Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Excellent talk on creativity/education

My friend Annie posted this on her blog. Everything he says rings true to me and I think he presents very valuable ideas. It's about 20 minutes long and worth the time.

But before I post it, I've always thought I would love to be involved with my kids in some kind of charter school or something that only taught the creative and active parts of education, and especially the parts that benefit from a group. I would love to homeschool my kids in math, science, languages, social studies, etc., and then take them to school for choir, orchestra, band, football, drama, etc. And if there were enough kids involved, then maybe this school's sports teams could play against the other area schools.

I don't know enough about how the system works to know if it's a feasible idea, especially within the timeframe it would benefit my kid(s). But I think it would be so wonderful. Thoughts?

Okay... watch this! Especially if you're interested in children's potential. :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The way the West Side does it

Here in Utah, there seems to be an attitude that living east of I-15 is most acceptable. The closer you are to the mountains, the higher your actual personal worth. The west is crime-ridden and downtrodden while the east is rich and cultured.

(Speaking of such attitudes, it seems like there are a lot them here in Utah. Bad attitudes from both sides of the east/west issue, the Mormon/not-Mormon issue, the Ogden issue, etc. But I think I would be blissfully unaware of all of these attitudes if I would just stay off the stupid KSL message boards. Or if my husband would stop talking to his co-worker, Adam*.)

But as much as we like to dismiss such attitudes, we couldn't deny that there was something fishy happening on the west side when we witnessed the following:

One night as we were house hunting, we were kinda out in the country when we saw two cars pull over to the side of the road. Far from curious eyes (or so they thought) the drivers stepped out of their cars. Both well-kept women. Probably Mormons. One carried a pizza box while the other carried a Krispy Kreme box. They met in the middle, quickly made the swap with little or no words, and both left the scene as quickly as they had come.

To the unsuspecting witness, it looked as though they traded pizza for doughnuts. But why would they meet that way just to exchange delicious junk food? WHY?!

I have some theories.

Perhaps the pizza box was filled with cash and the doughnut box carried black market Young Women medallions. I could use one of those.

Perhaps they were swapping secret family recipes. You know... the ones that are really supposed to stay secret.

Maybe one of them is running an illegal coupon-clipping ring.

Whatever it was, I bet they got away with it.

We did end up buying a house on the west side. So far we feel completely safe and happy in our surroundings. But we are keeping our eyes wide open, and you can bet we won't be quiet about it next time we see a suspicious swap. We don't want that kind of thing in our neighborhood.

*Name changed for my husband's protection.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Perfect Christmas

I have been thinking a lot lately about how great Christmas was as a kid.

I think my parents handled Christmas just right. We always had a beautiful Christmas tree and a lovely Nativity set on the piano. We'd had that set as long as I could remember and it was a beautiful reminder of why we were celebrating. I always looked forward to unpacking it and setting it up just the way it had been set up the year before and the year before that.

But what I'm really thankful for now is that I never learned from my parents that Christmas was "the busiest time of the year." I'm sure that behind the scenes there was some stress about getting everything together for four kids every year, but as far as we could tell, Christmas was always a peaceful, happy time.

My parents didn't send Christmas cards every year. We didn't always make gingerbread houses. But we DID always use our special Christmas placemats! Last year my little brother dug those placemats out. I think we had kinda forgotten about them (but not my brother, because he remembers EVERYthing). But as soon as they were out, we were so excited! We put each one where it went when we were kids. Each of us (including my parents) had our own Christmas placemat. Mine was the gingerbread house. My sister's was the teddy bear. My older brother had the candy canes and my younger brother had Santa Claus. My mom's placemat was a Christmas wreath and my dad's was toy soldiers. Of course! The memories of how excited we were to use the special placemats came rushing back.

But it was such a simple joy. It didn't take a lot of money or preparation. It was just a simple tradition that we loved.

My family has some other special Christmas traditions. Every year we play Christmas carols on the homemade chimes. It started at my grandparents' house, and now my parents have carried on the tradition and I even have my own set of chimes now. Along with this tradition is the tradition for the older kids to complain that we have to play the chimes (even though I know they love it). Those older kids are now in their late 20s and 30s. They still complain. And then they still sit down with a chime and a butterknife and play their part at Grandma's house.

And who could forget about Christmas pajamas?

One very special and simple tradition we have is singing our favorite Christmas songs together on Christmas Eve. Sometimes with the piano, sometimes without. It's wonderful either way. We take out the hymnbook and sing through our favorite songs about Christ's birth. Christmas doesn't get better than this.

My parents didn't throw or even attend fancy Christmas parties. Sometimes we had Christmas lights on the house, and sometimes we didn't.

But by not worrying too much about making everything perfect, that's exactly what they did. Christmas was a special, peaceful time. Perfect.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bona fide

My cousin was married in October and they had an amazing photographer. The photographer just posted their pictures to her photography blog (Thanks for the heads up, Melissa), and they are incredible. Take a look... I think you'll agree they are one of the most beautiful couples in history.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I always told my husband that if we ever had a Boston terrier I would want to name him Greetings... because they look like little aliens.

But when our son shouted out "Panda Bear!" when he saw the puppy, we decided to go with that instead.

So, Greetings from Panda Bear (Panda for short).

Panda is 8 weeks old and we got him from a family who took him in Thanksgiving night. So they gave him four days before deciding they weren't ready for a puppy. He's actually a good puppy, but they have 4 kids including a 7-month-old, and they weren't planning to get a puppy anyway. It was a spur of the moment thing for them and he is kinda spazzy, so they decided to find a new home for him.

Enter me!

I saw an online classified ad while my husband was returning the boxer who didn't work out. Short story shorter, we went to see him the next night and brought him home.

I've wanted a Boston terrier for a long time, so I am so excited. But as puppies are, he's a handful. He's got energy like I've only seen in one other place:

That's our other dog, Ruby. She's a boxer. Boxers are very athletic and energetic, but our dog makes other boxer owners' jaws drop with her feats of athleticism and misbehavior.

So I've got my hands full, to say the least. But it's not that bad, and we expect some craziness while Panda is a puppy. Right now it's chaos for about 20 minutes at a time and then quiet for a couple hours while Panda sleeps. And then they repeat the routine.

We learned our lesson with Ruby's puppyhood (she's almost 6 years old), and we will be much better with training Panda to be a good, well-adjusted dog. Don't tell the Dog Whisperer I said this, but I think Ruby is a lost cause at this point. She's very sweet and calm most of the day, but when she's around other people she's nuts. She'll calm down after about 15 minutes, but she usually doesn't get that long to prove herself.

All the craziness aside, we're really happy with Panda. I feel like we have a big animal family again. He's a very sweet puppy and my son really loves him. Even though he reminds me of:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My own perfection

My mom says I'll probably still have big thighs in Heaven because they're not an "imperfection."


Monday, December 1, 2008

Missing Beanie

In June 2003 my husband and I happened upon a family giving away kittens in a Wal-Mart parking lot. For free!

We're suckers for animals and for good deals, so you can guess what happened next.

My husband had always wanted a gray kitty, and before our eyes was a beautiful one. It didn't take too much discussion.

We took Joey home to meet his new housemates: Mimi, our grumpy old cat who wanted nothing to do with him, and Ruby and Beanie, our two big, rambunctious boxers.

Joey was a perfect fit and loved playing with the dogs, even when they got rough.

Joey and Beanie had a very special connection. She treated him like he was her puppy, and he treated her like his mama. She would bathe him and even let him try to nurse. They really loved each other.

For three years Joey and Beanie were two peas in a pod. I'd never seen a dog and cat who loved each other so much.

But there was a little problem. Beanie had a scary aggressive tendency. She gave no warning, and when she would attack, it was awful. I don't want to get into all the sad details here, but when I was pregnant we decided we couldn't keep her anymore after a particularly scary episode.

We talked to two vets about her behavior and they both told us she had probably inherited this characteristic and that it wasn't something that could be trained out of her. And even if we did our best with training, we could never be sure she wouldn't act on that instinct.

It was one of the hardest, saddest decisions we ever made. It's 2 1/2 years later and it still makes me weep to think about her. Looking for pictures today makes me miss her so much. She was an incredibly sweet and gentle dog 99% of the time. She was so affectionate, loyal, obedient... a perfect dog in almost every way. But it was that scary 1% of the time that we could not ignore and we had to make a very hard decision for the welfare of our child.

We cried for days, wondering if we had really made the right decision, knowing we couldn't change it. We missed her so much and wondered how long the sadness would last. We couldn't even talk about her. We put her collar high on a shelf in the garage. We wanted to save it, but couldn't bear to see it.

Ruby wondered where her pal had gone. She spent days at the bottom of the stairs waiting for Beanie to tromp down them and wrestle with her. I can only imagine how lonely Joey felt without his Beanie.

That was in 2006. It's almost 2009 and we have been considering getting another dog. Our son loves animals and Ruby doesn't like to play with him, so we wanted to find a dog that would be good buddies with our son and with Ruby.

We found Tyson, a boxer, through an online classified ad. He was 3 years old and needed a new home. We decided to take him in.

Imagine Joey's surprise. In walked a reverse brindle boxer who looked remarkably like Beanie. Joey was cautious, but not afraid. He inched closer and closer until he was rubbing faces with Tyson, within a minute of Tyson's first step into our home. We think Joey must have thought Tyson WAS Beanie.

Unfortunately, Tyson had not grown up with cats. His only exposure to cats turned out badly, as the cats fought with him and scratched him up.

Tyson wanted to kill Joey.

So Tyson went back to his old family, and Joey has to be the most confused cat in the world right now.

It's been a long time since I have written anything about Beanie. It's still hard-- heartbreaking-- to think about her. She was one of the family and she's gone. We hope we see her in Heaven someday and that she will understand our decision and love us again.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


My gorgeous, talented, super-mom cousin Ali tagged me. (And she even teased me a little with her tag. But I'm doing it anyway.)

Quick Five:
1. What were you doing TEN years ago? I was in my senior year of high school and loving it. Singing in Madrigals, hanging out with Jessica, flirting with the boys.

2. What are Five things on your to-do list today? Go buy a big doodle-pad for my son, pick up a birthday cake or cupcakes, wrap presents, have a party, wait for my husband to come home with good news.

3. Snacks I enjoy are: Fruit strips from Target, Wheat Thins (There are lots more, but not enough room on the internet to list them.)

4. Places I have lived: Idaho, Utah, Kansas, Brownstuccoland (currently)

5. Five things I would do if I were a millionaire: First I would order my green couch! Then I would pay off my house. Then I would pay someone to make sure my food storage is in order always. Then I would hire a maid. Then I would hire a chef. Hmmmm... how did the personal trainer get left out? I may have to do some prioritizing.

8 TV shows you like to watch:
(We don't have TV at our house, but there are a few shows I watch online, and a very few that I haul out the antenna for.)
1. The Office
2. Psych
3. 30 Rock
4. American Idol.

That's all! I don't have 8. We do enjoy watching "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Arrested Development" on DVD.

8 favorite places I love to eat:
1. Any good sit-down Mexican restaurant will always be first on my eating-out list.
2. Grandma's house.
3. Mom and Dad's house.
4. Bajio/Cafe Rio
5. Arby's
6. Best Burger
7. New York Burrito
8. In front of the computer.

8 things that happened yesterday:
1. Rushed to find a bra when the doorbell rang.
2. Drove all over Utah to meet dogs and potentially bring one home. (Didn't. Don't worry, Mom.)
3. Went to a family party in Sandy.
4. Broke up a toddler fight.
5. Took my child to a donut shop at 11:30 p.m. (We're on a late schedule. And yes, we did get funny looks.)
6. Saw my husband's grandma for the first time in several years and met her new husband for the first time ever.
7. Got lost driving way too many times (this = carsick mama and baby).
8. Came home very, very tired.

8 things I look forward to:
1. Thanksgiving with family in Idaho.
2. Birthday party for my son and his cousin.
3. Jazz vs. Bulls Monday (This coincides with meeting my sister-in-law's boyfriend... big night!)
4. Getting my green couch and pretty chairs.
5. Having the whole house painted inside. (There's A LOT of painting to do around here.)
6. Having another baby (someday).
7. Seeing my sister. (I don't know when that will happen, but I miss her!)
8. Having a get-together with my RR friends.

8 things on my wish list:
1. Green couch
2. Pretty chairs
3. This painting
4. A husband who is not mad at me for blogging instead of helping him find the battery charger. (Well... I wish for the same husband, just that he's not mad.)
5. Size 8 jeans (10 would be nice, too. I look pretty hot as a size 10)
6. Someone to come unpack everything at my house.
7. That my son might never again have an explosive poo.
8. That I might actually make friends in my new ward/neighborhood.

And now a question for YOU! Do you like doing tags? I think they're usually fun, but I never know who to tag. Tell me if you like to be tagged, and I'll totally tag you.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I've been thieved.

Let me tell you a little story.

Once upon a time, in a very cold land (Rexburg-ish), there was a young frau who was borrowing her brother's Jeep while he was on a mission.

One day the frau, an advertising saleswoman, happened upon a beautiful used Audi station wagon with leather interior. She wanted it for her very own.

(You may not think station wagons are cool. But you would be wrong.)

Because the car lot was owned by a friend (the luck!), the young frau was offered an amazing price on the car.

However, the frau's husband was not an easy sell, and gave the frau a very hard time as she tried to convince him that it was, indeed, a necessary purchase.

Because the car seemed so nice (a little old, but nice), the husband had a hard time seeing its practicality.

The frau aired her grievances to her 40-year-old man-hating coworker, who encouraged her to buy it anyway, with or without the husband's consent.

But she wasn't that kind of frau.

Eventually the husband gave in.

The car had a few quirks (like buzzing for a full minute everytime the frau turned on the lights or the radio), but needed no major repairs and kept the frau nicely transported for years.

Five years later, the husband and the frau were moving their small family to a nearby town. The husband decided to start driving the wagon so he could transport more belongings on weekdays after work.

That frau, ladies and gentleman, is me. The official moving day has come and gone, but my husband continues to take the station wagon (MY station wagon) to work every day. He says he likes it better than his car, which we bought brand new.

I told 'im so. I love it when I'm right. But it usually doesn't take 5 years to prove it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I love my decorator

My husband is at Sears shopping for drapes for our new house.

Without me.

Should I trust him?

ETA: Getting drapes/blinds is an emergency. The people we bought the house from took all their blinds with them. So we are living here with very minimal privacy at the moment.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Will trade for a pistol

We are moving into our new house next week and we have been considering the purchase of a secondhand fish tank.

Browsing the KSL classified ads tonight, we saw several ads for aquariums (from different people) that said "Will trade for a pistol" or "Will consider a trade for firearms."

It made my husband and I both wonder, what's the connection between guns and fish tanks? And is there an equal number of people looking to trade in their firearms for aquariums?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Amateur Toddler Wrestling League

To join the Amateur Toddler Wrestling League, you don't have to be a toddler. You just have to be raising one.

(Wrestling a toddler in a day-care setting would be considered professional toddler wrestling, making one ineligible to wrestle in amateur leagues.)

I am climbing the ranks, inching closer to championship status every day. I've been perfecting my toddler wrestling skills for weeks, and by the time my son is potty trained I should be unbeatable.

It's a rigorous schedule. Sometimes 5 or 6 matches a day. Maybe more if my son has eaten a lot of grapes.

I think it's time to think about potty training.

My son will be two in a couple weeks. If you ask him, having his diaper changed is the absolute worst kind of torture. He has always hated being changed anywhere but home, but recently he's decided he's had enough of the whole thing.

So we're trying to prepare him for potty training. For instance, when he escapes from the bathtub, stops in his tracks and begins peeing on the floor, I calmly tell him, "You're peeing on the floor. You're going pee-pee on the floor. Next time you could go pee-pee in the toilet."

We're moving to a new house this month, so toddler wrestling will continue without potty training for a few weeks at least. In the meantime, I'm considering investing in some spandex and a tattoo so I look more intimidating.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Boy Bands: The Next Generation

Speaking of being trendy... I sometimes read or hear comments about how someone doesn't like something because "it's trendy." That doesn't make any sense to me. I assume it is because a person wants to break away from the norm and be an individual.

That makes sense on the surface, but does it really? If you choose to disavow everything "trendy" aren't you really just allowing everyone else to decide what you don't like? Wouldn't you be more of an individual if you allowed yourself to pick and choose what you enjoy from all genres of music, all types of hobbies, etc.?

I do understand the feeling of pride that comes from being one of the first to know and love a band, a TV show, an obscure movie, etc. That makes sense to me. But deciding you don't like them anymore after they become popular is just stubborn, isn't it?

So now I will come out of the closet and admit that I listen to a lot of Top 40 radio. I know many of my family and friends are way too sophisticated for such things, but I'm not a music snob. I love music... even the cheesy stuff that's shallow but entertaining. But have no fear! I like a lot of the stuff my elitist husband likes, too.

(Speaking of my elitest husband, we had this same conversation about "trendy" things, and I actually think I may have convinced him to give my way of thinking about music a try. He even e-mailed me as he was listening to pop music on the radio, telling me which songs had "merit." I was so proud.)

But I have to draw the line somewhere.

There seems to be a new wave of particularly annoying pop music. Today's boy bands are very... whiney. Aren't they? They all sound like Weird Al to me, but I suspect they'd like to be taken seriously.

Here's why

I decided to start a new blog. I made my family blog private so I could protect pictures and information better. But what I loved about having it public was being able to connect with old friends and even make some new ones.

So here we are. I'm not really sure where this one will go, but at least it will show up on Google Reader so people don't forget about me!

I came up with a bunch of awesome names for this blog. But they were all taken. Mostly by people who never posted anything or haven't posted anything since 2001. Early bird gets the worm, I guess.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

From 2008

(Pasted from my other blog for reference. I didn't post the whole thing because it was too long. But here's the story I linked for.)

After the big party at his high school stadium, we were all just kinda hanging around trying to decide if we wanted to do anything else in Salt Lake while we were all together. After most of the crowd was gone we saw a bunch of people congregating by a limo, so we went over to check it out. Dave could see that there were security guards standing in a doorway, so while others were crowding around the limo, we got as close as we could to that door. When David Archuleta walked from that door to the limo, all the girls who were there ran to the edge of the sidewalk to scream for (at?) him. I hesitated briefly, knowing that I was too old to get so excited about a 17-year-old, but then I thought, "What the heck?" And I joined the screaming masses with an infant in my arms. I accidentally almost pushed a girl over as I was trying to get a high five, and thought to myself, "Now this really is ridiculous." But I am president of the fan club, so I knew I was representing more than just my own interests. I'm not sure if I got a high five from David Archuleta or from one of his bodyguards, but no matter what, I was this close.