Monday, June 30, 2008

Baby Love

I sent Danny to see WALL-E this morning with Stephanie, Kaith and Trevor. I babysat Miriam and Sterling. It's tough to watch a nursing child for 3 hours especially when he's hungry. He will eat a few different things, but unfortunately the only thing I had on hand was Rice Krispies and about a tablespoon of baby food left over from yesterday. He was not a happy camper.

Thank goodness for baths. He happily played in the tub for at least 20 minutes - while we waited for the stuck on Rice Krispies to come unstuck.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Summer is Here.

We are on day 2 (for the year) of what I think is excessive heat. Pretty much anything over 85 degrees Fahrenheit is excessive, in my opinion. Fortunately the forecast is for cooler weather the rest of the week, so I keep telling myself: I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.
I resorted to putting my hair up in pig-tails, which my oldest grandson decided, after much deliberation were more silly than pretty. I have to agree.

Steve just came up from the garage with a box containing a single room air-conditioner. David left it here with us a couple of years ago - I totally forgot that we had it. Steve is my hero. I suppose I would consider having air-conditioning installed if we had more than a week of hot weather a year...

In the meantime, it's too darn hot.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Word of the Day

Maybe I'll just "veg out"

v. lolled, loll·ing, lolls
1. To move, stand, or recline in an indolent or relaxed manner.

After 4 days of girls camp, this is what I would like to do today. Unfortunately I only have this morning to do it, so I plan to make the most of it. All the kids are gone, I won't be picking up my camp gear (dirty laundry, etc) until around noon - so it would be pointless to start the laundry such time as I must "get my rear in gear", I plan to loll.

Monday, June 23, 2008

28 years...

I'm two days early with this - but since I'll be at girls camp - here goes:

Happy 28th Anniversary, Steve. Here's a few highlights over the years....

Remember our first car? A 1962 Rambler. It had bench seats. Those were the days. Somehow mini-vans just aren't the same thing.

Our first apartment - we had a Murphy bed.

Moving to Washington...

The first 50 mile hike we went on - you kept taking pictures - and since you were always right behind me, well, that's what the pictures were too.

I could go on and on (and on), but it's getting late and my ride is picking me up at 5:20am.

I'm still grumpy about going to girls camp during the same week as my anniversary. At least it will all be over on Friday.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pack Man

Alex, Danny and I are packing tonight. I have to drop off the rest of my stuff for girls camp tomorrow, Alex and Danny need their stuff for Tuesday - but we just figured we may as well do it all in one fell swoop. This way we can arm wrestle for who gets to take the best flashlight, the sharpest pocketknife, the comfiest sleeping pad, etc.

Actually, I just take what I want and they get to wrestle for 2nd best.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Dead Zone

Can you hear me now? Can you hear me NOW? Can YOU hear ME now?

We do quite a bit of our shopping at Fred Meyer here in Marysville. It's in a good location - near the high school, near where Andrew was working, close to church...The biggest problem I have with shopping there is the fact that it is the last remaining "dead zone" for my cell phone in town.

I called Steve this afternoon as he was going there - so that I could ask him to pick up some Vidalia onions for me. Two frustrating phone calls replete with "can you hear me now" and he brought me home one yellow onion. Oh well, at least he was close. It would have been a lot more disappointing if I had needed him to bring home something more vital, like ice cream, oh, I mean milk.

Where are your "dead zones"?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer Vacation: Off and Running

My house feels nearly empty this evening. Andrew is downstairs, Daniel and Steve are in the office...and everyone else (but me) is gone. The only noises I hear right now are the tapping of the computer keys, the dishwasher running and a distant neighbor's dog barking. It's lovely.

I think I will need a scoreboard this summer to keep track of who is home and who is not. Who is getting ready to go somewhere, and who is coming home. Alex and Andrew win for most activities, but Nathan will give them a run for their money. Steve and Danny are neck and neck and I am gratefully lagging (slightly) behind.

Alex - campout this weekend, Camp Helaman for 5 days next week, EFY the following week, then he gets a break until time for the 50 mile hike in August followed immediately by High Adventure.

Andrew - 2 farewell talks, then off to SLC for a few days before entering the MTC July 16th.

Nathan - Regional YSA Conference all this weekend - back on Sunday night, then starts college on Monday. That will last through mid-August.

- campout next weekend (where he will be carrying an ax - so it may be his only activity this summer), Scout camp in mid-July, then the 50 miler in August.

Steve - helping out at Scout Camp, taking Andrew to SLC and MTC, Marcy's wedding, 50 miler.

Me - Girls Camp next week, Marcy's wedding, 50 miler.

Alter Ego(s)

Sorry, no pictures of me in the frames... I'd hate to give away my new secret identities.

Steve, Alex, Daniel and I went to Costco yesterday to buy glasses. It's really too bad that the sales clerks there don't work on a commission - between us all we bought 6 pairs of glasses. It obviously wasn't a very busy time for the sales clerks - because the older guy that worked there latched on to me (metaphorically speaking). I would really have preferred to browse in peace - trying on all the glasses by myself, but he just wouldn't go. I kept trying to send him over to help Steve or the boys, but nope, he stayed right by me. I suppose it was my own fault - I told him they were my first glasses - so he stayed to give me a lot of (unasked for)advice.

Danny had a great time choosing frames - although Steve and I both vetoed a ton of his choices. He kept trying on big glasses (think Elliot Gould in Ocean's 11 (just leave the sound off - some bad language in clip)). Steve didn't really like Danny's final choice - but I could live with them. Considering he probably won't wear them often I figured it didn't matter too much. Steve did have him get a second pair that were much more ordinary. It'll be fun to watch the two of them negotiate on when and where he can wear his fancy ones (they really aren't that bad - the frames are Converse - they have thickish black plastic frames - which is what Steve doesn't like. I think they remind him of the dreaded BCG's).

Alex got different frames too - his new ones are a little more trendy than his old ones - but they aren't too "out there".

Steve got new prescription sunglasses. They will be much nicer looking than his old ones. Much.

We will look like a totally different family in a couple of weeks. Ready to don our new secret identities.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fashion Eyewear VS. BCG's

Steve wearing his military issue "birth control glasses" (circa 1983)

I am vastly disappointed that I won't have any REAL help picking out glasses this afternoon. Alex will be getting new glasses, Danny may or may not be getting glasses, Steve will probably be getting new glasses....but they all have or have had glasses. Steve and Alex will probably get pretty much the same kind as they already have - every few years I have to give them a push to update their "look" (see picture above).

I really could use some help. Suzanne? Sherri? Keira? anyone? anyone?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I've Got An Axe To Grind

You'd think that with 5 boys I would already own an axe. You'd think that somewhere down the line someone would have needed an axe for Scouts before now. Before my 5th and last Scout. But strangely enough, no Scoutmaster has ever wanted the boys to have their own axe at campouts....until now.

Danny's Scoutmaster informed me last night that Danny needs an axe for his campout next week.

I'm not generally a nervous mom - I've seen my share (some might think MORE than my share) of broken bones and injuries needing stitches. I handle them fairly well (okay, I make Steve take them to the hospital/walk-in clinic - if he's home - but mostly because I hate to sit around in waiting rooms). But I dunno, something about giving a 13 year old boy an axe gives me the willies.

Double Vision

My dilated eyeball. Yeah, it's fuzzy - but so is my vision right now.

Had an eye doctor appointment this morning. This was the 4th eye doctor appointment that I've had in my life. The first one was when I was about 20. My eyes were just fine. The second one was when I was in my early 30's . Again, fine. I was 41 for my third visit. Fine.

Today I got my first prescription for glasses. Turns out I'm near sighted in my left eye and far sighted in my right eye. Together they mostly compensate - so I can usually see just fine. I have noticed over the last year that reading in bed was getting to be a bit harder - late at night when my eyes get tired they don't help each other out quite as well.

Tomorrow I plan to go shopping for glasses. Can you pop over for an hour or two, Sue?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Poster Girl

Repeat with me: "Overhead projectors are our friends...."

I don't mind volunteering to make posters. It's fun, easy and a great way to impress people with my fairly non-existent artistic abilities. I'm pretty adept at copying - which does go a long way towards compensating for said "artistic abilities".
Unfortunately for me, my older sister hogged ALL of the family artistic ability. The rest of us have had to learn to cope one way or another. I think we've done quite well. In one way or another.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Politics is for the Birds

I've spent a lot of today working on girls camp stuff. I have been having to do some research for some of the nature hike requirements. I came upon this little known controversy that occurred in the great state of Washington. I can't believe I had never heard of the infamous Meadowlark/Goldfinch brouhaha.

The Washington Legislature struggled to adopt an official state bird for the state for at least twenty-three years beginning in 1928.

In 1928, the first of three campaigns was produced to decide on an appropriate bird to represent Washington. State legislators approached Washington school children with the question. Overwhelmingly, the children decided that the western meadowlark was the best choice. The meadowlark is a wonderful bird, but legislators were concerned that this bird was popular in too many other states. Two other states had just adopted the western meadowlark (1927) as their own. Next door, the Governor of Oregon had proclaimed the western meadowlark that state's official bird and in Wyoming, the Legislature had adopted the western meadowlark as its official state bird. The western meadowlark was popular, though unofficial, in several other states as well.

The Washington Legislature did not take any action on the 1928 vote and, in 1931, the Washington Federation of Women's Clubs sponsored another state-wide referendum. In this contest, the willow goldfinch (American goldfinch) made a strong showing over the western tanager, the song sparrow, the junco and the pileated woodpecker.
By 1951, after two state-wide contests, the Washington Legislature still had not approved a bird to officially represent the state. They called for run-off between the western meadowlark and the willow goldfinch.

The willow goldfinch (American goldfinch) was adopted as the official state bird of the State of Washington in 1951.

And now you know.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Wishing all the Dad's in my life a Happy Father's Day.

Especially my Dad.

Happy Father's Day, Dad.

(still on for this year's 50 miler?)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Word of the Day

Yeah, I know what "avuncular" means, but I'd like to know if there is an equivalent word for aunts. Avauntcular?

a·vun·cu·lar (ə-vŭng'kyə-lər) adj.
1. Of or having to do with an uncle.
2. Regarded as characteristic of an uncle, especially in benevolence or tolerance.

[From Latin avunculus, maternal uncle; see awo- in Indo-European roots.]

Friday, June 13, 2008

Word of the Day

I came across this word today - and immediately had to look it up. To quote Inigo Montoya ".....I do not think it means what you think it means".

[tit-uh-veyt] verb, -vat·ed, -vat·ing.
–verb (used with object)
1. to make smart or spruce: She titivated her old dress with a new belt. –verb (used without object)
2. to make oneself smart or spruce.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Whites Are The Silverware of Laundry

Yes, whites ARE the silverware of laundry. What do I mean? I mean that like silverware there is too much fiddly sorting to make it enjoyable. Give me a load of towels any day.

Having 5 men (including Alex and Daniel) in the house means that much of it looks nearly the same - and heaven help you if one person gets another person's underwear (socks, t-shirt, etc..). I really should wash the whites first - but usually someone is taking a shower right then and I'm not so heartless as to deprive them of water.

Trampoline, The Sequel

Our last trampoline lasted for about 12 years. All of our kids used it. A lot. We even moved it with us when we came here from Granite Falls. Our grandchildren love the trampoline, but our old one was on it's last legs - we had to "put it down". Time to break in a new one.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sugar High

Went to the end of school year picnic at the SHoPP office today with Danny and Trevor. I had to apologize to Stephanie when I dropped Trevor off at home - apologize for the lack of nutrients in his comestibles.

At the "picnic" (it was raining - so the picnic was indoors) they had 2 long tables pushed together. On one table were submarine sandwiches and chips....okay....the other table was completely taken over with cookies and cakes. Trevor declined to eat a sandwich (following the example of his uncle) - and proceeded to eat 3 kinds of chips and 4 or 5 cookies.

On the plus side, 3 of the cookies he ate were ones that I had made - using Suzanne's pudding cookie recipe. Thank you, Sue.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Another Reason To Love Wii Fit

As if I need another reason.

This evening I had my MIA Maids over at my house for a BBQ and Personal Progress review. After we were done with eating and discussing PP, I turned on the Wii and put the Wii Fit game in. None of the girls had played it yet, so that was nice - it was new to all of them.

Before they left two of the younger girls said: This was the BEST activity EVER!

I may have to make it a regular thing - every few months we can review PP and then they can play on the Wii.

Anything to get them to work on their Personal Progress.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Winding Down

Daniel and I went and turned in his textbooks today - also turned in his end of year evaluation. We are done with all the "official" stuff, and left with three and a half days of school to do with as we please....

It sort of brings to mind the winding down days of school when I was at good old Elizabeth Page Elementary School. It was all about helping the teacher get the classroom packed up, field day, parties, etc...I don't remember doing anything substantive.

I do remember going to school the last couple of days of second grade with the mumps. I didn't want to miss the partying. I wonder how many kids had the mumps over summer vacation because of me?

Game On

Let's see if I can take a page out of Suzanne's book.

Here's a little something to keep you busy for a minute or two. (Hint: Boise is nicknamed the "City of Trees")

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Technology Rocks

It's Sunday night and I'm helping Alex finish up a report board for his history class. He had to do a timeline on a topic that he chose from the 20th century. He chose "Nuclear Stuff During the Cold War" I think his title will be "From Atom Bombs to Star Wars, A Brief Look At Technology During the Cold War". I'm just helping to find pictures for it.

I have been helping my kids to do reports like this for years - heck - practically for decades. As I look back at how difficult, costly and time consuming they used to be - I'm pleased and amazed at how easy it all is now.

Me: "Alex, would you like a picture of Chernobyl?

Alex: "Sure."

Me: (1 minutes later) "Which picture would you like?"

It's ridiculously easy. I think the next step in technology will allow us to link audio/visual for a sequential image, stereophonic, multi-media event.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


Global warming.

I just wish they'd shut up about it. I mean, come on - our average temperature for the month of June is (so far) 51 degrees. We've had over 2 inches of rain this week.

I'm not one to complain too much about our weather here in the Northwest. I like cool summers - the occasional sunny day is all I really need. I like rainy days in summer - the "Negligent Gardener" in me revels in the fact that I don't have to water anything. I get testy when we have a heat wave (anything over 85 degrees for more than 1 day).

That being said, I am a little concerned about the cool, wet weather. Why? Two words: Girls Camp. In just over 2 weeks I will be camping up near the top of the Snoqualmie Pass. Even if the snow is gone I know that I can look forward to hordes and hordes of ravenous, blood sucking mosquitos.

Parallel Universe?

I'm pretty sure there is a rift somewhere near here in the space/time continuum. Pretty sure. Possibly it is located downstairs in the laundry room. More specifically in the washing machine. There may also be a rift in each of the boys bedrooms. A portal that leads to the universe of mismatched socks, lost library books and fingernail clippers.

We are not able to keep ourselves in fingernail clippers - just yesterday Steve said that the next time he was at the store he was going to get a dozen of the darn things - they disappear so fast at our house.

For some strange reason we don't have the same problem with toenail clippers. In fact, I'm not sure why we have so many - I never buy them. Hmmm....maybe they are really fingernail clippers that have mutated...

Friday, June 6, 2008

Awesome Super Powers

Back in February Keira had a post about super powers. We had a good time explaining our super powers and naming our alter egos. Keira is "Personal Space Woman", Suzanne "The Lethal Listener", Tia "Sonic Boom", Nathan "Captain Mop-up", and Steve is "The Pacifier".

I was over at Stephanie's house this afternoon and Kaith was telling me about the play clothes that they had - some of them were super hero costumes. (I think he has a Batman costume, Buzz Lightyear pajamas and maybe others). I asked him what super powers he would like to have. He said his power would be to clean up the house. I told him that was the awesomest super power I had ever heard of.

Trevor said he would have "angry eyes" and look at bad guys. Boy are those two different.

Silence is Golden

There are times when I just don't seem able to say something nice (first 30 seconds of this clip). Today was one of those days. I so far have managed not to be too ornery by the simple expedient of saying nothing at all. I am not good at making gracious small talk if I'm not in the mood. I guess that's okay - at least I'm not being a hypocrite. I'm not sure what my significant other thinks of the silence - I may have to ask....

....but not today.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Witty Phrases for $1000

Bishop: "I'm afraid you've got a bad egg, Mr Jones";
Curate: "Oh, no, my Lord, I assure you that parts of it are excellent!"

Keira introduced me to my new favorite phrase "a curate's egg". I totally think our family can pull it off. At least to each other. I dare you to use it in a sentence tomorrow.

Fall Back Position

My culinary habits have been slipping as of late. Not that the bar is set that high to begin with.

Since we got our new grill a couple of weeks ago I have probably cooked dinner on it 4 to 5 times a week. I don't have a huge repetoire of things that I cook on it either. Hamburgers, hot dogs, Polish sausage (glorified hot dogs), and pork ribs.

We're having the missionaries over for dinner tonight. 3 guesses what we're having (and it's NOT pork ribs - we had that last night).

Do Not Adjust Your Set

My 5 boys seem to function just fine most of the time. Their shared disability is rarely a problem, seldom even brought up any more. It's not that we're ashamed, or that we try and hide their inadequacies...we just forget about it. That is, until it pops up to surprise us.

I went shopping with Stephanie yesterday (for her birthday). While I was gone I gave Daniel his last school assignment for the day. He was to write and illustrate a haiku. Being Danny, he tried taking the easy way out by writing a haiku about Jack and Jill:

Jack fell down and broke
his crown and Jill came tumbling
after, it hurt lots.

Not his best effort, but we're still working on substance. He found a drawing of Jack and Jill on the internet - so he printed it out and colored it. This is where his red/green color deficiency bit him. He thought he was coloring the faces a nice flesh color. Last I checked, green is not really a flesh color (on our planet). Maybe Jack and Jill fell down because they had food poisoning?

We'll be working on haiku and illustrations again today. With more adult supervision this time.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


I will never own a cat. I know, I know, never say never. But seriously, I will never own a cat. I have a very good reason/excuse: Nathan. He is quite allergic to cat dander. When he used to go over to his best friend's house for a sleep over, he would come home bleeding from scratching himself. This was before we knew he was allergic to cats. He still went over after we found out, but he did take allergy medication that helped. Somewhat.

We have a couple of cats that run around in our neighborhood - one of them is an orange striped tabby. I was told that it belongs to the neighbors a couple of doors down. I quite like this cat. I'm not sure how much the neighbors feed it (it looks well fed), but whether they feed it or not it looks perfectly capable of supporting itself. I have seen it 3 or 4 times catching mice outside. Another one of our neighbors told Steve that it has caught birds and bunnies (I guess they rescued the bunny).

If only we could teach it to catch moles.

Happy Birtday, Stephanie!

I may only have one daughter, but I like to think it's because I got it right the first time. Stephanie was born on a rainy day in Biloxi, Mississippi, around 12:30 in the afternoon. Wow, it's been 25 years.

I spent last night cooking dinner for tonight - I made cake, soup (zuppa tuscana), and prepared ribs (all I need to do is throw them on the grill). Nathan will make breadsticks this afternoon. I asked my boys to babysit this afternoon so that I could take Stephanie shopping for her birthday, then we can have an easy dinner and cake when we get home.

Happy Birthday Stephanie.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Mystery of the Lost Pants

I grew up hating laundry. Not so much the sorting and washing - that was fine, but I really hated folding and putting away laundry. Coming from a very large family, our pile of folding could at times (nearly daily...) reach epic proportions. Epic. So I have made a great effort to avoid that problem. I generally have a pretty tidy laundry room. I never have more than a load or two (at the most) of laundry to fold - and I only have that if one of my boys decided that they needed to wash something (like work clothes) in a hurry.

Yesterday morning Daniel complained that he didn't have any clean long pants. I was in the middle of doing laundry, but I was puzzled. I had washed and put away all the laundry on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday he only wore his Sunday where were his pants? I looked on his shelves (I have a cupboard in my laundry room for all of the boys clothes - they don't store clothes in their bedroom at all) - I looked on Alex's, then Andrew's, then Nathan's. No pants.

We finally found 3 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of warm-up pants and a pair of sweats, not to mention several shirts and a pair of socks....under the pillows on his bed. Don't ask.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Family Fight Night

Yeah, in the past we have occasionally referred to FHE as "Family Fight Night" - especially on those evenings when all things went awry....

Tonight we put new meaning to the phrase as we played with the Wii Fit games for our activity. After Alex and Daniel gave their lessons, we kicked back to cheer each other (and critique) as we each attempted new high scores for the ski jump. Nathan is still the undefeated champion, but Alex gave a respectable 3rd place showing. Nathan gave us a boxing demonstration afterwards - thus "fight night".

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Guns and Ladders

Stephanie and Cory came over with the grandkids this evening. I was playing Candyland (and shamelessly cheating so that Kaith could win quickly) and Trevor announced that he was going to buy a game with his birthday money.

Trevor (age 4): I'm going to buy Slides and Ladders.

Me: Chutes and Ladders?

Kaith(age 5): Guns and Ladders??

Me: ...(pause while I figure it out)...Oh, not Shoots and Ladders, Chutes and Ladders. A different kind of chute. It's spelled differently even though it sounds the same, it means a slide.

An Eye For An Eye

I was working on dinner yesterday when I accidentally splashed myself with a little bit of boiling water. One drop flew up to my right eye. I'm not sure if it actually hit my eyeball, but it sure felt like it did. Anyway....after holding a cold cloth on it a while I noticed that my vision in that eye was blurry. I'd like to blame it on the water, or maybe holding the cloth against my eye. My eye feels mostly okay today, but I noticed that if I cover up my right eye, I can focus on reading material just fine (as long as it is at least 8 inches away). If I cover up my left eye, I can't focus until the printed page is 2 or more feet away. Yeah, I'd like to blame it on the water, but in all fairness to the water, lately I have been having a little tougher time reading in bed - it's late, my eyes are tired, the light is dim...

I'm afraid it's middle age rearing its squinty eyes at me. Time to call the eye doctor.

Then I'm gonna need Suzanne to help me pick out glasses.