September 30, 2009

Dental Ramble

Some of you may know that I am a dental hygienist. Some of you may not, but now you do. So my Little Boy needs some serious intervention with his skeletal class 3 with a double sided crossbite. In layman's terms he has a messed up mouth. I have been to 4 different orthodontists and received 4 differing opinions about how to handle his difficult case. I am taking all kinds of things into account here. Driving distance being a big part of the deal. Just my luck that the cheapest guy who is a 5 minute drive away is also the least aggressive and probably a bit too out there for my taste. I need someone who will loose sleep over my son's awkward bite. Help!

September 28, 2009

1000 bow holds

"Are you keeping track of your bow holds?"

My son's new expensive violin teacher asked him on his second lesson.

"No" was his reply.

She then explained how important it was to keep tack because once a student reaches 1000 bow holds your name goes up on the yellow sheet of paper she has hanging in her studio. He didn't look too excited, but when she mentioned that parents sometimes like to give some incentive like a popcorn party to encourage their kids, I saw the wheels turning in his little red headed head.

Mini Ninjas has been the nagging request as of late. They have the cash to buy it, it's rated 'E' it's the latest game for the Wii (hard to find in stores even), and the parents in our household have told them that another video game would be valued as much as a hole in all of our heads at this point. "No" had been the answer for a few days now. Much to everyones dis-belief. That's right "NO."

So we made a deal, when both of the violin students in the house made it to 1000 correct bow holds that Mini Ninjas would be theirs for the buying (with their own money).

I thought it would take a month, maybe two. Well two days, and lots of circling the floor in our basement later we have 1000 holds under our belts (x2 both boys did it together). Little Boy was sporting a blister on his thumb for a day. The teacher was stunned! I was proud, and mini ninjas has been a distraction from practicing ever since.

In fact, dare I admit this on the blog? We actually went out for about an hour, with the entire family belted in the van, lost in the hot momentum of pursuing the Best Buy in town that had this game in stock! When upon our arrival at home we realized a sad fact. Big Boy's group lesson had been about 30 minutes ago and we'd forgotten to attend. Sigh!

September 26, 2009

Blogger's Hierarchy

Hierarchy among bloggers out there may be totally in my head. But have you ever been reading along lurking on unknown blogs, and say you find what they write amusing so you think you should comment but... then... you don't? I do that sometimes too, and I will attempt to tell you why. Usually I look at how many people they have following them and if it's a huge number then I think well, they just don't need me and my 2 cents. They're like the equivalent of the jocks and cheerleaders sitting on the hallway heaters watching and evaluating everyone as they walk by. Taking mental acceptance or denial notes. Perhaps I judge to harshly since I, myself once tried out for cheer leading and missed out on that particular opportunity to be a snotty pants. Oh I still remained friendly to them (had to keep my social status as high as possible you know) but some (most) of them were basically snotty pants(s).... Not you MaryAnn!

OK, I will just get up off of my therapy couch now and get to the point. If someone I don't know leaves me a comment I am all flattered and instantly go check out that blog and leave a thank-you note back. Is that like a desperate puppy or a friendly neighbor? I can't be certain. But I do know that you can tell a lot about people by how the reciprocate on the blogosphere. Some people who have a huge following will still come on over and say hello. Some will not. It is my opinion that those in the later category are being a bit full of themselves. Or maybe they are just busy and can't get around to all their fans. Then there are some who will comment one time and I think, oh a new friend! But then they never come back. Was it something I said? Does my blog smell? Why do I give a crap? I don't know. It's just a silly blog right? I have found over time though, that I generally like people who like me, and don't care for those who don't. Cocky? Probably.

Let's just say that I try to be nice and reciprocate to most everyone who stops by. Even if it's just once. Maybe it was my snotty upper Oak Hills upbringing that has me leery of the Sneeches with stars upon thars out there. Maybe this is why I tear up when Jud Fry from Oklahoma sings about everyone being better than him. Poor guy, if he had a blog he'd say all kinds of awkward things and make people run for the hills. Just betting some of them are for Oak Hills.

September 25, 2009

Date Night

My husband just surprised me. His insistence that we hold to our date night tonight has put a huge smile on my face today. I was willing to make a sacrifice and help out a friend. He flatly refused to not go on a date with me tonight. His words to me on the phone just now were "If I don't stand up for us then who will?" Talk about priorities! I am humbled to be put in my place and glad to be married to such an awesome man who knows what is what.

Sometimes I complain that his hours are longer than I would like. Dinner together as a family has turned into an exception rather than the rule and I hate that. We are often overbooked. We both feel stretched thin. I need date night just as much as he does. But when things come up (fever with Baby Girl, a movie night I agreed to for Middle Boy and his friends) I figure- eh, we can skip a date night here and there. Can't we? Then a statement comes to mind that has been repeated over the years. Can we afford to not do this thing? It has multiple applications, but it always refers to priorities. Can we afford that plane ticket to see your brother get married? Can we afford not to? No. Can we really call or email every day while we are apart? Can we afford not to? No. We can't. And we can't skip date night when we are both burned out after a busy week and need to stop the noise inside our heads.

Investing in ourselves, like Martha would say, it's a good thing.

My two year old would not eat her toast just now and somehow it escalated into a storm off to her room and she is yelling through the door at me "YOU'RE NOT MY FRIEND!" Sheesh! I think I do need that date more than I realized. Now I wonder if he would count a trip to the grocery store together as a date?

*update! A promise of painted nails and Baby Girl and I are friends again-whew!*

September 24, 2009

Baby Girl is Smart (part 2)

Yesterday I took my 15 year old in to have some plantars warts frozen off the bottom of his foot so that he can continue to increase his times in cross country and earn himself large Slurpees. I had to take the baby with us, and she looked a bit pouty as all the attention was on her big brother instead of herself. Two is a selfish selfish age. If you didn't know that before, let me be the first to say it out loud. They are selfish greedy little cutie pies.

She noticed a stash of stickers for the well behaved children at the vitals station. Still pouting, she pointed to the Dora stickers and asked for one. I whispered to her that it was Nathan's turn to be seen by the doctor today and that she could get one when it was her turn to see the doctor. I'm trying, somewhat unsuccessfully, to teach the girls especially, that just because they are cute they don't always get to bat their eyes and get special things.

So the wheels were turning for no more than two seconds when she pointed to a scab on her ankle and said "I have an owie." Two seconds later she had a Dora sticker. That girl really knows how to play her cards....

September 23, 2009

Baby Girl is Smart (part 1)

The other day I was eating some fine Mint Bliss Ghirardelli chocolate that had been given to me by a friend who really knows what I like. Now I ask you, do you think I could share this rare treat with my children? Don't answer that. No, do. Would you?

I remember my parents squirreling away special things they said were for adults only. X-rated cheese or chocolate. I swore (as a child) I would never make my kids feel like second class citizens and I would share my treats when I grew up. Then I grew up and changed my mind.

It takes a seasoned palate to appreciate intense dark chocolate Ghirardelli with a hint of natural mint. So what did I do when Baby Girl asked for a taste? I told her it was for a my headache. (The truth mingled with fiction). And what do you think she did? She slapped her hand to her forehead and said in a most sincerely painful voice "my head hurts..."

Dang she's good!

September 21, 2009


The tradition in our home when one becomes "fully" potty trained is to bestow the said 'trainee no longer in training' with a gift. In the past it's been something stuffed. Like the stuffed rottweiler for Little Boy. Rocky is still a cherished possession that (7 yrs later) needs to be tossed in the laundry every so often. When that toy was brand new Little Boy had a beaming look on his face as we crossed the street to the elementary school. The crossing guard (who also happened to teach pre-school) took note. "Is that a new doggie?! He looks special!" I explained just how special he was. A reward for being a trained puppy himself. Then everything changed over the weekend. After repeated accidents I was forced into repealing the reward dog. Much emotion was felt by poor Little Boy. And the crossing guard did take note that Rocky was missing. "Where's your new doggie?" I gave her the 'don't ask' look.

I am glad to report that after some time he earned the dog back. Things eventually work out don't they?

So I had thought I had an end of summer miracle on my hands when Baby Girl potty trained herself in 2 days. I shouldn't have opened my big fat mouth on the blog (again!) I guess because just as unexplainable was the complete turn around she seemed to have a couple weeks later. My theory is that eventually the trick up your sleeve (be it butterscotch chips or sticker charts) will wane and you either have to come up with some new sexy idea or put up with accidents. The thing I think I did wrong was buy the 'you're completely trained' gift a bit too soon. I was a cock-eyed optimist in the local toy store. The kitty inside a fur-lined fringed crate with grooming accessories just spoke to me. Actually it spoke more loudly to Big Girl who was with me at the time. I think the store clerk got a kick out of overhearing Big Girls comment of "I'm not sure you should get that for her, it might make me too jealous..." So of course when Baby Girl started becoming apathetic about her wet panties I told her she would be able to keep trying for a while in her underwear but if it kept happening we'd have to put her back in diapers and take away her new kitty. The first time it went up on the fridge her whole world turned upside down. The interesting thing though was that after a few days of taking it and earning it back she came to me one morning and said "I want a diaper- you take the Kitty." Oh oh... I thought. I've lost all the power here. She has no incentive. I'm totally screwed. What will I do now?!

Then at dinner I pulled out the big guns. "You know" I said in an overly bold voice. "I've heard that when it's time to go to pre-school that they make you fill out a paper that says your child only goes pee/poo on the toilet. Yep- pretty sure there's no diapers going to pre-school these days. And hey, did you hear that our good friend M is going to big girl pre-school? IT'S TRUE!"

Yes- she may have won a battle, but she doesn't know who she's messing with. I'm pretty sure that in the end I will win the war.

*update this actually happened about a week ago and she is back on track with a new set of underwear with Tinkerbell on them. "Don't tink on Tink" I told her : )*

PS I hate potty training!

September 19, 2009

Back in a Jiffy

So I know you are all just dying to know what went down at the Jiffy Lube right? I know that was the first thing T asked. Well I don't usually go there because it's out of the way from where I currently am living but I have been there plenty in the past and I must say that this experience really paled by comparison to the Jiffy Lube in Happy Valley Utah.

Let me just say that for a mother of 5 who drives a mini van the most gratifying aspect of an oil change is the vacuum job. In past years I have also been offered a choice of scents that they spray in your car. I usually went for cherry. Not here! I kept wondering to myself if I should have shown someone how to pull the middle seats forward to access the back. No, I thought to myself. These good folks are professionals. They certainly know how to get into the back.

And why is it that they're always pushing the expensive filters at the Jiffy Lube? The techniques for sales-pushing are new. The guy calls out the type of car you drive "Dark Grey Honda Odyssy?" ....Yes, that would be me. So I stop reading and step up to the connecting door to the garage to hear the official 5 minute decision on what my car needs. Only this time he has me at "Dark Grey" by showing me a computer screen with Honda's official recommendations for my vehicle at certain milage points in the car's life. Hmm... I'm thinking how do I argue with this logic? The bar graph doesn't lie does it? But did someone make this program up on their Mac at home I am wondering? Sigh- I know the filter could be obtained for cheaper if I only knew how to install it myself but I go ahead and fork out the 45.00 extra and take my seat.

Meanwhile another customer needs to be man handled about replacing her faulty windshield wipers. This savvy lady doesn't even leave her seat when he calls out her vehicle though. He can just tell her from where she sits thankyouverymuch! She has obviously been here a few times. She looks at him over her glasses square in the eye and says "how much that gonna cost?" He tells her and she denies him flat out. Doesn't even give the bar graph a look-see. Tells him she can get one elsewhere and install it herself. She looks over at me and I give her a look of approval and admiration. Then for emphasis I point to my temple and tell her she is a smart cookie. She then tells me how much she has had to pay to fix her car after a grandson took it 4 wheeling. I think she drove a Buick. Not good.

Next- and this is the best for last. I overhear the lady at the front desk run through her canned routine of services rendered. She hardly takes a breath or makes any eye contact and understanding her takes focus. Then she actually tells the customer that they've "installed a reminder sticker for the next oil change in the upper left hand corner of his windshield." Oh My Gosh! She just said "installed." Did that cost extra? How hard is a plastic sticker to install? How much to write on it with a sharpie? Was there a labor fee involved because I can certainly handle sticker placement my own self!

Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to ask these questions because she didn't relay that same installation message to me. What is she a mind reader? Sticker installation must be only for the special customers. The ones who also get the back seats vacuumed. That's right- they didn't do it. No air freshener, no complete vacuuming. But they were ultra polite. Three people told me to have a good day. Two were standing next to each other at the time. They must have been listening in their how-to-treat-the-customers lecture that morning. The first one said to the second. "Does your "good day" need to be said because mine doesn't hold any meaning to her?" "Yes" was his reply. I settled the issue by saying "I'll be sure and have a doubly good day!" And I did.

But I will tell you something that didn't exactly make my day was when two days later during my dinner prep time.*Never a good time to call me btw.* The poor woman just doing her job on the other end wants me to rate the service at Jiffy Lube for her using the words "satisfactory, above average, superior", etc. Only I cannot remember the words she'd like me to use and I keep using the wrong ones. After 2 questions I tell her that I find the timing of this call unsatisfactory. Rude right? Sorry. All I really should have told her is that if they would vacuum the back then I'd be back next time, but they had their chance.

September 17, 2009

But I Digress

Well it's been longer than usual between posts for me. You all probably thought that after my last entry that I had gone a driven off a cliff or something. Nope, still here. Things are improving but I can tell I'm not back to my normal happy place just yet because of my over-reaction to a large OJ spill this morning. Why is it that I can be so polite and patient when a friend spills a bunch of white punch on my carpet last night? But spill OJ on the tablecloth at my breakfast table and your head could end up on the chopping block!

Adding to my issues as of late could also be the fact that the poop has once again been stirred. The poop being the issue of my being too candid on my blog and it causing all kinds of hoopla a month or so ago. I have learned something from this (I hope) and will not go into more details here on the blog, but let's just say the pain goes on. This time for another party, not me. But pain none-the-less. It hurts. And I started it. (sorta).

But on to other things- The real thing I started off thinking about for today has to do with an oil change at Jiffy Lube. Whenever I think of Jiffy Lube now I remember the movie Juno. Where she writes her intentions on the back of a Jiffy Lube receipt and in the end the adoptive mother frames it and hangs it in the nursery. "If you're in I'm in" Great movie. Some scenes I could have done without but seriously funny script there.

Yet once again I digress. What is it with that? I spend most of my blogging time digressing. No wonder my husband says my entries get too long... It's like I have ADD or something, I can't stick with just one idea. Maybe this post should just be all about the act of digressing. I do it with housework too. I go downstairs to say, I don't know, pick up the forks and things from the baby shower I threw last night and then I end up in the laundry room to throw something away in the big trash can. Before you know it I am switching over a forgotten load of laundry, then the phone rings, and I can't find the phone because I was too distracted to hang it up the last time. Then after the phone conversation is over I see the mailman. While going to get the mail, I weed a few weeds then I come inside and see the birds are all out of bird seed. Yikes- gotta feed them. Then I'm also hungry. So I gofor an Oreo with milk. Next Baby Girl has soiled herself, and it's time for a nap so I read to her and rock her. Then I'm off to read blogs and comment and sit down and write something. However, there are still more things to pick up from the shower downstairs. The first task I had planned on doing is only one step into being done. And now all I want to do is take a nap! (This is reality writing I am not making this stuff up). It's like I am living in one of those books by Laura Joffe Numeroff. Those Mouse Cookie books. Does this happen to others as well? Perhaps I should borrow some of my son's meds. I hear they suppress the appetite- bonus! Nah- that didn't turn out so well for Lynnette Scavo.

Maybe I'll try and blog about Jiffy Lube tomorrow.

September 09, 2009

Connecting the Blogs

I came from a very large Mormon family (13 kids-yes!).  So as you can imagine the offspring resulting from a family that size is... sizable!  There are some extended family members that if I passed them on the street I would think they were strangers.  Actually, it has likely happened.  However, I discovered a new advantage to blogging this past spring.  We end up being connected through our many mindless posts.  It's more than just voyeurism.  It's a way of being closer.

I was staying at a sister's house and had just finished using the facilities and when I emerged I found myself face to face with one of those would-be strangers.  He had married one of my sister's daughters and I had only met him once a couple years earlier at a family camp out.  I hadn't any reference points to chat with him about at the time so we'd had minimal conversation and then moved on.  But now...  Oh now was a different story.  I totally recognized him, and I wanted him to know that I now knew exactly who he was after reading my niece's scrap-book perfect blog for the past year.  

"You're Tim!" I said (then a small pause)  "You are an incredibly gifted cake baker, you just got into pharmacy school at the University of Utah (congrats btw), now where is that new baby boy?"

He replied with "You're Kelly!  You have a bamboo forest, you hate mother's day and your husband just returned from Iraq..."  Geez, who knew the husbands were reading along : )  It was oddly nice to have a new relative who seemed more... relative.  As we sat around visiting, one of my children wandered through the room.   Another nephew I had lost touch with said "Is this Big Boy or Middle Boy?" Another follower.

The next evening during a conversation with another sister, she told me how much her kids have been enjoying getting to know me through my blog.  How flattering!  She told me that after a specific entry where I divulged my true feelings about the republican party that her son called her up and asked her about the brainwashing possibilities of Utah culture.... So glad I could be of assistance.

September 04, 2009

Big Shoes to Fill

Originally I took this photo to show that it was clearly time to go back to school since my kids had worn out shoes.  However, it was supposed to be a before and after shot, and I never got around to taking pictures of their new shoes.  Such is the way around here.  Good intentions, possibly a good idea, no time to get around to execution.  

Instead my thoughts today, after spending the first week of school relishing the quiet of my home from 8:30 to 3:00 are what kind of parent am I?  Am I glad to have these old empty shoes in the house?  Glad to be sending off the kids in those new vans?  It's a recurring theme on this blog I suppose.  I mean, there are mothers out there that are always saying "I just really miss my kids when they go back to school" and I want to be that kind of parent.  The first day of kindergarten when all the moms cry.  I sigh.  A sigh of relief and then I skip out the door merrily on my way.  In part I do miss them.  I miss the funny things that happen when they are around, I miss the helping hands, I miss reading to them (something I have recently resurrected).  I miss the bike rides we took together, hanging out at the pool, and is it sad that I can't come up with any more things? Anyways, here's what I don't miss.  The fighting, the sassing, the noise, the need for me to entertain, the nagging them to get their jobs done, the constant messes.  Sigh! (more sighing).  No problems coming up with that list now is there?  

This just leads to me feeling like I could really be better as a mom.  I used to have this friend that I served with in the women's organization at church.  She was the relief society's president and I was her counselor.  When we would have meetings at her home, her children would periodically interrupt with something.  It didn't matter how annoying the thing was she always had a pure look of joy to see them wander in on her face.  Her answers were always sincere and kind.  I could just feel the love she had for her kids and felt a bit guilty.  But she was the kind of person you just couldn't help but want to emulate.  Probably why she was our president and we continue to be friends to this day 10 years later.  

I can say that I am sincerely glad to see my kids first thing in the morning.  And also the first thing when they walk through the door after school.  And I try and show them that.  But there are lots of times when I just want to do my own thing and not be bothered.  Parenthood has a way of forcing you into unselfish behavior.  I think it's our decision however how we will act.  Disgruntled or loving.  Being loving all the time?  Those are some big shoes to fill.

September 03, 2009

Our Best Friend

Funnily enough 3 out of 4 children came home from school after the first day back with the exact same homework.  Makes one wonder why a high-school spanish teacher is copying a first grade teacher's lesson plan.  Let's hope it doesn't continue all year.  

The homework assignment was to fill a small paper sack with things that describe you to be shared with the class.  A crayon if you like to draw.  A baseball trophy to show you like to play ball, etc.  All three kids wanted to put a photo of our family dog Abby inside.  Abby is a big part of their lives and though they argue about who's turn it is to walk her, they clearly love her.  To think I almost didn't cave and get a dog for them 5 years ago.

When I was a kid there was a commercial sponsored by the LDS church where a small girl comes home from a birthday party and tries to tell each of her family members about what happened.  Each person would brush her off.  The teen aged sister was busy getting glammed up for a date, Mom was on the phone, Dad at the TV, etc... Then the girl (who strangely looked just like a future best friend of mine CJ) goes and tells the family sheep dog all about the party.  The narrator then says "Take the time to listen to your children, before they go to the dogs."  It was almost as heartbreaking as the commercial where Susy comes home with a good report card and is told harshly to put her bike away because she is so forgetful.  

Although I like to think I am a bit more attentive then those portrayed in the commercials, I still see the value of having a dog to turn to.  For us the dog has been someone the kids go to when they are lonesome or sad.  Sometimes no one understands quite as well as the dog.  She is a great listener.  She doesn't judge.  She'll be blue with you or play with you.  She's the best dog!  Growing up I had a dog but by the time I came he was old and un-playful.  Not that interested in us.  And there was an ever present contention in the home over Pierre.  Dad didn't like him, but he came along as a package deal when he married my mom and took on her children and their dog.  He never complained about the children, but he sure hated the dog.  That's why I am sensitive to my husband's criticism of Abby.  She can't help that she sheds any more than I can help that my hair is thinning (whoops- don't think about it,  don't think about it, done thinking).  So she eats her poop once in a while!  Dogs do that sort of thing.  You just gotta put that out of your mind and wash your hands a lot.  She follows me around all day as my companion and protector.  She is so smart!  She was awfully hard to train because of this, but I am glad she's the way she is.  I am so glad that I gave in to my 7 year old's deepest desire of 2004 and got us a puppy.  He had every stuffed dog we could buy him before we got the real deal.  He had the funniest names for them.  Let's see there was Strong Spike, Bear Dog Ol' Sharkie, Heffron the Dog (named after a first grade teacher in Iowa), Power Scratch, and a bunch more.  He'd wake up from nightmares that he would never own a dog.  So I caved for fear he'd need therapy.... I would highly recommend getting a dog if you can swing it.  Lots of work, but even more pay off.

September 02, 2009

Love vs Pain. And the winner is... LOVE!

I just finished listening to the most fascinating interview on NPR.  It was with this psychiatrist Nancy Rappaport who had lost her mother to suicide when she was only four.  She has written a book called In her wake.  What a brave woman!  She tells of getting therapy as a teenager and when funds were cut off she did artwork and babysitting jobs to continue her payments.  One thing that was said was that love is stronger than pain.  Coming to the realization that her mother did love her was obviously huge for her.   Love is stronger than pain.  

I lost my mother to cancer in 1989.  I knew she loved us.  But I still have pain when I think about this loss.  This quote today has touched me though.  Love is a strong thing.  It does outweigh the pain.  All over the world there is suffering.  There is pain.  Things happen that are not fair.  But when I look at the face of a sleeping child I feel a swelling of love in my heart for the clear and obvious fact that God has been so good to me.  Sometimes the children who are awake can be less apt to induce a love-swell.  But God is still good.  

Excuse me but I was just interrupted by my two year old who needed instructions on how to eat an open faced peanut butter and honey.  I told her to hold it just like a piece of pizza and she thought that was the funniest comparison I could have come up with.  All this blogging has given me some great aptitude for the art of metaphor use.  She, on the other hand just compared her open half peeled half banana to a yellow flower.  I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.  Like mother like daughter.  And.... I am at a loss for more so I will stop there.

But for those who suffer I empathize.  Since God has also blessed me with suffering in my life.  Suffering always makes us one of two things.  Bitter or better.  Here's hoping that you will choose the better path.  And here's hoping the same for me.  Love is stronger than pain.

I dedicate this post to Dawn of Bee and Rose. She could use your prayers!