Monday, June 30, 2008

(Still Monday) Explora! Children's Museum and Science Center

Amazing, fabulous, fun-filled, thought provoking, exciting, crafty, messy…I can’t think of enough adjectives to describe this great afternoon. The 3 hours we spent there (right up until closing time) were not enough, and the kids were both asking if we could come back tomorrow. You KNOW it’s good if the kids want to come back before they have even exited the building. Even the outside of the building offered an opportunity for wonder and inquisition. As we walked up to the building Tasha asked if we were going on a boat because the windows looked like portholes:
Bubbles, need I say more?!

Notice Tasha has left me hanging here while Kyra and these kids took over? I really could have spent a while playing here by myself! It was enlightening to watch these 3 kids (one of my own) working together and utilizing each others ideas, especially since they were varying ages and had never met before. Building a dam.

Junk art crafts (I took a ton of pictures for my art class next summer, but I’ll spare you):

Kyra was also able to do some kind of spirograph drawing with my mom while I sat with Tasha in the craft room. My mom said it was pretty cool and they could have spent a while there if it wasn’t closing time. There were several places to test your engineering abilities, most of which I failed miserably. The problems with some of the centers were that there were no instructions for a non-scientific mind like mine. I was able to help Tasha concoct a working windmill, but only by following the example of someone else’s work. Seriously, I was the kid that took the field trip here and had a great time but didn’t learn a dang thing. Give me a book and I learned sentence structure, paragraph writing and proper use of quotation marks, but unless science included formulas I was lost.

It was a long day, and the kids went to bed easily after a carpet picnic of pizza a chocolate. Tasha finally decided to give her grandmother some room to sleep.

(Still Monday) Lunch at the Quesadilla Grill

We searched for a while to find a place for lunch that would be both kid friendly in atmosphere and on Tasha’s somewhat upset stomach. We needed to lay off the beans, which sent her to the bathroom at least 5 times the night before, supplement the ice cream, and lend itself to her fairly picky pallet. Why is it that the youngest traveler gets to make most of the decisions?! Tucked away in the Poco Apoco Patio on San Felipe and Church Street we found an outdoor patio that was open to the many other shops in the area. We placed our order with the nice looking new owner of the restaurant. (My mom is the one that pointed out that he was eye candy!) He was very apologetic as he went back and forth getting things and forgetting other things since this was he very first day open. He actually put up the closed sign while we were there because he was getting so backed up (there was just him and one other man at the grill). There was a fry bar which means he brings you a cone of French fries and you go put all the toppings on it that you want. Tasha had a plan cheese quesadilla, Kyra the pizza-dilla, and my mom and I shared the veggie-dilla. Actually, they had some other funky names for them but you get the picture better this way. The most amazing thing was the tortillas they were served on. We’re going to buy some tomorrow before we leave town! (They are a New Mexico brand and can be purchased at any grocery store in the state apparently.)

Monday, June 30, 2008 Downtown Albuquerque

We set off today for a fun filled day in Downtown Albuquerque where all the good shopping is (girls love to shop!) and most of the kid museums. As we pulled into the museum I noticed 3 school buses parked across the street at the park. I wisely inquired before we went in if they were expecting any groups today, which they were, so we went shopping until 2pm when they were expected to leave. To pacify Tasha (who really wanted into the museum), our first mission was to obtain some ice cream. Then we found some anklets for the girls, purchased from an Indian whose mother made them. I don’t think you are supposed to say Native American out here, it sounds different and I don’t know why. Tasha got a t-shirt, both girls got some earrings and sunglass chains, Kyra got a bookmark and hair thing, and we bought some NM cards, a dice game, and some magnetic rocks. I’m not positive, but I think Tasha takes advantage of shopping mode and asks for EVERYTHING! It got quite annoying and I put an end to it. The problem is, I really love to window shop and kids don’t like to shop unless they get to buy it. Kyra is pretty good at browsing and hinting, plus I think she remembers 2 days ago when I told them they could only ask for 3 things a day. (I didn’t say I would buy the 3 things, but they could ask for 3 things…this encourages thoughtful asking)

Earrings, sunglass chains, butterfly in the hair, and anklets… (sorry, I'll upload pictures later)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Saturday, June 28, 2008 Keith Reunion, Logan, NM

Most of us were stirring around 7am, although Tasha lazed around until 8. As I was straightening my hair I listened intently to the wall in front of me because I knew it was the wall that separated us from my Uncle Ray. I was curious to know if he still honked his nose every morning and wondering if they had already gotten up and left. Shur’nuf (that’s NM talk), at 7:30 there was the distinct sound of the nose horn going off. They left well before we did and we were lucky to get any breakfast at 8:30. I guess they start serving around 7am and are pretty much done cooking by 8. That’s all well and good, except that Arizona happens to be one of the few states that don’t adopt daylight savings time, and that would mean 6 and 7am to us. Tonight I’m leaving the blinds open so the sun shines in.

Last night my mom got to catch up with all of her generation. Interestingly enough, most of them are her uncles but are her age or younger. Her mother Leacy, was from a first marriage. After Leacy’s mother died, her father remarried and had another slew of kids with his second wife. There were 13 kids in all: Iva (just turned 100 this summer), Lewis, Leacy (my grandmother),TD, Alice, LeRoy, Edward, Neil,Tommy, Melvin and Alvin. (The last 6 boys were from the second wife) I really only have one uncle, my mom’s brother Ray, but I will refer to all of them as uncle since “great-uncle” would get just plain annoying. I took pictures of all of them and will give them each their own post, because they deserve it, but here are the remaining 5 brothers in all their laughing glory!

Alvin and Melvin (they are twins), Tommy, Neil, and LeRoy (the oldest brother) Aunt Iva is still living in Texas, just turned 100, but was unable to make the trip to NM.

Friday, June 27, 2008 Adam’s Street, Tucumcari, New Mexico

I told the kids last night that they were not allowed to get out of bed this morning until Momo (my mom) got up, unless they had to use the bathroom. Mom was up around 6:30 to shower, Kyra shortly after her to read, and Tasha bolted out of bed, got dressed and crawled in bed with me around 7:30. She’s a snuggly little thing in the morning and it is pretty sweet. We all walked down to the Magdalena Café for breakfast while listening to Tasha complain about how far it was. She had walked twice that distance the night before to get some of the wiggles out before bed but now she was hungry and cranky. She ended up eating her entire plate sized pancake without a blink, 2 pieces of hefty bacon, and downed it all with about 6 oz of chocolate milk. My mom and I split a fabulous veggie omelet that had been generously smothered in green chilies. Ah, I love New Mexico and their willingness to put green chilies on everything! I don’t know if this is true in every family, but when you get together with extended family it always seems to be about the food. I’ll try to avoid any further play-by-plays on our eating habits.

Kyra has been a trooper so far in the car. Two, 5-6 hour trips and she hasn’t strangled her sister yet. Maybe she is a little older than our last road trip, maybe it was the threat that I made her this morning, or maybe it’s a little bit of both. Thursday morning as we were getting ready to leave they were arguing over something ridiculous. I pulled them each aside individually for a kind, motherly lecture. Kyra’s went something like this: “When you were Tasha’s age I traveled everywhere with you because you were not in school. I could just as easily do the same thing with Tasha and leave you at home. She is fine when she doesn’t have to compete with you and I can easily leave you at home. I don’t want to leave you here, so please prove to me that you deserve to come.” I actually saw awareness hit her solemn, almost-10-year-old face as she agreed to do her best to keep the peace. (Was this wrong?! My mom seemed to think that was a pretty harsh thing to tell her.)

On our way into Tucumcari we stopped at the cemetery where my grandparents are buried to place some flowers by their headstone. Then we drove by their old home which is in a sad state with dead grass, missing bushes, and junk strewn all over the back yard. I don’t know if it is possible or not, but I think my grandparent’s neighbor still lives next door with the same dogs. OK, I’m sure it can’t be the same dogs 20 years later, but they still are the yappin’est things direct from my childhood memories. I told the kids of the giant 3wheeled bikes that I used to ride on up and down the empty neighborhood street. When we came to the end of the block I saw the house with the concrete turn-around spot that I used sometimes. Again, is it possible that the original owners were still there with the same little trike tipped over in front of the porch?!

At one point on the drive, about 40 miles outside of Tucumcari, my mom mentioned that it was now that she usually became sad. It was then that she realized she should be going to visit “mama and daddy” but that they weren’t going to be there to greet her. We recalled how they would always be sitting out on their front porch waiting for us to pull up, or else they would be opening the screen door before we had a chance to put the car in park. We used to make that trip in one long 11 hour drive, with no cell phones. They must have been looking out the windows for hours just anticipating our arrival. That is dedication, and they sure were something special. I am so grateful that their temple work has been done and that I can look forward to meeting them in heaven again. I never knew my grandfather to be without a cane or hearing aids, so it will be a grand time when I make him chase me down for a hug and whisper “I love you” in his ear. I can still smell his deodorant, taste my grandmother’s cookies, and feel their loving embrace. Maybe they have followed us to Logan and are here with me right now as I listen to the hum of the room air-conditioner and watch my children flop back and forth on their beds by the glare of the computer screen.

Seriously, where are my mom and I supposed to sleep?!

Thursday, June 26, 2008 Out of Town

Tasha has been obsessed with asking when we are going “out of town”. She doesn’t even know what it really means, but she knows we won’t be at home. We left town this morning around 9am and made it as far as Payson before we had to stop for a break at “Old McDonald’s”. It was a quick stop where Tasha raced up the stairs and down the slide several times while I counted. It takes about 10 seconds, although once she whittled it down to 9 seconds. My mom had to stop at her place in Forest Lakes to leave some Costco food in her fridge and pick up her mail so her husband wouldn’t get it and leave it lying “who knows where.” Why is it that husbands can get the mail in the house but then they scatter it from room to room with no apparent rhyme or reason? Strange, true, and annoying.

The girls maintained themselves pretty well until around 1pm or so. I called for quiet time and eventually, after much whining, pushing, and moaning, this is what I found:

We arrived in the much anticipated Pie Town for a late lunch and pie. Much to our chagrin, our favorite eatery (Pie-oneer) is only open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday so we ended up at the only other establishment in town. We ordered 3 pieces of pie: chocolate crème (my mom confirmed that they were not trying to pass off chocolate pudding as crème before she ordered it), peanut butter (the pregnant waitress’s favorite), and blackberry (heated, but not with ice cream). Hands down, the best was a swipe of the chocolate with a full scoop of peanut butter. Yum. It wasn’t until we left that I informed my mom of the cost of the pie: $4.75 and $3.99 per slice. Yep, the supreme pie was just as costly as my full pork chop dinner. I guess that’s what you get for ordering pie in Pie Town.

Alive and Well

We made it to Logan, New Mexico and the girls have made some friends with several cousins. I'm happy to report that there is Internet available, just not on my computer. Maybe in Albuquerque...

Ahhh, yes! Thank you ABQ and this Country Inn. Wi-Fi is a beautiful thing and I have only seen one cowboy hat since we have arrived (and it was on a lady!?!). I love my relatives but the funky hick towns we have to go through and stay in really make me wonder. I have some journaling I've done over the past few days that I will post date on the day that they happened. This is mostly for Bill, who is apparently home with a stomach flew or virus. Or, maybe he just misses us that much! Poor guy.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Vacationing with Mom

The girls and I set out for a family reunion trip with my mom on Thursday, June 26th. About 2 days before we left Bill realized how long we were going to be gone and decided that he was going to miss us. I guess a full week sounds like a long time when we say we will be staying in 3 different hotels in 3 different cities. He realized he could have a guy’s weekend, but really I know that just means that he will sit around all day in his underwear watching sports, eating cheese crisps, and leaving his dishes throughout the house until the day before I come home. Knowing him, he won’t call anyone to come over even though he told me he was having a party. But maybe I should be worried since I wasn’t able to reach him the 2 times I tried to call him Thursday and Friday night.

Anyway, it was Bill that told me to take the laptop and send out a play-by-play of the trip. I laughed and told him I was headed to New Mexico, Hicksville, home state to more podunk towns than I care to think of. I told him they aren’t going to have internet service, much less Wi-Fi! I was right. I’m typing all my antidotes in a Word Document and will hopefully get a chance to post them before I come home. Our first hotel had cell phone service but no internet. (I think the leather skinned smokers sitting outside the office would have thought a laptop was in reference to some type of domestic animal) Now, at our second hotel, we have no cell phone service, but the computer does detect the Yucca Network, it’s just not wireless. Maybe by Sunday we will find some sort of civilized city (Albuquerque) that can accommodate all of our needs, including a swimming pool for the kids. Until then I’ll try to keep a running record of hysterics, insanity, and hill-billy antics of all my relatives. I’ll try to keep the entries more like me and less like a running record, but no promises.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Oh, so sorry to anyone that I have harrassed as of late. I've been obnoxious in your comment sections. Not enough people are writing stuff so I have to initiate a conversation on your blog. I'm also trying to avoid reading my father-in-laws post that I never understand. He's Mr. Tech Investing and it's always about tech investing, duh. I read it 'cuz he's my dad and he seems impressed when I tell him that I read it. If I was smart I'd read it right before I saw him so I could have a semi-intelligent conversation on what a cookie is. He's a great guy, I'll have to tell you about him sometime.

I'm also about to leave for New Mexico with my mom so I'm feeling pre-mature withdrawals from the internet. I'm afraid I won't have access until July 7th! YIKES. The last time I went that long I totally didn't miss it and debated not coming back. Just a warning ya'll... you better write now or I might not ever read it.

How does Kyra sleep like this?!

NTS: Don't let Bill start the laundry

Here's what Bill crammed in the washer:

8 of his TShirts
2 of his Polo shirts
2 of my shirts
2 pairs of his dress pants
1 pair of his jeans
1 pair of my capris
2 skirts (one of mine, one of Kyra's)
2 of Tasha's skorts
1 pair of Kyra's shorts
1 pair of Tasha's leggings
3 of Kyra's shirts
3 of Tasha's shirts
1 of Tasha's nightgowns
2 of Tasha's dresses
1 of Kyra's church dresses

(Now start singing to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas, final verse-the 5 is nice and lo-0-0ng)

5 pairs of shorts

4 underwear

3 black socks

2 off-white bras

and a red and whi-ite checkered dish towel


NTS: "Note to Self"

I'm starting a new "column" on my blog. I will label it NTS so I can keep a running log of all the notes I need to keep my life sane. Obviously it is not really a note just to myself since I'm posting it on my blog. Duh. And, if you know me at all, it's not even a real note. It's just a ridiculous thing that occurred that I decided to make note of so I can laugh about it now, or later.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mmm, mmm, Trifle

I made dessert for dinner last night and Tasha kept asking about it. The conversation went something like this:

T: What are you doing?
Me: Making dessert.
T: What?
Me: Making dessert.
T: Can I have some?
Me: No, you can have some later.
(2 minutes later, as I am still assembling it)
T: Mom, can I have some wizzert?
Me: What?
T: Can I have some wizzert?
Me: No. You're bizzerk.

I'm hooked again

It took one episode to reel me back into Sex in the City. The Russian is back and I'm watching.

Miranda got married and I think they are looking for a new place to live.

Charlotte can't have kids. Harry is great and they might adopt.

Samantha has breast cancer and is in love with a young hottie.

But most importantly...Carrie is dating Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Ooh baby, ooh. Mikhail is one of those classic men that just gets better looking with age. And the fact that I can spell his name without Google gives away my age. Yep, I watched White Nights repeatedly as a teenager. He and Gregory Hines could dance. But what is it about accents?!

The Reasonable Woman

Bill is almost done with his BA at University of Phoenix. I would say that it will be a huge relief when it is over, but honestly, the last year or so has not been hard at all (on me). In the beginning I was very involved in proof-reading papers, but lately I haven't even known when one class ends and the other class begins. There came a point in his schooling when he went all business on me and that is when I completely lost interest. OK, OK, I just don't get it. Business, shmizness, blah, blah, blah. His latest class was on sexual harassment. I know this because I kept finding all these articles and papers strewn around the house about it. I became a little concerned and asked, "Babe, is there something I need to know about?" He laughed and said, "No. But if a man leers at you, you should count how many seconds he does it. If it is for 6 seconds that is OK, but once he hits 7 seconds or longer you can charge him with sexual harassment." He then proceeded to leer at me for 6 seconds, dramatically turning away at the count of 7. What a joker.

Last night, Bill broke his vow to never again let me read one of his papers and he handed me his sexual harassment paper. I'm sure it's mostly because they have had many good debates in his class and he wanted to share this information with me. It could also be because harassment is largely a woman's issue and he thinks I care about that stuff. I stopped periodically and would ask him a question because the whole thing didn't make sense. His paper made sense, but sexual harassment doesn't make sense. The whole thing is a big crock. One of the odd changes to the law has been changing the wording of how we judge whether sexual harassment has occurred. Apparently the standard for evaluating a situation used to be done through a reasonable person's point of view. Now the law states that using the word person is not enough, it now says reasonable woman. Bill was completely irritated at me because I think that distinction is exactly why we have so many problems with our legal system. He gave up on me last night but emailed me this today:

"The reasonable woman standard is a legal fiction alternative to the reasonable person.It is used in sexual harassment litigation in some courts in the United States.It recognizes a difference between men and women regarding the effect of unwanted sexual interaction.Because women historically have been more vulnerable to rape and sex-related violence than have men, these courts believe that the proper perspective for evaluating a claim of sexual harassment is that of the reasonable woman."

Obviously Bill has done quite a bit more research on this subject and even completed a presentation this evening on the subject, mocking me in front of his class. I understand the need for laws on the matter but is it too much to ask that people in general act in a reasonable way?
But then again, I was just this weekend accused of having too much faith in humanity. I imagine that is true, but I'd be a sad case if I changed who I am to fit into the way the law works. So for now I'll just make sure Bill doesn't switch back to the Hooter Girl Swim Suit competition and try to keep this woman as reasonable as I can. (And as you know, this is sometimes easier said than done!)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

We won't be moving to Gloucester

Here's the confession: Inside Edition was on and I listened to part of it, the part about 17 teenagers making a pact to get pregnant and raise their children together. Since the laptop was running, I googled it to find out that this pregnancy boom really was planned. All the girls went to the same high school in Gloucester, MA and all of them were under 16. Honestly, the line in the clip that caught my interest was when the reporters questioned if movies like Juno and Knocked Up were glamorizing teenage pregnancy. I didn't see Knocked Up, but were these people watching Juno?! I'm pretty sure it did anything but make you want to get pregnant. Yes, the girl was quirky and funny and really had it together...but she gave the baby up for adoption, she didn't keep it!!! The whole point of the movie was that she wasn't ready to be a mother.

These girls in Massachusetts want to have babies. WHY?! According to an 18 year old mother and recent graduate of the school, some of her now pregnant schoolmates used to approach her in the hall and tell her how lucky she was to have a baby. "They're so excited to finally have someone to love them unconditionally." Are you kidding me?! How selfish can you be? Am I being completely insensitive to kids who possibly have no home life, no parents that care, and nothing to do? I don't know, but I do know that I would (and did) think long and hard before I had a kid.

So why might it seem like a good option to have a child while you are still in school? Hmm, maybe it's because the high school they attend provides FREE DAYCARE so the mothers can finish school. Actually, that does sound like a solid plan: have a baby freshman year, get 4 years of free daycare, struggle for one year then boom, the kid is in school and you are set. Why didn't I think of that?! (sorry, I just read an article on sarcasm...I hope all of your right frontal lobes are in tack so you can pick upon it) You could be under 40 by the time your kid leaves the house and free to do whatever you want.

I am just amazed at the thoughts people have on the topic of teenage pregnancy, and the comments that were posted on this article. Some people were chastizing the Catholic community that won't let the school pass out condoms on site. (Again, did you read the story?! These girls WANT to get pregnant, duh!) Others are blaming the school, parents, society, and lack of moral standards. One person did suggest that we give credit where credit was due and let the girls take responsibility for their actions. I'm not sure how they become responsible when they get 6 hours a day off from motherhood, but hey, at least they have to tend to them at night when they are supposed to be doing their homework. (I'm sure the school has some sort of late assignment clause that enables the mothers of night-time waking infants the chance to make up work. Let's call it "the baby spit up on my homework" clause.) Sadly, I just read here that there are only 7 spots in the daycare, 8 girls have applied, and several are on the wait list. I don't imagine the 17 girls thought about that one did they? (I didn't while making my mock plan to go back in time and change my life plan.)

Here's some insight on teenage pregnancy that I haven't heard ever before in the main stream media: (from Phineus) "Until a hundred years ago and still in many parts of the world girls were and are getting married and having children precisely at this age. Our modern ways don't necessarily jive with our needs that are dictated by our inborn time clocks.
Instead of questioning these and other girls, we should be questioning the need of 13 years of school in order to wait on tables and style hair. These are legitimate jobs, and many people are happy doing simple jobs with simple wages. For such work 13 years of schooling doesn't fill any mandate, and they could other-wise be getting on with their lives as our ancestors of recent times."

I'll just leave you with that thought because I have no idea what the point of this post is. I have no opinion on teenage pregnancy and/or how to prevent it. It's another one of those subjects where schools and politicians are being forced to babysit, literally.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Virtue in Prayer

I was reading from the Joseph Smith lesson manual about "Prayer and Personal Revelation" (chapter 10). Yes, I believe I am a week behind, and no, I didn't read all the previous chapters. I jumped right into a juicy chapter that happens to go along with some scripture studying that I have been doing. Bill and I serve in the primary so give me a little slack. None of you got to (try to) teach 6 year-olds about reverence last week. Seriously, the title of the lessone was "I Can Be Reverent". Well yeah I can, but can they?! Once we got them to stop eating their ties and flipping their skirts over their heads I think we made a little progress.

Anyway, enough comic CTR 6 relief, back to my original point. On page 131 it reads:

"Virtue is one of the most prominent principles that enables us to have confidence in approaching our Father who is in heaven in order to ask wisdom at his hand. Therefore, if thou wilt cherish this principle in thine heart, thou mayest ask with all confidence before him and it shall be poured out upon thine head."

The above quote is from the Prophet in 1840 and has a scripture reference to D&C121:45-46. The word that caught my attention was the word virtue. I hear the word used often: "Patience is a virture"; by virtue of...; or people declare things virtuous. Even one of our Articles of Faith tells that we seek after things that are virtuous and lovely. But I was intrigued by the reference above that virtue is a principle required to talk with our Father in heaven. Not that I doubt it, I just wanted a little more insight into what it might mean.

The best fitting definition that I could find in Kyra's student dictionary was "the right way of thinking and acting; good living; morality." Without getting into a long debate over what the "right way" would be, for the sake of my post I would like to suggest that there may be many right ways. Even when it comes to the gospel, there are many ways of approaching projects, callings, and topics, and they may all be ways that can be seen as good and right in the way the Lord would have us do them. I think this is why callings shift from person to person as the needs of the ward and stake changes; the virtues of one person may be necessary during a certain point in time, while another person's virtues are needed at another time.

So how does all of this work in the realm of personal revelation and prayer? Well, I think the virtues of each person are what makes personal revelation possible and necessary. The fact that we all have different strengths and weaknesses is why the Lord can answer all of our prayers in a manner that is right for us. Isn't it possible that 2 people could go to the Lord with the same question and get 2 very different answers? I believe they could. I believe that 2 people could be living equally virtuous lives and following the Lord's commandments, and that the Lord could require very different things from each of those people.

Apparently I am having Relief Society withdrawals. I need to have real life adult conversations with people on gospel topics. Thanks for "listening" to my churchy post and let me know what did or did not come up during the lesson that I missed. Maybe I'm way off and would have sat in the back of RS all disturbed and wishing I was in Primary. Now I'll go prepare my lesson for Sunday titled, "Blessed are the Peacemakers." Hmm, I'll save all my witty comments on that topic...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bad squirrel!

When Tasha turned 3 years old we spent some of her birthday money on a zoo membership. It was a place that she always wanted to go to and a fun place to spend the morning with friends. The first trip was just her and I and it turned into quite a memorable one. The animals were fun, it was pleasant April weather, and we got to pet some animals. I had planned for a long day, so we sat down to a nice picnic lunch over by the petting zoo. That is where the true story begins...

We sat down at one of those wooden tables with the giant spool seats. We spread out our lunch: some sort of fruit, probably grapes; an avocado sandwich for me; and a PB&J for Tasha, cut into 4 pieces. I put 2 of the pieces of sandwich out in front of Tasha, then put the lid on the container that held the 2 remaining pieces. If you know Tasha, then you know that food doesn't mean much to her. She will take it or leave it, unless she's really, really hungry. We chatted and ate, then the most bizarre thing happened. Within about 10 seconds a squirrel jumped up on the table, eyed Tasha's sandwich, ran over, took it, jumped off the table and started eating it on the ground. We watched this happen in what I thought was shocked amusement, but found out that it was shocked horror from my 3 year old's perspective. It took me a few seconds to realize what had happened, then I started to chuckle. I looked at Tasha and she was not happy. Not amused. Not even the slightest bit aware that something extraordinary had just happened. To say that Tasha was upset would be an understatement, she was crying and still gripping the other piece of her sandwich. It took quite a bit to get her to calm down.

Is this the funniest thing that you've ever heard? A hungry squirrel swiping a little girl's sandwich right before her eyes? It's not like we left it sitting out and it came while we were gone. It was crazy, and hilarious. I had to try so hard not to laugh because Tasha was truly distraught. By the time we had gotten home, taken a nap, and picked up Kyra from school she was a little bit calmer and was capable of retelling the story to her sister. She also told Bill when he got home from work. I had to laugh with Kyra and Bill away from Tasha because to her this was no joking matter. She had been wronged by a squirrel and I'm pretty sure she was plotting revenge.

So why post this over a year later? Well, the subject came up at dinner this evening. Bill and I started chuckling and Kyra said, "oh yeah, when the squirrel swiped Tasha's sandwich". We were all smiling as we turned to Tasha to see if she remembered. Oh yeah, she remembered. Her face had gone sour, eyes narrowed, eyebrows furrowed, and her mouth was all tight. She is not happy with squirrels and now she has even more ammunition on them. We have the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and she has watched those fiendish little rats scoop up Veruca 'cuz she's a bad nut. Squirrels are bad news, and if you don't believe me, just ask Tasha.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Yummy Guacamole

Mix together the following:

1 15 oz can of shoe peg corn, drained
1 15 oz can of black eyed peas, drained
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 bunch of green onions, chopped

Pour this dressing over and stir:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped or minced
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin

Just before serving add and stir:

2-3 avocados, chopped

Substitutions I've made...
Regular corn for shoe peg (the smaller, the better)
Navy or white beans for black eyed peas
Less cumin

This makes a huge amount of dip so you really need a crowd to eat it up. The avocados start to turn black after you cut them so it isn't very good after a day or two. The vinegar dressing makes this a very unique variation to traditional guacamole and the addition of so many greens makes the dip go much further with fewer avocados.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Laugther really is the best medicine

Here is an interesting article about laughter being good for you. We all know it is but I thought the following quotes really summed up and put into words the way my family works. Not just the family I live with in my house, but also the one I grew up in, and the one I married into. Now you know why I'm always laughing. My family is a riot, and here is how it helps us:

Couples know that laughter is a superglue-like bonding experience, able to achieve intimacy and smooth over ruffled feathers with a single snort. Laughter in the context of love puts you at ease with one another. You can feel perfectly comfortable being ridiculously silly with one another, in ways you would never dream of with anyone else. Couples who frequently make each other laugh are blessed with long, happy marriages, and are envied more than any svelte Hollywood pair.

The best compliment Bill gave me was late one night after I had a horrible mom day at home with a young Kyra. I was grouchy and annoyed and a little ticked off that Bill was making me read an email that was forwarded to him. Blah, blah. I have no idea what was in the email, but I do know that I was laughing so hard that I was crying. Tears streaked down my checks as I tried to snort out what was so funny. Bill sat by laughing hysterically at ME, not the joke. I'm sure I even had to get up to go to the bathroom before I finished reading. After we both calmed down Bill said he knew it was funny and laughed when he first read it but, "everything is funnier with you, that's why I love you!" Aah, isn't that sweet?! Now you can envy Bill and I more than you do Brad and whomever.

Families benefit from shared laughter as well. Siblings can become best friends. After all, it is hard to dislike a person that makes you laugh, even if that person is an irritating sibling you have often wanted to strangle in the past. It can only happen if you spend time talking and playing together. Reminiscing and laughing about the past has a way of soothing hurts and grudges, and cements those relationships into some of the strongest bonds we can experience in life.

Does this mean that I should just let the kids hash it out because eventually they will laugh about it?! I'm just kidding here, but it does amaze me when they are arguing one minute and rolling in laughter the next. Tasha is such a nut sometimes and Kyra is just a fun kid.

I like to hear the funny stories that my friends tell. I smile when I think of my friend doing funky dances to make her kid laugh instead of yell. I laugh out loud when my friend calls to get something off her chest that is so ridiculous that only I will understand. I vent and complain, and then apologize and laugh. Bill noted once that I went "from 0-to-pissed off in .6 seconds" and that statement alone got us laughing so hard that he had to pull over so we wouldn't crash.

The article talks about the psychological benefits of laughter and points out that often it is real life interactions that are the most important. You don't need to spend hours at the comedy club, just some quality time laughing with people you love. As much as I like to have deep conversations with people, there are also times when I just need a good laugh...

Friday, June 6, 2008

Signs of a Preschooler

This is what Mardi Gras beads look like...after your preschooler pulls a chair over to the counter, opens the toaster oven door, pulls out the tray, carefully places the beads on tray, replaces the tray, closes the door to the toaster oven, turns the oven to 400 degrees...
This is what it looks like when your preschooler decides to paint... all over the floor of your extra room, tupperware dish, and cardboard.
This is what it looks like when your preschooler gets her own yogurt for lunch and there is nothing but strawberry in the front...

(notice the peach foil wrapper from the one that she actually found)

Hmmm, and does everyone's car look like this?!
You never know when you'll need a die, sticky sun, a broken beaded necklace, and some cracker crumbs...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Inadequacy Quote

Here is a quote from The Glorious Blessing of Inadequacy,By H. Wallace Goddard:

"As a society, we celebrate competence. We give awards for excellence. We prize innovation. We worship individual accomplishment.

God is different. He chooses the inadequate. He honors the humble. He works through the meek. He makes the last first. He prefers broken hearts to sturdy competence."

Boy, that sure does explain how I got so many of my callings...

Monday, June 2, 2008

April and I were headed home from the State Capital fiasco (a fiasco because we didn't get a quarter OR free ice cream!) with 4 children in the car. Tyler and Kyra were in the middle seat and Justin and Tasha were in the "back-back". There was a lot of giggling, thunking noises, singing, and general merriment going on. Occasionally there was squeal, sometimes it was in pain, and once (as we were looking for a parking space) it was for real but was deflected by the promise of ice cream.

Deep in conversation, April and I were interrupted by Tasha who was horrified and yelled, "Mo-om, Justin's going to kiss me!"

I looked in the rear view mirror to see Tasha's arms stretched out to push Justin away, and Justin sitting back in his car seat looking quite innocent. Kyra was quick to clarify and tell us that Justin hurt Tasha some how and was going to kiss her owie to make it all better.

Then came the retort that every parent wants to hear her daughter say, "Justin, I just don't want you kissing me!" It was clear, concise, and to the point. There is just no messing with Tasha.