Thursday, February 28, 2013

laundry. and teens.

     Yesterday we had a snow day.  Really, it ended up being a rain day.  Rained and rained and rained from the moment the sun came up until we all put ourselves to bed.  COLD and cheerless.  No school: yes, and sleeping in: yes.  However; there aren't really a lot of fun outdoor options on a day this raw and bleak.  So... when you have a FUN indoor mom like me, you get to clean out closets and drawers.  This is an announcement that, shockingly, gets mostly moans, groans and inaudible mumbling when announced at breakfast.  With three daughters each about two years apart in age who should carry printed hash tags like #don'tWEARmyBRA! and #TAKEoffMYsocks! and #ISthatMYshirt?!? a group activity dealing with clothing can be either highly amusing or unbearably miserable.  We also have the random eight-year-old boy to throw in the mix, who can instantly ignite either extreme.  We had a little of both yesterday until, like manna from heaven, a neighbor boy called asking if the little flame thrower could come over and play.  Then there was peace. (Mostly.)
     A portion of the day went something like this:
Me: Girls, I want you to empty your drawers of ALL clothing you no longer want or wear.  Bring me the things you are getting rid of.
     A short time later I found all three of them sitting in the oldest's room, giggling at her shirt collection.
Me: Hey, you three get to work and clean out your drawers!
     This was met with some resistance.  They decided it was much more entertaining to take turns and mock each other for either keeping or discarding their clothing.  I figured their approach was something akin to "getting along" and decided to leave them to their mocking and giggling.  Meanwhile, I went to work pushing through a few loads of laundry.
     In the laundry room (Let me preface this with: We have a pretty good, pretty simple approach to laundry.  Above the washer and dryer there are two wire shelves that hold eight labeled laundry baskets; one for each member of our family.  Instead of spending hours folding laundry, we empty the dryer directly into each person's laundry basket, and they are responsible to get their own clean laundry folded and put away.  It's not perfect, but it works)  I looked up at Mr. Dub's laundry basket and discovered his work shirt and pants hanging out.  I frequently get scolded for not taking his shirts and pants right out of the dryer and getting them hung up, so he doesn't have to spend so much time ironing.  Even though he knows I am not the only laundry queen in the house;  it's usually only the two of us lovebirds around when he finds his wrinkly clothes in a ball instead of on a hanger.  (note: That's not one of my most favorite husband-wife-together moments.)  I called in the last lovely daughter to do laundry, and pointed to the offending attire.
Me: What are you doing, putting Dad's clean work clothes in his laundry basket?!?
Her: Um, sorting them and putting them away...
Me: Haven't we talked about HANGING them up so they don't get wrinkly?
Her: Umm... Yes, but the tag said wrinkle-free!
Me: [jaw dropping slowly towards the floor] [then rendered speechless]
Me: You mean you took the time to read the tag, but you couldn't take the time to put them on hangers?!?...
Her: MOM... the TAG said WRINKLE FREE.
     This is where I started thinking calm, reassuring developmental-stage phrases like "this is why you have to EXPLAIN things to kids" and "you can't assume they understand what you think they already understand" to myself.  Then I went over the proper procedure for hanging Dad's work clothes in a tone of voice that probably did not match the tone of voice of the calm phrases I was hearing in my head.
     Later in the morning I was sitting at the dining room table sorting socks.  This is an activity that must take place about once every week.  When socks come out of the dryer, they frequently do not have a mate.  To cut down on the frustration of not having matches for socks, years ago I borrowed a technique from a friend:  I have a small basket or sturdy bag waiting by the dryer for single socks.  All socks that don't come out attached to their mate get put in the sock receptacle.  Over the years, we've amassed quite a collection of single socks that, no matter how much laundry gets washed, remain single.  They stay in a growing collection at the bottom of the pile.  Much to my dismay, they seem to remain the sock version of the singles bar; milling around together, but rarely finding a mate.  Yesterday I made a shocking discovery.  One of my daughters (who's identity I will protect, but believe me she's OUT and been given a tongue-lashing at home) thinks that putting dirty, balled up socks back in her drawers is much easier than tossing them next door to the laundry room.  I'm embarrassed to tell you how many socks she turned over to her mom-turned-laundry-cop.  I'm still washing this morning, and the single socks no longer fit in the bag.  She was made painfully aware that she was the reprehensible sock-hoarder keeping those poor socks single all this time.  AND, I'm sure she will be delighted to discover that this afternoon's pre-homework activity will be making matches of all the dirty socks I've washed since yesterday.  I'm going to make sure she's aware of how HAPPY she will be making some very lonely socks.
Teenagers and Laundry are not always a match made in heaven.

Whole Orange Cake

I was flipping through a magazine (thank you airline miles freebie) and saw this recipe.  I immediately tore out the page and recycled the rest.  We happen to have a Costco sized box of oranges in the garage, and I knew it would make the perfect breakfast dessert.
I was right.
Loaded with orange flavor, tender flecks of peel; moist and not too sweet. 
This one's going on my Pinterest board. 
There will be Whole Orange Cake again in our future.

Whole Orange Cake
serves 12
 1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 whole oranges
*ends trimmed, cut into chunks,
seeded and processed in a food processor
(skin and all!)
until mostly smooth but not pureed*
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 TBSP plus 1 tsp orange juice

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Coat a 10-cup bundt pan with oil spray.
In a large bowl mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until fluffy.  Beat in eggs.  Add 1 1/2 cups pureed whole orange mixture to batter and mix until blended.  Add dry ingredients and mix until smooth.  Spread batter in prepared pan.
Bake about 50-55 minutes.
Cool pan for 10 minutes then invert pan to remove cake.
Invert cake onto plate and drizzle with glaze.
Let the glaze set then slice the cake.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Rule of Life for Snowy Climates:
When winter gives you snow,
make a snowman.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Winter Finery

 Yesterday we woke up to one of the most beautiful winter mornings EVER.
There's nothing like the sun coming up on a new snowfall.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday Morning

The Monday after a week of vacation is the HARDEST day to get out of bed.
I woke this boy up FOUR times in the same hour before he finally regained consciousness.

recap: the weekend

I live in a winter wonderland.  More snow!

I also live in a world where my card-reader won't be read, so I have not been able to upload any pictures from my camera.  I have LOTS.  There will be a barrage of blogging when the computer cooperates.

This morning Paul Potts was singing Christmas music in the car and it didn't feel a bit strange until I thought about it being February 25th.  Seriously?!?  How did THAT happen?  One of these years our February snows will coordinate themselves with the December holidays.

We were delighted to have Enrique home for less than 24 hours.  He brings fun to a new level when he's around.  He wrangled the crew, took them to the mall (for his new running shoes) and had them all playing "the train game" (aka Ticket to Ride) after feeding them Enrique stew for dinner.  Sans parents.

The Mister and I attended the temple on Saturday afternoon in honor of our niece Naomi, who will be leaving on a mission to Lyon, France in May.  It was good to be there, good to see her (she flew home for a weekend from BYU) and also good to spend time with her family.  We were up and out the door early on Sunday (in the middle of a snowstorm) so that we could attend church in Connecticut to hear Naomi's brother Derek's homecoming talk.  He recently returned from Rio de Janeiro Brazil.  He'll be joining Yonder at BYU in April.

We got home after a very long day of driving yesterday to find that we couldn't get into our driveway.  The plows had us nicely barricaded us OUT with a heavy, wet wall of snow.  "This, dear daughters" (said Mr. Dub as we unloaded our gear and began to plod down the snow-covered driveway) "is why we wear coats and BOOTS on winter Sundays."  We do have a lengthy driveway.  Especially when it's cold and snowy and dark, and we're all dressed in our Sunday best.  Thankfully for us, we have a friend with a plow who was willing to lend a hand, er, plow and Vanessa slept in the garage instead of the neighbor's driveway.

I finished reading my first recreational novel of 2013.  It's been such a long time I can't even remember the last book I read.  This one was good.  I will admit to grimacing more than once at the language.  A novel about teenage angst, cancer, life, love and death; I will also admit to not wanting to read The Fault in Our Stars because, why would I want to read a book about cancer anyway?  In the end, I forgive the language because (sadly) I am acutely aware of how prevalent its use is among teenagers today.  I also moved beyond the cancer downer because the book really isn't so much about cancer, as it is about relationships.  I found myself laughing out loud at several quirky comments.  I also found myself really liking Augustus Waters for his sense of adventure and his drive to make others happy.  PG-13+ and two thumbs up from me.

Last night we had Family Home Evening. Morning Boy taught the lesson.  To prepare, he picked a page of scripture by first opening to his favorite verse (Matthew 25:40), and, reasoning that since we all knew he knew that one very well, he'd teach about this other section (pointing to the adjacent page).  It was fairly random, (he disagreed) but on he went, and the eight-year-old ended up teaching a marvelous lesson about The Parable of the Ten Virgins, complete with a 12-question quiz at the end to discourage participants from not paying attention.  My favorite moment of the evening came at the end of the question round when he announced Bonus Questions! to break the tie.  "These, he said, will be worth two points instead of one, because the answers weren't found in the reading."  He then looked at team RED (Mr. Dub and Rooney) and asked "What is a Virgin?"

I love having teenagers AND an eight-year-old.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Black and White

Last week I attended one of the best High School Plays in my history of attending High School plays.
One of (the many) traditions in our little town that I love is the
Annual Competitive Class Plays.
For almost 50 years now, each class at the High School (with the exception of the Freshmen) put together a dramatic production and work for almost two months to get it stage-worthy. Then we gather for an evening of fun and a panel of judges deliberate and award some really nice prizes.  It's like our own mini Oscars Night. This year the Junior Class took a big risk in performing a play based on an old-time black and white silent movie.  There was no dialogue; only spunky background music, flickering lights and lots of lip reading with accompanying dialogue that would flash on a screen next to the stage.  Phenomenal.
Our own actress Mesquite was the Stage Manager for the production.
She's not a lights and camera kind of gal, unless she's behind them.
She did have to make a brief appearance on stage during the play, so make-up was required.
 Because the play was in black and white, the costumes and make-up were like nothing I've ever seen before.
 But it totally worked!
The cast looked the part... it was really strange; felt almost disjointed to take pictures of them in a colored room.
 By curtain call the audience was in a stunned stupor.
An amazed and impressed stupor.
The cast came away with awards
for Best Supporting Actor
Best Actress
All well-deserved awards and a great night of entertainment.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Tuesday I carpooled to our Relief Society's monthly temple session.
Just me, myself and I.
No one else showed up...
It was a beautiful day and felt good to get to the temple.
Sometimes it's easier to take in/notice the beauty of such a sacred place when you're alone.
I don't mind making the trip AT ALL.
I remember when the closest temple was in Washington, D.C. Making trips there as a youth was a BIG deal.
The long bus rides, hanging out with friends... it was all so fun, and we didn't see it as a sacrifice. (Our parents probably did, but they were grateful to have a temple close enough for us to attend, and did all they could to support those fun excursions.)
I was reminded of the day in June of 1997 when my friend Cynthia and I decided to pull our older kids out of school and attend the temple groundbreaking ceremony.  We were SO excited to be getting our very own temple!  And so close... She and I had six small children between us.  It was an unforgettable day.  We worked extra hard to keep the kids quiet, and to help them understand how special the occasion was.  Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles pulled little four-year-old Enrique over and had him help shovel the dirt.  Then all the kids had a turn.  We really felt an ownership in the building that was to be erected on those grounds.
 By the time the temple was finished and dedicated, it was the fall of 2000, and our fifth child was on the way.
Now it feels like the temple has been there forever.
Now MY kids are attending the temple with their youth groups, and enjoy the (much shorter) trips there together as well.
I'm grateful to have a temple so close.
There's a peace to be found there that can be felt in no other place.
The temple provides purpose for our lives. It brings peace to our souls—not the peace provided by men but the peace promised by the Son of God when He said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.”
-Thomas S. Monson

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I love LOVE

So last night I fell into bed EXHAUSTED.
I must be getting old.
EVERY year on Valentine's Day eve I stay up until everyone has gone to bed, and I give the house a heart attack.  I have a large plastic tote FILLED with hearts that get plastered EVERYWHERE.
Last night?
I couldn't do it.
I taped up a few and set my phone alarm for 4:20am (to beat the seminary student) and went to bed.  I was wakened at 11:30pm by that very same, very sweet seminary student.
She happened to be sneaking around taping hearts to all surfaces.
I pretended not to see her creeping.
I love HER heart.
She must have thought I was too tired.
(she was right)
Bless her.
I shut off my alarm and didn't get up until 5:00.
We did have heart-shaped cinnamon rolls for breakfast.
 And red fruit.
After my Valentines got off to work and school, I put on my best red jacket and drove to Manchester, NH to witness a very sweet Valentine's Day adoption.
I LOVE this family!
And they love their little Jo-Jo.
Now he IS their little guy.
 My sister and her crew have so much love to give, their family just keeps growing.
I think of the Ortons whenever I hear
"Love One Another."
 Happy Adoption Day Orton Family!
It's a Valentine's Day VICTORY!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Love is...

Love is: grocery shopping for your wife.  After more than twenty years of shopping for our food, it's not the job I look forward to the most.  
Mr. Dub is a good man.  He offered to go food shopping on his way home from work last night.  All I had to do was email him a list.  If that's not true love, I don't know what is.
At the store he got so engrossed in finding  the items on his list that he inadvertently started pushing around and filling someone else's cart.  
The ol' switch-er-oo.   
He had no idea it wasn't his.  
(Until the cart owner confronted him.)
He shared the story with me over the phone.   I had to keep telling him to speak up
(which gets old fast)... 
until I realized I was holding the phone upside down. He came through loud and clear once I figured out how to hold the phone correctly.  
Then we laughed.
They say opposites attract.
In many areas, this is true for us.  
I find it comforting that we are both equally talented in other areas as well.
I'll take your grocery cart theft and raise you my phone incompetence.
Now that's true love.

Monday, February 11, 2013

LOVES to hike

I called Yonder this weekend.
When he answered his phone, he was huffing and puffing.
I asked him if he was running.  He said "No, I'm hiking to the top of Y Mountain with my room mate."  
There's a big white "Y" painted onto the mountain that sits as a backdrop for BYU.   I've hiked to the "Y" before, and it's a noble feat;  but I've never hiked to the top of the mountain, and especially not in snow.
A few minutes after we hung up, I received a text message that said "Victory Sausage" with the following picture attached.  He made it.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Blizzard update

We all had the day off yesterday, courtesy of the blizzard.
The Governor issued a driving ban.
No one was allowed to be on the roads after 4pm.
The snow started coming down at about 6:30am.
By Noon, it looked like this:

 At bedtime the winds had really started to pick up, and the snow started to come down a little heavier.
 We were excited to wake up this morning, and look out at this:
The snow is still falling, and the winds are whipping. 
We haven't ventured out yet; the snowfall is predicted to end in a few more hours.  Then we'll get busy with snow removal.  Mr. Dub checked everyone's muscles this morning, and it looks like everyone has been deemed CAPABLE (of wielding a snow shovel).
Hooray for snow!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

we LOVE snow!

There's a B*L*I*Z*Z*A*R*D in our forecast
and we're EXCITED!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Love your neighbor

I'm glad we have two cats.
On days when the house is empty,
they have each other.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I love her confidence

At the bookstore last night, Leeli stumbled across this title.
"I don't need this book mom" she said.
 She's already rockin' the look.

Monday, February 4, 2013

He loves his wife

We attended funeral services this weekend for Helen Doty.
I've never known a sweeter, kinder woman.
Bob and Helen were married 47 years.
Sad to be apart; he knows the separation is temporary.
Mr. Dub and I want to be like Bob and Helen.

Sunday, February 3, 2013