Oct 29, 2008

Oh my Goodness.

Okay, this will be the fastest blog in history....I am all about setting records :)

I got back from Atlanta and had a job interview at Lost Acres Orchard in Granby and I got the job and already had my first day of work....whew.

All summer when I was buying my fruit from Ginny at Lost Acres I kept desperately wanting to work there so I took a chance and mentioned to her that I would love to work for her and she took me up on it. So many fun things to learn. She has a catering business plus all her orchards.

So yesterday I spent the day in her kitchen cooking 6 loaves of Pumpkin Raisin bread, a huge pot of Acorn Butternut Squash soup, and 2 batches of Gingersnaps. I helped clean and package and all sorts of other things. It really is the perfect job for me. Everyday from 9-2 for $12.00 an hour. The drive to her place is beautiful and I am learning all sorts of things. Come Thanksgiving she always does at least 300 Pies and at Christmas she does tons of cookies everyday. I am really looking forward to mastering all these kitchen skills.

The sad part is time to blog is gone. I will try to update when I can but I had to grow up and prioritize :) And now that I only have a teeny bit of time to work on my seminary lesson and such I have to give up some things. I am hoping in a week I will have a good handle on everything and not have to give it up. So stay tuned to see if I can continue with my reputation of being able to fit it all in :)

Atlanta was so fun. I am hoping to blog about that soon. What could be better than getting to see a 450 lb, 9 foot long, Sting Ray swimming in a HUGE tank with 4 whale sharks and numerous other HUGE sea things at the Atlanta Aquarium, and going thrift store shopping with all your sisters and mom all in the same weekend?

And many, many thanks to those of you who got Brian's e-mail about my birthday and took the time to write me a letter for my big 4-0 on Thursday. He put all 50 of the letters together in a book and organized it by where I had lived. I got letters from friends from Snohomish high school, my favorite choir director, people from Kansas, people from Indiana, all my family, and even Kittromney wrote to me :) It meant a lot to me since the last couple of years have been very tough. I have spent alot of time wondering how and if I had impacted anyone's life. I massively appreciate all of you who took the time to do that for me. If I ever get a request like that to write a letter for someone I will never not take the opportunity to let someone know how I remember them and how they touched my life :) And you will all get a personal thank you too. But I wanted you to know how fun that was.

So hang in there and do not give up on me :)

Oct 22, 2008

Brian's List.

I know it is sad but the truth is I am not sure if Brian and I will communicate before I leave for Georgia tomorrow morning. He is New York City all day today and he has to be at the church tonight with all the kids for youth activities. The truth is I know he checks my blog everyday so I am going to leave his "list" of things to remember and do while I am gone here for the whole world to see :) Now you will all know how pampered the Baird children are and what a nag I am.

Yes, he gets a list everytime I leave to go somewhere for more than a day. Yes, I have my doubts as to whether he reads it but it makes me feel better so I do it anyway. I mean there are a lot of little things to know about running this house that happen to be very helpful.....

Things Like:

#1. Make sure Madeline does not leave the house without signing something that states what time she will be home and what her punishment of choice will be if she is not home by that time.

#2. Make sure when you come upstairs from teaching Seminary for me that you make sure you hear that Joe in the shower.

#3. Make sure Joe gets his lunch packed. The fruit leathers are hidden in the roaster on the shelf in the white cupboard and now that everyone in the world knows that re-hide them or they will eat them all.

#4. Wake up Tatiana and Natalie at 7:45. Their bus comes at about 8:35. Be prepared to deal with them doing everything they can to annoy each other until the minute they get on the bus. It is not for the faint of heart to get these two out of the house. Dance when they leave :)

#5. Natalie gets water in her lunch in the water bottle with the pink top and in the outside pocket of her backpack I put one juice box for her snack at school. The juice boxes are in the cupboard above the phone. They are only for school. And only for Natalie :) Other people may try to tell you otherwise do not fall for it. Just pack a small lunch for Natalie she never eats it anyway.

#6. Make sure Natalie is dressed warm and that her outfit has a plain color top or bottom and then whichever is chosen to be plain the other could be a pattern :) Father of the Year does not dress his kids in 2 patterns.

#7. Madeline has the ACT on Saturday morning.

#8. Amanda has an away cross country meet on Saturday so make sure you know where she needs to be and get the cell phone to her so she can call you when she gets back since Madeline will not be with her.

And she probably has to have a treat for her " secret cross country buddy" even though her "secret cross country buddy" has never given her anything we should not let that deter us from frantically scrambling every single meet for something for her secret buddy....but I am not bitter :)

#9. Since Madeline and Amanda will be gone on Saturday morning make sure Miriam is around so you have a babysitter for the little girls.

#10. Make sure Joe bills his paper route customers on Friday. He often forgets. The bills are in the envelope box on the counter. Make sure he records his payments in his book and divides all his money up. And he needs to pay the newspaper on Saturday too.

#11. Friday night is the Trunk or Treat at the church. Make sure you take the big bag with the tortilla chips and salsa in it sitting on my blue IKEA chair and give the bag to an "in charge" looking Relief Society person when you get there.

#11A. Don't forget the trunk or treat candy (Also, on the blue IKEA chair in the Target bag). And remember someone has to stand by the car and actually hand out the candy :) remember to assign older girls to take little girls around to get their candy.

#12. Make sure the little girls get their costumes on and make sure Tatiana gets whiskers painted on her little face use Madeline's eyeliner :) Tatiana is stressed about it not coming off so reassure her it does. Remember Natalie is a dalmation and Tatiana is a cat.

#13. Make sure they take their sleepover bags to the Trunk or Treat. Oh wait, if they are sleeping over you actually do not need a baby sitter on Saturday....lucky Miriam and lucky you!

#14. Have them pack their stuff and then double check Natalie's bag for important items like clothes, toothbrush, pajamas, lots of underwear and her big blanket my mom made her. Limit them to ONE toy to take. BE STRONG.

#15. Food wise, remember that there are potatoes in the basement, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, cans of soup, applesauce and lots of chicken in the freezer. When all else fails there is Top ramen.

#16. On Saturday have Amanda clean all the bathrooms, Joe and Miriam rake all the leaves to the garden spot, Madeline do all the dishes and have Tatiana and Natalie pick up the basement and their room.

#17. Remember to get Tatiana and Natalie back sometime from their friends on Saturday it is possible to forget them :)

#18. The gum for church is on your dresser.

#19 Make sure to check back packs for papers and pile everything on the counter by the phone. And put Natalie's white school folder right back into her backpack she will freak if she gets to school without it. (Love how the school scares them to death about leaving those lovely folders unsigned and at home.)

#20 Remember Madeline and Amanda will fight about the straightener in the morning and make sure they get it out of the bathroom before you take your shower or you will have immense trauma.


#21. Pick up the Beetle Bug liscence plates from the towing place. (yes, it was totaled and State Farm is now the proud owners of a smashed 1999 Beetle bug.)

#22. Don't forget garbage day.

#23. Someone should change the cats litter since I am the only one who ever does it....but I am not bitter:)

#24. Remember that you have press the drain and rinse button on the washing machine after every cycle finishes or the clothes will take 6 years to dry in the dryer. Assuming you will be doing laundry :)

Okay, I know there is more but I think this is the major stuff. Oh how I LOVE lists :) When Brian and I went to Yellowstone when Zach was about 10 months old I left his mom with 4 long written out pages of instructions. None of them were followed but guess what? He survived. But that does not mean you are off the hook darling husband :)

Oct 21, 2008

Looking Forward.

Once a long time ago through some twist of fate my sisters and my mom and I all ended up in Georgia at my sister Sarah's house. It was November and it was a sweet girl's weekend. We thrift store shopped. We went to Crate and Barrel. We used all of Aunt Sarah's beads to make bracelets. We oohed and ahhed at Aunt Sarah's perfectly decorated home and ate lots of yummy food.

I have no idea how it has happened but all the planets have aligned perfectly again and early Thursday morning I am flying to Atlanta to hang out for the weekend with my sister's from Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia and my parents from Oregon. No, I did not forget that I have brothers. They live in Utah and Colorado and we love them dearly but it is a, "girls + one retired Dad" weekend. Several years ago for my Mom's big 60th birthday we were all together again just like when we were kids, just the 6 of us kids with no spouses and none of our kids and that was fun. (wait, maybe Valerie was there?) I wish we could do it again but alas this time it is girls and Dad.

I am really looking forward to it. I love to be in airports and people watch, I love to fly, I love to thrift store shop with my sisters, and I love it when Aunt Sarah does the cooking :)

I am hoping this fun trip will restart my creative blogging juices as I have been plumb out of ideas.

I am also hoping the books I ordered from a distant MA library miraculously appear in my local library before I leave. What on earth will I read on the airplane if my books do not show up :)

I am also hoping I have everyone's Halloween costumes ready so Brian can get them to the Trunk or Treat at the church on Friday without any glitches.

I am also hoping that I remember to chant to myself over and over on the way home from the airport on Sunday night, "Men and women clean differently" so that I am not discouraged when I get home.

I am hoping seeing my skinny sisters will motivate me to keep exercising.

I am hoping I can steal a Halloween costume for Joe from Aunt Sarah the master seamstress and "good mom" who always sews amazing costumes.

I will be back on Monday so don't forget me.

S-U-G-A-R !!

They start ever so little and innocently and before you know it you have some enormously nagging problems that you simply must put an end too. I am referring to not one but TWO very undesirable behaviors that the 6 year old in the house has.

The first behavior is FEAR......

  • Not just fear of dinosaurs like Madeline had when she was little.
  • Not just fear of the dark like Joe had when he was little.
  • Not just fear of having to take something out to the detached garage in the dark like I had when I was little.
  • Not just fear that his wife will ask him to rototill the garden, which is what Brian has.

It is fear of EVERYTHING. No, really everything. Fear of getting her pictures taken at school. Fear of the vacuum. Fear of people looking at her and oh so many more fears.

Today they are practicing exiting out of the back of the school bus in case they would ever have an emergency and need to do that. She prayed intently about this upcoming experience last night. She broke into tears several times this morning just thinking about it. And I barely got her on the bus because of it. We do a lot of talking about the things she is afraid of, like the vacuum, I had her stand next to it and see how tall she was compared to it. And we talked about how I control the vacuum and how it cannot do anything to her. It actually went remarkably well. But how do you explain to her that people are not looking at her when in actuality they are, but they aren't? I have some compassion for this "irrational fear thing" because I am sure some of it is her age and I am also sure a lot of it is genetic because most of the other Baird children had fears too. But I have not had one have so many fears, and not only that, so many fears that I cannot talk her out of.

The second behavior is one we are ALL to blame for and I have NO compassion for. You see when you have 6 older, very impatient, siblings who babysit you often and will pay whatever sugary price must be paid for you to not bother them this could happen to you. When you have to have something to keep your mouth quiet as you sit through years of concerts, awards assemblies, dentist and doctor appointments and such for 6 older siblings this could happen to you. I am pretty sure these are just some of the reasons why #7 thinks there is only one food group and it is sugar.

I confess things are crazy at our house and the mom has not been the good old, "providing all the food groups" mom, she had been in the past. But I hit rock bottom (which is where you can finally admit) when Natalie woke up the other morning and said she was really hungry for breakfast. I started thinking to myself as I was getting breakfast what did she have for dinner? (The night before had been book club at our house among oh so many other things.) I sadly could not remember what she had for dinner so I asked her, "What did you have for dinner last night?" And smiling from ear to ear she declared, "cheesecake." And then she asked if she could have candy for breakfast. That's when I finally woke up and smelled the sugar.

So last night ,using a lot of spelling, I explained to the children and the husband that we were all going to deny Natalie s-u-g-a-r. It is going to be tough. They are going to have to stand their ground. But she is not allowed sugar until after dinner.....after 3 balanced meals are successfully in her body. She is going to be mad. Actually she already is. But we can do it. We will walk her nicely to her room if she starts to get mad about the loss of her love. We will not be embarrassed and give in if she throws a fit in a public place. We are going to be strong and help the 6 year old. This morning she asked 3 times for a cookie in her lunch and I said, "No" because she will just eat the cookie and brazenly return home with all the other items from lunch still in her lunchbox. No one has clued her in that you always dump your lunch at school so mom does not see that you did not eat it.

I hate that I helped create the "sugar monster" by using sugar to help her hurry to get ready or by using sugar to get her to do her jobs, or by using sugar to keep her quiet when I needed to talk to someone's school teacher but it is never too late to change and I am ready to face what I created. Who knows, maybe it will go so well we can work on my sugar problems next :)

Oct 20, 2008

Don't tell me it never has happened to you :)

Well here I am sitting here staring a my blank blogging rectangle. I have been painfully aware of each day that passes without me getting to blog. And now here I am with the computer all to myself and I am freezing up. I have nothing to blog about. I could make a half hearted attempt but you would see right through it.

I even ran this morning to the driver's license place to switch my license from Indiana to Massachusetts and thought for sure I would have some hateful experience to tell you about. But I walked in and took my number. Waited 3 minutes. Read the letters in the eye thing and paid them the gross amount of $90.00 and was on my way.

I could blog about our Pumpkin patch excursion on Saturday. I do love the pumpkin patch and I without a doubt have very high expectations of them..... they must have pumpkins, still on the vine, out in the actual patch, and it makes me ever so happy if they are not trying to sell me any other things along with my pumpkins. I came very close to finding that at Fletcher's Pumpkin Patch in Easthampton. Nine Pumpkins for $20.00, pigs, goats and cows for the kids to pet and in 45 minutes we were on our way.

I could blog about my hot, black, Pontiac Grand Prix rental car. But that's no fun because it is not even mine. Although I do feel a little famous when I drive it. And when you crank your favorite Sara Barielles CD and drive fast through blowing leaves you feel like a 16 year old boy:)

I could blog about Zach's 19th birthday which is today. And how all he asked for was steel cut oats and copies of genealogy for his gifts. Then I could compare that birthday list to my darling Madeline's birthday list. But Madeline reads the blog so I guess I will refrain.

I could blog about how the CES guy over Seminary is coming to my house at 5;45am tomorrow morning to visit and how I should be working on my lesson so I can impress him...... Actually that just caught my attention I really should be doing that :)

So hopefully while I am cleaning the house and studying the scriptures I will get that blogging "ah ha moment" and be able to entertain you.

Miriam and her best friend Nichole at the Pumpkin Patch. Now just multiply this picture of some trees by my house by a trillion and add in red,yellow,pink and brown in every shade possible and you have the reason why all the roads are crowded with "leaf peepers."

Oct 16, 2008

Fourteen More Sewing Days :)

I used to make them. I have managed to con others into helping me make them. I have a pattern collection of them that would make you think I can just make them in my sleep. The last couple of years I confess to buying them from Wal Mart. I have never made one that everyone who saw it still talks about the "amazingness" of it. And be assured that I will ask to borrow one of yours if I ever see it and am sure it will fit one of the Baird's :)

Halloween costumes! It is that time again. Another time of year that I want to come through for the kids and rarely do.We always have grand intentions and good ideas and they never turn out the way we planned. One year Miriam had a Wizard of Oz theme party to attend and desperately wanted to be Dorthy. I bought the pattern and all the stuff and began with high hopes but I forgot that it takes me 6 months to understand a pattern and I ended up begging a dear friend to dig me out of my mess. After all our work Miriam ended up being too self conscious to wear it and I was very unhappy about that.

Throughout the years I have spent endless hours on the Family Fun website with my children sitting next to me while I point out cute costume after cute costume to them begging them to choose one. But they never choose what I think is cute.

I am in the phase of my life that I am now just dejectedly telling kids to look in the dress up box for their Halloween costume. I am not asking them what their little hearts desire to be. Those days are long gone....I think they are gone....I hope they are gone. You see I actually tell them to look in the dress up box every year and then I get that small thought that creeps into my mind that maybe I could really do it this year. I could make the perfect costume. The costume the "fam" talks about for years to come, "Remember when mom spent three weeks on her hands and knees with no sleep gluing that one costume?" It may affect who they marry. It may affect if they go the college. So many things are riding on one costume.

I have to do a lot of convincing when it comes to Halloween at our house. There is no convincing when it comes to Christmas or birthdays. But Halloween takes the Baird kids way out of their comfort zone. Oh, do not get me wrong candy is definitely in their comfort zone it is the dressing up thing and the people looking at them thing. I remember practicing trick or treating with little Zach to try to show him how fun it was and oh how he hated it. I remember dragging him to the trunk or treat in the Princeton ward building where there were so many people he was crying from the overwhelmingness of it all. All because I wanted him to have this experience and see how fun it was? Getting candy is fun....do you hear me?

I dream of a Halloween where the Baird kids finally realize that no one is looking at them. A Halloween where they could care less what they are wearing they just realize it is about the candy. But to have that kind of Halloween they would have had to sadly have a different mother.

YES, I do wonder every year why am I convincing them to do this when it is just about candy anyway? But do not ask me such hard questions. Maybe it is because I love the trick or treating thing, not to be confused with the aforementioned loving the dressing up thing. I love running through the dark in the cold with them from house to house and seeing all the fun lit up decorations. Yes, the inevitable costume malfunctions are a pain. Yes, some years, keeping warm and dry are a pain but I still love it. They usually have to beg me to take them home and I will say, "just one more block." Brian gave up years ago and never comes because of my issues:)

The hardest part is deciding what to be. They never want to commit and for the life of me I do not know why. Could it be hereditary?

Oct 14, 2008

Driving to Amherst goes awry.

I saw the orange merge sign and the police car with it's lights on and I merged and so did the 7 ton semi behind me he just forgot the minor detail of the slowing down part. What a bummer. With the friendly push from the semi I was able to share the love with the pick up truck in front of me but his truck was not damaged. The only sad parts were that:

  • #1 I had just filled the Beetle full to the tippy top with gas.

  • #2.My last claw clip that I was guarding with my life from the cat and my teenagers was in my hair and after the accident all that was left were all the pieces of my claw clip stuck in my hair.

  • #3.I felt very sad for the trucker who hit me because he participated in another accident this week already and he will probably lose his job since he received a ticket today for failing to stop responsibly....I'll say.

So now we are figuring out how a spoiled 3 car family becomes a loving, sharing 2 car family that has smiling teenagers that glory in the opportunities that taking a yellow school bus can provide. I told them I took the school bus every day until I graduated from high school and I am not scarred.

Tonight we saw the opportunity the accident provided us with to actually have family home evening (yes, I know it's Tuesday) and we piled everyone in the car and we drove to the towing place to get everything out of the very totaled Beetle. Which we will all miss terribly. The kids sang along to a rap song on the radio at the top of their lungs on the drive over and decided that was our opening song for our "field trip FHE." Then when we pulled into the tow yard the kids burst out of the van and ran to the Beetle. I am very sure that the guys at the tow place are blogging the best blogs of their careers at this very moment about us. There were flashes going off everywhere as the kids all worked the scene taking pictures of themselves with the car, around the car and even on the car. Why did I buy them all cameras?

Finally, we topped off the evening with a FAMILY TRIP to Costco (do not try this at home only trained professionals can handle this situation :) to purchase Eggo's, milk, bread and refreshments. Truthfully, they embarrass me. Tonight they decided to walk in a perfect straight line behind me all through Costco acting like baby ducks following their mom....yes, even the almost 18 year old participated. They lined up in order of height and quacked and followed me....all through Costco. Yes, there was staring, comments, and laughter but I do noy want to be reminded. Oh and where was Brian? In the book section.

So now the Baird family has to find a new car. My only requirement is that it has to be a stick shift.

The "Throw up Bucket."

Do you have a "throw up bucket?" Well we did, but after this weekend it is now plural "throw up buckets", five to be exact. I hate that once you throw up in a bowl even though you run it through the dishwasher at least 6 times the thought is still there and no one will use it for anything else. I remember once having to use the blue IKEA bowl for taking dinner to someone and the kids were aghast that I was using the "throw up bucket" to take food to someone. I used to only have one such "bucket" but the Baird family had a first this weekend 5 people throwing up at the same time. Definitely something to blog about.

It started on Sunday, Tatiana's birthday. And Tatiana was the first one to get it. Luckily Tatiana has some super sense and the minute she feels sick she starts to cry and carries the "bucket" with her everywhere. Even if she never throws up she wants to be safe. Years ago on our way to West Virginia Miriam and Tatiana were sitting in the car next to each other and Miriam had a "throw up incident" and it traumatized Tatiana for life I fear. I mean if you include "please, help me to not get thrown up on" in your prayers that definitely means you have experienced trauma.

It is very interesting to me how we all deal with being sick and our pain differently. Tatiana cries and cries and cries about how she is "going to die" when she is sick. I finally got her settled at about 11pm and at about 1am I hear footsteps and Joe appears. He has thrown up. He had enough time to debate about carpet or bed and chose carpet......very thoughtful was not what I was thinking as I was cleaning it up. I casually mentioned some other choices to consider in the future....trash can, and bathroom were mentioned and the ease of folding up blankets on a bed and putting them in the wash was possibly mentioned also.

I just got Joe's mess cleaned up and found a suitable bowl for him and got back to sleep and Natalie started. Luckily Natalie and Tatiana and I were having a sleepover in the basement so the bucket and me were right there and ready. Our fun sleepover will forever be affectionately referred to as the "throw up" sleepover. I just got Natalie settled and Tatiana threw up again. Suffice it to say everyone threw up 4 times at least and we all know you cannot just throw up and go back to sleep you definitely have someone (PREFERABLY YOUR MOM) witness it. For a while Natalie tried demanding that I keep my eyes open in case she threw up again. HA

As morning approached I hear new footsteps and it was Miriam running for the bathroom. And she wins the prize for being the most accommodating sick person because she made it to her destination.

Luckily the sickness was short. But at about 9 am I realized I was getting it. We were all very sad because it was a day off of school and we had a lot of fun plans that we had to cancel. I seriously laid in my bed all day with children all around me complaining of boredom. I could look out the window and hear cars going by on their way to fun. I could see the beautiful leaves that I could have been enjoying. I honestly cannot remember the last time I was so sick. I definitely got the long version of the sickness. I had a raging fever, I could not even keep my eyes open to read. What fun is laying in bed all day if you cannot read? Luckily by about 3 in the afternoon I was able to keep my eyes open to read and finished the bookclub book and worked on Seminary. But the fact still remains that I lost a day and definitely need some more bowls.

Oct 10, 2008

Being Greedy.

It is the apple time of year again and for the first time in 19 years I had to go to the orchard....gasp.... by myself. No kids to direct which apples we pick and which ones we don't. Nobody having to go to the bathroom in the middle of the orchard. Just me....by myself. Strange that I never thought about that happening.

Did I mention yet that it is Fall in New England and that it is beautiful? Everyday I wake up and think that surely the colors cannot get any better than this and then I wake up the next morning and it has gotten better. The drive to Granby, Connecticut to Lost Acres Orchard is 30 minutes and it is very pretty drive. So I have no problem motivating myself to go.

I always ask for "seconds" or "drops" when I am doing applesauce. So when I got there Ginny told me to take whatever was on the ground for $10.00 a bushel. The apples on the ground were still really good apples and I could not stop collecting them I felt so greedy. So my greed got me 3 bushels of apples for applesauce. That should keep me busy today and probably into tomorrow.

So instead of reading blogs and commenting, reading Memoirs of a Geisha for bookclub, cleaning the bathtubs, getting ready for Tatiana's birthday on Sunday, working on Seminary and getting Zach's birthday box ready and to BYU by the 20th I am making applesauce for the next 2 days which is okay because we were completely out and things were getting desperate it got so bad that I had even been talked into buying individually packaged NAMEBRAND applesauce which means a hostile takeover by the children is only another "cave in" away. :)

Oct 8, 2008

Waffles in your food storage?

If there is ANYTHING in your life that you need motivation to do I highly recommend asking the people who make that decision in your area if you can be a seminary teacher. Actually if you are serious about needing motivation just tell them you are going to do it don't ask.

Last week we spent 2 days on the Second Coming in Seminary and let me tell you between intense studying of that and watching our little economy lurch about as it is I am thinking about food storage 24/7.

I have never been able to wrap my mind around food storage. I believe in it. I want to do it. But how to do it with foods that I cook with?...which lately means food like Eggo waffles. It does not seem right to have 3,120 Eggo waffles in your food storage and not only that but to have spent $390.00 on them. I searched the prepredness articles and I can find nothing on the freezer life of Eggo's....not to mention their nutritional value.

How to do it and not go into debt? My good friend Shelley H. Who lived in Lawrence mentioned once that she spent ten extra dollars a grocery store trip on a few extra things for food storage. That made sense to me because in everything we do it is better to plug along at a slow, "taking small steps" pace. I actually do that $10 thing but it is not as focused as I am sure Shelley's plan was. So I have a lot of cream of chicken soup and tomato paste.

I have tried ever so hard to make myself understand how to translate the requirements for a year of food storage into something do-able for my family. I always take advantage of dry pack canning opportunities but the problem with that is that I just get so emotionally involved with the thought of those #10 cans nicely stacked in my basement that I forget as I am merrily dry pack canning that we do not eat pink beans (but they have come in handy for craft projects) or hot chocolate and so I can them and end up giving them away.

Speaking of dry pack canning are you a "pouch" house or a #10 can house? I need my food storage to look good and slouched over pouches do not meet my needs:) But I want you to know I realized that was very "surfacy" of me so I recently repented and put my big 50 lb sacks of flour into the pouches and actually quite enjoyed the process. I am still a little disturbed by their slouchy ways but I will get over it.

The current system at our house is I send a kid to the basement with a clipboard to write down everything I have on the shelves. This job makes Amanda and Zach ever so happy. It really appeals to their OCD they actually always voluteer to do it. I predictably panic at the news they bring to me on the clipboard and I immediately purchase 100 lbs of wheat and a ton of tomato sauce and that seems to assuage my guilt for awhile. Then I make sure to keep that, ever so nice, list they made and never do anything with it again until about a year later when I send Amanda or Zach down to the basement to do it again.

Yesterday with thoughts of desolating scourges and economic crisis swirling in my head I sat down yet again to try to make a plan. I was able to make a really momumental decision about how much peanut butter we need. I buy the package of two jars of Skippy from Costco for $7.99. I need one a month so that would mean for a year's worth I need to buy 6 of the two packs of peanut butter which will be $48.00. There was that so hard? Baby steps.

I spent about a half an hour reading back through all the information about being prepared and then spent the rest of the afternoon wondering why some kind soul does not write a little old pamphlet for me that says exactly what to store for a "family of 9" that:

#1.Has a dad that thinks food storage consists of having numerous weapons and toilet paper and who also thinks if we get to a point that we are grinding wheat that we should "just kill ourselves."
#2.Has a mom with one or more learning disabilities and cannot focus.
#3.Does not eat canned vegetables. Frozen or fresh for us.
#4.Needs 600 rolls of toilet paper a month :)
#5.Has a 12 year old that is allergic to wheat, milk, eggs, peanuts and soy.

You know how you are supposed to only put things you actually eat in your food storage? Well at this dismal moment in our lives that pretty much is just Eggo waffles. (Are you getting the idea that we eat Eggo waffles?) I have an enormous but very boring list of super good reasons as to why we are not eating meals that include the wheat, dry milk, honey and rice that is currently in the basement. But I hate people who make excuses so I better not share the list with you :)

Is it wrong to keep thinking that when the time comes and they are hungry they will eat whatever you have? I cannot seem to find an official quote to that effect anywhere.

So all that said tell me how your food storage is going :) And if you need some good scary scriptures to motivate you I have some :)

Oct 7, 2008

Something is missing.

It is that time of year again. Frost warning for tonight. It is getting hard to get up out of the warm blankets in the morning. I am even feeling a small desire to sleep in my clothes so as to avoid the cold in the morning. Especially since I get up at 4 and put on church clothes.
These are the days that I start to long with all my heart and soul for a fireplace. How can you live in New England and not have a fireplace? The poor fireplace is always the thing that gets crossed off the "things I must have or I am going to die list" when we begin house shopping. Other really boring things like bedrooms and bathrooms end up taking precedence over my need for a crackling fire, with the perfect rug laying in front of it, me sitting in an equally perfect chair wearing clothes with Lands End tags in them and my huge St Bernard laying on my perfect rug. ( the St Bernard cleans up it's own messes and never sheds and loves me unconditionally)

When we looked at this house the builders were VERY proud of the gas fireplace they had put in. It was often on when we came to look at the house and they loved to tell us about all the features of this fireplace. I was mildly interested in the gas fireplace I figured it would do in a pinch. If I could find a candle that smelled like campfire that I could burn while enjoying the warmth from my gas fireplace, maybe just maybe, it would be okay.

Well we moved here on December 6 last year and it was cold....very cold. It took us several days to figure out the thermostat thing, the movers left every single door open for hours letting cold air pour in and our clothes dryer needed a special hook up so we used the gas fireplace very frequently to keep ourselves warm and dry our clothes :)

After we got all our furniture here and in the house I quickly realized how valuable the wall that this gas fireplace was occupying was. I started to think small hateful thoughts about it and then in January our first gas bill arrived and I knew exactly who to blame when the bill was $800.00. And thus "small hateful thoughts" became "enormous hateful thoughts." I no longer talked about the gas fireplace behind it's back so as to not let it hear I talked hate right in front of it.

The pilot light on the fireplace has long since been extinguished never to be lit again. And I have this decorating dilemma. What to put on top of the gas fireplace that is so in the way? My fashion saavy friend Mindy suggested pictures and I think that is a very good idea but I have a feeling it involves picture frames, choosing pictures and possibly blowing pictures up and it could get messy. A very nice lady brought me some hydrangeas from her garden and I put them in a vase on the top of the gas fireplace and it did look super nice. But they were real flowers and they died.

I sometimes secretly wonder what the chances would be that we could put a real fireplace there instead but mentioning that would open numerous cans of worms so I think I will keep that wonder to myself.....oops I just blogged about it :)

Oct 6, 2008

Junk Mail.

I have been trying not to ignore how many messages have been sitting in my junk mail box. "Mr Junk Mailbox I know all about you and let me tell you I am a good girl who has been warned of the likes of you." But I must confess sometimes when the number of the messages in my regular e-mail is consistently at 3 I cannot help but notice that my junk mail number is never below 10. Today it was at 19. I have a healthy fear of the junk mail box. I have heard the stories of what happened to everyone's friend Suzy who got a virus on her computer from that junk mail box and I have heard about Johnny who lost his whole life savings in his junk mailbox incident. I am very careful to NEVER click on anything in that junk mail box. But today I just LOOKED at it. Do you know all the answers are in my junk mail box? They have patiently been waiting there for me. Listen to all the treasures, temptations and promises that I discovered.

#1. I can work from home, job openings are available in my area.
What if it is an answer to my prayers?

#2.I have two e mails with "unread crush mail" in them.
The men of my dreams BOTH OF THEM are trying to send me crush mail and I am devastating them by ignoring them. I can only imagine how they must be admiring me from afar. I hope they know each other so they at least have someone to talk to about my flowing hair and deep brown eyes :)

#3.Cash4Gold wants to know if I want cash.
I DO. I wonder if they will want gold for it? Maybe I could get gold from the men who have a crush on me and sell it to the cash4gold guys?

#4.The people at PoliceLink scholarships want to know if I have ever thought of becoming a police officer.
Oh if only they knew how I adore power. Actually maybe they already know...I mean they sent me the e-mail?

#5. Someone named "admin" at viagra.com has sent me 5 messages all with a different and ever so special 6 digit number attached.
You will be happy to know this did not tempt me so much. Even though someone went to a lot of work to not duplicate that number to insure I would never doubt the meaningfulness and sincerity of the e-mail message just for me from my best friend "admin." What kind of parents name their child "admin?"

These people all want the best for me. They know how I love to see my name in bold print. Not just my first name my last name too. It makes me feel all warm and loved and almost like I should click on their e-mail. Don't worry I stopped just in time. But I will never forget they are all willing to do so much for me. And I do not want anyone to ever forget that I could get up to $1500.00 in one hour anytime I want to. I just choose not to :)

What if something really important actually goes to my junkmail box? Can I live with never knowing what I missed?

Hike to Heublein Tower

Ever since I heard about the Heublein Tower I have wanted to hike to it. I refrained all summer from dragging the family 25 minutes away to Simsbury, Connecticut because I had heard this was a hike you must do when the leaves are changing colors. I worked hard to find a weekend that all the stars would be perfectly in line. No Cross Country meet. Late soccer game. No church activities. Friends who could come along. Good weather. I settled on this past Saturday the 4th. It was a beautiful day. Clear blue sky. We got to the beginning of the trail at about 9am. There were 19 of us that went...... the more the merrier!! The hike to the tower is 1.5 miles and is supposed to take between 30 to 40 minutes. It took all of us exactly 40 minutes. The first part of the hike goes straight up but once you see the view you realize it is so worth the climb. I know in 2 weeks the colors will be even more amazing but there was no other free Saturday to hike so I took what I could get.
When you get to the top of the hike you are 1000 feet above the valley. There was this guy named Gilbert Heublein who is best known for manufacturing A-1 Steaksauce and he was hiking with his fiancee one day and told her he would build her a castle on this spot. So in 1914 he built it and it was his summer home. Many famous people have been guests there. When you get to the home inside there is 110 steps that lead up to this amazing observation tower that has beautiful windows and an awesome parquet floor. The tower is an extra 165 feet up and you can see for miles in every direction. It was so cool to see trees, trees, trees and then a city ( Hartford and Springfield) rising up out of nowhere.

And speaking of trees you really should come and visit me to see the amazing colors. But before I make you feel guilt for not coming I should confess I actually was surprised that there are other places that were listed in the "top ten places to view colors" list and there also seemed to be no consensus on the fall foliage lists. But Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Vermont and Michigan were consistenly on any list I found. There are so many factors that determine a good fall leaf show. You can see from the picture that they are starting to change but I did not realize until I got to the top of this hike just how many still have to change :) Now that I know how easy the hike is and how close it is to my house I may have to try to sneak another hike in when the colors get a little better.

The first picture is of Madeline and Miriam goofing off at a stopping point on the hike. The second picture is of Natalie and her friend Shannon standing in the observation room at the top of the tower. And the last picture is a view from a spot on the hike where you can look out over the valley and try to give your mom a heart attack by standing dangerously close to the edge.

Oct 3, 2008

Of Dial Up and Fluff.

The Baird family has dial up. There I said it out loud. If you ever try to call us and hear an actual ringing sound on the other end of the line you should take note of the moment and definitely leave us a sassy message on our answering machine. There are 3 teenagers with Facebook and AIM(instant messaging) living in my house. There are two little girls who recently discovered Polly.com and Barbie.com. And there is one mom who needs to blog and e-mail. Joe the 12 year old can take it or leave it. And Brian works at this cushy place that has high speed Internet so he does not understand the pain:) I usually can complain a few times a day about my dial up Internet connection but yesterday I actually thought of some virtues of the situation.

As you all know I have been longing to change the look of my blog. As I look at more and more blogs I get swept away in all the glamour, all the links to click on to take you to amazing places, all the oh so perfect pictures, the amazing backgrounds and borders, the awards. I come back to my humble blog and usually I feel a little stubborn. I really do not want to change it. To me my blog is about what I write not how it looks. But then I notice there is nothing on my blog to pull you in and catch your eye nothing to keep you here long enough to actually start reading so you can realize I love long sentences. I painfully realize that everyone else has figured out a way to take a perfect picture of themselves where they must hold the camera up and look up at it and then manage to get their hair to cover one eye ever so perfectly. If you notice my picture is a straight on shot taken by Amanda when I caught her standing in the bathroom combing her hair and said hey, take a picture of me....and she did right there in the bathroom :)

I know exactly what I want my blog to look like. I am a very simple person. I spent all day yesterday looking at 190 of the 272 blog backgrounds on Cutest Blog on the Block's website. There is some cute stuff on there but I am not sure if it is me. While I was looking at the 272 blog backgrounds they have to offer is when I decided there was some virtues to the dial up. I would pull up a page of 10 blog backgrounds and while it was coming up I would leave the computer room and go do housework. The first time I did dishes then I came back looked at the backgrounds clicked "next" and then left and went and washed windows while it pulled up ten more backgrounds. I go the floors swept, some drawers organized and all sorts of other things. Aren't you high speed Internet girls jealous? I only made it to #190 of the backgrounds so I will surely get more housework done today. Although, I confess I only found 2 out of the 190 that I was interested in so far. And even then I am just not sure if it is me. Can a blog go through a midlife crisis?

Another good thing about the dial up is most of the time I can read your blogs but I rarely wait long enough for it to pull up your beautiful background. Why is this good? Because then I don't feel bad and think I need to make my blog look better :)I remember the day I had clicked on a blog and then ran to do something that took awhile and when I came back I was in shock when I saw all I had been missing on this particular blog.

Dial up Internet connection is defined as an Internet connection that requires a phone line and is generally slow.....yep, that is what I have. A 2008 Internet and American Life project study stated that only 10% of American Adults still use dial up. I wonder if I win something?

I worry that someone may be trying to call me to tell me that my kids are in the nurses office at the school bleeding to death. I worry that someone may be trying to call me to tell me I have a job interview at Border's. I worry that we will show up at soccer and it was cancelled but no one could get through to tell me. But what can I do? Now that I think about it I should get off the computer just in case :)

And I think I owe all 40 of you who read my blog a fat check for therapy because just blogging about it helped me to realize that I will be okay if my blog does not have all the very cool fluff. After complaining about it and fiddling around with it I have finally come to embrace who I am....."plain white wall girl." So don't be too shocked if this old blog just stays the way it is and definitely laugh out loud at my hypocrisy if I add some fluff. By the way what is the definition of fluff anyway? Oh, it is "something of no consequence."

Oct 2, 2008

What I am longing to read.

I am loving teaching Seminary. But occassionally I do think longingly of the days when I did not have to read my scriptures, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, or Jesus The Christ 24/7. I know that that sounds very backwards. But I have two Wall Street Journals waiting for me to read. Think of all those well written articles wasted. I feel so desperate to understand what is happening in the financial world. I want to be able to intelligently talk about it and to understand how it affects me and I simply cannot find the time. The one Wall Street Journal is dated the 18th of September and the other is the weekend of September 20th and 21st. I am so behind. But every spare minute I have I must study so I can give somewhat intelligent sounding seminary lessons.

Another thing I need to be reading is the boookclub book for this month Memoirs of a Geisha. I never saw the movie but I am curious about the book. And I have always contended that bookclub is not about reading what you like it is about reading things you never would have chosen and stretching yourself.

I also think I will die if I cannot get my hands on Brisinger the third book in Christopher Paolini's Eragon series. It just came out about a week ago and it is sitting upstairs in Madeline's room taunting me as I go through everyday. This was a series that I was very surprised that I liked. Madeline is always trying to talk me into books and I resisted these for awhile but they are really good. The movie however was horrible. I have never seen a movie where I wanted to just shout out loud, "no that's not right" over and over to the screen. And I wanted to personally tell everyone in the world who saw it that it was not like the book at all.

For awhile I had Stephanie Meyer's book The Host sitting on my bedside table with all the hope in the world that I would be able to read it but I had to take it back to the library which made me so sad.

In the church books defense they are making a huge difference in my life. Having to study about Christ's life everyday for 2 hours really can seriously make a difference. Those people who suggest it really know what they are talking about :)

I do see a small glimmer of hope on the horizon. I am going to Georgia on the 24th to hang out with my three sisters and my parents for my 40th birthday maybe they won't mind if I hide in my room and read like I did when I was a kid :) And if that doesn't work maybe I could read on my trip to Indiana in November where I am also celebrating the big 4-0. Or maybe Christmas break?

And while we are on the subject I also have the dvd Iron Man sitting in my tv room half watched. I really wanted to see it in the theater and never got to. It came out on Tuesday on dvd and Joe AKA "Mr Moneybags" purchased it. And I of course just let him because I want to see it so bad and he had the money and I did not :) So I have watched half of it while getting scripture mastery stuff ready. And I think I can justify the other half if I fold socks while watching it.

I really wish I had serious multi tasking skills so I could read my books, watch Iron Man and work on seminary all at the same time...oh and pay attention to my children...how could I forget that?

Oct 1, 2008

Changes coming.

I am taking a flying leap into the world of computer lingo and forcing myself to fix this extremely ugly blog of mine so tune in to be dazzled and amazed and don't forget to pray for me :) It may take a couple days for me to figure it all out.