Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I am often questioned on what exactly Tasha does to push my buttons each and every day. It doesn't take much, maybe I'm just a push-over in the respect that she can push-me-over the edge quite quickly. To understand the full impact of a Tasha filled day you must spend one with her, but here is just what happened in the last 45 minutes...

Lunch. Can be a drama, can be easy, can be eaten, can not be eaten. I can give her choices, I can tell her what's to eat, she can tell me what to eat. Maybe consistency is the problem, but I don't think so. Too much consistency means I'm bossing her around, just ask her. She's calling me from the other room (rude I know, but I just can't battle that right now). Turns out she wasn't calling me, she was yelling at Dora on the TV. We laughed about it and I told her I was going to go to the bathroom and then make some lunch. "That will be taking too long!" she wails. "I want something now like some cheese." Such is life and I go to the bathroom. In the kitchen, I'm mixing the tuna and pulling out the cheese. Miss Impatient storms in and gets out the other cheese and the following event happens.

She is going to spend time this evening with Maggie and Kyra, out, in public, possibly watching a movie. In order for this to happen successfully, and since it will be a late night, Tasha needs to take a nap. I explain this to her and she's excited to see Maggie. Oh joy. BUT, as I remind her that at 1 o'clock we will be laying down for a nap she gives me the look. I say, "are you going to cooperate nicely, or not?" She says she's not. I figure the question was confusing and rephrase it, to which she replies, "I'm not going to cooperate." She's serious and in 10 minutes things are going to become very difficult around here.

Meanwhile, she's eaten her lunch, come back for more, opened her own bag of Annie's bunny crackers, even though I offered her some goldfish, and probably gotten cracker crumbs all over our bed. That's OK though because she usually eats on Bill's side of the bed :) This is his penance for getting to go off to work all day and leaving me with the chaos of children, school, and food. I really am jealous because none of this would have happened had I not being trying to cram in a little work before Tasha came home. I don't have scheduled work hours so I have to fit it in when possible, sometimes that happens as the bus is pulling in and I need to finish, therefore the child runs freely through the house tormenting the dogs and turning on the TV. Do I sound overwhelmed? Well guess what? I'm not! If I was I totally couldn't be writing this down, I'd be in hiding like I was last week. Right now I'm just fearful. Fearful of my 4 year old who is going to scream at me in 3 minutes because she doesn't want to take a nap.

What did YOU have for breakfast?

I'm eating an apple. But that's just because I really want to have brownies and milk and I think if I can eat the apple and get ready before I need to leave for tutoring I can have the brownies and milk. So here I sit, eating a monster apple feeling guilty. I'm not feeling guilty about the apple or the brownies, but for the lack of breakfast that my daughter had, or didn't have before she left for preschool. One bite of a granola bar. That's it. That's all she had time for. Mind you, it was a gigantic bite of granola bar because she couldn't even kiss me good-bye as she was chewing a great big chew and climbing the stairs of the bus. Then as she sat down I blew her a kiss and she blew one back, carefully, so as not to spray the seat with granola chunks. Poor, sad child. Good thing they have a snack at school. I just know she's going to nark on me when she gets there and talk about how she only had one bite of breakfast because her "mom forgot". WHATEVER! Perhaps if you got dressed when you were supposed to get dressed, and put your shoes on when you were supposed to get your shoes on! Hmm, and maybe the 10 minute search for the shoes which you had left in the van slowed you down just a bit. Ya think?

"Anywho" I better go get ready so I can have a brownie...

Sex in the City, the movie (and more)

Yep, I'll admit it. I saw it, thanks to the Lee home video editing software. (I'm sure I could not have seen the full frontal version, way too much information!) Bill was trying to do homework so I went ahead and put it on since he never ever never watches even 5 minutes of the show when it comes on TBS. But alas, he was hooked, and probably will not admit it.

As you know, we are a house full of girls, girl dogs, and Bill. He points this out a LOT. Usually in exasperated tones with a rolling of the eyes. It's funny, we take it that way, and we know he secretly loves it. But tonight he got in trouble as Harry made the following comment. He's married, has an adopted daughter, and they just had another baby girl. He says, "I'm destined to be surrounded by beautiful women!" Ya, Ya, I know Harry was in that post-I-just-had-a-baby bliss and wasn't thinking straight, but it was sweet none the less.

Speaking of Harry. I was cracking up the other night when they showed the episode where he was adjusting to living with Charlotte. He left his tea bags everywhere and it was making her nuts. They worked that out and then he was walking around the house naked. She was OK with it to a point, UNTIL he sat his naked butt on her white couch. Yeah, I'm grossing out at this point and Charlotte's face scrunches up and you just know she's going to explode. What a riot! Do people really do these things? First, who walks around the house naked and second, who would own a white couch?

Anyway, I'm admitting that if I were one of the 4 ladies on that show I would be Miranda. I get so annoyed with her at times, but clearly she fits my profile the best. I completely remember having the cynical attitude towards boys (I was in high school), so I'm sure I would have become just like her had I remained single into my 30's. She loves to spread her misery, and let's not forget when she drowned her misery in chocolate cake. Yum. Pretty driven when it comes to work and makes herself crazy when she tries to juggle it all. She looses it on occasion, and doesn't really like conventional, you-have-to-do-things-this-way kind of people/events. I got married in a garden, just like she did.

Equalibrium and Rules

I was reading The Rainbow Bridge this past week and it was talking about the 5 senses. The reference was about hearing, ear aches, and how all of this affects your balance and equilibrium. It totally makes sense, and I know as a child I had many an ear ache. You do feel strange as you try to stand up and rock back and forth. It's also the same when you get out of the pool and one ear has water in it. Weird but who cares, right? I care because this explains our crazy puppy! Sometimes I watch her walk and she hunches her back and walks all sideways. It really looks wonky if you ask me. She also runs into things more often than not. Guess what? She's had 2 ear infections (that we know of) already in her first few months of life. Poor thing. Ever since this tidbit of ear revelation Bill has been very good at cleaning her ears. Hopefully she'll stop running into things and people!

The funniest thing was telling Bill... "I was reading in this book on early childhood education and figured out what's wrong with our dog..."

It just goes to show you that you'll find the answers to your questions in the strangest places. You just have to be willing to listen and have an open mind to hear the answer screaming at you. That reminds me of one time when the kids were making me crazy and I shut myself in my room with my scriptures. They broke through the door and were so completely pestering that I yelled, "would you stop already?! I just want to read this and I've tried to read the same verse 5 times now!" Why was I stuck on that verse? Because the answer was right there screaming at me! It specifically said that I needed to set up clear rules that should not be broken. Wa-la. It worked for a while. Clearly I need to set some more rules...

FHE: 9 down, 43 to go

Thanks to Crystal and her super cool lesson on reverence, we've kept the ball rolling on the good old FHE. We tried to get together last month but things didn't work out. She was also nice enough to do it on Tuesday night since I work on Monday nights. Thanks a bunch?

So how much do we all learn from FHE? Who really ever knows. I did pick up a few important tips and gain a little insight this evening...

1. Children's songbook CD's can help. We really don't sing well, even on songs we know so if I can plan well I might just pop that baby in the CD player.

2. Have something for the kids to be doing while the actual lesson or scripture is being taught. Keeps 'em busy and quiet.

3. Somebody else has to teach, not me! I am able to get Tasha out of her rants, but only if I'm not teaching the lesson. I suppose the alternative is to help Tasha teach a topic but that requires a LOT of prep and didn't go well the last time I tried it. hmm

I like April's comment from last week: "One of my favorite church videos is The Mouths of Babes. In it a little girl is asked about fhe and she says, "Sometimes we don't even learn anything, we just play games, but all the time we learn to love each other..." So true!"

Monday, October 27, 2008

Speaking of kids...

I just read this funny little post from my friend Tori. It's like one paragraph long so do a quick link to it and laugh your germs off. A little background... Spencer is her oldest son who is about Kyra's age, Kai is her youngest of 3 boys who is younger than Tasha.

Further information for April, you and Tori would laugh your germs off at each other and your boys antics. I think she would appreciate your boy posts more than anyone else I know. You both put up with sooooo much and are sooooo patient with it all!

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Kyra and I were fortunate enough to go to a Stake Activity Day this last Saturday. I am always surprised at how few people attend these events. It is a bit disheartening to think that few people put their girls first. But maybe, just maybe they were doing something else with them. I'll try to give them the benefit of the doubt since many sporting events are in full swing and they could be off playing soccer, cheer leading, or some other such activity. Lucky for us though, this was first on our calendar so we were blessed by the strengthening of our relationship :) Sister Clegg spoke to us using the acronym of "FRIENDS".

Fun (have fun together!)
Respect (each other and love perfectly)
Interest (share your interests, do the same things)
Encourage (look eye to eye)
Need (each other)
Defend (your beliefs, your friends, stand up for each other)
Serve (love the people you serve)

Crystal talked a little about defending your family and not sharing all the problems with others outside your family. This is supposed to help foster loyalty and keep family problems within the family. You end up defending one another and supporting one another. I'm at odds with this one, but I'm going to better about less gossipy talk, and more loving talk. Part of it has to do with simply not knowing what to do with my kids. I have absolutely no advice to give Kyra about how to be a big sister. I don't know what is acceptable behavior for sisters so I'm wingin' it on that one. How do siblings relate to one another?! My brother and I were 8 years apart so we were both only children and had nothing in common. I idolized him, just like Tasha idolizes Kyra, but we certainly show it in different ways. See this?! I'm already breaking the rules by dumping my family problems on the Internet.

Something I try to do already is looking eye to eye with my kids and other children. Getting down on their level really goes a long way when you are talking with kids. Sometimes it is really hard to stop what you are doing (cooking, sewing, ect.) to look in their eyes, but it is worth it. I make a special effort to do this when I am at the computer and have to physically turn around. I also try to ignore the phone if we're having a good conversation or good game time. The phone is interrupting our time, just like I ask them not to interrupt Bill and I when we're talking.

The final thing on service was very interesting to me. Everyone has different needs and wants therefore everyone needs to be served differently. How do you show your needs? How do you give service? This is different for everyone and sometimes, even in families, it is difficult to figure out. Some people need to be alone to decompress, others need to be surrounded by people they love to fill up. Both ways are perfectly acceptable but not compatible when the 2 personalities are trying to fill their needs at the same time. (Not that I have that problem here at my house!) One of the things that come to mind on this is "fairness". My in-laws always had a problem with their kids wanting everything to be fair. If one kids got to spend $20/month on pictures, the other one wanted it too, even if they didn't even care about the pictures. You could go crazy, and broke, if you tried to do this. Filling the needs of the individual child and serving them the best way you know should be more important than trying to make everything equal.

Even though this day was about Mother-Daughter friendship I couldn't help but think about my friends too. I have so many of you that fit so nicely into these categories. I love and need you in my life! Thanks for being there and encouraging me with your service!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Christmas Books

Chrissybug wanted to know some good Christmas stories for the coming holiday. She plans to wrap up 23 books to read to her children as the countdown to Christmas begins. I assume that she has night 24 covered with some really great book of her own. Well, since I'm the self-proclaimed "reading lady", I'll bite and post my favorites. I couldn't remember the name of my newest favorite, so I pulled out the Christmas book box and to my delight found quite a few more. In no particular order (except for the first one, which is the book I went looking for) here goes...

A Night Without Darkness
(A Nephite Christmas Story)
Timothy Robinson
"The signs of His coming had been prophesied in the Americas. A new star appeared in Zarahemla as in Bethlehem." The story is told from a little boys point of view, it's not too long of a story and I love the pictures by Jim Madsen, especially the one of Samuel the Lamanite. It also gives a few scripture references and ends with the boy dreaming of baby Jesus crying on a hillside.

Coyote Christmas
Tom G Robertson
Cowboy version of 'Twas The Night Before Christmas, starring some rowdy coyotes that work to get a gold-searching Cowboy home to his family in time for Christmas. It's written in the same rhyme as the original work, but I can't help but read it with a bit of a southern twang. Pictures are different, yet pleasingly simple and colorful. They are all original acrylic paintings by John Runne.
La Nochebuena South of the Border
(written in Spanish and English)
James Rice
Again with 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, but this time we're south of the border and James Rice throws a few Spanish words into the text. No accent for this one, but I try to be authentic with the pronunciations. I'm not impressed with his illustrations, but the text is a riot. Here's a sample (but you'll have to buy the book to discover the names of the 8 "reindeer"):
Then out in the desert there came such a fracas--
Sounded like ol' Carlos sat down on the cactus.
I leaped from my chair and dashed 'cross the floor,
Jumped over the perro as I ran to the door.
There puffin' and wheezin' and heein' and hawin'
were eight li'l ol' burros just pullin' and pawin'.
Olive, the other Reindeer
J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh
Don't judge a book by it's movie on this one because the movie was freakishly stalker-like terrifying if I remember correctly. Granted, for adults it was probably funny, but not so much for little kids. The book does have the same new cartoon look pictures that I'm not fond of, but the kids seem to like it. I just like the book because the little doggie is a riot and my kids LOVE dogs. The premise of the story, in case you don't know it is "Olive, the dog, is merrily wrapping present when a holiday song (Rudolf) takes on a new meaning."...instead of "all of the other reindeer," Olive hears, "Olive, the other reindeer." Quite funny as Olive runs to the North Pole to help Santa and ends up hanging by a rope "flying" with the reindeer. Of course, in the end, dog skills are needed and Olive saves Christmas. Not quite what Robert L. May was going for when he wrote the Rudolph story, but entertaining all the same.
Santa Mouse (and)
Santa Mouse Meets Marmaduke
Michael Brown
A little mouse realizes that nobody ever gives Santa presents so he wraps something up and puts it under the tree for him. Santa gives him his own little hat and beard and suit, names him Santa Mouse and he becomes his helper. The later story is one that I remember being read to me as a child. My copy has a page ripped in half but I love it all the same. Marmaduke is a trouble-maker of a mouse that doesn't believe in Christmas. Things change...
Then there are the classics that have all been made into movies (or maybe they were movies before they were books?), but I have to read the books as well:
The Night Before Christmas
Frosty the Snow Man
Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer
How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
A Charlie Brown Christmas
I love reading these books aloud to the kids because sometimes I will catch myself sounding a bit like the characters from the animated shows. (especially Charlie Brown) "I guess you were right, Linus. I shouldn't have picked this little tree. I guess I really don't know what Christmas is about, " he wailed. "Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?"
For older readers...(I have 'em and I'll loan them out)
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Barbara Robinson)
Christmas Jars (Jason F. Wright)
The Three Gifts of Christmas (Anita Stansfield)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Handsome Prince in this Town

We're driving down 48th street and Tasha sees a new building going up. It is surprising because we drive down this street quite often and there was nothing there the last time.

T: Wow, that building is quick.

Me: Yes, you're right.

T: Mom, who built this town?

(heh, heh, I'm laughing because I just start singing in my head...and then out loud in answer to her question)

Me: We built this city. We built this city on Rock and Roll!

T: What?

Me: We built this city on Rock and Roll!

T: What's that?

Me: Rock and Roll, that's music. We built this town on music.

T: Mom, that's silly.

Me: Yep. Music didn't really build the town.

T: Who did?

Me: I don't know, lot's of people I guess.

T: No. Heavenly Father built this town.

Me: Oo. That's a really smart answer.

T: I was just testing you mom.

(I guess I failed)

Later that day while having a snack with her friend Justin...

T: Mom, every time I see Justin he looks handsome.

Me: Oh really?

T: Yeah, every time at church he looks handsome.

Me: Just at church then.

T: No, he looks handsome right now too.

Justin is now blushing and smiling. (Yes, he was inbetween us for the whole conversation which made it all the more cute!) And I love that he insists on wearing his homemade crown everywhere. Way to go April, he's a handsome Prince! Insert totally cute picture of Tasha and Justin with his crown. I'm too lazy to go hook up the camera, and it wasn't as cute as it could be... they both insisted on shoving food in their face right when I snapped the shot... all THREE times! Big nerds that they are, I love 'em anyway.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

FHE: 8 down, 46 to go

Yes, yes. We missed FHE last week. Thanks for not harassing me about it, I was at the end of a 2 day migraine and couldn't even cope with getting out of bed really. I missed other things that week as well and am sad for that. Migraines just really kick my butt.

SO. For this week. We did it.

Proof positive that even when you are running really late, you can't use your original lesson because it's too late to get out your Halloween stuff (and who really can call that a "lesson"), AND your 4 year old runs screaming from the room because you don't follow the EXACT order of things...proof positive that you can have positive FHE and end on a good note. It was actually pretty good that Tasha left the room because I was able to include a more advanced look at "acceptance" of others and talk with Kyra about something I had wanted to discuss with her for a while. She's a sweetheart, I love her.

Our lesson was spawned from the song we sang in Primary on Sunday, "I'll Walk with You" that discussed people that are different than we are. I asked Tasha if she knew of anyone that talked different than we did, expecting her to name various students in her preschool class. She refused and pouted and this was the beginning of her tantrum. HELLO?! She attends Gett's preschool in a Speech and Language classroom, as a peer, to try to help kids with language issues! Ya think she can answer the question? NO. Then I thought about it and maybe it is so natural to her that she doesn't see them as different. Nice. I should note that she originally started to name kids that spoke Spanish and I should have accepted that as a good enough answer, but my head was all a blur and I was trying to get her to stop jamming her heel into my calf. Kyra came up with a friend of ours down the street and we mostly talked about my mom when it came to walking differently since she has recently had foot surgery and was in a "wheely" chair. At Tasha's insistance we tried to sing the song but I don't really know it and my voice is a shambles due to allergies and I couldn't locate the Children's Songbook CD's at the last minute. Tasha then said a "long prayer" (because she thinks that is the thing to do these days).

One more down! Bill's such a fine leader. Did I mention we've had scripture study 2 nights in a row?! There must be something in that Trifecta Flour. (read about it here! click on the link and go to page 2 )

Monday, October 20, 2008

Crazy 8's

8 TV shows I Love to Watch
1. Law and Order (reruns)
2. CSI (reruns)
3. Army Wives
4. West Wing (on DVD)
5. Raising the Bar
6. Grey's Anatomy (reruns, right before Army Wives on Sunday night when I stay up until 2 am because I took a nap after church)
7. Sitcom reruns (Seinfield, Friends, Cosby...)
8. Whatever Bill is flipping through (as long as it's not sports, the Death Star being blown up, or Groundhogs Day)

8 Favorite Restaurants
1. Stamati's (Astoria, New York)
2. Uncle Nick's ("Hell's Kitchen" in New York City)
3. Olive Garden (with Kyra or Billy)
4. Claim Jumper (with a bunch on GNO ladies)
5. Applebees (with my mom)
6. The Melting Pot (with Bill on special occasions)
7. Someburro's (veggie burro or chicken fundido)
8. Crystal's house (with games, BYO Food)

8 Things that Happened Yesterday
1. Church
2. Big lunch
3. Nap
4. Made bread with the girls
5. Light dinner (salad and rolls)
6. Scripture study lead by Bill
7. Told a ludicrous version of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears as a bedtime story
8. Stayed up late to watch Army Wives

8 Things that I'm Looking Forward to
1. Honeydukes
2. The Elections (being over)
3. Thanksgiving
4. Black Friday shopping ads
5. Saint Nicholas Night
6. Christmas
7. Christmas break
8. New Year's Eve with friends!

8 Things on My Wish List
1. Self cleaning flooring
2. Dust repelling furniture
3. Toilet trained dogs
4. Self regulating hormones
5. Self detoxing organs
6. No allergies
7. A personal chef/shopper
8. A magic wand

Are you SERIOUS?!

Brooke Shields on the Routan Boom. I originally googled this because I was really annoyed by the commercials for this minivan. There were quite offensive as I watched the 30 second versions, in the middle of the day, on Nickelodeon, with my 4 year old. BUT, at 9pm at night, when you see the full 4 minute mocumentary, Brooke is stinking hilarious! The fading to black and white is classic, headlines, and especially the disclaimer towards the end that reads, "Brooke did just make that up". If you have an extra 5 minutes, go watch it and read the credits if your screen is clear enough.

Bill needs to LET IT GO! Seriously.every.single.time. he watches the end of the original Star Wars he makes me watch. He makes me watch them blow the Death Star up. He bugs me and bugs me until I look up (from the computer this time) and watch it get blown to pieces and then admit that it is, in fact, "blown to smithereens" as he puts it. "Did you see that?" He asks, "There is nothing left!" The point of this rant of his is that in The Empire Strikes back they are rebuilding the Death Star and there are only fragments that are missing. Maybe Derek or Ethan can explain this phenomenon to him. (please?!) I think the Hizer's might have a very scientifically nerdy engineering explanation for him, but Ethan might talk more on Bill's level.

This is just sad. My friend says that a couple of college students took a picture of her family having a picnic because it was sure to get them an "A" on their decline of the family research project.

This is what I asked my mom to get me for my birthday. She laughed hysterically and couldn't wait to tell her friend. The best part is that she is really going to do it because she loves me and my crazy ways. She's also going to make me my favorite pumpkin cake with a scrumptious cream cheese frosting that hopefully comes with extra frosting.

I've been tagged twice, once by her, and once by her, on the same Crazy 8 list thing. I'm racking my brain trying to come up with 8 TV shows I watch so don't hold your breath. (Can I list all the Law and Order series and the CSI series separately?)

My father-in-law actually wrote an article that I understand. I still don't care a whole lot about Tech-Investing but he will be proud that he has hit his target audience... people that really know nothing about technology. He was quite disappointed one evening when I said something to the effect of, "I really just don't understand your technology stuff." And when I say "quite disappointed", I mean that his girlfriend and Bill both quickly exited the room and left me to drown in my own stupidity and a lengthy explaination as to why I need to understand it and how he is trying to write so that you don't have to have a Masters degree in Electical Engineering to invest in technology. Anyway, I can now understand "cloud computing" and SaaS, but don't ask me what the later stands for. Yeah for him and me, I get it!

There are actually people out there that still think that AIDS can (or could) be spread through saliva. Like, if a gay man was cooking your food and tasted the sauce and dunked the spoon back into the pot you could catch something from him. First, nobody should be licking and sticking if they are cooking for a crowd. Second, if in fact the man did have a disease, I would give him enough credit to take extra precautions. Third, you can't get AIDS from a licked spoon. Shall I go on?! Should we really dwell on this years later, after the man died?

Now, if you are sick of my ranting, you people must WRITE STUFF!!! that is amusing and that I don't have to think too hard about. Thanks.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Garden and Her Girl, Chapter 2: The Prince and the Princess

A special thanks to the Wise and Great Witch Lynn, who, without her guidance through Narnia, my book would not be possible.

So as the weather "cooled" throughout the land, Princess H and Prince Wilhelm did begin to prepare the earth for planting. Well, as a matter of true fact, it was not exactly agreed upon that they should begin preparation, it just sort of happened. The manner in which it happened is of some debate between the prince and princess, but since this is her story, you will hear her version.

On rare occasions Princess H does get her housework done in a timely fashion, on Friday. It is on these days that the sorting and washing of the laundry does wait until Saturday. When this happens it is imperative that the lawn is mowed before said laundry is hung up to dry, for everyone knows that the dry earth in this land of Arizona does stir up dust and will settle on wet items. It is also fair to note that once heavy with wet articles, the line of clothes does drop and one might be concerned that Prince Wilhelm might be beheaded while mowing if he is not careful. It was this concern for the prince that lead to the following incident.

I should interrupt here and say that the relationship between the prince and the princess is not exactly what one might imagine if you have not ever met them, and one might be taken aback by the manner in which they speak to each other if one did not know them well and if one were to believe that which they know from fairy tales of princes and princesses to be true. In fact, the most terrible things that they say to each other are not meant as terrible, but are mere punching points in which the two bait each other in an effort to debate and argue. It is also probaby of great importance to note that because this is the princesses story, she has probably made herself out to be quite nice and humble, more so than is completely accurate.

As most princesses of this time do, Princess H awoke from slumber and was headed to bathe before she began her day. Bathing in these times, you see, is a sign of a woman that is ready for her day fresh and renewed. It is also necessary for many since the times of long hair that can be combed and tied up in a nice bun atop the head are long since gone. But on this day Princess H hesitated in her daily ritual, knowing that there was much to be done on the outside of their dwelling on 17th Place. She desired nothing more than to assist Prince Wilhelm in his labors, but was greeted with mockery.

"Prince Wilhelm? Will though be needing my help in the yard this day?" beseeched Princess H.

With a deep chuckle, Prince Wilhelm replied, "What? What would YOU do?!"

A bit defeated, the sweet and helpful Princess H responded in kind by saying, "Well... I could... Well, I could mow the lawn if thou would like oh great and wonderful prince." She was very hesitant in her offering because at this point she felt as if her kind gesture was not being taken seriously.

"You?! You, mow the lawn?!" questioned the prince.

"Yes sire, I could mow the lawn if though would like. I only ask now because I was about to bathe and would like to do it before I cleanse myself," said the princess.

"Off to the shower with you, I need not the help of a woman! I will take the talking beasts with me and they will help me labor in the yard. Go and be beautiful silly girl." And it was at this bidding that the princess did go and bathe.

I must tell you at this point that there was much to do in this land of 17th Place and the garden was not on the list of things that must be done. It was because of this great need that the princess did offer up her services. There was a great Truffula tree that needed trimming, several sad pecan trees, and another climbing tree that was overgrown with branches and sagged and drooped into a neighboring yard. It was of these things that the princess was concerned because more often than not the prince did require her help. It was a tremendous amount of work to ask of him and the two talking beasts because, although they were great animals, they were not always the most hard working. I will explain more about these animals later on in the story, but for now, know that yard work and land tilling was not one of their favorite activities.

One would have to ask the talking animals or Prince Wilhelm what happened during the time that Princess H was in the shower, but I would suppose that all was not well. It may have started out as an adventure, but soon became tiresome and dreadful work. No sooner had the princess stepped out of the cool drizzle of the water than the talking bear had interrupted her morning routine. Now if you know the princess, you know that she has discussed with the animals that she is not to be bothered in the morning until she is clothed in the garments of her birthright. She gets quite irate when they come barging in, stopping her from enjoying fully the routine of peace and quite without talking animals. If you know the talking bear as well, you will know that it is this beast that is most aware of this ritual and would not have stopped the princess unless it was of great importance. It is because of these two things that the princess did not immediately rant at the bear and did listen intently to that which was being requested.

"Dear princess, I'm sorry to interrupt, but the prince has requested your help in the land," said the bear. The bear at this point was looking at her paws and wringing them back and forth, for the bear had heard the earlier discussion between the prince and the princess and knew how annoyed the princess would be at this bidding. She found the mockery of the prince to be quite unbecoming, but said nothing for it was not her place. She found offense in his statement too because, she being a girl, had been asked to mow on occasion, and had also known the princess to mow as well. She was a forgiving bear though, and knew that the prince meant no real harm and was probably just trying to save the princess from further labors.

Well, you can imagine how annoyed the princess must have been at this point, still dripping wet from a refreshing shower and interrupted from her sacred ritual. It is much like the annoyance that Queen Crystal (long may she garden) feels when talking animals require things of her before her morning feast. But alas, Princess H did put on her garments and did go to the bidding of Prince Wilhelm.

I will not bore you with every detail that did ensue during the next few hours. It will be good for you to know however, that Prince Wilhelm was quite appreciative towards the princess and did treat her quite well for the remainder of the day. And, in fact, Princess H was happy to be working side by side with the prince. The animals were not always as helpful as they should be, but the princess was able to race with them and give them tasks that made the work a bit more enjoyable than before. It was also a great time of branch gathering and wand making in this land, but that is a story to be told in another series.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'm a Great Aunt?!

Leesie Elizabeth Kokaliares
Born October 14th, 2008
Weighing in at 7lbs
20 inches tall

This is my nephew Kyle with his wife Savannah

and their newborn baby girl.

Can you believe that I used to babysit that new father when I was 16?! Wow, this is kind of freaking me out a little bit. A GREAT Aunt?! My girls have a great aunt and she's like 80 years old. Honestly, I don't know if it is worse to be a great aunt or to acknowledge that my brother is a grandfather. YIKES!

So Leesie is named after my mother's mother. As they were looking at family names and reviewing the trees Savannah said she liked it. Of course my mom what thrilled to say the least, and is now thrown back when she hears the name. They chose a different spelling (who doesn't these days?) than my grandmother, Leacy.

This girl will want for NOTHING I tell you, NUH-THING! It's the first grandchild on Kyle's side, and the first girl on Savannah's side. Um, and did I say that my brother had four boys, so his wife is ecstatic?! Can anyone say s.p.o.i-oiled?! That's OK though. Spoiled with attention, love, and affection are sure to come and has never hurt anyone. Just love that little winkin' girl. I can't wait to go snuggle on her!

Happy Birthday Elizabeth!!!

Dear Elizabeth,

Your mom called me this morning and said that you probably would not be going to gymnastics today because it was your birthday. Yippee for you! Did you know that I already knew it was your birthday? I've know all month because there is this cute writing on my calendar that says "Lizzie" on the October 16th square. Do you remember writing that many months ago? Congratulations on being 6 years old! How exciting for you. I hope you have a fun day with your family and enjoy some fun activities. Maybe you will get to go goofy golfing or something else exciting.

Tasha says "Happy Birthday to you. I hope you have a great birthday. I hope your baby will feel better when she gets back home. Have a great day and that you can have a great birthday and that I can see you and Joshua soon. Bye!" I think that Tasha will miss you today at gymnastics but you might not miss riding in the van with her. Sometimes she is a little mean when she is in her car seat. Do you remember when you had to tell her "NO!" several times one day? Not many people know that you can have a loud voice because you are usually so quite. Tasha was trying to make you do something and you told her "no". Then all I heard was this:

Tasha: YES!
Lizzie: NO!
Tasha: YES!
Lizzie: NO!
Tasha: YES!
Lizzie: NO!

I was so proud of you for standing up for yourself! Sometimes Tasha can be very pushy and tries to make people do things that they don't want to. You probably made a good choice when you told her "no". Way to go and way to Choose The Right! You are learning so many things every day and are growing up so fast.

Here is one more thing that I like about you Elizabeth: your smile. It is fun to try to figure out what your smile means. You have a shy smile that means you don't know what you want to do or say. You have a sly smile that means you are up to something and you don't want us to know what you are doing. You have a happy smile that is sometimes followed by a laugh. That one is the best!

I hope you have a fabulous day and get to smile a lot!!!


Sister Durrenberger

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"You Say It's Your Birthday..."

BUH, NUH, NUH, NUH. "It's my birthday too!" (Well not really, but now we've all got this great picture of Anthony Michael Hall sitting in a car with Molly Ringwald right before he asks to borrow her panties.)

Happy Birthday to Jaylee!!!

I know Jaylee will forgive me for not being computer literate enough to actually do what I wanted to do which was give her her own Google image. If I had a scanner and had any artistic abilities I would have drawn it, scanned it, and then uploaded it. But I don't. If I had some really great software I would have copy and pasted it, and then uploaded it. But I don't. So everyone put on their fabulous imagination thinking caps and picture with me the Google image, except in place of the 'o's you have Jaylee's fabulous blogger image, probably a close up version that is centered just around her head so they really look like 'o's. "Aah, how thoughtful H, you really know how to make a girl feel special."

And now go google Jaylee's full name. You will find out she's a blog stocker of all things crafty, mostly because she is in charge of Splendid Creationism Day (or something like that). She's been working on this for several months now because she has commented on strangers blogs, giving them her email address and asking them for instructions. You will also find out that she warns you about falling asleep with your mouth open in a car with multiple people (good tip), and that she wants to shut the door on the lips of her mother's stupid chickens. (Do chickens really have lips? How many of us missed that reference the first time around?! Jaylee was probably trying to be funny and it went over all of our heads.) She's got a facebook account, and her name pops up on Technorati which is something I know nothing about but Matt and April pop up on the same page. (Please don't explain it to me though, I've got a migraine already which leads me to an interesting fact about Jaylee...she's never had a headache. Never I tell you, NEVER! That's awesome and I'm not a bit jealous, really. Stupid chickens.)

That's the funny Jaylee that we all get to not know very well, and love. Then you come across this quote about a friend of hers that died as a result of a roadside bomb in Baghdad. "He was so bright and it was enjoyable to try to one-up each other on who read more books," said Jaylee Draney, a friend. "The world has too few many individuals who not only have the ability to make something of themselves, but the drive as well. Nick was one of those people." She doesn't want the world to know that she cares, is interested, or has anything but jocularities to say. But we know.

I'll spare her the further humiliation of how sweet and sensitive she is and let her continue to hide behind her quick wit and unforgettably inappropriate humor. I love her for all of these qualities! Happy Birthday Girl!

And a quick PS to anyone that I haven't done a birthday post for...the only way you get one is if you tell me about said birthday 2 days before your birthday (because I have that long of a memory), or you leave some sort of hint in an evite invitation response that I read about 2 days before your birthday (Jaylee), or I happen to read the RS birthday list about 2 days before your birthday (April). Otherwise you can sing the other party song, "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to, cry if I want to".

Thursday, October 9, 2008


That's the new record. There were 628 emails waiting to for me on the laptop. But instead of having to delete them 10 at a time they were clumped in groups of 100, thus only 7 click, click, deletes. Maybe computers really do have empathy. Several weeks later there were well over 300 and they were still clumped in 100's. Yay for the computer for keeping up with my lack of reading. Obviously I don't check email on this thing, it's for composing and reading blog posts silly.

On the subject of numbers...

Tasha is a bit obsessed with the number 9. We were actually surprised today when her number ended with 62. This really isn't a big deal except that the number 69 comes up quite frequently. I've avoided the subject several times but then a member of the bishopric had to say something like, "you know that's a sex number, right?" HELLO! Yeah, I know! (Well, I probably didn't know until I was in college, but I know) It's not like she knows it, has heard it used, and definitely doesn't know what it means. We were discussing different things in the van one day and I asked her where she learned that number. Um, without missing a beat she said, "from Ember." HAH! I am so not the one busted here.

On the subject of conversations in the van...

A couple of days ago we were talking about being nice to people that can't do things as well as we can. Specifically, it is not nice to tell people that they can't do cart wheels. We talked about how everyone could do different things better and worse than others. She went through a variety of of different scenarios and the many things that she could say. Yes, she did this without encouragement by me. In fact, I was trying to change the subject and she was dwelling. Then she's back on cart wheels and says, "Justin would never make fun of my cart wheel." Aah, how sweet. He must be a nice guy.

On the subject of never...

I am never fun. I never let Tasha paint, cook, watch TV, ect. She never feeds the dogs. She never gets to make her book. She never... oh how the list goes on. The only thing that stops that list is the list of "always". I always make her clean her room. I always tell her what to do. She always has to go to bed. (You get the picture)

For you Breastfeeding Mamas!

I saw this article on the Cox homepage. I know, I know, I should probably have my computer pop up on something a little more educational, but it gives me a few peeks into what's going on in the world (which I usually ignore) without sucking me into 3-5 page articles that I don't have the energy to read anyway.

Anyway, Angelina Jolie has been caught as a breastfeeding mama. Shock. Awe.

La Leche League International, the world's oldest breast-feeding support organization, applauds Jolie's apparent decision to be photographed nursing.

"Breast-feeding in public reveals a whole lot less than what has been revealed on the red carpet. ... I think we do need more role models like Angelina Jolie willing to be photographed and say, `Hey look, it can be done, it oughta be done,'" said La Leche spokeswoman Jane Crouse.

I'm a Beet Farmer!

Notice anything similar about these 2 people?

Well, apparently they are both beet farmers. They hide behind the facade of boring Office employee and mother/teacher, but really they have a passion for beets. So, for all you Office fans you can laugh hysterically as Dwight here makes a big nerd of himself and think so fondly of your good friend that has so much in common with him.
Beets are the only thing I can grow. Or maybe they are just the only thing that no animal or bug wants to eat from my garden. Whatever the case, I've got beets and so does Dwight. I'm embarrassed to put myself with this guy, but what the heck, I'm growing something!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

FHE: 8 down, 44 to go

I better post this before the feeling of euphoria leaves. My husband rocks, my family gets it, and this FHE thing really can work. I requested that Kyra give a lesson on testimonies because last testimony meeting Tasha wanted to get up but didn't really know what to do. When Bill got home from work I sent him outside with Kyra (yes, outside because it isn't blazing hot) to discuss what she might say. Tasha and I stayed inside to prepare the "treat". We had decided to have dinner during FHE this evening and made mini bagel pizzas as the treat. SUCCESS!!!

Bill stepped up to the plate, defined our evening and lead with the opening prayer.

Tasha lead the music. Yes, she lead it. Right after the prayer she said, "OK, for our song tonight we are going to sing 'Tell Me the Stories of Jesus'". I was bustin' a gut inside because she was so formal. Then she waved her arm back and forth with the Children's song book open in front of her. (While I was finishing up dinner she had gotten the book down in search of a song. She had chosen about a dozen obscure songs that I didn't know before she found this one from our Primary Program.)

Then we ate while Kyra and Dad lead us in a discussion on testimonies. We practiced giving our testimonies and then Bill did it. He challenged us all to bear our testimonies in November. Yep, all of us. After the kids got up I looked at him shaking my head and said, "Where did THAT inspiration come from?" No explanation was needed, he knew EXACTLY what I was talking about. His answer? "Well, it could only have come from one place and I'm not going to deny it."

So ladies, beware when you beg, plead, and pray for your husband to lead your family in righteousness. You never know what is headed your way.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Dear Jensen Family,

I love your blog posts. I love to read them. I love to comment on them. I love to read what other people comment on your blog. I love what Rachel says. I love what Davey says. I love to watch videos of what Sophia says and does. I love the links you post. I love the crazy Youtube stuff you find interesting. I love the list of "things that Davey finds interesting". I love the slide show of your family.

I don't love that I can never access all of these things at the same time. I can't bring your blog up on my computer. I have to to read individual posts through bloglines and then click on only that post to comment. If you have 11 posts in bloglines (like you did tonight) and I can't get to them all for whatever reason then I lose them. They are gone forever, and I am really, really sad. Does anyone else have this problem? Is my computer, or rather, are my computers the only ones that have this problem? After you took off the cost of the war things seemed fine, but then you added the fabulous slide show with all those pictures you must have scanned in because they have to be pre-digital camera age. I have other friends with slide shows and their blogs work fine. My only other thought is that it could be your PYzam flower background, which is totally cute and I don't want you to get rid of, but what good does it do if I can't read your stuff?! Aaargh! Maybe Satan just doesn't want me to be enlightened by you and has cursed my computer connection.

SO, sweet Jensen family. I had 11 posts to read. I got to "Stuff" with the crazy yo-yo guy and the great link to what is too sacred to share, but then I got booted off. I clicked onto your site by accident, the computer sent an error report and then shut down bloglines too. Please send links to the remaining posts so I know what you are up to. You know, what you are doing besides sending Sophia toppling down the stairs and praying for her sweet dreams.

I miss you all! I miss New York! Can't wait for you to move our buy a house...and send Sophia to Desert Marigold...and live happily ever after.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008


I wanted to title this post, "What is REALLY wrong with our education system" but that would be rude. I posted earlier that I have been in contact with the AZ Teacher Certification program. In order to obtain a Provisional Elementary Certificate in this state you must have had state approved Structured English Immersion (SEI) training. Fine. I had an ESL endorsement on my original certificate because I chose BLE/ESL teacher training for my final 2 years of schooling. I explained this in the second email that I sent to the certification unit and this is the response that I received (4 hours later, because I think it took a lot of thought):

"You have to apply and allow us to provide you with an evaluation, if your classes don't meet the SEI requirement then you will need to get them prior to applying as they are now part of the requirement to get a Provisional certificate. If you qualify for the full ESL you right you do not need the SEI but, we won't know that until you apply."

So let me see if I've got this right: I have to apply to know if I need the classes but I have to take the classes before I apply. Furthermore, I have to apply to know if I get the full ESL endorsement but I can't do that until I know if I need the SEI which I have to complete before I apply.

Does anyone wonder what is wrong with the public school system? Maybe I'm being too logical.

Tator Tot Floaties

What do you do when you get too many freezer items and you have no place to put the frozen tater tots that you bought for a recipe you are going to have Kyra make later this week? Well silly, you throw them on top of the ice in the ice maker that doesn't make ice, but that still aparently mixes the ice up well enough when dispensing it that it can suck the bag of tots down into the dispensing mechanism. If this happens it will jam the ice dispencer and your husband will graciously disengage the plasic bag from the metal twisty thing, all the while giving you the look that says, "are you really annoyed with ME because YOU jammed a bag of tater tots in the ice?" After you assure him that when you yelled, "BABE!" to get him to come fix this problem your anger was not directed at him, but more at the stupidity of the situation, you both laugh as you look into the ice bin. The tot bag ripped and some fell out. With the fall out came some yummy flakes, all of which could not be salvaged. Your husband fishes out what he can and says that maybe the rest will just freeze to the bottom and we can clean it out later.

HOBY! (I'll get to this later, but since it hit me I had to write it down. Plus it is just a funny way to stop what I was saying earlier and make you realize that I am switching gears now and it is the next day.)

Tasha's home now and happily water painting away. I heated up some leftover homemade chicken noodle soup from last week that really looks and tastes more like a stew even though I added at least 2 more cups of water than Crystal said to add. Oh well. I got a glass of water to drink and just laughed at the light-brown floaties BEFORE I took a sip. It would not have been funny if I had drunk any of the floaties. So much for the freezing idea. G.R.O.S.S.

Now I realize that even after a GNO and plenty of good conversation I am desperate for witty people to talk to. Where are you people?! Can't we all just live in a commune or something and get absolutely nothing done but be quite happy? Crap. I'm never going to move, who would ever understand and love me like my friends right here in PPark ward?! No one I tell you, NO ONE! Anyway, I'm desperate to talk to somebody so I try my preschooler. All I get is this:

T: What is that rabbit's name on Rapunzel? (the Barbie version which is nothing like the real version)
Me: I don't know.
T: I always call him "Toby"
Me: Yeah, that's not right but I can't remember what his name is.
T: The dragon is Penelope.
Me: Yep. Maybe we could look it up in the book. (yes, I have the book version too)
T: Yeah, go do that.
Me: I don't think so. You want to know, go look it up yourself. I'm busy. (busy heating up chicken stew and fishing tots out of my ice, eww)
T: OK. Maybe I can look in the book when I'm done painting or you can when you're not busy.

Well, I guess blogging really isn't being busy and my stew is cold again. She just finished painting so we should probably look it up together even though I figured out his name was Hoby. She's so sweet, she just showed me how she cleaned out the paint water and she has blue paint all over her arms and a splotch under her nose that looks like a booger. She looked in the mirror, came back and said with a chuckle, "I'm going to wash off the booger."

...oops, it is spelled "Hobie." We're going to go read now.

3 and a Half Hours later...

Tasha leaves for preschool at 8:30. The bus comes to the house and I can just stand at the door in my pajamas and watch her trot to the welcoming hand of the bus driver assistant. Aaah, sweet bus! But then what do I do with my time? Hmm, let's see:
  • Start a load of laundry
  • Send email to my husband requesting classes at UoP for re certification
  • Pick up current email
  • Get prompt response from my husband and immediately visit the AZ State Teacher certification Unit. Find what I believe to be the correct form and decide to call because I have some questions. While on hold (for 29 minutes and 58 seconds), re-read requirement form, respond several times to my husband's witty correspondence, open and compose email to the state department with specific questions related to my situation, hit send, and then hang up the phone.
  • Compose a blog post on requirements to be a teacher, how the requirements are silly but necessary, and decide that I probably ticked off a bunch of people but I don't really care. Also hope that no current or future students read said post because I called a student whiny and although it is true of many students it isn't really professional to use such a term and I should just shut up now before I get into deeper trouble.
  • Visit UoP website, check classes offered, and print out courses. Briefly check financial link but decide I don't really have time.
  • Get prompt, yet automated response from the Teacher Certification unit. Reply in an email, quoting the requirement form and requesting a specific answer to my specific question. (a little more eloquently than that though because I don't want my file flagged and thrown into the circular file never to be seen again)
  • Finish harassing my husband through email.
  • Hang up laundry that buzzed well over an hour ago.
  • Replant a few bean plants, pull some weeds off the perimeter of the garden, kick both dogs out of the garden (Are you kidding me?! Hello! Get the @*&# off my plants you stupid animals!), and throw a few more misc. seeds down just because I have a bunch of gaps where there is just watered dirt and no sprouts.
  • Water under the swing set by hand and start the sprinkler by the tree
  • Get in the shower because I am pea-you-suh, all the while composing this blog post in my head in an effort to avoid any revelation that the Holy Ghost might give me because I already have too many assignments to do.
  • Get dressed, brush hair, but don't blow dry it because although I do have to go out to meet Tasha at the bus this time, I really don't think the bus people care what I look like. They can think I'm a bum who just barely got off the couch and showered after a leisurely morning of eating bon bons and watching TV.
  • Check email. Harass husband again. Be annoyed at the state dept.
  • Type up post that I was composing in the shower and frantically hitting "publish post" before the bus pulls up at 11:55-ish, but only after using spell check to find out that I don't know that swingset is actually 2 words and "ish" isn't really in the dictionary, but also proud of myself for knowing how to spell leisure.

Self Proclaimed "Specialist"

I wonder what it really means to be a "specialist" in a certain area. What really is a "consultant"? Crystal cracks me up because on her blog profile she lists consultant as her occupation. Why does this crack me up?! Because it is so stinking true! You can consult Crystal about just about anything and she usually knows more about it that any specialist.

The reason I actually thought about the specialist title was because I am currently in the process of getting my teaching certificate back. YIKES! That is a whole other story. Just for kicks I clicked on the requirements for a Reading Specialist Endorsement. Here are the steps (a bit abbreviated):

1. A valid AZ fingerprint clearance card.
2. A valid AZ teaching certificate.
3. 15 semester hours of courses to include decoding, diagnosis and remediation of reading difficulties and practicum in reading.

First of all, in order to get requirement #2, you have to have submitted requirement #1 so I think that is a little redundant. Leave it to the state to confuse that issue.

Next, 15 semester hours. That's 5 classes. Hmm. Do you think that 5 fulls days of training in a specific program that proves to work with virtually every student should count? Maybe 9 years of working with these students should. I think I definitely have the decoding and practicum part down, but what about the diagnosis? Hmm. Let's think. Can the student read? NO? Then they are diagnosed, end of story.

I know, I know, I'm mocking people that really are trying to set some standards. The problem is that when you set certain standards and make them a requirement you really set yourself up to lose a lot of really good applicants.

When I graduated from ASU I thought I was ready to teach. Boy was I wrong. There was a whole world of knowledge that only comes from actually being in the trenches. For me it wasn't book smarts, training, or diagnosis that was holding me back. It was actually working with kids that I was lacking. Fortunately for me I had an assistant that was a mom. She was so much more qualified to teach than I was, but also the absolute best help I could ever have asked for! I encouraged her to get her degree because she would have been the best teacher EVER! So much of teaching is based on child development and that just really can not be taught anywhere but with children. Sure it's in the books but until you actually experience it, in all it's screaming, laughing, and oh-my-gosh-did-they-really-do/say-that glory, you just don't get it. I had a mom of a student try to tell me something once, insinuating that I was young and just didn't get how to deal with children. I was so offended and knew that I was so right. Boy was I wrong. I'm sorry dear parent, oh brilliant protector of the children. I bow down to your infinite wisdom and knowledge, but am still grateful that you withdrew your pain-in-the-neck-whiny child from my enrichment program.

Yes, this is what teachers are thinking. Only much, much worse. And yes again, I want to go back. I want to make a difference. I'm going to redefine reading instruction in the public school system one school at a time! And dag-nab-it, I am a "Reading Specialist", self-proclaimed and soon to be official. (I should probably learn how to spell defiNATEly though...and lose/loose)