Saturday, December 29, 2007

Lunch for Today

Courtesy of AzĂșcar. I didn't get to meet all of those who were there (opposite ends of the long table and all that), and many escaped before I got pictures, but here's proof that I actually showed up:




What a lovely group of ladies. Thanks for the invite, AzĂșcar!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Hazmat Haircut

Remember this?

T--, the 2-year-old in the story, is now four. He still hates haircuts. Phil, ever mindful of the missionary skill of resolving concerns, came up with the solution.


T--'s concerns: 1. He hates it when the hair falls in his eyes, and 2. He hates hair in his mouth.


Of course, I figured if he'd just calm down and not scream both problems would be solved. My resolution hasn't yet worked. Apparently, success means having the ability to relax during torture.



But if you give a man/kid the right tools, he can do anything. This last haircut, we had the best haircutting experience ever in T--'s lifetime. Don't believe me? Here's proof:










Give the kid goggles and a face mask and he can survive the worst torture his mother can dream up. Do you think we're prepared for a nuclear attack?

Monday, December 17, 2007

What's in a name?

Apparently, a lot--but only if you're a girl.


When I was pregnant with my sons, we would get the "have you picked a name" question as soon as people found out we were having a boy. Except for A--, whose name we picked out within a week of finding out he wasn't a girl, the other two didn't have names until about 2 weeks before they were born. When we told people that we didn't have a name picked out quite yet, they would respond with something like, "Oh, okay." Nothing else.


The responses have changed dramatically this time.


I should have clued in at Thanksgiving when we told my family (at least those who didn't check their e-mail) that we were, indeed, having a girl.



"So, have you picked a name yet?"

"Well, nothing's set in stone yet. We have one we've liked for a long time, but we're not positive that we'll use it."



I should have just said, "Yes, and we're not telling."



We were suddenly inundated with a flood of girl names. I didn't like even one. Each time I said, "Ummm, I don't think that one would work," we'd get even more. It was like some contest to come up with something bigger, better, trendier--we have to name this child NOW, before the pumpkin pie is served! Her parents are obviously incapable of coming up with a suitable name, so we MUST take over!

I couldn't believe it. My family has never weighed in so heavily on a name.



Now, I'm more of a traditionalist when it comes to picking names. The cutesy, trendy, McWhatsit type of names are just not for me. And we have to be careful with our last name, something I assumed my siblings were cognizant of. (We can't use Rob, Robert, Robin, or anything that is synonymous or that could be derived into something synonymous with thievery or dishonesty. If you know my last name, you'll understand why.) So when one brother suggested Maya, I couldn't believe it. Maya? Am-I-a (insert our last name here)? No. Absolutely not. Then we got trendy name after trendy name after trendy name. I had no idea my siblings were so into pop culture names. When I tried to stem the flow by hesitantly suggesting the name we've had picked out for a girl since we knew A-- was coming, we got a stony silence, followed by more suggestions. (sigh) I know that girls are a rarity in my family, so I could chalk it up to the novelty, but my hell. If you like these names so much, use them for yourselves or save them for your grandchildren!



I thought perhaps this was an isolated incident.

Not so. I mentioned to a girl who used to be one of my Young Women, who asked the name question, that we sort of had a name but nothing certain yet, and she did it too, along with more than one of my current Young Women. Granted, the names they were suggesting were somewhat more in line with my traditional taste, but my goodness! I never once got suggestions for names when I was expecting my boys.





Isn't the naming of a child sort of a personal thing? A right reserved for the parents? I never give suggestions for names unless I am asked specifically to do so, and then I usually loan out my favorite baby name books. But when people find out I'm having a girl after three boys, I get suggestions I never asked for. (Granted, not everyone has responded that way. But I'm shocked at how many people have.)


Perhaps I should come up with a really awful name to tell them and watch the shocked expressions on their faces. Maybe that would stem the flow. I know! I could resort to the name we joked about giving one of our boys.....





Jack Ashby
(It's almost as good as Jack Schitt.)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Random things overheard at my house

When S-- saw the printed ultrasound picture of the baby's spine (he didn't attend the ultrasound with the rest of us), he said:

"It looks like a lizard.....Are we having a lizard?!?!?"




At random times during the day, especially if he is displeased with one of us, T-- will declare, pointing his little finger forcibly at the offender:

"You're FIRED!"

I have no idea where he heard it or how he knows to use it so appropriately, but it sounds awfully funny coming from a four-year-old. (And if I comb his hair just right, he has that Trump do to go with it.)




The night before the ultrasound, as we were getting ready for bed, I mentioned to Phil that it was a good thing we'd left the boys' alarm clock on since it would get them up and ready to leave right when we needed to.

Me: "If they're already up and going, it won't be a problem to be out the door by 8:30."

Phil: "Why would we need to be out the door by 8:30?"

Me (looking incredulously at him, trying to decide if he was teasing and realizing he wasn't): "Are you SERIOUS?!?!?"

Phil: "Huh? ........ OH. Yeah. I forgot about that."

I nearly threw my wet washcloth at him.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Just when I thought I knew everything about him...

video

Phil came home and told me he'd gone shoe shopping the other day. With a male coworker. For stilettos.






I'm not kidding.







They were testing some flooring products at work and decided to check durability when put to the stiletto test. What's an engineer (in touch with his sensitive side) to do? Go buy stilettos, of course.




Where?



ShopKo. Rich remembered that his wife mentioned a shoe sale going on at ShopKo.






Picture this: two engineers going stiletto shopping. Can you wrap your mind around the idea? (Neither could I, frankly. I'm still in shock. Phil had me weeping with mirth as he told the story.)





I asked Phil, "Didn't you feel uncomfortable at all?"





"No. Not at all."

(That's my guy, I'm tellin' you. He's a total stud.)



When Phil and Rich first arrived, the aisle was empty. This didn't last long. All at once, a whole group of ladies descended on the very aisle that they were shopping in. The women never left. (Can you blame them? How often do you see something like this happening in Utah?)



I would pay good money to have heard their thoughts as they witnessed the conversation:


"Hey, Rich! These black ones look really sexy. Try them on!"

"Great. Do they come in pink?"


He slips them on over his white sports socks and takes a few steps. (Are you picturing this yet?)


"Oh, dang. They're just a little too small. Check for a bigger size, would ya Phil?"

"Got it."



At one point, the sales person came to check on them. (Again, I'd pay through the nose to know exactly what she was thinking.)



"Can I help you find something?"


"No, thanks. We're good."





Yeah, I bet they were.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Um.... what was that again?

So last Friday I went in to my doctor's office to have some lab work done.



(Yes, that means what you think it means. 17 weeks, April 4th. Thank you.)



Before I made the drive out there, I called to make sure there weren't any special instructions and to make sure the lab was open. The receptionist, whose English was not so good, answered my question this way:

"The glucose test? Yes, you come fasting."

"No, it's the quadruple screening, not the glucose test."

"Yes, the glucose test?"

"No. The quadruple screening test."

"Yes. The glucose test."

"No. The quad screen."

"Hold on please." (no kidding)

I was transferred to the lab technician, who (thankfully) knew exactly what I was talking about. She answered my questions and recommended that I call my insurance company to make sure they would cover the cost of the test.



Phone call to the insurance company followed thus:

"Hi. My doctor has me scheduled to have the quadruple screen done today, and I want to make sure it's a covered procedure. I have the billing number right here."

"Thank you. I'll check on that for you. One moment please."

(hold music.......)

"Ma'am? Thanks for holding. My computer shows that this is a test done during pregnancy and that it is covered, as long as you are not doing it for cosmetic reasons."

(silence) "Um... excuse me?"

"The test is covered as long as it's not for cosmetic reasons."

(laughing) "Uh, yeah. Okay. I got pregnant for cosmetic reasons. That's a good one."

(no laughing--at all) "Yes, ma'am. The test is covered as long as it is not performed for cosmetic reasons."

"Uh, okay. Thanks for your help."







I thought maybe my sense of the comedic was flawed, until I told the lab tech who did the blood draw. She nearly snorted the entire contents of her sinuses while she poked my arm.

(So my timing needs a little work. What can I say?)

Monday, October 22, 2007

It's Just How They Come

I had my three sons in the car with me the other day. It makes for a great captive audience and some pretty interesting conversations, as follows:

Me: So, A--. About this birthday party you have tomorrow. Are you the only boy invited?

A--: Yeah.

Me: Does that embarrass you at all? Won't it be awkward?

A--: No, not really.

S-- (interrupting from the back): You know what's embarrassing, Mom? Going to a birthday party at Build-a-Bear and being the only boy there! Talk about embarrassing! (dramatic sigh accompanies this statement)

[Editor's note: S--'s best friend is a girl. He went to her birthday party in June and was the only boy invited.]

Me (pretending to be exasperated): What am I going to do with you S-- boys? You and all your girlfriends....sheesh! I'm going to have to beat them off with a stick!

A-- (getting defensive as only 11-year-olds can): What's the matter with having girlfriends?


Me (laughing): Nothing at all, son. Nothing at all.

I hope T-- was listening carefully.




Sixteen is going to be sooooo much fun at my house. I can tell already.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Contracts and Apologies

Some of you know my oldest son, A. He's a very, VERY bright boy with a strong personality (to put it lightly). Unfortunately for him, he comes from two families with genetic tendencies to have very bad teeth. He did not inherit my teeth: I never had to have braces and all four wisdom teeth came in straight with plenty of room...yeah, I know. I'm sorry.

So when the dentist showed me the x-rays of A's teeth, even I could tell where things were headed. Visions of what all that money could buy went flying out of my head to be replaced with visions of silver wires and retainers. A's visions were completely different. He could see no reason why he should get braces.

"I'm okay with how my teeth look. I don't care if they're crooked. I don't want braces."

Knowing A the way we do, we knew that if he felt pressured into getting braces, he'd never cooperate with the orthodontist and would put us through years of guilt. ("I never wanted braces. You made me get them. You never listen to what I want.") We also knew that if he didn't get braces now and wanted them later on, we would be the ones who would get blamed for his decision. ("It's your fault I didn't get braces. You should have made me get them when I was younger.") The kid is a natural lawyer and can debate with the best. We knew we'd lose.

Solution? We drew up a contract and had A sign it with me and his orthodontist as witnesses.




I'm serious.




Here it is:

I, the undersigned, A. A. S., hereby declare that I have had the benefits and drawbacks of getting braces, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of not getting braces, explained to me fully. I further declare that I fully understand the ramifications of my decision either way.

I declare that, should I choose to get braces at this time, I will strictly follow the care regimen prescribed by my orthodontist to the best of my abilities. My parents will cover any costs incurred if I choose to get braces at this time. I further declare that, should I decide not to get braces, I accept full responsibility for that decision and will not blame my parents at a future time for not making me get braces. I will cover any costs incurred if I choose to get braces at a later date.

I understand that my decision is final and do hereby indicate my decision below by signing the appropriate line.

I have decided to get braces: _____________ Date: _________

I have decided not to get braces: __________ Date: _________


Witnesses: __________________________ Date: _________

__________________________ Date: _________


I know, I'm not a lawyer and any good one would probably see plenty of loopholes, but it was the best I could do. And it worked. A will be getting a tinsel mouth in 2 weeks and his orthodontist was so impressed by the contract that he asked for a copy.


Just so you know that A isn't all about debate and control, let me tell you what he did on Sunday.

We spent Sunday afternoon at my parents' house. Except for the brother who lives in Texas, all my siblings were there, so we had a lot of grownups and kids around. The nieces and nephews in the family range in age from 20 on down to 3.

A (11), along with two other cousins close to his age (S & D), went outside to play with D's soccer ball. Eventually, they were joined by my brother (who is huge and bald), his wife, and three of his children (ages 14, 17, and 20), all of whom decided to play on a team with my S (7) against A, cousin S, and D. My little T (3) came out during the "game" to play with his big brothers, although he was mostly just watching. (Keep in mind the age and size differences between the two "teams.")

In the course of the game, several things happened. First, the Big People's Team started playing very aggressively and were ignoring the rules set up by the Smaller People's Team, who was out there first and had the right to set up the game the way they wanted it. Second, T got hit in the face by the soccer ball (by accident). Third, the Smaller People's Team decided they didn't like the roughness of the game and chose to take their ball inside and play board games rather than play against people twice their size.

To make a very long story short, A was accused of several things, including smart mouthing the adults on the Big People's team over the accident involving T's face and the soccer ball. (No, T wasn't seriously hurt.) The adult accusing him was absolutely furious. I tried to get said adult to talk things over with A, with me present, but the adult refused and left before I could get A in the room to discuss what happened.

Here's the thing. Once I pieced together what happened by talking to A, my S, cousin S, and D, I realized that A had done nothing wrong. Regardless of what happened or who was at fault, an adult had stormed away feeling like A had been disrespectful. So I had to make A call and apologize later that night.

It was absolute torture to him. The thing he values most is being Right, and to have to admit a mistake (especially when he wasn't "in the wrong") was pure hell for him. I dialed the number and had A say, "I'm sorry I was disrespectful to you this afternoon." He nearly broke down. I got choked up too because, in spite of all his efforts to come across as rough and tough, my A is really a softy down inside.


It makes a mom proud.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The BEST Momsong EVER

video

I've seen the second half of this song, but thanks to my dear cousin, I now have the whole thing. I absolutely love it! I wish I could talk that fast.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Stooopid Product and a Recipe


Stainless-Steel Knorks

The convenience of a fork and the function of a knife in one simple and safe utensil! Set of 2 durable, stainless-steel knorks feature a 4-pronged fork with a built-in knife on the side. Great for everyday use or for travel, and offers a safe alternative to knives for young children! Dishwasher safe. $12.98

Does anyone see any problems with this?

I already use the side of my fork as a knife if the food is tender enough.

Why would I want "a built-in knife on the side"? Won't I cut my tongue on it?

How can putting a knife in your mouth be "a safe alternative....for young children"?

I'm just sayin.'


And because Pflower's husband and the G-man requested it, here's the recipe for the "freakin' amazing" potato salad (their words, not mine), exactly as I made it (happy now, Lo?). You could eat it with a knork.

Potato Salad

9-12 medium sized, new red potatoes, peeled, cubed, and boiled just until tender (about 30 minutes, but check them at 20)
9 eggs, hard-boiled, chopped
2-3 tablespoons of onion powder (because I can't eat raw onions)
3/4 C dill pickle relish
3 tsp salt
3/8 tsp pepper
1 C light mayonnaise
2 1/4 C prepared Ranch dressing (I used Kraft Buttermilk Ranch)
3 tablespoons prepared mustard
Real bacon bits (about 3/4 cup, I think--just eyeball it until it looks good)

While the eggs are boiling, start peeling and cubing the potatoes. Put them in a large stock pot. Cover the potatoes with water (about an inch over the top of the potatoes) and put on to boil. By the time you finish with the potatoes, the eggs should be done.

While the potatoes cook, peel the eggs and chop them up into a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients.

When the potatoes are tender (but not mushy--don't overcook them), drain the water and add them to the rest of the ingredients while they are still hot. Warm potatoes absorb the flavor of the dressing better.

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate until serving time (the longer the better).

NOTE: You could add 3 small onions or 18 green onions, chopped, if you prefer real onions to onion powder. If you like the crunch of celery in potato salad (and I don't), you can add 6 stalks of celery, chopped. (Of course, if you do either of these things, it won't be exactly the same way I made it the other night.)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Stuff of Nightmares

This is a true story. It happened to some friends of ours. (I have removed the names in order to protect the guilty parties, but I have left the story exactly as it was told to us.)




Saturday morning, Young Daughter comes up to her mother and says:

"I heard a funny noise in your room this morning. I couldn't hear it very well so I put my ear up to your door so I could hear it better. It sounded like EEEE eee EEEE eee EEEE eee EEEE eee EEEE eee EEEE eee EEEE eee EEEE. What was making that noise?"

Mother told her maybe it was a mouse.




Better set a bigger mousetrap.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Etymology

At Sunday dinner tonight, my brother was telling A-- that he needed a haircut.

"You're starting to look like a hippie." (This from the brother who shaves his head and grows a goatee just so he can look intimidating.)

S-- asks, "What does 'hippie' mean? ......."













"Is it short for 'hypocrite'?"





Ah, my child. Wisdom beyond your years....

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A walk down memory lane

Remember this?

Well, this is a video demonstrating the strength of the fence that Phil helped design. No wonder Phil fought it and lost....



My sweetie, the mighty plastic moldsman/engineer! Too bad he wasn't part of the film.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Here Comes the Sun

Or should I say son?

My eldest is having one of those days today. He dawdled until the last possible second this morning before finally getting ready for school; he came home and lounged around watching TV and bugging his brothers after school instead of doing his jobs; and he fiddlefarted around in his room instead of getting ready for bed. When he came out to get on the computer and discovered that his user is disabled, he began his conniption fit.

"Why can't I get on the computer? S-- was just on the computer."

"As I explained earlier, you haven't cleaned your room, finished your homework, practiced your guitar, or completed your daily jobs. Until that's done, there will be no computer time."

"But S-- didn't get his practicing done today and you still let him on the computer."

"That was your dad's decision, not mine. If you have a problem with it, go talk to your dad."

(huffily) "Fine."

Instead of taking up the issue with Phil, A-- proceeds to turn on the TV while I'm brushing S--'s teeth. When I'm finished, I return to the living room, unplug the TV, and lock the plug in the lock box.

"WHAT???? I CAN STILL WATCH TV! YOU NEVER SAID ANYTHING ABOUT NO TV!"

"A--, that's been a rule since last year. If your jobs aren't done, you don't watch TV."

"BUT THAT WAS MYTHBUSTERS!"

"I know. That's really sad that you decided not to complete your jobs earlier. Now you'll have to miss it."

"BUT MOM, I HAVEN'T WATCHED TV FOR WEEKS AND WEEKS!!!!!"

"Don't even start with me on that one, A--. You've watched TV every day now for several weeks. All summer, in fact. Don't give me this garbage about not watching TV for weeks and weeks."

"BUT IT'S TRUE AND YOU KNOW IT!!"

"Not even, son."

Now the little self-righteous tirade begins.

"You know, I think you're determined to do everything you possibly can to make my life miserable."

(I refuse to answer.)

"And you're not doing anything to persuade me otherwise."

(Still not speaking.)

"I don't want to talk to you ever again."

(Given his attitude at that moment, I was thinking that'd be nice.)

"You know, Mom, the scriptures say that 'men are that they might have joy.' Well, I'm not feeling any joy at the moment."

(Thinking, but not saying, "Yeah, buddy. The scriptures also say 'wickedness never was happiness.' Bite me.")

He decided to "punish me," I guess, by sulking in his bed. No loss on my part, I'm tellin' you. Put that attitude to bed and give it a rest.




In other news, scattered s#%t showers are still present in my neck of the woods, but the umbrella seems to be holding up. My dad is doing much better. The situation with Phil's mom is still up in the air. The family has a lot of tough decisions to make in a short time, but everyone is working together and making the best of things. The shocker situation is something we'll be dealing with for a while. All I can say about it is that it's one of those things you never, ever want to see happen in your family. However, I can see the Lord's hand in everything that has happened, past and present, preparing us to handle this storm. We will be fine.

Thanks to everyone for asking how we're doing and for checking in from time to time. It means a lot.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

When it rains, it pours

I'm tired and empty.

Although the weather has been dry, this month has been full of storms for me and my family. Afer a month and a half of getting little to no sleep, my dad went in for back surgery to fix a pinched sciatic nerve. Surgery went well; he came home for a few days, only to go back again because his kidneys stopped working. (We got the call at Peef's house during the farewell party for Lucky. Nothing like that kind of phone call to put you in the party mood.) They flooded him with fluids, stopped several of his medications, and got everything going again. He's home again and doing fine.

Phil and several of his siblings had a "family meeting" of sorts with his mom and some geriatric specialists at LDS Hospital just after my dad went in for surgery. They got the lowdown on his mom's mental state, and it's not exactly rosy. We're probably looking at early stages of Alzheimer's. She's going to need a lot more help, and she's going to have to accept it from people besides just Phil's sister (who lives next door to her). There is talk of a care center. All of this brings back painful memories of both of my grandmothers, who had problems with dementia and lived with my family when they were having those problems. This will be a long, hard road for everyone.

The final storm was something that must remain confidential. Let's just say it was shocking, to say the least. However, the storm will not break us. It's just made life heavy for a while.

Forgive me if my comments are lacking in wit, wisdom, or sense. I find that I have been turning inward for several months now as if in preparation for this month. I know everything will be fine. We will weather the storms. But for now, I'm hunkering down and holding on.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

What I did on my summer vacation

What I did on my summer vacation was go all the way to Salt Lake City. And stay in a hotel.






With a swimming pool downstairs.



The end.













No, just kidding. (About it being the end--not about going to Salt Lake City.)



Truly, we did. We took our three boys, stayed at the Shilo Inn (in spite of its sad history), and had a wonderful time. (I've been told, however, that when you take your children with you, it's not called a vacation but a trip.)



My favorite part was taking the boys to Lagoon and discovering my surprising love for roller coasters. I think I have scarred A-- for life by riding with him twice on the Wild Mouse and laughing hysterically both times while body slamming him every time the car turned a corner. S-- was terrified by three things: the huge swing that is Turn of the Century, the ferris wheel (seriously terrified), and the Sky Ride. T-- and S-- were both scared spitless after I forced them to go on the Terroride with me, but they both wanted to go back and do it again, so I guess there's hope yet for my cautious S--.



My least favorite part was taking the boys to Lagoon, a.k.a. the string bikini capital of Utah. Yuck. I haven't seen that much skin since who knows when. And it wasn't just the young teenage vixens--oh no. Trust me, ladies. Even if you have a body that looks that good, a bikini isn't the most flattering thing to wear at an amusement park. Then again, given the amount that we paid to get in, I guess we ought to have expected some type of show.

Hogle Zoo was also on the itinery for the Pottymouth family. The animals were, well, animals. What else did you expect?





(A--, above, looks uncannily like his mother. Poor kid.)






(A rare specimen of the Homo Sapien variety, sleeping soundly on a bench.)














(See those lovely cankles?)




The Hill Aerospace Museum was awesome. Some of those airplanes are ginormous! Of all the boys, however, Phil was the most enamoured of the steely birds. They have a hands-on room where kids can explore the physics of flight and sit in a real flight training cockpit. (I had wicked fun teasing T-- while he sat in there. I kept turning the lights on and off and he couldn't figure out how he was making it happen. I am so mean!)














The best part of the whole trip was coming home. It was lovely to not be too far away, and it was nice to have some time with the boys without any interruptions. But my bed was absolutely heavenly to fall into when we got back. There's no place like home.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Bumper Sticker Vacation

We just got back from a four-day-vacation with the boys this afternoon. I'll have to blog about it later, but until then, let me share with you the bumper sticker we saw while driving about:


My labrador retriever is smarter than your honor student.



Phil nearly wet himself laughing.

This is my favorite:


My kid can beat up your honor student.


So how does your favorite bumper sticker read?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hi. My name is Julie and I'm a furniture snob....

I'm a shop teacher's daughter. For my whole life, the smell of sawdust, Fullerplast, and sweat has been comforting: it represented a day of hard work and beautiful results. Unfortunately, it also meant my induction into furniture snobbery.


As a child, on the rare occasions when my parents needed a couch, we would make a trip to the furniture store where Dad would proceed to embarrass us. Grabbing a piece of furniture, he'd shake it vigorously, exclaiming, "This is a piece of crap! Look at the joints! Look at the doors--they're not even level! Even my 7th grade students could build something better than this." Meanwhile, we'd skulk behind the nearest couch, trying not to look like we were related.


"Dad!" we'd hiss, "There are salespeople right there! They'll hear you! You're going to get us kicked out!"


He ignored our misery and continued criticizing the couches, cabinets, and chairs. And rightly so. They were poorly built.


As a result of this unintended educational experience, I am highly suspicious of furniture stores and the quality of their merchandise. If I want a nice table, a china hutch, or a roll-top desk, I can have Dad or Phil build one for me that is exactly what I want. Why would I want something that everyone and their dog already has? Who needs a hutch with a piece of plastic for a back? Piece of crap, if you ask me. And don't get me started on those hunks of junk that they call "bookshelves," available at your local ShopKo, Walmart, or Target. Now, I understand that they have their place when you have limited funds, but then again, a piece of furniture is an investment. Why spend that money on something you'll have to replace--again and again--when you could get something that will last you forever?


Needless to say, I was not among those who were near wetting their pants over the opening of Ikea. Pre-fab furniture that is trendy, put-it-together-yourself stuff has no appeal to me. (My dad's favorite quote for several days after reading this was "Ikea is Swedish for particle board.") No matter what the salespeople tell you, particle board, even if it's made of hardwood, is still just sawdust compressed and glued together. It is not stronger than hardwood in the long run. Particle board shelves will sag visibly under the weight of books. Why would I want a couch built out of something that sags under the weight of books? (Even if I hear that they have great meatballs.)


Piece of crap, I tell you.




See . . . I told you I was a furniture slob.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Arrrrgh!





My pirate name is:





Mad Dog Cash








Part crazy, part mangy, all rabid, you're the pirate all the others fear might just snap soon. You're musical, and you've got a certain style if not flair. You'll do just fine. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from piratequiz.com.
part of the fidius.org network

Yeah, I know it's been done before, but for some reason "Mad Dog Cash" strikes me as hilarious.

No more pencils, no more books....

Wanna see how I made it onto the "Coolest Mom" list today?

























This is what I did to A-- before school this morning.


I must say it looks pretty awesome for an amateur do-it-yourself hairstylist like me. Of course, I had ulterior motives: I agreed to give him a mohawk for the last day of school if he'd let me buzz his hair for the summer.







His teacher wasn't pleased. She gave him a dirty look and made him comb it out before the final school assembly. So we redid it after school. I'm not sure which version I like better.....




Any votes, Sanjaya?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Exclusive Interview from Yours Truly

I know, I'm slow getting into the game. Azucar mailed me questions a month ago, but when I tried to post the answers, Blogger ate my brilliantly pithy composition. I haven't dared to try again until now. But here goes:

Tell me about your kids, how many do you have and what is one unique thing about each of them?

I have three boys: A--, S--, and T--. (Good thing we didn't name the third one something that started with an "S," eh?)

Let's start with A--, my oldest. He was born a lawyer. Seriously. From the time he could talk, he could debate until the cows came home and went back out to pasture. It's his favorite pastime. (Well, that and pestering his younger brother S--.) Not only that, he's really good at it because he's that smart. Being his parent is intellectually exhausting. He loves a good joke, is talented at making flatulent noises with his knees, and can be fun to talk to. A--'s personality is like an excellent salsa caliente: delightful and stimulating but with a kick to it that can bite you in the bee-hind if you don't watch out. And he plays a pretty good guitar for a beginner.

If I'm going to compare children to food, S-- would be like rich milk chocolate (the good kind): smooth and sweet. He is passionate about all things Lego. (His greatest ambition in life is to become a Lego set designer. I bet he'll do it, too, because he's that smart.) He plays violin but prefers fiddle music to classical music. He is the answer to my mother's prayer for a blond-haired brown-eyed grandchild. He is a sensitive, compassionate peacemaker. And everyone knows you can't have hot salsa without something chocolate to soothe the palate.

T-- is like a chocolate-covered cinnamon bear. He's sweet, but he has a surprising kick to him that you don't expect. His current passion is stealing my kitchen screwdriver and taking apart his toys. One toy was too noisy for his taste, so he took the screw out of the battery cover, removed the batteries to the trash can, and screwed the cover back on. "Look, Mommy! I fixed it!" He's a softy when he realizes he's hurt someone, but it doesn't stop him from playing hard. His favorite questions are, "What today is, Mom?" and "Where are we doh-ing?" He is darling.


What is your favorite music group of all time and have you ever see them in concert?

I can't say I have a favorite music group of all time. I love music, but I think my taste is a bit eclectic (eccentric, maybe?). I don't know if it says much for me that the only concerts I ever attended were Dan Fogelberg and The Nylons, both at BYU, and a few Voice Male concerts here locally.

I've played classical piano from the time I was four, so of course I have a love and appreciation for Mozart, Chopin, Bach, and Beethoven. I also like anything a capella, especially if the singers are male. (Barbershop quartets can be amazing--cheesy, yes, sometimes, but their harmony is incredible.) Some of my other favorites include Billy Joel, Huey Lewis, Dan Fogelberg, The Nylons, Voice Male, Inside Out, Manhattan Transfer, Elton John, the Proclaimers, Jim Brickman, Jon Schmidt (someday I want to be able to play "Waterfall" the whole way through--memorized), and David Lanz. I'm not a big fan of country music (too twangy for my taste). I try to be open to new music, so if anyone feels a burning need to enlighten me, go right ahead.


How did you know that your husband was The One? Did anything go 'wrong' on the wedding day?

Hoo boy, that is a question! My dad actually picked Phil out for me when I was in 8th grade. I knew nothing about it. Dad taught Phil in high school and was quite impressed with him. To make a very long story short, Phil and I were set up by my parents after many near meetings. I knew before I met him that something was going to happen, but I didn't know what. Our first date was a double with my parents. (Yes, you read that correctly.) I felt completely comfortable with him. It was like coming home after a long, hard day and putting on your favorite, most comfortable shoes. We were married 10 months later. We're going on 15 years this summer.

The only thing that went "wrong" on the wedding day was my forgetting my bouquet when we went to the temple. The only pictures I have of it were from the reception. Somehow, it doesn't bother me. Okay, wait. I remembered something else. Phil forgot his gift for the groomsman and went to get it right before the reception started. He was late getting back, and my brothers got endless joy out of teasing me about being a jilted bride.


Do you harbor a secret desire like being an artist, or a rockstar?

I used to want to be a model, an electrical engineer, and a concert pianist. Now, my secret desire is to have the means to hire a maid service. I hate cleaning my house.


What is your biggest pet peeve?

Can I list more than one?

Inconsistency. It bugs me when people say one thing but do another. I don't deal well with hypocrites.

It bugs me when my clothes aren't folded just so. Drives me crazy.

Meanness. I get so upset when people are unkind. I had more than enough of being on the receiving end as a kid at school. There's not much I hate more than a bully. Cruel gossip is just bullying in another form.



Ahhhhh. That feels better. Thanks for the questions, Azucar. It was fun.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

May I help you?

So we went to the park the other night with our neighbors for a picnic dinner. It was a beautiful evening--not too hot, not too cold. The kids were having a blast playing on the slides and stuff. The adults were chatting and munching while keeping an eye on the kiddos. Our menu included sandwiches, watermelon, and some dill pickle potato chips. (Yes, really, they do taste quite good. No comments from the food critics, please.)

As we are talking, a young boy comes riding up on his bike. He can't be more than about 10 or 11. He stops his bike, climbs off, and starts prowling around our picnic blanket where we are all sitting. He circles like a shark, getting closer and closer, finally stopping next to me and Phil.


Phil: "Can we help you with something?"

Boy: "No. I want some chips. Can I have some of those chips?"

Phil: "No. But thanks for asking."

Boy: "Please? Can I please have some chips?"

He's standing so close to me that I could have pantsed the kid. I'm not comfortable.

Phil: "No, but thanks for asking."

Boy: "Please can I have some chips?"

Phil: "This is a private party. No."

Boy: "Pleeeeeeease?"


Phil ignores him. He climbs back on his bike and proceeds to say "Baby, baby, baby!" in a taunting voice to our neighbor's toddler who is in tears because of a minor fall. I wanted to smack him.

At last, he rides off.



What the hell was that? I was SO bugged. The kid wasn't starving. He obviously lived fairly close because he had a school t-shirt on proclaiming the name of the school next to the park where we were. Where were his parents? What kind of idiot kid walks up to a bunch of strangers (adults, no less) and asks for food? Hello?!?!?!? I should have told him, "We peed all over these chips. Still want some? How about a poopy diaper to dip them in?" The kid would probably have accepted, just so he could have some of those chips.



On a lighter note, my 3-year-old son proclaimed, loudly and repeatedly, while swinging, "Well-tum! Well-tum to da Wal Mart!"


Now you all know where he likes to shop.

Monday, May 07, 2007

A Star is Born


From this....




To this....




To this....



Then this....




To this....







A first birthday....




And now an 11th birthday....



We've come a long way, baby boy.



But you are worth every minute!



Happy Birthday, Stinkerpants!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Name Game

There are 525,100 people in the U.S. with the first name Julie.

Statistically, Julie is the 101st most popular first name.

More than 99.9 percent of people with the first name Julie are female. (Gee, that's a surprise.)

There are 37 people in the U.S. who share my exact maiden name, but only 4 people who share my exact married name. (Wow. How special am I?)

Wanna play?

Friday, May 04, 2007

New Game

After a long, yet satisfying, day at Women's Conference, I was brought abruptly back to reality when I overheard S & T playing a new game tonight:

S: "Let's pretend the sleeping bags are worms. The worms will eat us and then we'll come out the other end like poop!"

T: "Oh-tay! We be POOP!"

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Gender Confusion

I look like a boy. Or at least I once did. You could say that, up top, I still do. (Some of my brothers used to tease me by saying I had a hope chest because I was still hoping for one. Ha ha. So original, guys. I'm still not laughing. Wait a minute....um, no. Still not funny.)


I have been mistaken for a boy three times in my life. All three occasions happened during my 8th grade year. (Now you know why I hated that "Junior High phase.")


The summer after my 8th grade year, our Spanish teacher, Senor Urish, took our class to Mexico. For a shy, short-haired, backwards little girl from Happy Valley Utah, Mexico was a bit of a culture shock. (And we visited the touristy parts.) I was terrified that I would be kidnapped or at the very least fondled because of my blond hair. (We were told that the Mexican men were obsessed with light hair.) Of course, they were looking for blond girls.


While we were in Guadalajara, we went to the huge open market. I wanted to buy myself some huaraches, so we went to a leather shoe shop. I happened to be wearing a Venezuela T-shirt that my brother brought home for me from his mission. (Keep in mind, this shirt had a picture of a Toucan on it with the word "Venezuela" written on the top left part of the shirt.)


I was wandering the aisles, looking at sandals, when a man came up to me. I was immediately nervous. He didn't look Hispanic, but I didn't know for sure. Then, he spoke to me in English. He struck up a conversation and was very polite. All of a sudden, he takes a finger and jabs my then-budding chest just below the "Venezuela" printing. I was MORTIFIED! A stranger had just poked my breast! What should I do?

He was very nonchalant.

"Ah! Venezuela! Have you been there?" he asked.

"No, my brother went there on a mission for our church," I replied, blushing furiously.

"Oh. So how many brothers and sisters do you have?"

"I have five brothers. My sister and I are the only girls."





Dead silence.




"You're a girl?!?!? Oh! I am SO SORRY!"

He left rather quickly.




The second incident, also in Mexico, occurred at an airport. We had a layover of several hours. During that time, I had to visit the restroom. I had on a light blue sweater with a white, scalloped-edged, Peter Pan collar on it. I stepped into the inevitable line for the women’s toilet. I stood there quite a while before noticing the frequent looks I was receiving from one of the other women. Finally, she could take it no more. In heavily accented and halting English, she said, "Esscuse me. Thees is the ladies restroom. Not for boys."

"I’m a girl."




Again, dead silence followed by a profuse apology.




Later that summer, after Freshman Orientation at good old Provo High, my brother Nihao took me to Stevenette’s for a shake. I stood in front of the counter, waiting for someone to take my order. A middle-aged gentleman, who was doing repairs, noticed me and called out to the people in the back, "Hey! Could someone come out to the register? This nice young man here is waiting to order."

Unfortunately for me, I never got the chance to correct him. All I could do was mutter, bitterly,

"Young woman, mister, young woman!"



I don’t know what happened after that, but I was never mistaken for a boy again. And I even kept my short hair.



Sometimes I long for those days. I think it would be better to be mistaken for a male than have people ask me, "So….when are you due?"



I’m not. I’m just fat. Thanks for asking.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Best Birthday Present EVER!

Thanks, all y'all, for the birthday wishes. I had a lovely, relaxing week in Texas. I got to eat at Texas Land and Cattle Steakhouse for my birthday and ordered a yummy smoked sirloin that was to die for. (Their spinach artichoke dip is the best I have ever tasted. Ever. End of story.) I also learned a new term for those little yappy lap dogs: hoers d' oeuvre dogs. In a neighborhood where there are still coyotes roaming around, it fits perfectly.



Anyway, when I got home, Phil presented me with the best birthday present ever.




That's right. Guess who's potty trained????



Way to go, T! And a Happy, Happy Birthday to me!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Guess Where I'm Going Tomorrow?

The stars at night, are big and bright...





(dum dum dum dum)





All by me-self! A whole week of goofing off with my brother, my sister-in-law, and their two kiddos. I can't wait! Have fun, all y'all.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Excuse me?

My son S- came home from school yesterday and shouted eagerly,

"Mom! Guess what? We grew weed at school!"



Um, WHAT?















"Yeah, you know. Wheat grass."


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I'm Distracted

I know I'm getting too focused on stuff when my three-year-old starts calling, "Jooooo-weeeee! Jooo-wee! Hewwoh?" to get my attention.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Assorted Photos

You know you're a dedicated musician when...


See how hard he's focusing?


This is how I know that Lorien's youngest and my youngest are kindred spirits:


Ever wonder what my Irish twin, Lessel Peeper, looks like?


My budding electrical engineer/comedian:

My man worked so hard for me that he split out his pants.

Better that than his head.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

My three sons

Cue the music, boys.





Can you tell which one I struggle most with?


I love this picture. It captures each of their personalities perfectly!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Because CJane gets whatever she asks for....

This is my self portrait at 10 pm.

Do you think I look tired?


Yes?

Well, maybe that's because my alarm woke me at 5:35 am so I could go exercise. Then we had the hassle of getting the boys off to school, followed by my attempts to catch up on some housework before showering. Those attempts were interrupted by a phone call from the school at 10:35. Ms. B told me I needed to come pick up S--. Want to know why? Take a look:



Apparently, he got in a fight with the "Big Toy."

He lost.

And ended up waiting with me in the doctor's office over an hour for this:






At the end of the day, he ended up happy with three stitches.

I ended up tired.