Saturday, November 28, 2009

Twilight Zone

Summoned for a puppet show, we watched as Ladybug announced then ran concessions, and Little Mother played all the parts. The drama began with two wild cats, Briz and Midodi. They met, kissed, with great sound effects, and decided to have children. One grunt at a time, two little girl animals popped out of Midodi like magic. Briz lion asked Midodi tiger for one more since the ones they had were so cute. She replied, "I don't know if I can. It will be really hard, but I'll try for one more." After numerous grunts, one more animal popped out of Midodi. "Well, now our life is over. I guess we'll just take care of our kids." One more show stopping smooch and the curtains closed.

We tried to keep straight faces as we listened to our little ones. Is this how they viewed our lives? I guess they are not alone. Movies about the tired but happy homemaker and the steady working dad, don't sell too many seats.

Yesterday, my Mother-in-Law took me to New Moon while my Father-in-Law tended the kids. Every 20 minutes, a new showing started in another theatre. I admit, except for the silly depression scenes and the foolish behavior of Bella, I enjoyed my two hour escape into vampire/werewolf land.

As we exited I listened. "I am in love with Jacob. Have you ever seen such a build? Why don't they make men like that? Did you see the way Edward looked at Bella? That can't be acting. It's not you know. They are an item. Oh, to have someone look at me like that. Did you see the way they protected her?"

I admit. Jacob's gentle eyes and beautiful build were lovely. It was fabulous to watch Edward and Jacob give all for their love. BUT. Jacob's sixteen year old eyes have nothing on my long lashed Briz. His physique can't beat the one I married 19 years ago.

Edward may fight the Volturi for Bella, but my sweetie gets up every morning and goes to work, fighting all sorts of bad things, so I can stay home and raise children we brought into this union through love. All this when he would much rather stay home.

This morning, as we spooned, I heard three wild things squealing in the front room. They were taking full advantage of the mess from last nights decorating revel. Sisters were smashed inside boxes, ornaments were squashed underfoot, tablecloths made forts. "We'd better get up." Briz finally commented. "I can't face it today. I'm staying in bed."


I heard his calm voice organize the troops. "Sweep this up. Calm down. Have you done your bedroom yet?"

I stayed in my room till 10:28 when I was fully ready to face my demons.

It may not have been the Volturi, but no sacrifice, no bravery would have meant more to me at that moment than his defense of me against what I could not face myself.

Is my life over? Perhaps in some ways. Ways that I chose. But I don't envy Bella anything. Men are just as romantic as in the movies. You just have to look at the scenes a little differently. Just because he lost his hair and fights in different ways doesn't make my hero any less exciting to me.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


What a day! The house is quiet save the peaceful voice of Briz reading to the two eldest in the front room. They are pretty tired too.

Briz and I woke up before the sun to run in the Human Race. Almost 100% of the proceeds went to the LDS Humanitarian Services and the food bank so we felt it was a great cause. Melanie and I ran together... it was the fulfillment of a three year dream to run and finish together and one year from having a baby, she did it and did it well. We beat my last time. We raced with young men in nothing but war paint and loin cloths in 30 degree weather, young women with turkeys on their heads, and cute families with jogging strollers.

Briz and his brother Greg ran ahead of us and caught us at the end to record our moment.

Briz watched football while I prepped the turkey and rolls. I tried Alton Brown's Brined Turkey from the food network.

The man is a master in the kitchen. Oh great turkey spirit, thank you for sending this secret to us!!! I'll never go back to the turkey bag or regular roaster again!!!!!

While rolls raised and turkey cooked we went to Disney's The Christmas Carol. FANTASTIC!!!! The animation was the best I've seen, the acting was amazing, the 3-D effects made me happily dizzy, and the story was covered basically. My only complaint was that several scenes were deleted or left out that are a loved part of the story. Still, it was amazing. Warning: It was a bit scary. My kids had to hold an adult for several parts of the story. It is the scariest Christmas Carol I've seen.

The company was wonderful! It was low key and delightful! I had fun adding the touches that make dinner fun for me... molded cranberry butters, cranberry sparkle appetizer, cranberry jalapeno won tons served to the football watchers, candles and the cute pumpkins Deonne made with Circus Peanuts!

After dinner we played a great family game called Imagine It. It required no great skill, just a head for fun. I was sorry it ended. Briz had a little competition for my attention this evening. Cody kissed me no less than 32 times, tried over and over for the lips, reached down my shirt, kept me fed with Cheerios, AND he has fuzzy hair. I'm in love with this two year old!!!

All are in bed but me. I am tired, but it is a good tired. A thankful tired. A I'd do this again tired.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Quiet Meditative Sundays

I fantasize about my children's recollections of the Sabbath. It goes something like this,

"Oh, remember Sundays when we used to sit and listen to soft music and recharge our spirits for the next week? Oh, yes. home was always such a calm peaceful place. We served others constantly, we wrote missionaries, we read inspirational literature and had deep talks. Those were the days."


We do manage Family council each week along with a small devotional. But, as for peace and quiet, and deep conversation,

I hear thundering as the children chase each other screaming around and around the main floor.

I see a disaster in the basement as I walk downstairs and see costumes and barbies strewn everywhere.

I hear screams of Mom, Mom, come check out my bubble sculptures.

I feel wet bubbles under my feet as I mop up inches of overflown bubbles in MY bathroom (it's funner).

I see the Real soccer US championship game flash on the TV that according to Briz, "will bring us closer as a family and be an appropriate Sabbath activity."

I listen to a concerto, just written by a 5 year old.

I watch her feet dangle from the bench in time to the music.

I pose over and over and over for a 5 year old learning to use my camera. Then I calm the same 5 year old when she sees offending finger motions pop up in her masterpiece. "It's not supposed to be a funny picture. It's supposed to be cute."

I clean the kitchen with an 8 year old who spices up the job with acrobatic stunts that don't add a lot to family cleanliness.

I put 3 little princesses to bed, each with a cuddle and a Sunday night talk. I put one giant Briz to bed with a cuddle and a Sunday night talk.

Reverence? Peace? Maybe in a few years ?

Grateful for the noise. It means we are all healthy.
Grateful for the mess. It means we are all creative.
Grateful for the game I wouldn't have chosen to watch. It means I'm learning and growing in flexibility and Sweetheart isn't currently henpecked.
Grateful for the people. They make my life.
Grateful for God. His love and care weave in and out of the noise and chaos making all GOOD.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Promise of Enough

Five of us gathered to celebrate abundance and start the season. We read The Promise of Enough and came together to discuss and enlighten each other. Jodi mentioned after she left, "It is possible to be changed in a luncheon. Each woman added something to my understanding and soul." I agree. Part of my abundance is the beautiful women that surround me and offer their surplus to my soul.

It was a wonderful way to start the holiday season. First we feel gratitude, we realize our abundance, then out of our abundance, we give.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I need my Super suit! Where is my supersuit?

I see flashbacks of The Incredibles as I review my list. The FM 100 Christmas Concert series starts today. Can I justify an hour for a happy boost? In the next nine days I must:

  • Clean for a party I'm hosting tomorrow
  • Tend a friend's children today
  • Speak in church Sunday
  • Plan and present sharing time
  • Put on the annual teacher appreciation brunch
  • Assign teachers their classes
  • Write 3 separate musical productions for performance in 4 weeks.
  • Transcribe 200 historical journal pages.
  • Not worth thinking about yet is the fact that I will host Thanksgiving Dinner, and have Christmas gifts and festivities to plan.
Fingers fly, words flow, the most difficult theater production is complete by 11:00. I throw on a sweater and a bit of mascara, drop off the manuscript and a forgotten lunch and race to make it in time for the first performer. I sit two rows back. I try not to notice that my pony tail and outfit of convenience don't match the glitz and glitter of the holiday atmosphere or the sequins on the woman that smiled as she took the seat next to Sunshine and I. A heavy red clog Sunshine insisted on wearing slipped off her foot and flew through the air nearly beaning Cherie Call, our performer, on the head.

Nathan Osmand led out with energy and soul. He knuckle-knocked Sunshine and had us all clapping and stomping.

Sometime during the concert, I noticed a foul smell hovering over me. As Sunshine left my lap, I found it had seeped from her into my pants. Neighboring listeners sniffed as they looked in my direction. "I want to see Santa!" she yelled to be heard over the music. "I saw him with a man on a green sofa taking pictures of children."

"We are here for a concert. We stay seated till it's over. That is good concert manners." I whispered harshly.

"I'm thiwsty. The hot cocoa is fwee Mom! "

"Shh. Later."

There is a break in the program. At a high decibel, she yelled, "It's fwee mom. Can I get a dwink now?"

Defeated I agreed as she stepped on each person's coat or purse on her way out. Cherie Call was now singing a song from her new Album, Grace. I listened mesmerized to Invincible, which detailed how the love she experienced as a mother made her all-powerful. In fact she could stop a train if needed to rescue her little ones. The chorus repeated over and over, "Love makes me invincible."......

The lady at my right was preoccupied with something. I turned to see Sunshine over by the FM 100 table sloshing a drink. "Uh Oh." I was too late. The cup and contents flew out of her hands and all over the floor. I watched as she grabbed a napkin and attempted to clean it up. A kind woman helped her refill and a gentleman mopped up the remnants. Step by dangerous step, Sunshine and her steaming cup were coming towards me. I confiscated the cup before it landed on my neighbors lap.

"Only touch the straw!" I hissed.

Once more I was carried away by the music until I heard a burble and and felt a warm wet substance seep into my pants. I looked down to see the remnants of the cup I held full of blown bubbles gone awry.

I glared. Some inspiration I was getting. Inspiration in humiliation.

There was a tug on my sweater. "I've gotta go to the bathroom!"

"There is ten more minutes. Can't you wait?"


I gathered up her crumbled paper bag and the remnants of her lunch and shuffled- ducked through the maze of listeners. "Excuse me. Excuse me." I murmured as our reeking smell reached the blocked rows before we arrived."

We marched to the bathroom, storm clouds on my face.

Still, in my head, the song crooned. "Love makes me invincible." I looked down at the bouncing blond head beside me clomping down the mall in her really cool red clogs. Love and gratitude poured into the dark and stressed void.

I smiled at the thought of the black looks aimed my way. Now, they bounced right off my invincible shell. What is their opinion compared to that of my blond blueberry girl? I love spending time with her. In fact, I love the kids I am teaching and writing programs for and I am teaching them skills that will give them confidence for their future lives. I love the children in the primary. I CHOOSE to do these tasks that seem unending. Because I LOVE each and every person they are for.

I heard music in my head. I looked down expecting to see my new super suit form this amazing shield. We walked out of the mall into the sunshine. "I found my superpower!!! I am Invincible!!!" I yelled to the world. "What is yo supopowo?" Sunshine asked. "Love and gratitude." I replied.

"We're buddies huh Mom. It's just me and you Bob." she announced as we drove home.

I stuck Sunshine in the tub, grabbed the Febreeze and went to work on my pants.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Saturday morning hobby

Evening falls and Briz is at the computer again. Not checking scores for fantasy football, not seeking weather or news, he is checking on horses for sale.

"Do you realize that we only have 1/2 acre of suburban manicured lawn and landscaping? When would I find the time to excercise and feed? Do you know the costs of feed, tack, boarding?" I ask.

To Briz, there is always a way, always an option, so he persists. "It's for you." He says. "I know how happy it would make you."

Until he sells his wife on the idea, he borrows a friend's animals and takes his children for Saturday morning rides.

But, hey! There is a 3 year old trained mustang available for $250. He chose the wrong career.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Expedition Yellowstone

Beavers one,
Beavers all,
Lets all do the Beaver Call,
Ch ch ch, ch ch ch, ch ch ch, ch ch ch,

Beavers two,
Beavers three,
Lets all climb the beaver tree,
Ch ch ch, ch ch ch, ch ch ch, ch ch ch,

. . .

With crazy songs running through our heads, a filthy car, backpacks full of sleeping bags, binoculars, wool socks, ski pants, and under armor to unpack, and laundry to last a week, Mama Elk of the Elk clan and Ladybug of the Bear clan are home and recuperating from a wild week on Expedition Yellowstone. We lived in the park for a week and experienced the park as few ever do.

Was it worth it?


We left the school at 4:00 a.m. for what turned out to be a 12 hour trip to the northern entrance in Montana. Everyone slept but the driver. Grrrrr.

We were assigned into clans and responsibilities. Brandon Dawson, standing over the elk scat, was my extremely competent and fun partner in leadership. He had the boys up and working before I ever arrived with the girls at 6:00 a.m. for our clans clean up or cooking responsibilities. Oh, did you know that scat in a tight pile indicates an animal sleeping and a messier pile is from a grazing animal?

Rangers Mel and Michael teach the children in a week what normally would be a half year unit. Armed with laser temperature guns and ph kits the kids scour the thermal features to learn for themselves about the microbes, geyserite, limestone, travertine, and the chemical reactions that take place in this unique environment.

We hike in the back country to learn about ecology.

Activities teach about habitats and food chains. Elk and habitat face off, habitats choosing to be food, water or shelter. Two wolves prowl the periphery to pick off the old or weak elk. We learn how loss of habitat, not predators is responsible for population drops. We found wolf kill to examine and clues that teach everywhere. Can you find evidence of bear activity over 6 1/2 feet up?

One day, ranger Michael let us use scientific equipment to locate an abandoned wolf collar.

Another day, we discovered an ancient wikiup and tepee ring from the Sheep Eaters tribe that used to spend time in Yellowstone.

On another plain, we found the remnants of the cavalry's shooting range from when they were in charge of the park in the late 1800s.

The girls learned to do the wilderness wiggle out of doors without proper toilet paper, and with all our layers, this was quite the feat!

Late at night the girls gathered in my room for giggles. I taught tricks to survive an attack of Baby, if you love me and brought plastic cups for rounds of Parley vous France. I'm not sure about playing truth or dare with your daughter. Ladybug had to tell about her latest crush, I had to sneeze on the eggs at breakfast then pick it out, Taylor had to sing love songs to Sean at breakfast, Jocelyn had to sneak into Ms. Valerie's room to tuck her in, and Ms. Kristen had to ask a male chaperone to help her with the stuck zipper on her ski pants. That was all fine and good, BUT, I hated learning about Ladybug's crush. I was devastated and couldn't sleep that night. Moms shouldn't know everything that goes on in their kids lives. PRIVACY people!!!

We ended with a campfire... indoors, since it was a blizzard outside. After performing the skits that I DISLIKE, tears, gratitude from the kids, and feelings were shared.

Was it worth it? Well, I wish every kid could attend Expedition Yellowstone. I'd love it too, if I weren't a parent, thinking parent thoughts like, "why is my kid doing that?" and "I need to do a better job with _____" etc. etc.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Naked and Ashamed

Ladybug plopped her backpack down on the seat and flopped down to buckle. "My show and tell went wrong."

"What happened?"

"Well, I took out my art kit the Great Pumpkin brought to show everyone. The big book was too heavy and fell out of my hands, open onto the floor. It opened to a drawing of a naked lady's bottom."

"What happened?" I asked aghast.

"Everyone just starred. I just sat down and didn't say anything. For the rest of the day I felt dumb. I felt like everyone was thinking that I look at naked pictures."

I couldn't help myself. I started giggling.

I think I feel as bad as Ladybug. We have a date to go through the book and make/draw clothing on any questionable pictures. But it is too late for Bug. She fussed, "I am mad at that artist. Mad at that book and mad at myself for bringing it." I added, "I am mad at myself too."

Guess the school won't be nominating me for mother of the year!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Great Pumpkin

Late Halloween night after everyone has gone to sleep, the great pumpkin roams our neighborhood, searching and sniffing out large bags of candy. Not just any old bags of candy will do. He only accepts voluntary offerings.

Padme, Elisabeth and the pirate queen collected vast amounts of artery clogging, energy stealing, nutrient robbing legal addictive stimulants. They munched as they walked, then stuffed as they watched The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Bell, Book and Candle with Jimmy Stewart. Before toddling off with their sick stomachs, they left all but their favorite full sized candy bars on the table as a free will offering for the Great Pumpkin.

When they awoke, the bags were no where to be found but in their place were three very cool gifts.

You might wonder what the Great Pumpkin does with all this loot. Well, legend has it that he gives some to Santa for stockings, leaves some for the annual gingerbread houses, uses some for occasional rewards and throws the junk away. What a smart pumpkin. That is just what I would do with it!