Thursday, April 30, 2009

the story of how something bad turned into the discovery of something(s) really great

This is my handsome teenage son on the day he asked me for a haircut.
Doesn't he have great eyes?

He also has great patience and humility.

Because in a three-phase haircut that started on Sunday night and ended Monday morning before school, I managed to butcher the bejeepers out of his hair.

He went off to school, and came home looking somber.

I watched him walk in the door, and I'm sure my cringing was visible.

He said at least six people had noticed his hair, but no one seemed to have anything to say about it. I knew what he meant. The monster divot in his bangs left me speechless.
And a little sick to my stomach.
We had a very full afternoon, and he had places to be.

He didn't want to be there anymore with the same hair.

So we made a detour to the budget hair salon.

He walked in after his too-chicken-to-show-her-face mother made the phone call and dropped him at the door. I ran to pick up another child from soccer practice, and zoomed back to pick him up. He was not in the salon (trust me, I still didn't get out of the car; the glass front allowed me to see in) and there was this guy walking up the sidewalk towards us. His seven-minute haircut had allowed him to pass the time in the gaming shop next door, and he had spied us coming.

He looked almost like he had stepped out of military training school~older, wiser, and VERY handsome. And to my delight? He seemed happy, and I made a discovery: "Hello eyebrows!" he has an amazing set of man brows now. I hadn't really seen them since he was about ten, and they've matured quite nicely. He allowed me to gush about how handsome he was. And then I dropped him off at practice.

The end.

It's short-cut Thursday

I made this for dinner last night;
I started browning the meat at 4:30, and dinner was in the oven by 4:45.
It was seriously that easy!
The best part?
There were NO leftovers.
This dinner gets an 8 out of 10 in my book.
We'll make this again.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

...and now, the REST of the story.

Three of the kids and I made an impromtu visit to see a friend.
She announced that we happened to stop by on the day that she was uncovering her potato pit. "Your what?" we wondered.
She took us to what looked like a large pile of mulch.
She explained that last fall, she purchased a few hundred pounds of potatoes at her local pharmacy (I know!) for a really great price and that her dad had helped her dig an eight foot hole in the ground, where they fashioned an amazing state of the art storage facility for the spuds. In the bottom of the hole there was a five-gallon bucket filled with water (apparently a great temperature moderation device). On top of the bucket, a very large trash can with a hole in the bottom (to allow access to the bucket). The bucket was covered with a lid big enough to keep the potatoes from falling through the hole. Under the mulch, there was a tarp covering a plywood lid, insulated with layers of foam board. We spent about 30 minutes pulling a few hundred pounds of spuds out of the bucket, and I was amazed at the preservation of the potatoes. When we opened the pit, it was like an air-conditioned chamber. Of the hundreds of potatoes, there were only three snotty ones.
After we pulled out buckets of potatoes, she sent us home with one.
In honor of the day's discovery, we had a potato bar for dinner.
Some of those pups were HUGE~!
I thought about all of the things you might be able to store in a pit like that.

winter sqash?


And there is your provident living tip for the day.

Monday, April 27, 2009

off to Purgatory!

Kind of funny to utter that phrase with enthusiasm.

This place is heaven for outdoor enthusiasts of ALL ages, as long as your hips and major joints aren't candidates for replacement.

Climbing, exploring and hiking around the chasm was so much fun, we did it multiple times before the crew was ready to evacuate (but only because there was ice cream at the next stop).

If you're in the neighborhood, definitely put Purgatory Chasm State Reservation on your list of places to visit.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

"Nothing can come of nothing."

And that is why I'm here spouting something.

Because the man that penned that quotable quip is celebrating a birthday today.

The same guy that said

"To be, or not to be: that is the question."

Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare.

The man, ahead of his time, who knew nothing of the time that we would be spending on computers, lurking on blogs and surfing the web also penned

"I wasted time, and now doth time waste me."

(now get back to work!)

Friday, April 24, 2009

the if-then quandry

If necessity is the mother of invention, then WHY? oh why? I ask, is teleportation not an option yet? I need to be in two different places to pick up two different children on two different nights of the week. I start to make my ultra gourmet dinner entree, and find that the open and bottomless pit that is a teenager's mouth/stomach has consumed the main ingredient. I have six minutes to return the red box rental which is a twelve minute drive away before we're charged another day's fee. Can you imagine the possibilities? Late for church? How about that time I went to church with two different shoes on? Teleportation would have been a sweet option. Less humbling than how it played out in real life. Public Restroom phobia? Excuse me, I'll be right back. *poof* Although I do, to some extent, need to give some credit for my rock-hard-Goddess Athena thighs to the paranoia of the public toilet. I'm a squatter. Touch nothing. (Thanks, Mom.)

Doesn't this beg the question "Why have the carbon-hating greenlings not been working on this?" J.K. Rowling was on to something with the Floo Network. Can you imagine? No more emissions tests. No more rush hour traffic. No more economic stimulus packages for the automobile industry. I'm feeling inspired. Inspired to prod you science-minded people to act. And quickly, please! I have things to do, places to be and people to see! And I'd like to be earth-friendly while I'm transporting myself. Captain Kirk did it... Beam me up (Scottie).

Thursday, April 23, 2009

gone awry

Found a note on family room floor.
I opened note.

Discovered it was a note from teenage girl.

Teenage girl was expressing sentiment to MY teenage boy.
(note: initial mother bear thoughts entered my head)

In a most loving and (what I thought was) humorous retort
I sketched some words of wisdom coming from speech bubbles attached to stick figures.

Things like "beware!" and "Lock Your Heart"

I also put multiple red circles with slashes through them over things that had been drawn or written in note.

Then I entered teenage boy cave, left note on bed and added noticeable blue arrows to a "proof" that was already hanging on boy-cave bulletin board.

Next morning I found note, proof and arrows crumpled up on boy cave's floor.

My question: Did you not find my response humorous?

Boy: NO.
Note to self: Next time you try to intervene with humor, think red circle with slash.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day

No dryer
transplanting seedlings
planting tomatoes
... and we'll probably top it all off
by driving our carbon un-friendly mega-van
to the park, and to Kimball's for some ice cream!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Vel D'Hiv

I finished my official book of April. I learned a lot. I loved that most about this book; when you can combine the pleasure of an activity with the absorbtion of new knowledge. Although what I learned was painful, sharing it with others suddenly becomes important.

It was a hard book to get through; I do not recommend it to tender-hearted mothers with ten year-old daughters and four-year old sons; I think it was important for me to experience the emotions I did, because I happen to fall into that category.

I felt compelled to finish quickly, because I needed to know how the memories of this painful experience were being passed on to future generations. I studied french for eight and a half years, and felt guilty for not knowing a lick about the round-up at the Velodrome d'Hiver in Paris.

Sarah's Key is composed of two interweaving stories; Sarah's in the past, and Julia's quest in the present day. I did not know a lot about France's role in World War II. This book taught me about a tragic event that has become a little known chapter in French history. I will use this story as a stepping-off point to teach my family more about the atrocities of the Holocaust and why it's important that we never forget.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Patriot's Day 2009

Patriot's Day is one of my FAVORITE Spring Holidays.
It's a great day for displaying patriotism. (and playing checkers) We left the house at dawn, and marched 5 miles with the Carlisle minutemen to Concord, where we witnessed the muster of the minutemen from surrounding towns, a parade and some re-enactment at the Old North Bridge.
If cannons, black powder rifles and fife and drum corps are not for you, there's always the Boston Marathon and the Red Sox game, which happen concurrently on the third monday in April.
It's great to live near so much history and quality hullabaloo.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sandwich, anyone?

We watched a cooking show where a little girl showed us how to make a chocolate pie using tofu and chocolate chips. Then MM wanted to do his own cooking show, except we don't stock tofu. So here's what he came up with instead.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Why I ruined the french fries

Last week we celebrated a birthday.

Because it's tradition, the birthday person selects the menu for his or her special day.

This time it was home made popcorn chicken and french fries.

It's not a very healthy meal, but it was a labor of love,

and the house smelled like a fry-daddy for the next two days.

The birthday boy filled his plate first, and we all enjoyed plenty-o-food.

At one point, someone lifted their goblet to drink, and the beverage spilled on the nearby plate of french fries. One of the kiddos started to scold the spiller, and pointed out that the birthday fries were going to be mushy. The perpetrator was starting to feel bad. It showed. It was silly, really, because everyone had eaten more than enough.

And me?

Well, I had just finished reading "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch, and many of his messages were still fresh in my head.

One of the chapters mentions an incident when he drives to his sister's house to pick up his neice and nephew in his brand-new convertible. His sister was admonishing her children to be careful in their uncle's new car. She was telling them to wipe their feet before getting in, not to mess anything up, not to get it dirty. The uncle wisely perceived that she was setting this 8 and 9 year old up for failure, because eventually they were probably going to get the car dirty. So he made things easy, and opened a can of soda and deliberately poured it all over the back seats of the convertible.

His message: People are more important than things.

The french fries? Just things. So I stood up, took my goblet, and dumped the whole thing on the plate of french fries, smiled and said "they're just french fries."

P.S. I really liked this book.

It was quick and meaningful.

I plan on reading it again. Soon.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

...take a deep breath...

It's time for your friendly mid-week vehicle maintenance reminder.
You're welcome.
...did you know your vehicle has a cabin air filter?
Did you also know that it's a good idea
to change it from time to time?
Recently we had the idea that it might be good to check it.
Good thing we did.
Because here's what we found:
Mmmmmm. (breathing deeply)
Made my lungs feel all fresh and pure.
Breathing through rodent nests.
The next best thing to living in one.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He is Risen!

Please. Go here to see an apostle's thoughts on Christ's gift to us.
He is Risen! He is Risen!
Tell it out with joyful voice.
He is Risen! He is Risen!
He hath opened heaven's gate.
We are free from sin's dark prison,
Risen to a holier state.
~Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1985

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Saturday starts early and gets crazy

opening day for spring soccer!

8:00 am Munchkin game - Primary School field
9:00 am travel team game - HS field
9:30 am youth soccer game - middle school field
10:00 am kick out one dozen teenage boys sleeping in the basement

The best part is that we have to figure out how to divide that schedule and responsibly chaperone the rest of the birthday sleepover between two adults. One reason why cloning might be a good thing on a morning like this one.

As a random note, we hit redbox and watched "Bedtime Stories" last night.
I would give it a 3 out of 5 stars, and Adam Sandler definitely makes the movie.
If you're looking for something family friendly and light, this is it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

one small circle of life with snacks

I was outside on Brrrrrr-Tuesday, which actually felt very much like winter, hello, it's April here, huddling in my biggest son's oversized padded shirt and following the nature-lover around the yard, watching him explore the environment. It was so enjoyable, except if it were warm and well, just warm, it would have been more enjoyable. At one point he was on his bike, and we were meandering down the driveway, and I was being the follower. Only I kept finding myself in the leader position, because he stopped so often to observe and comment that my follow-the-leader plan wasn't really working out. We talked about cracks and ice heaves and jackhammers and the pipes and nework of interesting things underground. Since it felt chillier to stand still than to move, I said "c'mon, buddy, what're you doing back there?" To which he responded "I'm putting this little worm in a safer place so he won't get runned over so much." I thought that was a noble cause, so I jogged on my feet back and forth and waited for the little rescuer to catch up. Then we moved on to hitting baseballs off the tee, and when the supply of balls was spent, he started walking along the front beds, observing important things like yellow garden hose and downspouts. Just before the front steps, he stopped in front of this bush:

And in his cutest little manly-voice he asked "Hey mom, what's this, a pretzel tree?"

Oh, and in my head I'm just squeemishly in love with the little person that he is, knowing exactly why I didn't stop at just five kids. But without skipping a beat, I answer "No, it's called a forsythia bush. But the buds haven't come out yet."

And he says "Why? Do they eat it?" And I ask "Who?" And he says "The bugs."

Clever lad. What bugs wouldn't love snacking on a handy pretzel bush?

And then we're parking his bike in the garage and it occurs to me to ask about the fate of the worm he rescued while I was fending off frostbite. "Hey Pal," I said, "where did you put that worm you were saving?" And he points to the hole (where there used to be a screw and a nut) in the cross bar of his bike, and says "He's in there."

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Another birth-day in the house

Do you call it SWEET 16 when you're a guy?Or do you just say "Sweet! I'm 16."
On New Year's eve, he carried his trumpet, his scriptures, and his AP History study guide around the house barefoot, in the snow. Some serious goals for '09.

He also has mad sewing skillz, as he made his mom a cozy fleece hat and scarf.
He's active in most musical ensembles at the HS, including accappella.

And he's a very fashionable dresser.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the man of the day.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Easter--no candy coating

Wouldn'tcha know that sometime last week Mr. Morning himself approached me and asked me the age old (well not quite that old) question "Mom, is the Easter Bunny real?" ...Well paint me a polka-dot easter bunny and sit me in the plastic green grass. I honestly felt overjoyed at the opportunity to answer this one. "No, little mister," I said, "the Easter Bunny is NOT real." I've always played along, but never forced the issue. And the five kids that have gone before him have never managed to ask. In my most loving and motherly way, I proceeded to lay it out. I think it was a delightful revelation for him, and it allowed me to call it 'just for fun' and 'pretend' and move on with life. So don't get all crazy on me and ask questions about other holidays and American traditions, because I won't answer. At least not here. What I will tell you, is that the Easter Bunny and I have parted ways. I'm looking forward to spending the rest of Easter week allowing him to be excited about candy and eggs and all that, but also taking advantage of some quiet time to really teach him about Easter.

After Thursday, I'll add a link to Elder Jeffrey Holland's amazing conference talk on this subject.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

photo montage of conference weekend

It was a two-day feast. Eight hours of counsel and inspiration. I love the home-i-ness of conference weekend.
I love watching my kids while they watch conference.
I love the togetherness.
I love the introspection and thought.
And I love that twice a year we can have Sunday brunch as a family.