Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I Got My Skills at the Storymakers Conference

It's that time of year when I start thinking about making more time for writing. Most of the time I do my best with the time I have, but once Christmas is over, I make more time. For my books, that is.

You see, registration for the LDSStorymakers Writers' Conference has begun. This year I actually started thinking about it much sooner. As soon as I got the babysitting job back in September I planned on using the money to get me to the conference. I'm still working the kinks out, but I think it might happen. I have to drive my kids across the country, find a babysitter for that weekend, and see if I can afford the hotel reservation or just get up extra early and drive from my in-laws in West Valley or my friends around Provo.

I've been to the Conference for the last three years and I've loved it every time. I know a few of you who read this blog are writers and might be interested in going, so I'll give you a link to their site where you can read more about it. Each Conference I've been to has been great and each one is better than the last. I've learned a lot and I know my writing has improved from attending these Conferences. If any of you Cleveland girls want to go, let me know and you can come with. Maybe we can split a room at the hotel!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Make Believe

I've missed blogging. And even though it takes my in-laws' computer about 10 minutes to load the page so I can write a post, I need to write.

I thought about this yesterday when we were all teasing, feeling sorry for, and admiring (all at the same time) my sister in-law. You see, she has someone in her life that at the age of 21 still likes to play house. And not just any house, but "Harry Potter house". My sister in-law has been forced to be Hermione on a number of occasions and has had to pretend to ask someone to the Yule Ball. I say we were teasing her because she was going to see this girl yesterday for a party that was non-Potter related, but few could believe that H.P. would be completely absent. I say feel sorry for because obviously she's not thrilled to be playing Hermione (she'd rather be Ron, just kidding, Laura!). And I say admiring because it isn't always easy to be friendly and do something you really don't want to do with someone who should have the mental capacity of a 21 year old, but doesn't. Kudos to you, Laura.

Anyway, I said this whole thing made me think of a time in my life when I was forced to play make-believe games when I didn't want to. In elementary school I was a little bit of a tomboy. I liked some of the girly stuff, like My Little Ponies and The Baby Sitters' Club but with Barbies I was really picky. It had to be a really cool Barbie for me to like it or want it. Like the Barbies and the Rockers doll or the Barbie with the poodle skirt. I lived in a neighborhood where there was only one other girl and she loved Barbies. All Barbies. And she loved Ken, too. She would have her Barbies go on dates and get married and have kids. Her Barbies would dress up in fancy clothes and shop. She would always want me and my Barbies to participate in this nonsense. She'd come over and we'd go out in the back yard, bringing all the Barbies into the wooden club house my dad built for my brother and me. She'd start telling me which Barbies where doing what, who was marrying which Kens, and which Barbies were the kids. After about five minutes (tops) I would announce that my Barbie had a terrible disease and needed to sleep. I'd then sit and daydream about other thing I could be doing with my time. If my friend tried to bring my Barbie back into play, I went to extreme measures and I killed her off. "Oh, she didn't make it. So sad. Wanna play something else?"

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Yesterday afternoon I went home. That evening I had to leave again.

I never thought I would really consider Logan, Utah my home, but as we drove out of the canyon, Nathan turned to me and asked, "Do you feel like you're coming home?" and it was then that I realized the peace I felt was because I felt like I was home.

Entering into the familiar city brought a realization to me. Only a few days before this I'd told Nathan that in no uncertain terms would we live anywhere that snows. I hate snow. A lot. I hate driving in it. I hate having to wear heavy coats and getting the kids bundled up. I hate not being able to take the kids to the park because of snow. But as I entered Logan I thought to myself, "I could do it, if we lived here again."

Some of our best friends are still in Logan, some to stay. They kindly put together a party so we could visit everyone at the same time and it was wonderful to see our friends. (Thank you Amber and Sara!) It was great to see the little kids we'd known, the babies that were born after we left and the new Mamas-to-be.

Pizza, veggies, and fruit snacks were lovingly provided for the occasion and picture-taking was in abundace. It was great to catch up with everyone. I only wish I'd had more time to visit with each family one on one. (Next time, Jess, y'all better be there!)

I don't know if we'll really end up in Logan after dental school, but we'll see. We all felt happy and comfortable there, just like we'd come home after a long vacation in a much more hectic place.

Monday, December 15, 2008


The other day I had an epiphany. This great fountain of knowledge would have been put to better use when I was in elementary school and is actually quite worthless now. But had I had this little golden nugget of smarts when I was a kid a lot of stress and worry could have been avoided.

Listen up all you grade schoolers out there. (There could be some, I had one comment on my blog once.)


You can slack of every other week, or even for a whole month! And guess what else. . . . You're not graded on Show and Tell. If you bring something kind of lame, you don't get a C-. If you forget, you don't get an F!

Do you know how many weeks I spent running through my house and/or backyard trying to find something cool that would get me a good grade for Show and Tell? I was terrified I'd fail Show and Tell if I didn't bring anything. And those days I forgot to bring something, ugh. I was riding low in my seat just imagining the big F that was being written right next to my name in the teacher's grade book.

So don't y'all be worrying your pretty little heads about your class's Show and Tell. It's nothing to stress over. Remember, just breathe in and out, sit high in your seat and say, "Nah, I didn't feel like it this week. Maybe next week."

I'm Leaving in a Mini Van . . . Don't know when I'll be Back Again

Yes, in about four and a half hours we will be on our way to Tucson, AZ and then after that we will trek north to SLC. For those of you in the Logan area, we'll be there December 22. Hope to see you!!! Why am I still awake if we are driving at 5:00 A.M.? I was finishing Christmas presents that won't be fun to work on in the van. ModPodge and vans just don't get along. Neither do vans and sewing machines. Ah well. At least they are done now. Or at least drying now.

Wanna see?
Do ya, do ya, do ya?

This is for my sister in-law. She just had a beautiful baby boy named Tristan.
This was my first attempt at doing anything with a canvas. Unfortunately it shows that this was my first time with a canvas. Also I couldn't find my thin paintbrush and I had to paint the words on with the edge of the tip of a foam brush. It wasn't easy, so lay off. The boat, train, and "T" are all from scrap fabrics I got from my friend Lindsey.

Here is my cheaper version of a pirate map I saw online. The online store wanted $17. I wasn't willing to pay it and so I was forced to draw my own boat and alligator.
It was actually really easy and quick to make.
I think Jeremy will get a lot of play out of thise since he loves to say, "Argh, Maty!"

This is a picture frame (I actually made this a while back). If you look close you'll be able to see what book I ripped the pages from. I decided I'd never read the book again, so why keep it around in its entirety? Not sure who this if for yet. Who wants it? Any takers?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday Art

While other children were drawing and coloring pictures of Jesus or ponies today in Sacrament meeting, my little Jeremy drew packing peanuts. This made Megan excited and she, too started drawing packing peanuts. But I have to say, Jeremy's looked better.

I'm not sure what this says about us. But I am sure the fact that my kids draw packing peanuts says something.

Just so you know . . .

For those of you who were so happy for us at Church today that Emma didn't have a blow out, she was just waiting until we got home and I could hold her.

Oh well.

There's always next week.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

To answer your question . . .

A few of you asked how Megan reacted. She was upset that we left behind her pink soda, but when I explained we'd get some at a different store, she was fine. She wanted to know which words had been bad words. I of course didn't repeat them, but told her that pretty much everything that had come out of the girl's mouth had been a bad word.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Another Adventure in Cleveland

I haven't decided yet if this story is an adventure or an adventure. which is what everyone in Logan told me life in Cleveland would be.

Here's a (very) short list of things I'm grateful for:

1.) It's almost Christmas.
2.) I get to spend time in Arizona next week where it's warm and there's no chance of snow.
3.) Every day that passes I'm closer to getting out of Ohio. Specifically, Cleveland.

I know a lot of people in my ward here love it. But I don't understand it. I can't stand it here. I hate it every time someone asks me, "So how do you like it here?" Because it's one of those questions that you really don't want to answer honestly for fear of offending the person who asked. Usually I just mention the crazy street system because they have to agree with the insanity of the roads here. Then I try to change the subject. This tactic may no longer work since I already opened my Christmas present from Nathan-a GPS system. I can't get lost anymore. Yay!

Here is my latest reason for wanting to leave--because being propositioned a few times, the prospect of an eternal winter, the roads, and being far from family aren't enough.

Everywhere I've lived I feel like I've had really good neighbors. In Texas people were friendly and generally respected everyone's differences. In my high school (where people are generally immature and self centered) everyone who knew me, knew I didn't swear or use any kind of offensive language. Every one, not just my friends, but every single person in that high school who knew me, so most of my class, the entire marching band, the entire drama club, the colorguard/winterguards, etc. watched their language when they were around me. If they slipped up and cussed, they always apologized. Every. Single. Time.

I've also lived in Idaho, Utah, and various cities in British Columbia and never in any of those places have I had an experience like I did last week.

Here, apparently, being respectful isn't a widespread concept. Megan and I ran to the second nearest grocery store, the very closest being way too expensive for a dental school budget. As we stood in line with our dinner rolls and Cranberry Ginger Ale a group of girls walked up behind us. I could smell the fresh cigarette smoke wafting off of them as they laughed loudly and obnoxiously. I worked to ignore them by joking around with Megan. Suddenly a guy entered the store and recognized the girl who was being checked out at the register (we were next in line). He greeted her with a longing in his eyes and hands that only reached her backside. Then one of the girls behind us flashed her gold braces at him, catching his lusty attention with those shining beauties and her "grown"-upness. If you didn't catch on to what "grown"-upness means, you will soon. He quickly left his friend at the register and moved on to his next prey. Vulgarity after vulgarity spewed forth from their mouths. I cannot even begin to describe it. After about the third F-bomb I turned around to ask, "Excuse me, I have a four year old who repeats everything she hears. Would you mind toning it down while we are in line?" I didn't even get half way through my request before hands were flying in front of my face, more vulgarity pounded against my ears, I was being called cruel names, and was accused of racism.

Excuse me? Did I miss something?

The girl insisted that she was "grown" and could use whatever language she liked. She insisted it was the parents' responsibility to teach their children what words were appropriate and what words aren't, which I completely agree with her, duh. And so I stated, "I guess you missed that lesson." To which she replied for the billionth time, "I'm grown!" I guess when she was a little girl her See 'N' Say was the Hussy-Witch version, not the farm animals version I had. She told me she didn't come out in public to watch her language and could say what she liked. There's some sense in this, but really, since when do people use that kind of vulgarity at the grocery store? Go to a sleezy bar for that. She had basically propositioned herself to the guy right there next to the candybars and bubblegum.

If they'd done their business and vulgarity in a bar it would still public, but less likely that they'd offend others. She continued to call me awful names and I informed her that she wasn't as mature as her "grown"-upness led her to believe and that just because she was falling out of her shirt, that didn't make her mature. In the end, there was a police officer and the store manager not twenty feet away and neither of them did anything. Megan and I left the store, leaving our items on the conveyor belt and not two seconds from being checked out. I said just loud enough for the manager to hear that we would never be returning to that establishment. I'd already had a beef with that store (they have smut magazines right at child eye level whether sitting in the cart or standing next to it) so now I will have two things to write to the manager about when I send them my official letter of discontent.

Why can't women be like they used to be? Gentle, kind, softspoken? I'm thinking back to when our grandmothers were young women. When it was ok (and expected) for women to act like women. When gender roles were more defined and stood by. What happened to the days when fighting, swearing, and tattoos were things of men and compassion, love, and care were things of women? Women wore dresses or nice slacks. I don't think my grandmother ever wore pants of any kind in her entire life. Hair was always done, makeup perfect and voices sweet. The only radio station that comes in clearly in our Honda is an oldies station. I don't mean The Beatles oldies, I mean Oldies like 1940's. I've been listening to it and wishing we could go back to a time when women were women and men were men. I love listening to the music of that time period. It is so innocent and full of good clean fun. And so to end on a good note, go here and click on #10 'a' You're adorable. It's awesome good clean fun!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Random Pictures I've Been Meaning to Post

Megan's Birthday Bash Pictures

(The pink thing, I think she referred to it as an airplane, is Megan's creation for her cake)

Here are some pictures from Megan's birthday party. Her party was Saturday and it was her first party with friends. The girls had fun dressing up in Meg's play clothes, playing bean bag toss, ponies, and with everything else in her room. They loved running around the apartment and a couple of the girls took great enjoyment in trying to scare our fish. I'm not really sure why.

Megan asked me over and over to open her presents. Being that this was her first birthday party with friends, I didn't really know what I was doing and the order things were supposed to happen. So after it looked like they'd all played and were ready for Megan to open her presents I finally consented. Then I wondered if they were supposed to have birthday cake first. Oh well.

Here we are working on the party favors. Little fancy purses that they could decorate. I saw them on the [shudder] Martha Stewart website. Do you see my haggard, still in my glasses, unbrushed hair thrown into a pony-tail appearance? Yeah. I was up until 4:30 A.M. working on birthday stuff. Mostly the party favors and the cake. I ran out of fondant for the cake. Yes, I know that when doing fondant you should bake the cake a couple days before the party, put the fondant on the cake the day before the party and then decorate on top of the fondant later that
day or the day of the party. It didn't work out that way, ok? I bought the fondant Friday night (I got to Michael's just in time), put the fondant on the bottom layer and realized I didn't have enough. Since I was running low on time I bought the precolored stuff. It wasn't enough. Hence the nasty yellow stripe running around the bottom layer of the cake. When the pink fondant didn't work and I had to throw the mess into the garbage, I set my alarm clock for 8 A.M. (the time Wal-Mart opens). When the alarm went off I told Nathan why I'd set it and he chivalrously offered to go get me some plain fondant that I could color myself. Then after I colored the fondant and placed it on the cake, Megan helped me decorate it. We had a lot of fun deciding where to place the flowers. I also let Megan decorate the cupcakes all by herself. I dont' have any pictures of those though. All the girls licked the sprinkles and frosting off the delicious Italian Creme cupcakes and then threw away the cupcakes. Sad. Oh well. Megan did it, too.

It was a pretty fun day for everyone I think. After the party I ran to Wal-Mart for yams and apples (Church Christmas party that night) and then took a nap while I let Nathan make the candied yams and apples. I also stayed home from Church on Sunday. I started to get sick at the Christmas party and was still exhausted Sunday morning (probably because Emma wouldn't fall asleep until 1:30 A.M. Saturday night). Megan is having a blast with all her birthday presents, so thank you to everyone who came!

Ok, I was going to edit this post so that all the text and pictures were lined up nicely, but I'm tired. sorry. Yeah. I'm not even backspacing to capitalize that s. deal with it.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My Babe is 4


Today my little girl turns 4.
I simply can't believe how quickly it has gone by and how
much she has grown.
Today she started making a list of all the things she's going to try to do now that she's 4.
I can't remember all of them, but what I do
remember includes:

Not using knives (thank goodness),
Jumping higher,
and carefully pouring juice
when she's 5,
but trying to pour other things more carefully now.

(This next part might be lost on you if you never saw the Ann-Margret version of Bye Bye Birdie)

We Love You, Megan
Oh, Yes We Do!
We Love You, Megan
We Think You're Cool!
When You're Not Near Us
We're bored.
Oh, Meggy-Meg, We Love You!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

HP Magic Giveaway!!!!

Moosh in Indy is taking part in the HP Magic Giveaway!! To enter you have to write a post on what you'd do if you won (for more specifics go to her post on it by clicking on Moosh in Indy).

Growing up I was a wannabe philanthropist. I imagined myself making millions of dollars (on a teacher's salary, no less) and donating nearly all of it to all the starving people of the world. Before I realized that some of the homeless people panhandling at the stoplights in the greater Houston area weren't actually homeless and made more money than my honest and hardworking parents, I imagined myself setting up a program to help them get the education, food, clothing, and opportunities needed to make a better life for themselves.

I've never been able to imagine why some people make millions of dollars a year, live in a mansion, and have only themselves or a spouse and two kids. Where does the extra money go? I know some of those people generously make tax deductible donations, but really, if they have all that extra, why let it sit in a bank account not doing anyone any good? I guess I am an idealist. I just can't understand what seems to be waste and selfishness.

Now I'm "grown up." I haven't exactly realized my childhood dream of making millions of dollars to generously bestow on others less fortunate than I. Instead of being the one to help others, I've had to swallow my pride and allow others to help me. For five and a half of the six and a half years my husband and I have been married, one or both of us have been "poor college students." In addition to the oh-so-common title of Poor College Students, for the last three years my family has been dubbed as "the poor family" in our Church congregation. We don't know who decided that we were worse off than anyone else in the neighborhood, much less who decided it three years in a row, but we couldn't deny that the help we received in the form of Christmas presents for the kids, a small Christmas tree, cash, and food were all very much appreciated.

All the generosity my family has experienced through the receiving end has only strengthened my desire to be the one who can do the helping. I always imagined myself, with my husband out of dental school, going back up to our old college town and bringing a nice fat check to the Bishop of our previous congregation there and asking him to give it to a family or families in his congregation who need it.

If I won the HP giveaway, I wouldn't have to wait for my husband to be done with dental school to begin my childhood dream (and Poor College Student dream). I could go back sooner rather than later and have something to give. Either way, I'll still bring that check in a few more years when dental school is done, but it would be awesome to help the Poor College Student Family of 2008 that took our place when we left.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Freezer Ate My Slaw

Do you want to know why I'm sad right now? Earlier today I was looking for the leftovers of the absolutely yummy coleslaw that my mom made while she was here. I couldn't find it anywhere. You'd think it'd be in the fridge, right? I looked! I checked the counter to see if I forgot to put it away last night. Nope.

I just found it.

In the freezer.

So mom, do you think it'd still be good?


Lack of inspiration for a real post has led me to write this . . .

Oh, the weather outside is frightful.
I'm not feelin' real insightful.
I think I'd like to stay in bed
With a book
And a mug
Of cocoa.

When it finally turns to night
And all the kids are sleep in their beds
I finally have a chance
To get all my crafts and work done.

But the softness of my pillow
Is lookin' real inviting
And my book is callin' to me.
Read me now,
Read me now,
Read me now!