Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Climb on the ark

Happy Field Day! Or, not happy field day for those lovely parents who volunteered to sit in the sweltering heat, tossing a hulla-hoop to kids who would rather be chasing each other. I, however, was not one of them. I did eat lunch with Enoch and Amelia, though. After joining Amelia outside for her recess (I was talking to some Mom's while Aidan played on the playground and Ava sat in her stroller), I went inside for Enoch's lunch time. About 30 minutes later I realized, hey! I'm missing a kid!! Yep! Aidan, how could I possibly forget him! Two minutes of quiet time should have alerted me that something was amiss. I ran back outside to the playground, where he wasn't, of course. Then tried to wade through the100 million school kids, siblings, parents, grandparents,long lost uncles, and the occasional kitchen sink to try and find the little red-headed boy, before he bacame a little burnt-red headed boy by the sun. I found him playing with the kindergarteners at the field day events. He didn't even miss me. Big surprise.

Here is a brief synopsis of each of us:

As most of you know, we put an offer on a home. I don't want to jinx anything, so 'nuff said. I'll tell you after we find out Friday afternoon.

Our darling Ava has perfected saying 'Nana'. Good for her. Good for Nana. BAAAAAAD for Mommy.

Enoch is anticipating the end of school. Several times a day, in fact. He is still wondering why he has to bathe regularly if he can't smell himself. Knock knock. Who's there. Hygeine. Hygeine who? Hygeine (Hi Gene!) you'd better shower 'cause you stink like a pack of dead camels.

Amelia wrote a letter to her school principal voicing her disappointment in both the new school playground and field day not being accessible to everyone. Haley specifically. You go, Mimi!!!

Poor Kate is going through hair-twirling withdrawl. But, in spite of that, she is still counting down the months until she can cut her hair for Locks of Love again.

Aidan got his finger stuck in the shower drain and basically skinned it yanking it out. It has to be medicated and bandaged twice a day. I guess he thought I was running out of things to do, and since he's already jumped off the couch with the blind cord around his neck, what else was there?

Sorry the update was so long coming. I'll try harder. Replies would be nice and encouraging, though. It may keep me motivated to write more if I know someone is actually reading this. I wish there was a way to track how many people are. Or maybe that would just be more embarassing to know who all knew what went on in this house.

PS I forgot the whole "ark" thing in my title. Some I-D-I-O-T (I have to spell it or the kids will get me) blocked up our drain, and we had a massive downpour. We had a lake almost 3 feet deep in front of the entrance to our parking lot. No one could drive in or out (except by motor boat). I sent the kids out to swim. They had a blast, of course. Okay, okay, so maybe I joined them for a bit, too. Who can resist? Oh, yeah, Scott can. And did.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Technical difficulties

My brain is experiencing technical difficulties. Please stand by until I regain my sanity and blog some more. Hang in there, I'll be back soon.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Top 10 for 2003

Here is a list I wrote 2 1/2 years ago, that was supposed to be sent out as late Christmas letters. Notice how everyone got a copy? These are the top 10 lists for everyone (but Scott, which is why we never sent them out. We kept waiting for him to do his. We're still waiting, by the way). Keep in mind, Aidan was 2, Kate was 4, Amelia was 6, and Enoch was 7. You can just imagine some of the stories behind these.

The top ten things I learned in 2003:

-You have a better chance of getting what you want if you use real words instead of just saying “tah”.
-There’s a lot of comfort to be found when someone else you love has a tube just like you.
-You don’t get candy every time you say “trick-or-treat”.
-Little girls are cute, but they sure can hit hard-and scream loud.
-If you’re strapped in too tight, sometimes you have to take your pants off to get out.
-Not everyone can have good hair.
-You have to try on everybody’s shoes to see how they feel.
-Mommy doesn’t think it’s funny when you play hide-and-seek in the hotel elevator. Neither do the security guards.
-There’s no substitute for Mom, but Nana’s Grandma’s and Mimi’s come close.
-You can never have too many blankees.

-Cats don’t always like to be kissed on the nose.
-Even if you don’t like your curly hair, you really shouldn’t cut it.
-Little brothers can be nice, but they can REALLY be annoying.
-When you listen really well in Primary, you can tell your stories in Family Home Evening.
-Looking cute doesn’t always get you out of trouble.
-Heavenly Father always hears us pray, but sometimes He says, “No.”, or “Not yet.”
-Dish soap can make dishes clean, but it sure does taste awful.
-You can go a lot faster on a bicycle than you can just walking (but it hurts worse when you fall).
-When you say something and everyone laughs, they aren’t being mean. You just made them happy.
-Sometimes you have to wait for Heavenly Father to get your house ready before you can move in.

-Not everyone wants you to be their Mommy.
-Just because you’re loud, doesn’t mean they’re listening to you.
-You can spend the whole day in your room if you have a mirror and karaoke machine.
-Not all babysitters know how to change Aidan’s tube if it falls out. Sometimes you have to calm them down and just do it yourself.
-When your Mom’s the Brownie leader you get to help do a lot of fun stuff. You also get told to sit down a lot.
-Eating dinner standing up isn’t as much fun as sitting in your chair quietly.
-When you know how to read, your little brother and sister think you’re pretty cool (and bring you lots of books to read to them).
-Everyone spills.
-You may be bigger than your brother, but you’ll never be older.
-Beautiful comes from the inside first.

-All the SpongeBob in the world doesn’t make being in the hospital fun.
-Just because you went to school for a long time, and you’re a doctor, doesn’t mean you know what you’re talking about.
-If you break your little pinkie in enough places, they’ll give you a great big cast that goes all the way to your elbow.
-Sometimes you have to scream and cry while you’re praying.
-You feel a lot bigger with the Holy Ghost inside of you.
-It feels nice to let your little brother take care of you for a change.
-It’s harder to make your own decisions, than it is to have Mom and Dad just tell you what to do.
-Being on the top bunk doesn’t get you much closer to God, but falling off of it can.
-You don’t have to know how to play the game to have fun playing it.
-It’s hard to be a good example.

-There is no such thing as too many childproof gadgets.
-If you have the time, do it now. You never know where you’ll be tomorrow.
-Every life is precious. Each moment with that life is even more. Make it count.
-Walls can be painted, carpets can be cleaned, but you can never undo what you’ve said.
-Family will always be close, no matter how far away you are.
-Make the time to do service and the blessing will appear.
-Leading a troop of 6 year old Brownies is more difficult than giving birth. And there are no drugs.
-Miracles are found in unanswered prayers.
-Sometimes God brings family members together by taking one away.
-“Just hold on, the light will come.”/ “Faith precedes the miracle”

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Racing Stripes

Uuuuggghhhhh! I think I'm going to stab my eyes out. I've been online looking at houses on, and I swear, if I see or hear the words "potential", "bungalow", or "needs some TLC" one more time, I'm going to explode! But, I must remember, we ARE looking for a house- YIIPPPEEEEEE. Which reminds me, I need to re-pack all the boxes we just finished unpacking. NOT yippee.

Apparently, people have been a little peeved that I haven't been keeping up my blog. To them I say, if my sad life is what you have to look forward to, I apologize. No more guilt trips, please, I'm doing this solo. I keep trying to get Scott to type, but he does as much typing as he does talking (except when it comes to the kids). Maybe he should vent his frustrations towards the kids on the blog- now wouldn't THAT be a hoot to read (not).

Rand McNally called me today. Seems they've gotten some anonymous tips and they would like to map out my stretch marks and vericose veins. Apparently things have gotten out of hand. I, personally, like to think of them as "racing stripes". Sounds better, at least. Why isn't being exasperated at your kids considered a work out? I mean, I sweat, I grunt, my heart races- everything I would be doing at the gym, and yet- not a pound drops off. Perhaps its the gallon of ice cream I eat after they go to bed. Got milk?

We ran out of milk yesterday, and Scott and I played the "we need milk" game until midnight. We both lost. The kids, however, won. Leftover cake for breakfast- the breakfast of champions.

Well, there you go people. I think I've been spoiling you by writing every day. Perhaps if I wait a week, you'll be happy with every other day. For my sanity, I'll try and keep up as much as possible.

Friday, May 19, 2006

One of these kids is not like the others

Happy Garage Saleing Day! The sun finally peaked out today to let us sale a bit, even though it was a tad chilly. As you can tell by the pictures I forwarded to you, I'm desperately waiting for Ava's hair to grow a bit, but still decided to force it into two antenna. Cuuuueeeeeewwwwwwwwwwt!

When I picked the kids up from school today, a Mom came over to me and told me that Ian would be able to come to Kate's party. I said 'Great!' After they left, I asked Kate if she only invited girls'. She told me that she did, but she also invited Ian. I asked if he was the only boy, and she proudly said "Yep!" "Does Ian know he's the only boy coming?" I then replied. She didn't think so. When I asked her why she didn't invite any of the other boys, she said (matter-of-factly) "He's the only one I like." This should be fun! I decided to give Ian a different goodie-bag then the purse-shaped ones we have.

We got a chance to go to the zoo for just a little while after school (dumb place closes at 5pm). We saw a giraffe up-close and personal! We also saw a daddy goose standing guard in front of his lovely bride and brood that nestled nearby.

I found some babysitting handbooks for Amelia at some yard sales today. Enoch was mad that they were just for her, since he's done some babysitting also. I decided that it would be a FAMILY book, so everyone could learn from it. (Who would've thunk it?)

I also found two pair of shorts at a yard sale that fit Enoch perfectly. Funny thing is, they're a size 6. Poor, skinny, buttless Enoch. I feel the need to share some of my over-abundant abundance. Too bad it doesn't work that way. (I still think that Ava should be sucking the weight right out of me, but that isn't working either). It must be all those darn cucumbers I eat!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

It works, by golly!

Great news! A few weeks ago I picked up a $5 radio for Scott's car at a garage sale, then found a 6-CD changer at another one for 50 cents!! Yes, you read correctly- 50 CENTS!! Scott and Enoch spent a couple of hours in the car tonight putting it together (and Scott also continued the "birds and the bees" talk a little more in depth than we did when he turned 8). And everything works great!! Now the stereo system is worth about as much as the car is!

Today, while driving around with Aidan, he was singing along to the Primary song "Scripture Power" and after he sang "Because I want the power His word will give to me, I'm changing how I live. I'm changing what I'll be." he stopped and said- "You know, I really am, Mommy!" I don't doubt it for a minute.

I got Ava out of bed this morning and she was standing up in her crib again. This makes the THIRD time!! My baby's growing up!

Well, today's was short but sweet. I hope everyone has a great day! Saturday is Kate's party, I'll let you know how that goes!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I'm Back!!

It's been a looooong 4 days, and since Scott won't blog, I guess you just had to enjoy the silence. But, not for long!

I'll update you on the last four days.

Sunday, Mother's Day: I awoke to kids not arguing (what I asked for for Mother's Day-as apposed to a GIGANTIC bowl full to the brim of Grape-nuts, which is what I got last year for breakfast). Everyone did a great job getting ready for church, and the kids sang in sacrament meeting (always a tear-jerker). At the end, the bishop recognized each mother BY NAME without any prompting! Quite a feat! I can't even get my five kids names straight! After church, I got my 2 hour nap, then the kids and I made frames for Monday, and Scott made dinner- yummy roast and potatoes!

Monday, The Day After: I awoke to the kids arguing (what happens every normal day). I can't remember much of the daytime, same old stuff, I guess. In the evening we went to the Hamilton House (Retirement/Old Folks/Resting Home) and delivered some cards and our photos in the homemade frames. The kids were so excited, I thought they were going to explode! When we first went in, we recognized a few of the people (Doc, Corky, and Helen Keller- who could forget those names!) then went around to the rest of the apartments, knocked on the door, and went in when the said we could. On one of the rooms, they said 'Come in.' and we went in and the kids gave her the stuff, and talked for a little while. Luckily, they didn't notice that she didn't have any pants on. Her PJ top came down a little lower, and she was bent over (good thing we weren't coming in from behind her!) so you could hardly tell. Well, I decided, that I would do a little 'clothing check' before having all the kids come in. I'm pretty sure Heavenly Father gave me that lady as a warning, because just a few doors down, poor Rita Redman was as naked as a jaybird when I walked in. She needed a little help getting her PJ's on, and since it took as long for Scott to get someone and them actually GETTING there, I just helped her out myself. She asked me if I was new there. New to this, I thought! I gave her her things and a hug and left. The kids weren't very happy that they didn't get to go in and see her. I sure was, though! There were a few other funny moments, like when one of the ladies met us for the first time, several times that night. The guy who was certain that Scott's mom was Rita, and the lady that told us that there was a 2 month old baby running all over the place yesterday. It just reinforces why I love going there. It's almost as if they're an innocent child again, with all the child-like wonder and love. And boy, do they ever love the kids- almost as much as the kids love them.

Tuesday "The world's worst day"- I was going to re-hash everything, but then, that's just depressing. The day was SO BAD for EVERYONE that we had chocolate cake and ice cream for dinner. 'Nuff said.

Wednesday (Today)- I went on a field trip with Kate's class to the Botanical Conservatory. They have a butterfly exhibit which was wonderful! We all had a great time! I was a little startled to see all these little first graders doing little hand-clapping thingy's talking about "shaking their booty". Yikes! I told Kate that that was a word that better not leave her lips unless she found hidden treasure somewhere. Tonight we had a "mexican fiesta" for Mutual. The guys were in charge and we played a few fun games. They had some girls bring salsa, but the guys were in charge of bringing the chips. You guessed it- no chips. Spoons, anyone?

Tomorrow Enoch and I are attending a "Bodies in Progress: for boys" class. I had them forward me a copy of what they were talking about (no sex or other controversial stuff), to decide if I was even going to have him go. I'm still trying to find a crate to put Aidan in while we go. For some reason, I don't think Aidan would get much out of it, except embarassing things to talk about during Primary. Ava, I'm not so worried about. They are going to talk about girls' "cycles" so I'm wondering if me going would embarass him to death. Any thoughts?

Tomorrow is also Aidan's official last day of school. They are going to the zoo. Unfortunately, I have a meeting for the first hour across town, so I hope we get there for at least the last part. We'll let you know how everything goes!

Thanks for tuning in!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

What my Mother's taught me

Contemplating tomorrow's Mother's Day, and knowing that I publish these too late at night for anyone to read it, I thought I would get a jump start tonight. Here are some thing's my Mommy has taught me. By: Tanya

My Mom taught me:

1. If anyone is ever in need, be the first to help. Not only help of your own free will, but enjoy it, and do it until they don't need help anymore. She taught me that by serving others, you strengthen your own spirit. That is the first thing I realized about my Mom. I don't think she could have taught me anything more important.

2. Keep your negative comments to yourself. Don't indulge others in pessamistic conversation. Anger breeds contempt. No one wants to be around someone who's unpleasant. Make sure that person isn't you.

3. Too many perms is a bad thing. A really bad thing.

4. When you behave badly as a child, your mother will pray for a child that behaves the same way for you. Mother's have a tight bond with God, and God has a sense of humor. She will get what she wants.

5. When everything is falling apart around you, you are still a shelter to your children. (No matter what happened in our lives as kids, my Mom never made us feel as if anything was wrong. If there was any financial or other sorts of problems- we never knew it)

6. You can make the most deplorable shack a beautiful home.

7. Children's artwork should be displayed everywhere, and for eternity. She still hangs up a "kitchen witch" I made out of an old sock, some yarn, a piece of felt, and flour&water for glue. I'm still proud of it everytime I see it.

8. As a child we never realize the extent our parents have gone through for us. It isn't until I was grown with children of my own that I realize what a difficult life she had, and how much she sacrificed for us. A lifetime of 'thank-you' could never repay. I suppose that's why we give them grandchildren.

9. Sometimes the farther apart you are, the closer you get.

10. Being a Mother is more than just a title, or a job. It is a crown of honor that we wear upon our heads for everyone to see. Each child, a precious stone upon that crown. It is knowing in your heart that you will forever be spiritually connected to an endless cirlce of love, that goes far beyond what you can even comprehend. It's knowing that your responsibility far extends that of presidents or kings. You are called to prepare these young children for their eternal calling, both here on earth, and in heaven. You are given no monetary reward for your efforts, but it doesn't matter- what you offer is priceless.

Mom, I want you to know on this Mother's Day how very much I love you. I want you to know that I see you performing the ultimate sacrifice for your own Mother, and pray I can be as good of a daughter as you are. You are my strength, and my example to live by. You are my lighthouse when the storms darken around me. You have taught me that struggles only require more strength, and that we can receive that strength from Heavenly Father and those around us. I would not be who I am today, if it wasn't for you. Thanks Mom.

Good night. I love you. See you in the morning. I'm going to rest my eyes.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Today's Insights

1. I've figured out that it's easier to just throw the cheerios on the floor and have her eat them off of there, then waste my time putting them on the tray, where they end up on the floor anyway. And it gives her something to crawl towards.

2. Kate spent the evening at a friends house. She was appalled that they didn't pray at the restaraunt before eating, but she ensured me she said a personal prayer before she ate. I'm grateful that she didn't insist on the family joining her. You know, just having one of them gone for the evening seems like a huge relief. One less fight to have to refree (or in Kate's case, 10 less)

3. We went to our local 50% off book sale at the kids school. We're suckers when it comes to books.

4. Scott and the boys went out for a Mother's Day present. I let Scott know that Kohl's was having a sale on the charms for my "children's birthstone" necklace-HINT!HINT! Apparently he had already thought of that. Just want to make sure he doesn't forget.

5. We found out a few days ago that someone is going to help us get a loan for a house. We are officially looking- HARD. We will put our 60 days notice in to the apartments at the end of this month, so we should be in a home by Augast 1.

6. I'm very grateful for strange sayings that have been passed down to Scott and I, that we, in turn, are passing on to our children, namely: "hunka-munka" (hamburger), "We're going to Bangums to get our bums bottomed" (I'm not going to tell you where we're actually going because you'll probably just throw a hissy-fit about it), "Skinny Rabbit!/Skin the Rabbit!" (said while taking off someone's shirt. Not a good come-on line to begin a romantic evening with, though.), "A-one-and-a-two-and-a-boop-boop-be-do" (said just before turning off the light switch), "I see your heiny, all fat and shiny" (said while changing someone's diaper or giving them a bath. Again, not a good come-on line), "Good night, I love you, see you in the morning, I'm gonna rest my eyes" (said by the child going to sleep, followed by the parent saying "Good night, I love you, see you in the morning, rest your eyes- this is directly followed by the boop-boop-be-doop thing)

So if you didn't think we were strange before, I hope this settles it.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Wonderful Milestones

Well, Ava finally learned to roll over from her back to her tummy. Only six months behind, but, oh well. It got my thinking of some other wonderful milestones in our children's lives that they don't put in the baby books:

-When you are able to send the kids in for a shower/bath and they are able to get reasonably clean without your constant supervision

-When the kids are old enough to tell you what the babysitter was REALLY like

-When you don't have to wipe, or 'check their bottom' anymore

-The first time they're able to 'read' (recite) their favorite book to you

-Can stand on his own, so you don't have to hold him on your lap when you go into a public restroom

-Is self-burping

-Can pick up food and eat on their own

-Can actually blow their nose (and know to do it only when there's a tissue in front of it)

-Has figured out what it feels like just BEFORE throwing up

-Can change a baby coll/barbie doll/GI Joe's clothes without help

-Can give you more than 15 seconds notice that they have to go to the bathroom

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Am I a moron?

Did these work?

Let's see if I can post a picture

We're going to give this a try. If not, I'll have to find out from Clark how he added a picture.

Have you met my ugly daughters?

What a way to begin a blog, eh? (my Canadian roots coming out) Tonight was book club. We reviewed a book called the Persian Pickle Club. Very good book, 1 1/2 thumbs up. At any rate, during our discussion we got to talking about kids, puberty, sex, and all things unpleasant when you're the mother of young children, who would never possibly be involved in any of these things. After hearing horror story after horror story of unwed mothers, and a declining morality despite proper upbringing, I have come to a conclusion. I wish my girls were as ugly as sin for at least the next 15-20 years- I'm talking buckteeth, acne, frizzy hair, 'sweet-spirit' ugly. So ugly that no boy would ever think to even look twice at them, much less think to take a gander below her neck. Oh, Yeah, and no breast development AT ALL until they had their first baby. I would take these years to develop their stunning personalities, and faithful, selfless spirits. Then all of a sudden (when all of the boys their age have decently matured- say 30 or so), when the time was right, they would transform into these beautiful, stunning women- both inside and out. The Ugly Hepworthlings. But, no. We get stuck with these georgeous little girls, with beautiful blue eyes, and curly red hair (and straight). It's a good thing they know how to burp, that's for sure. What a sin it is to be burdened with these beautiful children, but I guess I'm preaching to the choir now, aren't I?

Today Ava officially crawled. yip. pe. Not very excited. I figured out she learned how to crawl while I was on the phone with my Mom and she almost pulled the white grandfather clock on her. How I love this stage. Not. Yesterday, she also spoke her first non-mama/dada/baba word. While waving at people at the store, I kept saying "Hi!" and she would repeat it. In this sing-songy voice she'll say "Eye!". Well, actually more like "IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!". Very cute.

I caught Enoch wearing his Sunday socks to school today. Don't think they've been off his feet since Sunday. We learned a song on our trip to Kansas that says, "Black socks, they nevery get dirty the longer you wear them the stronger they get. Sometimes, I think I should wash them, but something inside me keeps saying-'not yet, not yet, not yet, not yet'". Fun song, huh? Someday I'll tell you about the one called "Fish Guts".

As most of you know, we're expecting our sixth child sometime around the end of December. Yes, a blog/birth announcement. For those of you who didn't know, don't worry. I'm just kidding. Scott's having his tubes tied, and I'm thinking of getting a vasectomy. Until those procedures are completed, we'll just keep the kids locked in the house tormenting each other. That should work. Or maybe I'll have a birthday party and invite all of Enoch's class. That would work, as well.

4th Grade Camp Potawotami trip (Long!)

Last Thursday and Friday, Enoch and I (dad) got to attend Camp Potawotami's Outdoor Adventure (or whatever they called it) program with Enoch's 4th grade class; all 120+ of them! I went as a chaperone and didn't have a clue what was going to happen until I got there. Oh, I knew that there would be some "classes" and hands on activities. I figured I would end up playing baby-sitter to a bunch of 10 y.o. boys for 2 days.

"A bunch" turned out to be only 3 boys: Enoch, his best friend Ross (Enoch's book-loving-easy-going-separated-at-birth-twin) and Taylor, who nearly talked my ear off when he wasn't tripping over his own feet. He's a nice kid, but I'm glad he doesn't live with me!

We arrived at camp late Thursday morning, had an orientation meeting, lunch, then an orientation meeting for the adults only. This is where I first learned about "The Underground Railroad" (i.e. runaway slaves, Harriet Tubman, etc.) Camp staff asked for parent volunteers to play some parts in this underground railroad skit. I did NOT raise my hand! I don't act. Ever. More about the Underground Railroad (UGRR) later.

The kids and adults were split into 5 groups and then we began attending our classes. These turned out to be great fun for the kids. Every group got to attend all the classes. The classes were: Eggbert; build a container to protect your raw egg from a 10' drop. (with a twist: all the building materials had a price associated with them, and the winner safely protected his egg with the lease expensive container!) The Climbing Wall; looked suspiciously like a rappeling tower converted into a "rock wall" for climbing, generally ranked as the second most memorable activity at the camp by the kids. Native American Games; fun group games that didn't require anything more than willing participation and a little imagination. Wilderness Survival; learned that the first rule of wilderness survival is to NOT get lost in the wilderness!

Earlier I said: "I don't act." But, (you knew there'd be a 'but' didn't you?!) a parent had to back out of her part for the UGRR and I got stuck with it at the last minute. "Peg-leg Joe" was now my responsibility: an older, freed slave working in the south helping those setting out on the underground railroad. After dinner and free time, those of us playing parts in the UGRR met to get our costumes, go over instructions and ask last minute questions. My part turned out to be pretty simple. Something to sweat about, not lose my dinner over!

The kids (and remaining adults) played the slaves. The parent volunteers and camp staffers played the parts of various people the runaway slaves would encounter as they traveled from the South to Canada. As darkness fell the 'slaves' were introduced to their 'master'. This was a camp staffer who had some experience playing this roll and was able to get the 'slaves' in the proper mood pretty quickly! From my location I could hear lots of shouting: "On your knees!", "You think this is funny?", "Eyes on the ground", "What are you looking at? Eyes on the ground!" etc., etc. The 'slaves' were out in the grassy commons area at camp, on their knees, picking dandelions!! The 'master' spent about ten minutes getting the 'slaves' in the proper frame of mind and then gave them a break from their work. My part was to approach the 'slaves' while they rested and give them some friendly "advice" (escape while you can, things are about to get worse for you; follow the north star to Canada, etc.) After their 'master' cut short their break for talking to a freed slave, the 'slaves' get their opportunity to escape. They now are following an unknown trail in the dark with no idea where they are headed or what will happen next (the adults, though playing the part of slaves, were actually given some instructions as to where to go so that they didn't end up wandering off in the wrong direction) As the 'slaves' wander into dense woods, they encounter the 'sheriff' who has just been told that a group of runaway slaves is in his neck of woods. The sheriff's part also required a lot of shouting and intimidation but his was the one part I didn't get to hear. The effect was to further scare the kids and enhance the illusion that their lives were in danger. After a lot of questions and threats, the 'sheriff' eventually lets the group go and they continue deeper into the woods. Next, they meet a UGRR 'guide' who gives them specific instructions on where they will find a safehouse, the password they need to get into the safehouse, and gives them a lantern (it has a single candle in it, the first light they've had in about 30 minutes). The 'slaves' continue their journey a little less frightened until they meet the 'bounty hunter'. This guy is the scariest of all. He shouts at them, questions them, and is convinced the 'slaves' are runaways and has no plans to let them go. In fact, he's about to put them in chains and haul them off to auction when he gets "distracted" and the 'slaves' are off again (but not before being chased down the trail by the 'bounty hunter' yelling at the top of his lungs!). Finally they arrive at the safehouse, give the password, and are let in by a kind lady who promises to get them safely to Canada. Just when the 'slaves' start to relax, a 'nosy neighbor' lady comes knocking and wants to know what's going on. When the neighbor discovers runaway slaves in the house, she decides to go get the sheriff. The 'safehouse lady' can't let this happen so she chases the 'nosy neighbor' outside with a 14" cast iron skillet (which, when slapped against the outside of the cabin that this scene was stagged in, sounds similar to a gun shot!). Now that her neighbor is dead, the 'safehouse lady' must quickly escort the 'slaves' to Canada, making them step over the body of the 'nosy neighbor' in the process!

After all the 'slaves' arrived safely in 'Canada', we gathered around a fire for s'mores and a debriefing. I expected a mamby-pamby, politically correct, "why can't we all just get along" speech but it was actually a very thoughtful discussion. They started by bringing 10 kids to the front and pointing out that if this had been the real UGRR, these 10 kids would have been the only ones of the group to make it safely to Canada. We (well, the kids and camp staffers) discussed each of the characters, their possible thoughts and motivations with regard to the slaves, and how people act in a similar manner today. They ended the discussion by encouraging the kids to remember this experience the next time they think about treating someone badly just because they are different.

It was a powerful and moving experience. We adults compared notes later that night and the following day. There were kids who actually trembled with fright each time they were approached by one of the scary characters (the sheriff or bounty hunter) and more than one adult reported having to calm one of the girls who started crying. All the next day as we finished up our last two classes, the kids kept talking about their UGRR experience. From what I heard, having to step over the body of the 'nosy neighbor' on their way out of the safehouse seemed to make the biggest impression on them. (at least it got the most discussion!)

What I thought might be an interesting trip (at best) turned out to be a fantastic experience for the kids AND adults. I wish every kid could have the opportunity to travel the Underground Railroad!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Dracula lives at our house

Well, beautiful, sweet, lovely Ava got three new teeth today. Yes THREE- 1, 2, 3. Count them. I sure do. If weaning wasn't on the agenda before, it sure is rising to the top now! I was really trying to hold out to make it to the 'official' 12 month mark for nursing, but, hey, I've got higher priorities. For example, making sure I don't have to get prosthetic nipples because she "just couldn't help herself" while nursing.

Today was a WONDERFUL day in church. Mimi got up and bore her testimony in sacrament meeting. It was short and beautiful. If I remember correctly, it went like this- "I'd like to bear my testimony. I know this church is true. I love my family. And......(about a 13 minute pause) I know that everything I'm taught is true. (45 minute pause) I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." Okay, so maybe I exaggerated the pauses a bit, but I'm sure that's what it felt like to her (I know it did to me). Yes, I cried. What mother wouldn't.

We took Aidan back to the hospital yesterday, because he's been having some severe abdominal pain around his bellybutton incision. It's gotten worse over the last few days, so we called his surgeon down in Indy who thought it might be a hernia and advised us to bring him in to the ER. Since we didn't feel like driving down to Indy (go figure), we took him into the local (quack) ER, who thinks his pain is just from some constipation. Funny, they said that about his appendicitis. They did do an x-ray, which they said wasn't very significant, except for the stool. (Again, they said the exact same thing about the x-ray when they missed the appy). At this point, we may just let Aidan self-diagnose. Hey, he couldn't be any worse than the dorks at the hospital. (Do I sound bitter?)

Enoch and Scott were supposed to share some of their marvelous camp out adventures, but it looks like they may not get to it until tomorrow (we'll see). If it doesn't involve Scott's SPAM radio (my 'loving' term for his HAM radio), the priority isn't way up there for either Scott OR Enoch (who would have loved for Scott to haul his giant radio to camp with him).

Until tomorrow..

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Games Babies Want to Play

If I had enough time, I would write my own, but for tonight, you'll have to read a little excerpt from The Diaper Diaries:

Games Babies Want to Play:

Month 1- You'll never guess when I'm going to spit up!

Month 2- Let's see how long I can cry.

Month 3- Where have I rolled to?

Month 4- Who will pick up what I throw on the floor?

Month 5- Guess what I just put in my mouth!

Month 6- Which way will I tip when you sit me up?

Month 7- I'll bite your nipple and you try not to jump.

Month 8- What common household item will I be afraid of today?

Month 9- Bet I can reach what you think I can't!

Month 10- Guess what strange Transitional Comfort Object I'll be dragging around this week!

Month 11- Lean over so I can grab your fingers and stumble around!

Month 12- Call me and I'll run and hide!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Show me the money!

So, did you hear that a stay-at-home mom (dumbest name I've ever heard of) would earn around $134,000/yr! Is that supposed to IMpress or DEpress me? I'm not sure. Why would they even figure that up? Is it like we can use it against something? I know. The next time I go to get a job, and they ask me about my previous salary, THAT's what I'm putting. I'm sure that'll get me far.

Well, Scott and Enoch are off on a school over-night field trip to Camp Pottawottamie. I can't wait to hear about it. Enoch's best friend, Ross, and his dad are going also. Oughta be a hoot and a half! I'm pretty content staying here at home.

After school, I took the rest of the gang out to eat chips and salsa, then to see the Curious George movie. I loved it!! We were the only one's in the theatre, which worked out since Ava was a little vocal. The kids thought it was cool because they could switch seats whenever they wanted (almost).

I tried to get the kids into bed early since they were up until 11pm last night, so we started wrapping things up around 7pm. I think most of them were asleep by 10. I know Aidan's been asleep a little longer than that judging by the circumfrance (is that how you spell it?) of the drool stain he's leaving on my pillow.

I went garage saleing today. Honestly, I wish these subdivisions would get together and try and space out there community sales. There's about 15 community ones this weekend. Then, come the middle of the summer- nothing. Not to mention, if I could, I would take a loan out to get me through the next few weekends worth. I did find Amelia some clothes (size 14, or an XXS adult-YIKES!! Save those clothes, Suzie), but I'm still desperately in search of some capri's for her, size 7 slim pants for Kate, and size 5 jeans for Aidan. That's what I'm LOOKING for, unfortunately, I tend to find TONS of other stuff. I'm really a sucker for books- especially if they're $.25 or less. Enoch inhales them, and Amelia is finally catching on. I did find a trunk for Enoch, so he can put his 'special' things in it and lock it up so Aidan doesn't get to them. Oh, the joy's of sharing a room!

Kate's reading the second Harry Potter book. They didn't have the first one at the library, and she wanted to see one of the movies. The rule at our house is, they have to read the book before they see the movie (unless we deem the movie inappropriate or rated above PG). She keeps asking how we'll know if she's really read it or not (not a promising sign), and I told her we'd ask her questions, and we could tell by her answers. Then she panics, and says 'What it I don't get the right answer?!' I told her we'd just have to wait and see. For some reason, I just can't see Kate getting through Harry Potter- but, just you wait. She'll do it just to spite me.

Well, time to dry the pillow off and get to bed. I have plenty of cleaning to do tomorrow (dang fairy still hasn't showed up to do it). I'm pretty certain that our clothes are getting together in the dryer and multiplying (and yet, every morning no one has ANYTHING to wear!). I shouldn't be going garage saleing in the morning, but we'll see how the 'ole 'strong will' is holding up.

G'night and good luck!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

ZZzzzzzz ..........zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

(Baby screams)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

5 Great Things About Today

1. This morning was really humid, and when I got back from taking the kids to school, Ava had two little curly "horns" sticking up on top of her head. Will she be a little girl who has a little curl, too? (As long as she's not 'horrid')
2. I actually sat down and paid most of our bills (until we ran out of money). Am I the only one who tends to pile the bills up? I figure maybe they'll just disappear. Not much luck with that, though.
3. I found out that Aidan will be able to go to a little camp this summer (sponsered by our local PBS station!)- YIIPPEEEE!! Enoch, Amelia, and Kate also qualify for a scholarship to a summer art camp, also!
4. Ava had a terribly gross, messy, diaper that was leaking all over, and I managed to clean her off without getting ANY of it on me!!! Quite the accomplishment! She also said a new word today! No, not mama- baba.
5. I went to a girls night out tonight and had some grown-up conversation. There may be some very exciting news that comes out of it, too. I'll keep you posted if there are any further updates.

Well, Aidan's waiting for me to read him a book and snuggle. Since I didn't get a shower before 5pm today, I'd probably better call it quits early.


Monday, May 01, 2006

Can you still nurse when you're 80?

Today was certainly an action-packed day! I got up (and yes, even showered before 8am- no applause, please), dropped the kids off at school, went to my meeting for my new Young Women calling (excellent!), went to get Ava's immunization's, discovered I left her shot record at home, went to Wal-Mart to get a new battary for my watch, took Aidan to school, stopped by Aldi's for some cheap flowers, came home, called 8 different florists to see if they would donate any wilting flowers (nope), called some nursing homes to see if we could come and deliver flowers to some of the residents for May Day (today), got a 'yes!', agreed to babysit and bring along 2 other girls, found the kids' shot records, picked up the kids from school, went to Aldi's to buy more flowers, picked up Aidan from school, went to Parkview hospital to get Ava and Aidan shots (thought I'd throw him in there too, since he's due for his kiddie-garden shots), found out that they only do shots on Tuesdays and Thursdays (of course, this is after I have unloaded everyone and we're inside), found a different place to do the shots, sat on Aidan for his shots, was baffled by Ava when she smiled through all of her shots (didn't even flinch! Just kept that big toothy grin!), drove by the Hamilton House where we would be delivering the May day baskets, made it back just in time to see my friends pulling up to drop off their girls, Scott threw some fish sticks in the oven, I gave the kids the assignment to write some cards, I folded up 18 papers for baskets, cut up and arranged the flowers, wrapped them in wet paper towels, and put them in plastic baggies, put everything in containers for the trip, gathered our brood into two vehicles, delivered the flowers (the place and the people were outstanding!!), dropped the girls off at their house, got the kids into their jammies, said our family prayer, ate some dinner, called my Mom, filled out some camp forms, called Toni to beg some Ava babysitting out of her (okay, I didn't really have to beg at all), and sat down to write this blog.

Believe it or not, after all that was said and done, while I was gone no magic fairy appeared to clean my house and do my laundry! In fact, it looks just like it did this morning!!! Oh well, there's always tomorrow. I don't do much anyway!

End note: When we told Aidan we were going to a nursing home where there were lots of Grandma's and Grandpa's, he wanted to know who they were nursing!! It's a good thing I wasn't drinking milk, or it all would have come out my nose!