Sunday, July 19, 2015

Conversations with Smiths- Part 10

Remember yesterday when I mentioned that we tend to get a leeetle bit off track during scripture study time?

We had just read this scripture:

18 Lift up thine eyes round about and behold; all these gather themselves together, and they shall come to thee. And as I live, saith the Lord, thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on even as a bride. [1 Nephi 21:18, but quoting Isaiah 49]

Nathaniel: Is this scripture telling us to tie up our wives?

Todd: What?

Caleb: Hey, Dad, I guess you need to tie up Mom.

Todd to me: What is he talking about?

Me: Binding up brides, naturally.

Todd: Um, Ok.

Me: Ha. Good luck.

Benjamin: That's true. If Mom doesn't want to be tied up, there's no way Dad would be able to do it.

Nathaniel: Mom would beat you up if you tried, Dad.

Caleb: Yeah. Mom would win.

Todd: [who thought he was being too quiet for the kids to hear, waggles his eyebrows at me] Well, I didn't know you were into that sort of thing.

Me: [Smirking at him with one eyebrow raised] You don't know everything about my past.

Benjamin: [The one sitting furthest from us, but the only one who heard] Ahh! [Looking completely horrified! Eyes bulging wide open, face frowning, and then curling himself into a ball on the couch to whimper.] Don't want to know! Don't even want to think about it! Aahhahahaha! Scarred for life. Life, I tell you!

Todd: Oh, stop. We're your parents. We have sex. Get over it.

Benjamin: Ahhhh! Make it stop!!!

Nathaniel: And THEN you can use the tied up brides as Christmas trees; you know, with all the ornaments you hang on them after you bind them up.

Me: PLEASE, stop talking, Nathaniel.

Todd: [snapping the scriptures closed and sighing peevishly] I guess we're done with scriptures for tonight. I don't know why I even bother some nights. [looking at all of us who are giggling and snorting]

And again we must say, Poor Todd.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Conversations with Smiths- Part 9

We Smiths spend a lot of our family together time in three places; the car en route to wherever, the dinner table, and in the living room for family scripture study and then family prayers.

Family scripture study is a challenge for any family for a number of reasons. It's difficult to get everyone in the same place at the same time. Also, it's difficult to read when you have family members of all different ages and reading/comprehension levels.

In our case, though, the problem seems to be that it's a problem because we're all together. Once one person loses it, everyone but Todd quickly follows leaving him to try desperately to rein us all back in, poor man.

Tonight was a good example.  While reading Isaiah 49, we got a little, um, distracted.

Caleb: In Primary a few weeks ago, they asked us which of the 10 commandments we knew. I said, "THOU SHALL NOT PASS!"

Me: Did anyone get it?

Caleb: [Name of one of his friends] got it. But none of the other kids...But all the guy teachers laughed a lot.

Benjamin: Yeah, knowing the men who are teaching in primary, I can totally see that. Except maybe for Brother A. I don't know if he would have...nah, I mean he's seen Zombie Prom, surely he's seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail!

Nathaniel: "You shall not pass" is from "The Lord of the Rings"!! [He was totally appalled at his brother for not remembering this, btw.]

Benjamin: Oh, yeah! Eh. Same difference.

Caleb: Right, like when Galdalf used the Holy Hand Grenade to defeat the Balrog!

Me: Or when the Eagles saved everyone from the killer bunny!

Nathaniel: Or when the Ents-

Me: The Ents who say "Ni!"

Nathaniel: Right, when the Ents who say "Ni" kill the Balrog, because Ganldalf counted to 4 with the Holy hand grenade, and then turned into Gandalf the White.

Caleb: And then Gandalf stood on the bridge asking everyone what their favorite color was.

Benjamin: Grey! No, White! Ahhhhhh!

Nathaniel: Actually, the Ents who say Ni, killed the Beast of Ahhhhhh, too.

Todd: [Groaning]  Guys, come on! Can we please focus, here??

All of us: [Still laughing]

Poor Todd.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Conversations with Smiths- Part 8

This picture has nothing to do with the story. But it amuses me.

In the car driving home from the orthodontist:

Benjamin: [grabbing MY water bottle] Thirsty!

Me: You know that's empty, right?

Benjamin: [looking sad and dejected] Stupid heavy metallic water bottles. They trick me every time!! I'm SOOOOOO thirsty!

Nathaniel: [practically drawling with dryness] Just drink your tears, Benjamin. Drink your tears of sadness.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Conversations with Smiths- Part 7

At the dinner table:

Benjamin: Smock, smock, smock!

Nathaniel: Smock, smock, smock, smock, smock smock!

Caleb: Smock, smock, smock, smock, smock, smock, smock!


Todd: [looking at me confused] What's wrong with you?

Me: ALL DAY LONG they've been following me around saying the word, "Smock"!! I've never had a problem with that word before, but now all of a sudden it's like nails on a chalkboard for me!!

All the children: smock, smock, smock, smock!!

Me: AHHH! [covering my ears and shuddering]

Todd: Why are you guys saying, "Smock"?

Benjamin: [Explains cartoon above, since he'd been reading the entire Calvin and Hobbes collection]

Nathaniel: we also discovered another word that works. Watch this!

All the children: Quark, quark, quark, [ etc.]

Me to Todd: That one doesn't bother me as much. It just sounded like I was being followed around by a bunch of baby ducks. Also, this is why I look like I do at the end of the day when you get home from work.

All the children: [look smugly satisfied with themselves for nearly driving their mother crazy]

Todd: You need a swear jar.

Me: Ooo! 25 cents per smock! I like it!

Nathaniel: I do not agree to these terms.

Caleb: Mom, we could also make it so you have to put money in for all your British curse words. You know, since you were supposed to stop saying them before we go to England. [looking at me knowing full well I really haven't stopped at all.]

Benjamin: [counting on his fingers, presumably up to $1] Smock, smock, smock, smock!

Caleb: quark!

Me: [softly pounding head on table.]

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Conversations with Smiths- Part 6

I'm a fan of good vocabulary words. As is my sweet husband.

He used to have a word of the week he would hang up on the inside of our front door for the kids to learn and use, so dedicated to the task of making sure our kids had a good vocabulary was he.

The other night, I was able to teach everyone at the dinner table a new and very useful word. (It would have been exceedingly useful in Part 5 of this series of conversations)

*All names of friends have been changed to protect the identity of those who are both hot and not.

Me: Wait, so what was the name of the friend you were hanging out at the pool with last night? I thought that was John, the human bologna.

Benjamin: No! That was Joe.

Me: Really? Who's the human bologna, then? 

Benjamin: Jay.

Me: Hm. Oh, wait. Joe is the one who is bff's with Mellie who is a total diva and Brady doesn't get along with at all, right?

Benjamin: Exactly. Joe is Michael's brother.

Me: Michael who?

Benjamin: You know, the one who played the older brother in the first show we did this year?

Me: Really?? Wow. Poor Joe.

Todd: Why poor Joe?

Benjamin: Because Michael is hot.

Me: And Joe just...isn't. He's squidgier.

Benjamin: Yeah. Michael is fine.

Me: And callipygian.

Caleb: What does that mean?

Me: Callipygian: having well-formed buttocks.

Benjamin: He really does.

Me to Todd: He really does.

Todd: [shaking his head at the both of us]

Nathaniel: Is this discussion really happening? And why do you know this word?

Me: I read. It's a good word to know. Now that you know it, I expect you to use it in conversation this week.

Nathaniel: I don't think I have those kinds of conversations.

[We then went on to use the word at least a dozen more times in context before dinner was over. Vocabulary for the win! Incidentally, Caleb has been the best at incorporating it into his vocabulary.]

Monday, July 6, 2015

Conversations with the Smiths- Part 5

Benjamin is kind of an amazing dancer. While I have rhythm, there is no grace from me. Todd was graceful once upon a time, but lacking in physical confidence. Benjamin has neither of these problems.

I have long told Benjamin that he has to take at least one dance class throughout high school regardless of his busy schedule, just so when he's in college he can get a part time job at a local dance studio teaching.

When I mentioned this to a friend of mine who has 4 daughters who dance, she said, "Oh! I'd never thought of that! That's a much better option than using the skill set to strip!"

We laughed, but I later mentioned the conversation to Benjamin.

While we were at the grocery store.

Ballet Boy.

The conversation between he and I afterwards went something like this as we were standing in line:

Me: Look, all I'm saying is that we've invested thousands of dollars  and hours over the years in dance classes and you have a skill set that you can use to help you earn money in college. You might as well get some future use out of it, even if you're not going to go on professionally.

Benjamin: That's true. Although, some studios only hire if you have a degree in dance.

Me: Then don't apply for a job at those studios. There are plenty that don't do that and just look at your dancing, performing, and teaching experience.

Benjamin: [Nods while looking at the candy and gum in the check out aisle.]

Me: Just DON'T use that same skill set to be a stripper!

Benjamin: [Loading groceries on the belt and looking thoughtful] I don't know, Mom. I think I'd make a pretty good stripper.

Me: [beat...then throw my head back in laughter] Ah! Just what every mother wants to hear!

Benjamin: I've got the moves AND you know I have the abs.

Me: Yes, but you also have inherited the Smith No-Bottom. You need a good firm rump to be a good stripper.

Benjamin: I can call Great Uncle Blake and ask what exercises he uses for a better bottom. 

Me: That would be a fun phone conversation. "Hey, Uncle Blake. You don't remember me probably, but I'm your nephew Todd's son and remember when at that family reunion my Mom joked you all had the same Smith-No-Bottom, you showed yours off and said 'Not me, I have exercises for that!'? Yeah. I need the exercises. Why? Oh, to further my stripping career."

Benjamin: Hm. Maybe Dad could call for me.

Me: Yeah, cuz that would be less awkward. Seriously, though, No stripping.

Benjamin: I bet the money's better.

Me: I'm sure. But you have no bottom, so it's a moot point.

Benjamin: WHY do you know about what male strippers are supposed to look like??

Me: Oh, look. The car. Quick put the groceries in so we can get home before the ice cream melts!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Conversations with the Smiths- Part 4

I have sort of a love/hate relationship with having all my kids home for the summer. On the one hand, it's a lot of fun to be together...mostly. We end up enjoying one another's company more than we're able to during the hustle and bustle of the school year. There is time to make music together, cook together and play together. On the other hand there is also time to get on one another's nerves.

Constant exposure to the humor of males ages 11, 12, and 15 means that my own juvenile sense of humor is even worse than usual in the summer.

Two conversations to highlight this point.

Have you ever seen this toy?

My family got addicted to it during our last visit to California, so we gifted Todd with it for Father's Day. (He was the most addicted.) It's a puzzle that is bizarrely difficult for something sold in a toy section of stores. Anyway, since it's summer and we have time, all the kids have been working with it. Benjamin when the ball drops out of the maze making it so he has to start all over again responds the frustration by banging his forehead on the ball. Leading to this discussion:

Todd: Guys, time for scriptures and prayers!

Me: Why is the ball all wet?

Todd: I wiped it off before since it was kind of dirty.

Benjamin: From my greasy forehead.

Me: Why?

Nathaniel: Benjamin has a problem with sticking his forehead on balls.



Todd: [getting himself in control] Okay. Does everyone have scriptures?


Benjamin: Oh my gosh, Mom! You are so immature!

Nathaniel: I didn't actually mean it that way [though looking smug that I'm still laughing]

Me: [Wiping the tears from my face and still unable to stop laughing]

Todd: [Only slightly exasperated at trying to reel the other adult in the room back in] Emilia, why don't you read first?

Watermelon is one of my favorite things about summer. I routinely chop a melon in half and just eat that with a spoon for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. Benjamin has been giving me a run for my money this summer though, and will often steal the other half of the watermelon from me.

Half Dollar Hot Dog Night is one of my other favorite things about summer. And while it is lovely to have cheap hot dogs and drinks at the pool every Tuesday, I like to take some fruit to help round out the meal a bit.

The other day as we were getting ready to go to the pool, I asked Benjamin for help.

Me: Here, take this tool and grab a tupperware and scoop out enough watermelon for us tonight.

Benjamin: [Taking one look at the melon ball tool and then the watermelon, then adopting his best surfer boy accent] Dude. Ballin'!

There are way too many jokes about balls going on this summer. Lilyanna and I and our delicate feminine natures may be forever scarred. ;)

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Conversations with the Smiths- Part 3

Our 15 year old was in a production of "Zombie Prom" this Spring.

Lilyanna was particularly fascinated by the whole idea of the show and kept asking how the main character, Jonny, becomes a zombie.

My kid is the one who is not green.

Both Benjamin and I had explained that he drives his motorcycle into a Power Plant but instead of dying, he turns into a zombie.

Weeks later, after seeing the posters for the show, meeting some of the other kids involved in the production, and hearing a bit more about the story line, Lilyanna piped up from the backseat of the van saying, "So, are they going to use a real bush in the play?"

Me: What do you mean?

Lilyanna: In "Zombie Prom", when he jumps into the power plant, will it be a real bush or a fake one?

Me: Um....OHHHH! Not THAT kind of plant, Lilyanna!

Benjamin and Me: [fumbling explanation of what a power plant is while trying to not laugh too hard. We didn't want to hurt her feelings, after all.]

Friday, July 3, 2015

Conversations with the Smiths- Part 2

I've already told this one on facebook, so sorry if it's a repeat to you, but it's a great snapshot into the psyche of 12 year old Nathaniel these days. That is to say disturbing and brilliant.

A few weeks ago at the dinner table Nathaniel jokingly said that he had a wife and 19 kids, then a few minutes later referred to his wife and 17 kids.

Me: Wait. What happened to the other two kids? You said 19 before. Now there are only 17?

Nathaniel: [Not evening missing a beat] Soylent Green baby food. Obviously.

Me: [Alternating wildly between being completely appalled and completely proud and amused by my son's wit played out with slightly guilty and uncontrollable laughter]

Nathaniel: Speaking of Soylent Green, do you think they mix the eyeballs right in, or save those for other things?

Benjamin: Like what?

Nathaniel: Salads?

Me: Actually, the sclera makes it very difficult to cut into an eyeball.

Everyone at the table: [Looks at my remark with horror (except Nathaniel, who is intrigued)]

Benjamin: WHY do you know that??

Nathaniel: Like how difficult?

Me: Well-


Me: Hm. 

Caleb: [Singing] "You know we love our Soylent Green!"

Everyone at the table except Todd who was looking for a Tupperware in the kitchen so he could pack his lunch for the next day and possibly avoiding us and the current dinner conversation: "Merry Christmas from Chiron Beta Prime!"

This song is the reason my kids even know what Soylent Green is. (Spoiler alert: "It's people!")

Conversations with the Smiths- Part 1

I need a place to record a few conversations we've had so far this summer. 

I haven't had a decent night's sleep in months. First was my typical spring twitterpation beginning in April which left me completely blissed out and high on life, green things, pollen, warmth and sunlight. Who needs sleep with such a potent combination? 

Then there was a medical scare in the family that left me unable to sleep for worrying. 

Then it was stumbling into the rabbit hole that is fanfiction. So, reading won out over sleeping.

Last night, I couldn't sleep because I was giggling remembering some of the aforementioned conversations. I was actually laying in bed in our darkened room next to my sleeping husband and giggling. I finally gave up on sleep and went downstairs to clean up the mess my children recently made of all the photo albums.  

I should have just sat down last night and written this then, instead, I stayed up until 3am when I couldn't read or walk in a straight line anymore. I miss being able to fall asleep at normal times.

Onto the conversations, though. This one from the last day of school, whilst sitting around the dinner table. [On the last day of school, our high school theater director puts up partial cast lists and names all 10ish shows for the following school year.]

Todd to Benjamin: So what are the shows for next year?

Benjamin: [Lists a bunch] and "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee"

Todd: Oh, you should totally sing the erection song!!

Me: That's what I told him, when I heard the show list!

Benjamin: Um...okay.

Nathaniel: [Horrified gasping that his parents are discussing erections at the dinner table]

Me: Every kid wants to hear their parents tell them to sing a song about erections, right?

Todd: To be fair, I just meant that it's a really good song for a tenor. 

Benjamin: [Trying desperately to refocus the conversation] Well, I'm excited!

Me: I guess you'd have to be to sing a song about erections...

Nathaniel: [Moaning, blushing, and running from the table]

Me: Why isn't anyone eating the peas?

Todd: Because they're still frozen.

Me: Frozen peas are great! They were one of my favorite snacks when I was a kid.

Todd: But they're still frozen.

Me: New slogan for the pea council, "Frozen Peas! They're not just for vasectomies anymore!"

Nathaniel: [Groaning from the next room]