“All the Women Who Independent”

Do you know my daughter? If you’ve read my blog long, you KNOW her.

She’s something of a riot.

I’m grateful for her, you know. TRULY grateful. Last night, as I knelt by my bedside and said my evening prayers, they went something like this:

Thursday night, I started feeling not-so-good. I sipped a little Sprite and tried to shrug it off. A few hours later, I was well beyond sipping Sprite… I was guzzling Pepto. I spent a fitful night wandering between the bathroom and my bed, willing sleep to come.
That said: I did not get out of bed on Thursday until 3 pm. That means that from 7 am to 3 pm, my children took care of themselves while I slipped in and out of a sleep that felt heavily medicated (sadly, I didn’t have any medicine strong enough to produce the sleep I slept; consequently, the sleep I received MUST have come directly from angels… probably the same ones who watched over my flock while I slept).
I can sort of remember my children singing to me.
I remember them coming in my room to raid their stockings.
I remember the girl instructing the boy on just how much egg nog was appropriate to drink at once.

And that’s about it.
I hunched over and made my way around the house around noon, handed the girl 4 slices of whole wheat bread (healthy!), a butter knife, and a full container of Nutella (thereby nullifying the whole “healthy” theme I was going for).
“Look,” I drawled out, “See? Put the chocolate on the bread. Fold it. Sandwich.”
“Sandwich!” My daughter cried out and proceeded to make ninety of them.

She also took out my trash (so well as a little girl can, anyway).
She also did my laundry.
Upon further inspection (which I finally got around to today), I found that she had emptied not only half of that Sam’s Club size box of Ozy-clean into the washer… but that she had emptied the bowl I had near the washer that was FULL of our homemade laundry detergent. Best of all? She put some in the dryer.
Thorough she is.

My husband discovered the detergent in the dryer, and when he did he let out a sentence the likes of which went something like this, “WHAT THE? OH MAN! IT’S IN THE DRYER!”
The girl, who happened to be sitting next to me at the time, muttered, “I just said I was sorry about it. I didn’t know you only need ONE scoop…”
And so we can’t be mad.

We can’t be mad about the plate she shattered as she reached for peanut butter because Nutella only lasts for so long.
I wasn’t mad. I really wasn’t.

As I was curled up in a ball on the floor Thursday night (when most of the “laundry” got done), my daughter asked me to follow her into my bedroom where I had put the bird for the day while I babysat my niece and nephew.

I went into my room to find the boy cutting a paper into small pieces and FEEDING them to the small bird who -no less guilty -had a wedge of paper in his little bitty beak.
I hollered out something like, “DANNY! DANNY! DANNY!” because I know that paper isn’t good for birds, and my daughter BURST into tears.
The thing is: I was so wrapped up in the paper/bird situation that I didn’t even notice that my daughter had MADE decorations for her bird’s cage.
Well she had.
And she thought I was MAD about it.

“I just did the decorations and you are mad and IT’S ALL MY FAULT!!!!”

I wasn’t mad! I wasn’t! It took me thirty minutes to try and explain myself which was nearly impossible given that I was crying myself on account of
1) making my daughter cry and
2) feeling like I wanted to die.

I’ve recovered almost completely. So far, no one else has gotten sick. The house? That’s a horse of a different color. I’ve spent today cleaning and cleaning and cleaning, stopping only to sit on the couch and read Ben Franklin’s Autobiography (a gem among books).
But my trash-taking out, sandwich-making, laundry-doing, decoration-making daughter?
I’ve watched her during the last two days as she’s used up half the bird seen in a successful attempt to train her little bird to EAT OUT OF HER HAND.
She did this without any help from us. No one told my daughter how to train her bird to eat out of her hand, but come to think of it… she doesn’t need any instruction in that area.
She’s had me eating out of her hand for ages.


I have to start this post by saying: I lost the only script to the Nativity MINUTES before the Nativity was supposed to begin. I would have made copies, see, but my printer is out of black ink, and I don’t know where else to get copies within a 10 mile radius of here… I figured we really only needed one anyway, and I kept track of that thing like you wouldn’t believe! Until yesterday, apparently.

Thank goodness Bishop had a copy in his office. I felt bad being so undependable -it’s not like me to do things like that. But the show went on despite me. We were able to procure a microphone and speaker, thanks to my loyal music teacher from days gone by, Mr. Hutchens. I got a quick costume together for my daughter which she LOVED… until she got to the park and it was cold.

Did I mention that while she was at the cold park, her mother was busy herding Shepherds and making sure the boy wasn’t ridding the manger of hay?
“Mom, I’m cold,” she said, looking up at me from under the puffy hood of her big pink coat and clutching her shiny duct tape star in her hands.
“I know, baby. Everyone is,” I said, while putting a halo on an angel.
“MOM, I’m SO COLD!” She said, this time she had someone’s (who knows who?) blanket wrapped around her legs.
“I know, baby. Everyone is,” I said, helping Joseph with his head wrap.
“MOMMMMM, I needa go potty!” She said, looking up at me… tears sitting in the corner of her eyes.
“I’m sorry, baby. I can’t help you right now… you’re going to have to wait.”
That. Did. It.

Other mothers were mothering my children, and I felt guilty about that. The only person who felt worse about it was my daughter. The next time I saw her, she was bawling her eyes out and in the end, she refused to participate in the Nativity.
So, like a good mother, I gave her star away to someone who actually wanted it.
She was NOT happy with me.
I was okay with that.

The Nativity went on, and my daughter sat in one of our red camping chairs, still completely wrapped up in someone else’s blanket. She had also acquired my mother’s white sweatshirt, and she wore that on top of everything else. Was my daughter colder than anyone there? I don’t think so. Was she upset that I was stressed? Yeah, I think that was more or less it.
The show went on despite our little dramas.

My niece was an angel, and isn’t she beautiful?
The eldest of the angels was my cousin, Jill. I love being a part of a program that lets me bump shoulders with my cousins, nieces, AND children.

Two of the wisemen are my cousins…

The one with the crown isn’t, but we love him just as much. And here’s my cousin Seth… the puffiest and warmest and cutest Shepherd of them all.

The Shepherds around a fire, waiting for the angel to beckon them come…

I realized this morning when I was editing this picture that both Mary and Joseph are my piano students. I tried not to pick favorites, and I honestly didn’t realize BOTH of them were my students until just now. In truth, I didn’t pick them out alone. The Primary Presidency all picked out the different parts, and we gave every child the chance to be in the Nativity somehow.

Mary rode on a real donkey -props to her!
Unfortunately, I can’t find my camera -we went out of town this weekend, and I know it’s SOMEWHERE but I don’t know exactly where. I used pictures taken from my cell phone. I wish they were better, but they don’t do the program justice.
Hopefully I’ll have some better ones soon. The kids did a great job -whether they were narrating, herding, giggling, climbing the stall walls… they were cute.
One of our narrators -my cousin, Leigh -proudly read us all about “Castor Agustus” and it just made me smile.

I love “my” kids.

It’s the Hap-Happiest Season of All…

Yesterday wasn’t the best of days overall. I hate to say that because, really, it had some GREAT stuff in it. I got to spend a huge chunk of the day hanging out with my brother, Steve. I also got to end the day with our annual Family sing-a-long in the which we all laughed our brains out and sang a little too.

But somewhere in the cracks: I didn’t cook anything. I was too busy working on Christmas presents (crocheted hats and homemade pajama pants). The kids were starving, and thank goodness for goody plates! That’s right! We ALL ate sugar… all day. Because I was so occupied with stitchery, I insisted that the kids watch movies pretty much all day.
I realize there’s nothing too terribly wrong with what I did, especially since it’s the holidays. It isn’t like I feed my kids junk food and let them sit on their hind ends every living day.
But no one feels good after a full day of sugar and couch sitting.

They were cranky.
I felt like a terrible mom.

And so it goes, every year. Now I’m not going to make myself a promise that next year will be different. I’m not even going to get up on a soap box and tell you THIS ISN’T WHAT CHRISTMAS SHOULD BE ABOUT.
Because, guess what?
It is!

Christmas is about eating goody plates given to us by loving friends and neighbors. Christmas is about being mindful enough of our friends and neighbors to send them a little something if we can -whether it’s a card or a plate of snacks… or just a phone call! Is it easy? No. Will it test you? Probably. Will you have to go out of your way and OUT of your comfy zone to do it? Well, yeah! But that’s sort of the point, isn’t it? It’s easy to give when we have the money to do it. But what about when we don’t? Are we somehow EXEMPT from giving? Absolutely not! Giving, it may surprise you, has very little to do with money and very much to do with personality.
Give a smile.
Give a hug.
Give a hoot, for crying out loud.

Don’t fill my ears with thoughts of a Santa-less Christmas… Santa is the very spirit of giving! Santa is the man who lets us SPOIL our children! He’s the medium that makes it okay. Is it okay for ME to buy my children real birds and guitars and fishing poles all at once? I’d hardly recommend it. Spoiling a child just isn’t my idea of good parenting. But Santa? He’s a grandpa figure, and grandpas -as we know -have full spoiling reign. And thank GOODNESS because there’s a huge part of me that constantly has to FIGHT the urge to spoil my children absolutely rotten. I love them to death. I want to give them what they want.
There has to be a line, you know. Luckily, Santa gets to cross that line once a year. What’s more: he’s absolutely magic, which fictional characters can sometimes be. There’s nothing wrong with Santa at our house. He’s a right jolly old elf.

Of course we keep Christ at the center of Christmas. Of course we teach our children WHY we have Christmas and of course we teach them WHY we give. I keep a Nativity out for the kids to use, and I pull out our Nativity hand puppets every year.
Santa and Christ rather compliment one another around here. It gets hairy, sure. And sometimes we spend a day eating junk and watching Christmas movies and by the end of the day we FEEL like we did just that…

But is it worth it? OF COURSE it is. Of course it is! If Christmas came with ease, I might be worried. Christmas should have some extent of hard work attached to it… when we’re in the spirit of giving we SHOULD apply ourselves. This doesn’t mean we need to be grudging about the idea. It can be loads of fun, really.
Yesterday just wasn’t.
And that’s okay too.

Because, like I said: it is worth it. To prove my point, I’m going to share with you a picture you’ve probably seen before. It is the girl on Christmas morning 2010. She’s wearing new PJ’s and getting ready to open her first Christmas present.
Oh the MAGIC that seeps from this picture…

Thank you, Lord, for my children.
Thank you, Santa, for teaching my children about the joy of giving.
Thank you, children, for watching movies and eating cookies all day -you really make me feel a little sorry for other parents because they don’t have you.
No offence, other parents, I’m sure your kids are grand and dandy too.

Present Opening Tradition?

My Dad’s Christmas present came in the mail yesterday.
(Mom, don’t let Dad read this post!)

If I haven’t already paraded it in your face, read on so I can parade it in your face. I’m so excited over this gift -it’s something I’ve wanted to get him for a long time. This year, I finally took the time (and it took some TIME) to make it for him.

I realize that cover is painfully simple, but you wouldn’t BELIEVE how long it took for me to get it looking like that. I’m not very computer literate.
We open up to find my picture. Vanity, ho!

There’s a table of contents, complete with a skankily-clad cowgirl bangin’ on a triangle.
Boy, does THAT sound bad…

Thanks to mistake on my part, the Table of Contents is exactly one page off. I left a blank page in the middle of one of the poems. I could SWEAR I didn’t, but obviously I did.
The book is rife with cowgirls. I even found a festive one! Doesn’t she make your soul feel merry and bright?

I added some carefully selected clip art throughout the book…
And I even customized some of the cowgirls, using them to display the poem titles.

Isn’t she sweet? I mean, she’s really brazen and all, but I don’t mind my Dad seeing a bit o’ thigh. But there are some things a daughter can NOT allow… namely: too much breast, even if it is of the illustrated variety.

What better place to put a poem title than RIGHT across a chest? Perfect.
Here’s a friendly one on the back cover waving ay-dee-ose.

And look… look at the binding:

Golly, kids… I am just SO happy with it! Despite the many times I read over every line, I still found quite a few errors. But that’s okay. I’m not sending this to a printing press, I’m sending this to Dear Ol’ Dad.
Even if he doesn’t ever use it… even if he shelves it… I’m so bloomin’ happy with it that I couldn’t care less. I’ve wanted to see this gift idea come to life for years, and now here it is! My only regret is that there’s no new material in it. He’s read all 4 of the poems I put in it.
And yeah. Four poems do not exactly make a book… unless you make it yourself. Ha!
I bested the system.

Now. I’m dying to wrap it and give it to him.
The kids are too.

But first, I have to tell you story (isn’t that my JOB?). We’ve been trying to potty train the boy despite the fact that he isn’t ready. Before you go on judging me, let me just say: he’s 3 and 3 months. It isn’t that I want to save the whole whopping $14 a month I spend on cheap diapers. It’s just that I’m SICK of CRAP. Baby crap is one thing. But kid crap?
I’m done with it.
My poor boy has even gone so far as to say, “I don’t want to be big, Mom!” Well, I don’t want him to be big, either. But life is such… people grow up and somewhere along that road, they start taking care of themselves. But my son doesn’t want to. He’s scared stiff to let his crap take the plunge (literally, people). Luckily, my son is also a big fan of instant rewards. I told him that if he would poop in the potty, he could unwrap a present from under the tree.
THAT did it. He let loose of 5 days’ worth of digested goods, and was rewarded with one present from under the tree… a stuffed Angry Bird. Because I can’t go on letting him unwrap his gifts, I made a new deal with him: if you go #2, you get ipod touch time. It’s working like a charm, and the best part? He has a buddy to take to the bathroom with him now. The boy has always been a sort of snob when it comes to baby things. He refused baby food as an infant and only ate the REAL DEAL (pasta, roast… my pediatrician wasn’t my biggest fan, but in my defense, the boy was HUNGRY). When he fed himself, he refused baby utensils. He never cared for baby TOYS, and he spent his time playing with remotes, cell phones (threw mine in the toilet where it got JAMMED in the “canal” and vibrated like mad until we set it free -a story that deserves it’s own blog post), and tennis balls.
Naturally, he shuns the entire idea of a toddler potty.
You might say they’re “for the birds” but only if you have an eye-rolling sense of humor like I do.

Anyway, this is all going back to my main point: Dad’s present. I showed it to the kids and said, “Let’s go home and wrap it up so we can give it to him!”
“Yeah!” The girl cried out in glee.
“And we could tell him he hasta POOP da POTTY so he can open it and it will be SOOOOO FUUNNNNNYYYYY!” The boy cried out, equally as gleeful.

What of it?
Should we make it a tradition? Want to open your gift, babe? Sorry, babe… not until you’ve dropped a poopy in the potty!
Or is my son just thinking we’re playing a sort of joke on HIM.
“Hey, Danny… let’s tell Trent he has to poop before he can open a gift and it will be SOOOO FUNNNNYYYY! Har, har, har!”
Well whatever the reason, it worked! My son is no longer walking in quick circles around our living room with his butt cheeks clenched together chanting, “I don’t needa poop, I don’t needa poop, I don’t needa poop…”

Now, WHAT to DO with that extra $14 a month?

O Christmas Tree

Growing up, we had very special traditions attached to our Christmas tree. It was always real, and it was always got it on Mike’s birthday.
Mike was born on December 13th, and every year for his birthday, Mom and Dad would take him to a Christmas Tree lot, and he would pick out OUR tree. Generally by the 13th of December, you had to really look through the trees to find a good one, and Mike was just the man for the job. To this day, he remains a man of impeccable taste -always seeing the details in everything. It’s a kind of gift he has, and we all love him for it. That gift is what makes him good at anything he puts his mind to: cabinetry, furniture refinishing, photography, model car building, wood working, home repairs, mechanics… you name it, he’s great at it. I even had him thread a sewing machine a few times for me in high school.

Mike always found the best tree in the lot, and we couldn’t wait to decorate it. Mom would pull out her big red box with white snowflakes printed on it, and we would all wait in an impatient line as she pulled decorations out of it -one by one.
My mom’s trees were the homemade kind -construction paper and clay ornaments dot the tree along with wooden hand-painted reindeer and a plastic singing snowman that just about drove my mother to insanity.
With each ornament we pulled out, we would all start in with “remember when…” and by the time the tree was done, we would put our leftover exuberant energy into sheer admiration.
With Mom’s homemade gingerbread house in one corner of the room, light glowing from its windows, and our real tree close by… our living room was the absolute epitome of Christmas. It smelled JUST like Christmas should -no need for scented plug-ins or Gold Canyon Candles.
At night, we’d lie under our tree and look up at the multi-colored lights… and we’d dream of Christmas morning -the MAGIC of Christmas morning.

You’d think I’d never want for anything more.
But I am a GIRL after all.

Truth be told, I’d go just about MAD waiting for December 13th to come around. I mean, ALL OF MY FRIENDS had their fake trees up and they were all decorated like the trees in the magazine -matching ornaments all around!
When I got married, I vowed to get a fake tree to put up the DAY after Thanksgiving. And how I wanted a fake tree with plain white lights and matching ornaments! About 5 years into our marriage, we finally had enough money one year to grant my heart’s desire.
Boy, you should have seen just how FAST I could get a Christmas tree up. I was all glee over the pre-litness of my tree, and I donned it’s branches with red and gold ball ornaments and bows. It. Was. Glorious.

I am a girl.

I sometimes forget that my husband cares about these kind of things. Some husbands don’t, you know. Mine is the special sort that takes a great interest in The Things at Home. This year, he bravely came to me and timidly asked if we might… maybe… sorta… getaREALtree?
He told me of his Christmases of yesteryear, of the scent of his real Christmas trees and how he loved the multi-colored lights.
Bollocks, I thought. I guess this Christmas I wouldn’t be indulgent. This meant no tree up the day after Thanksgiving. This meant multi-colored lights.

Three days ago, I frantically called around for a babysitter and -through a direct answer to a pleading and urgent prayer -was able to secure one (who wants to spend 8 hours shopping with a 4 year old and a potty training 3 year old?). Saturday morning, my husband and I spent the day Christmas shopping together. The last thing on our list?

We stopped in at a nursery and found their Christmas trees to be the BEST we’d ever seen. For just $30, we found the most beautiful real Christmas tree I’ve ever seen. The man who helped us load it onto the car had only moved to the pines 3 weeks earlier -just before the big snowstorm a few weeks ago. Having moved from New Orleans, it was the first time he’d ever experienced snow, and what a way to experience it! Tons and tons and TONS of it.
The kids had no idea we were coming home with a tree, and they were thrilled. Because we didn’t have anywhere to cut it, we plopped it down on the dining room table.
My husband set to sawing off an inch at the bottom so it would take in water.

My son stepped up when Daddy’s arm needed a break:

Unbeknownst to us, we had purchased multi-colored twinkling lights for the tree.
They’re LED.
They are bright.
And twinklee.
Does anyone know how to stop twinkling lights from twinkling? They’re about to drive us all bonkers!

After getting the tree (mostly) straight and propping it up with my parents old tree stand (they’ve graduated to a fake tree. “Dang thing looks like it was made outta green pipe cleaners”), we set to decorating it.
The kids were literally hopping all around -like festive overgrown jumping beans. Their energy was positively bursting out of their bodies.
“Settle down,” I instructed, as I pulled out a big red tub (no snowflakes). One by one, I pulled out ornaments.
By now, my toddlers had made good use of the matching red and gold ornaments. Some were long broken and thrown away, some were lost, some were scratched and worn.
But as we’d lost ornaments, we’d also gained ornaments, hand made by my preschool girl. We’d bought a few along the way as well.
And what would you know?
Years after vowing to myself I’d do it my own way, I found myself sitting on the couch, handing ornaments one-by-one to waiting (hopping) children and saying, “Remember when all we could afford was this on our first Christmas together?”

I handed the ornament, now very worn and slowly fading, to my husband who put it on our real tree, complete with multi-colored lights.
What’s more: I loved it. I felt suddenly like a little kid again, and my entire house SMELLED like it was supposed to at Christmas time.
“Remember this?”

“We just had to get her something, and that was all we could afford. And of course we couldn’t leave the boy out when his turn came along:”
We pulled out ornaments that had been gifted to us by friends, far and near. We laughed at the boy who found a favorite spot on the tree and stuck to it:

I dug through the ornaments as fast as I could without being careless to find my favorite ornament of all time… the very first ornament we’d purchased as a married couple.
It’s a plastic ship (made to look like a glass ship, of course). We bought it on a ship (imagine that!) on our honeymoon. We took an entire day of our honeymoon and toured 4 historic ships in a harbor. It ended up being our favorite day, and we’ll never forget it… especially because one of those ships just happened to be the ship used for the film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (one of my all time favorite movies AND the movie my then-fiance had just bought for me for my birthday. He also threw in the Soundtrack to the movie, a pair of red shoes, a pink blanket, and the movie Hidalgo -the movie we saw on our first date. All of this added up to him being the BEST BOYFRIEND EVER).
I look forward to our ship ornament every year.

You were right, Mom. All these years, you had the right idea.

It bothered me that I couldn’t set my tree up RIGHT after Thanksgiving, but after a day or so, I got over it.
And you know what? It didn’t make much of a difference to me that we didn’t get a tree up until the 10th.

Next year will technically be “my” year. I can put up a fake pre-lit tree the day after Thanksgiving if I want.
But I don’t know if I want to now.

But someone please. Come and help our star.
“That STAR is crooked!”

I took our camera with us on our shopping day, fully intending to get a million pictures of the husband and I, but the only picture I got of us on Saturday is the one my son took after the tree was up and decorated.
My teeth look horrifying.

The boy isn’t much of a photographer, but he tried hard. What he IS… is a clown. He does that job without even trying.

The Spirit of it All

A Post for the Birds

I’ve been reading through old blog posts this morning… trying to find one in particular when my husband and I actually entertained the idea of spending $330 on a bird.
Ridiculous, right? Even we couldn’t believe ourselves.

Anyway, I blogged about the bird. I took pictures of the bird. It was at the Pet Store in the city, and IT WANTED US. It did tricks for us and tried to push through it’s cage to play with us. It was so sweet that we seriously considered spending $330 on it. You had to be there to understand.

I couldn’t find the post, but I did find a bunch of other posts. Reading through my blog is downright emotional! In just one hour this morning, I’ve been laughing hysterically over the post I wrote months ago where my naked son ran out the front door (after flooding the bathroom and WHILE I was cleaning up another flood in the laundry room) and joined his grandpa on a tractor behind our house. Ah… boys.
I was put into tears reading about Lacy grappling with the death of our wild bird (that my husband pegged with a water balloon).
And then tears sprang to my eyes again when I read about the time my husband caught me off guard and told me I was beautiful in Olive Garden and I started bawling.
Oh me. Oh my.

I found all that and not one HINT of the expensive bird.


The girl was distraught over the above bird’s mentioned death, that she decided to ask Santa Clause for a bird. We were just planning on getting her a parakeet, but I wanted a tame one -one she could handle and love on and train. The bad news is: no one around here has any. Of course the pet store has some and they are “hand fed,” but they’re not. Not really. Our last bird (rest in peace, CK Dexter Haven) was from the pet store, and though he was nice enough, he was hard to train.
I want a little bird that is friendly enough for my almost 5 year old.

Through mass amounts of googling, I finally found a phone number for a woman 2 hours away who raises exotic birds. According to her website, she didn’t have parakeets, but I thought I might as well ask anyway. I called the number she listed (at 9:04 am) and was greeted (if that’s what you can call it) by a frustrated man who insisted that he DID NOT sell birds and that The Bird Woman had REFUSED to remove her old number from the website but somehow when he insisted that she do it… HE was the BAD GUY!
I slowly backed outta THAT conversation and sent an email to The Bird Woman instead. After more googling, I found a family 3 1/2 hours away that raises birds out of their home.
Again, I didn’t see any postings for parakeets, BUT… BUTBUTBUT I did see that they had Green Cheek Conures for sale.
OUR bird -the one at the pet store -was a Green Cheek Conure.

According to the breeding season, all of them had been sold. Their listed price was $275… a little less than what the pet store had them listed for. In small text they suggested calling their neighbor because she had some for sale. Why not? I’d already taken a small vocal assault from a frustrated man who DID NOT sell birds… what was the worst that could happen?
In the back of my mind, I KNEW that we only had $40 budgeted for the budgie (I’m so clever).
But there was a greedy, bigger part of me that just wanted to check. You know, for my DAUGHTER’S sake.
I dialed.
A woman answered.
I expressed my desire -a Christmas bird for an almost 5 year old.
“After doing some research, I realize that you’ve probably sold out months ago, but I thought I’d still check.”

As it turns out, she’d been busy getting married, and hadn’t actively been selling her birds. She has 7 birds. That is to say: she had 7 hand-fed Green Cheek Conures.
Catching my hopes in my throat, I asked her, “How much?”
My hopes all came rushing out in one excited out burst, “That’s SO cheap!”
I realize $200 may not SEEM like a “good deal” on a little bird, but after seeing one priced fr $330… $200 seems like a Better than Black Friday deal.

I told her I’d talk it over with my husband, and I hung up. Immediately, I dialed my husband at work. By this time, it was nearing noon, and I was still in my PJs. I had been online all morning tracking down birds.
When my husband picked up, I rattled on and on about the bird, stopping only to breathe.
“Remember the beautiful green bird at the pet store we wanted that cost $330 well I just found a lady who RAISES them and she hand feeds them and they are tame and BETTER than what we can get at the pet store andyou’renotgoingtobelievethis BUT… they’re only $200.”
I waited for reply.
I only got a heavy sigh… the heavy sigh of a man who knows he’s been beat. (Okay, I can not tell a lie. He DID reply, but I can’t print what he said here. After he replied, he sighed heavily. So we’ll just pick up there.)

“You won’t have to get me anything else for Christmas,” I nearly hopped up and down, “Just please let us give the bird to Lacy. Please, please, pleeeeeeease.”
“She won’t get as much under the tree…” He said.
“That’s true,” I nodded.
“And we’ll have to buy a cage and all the supplies.”
“You don’t have to buy me ANYTHING,” I raised my right hand to swear myself in, since he couldn’t see me.
“I’ll see where our Christmas fund is at.”
“I’m not sure, but I think we can make it work.”

Beautiful words, those. Music to my ears. I can’t tell ya how much I want one of these birds.

I was telling my Dad all about it, and he said, “Wait… who are you getting this bird for?”
It’s for my daughter, of course. I promise! I honestly believe she’ll get a bigger kick out of a bird she can actually play with rather than one who is scared stiff of her.

If I could find a hand-fed parakeet, I would definitely go that route. But I can’t.


“This [Game Show] Is Gonna Make Me Famous!”

I have a friend named Beki.

Beki is a really good friend -she’s the kind of friend that everyone tries to be, but Beki succeeds on every count. She has two kids (growing number 3) and her oldest is a girl named Hailee.

Hailee and Lacy are proclaimed BEST FRIENDS. It works out well because I’ve never met two GIRLS who were more interested in catching crickets with their hands than they were playing with the two storage bins full of Polly Pockets we have sitting in the a corner in the living room.

I’ll still never forget the day Hailee chased Lacy around with a Mason Jar full of crickets, and Lacy hopped behind me for protection, “Hailee!  You’re freakin’ me out!  You’re freakin’ me out!”  Ahhh, a match made in heaven.  Really.  I think they must have chased each other around the clouds and made a pinkie promise to arrive here on earth at approximately the same time as each other AND the crickets.

They play make believe, tying each other to chairs and stealing treasure away. Hailee and Lacy are both absolutely filled to the BRIM with personality. If you ever get a chance, come sit in on one of their play dates. The memory of it will stay with you long after the day is gone.

Anyway, Beki invited us over on Monday to watch HER on The Price is Right. A few months ago, she went to a taping of the show, and she was called down. She ended up winning some pretty great stuff, and watching her is probably the most adorable thing you’ve seen since “Bambi.”
Because, I haven’t mentioned yet, she’s just about the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen.

Here’s a picture of our “watch The Price is Right” party.
There’s no pictures of the adults because we’d spent a chunk of the morning walking for health, and we LOOKED like it.
Here’s one of my walking partners… Beki:

She’s being thoughtful.
And yes, that’s a picture I took of the TV. What? Don’t you have any idea how thrilling it is to watch television and have the person ON IT be sitting right next to you offering you doughnuts?!
It sorta makes you feel like:

She told me that the day after it aired, she took her kids to McDonalds for breakfast. Three old men were sitting a few tables away. One in particular, she said, was staring at her. He made his way over to her, came close… stared… and then said, “Were you on a game show yesterday?”
She told him that she was.
He was thrilled to have met her in person.
We’re all thrilled to know Beki in person, honestly.


Beki put us on the map! And now we all know where to go if we want a rousing game of pool, especially if we’re a stay at home mom and are “going to be spending a lot of time at home.” Thank goodness! I just have my hands FULL of free time.
{sarcasm sign}
THANKS be to Laurie for posting a link to the show (she’s Beki’s sister-in-law). Please watch it. Beki’s really cute.

Oh, wo, oh Cavities… Stay the Heck Away From Me

I had my 6 month teeth cleaning yesterday. In general, it went pretty well, but that’s only because I’m counting MY VISIT alone and NOT the fact that my son peed his pants and then HID under the chairs in the lobby, and I’m also not counting the fact that my daughter has so many cavities that she had to get two big ones fixed and we have to go back TWICE.

am a terrible mother.

I don’t have any cavities, so that’s something.
And to my daughter’s credit, she did amazing. She sat in that big dentist chair and was ALL smiles. I didn’t get to be with her the entire time, and she didn’t mind one bit (because she’s brave. Not because she hates me. Right??). The dentist, Uncle Clarence, is really good with little kiddos. He explained what each tool was to her, and he spoke in terms that little Lace could understand.

She got the biggest kick out of the laughing gas mask because it made her look like a pig.
Drilling away:

She did so well, and I’m so proud of her. When she sat up in the chair, I put my camera phone in her face and said, “Smile BIG!” Her half-numbed face did it’s best…
Oh, that picture does me a WORLD of good.

I dropped her off at preschool, and the boy and I went home to share two mugs of hot cocoa with french vanilla smarshmallows.
I call them marshmallows.
Lacy calls them smooshmallows.
Trent took both words and created his own… smarshmallows.

By the way, the french vanilla smarshmallows are THE BEST. I wish they’d make them year-round!

Now, if you have Netflix streaming plan, I highly HIGHLY suggest you put aside all ideas about how boring documentaries are and take 40ish minutes of your day to watch
America: The Story of Us -episode 10

It will revolutionize your appreciation for today -December 7th -and our great-grandparents who worked a mighty miracle on behalf of our nation. I’m serious about this: go watch it.
It isn’t Pearl Harbor, but here’s a clip from the documentary on D-Day.

This clip does not do the documentary justice. It is absolutely inspiring. The entire 12 episode documentary is well worth anyone’s time, and it isn’t the least bit boring. You’ll be on the edge of you seat despite the fact that you know how it all ends.

Snow Land

In a previous post, I mentioned the snow.   I posted a bunch of pictures -one of which included a snowman.  WELL, the day after we made our snowman, we woke up to a fresh cover of new snow!

What do you do with a fresh cover of new snow?
Make a pirate snowman!
My son tried to make sure there was no doubt he was, indeed, a snow MAN, but luckily that idea crumpled in his hands before he could apply it (I’m talking literally here).

Dad was off work, so we were able to not only make a snow man
But snow angels
(yes, the zipper on that coat is broken.)
And a big snowball fight that we didn’t get pictures of because… well, we were busy fighting. I got snow down my back, and my husband didn’t. I’ll let you infer from that fact that I am the nice one and he is the naughty one (instead of seeing it for what it is: he won the fight. I lost).

We snacked on icicles.

And then we went inside where we watched the animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas by the most genius poet of our day (probably all days there ever were in the whole entire history of the WORLD), and then we took naps. As the day wore on, we watched dads ride by on horses -their kids in their arms in front of them… we watched birds pick at the snow, and we ate our leftover cookies.
The power stayed on, and we were even able to make it up to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for a visit.
Snow is very welcome in Arizona. Aside from the fun it offers, it’s a sort of insurance against wildfire season.
The nest day the kids ran inside after church, immediately changed their clothes, put on their snow boots, and headed back outside. My husband and I sank onto the couch for all of three minutes before we were started by a loud


We ran outside to find our pink-coat clad daughter standing in front of us.
“What was that?” We asked her.
“The window,” she pointed.

The hole in the window was already there. But the huge crack that ran from it to the top and bottom of the window? Brand new!
“Did you do that?” We asked.
“Yes,” she nodded, “I’m sorry.”
“What did you break it with?” We asked.
“I don’t know, just that…” she pointed to a metal tent stake we had used to hold our tomato cages down (or up, depending on the wind) “I don’t know what it’s called.”
“Why?” At this point we were more intrigued than angry.
“I was just tryin’ to get a icicle.” She pointed to the roof of our house. My gaze followed her finger, and…

Apparently the last tent stake she had thrown had gotten lodged in the ice on our roof. Naturally, she had to get another one and try again.
Because we have to do everything ourselves when we’re four. Asking for help from someone tall enough to snap an icicle from a rooftop is definitely our last option… A Daring Plan for the Desperate.