Nov 28, 2008

The tree from Balsam Acres.




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


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


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




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



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

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

Nov 27, 2008

To Go Tomorrow or Not to Go?

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

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

Are those all the traits I need?

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

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

Nov 25, 2008

Temptation

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

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

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

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

Nov 23, 2008

The Books on The Top Shelf.

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



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


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



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



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



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



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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Persuasion By Jane Austen

Mansfield Park By Jane Austen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 21, 2008

That Movie That Was Released Today :)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 19, 2008

Losing Things.

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 18, 2008

The Invitations.

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



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



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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 13, 2008

New Socks.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 11, 2008

Getting Rid of Leaves?


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

Nathaniel Philbrick


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 9, 2008

Having A Party.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 6, 2008

You Know The Tantrum.


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


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


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


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


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


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

Nov 4, 2008

How can I convince you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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




Nov 2, 2008

Blessings in Disguise.




Everyone knows that when you have a car that had been paid for and it gets into an accident and it gets totaled that you are NEVER going to get enough money back to replace your car that you had paid for. Everyone who hears of a car getting totaled always offers their condolences because it seems to be universal knowledge that you never walk away from this situation with happiness in your heart. Well I am here to be the first person you have ever known who walked away from a totaled car with happiness and love for the insurance people.


The blue book on a 1999 Volkswagen Beetle Bug that is black and has a faded NRA sticker in the back window and Cheerio crumbs on the floor was about $4,800 and you all know you never get the Blue book price. So we were looking at cars in the $3,000 range on Craigslist and hoping we would not have to argue with the insurance company to get that amount. So when we got the word that we were getting a check for $5,500 we could hardly contain our joy.


I left the car shopping completely up to Brian. I have a track record of begging for totally unrealistic cars for our family. So I said that, "I did not care what I would be driving." Then I said, "it did not matter." I also said, "let's just make sure that we do not spend all the money so we can have some to save or buy some other things we desperately need." All direct quotes. But I confess when my husband finally settled on a 2003 Kia Sedona mini van I behaved poorly. I have a difficult time with reality. I was secretly hoping for a Mercedes 450 SL convertible or a BMW Z9 Cabriolet. So it took me a full day to get over the disappointment and to behave like a grown up.

I think what finally made me "come to Jesus" about the Kia was that it only cost us $3,700 so we had extra money which meant on Saturday night we got to have a family outing to Home Depot where I found a clearance fridge that matches all my other appliances in my kitchen and thus is allowed in the house.

You all know I have been without a fridge in the house for almost a year and we have all been dreading the approach of another winter of traipsing to the cold garage to get our fridge items. So now because of a semi truck that could not stop before hitting me we have a mini van that I will learn to love if it kills me and a fridge which I loved at first sight and if you do the math I even have extra money that I am sure we will spend :)

So I am focusing on the fact that I have a sunroof in my minivan which puts me one step closer to a convertible. I have a tape deck and a CD player which is very cool. I have way to many reclining seats so that I am sure to have something to yell at the kids about. And Brian must have paid everyone in the ward to tell me how great Kia's were today at church so that I would feel better.

By the way I think I figured out how I can still blog everyday...... If it is my reward for getting my Seminary lesson done :) Clever huh?