Friday, April 29, 2011

Be Nice To Kids With Mullets

Sadie is watching Sesame Street and this little video segment was just on.  I thought it was funny so I wanted to share.  (Don't hurt yourself doing the happy dance!)

Friday Funny

An out-of-towner drove his car into a ditch in a desolated area. Luckily, a local farmer came to help with his big strong horse named Buddy.

He hitched Buddy up to the car and yelled, "Pull, Nellie, pull!" Buddy didn't move.

Then the farmer hollered, "Pull, Buster, pull!" Buddy didn't respond.

Once more the farmer commanded, "Pull, Coco, pull!" Nothing.

Then the farmer nonchalantly said, "Pull, Buddy, pull!" And the horse easily dragged the car out of the ditch.

The motorist was most appreciative and very curious. He asked the farmer why he called his horse by the wrong name three times.

The farmer said, "Oh, Buddy is blind and if he thought he was the only one pulling, he wouldn't even try!"

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Because They Let Me

Sadie attends half-day kindergarten.  She goes to school from 7:55-10:55 and then a little bus brings her home and drops her off at my front door.  She is the only one on the bus everyday.  That is because everyone else attends kindergarten full-day. The half-day option isn't well publicized and there are very few who take advantage of it.  Those who do often end up switching to full-day by the end of the first semester.  I've chosen the half-day option with all of my kids and only switched one of them to full-day before the year was through.  That was Sam, our first, and I regretted it.  I still don't know why I didn't switch him back. 

So, when my kids teachers ask if I'd consider letting them stay all day, I simply tell them why I always choose the half-day option.  Because they let me.  And they'll never let me again.  Kindergarten is my last chance to spend a few extra hours a day with my kids at home with me and I'll take it.  I just wish it was an option every year!

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

When I said in my last post that things can always be worse, I meant it.  However, I didn't want them to actually get worse.  I was happy in my manageable state of things-are-a-little-crazy-but-I-can-handle-it chaos.  However, against my wishes, things got worse anyway. 

I guess I should say that the ants are gone.  That's a plus and it makes me very happy. 

Sadie returned to school today for the first time this week after her 24-hour bug turned into a 96-hour one.  She was pleasant and sweet the entire time, but by the end I was getting worried about my little bug.  Today she seems to be back to her old self and miraculously has much more energy that I would after hardly eating for 4 days.  Hooray for that!

However, the little bit of water we were getting in the basement has now turned into enough to make us wonder if we should start building an ark.  The ground is completely saturated and so, even though it stopped raining around midnight, the water continues to stream into my house.  We're trying to keep up, but my washer/dryer can only get through the towels so fast.  One whole side of my guestroom carpet is soaked.  Don't even talk to me about my storage room, but at least that's a concrete floor.  And there's more rain in the forecast. 

I'm sticking to what I said before:  Things could always be worse.  But I'm not interested in finding out just how much worse they could be. 

I just found another ant.  Make that two...  ARGH!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It Could Be Worse

Some days things don't go according to plan.  I mean, who plans for their 5-year old to throw up all day on Easter Sunday and then run a fever for the next two days?  Who plans for little black ants to find their way under the back door and into the dining room in an endless stream?  Who plans for their basement storage room and guest room to get really wet because it just won't stop raining?  Not me!  These are not things that I plan for or welcome, but when they happen - even when they happen all at once - I realize it could be worse.  And I'm pretty good at thinking of worse things that could happen...

  • Sadie is very pleasant and self-sufficient when she's sick.  She is kind and mild.  She takes care of what needs to be done and then lays down and falls asleep.  Oh sure, we've read her books and snuggled and she knows we're willing to help her however we can, but she is perfectly content to lie on the floor with her blankets and pillows and nap.  She never complains when she is sick.  Ever.  Only when you ask how she's feeling and she sweetly says, "Not very good," do you realize that she feels crummy.  IN CONTRAST, I have a couple of kids (each of whom I love dearly, make no mistake) who are not so low-maintenance when they don't feel well.  Moaning and complaining, they make their presence known and want me to be at their beck and call at every given moment.  They fight sleep and spend the day feeling terribly sorry for themselves.   At least, this time around, it's not one of them!  And at least the illness is relatively mild and she's getting better.
  • Ants are not my favorite creatures.  They are hard to get rid of and so small that it's hard to pinpoint just where they are getting in.  However, they are relatively harmless.  I understand that their home has probably been flooded and they are just looking for somewhere dry.  As much as I dislike them coming into my home in large numbers, I can think of a whole bunch of other bugs/spiders/creatures that are much worse.  And believe me, we've had worse.  I've got a pretty good handle on the ant problem and hopefully they are realizing the lack of hospitality that awaits them here so they will go somewhere else.
  • Due to the massive amounts of rainfall we've had and will yet have over the next couple of days, we're getting water in our basement.  There is a corner in the guest bedroom that is pretty wet, but otherwise it is contained to our storage room.  Fortunately everything is now up on blocks and safe from the streams of water.  We've lost a couple of boxes, but we discovered the problem before the contents of those boxes were ruined.  I've seen water damage before.  I've seen basements where they lost everything because the water was two feet deep.  We've got a few puddles down there, but nothing like that.  And we discovered it while Jeff was still home this morning so he was able to clean things up and place towels in strategic locations to help absorb the water that will certainly find its way in until the rain stops.  Now we'll know where the concrete walls need to be patched to hopefully prevent this from happening again in the future.  We're all feeling quite water logged, but my grass is a lush green carpet and the flowers and trees are beautiful.  We're on the edge of the band of storms so what we're getting is pretty mild compared to other locations.  
In the Reader's Digest, I read an article about luck.  One thing I learned from the article is that lucky people aren't necessarily more lucky than anyone else -- it's just that they can usually think of something worse that could have happened so they view their circumstances as lucky in comparison.  It's called "counter-factual" thinking.  That's how I think.  In fact, as I write this I'm thinking of some of the really big things that some people are going through.  These little annoyances I'm experiencing are nothing when compared to the political unrest, fear, natural disasters, devastating illnesses and loss - or worse - that too many people deal with on a daily basis.  It makes me feel pretty lucky {blessed is a better word} and really helps put things into perspective.

Things could always be worse! 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Funny: Easter Bunny Humor

      A man was blissfully driving along the highway, when he saw the Easter Bunny hopping across the middle of the road. He swerved to avoid hitting the Bunny, but unfortunately the rabbit jumped in front of his car and was hit. The basket of eggs and candy went flying all over the place.       
      The driver, being a sensitive man as well as an animal lover, pulled over to the side of the road and got out to see what had become of the Bunny carrying the basket. Much to his dismay, the colorful Bunny was dead.   The driver felt guilty and began to cry.       
      A woman driving down the same highway saw the man crying on the side of the road and pulled over. She stepped out of her car and asked the man what was wrong.       
      "I feel terrible," he explained, "I accidentally hit the Easter Bunny and killed it. What should I do?"       
      The woman told the man not to worry. She knew exactly what to do.       
      She went to her car trunk and pulled out a spray can. She walked over to the limp, dead Bunny and sprayed the entire contents of the can onto the little furry animal.       
      Miraculously the Easter Bunny came to back life, jumped up, picked up the spilled eggs and candy, waved its paw at the two humans and hopped on down the road. 50 yards away the Easter Bunny stopped, turned around, waved and hopped on down the road another 50 yards, turned, waved, hopped another 50 yards and waved again!  The man was astonished.       
      He said to the woman, "What in heaven's name is in your spray can? What was it that you sprayed on the Easter Bunny?"       
      The woman turned the can around so that the man could read the label.  It said,

"Hair spray.  Restores life to dead hair.  Adds permanent wave."

(Joke found here:  http://jokes.edigg.com/Easter/Dead_Easter_Bunny.shtml and slightly modified.)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

All In A Day's Work

It all started last week when the director for the High School play asked Sam if he thought his mom could make a couple of straw dolls.  Sam, who thinks I can do anything, thought there was a good possibility I could.  Despite being completely clueless as to where to even start, I decided that since I recently dusted off my sewing machine and had tackled a few minor projects, I'd give it a go.  I got a general idea what the director had in mind then spent a few days gathering the needed supplies and finally, this morning, I got to work.


I know they don't look like much - they are meant to look rough and hastily made - but they were harder than I expected.  However, I'm relatively pleased with the outcome and hope they will suffice for the purpose intended.  Altogether, I probably spent somewhere between 4-5 hours on them and I'm more than happy to have them crossed off my to-do list.  There's nothing like completing a project you weren't sure how to do!  I don't know how they are to be used in the play - one of my kids thought maybe they'd throw them out to the audience.  Somehow, I don't think so... :) - but the play opens in 2 weeks so we'll know soon enough.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Carrot Wars

One of my kids' teachers is at war with a friend of hers.  They go back and forth leaving cheesy, distasteful "decor" in each others homes and yards.  I'm not sure how it started or why the unusual theme, but these pranks always involve carrots.  One day as my friend pulled out of her driveway and saw an ugly assortment of carrot lawn ornaments in her yard, she had an idea.  She asked me to make a sign that she could hang on her friend's door.  Here's what I came up with -- I heard her friend loved it!  Wouldn't you??

An Eventful Evening

Last night the kids and I spent a small portion of our evening hanging out in the basement hallway - one of the few places in our home that is underground and has no windows.  The tornado sirens were going off and Sterling was hysterical.  He doesn't handle bad weather very well.  It's the one thing that terrifies him.  Soren was also scared, but I think most of his fear was a reaction to Sterling's panic.  Sadie was a little worried as well, but she rode it out like a champ. 

Jeff was on campus for the annual Psi Chi awards banquet.  He presented one award to a student and then was surprised when he was awarded "Most Valuable Faculty Member" or "Faculty of the Year" or something like that.  Pretty cool!  :)  His group was herded to the basement of their building when the sirens went off. 

Sam was at school for play practice.  They also headed to the basement to wait out the storm and ended up practicing their songs for "Oklahoma," so it wasn't a total loss of practice time.  Fortunately, while we were right in the path of the storm and we got plenty of thunder, lightning, and rain, the worst of it wasn't as bad as we feared and we were soon back to our regular activities.  Whew!!

Sadie had an unexpected side-effect from the storm.  She informed Savannah last night, "That thunderstorm gave me the hiccups!"  Who knew!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Keeping Track

Every Monday night we have Family Home Evening.  It's relatively informal in a structured sort of way.  Many times lessons are prepared at the last-minute or dessert is decided by whatever happens to be in the cupboard or freezer.  The activity usually ends up being a quick game of ultimate freeze tag when one of the boys gets to choose or duck-duck-goose when it's Sadie's turn.  Sure, there are times we have it all together and everything goes smoothly, but I'm not sure that is the goal.  I'm just thankful for one night a week when we are all together.  Those nights during the rest of the week are becoming increasingly scarce.  We've had gospel instruction, preparedness lessons (fire escape plans, etc.), lessons to help someone pass off a Scouting requirement, or making Valentine's (Sadie).  We've laughed, sung, prayed, and shared our talents.  Not everyone is happy to take part every time, but for the most part it's an enjoyable evening and something we look forward to. 

Here's how we keep track of who is in charge of what.  The chart is a little worse for the wear (Savannah is missing a leg), but I love it.  I found the cute magnets on some greeting cards several years ago.  We didn't have enough people for Jeff and me to have one so we're the presents.  (Maybe it helps our kids remember what a gift we are.  Ha ha!!)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

How Can I Be

This video clip was taken by a member of our ward a few years ago.  We love the song - the Elders sang it for us in our home after a meal - and we love these missionaries.  The song has a great message, one I've been thinking about the past few days. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Cold Pricklies, a.k.a. Poky Balls

Do you remember the story of the Warm Fuzzies and Cold Pricklies?  You know, Warm Fuzzies are the nice things people do or say - things that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  Cold Pricklies are just the opposite.  I'm convinced that these little "poky balls" (as my kids call them) are nature's Cold Pricklies!  It seems we were, um, blessed with an abundance of them this year and I've spent several hours this spring raking and bagging them up.  (I've filled at least 5 huge garbage bags and that doesn't include all the poky balls Jeff took care of!)    If you aren't familiar with these nasty little things, they are a product of the sweet gum tree and we happen to have a huge one in our front yard.  As a side note, a few years ago we had some wacky spring weather and there was a frost at exactly the right time which kept the poky balls from forming.  There were NONE!  Ah, that was a great year!  :)

Anyway, last night we loaded up most of the kids and all our rakes and went to help a friend rake up her poky balls.  (And I thought we had a lot!)  As much as I detest these little things, it was great to see my kids getting along while we tackled the job.  Sadie was our little worker-bee.  She worked as hard as anyone and didn't let up until the job was complete.  I love seeing my kids work together and I was glad we could help our friend.

How's that for turning Cold Pricklies into Warm Fuzzies?

Friday Funny

Maybe you've seen this.  I remember seeing it for the first time more than 10 years ago, but I was thinking about it today and it still makes me laugh, so here you go!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Library Elf

Does your library belong to Library Elf

At any given time, we have anywhere from 5-25 items checked out from our library.  I always get a little slip of paper showing what I have checked out, but I promptly lose or misplace the slip and would have no idea what we have out, let alone when each item is due, if it weren't for Library Elf.  It's a service that allows me to type in each of our library cards and then they e-mail me whenever:

  • something is due (within 3 days)
  • something is overdue
  • something has arrived from inter-library loan
 A partial screen shot of an e-mail reminder from Library Elf 

I'm telling you, this simple service has saved me so many times.  There's nothing like a reminder that a book or DVD is due that you didn't even remember you checked out.  With the 3 day advance notice, there's plenty of time to check under the couch or in bedrooms or backpacks.  I returned some things on Monday then Library Elf sent me an e-mail yesterday showing that one of the items was overdue.  With the heads up, I was able to call the library, confirm they had the item on their shelf, and get it taken off my card.

I don't know what it takes for a library to join the service, but if your library doesn't offer it, it is worth asking about.  We regularly frequent our library and this is just one less thing for me to worry about.  I love it!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Silly Bug

I found this video buried in the stores of my iPod files.  This would have been sometime last fall, probably Octoberish.  I thought it was cute and it made me smile today.  Sadie gets a little flustered at the start when she realizes I'm filming her, but then she picks right up and sings like there's no tomorrow.  I especially like the "ba-ba-da-ba-ba"  near the beginning of each round.  Love my little Sadie-bug!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rainy Days and Mondays

After 80ยบ temps all weekend, lots of sunshine and friends, today it's low 60's and rain -- Perfect for a Monday filled with laundry, a book I'm anxious to finish, homemade bread and lots of little things on my to-do list.  I love it when the weather cooperates with my schedule and makes me happy to be inside. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Funny

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson go on a camping trip, set up their tent, and fall asleep. Some hours later, Holmes wakes his faithful friend.

"Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see."

Watson replies, "I see millions of stars."

"What does that tell you?"

Watson ponders for a minute. "Astronomically speaking, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Timewise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, it's evident the Lord is all powerful and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?"

Holmes is silent for a moment, then speaks. "Watson, you idiot, someone has stolen our tent."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Birthday List

Sadie is thinking ahead.  She was quite caught up in Sam's birthday last week and her little wheels have been spinning ever since.  Over the past few days she's been writing up a birthday list so that I will know just what to get her when her big day rolls around.  I have plenty of time -- Sadie's birthday is not until July!  :)  Just in case you have a hard time reading this cute five-year old scrawl, here is a translation:

Birthday List
Curling iron and blow dryer set.  A bike.  2 bags of Kit Kats.
A lunch box.  and what ever you want to get me. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spring

Spring is here!  We've had a few glimpses of it here and there until Old Man Winter rears his ugly head again and again, but for the next several days at least, we'll be enjoying real springtime weather.  Fortunately, the early spring flowers were coaxed out of the ground by the first days of warmth and have continued to grace us with their presence despite the recent chill.  Jeff has been cutting the hyacinths and keeping them on our dinner table and I love the smell every time I walk in the room.  The grass is already dark green and the tulips are ready to burst.  The white blooms on our weeping cherry have promoted several spontaneous outbursts of the Popcorn song ("I looked out the window and what did I see?  Popcorn popping on the apricot tree!")

It was a long winter, but spring was worth the wait!  I'm going to enjoy this for the next couple of weeks.  By then my allergies will also be in full bloom and I may be changing my tune, but for today I'm pretty sure spring is my favorite season. 


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Day in Our Capital

Saturday we spent the day in Springfield.  Spencer received an award for a story he wrote for a contest sponsored by the EPA.  In the morning we toured the capitol building and then went on a quick walk through the Illinois State Museum.  Then we attended a reception and the awards ceremony for the contest winners.  We spent the afternoon with some friends who live in Springfield, watching Conference, sharing a yummy meal, and just catching up.  There were plenty of groans about having to go in the first place, but I'm pretty sure we are all glad we went in the end.  I am.  It was a nice day.

Inside the capitol dome.
  
I think this was in the ceiling of the Senate chamber.
  
Exterior view, capitol building

Lincoln's farewell address when he left Springfield for Washington DC.

Spencer with his winning story - the reason for our fun day out.

Capitol, partial front view.  A beautiful building.
I almost forgot to share our biggest laugh of the day...  While on the tour of the capitol building, we saw the Hall of Governors where they have large painted portraits of each former governor of Illinois.  The last portrait shown is of George Ryan.  Someone on the tour asked, "Where is Blagojevich?"  The tour guide quickly replied, "If he wants his picture up, he has to pay for it himself!" (Due to the national media tour Blagojevich embarked on after his impeachment, you are probably aware of the situation and why that is funny!)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Player of the Year

Woo hoo!!  BYU may not be playing in the final NCAA Tournament game tonight, but Jimmer Fredette is sure getting his share of the attention.  Today he was named as the Naismith Men's College Player of the Year. 
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose with Jimmer Fredette
As if that wasn't cool enough, here are the other awards and recognition that Jimmer received during the 2010-11 Basketball season:

-AP Player of the Year
-Nation’s leading scorer (28.9 points per game) 
-Oscar Robertson Trophy (USBWA National Player of the Year)
-NABC National Player of the Year
-Sporting News National Player of the Year
-Adolph Rupp Trophy
-Basketball Times National Player of the Year
-CBSSports.com National Player of the Year
-SI.com National Player of the Year
-Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award
-John R. Wooden Award All-America Team
-AP All-America First Team
-Sporting News All-America First Team
-State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team for NABC Division I First Team
-USBWA All-America First Team
-CBSSports.com All-America First Team
-SI.com All-America First Team
-Yahoo! Sports All-America First Team
-FoxSports.com All-America First Team
-Lute Olson All-America Team
-MWC Player of the Year
-All-MWC First Team
-NABC All-District 17 First Team
-USBWA All-District VIII First Team
-USBWA District VIII Player of the Year
-USBWA National Player of the Week (Dec. 13)
-Dick Vitale National Player of the Week (Dec. 13, Jan. 10, Jan. 17)
-ESPN.com Weekly Watch National Player of the Week (Jan. 10, Jan. 17)
-MWC Player of the Week (Nov. 29, Dec. 13, Jan. 3, Jan. 10, Jan. 17, Jan. 24, Feb. 7, Feb. 28)
-South Padre Island Invitational MVP
-John R. Wooden Award Final Ballot
-Bob Cousy Award Finalist (Final 5)


An amazing season for sure.  We love our Jimmer!!

Quote from espn.go.com.  Photo and list of awards from byucougars.com.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sam!

I can't let the day end without leaving a birthday message for my Sam.  I can hardly believe I have a 15-year old!  I clearly remember the first day I held him and it sure feels a lot closer than 15 years ago!

My due date was March 31 and at one of my last prenatal visits, I informed my doctor that I did not want to have this baby on April Fools Day.  Little did he know how accurate he was when he said, "Well, let's put it this way:  If it's a girl, she'll hate you for it when she's thirteen, but if she doesn't hate you for that then she'll hate you for something else -- and if it's a boy, he'll think it's cool!"  Fortunately, Sam thinks it's cool.  (And Savannah, who is 13, hates me for something else...)  Ha!

Sam is a great student (he can do no wrong in his teachers' eyes), he loves to read, he enjoys plants and botany in general (his favorite birthday gift was a collection of carnivorous plants from dad), he is a gifted musician (he plays the violin beautifully and has a great tenor voice), he is as silly as they come and he can be a great help.  I say can be because he's a teenager and sometimes he'd rather not do anything, thank you very much, but you get him on a good day and there is no stopping him!  I admire how conscientious he is.  He tries his hardest to avoid things that are not "virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy", though just walking down the halls at his high school often makes his ears burn!  I'm glad it bothers him.  He's a good kid and a good friend!

Sam, I am impressed with the young man you are becoming and I look forward to watching you progress over the months and years ahead.  Stick to your goals and don't compromise your standards for anyone.  You've got a bright future.  I wish for you every good thing.  I'm glad you're mine.
Love, Mom

{Of course, we have to have fun with Sam's birthday.  These are the cupcakes I made today: mashed potatoes and gravy, and spaghetti with meatballs.  I only wish I could come up with things like this on my own, but I have to thank the ladies over at Our Best Bites for these darling ideas.  Aren't they fun?  Sam had a good day!}

Loof Lirpa!

Today's the day, the one day of the year when you can hear the elusive call of the Loof Lirpa bird!  It's so exciting!!  Simply stand outside and, in your loudest voice, call out, "Loof Lirpa!  Loof Lirpa!"  Then listen.  If you don't hear anything, you might try again - a little louder this time.  Get some kids, family, or coworkers to do it with you.   You will be so glad you did!  ;)

I have to thank my son's 3rd grade teacher for telling us about this awesome event several years ago.  We look forward to it all year! 

(If you don't hear the Loof Lirpa's call, you might try printing this page and holding it up to a mirror.  That usually helps...)