Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

A month ago, I asked the kids what they wanted to be for Halloween.  Easy enough requests- Tinkerbell for Maddie, a fairy for Annie (we finally decided on Rosetta), a mummy for Elizabeth, and Annabeth Chase (from Percy Jackson and the Olympians series).  After looking at patterns, I decided buying used from ebay was the way to go for the fairy costumes.  But I could pull together mummy and demigod outfits.

Elizabeth's costume took me a lot longer than I thought it would.  For some reason, it's always like that.  But once done, I had Elizabeth try it on, and I had a difficult time getting it off of her again.
She would not take it off.  Here she is doing her homework in it.

Next, was a Camp Half-Blood t-shirt.  As Target only had long sleeved t-shirts, this was going to be the "off-season" version of a camp t-shirt.  Google images gave me some good ideas on how to make the shirt.  
 Ta-Da!  I was happy with how it turned out.  And today, last minute, I painted some wooden beads and made a camp necklace.  It turned out ok...  But Emma liked it, so it was a go.

Emma and Elizabeth were pretty excited to go to school today.  They got to walk to the high school for a special showing of the high school play.  This meant less time for afternoon Halloween party and candy.  (Yay!)  When they got home, it was time to get ready for the church Trunk or Treat.

I scoped out our new yard to find a good spot for pictures and found one.
 Tinkerbell (aka Maddie) had a WHOLE LOT of hairspray in her hair to get it to stay in a bun.  I asked my friend Rachel (who has cut and highlighted my hair) how to get Maddie's hair to stay.  Any time I put up her hair into anything, it falls down in about an hour.  Rachel suggested "back combing" and using a whole lot of hair spray.  Her hair stayed pretty well once the texture was no longer "slippery."
 Annie insisted on wearing her cowboy boots.
Elizabeth showing her "scary" mummy face.
I found two ninja daggers for 97 cents at the store, so I bought them so Annabeth could have her dagger.  Not exactly Greek style, but Annabeth seemed pleased.  She kept pointing it at me while I took pictures.
And her new owl earrings.
We figured it was ok for Annabeth to be a brunette since the movie actress is decidedly not blonde.

We had fun at the carnival and the trunk or treat later.  One of the carnival games was to throw pennies in to glass glasses.  The High Priest group was in charge of that one.  I thought it was awfully brave of them to use fragile glasses.  Then I realized that once the kids threw a penny into the glass, it was picked up and given to the kids.  Um... why?  Who thought this was a good idea?  Ryan and I were among many parents carrying a couple of brown paper lunch sacks around the church.  We looked like a bunch of winos carrying our hard liquor in paper bags.  Happy Halloween!

Once home, we surveyed the loot.
The kids made out.  The candy may or may not have been pilfered after the kids went to bed....

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Preschool Halloween Party

Annie and Maddie went to preschool in costume today.  They wanted to wear their Halloween costumes, but I persuaded them to choose some princess dresses from the dress up box.  (Persuasion in the form of, "Nope, you can't wear those.  Those are for Halloween.  I know you want to wear those, but we aren't wearing those today...  Look at all these pretty dresses.  How about one of these?")

The first part of preschool was the same as usual.  I went home and prepared the craft I was in charge of, and made some Ritz cracker and pretzel spiders for lunch.  I am so prepared.

I arrived in time for games.  First the kids played "Ghost, Ghost, Witch" in the spirit of duck, duck, goose.
 Then we made my silly spiders.  We made them from painted black paper plates, construction paper legs and "googly" eyes.
 Next there was a pumpkin walk.
 All of the girls were in princess dresses.
Kennedy, Annie, Mali and Maddie.

Then we had the limbo.
 How low can you go?
 There were a couple of other games, but I was one of the moms in the kitchen preparing lunch, so I didn't get any other pictures.
 My Ritz and pretzel spiders, string cheese and pretzel stick broom sticks, chocolate chow mein noodle spiders and pumpkin pancakes.  I have some mad frosting skills, don't I?  I think I missed my calling as a decorator.  Not.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Carving Pumpkins

Tonight we carved our Halloween pumpkins.  We had three pumpkins left over from Ryan's fair display, and I bought another one for a grand total of four pumpkins for four little girls.  We let Emma and Elizabeth loose with their pumpkin carving "knives" (not sharp, trust me) this year.  Ryan and I were allowed to help Annie and Maddie, although they weren't excited about it.  They would much rather have done their own.  Ryan used his drywall cutter on the pumpkins this year.

The finished projects.  Maddie, Emma, Elizabeth and Annie

Visit with Grandpa

We visited my grandpa today.  Here are a couple of pictures we took in the few minutes we spent with him.  He was pretty sleepy, but was happy to see us.  He kept thanking us for coming, and asked us to come again.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Seriously, I'm not sure why I went to Walmart today.  I ran out of fabric for Elizabeth's Halloween costume, and a half of a yard of fabric would fix that.  Surely, a quick run in and out of Walmart would be an easy fix to my problem.

Well, after all was said and done, this is the letter I wrote to the store:

Today I tried to purchase a half of a yard of fabric.  It should have been straight forward and a quick purchase.  After selecting a cheap off white fabric, I walked up to the counter, but was unable to find a way to reach an associate.  I flagged down someone from paint, and had them call for someone.  And then I waited 10 minutes.  Finally, I cut my own half yard, and left it there on the counter to prove that I was only wanting a half yard.  A tire center worker walked by, and I asked if he could print off my fabric sticker so I could be on my way.  He couldn't; he said he needed a checker code, which he did not have.  But he would call someone for me.  So I waited another 5 minutes after the second call for help, and no one came.  I was done waiting, so I took my 3 other items in my cart and the fabric up to the front checkers.  I showed the checker the bolt of fabric and tried to explain I was buying a half of a yard (half of $2.97 is roughly $1.50- I even did the math for her) and it really proved challenging for her to grasp.  I explained again- The price sticker on the bolt was $2.97 FOR ONE YARD, and I wanted only a HALF a yard.  Finally we figured it out, and left her with the bolt of remaining fabric.  I left the store trying to remind myself of why I had even tried to use your store in the first place.  Even as a resident of [my town], I really try to use your store as little as possible.  I have had a number of unpleasant experiences at your branch and I try to do as much of my shopping at Costco, Winco, and other out of town stores as I can.  Frankly, I don't think you care very much, as I have written in the past about some of these experiences in the 8 years we've lived in the area, once even about your poorly run fabric counter.  
PS If you are worried about your revenue losses, you should consider no longer having your chicken poppers in a cup.  Sometimes I wonder how many of those actually make it to the check out counter, versus the amount of empty containers I see left in the aisles.  I'm so glad you spend your efforts on checking my receipts as I leave the store, after I've spent forever waiting in line to be checked out in the first place, as it seems standard procedure to make sure the lines are at least 4 people deep .  I'm sure your people have x-ray vision and can tell all those things in bags are matched up to everything on the receipt.

As you might be able to tell, I was feeling sarcastic and grumpy by the end of my visit to the store.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ok, Seriously Sunday?

We stayed up late last night.  Ryan and I went and played games with 3 other couples for our night out.  Emma and Elizabeth were sneaky and stayed up until we got home.  At 11 pm.  Not cool at all.

The sun came up this morning, and most of us in the house groaned and hid from it.  We didn't quite make it to Sacrament Meeting.  We could have been 20 minutes late, but judging from every one's mood.. it was better not to treat the chapel and its inhabitants to our grumpiness.  Or rather, we would not have lasted long in our pew and would have spent the meeting in the foyer.  So we made it in time for Sunday School.

The kids and I spent the next two hours in the chapel preparing for next week's Primary Program.  As the last two weeks were General and Stake Conference, it's been a while since we've practiced.  It did not run smoothly.  It took all two hours to run through the program once.  Once.  For a program that should run 35-45 minutes, this is not good.

I was also a little miffed that no one noticed that no one noticed my new haircut.  I have bangs now.  I apparently do a really good job blending in with my surroundings.

I was ready for a nice, quiet afternoon.  Maybe a movie for the kids, maybe a nap for me.

Did not happen.

Once done with our late lunch, it was time to clean up and get ready for our home teacher to come.  Then it was time to make cookies for Ryan to take to his home teaching families.  Ryan was off, and I sat down with the twins on the couch for some dozing time.

Well, I got to finish the last few pages of our book club selection so I can pass it along to the next person, and got to deal with fighting kids and wiping bums and other pressing matters of business.  But no nap.

About the time I was starting dinner, Ryan arrived home.  He had kind of a funny look on his face, and blood on his polo shirt.  On further inspection, he had an ugly, open cut in his left eyebrow.  He was going to need stitches.  But wasn't he a good husband for telling me ahead of time, this time?

Oh Sunday.  This was not the day of rest I was needing.

Ryan now has 4 stitches, but you can't tell too much due to his Bert-style uni-brow.  The PA who stitched him up said he was not to pluck his eyebrows until the stitches come out.  I assume he said this in jest, as no one would ever accuse Ryan of plucking his eyebrows.  Ever.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Home Improvement

Since becoming homeowners again, we've been putting Ryan's mad fix-it-man skills to the test.  Ryan has put in a railing for the stairs in front of the front door.  He's installed railings on the two stairways inside the house.  He has done some tweaking with plumbing, caulking, and installed a new dryer vent.  I was pretty excited the day he put in a light fixture in our master bath.  

Our master bathroom has a couple little lights in the ceiling, as well as a sky light, but nothing above the sink and mirror.  It's a little tricky to do hair and make-up being back lit.  I'm sure being back lit is good for for some things, but not for this.  Every day I was treated to a good look at the fly aways on my head.
 There were (hot) wires sticking out of the wall, and a switch for a fixture.  But no fixture.
 There's my hot, do-it-yourself hubby.
And then there was light.  Let me tell you, it's a lot easier to pluck eyebrows and apply eyeliner with light.

The biggest project we hired out.  The propane furnace was (we had been told) inefficient and extremely expensive.  The threat of a monthly price tag of $400 of propane was enough to push us to make a change.  So, for a mere few thousand dollars, we pulled out the old furnace-
and had the construction dudes who are (still) remodeling the high school put in an electric furnace and heat pump/ac unit.  We did that back in September when we figured we would be ok to be without air conditioning and heat for 5 days.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Long Sunday

We had our local Stake Conference this last Sunday, following hard on the heels of General Conference.  For those of you who don't know, General Conference is broadcast from our church headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.  We listen to our prophet and other "general" authorities, including apostles and other area leaders.  Then there's Stake Conference (no reference to meat "steaks" here, which has disappointed a new member or two, including my husband's family), which is the gathering of several local "wards" or congregations of an area.  We meet in the Stake Center, which is built bigger than the usual ward meeting houses.

Well, being the morning people that we are, we were up and running.... at about 8 am.  This meant we didn't exactly fly out the door at 9 to be to church a little before 10 am.  We were only about 8 minutes late walking in.  By that point, all the "cushy" pews were filled, and we got to be the late losers sitting in the back row.

About a half hour into the meeting, a little girl about 18 months had had enough of sitting quietly with her parents and older sister, who was around the twins' age.  She started wandering.  Her parents seemed to be cool with that.  The little girl slid through the back of the folding metal chair and into our row.  Now, we had arrived late and the 6 of us were crammed onto 5 metal chairs.  It's not like we had a lot of room.  Adding one more little girl did not help matters.  This little girl helped herself to our toys, crayons and paper, and crackers.

And she did not go back to her mom.

For an hour.

Near the end of that time, the girl was banging one of our magnetic doodle pads on one of the chairs, causing a big racket.  By this time, the girl had moved from being cute to being a nuisance, and I was not about to try to shush her.  About every 5 minutes or so the mom would turn around and tell the little girl to be quiet.  The little girl wouldn't respond, and the mom would turn around to listen to the speakers again.  I was giving the back of that mom's head the stink eye.

Clearly I was getting a lot from the meeting.  I hadn't heard one word a speaker had said after about 11 am.  Maddie started saying, "This is a long church."  I had to agree.

Finally the mom decided her daughter was making too much racket, and took her out of the room.

Time dragged on, but we made it to noon.  The meeting was supposed to be done, but the last speaker was still going on about something.  (I never heard what, though.)  Then we had the closing hymn (sang all verses of Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel), and then listened to a very long (although I'm sure heartfelt) closing prayer.  Once it was all over, and we thought we could escape, we couldn't.

One of the ladies in our home ward was babysitting 4 children, and had car trouble.  She wasn't sure she would make it back ok, and thought it would be better to have others take the kids back home, as their parents were due back from their anniversary trip any time.  So, we waited around to gather Emma's friend.  And waited.  Finally, we could leave.

We figured we would just go home and feed the starving kids their lunch before taking the friend home.  This friend of Emma's, while very smart and articulate, might need to work on her manners.  She walked in our front door, and made some comment to Emma about, "Doesn't your mom decorate your house?"

Um, yah.  I do.  Our dad isn't an orthodontist, and we just bought a house more than twice the size of our last one.  Our budget hasn't allowed for a lot of new furniture and stuff in the last two two months, so the front living room is still pretty sparse.

On that happy note, Ryan and I thought we should invite another family over for dinner.

Four invites later..... I'd had enough rejection for one day, thank you very much.  So we picked a 5 pound bucket of grapes and canned some grape juice.  Ha!  Take that- mean and rotten Sunday.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Field Trip to the Farm

Recently the twins' preschool class, and a lot of other preschool aged kids, went on a "field trip" to a local farm.  And when I say "preschool aged kids," I define the term very loosely.  It started out as Annie and Maddie's preschool class, and then we decided it would be fun to invite other moms with young kids as well.  Plus a couple of moms who home school.  So, a diverse group of kids is really what I mean when I say, "preschool aged kids."  
 The kids got to go on an Animal Train ride.

A hay ride.
 Pumpkin hunting.

 And playing.

At the end, we were given fresh pumpkin donuts and a tiny Dixie cup of apple juice.  They were gone too fast for me to photograph.  Yum!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Dentist

I went to the dentist this morning while Annie and Maddie were at preschool.  It was kind of nice not to have to find a babysitter.  I was there a couple of minutes early, so I sat down and looked at one of the magazines.  Ah, bliss.  Then I was called back by a hygenist I haven't seen before.  (We've been going to the same dentist for the last 8 years or so.)

As I settled in the chair, there was the familiar discussion of how to pronounce my name.  (Duh-nay.  Rhymes with Janae and Renae.  Why is that so hard?)  My hygenist of the day said she was going to sit this time.  Usually she stands while cleaning teeth.  (Seriously?  Does that sound odd to anyone else?)  

I was tilted back in my chair, and she grabbed her metal picks.  

Now, going to the dentist has never been a favorite of mine.  Sharp metal objects and strange people in my face does not lend itself to relaxing.  It's not like I was preparing to take a nap or anything.  I was prepared to be a little uncomfortable.  But I wasn't exactly prepared for what happened.

To say this lady did not have a gentle touch would be a huge understatement.  I peeked at her after the 2nd tooth to make sure she wasn't angry or something.  Was she trying to see if she could "give" me a cavity with her sharp pointy whatever-it-is-called?  I was half prepared to see The Hulk staring back at me.
My lower jaw has a tendency to "pop" or kind of get stuck momentarily.  That's on a regular day, especially after whatever crazy hormones ravaged my body when I was pregnant with the twins.  This lady was pressing down on my jaw pretty hard and I just knew my jaw was going to have issues for the next couple of days.  So did I say something?  Nope.  I thought about it though.  But what to say?  "Hey- that hurts!  I know I'm paying you to scrape my teeth, but lighten up, would ya?"

She rinsed my mouth, and sucked it dry, a lot more than anyone else ever has.  In fact, she would keep sucking out moisture until I was about bone dry.  She must not like saliva at all, which is a little odd considering her profession.  Or maybe it was the blood.  My gums were scraped a lot more than usual.  I was just waiting for the "You need to floss more" comments.  But maybe she thinks all gums look like that during a cleaning, since it never came.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

General Conference Time

Once upon a time General Conference Sunday meant getting on your Sunday best and driving to the Stake Center early to get a seat on the "cushy" benches.  (Better than those folding metal chairs for the late losers, right, parents of mine?)  

Now, courtesy of the internet, we can enjoy listening to our church leaders in the comfort of our own home.  We hooked up our laptop to the tv, and plugged some computer speakers to the laptop, and we were set.  This is Ryan and the girls spent the morning session.

Today our "Sunday best" consisted of a variety of styles: pjs, shorts and a t-shirt, and dress up clothing.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Legend of the Mustang

Ryan is the one Ag teacher/FFA advisor at the high school, so he covers a range of subjects during the course of the day.  One day last week, the subject touched on (briefly) wild horses and mustangs.  One of the kids wanted to know how mustangs got their name.  I mean, after all a sport car was named after these particular wild horses, so they must be cool.  Ryan said he didn't know.

That was unacceptable.  He's the teacher and has to know these things.

The gauntlet was thrown down.  If he "has" to know everything, well, they were going to get the story.

It all started at a Mariner's baseball game a long time ago.  There were a couple of guys eating hot dogs, and because they were real men, their hot dogs only had mustard.  While they were watching the game and eating their hot dogs, a bunch of wild horses ran through the baseball field and then through the stands of spectators.  One particular horse came really close to the guys eating hot dogs.  These guys jumped out of the way, and one of the fellows squeezed his hot dog and mustard squirted out all over his clothes.  He was angry about his one good shirt being ruined, so he said, "Mus- dang!"  Many others heard him say this phrase as the wild horses were running past (because he said it pretty loudly), and thought that was what the horses were called.  The name spread, and since not everyone completed a lot of education at that time, and no one had spell check, "Mus-dang" became "Mustang."

The end.

The sad thing is, Ryan only had about 3 kids in the entire classroom who looked like maybe their teacher was full of baloney.

Monday, October 1, 2012

My Great Idea

When we moved into our new house, I had this great idea to make the kids just a little more self-sufficient.  We had all kinds of kitchen cupboard space and water available in the refrigerator door, so I left the plastic cups down low where all the kids could reach them.  This way, instead of responding to, "I'm thirsty," 30 times a day, they could get their own cups of water.
I thought I was so smart for about one day.

The refrigerator door also dispenses ice.  Ice that spews everywhere when the button is pressed by small hands.

Annie and Maddie also developed a new game.  Fill up a cup with water, walk it across the floor dripping all the way, and pour it down the sink drain.  (Ahem, Pergo flooring is not ideal in the kitchen.)

I felt like I was going through with a towel, mopping up spills about every 20 minutes.  I was going to go crazy trying to protect that silly floor.  I just kept telling myself, "This is just a phase."

And it was.  The door dispenser has lost much of its appeal.  The kids are back to asking me for drinks, and I have to remind them that they can get their own.