Thursday, July 31, 2014

Epic Western Adventure, Part One

By the numbers, details of our trip west:

4    State/National Parks visited (Badlands, Custer, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons)

7    states visited or passed through

50+  times I wiped my little one's rear end, who was plagued with poopy problems the day we left and following

4   hand signals my poopy-plagued-daughter invented to tell me when she was done on the toilet.  Every time.

4376.4  miles driven on the trip

6  number of those miles driven by yours truly

48  degrees (with rain) upon entry of Yellowstone at 7:30 p.m.

50  miles from Yellowstone entrance to our campground

58  degrees (without rain) by the time we arrived at our campsite an hour later.  Hallelujah!

32  predicted degrees one night at Yellowstone, where we were camping without electricity (thankfully it did not get down that low and the snow the children were certain would occur did not materialize)

6  miles we covered to reach Inspiration Point high above Jenny Lake in the Grand Tetons (I joked that my husband and I would have to smooch up there, but no one got it)

1427  wild animals we saw (estimate), including coyotes, bears, bison, snakes, elk, deer, wild horses, pronghorns, mountain goats, bighorn sheep and two pet piglets from California

0  fountain Cokes consumed by this girl while in Yellowstone and Grand Tetons (causing me deep sadness and possibly withdrawal symptoms)

10+  fountain Pepsi machines sighted (causing me a deep bitterness toward Pepsi and the west in general)

18+ times we packed all the food and scented items (basically everything except chairs) into the Suburban at Yellowstone and Grand Tetons due to the high bear population (camping is a lot of work already, and this added to it quite a bit!  Thankfully we only saw bears when safely ensconced in the burb)

And countless memories made, beautiful sights seen,  and experiences shared (and also countless hours in the car!)

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Rose By Any Other Name

I finally know what I want to be when I grow up, take two.

A paint/nail polish color- and hand soap/lotion/candle scent-namer.

Is that a thing?

It has to be.  Someone has to be shut up in a cubicle somewhere churning out winners like these:

Drab (nothing says 'homey retreat' like drab)
Almond Toast (I'm pretty sure my entire downstairs is some version of this color)
Insect Wing (ew!)
Frog Belly 
Mistletoe Kiss (stolen kisses have a color?  who knew?)
Arsenic (who wouldn't want walls reminiscent of poison?)
Jessie  (??? The gal in the cubicle finally got to name one after herself?)
Scarlett O'Hara (well fiddle-dee-dee)
Popcorn, Biscuit, Candy Box (I think Jessie was getting hungry now)

And nail polish colors!  I think the gal naming these must be sunning herself on the beach, drinking, with a tall handsome man nearby. . .

Show me the ring
Guilty Pleasures
Jamaica me Crazy (I say this all the time to the children - true story)
Fish-net Stockings
Mojito Madness
Smooth Sailing
Lady Godiva (this one just makes me want chocolate)

And several I can't even mention, since children read this blog!  I rarely wear nail polish - I had no idea how how much the "sex sells" campaign was at work in this industry!

And finally my personal favorites, soap/lotion/candle scents.  The gal naming these, I envision, must be sipping fruity wines amidst a floral garden whilst baking snickerdoodles.

Mango Madarin  (mmmm)
Lavendar Camomille
Wild Passionflower (can't ya just smell it?)
Brown Sugar and Fig
Frosted Cupcake (what the gal is baking next)
Citrus Sunshine
Sundrenched Vineyard (the "office" for the gal writing these)
Pear Blossom Air

Now these names make me happy.  They're pretty creative, but they elicit warm fuzzies, and also make me hungry.  

So!  Who wants to hire me?  I am certain I can come up with names just as good as the ones above.  Let me try a few:

Totes Adorbs Teal

Glowing Halo 
Church-pew-brown (I'll try to clean up the nail-polish-naming industry)

Lilac Loveliness
Citrus Simplicity

Yes!!  I think they're awesome!!  I'm sure I'm a shoo-in.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

On Why I Often Have a Headache

I recently read a little blurb about how many questions young children ask per day.  Any guesses?  Here is the shocking (or maybe not-so-shocking!) answer:

About 300!!

Does that make your head swim?  When I first read it, I thought, "No way!"  But then I did a little five minute count and realized it might be right after all.  The study went on to say that four-year-old girls top the charts at almost 400 questions per day.

Know what?  I have a four-year-old girl.  And I think this study has credence.

Just now, as I am typing this, my sweet four-year-old girl came by and fired off these:

"Can I ride my bike?"
"Are these shoes on the right feet?"
"Can you imagine if I walked all the way to the Y?"
"Can you take me to ride my bike?" (asked of her brother)
Repeat above question
"When you're done mowing can you take me?" (asked of bro again)

That's seven.  In about a one-minute time frame.  She may exceed the average.  I always knew she was above par.

The other day we were driving in the car and she was chatting away and asking questions about her birth (but nothing too stressful!).  I told her she was born via C-section and briefly how that worked.  She followed up with, "Did they use a sewing machine when they sewed you up, Mommy?"

And the last question I'll share with you today from this adorable white-haired over-achiever:  "Mommy?  Doesn't your mouth ever get tired of talking?  Mine does!"

Monday, June 30, 2014

Random Musings from my Frenetic Mind

Summer's in full swing, which means the cray cray is at full tilt.  So jumbled bits and pieces are all I can handle currently.  A few of those, below.

My youngest son and I have a ritual that goes something like this:

Me:  "I love you!"

Him:  "I love you more!"

Me:  "I love you most!"

Him:  "I love you more than you love me!"

Me:  "Impossible!"

Him:  "Possible!"

Every time, the same.  Usually followed by a giant kiss and hug.  It doesn't get much better than that.

My "monkey in the middle" son turned ten last week.  We've enjoyed a whole decade of that awesome kid, and I know I'm better for it!  It's hard to believe it has been so long since that tumultous time.  Sometimes I look at him in wonder, recalling the fragile baby he was.  He's incredibly strong and healthy and active, but more importantly, kind and thoughtful and generous.  He's a true blessing to our family!

On a much different note, I LOVE my paddle attachment for my kitchen aid mixer.  (I warned you this post contained random musings!!)  Just a few minutes ago, I used it to shred chicken I had in the crock pot all day, and it was bliss.  I am not even being dramatic.  Dare I say that the whole mixer was worth it, just for this ability?  Does that go too far?  I'm not sure.  Shredding meat with two forks was the bane of my existence.  But the paddle attachment?  Glorious.

I have diagnosed my self with Plantar Fasciitis.  I have used the inter-nets to do this.  I am certain this is what ails me, since I read it on the inter-nets.   My daughter is not so sure that my methods are sound, but I think I'm on the money.  The symptoms all line up, and did I mention I read it online?  Anyway, my right foot hurts quite a lot, especially when I have been resting it for a long time (such as in the morning or if I get up in the night).  I am trying to stretch it often (guess where I got the idea to do that?), and wear good shoes as much as possible.  There is a possibility I should see an actual physician soon about it, instead of just WebMD.  Maybe.

Must finish this ├╝ber-thrilling post now, to serve dinner (consisting of shredded chicken) that probably 3/5 of my offspring will complain about.  Such is life!

Monday, June 16, 2014


We do a Bible story, prayers and blessings together with the four youngest kids each night.  Often, it is a focused time and the kids are really listening and intently praying.  Other times. . .not so much.  A few recent prayer-time moments:

One of my older children was praying that the Russian takeover of the Ukraine (how on EARTH he knew about this is a mystery, since my current events knowledge is abysmal) would stop.  My youngest son leaned into me and whispered, quite seriously, "But I want Russia to take over!"  I'm guessing he also has no idea what is happening in Russia, but for some reason, he's really pulling for Russia here.

Another night, someone was praying and said "Everybody. . ." and then paused to finish his thought.  Without missing a beat, my youngest son (him again!), stage whispered into my ear  ". . .dance now!"

And yet another night, someone was in the midst of earnest prayer, only to be interrupted by (you guessed it!) my youngest son's Burping Pumbaa stuffed animal.  During the child's prayer, we suddenly hear "Slimy, yet satisfying!"

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Home Run!

Since it has been a week since I last posted (that is due to children!  in the house!  every second!  and neighborhood friends!  and messes everywhere I turn! and massive hunger all the time!), and all my recent posts have been me boo-hooing over all the changes we're experiencing over here, I'll deviate this time. Slightly.

To baseball.

Yes, dear reader, to the sport that is taking over the world.  Wait, what?  It's not taking over your world?  Hhhmm.  Well, we are eating, breathing and oozing baseball at our house.  We're practicing (at the fields, in the yard, in the local parks), we're going to games, we're washing uniforms (and of course by we, I mean me, but you knew that, didn't you?) we're packing snacks (see the previous explanation of who we refers to), we're cheering, we're making new friends. . .

And we're enjoying it.

The schedule is still a bit rigorous, I admit, and rainouts (like we've been given tonight) are a welcome respite to the 5/6-day-a-week program we are getting used to.  But still.  It's fun.  Last Saturday, one boy got to pitch for an inning.  And I was so very proud.  His form was a thing of beauty to my mamma's eye, and he did quite well for his first effort.  And another son had a couple of solid hits and made two runs during one game and I was so very proud.  And the third boy, who is still learning it all, made a triple the other day and got the game ball!  And I was so very proud.

And more than once, you'll not be surprised to hear, their performance on the ball field has caused me to tear up.  I cannot seem to help myself.  Thank goodness it is sunglasses season and hopefully no one notices.  I told my mother-in-law during one such emotional moment, "When my children do reasonably well at something, I feel I might explode with happiness!  What if one of them becomes a star athlete or singer or mathematician?  I might lose all ability to control myself."

Sitting on the bleachers for hours on end is turning out to be a thing of beauty.  Cheering for my dudes is bringing me immense happiness.  Hearing their coaches tell me they appreciate my boys' attitudes, or natural talent or humor makes my heart swell.

When I first started receiving texts and emails and phone calls about the boys' practices, I wondered what on earth we had signed up for.  But the boys are growing and challenging themselves and learning to give something all they've got.  And I'm enjoying watching them do all of the above.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Changing Lanes

Yesterday was 8th grade Baccalaureate and Graduation, though my daughter still has two days of school left.  What a beautiful day it was.  Surrounded by her extended family, she received a few awards and her diploma.  I am so very proud of the young lady she has become.


Since preschool ended last week, one of my kids realized that last Friday was the last day all my kids will be at our Lutheran school together.


Oh my, oh my.  I do not, have never done change well.  So many years has this school and church been almost our entire life!  My husband works there, the children go there. . .that building has been our go-to for most everything.  And now, we are branching out.  We are sending our daughter to a nearby Catholic high school, and I'm excited about it.  Truly I am.  I think we are going to enjoy very much becoming part of the family there.

But still.  My heart is aching for the passing of an era.  Where all our kids are together.  My view in the rearview mirror of the Suburban - all my kids on the way to/from school together.  These days are very nearly over.  And my heart hurts for it.

At the same time, I am able to see past my tears and at the exciting days that are ahead.  Not long ago, I was putting a cart away at Target (why that is relevant, I can't tell you), and suddenly I was overwhelmed with the joy that is to come in our lives.  High school, college, marriage, new homes, grandchildren, careers, travel - and much more that I can't even imagine, Lord willing.  So many changes are on the horizon, and I know so many wonderful experiences are ahead.

When I graduated from high school myself, I had many of these same feelings (I told you I never handled change well - I used to cry when my parents changed the living room furniture around!).  A good friend comforted me with this verse:  "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8)  These words soothed my ragged emotions then, and they soothe them today as well.  No matter the changes we are experiencing, I can take solace in the fact that Christ is a beautiful constant.