9 New Year’s Resolutions for 2009

This has been a big year for changes in our household. I quit my job of almost a decade, Daycare. YEAH! I'm now employed fulltime with a steady paycheck and PAID TIME OFF! What more could one ask for? Well, maybe more free time, but that is only a matter of better time management on my part. So in an effort to become a better manager of my time I have outlined a few goals for myself.

1. Watch more TV. Since I started working I don't watch more than about 2-3 hours of TV a week and I feel that void in my life.

2. Finish at least two books this year. I used to read a lot more than that but that also has fallen by the wayside since I started working.

3. Make a menu and stick to it at least two times a week. I usually don't have a problem making a menu and shopping for those items, but when I get home from work all good intentions fly out the window as I'm tired and the kids don't usually like what's on the menu.

4. Clean my bathrooms at least once a month. Since I started working this doesn't get done very often. You think I'd have the kids do it, but then I just have to come in after them and redo it since they still haven't figured out how to do housecleaning to my standards.

5. Get the mail daily. This has also fallen by the wayside. It is no longer the Long Awaited Daily Trip Outside that it used to be.

6. Call my friends and family more often. Now that I'm not home all day I have to really plan and make time to call my friends and sisters since I can't just pick up the phone whenever I want.

7. Remember to charge my cell phone every night and take it to work every day. My "smart phone" drains the battery every day. And I usually forget to charge it at least once a week, wreaking havoc the next day when I leave for work, at least when I remember to take it to work cuz I usually forget once a week. Then when I try to text the kids to see how they're doing, I can't and I have to call them.

8. Master Guitar Hero. My favorite game! Nothing more needs to be said. This will take quite a bit of time since I'm still on the easy level.

9. And remember "Less is More" whenever I'm in the store.

Wait! I see a trend here! If I quit working I could accomplish all these goals and more! Boy, working sure takes a lot of time out of your life! Who would have known?


The Aftermath of Christmas Treats

Christmas Day was quite uneventful at our house, despite the fact that there was mad unwrapping of presents, paper flying all through the air, and children squealing in delight. As usual those kids of ours made out like bandits! The Jolly Old Man brought the kids a Wii! They were so delighted and ecstatic to FINALLY have a Wii like everyone else in the world. Baby has been playing Lego Star Wars nonstop. Middle Child turned off his Nintendo DS for a few minutes yesterday in order to play Guitar Hero Aerosmith, one of the best games ever invented!

Olaf and I got some nice things from each other and Santa. But the best present of all was the new carpet cleaner stuck in a big box under the tree. As I opened it Olaf told me I could return it but thought it would be good since we have a dog. I figured we'd keep it cuz we sure could use it occasionally.

That night after I had put the kids to bed and turned on Guitar Hero Aerosmith and played for a while, Olaf, at the computer playing, looked in the other room at Tank and asked, "Are you all right Tank?" After asking this several times over the next ten minutes he turned to me and said "I think our dog has a cold."

I put the guitar down and went to check on him. I didn't know you could tell when a dog has a cold. Turns out he didn't have a cold. I flipped on the light and saw splashes of puke on the sofa blanket from the poor dry heaving dog. I sent him outside and threw the blanket in the washer. We let him back in and then as soon as he would start dry heaving I sent him back out for a few minutes. Unfortunately it was snowing and very cold and I didn't have the heart to leave him out for very long. Olaf went and put a big blanket over Baby's bed and Tank went to sleep with his boy. Unfortunately he still wasn't feeling good and soon he had puked all over the end of the blanket and it trickled down to Baby's regular quilt, pillow shams and blankets put on the ground to be out of Tank's reach, and finally the floor.

At this point I got a little frustrated. I put that dog back outside while I gathered up more things that needed washing. I then decided I wanted to go to sleep, it was midnight. So I took the pillow out of the kennel and put in a blanket. Then I wrapped a big huge blanket over the top and sides of the kennel. Then I let Tank back in and put him in the kennel and hoped he wouldn't get too sick. And if he did I hoped the blanket would catch any messes from flying all over the house.

In the morning I got up and noticed he had only gotten sick once, and of course most of it landed on the floor, but at least we have that cool new Carpet Cleaner. So I put the contraption together while I waited for my friend to shower. This way Olaf could get to work right away when he got home and wouldn't have to waste time. And then I went shopping with that freshly showered friend of mine.

And Tank was fine by morning. We don't know what he got into but it was probably some of the enormous amounts Christmas treats we have laying around the house.

Hope you had a Merry Christmas with your family!


Christmas Eve & Other Adventures

Every year we have a Christmas Eve party with the paternal relatives of Olaf's. It's always a lot of fun and the only time the whole family is organized to get together and visit. I love this tradition and it has been going on for several generations. Usually Santa comes but this year his invitation wasn't sent out soon enough, so he made other plans. But it was still great to see people we don't see very often, if not since last Christmas Eve Party.

Our drive home was quite adventurous though. We told the boys they could open a present at home since Santa hadn't come and given them a present this year.

Middle Child: Can we pick our own presents to open?

Me: No, I'll pick them out.

Baby: So you're kidding, we get to pick our own presents, right?

Me: I think I'll pick your presents.

Olaf: Or you can wait til tomorrow.

Baby: Christmas is tomorrow! I can hardly wait!! It feels like 5 more days it's so far away!

Me: Why don't you try to fall asleep? The sooner you fall asleep the sooner tomorrow comes! (even though I've been telling them this for years they don't seem to believe me and never take my advice.)

Middle Child: I'm so thirsty! Can I have a drink?

Me: We didn't bring you anything to drink. You should have drank more at the party.

Middle Child: I had plenty to drink! I'm dying!

Baby: You will pull over at the next gas station and get me and Middle Child a drink!

Middle Child: Even if it's only water!

Olaf to me: Love how they're telling us what to do like they control us.
Olaf to them: You will make it home just fine.

Baby: So we get to pick our own presents?

Me: When do you want to open them?

Baby: You're just kidding, right?

Middle Child: My stomach is getting groggy!

A little later, Middle Child: My brain is taking 80% of the water out of my body, it's dry.

Olaf: New symptoms for dehydration. Now I know what else to look for.

Baby: Christmas is taking forever!

Baby: Mamma Mia!

Me: Where did you learn that? (I promise he hasn't seen the movie)

Baby: Whenever I lose Donkey Kong says it.

Olaf: Yeah, didn't you know Mario & Luigi are Italian?!?!?

Middle Child: Dad, pull over and let Mom drive. Then we'll get home sooner!

Me: Dad is driving fast enough! We're almost home anyway, well at least more than halfway.

This is a small sampling of our conversation on the hour long drive home from Salt Lake City.

We Wish You All a Merry Christmas!


Happy Birthday!

Yesterday would have been Calvin's 14th birthday. I can't believe he was going to be that old. But then I thought that when he turned 12. Maybe now that he's old enough to be done passing the sacrament at church I won't cry every time I see the other boys passing it on Sunday. I doubt that will happen because there aren't enough 12 and 13-year-olds so he would still be passing the sacrament on Sundays, cuz he likes to help out others.

It was a day to remember yesterday. I came home early from work cuz I just didn't want to be there anymore. I know I feel that way most days, but I felt like yesterday was different, so I just left at lunchtime. Came home to Olaf plowing snow off sidewalks, driveways, and our little tiny dead-end street. (Guess what! I live on a private drive! I just learned last week the road is owned by the farmer, not the city. No wonder I have to call for them to plow snow every other year! And now I understand why our mailbox is off to the side of our house instead of being in front since that's not a public street.) He went to his sister's house and took the boys with him, on a sled pulled by the 4-wheeler! They called me from Sister Nurse's house needing clothing since they were soaked. It's only 1 1/4 miles to her house but they managed to fall off as much as possible. Boys!

That night we had decided to go out for dinner. We got ready to brave the third snowstorm. I had been storming off and on all day. And each storm would dump three to six inches. We got a candle and a jar and took it over the the gravesite. We lit the candle and left it there for him. I'm sure the falling wet snow snuffed the flame out quickly, but it was still going when we left. I had already received several calls from friends and family as had Chris to help us through the day. Just before we left we had a slew of visitors bringing us cards and treats to remember Calvin. One of his friends brought over a sign they had made and put it in the front yard. We discovered they had made two signs and put one at the grave.

We finally made it to dinner. We had Chinese because we were afraid Mexican would be too sad for us and we wanted to make it a positive and upbeat day. Afterwards we went to Walmart to do a little shopping for someone else's Christmas. That was fun! That is our new tradition on Calvin's birthday. He was such a good kid and loved helping others that we will continue that in his memory every year.

When we got home we caught some neighbors shoveling our driveway. They said they were hoping to get it done before we got there, but we had 'caught' them. We just have some of the best neighbors. All in all it was a pretty good day, other than missing Calvin.


Dinner Served!

Tonight for dinner I made this. It was a hit! It was easy and yummy. And the best part was EVERYONE liked it! Middle Child had to pick the onions out but he still liked the rest of it.

I hope this season is a good one for you all. We are surviving the holidays this year, but doing well nonetheless. Baby is sooooo excited for Christmas. He can hardly wait. It brings me back to my younger days when it seemed like Christmas couldn't get here fast enough. And then as soon as it was over I was thinking about the next year!

Merry Christmas!


Safety First

A reminder from Baby as we make a second snowy morning commute this week.

"Safety First. Not second, or third, or fourth, or any of those other numbers. But Safety First!"


Like Mother, Like Son

Today I asked Middle Child if he liked the Eragon series of books.

"Umm, I only read a little of the first one," he replied.

"Why?" I asked, quickly followed by Olaf's "Why?" This Middle Child of ours has a penchant for reading books several times over.

"Umm, umm, umm, I just didn't really get into it," he explained hesitantly.

"Why?" we asked again. "Did you not like it?"

"Umm, no, not really," he told us.

"Why?" we were flabbergasted! We hadn't met a book this kid didn't like, until today.

"Umm, umm, I just didn't like the writing," he tried to explain to us.

Olaf burst out laughing! "Oh, I've never heard that from anyone else in this family!"

Middle Child decided that maybe it was ok to not like a book. "Hee, hee! I guess that sounds like a certain girl in my family that isn't my grandmas or aunts or cousins or sister-in-laws."

"What?" we both asked, a little surprised about the last one.


Santa Drives a Sleigh Among Many Other Things

Our church has a regular Christmas party, as do most churches. And, yes, there is the usual program with singing and a reading of some sort and more singing and hopefully some musical numbers which include jazzy piano, lots of guitars and sometimes other instruments, since we have quite a bit of talent in our congregation amongst the grown up crowd. And we always have dinner with lots of Do-You-Really-Want-to-Know-What's-In-That-Dish Potluck items to complement the cheap ham bought at the local grocery store heated up especially for this night. And the jewel of the evening is the visit from Santa. There were a few years when the Jolly Man didn't get to come and I was as bummed as the kids.

One of the best things about the Christmas party is the ability to hang out with my own friends while the children run the halls with their friends, causing all sorts of havoc, thus the need for ALL doors to be shut and locked. While they run and eat candy, run some more while grabbing more handfuls of candy, you can feel the excitement build during the musical program. And I get to gab socially with the few people who deem themselves lowly enough to associate with me and my conversation which always seem to run in the inappropriate direction no matter how hard I try to stay calm and good.

This year the under-12 children sang 'Away In the Manger'. The boys were supposed to sing the non-soprano part of the chorus in an attempt to show their manliness before their voice makes that change separating them from the females. Of course, Baby, against all orders, had left the room as the program dragged on longer and longer, and was nowhere to be found for his starring moment. We have few children in our congregation and very few boys, and he is the loudest singer amongst the boys. I'd been waiting for his boisterous "Asleep, Asleep" so completely out of tune and out of style with the reverent song. While Olaf tried to find him the song was done and over and the children were running around again, waiting for that special moment when Santa would arrive. Of course he didn't miss the moment, only we did since we ( as all parents) consider our child the most precious of all children. Magically, he showed up as soon as it was over.

About 4-5 years ago Santa came at the end of the party. He let all the kids sit on his lap, tug on his beard, and excitedly relay what they wanted for Christmas to the Man-Who-Delivers. There was lots of candy eaten by the young children, creating a higher level of excitement than needed. Just knowing The Man is coming is enough to send a child into a tizzy fit, coupled with candy and excessive running is a recipe for heart attacks. Good thing children still have clean arteries. This year Calvin and Middle Child had been asking us how Santa had gotten to the church. We explained the reindeer had dropped him off and were probably waiting on the roof. Of course, Calvin didn't believe everything we told him by this point of his life and so he checked. About a minute after Santa left he came running back into the church hollering, "Santa drives a Ford truck just like us!"

But the best year was when Calvin was only four. The children were once again putting on a program, except that was the whole program. They were seated on the stage for the whole Christmas program, never a recipe for success with my children. Calvin was only four and had never sat in front of a large crowd. We tried to get him to sit on the stand so he could sing, but he wouldn't. We suggested he sit next to Gus, his best friend, but even that didn't entice him to sit in front of all those scary people. Finally we gave up and let him sit with us and watch the progam. Near the end he decided it didn't seem to scary and went up on the stage to sit by Gus. But by this time another boy, Alex who would later become Calvin's other best friend, had decided he was sitting by Gus and had been the whole time. He wasn't about to give his seat up so easily. Calvin wasn't going down without a fight, he slugged that other boy. But the other boy was pretty tough to. They began to yell at each other as both parents came running to break up the fight and put an end to the embarrassment. We still, to this day, get comments about the Christmas fight. No warm fuzzy stories from my family about some boy claiming there really is room in his Inn for Mary & Joseph. Nope, we just provide ringside entertainment during the shepherd's vigil.


The Good in Things

Tonight we got back from a weekend trip. Of course we had a pile of mail waiting for us. Over time the mail has gotten back to normal and hasn't been as traumatic as it had been at first after our accident. But this weekend left us with a few surprises.

First off, Middle Child got his blanket. While still at the funeral he had asked his Grandma to make him a quilt to help remember his big brother, Calvin. Grandma's specialty is quilts, especially for the grandchildren. Grandma and Sister Quilter both made a quilt for the boys. While Baby's quilt came Monday, Middle Child's took it's usual sweet, Spanish Fork, time to get here. Most mail takes several days longer to get to us than to the top of Kilimanjaro. But I detract, DO NOT under any circumstances let me get started on the USPS. (Altho I do love our current postperson. His name is Obi (like Obi Wan Kenobi) and he looks like Shaggy from the old Scooby Doo cartoons! And he loves our dog!) But Middle Child was so happy! He quickly opened the box and proceeded to wear the quilt on his shoulders for the next two hours.

Then we got a letter from the University of Utah Eye Center. I thought they were pedaling Lasik and almost didn't open the letter. But it was something completely different and unexpected and wonderful. While still at the Hospital that horrible October 15 we were confronted with whether to donate Calvin's organs for others. That was an easy decision for us to make. Calvin always loved helping others. So we donated and were prepared to never hear again whether he helped anyone or not. But this letter told us how two people who had previously been blind now have eyesight! I couldn't imagine anything better, except Calvin still being here. These were grown ups and I can't believe how happy they must be! I'm glad this happened in time for Christmas so they can finally see the magical season for the first time.

As horrible as the whole incident has been I am happy to find little things like this where good has come from Calvin, even still.


Calvin's Plaque

This week Olaf had a plaque made to put on Calvin's grave. He then had his friend weld together a stand so we could put it in the ground. We did this because we wanted something to be at Calvin's gravesite until we decide what we want to put on a headstone and then have it made. And picking out a headstone for your child is something no parent should ever have to do but far too many parents have done. Just thinking about it creates chaos in my head and I can't concentrate and even think about what would be perfect for Calvin. When we get something picked out I will post it so everyone can see it. In the bottom picture you can see some of the things that others have left at his grave. I think it's neat that others come to see him. I'm glad that he touched so many other people's lives.


Where are You From?

I grew up in the Midwest, Iowa to be specific. But I've lived here in Utah for 16 years now! It's hard to believe it's been that long. The other day I was talking to someone at work and told them "I'm not from Here," meaning Utah. I thought about that later and wondered. "At what point do I say that I'm from Here?" I deliberated on this thought for a while and decided that when I had lived half my life here I could say that even though I'm not from Here, it's what I am. So when I turn the magical age of 45 I guess I will no longer tell people I'm from Iowa, but that I live Here now.



Best commercial I've heard in a long time:

"If you're a recreational opiate user call this 800 number. You may qualify for a medical trial where you can earn money."

I think it was the cops trying to make their monthly quota of drug busts.


Black Friday

All Day Thursday we poured over the ads in the newspapers. We were on a mission. We had shopping to do bright and early the next morning.

"What? Are you crazy? It's not so bright since the sun doesn't come up until two whole hours after the stores open! What person in their right mind shops that early in the morning?"

These kind of crazy girls that don't get to see each other very often and want to have some wild and crazy fun together! Most years we are back before everyone at the house is awake. This year almost everyone was still asleep. Not only did we hit three stores but we had a nice sit-down breakfast at the local Cracker Barrel, the best breakfast in the area.

One of the funnest things about going shopping early is watching all the other people. There are always a few people that stand in line for a while and then go home. They are usually new to the experience and are not expecting the crowds that amass on Predawn Black Friday shopping. There are others that have a whole crew at their disposal. Several stand in line, while others get coffee/hot chocolate and donuts, and often they have walkie talkies so they can communicate with each other in the madness of the shopping crowds. No normal cell phone can be heard these morning except in the empty bathrooms.

This year we had a treat at Target, our favorite Black Friday store. There are always security guards but this year wehad a female who had obviously shopped on Black Friday before. As the late crowds started forming in the parking lots, hoping to walk in with the crowds that had been waiting for over an hour she let them have it. She would point her finger at the crowd and holler, "I'm watching you guys! You can't butt in line with these guys, you need to go to the back of the line!" She did this a few times, endearing her to the lines of people already waiting.

Then, just before the store opened, a regular police officer pulled into the Target parking lot and parked right in front of the entrance. Just before the store opened he got out and lounged in the lane, just daring people to cut in line.

Then the doors finally opened!!!! We all pushed forward, trying to get the people in front of us to move a little faster. The people in the parking lot started moving forward. Sister Homemaker & I yelled the normal "To the back of the line!" Sister Accountant, having lived in New York City for three years and another in Chicago, regressed to her big city days. "Copper, get your gun out! People are trying to butt in line!"

Finally, we were in the store! We had a game plan. Sister Accountant headed for the video games, Sister Homemaker headed for the toys, & I headed for domestics, I was in charge of acquiring several king size blankets. We were planning on meeting by the DVDs on sale at the front of the store but we found each other before then. Pregnant Sister Accountant said some man had tried to push her out of his way with his big old belly. Of course, she stood her ground and got what she needed. Sister Homemaker got all the toys she wanted with a few extra. I had found and gotten all the blankets we needed. Of course there were only brown and white in King size. Being practical, I got all brown. We all have children and I knew how long a white blanket would stay clean. At my house it would be in the washer more than on the sofa.

I mentioned I wanted to look at the movies until Sister Accountant pointed to the mass of people around the racks. I took one look at that and said "Let's go!" We were out of the store before 6:10. We are pretty proud of getting in and getting out. No wasted time here! Several years ago we were in line at Toys R Us. We knew exactly what we wanted, got it, and checked out. When we left the store we gleefully noted that not everyone in line was in the store yet! We always have a lot of fun and get a few things on a great deal every Black Friday.


Meatball Sandwiches

Last week Olaf made Meatball Sandwiches for dinner. This is a good dinner because 75% of the family likes this meal. Normally, it seems as though at least 25% of our family doesn't like what we're having for dinner. But this one is almost a winner.

As we're eating Olaf starts snickering. "What?" the kids ask.

"Reminds me of the Testicle Festival up in Montana," he replies as he snickers some more.

"What are testicles?" both the boys ask.

"I'll tell you after dinner," he answered.

But the boys couldn't wait and kept pestering. They even guessed a few ridiculous body parts like elbows, toes, ears, etc.

Finally I couldn't help myself. "They're your nuts!" I giggled.

"OOOHH!" and they both squeeze their legs together as tight as possible. I love watching men and boys cringe as they think of their nether regions!

Fast Forward to Friday morning at school. Baby's Best Friend and his Mom are presenting their country to the class, Italy. The presentation went pretty well, until Baby's mind starts thinking in boy circles.

He raises his hand and when called upon asks, "Do they have meatballs in Italy?"

If you had been a mouse in my kitchen several nights ago, you could only see one direction for this conversation to go, but no one else in class had heard our lovely dinner conversation.

"Yes, they do," replies the Mom.

Baby raises his hand again. Once again he is called on. "My Dad told me what meatballs are made out of," he proudly announces.

"We don't want to know what their made of," his teacher very quickly responds and then she steers the discussion in a different direction. She's obviously had that child of mine in her class too long!

Maybe we should start watching TV during dinner like most American families. This whole conversation thing is obviously overrated. It only gets us in trouble!


The Hysteria

Over a week ago a good friend of mine bought me a ticket to see the long-awaited-for-by-girls-of-all-ages movie Twilight. I use the term ‘girls’ loosely in regards to this movie. There were plenty of grown women just as excited as their teenage counterparts, even wearing the movie-sanctioned t-shirt.

Then, last week another good friend brought the book over for me to read and tried to get me to go with a bunch of women from our neighborhood that were attending the midnight showing Thursday night/Friday morning. I laughed and declined, claiming if I didn’t do that for the Bond movie there was no way I was missing sleep for a different movie.

I read the book during the week. It was easy reading, I think my seven-year-old could read the book. He’d hate it, but he would be able to read it without a problem. I only made it to page 312 before I saw the movie, but then I didn’t dedicate much time to reading, maybe three hours worth during the week. I was a little surprised at how popular these books have become. The writing was quite poor for a book of this acclaim. The reading was somewhat entertaining, if you’re into romance, which I’m not so much. I enjoy a romance in the book, but not as the whole story. And at 312 pages there had been nothing but romance! I didn’t quite see what they could put in the movie and was really beginning to dread it.

Friday night I headed to the theater amid hundreds of screaming fans. We sat near the front and I watched the movie. It was actually pretty good. They used the last 180 pages that I hadn’t read as the main story line. While it didn’t ruin the book, which I finished last night to see how it differed, it was enjoyable.

But the best part was all the girls and women squealing during the movie! It felt like a concert full of teenage girls with their favorite rock star. Every time someone new came on the screen there were squeals of delight heard throughout the audience. I wasn’t quite prepared for the hyperness of the grown women! I guess love makes people feel young.



I just barely got my sunglasses back from the optical shop and the sun decides to hide behind the mountains until after I get to work and it disappears on the other side just before I leave! That dang sun makes it hard to show off my stylish new specs. And to make matters worse it will be like this for at least two months. The winter solstice this year is December 21, 2008 at 7:04 am eastern standard time. It will take at least another month to get to this same length of day.

Whenever I get sad about the shortness of days I try to count my blessings. I'm glad I don't live in Alaska where the days are MUCH shorter. And on the flip side, how do you ever go to sleep at night while it's still light outside? When I was in England the sun came up around 4 or 5 in the morning. We had no problem getting up at 6:30 in order to get an early start on sightseeing.

I'm also glad I live in the Northern Hemisphere. It would be so unseasonable to have Christmas in the middle of Summer. I may not love the cold but it doesn't seem right if Christmas doesn't have some snow. I remember reading an article that said even in South America Christmas cards had snowy pictures on them, imitating the north!

I must stay positive as we hit this time of year. I must not succumb to the depression that sets in so readily as the days shorten and shrink. I will come out of this winter happy and alive!


Fielding the New Territory

I've been having lots of different kinds of thoughts lately and I was beginning to think I was going a little crazy. I've only known one person close to me that has died and that was a long time ago. I really didn't know what was normal. And, yes I know, nothing is normal about grieving. But I was worried and confused about how I was feeling. Olaf, being the considerate husband he is, made an appointment with a counselor so we could talk about things. He told me "It went against every man bone in my body."

We had absolutely no idea what to expect. Olaf works with a bunch of therapists and considers most of it pointless and useless. But he wanted to make me happy. We both went together and were kind of a little worried about talking to a stranger about personal feelings, but I at least knew I needed to talk to someone about how I was feeling.

We were pleasantly surprised by this visit. It was very helpful. I was worried about different things than Olaf and he had no idea I was worried about the things I was concerned about. For one, I was worried that I wasn't sad enough or crying enough (I'm not much of a crier to begin with) or depressed enough. I would catch myself having fun and joking around and then I would question myself "How can you be happy at all? How can you laugh?" I was also concerned that I wasn't caught up with any guilt that I should have been a better Mother. But once again I don't believe in the "Mother Guilt Syndrome" that plagues our nation. I think it puts way too much pressure on people and I just don't need that in my life. But I was worried because it's glorified to lay in bed for weeks and bemoan the fact that we're not better people and always feel guilty for not doing something differently. Olaf had no idea I thought these things and I informed him they're Woman Worries, definitely not Man Thoughts.

The therapist told me that it was good I was not caught up in the "Mother Guilt Syndrome" because it's not healthy. He said it's healthy for me to be happy and laugh and joke around. He reassured me that I'm dealing with Calvin's untimely death in a very healthy manner. I will still have days when I wish the world would cave in on me, but not every day anymore. When we left I felt like I had a new lease on life, I WAS allowed to be happy again. I didn't know if I'd ever get to that point again but it's finally come and I don't want to be depressed all the time. That doesn't mean I won't be depressed some days but I get to be happy most of the time. That knowledge alone made me happy.




Yes, I have tickets!

WoW, It's Late!

Last night as Olaf was sending Middle Child to bed he said several times "Midnight comes really soon!"

Huh? Midnight always comes at midnight and since we're usually sleeping, especially the children, why do we care?

Little did I know that Olaf had promised Middle Child that he would come and wake him up before Midnight, the magical hour, and whisk him off to WalMart to purchase the new World of Warcraft (WoW) extension!

As I went to bed, Olaf crawled in next to me. I asked "Is this a good idea? You have to get up soon!" But I felt him get up sometime later and since Middle Child said they were at the store on time, I know it was before midnight. Middle Child was tickled pink to get the new game. Of course he hasn't played it yet, but he knows it's there!


Baby Owns This

Baby came home from school a couple of weeks ago and PROUDLY announced:
"I am the second-shortest kid in the class!"

Baby got back from Basketball tonight:
"I made two baskets! But I'm still afraid of the ball. I'm afraid of the soccer ball too. But I'm not afraid of the football!"

"I LOVE Froggy!" and he takes him places all the time.

And all the time:
"I Love Star Wars! I wish I could be Commander Cody!"

The child is all about the fun things in life. We should all take a lesson and be proud of all our accomplishments.


3 Days Left!



(yes, I am excited! The countdown will probably
be in all caps this week cuz I can't help myself!)


Star Wars is in my Blood

The other day when my friend, A, & I took my mom to the airport to go home we were discussing Halloween costumes. We discussed the things we had been as children and what our own children were going to be this year.

Me: Baby is going to be a Clone Trooper from Star Wars this year. We got him a cool helmet at Costco. He loves it and is so excited!

Mom: That is pretty cool.

A: My boy is going to be a frog. Baby will love it (she knows of his love for everything froggy.) My hubby wants me to be the Bounty Hunter's wife. She is so skanky. I just can't do it!

Mom: Oh, I know exactly what you mean. She wears those short skirts and tight tops.

A: She's got the biggest boobs. She is just scary!

Meanwhile I am racking my brain. I thought I knew Star Wars pretty good, but I couldn't remember a time when Boba Fett's wife was on the show. In fact, they just cloned him, there was no wife involved whatsoever in the process of making Clone Troopers. Finally, in complete confusion I blurt:

Me: I didn't know Boba Fett had a wife? What part was she in? I just don't remember her!

A & Mom both burst out laughing at my one track mind. They had long since forgotten about Star Wars.

Me: Oh, do you mean Dog the Bounty Hunter?

A: You live in such BOY land!


And the winner is. . .

We named our new dog Tank. He seems to respond to the name. He is doing pretty good with us as his new family. The first day we brought him home he was so hyper he was jumping over the sofas! He has calmed down quite a bit but still has his moments when he's running crazy. He makes us think that Boomer was much older than we thought!



Last night we got to check out the new movie theater in Orem. It's really pretty! I used to do daycare for the manager of the theater and so he gave us Family & Friends passes. I got to see Journey to the Center of the Earth with Olaf, Baby, and Baby's friend. Middle Child and his friend saw Igor. I really wanted to see that but would have had to sit in the front row on the side; I did that once and won't ever do it again! Here's the countdown again!

9 Days To Go!



On Devil's Night we do not allow our children out to burn down abandoned houses like they do in Detroit. Instead we use the evening to create a wholesome activity, Pumpkin Carving! Actually, we don't have it together yet this year and had not gotten around to carving pumpkins and now we were down to the end and HAD to do it. So the kids got to stay up late and carve their pumpkins they picked out almost a month ago.

At 7:30 in the evening we discovered we had none of the special tools created for pumpkin carving. We went searching the local stores while the children cleaned the guts out of their pumpkins. Of course, there were no special carving tools available. We got back home and announced to our children they had to come up with their own designs and carve them out with steak knives. Little did we know how, in the interest of money, Corporate America has been sucking the fun out of pumpkin carving. Our children have never had as much fun carving pumpkins as they did this year! Baby was so happy so be given a Big Knife and told to Cut with it. We don't usually put out butter knives, much less steak knives, for him to use. Grandma was still here and we both cringed as he sawed away creating his masterpiece. Middle Child was the same. Neither were upset that no patterns were provided. They went to town carving away! Here are their creations on our doorstep, inviting all to come and be awed.

Baby's Pumpkin

Middle Child's Pumpkin

Then on Hallowed Trick of Treating Night the children went in droves to fill their bags over and over again with candy. They got enough candy this year for me to gain 20 pounds by Christmas! They're going to have to hide the candy!

Our favorite house to Trick or Treat always provides much needed entertainment for the adults usually freezing their butts off. (This year was nice and unseasonably warm.) This house is a dentists and bankers dream, all rolled into one. While rifling through this year's bag of goodies from them I was almost disappointed because the pamphlets were the same as last year: The Story of Inflation, The Story of Money, The Story of Checks and Electronic Payments, The Story of the Federal Reserve System, The Story of Foreign Trade and Exchange, plus about that many more all complements of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Thank You! This year we also got The Adventures of Buddy McNutty from the National Peanut Board and Milk Matters from US Dep't of Health and Human Services.

My absolute favorite book came from Bethesda and is titled "Color in the Differences." It can be found here just in case you wanted your own copy for your children. It talks about how everything/one is different; Apples and Oranges; Sharks and Whales; Dogs and Cats; and finally your friends are all different from you, you have different names and toys! Then for the last three pages they bring in the children in wheelchairs and talk about how they are different. As if we didn't already know, "They like to be outside and to swim in a pool; They like to be with friends, at home and at school." The end. We get ten pages leading us up to how everything is different and then Wham! Bam! Thank You Ma'am! Disabled children are different but yet the exact same as you! They aren't different after all. Halloween and all it's Tricks.


If I was Feeling Lonely

Wednesday after school, our Baby got a phone call. Not from his best friend, he was already here. Or his other best friend, but one of Calvin's best friends growing up. He wanted to come over and play xbox with Baby. I thought "How sweet!" He came over and they got to work in the basement killing bad guys and having fun.

Then about 15 minutes later three girls came over, one of them happened to be one of Calvin's best friends. She is the cutest tomboy. She would always round up the neighborhood for a game of football in her grandpa's backyard. (She confided in me how recently they had been hiding behind some bushes and were throwing little plastic army men onto passing car's windshield.) They were hanging out talking to me and discovered the other friend in the basement. So they went downstairs to play with Baby and friend.

Then two more boys came over and hung out in the basement with everyone else.

Olaf came home and took a phone call. 'Is M here?" he asked me all perplexed.

"Oh yeah, there's a bunch of Calvin's friends in the basement playing with Baby," I nonchalantly replied.

"What? I'm gonna cry. That is so sweet of them to play with him." he replied, stunned that there were teenagers in our house again.

Baby loved the attention. He has always loved Calvin's friends and the attention they give him. He thinks of them as friends, just like anyone his age. It was good for them to play with him. It was nice to have rowdy teenagers in the house again, even tho it's infrequently going to happen. Those kids might keep me from being lonely and missing the teenagers.


It's the Little Things That Count

Olaf was out walking the other day and one of Calvin's best friends came running out to tell him that the night before (Oct. 23) the High School Football Team had all painted 'CH' on their calves for the game that night. Not only that but several of them came through the viewing line in their full uniform and brought us a football the whole team had signed. It was so sweet and thoughtful.

I found out that the night before that the Junior High Choir had sung a song in his memory at their concert. The parents said they did a great job but had a hard time getting through this song.

Calvin was the last group to go to Middle School in 6th grade. Then they split the group up into two different Junior Highs the next year and half his friends were in the other school. The first day of school after the accident the kids from the other Junior High who remembered Calvin all dressed up in white shirts and ties for school in remembrance of him.

We are still getting several cards a day from friends and family. This whole tragedy has really struck a chord with a lot of people who have lost loved ones. It's amazing how many people have lost immediate family members. The hardest ones to read are from Calvin's friends. They loved him so much and tell us how happy and nice he was to everyone. They tell us how we must be great parents to have such a wonderful son (don't tell them the truth!). They tell us how much Calvin loved his family and his little brothers.

I'm just so thankful that Calvin is such a good kid and that so many people loved him and that he was able to touch so many people's lives. It really helps to know that he lived such a happy life.


The other night I got ready for bed. I pulled out my big exercise ball, laid back on it, put my feet against the wall, cuz they're always slipping, and tried to do a sit up. OUCH! I couldn't move at all! I rolled off laughing at myself! I'm still sore, what in the hell made me think I could do a sit up on a ball which is hard enough when I don't have any bruises or soreness!

For everyone's watching pleasure:
16 Days Left!
I love the scary castle in the background. Is there any way they can bump it to Halloween? I sure would be happy about that at least!



Last Saturday we added a new member to our family. Our children could hardly bare the whole two lives missing. While they can never ever be replaced we have been trying hard to find a new member to add. So, as of last Saturday, we have a new member. Welcome our new dog, Snyder, Tank, Sniper, or the accidental Boomer. I'm going to have my first contest. We are trying to come up with a good name for him and need some help. So leave us some hints. I haven't gotten a pic yet, but he looks a lot like Boomer, a little longer and a little darker. Scared our neighbor to death! He kind of freaked out when he first saw the new dog in the backyard. His wife assured him that this was indeed a different dog, not Boomer. So, leave us some ideas for a new name and we'll let you know what we name him soon!


17 Days to Go!

The Day After

When I first woke up after the accident it was quiet. No one was awake yet. The house was silent. I cried. Then I went upstairs to see if my parents were here yet. I knew they wouldn't be because they would have had to leave at about 3am to get there by this time. They weren't here yet. I went back downstairs and went back to sleep. Sleeping was hard. My left shoulder was really banged up from the seat belt. My right ear was sore and bruised. The back of my head had a big gash on it and was sore. I had to sleep on my stomach and left side of my head. Granted I usually sleep that way but I couldn't move very much and I was very sore.

When I woke up a few hours later I could hear people upstairs. I cautiously crept up the stairs, not sure what I'd see. There were two neighbors sitting and visiting in the living room. When they saw me they got up and hugged me and we all started crying. This went on for a few hours with a steady stream of my friends from the neighborhood. It was so nice to know that people cared so much about us and were coming to visit so quickly. One of Calvin's best friends grandparents had also brought over several bags of groceries and stocked the fridge!

I couldn't believe the people that knew what had happened already. They weren't the usual church people, it was my friends. This terrible news didn't travel through the usual church grapevine, people called my friends and let them know what was going on. I was so thankful for my friends coming and visiting me.

I cried so much that first day. When I woke up and looked in the mirror my eyes were swollen. I kind of thought that maybe something was wrong with them. I'm not a crier and for my eyes to be swollen from crying was something I'm not used to seeing. Then my hair was another matter completely. I mentioned I had a big gash on the back of my head. From the front I looked disheveled, like I had a bad night sleeping, but not too bad. My mom did mention my hair was lighter from all the dirt and dust. But when I turned around the back of my hair was all tangled and matted from blood and dirt. And then my clothing was another story completely. I came home in a hospital gown and scrub pants. My mother-in-law had given me a different t-shirt to wear, but that was it. But I didn't even care what I was wearing or how horrible I looked when I visited with people that morning.

I was just thankful that friends were coming to visit, family was coming to stay with me, and someone was taking care of my family because I couldn't right then. So much food was brought over and the vast majority of it was eaten. I had 25+ family members and they were fed. My brother-in-law was a little disappointed. He loves our local hamburger joints and had to go eat by himself. This trip was unexpected for everyone and I'm sure everyone was on a tight budget. Everyone was thankful for the meals. I was amazed by the amount of food brought over and the caring and love shown by everyone around us.


Love and Compassion

After our accident people were on the scene immediately. Not just dumb passerby's but knowledgeable EMT type people who instantly went into action and helped with everyone. The ambulances took 12 minutes to get to our location but to me it was only like a minute. The only thing I even remember is looking around at the horrible destruction around me. The two younger boys were sitting on the ground near each other and someone was with each of them. Olaf was already bandaged up and when he saw I was awake he walked over to talk to me, and someone was with me, talking and patting my shoulder. I also saw farther away a group of people, I didn't know what they were doing but they were working on Calvin. Olaf had seen them doing CPR on him and knew things weren't good for him. I had no clue. I was thankful and comforted that somebody was with everyone and taking care of things since I couldn't. We were whisked away in the ambulances with people putting IV's in us while on the bumpy highway. I know it was bumpy because the laceration on the back of my head kept hitting the backboard I was on and I couldn't turn because of the neck brace they had put on me. These EMT people stayed with us at the hospital until we left, over six hours later. They were amazing.

The hospital employees were also wonderful. They were so kind to us. They didn't leave us for a moment. When we were bandaged up and checked out and doing better they asked if we wanted to see Calvin. They told us they had bandaged his head because he had a head wound. I was really afraid to go and see him. I couldn't imagine my sweet son not alive. But I also remembered hearing other people saying that although it was hard to see their child gone it was healing. So we went and saw him. It was hard and I cried. I couldn't believe that he was already cold. But then it got better and I was able to talk to him. He was beautiful, even with all his scratches. He looked peaceful. He almost looked just asleep. The little boys were in and out. The EMTs had put on a movie for them because they were bored. We were able to say our goodbyes.

Olaf's Mom and Sister and both spouses were there very soon at the hospital. The hospital called his Mom and told her that her son had been in an accident. He had a head injury but was coherent. She asked how his wife and children were and the hospital staff couldn't tell her anything. She had to make the long, half-hour, drive to Nephi not knowing the condition of the rest of the family. While the news of Calvin was devastating she was so glad that the rest of us were doing wonderful and would be fine. I cannot imagine the horror of that half-hour drive to Nephi. She has said that was the longest drive of her life.

Sister-in-Law Nurse was absolutely wonderful. She called me parents since I was in no condition to make that call. I gave her my cell phone and said I didn't want it back for a while. She called all my friends and family and talked to them. I couldn't deal with telling anyone the news or even talking to my family about the whole thing. She took all the calls over the next two days that came in to my phone, knowing I couldn't do it yet. I could never had made those calls and she took it upon herself to help me out in that way. She also helped out with Olaf when he got home from the hospital. She and her Mom helped with all the medical things that needed to be taken care of. That was good because I am not good in that department and was glad I didn't need to take care of that part of him. I felt woefully inadequate in that area but was glad they were there to do that for him.

Olaf's Mom and Step-Dad had us stay at their house for over a week. We just moved home tonight. They were so good to keep us there so long. It really helped to not come straight home after everything. Since a lot of my family was staying at my house across the street, it was wonderful to have a quiet place to be when we needed it, and Olaf needed it a lot at first. I had to take care of all the funeral arrangements because he was still so tired and recovering from his wounds. I really didn't know where to begin. The day after the accident I saw on my home phone that the mortuary had called and I just refused to call them back. I still couldn't quite cope. But the next day I headed over there with my parents in tow and we started taking care of the arrangements. Thankfully, until the funeral was over, people were following me around, taking notes of the things I was planning. That was so good because I couldn't remember most of what I was doing. I was constantly turning around asking questions about what we had just discusses, already forgetting half the details. I lost my purse every time I picked it up!

This whole experience has made me learn more to let people help me. I like to take care of things myself and not ask for help. But I had been incapable of that for almost a week. While I was still doing these horrible things, planning a funeral for my son, someone was constantly there taking care of me. I know there is no way that I could have gotten through this experience without all the prayers of support that people were saying for us. I know it helped and sustained us through this trial. I know this is not over and that it is going to be hard a lot but I have been so thankful for all the love and support everyone has shown me and my family.



3 Weeks - 1 Day!

Eating & More

I've been learning a few things about Calvin that I didn't know before. I didn't know that he used to sneak in his friends' houses to tease them. One time a friend's mom even called his cell phone cuz she thought he was still there and knew he liked to hide in her house. He innocently claimed he was at his own home. Turns out he was hiding under his friend's bed! After this story at the funeral a few other friends told me that he had tried to sneak into their houses to scare them also. Another mom told me he would sneak in and get food out of basement. Technically that would not only be breaking and entering but theft also. She found him more than once in the basement eating a bottle of peaches, his favorite.

Everyone that knows him has fed him! I thought that I provided plenty of food, but apparently not. I knew he was always hungry, but I had no idea how hungry. I thought I had done a pretty good job of providing food. When the congregation got together Sunday night to talk about him and all their feelings the bishop, our congregational leader, started by asking "Who has fed Calvin?" Everyone raised their hands!

I also learned about Calvin's dove hunt he went on several years ago with one of his best friends. The dad dropped them off at one end of the field and went to the other to wait for them. Part way across the field they shot a dove. They were so excited! When they came upon the dove, it was still alive. The two boys were saddened and couldn't finish the job. The dad saw them standing in the middle of the field and finally went to check on them because they were taking so long. He found them looking on sadly at the poor bird and had to finish the job for the young softies. This dad was always looking out for Calvin and coached him in many sports. He was wonderful. When they heard the news and his son said something about crying a little, he replied, "It's okay to cry A LOT."

A few years ago my Mom was visiting. When it got time to go my boys didn't want her to leave. So Calvin hid her suitcase! I must have known about this at the time but I had completely forgotten about it! All my sisters and sisters-in-law mentioned how Calvin loved to push my buttons. More than once he would say to them 'Watch this!" And then he would come up to me and say something to bug me. Of course, I would fly off the handle and he'd get in trouble. But then, unbeknownest to me, he would grin at them and say "Told ya!" I knew he liked to push my buttons but had no idea he had so much fun with it!



3 Weeks Left!


Let's just just address the whole seatbelt issue so no one has any embarrassing questions. All the articles state that Calvin wasn't wearing his seatbelt. The second comment to the Deseret News article about the accident stated something to the effect "It's too bad the parents will have to live with the guilt of not making their children wear their seatbelts." Idiot. We would all be dead if we weren't wearing seatbelts! That's the only reason the rest of us are alive. We don't let our children ride without seatbelts. But that was one of the things that Calvin had rebelled against in his teenage years. It was a battle every time we got in the car. There were times he would pretend to buckle until I turned back around. Thank goodness for Mother Supersonic ears, "I didn't hear a click!" Sometimes I would be yelling so hard at him for his seatbelt cuz I was so tired of the battle. Obviously he didn't believe me when I said he could die without his seatbelt. We weren't in the habit of getting in car accidents. (wonder how much the car insurance is gonna go up now!) Thankfully the other children did listen and I hope it won't be a problem with them at all. And, by the way, Sister Accountant left an unpublishable comment with the paper that made them think twice and they removed the 'guilty seatbelt' comment so it's not there anymore, thank goodness.


Life & Love

Today was the first day without a million people around. Technically, yesterday was, but today the only people left were parents. It's the last day the kids will be home from school. Grandma took them to lunch and the movie. They sure are getting spoiled! Olaf & I ran some errands and he had an appointment with the plastic surgeon to make sure he was healing well. Everything went well. We got everything on our list completed except some items that were under the heading, 'Any Time.' I felt like we accomplished quite a bit today. I also felt it! I am so tired this evening that I'm ready for bed NOW.

The past week has been a roller coaster. I will write about it over the next few posts. All I can say for now is that I have never ever been the recipient of such an outpouring of love. Pure, Unadulterated, Perfect, Complete, Selfless, LOVE. It has been an incredible and exhausting experience. I had no idea my child had touched so many peoples lives and I had absolutely no idea that so many people cared about us. Our families alone were wonderful and the community support we have been shown has been so incredible that I can't begin to describe the love shown. Words would only downplay the experience I have had over the last week.

I will probably not keep the countdown going everyday, but for those looking forward to the movie, including me, here is an attempt to make up for the last while.

22 Days To Go!


Thank You

Dear Friends and Family,

We were never prepared for this moment in time. One never expects it to happen to them or even someone close. My heart is breaking. A big hole has been ripped out and it will never be whole again. I miss Calvin so much. But it still doesn't feel real. I keep expecting his smiling face to pop around the corner with a goofy comment that will either drive me crazy or make me laugh. Calvin is such a special boy. I miss him so much. The only solace I have is knowing that we are an eternal family, that we will get to be with him again. I know that this earth life is only temporary. I can feel everyone's prayers. They are like a warm blanket around me on a chilly winter night. There is absolutely no way that I could make it through this time without EVERYONE'S love, help, prayers, visits, and calls. His obituary is in the Daily Herald. I made all my sisters and sister-in-laws help me write the thing, I couldn't bear to do it alone. We were laughing for an hour straight at all our remembrances. I know that is how Calvin wants us to remember him. I know he's in Heaven watching us and telling us to quit crying and mourning. My husband was talking to someone about another boy going on a mission and he just got an incredibly peaceful feeling that Calvin was called home early because he had work to do up in Heaven. I'm thankful for my beliefs and the support it gives me. I'm going to post his obituary because it's beautiful. It has to be, Calvin is a beautiful person.

Calvin Christopher Hansen

Calvin Christopher Hansen, born December 22, 1994, in Payson, Utah. Our cherished son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, friend, and Scout passed away Wednesday, October 15, 2008, as a result of a motor-vehicle accident. His dog, Boomer, also passed away in the accident.

Calvin was in eighth grade at Spanish Fork Junior High School. He had many friends and was involved in many extracurricular activities. He played sports with a smile on his face. He loved to do things with his friends and when he couldn’t, he texted them nonstop. Calvin was full of life. He had an infectious happy personality. We will always remember his adventurous and sensitive spirit. Calvin was always concerned about others and put everyone’s needs before his own.

True to his spirit, he always volunteered to help others. He loved his brothers and his dog, Boomer, and he was very protective of them. He was an avid Scout in Troop 1501. He earned all his merit badges and was preparing to work on his Eagle Scout Project. He earned his Arrow of Light and Duty to God Award. This past summer Calvin attended Timberline National Youth Leadership Training Camp and forged new relationships with other Scouts. He loved the outdoors and all activities; hiking, camping, rock climbing, swimming, geocaching, and hunting. He got his first deer three weeks ago while hunting with his father.

Recently he attended the Priesthood Session of General Conference in Salt Lake City with his best friend, his dad. There has always been a special spirit about Calvin that has touched so many others’ lives. He will be sorely missed but his memories will bring smiles and laughter forever. We appreciate all the people who have taken care of Calvin during his lifetime and know that they all helped to mold him into such a strong and happy person.

We thank everyone for their calls and visits. It means so much to us to know that he touched so many peoples’ lives.

Calvin was survived by his parents, Chris and Donna, brothers, Clayton and Cole, his grandparents, Dena Hansen (Dave Hendrickson), Dan and JoAnn McLean, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. He is preceded in death by his grandfather, Fred Robin Hansen.

There will be a viewing from 6-8pm on Monday, October 20, at Walker Mortuary, 187 South Main, Spanish Fork. Tuesday, October 21, there will be a viewing at the Latter-day Saint Chapel from 9:45 -10:45 am at 870 E. Canyon Rd, Spanish Fork, Utah, followed by the funeral at 11 am.

A fund has been established in Calvin’s name at Central Bank. Anyone wishing to make a contribution may do so at any bank branch.


What Once Was Lost. . .

This evening I noticed the door to the garage was open. I pointed it out to the boys and told them to close it before Boomer the Basset Hound escaped. He's been known to do that once in a while, including twice already today! He loves the crisp Autumn air and can't believe he's not allowed to roam free like the King of the Beasts that he believes he is. Needless to say every piece of literature I have run across discussing qualities and problems associated with Basset Hounds state that they get lost easily. They take to a smell, follow it, and when they look up 15 minutes later they have no idea where they are. Every person I have mentioned this to asks "Why don't they just follow the smell the other way?" I have no idea why they don't do that, but it would make life so much easier. In Boomer the Basset Hound's two years with us we have mounted several Search and Rescue missions, always a success.

Tonight was different. When I noticed he had snuck out while all our backs were turned (you'd think he was a convict), I instantly grabbed Baby, the only one home, and drove off looking for him. There wasn't much daylight left and I knew how devastated all 3 C's would be if he wasn't home that night. Baby said three prayers in a desperate effort to aid our search.

When Middle Child came home he went out in the dark looking for his dog. When he got home he sat on Boomer the Basset Hound's sofa and cried.

When First Born arrived home he tried to call 911 first. I stated that even though Boomer the Basset Hound may be an emergency for us, it doesn't consitute an emergency for the police. So he also searched for his dog. But alas, it was pitch dark out and he couldn't see a thing. He also sat on Boomer the Basset Hound's sofa and cried. My boys rarely cry. They throw tantrums and fits and holler, but they don't cry unless they have a really good reason. Tonight they had one of the best reasons ever. They had lost their other brother.

All night long I had randomly sent children to the front door to make sure Boomer the Basset Hound hadn't come home and was waiting for us, too short to ring the doorbell. I finally checked the door, thinking I would be calling the Pound in the morning. BUT, WAIT! What little nose is pressed against the storm door? Who's tail is wagging? Who is looking so happy that he got a walk completely on his terms? Who is at my front door? Boomer the Basset Hound! He decided it was dark and time to come home. All three boys welcomed him with tears and hugs. Boomer the Basset Hound wagged a happy tail and tried to eat their dinner.


31 Days!



33 Days to Go

Sorry I didn't, couldn't, post this sooner today. Some people in this household have been playing WoW all day. Between 3 people it doesn't take much time for any of them to take the whole day together. I had to push them off to get this in!


Operator? Any one There?

Olaf and I went on a date tonight. It's rare, but always wonderful. I always thought when the kids got older and could babysit themselves we'd get to go out more. Not so, now we have to watch them even more and we can't really get a babysitter. What 12 or 13 year old girl wants to watch an 11 year old boy? Let me rephrase that: What girl do I want watching my prepubescent son? This can only go in the wrong direction! So a date tonight was nice. I called home to make sure the boys had fed themselves. Despite my best intentions they are growing into men already. Middle Child answered his phone in one of his rare (maybe not so rare) moments.

"Who is this?"

"Hi, it's Mom. Have you guys eaten dinner?"

"May I ask who is calling?"

"Your mother is calling. Did you eat yet?"

"This is an 80-year-old operator and my mother is dead. I don't think you're calling from the grave. Who would you like to be connected to? I can connect you to anyone on the planet."

I didn't know what he was talking about. He's 11, not 80. I tried again, "It's Mom, did you fix yourselves something to eat yet?"

"I am an 80-year-old operator. I can connect you to anyone on the planet."

I realized this was a game. I decided to play along cuz it was kinda silly, "I am looking for CRH."

"Let me look. There is only one CRH in the world. He lives in Spanish Fork."

"Great! Do you think he's eaten dinner?" in hopes that the charade had gone far enough to satisfy the boy. But no. We are not done!

"I don't know if he's eaten dinner. Let me connect you."

Then I was entertained for 30 seconds of Middle Child making fuzz noises while we were 'connected.'


"Hi, Middle Child. That was so nice of the operator to connect us."

"What operator?"

"You know, whatever. Did you guys eat anything yet?"

"Yes we did."

"Great that's all I wanted. See you soon!"

Not for one moment did the child break out of character.


34 Days and Counting!


An Ode to Olaf

While on lunch break with some coworkers I pried and asked one of the guys if things were getting serious with his girlfriend, if I wasn't being too personal. He got this big grin on his face as he said yes. It was the biggest, happiest, cutest grin. It reminded me of how much fun it is to fall in love, especially with The One.

I dated enough guys to know that Olaf was The One after not too long. Of course we didn't run off to Vegas at that point or anything rash like that. We waited for the honeymoon. But I knew, or thought I knew, pretty soon that he was The One for me.

I remember being so incredibly happy that someone so wonderful would actually love me enough to marry me. For years after we got married I always wondered when it was going to end. This was just too good to be true.

I remember an incident from our wedding day. A little old man came up to me and asked me if it was "True Love." Deep down inside somewhere, deeper than I ever went before, I felt that it was indeed "True Love" and that this would last forever. I've never regretted that day for more than five minutes.

We have been married for over 15 years now and it has been wonderful. I'm not going to lie to you and say it's been perfect every day, I don't believe those people at all. But I have been happier than I could imagine.

I know it sounds trite, but on that wedding day I thought I was as in love as I could ever be. I had no idea how wonderful love would be after 15 years. It's amazing how breathtaking it is to have a great partner with whom to share your life. I seriously couldn't imagine life without the man.

Here's to us!


35 Days!

Or, exactly 5 weeks to go! Feel the anticiaption! You know you'll be waiting in line! Oh, wait, that's me that's gonna be leaving work early and standing in line for the movie. Hope to see you there with me!


That Pioneer Woman

I clicked on the Confessions of a Pioneer Woman blog yesterday and was absolutely amazed! She had only posted 44 minutes earlier. She was giving away 3, count them:

3; Three; Two+One; Five-Two; 137-134;

gift cards to Wally World at $250 each. Within 44 minutes she had already had over 1000 comments in an attempt for people to win the gift cards! I was in absolute shock that she had so many readers. I didn't even bother to enter. Even tho there were 3 cards, my favorite number, I didn't even try. I can't win contests when there's less than 100 comments, what would make me think I could win that one. I checked her blog today. There were almost 12,000 comments!!! Talk about absolutely crazy!

On a completely different tangent, Olaf brought home a remote control car tonight. Boomer the Basset Hound is hiding in the other room! Baby is excited!


Yesterday Baby came out of his room holding a toy.

"Almost everything I own is 'Made in China'!"

"Yes, it's true. We ship most of our stuff from China to here. That's why everything is so cheap and you can have so much crap!"

Sometimes I wish stuff was more expensive so we would quit buying THINGS. They are only things. Remember:

Less is More.

It's my motto and I live by it once in a while.


Day 36

Yesterday may have been too dreamy for some of you, so no pictures of the man tonight. But tune in tomorrow!



37 Days!

For Sister Accountant who said he looks so dreamy in a swimsuit. I know it's the wrong movie, but, oh well. Hopefully you can all live with the inconsistency.



There will now be a daily countdown to the new James Bond movie! I thought about making a paper chain, but then nobody would be able to enjoy the countdown with me. So I am going public! You will get a new picture every day. So tune in and enjoy! And if you've read this before you won't be surprised by this at all!

Day 38

I had no idea that my last blog would get such a response! I honestly thought about not posting it because it was kind of disparaging and I don't want to be that way. I want to be funny and uplifting. But I enjoyed the responses! So keep on responding, it makes me feel good!

Check out my sister's blog about last weekend right here (click on here). She came down to visit and we had soooooo much fun!


Help! I'm Surrounded!

Help! I'm Surrounded! By Mormons! It's not like they slowly invaded my space. It wasn't gradual or anything like that, I happen to live in Utah County where the population is 88.2% LDS. But sometimes I feel TRAPPED! I know everyone is different and has their own unique personality, but I've never lived where everyone has basically the same belief system. It's really creepy! It makes me feel like a clone at times.

Growing up I was different from other people. And even though it made some things hard, I enjoyed the individuality that my religion gave me. Now I feel as though I am just one more drone. Except that I'm not an Institutionalized Mormon. I know that sounds harsh but sometimes I feel like I'm living in Rome amongst the Catholics. They don't know why they do things, it's just always been that way.

I'm lucky in the fact that my parents joined the LDS church when I was a baby. They had to learn everything on their own. They had no Primary as youngsters that taught them the gospel principles on which our religion is based. They had to learn it all from scratch. And they took their new religious conversion seriously. They were not lackadaisical in their approach at all. They approached it with all the enthusiasm that they could muster. They did not take anything for granted like so many members around here do, including me at times. We attended all our meetings and even lived across town, half an hour away from the church.

So often I wish I didn't live in Utah. I wish for a normal life in the real world where no one assumes I'm Mormon. I love finding friends who aren't Mormon and befriending them. They're so appreciative to find a Mormon who is willing to be their friend and not need to bring them to church. I want to live where no one but me knows how to make bread or cookies. I make a damn good pie crust but no one in my ward knows it because of another sweet old lady who used to own a coffee shop and made them regularly, she's the expert. I'd love to live where I'm not judged on my spirituality by my next door neighbor. I'd love to live where being a member of the church isn't a criteria for your children being able to play together. I'd love to live where people aren't judged as 'bad people' because they smoke or 'alcoholic' because they had a glass of wine or beer with dinner. I'd love to live where someone else is mowing the lawn on Sunday, shopping on Sunday, and playing on Sunday. And I'm especially tired of locals referring to the rest of the world as the "Mission Field." I want to be different again.

Help! I'm Surrounded!


Boomer Loves Us

The Best thing about Boomer the Basset Hound is his ears! They are so floppy! He loves to ride in the back of the truck and let his ears fly in the wind. He always gets looks and comments from people driving behind us. It is just so fun!

Then his eye are next! Our friend says he always looks like he's come off a hard night of drinking. He just looks so saaad all the time that you can't help but pet him every time he looks at you.

Then every now and then he howls! It's just so fun to hear him howl at a bug in the grass or a fellow dog walking by. And when we leave him home by himself for an overnight trip he gets mad! He actually BARKS at you when you shut the door. Last time he banged into some things and knocked something off the counter in the garage. I didn't dare look! I just ran out the front door laughing and crying.

The bestest thing yet is his love for his boys. They are his world, his joy, his happiness. He greets them at the door and wags his tail and waits for his loves. Thank goodness, two years later, the boys still love him. The other morning as Middle Child was sitting on the sofa, Boomer the Basset Hound laid on his side under the human legs above. He reached one paw up and touched the back of one of the calves. Middle Child grinned, reached down and patted BtBH. BtBH laid there for a moment and then reached up again and tapped the back of one of MB's calves. MB grinned again, reached down and patted BtBH for a moment. After another minute BtBH reached up and pawed the back of MB's calf. MB grinned and patted him again. This went on for over five minutes. They were both loving the fact that the other one wanted their attention! The boys and the dog have such a wonderful relationship.



10 years ago. . .

1. I started my homebased daycare
2. Had two young children at home
3. Had just bought a house
4. Lived in Spanish Fork, Ut
5. Had been married for 5 years

5 Things on my "To-Do List" today. . .
1. Make dinner
2. Clean up dinner
3. Take Baby to Soccer
4. Take Middle Child to Guitar
5. Go to work

5 Snacks that I enjoy. . .
1. Diet Coke
2. Chocolate
3. Triscuits
4. Brownies
5. Cookies

5 Things I would do if I were a Millionaire. . .
1. Invest so I could quit working
2. Travel the world
3. Build a house, nothing huge and fancy
4. Donate to something I felt important at the time
5. Buy a Mini Cooper

5 Places I have Lived. . .
1. Ventura, CA
2. Cedar Rapids, IA
3. Ames, IA
4. Spanish Fork, UT
5. Manhattan, KS

5 Jobs I have had. . .
1. Assistant Manager of Copy Store
2. Dough Master at Pizza Hut
3. Phone Operator/Office Employee at Target :)
4. Tastee Freez employee
5. Bar Tender at a local Bowling Alley

I Tag Sister-in-Law Fashionista (Nesha, that's you!)


Hunting Update

This year First Born went on his first official hunt! He was pretty excited and got to miss a whole week of school. Depending on his grades we will see if that EVER happens again. I talked to Olaf on Thursday when they were in Burley, the closest town to their hunting spot. He said no one had shot anything.

On Friday that all changed. Olaf & First Born saw a deer and started tracking that thing. They got close enough that First Born got a shot off. Of course it didn't kill the poor thing right off. Then they had to follow the miniscule blood droplets for a long time down a steep hill. (This will be a good story for the grandkids. I can already see it; It will be snowing thickly with little visibility, and windy, and cold, and steep. And the deer won't be a spike.) They finally found it and First Born took another shot. He blew the poor animal's leg off and finally took one last quick shot to finish it off.

They brought it down and today Olaf took it to the Meat Locker to be turned into jerky. Boomer's gonna be one happy dog!


Are You Sure We're Playing Soccer?

For decades I have eschewed video cameras. Remember when our parents would drag out the old reel to reel camera, set up the collapsible screen and make everyone watch pictures of them as children, or on vacation in Mexico, or at some special party. Well, I don't cuz my parents never had a camera, THANK GOODNESS, but have heard nary a many horror story of someone being stuck all night somewhere watching old movies. Seriously, who wants to watch old films of themselves? I have seen so many parents filming WHOLE games, and not one but all of them! My high school graduation was videotaped in its entirety by several parents. I found it boring enough the first time to never want to go to another one much less watch it again. I, personally, would much rather flip through a photo album.

Recently, though, I have found a use for the videocamera. Baby's soccer games are quite interesting. He rarely pays attention to the ball. He's good for about a quarter of the game, the rest of the time he's on the field playing a different game.

One week it had quit raining minutes before his game. His field was nice and wet. And in a few bare patches there was DIRT! I don't know a boy who isn't attracted to dirt. I'd be a little worried if the boy was clean for more than 10 minutes, under the age of 10, and not at church/wedding/pictures/etc. As he was positioned perfectly over the dirt spot he noticed that if he kicked it just right with his cleats he could make a nice, pliable dirt clod! As he picked up the dirt clod he studied that thing like a scientist with an alien amoeba. He was useless for the rest of the game! I have never ever seen anyone so interested in one dirt clod.

When Baby was three we were visiting cousins for Thanksgiving. They only had girls at the time. By the second day Baby was tearing pieces of paper into triangularish shapes and shooting them at things. Olaf had to go to Walmart and buy him a gun. The desire to shoot things, imaginary or not, has never left the child. Several times on the soccer field he will be bored and start holding his hands out in the rifle shooting position, not the pistol position that most kids demonstrate on a regular basis, but the rifle shooting position. This entails putting one of his whole arms out, cocking his head to the side, closing one eye, and pulling the trigger with his other arm closer to the body. When in shooting mode at the soccer games he takes to shooting the kids on the other team. Thank goodness our town is red-necked enough that no one takes offense to the 'guns' on the field. Thank goodnes no one takes their children away in disgust or even approaches me to remark on my failings as a mother. I get enough phone calls as it is!

The most common occurrence is his attacks on the members of the other team. After playing for a while he gets bored kicking the ball and wants to take his aggression out on the other team members. He'll put his arm around them and try to put them in a headlock. Usually the other kid can wrestle away before it gets anywhere near the headlock position. He will also be running alongside someone and stick his foot out in an effort to trip the other teammate. He will even 'bump into' the other kids, trying to see if he's tough enough to knock anyone down. At least he's not that tough yet!

I'm seriously thinking of putting him in football next year. That seems to fit his tendencies better. Unfortunately he is afraid of the ball. He can handle kicking it as long as no one big is near. But when you throw a ball at the kid he cringes! Poor kid, maybe sports isn't for him after all.