Thursday, September 29, 2011


Right now I'm wondering why I wrote 40 something in my About Me section of my blog because before I know it I'll have to change it to 50 something then 60 something--and still trying to figure out what I want to be besides old when I grow up.

Currently I have chosen the glamorous job of substitute teacher.  Not a real teacher because then I would have to do lesson plans and go to parent teacher conferences and do beaucoup de paper work which is right up there with shaving my legs and going to the dentist.  But today I subbed in 2nd grade and they said I was the nicest sub they'd ever had (how many subs can you have by the beginning of 2nd grade?) and they wished I could be their real teacher probably because their real teacher does not play the quiet game with them or do the Happy Dance.  And what's not to be happy about when you are in 2nd grade and you get to go to recess and eat corn dogs for lunch and read Junie B. Jones?

But sometimes subbing is not so great like when you are the ONLY teacher on recess duty and somebody is wetting their pants (besides you because you haven't had a break all day) and somebody else has playground gravel in their knees and you cannot let them into the school because you cannot be trusted with a key because you might run to Home Depot during lunch and make a copy of the key and break into the school at night and steal all of the Rubber Cement because man oh man is that stuff fun. But you can be trusted to protect 100 second-second graders from any gunmen or raving lunatics who may invade the playground.  And protect them you will because you are making so much money and they love you more than their own teacher because you can do one mean Happy Dance.

Subbing is also not great when you are at the middle school and your students ask if your grand kids go to their school and you put a big black mark by their names and then try to laugh it off, telling yourself how foolish middle schoolers are, and then the teacher in the next classroom introduces himself and he is one of your children's childhood friends. . . or when you are subbing a special ed class and somebody asks you if you are in the class. . .

But it's all good because at the end of the day you turn in your badge, go home, eat chocolate chips with handfuls of marshmallows because you haven't had time to go to the store and buy anything else, tell your son, who says you are the meanest mom in the world, that Mrs. W's second-grade class thinks you're the bomb-diggety, blog about your day, and wait for that big ol' fat pay check to come.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Not in my Backyard--But Feel Free to Come Inside

Last week I came home from running errands as opposed to real running which makes you sweaty, short of breath and gives you shin splints.The errands I run are mostly things like taking back 2 week over-due library books, buying milk because we've been out for 3 days,and running the kiddy shuttle. 

But I squirrel. . . Anywhoo, in my cul-de-sac there were several police cars, okay two, but it's a little cul-de-sac, another car and a 20 year-oldish, non-hoodlumish looking young man up against one of the police cars having a bright light shined in his baby face.

This was big news in my quiet little neighborhood so I opened the front door and said, "Hello family (minus the husband because he was at work), have you looked outside?  There are police cars in our circle."

They said, "Yeah, we know.  They've already searched the backyard for drugs."

Apparently, our neighbor who is a policeman saw a suspicious car and in the "hood" and pulled up behind it.  He got out and looked in the backseat and I guess the non-hoodlumish looking 20 something-year-old was mixing drugs in the backseat which apparently is not at all like mixing ingredients for cookies or colors for a painting.  He bolted, ran through the school yard, hopped our neighbor's fence and ran across his yard and then hopped our fence and ran through our yard and then was caught in my cul-de-sac.

The police suspected that he tossed the drugs, which were in a red balloon, during the chase.  Hence the search in our backyard.  My kids were all tres excited and participated in the drug hunt with more enthusiasm than last year's Easter Egg Hunt. They found several pieces of balloon from summer water fights, inedible Tootsie Rolls, headless action-figures and tennis balls, but alas--no drugs.  So lucky me I have a drug-free backyard because he threw them in someone else's backyard or maybe this explains why my dog has been so darn happy. . .  

I wanted my children, who never lock the doors, to be just a leetle bit fearful, a leetle bit traumatized, a leetle bit repentant.  I whipped out my trusty pointer finger and commenced with the "What If" lecture.  "What if that crazed druggie had just slipped in the back door?  What if he decided to take hostages?" Point, point, point.

What I wanted, was expecting was this: Oh mom, we're so sorry.  You are always right.  I don't know why we ever ignore your wise counsel.  We'll never leave the door unlocked again.  No NEVER!

This scene should be followed by extreme groveling, crying, and promises for clean rooms, chocolate and foot-rubs.

But alas, this is what I got: But he didn't come in. 

These kids are quick and witty I tell you.

When the biggest kid of all, and the loudest advocate of unlocked doors-- my husband got home, and I told him the whole scary tale ending with the merits of locking doors and a little bit more finger pointing, he said, "I don't think we have anything to worry about."

"How so?" I asked.

"Well, in 26 years of marriage, this is the first time a crazed drug dealer has run through our backyard without coming in the house.  I think we're good for another 26 years," he said.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Help Yourself

I loved reading Brittany's posts last week about gratitude.  Focusing on someone else's problems is always a great shot in the arm for poor-me-syndrome.  It's like the man who feels sorry for himself because he has no shoes, until he meets the man who has no feet.  I have feet and I have shoes--more than one pair, so I am one lucky chick.

A couple of years ago we took a family vacation to Mexico to work in an orphanage.  We took 5 of our 7 children, the oldest being 19, the youngest 8.  We bent rebar, mixed cement, plastered walls, painted out-buildings and did general clean-up.  After a good day's work, we played with our new friends.  We rode bikes with the toddlers and small children and cuddled the sweet babies in the nursery.  We went swimming, played "street" hockey and soccer.  After a week of hard work and sleeping on a cement floor, my children, even the 8 year-old said it was the best vacation they'd ever had and yes, we had been to Disneyland just a few months before.

So, to get to the point, serving is fun and this past weekend my family got to have lots of fun.  Friday evening we were able, with our ward (church group), to help host the carnival for the Kauri Sue Hamilton School.  This is a school for kids with special needs. Saturday we were able to run participate in the Kickin' it for Kendra 5k.  Even my 11 year-old son who complained when we woke him up early and said his body ached all over, had a great time. 

Bottom line is, when you help someone else, you're really helping yourself.

Tess playing "street" hockey

Morganne and Bri riding bikes with the toddlers

Morganne playing soccer--me in the background being goalie

Me and my sister-in-law Robyn standing by a building we just painted

Bri, in the background, plastering walls
Me, visiting the nursery
Cassie, crafting with her new friends

Luke painting rocks

Ric with his brother Rod working with cement

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Buckle Up For Safety and Other Reasons. . .

Several years ago when my oldest daughter was 5 or 6, she was in the backseat of the car with her brother while I was driving on a busy road.  We stopped at a traffic light and a white, ghastly butt appeared in the rear window of the car ahead of us.  The mooner was targeting the car to my left.  Unfortunately, we got a better view than the intended victim.

Not being able to do much, I used this as a teaching moment.  "That man is doing a very bad thing.  We should never do that."

From the backseat my daughter agreed with me.  "Yeah, he took off his seat belt."

I don't know why I've been thinking about that story.  Maybe it's because my "baby" turned 11 yesterday and the oldest will turn 25 on Thursday.  Have I taught them anything?  Did they learn what I was trying to teach them?

Or are they picking up all the wrong things like when my 2nd daughter said to me, "We don't say bad words like dang or shoot.  We only say words like crap. . ." 

So, kids, if you are reading, here's some quick reminders:

It's nice to be important but it's more important to be nice. 

Never suppress a generous thought.

Don't hate people.  It takes too much energy and makes you ugly.

Fair is a place you take a pig and you win a prize.  Life is not fair.

Let other people win.  It makes them feel good and it will make you feel good too.

If not now, when?  If not you, then who?

Your integrity and your morals should never be compromised.

Play hard.

Work harder.

Don't do stupid things.

And always wear your seat belt.

Friday, September 9, 2011

I am a Winner Winner

The last thing I won was a French dictionary playing bingo in my 7th grade French class.  The thrill of that victory has kept me going all these years, but alas, I must admit that it was wearing thin.  So, I was tres (that means very in French) excited to be presented with these two awards from Cortney.  Click on her name and you'll be wisked away to her cute blog.

If I knew how in the heck to get these bad-boys on my side-bar, I would.  But I'm sure some of you more experienced bloggers, or my 11 year-old can tell me.

As for my acceptance speech, I would like to thank my husband who serves as my right arm and my left brain and who would be mortified if he knew that I was blogging about him again.  I would also like to thank my daughter "cool beans" for leaving such insightful comments on my blog.  And I certainly have to thank my entire family, immediate and extended, my funny neighbor whose initials are Raelynn, and my many pets and Costco for giving me so many things to blog about. 

Aaahhh, merci beaucoup (Dang where's that dictionary? Does beaucoup have an e on the end???) 

Now it's my turn to pass it on. By accepting these, I agree to:

1. Thank and link to the person who nominated me. -check

2. Share 7 random facts about myself. -will do

3. Pass the award to 5 blogger friends -will do

4. Contact and congratulate the nominated blogs. -will do

7 Random Facts About Myself in addition to the 10ish random facts I previously shared.  (It's a good thing I am so random.)
1.  I am terrified of the ocean, but if I could be any animal I'd be a whale.
2.  I have 7 children and between them and me, we've had 18 broken arms.  (My husband does not break things.  He finds and fixes things.)  "Cool Beans" has had 7 of them.  (And yes, I still have custody of my children.)
3.  My favorite vacations have been working in an orphanage in Mexico and re-enacting pioneer treks.
4.  I had a lot of pets growing up.  My brothers and I counted how many animals (of all different sorts and  cow sizes--did I say cow?) are buried in the yard of the house we grew up in and we got well over 50.  Can you say pet cemetery?
5.  I have no sense of direction.  I could get lost in my own house.
6.  I am a Mormon.
7.  I was on the show Romper Room and was reprimanded by Miss Julie for cheating during the game Sometimes I'm Small. . .  It took a long time to get over that one.

Voila, here is who I am passing the awards to:
(drum roll)
And the winners are in no particular order:


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wednesday's Warrior

Okay, totally corny name for I post I know. . .  But I was just thinking that there are so many people that inspire me that once I week I want to spotlight one of them. 

Kendra is my daughter's age.  They have played on the same soccer team for about 4 or 5 years.  At the end of May, Kendra was in an accident that left her in a wheelchair.  Almost daily I have read reports about Kendra.  Initially she couldn't move at all and could only communicate by blinking.  In one post her mom said, "I used to feel sorry for kids in wheelchairs.  Now I just wish my daughter could be in one." 

Kendra has suffered greatly and accomplished much. Throughout the entire summer while her friends were off to girl's camp and boating and hanging out at the mall, she quietly, uncomplainingly endured.   After lots of hard work, sweat, tears and prayers, she is in her wheelchair and finding her way around.

It has been humbling as she and her family have expressed gratitude for simple things like being able to talk, eat, breath, communicate, bathe, and visit with family and friends.  They have felt blessed.  Knowing them and watching Kendra's progress has blessed my life and helped me see the big picture.    

So thank you Kendra for motivating, inspiring me in oh so many ways.  You are my hero.

September 17th a fundraiser is being held for Kendra.  For more information you can go here,!/event.php?eid=272485906101391.  Or to sign up or make donations, you can go here,

Monday, September 5, 2011

Blog Challenge

As I've mentioned, I'm participating in Rachael Harrie's blog campaign and the first challenge has arrived:
Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." (also included in the word count)

For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!

For the record, my story is 186 words, but it does begin and end with the "challenge words."  You can go here to read all the entries.

So here goes:
                            Happy Birthday Leo

The door swung open.


Leo blinked and looked at the crowd pressing around him. “Excuse me,” he said.

Silence descended on the guests like winter as he exited the room. A soft click sounded as the bathroom door shut. Bright confetti fell from Joyce’s hand. The small child that had been trying to pop balloons moments before, clung to her leg pulling on her red sweater.

“Where’s Grandpa?”

Stu stepped to Joyce’s side wrapping his arm around her.

“Where’s Grandpa? The small voice asked again.

“Grandpa’s gone,” she said as much for the child’s sake as her own.

Stu’s voice raked the silence. “Thanks for coming everyone. “You all mean a great deal to Leo. He’ll be back shortly. Until then, why don’t we start in on this cake?”

Leo washed his hands and dried them. Then he washed them again and dried them once more.

He opened the door and looked for a familiar face. The woman in red looked pleasant. Maybe he would talk to her. But first, he would wash his hands. He turned to the sink as the door swung shut.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

10 Random Facts About Me

I'm taking part in a "blog campaign" and this was one of the challenges.

1.  I don't like to be the center of attention.  This post is difficult because I'm saying, hey everybody these are facts about me.  Sometimes those facts just come out when I blog and am telling a story, but now I feel like you're all looking at me and my fly's down and I have spinache in my teeth. . .

2.  I am not a competitive person but I love to watch sports.  All my kids have played a high school sport--b-ball and lacrosse.  If I played, first of all we'd lose and second, I'd be curled up in fetal position on the court or field.

3.  I have great ideas but have a hard time implementing them.  I'm more of a thinker than a doer. 

4.  I have a hard time making up my mind.  Wait no I don't.  Okay, yes I do.  But just sometimes.  Probably.

5.  I took type in the 7th grade (not on a computer but on a typewriter--your fingers own personal gym and manual return--don't forget the white-out) and I've been typing ever since.  Really.  I type just about everything I hear.  I type on my lap in my head with my tongue or teeth with my toes. . . It's a very subtle movement.  My husband didn't know I did it until a told him a couple years ago.  So annoying (the typing, not my husband).

6.  I can touch my elbows behind my back.  That, and playing the recorder in 3 different languages, is probably my only true talent.

7.  When I was little I made my family call me Cinderella for a few weeks, but the name never stuck.  Today, if I could change my name, I'd change it to Rachel.  But who knows about tomorrow.

8.  I still dream (although not quite as often) that I can't find my locker. . . or remember the combination. . . or remember what class I have when, or that I have a college class that I just forgot to go to all semester. . .

9.  I love the color green.  It makes me feel alive.  And who doesn't need to feel alive at 46? 

10.  I can and will eat just about anything.  Anything that's in front of me.  When it comes to eating, I have no off-switch.  I could easily down a whole pizza or a quart or two of icecream, a plate of cookies, a bag of chips just because it's there. . . But my favorite food is salad.  No, really.

11.  I was born a believer.  I've always felt God's love for me and I love Him.  I have experienced the power of the atonement in my life.

12. I'm not good at math.  I missed it most of 6th grade--would break out in hives and have to go to the sick room.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hello Costco

Dear Costco:
I was just wondering why you charge me $45.00 to shop in your warehouse as opposed to showroom and are only open from 10:00 a.m  – 8:30 p.m. instead of 6:00 a.m. -12:00 a.m. like my grocery store and then drive that sweeper thing up and down every isle I’m shopping on and then get frustrated when I move to where the sweeper man points when he’s really pointing to where he’s going to go.  If I wanted an experience like this, I would cross the freeway at night wearing black and carrying a 40 pack of Capri Suns. 
Maybe you could sweep while the store is closed.  Just a thought.


Dear Me:
Why in the heck do you shop at Costco?  Those little samples are making you fat even if you are walking a mile to the store because there are no closer parking spots and pushing around that flatbed shopping cart with 220 lbs. of rock salt and 3 children on top.  Is gallon sized olive oil, Jack’s Special Salsa, uncooked flour tortillas, 5 lb. bags of broccoli that end up molding in your fridge really worth it?
And what about that lady that comes and scans your card each time you’re in line to make sure you’re on their ultimate, super-duper, uber, Costco mega-plan where you get cash back for paying $45.00 a year plus more $$ that you can’t remember the amount of because the kids were jumping off the rock salt and begging for pizza and churros (who are those people that always eat lunch at Costco anyway?) and the cashier was asking for your Costco card and if you want boxes----anyway, don’t you find her annoying?  I mean every single time.      
But then there was that couch you bought there and ended up hating that you took back a week later out of the box and they gave you a full refund, no questions asked. And then there are all those great deals at the photo center that you are always blowing your money on.   And then there was that time that your kids were hungry and you needed dinner and you went to Costco and ate all the samples and didn’t buy anything
So who am I to ask why you shop at Costco?  But next time you go will you pick me up a big bag of peanut MnMs?