Monday, September 28, 2009

a positive point of view

This morning as I walked down the stairs I stepped on something. I bent down to see what it was and saw that it was a chess piece and there were many more strewn around the front hallway. I started to mutter about how the baby is always throwing things down the stairs (dirty laundry circumspectly squeezed through the narrow slats one by one, library books hurled over the railing with abandon, or super balls rolled from the top ~~ bounce, bounce, bounce). My Lulu looked at me with a smile and said, "Good thing he can't throw them down the stairs anymore." "Why is that?" I asked, eagerly awaiting the secret. "Because they are all down stairs already." Hmmm. Very interesting perspective. I guess that is true. Am I not supposed to pick them up and take them back to the chess table on the landing? What does this statement mean for my life? Baby has also started throwing everything in the garbage can. I can only find one leather sandal and one tennis shoe of his. I assume they have gone the way of all the earth. Another time I didn't even know my shoes were missing, but then found them carefully placed on all of the other rubbish in the kitchen. I also regularly hear him gleefully running from my room to the bathroom (pitter, pitter, patter) and then find earrings and bracelets in the bottom of the garbage can (better than the toilet). Am I supposed to move everything so he can't get it? Am I not supposed to care about losing material possessions? Am I supposed to leave everything scattered all over the floor because then at least it won't be scattered on the floor again? I don't know. I haven't quite discovered the parable from which I will learn something amazing and life-changing. Please feel free to tell me your ideas.

Baby is now painstakingly pulling tissues out of the box one by one, diligently tearing them into tiny pieces, and then recklessly throwing them into the wind. The cost of a little morning blog writing. Well, at least when he's done he won't be able to do it anymore (?).

Friday, September 25, 2009

last night some velcro changed my life

My name is Mary and I have plaster walls. It has been an insufferable burden for the last six years to not really be able to affix anything to them. Initially after moving in I excitedly pounded some nails in the hallway to hang up a large mirror that I like to have near my front door, but the subsequent crack up to the ceiling considerably dampened my hammering eagerness. Nevertheless, I pressed forward to adorn other rooms. I tried to ignore the sound of crumbling plaster behind the wall, more cracks, and larger than life nail holes, but eventually I was cowed. The daunting plaster had won and my bare walls stood as testament to their victory. I thought that the story ended there, but oh no, dear readers! A few weeks ago my savvy sister-in-law Stacie told me about the latest in wall hanging coolness ~~ velcro fasteners! There is a sticky side for the frame (or ANYTHING in the world that you want to put on your wall ~~ she even has an artistically aged baking pan stuck on her kitchen wall which would've been wretchedly complicated to attach any other way) with velcro on the other side and then another identical strip. The two strips then hold on tightly to each other (Ooh, I never can say goodbye... don't wanna let you go) and voila! Things are actually on. your. wall. It is true. And it has changed my life.

Here is a project I have been planning for years. I won't lie to you, I was scared. I was scared of putting things in the wrong places and my wall being riddled with punctures (I certainly wasn't going to actually plan ahead and plot out where to put things, that would not be honoring my true authentic self). But the velcro set me free and I just stuck things on there without any rhyme or reason ~~ grab a frame and thwack! on the wall and so on and so on. If I don't like it tomorrow I can just pull it off and no one (not even the cursed plaster) will be the wiser. Bliss, elation, and complete rapture!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Personal Touch

This morning I was off and running early and needed to make some phone calls. Normally I keep a small phone book in the car, but at some point in our hauling history it had been removed. I tried to remember the phone number of the pediatrician's office, but got a wrong number, and since I was driving right by I decided to just stop in and talk with them in person. Oh my goodness. Baby is way behind on vaccines ~~ like he has had one round ~~ so I thought that maybe I should get on that. The doctor told me that I could just come in without a regular appointment. Okay so I am standing there in the office talking to a real person with me standing there holding my baby and she was totally rude. "It is flu season. A lot of people are getting shots. You couldn't possibly get shots today." Me, "Could I talk to a nurse? Like I could if I was calling?" "No, they are too busy. What you need to do is call on the morning of the day that you want the shots." I looked at her incredulously and thought that it is the morning of the day I want the shots and did I mention that I am standing right here? I hadn't brought my phone inside the office so I considered asking her if there was a phone that I could use to call her office that I was standing in, but I am not that confrontational. Instead, I went out to the parking lot, finally remembered the number, called the office I was parked in front of, and they told me I could come in this afternoon. Like I said, oh my goodness.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Some Photos of our Summer Adventures

We hit Mesa Verde on the way home ~~ totally worth the detour! Notice Ella and Charlie's puffy cheeks from getting wisdom teeth out in CA. No pictures of that ~~ too busy watching movies with them.
::everyone had fun
::these were doorways not windows
::Charles carried baby the whole way
::crawling out from under a rock
::the requisite holding up the cliff shot

more summer

We went to the Nauvoo pageant and saw our friends the Stouts, Ramsays, and Tharps. So fun!
::dancing the Highland fling

A fun stop at the Mormon Trail Museum in Florence, Nebraska. What a nice museum!
::rolling down hills

::The temple

::a rest stop somewhere on I-80 ~~ our favorite!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Paint Chips

Our house needs painting. Ugh. Yes, I do live in the Money Pit, thank you very much for asking. We are not going to paint it this year, but we decided to paint the garage and since I have wanted it to match the house I have had to decide what color I wanted the house. I have long been considering going with a different color than white, but with our very overbearing, as it were, red roof, our options are a bit more limited. Plus I would like to choose something that would add rather than detract from our historical neighborhood. Mostly, I don't want to be the house that causes passerby to shake their heads and mutter, "Oh dear. How unfortunate." At first, I wanted to be bold with a pale gray or light, light, blue (oh, that doesn't count as bold?), but after doing one coat of light blue on the garage (not very pretty-making, actually quite taste-missing) it looks like white is the color our house wants to be. Forever.

Next we finally decided to paint the shelves in Charlie's room. They easily win the prize for being the ugliest thing in our house (now that the basement bathroom is finished) and were the thing that I was going to fix first when we moved in six years ago. So to pick a color ~~ the utter and complete agony of it all! I cannot believe how I can turn something that should be a fun activity into something so stress inducing. I take it all into my gut and work and rework how it will look and what will be best. I don't like to paint so I have to do it right the first time. Who knows when I will get up the gumption to fix a mistake? So there is quite a lot of pressure there. Once again I think I should go for something strong. Black, or a deep green, steel gray perhaps... and once again we went with white and it looks fabulous. I like white. I will just accept it.

Pictures late-ah!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Change the World

I am a total slacker blogger. I have been a slacker everything lately. The big problem here is that I am not exactly sure what I have been doing. On our epic continental journey, we heard a great talk by John Bytheway called "Turn off the T.V. and Get a Life." He talked about how much we can accomplish if we make better choices. I don't have a t.v. problem, but I definitely waste time. It is kind of depressing. Perhaps I should go into the corner over there and mull it over for a bit...

An hour later I have discovered that I spend quite a significant amount of time staring into space. I think much too much about my house ~~ and more specifically curtains, paint colors, and carpets which would be fine I suppose if I acted on my decisions and my house looked wonderful, but more often than not, I just move on to the next obsession having done nothing at all. The bottom line is that I should plan my time better. To accomplish this I decided to write down all of the thoughts that drift aimlessly through my brain; the continuous reverie, the incessant woolgathering. I found myself a piece of paper and (where is it?) a pen ~~ no small task. I sat down with anticipation and ... nothing. I couldn't even think of anything that keeps me up at night. I made a short grocery list while I still had my hands on an actual writing tool and then promptly misplaced the note. Oh well, I did, however, come up with a theme for the school year. I even made a little sign which says, "Change the World ~~ don't let the world change you." I know that my kids can float along absorbing all of the insanity that is out there, or they can try to find their true selves and really accomplish things. I will try to be a better example. Maybe when I am getting more sleep. That's it! The first thing on my list will be sleep.

Last night Ella came in while I was enjoying a soak in our soaker tub and asked if she could practice her speech for school. She told me to give her any pointers I had along the way. She seemed quite nervous ~~ fidgeting and playing with her hair so I gave her the old standard advice. "If you get nervous, just imagine that your audience is naked." We both started laughing so hard (it was terribly late mind you) because, well, you know.

In other news, Matthew came up with a couple of more things for my irritating list. The Normal police department (don't they have better things to do than hide behind trees and give people tickets for coasting down hills going 35 mph?), and when people pronounce Ensign wrong, people who should know better (it used to say in the front of the magazine that "it is not pronounced en-sun," but I guess they have just decided to let it go; very christian of them, but I'm just not there yet. A point for me for not shouting out a correction while I am teaching RS, yea me!)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My Little Pretties

The other day I took a little quiz on facebook and then sent it to my oldest girl. One of the questions was: Do you have any pet peeves? I answered that I had too many to count. Ella answered, "My only pet peeve is people who have pet peeves ~~ stop complaining!" She is so right. I complain about way too many things. I have pet peeves about people using the same names for their kids as I do (just kidding ~~ I am totally over it Stacey ~~ it was just the shock of it all!), spelling errors in books, people who complain about how people do their callings at church (hey, would you like to do everything?), open cupboards, someone saying they will come work on my house, but then don't come, people I don't even know bossing me around by waving me through an intersection (no, you go, it's your turn, let's just follow the rules of the road, okay?), how most places only have diet drinks with caffeine in them ~~ hmm, maybe that is it. I can only think of one more and it needs some introduction. There seems to be road construction going on all over our town. I wondered how there could possibly be enough workers to be maintaining all of these construction sites, but have since decided that there is really only one crew who just wanders around closing random roads at any given time. So! Main Street has been scraped down before being repaved and I get to cross Main Street several times a day. It is 1 inch, maybe 2 inches, lower than the cross streets. Do you have the visual? My absolute most favorite thing is to be behind a huge SUV, the kind made for crazy off-road stunts, the gas-hogging, gotta have my truck, smoke-belching, beast and have it cross Main Street going 1.mile.per.hour. Oh my gracious! It is a little tiny bump people! I bet you could go 3 mph. That way we could all make it through before the light turns red again. There you have it. It's going to give me an ulcer.

Pet peeve is such an interesting notion. The idea that you are taking your irritations and treating them like a little pet. Picking them up to stroke, coddle, and coo in their ears, "There, there, my pretty. I will feed you and nurture you so that you can grow from a mere annoyance and nuisance into full-fledged torment." Ooh, horrible. I need to take my daughter's advice to stop complaining and just relax. Yeah right, it's probably not going to happen. It would be nice, though.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Here is one of the tub.

The Reluctant Plumber

Well, here it is. The moment we have all been waiting for ~~ the new bathroom is finally finished! Hip, hip, hooray! We thought that it would never really happen, but here it is a mere 10 months after we started our project and we are the proud owners of 2 full baths. I know it is a little lavish with 7 people in the house, but that is just the kind of extravagant people we are. There were times when we had to practically beg our plumber to come and let us pay him money, but he was nice and just happens to be a victim of what we affectionately call the Bloomington work ethic.



A little bit of an improvement I suppose.

It isn't quite finished (like a door for under the sink) and we still haven't had a soak in our ofuro, but we are looking forward to it. Can you tell that the tub is 36 inches deep from the pictures? I might have to take another shot sometime. And can you see the little black beaded accent tile that was the most expensive tile in the room? It might as well have been pearls. The little sconces by the sink are from a local old house salvage store and are the same age as our house. My favorite parts are the floor and the black toilet seat. Now I just have to find a shower curtain and you know what? There are a lot of very unappealing choices out there. I have to ask, as I have more than once in my life, why do so many people make so many ugly things when there is so much beauty all around? I did find the perfect shower curtain yesterday at the Urban Outfitters website, but then when I went to buy it a few hours later it was out of stock. It figures. Perfection just ain't my thang.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Badge of Honor

Yesterday was a first for me. Actually yesterday was literally the 1st, and so was a first for everyone, but that happens every single month so it wouldn't be an especially noteworthy topic for a blog post. I guess it could be if one were clever enough, but I won't pretend to be that talented and will now return to why it was a first for me. I sewed scouting badges onto Charles' shirt for the first time in his now long 5 year scouting career. I know! It is the little things that make one proud. I am not quite sure why I haven't done it in the past, but I was told in no uncertain terms a little over a week ago that he was required to show up at scouts with flying colors last night. I tried to explain to the person that his empty scout shirt, bereft of insignia of any sort, was like an outward manifestation of what a lame mom I am. I didn't know if I was quite ready to give that up, so of course, there is me screeching into the parking lot of the scout store 10 minutes before it closes and 1 hour and 10 minutes before he needs to be uniformed at his scout meeting. I come home and we scramble to find the scout shirt, search through drawers for any merit badges he has received, then we scramble to find the now missing bag with all of the badges I just bought. Baby! Then I sit down to start sewing the patches down and have to call my mom for some advice. She is sweet and wishes that she could be there to help me. I have to get off the phone because I have just sewn a huge pucker in his sleeve and have to unpick it (you think he might be embarrassed to have an empty shirt, try seeing it after I get a hold of it), get the council badge, the fleur de lis thing, the troop numbers (why are they all separate?) sideways and slowly marching down his shirt, the lone merit badge we could find on the sash, and put the little ribbons on shoulder buckles. Whew! Did he look more neglected before or not? It is hard to tell. I thought that perhaps I would feel better about myself after accomplishing this little task, but his shirt is still a badge of dishonor for me as a mother. At least I don't have to wear it.
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