Thursday, December 31, 2009

ALL IS CALM (for now)

It's quiet time.
We must rest for the
ROWDY night

Hope your HAPPY New Year's Eve is just right for YOU!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Na na, na na-na na na NA!

Rock Band 2:
The Momsta rocks vocals.

Settlers of Catan:
I'll trade you a sheep for a brick.

Scrabble Junior:
I complete word with O-T.

Tomorrow night's game: Live Clue.
It could be the jewelry girls
in the conservatory
with the iron.

I've got my game on.
It's still cold, and we're gearing up for a rockin' New Year's Eve...
no resolutions required!

Baby, It's C-C-COLD outside!

Yesterday we never got out of the single digits, with real-feel temps below zero.
Today is not looking much warmer... BRRRRRrrrrrrrr!!!!
(Hot Chocolate, anyone?)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

REDUCING (and sprucing)

That's what today holds in store.
Reducing some of this mess, and sprucing up what's left.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Still standing.

That applies to our Christmas tree, and me.
I think I'll spare you the Christmas morning mayhem, the post-Christmas rock band fiestas, the avalanche of paper and debris strewn through the rooms and halls of our home and the never-ending supply of sweets and odd toys just everywhere.
It has been a good Christmas time.
AND... I'm happy to announce that we had our annual Christmas picture taken this morning.
Some of you  may receive a card before Ground Hog Day.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A gift

Last Spring I sat with my mom on the sofa of the temple house where she lived for three years, pouring through a book of old pictures of her.  She patiently explained each photograph, and answered questions about events and general timelines surrounding her youth.  It was a gift to be given a glimpse into her young life--I was hungry for more.  Today at Segullah, I've shared a piece of what I gleaned from that afternoon together.  In the spirit of giving, I share it with you.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tuck and Roll (with it)

Wrapping, wrapping, wrapping.
Checking that list.
I got almost three hours of sleep last night.

I believe in the renewal of a hot shower and a coat of mascara.
An early morning Relief Society phone call provided the turbo boost to jump start my day.
As if driving to seminary wouldn't shift me right into overdrive...
I hit Target as soon as the elementary bus pulled away.  I knocked our mailbox off the post as I pulled out of the driveway.   Then I ran across town to drop off my first bundle of clothing to a consignment store.  With six growing kids I give so much clothing away, I figured I might as well try to make a few dollars in the process. 

This post is probably going to be like trying to read highway signs in the dark at mach speed.  Random, disorienting and not at all helpful.

I can't tell you how good it is to have a college-age son home for this crazy week.  Really good.  Especially since our bread-and-butter is working from Nevada until Wednesday.  My dreams of becoming independently wealthy off my new consignment enterprise were quickly deflating, as the woman who runs the shop rejected 21 of my 30 allowed items.  In the middle of it all, Nevada-man called to ask if I heard that Sister So-and-So was in the hospital, (check. early am phone call) and then Yonder called to inform me that I'd left him a vehicle, but if I really wanted him to make the preschool drop, he needed keys.  Dang.  Lucky for us, our neighbor was home wrapping her own gifts, and her van was available for the school run. 

Sometimes I do love cell phones.  My birthday girl's new shoes were too small, so I returned them and had no luck finding replacements.  I got two more phone calls from siblings, checking on new family drama.  Laughter is good medicine. 

Yonder and I teamed up to groom the ice rink.  In the process, we broke a mop, poked a hole in the liner and I got soaked by a runaway hose.  I almost forgot to pick up my high school boy, and at the red light in the center of town I caught myself briefly dozing.  My piano lessons cancelled, so I went home, put on my pajamas and climbed into bed.  I slept almost a whole hour.

Rolled out of bed to coordinate meals and rides for the family of six who is temporarily without a mom, and then got to work on some muy delicioso chicken soup for mine.  I served it so hot that four of the kids burned their mouths, but the amazing wheat crescent rolls we made to go with it were so good, they were just the distraction needed.  (That, and some ice cubes)

Family Home Evening included a rousing seven-part version of the (Seven) Days of Christmas:
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
1-A yeti in a snow cave
2-pineapple sandwiches
3-yummy lobsters
4-cell phone calling plans
5-golden statues
7-seven days in the week (felt like there were 12 in mine)

This was not motivation to have more kids.

and we watched the DVD "A Christmas Memory" by Truman Capote.  We didn't finish, but ended where the elderly cousin gets the boy Buddy drunk with the leftover whiskey from the 31 fruit cakes they made together; she gets yelled at by her younger sisters, and then the boy and his older cousin-friend retire to the porch steps to sing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing."  We spent about 60 seconds trying to decide what we ought to take away from the movie, and then gave up. 

I bought some Triaminic night time cold medicine for Mr. Morning.  I told him this afternoon that I wouldn't give it to him until bedtime, because it would probably make him fall asleep.  I went with 6:00, just before we sat down to burn our tongues, I mean eat our dinner.  Clean-up got rowdy, and Yonder approached me on the sly to tell me that maybe NOW would be a good time to administer a dose of the night time sleepy stuff.  I informed him that it had been in effect for an hour now.  Morning boy couldn't have been more wound up if we'd inserted a sugar I.V.  Brushing his teeth was like playing whac-a-mole on a high-speed twister mat.

And on that note, I'm off to bed.  Tomorrow is a new (and more mundane) day.  I believe in the power of a good night's sleep.

When all the holiday hullaballoo takes its toll

Take a NAP!  Just STOP, DROP and SNOOZE.

One large snooze on my agenda this afternoon.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happy Birthday!

To my BEST Christmas Present EVER.
She came home from the hospital two days before Christmas.
(NINE years ago...)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Isn't it mostly about food?

I'm just waiting for the second pan of these to come out of the oven.
Then I'm calling it a night.
If I could, I'd send one of these electronically to YOU.
They're warm, gooey and the aroma is heavenly.
At breakfast tomorrow, I'm going to be the BEST.MOM.EVER.

Some Christmas Cheer

Honestly, it's the sugar that's getting me through all of this fun.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Can't Buy Me Love

But I do so love that handsome bass at the top with the furry bomber hat on...

And I also love a good batch of cookies.  And these were good.
Our fabulous bus driver got a bunch, as well as our neighbor who is oh so reliable when it comes to needing to borrow that egg, or cup of sugar.

You'll find the recipe for these Triple Chocolate Devil Drops at one of my favorite food spots.

Monday, December 14, 2009

JACK FROST, the artist.

It was so beautiful!  I didn't want to wreck it, so I drove the OTHER car.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Would you want to be seen with me?

The night after the big snowstorm, I got dressed to take my kids shopping.  I dressed for warmth and practicality.  I have frostbite to fend off.  As we're walking out the door, one of my daughters says: "MOM.  Don't you DARE take that coat off in the store!"

The next night as we're leaving for the band concert, I receive another harsh tongue-lashing:

daughter:  MOM!  Is that your coat?
Me:  No, it's dad's.  But I'm cold, and it's bigger than mine.
daughter:  Take that off RIGHT NOW, and put your own coat on.  You look like an over-sized Emperor Penguin.

Penguins employ physiological adaptations and cooperative behaviors in order to deal with an incredibly harsh environment.  That's all I was doing...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Looks can be deceiving

Meet Sniper.  On the Left.  And Sam.
They're very loving, and very tolerant, and generally speaking, very easy pets.
EXCEPT in December.
Last year, they managed to knock over our 7-foot Christmas tree.
THREE times.
They broke off the top.

This year, I brought that tree-of-bad-memories back into the house, and felt negative Karma each time I reached to fluff a branch.  Honestly, I wanted to throw it away last year.  I should have gone with my gut.  The top was still broken.  Somehow, it didn't fix itself while boxed away in storage for 12 months.  Huh.  We put it up.  No top, though, and duct tape was not the answer.  Everytime I left the room, a cat was leaping to the top.  There were tufts of cat fluff stuck to the wire boughs.  And that's how last year's tree became this year's garbage. 

Today we went to the firestation and picked out a REAL tree.  I'm afraid.  If the cats like climbing the artificial tree so much, what will a real tree bring to the party?

Mr. Dub called the vet.  He asked them what we should do about tree-climbing cats.  They recommended Boundary.  A cat repellant.  We're willing to try anything.

As of this afternoon, the tree is up.  No lights, no decorations, and plenty of boundary.  So let it begin.  Monday night we'll be festooning the evergreen.  If you don't hear from me, let's hope no news is GOOD news.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


"I'm lucky I'm in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again"
-Jason Mraz
I breathe easier when he's home.
And I imagine his plane is flying somewhere over Kansas headed east as I type this.
C'mon home safely, Dub!  The light is on.  I've missed you.

Ugly Car Sighting

After renting the white HHR
(affectionally dubbed "hhhhhhhrrrrrrrr" in a growly voice)
on our trip to Tennessee, I really didn't think cars could get any more strange;
Until we were driving down the highway and this beauty whizzed on by. 
It's boxy, non-symmetrical and just wierd.

Meet the Cube.
You ride in it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Let it SNOW!


And now, the REST of the story...

Got home late last night, after a really long day.
So much good stuff, (playing hooky from school with my daughter, getting new hair cuts together, taxiing children to various activities, participating in a fabulous Relief Society acitivity, retrieving younger children from a very fun home teacher-turned babysitter)just a long day.  It always feels a little longer when Dub is out of town.  Come to think of it, he was out of town at this exact time last year, when we embarked on our journey that was the famous ice storm.  This time we were hunkering down for a significant snow storm.  (That WAS significant, by the way.)
I wanted to post all about it, pictures included, but the internet was running on molasses again...

When we all tromped into the house, I sent the kids out for a stack of wood to stoke up the wood stove, before going to bed.
I loaded it up, and as I shut the door, sparks started shooting over the top of the woodstove.
They kept hitting my clothes, flying into my hair (my NEW! hair) and then thick, stinky smoke started pouring out.  I got scared.  The stove was going full tilt, and I couldn't figure out why the sparks were flying and the smell was NOT the smell of a wood chip.  Why do I have to be a single mom on nights like this? Was the thought running through my head.  I'm much better at playing support roles when it comes to woodstoves and snowblowers.

I called the fire station.  Not on the 9-1-1 line, because I didn't really see the need to call out the full lights, bells and whistles thing... just wanted someone to help me troubleshoot (but quick!).  As I'm on the phone with the dispatcher, the smoke is getting thicker, and the sparks were still shooting over the stove at regular intervals. As I dodged sparks and hovered near the stove, I started waving my arm around at the kids, who were staring at me, waiting for me to fix this mess and make it all better.  I sent silent messages of "There are firemen coming, people!  Clean up this mess!" through the air with the waving of my hands, and incredibly, THEY GOT IT.  It was as if the chaos of the previous two days magically became visible to their little eyes.  I've never seen four kids move so quickly to CLEAN the house.

Short wrap-up: The dispatcher asked me if the noise she was hearing was our smoke alarms.  I told her no, that it was the blower on the stove, which has a tendency to rattle.  Except as I'm saying it, I realize that Dub fixed the rattle before he left, and come-to-think-of-it, it wasn't the same rattle-y sound.  So I shut the blower off, and fwoomp.  No more sparks.  No more grinding noise.  It did take a while to clear the electrical burn-y smell out of the house, but fireplace was safe.  And I went to bed thinking I needed to have a better pajama selection, so I could feel presentable in the event of an emergency at night.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New eyes

A revelation:
it only takes one call to the fire department
to get my kids to see the mess in the family room
that I've been looking at for days.
(I need to get some better pajamas)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Something new

I do love a festive centerpiece!  After all, so much of this season is about the food.  I found this darling plate today, and it begged me to take it home. 

The Lacuna

It was a love-hate relationship at first.
I had a hard time warming up to the format of the book.  I started it on our 10 hour drive to Virginia for Thanksgiving, and I didn't bring a second choice, so I kept at it.

It didn't disappoint.
Set in Mexico and the U.S. in the 1930s, 40s and 50s I love the way it weaves in real people, real events and real places.  Symbolism, historical events, culture, food, foreign policy, the human element and the machine that is the United States Government as it has evolved over the past 80 years.
It's been a long time since I've read any Barbara Kingsolver.  The Bean Trees and The Poisonwood Bible were a couple of her books that I REALLY liked.  Now I'll add this to the Barbara Kingsolver power list.  FIVE stars.  I got lucky and scored a large-print edition when I requested it from the library.  Glasses were optional.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

What to do tonight

Hop on your computer tonight and watch the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing songs of the season,and listen to the First Presidency speak.  It's always a beautiful way to kick-off December and the Christmas Season.  8:00 pm Eastern, and as always, live audio and video streaming will be available.
You can go here to see the internet broadcast options

Happy Christmas Month!

Saturday, December 5, 2009


A Christmas Story

Yesterday I finished this very sweet little tale that builds around Hans Christian Andersen's classic Christmas tale of "The Little Match Girl."  It's a great read-aloud that was written for NPR's 2008 Christmas offerings.  Just published this fall--I'll bet your library has a copy.

Friday, December 4, 2009

the clothes are still on the line.

I was thinking today about why I hang clothes out to dry.
I'm all about pinching pennies and going green, but really, I think I like to hang my laundry because it symbolizes the need to SLOW DOWN.
My life is BUSY.  My eleven year old tells the school counselor that she wouldn't be surprised if I forget to pick her up from school.  Because I forget things a lot.
That's a post for another day. 
The dryer might just be more convenient.
By stringing the linens and pants out there, it becomes necessary to wait for the sunshine and fresh air to do their thing.  No dryer buzzer.  And there's something therapeutic about watching the clothes flap in the breeze.
Only thing is, it's dark now.  And I can't see a thing.
HERE's the bad part about clotheslines.
Forgetting the load you hung out until it's bedtime.
NOW who's going to open the window and let all that cold air in?
It's supposed to rain tomorrow.  And then maybe snow.
It's a good thing clothing doesn't talk.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


When a kid in a santa hat looks like this at me, mother-of-the-year is not looming in my near future.  Love IS like a battlefield.  Don't let anyone kid you.

The weekday rule around here is NO T.V.
When mom steps out, apparently the rules don't count.
So I resort to doing things like this:

Most of the time it doesn't work.
I need a stunt double to help me enforce the rules.

Made YUMMY bread bowls and soup last night.
Better than Panera.
Recipes HERE.

Children under the age of 14 didn't think it was so yummy.
That left only three of us that did.
(More for us!)
The others did things like this while they sat and watched us eat:

Today was gorgeous.
Record high of 66 in Boston.
Which is where I was, when Dub called me to say "If you're not out walking on a day like this, you're missing out."  Which I did.  (miss out)  Because I was sitting in the waiting area for a couple of hours for a renowned brain surgeon at Mass General.  With my friend M****.  She's five months recovered from her brain surgery, and got the all-clear this afternoon.  No restrictions.  It was a moment to rejoice, and I was glad to be there with her to share in it.  And the sun beating in the window on the back of my hair was divine.  And we talked.  With no interruptions.

Then I went home and hung wreaths and Christmas lights without getting frostbite on my fingers, because that's what usually happens this time of year.  So I did very much appreciate the warm spell.

And just to follow-up on my Christmas cookie cravings, I made some dough the other day, with FULL intentions to turn it into some sweet little gingerbread people.  But the day ran away, and I had to start rolling out the dough at bedtime.  Then it totally stuck to the table because it was too sticky.  I just turned the oven off, rolled it back into a ball and put it back in the fridge.  Put myself to bed with visions of gingerbread men dancing in my head.  And the dough's still in there.  Waiting.  So tonight, my treat was this:

And it was good.