Dec 31, 2008

What a year.


Well here it is the last day of 2008. It is snowing like crazy here in Massachustetts today. I did not even know a storm was coming but isn't that how life is? Sometimes you know and expect things and other times you don't know. I was not prepared for the storm today because I did not even know it was coming :) I had a lot of things happen in 2008 that I did not expect to happen, things I was not prepared for but I muddled through. And a lot of things I will not expect will happen in 2009 but I will be skinny so it will all be do-able :)


I turned 40 this year. I expected that to happen and I did not cause me any trauma.

I unexplainably lost a very dear friend this year...not to death...just lost them....with no explanation.

For the second time in my whole 40 years of life I had someone grossly mis-understand me this year. That was very painful. Misunderstanding's are so YUCKY.

I learned how to fake playing the organ in church this year.

I learned that there are people who are out there who are sure they can do what you are doing better and they are not afraid to tell other people to tell you that you are doing it wrong.

I learned that I actually can fight back if needed.

I learned that my soul mate is some guy named Edward :)

I learned how to get tickets on Broadway.

I learned how to spend more money than I have.



I have not yet in my whole life followed through with my New Years resolutions. I really want this year to be different. While the snow is frantically falling outside I am sitting in my cozy bed with my much loved LL Bean pajamas on making my resolution list and my very first resolution is to actually keep my resolutions. Just for one year would it not be so fun to be the one that keeps their resolutions and makes everyone else jealous? :) Can you imagine someone saying in October of this year..."wow, you have really pulled yourself together, how did you do it?" and you can smile and say with glee. "Well I just kept my New Years resolutions."


Are you not so happy when you do what you know you should?


Did you know that New Year's used to be celebrated in the beginning of Spring? Spring is the season of rebirth. New Years was first observed 4000 years ago in ancient Babylon and it is the oldest of all holidays. Back then the celebrations lasted for 11 days and each day had it's own particular mode of celebration and I read that our celebrations pale by comparison.


The Romans continued to observe the New Year in March but eventually after many kings tampered with the calendar someone made a declaration that January 1 was the beginning of the New Year, not for any astronomical or agricultural purpose, just because. The early Babylonians most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment. Our most popular resolutions are to quit smoking and lose weight :)


I was so facinated when I read that traditionally it was thought that you could influence your luck for the year by what you did or ate on the first day of the year. And for that reason it has become tradition to celebrate the first few minutes of the New Year with family and friends. And it was also believed that your first visitor of the year would bring you either good luck or bad luck. It was particuarly lucky if that first visitor of the year was a tall dark haired man.....hmmm I need to find me a tall dark haired man pronto :)


In terms of food many cultures believe anything in a shape of a ring is good luck because it symbolizes coming full circle.....bring on the Cheerios :) The Dutch believe eating a donut on New Years Eve bring good luck....but how can eating a donut that will make me fat bring me luck?....I am so confused :) Cabbage is also considered to be a very lucky food so maybe if you wrap your donut in a cabbage leaf you can balance yourself out :)

So go return your borrowed farm equipment and eat something in the shape of a ring and add some cabbage and you cannot go wrong :)

Dec 29, 2008

When Plans Go Differently Than Planned.




For at least two weeks I had been planning that last Friday, the day after Christmas, would be the day that we would go to New York City as a family. As you already know it did not happen. And I really do not know why. There are a lot of things that I could surmise about the cause. But it really does not matter. The point was that we did do something, were together, and we did not sit around all day...bored...like we usually do :)


The plan change occurred on Thursday night and by the time Friday morning came and I realized I wanted it changed back it was too late to go back to the New York City plan. So Plan B was carried out. We drove to Fall River, MA where there is a place called Battleship Cove. Battleship Cove is the world's largest historic Naval Ship Exhibit. I do not have anything against the USS Massachusetts and the USS Lionfish (an attack submarine) and such...just after you spend $130.00 to get your family in to something you tend to have overly high expectations so I am really not in a good spot to sing Battleship Cove's praises since my grocery budget was shot because of it.

Although... we did get a lot of good pictures and Tatiana and Natalie and I explored a lot of the USS Massachusetts...which is a huge battleship. We went down many sets of stairs and found rooms full of missiles and all sorts of things. Natalie had to be talked through it all but I think she survived. I did enjoy seeing the tip of a shell that the USS Massachusetts shot at the Jean Burt during the Battle of Casablanca.

We stayed for two hours and then we headed to Cape Cod. Now anybody who is anybody knows that being able to casually include the words "the Cape" in your conversation when you live in New England is very important. And now I can fondly refer to it as "the Cape" also, without mentioning the small details that my "cape" experience occurred in December, involved hats and mittens, and plenty of available parking. My initial idea was we go all the way to the tip of Cape Cod to a town called Provincetown but when we realized that Cape Cod was so big we aborted our plan, yet again, and went to the beach in the little town of Dennis about half way up the Cape. We just could not drive another 63 miles in the wrong direction from home after already being in the car for 3 hours and having to get back to Westfield to do Joe's paper route.

I get the feeling it is a very prestigious thing to say that you spend some part of your summer on "the Cape." When we were driving there I was thinking in my little old head about name dropping. Wikipedia says that, "name dropping is the practice of mentioning important people or institutions in a conversation, story, song or other communication." And in case you did not know it is always done to impress other people and usually regarded negatively. You can make your social circle known by name dropping. I was around someone once who adored name dropping. I did not know her very well but she was the first person I had ever met who was a very serious name dropper. I confess I could very easily become a "wanna be name dropper"...honestly my life is so boring. No one is impressed if you mention Wal Mart in every sentence, however, if you mention going to Wal Mart on Cape Cod....then you are a happening chick and thus will greatly improve your social circle.

If you are gearing up to become a "name dropper" I must warn you that apparently it really does not get you anywhere and is a very transparent strategy, so I won't tell you any more about when I go to "the Cape" because you will see right through me :)

Dec 28, 2008

Broadway


I had never thought about the small bummer of having a birthday the day after Christmas but this year is the first time that I have a friend who has a birthday the day after Christmas. I got to thinking about it and talking about it with this friends sister in law and we decided this birthday needed to be a fun one. It did not take us long to brainstorm the New York City idea. And I am pleased to announce it actually happened.

I jumped in the car with my friends on Saturday morning at 7:30 am armed with a laminated map of Manhattan, Brian's Garmin, map quest directions for Brian's secret back way into New York City, Carmex, cash, my camera, and all the information a girl could gather on how to get Broadway tickets in New York City.

We drove straight to the Baird family favorite parking lot on 42nd street across from the Port Authority. We arrived at about 10:30am and headed straight for Times Square where we knew the Broadway discount ticket booth was. I asked a policewoman on a horse where the exact location was and we were on our way. Our big goal of the day was to see a Broadway show. We had checked online but the cost of the tickets online was enough to depress anyone. I had heard lots of people talk about the TKTS booth in Times Square and how you could get discount tickets for Broadway shows and I had a lot of questions about how that worked. So I picked as many brains as I could, gathering all kinds of information.

There are actually three TKTS booths in New York City, one does not sell same day tickets and one only sells you tickets if you can stand on your head....JK. Anyway, Times Square seemed the easiest. When we arrived at the booth at about 10:45am we thought the situation looked really good but then we alarmingly realized we were NOT looking at the end of the line we were looking at the first 1/4 part of the line and then we were lovingly directed to the end of the line which was across the street and down around the next block. We waited for about an hour and 10 minutes but it was very organized waiting and moved along at a pretty fast pace. We gathered more information from our "waiting in line neighbors" about all the shows and started deciding what shows we wanted to see.

We knew when you got up to the ticket window that you needed to have 3 or 4 choices in mind of what you wanted to see. We knew you could only pay with cash, that we did not want partial view tickets, that we needed three seats together, and that we had to be able to act fast. So when we got to the front our first choice was Chicago but those tickets were $84.00 apiece, then our next choice Gypsy only had partial view seats left so we chose Boeing Boeing for $62.00. Boeing,Boeing is a comedy that has Christine Baranski ( who was in Mama Mia) and Rebecca Gayheart ( who is in Ugly Betty)in it. And the ticket booth lady assured us that it was very funny.

With those tickets in my hand I felt like I had conquered the world and that I was now an expert on getting tickets for Broadway. We ran to get something to eat at the Hard Rock Cafe and then found our theater by 1:30pm. The show started at 2:00pm. From the minute the curtain went up I was immediately addicted to Broadway. The play was very, very funny. We really enjoyed it. There were only 6 people in the cast and the stage was very simple but the conversations were mesmerizing and I really loved it.

Now I just need to figure out how to make more money so that I can go to New York City often and see shows on Broadway all the time.

After the show we headed towards 5th Avenue so we could check out Rockefeller Center and "the Christmas Tree"..you know the one....don't you? Well everyone else was doing the exact same thing as we were and we were feeling a little squished and a little disappointed at the sight of the tree, which I felt guilty about, but could not deny. So we kept walking towards 5th Avenue so we could check out some stores.

Once we got onto 5th Avenue we headed towards Central Park and we had not walked far when we could see between two buildings "that Christmas Tree" again but this time it looked much better. It was the shot you see on TV. Those TV people are SO smart :)

We moseyed on UP 5th Avenue. We stopped in Crate and Barrel and Tiffany's. I was amazed at how many people were in Tiffany's. I was afraid we would walk in and be the only people in the store and we would be stuck have to buy a fat, beautiful, sparkly, very expensive ring before we could leave. But that was not the case. I am not a jewelery girl but the sights in Tiffany's were enough to convert anyone to the bling side very quickly. My friends even talked me up to the second floor where we checked out engagement rings and oh so many couples trying them on. (Great people watching :)

We walked along the southern edge of Central Park and headed back through Times Square to our car. I had never been in New York City after dark and I must say it truly is a city that never sleeps. And all the lights are amazing.

We got back to Massachusetts at about 10:30 pm. And today I keep wondering to myself if yesterday was a dream? But it wasn't. It was just a truly fabulous day.

Tomorrow I will tell you all about our family trip to Cape Cod and Battleship Cove and give you all my opinions on the fine art of "name dropping."

Dec 23, 2008

Mr. Sunshine


Dearest Mr Sunshine,


Please do not take this wrong. You are definitely my hottest friend and always will be. I love it when you shine on the 20 inches of snow in my front yard and make it sparkle. I love it when you make it warm enough that I can go to the beach. I love to close my eyes and feel your warmth wrap around me and lull me off to other places. I love how happy and motivated you can make me feel, I love it the best when you shine through clouds and I can see rays coming out of the clouds......definitely my favorite!


But all those things said, in my kindest voice ever, could you please stop shining on the fingerprints on the windows, the dust bunnies in the corners, the dust on the piano and the hand prints on the wall. In January you can shine all you want because then I will have time to face, and deal with, all these flaws that your winter brightness has revealed. But during December when I can do nothing about the mess it is very unkind of you to remind me.


Just talk to Mr. Cloud and all his buddies and invite them to cover you until January 5th when the kids go back to school and the tree is down and I have all the time in the world to wash windows and paint walls and dust.


Go shine on Florida and California. They need you. They pay a lot to live there because of you.


Love, Jennifer

Dec 22, 2008

Just random thoughts before I have to go to work.

Monday morning 7:21.

I hoped for a two hour delay this morning, but no such luck. It ended up being a good thing because it got me going.

Had Seminary at 5:45 am this morning.

Decided to choose the "hard way" and have protein for breakfast rather than the easy way which is the "evil Eggo waffle carb way." After talking to the kids in Seminary about how we always choose the easy way and never the hard way I decided I would choose cooking breakfast over toasting breakfast....yeah for me.

Can finally see the sky today after 3 days of snow.

Zach left Utah Saturday morning to come home for Christmas break and was delayed leaving Salt Lake City, then got delayed in Minneapolis, made it to Cincinnati where he spent the night in the airport and finally made it home on Sunday at about 2 pm.

Church was cancelled on Sunday because of the snow.

Have to:
work today
take Joe on the paper route
drive to Amherst some time today to Whole Foods to get Joe's special wheat free waffles.
Finish Christmas
Harass the appliance repair guy who did not fix my washing machine for the second time.
Buy more mittens and hats. We had nothing but non stop crisis yesterday as people stole each other's mittens and hats and Under Armour as they went out to play in the snow.
Research winter activities in New York City since we are going on Friday.
Send the last few Christmas cards that I had questions on addresses.

Brian asked when we were going to take down the Christmas tree and for the first time in my life I do not want it gone. It looks so nice that I want to keep it up But I think he is tired of watering it everyday. Did you know he sets his alarm on his phone to remind him to water it? Raise your hand if you know where the OCD that some of the kids have comes from :)

I confess I rented House Bunny this weekend. And since I know you all have it on your list of "must see movies" I guess I should save you some money and tell you you probably should not rent it. I cannot believe I had such high hopes for a movie that has the word "bunny" in the title.

I still have not had a chance to really explore Facebook. I hope I can have some good reasons to ground children from the computer so I can get myself some quality time with our Dell.

I went to the mall on Saturday with everyone else in Massachusetts. I honestly do not mind crowds one bit. Bath and Body works was the most picked over I have ever seen it. I guess everyone in Massachusetts will smell good this year. Very interesting to see which scents were left for my girls :)

I did something I never said I would this Christmas...I have bought 4 gifts for two teenagers right in front of them and actually told them the truth that Yes, it was for them and yes, they had to wait for Christmas :) I hate for them to not have surprises but desperate times call for desperate measures :)

Anyway, I better go get the little girls up so they do not miss the bus.

Dec 19, 2008

Stretch Island Fruit Leathers


Did your mom ever make fruit leather when you were a kid? Puree fruit, pour it onto a piece of saran wrap and dry it in a dehydrator? It was the earliest version of a fruit roll up known to man. They were extremely frustrating to tear off the saran wrap. (What about saran wrap is not frustrating?) But once you ate a bite it was worth it and you would figure out all sorts of creative ways to get to the goodness.

See that stack of green boxes in the picture? These are the new and updated form of fruit leathers. They are not thin and full of sugar like fruit roll ups they are thick, in a little rectangle, and full of natural sugar. I do not really care too much about whether something is loaded with sugar or not but you might.

Because of Joe's allergies we have found ourselves shopping at some unusual stores throughout the years and in our travels to these stores we discovered Stretch Island Fruit Leathers. I did not buy them very often because they are a little pricey. Usually 5o cents APIECE. But occasionally I would find a way to order a box. About 4 months ago I found a pallet of these green boxes sitting innocently in little old Costco. I was thrilled beyond belief. They were $10.97 for 48 of them and they were all different flavors, a very exciting option that I had never had before.

It started out that every time I would go to Costco I would buy one box. I would empty all 48 of the individual rectangles into a Ziploc bag and hide them. I would have to hide them because technically they are for Joe since there are so few things he can eat. The other kids would go to a lot of work to find where I had hid the fruit leathers. Sometimes I would hide them so well I would not even be able to remember where I had hid them.

Interestingly enough as the fruit leathers became very accessible and cheap I became less worried and less careful about where I hid them. So now everyone takes one in their lunch and not only that.....gasp..... they try to eat them randomly throughout the day. But then one day all the fun came to a screeching halt when I went to Costco and the fruit leathers were half off. That was good and bad. Good because.....well duh, because they were cheaper. Bad because clearance means they are discontinuing them. So every time I went to Costco I would buy several boxes which is why I can take a picture of a stack of fruit leathers. So we currently have 480 fruit leathers but I am afraid that will not last very long and then we will be back to not having our stretch Island Fruit Leathers.

Dec 17, 2008

A Christmas Letter For The 7 kids.

Dear Baird Children,

Today was the first New England snowfall of any consequence and the first two hour snow delay and with the arrival of these events I am reminded that I have to chat with you all about some things:

#1. Mittens do not reproduce on their own and they prefer to be in pairs. If you make it through the whole winter with the same set of mittens you began with you will be the child of the moment. And if I have to buy you another pair every week I will include that information on your BYU application.

#2. If you are walking across our hardwood floor and it is 6:30 in the morning and you are coming home from exercising and you hear a squeaking sound on the hardwood floors that sound should remind you that your shoes are wet and that should remind you that if I heard the same sound you are in trouble. (this reminder is for Brian)

#3. If you wear all the jeans you own, at the same time, outside to play in the snow and then come inside and take them off leaving them all stuck together inside out laying on the floor by the front door I am pretty sure the natural consequence of that is having no jeans to wear.

#4. If you throw snowballs or smash snow on the windows of our home, like you all did last winter, I am pretty sure you will be my window washer all spring and I may dream up some additional punishment like making you run out in the snow wearing just your underwear.

#5. If you are a boy, your name starts with a "J", and you live in this house and you are outside playing merrily in the snow and make the choice to go to the bathroom outside rather than dealing with coming in make sure you do not go to the bathroom in front of the windows where I can see you and be well informed that you will wash your own snowsuit :)

#6. Remember if you throw a snowball at another person that is just like sending them an invitation and that person will definitely RSVP. And it is definitely not a tattling situation.

#7.Remember that the million layers you put on your body for when you go out in the snow to play will get wet, heavy and stick to you and be very hard to get off your body. Before you go our to play I will make you sign a contract stating that you will not cry, yell, sob, blame everyone else and tantrum when this happens we will deal with it calmly and professionally.

#8 Another new policy for this year is that the minute you are all out the door I am going to lock every door in the house and set the timer for an hour. Then I am going to read a book ignoring all your begging and crying until that timer rings and then I will let you back in the house but only through that amazing invention....the garage where you will take everything off before you step in the house....yes, even if you really have to go to the bathroom.

#9 But, don't worry, you won't have to go to the bathroom because we are not drinking 24 hours before any predicted snowstorm so that you do not have to go to the bathroom once you get outside. What a smart mom you have :)

So I think that about covers it. Just think, if you follow these simple rules you will still have a mom in the spring :)

All my love,
MOM

Dec 16, 2008

Facebook.

Several of you already know that I have added one more thing to my life. One more thing to think about, fret about, and wonder the deep meaning about.....Facebook. Or as my friend Jacque cleverly calls it "crackbook." (because it is addicting:)

I signed up all by myself. I did not need to call anyone and ask how. I did not invite anyone over and serve refreshments to get help, I just did it. After months of having people "friend" me on Facebook and after weeks of my 3 teenage girls telling me that I needed a Facebook I am really not sure what finally made me give in. I think part of it may be that my readers (according to my Sitemeter) on the blog have gone down from 41 daily to 27. Do not worry, I still love blogging the best. But I am just saying that within 3 hours on Facebook I had 12 friends and I have NEVER had 12 comments on my blog :)

My teenagers are very excited about me having a Facebook. When they discovered that I had finally done it they all gathered around the computer, they wanted to choose and upload my Facebook picture, they kept exclaiming to each other all the friends I had already, and it was a little nauseating how they repeated over and over, "oh how cute it was that I had a Facebook page". They wanted to make all my friends for me. I said, "absolutely not," I can actually make my own friends. They want to be my friends and at this moment I am not going to be their friends on Facebook. It just does not seem right. It feels like I would be spying on them on Facebook. I told them they need to know I am not everywhere in their life. So I will just pay my friends who are their friends on Facebook to spy on them :)

It is truly amazing that you submit your name, where you went to high school, where you went to college and the computer can immediately give you a list of people it thinks you should be friends with. And the computer never gives up it keeps suggesting friends, it is very concerned about me having a high self esteem. Blogging is not for low self esteem girls like me I am always equating love with comments, which is not what you should do. So is it asking too much to ask Facebook to work on self esteem?

I am now doing a little bit of wondering about all the ins and outs of "friending" people. I have seen my girls agonize over who to make a friend and who not to make a friend. They do not want to hurt people's feelings, some people you may not want to see everything you are writing. I am pretty sure my life is not as complicated as their lives are. I want to be friends with everyone....right?

So blogging is still my first priority, speaking of which, have you noticed that I am not fixing dinner anymore so I can blog? :) But I am looking forward to finding old friends, updating my status every freaking minute and making sure I know what your status is every freaking minute.....good times:)

Dec 15, 2008

Just in case this ever happens to you.

So, it was about 2:00pm in the afternoon yesterday, we were having company for dinner and I was trying to cook 4 things at once; sour cream potatoes,
chicken rice casserole, rolls, and my lunch :) I was constantly being interrupted by children who wanted to wrap Christmas presents but could not find tape and scissors and by little girls being chased around the house by Joe, so my mind was in about 8 different places.

It was inevitable that I would make some kind of mistake I do know myself oh so well. The mistake occurred with the chicken rice casserole. I have made this chicken rice casserole a million times. The bottom layer of this casserole is a box of chicken Rice A Roni. The only time I ever use Rice A Roni is in this recipe. Somehow I got the amount of margarine that you saute the vermicelli in (love the word vermicelli) wrong and instead of 2 tablespoons of butter I put 6 tablespoons of butter in.

You see, the 6 tablespoons of butter was for something else. By the time I discovered it I really did not want to start over so I decided to live on the edge and see if the 2 tbs was a hard and fast rule. Guess what? It isn't :) I think they should add the word "recommended" after their 2 tablespoon declaration. Oh, do not get me wrong, I definitely think 2 tablespoons is best but the benefits of 6 tablespoons was that it came out of the pan with no trouble at all and that it was 3 times as good.

So if you ever find yourself in the kitchen on Sunday afternoon, cooking way to many things at once, and you mess up on the amount of margarine that goes in the Rice A Roni. Remember that if it is a mess up that puts you up to 3 times the amount called for you are still okay.....but if you go past 3 times the amount recommended you are on your own....I have not made that mistake yet but I will definitely let you know when I do since this is my happy, sharing of all my mistakes, place :)

Oh, and just in case you think you are way too good to have a casserole with Rice A Roni in it. This is a very good casserole titled Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole. The person who named this recipe must have known that "Rice A Roni" in the title might cause some people to pass it over but the word "Poppy Seed" in the title for some reason makes you feel more elegant. SO if you are ever worried about the name of a recipe and how it may appeal to the masses just throw a teaspoon or so of that oh so elegant poppy seed and voila....your recipe will be spoken of in hushed tones forever :)

Dec 12, 2008

My Job, My Brain and Being Stupid.

Everyday at work I make a mistake. There, I said it out loud, and now you, my most dearest friends, know how work is going. Everyday I leave work wondering how I ever got through 40 years of life being so not smart. I have spent a lot of time lately wondering why my brain works the way it does and if it is too late to change it :)

If I could change it at right this very minute I would give my poor little brain the gift of... math. You see it is a tad humiliating to be 40 and not be able to see the world the way a math brained person does. Counting back change. Quadrupling a recipe. Adding up the times I feel stupid, all are amazingly hard for me :) I will not bore you with the agony that being a non math brain person has caused me in the last 6 weeks. Humiliating is definitely the best word to use to describe the situation. But do not worry a bit about me because since I do not have a brain all clogged full of math I have plenty of room in my little old brain for a sense of humor which I am using to get me through this humiliation. How is it going? Hmmmm..... not so well.

Every one's brain works differently, right? There is more than one way to skin a cat, right? Some of us are ants and some of us are grasshoppers, right? It takes all kinds to make the world go around, right? So why does there continue to be people in the world who think their way is the only way? And why is everyone else who sees it another way stupid?

There is that word..."stupid." I have been thinking a lot about this word the last couple of days. Someone recently declared to me that they do not tolerate stupid people and I have been having a huge conflict in my mind because of this statement, maybe I have this conflict because I am stupid :)

Tonight I was reading the dictionary.com definition of stupid and my eyes wandered to an opportunity to take a test to see if I was stupid. I thought that it would be fun to blog about taking the "stupid test." But it was not fun when in the middle of it I realized it was very stupid and then at the end of it when this test had the nerve to tell me I was the stupid one I really knew it was a stupid test. It ruined my chance at a good blog I mean, how can you blog about taking a test about being stupid when the test claims you are? Oh, I am blogging about being stupid....silly me.

Forrest Gump said, "Stupid is as stupid does"

Okay, I get that. But there is no universal definition for stupid. Who decides who is stupid? Well, other people do, people who are too stupid to think of another word to describe the things other people are doing that either annoy them or are making them jealous. Isn't it just your opinion against someone elses what is stupid and what isn't? You may think what I do/or did/or am going to do is stupid and sometimes you are right and sometimes you aren't.

Okay, all this stupid talk is making me dizzy. I really should keep my thoughts to myself so that you do not have any reason to wonder if I am stupid :)

So have a great weekend and definitely do not do anything stupid :)

Dec 10, 2008

Notecards We All Must Own.




I had not been in a Barnes and Noble bookstore in over a year because here in Western Massachusetts the Barnes and Noble is all on it's own thus making it oh so much more work to get to where as the Border's bookstore is attached to the mall and so much easier to make a point to go to since you are already in the mall at Ann Taylor Loft and Target.

But the other night on a whim I went into Barnes and Noble and the reason I am blogging about it is that even though I kept getting distracted by Joe and Tatiana playing on the escalator I saw something I had never seen anywhere else and I simply must figure out a way to own them.....notecards.

Not just any notecards these were "amazing" notecards. There were several different sets, they were all blank inside, and on the front were pictures from well known children's books. There was Frog and Toad, The Hungry Caterpillar, Where The Wild Things Are, Curious George, Dr Suess, and Sock Monkeys (is that a book?) Does not matter because the cards are A_D_O_R_A_B_L_E. There were many other titles but I cannot remember the other's at this moment.

After thinking about these notecards for 3 days and having dreams involving me writing notes on these notecards to my new best vampire friend, Edward I "googled" the cards and they are on Amazon and for $7.95. For that price you get 12 cards and they are printed on very nice heavy paper. You even could frame them if you wanted. Each set has 2 pictures from the appointed book, so 6 cards of each. I am trying to figure out how I justify $7.95 a week to start collecting these babies.

Can you not wait to get a note on them? Which ones do you think Edward would like :)

Dec 9, 2008

If I did collect.


Lately I have been thinking about collections and the act of acquiring them. I have a few things that I have always wanted to collect but strangely it has never worked out. When is the point that people know you collect it? Do you make an announcement?


"Ahem....thanks for all coming to my announcement, I just wanted to let you know that I am now collecting (insert item name) so as to make it easy for you to think of me whenever you see this item. So that when you are shopping and you see it you will know immediately that I will love it."


I think there may be some small hazards in collecting something. Do you ever get tired of receiving it as a gift? What if you choose something that it is possible to duplicate? ("I already have that Edward PEZ but thanks so much for thinking of me")


I already have a list of things I might be interested in collecting. But something tells me that that is not how it happens. I think it is something you do not think about or talk about until one day you are sitting in your special room made just for your snow globe collection and you realize you seriously have a collection. Or maybe it is when you are in Egypt purchasing something for your camel collection.


I have had friends ask me to pick up a pin for them from Niagara Falls for their collection. I have gone with a friend to dig through piles of Kelly dolls in Target to find the one she was missing in her collection. I have bought people key chains from states for their collections. I have admired snowman themed Christmas trees with all of this persons snowman collection on it.


One thing on my list of things to collect is bracelets. I am not really a jewelry kind of girl but I do love bracelets. My first bracelet I remember getting was in high school when we had a girl living with us whose parents were in Saudi Arabia working. One January when she came back from Christmas break in Saudi Arabia she brought me a bracelet. Then about 6 or so years later when Zach was about 10 months old we went to American Samoa to visit my parents for a month and I got a beautiful bracelet while I was there. I wish at this point I would have made some announcement or determination that I was going to collect bracelets from places I went but I was too busy having and raising the kiddos to think about it. Then when I lived in Kansas my dear friend Shannon made me a bracelet and she made some my other dear friends the same bracelet. I adore this bracelet and I love that I think of all those dear friends when I put it on and wear it too church. When Brian and I went to Hawaii in January 2003 I got a great bracelet but sadly it broke. The next bracelet I acquired when I was shopping one time in Indiana with my friend Camille and yep, you guessed it, I think of her when I wear it. So that is the end of the bracelet collection...is five of something a collection? I like the bracelet idea because you do not have to worry too much about duplication and you do not have to have a special hutch with lights to display them in.


The second thing I fear I would like to collect is pitchers. But that is as far as that idea has gotten. I love them and I always am attracted to them in every store I go in that has them. But these require space. I have one that is for display that I got from my friend Camille in Indiana. And I have one clear pitcher bought from the prestigious Wal Mart. And I have two plastic pitchers that were wedding gifts. You get the idea.


I have collected state quarters and this morning when Joe and I were updating the collection with our newest find....Hawaii. I realized I only need 3 more and my set is complete (Minnesota, Maine and Alaska) and then I realized it really is not worth anything. It is not in a fancy display book. It is not all shiny new quarters. I then had the evil thought I should just spend them.


I confess I could collect fabric in a minute. I am not smart enough to do anything with it but oh how I love it. All the colors and patterns greatly appeal to me.


I read a little bit about why people collect and one lady said if you call yourself a collector you are one...it is that simple. Your collections say a lot about you so the fact that I do not have one says a lot about me because I am by nature a "throw a way" things kind of person. They say it is definitely a psychological thing that we collect. It also has to do with disposable income...hmmm what on earth is that? That must be what holds me back from collecting :)

Dec 8, 2008

The Weekend.

It was one of those weekends. The kind of weekend that you look at your calendar and cannot believe your eyes and you feel extreme glee because there is nothing written on those weekend squares. You imagine all you will accomplish and you can hardly wait.


I had imagined that by the end of the weekend I would be able to say that I saw Twilight for the third time (serious Edward withdrawal). I thought I would be able to say I had all of Natalie and Tatiana's Christmas presents purchased and hidden away. I thought the upstairs would be vacuumed. And I thought my car would be able to fit in the garage. I thought I would finish all the thank you notes I owe for my birthday.....ahem.... that was in October. I thought I would have found something at Deseretbook.com for Zach for Christmas. I thought I would get to go to the library.

What really happened? Well Joe got his haircut, so that was good. I went shopping on Saturday with Joe and Miriam and came home with nothing for the little girls....very bad. I watched way too many episodes of the last season of Ugly Betty. I have discovered that my life is too crazy to add to my calendar TV shows that absolutely have to be watched at a certain times. So I wait until the whole season comes out on DVD. I save all the projects that are mindless that I can do while watching TV and I sit on my bum until I have watched the whole season. I got all 90 Christmas cards in envelopes, addressed and stamped while I watched disc 4. And during disc 5 today I am going to fold socks, sort an enormous box of papers hoping to find my lost gift cards, and clean out my seminary papers. That my friends is how you justify TV.

Oh, back to the weekend.....guess what? I accomplished nothing else. Isn't it strange how if you are busy you use your time better and accomplish more?

I must confess that I was very busy breaking a commandment this weekend. But, luckily, I can blame Brian for it :) Our 20th anniversary is on December 16 and to celebrate it Brian surprised me with tickets to see comedian Brian Reagan in Waterbury, Connecticut....the catch....it was on Sunday evening :( I won't bore you with all the conversations that went on at our house about this situation but I will understand if you stop reading my blog since I am a commandment breaker. Our friends the Hall's in Indiana introduced us to Brian Reagan and if you have never seen him or heard of him you should go to his website and order one of his DVD's. I would even very highly recommend going to see one of his shows...as long as it is not on a Sunday :) He is a very clean comedian that your kids will love too. He makes me laugh so much. His DVD's are a great gift for those people who already have socks, books and other needs and you do not know what to get them.

Anyway, now that my non productive weekend is over and all the little Baird children and Baird husband are away at work and school I must go clean the dust bunnies, mail Christmas cards that did not turn out so well this year, Christmas shop, work on a Seminary lesson, repent for breaking the Sabbath....and cross blogging off of my list.

Dec 6, 2008

Why does my car do this?

Okay, I am seriously suspicious. Someone out there knew that I was going to get in a car accident they knew that my husband was going to find a Kia Sedona mini van at a delearship way out past Longmeadow and then they went to the dealership where the car was sitting and they evily installed this annoying feature. Nearly everytime I go around a corner the car beeps at me. I am not driving any differently then I ever have before. But I am so annoyed. And it not only beeps 4 times but a red light comes on on the dashboard that shows the word brake. Yeah, you would think I am careening around every corner in Massachusetts on two wheels huh? At first I wondered why the car has this feature? What good is it to make your driver feel indignant and bitter towards you? I have experimented with it and I cannot figure it out. I have even tried listening to my music super loud so I cannot hear the beep. It is like having a constant back seat driver in the car telling you that you are definitely doing it wrong.

I have received one ticket in 40 years of life. And I have been involved in two accidents that involved people rear-ending me and getting tickets for it. I backed into two different cars in my driveway in Indiana and that pretty much brings you up to date on my sordid driving past. No tickets for 2 wheeling corners, no tickets for irresponsible turning....so why oh why does my car keep doing this? Does your car do it to you ?

Dec 4, 2008

Don't Forget.

List of things to blog about....soon.

Wreath making excursion to Boston on last Tuesday night.
Ornament Exchange at my house tonight...interspersed with wonderings about people who do not RSVP.
Twelve food items I am serving at the ornament exchange.
Things I have not taught the kids to do.
Christmas lists.
Can't stop going to see Twilight.
Edward Cullen
Mama Mia coming out on video on the 16th
Annoying warning beep my car gives me when I take a corner to fast :)

Hang in there I am writing oh so many blogs in my head :) After theis party tonight I will have time

Dec 1, 2008

I look out the window and what do I see?


I have been waiting for this moment since late August when I yanked out the last of the tomatoes and peppers from my garden spot. And this very weekend it finally happened. We had to wait for the mortgage people to randomly send us money :) We had to wait for a weekend when Brian was home, in the mood, and the weather was good for it to happen. After the ground froze twice I had my doubts as to whether it would happen but my hubby came through for me. And now everytime I look out the window when I am doing the dishes I am SO happy that my garden spot is rototilled. I am very obsessed about it. Just ask Brian.


And now for the first time in 20 years of marriage the Baird's have their own rototiller. No more waiting for the courage to ask someone to borrow theirs. I can now rototill whenever I want. Oh the freedom!! I would truly be amiss if I did not thank all the people along the way who loaned us their rototillers, or sent their husbands over on tractors to till our past gardens :) I promise to be a grateful rototiller owner and always share my tiller with anyone and everyone....sorry dear :)


There is nothing that I like better than perfectly beautiful tilled up dirt. I am so sad that I cannot do anything with it until March or April.....oh alright this is Massachusetts....it will probably be MAY. Every year at this time I have such grand plans for the garden for next year. I dream of perfectly straight rows. I dream of a spot for flowers that I can cut. I am hoping this is the year that the flower dream can come true. I think I finally have a handle on the straight rows thing. And I have a method for dealing with weeds. So I think I have earned the flower dream. I did have a tomato fiasco last year and that makes me a little afraid but I will not let it discourage me I will remember that every year is different.


So I am going to request at least a thousand free seed catalogs and make a master plan that will keep me company all winter long.
What is your favorite seed catalog?

Nov 28, 2008

The tree from Balsam Acres.




Last year we moved to Massachusetts the first week of December. I never got up the strength to do the Christmas decorating last year. We did not have a tree. We did not have a calendar counting down the days. We had nary a christmas light in, on, or around the house. So this year for the first time, in my life, I was ready on the day after Thanksgiving to go get the christmas tree.


We always cut our own tree. And after years of wanting a perfect tree and getting one every year that was lopsided and very less than perfect I had finally come to grips with that fact that it was my lot in life to always have a lopsided, "Charlie Brownish" sort of tree. This year I expected no different. When we lived in Indiana and Kansas I had to hunt for Christmas Tree farms but that is not the case in Massachusetts, there are Christmas Tree Farms everywhere.


For our excursion today I chose one in Blandford because Brian was that direction helping some friends work on their house. Blandford is a small town up in the Berkshires. We live at the base of the Berkshires so it was about a 25 minute drive to Balsam Acres from our house. It was not a commercialized tree farm at all, just cut your own tree, basic and straightforward. No getting confused in a gift shop, no "rides" on anything to get to the trees just driving to the spot in your own car, picking a tree and cutting it. Strange concept..... you come for what you needed and leave with what you needed, nothing more, nothing less?




For the first time in my life I got out of the car and, seriously, liked the first tree I saw. I thought that could not be right. Picking a Christmas tree is supposed to cause your husband major grief. It is supposed to be a long, miserable process. So I wandered for minute pretending interest in other trees but my attempt was half hearted I already knew I had the perfect tree. SO that was that, we cut it, stuffed it over the seats in the 15 passenger van and headed for home. None of the usual swearing from the hubby. None of the doubts from me as to whether I got the right tree. No fighting children. All so strange. Got home and within half an hour the tree was up with lights on it. Usually the Christmas tree event puts Brian in a very foul mood and takes forever. Trying to get it in the stand. Getting poked by needles.... Oh, that reminds me, guess what? NO pokey needles on this tree. They are short, soft almost too perfect needles. I have never had a tree like that before. This is a Balsam Pine and it has ruined me because from now on I will have to hunt high and low no matter where I live for a Balsam Pine. I now officially CARE about what kind of christmas tree I have.



The kids fought a little over putting the ornaments on the tree but things cannot be completely perfect. Because I had not seen our Christmas stuff for 2 years I threw a lot of stuff out. Ornaments and such that I had hung on to but never have used. It took us a little while to decide where the "tree spot"should be. When you decorate for the first time in a new house you have to negotiate all this kind of stuff. But I feel very content about all the negotiations. I even got Brian to hang one string of lights on the outside of the house and wrap 2 garlands around two of our porch posts. I even have decided to beg him to help me wrap the other 4 front porch posts in garlands too. That means things went really well :)

I am so proud to announce that the Baird family has a perfectly proportioned christmas tree.

Nov 27, 2008

To Go Tomorrow or Not to Go?

I have this dilemma every Thanksgiving. Do I go out and shop on Black Friday or not? I must confess I think I could get into the shopping at 4:00 in the morning thing if I could just find someone to go with me. Throughout the years I have been able to talk just about anyone into playing with me at anytime but when it comes to Black Friday no one has ever committed.

I am a crowd person.
I can get up early in the morning.
I am patient.
I can shop in my sweats.

Are those all the traits I need?

I have just sent Madeline out to find me a newspaper. My instructions to her were to find me the thickest paper she could. I am curious to see what she will bring back. In the past we have received the paper at our house but not this year. I know I can look online at most ads but there is just something about curling up on the couch in a blanket with a stack of ads that I like.

We did see a few ads in the little hometown paper we delivered on Wednesday. And Joe quickly found a portable DVD player that he thinks he cannot live without out for $40.00 at Wal Mart. And I did notice very cheap DVD prices at Wal Mart. And when we were at Old Navy yesterday they said that on Friday all denim and fleece would be 50% off. But can I go alone? Will I find something that important in the ads? Will stores be that desperate for my business this year that I will not be able to refuse? Are you going?

Nov 25, 2008

Temptation

There is a little flower shop that I pass when driving into town and I always notice things they have displayed outside and wonder what is inside the shop. In October they displayed something that definitely got my attention and got me to finally stop. One day as I drove by hanging from the eaves of the shop were about 20 of these huge, round shimmering orange balls. They look like huge Christmas ornaments. They had a beautiful orange ribbon attached and some greenery at the top of the ball where the ribbon was attached. They looked so pretty. When I stopped I never checked the price of the balls I just checked out the shop and asked the lady about the balls. I was not sure if I wanted orange ones but I did want to know about them. And in the process of asking I found out that they sell very fast and that I should just wait to see the ones for Christmas. That got my attention and so I did not ask anymore about the Fall ones and decided to wait until the Christmas ones appeared.

I have a Cape Cod style home with 4 very perfect places on my porch for these balls to hang. And I imagined them hanging from my eaves with piles of New England snow on the ground, perfectly hung white lights and greenery around the windows. I have never decorated the outside of my house for Christmas but the thought of these balls, in red, hanging from my porch inspired me. Anyway, my patience paid off and the other day I came around the corner and there were tons of the beautiful RED balls hanging from the eaves of the shop. It was Sunday so I could not stop.

But yesterday after the paper route I took the girls with me and we went to look and just see how much the balls were. I really had no idea how much they would be. I was thinking $10.00 apiece. Silly Me!! They were $25.00 apiece or two for $40.00. I just smiled and thanked the lady and we left. Tatiana said when we got in the car, "Mom, that would be $80.00 for the 4 you want." And Natalie wanted to know why I did not get them. I just consoled myself with thoughts of; Where on earth would I store these huge balls? And think how sad I would be when Joseph shot them with his bow and arrows as he did everyone's pumpkins. And what in our food storage would they taste good with :)?

All that said we went on to Wal Mart to finish our errands and they had some balls there that were not as huge but still as red. I would have to attach my own ribbon and my own greenery. But it was 2 balls for $10.00. I am going to think about it for a while before I decide. It is definitely a need vs want decision. I wonder if I will cave? :)

Nov 23, 2008

The Books on The Top Shelf.

I was just sitting here staring into space wondering what I was in the mood to blog about and I had the brilliant idea that I should blog about all the books on the top shelf of the bookcase in my room. So here it goes:



The Google Story by David A Vise
I read this last summer and it was fabulous.


Spiritually Centered Motherhood by Sherrie Johnson
Inside the front cover of this book it says, "Jennifer Baird June 1989." Need I say more. I was young I was sure I could be the perfect mother. This actually is a great book with amazing ideas. I just sadly could not keep it up :) My book for 2008 would be entitled "Using Candy For Motivation Centered Motherhood."



Walk In His Ways (part A and B)
There are a few books I always go to when I have to give a lesson or a talk and these are two of them. They are old Primary manuals that were first published in the 70's. I used them the most when I was Primary President. They have great attention getting ideas for their lessons. I would be SO sad if something happened to these books.



Gospel Principles
Another great simple reference book all about basic Mormon beliefs



Beware, Princess Elizabeth by Caroline Meyer
Never read it. bought it for Madeline and I have no idea why it is on my shelf.



The Screwtape Letters By C.S. Lewis
I have been through two different book club discussions on this book. It really is a great one. Easy and fascinating read once you figure out that Satan is writing letters to his nephew about how to tempt us. Just FYI He really has us figured out :)


The 21 Balloons By William Pene du Bois
Hopefully you have all read this one.


Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
This is one I discovered in my book club in Indiana. It is a great story set in the South about an old, prominent, rich guy in this town of Cold Sassy. He marries a young beautiful girl not from the town when his wife dies. Very funny and yet a little sad reading about all the town does to make this poor ladies life miserable.


Complications by Atul Gawande
I read this for the first time on my yearly Seattle trip 2 years ago. I cannot pick it up without thinking of sitting in the rental car in a very long line waiting for the Port Townsend Ferry. All sorts of amazing and fascinating stories written by a doctor from Boston. I highly recommend it.


My Antonia by Willa Cather
I really like this book and I had yet to be in a book club where most people did not like this book until this year in my book club here in Massachusetts where quite a few people did not like it and found it boring. It really surprised me. I love Willa's descriptions and was surprised to find people who did not like to read about the prairie and how it looks every hour of the day :) I had never had to defend Willa before.


1984 By George Orwell
Never read it. This is Brian's contribution to MY shelf. The kids have read it for school.


The Joy Luck Club By Amy Tan
It has been a long time since my Amy Tan phase. I can barely remember if I liked it.


The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Another one that it has been a long time since I read. This happens to be Brian's favorite book.


A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
Another great book that I discovered through book club.


The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Strangely this story fascinates me. And while we are on the topic of Edith Wharton how about that Ethan Frome? I thought for the longest time that Ethan Frome was my favorite book and then I left high school got married had a few kids and read it again and wondered what my problem was :)


Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
This is the sequel to The Giver. When I think of this book I think of our big white van driving to West Virginia because we listened to the book on tape

The Book of Mormon by Moroni
If you have not read it it can change your life if you have an open mind while reading it and then pray to know if it is true when you are done :)

Taggerung by Brian Jacques
Brian Jacques wrote the Redwall series. About 7 years ago when it was Madeline's turn to spend part of her summer in Oregon with my parents she got hooked on the Redwall books and she and my mom spent a lot of time going from used bookstore to used bookstore searching for all of them. I think there is close to a thousand in the series. (exaggeration) I read the first 2 and enjoyed them. Joe is actually hooked on them now and Taggerung is one of the series.

Left Behind by Tim Lahaye & Jerry B Jenkins
My dear friend Sharron Cluff got me hooked on these books many years ago. They are all about the "rapture" actually happening.

The Return Of The Native By Thomas Hardy
I REALLY want to read this book and just have not had the time...oh looky here there is a Southwest airlines beverage napkin marking my place in this book...hmmmm.....I must have started this :)

Up The Down Staircase By Bel Kaufman
This book is one I remember being on my parents shelf when I was a kid and I read it then. I have not read it since but for nostalgia purposes I bought it for .25 cents at the library book sale.

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten By Robert Fulghum
We all know it's true:)

Mrs. Mike By Benedict and Nancy Freedman
This a great book about a woman's experiences in the great Canadian Wilderness with her new husband. Lots of very interesting stories.

Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler
Another book club book from Indiana. Different from anything I had ever read. It's about an older couple and their life and what it had become. How they are comfortable with each other, how they drive each other crazy and about their kids lives and how that has affected their life.

A Room With A View By E.M. Forester
One of my favorite's. Who does not love this movie?

Webster's Dictionary
Not just any dictionary. The one my parents bought for me at some Costco in Washington in 1986 for me to take to BYU with me. And strangely the only dictionary we own.

Persuasion By Jane Austen

Mansfield Park By Jane Austen

Angle of Repose By Wallace Stegner
Another favorite of mine. Wallace Stegner has the amazing "describing" gift that I wish I had. He chooses such perfect words that everyone knows exactly what he is talking about and wishes they could have thought of saying it that way first :)

Elson's Pocket Music Dictionary By Louis C. Elson
I have had this since I was a kid and I cart it everywhere with me.

Persuasion By Jane Austen
Mansfield Park By Jane Austen
Sense and Sensibility By Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice By Jane Austen
The Watson's By Jane Austen

Just seeing them all listed there probably speaks volumes :) Hey, who did I loan Emma to? It's not there.....ahhhhh.

Year of Wonders By Geraldine Brooks
I ended up owning this book after a book club Christmas book exchange. It is a novel about a plague. And how people are changed by catastrophe. I think I liked it when I read it :)

Harry Potter and The Sorcerers Stone By J.K. Rowling
This should be downstairs with the other Harry Potter books that disturbs me that it is in the wrong place :)

Moby Dick By Herman Melville
Never read it. Really should.

Seabiscuit By Laura Hillenbrand
This book I read about 4 years ago on my trip to California for my Grandpa Ord's 90th birthday. I always had a soft spot in my heart for true horse stories. I went through a stage a s a teenager that I headed straight for that section in the library and devoured books about Man of War, Seattle Slew, Secretariat, and many others.

The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work By John M Gottman Ph.D and Nan Silver
My parents are teaching a marriage class and they gave all of us kids this book. I know I should read it but I haven't. But Zach has :)

The Articles of Faith By James Talmage
Who does not love James Talmage and all his amazing info :)

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever By Barbara Robinson
Is it sad that I have not read this book?

Christmas Jars By Jason F Wright
Another one I have not read.

The Ox-Bow Incident By Walter Van Tilburg Clark
I thought I had bought this book for Brian but I just opened it and there was my name Jennifer Ord and my very old BYU phone number written in it. Hmmm I wonder why I do not remember it? I wonder who I was dating when I was supposed to be reading this?

Great Expectations By Charles Dickens
Another confession.... I have not read this most likely must read classic.

The 5 Lessons a Millionaire Taught Me. By Richard Paul Evans
Great title. I wonder where it came from?

The Temple By Alfred Edersheim
This is another one of Brian's books that is on the wrong book shelf.

He and I are always moving each other's books around trying to steal coveted bookshelf space from each other. He actually said to me the other day that all the books on this particular shelf next to the computer where his and so this is maybe a good time as any to prove that only 2 books on the top shelf are his...thus making it my shelf :)

Hey, guess what I learned after spell checking this post? Book club is NOT one word. Were you al waiting for me to discover that :)

Nov 21, 2008

That Movie That Was Released Today :)

Is it possible for a little old movie release to cause so much trouble in one household? I cannot imagine how peaceful and quiet my house would have been in the last 24 hours if I had 5 boys who cared nothing about Twilight instead of 5 girls who cared deeply. The whole drama started yesterday, as Madeline spent hours looking for a movie theater that was going to show the premier of Twilight at midnight. Finally she found one in South Hadley but we just could not get all the stars to be aligned for it to happen. I am not against midnight showings of a movie on school nights. Matter of fact it is definitely my fault that there was even hope. I have shown poor judgement many times in the past and taken my kids to midnight showings of new movies. But that was before I was a Seminary teacher, worked and had book club all on the same night as the midnight showing.

So when Madeline realized that because of her, already made Friday night plans, that she was going to have to...gasp....wait until Saturday to see Twilight she quickly came up with an alternate plan because waiting for Saturday was definitely not working for her.( that whole "me" generation thing.) Now before you judge me just remember that someday you may have a child like Madeline who strangely seems to get whatever she wants and you never seem know how it happened....can you say, career as a "lawyer?" Do not get me wrong we all love her a whole lot but she has a special gift for "working the magic." So to make a very long and very dramatic story short Madeline and Amanda saw Twilight today at 12:45 in the afternoon. Miriam and I are going tonight at 9:50 pm and Amanda is in very heavy negotiations to see it again with us at the 9:50 showing and the way my day has gone I can pretty much guarantee that she will be with us :) It is all about compromising and that is what happened at the Baird house today....lots of compromising and negotiating.

I am ever so curious about this movie. I have created a very beautiful mental picture in my mind of this story as I read all the books and I wonder what the chances are that the movie exactly matches the mental picture in my head and why am I messing with the already perfect mental picture? I do not know.

The word on the worldwide web is that if you have read the books you will like the movie but if you have not read the books and are not a devoted fan you may walk away thinking the movie is a bit "cheesy." That sounds fair to me.

On my trip to Indiana last week I was able to finish reading The Host, another book written by Stephanie Meyers. I must say that I loved The Host......almost better than Twilight......did I really say that?

Anyway, I would love to hear if you saw the movie and if you are glad you did.

It is that time of year again. Mitten and glove time. I realized this morning as I was calming child #7 down after she lost patience with her gloves that perhaps this may be the last year that I will have to call on "the force" to help me be patient with a child that cannot get their fingers matched into the spots provided for them in the glove. I should have added this skill ,I have refined throughout the years, to my resume when I was job hunting. Who would not be impressed with someone who can calmly and rationally explain to an out of control child how to hold their fingers apart and get each one in the proper spot in the gloves? Nothing is more frustrating than getting 2 fingers in a spot for only one :)

I have never had a child that would sit calmly on the floor and just deal with this. They immediately and very completely freak out. I do not ever remember one of them coming to me calmly and asking for help. I will first hear uncontrollable sobbing from some coner of the house I will remember it as a "winter sound" and I will say a prayer that I will not loose my temper with the ever so innocent glove and go deal with it.

Maybe it will be something I will miss when they are all gone......although I highly doubt it :)

Nov 19, 2008

Losing Things.

Don't you hate it when you lose something? My mind is very occupied lately with three things I have lost. I am SO sad that I have lost them. I am not the type of person that loses things and I confess that the FEW times I have actually lost something.....

Like my 12 year old last summer in Rhode Island,
My CTR ring when I was 8 and living in Sedro Woolley, WA,
A library CD that I lost in Lawrence, Kansas

I have always been able to say a prayer and find my missing item almost immediately. But I confess I have not tried prayer yet this time because I feel a little sheepish praying about a movie gift card, a Barnes and Noble gift card and a birthday check from my grandpa. They do not seem to be in the same category as my own child or a "choose the right" ring. But I am very consumed with wondering where they could be. Things were very crazy and out of sorts around my birthday time and I have no idea where these three very special and important gifts have gone. Yes, I have checked all my purses and all my pockets and the basket by the phone that is the holding area for papers etc that come into the house.

Very interesting that in the midst of my searching for lost items I am due to teach Luke 15 in Seminary tomorrow. All about the lost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal son. Now the sheep just wandered off casually on it's own. I hope that did not happen to my gift cards and check that would be a very interesting concept :) The coin was dropped and lost because of inattention....that is probably the category my loss falls into. And the Prodigal Son made a deliberate choice to leave....I cannot imagine my gift cards not wanting to be spent and deliberately leaving me :)

I really hate having lose ends hanging out there. Can you imagine my struggle when I first learned about the Bermuda Triangle? Or poor Amelia Earhart? Talk about loose ends. And now my missing birthday gifts to add to the unsolvable mysteries list......sigh.

Nov 18, 2008

The Invitations.

My ornament exchange is coming. And never have my invitations for this event given me SO much trouble. Even though I know better and usually can fight the urge I have chosen to care deeply about these silly invitations that everyone will throw in the trash once they write the date on their calendar. Even though I know I am not the kind of person that wraps amazing presents, makes her own cards and has a theme every time I walk out of the house I occasionally have this moment that I deliriously think I could still possibly make the invitation that everyone would save :) I have never made anything in my life that people have said the words like, "that is so cute," or "how did you make that?" Yet, I dream that it will happen.



My dear friend Mindy introduced me to the online invitation possibilities and plugged all my info for the party onto a pre made background and sent the order to Walmart.com. It was so easy and was going to only be $10.00. I was very excited. But when I showed up at Wal Mart yesterday to pick them up all was not well in "online invitation land." The words were blurry. They had not cut them straight and the colors were not true. The people in the Photo Lab were super nice and tried several times to make another one that would turn out right but they could not get the machine to cooperate.



While they were working on it I wandered Wal Mart aisles wondering what my Plan B should be. I am not capable of coming up with ideas on my own. I have other redeeming qualities that make up for this fact. So first, I looked at already made invitations. And either they did not have enough of the ones I liked or they were too much money. Since I have to have 55 invitations money was a concern. I looked at plain paper. I looked at colored paper. I looked at stickers. I looked at envelopes. Hoping some brilliant idea would come to me. I finally settled on a package of plain white envelopes and invitations and decided to head to Michael's craft store to look for more ideas.

I avoid Michael's like the plague. Because you go in there and everything looks so pretty that you feel like you can do anything. And you have visions of yourself creating masterpieces, owning your own company, starting a magazine, and maybe going to jail for fraud :) But the reality is for me I fantasize about being able to use all this very cool stuff and I bring it home and it never, for oh so many reasons,works out.

Anyway, I spent an hour and a half in Michael's. I knew that somehow all the amazing stuff I kept looking at was supposed to miraculously morph in my head to create an amazing idea so I kept waiting for it to happen. I called my amazing scrap booking, card making friend Joan in Indiana but did not catch her. I actually even said a prayer in my head for help. But it ended up that I was truly on my own. Me, all alone in Michael's with no one to talk too. It was very miserable. I live for asking people their opinions and I had no one but myself to ask......very scary.

I carried enormous pads of Christmas scrap booking paper around, I looked at stamps, I looked at punches, I looked at ribbon. I went back and forth and back and forth. I even looked around for some kind, innocent shopper to make eye contact with me so I could seize the moment and BEG for help. But no luck.

Finally, I bought a pad of Christmas scrap booking paper, and a little pack of 6 cookie cutters. And let's just say I have a long process ahead of me. Luckily, sweet, OCD Amanda loves to help with creating and cares deeply about straight edges and such so she and I put on the DVD John Tucker Must Die and started the process. I am very distressed to say that I got 2 finished out of 55 before I had to work on my Seminary lesson, fix dinner, change laundry, take Joe on the paper route, take Tatiana to the library. So why am I blogging instead of working on them? Very good question.

By the way, I was not ignoring you the last 5 days but Brian had bought me a plane ticket to Indiana for part of my 40th birthday fun. So I have been gone. I will tell you more about the trip as soon as I am done with the %^&*$#@ invitations. And do not get me started on my feelings about RSVP"ing :)

Nov 13, 2008

New Socks.


The last time I bought new socks was 2 years ago in Seattle on my annual trip and the only reason I even bought them was because I had forgotten to pack some. I am NOT picky about socks. Brian is. He cares deeply about his socks. Especially how they feel. I have a sneaky feeling he buys expensive socks, but hey he makes the money :) I usually just grab the first pair I see in the store and buy them. The kids usually end up stealing my socks anyway so why bother?

Well it is very possible that that may have changed. When I was in Kohl's the other night with two teenage girls with me I just happened to end up in the sock section (which by the way is really the "hosiery' section.) I was trying to get away from the teenagers relentless lists of needs and while hiding from them I remembered that I was down to one pair of socks and had been wearing mismatched ones for awhile.....I know....ewwwww. Anyway, the girls found me and resumed their incessant talking and I lost focus, saw that Adidas socks were on sale, had my 30% off coupon, which always gives me a false sense of security, so I just grabbed them. My first clue that I had something special should have been when both teenagers said, "oh, I am SO going to borrow those socks.

Today I got the socks out and after the extensive "opening socks process" I went through I know I have some very good socks that I will definitely have to hide. My reason for assuming that they are good socks is because of how they they were wrapped. Usually I buy socks with just one annoying plastic tag punched through all the pairs with one black hanging device attached. But these socks had oh, so much more.....

#1. A wrapper, made out of thick paper, wrapped around the outside of them.

#2. Not just one, but two stickers stuck on the socks both using the word "comfort" along with words like "wire free?"

#3. Who looks for "wire free socks?"

#4. Have I missed something? Is it important to have socks that say "no wires were harmed during the making of these socks?"

#5. In addition to the stickers and outer wrapper there were 4 little metal clips holding the toes of each pair of socks together. I wonder what purpose these serve? So you can easily see the pairs? Maybe someone has figured out how to use these little "metal thingys" in a craft project but you can only get the little "metal thingys" for the coveted craft project by buying the socks? I personally think it is so you feel like someone went to a lot of work for your socks. Those Adidas people think of everything. It is like getting a chocolate on your pillow. Oh wait, there is more. There was not one, but two, of those plastic tags in them. Truly amazing.

You can see it had enough of an impression on me that I had to blog about it.

When I finally put my new socks on they did seem better than those "other" socks I "used" to buy. And now that it is 4 in the afternoon and I am finally finishing my blog that I started this morning I have had a minute to actually read the outside wrapper and I notice the price on these
puppies was $12.00. Hmmmm maybe Brian is on to something with his expensive sock obsession. (love you dear :)

Nov 11, 2008

Getting Rid of Leaves?


"The first Thanksgiving coincided with what was, for the Pilgrims, a new and startling phenomenon: the turning of the green leaves of summer to the incandescent yellows, reds, and purples of a new England autumn. With the shortening of the days comes a diminishment in the amount of green chlorophyll in the tree leaves which allows the other colors contained within the leaves to emerge. In Britain, the cloudy fall days and warm nights cause the autumn colors to be lackluster and muted. In New England, on the other hand, the profusion of sunny fall days and cool but not freezing nights unleashes the colors latent within the tree leaves, with oaks turning red, brown and russet; hickories golden brown; birches yellow; red maples scarlet; sugar maples orange and black maples glowing yellow. It was a display that must have contributed to the enthusiasm with which the Pilgrims later wrote of the festivities of that Fall."

Nathaniel Philbrick


I have been reading Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick and I thought this was a great description of what happens to the leaves, how they look here in the Fall and how they make you feel. ( you know the fixing a huge meal with a turkey feeling) A couple weeks ago I blogged a little bit about the leaves and at that point they were bright yellow, orange, pink and red and I could not imagine there was anything more too it. And then to my surprise it is not just a one act show here in New England. After the bright colors comes the changing of the trees with darker color leaves. And that was definitely my favorite.


But after all the amazing scenery came the price you pay for beauty.....raking. And this is not just your Grandmother's raking this is some serious raking. The first morning that I woke up too so many leaves that I could not see my driveway or my lawn I was a little discouraged. Don't get me wrong I do not mind raking. The last time I had to rake my yard was when we lived in Kansas. But I could be out in the yard all day long with nothing else to do but be outside with my little kids "helping" me and wanting to be around me. HA. That is not happening now. We are in the "complaining about raking leaves" stage of our lives.


Not only that there are so many leaves that you have to make decisions. There are serious options to consider when getting rid of your leaves.

There is Mr Leaf Blower. I cannot help but think this is the option that may get this generation interested in leaves. I have seen countless examples of the leaf blower all over town. Mostly men working them. They definitely look fun. But you still have to figure out what to do with them once you blow them somewhere. And I cannot help but hear the "cha ching" of a cash register when I think of this option. And I have too many items on my list of things to spend my money on.

I have also seen a lot of people with these truly amazing lawn mowers with immense bags on the back of them. And they sit on these lawn mowers in their tuxedos and prom dresses and nonchalantly drive around their yard through the leaves, thinking about appetizers, and leaving a perfectly clear path behind them. Then when they are done they have their servants spread the perfectly shredded "leaf mulch" somewhere in their yard. This method greatly appeals to me but there is that cash register sound again. HMMM leaves gone or eating 3 meals a day?

I have also seen the "tarp" method. Lay out a tarp rake all the leaves onto it and drag it somewhere. But where? The evil voice in my head says to the neighbors :)

In the early stages of leaves dropping from trees I tried to get Miriam to mow over them with our riding lawn mower, I read that they were good for your lawn if broken into little pieces. But we never got the lawn mower to start. Which is a good of place as any to start my bitter, hating on the husband sentences.

He seems to put off my leaf concerns. Dismiss them with nary a worry. I am very obsessed about them in the gutters. We lived in a house in Kansas that forever shaped my fear of leaves in the gutter. It is sadly so intense that I will casually, but with humor, even ask friends about their leaves in their gutters. It is none of my business that they have leaves in their gutters but I had many a flood in my basement because of leaves backed up in the gutters. Spent many a rainstorm outside with the hoe trying to reach the gutters and get the leaves out of them so the water would go away from the house. So I never want anyone else to have to go through that. Yes, I know I need leaf therapy :) It creates a small anxious feeling in my little old tummy. Leaf anxiety is a fairly new thing but beware it could happen to you :)

What I hate the most is when you get to the point that you have your piles and then you have to go fix dinner and the piles never get in the bag. Then it rains on the piles. This is a bad situation that you want to avoid at all costs. Trust me.

I wish I could figure out an amazing use for the leaves and make an amazing amount of money with my discovery. Or better yet if I could make it socially acceptable to have them all over your lawn and then I could fit in just fine.

So I guess I need to figure out how to have a leaf raking party.

Nov 9, 2008

Having A Party.

Those of you who know me know that I love to party. I do not know why. I have often wondered why I cannot resist the urge to have company to dinner or the urge to have an ornament exchange, or the urge to load up the van and head off into the sunset. Why doesn't the fact that my couches are gross hold me back? Why doesn't the fact that I have no curtains on my windows hold me back? Why doesn't the fact that Kittromney's litter box is in my "company" bathroom hold me back? Why doesn't the fact that I am really not a good cook hold me back? I have no idea.

After we were first married, and lived in Princeton, NJ, I learned an amazing lesson from a lady in my ward who had a gorgeous home and whose husband was a chief legal "guy" for Bristol Meyer Squibb she was always entertaining and in my young mind I imagined her entertaining had always been from an amazing home but she told me once about how when they had lived in Japan they would take their door off of the hinges and lay it on top of something and use it as the table and how cramped it was. That is when I realized it was about so much more than what your home was like and that I would never let that hold me back from entertaining. I love for my kids to be around conversation. I love to help people get to know other people.

I have been thinking about this because my list of party things I want to accomplish in the next 2 months is growing like crazy. I feel so sorry for anyone who is my friend and lives by me. They truly have to be skilled at saying no and meaning it if I sense any hesitation I am all over it doing what I can to convince them they need to play with me.

The first thing on my mind is New York City. I do not think I can go through many more days without getting back to New York City. I want to load my 15 passenger van and spend the day. The crowds do not bother me in the least. I adore it. So I am going to see if the husband will let me go to New York City on the 22nd of November.

The second thing on my mind is my annual ornament exchange. I started this tradition in Indiana. I had attended some ornament exchanges in Kansas and adored them. My problem with the ornament exchange is that I always want to invite everyone. I know it is crazy but this year I figured the heck with it I am truly going to invite the whole ward to my house to sit on my sinky couches that have been scratched by a very evil cat. I figure the worst thing that could happen is that it would take us until midnight to go through the actual exchange if their are too many people :) So on December 4th I will attempt it and let you know how it goes. It truly pains me to have to choose who to invite places.

The third party I am planning is dry pack cannery. That is on the 13th of December and strangely I consider it a party :) I am having a hard time deciding what I am going to can this time. I am trying so hard to be smart about it.

The 4th party came and went this weekend. The teenagers invited kids from the stake over to play. These parties are vitally important to me. I love for my kids to have a chance to bond with the teenagers. We have only lived here a year so it will take some time to build up a good group of kids. But honestly no matter how many come it is always fun.

This time we had 15 kids and they played some games in the dark up at Stanley Park and came back here and ate. Brian started a fire and they played a game that I found on the Internet a couple years ago.

Every time I introduce this game to a group of teenagers I think to myself they are not going to like this but every time they surprise me, love the game and beg to play it again. All you need is seating in a circle and tons of questions: Like is your bed made today? Have you ever broken a bone? Do you have blue eyes? Were you born in Utah?......millions and millions of questions and then they all sit in a seat and I start asking the questions and if the question applies to them they can move one seat over. The goal is to get around the circle to your original seat and if you are the first one there you win. Sometimes they end up stacked up 4 or 5 in one chair on their way around the circle. So after they were done with the game they all watched a movie. I hope they had fun. But even if they didn't I will keep having these parties. I think it is so important to get them together.

The fifth party is the opening night of the Twilight movie that is coming up on the 21st of this month. If there is a midnight showing rest be assured that this Seminary teacher will be there and of course I will mention it to everyone I can.

I think my problem is I love for people to have fun. I love to see them happy. I get so excited about things that I can not resist the urge to share them with everyone

Nov 6, 2008

You Know The Tantrum.


I knew it was coming. It was inevitable. In my defense it does not happen very often....maybe twice a year. I always see it coming but rarely seem to be able to stop it. The throwing of a tantrum followed by the "ungrateful speech." It happened tonight to a less than adoring audience. Four teenagers lounging around rolling their big brown eyeballs at me and uttering phrases like, "chill out" to me while I listed all the things I had done and sacrificed for them this week and how they had treated me. And how I was working so they could participate in sports, have clothes, food and birthdays. And I needed some adoration in the form of gratitude.


I am always fascinated by how it makes people feel to seem be the only one working and perceive that everyone else is doing nothing. I have watched enough Survivor in my life to know that not helping gets you voted off the island...pronto. And believe me if my life was being televised from some amazing destination and there was money involved the mom of Madeline, Miriam and Amanda would be saying hateful things to the camera about her own daughters and she would be plotting with the other players to get them voted off.


My tantrum motivated Miriam who went out in the pouring rain to rake leaves, causing me to be torn, could I mention the futility of raking leaves in the rain to a child who was trying to make amends? Amanda continued to argue with me about all the points I made during my tantrum. And Madeline tried to fly under the radar and disappeared.


After my tantrum I had to get in the car and go to my monthly Seminary training meeting. I hate it when you act immature before a church meeting and you don't even feel like going because you just drove the spirit right away.


Of course the meeting was wonderful. I had been thinking a lot about all these principles I am teaching the Seminary kids and how I really want them to "get it." And we talked about that very topic tonight, How do we take principles we know to be true, hear about all the time and believe in and transform them into values? A value being something you really believe in and is so important to you that you have internalized it, feel it and care about it. The ideas were amazing and I am excited for Seminary on Monday to start working on them.


Now I just wish I could figure out how to internalize what I know about the principle of "throwing tantrums to get what you want" and just stop doing it :)

Nov 4, 2008

How can I convince you?

I always look forward to election night. Election night and the Academy Awards my two most favorite nights :) Sad huh? I feel very nervous about watching the election results tonight. I always feel nervous when I do not know what the end will be. Luckily, I have Halloween candy to eat to calm my nerves while I am watching :)

I mean what do I do if everyone in the USA does not see things the same way I do? How could there be people out there that feel as strongly about their candidate as I do about mine? What if there are people out there that are wondering how I could be so blind about my candidates faults when I am wondering the same thing about their blindness to their candidates faults?

How do you convince someone to see things your way? I had a rare minute the other day to listen to Rush Limbaugh (hmmm does that give you any clues?) and someone called in to ask about this very thing. And he said when emotion is involved you can't convince. WHAT? But I have so many things to convince people about and so little time :)

I am continually amazed at Google. How many times do I google something thinking there is no way there will be any results about it and lo and behold there is results. Today I googled, "How to convince people" and I was wrong as wrong could be there were 20,600,000 results. So beware because there are a lot of people out there trying to convince you of things and they are all reading about it :) Look at a few of these:

How to convince people to skinny dip. (I might have to read that one)
How to convince someone to believe in anything. ( I am definitely reading that one)
How to convince people to leave comments ( no comment)
How to convince people that you are a time traveler (oh my)

It seems that everyone is in the business of convincing and apparently there are ways to actually get it done. You have to have evidence. You have to never waver from your story. You have to sound confident when you speak. So I have to get an endless amount of information about all the things I need to convince people about and I have to be confident when I spout this information.....does that mean I have to be a "know it all?" I do not know if the Baird house can support another "know it all." :)

So here is the beginning of my list of things I need to convince people of:

I need to convince my Seminary kids that being tardy to Seminary is very wrong.
I need to convince the people who created the food pyramid to add more servings of chocolate to their guidelines.
I need to convince Massachusetts that there are other ways to do things that make much more sense and would make things oh so much easier. If it would only notice and visit the other 49 states they would see that they are behind the times in so many ways.
I need to convince Amanda that it is easier to go through life not assuming that people do not like you.
I need to convince Brian that the garden needs to be rototilled very soon.
I need to convince Mindy that canning applesauce without sugar is wrong :)
I need to convince Natalie that this is indeed my computer time and not hers. ( she is standing here begging to bet on Barbie.com)
I need to convince my children that doing random, helpful things around the house for me without being asked is a very cool thing to do.
I need to convince Brian that it is extremely manly to notice that things need to be done and not manly to wait for me to ask for things to be done.
I need to convince Kittromney,the cat, that knocking trash cans over is wrong.
I need to convince Madeline that she does not want texting for her birthday.
I need to convince everyone that their candidate is wrong and mine is right.
I need to convince Tom Cruise to not be a Scientologist.
I need to convince Brad Pitt to go back to Jennifer Aniston.
I need to convince Blockbuster to lower their rental prices.
I need to convince my ward that I am doing the best I can at playing the organ in sacrament meeting and that loud playing is good :)


Yes, the list could go on and on but I now have to convince you that I am too busy to write any more by telling you that I have to be at 12 parent teacher conferences tonight at the high school, plan a seminary lesson and watch election results.....so toodeloo.