Wednesday, December 28, 2011


This is how I made both my parents cry for Christmas. (Yes, ANOTHER slideshow by me.)

Monday, December 19, 2011

My Castle Christmas

Some of you may have read my brother's version of this story on our other blog a few years back, but it bears retelling. For our choir program this year, we were asked if any of us had any special Christmas stories that we could share in between songs. This story is immediately what I thought of, and I submitted John's version . Our choir director liked it, but said that I needed to rewrite it from my own point of view, since I would be the one telling the story. Here it is if anyone cares to read it:

As a child, our family was never what you would call wealthy. We had what we needed, enough food, clothes to wear, and a warm home, but not much in the way of extras. But even with our humble situation, we were a happy family.

There is one Christmas that sticks out in my mind above all the others. The year I turned seven had been a particularly hard one. To begin with, Mom had had yet another heartbreaking miscarriage. In September, Mom's father passed away. Dad had been laid off from his job in July, and by Christmas time, he still had not been called back, but was working two janitorial jobs instead. Money was tight to say the least.

It was just the kind of setting to either give up in despair or to hope for a miracle. As it turns out, our parents were determined to make a miracle happen. With a talent for artistic things, and a little creativity they set to work.

I remember Mom haunting the back alleys of furniture & appliance stores and pulling large boxes out of the dumpsters. I don't remember the excuse for this odd behavior, but whatever it was, it worked. There was a small unused room in the basement whose door became mysteriously locked for what seemed like the longest time. I'll bet Mom didn't sleep for a month.

Christmas morning dawned and we awoke to find our living room transformed. Giant cardboard boxes had been painstakingly cut and elaborately painted to make a city of castles complete with turrets and even a round tower. It. Was. Awesome. Magical. Hiding inside the castles were other small gifts for my brother and me. I found a homemade doll with a beautiful dress that matched my own new homemade dress. (Mom was also a talented seamstress.)

I can't imagine how much time my mother must have put into that Christmas. I wonder if they were nervous about what kind of reception a bunch of cardboard boxes for Christmas would receive. But that Christmas became The Christmas to beat all Christmases. Our cardboard boxes were the envy of the neighborhood and we played with those things till they literally fell apart.

Despite how wonderful those castles were, it isn't money or neat presents that makes up a great Christmas. Even with the best presents ever, it could not have been a good Christmas had there been an atmosphere of despair. It's the spirit of faith, of hope, and the love that makes all the difference. That Christmas was neat because our parents made awesome presents out of nothing. But what made it wonderful was that despite the hard circumstances our family was having at the time, there was not despair, there was love, and hope and faith that things would be okay. Like the Millennium Falcon, we didn't look like much, but we had it where it counted.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Fun With Vein Surgery

First off there is the name:

Stab Venectomy. "Why are you in the hospital today?" "I came to get stabbed."

The thing really wasn't so bad. They knocked me about 90 percent out. I don't remember much except being jostled around and that they had Christmas music playing in the background. I thought about trying to sing along, just for laughs, but I didn't.

I remember being wheeled down the hall after the thing was over, and I was still REALLY whacked out on drugs. I felt so funky that the only thing to do was to pull faces. So I did. I screwed up my face and stuck my tongue out at nothing in particular. Then I laughed at myself. I bet it would be fun to sit around with an anesthesiologist (Holy crud! I spelled that right on the first try! I rock! Do you ever spell things wrong on purpose, just to check that your spell checker that puts red lines under the bad words is working? My spell checker thinks that I spelled venectomy wrong. I don't think I did. When I right click on it, it thinks I might have meant vasectomy. Ha ha! A "stab vasectomy" sounds really fun!) Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. Anesthesiologists must have some funny stories to tell!

That's pretty much it. Now I just sit around with my leg up for a bit. No biggie. One thought though. I've never done drugs, nor have I ever even been drunk, so I don't really know, but is that what it feels like to be on drugs? If so, why would anyone want to do that on purpose?? It felt like I had a swimming pool inside my head. I did have to stop myself once from telling a woman that her pants were very unflattering from behind. Oh and one nurse came in for three cups of coffee inside a half an hour. She must have been getting it for patients or something. Do they let you drink coffee in the recovery room? Seems like a bad idea. I did make a comment about her lots of coffee, but either she didn't hear me, or she was just ignoring me. Dang I am rude!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Abusing my Authority

As I chaperoned the dance at Ross and Lydia's middle school last night, I discovered that there is a whole new level of fun to to be had at this type of event once the title of "adult chaperone" is added. I never attended many of my own school dances as a teenager. I was shy and suffered from the inferiority complex that accompanies most teenage experiences. However, our church had teen dances once a month, which I NEVER missed. At the church dances, I felt more comfortable in my own skin and was able to relax, let my hair down, and be a complete goof ball to my heart's content. These were the highlight of my teenage existence. In fact, once I discovered that I could hop the boarder and attend the neighboring stakes' dances too, I went to a church dance nearly every other weekend. Anyway enough about that.

I was asked to help out with the chaperoning of the middle school's Christmas dance last night. (At this point, someone in charge of that thing might possibly be thinking "Who invited that freak ball?") Having long since lost my teen insecurity, I danced, acted like a goof ball, played with my kids -who actually, truly, seemed to like having their silly mom in tow. No, I'm not delusional. I would have been horrified if my mom had shown up at a school dance and acted like I did, but my kids actually encouraged me. So kudos to them for having the confidence to think their goofy mom is actually not a parasite.

So what is the "whole new level of fun to be had as an adult chaperone?" Authority. That's what. I amused my self to no end messing with those kids! I went around telling kids that "Dancing is not allowed. They are afraid that someone will get hurt." It was hilarious! I told one group of little girls this, and they all looked crest fallen. "I'm sorry," I said "but I'm going to have to ask you to go and sit in the corner now." One little girl apologized, then started walking toward the wall with a sad look on her face and her head drooping. Then of course I told them I was just kidding. She became my instant friend for the rest of the dance. I repeated this trick several times. Sometimes I'd look them in the eye and bust a goofy looking move as a way of letting them of the hook. I followed one kid around for just a bit telling him that he was in big trouble for nothing. I also had a good time going up to packs of all boys and telling them to knock off it with the PDA. Yep, I'm pretty much a dork.

Oh and to top it off, they played YMCA! Lol! I think it was some kind of rule at those stake dances that the dance was not allowed to end until they played YMCA. One difference I noticed - in my teenage days, the days before I had five kids, I was never thinking about the constitution of my bladder while I was jumping around like a lunatic.

So, I might be the world's most embarrassing mom ever. But at this point, I don't think my kids have realized it yet. The best part of the whole thing for me (Yes I do know that these dances are for the kids - not me. But I AM me, and can't I have some fun too?) The best part of the whole thing was watching both Lydia and Ross let their hair down and act like complete goof balls, in front of a whole gym full of middle school kids, and just have a great time being who they are. I never could have done that at a school dance when I was their age. Especially not with a mom like me there. Ack! The very thought! Those poor kids!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Holy Fetch! I'm Totally Losing It!!

Back when I was like 20ish and had no kids, I used to scorn people who had to have planners to remember things. Did I just have no life? I don't know. I just remember thinking that writing things down in planners was just WAY too much structure. Who wants that much structure?

Fast forward about 10ish years to when my oldest kids were in early grade school. That was when I was the perfect "school mom" who always remembered to check every kid's folder every day and made sure they all had exactly what they needed. Who wrote down every single little book that the kg kid read so they could get that "Book It" award or what ever.

Now fast forward to today when I CAN'T BLOODY REMEMBER ANYTHING!!!!
1) I couldn't find Lydia's P.E. uniform that I was supposed to wash this weekend, so I had to give her $0.50 to rent one.

2) I forgot to sign Ross' permission form that was supposed to be turned in today. Never mind that he was getting it out yesterday while I was in the middle of something else, and I told him to put it away. I'd remember to sign it later. WHY THE BLOODY HECK DIDN'T I JUST SIGN IT THEN????

3) I just found Justice's kg rest towel that I was supposed to wash and send back sitting on my kitchen floor. Where did THAT come from?? That's two weeks this months that I forgot that dumb thing.

4) I called Mark's school to ask if I needed to bring Ross' permission slip in or if I could just turn it in tomorrow.


There was something else that I meant to blog about a couple of days ago, but I forgot what it was.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Justice stayed home from school today. He threw up, or I'd be suspicious. He was watching the clock, and kept asking if school was over yet. As soon as I said the kids were on the bus to come home, he said "My stomach feels better now!" But a few minutes later he was complaining about his stomach hurting again. Silly boy. He was so afraid that I was going to change my mind and send him to school after all.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Justice Suffers From My Idiocy

Glad to have a reason to tempt Justice out of bed this morning, as I shook his shoulder, I said cheerily, "Wake up Justice, it's wacky hair day! Do you want to go to school with green hair?!"

Well of course he did! So we had fun spiking his hair and spraying it with some green glittery hair-spray that I had left over from a Halloween costume last year. Justice was stoked about his cool, green, glittery, spiked hair!

I dismissed the little nagging worry as I dropped him off at school, and didn't see any other kids with crazy hair. "I looked at the date. It's today. Their parents just aren't as fun as I am. Besides, I only saw about 10 kids, surely that place is a buzz with crazy haired kids." I told myself, as I drove off. "It's just like when you were in grade school, and you called your fellow band member friend every time to make sure it really was the day that you were supposed to wear you band uniform to school, for a band competition. It's fine!"
Doesn't he look great! Well just to satisfy that little nagging doubt that was barely noticeable at the back of my brain, I re-checked the page. Red Ribbon week is NEXT WEEK!!!! Monday was just wear a red shirt, so we're okay there. I guess the up shot is that I noticed my mistake before I sent him to school in his pajamas tomorrow! Oh I'm a loser! I hope Justice has a good sense of "look at me, I'm cool"ness. I hope I haven't scarred him for life.

And since I'm here, who falls asleep like that?????


Monday, October 17, 2011

The Smelly Tail of the Mighty Huntress

Yes, Bruce is SOO PROUD of his little girl! He took Ross and Lydia away for youth deer season, and Lydia made her first kill. It was actually a doe, but Bruce posed Lydia with the antlers off a different deer, so he could taunt his hunting buddies with this photo. They all hunt in the same area, and the guys are feeling a little miffed because no one has gotten a buck in several years there. So Bruce figured that it would really steam their eyebrows if a 13 year old girl bagged a buck on her first try there.
They also went to Metropolis nearby, and visited some Superman stuff.

About a day after the trio came home, I started noticing a bad smell in my kitchen. I went through all my cabinets looking for rotten potatoes or onions gone bad, all to no avail. But that smell just kept getting worse. I looked all over for the source, but I just couldn't figure it out. That is until I saw part of a plastic bag just peeking out over the top of my cabinets. Curious, I climbed up on a chair to see what it was. As I picked it up, I saw something small and furry, and wet looking through the white, plastic bag. Grossed out already, I started to open the bag up, and that's when the smell hit me. It was HORRIBLE!!!! I gagged. Someone forgot to take the tail of Lydia's deer outside in the sun to dry so that they could make a plaque with it. EWWW!!!! I got in big trouble with Lydia because I threw it in the outside trash. She cried. It has since been dug out of the trash and set to dry on the roof of my garage. I still have my doubts about that nasty thing.

At any rate, GO LYDIA the MIGHTY!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Journey of a Golf Ball (also in which Renae taunts environmentalists and goes to Hell)

What is up with our stuff breaking down lately? I had to get a repair man out to fix the ice maker on our 3 month old fridge. My second clothes dryer is currently out of commission. (Yes I have two washers and two dryers. It helps a lot when you have a family of seven. And before you go off on me for ruining the environment with my energy wasting by running two dryers at the same time, it's not like I do any more laundry than I would do with only one. I just get it done faster. Clothesline??? I don't know. Sure sometimes, but who has the time for all of that all the time? Drop it. Just leave me in peace with my energy sucking, Earth ruining, devil worshiping two dryers already!! I'm sure that my eternal soul will pay a heavy price for my crimes! Shall I tell you how many disposable diapers I have contributed to my ginormous environmental footprint? I can hear a mob of dirty hippies knocking down my door as we speak! Al Gore is planning is next movie based on me and how I have single-handedly managed to raise the earth's average temperature by 5 micro-degrees, obliterate a 20 foot section of the ozone layer, and melt an entire polar ice cap ALL BY MYSELF!! Me and my bad kind of light bulbs!!! Come on I've TRIED to be good. I've got several of those "good" light bulbs in my house. (Please don't ask me how many of those my kids have broken! We're probably all dieing of cancer as we speak.) ACK! Is that the ghost of Rachel Carson holding a green knife at my throat?!! Okay, enough. Bruce just spent the entire day yesterday getting our van fixed. (Yes, I own a large vehicle that runs on gasoline, AND I drive it!) The blue-ray player that we bought only 4 months ago at most, has decided not to work, and when I turned on the heater the other day, (Yes, I have the audacity to heat my home, but only when it's cold outside.) it made a HORRIBLE noise.

Here is where we get to the story that I wanted to tell. A week ago or so, I got cold and struck up the heater for its first voyage of the year. As was expected on this first session of the year, this was accompanied by that familiar smell of a summer's worth of dirt being burned up, and by the usual beep or two of the smoke alarm. What I did NOT expect was the horrible rocks-in-a-blender noise that followed. Alarmed and dismayed, I shut the thing right off, and reluctantly added another urgent item to my hubby's to-do list. Happily the cold snap went away for a week or two, giving Bruce some time to get around to it. When he finally did, he was a witness to the awful sound of potential malfunction, and high maintenance fees. But, being the wise and brave soul that he is, he did not fear to investigate the source of this dreaded noise. Upon doing so, he was able to trace the sound to the exhaust fan.

"Do you know what that sounds like?" he asked me "That sounds like a golf ball in there."

"How could a golf ball get in there?!" It's a small box thing closed except for the ... oh, the two exhaust pipes that run up the length of the machine to the basement ceiling, turn ninety degrees, and then run about 12 feet out to vent in the backyard. We have found the little kids sticking rocks in the end of it. In fact a couple of years ago, Justice put one in there large enough to block enough airflow so as to make the heater shut off entirely, and refuse to run properly. But the kids were never able to get the rocks more than an inch or two into the end of the pipe, where you could just reach in and grab them right back out.

"If it's a ball, it could just roll all the way in." answered my genius Bruce.

So Bruce, with his trusty screw driver, undid the fastenings that held the pipes to the exhaust fan, reached his hand in and found .... a golf ball.

And there was much rejoicing.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sweetness (or Not)

My kids are always stapling pages together to make homemade books. As I was cleaning up yesterday, I found two. The first one was titled "I love Mom" and had pictures of a kid hugging his mom. The second was titled "I Kill You."

My van is currently in need of some work, so for a day or two I'm hoofing it. I needed to make a trip to the Post Office today, which just happens to be about a half of a mile from my house. It's a gorgeous, autumn day, so I rather enjoyed a leisurely walk with my three year old, Clayton. We stopped and looked at a dragon fly, picked up colorful leaves and a nasty bit of rope that had been run over by about 100 cars. Clayton said it looked like a dead snake and cheerfully gave it to me to carry home.

As we were leaving, Pam, my friend who works at the Post Office handed Clayton one of those small packets with about 10 little fruit snacks inside it. Clayton looked up and said "Nakes!" in his sweet way ("nakes" is Clayton's version of "thanks" As we started home, Clayton was babbling about how he was going to share with his brothers. Back in the beautiful day, Clayton snacked and we continued collecting pretty gold and red leaves. About halfway home Clayton stopped, felt the tiny fruit snack package, and realizing that it was empty, a sad little frown crossed his face as he moaned "Oh, now I can't share with Mark! I ate dem all."

Monday, September 19, 2011

There is a First Time For Everything

I have always been of the opinion that it is not good to have the "Wait till your father hears of this!" kind of dealings with my children. I don't want Bruce to have to come home from work to have to deal out punishments to his children. Plus I don't want him to have to always be the feared, mean parent who gives out the spankings. I try to deal with things myself, if I'm the parent who is there at the time.

However, after finding Justice hanging out of the second story window for the second time today, this time with his younger brother too, I decided that MY earlier spanking must not have been hard enough. For the first time ever, I told one of my children to wait while I went to fetch their father to administer the spanking. Luckily Bruce was already home from work, and more than willing to assist in the punishments.

I think I might be switching their bedrooms with Ross and Mark's (which is in the basement) tonight.

Spend My Nights With A Roll of Bubble Wrap

Monday, September 12, 2011

I Am Totally The Best Stake Choir Secretary That Never Was

I have just finished (well nearly) a very large project that very few people will actually get much use out of. Those few who do however will find it absolutely marvelous I believe, and I am rather proud of myself. Bruce (not I) is our stake's choir secretary. Hence we have all of the stake's music filed at our house. For some queer reason, I take an odd satisfaction in doing all of the filing myself. As Bruce ... well doesn't seem as keen as I do... it works out.

Aside - it might be useful to know that we have both been highly involved in the stake choir for about a decade now. It may make me a dork, but I absolutely LOVE it! We have an amazingly talented director, and we are actually pretty good. Choir practices are a major highlight for me every fall / Christmas season. I'm totally psyched about starting practicing again soon!

Anyway, what I was getting at was my new filing system that I came up with and did all by myself (even though I'm not actually the secretary.) The wonderful things about what I've done are:

1) It's online, so our director can look at it anytime she wants and it will always be updated.

2) It has a SEARCH ENGINE. I have taken extra pains to make the songs as searchable as possible. Each song has it's own page with the lyrics included (as many as I could find on the internet to cut and paste in. I'm totally not going to type up 200+ sets of lyrics) This makes it so that even if you can't remember the name of the song that you are looking for, you can just type in a snippet of the lyrics, and the search engine will pull it up. The songs' pages also include the composer / arranger, arrangement type (SATB, TTBB, etc.), and as many applicable topics as I could think of. This way if say you want an SSA arrangement of a song about faith, you can just type "SSA, faith" in the search engine, and bang, there is a list.

3) I also have an alphabetical list with links to each song's page.

4) And here is the REAL beauty of my plan: Most published songs are listed on the web by their publishers with a sample of the music to either look at or to listen to. I have put links on as many of the song's pages as I could find, so you have only to click, and you are taken to the publisher's listing of that song with a sample of what the song actually sounds like or a sample of the sheet music.

How awesome am I?

I still need to do a couple of things like:

1) Make a static opening page for us to list choir news, upload MIDI files where choir members can listen to their parts, and such.

2) Change the url so that it no longer has the word "stake" in it. This is because we aren't supposed to have any stake or ward websites.

These things can both be done, but I have to figure out how first.

Anyway, I think it's a totally awesome tool for our wonderful choir director. And though she and I may be the only people to ever use it, it's still a stroke of genius on my part.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Just a Thought

At the beginning of the school year, Mark brought home one of those tests that helps you figure out how you learn. Curious, I took the test myself, as did Bruce. Bruce seemed to be very well rounded, and did fairly well in all of the categories. I scored very high in the musical and linguistic areas, fairly well in a few other categories and downright awful in the spacial category.

As I have lived with persons who are very smart, but in drastically different ways, I know first hand that there is no real way to pin down HOW smart a person is as compared to another person. There are just too many facets. I know some people who are geniuses certifiably so, who in a school / on paper do exceedingly well, but when it comes to real life situations, they lack somewhat. On the other hand, I am very closely linked with some people who look like complete idiots on paper, but who are in actuality very intelligent. Bruce for example can't spell to save his life, but give him a puzzle to solve, and you'd be hard pressed to find someone who could do it faster.

What I'm getting at is this: There is just NO way to pin down how smart someone is, or exactly how they learn. The brain is just too multifaceted to be able to do it with any REAL accuracy. But here is a facet that I've been thinking about: focus.

How focused is your brain power. Some people seem to have a wide focus, and others narrower. This would effect the kind of information that you take in. Think of it like a flashlight beam. A wide focus would illuminate lots of things, and take in a wide range, while a narrower focus would take in a smaller range, but with greater detail.

I think Bruce has a wide focus. He is very observant, and good at remembering general things. I on the other hand seem to have a narrower focus. The things that I pay attention to, I remember VERY well. I can memorize like nobody's business. If I actually paid attention to it, it's there for good, and I challenge you to prove me wrong. But I'm always forgetting little things. Bruce will ask me to do something while my brain is elsewhere, and I'll say "sure," then forget about it 10 minutes later. Why? It wasn't in my field of focus. I was paying attention somewhere else. If you gave Bruce and I a picture to look at and said "Study this, and in a minute I will ask you questions about it." Bruce would probably do better than I would. He would take in the whole picture, while I would probably be focused on a part or two. If you asked me about something on that part that I paid attention to, I'd tell you every single detail, but if you asked me about something outside of that sphere...??? If you asked the two of us to remember a 10 digit number, I'd beat him every time.

I don't have any autistic children, but it seems like they have a very narrow focus. They will shock you to the core with some of the things that they can remember and know, while at the same time they seem to miss a lot of other things.

I don't know. It's just a thought.

Friday, September 02, 2011

My Son the Hero

That's what everyone (the principal included) is calling Ross. Yesterday at lunch, the kid across the table from Ross started choking. Ross hopped up and did the Heimlich maneuver, and was able to dislodge the food. The staff at his school are making quite the deal out of it. They are saying he saved the kid's life. Way To Go ROSS!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Falling Down the Stairs, Cursing and Other Amusing Items

This morning as I was putting breakfast on the table, Clayton was singing a little made up song called "Joggity." It goes like this:

"Joggity, joggity, joggity, joggity, joggity,
joggity, joggity, joggity, joggity, joggity,
joggity, joggity, joggity, joggity, joggity..."

Apparently Justice didn't like Clayton's little song.

Justice: "Clayton, that's a bad word."

Clayton: "Joggity, joggity, joggity..."

Justice: "That is a bad word, Clayton!"

Clayton: "joggity, joggity, joggity..."

Justice: "Mom, Clayton is saying 'joggity!'

Me: "It's not a bad word, Justice."

Clayton: "Yes it is!"

(Aside: I really don't like it when I'm blogging here on my computer and I hear the sound of eggs cracking coming from in the kitchen, and I get up to find that *sigh* I have lost another dozen eggs and I have another mess to clean up. *sigh*)

Where was I?

Amusing item #2 or I guess maybe #3 now for Mr. C. Clayton was sitting on the toilet the other day saying "Wait for it... wait for it..."

In other news, my boys have discovered a new wonderful game to play, which frankly my mother hates. Oh how I wish I'd had my camera with me at the time! We were at my parents' house after church the other day when my boys invented the fun new game called:

"Falling Down the Stairs."

Oh GOSH I wish I had caught it on tape! What you do is pretend to look at the picture at the top of the stairs, or pretend that you are a baby, or perhaps an old lady, and oops, you fall down the stairs, rolling and bumping and screaming all the way down. It's really hilarious.

The draw backs:

1) You can only play it at Grandma's house because she is the only one with heavily padded, carpeted stairs.
2) Grandmas has an especial aversion to falling since she spent some time in a wheel chair about a year and a half ago after a particularly traumatic fall. Hence, Grandma doesn't find this game very amusing.

On yet another subject, I guess other families with multiple kids have do deal with the phenomenon of "Calling things." I get so annoyed with my kids calling everything. Justice's last words nearly every night are,

"I call the computer first in the morning!"

Me: "No you don't."

We can't go ANYWHERE without every person under the age of 15 in the family yelling

"I call sitting next to Clayton, no call backs, pad-lock!"


"I call window seat, no call backs, pad-lock!"

Apparently all contracts are null and void if you don't say "no call-backs, pad-lock!"

Oh and if somebody sits in the seat that was called by somebody else, WWIII is surely to follow. "I CALLED that seat!"

"I didn't hear you!"

"MOM, I called window seat!"

"I don't care. Get in."

I often amuse myself imaging a world where grown ups "called" everything and you HAD to say "no call-backs, pad-lock" or it didn't count. Although come to think about it, we really are kind of like that with all the red tape - political BS that surrounds every facet of our lives. Is it really so different from "no call-backs, pad lock," but I digress...

Anyway, apparently we've reached yet another dimension of calling things. I opened the fridge to find that we seem to now be calling food too.

Ross of course hid "Lydia's orange" behind a bunch of stuff in the back of the fridge and told her that he ate it. *sigh*

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Moments of Genius

Have you ever talked back to your voice-mail? As in:

"No, because....."

"What happened was ..."

"It's like this..."

"Yes, well if you just..."

Aside: "I'm trying to explain the answer to your question! Why the heck won't she let me get a word in edgewise?!"

"What is going on is..."

"I'm trying to tell you..."

"Oh yeah, this is just a message. Wow, I am REALLY a moron!"

The Irony

Well that completely sucked! School has been back in session for about a week and a half. Justice was really excited about starting kindergarten. The first couple of days when I dropped him off, I pitied the other mothers and fathers who's kids were clinging to them and crying. I actually thought "Oh, I am so glad that my kids never did that!" Justice was happy to be there, and that is just how the older kids seemed to feel about kindergarten too.

However after about day three, Justice started to wander just when he was going to be done with kindergarten. I think he thought it would be like the Thursday School that he had gone to: a couple of hours, one day a week.

Today I had to literally drag him out of the van and carry him kicking, screaming, and crying into the school. As we walked through the front door, he grabbed the door frame and held on for dear life, creating a traffic jam behind us, as Clayton trotted in happily about 10 paces ahead of us, holding Justice's backpack. My small three year old walking in by himself gave the duty teachers quite the poser. They weren't sure if he should be going to somebody's class, or what. He hardly looks old enough to go to kindergarten.

Once I got Justice into the building and caught up to Clayton, I just stood there in the hallway, trying to get him to calm down - to no avail- until his teacher came by with the rest of the class. Resigned to his fate, Justice walked down the hall in tears, hand in hand with his teacher. That was when I broke down into tears. I guess that's what I get for being so glad that my kids had all gone to school so happily!

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Side Kick

Being the youngest, Clayton is always stuck playing the side kick. When he and Justice play Harry Potter, Clayton is always Ron. When they play Ben 10, Clayton is always Kevin Levin. If they are playing Indiana Jones, Clayton is always Indiana Jones' son. It's okay, he doesn't seem to realize or care. He's just happy to be included in the game.

This morning after he had just gotten out of the shower, the game was Superman. Since Justice was already Superman, that left:

"I am Super Girl!"

"No, you are definitely not Super girl."

"Okay, I'm Super Boy!"

At one point he was "NAKED NINJA!" Everyone laughed, and Mark and Ross immediately started plotting the new "Naked Ninja" game. Boys.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My "Renae is a Jerk" Moment of the Day

I took Clayton to story time at the library today. As they were passing out the snack, the little girl across the table from us asked "Does this have any fat in it?" to which I laughed out loud. It just sounded so odd to hear that phrase coming from a three year old little girl. It struck me as funny and darn cute. I attributed it to a mother who worries about her own diet, and her daughter was picking up on it. That was until I heard her say "Good, I don't have to take my enzymes." Wow! Renae is a jerk! Her mom played it off very nicely and acted like "Yes, my daughter is cute." Which she was, but man I felt like a jerk! I am so very thankful that I have healthy kids!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Mothering is just the strangest phenomenon! It's like ... getting mauled by an overly loving, cute as a button, HUGE, disobedient puppy dog. You appreciate the love and the cuteness of it all, but at the same time, you need some space. That's not quite exactly right, but... I can't find the right words.

On the one hand I positively CRAVE solitude and quiet moments, and time to work on things that I want to learn to do. You know you might be a parent when you find yourself taking your time on the toilet, because you know that's the only time when everyone is at least supposed to leave you alone.

On the other hand, I seem to have lost the ability to truly enjoy any time away. Any time I actually DO get away, it is always tainted by a little twinge of guilt, and a small wish that the kids were there with me.

The kids just started back to school, and OH BE JOYFUL!!! I am loving having a routine back! I never feel like a good parent during the summer. I feel like all I do is yell, and tell folks to turn the darn TV / computer off. There seems to be a fight to be broken up every two seconds, and somebody needs something from me every blessed second of the day, and I NEVER have a minute to myself, the kids are BORED, and I just turn into a mean, frustrated, horrible ogress!

I love having a reason to make the kids get up and get dressed. I love having something to do. I love getting into a routine for bedtime again. I love when the kids come home from school, and we can spend some time together in the evenings. I actually feel like I have a reason for the things that I do. I love that now I have my piano time back. But most of all, I love that Clayton takes a nap, and I can have some peace and quiet!

The down side is that Justice is now in Kindergarten. I've been looking forward to when I finally get all of my kids in school, so I can go back to school. I positively ACHE to learn! I LOVE school. BUT... every time a kid starts school, I miss my little buddy! It's never quite the same again. I miss each and every one of those 3 and 4 year old kids that have left me to go to school. As much as I want to go back to school, I don't know if I can take not having a preschool kid here with me. Come to think of it, I don't want to do it at all. I don't want life to change like that. I can't believe I'm actually SAYING THAT!!! But it's true. I miss Clayton already, and I still have two more years with him home. I guess it's a good thing to realize that right now. I miss my Justice, I miss my Mark, I miss my Ross, and I miss my little Lydia. Life will definitely lose a little of it's magic when I no longer have a little one to share it with. Sigh... I'm a bit pathetic, you know.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


While out, I took a picture of this "Getting Along With Your Neighbors Fail." There are actually three "No Trespassing" signs running the property line between these two houses.

While Bruce's BRAVE and wonderful parents took my four oldest kids clothes shopping today, I took Clayton to the park, just the two of us. How different it is to hang out with just one child at a time. It reminded me of when Lydia was little and I used to go out with just her. It was just the most beautiful day ever. I really enjoyed hanging out with just my Mr. C.

This evening Lydia and I did some shopping, just the two of us, also a very good time. We always laugh our heads off when we are together.

These are pictures from yesterday's outing to the park with all of the kids.
I had to bribe Ross to let me take this picture, as he was trying very hard to boycott my camera. He wanted help moving a big log. Easy!

I really liked this picture of Ross until he pointed out that he looks like Gollum.

How nice when they play together. Actually they were having a spitting contest.

Quintessential Justice!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pictures That Have Nothing To Do With The Rest Of The Post

I got up with the intention to run at 6:00 this morning. (Got to get the run in before the day heats up.) As I got ready, Clayton woke up. Not wanting to leave the three year old as the only person awake in the house, I got him dressed, made him some take along breakfast, and headed out to get my running stroller out of the garage. Unfortunately, all three tires were half flat. Back inside I go to get the air pump. When I headed back outside with the pump, the dog followed me. Having lubed and aired up the tires, I realized that Miss Ally really wanted to come for a run too. So I headed back inside to fetch the leash and a poop bag. While I was inside, the Empire decided to strike back. (This is my own personal running code phrase for dumping the waste before making the jump to hyper-speed.)

FINALLY on the road and running, Ally (dog) was behaving badly. (I really need to take the time to leash train her better!) It's totally not fun to run with a dog that wants to pull, while pushing a running stroller! So after running a quarter of a mile, we came to the woodsy place where I try to get my dog to do her business when we are out walking or running, so I don't have to pick it up. I stopped running and gave her ample opportunity to take care of things. She didn't ... until about two houses after we left the woodsy area. Mess cleaned up, we are again on our way, but Ally won't stop pulling, and trying to go after cats and squirrels. Fed up, I ran back home and left that stupid dog behind.

Now sans dog, I realize that my stroller is pulling to the right. Annoyed with my kids who like to ride my running stroller, down the hill in the back yard, and into the fence, I kept on anyway. After I leave my neighborhood, and am crossing the road, I realize that my kids have also lost me one of the quick release pins that keeps my handle bar in place. So once safely off the road, I stopped for a couple of fixes. Being of the quick release variety, my pulling to the right front wheel was not too hard to straighten out. I also replaced my missing handle bar pin with a less important one, and AGAIN we were one our way (an entire HOUR after I wanted to leave).

Fortunately, I had a really good run after that. It wasn't too hot, I felt good, and I ended up doing just under six miles with a child in the running stroller. Just a rough start to a good run. Yay for perseverance!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I Always Wanted To Be The Best At Something

As I was changing his stinky diaper, Clayton informs me, "Mom, you are the best wiper. Leela is the best drawer. You are the best wiper."

Oh joy. What an honor.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Vacation Week

We started last week out by shopping for and replacing our fridge. Here's what poor Bruce looked like when he came home from earning all that overtime that is paying for our new fridge.
So after cleaning the house, doing all the laundry, packing everybody's stuff, cleaning out the old fridge, and installing the new one, which was just a bit taller than our old one, so we had to move a kitchen cabinet to make it fit, ANYWAY after that and a long run on sentence, we went to Santa Claus, Indiana with Bruce's family. We played all day at the water park on Wednesday, and on Thursday we played all day at the non-water part of the park. It was a good time!

Here's the good thing about traveling with boys. Ross was actually there too, but he got done and ran out of the shot right before I took this picture.
Clayton had his birthday while we were in Indiana.

Next we packed up, drove home, dropped off our dirty laundry, and headed out for Nauvoo, where we geeked out again over Vocal Point. I have more pictures just like this one, but with the different members of VP. However, you'll just have to be happy with a sample, because I don't feel like posting all of them.

Ross was way excited to take a picture with VP's Ross. All of the VP members were very nice and good sports about dorks like us who bugged them after the show for pictures. I totally love these guys!

Vocal Point
Back row left to right: Jake Hunsaker, Robert Seely, Keith Evans, Mike Christensen, Tyler Sterling, and Ross Welch
Front row, left to right: Tanner Nilssen, McKay Crockett, and Ben Murphy

We got home from our Nauvoo trip Sunday evening. My family deserves major props because they all pitched in and in less than an hour's time we had our van completely unpacked, and everything put back in it's place.

Monday morning I was up at 4:45 and off to do the 4th of July biathlon (5 mile run and 20 mile bike) with Bruce's dad. I think the clouds scared off a bunch of folks, because the turn out was not all that good. However the weather was just about as perfect as it gets for 4th of July. I did okayish. I took second in my division, but that's really only because there weren't very many people there.

Am I just old and farty? That vacation WORE me OUT!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Pay Your Tithing Folks!

We had to buy a new fridge. Boo! We did get a great deal though, and a cool "pay your tithing" lesson out of it. Our old fridge is not quite broken yet, but it's showing all the signs that the end is near soon. The outside has some really hot spots, it leaves puddles on the floor, the inside of the freezer is always frosty, and the ice cream is always half melted. We decided that we would rather avoid the whole "The-fridge-is-broken-we-need-a-new-one-NOW-cuz-all-our-food-is-spoiling-and-making-a-huge-stinky-mess." kind of problem.

We therefore spent Saturday buying a new one. I did all the consumer reports research and picked out the fridge that I thought I wanted, and hunted for the store with the best price on that particular fridge. Bruce and I headed out to Best Buy, paper in hand, and I asked the first sales person I saw to ring me up for that particular fridge. He walked us back to the fridge section, where I saw the one that I had picked out. Upon actually seeing the fridge in person, I realized that it looked rather plasticy and flimsy, and that my kids would probably rip the door off in the first week. We started looking at other fridges. We found a floor model that had a couple of minor dings in it that made them knock the price down by $700. The original price was twice the price of the one that I had gone to the store to buy, but with the dings, it was now only a couple of hundred more than the other one. When you are already committed to spend $800, really why not spend $1000 and get a MUCH nicer fridge? So that's what we did.

Here comes the tithing lesson. As you might already know, we are ALWAYS EXTREMELY stressed where the money situation is concerned, so spending $1000 dollars on a new fridge out of the blue really made me want to puke. Of course we don't have that kind of money sitting around. We had to take get a Best Buy credit card, and put it on that. It's an 18 month same as cash deal. If I budget it right, we should be able to do it. Still, it makes me want to vomit. As it turns out, this week is Bruce's week to be on call, and Anheuser Busch had a major truck scale go down in a major way. Bruce put in 11 hours of over time on it the other night. That alone should bring in $450. Earlier this week, Bruce had about four hours of over time put in on something else. With that we are over half way there to have that fridge paid off. In a completely insane twist of fate, that same truck scale that they had JUST spent so many hours of over time fixing got struck by lightening in a storm the next night. So on Bruce's last night of on call, which was Sunday when over time pays double time instead of just time and a half, Bruce got called out to work for about nine more hours on that same scale. Upon doing the math, all that over time adds up to about $1000 (the price of our new fridge). Now TELL me that paying your tithing doesn't take care of you! We certainly are not wealthy. We barely scrape by, but guess what: We always have just enough for what we need. It's rather amazing when you think about it!

A Little Laugh at Mom's Expense

I scared the crud out of my mom. Always funny! Especially since I wasn't even trying to scare her. All I did was to come over unannounced with my dog. As always when I bring the dog along, I took her straight to the backyard (dogs are strictly forbidden inside my parents' house). Mom and Dad were on the other side of the yard, and didn't see or hear us enter the yard. The first thing they saw was an over excited large black furry thing that "snuck up" quick as lightening from behind and got right in their faces. They both jumped about a foot in the air, and Mom actually screamed. Oh I wish I had a video camera with me! It was hilarious!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Losing It!

Is it completely unusual for folks above the age of 30 something to forget how old they are??? Or am I just seriously losing my mind waaay too soon?? I'm blaming it on the kids. I seriously had to do the math, because I couldn't remember if I was 35 or 36. Wow! I'm totally losing it!! (For the record, I'm only 35. Whew!)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Problem Solved

My two youngest boys love to play "Harry Potter," which includes using a marker to draw glasses around your eyes and a scar on your forehead. You must also have a wand. This can be anything from a pencil to a screw driver or anything long and thin. Next you must run around on pretend broomsticks cursing everything in sight. On a side note, Clayton has taken to wielding his wand at me and shouting "avada kedavra!" at me when ever he is upset with me for any reason. ie:

"Clayton clean up your toys."

"Avada kedavra!"

Should I be insulted that my 3 year old is casting the killing curse at me? Probably not. I don't think he knows what it is.

Anyway as a parent, and as my MIL likes to point out to me, kids running around with sharp pointy objects is not the best idea. The current favorite wand material is the stick part that comes off of some giant bubble wands. I have actually gone to the dollar store and bought a couple of these to replace wands that have been lost.

However, when Bruce was a child he nearly died when he fell on a wooden spoon and it went into his open mouth and through his soft pallet. Hence, his mother has often told me how dangerous it is to let kids run around with toothbrushes, and she really doesn't like this wand obsession either. I can't blame her, and after all of those stories it makes me a little nervous.

Last night Clayton couldn't find his "wand" so I improvised. I found the perfect solution!! (That is if I can convince Justice and Clayton that these wands are better than the bubble wand kind.) Those extra long glue sticks! They are the perfect size, and they are completely flexible. If you fell on it, the thing totally wouldn't hurt you. Now I just have to figure out a way for the bubble wand things to disappear, and for glue sticks to seem totally cool. ????????? I'll have to think on that.

Friday, June 17, 2011


I find it sweet and amusing how every time Justice gets in trouble and sent to his room, Clayton goes with him, even if Clayton isn't in trouble.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tattling Fail

"Mom, Justice is trying to wash the shampoo out of his hair!"

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Todd's Birthday Video

I had trouble getting the soundtrack recorded, AND I had a MASSIVE sinus infection, so no making fun of the bad singing!!! I just took one take with a digital recorder, and yeah it sounds pretty awful, but I just got sick of waiting around and sick of messing with the entire project. Plus Todd's birthday was already past. Out of time, so here it is flaws and all.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Just a Thought

You can apply this to just about anything: If you can pick it apart and find order, if it takes an intelligent person to unfold, to analyze, to find out the hows and whys of any beautiful work, any machine, any equation etc., if it takes someone intelligent to work the equation backwards, doesn't it make sense that it took someone that much more intelligent to plan the thing in the first place.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Latest Dirt

So I haven't updated in a while. Here's what's been happening: That last crabby post was one day when I must have just had PMS or something. Do you other gals just have bad days when you are a roller coaster of raging mood swings? Well, that was one of those days. Since then, I've been feeling quite normal and happy to have my kiddos here with me.

What else...? Justice was getting himself dressed the other day and he told me, "I found some underwear in the laundry room. I sniffed em'. They're clean."

I did the Memorial Day Biathlon today. I had a terrible run. The heat got to me, and I had to stop and walk. I've never done that before in a race. However, once I got on the bike, I felt good and flew past quite a few folks. I made up enough time that, though I was just over a minute slower than my time last year, I still took 2nd out of 21 women in my age division.

Okay I'll talk you through my recent pictures, in reverse chronological order:

Summer time is upon us, and one of my favorite things ever is when my kids are having fun playing out in the yard. I love the next several pictures!

Here's a big spanking that Clayton earned himself. Check out that bruise on Justice's cheek. That's from a bite.

Lydia was WAY over due to clean out her backpack!! She'd been carrying around all of those old papers for a while.

Ally has a new friend. We have a new set of neighbors. Cash is their little bull dog pup. He's about the same age as Ally (just shy of a year old). The two dogs are good buddies now. The cutest thing is when they try to share toys and sticks with each other through the fence.

Here's Lydia with her last school project of the year. It's a mouse trap car that Bruce and my sister-in-law stayed up ALL NIGHT to finish. I was a party pooper and fell asleep on the couch.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot! Victory in the primary room!!! Brady (my cousin's little boy, who is in my Sunbeam class, who always pulled away from me and gave me no end of dirty looks, and always stuck his tongue out at me) Brady came up to me and gave me a hug, all on his own volition!!! Then he crawled up and sat on my lap! Yay yay yay!!!