Sunday, August 28, 2011

Today

Today I woke up at 5:00am.

Today I drove to my friend's house early in the morning to drop off my van so it could be loaded up. I drove home in another friend's car.

Today I got three children ready for church.

Today I stopped at the store on the way to church because a certain child didn't tell us until last night that she's out of a particular bedtime necessity.

Today I was still early for church.

Today I drove for two hours with a car full of gear and Girl Scouts.

Today I sang camp songs, ate pizza by the pool, and helped pack tomorrow's lunches.

Today I began a week-long adventure with the ten most awesome almost-6th graders I know.

We're gonna have a blast.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday

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I heard an awesome story this week about E.B. White. Apparently he did an audio recording of Charlotte's Web, and it took him 17 takes to get through the part where Charlotte dies.

I finally broke down today and put our little A/C unit in the window.  We've made it this long, but the house didn't cool down overnight (at 9am it was 80 degrees upstairs, and only 67 outside), and I was dying.  It's amazing what a difference it makes.  I will probably not be as grouchy today as I first anticipated.

I took my car into the shop.  Again.  Maybe this time they'll fix it.

It amazes me in this day and age that there are still people who don't check their email regularly.

My baby starts kindergarten in three weeks.  I can't believe it.  She can, though.  She can hardly wait.

Yesterday we visited the school - I had a meeting with the principal - and when the secretary saw Ellie and her friend Katie, she said, "There's my two kindergartners!" and I swear they both grew a foot taller.

I love getting a haircut.

Next week I get to ride a horse on the beach.  How cool will that be?

Never plan vacations two weeks apart.  It will make you crazy.

There is not enough ice cream in my house today.

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Your turn!

If you do a Random Thoughts post on your own blog, I'd love to know about it!  Leave me a comment and I'll come read!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Living in The Village

I hate my house.  HATE it.

Well, okay, maybe that's a little harsh.

I really don't like my house.

It's too small.  The builder did a shoddy job.  The wiring is faulty.  The carpet is cheap and badly in need of a cleaning.  There is no pantry.  It's too small.  The original paint (still in a few upstairs rooms) was hideous.  There is nowhere for visitors to park.  The people renting across the street like to swear at each other, with the windows open, at 2am.  Did I mention it's too small?

Okay, fine, I hate my house.

But I refuse to move if it means leaving this neighborhood.

We moved here almost sight unseen.  In fact, the first time I laid eyes on the house, or the neighborhood, was the day we pulled up with the moving van and a front door key.  Chris flew up and spent a day with a realtor, looking at houses and taking pictures, which he then shared with me.  After a lot of thought and prayer, we settled on a place and made an offer.

We've lived here six years now.  In June, Vicki "graduated" out of the same school she started attending in kindergarten.  There is a core group of families that we've met since that day in 2005 that I consider to be as good as family; people I love to spend time with, and who I trust with my children (and who I'm fairly certain trust me with theirs.)  I cannot imagine my life without these families as a part of it.

You've heard the phrase, "It takes a village to raise a child"?  Time and again since moving away from our "real" family, I have seen this in action.  These families have banded together to help look out for each other.  They have been my salvation on a number of occasions.  I've seen rides offered so that someone else's child doesn't have to miss out on a book club meeting.  I've seen watchful eyes kept on other's people's children on the school playground - I know that if something were to happen to me and I wasn't able to make it to the school on time to pick up my kids, several other parents would have my back.  I've seen countless impromptu playdates, arranged on the spur-of-the-moment with a "what's one more?" attitude.  I've seen parents willing (and even - dare I say it - excited) to look after my children on short notice when I've needed it most.

Maybe it's like this everywhere.  I don't know - I guess I never needed it before.  But I do know that we have our own amazing little Village here (might I just add that it's due in no small part to our wonderful neighborhood school), and I don't ever want to have to find a new one.


Village children and their gingerbread houses, Dec. 2010

I may hate my house, but I love my home, here in my Village.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday

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Having access to Netflix on my phone is dangerous.  Who wants to fold laundry when you can just sit on the bed and stream one episode of "The Office" after another?

I wish my kids appreciated salads as much as I do.  I would love to eat salad all summer long, but, darn it, they expect me to actually cook stuff for them.  It's too summery to cook.
Speaking of summery, I feel like eating zucchini bread, but I don't feel like baking it.

I wish I were Mary Poppins.  Or at least that I had her magical finger-snapping abilities.

Ellie just brought me the missing ponytail holder bag, full of the missing ponytail holders.  I just bought a whole bunch of new ones.  Figures.

Vicki and her friend are melting wax in empty soup cans on the stove in my kitchen - and scenting it - in the hopes of making candles.  I really hope my kitchen doesn't end up covered in wax by the time they're finished.  They wanted to do an experiment, and this one seemed like a better idea than hammering rocks on the porch.

Now I'm not sure why I thought that.
I think my brain still wants to be on vacation.

School doesn't start for 2 1/2 more weeks.  I can't decide if I'm ready for that, or if I want more time with my kids.  My opinion changes hourly.

This hour, I'm ready.

Why can't we all just get along?

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Your turn!

If you do a Random Thoughts post on your own blog, I'd love to know about it!  Leave me a comment and I'll come read!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Reaching Our Destination

12 hours is a long time to be stuck in the car.

But we've made the drive between Portland and Salt Lake City 13 times now, and the girls are older and better at keeping themselves busy.


We have two portable DVD players, which surprisingly don't get as much use as they did a few years ago (although it appears that both Lexi and Ellie may have been utilizing them when I took the picture).  We also have the VCR in the car, although it, too, is mostly ignored.

Decades ago, my mom started a family road trip tradition of handing out "100-mile treats", and I've kept the tradition alive, although my mom's treats were actual, edible treats, while mine tend to be things like markers, books, and movies.  Hers were probably cheaper, but mine keep kids occupied for longer.

We always leave around 4am, and Chris drives while the girls and I snooze.  We switch sometime after breakfast, once we've stopped at one of the many gas stations we've become all too familiar with over the course of the last six years.  The hands-down best one is the Boise Stage Stop, on the Utah side of Boise.  Just in case anyone was wondering.

While driving, we play the Alphabet Game, I Spy, and 20 Questions.  We listen to music, podcasts (Radiolab, Freakonomics, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, and This American Life are our favorites), and the girls singing.  Ellie sings songs she makes up, usually about such song-worthy subjects as the sun shining through the window or my sister's dogs.  Vicki and Lexi sing camp songs.

video

In past years, I've dreaded the drive.  It was long, it was boring, and the kids were squished and unhappy.  But now that we have a bigger car, older kids, and more life experience, I've decided it's actually kind of fun.  Too often in this house we're trying to find our own space and, essentially, get away from each other, but when we're forced to spend time in close quarters, my kids have learned that they can actually have a good time together.  They enjoy each other more, and Chris and I enjoy them.


And now I realize that these days, like the objects in the mirror, the destination is actually closer than it appears.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday

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Today is Lexi's 9th birthday.  I feel a little bad that we're not really doing anything special today to celebrate, but then again, she's already had two parties.  And she did get to blow out a "candle" on her French toast this morning (we couldn't find any actual candles, so it was a match, but she didn't care.)

Nine!

On Monday, I told the girls that we had a big, fun day planned for Tuesday, but that it was a surprise (we were taking them to Lagoon, a local amusement park.)  Ellie immediately asked if we were going for ice cream.  I love that my kids view ice cream as a big, fun surprise.

Spending time with grandparents is great, but I know I'm going to pay for it when we get home.  Apparently, everything Grandma does is right, and I don't do anything like Grandma.

At Lagoon on Tuesday, we discovered that Lexi doesn't like fast rides, Ellie does, and Vicki, who gets carsick driving to school, can go on upside-down roller coasters without losing her lunch.  Go figure.

Apparently, there is a letter waiting at home telling us who Vicki's homeroom teacher is this year.  I can't wait to find out.  Not that I know anything about any of the teachers at the middle school, but it would be nice to know which of her friends are with her.

I can't think of any more random thoughts.  Vacation brain, I guess.

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Your turn!

If you do a Random Thoughts post on your own blog, I'd love to know about it!  Leave me a comment and I'll come read!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Klowning Around


My brother Robbie was a film major in college and now makes commercials for a firm called VitalSmarts.  Even when he was in high school, he and a bunch of his friends used to make movies just for fun.  A few years ago, he put a bunch of his movies from high school and college onto DVDs and handed them out to family members.  My children love watching Uncle Robbie's movies.

One of these movies is a little gem called "Apokalypse Klown", starring my brother's friend Brad as a really freaky clown who lives in the basement and, as clowns are wont to do, kills people.  The girls like watching it, but they find the clown freaky all the same.

Today we went to church with my parents.  It just so happens that Brad of the Klown fame also goes to my parents' church.  When I saw him after Sacrament Meeting, I pointed him out to Vicki and Lexi.  "See that guy over there talking to Uncle Robbie?  He's the clown from 'Apokalypse Klown'!"

Blink, blink.  "Really?"

"Yep!  Do you want to go meet him?"

Both of them shuddered, and neither one paused for even a second before answering "NO!!!" in voices much too loud for church.

Apokalypse Klown, your legacy lives on.  And I'm really glad we don't have a basement.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Some Things Really Shouldn't Be Named

One of the best things about visiting far-away family is telling stories about my kids.  Yes, my relatives all read the blog, but I don't blog about everything, and my kids are, honestly, complete weirdos, so there's always plenty to tell.

Yesterday while hiking, the story of Ellie's foot came up.

See, a few weeks ago Ellie discovered that she has some warts on the bottom of her foot.  Gross, I know, but it happens.  And, since this isn't our family's first experience with foot-warts, I know that they will eventually go away on their own.  Or we could cover them in duct tape for a few weeks, and that would get rid of them.  If only I wasn't on vacation and therefore too lazy to bother with the duct tape cure.  Maybe when we get home.

Anyway, I digress.

Ellie has apparently named her warts.

I swear I am not making this up.  You can't make stuff like this up.  If you ask her, she'll happily (and rather proudly) tell you all about it.  Their names are Bob, Bobby, and Timmy.  Timmy is the tiny one.  Bobby used to be named Tarzan, because he looked like a target, but now he doesn't anymore, so now he's called Bobby.

Where she comes up with stuff like this, I will likely never know.

My kids are weird.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday

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Today we are on the road!  Utah, here we come!

I'm posting this from my phone, which I've never done before, so I hope it works out.  I cheated a little bit and started the post at home.

We had the A/C fixed in the car last week, and yesterday it decided to die on us again.  So, to add to my already somewhat frantic day, I ended up dropping the car off at the mechanic.  As much as that threw me off, we still managed to be completely packed and ready to go by 10pm.  We're getting better at this (it's only taken 6 years.)

Blogging from my phone is challenging. Isn't there an app for this?

Ellie is currently serenading us with a very looooong song about my sister's pugs. It involves dancing, which is quite an accomplishment, considering she's buckled up.

Her sisters are singing camp songs.

Are we there yet?

Here's what I can see right now:


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Your turn!

If you do a Random Thoughts post on your own blog, I'd love to know about it!  Leave me a comment and I'll come read!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'

This morning the girls and I went shopping.  Sadly, it wasn't the fun kind of shopping.  We went to Costco and the grocery store.

And I, as usual, forgot to grab my strong, reinforced-bottomed, reusable grocery bags.  (If anyone has any tips on how to remember these, please do share.  Ellie used to be really good about reminding me, but lately she's been falling down on the job.)

When we arrived home, I instructed each of the girls to help carry groceries into the house.  They were dying for lunch, and I let them know that the timing of lunch would be directly affected by how long it took to unload and put away all the groceries.  That got them moving.

Lexi, in her enthusiasm (or starvation), yanked the first bag she saw quickly out of the car.

Unfortunately, it was the bag full of heavy cans and jars.

And the bottom split open.

And the cans and jars all fell out.

And we live on a hill.

Also, I don't think I've mentioned this, but we currently have construction workers doing repairs on our townhouses every weekday morning.  Naturally, they chose that moment to be finished for the day and getting into their cars.  At the bottom of the hill.  The sight of three kids and a crazy lady chasing cans of soup and jars of pickles down the street no doubt made their day.

As one drove past, he said, grinning, "That would have been a great YouTube!"

I'm disappointed to report that he didn't manage to get his phone out in time.
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