Chore Chart for Mom

Let me clarify: we don’t have chore charts around here.  I’m not against chore charts, mind you.  I’m just… not “there” yet.  Lacy’s probably old enough to have one, but I haven’t found the time/motivation to make one that suits our farmily.

But lately, she’s been cleaning.  I can’t tell you how happy this makes me!  A few days after Valentine’s Day, I cleaned the kids room and Lacy was SO HAPPY that she’s cleaned it every day since.  I made her a little graph and told her she can color in another space every night if she cleans her room before bedtime.  When all of the spaces are colored in, she gets something she wants very, very dearly.  A “Tangled” coloring book.PhotobucketThe only downside to her cleaning is that she’s noticed that her mother’s room is… ahem… less than Tangled Coloring Book Worthy.

So what does she do?

Makes me a graph all my own. And tapes it to my wall.
I tried to decipher what she’d written on it and finally had to ask her to tell me.Photobucket


After the Sitter Has Gone Away

My kids love the girl we get to babysit.  Heck, we ALL love the girl we get to babysit.  Minutes after she left last night, I went into the kids’ room to find:Photobucket

It was a welcome sight, and I relished it. The details of the picture make it all the more welcome. Look at how exhausted this boy is -his arms out, his mouth open… his head on a baby doll:Photobucket
My son has a really creepy ability to sleep with his eyes open. It has always scared me.Photobucket
Here’s his sister, fast asleep in her Cinderella dress. Photobucket
Yes, yes. We LOVE our babysitter.


This post has no point.

There.  I warned you.  Read on if you dare.  It’s simple a smattering of thoughts, pictures, and what nots.    I believe all of these items deserve mentioning, but none of them can form a post all their own.  They’re not strong enough, so I’ve banded them together.  A conglomeration of smatterings that have no point and no purpose… but they have each other.


Every boy should be so lucky as to holster his squirt gun in his cowboy boots.

Here’s the girl.  Apparently, she’s been eavesdropping on my piano lessons.PhotobucketShe told me they were Middle Cs.  I was so stomping proud that I didn’t dare correct or refute.  They look like Middle C’s to me!

If you’re looking to take a gander at some clever craftiness, please click


and take a look at the cards my cousin made.  I’m in love, I’m in love, I’m in love (with a wonderful guy) (props to the one who can name that quote) and I ordered some from her.  I get giddy just thinking about getting original tweets in the mail.  Squealing giddy.

While driving the other day, I snapped a picture with my camera phone.  Camera phones, as we know aren’t all that amazing.  Keep that in mind when you look at this picture.  Try and see what I saw.  The sun was beginning to set, and just as I came over a hill, the sun hit that PERFECT place on the horizon where it illuminates everything with gold in what feels like an instant.

Nothing gold can stay. That’s why I snapped a crappy picture.Photobucket

Isn’t that NICE?   Look at all that! Miles and miles and MILES of just… fresh air.  I love the feeling of being able to breathe.  It’s all very Dixie Chick.

I wanna be the only one, for miles and miles.  ‘cept for MAY-BAY you and that… simple smile.

I love where I live.  Desert? yes.  Ugly? absolutely not.  The only downfall in having miles and miles all around is that I can’t take a fencing class or live out my whacky dream of playing Miss Hannigan in a stage production of “Annie.”  But I’ll live.  The fresh air is rather a great comfort.

Here’s another to add to the “She Posed Like That” pile:Photobucket

Here’s them by a mural that I love on account of my obsession with history.Photobucket

Please note the way my son is clutching his behind.  He lives with his hand attached to the back of his pants to hold them up.  You should see him run sometime.

Next to the mural were some tiny purple flowers (weeds) and Lacy put some in her hair. Not to be outdone, my son asked if I might put one in his hair. He gave me the flower he wanted in his hair, and like a good mother… I obliged. I mean, as best I could, I obliged.Photobucket
Yesterday, I sat down at my computer for just a few minutes and ended up running into a thousand great things. Two hours later, I emerged a changed woman.
I wanted to share part of it with you. I already did, if you clicked the link to my cousin’s cards above. Here’s a little something more in the form of my friend’s labor story. If you’ve ever had a child, you’ve got to read it. If you’ve ever been bothered by a dirty shower, you’ve got to read it. If you’ve ever done squats, you’ve got to read it. If you’ve ever seen “Oklahoma!” you’ve got to read it.


And the last of all the smatterings is a couple pictures of my Beehives. We had a little out-of-the-box talent show on Wednesday with all of the young women. A few examples of talents include: toe popping, back bending, baton twirling, and pogo stick hopping. Our beehives did a “magic” show where they performed obviously not-magic magic tricks. They wore matching pink capes and they looked adorable.Photobucket
One of the girls sang along with Miley Cyrus to that party in the USA song (my finger slipped just now and typed “USD” I laughed for a good thirty seconds over that). Because I forgot my camera (like a FOOL) I was forced to use my delaying camera phone, but I did get this picture:Photobucket
And it makes me happy every time I see it.


Over the holiday weekend, the weather was blustery and unkind.  We had planned to spend Saturday in the city getting some much-needed shopping done, but after looking out of the windows and looking at the online weather warnings, we decided to bunk it at home.  It was an experience unlike any other.  We all had NO PLANS, and so we sat at home doing whatever came to mind.  Thanks to the overcast weather and falling snow, I was compelled to break out my Pioneer Woman cookbook and try my hand at her cinnamon rolls -something I’d been dying to do for over a year but had never been brave enough.

I don’t care for cinnamon rolls.  They always look so inviting and wonderful, but when you bite into them? dry.  All anticipation comes crashing down, no matter how much you microwave it (the roll.  not the anticipation).

These rolls were different.  They were moist and soft and absolutely delicious.  The only problem was: the recipe made exactly 51 cinnamon rolls.  It used up every single pan in my house that was somewhat cinnamon-roll friendly.Photobucket

Now let me take you back…

Last week, we had a Valentine’s Party for preschool.  The kids wanted a pink butterfly cake, and I was going to bake sugar cookies for them to decorate.  But I got sick the weekend before the party.  I bagged the sugar cookie idea.  I bagged the butterfly cake idea.  Instead, we had cake mix cookies (made out of strawberry cake mix) and we decorated them as if they were sugar cookies.  I made a batch of frosting, and the kids had a blast.

I made the frosting in my favorite stainless-steel bowl.  My husband’s grandmother gave it to me as a bridal shower gift, and I treasure it.  It has a ring on the side of the bowl, and no matter where I’ve lived, I’ve always kept that beautiful bowl hanging on my wall in very close range to my cooking area.  My husband used to use it for popcorn.  It didn’t bode well with me.

“Are you telling me I’m not allowed to use that bowl for popcorn?” He asked.

“Yes,” I replied, “It’s mine.”

“You mean it’s … ours,” he said.

“No.” I shook my head, “It’s mine.  Your grandma gave it to me as a bridal shower gift and I use it all the time and when it’s not hanging in it’s spot I get cranky.”

It’s not characteristic of me to impose rules on my husband, so when I do he generally takes the hint that I’m not to be trifled with.  Besides, the rules I do give generally have to do with kitchen duties and really there’s only two rules.

#1) Don’t use my mixing bowl.

#2) If you’re going to interfere while I cook by telling me I need to measure ingredients, I will unkindly escort you out of my kitchen.

Anyway, the kids didn’t use all of the frosting.  I covered it tightly with Cling-Wrap (material of the gods!) and put it in the fridge.  The next night, I was exhausted.  We did scriptures and prayers with the kids, and Trent went right to sleep.  Lacy did not.  I put “The Princess Bride” on her TV to help her drift off, about 2 hours later, she woke me up.  Her movie was over.

I stumbled out of bed and started it again, mumbling at her to go to sleep.  I should’ve just turned the dang movie off, but who thinks straight in the middle of the night?  Later on in the night (I’m not sure how much later because I’m too blind to see the clock and too tired to put my glasses on), she was by my bedside again.

“Can I have some juice?” She asked.

“Yeah,” I mumbled and promptly fell back asleep.  I was awakened again by a noise coming from the kitchen.

clink, clink, clink…

I’d heard that sound before.  My foggy middle-of-the-night brain registered that it was the sound of my prized mixing bowl -the ring it hangs from hitting the side of the bowl.

clink, clink, clink…. SLAM

My eyes popped open.  My brain began registering facts more quickly: mixing bowl, frosting, fridge door slamming… LACY.  I squinted in the darkness to see the silhouette of my daughter, clinking as she went, pat-pat-pattering into her room with a big bowl of frosting.

“Lacy!” I hissed, so as not to wake up her dad, “NO!  What are you doing?”

“Can I have some juice?” She asked, innocently handing over the bowl of frosting.

She got her juice.

Now back to the cinnamon rolls: what do you do with 51 cinnamon rolls?  A few days before, my husband had expressed a sincere concern for my health -er, lack of health, I should say.  Something’s amiss with my blood sugar, I think.  In any case, my 25 year-old body acts more like a 55 year old body at times.  Given that we’d both like for me to bear children again someday, I need to take better care of my body.  Read: I need to give away cinnamon rolls so I won’t eat them.

We took a pan to grandma.  We took a pan to my folks.  We took a pan to my brother.  We divided up individual rolls to this person and that person, saving only 2 pans for ourselves: one small pan and one larger pan for our Sunday breakfast and after-church snack.

Saturday night, I covered the big pan in tin foil and I nestled up to watch “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” with my husband (a good movie, by the way, or I wouldn’t have mentioned it.  Word to the wise: only watch it once.  If you watch it more than that, Alyssa Milano’s mouth may start to grate on your nerves).  From the kitchen, I heard the rusting of tin foil.  I ignored it, hoping it would go away.  I didn’t.  It got worse.  Soon the rustling sound gave way to a tearing sound.  At that point, I sat up to go stop the tearing but I was too late.  My son came bolting out of the kitchen, holding a big pan of cinnamon rolls at a 45 degree angle over his head.  He clutched the pan in a small space where the tin foil had been ripped away.

The best part?  He didn’t take his eyes off of his parents as he b-lined it for the sanctuary of his bedroom.  Honestly, I’ve never seen the kid run so fast on his tip-toes.  Maybe he thought if he held the pan up high enough, we wouldn’t be able to reach it.  He was wrong.  And as I took the pan out of his hands, he WAILED loudly so as to let all nations, kindreds, tongues and people know that HE HAD BEEN WRONGED.

It probably wasn’t in the interest of good parenting to give him a roll, but I did.

It was in the interest of my sanity, and that counts for something.

Now that you’ve read through the entirety of this post, I have to say: I feed my children.  I feed my children well.  I don’t know why they hoard sweets in their room, but I suspect it’s because they’re on the normal side.

What’s My Deal?

The title of this post makes it sound like some kind of game show.  I do wish I had some HUGE cash prizes for those of you (if any) who can answer the following questions:

#1) Why do I keep confusing my BLEACH SPRAY with my CARPET CLEANER? Their spray bottles are similar, yes.  But the bleach spray bottle is dark yellow and the carpet cleaner bottle is dark red.  Through some miracle, you can’t tell where I’ve sprayed bleach on my carpet, but this HAS TO STOP before it gets ugly.

#2) Why do I cut and collect coupons and then always forget to use them -whether it’s because I left them at home or because I simply forget they’re in my pocket/wallet (despite the fact that I’ve thought about using them while I was shopping)?


I sort of off-handedly made a remark a few days ago to my daughter about going on a date.  A GIRL date.  I didn’t think much of it.

“We need a girl date, huh Lace?” I said and then thought about what to make for dinner.

She set immediately to making plans.

“I needa change!” She said, running into her room and rooting through her drawers for JUST the right outfit.

I had to explain to her that we weren’t going out right then, and she accepted that under the condition that we fix an actual date and time.  So we did.

Denny’s.  Friday afternoon.  Pre-dinner cake.Photobucket
We split one piece. I had originally planned on splitting a milkshake with her, but when she saw the big picture of the moist slice of chocolate cake… it was all over. It’s always been like that with chocolate and Lacy.Photobucket
It’s hereditary, I think.Photobucket
The next day, I found her on another date. I mean, I didn’t know it was a date. She had to tell me. But after she did… it was totally obvious. I don’t know how I didn’t see it before.

She went all out. There’s even a BLANKET over the Lightening McQueen table.

Please don’t ask me to explain the tiny whisk in my son’s mouth.
I can’t.
But I can tell you this: that chocolate cake was delish.

Glorious. Wonderful. Magnifico.

Yesterday was a really good day.

You know what I got? Do ya, do ya, do ya?

TWO letters. I got TWO REAL LETTERS in the mail! Can you believe it?! Not just ONE REAL LETTER. TWO REAL LETTERS! I literally bounded out of the post office with my two real letters in hand. I thought about bursting into song.

I’m walkin’ on sunshine…

But I didn’t. I just beelined it for my car instead. I drove home, ran inside, got comfortable on the couch and tore into what turned out to be two very delicious real letters. The first was from my bestie without, well… she knows….

First of all, can I just tell you how good it makes me feel that she saves newspaper clippings for me?
Second of all, can I just tell you how good those clippings make me feel because they are riotous? I mean, a woman whacking a 200 pound bear with a zucchini?! Heaven help me! It does NOT get better than that. Zucchinis have always served as a sort of weapon, driving away friends who refuse to accept any more from your over-abundant plant… but THIS? THIS?! This takes it to a new level. Everyone? Plant zucchini… your life just might depend on it.

My second letter rode tandem to (with? I’m not really sure what the right word is here…) a cookbook the likes of which I’ve never, ever seen and which I poured over for about two solid hours (during which I neglected to find a babysitter for our trip today, so the kids are coming along).

The letter is hiding the title of the cookbook. I did that on purpose. I wanted to riddle you suspense. Check it:

Contained in this precious gem are at least TWO recipes for beef tongue (to say nothing of the pork tongue recipes) and three recipes for rabbit meat. To answer your questions, yes I’ve eaten cow tongue. Yes, I liked it. No, I didn’t make it. Yes, I’m going to this summer. Yes, you can come over. Yes, it will SHMECK all to HECK.

In natural consequence of receiving two absolutely amazing pieces of sunshine in my unsuspecting mailbox, I’ll have you all know that I’m putting stationery on my list today.

Thanks be to the men and women of snail mail.
Thanks be to my great friends, who’s (whose? I really need help here…) letters arrived right when they were most needed.
Thanks be to the Mennonites.
Thanks be to the great feeling that comes with realness… real letters, real friends, real food, real stories of survival.

And to top it all off, my sister paid me a visit. I’m wishing today “good luck” in trying to measure up.

Blame Game

Two days ago I was resting on the couch when I heard a shattering sound.  I looked up to find a small table lamp knocked over with my daughter, stick horse in hand, standing next to it.  I couldn’t even get out a word before she hurriedly told me what happened.

“My horse just kicked it.”Photobucket

Needless to say, we had a little talk about owning up to our mistakes.
A kicking stick horse. Ha. What does she take me for, a fool?

iPods, According to the Four Year Old


…and you thought they were expensive.

The Birds

One of the many reasons I heart Robert Frost so much is his ability to see so much in nature.  I was born and bred in the country, and with that comes a love of nature.  I’m not talking about the peace-sign wearin’, hairy armpit sportin’ love of nature.  Um, my car doesn’t even have a bumper sticker -though I will note that I saw one a few weeks ago that I liked.

Live simply so others can simply live.

But back to regular programming… all my life, I’ve been able to look out of my windows and see for miles on end.  The stars have always burned bright, except on cloudy nights, and most of my friends lived off of dirt roads (as I did).  In fact, most of my friends still live off dirt roads.  I’ve always had fresh air to breathe and I’ve always had my own personal wilderness at my disposal.

My husband and I have never owned a house.  We’ve been renters.  We don’t mind -we’ve never had the house itch, but I have gained a few preferences as the years have gone on.  One of those is that I want a window above my sink.  And if possible, can we please have the sink and window facing west?  Nothing funny about it, I just love washing dishes while the sun sets in the west.

My daughter loves to help me do dishes (this we know) and one day I pointed out the sunset, asking her what colors she could see in it.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” I asked, “Mommy loves the sunsets.”  From that day to this, she has consistently pointed out every sunset she’s seen to her mother.  Valentine’s Day, we sat down to have a family dinner.  Our Valentine Tradition is staying and fixing up a fancy-to-us Valentine dinner to share, just the four of us.  This year, we grilled teriyaki chicken skewers and baked potatoes.  I made a spinach salad, and then we ate our food off of paper plates because I was sick all weekend and behind on housework.  As I washed a few dishes between baking potatoes and tossing a salad, my daughter tugged at my arm.

“Mom, LOOK!” She said.  I’m ashamed to admit that my enthusiasm for looking wasn’t what it should have been.  It was more like… *sighhhhhhh* “What is it?”

“THE SUNNNNN SET and ALL A ‘DOSE BIRDS!”  I looked out of the window and saw an enormous flock of black birds flying in front of a golden sunset.  The rich hues of purple and pink reached out around the sun and it literally took my breath away.  I’ve been watching those black birds all season.  They come around this time of year, and they are beautiful.  I love watching them from my windows.  Last week, I watched a calf play with them exactly as a kitten would play with a strand of yarn.  I’d never seen a calf behave like that before, and it made my day.  That’s what I love about this season: birds, calves, the feeling that the wretching cold is conquerable.

Yesterday I took a short stroll around my house just as the sun was fixing to set.  I wanted to snap a picture of the birds, if I could.  I knew any picture I might get wouldn’t be nearly as beautiful as the Valentine’s Day Flight in the Sunset, but at least it would serve to remind me of that day.  Can you see all of those birds?  Oh how I wish to Hades on evenings like yesterday that I was an equipped photographer!  My children came totting behind me and found their uncle next to the barn. (Is totting a word?  Because that’s really what they did.)The kids wanted nothing to do with the birds.But my little brother was nice enough to scare the birds out the tree.

It really is something to see -these pictures really don’t do the birds justice.  They’re something to be seen and something to be heard.  Their song isn’t squawky and screechy -it’s chaotic and distant.  Chaotic and distant is much more enchanting than squawky and screechy.  I’m off to google just what kind of birds they are, whistling “Bye, bye Blackbird” as I do.  I wish you could come over and see them and the bird-chasing calves.

And would you mind keeping me company while I do my dishes by sunset?