Sunday, October 31, 2010


So this is the first time since my kids have been alive that we have not lived out in the middle of nowhere. Our first Halloween in suburbia has convinced by children of the benefits of living in town and not in the country. We went out for just over an hour and had a marvelous time running from house to house and then swimming in the candy we brought home.

I decided to be frugal his year and make their costumes. For those of you who doubt this, making costumes is not more frugal. It was kind of fun though, even if it led moments of mommy shouting. “Leave me alone! Can’t you see I’m busy doing something nice for you! Go Away!”

But I felt overall pleased with how well they turned out.

Maryn was invited to go trick or treating with her friend Kate and another friend Zenub (sp?). So they met at Kate's house.

This Maryn as Dorothy and Kate as Frankenstein's girlfriend...or something like that. Zenub got there much later after I left.

Here are Conner as Mario, Tank (who's visiting) as a pony, and Ashlyn as Tinkerbell in front of Grandpa's Christmas Grinch he put up because he's weird like that. He kept wishing all the children good holidays that were not Halloween. There were some very confused small children in Perrysburg. This is what's wrong with our education system today. They let people like my dad teach little kids :).

Contrary to what one might believe upon appearances, the guy in the hoodie is NOT the Grinch even though he might look like it. That was the green guy on the lawn. He also threatened to turn on the Christmas Fire DVD and play Mannheim Steamrollers. If anyone wants to know why I'm not normal, come to my house for a day or two. Clarity will abound.

We met up with Kate and Maryn by accident. Okay not entirely by accident. We knew they were giving out full size candy bars at Kate's house so we kind of headed that direction. Tank lost it about 15 minutes after this. Dad came and picked him up. The little horsey had run his last race, but he was a big hit while he stayed with us.

Some trick our treat pics. This is at the house of our friends the Maddens. Gummy body parts. Awesome.

Some random people I thought looked cool. I want to confess the shot was set up. I tried taking it au natural but couldn't quite get it. The ladies were laughing and laughing. And Ashlyn kept wondering why they kept fake giving her the same piece of candy 5 times.
This is also a friend. Dayna Miller. Her mom's sewing machine was behind the creations you have been enjoying.

And a Happy Halloween to all...and to all a fabulous sugar high deterred only by your mother forcing you to eat apples or carrots or some other such nonsense.

Friday, October 29, 2010


I can not always live in a bubble. I found out tonight that someone who used to work with Melanie and I was shot by her estranged husband today and then he killed himself. There were 7 children in the house (she had some of her own and ran an in home daycare) who were unharmed. It was another reminder to me of how real Domestic Violence is and what the affects can be. I cried for almost half an hour from shock. Then have been in a zombie - like state for a while. It feels more like a "Lifetime" movie then real life. But it should explain why I do not feel like typing more than a little even thought it is my goal to be faithful.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Of boats and oars and bad metaphors...

There are days when I feel like I have it all together.

This is not one of those days.

At all.

I have felt short on patience and long on procrastination. I have argued separately with each of my children about something or other and realized that a paper I though wasn't due until Sunday is, in fact, due today. And there is no way I will be able to get it done before I have to got to bed in an hour. I'll have to take the 5% penalty. But even worse, I found out 4 of my other assignments were late for the same reason.

I was a little frustrated to discover one source of income I thought I could depend on ($600 a month worth of income) ...I can't. Major readjustment. I need a job. Really. Thinking about that a lot. 3 hour meeting. Trying to figure things out is mentally exhausting. I walk into the basement and see my kids clothes everywhere and just want to lose it. Trying not to lose it. Kind of just want to go to bed and sleep it off.

Not the worst day of my life. Just sort of...blah. I try and focus on singing in the lifeboat, on finding the good in the bad; but there are seriously just days when it feels like you're not even floating there being battered to and fro by the waves. You're stuck on a stinking sandbar and the water is still except for the occasional shark that stops by and smiles at you like we smile at turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving day. And thats nearly as frustrating as the storm.

Go away sharks.

I have an oar and I know how to use it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


So one of the roles take pride in playing in my life (just a role, not the entire identity of who I am…but that’s another post) is that of mother. And it is a tough role. Tough crowd. They boo at you a lot. And it is very time consuming and the pay, most of the time, is terrible. Actually, you often don’t get paid at all. We should start a petition or call a union rep or something.

But, when you play the role to the best of your abilities and with all your heart, might, mind and strength, there are occasional payouts that have nothing to do with cash. And the payouts come in moments not money. And moments are more priceless then a mountain of pennies, more valuable than a no- limit Discover Card and harder to come by then a pterodactyl riding a unicorn chasing a leprechaun.

But today I got 2 paychecks.

One was from Maryn. She got named student of the month for her class. The theme for the month was perseverance. Her teacher, Mrs. Moschinkski came and sat by us while Maryn noshed on some donuts and bananas and juice (and I watched thanks to my diet) and told me that she loved having Maryn in class and how she never gave up and kept trying which is why she chose her.


The other was from Paul. I got an email from his IEP coordinator at school with the new IEP attached so I could review it before the meeting. There is section where it talks about the student’s future plans. I quote:

“Paul completed a career assessment October 10, 2010 and stated that his future goals include going on a 2 year mission, attend college at BYU in Utah and major in literature, writing, history, or maybe teaching. He hopes someday to publish a book.”

Cha-ching. Cha-ching.

Bring on those moments baby. To me, it’s a standing ovation.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


This morning as part of my new routine, I tried to catch a quick walk before the weather turned uber nasty. Mom wanted to exercise as well, but she only made it a block. Since I thought we were going to be going together, I did not bring my ipod and found myself suddenly left to my own thoughts.

Dangerous place that.

I really had nothing to think about or have conversation about with myself. So it got pretty boring pretty fast.

And then, as I found myself thinking about, well, nothing…I started noticing something. With my mouth unoccupied, I was able to appreciate other senses I usually ignore. I took a deep breath. I love the way fall smells. Spring as well. Summer just smells like sweat so that’s gross. Winter…I just love the smells associated with the holidays but winter itself is pretty lame.

But back to autumn.

I could smell the trees, the air was crisp and fresh (it had rained the day before) and someone was burning wood. I love the smell of burning wood. So I smiled and took another deep breath.

Which opened up a whole new train of thought.

Why do I love the smell of burning wood? And this time as I took a breath, I closed my eyes and let my mind float on the scent filtering through my senses. Suddenly I was back 25 or so, and we were sitting around a fire in the Uinta mountains at one of our many family campouts. It was always cold enough during the summer in the Utah mountains that a fire was a welcome source of comfort, warmth and light. And food. S’mores. Hot Dogs. And those funky hollowed out oranges with muffin mix in them. We would talk, laugh, and sing. So much singing. The worst part of the night was removing myself from the sweet warm circle of the flames reach to tuck myself into a carefully laid out sleeping bag stuffed with extra blankets. I would lay and listen to the breeze in the pines, the sound of the lake or the creek (there seemed to always be one or the other) and the last hiss and crackle of the fire as is sputtered and died to coals, sleeping as we did until it was needed in the morning.

I took another deep breath.

My thoughts progressed.

I loved the smell of the crisp, wet air in the trees because it meant I was surrounded by living and moving things…trees and water . Plus the smell of the earth after rain…so utterly cleansing. I grew up in Wyoming and rain was a novelty…so I lingered on those moments when the world smelled new. Those things make me feel more peaceful than anything else. I could find my nirvana by a gurgling stream in a secluded glen.

And suddenly there were dozen smells I didn’t smell at that moment that I suddenly realized could transport me just as readily to moments and memories in my life great and small.

New leather book smell take me to New York where I spent 4 weeks as a cast member of the Hill Cumorah Pageant after my senior year. I took my brand new scriptures with me (a graduation gift from my grandparents)and we were challenged to read the entire Book of Mormon in 10 days. When we weren’t rehearsing or learning how to be good missionaries, my nose was buried in that book , curled up in the shade of the very hill where the plates had been hidden before they became the book I now inhaled as quickly as I did the heavy New York air.

I touched an evergreen bush, and my mind moved to another smell I adore; pine. Growing up so close to the mountains, I never knew there were such things as fake Christmas trees. Anyone who had them was ridiculous in my mind. We would go together with other families up into the mountains to a place called Christmas Tree Meadows and ride snowmobiles to where we would pick out the perfect tree. My dad always liked the ones that were not bushy…plenty of nooks and crannies we could nestle our collection of ornaments in. And my dad is a very gifted light putter-onner. And I never thought tinsel looked as elegant and extraordinary as it did draped around one of those trees. And it smelled fantastic. It filled the house with this amazing scent I still can’t chase from my mind. And they are attached to beautiful moments of my life…my sister and I faithfully organizing and reorganizing the gifts under the tree, cheeseball and crackers, finally realizing that mysteriously Dad and Santa’s writing was quite similar…a thousand beautiful pictures of my past that make up a mass of who I am in the present.

I was home by then.

So I paused. And I realized that I needed more moments of silence and reflection in my life to ground me more thoroughly…but more importantly to remind me of home.

But was there something I was missing? Are there things I’m too busy to notice that remind of my first home? Do I miss being brought back to tender memories I could relish in because I’m too busy to let the cue from my surroundings consume me?

If I stopped for a moment…maybe.

Just maybe I could go home.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Carving Pumpkins

Last week for FHE, Amanda and Michelle joined us (as they always do), and we carve our Jack o’ lanterns in preparation for the upcoming holiday. Bring on the Halloween! For the first time in their lives, we actually live somewhere where we can trick or treat to someone besides the cows and chickens. The kids are super stoked! So we had 2 teams.

Dad is not on a team. He was being a smarty pants with the trimmer.

The kids though it was great to get their hands in and dig around in the goop! Here's team Amanda, Ashlyn and Conner.

And the M2 team...Maryn and Michelle!

Ashlyn insisted on coloring in the shapes they drew before cutting them out.

The finished pair!

Rea life questions...

Conner, in the middle of FHE, started randomly telling about his afternoon visit to pay at the neighbors. Summary: "I walked in and they were throwing spiders at me. Then I jumped on them, and everyone was attacking everyone and I'm thinking, ' Why am I the chicken in this game?'"

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday Morning Conversation

I’m at the computer, and Ashlyn comes running in. “Mom! Conner just called me a stink!” “Okay, so what do you want me to d about that.” Pause. Little voice. “Give him consequences?”

Obviously we have been focusing a lot on consequences of choices here in our home lately J

So I continued.

“What do you think his consequences should be?”


“Grounded from playing with a friend?”

“For calling you a stink.”


“Well, that’s fine, but whatever you choose for his consequence is the same consequence you have to take for yourself next time you call someone a name.”


“How long would I be grounded from friends?”

“Just one time. So, the next time Hannah and Kristina come and ask if you can play, you can’t.”





“Are you growling at me?”

Pause. Smile.


Smiling. Running off into the kitchen.

Me, watching her go back to the kitchen table.


“Maybe he should say he’s sorry.”

Conner, “I don’t want to!”


“Because I don’t know how to sing a song!”

“No Conner. Say you’re sorry. Not sing a song. Say, Ashlyn, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have called you a stinky.”

Conner smiling.

“Ashlyn I’m sorry and I should always call you a stinky-poo.”


“Conner! Say it right, or you will NOT be playing Wii for the rest of the day.

Pause. Sobering his face.

“Ashlyn, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have called you a stinky-poo.”


Ashlyn grunts and points at Conner.