Apr 30, 2009

Just Wanted You To See This.

I will write a post later today since I have a ton of errands to run this morning but until then I had to post this picture for you to see. :)

Apr 29, 2009

Two Conversations.

Last Sunday Madeline, Natalie and I were sitting in my room it was the end of spring break week and Natalie, excitedly, says;

"We get to go back to school tomorrow!"

Madeline (the Senior) said, "Can I drop out?"

I said, " Madeline, you have 25 days of high school left what happened to enduring to the end?"

She said, "Mom, like, NOBODY does that anymore."

I said, "Yeah, you may be right, but in our family we do."

Who does endure to the end anymore?


I occasionally get in the mood to expose the children to movies I watched in the 80's. Those movies are always cheap at the rental store. And it is always interesting to me to see what I did not retain from the first time I saw the movie a bazillion years ago. :) So last week I had one of those, "let's rent 80's movies moments" so I rented Romancing The Stone and a few Star Trek movies. I got dinner out of the way and then shouted to the children,

"Eighties party in the basement"

And Tatiana (the 9 year old) said, "Is that for people who haven't ate?" :)

I guess I need to educate the child born in 1996 on what the 80's were.

Apr 28, 2009


For an entire year I have effectively ignored it. But then the signs that I should face it started adding up. Tight clothes, not wanting to be caught on film, tight clothes, cringing when seeing pictures of myself.....did I mention tight clothes? :) I often find that not facing things is the way I like to deal with them. You know maybe they will go away if you ignore them. Well that is not the case in this situation. It apparently, without my permission, just kept getting bigger. But I had absolutely no idea how much until last night when I made the simple choice to stand on that stupid, coldhearted scale. What I saw shocked me into action. When I moved to Massachusetts the scale said 120 and that is not what it said last night. I panicked. And I realized that when THEY say you have to hit rock bottom before you do something THEY were right. This is the first time in my life that I have hit rock bottom. And it is a unexpectedly, rejuvinating feeling. I had to really concentrate on the feeling since I did not recognize it.....what is this?.....oh my gosh, it is determination. Wow, I have not felt that in a long time. Hey everyone look at me I am determined!!

First thing I did was march into the kitchen and scold my family members for not telling me I was fat. What kind of friends are they?

Second thing I did was go in the basement and find the purple folder that I knew had a handful of blank calendars sitting in it. Those calenders had been waiting patiently for about 10 years for me to need them. I went upstairs with my calenders and I sharpened a pencil, because everyone knows you can not start something new without a freshly sharpened pencil and then I wrote in black Sharpie on the top of my calendar, "Your mom is fat." Then I filled in all the days in May. Then on each and every day, except Sunday, I wrote "exercise, water, portions." On Sunday it just says, "water and portions." Water means 8 glasses of water and I can cross it off IF I drink my 8 glasses. Exercise means 3 miles everyday PLUS my 30 minute toning video and I can cross it off IF I do it. Portions means....well it basically means portions and I can cross it off IF I recognize the portion size :) Down the side of the calendar I wrote the words, "Carbs are evil."

Then I wrote how much I weighed on the calendar in plain view for everyone who walks in the house and looks on my fridge to see. Then I decided 20 lbs off of that number would be just about perfect and very reasonable. I asked the little, tiny 14 year old who happened to be sitting at the table with me how long she thought it would take me to lose 20 lbs and she went on and on about how she had lost 3 lbs when she started track and then gained it back over spring break....blah, blah, blah. I realized I can not ask a cute, skinny person that question. So in my mind I decided that I want it gone by Labor Day for our annual trip to the beach.

I confess I think I really like being determined :)

Apr 24, 2009

Kent Falls

A couple weeks ago when I imagined spring break I had imagined us merrily hiking every day. Mother nature and reality did not cooperate with with my vision and I had to settle for hiking on just Monday and Friday. Our Monday hike was just something close to our houses. It was the kind of thing where you hear about something and you know you would always wonder about it so you check it out just so you know what it is. It was fun, but not spectacular. And I do so enjoy spectacular :)So I went to the library on one of our rainy spring break days and got several books with titles like 50 Hikes in Massachusetts, Hikes and Walks In The Berkshire Hills, Fun With The Family in Connecticut, and of course Fun With The Family In Massachusetts. I did a lot of reading and found a ton of amazing hikes that I wanted to go check out....immediately. But for this hike I needed to remember we would have small kids with us. I had planned to go to Bash Bish Falls because I have been there before and I knew what to expect. But the minute I read about Kent Falls which are an hour and 20 minutes from my house. I was sold and we had to go there. And I was not disappointed.The minute you pull into the parking lot you see a waterfall. The last picture in this post is exactly what you see. And when you see that you know that this can't be anything but good. Our weather was perfect. We left a little later in the morning than I wanted to. But there was a small incident involving the car battery. And a little bit of waiting for friends that I had hoped to talk into joining my friend Jenn and I. But it ended up being just Jenn and her three kids, Tatiana, Natalie and I. Which is a bummer because the falls and the hike were so amazing I am now going to have to beg and nag until I get all my other friends and family to come and see them.
The hike up is definitely up.....straight up. But there is a railing and beautifully maintained steps and lots of lookout platforms for you to stop at and admire the falls along the way. There are several different waterfalls as you go up the mountain. Not just the one that you see from the parking lot. My favorite one is the picture on top of my blog. When we got to the top we found some calm pools of water for the kids to throw rocks on and wade in. Then when we headed down we headed down the other side of the falls. That side is just a trail through woods. But it was very pretty. And not as steep as the coming up side was.

When we arrived at the hike there were not many people there but as we were leaving the hike at about 2:00pm two school buses full of teenagers pulled up and I breathed a sigh of relief....in my head...of course :)

Oh, the hour and 20 minute drive? It was a beautiful drive through all sorts of interesting towns in Connecticut. The kids did fine. I mean if you throw in McDonalds to eat and stickers to play with can anything ever go wrong? :)

So, after all my reading I now have an amazing list of some not so easy hikes that I am going to have to con some poor unsuspecting friends into trying with me. The good part is that hiking is free...so hopefully that will help my cause :)

Apr 23, 2009

Spring Break ?

Peace, quiet, perhaps some sand, the sound of waves, meals that someone else made involving all the food groups, sunshine, happiness......is that not what you think of when you hear the word "break?" Yeah, me too. I hate to be the one to mention it but I think the word break is a little misleading. It holds promise but it never delivers. This is not the case for everyone. I mean a kid on Joe's lacrosse team is enjoying his break in Hawaii. I think money may have a small part in whether your break is really a break or not. We never go anywhere for break and that is perhaps why our break is not really a break. Ours should probably be called:

Spring "see our friends every waking minute"
Spring "see how long we can keep mom in the car",
Spring "dirty every cup in the house,"
OR (my personal favorite)
Spring "make messes you do not intend to clean up without some good weeping and wailing action."

But I will say we got a small hike in before it rained on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I introduced Joe to Romancing The Stone and Star Trek Generations. I read an entire book about the tragedy of the whaling ship Essex on Wednesday. We ended up organizing my fabric on Wednesday night. And tomorrow the weather is supposed to be nice so we are going to climb to the most popular waterfall in Connecticut. So take that....people lounging in Hawaii without a care in the world. :)

Apr 21, 2009

Two Years.

It all started on October 20th, 1989 at Utah Valley Hospital. An entire deacons quorum was born in that hospital on that day.

My hubby and my mom had gone home from the hospital leaving me in a very quiet hospital room. If you can believe it I honestly did not have anyone to call to talk about the fact that I had just had my first baby. And I do love to talk, so I just picked up my little, very cute baby and talked away. He sat there very quietly with his eyes open and he really seemed to be listening. I told him about all sorts of things. It was a little odd to be talking out loud to this 6 hour old baby but I had great plans for him and he seemed genuinely interested in hearing them.

Nineteen years flew by. Some of them he was embarrassed of me. Some of them he was my friend. Some of them I had to make him do things he did not want to do. Some of them he wore sweat pants when I wanted him to wear jeans. :) All I can say is the 19 years went fast, just like everyone who knew they would had said they would. I feel like breaking into song....."sunrise, sunset.....quickly go the years".... :)

But tomorrow he heads into the Missionary Training Center in Provo. Today he had his last final at BYU. You may think we did not plan the timing of that so well, but I think it is turning out the way it should. I saw him in March but the siblings have not seen him since December and will not see him for two years. Brian managed to have some business in Utah, which is good, so he was able to help him pack up stuff, help him decide what to leave in Utah for Madeline when she gets to BYU, help him clean his apartment, gather all his last minute stuff and will drop him at the MTC tomorrow.

I wonder what goes through a missionaries head the night before he goes into the MTC?

I can tell you the mom of the missionary has a lot of thoughts going through her head....worldly advice she forgot to give. :) Does he have everything he needs? Did everything fit in the suitcases? Is he worried about anything? Can I afford this? Should I have a bought him a different size shirt? Will he eat? Will he use his Carmex? :) I am not a hovering kind of mom. I am not a "touchy feely" kind of mom. Does he know how much I love him?

Zach does not feel comfortable with me bragging about him. So I won't.....even though I could. :) But we will miss him terribly. He has been so good at calling us from BYU. He always asks to talk to all his siblings when he calls and he asks them lots of questions about how they are. When he is home he will play Memory with the little girls which no one else ever does. When he is home there is always someone asking if they can help me. When he is home we never forget to have family prayer or scripture study.

All I can do at this point in the game is resolve to be a good letter writer. And try to be as good of an example as he is at living the gospel.

Apr 20, 2009

Backing Off For A Week.

So here are all my reasons why you may not get a post everyday this week.......

#1. Spring break started today.....6 kids at home wanting the computer. Six kids at home wanting me to be in the car driving them places :)
#2. Brian is gone for ten days to Utah and Florida.
#3. Zach goes into the MTC on Wednesday......harder than I thought :)
#4. I suffered trauma from only getting 4 TOTAL comments in the whole week last week....yes, I sadly, care about comments and immediately connect them directly to my self worth :)
#5. I am in the middle of an amazing book called Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales that I can not put down.
#6. I need to wash my hair :)
#7. The yard still needs a little bit more attention :)
#8. I may just watch DVD's all week :)

Apr 17, 2009

Three Things On My Mind and A Picture.

I have been meaning to post this picture. Those of you on Facebook that are friends with my daughter have seen it but I do love it so I wanted to share it. The newspaper took this picture the night that she broke the record for the 55 m hurdles at Smith college track and the record for Western Massachusetts.

When you are in a parking lot do you park in the first spot you see or do you hunt for the perfect one? I park in the first one I see. It drives me crazy to drive around hunting for something that I may or may not find. I would rather spend my time getting into the store.

I have been diligent in figuring out my food storage lately and I figured out that for a family my size I need 400 lbs of flour for my years supply. 50 lbs of flour is $14.00 at Costco. So I am going to buy a bag every two weeks until I have my 400 lbs. So, you know how when you put the seats down in some mini vans you have to take the headrests off? And that when you take them off they have two very tempting long shiny "pokey" things hanging off the end that make you think you need to puncture something? Well my 6 year old OR 9 year old could not resist the "urge to puncture" and headrest met bag of 50 lb bag of flour. Very sad.


I was teasing my sister in law who I just converted to Facebook that when I went to find her, and "friend" her on Facebook that there were 6 other people on Facebook with her name. Well she mentioned to me the other day when we were talking that she checked out my name and there were 159 of me on Facebook. Oh drat, how could I absolutely know that there is a whole, huge world out there and still live in some fantasy world that my name and my birthday are just mine?


So I am off to face the yard work that I have been dying to get to all week. Brian is taking the older kids white water rafting tomorrow. Madeline and Amanda have a track meet. So Natalie, Tatiana and I are going to enjoy the peace and quiet.

Apr 16, 2009


The sun was setting on a very beautiful day in New England and there I was sitting in my green fold up chair on a middle school field in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. I was proud of myself because I was prepared. I had a book. I had a water bottle. I had Twizzlers pull and peel licorice. I remembered my coat. My hair was brushed. Brian was on his way to the church with all the kids who had activities there. Natalie was at a friends house. Perfection was oh so close.

The first sign of trouble is that I never sit by anyone. This is our second season of lacrosse and "they" are a pretty tight family. I doubt any of them have 7 kids and have to be a lot of other places to be besides lacrosse. They all spend the night at hotels, and eat at restaurants and bond at tournaments while the Baird's show up for the Saturday tournament games only and then rush home. No bonding for us. I deserve to sit alone. I have done nothing to earn lacrosse parent friends.

The second sign of trouble was that my child played 5 minutes of the first half. Whew....I can not think of many things more painful than that. Your mind really starts whirling. Laying out all the facts. Going back and forth. Wondering. I start thinking where can I find an extra lacrosse stick so I can toss the ball with Joe. I wonder if he is behaving in practice. I remember how much he loved soccer. In Indiana he played a lot of soccer. He was going to be on the middle school boys soccer team before we moved. He played community soccer that maybe had one game on Sunday out of the whole season. He was good at it. You feel bad for your kid standing over there on the sidelines high fiving all the kids that get to play because they are good. You imagine those kids parents having time and money to invest in making sure their kid gets to play more than 5 minutes. You remember when your child got all the playing time in soccer and you think about how you did not notice the kids who didn't. You feel a twinge of conscience for that.

The second half starts. Your team is losing horribly. So you figure maybe the coach will start putting the not so good kids in to play. You see your kid get to go on the field. You hold your breath. Because you also know he is not so good at lacrosse. But you did not need to hold your breath because even when he is standing there wide open no one throws the ball to him. The parents around you who do not know it is your kid are wondering out loud why is no one tossing the ball to that kid, "he's wide open."? Your heart aches a little bit.....okay maybe a lot of aching. You just wanted your son to make some friends and get some exercise and learn something new. You forgot about the, "competition thing." The friends/exercise/learning something new stage is past. You missed it, because you were living somewhere else in the United States where they do not play lacrosse at all. There definitely are benefits to never moving.

You start thinking about talking to the coach and you hate it when you start thinking that. Your kids hate it even more than you do. :) You can not help yourself, you have that annoying problem that you have to know things and not only that you like people to know that you know things. So when the game is over and you child practically runs to you with relief you hand him the car keys and tell him to head to the car and you convince him you will be right there. You mosey over to the coach and just ask a few questions about what you can do to help your child have a few successes. You smile and talk nicely and he smiles and talks nicely but you wonder what you are both really thinking.

You get in the car and head for home. Your child mentions that he asked the superstar on the team why he did not throw the ball to him when he was wide open and your kid says that that kid said, "because, you suck." You hate that your kid has to learn a hard lesson. One of those annoying life lessons. You start talking..... blah blah blah...no one is good at everything, blah, blah, blah, you have to work hard and practice if you want to be good. Finally your child just nicely asks if you can talk about something else so you do.

You try to talk to some other people in your family about what to do. But that does not work out so well. Don't you hate it when no one sees things the way you do? :) So you finally come full circle like you always do and realize if you want something to happen you have to take care of it yourself. You also realize this is a good chance to teach your child a little about life. You hope as you are focusing on the 13 year old everyone else can hold themselves together and not need too much therapy when they grow up because you are ignoring them. And you start today spending twenty minutes with Joe by going up to Stanley Park to hit the lacrosse ball against the cement wall to figure out how the silly lacrosse stick works.

And you most importantly say over and over, "glass half full not half empty." And try not to get too worked up about trying to solve all the unfairness in the world. :)

Oh, the picture? Joe is not in it :)

Apr 15, 2009

The Strangest Thing.

Since I have been miserably sick the last couple of days I have had a little more time on my hands than a mother of 7 usually has. I have been using this time very wisely...... I have been exploring Facebook. Since I have joined Facebook I have just not had the time to dedicate to stalking people like I have wanted too. :) And let me tell you I have truly learned what a small world it is.

There I am looking at a friend from high school's list of friends and I see on her list a guy named Tim that we knew in our ward in Indiana. Turns out she is related to him.

There I am on an old roommate from BYU's Facebook page and I see that she is friends with a good friend of mine from Kansas.

Then I get a message from another roommate from BYU wondering how I knew Amy Fackrell and it turns out she is Amy's older sister.

But I have a story that really tops all of those. In my ward in Kansas we had some good friends, The Heiner's. One day Shelley, the mom, was sorting through some of her hubby's old pictures and found a picture, taken at Hogle Zoo in Utah, of her hubby with an old girlfriend of his and in the background of the picture is my hubby, and I, and a stroller with Zach in it. It really made me think of all the people that end up in the background of my pictures. Will I meet them someday?

I really love reconnecting with people. Not a day goes by that something does not happen that will remind me of someone from my past.

Every time I do my canning in the summer I think of Kay since she thoughtfully gave me my canner.
Every time I see legwarmers I think of Warren because I wore them for the first time on a date with him to the Seattle Center.
Every time I see Bubble Yum gum I think about how when I was 15 or so I was at a birthday party for Ginger and I was embarrassed because I wanted to have a better present for her so I told her I had a whole bunch of packs of gum for her but they had gone, "moldy".....yeah, I know I can not lie well in a pinch :)
Every time I put on my red wool jacket I think of Kathryn since she gave it to me.
Every time I see a Vega (not often) I think of all 15 of the kids in my seminary class crammed into it heading to the high school.
Every time I get my hair colored I think of Shannon, who started me on my journey to becoming, "chemically dependant."
Every time I see forsythia I think of the walks Elyse and I used to take in Princeton.
I love when I call Laurie F. after all these years her hearty laugh immediately reminds me of SO much.
I love how when I have all the teenagers over for a party that I remember that I learned the importance of this from Laurie S.
I love that when I put mayonnaise and mustard in bowls to put on the table (never in their actual containers) I remember Cindy.
I love that I can tell the story about the moose kissing Brother Young's bum and always get a ton of laughs no matter where I live. :)

Well you know the list could go on and on as yours could too. Just remember that no matter what you do someone is remembering you for it.

Apr 14, 2009

Being Afraid.

Hi, my name is Jennifer and I have two irrational fears; spiders and being misunderstood. I have a 6 year old named Natalie who has an extremely irrational fear of people looking at her, watching her, seeing her, and even looking in her general direction. I do not understand it. It is not just a small bothersome issue. It is becoming a rather large issue.

Take swimming lessons for example. During week one of swimming lessons she sat on the bleachers in her clothes, with her tears sitting in her eyes ready to drop when needed, watching swimming lessons just so she would know what was going to happen. She is not afraid of the water. She is not afraid of the teacher. Her best friend is even in the class. I mean I worked very hard to create a, "swimming lesson utopia" for Natalie. And what is she afraid of? People watching her. I keep trying to explain to her that when you cry, and sob, and wail about doing something that is what makes people look at you. I have tried to explain that the other mom's and dad's are watching their kids not her. But no amount of reasoning can convince her that everyone, everywhere is not looking at her.

At her second swim lesson I resolved that I was NOT going to pay $75.00 for her to sit, with the tears ready, on the bleachers again. So I was nice and kind all week as we had constant swimming lesson discussions around our house and then the minute we walked into the room where the pool was I became...dah dah da dah...."Mrs. Matter of Fact," much to the glee, of the other parents ( because we do love it when it is someone else's kid is causing the ruckus don't we?) I just dragged her kicking and screaming to the edge of the pool and plopped her into her teachers waiting arms. She sobbed for about 10 minutes and then she was fine. Then at about 20 minutes into the lesson the teacher sheepishly asks if the parents who are watching the lesson could please leave the room. WHAT? Yes, my 6 year old had convinced the swimming teacher to send everyone away so she could swim without being "watched." Yes, even I had to leave. Luckily, one mom was smart and asked Natalie if she could stay and watch her child swim and Natalie graciously said, "yes." All the other parents caught on and all asked permission from the 6 year old to stay and watch their kids swim.

I keep thinking about how I USED to have a very irrational fear of driving in the snow. I would never go anywhere when it snowed. And not just when it was actually snowing but for days after the snow fell. Then, when we lived in Indiana we acquired an early morning paper route and I HAD to drive in the snow and, guess what? I was fine. Being forced to face it helped me to figure out how to be "one with the snow." I got stuck in the snow once and figured out all by myself how to move my tires and think bad words in my mind to help me to get out. :)

I also USED to be afraid of missing my airplane. And then it happened one time and guess what? Everything was fine.

I am not saying I am going to run out to get a pet spider. And I am definitely not saying I have a psychology degree. But I do think I am beginning to wonder if being forced to face what we are afraid of may not be such a bad thing?

Apr 13, 2009

Meandering Monday.

Flossing? Do you do it? Why is it that there are a lot of things in life that you hear about the importance of over, and over, and over and all of a sudden one day when you are 40 years old you "get it?" It is a painful thing to confess that I had been a "casual flosser" until last Thursday at 2:30 pm. Who knows how many dentists I have had? Who knows how many dentist assistants tried to save me from myself? For some reason I was sitting there in the dentist chair and I heard the words I had heard a thousand times and this time I believed. Why now? I do not know. The worst part is once you get a testimony of something, I mean a true, deep testimony you can not resist the urge to share with everyone. So beware, I may want to discuss how you feel about flossing next time we chat :)


My onions, and peas are finally up. Three of the five raspberry plants have little green growths on them. I am planning on borrowing some extremely heavy duty gloves this week and attacking the last remaining wilderness in the yard. It is a spot that is full of wild blackberry bushes that I decided I do not love. I want the space to put raspberry bushes instead. So that is my yard project this week.....fighting mother nature :)


I absolutely have to know if you hate Ben Linus. I have watched every episode of LOST from the beginning clear to last Wednesday's episode. I do not have the best memory. And I know I have at times hated Ben. But I feel like he may be misunderstood. I am having a hard time finding anyone that agrees with me, except the actual actor who plays Ben on the show.....check out this quote I found on Wikipedia;

"I have full sympathy [for Ben]. I believe he has a mission and an agenda that he hasn't shared with us yet. The survival of the earth may depend on Ben's work, so it justifies his ruthless behavior. Maybe I'm just fantasizing or deluding myself."
—Actor Michael Emerson, who plays Ben

As I spent the morning reading about Ben on the world wide web I realized that everyone agrees he plays one of the best villains on TV. One guy, named Dan Compora, even said that, "The more I hate Ben the more I realize that Michael Emerson is just a very fine actor doing his job." Michael Emerson does not even know what direction the character he plays is headed as he gets scripts at the very last minute and no back story.


Some unseen force is sucking me towards the movie theater to plunk down money to see Miley Cyrus' new Hannah Montana movie. I guess I could blame on it on having given birth to 5 girls if I tried really hard. But I confess I am curious if not for anything for the music. I have heard the music in the movie is really great. But never fear, I will wait until it comes out on DVD and pay my one buck at Redbox.

So that pretty much is what is on my mind on this sunny, but cold and windy, Monday in April.

Guess I should get a life, huh?

Apr 10, 2009

The Tradition Restarts

I have no idea how I first got the idea but we were living in Kansas, it was April, and I decided to do an Easter Egg Hunt. Our house backed up to a park, a private neighborhood park that hardly anyone ever used. So I invited way too many people and we had breakfast and then hunted for eggs. I had no idea what I had started. Throughout the years it has ended up being dinner and an egg hunt rather than breakfast, sometimes it has had to be on Monday night after Easter, it happens no matter what the weather, and I always invite way too many people because I hate to leave anyone out. Last year we were still reeling from our move to Massachusetts so we did not have one. It was the first time in 9 years that we had not had one. And I was surprised how weird the holiday felt without it. The kids missed it. Then later in that year, in October, for my 40th birthday Brian asked people to write letters to me including what they remembered about me and I could not believe that the crazy, noisy, out of control Easter Egg hunt was what a lot of them remembered. So I decided to try it again this year. Brian says the yard is too small. Brian says I am crazy. Brian is not fond of the Eater egg hunt at all. But strangely people seem to like it.

So tomorrow at 5:30 pm 57 people are coming to my house. They all bring two things to add to the meal and we have sandwiches, chips and salads. We combine all the plastic eggs everyone has brought and divide the total number of eggs by the number of kids hunting for them. The dad's hide them in the yard and the kids find them. We have ice cream and then everyone goes home.

Food gets smooshed into my carpet. Kids make messes everywhere in my house. We have been known to have to replace trampoline tops after this event. But I still love it.

I am a little nervous this year. What if Massachusetts does not like the Baird's Easter egg hunt? I just recently learned that just because you have always done something somewhere it does not mean that it will be needed and loved no matter where you go. Since Massachusetts has taught me that lesson I fear in that process it has destroyed the small amount of entertaining confidence I had :)

So do I need to explain why I can not write you a hilarious thought provoking blog at the moment? My mind is on cleaning and buying. But hang in there because next Monday I will be able to focus on entertaining all 40 of my daily readers again. :)

Apr 9, 2009

Would You Rather?

Last night at dinner the kids were being unkind to each other, as usual. And one of them called one mean and one called the other disgusting and that, my friends, began our dinner conversation for the evening. Would you rather be mean or disgusting? Madeline said she would rather be mean. Miriam said she would, "Rather be disgusting because you can fix disgusting" and she did not think you could fix being mean. Madeline said, "What if you weighed 400 lbs and were oozing pus?" Miriam said she would still choose disgusting over being mean.

Speaking of the question, "Would Your Rather," for Christmas Madeline got the actual game called "Would You Rather?" Yes, there is a game. It has the most interesting questions and not only that it has the most interesting directions. I mean if a game tells you this in it's directions are you not definitely curious?

"Although some of these questions may paint a challenging, perplexing, or unappealing picture. They are NOT to be taken literally (DON'T TRY ANY OF THEM)....take them with a "grain of salt." They are designed to make you think and engage in lively discussion. And remember that performing or reenacting many of these actions could injure, disfigure or even fatally harm you. Do not attempt any of this. It is for discussion purposes only."

OH....so if I read questions like this when I am playing the game, I should not try to re enact them?

"Would you rather be hit in the head very hard with a sock with a potato in it OR with a rubber hose?"

"Would you rather cut a 1/4 acre field of grass with your teeth OR lick up a 15 foot by 15 foot rain puddle?"

I will try to resist the urge to do either. :)

Actually the game is fascinating...do not get me started. The questions are very intriguing. I wonder who they locked in a little padded room for a 100 days to come up with some of these?

I mean,

"Would you rather look back at large amounts of money you've wasted OR look back at having had very little money at all?"

What about,

"Would you rather have a little man that lives in your mouth and incessantly hammers on your teeth with a pick OR coexist with a small bird that lives on your nose and yanks out your nose hairs at its discretion?"

Definitely some good conversation there, huh?

Apr 8, 2009

Patience and Gardening.

Raise your hand if you ever have gotten a little tired of checking on your pea seeds that should be growing up out of the ground that you just decide to dig down and see how they are doing. I have had so many people doubting my madness in planting my cold weather crops SO early that I confess I too started to doubt. So today, I moseyed into the backyard and made sure no one with a telephoto lens was hiding in the woods waiting to document my doubt I pretended to pull some weeds and fiddled around and then... I just did it, I dug down with my finger until I found a pea seed and, what a relief, it looked perfectly happy. It had sprouted and had a long piece on it that was definitely looking for the light. :) I apologized out loud to it and told it I would see it when it was good and ready and covered it back up.

I am an impatient person and I am sure someone could come up with a great scripture analogy for people like me who dig up "the seed" to check on it. :)

My impatience got me into trouble when I did my painting in my house a couple weeks ago. You see, I pulled the "magic" blue tape off too soon, and need I say more? Hopefully, the poor little seed will not be as mad at me for disturbing it.... like the blue tape was.

I take comfort in the fact that I have identified my patience issue and now am working on practicing "the wait and see" approach. But all that said I am ever so relieved that Mr. Pea Seed was happy. I really should know better. It is a little funny, how strong you have to be to be able to withstand the doubting around you. :)

Apr 7, 2009

Too Many Things On My Mind.

Have you ever had too much on your mind, or does that just happen to people who can admit to over thinking? I have SO many things swirling around in my brain lately that I can not even focus on one simple blog post. I can barely even manage conversation which is very unusual for me.

My first bothersome thought is that right now all the ingredients and mess of Brian's Birthday Blonde Brownies are sitting on my counter. The brownies are mixed and half spread on the jelly roll pan, and the oven is on but I just left them sitting there and came to blog.....WHY? Because I think for the first time in my life something is wrong with my flour and it is consuming my every thought. It started three weeks ago when I was going through my food storage and discovered 6 #10 cans of flour with a date that makes me cringe.....1999. I pulled them out and I thought maybe it was looking a little different as I poured the flour into my flour container but really did not know how to tell if it was my imagination or not so I just ignored the thoughts. Then one Sunday I made my famous rolls for our company and they did not turn out at all. First time in the 4 years that I have been making them that they completely and totally bombed. Brian assured me that it was the yeast but I had my doubts. I confess I have been avoiding the flour ever since the fated "roll" incident. I am afraid of it. I am afraid because I think I am going to have to waste 5 and 3/4 of #10 cans of our flour because today my fears were confirmed, the blonde brownies do not look "right."

The second thing on my mind is the hugest pile of clean laundry you ever saw laying on the floor of Tatiana and Natalie's, good sized, walk in closet. It should not be there. I have never had that happen before. Clothes in laundry baskets...yes, that does happen. But clean clothes just outright, blatantly laying on the floor and getting walked on.....definitely not ordinary for our house.

The third thing taking up space in my mind is 4 short sleeve white shirts, 3 long sleeve white shirts, a battery powered carbon monoxide detector, 2 flat sheets, a trench coat, and 2 pairs of shoes, this is my list of all that is left to get for Zach's mission.

The fourth thing on my mind is a red dress. Amanda needs to have a red dress by April 25 and we spent all day Saturday going to every store on this planet. Did you know red is not a spring color? Did you know that a red dress in size 1 unfortunately involves spaghetti straps and showing a lot of skin? And did you know we have exactly $20.00 to spend on it? :) Is it weird to pray for a red dress? :)

The fifth thing on my mind is writing thank you notes. I have a list of a million thank you notes I need to write. I may have to resort to "Facebook thank yous." And that is not good.

The sixth thing occupying space in Mr. Brain is trying to figure out how to help my child that has some "Eeyore tendencies" to realize the benefits of being grateful. She never seems to be happy and I really worry about that.

The seventh thing occupying the brain is food storage. Clearly I need flour.

The eighth thing occupying the brain is where to get my hands on some money? Should I try to get a job and leave the kids to fend for themselves this summer? Can I even get a job? How can you be 40 and not even know what you are good at?

The ninth thing on my mind is all my dear friends birthdays that are coming and going that I wanted to get gifts for but due to the issues mentioned in the previous numbers 8, 7, 4 and 3 I can't. And it kills me. I love to buy birthday gifts for friends.

And I won't go past 10 because if you have not already stopped reading you will soon. But my brain has never been so burdened with things I can not solve with just making a list or eating some chocolate..............
Primary activity, Seminary lessons to plan, practicing the organ, piano lessons, exercising, things to file, touch up painting to do, garden, raking, cleaning the house, Easter egg hunt at my house on Saturday for 60, track meets, finding the car insurance phone number so I can take Zach off the plan for the next two years, lacrosse practice, husband out of town, book club books to read, getting times of when kids need to be places for activities, finding just plain old jelly beans.
Sometimes I briefly wonder if anyone realizes how difficult it is to organize this mess I have willingly gotten myself into and how much I appreciate having information early enough to help me figure it all out. I mean we are talking about a serious "spreadsheet situation" my friends.

I know you will be sorely tempted to give me advice. But really how can you give advice to someone who refuses to give anything in her life up and won't tell anyone the truth if they ask? :) So definitely do not feel sorry for me and marvel at how I can do it all because honestly I must tell you that I am not visiting teaching, I am thinking seriously of begging to get out of a recent assignment from the awesome bishop of my ward :), and I am off to throw flour away. :)

Apr 6, 2009

Cheese and Jelly Beans?

Ahh to be a man, tomorrow is Brian's birthday. I can not possibly top what he did for me for my big 4-0- last year and I honestly feel bad about that. Well I could top what he did but it would involve an irresponsible moment, the credit card, and guilt. And none of these things sounds very interesting to me at this particular moment.

He has not been very helpful when I ask what he wants for his birthday all he claims he wants is some, "sharp Cracker Barrel cheese and a bag of Starburst jelly beans?" Let's just say that the differences between men and women continue to amaze me. So I keep trying to think of something I really want/need that I could buy for him that he would possibly want/need too. :) But that is not working out so well.

I think what will end up happening for his birthday is that he will end up getting :

A child on a mission in Estonia.
A child at BYU.
A dentist bill.
Food for our annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday.
A red dress....Amanda needs a red dress(pronto) to wear to a friends Quincenera.
Church shoes...Tatiana has none

Funny thing is he will not call all his buddies and complain about the way the birthday went "down". He will not cry and call his mother if I do not manage to get jelly beans and cheese for him. He will not bring up the fact that every year I do a very poor job of honoring his birthday. He will simply eat his requested dinner of Sour Cream Chili Bake ( recipe from the Berghout's), he will wash it down with the root beer he requested then he will grab the whole pan of Blonde Brownies that were also requested and head to the "man room" to watch Fox news. And as far as I know he will be happy.

Apr 3, 2009

Is It Worth The Drive?

Don't you hate it when you just found the bargain of the century and you are telling people about it and someone starts in with "the questions" you know the questions the questions that diminish your joy. The questions you never think about because frankly who really cares that you could possibly save money by not driving so far? I mean I hear all the talk....gas...cost...time...blah blah blah but no one has really ever sat down and written the numbers out and proven it. It honestly would take a lot of work. And by the time you figure it out you could have saved time by just driving there and acquiring the bargain, right? It always turns into the mother of a story problem and I guess what it comes down to is what is important to you. And no one can tell you that...thank goodness. So with that introduction let me tell you my story problem and feel free to comment on how ridiculous I am but just know that I will not mind because I am SO supremely happy at my discovery that no amount of math can make me question my decision.

The story starts in Kansas in about 1995 when I have just moved to Kansas and I am sitting in a room with a few women and they are telling me about places to shop in town and they are trying to describe this particular store to me and I am wondering at what is so hard to describe about a grocery store? But this grocery store you HAD to take a quarter for your cart and you HAD to have cash and you HAD to have your own way to get the food out of the store. It sounded like a lot of work to me at the time because I had SO many little kids and it was not easy to get to the bank to get cash and then the thought of having to park away from the shopping carts about killed me. But a lot of people shopped there and they could not stop talking about the great prices this store could offer to them because of the cost cutting measures it made. Luckily for me the town we lived in had a couple other stores that had very reasonable prices so I did go to Aldi when I could but I did not HAVE to. So I guess you would say I was a "surface" believer in shopping at Aldi....I did it sometimes, when it was convenient.

Then when we moved to Indiana there was an Aldi in our little town of Huntington. But there was a Meijer in Fort Wayne. And Meijer had amazing produce and great sales so I only went to Aldi for canned stuff, flour and sugar. Again, I still did not NEED Aldi. I had other options.

Then we moved to Massachusetts. My husband warned me before I even moved here that there was not a cheap grocery to be found in the state. When he started spouting crazy talk about the fact that it was cheaper to buy milk at a gas station in Massachusetts I just tuned him out and did not believe. But when I got here and started checking out my options I just felt one word...despair. And I wondered how could Massachusetts people be taking this sitting down? Then I slowly realized they do not even know what they are missing. All of a sudden I realized how I had taken Aldi for granted. I needed an Aldi. So I muddled through for a year and a half....embracing COSTCO? And refusing to enter the high priced grocery stores in town unless extremely desperate. (chocolate :) Finally one day I sit down at the computer and decide that for spring break my only goal is to find the nearest Aldi. Even if I have to drive 8 hours to Pennsylvania to my sister's house where I know there is an Aldi I am doing it. I have hope that maybe there is an Aldi by some amazing historical site so that the kids do not have to tell their friends that for spring break they, "went to find a cheap grocery store with their mom."

But simply by googling, "Aldi locations" and typing in my address on their "magic page", guess what I discovered? There were Aldi's all over Connecticut. Oh my gosh why did I not think of Connecticut?......HAPPY DANCE!! I live 20 minutes from Connecticut!! The closest Aldi was 26 miles away. I quickly called my friend, who moved here from Illinois at the same time I moved here from Indiana, who I had had a few deep meaningful conversations about the lack of Aldi's with, and we decided we must go immediately. I tried to convert some other friends but no luck. It is like sharing the gospel your heart has to be ready for Aldi :)

We went on our adventure on Thursday morning. It was a pleasant 26 minute drive to our destination and we were so happy to see that this was a BRAND SPANKING NEW ALDI....it was beautiful and we were like two kids in a candy shop exclaiming over prices to each other, lovingly reuniting with items we had long missed. Our carts were VERY loaded when we were done. It was so refreshing to not have to agonize over produce prices and to buy 24 cans of cream of chicken soup for $11.76.

Did you know Aldi is a supermarket chain that is based in Germany? Aldi came to the United States in 1976 and some of the practices that it practices (like inserting a quarter to get your cart) that we consider strange are very common in Europe where there are a lot of Aldi's. Their no frills approach makes it so you can save so much money. The owners of Aldi are the richest men in Germany, so rich that they bought the chain Trader Joes in 1978. Aldi's main competitors in the United States are Price Right and Save a Lot. They are often ridiculed for being "cheap shops" and selling poor quality goods but throughout the years they have developed a strong following and being held in such low esteem by many has not dented their profits in any way.

So if Jennifer drives 29 miles to East Hartford CT wearing her stylish black sweats and purchases $147.00 worth of food from Aldi and then drives back home and for the first time since moving to MA has full cupboards and fridge and happy children is it worth it to try to figure out how much she spent on gas? Probably not...we have already made plans to go to Aldi every other Thursday so be sure to tell me if you want to come. :)