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?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

To Do

Seeing someone's to do list is kind of like spying. You can spy on my day by reading my list right now! I really want to just lay around and feel sorry for myself (I will put that on my list), but I have some other stuff that needs to be done, too. My excuse for still having so much to do this morning is that we had to take my car in to get the windshield replaced, so I didn't get my usual morning jobs done before I left the house. And then instead of getting right to work I decided to just check my email, and I'm still here! Yikes!

Find a ride home for Emily
Play with John
Fold the clothes on the couch
Wash and fold some more clothes
Tidy up the TV room
Tidy up the Front room
Empty the dishwasher
Clean up breakfast
Make my bed
Call Activity Day girls and Sister G.
Call my knitting friend
Lay around and feel sorry for myself
Pick up kids and car
Go on a run
Fix stuffed shells for dinner
Take Hannah to church
Make a million copies for the Primary Program
Watch LOST!

I think that's it.
What are you up to today?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

We had an exciting weekend up in the hills. First we went and met Sam's new family. I put an add in the paper and we have had at least 20 calls about Sam.

I'm glad so many people were interested in our great dog, as we have been able to be selective about his new home. We decided on a nice couple that live out in the country with room for Sam to run. We feel good about it. But still sad. Sam is going, tonight, to spend the week with them, so that they can make sure he will work for them.

After meeting them, we took Sam with us for one last hike in Custer State Park. Sam wore a backpack to carry his own food and water!

It was a long hike, but the kids did great.

John was such a good little hiker.

But after falling and getting up and falling again, he decided he just couldn't go on.

Poor little guy

Don't worry, Sydney saved the day!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Dino Discovery

Paleontologists in Montana made a suprising discovery when they broke open the thigh bone of a T-Rex and found soft tissue that had not fossilized. Kind of interesting in a Jurassic Park, creapy way. I thought that was a cool article, but really I just wanted a chance to post another picture of the kids at Dinosaur Park.

Dinosaur Hill

We were driving home from church one day when we first moved here, and Emily said "I can see a dinosaur!" She was about 4 years old, and I thought she was just being silly. But she insisted that she could really see a dinosaur, "right up there!" So I bent down a little to see from her perspective, and sure enough, right at the top of the hill in front of us was a big long-neck dinosaur.

It turns out that there is a park with a few dino statues at the top of a hill over looking Rapid City, who knew?