Thursday, December 31, 2009

Jumping Jacks

That picture makes me laugh. I guess you need to be in karate gear to do jumping jacks.

My mom is so innovative. She is truly a creative problem-solver. If she was applying for a job, and they asked for her strength, she could say that - "I'm a creative problem-solver."

I had to go to a ridiculous meeting for my daughter's Headstart preschool. Let me go off on a tangent for a minute here. So. This is the fourth time I've gone to this meeting, because each of my two eldest kids will have gone to Headstart for two years. The meeting is mandatory, and there are NO children allowed. No exceptions. The meeting is basically to let the parents know that the teachers are going to teach a unit on proper touch. And the parents can opt out if they want. I'm all for it - kids need to be aware of what is appropriate and what is not appropriate touch. (They don't get into the nitty gritty with the kids; they say that wherever your underwear covers shouldn't be touched, unless it is to keep the child "healthy and clean." So if they go to the doctor, or if Mommy is bathing them, etc.) I have three beefs about this meting. First beef: I've already gone to the meeting and seen the dang video three times. But they still made me go. Second beef: They didn't have child care available. Third beef: They hold this meeting, every year, one week before Christmas. That is the highest-stress time for me. I'm doing a billion gazillion things to prepare for the holidays. Could they not teach this unit and have this meeting earlier or later in the year?

Okay, rant over. Ben was going to be at work during the meeting, so I asked my mom to watch my kids, and she graciously agreed. I hadn't had time to help Dylan with his homework or nightly reading, because of the whole doing a bazillion gazillion things thing, so I asked Mom if she could do that for me while I was gone. I usually get books at the library that are for his reading level, but he was just dying for me to check out a Transformers book. It was at a higher level than he can easily do, but I figured I would just read it to him before bed or something, not in conjunction with his required reading. And I forgot to tell mom to avoid the Transformers book, that it was too hard for his required reading.

He had to read for half an hour, and it took him the whole half an hour to read that book, poor kid! And you know how hyper he is. Bouncing off the walls. Bouncing off the table. Running around, mid-sentence. Crazy hyper. Getting him to do his homework and reading every day is TOUGH. So when he started doing the bouncing thing, my mom came up with her innovative idea - she had him do ten jumping jacks after each page, just to help him get his wiggles out. I think that is so cute and funny. And a fantastic idea. I think I'm going to continue that tradition during homework time, yes indeedy.

I think my mom is so cute.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Kissing the Tub

Several months ago, I accidentally knocked one of our metal shower curtain holders down, and it hit the tub, leaving this ugly denty thing:

My little Micah just barely noticed it the other day. I was in the bathroom doing my hair, and he came to visit me. He saw the dent, then inquired in baby language, "What happened?" But it came out more like, "Gung, gung, gung?" With a lot of gesticulations. I said, "Mommy broke it. Silly mommy." Micah looked at the dent, then leaned over and kissed it.

He is sooooo cute. Look at those boogers under his nose. He's cutting a lot of teeth right now, and he's pretty miserable. But cuter than crap.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

He's Climbing!!

And very proud of himself.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Remember my all-nighter? Preparing these ornaments?? I am a glutton for punishment, friends. I had some friends who wanted some (they offered to pay - don't worry, I'm not that sadistic), so I made a whole bunch more. These ones turned out a lot nicer than the originals, I felt:

I really, really like having the wooden pieces in the center, vs. the metal-rimmed tags. That was an idea contributed by the Patty-meister.

Ben, a.k.a. The Coolest Husband in the World, helped me make them. We worked together for 20 hours to make 22 ornaments. It would have taken me forty hours to do alone! Holy crap!! It was definitely a labor of love, because if I had charged, say, $10 an hour for labor, plus materials, they would be like $22 each. Yikes. Bikes.

Ben wants me to start an etsy, selling homemade cards and these ornaments, but I'm not so sure I ever want to make ornaments again, after that extravaganza. And who would pay $22 per ornament? No one I know. The etsy idea really is something I want to pursue, but I'm trying to figure out when I would have time to do something like that. I have no time as it is. And my house is a pit. So maybe when I get my act together I can pursue the etsy thing. My stepmother-in-law started an etsy, sewing children's clothes, and business is booming for her. It's amazing to me.

We had some leftover chipboard, and Ben used it, plus some leftover paper, to make his own little ornaments:

I love that he's creative and artistic. It's one of my favorite things about him. The finished products:

Simple, but beautiful.

If I ever start my etsy, I'll have him sell his ornaments on there, too. :)

We're Preggars!!!

Yepyepyep! We're preggars. El preganente. Pregsters. Expecting. I have a bun in the oven. I'm eating for two. (Wait. I already do that.)

Yes, it was planned. We only started trying at the beginning of this month! I am Fertile Myrtle. Nat says that Ben and I can just look at each other and I can get pregnant. My friend Rach used to always say that, if she and her hubs washed their underwear together, they got pregnant. :)

I wanted to wait until Micah turned two to start trying, but Ben and I were getting extremely strong spiritual impressions that it was time to start now. It was difficult to follow these promptings, because I get soooooooooooo sick when I'm pregnant, for most of the pregnancy. You may recall that I only gained 9 pounds with Micah. I was one sick lady. My spirit desperately wanted to get pregnant, but my mind and body were rebelling in a major way. But I decided to be brave and do what I know Heavenly Father wants me to do. I can't deny those promptings I got. And hopefully Heavenly Father will help me through it. If I'm still sick as a dog, well, maybe that's one of my trials in life that I'm supposed to have. My trial is not, thankfully, infertility. One of my trials, so far, is difficult pregnancies.

I figure I'm about three weeks along. The sickness hits at about four to six weeks along, so I should be getting sick in about a week or two. I'll be spending lots of time on the couch. And I need to get a new barf bucket - I threw out the one I used during Micah's pregnancy. Though I'm very much bracing myself for my nausea, I want it to come so that I'll feel like this pregnancy is real, you know? I also want it to come because, for me, sickness means a viable pregnancy. When I was pregnant with the baby I miscarried, I felt strangely good.

So bring it on, pregnancy! Bring on the nausea and vomiting! Bring on everything tasting gross! Bring on Ben's breath always smelling like Kraft Macaroni and cheese to me! Bring on being unable to lie on my tummy or back! Bring on heartburn that feels like I'm being stabbed! I'm ready for ya!!!

We did tell the kids. (I'm telling everyone. That's just how I roll. I cannot keep a secret to save my life.) Dylan looked at me quizzically and said, "How do you know that you're pregnant?" I said, "I peed on that stick over there, and it told me." Dylan looked at the pregnancy test and yelled, "Ewwwwwwwwww!!!!!"

Sadie looked at me earnestly and said in her cute little lisp, "I want a thithter." I said, "I'll do my best." We'll be happy with either, honestly.

I think Dylan is under the impression that you get pregnant when you pee on a stick. I heard him telling his friend today, "My mom peed on a stick today, and now she's pregnant!" Oh well.

Sadie has been touching my belly fat all day and saying, "I can feel the baby! She's getting big!" No, Sade. That's just my FAT. :)

So, wish us luck! Luck that the baby will be viable. Luck that I can handle this pregnancy.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Necklace

Yes, my title is part of my leetle contest. It's the title of a very famous short story. Can you name the author of the short story? Don't let me down, Mindy, my fellow English connoisseur.

A lady in my mom's ward had an "Art Appreciation Night" at her house. She's a professional artist, and she is amazing. She sculpts, does bronze castings, paints, you name it. She wanted to kind of show some of her artwork to everyone who came, and then have everyone make necklaces, for absolutely free. My mom invited me and my aunt - we three are kind of artsy-fartsy. My aunt especially. She painted a watercolor of poinsettias, then had someone make her painting into Christmas cards for her to send out this year. They were gorgeous. I'm jealous; I'm really bad at watercolor.

Anywho, it was wonderful to walk around the lady's house and see the kinds of things she has created, in addition to the prints she has around her house of famous paintings that I have always liked. We had been walking around the house for maybe 45 minutes or so when one very uncouth guest said, "Um, can we get on to making the necklaces? I have somewhere to go." I thought it was a leetle rude. I mean, if the hostess is providing necklace materials for absolutely free, even if a guest isn't into art, she should just keep her mouth shut and be patient through the tour, right?? Beggars can't be choosers. The funny thing is, the rude guest ended up staying later than anyone else making necklaces. She had somewhere to go, my butt!!

The hostess provided tons of different beads and fake gemstones and polished rocks, plus the pendants and clasp thingeys. And the special mega-glue. We just glued the stones onto the pendants, and then glued the clasp thingeys to the back of the pendants. It was easy and soooo much fun.

My mama:

Aunt Terri:

This is one my mom was making:

Most of the little gems and stones were very shiny and fancy. And most of the women put all different colors onto their pendants. I had a hard time with it; what clothing would I have that would match something so shiny and fancy? I'm not a shiny/fancy kind of a girl. And my clothes certainly aren't shiny or fancy. So I went for a little bit more of a muted look. I chose small polished rocks, all in the same color, to glue onto my pendants:

I ended up making five:

Are they not so stinkin' cute? And then I decided to give them to my sis, Lex, for Christmas. Lex loves the same kind of bold, chunky jewelery that I like. I gave her the pendants yesterday, and she loved them! I'm so glad. I was worried. I also made her some leather necklaces with clasps - three different lengths - to put her pendants on, depending on the kind of shirt she is wearing.

This experience only heightened my desire to get into jewelery-making. Next paycheck, I'm going to get some stuff and learn how to do it for reals. You mark my words.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thending Christhmath Cards

Which Christmas song is my post title from? Ten points. Look at all of these opportunities to get points!

I really love to make homemade cards, as you know. But I only make 25 Christmas cards every year, because they take FOR-E-VERRRRRR. FOR-E-VERRRR. What movie is that from??? Ten points. So if I didn't send you one of these homemade cards, don't be offended. I just sent them out to the first 25 people who sent me cards. And then, for the others who sent me cards past the first twenty-five, I went to the store and got some equally cute cards that were like $2 for a whole box. Something I'm sorely tempted to do next year for all of my cards.

I got lots of help this year from my fam.

These cards involved a buttload of eyelets, so I taught my kids how to set eyelets into holes and very nervously let them do it.

Dylan, putting an eyelet into the hole:

Then hammering the backside of the eyelet:

I love that little grimace he makes when he's concentrating on something.
Sadie just wanted to watch at first:

Then decided to give it a try.

The kids were interested in this for like five minutes, tops. Then they got bored and left me in my storage room to finish the job. (Eyelets are more easily hammered on cement than on a table.)
Ben very kindly offered to do some glueing with his special glue from his grad school days. He has made many, many models using that glue:

Wanna see my cards?:

Cute, huh??

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Let's Get Physical

Who sang the song in my title??? Ten points.

The other day, my kids were messing around with my headbands that I use, theoretically, to wash my face. (In reality, I wear them all day, almost every day, because I never have time to do my bangs. Or the rest of my hair. Or my makeup. Or even take a shower before 3:00 in the afternoon.)

I love Sadie's little pot-belly. Why are pot-bellies cute on kids, but not on adults? Unfair.

And no, that's not our dog in the background. It's my mom's. We were baby-sitting her at the time. Which I will be blogging about soon.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

English to the Rescue!!

One of my college roommates accidentally called me "English" instead of "Karlenn" one time. She was going to ask me an English-related question and made a Freudian slip, I guess. We laughed so hard about that. She still refers to me as "English" in her Christmas cards to me.

Because I was an English major, I had to write maybe three essays per week all through college. In addition to reading roughly three novels per week. It was a killer. Writing essays became like breathing to me. Because it was all I did. (And yes, "Because it was all I did" is a sentence fragment. But that fragment is part of my writing "voice." So it's acceptable. :) )

People ask me to help them with their essays all the time. I helped a couple of my Laurels with their high school essays (and still help a graduated Laurel with her college papers). I helped Ben A LOT with his master's thesis. A LOT. It's a good thing he dedicated the hard-bound book he had to make of his thesis, to me. Because I helped A LOT with it. I helped my sis, Beads, with her essays to get into grad school.

About a month ago, I helped another sis, Lex, with her essays to get into grad school. Lex is very into science. Not so much into essays. We worked long and hard:

Eric tagged along and kept the kids occupied. They played Bakugan for awhile:

Then things got a little wild:

When Eric encouraged Dylan to shoot Lex with his little Nerf gun (you can see the fluorescent bullet to the right of Lex's head), we decided to put the kids down for a nap.

And we banned Eric to the green chair:

Eric has joined the Man-Boy club. Ben is president:

Eric can be Vice-President. :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Heart and Soul

So. Last month, my sweet, sweet folks got my sisters and I, plus two husbands and one boyfriend, tickets to see Forever Plaid. Forever Plaid is one of our all-time favorite musicals. I laugh so hard every time I see it.

There's a part where the Plaids get someone from the audience to come and play "Heart and Soul" on the piano, then dance with that person and kind of serenade them. Being the raucous people we are, we were hooting and hollering for them to pick one of us. And they picked my sis, Lex!

She was so cute up there. A total natural. She can handle the spotlight with such panache. Eric, her boyfriend, took some pics with his phone. I had him send them to me. You can't see her very well, but you get the idea.

I had a blast. I love musicals. And I love going out and doing stuff. Thanks, Ma and Pa.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Come to My Window

Who sang the song that is my title? Ten points, dude.

The dude that lived in the house before us remodeled our bathroom, using some kind of fake wood to frame the window. Then, when he painted the fake wood, he didn't use primer first. Just slapped on a couple of layers of white paint.

So, for the past two years, through all the heat of our showers, the paint has chipped and peeled off the fake wood frame. It looked like crap. It was driving me nuts.

A couple of weeks ago, my amazing man ripped out the fake wood and put in a new frame:

Complete with primer and paint. Can I tell you how much I love having a hubs who is so handy? The old frame was kind of old-fashioned - the new one is modern and clean-looking. Just right.

Now we need to re-paint the ceiling, which was also not primed:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Prettying Up the Ponies

My kids like to put Sadie's hair bows on her toy ponies.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Creepy Carol of the Bells

I've never read any of R.L. Stine's books - those Goosebumps books that you see all of the tweens reading these days:

I don't know if those books were around when I was a tween, but if they were, I wouldn't have touched them with a ten-foot pole. I hate scary stuff. It really affects me. I watched It in college with my roommate Lynita (do you remember this, Nitz?), and I was having nightmares and sleeping with my lights on for months. After watching Poltergeist 3, I couldn't walk past any mirrors or windows without flinching.

Anywho, during the month of October, on Cartoon Network (my favorite TV channel, as you know), they were showing all of these made-for-TV movies based on the Goosebumps books. Luckily, they were way too cheesy to scare me. And Dylan really liked them. From the dress and hair in the movies, they had to have been made in the early nineties. They had this creepy theme song at the beginning of each movie.

We've been listening to a lot of Christmas songs lately, and the other day, The Carol of the Bells was on the radio. You know the one that says, "Hark how the bells, sweet silver bells, all seem to say, throw cares away..." That song always reminds me of you, Pooh. I think your chorus used to sing that song a lot during the holidays.

By the way, I just barely learned that those are the words of The Carol of the Bells. It's just always sung so fast that I've never understood the words. I just always sing along to the radio going, "Sweet silver bells, sweet silver bells, sweet silver bells, sweet silver bells," over and over again. :) I think it's funny. Like when I sing off-key. Funny. I am my own best audience.

So back to my story. We were listening to The Carol of the Bells, and Dylan said, "Are we listening to the Goosebumps channel?"

"Uh, no..." I said.

"Oh," Dylan said, "It sounds like the song at the beginning of the Goosebumps movies. Really creepy."

True. It really is a creepy-sounding song.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Ben's cute mom, Gloria, sent us a Christmas card that has glitter on the graphics. Dylan was looking at it and folding it and opening it up and running his hands over the glitter. Then he grinned and showed me his palms, which were now all glittery.

"Mom, my hands are magic," he said.


I'll be downstairs doing laundry. I'll hear an urgent call from Sadie: "Mommy? MOMMY?"

"WHAT?" I yell.

"Mommmmyyyyyyyyyyyyyy????" The yells are getting more urgent.


By this time, Sadie has figured out where I am and has come down the stairs.

"Mommy?" she says.

"Yeeeeeeeeeees?" I say.

"I wuv you."

"Oh. Well, I love you, too."

This happens about five times a day.

Kar vs. The Box Elder Bugs

Ugh, just looking at this picture makes my blood boil.

Every fall, we get a huge infestation of box elder bugs. They like to hang out on our warm front porch. And they somehow get into every crevice possible and make their way inside the house. If they're outside, I leave them alone. When they come inside, I become a ruthless killer.

And it's full-on war. They fight hard and are amazingly resiliant. You can't squish them with a kleenex. They'll find a way to still live. Same with fly-swatters. My weapon of choice has turned out to be my dish soap bottle. It has enough heavyness to really do the job. Luckily, box elder bugs aren't very fast.

They leave tons and tons of blood when you squish them. You can't just squish them like you squish a spider - squish and then go throw away the kleenex. You have to clean up the area where you squished them, unless you think blood adds to the decor of your house.

Even after it started freezing, these bugs stuck around for like two more weeks, I swear. I was like, "How are they surviving this???"

I feel that the box elder situation has gotten better in the last two years. Our first autumn here, it was REALLY bad. So bad that we couldn't even open our windows. Despite having screens in our windows, the box elders had found a way to get inside them, so opening the window would allow like 20 more of them inside the house. It was awful.

I like to keep track of how many I kill each season. Like notches on my belt, if you will. These are just the bugs that got into my house. I killed 23 this year. But it was like 50 bugs in 2007, so it's getting better.

A Brazzle-Dazzle Day

For those of you who have been thirsting for more What Movie? trivia, guess from what movie my post title is. Ten points. Sorry I have been a bit dry in the What Movie? contest. I was out of creative juices for a minute. But I'm back, baby.

Soooooo, before it got colder than a frozen turd in a dead eskimo (my gramps says that), I decided to do a little fall window washing. I hadn't done my spring window washing. I am a winner. At least I do it once a year, right??

Sadie "helped" me:

Which means that she threw leaves in the bucket of vinegar water:

And tucked my sponges in for a nap:

Micah seemed content to just wander around inside, so I checked on him from time to time. His project while I was outside was to pull all of the washcloths and towels out of one of the kitchen drawers. Here is Xena, inspecting the mess:

The end result of my window-washing escapade:

Laaaaaaa! Gorgeous, eh? Now I just need to wash the insides of the windows...
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