Sunday, November 2, 2008

Princess costume . . . Nevermore!

It's a sad and strange day when your 8-year-old daughter (the same daughter who, in past years, has dressed as an assortment of princesses to rival a Disney store) tells you she wants to be a vampire for Halloween. And we're not talking some sort of cute little Disney-hybrid of a vampire with a sparkly purple dress and flowers on the cape. No, she wants to be scary. Blood, fangs, dark eyes, the works.

Now how did this happen? I mean, the kid dressed up as Tinkerbell last year, and the goal of the event was to look as cute as possible. I didn't really care that she wanted to be a vampire this year, but I was curious about the transformation that causes a girl (a very girly, Hannah Montana sort of girl, mind you) to suddenly want to look like a demon for Halloween. It's just a strange phenomenon to me.

Once we got the make-up and black hairspray on, she was thrilled at how scary she looked. Lucy, however, was not so thrilled. She was terrified of Larrin and ran crying from the room whenever she saw her. I guess we'll get a few more years of "cute" out of her. Not that she had any interest in being a princess. She wanted to be Jessie from Toy Story 2. Only Marley held strong with the princess theme that tends to run rampant in our household.

Lucy, starting to feel she is standing a little too close to Larrin for comfort.

Lucy refuses to be in any more pictures that include Evil Larrin.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Confessions

So, there comes a point on Halloween when you just have to say to yourself, "Okay, I'll save the rest of the candy for the trick-or-treaters."

"Well, one more is not going to make much difference."

[Fishing through the bowl for another Twix.]

"Kids don't really appreciate chocolate anyway."

"Are you telling me some kid isn't going to have enough candy if I don't have any Twix left in this bowl when he gets here?"

[Rifling through the bowl a few minutes later.]

"Hey, did I see some Peanut M&M's left in there?"

"Well, the candy really goes on sale the day of Halloween, so if I have to go grab a couple more bags from the store, I'm really saving money."

[Surreptitiously stashing some wrappers at the bottom of the garbage can.]

"Weird. I could have sworn there were more Milky Way bars in this bowl. Huh."

[Casually] "Uh, what time do those trick-or-treaters start coming around?"

And finally, the annual promise to self: "Seriously, next year I am NOT opening any bags of candy until right before the trick-or-treating starts! I mean it this time."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

FFA: First Car

So, my computer died last week, and it has literally been the longest week of my life not having access to a computer. Ellis brings his laptop home at night, but because he often doesn't get home until really late, that hasn't given me a lot of time on it. I am counting down the days until the new guy (and by "guy" I mean computer . . . not mail-order husband) comes in the mail next week. Thus, my FFA this week is a day late.

This week's Friday Free-for-All topic is . . . . First Car

Well, I wasn't sure whether the offical title of "First Car" applied to the first car I drove, or the first car I actually bought myself. I opted for the first one since it is forever burned in my memory. The only problem is that I really couldn't find a picture to do justice to the truck I drove after I first got my license.

When I turned sixteen, my parents graciously let me drive this old Chevy pickup truck that they had recently acquired from a late great-uncle. It was a '66 or '67 (I can't remember which. . . not being the autmobile guru then that I'm really not today). When we first got it, the truck was bright orange. And when I say bright, I mean burn your retinas bright orange. So my parents thought it would be a good idea to paint it.

Opting not to completely take away from its natural beauty, the only thing that was changed was a large white stripe that was painted down the sides of the truck. My parents just weren't sure that anything else would complement the green leather seats so well. I mean, really, can you blame them?

Now lest you think this vehicle was merely eye candy, let me describe for you some of its more endearing qualities. The steering wheel was about twice as big as me and had no power-steering. Trying to turn the brute helped me to acquire the bulging biceps so popular in high school girls. And it did indeed have an AM radio, so I could keep up on my talk radio and hillbilly stations. Not only that, but it usually only took one of my paychecks from Barry's Parkview Drive-In (the local fast-food joint) to fill up the gas tank.

But the best part about driving this truck was that it jingled. That's right, jingled. I was often mistaken for Santa by children from afar. I got a lot of old cookies thrown at me by pissed off kids when I drove by. Yeah, sure, it was festive during the holidays, but it just wasn't practical for everyday driving.

Yes, folks, overall it was the dream first car of any 16-year-old girl.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Why Day Time Television is Here to Stay

I randomly found this clip and watched it about 3 times, and every time it made me laugh harder. I'm not sure why.

All I have to say is . . . The mustache, really? Because the hair is making your life easier?

Friday, October 3, 2008

FFA: Saturday Morning Cartoons

Friday Free for All Topic of the Week: Saturday Morning Cartoons

My memories of the joy that was Saturday morning cartoons illustrate the true difference between kids and adults. When I was a kid, not only did I not sleep in on Saturdays, but I would get up even earlier than a weekday just so that I could camp out in front of the TV for a couple of unhindered hours before my mom made us do our chores.

I always associate watching Saturday morning cartoons with my brother Cody (who is only a year younger than I am). We were the only ones who actually chose to get up at an obscene hour like 6:00 in the morning on Saturdays. Okay, I take that back. My dad did, too, but it was to go play basketball, and he's kind of crazy, so that really doesn’t count. My older sisters were teenagers (the lure of the Saturday morning cartoon had lost its magic) and had come to appreciate the value of sleep, and our youngest brother TJ was too little during the golden age of the Saturday morning cartoons.

And seriously, you can’t tell me that cartoons were better back then. They weren’t. They were just as crappy as they are now, and we totally didn’t care. I mean, I hate those Tom and Jerry cartoons or the Roadrunner now because they are so violent, and that really bugs me. Seriously, I wouldn’t let my kids watch them. But I didn’t seem to have a problem with them back then.

Here’s a list of other crappy cartoons that my brother and I loved to watch:

  • He-Man (and the Masters of the Universe!)
  • She -Ra (or was she just a character in He-Man? I forget.)
  • Jem and the Holograms
  • Thunder Cats (seriously, what kind of creepy show was that? Yeah, it was a favorite.)
  • Smurfs
  • Transformers
  • The Bugs Bunny and Friends
  • G.I. Joe

Now my feelings on Saturday morning cartoons have changed, but they are no less appreciated. Ellis and I discovered when our oldest daughter was about 3, that we could train her to head down to the family room when she woke up on Saturdays rather than wake up her tired parents who just wanted to sleep in that ONE day (is that asking too much?) We’d make sure the TV channel was set on PBS and showed her how to turn it on when she got up in the morning. Then we’d get up an hour later or so, and you know, give her some food or something. It was a win-win situation.

Life really hasn’t been as good since we stopped getting cable . . .

Friday, September 26, 2008

FFA: Super Powers

Friday Free for All Topic of the Week: If you could have ANY super power (either good or evil) what would it be?

When I asked Ellis what super power he would like to have, he said, “Being rich.”

“Uh, dude, that’s not a super power.” Poor guy. I think he’s getting tired of the poverty and 90-hour work weeks.

So then I decided that my super power would be something like Samantha’s on Bewitched. You know, how she blinks her eyes a couple of times, and the whole house is clean, dinner’s on the table, and she’s wearing a sporty new ensemble. I don’t know if that would make me more of a witch than a super hero, but either way, I figure it’s appropriate.

I think this decision was based on the fact that lately I feel like I’m living in a refugee camp or something. Toys and clothes and shoes and bits of surreptitiously-placed food and papers strewn all over the place with no one making any efforts to take care of it but me.

But then I made the mistake of checking out Peggy’s blog this morning . . . something I don’t usually do until I’ve posted my own FFA . . . only to find that SHE had already claimed Samantha’s powers. Crap.

But, you know, I figured, that Samantha was always getting into some sort of mad-cap situation or misunderstanding with Darrin, and really, I don’t need that hassle.

So, now I’ve narrowed it down to two possibilities:

1. The power of illusion (like Candice on Heroes): being able to alter the perceptions of others. Okay, so here’s the beauty of this one – no more exercising, I can eat what I want, and who needs a clean house? I’ll be sitting on the beach in a size 2 bikini eating chocolate bon-bons.

2. Adoptive Muscle Memory (like Monica on Heroes): the ability to replicate any physical action after seeing it performed. Okay, how cool would that be? Learn to do anything just by watching? I could be a concert pianist, Olympic gymnast, maybe even learn how to swim with my head in the water. The options are limitless.

I don’t know which one would be better. With option #1, I could make everything (including myself) look the way I wanted, but I wouldn’t know how to do anything. With option #2, I’d still have to clean the house. But I could probably win the Tour de France, right?

Final decision? Still undecided. Which would you choose?

**UPDATE** After a deep discussion on the matter, Ellis and I both decided that the Muscle Memory power would be way cooler than any other power. I mean, yeah, it would be nice to look like you're in shape with no effort on your part, but we both figured we'd end up being lazy slugs with that kind of power. With the Muscle Memory one, we talked about endless things that you could learn to do, and how amazing that would be. Of course, we questioned whether what you've learned fades over time, or if you'd always be able to do it. I say that you will always be able to do whatever you've learned.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

And That's Why I Love Him

So, I was looking through old photos for a high school dance picture for the Class of 1994 blog, when I came across some pretty great pictures of Ellis. Of course, I immediately thought, "I have GOT to post these on the blog!"

Ellis has a long and notorious history for taking some pretty fantastic pictures during his childhood. Let's just take a walk down Ellis's memory lane, shall we?

Exhibit A: Ellis's 3rd grade class picture. This is a personal favorite of mine. In this shot, Ellis had come up with this great idea to just casually reach out and tickle the really ticklish kid standing in front of him right as the picture was taken. The best part? No one would ever know it was him. . . (See back row, 5th kid from the left, and his victim, middle row, 4th kid from the left).

Exhibit B: 4th grade class picture. Yeah, it didn't get much better the next year. (Back row, 3rd from the left. . . if you need it pointed out.)

Exhibit C: The Fem-Hand Picture. Ellis is going to kill me for posting this one. He "claims" he was not intending to make this, uh, feminine gesture here.

Exhibit D: I had to post this one just because it's kind of freaky how much this looks like Marley.

Exhibit E: Ellis and Joe Sing "The Rainbow Connection." Ellis and his older brother Joe were roped into dressing as Kermit the Frog(s) and singing for their town's Homecoming talent show. I think it's pretty easy to see why I married the guy.

Monday, September 22, 2008

FFA: The Top 20

Yes, I know. It's not Friday. Again. I happened to have had two freakishly busy Fridays in a row, okay? It won't happen again. At least, there's a chance it won't. Probably.

Friday Free for All Topic of Last Week: The Top 20 ______

The Top 20 Things That Totally Make My Day:

1. Staying up really late knowing I can sleep in the next morning. Doesn't happen often, so you'd better believe I take advantage of it when it does.

2. Cucumbers that aren’t bitter (My garden is taunting me . . .)

3. Email – There is nothing better than getting to send a message without getting bogged down into a 2 hour phone call. Plus, I have very entertaining friends.

4. Cold cereal – I don’t think I need to go into joys of cold cereal again, but as you all know, I do think it is the perfect food.

5. Eating ice cream while watching SNL with Ellis.

6. Taking a nap. Again, it's such a rarity, that I treat it like the miracle that it is.

7. Reading in bed

8. Walking on grass with bare feet (but not the hard, crunchy kind that is currently in patches in my back yard.)

9. Orbit Sweetmint gum

10. Walking through homes that are still under construction. (And uh, no, they aren’t homes of people we know. But you know, when the crew goes home for the day, it’s hard to resist critiquing the layout choices of people who are going to have a home far nicer than ours.)

11. Having a garden. Seriously, how cool it is it to go out in my yard and come back with food?

12. Finding a great deal. On almost anything. Toilet paper's on sale? It's my lucky day!

13. A clean house. Preferably one I didn’t have to clean myself.

14. Buying birthday or Christmas gifts. I don’t know why, but I love finding great gifts. I’ll hoard up gifts months before the occasion that actually calls for it.

15. My new computer monitor. Yes, it’s so nice to see blue, red, and brown again, instead of just varying shades of black.

16. Singing opera with my kids. ( I’m enjoying it now before they get old enough to know to mock.)

17. The DVD player in my van. Are you kidding me? One of the best inventions of the 21st century (or whenever they came up with this little baby.) Now, some families may like to talk to each other or sing songs on long trips. Not me. I’m just happy to not be bugged for the 5 hours it takes to get there.

18. Waking up early without having to drag my sorry butt out of bed or hit the snooze button 12 times. (I am so not exaggerating. Ask Ellis.)

19. Actually making it to the park when I tell the kids we’ll go there.

20. Having exercised. Not the actual exercising itself, but having it already done.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cake Wrecks

So, a friend of mine just sent me a link to this blog called "Cake Wrecks." It is completely hilarious. The blogger shows pictures of various cake disasters with some pretty funny commentary.

Here are a couple of my favorites with their corresponding commentary:

And that's how embarrassing nicknames are born, boys and girls!

"Is it Less Creepy If You Only Eat the Torso?"
"Someone's having a baby! Let's celebrate by eating one!"

Yep, I'll never quite understand that line of thinking. On the plus side, though, instead of saying "It's time to cut the cake!" with this one you get to say, "It's time to dismember the baby!" Do you suppose they stack the plastic head and limbs neatly in a basket on the side when it's time to serve, or just leave them strewn about the table? Either way, that's some hilarious mental imagery going on. Lindsay S., you grab the left arm, and I'll take the right. Now, pull!

When you go to check out the rest of the site (click on link above), be sure to click on the "Fan Favorites" on the sidebar. I particularly liked the "Inspiration vs. Perspiration" one.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Return of the Friday Free for All

Okay, I have to apologize for neglecting to post my FFA topic on Friday. I was busy helping Peggy paint, and then Saturday we had a big yard project involving tearing up the front section of the grass (my arms still hurt). Sure, I could have posted Sunday, but I was emotionally distraught after discovering my niece's car was stolen. From my house. Yeah, more on that later. But here it is -- the FFA topic (from last Friday) you've all been waiting for . . .

FFA Topic: Memories of Junior High (repressed or otherwise)

Let’s just face it – the Junior high years were not my best. My hair had suddenly gone curly (so I had no idea what to do with the frizzy mess), I had braces until 8th grade, and I was taller than most of the boys until about 9th grade. There was friend trauma, boy trauma, and probably just a bunch of made-up trauma because frankly, that’s what junior-high age girls do best.

So here are some of my best/most horrific/confused memories from the good ol’ days at Spanish Fork Jr. High:

1. Singing Valentines – this is definitely a favorite memory of mine. Every Valentine’s Day, the Drama Club made tons of heart-shaped sugar cookies which people could purchase and have delivered to the person of their choice, along with a little Valentine’s ditty. We got to skip classes most of the day, so that we could take these cookies around to the different classrooms. We’d sing ridiculous lyrics that we’d made up to songs like “Lollipop” to the poor, unsuspecting Valentine recipients.

2. Gym class – really need I say more? The absolute horror of having to take showers in the locker room with only a dishcloth-sized towel to cover you up after was almost enough to make us all a little neurotic. And who can forget Mrs. Perkins’s lecture on using deodorant?

3. The “snack line” at lunch. For some reason, the school district felt once we were in junior high, we were now old enough to have some choices at lunch . . . the favorite of which was the infamous “snack line.” The food choices in this line included a big pile of greasy fries with a greasy burrito, greasy cheeseburger, or greasy slab of pizza. Um, yeah, because kids this age are notorious for making healthy food choices . . .

4. Sewing class. Most of the girls took sewing and cooking classes while the boys took wood and metal shop. I’m still confused, though, as to how we’d benefit from learning how to sew a stuffed animal pillow, the most hideous jacket known to mankind, and a nightgown (okay, I actually wore that one for a while . . .). Even more confusing, though, was the day Mrs. Benson showed us a video with Christie Brinkley showing us how to put on makeup. Um, huh?

5. For some reason, Jenni and I decided to convince Chad Vest during Algebra class that Jenni’s middle name was “Liberty Bell.” I’m not sure whether it reflects more on our powers of persuasion or his, um, common-sense that he believed us.

6. “Going with” someone. Junior high kids didn’t date. We would “go with” someone. Go where, you might ask? Well, that is a very good question. I never really found out. I used to really like Scott Christensen until the fateful day that he asked me to “go with” him. For about a week, we painstakingly avoided talking to each other or crossing paths in the halls at all costs. Then we broke up. It was a short-lived but highly dramatic relationship.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Number 2 off to School!

Marley's first day of kindergarten was yesterday, and she was pretty excited to finally get to go to school with Larrin. Kindergarten is all day here, so to be honest, I was pretty excited, too. Ahhh . . . a whole 2 hours to myself while Lucy naps. What will I do with all that time?

Okay, so it was kind of weird (and extremely quiet) with only Lucy and me in the house all day yesterday and today. Lucy really seemed to eat up the one-on-one attention, though, so I didn't get any complaints from her.

Marley and her friend Dylan are in the same class.

Marley in her classroom really hoping that I'll stop taking pictures and go home soon. Dang! She's standing by Fernando's coat hook. I'll have to pose her more strategically next time.

Well, she seems to really love school so far. She's come home excited and happy every day, and she's convinced that her teacher invited her over to have hotdogs tonight at her house. (Um, huh??) Marley was pretty disappointed when I told her I didn't know where her teacher lived. Other than that, school life has been great.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Camera Loves Marley

Oh, I forgot to post my very favorite one of Marley. Now there's a super model in the making . . .

New Family Pics

Okay kids, prepare yourselves. We just had family pictures taken, and I'm about to post a whole slew of them. Feel free to comment on which ones you think are best because I haven't decided which to print out yet, and I could use some free advice. Although, if you really want to help me, you'd come over and go through all 160 of them with me. I'm just guessing you're thanking me for not posting all of them here . . . .

The Fam

I didn't realize until I was posting these that I had picked out all these black/white and sepia pictures of the girls. There are some really great ones that I like in color, too, but I am seriously not going back through them all again to decide which ones to post here. You're just going to have to deal with the lack of color.

The Girls

Larrin's Glamour Shot

Marley "Looking On"

So much depends upon
Lucy beside the wagon wheel . . .

Slip Up

Okay, so I'm not going to lie: I love wearing skirts. Seriously, nothing is more comfortable than a skirt and sandals, and I feel bad for guys that they don't have such a comfortable clothing option. What I don't love wearing, however, are slips, nylons, and any shoe that would require me to wear aforementioned nylons. In fact, I don't think I've worn a slip since I was in middle school (sorry Mom, but it's true).

I mean, do I really need an extra layer when I'm going for breezy and comfortable? And I hate worrying about that stupid lacy edge showing at the bottom of my skirt. No sir, I've sworn off slips entirely.

So, with that in mind, I was racing to church last week because we were running a bit late (surprising, but true), and Marley had a talk in Primary. We'd gotten about a block, when I noticed a bit of a breeze a little higher up on my legs than I was used to feeling. I looked down, and sure enough, my skirt is about 3 inches higher than it should be. So now, I'm towing Marley with one hand, and frantically trying to keep my skirt down where it belonged with my other hand for the 5 blocks it takes to get to our church.

After Marley successfully gave her talk, and I was about to run to RS, I realized I'd forgotten about half of the things I needed for an object lesson in my Sunday school class. Drats! Out the door again, and I'm walking briskly back home to retrieve the forgotten items.

Once again, I'm fighting the skirt down and starting to feel a bit like a street walker as I walk past several people out for a Sunday morning stroll, and I'm showing a bit more leg than I usually do on the Sabbath.

So I started thinking, "Huh. Maybe a slip would have come in handy in this situation." Right? Is that how they work? Do they keep your skirt from hiking up? I can't really say from experience, but it seems like they could do the trick.

Now, have I become converted to slip-wearing? No, not really. I guess the inconvenience of actually purchasing and wearing a slip outweighs the embarrassment of flashing a few pedestrians on my way to church.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday Free for All: Winner or Loser?

FFA Topic of the Week: What is something you are completely fantastic at, and what is something you are really crappy at?

So last night, we'd just gone to bed, and I asked Ellis what was something I was really good at. After a minute, he said, "You're really good at making stuff." Curious, I said, "What kind of stuff?" And because the man can fall asleep within seconds of getting into bed, I guess I was lucky to even get an answer. Before drifting off, he kind of mumbled, "You know, poster boards."

So I lay there thinking, "Poster boards? What in the crap is he talking about? Is he already asleep??" His response kind of made me laugh for the next 10 minutes, but then I thought, I guess I have made some pretty impressive things on poster boards.

I have made large Frog Prince posters for Larrin and Marley's princess birthday parties so they could play "Kiss the Frog." I've made baby shower games, yard sale signs, YW posters, displays of authors and their works for my English classes, and some pretty killer candybar posters.

So there you have it, folks. Where do my talents lie? In the posterboard arts.

Now, what am I crappy at? The thing that comes to mind most at the moment is my complete lack of ability in the garden and/or yard. When it comes to growing things (other than weeds), I'm a complete mess. Every plant I've ever owned has come to an unfortunate and ugly death.

Now that we own a house with a yard, I've gotten ambitious to make the yard look nice and plant a garden. It has taken me weeks and weeks to weed all the flower beds, and now that I've gotten that done, all the freaking weeds have grown back. Argghhh!!

I was at Costco a month ago looking at fertilizer. Do I buy the one with just plain weed killer, or the one that kills crabgrass? Do I have crabgrass? I don't know. I look at the picture of crabgrass and think, "That doesn't look like anything we have in our grass." So, I purchase the regular weed killer, bring it home, and take a look at our yard. Yep, we have crabgrass.

I planted a little garden, and I was kind of proud of myself. Then, when Peggy and her family were at our house a while ago, her husband Scott says to me, "Have you ever planted watermelon before?"

A bit warily, I anwer, "Uh, no. Why?" Apparently, watermelon needs A LOT of room to grow. More than the one foot I gave it? I guess so.

Then this morning, I put the ol' sprinkler on the little garden. When we got back home at 9:30 tonight, I remembered about the sprinkler. Yep, it had been on ALL day. I'm no expert, but I'm guessing that's not really good for a garden.

So yeah, I'm a bit horticulturally-challenged. It's something I keep trying to combat, but I think it's time to just admit it. I suck.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tag! I'm it!

So, Peggy tagged me, and amazingly, I'm actually going to do it. It's not that I don't always have the best intentions to do these things, but somehow I manage to put them off until no one even remembers that they sent them to me. So here goes:

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?
Let's see . . . 1998, huh? Ellis and I had just moved into the tiniest little 1-bedroom house you can imagine in Salem, Utah. And when I say tiny, I'm talking 600 sq. ft. If you stood in the center of the house, you could literally turn in a circle and see every room in the house. I was also doing an internship at Spanish Fork Middle School where I was basically a 1st-year English teacher, but they only had to pay me half salary.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list today?

  • Exercise - check
  • Grocery shop - check
  • Weed the flower beds and/or garden - nope
  • Find a Father's Day present for my father-in-law - well, I didn't find it, but Jenni gave me a fantastic idea
  • Return this bag of stuff to Linens N Things that has been sitting on the floor of my bedroom making me crazy - CHECK

3.What are some snacks that I enjoy? Oh, where to start?

  • I love ice cream of all varieties except fruit flavors. Don't waste my time with strawberry ice cream, okay? And no, sherbet/sorbet is not ice cream.
  • Movie theater popcorn sans the nasty butter they're always wanting to squirt on it.
  • Cherry bites (you know, those little licorice bites? Yummy.)
  • Cold cereal (yes, it's a snack)
  • Jr. Mints . . . they're very refreshing!
  • Those little 100-cal packages of striped fudge shortbread cookies

4. Things I would do if I were a billionaire.

Ah, let's see . . . pay off all of Ellis's student loans and buy a house with an actual garage attached to it. Give a whole load of it to charity -- I always want to do that, but I inevitably feel like we're too poor to contribute to anything. Then I feel guilty about it, and I always want to assure the grocery store clerk who wants me to donate to the Save the Children fund (every time I go through the line) that I really will donate once I actually have some money to donate. And yes, I do need that carton of ice cream. I'd like to team up with the Gates family and Bono and see what kind of good we could do. I would also love to travel to all the places that I've repeatedly made Ellis promise me we'd go someday.

5. Places I've lived.

California, Utah (Spanish Fork, Salem, and Midvale), and North Carolina.

Now I tag:

Debra, Kristy, Joey, and Jenni-O

Taking back the yard

So, in the process of weeding this spring (during the times that it was actually warm enough to be outside), we discovered this big thistle growing in the back corner of our yard. It looked pretty big, but I wanted to get the flower beds weeded first before I tackled that part of the yard. Well, fast-forward 2 months, and this is what I find:

This thing was a complete monster. I made the kids stand by it to prove I wasn't exaggerating (and I have tall kids!) Right before I whacked the thing down and dug it up with the shovel, I kept having this nagging feeling that it was going to start singing to me, "Feed me, Jami," or I'd discover bodies hiding under it or something. It was a little creepy.

Peggy Rocks

I don't know if you are aware of this or not, but . . . Peggy rocks! Just ask Larrin, her biggest fan.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Friday Free for All: Beam me up, Scottie!

FFA Topic of the Week: When Technology Goes Too Far . . .

Now, look, I’m all for advancements in technology. Yea for cell phones! Yea for laptops! Yea for flushing toilets! I know there’s a reason I wasn’t born in pioneer times, and I’m grateful for it daily. But seriously, there are some things about how people use all these new-fangled gadgets that just make me crazy (and yes, I know that indoor plumbing is not exactly new).

Let’s talk about the ol’ Bluetooth headsets that people are so fond of wearing these days. First of all, I don’t care how many people I see wearing them, they still look like they jumped out of a Star Trek episode to me (and in case you were wondering, that’s not a good thing).

Now, I understand the benefits to these things. My dad has one, and since he is on the road quite a bit for work, I’m glad he has something that aids his safety while driving.

But seriously, what is up with these people who insist on wearing their headsets 24 hours a day? A word of advice: if you’re not on the phone, take the stupid thing off! You look like an idiot.

And by the way, I'm just guessing here, but I think the best way to impress your date is not to look like a telemarketer on his coffee break. But that’s just me.

Monday, June 2, 2008

How well do you really know me?

What Jami Means
You are fair, honest, and logical. You are a natural leader, and people respect you.
You never give up, and you will succeed... even if it takes you a hundred tries.
You are rational enough to see every part of a problem. You are great at giving other people advice.

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection.
You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.
You have the classic "Type A" personality.

You are confident, self assured, and capable. You are not easily intimidated.
You master any and all skills easily. You don't have to work hard for what you want.
You make your life out to be exactly how you want it. And you'll knock down anyone who gets in your way!

You tend to be pretty tightly wound. It's easy to get you excited... which can be a good or bad thing.
You have a lot of enthusiasm, but it fades rather quickly. You don't stick with any one thing for very long.
You have the drive to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Your biggest problem is making sure you finish the projects you start.

The morale of the story, apparantly: Don't get in my way.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Free for All: I'm Sorry

FFA Topic of the Week: Write a letter to someone apologizing for something you're not really sorry for.

Dear Kevin,

I’m really sorry about that yard sale that my sister, Jenni, and I put in front of your house back in college. That must have been really frustrating to see a “Welcome to Kevin Okleberry’s Wild World of Western Wear Yard Sale!” sign on your front lawn, when clearly you had no intention of holding a yard sale that Saturday morning.

I just hope you can forgive us for gathering up all our old clothes, unwanted boots, hats, puzzles, and whatever else we could find (including Jenni’s little brother’s underoos on which Jenni wrote “Lil’ Buckaroos”) and dumping them all in your yard or hanging them from the trees and bushes. We really should have just taken them to D.I. like they were originally intended.

I especially feel bad about the people who started knocking on your door early that morning, waking you up to ask you how much things were, and trying to give you a quarter for a pair of old jeans. I’m guessing you didn’t appreciate that since you’d been up late working the night before.

And it probably didn’t help matters that we put signs up on University Avenue directing people to your home and advertising the yard sale starting at 6:00 AM. We heard you got quite the crowd.

So, sorry about all that. But hey, no hard feelings, huh?


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mitch Hedberg Take 2

So, it looks like the video on my last post isn't working anymore, so I'm posting one more for those of you who may be interested.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Why I Love Mitch Hedberg

So, once for my birthday, my brother Cody sent me an email with about a million quotes from Mitch Hedberg, a comdian he'd recently discovered. Seriously made me laugh so hard. Plus, I can't believe how long it had to have taken him to type them all up (not to mention, I don't think he's a speed typer, if you know what I mean.) That's the kind of brother he is, though.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday Free for All: The Camera Loves You

FFA Topic of the Week: Who should play you in the movie version of your life?

Well, maybe Kate Winslet, but not after Titanic and Sense and Sensibility when she got too thin, and uh, blonde.

When I asked Ellis who he thought, he said Julianne Moore. I'm not sure why. Maybe just because she has red hair? But, okay. I've always liked her.

And, of course, the hair is always a consideration. I mean, to really tell my life story, you'd have to include all the torment of having curly hair during my adolescence. For instance, Damian Anderson used to always tell me he'd lost something (his pencil, a calculator, a rake, a cooler of Pepsi . . . ) and start looking for it in my hair. Good times.

So, with that in mind, maybe we'd need to go with Nicole Kidman (back when she used to actually have curly hair) or Keri Russell. By the way, I just saw her in Waitress not too long ago, and WOW! I thought she was incredible. So, yeah, now that I think about it, I'd like her to play me in the movie of my life. Talk about talent. Although, she'd have to go back to curly. Come on, woman. Have some pride in your natural curl!

Hmmm . . . how accurate do you think this is?

You Are An ENFP
The Inspirer

You love being around people, and you are deeply committed to your friends.
You are also unconventional, irreverent, and unimpressed by authority and rules.
Incredibly perceptive, you can usually sense if someone has hidden motives.
You use lots of colorful language and expressions. You're quite the storyteller!

In love, you are quite the charmer. And you are definitely willing to risk your heart.
You often don't follow through with your flirting or professed feelings. And you do break a lot of hearts.

At work, you are driven but not a workaholic. You just always seem to enjoy what you do.
You would make an excellent entrepreneur, politician, or journalist.

How you see yourself: compassionate, unselfish, and understanding

When other people don't get you, they see you as: gushy, emotional, and unfocused

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday Free for All: Tradition!

FFA Topic of the Week: Okay, we all know everyone has wonderful, cherished family and holiday traditions we just couldn't live without. (I mean, hey, where would Halloween be if I didn't traditionally sneak candy out of my kids treat bags after they've gone to bed?) But what are some of your traditions that you could really do without?

I know this really makes me into some sort of crappy mom, but if there's one family tradition I could do without, it would be our bedtime traditions.

It all started innocently enough. When Larrin was just a little gal, we began the whole night time process: bath, reading stories, brushing teeth (when she got some), saying prayers together, both of us tucking her into bed and talking with her for a while before saying good night. It was kind of a nice little nightly routine.

Okay, so here we are a couple of kids later, and there is nothing I dread so much as bedtime. I try to sneak out of it whenever I can. You know, last minute trips to the store (oops! We're out of milk!) or to the library (I totally forgot this movie was due back today!), but I usually can't get out of it.

Anymore, it just seems like such a fight to get them to do anything at bedtime. It's a battle of cleaning up of toys, putting on pajamas, picking out clothes for the next day (for the school-bound), and countless other little tasks that for some reason, can only be accomplished in the minutes before the kids are supposed to be in bed.

I just want them to go to bed. Is that so wrong? So why does it take SO long?? It should be a fairly simple process, but usually you'll hear one or more of the following from me or Ellis during the traditional bedtime scenario:

"Marley, would you get off the toilet already? You've already been in there for 10 minutes."

"Lucy! Lucy, come here! Lucy! Lucy! No, kneel down for prayers. No, kneel. No, get off your sister! Just come here! No, you can jump after prayers. Kneel down!!" (Really sets the tone for the moment.)

"Who left all the Polly Pockets out?"

"Has everyone had vitamins? Who hasn't? Marley, why did you take another one from me if you've already had one??"

"Only one story tonight, and I mean it! If this room isn't cleaned up in five minutes, then NO stories! You think I'm kidding?"

"Larrin, why didn't you tell me earlier that this flag had to be colored for school tomorrow? You told me all your homework was done!"

"Okay, just one more joke, and then you need to go to sleep. Seriously, this is the last one."

"Will you two STOP fighting before I lose my mind?!"

"Why does NO ONE have their pajamas on yet??"

Okay, now, I love my children. And I do love being with them, and reading them books, and listening to their jokes. I just don't want to do it at bedtime. That's when I just want to go hide somewhere else in the house with a book and some Oreos until they're all in bed. Look, I hate the whole process of getting myself in bed . . . taking out the contacts, brushing teeth, putting on pajamas. It's all a big hassle. So, I can hardly be expected to enjoy doing it for three other people, can I?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

To Be a Mother

One of my favorite stories . . . never fails to make me bawl like a baby.

Happy Mother's Day everyone!

"To Be a Mother"

We are sitting at lunch when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of "starting a family." "We're taking a survey," she says, half-joking. "Do you think I should have a baby?"

"It will change your life," I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral.

"I know," she says, "no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations . . ."

But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my daughter, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes. I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but that becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable.

I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking "What if that had been MY child?" That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her. That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.

I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call of "Mom!" will cause her to drop a soufflé on her best crystal without a moment's hesitation.

I feel I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood.

She might arrange for a babysitter, but one day she will be going out shopping and she will think of her baby's sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of her discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her baby is all right.

I want my daughter to know that everyday decisions will no longer be routine. That a five year old boy's desire to go to the men's room rather than the women's at McDonald's will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming children, the issue of independence will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom.

Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself. That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give it up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years--not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her children accomplish theirs.

I want my daughter to know that her relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks. I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child. I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.

I hope she will understand why I can think rationally about most issues, but become temporarily insane when I discuss the threat of anything that might destroy my children's future.

I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike. I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or a cat for the first time. I want her to taste the joy that is so real, it actually hurts.

My daughter's quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. "You'll never regret it," I finally say.

Then I reach across the table, squeeze my daughter's hand and offer a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all of the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings. This blessed gift from God . . that of being a Mother.

"Author Unknown"

Friday, May 9, 2008

Friday Free for All: Leading a Double Life

FFA Topic of the Week: What do you, or would you, hide from your kids?

My addictions. And like any good addict, I hide them well. During the day, I limit how much TV my children watch, how much sugary stuff they eat, and [attempt to] force them to eat their vegetables. I’m strict about bedtime (although, let’s face it – this is probably more about my need for sanity at the end of the day than about them getting their beauty sleep.)

After the kids are in bed, though, I lead a double life. Think Angelina Jolie’s character in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, only instead of assassinating people for a living and wearing lingerie under a trench coat, my secret identity involves eating large quantities of ice cream and staying up late watching crap on TV while wearing old sweats.

So, yeah, I’m a hypocrite. I admit it. Ellis and I have often bemoaned the fact that one day our kids won’t be going to bed at 8:30, and then how are we going to hide the batch of no-bake cookies that we eat all in one sitting? Or the fact that we’ll stay up until 2:00 in the morning watching episodes of 24 or Arrested Development?

The other tricky part is that as the kids get older, it’s getting harder to hide my stash. I think they’re on to me. I’m having to get more creative with my hiding spots. Look, it’s for their own good. I know that it’s not good to eat a bunch of cookies or candy bars (hey, they were 4 for $1 at Maverick, okay?) every day. I hide the cookies so that they can maintain their health, and so their teeth won’t rot out of their heads. Yeah, I love them that much. One day they’ll thank me. (Or maybe not, if I find a good enough hiding place . . . )

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Pals? I don't think so.

So, I decided that I really need to make some changes to my eating habits since lately I seem to be consuming more than my share (and 4 or 5 other people's share) of food items that may not necessarily fall in the "healthy" food category. I found this website,, that helps you keep track of what you are eating. It seemed pretty cool because you can choose to have it track your carbs, protein, fat, calcium, fiber, or whatever you want.

Then, I started using it. And let me just tell you something, My Fitness Pal is no pal of mine. Do you think I really need someone (okay, thing) telling me that 3 Oreo cookies has 160 calories? I mean, who in their right mind eats only 3?? I ate the whole row, and then had to log it into the site. Let's just talk about how humiliating that was.

If My Fitness Pal was a real friend, it would tell me that only the first 3 Oreos counted. Or, like my sister, that all the fat and calories are in the last bite, and if you don't eat the last bite, then you don't eat all the fat and calories.

Where's the love, pal? I don't need to hear about it if I choose not to exercise one day (or one week, whatever), okay? A true friend wouldn't bring up such a touchy subject. A true friend would just tell me that I still look good in my favorite jeans, and then we'd go to Cold Stone to celebrate.

So don't go trying to convince me that we're friends, okay? I know what you really are. And would you just shut up about a serving of ice cream being only 1/2 cup?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

National Health Care?? [Gasp!]

So, I was talking with my good friend Jenni-O the other day (although she has been married for years now, I still reserve the right to retain the O on her name) about her grandmother who just went through quadruple by-pass surgery and the many woes she has experienced of late with the health care industry in general. Ridiculous, really, but I think everyone has their horror stories of health care and health insurance, in particular.

It got me thinking about a movie that Ellis and I watched the other night called Sicko by Michael Moore. Now, I know what you're thinking -- that Michael Moore is crazy! Well, at least, I always thought he was, and I never had any desire to see any of his movies. Oh yeah, I'd heard all the hype about him, and I wasn't interested.

Well, Ellis has read several of his books, and he picked up Sicko at the library. I didn't really want to watch it, but he threw it in one night while I was holding a sick, little Lucy for a few hours, and I was pretty defenseless.

So here's the thing: the movie was fantastic! Seriously, it was completely entertaining (Moore is very funny) and very informative. I guess I hadn't realized that we were one of the few countries in the Western Hemisphere without national health care. Not only that, so many of the beliefs I had about national health care were dispelled.

Here are just a few of those myths:
1. You have to wait hours in waiting rooms, or months to have surgeries. Well, according to the people in Canada, France, and England that Moore interviewed, that's just not true.

2. You can't pick which doctor you go to. Again, not true. With national health care, all doctors are paid through the government, so you can go to any of them.

3. Doctors aren't paid as well. Well, according to a doctor Moore interviewed in England, this doctor feels he's doing pretty well. He is a family doctor who makes about $200,000 a year, lives in a million-dollar home, and drives some fancy car (I can't remember what it was). The nice thing was, he only had a mortgage to worry about because his college career was paid for! He basically had no debt. Huh, that would be nice.

Overall, though, I think we all know that our health care system is a big, fat mess right now. Something really has to be done. When I think about how much money Americans fork out every year for insurance that doesn't even pay for much of the actual health care needed, I feel literally sick.

The thing that really got me, though, was the comment Michael Moore makes at the end of the movie. He questions what kind of country we are that we don't take care of our own people. I wonder that, too.

I think of all the people out there who can't afford health insurance (or even those that can, but it doesn't cover their needs). Are they less deserving of good health care? What has happened to us, as a country, that we won't even take care of our own people? Why is money the overriding motivator here? Why have we not adopted a system that allows every person in this country to get the care they need, whether they are poor or rich?

So, let me just say that I highly recommend this movie. I'm kind of mad at myself for falling for all the crap talk against Moore without every having actually seen any movies he's made or read any of his books. I hate that I made such knee-jerk reactions without even being informed. Sicko was great.

I'm off my soap-box now.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I Can't Wait Until I'm 8

Well, it finally happened. I have a kid old enough to be baptized! Which, of course, means that I'm old enough to have a kid old enough to be baptized. Larrin was baptized and confirmed yesterday afternoon, and the whole weekend proved to be a pretty emotional one for me. All of our family on both sides (who live in the state . . . and few who don't) were there, and we felt so blessed to have such love and support from them.

Grandma Jensen made Larrin this beautiful baptism cake. She is amazingly talented. (Can you see the River Jordan and John baptizing Jesus on the top?)

Papa Bliss was one of the witnesses, and Nana was our chorister.

Grandpa Jensen was the other witness, and Grandma gave the opening prayer.

The stake assigned us to do a musical number, and I couldn't believe our luck at having Cody and Kristy's family there this weekend so they could participate. Larrin's cousins Addison and Kennedy are her same age, so this is a big baptism year for our family. We put together a medley for the baptism of "If the Savior Stood Beside Me" (Larrin's favorite) and "How Will They Know?" (my favorite). The three girls sang the first part, and then their moms (Kristy, Joey, and I) sang "How Will They Know?"

Kristy and Joey's amazing vocal talents really made the song so beautiful.

And, of course, Peggy was there bearing flowers and gifts, as only Peggy would do. Larrin would still rather live at her house than ours.

Fate seemed to be with us for this baptism. Not only did we get Cody and Kristy's family (see chunky baby Ava above), but it also happened to be the day before Alyssa left for China! Larrin was so happy she got to be there.

Overall, it was an amazing day. I can't believe how lucky we are to have a daughter like Larrin who has made such good choices and has such a beautiful spirit. She bore her testimony today in Sacrament meeting about how she felt when she got baptized, and I was thinking, "Where did this kid come from? How in the world did I deserve her?" I'm just so thankful she is in my life and for the example she is to her two little sisters.