Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Funnest Mutual Activity EVER!!!!!

The hardest part of being called to the Young Mens or Young Womens auxiliaries has to coming up with spiritual yet fun activities week after week. Yesterday we threw the spiritual element of our class Laurel class activity to the wind and went straight for fun. We played flour bomb capture the flag with the Priests in the park. After three games, it turned into an all out flour war.

It took me 3 shampoos and too many q-tips to count to get all of the flour out of my hair and ears. Hopefully The King won't find any evidence that I drove 5 flour coated kids home in his car....

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It's a Beautiful Day to be Puerto Rican

One of the great things about being raised in a multi-cultural home is that you don't tend to notice things like skin color as much as those who grow up in a uniform household. It was the same awakening that occured when I realized, thanks to a few bad mannered and poorly raised 5th graders, that my quiet and shy older sister who was loads of fun (as she was willing to go along with any crazy scheme I came up with) was "handicapped". In our home, skin color and disabilities were not recognized;we were all the same. I always knew my grandpa had an accent, but I was almost a teenager before I noticed that the accent and the brown tone of his skin made him stand out from most of the people in our community. I adored my grandpa- I was so embarrassed/proud, like all kids are, when he would come to my basketball games and yell at the refs. He'd yell in Spanish so not many people understood him, but I think they got the gist of it. My grandpa could build anything. His cabin was a fairy tale land of mechanical swings, warped automobiles and garages stocked with more wonderful piles of tools and building materials than any child could dream of. He had his own way of doing things and his own way of thinking, but that only made him unique and mysterious.

While living in San Juan during his twenties, Grandpa was recruited by an American mining company. He'd get to bring his family to the land of milk and honey, while they'd get a new dynamite specialist. It was extremely dangerous work, but grandpa feared nothing. He worked hard to provide his family a good life in America, and eventually became a proud citizen. I am so grateful for the roots he planted for me.

So you can imagine my horror when in my late teens I witnessed for the first time, at least personally, someone degrade my Grandpa for his skin color. I had known that it had happened before- many times in fact, during his early years in this country. But times had changed, and I knew that he was well loved and respected in his community. But all it took was for one ignorant person to degrade him, to try to "put him in his place" per se, for my eyes to open to just how bigoted people still are. My grandpa, being the kind of person he was, simply ignored the classless man and went about his way. But the memory always leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Puerto Ricans have become more and more prevalent in US culture over the last few years thanks to celebrities like Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez. But few have gained notoriety in the fields of science, medicine, law and politics until today, when President Obama announced that his nominee for the Supreme Court is Appellate Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Her rise from poverty to nomination for the highest court in the land is a compelling story, but more than that, it shows us that the minorities in this country play an important role in its future. Our country has become a beautiful and colorful patchwork of cultures, races and religions, and I am so glad, especially today, that I am an American.

Had my Grandfather had the opportunity for education, he probably would have become an engineer, architect or chemist. Even without the formal titles or diplomas, he was all these things and more. But most of all, he was a wonderful father and grandfather whose legacy is found in the 100+ children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who live today in this land of freedom.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

More Help Please...

Your suggestions for games were so great that I'm begging for more assistance from you party people. I need a playlist for the "real" rock band karaoke. Here's what I've come up with so far:

Single Lady (Beyonce)
Barbie Girl (Aqua)
I'm Too Sexy (Right Said Fred)
Dancing Queen (ABBA)
We are the Champions (Queen)
Stronger (Kanye West)

As you can see, I'm a little short on the "guy songs". I think I'll need 10 songs total for the 50 kids coming. Any suggestions?

Also, for a party wind down game, we thought we could do "guess that TV/movie theme". Any ideas on what they'd know other than Harry Potter and Star Wars???

Friday, May 22, 2009


In a moment of rash stupidity, I promised the TQ that she could have a 6th grade graduation party on the 30th of May. I also prominsed that she could invite as many people as she wants (naively thinking that she's just invite her class and even then most wouldn't be able to come).

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I am now throwing a party for nearly 50 tweens, male and female.

I have no idea what we are going to do for 3 hours. Food is easy- throw anything edible at them and then stampede. But games????? What are they too old for? How will I keep them from sneaking away to hold hands or- dun, dun, dun- mke out??

I'm a wee bit stressed if you can't tell.

Please, please, please save my sanity. If you have any ideas for entertaining fifty 12 year olds, share.

If this isn't the greatest grad party ever the TQ will never speak to me again.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Funniest Thing I've Heard All Day

The King (to my all most constantly hot flashing/middle of menopause mother):

When you pee does it come out as dust????

Good thing I know she adores him.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Mother's Wisdom

Sundays are the hardest day of the week.

From the first light of day till the sun sets it is a constant battle to have the right spirit in our home on the Sabbath.

Getting ready for church is a long and tiring process- finding the right clothes; getting everyone dressed on time; the lines to get hair done and teeth brushed; finding matching socks and church shoes; packing a quiet bag for the Man Child that looks more like a goody bag for the Drive-In theater...oh, and trying to actually do my hair and makeup so that I don't look like the frumpy "given up" mom that I am the other 6 days of the week.

Yesterday was particularly bad. 10 minutes before we needed to leave, the MC grabbed the bottom of the iron that I had just used to run over my impossibly wrinkled shirt. Blisters appeared almost immediately. He stopped crying after only a few minutes but any cooperation he had given earlier in the morning was gone and would not be seen again till this morning.

The Tween Queen and Fox decided at almost the same moment as the iron incident to start bickering over anything and everything. Once they get started there's no stopping them. Thankfully they were separated for most of church, but they picked right up where they left off in the parking lot at 2:01.

Needless to say, by bedtime the King and I were DONE. If we could have run away we'd have been gone mid-afternoon.

Then I called my mom.

My mom is wonderful, amazing, beautiful, talented, and a spiritual giant. She always seems to know the right thing to say- to teach without preaching. My children adore her, and really, who wouldn't? She's the best.

Knowing full well that I really wouldn't go to such measures, I warned her that her grandchildren might be going up for sale if I had another Sunday like today. Having spent years and years battling 6 children through church, she could definitely empathise. But she gent;y reminded me what an incredible gift it is to be a mother, and how blessed I am to have 3 of Heavenly Father's choicest spirits in my home. To illustrate her point, Mom related a story she had heard in a talk earlier in the day.

A mother was sitting at the bedside of her terminally ill 10-year old son. Although it was very late and he was asleep, she did not want to leave his side for a moment.

Sometime during the night she heard his weak voice call out "Mom, Mom?"

Worried that he was in pain or needed assistance she quickly replied, "I'm here son. What do you need?"

Her sweet boy replied "Nothing Mom, I just wanted to know that you are here".

Those were the last words her son spoke to her.

What a simple yet powerful story. Just imagine how heartbroken this mother would have felt had she missed out on this time with her son because it was more important to do the laundry or dishes, or watch that show she'd recorded earlier. Moments like this, moments when we realize just how important we are to and how loved we are by our children, happen so quickly and quietly that often times we miss them.

I was humbled by the simple lesson taught in the story. I am blessed to have healthy, happy children that fill my life with a myriad of emotions: joy, sorrow, stress, gratitude, happiness, pain, and love.

Next Sunday, I am sure, will be another exercise in patience and tolerance. The MC will wiggle and squirm fro 3 straight hours, TQ will stress over what she's wearing and how her hair looks, and Fox, despite eight or ten reminders, will dally along and get dressed 5 minuted before we have to leave.

But at least we'll be together.

Friday, May 15, 2009

It's Clearly Becoming an Obsession......

Tonight I am going to see Star Trek......AGAIN!!!

Do you know how rare it is fro me to see a movie twice, not to mention within a week from each other???

Yes it is that good.

Obvious eye candy aside (Chris Pine, Zack Quinto, and that really hot New Zealander from the Lord of the Rings who plays McCoy and Cupid on Zeena Warrior Princess-don't ask how I know this), the plot is great, the special effects are unbelievable, the acting is superb- it's just not the boring, flaccid Star Trek of yester years.

Real hard core Treekies hate the movie. But I ask, would you rather the franchise dwindle into obscurity? That it becomes just a faint memory? A 20Th Century film class topic? Sometimes you have to reinvent yourself to become relevant again.

Britney did it. Marie Osmond tries to do it every day on Entertainment Tonight.

And just think- you've always been the loser in the battle of coolness with the Star Wars fans. Now you have a reason to stand proud and come out of the darkest corners of Comic Con.

Tonight when you go to bed you should say a prayer of thanks that Hayden Christenson wasn't your headliner.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I am having a Girl Day.

You know what I mean gals. Those days where you can point out every flaw- real or imagined- on every square inch of your body.

The only person who hates it more than me when I get in this frame of mind is The King. He has a super sense for PMS induced low self-esteem and knows to stay very, very far away from saying anything that could be even remotely considered a criticism.

My mom always told me that when you get in this frame of mind you have to think of at least one good thing about yourself to balance out all the negative mojo surrounding you (okay, she'd call it karma or energy or something much more sophisticated, but it all means the same).

Looking back though, I can't remember what I had to complain about as a teen, at least physically, premarriage and 3 children ago (oh, and lets not forget one nasty C-Section).

So I'm going to attempt to throw some positive energy back in the cosmos by saying that one thing I like about myself is my eyes. They are unique because they are a true green- not the fake green you get from colored contacts but the color of really deep grass or evergreens. Thank you, my hot tempered Scottish ancestors, for this trait. A few years ago I learned how to sculpt eyebrows and having mastered the art my greens are framed by some pretty kickin' brows now.

Hey- I do feel a little bit better. If I can shy away from any mirrors or reflective surfaces for the rest of the day it might just end on a positive note.
Happy Anniversayr to my not-so-little brother The Golden Child and his wonderful wife Delilah!!

Ten years ago my bro made the best decision that he ever will make to marry a lovely lady who has become my great and valued sister and friend.

Together they've produced Fox's very best buddy and 3 of the cutest and most endearing neices I could ever ask for.

Oh, and I guess you're pretty great too bro.

Love you both, and have a fantastic weekend away from the kiddies :)

If You Have a Free Moment...

If you have a moment and want to reminisce over the dramas of 6th grade friendships and romance, head over to the Tween Queen's blog. She's officially changed the title to "Life of a 12 Year Old Drama Queen"- is it just me or was that the LONGEST countdown to a birthday ever??? (I realize that realistically it could not have been longer than 364 days, but it seemed like double that).

The 6th graders are learning to dance in preparation for their first, and last, dance. TQ is seriously stressed because she has, unfortunately, inherited her mother's genetics for Amazonianism (definition: a female with freakishly and unnatural long limbs that makes her tower over the male populace, thus making her very undesirable and unappealing to underdeveloped, 12 year old prepubescent males). The girls and boys are being paired for "dance class" by height, and at 5'4" the only boys taller than her are, well, to put it as nicely as possible, different.

TQ is hoping that by wearing the flattest of flat shoes the height pool will open a little to admit at least 2 or 3 "desirables", and perhaps, if she's really lucky, and he wears shoes with lifts and spikes his hair, her crush.

If she flat irons her hair till it smokes and singes she might be able to take another half inch off.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Poker Face- Say What???

Tonight I got an education into Lady Gaga' "Poker Face


I won't go into details, but apparently I should actually listen to the lyrics that my kids sing about 30% correctly.

I'm not the only one who's not listening closely enough. One of the girls said, in reference to one of the offensive but easily missed lines, "I just thought she was hungry". Luckily, she had no idea what the lyrics really were, and I wasn't about to educate her.

Now that I know, I can't let my kids listen to it anymore, right???? Even though there is NO WAY they'll pick up or understand what she's saying?

Crap. It's Katy Perry all over again.

Fox is going to be crushed. He been working on the arm-pit farting remix for weeks.

Patio on the Brain


I haven't posted anything new in over a week.

I suck.

But on the bright side, I HAVE almost finished the patio from hadies.

It's like the stepchild I love to hate.

But it's almost done. Then life can return to it's incredibly boring minutia.

I promise I'll have somethins better than this in the next few days.

Many apologies,

Monday, May 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Tweenie!!!!!!

It has finally arrived....The Tween Queen is officially 12!!!!

Happy birthday to the most wonderful daughter ever to grace this beautiful earth.

It has been a pleasure and delight to get to know you the past 12 years.

I can't wait to see all you'll accomplish in the next dozen.

Even though you're not my little girl any more, you'll always be my angel.

Heart you forever and ever.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I Do Love the Early Feminists

My favorite quotes to end a very long Sunday:

"Oh that I were a man"
-Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing

"If I were a brother instead of a sister, I would fight Willoughby and kill him with my sword....I wish I was man. Girls can never do anything. Men can ride about the country and do things, and girls just sit and wait for things to happen".
-Margaret in Sense and Sensibility

"All I'm Good For Is A Quote On Your Blog"

The King finally said something blog worthy. I mean something funny enough to be blog quoted.

He's super ticked that I am watching Sense and Sensibility right now and he has to fall asleep to it. Apparently he'd rather watched swine flu coverage on MSNBC.

Too bad, so sad mister.

In protest he threatened, "When I get to heaven I'm really going to let Jane Ausen have it."

Funny man. Does he really think he'll be able to come within 20 feet of her? She's a celebrity- a rock star of the literary world. In heaven, those kind of people- the Bronte sisters, Willa Cather. Tolkien- will be the Brad Pitts and Angelina Jolies of the here after. At least they will if there is any justice in the next life.

The Ugly Truth About Gerard Butler

I'm really not obsessed with this guy, I promise.

It just happens that I watched Phantom with Fox this afternoon. I was trying really hard to focus on his acting and tune out his atonal vocal spasms (okay, so at least he tried to sing. While the producers probably regret not dubbing his voice with Josh Groban or that Spanish guy from Il Divo, at least his vocals weren't as dreadful as Peirce Brosnan in Mama Mia. Nothing can touch that), when I suddenly remembered that yesterday the King showed me the movie poster for Mr. Butler's summer release, The Ugly Truth (yes, the King feeds my bad habits- he's kind of my man-candy drug pusher).

The poster is hilarious. The King wants to use it as a screen saver. It's questionably inappropriate for young eyes, so I didn't copy it on here, but check it out if you can. It's the one with the men/women bathroom figures. I'm not sure if the tweens would get why it is so funny, but better to be safe than corrupting their innocent minds.

Notwithstanding the great poster, I refuse to add this film to my "movies worth paying $8.50 to see" list. This movie screams "pandering to the lowest common chick-flick denominator". Yes, Mr. Butler is an Adonis worthy of Greek mythology, but Katherine Heigl makes me want to punch the closest perky blond in my vicinity. I don't even watch Grey's Anatomy but I've heard through the grapevine (okay, People magazine) that they might kill her off, and I say here, here. Let the lady be gone.

Please, please, please let me know if you hear of any good chick movies coming out. I will be consuming so much testosterone fueled action this summer that I fear I will be in danger of developing a multiple personality and joining the NRA.

Watching Phantom of the Opera with Fox was an adventure in extreme parental patience. He likes to ask questions throughout the entire movie. My two favorite were "Do you think Christine died of heart disease?" (I think he must have watched a Nova on women's health issues recently), and "If the Phantom and Christine did end up together, do you think their kids would be born with masks and capes on?".

Where does this kid come from????

Saturday, May 2, 2009

One Down, 8 to Go....

The King and I saw "Wolverine" today.

What a disappointment.....and a waste of $11 (well, plus $50 for the California Pizza Kitchen lunch- the avocado egg rolls are fantastic). Do you know how many Diet Cokes I could have bought with that????? Enough to get through even the most heinous week with all three kids on their worst behavior and The King out of town, that's how many.

The only bright spot in the 2 excruciating hours of non-existent plot and dismal dialogue was the briefest of shots of Hugh Jackman's bright white but very tight posterior. No one on earth could look hotter coming out of an animantium induced flat line.

Man, I hope he didn't use a butt double.

Friday, May 1, 2009

To My Heathcliff, from Catherine

Emily Bronte wrote,

"Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same."

Her beautiful words express my feelings for my wonderful husband of 13 years in a way which is infinitely more eloquent and poignant than any attempt I could make.

April 30, 1996 was the start of an amazing journey together.

Thank you for choosing to travel the road of life by my side.

Such Serious Thoughts For Such A Little Person

Fox spends a lot of time inside his head.

He's a lot like his dad that way. You can be speaking to him, and he will be looking right into your eyes, but nothing is being transmitted to his brain. It's miles and miles away.

I often wonder what he is thinking about that so totally consumes him. Most of the time I think he's designing incredible buildings or inventing machines the will revolutionize the world, or carrying out epic battles between Power Rangers and Pokemon characters. Every once in a while, however, he gives me a small look into what is really going on, and I must say, it's a lot deeper and more introspective than I ever give him credit for.

Mrs. Robinette, his braille teacher, told me a few months ago that she has noticed that Fox internalizes a lot of his feelings about his disease, and he only reveals those feelings at rare and random moments. Last night I witnessed one of those moments. After the hilarity of his arm-pit farting concert, he suddenly became very serious and blurted out:

"Mom, I won't know what my kids look like because I'll never be able to see them, will I?"

Where did that come from? Five minutes before he was giggling so hard I thought he might have an accident, and now he's asking me if he'll ever be able to know what his own children look like? I was completely caught off guard. It's hard to answer that question. My uncles still had some vision during their child rearing years. My brother is getting worse and worse, especially at night, but I think He can still see defined forms and color. Fox is an anomaly though. He was diagnosed earlier than anyone else, and his vision loss is progressing faster than the pattern that was seen in my uncles. His first doctor told us that by his late teens his vision loss would be substantial. But who knows? Science and research are moving so quickly- perhaps there will be treatments before his vision is too far gone.

I told him that I felt very confident that he would be able to see his children. His follow up statement was even more heart wrenching, if that's even possible.

"I don't know why I'm even thinking about children. No one is going to want to marry me"

"Why would you think that son?"

"Because what woman would want a blind man for a husband?"

There aren't words to describe how devastated I was by his perceptions of himself and his future. We've talked so many times about how the whole wide world is still open to him- how he can do and be anything he chooses as a blind man. It appears he picked up on the one element of his disease that he can't control: other people's reactions. At 8 years old he is already world-wise enough that he knows that people with disabilities are viewed as "damaged goods". As bigoted and illogical as that is, it is still a pervasive prejudice in much of the world. His mind is making connections between how he views himself, and how his family and doctors and teachers view him, and how people outside of his support system view him.

I don't know how to explain to him in an age-appropriate way that it will be harder for him to find the right person. She will have to be sympathetic, understanding, patient, hardworking, supportive....the list goes on and on. And while there are not many women out there that could handle it, I do know with a surety that Heavenly Father will lead my son to one of these choice women. It may take a little longer than it does for others, but she's out there.

She'll probably have to be an angel, but then again, so is he.

So that's what I told him, that he is wonderful and amazing and that he'll find someone just as wonderful and amazing that will want to share a life with him, no matter what kind of physical limitations he has. I'm not sure if he believes me or not, but thankfully we have lots and lots of time to work on it.