April 13, 2011

Car Games

We are approaching Spring Break around here.  That means we will be spending lots of family time in the car together.  That also means I am trying to think of ways to keep the peace in the car.  The best method is usually a movie or a good book on tape.  Got any good book on tape suggestions?  Send them my way please!  It's hard to find something that is appealing to all the age groups in my family.  Strangely, Beverly Cleary and Laura Ingalls Wilder have both been able to captivate my teen aged boys before.

No matter what videos or books I bring I know that there will be the car games that we always play during a drive.  I don't know why we do it every. single. time. but even on the shortest trip to the school we play this game where-in we spot flags and call out the word "mem!" Let me explain.  I guess the mem game started back in our Iowa days.  So like 11 years ago.  It was Memorial Day and there were flags out everywhere in celebration of our dead war heroes.  Iowa has got some patriotic spirit and goes all out for this day.  My kids were noticing the flags, and I was explaining why they were there.  Somehow that evolved into shouting out "memorial day!" at every flag sighting.  Then it shortened to "memorial!" and then "mem!" We have not yet shortened to me or mm (so far).  But the game has now extended to so many things that we spot that it is verging on the ridiculous.  If we see a random flag like a holiday themed flag or an advertising banner-type flag or even the small orange ones they put up for marking a construction dig, we yell out "ran!" (short for random...  we like to shorten things for efficiency).  If there are a lot of rans we say "rans-a-lot" and it makes me think of Camelot every time.  We say "fore" for a foreign flag.  If we see a really BIG mem we say M.O.M. for mother of all mems.  If there is a Maryland state flag we yell out "Mare"  If there is a cemetery we say "I see dead people." (self explanatory)

Now if we see something really odd, we say "odd."  Examples of odd things are a garbage can in a tree or a flying mannequin witch stuck to a pole, or a cow mailbox, a tennis racket hanging in the yard, or say...a white ceramic head with matching hands peeking over a fence, (all of which are seen on our routine drives).  It's the odd things that usually spur on the biggest fights in our car.  Classifying "odd" seems particularly hard for my youngest boy.  He confuses unique for odd.  Just because there isn't another one like it doesn't make it odd.  What makes it odd is the fact that your eyes pop a bit when you see it, and you have to do a double take.  The other stimulus for contention is the question of who said it first.  The second person can also cause friction by playing dumb and calling it for themselves (repeat this several times and it makes for a lot of fighting).  There is a certain low hanging tree/bush that we call a "creepy tree" I couldn't find one online to show you but I did find this...
I can't decide if its more odd or more creepy...
My Middle Boy has the best skills for this game.  He has memorized every flag within a 3 mile radius of our home and says them with the exact timing required to claim it was in view.  The only time I was able to beat him was when he was doped up after dental surgery.  Yet the competitive side in him still shined through and he moaned out mems from under his gauze stuffed mouth.  

Yes to say our family is competitive would be like saying the tsunami in Japan was inconvenient for them.  I don't really know how to stop this monster.  I am thinking they get the competitive nature from me because I can't help but play along when they start, dancing victory shoulder dances in my seat.  One thing I refuse to do is let them add any more items to the list.  That is forbidden because my brain and eyes can't handle it anymore.  A parent can only do so much for their children.

April 11, 2011

Big Heart

Last night as my husband and I shared a brief moment of uninterrupted conversation before drifting off to sleep he asked me this question.  "Someday when I die, what will you tell people about me?"  I told him that I would tell people about his intelligence, his testimony, his work ethic, his calm demeanor and his awesome body.  Then I asked the same question of him.  "What will you tell people about me, should I go first in this scenario?"  He told me several things but the one that stood out was that I have a big heart.  I have been told that before from other sources.  I wear my emotions close to the surface I'm afraid.  (For good or for bad).

This week has been an emotional roller coaster.  Middle Boy's piano teacher pretty much dropped us and my heart has yet to recover from that one.  My best evaluation of the situation is that he just didn't feel that we were committed when he made the lacrosse team and our lesson time was compromised.  Just when he was making such great strides.  My poor poor heart has caused me to lose more than one night's sleep this week over that one.  When I spoke to our violin teacher about the situation she told me I was compassionate.  I'm not sure why it turned there.  Perhaps because I was trying to give our diva piano teacher the benefit of the doubt (as mad as I was at him).

All week I have been quick to laugh and quick to cry.  Something needs to be fixed here I think.  How do you shut off emotions?  Is there a switch somewhere?

Someone is moving out of the ward.  I cry when I hear the testimonies.  Someone plays a beautiful violin piece at the recital, I am moved.  A friend tells me they made a last minute decision to go to Disney World over spring break and they got a super cheap deal on a last minute condo rental, and I feel a lump forming in my throat.... I am a sucker for the Magic Kingdom!  It's not even PMS- I swear.

At times I am aware more keenly of this big heart being a liability.  At our committee meeting the  question was asked "can anyone make a flyer for us to pass out at today's Relief Society meeting?" and when no one volunteers my heart does the volunteering for me.  Never mind the 5 children at home who still need whipping into Sunday ready best and the two dozen cookies that need frosting before church and the absent husband attending various meetings himself.  The end result?  No flyer and me feeling like an idiot.  Dang that big heart of mine!

April 06, 2011


You know when you have the urge to write.  You have a brilliant idea even.  But something gets in the way of you and your computer connecting?  Then when you finally get to the computer, the idea is suddenly lost because you get distracted by all the 'shiny things' to look at on the Internet.  That happened to me this morning.  I totally had something to say and now when I try and retrieve it, I just hear crickets chirping.  Oh well.  If it was important enough I am sure it will hit me like a boomerang later.  Probably while I'm driving to buy granola bars today.

So until my brain starts working I have some random facts from my week.....

Last night Big Boy found a piece of school paperwork from back when he was in middle school.  His handwriting was so bad that he shocked himself and came to me all worried about (his words) his "first grader's" handwriting.  He was visibly miffed when Big Girl snickered at his comment.  He then asked why I never sat him down and explained the importance of doing well in school at that age.  I was at a loss for words I'm afraid.

Middle Boy has made the JV lacrosse team.  It's not for the weak of heart -that sport.  His legs look like someone is beating him daily with a stick and that is because someone has been beating him daily with a stick.  During last night's game he got "sandwiched" between two big guys while he had the ball.  We were icing him down at dinner and I must admit it made me want to pull him out.  If he hadn't worked so hard for this I just might do it too.  As it is, I want to have a stern talk with some players from Bethesda Chevy Chase high school....

Little Boy- I got nothing.  Is that typical middle child syndrome evidence or what?

Big Girl gave the sweetest lesson in Family Home Evening last night.  It was about Joseph Smith's First Vision and she held out her pictures for us to see in a wide back and forth arch.  Then there was even a little pop quiz at the end.  As much as the boys wanted to roll their eyes at her they couldn't control the competitive side in them and had to shout out the answers.  It just may have been the most spiritual FHE we've had in a while.  Maybe it was the blackberry milkshakes.  We go to Palmyra NY to visit the sacred grove in two weeks.  I can't wait!  Any ideas on how to keep the kids interested while visiting church history sites I will gladly take btw.

Little Girl is taking dance class and does the "tummy tango" better than any of the others (well almost).  Much better than sitting in a self imposed time out with her legs up on the wall/mirror and her back to the class.  That is what she had been doing for the first 3 classes.  She spontaneously started singing "catch a falling star and put it in your pocket save it for a rainy day" on our way to a friend's house today.  It was raining outside.  I changed up the words a bit and sang "catch a falling (Little Girl's name)____ put her in your pocket, save her for a rainy day."  She was highly offended!  I guess that does seem a bit abusive.  I meant no harm really.

Well I am off to buy 3 ring binders for scout projects.  Wish me luck!