Tuesday, May 31, 2011

16 Items They Only Sell at Chinese Walmarts

Megs and Mark sent this to my e-mail a couple of weeks ago:

Walmart is a little different in China. They sell some really weird stuff there.

1. Wal-Mart brand spirits ($.15)

2. Turtles

3. Rib Cages

4. Pig Faces

5. Ducks

6. Orange juice packaged with cooking oil

7. Mixed Meat

8. Frogs

9. Crocodiles

10. A large selection of chopsticks

11. Boxes of Liquor

12. Bulk Rice

13. Great Value Brand Beef Granules

14. Antibacterial Bikini Underwear for Men

15. Assorted Dried Reptiles

16. ?

Hahaha! Vomit, right? This is going to be quite the adventure. Maybe I'll lose my appetite so often that I'll lose weight over there??? One can only hope. :) I'll be like, "Hm, I'm hungry. Time for a snack. Pig faces? Naw.... Dried reptile parts? Naw..... I'll just drink bottled water."

Monday, May 30, 2011


We went to The Olive Garden tonight for dinner with our good friends, Megs and Mark (and their kids). I was kind of down on one side of the table next to Megs and Mark, and Ben was kind of down at the other side with the kids. We were all eating our meals, and Megs looks down at Ben and says, "Did Ben get muscles?"

I looked at her, puzzled, then looked at Ben. The man hasn't lifted weights since I've ever known him. I looked back at her and said, "Uh, no..."

She realized what I was thinking and laughed. "No, no, no!" she said, "I meant mussels! Like the shellfish!"

I looked over at his plate. Sure enough, he had eaten mussels for dinner. I laughed.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Do you remember these guys, The Romantics, a band from the '80's?:

They sang that song, "I hear...the secrets that you keep...when you're talking in your sleep..." I love that song. I love eighties songs. And these guys have some sweet hair.

I've always been a huge sleeptalker. My cousins once told me, at a family reunion, that one night, I sat up straight in bed with my arms over my head, yelling, "WE HAVE TO KEEP THE BOMB ABOVE WATER!!!"

My roommate in London said that I once giggled all flirtatiously and said, "Hi, my name is Kar. Hee-hee-hee!" Special.

A couple of nights ago, I was asleep when Benny came to bed. I guess he farted really loudly before he came to bed. I sat up in bed, yelled, "DAMN!", gave him a mean look, then lay back down and zonked out immediately. Ben thought this was so funny that he could not stop laughing. He lay there in bed for like half an hour, laughing so loud and so hard, and I didn't wake up or hear one dang thing. He told me about all this the next morning, and I had noooo memory of any of it.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

If you have a new follower today...

...on your blog, that is, it's me! It's me!

I finally officially "followed" all the blogs I've been following for weeks, months, or years.

I don't know about you, but when I see my side bar thingey that shows my followers, and I see that fifteen people care about what I have to say, it really, really makes my day. I mean, I blog for me, right? But it's nice to feel...validated. Supported. So that's why I did it. I wanted to make your day.

And I wanted to make my day, too. If you're following me, but not officially following me, will ya push that button over there to the right? Thanks. Spread the love.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Wayyy too good not to share.

Our relief society had a class last fall on using more beans in our cooking. I missed it, but the Relief Society President e-mailed some recipes to us. One of them is for a mango bean salad. I tried it the other night, to go with our chicken taquitos, and oh my GOSH. Amazing. It was so good that I had to give it an honorary shimmy.

Aaaand, it was eeeeeasy to make. I have to share it with you.

Mango Bean Salad

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can small red beans, drained and rinsed
1 can shoepeg corn (this just looks like smaller, whiter corn. I don't see why regular canned corn wouldn't work)
1 red pepper, minced
2 large semi-ripe mangos, chunked
1 small jalapeno pepper, minced
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped, fresh cilantro

1 clove garlic, minced
2 limes, juiced (I just used bottled lime juice and guesstimated how much equals lime from two juices)
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. honey
1 T olive oil

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ah, young love.

Oh that Dylan of mine. He's so funny.

So for the last few weeks, Dylan kept telling me about his "new best friend," Sierra. And I thought, that's so cool that his best friend is a girl and it doesn't even matter. Then, last week, he announced to me that Sierra is now his girlfriend.

Oh really?

I asked about her. He said that she has black hair with orange streaks in it. (?) Okayyyy. And she really likes video games. And that she thinks his hair would look really good in a mohawk. So yeah, she sounds... a little bit rock-n-roll. Not that I'm concerned. A girlfriend in 2nd grade does not a major, lifetime romance make. I think it's funny.

And I think it's awesome that he felt comfortable enough with me to tell me that he had a girlfriend. When I had little "boyfriends" in elementary school, I never, ever told my parents. I was wayyyy too embarrassed. And the "relationships" always ended within a week or so.

I told Ben (in Dylan's presence) that Dylan's best friend, Sierra, was actually his girlfriend, and Dylan goes, "Mo-om... I didn't want you to tell Dad..." Probably because his daddy is a terrible teaser. This girlfriend thing is going to be fodder for years of jokes at Dylan's expense. :) I told Dyl that, if he didn't want his dad to know, he should have told me that. (I probably still would have told him.)

Dylan is going to miss his girlfriend sooooo much while we're gone (he tells me this daily), so I told him he could use my e-mail address to communicate with all of his friends while we're in China, including little miss Joan Jett, Jr. And I told him he could set up a blog and post about all of the cool adventures we'll have. He had me help him set one up. You gotta check it out. It's hilarious. All of the posts are completely his authorage. Yes, he is...succinct. Yes, he is obsessed with the game, "Monkey Quest." Yes, he has told Sierra to go to his blog, but obviously, she hasn't yet done it. Yes, he gave Sierra a "crystal" today - it's actually a plastic thing that looks like a crystal that his bus driver let him have - someone had dropped it on the floor of the bus. How adorable.

He'll make someone a good husband someday. So doting.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

You've come a long way, baby.

Last week, we were scheduled to have a meeting with some representatives from the school district to determine whether Micah needed to have developmental therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy through the school district, now that he's 3 and too old for the infant/toddler program. As you know, he's had occupational and developmental therapy since he was 4 months old.

When I found out we were going to China, I called the lady in charge and told her that the meeting wasn't really necessary, since we were going to be gone for the majority of the school year next year. But she wanted to still have the meeting in case Micah was eligible for when we returned.

So we all met and had our meeting, and it turns out that Micah tested above the levels needed for further therapy! He has, effectually, graduated from therapy! This is fantastic news. It means that he has caught up with his peers. It means that the infant/toddler therapists did a really great job.

When I think of what bad shape he was in when he first entered the program, to where he is now, I'm just astounded. This was him at 4 months old - a skeleton baby:

And here he is now - running, jumping, laughing....

He's huge and tall and just the right weight. I couldn't be happier.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Apparently, I like stripes.

In addition to some backyard flowers, I also bought some clothes with my birthday money. Um, for some reason, I could just not get enough of stripes:

I'm such a dork. But nothing else was really calling to me, you know? I don't regret buying three striped shirts in one day. I love all of them. And each of them has a different, unique fit.

The red striped one is what I like to call a Stingray Shirt. When your arms are down, it looks like a normal shirt, right? But when you put your arms up and out, there's a whole lot of fabric between your waist and your arm. You look like a stingray. I'm loving that fit.

The black striped shirt has one stingray side and one normal side. Also, one shoulder is fitted normally and one shoulder is off-the-shoulder. Don't worry - I have a bright turquoise shirt to go under it that works perfectly.

The robin's egg blue/heather grey striped shirt has a fun little droopy scoop thing in the front. I was wearing that one yesterday, I think. I was in the bathroom, doing my hair (which now only takes five minutes. I'm sooo loving that), and Sadie passed me in the hall, then paused and came back, looking me up and down. "Mom," she said, "That shirt makes you look big and fat." Ah, Sadie. She doesn't mince words, that one.

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Own Little Greenhouse

So I got some money for my birthday from various generous parents and in-laws, and I decided I wanted to buy some flowers for my backyard garden.

BIG mistake.

Flowers + April weather = much death and destruction. I have now made the following mental note in my head - "Do NOT, under any circumstances, no matter how excited you are that spring is coming, buy or plant any flowers until mid- to late-May. You live in Idaho, dumb fart. Don't even go there."

So I bought some bleeding hearts (these always remind me of you, Camel. I love your mom's bleeding heart bushes. FYI, bleeding hearts are Sadie's favorite flower) and some fizzy lemonberry pansies. Could the name of a flower be any cooler than that? If I was to change my name to something cool, I would change it to Fizzy Lemonberry. Maybe that would be my rock star name.

Right about the time I came home with said plants was when I realized that this was going to be a big pain in the butt. It was still freezing at night, which is fine for the fizzy lemonberries (I'm going to see how many times in this post I can say that name - 3rd), but NOT for the bleeding hearts. Pansies are good until about 18 degrees - nice and hearty. Bleeding hearts do like shade, but they aren't fans of freezing, as I found out.

So I had to bring the plants out in the sun during the day and put them in the garage at night. Over and over again, night after night. And some days, I couldn't bring them out at all, because we had 30-mph winds. It was just a huge pain in the butt.

I put them out one day, and I forgot to put them in that night, and oh boy, did I pay for that. It froze. When I went out the next morning to assess the damage, the plants were all frozen solid.

The fizzy lemonberries (4) recovered pretty well:

Aren't they GORGEOUS? So showy.

Whenever I think of pansies, I think of the pansies in Alice and Wonderland:

Those pansies in Alice in Wonderland kind of freak me out, actually.

So the fizzy lemonberries (5) made it. The bleeding hearts, however, were pissed:

The heart-shaped blooms withered, as did all of the stalks. I finally had to succumb and give all of them a haircut:

And then I had to really baby them for a couple of weeks. I kept them inside, watered, and in the sun:

They were totally in the way. The kids kept tripping and falling on them. But I think falling kids weren't as bad as that wind that was out there for a couple of weeks.

All of my babying paid off:

Finally, two weeks ago or so, I felt safe enough to put the dang things in the ground:

I'm pleased to say that they are quite happy back there. Those fizzy lemonberries (6) are funny - when they're thirsty, they don't droop, as other plants do. They lie flat down. They look like someone came and sat on each one of them. I discovered this one day - I saw them lying down, all smooshed, and I thought, "Oh my gosh, those dang kids stepped on all of my fizzy lemonberries (7)!!!" But as soon as I watered them, they perked right back upright. Weird.

Yes, those back flowerbeds are sparse. I've historically kind of put all of my effort and money into my flower beds in the front, but I'm excited to do more work in the back, now that the front is pretty full.

Well, I should amend that statement. I'm excited to do more work in the back next year, when we're back from China. My original plans for this year were to plant some hostas, snapdragons, and impatiens in those beds to accompany the fizzy lemonberries (8) and bleeding hearts. Obviously, I won't be spending money on something that no one will enjoy, so those plans will have to wait for next year.

As for this summer, only the squirrels and birds will enjoy the flowers in my backyard. :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Easter Morning

"Easter Mor-NING," by Kar. (Sung to the tune of "Easter Parade," one of my mom's most fave musicals.)

In your mama's jammies
(They're biggish for your gammies),
You're looking pretty silly
On this Easter mor-NING.

Mom has done the laundry,
But folding's quite the quandry.
Your dad's shirt was quite handy
On this Easter mor-NING.

That's a boomerang,
A new boomerang.
Daddy picked some toys for outside,
So you'll get off your bumb and enjoytheoutdoors!

Oh, Daddy also bought these -
Some shorts and shirts, if you please
You're growing like a big weed
On this Easter mor-NING.

What's with his obsession
With weird macabre expression?
Who else has skulls on clothing
On their Easter mor-NING?

Mommy got some jammies
(Just right for her large gammies).
Her neice would be so jealous
On this Easter mor-NING.

They have Tinker Bell,
Cute Tinker Bell.
Benny really was so thoughtful.
All I got him was a bunchofcandy!

My jammies aren't a doormat.
Get off them, Mikey! Go! Scat!
You got your candy on them
On this Easter mor-NING.

Xena left a present,
Some barf - it wasn't pleasant.
I had to scrub my ottoman
On this Easter mor-NING.

Mornings aren't for Sadie.
She's not a happy lady.
But Dylan had to wake her
On this Easter mor-NING.

When she saw her stuff,
All her Easter stuff,
She got over her frustration
At awaking at an ungodlyhour!

She got a creepy dolly
With button eyes - oh golly.
It's called a La-la-loopsy
On this Easter mor-NING.

She can't recall its na-ame,
She's quite the funny da-ame.
She calls it her "Ooh-la-la"
On this Easter mor-NING.

I'm such a fan of Easter.
I don't have to work off my keyster.
It's pretty low-key, easy,
Yes, it's Easter morNING.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day 18...

...of the 31-Day Blog Challenge - share a quote you love, and why.

Wow. I used to have all kinds of quotes memorized - things that helped me during my dating years. Cheesy stuff like, "If you love them, let them go...if they come back to you, they're yours. If they don't, they never were." I know. Cheeseball central. Or, "You learn and you learn. With every goodbye, you learn."

The dating years were hard on me. :)

I don't often have quotes that pop into my mind lately, although this one that I already shared with you in this post keeps coming to mind for me: "The best times of my life, the times that have passed by me the most quickly, were the times when the roses grew wild."

I wasn't an enormous fan of the book it comes from, Tending Roses - as Pete would say, it's "contrived." It's a book that aims at teaching us a lesson, which I always find really annoying. Here's my feeling on writing - write a fantastic story with interesting, multi-dimensional characters, and let the readers take away the lessons that they personally want to take away from it. That's the beauty of literature. It's a very subjective experience to read. This is why I hated The Alchemist and The Peacegiver. And why I hate country music.

However, that quote really stood out to me. It reminds me to just...let the dishes sit in the sink while I play with my kids. Because soon they'll be gone. Not the dishes. The kids. They're growing up too quickly already. I need to just grasp onto these moments with them and enjoy them as much as possible and worry about the cleanliness of the house later.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Day 17...

...of the 31-Day Blog Challenge - a picture of you and your family.

We took this last night. It was Ben's idea. We couldn't get Gage to look up. :) Isn't the picture cute, though? My family is just the best.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Partying at the Park

Ben got home a little early-ish one Friday from work. It was a kind-of decent day, so I suggested he take the kiddos to the park while I make dinner. He took the camera along with him.

Obviously, our "fifth child," Sadie's friend, Katie, was with them. She's the one with the parents who are drug dealers. And who scream at each other on a daily basis outside of their house. And who try to run over each other with their cars. And throw knives at each other. And punch each other. Whose house the cops are at almost every single day, yet no arrests yet. Yep. That poor girl.

I love this picture of Sadie:

Sadie and Katie and some random neighborhood kid:

I love Micah's eyes in this picture. He is such a beautiful boy:

Another cute picture of the girls:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I Love Them, Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

My family is REALLY into The Beatles. Ask anyone. We listened to the Beatles when we cleaned the house, which was 24/7. We were always cleaning. And always rocking out to The Beatles. The Beatles were on a continuous replay in my little Honda Accord in high school. When I ran for student government, my theme was The Beatles. In my speech, my friend and I dressed like the Beatles and sang "Hold Me, Love Me," but changed the words to "Vote for her, yeah, yeah," complete with audience-participatory clapping. All of my posters were Beatle-themed. I'd like to think that I won because of my Beatles theme. :)

When I was in high school, a Beatles tribute band called "1964"came to I.F., and my sister, Nat, and I jumped all over that. We got front-row seats. Obviously, a lot of middle-aged people came, too. We kept wanting to stand up and dance and sing, and the middle-aged people didn't take too kindly to that. We got tired of getting yelled at, so we decided to go down to the orchestra pit to stand and sing and dance. There were tons of people down there with us. Oh my gosh, it was so much fun. A total party. The best concert ever.

So when Nat called me and said they were coming to Rexburg, I was like, "OFCOURSEIWANTTOGOGETTICKETSNOW!"

We called Lex, who is obviously a huge Beatles fan, too, and she came up from Poky.

Here we are, pre-concert:

And that was pre-haircut, too - sorry for the confusion. Do you like my new white jacket? I'm in love with it. I got it for my birthday.

So these guys are fantastic. They have studied all this footage of the Beatles from those early years, and they sing like them, talk like them, and even have their little movements down to a T. The guy who plays Paul obviously plays left-handed base. And he does that little head-jiggle thing that Paul always did. The guy who plays John kind of spreads his legs out wide, like John did, and has his guitar cinched up high. Just like John. The guy who plays Ringo does that head-tilting thing to one side when he plays drums. It's awesome.

They only play the stuff from the earlier Beatles years, which is fine. My uncle has been to a Beatles tribute band concert where they go and change clothes and wigs and sing the songs from the whole time - the Sgt. Pepper's era, the Abbey Road era, etc. That would be cool to see. But I adore alllll Beatles songs (except maybe "Come Together." That song's description of the guy's joo-joo eyeballs, toe-jam football... the whole, "hold you in his armchair you can feel his disease..." makes my skin crawl. It's too much for my OCD sensibilities.), so it was awesome to partake of any kind of Beatles-ness.

So we were sitting in our seats, kind of seat-dancing, singing all the words to the songs out loud, having fun. There was this "designated dancing area" down from us on the main gym floor. I smiled while I watched some people go down there to boogie, thinking of that concert in high school, and thinking, "Gosh, it's too bad that I'm so old. I would totally do that." I'm telling you, this "turning 34" thing really hit me hard this year. It's been this huge crisis of "what is appropriate for people in their 30s"? . It's got me all confused.

After a particularly amazing rendition of Twist and Shout, Lex and Nat and I kind of looked at each other and yelled, "We are going down there to DANCE!!!"

I'm so glad we did.

That's me, on the left. Do you like my cute shirt? Pooh got it for me for my birthday. It is sooooo soft. I love it.

Nat on the left, Lex on the right.

I have no idea what I'm doing in that picture. It's funny.

It was just so fun to be just me. Not "Mom." We sang, we danced, we made fun of people... it was awesome. There's this one kid who was doing these crazy, spastic dance moves. I was laughing and laughing. And there were cheesy BYU-I people on cheesy dates and trying to do cheesy ballroom dancing moves. And there was a daddy who took his daughters down to the dance floor and danced with them just like my dad used to always dance with us when we were little.

At one point, they played "In My Life," and they told us to call our loved ones and let them listen to the song. So Nat, Lex, and I all called our significant others and let them listen. Pete immediately hung up (he hates the Beatles!!), which made me chuckle.

They played "Yellow Submarine" at one point, which wasn't really in that early era, but I'm so glad they did. You know that part, when Paul is kind of yelling in the background? "Every one of us... that's all we need... sky of blue... sea of green... in our yellow.... submarine... ah-ha!" Everyone in the audience was yelling that part. It was so fun.

When I was little, I used to call the local radio stations to request Yellow Submarine, and they never, ever would play it. I didn't realize that a station that is called the "New Hit Music Channel" wouldn't play an oldie.

Toward the end of the show, everyone just kind of rushed up to the stage, fire code be darned. We were all squished up in the aisles, dancing and sweating and smiling. We all cheered for an encore when they were done, and they came out and played four songs in a row. This cheesy guy who was there on a cheesy date with a cheesy girl turned around and yelled to her, "This is totally blowing my MIND!" It was funny.

Afterwards, we all stood in line to go pee and discussed getting my hair cut. This girl standing near us offered her opinions on the matter. It was good fun. I've decided that I'm really good at talking to strangers. It's a talent. :)

Anyways, I'm soooo glad we went, and I am sooooo glad we decided to dance.
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