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!