Friday, October 9, 2009

Po Po's at 2:00am

Is this the face of innocence? I think not. Those beady little eyes, the blank stare, all a cover for the mayhem which lies beneath. I hate to confess to all the atrocities that this dog has committed in our house on the grounds that my friends may no longer be my friends and my family will never let us visit them again.
But for your pleasure...
He has several nicknames in our house. Stupid, Moron, Idiot, Whizzer. There are others. Mostly it is whatever comes flying out of your mouth when you find poop in your closet. Or the living room. Or the family room, guest room, bathroom, come to think of it, there isn't a room he hasn't christened with his waste. Including Josh's bed. Poor Josh.
And many of my friends will remember a certain diarrhea incident where he walked into the middle of the book club circle and held nothing back. He did the same in my bathroom, dining room, get the idea.

Did I mention urine? Because everyone knows that where there's smoke there's fire. My carpet cleaner has paid for itself many times over. If you catch him in the act and yell at him, you will be sorry because he will run off, finishing the deed in a long, zig-zagging pattern across the room.
Needless to say, I am longing to replace my carpet.

He also cries. Whimpers like a hound dog at all hours of the night, sometimes while standing on my pillow. Sometimes it's because he wants to go out. You can race downstairs to let him out, thinking you made it in time, but when you turn around there may be that tell-tale zig-zag. Or he may insult you by not going out at all.

He escapes. A pool installer brought him to us from the alley behind the house. The neighbor brought him to us from his yard. Another neighbor brought him to us from his porch. In other words, if you don't let him back into his litter box quickly enough, he finds a way to make your life more difficult and embarrassing.

I'm sure you're getting the idea. Tod is ready to take him on that special drive.

So the other night Jack was outside. He eventually scratched on the door to be let in. The thing with my medication is that when I take everything together at night, I am dead to the world pretty quickly. I'm talking 4X dosage of NyQuil out of it. So I thought I let him in. But it turns out that I didn't. It got quiet outside not because I had let him in but he let himself out. Out of the yard.

I walked down the alley at one in the morning, up and down the street, calling his name and making the neighbor's dogs go nuts.
After a while we decided to call it quits for the night, knowing a neighbor would probably bring him around in the morning.

2:00am- tap tap tap
I answer the door. As my friend Anna would say. "It's the Po Po's!"
"Ma'am, does this dog belong to you?"

(Why no, I'm pretty sure he could be your problem now.)
"You bad dog! How did you get out?" (I'm only pretending I like you right now for the sake of this nice policeman who dirtied his uniform on this rainy night to bring your sorry rear back to us. And when he goes back to his car I'm going to scream at you.)

"I found him up there at the intersection by that Mormon church." (that MORMON church, you should thank me because I rescued him from the very gates of culthood itself!)"He was just sitting there in the middle of the intersection. I'm surprised he didn't get run over." (Ma'am, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but I think your dog's done gone retarded.)

"Wow! What were you doing there? I looked all over for you! He gets out sometimes but we can't find the spot where he does it"

"I had a Beagle that got out all the time. Chewed through the fence. Well, he was just sitting there in that intersection, you know, right by that Mormon church, he was just sitting there in the road and when I walked up to him he just looked at me like I was the one who was crazy" (Again, I'm reminding you that he was WAY to close to that MORMON church for comfort. Also, again, I'm pretty sure your dog is retarded.)

"Thank you so much for bringing him home. The kids will be so relieved that he made it back." (Really, only the kids will be glad he made it back. Tod was thinking of cutting off the collar and setting him out. And your dog chewed through the fence? That's a new one...)

"You're welcome ma'am. Glad I could help. I am surprised he didn't get run over out there." (He's lucky I got to him before a car or those MORMONS.)

Door closes, and let the scolding begin.
But after the dog makes a bed on my pillow, I am thinking that it is a small blessing that the only reason the police have ever been to the house is to bring the dog home. Dumb dog that he is. And Tod's response when I got back in?
"You didn't try to get him to take him home with him?"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Friday, September 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, Emma!

Happy Birthday to Emma! It is extra special because you are 8. We are so proud of you and the sweet little person that you are. You remind your brothers that too much violence in video games they play destroys the sensitive parts of their spirits. Anna is reminded that sisters never hurt each other because they are friends forever. Leah knows that she should put away from her things because they can be foot hazards on the floor. Mom is reminded that family is way more important that shopping. Everyone knows that you will kiss them or hug them without even being asked. Thank you for being our sweet little Emma and reminding us to try to think with our hearts more. Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Little Bedtime Horror Story

Once upon a time there were two little girls. They were great friends, holding hands at church and giggling behind the pews. These two little girls were celebrating their 8th birthdays within 2 weeks of each other and being baptized together. Their mothers had a grand plan: the girls would get their little ears pierced together, holding hands like they always do. The date was set, and the girls went to Wal-Mart. (Note to reader- Wal-Mart is evil. We hate it for oh so many reasons.) They met at the jewelry counter and picked out their earrings, each choosing their mothers' birthstones. Smiles abounded.

Then the cranky piercer, we'll call her Polly Parkinson's, appeared on the scene. Her unsteady grip on the piercing gun wasn't enough to quell the hopes of these girly girls!

With gun and sterile earrings in hand, Polly approaches the happy victim. Her mother had dotted her ears so the intended target was clear. Then the moment of truth...

With a jerk of pain it is over... but Polly missed! The earring was off the mark by a good quarter inch.

"Whoops! Is that okay?"

Um, yeah, Polly. Because every little girl wants a random piercing. Oh yes, and by the way, could you accidentally drift down to the belly button? That would be a hit at the elementary school.

Poor Emma. The fairy tale buddy-style ear piercing event came to a screeching halt. Polly pulls the earring irritably out of the tiny lobe. The wailing is drawing a crowd now, and the other jewelry counter employee comments on the time that she was kicked during a piercing. Sounds about right Emma, kick away!

So when Emma is calmed, and Polly has resigned herself to the fact that she will be repeating the job, we get started again. But this time, Emma had to pick another color of earrings. Adding insult to injury, Polly announces that there are no more of her first choice. Perfect.

Meanwhile, clutching at her mothers clothes is Emma's poor little friend. She has watched the whole scene play out and there is no way in heck she is going to subject herself to the shaky handed-so-called-professional. I'm getting sympathetic looks from her mother, as well as the passers by, but we press on. Gun in hand, Polly hobbles down to her knees.

"You are making me so nervous, Sweetie! I am shakin' like a leaf!" Just now you're shakin'? And who do you think is more nervous? And so with a non-eventful conclusion the ears are pierced. The pain is over and the pretties are in place.

When Polly starts to prepare the next victim, she escapes just in time, perfect little lobes intact. Come to find out, you can purchase the piercing gun for 5 bucks. That's right, folks. For 5 dollars the entire scene can play out in your own home, minus the incompetence. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that it is a pretty small learning curve for the job of "professional ear piercer". And I think I could even produce a very official looking document. The moral of the story...when your are going to permanently alter your body for the sake of beauty, leave it to the professionals. Just not the Wal-Mart kind!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Prepare to be amazed

Okay, I know I'm quite possibly the most talented person you know. What? The thought never occurred to you? Well if not, then you need to get to know me better. (My sarcasm is one of my talents by the way!) Dang it. Well, here is a small bit of proof that I am the man...or woman as the case may be. Observe the soon-to-be-8-year-old child...

Wearing the baptism jumper that I made! I know, your jaw just hit the floor. Emma is so glad that she doesn't have to wear the same unisex jumper that the boys wore. I am just proud that it didn't make it into the abyss where all my unfinished projects go to die. The real test will be when she gets the big dunk, will it separate at the waist and leave her with a story to tell her children? Impossible!

Monday, August 24, 2009

And then there was.....1.

Four little ducklings heading off to school. Where has the time gone? Four kids in the same school at once- it is a hard pill to swallow for me. I am sitting here at home, nearly alone. There is Leah, but I have forgotten how to communicate with only one little child. She has counted on Anna to schedule her day for so long that she doesn't know what she's supposed to do. I have counted on Anna to distract her for so long that I don't know what to do. And so we've been staring at each other most of the day. She rambles about the weirdest things. She harasses me about food all day long. Who is this child?

I dropped my confident little Anna off at her class this morning. It was the first time in a very long time I have seen her nervous. Anna is a loner, and I think she was under the misconception that she would have the teacher to herself. Whoops. The teacher's aid was trying to give her a pop-tart and milk and all Anna could do was stare at her like a deer caught in the head-lights.

Emma and Josh are perfectly at home at school. They are in their element and school is a purely social event for them. New shoes, new crayons, if only that would keep them happy all their lives!

Aaron is done. He is just done. School is a bore, his 6th grade teacher is mean, yada, yada, yada. His baseball game tonight is all he can think about. Are we really at Deacon age? I guess it is as dad always said, the brain surrender has begun.

And then there's me. I get to go wash a gargantuan pile of clothes! Oh, and then there will be filling out four kid's worth of forms and permission slips tonight. Aren't I lucky? Meanwhile Leah is waving my yardstick, babbling something about a warrior princess and panties. You see what I mean? How do I talk to this kid?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Josh going Fast, and a few candid photos

Fourth of July weekend was a busier weekend than usual. We underwent the Glazier invasion- Catherine and her family settled into Midland on Friday for a 3 day fun-fest. Cousins had time to reattach themselves,

Food to be consumed,
And many candid shots to be taken. Here are a few winners...

In lieu of fireworks, glowsticks!

Baby Dino

Fourth of July Barbecue- West Texas Thunderstorm-style

The face of perfection
Black markers make a tasty treat!
When the Taffy bag is empty, it also doubles as a stylish hat
And my personal favorite: "Hey Auntie Becca, take a picture of me NOT eating!

Thanks for the visit, the entertainment, and the priceless photos, Glaziers!
It was also a special weekend for the extended Huffman family. We were doing a special fast for Elisa and Daron, in hopes that they will soon be able to have a child of their own. Fasting is hard. It is hard for anyone, but especially for kids. We don't ask the little kids to fast, but we did give the ones over the age of baptism (8) the option of doing it with us.
Josh loves food. Let me say this again...Josh LOVES food. The decision to fast is a big one for him. He was dedicated to the cause, though, and fasted willingly.
A primary leader which shall go unnamed, brought refried beans with cheese on top and served them during sharing time! Shame! Poor Josh! Then to add insult to injury, he got candy in his class and was forced to pocket it until we broke the fast that night. He came home from church crying, and we could see how big a sacrifice it was for him. We learned from his example, and I'm sure he will be blessed as well as his aunt and uncle. It sure does make dinner that much more enjoyable, doesn't it Josh?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Gettin' my baby time

I'm getting my baby fix through my niece Maj-Lis this weekend. She is a doll, and fun for our kids to baby. Not only that, but she is a great eater! I just enjoyed watching her gouge at her mother with her corn cob- classic.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Parties, Weddings and houseguests, oh my!

If there has ever been a more jammed packed time in my life I don't know what it was. Tod's mom and her husband Ger got here on the 10th and stayed through the 12th. The treated the kids to almost entire days of swimming, UP! 3-D, and kids meals. They took us to dinner at Abuelo's and the Glenn Beck Common Sense tour at the theater. All in a matter of two days!

My responsibility was to get ready to deliver the wedding cake for Saturday, and I spent an entire day doing just that. I had forgotten in the last four years since we have been here how stressful it is to make a wedding cake, and I may never agree to it again!

Friday night, after spending all day baking and frosting, we went to Hobbs to have a family barbecue before the wedding. Lots of Tod's family was there and it was fun to sit and talk to people we normally only see up there. Saturday morning we drove back to Hobbs a second time, set up the cake and went to the wedding. After the wedding we went to the reception. The kids had a blast getting punch from a fountain, and I got to cut the cake- They gave me an apron that matches the tablecloth above as a gift...cute huh?

We got home after midnight Sunday night with Tod's brother Greg in tow, and Sunday morning Tod's dad, his wife Ellen , Tod's brother Jay and Jay's fiance Kris (whom I love!) made it over. Greg, Jay and Kris left later that day for home with a belly full of Gumbo (their first time).

Dad and Ellen stayed till Wednesday. They got to help us celebrate Leah's 4th birthday and help her shop for birthday dresses. Leah hates shorts and would wear a dress every day of the week if we let her. Ellen and I went to Kohls three times. She kept saying we were looking for Clarence. It actually took me a while to figure out that they were poking fun at me. Apparently I pronounce 'Clearance', 'Clarence'. Oh well, we definitely found him!

We had our nightly games of Euchre, and our daily games of Dirty Clubs. We never get enough card playing, and playing cards always means lots of tasty, off-limits food.

Thursday night I taught a three month food storage class at Enrichment that I had been studying and planning for since 3 weeks ago. I have learned so much about planning, gathering, preserving, storing, and thrifty shopping that my head is swimming.

Last night I flipped open my YW lesson manual (yes, I know I procrastinated) to figure out what I would be teaching today. It never ceases to amaze me how much the lessons and their subject matter were timed for me. I cried when I saw that it was about forgiveness, it seems like a cruel joke. No one knows what you suffer or endure. No one knows when your heart is breaking, except the Lord. It is amazing to me that he can communicate his love and support for us in the simplest of ways. I am so thankful to have these opportunities to learn and grow, and have a deeper perspective because of my membership in the church.

And so, life is somewhat back to normal. Father's day was quiet and I hope we can have a little break before the insanity begins again.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Look closely...

Right upper lip, fat lip and right chin...( sorry about the up-the-nose shot ;))

Leah is her mother's daughter- nearly everything around her represents a major hazard. Can you guess how she had her latest odd encounter today? Notice the distinctive pattern .

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Little Bubbles

I hate looking at our blog and realizing I haven't written anything in weeks. It makes me feel guilty because this is somewhat like a family journal and the lack of writing suggests that I have no desire to document what is going on in our lives. I wait for events- birthdays, gerbil killings, etc. to offer our friends and family a peek into our lives. When family visits or we make the rare trips to their homes they always comment on how much the kids have changed. I guess for us it's like the frog it the pot- they change so gradually that we didn't even realize how we got to where we are.
Aaron outgrew his shoes at a record pace- before they had even worn out. Normally this wouldn't bother me, but this time I had to buy him a men's size 8, only three sizes smaller than his dad's. They are considerably bigger than my own.
It was disgusting.
I remember a woman in our ward in Hobbs telling me before Aaron was born that I should write down everything about the day he was born- the little looks, what I was thinking, his smell- and commit it all to memory. I didn't write it on paper, yet. I did commit it to memory though. Aaron had this perfectly shaped, velvety blond head. Every mother knows her baby's cry and smell. They've even done studies on it. I used to nuzzle his head and breathe in the smell of him. It was the first time in life I had felt that unconditional love of a child. I will never forget it.
The other day he came home from school with a pamphlet entitled, "Always Changing: You and Puberty". Gag. Are they serious? Little Aaron? Along with the pamphlet there were gifts! A toothbrush and deodorant. Laugh if you will, but they must be clairvoyant. How did they know his hair had gone from that velvety to greasy overnight? Not to mention there is this odd smell coming off of him like a junior high wrestling mat! Thank you pamphlet gods who have come in my time of need to rescue my baby from the throes of teenage weirdness!
This is how I document our lives. In the little bubbles that rise from the bottom of the boiling pot- little moments I take notice of the change in the water. I hope I can write something more interesting in my next blog post for once, I don't think I can stomach another gerbil incident though!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Isn't it normal?

The school year is drawing to a close. I am so excited to have the kids home with me again. I love to have a little bit of influence over their lives and steal them away from the so-called educational system for a few short months. I hate running here and there and being bound by some schedule. I always laugh when someone tells me that they can't stand summer and the fact that they don't have the school to babysit their kids for 7 hours a day.

I look at Aaron as he changes and is making that dreaded transition into teenage-hood. There are still little glimpses of the sweet little boy that I used to cradle and sing to, but not many. Now I am lucky if he doesn't glare at me over the course of the day. At least he still thinks I'm smart. I know that won't last long either.

I love that we got to sit through Josh's championship game last night, and hate that he had to lose. It broke my heart to see those boys cry on their dad's shoulders, but I was happy to hold Josh's head against my chest again and soak up his tears. I'm so grateful he still wants to. ( And the dance in the outfield is over till the fall).

I'm sure it makes for dry reading when I don't have any funny stories to tell, but I'm glad that life has been "normal" and "boring". And isn't it normal to sit down and kill zombies with the boys sometimes?

I am dreading Anna starting school this coming fall. She is so entertaining. The kids have been introduced to a lot of different music- I am a music addict. The journey song "Don't stop believing" has a line that goes "I smell wine and cheap perfume". Anna and Leah were singing it in the car the other day and I realized they were saying "Snow White and sheep perfume". Fantastic! You can't buy that kind of entertainment.

I'm such a dork. It sounds so cheesy to be gushing over my kids. I just love that this is my favorite place to be. Having family movie night in our family room, in our own theater, eating popcorn and everyone laying all over each other laughing and happy. Then sitting up late with my best friend in this world, laughing and talking, just being grateful for this life I've been blessed with. Isn't it normal?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A lesson for Leah

Anyone else tired of hearing about tonsils? Well, prepare yourself for something uglier. We have quite the animal population in our home. 2 dogs, 2 guinea pigs and 2 gerbils. Well, there were 2 gerbils. Today was a day of carnage in our home.

Warning: this post is not for the faint of heart

Leah has been warned repeatedly to leave the small animals alone. At almost 4, she just doesn't have the understanding to treat them with the respect they need. We frequently find her holding an animal that is verboten. I'm afraid we gave her more opportunities than we should have. Although she has handled them many times under our supervision, today she locked herself in the office and played with them alone. When she came out with one in her hand, she handed her to me, saying, "She's got bleed!"

Uh oh. Yep, her grip had been too tight. Explaining to a 3 year old the concept of death, much less that she had caused it was difficult, but it hit her where it hurt when the older kids came home from school. All of a sudden her favorite people in the world were all crying hysterically and looking at her with accusing eyes. We talked about how even though they miss Carly, they have to forgive Leah, and love her in spite of her careless act.

It is so hard to lose a pet. I have experienced it too, and it is tough. Perhaps it's God's way of preparing us in small ways for inevitable future losses. It was a good opportunity to talk to the kids again about resurrection. They petted her one last time and we talked about how it was a body only- there was no life in her, no spirit. We put her in the ground and said a prayer. Josh said the sweetest prayer- he asked that she would be happy there with her Heavenly Father as one of his little animals again. He asked that we would be able to deal with her loss, and someday see her again. Kids are so smart.

Emma on the other hand, says that she can't take it anymore. She can't take it. We'll see.

So this blog is for you, Carly! You will be missed, especially by Emma. Sam misses you too!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tots and Tonsils

Well, the weird time of post tonsillectomy seems to be over. Tod went back to work yesterday and life is officially back to normal. Our house is a sty, the laundry is piled high to the ceiling, and there isn't a single room that isn't trashed. It was as if we were living in a false reality, disconnected from the rest of the world. Tod walked out of the house Monday morning and noticed how much the grass had grown.

Thank you to all those who have offered their help and support during this stressful time. We are so grateful!

Jack is adjusting well to his new home. He will sleep on the bed whenever he gets the chance, but is not allowed on the leather couch under any circumstances. Mostly he follows me around no matter where I go- to the point where he is continually stepped on. Poor baby.

I have given up my precious Coke again. It is a tense time in my house, you might want to say a little extra prayer for my family.

Emma gave Anna a black eye in the bath tub! Think it's time for separate baths?

Josh has his baseball tournament next week. He is so excited because he is sure they will win, as they have the best record so far. He takes every opportunity to rub his game ball in Aaron's face.

I have begun making Emma's baptism clothes. I can't believe it is coming!

Aaron is still in the thick of baseball. He still loves it. He scrutinizes every little thing he does wrong. He has that perfectionist gene- I wonder where that came from?

Summer is closing in fast, less than 5 weeks to go! If you want to make a little trip down (or over) to Texas, we would be happy to see you! I'll even move the laundry ;)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Why I'm not cut out for nursing

You may not know that before this glorious career in motherhood and housewifery I was dead set on medicine. I even used to show my dates pictures out of my surgical textbooks. I think they're fascinating, I don't know why so many of them gagged. Gimme a break. Fortunately I have these weird opportunities to continue my education in this job of wife and mother. Did you ever think that being a nurse could be so fun? Yeah, me either.
Attention: Portions of this story have been edited or excluded to protect the dignity of all parties involved.

First some back information. Tod has had strep 5 times in the last 6 months. In other words, he had a throat like a petri dish. Gross. He even felt so generous as to share with the rest of us on a few occasions. Again, yuck. After seeing the ENT he was told that the time was well past when he needed to have his festering prune-like tonsils removed.

Tod- So can I have them out on a Friday and get back to work on Monday?
Dr- (shock and reserved laughter) Uh, no. At least 2 weeks my friend.
Tod- (shock and reserved tears) Okay.
And it was scheduled.

Tax day we got up at the not-so-sunny hour of 4:30 to get the kids to their various babysitters and make it to the hospital by 6. Thankfully my prayers were answered and everything went smoothly that day. The kids were calm and cooperative, the surgery went smoothly, and we were home at lunchtime. I wasn't nervous. I was confident in his Dr., the staff was kind and professional, and Tod was so drugged that I knew he wouldn't remember anything anyway.

When he was in his room recovering, drinking ice-water he said the fated words:
"I feel good enough, I think I could go back to work!"
Maybe it was the Demoral talking. Yup, I'm pretty sure it was.

Let me first say that I love my husband. I LOVE HIM! He is the center of my universe, my best friend and any other mushy thing you can think of.

But this nursing thing stinks. Adult tonsillectomy might very well be the worst surgery in the world. Pretty sure Tylenol 3 doesn't agree with Tod's stomach. Found that out the hard way. Cold feels bad but warm feels worse. The bigger the tonsils were, the bigger hole they leave behind. Scabs in the throat...well, that's all I'll say about that.
Tod is pretty sure that he's had the equivalent suffering to childbirth. No comment.

I feel bad for him. I don't have much of a bedside manner. I am more the "suck it up" and "rub some dirt on it" mentality. My kids will probably be scarred for life because I think cuts are exciting. There are few things, blood or pain that ruffle my feathers. Frankly I am more bothered by lizards. Now if it was a lizard in Tod's throat, that would get a rise out of me! Mostly I resent that I couldn't be there in the operating room, and that the nurses talk to me like a high school drop-out. I know how to use the PDR as well as they do, thank you very much! Off the soapbox...

So today marked the beginning of the second week of his convalescence. It has been a hard week in so many ways, obviously. But in many ways it has been a blessing (don't tell Tod). I have made several trips to the store for various comfort items...alone. That's right, no children. I have been to a few baseball games...alone. It was a wonderful thing to see Josh get an AWESOME hit, see the pride his coaches had, and watch him get the game ball after the win. He was so proud of himself, it brought a little tear to my eye. Jack has been allowed to sleep in the bed...that's right, IN THE BED! Tod has shared his bed with a dog, and unprecedented event. I think he feels a camaraderie with the barkless animal- maybe he has had throat surgery too?

I keep telling Tod that eventually, he will have his baby- the blessings of a lack of tonsils- and the pain will be over. Until then, I'm keeping a pleantiful stock of ensure, ice-cream, applesauce, malt-o-meal, soup, jello, get the idea! Maybe we'll run out and I'll have to run to the store again...(wink, wink).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The power of a smell

They say that the power of smell is the most powerful of senses.

Tod: "Who is 'they'?"

I doesn't matter!

Everyone knows the smells that take them back. Every one is tied to a memory or a feeling. The other night I had one of these experiences. It is a smell that not only takes me back to a time in my life, it is such a happy memory, a tie to my family, that there is nothing else like it.

It is in the process of making our family's recipe for Gumbo that I get this smell. After making the roux and adding the vegetables to it, they start to cook a little bit. This is my favorite smell in the world. It is not something I can describe with words.

It is something we always enjoyed eating as kids and it is a tie to my heritage. It binds me to the Grandmother that I don't remember because it is something that she used to do much the same way. It binds me to my daddy who is my taste tester and whose approval is the ultimate reward for me.

There are several of these memories for me, and I know there are for you as well. I would love to hear your stories, tell me about your favorite smell and where it takes you!

Monday, April 13, 2009

An innocent bag of jelly beans

What's the best thing you've ever found in a bag of candy? I'm normally not much of a fan of jelly beans, especially those spice flavored ones, and definitely not the black ones! Blah! Jelly beans are, however, an Easter tradition. They make it into our baskets every year. I like to find interesting flavors that don't really taste like jelly beans. Cream Savers, Mike and Ike, Jolly Rancher, you know, something special. So I saw the Hawaiian Punch flavor and thought it was a winner. Definitely not black jelly beans!

But do you want to know what's worse than black jelly beans? I'll show you...

Warning: be prepared to gag.

Does this look like a jelly bean to you? Me either. This is what I got when I reached into the bag- a weird, threaded, bolt-type thing covered in a bushing of sorts. I am appalled! It is the perfect size to be a choking hazard, not to mention- is it sterile?

What would you do?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Every time it rains, it rains eggs from heaven...

One of these things does not our house that is. It seems funny in an ironic sort of way that we grabbed a large Easter egg for comparison. The one on the bottom, Easter egg. On top: stupid hail. Does hail have a purpose?
Anyway, as people around here know, we got hit with a pretty exciting thunderstorm last night. The rain was good, we needed it really bad. I actually thought It was going to break a window! I inspecated the damage this morning in daylight and discovered that our rain came at a price- it looks like someone rammed a shopping cart randomly into the hood and top of the cars, including my sister-in-law visiting from Albuquerque. Of course I know that's impossible, but no more reassuring. To all our friends with broken windshields, I'm so sorry!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bittersweet memory

Several years ago I was in Las Cruces with my family for a late Thanksgiving. It is always a good time when we get together, but better still, knowing I was pregnant with our fourth child. Some of us got sick, just a cold- it was nothing to keep us from enjoying the occasion. Pregnancy was a part of life by now and living with the symptoms of the early weeks was familiar. I spent one day laying around on the air mattress feeling terrible before we left for home.
On the car ride home I noticed an uncomfortable itching on my elbow and forearm. When I changed into my pajamas that night I noticed the rash.
My life has turned on a dime several times in my life but only twice because of illness. This was the first. The next day I called my family Dr. to tell him about the rash and that I needed to be seen. When I told them I was pregnant they cut me off-

"You'll need to be seen by an OB/GYN"

"He is my family Dr. and has delivered all of our other children. I don't have another OB." I answer

"I can refer you to one, or you can go to the emergency room." she mutters, sans feeling.

"It's not an emergency, I just need to be seen for the rash."

"I'm sorry, but we cannot see you if you are pregnant."

I hang up feeling extremely depressed. It was a feeling that would only deepen as I tried to schedule an appointment with an OB that I had never seen before. New patient appointments stretched three weeks into the future.
Every inch of my body was covered in this unfamiliar, lacey rash. My joints ached terribly and I could barely move. We decided it was time to go to the emergency room, silly or not.

In the emergency room they drew my blood for every test known to man. Apparently my condition was too rare to be diagnosed by an emergency room doctor. I lay there for two hours. They checked the baby through ultrasound and she was fine. They couldn't decide what to do with me but to tell me to take some Tylenol and they got me in to see an OB the following week.

The day of my first OB visit with Dr. Ranka was bad. They examined me and decided to draw blood for a Parvovirus B-19 titer. It came back "high". High means bad. High means do an ultrasound. "Fifth's Disease." Such a dumb name.

Anyone who has had an ultrasound during pregnancy knows what they're looking at. When I saw our tiny baby laying lifeless at the bottom of the screen I knew her journey was over. There was no heartbeat, and for a moment, I had lost a few too. Dr. Ranka touched me lightly on the knee and said, "I don't have to tell you, I know." I wished I had Tod there with me instead of home with the other kids. I wished I could roll back the clock and tell the doctors in the emergency room what they were missing, not that it would help. I wished I didn't have to drive home through my tears and tell my loving husband that my being sick had cost our baby its life.
Everything happened so quickly. They scheduled a time for me to go into the hospital. I wandered like a swollen-eyed zombie out into the waiting room, papers in hand. The looks of the nameless people in the waiting room said it all- pain, loss, suffering, confusion, fear, and dread.

Miscarriage. Such a dumb name. I carried her as well as I knew how. I prayed for her and loved her and planned for her as well as any of our other kids. There were few words about it between Tod and I. I handed him the stupid pamphlet on coping with the loss of a child and it said it all to him. He was my rock, my mouthpiece when I was too overwhelmed to speak. He held my hand as I was wheeled into the operating room and when I was wheeled out to the car- babyless, empty and beaten.

If there is a word to describe those dark days in my life, it would be "void". As painful as it is to describe again, I was jerked back there yesterday when I was reading a blog recommended by a friend. She of course had no idea what it would mean to me. The woman who writes this blog was describing the life of her young son, a survivor of in utero Fifth's disease. It was amazing to hear what our baby's future could have held if she had survived. The body shuts down in an attempt to maintain the organs. Bone marrow, red blood cells and limbs are sacrificed in an attempt to preserve the brain, heart and lungs. Needless to say, complications after birth are many and difficult.

While we grieve still for the loss of this beloved child, she is blessed to know a perfect body, never feeling the weight of imperfection. She will never face the challenges that survivors of this devastating disease feel. While I cannot hold her in my arms as I do my other children, I know that she is being held in the most loving of arms, more perfect than my own, waiting for the day when we will all be together again. I hope my arms do not disappoint.

I feel bonded to this mother in an indescribable way. She battles this demon daily as I do.

I don't want to sound whiney, not by any means. This story is only awakened because of my reading that blog. I don't want to punish any of you, because in a way this is a story of hope. It is a story about how just because something is taken away, it is not our fault. We are all given a life, short or long to do something great. My family is eternal, all 9 of us. We all have our struggles and none is any smaller or greater than another's, it is all based on what we are capable of dealing with, with grace. That is what makes this a bittersweet memory. I am stronger. God was training me to deal with pain so that I could survive my own struggles and be here for the 5 kiddos that need me. I have learned to never take the Lord's timing for granted. His sight is perfect, but mine is only 20/20 at best ;)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Josh, and proof that it's all about the Gatorade

Thursday night was the first time this season we were able to give undivided attention to Josh's baseball game. Frequently we attend games in baseball limbo, trapped between Aaron and Josh's fields.

There is this long standing joke in our house about Josh and his bladder...never mind that this post will be extremely humiliating for Josh, but at least he's too young to date! So anyway, Josh has a bladder the size of a walnut. Not a big walnut either. The first stop for Josh after warm-ups is the Gatorade cooler. Then there is usually half an inning where he is in the field an thus kept away from his precious Gatorade, but as soon as they get back to the dugout they are reunited with reckless abandon. Let's do the physics- half a gallon of Gatorade v. Walnut Bladder...who will win out? It doesn't matter that he goes before we leave the house or whether or not he is warned about the above physics equation, the Gatorade is irresistible. In the second or third inning bladder failure is imminent. We see the dance begin.

"Here we go again." Tod says.
"It's absurd. Do you think he has any idea what he looks like?" I ask.
"Obviously not."
"I'm going to take a picture!" I say, and jump up, camera at the ready.
"Doesn't it have a video setting?" he reminds me with a sly grin.

I think Josh thought it was a candid shot of him at third base, but sometimes proof is a decent deterrant. This is a little video I like to call, "One out to go"
Some kids will never learn! Sorry about the shaking, you know our west Texas wind.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Charlie Brown and cilantro

Okay, I have nothing of particular interest to post today, unless you want to hear about Leah squirting all my moisturizer down the sink. So in lieu of real news or something profound I thought I would post something for Amy's benefit.

Today we had a going-away-lunch for a few sisters in the ward. Gotta love Rosa's under any circumstances! So I sat with Amy and her adorable little guy, Landon, who I lovingly refer to as Charlie Brown. He is the best little eater, it's too bad his mother won't give him guacamole or sopapillas- Rookie! But she did think it would be funny to let him try cilantro- this kid ate it up! Wow, some kids really will eat anything.

After we got home Leah asked if we could watch Twilight again. Yes, she asked, you assumed it was my idea didn't you? She looked so angry while she was watching that I thought I'd ask why. She told me she was being a vampire.

"I'm a killer, Bewwa" she told me, with her speech impediment, and made this face...

Apparently she is working on her tortured, brooding teenage vampire face. Unsettling isn't it?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

You give me fever...

This week has been full of fever! Baseball has come again and Aaron is loving it. Aaron started his games a couple weeks ago and Josh starts his this week. It never ceases to amaze me how much joy it provides to see your kids doing something they love. Aaron lives baseball- he eats it, breathes it, and dreams of it. Josh likes it- big difference! Josh is all about the gum and the gatorade and Aaron wants a certain bat for his birthday. So cute to see the athletic swagger even at 11. They had private lessons this past weekend and it just fueled the fire. As soon as they have their season schedule I will post it.
On a more painful note, we are going through strep for the fourth time since the beginning of the year. Tod is getting his tonsils out on the 15th and hopefully that will be a big step in the right direction. He actually succeeded in getting me sick this time. Oh the misery! Combine a vicious case of strep sore throat with my TN, and you get a pain that is nearly indescribable. I had a blessing Friday night and it has been steadily better since. I am so thankful for worthy priesthood holders both in my husband and friends, and a friend generous enough to come over at a moment's notice.
Wish me luck in tackling my immense pile of laundry tomorrow!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Dog update and rumble at WalMart

We have had the new dog for a little over a week and all is well. He seems to be getting used to our schedule and the terrain of the house. He still gets special treatment, including B-12 shots once a week to boost his appetite. Jack just belongs here.
On another note, my friend Anna came down from Oklahoma for Spring Break ( and to watch Twilight on the big screen). We went out to eat before the release and then headed over to Walmart to wait for the movie to go on sale. There was a short line, and we waited for about an hour. The line filled in behind us, maybe 150 people. As the clock hit 12:00 and then passed it, patience in the line was in short supply. All of a sudden a scream came from down the aisle- they were wheeling it out- uncovered! Morons! Don't they know what people are capable of? So Anna ran down the aisle to try and get copies from the display on the other side of the store. As the display approached my side, it was obvious that the masses had picked its carcass nearly clean. Not only were there only a fraction of the movies left, but none of the "special edition" copies could be seen. Panic! Everyone rushed the line and I was pushed and pulled from every direction. Not to be discouraged, I went for the floor. There were copies left on the bottom- they were mine. I grabbed 2 and made a run for it. I was unharmed, thankfully. We got into the checkout and raced home to watch it again in the home theater. It was great. And definitely worth scrapping for!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Lucky Number 7

Okay, that's not his name, but until we come up with one it will do. Who is more lucky- the dog who is past the puppy years but is perfect, or the family that finds him?
This is our new little friend, brought home from a pet rescue today. We finally wore Tod down to the point that he knew resistance was futile. When we called him to tell him we found the perfect dog, he didn't believe us but was willing to give it a go. Number 7 was in a crate away from the other dogs because he was so timid. Even though he was completely quiet and motionless at the time, he was calling us to him. I never knew a young dog could be so calm and patient. There's nothing better than bringing home a dog that is house trained, crate trained, and ready for some love. He is warming up little by little, even wagging his tail tonight. And as an added point of irony, his favorite place to sleep so far has been at Tod's feet...apparently he is on a mission of his own- to bring Tod into the dog lover's fold ;)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Lovin' Laundry

In church on Sunday I was teaching my Laurels about finding joy in our divine purpose. This was a little tough for me. When I started college, I had no idea I would shortly be married and continually pregnant for ten years. There was no way I was going to waste my intelligence on mundane household chores and motherhood. I wanted to be a doctor and help people every day. I wanted to feel the satisfaction of going to bed after a hard day's work, knowing that I had been challenged but not beaten. I wanted the approval and praise of my peers for a job well done.
So here i am trying to sell the experience of wife and motherhood to a group of 17 year old girls.
At first it seemed a hard sell, trying to find a reason to get excited about laundry-
As soon as i began though, it was so clear. My intelligence, although not focused on memorization of diseases and cures is always put to the test. You'd be surprised by what an 11 year old will try.
I do help people every single day.
I work hard, I break a sweat- and I always go to bed tired, never beaten.
The peer I value the most is always proud of me and would do anything to reward me for my hard work.
So as I encouraged the girls, I encouraged myself. Yesterday I cleaned my kids bathroom. This was a challenge to find joy in. It was an abomination. I would have taken a picture, but I'd never get company again. I kept repeating to myself that it was fulfilling. My kids will be healthier if this is cleaner. They will be more likely to brush their teeth if they can spit in a shiny sink. They will know I care about them because I'm taking care of them.
Today doing laundry I looked for more reasons to be happy. My kids smell good when they climb into my lap with their clothes smelling like Downy. People won't think we live in a zoo if they look clean. Wrapping up in a soft towel after a shower is always nice.
So I challenge you to do the same. Okay, even if it is cheesy or really out there, you'd be surprised how much better these boring jobs go if you spend your time doing this. Let me know how it works!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Pants or Capri's

Well, the boys have started baseball, so my life has officially become overly busy again. I was thinking that I don't want to neglect the blog, just because people panic and think that I'm not doing too well health wise. Actually I just started a new medication and I'm really optimistic about its effectiveness. If not, I fear the brain surgery is closer than I'd like to admit.
One of my greatest treasures is this herd of children I've been blessed with. They provide me with sympathy, love and entertainment to temper their bad behavior. I thought I'd share some of their little observations.
One day we got into a conversation in the car about the saying, "She wears the pants in that family". Josh was confused.
"Mom, doesn't everyone wear pants when it's cold?"
"Yes, Josh but that is an expression. Women used to only wear dresses, and men were always in charge, so if someone says that the lady wears the pants, it means she is in charge instead of the man."
"Oh, I see. Who wears the pants in our family?"
"Who do you think, Josh?"
He thought about it for a few seconds.
"I think you do wear the pants, but ..........I think dad wears the capri's."

I love this story. It is Josh in a nutshell.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentines Day

Okay, I have to brag on my husband a little bit. He is an extremely busy guy, and work has been stressful lately with this depressed economy. He has very little time to himself and never complains about the kids or their tendency to cling to him when he finally gets home, even though he would probably like to eat and just relax for a few minutes. He never forgets to kiss me when he gets home, no matter what else there is going on. I underestimate him. It is easy to get down on him because he's not a squishy romance-type, not exactly spontaneous, and finds his joy in the calm of a predictable day-to-day life.
His usual M.O. is to wait till a holiday, or maybe the day before and make a run to the nearest store where he can fill his husbandly requirements of gift-giving. Saturday morning I gave him his card and chocolates (his gift is not here yet), and he told me he didn't have anything for me...yet. I figured. I asked him if he wanted to go to the store, hint hint...
He said no, and we went about our business. We decided to take a nap and were interrupted by the doorbell. It was flowers! He ordered 2 dozen roses online while he was at work and had them delivered on Valentines Day. I felt so guilty. He did so good! The little note that came with them was just what I needed, so loving, and no, I won't tell what it said, but it was perfect. So thank you, thank you to my loving, perfect husband. The roses are beautiful, but you are the real prize. And thank you for letting me buy the necklace...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

37 pages of work...

Here's a little song I wrote. Think 99 bottles of beer on the wall...
37 pages of homework in the backpack,
37 pages of work...
Take Aaron down,
smack him around,
37 pages of work getting done.

This is the insanity of a mother. So this morning Aaron was complaining of terrible stomach pain. Too bad for my poor kids that I was studying to be a doctor and they can't get away with that Ferris Bueller nonsense. Tod and I exchange knowing looks because we've ridden this bus with Aaron before. Next step, check the backpack for causes of the stomach ache. I start pulling the papers out...checked work in one pile, blanks in another. 1, 2, 3, 4,...37! Okay, this is bad, even for Aaron. We are having a rough year with him. Since he turned 11 it would appear that he has gone brain dead. Suddenly the desire to succeed has been replaced by a complete void. Where pride and responsibility used to reside, laziness is squatting. We painted for him the picture of his future...
"Aaron, picture yourself in your own apartment. You live alone, not because you finally got to get away from your parents, but because we didn't want you alone in our house while we were away on our mission. You are sitting in your underwear because you were too lazy to do your laundry and no woman would consider marrying a man who scrubs bumpers at the car wash. You reach down to scare the cockroaches off your last box of cereal because you still want to eat it and you won't get any more money on your Lonestar Card till next week. How does that sound?"
He sat down at the table and didn't get up till every page was done, at 2:00. Oh, and he won't complain about his stomach anymore because he got a big glass of Metamucil.
Am I a bad mother? If I knew how to cure him I would do it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

P. S.

I feel it necessary to edit one of my comments. If the name you give your baby is Scandanavian, it is an obvious exception. I am referring directly to the 3 names I had to help Emma put on Valentines---

need I say more?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Road Rage

At the risk of sending you all into shock I decided to add a post for the second time in less than a week. I got to thinking this morning when I was taking the kids to school that I don't like people very much. Oh stop it, you know how I am. Anyway, every morning I have to stop at the same four-way stop. Since it is at the High School, I frequently see people not following the rules of the four-way stop. I mutter "freakin' idiot" at them and keep driving- at least until the next infraction which usually comes in the drop-off line. So when Josh asked me this morning, "Why are all the other drivers such morons?" it got me to thinking...
Not about my behavior behind the wheel, but about the things that really bug me. So I started making a list of pet peeves...
1. People who think they're the only ones on the road/ the rules don't apply to them.
2. People who go through life thinking that the world owes them something.
3. People who goof around at work instead of doing the job they get paid for.
4. People who state the obvious because they think it makes a point.
5. People who think their kids are incapable of wrongdoing.
6. The fact that antibiotic drops for pinkeye only come in teeny tiny bottles.
7. People who name their kids things that no one can read, much less pronounce.
8. My neighbor and his lowrider buddies- the "Disturbn Tha Streets" posse. These are the same people who will give their kids ridiculous names.

So tell me what bugs you. Lets be negative together! Heaven knows that will make us all feel better about life!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Okay,it has been brought to my attention that it has been 5 weeks since I updated our blog, and with 5 kids there must be SOMETHING going on.
Honestly, no. Life has been fairly simple. So here is the list, for Anna's sake (I know you miss me so much you are dying for something to read)!
Went another round with strep and the Flu.
Tod stayed home for a week to get some things done around the house. Then he ended up staying home another week battling the above mentioned illnesses.
We went to Albuquerque for Christmas- that's right, Christmas. One month late.
Had our east wall re-stuccoed.
Had the kid's pictures taken.
I have become an ipod addict and discovered a new ailment for me to claim- ipod ear. For real, ipod ear.
Restarted book club (it was a blast, ladies! Thanks for the break!)
Bought Leah her "big girl bed"
Aaron graduated to a "real" scout shirt. He's way too big for his britches.
We watched the Pittsburg Steelers win the Super Bowl, to Tod's utter delight.
Tod bought 8 packages of Girl Scout cookies (I wonder who will eat all those!)
I got a haircut. (It has been a year)
Signed the boys up for baseball.
Learned how to curl the girl's hair with my flat iron.
My daffodils are blooming.
We are finally getting some new families in the ward. Slowly but surely!

Okay. It has become clear that I need to get busy. I don't have anything interesting to tell anyone! Perhaps a new hobby...any suggestions?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The downhill slope

I feel well again. It took a cold to kill the flu and I finally have most of my voice back (still can't sing- tragedy, I know!). It has been such a whirlwind for us this past month, as I'm sure it has for everyone. I feel bad that I look forward to January- taking down Christmas, coming back from travelling and the complete lack of to-do's, but it is such a relief!
It is also a time for reflection. I think back on what this year has brought us, both in good times and in bad, and i am continually amazed at how blessed we are. It is especially apparent at this time when our economy is suffering. I know that lower gas prices are a relief for everyone, but they come at a cost for those of us in the business. People are struggling, but I still feel peaceful and optimistic. My little bubble is intact.
Thank you to everyone who tolerates me on a regular basis! We have wonderful friends and family.
Christmas was wonderful. It was quiet and happy. We enjoyed our newly enhanced family room. The kids were and still are well and healthy ( a Christmas first).
Everyone is doing well in school, getting smarter and more attitude everyday. They make me laugh and keep me young. Aaron is looking forward to getting the Priesthood this year and Emma will be baptized. All of the kids are out of nursery and settled in primary- another milestone!
Dad will be 70 this year. I am so grateful that he survived his family expectation of 55! I look forward to spending many more years with him.
A 13th year of marriage! It still seems like yesterday! How lucky I am to have my best friend always by my side. We will join with two of Tod's brothers this coming year as they start their own marriages and hope they are half as happy as I am.
Anna will start school, leaving Leah home for one last year. Then where will I be? I shudder to think.
I hope that all who read this can count themselves as blessed as I do. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your lives.