You Find Out Who Your Friends Are

I’m no artist. I live with a budding one, and she’s constantly leaving papers and art supplies strewn all over that house, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
The point is: I can’t paint pictures with paint which is why I’m going to attempt to paint one with words.

I spent all of last week praising my new routine like it was the best thing since Club Crackers (you all know they’re the best). Having my cleaning day on Monday rather than Saturday has revolutionized my life. The house stays clean(ish) for the rest of the week, and it makes everything flow much mo’ bettah. I worked hard everyday to pick up and straighten up so that my Monday work wouldn’t be for naught. The bigger things: like the gunk on the lid of the trash can and the facial hair mounting in the bathroom sink, I pushed aside knowing I’d get to them on Monday.
Remember my post yesterday about how crazy the weekend was?
It was.
I didn’t get a chance to clean at all Saturday night or Sunday morning.
Hear that? That means I actually DID clean on Saturday morning. To be precise, I reorganized my pantry and a few other shelves in the laundry room.
I hopped all weekend.
And on Sunday, I hopped in high heels. Apparently, I got up at 6 am on Sunday and shut my alarm off. I don’t remember doing it. All I remember is going to bed with my alarm ON and waking up at 7:22 am. This only gave me one hour to get me and the family out the door dressed, pressed, and ready for church. It ended up taking an hour and a half. We were THIRTY minutes late to church.
I should have liked to have died.
But because we were attending an extra hour of church later in the day (to listen to Ju talk, sniffle) I didn’t worry too much about it. During Primary, I was hopping from one end of the church to the other. After Primary, I hopped into my car and drove home to slice tomatoes for 100 people as fast as I could. Then I drove back to the church and listened to my sister speak.
Then I helped serve hamburgers and hot dogs to 100 people. Then I drove to the church and bawled like a baby while my sister was set apart as a missionary. I came home that night and crashed. I absolutely crashed.
Monday morning, I knew I needed to clean the house. I had my family coming over for dinner (a Greek dish Ju and I had our eyes on), and I needed to clean up before I could even THINK of cooking.

The outlook was disheartening. There were papers, crayons, markers, and TORN bits of paper just… everywhere. There were dried out markers on the table… sticker books and stickers lying out… shoes… an empty bag of tortilla chips… dishes… I half-heartedly rolled up my sleeves and went to work.
I put crayons away.
I turned around.
The crayons were back out.

Somewhere between the mounting stack of dishes and the shoes all over the floor, I started to believe that my family’s ability to PUT THINGS AWAY and their LOVE FOR ME were directly related.
Now, I say that in all seriousness, so please laugh. It’s ridiculous, but what mother hasn’t felt that way?
My mood darkened, and then -in the midst of my hormones, dark cloud, and heavy loaded shoulders… I smelled poop.
I called my son to me and sat down on the floor to change him.
We had our futon laid down and a blanket covering it so that my brother-in-law (who I LOVE!) could sleep on it the night before.
I sat just in front of the futon, pinning down the blanket covering it. I pulled my son’s socks off. I pulled my son’s PJ pants off. I looked at the clock to see exactly how many hours I had left until 12 people were coming through my door to eat dinner.
And then I looked to the right.
And I saw poop.
On my floor.
Just… sitting there.

“Who pooped on the floor?!” I called out, hardly excited that even had to SAY those words.
“Oh, Trent!” My daughter chimed in, cheerily, “I think it dropped out.”
Dropped out? I looked back at my son and saw STRONG evidence that poop had, indeed, fallen from his diaper to my floor.
I tried cleaning it up.
It only resulted in me getting covered and him getting covered and the blanket getting even more covered… and so I sent him directly to the tub.
Do not pass Go.

I peeled off my awesome sweats and t-shirt cleaning outfit, threw them in the washer, threw my son’s clothes in the washer… stressed about how I didn’t really have TIME for this because I still had to run to the store and WHERE was I going to get the MONEY to run to the store…
I grabbed a corner of the soiled blanket and jerked it off the futon. When I did, a pile of laundry I couldn’t see (yeah, it was THAT cluttered) fell onto the futon as well.
A clean pile of laundry.
That needed folded.
That needed ME to fold it.

And I lost it.

I stood over my sink full of dirty dishes and I scrubbed and cried, scrubbed and cried. I realize this is silly -I even realized it at the time. I realize other people would give anything to have a dirty house be their Everest rather than, oh, say… cancer…
But yesterday I was emotional with the thought of my sister leaving, the dinner that had to fixed, the shopping that had to be done, and here in my own house that I’d spent the ENTIRE week cleaning… I couldn’t make even an inch of progress.
I was defeated.
And I was bawling.

A few hours before, I had updated my facebook status to “I need hired help today, no lie.”
We ALL need hired help, so I didn’t think anything of it.
But as I stood over my sudsy sink in my second pair of awesome sweats and a t-shirt, scrubbing and trying to will away the scent of poop while wiping my snotty, bawling face… there was a knock at the door.
I was past the point of keeping up appearances, and when I opened the door to see my neighbor from down the road standing there saying, “I have an hour, what do you need done?”
I wrapped my arms around her and I bawled.
In general, I don’t like to admit defeat. I don’t like others cleaning my house, and I don’t like the fact that I NEED help.
But yesterday, I welcomed her with open arms and was so grateful for the help that I didn’t even hardly notice she was seeing my at my absolute worst.
Together we had the house very nearly spotless in just one short hour. Then she took my kids for an hour and I was able to completely clean both bathrooms, dust the house, rehang my clock that my husband promised to hang a week ago, and put finishing touches on everything.
The kids came back through the door, and I thanked my neighbor profusely again.
Then I started cooking.
Then I went shopping.
Then I put together a meal and we all enjoyed our last dinner with Julianne.

I couldn’t have done it without Vicky. I absolutely could not have.

All I could think about while she was vacuuming my house and I was shoving my husband’s tools in the closet was:
You find out who your friends are.
Somebody’s gonna drop everything
Run out and crank up their car
Hit the gas, get there fast
Never stop to think ‘what’s in it for me?’ or ‘it’s way too far’
They just show on up with their big old heart
You find out who your friends are.

How did she see the line of truth in a silly facebook status that most everyone brushed aside and thought “who doesn’t?”
People like her make me want to pay it forward.
And now it’s time to clean up and say goodbye to my little sister. Remind me again how short 18 months are?

Weekend of Madness

This weekend, we were crazy busy. My sister is leaving tomorrow morning to enter the MTC, and I’ve been overly-emotional about the whole thing.
I wish I had the ability to cry like a normal person. I don’t get emotional very often, but when I do… it’s ugly. It’s literally ugly.
I look horrid.

Sure, it’s only 18 months.
Sure, it will go faster than I think.
Sure, sure, sure.


I know all this, and I’m sure I’ll be okay with it 17 months from now. In reality, I’m super excited for her and all of the adventures she’s going to have. Think of the ways she’s going to grow! I just wish I could text her, you know? Check up on her, you know? Message her pictures of my kids when they cover each other with clothespins!
As it is, I’ll have to settle with real letters, packages absolutely STUFFED to the max, patience, and prayer.

A few months ago, my sister took me to an amazing Greek restaurant. A few weeks later, I found a recipe online for less-than-authentic gyros, and we decided to make them together. Then we forgot to remember to do until until last week, and that’s when everything started going crazy. Tonight is our last chance. I’ve got most everything to crank out a delicious dinner (and a fat cheesecake, of course), and I’m looking forward to having my family gather around my table tonight.
I’ll miss eating with my sister -food is something we bond over, and given that we both love cooking, we have some pretty awesome adventures.
In a year and a half, she’ll be able to teach me how to feed my family for a week using one fish… I bet.

I was thrilled when she text me one morning asking if I’d like to trek to Denny’s with her for an early morning breakfast. She promised to have me back before my husband went to work. As luck would have it, my husband had to go in early, so I pushed back our breakfast date a few days.
Saturday morning, we did it. 6:45 am we left town and headed for the nearest Denny’s.
Breakfast is our favorite meal.

Years ago, when I was in college, I came home to visit and I woke my sister up ridiculously early. We threw on sweaters and drove to Denny’s for hot chocolate.
It started something of a tradition for us. A few months ago, we woke up early and drove an hour and 15 minutes JUST to eat breakfast at the nearest IHOP (a sort of dream for the both of us).
Saturday, we went for the last time in 18 months. Thank goodness she thought to ask me.

(Notice the cantaloupe pushed to the side.  We were afraid of The Deathly Poison.)

We pull out all the stops for our breakfasts, and we order radically. French toast with a side of hash browns? Yes, for a few hours on those early mornings, the menu is our oyster and we take it for everything it’s got.

Our goal this Saturday was to convince the waitress we were traveling using only our appearance.
As we grabbed to-go boxes, she handed us some extra plastic silverware.
“You’ll probably end up needing this,” she said, kindly. We thanked her and grinned like idiots… it looked like we’d fooled her. Our tourist costumes were flawless! A couple seconds later, our waitress came back and gave us a big plastic bag.
“You’re going to want this bag while you’re on the road. It makes all the difference,” she said.
Our idiot grins turned into full-blown laughter and we got the biggest kick out of ourselves. We were genuine tricksters.
And yes, we are THAT easily entertained.
Want to see our costumes?

It turns out if you want to look touristy, all you have to do is wake up, but tennis shoes on, grab a sweater and resist any and every urge to better your appearance.
I didn’t even brush my teeth because I’ve learned the hard way that Colgate aftertaste absolutely RUINS a tall glass of orange juice.

I must big goodbye to my sister breakfasts for 18 months.
I don’t want to, you know.
But my sister has bigger things to do right now. I’ll have to settle with mailing her tiny packages of Krust-eez pancake batter.
I can’t think about that now, though. I’ve got a house to clean, (cleaning day!) bread to make, (pita bread is expensive to buy!) and a meal to put together (opa!).

Life Changing


I just spent a ridiculous amount of money at the store today. I’ve had to cut out a few household staples lately, and I fully hoped to temporarily reinstate them today. BUT… no such luck.
This means I came home without mopping solution (I’ve been using vinegar and water, and though it works, my husband pretty much hates the smell).
It also means I came home without cold cereal (we always have a TON of oatmeal on hand, and it works as a healthy [albeit bland and mascot-less] substitution).

Since I’ve instituted my new routine, I’m running out of cleaning supplies left and right. I’m also realizing how much cleaning I wasn’t doing. Still, as I wandered the store aisles, I had to put back the cleaning supplies I had stuffed in my cart.
Really: at the end of the day, I had $30 left to spend and one last stop to make. On that last stop, I had OVER $100 worth of stuff in my cart… MOST of which I needed! I put back what I didn’t absolutely need -and most of what I put back was cleaning supplies.
I sorta winced, but I knew it would all be okay because I have a pinterest account, and this week I discovered something that has given me more joy than Mr. Clean and his radiance ever could.

I won’t wax rhapsodic about vinegar, as I have done in the past. I will rhapsodic about peroxide and baking soda.
Thanks to pinterest, I was guided to a blog that hailed peroxide and baking soda much in the same manner I did vinegar. No, really. She even made references to the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding AND used the same picture I did.
So we’re pretty much twinsies.
You can read her post HERE, and I highly recommend that you do.

When I went shopping today, a HONKING bag of baking soda was almost at the top of my list. At the tip-tip-top (where the Grinch took his bag to dump it) was peroxide.

We got home around 10 pm. I put some of the groceries away (the delicate ones that need my now mold-free fridge) (you know you liked that visual. you’re welcome), and then I took my soda and peroxide and made a paste.
It is literally the same consistency as the paste you swear you didn’t eat in Kindergarten.
Using my fingers, I applied the paste to my muffin tin.

Side note (and please stay with me): have you ever met my sewing machine? My husband gave it to me a few years ago for mother’s day. I am a hands-on learner, and that poor machine has taken the beating of a lifetime. It’s slowly giving out, one function at a time. If I were a SMART person, I would watch the DVD and carefully learn how to sew. Given that I’m not smart… I just started hacking away at whatever fabric I could get my hands on.
I jammed that machine so many times.
So very many.
Just thinking about it makes my blood pressure eek up a bit.

Anyway, my poor kitchen pans have been treated thus. I have learned how to cook on them, yes I have. They’re been adorably fastidious about the whole thing -the dears.
Seven years later, despite their fastidiousness, they look a’fright.

Most all of my pans are wedding gifts.
I have tried EVERYTHING to get these pans clean. I finally chalked their fate up to doom and chastised them for being so vain about it.
And then.
I made a pinterest account and read a blog post that made me stand over my sink at 10 pm and scrub paste onto a filthy pan and scrub and scrub and scrub and cackle with joy despite the fact that I’d spent the entire day wrangling children who shout “JESUS!” in the middle of Sam’s Club when I ask them where they got their big muscles AND spending so much money that it made me a little sick.
Serious joy.

Note: It was 10 pm.  This job was pretty half-arsed, and the results are amazing.  Never have I obtained such satisfactory results with half-arsery.

As of now: I’m instating monthly beauty treatments for my pans. Vanity, Ho!
(Also: this mixture has really done a number on all sorts of crud of my kitchen counters. And my husband was SO impressed with the muffin tin when I was done with it that he actually went SO FAR AS TO SAY that it looked 2 years old rather than 7. You should have seen that pan blush.)

The Girly

For about a month now, my girl has been begging to get her hair cut. I sort of hoped she’d forget about it because I was in LOVE with her long hair, but she wouldn’t let it go.
“Did you call Julie, Mom?”
“Did you call Julie, Mom?”
“Did you call Julie, Mom?”

She asked and asked and asked. Julie, it must be known if not already inferred, is our family hair lady. We love Julie.
Julie has dum-dums.

We finally set up an appointment, and Lacy eagerly awaited the day. The morning of, I wrapped my arms around her and said, “Guess what today is?”
“HAIR DAY!” I squealed.
“I DON’T WANT TO GET MY HAIR CUT!” She wailed back.

I talked her down, telling her that Julie would never do anything that Lacy wouldn’t like.
“Just sit in her special chair and tell her exactly what you want,” I said.
“Okay,” she replied.
Also: I promised her ice cream when the hair dressing was done.

Once there, Lacy sat in the chair.
“Tell Julie what you want,” I coaxed her.
“I just don’t know all the words to say it,” she shyly replied.

So here’s what we came up with:

I took a bunch of pictures in the salon, but my phone won’t email them to me (selfish, selfish).

I do miss her long hair, but she got what she asked for and she’s mostly happy. The night after it was cut, she did confess that she wanted to “turn it back” but it’s since grown on her. She feels like a big girl with a big girl haircut.

On Monday, I was running through my cleaning routine. After getting the house mostly clean (vacuumed, mopped, all that), I set to getting my one big project done. For this Monday, I decided to clean out the fridge. The boy was napping. The girl was playing outside.
It was perfect timing.
I cleaned half of the fridge and took the trash out before finishing to avoid a huge triple-bagging fiasco.
You know what I’m talking about, right? That huge, ugly bag of trash at the end of fridge cleaning that you have to bag at least three times… please tell me I’m not the only one.

As I walked out of the door and tossed the trash into the plastic trash bins, Lacy ran to my side.
“Mom, can you play outside with me?”
“I would love to, sweetie. Really, I would. But I have to finish cleaning out the fridge.”
“But Mom! We could pick up leaves… and look at clouds…”
“Okay, let me hurry and finish the fridge.”
“Thanks, Mom.”

And I went back in the house to finish furiously dumping food out of my fridge. I didn’t bother wiping it clean on account of my cloud-watching date, but my daughter did manage to put herself right outside my window.
“MOM!” She called, “ARE YOU HURRYING?!”
“YES!” I called back.

My girl has always held the outdoors in high esteem… even when she was a colicky baby, screaming in my arms, she would quiet right down the minute I took her outside and let the sunshine stream all over her red little face.

Enjoying it with her will ALWAYS take precedence over a perfectly clean fridge. It’s mold free, okay? That’s as good as it’s going to get for now.

Thoughts for a Tuesday

Monday was smashing.  I TORE up my house (and when I say “tore” I actually mean “tidied up”).  It looked so good, and I was so proud of myself, and it lasted all of a few minutes while my son finished his nap and my daughter and I sat at the table and colored.  Then I busted out some gloves, cut up more jalapenos and made a boat load of poppers to take up to mom’s last night.

You know the poppers I’m talking about…

Everyone gobbled them up and we passed around butternut squash, pulled pork, and a few of the candied jalapenos I made last week.
It was nice. Then I came home to a house I’d spent the entire day cleaning, ignored the mess, and went to bed. I thought -and even quickly sent a facebook status update from my moe-bile -WHY is it that when I see clean kitchen counters, I don’t think ‘wow, what an accomplishment!’… I see ‘WHEEE! A BLANK CANVAS!’ and I proceed to figuratively paint all over it? I think the right side of my brain is uncharacteristically controlling.

Really, though, the big stuff is done. It makes my week go by smoothly when my floors are mopped and my furniture is dusted -even though my counters get cluttered with stuff, it helps that when I clear the clutter (daily) there’s a clean counter underneath.
Today is cooking day. I’m hoping it will be just as successful. I didn’t really get one solitary cooking day last week on account of the jalapenos taking up the better part of a day and ALL of Saturday spent canning and freezing.

Let me tell you something:
There’s precious things only women know -some of them come instinctively, some we have to learn the hard way.
After the birth of my first baby, I learned how to tell if my Dear One was running a fever or not. NO ONE taught me how, I just KNEW how. All it took was one kiss on that itty-bitty forehead, and I knew with every fiber in my being that my child was running a low/fighting/high fever.
My husband stood by, wishing he were privy to the super-secret fever kiss.
OTHER things, we learned the hard way: by opening our mouths.
For example: If you are the sort that can not stand being “one-upped” you should NEVER, as a woman, bring up your own experiences in childbirth OR canning.
I don’t mind being one-upped, actually, so I bring it up all the time. In bringing it up, however, I have learned that Suzy So-and-So had a much harder time in labor and delivery than I did AND that she canned 100 quarts of peaches while standing on one leg.
It’s true. Don’t believe me? Just ask her.

My prize for Canner of the Century goes my Grandma Hansen who actually used to can 100 quarts of peaches every year, and who made the absolute best and most beautiful canned peaches I’ve ever seen. She never blanches her peaches to get the skins off -she’s mastered the art of perfectly peeling. She knows canning secrets like the back of her hand, and I often slink over to her house with my kids in tow and pick her brain. Did you know that she had two kitchens put in her house? One upstairs for regular cooking and one downstairs -just for canning. The woman beats all. No really. Have you met her?

My prize for Queen of Labor and Delivery goes to Charlsye, my friend who lives across town. She recently found out she was pregnant with TWINS, and after having labor stopped several times over and being admitted to the hospital several times over and discharged completely hopped up on labor-stopping meds several times over, she was finally scheduled to be induced (WHAT?!). However, she happened to make it to the hospital and give birth to one baby 10 minutes later (I know that feeling!), and then HAD TO HAVE A C-SECTION for the other baby.
My dear friend is lying in bed, healing up from a natural birth AND a c-section. But here’s the part you really want to see:


One baby boy and one baby girl are going home to their two older brothers (who, by the way, are ridiculously adorable as well).

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to clean my kitchen again. An artist can not work with this kind of canvas on cooking day. It must be cleaned first!

Who Gave You YOUR Nose?

During church yesterday, I was trying to keep my son quiet.  He was wiggling and squirming, and insisting on pinching my nose.  To keep with the subject at hand, I whispered, “I have a nose.  Do you have a nose?”
“Yeah,” he said, pointing to his own nose.
“Does Jesus have a nose?” I asked, seeing a teaching moment.
“Yeah,” he nodded.
“Where did Jesus get his nose?” I asked.
“Santa Clause,” he answered so matter-of-factly that I burst into silent laughter -the kind that makes you snort while your shoulders shake uncontrollably.

I also have to add that my son believes his nose is simply called a “no” and that the word “nose” is the plural form. I have no plans of correcting him because there’s nothing cuter than a 3 year old boy trucking toward me and whining, “I bonked my no!”
He also makes it hard to get out of bed when he curls up on me like that.
Have I ever told you that I love being a stay-at-home mom? The only job I’d ever take aside from it is a teaching job, and only then if my kids are old enough to sleep in their own beds, speak the names of their body parts correctly, and find out that Jesus came before Santa.
That’s kind of the whole point of Christmas, right?


Can you believe how cold it is outside?!  Summer is by far my favorite season, and it seemed like it took forever to get here and seconds to pass.  We were all in long sleeves and coats yesterday, and we all talked about how cold it was.

It was all very My Fair Lady.

“Hasn’t it turned unseasonably cold?”

After a day of cold temps, we decided on pizza for dinner.  We all trucked up to mom’s and ate our hearts out.  Have you ever tried Mr. G’s jalapeno cheesy sticks?  Well, if you don’t like HOT then don’t bother.  But if you do?  They’re a must-have!  After dinner, I held my little nephew and got him to sleep and then snapped this picture:

Grandpa is the party.
See how his boots are off? He used to pay me a quarter to take off his boots and socks. Last night, he promised Lacy and Elly ONE DOLLAR EACH if they would each take a boot and sock off. Inflation!
They did their job, and then they scampered off to play. About thirty minutes later, they remembered the dollar grandpa had promised them. They ran to his side, found him sleeping, and woke him up this this alarm:

He thought it was the cutest thing, dug into his pocket, pulled out his wallet and paid his blondies.
This, readers, is not the man who raised me.
Good thing too. With payouts like that, I would have amounted to absolutely nothing.

Happy Saturday, all. Hope your day is filled with warmth and love and cocoa and hearths and home and everything else that makes your soul go “mmmmmmmmmm.”

Freeze Trip

The weather report yesterday told us there was a chance it might freeze during the night. I haven’t been able to see much of my husband lately, and when we finally were able to get together and pick our garden produce, it was after 9 pm. We bundled the kids up, took a few flashlights, and headed outside. We raided Dad’s muddy garden and picked corn.
Dad’s corn is the BEST in the world. The sweetest, best, and most wonderful in the world. I wasn’t about to chance losing any to a silly early freeze, and I’ve got the muddy shoes to prove it.
My husband cheered on from the sidelines. The goose only brought along his expensive, nice shoes. He made up for it by giving me a piggyback ride from his truck to my porch on account of my muddy shoes being in the BACK of his truck (this is all very Shania Twain… “you make me take off my shoes before you let me get in”).

Once we got home and I had new shoes on, we picked all of the pumpkins out of our garden save ONE -I picked one last week and baked it.
The kids had a blast in the garden late at night, but I have to say: there is nothing more creepy than a cornfield in the dead of night.

My kitchen table is currently loaded with the fruits of autumn, and I’m so GRATEFUL for our garden this year. I’m sure you’ve all noticed the increased food prices, and while I’m not one to sing doom and gloom, I will say this: our garden saved our tail this year. I’m not able to put aside as much as we usually do for winter, but I know we’re going to be just fine. Today is a day of laundry and freezing produce -something so simple but SO necessary. In a few months, I know I’ll be extremely relieved that I spent a day in fall like a squirrel, storing the nuts of life.

The best part isn’t the storing away.
It isn’t the planting.
It most DEFINITELY isn’t the weeding.
OR the watering.
It’s watching the kids pick.

There was nothing sweeter that caking my shoes in mud and watching my little boy wearing his big, fat winter coat with his shorts and cowboy boots, walking in the bright lights of the truck headlights, carrying an ear of corn in each hand…
There really is something absolutely magical about little ones -the way you almost believe when you look in their eyes that life is easy, simple, and that all you need to be happy is a pumpkin planted and grown by a good daddy all ready for the picking.


I never thought I’d be a routine person.  I’ve always been the “mix it up” type -the “throw caution to the wind” type. But as it turns out, the most mixing up I’ve ever done is in the kitchen and my idea of throwing caution to the wind is abandoning laundry for a television marathon.

I’ve always lived for lists, so I shouldn’t be surprised that when I figured out a routine that worked for me, my life became infinitely more simple. A few months ago, I started dedicating a day to cooking. I spent the entire day in the kitchen: baking, mixing, and freezing foods. It was a super success, and it was so nice to be able to reach in my freezer on any given Thursday and find breakfast. But what was even nicer was knowing that everything else could go to heck. I didn’t feel any guilt over the mounting pile of laundry or the specks of paper on the floor… I knew that on cooking day, I would cook my buns off and take care of everything else on another day.
Eventually, I created a laundry day. This isn’t to say that I don’t do laundry on any other day, but I can’t tell you how much easier my life has gotten since I labeled Wednesdays as laundry day. ALL DAY LONG, I wash, dry, and fold. It’s my favorite day because I get to watch as many movies as I’d like (hey!  a TV marathon AND laundry!) and at the end of the day, I can pull dinner out of the freezer and feel like a champ of champs.
These two days worked so well for me that I assigned away my week! I never thought I’d be so happy to live with a routine -honestly!
Monday has become cleaning day because we ALL know how awful the house looks after Sunday (thanks to Aunt Cat for this tip, and the entire idea of getting a routine that works for me!). Seriously -this has been life-changing. I do a sweep over the entire house: vacuum, dust, mop, wipe, wipe, wipe… and then I pick one big project (like “clean out the fridge”) to conquer. This is SO nice because it alleviates about 2000 pounds of guilt and stress. I don’t worry about my fridge anymore because I know that I’m cleaning it out Monday. I don’t feel like a terrible mother for having a stack of clothes near the closet because I KNOW when it will work for me to handle it. I don’t spend the rest of the week thinking “I should be doing this” or “I should be doing that” because I know now I’m NOT ALLOWED to clean on cooking or laundry day. It’s so nice! I mean, really: Mr. Bluebird’s on my shoulder.

Tuesday is cooking day -and BOY do I love it. I say that in all seriousness. I LOVE it. I crank out homemade goodies and gain a tremendous amount of self-confidence because I can SEE what I’ve done and it stays done! (unless my kids tear into it which has happened to a poor loaf of zucchini bread.) Also: the rest of my week is much more laid back because I have goodies in the freezer/fridge/pantry. I can pull a meal together much faster, everyone is happier, and we’re saving money.

Wednesday is laundry day.
Thursday is special. Every other Thursday is shopping day. The off Thursdays are catch-up days. For example: I had to shift days this week because I’m teaching preschool. I had to nab Wednesday as my cooking day and I spent the ENTIRE day just cutting and canning jalapenos -no lie. SO today should be laundry day, but I wasn’t able to get much cooking in, so I’m going to half/half it. Some cooking, some laundry… catch up!

Friday is my day off. It’s the day I do whatever I want to do. Crochet, write, play with the kids, devil may care.

But I have to tell you: while my routine may sound hellish to a career woman, it is JUST what I want to do with my life. And I should also tell you that my life has been something of a ride lately. Sitting and chopping jalapenos was the biggest blessing in the world. I didn’t have to think about anything! I just sat and chopped, sat and chopped… it was bliss. It took me four hours to chop them all up, and in the end, I only had 4 pint jars of candied jalapenos to show for it, but I really could care less.
I’ll tell you something else: I’d give anything for a pile of jalapenos to sit and chop today. Of course I can’t do that. I’ve got other things to handle, but those four hours were some of the best of my life.

There’s a line in the movie “Return to Me” where Gracie’s grandpa is outside of his restaurant cleaning up. She’s looking down on him from a balcony and she calls out, asking if he needs help. His reply? “I’m blessed with work.”

I’m blessed with work.

And They Dwelt in a Tent

We JUST finished Family Home Evening because we’re the awesome sort that do those kinds of things at nearly 10 o’clock in the PM.

Here’s the thing: we went up to Mom’s to have a little meet n’ greet with my brother, Steve, who is here to visit. We got home late and I was ready to CANCEL Family Home Evening. The girl was in tears. The boy’s voice was growing louder and louder as he attempted to get anyone’s attention over his sister’s wailing…
And I was ready for bed.
The grouchier we ALL got, the more I realized that I needed to force Family Home Evening to happen. Within ten minutes, we were all sitting on the couch, singing “I am a Child of God” through our teeth (or not at all in Lacy’s case. She just sobbed through it).
After the prayer, I started to tell the kids a story about a family.
A Dad, a mom, and 4 kids.
The dad was named Lehi.
The mom was named Sariah.
The boys were named Laman, Lemmuel, Nephi, and Sam.

I told the kids Lehi was a prophet a LOOOOOONNNNGGG time ago. I told them he lived in Jerusalem.
“One night, the Lord told Lehi that he needed to pack up some of his stuff, get his family together and leave their home in Jerusalem. So he said, ‘Laman! Lemmuel! Wake up! I have something to tell you! Sariah! Nephi! Sam! Get up!! We need to leave Jerusalem!'”
We talked about them walking all day long, stopping to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. But then… it got dark! What could they do? They couldn’t walk in the dark, so they had to put up a tent.

I told my husband his name was now Lehi. I was Sariah. Trent was assigned to be Nephi, and Lacy resigned herself to the couch where she could continue to cry.
“That’s fine,” I said, plopping her down, “You just can’t help us with the tent or play in it. No biggie.”
Then Lehi and I applauded Nephi as he carried a chair from the table to the living room.
“You’re SO STRONG!” We cheered, “Nephi, we are SO PROUD of you!”
As it started coming together, the girl hopped off the couch, assumed the role of Sam and helped us finish the tent.
And now, as I log on to finish a few things online before hopping into bed, I can hear my kids in the tent.
They begged to sleep in it, and who am I to deny it?

From the tent, I’m hearing Trenton say, “Hif (if) you take Nephi’s spot then Nephi will hafta get mad at you!”
And I hear Sam reply, “Nephi, get in here!”
And Nephi says, “Nephi needs his spot!”

Ahhhh, Sariah is leaving them to it. But if they don’t stop fighting soon, I’m sending them straight back to Jerusalem.