Monday, December 18, 2006


We found our new ward yesterday and we were greeted with Aloha! So many people took the time to say Hi, and to talk to us, and welcome us to the "family." It was really great. I was worried that our ward would be all Army and no locals, but we definately stand out with our pale skin, but we were also not the only haoles.

Mormon's don't shop around for a church, we get assigned a ward (congregation) based on our home address. Usually that is fine, but it can be a worry. We went to a different ward the first week we were here, and it was fine, but our real ward is even better! The church is HUGE in Hawaii, and there is a lot of history here - (Joseph F. Smith.) We are most excited to be so close to the temple - about 40 minutes!

When I was a kid, there was a little Hawaiian lady in our ward who whould get up at the pulpit on Fast Sunday and shout AAAALLLLOOOOOOHHHHAAAA! and then get upset if we didn't respond properly, so she would shout out ALOHA again. I was a little worried about that, and though each of the speakers start out with a friendly "aloha brother's and sister's", it is a gentle aloha and it makes me smile - especially when John said "Aloha" in response, too.

I miss reading your blogs. Sorry. I hope you don't hate me. I also need to re-insert your addresses onto my sidebar, I will, but it will take some time. My lost computer should find me in mid January.

Friday, December 15, 2006

And the Winner is:

A Payne with Wendy's Tiki Hut, Coconut Bra's and Grass Skirts Optional.

The runners up are Sand In My Shorts (so true) by Heather, Lost in Oahu by Mary, Wahooo Oahu by Deanne, and the very classy Leprosy Free in Hawaii by Millie. It was so hard to choose, and Nathan was getting sick of me asking him if I like this one or that one better. I hope you like my new name, and my address should stay the same (I hope.) I want to change the layout, but the computer at this place never lets me on, so it would be a miracle if it lets me.

A. Payne will recieve one plastic authentic Hawaiian (made in China) lei, one small paper umbrella, one baggie of actual Hawaiian sand. The runners up will recieve one baggie of authentic Hawaiian sand. If you are interested in recieving this great prize, email me at wbarrm at yahoo dot com (change the at to @ and the dot to .)

We are having a great time here in Hawaii. The flight over nearly did me in, but a few days relaxing on the beach and floating on the surf and I feel great! My hair, on the other hand is having difficulties - the humidity is making it Ka-razy! My hair has a teeny bit of curl in it, not enough to be curly, though. So it is fuzzy and puffy here. And when I get sweaty the under part of it gets curly.

We are figuring out our housing today. There are no homes available on Hickam AFB, but we will be checking out one on Schofield Barracks today. It is on the Army Post (not base) where Nathan will be working. So far I have gotten 3 "oooh, I would never live on an Army Post" comments. I wonder if they have warts or something.

The beach is great. The sun always shines. There is a fragrant floral scent in the air. The language and cultural difference is cool. And I feel almost tall here. Come on over!

Monday, December 04, 2006

White Glove Inspection

I love love love all the blog name ideas.

The winner, and the new blog name, will be revealed from the beach (later this week) Sorry for the delay, but it is going to be a tough decicion.

It's not too late to enter!!!


We spent last week with our moving buddies (they just loved our food storage, huge old piano, and Nathan's 600+ pound lathe*) then we spent the weekend cleaning our military house to prepare for the white glove inspection. Our past two military houses have been condemned as we were leaving (coincidence?) so this is the first time we had to clean more than the kitchen appliances. It was hard work, and my dry hands are proof that we did not hire a cleaning lady.

But I have some new favorite cleaning tools: SOS pads are brilliant. They shine up a stove like no other. When I used an SOS pad to shine up my toaster, Sydney thought I had bought a new one. Magic Erasers are also divine. A while ago Nathan soaked some wood in our bathtub (to bend the wood for one project or another.) The wood left a ring around the tub that scrubbing bubbles and comet could not touch. But magic eraser cleaned it right up like, well, magic! The magic eraser cleaned finger prints off white-fake-wood-cupboards, and scuffs off of walls. I'm buying stock in that company.

This morning the inspector arrived. I had imagined a Marine in dress uniform complete with white gloves, but it was actually an older non-military woman in birkenstocks. She checked the refridgerator, pulled out kitchen drawers (and made me wipe off a few crumbs that we missed) checked the shower stalls for water spots, and the garage floor for grease. And we passed! Yippee!

Now Nathan can check out and we can get out of here.

Here is the plan for our fam. Today we are mooching off of friends - using one friend's computer (thanks Janene,) sleeping at another house (thank you Terry and Sarah,) and I'm sure the kids will be all over the place to play later today. Tomorrow at 6am our airplane will depart Rapid City "International" Airport headed for our little island home in the Pacific. Wish us luck!

* Nathan's Lathe (a big woodworking machine that can turn baseball bats or bowls or baby rattles) proved to be too big of a job for our moving man, so they called in a tow truck to take the lathe to their warehouse. I was imagining the kid of tow truck with the straps, and Nathan's lathe strapped in and rattling down the street on its two back wheels! But they sent a big tow truck with a flat bed that tilts down and can hold an entire car on the flat part. They rolled the lathe onto the truck and strapped it on with big chains. I wish I could post a picture (Nathan made me take a few) of just how silly it looked riding down the road. He was so proud.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Name That Blog Contest

This family is getting a new home. So this blog needs a new name. And you are just the person to name it.

Here are the rules:
the name must embrace our new island home.
the name must not embarrass me or my mom.
the name should be catchy, but not too cheezy (a little cheese is okay)
5 word max (or close)
Enter as many times as you like.

The lucky winner will recieve this amazing prize:
one plastic authentic Hawaiian (made in China) lei, one small paper umbrella, one baggie of actual Hawaiian sand.

This can all be yours if your suggestion becomes the name of this blog. Please leave your ideas in the comment secion.

*** because of the move logistics it may be a while before I get another chance to blog. My goal is to blog one more time from a neighbor's house before we go.

Monday, November 27, 2006


I am sneaking in a blog post at the library while the girls are at their last piano lesson. I feel like I am in the middle of a Disney Channel teen show. There is a middle school one block from the library, which turns the youth section into a big acterschool day-care program for big kids. They are loud and rude and use bad words. The poor librarians are always barking out things like: walk, walk in the library, find a place to sit down, careful, etc.

Our computer is all boxed up, along with the rest of our household goods. Tomorrow everything will be stowed in big wooden crates in preparation for their voyage across the sea.

The movers have been great - very clean and professional. One of the packers is an older woman named Joyce who reminds me of my Grandma Faye a couple of years ago. She just bustles along, and has steadily packed up the entire living room, kitchen, and upstairs bedrooms.

With her putting in a full day's work, I have felt a bit guilty just sitting around like a lump. So today I baked chocolate chip cookies, vacuumed the couches and the rugs, wiped down all the dining room chairs, and cleaned the blinds in the kitchen area.

Last week I was feeling such stress about getting everything all sorted out, but now I am calm and cool. We have our bags packed, a guide book to the islands, and our plane tickets to Hawaii. But, it all still seems a little fuzzy.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

We Believe in Being Honest

Will Rogers said - Live so that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.

Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving. - President Faust

Here is where I have honesty problems: I hate to be embarrassed and prefer to make up a story then get busted. I also have a tendancy to not speak up when I should. Luckily I have little kids to keep me in line. Not too long ago we were at WalWart and after filling our cart, then unloading each item onto the conveyer belt while keeping the gum out of John's hands and hair, we paid for our loot and headed to the car.

At the car I buckled Emily and John in their seats (not a small task) and unloaded the groceries when I noticed a pack of stickers stuck to the seat of the cart. I knew that I had not paid for the stickers but I did not want to go back into that black hole of a store. Emily also saw that the stickers were not in a shiney white bag and asked if we had paid for them. I cannot sneak anything past that girl. So I unbuckled the kids, loaded them back in the cart and got back in line (giving in to the begging for gum this time) and paid for the stickers. I'm glad I did, but I remember thinking it wouldn't have really mattered to the store if I had just taken them. Maybe it wouldn't have hurt WaWa's bottom line, but who knows, it could have led me down the slippery slope to armed robbery and hard time.

Another time I was shopping at Sam's Club (that guy may as well just direct deposit nathan's check right into their register.) It was late, Nathan was deployed, and I had all the kids. Looking back, this was when John was a baby, and taking all the kids to the store would give me palpatations (I'm usually better now.) As I checked out I clicked the button for cash-back. But I left the story without the mullah. I didn't notice until I had the kids in bed, and by then it was too late to do anything, and Nathan was too far away to ask for help. (I should mention that this was the 2nd time this had happened in a few months and I was sooooooo embarrassed about it)

In the morning I was trying to decide if it was worth it to take my crumpled reciept into the store and ask for cash (would they think I was running a cash-back-scam and blacklist me?) when the phone rang. It was an accountant from Sams' who found a problem with a register - it had $40 too much at the end of the night, and she had noticed that I had asked for that amount, and did I recieve it. I told her that I didn't get the money, but hadn't know what to do. She was very nice, and honest, and made me feel like I wasn't too big of a dork. I just had to go in and pick up the money, no questions asked.

There is honesty and decency in the world.

Chosing to be honest when no one is looking is the best.

I hope I don't get the shakey voice during my talk tomorrow.

Friday, November 24, 2006


Today I am thankful for packers. And tape. And cardboard.

I am thankful for leftover rolls.

I am thankful for a blue sky and bubbles and sidewalk chalk.

I am thankful for good friends who are willing to loan us a car, feed us, and take our junk. (I wonder if they will mind if I blog over there next week?)

I need a nap.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Weight Loss Wednesday

I'm not a weight loss expert, and I am wondering why I am writing this today. Maybe just to remind myself what to do. Tomorrow is the big day. There is so much tradition in Thanksgiving, and it can be the start of a dangerous eating season for me. Here is how I am planning to make the most of my day tomorrow -

First I plan to get up early and run - I may even try a little 5K Turkey Trot. Then I will eat my usual breakfast, and I will avoid morning snacking. It helps that we are joining friends for lunch, so most of the food will not be passing through my hands on the way to the table. And the leftovers will not be in my refridgerator.

I will not make 7 layer chip dip, and I will not dip carrots in ranch dressing. But when it is time for the Thanksgiving Feast, I will enjoy it. I will not be on a "diet". I will eat what looks good until I am full. And maybe even beyond full. Then I will have a piece of pie. With whipped cream.

The danger for me is after the meal. The cold turkey on a roll with cranberry sauce. Followed by just a bit of stuffing. Which leads me to a tiny slice of pie. The sweetness of the pie will lead me to a salty snack of crackers with cheese, which will then require me to eat a bit of sweet potatoes. So my plan is to avoid the after dinner snacking by taking a nap and then packing my bags for Hawaii.

I will be brave. I will say "No Thank You!" and "I can't - I'm full!" and "That was delish, one slice was enough for me!"

I will also remember the waste/waist principle. Either you will waste some food or it will end up on your waist. Don't be afraid of wasting - there is no clean plate club.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I am steaming mad. Arg!

I just got off the phone with a punk named Marino at Qwest, our phone carrier, and was told that I am not authorized to disconnect our service because my name is not on the account. That really makes me mad. For one thing, I am the one who switched us over from a local company to Qwest. Really. I am the one who called this spring and made a change to our service. How can I not be on the account? They are happy enough each month to accept a check with MY signature.

What if Nathan was deployed to an undisclosed location right now and I wanted to change to a different phone company? Would I have to fax in my power of attorney to get a little respect? I am an invisible housewife. I need a life. I think I am going to have to get a job. Or a credit card in my name.

Stink. Chickens. Fudge.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Boring Stuff

A woman saved her 5 children from an apartment fire, including 4 week old twins. I thought this was a great story of courage and bravery. And I hope I would be as level headed in an emergency. But I especially liked how her son discribed her:

"She was never really that brave before,” 10-year-old Umar Naseer said about his mother. “Before she was always worried about stuff like nutrition and all this boring stuff. Now she was saving our lives.”

I love that kid.

My computer time is up, and I need to get on with all that boring stuff!


I have been getting up before the sun and wearing earmuffs and mittens to keep me from getting frostbite (actually, this week was warmer than I expected.) And so far I have run 31 of my 75 miles. I still have 44 miles to go. I think I can. I think I can.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Book Club

This month's book was Persuasion by Jane Austen. It is a book that I read long ago in our little apartment in Modesto. Reading it again really made me nostalgic for that magical time of new marriage, and new baby.

I love that this book is mostly about every day life. The little things that make a life. There were a couple little scenes that stood out to me.

The first is when Anne is staying at her sister Mary's house, helping take care of Mary's little boy who was hurt in a fall. One day Anne had knelt by the couch taking care of him, when his 2 year old brother came in and "he began to fasten himself upon her, in such a way that, busy as she was about Charles, she could not shake him off. She spoke to him - ordered, intreated, and insisted in vain." Capt. Wentworth and Mary's cousin-in-law were also in the room with Anne. The cousin was no help, and I'm sure Anne was embarrassed and feeling awkward. But then Capt. Wentworth removes the little guy from around her neck. It left Anne speachless. Such a sweet little picture.

Last Sunday I was putting some things away in my church bag when John came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my neck. He threw me off balance and it made me think of Anne.

I also like the Christmas scene at the Musgrove's home. The children are home from school and the home is full of noise and action. "Anne, judging from her own temperament, would have deemed such a domestic hurricane a bad restorative of the nerves,...but Mrs. Musgrove (said) that after all she had been through, nothing was so likely to do her good as a little quiet cheefulness at home."

Domestic Hurricane. Hmmmm. Sounds familiar...

One last thought: Capt. Wentworth found that his friends thought he was engaged to Louisa. And though he did not love her, he realized that she might think they were engaged, too. He later told Anne "I was hers in honour if she wished it." He had gone on a couple of walks with Louisa, and that was enough for them to be considered an "item". Isn't that crazy? When I had just finished reading the book, I caught a bit of a TV show. The guy on the show was trying to get back together with the girl, and she said something along the lines of "it's not like you owe me anything, we just slept together once, it's not a relationship or anything." Where is that honor today?

I had fun hosting our book club, and it was a relief that there were two other girls there besides Amanda and me. Good conversation, and good eats. I'm going to miss Amanda and her book talk.

Next up for our book club is Little Women. I think I will pack it in my carry on. Books are still ok, right?

Friday, November 17, 2006

1 down 2 to go and a ?

Our first shipment of stuff headed off today. This is a quick shipment of items that we can use to get us through until our big shipment of crap, er, I mean furniture and clothes and all the other stuff comes. I have had a really hard time knowing what to send. The base there allows you to check out necessities (beds, chairs, kitchen items, etc) until your household goods arrive, so what else do I really need?

I sent the kids' bikes, Nathan's scuba stuff, some toys and books, towels, kitchen items, and clothes. It took all of three boxes. I have a feeling we are under our 500 pound limit. The movers arrived at a quarter to 8 (while I was putting Emily's hair up in a ponytail) and finished up by 8am. Speedy!

Next up:
Book Club Meeting
then Luau
then Nathan comes home from Vegas
then Thanksgiving
then Talk in Church
then Packers #2 (big shipment)
then Hannah has a "rockin'" party
then Packers #3 (long term storage)
then we clean
then we mooch off of some friends
then off we go

I have a little question. On December 2nd, the day after all of our storage stuff is gone, our Squadron is having their annual Winter Formal. This year's event will be held at Mt Rushmore - they will light up the 4 big guys for us and it will be just beautiful. I love this kind of thing. The guys get to wear their Mess Dress Uniforms, the girls get all fancied up, and there is all kinds of protocol for what to wear and who sits by who and all that stuff. But Nathan does not really love this kind of thing. He says it's up to me if we go, but I know he really means: please don't make me do this.

So, should I make him get all duded up and take me out on the town? Or should I be practical and remember that we will be tired and grouchy and should just stay home? He'll be a good sport about it if I make him go, but it will also create a few problems for me: what do I wear, hair appointment, fingernail trama, etc.

Here is a picture from the last one we went to, 2 years ago. (scary arm) That dress is too big this year and I felt like it was not quite formal enough (Is it possible to find a fancy scmancy dress with sleeves if you don't live in Utah?) And doesn't Nathan look cute? He would get to add some ribbons to his manly chest this year.

So what do you think? I think I have to RSVP today.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Weight Loss Wednesday

I like the idea of a daily theme, but I have been a little too lazy to figure out a weekly schedule for my blog. So today is Weight Loss Wednesday, and maybe in a week I will do another Weight Loss Wednesday or maybe not.

I always like Wednesday, because every letter in my name is in Wednesday. I still spell it by thinking to myself "Wed-nes-day". I could make each Wednesday Wendy's Day and write all about myself, but it is always Wendy's Day around here, so I'll try weightloss (is it one word or two?) for today.

I really like the kind of people who get pregnant and just gain enough weight to get a bit of a bump, and then are back into their old jeans in a few weeks. I also hate those kind of people - that is so unfair. I am not that kind of girl. I am the kind of pregnant girl who gains a bit too much weight, and since I'm short, the weight settles all over - my arms, my face, my hiney, even my feet. Then I lose some weight, but never all of it. When I start to wear real clothes again, something strange happens and I start to gain more weight. The pattern continues again with getting pregnant, getting sick, losing 10 pounds, gaining 40# and so on.

I was able to lose the baby weight and then some after Emily (baby #3) was born. But then I got pregnant with John. I didn't get as sick as I had with the girls, and I gained enough weight that I outweighed Nathan at the end of the pregnancy. My doctor would say during each visit: "It looks like you had a healthy weight gain this week." I think he meant I was getting fat.

Since I was able to lose the weight after Emily, I thought I would be able to do it after John was born. Wrong-o. For 2.5 years I tried. I really wanted to lose the weight but I just. couldn't. do. it. And all around me were these cute little moms. All the little girls in the squadron wives group are the kind that barely even wear maternity clothes and then look all hott when the baby is about 2 weeks old (I'm not kidding - at a recent meeting a girl came in a tight sexy black dress carrying her <1 month old, I thought maybe she was the nanny. I was wrong.) And the ladies at church are young and cute with slender legs and cute skirts. I wanted to be like that, but I needed help.

This time last year Nathan was getting ready to deploy and I was feeling fat. I wore a size 12 and I had the "muffin top" effect, where my belly rolled over the waistband of my jeans like the top of a cupcake. Yuck. But I had a plan.

This is a little embarrassing. Please don't make fun of me to my face. Really. This is hard for me. Okay, here's goes:

The day after Nathan deployed (he left the day after Christmas last year, so on Dec. 27th) I walked into my first Weight Watcher's meeting. I felt silly. I mean, only old ladies go to Weight Watchers, right? But I did not turn and run out the door, I paid my money and got weighed. And I just have to say that there is something very motivating about having a stranger weigh you. We don't have a scale, so I didn't have any idea of what I weighed, and I remember thinking it actually wasn't too bad.

146.4 pounds. I am short, just under 5'2" and 146 is a lot for me, over the weight range for WW, but not actually obese. So I read all the stuff, and started counting points and tracking my eating. I lost 5 pounds in the first week. Then 5 more before February. I set my weight goal at 125 pounds and I figured I could get there in just a couple more weeks. I felt great. My clothes fit better. My neck looked better. I was starting to be able to fit into my "real" clothes. Then my weightloss slowed down. By Spring Break I had lost another couple pounds, weighing in at 133.

I went to visit my parents and help my sister shop for a wedding dress. Everyone made a big deal about how great I looked and I felt terrific, but I didn't tell them about Weight Watcher's. I am such a liar. I was just embarrassed - I mean, I should have been able to lose the weight on my own, and I didn't want to admit that I needed help. Sorry Mom. I didn't tell Nathan either.

I worked really hard and lost 5 more pounds before Nathan came home in early May. That was fun! I weighed 127 pounds. I went shopping for cute girl clothes. Nathan was suprised. That's all about that.

I still had 2 pounds to lose before I was at my goal, but I was stuck. With Nathan home I had to start fixing real dinners, and I had to figure out how to eat again. I am a competive eater - if he's still eating, I want to eat. If he's having seconds, I want seconds... I stopped losing, but I was really proud of myself for not gaining 5 pounds - I've done that before.

I didn't gain, but I also didn't lose. I spent the summer going up and down from 125.5 to 128 pounds. I considered changing my goal to 127. But I gave myself one more month. And finally, in September, I made it! Hip Hip Hooray!

I weigh about 125 pounds. I feel comfortable here - I could lose another 20 pounds and still be in my weight range, but I think this is just right for me. I feel way more confident and less frumpy. I wear a size 4 or 6 dress, and I have had a lot fun shopping for my new self. My next purchase will be a swimsuit for Hawaii.

Two weeks ago I became a Weight Watcher's Lifetime Member. Go Me! That means I need to weigh in monthly, and I can go to meetings for free as long as I stay within 2 pounds of my goal. I need the on-going support so I am planning to attend meetings atleast once a month, and I want a bathroom scale for Christmas so that I won't let the weight creap up on me.

So that's my weightloss story for today. Next time I will discuss favorite weightloss sites and tips. Thanks for not laughing.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Do I Look Any Different To You?

Beta Blogger seems fine. It wasn't too hard to switch, but I haven't taken the time to get to know any of the extra features yet. Any tips?

Monday, November 13, 2006

2 Blick Keys

Hannah has been taking piano lessons with Miss Maria for about two and a half years, and Sydney has been taking lessons for a year. Miss Maria is a strict piano teacher from the Ukraine. She is serious and she is a great teacher, with a bit of an accent (most of her vowels are pronounced as "i" - Nathan attended a lesson with Sydney when Miss Maria was showing Sydney how to play a song on "Two Blick Keys" - whenever I mention Miss Maria to Nathan he copies her in a high voice - "Seednee, two blick keys.") Sorry Miss Maria.

When Hannah first started lessons she loved Miss Maria, but her attitude about piano lessons has been going down hill for about the last 6 months. A bad attitude is more contagious than Chicken Pox, and it has spread to Sydney. Bribery worked this summer, but Armadillo's Ice Cream lost its magic when school started.

Recently Miss Maria called to let me know that Sydney was unwilling to play for her during her lesson time, and she asked if I could come and observe the next week (wick.) When I took violin lessons my mom always had to stay and take notes, but that is not something that Miss Maria has asked me to do. For the last couple of years I have spent the lesson time at the library or running errands or getting ice cream, but I have really enjoyed attending piano lessons for the last few weeks.

Being in the lessons is kind of like spying. I am much more aware of what the girls are supposed to be working on. Many days when they practice they just fly through their songs without concentrating on the bits that need a little extra polishing. But now I know that Hannah needs to work on her posture and that Sydney should be playing a scale every day just so. I'm not sure if the girls think this is a good thing, but I have enjoyed it!

Hannah and Sydney both seem to be enjoying piano lessons more lately, since I started going with them. Hannah is a little less sullen, and Sydney says Miss Maria is nicer when I am there. I think that is a good start. We will miss Miss Maria, but when we move I am hoping to find a piano teacher that Hannah and Sydney can really connect with - I think that will be the difference between them quitting and excelling.

I remember having a violin teacher I hated (she had scary facial hair.) That's pretty much when I stopped playing. I don't want that to happen yet to Hannah.

Those pictures are from the Halloween Recital. The girls played beautifully spookily!


Today's Run 3 miles. 53 miles to go.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Saturday is Special Day

We had a few extra kids here for the day. My 4 + 5 borrowed kids = 9 children! I had one 18 month old, one 3 year old, one 4 year old, two 5 year olds, one 7 year old, two 8 year olds, and one 12 year old. Thank goodness for that 12 year old - I would never have gotten a shower if Hannah hadn't been here to keep an eye on the cutest little 18 month old around.

I was worried that the kids would get bored and make big messes and I didn't want the TV on all day, so I arranged our day like Super Nanny and had a plan. Indoor playtime until 10am, Outside until lunch (or until your toes start to freeze), Quiet Time, Craft time, Outside until dark, Dinner! I think it worked out really well; we had just a few tears (mostly about snow down shirts), but no blood or big arguments or big messes.

I set out different toys in different areas so that every toy wouldn't be crammed into one bedroom creating chaos and war. The biggest hit was the Puppet Show. My sister Mary made the puppet stage for us a few years ago. Thanks Mary! The big kids used it first and made posters to announce their big production, set out chairs for an audience, and collected pennies for tickets. So cute!

It takes a lot of time to get 8 kids bundled up and ready to play in the snow. By the time I started putting mittens on the last one, the first ones out were trying to come back in. Waaa!

We came in for hot cocoa and lunch, then the baby and I both had a nap (a few minutes of shut-eye for me was very refreshing.) But by about 4pm everyone seemed to be heading toward a breakdown, including me. So we cleaned up the painting and playdough and headed back outside. Ah, fresh air! It really clears your head and calms the nerves. Just the thing to get us through 'til dinner.

Pizza Deliver is a true blessing. Otherwise we would have been lucky if we had some broth without any bread.

It was a fun, fun day. Fun and exhausting. Our friends have gone home, my little ones smell like strawberry shampoo, and the lights are out. Good Night!

Friday, November 10, 2006

This place is a dump. My husband has been gone for a week, and we have somehow managed to trash each and every room of our house. How did that happen?

It is time for a To Do list: (I love "to do" lists. Nathan thinks they are silly - he likes to add one item to the top of my list: "Make a list". He thinks that is so funny. He will even cross it off for me. Silly boy!)

Make a list
Move along the laundry
Take a nap
Make a mitten matching game for John
Pluck my eyebrows
Wash special-wash laundry
Straighten up the desk
Make a snow angel
Go Running (it snowed last night, I slept in, but the day is not over yet)
Fix dinner - ravioli? grilled chicken? nachos?
Play Hide and Seek

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The leaves are almost gone here, and though we have had a few days of Indian Summer this week, winter is in the air today. Earlier in the fall we raked up a big pile of leaves to jump in, but I never bagged it up, and most of them have just blown away! Autumn in South Dakota!

Yesterday my mom wrote an email about fall leaves and it reminded me of something. On the grounds of their beautiful Hood River home, my parents had several big Horse Chestnut Trees. These were enormous old trees with a huge trunk, big leaves, and odd pokey balls. In her email my mom mentioned that those trees seemed to lose all their leaves over night. She mentioned the time a friend slept over, and the next morning when she headed to her car, it was completely buried in leaves. Reading about those leaves reminded me of something so strange, that I have wondered if I really saw it, or if I just imagined it.

My old room at that home had windows around 3 sides, and some branches of the tree came right up to the house there. In this picture all those windows on the 2nd floor were my room, and you can see the big tree to the left of the house - it's branches over and above the roofline.

I was visiting my parents one fall when Hannah was a baby, and we were staying in my old room. The sun was up, but Hannah was still sleeping, and I knew if I moved she would wake up. I was being held captive in my day-bed by a 10 pound little girl! The only thing to do was cuddle down look out the window.

The big leaves of that chestnut tree had turned yellow, and I started to notice something odd. Leaves were starting to fall off the tree, but they were not being blown off. And they didn't just drop off, they seemed to wiggle off, one at a time.

The leaves of the chestnut tree are like fingers - 5 leaves joined together on one thick stem - here is a picture of the leaves and the chestnut pods:

There was no wind that morning, but every couple seconds one leaf would kind of lift itself up by the stem, and then it would release from the branch and fall down. I watched this happen over and over again, with baby Hannah snoring next to me. It was amazing. Later in the day I noticed that the tree was almost bare and the ground around the tree was covered in leaves.

I have never seen anything like that since then and I have wondered if I was dreaming. But I KNOW it happened, and reading the note from my mom about those trees losing their leaves all on one day makes me think I'm not (too) crazy.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Look at Me! I did it!

This may come as a surprise to you, but I am not a computer genius. Seriously. I just spent 5 hours trying to make a CD for Hannah. She has been working on a slideshow for Young Women in Excellence, which is tonight. She has edited pictures, put them in order, chosen transions and music, and typed in captions. She and Nathan were supposed to finish it up together, but for some reason they didn't get it done. Waaaaa.

Last night Hannah finished up the final touches on her slideshow, and at about 10 o'clock, I sent Hannah to bed and told her I would burn the CD. I have never burned a CD. I have never even worked with the photo program she was using. But I jumped right in.

I tried saving. I read Help. I thought I had it, and put a blank CD in and let the computer do its thing. After like an hour of watching election coverage on TV, I took the disk out and put it back in to see if I could open the slideshow. Failure. No slideshow. Just some program files.

So I read Help again. Chose a different format. Inserted another CD. And sat back on the couch with a good book while the computer whirred and flashed. But once again - failure. Nothing. So I asked myself a few questions: What did I do wrong? What happened to the good old days of slide projectors and little square photo thingy's? Why was I trying to do this at 1am?

I went to bed.

This morning I read Help again. And something clicked. I saved the slideshow in a different file. I was able to watch the slideshow on the computer using Real Player. It looked promising. And I noticed that there was a Burn CD option. I read everything instead of randomly trying different buttons. I followed the directions. I clicked GO.

And it worked. I ejected the CD. I put the CD back in, and the slideshow was still there! The music is there - and it ends right on time. The transitions work beautifully. Even the silly video of Hannah is there. Amazing. It brought a little tear to my eye. I may not be a computer genius, but I did it!

I wonder if I can count those 5 hours toward a YW Value Project.

ps - today's run = 4 miles. yesterday 2. monday 3. 59 miles to go.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Flat Tire

Got a nail in your tire? It is a bad idea to keep driving on a tire with a nail, because eventually it will become a flat tire - either as a slow leak or in a more impressive blow out. I have only had one flat car tire - in the brown van. But my jogging stroller always needs a tire patched. Just today, as I was jogging with John, I noticed that the stoller seemed to be pulling and not rolling as easily as it should. I was not suprised that it had a flat.

I learned just how quickly a tire can go flat one afternoon in 6th grade. My 6th grade class had walked in to Mr. Jackson's 6th grade class to watch a movie. I ended up sitting in the back of Mr.Jackson's classroom, near the brown, fake-wood cupboards that divided the classrooms in our "pod".

A kid in a wheelchair was sitting right in front of me. He was a nice kid. He once had his birthday party at Roller King and I got to go - muy cool. He had a super fancy wheelchair with electric controls and big tires. I doubt I could see the movie very well from the back of the room, but I could see those tires. They were a little dirty, and I thought I would help by picking out some rocks that were caught in the tread.

Then I noticed a rose thorn in the tire. Hmmm. That can't be good, I thought. So I used my fingernails to pull it out. I just wanted to help. I had to push it back and forth to get that thorn to budge. It was stuck quite deep in the rubber of the tire. But I did it.

And as soon as I did, I knew I had made a big mistake. I didn't know what to do. I watched that tire go flat. It happened so fast! And I didn't say a word. When the lights were turned back on, I stood up with the rest of my class and headed back to our classroom. I did not look at the tire, and I put the thorn in my pocket.

The boy in the wheelchair didn't notice the problem until he started to back up and turn around. By then I was nearly to the corner, but I watched him call our teacher over, and I watched our teacher go to the phone to get a janitor to come help. And I remember that the wheelchair boy missed recess. And it was all my fault. But I still didn't say anything.

I think I was cursed that day, for giving a poor handicapped kid a flat tire. I notice that I have bad luck with thorns and my jogging stroller. It always has a flat tire. I have slime in my tires, and I keep the bike pump in the storage pocket, just in case. Each time I use the stroller, it never fails that I have to pump up a tire. I figure that's the least I deserve.

To Mary, Love Wendy

Mary asked for a list of my favorites. I can't tell my McSista no, so I'll answer over here:

Favorite/most helpful parenting book: sleep/naps, toddlers, babies, discipline, whatever.
I really enjoy reading parenting books. I check out a new one almost every time I go to the library. But my favorite is still Children the Challenge. It was presented at a Homemaking meeting back when Hannah was a baby, and I went out and bought it that week. I consult it regularly.

In my library wanderings I recently found the Love and Logic parenting books. They are great! Very practical and real and similar to my fav. Nathan and I have laughed along with their CD's and have made some real changes in our home. I haven't read the one geared toward toddlers yet, Mary, but I am hoping to find it this afternoon.

Best place to get toddler shoes that are affordable but sturdy.
I prefer to buy cheaper shoes, because I have found that they all wear out and get ugly, and I don't want to feel guilty about buying a few pairs. The girls always have so many shoes that they don't really wear out and have been passed down and well worn. Salt-water sandals have held up the best of any, though they are not cheap if you don't have a Fred Meyer around.

John is very picky about his shoes, so he only has 2 pairs, and he won't wear one of them. We decided to check out Payless this fall and found cute shoes for everyone there. (But I did have to wrench the pair of flashing "Cars" shoes out of John's hand so we could leave the store with him crying all the way to the car.) They are holding up just fine.

I also like using the Sears Kidvantage program for returning worn out shoes for a new pair of the same size. This has worked well for Sydney, who is very hard on her tennis shoes.

Favorite shoes you wear (besides tennis shoes).
I have a pair of brown leather sandals that I love. They have about a 2 inch wedge so I feel very tall in them. They look good with a skirt or with jeans. They are comfortable and cute and they hide my weird little toe.

Favorite book you've read lately.
I recently read Persuasion by Jane Austen for our ward book club, which I am hosting this month (I hope someone comes). Oh, the letter! It has made me think about commitment and honor during courtship and how times have changed. More about that another time. I also enjoyed reading about Afganistan in Sewing Circles of Herat. Eye opening.

Favorite dinner recipe.
Cheezy Potato Soup. We had it last night. Delish.

6 potatoes pealed and diced
1 carrot cut into coins
1 celery stalk, diced
chicken broth (or bullion)
heavy whipping cream
cheese (I use American, but cheddar is good, too)

Boil veggies in broth for about a half hour or until the potatoes start to mush. Pour in a bit of cream, and add in some cheese slices, stirring until melted. Serve with crusty sourdough bread. Yum.

Favorite movie you've seen lately.
We cancelled our movie membership a couple weeks ago, so I feel like I haven't seen anything lately. But I have been going to bed earlier, so that is good. We had a family movie night/slumber party on Friday and watched Ever After. That is a cute one.

Favorite LOST character.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Bike Ride Countdown

10 Wheels on our bikes (and one scooter)
9 Mallard Ducks in the river
8 Chicken Nuggets
7 Chain fixes (John needs a new bike and I mean it!)
6 Potty Breaks
5 Leaves racing under the bridge
4 Close calls with dog walkers or bike riders
3 Tunnels
2 Bridges
1 Spectacular Crash
0 Pictures

What a beautiful day. After a week of cold overcast days, today's sunshine called us outside. We loaded up 3 bikes and 1 scooter in our borrowed car and headed off to my favorite city bike trail. This time we started at these big cement fish sculptures, and followed the river over bridges and under train tressles and roads, all the way to the golden arches for lunch.

The hill was steep up to Micky-D's and on the way down, John forgot how to use his breaks. He went down the hill, across the path, over the grass, and crashed in the cat tails. He was fine, and didn't even cry, but the chain fell off his bike (for the 3rd time.) Thank goodness the river was a little farther away at that point in the trail!

We passed and were passed by so many people out enjoying the day: several families, one bicycle built for two, one crazy lay-back bike, lots of runners and bikers and walkers and watchers. I was the only scooter-er out there. I have a feeling my Razor Scooter is not as cool as it once was. Doh!

p.s. 4 miles today (not counting the scootering, although I think my buns-ies are going to be sore) 68 miles to go.

Friday, November 03, 2006

It turns out

I am a liar. The 'burb is just getting loaded up on a big truck and will then drive back across the country to California and ship out from there. Bummer. A float down the Mississippi sounded much more romantic!

You would think we could have driven the darn thing down to Denver, rather than 1000 miles East, just so that it can now go back those same 1000 miles on it's way to the coast. Crazy military rules.

It also turns out that I can pretty much count the miles I ran in the month of October on 2 hands. What happened to my 70 miles a month?

Here are some really good excuses: My most favorite watch died. I used that watch on each run to keep me in line and to help me know how much farther to go. And then it got cold. And school started. And it got dark in the mornings. And my running partner Sam, found a new home.

But: the time changed, so it is light earlier. And I didn't really like to run with Sam because he always had to poop, and then I would have to carry that steaming back of yuck all the way home. And I have good warm hats and stuff because it is cold here 9 months of the year. So no more excuses.

Hawaii is about a month away and I must look like a hottie on the beach. Oh, who am I kidding, running does nothing for the blinding whiteness of my skin. But I will feel better if I am a little less jiggly. And a good tan causes cancer.

So here's the plan:
1 month = 30 days - 4 Sundays = 26 days x 3 miles/day = 78 miles.

My running goal for the next month is 75 miles (that gives me one day off.) Anyone want to race?

(3 miles down, 72 to go)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Bon Voyage

My fancy new car is boarding a barge today to take a little trip down the Mighty Mississip' and on to Hawaii. Do you think it will get to travel over the Panama Canal?

I guess we really are moving.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
- Mark Twain

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


ah, he, he, my pretty!


Happy Halloween!


Goin' bloggin'
Goin' bloggin'
Won't ya let me post a couple pics?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

H-A-double L-O-W-double E-N spells Halloween

Our Elementary school hosted a costume parade when we were kids. We would go home for lunch, and walk back all dressed up. The year I was a clown, my mom put wire in my braids, and I could pull a string and make my braids stand up. During the parade, the loud speaker would blair out the "H-A-double L-O-W-double E-N spells Halloween" song. I was suprised when yesterday, on the way home from school, Emily starting singing it in the back seat of the car. Her teacher sang it to them - and so the song lives on!

I will not eat Halloween Candy today. That is my one goal. John keeps bringing me candy to share. But I am strong. I am a grown up. I do not need Hershey's Miniatures to make me happy.

In years past I have been putting the finishing touches on Halloween costumes right up to the minute that the doorbell would ring, announcing the arrival of the first trick-or-treaters. But we had a dress up party to go to yesterday, so everything is ready for tonight. Hurrah!

And since I don't need to sew this afternoon, I am planning to do a little Halloween feast. I think this is a first for me.

I am going to grill hamburgers and cut out a pumpkin face on the cheese slices. I am going to wrap little smokies in crescent rolls to make little mummies. I already made jello and will cut out pumpkin and ghost jigglers. I put some gummie worms in an ice cube tray to freeze for our drinks. And I will bake some potato fries and steam some broccoli. That's all. I think Sydney will really dig it!

I am also going to put some cider on the stove to warm up cold little fingers and noses after the trick-or-treating. And I have the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown to watch while the kids sort through their hoards of sticky goodness.

Happy Haunting!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Do you dare?

Today, John and I are reading scary stories to help get us in the mood for Halloween. Here is a list of our favorites:

Our favorite-est scary book is the Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree. While looking for this image I found that there used to be a Spooky Old Tree boardgame, and now, for just $19.99, you can have your very own Spooky Old Tree Gameboy Game! This was my sister Sarah's favorite book when she was about 2 years old. I remember mom reading it over and over. It was the very first book that I bought for Hannah when she was a baby, and she and Nathan loved to read it together. Hannah would answer each question (Do they dare go in that spooky old tree?) with a very serious "I Do!"

The Monster at the End of this Book is another good one. Did you know that when you turn a page, you not only get us closer to the monster at the end of this book, but you also make a terrible mess?

Miss Nelson is such a great teacher and role model for me. Somedays I dig in the back of my closet to find my ugly black dress and tell my kids "If you misbehave, you'll be sorry."

The Old Black Witch is one of my childhood favorites. I couldn't remember the name of it for the longest time, but my sister Heather helped me find it a year or so ago. The Old Black Witch makes the best blueberry pancakes in town! And that assures that she isn't kicked out of the house she haunts, and that the new owners' Jug and Muffin Tearoom makes enough money to stay there too. The Old Witch stars in a couple more books: Old Witch and the Polka-dot Ribbon and Old Witch Rescues Halloween. These books are out of print, but I was thrilled to find that our library has one of them, and it is on shelf! You can listen to a recording of Old Witch Rescues Halloween here! Ratch-a-Fratch!

I hope you have a chance to visit old haunts, and after a scream or two, you make your way... Home Again, Safe at Last!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Doctor Mom*

Early this morning I could hear some barking coming from downstairs. We don't have a seal or a dog, so I knew it had to be a croup-y cough.

A few minutes later, John came wheezing up the stairs, crying about a lost car. I wrapped him up in a blanket and we went to sit out on the porch for a few minutes. His new race car from MickeyD's was lost under his bed, and the crying was not helping his breathing. So we sat outside, breathing the cold air. After a few minutes rubbing his back and a few promises to search for the car, he calmed down, and started to breath a little easier.

Croup is always a little scary, but, from the American Academy of Family Physicians, Most children with croup will get better with treatment at home. You can give your child a mist treatment at home by:

Having your child breathe through a warm, wet washcloth placed over the nose and mouth.

Running hot water in your shower with the bathroom door closed. Once the room has become steamy or has fogged up, sit with your child in the room for about 10 minutes.

Cool air may also help reduce the swelling in your child's airways. In cooler months, taking your child outside for a few minutes may bring some relief.

*I should just mention that I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, and if your child is not breathing you should seek medical care....

But, it is that time of year, and the trick of going outside in the cool air, or making a steam bath, has save us several late night trips to the ER.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I am a wierd-o

Amanda tagged me to list 10 weird things about myself. This is way too easy!

1 - I can seal off my nose with my upper lip

Half of our kids can do this, and half cannot.

2 - I have a terrible sense of direction and forget where I am and where I am going all the time. This happens most often when I am driving and talking. I also sometimes feel that I know where I am and know where I am going, but it turns out that I am totally turned around and lost.

3 - I have only 2 bras. And they are both too big. I lost a little weight this year, and apparently half of the weight came right from my chest. I need to buy a couple new ones (bras, can't afford new boobs) that fit, and I don't know why I don't just do it. Maybe I am hoping that I will get my boobs back. Two is not enought. I think I will buy 3. or 4. Someday.

4 - I felt really wierd at our book club meeting this Saturday. They were discussing using the library's bag-o-books, rather than ordering a book from Deseret Book (LDS bookstore). I had read several of the "gentile" book selections, even though they were full of s*x (not like "adult" books, or anything, just regular trade books, but still) and had to let the girls know that maybe they wouldn't be the best options for a Relief Society book club. (The Time Traveller's Wife would have been really embarrassing to discuss with Sister Mohler.) That made me feel a little odd and worldly. and probably sinful. While I am confessing to reading bad books, I should probably mention that I have seen a rated R movie or two.

5 - I was a teen parent.

6 - If Hannah has a baby when she is the same age that I was when she was born, I could be a grandmother in 5 short years. YIKES!

7 - 7 Brides for 7 Brothers is probably my favorite movie. I would love love love to see it on stage! I always felt connected to that movie because I have 6 sisters and our last name is McBride. (7 McBrides for 7 Brothers) I loved watching it as a kid, but it is even better now as an adult because it is sooooo unbelievable! Bless your beautiful hide....

8 - I love cucumber sandwiches. A little cream cheese on a bagle and a stack of thin sliced cucumber is divine. Add some red onion slices and sprouts, and not only do you have the perfect sandwich, but you also have really bad breath!

9 - I could very easily have a uni-brow.

10 - I love to turn up the radio and belt out the song while I am driving in the car. This may be the MOST embarrassing thing a mom can do in front of a 7th grade daughter and her friends. Well, probably not the MOST embarrassing...

I would like to pass this meme on to Mary (one of the 7 McSisters) and Deanne. Please tell me that I am not the only wierd one around!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


We had a bit of a rough start to our day with a forgotten lunchbox, which turned out to be not forgotten, but lost. Which was then found, which saved one 3rd grader from death by HOT LUNCH.

Our day started to look up by lunch time, and since it was a glorious sunshiney day, I packed up a lunch and threw Emily and John's bikes into the back of the 'burban, and we headed out to our favorite city bike trail. As soon as we parked the car, everyone started doing the potty dance. There was not a bathroom at the start of the trail, but I promised a nice porta-potty, just minutes away down the trail, and we headed off.

John was our fearless leader, tottering slightly on his training wheels. He lead us around a corner, past a dog and his owner, by a garden (now empty, but a few weeks ago it was full of huge carrot tops and tomato bushes and cabbages the size of basketballs) over a little bridge, behind a bike rider, and to our picnic table.

At this point we (not me, okay, but the kids) NEEDED the bathroom. Badly. But the porta-potty was gone. Retired for the winter? Put away before Halloween pranksters could cause trouble? Stolen by a band of bathroom robbers? Whatever happened, it was gone.

Little boys are much better equipped for these sorts of emergencies than little girls. But Emily managed without soaking her shoes.

After lunch we peddled up the rest of the trail, then turned around and stopped at an open field for a game of tag. Then we headed back toward the car. Emily wanted to be the leader on the way back, but John thought he was the only worthy leader.

John wailed and gnashed his teeth when Emily passed him, and then just to make his point, he crashed his little bike. I dusted him off, checked for blood (none), and distracted him with a dead bug. He was fine until he noticed that Emily was, again, the leader. So I left him crying by his bike and started over the bridge.

I could hear him get on his bike and he tried to catch up, but then he really started crying. When I looked back I found that his chain had come off. I had abandoned him with a broken bike. Poor little guy. What kind of mother am I?

After I cleaned his smudged up cheeks, gave him a kiss, and fixed the blasted chain, we caught up with Emily, and she kindly suggested that they BOTH be the leader. Ah, what a beautiful day!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Our Hawaii move is just over a month away. Now that the Primary Program is done, I can focus on the move.

Most of the things that were keeping me up at night a month ago, have been taken care of or figured out: Sam the dog has a new home, the 'burb is getting shipped to Hawaii while the big blue truck goes to visit Grandpa for a couple years, the movers are all scheduled, and we've learned a little more about the housing out in paradise.

So here is the timeline:
Pre-move inspection on Thursday
Stake Conference this weekend
Nathan drives my car to Missouri to put it on a boat
Nathan drives to Las Vegas for a class
The expedited shipment gets picked up on Nov. 17th
Movers come and take most everything else
Storage stuff goes to storage on Dec. 1st
Clean the house and (hopefully) pass the
Housing inspection
Fly over the big blue sea
Slather on the sunblock and learn to surf!

We can't do much about our housing over there until we get over there. We did find out that we qualify for a nice home, but the wait list is 6-8 months! There appears to be lots of rental homes available within our BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing), so we will be able to get by. And we have reservations at Lodging until January, so we don't have to be in too big of a rush.

We will have to decided if we want to live on the Hickam Air Force Base or the Army Base. Nathan is in the Air Force, but he will be working at Wheeler Army Air Field. It appears that there is a bit of discrimination between the forces. The Army guys say their base and people are way better, while the AF guys think the Army guys are a little trashy. I'm having a hard time believing there is really that big of a difference. Come on, you are all in the military, how cool do you think you are?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Oh Crop Mon

First I want to start off by saying CONGRATULATIONS EVAN!!! Way to go! Good luck in Mexico! today is a really big day for Evan. He just turned 19 and is getting ordained an Elder today, and yesterday he got his mission call to somewhere in Mexico (Go Evan, Congratulations!)

But back to South Dakota -

Today is the big stinking Primary Program. Yikes. I am starting to feel a little jittery. I know the kids will be so cute and do a great job, but you never know what is going to happen.

I think I am also getting released today. The Bishop just called to see if I can meet with him before Ward Counsel. Speculation is bad, bad, bad, I know that, but because we are moving, getting released is not a big suprise. I am suprised that I am feeling a bit weepy about it. I am worried that even though I am technically released, I will still have to sit in the front of the ward and get through the program without crying. I'm not sure if I will make it. The big boisterous singing during Scripture Power, and the adorable twins singing a little solo, and Luke blurting out his line like no one else would probably put me over the edge anyway.... And I am not an attractive cry-er. Dang. I wonder if I can trade seats with Sister Lewis and hide behind the piano.

PS I don't think the Bishop is trying on purpose to be tacky - releasing me the day of the program, but next weekend is Stake Conference and they have some nice training for Primary Presidencies, so it would be great for a new presidency to go to.... but .... Also, maybe he is not releasing me, but letting me know that my $148 reimburment for the 70 soft-back Book of Mormons is not approved... I'll let you know.

Back to the Program - yesterday I was talking to my Sister in Law, Lori. I am a complete slacker and do a terrible job keeping in touch, but today is a big day for them, so we talked to them a couple times yesterday. And besides the mission call, we talked for a bit about their Primary Program (she is the Primary Chorister - how fun is that!) and they are doing some totally cute things.

Our program is not nearly as creative. Sorry! But here is the one good idea that we had: we bought a Book of Mormon for each child in our Primary. Just the soft back kind, $2 from the distribution center. The kids will be able to hold them up over their heads during the Scripture Power song, and then they get to keep them! Now each child in our Primary will have their own Book of Mormon! But most of the kids already have their own copies, so for Sharing Time, the Missionaries are coming in to talk about how to give it away! We are so cool.

Wish us luck!

Must put the roast in the crockpot and shape the rolls and take a shower....

Friday, October 20, 2006

"Mother, I think you're mean," said Beezus...

" I don't care how mean you think I am," answered Mrs. Quimby. "You are not going to go, and that is that."

"But all the other girls are going," protested Beezus.

"I don't care if they are," said Mrs. Quimby. "You are not."

Beezus flounced past Ramona into her room and slammed the door. Sobs were heard, loud, angry sobs.
(Ramona Quimby, Age 8 pp. 153-154)

Okay, Wendy: Get ready, it is Friday and you know she is going to ask. Be strong. Say no. If you start to cave remember why:

"Because she comes home exhausted and grouchy...There are four people in the family, and she has no right to make the whole day disagreeablefor the rest of us because she has been up half the night giggling with a bunch of silly girls. Besides, a growing girl needs her rest." (pp 156-157)

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Today is that last day of volleyball for Hannah. She has had a great season - a good team with more wins than losses, new friends, and a serve that gets over the net every time!

What I have loved most about this volleyball season is watching Hannah cheer on her team. She whoops it up and is not a bit embarrassed.

I always want to be like that - someone who can whistle loudly or yell just the right wooooohooooo! But on the, like, two occasions that I have pumped myself up for it, I have either yelled in a wierd broken pitch, or it has come out at just the wrong time, when everyone else has gotten strangely quiet. Then I want to, quick, slip down between the bleachers and smack myself. It is better if I just clap.

My dad is great at yelling at sporting events. So good that I was often humiliated as a teenager by his boisterous "Make her pitch to you!" or "Sacrifice your body for the ball!" I think that may be why I like people who yell (in a nice cheering way, not mean scary parents) but I just can't do it myself. Hannah would make my dad proud!

In other Hannah news, she has been saving and saving all year for her very own iPod and she finally had enough money about a week ago. She has always been good at saving money, but it has been more challenging this year since she found the mall and her "needs" increased. But she did it! So, Nathan and I secretly ordered the iPod she wanted and had it engraved for her and it came in the mail today! I am so excited. Nathan went to pick her up from volleyball where he is going to give it to her and then he will take her shopping for a little "skin" or protective cover thing for it.

She has really worked hard to earn money by petsitting, and babysitting. She started babysitting this summer (just in our neighborhood and with people we know) and has found that that is a good way to bring in the big bucks. But she has also found that sometimes having a babysitting job means you aren't able to go hang out with your friends. Hard choices. What a great kid! Go Hannah!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Good Read

I just finished reading The Thirteenth Tale by Dianne Setterfield. Delishious. Highly recommended. I am not the kind of reader who ever solves the mystery before the ending, and once again I was suprised and satisfied.

I only wish I had saved it for our long flight. Any recommendations?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Over at What on Earth is that Smell, Thouroughly Mormon Millie asked "Quick, what's in your couch?" I thought that game would go well with my I'm the World's Worst Housekeeper in the World Theme so I decided to post the results of my search here!

We have two sets of couches, the fancy new leather set upstairs, and the hand-me-down set downstairs. We saved up Nathan's first deployment money to buy our fancy new couches - they are the only couches we have bought in our 12.8 years of wedded bliss, and I just love them, but we hardly use them. The fancy set mostly gets used for FHE and company. Sometimes I sit on the couch while the girls practice the piano so that I can look through their assignment books and see what they are skipping. The leather cushions are attached, so nothing can get under them - amazing - what a brilliant idea! I know that there is nothing under over or on those couches, so I'm not really including them in this game.

The hand-me-down set will not be accompanying us to Hawaii, because we will just have one family room over there. (It will be interesting to see how Nathan handles the stress of using the leather couches full time.) When we mentioned it to our friends, they jumped at the offer to take my mother-in-law's couches off our hands, and since they were so excited it makes me wonder if maybe we should keep them and put them in storage for 2 years. They are a set of 3 - couch, loveseat, and chair. They are not too ugly, very well made, and totally comfortable - perfect for your average basement seating. Hmm. Another hard move decision...

The downstairs comfy couches get a lot of use and abuse. I take my nap on the couch every day, and Emily and John use the couch as a landing pad for their high-flying tricks. There is enough seating for our whole family to lounge around watching movies or playing video games. It was no suprise that I found many interesting artifacts lurking within.

There was nothing sitting on the love seat, but inside I found:
3 marbles: one yellow cat-eye, one metal, and one for the Big-Big Loader game
1 green duplo lego
1 red triagle for the tanagram set
1 penny
1 green rectangle
1 white trapezoid
1 peg
2 popcorn kernals
1 sticky foam heart
Behind and under the loveseat I found:
1 Strawberry Shortcake pencil, 6 rectangles of a variety of colors, 1 penny, 1 nickle, 1 yellow lego, 1 red lego window, 1 metal marble, 1 Big-Big loader marble, 2 library books, one train track tree, one pink paper ice cream scoop for our reading chart, 2 clippies, and 2 hair pins (yippee! I can never find any of those babies)

There was one special blankie sitting on the couch, and hiding inside:
2 green rectangles
1 penny
1 pen
1 red rectangle
1 little red truck that came home from Spencer's house last week
2 horse stickers
1 Juicy Fruit gum wrapper
Behind the couch was 1 science fair project cardboard folding thing, and under the couch were 2 green rectangles and 1 white crayon.

I fold all my laundry on the chair. To take a peak under the cushion, I had to fold and put away one load of towels. Inside the chair I found just:
1 red starburst wrapper
And under the chair was 1 shiney penny.

If I was a good housekeeper I would go grab the vacuum and finish up the job. But, I don't know, that may be more cleaning than I can handle in one day.

Monday, October 16, 2006


Nathan likes model rockets, he has been building model rockets since before Sydney was born. I remember making my sister Sarah go watch some launches when she was visiting us in California one summer 8 years (or so) ago. We have launched rockets in California, Forida, Texas, and now South Dakota.

It turns out I don't even really like model rockets, but once again I went to watch. It takes all afternoon, and I didn't want to be left out of the family fun, so we bundled up in jackets and hats (even the cat hat) and headed to the park to meet Mike, Mike's realtor friend, and Mike's little brother (of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.)

Between all those guys they had quite an arsenal.

Each of the kids took a turn launching a rocket, and I even got in on the action.

Emily blasts off

John and Roger

scary rocket

The most exciting launch was the rocket that went sideways instead of up, and landed in an intersection - luckily it didn't hit a car or pedestrian. Whoops!

One of my most embarrassing moments was at a rocket launch that I didn't even go to. I had buried this memory until Saturday, when Hannah reminded me of it. It is still so embarrassing, and I really shouldn't write it up here, but I can't stop myself.

Long, long ago, in Florida, when Emily was a wee babe, Nathan took Hannah and Sydney to the park along with some friends (Unfortunately these friends have moved along with us from Florida to Texas and now are in our ward here in SD. Sorry Emily.) Rocket engines have a distinct Yellowstone smell to them, kind of like rotten eggs. And after one launch Hannah got a wiff of the smoke and said "That rocket smells like my mom's toots!"

Moi?!? Couldn't be! I don't do that sort of thing!!!

Saturday, October 14, 2006


I just finished knitting this black cat hat. It is so fun! I think it will be my October hat, to be worn all month. I have worn it running and in the car to school and to the park and...

I was planning to wear it on Halloween with just a little black tail tucked into my jeans, but Sydney really likes it and wants it for her own, so I may have to knit up another.

You, too can have this hat. It was quick to knit, and took about a half a skein of yarn. Here is the pattern. She also has a little red devil pattern for kids.

I didn't have the right length circular needles and the knitting supplies in our town are sadly lacking, so I just knit it back and forth instead of in the round and had to stitched up a seam in the back. I also didn't do the lower ear flaps, but I may put them on my next one. And either my head is too small or I knit too big, because in the picture the hat looks nice and tight, but it is a little loose on my noggin. Have fun knitting!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday the 13th

Sorry if I embarrassed anyone with my list yesterday. I was just teasing. But thanks for the giggle.

The "Coffee" or "Wives Meeting" or "Spouse Meeting" was a success. The Squadron wives (or husbands, though I've only seen one at a meeting once) get together once a month to get the news and socialize and stuff. It is kind of like Homemaking with no opening prayer and lot less quilting.

I was helping host this function, and I was a little worried that there weren't going to be very many people there. But we had a full class for Pilates, and it felt like just the right number of ladies for the space that we had.

We sometimes meet at the hostesses home, or at a restaurant, or at the community center, so meeting at the gym was a creative idea. It was fun! The class was great, and I soon realized that I have absolutely no core strength. I just hope the ladies didn't feel like we were trying to make them join. I'm not going to, but I would almost consider it if we were going to be stickin' around.

The only bummer was that I missed Grey's Anatomy. I am going to try to watch it now!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

To Do

Today is a super busy day and I need to get all this stuff written down or my head will explode.

So far I have:
Showered/Dressed/fixed my hair
made my bed
made John's bed
emptied the dishwasher
cleaned up breakfast
fixed lunches
took kids to school (on time!)
prepared a presidency meeting agenda
worked on the nursery lists

I still need to:
wipe the table again
Primary presidency meeting
Go to Wa-Wa and buy stuff for roll-ups
Make roll-ups
pick up Emily from school
do some laundry
Parent-Teacher conferences at 4 and 4:20
pick up Hannah
Go running with Nathan
fix dinner (sausage and potatoes and rolls)
Go set up for Wives meeting (6pm)
7pm Wives meeting at Spa 80 - do some pilates, eat some healthy snacks, have fun
watch Grey's Anatomy - ask Janene to tape it for me...
make out!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

It Snowed Last Night

We woke up to a little bit of snow on the ground and on the housetops. After packing lunches and finding mittens and hats and boots, we headed out to the car and found a most excellent suprise:

Nathan had started my car and was scraping all the windows. It was a beautiful sight. You have no idea how many times last year I would just hop in the car, turn on the windshield wipers, and hope for the best.... Isn't he great!

Does this seem a little early for snow, to you? The weather man says there may be more snow this evening, but the sun is out now and soon the first snow will be gone... Looks like a day for a good book and a mug of cocoa.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I would fire me

This weekend I had a couple of house-keeping embarrassments, and I would just like to say that if I were the maid, getting paid to keep this house all clean and tidy - I would be so fired right now.

My first big embarrassment is our microwave. I rarely use the darn thing - mostly just for popping popcorn and boiling water for oatmeal packets. So why does is always seem to be all crusty and gross?

Sunday evening we had a young couple from Nathan's work over for dinner. The house was pretty tidy - I vacuumed Saturday night, and Nathan vacuumed under the table just before they got here (now that Sam is gone we have to vacuum under the stinkin' table 3 times a day - I miss that dog.) The kids tidied up their rooms and their "areas" (each of the girls have an area they are responsible for keeping tidy - Emily does a better job of this than Hannah.)

The roast was moist and tender, the mashed potatoes were creamy, the gravy had great flavor, and even my food storage rolls turned out fluffy and tasty. I was all out of flour so I ground some wheat and found a can old flour down in the basement, but the taste of the flour was a little off, so I wasn't sure how the rolls would turn out. They were a pleasant suprise.

Dinner was great, the kids were cute, and no one spilled any red punch on the carpet. It looked like a success until the baby got a little fussy and needed her bottle warmed up. Oh horrors. I had forgotten about the custy-splattered-refried-bean-remains in the microwave. But I remember as soon as he popped open the microwave door. Yikes!

They didn't run out of the house screaming, so I let my embarrassment go, and we decided to play Sequence with them. The girls won, as usual.

Then, as they were leaving, Nathan opened the coat closet by the front door to hand them their jackets. 4 backpacks, 3 mittens, 1 raincoat, 3 rainboots, 2 sets of scriptures, one Big Big Loader game, and my knitting bag came tumbling out... Whoah - what a mess. Can't anyone put that stuff away? Sheesh. How embarrassing!

I remember this time last year I went to visit my friend, Bobby. She was seriously sick, and I was picking up her son for the day. Her house was, of course, spotless. I opened her same coat closet (we all have identical houses in our military housing area) to get Tyler's shoes and jacket. All of their jackets were evenly spaced, hanging on pretty, matching, wooden hangers. Their shoes were stacked on an attractive wooden shoe rack. There were no crunched up leaves or wadded up school papers. They did not have a leaning tower of backpacks and boardgames.

Someone needs to give our maid a kick in the seat. Maybe if she spent a little less time on the computer, the closets would be a little cleaner.... Hey, you there, in front of the keyboard - Get To Work!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Native American Day

South Dakota does not recognize Columbus Day as a holiday, instead we celebrate Native American Day, remembering the people who were here first.

When we first moved here, I thought that was really odd, but now I think they have a good point. To the Native American, Columbus may not be so great. He brought disease, slavery, bloodshed and ultimately an end of a way of life.

We celebrate great men in America throughout the year - President Washington, President Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr... I think it is great that in South Dakota we also honor Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull.

You can sign a petition to make Native American Day a National holiday, if you want to.

You can also read more about Native Americans
. I especially enjoyed reading the Trickster Tales.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Sunrise at the Top of the World

Harney Peak Sunrise

We got up at 3am on Saturday morning to catch a romantic sunrise up on Harney Peak.

We drove to Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park, and hiked 3 miles, under the Harvest Moon. Nathan had his handy headlamp flashlight thing to keep us from tripping on all the rocks, but it was still dark under the trees. I will admit that I worried about mountain lions, but I kept those scary thoughts under control.

We got to the top of the peak at 5:15am, about an hour before sunrise. As we were hiking I felt a little too warm in my sweats and fleece jacket. But it was cold up on the top of the world, and there was no where to hide from the strong wind. The wind seemed to want to blow me off the edge and down onto the rocks.

The Harney Peak fire lookout tower was built as part of a work project in the 1930's. It is a stone building with windows all around the top. The building has been gutted, but it used to have electricy and running water. You can climb up a set of stairs to see out those top windows and all around the world. Or you can climb down to explore the empty rooms of the building. I was worried that there might be someone hiding with a chainsaw, so I made Nathan check each and every room before we could rest and eat some breakfast. We were all alone up there. No other hikers. No kids. Ahhhhh.

It was incredible to be able to see so far - over the Black Hills and across the prairie. But it also made me feel a little dizzy. This is my favorite picture, from inside the tower, looking East.

I am really curious about what it would have been like to live up there. How long could you go without supplies? How would you get supplies? How would you let someone know about a fire? It is quite a hike down, but with a horse it would have been okay. I wonder if there are pictures of it when it was in use as a look-out, and I wonder if anyone lived there through the winter.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Today In Letters

Dear Nathan,
I hate mowing the lawn. I know that I said I liked mowing the lawn, but I was lying. When you deploy everyone offers to mow the lawn, so I have to pretend that mowing the lawn is relaxing to me, to get all those do-gooders off my case - but I am lying. I do not like it. It stinks. It makes me sweat. And if you really want me to mow the lawn, kindly leave the can of gasoline, just in case the lawn mower runs out. Love Ya!

Dear Hannah,
Sleep overs are so over. They make me grouchy. They make you grouchy. How about we just have our friends over to hang out, then send them home after dinner? If I promise to send my friends home before bedtime, will you promise to do the same? And should you ever have another sleep over, could you please NOT plan to babysit for the neighbors early the next morning? Thanks!

Dear Sam,
I just came home alone and the house was all dark and you were not here to meet me at the door. I was a little scared and had to check to see if there was a mass murderer hiding behind the shower curtain. Could please you bite your new family and dig up her prize peonies so that they will send you home? I miss you.

Dear Hawaii,
I hope you are getting ready for us. We are going to need a nice house and really beautiful sunsets. Big storms and sunny afternoons are also good. Am I too old to learn how to surf? If I ever wear a sarong to church I promise to safety-pin it in place so that it won't accidentily slip off in front of all the Primary kids. See you soon!

Dear Squadron,
I burned my tongue on the Chicken Noodle soup. I hope you are happy. Those little chocolate-kiss-on-a-pretzle treats were very good. I used to hate going to those First-Friday dinner things, I felt all alone and awkward. My kids were always the oldest. Now I enjoy going - there are loads of kids, and I feel much more comfortable around all the flightsuits. Bummer about the move.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

What's for Dinner?

We have a fun neighborhood with lots of friends to ride bikes with and fun parks to hang out at. But each night for the last few weeks I have had to be the mean mom and tell Sydney that, NO, she cannot eat at Rebekah's house tonight. And, NO, Rebekah can't eat over here. This has caused a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth.

That, and the fact that the minute the kids come in the door from school they are ready to head out and play until the sun goes down, has been making me crazy. I want the kids to be able to play with their friends, but I feel like being home is important too. So we have been discussing this, and we have tried to set some guidelines.

Rule #1 is that we take care of our backpacks, have a snack, practice the piano, and just stay home until 4:00pm. Then we can play until 5 or 5:30pm. But NOT after dinner. Even if the sun is still out. You CAN play in our yard with your own brother and sisters.

Rule #2 is that we have to PLAN a little before having a friend over to eat. If, when you ask if a friend can eat over, you lay on the ground and start thrashing about, it is an automatic NO!

On Monday, Sydney asked if Rebekah could eat over. Monday is Family Home Evening, and also piano lessons, so I was serving Toasted Cheese Sandwiches. I said NO. Syndey did not cry or storm out of the room, so we were able to (happily) plan a day that we could invite the Rebekahs' (there are 2) over for dinner.

We decided Thursday night would be a good time, as there is no school on Friday. Then we planned a menu - Ravioli (no sauce for Sydney, but white sauce available for the rest of us,) broccoli, Spice Girl Bread, and cookies. Sydney is going to cook dinner, and she will also make a name tag for each seat (Sydney's favorite thing.) I think this will be fun!

Our menu for the weekend is:

Thursday - Ravioli

Friday - Squadron potluck, I will be making Chicken Noodle Soup

Saturday - STEAK! Ree at Confessions of a Pioneer Woman posted directions with pictures. I think I can do this. I am a steak failure, but I am willing to try again.

Sunday - Fajitas with leftover steak

Monday - going on a picnic lunch, I don't know what to have for dinner....needs to be quick and easy as we may not get home until late. Any ideas?

What's for dinner at your house?