Mar 31, 2008

It's a..... basement!!

I am proud to annouce that The Baird's house has given birth to a play room and a "man room". They arrived together on Thursday March 27th at 2:00 pm after the carpet guys spent 4 hours putting in the carpet. At first the carpet guys said that it wasn't going to happen because the basement was "too cold" and they could not guarantee the installation since it was, "so cold down there" so then I begrudgingly suggested that maybe we could turn the thermostat up and that would help?? Thank goodness for thermostats. I confess I really enjoyed the four hours in my house that I did not have to wear a coat or a hat. And I immediately turned it back to 62 degrees when they left.

It has taken since December 6th, 2007 for the basement to get finished. I at times thought I was not going to be able to wait. Everything has been at a standstill. Boxes in the garage with nowhere to be. Boxes waiting in the kids rooms with nowhere to be. Boxes in my closet with nowhere to be. Now they all have a place to be but I have no bookshelves or none of the perfect containers to hold all the stuff in. (Isn't life funny that way? We wait and wait for something and then realize we need something else.) Besides it's too cold to go down there and work. Listen to Mrs. Ungrateful.

You can see from the picture that Brian's "man room" is up and running. For those of you who do not know The Baird family has a little arrangement. Brian has a man room. A man room has to have a tv, books, stashes of food that are very bad for you, a couch, blankets and a trash can that used to hold all purpose joint compound for mudding the walls. And in Brian's dreams it has a fridge and a sound system. But if that ever happens we will never see him.

Notice the picture of the playroom half?? Guess what I should be doing right now? And I should do it before Baird children get home from school and see what I am throwing away.

Landscaping dilemma

Now that all the snow has melted away look what my nice builder left me with. A landscaping dilemma. I stare out the window at it and wonder what I am going to do with this as soon as the temperature gets above 40 degrees and I can actually go outside. The problem is the "gas guy" has to be able to easily get to it to fill the tank. I know the builder had to have his reasons for putting the tank right smack in the middle of my front yard. It was probably just to make sure I did not get to cocky and think my life was going so perfectly. Maybe I will save it for my master gardener mother who will come and know exactly what to do. But I am not sure how long I can stare at it. Having all these adorable personality traits that I posess like impatience, obsessive compulsive disorder, inability to make decisions, need for order are not helping the situation.

Mar 27, 2008


Every Spring it is very important to make sure you have chalk and bubbles on hand. I have always loved to look out the window and see children busy creating with chalk on the driveway. I admit the mess and clutter on the driveway is a little much for my OCD mind to take but I have been able to get over that.

For the past three years we lived in Indiana with a gravel driveway and a sidewalk that would never do for drawing with chalk so imagine the joy at having a brand spanking new beautiful long flat black driveway in Massachusetts!!

So I purchased a bucket of chalk for Tatiana and Natalie they were so excited. But I forgot a very important detail, in the past 4 years since we have had chalk at our house the Baird family has acquired some teenagers. Not just plain old teenagers silly teenagers, naughty teenagers, needing negative attention teenagers. My first warning was when Tatiana came in to tell me Joe and Miriam were outside playing with the chalk....and they were not drawing they were writing words. Oh dear!! So I peek out the window and it is true. Miriam had managed to write that her sister was a "dumby" and sign Amanda's name to it. She thought she was brilliant to have thought to mis-spell it so that everyone would think Amanda wrote it wrong. Then she wrote some other things that I guess I should not mention here. Joe was busy writing the word hell and Tatiana was going along behind him adding an "O" to it to make the word hello or changing the last "L" to a "P" to spell help. Which help is definately what we need at this house. So I had to take the chalk away from the teenagers something about it makes them feel free to express whatever they want.....on my driveway.

Yesterday because I can not resist buying big boxes of colorful chalk I gave more chalk to my LITTLE girls and bless their hearts if the teenagers did not yet try again to write evil things on my perfect driveway. What happened to drawing animals? And what happened to writing loving things like they used too? Or did they used to? Needless to say Miriam and Joe carried buckets of water out to the driveway and I had to explain what some words meant to Tatiana. Then I have to smile through my teeth when friends, neighbors, or delivery guys come to my house and entertain themselves with my driveway. And then when they ask me about it I have to think of some clever reason why my teenagers would be entertained by writing bad things on the driveway.

And just when I was done dealing with the chalk issue I turn around and see the teenagers blowing bubbles straight onto my nice clean windows and then popping them and smearing the bubble stuff around with their fingers. The bubbles and chalk should have a warning on them, " please keep out of reach of children over 12 they may get carried away with the power and may end up in hell-o".

I am truly in a very interesting phase of life.

Mar 25, 2008

To be appreciated.

Who still gets "snail mail"? Not bills, or credit card signups, or stuff from the school, or invitations to things, or packages full of things you left at a place you just visited, I am talking about honest to goodness for absolutely no reason mail. In a pretty envelope. It had been so long that I almost forgot that it could happen. But today I got two letters. Sincere, personal, make you smile when you read them kind of cards. I barely recognized the emotion I had been so long......I felt appreciated.

The first card was from my friend Dianne in Indiana. We sadly never did a ton together but there had been some important moments when Dianne was there and knew just what to say. She made a card and I was speechless when I opened it and saw what she had stamped on it it was one of my most favorite sayings I had seen years ago on a bumper sticker and it says, "What if the hokey pokey really is what it is all about?" I am sure I never mentioned to her that that was my favorite saying so it felt so perfect that it was on this card.

The second card was from Jill a member of my brand new Massachusetts bookclub. It is hard on the this female brain to start a bookclub and wonder all the time if everyone is happy, hope they like the book, hope the discussions meet their expectations etc. I know I do not need to take all that on myself but ocassionally I enjoy the torture. Anyway, Jill wrote me an adorable note complete with drawings and I felt loved.....and oh what is that word.....appreciated.

We spend so much time second guessing ourselves wondering if we said or did the right thing wondering if our life has touched anyone else's. When someone tells you how they feel it is an amazing feeling. I do not know why we need it. And why some people (hypothetically speaking of course!!) need it 24/7:)

But I know that I resolve to be better at making sure I have cards, stamps, and addresses on hand for sending sincere cards to people more often so they will never have to wonder if anyone was grateful for what they did or noticed that they did something well. It means I have to pay more attention to what people are doing around me. It means when I am prompted I need to act right away. Isn't it wierd that it happens so rarely that we remember it and have to blog about it??

Kittromney in a presidential pondering pose.

Amanda loves her camera. She spends all of her time taking pictures of Kittromney. She stalked the cat for a long time waiting for this pose and we all adore it. Dosen't it look like she is looking out the window of the White House pondering lowering your taxes?

Teenagers with cameras

I am not sure how it begins but some random day Madeline and Miriam will be bored. And I do not know how the conversation must go that leads them to hours of taking pictures of each other doing the strangest things.

My favorite time was when they stole Amanda's camera and took a ton of pictures of themselves with her camera. Of course she was furious when she discovered it but to her credit she came up with a brilliant way to deal with her anger. She "borrowed" their cameras and had Tatiana take pictures of her lying in their beds, trying on their clothes, touching the things they always tell her to never touch, she even had Tatiana take pictures of her using their toothbrushes. I must admit I could not punish the brilliance.

Miriam is taking a photography class at school and she loves it. Everytime I turn around she is convincing someone to do something so she can document it. Like the picture of Joe running outside.

It has become such an obsession at our house that the 5 and 8 year old reguarly beg for camera's of their own.

Mar 23, 2008

Too good to be true.

Have you ever been sucked into something that you knew was too good to be true but you simply could not help yourself? I have always been very firm about not getting sucked into things like that. Oh I have read about them but I have never been tempted by them but something about this evil move has turned me into a "wonder-er". Does too good to be true possibly ever happen? My first attempt at too good to be true was a dismal failure. And it is painful to tell but what the heck. I recieved one of "those" e-mails about getting money and for some reason it really honestly sounded possible so I carefully forwarded it to a few people ( something I had never done before) and waited for my check. I was wrong. I was greedy and got sucked in by promises of rewards with no work.....silly me. My brother enjoyed scolding me. And my friend Joan who has an awesome website where you can find out if your dreams truly will come true was able to quickly send me an FYI. So I learned the hard way and truly repented.

But I have not quite given up.... here is my new "too good to be true" adventure. The Cabbage Soup Diet. I Googled it and read all about it and gosh darn it I am going to try it. Not only am I going to try it I am confessing to you all that I am ridiculous and clearly not smart in any way. So here is the deal...... starting tomorrow AKA "day #1" I will eat only fruit and the cabbage soup ( which is not just is peppers and tomatoes and carrots and V-8 etc.) Then Tuesday is eat only veggies day and the soup ( as much as my soul desires) and it goes on with different foods and 8 glasses of water and cabbage soup every day for only 7 days. I will not bore you with the details, or the strange reasons that somehow compel me to risk my soul in "fad diet land". So tune in next Sunday and I will blog and give you the whole truth.....of how I somehow morphed into Katherine Heigel and ran out to purchase my first bikini:)

Riding Shotgun.

The guard on a stagecoach riding to the right of the stagecoach driver has been referred to in western movies and pulp fiction as the person "riding shotgun". The term was never actually used during the 1800's when they were actually riding stagecoaches it came about later on. No one seems to know how it transferred over to the all important phrase that you holler when you are a teen or pre-teen and are anxious that you will not get the front seat.

I have been the driver for stake dances and had kids who are riding home with me ask me anxiously long before the dance is over , "Sister Baird can I ride shotgun?" I always an amazed that in the middle of the dance they think to say that to me. And I always wonder why they do not remember that it means they have to sit in the front with me and make small talk?

I was in Wal Mart the other day way in the back of the store and two teenage girls and their mom were shopping and all of a sudden the one girl out of the blue hollers "shotgun". And the other girl realized she had lost the front seat and said, "oh, you freak". I personally think you should not be allowed to yell it until after you are out of the building. There definatly needs to be some rules!!

Why does the phrase hold so much power? I am fascinated by watching when the teenagers are heading out of an event and they are all heading as fast as they can to the cars for the coveted front seat and some smug teenager will casually shout, "I already called shotgun." All of a sudden everything stops a few people grumble but they all observe the unwritten rule that "calling shotgun" is very final. Occasionally some poor misguided, desperate soul will try to challenge the smug winner but they never can plead a case strong enough to overcome that all powerful phrase.

So if it has so much power why do we not teach them to say it as soon as they can talk? Why can't you "call shotgun" to get into college? Why can't you call "shotgun" to get anything you are anxious you will not get? In the grocery store....last package of chicken and you holler "I call shotgun" and everyone else melts away murmuring about your smarts and you so get the chicken?

Why is the front seat so important that we have a phrase that you can save it with?

I do not remember calling shotgun back in the 80's when I was a teenager. I do not remember feeling anxious about getting the front seat. (My parents may remember otherwise as often is the case.) Is it only certain personality types that deeply care about the front seat? Is it dependent on where you grew up? What would the teenagers do if the adults poured out of church hollering " I get shotgun". Actually I think what we grownups do is try to act like we don't care and then casually drop the, "I really get carsick" phrase and voila we have the front seat. What happens if everyone in the car gets carsick?

Mar 19, 2008

"Did you say customer service?"

Oh how I hate it when I call a company and you have to say what you want into the phone in answer to their questions. I hate having to yell into the phone...."tech support" or "customer service", or "I hate you". (Yes, I did say I hate you once to them but then I sheepishly wondered if they were sitting there listening?) I hate it when the voice says "I am sorry I did not catch that let's try again did you say "you hate me?" Yes, I did say that. Why can't you just let me talk to someone in real life? My kids look at me a little wierd when I am walking around the house with the phone on my ear enunciating very loudly and very clearly over and over "tech support". Why do people have to write books about how to call a business and get a person? I really, really want to know how it benefits a business to frustrate me so?

My husband loves using the voice recognition on his cell phone. I love it when his phone does not understand him when he tells it who to call ...I giggle and giggle and I ask him why on earth he uses it when it makes him so angry and takes so long to get it to understand? He will say "call home" into the reciever and he inevitably has to say it again and I immediately start rattling off every thing that rhymes with home that the stupid cell phone might think he is saying....Perhaps it thought he said, call the Travelocity "gnome"?

I wonder if the businesses who use "the voice" understand that some people who call them do not have a completely silent house 24/7? I love when "the voice" asks me a question and at that very instant some child starts arguing with another child and "the voice" hears it and says, "I am sorry I did not understand you". Which part of children arguing did the annoying and persistent voice not understand?

Sometimes I must confess I sit very quietly in my closet trying not to cough or sneeze and just wait it out listening to the voice that keeps trying to get me to talk I am happy to announce that after about 5 minutes "the voice" finally gets it and says "how about I transfer you to someone you can talk to since you are so gosh darn stubborn?" Then I carefully mark a tally mark down on my side of the paper because I again bested technology and stood my ground the victory makes the fact that I am now on hold for 15 minutes so much sweeter.

Comfort Food!!

About 5 years ago we went to Oregon to visit Grandma and Grandpa Ord and that was the beginning of our knowledge of and love affair with Eggo waffles. I cannot remember exactly how it came about. But for some reason my mom had bought Eggo's for when we were visiting. They were so gosh darn easy. My children all became immediately addicted.....okay, I confess I have a very serious comfort food relationship with them.

Imagine my joy when I discovered a few years later that you could buy them at Costco/Sam's club in a box of 60!! And the box is very versatile. It holds underwear, socks, markers, and oh so much more. It is a little embarrassing how many Eggo waffle boxes we have in our house. Even more embarrassing is how when the day is cold and gray or I have had something traumatic happen how I have no problem pulling out the toaster and eating 4 Eggo's. Two Eggo's is not quite enough and 6 is just wrong but 4 is perfect. Brian says there is an exact science to getting the perfect Eggo and he has dug his own grave because now Tatiana and Natalie only want him to make their waffles. He keeps trying to make mine for me but I am very stubborn about making my own food. Besides how convienent would it be if I needed a waffle fix in the middle of the day and I only liked the way he made them?? I am sure his boss would understand him having to come back home to make me an Eggo waffle!

The Eggo waffle addiction upsets Zach a little and when he is not at BYU he makes homemade waffles the kind where he whips the egg whites......sigh..... Zach is our hero!! And yes, we will occasionally use our Belgian waffle maker and yes, we like those too. But it can't be a perfect comfort food if you forget what you need comfort for by the time you finish the process can it?

What is very interesting is all the different ways we eat the Eggo. Madeline smothers them with syrup. You cannot help but ask her if she is having anything with her syrup. And she has to have a glass of milk in a certain cup. I use my fork to make an initial cut and then I tear a piece off with my fingers and I do not use alot of syrup. Joe can't eat Eggo's because of his allergies but he has some wheat free organic waffles (one box practically costs as much as one 60 count box of Eggo's) and he puts them in the toaster and then when they come out he puts the margarine on them and then puts them in the microwave and he never eats the outer edge.

If only you could comfortably eat Eggo waffles in bed than they would be perfect.....yes, I have tried.

Mar 17, 2008

Something to keep Joe busy.

Joseph has been bored out of his ever loving mind ever since we moved here. And that means he has been tormenting the girls, the cat, and yes, even me. So after I found out there was not a good spring soccer program that would not require our attendance at games on Sundays I started frantically looking for something for Joseph to do. Boys need to be kept busy. Especially this boy. So about this time I got a paper from the school about lacrosse sign ups. The Baird's knew absolutely nothing about lacrosse but I got some books from the library and we read about it. Then I showed up to the sign ups with 10 million questions. It did not take a rocket scientist to quickly figure out that lacrosse was not a cheap sport. Helmet, gloves (that look like Transformer hands), shoulder pads, rib pads, elbow pads, stick (expensive stick), mouthguard and more. But with all the protection needs came the exhilirating realization for Joseph that some serious violence was involved. And with each piece of equipment Joe has become more and more giddy. And now after waiting far to long and robbing one to many banks to pay for everything the long awaited day is here. Practice starts tomorrow at 5:15pm in the 36 degree weather.

I feel very nervous for him. This move has been hard for him. And he has no friends yet. So this could possibly make it or break it. And kids are so cruel if you are not exactly the same as them and do not blend in perfectly they will make fun of you. I have been assured that there are alot of boys that are new to lacrosse this year so I hope they are right I hate to have him come home discouraged from the most expensive sport on the planet. No one likes to make a fool of themselves. But I am gearing up for lots of talking because there has not been one Baird child that has come home from the first day of anything and been positive, happy, and wanted to keep at it. You name it school, church, music lessons, sports. I have found myself talking them all through alot of things. Psyching them up, reassuring them, listening to them and then finally just drop kicking them out the door into the cold hard world of following through with your commitments. And they either find out that they do love it after all or they find out that their mean mom won't let them quit.

Mar 16, 2008

Which kind of cookies?

As many of you know and the rest of you have by now secretly guessed technology is not my thing. It took me a year after getting my cell phone to figure out how to retrieve my own messages. I fell on the floor crying when my husband ordered all the "extras" for our house phone. Much to my children's chagrin I often get the words DVD and CD mixed up. I really like things to be simple and straightforward. I have been slowly venturing out and learning especially now that I have a blog because there are things I really should know about. Especially since I am a controlling girl.

But honestly can you blame me for being confused when I am reading away and I find out that I can get cookies on my computer? There are files on my computer named cookies? That websites use cookies to recognize users who have previously visited them? So what kind cookie am I? Does the website say to itself, "oh, there is that Gingersnap again I would recognize her anywhere." How about, "following steps to enable cookies"? Who wants to enable cookies? That means you are giving power to the cookie. Don't cookies have enough power? Hello...who can eat just one? How about when it tells you to click on the expand symbol next to cookies? Yep, I can definately do that.....happens quite often and actually I can get the expanding without clicking on anything. And here is a shocker many view cookies as an invasion of privacy? What happened to sharing our cookies? And imagine my horror when I see that there are "tracking cookies". Cookies can now track me? How can I eat them after the kids go to bed?

What kind of person decides in a world of oh so many words that the word cookie is also going to be the collective name for files stored on your hard drive by your web browser that hold info about your browsing habits? Was that person just finishing a bag of double stuff Oreo's and needed to finish this one last naming task and then they could go get another glass of milk and be done with it?

I can hardly wait to figure out what HTML goodies are? Hopefully they are not fattening.

Mar 15, 2008

Shoes and Realizations.

Are you born with your love of shoes? Is it nature or nurture? I really do not know. But I can tell you that I used to wear white athletic socks with everything. And white tights with all my Sunday outfits. I never wore high heels. I never knew there were rules. I mean now I know that your socks must match your pants. And that tights are okay but NEVER white. And that there are certain types of shoes for certain kinds of outfits. OH and don't get me started on the "color of your shoe matching your purse thing". I will never be able to pull that one off. Should information make one feel so limited.

I have absolutely nothing going for me in the shoe department:

I wear a shoe size 4 in kids (or 5/6 in women's if I stuff the toe).

I am short so technically I should wear high heels when I sleep, fix breakfast, take a shower, and read the paper, so basically everywhere.

And I do not come by fashion sense naturally.

But throw in some shopping buddies over the years with awesome shoe sense and a little too much reading of People and Instyle magazine in office and voila you have given birth to another obsessed shoe shopper.

The black shoes are my most recent purchase I love. For a purchase to reach that category it has to be a bargain and you have to leave it at the store overnight and dream about it in your sleep. These shoes are Chaps brand which is my favorite brand at Kohls. Chaps is way overpriced and I never buy it if it is not on clearance and I do not have a coupon. These shoes did not even have a box of their own I found them in the back of the clearance boots section where probably one of you hid them. They were originally $60.00 and I got them for $11.00 plus I had a 5 dollar off coupon so you do the math. And I love them.

The brown shoes crossed off a long list of first's for me:

  • first honest to goodness high heel shoes I ever bought
  • first shoes I bought to actually match an outfit
  • first shoes I searched several stores for
  • first shoes I had to order from a store in another state because my size was not in the store

I am still not completely comfortable walking in them but I get more confidence each time I wear them. And no they were not expensive. I think they were $24.00. I know that price is relative. It depends on what you spend on shoes whether $24.00 is a bargain or not.

Yes, I have realized that a lot of my posts are about worldly things like shoes, and hair, and clothes and things I am learning about them. Is it mid life crisis? Is it turning 40? Are you all worried about me? Are you asking, "What happened to good old sweat wearing frizzy hair Jenn?" Don't worry I am still here. And I still own white socks. And I do not rival Imelda Marcos in my shoe collection.....yet. So enjoy that I am going though it and not you. And wonder to yourself what is right? Where is the line between inner beauty and outer beauty? And send money to support my habits......haha.

Mar 14, 2008

The Ikea Chair.

I had visions for this chair. It would be a place I could sit in my room and read. You see I usually read in my bed which often leads to me falling asleep, so when we organized our bedroom there was this perfect spot left that was begging for a chair. I always thought a grown up room should have a chair for sitting. I thought I would feel like I had arrived when I had a chair in my bedroom. I imagined a chair with an ottoman. A cozy chair.....leather perhaps. I could picture myself there. When I was at Ikea I sat in this chair. I did not love it. But I did love the price. So I compromised. I am so happy that I was able to purchase something that had two purposes....sitting and holding things. I guess that is what I get for buying something I do not love. You would think I had learned that by now. So I confess I have not actually sat in the Ikea chair but my clothes love it oh so much better than the floor. And I continue to read in my bed and fall asleep comfortably whenever I wish. Tomorrow I will tell you about a recent purchase I love.

Mar 12, 2008

Exercise Scmexersize!!

I think I have finally found exercise utopia. I did at one time doubt it existed. But I think I have finally found it. I have tried lots of exercise options throughout the years. I can name drop exercise videos with anyone.... Kathy Smith? Denise Austin? Buns of Steel? Jane Fonda? you name it I own....ahem...have tried it. I have finally found the perfect exercise video. It is Slim in 6 with Debbie Siebers. The six refers to 6 weeks but I prefer either the 6 minute or 6 year plan. The music is a little annoying but I dare you to find an exercise video with good music....oh all right maybe Sweatin to the Oldies with Richard Simmons. And Debbie refrains from telling you to many times to hang in there and that you are doing good. She does tempt you with promises of a smaller size next time you go shopping but that involves doing the exercise everyday for 6 weeks. Anyway despite the talk of videos I prefer to walk/run but some of us live where winter happens and have times where even the heartiest winter lover must exercise at home.

I have tried the walking many different ways also. In Kansas it was in the evening with Melissa and Kelleen along Clinton Parkway. This is where they introduced me to the thought that you could possibly run a little during the walk. After they moved away it became afternoon walks with Shannon where we definately solved all the world's problems.

Then I moved to Indiana. Where I had no neighbors let alone church members to walk with for miles. Finally I got desperate and told my friend Allison that I would drive 15 minutes to her house in the morning and walk with her. We would go VERY early in the morning out on the straight, dark, flat roads of Indiana. We even walked in snow. After we ran into a bobcat ( great story involving a sound that made your hair stand on end, holding hands, and running) she started coming to my house where we still ran the risk of running into animals but just not bobcats. We stuck with it for a long time but then life happened and I was without a walking partner again. But this is where I started to discover the joy of walking alone. I finally got an MP3 and I loved that music blaring in my ears when I walked. But I really lived way out in the country and there were only a few times that I could walk without a buddy that would have been safe plus there is the motivation issue it is so much easier to get up when you know someone else is counting on you to show up. So I totally invited myself to go on my nearest church neighbor Christy's walks with her. It worked out super for me but I have little short legs and Christy had awesome long legs. So I really think I held her back but it was all about me so I had a spectacular work out and Christy probably wondered how I ever weasled my way into her walk.

Now I am in Massachusetts and it took me three months of thinking, planning and experimenting and I think I really have the perfect exercise plan. I leave at 2:30pm right when Miriam gets off the bus. Red coat on, hat, mittens, Ipod set to shuffle and playing loud, cell phone alarm set to ring at 2:50pm which is when I turn around and head back home. I start up Northwest Road which I chose because of the really I chose it because there is not to many cars, it has some killer hills and I can look at The Berkshires ( mountains...not handsome, manly neighbors) the whole walk. The beginning is a huge hill and then it keeps steady climbing for about 10 more minutes. There are a ton of trees. I love the smell of pine trees especially when it mixes with the smell of people's fireplaces. But don't get caught up in the smell of the air because you are supposed to be thinking about taking small quick steps and finding your stomach muscles and holding them in.( if I could just locate those stomach muscles).

There has been a ton of water lately on my walk as it has been raining alot and all the snow is melting so I do happen upon some serious puddles where if I time it just right I can get a major splash from passing cars. So when it comes to the puddle part of my walk I run so I can get past them fast before getting splashed. At the spot where I turn around in my walk there is a river that is very full and makes the rushing water sound that is very mesmerizing and loud. I can hear it over my music which is definately saying something. I get back to my real world of mesmerizing laundry and loud fighting children sounds at about 3:12pm but I am all ready to face it because I have a killer pain in my gluteous maximus from the hills that reminds me I exercised and somehow that makes me happy.

The bookclub book for March.

I have been meaning to tell you all about the bookclub book we are reading for April. I found out about this book from my friend Sally in Indiana. Before I went on my annual Seattle trip last year I was at her house and I was desperate for books to take with me for all my quality me time. I saw this one and asked if I could borrow it she said yes even though she knew that loaning a book to me means trouble. I take it in the car with me everywhere I go. I read it while I am eating. I read it in bed until I fall asleep and it falls on the floor. And I have been known to keep them a long time. And I admit I eventually had to pay her for this book and keep it for myself. But it was worth it it is a very interesting book.

It is called Complications A Surgeons Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande. (And I would italicize that but remember the last italics situation on a post in March?) This book brings up alot of things that I think would be so interesting to discuss. He talks about becoming a surgeon and how as with anything it is about practice, "like the tennis player and the oboist and the guy who fixes hard drives, we need practice to get good at what we do. There is one difference in medicine though it is people we practice upon." And this whole chapter is about that subject of how doctors are human but we expect more of them. He writes, "It's not science you call upon but a doctor. A doctor with good days and bad days, a doctor with a wierd laugh and a bad haircut. A doctor with three other patients to see and inevitably gaps in what he knows and the skills he is trying to learn."

Later in this chapter he talks about how people assume that you have to have great hands to be a surgeon but it isn't true. He says, "they have to be conscientious, industrious, and boneheaded enough to stick at practicing one difficult thing day and night for years on end". I was reading something else the other day that brought up the fact that it is not really talent that gets someone to be a superstar at what they do it is the amount of deliberate practice they put into it. It is someone who is determined and disciplined. Atul Gawande says it is " ones willingness to engage in sustained training". But he is right about practicing. For years I was deathly afraid of driving in the snow. I just simply would not do it. But the more Brian traveled the more I was forced to do it. And through practice I no longer am I afraid to drive in it. I am still cautious but because I have practiced I know more what to do and how to respond and what will happen. And if I really actually practiced every chance I got I could probably start a new Olympic sport....driving 15 passenger vans in the snow. And win medals and write books.

Anyway there are 14 fabulous chapters in this book covering all kinds of subjects; good doctors gone bad, a woman who had nausea her whole pregnancy, how we all feel pain differently and so much more. And when you are done reading this one he has a sequel called Better. It is sitting in my books to read holding area waiting for me.

Mar 11, 2008

Curly or straight?

Getting your hair cut? What do you think about when someone says that? First off if you pay alot I think you are supposed to say " I am getting my hair done". I have come a long way in the hair process. When I was a teenager I had no idea. I remember blow drying and using a curling iron so I had to have cared a little bit. But I did not spend time with girlfriends doing hair and makeup. I feel like I missed a rite of passage. How convienent is it to be 39 and want to play makeup and hair and have a slumber party? When I had my high school ten year reunion they asked what you wish you knew now that you did not know then I and wrote down that I wished I had known about hair products for frizzies. Maybe they did not have them in 1986?

Anyway, for oh so many years I just found someone in my ward at church to cut my hair. Then I moved up to those walk in chain places and then about 5 years ago something happened and my eyes were seriously opened. All of a sudden in a serious way I cared about hair. Hair is so complicated. Is it curly ? Is it dry? Is it fine? Is it coarse? And then to make matters worse what shape is your face? And then there are movie stars on the magazines at the checkout (taunting you) who always have soft shiny perfect hair. (By the way they pay someone to do that for them so they do not count now that I realized they can't do it themselves.)

When we moved to Indiana it was the first time I had a list of serious questions for my "hairdresser" ( yes, I had even learned the lingo although I still hate to say hairdresser it sounds so gosh darn corny to me). And I learned all about becoming chemically dependent ( goodbye gray). I learned about the magic straightening iron and oh so much more. I really grieved when we moved and I had to leave Darcy the best hairdresser in the land. I thought how could I ever replace her?

Well we got to Massachusetts I knew I had to find someone new soon. The being chemically dependent thing does not give you much time. I know you are supposed to look around at people's hair and find someone random who has a great haircut and ask them where they got it and then somehow like magic you also go to that magic place and get your awesome haircut but I did not go to that much work. I just asked 2 people. My realtor and a lady in the ward. They both said they went to "Puffers". I know, "Puffers"? It took me a minute to get over the name. But if you think about it are hair salons ever known for their "naming themselves skills"? NO!!! So I made an appointment with the girl they had both recommended and when I arrived at my appointment I was told the lady I had an appointment with was running super late would I mind meeting with someone else? The gray hair thing sealed that deal and I said I did not mind. So I sat to wait. While sitting there I was watching the hairdressers and wondering which one would have been mine and which one was going to be mine? Right in front of me was a "hairdresser" with amazing curly hair. I know no one ever says amazing and curly in the same sentence. That is why I was so fascinated by her. Because I am a very curly also. And I thought to myself I bet she was going to be my hair dresser and I was right she WAS going to be my hairdresser. Maybe just maybe she could have made me look like her. Maybe just maybe I could have learned to...gasp...embrace my curl? But instead I got Adriana. Who has the same color hair as me and a little curl. But I LOVE her. And I asked her about the other hair dressers curly hair and she confessed she dosen't wear it curly all the time and that made me feel better.

So Adriana is the best. I pay dearly for her. But guess what? When they say that you get what you pay for I fear they may be right. But I really make them work for their money I ask a ton of questions about products and what they do and I might even try to get them to tell me that I look like a movie star.....I mean I am really paying alot I should get lied to. On Saturday Adriana gave me the best cut I have ever had and showed me how to straighten it with just a medium round brush and a blow dryer. It was the cut that I feel like my whole life I have been telling people I want but they have been misunderstanding. Could it be possible that I learned how to communicate that well? I doubt it. I think our family just had the worst move of our lives so that I could meet Adriana and have superstar hair. I begged her to come and do my hair everyday but I forgot I have to make a movie first to get that treatment. When I got home my girls actually said the B word. They said I looked beautiful. So now I am off to actually see if I can duplicate it all by myself. Yes, I will post a picture soon.

Mar 10, 2008

Monday and Morning together.

Weekday mornings at our house start at 4:30am when Brian's alarm rings and he hits snooze and then it rings again and frankly I am not sure how many times he hits snooze. I know he plans hitting snooze into his day. For the record I am not a "snooze button pusher". I hear the little click that the alarm clock makes before it rings and I get up immediately. Anyway, Brian gets up and heads off to exercise. My alarm makes that click sound at 5:20am. I get up and pull on two pair of sweats, a turtleneck, my white stocking hat, my coat, and gloves. I start the car and scrape the windows while I am waiting for the two teenage girls to pull themselves together. No matter what the weather they come out of the house carrying their shoes. Then I ride for 15-20 minutes with them while Madeline complains about almost being out of foundation and declares that she will not go to school when it runs out. When I get back home from taking them to seminary I take off my coat and gloves but keep my hat on and fall back into bed and set my alarm for 6:30am.

By this point someone has let Kittromney out and she is such a pain in the morning. She attacks you while you are trying to sleep. Tries to claw your curtains and tries to climb up your $160.00 Chaps bedspread. So then I have to get up and catch her and throw her out of my room and shut the door and then listen to her meow outside my door. It is very restful. What I am I doing going back to bed anyway? The only reason I do is because it is usually soooo cold in our house. Ever since our $800.00 natural gas bill things have been a little chilly. At 6:30am I wake up Joseph and Amanda. Amanda is awesome she gets right up but it is a trick because then she proceeds to plod like a snail until she has to run to avoid missing the bus.

Joseph tries to get up but he is a little harder. I always say "rise and shout" from the BYU fight song but he just announced the other day when I did not say it and threw the cat on him instead that he prefers the cat to the "rise and shout". Then after they are up you guessed it I get back in bed. I wait until I cannot wait any longer and I get up and fix Joe's lunch. This morning while I was laying there Amanda came flying in my room hysterical because she had left her hairbrush in the van after church yesterday and the van was gone. I recommended using someone else's hairbrush and she totally freaked out at that thought. Two words every loving mother thinks of her children came to my mind at this point; spoiled and brat in no particular order. But I just firmly kept repeating the hairbrush options to her(while I was laying in my bed with my eyes closed) one of which was not driving 25 minutes to the van to get her hairbrush. Finally when firm and friendly did not work I leaped out of bed and gave her a "love push" out my door and locked my door and got back in bed.

At this point I realized I needed to get up. Tatiana gets up at 7:30 and believe me that is a special treat. The first words out of her mouth every morning are "I don't feel good". I always smile and say, "well let's have breakfast and see how things are going". Things never go well. She
mentions that she does not feel well all morning and I have to follow her around and keep her moving. So by 8:30 when she is finally on the bus I feel like the day must be over. I have just spent 3 hours convincing 5 people that they do want to go to school.

Despite it all when they leave and the sun is shining on my laundry piles, the things of mine that they used and left out on the bathroom counter, and on all the piles of clothes lying in their rooms that did not make the cut to be worn today I still smile because it is quiet. And no I do not go back to bed.

Mar 7, 2008


I know I know I should be working on my talk but I keep forgetting to tell you all to go and see the new movie Penelope. I had actually been waiting for this one to come out. It started on the 29th of February and it is Reese Witherspoon's producing debut. I have seen it twice. And even Tatiana the 8 year old was able to see it. Isn't it a relief when there is nothing in a movie that you reccommend that you hope no one judges your character on? I love the soundtrack to it and I love the message and I love the dresses and coats that the main character wears. I really confess I just love movies. And once I see a really good one I feel like I have to get everyone else to go and see it. And then I wait anxiously to see if they liked it as much as I did. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't.

Giving a talk.

Without knowing it one person at church asked me to give a 10-12 minute talk on Sunday and one person asked me to play a piano solo. I know that I am the one who ultimately had control over this situation by using the word most Mormon women never overuse NO. But you see I had already used the word NO before when they asked me to give a talk in church in December 2 days after I had moved here. And everyone knows that if you are a truly good person and you do not want evil rumors spread about you you are only allowed so many NO's.

So needless to say I have not been able to blog as much as I would like to this week. You see giving a talk is a process I always make into a huge affair. I desperately envy people who can brag that they prepared the night before the car on the way to church.( Oh drat...there it is again another one of those moments when you see you see yourself clearly and standing right next to you is another adorable fault smiling at you. This one's name is, "making things into a huge affair". I hate that the older I get the more frequently these faults appear and not only smile at me but dare me to figure them out.) Anyway, I seriously spend a full two weeks writing a talk. How? I do not know it just has always been that way.

But never fear I am sure I will be back to doing nothing next week and have loads of time to tell you all about my fascinating life. The wild turkeys that wandered into the yard. The pile of stuff that I sweep up but put off actually dustpan"ning" up and why. The ground that is not actually white anymore. Can't you hardly wait?

Mar 5, 2008

Two Jenn Baird's?

Okay, who has noticed that there are two Jenn Baird's contributing to this blog? I know you all wish there was two of me but that is alas not the case. I am in the middle of a learning process.

Learning processes for Jenn Baird usually involve calling someone....actually calling everyone and gathering opinions and exploring ideas and lots of discussing. Can you say extrovert? But for some reason with "the Blog" I have been a little stubborn about figuring it out on my own. Well all right I have had to call my dear tech support friend Kristy more than a couple times but this time she did not answer her cell or home phone.....she knows better than to answer when I call.

Anyway, I recently had to change my e-mail address because of our move and I knew I had to change it on my blog and I had no idea how. So I clicked on blogger help and asked the question "How to transfer a blog from one account to another?" But it wasn't near as eloquent it was more like "how to change e-mail accounts?". I found great step by step instructions that someone had sent in. But I could not quite accept this because I like to actually talk to someone so I spent way to much time searching for a phone number at Finally I realized I was going to have to do this on my own so I printed off the instructions and started off with no one to talk to except myself which I most definately did. I lost one of myself for awhile and I panicked when I was no longer the administrator and could not manage my own blog for awhile. (Never tell a control freak that they have lost control of their blog the only thing that is actually theirs.) So I took a break and had a peanut butter and jam sandwich and walked through all the steps again and hooray I found myself. But it was so traumatic that I have not completed the last step which was deleting one of the Jenn's. What if I make a mistake? I am pretty sure that I will be okay but I am sitting on the decision for a few days. So when you see one Jenn you'll know I survived taking a risk.

Or maybe I will just decide two Jenn's are better than one.

Maybe one of them could learn all about punctuation, getting rid of italics, learn about widgets to fix the spacing, and become a technology geek.......but probably not.


I expect that as soon as the teenage girls in my house discover there are brownies in the cupboard this will be what I will find sitting on my counter. They have a need for chocolate they beg poor Amanda to make them and then they eat them and I always expect the crumbs to be all over the floor and I always expect the edges to be left.

I have been thinking alot about expectations and expecting things. Just for fun I googled "expectations" and we sure use the word alot. There are relationship expectations, employee expectations, classroom expectations, job expectations, setting expectations and oh so much more.

I was trying to figure out if it is possible to go through life and not have expectations. Alexander Pope said " Blessed is the man who expects nothing for he shall never be disappointed." Can you really wake up in the morning and not expect something of the day? Is it possible to have expectations and not be disappointed? I guess if you have really low ones. Can you have to low of expectations? I think I already know you can have too high of expectations. I fear I have those all the time.

I know there is a book "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens. I have never read it. Is it all about expectations? Great ones?

This is where you begin to understand why the word overthinking is in my blog title. I have been thinking way too much about this word. I do that when there is not a black and white answer.

When I checked in the thesaurus to see what other words you could use other than expectation I got an answer I did not expect....(haha).....words like bright outlook, cheerfulness, Pollyanaism, and silver lining appeared. Shouldn't expectations be synonymous with disappointment? Listen to this quote..."Life is constructed so that an event does not, cannot, will not match the expectation." Well that rocks my world. Why would someone say that? There is no point to expectations because they will never be met? What's the word for if they ever are? Bliss? Eternity?

So I am off to clean the house because everyone will expect it. And make dinner because they expect that too.

And remember Cervantes said: "Those who play with cats must expect to be scratched".

Mar 3, 2008

Running away.

For many reasons Sunday morning rarely seems to go well. And yesterday was no exception. I am not sure why 6 kids need to fight about seats in a 15 seat van. Sometimes I think we have given them too much space. They have become spoiled. Miriam and Joe took the usual fighting a little too far yesterday. They even managed to continue their mood all the way through church and into the ride home. So by the time we got home they had racked up quite a list of disciplinary actions taken against them. As they were in the process of working through their long list they decided, as we all do at some point in a particuarly miserable day, that they wanted to run away. I am always amused when someone at the Baird house announces they are running away. Because I have tried it and I know it is impossible. So while they were bustling around trying to secretly pack their backpacks I asked if I could take their pictures and asked who could have their rooms. I watched them run down the road and wondered how long before they would be back. They surprised me by coming back much sooner than I expected announcing they needed some more things. I know that trick. And they never left again.

Isn't it funny that we think running away will be glorious and solve all our problems and as soon as we leave we realize we have nowhere to go. How many times have I ended up running away to the church parking lot?