May 31, 2008

A realist or idealist?

I just recently became aware of the words, realist and idealist and they have been on my mind while I have been trying to figure out what they mean and which one I am. So today I started reading articles about the differences. It seems when comparing these two you could also say:

Glass half full VS Half empty
Optimist VS Pessimist
Good VS Fair
Conservative VS Liberal

Just looking at the words I thought I was probably a realist. But then I started reading on and it became less and less clear. I am definitely a glass half full girl and I would describe myself as an optimist but when you start talking about good vs fair and conservative vs liberal then it gets tricky and I doubt I could ever have an intelligent discussion on the matter. If you are conservative it generally means you believe in justice, fairness, and equality in ALL matters. But if you are liberal you believe people don't act a certain way without a reason and you want to help people understand the reason and then work to heal the criminal's wounds...and understanding leads to goodness and never making a mistake again?

When I read that idealists have opinions about their opinions that clinched it for me I am definitely a realist. Idealist..... "Someone who only considers things as they are or appear to be and avoids ideals or abstractions?" Yep, it is still looking like I am a realist. In a study in the United Kingdom they found that idealists are the most likely group to say that they are vegetarians. I do love a very well done steak for any meal of the day. "If you are a idealist and your values are challenged you may refuse to compromise", oh drat I always compromise.

Realists believe in established rules and respect facts. I do love rules. And do you know anyone who "googles" for facts more than I do?

So just when it seemed I had an answer I see at the bottom of this article I am reading 15 other possible personality types that I could read about. And then an option to take a personality test. OHHH I have never taken one of those before. So I did and out of all 16 personality types I am neither a realist or an idealist I am (drumroll please) a provider. That means I would rather plan than be spontaneous, I prefer facts to ideas, my heart rules over my head, and I am an extrovert not an introvert. So since I am a "provider" I am providing you with the link to the personality test so that you can entertain yourself.

And I guess what I learned in my quest to understand realist and idealist is that there sure is no simple way to figure out who you are.....drat.

May 29, 2008

Of pine mulch, tires and new shoes.

Up until now in my life we have always used cedar mulch. I had no idea I was missing anything by using it. I had no idea there was something better out there. But now I know about pine mulch and that, my friends, is an amazing smell. Especially when the sun warms the mulch and the sweet pine smell wafts through your open windows. My ever so generous neighbors ended up with too much pine mulch and offered it to me. I am over the moon. I had already gone through about 25 bags from Home Depot and could not justify spending anymore money. The catch is walking over to their house and loading the mulch in something and getting it back to my house. But believe me where there is a will there is a way. And that "way's" name is"husband Brian".

So while we are on the subject of smells raise your hand if you love the smell of new shoes. All The Baird children love this smell. When someone in our house gets a new pair of shoes we all have to smell them and ohh and ahhh about how good it smells. When we walk by a Payless Shoe Source we all sigh and breathe deeply, often that will not be enough, and we have to go in and walk the aisles of the store. What do you say to the nice employee who wants to know if they can help you? You say, "Yes, can I just smell your shoes?"

Okay, even better than new about tires? I am always happy to sit in the car repair place and wait when it smells like new tires. Tire aisles at Wal Mart? And last but not least the tire section in Sam's Club is simply heavenly. Madeline had a friend who actually found us a toy tire from the pet store (yes,it was a chew toy) and we would never chew it even though it looks like a little black donut we know better:) We all just adore the smell. So wierd to see us with our noses plastered against this little tire breathing deeply. Think how fondly my children will talk about sniffing that tire:)

This one you will probably have to report me for and take away my drivers liscence but how about the smell of those huge permanent Sharpie markers? In my defense I am allowed to have one in the house since I just moved in December. Any sniffing it without writing what room the cardboard box goes in is just wrong even I know that:)

Cinnamon....I know it is sort of not going with the synthetic theme I had going but I had to throw that in there so you didn't worry too much about me or report me to the "smell police".

Just so you know I did google "the smell of new shoes" and "the smell of tires" And discovered I am not alone. Alot of people like the smell of both. And Sam's Club was even mentioned as a great place for the smell of tires. But I did not find out if it made anyone else salivate:)

Honestly I do love the smell of some normal things like fresh cut grass, a baby with that pink Johnsons and Johnsons baby lotion on, campfire, new house and give me some time I will think of more.

And just to clear up the record "WE" does not include the husband. Brian does not like any of these smells. And he never chooses to participate in our sniffing fests but I think he supports us :)

Faneuil Hall

Two Sunday's ago when the bishop announced in church that The BYU Chamber Orchestra was coming to Boston for some reason above children fighting over who was going to sit where, asking for gum, and someone thinking they, "might have a talk" that day I actually heard the announcement and thought that it sounded fun. Then later when I was walking up to the Primary room and I saw the huge glossy poster with a picture of the orchestra hanging on the bulletin board I determined I must go. Tickets were only $7.00. I could afford that. The only glitch was that it was a Wednesday night the night everyone has to be at the church. But it all worked out and I found 2 other ladies to go with me. After I got everything set I did a little research and found out they were playing Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring which I definitely listened to as a kid and very possibly complained about listening to when I was a kid. But really like. So that got me more excited for the concert.

And then to top it all off they were playing in Faneuil Hall right downtown Boston. I did not know to much about Fanueil Hall but I at least knew it meant something important and I was right.....and now that I have read the "brochure" about Faneuil Hall I can educate you also.

There once was a very rich man named Peter Faneuil who wanted to mark his success by building a central food market in his hometown of Boston. Establishing a permanent marketplace in Boston had long been debated in Boston and had failed many times before this time but according to the "brochure" after a heated debate and a vote that was accepted by a slim margin the building was finally built in 1742. The lower level was "stalls" that were leased for selling meat and veggies etc on a daily basis. And on the second floor they built a large meeting room that became Boston's official town hall. In the mid 1700's Faneuil Hall became the focus of the revolutionary activity in Boston. The activities here earned Faneuil Hall the name of America's "Cradle of Liberty". And today they still hold debates there among many other things like BYU Chamber Orchestra concerts.

It was amazing to sit and listen to awesome music in a room filled with so much history. For oh so many reasons there were only about 140 of the 500 seats sold. But it made the concert seem more intimate which was perfect. And I stopped worrying about the low attendance at the concert after I heard that their concert in New York City at Carnegie Hall next week is sold out.

I was so relieved that my friend Jacque knows Boston like the back of her hand and was willing to drive. The evening was beautiful and everything turned out perfectly. Last time I was in Boston it was January and it was overcast, a little cold and the streets were still full of the remains of winter (also known as, piles of dirty gross snow) but today it was so pretty. The other friend that came along was Karen. And we all had a great time and I want to immediately go back:)

May 27, 2008

First Day.

Today was Zach's first day of his first real world job. When he was in high school for a couple summers he worked landscaping and he learned many great skills that I am sure his future wife will be extremely grateful for things like mowing without hitting trees, spraying the right spray on trees, spreading mulch and oh so much more. I actually envied him getting the chance to work for a "yard perfectionist" and see the behind scenes work.

When he came back from BYU this summer we thought he would work at Brian's place of employment but we soon sadly discovered that they really did not hire/need college kids until summer. Which in New England summer does not arrive until June 19th. Which was a long time to sit at home having lunch with good ol mom and playing Dora memory with Natalie. When he needed to be making money for his mission.

So Zach and I had never done the hunt for a job thing and had no idea where to begin. So we started at every chain store we could think of. We soon found out that you apply online. And that it seems that it is important that you have an "in". Which we really did not have any "ins" since we have lived here 4 months. So I just started asking everyone we knew if they had any ideas of where to begin. Remember there is also that vicious "experience" cycle which can really hurt you. I will forever be grateful for the people out there who decide to take a chance on someone without experience. How else would any of us ever begin? So to make a long painful story short he owes someone huge and I think I told you he has a job at Mass Mutual as an intern.

We did some laughing with some friends about me taking a picture of my 18 year old heading off to his first day of work as an intern at Mass Mutual. And also some laughing about him laying out his "business casual" outfit the night before. And about me packing him a lunch (speaking of lunch he packed his own and forgot it but for the record I did not take it to him I mean after all he is 18). But all jesting aside I did think about him during the day and hope he was okay. I will probably always worry if other kids are being nice to him:) But this is territory where I cannot go. I can't volunteer at his work. I won't have parent teacher conferences with his boss. And I am free to offer advice but even "perfect" Zach rolls his eyes at me when I do. Even though I have always only had the job of mom I think my advice is relevant. And it would be to ask questions and always overdress.

When Natalie goes off to everyday, full day kindergarten in the Fall I want a cushy intern job for myself. Do you think they would hire a domestic goodess?

May 26, 2008

Seize The Day!!

  • "Oh we used to live by that but we never made it to visit it".
  • "I wish we would have gone to see that but something always came up and we never made it there".
  • "I always wanted to see that but my husband would never stop the car".
  1. It seems like there are so many reasons and excuses why we never end up doing something we really want to do. Some are practical money. Others are just random reasons and excuses. Well I am feeling a little rebellious lately and I am tired of having regrets and I want to make things happen. And I want to be one of those people who doesen't have to bore you with all the reasons why I never did something. I would rather bore you with my long, without proper puctuation, very wordy descriptions about how it really was for good or bad.

    So all that said my latest fascination is waterfalls. And I want to see them all and not say that I always wanted to but never did. I think this started when our dear new friends Karen and Chris told us about a waterfall by their house. I was fascinated by the fact that I could get to a waterfall so quickly. I have not lived close to a waterfall since I was living in Utah and would drive up Provo Canyon to Bridal Veil Falls. When I could do that I was single, skinny, a little bit cute and way more interested in the boys who were attending the dances in the building at the top of the waterfall then I was in the waterfall.

    Anyway, since I always want to share my discovery trips I asked my friend Jenn a couple weeks ago if she wanted to jump in the 15 passenger van with my kids, and her kids, and go check out the falls by Chris and Karen's house named Glendale Falls. Luckily she said "yes". And in just 35 minutes from my house we were at Glendale Falls and parked in the parking lot. The waterfalls were just a few seconds away from the parking lot. I must confess that to me a big part of the fun in the waterfall is the hike to the waterfall. Hearing the water and anticipating what it will look like. But I got over it.

    This waterfall had a pool at the top. You can see Joe standing in this pool in one of the pictures. And then from this pool the water just "cascades" (waterfall lingo) 160 feet. I did not know any of this when we were there that day but I have since read about Glendale Falls. There were beautiful views of the trees and mountains in the distance but nowhere to take amazing pictures of the actual waterfall. The way down to the base of the falls was a little tough with little kids but between Jenn and I we were able to get her 17 month old and our two 5 year olds down quite a ways. The older kids scampered around on the rocks just fine. It was a fun afternoon. And I caught the "waterfall bug".

    I started researching and discovered that there were quite a few waterfalls in Western Massachusetts. And I decided I wanted to see them all. Some I want to see because of their names, like March Cataract Falls or Money Brook Falls. Others because of they have been rated a 5. Which is the top rating a waterfall can be given. (I am still not sure exactly how they get their rating.) Other's because they supposedly have great places to swim. And oh so many other reasons.

    I have discovered that there is some serious lingo you must know in order to get in with the waterfall crowd you must be able to say these words at the right falls and at the right time and be able to say them knowingly. Words like: Plunge (and plunges can adorn or smash), dramatic, gorge, cascades, horsetails, ricochet, split etc.

    Anyway, today we woke up early and headed with our friends The White's to Bash Bish Falls (resist the natural urge to say Bish Bash because it's wrong:). This waterfall was on the border between New York and MA it took us about an hour and 20 minutes to get there and it was on a road that went through some amazingly picturesque little towns. The hike down to the falls was steep but we did not think about that until we were on the way back up:) I chose these falls because they were described with tempting waterfall sentences like "the state's most dramatic waterfall", "best known", and "most frequently photographed". And besides the name intrigued me.

    We had a really amazing time. Natalie was scared but she is scared of everything and as you can see from the picture it was nothing a big stick and a photo op could not fix. My other kids, The White's and Brian all crossed the water on the boulders that always seem to be placed in the perfect spots to tempt you to cross and then they hiked a little further while Natalie and I sat and watched butterflies and threw rocks into the water. I wonder what I will do when I no longer have her fear to cover my own fear of jumping from slippery rock to slippery rock?

May 23, 2008

Floral Pips.

Those two words "floral pips" are causing me a lot of trouble. Do you know what a floral pip is? If you do you and I would have a lot to talk about if we went to lunch today. If you don't know what they are let me tell you so that we could still do lunch. If you look at a flower it is the center of the flower, they come in any color, they are rather small they have a stem with some tiny circle or oval in any color at the top and they are used when people put together silk flowers so that the center of the flower actually has a center.

Martha assumes that we all have them "hanging around" and she uses them in a lot of her craft projects. And remember in my "Martha" post awhile ago I mentioned that I found a craft I could actually see a purpose for? Well I cannot find floral pips to fulfill my need to do this craft. I am asking everyone. I brought out my Martha Stewart Living magazine at the bridal shower I went to last night. I have googled every possible way to describe this little pip and I cannot find them.....(but there is some musical groups with the word "pips" in their title or name). And to top it all off you should see the looks on the faces of the employees of Michaels and JoAnn's when I ask if they have floral pips they think I am speaking another language and they stare at me blankly and then I have to bring out my Martha Stewart magazine (which much to the embarrassment of the children I now carry with me everywhere) and I have to show them the picture of the craft and then they know what "pips" are but no they do not have them. If no one has them how does the middle of the fake flowers get there? Where does Martha get hers? Overseas? Silly me to think you could just walk into any store and find them.

I finally asked a lady who works in the floral industry and she said I would have to go "wholesale". Oh dear, that means I have to love this craft with all my heart and use it for every gift I give for the next 20 years. So it better be worth it because I am definitely going wholesale for floral pips:) I think I have used the word enough in the post to probably be declared an expert on floral pips. I cannot help but think Hobby Lobby would have them but of course there is not a Hobby Lobby in New England. So wish me luck on my quest for floral pips:)

May 22, 2008

Going to the movie.

Years ago for the opening of a Star Wars movie....... Oh all right and maybe for the opening of one or two of The Lord of The Rings movies I have been known to attend the midnight showing of the movie on opening day. And that is not the half of it I have been also known to take some of my children.....yes, even when they have school the next day.

Well as you know Indiana Jones came out today at midnight and Joseph and Madeline both begged to go to the midnight showing. I was very torn about what to allow but they ended up staying home because Brian "the practical, smart parent" stepped in and ended any discussion. I did not feel like I HAVE to go to see Indiana Jones so I was okay with it. But poor Joseph was very sad and definitely fell asleep thinking bad thought about his parents who are SO mean.

There are actually a lot of movies coming out this summer that I really want to see. It is so frustrating that movies cost so much money. I admit it is probably my fault that it costs so much because theater owners everywhere know that I would always be at the movies instead of home raising my adorable 7 children. Every time I spend that money I am painfully aware of the fact that I could be making a better choice and using the money for food storage, or dinner, or gas, or college education for a child. But that would be so responsible of me.

Another bad thing is it is a vicious cycle. I go to the movie, I see previews, I want to go to the movie again to see the movies I saw the previews for. The previews are evil. If I did not see them I would not know what I was missing. I try to remind myself that that is the purpose of the previews to make me want to see the movie. Don't you hate it when you fall for it and it just happens to be the one movie that all the good parts were in the previews and they tricked you?

I must keep reminding myself that Netflix is my friend and that I can wait.

I did see Prince Caspian this week on Tuesday (another reason I could not in good conscience go to see Indiana Jones). I mean who is irresponsible enough to go to 2 movies in one week?
I wish I was good at articulating why I like or do not like a movie because then I could get a cushy job reviewing them. But most of the time I cannot explain why I do or do not like a movie I just know. Although I could manage thumbs up or thumbs down.....maybe that is all the details people need to make their decision.

May 21, 2008


Did you know that Google is supposed to be spelled that way? But once someone pointed out that they had spelled it wrong they found out the correct spelling was already being used and not available so they stuck with Google. I am in the middle of a fascinating book all about Google. Can you imagine a book about the "detailed rise" of Google being a book you could not put down?

You can not help but admire Sergey Brinn and Larry Page who had a vision and never got distracted from what they wanted. All the hours of downloading the entire internet and organizing it and making it so easy for us to find out anything we want to know. I cannot remember when or how I first discovered Google but now I use it everyday at least three times. When I found a plant I thought was poison ivy I was able to Google it and find pictures so I would know for sure. When I am trying to find a fun beach to go to for Memorial Day I just Google it and voila I have options. I am pretty sure I have just barely touched the surface of all they have to offer. My new fun has been Google images which the kids introduced me to.

One thing that I have kept thinking as I am reading this book is how things happen to happen. How a guy from the Midwest and a guy from Russia end up friends. How they end up having the parents that they have. How they meet the right people at the right times. And on and on.

There is a movie with Gwenyth Paltrow in it called Sliding Doors. It was released in 1998. It has some questionable parts but the basic notion of the movie is what fascinates me. It is about woman's love life and career and how they both hinge, unknown to her, on whether she catches a particular train or not. The viewer of the movie sees it both ways in parallel and it is really very interesting how brilliantly the director was able to seamlessly show how basically this woman comes to the point in her life where 2 roads diverge and he takes you down both to see how missing or catching a train changes her life. How many times does something happen in your life and you realize how amazing it is that you ended up in that particular spot where on particular thing happens and how it affects your life. Don't think about it too much.

Anyway, I guess I got off the Google topic.....sort of. I am only on page 137 of 314 so my opinion of the book could change. But so far I really like it. I wish I was a little more "techy" so I could understand the computer lingo but I keep plugging through. And now when I pull up the Google search page I look at it a whole lot differently. I understand why everything on that page is where it is and how it came to be that way. Have you noticed that on certain holidays or birthdays the Google logo changes? Now I know how that came about. And when my search comes up I can appreciate how long and hard Larry and Sergey fought to keep ads off that page and how they finally compromised on what you see today. And I even understand how those ads end up where they do and how much money Google makes when I click on them. It is all truly amazing.

So yes, you guessed it I am off to "google" growing grass because mine is struggling.

May 20, 2008

Natalie and "the Tick".

I do not know what I was thinking but I actually thought I would post a picture of a tick with this post but when I Google imaged "tick" and started looking for a picture I actually found myself on page 3 of who knows how many pages and I thought to myself, "What am I looking for that I did not find on the first page?" and that's when I realized I was looking for a "cute" picture of a tick. Just so you know that does not exist. So Natalie graciously drew her rendition of a tick since this her story. The little tiny circle at the top is his head.

Who knew when she woke up on Saturday that by the end of the day her little world would never be the same? Because of her experience she cannot go outside, her first question every morning is "Do I have any ticks?", he will not have the windows in her room open because, "ticks could come in", and the only conversation she can make is about ticks.

Saturday evening I was at the Stake Center helping with a Super Saturday and I got a call from Zach and I could hear Natalie crying in the background and Zach said she had a tick behind her ear. She had found it herself and had asked Tatiana what was behind her ear and Tatiana said, "A tick ewwww". I talked to Natalie and told her Zach was going to take it out. And I told Zach where all the "tick extraction" items were. When I got home much later Natalie was still crying and still in posession of a tick and Zach just looked at me helplessly. So I just matter of factly laid on top of Natalie and got the tick out.

It seems like ticks fall in the same category as poison ivy there are alot of ways to deal with them and identify them and basically alot of myths floating around about them. Like using rubbing alchohol to get them off and touching them with a match. But of course there are no answers for how to deal with a neurotic 5 year old who may need therapy for years because of this tick. But do not doubt that I googled it just to be sure:) So at this point I guess Natalie said it best, " Mom, why did Heavenly Father make ticks?".


May 19, 2008

The Settlers of Catan

Once upon a time when we lived in Lawrence we were introduced to the game The Settlers of Catan. I cannot rightly remember if it was The Gill's or The Christensen's that first introduced us. I do know that I became addicted (notice I did not say WE) at once. Everyone in the ward soon realized they needed caller id since Jenn would be calling to organize yet another weekend of Settlers of Catan. I am sure they all probably discussed in ward council the possibility of an intervention for me. I do not remember how long I was able to convince poor unsuspecting souls to play Catan with me maybe it ended when Alyson and Kristy were in the Primary Presidency together and always suspiciously saved their Primary duties for the weekend so that when I predictably called begging they could say they had a Sharing Time to prepare:) but it was fun while it lasted.

I have not played Catan since. My biggest reason is that it is so gosh darn difficult to explain the game. I like someone else to explain it and in Indiana I never found anyone else who knew how to play. So I think it had been about 4 years since I had cracked open the game.

I love games. I grew up in a home without a TV and entertainment was games. Brian Baird hates games and that could present a problem but luckily I control the social calendar and have learned to ignore the strange strangling noises he makes that mean he is wondering when the torture will be over. One small detail that really ruins my love of games is that I cannot think about too many things at once. And that is not a problem in Dora Memory but it is a problem if one is playing Settlers of Catan.

Anyway, I heard through the grapevine that there was a serious player of Catan in our new ward here in Massachusetts and all of a sudden I longed to build the longest road again....(always a sure way to get 2 points when playing Catan). So I dropped the word to the Catan addict that I loved to play Catan and invited he and his wife over for dinner with another very unsuspecting couple. This guy was truly amazing. He had a treasure chest he had found on Ebay to hold all the pieces to the game and he had made these amazing leather bags with draw strings with little teeny tiny skulls on the end to hold the roads and cities. And we did not just play your basic "grandmother's Catan". I had heard nasty rumors that there were other ways to play Catan other than the basic game but the one time in Lawrence that the Gill's tried to introduce Cities and Knights to us I rebelled....inside my head of course. Any game that involves a little flip chart with spiral binding requires thinking...alot of thinking. I just want to amass points and win I do not want to have to worry about the marauders coming, and activating knights, and discovering new lands. So when it took a half hour (exaggeration....I think) to set up our Settlers of Catan game on Friday night and it took up alot of the table I knew I could not make eye contact with my husband or my other unsuspecting guests. I will not go into the gory details but we finished up the game about 12:30 am. Zach won. He always wins. Even though he had had his wisdom teeth out just a few hours before he still won.

I think I love to play games because it is fascinating to watch other people you can definately learn alot about their little personalities.

  • Which of us care about winning and which of us don't.
  • Which of us are pouters when other people block our efforts.
  • Which of us are peacemakers.
  • Which of us forgive.
  • Which of us are OCD. (you can really learn this one when playing Catan because there are so many darn piles of card that have the potential to not be perfectly stacked and so many roads and houses that can move from where they should be...yes, this is me)

I did some "googling" and Settlers of Catan was first published in 1995 in Germany. And over 11 million copies of the game have been sold. Wikipedia said that, "The game has rapidly become popular because it's mechanics are relatively simple while it's dynamics are quite complex". Surprisingly, even the Mormons have cashed in and there is Settlers of Zarahemla game (we Mormon's sure know how to capitalize don't we?) There are tons of ways to add to the game:

  • Traders and Barbarians in 2007
  • Scenarios and Variants in 2005
  • Build Great Wall of China and Trojan war in 2001
  • And my personal favorite Anger and Therapy where you talk about how you feel when people you are playing the game with block your roads and build in your spots.

So all of that said I actually was surprised that once I finally in the last 5 minutes figured it all out and came oh so close to winning that I really liked the advanced version of the game. No, not on the level of owning a Catan outfit and going to Catan conventions but in a "torture my husband and other unsuspecting guests sort of way".....HAHA.

May 15, 2008

Where is your laundry room?

I do not know how I started the habit but I am starting to think maybe I should stop fighting it and just embace it?? I read magazines I know how other people's laundry works....actually in magazines you do not even see their laundry it is....gasp...all put away. I do know for the "proper" results you should fold the clothes immediately and hang them up immediately but as it is with so many things in my life I know better but I continue on the familiar path. My laundry truly prefers to be piled and not just anywhere it actually prefers the couches so it can watch everything that goes on and greet all the guests. At one house it was lucky enough to get to wait on my bed to be folded but most houses we have lived in the couch has been my laundry holder. When the laundry holding area was on my bed my husband would come home and want to go to sleep and he would just push it all onto the floor. One time the mountain of laundry that he pushed to the floor was so huge that some smart alec kid made a flag and stuck it in the top of the mountain of laundry to declare that "the cat had been the first to scale Mt. Laundry".

In Indiana I had an amazingly huge laundry room so huge that when my dear friend Allison saw it for the first time she declared, "you could dance in this laundry room" and then she proceeded to dance in it to show me. For the first week I lived there I did use the beautiful counter to immediately fold clothes right our of the dryer. But soon that ended. I did not deserve that amazing laundry room because I just ended up carrying the laundry the length of the house to my room and dumping it on the bed.

My excuse is that I have 9 people in my house using towels, wearing clothes (sometimes three outfits or more a day) and thinking that it just magically reappears. It is alot of laundry. Whenever people wonder out loud how I manage so many kids I have to admit to them that after #5 what really noticeably changed was the laundry everything else was manageable. When I had four little kids under the age of 5 I actually did get the laundry all folded and put away but those good old days are gone.

If I were to go to a shrink for this problem he/she would probably quickly be able to point out that because the laundry is never ending I have just given up. There is always a load in the dryer, there is always a load in the washer, there is always a load on the teenagers floor, and yes, always a load on the couch. I am a neat freak my house is not messy but I have this constant battle with the laundry. I have tried picking one day a week to get it all done but that never works because I cannot just let it sit there on the laundry room floor and pile up (ha you say...but you can let it pile up on the couch I know but that is because it is clean).

I wonder if before I got married if some well meaning soul at one of my bridal showers or in my ward would have warned me about figuring out a laundry schedule things would be different? I wonder if a Young Womens leader would have given me some cute quote decorated with a ribbon about how getting all your laundry done could make your children steadfast if things would be different?

Before I stop blogging and go do more laundry I must confess that I have been known (at least once a day) to mix colors with whites. Yes, I know better and because I have only had possibly 2 "white turned pink" fiascos and they did not involve my clothes I continue to think it is a myth that you should wash them seperately. I do wash my sweaters on delicate and let them dry flat so do not think I am completely hopeless. But everything else gets thrown in together so they can all be friends. No laundry segregation at the Baird house.

And my last confession is the worst "I have a sock basket". My mom had a sock basket. A place for all the socks to hang out together.... unfolded. A thing for the kids to dump on the floor before they go to school. A thing for me to have so I can justify sitting and watching TV.(as long as you are doing something like folding socks TV is okay to watch) My sister Sarah gasped when she discovered I had a sock basket. She could not believe after growing up in a home with a sock basket I would not have resolved to never have one. Which reminds me I need to ask Rachel and Rebecca (my other sisters) if they have sock baskets or am I the only loser in the family?

So when you see my adorable little wrinkled family walking down the street just smile and hope that my mother is coming to visit soon because she always irons for me.

May 14, 2008

Watching the sun and a small confrontation at the greenhouse.

Everyday I wake up in the morning and all day I think about making another trip to the Meadow View Farm and Greenhouses. I put it off because I know it will cost me for you see I have not yet figured out how to not want one of everything. Finally yesterday I could not stand it any longer most of my planting spots are ready, the weather has been temptingly gorgeous, and people keep rocking my world by telling me that the greenhouse will run out of plants quickly and close at the end of June which made me feel very anxious.

So I figured out the perfect way to get out of there without spending too much money. Take the 5 year old, and do it in a tight time slot where I had to be back home for something. So yesterday at 3:30pm we pulled into the greenhouse parking lot which was very crowded as always. The minute I saw the crowded parking lot I felt my stomach lurch and I started to feel worried that maybe someone at that very moment was buying the last raspberry plant or the last Moonbeam Coreopsis. Silly me.

Natalie the 5 year old loves looking at plants with me. And she will run from plant to plant identifying them and looking at the tags to find out which ones attract butterflies. Remember Natalie is the youngest of 7. You have to figure out how to get attention to survive. Natalie can be a tad loud sometimes and will often repeat her comment over and over until you respond to it. I am a very conscientious mom. Probably too conscientious because I am extremely willing to admit that my kids have flaws and I probably should stick up for them more than I do. I have never ever in the process of raising these 7 kids had anyone anywhere say anything to me about my kids behavior. (It is very possible that someone was thinking about saying something to me when Tatiana threw a huge tantrum in a shopping cart in Target in Chicago about 4 years ago.) But anyway, when we finally found the raspberry plants Natalie was so excited she was exclaiming loudly about the blueberries and begging for a grape plant (I am not that ambitious yet). In the midst of all of it an older man says to her, "you are very loud for a little girl and you are bothering everyone in this nursery". I thought he was teasing her and I smiled and started to make a comment like, "tell me about it". But then I realized he was not joking. I am NOT a confrontational girl so I was shocked when I actually heard myself say very nicely, "Are you truly mad at my little 5 year old?" She had started to cry because what girl is not sensitive to a gruff voice scolding them? I told him I was sorry if she was bothering him but really she was only 5 and we were not in church or at the symphony. We were outside at an enormous nursery.

As always I concede I definately could have missed something and I will never forget that there is 2 sides to every story but it was curious to me that a grown up could choose to be bothered enough by a 5 year old with out of control curly hair and a loud voice that he really needed to tell her so. A little alarming how that protective mother bear instinct can be brought out so quickly:)

Anyway, we purchased 2 blueberries, 2 raspberries and a few perennials that were ever so desperate to come home with me and we jetted home. When we got home I started reading about blueberries which I already knew but had it confirmed that they are rather uppity. They do not want the roots of other things around them touching their roots, they like their mulch justso because of their shallow roots, and don't forget sandy soil with a pH range of 4.5-5.2. So they will fit right in with our picky, needy family. So today I am watching the sun to see where I can plant my berries so they are supremely happy. The picture is of where I sat them last night so I could decide if that is "the place".

And just because there is absolutely nothing more exciting than the first glimpse of a plant poking through the ground I must announce that the peas, spinach, onions, and lettuce are all up. So we are over one obstacle and we are anticipating the next obstacle which could be bugs, bunnies, disease, people stepping on plants and so much more.

May 13, 2008

Playing With Fire.

This is our fire pit in Massachusetts. I confess I have a little too much fun with it. My obsessive personality(with me along for the ride) could pick up sticks from the yard and throw them in it and watch them burn for a very long time. I love the rewarding results. Amanda, Natalie, Tatiana and I played with the fire for a long time on Saturday night. I thought fire was something that only kept boys busy but was I wrong. The girls got braver and braver and I was greatly amused when I should have probably been preaching safety.

In Indiana was the first time I experienced the joy of having a fire pit in my own yard. I have always loved fire. The smell. The sound. The mesmerizing way the flames look. I mean who doesen't? Who needs a shredder when you can start a fire and just burn all your papers? The kids used to invite friends from school over on the day school got out and we would start a fire and they would toss the unneeded stuff from the past year of school into the fire. Ever so much fun!! Another fun part of having a fire is that it automatically means that dinner is hotdogs and the paper dishes get to go in the fire.....hooray.

I remember when I was in high school my friend Shelley's dad had a beach house in Anacortes, Washington and a group of us from high school would go up there and get into ever so much trouble (clean trouble.....of course). I never knew what would happen if you threw a can of pop into the fire until one of those nights sitting around the fire on the beach in Anacortes.

My latest goal is to learn how to start a fire on my own. I have a very healthy respect for fire despite being fascinated by it and so I have always been a little afraid to start one on my own. Yes, I went to girls camp but girl's camp in rainy Seattle doesn't always lend itself to a perfect fire starting environment. But I must now take matters into my own hands and control when I get to burn papers and when I get to be obsessive about throwing every stick within a mile radius in the fire. Besides, I can no longer turn a blind eye to the irresponsible way the boyscouts taught my husband to start a fire:) It involves gas, throwing gas, singed hair, sometimes a burning flesh smell , the grass around the pit disappearing, and the kids having a questionable story.

So wish me luck. Amanda the 13 year old said she can definately teach me how.....

May 11, 2008

A Martha Wannabe.

I do not care that she has been in jail. I do not care that I have to hunt for a Kmart to look at her stuff. I adore her attention to details. And how can you not love someone who can tell you everything about gardening, crafts, etiquette, furniture, color and stocks:). For years I can forget about her but then I see something in that color that we all describe as "Martha Stewarty" and wham I remember how she inspires me. Everytime she comes back into my life I want to be like her so I do not allow it to happen often because even I rarely have time to make little hen shaped felt covers to keep my hardboiled eggs warm and carve pumpkins that have something other than triangle eyes and nose and a smiling mouth with 2 square teeth. As you know I love to check out back issues of magazines from the library. And I am happy to say I am out of the 3 year People magazine phase and back to the Martha Stewart phase. Today I had this old issue from May 2007 (see above picture) and I found the perfect spot in the sun on the back porch and sat down to dream through the pages. I confess I skip over the recipes they are a little much even though the Baird children are always begging for Fresh Carrot Pasta Dough and Individual Mushroom Lasagnas with Crispy Breadcrumbs. The minute I open her magazine my list of things to do for the week magically multiplies. For a short moment I feel empowered like I could do anything make cards, scrapbook, give a fresh coat of paint to everything and find amazing uses for my box of Goodwill items. How about framing old silverware? NO, I am not making it up and it actually looked amazing. Never fear I always come back to reality very quickly but I do have that feeling that I could do anything if I just put my mind to it oh and had more money. I did find one amazing craft in the May 2007 issue that I actually understood the directions to and have all the stuff for so tune in because I am going to do it and show you how gosh darn cute it is.

May 9, 2008

Pictures are worth a thousand words.

My herb garden is slowly taking shape. I have dill, lavender, chives, basil and mint so far.

What girl does not have a spot in her heart for the first flower we all thought was beautiful....before we knew better. These were the hugest dandelions I had ever seen so I had to take a picture of Tatiana with hers since they were not coming in the car. After they found them Natalie came running and said in her most amazed voice, "Mom, right next to these huge beautiful dandelions were tons of white wishes". Sigh....I did not have the heart to tell her how someday she would be spending money to kill those "wishes".

Tatiana took this picture while Zach was watching Joe play lacrosse. And speaking of Zach we just found out that he got a fabulous internship for the summer at Mass Mutual. We thought he had a job at Brian's work and he did but it did not start until June which wasted several months of potential income. So we had spent a full week of driving around and applying everywhere we could think of. The intricacies of the job hunting world were new to us. I fear it may be true that it is who you know that helps you get a job. And we are ever so grateful to who we know for tipping Zach off to this opportunity. Paying for a mission now seems possible.

These are the roots I have been fighting all week. They are all over my soon to be flower bed in the front yard. And to save my soul I dig and dig and they will not come out. So I have something to add to Brian's list.

Tatiana took this picture of Natalie at the lacrosse game.
Now you all know how the tan lines I ignored look, and how I failed all Mormon mom's everywhere by not finding a jacket for my daughter's bare shoulders. I have a really good reason but I won't bother you with it. It's better for you to have fun wondering about my lack of judgement and imagining me somewhere other than the celestial kingdom.

I am so grateful to my friend Sheila who told me about a beauty school in the area that had students that needed to get practice for cheap. So Madeline got her first updo for $15.00. The boy who asked her to prom met all the requirements to make your high school dreams come true a Class officer, in the school plays, smart, and nice.

May 8, 2008

What I should be doing.....

1. Setting up an opthamologist appointment for Miriam who failed her vision test at her physical and is out of contacts.

2.Putting away my laundry.(that darn never ending laundry cycle.... on the couch...on the people...on the floor.... washed....on the couch again.....oops company is coming....laundry in the baskets in the closet)

3. Reading my Primary lesson. (must be creative to keep 9 and 10 year olds from what they would rather be doing)

4. Reading the bookclub book for this month My Antonia by Willa Cather rather than re-reading Atonement by Ian McEwan while also reading another Ian McEwan book called Amsterdam.

5. Thinking about what is for dinner before it is too late and we have breakfast for dinner yet another night. ( three cheers for pancakes)

6. Cleaning all the dirt out of my fingernails from all the gardening I have been doing. (so embarrassing)

7. "Googling" obstacle course ideas for a Stake Super Saturday activity on the 17th. ( sigh...which Mormon leader said that it was important to our salvation that every meeting or activity should have a theme, and that everything that happens at that event should tie neatly and creatively to the theme so as to cause everyone at the event to gasp at the cleverness of it all?)

8. Making granola...the kids in true locust style have inhaled every single ounce of cereal and I told them I was not going back to the store until Friday the 16th and that we were going to see if we could be creative with what is in the house. Which means I have to actually plan a head and put some effort into making sure there is food to eat....drat.

9. Fixing the straps on Madeline's dress. (the ever so small straps)

10. Going through boxes in the basement to find the box of shirts that should fit Tatiana and Natalie this summer.

11. Imposing natural consequences on the teenagers for their absolutely disgusting bedroom. ( the natural consequences would involve me renting an excavater and loading everything into trash bags and making a list of jobs they have to do to earn their items back)

12. Getting out of my pajamas. (the law clearly states that someone shows up when you stay in them)

13. Finishing the curtains I started in January.

14. Making Natalie and Joe dentist appointments.

15. Scrubbing the least favorite job in the house...yes even below scrubbing toilets.

16. Writing a check to the High School for $150.00 for Madeline and Miriam to run track. This one is soo painful I have supressed every part of my conscientious personality and have continued to put it off.

17. Watching Persuasion so I can return the DVD to Karen.

18. drinking 8 glasses of water

19. doing something productive so that Zach (who is home from BYU for the summer) doesen't know what I was really doing all those years when he went to school all day.

May 7, 2008

The cat and I.

For some reason I imagine life to be neat and it continually tricks me. I seem to have control over so little. I would like just a few things to be exactly the way I want them. The cat is not understanding this. Everytime I get conned into a cat I ask myself what harm could there be? But I always forget my little need for things to be a certain way. And now I not only have 8 other people controlling every little part of my life but add a cat with a serious need to dominate and subdue everything it can

The cat thinks napkins are a toy and when we are all sleeping the cat merrily spreads the napkins throughout the house and tears them into pieces. I have tried pushing all the chairs in really close to the table I have tried pulling all the chairs way far out. Is it asking too much to want the napkins on the table in the cute little holder? But no that cannot happen at our house.

The cat thinks that all my bathroom rugs and rugs in front of the doors are the enemy. And throughout the day I have to go and lay them back out flat after she ferociously wrestles with them.

If you walk by my lamp with the ceiling fan on it in my bedroom and the cat happens to be in the vicinity she will seriously leap onto the bed and then onto you digging her claws into you hoping to use you to climb up and reach the stupid little chains hanging down from the light that you can use to turn the fan on or off. Because everyone knows those chains need to be dominated at all costs. And if you dig claws into a few people to get to them all the better.

My favorite expensive Ann Taylor sweater with really cute little thin velvet ties I have to hide because the cat thinks it looks so much better laying on the floor of my closet totally subdued and beaten. Because we all know how sweaters love to taunt cats.

My children....yes, she wakes them up at all hours of the night. Leaping on them trying to subdue them. Now I agree they do need to be subdued but I did not go through hours of crying and countless "how to get your baby to sleep through the night" articles to have a cat waking them all up. I shut doors but I have no idea how she still manages to get in their rooms.

Dosen't every other person in the world get to put their trash cans where they want them and they stay there? I am so envious of all those people. My cat thinks we might have thrown something out that needs to be dominated. And she is constantly tipping them over looking for the enemy.

Everyone has scratch mark ALL over them from the cat that I have had to keep explaining to the doctor at all their physicals. Because they all think they need to subdue the cat which is true but definately not happening.

She climbs on my screens and also thinks that my long curtains in my bedroom are for her to swing through the jungle on.

She steals the little girls toys and tosses them around the house attacking them and throwing them and after "killing" them carries them in her mouth to her personal stashes.

I have never met a cat that is as dang creative as this one. I truly hate her.

Everyone else in the family thinks that Kittromney is amusing. And they encourage her and laugh at her hysterically. Maybe our mistake was giving her a politician's name?

All I know is that the other night I seriously had a dream that the family was in the house doing various things and I was looking out the window at something and saw that the cat was outside and walking away and I did not alert anyone and gleefully just let her go. It was a lovely dream.

May 6, 2008

Would you believe?

Look at adorable sweet Tatiana. Could you imagine that she could put a hole in the knees of a pair of pants faster than anyone I have ever known? I am mystified by this. Tatiana is a very shy, mellow child. She can sit still better than anyone I know. But strangely she can put a hole in the knees of any brand of pants within 3 weeks of owning the pants. Corduroy, jeans, khaki's you name it she can ruin it. I keep asking her what she does at school. I had to throw away three pairs of pants this morning. Maybe we should switch to skirts and tights?

May 4, 2008

Prom dress shopping.

When you give birth to 5 girls one of your first thoughts should be a wedding dress and then after that thought remember the possibility that the issue of a prom dress might come up. Matter of fact you should start researching now even if they are little. Oh and start a savings account for "dresses you will wear once". I am grateful to have avoided this moment until now. If I lived in Utah or even Idaho where modest dresses grow on trees I wouldn't have dreaded it so much.

Madeline did not give me much notice that she had been asked to prom. About a week and a half. I was not really sure how this was going to work. But I decided we better just start at the mall and get a feel for the situation. So Zach, Madeline, Miriam and I headed to the mall. Zach abandoned us pretty quickly and went to Borders. And we started in JC Penney where we pretty quickly discovered there were no options. Then we headed into a specialty bridal store where there were some very pretty dresses but wow did they cost alot. I am not paying over $100.00 for a dress she will wear once and for a prom that she is going to with a "friend". The dresses in this bridal/prom store were all over $180.00. And the store was full of mom's, daughters, supportive friends,and some very uninterested but trying to fake interested men all watching and commenting. I could have stayed and people watched for hours. Watching how they respond to the girls when they come out with a dress on and then watching what they say when she goes back in the dressing room is very fascinating.

But instead of staring we headed back out into the mall and just started aimlessly walking and finally saw a random store that had prom dresses in the window. Madeline and Miriam headed straight for the clearance racks. Because our first goal was cost. Thankfully they had alot of choices under $100.00. Madeline was able to try on about 8 dresses. Luckily for her she is the perfect body shape for a prom dress. She was not cursed with being too short ( which is why we never talk about my one and only senior ball dress). She truly looks good in anything she tries on. Which makes it very difficult for Miriam and I to shop with her.

After weeding out the ones that were so immodest we could never do anything with them. We put 2 on hold that were both only $30.00. That bought us a day to think and look at a few more stores. At this point Miriam had had enough prom dresss shopping and we left her in front of Dairy Queen with a blizzard and we went ahead to see if there were any other stores with prom dresses. There weren't....well except for Macy's which I did not even have the courage to face.

I went back the next day and purchased one of the dresses and it actually ended up being $20.00 so I was pretty proud but then I remembered that just having the dress is definately not the end. Oh no...there is shoes, hair, long slip, something to cover bare shoulders ( very difficult), a tan line that is all wrong for the dress ( I know, I could not believe we were even having that conversation) It all seems a little superficial to me. And so much money. Do you have to spend that much to have fun? Do you all remember going to prom or senior ball or whatever it was called at your high school? Was it a big deal?

I went to my Senior Ball. I hated my dress but my family was poor at the time and it was a long time ago when I was not only short but teeny tiny (oh the 90 lb days when I walked to school in snow barefoot:) and it was impossible to find a prom dress in the little kids section of the stores so we asked someone in my ward sew one for me. My mom did her best but she and I were both pretty clueless. I was a class officer so I spent the day of the dance setting up and that was when I got my first clue that I had not gone in the right direction with the dress thing. But it was too late for that. And despite the dress it was a very fun evening. So I keep telling Madeline about that as only a mom can do. But I also hate to knowingly be the one to provide the moment that determines whether she has therapy in the future. But I think I am bound to be that person any way:) So someday she can tell her daughter about how I was such a mean mom I would not let her go tanning to fix those all wrong tan lines before her prom. And her daughter will gasp at the injustice.

May 2, 2008


"It's's May the lusty month of May"....yes it is a's from Camelot and yes, the song is about the lusty month of May ..."that lovely month when everything goes blissfully astray". Honestly, I am not feeling blissful all I am thinking about is that it is May and I have just barely planted my peas and lettuce. I am so tired of rules about planting. I am so tired of everyone telling me I can't plant anything yet. I guess I am mostly tired of knowing they are right. I have to obey the rules if I want to have no regrets. Hmmmm a little life lesson perhaps?

But I confess I did not wait until Mother's Day to plant. On May 1st I threw all caution to the wind and planted my peas and lettuce and threw out some flower seeds. And today in the rain I went to the nursery and bought my tomato plants, some of my herbs and peppers. Oh how I love going to the nursery. I want one of everything. I love to read every little tag and imagine where I could plant it. I wish money was no object. All I can say is Brian Baird count your blessings that your wife went to the nursery on a cold and rainy day and she had Natalie with her or the damage would have been much more than $23.00. Don't panic, I did not plant the tomatoes and peppers yet. But it is killing me to wait. I get so anxious. Especially since I am gardening someplace new I am very anxious to get a season under my belt. So I know what I am going to be facing. I am worried about too much shade. I am worried about bugs. I am worried about rabbits and squirrels.

See my garden spot waiting for me? Everyday I look out the window and stare at it. See all the buckets full of rocks? That has been Madeline's latest punishment. She owed Brian 5 buckets of rocks.

Don't tell anyone that when I left the nursery today there was a sign that said "heavy frost warning tonight". I guess I will just have to be content digging up rocks and weeding my flower beds until Mother's Day....following the rules like I always do:)