Friday, December 28, 2007

Responsible Rodents

Today as I was driving home from a morning at the pool, I saw a squirrel cross the street. Not an unusual sight around here, except that this squirrel used the cross walk. I thought that was very responsible of him, and that his fellow squirrels should take note of the fine example he is setting for them.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Hemming and Humming

Since yesterday was the Sunday before Christmas, it meant that my husband and I were running around like crazy people trying to be ready for all of our musical numbers in Sacrament meeting. He had a solo, I was in a trio, and the choir (which he directs and in which I sing) was also performing.

It also meant that I had to figure out something to wear that was Christmasy without clashing. It's all well and good to sound lovely while performing, but if people can't look at you because you're wearing bright red and the person next to you is wearing maroon, then you've already got a strike against you. Yesterday morning I opened my closet to pick out an outfit to wear and decided on a dress that is floor length, empire waist, cream colored on top and black on the bottom. And gorgeous! The only problem with the dress is that it needs to be hemmed. I have been holding the hem up with safety pins (since there was no duct tape handy) for the last nine years. Since I didn't have many other good options that didn't require ironing (quite possibly my least favorite chore ever) I decided to pull out my sewing machine and quickly stitch a hem. Five minutes later, I wondered why on earth I had waited so long to do that. It was lovely to wear that dress again.

So, we went to church and survived all our various performances, and did our other callings, and four hours later made our way back home. It wasn't until the ride home that I realized I had worn that dress on my wedding day, exactly nine years earlier to the date and time for that matter. We were married in the Washington D.C. LDS temple, but since it was so far away from home we opted to have our reception a few days later, and had a dinner that evening in D.C. for the people who had made the drive down to the temple. (Going home their three hour drive turned into a 9 hour drive because of the wintery weather. Now that's friendship.) For the dinner, I donned the black and cream dress instead of my wedding dress, since we were being rather informal.

Kind of a fun little coincidence...though now that I think about it, I think the safety pins were already in play for that hem. Talk about procrastination.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


In a few minutes I will have officially been married to my husband for NINE years. The wonderful news is that three pregnancies (and three children), four moves, and multiple cross country trips together, we still not only love, but really like each other. My husband can make me laugh like no one else can. He knows when to be sensitive and when to be tough with me. He makes me want to be a better person without making me feel like I'm not good enough already. Sometimes I wonder how I could be blessed with such a man. Surely I don't deserve someone so good. So, I try to think of him as "advance blessings". I was blessed with him, so I owe all sorts of good to the rest of the world.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Scrappy Doo

Our children are method actors. When they pretend, they do not just put on a costume, they literally become that person. Nathaniel was various characters from Bob the Builder for nearly a year. He got over it just as I was beginning to wonder if help was needed.

Caleb is sick right now. Just a fever and bad headache. But, he refuses to be sick. Instead, he cuddles up to me and says, "Scrappy Doo sometimes gets headaches, Mommy Kitty." (That's me, btw. I am the Mommy Kitty.) When Caleb gets a fever, he also babbles without pause until we literally clamp a hand over his mouth. It's like the high temperature flips off a switch to his mouth. He talked for an hour and a half last night about Scooby Doo. His fever was gone this morning, but tonight at dinner, he started talking again about Scooby Doo non-stop. So, I snatched the thermometer, took his temperature, and sure enough: Fever!

I asked Todd if that's one of my symptoms when I'm sick, since Caleb is like me in so many other ways. Typically, he didn't know, but he promises to pay attention next time. After almost nine years of marriage, though, he can usually spot when I cut my hair. Granted, I usually cut off 12 inches at a time...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Grinchy Claus

Today was a party for a bunch of the three year olds from church. They played and did crafts and played and made pizza, and played and swapped gifts and played.

When it was finally time to eat pizza, we spread blankets on the floor so they could have a picnic while they watched "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (THE ORIGINAL!! Remakes need not apply). An entire room full of three years olds was completely captivated while watching the mean old grinch and his reindeer, Max.

The best and well meaning Moms try not to use TV as a babysitter, but there are those moments...

Caleb had a wonderful time. I always have a hard time remembering that he's not a baby any more. He informs me regularly that he's a big boy, but I forget.

Nathaniel came home and started pretending to whip things. (Like the Grinch whips Max.) We had to make a new rule that I never thought I'd ever have to say to my kids. "No whipping your brother!"

I think that one goes right up there with "No playing in the sink hole."

Really, if anyone had told me ten years ago the things that would regularly be coming out of my mouth now, I would not have believed them.

Whipping? Sink holes?! This is my life.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Driving in NJ

I just received this from a friend and laughed at how true it really is. So sad when even really bad driving can make one feel homesick.

How To Drive In Jersey.
1. You must learn to pronounce Newark It is Nork - rhymes with Fork.
2. The morning rush hour is from 5 AM to noon. The evening rush hour
is from noon to 7 PM. Friday's rush hour starts on Thursday morning.
3. The minimum acceptable speed on the turnpike is 85 mph. On the
parkway it's 105 or 110. Anything less is considered "Sissy."
4. Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere. New Jersey has its
own version. For example, loudest cars or trucks go first at a
four-way stop; the trucks with the biggest tires go second. However,
in Monmouth county, SUV-driving, cellphone-talking moms always have
the right of way.
5. If you actually stop at a yellow light, you will be rear ended,
cussed out, and possibly shot.
6. Never honk at anyone. EVER! Seriously. It's another offense that
can get you shot.
7. Road construction is permanent and continuous throughout the state.
Detour barrels are moved around for your entertainment pleasure during
the middle of the night to make the next day's driving a bit more
8. Watch carefully for road hazards such as drunks, skunks, dogs,
cats, barrels, cones, celebs, rubber-neckers, shredded tires,
cell-phoners, deer and other road kill, and the Homeless feeding on
any of these items.
9. MapQuest does NOT work here -- none of the roads are where they say
they are or go where they say they do and all the Turnpike EZ Pass
lanes are moved each night once again to make your ride more exciting.
10. If someone actually has their turn signal on, wave to them
immediately to let them know it has been accidentally activated.
11. If you are in the left lane and only driving 70 in a 55-65mph
zone, you are considered a road hazard and will be "flipped off"
accordingly. If you return the flip, you'll be shot.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas Music

Tonight our church choir sang a beautiful piece that my husband arranged for us. It sounded incredible and it was the most confident I've ever seen him in his conducting.

Sometimes I am overwhelmed by how much it is possible to love a person.

Friday, December 14, 2007

White Christmas

Today Benjamin was home sick from school. Benjamin has the most amazing immune system in the world. When the rest of us get sick for a week from something, Benjamin gets sick for a couple of hours. After his fever came down a little he asked if he could curl up in the papasan to watch a movie.

The movie? White Christmas. My all time favorite Christmas movie.

I can not watch that movie without crying at beginning AND the end. You know when the general comes in and...sorry, I have to find a tissue now. I get weepy just thinking about it.

Anyway, fun music and dance. Witty dialog, when it's not MGM musical corny. Well worth watching. I had a secret crush on Danny Kaye when I was little. Tall, skinny, wonderful nose, and musical. What's not to love?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Here's the thing: I like long hair. I have no problem with boys with long hair. I am also all for my kids expressing themselves by doing wacky things with their hair. Why? Because it's not permanent.

"Mom, can I dye my hair blue?" asks my oldest. "Sure," I reply, "but no tattoos. I promise if you get one of those, you'll regret it. Do you want to hear the story again about the once flower child now fat and frumpy housewife with the once cute flower tattoo on her ankle? Let's talk about how that looks now, shall we?"

"Mom, can I have a mo hawk?"
"Absolutely," I say, "but no piercings. Be happy with the holes that God designed. Do you want to see how the Native Americans used to pierce ears. Let's go whittle a piece of bone to the right size and find a piece of sinew, shall we?"

(You should hear the sex talk I have for them. It involves the mating habits of praying mantises, and how the females rip off the head of the male when done. It won't work forever, I realize, but surely it's good for an extra year or two of no girls.)

Back to the hair, though. Guess why they decided to grow their hair out! To donate it, like Mommy does. Seriously. How adorable is that?! The fact that it also drives all the grandparents completely nuts is a fringe benefit that I am happy to live with.

Grocery Shopping

Once upon a time I loved grocery shopping. I remember sitting in college classes and instead of doodling in the margins, I would make a grocery list. I would then break down the list into what was in each aisle, so it was more efficient. (I'm sure that this says something about me, but I'm not sure what.) My first inkling that grocery shopping was going to be less fun once I had kids came about 10 days after Benjamin, my oldest, was born. My husband came home from work and I looked so pitiful that he asked what he could do for me. "Please," I begged,"please, just let me go somewhere all by myself. Someplace where nobody is attached to me. Thirty minutes is all I ask. Just thirty minutes of nobody touching me." So, I went to the grocery store. My first big outing into the world sans baby and I chose the grocery store. It wasn't fun. I was too tired to look at labels, or chuckle at the pithiness of quotes on boxes of tea. It wasn't until somebody stopped and stared at me that I realized I had draped the upper half of my body over the shopping cart in sheer exhaustion. So, I went home.

Fast forward 8 years and add two more kids. I'm back to liking grocery least when all my kids are in school. Or I only have one of them. I am also back to my complicated grocery routine. But this time it involves 5 different stores and I do it all on one day. It is a day of pure exhaustion, but accomplishment. And 12 times a year at the store isn't so bad.

Today as I drove home with my van bursting at the seams with enough food to feed 5 boys (husband and brother in law included) and myself for the month, AND all the kids with their after school paraphanalia. (Speaking of which, there should be laws against sending home paintings from preschool that aren't dry. My clothing sports many different colors of paint due to the vast quantities of preschool paintings I am exposed to. Today I have green glitter paint on my jeans.) It was late and I was dreading the unloading and putting away. When we arrived home, though, Benjamin and Nathaniel started bringing bags in. And then they got creative and pulled the wagon out. There was a bucket involved somehow, too, but I'm hazy on the details.

They made a big game out of it, and I couldn't thank them enough for their help. It really touched me. And I had glimpses of the wonderful young men they will someday be. They have good hearts and I'm proud to be their mom.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Alright already

I'm doing it, okay?! Back off now, people. The Ohio Smith family updates can now be viewed here.

And now that I've finally done this, I can't think of a single story to tell. Go figure.