Monday, December 29, 2008

Fashion Fil

About a week and a half ago, Phil (or Fil, as he refers to himself) came home from work all excited about something. He told me that one of the IT guys at work had announced that the next day was going to be Dress Like Fil Day, complete with contest, and would I be willing to come down and be the judge?

Of course, I said "yes."

How could I resist? You see, Phil would make a great candidate for TLC's What Not to Wear. Stacy and Clinton would have a heyday if they saw his side of the closet. His clothes take up more space than mine do. But his daily wardrobe consists of three main staples: cargo pants, rugby/polo shirts, or long sleeved sweaters with a single horizontal stripe across the chest. A button-up shirt? Only under duress or on Sundays with a tie. (Thankfully, he doesn't wear the cargo pants to church.) Argyle sweater? Not on your life. Scary (sorry honey) sweaters from the 80s? Definitely, but only to company parties or to a really "nice" function.

Ten years ago, one of our neighbors said Phil reminded her of Steve from Blues Clues. I had no idea who she was talking about. We didn't have cable, and A-- was too small to know about Blue, so I bought a video tape of Blues Clues just so I would know who "Steve" was and what he dressed like. Our neighbor was spot on: Phil dressed just like Steve. Ten years later, he still does.

Wanna see the pictures? Of course you do.

Notice the ziplock baggie duct taped to the middle guy's pants because he doesn't own a pair of cargo pants. That's creativity, friends.

Can you tell they're all a bunch of enginerds/computer geeks? Uh-huh.

Phil is the one in the front, kneeling. The other three were the winners for the three categories: Best Dressed (clothes matched most closely with what Fil would wear), Most Articulate (best Fil impression), and Next GQ Model (best Fil pose).

It was awesome. And Phil was a great sport. Actually, he was more like a very enthusiastic sport about making fun of of the things I love best about him. What a guy!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

One of the BEST Santa letters...

This is S's letter to Santa for this year (written at school), errors and all:

Dear Santa,

Thank you for last years Skippyjon Jones book, How to draw dragons and other fantasie creatures, and the lego dumpster. I really liked the dumpster I could turn a knobs on it to make it dump, raise, and turn the machine. For this years presents I want a vulcan ebf-25 dart gun, a star wars plug'n play game, and a hypersonic operations aircraft legoset.

First, I want the vulcan eBF-25 because it can shoot very far and has a stand so you do'n't have to hold the heavy dart gun. It can shoot 3 darts per second! I can also hold it against my chest and shoot it It comes with like 60 darts.

Also, I want the star wars video game because I can bring it around to my friend's house and other houses like my relatives. The plun'n play video game would improve my eyesight and my relfexes.

In addition, I want the Mt61-hypersonic aircraft becauswe It has a quick-deployment platform, Flying ailien reserch center and twin-Attack cruisers. It would improve my building skill, imagination and my love of fiction.

I deserve all these things because they would improve my skill, eye-focus, imagination, building skill, reflexes, and self-defence. I also deserve these things because I would share these things with my family and friends.

To conclude, I would really like to have the vulcan ebf-25 The star wars the clone wars game and the Mt-61 hiper-sonic aircraft this year for christ-mas. can I have these three presents this year? Have a merry christmas!


Sunday, December 14, 2008

My Point Exactly!

Overheard tonight at my parents' house:

S to A: You contradict everything I say!

A to S (in a very snotty voice): No I don't!

Hubby Tag

Because I aim to please...

What is your husband’s name?

How long did you date? 5 months dating, 4 and 1/2 months engaged. But my dad knew him longer than I did (Dad picked him out for me when I was in 8th grade. We didn't meet until I was 20. Long story.)

How old is he? 40

Who eats sweets?
Both of us.

Who said I love you first?
Um...I think I might have, but I can't remember. I do remember almost introducing him to my former seminary teacher as "my fiance" on our first date. Luckily, it came out as "my ffffriend." I knew before I met him that something was different about him and that it would be significant.

Who is taller?
Definitely him.

Who can sing better?
I do. But, thankfully, he can at least carry a tune. One of the best times I ever had was telling him that I had told the music person in our ward that we would sing a duet. He nearly keeled over until I told him I was joking. But I had him going for a while.

Who is smarter?
We are both smart, but he remembers more of the fun math than I do, since he actually uses it every day. We were both Engineering majors, but then I switched to English, which is what I got my degree in. However, I was one class shy of a Math minor. Go figure. He's a damn good tech writer, though.

Who does the laundry?
Me. All of it. If he ever decides to "help," he'll wash, dry, and put the whole mess in a mountain on the bed for me to fold later. He will not fold. So I'd rather do it all myself and fold as the clothes come out of the dryer.

Who pays the bills?

Who sleeps on the right side of the bed?
He does. But I used to.

Who mows the lawn?
He used to, but I took over so he could spend more time on the basement. (And in case you are wondering, no, it didn't mean more basement time for him. It meant more yardwork for me.)

Who cooks dinner?
Me. In the old days, he would cook on Sunday to give me a break. Those days are long since gone. Kinda sad, now that I think about it.

Who drives?
When we are in the same vehicle, usually he does, but not always.

Who is the first to admit they are wrong?
I am...because I detest confrontation. He's more that willing to admit fault, however, when he's wrong. I just do it first because I want to get it over with.

Who kissed who first?
He kissed me first. But he took his own sweet time about it.

Who asked who out first?
Well, neither one, actually. My parents arranged our first date. (We doubled with them. Really. And it was fun.) After that, he asked me out.

Who wears the pants?
We both do. I hate wearing dresses and skirts. Very butch of me, I know. Maybe that's why I also have super short hair? Dunno. I've never explored that part of my personality.

Friends who should do this:
Anyone who wants to. No pressure.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Snort-Worthy Words

I went to parent-student-teacher conferences today with A--. He's an excellent student with a few predictable concerns. His math teacher said that although he's very smart, her only concern is that he never stops talking. And while A-- can talk and learn at the same time (how?), others around him cannot. In contrast, A--'s choir teacher praised his lack of conversation with a boy who constantly talks to A-- during class. I was, frankly, shocked to hear this. A-- is the child who never stops talking at home. Never. Taking him shopping is a mind-numbing experience because the questions come, literally, about twenty a minute. He can't even stop long enough to hear my answers.

On our way home, I quizzed A-- about his behavior. He assured me that he doesn't talk when his math teacher is talking, which is good because, as he said, "Even I have to listen to figure out how to do that stuff." When I asked him why he doesn't talk during choir, his response nearly caused me to bite my tongue off trying not to laugh out loud....

"Well, I have to use my mouth for other things during choir. It's too busy to talk."

Monday, December 01, 2008

Getting her land legs

"Hmmm....I wonder what's in here?"

"Maybe if I move my knees a bit closer..."

"And closer...."

"Whoah, now! That's different..."

And...she's UP!

And getting better every day.

I'm so not ready for this. (sniff)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Conversations at My House

Seriously folks, this just happened. I typed it as I witnessed it, so my apologies if it feels disjointed. I know I missed a couple of things because, hey, I can't type that fast anymore.

S: {sigh}........{siiiiigh}

Me: What's wrong?

S: A-- won't let me play with J--. {sigh}

Me: Why?

S: Because he says my jobs aren't done. That I can't play with her until my jobs are done.

T: Yeah, he's trying to be in charge, and he's not in charge. Mooooom, A-- is eating crackers on the chair!

[We don't allow food in the living room.]

Me: A--, no food in the living room. And you are not in charge. [He hears this phrase hundreds of times every day, literally.]

T: Mooooom, come and see. He's still doing it.

A: But look how I'm doing it. I'm not making a mess!

Me: [Seeing that he's holding the bowl of crackers clear up to his chin] Food stays in the kitchen. You get greasy fingers on the chairs when you do that.

[no response from A--]

T: I want to watch Curious George!

A: No. I picked this show.

T: But I want to watch Curious Geoooooooorge! [bursts into tears]


T: I want to turn the TV this way.

A: No. I'm the one that chose the channel, I'm the one who's watching it, so I get to decide. I'm the only one who gets to watch because I chose the show.

Me: No, you don't. As long as you're eating, you have to stay in the kitchen, so the TV gets turned towards the kitchen. And everyone gets to watch.

S: [from the bathroom] So when it's movie night and you don't pick the show then you don't get to watch, A--.

A [yelling]: Guess what, S--? You're not in charge! So shush!!!

Me: [thinking, not saying] Now that's the kettle calling the pot black.

S-- comes back and he and A-- then engage in a viewing battle wherein both of them sway back and forth like pendulums, A-- in front of S-- and telling S-- that he can't watch because his jobs aren't done. Now who's trying to be in charge and play police?

A to S: I'm going to tell your friends that you watch Curious George.

S: [yelling] A--!!!! Please stop! Please don't tell them that I watch Curious George. It wouldn't be nice.

A: [in that snotty voice] So? I'm going to tell them anyway. Go get your jobs done.

Any wonder why I lose my patience by the end of the day?

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Cutest Spooks

Want to see some cute spooks?

Here's my virus-free E Male, A--. See those awesome braces? (No comments from the peanut section, please, about the condition of his shirt. I swear it was clean when he left the house this morning.)

And our resident Death Eater, S--, striking his most fearsome poses, complete with shop-made wand and staff:

We can't forget our traditional ghost, T--, who made sure everyone knew he was "a stary dhost" (scary ghost) as opposed to a nice one.

Little J-- charmed everyone, of course. (Who wouldn't be charmed by such a cute cat with that cheesy grin?)

And, last but not least....Where's Waldo?

See him? No? Hmmm. Look harder....

Why, he's hiding right there behind that cat. See the one whose ears are being forced straight out by her headband thingy? (Um...not my favorite look for her.)

Hope your Halloween was safe and happy!

Monday, October 20, 2008

One of these things is not like the other...

One of these things just isn't the same:

This van was in the parking lot at the fiddle contest.

Yeah, I thought so too.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Getting all misty over...

My twelve-year-old son reciting (from memory) this Robert Frost poem:

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I spent the rest of the drive back home (he recited it for me while I drove him to school) thinking about the roads he will have to choose between in the future, praying that his choice will make all the difference, and feeling blessed that I have such a great son.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Potty Training and Poetic Justice

Last night I was at my parents' house, hanging out with the girls and the kids. My sister came out of the bathroom, complaining about the mess that one of our nephews had left in there. The offender's mother rolled her eyes and apologized. "He has the job of cleaning the toilets at home for that very reason. His dad calls him 'The Rainbird.'"

So my sister mentioned that I had taught my sons to sit down from the moment they began potty-training. Yes, it's true. My sons belong to the Secret Sitter's Club, as does their father. And he was taught that very valuable skill by his mother, who would listen outside the bathroom door and tell her husband and sons to please sit down because she could hear that they were standing up. (She would also notice when someone had spent extra time in the bathroom and then serve peaches for dinner. I tell you, it was a long time after Phil told me about this before I could comfortably use the bathroom at my in-law's house.)

After explaining that background to my SIL, I told about the time my MIL, Gert, was watching A-- for me at her house. He was about 3 and 1/2 or so and was potty trained. I went to pick him up and had to wait longer than usual for Gert to open the door. When she finally did, she was wearing her yellow rubber gloves. She apologized profusely for making me wait.

"I'm sorry it took me so long. I was in the bathroom, cleaning."

Then she said something that shocked me, because she is such a prim and proper lady.

"I am so glad you have taught your son to go to the bathroom properly! I am sick and tired of cleaning pee off the walls and floor around the toilets!"

Apparently, Phil's brother, who was visiting with his children (four of whom are boys), didn't pass along the Secret Sitter's Secret. He had brought along a fleet of his own "Rainbirds."

I have laughed long and hard at that story for many years, feeling pleased that my sons haven't created really horrendous messes in the bathroom for me to clean up.

Enter: Poetic Justice.

As I was finishing my story, I heard T-- calling from the bathroom: "MOOOoooooom, I needa WIIIiiiiipe!" My sister offered to help him, but he adamantly refused. I guess I was the only one he would allow into the inner sanctum.

I went into the bathroom, took one look at him, and thought (thought, not said, I'm careful around my kids), "Oh sh*#!" Literally. It was all over the seat, down into his underbunders, and all over one of his hands. He took one look at my face and started to cry. I reassured him that it was okay, just an accident, and we'd get it all cleaned up.

By the end of it, I'd thrown away said pair of underwear, put said child into the tub, disinfected said toilet, and run home and back for clean clothes and kid-friendly shampoo.

I feel humbled.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

But if I cannot

A few weeks ago, I took my oldest two sons, A-- and S--, to watch my dear friend's daughter compete in the Special Olympics. It was an amazing experience for me. I spent most of the time we were there wiping away tears. Who knew you could feel the Spirit at a sporting event?

As we watched these incredible souls compete, S-- started to ask questions. "Why is that person so excited even though they didn't win? Why did that man keep swimming, even though everyone else was done a long time ago?" So I told him (or tried to, through my tears) about the Special Olympics Athlete Oath: Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.

Fast forward to this past weekend. S-- and A-- both competed in the Utah State Fiddle Contest. S-- was one of maybe 15 children in the Small Fry division playing fiddle; A-- was one of three in the Junior Guitar division playing, well, guitar of course. I was proud of both of them for even getting up there--neither one has ever played in a contest, and only S-- has played in public before (once). In spite of a few relatively minor mistakes, they both played quite well. Nothing spectacular, but nothing horrible either.

When it came time to announce the winners for the Small Fry division, they had all the children come up on stage. They handed out Certificates of Participation to every child until they got to the last four. S-- was one of the last four. They handed out the 3rd place trophy (not to S--). the 2nd place trophy (again, not to S--), and finally the 1st place trophy (still, not to S--), and told the kids that was it. S-- stood there completely bewildered. I could read his thoughts (and his quickly crumpling face): "Do I stay up here because they didn't give me anything? Do I get something special? I don't know what to do." I watched him fight so hard not to cry and I felt helpless. Thankfully, someone in the audience yelled out, "HEY! You forgot one! The boy in the red shirt!" So the officiators checked their hands and, sure enough, there was S--'s certificate. All they said was, "Oh. Oops, I guess we forgot one."

I was livid.

S-- came back to his seat next to me and spent the next hour and a half (at least) sobbing quietly into my shoulder. This is the boy who came home crying from his very first Pack Meeting because not one person acknowledged him as being a brand new Cub Scout. Other boys were brought to the front and introduced as new Cubs, but not S--. He didn't want to ever go back. I couldn't blame him. It took a lot of gentle persuasion to get him to agree to even attend another Pack Meeting, let alone participate. Given that background, and after all he's been through in the last year or so, I just knew that S-- would never, ever want to compete in another contest again, no matter how good he gets.

We had to fill out a survey about our contest experience. The first question was, "What did you like about this experience?" S--'s answer was, "Nothing." Then, at the bottom of the survey, was the question, "Will you participate again next year?" I expected he'd say, "No, never again." But he didn't. My brave little boy bounced back. His answer? "Maybe." I was never so proud of him as I was in that moment. (Well, except for when he was standing alone on that stage, trying not to cry.)

I thought back to our experience just a few short weeks ago and remembered telling S-- about the Special Olympics Oath. I didn't think he got it. Or maybe he always had it in him. Because even though he didn't win, he was definitely brave in his attempt.

He'll be back.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Fun in Richfield?

And behold I do labor exceedingly today in preparation for our return to the land of my father. And I do take my husband and my children to the lands in the south for, behold, two of my children doth wish to participate in this:

And I do wonder at my juxtaposition of scriptural language and old time folk music....

Sunday, September 21, 2008

And it's even for a good cause

So I decided to submit a post for this. (If the powers that be decide to include it, and you buy the book, you'll find out which one.)

I can't wait to read the book, whether I'm in it or not. It should be AWESOME. There's nothing better than making people laugh, especially if it's for a good cause.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ain't Love Grand?

After reading c jane's update this morning about Nie Nie and Mr. Nielson, I thought another love story was worth linking to as well.

This is my brother and his wife.

Aren't they a great looking couple? (No, Kim, you are not allowed to argue that.) Here is Kim's latest post. I thought it was awesome, and I'm absolutely thrilled that he and Lesleigh are so happy together.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


This was the cover for the latest Scouting magazine that came to my house. I know many of you get it too, so it's not anything new. But is anyone else as disturbed by what my husband calls "The Pedophile of the Month Scout Master?" The catch headline says, "This man can fire up your guys." Are you kidding me? How many innuendos can be inferred by that line alone? Yikes.

By the way, the firing up is in reference to reading.

And none of my guys found the picture to be inspiring.

At all.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Story Behind the Nickname

I know some of you have asked how I got the nickname of "Pottymouth," so I thought I'd share it with you. The tragic events chronicled by our dear c jane have put my thoughts back to the story, and I thought it was probably time to finally share.

The story began in March of 2004. Some of you remember me referring to it in this post, so I won't rewrite the details. (There were other details to the story that I didn't include and won't include for Phil's sake.) Suffice it to say that the experience was hell. There is no other way to describe it: pure and utter hell. It sent me into a deep depression that I couldn't get myself out of. Thankfully, I finally recognized what was happening and was able to get medical help. Phil got better and I got stronger.

The following summer (2005) was Girls' Camp, and I was a newly called advisor to the 14- and 15-year-old girls (the Mia Maids). I wasn't able to go up the whole week, but I went up for the last two nights, one of which included a testimony meeting. I'd had over a year to think about my experience and wrap my brain around what had happened and how I felt about it. When it came time to share my feelings, this is what came out of my mouth (essentially):
Sometimes life can be, well, shitty. There's no other word for it. But this is what I have learned to be true: the mists of darkness that Lehi talks about in his vision are real. I've felt them; I've experienced them in a very real way. I testify to you that the only way to get through these mists of darkness that life brings--the only way--is to hold fast to that iron rod. Hold on to it for dear life, literally, because you won't survive otherwise. I've been through hell this past year or so, and the only way I survived was to hold on tight to my faith in the Savior and in His restored gospel. Even when those mists separated me from my ability to feel the Holy Ghost, I knew that I would make it because I was clinging desperately to my faith that Heavenly Father is in charge, that He loves me, and that everything would work out the way it was supposed to.

I got a lot of flak about my choice of descriptive adjectives that night, but I stand by what I said. It's all true. Life is shitty sometimes. We feel overwhelmed. Why is this happening to me (or to him or to her)? I'm not a bad person, so why is this bad thing happening to me? I think these are natural questions to ask when we are facing hard times. But God never promised that the righteous would never be tried and tested. He did promise to stand by those who keep their faith and endure to the end.

I'm not a bad person, I don't think, but bad things have happened to me. Things I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. However, I know that God lives and that He loves me. Me. Imperfect me, with all my faults and foibles. I also know that that Jesus Christ lives, that He died and was resurrected, for me. Me. He wants me to be able to live with our Father in Heaven again. What an incredible gift! I know that the Holy Ghost is real because I have felt his influence in my life. Maybe I don't always feel it, but I know it's real. And because I have felt it, I know everything will be okay in the end. Maybe not now, maybe not next year, but it will be all right eventually. And whatever happens, I know that God will help me through it. It is this knowledge that got me through the events of the last year.

I listened to my beautiful little girl squealing happily yesterday morning and smiled when my husband said she sounded like a happy bird, because birds (and darling babies) make me think of Stephanie. But as sick as I am about what has happened to Stephanie and Christian, and as heartbroken as I am imagining what their sweet children are feeling and thinking right now, I know that whatever happens is part of God's plan. He will make it right, somehow, someday. Stephanie's birds will fly again.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Because I know you want it

Here's a picture my brother took on Sunday of me and little J--. For some reason, he thinks she looks like me as a baby, but I'm not so sure. Below is my baby picture for comparison.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What was that again?

True story:

A relatively new nurse was taking care of a man who had to have an oxygen mask. While she was in his room, he asked her, "Could you please check to see if my testicles are black?"

She thought, "What???" but said, "I'm sure they are fine."

He persisted. "I really need you to check and see if my testicles are black."

She reassured him, "No, that's not what you're in here for. I'm sure they are fine." (Thinking: "I do not want to see this man's testicles.")

Still. "No, really. Could you please check to see if my testicles are black."

"Okay, I can see that this is really important to you." So she pulls back the blanket, lifts the man's gown, and checks.

"Sir, everything looks just fine."

He gives her a scathing look, pulls his oxygen mask off, and says, "Listen very carefully. I said, 'Could you please check to see if my test results are back.'"


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Favorite Toys

As a mother of four, I've watched my children latch onto favorite toys. Each one so far has had definite preferences from the time they were very tiny.

Naive mom that I was, I assumed that because A-- was a boy, he would like cars. Not so. He ignored every car and truck I put in front of him. A-- loved fans. I mean he really loved fans. And extension cords. He was the only 2-year-old I knew who had his own fan and his own extension cord. One of his favorite games to play was to hook together as many extension cords as possible, plug his fan into the very last one, and then plug into the wall. For some reason, he found it fascinating to get the fan as far as he possibly could from the outlet and then turn it on. He would do this at my parents house for hours. (They have a huge lawn and lots of power cords, so he could get the fan pretty far away.) He also had a baby doll ("Baby Gus") that he played with a lot. Unusual toys for an unusual kid.

S-- was the Matchbox/Hot Wheels car kid. He would spend hours when he was just tiny "parking" every tiny car he could lay his hands on. At first I was worried that he might try to put the cars in his mouth (choking hazard), but he was too consumed with lining them up. We found some books that came with little cars that quickly became his favorites, especially the "Wash Me" book. It came with a tiny VW bug car. In our house, to this day, VW bugs are referred to as "Wash Me Cars." S-- was obsessed with Wash Me Cars. Eventually, he outgrew little cars and moved on to Legos. Good for him, not so good for my bare feet. Have you ever stepped on one of those pieces with your bare feet? Ouchymama, that hurts.

T-- came along and picked up S--'s cars, but his preferences were on a slightly larger scale. We found Little Tykes to be a good resource for him, until he decided that forklifts (pronounced "fork-fifts") were where it's at. (Have you ever tried to find a toy forklift? Yikes.) Luckily, I found a really nice wood one last year for Christmas that he absolutely loves.

As for little J--, who knows? Will it be cars? dolls? power tools? I can't wait to find out.

So why blog about favorite toys? Well, because I, too, have a favorite toy. I've had it for as long as I can remember, and I still have it. And it's still my favorite.

I have a thing with marbles and marble runs. I remember being fascinated by them when I was very tiny. There's a picture somewhere of me and my younger brother at Christmas with these marble toys (his was blue, mine was pink). They were plastic columns with sections that had marbles inside. You could move the marbles from compartment to compartment, as I recall. I loved it. Sadly, it no longer exists. But I still have my Tumble Tower. I still play with it.

So how about you? What was your favorite toy as a kid?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I Married a Grandpa?

I married a grandpa. Or, at least, he's suddenly turned into one.

When Phil and I were first married, his driving made me slightly nervous. He was very impatient with slow drivers. If someone wasn't moving fast enough, he'd tailgate. If they turned, Phil would speed up and drive as close to them as possible, just to show them that they were moving too slow. Drove me nuts. Does the person even know that you've just taught them a lesson and shown them that they are too slow? Are they thinking, "Wow. Thanks, mister. I had no idea I was driving too slow for you." Of course not. But he continued to do this.

Other family members noticed that Phil was a bit of a lead foot on the road. I even had some ask me, "Does Phil always drive that way? Or is it just when he's in a hurry?" Nope, it was all the time.

Phil referred to me as "the hissing snake" because I would suck my breath in through my clenched teeth when he would get too close to a car. (You tried it just now, didn't you. Sounds like a snake, right?)

Then Phil read this. Granted, it was my own fault for recommending it. He had been telling me that I needed to drive differently because I was wasting gas, so I told him to look up that article in the RD. I thought he'd find it interesting, but I had no idea he'd take it so seriously.

The next time I was in the car with Phil, we were driving to IKEA to get J--'s dresser. I couldn't figure out who was driving. My lead foot husband had disappeared and was replaced by some grandpa driver. He wouldn't go above 55 on the freeway. In the carpool lane. We had people honking, flashing their lights, and gesturing. I was mortified! I tried my best to slouch as low as was pregnantly possible and figure out where Phil had disappeared to. I tried to appreciate the irony. I tried to look at things positively: at least he was being careful. But all I could think was, "Oh no! I married a grandpa!"

You know how people say that they start to resemble their spouse after being married for a long time? I didn't used to buy it. But guess who's starting to drive more aggressively. Yup.

At least Phil hasn't started hissing at me.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Saturday, May 03, 2008

This is what's cranked in my van these days:

I never thought I'd enjoy bluegrass stuff. And then A-- and S-- started learning it on fiddle and guitar. I'm such a sucker for things my kids are doing.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sandwich Toppings

On Saturday, Phil made sandwiches for lunch for everyone. I got tuna. He made the usual for himself and the boys: ham, cheese, and bacon bits, with olives and dill pickle relish for himself and A--. (Yeah, I know. Gross. Weird taste runs in the family: Phil's mom used to make peanut butter and TOMATO sandwiches. Disgusting—I know because I tried it once.) Little J-- got formula in a bottle.

As we were finishing up, Phil asked T-- if he liked his sandwich. T-- nodded hesitantly. Phil said, "That's good because I put in an extra ingredient in your sandwich that you've never had in a sandwich before." I started getting worried because T-- doesn't always like new foods and can be turned off to things he used to like if he thinks they're somehow different.

T-- asks his dad what it was that was new in his sandwich, to which Phil replied, sweetly, "Oh it was love."

I paused only a moment before I started laughing, "Yeah, T--. Because Mommy never makes your sandwiches with love. Of course. Even though Mommy makes you lunch every day, I never make it with love. Nice one, Phil." He was mortified.

I should be able to get plenty of mileage out of that one.

Friday, April 04, 2008

She Made It

Yes, the rumors are true. Baby number 4 fooled me in every way. Not only did she come on April 1st, but she fooled me into thinking I'd get a nice, short, smooth labor (my last labor, start to finish, took about 6 hours). This one started at 2:30 am with my water breaking (my first thought was, "Oh, this is SO not even funny") and ended at 8:36 pm when she finally made her way out. Yes, folks, that would be EIGHTEEN HOURS. She also fooled me into thinking she'd be somewhere in the 7 lb range, like all three of her brothers. Oh no. She was more than a pound bigger. My sons were 7 lb 4 oz, 7 lb 4 oz, and 7 lbs 7 oz. She was 8lbs 10 oz. Awesome. To top it off, she developed a fever and her biliruben count is up, so although I got to come home last night, she's still in the hospital in the level 2 nursery. We should be able to bring her home in a couple of hours from now, I hope.

I feel like I've been hit by a Mack truck. My body is exhausted, and I feel the onset of a cold coming on. It's been quite a week, let me tell you. But it's all worth it. She's beautiful, don't you think?

[Update: We brought her home yesterday afternoon. She's doing great!]

Monday, March 31, 2008

A Slice of Pie

With an unfinished basement and this baby coming soon (I hope), we are short on space. Friends and family have been incredibly generous with gifts, and I have nowhere to put all of these lovely things. I decided a few weeks ago that I needed to get a dresser.

Those of you who know my family know that furniture is something that we don't just go out and buy. Why buy something you can make? And the quality of furniture that comes out of the family shop is unbeatable. However, I know that Phil doesn't have time to build anything right now, and my dad's health is such that I couldn't in good conscience ask him to do it either. So I had to start looking at (heaven forbid) furniture stores. Yuck. I looked almost everywhere. I even got Phil to go with me, and he was absolutely disgusted with the quality (or lack thereof). Finally, I decided to go online and look at Ikea. (Some of you remember this post, so you can understand my desperation.)

Well, folks, I ate a huge helping of humble pie this weekend. We took the boys and went for our first ever visit to Ikea. Granted, some of the things we saw were not "shop quality," but we were amazed by most of the things we saw. Phil the Engineer was absolutely floored by the European efficiency of the store design. We fell in love and came home with this, in blue, and these.

Saturday evening, Phil and the boys started putting together the dresser. I worked on other things, but I was listening carefully from the background as Phil worked. This is what I heard:


"These Europeans are incredibly efficient! Why can't we do this here?"

"This is absolutely amazing."

Over, and over, and over.

At last, I had to come in and see exactly what he was talking about. First, he showed me the instruction manual. It was all pictures—no words. It was so well done that T--, the 4-year-old, could figure out what they were supposed to do next. That's impressive. (Granted, T-- is a very smart, mechanically-minded boy, but he's still only four.) Next thing to impress Phil was their cam lock screws, followed by the finger joints in the wood, the efficient use of steel in the roller hardware, and how they predrilled the holes in the pieces so accurately. Coming from Phil, who is an accomplished carpenter in his own right as well as an engineer, these words of praise do not come lightly.

Because Phil is a carpenter and knows what it takes to make furniture, he added some extra steps to the assembly process: we glued all the joints before tightening the hardware. That meant extra time, but it makes the dresser far more sturdy and stable that it would be if we'd assembled it according to Ikea's instructions. Even though the dresser is made of pine (not the hardest of woods—it dings very easily), at least it won't come apart when we move it. For what we paid for it, Phil and I were quite pleased with the quality.

Now, all was not romance and roses. The honeymoon ended very quickly when we tried to put the first assembled drawer into the dresser and discovered that Europeans are not as perfect as Phil believed. It didn't fit. We could get it in, but it wouldn't shut all the way. From that point on, Phil's praise turned a but sour. However, as we discovered this morning, it was only one drawer that had a problem, and Phil can fix it. (I feel sorry for those who don't have the knowledge and training to make such a fix—that would be a royal pain in the patootie to have to return the dresser after you'd spent that much time putting it together, and it's a mistake that you wouldn't find until you were nearly finished.)

So I'm enjoying my slice of humble pie today (in the form of a blue dresser), and I take back every bad thing I ever thought or said about Ikea. They must be pretty amazing to impress my quality-snob husband. Yes, the quality isn't "shop quality," but it's pretty darn good for the price.

My hat's off to you, Ikea. Thanks for solving my storage problem.

Monday, March 24, 2008

My Little Romeo

I had S-- in the car the other day. I asked him about who he played with at school and what they were doing at recess. You know, the usual mom line of questioning. S-- tells me about playing with his best friend (a girl) and someone named Emily from her class. Then I heard a long sigh from the back seat and this comment:

"I really like her face."

Um...excuse me?

"You really like her face? Whose face?"

"Yeah...Emily. I really like her face." (another sigh)

"Oh? What is it you like about her face?"

"Well, she has these freckles...and I really like her eyes."

"Okay...what color are her eyes?"

"I don't know. But I like her eyes. She has these glasses that bend but don't break. And she has this kind of creaky voice."

"And you like her voice?"


"And her freckles and glasses?"

"Yeah. I just really like her face."

Well I'll be. My son is a sucker for freckles and glasses that bend but don't break. And creaky voices.

This last Friday we happened to see Kacy's Maggie, who is in S--'s class, waiting in the school gym for SEP's. I decided to ask S-- about Maggie later.

"So do you ever play with Maggie?"

"Yeah. I like to play with Maggie. She likes to wiggle her eyebrows. It's kind of creepy."


"Yeah, but in a good way."

"Creepy in a good way?"

"Yeah. I really like it when she wiggles her eyebrows."

Amended list: S-- likes freckles, bendy glasses, creaky voices, and creepy eyebrows. Potential girlfriends take note.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Joy Cometh in the Morning

We made it. After a month of worry, doctor visits, tests (including yet another one of these), several priesthood blessings, and many tender mercies of the Lord, Phil is feeling better and is back to work.

I cannot begin to thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Those first two to three weeks were very hard on me emotionally, but although "weeping may endure for a night, ... joy cometh in the morning." The experience was hard, but I found peace in unexpected places. Because I know that others out there are struggling with their own challenges, I wanted to share the scriptures that helped me the most:

John 14:27

D&C 121:7-10

Proverbs 3:5

Thank you, friends, for your concern and your prayers. No one should ever have to go through something like this alone, and you became my rock, even though I may not have reached out directly to you for the support.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Fear Not

"How are you?"

The simple words from my dear friend constrict my throat, but her next words fill my eyes with tears that I struggle to keep from spilling:

"I've put both your names in the temple."

The meeting begins, and my mind drifts back to March 2004.


It began with a phone call from my husband at work: "Will you miss me when I die?"

The question sent me into a panic and began what can only be described as a month-long hell. Something was wrong, but none of the doctors could tell me what it was. Phil experienced disturbing hallucinations, extreme sensitivity to noise (how do you keep a 5-month old baby from crying? or 7- and 4-year old boys quiet?), and slept over 20 hours a day, every day—for 4 weeks. He remembers maybe 2 weeks of the entire month. I will never forget a single, hellish moment.

In the aftermath of that experience, I learned exactly how clinical depression feels. I found out what it's like to not be capable of feeling anything. I could not feel the comfort the Holy Ghost brings. I felt completely alone, completely hopeless, utterly exhausted. Anti-depressants finally helped. But it took me over 2 years to stop feeling like I was the only one who could be responsible—the only one fully capable of taking care of the kids, the homework, the house. Even though Phil never repeated the episode, I could never completely relax back into my role as equal partner. I was constantly on edge.

Medication, blessings, time, and faith put me in a better place. Last year was the first year that I did not notice when March came and went. I finally felt like things were smooth again.

July 2007 came and with it a new hell. Manageable, but still hell. Surprisingly, I felt calm and peaceful. I knew our family would make it through. Phil was with me; we were fighting this attack on our family together this time—equal partners. Even though we were dealing with something horrible, we found joy in the strength our family was discovering, and we were excited to find that we would be adding another child to our little family.

January 28, 2008. Phil is away on business in Taiwan. He calls me that morning (or evening, where he was) to tell me he'd spent some time in the ER. I was worried, but he assured me he was fine and it wouldn't happen again. He was wrong.

The next day Phil was admitted to the hospital for the same problem that sent him to the ER the day before. His coworker called to give me details and to reassure me that Phil was going to recover fully (he was able to give Phil two blessings, both of which promised healing). This same coworker watched Phil collapse at work in March of 2004, and he noticed some eerie similarities: Phil not knowing how he got back to the hotel, asking if the hospital thing was just a dream or if it really happened. We communicated often over the next several days. Rich was literally a gift from God. He comforted me, and he took care of Phil for me. This time, as opposed to last, we got a solid diagnosis. Thankfully, we also got clearance for travel home.

Phil arrived home on Friday evening, February 1st. In a little over a week, we've seen a doctor (who confirmed the Taiwan diagnosis) and started a treatment plan for the main problem. Phil has spent the week sleeping all day, every day. He says things that are just a little bit "off." And I find myself reliving the hell of March 2004. This time, I'm 8 weeks away from my due date, and, because of the potential harm to the baby, my body is not able to depend on medication to avoid the brick wall that is clinical depression. I'm tired. My emotions go very quickly from anger to despair, annoyance to tears. I fight to hold on to what I learned last time: God loves me, He knows what I'm feeling, and He will not abandon me.


Elder Holland's statement stops me in my tracks. He talks of families—of couples—having to face the trials and the dangers of the world for as long as the world has existed. He tells me what I have been struggling to do all week: "Fear not."

Fear not. The hardest commandment in the entire gospel—at least for me.

Fear not.

But I don't know how, or even if, we'll get through this.

Fear not.

But I'm sinking.

Fear not.

But I don't know if I can do this again.

Fear not.

But I...

Fear not, little one.


I'm listening.

I'm trying.

Monday, January 28, 2008

'Til We Meet Again

I can't explain why I feel the tears so close to the surface today, but I suspect it has something to do with imagining the joyful reunion President Hinckley is having with his beloved Marjorie. What a great man.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

An Essay in Existentialism (from my 2nd grader)

I've been meaning to post this since Thanksgiving but haven't until now. I hope you love it as much as I did--spelling and all.

The Death of Tom Turkey
by S--

Tom Turkey was getting quite fat. He new that Thanksgiving was comeing and that was the day they where planning to kill him. They also wanted his five red fethers and his ten orange fethers and his fifteen green fethers too. They wanted all his pretty fethers. He had a plan also. His plan was to peer throu the window right that day and see when the day before he would get killd so he could clime up on the tree and jump over the fence. So he went over to the window and all the sudden out of nowere a mashene gun shot him and paintball gun shot him dead and that was the end of Tom Terkey.

Monday, January 07, 2008

These Are a Few of My Favorite Names...

When my brother and his wife and kids read about this experience, and since their family missed out on the fun, they decided to join in the game. On Christmas Eve, they gave me the following note:

We heard about your naming dilemma, and we were feeling a little left out. So we thought of a few names that we are sure you will like equally well. We even alphabetized them for easy reference.




Dorcas, Drusilla








Ladybird, Lulu

Magnolia, Miep (see
Anne Frank)














K--, S--, B--, E--, A--, D--

Thanks, guys. I'm still laughing.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Any ideas?

Phil and I have a work party to go to in a week. We have to bring 2 gifts, $25 each, of the "nice" White Elephant type. I'm not very good at coming up with ideas, so I'm appealing to you, dear readers, for help.

What's your best idea for a funny yet useful White Elephant gift?