Showing posts from September, 2009

What to do when you are bored and have orange and green fingernail polish and a Sharpie and it's almost October



Not the kind you see at a baseball game retrieving Louisville Sluggers or game balls.

Other Jim brought home a bat from The-Place-Where-He-Works Mart. He caught it in a cup, stashed it in his car, and brought it into THE HOUSE. A LIVE BAT. The kind that sucks blood and turns into vampires!

Yes, I got pictures.
Other Jim transferred it from the cup to a little mesh container that Hayley and Matt have used to collect bugs. The pictures aren't great, but I was NOT going to let the bat out of its temporary cage in the house just to get a few good pictures. I don't trust bats. They're cute and all, but I just don't trust them ever since one whacked me good on the head in Wind Cave. Plus there's the whole rabies thing. Not my cup 0' hot chocolate.
The body was perhaps two to three inches long. I petted his belly through the mesh and he didn't seem to mind. Other Jim and Matt felt his toenails that were protruding through the mesh.
Then we let him go outside.…

A rose is red

A Violet is cute
First the blessing,
then time for to shoot.

Bad poetry, how I love thee!

This baby is so even-tempered! She didn't cry at all during her blessing. Vi and Grandma

Mike wanted to get at least one shooting session in while we were there. He patiently showed Hayley and Matt how to shoot a pellet gun. An orange juice carton served as a target and both kids hit the target a couple of times.

Hayley discovered that she has to shoot left-handed because it's hard to close her left eye to use her right eye to get the sights lined up. Get that? Neither did I. Anyway, she has an easier time shooting left-handed. Even though she does everything else right-handed.
Matt's arms aren't quite long enough. This does not bode well for trombone playing. Oh well. He did hit the target. It looks like he is crying in this picture, but let me assure you that he is not. He just has his face mooshed up against the stock.
My turn. I took three shots and hit the target all t…

Temporary cheesehead

So I'm in Wisconsin today and tomorrow with Jim, Hayley and Matt and Mom. I wanted to meet Violet (new niece) so we arranged to come out for her blessing at church.

Violet is so very nibble-able! And such a sweet little girl!n Her eyes are open wide in the attitude of permanent surprise most of the time. And she has the funniest little cowlicks right on her prominent widow's peak. She has smiled a couple of times and fell asleep once while we watched.

Right now we are getting ready to roast marshmallows for s'mores so I'm not going to make this long. In fact, this is as much as I'm going to post, especially because there is a baby to be held!

The CranRaspberry Juice Incident

First of all, let me tell a story about the Lemonade Incident that happened just a few short months ago. Hayley and Matt had a lemonade stand one day. While filling up a glass pitcher, which had a nozzle for juice dispensing action, (and can you see where I'm going with this, the pitcher being GLASS?) Hayley somehow jostled it or knocked it or something while it was FULL of sugary sweet lemonade and popped a hole in the glass pitcher low enough to effect a full-scale lemonadey deluge in the kitchen. I happened to be writing a talk I was going to give at church at the time and was somewhat stressed out even before the juice made its way to the floor (and subsequently THROUGH the floor to the bathroom below as well). So when the breakage occurred, Jim, ever considerate of my fragile state during talk-writing times, helped Hayley clean up the mess.

Today was my turn, only with CranRaspberry juice.

I was driving home from taking Paul to an ortho appointment. I had Fake Child with m…

A week???

Ten things I did or someone else did that I didn't post about for a whole week.

1. Jim stained the deck--a two day process.
2. Paul ran a personal best at the Lakeville CC meet. He was 5th in on the team--it was a FAST race. Top runner came in under 16 minutes.
3. Wrangled Mom for a few hours post-surgery. The woman will not sit still. Mike, I know where you got your not-sitting-still from. Honestly! "No, we will not be going to the thrift store half an hour after you were discharged from surgery, Mother!" We did stop by the arboretum apple store, though. PS--she's fine.
4. Thought about renting a car for my upcoming trip to CA for my grandmother's 90th birthday. Postponed any action on the thought until later.
5. Saw Sr. Beck speak at a fireside and a training meeting on Saturday (I sat from 3 til 7:30 in the same chair). Learned that all you need to know to be fluent in Spanish is "Hola. Mucho gusto" and kissing Spanish women on the left cheek. &…

Zen and the art of pasta dinner maintenance

Well, THAT went well!

I floated through the pasta dinner on fluffy white clouds of easiness and danced through glittery rainbows of I-can-handle-this.

What made this dinner so easy compared to the last one? Two things: other people and Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. Five other families signed up to contribute to the food so there was no underabundance and frantic casting about for spaghetti sauce. I prepped for the lasagna yesterday by grating cheese and browning the meat. Early this afternoon I made the four lasagnas and then after I washed the dishes necessary for the lasagna prep, I filled two pots with water and sat them on the stove, ready at a moment's notice (or 4:30 p.m.) to boil for spaghetti noodles. I heated up spaghetti sauce in the crock pot (on the deck--no sense in heating up the house more than I had already). Then I sat for 15 minutes to read The Lost Symbol. After 15 minutes, I cleaned for half an hour. Then I read for another 15 minutes. Then I cleaned…

The Lasagna days and selective amnesia

Nearly a year ago, we hosted a pasta dinner for the high school cross country team. When sign-ups rolled around for this year's pasta dinners, I signed right up. Paul initially said that he'd rather not host a pasta dinner, but I wore him down finally and made him come to terms with it. He never did say why he was loathe to have everyone over.

So tomorrow is the day that I signed up to host the dinner. I've been busy grating cheese, browning mild Italian sausage for four pans' worth of lasagna. And just for a lark, I thought I'd look up last year's post about our first turn as CC parents hosting a dinner.

Apparently I forgot that my head nearly imploded because of things that did not go right. I totally blanked on how they came early and the house was still a mess, and the lasagna wasn't cooked all the way through, and I had no bread, and the salad came REALLY late, and we didn't have enough food so I had to have Jim run to the store for more spag…

Free cleaning

I get my basement bathroom cleaned today for free and without complaint!

Matt missed the bus this morning and he knows the rules--if I have to drive anything (homework, lunch, child who missed the bus) to school because someone wasn't prepared or wasn't watching the clock, I charge $5 for the drive over. He apologized and immediately asked "What jobs should I do when I get home from school?" I didn't yell (I did when certain older children were younger and I had to haul the younger children--who were even younger--out of bed and affix them into various car seats, younger children who didn't WANT to be hauled out of bed and strapped in. Am I ashamed of yelling? Maybe a little, but if I hadn't, certain older children would not have believed that they needed to be more responsible. Matt needs no yelling from me to realize that he had dropped his own ball of responsibility), I just said that he could clean the downstairs bathroom as payment.

I almost wis…

Current frustration

OK, not that current. I was frustrated yesterday. And the frustration wore me out to the extent that I was too tired to blog about it yesterday.

And the task that caused me so much frustration was not really even my task to do.

It's all Jim's fault.

First of all, he went on a church mission to Argentina when he was 19 (ok, that part is not frustrating. I'm glad he went and I'm glad I didn't know him then so that the pain of waiting for him to come back was no pain at all. Besides, I was only in 8th grade. I was ogling geeky high school freshmen and TV hunks like Magnum PI. 19-year-old Californians weren't on my radar) Secondly, this was back in the very early 80s when digital camera technology hadn't yet swept picture-taking film into the dusty corner of antiquity. Thirdly, he took pictures with that film. Fourthly, he had the film developed into SLIDES. Slides!

Fast forward many years later to a couple of Saturdays ago when we cleaned out the garage.…

Current enjoyment

Riding my stationary bike while watching the last episode of the first season of Pushing Daisies.

Hearing nothing from everybody else.

I hate to admit enjoying others' illnesses, but fake child called in sick today (her mother did the actual calling for her) so I am work-free today (but also money-free. Alas).

Note to self: get fat hands on Pushing Daisies season two. Mourn lack of more Pushing Daisies seasons yet again. Find some other episodic show to watch while racking up the miles on the stationary bike.

The OLD days

So I'm a college student. I'm a student on my own time and in my own home. Sometimes I think I might have jumped the gun on finishing my degree though. I thought having children in school would give me all kinds of free time in which to do college-type homework. Turns out not so much. Somehow my days fill up and I get distracted. I'm halfway through the time allotted by the college to finish my lowly degree program (8 years, General Studies) and according to my original plan, I should have finished by now. Instead, I'm only halfway through. Sigh. Children continue to be a major TIME SUCK even when they are in school! Who knew? Especially high school students who like to sign up for extra curricular activities (I'm looking at you, Kate. And Paul.) (On the other hand, I've enjoyed spectating at the extracurricular activities so I don't feel too guilty about putting aside my homework for my children)

Anyway, this post isn't so much about ventin…

"Laboring" to think of ten things I will do tomorrow on the first day of school for the kids

1. Jump out out bed and wave vigorously at three of the children as they leave the house. Threaten to follow Hayley to the bus stop with the camera and run away as she takes a swing at me with her backpack. Threaten to photograph the boys as they hop into the Luminosity--Other Jim's car--and watch them roll their eyes because they know I won't follow through.
2. Hop in the Van with No Name (does that count as a name?) to volunteer at the high school passing out schedules. I can rest easy doing this because a) I will have showered and b) my boys have their schedules already.
3. Call home while passing out schedules to make sure that Matt is awake.
4. Call a second time because he sometimes doesn't answer the phone.
5. Call a third time to remind him to brush his teeth.
6. Go home after volunteering to find Matt playing the Wii. Kick him off and bark at him to make sure he has everything. Shoes? Socks? Underwear? Chores done? Hair messed up? Eye-rolling function operational?…

Running in circles

As in two laps around the Rosemount school grounds in a huge pack of boys following a pace cart.

Yes, it's that time of year again, folks. Cross country running for Paul. I loaded up the van with a water bottle, a banana, some off-brand Yogos for Fake Child, Fake Child herself, and set Aunt Roady's sister (who still doesn't have a name. And Aunt Roady has had an "operation" and is now known as Tio Camino--Spanish for Uncle Road. Jim has him/her set to Spanish male voice) with the address for Rosemount high school and headed out to watch Paul run.
He's on the varsity team again this year, just barely squeaking into that 7th slot (he says he ran only as fast as needed to get onto the varsity team--little stinker).

The team engages in a little bit of group hugging right before the race. Mic the Manager smiles happily in the background.
At the starting line...
Paul's first lap.
He's coming "down the chute" (the term for the end of the race, which i…

Lickable Wallpaper could be next

Roald Dahl was the JK Rowling of my childhood. His books, particularly Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, and especially James and the Giant Peach, enlarged my taste for fantastical (not necessarily "fantasy") stories. He wrote for the child who knew that bad things sometimes happened to good people (mostly kids) but also believed in the capacity of the child to overcome and create good out of it. And the stories usually came with a dollop of Magic.

I have many fond memories of Mom reading to Jenni and me before bed, and the two of us begging for just one more chapter! Mom, with her musical abilities, was able to infuse Roald Dahl's natural inclination toward rhyme and written song with a lyrical quality that both fit the song in word and theme. I absolutely LOVED the song that Centipede sings about all the food he's eaten in James and the Giant Peach.

Then I grew up and became Aunt Sponge (Mother Sponge?), f…

Better late than never

It seems like we are the last school districts on the planet up here in MN to send our kids off to school. I've been so jealous of reading back-to-school stories on others' blogs and seeing kids get on the bus and heading off to school while we were on vacation! I am not afraid to say that I don't miss my children while they are at school. I feel no guilt or shame in saying that I'm GLAD they are going back to school. I like them when they are around me, but they need school and I need for them to be in school.

The kids don't start until next week. But I finally feel that school is near. When we got home from the trip, the mail was heaped neatly on our bed (in piles by day of delivery--thanks, Paul) for us to peruse. Loving mail as much as I do, going through the piles was the first thing on my list of things to do when I got home.

And, oh happiness! we got bundles of school-related missives! Matt got his teacher assignment, and a wad of papers for me to sign…


Boo-hoo! My trip is over! It was wonderful to see Katie, and I'm glad we were able to help her move. Email me if you want her new address.

I now resort to showing you my trip pictures. I have shown you some already, so we pick up the trip on the second day in Utah (I have no idea what day that was. Days don't have names when you are on vacation).

Jim and I went to visit the gravesite of his grandparents. He didn't know exactly where the grave was (he DID know which cemetery, though) and we walked among the gravestones until we found it. I remember Hazel very fondly; she always made me feel welcome and put me at ease right away with her sense of humor. Jim and I visited her a few times while we were still BYU students and then we visited a couple of times after we moved away. The last time was about a week before she passed away. Other Jim (third one after the James Warner on the inscription below) was only about 9 months old at the time.
After the visit, we went to lunc…