Wednesday, June 20, 2018

June Tidbits

I've found a whole-foods friendly treat that makes my mouth hop-up-and-down happy: fried or grilled pineapple!  Don't need any oil, just slap some fresh pineapple slices in a hot non-stick pan and wait until the edges are brown and toasty and caramelized.  Don't burn your tongue but you will want to because it's horrible having to wait until they cool off enough to eat safely.

Georgie and I were talking about one of his little friends who lives nearby.  They have a multi-racial family (white parents with kids in various shades of black and brown) and are some of the nicest people you'd ever meet.  I mentioned that the kids were all adopted, and Georgie turned to me with dinner-plate eyes.  "What??  How can you tell??"

Freddie and Georgie have taken to wrestling.  Or maybe it's ninja mixed with parkour.  And a little bit of hip hop dancing with vocal sound effects.  It often ends in one or the other getting hurt, and sometimes both.  I have been trying to teach them to be more aware of when it stops being play and starts getting hurtful.  The other day, they were doing karate-type moves in my room, kicking their legs out at each other in all odd angles.  Georgie suddenly stopped and demanded, "Fred!  Are we having fun?"  Without missing a single awkward kick, Freddie responded, "Um... probably."

David got a construction job for the summer.  He literally digs ditches.  And other spots where big machinery is too bulky.  He is getting tan (very appealing farmer's tan) and strong.  And he makes double minimum wage!  For a seventeen-year-old, that is better than fast food any day.  We'll see how he likes it when the weather gets blazing hot.

Eddie has been working for $25 a day at a local cub scout camp.  It's not an awful lot of money, but a fifteen-year old has a hard time finding a regular job, so it's a good thing.  He is in charge of "aeronautics" so they fold and fly paper airplanes.  I think we have about seven hundred and thirty paper airplanes in various states of abandoned around out house right now.  Many of them are in a cardboard box in the kitchen that we call the airport.  We trip over it daily.

We got the end-of-the-year report cards, and all the children did very well.  The only less-than-super grade was one of Angel's.  It was in the "can find the main point" section.  Er... that's true.  To her, ALL the details are important, and she has to tell me about EVERY little bit of things.  Sometimes it takes her longer to tell me about a happening than it took to actually transpire.  She is the sweetest little chatterbox you ever did see, though.  That she can even talk is one of my biggest blessings after her fall and brain injury.  I am grateful for her.

With Alec married, and Ben and Chris both away at college, I feel like our home is nearly empty.  Someone asked me the other day, "How many kids do you have at home now?"  I mournfully responded, "Only five."  Only five!  How ridiculous that must sound to most people!  But there is a little spot in my heart where each of my children go, and I love seeing them and  hearing what they have been up to.  "Only five" does come with a smaller food bill, though...

Hope your summer is going well and delightful!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Hope of America Award

Today my body is demanding a rest day,  and I am happy to oblige.  This afternoon,  I'll be doing finances on the computer (wrapped up in two warm blankets and snuggled into the couch), but I spent much of the morning binge-reading some of my favorite blogs. I haven't done it for a while,  so there's a lot of catch-up to do.  Darn. 

http://www.nieniedialogues.com/2017/05/ollie-hope-of-america.html As I read about how proud one mother was of her 6th grade son because he was awarded the Hope of America Award, something warmed in the back of my brain. I got that award, too - when I was an awkward 6th grader.

I've always wondered why. I even wanted to contact my elementary school principal and ask him why, out of all the other much more talented and smart and cute and self-assured girls in the sixth grade, why did he pick me?  

The last few years of elementary school were rough. I had one or two friends at most. I was growing and gangly-tall, felt so different from all the other kids, and bounced a ball by myself at lunch recess, softly singing "Only the Lonely Can Play."  I wasn't good at socializing, I was pretty bad at jumping rope, and I hated dodge ball.  In the classroom, I alternated between cocky-smart and burying my head in my arms on my desk and hoping no one would see me.  What on earth did Mr. Nichols see in that little girl?

I looked it up. I found out the award is given under the direction of the Kiwanis Club to one girl and boy in each elementary school.  Usually they are chosen for their academic work,  good citizenship, and leadership. Another article cited the children's "positive influence on others" as a criteria. 

My beloved elementary school principal passed away a few years ago,  so I'll never be able to ask him my questions. I still wonder.  But for today, I can still work on being a positive influence on others. I can make my own little corner of the world a better place.  If we all did that, there would be plenty of hope for America.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

My Mop


My hair grows fast - it always has.  Since high school, I have let it grow long for a while, then I chop it all off and donate it to a hair charity.  Or I think about selling my hair and let it sit in a box for a while while  I dream of all the money I'll make, and then I send it to a hair charity.

I've always gotten lots of comments and questions about how I can get it to grow so well.  Unfortunately, I don't have any good answers, since it kind of grows all by itself.  I have no hair elixirs or magic tonics - just the thick, fast-growing hair my mom and dad blessed me with.  They each had a pretty good head of hair so I know where it comes from.

Mostly, it grows so long because I am too lazy to get it cut often.  I've tried it short (like every few years when I chop it off), but it grows quickly enough that I'd have to go to the hairdresser every couple or three weeks, or it loses its shape in a big, messy way.  It's not that I don't like the salon - in fact I have a favorite hair center where I go (maybe yearly?) that I love.  Mostly because the hairdresser has known me since I was a wee little girl, because she loved my mother, and that Trent and I met because of that hair place.  Not getting my hair cut often, on the other hand, is cheaper and easier.  That's the win right there!

When we bought our fixer-upper house this spring, I vowed I'd cut my hair off because I knew it would get in the way.  And it did, but I just didn't want to take the time out to 1) figure out what kind of a style I wanted, and 2) actually go to the salon.  So I put up with it.  And put it up a lot.  Yes, I did almost dip the end of my braid in the paint can multiple times.  Yes, I did get stuck a few times when my hair wrapped itself around a raw piece of lumber.  Yes, it did get full of dust and sheetrock mud.  But I bought a couple of Flexi-clips, and they were amazing!  I've never found anything that would hold up my heavy hair consistently and without pulling, but I am totally sold on these clips.  No product affiliation or anything, just an ever-so-happy customer.  And they are so pretty!

Anyway, I still have my long hair, and it's still attached to my head.  It was my Halloween costume this year. - we were Adam and Eve.  Actually, it was a reprise from last year, but hey, if you have a costume this easy, why not?  I did Lady Godiva for part of the time too, and handed out chocolates.


I do love my long hair, but it does tend to get in the way.  Like when I get in a car - I always close some of my hair in the door.  Or buckle it into the seat belt.  How about when you unbuckle your seat belt and the belt gets retracted back into the... wherever it goes... and it sucks some of your hair down there, too?  Love it.

I tuck my hair into my pants.  When I get dressed and pull a shirt over my head, I can't just flip the hair out of my shirt.  It takes three or four pulls to get it all out.  I've started zipping my hair into the fly on my jeans.  If I put on a coat over my hair, I'm frozen like that and can't move my head.  And static!  Oh, it's bad.  I'll zap everyone in the room at the same time if my hair starts getting big and charged.  Which is all winter long.

We won't talk about how really long hair is a liability in the bathroom.  Let's just say that I love my Flexi-clips and they are really, really fast at making and holding up a bun.  Because sometimes you need to be fast.  Showering, on the other hand, takes forever.  I can't roll over in bed because I'm laying on my hair.  Sometimes I can't roll over because Trent is laying on my hair.  Hair gets stuck in your armpits or wraps around your body, especially if it is wet.  The hair, not the armpit.

And the vacuum hates me.  There is always shed hair on the floor and it winds around your toes as you walk across the room.  I've never had hair this long, and it is pretty interesting to see how it is like a toddler and gets into everything.

But I like it.  It's flowy and feminine.  It keeps me warm in the winter - like wearing my very own fur coat.  And it's pretty.  The bottom of the braid is still beautifully brown, which is more than I can say for the hairs sprouting out closer to my head.  My hair is a beautifully fun accessory that I can do differently every day.  It's part of me, part of my identity.  One day I'll cut it, but for today, it's in a really cool 4-strand braid.  And I found a new bun I want to try for tomorrow!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

October Tidbits

Georgie was taking a shower (the bathtub isn't working yet), and said he was done.  On being reminded to rinse the bubbles from his armpits, very loud laughing and giggling was heard from the bathroom.

When Freddie heard someone raising their voice, he said, "Hey!  You should be more like me.  Sometimes I am mad, but when I'm not, I always try really hard not to be mad."

Angel insisted that she could do a good job washing her own hair - and then got distracted and didn't wash out all the shampoo.  Or didn't wash her scalp.  Or something, but ended up with an itchy head.  She scratched it so energetically that she made sores in the thin skin of her scar before we could get rid of the itch.  Here's hoping it heals up quickly.

Alec and I were visiting while he was working on his car in Opa's driveway.  He's got a concealed carry permit, and he let me hold his gun - after he took the bullets out.  Can't have a crazy mother shooting up the neighborhood!

Ben ran into an old elementary school friend.  The boy didn't recognize Ben at first, but thought he looked familiar.  Ben remembered the boy and introduced himself.  The old friend's eyes lit up, "Oh yeah!  But I thought you had red hair!"  He does still.

Trent and I spent the weekend at a marriage retreat.  It was pretty incredible.  So many good things... that I wish I had known decades ago.  It's never too late to learn a better way to do things, so I'll start today.  We found it so valuable that we decided to gift the class - plus a 3-night hotel stay - to each of our children as a wedding present.

Side note: the kids at home managed pretty well (with some Grandma help) while we were gone, but were relieved to see us back.  I'm happy to take over Mom duties.

Chris had a girl leave a note on his motorcycle, complimenting his bike and asking for a ride.  Now we know why he got a bike...

David is the high school's production of Les Miserables!  He is loving learning the songs and we love hearing them around the house.  He just had a choir concert that made me laugh and cry.  I so enjoy going to music concerts that that my boys are in!  I'm missing the junior high band concerts right now.

Eddie has finished a few art projects and is really enjoying the class.  I'm kind of bummed he didn't take cooking because I like the homework he would have gotten.  He is doing fabulously in his classes.

Fall is in full swing, and the canyons are gloriously bedecked!  Go out and take a ride this week if you can.  Bonus points for taking a cute girl.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Laundry!

I'm doing laundry!  That normally wouldn't be too terribly exciting, but see,  I'm doing laundry at my own house! In my own washing machine that is actually hooked up to running water!  Because of city codes, we couldn't hook up the washer and dryer until the kitchen passed its final inspection.  Trent made that happen this week and I'm elated.  I am a lucky lady to have such a skilled husband.  

Man, I take so much for granted and having an in-house laundromat is a huge convenience, especially for a large family.  We can work through a dozen loads a week without any mishaps (like a bedwetting!),  so we give the washer and dryer a pretty good workout.  I can hear it chugging away in the laundry room while I write this,  and it makes me so happy.  It's like having my very own maid!   I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I've only been doing absolutely critical laundry for the past few months because leaving home to do the wash is so inconvenient.  It will be nice to have all the towels clean at the same time, or be able to do a late-night emergency load, or have clean sheets the same day.

I'm so spoiled.  And grateful today. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Shredded Jeans


Growing up, my brothers and I wore jeans a lot.  We wore them until they were "high waters" or until the waist was so tight you couldn't sit down in them anymore.  Then you passed them on down to the next kid (who was obviously delighted to get another batch of hand-me-downs, of course!).  That didn't actually happen very often, because we always wore out the knees first.  I don't know why we think of denim as being so tough when the knees rip through so fast!  I say that as a mother of boys.  I do remember my mother getting Tough Skins jeans at J.C. Penney - or was it Sears? - because they had a double layer of fabric at the knees.  To her, it was worth it.

When my first little boys were getting bigger, Shop Ko had a return program that if the kids wore out any clothing before they outgrew it, the store would replace the item.  I would drive several cities away to get Shop Ko jeans for my little dudes, even though they were noticeably thinner than the other brands.  I went back to get those holey jeans replaced over and over and over... until I got sick of it and quit shopping there.  Boys are HARD on jean-knees!

When our knees blew out, the jeans were candidates for cut-offs.  Mom would cut the jeans off at the knee-hole.  Hopefully the holes in both knees lined up.  If we were lucky, she would hem the cut ends, or we would just roll them up.  Those were our summer shorts.  But we did not wear them with holes in the knees.  Not at all.

As I'm getting to be an old-lady-person, I'm surprised at the jeans on the racks at the store that are pre-thrashed.  First the jeans were pre-washed, then pre-worn-in, and now you can pay good money to have them pre-worn-completely-out?  I have a hard time with the idea.

David had a pair of jeans with holes in the knees.  They were hand-me-downs from Chris or Ben, so they came by the knee-holes honestly.  Usually I take such jeans and add them to my enormous pile of old pants that I fully intend to make denim quilts out of.  One day.  Don't ask how large that pile is (it currently lives in multiple big boxes), or when "one day" is.  But David liked the jeans and kept wearing them.  He even took a razor blade to them and ever-so-carefully WHILE wearing the pants scraped a few new holes in the legs.  This does not compute.

The holes got larger after every washing, and I think after every wearing and every time someone looked at the jeans.  Thankfully, there came a day recently when there was more hole than jean and they were declared legally dead.  Even more fortunately, there wasn't enough fabric left to worry about imaginary denim quilts.

Farewell, holey jeans!  Let's go to the store and get you a pair of new pants.  I'll pick them out.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Zero Problem


I have a zero problem.  No, not zero problems - although that might be nice to try!  It happens when I am thinking about large numbers that have lots of zeros.  I know how much a house is worth, but I'm just as apt to say, "thirty thousand dollars" instead of "three hundred thousand."  That last zero makes a huge difference!  Some people are quite confused when I talk about numbers.  My husband has learned about this little quirk of mine, and doesn't bat an eye when I rattle off a number that is off by a magnitude of ten.  He calmly corrects the number and we laugh about my zero problem.

The other day, Trent was given cash as a payment.  He brought home the large bills and showed them to the kids.  Little Georgie's eyes got big as he looked at the money.  "Hey Mom!" he excitedly piped up, "Can I have 6 of those?"

Um, what?  That's an awful lot of money!  When I asked him to tell me more about why he needed money, he explained, "I need sixty cents right now."  Sixty cents... six hundred dollars... I guess I've passed on my zero problem and then some.  Yikes!