Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pioneer Day Camping

We recently celebrated Pioneer Day. If you don't remember what that is, read here. This year we decided to camp out at our stake center the night before. The girls were very excited, as you can see below.
My very favorite moment of the whole campout was when I was walking with Chloe to the bathroom shortly after we arrived. We passed some drooping Lilies of the Nile and Chloe said, "Mom, I think those flowers are bowing to me. I think it's because they think I'm a god." There are no words.

There were a variety of other people camping out, but no other families from our congregation. Losers. It was fun camping. There were bathrooms nearby, grass to camp on, a movie with popcorn and homemade rootbeer (though I will admit, we ditched the movie because the kids were tired and it was Legacy, and Legacy hurts my testimony). The only wild animals were the packs of preteen boys roaming around, and one strange man who we heard state, "Since my wife left, my spirituality has increased like, 200%.

Even Maggie was very pleased with the experience.
The next morning, Addie woke up dry, and then when I took her to the bathroom, she went #1 and #2. It was pretty exciting. I also learned during that visit to the bathroom that 3 out of 4 children cannot flush toilets with the button flusher on top.

After getting dressed, we joined the crowds for the pancake breakfast. After breakfast, the activities started. Our stake really goes all out. There was a petting zoo, which Maggie thought was awesome.
We all got to touch a chinchilla for the first time.
Maggie just wanted to get back down with the animals.
There were 3 different bounce houses.
There were many crafts.
There was face painting.

There was a cotton candy machine.
Everyone enjoyed that. Well, it took a little coaxing with Maggie. In fact, Bracken had to pinch her nose so she'd open her mouth, then he shoved some in. We are wonderful parents.
There were horseback rides. Here's Addie on Janice.
Chloe was reunited with her beloved horse, Jet. She rode him last year on Pioneer Day, and has identified every brown horse she's seen since as "Jet."
There was slip'n'sliding.
There was sleeping on little hands, leaving finger marks on little foreheads.
I had a pie in competition over at the pavilion, and I won that blue ribbon!
It was all so exciting that even after we came home, Maggie wouldn't take a nap in her crib. She finally conked out, sitting up on the couch.
For those of you who could have attended, but didn't, you should pencil it in for next year. Chloe told me multiple times that it was the best day ever. Of course, she has said that about every day since her birthday, but hey, she's got a great life.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A new post, wherein I discuss irony, and lady business.

I woke up with a start at 4 this morning. I reached down a hand and discovered that despite doubling up on extra protection, Aunt Flo had extended her visit and soaked through my sheet and thick mattress pad. I woke my husband up with a swear word. (Never fear, though, somehow my muumuu escaped unscathed.)

On a normal day, I would have been irritated, but would have immediately thrown the mess in the wash, after my husband woke up for real. But not today. Today I just bent over and took another beating from the irony stick.

On Tuesday, as I was waiting for the 6 yards of eyelet I had just dyed navy to finish washing, I noticed things inside the washer weren't spinning. I pulled the fabric out, hoped it had been rinsed enough, and threw in the dryer. I tried starting a couple different cycles on the washer, but to no avail. The tub just wasn't moving. And it probably hadn't been moving for a while, because when I checked on the fabric in the dryer, I found it had dyed the whole tub blue. That was easily fixed. The washer not so much. No repair person for a week.

So we vowed to try and make it a low laundry week. Bracken was even going to cut back on his fresh towel every day habit. This vow, of course, meant that Addie immediately had an accident on the bathroom rug. And has pooped in her panties every day since. There was one day when she pooped in the potty first thing in the morning. I thought, Hooray! We're in the clear for the day, since she usually only poops once. Except that that day, with irony coaching over her shoulder, she also pooped in her swimsuit and her panties. Any consideration I ever gave to cloth diapers is now gone. I can't give up on the potty training since it has taken us so long to get this far and on the whole, she really is doing well. But everyday it gets harder and harder not to call the poop by it's bluer name.

And then I go and make the biggest mess my sheets have seen since we were newlyweds.

Tonight, for the first time since I was a missionary, I will be trucking all the worst stuff down to the laundromat, or washeteria as they were known in Texas. I know I'll get some looks when I wear gloves to load all my stuff. I might even have to go outside to escape the looks, and the smell that will probably linger. But right outside the laundromat is our favorite doughnut store, and I really don't need that temptation, so . . .

But all these messes are not the biggest irony. No, not by far. On Sunday night I was chatting with a couple friends online. It turned out one, who has 6 small kids, had had a broken washer for some time. The other friend let me know where we could pick up a free one that night. I sent Bracken out with friend #1's husband and they went and picked it up. As I was chatting with her, I said, "I can't imagine have 6 kids and not having a working washing machine."

And while I was still patting myself on the back for helping this friend out, BAM. Down came the irony stick.

In the future, I will only use the phrase, "I can't imagine . . ." in potentially positive situations. Such as:
I can't imagine having a million dollars.
I can't imagine being trim and fit and not having to work at it.
I can't imagine feeling well rested.

I'm still hesitant though. That irony stick is sneaky. I bet it will still find a way to brain me. And this time, it might hurt my muumuu, too.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I still burn easily

I am a redhead. This may not be so obvious now. Aging and pregnancies and life have not been kind to my original hair color. I know I always said I wanted curly hair, but I never imagined I would get it in the form of white, curly hairs that sprout wildly from my straight, brownish locks.

Physically, my Addie is my clone. Bright blue eyes, straight, screaming red hair. I look at the picture above and see she even has the same baby teeth I had. Addie also has the whitest skin. I am continually amazed at how pale it is, unless she's running, and then, like her mother, she turns bright red and gets immediately drenched in sweat. No matter how much sunscreen I apply, she burns for nothing. Put Addie in the sun, and she is immediately a tomato.

And that is where we differ in our coloring.

From my mom, I got my red hair. From my dad, I got skin that tans. And eyebrows that are not invisible. I can handle sun exposure better than the average red head. As long as I'm careful, and don't spend too long in the sun at any one time and wear sunscreen when I can, I don't burn. And if I do burn, it usually turns tan in a day or two. Very rarely do I get bad burns any more.

I wish I could say the same for my insides.

Generally, I'd say I'm a pretty confident person. I wasn't always, but I think I am now. I try to do the best I can, cut myself some slack when I can't, and try to allow others the same leeway. I try to take this quote from Brigham Young to heart,

He who takes offense when offense was not intended is a fool, yet he who
takes offense when offense is intended is an even greater fool for
he has succombed to the will of his adversary.

I try to reach outside myself, put myself in situations where there is the potential to be burned, and generally, I emerge unscathed. I'm often even better for it. I try to start conversations with people when I'm feeling shy, host playdates when I'm feeling reclusive, and have a sense of humor about the various and sundry humiliations that come with being human.

Sometimes I get a little burned. Sometimes my efforts are rebuffed. Sometimes invitations are not reciprocated. Sometimes I am ignored. Sometimes others are offended when I intended no offense at all. I try to apologize, forgive and forget and the burn turns into a tan.

But there are times when I feel like I fell asleep on a reflective raft in the middle of of a sparkling lake in the full sun on the longest day of the year wearing a skimpy two piece (which would have been a mistake in an of itself) and now I have second and third degree burns all over my body and they're contemplating doing grafts. Days when I feel like I have no real friends, that I am replaceable in my family, that my efforts to give service have been reciprocated with a slap in the face. Days when I vascillate between thinking I'm just too needy and wondering if I my efforts to look like I've got things kind of together make it look like I'm not needy enough. Days when I just feel lonely, and wish someone would reach out to me.

Days like today.

I realize this burn, too, will heal. I know with time, I'll be able to pull long strips of dead tissue away, and maybe even enjoy the process. But today, today I think I'd better stay out of the sun.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


At first I was all, good times in the sandbox. Good times.
And then I was all, now I'm cold and gritty and I got sand where?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I've been working a few facelift projects around the house lately. Nothing major, just little things that brighten the room a bit.

Three years ago I made these throw pillows. This blue pattern was never my favorite to begin with, but was made worse by a mistake. We learned the hard way that if you wipe spit up and other child goo off this shade of blue fabric with a baby wipe, the dye comes off, too and you end up with pink. How blue turns into pink, I have no idea, but that is not a kool-aid stain on that there pilla.

So I decided that I should make a couple new shams. They were inspired by this sham at West Elm, but using fabric I already had. Depending on your perspective, my fabric choice was either very good or very bad. Either it's very tacky that I used the scraps of outdoor fabric I had recently reupholstered by outdoor furniture in, or it's genius that my front room is coordinated with my back yard!
Either way, the couch looks much improved. So then I decided to clear off this table. It's right by my front door, and while I love looking at all the pictures of family and friends, it had gotten decidedly busy.

So now it looks like this.

Now for the best one. As long as we've been in our house, the wall by the front door has bothered me. I have a beautiful picture of Christ that I love, but I also have had an ugly alarm box that is not connected and throws off the balance of the whole wall. I finally took a hint from another blog, which I would credit but I can't remember, on how to hide ugly thermostats on walls. I took a before picture with my camera, but can't seem to locate it anywhere. I took a new one today of the halfway finished project. Bracken took the good camera to work today, so I had to resort to using Chloe's new VTech kidzoom camera. That accounts for the low quality of the pictures. Really, it's not just my poor photography skills.

I even put a little frame on it just to prove my point.
Here's the alarm box with a pirate hat, which still didn't make it cute.
So, as you may have noticed, I added a little shelf (a shelf that came to me free from my brother's new house, plus a couple coats of paint) under the alarm box. Then I added a picture and some candles and voila! A lovely decorative moment, and no more ugly alarm box. Now if only I could move the airconditioner intake vent.

And now for the final improvement. You see these big and beautiful muffins (Seriously, that's the name of the recipe, plus some of my own streusel topping)? Well they are history. As in I ate all of them. Okay, I didn't actually, but I AM going to be seriously limiting my consumption of them. In preparation for my baby brother's upcoming nuptials in August, Bracken and I are embarking on a weight loss/fitness journey/competition. We are both in desperate need of this improvement, though I must say, when Bracken weighed in this morning, my first thought was, Wow, for the first, and probably only, time in our marriage, my husband actually outweighs me by about 20 pounds! I might be a little sad to lose that glimpse of feeling like a small, dainty woman. But hey, hopefully I will be smaller and daintier for real soon. However, I will still have tree trunks for legs. It just goes with the territory.