Monday, March 31, 2008


For a stay-at-home Mom, very few things can beat the indulgence of a girls trip.  And a girls trip to New York City is, perhaps, one of the best locations for said excursion!  I returned late last night from a fun-fun three day jaunt to the Big Apple with some friends.  The highlights were:

Pasta in Little Italy - yum
Rice to Riches (rice pudding bar) - yummier
'WICKED' at the Gershwin Theater - wicked cool
Ground Zero - sad and inspiring
Shopping on Canal Street - slightly scary
Breakfast in Grand Central Station - super fun
Grilled Ham and Gruyere Sandwich in Soho - too good for words
Shopping on 5th Avenue - lots of walking
Dinner at the Starlight - lots of singing
The Statue of Liberty - looked good from a distance
Times Square - up late at night

AND....a lot of goofy girl time.  

Beyond the fun and adventure, this trip was to celebrate with my cousin.  She has just courageously completed a brutal round of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with breast cancer.  Through watching her go through this this ordeal, I have been awed and amazed by her courage and positive attitude in the face of great trial, as well as the depth of her testimony of a loving Heavenly Father.  

So - here is to my cousin, beating breast cancer, and next year's trip to NYC with the girls!   After that much fun we have got to make it an annual adventure!  

Or biannual...possibly even quarterly............    

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Today I took 'Z' to lunch at Wendy's for an oh-so nutritious kids meal.

The following is his description of how to make a chicken nugget.

"First you stab the chicken.  Then cut the chicken.  Then pull the chicken out of the feathers. Then you get the nugget shells.  You put the chicken in it.  You make it brown.  You make it yummy."

He then took a big bite and said, "Mmmmmm.  Nuggets are chickeny."

Part of the reason that I found this so amusing was that his carnivorous musings are in stark contrast to the feelings he recently expressed towards members of the animal kingdom.  (The following text is from my spring break blog of a few days ago.)

'Z' cracked us up when we went into a Powhatan hut and found a large pile of animal pelts

Z: (In shock and horror, with tears in his eyes) Who has done this!?
Me: (brief explanation of the many reasons that Native Americans needed to use animals)  
Z: (tearful and horrified) Is this a puppy?
Me: (trying not to laugh) No, it might be a fox.
Z: (alarmed) A cute little fox?
Me: (quickly) Maybe it's a deer.
Z: (tearing up) Not a deer!  

I believe that his environmental emotions are spent only on the furry members of the animal kingdom.  Chickens, are not so lucky.  

He has also expressed great dislike for piranhas.   

Monday, March 24, 2008


At our house, Easter morning is always quite low key.  Like my sister Becca, I do not really care for the Easter Bunny.  There is something about a large rabbit bringing treats and hiding eggs (where is the connection?) that is not really up to the sacred snuff of what this holiday is all about.  I think that the year I really turned on the rabbit was when he started showing up in the mall for kids to sit on his lap, get their picture taken, and tell him what they wanted for Easter.  I am not an Easter scrooge - the kids get a few treats, we dye eggs and all, but none of this "what do you want for Easter" nonsense. 

That being said, the highlight of our secular celebration was watching 'N' eat his 'Bernie Botts Every Flavor Beans'.  Included in the box was: Soap, Grass, Vomit, Booger, Bacon, Pepper, Dill Pickle, Ear Wax,  Sardine, and Sausage.   

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Wherein the Family Vacations

Spring Break:
A joyous event for mother and offspring.  Where they have a week free from school attendance/homework, and I have a week free from early mornings and the after school shuffle. The Hub and I decided to take the fam to Williamsburg VA, (with some family friends), for a couple of days to appropriately commemorate our first Virginian Spring Break. 

Day 1: 
We drove about 3 hours and kicked off the festivities at Colonial Williamsburg, the long ago capitol of VA.  'A', 'N', and 'Z' indicated that rather than experiencing any sort of living colonial history, they preferred to run willy-nilly through the replicated streets with their friends.  For 'Z' and his buddy, throwing small rocks into sewer grates that were strategically located every 20 feet was a highlight.  

This is when family fun (forced learning) should have taken place, but it was lunch time, children and men were hungry, so we went to eat.  

We also visited Yorktown - the site of the final battle of the American Revolution. 

Day 2:  
In planning our trip, we found a deal: 3 nights and 4 days + 2 tickets to Busch Gardens for under $200.00.  This made our room practically free. (Except for the 90 minute vacation ownership presentation we had to attend.)  Excuse me, did I say 90 minutes?  Maybe if my hub had just listened and said 'no thanks' we would have kept it to the allotted time.  Instead, he talked more than the sales guy.  He lectured on fiscal conservatism.  He lectured on purchasing things that we don't really 'need'.  He debated the definition of 'need'.  He lectured on living within our means and how the current national economic situation is a direct result of people making poor financial choices.  When told that people in France vacation more than people in the US, making their marriages stronger and their lives happier/more carefree, the hub lectured on the dismal state of the French economy.  There was also a lively debate on the precise cost/benefit analysis of vacation ownership.  All 'discussions' were good spirited - and long.  
Note to self: 1-I will always pay full price for vacation accommodations, thusly avoiding a never-ending sales pitch/fiscal debate.  2-My hub has a surprisingly strong grasp of the minutiae of the French economy.  Historic Jamestown with the kids was by far, a preferable experience.

Day 3:
Busch Gardens was fun-fun for the whole family.  It was here that 'N' tried to impress us with his newly acquired skill of speaking German - which went something like this:

"Doooooo youuuuuu liiiiiike meeeeaahhh shpeeeeeaaaakinnnng geeeeermaaaaan?"

It was technically English, with a thick slurred sort of 'accent'.  Kind of like the chef from the Muppets.  Or Jerry Sienfeld saying 'hellllooooooooo'.  

'Z' mourned his height which was 'not fair for the good rides!'

The Hub was a good sport and went on all rides - even though he gets motion sickness.  

'A' and I LOVED the big coasters (big thumbs up for the Griffon and Alpengeist)!

Day 4: 
We visited the Jamestown settlement before heading home.  It was fantastic.  There was a recreated Powhatan Village, the Jamestown Fort, and the three ships that the colonists arrived on.  'Z' cracked us up when we went into a Powhatan hut and found a large pile of animal pelts

Z: (In shock and horror, with tears in his eyes) Who has done this!?
Me: (brief explanation of the many reasons that Native Americans needed to use animals)  
Z: (still tearful) Is this a puppy?
Me: (trying not to laugh) No, it might be a fox.
Z: (alarmed) A cute little fox?
Me: (quickly) Maybe it's a deer.
Z: (tearing up) Not a deer!

We spent much time discussing the needs of the Powhatan people, which he seemed to understand but later on when we walked through the museum and saw a life sized replica of a native man, aiming his bow and arrow at a deer this is what ensued:

Z: (angry) This is the man that did it!
N: (loudly) Ha-ha!  That woman's butt is showing!  (Native Man's wife - who was indeed bare in back)
Me:  'N', don't say the word 'butt' so loud.  'Z', remember we talked about how these people needed animals for food and clothing.
N:  (Yelling) Hey 'A'!  Come over here and see this girls butt!
Z:  (Shaking his head) This man is bad.  VERY bad.
A: I didn't think that I would see a butt at Jamestown.

Me either.

After lunch at Chick-fil-a, we drove across the road to the gas station to fill up.  The Hub purchased a car wash (a bird had left it's mark on 'A's window while we ate).  Upon pulling around the back of the service station, we found ourselves to be 10th in line.  Another car pulled behind us, boxing us in.  And so we sat.  For 35 minutes till we got up the to wash. When entering our pre-purchased code, the machine indicated the code was invalid.  So I had to run around the building, enter the station to get a new code, and run back to the car.  I made it right as the vehicle in front of us was pulling out.  40 minutes after entering the line, we got into the car wash.  THEN, right as the dryers kicked up, 'Z' announced:  "Good thing we are done here - I need to go number 2."  So, we drove back across the street to the Chick-fil-a (clean bathrooms) so he could do his business.  In the end, it took us ONE HOUR from finishing lunch, to get on the road.

Thanks to my Hub and my awesome kids - for a fun filled trip with lots of laughs!  Now, the post-vacation laundry! 

Monday, March 17, 2008

Twelve Years Ago

The year? 1996.  

And just what was happening in the world?

Both Russia and America re-elected their leaders: Boris Yeltsin was re-elected Russian leader and Bill Clinton was re-elected US president, beating rival Bob Dole.....Right-winger Binyamin Netanyahu was narrowly elected Israel's prime minister..... 
National elections were held peacefully in recently war-torn Bosnia.....The divorce of Prince Charles and Princess Diana was confirmed by England's High Court, dissolving the Royal couple's 15 year marriage....The US city of Atlanta hosted the summer Olympic Games. But a bomb stole headlines from the sporting achievements, exploding in the Olympic Park on July 27, killing one and injuring many.....A U.S military base in Saudi Arabia was bombed, killing 19 U.S serviceman.....We also saw the high profile arrest and charging of Ted Kaczynski, the notorious serial 'Unabomber'.....TWA Flight 800 exploded over Long Island, New York, killing 230 people (more people were killed on commercial flights in 1996 than any other year to date).


I married my other half on March 16th during spring break! (Which was significant as we were both students at the University of Utah at the time.)

We went into D.C. on Saturday night to celebrate at Mio - A posh restaurant in the District.  We know the chef, which made the night even more special because he kept sending us samples of different things to try.  The Hub had Grilled Duck Marget with caramelized pear and I had roasted quail with pesto risotto.   Delicious!  What a great way to celebrate!

Friday, March 14, 2008

My Son, The Artist

N has established himself in the family as a budding artist.  

This crayon on paper piece has been titled -


I wonder what he will be shooting out of it.........Hmmmm.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008


In 1999 a pop soliloquy by Baz Luhrman was all the rage on the airways.  It was called 'Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen), or The Sunscreen Song.  The 'song' originated as an essay called 'Advice, Like Youth, Probably Just Wasted On The Young', and was published in a newspaper.  One haunting line from the essay/song that I have always remembered was: 

"Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth.  Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded." 

I thought of this line today, when after school I presented my 9 year old daughter with a snack.  Earlier, I had spied an unopened box of Samoa's Girl Scout Cookies.  Knowing that they are my daughters favorite - I pulled them out and offered them to my kids when they got home.  Usually after school snacks in my house are bananas, carrot sticks, apple slices, and the like.  Consequently, when offered a sugary treat over a healthy snack, my daughter was delighted.

The joy and excitement that this girl had over an unexpected favorite cookie was incredible. She jumped up and down, squealed, thanked me profusely, and said, "I was going to tell you that today was kind of a bad day, but now it is the best day ever!"

Watching her revel in the chocolatey chewy goodness, it occurred to me, that I could not remember the last time that I was as excited over anything.  I will openly admit that I am a bit of a 'grass is always greener' kind of girl.  I would not label myself as a pessimist, but I often think - when THIS happens, THEN life will be better and I will consequently be more satisfied. (While many different factors cause these thoughts, financial desires and body image issues take a front seat in my when/then frame of mind.) 

I am well aware that this mode of thinking is not helpful or wise, but it must be ingrained in my psyche - because it frequently happens.    

As I observed my daughter I had a dual reaction.  I couldn't help but grin at her delight, but I also wistfully thought about the power and beauty of youth.  Two Girl Scout Cookies had made the girl's day and changed her attitude.  Certainly, I thought, nothing so simple could ever do the same for me.    

Through out the afternoon, I thought - how beautiful, how powerful, would it be for life to be so simple?

As an at-home Mom, I worry.  About many things: my dirty bathrooms, what I will make for dinner, cleaning the house, getting laundry done, carpool runs, keeping the peace between offspring, homework, neighbors, church work, doing acts of service for my kids and husband. The list goes on, and on, and on.

But I have no quick fix to my worries.  I could (and sometimes do) eat two (or more) cookies, which might satisfy my sweet tooth, but I know that once consumed, they will end up on my thighs.  And then I will worry about my weight and about going to the gym the next day to make up for exceeding my daily caloric allotment.  

And I would tell my self that when I loose 10 pounds, then I will be satisfied.  

I reflected on the differences between my daughter's outlook and my own for most of the day - thinking that the ballad set to music by Baz Luhrman  was awfully prophetic. 

Once the kids were in bed, however, when I had time to clear my head of the business of the day,  something occurred to me.  I realized that while feeling wistful about not appreciating my own youth, (alright 30 something is not THAT old, but it IS a far cry from 9) my initial reaction to the earlier event was to smile - in fact I had my own brief moment of joy.  I had felt content, peaceful, like all was right in my world because for a moment I witnessed my child's delight. And then I let it go to think about all of my worries.    

Tonight I finally realized Baz just might be wrong.  Surely, my youth has faded, but I am continually privileged to enjoy the power and beauty of the youth of my children - which is one of the most satisfying feelings I could imagine.   

Do you know what my epiphany means?  Despite all my 'grown-up' worries, something as simple as cookies can make me incredibly happy.  And if that is not powerful, I don't know what is.  

Unless I eat the cookies.  Because Then I will have to worry about the gym.

Monday, March 10, 2008


I was recently the happy recipient of a package from the Easter Swap hosted by GustoGirl.  It was my first experience with interstate swappage and it was a ton of fun to shop, ship and  then receive. 

Here is a big fat thanks to Chris for her timely delivery of my Easter package.  I was definitely spoiled!  

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Why Silence is Not Golden

Do you have one of those kids? The kind that you hear screaming, banging, crashing, fighting, laughing, crying, falling......the kind that is so vocally and physically loud that you can identify his or her location from anywhere in the house at any time? I have one of those. And sometimes I wish that he would just pipe down and exist quietly for a while.

But then, frighteningly, he does. The house falls eerily silent - and I know I must quickly investigate, to see what this incredibly cacophonous child is up to - because assuredly, it will be something that is not good. It is at these times that I will find him eating cookies under his bed, squeezing an entire tube of toothpaste into the sink, using the toilet plunger in inappropriate ways, urinating in inappropriate places, etc, etc.

Silence, with this child, is most assuredly not golden. When I finally get him into bed each night, I feel like I need a good stiff drink. I don't actually know what a 'good stiff drink' is, as I do not imbibe - but if I did turn to the bottle, I could readily use this child as an nightly excuse for alcoholic consumption.  If pharmacological solutions are necessary, I favor Tylenol with a Diet Coke chaser.

I have two other offspring that are habitually quiet. They are careful and deliberate...causing nary a worry.

However - this is why I can be blind sighted by their rare but creative antics. My oldest is one of these. She has grown out of most deviant behaviors - so I don't have to keep such a close eye on her. Silence, with her, is simply - silence. No checking, no worrying, no investigating. The days have long past of finding her rifling through my jewelry box to pocket her favorites, or snagging my wedding ring from whatever counter top I momentarily placed it on, and hiding it in one of her many bags and purses.

My youngest is not unlike his sister, usually playing quietly and independently. I have to remind myself to check on him where I more often than not discover that he is simply involved in his play things.

HOWEVER - I neglected to check on him the other day - and when he came downstairs, I could tell that something was amiss by the worried look on his face.

"I have a little scratch on my stomach," he said, "and I don't want you to see it but I really need a bath."

I agreed to the bath - wondering what was up, but I couldn't detect anything out of the ordinary. When we got to the bathroom, I filled the tub. He then asked me to leave - but I wasn't about to leave a 4 year old to his own devises in the bathroom. I asked him to get undressed but he stood still - evaluating me.

"Okay," he finally said, "but you are not going to like my scratches."

To conclude: Silence is golden, only at night when the kids are in bed. And by 'in bed' I mean dead asleep. For a child, simply laying in the dark does not qualify, There are too many potential trips to the potty, drinks for the thirsty, blankets or toys left in the basement, etc, etc, etc.

And I will leave to your imagination, the expansive and highly innappropriate artwork that is concealed beneath the spiderman underpants.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Madjalooked Me

Z: (very tearful) 'A' madjalooked me!
Me: (very confused) What did she do?
Z: (crying) She madjalooked me!
Me: (trying really hard to decipher what he is saying) I don't know what that is.
Z: She pointed her finger at my shirt and said 'what's that' and when I looked she madjalooked me!"
Me: Oh....she made-you-look huh?
Z: (crying on my shoulder) I hate madjalook!

I thought that it was humorous that he was so upset over such a silly thing, but it was his interpretive vocabulary that really cracked me up. This small exchange got me to thining about 'N', who of all my kids, has had the most interesting linguistics. A few of my favorites from his vacabulary past are:

Kinky Toys (tinker toys)
Prey Goop (play group)
Jovest (Joseph)
Chapitch (ketchup)
KaChicken (ka-ching - his term for money)
Police Naughty Dog (Feliz Navidad)

I also have good memories of both 'N' & 'A' calling out: "I'm all alonely" whenever they found themselves alone in a room.  (This was especially humorous because at the time, we lived in a 1200 square foot town house which kept us pretty cramped.) 

With my first child, I tried my best to correct her language as she learned to speak. By my third round of parenting, I have been sad as he figures out, and then changes his idioms. He is my last child, and he is growing up - fast.

Sometimes when I look back at pictures from years earlier, when my kids were younger, it occurs to me that I probably missed out on enjoying a lot of different and wonderful 'little' things. This is largely due to the fact that It is very easy for me to get wrapped up in the trials and dramas of being of Mom. Perhaps having my first two children 13 months apart added to my inability to 'stop and smell the roses' back then as well.

I have been trying harder, as of late, to stop and enjoy my kids more - and worry less over the things that are not perfect. I am grateful to have been blessed with three insanely great kids. (Great being the first operative word and insane bringing up a close second!) This pic is my kids, 4 years ago. I miss their little selves!

Monday, March 3, 2008

My first tag!

Now I get to be in on all of the fun-fun blogging games! I tweaked the content though. Thanks Becca!

A AUTHOR? JK Rowling/Stephenie Meyer
B BEVERAGE? Ice Water with Lemon
C COLOR? Hot Pink
D DOG OR CAT? Neither, offspring provide enough poop, vomit, messes, etc....
F FRUITS OR VEGGIES? Steamed fresh veggies with butter spray
G GAME? Pictionary, Scattergories, Wii Sports
I INDULGENCE? Dark Chocolate
L LIFE AMBITION? Write a book/start a business
M MIDDLE NAME? Elizabeth
N NUMBER OF SIBLINGS? 3 Sisters, 1 brother - all awesome
O OCD TRAITS? I need things to be symmetrical
P PHOBIA OR FEAR? Claustrophobia (darn that Finding Nemo ride)
Q QUOTE? If the wind will not serve, take to the oars - Latin Proverb
S SURGERY? Once - when I was 21 - 10 points to whomever can guess what it was
U UNUSUAL SKILL? I can intentionally hyper-extend my knees. Not a skill, I know, but unusual.
W WORST HABIT? Too much night time TV when hub is out of town
X X-RAYS? 5 - hand,hand,hand,foot,foot
Z ZODIAC? Capricorn

If you read this - you are tagged!