was a foreign voice that greeted me with a very pleasant intonation. If it were not for this kind demeanor and her correct pronunciation of our last name I would have cut her call short, very short. But, as it was, I had a bowl of ice cream in hand and decided to let her have at her lengthy introduction to what would soon be an invitation to yet another lengthy presentation to some kind of time share. She let me know right off that I was a "looky ree-ce-pee-int" and proceeded to tell me of several fabulous items that would be mine for simply answering her call. Her long-winded phrase ended with a question. I wanted to start by saying, "I don't even know what a 'looky ree-ce-pee-int' is" but all I could muster was a half-heart, "huh?" Boy was she on the ball. She went right back to the beginning of the sentence and repeated the whole line! It ended with, "wouldn't it be fabulous to have this wonderful vacation free of charge?" This time I had my response, a much more politically correct response I may add: "No thank you. I really prefer to pay for my vacations as opposed to having to do a bunch of stuff that you want me to do in order to get the free one you are promising. I'm really not interested and would like to be on your do not call list." Without a beat missed she agreed to my request and tried to wish me a good evening which I had already preempted. She wished it right back at me and we hung up quite cordially. Now, wasn't that better than a slammed phone, insulting her accent, or sicking Tasha on her?! Well, I don't know but it sure was fun. I think we were both lucky recipients this evening.

Thank You Rachel!

Well, as you are probably well aware, I'm in "vacation aftermath" mode (as Sara calls it). Yes, I'm paying my dues for being gone. It isn't really that bad here at the home front, I just have responsibilities that can't be put off. I've had thoughts swarming around in my head while I've been running here and there, but no time to put them to the computer. I'll admit, I was blogging in my head while I was in New York, but again, no time to stop and write. When I got on the plane to head home on Monday I did the unthinkable...I took pen to paper and started writing my thoughts on the experiences of the previous 3 days. I'm not sure it's a blog post, we'll see. Until then you can find my journey with the Jensen's at their blog...

Thanks Rachel, for putting into words and pictures my thoughts exactly. I'm not sure I can add more to her spurts of observations, because that's what New York is, one big observation! Oh, what lovely memories to file away until next time!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Vacation is over!

Up at 6am (I guess it's really 9 NY time, I slept in)
Started laundry
Scriptures (thought this might help, it didn't)
Dressed, hair, make-up
Supervise kids getting ready (which seemed to be more difficult than usual!)
Hang up laundry
Check email (thank you Bill for dumping the junk)
Leave for orthodontist
Get re-routed due to traffic (man I wish we had subways)
8:45 appointment, barely made it!
Let kids have ice-cream for breakfast (thanks to the ortho)
Drive to school (1 hour, round trip)
Drive by grocery store which appears to be out of business
Straighten up living room
Bring in and put up laundry
Water lawn
Make lunch
Eat lunch
Clean up from lunch
Play Hungry Hungry Hippos
Play Tasha-version of Chinese Checkers
Find closed-toe shoes for Tasha (as she whines because she can only find 1 Dora shoe)
Drive Tasha to preschool
Drive to school
Listen to the gas ding for the 4th time, I'm on empty
Pass out packets for end-of-the-year teacher gift
Drive home
Listen to Kyra complain that she hasn't done a single section of her report
Question Kyra on what she did this weekend
Listen to her cry because she did nothing
Turn up the radio
Drop off Kyra at home so she can work on her report/homework
Send reminder to parents about the end-of-the-year teacher gift
Pick up Tasha
Buy gas
Grocery store (with Tasha, it went fine!)
Help Tasha in the shower
Help Kyra make dinner to take to school tomorrow (why did this project have to be today?!)
Feed kids (from the dinner Kyra is taking...good thing it's a big recipe)
Do the dishes
Clean the counter
Start to blog
Get interrupted 3 times even though there is a movie on to help me gain some sanity
Feel completely overwhelmed because the night is not even close to being over...

Next up:
Kids to bed
Put Kyra in Tasha's room because there seems to be an ant farm on her bed
Don't forget to be the tooth fairy
Finish notes for class tomorrow
Clean off table
Sweep and mop if possible!
Shower again?!
Finish that book I tried to read before I had to be a hungry hippo
*deep breath* Don't forget to breathe

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Countdown is On

That's right baby! In 11 hours I'll be taking off to visit the great big apple. Brooklyn, Manhattan, friends and family, here I come. OOOOH, I can't wait! Maybe I should pack.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

My little reader

This here is my adorable daughter, Kyra. She reads. A lot. She wakes up early in the morning, gets ready for school and then, reads. After she takes her shower at night, she reads. If I let her bring the book in the car on the way to school, she tries to read. (her sister won't let her, which is why I don't let her bring it) If the book makes it to the car she tries to read on the way home from school, but I won't let her because I have her to myself for a whole 20 minutes! But, she WANTS to be reading. I love her. And, I love that she loves to read!

In this picture she is reading either the 6th or 7th Harry Potter book. I can't keep track. She's read them both this year, just finishing the later. That's crazy! I love that my 9 year old is not intimidated by a 600+ page book. I love that we have something literary to talk about, because I love the Harry Potter series. When the fourth book came out Billy really wanted it because he had read the first three. I decided to read them too so I would know what he was up to. I caught up to him in about a month and I don't know if he ever did finish that book, although his grandma bought him all the rest. He has kindly passed them on to Kyra. I'm sure she skips or doesn't understand at least 1/4 of the vocabulary, but she understands most of the context.

Here she is doing some homework while she eats dinner. The assignment was to listen to a book on tape. Like her mother, she needs the actual text in front of her to get it. What a cute kid!

This past weekend she realized that she had a report due in a couple of weeks and she had not started writing any of it at all. (She had read quite a bit of information, but hadn't written a thing) She did a little freaking out, in typical Kyra fashion, but then we convinced her that 2 weeks was still a ways off. Later that day she said, "I've been reading WAY too much Harry Potter." I have to agree since I couldn't seem to catch up to her. She finished the final book Monday and has decided to give them a rest for a while. Now she's re-reading a dog book for the 3rd or 4th time. Again, like mother, like daughter.
Of course, this love of reading sometimes gets in the way of things like chores and getting places on time. On occasions I have wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, "STOP READING ALREADY!" But I quickly regain consciousness and realize how utterly ridiculous this would sound and I don't. I will say that her last book had a sticky note on the cover so she would remember to do several things (like brush her teeth!) BEFORE she sat down to read. I just love that kid.

Lower Gas Prices

There's really only one good way to make this look better:

Carpool, bike, walk, ride the bus/subway/Orbit...

How we honored Earth Day...

1. Kyra carpooled to school. (OK, I called her art teacher at 7:15am and asked for a ride since I wanted to stay in bed and snuggle Tasha. We slept until 8:45, turned on the TV, I slept until 9:30, and I never heard Kyra leave)

2. Washed clothes in cold water in my front-loading, high-efficiency washing machine and hung them out on the line to dry. (our washing machine died in January and we did make the choice to buy a little greener. That machine is the best! I think it might deserve it's own post...)

2a. Went up and down the stepladder to turn the light on and off (1,2,3...) 4 times in the laundry room. (The pull chain broke and now there is a 1 inch piece hanging from the 8 foot ceiling. Although there is a CFL bulb in the socket, you are still supposed to turn it off if you are not going to use it for more than 3 minutes.)

3. Reduced my shower time from 20 minutes to 15 minutes. Ran the water on a slower drizzle than normal. (this will definately be the last vice I give up!)

4. Used the toaster oven to heat up leftovers instead of the ginormous oven or the microwave. (I avoid the microwave when possible, and pizza just tastes better toasted.)

5. Turned the computer off ALL the way. Unplugged the TV to reduce the electricity that is continually sucked through the outlet even more so when the darn thing isn't on. I left the cable box plugged in though, I need it for the time.

6. Thought about scooping up my hair from my haircut but then lost the nerve. I didn't have any way to transport it and I didn't really know how to "give it to the birds" anyway.

7. Took my own reusable cup into Somburros to fill with water instead of asking for a water cup. Made sure the kids took their cups home to recycle, even though that meant that they got to have one last refill of lemonade.

8. Used the "natural gas" created from our dinner of beans and rice to propel the van home. (oh, just kidding)

Well, how'd we do?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Thanks Google!

They've changed their look for Earth Day.
I love that something this simple has put a smile on my face :)

*(insert emotion or quote here)*

What the crap are asterics being used for these days?! I only recall one use for asterics.* Obviously I'm not techno-advanced enough to figure out some of these new signs and symbols and my observations are not putting it all together yet. *sigh* I guess I'm an idiot. (Was that used correctly there?) Is this a way of letting our readers know what is happening on the other end of the computer? *fart* I suppose it is good in some respects since we can't always read the sarcasm in the typed word. *stifled laugh* But I was reading something and someone put the asterics around a comment or a quote, I couldn't figure out which. *confused look* Maybe it is supposed to point out the writers main point or strongest feeling, *people really shouldn't blog when the are angry, hormonal, or both*.

*in my day, asterics were used to lead the reader to a comment that was either: not necessarily a part of the main paragraph; or too lengthy to insert into the actual sentence. More to the point, it would distract the reader from getting the main point of the author's writing.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

My First LeapPad

While rummaging through a closet and trying to clear some things out, I rediscovered this handy little electronic wonder, the Leap Pad, for my preschooler's learning pleasure. The last time it was out was when Kyra was young and she didn't use it much. This modern (?, it's @ least 5 years old) technological wonder has brought peace, calm, and learning to my daily car trips to and from school. Aaah, an hour to contemplate the wonders of the universe instead of our daily raise-your-hand-game, mock knock-knock jokes, and arguing over which letter of the alphabet we're supposed to be looking for. It's not that I don't like, and will probably miss, these fabulous times of interaction with my preschooler, but for Pete's sake, sometimes I just want to drive! So what do I contemplate during these times? The stupid LeapPad...

(ours is actually blue) Do you see what those spiral rings are binding together? Yep, an actual book that your child has to turn the pages on. And, as they turn the pages they have to push the green go circle to let the LeapPad know what page they are on. This is just one of the many ways in which this system puts the responsibility of the learning on the learner! If you switch books you plug in the matching cartridge, and away you go to "Leap to the Moon". (that would be the current book of choice in our car)

So why do I think this is better than a computer game? Well, many of those "interactive" games do more than interact with your child. In most instances, when your child gets the answer wrong enough times, the game will furnish your child with the answer. What's wrong with that? Well, if the computer is eventually going to do it, why should your child try to get it right? Eventually, your child will memorize the correct answers to move on to the next lesson. Trust me, kids figure this out all too quickly and let's face it, you don't want to hover and make sure they're playing it correctly or you wouldn't have given it to them in the first place, right?! On the LeapPad system, once you guess wrong the kind lady voice will give your child a hint. Then, she may give another hint. Finally, if your child still doesn't find the right answer, she will say, "let's try this again later." They can try again right then, or turn the page. Your child is responsible for supplying the correct answer because the book can't highlight the item like a computer can.

The LeapPad also requires your child to be an active learner. I've seen computer games highlight the words as it reads the text but how do you know your child is following those words? With the LeapPad, as your child touches to word on the page the kind lady voice will read the word that he/she points to. Tasha often uses this trick to test my knowledge. She likes to play the "let's spell a word game" that has recently come to our car in an expanded edition. We used to be limited to T-a-s-h-a, K-y-r-a, s-t-o-p, g-o, and d-a-d, but now that she knows most of the letters, she will pick random words off trucks and signs as we drive around. Today she apparently read the letters off a LeapPad page and after I responded with "reach" she turned on the LeapPad and the kind lady voice confirmed that I was right. Tasha sweetly congratulated me and told me I did a good job.

I would never suggest an electronic device as a teacher for your child, but they sure are handy little gadgets to have around for the right child. Like I said, Kyra wasn't much interested in it when she was younger but now she's got a hand-me-down QuantumPad from Billy that she is using to learn the states.

Losing sleep

It's official. I am now losing sleep. Not because of a bloggitis flare-up, but because I'm going on vacation baby! You know that excited feeling that you get when you are going someplace new? The anticipation of a change in your routine that makes your stomach churn with giggles? The thought of seeing people that you haven't in a while? It's all here, right now at 3 in the morning! Fortunately it was not the anticipation that woke me up this morning, it was a sad little 4 year old, so hopefully this will not be a recurring theme for the remainder of the week. 6 days, 3 hours and 5 minutes and I will be landing at JFK, woohoo!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dumbing Down

I recently read an article on how, as a society, we are dumbing down. It wasn't particularly well written, in fact, most of the examples this woman gave were pretty lame. Her point was that advertising and product labeling has come to an all time low. To write on a coffee cup, "caution: contents may be hot" seems a little stupid. The point is, if they don't give you the warning, you can sue the people that served you the coffee and/or the makers of the coffee cup. Ridiculous. So, as a result of the sue-crazed public, manufacturers are now having to label their products with the most redundant information and they have to give specific instructions on even the simplest of all devices. For instance, do you really need to explain how to put up a hair dryer so someone doesn't inadvertently step into the shower with the water running to unplug the little booger. Personally, I remember being fairly young when I found the first instruction on the microwave popcorn bag hilarious. It read, "remove bag from outer plastic and unfold." Not funny in itself until you realize that I had to do all that in order to read the instructions.

I've been feeling pretty dumb lately while reading other people's writing. Heck, I know I can't keep up with the Wall Street Journal, but these are people I know writing this stuff. (see that technical word, "stuff") I couldn't use the word "musing" or "diverge" in a real sentence. I had a hard time coming up with a sentence for "render" other than "The wrestler rendered his opponent helpless." Pathetic I tell you, pa-the-tic!

What do I plan to do about this? I've been looking up words. I'm going to get word-of-the-day toilet paper. (Oh, just kidding there Friends fans) I actually paid close attention to what I was reading one night. I have always been fascinated by JK Rowling's ability to write complex sentences and use a mix of English, muggle, and wizarding words. So, in Chapter 13 of "The Half-Blood Prince" I wrote every word that I don't hear in everyday speech. Here's the list:

Words I might have used and could define in essay format: feigning, impertinent, inadvertently, squarely, notorious, intrigued, deluded, irksome, unnerved
Words I probably have never used but could pick out of a multiple choice quiz: astute, incensed, indignantly, unrequited, famed, inquisitorial (glance), admonitions, cache, ominously, enigmatic
Words I have never seen before, wish that JK made up, but could figure out their meaning through context: quellingly, swilled, bestial, magpie-like tendency.

There you have it folks. That's what a college degree will get you. But remember, I'm not as think as you dumb I am. And, since I don't hear it in everyday speech, that says something about the people I converse with, doesn't it? Hopefully they're not dumbing down for my sake!

Jabber, jabber, jabber, jabber, jabber

Not only is movement making me crazy, but incessant talking is too! I can have a conversation with a 4 year old, or listen to a 4 year old, or even break up a fight a she may be having with another child. BUT, what do you do when the other child she is talking to doesn't talk back?

I watch a 18-24 month old little boy once a week (we'll call him M, short for "The Brother of Jared"). Is it bad that I don't know his exact age?! Anyway, Tasha mothers him like a Nazi sometimes, completely out of love and concern. She follows him around picking up the magnet that he dropped, giving him his drink, shutting the door, opening the door... Like I said, all this moving is making me insane but add the talking on top of it and my head is really spinning.

At the lunch table (while getting up and down 5 times and moving her chair back and forth 3 times):
"I think M wants some of my lunch"
"I think M wants outside"
"I think M wants a drink"
"I think M likes me"
"I think he wants more sandwich"
"Good boy" (that one was actually directed at M)

After M gets down from the table but before they go outside:
"He was hugging me, that was so sweet"
"He has another booger"
"Gimme that" (chasing him with a tissue)
"There, got all the boogers"
"M cried, I didn't do anything."
"Here M, want a cracker?"
"Here M, here, here M..." (is he a dog, or a parrot?)

After they go outside and Tasha decides it's been long enough:

"M, you want in?" (again, this sounds like she's talking to the dog)
"M, come on."
"M is never going to listen to me." (exasperated beyond belief)
At this point she shuts the door with M outside. Hello! She never shuts the door! How can I keep the mothering-door-shutting part of her alive, and stop her nagging?

Then the ultimate question comes...where did Tasha learn these behaviors? I definately see her acting like Kyra does. Then we ask...where did Kyra learn these behaviors? Well, it could not possibly have been from me. And did I mention that all the above talking and action happened within 20-30 minutes?! Seriously, more kids?! I don't think so.

BouNcING, bOUnCing, B-Ou-n-C-EEEEng

Movement makes me crazy some of the time. It gets under my skin. Even the sound of movement in the next room makes my skin twitch with annoyance. I must have super-sonic-mother-periferial-vision because I can almost feel the movement as it is going on around me. In fact, I could feel Tasha falling off the trampoline in the room next to me before she said, "whoa-oa". I know, you're asking me why do I have a trampoline if movement makes me crazy? Because she'd be jumping on the couch if it wasn't there, duh. It makes me crazy. Oh, but wait, that's in the other room. Let's rewind to 30 minutes ago while I am sitting on the couch trying to read when she jumps from the stool to the tramp, to the other stool, to the couch and she falls and hurts herself. Again. And Again. And, again. But then it comes..."Mom, I did it without falling!" To which I get to congratulate her and pray that she stops trying this feat since she has mastered it. She did.

If only she was in gymnastics. Oh wait, she is, in T minus 4 hours and 30 minutes.

I know, I know, it's determination at work. Try and try and try again until, at last, you succeed. Why does mothering have to be so hard? I won't stiffle her progress, I won't. I will let her be to learn and grow and challenge herself. Self-determination, self-confidence, and pride in one's own abilities should far outweigh the praise from another, shouldn't it?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Logic of a 4 year old

Yesterday after too much TV...

T: Mom, can I paint?
M: Um, I don't know. (what parent ever really says, "YES, let's paint!" with great enthusiam?)
(long pause while I type)
T: Mom, can I paint? Say yes or no.
M: No.
(long pause without any whining, apparently when a child is thinking she can't whine)
T: Mom, can I paint? Say yes or maybe.
Yep, she won that one for being so dang cute!

In the car while eating a snack of mixed nuts and dried fruit...

T: What's this big thing?
M: It's a dried apple. (I don't have to look, it's the only new thing in the mix)
T: What does it taste like?
M: Like an apple. That one is a little sour because it was a tart apple.
(long pause while I assume she tastes it)
T: Mom, I don't like it.
M: OK. You don't have to eat it.
T: I only like wet apples.

And this conversation I know many of you have had...

T: Mom, I love you.
M: Tasha, I love you two.
T: I love you three.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A preface to a joke...

Over the last month or two discussions on blogging have been the topic of many conversations I have been in or overheard. Not only are people talking about what people blog about, they are talking about why people blog. I think it is hilarious. Who cares? Well, I guess I did/do and I love to talk about. What a geek. I won't be obsessed, I won't be obsessed, I won't be obsessed. When I started my blog I had no idea that there were obsessive, compulsive bloggers with huge followers. I had no idea that if you used key words in the title it would bring unfamiliar faces to your site. (That one I found out by accident and it was a riot!) I didn't know blogging could be yet another way to include, or exclude people from your life or circle of friends. Heck, I just wanted to know what was going on with other people and let them in on what was up with me. I also wanted a place to put all my reading thoughts in order. I would never have done that for myself, and I'm thrilled that some of my friends have been able to utilize some of what I've invested so much of my life doing. Is that vanity?! I hope not. Because apparently you can get caught up in this little blog world and it can cause damage to your self-esteem. We all love comments, links, and/or to be mentioned or harrassed. Let face it, if we didn't we'd journal on paper, and/or have our blogs super private. I think it's just another way to stay in touch in this crazy, fast-paced world of ours.

I started writing something this morning that I find completely hilarious. I found the above paragraph started when I was apparently not in such a jovial mood. I started it before this friend became concerned about something, and before this friend or this friend wrote either of their recent posts, but after this friend felt she had to preface every post with an explanation. Obviously, I'm feeling hysterical right now because I have no idea how to link people or articles to my post and I want to poke fun at those of you that are more computer savvy than I am. So, the joke is on it's way...

(oh, I'm not allowing comments on this and the next post due to a current medical condition)

Atrophic Bloggitis

Definition: The partial or complete wasting away of any part of the mind, body, and/or spirit due to past or present blogging. Atrophic Bloggitis can be caused by poor nutrition, poor circulation, poor judgment, loss of hormonal support, or a whole host of psychological malfunctions (real or imagined). Treatment for severe cases of Atrophic Bloggitis can be tricky since there is almost always residual scarring left on the heart muscle. Support from friends and family is essential, and a return to blogging, in any form, may only worsen the case even though the symptoms may be different. For many people, a few or all the symptoms will do no harm, especially when they are kept in check. For others, even one symptom can cause irreparable damage. For purposes of this article blog, blogging, and posts may be used interchangeably and refers not only to writing a post, but also to reading a post.

Warning signs and symptoms include but are not limited to:

(Physical)waking up to blog, suggesting other people blog, loosing sleep to blog, talking incessantly about blogging, butt pains from blogging, blog-onset carpal tunnel syndrome, making up completely absurd disorders and posts to justify your blogging disorder.

(Psychological) the need to receive and give comments, concern that nobody reads your blog, constant worry that you will offend someone by saying or not saying something about them, taking offense that someone said or did not say something about you, reading too much or too little into a comment or post.

(Internet specific) searching strangers blogs for validation, the nagging sensation to comment on strangers blogs, the need to obtain as many "hits" as possible, knowing how to check your "hits", trying to use specific words to attract attention on multiple occasions.

(Misc.) taking pictures for the sole purpose of blogging about it, subconsciously editing other people's posts, actually editing other peoples posts, avoiding real conversations with real people so you can blog, calling people and/or gossiping about the content of someones blog, letting your children do whatever they want while you blog, frantic panic attacks due to the lack of blogging, and composing blogs as you drive, cook, eat, and even sleep.

Treatment for Atrophic Bloggitis is different for everyone. Some may need to quit blogging altogether, sever all ties to the blogging world, and avoid contact with people that do blog. This complete removal from the blog is especially important if your symptoms tend to be doing damage to your heart. Some people will find that simply taking a break from blogging clears the mind, heals the body, and supports the heart. Beware, however, that when you return symptoms may worsen. Specific physical symptoms should be treated at the core, not surgically. (IE: a serious look at the time spent blogging should be considered before you have butt cushions surgically implanted in your lower checks)

Please note that the diagnosis, treatment, and naming of the above mentioned disease is the sole creation of the author and should in no means be taken as truth. Although the author seems to have many of these symptoms herself, she believes that she has a good handle on them most of the time. Her head and heart are in excellent health and she suffers mainly from the physical lack of sleep during severe attacks of Atrophic Bloggitis. Self diagnosis is encouraged and support can be given by contacting the author directly. If you don't know the author and you really want to contact her you should consider that you have a serious case of Atrophic Bloggitis and seek the help of a friend immediately. This friend should be a live person that you knew before blogging and that you see or talk to on at least a weekly basis. Good luck, and happy blogging!

Monday, April 14, 2008

AAAHHH! Too much sports!

I had a really great post to do and now I have no idea where it went. This could be because I am being tortured by Bill. Report him now! He's forcing me to listen to baseball on the computer. At the same time he's got the Sun's game on the TV, on mute. How much sports is too much? Just because I went to a game with him on Saturday doesn't mean that I have given in and want it in my life on an ongoing basis. I certainly don't need basketball AND baseball at the same time! I need peace! I need quiet! I don't care that it is Randy Johnson's first game back pitching. Here he comes...I have to go!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

My B Blog

I had originally thought to title this post, "Babies and Boobs" but I thought I'd leave room for you to include your B words. Here are the B's that keep coming to light in my world...

Babies: There is a billboard on the way home from school that reads, "Babies are born to be breastfeed." I thought many of you would appreciate that little plug. There's a website at the bottom, but it is too small to read as I am zooming by. I'll write it down the next time traffic is slow and go.

Boobs: Boob season is upon us. That glorious time of year where women everywhere believe that the missing 2-10 inches of clothing that is supposed to cover the top half of their body is the reason they are hot. So, they buy the scankiest shirt available that could not possibly hold all of their cleevage and stuff themselves into it. On the other side, are the women who believe that tight clothing is making them hot. This is not much better since loose, low-cut blouses tend to show just as much, if not more boobage when the woman leans forward.

Banks: (another billboard) "ATM fees are just financial wedgies." Cute, but a horrific image.

Bills: MY Bills, Bill, Billy, and "Bomps" (Bill's dad). They are the fabulous Bills. I try hard not to think of the other bills.

Baseball: Bill and I were able to go to a Diamondbacks game this Saturday. I just love baseball. Not televised, LIVE baseball. It really is the only place that I can sit and do nothing. Do you know how refreshing that is?! Aaah. For me there is something about walking into that stadium and seeing that green field that just makes my whole body relax and forget about the rest of life. We talk about the players, the people, the hot dog race...anything but real life. (The 2 times we talked about real stuff it felt awkward so I quit) The other part of baseball is...boobs and babies. There were 2 of the sweetest looking babies at that game, and plenty of boobage to go around. (oh, and buttcrack. That's another b word but it just really doesn't deserve it's on paragraph, gross.)And finally...

Baptism: This is a good B word. I really do need to go finish preparing our lesson on baptism for tomorrow. Getting baptized was the best decision I've ever made in my SHORT 36 years of life.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Cutting Corners

This morning, as I was primping, Kyra came into the hall outside the bathroom huffing and puffing (mostly out of breath, but with an annoyed look on her face as well). Tasha was in her room and I hadn't heard any screaming so I knew that there had not been a fight. (Yes, this is always my first thought when either of my children come to me in a tither) After questioning I find out that Kyra had been outside and had a race with Harlee. OK. But that doesn't explain why she's a bit upset. So then it comes, Kyra complains, "I would have won but Harlee cut a corner." And, in case you have forgotten, Harlee IS A DOG! Yep, my 9 year old accused the dog of cheating.

I have no idea why we have misunderstandings, tantrums, and fights in this house!?!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Chicken farming anyone?!

Do to an overwhelming response to raising chickens (that would be 3 of you), I've developed a plan:
1. We all take a tour of Jaylee's mom's chicken ranch and decide who's in.
2. We divide the number of participants into the 12 months of the year.
3. We each get assigned certain months of the year to host the chickens and rotate those little babies from house to house.

Here's the math (Bill confirmed it)
5 chickens @ 5 eggs/day times 7 is 35 eggs per week.
If we have 3 participants we each get about a dozen eggs per week and house the chickens for 4 months of the year.

I just have to get over the horror that my mother-in-law instilled in me about chickens. Apparently her memories were not fond ones. This certainly would instill a little work ethic as our children collect eggs each morning. Not as much as milking a cow, but I don't think I want to mess with cow patties. Somebody set up the next Mommy and Me with Jaylee :)

Misleading information

Last week I attended a social breakfast with a few parents from Kyra's school. It is always nice to hear that our children are in somewhat of the same stage of life, and that as a mom you're not going crazy on your own. Same school, same age, same issues, different parenting backgrounds and techniques. After the breakfast, of which I had none since I showed up characteristically late, I went next door to the Booster Juice store to get a wheat grass shot that had been displayed so inticingly in the store window as I walked by it earlier. Ah yes, I had been dreaming of wheat grass for the last hour and half. Is that weird?! I read a poster in their store while I was waiting for my grass to be juiced (does that read as funny as it sounds?) on the environment benefits of styrofoam cups over paper. I can't believe this to be true.

I relate this experience from last Thursday because I repeated the visit this morning with Tasha and was reminded of the trust and lack of trust that I have in the information that so-called experts give us. You think that when you read something from a scientific journal, health magazine, doctor's office, ect. that it should have some basis for truth and/or show the whole picture. I can't stand that people can (and DO) manipulate the numbers, truth, and even quotes from people to benefit the point that they are trying to make. Give me a topic, any topic and I'll find a way to get numbers and quotes to support the most ridiculous side of the fence. THEN, I'll give myself a really fancy name, back it with some even fancier credentials and post it on the internet! If you write it people will read...and some of them might even believe. I love to be able to access a number of articles about any given topic with this amazing google search engine, but I am very discouraged at the amount of misleading information and dirty pictures you can pull up in the process. Nobody said you need a PhD to use the internet, but sometimes I don't think my BA is enough to sort through all the trash. I bet my local garbage man or recycling sorter could do a much better job.

Back to the styrofoam cup, or, as we should all be very aware, the polystyrene cup. I am being specific here because if you google "styrofoam" you get a very different result than if you enter "paper vs polystyrene". You get a much broader spectrum of information on the subject if you enter in the later search. Everyone knows about styrofoam, so you get the dummy answer for your question. Always dig a little deeper and read with an exceptionally skeptic eye. For instance, the Institue for Lifecycle Environmental Assessment sounds like it would be a very good resource. I'm sure their research was very thorough, well documented and right on the money. When it comes to producing and manufacturing styrofoam, paper, and ceramic cups, the environmental impact of these 3 choices are listed above from least to greatest. Meaning, making one styrofoam cup has far fewer bad emissions than making a ceramic cup. In fact, I could use 1000+ styrofoam cups before I would even come close to the environment impact that it takes to make and wash my favorite West Wing ceramic mug. Likewise, I could use 39 paper cups. Well, clearly we should all be using styrofoam, right?!

WRONG! Let's stack up those 1000 foam cups and set them right next to my one mug. Put them into a landfill and what do you have? A big old mess. How about the natural materials that go into these beverage containers? I don't think there is anything natural in polystyrene and certainly nothing renewable. If these babies don't end up in a landfill they won't biodegrade like a paper cup. Sadly, there are still people out there that think it is acceptable to just leave their trash lying or floating around, and enough people don't recycle. Finally, we could talk about the wonderful leaching affect that comes from putting a hot, fatty, or citrus-y food into a polystyrene container. I think I read that if you drank 3 cups of coffee everyday for a year your body would actually be obsorbing a full cups worth of polystyrene. I wonder what our bodies do with that stuff.

So now I'm off to sip my smoothie from my styrofoam cup, leach some plactic into my lunch by using my microwave oven, and emit some harmful cellular waves into my brain while I talk on my cell phone on the way to school/work in my semi-gas efficient clunker of a car. I'm not perfect, don't plan on being anytime soon, and have not gone off the deep green end. I just want the truth. I don't want to be lied to, decieved, or even manipulated into thinking that something is what it isn't. It might be more environmental productive for Booster Juice to serve their beverages in styrofoam cups but the jury is still out at my house.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Thoughts on Food Storage

There is one very good reason to build up a years supply of food: we've been commanded to do so. There is not one single reason that supports this commandment, but then again, Noah had no visible proof that he would need an ark. My theory is that there are many reasons that we should try to build at least a 3 month supply. Personally, I've faced a few minor challenges, the latest being no refridgerator for 3 weeks. It's not like when this appliance stops working you just go out and drop $800+ on a new one, especially when you know your current one can be fixed for much less and isn't that old. Fortunately, the freezer still works to hold the ice for the cooler and other goodies that we can defrost when needed. Now, tell me that anyone could predict that my freezer would work but the fridge would not!?! Here are a few things I have learned about my food storage:

Jarred butter is the best!!! This miracle shelf item will always have a place in my storage. It is not hard to do and you use it the same as you would regular butter...because it IS regular butter! The other miracle is, a sealed jar of shelf butter is already softened and ready for baking. Wa-la. On another note, when the fridge AND the freezer shut down around Christmas, it was really easy to can the butter in the first place. I can also see jarred butter to be a real asset on a camping trip. Melting ice and/or melting butter will not mix!

You seriously need to practice using the food that you are going to store. If you are going to store egg replacer, you need to know how to use it. Since I have been living out of a cooler, eggs only have a place on the weekend when we will eat them for breakfast. I have tried making brownies twice now to no avail. I actually had to throw them out! Can you imagine throwing out brownies?! The first time they could not even be chiselled out. Bill had to reheat them so they were soft enough to pour into the garbage. The second were greasy and didn't set up. I think you could pull them like taffy and Bill's dad went ahead and ate about half the pan. No eggs brings me to my next point...

Maybe I need a chicken. And a cow. What's the zoning on keeping chickens in Tempe? I'll wait on the cow since I have dry milk that I DO know how to use.

I really need to start a garden. The fact that I don't have a green thumb to begin with is even more reason to start a garden NOW. If I can't do it in non-stressed times, why would it be any easier when I really need to do it. Perfecting this task now should obviously be a high priority. Does it count that I have kept bamboo alive inside the house for over a year now?!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

"Brownie Points"

Along with spelling words, Kyra's teacher assigns the class a phrase to learn each week. Things like "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" or "barking up the wrong tree." Apparently they have not gotten to "brownie points". As I tucked her in to bed tonight, I told her that she probably had earned some brownie points this evening since she was so great with the little kids. I told her the moms would probably remember her playing and when she was old enough to babysit they might call her. The kids entertained themselves for the most part, but she seemed to be watching over them and playing with them on and off. I was quite impressed sinced she takes so little interest in her own sibling, unless it is to her benefit. Anyway, the point is when I said "brownie points" she immediately corrected me and said, "don't you mean Girl Scout points?" That was cute.

Friday, April 4, 2008

My Made up Prophet song...

Since two of you brought it up...
(Sing to the tune of "The more we get together")

The more we hear the Prophet, the Prophet, the Prophet,
The more we hear the Prophet, the happier we'll be
Thomas S. Monson is our modern Prophet
The more we hear the Prophet, the happier we'll be!
Tasha started humming this song on the way home from school today and when I sang the WRONG words to it she politely corrected me. We then continued to sing the Prophet version and she was trying so hard to learn the "hard part". I'm proud to say, I think my 4 year old can now pronounce our new Prophet's name.
I'm glad Rich enjoyed my goofy song, and thrilled that Justin was singing it on his own! Maybe someone is listening in sharing time, woohoo! And now, so this blog isn't all about me...Justin was the man in Junior Primary who came up with our new Prophet's name. He's 5. That's just plain awesome, especially since the guy giving the opening prayer in Sacrament meeting almost said Gordon B. Hinckley. Kudos to April for her clever home-made Prophet matching game! (hey, do they still make those Kudos granola/candy bars anymore?!)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

"I want to ___ in the grass"

The picture on the left is when I realized that she had actually said "pee in the grass", not "be in the grass".

The one on the right is Tasha running to find the right spot. Did I mention that we have a dog?!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New York City here I come!

Well, it's officially, official. I booked the ticket just a few key stokes ago and I can hardly contain my enthusiasm. My stomach is all jittery and my feet are a-tappin'. Thanks Rachel and Davey for your last few posts about the city and Rachel for the relentless questioning on when I will be there. Now, I just have to break the news to my aunt and make sure she wants to see me. Oh, what a joy my crazy Greek Aunt is!

Literary Tag

This is what you do:

1. Pick up the nearest book (at least 123 pages)
2. Turn to page 123
3. Find the 5th sentence
4. Post the 5th sentence on your blog
5. Tag 5 people

I searched in the dark for the nearest book on the end table by MY chair. Kyra left her book on top of my scriptures so here you go:

From Superfudge, by Judy Blume
"What's playing?" asked Jimmy.

Too bad that wasn't very funny. The whole book is hilarious and actually reminds me of my kids: Peter is the well-behaved, quiet, older brother (Kyra), and Fudge is the inquisitive, silly, pain-in-the-neck, younger brother (Tasha). I think I read this out loud to Kyra when Tasha begun her it's-fun-to-pick-on-Kyra stage (which she is still in). I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Kyra is re-reading it so she can relate to someone.

I think this tag only works well if you give some insight into the book that you read. SO, I tag: Sara, Monique, Rachel (not Davey, I won't understand the book you're reading), Tori (if you're out there), and Carianne. The rest of you will get tagged by them, I'm sure.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

"I want to be in the grass"

This is the phrase that I heard Tasha say to me while she was sitting in the backyard dumping the piles of sand out of her shoes. I apparently did not hear her correctly because when I responded with, "I don't care," both of my children were surprised that I agreed. Kyra was at the computer and said, "mo-om!" like it was the craziest thing I'd ever said. I remember her saying it now that I think about it, but I really wasn't paying close attention to either of them. Yes, that's terrible to admit, but I was making dinner. I can't boil water and think at the same time!

Tasha runs inside, puts up her shoes and socks (THAT is amazing) and comes back through the kitchen with flip-flops on. Smart kid, there are thorns in the grass. But a few minutes later I'm prompted to look out the back door, which Tasha has left open. Yep, now it dawns on me what she said. No wonder they were surprised that I said it was OK.

Can you guess which word I misunderstood?!