11 May 2016

On the Subject of Children Growing Up

My daughter turned 10 recently. I don't really know how that happened. I have been a mom for a decade.

For Grace's birthday, she wanted to get her ears pierced, and some of her close cousins came along and got their ears pierced as well. She said it was so much better with them there, and with them doing it, too.

Her aunt came in at the beginning, and I started chatting with her about the earrings. The savvy beautician caught Grace by surprise, and before I had a chance to turn and watch, I missed the actual piercing.

Sometimes I worry that this sort of thing, the thing where I blink and miss a life changing milestone, is the story of my motherhood.

Let's hope not, because seriously, look at this girl. 

02 March 2016


I decided late last year to work on one of society's problems. The problem is that we undervalue unpaid caregivers, leaving them neglected, depressed, and at times dead before the person they care for, such as in many Alzheimer's cases.

So I am working on this new website to Honor Caregivers in my small corner of the internet. Since I started this project, the following things have happened at home:

We have had to cut down, chop up, and haul away 9 large pine trees from our front yard, because one of them fell over.

Every person in my family has been very sick, including several strep throats and a nasty virus. At one point all six of us were on antibiotics at the same time.

My daughter has had lice, which I personally have never experienced. That was a grand treatment and laundry adventure, ending yesterday in the suggested second treatment just to be safe.

Donald Trump is on the road to getting the Republican nomination, which basically means the end of freedom in America. Ugh. I hate him, and I don't hate anyone*.

I personally have been sick three times. I have been the sickest this last time, and have been flat on my back on the couch or in bed for four of the last seven days.

In the meantime I have interviewed 6 women, and each interview has lifted my heart and spirit in a way I cannot describe. My take away from all of this is something my husband always repeats to me when I feel like giving up.

"Never mistake opposition for divine disapproval."

I am just going to repeat that to myself until I can say it all the way through without coughing afterward. Never give up! Never surrender!

The following pictures are two of my consolations in this terrible time:

Curbside recycling, baby. The dawn of civilization, right here in my small town.

My Doritos addiction. They have got me through some rough times. Thanks Doritos.

* really I almost don't. And also, a sidenote, if he loses to a woman, basically my whole life will be worth living again, and freedom shall ring in the ironic justice of it all. 

08 January 2016

Conversation with my Daughter

Me:"Next week I want to start setting goals as a family, and meeting once a week to talk about how we are doing on them. I think keeping the top of your dresser more tidy should be one of yours."

Daughter: "Awwwwwwwww"

Me: "But you can choose the rest of your goals! Well, most of them. You still have to do homework, piano, etc."

 Daughter: "I would choose goals like: Make a batch of cupcakes every week."

Me: "That's not very healthy."

Daughter: "Well, maybe half a batch."

22 December 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

This is a jpg of our family Christmas card for the year. If you click on it enough times, it will be a readable size. I hope. I clicked once on the computer, and had to twice on my phone when viewing. Another fun fact, if you click the "christmas card" label below, you can read all of our old ones, too!

28 October 2015

Positive Reinforcement

Last night I had planned a delicious soup for dinner. However, due to time constraints, a tiring day, and a suggestive text from a kind person, I decided that rather than make a healthy home cooked meal I would take my children to get cheap, unhealthy, easy pizza.

I consulted with the kids first, and they were very supportive of the plan change. They thanked me, all three of them separately, and one of them TWICE.

They have got this positive reinforcement thing down.

I feel a little jaded that for my carefully planned, home cooked, healthy meals I get the most dramatic, tireless resistance possible. "I'm not eating that. I don't WANT to! Do I have to eat (INSERT HEALTHIEST ITEMS ON TABLE)?" Which I interpret as, "We don't care a speck that you slaved the last hour disguising these vegetables as a delicious and nutritious dinner. We don't care about your feelings whatsoever, in fact. Have a horrible dinner, Mother." In other words, serious negative reinforcement.

But not for quick, cheap, nutritionally dirty pizza. No. For pizza I get shining puppy dog eyes of eternal gratitude, the fastest loading of my family vehicle ever, and effusive, glowing thanks and praise all the way to the stinking pizza drive through. As if I never feed them anything delicious, and today is the best day ever. Grrr. 

Well, my Halloween wish for these little dears is that they will grow up to parent little pizza grubbing nutrition haters just like themselves. Bah. Humbug. 

11 October 2015

Please Bless our House Not to Light on Fire

For some time now, my older children have included a phrase in their prayers every night, and also at most meals. It is: "Please bless our house to be safe and not to light on fire."

It all started sometime in the last year or so when there were two very serious house fires in our community. One of the homes caught the garage next door on fire, and the family in that house had a little girl in Grace's class. Naturally, Grace heard all about the fire at school and became very worried. She started these fire prayers, and then the boys caught on to them as well.

The initial two fires happened only a few weeks apart from each other.  Then, a few weeks after that, my friend got up and shared her testimony in sacrament meeting (on what is basically open mic day at LDS church) about how her family was blessed when she checked on something at her parents' house and smelled an electrical fire smell, which prevented a huge disaster because her parents were gone on a mission.

So at this point, our kids prayers became very compulsive about the fire thing. After numerous, effectual, fervent anti-fire prayers, I thought we had probably had enough, and started encouraging my children to branch out. Sometimes I even told them they really need to stop praying for this every time—to no avail. 

So tonight, we were sitting at my mother-in-law's house when Grace said, "There is a fire over there!" pointing at the neighbor's house. Alex stood up, and said, "I wonder if that is on purpose." He ran over, and I, who apparently do not worry enough about fire, looked over to where Grace was pointing. I saw some orange flames through the bushes, but thought "I'm sure Greg is just burning some weeds or something." About 10 minutes later, Alex had not returned, and a FIRE ENGINE came wailing into town, pulled up next to the house, and proceeded to help them finish putting out the fire. Because there was a big fire, and it was endangering their house. Their house lit on fire. It's true. The blaze was apparently caused by a propane tank that exploded under their barbecue after they had cooked dinner on it, and the fireman had to take a pickax to the back of the house to get the smoldering to stop. Fortunately, the family was home and heard the blast, and they got out very easily and safely. The structural damage was minimal, though it will take some time and money to repair.

I think the moral of this story is: if your children start compulsively praying for your house not to light on fire, it is legit. Let them pray however they want. Maybe you should listen to them, and take a note.

 Captainess of the Anti-Fire Prayers League
 Captain Cute III, aka Dangerous
  Captain Cute, aka Future Pyromaniac
Captain Cute II, aka My Snuggle Pie

10 September 2015

This Can Be Made Ahead

A long time ago, I used to read recipes and see a little note: "This can be made ahead." I used to feel a mixture of amusement and bewilderment that anyone would make their food ahead. Don't we all just make food and eat it? Does anyone ever worry that far in advance about food that they prepare it a day ahead of time?  Is there any person who is truly that organized?

Then I had children. Now some of them go to school. And I understand the need for making food ahead. I did not realize that this little phrase was a warning call from people who Know.

I did not realize that I would travel a journey to the depths of insanity in butting my head against my seven year old son's head (a rock) about doing a 5 minute math page and reading two brief 50 word books every day. I had no idea that while I chopped lettuce, and seared chicken, I would endanger my fingers and fire alarm by distraction with my piano practice harping, picking up after a one year old emptying All the Things, and spontaneous searches for a terrifyingly silent four year old.

Unlike long ago, I now basically only want food that can be made ahead. Like, during the baby's naptime. I also prefer that someone else make it, who also cleans up their own mess, and entertains my four year old with stimulating and educational activities while I take my nap.

So, I guess this post is just to let you recipe writers know that I get it now. Food can and should be made ahead whenever possible. I am sorry I laughed at you inside. Now I just dream big that someday all food will be made ahead.