Friday, July 31, 2009

Mama Tiger

Once in a while I am reminded how fierce a mom can be when someone messes with her kids. I get crazy like a mother tiger protecting her cubs, probably most moms feel like that. I don't like it when someone uninvited comes up and messes with them.

At Costco, I was hurrying through the store and some guy was at a stand trying to promote his book. It really didn't look interesting to me, so I attempted to pass and ignore him staring at us so he wouldn't stop us. It was some obscure book I'd never seen or heard of or I would have been more impressed, He stopped us anyway. Ugh...

The opening line was something like "are you guys interested in the Harry Potter books or Twilight books?" NO. Big lie, I loved Twilight, but dude... NOT INTERESTED. He kept trying. (Don't ignore the 'your not gonna get a sale' here body language). He asked my teenage daughter, "what kind of books do you read?" She answered, "I don't know". She isn't a huge reader, she has to be interested and it has to be realistic for her to enjoy a book, not fantasy. He then explained how if you aren't a big reader he has a program.... blah blah blah... and lost all of us. I started looking around for the exit and her phone buzzed. She reached down and hit silence.

This dude lectured my girl about how rude she is even to touch her phone while he was talking to her and that he was done with her, goodbye. My jaw dropped. So after giving him an "I'd like you to know it's her birthday rude dude, we didn't want to talk to you in the first place, thank you daughter for shutting this man up, we've been trying to hurry through a huge store as fast as possible before you made us stop, your stupid fantasy book about dragons is gonna fail anyway, and hello, your a big jerk now and I am SOOOO not buying your book" look I controlled my anger and hurriedly walked away.

My daughter looked at me and said "What? Mom, I just silenced my phone that was going off, is that rude?" Yes, I told her, I guess it's technically kind of rude but so is stopping a frazzled mom who is in a hurry in the middle of a Costco who has kids hanging out her cart grabbing everything they see, and some guy stops you to chat about something you were obviously NOT interested in. My only satisfaction in this story was that he didn't get a sale. She was really upset though, she hadn't had someone do that to her before, ever.

I've fought the urge to call Costco and tell them that the author was rude to me and my daughter and that we left Costco in tears. I wish I knew the title and the author and I would so post it on here. I am trying to get over it, let it go, but the mama tiger in me is still growling. I hate that!

Okay... just looked up the guys website and I can't allow myself to post the book ban campaign I wanted to because the weirdo served our country in the armed forces once. He is a nut job though, and not a people person apparently.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Yesterday was a bad day for our 15 year old beginning driver. He failed the written drivers test. So, determined as he was, he took it again. Fail #2. Dad was not happy. Dad let him have it for not being prepared. I'm so glad I wasn't there. He had to get his learners permit before taking drivers ed, seems backwards to me, but that's how it's done here. So this test was checking that he knew enough about driving BEFORE the class I guess. I was so nervous for him.

I was at home waiting for the grumpy guys to arrive and smooth it all out. I waited plagued by my own bad memories of my failed drivers test when I was 17. Reliving the humiliation of having to tell friends the next day I didn't do it is still painful all these years later. Now, thankfully, I look back and realize that it was a great learning experience. Driving isn't simple, it is a BIG deal. It's a major responsibility. It taught me a huge lesson in humility, and I believe he learned that same lesson yesterday.

When the kid is determined, he is determined. He studied all day yesterday and all night. He took readiness pre-tests on the computer until he consistently got 100% each and every time. Today he went back. Again, I decided it was best if I did not come along and jinx the moment. He took the test but this time he drove home. Mission accomplished. Big smile. Majorly cautious and humbled driver. Humbled, for now anyway. Not as easy as he thought. Yep, I know that all too well.

May the fails always be with you son, at least the lesson it taught you and that horrible feeling of not being prepared enough when you thought you were. Keep pride out of the drivers seat and don't even let it be a passenger. Now, young man of mine, you have inspired me with your never give up attitude. Prepare more, try more. I am again in awe at the strength of youth.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Could it be that my daughter gets her braces off, turns 13, and is suddenly getting noticed? Today at the gym I actually spied boys checking her out. Very very cute boys, probably college aged and boys that would give Zac Efron stiff competition. OH BOY. Here we go...


I was a witness.

I was hurrying to find some paperwork for my husband and heard some noise outside. It was garbage day yesterday and we put out our cans for the garbage man. He seems to come very early here, like at 7:30 am or so. The insane day that we had yesterday kept us away from the house until about 4 pm. This is the time it all happened. To most this may be no big deal but to me, well, it touched my heart.

I heard some noises outside and looked out the office window. Two of my sons friends had been walking by on their way to the snack shack, aka the gas station where the kids hang out, near our house. They noticed that our garbage cans were still out late in the day so they each grabbed a can and rolled it back to the side of the house then continued on their way. No stopping to get credit.

I love those kids. I've said it before and I will say it again... my son has the best friends a mom could ever hope her child could have. That touched me, small act of kindness that it was, and now I am trying to decide which one I can one day set up my daughter with to marry someday in the future. What? I'm thinking ahead, I know. A mom can only hope her girl picks good guys like that in the future.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


My baby, I mean my 15 1/2 year old son, is on his way home with his dad from a big purchase. His first car! I'm gonna cry for so many reasons right now. First, no way can I be this old. I really can't afford the Botox yet, he needs to wait! Second, because he will be actually driving. I don't like it! The list goes on and on but it's too much whining on my part so I will resist.

The funny thing is that it's a piece of doo doo car and yet my son is so in love with it he might throw up. My husband is so in love with it I am a little jealous of it already. What's with men and cars? It's a Nisson pick up truck (so not technically a car), dull gray, dinged up, beat to a crisp in this desert heat, and the love of their lives. Men... they have a new toy. I guess I will step back and let the male bonding begin. Maybe this really is a good time to sneak out and get the Botox. It's either that or cry tears of unbelief that he actually has a car and has not yet even taken drivers education. Oh, did I leave out that little nugget? It's all his Dad's fault! Dad is so excited to see his boy be a man, Mom is not so excited to see him behind the wheel.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Tick

Today at church my youngest child laid her head on my lap and I ran my fingers through her hair. Her hair was still slightly wet from the quick bath I had managed to give her right before church. It's a lot of work having 3 girls who need help with hairdo's in the morning. Anyway, as I was running my fingers through her hair I felt something weird. It looked like a bean but it was (gag) a big fat tick. Engorged to the max. I almost died. Thoughts of lyme disease and lice treatments flashed back in my mind. Finally I had a chance to get up and walk her out into the hallway and straight to my friend who was a nurse.

Thank heavens for medical professionals. How grateful I am that I have so many on my street that I have friendships with especially when there is a crisis situation like this! (It was only a crisis to me really). She calmed me down and said she'd stop by after church. I was so stressed out and sick knowing this huge thing was eating my daughter alive (the drama) and could barely eat lunch. Finally, she arrived to help me.

I have zero experience with ticks. I have never seen one removed before so I was slightly fascinated and sick at the same time. She put Vaseline all around the stupid, ugly, bloodsucking little vampire's embedded head to suffocate it and waited for it to die so it would let go and we could pull it out. It didn't let go. It had clamped down and it took a long time to get it out. Finally it came out with a nice big chunk of flesh in it's jaws but that meant we got it all out. Yuck. Nausea.

The thing that really bothered me was that I had no idea that it was in there. I had quickly done her pretty dark hair that morning and in my hurry to get ready I had totally overlooked it. What if it had been in her hair for a long time and I have just been neglectful? I felt like a terrible mom.

So I write about this for two reasons...
First, because if it happens to you or someone you know, you'll know what to do. Second, I see it all as a metaphor. How many things are sucking the good out of my life without me even knowing just like that little bugger was sucking the life blood out of my innocent baby (more drama talk). I'm looking at my bad habits, my faults, where I can improve. Life is funny. There is always something to learn!

Saturday, July 25, 2009


“O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”

The other day I was talking to a woman who teaches my sons sunday school class and she opened my eyes. I know my son as a goofy, silly kid who runs around the house amusing himself by teasing his sisters. To her he is more. She told me how much she has enjoyed getting to know him. He is courteous and asks great questions. A couple times he has even stayed after class to discuss things with her and she has been impressed at what a good kid he is. She said I must be doing something right. No, I'm far too imperfect. It's not me- it is HIS faith that makes him who he is. He does not murmur when he is asked to do things. He often does them with clenched jaw, I know very well he wants to say he doesn't want to do our dirty work, but he does it. I tend to see the imperfections in my kids but today I am going to put my faith in him and look at him not as my boy, but as a young man. A warrior. I should not doubt in him or what he is becoming.

At his Eagle scout board of review, they interview him for a long time about what he did for his project and then had us come in to the room. The person who asked the questions told us that what he said to her was completely insignificant. It was his ability to look her in the eye as he answered questions without a single break in eye contact that made them know what kind of boy he was. It proved his honesty and showed he was a boy of great potential. My first thought was "Wow, how'd he know to do that?" See! I am a doubter! Darn it, I need to do better.

My teen daughter just got back from a girls camp called "Camp Courage". She proved to herself that she could do more than I ever could. She stood backward at the edge of a mountain cliff and repelled almost 100 feet down. The pictures are truly terrifying. She zip lined down a cliff later in the week. She stood in front of a group of girls and told them she believed in living the gospel of Jesus Christ. In each of these things she showed great courage. And yet, I often doubt in her also. She DOES murmur a lot, unlike her brother. It's great to know that she has enough faith to get through the hard things when mom is not around. I do not doubt that she is becoming refined and a woman of great faith.

My seven year old can hardly stand waiting until her eigth birthday to get baptised. In our church they do it at that age since they feel the children know right from wrong by then and are accountable for their choices. She is my most difficult, complex child. She is also my kindest, most angelic, inspirational child. Since first grade she has sat by a little girl with learning disabilities and has help this child get through the school years miles ahead of what they expected possible. Chloe helps her, she encourages her. She has a very hard time learning herself and is quite a bit behind but she learns so that she can teach her friend and explain it to her. I should not doubt that she is truly better in her heart than I am. She has marvelous potential and such an ability to love.

Then there is my youngest. She is 3 going on 10. She is enthusiastic, ready to go at pretty much anything, and so brave. She wanted to be pulled behind a boat this summer by herself to go tubing like her sister but absolutely BY HERSELF. I thought she'd be scared to death to even try. Yes, again I doubted. She has no problem getting up in front of people which I HATE doing. She is on her way to building great faith in herself. I do not doubt she has more faith than a mustard seed already.

It's good for me to take a step back and look at my babies as people. I love to see what they are becoming. How grateful I am to know that they are who they are because of faith. Why should I ever doubt to exercise such faith in my own life in scaling the cliffs and bumps that life throws at me. I should never doubt the miracles that faith produces in my tiny, insignificant life each and every day.

I think of the story in Matthew where the disciple sees Christ walking on water and tries to do it also but starts to sink. That is where Jesus speaks the words...“O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” I wonder if I was put to that same test of faith if I would sink into the depths or stand tall. If my behavior in every day life is any indication of the answer to this, I believe I may need to take a few lessons from my own children.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fiber One

These are so good. They are very full of fiber and low in calories, a good staple while swimsuit season is in full swing. Unfortunately, these don't like me. I forgot how VERY much they don't like me. I'm in the middle of a mid life crisis now that I just turned 39 and apparently my mind isn't quite as good at remembering the details of a dangerous diet. I'm in trouble. I really am wondering how I am going to go through the party at our neighbors house tonight and not be uncomfortable. Let this be a lesson to you all who have these in your home! Let's all try, like I will, to remember to look on the calendar before eating them and avoid a day with anything social. All I know is I don't usually post these types of messages but I have been banished from my family for a few hours while these run their course. Tonight should be fun, heck, it's gonna be a "gas"!

Monday, July 20, 2009

I Could Write a Book...

I really could write a book on my in-laws. It is amazing how many messes that they get themselves into. 90 year old kids. I have to just laugh or worry myself sick about them. What do you do when people get to a certain age and could easily become a full time job? In our case, we try not to take away any of their normality but at some point it gets ridiculous!

I need to share this experience with love and respect.

On Saturday they decided that they would drive up to Salt Lake City to see my mother in laws sister who kept falling and getting hospitalized. This sister was not doing well and in her 90's also. Our first thought was, they'll never make it up there. Our next thought was, they'll never let us tell them they can't go. We can't take away their keys until they are willing to forfeit them and my husband was away at scout camp and couldn't drive them. I had my little ones to care for. Then we thought, if they don't go and something final happens to her sister this time we'll feel horrible that they didn't get to say goodbye. So after them getting off I held my breath.

They got up there fine. On Sunday they spent the whole day at the hospital. My father in law sat at her bedside with his wife and they just sang songs to her. Very sweet, they really are the sweetest people. Her sister did pass away that night at 5 am. The children did not tell my in-laws until this afternoon which they didn't like much (not having the news sooner). Upon hearing the update, they walked into a Mortuary (they figured it must be the one they are using for a funeral, right? Any random Mortuary they drive by looked good I guess). It said CLOSED on the door. Well, they were determined to ask if they were at the right place that the sister would be brought to so they tried the door and it was open.

So what would any reasonable person do? Walk in anyway even with the closed sign and use the bathroom, right? Yep. Apparently they had to go! As they went into the bathroom alarms started going off and they didn't know what to do. Someone found them after the system went off.

...Then the police did too.

OH help me! It's too much and it makes my belly hurt! Crazy!

Now they are resting peacefully after becoming exhausted they from their criminal behavior in the funeral home. It's just so funny to me how they think. What an adventure! You can get away with things like that when your 90!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Up close

I'm love to snap photo's of nature. Just thought I'd post some of my nature shots from our trip to green green Michigan...

I love ferns, they are so lush and beautiful and EVERYWHERE.

This freakish picture is what a dragonfly sheds when it grows, being the science geek I am I wanted to keep it but knowing it would crumble and gross out people if I touched it, I settled for a picture. Below is a picture of a dragonfly who has just emerged from shedding and it's tail hasn't even straightened out yet.

The pink water lilly. Okay, I cheated and took these lily pictures at a water garden store.

Little blue flowers that grow along the waters edge at the lake.

This is moss that is growing in the woods. It was so soft and lit by the evening sun.

Chloe's crayfish / crawdad. He was a lively one.

Home Again

We are just back from our trip across the country. If you don't believe that I literally mean ACROSS the county, check this out...

Where do I begin with our adventures?! This picture was taken in the middle of no where in a tiny city called Lebanon, KS. You see this kind of stuff when you go off the main highways and take the little red roads on the map. We stopped because we saw a sign that said US Marker and that always gets my husband excited, we pulled off and searched for life and a gas station. We drove through parts of town that looked like tornado's had hit, only to find out the poor place is just really old and dying. They had shut the school down and all the families moved with kids and that is certain death to any city. As we were leaving the gas station the owner said, "Hey if your going to the marker, take this bread and feed it to my rooster, he lives there." My husband came back to the car with a loaf of bread that was half gone and we stared at him baffled as he told us what we were asked to do. No, I'm not kidding and dang I love small town America, everyone is so nice. We got to the place and the race was on with my kids to be the one to find the rooster.

That was all on our way home. I should begin with the way out to Michigan. We do the drive every year from our Desert Southwest abode and each year there are many stories to tell.

We left on our drive on July 29th and drove to Denver, CO (about a 12 hour drive) and stayed with Tony's sister and saw our other wonderful family members that live there that we have missed. It was a nice time and we always appreciate them tolerating our mad drives through town each year.

From there on the 30th we drove to Omaha, NE which took us all day. The next morning we went to the Omaha Zoo, which I highly recommend. They have a great layout, tons of great exhibits, and even my 15 year old was excited. This is us after we got off our train ride.

We had a great day there and then drove to Davenport, IA to spend the night. The next day we hauled it through IL, stopped in IN to buy fireworks, and kept driving through MI up to the cabin. We stopped at a Welcome Center and they gave our girls these...

Then we got to the cabin and discovered it was a little chilly! We were able to see 2 of my brothers and my parents and lot's of my family that I have missed so much. The next day was cold and windy also so rather than waste the day,we went to the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes.

The next day was my parents 50th Wedding Anniversary Party. Of course the forecast was cold and rainy but after an iffy morning, it cleared up and was beautiful. We got the restaurant about 4 pm with our photographer and took pictures in the gardens. It was the perfect location and the dinner was good. Sadie got the biggest hamburger ever. We shot off our fireworks and told stories around the campfire til late. Great memories.

The next day was the 4th of July and we went into the little town on the lake for small town holiday festivities. We watched a parade, went to all the booths and bake sales, then packed the kids in the boat for the boat parade. It was hot, beautiful and perfect. That night we went into Traverse City for the big town firework show on Lake Michigan. It was a great show but it did get pretty cold.

The rest of the stay is pretty much wrapped up by these pictures...

On the way home we stopped in a town called Nauvoo, IL for an outdoor pageant/musical that they put on every year and got there just in time. From there it was the miserable drive home. We stopped in Hannibal, MO for a walk. If you ever go through there and it is Mark Twain everything, his birthplace. We've been there before and my kids loved it. Then we drove, drove, drove.

Upon our 6:30 a.m. arrival after an all night drive, we found that our air conditioner was broken and our house was 89 degrees already and the day was young but forecasted to reach 106. Our pool was green also, apparently too many dead frogs had clogged our vacuum hose- how nice is that! Yummy! It all got fixed in a matter of hours.

My task was to unpack, wash, and help to repack 3 of my family for camping. My son and husband were shipped off to scout camp yesterday and my oldest daughter got off to girls camp this morning. It's just me and my 2 little ones. I'm looking forward to just getting caught up on housework. Coming back from vacation produces mess but packing guys for camp is insanity.

Unfortunately, I went outside this morning to find my pool filter shooting water up like Old Faithful. I guess that it's up to me to be handy and try to fix it myself or get a green pool again. It looks like a tube cracked, I should be able to tape it up, I'll fix it in my own special way. If I could, I would just sew it together. I am such a dang good woman. I think I'll just stay in the a/c and think about how great that makes me for a while :)

Ahhh.... home again. Never without it's challenges but there's no place like it.