Monday, February 20, 2006

A short break

We're in the process of moving. I should be back in about a week! Happy blogging!

Friday, February 17, 2006


When I started college I had no idea what I wanted to study. So, naturally, I took a variety of different classes for no apparent reason. One of my favorite classes was Anthropology. In this class we studied a culture/group of people called the Nacirema.

These people are masochistic, narcissistic and barbaric. They have hundreds of odd rituals that are done on a regular basis. Here is an excerpt from an article about them.

The daily body ritual performed by everyone includes a mouth-rite. Despite the fact that these people are so punctilious about care of the mouth, this rite involves a practice which strikes the uninitiated stranger as revolting. It was reported to me that the ritual consists of inserting a small bundle of hog hairs into the mouth, along with certain magical powders, and then moving the bundle in a highly formalized series of gestures.

In addition to the private mouth-rite, the people seek out a holy- mouth-man once or twice a year. These practitioners have an impressive set of paraphernalia, consisting of a variety of augers, awls, probes, and prods. The use of these items in the exorcism of the evils of the mouth involves almost unbelievable ritual torture of the client. The holy-mouth-man opens the client's mouth and, using the above mentioned tools, enlarges any holes which decay may have created in the teeth. Magical materials are put into these holes. If there are no naturally occurring holes in the teeth, large sections of one or more teeth are gouged out so that the supernatural substance can be applied. In the client's view, the purpose of these ministrations is to arrest decay and to draw friends. The extremely sacred and traditional character of the rite is evident in the fact that the natives return to the holy-mouth-men year after year, despite the fact that their teeth continue to decay.

It is to be hoped that, when a thorough study of the Nacirema is made, there will be careful inquiry in to the personality structure of these people. One has but to watch the gleam in the eye of a holy-mouth-man, as he jabs an awl into an exposed nerve, to suspect that a certain amount of sadism is involved. If this can be established, a very interesting pattern emerges, for most of the population shows definite masochistic tendencies.

So why am I telling you about these people? Well, I did something yesterday that I hated. I went to visit a holy-mouth-man and had my teeth scraped with a metal hook. Yup, the dentist.

The good news is I still don't have any cavities (26 years and counting). Although my kids have 4 between the two of them. Poor things.

And in case you havn't figured it out yet, read Nacirema backwards. If you're interested you can read the whole article here. It's pretty cool.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


I was reading about Linsey's neighbors and it got me thinking about mine. I don't know any of them. I don't know their names, I don't know their interests, I really don't know anything about them except for what I've observed. And we all form opinions on observations...right? lol.

We have lived in our house for 20 months. We don't live in what I would call a nice neighborhood, but it's not quite the ghetto either. (although it definitely leans more towards the latter). So, everyone, meet my neighbors....

Smoking Guy - This is an older fellow who sits just at the corner of our lawn nearly every day and smokes. He's tried to bum a cigarette from both Dave and I at least once, cuz apparently he noticed us smoking it up on a regular basis... (please note the dripping sarcasm). Dave spoke to him once and found out his schedule. Every morning he takes the bus to a casino and hangs out until he takes the bus back every night. If I'm not outside to smell Smoking Guy, I can usually hear the bus as it comes and goes.

Kids Across the Street - Three boys live across the street with their parents. Every day during the summer they play in the middle of the street with mom and dad watching from folding chairs under the tree in their yard. I try to be careful driving by my house because they tend to pop out from nowhere. We wave occasionally.

Sisters - Okay, I don't actually know if they're sisters or lesbians, but I tell myself they're sisters. They live next door and have 2 dogs that my kids like to look at through the fence. The Kids Across the Street visit them sometimes.

Teen Skaters - Our backyard neighbors have teenage boys. I don't know how many because those boys have friends. Lots and lots of friends. The sound of skateboarding is heard on a regular basis. Late night hoops are not uncommon and last summer they dabbled with a garage band. That was a fun one. Two summers ago they shot a bottle rocket through our kitchen window on the fourth of July.

Teen Skaters Girlfriends - They live across the street. I don't know which ones actually live there (the friend thing again) but Teen Skaters and these girls are always together. For some reason they also like to hang out in the middle of the street. Don't these people know that cars drive on the street? Once I was sitting in my car waiting for Dave and had quite the entertaining show put on in my rear view mirror. Girlfriends were actually doing some kind of cheerleading routine for Teen Skaters. It was hilarious. Too bad there was no one to share it with. Me and the rearview mirror had a good laugh though.

Landscaping Pot Smokers - They live next door. I don't actually know who lives there. There are about 5 cars that come and go on a regular basis. Everyone seems to be in their twenties. They really like landscaping. They made the house look nice on the outside (they moved in a year ago). Even at Christmas time they had lights up that were quite aesthetically pleasing. But the smell...not so nice. Just the other night we could smell pot coming from their chimney. I don't actually know why they're burning pot, maybe it gets everyone high faster?

John Deere Boy - A few houses down lives a family that think they live on a farm. They have 2 large John Deere tractors that they drive up and down the street for kicks. There's a cute little boy that usually rides along. Last week that cute boy was riding a dirt bike down the street in full gear.

So, those are our neighbors. Did I mention we're moving in 2 weeks?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Slacker mom of the year award goes to me!

Valentines day is not my favorite holiday. It's last in a long line of way more fun celebrations. (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, my wedding anniversay plus several birthdays among those). By the time Valentines day gets here, I'm burnt out. I don't want to write another card, I'm sick of buying candy to hand out, and it annoys me that the price of flowers gets jacked up every year at this time.

So today was Nathan's pre-school valentines day party. You know how it goes, everyone makes a little envelope and then each child brings valentines to school to share with each member of their class. Check out what Nathan brought home!

There's the fancy grab bag. Little candies, a card and a pencil...

There's the lovely handmade valentine, stuffed with candy and completed with some nice ribbon from the $1 spot at Target.

There's the mom that's willing to spend a little more money for the "candy in a card" variety.

There's the homemade printouts (note the personalization from the child who made it on the left hand side). And of course, a conversation heart for good measure.

And there's me. $1.99 at Big Lots. The extent of my help was handing Nathan the list of his classmates names. He wrote their name and his name, fold and go. Ta-da! Slacker mom in all her glory!

Not only do I slack there, but all my good intentions go unrealized. I bought this heart shaped box last valentines day. I had this great plan to fill it with personalized little notes from me and the kids and give it to my mom so each day she could pull out a note. A year later, I still have the box and I didn't make a single note. (It's the thought that counts, right mom?)

As for Dave...we'll probably watch American Idol and hope the kids go to bed early. Happy Valentines Day, sweetie!


I have a food connoisseur in my home. She's three and looooves to eat. Unlike my picky 4 year old, she'll try anything at least once.

It seems like she's always hungry. Not terribly surprising because she's already over 40 inches tall. (Basically she's taller than nearly 100% of other girls her age) She even has growing pains in her knees.

What's my point, you ask? Well, her reactions to food are fantastic. Her eyes light up and she rubs her tummy when she likes something. When she doesn't she'll make a face and promptly spit it out. A couple days ago she started a new reaction for good food. So, I'm sharing it with you.

click here to hear my little Aria slurp

Monday, February 13, 2006

The tapestry of my life

In August of 2004, I had a miscarriage. Up to this point, that event is the hardest thing I've dealt with in my life. I had an amazing support system throughout that trial and I learned a lot about myself. During that time, I had some spiritual experiences that molded and refined me. I was allowed to receive answers about the child I lost. This is something I wrote shortly after the miscarriage.

It just occurred to me that Jesus spilt His blood for me. Somehow that strikes a chord with me. It makes me feel closer to Him, knowing that He knows what it feels like to bleed for someone. I bled and lost my child. He bled and lost children too. But His bleeding also saved us all. Perhaps losing Gracie now and the suffering we are going through by losing her in this life will serve a greater purpose that I’m not aware of. If nothing else, I’m learning to appreciate the atonement on a deeper level than ever before.

I opened my scriptures tonight and they fell open to the Topical Guide subject that said “Salvation for Little Children”. My baby is with Jesus. She is “sanctified
through the atonement of Jesus Christ.” (D&C 74:7).

Tonight we let some balloons go outside. We drew a heart on one and Nathan and Aria both colored on one. We stood outside together gave the balloons a kiss and said “I love you, Gracie” and let them go. I told Nathan we were giving them to her in Heaven so she would know that we love her and miss her. I think it gave him some closure. I miss her. But I am feeling comforted and I have so much support. Through it all, I am very blessed.

She would have been 1 year old this month. This got me thinking about the tapestry of my life. Our lives are an intricately woven design. How could we ever pull out a thread knowing that it would change the whole pattern? How can I wish for Gracie, when I have Gabe now? You see, Valentines day of last year is when I found out I was pregnant with Gabe. And I could never wish him away. He fits perfectly into our family right where he is.

Every event of our lives somehow patterns the following events. We learn from our trials and our mistakes. And how could we wish away the knowledge that we gain? Without experience, without knowledge, what else do we have?

So, I guess when it comes right down to it, God knows what He's doing, and he'll tell us, if we ask. He'll prepare us, comfort us, get us through and bless us. Nathan and Aria remember those balloons and still associate them with their sister. Just a few days ago, Nathan saw a purple balloon in the store and asked Dave if he could buy it and send a valentine to Gracie. So he did. Man, I love my kids. All four of them.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A lesson gone horribly wrong

My husband just tried to teach Nathan the evils of gambling. They went to Fred Meyer together and Nathan saw one of those stuffed animal machines as they walked in. You know, the ones with the claw that you move around and try to grab an animal.

Nathan immediately launched into begging mode. He has a favorite stuffed elephant. His name is Loeshie. In the animal machine Nathan saw another elephant and just HAD TO HAVE IT because Loeshie needs a little brother.

So the lightbulb in Dave's head goes off. It's a perfect teaching moment! They're walking through the store and Nathan finds a coloring book that he likes. Dave gave him the choice. He could buy the coloring book or he could have 50 cents to put into the stuffed animal machine. (Because we all know that they're rigged and nobody ever wins on the first try. Or the second.)

Nathan chose the 50 cents. So, they walk out of the store to the machine. The whole time Dave is prepping Nathan. Nobody ever wins, you're just throwing away your money, you're not going to end up with anything. He was trying to avoid the inevitable 4 yr old meltdown that would happen when he lost his money and didn't get anything for it. He figured this would teach him that people who gamble, generally will leave with nothing. No money, no prize.

So Nathan feeds his quarters into the machine and starts manipulating the claw. 50 cents later, the lesson failed. Loeshie now has a little brother and my son is the claw master.

My little thugs

I'm raising artists. But not just any old artist. Nope, they're graffiti artists. No surface is safe from their creative abilities. Naturally, walls are their preferred canvas but they will branch out. Take the dryer, for example. It's the perfect place to draw a rendition of an iron.

Then there are their favorite books. Many artists start by copying ideas from other artists. For example, where's Waldo?

Here he is!

Sometimes they'll decide that it's time to explore another style of art. Who knew nursing pads could be so versatile?

All artists sign their art and my little thugs are no different. Here is one of the first times Nathan added a signature. This was a chalk drawing on the outside of the house. He had just recently learned to write his name. (it's been rained on quite a bit)

Now Aria is learning to sign her art too. She's testing out a few different signatures. This one is short and sweet. (I guess she can't decide if she should write it upside down or not.)

And this one is a bit more arteestic.

My favorite part is when they've completed a masterpiece, signed it and then when I discover it they point to their sibling and say s/he did it!

Monday, February 06, 2006


Women can be a funny bunch. Especially in groups. More than once my husband has rolled his eyes or left the room when I have other women around. Although, I hosted a baby shower last week and when it was over he said it was the quietest party he'd ever heard. There's a reason for this, which I'll get to in a moment.

However, we women need other women. We understand each other. We often know what the other is going through and we can empathize. We validate each other, we offer our shoulder to cry on, we call just to chat. We even adapt to each others cycles when we spend a lot of time together. These are things that women need. In my life there are different catagories of girlfriends. Let's explore them.

The Old Friends.
My oldest friend is someone that I met when I was 2. We were best friends until she moved away right before we turned 12. We did everything together. I have pictures of us at easter egg hunts when we were toddlers (wearing foofy dresses and hats). Our birthdays were only 2 weeks apart. We went camping together, we had sleepovers, we spent our pocket change at this little store by her house and we got into trouble together. There was this one time that we called Santa Clause. My friend said she had his number, so we dialed it. I have no idea who we called, but they totally played along. We spoke to Mrs. Clause and Santa. Later my friend's mom told us that information called and told her we were playing with the phone and to stop us. (looking back, I'm not sure how that's possible...she probably made it up so that we'd listen.) Even after she moved away we kept in touch. We wrote and called. The summer of our sixteenth birthdays she came to visit and we went to EFY together. Now we tend to just email with major updates, but she'll always be my first and oldest friend.

The High School Friends
High School is a strange time. It's a time when many of us are trying to define ourselves. These are years when we'll probably lose as many frienships as we gain. Other girls often represented competition in high school. There were the pretty girls, the smart girls, the funny girls, the athletic girls, the musical girls and the girls that were after our boyfriend. ;-) I havn't stayed in touch with many of my high school friends. I occasionally swap updates with some, but no more than that. Fortunately, the turbulance of high school can also produce the next catagory of girlfriend.

The True Friends
I came out of high school with two true friends. These two girls saw me at my best and my worst. We were in many of the same school activities and we became very close over the years. We were inseperable. Their homes were second homes to my own. We are actually three very different personalities, but we complimented each other well. We went on after high school to be roomates and we still do our best to stay in touch. These are two women that I could call after any length of time and still have a friendly ear to talk to. Distance and time don't matter with true friends. They'll always be there for you.

The Aquaintance
The aquaintance is generally someone whom you have a common bond with and enjoy each other, but don't make an effort to spend time together or keep in touch. This was the reason for the quiet baby shower. The women that came were all very nice women and we had a common bond (in this case our religion). We had plenty to talk about and we very much enjoyed ourselves as we ate "girl food" and chatted about inconsequential things. But there's no depth with an aqaintance. Aquaintances come and go throughout our life with no real sorrow as we move on with our own lives.

The Sister
The sisters in our lives are those friends that we'll always have. These are women that accept you no matter what. It's okay to disagree and argue with these women because you always forgive each other. Our sisters care about our day to day joys and struggles. Our sisters know everything about us and love us anyway. We feel like something is missing if we go more than a few days without talking to our sisters. There are 5 women in my life who fall into this catagory.

First, my mom. My mom has been through more than I even know in her life. She's risen up to become a strong and amazing woman. She's kind and loving and will drop anything for me if I need her. She's like an older sister only better.

Second and third are my real sisters. Growing up we had normal sibling relationships (including some serious rivalry), but now they're two of my best friends. We talk on the phone almost daily. When we get together we talk and laugh and cry. We have so much fun together and soon we'll all be living in the same city!

Fourth is a friend that I had an instant bond with. We were paired through our church as visiting teaching companions almost 6 years ago and we became fast friends. We've talked about everything under the sun, we had our kids at the same times, I was even at one of her births! I've never wondered if I could call her for a favor. She has always delivered.

Fifth is actually someone that I've never met in real life. We met through an LDS moms internet message board and found a deep friendship. We email almost daily and have talked through all sorts of things. She's been there for things that I couldn't talk to others about and we found so much in common. Which leads me into one more group of friends.

The Internet Friends
This is not a catagory for everyone, but I've found a deep fulfillment with my internet friends. For five years now I've been posting with the same women on various LDS moms message boards. They provide my daily dose of grown-up conversation. They have helped me make many little decisions over the years. They have debated parenting tactics, politics and even religion with me. They've sent cards and RAKs (random acts of kindness). They provide a space to share silly trivial things and things that I can't talk about in real life. Sure, I can admit that I'm addicted to the internet. But I would truly miss these women if I wasn't able to post with them anymore. In fact, it was one of these friends that challenged those of us with blogs to write about our girlfriends.

So, here's to my friends. Old, new and in between. I love you!

Saturday, February 04, 2006


Apparently, I stink. How do I know this? Because Nathan informs me of it on a regular basis and everyone knows that kids are brutally honest.

I can always count on my kids to tell me the truth when I least want to hear it. I shower (with soap), I wear deodorant and I change my clothes almost daily. But something about my scent will occasionally cause Nathan to wrinkle his face in disgust and insist that I stink. It's not always that bad though. Sometimes he tells me that I look pretty and sometimes he compliments my macaroni and cheese skills. But usually, I stink.

Aria is also quite honest. She says she loves me. She says I'm the best maker (that means cook). She even misses me when I'm gone. But, alas, she is a fickle child. If I scold her or say she can't have a twelfth popscicle, suddenly she doesn't like me anymore and she tells me so.

She used to love this one babysitter, until I started calling the babysitters younger sister to babysit. Last night Aria told the younger sister that when she babysits, Aria doesn't miss her mommy. But when the older sister babysits, Aria misses her mommy a lot.

How much you wanna bet this younger sister went right home and was brutally honest with her older sister about what Aria said?

Friday, February 03, 2006

Five Things Meme -- I'm it

I was tagged by Musical Mom.

Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot, like so.

1) Statgirl
2) ScienceWoman
3) Professor Me
4) Musical Mom
5) My Inner Aria

Next select five people to tag:
1) Stacy
2) Heather
3) Andrea
4) Onica
5) Lee

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Ten years ago I was 16 and in High School. I was working at Pizza Hut Delivery as a cook. This month is the 10th anniversary of the big floods we had in my home town. There's a creek running through my parents back yard and we were up for 3 days sandbagging to try to save the house. Very scary. But I distinctly remember when my dad blessed our house and I believe that our house was saved not only because of all the work we did but because of that blessing.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
Trying to get pregnant. We got our positive test on valentines day last year.

Five snacks you enjoy:
1. Chocolate and peanut butter
2. Ding Dongs
3. Ice cream
4. Chips and salsa
5. Creme (no coffee) Frappacinos

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics:
1. Summertime (Gershwin)
2. Fever
3. Ain't Goin' Down til the Sun Comes Up
4. Redneck Woman
5. All the songs on Barney

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
1. Give 10%+ to my church
2. Help out my family members
3. Give to neighbors and other community members in need
4. Pay off our house
5. Build my photography business

Five bad habits:
1. Procrastinating
2. Cracking my knuckles
3. Staying up too late
4. Spending too much time on the computer
5. Sleeping in too late

Five things you like doing:
1. Taking pictures
2. Reading
3. Playing the piano
4. Posting on message boards and my blog
5. Doing things with my family

Five things you would never wear again:
1. Tapered jeans
2. A marching band uniform
3. A couple of my dumber halloween costume ideas
4. A cowboy (girl?) hat
5. Chunky earrings

Five favorite toys:
1. My camera
2. My digital piano
3. Photoshop
4. The internet
5. My kids

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Everybody warns first time moms about the terrible twos. We're regaled with stories of their little monsters and the destruction they are capable of. Two year olds can destroy anything. Toilets? No problem, try to flush an entire roll including the cardboard tube. Walls? Easy, just take a permanent marker to them! Dishes? Drag a chair to the counter, get a plate out and drop it. DVD's? They make great frisbees! And don't even think about letting a 2 year old have scissors. Anything is fair game. Bean bags, pillows, clothes, hair, pictures, etc.

Then they graduate to three and the "fun" intensifies. This is the age of pointless, screaming temper tantrums. My daughter actually screams "WAHHHHHH" over and over with her face clenched up and forcing tears out. She, throws herself down on the ground, punching and kicking, with the occasional glance around to see if she's getting the attention that she's apparently starving for.

But four is a whole new game. Four year olds are a mystery. There is no rhyme or reason to their actions. Nathan is four and I never know what to expect from him. I find myself holding my breath around him. Just today he fell in the same spot 2 times. The first time, he collapsed into a sobbing heap. The second time, his eyes widened, he said "I'm okay" and he got up and went about his business.

One minute, he'll be walking around roaring like Alex the Lion and it's a game. We can all pretend to be animals with him. Then, without warning, the game is over and everyone must stop being an animal but him and if we do not desist immediately, he will let us know. And not gently either. His screams of injustice can be heard for miles.

Hugs and kisses are up to him. Sometimes it's okay to touch him, other times it's not. And then there's the "silliness." ("he knows we like the silliness" that show!) His version of being silly is climbing up on your lap, getting right in your face, raising his hands into a claw gesture and making odd noises at the top of his lungs. It's quite entertaining, let me tell you. (do you hear my sarcasm?)

Finally, choices are not limited to what is offered.

Me: "Nathan, would you like Fruit Loops or Lucky Charms for breakfast?"
Him: "Life"


Me: "Nathan, would you like to leave now or in 5 minutes?"
Him: "10 minutes"

Any argument with his choice is met with the aforementioned screams of injustice. Either that or intense, award winning, whining. No one can whine like a 4 year old.

Terrible twos, my foot. I'd take those any day over the furious fours.