Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tonight I Am Thankful For.......

*The King's safe arrival home from Baltimore

*Wonderful people who hold on to the memories of the past, and then share them with others.

Good Night

All That Promise, and So Little to Show For It......

A long time ago, in a city once known for it's absence of stop lights and ever present odor of cow manure, lived a very chubby 11 year old named Loma who was in love with her big hair bows, pegged Guess? overalls and really, really big hair. Loma and her fellow 6th grade Draper Elementary Dragons were given the exciting assignment to rewrite, direct and film a movie adaptation of a popular movie (we're going waaayyy back to 1988 here). Loma's class chose "Ghostbusters" and she was excited to be given the assignment of screenwriter (mostly because she didn't have to actually act). She did, however, get forced into being one of the extras in the "Thanksgiving Dinner" scene- you can see her playing the role of the big brown head with a giant white bow on the right hand side of the screen.

Thanks to dedicated preservation over 21 years by a classmate, the award winning "Ghostbusters 4" recently made it's way on to YouTube (it really did win an award at our 6th grade movie reveal/Emmy night. I think we were assigned to make our own awards though because I distinctly remember having to make a giant sugar cookie notebook and pen for the screenwriting award, and then being presented it at the assembly. It was very yummy). The film quality may not be as good as today, and the sound is spotty at best, but the brilliance of the acting comes through perfectly.

If you found this movie enthralling, there are 3 others posted on YouTube by the same student, Stryxad. They are "Revenge of the Nerds", "Summer School" and "Ferris Bueller"- but I must say, none holds a candle to "Ghostbusters" for it's dedication to great film making. For a good 3 months after filming, Loma was determined to move to Hollywood to become a famous screenwriter. But then her class was assigned the task of publishing a 6th grade newspaper and her ambitions turned to the fast paced and dangerous world of investigative journalism.

Update: "Where is she now??"
Loma is now 32 years old and is a stay at home mother of three. Despite all the promise she showed first as a screenwriter and then as a journalist, she never pursued either career. Loma got a degree in English but has not done a single professional thing with it since. She does, however, frequently correct her children's grammar, rarely uses spell check, and edits the occasional book report or term paper.

Want To Know Our Deepest, Darkest Secrets? Just Ask My Kids.

Why is it that any time any adult comes over my children decide to share our very most embarassing stories with them? If I've lost my temper that day, or burped really loudly, Fox feels the need to tell the world.

The HT's were here tonight, and despite being threatened with spending all of tomorrow in his room, Fox couldn't help himself and out came the stories. Saying embarassing things is almost a compulsion with him- I could almost see his insides shaking from the stress of trying to control himself. But sure enough, his will power failed and the HT's were treated to a full tirade about why his mom is so mean, and doesn't care that he is bored, and won't ever let him have any fun (well kiddo, you're definitely not getting out the slip-and-slide tomorrow). When he tried to start telling the story of how I decapitated a mouse with a shovel, I'd had enough. I think he could see the moment in my eyes when the threatened grounding became a reality. He shut up pretty quickly after that.

But Fox is not the only guilty party. Not by a long shot.

Man Child lasted exactly 60 seconds on my lap before the battle to keep him restrained began. He defeated me only because I didn't want to use excessive force in front of the police detective HT. Once free, he ran to the patio doors and tried to escape outside but fortunately TQ was too quick for him. His plan being thwarted, Man Child went upstairs to the TV room and turned on a movie (when did he learn how to turn on the TV let alone the DVD player?). I probably should have made him sit throught the visit, but all I could think was "at least he's being quiet".

I give up. If I didn't have TQ to keep my sanity when The King is out of town I'd probably have to be locked up. I'm pretty sure the HT's know that I'm crazy, but when they looked at me with sympathy and understanding I recognized a comraderie bewtween us that all beaten down parents share. It feels good to know that I'm not the only one drowning in the sea of parenting.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Tonight I Am Thankful For.......

*The King's safe arrival in Baltimore.

*A fun family night of movies and ice cream and very little bickering.

Good Night!

Inspiration, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?

For the past week I have really struggled to make myself open my laptop and write. I have no idea where the fire and drive that has pushed me for the last six months to blog as much as possible has gone. Did I give it to the kids? The spouse?? The puppy I gave away because it peed on my floor?

Today I can count probably ten things that happened in the course of the day that I would consider "blog worthy". The Man Child took off his diaper 4 or 5 times this weekend and left "surprises" all over his bedroom floor, so I headed to Walmart today and picked up some Pull-Ups and thus committed to beginning the most horrible ritual of parenthood, potty training. Luckily the kid loves sitting on the toilet and trying to force a pebble or trickle out. But that's all they are- pea gravel and drips. He saved the flood and boulders for 10 minutes after he got off the pot, and we discovered that Pull-Ups are no where near as absorbent or leak proof as their diaper counterparts. It's a good thing I picked up a bottle of carpet cleaner when I got the training pants.

Tonight we watched "superman Returns" as a family (sans The King, who is in Baltimore yet again. *sigh*). Tween Queen and I were pretty content to sit back and enjoy the newbie Superman eye candy (When was the last time Hollywood found a male lead over 6 feet tall? He is seriously delicious- boy next door charm, chiseled face, beautiful blue eyes...), while Fox found the movie pretty insipid and decided to provide a running commentary on the story line and dialogue using Wipeout's John Henson as his muse. He was more annoying than funny until the movie reached the scene where the giant ball on top of the newspaper office began to fall in an earth quake. Fox immediately jumped on the "ball" humor, and got off a few zingers before the action was over:

My ball, it's dropping!!

My gaint ball is falling down- it might hurt someone!

Can't someone save my ball??

My ball is going to explode!!

I don't think he knew exactly why TQ and I were finding his jokes so funny. He just appreciated the laugh. I think my son learned an important lessone tonight, that you can never go wrong with some good ball humor.

How ironic- I began this blog complaining that I couldn't find anything to write about, and here I am twenty minutes later contemplating sharing more stories from todya but knowing that I should stop because I've probably already gone on too long.

Venting is truly therapeutic.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Tonight I Am Thankful For.......

*the many great kids I get to work with in church. Our Youth COnference in 2 weeks is going to be a blast.

*My wonderful mom, who had "espn" tonight and was just picking up the phone to call me when I called her (if you don't get the "espn" reference, you really need to see "Mean Girls". It's one of the best movies ever). 45 minutes later and we had rehashed an entire week's activities, planned the 4th of July party, and solved all the world's problem. I sure love that lady.

Good night!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My List of.....Posts That Will Never See the Light of Day

It's been said that for every great idea for a story, an author first comes up with a hundred bad ones.

Now, I'm not claiming that I'm anywhere close to being considered a good- or even mediocre- writer, but by the overwhelming number of incomplete posts saved in my draft box I am due to write the greatest blog novel of all time any day now. There have been so many times (usually in the middle of the night and motivated by mental and physical exhaustion) when I have began a blog post only to stop a few lines or paragraphs into it. From there it goes to the post graveyard (aka. the draft box) until it's time to be resurrected. To this day I have a 0% rebirth rate. They never even make it to reincarnation.

I'd like to blame my habitual failure on the excuse that it's too hard to get back into the groove of a post once you've stopped writing, but more often than not I fear that what seemed hilarious or vitally important at two in the morning just doesn't cross over very well in the light of day.

So, to give the ghosts of my dead posts some peace in their afterlife, I now present the "List of the posts that will never make it to the light of day"

(May I never rhyme that much again)

*If the Double Wide's a Rockin', Don't Come A Knockin'........

*Flashback To....The Single Dumbest Thing I've Ever Done...

*How Many Bad Habits Can I Have Before I Should Voluntarily Stay Away From Humans?

*Dr. Cox...Wickedly Lovable or the Boss From Hadies???

*Don't Ever Chew Gum Around Ticket Tom's Truck......

*Farewell Sleepless In Seattle, and Take Forrest With You!

* My List Of...Things I Refuse To Spend $250 On- aka, The List of Why My Children Don't Like Me.....

*It Kind of Makes You Think.......

* So That's Why He Keeps Asking us to Build a Bathroom in the Fort....

*Tonight I Am Ornery...... (commentary: I could write a post entitled "Tonight I am ornery" almost every day, so I figured this one was more than ridiculously redundant)

*Fox's Mom Has Got It Going On......

*The Man Child is Sticking it to The Man!

*Ode to the Emos.... (commentary: of all the posts, this one might get resurrected. It's an important contemporary essay that delves into such questions as: is wearing girl's skinny jeans worth the sterility for boys, is there such a thing as too much black, flat greasy hair or mohawk greasy hair, does white makeup clog pores...... But that might just be the 3 AM talking)

I really need some sleep

Insomnia Strikes Again....

Want to know the all time worst movie to try to fall asleep to?


Worst TV show?

Criminal Minds

And yet here I sit, watching 19 people burn to death by a serial arsonist. But it's worth it because Shemar Moore will be on the screen in a few moments. Ahhhh, there he is.

I need therapy......

Tonight I Am Thankful For.......

Dinner dates with my sweetie and new friends......

A dad who finally figured out how to use his cell phone and called me this afternoon just to say "hi" and that he loves me.

Heart you too pops.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Tonight I Am Thankful For.......

Tonight I am thankful for the feeling of complete satisfaction that comes at the end of a day of hard work.

and for the simple but delicious reward of an ice cream cone for all that labor.

Good Night!!!!!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Like Dorothy in Kansas

Pray for me

Well not for me exactly, but for my beautiful 3 week old gazebo that is being bombarded by gale force winds right now.

The poor canopy is holding on for dear life, but I don't think it will prevail if things don't settle down in the next few minutes.

What is up with Utah weather this year??????

First we have an unseasonably hot May, then 3 weeks of torrential downpour in June. It's finally looked like summer for the last few days, but now it appears the monsoon is back.

Summer is supposed to be hot and dry in our desert climate. It's our break from the months of blizzards that we endure from November to March. I hate the snow, and now I feel cheated of the good weather I've earned by putting up with it.

What is the purpose of spending hours and hours planting a beautiful yard if you can't ever enjoy it?

That's it. As soon as we can we're moving to Arizona.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tonight I Am Thankful For.......

Tonight I am thankful for the opportunities and freedoms afforded to me is this country, and for the man brave men and women who have fought to preserve those freedoms- men like my grandfather and my husband's grandfathers, who come from a generation that is almost at its close. We owe them so much.

I am so thankful for my father, whose 58th birthday will be celebrated along side our country's birthday July 4th. He is truly one of the best men to have ever walked this earth. Thank you for all you've taught me, for the endless hours of heart to heart conversations, and for being unconditionally loving and supportive. I heart you forever and ever.

Good night, and sweet dreams...........

There's Something That I Need To Get Off My Chest.....

I've been feeling very guilty for the last few weeks because I have been living a lie. I can't live this way any more, sneaking around and going out under the cover of darkness. It's time I lay my sins before the world.

I fell off the McDonalds wagon.

After condemning McDonalds for their unfair persecution against extra-large beverages and the gluttonous consumers who need at least 42 ounces of soda to quench their thirst, I caved in and bought a large drink.

Okay, maybe I've bought 4 or 5 large drinks.

Fine, it's really more like a dozen but I feel bad enough already!

I felt like a druggie every time I went through the drive through to get my fix. I swear they must put something illegal in their syrup to make it so irresistible.

But tonight was the last time. I'm back on the path of rehabilitation. It's just that I had a monstrous headache and a McDonald's Diet Coke works better than Aleve or Tylenol at clearing it up. I can sense the moment it hits my blood stream and the vessels start widening. They cry out to me, "oh, thank you mamma. That's the good stuff".

But no more! I am done. I will not sell my soul for another $1 (the large is on sale for a buck right now. Sheesh, if it wasn't hard enough to abstain!). Thou art my Achilles heel, and I eschew you, and your perfect formula of carbonated water, caramel color and aspartame, to the end of time.

My name is Loma, and I am a McDonald's Diet Coke addict. I've been sober for 30 minutes...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tonight I Am Thankful For.......

Tonight I am so thankful for my lovely mother-in-law, who took my children to her house to play and swim for the entire day. They had a blast, and I was able to have some much needed alone time. When TQ asked me what I did all day, and I told her that all I did was read on the patio, she seemed awfully disappointed that I had not been up to grander or more exciting things. Sorry TQ, but the only thing a mom wants to do when she has solo time is ignore all the house work she could (and probably should) be catching up on and do something totally indulgent, like read all day.

I am so grateful that both grandparent's houses are magical places, and that my kids look forward to going there with the same eagerness and anticipation that they have for Disneyland. They always beg to stay when it is time to go home, and I am assured at least one crying child as we drive away. My kids are so blessed to have loving and caring grandparents in their lives.

Thank you Marie- I said it earlier and I'm not sure you believed me, but you truly are an angel.

Good night, and sweet dreams.....

The Best News I've Had in a Long Time

Last Friday we got the call we've been waiting 3 months for.

Fox was admitted into the new school!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I need to express a big thank you to the principal at the school who decided to allow Fox to transfer. When he called The King to let him know the decision had been made, the principal was very kind and expressed his regret that the process had taken so long.

A big, big, big thank you needs to go to our wonderful visual impairment rep at the school district, Mrs. Robinett. She gives her whole heart and soul to her job, and the students are so blessed to have her on their side. I know her impassioned support was vital to Fox's approval.

So what does this mean to Fox? Daily access to his braille teacher and all her resources. Peers who also know what it is like living and dealing with a degenerative disease. A bright, open floor plan with wide hallways.

Changing schools will not make everything perfect. This will be Fox's 3rd elementary school, and that has weighed heavily in our minds. But he is a strong, resilient child who makes friends easily and has been loved by all his teachers.

It's time to celebrate!!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tonight I Am Thankful For,,,,,,,,,

Tonight I am so thankful for the beautiful, sunny day we had today, the first true summer day devoid of rain in a very long time. I am so grateful for all the moisture we've received, especially since it makes me so much more appreciative of the sun when we finally see it peeking out behind the clouds.

I am so grateful that the rain has fed our depleted reservoirs and lakes, and that we'll have enough water for the next year. I am grateful for my green and lush lawn and my healthy flowers and trees. What a beautiful world we have been given to live in and cherish.

Good night, and sweet dreams.....

So Let's Pretend it's Sunday and I Didn't Forget That It's Father's Day.......

A Note to The King-

Happy Father's Day hon.

Yes, I know this post says that it is Monday night, but since right now you are 16,000 feet in the air somewhere over Nebraska I don't think we should worry about technicalities.

Can we have a Father's Day Redo??

I am dead serious about this. It just didn't seem like a day where you were honored enough for the fantastic husband and daddy that you are.

Part of that (the smallest part I must admit) was because you had to leave for Connecticut at noon on the day when we are supposed to devote all waking hours to your worship. Had you been willing to take the red eye we could have sent you off properly with a big fiesta and lots of food you won't eat (down 50 pounds as of Friday- you rock!). So in that regard it was your own fault that we neglected you.

The biggest reason for your lackluster celebration was that I woke up Sunday morning extremely grouchy from spending the entire night trying to find 6 inches of mattress to claim as my own while you and the man child took up the remainder of the queen bed in my parent's guest room.

But you are already aware of your tendency to sleep in the cheerleader "X" formation.

Had we been sleeping in our King bed at home, I would have been annoyed at best but waking up to a cricked neck and paralysis down the left side of my body (from balancing precariously on the edge for 6 solid hours) left me short of 100%. I didn't even remember that it was the "big day" until we were seated in the church pew (with a solid 30 seconds to spare- thank you very much. See, we weren't late after all!) and I had a chance to peruse the program. Lots of teens speaking, and one octogenarian = Father's Day program.

Frick! I forgot!

Double frick!! I forgot to remind the kids!!!

I bet you got all warm and fuzzy when Fox refused to go up and sing the once-a-year daddy day songs (seriously, can't someone write a new one? It can't be that hard for even a mediocre lyricist. The hardest part is coming up with a good melody, and you could just "borrow" one from someone else. Pop artists do it all the time and call it a "remix"). At least the kids were pretty good during church, right??? That's kind of a gift?

After I dropped you off at the airport, Fox and Man Child made and decorated paper ties for you. Unfortunately, MC liked his own quite a lot and refused to give it up thus inciting a brawl with his brother that resulted in the shredding of said tie. In retaliation, MC proceeded to pull all the pom-poms and pipe cleaners off of Fox's creation. Crying ensued. Threats were made. Not a single punch was thrown so I feel like it was a positive resolution in the end. The ties didn't make it, but they looked really good before the five minute ride home from church.

I felt even worse when you called Sunday evening to say that your plane had to make an emergency landing in Green Bay that would delay you 2 hours, thus putting your arrival in Connecticut at about 1 AM. I am so sorry that you had to sit next to the 350 pound man who went into respiratory failure on his way to a wedding. I'm sorry that you got about 5 hours of sleep before you had to put on a happy face and endure hour upon hour of presentations.

I'm so sorry that I did it all wrong yesterday. Please forgive us, your insensitive and selfish family, for not thanking you wholeheartedly for being the best husband, father, provider, and friend any family could ask for. We are so blessed to have you in our lives, and it just isn't the same when you are not here. You bring laughter and fun into our home each time you walk through the door. I can only hope that our sons will turn out to be even a fraction of the man you are when they grow up.

Happy Father's Day sweetie.
Hurry home. We miss you.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tonight I Am Thankful For...........

Tonight I am thankful for the wonderful women in my life who love me and take care of me. I could not ask for a better mom and sisters. I could be with them every moment of every day and it still wouldn't be enough time to learn from their wisdom and experience.

I am so thankful that I have an extra special and therefore extra wonderful sister. The world may call her handicapped, but I just know her as my big sis and the greatest playmate and friend a girl could ask for. Mariesie, you are such a blessing to all of us, but especially to all the nieces and nephews who adore and worship you. It's an honor to be your sister. Heart you forever.

Boa noite, and sweet dreams...

I Feel Pretty, Oh So Pretty...............

From the appearance of my feet, you would honestly think I have spent the last 5 years working barefoot in a cactus plantation, or working in a prison camp gravel pit while wearing flip-flops.

Yes, they are that ugly.

And cracked, and dry, and nobby. My toenails are painfully short because they keep breaking. I have so many scars you could make a connect the dot game out of them. I have hideous mutant feet.

Normally they don't bother me. But with the onset of summer it's time to pull out the sandals that have been in hibernation since November and stow away the tennis shoes and boots. Since only men over 65 can get away with wearing socks with their sandals, I've had to unveil my fugly feet for their mandatory 3-4 month plague on the world.

If I had any charity in my heart I would refuse to wear any foot wear that did not completely cover the offending areas. But being the inherently selfish creature that I am, and hating foot sweat more than any other kind of body sweat (even the kinds that produce offensive odors), I display them for the world to loathe.

They must be exceptionally fugly this year because my mom offered to give me a pedicure tonight. She knows that I refuse to go to a nail salon for a pdicure, because I don't really like people touching me (I'm not a robot- I'm just not a touchy feely person. Even the thought of getting a massage from a stranger makes me queasy), and especially not in areas I'm embarrassed by. My mom and my sister Fancy swear by them though, so they decided that if I won't join them they'll bring the salon to me.

For 2 hours tonight I was scraped, buffed and polished. My heels are now almost crack free, and my toe nails are a fantastic shade of electric blue. As a bonus, my fingernails got a coat too! I can't stop looking at my almost-pretty feet. They are no where near foot model material, but for the first time in ages they don't look like they belong to an 85 year old woman who really did have to walk 5 miles up hill & barefoot to get to school.

I'd say that I'm resolved to take better care of them from now on, but I'm a bad liar, even if I'm just lying to myself. They'll be back to bag-lady shape in no time.

But for tonight, I'm just going to enjoy them.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Tonight I Am Thankful For.......

I jsut got back from a Friday night date with my sweetie.

I am so thankful that after 14 years together, he is still my very best friend and the person I'd rather be with than anyone else on the planet.

Of course, I wouldn't be able to go out without the babysitting services of one amazing 12 year old daughter and her associate babysitter Fox. I am so thankful for obedient and responsible children!!!

Buona Notte and sweet dreams......

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tonight I Am Thankful For.......

Tonight I am so thankful to know that I am a cherished daughter of my Heavenly Father,

and the His son, Jesus Christ, so willingly sacrificed His life so that I may live with Them again.

I am so thankful for the many, many blessings He bestows upon me.

Oyasuminasai, and sweet dreams.

When you can't vent in person, you blog....

What to do?????

I am seething inside right now. The immature, temper fueled part of my brain wants to lash out with a verbal whipping that would scar even the most thick skinned person.

But I can't.

So I'm going to blog.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about my daughter's "BFF" who had suddenly decided to give her the cold shoulder. TQ has tried over and over to apologize for whatever she's done to hurt this girl, but the BFF will not relent. Two weeks ago, TQ sent her a final plea for a renewal of friendship. She has heard nothing back.

Until this morning.

TQ received a text from the "BFF" saying "check your email". Oh No.
I made TQ open it in front of me, in part so that I could gage her reaction but also so that I could quickly shut it down if the text was too volatile.

No letter that starts out 'I'm sorry this is going to hurt you but...." is ever good. It basically went on to say that she and her 2 other friends have decided that they don't want anything to do with TQ, and like all stupid female spats, there was an issue with a boy that the "BFF" likes. TQ is very good friends with this boy, who is going out with the "BFF", and she doesn't like that.

I hate seeing my daughter hurt. I cried with her, I cried for this young girl who I loved like a daughter, and I cried for the stupidity of adolescent jealousies. I tried to explain to TQ that this girl has no idea how hard it is to move to a new school at the beginning of 6th grade, when most everyone else has know each other for years, and try to make new friends. TQ tried to make friends where ever she could (a point that the "BFF" used against her I might add- apparently the girls she hung out with at the beginning of the year were not acceptable) and I am so proud of her for acclimating so well. One of TQ's best attributes is her ability to be friends with lots of people, and to stick up for the underdog. It really hurts that this former "BFF" is now using that against her.

As far as the young man in question goes, TQ is about a foot and a half taller than him and thinks of him as a friend. She's waiting for someone over 5'5" I think.

My hands are tied here. It's not my fight, and I've told TQ that it can't become a fight. The best revenge is to show your enemy that you are happy without them. Kill her with kindness. Smile as if it doesn't hurt. Add in the fact that I'm one of the "BFF's" church leaders as well and you have a big giant mess if we let our true emotions show on our faces. In the year that I have worked with these girls at church, I have come to love each of them in such a way that I would consider it unconditional. I guess this might be Heavenly Father's way of testing the truth of that.

As I write this, I can already see the truth of my own feelings. Of course I still love this little girl- that's why it hurts so much to see her make these choices.

TQ's response back to the email?


Thanks for being the bigger person TQ. I heart you forever and ever.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tonight I Am Thankful For.......

I am so thankful for the best medicine in the world, Diet Coke, and it's ability to give me a boost even when I'm running on empty,

and for my dear hubby who knows that picking one up on his way home from work is the best way to insure a good night for everyone.

Gute Nacht, and sweet dreams...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tonight I Am Thankful For........

Tonight I am thankful for a daughter who feels remorse so quickly after she's done something wrong,

and a toddler who has figured out what "garbage" is and now wants to clean up every offending scrap of paper or microscopic crumb in sight.

Bonne Nuit!

Who would win a dance off between Fred Astaire and The Fox?????

For some time now Fox has been honing his arm-pit farting skills. I dare say there is no one the whole world over who is quite as proficient as my 8 year old son. He has an entire program ready for that chance demand for a singer with arm-pit fart accompaniment. He's even almost on key now- well, at least within a whole step up or down (depending on the day) from the actual pitch.

But now that he's added choreography he's truly a force to be reckoned with.

I'd describe Fox's style as The Robot meets M.C Hammer. Apparently his art is inspired by his father, whose own dance repertoire was built entirely on the music of the 80'2 and early 90's. As The Kings explained it to me, "you can never go wrong with the running man, sprinkler or the electric slide". Although even rhythmically challenged people can master these dances (which is probably why they will never die. Let's hear it for "Boot Scoot Boogie" forever!!!), Fox actually has a fair amount of grace and finesse, enough that if I were to sign him up for classes he'd probably be really good at it.

Nah. The poor kid is going blind for heavens sake. The last thing he needs to be known as is the next Billy Elliott.

Before you write me off as a rotten, wretched mother for making fun of my child's "talents", you should probably know that while he enjoys the singing and dancing elements, they are not the highlight of his act but the means to an end. Like all great physical comedians, his ultimate goal is to make people laugh. When he hears that first giggle from the audience, Fox steps up the performance a notch. His moves become more exaggerated, his singing louder and more expressive. In that way, I guess he's a little more Danny Kaye than Fred Astaire- the comedic relief side kick rather than the smooth talking leading man.

But that's alright with me. I always was a Danny kind of girl.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tonight I Am Thankful For........

Tonight I am thankful that I wake up every day to a world of endless possibilities and opportunities to grow.

I am thankful to go to bed each night knowing that I am safe and loved.


No Grandma, We Can't Get "Debbie Does Dallas" from Redbox......

My Poor Grandma.

This dear 5'0" ball of Scotch fury and will has really been feeling the weight of her 84 years since having hip replacement surgery almost 2 years ago. It is so hard to watch the woman who used to flip 50 pound bales of hay and drive large farm machinery unable to manipulate stairs or uneven walkways.

But she is still bound and determined to be as independent as possible. That means, of course, that she has refused to give up the car keys despite the number of new mysterious dents in the doors and fender. I don't think she's hitting other cars (at least I hope not- maybe I should ask her if she knows what constitutes a hit and run). It's more likely (and much less expensive if the case goes to small claims court vs. a criminal trial) that she's hitting light posts, shopping carts, curbs or other non-moving targets. Still, it will be a very difficult day, sure to be followed by immediate expulsion from her will, for the the family member who finally says "enough is enough- the keys are gone" (I call "Not It"!)

While Granny says over and over that her body and mind are giving out on her, I swear that parts of her are actually getting sharper and more defined. Most notably, a naughty sense of humor has emerged that I never would have thought possible 20 years ago.

I knew something had changed quite a few years back when she got hooked on the short lived show "Are You Hot or Not?". I'm not sure which network developed the show, but it sounds like something that would come out of Fox. It quickly became a mainstay of her weekly television schedule. I'm pretty sure she was the only person on the planet who shed quiet tears when it was cancelled.

Lately she has been deliberately vague about the mysterious, unknown vehicles seen parked in her driveway late at night. As she lives next door to both her daughters, it is impossible for the poor lady to have any secrets. When questioned as to the identity of her illusive visitors, she simply states that her male friends come and go as they please, and people shouldn't be so nosy. She's just kidding of course (you're kidding, right grandma? Oh wait, she'll never see this in a million years- she's never even touched a computer. Note to self- ask Granny if she's kidding about her boy toys), and we jokingly tell her not to get pregnant or at least get a prenup. But this wicked little sphinx of a grandma was a shocking revelation- a complete reversal of my adolescent image of her. It's almost the same feeling as realizing for the first time how babies are made and that your parents actually did that to each other (and now I have to burn that image from my brain again).

I bring all of this up because of a classic "new, improved perverted granny" story my mom told me on Saturday. Last week granny had to buy a new television because her old one was not equipped to receive an HD signal (you know those little digital transition boxes they've been promoting for months? They should have just been advertised to "old people who refuse to give up their manual knob TVs" and sponsored by the AARP). TV has become very important to her sanity as she has a hard time sleeping and often wakes up at 3 AM. She has a "middle of the night" ritual of eating a pint of Ben & Jerry's Pralines N' Cream ice cream and watching TV until either sleep comes or the sun rises.

After my kind and very patient uncle finished installing the set and giving her a tutorial on Remote 101, granny had but one question before he could leave:

"What channel will I get my porn on?"

What an unbelievably cool lady. I bet my poor uncle was speechless.

I love the sweet, reserved grandma of my childhood, and I love the funny, witty grandma that she has become. I love that she laughs through her pains and smiles often though I know she misses grandpa very hour of the day. I love that she is a strong, honest, moral and giving woman who is just a little bit bent like the rest of us. Her imperfections make her perfect in my eyes.

But just as a precaution, I really think that we should get her blacklisted from every major cable company.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Tonight I Am Thankful For........

Today I got to spend so many hours with my little family without the distractions and pressures of every day life. It's in these quiet moments that you realize just how empty your life would be without the people you love most.

I am so thankful for all the blessings in my life, but especially for my little brother who is celebrating his 20th birthday. Although he is so far away, and I miss him so much, I am so glad that he has the opportunity to serve in Australia as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He loves the people of Melbourne, and they have been so good to him.

Buenos Noches

Hollywood Moms- No Matter What They Say, They Are Not Like the Rest of Us

I always laugh at "news" magazines when they try to suggest that celebrities are "just like us".

Who are they kidding?

No one wants to see Mrs. Suzy Homemaker next door playing opposite Brad Pitt. We clamor to theaters and TiVo countless hours of television to see the .001% of the population whose DNA reflects the genetic evolution from hairy cave man to aesthetic perfection acquired by thousands of years of natural selection.

I'm okay with being just normal. I think the majority of people in the world are. But when Hollywood tries to insist that their standards of beauty are "normal", I take issue with that.

For example, today I saw an article on People.com about Ali Landry (the Doritos girl is her one claim to fame I believe) and her post-pregnancy weight loss. The lead with the header "Ali Landry doesn't exercise for 2 years". Immediately I thought "good for her. That's my kind of chick!". Frankly, after giving birth, especially by C-section, the last thing you want to do is pull out the P90X videos. You can also forget about yoga unless you have an unholy amount of bladder control. All I could handle for the first 3 or 4 months were long, slow walks. So you can see why I was impressed and felt a sense of camaraderie with this C-Lister (or maybe B-lister, I have no idea what kind of power she pulls in LA) who defied the standards set by the likes of Nicole Kidman, Jessica Alba and J-Lo. Really, do you need to run a marathon or spend 4 hours a day in the gym? Don't you need a nap?

But then I read beyond the first paragraph. It is revealed that Ms. Landry lost weight by other measures than exercise:

"Instead of hitting the gym, Landry, 34, relied on a home-delivery meal service to drop her pregnancy pounds. 'I lost the majority of the [post-baby] weight pretty fast doing that,' Landry told PEOPLE. But I have to say, it was that skinny fat when you don't work out, and you're not toned."

(Am I the only person out there who would by totally okay with being skinny fat?? I mean sure, I wouldn't sign up for any bikini contests but since I didn't do that before I had kids it's not as if I'd be missing out on much)

But never fear, Landry resolved to overcome her unacceptable physique when the Agents came a calling.

"But Landry quickly got shocked back into exercise mode when she was asked to join the cast of the ABC celebrity sports competition The Superstars (which premieres June 23) – and realized she'd be baring her body. "When I got the paperwork for Superstars, and I saw they asked what size swimsuit I wear, I had a hot flash, nearly broke into cold sweats and hired a trainer immediately," she says.

Oh, so that's how we are supposed to lose the baby weight. Hire a personal chef or sign up for home meal service to get down to "skinny fat", then move on to the personal trainer for the Mrs. America pageant body. I'm pretty sure there are about a dozen personal chefs in my entire state, and I'm not sure my family would appreciate eating ramen noodles and PB&J just so mommy could fit back in her almost-skinny jeans 4 weeks post delivery. If I added in the trainer, I'd probably have to give up my Diet Coke budget for the entire month as well. Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing in this world, is worth that sacrifice. I think I'll just stick with my 15 year old treadmill in the basement and exercisetv.com.

The great F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, "The rich are not like you and I".

Amen to that.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Thank You, Heavenly Father.....

It probably goes without saying, but tonight I am SO glad that The King is home safely. He is such an amazing husband and father, as evident by how much we missed him this week. The gigantic smile on the Man Child's face when we picked The King up from the airport was priceless.

I am also so thankful that he has a good job with a wonderful company. He is so blessed to work with men and women that he genuinely likes personally and also respects on a professional level. Traveling is a necessary evil, but at least it gives us the opportunity to miss him while he's gone and celebrate when he returns.

Goodnight, and sweet dreams.

He's Home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seven days and two or three near "I'm running aways from home" moments later, The King is finally back.

In 14 years he has never looked better. That's 50% thanks to the 45+ pound weight loss, and 50% gratitude that my days as a single parent are over.

Hon, I am so, so, so happy that you are home. Please promise that you'll never leave me alone with the monsters again- oh wait, that'll never happen. Well, at least don't leave me until next Sunday when you head out to Connecticut. Then again, there's Baltimore the week after that and Arizona two weeks later.

Never mind. Just stick to the continental US and we'll be good.

The Opposite of Helpful.....

When one is experiencing severe insomnia, the worst possible remedy would have to be watching the movie Gladiator, unless violence, gore and perfectly scripted pensive stares brought to you by the hunkilicious Russell Crowe lull you to sleep.

Not only am I more awake now than when I began the movie, but my eyes hurt from crying.

I should have known better. Manly eye candy + heartbreaking love story = my full attention, be it 3 PM or 3 AM.

Why didn't I just put on one of The King's Adam Sandler movies? He never fails to put me asleep.

Zoolander has got to be around here somewhere...................

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Man Child is a Pretty Cheap Date...

With the two older kids off to the wonderful land of Oz (aka. Grandma and Grandpa's house), and The King's flight debacle postponing his homecoming to tomorrow, I decided to live on the wild side and ask out a handsome, bronze haired, green eyed man for dinner.

No, I wasn't playing pretend with Edward Cullen. My date only stands three feet tall and when he poops he tells me "I tink die-pur". And when we go out I have to drive and pay.

But I'll take my Man Child over that sexist, lump of marble vampire any day.

When I told the MC that I had an exciting evening planned for us, he replied "I go church?" Seriously, what kid wants to go to church every single day????? Don't get me wrong, I'm really glad that he loves going and will now go to his class without screaming and holding on to The King's leg for dear life. It just gets a little old having to explain to him every single time we get in the car that we can't go to church because it's not Sunday yet. (It also doesn't help that he can see our church from every back window in our house.)

Our first stop on our exciting night out was .........(wait for it).........grocery shopping at Walmart!!!!!!

He was understandably ticked when I pulled into the parking lot and he realized where we were at. You just can't make a Walmart look magical or mysterious- it's just, well, Walmart. Blue and uniform and crowded. MC definitely had a "been there, done that" attitude about our shopping plans, but I bribed him with fries from the food court and that at least kept him from crying.

Forty-five minutes and a week's worth of food later, we finished the first leg of our night and moved on to the next stop, Kohl's. I needed a new bath mat for the upstairs bathroom and found one relatively quickly despite being completely incapable of navigating the store stroller/shopping cart. In and out in 10 minutes- a record for me!

Upon leaving Kohls we had reached the most important stop of the evening- dinner. As there were no other family members present- therefore no other opinions to consider but the two of us- a whole world of dining choices was ours to enjoy. And so, after much deliberation, we ended up at...........

Carl's Jr.

Yeah, it was a let down for me to. Bajio was out of shrimp salad (which was what I was really craving) and everything else required either sitting down and being served (which is a battle for the MC even when his dad is present- no way I was tackling that on my own) or greasy fast food. Carl's Jr. makes a pretty tasty chicken burrito, and has the 2nd best Diet Coke syrup around (McD's is, of course, #1but I am still protesting their beverage downsizing). All the MC wanted was a "cake" (aka. shake) so we took our food home and ate while watching a stimulating episode of Sesame Street where everyone comes down with Mine-itis and they have to turn to Oscar for the cure.

So there you have it- the cheapest date I've ever been on. $1.50 fry and $3 shake, and at the end of the night I got several wet (well, slobbery is a better description) goodnight kisses. In what has to be a sign of his extreme appreciation for the night on the town, he even went to bed without a fight.

All the excitement must have worn the poor kid out because I just went to his room to shut off his light and he had fallen asleep on the floor.

Maybe I'll start taking him to Walmart every night.............

Tonight I am Thankful for.......

I am so thankful for an immaculately clean house, and two extraordinary parents who took TQ and Fox out for the night so that I could clean and have some quality one-one-one time with the Man Child.

Goodnight all.

May They All Come Down With Irritable Bowel Syndrome......

If I could be granted but one wish in the world, it would be that the genius at Delta Airlines who called and told The King that his flight was being moved back almost 2 hours- right as he was leaving for the airport- only to call back an hour later to say "nope, original departure time is back on" would get a case of raging diarrhea that leaves him/her glued to the porcelain throne for the next 24 hours. Or at least until 4 PM tomorrow- that's when he'll finally get home because he missed his flight.

And they wonder why they've been in bankruptcy for the last decade.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thank You, Heavenly Father.....

I know my Heavenly Father loves me because he got me through this week with only a few emotional bumps and bruises, but no permanent scars or breaks.

I know He loves me because He hears my prayers and answers them, even when I feel so unworthy to talk with Him.

Do I Kill Him or Laugh at Him????

Being the parent of the Man Child is an exercise in patience.

Almost every day a situation arises with him where I have to ask myself, "do I freak out, or do I laugh instead of cry?".

Today, after 3 days in single parenting h&**, I just threw up the white flag and surrendered to him.

The Man Child has figured out how to open doors. He's even outsmarted the child-proof handle blocker thingies that I installed months ago (sorry, not my most intelligent moment with vocabulary, but stick with me). I should have known when he figured out a way out of Gitmo#1 (his cage/bed- if you have no clue what I'm referring to go back to Jan, Feb & maybe even March posts..It was EPIC) that this kid could not be contained and is probably an evil mastermind like the baby on Family Guy (oh, I can only hope the voice in my child's brain in British. Please, please, please let him sound like Chris Martin or at least Jeremy Northam).

His favorite door to open is the upstairs bathroom that TQ and Fox use. In true MC form, he picked the one door out of the entire house that I would like to bolt shut. Why?? Well, in my attempt to give the older children responsibilities and regular chores, I have told them that the maintenance of their bathroom is entirely on their shoulders. AND, it has to be kept cleaned to my standards, which means no visible dirt, smudges, finger marks, etc.....(OCD much?)

In true adolescent fashion, TQ and Fox have found a way to circumvent the rigors of the daily cleaning and pickup routine. They just stash everything in the vanity so that from the doorway the bathroom looks pristine. But open the vanity drawers and it's a whole other story. TQ has amassed a menagerie of hair products, tools, pony tail holders, bobby pins, makeup, lotions, body spray, body wash, toothpaste, mouthwash, empty contact lens solution. Fox, interestingly enough, while having his drawers just as full does not have a single bathroom item in them. He does, however, have batman and power ranger action figures, cars, rocks, dirty clothes (apparently it's just way too much effort to take them down to the laundry room), and other items that we'll just place in the "mystery garbage" category.

It's basically my worst nightmare- and Man Child's dream come true. To him, the bathroom vanity probably looks like a treasure chest of wonders. No wonder he moves so stealthily up the stairs when I'm not looking and as quietly as possible shuts the forbidden door- I usually don't even hear it click into place. I will acknowledge that for all the inertia at work moving his 40 pound, 2 year old body, he moves with surprising grace and subtlety. He's not quite up to James Bond standards though, as he always gives himself away by giggling loudly and triumphantly once he's inside and has opened the top vanity drawer so that I can't open the door more than an inch (so he's probably a little more Austin Powers than Bond....).

Tonight he must have been off his game because he didn't even try to be sneaky- once he got upstairs he slammed the bathroom door shut. Not 5 seconds later I was at the door trying to open it but knowing that he'd already pulled the drawer open and was in full treasure hunting mode. Through the slit in the door I could see him in the mirror, and I'm convinced he could see me as I asked over and over and over for him to shut the drawer. He just gave me a classic maniacal grin and pull open a full tube of tooth paste.

For a good five minutes I begged, bartered and bribed to try to get him out (because reasoning with 2 year old always works out). Knowing his that his drug of choice is gum, TQ advised me to use his addiction and lure him out with a promise of a hit. He wasn't cracking. Finally, I just gave up and started laughing. I'm pretty sure that TQ and Fox thought their mom had finally cracked (and were subsequently wondering if they got to go live with grandma and grandpa Gerona if I had to be admitted to the "special hospital" for crazies). But really, all it took was seeing that familiar glimmer in MC's eyes- the one my parents said I always had right before I dumped an entire bottle of shampoo on the floor or plotted to get my sister to do something completely crazy- and I knew I was having one of those "Ta Da" moments of parenting where you see your own reflection in your child.

So I decided to cut him some slack. If my parents could put up with me and all my antics, then I definitely owe the Man Child all the patience and understanding I can possibly muster. I gave up trying to force him out and instead wondered, "what would have made me lose interest?". The answer was pretty simple: ignore him. Sure enough, without having an audience to perform to, he got bored quickly and came out.

I realized a long time ago that you have to parent each child according to their personality. What works for one won't necessarily work for the others. I've understood TQ and Fox for a while, but today I think I finally figured out how to see what's really going on in the Man Child's head. I just have to hold up a mirror.

But at least I know that there's hope for him, right? I'm pretty sure I turned out at least 70% normal....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Thank You, Heavenly Father.....

This evening I am way beyond thankful for the blessings of modern medicine. I am specifically grateful for Ibuprofen which, about an hour ago, finally cleared up the migraine that started yesterday evening.

I am also thankful that the boys were quiet and obedient for the 20 minutes I dared take then with me to Mutual tonight. There was no way I was going to push my luck and try for any longer. I am so grateful for the wonderful YW leaders that I have the privilege to work with, who were very kind and understanding in letting me off the hook tonight.

'Night All!

D-Day Doth Approach........

You know that saying "knock on wood"? How aptly that applies to my end of the day posting yesterday.

Today was day two of the reign of "children of the corn" in our house.

While yesterday I was just battered and beaten down, now I'm pissed.

Yep. I said it (not that I'm trying to be funny, but probably my favorite Amy Poehler SNL skit was the one-legged white trash hillbilly whose coin phrase was "yeah, I farted"...sorry, for some reason that just came into my mind).

I think I'll have to coin tomorrow D-Day, because it is the beginning of operation "Mother Takes Back Control of the House". My plan is simple-divide, divert and conquer. Division will be created by assigning the two older children to long and laborious tasks, each carefully crafted to match their own particular hatred for certain chores. For TQ it will be scrubbing down every square inch of her bathroom (it's a little cliche, but I think I have a few old tooth brushes that can be donated to floor cleaning). For Fox, it will be organizing all the books and bins in his room, then the dvd's and gaming equipment in Kid Zone. In immersing them in chores they despise, the "diversion" is created- initially, instead of arguing with each other they'll focus on how mad they are at me. But along the way they'll also realize just how much it sucks to tick mom off and hopefully see the wisdom in behaving like perfect angels for the rest of the summer.

Then may the trumpet may sound on the battlefield, for I will have emerged from the battle victorious-always and forever, Queen of the House.

(insert happy, content sigh here)

I'll let you know how it goes.....

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Thank You, Heavenly Father.....

This has been one of those all time, hallmark bad days. Everything that could go wrong has, including almost 14 hours of constant bickering between the kids. They always seem to pick the days when Dad is out of town to pull out the fangs and go for each other's jugular.

Tonight I am thankful for two simple things. First, that Heavenly Father gave me the strength to get through this day without turning into a screaming, terrifying banshee of a mother, and second that this day is finally over.

Please, please, please let tomorrow be a better day. Otherwise I might grow a set of fangs myself.

Note From Inside a Locked Room......

I hate waking up to screaming children.

I guess that's what this summer is going to be for the MC and Fox- one waking up the other before they are ready and then the cranky bickering begins.

Seriously, would it kill them to sleep in until 8:00? Who wakes up at 7:00 if they don't absolutely have to??? (well, except my nephew who wakes up between 5:30 and 6:30 every single day, but he wakes up happy as a lark so AND entertains himself).

This morning the boys took their wake up brawl to a new level. What was different? Well, usually the MC just bullies Fox around and Fox takes it because he doesn't want to get in trouble for picking on the little kid. But today he stood his ground.

Bravo Fox. It needed to happen. The Man Child is 6 years younger but only 15 pounds lighter. He uses him mass and brute force to push Fox around. He needed a healthy dose of humility.

But now I having a screaming headache.


So I've banished everyone to the TV room to watch a movie with the warning that anyone who steps a foot out of it will go right back to bed. Stellar parenting I know, but if I don't get rid of this migraine now the entire day is shot.

I can't remember the last time I slept in as long as I wanted and woke up feeling like I could take on the day. Maybe that only happens after the kids are out of the house.

July 23rd can't come soon enough.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Thank You, Heavenly Father.....

I am so, so , so thankful that I have the opportunity to teach wonderful kids who inspire me daily. It's so amazing to watch my students grow and progress and achieve success beyond what they think they can do. I think I get to feel a small fraction of the pride that our Heavenly Father has for each of us every time we make correct choices, achieve the potential He sees in us and find happiness in living our lives according to His commandments.

I am also thankful for my kids who are so patient with me and my crazy schedule, and who rarely complain about watching their little brother while I teach. I think they actually enjoy it (well, sometimes), and on days like today when The King is out of town, it's such a relief to know that the Man Child is in loving and capable hands. What awesome kids I have!

Hungry Anyone????

I only have a moment before I have to start lessons, but I just had to get online and rave about the book I finished exactly five minutes ago.

My sister first told me about The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins a month ago. It was a Stephenie Meyer suggested reading. I was a little apprehensive when Fancy told me the basic plot line- it sounded a little too much like that horribly depressing short story The Lottery (was that thing a required reading in every state, because I know I had to read it at least twice in Jr High and High school and I had nightmares for weeks after it. I also started looking at all my friends and family with a little more suspicion- would they throw a rock at me if they could????).

But my extreme boredom and lack of anything better to read lead to my starting the book this morning while Fox was at tennis lessons.

I haven't put it down since except to feed the kids and take TQ to her own lesson.

It is FANTASTIC! What a concept. I did find myself a little bored with the language by the end, but I was intrigued the whole way through and am now desperately googling to find out if the sequel is out or will be out soon.

I still haven't decided if it's TQ appropriate- the book still deals with very dark subject matter. But I loved that there was no swearing or sex- just good wholesome kisses and the makings of one epic love triangle.

What a fantastic way to spend the first day of summer.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Thank You, Heavenly Father.....

Thank you, Father for delivering The King safely to Canada today. Every time he leaves on a trip, my stomach clenches nervously until I know that his plane has landed safely. It's irrational I know- traveling by air is still the safest mode of transportation. But ever since 9-11, when he was on a flight to the East coast during the attacks and his plane had to be grounded and I had no idea for hours where he was, the fear of the unknown always takes over when he leaves. Thankfully, he is always watched over and protected.

I am so thankful that my kids love their daddy so much. Fox got really emotional at bedtime because he already misses The King so much (he's only been gone for 17 hours, but he won't be back until Friday). Fox, the MC and I decided to say a prayer together to ask for dad's safety and protection, and comfort for MC and Fox so that it wouldn't be so hard to have their favorite pal and dad away for so long. Fox then thought that if he'd read to his brother it would take his mind of his sadness and he'd feel better. What a great big brother he is. I am so blessed to have these wonderful boys in my life.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Thank You, Heavenly Father.....

It's almost midnight, so I just barely made my Saturday posting. But it's the thought and intent that count, not the lateness of the hour, right??

I am so grateful that of all the billions of people in the world, Heavenly Father placed The King and I in the right place and at the right time to meet each other and fall in love. My hubby is so patient and understanding with me, and on the rare occasions which he is not (like this morning), he feels so bad for making me unhappy that he automatically apologizes, even though 90% of the time I'm the one in the wrong. I am so blessed to have a partner who loves me so unconditionally.

I am so grateful to be surrounded by women who are such amazing examples to me. This afternoon as I sitting in the car with my mom, my sisters and TQ on our way to Costco, I was struck by the irony that there were probably women all over the world enjoying "girl time"- getting facials and manicures, or going to the theater or some other activity infinitely more sophisticated than what we were doing- but they couldn't possibly be happier and more content than us. My girls always have been and always will be my best friends.

Good night every one. I hope you have a wonderful Sabbath.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Celebrating.....Well, Mediocrity I Guess....

Deep Thoughts from the 6th Grade Graduation ceremony:

6th Grade Teacher's opening remarks: "Well, you're really not graduating because we have to send everyone on to the 7th grade...it's required"

After presenting the Honor Roll candidates, the High Honor Role students were announced, or as another teacher introduced them, "the kids that really worked hard" (as opposed to those other losers who just kind of worked hard)

Principal: "You've gotten through this far in your education and now we're sending you on to junior high........just don't drop out"
(did you just get goosebumps too?? Inspiration, eloquence...this will undoubtedly be the standard by which all graduation speeches will be judged from now on)

As each student's name was called, he or she was supposed approach the microphone and finish the statement "When I grow up I want to be..."

TQ's teacher's comment to an extremely short young man who was struggling to reach the microphone during his statement: "What, no plans to be an NBA All Star? Hee, hee, hee"

Another student: "When I grow up I want to be a teacher"
Same Teacher "Well, you can have my classroom when I'm done in 15 years"
The King: "Try five"

And finally, TQ's teacher, who after an entire school year with the same 24 students could not remember or pronounce most of the last names during the "diploma" ceremony:
"Shad.....I'm not even going to try your name"

Shad's extremely pissed parents (yelling from the back of the auditorium);
"It's Wodjekowski" (you can probably also insert their implied "freaking idiot" here)

****note*****The King and I heard the poor kid's name once and had it down. Apparently we are both now more qualified than her to be a 6Th grade educator.

Thank You, Heavenly Father.....

Tonight I am so grateful that I was able to attend my daughter's 6Th grade graduation. It seems like just yesterday that Heavenly Father blessed two stupid, naive and woefully unprepared 20-somethings with the most beautiful angel in all of heaven. In the 12 years since then she's become an amazing and talented young woman. It's truly a privilege to be her mom.

I am also grateful that I got to spend three hours of one-on-one time with Fox while his sister had friends over. If I had one wish in the world, it would be to be able to see into Fox's mind and witness first hand the amazing and creative thoughts, discoveries and designs that are born there. His brain is constantly working, and he has such passion for figuring out how the world works and how he can make it a better place. He is one of a kind.

My New Maid.....

I am so grateful that the Man Child is the most stubborn two year old to ever walk the face of this earth.

I'm not being sarcastic either.

Usually this quality in him drives me bonkers, but when it lends to his acquiring important life skills I'm all for it. MC wants to copy everything he sees his siblings and parents do, hence he has become a proficient sweeper, dishwasher loader, and duster. Today he spilled his sippie cup and instead of crying or stepping in it, he said "clean up" and immediately picked out a dish cloth from the drawer and wiped up the spill. I clapped for him with as much gusto as if he'd just found the cure for cancer.

My mom keeps telling me that the MC will turn out okay if we can just channel all his energy and stubbornness into the right areas. After today I finally believe her.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thank You, Heavenly Father.....

Thank you, Father, for giving me the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom. It meant the world today when TQ was having a very, very bad friend day and I could check her out to spend some quality mom/daughter time. I don't know how much it helped her, but it made my day brighter just being in her presence.

Thank you for the gift of music. I am so blessed to be able to share it with the children I teach, as well as my own family. Thank you for a wonderful mother who instilled a love for the piano in me through both her talent and example.

In Support of Truancy....

Yesterday at the Cook Elementary end-of-year awards assembly, over 30 children were recognized for having 100% attendance during the year.

My children were not among the group.

Not by a long shot.

I keep my kids home is they have a cough, sniffle, headache, cold, clear runny nose, green runny nose, roaring fever, tepid fever- call me neurotic, but I've been around the block. I know how fast the first drip of a runny nose can turn into a full blown cold and flu epidemic. One wet cough from a single student on my piano keys and I can time the total infestation almost to the minute. It invariably puts the entire house in quarantine for a week.

Keeping my kids home when they are ill is the noblest reason (oh who am I kidding? It's the ony noble reason) behind their absences. There are plenty of other frivolous reasons that they miss school. Dentist appointment scheduled in the morning? Well, the Novocaine won't wear off for an hour at least. No point going back to school, right? PMS-induced craziness flaring? You definitely need a day away from the unsuspecting and innocent (for their own safety of course). Better yet, how about some retail therapy??? Food therapy????

Needless to say, I have no problem checking my kids out of school for necessity or just for fun.

The irony of my mentality is that I was that kid that got the 100% attendance award every year. I was terrified of missing school. While all my friends were sluffing PE and Home Ec, I attended dutifully, certain that if I missed a single timed mile run or couldn't bake a perfect tuna casserole I would never get into college. Even as early as the first grade I didn't want to miss school. I remember standing at the front window screaming at my mom for not letting me get on the bus, all the while scratching at the chicken pox covering my entire body.

But then I went to college.

All those years of strict attendance and study habits had taken their toll. Yes, I had my hard-earned academic scholarship but I was completely burned out. I hated school. Gone was my single-minded and obsessive focus; college was nothing more than a very expensive means to an end. It wasn't until I got married that my passion and drive for education return. I mostly attribute that change to a desire to not be a poor student living in on-campus married housing for the rest of my life, but it also helped that The King and I were both completely committed to graduating together (and we did in May of 2000. I was 4 months pregnant with Fox and big as a whale. The pictures are classic Utah).

So I guess I've come full circle, from frantic obsession to nonchalance to pure enjoyment of education. If I could spend the rest of my life in college, completing degree after degree I would. I can think of 10 areas off the top of my head I'd love to study right at this moment (interior design, landscape design, art history, social work, psychology, European history, business administration, computer science, web design......) Instead, I'll probably just get my Masters after the MC is in school (2 years and 8 months to go, but who is counting?). But I realizes something very important from my own journey through elementary, secondary and collegiate education. Life can't be all work and seriousness- you need to have fun along the way. It's okay to take a day off for R&R, or to get your nails done and have lunch with mom. School will still be there the next day. And despite what they may say, you can flunk gym and still get into college.

I think it's a great achievement for the 30 or more children who received the attendance award yesterday. I just don't feel an iota of guilt that TQ and Fox didn't.

Sadly, one young boy out of the entire group called was unable to receive his certificate from the principal at the assembly. Apparently on that day, of all days, he was absent.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I know my Heavenly Father loves me because........

*He has taught me to notice the beauty all around me. Tonight I could help but stop and watch the sun set in a beautiful gray, blue and orange tinged sky. Magnificent.

*Yesterday I said that Fox's self-esteem has been a little low lately. The King and I have been really worried about him, especially since he compares himself to his sister all the time. Tonight something wonderful happened. The Man Child usually sticks pretty close to TQ and ignores Fox. But this evening they played together in the backyard for an hour and had a blast. When Fox went inside to get ready for bed while we ran to Lowes, MC cried for his brother and didn't want to go with us. It made Fox's night. His smile lifted my heart. Thank you Father for two wonderful boys.

It's 3 AM and I Can't Sleep

My "flavor of the week" website is a newbie with tons of potential: akwardfamilyphotos.com

Check it out by clicking on the link below-I couldn't stop laughing. Unfortunately it has only fed my insomnia rather than inducing drowsiness as I intended with the last hour of internet surfing.

I Am The Walrus

I think I'm going to turn off the computer and try watching QVC now.....

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

All the Evidence I'll Ever Need....

For Family Home Evening last night, The King told us about a message he had read from Presiden Eyring over the weekend. In it, Pres. Eyring revealed that he had diligently kept a journal for over three decades. Although his day to day activities changed, his journal entries always included two things that either had happened or had not happened during the day that demonstrated his Heavenly Father's love for him.

Since this blog pretty much doubles as my own journal, I'd like to follow Pres. Eyring's example and end each day with two examples of Heavenly Father's love for my family and me. Unfortunately, too many times I forget to thank Him for all that he has blessed me with.

*Every morning when The King leaves, I tell him to "please be careful". That porbably sounds childish and maternal, but I really worry about his safety when he's away from me. I am so grateful that he has come home safely to us every single day, and that Heavenly Father has watched over and protected him.

*Today Fox got a special recognition from the school counselor for being a super student. She had to be inspired to know how much his self-esteem needed that boost. Lately he has been really feeling inferior to his older sister, and his face lit up with more pure joy than I've seen in a long time when he showed me the certificate. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father brings people into our lives to support us and lift us up, and that those people are close enough to Him to follow His promptings.

What's Behind a Nickname?

If you've ever wondered why my dear hubby is called "The King" (and probably thought I was a big jerk for calling him it), wonder no more. Rather than explain the evolution of this moniker, I'd rather describe a situation which I believe perfectly illustrates why he deserves such a title.

I have toiled for an entire year on our backyard patio. That it has taken that long is entirely my own fault- my plans just seemed to get away from me as I dreamed bigger and bigger. This last weekend I placed the last cobblestone, mortared the final wall caps, and completed a final sweep. 1000+ cobblestone, 100 8X6X16 cement blocks, 100 6X2X16 cement caps, 75+ bags of sand and cement later, and it is complete.

Not to toot my own horn, but it turned out pretty fantastic. The best part is that I did it all on my own. That's also a double edged sword, because if it sinks during the winter or falls apart I have only myself to blame. But still, I have never done a project of this scale and complexity on my own.

I am woman, hear me roar!

The completed patio was not an hour old before The King began lamenting that I hadn't left more flower bed area surrounding the patio so that he could plant shade trees (which ticked me a little, because we had just dropped $400 on a beautiful gazebo for the patio that was supposed to provide the necessary shade). His answer was to just plant the trees anyway, but I was having none of that. The roots would destroy my patio and wall.

Needless to say, it's been an ongoing "discussion" for the last 3 days.

I've held my own, but today I broke. I knew he would never stop until the blasted trees were in the ground. I called him to let him know I surrendered, and he thoughtfully offered to cut out the grass to expand the flower beds when he got home.

The problem is that I am completely mental, and once I know that something needs to be done I can't rest until it is complete. So the Man Child and I pulled out the shovels and for two hours cleared out the 2'X10' area The King needed removed.

I should have left the job for the giant stinker- he's the one who insisted on it. But I always feel guilty knowing that he is at work dealing with a thousand stressful issues and when he gets home he is so burned out, and I'm here and I'd be outside anyway......

I'm such a sucker for this guy!

Long live The King.

Those Stinking Communists at McDonalds!

About this time every year, the one and only message on the McDonalds marquee that I actually pay attention to comes up. The $.99 Super Size Drink sale.

This year it will not be put up. Sadly, it will never be seen again at my Syracuse McD's.

Why, you may ask, would they take away the single thing that made me their regular- sometimes twice a day- customer from June to September?

Because they are stupid "fat American" haters.

I saw "Super Size ME"- I know it was a political nightmare for the McD's corporation. I was as disgusted as anyone by the end of it. I'm glad that they got rid of the bloated fry portions and trans fats. But when they touched my Super Size Diet Coke, they went too far.

Yes, Americans are fat. Yes, the fast food industry panders to our addiction to fried food. But we also have agency. Do they think that by getting rid of the big sizes that consumers won't just purchase an additional "small" item from that new drive through staple, the dollar menu? (Not that I do that myself, but I'm just saying, it's not rocket science to figure out).

I'm sure that with all the problems in the world-ie. the global economy, wars, genocide, global warming- you are probably thinking, "doesn't this chick have anything better to worry about?". I know that I'm being immature and unrealistic, but my once-a-day trip to get a drink is often times my only outing for the day and is my "special treat" to myself. I want that drink to be the very best thing I taste that day. I refuse to buy the large (approx. 30 ounce) Diet Coke for $1.79 at McD's when I can go to 7-11 across the street and get a 64 ounce for $1.39. And even though I can say with absolute certainty that McDonald's has the best Diet Coke syrup hands down, I must stand up for what I believe in and what I believe in is that I have the right to consume as much brown, carbonated and artificially flavored water as I want.

So long McDonalds. Hello Carl's Jr.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Girls Can Be So Mean....

I know I've probably said it before, but it's worth saying again and again.

Girls can be so mean to each other!!!

Seriously, if we could treat each other like men treat each other just imagine how much further along feminism would be.

Instead we scratch, claw and hiss when we think another female has looked cross eyed at us.

I swear the behavior must be ingrained in our DNA, because it rears its ugly head about the same time as puberty hits.

I bring this up because of a situation involving the TQ and her BFF(?). I added the ? because I'm not really sure if they are friends any more. Apparently TQ did or said something that has created a chasm between them that cannot be bridged no matter how many times she tries to apologise or find out what she did wrong.

I think that TQ is the loveliest, most wonderful 12 year old that has ever graced the earth, but I am not naive- I know she's not perfect. While she takes after her pop's family physically, her personality and attitude are 99.99999% Loma. She knew the meaning of irony before most toddlers could say their first complete sentence. She can banter with ease among the best satirists. She has acquired the leadership skills inherent in being the oldest child- aka. being a "know it all" and "bossy". But despite these things, she is well liked and respected among her peers.

I thought she showed maturity beyond her years when she called this BFF and begged her to forgive her for whatever she had done. TQ has really missed her. Heck, the whole family has missed having her around. But the BFF will not relent. She ignores TQ at school and will not respond when TQ tries to speak to her. She won't answer her phone if she sees that it's TQ's number (she tested it by calling on her phone and getting the voice mail, then calling my 30 seconds later on my phone. The BFF answered). This past weekend, the BFF was a no show at TQ's end of the year party- a party which they had planned for months.

I don't know what else she can do. TQ is brokenhearted. Fortunately she has many, many other friends, but growing up you always want to have that one special person that you can share everything with. She doesn't have a sister who can easily fulfill that role like I did, and I'm afraid that Mom just doesn't fit the bill either.

Te funny thing is that I can remember with almost perfect clarity going through the same dramas at the same age. Only back then we didn't have email or texting or Facebook or the other hundred ways kids can E-bully each other. The handwritten notes we passed each other saying "you're mean" just don't seem as cruel in comparison.

Sometimes sending her to a convent for the next 6 years sounds really, really good. Do they allow Mormon girls as novices???

Props to The King

I have been very neglectful in giving the The Kings his due respect in the past three months.

You see, on March 1st he began the Medifast/tsfl diet. He would kill me if I told you what is start out weight was, but I'll jsut say that he was at his heaviest in the 14 years that I have known him. Despite the extra weight, he always has been and always be a total hottie though!

Last year, his company developed the back end system and web tools for tsfl/medifast, and as he was the AM/PM on the project he got to know the tsfl corporate team really well. I'd have to say he has never enjoyed working with a client more than tsfl. At the end of the project, one of the tsfl execs told The King that he could have as much product as he wanted for free if he'd like to go on the plan. We are talking hundreds of dollars worth of food. He really wanted to loose weight, and so it was a no brainer that he'd take them up on their offer.

To date he has lost 41 pounds. He looks AMAZING! He has more energy and is much more active. He doesn't veg out in front of the TV at night any more. I have not seen him this skinny since our first years of marriage. But instead of looking boyish like he did back then, he is distinguished with his graying temples and mature face. He is more attractive now than he has ever been, and that is saying a lot.

The other night I watched as we were walking through Walmart, and every single woman we walked by did a double take when they saw him. Even the teenagers. He had no clue.

Sorry gals, he's all mine.
I am so proud of him.

Girls Gone Wild.....

I despise getting the mail.

I usually put it off about as long as I can before the mail lady actually has to come to my door to tell me that the box is overflowing.

Mail is always the same. Bills, ads, bills, more ads. Every once in a while I'll get a wedding or baby shower invitation, but since almost everyone I know is already married and on baby #4 or #5, those heavily embossed envelopes are few and far between.

But for the last week I have been diligently stalking the mail truck (it's actually taken a lot of effort and window peeping as I have never paid attention to when it arrives before). Today, the package I've been awaiting finally arrived.

Disneyland here I come.

And by "I" I'm serious, it's just ME!!!!!

Well, and my beautiful and wonderful sister Fancy, but still, I am selfishly taking a 5 day trip- away from my husband and kids and piano lessons and life in general- to Disneyland.

I know it is insane to go to Disneyland in the middle of July, but without the pressure of whining, tired children I think I could stand in line for hours and enjoy the quiet time in my brain. (Yes, I really just said that. Quiet time at Disney. Can you tell how badly I need to get away??)

I will miss The King while I'm gone, and not just for his uncanny sense of directions and exceptional navigation skills (btw..he wouldn't let me rent a car because he's convinced that I'd get lost in the middle of LA and get carjacked by a gang member then sold into slavery in Mexico. Sadly, I can't disagree. But I'm pretty sure he's giving me more credit than I deserve- I'd get lost just trying to find my way out of the airport). The King is a blast to travel with, and he makes sure I get out of bed early so that I don't waste all my vacation time sleeping in. But this is a chick trip, so we'll have to do Disney sans kids another time.

So what does "girls gone wild" constitute for two Mormon chicks going to Disneyland by themselves??? Well, drinking is out so we'll have to pass up the "wild" night life available at the Disney Resort. Pill popping will definitely be happening, but as it is Dramamine I don't think it counts as illicit behavior. Despite taking the maximum dosage each day, we'll still probably get so motion sick that we'll take turns vomiting into garbage cans. Exhibitionist behavior???? I'm pretty sure there will be no flashing or streaking, but my sister IS kind of wild and crazy, and it IS the happiest place on earth (just kidding dad, we'll behave ourselves. Besides, it's only your sons that have ever had problems keeping their clothes on).

If you can't tell, I am sooooooooooooooooooooooo excited. July can't get here fast enough. If you see me wearing the Mouse Ears button that came in the package today, don't mock me- well, at least to my face. Just remember that I'm not totally insane, just a thirty-something housewife who really, really, really needs a weekend away.