Jun 29, 2008

JB


I am not sure if the picture I am putting on the blog will come out but I have to tell you that over the last couple of months I have been mysteriously finding my initials written on pieces of paper around the house. Today in church I discovered who it was and it all made sense and of course it all points to what a bad mom I am :)


So here is the story. The person practicing writing my initials is Tatiana. During the school year Tatiana had a folder that had to be initialed every darn day. If Tatiana was the only Baird child that needed my initials then it would be easy. But there are 6 others who need money, lunch, signatures, initials, and sometimes even therapy all before school. So more often then not I would not sign Tatiana's folder until the end of the week. She is an excellent student and I also felt like we came in the middle of the year so we might be okay if we "broke"this rule. Well apparently it traumatized her and she has been practicing my initial signature so that she could forge it and so that her teacher does not think I am a loser. Bless her little forgery inclined heart !!! I hate when you learn that some seemingly small and insignificant thing to you turns out to be a huge deal to your kid.
So can you tell which JB I wrote?

Jun 28, 2008

Of books and such.



When I was in the library this last week I did something I have not done in a long time I just picked up a book that caught my eye (hopefully it was not the appalling color that interested me:) and without thinking checked it out.


I have not done that since I was in high school. I usually am on a quest for a certain title or author when I head for the library and actually since I have discovered the convienence of requesting books online and just walking to the front desk and picking them up I have not been browsing the shelves in a long time. I dearly love to browse in the library but "life" sort of got in the way of browsing. Now I have to have a purpose and a plan.

But this particular day I am not sure what caught my eye about this book in the Young Adult section but I checked it out without any knowledge of it at all...... so unlike me. It is called Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart. It is a true story about the authors most memorable summer. The author is in her 80's now and she wrote this book in 2007 about her and her best friend leaving Iowa to get a summer job in New York City. They end up being the first women ever hired at Tiffany's jewelry store and it is all about their summer in New York City working at this amazing store and all the things they see and do. Honestly, I am not good at writing reviews. And besides everytime that I have gone to Amazon and read other people's reviews I cannot help but think what a strange thing reviews are anyway. (but that is for another day). SO, despite my review about reviews :) I really enjoyed the book. It wasn't deep. It was a quick read. It made me search and search my memory for any clues to help me know if I had ever had a memorable summer and since 2 days later I am still thinking about it that probably means I have never had one otherwise it would be......you know memorable!! I wish I would have had the courage to realize the world was my oyster when I was 18 and that anything was possible. I love to hear people's stories of the out of the ordinary things they have done. And even more than that I love it when you hear that someone really wanted to do something and ....gasp....they actually gosh darn did it. (I know you already know how I can go off on this topic)

Anyway, I also HAVE to tell you about Mrs Mike By Benedict and Nancy Freedman. This book was our bookclub book in April but since I was in Seattle I did not make it to bookclub or read the book. But I was very curious about the book and it was "meant to be" when I found a copy at the Salvation Army for 25 cents last week. (raise your hand if you adore the thrift store)

The authors of this book had a chance meeting with the Katherine Mary Flannigan who the book is about and decided to write about her experiences. I have a vague feeling that somebody told me that it was a loose interpretation of her story. But I really try to ignore those sort of facts when I hear them. I do not want to have my world "rocked" :) Anyway, it is a great story about this young girl ending up in the Canadian North in the year 1907. And all about her falling in love with a Canadian Mountie and then her experiences as she follows him by dog sled into the artic wilderness. Again, I am not greatly skilled at putting into words how a book makes me feel. But I really liked it and could not put it down. And those are the universal phrases meaning you should read it.

So now that I have finished these two books I am again stuck needing a good book to read. I seem to have somewhat good luck going to Amazon and surfing around. But if you have a good book you have read lately tell me about it and how it made you feel :)


Jun 26, 2008

Quick, the teenagers are gone!!

Two Tuesday's ago my parents left to go back to Oregon and 2 hours later Lauren and Juli from Indiana arrived. Thus increasing the teenage girl numbers at my house by 2. Just so we are clear 2 + 3 = 5. Five teenage girls in my house for one week.

Lauren and Juli were fabulous. I actually figured out if you are a mom of teenagers and feeling bad about your parenting skills because your current teenagers are so evil. You should definitely have other teenagers over. They tell you that their mom's act the same way as you and that makes you feel better to know that other mom's have the same problems with their teenagers as you do. When our kids were little we mom's always talked about things like not being able to get our little kids to sleep, not being able to get them to eat, how to get them to stop biting and things like that but when they are teenagers we just don't seem to have the heart to talk about what we cannot get them to do.

Actually we should start a "teenager exchange program" because teenagers seem to act better at other people's houses. Lauren and Juli did dishes, made my girls do their jobs and .....gasp.....said please and thankyou!!


I felt very guilty because I did not take them anywhere or do anything with them other than take them to church and a luau at a country club. If they had a t-shirt describing their trip here it would say "I went to Massachusetts and all I did was sit in the basement, watch TV, have random needs for sugar, come out of the basement and go purchase the sugar and then went back to the basement to eat it." They insisted that they never get to just lay around at home (Lauren and Juli's moms are way better than I am) so this was fun for them. I hope that they were telling the truth.

Anyway, they stayed a week and left yesterday morning. I spent the last couple of days getting my own teenagers plus another one from the ward ready for Trek. They just went on a pioneer trek last summer in Indiana so you would think we were set but we weren't. So after spending two days sewing and purchasing to get them ready for this trek. And after having up to 6 teenage girls in the house at one time in the last week I feel like celebrating today because as of 5:19am this morning I am down to only one 13 year old teenager. And she can actually be delightful when 15 and 17 aren't around.

So what should I do first?

Go find their journals and read them?
Break out all the "good" food they think I have been hiding from them?
Get into their hair products?
Dig through their room for all my missing CD's?
Dig through their room for my missing clothes?

So many choices. So little time until they come back on Saturday. I better hurry.

Jun 24, 2008

To Whom it may concern.


Dear all powerful person who decides how much to charge for admission:


I am really nobody. Just a mom in New England. And because I have 7 kids I may be the only person in the world who cares and notices how much it costs to get into old houses that famous people lived in, Disneyland, museums, The Empire State Building, sporting events, concerts, zoos, aquariums, and last but not least the movie theater. I am extremely curious about the process that help the powers that be to arrive at the such high admission prices. I am sure there may be reasons but I have only seen them explained once. That was when I went to a butterfly place and they explained on a nice big very noticeable sign that they had to keep the room with the butterflies in it at a certain temperature and because of rising heating costs my admission price was going up.


I wonder how much you make? And how much of my money goes back into the attraction? I wonder if you lay awake at night feeling bad because you want your attraction to be affordable but for many reasons you just can't swing it? I confess I can sometimes be little bitter that it costs so much for me to give my kids opportunities and experiences. And you could easily say why wasn't I thinking about admission prices when I had my 7 children? And you could go further to question why on earth if I wanted to show things to my kids did I marry someone with a Masters Degree in Library Science. Touche!!


I also am so glad that I can at least google your attraction and find out from other people who paid to see your attraction if the money is worth paying. Because nothing kills me more than paying the admission to something that is so not worth it.


I read that in July of 2007 Apple stores decided to start charging 5 dollars to come into their stores so that they could lessen foot traffic and dissuade people who aren't buying. I can actually sort of understand that even though it seems outrageous. Will Bath and Body Works charge me to come in and smell and sample?


I also read that the salaries of sports players are so high that you have to keep raising prices so you can pay them. Hmmmmm.


Maybe my problem is that I can't do anything about it. I can't make a difference. If I do not come to your attraction or event it dosen't hurt you at all you don't even know I did not come. You are very lucky that someone will always pay. I am very fascinated with that. I think I will find myself a big, fat good book about supply and demand and educate myself.


Speaking of high prices how about the gas thing? What if I can't afford to get to your attraction? Then what? I wonder when everyone will decide enough is enough?
Anyway, thanks for letting me vent. Maybe if I educate myself I can use my knowledge to make money so I can afford to visit all the cool stuff there is to see in the world.
Love and kisses,
Jenn

Jun 23, 2008

The first day.


I used to love this day. I used to look forward to this day. I used to have lists, charts, gas in the car, kids signed up for classes, and lots of reward stickers all ready for this day. I confess that now I am not so sure how I feel about this day. It is not as black and white as it used to be. There are two things I still know I love about this day. I get a break from making school lunches....halleluja!! And we can wake up whenever we want to and go to bed whenever we want to. I used to try to make everyone wake up and keep a schedule in the summer but now I realize it is okay to have parts of your life that are not structured. The school year is so full with sports and seminary that it is nice for them to have down time (or so I tell myself that to assuage my guilt).


So far I have asked Joe and Tatiana to make list of what they want to do this summer and Joe wrote:

1. Get a Wii

2. Go to 6 Flags New England (which is 20 minutes away and costs 9 million dollars to get into for crazy people who have 7 kids)

3. Go to Game Stop ( a store full of gaming stuff that attracts little boys like flies)


Luckily Joe is making money on his paper route so HE (not me) might be able to make his list happen because the things on his list are not in the budget:)


Tatiana's List is:


1. Make a stuffed kitty. (I will not confess how long she has been asking for this)

2. Get another swimming pool. ( the big plastic variety...so that we will own 2)

3. Get bubbles.

4. Get chalk.

5. Make curtains for her room. (we need Aunt Sarah for this one)

6. Make pillowcases to match her new bedspread from Grandma. (probably need Aunt Sarah for this one too)


The "teenagers" have not made lists but I can easily tell you what will be on them:


1. Stay up until 2 am being sure to make lots of noise making dad "freak" out.

2. Sleep in until mom "freaks" out.

3. Be on the computer all day instant messaging and Facebooking until mom"freaks" out.

4. Put off doing jobs until mom "freaks"out.

5. Beg to take the car "places" but never be specific about those "places" so as to cause mom to "freak" out.
6. Eat all the "good" food in the house and then complain there is nothing to eat again causing mom to "freak" out.


Thank goodness for Trek, EFY, and Girl's Camp to break up the "freaking" out pattern.


Actually, in the "teenagers" defense they all did get up and go to cross country practice this morning. (Yes, I will have 3 girls on the cross country team this year.)


One thing that will never change is that when they finally do wake up in the morning I will have their jobs posted on the cupboard in the kitchen. That way I do not have to talk about the jobs over and over again and that way the Baird children who all love the feeling of crossing things off get a reward without me having to purchase stickers. Jobs have to be done before computer time. And this is no easy task and takes all the "being consistent strength" I have. I have to be vigilant. And I already heard them discussing how long it will be before they think I give up. Guaranteeing that I won't.

This summer is significant in a few ways:

It is the last summer before all the Baird kids will be in school.
( Natalie starts kindergarten this fall.)

I am getting Zach ready to go on his mission in October.

I am going to keep track of and graph how many times each kid says they are bored. Joe was the first one for summer 2008 to utter the words "I am bored" . It happened this morning at 10:14 am.

It is my last summer before I turn 40.

And just in case you were wondering school starts on August 30th.....but who is keeping track?


Jun 22, 2008

Happy things.

Blue sky with fluffy clouds in it. Never plain blue sky. Never flat wispy clouds in a blue sky. Big fat, fluffy, with a hint of gray color in some of the clouds....not all of them.



This amazing color blue and the fact that it is still alive. I love lobelia. I planted 10 lobelia in the front yard and SOMETHING ate them all. That something was not a pig because the lobelia were eaten one at a time, not all in one sitting like I am sure a pig would do. And whatever it is that filled it's tummy in my front yard has a really great mom that taught it to never leave roots or so much as a leaf behind. So I just got over it and planted some more lobelia in the backyard and so far that "SOMETHING" has not discovered the backyard. (drat, the picture makes them look purple....they are not purple.




Flat, free, beautiful rocks. All the rocks on my land are the round-ish variety. But all around Massachusetts you see rock walls made out of the flat variety. I have coveted them often. And never dreamed I would be able to get some for myself. I have been spending every waking minute when it's not raining in the backyard "playing" landscaping. I have no idea how I got the courage to just do something without a committee but it is happening. And I was ready to do paths and stepping stones and was getting up my courage to go and purchase red or gray "gucky" stones from Wal Mart ( no offense to those of you who have them :) when a friend offered us the most amazing rocks in the world from his land. And it is killing me that it is Sunday and I can't be out there in my old sweats figuring out how to make a pathway.

Flowers on the peas. Things grow so differently here in Massachusetts I am still trying to figure it all out. The peas I planted shot straight up to the sky and did not spread out. They were thin, spindly peas with no flowers. I was ever so worried because there is nothing better than going out to the garden and eating peas fresh from the garden. But this week I finally saw a flower and thought, "well at least I will get one pea." But today I looked and flowers are everywhere on the peas....whoohoo!! I was tempted so many times to just give up on them good thing I never had the heart to do it. Mental note to myself....."be patient".

And speaking of being patient let me tell you about my "blogging" conditions here. I am blogging while a teenager named Miriam is laying on the floor next to the computer telling me over and over again that no one cares about my plants or the clouds. And that I need to stop taking 500 years to write this blog because she wants a turn on the computer. So since I always do whatever my kids want I will blog again tomorrow.






Jun 19, 2008

A geek wanna-be.


My friend Kristy had a survey on her blog the other day that helped you to find out how much of a geek you were. I was not surprised that I truly barely understood any of the questions on this geek quiz. There was NO question about knowing how to choose light or dark on the toaster. There was no question about only using one number on your iron. And I know I did not deserve even the paltry 18% geek the survey declared I was. I do have the desire to be a computer geek I am frankly not sure about the other kinds of geeks. But I do not even know who would have the patience to explain it ALL to me and bring me up to speed. It will not shock some of you that I cannot imagine another meaning for the word "server" other than the Pampered Chef "pie server". And that "html" must stand for " hey, that mouse lies". The few times in my life I have had to call tech support have been supremely embarrassing moments in my life. And I am sure they play those tapes of my calls over and over in their little training meetings and all the little tech guys giggle at me not even knowing what kind of computer I have. Oh wait, will you look at this...... right here in front of me it says D-E-L-L.......very cool.


I will say up front that I know you all already know about my technical issues and hopefully by me acknowledging that I know you know will mean that you can all stop planning the intervention you were going to have to tell me ever so lovingly that I need help placing my pictures on my blog. Believe me I am painfully aware of this fact :)


I hate how helpless I feel when something electronic fails in the house and I have to patiently (which I am actually good at the patient thing) wait for Brian, Zach, Amanda or Madeline to diagnose and fix it. Yes, I am jealous when many of you toss around the words like, install, binary, bandwith and CD-R so casually in my presence I hate having to smile and pretend I know what kind of bird a binary is.


Actually, I better focus here. My issue at the moment is not at the computer it is with my Ipod. My Ipod that never fully charges. My Ipod that freezes up. My Ipod that seems to have misplaced ALL my music. My Ipod that keeps acting like it is well and then gets sick again.


Brian loves to take good care of me and got me an Ipod for Christmas. I keep reminding him to ignore the temptation to get me an electronic device that has lots of features I will never use they just confuse me. (Why can't the phone just be a phone?) I do not ask very much of my electronics. They do not need to be so snazzy that you are green with envy that I can always tell what time it is in Cairo. Basically, I just want them to work and if they ever stop working I need the reason to be something I understand like a power outage or accidentally dropped in a glass of water. ( yes that happened to one of my MP3 players) But when "files are corrupt" and the word "error" appears I know it is way out of my league and I hate that I do not know why those words are there.


So I am just plain sad that my Ipod is making me so mad. I just want my music to be there when I need it. I want to be able to have an ever so delightful volume button. And I want to be able to shuffle the songs and I don't even care about having the option of choosing artists because then I have an excuse for not listening to Hairspray, High School Musical and Enchanted soundtracks over and over.

So everyone pray for my Ipod to get fixed because I cannot exercise without it and I will get fat and then I will have to figure out a way to sue Ipod for my suffering :)

Jun 18, 2008

It's that time again.














The minute I hear that strawberries are available I become obsessed. Some people can choose a date in the future that is good for them to be in "canning jam mode" and wait for that ideal date as planned. I cannot. I have some wierd fear that all the strawberries will be gone. So as soon as they are available I am there and today was the day.



I had done some strawberry research, my friends had done some strawberry research, and I even sent poor Brian to a farm on the way home from work for research (as this farm had a vague phone recording with no details, how inconvienent) and after graphing and studying our results we chose the strawberry farm in Feeding Hills, MA where the berries were 3 cents MORE than the berry patch in Granby, Connecticut but it involved less driving time.


I should not have been shocked that I paid more for u-pick strawberries in Massachusetts than I have ever paid for u-pick strawberries in my life but I was shocked and the reason for my research was my refusal to accept the fact that $1.33 a lb was the cheapest it was going to get. I have NEVER paid over .99 cents a pound for u-pick strawberries in my life. And believe me this is something I honestly know. You see I keep a "little red book" that I write in about any fruits or veggies I ever buy or grow for canning purposes. I write how much I get of something, I write where I get it from, I write the date I got it, and I write how much I end up canning, I write how I feel about it, I write what it reminds me of, I write what I am wearing when I can it......okay just kidding about those last 3.

The writings in the "book" have served me well as I no longer have to rack my brain trying to figure out how much I picked or how much I paid, or how many jars I ended up with, or what my name is. :) If only I could be as disciplined about everything else in my life as I am about writing in this darn book about my silly canning exploits.


Anyway, did you want me to tell you about the actual berry picking at Provin Mtn. Farm owned by The Brown's? It was fabulous. The parking lot was in waist high grass that you arrived at after driving through some very amazing mud and puddles but there must always be some adversity.

The patch itself was beautiful. Hardly any weeds. And soooo many berries. I only covered a quarter of one row. Yes, you heard me right ONE ROW. Usually the berries on the other row always seem to be better than the berries on your own row and you cannot help but wander around searching for the "perfect" spot when you are picking berries. But I stayed put and easily picked 10 lbs in my very small "quarter of a row."

Miriam and her dear friend Juli came along and they picked 9 lbs of strawberries on their row. But you can tell from the picture they don't look as estatic about the experience as I was.

Natalie was there too wandering the rows muttering to herself about the importance of picking only red berries. We have had some chats about that recently.

My friends Jean, Mindy and Jenn were there also as I cannot go anywhere by myself. And they all picked a lot of berries too.

So tomorrow is canning jam day. Not freezer jam actual in the jar jam. I wish I could explain what I have against freezer jam. If only some distant Aunt had had a "freezer jam incident" that could help explain my issues with freezer jam. But that is not the case so I have no way to explain why I never do freezer jam. I will add it to my questions to solve with a therapist list :)

Jun 17, 2008

Do I have to work hard for my money??

Ever since Brian and I lived in Princeton, New Jersey and found out that $28,000 dollars was not a lot of money for your first job out of college we have had some form of a paper route.

In New Jersey it was the Trenton Times. They would drop the papers at our curb in the middle of the night I would get up and fold them and then Brian would drive the route. When he was out of town I would load three kids under the age of 4 1/2 into the car and drive the route myself. After two kids had to be in the NICU after being born and the bills began arriving Brian also picked up a Wall Street Journal Route. So we were a "2 paper route family."

When we moved to Kansas Brian swore he would not do it again but it was unavoidable. So I signed up and he drove the route. I think the 9 years we lived in Kansas he slept about a total of 10 hours :)

A couple years before we left Kansas I signed the kids and I up for a Bullseye paper route. Bullseye was only once a week and I did it because I wanted the kids to have a chance to practice making decisions with money, how to spend it, save it and set aside a percentage for their church donation. The Bullseye went pretty well and we kept it up until we moved. But every week when it came time to do the route everyone would complain that they did not want to do it. And I would have to "make" them do it. And every time they were done with the route or had just recieved their money they would be over the moon happy and convienently forget how they begged not to do the route every week.

In Indiana we again picked up a driving route. This time Brian got smart and I drove the route. It was twice a week and I would wake up Madeline at 1am on Monday morning and she would run the three hour route with me and then she would get ready for seminary and got to school. Then on Thursday morning at 1am I would wake up Miriam and she would do the same. I strangely enjoyed the route. Dark roads, no one driving slow on them, music blaring, bonding time with my teenagers (well, truthfully the only conversation would be me saying, "Did I just hear that paper fall out of the tube onto the ground?" and the teenager would grunt and then we would have to go back). Madeline would load up her Ipod with songs and we would decide which ones we liked while we drove along. I learned how to get stuck in the snow and how to get out of being stuck in the snow while on this paper route. I learned how to efficently cuss at a car window that would sometimes not go back up after you rolled it down. And I learned how to identify the night wildlife. Definitely skills I can brag about :)

So here we are in Massachusetts and I discover there is a "cute" little walking route right by our house. Only 35 papers....that, my friends, is a piece of cake. Our driving route in Indiana was about 400 papers. And I thought what a great thing for Joe. He always needs money. And he always needs to be doing something. I had visions of sugarplums in my head along with the vision of Joe riding on his bike with his bag slung carelessly over his shoulder delivering papers. Why do I always forget things NEVER happen the way they happen in my head?

I asked Joe if he wanted to do this....duh....of course he did. Very excited and psyched. All the other kids were jealous and mad that he got the paper route. So yesterday June 16th was "first day of the route day". The papers get dropped off at our house before he gets home from school. I was entertaining Grandma and Grandpa and gave Madeline strict instructions to tell Joe to fold his teeny tiny pile of 35 papers and be ready when I got home. Well how could I have forgotten that Joe used to fold my 400 papers in Indiana and that I fired him without a severance package? I called to check up on him as I was on my way home and he was sobbing and hysterical and the only word I could make out was "freakin" and he used it multiple times. I finally just hung up. When I got home I solved the world's problems and then headed out on the route with him.

There is a learning curve on the routes so I knew I would have to go with him the first couple of times but let me tell you halfway through the route I thought to myself what have I done? Do I never learn? I forgot that it is like pulling teeth to get your kids to follow through with something. They always want to quit. Sports, school, jobs, being in the family....they do not want to follow through with anything. The minute it gets hard they are "out of Dodge". My lovely job as a mother is that I have to make them follow through. I have been known to bribe. I have been known to ground. I have been known to threaten. And .....sigh.....I am sure I have hollered.

So when Joe was being chased and subsequently nipped at by a dog on the route yesterday I was a little shocked to find myself doing nothing because he deserved it??

Jun 15, 2008

Calling the police in Rhode Island.







Well Saturday we convinced Grandma and Grandpa Ord to get in the car again with their 7 grandchildren that love to express their feelings very loudly and passionately about where they sit in the car and who they sit by. I wonder if that will ever end?






Anyway we headed to Newport, Rhode Island exactly 2 hours and 36 minutes away. On the way we got to cross two very amazingly beautiful bridges and see the most sailboats I have ever seen in one spot. Newport "proper" is very beautiful. It is described as "a fantastic center of Victorian extravagance in architecture and the social competition of millionaires benefiting from the industrial revolution". Full of many tempting shops and restaurants with awesome names. Because we had the 7 children with us we just did the "drive by" of the downtown. But trust me I am definitely planning a girl trip to Newport soon. My Mapquested directions took us perfectly to the free parking on Narragansett Ave for the Newport Beach Cliffwalk. It was almost too easy.






We arrived about 11 and headed on the trail to the right of the 40 steps as I had read that if you go to the left you do not see any mansions. The 40 steps is just what it says 40 stone steps that lead down to a balcony over the sea. I read that during Newports Golden Age it is where the servants from all the mansions used to meet and have dances and play their music from Ireland.






The entire trail is 3 1/2 miles and I am not sure how much of that we did. We saw homes built by Astors and Vanderbilts to name a few, we saw homes with names like Ochre Court, Vineland, Rosecliff (from the movie The Great Gatsby), Beechwood and Marble House. I love how these homes all have names. I wonder what I should name mine? Contention Cliffs, Gas Station Point? ( since I live next to one) Anyway, the trail was paved in the beginning and then went downhill from that to rocks and such over the course of two miles. It seems there is contention between the owners of the mansions and the natural evolution of the walk. Some owners seem to have embraced the inevitable and others are still fighting it. I love how all personality types are living everywhere.






So I am sure you guessed that I had a secret hope to walk the whole trail. But at some point I lost sight of that goal. I think it was when we discovered that between all of us we were short one child. JOE the 12 year old. We checked the whole trail and went back to the car and NO Joe. So I had that experience that in 18 years of having children I have never had before...dialing 911 to report a missing child. Joe had gone ahead of us on the trail so we kept assuming that he was ahead of us. Finally the trail got way too rough for Natalie and Tatiana so I stopped and sent Brian, Madeline and Miriam ahead to run to the end to catch up with Joe. Brian went to what he thought must have been the end and then came back reporting no Joe. After I met with the police and they all headed out to look for him. He appeared. And he is the only Baird child to have actually gone to the real end of the trail. Which all the websites say is very rough. He was not bothered a bit. I have his memorial written now just in case I ever need it again. And the girls had already begun dividing his possessions. What a loving family we are. And Brian was so happy to see him he grounded him....just perfect:)






When we were done with the trauma of meeting the Newport police we headed to the beach where we had to push 4 of the 7 kids out of the car to go enjoy the beach. All the way on to the beach I was smiling at the negative words shooting out of Madeline, Miriam, Amanda, and Joe's mouths words like hate, dumb, lame etc. Definitely words used to describe beach. And within 5 minutes Madeline and Miriam had caught 2 crabs and 2 jellyfish named them and had them in a bucket, Joe, Tatiana, and Amanda were playing in the waves, and Zach and Natalie were playing in the sand. all having a miserable time can't you tell from the pictures?




Mission accomplished..... they all fell asleep immediately and slept all the way home.






Jun 11, 2008

Freedom Trail.



Because of kids schedules, weather and "such" today was the appointed New York City day with Grandma and Grandpa Ord. And I have been faithfully researching to make sure we had hours, costs, locations, maps all the information you need to make a trip go smoothly. I really hate to go into anything blindly. Yes, I am aware that that does not always work out with the whole "life" thing but I should be admired for how I continue to fight "flying by the seat of my pants" situations. But that said I have been having more and more of them and realizing that they are okay too. But I am not going to stop Mapquesting and Googling:)




Anyway, due to Grandpa with a cold and 10 hours with no electricity because of a severe storm we had decided to change our plans and "lay low". Unfortunantly for Grandpa and Grandma I never take that seriously and consider one of my greatest skills as talking people out of "laying low." So by 8:30am we were on our way to Boston. With no mapquest and a small idea of a plan.


It was a beautiful day. And we decided to do the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail is a red brick line weaving from the Boston Commons to the Bunker Hill Monument it covers about 2 1/2 miles. And there is about 12 historical sites along the way. Because of our adorable 15 passenger van we always HAVE to park by the USS Constitution where there is no height requirement for parking. So we have seen "Old Ironsides" and climbed the 294 steps to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument ( great Gluteous Maximus workout), seen Paul Revere's home, seen the amazing Old North Church ( one if by land two if by sea), and Faneuil Hall (which is a little over half way) but at Faneuil Hall we always(twice now) run into a little problem....we stop. I have some crazy notion in my head that I need to do the whole 2 and a half miles in one day. I want to see it ALL but I have yet to see the sites past Faneuil Hall. Have I already mentioned where we never get past? :)

Why would a mother with 7 children, one grumpy, but willing hubby, and two very jet lagged grandparents think that could happen? I sense I may be on the verge of admitting I have unreasonable and very high expectations of everyone around me. You may want to reconsider coming to visit. I am determined to find someone who will do the whole trail with me without needing to go potty, eat or rest:) so don't answer if you see an e-mail from me or see my number on your caller ID because I am on a quest. Unreasonable? Perhaps but it would be oh so fun.

Jun 10, 2008

Chipmunks, Rabbits or Squirrels?


Here is my gardening update. As you can tell by the title it is not going well. I preferred the title to be anything but those three things. But as you can see the weeds are under control so the title cannot be weeds. And as of this very minute there are no bugs either. Yet I am troubled!! More like obsessed. Something is eating things. And that something is eating in the strangest way. It is taking one bite on the main stem of the plant and killing it. So the plant is basically being severed and whatever it is that is tasting is not even interested in finishing the job it is just decapitating plants and leaving without even cleaning it's plate. It has tasted way too many peas, one pepper, and all the lettuce. So I fear it may be Peter Cottontail. And if that is the case he better not even think that I am anything like Mr McGregor. Just because he is in the woods does not mean I will not come after him. But I have to have proof. It would be ever so easy if one of these creatures would leave their little jacket hanging on something, or their little shoes lying about but that is not happening. So I am currently trying to figure out how to blame it on Brian:) My best accusation is that he rototilled the garden too close to the woods. We may as well of hung out a welcome sign, "My casa is your casa" type thing.

I tried begging for a fence but Brian had his arguments ready. Mostly involving having no money which I cannot argue with. So maybe what I will do is sit on the back porch in my rocking chair with a loaded weapon. Actually right after I blog I am going to google and figure out how you deter those types of animals from munching. I even am okay with a little sharing but full on taking means war. My garden has always been the only thing I seem to have control over in my life and I am not ready to give that up quite yet.

Thankfully my "Master Gardener" mom and my supportive, knowledgeable, hard working dad are coming today from Oregon and staying a whole week. I just need to get to them before Brian does and prep them on what to say needs to be done.... I am thinking something like "Yep, you sure need a fence".

So if you know of a way to stop the little furry animals from eating let me know!!

OH, speaking of Grandma and Grandpa coming that means I will probably not get to blog as much over the next week. We are going to New York City tomorrow. Friday night we have tickets to see Glenn Beck. Saturday we are going to Rhode Island. And then one day we are going to Boston. So I will have lots to talk about when I can:)

Jun 9, 2008




Well it is that time of year again. Popsicle time. I always get excited when it is time to purchase popsicles. It doesen't take long for me to remember that there are some problems with popsicles. I am sure these are only problems in my family. Which means I will be holding a mandatory popsicle lecture in the kitchen tomorrow from 3:00pm to 3:20pm to address the issues that arise from the purchasing of popsicles. And if you do not attend and get certified you will not be able to have a popsicle this summer.


Here are the list of classes they will be oh so excited to attend:


"What to do with the scissors that you find in the drawer in the kitchen and use to cut off the wrapper of the popsicle".
Taught by Mom


In this class we will discuss how short your life will be if you are caught using mom's sewing scissors to get to your frozen confection. We will also talk about pinking shears, how even though they do make a beautiful design on the popsicle wrapper they are defintiley not approved for the job. After seeing an example of the appropriate scissors to use for the job we will discuss the many situations that will tempt you to open your popsicle somewhere other than the kitchen thus leading you to leave the scissors by the trampoline, in the driveway, in a bedroom and my personal favorite laying in the bottom of the little kiddie swimming pool.

"How to fight the urge to save the color stained popsicle stick"
Taught by: Mom


In this class an expert on throwing things away will discuss the fact that we already have a 20 year supply of "craft sticks" in the craft drawer thus negating the need to save the stick from every popsicle you eat this summer. Paper will be provided for you to write down the jokes that are on the sticks that you think you never want to throw away.


"Whatever should I do with the wrapper and the stick?"
taught by Mom

In this class we will go on a field trip to view examples of popsicle "remains" that never made it to the garbage. We will walk through the yard and view popsicle sticks on the ground by the trampoline, sticks lying on the deck, sticks in the lawn, sticks in the bedrooms?, sticks lying on bookshelves.....aaargghhh. Then for those of you who have never seen the other popsicle species we will also identify the remains of the "popsicleinabagus". These are adorable long plastic bags that are strangely often found lying next to a little snipped off top. They are often found in the same locations as the sticks. (Note: don't forget to dress appropriately for the field trip")


"Sticky fingers, faces, clothes, sidewalks and floors, what to do if this happens to you."
Taught by: Your favorite Mom

In this class we will show two marvelous new inventions that not many popsicle eaters are aware of. One is the running water that comes out of faucets both in the house and at two spots outside of the house. The other is the square of soft fabric know as a washcloth that can be used along with the running water if necessary. We will also discuss the importance of picking up big blobs of popsicle that did not manage to stay on the stick before someone steps in them and tracks the sticky juice around the house ( if by chance you have not yet been caught in the house with your popsicle) or before the ants find them. And we will discuss never touching the piano or computer until your fingers are no longer sticky. (and licking them does not count) And then we will discuss how if you do not lay your popsicle stained clothes on top of the washer for me to see you could be eating your next popsicle....gasp....naked.


Jun 6, 2008

Twinkies!!


"Some memories are realities, and are better than anything that can ever happen to one again."

---Jim Burden


" It had been years since I had had a Twinkie. But I would never forget their creamy inside and spongy outside"

------Jennifer Baird


The bookclub book last month was Willa Cather's My Antonia. The first time I read that book I loved it. No question. The second time I do not know what changed but it was not the same. The quote is from one of the main characters of the book named Jim and Jim has not seen his childhood friend Antonia in 20 years. He is a romantic and he lives in the past because his life did not quite turn out the way he thought. He is afraid to see Antonia again because he does not want to find her "aged and broken". He was afraid of messing with his perfect memories of her.


I understand how he felt now. I had a few twinkies when I was a kid and I have always remembered them fondly. For whatever reason it has been probably 20 years since I had one. Why today did they tempt me in the grocery store I do not know. Thank goodness Miriam talked me out of the big box and showed me where you could get just a 2 pack. I was so excited to taste what I remembered as perfection and opened them right when I got in the car. The minute I took a bite I knew I should have left that Twinkie memory alone. It should have been just a fond memory. The Twinkie tasted horrible. Have my taste buds grown up that much?


Honestly, I have to say I am way too curious to not mess with memories. But after the "Twinkie Incident" I may have to rethink my views:)

Jun 5, 2008

Craft of the Day



When we first moved to Massachusetts it was Christmas time and they had a gift exchange at church for the teenage girls. One where you were supposed to make something. We had just moved here so making something, unless it was out of cardboard boxes and already been used packing tape, was out of the question. So we brought the next best thing to a homemade gift.....store bought candy. It was very hard for me to not do what I was supposed to but I did not know what else to do.

Miriam ended up recieving the homemade gift of the year at this exchange. This amazing purse (see the above photo). Everyone loved it and exclaimed so much about it that poor Amanda ended up bursting into tears about the fact that no on said anything about her gift. (remember the move was a hard move before you wonder about the tears) And I confess I do not even remember what Amanda's gift was. But I immediately found out who had made Miriam's gift and then commenced begging oh so creative Hannah to teach me how to make this purse.

Well today Hannah, Mindy and I finally were able to all get together and make the purses. I was amazed at how quickly it came together. But that was only because I had Hannah sitting right next to me answering my every question. That is my favorite way to craft someone sitting right next to me having no problem with congratulating me on each step and reassuring me. Thank goodness Hannah has a 2 year old so all my "why" questions did not phase her one bit. I like my purse. But as with all the crafts I do when I am done I always look at someone else's and always wish mine was like their's and after looking at Mindy's I wish I would have chosen different fabric. Mine is just a light weigh denim so it is not very fascinating to look at like Hannah's hawaiian print she made for Miriam or Mindy's fabulous blue with an amazingly beautiful plaid lining.

So I either craft alone without moral support or I risk envying the cuteness and brilliant ideas that are created around me. Geesh.....could anything happen without drama around here??

What about saying never when you are a grown up?

Okay, so I was walking through the house this morning after all the locusts/kids had left for school and realized that I was a hypocrite because as I walked into each room I found myself constantly thinking the word never to myself.

In the kitchen I thought, "I will NEVER let Miriam make cookies again" as I saw the mixing bowl full of cookie dough that she had made yesterday but somehow had missed some important ingredient so it was completely wasted.

As I saw all the cookie sheets and pans that were sitting on the kitchen counter patiently waiting to be hand washed I thought to myself I am going to make a new rule that anyone living in this house can NEVER use the cookie sheets and pans again.

Then I saw the tablecloth hanging askew that the cat had played with in the dead of night and a cup laying on the floor that the cat had knocked the water out of while in the process of knocking it to the floor so she could play with it and I thought to myself I am going to lock the cat in the garage and NEVER let it out.

Then as I headed downstairs and saw cracker crumbs, cups, empty bowls, and wrappers of various items laying in the TV room that we were NEVER going to eat in I thought to myself I am NEVER going to buy food again until the kids are gone.

Then when I walked into the storage room to get something off the shelves I see that the sewing machine and the fabric that I sent Madeline down with yesterday with strict instructions of where it needed to go is not where it needed to go. And I make a mental note to NEVER help her put things away when she grows up and I visit her in her house.

Then I go upstairs to my room and see my Ipod sitting on my bedside table and I remember to NEVER loan it to Madeline again because when I was listening to it last night I had to keep skipping songs from groups she had added. Groups with names like....The Color Fred, The Flobots, Jimmy Eat World, Kill Hannah. (Often I end up liking her music but I like to add it myself)

Then I go into my bathroom and find the trash tipped over that's another NEVER for the darn cat.

And then I see that my makeup bag, that I have to carefully pay attention to how and where I set it in the cupboard, has predictably been moved by a teenager or possibly all the teenagers. And I remind myself to find a place to hide it where they will NEVER think to look like the floor of their room.

Then I look in the mirror and see the gray hair peeking out and remember to call and make a color appointment and smile thinking about when I used to say I NEVER wanted to be "chemically dependent".

Then I head upstairs to wake up Tatiana and I smell a strong but unfortunantly familiar "locker room" smell coming from Madeline and Miriam's room and remember that I told them about three weeks ago that they could NEVER leave the house again until that room was clean.

Then I peek in Joe and Zach's room and see all of Zach's suitcases sitting full of his clothes and "stuff" and I wonder if he wishes he had NEVER come home from BYU where he actually had a closet and a dresser.

I see sheets from 2 wet beds from 2 different rooms and remember that I am going to NEVER let those kids drink again.

Maybe there should be a law that perfectionists should NEVER be mom's:)

Jun 4, 2008

NEVER!!

If my kids are not telling me that something is "not fair" it is because they are very busy listing the things that "NEVER" happen for them. Never is a dangerous word. When you proclaim something never happens for you then you are really putting yourself out there for everyone to eat alive. I mean the dictionary definition leaves no room to wiggle around: not ever; at no time.....not at all; absolutely not. That's pretty final.

So why do my kids say crazy things like: "You never take me to Kohl's and you always take her", "You never ask her to unload the dishwasher you always ask me". "You always let her stay home from school you never let me". When ever they use the word never I make them stop and really think about what they just said like when they say things to me like, "You never have anything to eat??" Are they sure I never have anything to eat? I think they meant to say, "You never have cupboards filled with candy, chips, and pop for them to eat."

It is a little depressing if I actually tune in to how many times the kiddo's declare something NEVER happens for them. Or they NEVER get something. I am totally okay with them saying they will never smoke or they will never drink alcohol you know stuff like that.

I remember when I was a kid I LOVED to wear dresses and I remember telling my dad that I would NEVER wear pants and he said that I would end up having to explain why I changed my mind to a lot of people if I said that because I might change my mind someday. And he was right. When I wore pants for the first time a lot of people said, "I thought you said you would never wear pants". I also said I would NEVER have un-matching silverware....silly me.

I have one child who should have been given the middle name of NEVER. I have often meant to write down when I buy things for that particular child and when I take her places so that when she uses the "N" word I can prove that that is simply not true. But being the exact middle child of 7 kids can't be easy so I usually just ignore her when she says never which I am sure all the psychology books highly recommend doing:) and which is probably why she says it so much.

So I think saying "never mind" is safe. And definitely using the word never to describe how you feel about ever doing a bad behavior but other than that I would never use it just to be safe.

Jun 1, 2008

I knew it but I didn't care.


Poison Ivy. I had a feeling it was in my yard. I have woods all around. And little plants with three leaves seem to be everywhere. Anyone who comes to my house I immediately accost and demand to know if they know what poison ivy looks like. Interestingly, everyone says, "I think so." And then when I show them they just can't quite commit.

Several of the Baird children have had poison ivy throughout the years. Actually, one who will remain nameless actually found it once and rubbed on herself on purpose. And can you believe it is the child who just scored a 30 on her ACT? Other than that instance we never know just quite where they get it from. I got it for the first time last year and I had no idea where I got it from but it was very miserable. Everyone who has ever had it has a sure method for relieving the agony of it. And all the methods are different.

So like I said I have had my eye on the woods around my house wondering which three leaved plants are poison ivy and which ones aren't. On Friday Natalie and I were weeding around my garden, (which is a little to close to the woods for my liking but who is going to complain about the free labor that got them their nicely rototilled garden?) and I made a conscious decision to grab a weed that had a strong potential be poison ivy and pull it out with my hand....bare hand. I also made a mental note to hurry, finish weeding, and not touch any other part of my body with my hand for the few last weeds I had to pull just in case it was poison ivy. I was bright enough to stop Natalie from touching it so I should get some credit for that. Anyway, to make a long story short I have poison ivy on a little cute spot on my cheek where a bug landed while I was picking my last weeds and I forgot about the poison ivy and I touched my face. At least I know exactly where I got the poison ivy:) and that is so comforting as I sit here using every bit of will power I have to not itch. Because once you give in and itch you cannot stop and you can create quite a "situation". So at the moment I am in complete control of the itching.

I read about poison ivy and believe me it is a mess of a situation. When you read the words "complicating identification", "6 distinct sub species", "can be highly variable in growth habitat and leaf appearance", you just cannot feel good about the odds of it being a black and white situation. If you must know, it is everywhere except Hawaii, California, Alaska and Newfoundland. It is extremely common in New England.....that and adorable ticks:) And it is so versatile that it can grow as a vine, groundcover, or a shrub.

I remembered reading a Wall Street Journal article about a year ago about poison ivy and I went back and found the article. I remembered this article because it had talked about how poison ivy was becoming more and more tricky. Like it has a mind of it's own. And I was right it did say it was getting worse. It's growing faster and producing more potent oil.

If you live East of the Rocky Mountains you should probably give up trying to identify it. They say that it can have more than three leaves "out here", the leaves can range from 1 to 6 inches, can be notched or smooth, and depending on the season can be green or red. Sounds very black and white to me :)