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.


Reasons Why I Love Olaf!

1. At least twice a week he gets home before me and starts dinner and helps clean up!

2. He comes home early to take kids to games, karate, and lessons.

3. He makes our bed in the mornings.

4. He gets the kids off to school two or three times a week since I need to be at work at eight and he can do some stuff at home before he goes into the office.

5. He calls me to have lunch once in a while. Now that I'm not tied to the house we actually get to see each other for lunch!

6. When I wear my shapewear, the newfangled modern-day corsets (I actually saw a lady on QVC claiming that women felt so wonderful and skinny in the stuff that they wore them when they worked out! That's so not a real woman!) and girdles, he comments that I don't need the stuff, I look great the way I am! I think that one is the best because even though I'm not perfect he loves me for me!



When I was in the mode for checking grades on First Born I neglected to mention that I checked Middle Child's grades. This is his first year for assignments being graded such as in Junior High. I was a tad shocked to see he was missing all but ONE assignment in math.

I was somewhat shocked, but not really. A recurring theme throughout school for him has been. . ."He doesn't seem to be paying attention. . .He gets distracted and doesn't finish his work. . .He likes to talk to others. . .He reads when he should be studying or listening. . .Needless to say he gets a little distracted at school but usually does well because he's pretty smart.

So to see that he was missing so many assignments was nothing new, although a little extreme compared to past problems. We talked about it and he assured me he would talk to his teacher. The next day he assured that his teacher was going to give him the makeup assignments. The next week he assured me once again that he was working on them in class. I finally emailed his teacher to find out none of the above was true! This surprised me somewhat.

Then I remembered he is of the personality that will avoid conflict at all costs. I worry because that is not a good personality trait. I even told him I'd rather have him fight me and tell me he doesn't understand it then just tell me "ok, ok, ok." But, now I know and need to work on teaching him more assertiveness.

Olaf talked to him about the missing assignments. He asked what we could do to help him. Of course Middle Child said "Nothing." After talking some more Olaf threatened to take away the Nintendo DS if his homework didn't get done. Then he asked if there was something that would be worse punishment, therefore making him want to turn in his homework.

"Yes, there's something worse!" Middle Child replied.

"What is it?" we asked.

"I'm not going to tell because it's horrible!" he cried in anguish.

This really intrigued me because I didn't think there was anything in his world worse than taking away his DS. I pried until he finally opened up and told me the worst punishment we could give him.

"It's throwing me out on a cold winter night!" he finally confided to me.

I was shocked! Did he think we would actually throw him out in the cold? Did we make him think we would actually punish him cruelly like that? Was I actually such a bad parent that this was a possibility for him?

When talking to Olaf about the reply he put it in a new light. It's not that we are that cruel, it's just that the only punishment worse than taking away his DS is putting him out in the cold!


a FEW quirks?

I love the number 3 so I thought I'd write a little bit more about me and some of my quirks. I decided 9 would be good because that is 3 squared. 3 cubed would be better but that's 27 things and that was too many for me to think of so you're stuck with 9 things about me, and I'm sure it's 8 more things than you wanted to know. I love them. I think they make me endearing. I think they are a blessing (and a curse). And I know they drive everyone else absolutely INSANE!

1. I love the number 3. I count things and group them into three's. I eat things in three's. I can't eat one cookie, I must have three. I take nine triscuits to work because that is divisible by three. Before we bought the New Old Car our license plate numbers added up to nine and I LOVED it. I'm considering getting a different plate for the last car because it does NOT add up to a number divisible by three. I went to a job interview at a Mental Health Institution and decided I couldn't work there because there were 37 steps up to the third floor where I would have worked. It would make me MENTAL! (It was only chance that I had three kids. If I would have had four, I would not have had to have two more.)

2. I LOVE Diet Coke. When debating where to eat at I take into consideration the cola the establishment offers. If torn between two good places I will undoubtedly choose the one that serves Coke products. Downtown Vegas is a Pepsi-only area and I curse it the whole time I'm downtown.

3. My house may have toys and boy things strewn all over the place but the linen closet is beautifully organized ALL THE TIME! Towels are folded into thirds with the smooth side facing, no raw edges showing (Thank you Martha Stewart). All the toiletries are organized according to item and size. I have a small basket for the little travel things. And it smells really lovely with the smelly soaps Sister Quilter brought me from England. They were 'Carefully Made in Scotland.'

4. I stack my big bowls four high in the cupboard. When Sister Quilter came to visit and was asking how many bowls high I stacked them I tried to nonchalantly reply "Oh, four or five, however many fits." She gave me a hard look and said "I know you have a number, what is it?" We both busted up laughing.

5. I have less than a dozen unmatched socks. The ones that are missing are ones lent to First Born by Hubby for church and lost forever in his bedroom. The single socks remain in the bottom of the clothing bucket awaiting the time when their mate makes their prodigal sock return. I will shame them and then accept them lovingly back into the sock drawer.

6. I first shop in the sale section at almost every store, sometimes I never get out of the clearance area. I rarely buy clothes at full price. The problem is that I can probably remember the price of 90% of the items I've bought in this house. I have to hold back when talking to people about the "Good Deals" I got because I understand other people are not so excited by saving an almighty buck.

7. I love every James Bond movie. Some are better than others but I love them all, especially the newest one. He is dreamy!

8. I took a picture of the odometer when it reached 123,456.7 miles. I brought my camera and stopped on the way to dropping the kids off at school. I thought about having a party for the truck.

9. I don't make brownies from a mix. I don't make biscuits from a mix. I don't make cookies from a mix. I don't make almond poppyseed cake from a mix. All are made from scratch. The box mixes are nasty and not worth my time. In fact most things are sooooo much better when made from scratch. Because so many things are made from scratch at this house the children love processed food and shun the cookbooks. If Baby sees an open cook book he falls on the floor crying "I don't LOVE that! Take me somewhere to eat dinner!"


Bribery is the Best Medicine

I decided to check First Born's grades the other day. It had been a whole week and from previous experience I knew his grades could slip a little in a small amount of time. I wasn't quite prepared for the slippage that had happened in four short days! He was down to an F and D- in two of his classes!

I ranted! I raved! I hollered I was sick of talking about the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over and over. . . you get the idea. It's been the theme of school with him for the past two years and now I guess it will be for the third year running.

This year we actually have leverage. Before we only had grounding. Never really worked. He had so many activities that we wouldn't let him miss that he still got to play a lot. It's unlawful to withhold food and drink, so that was out of the picture. Gone are the days when I can send him out to pick his own switch, so beating is also out. But this time I had him immediately, do not Pass Go, do not Collect $200, hand me your PHONE!

By the end of the day he had talked to all his teachers, turned in all his missing homework, and gotten all his grades back to the acceptable range, A's and B's! Last year it would have taken a month for him to get his act together! He'd blow us off for two weeks. Then as he finally got serious about getting one of his grades back up, another one would fall and he'd have to work on getting that one up when he decided to put forth the effort. This year he doesn't dare miss a single text, call, or picture message from his friends!



I have decided to call Hubby by the name of Olaf. Whenever I was pregnant he wanted to name our children Olaf after his Great-Grandfather who immigrated to the US just before his Grandpa was born. He remembers his Great-Grandfather & Great-Grandmother a little. He remembers that his Great-Grandmother didn't speak much English. We have a picture of the family and there are six children pictured. The four older ones look to all be above the age of 10 and then there is his Grandpa and his Grandpa's little brother who are much younger, so the Greats were a bit older when they immigrated here. We also have a picture of his Great-Grandfather in his military uniform on a horse back in Denmark. It is a very distinguished picture. So, in honor of his Great-Grandfather I have decided to name Hubby after him, Olaf.

This morning I got a call from Olaf. He was in the mountains camping with the Boy Scouts.

"Morning Hon. I need you to do me a favor," he woke me with.

"Yeah," I sleepily relpied.

"I need you to get a pen and paper and write down the VIN on the truck. I locked the keys in the truck," he chuckingly replied.

I sat straight up. "What!"

"Yes, I did. But at least I'm not calling to tell you a tree fell on the truck, or we have two flat tires, or someone found and ate a rattlesnake, or the cops told us to get the Hell out of Dodge there's a murder suspect in the mountains near us," he laughed.

All of these things have happened on his Scout camping trips, among others. One of the other mothers once remarked to me, "I wonder if J will ever have a normal camp experience." I told her not while Olaf was his scout leader, but at least he would remember Scouts with fondness. Thankfully she agreed.

So, right now I am frantically calling the local Ford dealership to get an extra key made because I lost ALL my keys at the local city Fiesta Days while at the Carnival with the children. The dealership seems to be operating on it's own time and no one is answering despite the hours they have posted on the internet said they opened 15 minutes ago. What an eventful morning already!



I absolutely love this picture of my Mom and me. She is so beautiful in this picture. She reminds me of a model with her pulled back so sleekly, the grey-blue eyes, and the adorable baby girl that just happens to be me. I know my Mom was young once but I mostly remember her being older. I love finding old pictures. I just feel so lucky to have such a beautiful Mom.

I also found this great picture of my Dad & me. When I first found it I couldn't decide who was the man in the picture. The guy was just too young to be my dad, seriously does he even look like he's out of High School? Maybe, but definitely not in Grad School with a Family! I finally decided by default that this was me and this man must be my dad. The Sacramento State shirt gave it away since that's where he got his undergrad.

I found a few pics of my siblings & me from our youth. They are too much fun to not share!

This is me and my baby sister. I love how cute she is. I also love my permed hair with the whole feathered bangs!

This is my Sister Accountant sitting on my Sister Quilter's lap. They look so happy! Their own young girls look so much like them in this picture!

I love the look on my younger brother's face. He still looks this way at people, but in a grown up sort of way.

This is Sister Homemaker and my older younger brother whispering silly secrets. They're just so cute and smiley!

Now you've met the whole family. Here's our castle in Scotland to finish the post. I may not get to live in it but some distant relative of ours does and he's one lucky rich Knight or something like that!



When I was a young girl of around 12 or 13 I found my Mom's genealogy laying around. I started looking at it to check out who my ancestors were. Being so smart I started checking dates against each other to see how things corresponded.

"Mom! Your grandma was pregnant when she got married!" I was a little shocked. Being young and naive I thought everyone waited till they got married.

"That is not so uncommon, it happens a lot," she explained to her first born with the embarrassing questions.

"She also married a guy 20 years older than her!" I was amazed that my great grandma was soooo cool. She had an Older Man!

"That wasn't such a good thing for the family. He died at the beginning of the Depression and Grandma had to support the family. It was really hard on her and my Dad ended up leaving the home as a teenager because there were too many mouths to feed and he felt like a burden on his mom." My Mom was so serious and trying to teach such important life lessons. I think that's when she started telling me to marry someone seven years younger since men die younger than women.

"Your Grandma married an older man!" I just had stars in my eyes and was in awe of my Great Grandma. She had an Older Man! She was so cool!

Now I admire her even more for completely different reasons. To survive and raise a family during the depression without a husband is something I admire and hope to never live through. (Knock on wood!)


Accomplishments Over Labor Day Weekend

1. Traveled to Moab since all our camping friends left us high and dry.

2. Bought a new pair of Teva's half-price at one of the many outdoor stores. I do believe Moab has more outdoor stores than any other county in the state, probably even if they were all combined.

3. Tried and liked 'Whole-Grain Pasta.' It's only 51% whole wheat, therefore bearable. While I love whole wheat bread I have not found a whole wheat pasta that doesn't taste like cardboard.

4. Played at the park instead of hiking since there were Flash Flood Warnings all over the area. The kids still got to play in the water in the relative safety of town.

Somehow this Hottie Chick got in our park pics!

5. Saved $20! Checked out the Wall Arch, which recently fell, online instead of in Arches National Park. We've been quite a few times and decided a fallen arch wasn't as cool as an intact arch.
Before (National Park Service Photo):

After (National Park Service Photo):

6. Saved a small fortune on gas by driving the New Old Car to Moab instead of the gas-guzzling truck.

7. Actually brought home the Ketchup from Moab Brewery, my favorite restaurant as seen here.

8. Learned that Sister-in-Law Fashionista's past relatives built Hole-in-the-Rock. A house carved out of the rock.

9. Drove around Moab and saw areas I had never seen before. It's quite picturesque up in the hills around Moab. But I still love the valley best because it is so green and lush with the red rock cliffs towering above all around. It's a beautiful picture almost year round!

10. Hiked to Moon Flower Falls. At the beginning are some petroglyphs.

It was a beautiful hike along a stream with a waterfall at the end.

First Born participated in Cliff Jumping.

Other Children rode the small falls like a water slide.

Brother-in-Law Copper posed beautifully as a red-neck for us all.