Return of the Torture

I knew it would happen. I think we all knew it would.
I think it’s been over a week since I’ve been able to actually TALK to my husband. I have a list, you know… Things to Talk to My Husband About. They aren’t BAD things at all. They’re just things: gardening, shopping, ideas, thoughts…

Someday I’ll get a minute to talk to him without his phone going off. In the meantime, my children are absolutely sick of me.
They proved it yesterday by showering my bedroom with baby powder.
I didn’t buy that mirror to actually USE it anyway.

I will admit that last night everything sort of spilled over and the kids were sent straight to bed right after their bath (in the which they pulled the plug three times and then begged for more water which I then gave them. And no, I haven’t stamped my forehead with “stupid.” Yet). They fought with each other and I was in the middle of it all -it was like a tornado of chaos and commotion… and my husband just happened to come home in the middle of it all.
He came home an hour earlier than expected. See, I had it all planned: when he got home, the house would be clean, a cherry pie would be baked and I would be speaking in a lovely, soft-toned voice. As it was, he surprised me by walking in the house minutes after I’d filled the tub for the second time.
“Didn’t you hear me knocking?” He asked, pulling his house key out of the door I’d forgotten I’d locked.
“Oh. You ruined everything.”

I’m sure that’s EXACTLY what he wanted to hear the minute he walked through the door. As it was, instead of a clean house, he had a dirty house. Instead of a cherry pie in the oven, he had a cherry pie half-made on the counter. Instead of a softly-toned voice, he had a wife speaking SO LOUDLY over running water that she didn’t even hear knocking on the door.

So much for that dream, folks.
The kids went right to sleep despite being sent to bed early and they both slept in. I guess they needed it as much as I did. And I guess they really need a good night’s rest to gear them up for more mommy time. Honestly, if it weren’t for treats, I think they’d ask to be adopted. But I have sugar on my side. Healthy? No. But I put family togetherness ahead of health sometimes.
In related news: the children had cherry pie for breakfast.

Thank goodness for treats, and thank goodness my children are miles of cute.

Even that biting little bird has me wrapped.

The Red-Headed Nephew

Little Brother

Yesterday the weather was absolutely beautiful, so I went outside and gave our porch a bath. As I swept away the cobwebs Old Man Winter left for me, I looked up and saw
“Son! Get down!” I called out. He didn’t, and I could tell he was trying to tell me something, but I couldn’t understand him, so I walked over to him.
“Son, you need to get down,” I said, “You might fall and get hurt.”
“I can’t, Mom. I just needa do the consequences.”
“The what?” I asked.
“Consequences. I needa do them. The c-c-c-consequences.”
“Who said that to you?” I asked.
“Lacy and Hailee…”

I gotta say: it takes someone EXTRA special to be a little brother… especially when there’s TWO princesses running the joint.

Irreconcilable Differences

While I was getting ready for the boutique, I had a Night Before Marathon. I don’t like to brag, but honestly: I rock Night Before Marathons. Unto some it is given to make good use of time. Unto others it is given to rock Night Before Marathons. And yeah, I always got good scores on my Night Before Research Papers. It truly is a gift, one for which I am at once grateful for and insanely embarrassed of.
Be that as it may: my husband, true and loyal guard dog that he is, sat up and helped me paint. When it comes to doing projects together, there’s a HUGE difference between he and I. You actually don’t have to witness us working together to see it… all you have to do is open our dresser drawers. My shirt drawer looks like… gosh, Woodstock? His is more like Carnagie Hall. He’s a perfectionist. By harsh comparison, I’m Dennis the Menace. Needless to say, he loathed apron painting but the aprons he made were far superior to mine.

Thankfully, he wasn’t home when I got a craft idea smack dab in the middle of cleaning day. I remembered something I’d seen on Pinterest, and I was pretty sure I had everything on hand. By the by, one of my absolute most favorite things is shopping in my own backyard. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to be featured on Hoarders or anything, but living next to a farm does have it’s pros (scrap wood) and cons (MICE!).
In the back of my husband’s truck, he has a few pieces of wood that he hasn’t thrown out yet. They are left over from Ye Ol’ Piana, and one by one I keep snatching them up, painting them, and putting them up in my house. Yesterday was no different. When I should have been scrubbing floors, I was crafting instead.
The idea I found on Pinterest involved transferring words printed on paper to wood using water and the blunt end of a marker. It looked like it should work well enough… and it really didn’t. At all. But it takes quite a bit to stop me once I’ve gotten an idea.

My wood ended up not being big enough, so I had to go back outside, find a new piece of scrap wood and cut it down. Which I did. With the saw you see. The handle broke, so I duct taped it and shouldered on. Despite the wood glue spill. The paint spill. And on and on and on…
Here’s what I had hanging above my kitchen window yesterday:
I really love the little sign, but it just seemed too small for the space. And it was too pretty! My kitchen needed something a little banged up and dumpsteresque.
Enter: Alicia’s mad lack of pretty crafting skills. I actually (accidentally!) spilled watered-down BLACK paint on that sign, quickly swiped it all into the wood and it’s plainly obvious to me, but because the craft is so chipped… it blends right in! There’s also red paint that rubbed off from my table on it. And the poor stapled on T. I mean, really. This craft took a heck of a beating, and I absolutely LOVE it! Please don’t ever ask me to make something pretty and neat… unless you don’t mind me stapling crap onto it and spilling paint all over it.

My husband texted me from the computer class he’s taking.
“How’s cleaning day going?”
“Interrupted,” I replied, “I got distracted by a home decor craft, so I’ll finish cleaning when I’m done.”
“What did you do?”
“The kitchen but I haven’t mopped, dusted some, did some laundry, cleaned the living room.”
“No, what craft?” He asked.
“Oh, a sign for the kitchen.”
“Text me a picture when you’re done.”
“Okay,” I said.
A few hours later, I did. His reply made my day and made up for the fact that my bathrooms were still dirty.
“WOW BABE! That kooks awesome! Yo amazing!” He said. Don’t you love auto-correct? Kooks?
I just love it when I make something that doesn’t cost anything. We had everything on hand.

My next kitchen project will involve getting rid of those busy curtains and changing them out for something simpler.
Here’s the WEBSITE I got the idea from. Please know that it did NOT go well for me at all. The ink did not transfer well… in fact it only transferred enough for me to have a VERY VAGUE stencil to fill in with watered-down black paint. If crafts frustrate you, if you’re a perfectionist… do not try this at home!
Now please excuse me, I have toilets to scrub.

Founder’s Day

First things first: about yesterday’s post. I do not have Microsoft Word on this computer (yet). I only have Open Office which is free and gets me by, BUT I don’t know how to add images to documents. I have found that I can post things to my blog and then copy them over to an Open Office document and then they’ll copy over just fine, so I’ve done that a few times before. However, yesterday it wasn’t working and it was making me late for church. I finally was able to get it to work (thanks to my husband) and I rushed out the door and completely forgot to delete the post. And I’m going to leave it up because, well, it’s pretty hilarious… mostly because I didn’t mean for it to be.

Founder’s Day is NOT a national holiday, so when people ask my what my favorite holiday is, I say “The Fourth of July.” But I love Founder’s Day more (don’t tell Uncle Sam. The last thing I want is that accusatory old finger in my face). Ever since I was a kid, I would look forward to Founder’s Day in wild anticipation.
Ivan Lee wakes everyone up by firing the anvil. We don’t need no stinking alarms in THIS town… not when we can be scared out of our beds by the sound of what seems to be a terrorist attack on our town!
We have 5K and 10K races, a pancake breakfast, kids game, a tractor show… some years there’s a talent show, some years there’s a parade! There’s always a BBQ and auction at the Firehouse, and there’s always a family dance at the old gym at 8 pm. There’s usually a sports tournament of some kind, but this year it was cancelled on account of some celebrations going on in Winslow… they commemorated Arizona’s 100th birthday.
Something new this year was a boutique. I signed up to sale my crafty-crafts, and it was so much fun! My cheeks hurt because I smiled so much.
I woke up at 5:30 on Saturday morning to get ready. I was also in charge of the kids’ games, and I needed to make sure I had myself and everything ready BEFORE the pancake breakfast started. The rest of Founder’s Day can go to the dogs, but if I miss that breakfast… my Founder’s Day will never be more than just mediocre.
I tried to wake my son up to go with me, and he tried to hide his entire BODY under his pillow.

“I wanna just stay here…”
Eventually, I prodded them BOTH out of bed.

“Mom,” my daughter said, “I need a coat. It’s freakin’ cold out there.”

It actually wasn’t too bad! It was a little chilly in the morning -just like mornings should be, and the rest of the day it was nice and warm! I love Founder’s Days that are nice and warm. We ate it up at the pancake breakfast, and headed straight to the park to set up the kids games… after my nice volunteers showed up to run the kids games, I shot over to the boutique and set up shop.
I didn’t get any pictures of the boutique, but here’s a few aprons I had for sale:
I cropped these pictures so you could be spared seeing my bathroom… but the changes didn’t save even though I tried my hardest to MAKE them. But because I have other things to do but sit and crop toilet paper rolls out of pictures, you’re just going to have to suffer. Sorry!!!
And my personal favorite:
The painted aprons sold much better than my cutesy stitched aprons… but I expected that. Country women don’t want cute aprons -function and sturdiness come before cuteness every time. And it’s much easier to paint on aprons than it is to stitch bias tape onto them, so I’m not complaining! My dahling husband suggested I widen my variety and include matching flour sack dishcloths and crocheted hot pads. I think it’s a great idea -one that I’ll be sort of implementing when I have the time. Making aprons and hot pads is definitely NOT a priority for me right now, but it’s a fun hobby.
At least until the dishes get outta hand… then it’s just a pain in rear.

My Aunt Julie and Aunt Cat put together and amazing display at the church and I took some more pictures there. By the time I made it to the church, I had done the pancake breakfast, the kids games set up, the two-hour boutique, the kids games take down, the BBQ lunch and auction… and I was TIRED!
Here’s a picture of my great-great grandmother’s dress, and a few of her really GREAT granddaughters. We’re great, right?

I snapped about one million pictures of the display -there was so much family and town history that I just couldn’t STOP myself! Plus every year for Christmas, I give my siblings family history gifts, and all of the pictures I took will be burned to a CD for sure! My brothers and sister will love them. I just know it.
My Dad did part of the display, and he did a great job. Here’s a sample of it:

I spent HOURS playing on my great-grandpa’s saddle as a kid. The saddle horn was the best part. It’s image is forever ingrained in my memory. Aaaand here it is:

I believe it’s made out of nickel.
I was really disappointed that I was so tired because history is a passion of mine. My heart gets all thumpety around historic displays and my palms get all tingly in antique shops… the display was what I was most looking forward to! I did find ample picture-taking material, and I was excited about that, but I found myself near tears looking at the displays around me. I’m sure my exhaustion had more than a little something to do with it, but what really sent me over the edge was the program from the dedication of the old post office on Main Street.

It opened and closed with a prayer -there was a band concert! Things just AREN’T that way anymore! I’m sure in the 60’s there were women just as weepy-eyed over the same issue… wishing things were as simple as they were in the 40s. But as it is: I miss the simple times.
I wish I could have been there to see this display of milk on my great-great grandfather’s porch:

I wish I could have seen my great-grandparents put on this skit in the which my tiny great grandmother attempted to beat my great grandfather with a broom:

And look at the littest guy in this picture… he’s my grandpa Hansen!
It was so amazing to just sit and take it all in… it was even more amazing when my husband came and picked up my son who was more than ready for a nap. He’d been everywhere I’d been and was just as tired. My dad had the girl, and had had her since the BBQ/Auction.
I didn’t make it to the auction in time to get a bidding number, but my Dad did… so when a zumba class punch card came up for auction, I snagged his number and bid on it. I bought one, and they put it under my Dad’s name. A little while later, a pink doll trunk went up for auction. It was filled with froofy tulle dresses and the most beautiful little doll my daughter had ever seen… and Dad bought that as well. Finally, Dad bid on some piano lessons that my aunt wanted.
So when my Dad, a six foot three cowboy in wranglers and boots, went to settle up with the auctioneer, he paid for zumba classes, a sweet little doll, and a six months of piano lessons.
My friend pulled me aside and said, “We want to know where we need to be to watch your Dad do zumba. We’ll pay good money to see that.”
I would too! But I imagine he’d look about as awkward as I do when I do it.

After I left the display, I went to a birthday party and then I went and picked up my daughter. After leaving home at 7:30 AM, I walked back through my front door at 5:30 PM. After a hot bowl of stew and a rest, we all got dressed up and stopped off at a friend’s house for sweet crepes on our way to the family dance.
I’m not big on dances, but my husband loves them… I’m not kidding. We had a great time dancing together, and it left us excited for next year.

Founder’s Day is the VERY best.

Cause of Death:

I’m sure you’ve heard of Chinese water torture. A person is strapped down and water is dripped onto their body, one drop at a time… over and over and over again in the same. exact. spot.
There’s a similar form of torture that has been going on in my home for the last week.
I’m strapped to my house, and my children run circles around me, undoing everything I’ve done and saying, “Mommy… Mommy… Mommy…”
drip, drip, drip.

“Mommy, what are you doing in the bathroom?”
“Mommy, I need a movie.”
“Mommy, are you done yet?”
“Mommy, are we there yet?”
“Mommy, I need a snack.”
“Mommy, what’s under the dirt?”
“Mommy, what’s under the ground?”
“Mommy, what’s under the rock?”
“Mommy, what’s under the water?”
“Mommy what’s under the lava?”
“Mommy, what’s under Satan’s house?”

Drip, drip, drip.
And I handle it well. It’s no big thing, I mean… it’s just kids. It’s the way they are! It’s definitely the way I was when I was little.
The thing is Chinese water torture is that you actually CAN stand it for a little while, but there’s a reason it’s called torture.
And there’s a reason they strap you down.

And last night, after spending the day working on aprons for the boutique and cleaning the house up because the kids had thoroughly thrashed it while my back was to them… I was tired. I had hurt my back while working out in the morning, I had a toothache, and I had been going at it all day. Working, working, working.
By the time my husband got home, all heck had broken loose.
The house was trashed again.
My crafts were laid out, drying here and there.
Clean laundry was piled on the couch.
My daughter had attempted to draw some sanity into the chaos.

She strapped her apron on crooked and tried to tame the kitchen, and it REALLY needed taming.

As I painted an apron, my husband asked what was for dinner.
My children were bringing me boxes of Kraft Mac n’ Cheese and BEGGING, “Mommy, pleeeeeease.”
“Just let me rest for a minute,” I told them, fully knowing that I’d have to wash enough dishes to even MAKE dinner.
Finally my husband got up and made himself some Ramen. The mood in our home had turned absolutely sour.
“Mommy, please can we have macaroni?”
“Just a second, okay?” I said, resting on the couch.
“Mommy, pleeeease.”
Drip, drip, drip…
I got up, went to the kitchen and made dinner.
BANG went the pot.
SLAM went the spoon.
STOMP went my feet.

I made the Kraft Mac n’ Cheese. I served it. I went straight back to the kitchen and…
BANG went the plates.
SLAM went the pans.
STOMP went my feet.
In twenty minutes flat the mess on the counter was completely squeaky clean save ONE GLASS CUP that ended up in the trash on account of it’s being too delicate to handle a temper tantrum.
My husband, who had been in the living room watching The Office, came in the kitchen.
“Dang,” he said, “Those dishes would have taken me two hours.”
“Well, it’s amazing what you can do when you’re angry.” I said.
“Why are you angry?” He asked, verrrrry carefully.
“Because! I’m TIRED! All I wanted to do was make some aprons to sell at a boutique to earn some money to help us out, but I CAN’T because I’m TIED to this house! Every day I do the same things over and over and over. I wash the same dishes, over and over and over. I wash the same clothes, the same counters, and in the end all I get is MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY! and I am just SO tired! I need some HELP here! I just want to be able to DO something that STAYS DONE without having everything else around me fall apart because I’m not RIGHT THERE!”
BANG went the cupboard.
SLAM went the fridge.
STOMP went my feet.
And my husband slowly backed out of the kitchen.

I finished with the dishes, and I went into the kids’ bathroom where I found baby powder spread on absolutely every surface, including the toilet seat. I opened the toilet seat to find blue toothpaste smeared inside the bowl.
Because that’s where we put toothpaste around here, I guess.
I cleaned in faster than I ever have.
I moved to the laundry room, the living room, our room, the kids room.
I was a tornado of pent-up emotion and I whirled around that house the likes of which have NEVER been seen.

My husband stayed out of my way, but I did happen to hear him filling up the bathtub. Whenever I get upset because I’m tired, he always runs me a bath.
I didn’t bother to tell him because I knew he’d figure it out: there was NO hot water. The dishes took it all.
Just as soon as the water started, it stopped again. Anyway, the last thing I wanted was a bath when the house I’d cleaned once already was piled in crap.
By the end of the night, there wasn’t a dish in the sink (I’d had to do dishes again after picking up and finding dishes crammed in weird places around the house). There wasn’t any laundry on the couch.
The floors were clean.
The children were in their pajamas.
I had apologized for my bad behavior.
Scriptures were read.
Prayers were said.
And before I drifted off, my husband had me in stitches imitating a van he’d heard at work that sounded exactly like the gigantic mutant ants from the movie “Them.”

My husband is taking a computer class right now. He has to log 15 hours next week which means: 40 hours at work plus 15 hours at class… that’s A LOT of Mommymommymommy time.
Here’s hoping I can at least stay on top of the dishes without having to do them in 20 minutes:

without the BANG, SLAM, STOMP.


I went into the city yesterday with the childrens.
You should know that anytime I go anywhere by myself (“myself” includes any situation in the which I am the sole a-dult), I fight anxiety the. entire. time.
I mean: I think constantly about the multiple ways in which I am going to die. Then I think about how maybe I won’t die. Maybe I’ll just get hit by the drunk driver and become paralyzed for life. Maybe the drunk driver will hit the girl’s side of the car and SHE’LL die.
I’ll have to tell my husband.
I imagine the phone call -the heartbreak… the inevitable divorce because he’d never forgive me How could he when I would never even forgive myself? How will I provide for myself?
My grip on the steering wheel tightens.

Around this time, my ever-patient guardian angel slaps me upside the head and I focus my energy on relaxing my grip and easing the tension that has built up in my shoulders. And then I pray, with my eyes wide open and focused on the road, and ask my Heavenly Father to PLEASE save me from myself.
And he does.
I mean, I’m here today, aren’t I? From the very beginning of yesterday to the very end, I noticed things I hadn’t before… cause and effect things.
For example: when I went to Sam’s Club, I had to hurry the heck up. In order to do so, I fed my kids hot dogs and actually told them if they would throw away what they hadn’t eaten, I would buy them ice cream.
I just couldn’t wait any longer.
I couldn’t sit there and say, “hurryandeat, hurryandeat, hurryandeat…” so I said, “If you want ice cream, you have to throw what’s left of your hot dog away,” thereby sealing myself a seat in the “World’s Unhealthiest Mother” club.
They agreed.
Minutes later, I had two kids with cups filled with soft serve ice cream in my cart. We were whisking in and out of aisles at a rate that would make a marathon runner proud.
We were interrupted by a man.
“Hey,” he said, pointing to my cart, “What aisle did you get THESE on?” He asked, referring to my children.
“The Stork Aisle,” I smiled.
“The dork aisle?” He cocked his head, confused.
And then, for a short moment, we regarded each other -equally offended.
I couldn’t believe he thought I referred to my own children as dorks to a complete stranger.
He couldn’t believe I had just referred to my own children as dorks to a complete stranger.
He turned away from me, gave my kids knuckles and pointing to my daughter said, “See ya later, alligator.”
My kids giggled, and I resumed whisking.
It wasn’t the first time in my life a misunderstanding has caused offense… nor will it be the last. It also wasn’t the first time a misunderstanding has caused TOTAL AWKWARDNESS between me and a complete stranger, and I am 100% sure it won’t be the last.

On the knuckle-gripping drive home, I noticed cars going by on the other side of the highway. One of them looked exactly like mine. I was so happy. I looked at the driver as they passed quickly by (after all, we were both going 75 mph in opposite directions) and found -much to my delight -they were looking right at me.
We are so awesome.
Where’s the cause and effect there? Well. I saw a car that looked like mine. I looked at it (cause) and realized I was equally as awesome and the driver of the other 1996 grey Jeep Grand Cherokee (effect).

And then an announcement came over the radio… there had been a fatal accident right next to where I’d just been in the city. I had driven by the spot at least 3 times that day, and I was less than one mile away from the accident when it happened.
I immediately turned down the radio and looked at my sleeping children in the back seat.
While the announcement did LITTLE for my obvious anxiety issues (other than to validate them), it did make me ache for a moment, knowing someone out there was getting a phone call.
It made me ache for their tears -for the life they’d have to live without their friend/daughter/spouse/child… and it made me overwhelmingly grateful for life, for my rambunctious, thoroughly un-dorky children, for my eternal spouse, for my religion, for my home, my clothing, my parents, my sister, my brothers… all of the little things that had bothered me that day slipped quickly away, and I said a prayer -eyes wide open -of thanksgiving.

Thursdays are the days I get away for my morning devotional, and this morning I took a few pictures for you. This morning I was able to get away and reflect. If you can’t get away to some place you love, borrow my place for the next minute or so.
As you look at what is, to me, one of the most beautiful pieces of earth, be grateful that you weren’t on the receiving end of that phone call. Be grateful for awkward misunderstandings and matching cars.
And, of course, awesomeness.
I’m grateful for the open miles and miles… and miles and miles…

For tracks in the used-to-be-mud:
For the season when THESE awful things are dried up and somewhat less offensive:

For these trees where I used to gather as a kid with family and friends to (what else?) eat:

For this dirt road that always makes me quote one of my favorite poems, written by Sterling W. Sill. The line goes, “[One] hundred music haunted dreams of winding roads and drowsing streams.”
The poem itself is titled “Bankrupt” and can’t be found anywhere on the internet though I SWEAR that I put it there once. I want to share it with you because “Bankrupt” is all about being grateful for the things we take for granted, like dreams of winding roads and drowsing streams. It’s beautifully written. Let me just go find where I put it…

“…this title is called Bankrupt. The idea being that supposing you had to pay for all of the things in your life that you get free of charge, how long would your money last?” ~Sterling W. Sill

One midnight clear in starlight still
I dreamed that I received this bill:
Five Thousand Breathless Dawns, all new.
Five Thousand roses, wet with dew.
Ten thousand snowflakes, served ice cold.
Five thousand sunsets, wrapped in gold.
Five quiet friends, one baby’s love.
A mad white sea, with stars above.
A [sic] hundred music haunted dreams,
Of winding roads and drowsing streams.
A June night in a quiet wood.
A heart that loved and understood.
I wondered when I wake today,
How, in God’s name, could I ever pay.

I couldn’t find where I’d typed it out, so I went to the mp3 online and typed it out again. The entire talk is well-worth a listen-to. I’ve listened to it over and over and over. I love the message and the sound of his voice. Something about him reminds me of my Dad -although my Dad never, to my knowledge, wrote poetry about roses wet with dew.
Go HERE to listen to the entire talk, titled “An Inside Job.”

Date Night, Sibling Style

“Mom, I’m going on a date with Superman and these shoes…”

“…cost me 45 bucks.”
“Fourty FIVE?” I asked.
“And this dress…”
“… cost me 6 bucks.”
“Wow, and you’re going with superman to a dance?” I asked.
“Wellllll… he’s not Superman really.”
“He’s NOT?” I pretend to be surprised.
“No, he’s really Peter Parker.”
“Peter Parker! Where are you?” I call out.

“Now be superman…”

A prom match made in heaven if ever there WAS one.

Wise Words

A few months ago, a friend of mine told me that her mother-in-law said, “The laziest moms are the ones that do it all.”
I think about that a lot… pretty much daily.

My husband is a little LESS inclined to see it my way.
“Okay, the kids aren’t allowed to use the vacuum anymore,” he said.
“Whyyyyy?” I whined.
“Because if I find that the hose has been clogged by crayons ONE MORE TIME, I’m going to lose it.”

But Dad. It’s SUCH a cool trick!