Hunter Safety Class

Back in December Olaf taught a Hunter Safety class. He enjoys doing this and does it a couple times every year. In the past parents had offered their shooting ranges for him to let his students pass off their shooting skills. But for this class no one came forward and offered a shooting range. So he had to find one all by himself. He talked to another Gun Enthusiast (that's the understatement of the year) who said he could use the Shooting Range underneath the Senior Citizen Center. I think the Shooting Range has been there since the Spaniards came into the valley.

Here's a picture of everyone getting ready to shoot. Notice the low ceiling, posts holding everything up, and old cement floor.
Notice the wheels on the posts? They are how the targets are moved back and forth. No cool light switch to flip like in the movies.
Here's an example of someone using the aforementioned wheel.
Here's a picture of Middle Child and his Friend. They took the class together and had too much fun. Notice the white stripe in the background? That's the targets.
Obviously, Middle Child took the class from Olaf. He was taking the quizzes online and had to ask a few questions, but for the most part he knew everything. As he was discussing shotguns vs. rifles with Olaf he announced, "You know, Dad, I'm never going hunting." He's been very anti-gun and anti-hunting. Olaf just isn't sure he's the father of this child. But he is, the mailman was actually a mailwoman at the time.

During the class, Olaf was sure he'd have to help Middle Child with the shooting portion in order to pass him. You see, Middle Child has only been shooting once and that was with the above-pictured friend, not Olaf. But before the class was over Middle Child brought his target over to show Olaf and he had done a dang good job of shooting! Olaf was pretty amazed. I did remind him that he plays a lot of video games and that probably contributes to the whole hand-eye coordination issue.

The best thing about the Shooting Range was the crawl space under the front porch of the Senior Center. It was something from a horror novel. Dripping water came from the darkened ceiling. There was an old wooden table in the middle of the short room. The foundation stones were rough and uneven. All it needed was some torture tools hanging from the ceiling.

The best thing about the class was Middle Child announced he "Wanted to go Hunting." Olaf couldn't have been happier.


Boys Will be Boys

When Olaf and I were dating I lived with a family we had been friends with since I was a baby. They are a very nice family and had six children, similar to the seven I grew up with. Her last three children were boys and I had never been around that many boys before. I only had two brothers and they were five or six years apart and never really played together.

These were really sweet boys. One morning the littlest one got up and gave me a hug and then went back to bed. I had to leave for work around 5:30am so no one else in the house was up when I left so I was surprised when he woke up that morning.

But nonetheless they were boys. They would run and romp and play all the time. Their bikes were on the lawn and their pants had rips in the knees by springtime. For the most part they got along great, which is miraculous considering they all shared a room together. But one afternoon I witnessed a real fistfight break out between them. There was a flurry of clothes and fists and bodies. I couldn't even see if two or three of the boys were fighting. And I just stood there unable to move, frozen to the spot, clueless as how to get them to stop before they killed themselves. Having witnessed few fights, and never between brothers, I thought for sure they would kill themselves! But their Mom heard the scuffle, came running, reached right into the middle, (how could she not be afraid of them? I was!) pulled those boys apart, and sent them to sit on their beds. I was absolutely amazed! I was in awe! She was better than Wonder Woman!

Fast forward ten years. Now I know how she did it. I've done it several times. I didn't know I had it in me before three boys, but I have reached into the middle of a fight and split it up. I never even considered being afraid like I was before children. I never realized what Motherhood does to you until I had three boys of my own. You do become Superwoman and Wonder Woman just to keep your kids alive.


Self Esteem Boost

I got my recent phone bill and I feel Wonderful! It was addressed to me, "Not-An-Idiot!" (If you remember I told you in the past how the phone company was calling me an idiot. It was so frustrating and demoralizing. You can read about it here.) I was so excited and this was such a boost to my self esteem that I'm thinking of changing it again. Sister-in-Law Farmer suggested I change it to something even more validating, "Most Beautiful and Fabulous Customer." I think I could have a little fun with this. Maybe every month I'll change it to something new. Then I'll probably forget I changed it and when I get the new bill in my inbox it will make my heart swell with happiness with the nice things the phone company has to call me. It could be a wonderful boost every month! I might run out of ideas so if you could give me a few suggestions that would be wonderful.


Calvin's Cabinet

Today we took the boys over to the cabinet shop. Since the cabinet guy is a friend of Olaf's friend he said we could help build the cabinet for the Junior High. (yes, our town is not so small and we have graduated to the second level of separation or whatever it is called. Instead of knowing everyone in town anymore, everyone knows someone you know.) So the boys went over and started sanding. I sure hoped he sanded the boards before the boys! They both had littlish sanders and were sanding away but were having more fun than anything. When Middle Child tried out Baby's sander he was amazed, "It moves all by itself," and then he let go and watched it run across the wood! I seriously think that kid has no common sense some days. At least no big gouges were made so we just sanded that area a little more than the rest.

After everything was sanded and dusted he set them to staining. He got them some small rags and dipped them in the stain. Then he pulled the dripping rags out and showed the boys how to push the rags into the grooves and then run over the top when the grooves were good and stained. The boys had quite a bit of fun. Who wouldn't with dripping rags full of stain? Of course a few pieces of clothing were ruined, but most everyone was dressed for the occasion. I noticed Baby had stain marks all over his arm. Middle Child had dust marks on his face where he had scratched himself while sanding. They were both quite comical looking.

The boys had a good time helping out with "Calvin's Cabinet." It'll be nice when it's done and hung. I'll post some pictures of the finished product for you all to admire my children's amazing staining ability.


Back to School

Spring Break is officially over and done. The children are back to school. That means back to waking up early and me attempting to get them to bed earlier than last week. That last part is hard. The sun is up later, it's gorgeous out this week, (as opposed to spring break when it snowed) and the kids do anything they can to stay up late. Baby has been nicknamed "Grizz" on the mornings he doesn't wake up happy. That ends up being the mornings when there isn't something special going on such as an Easter Egg Hunt, Christmas presents, No School, etc, which translates into most mornings.

The first morning back to school Olaf got Baby out of bed and dressed. Boy was he a Grizz! He whined and cried while Olaf dressed him. Then he traipsed out to the sofa and promptly lay down and threw the blanket over himself.

"Time to read scriptures!" I announced, our morning ritual.

"Uhhh, will you get mine for me Dad?" and Olaf handed him his scriptures and helped him find the right place.

We all took turns reading a few verses and then it was Baby's turn.

"Where are we?" as he finally looks at the book.

"Right here. You just need to read a couple verses, they're the shortest ones."

He pauses, looks, groans, and starts reading, "Blah, blah, blahblahblah, blah."

Olaf and I looked at each other, rolled our eyes, and just knew it was going to be one of those days.


Random Happenings

  1. Discovered a RedBox movie sitting on top of the TV since last Saturday.
  2. My DVR can't tell the difference between "New" and "Rerun" and recorded about 10 iCarly shows for the kids. I took care of that series recording.
  3. Middle Child has been sent to clean his room every day for the past two weeks and the floor is no more visible than it was two weeks ago.
  4. Attempting to break Tank's habit of sleeping on sofa by leaning chairs against the front of it to no avail, he jumps over them and sleeps on the back cushions as if he were a princess.
  5. Ate out way too much this week, but looking forward to it tonight.
  6. Bought some soft and warm Acorn slippers for half price last night while Olaf was buying paintballs for his game today.
  7. When I told Baby to wash his face he replied, "I'm a Boy! I'm supposed to be dirty!" and he ran away to play with a friend.
  8. Actually worked out three times this week!
  9. It snowed and a lot of trees were damaged.
  10. Baby made cookies with Olaf's coworker last night and I ate most of them cuz they were delicious! I need that recipe! (I don't think the workouts counteracted the calories I ate.)
  11. I bought my first Paul Frank t-shirt. (I'm probably too old to wear it tho.)
  12. Left the truck out in the rain in a feeble attempt to get it clean. It doesn't rain hard enough here to wash a car.
  13. Reserved the campground for Girl's Camp this summer.
  14. Went to a beautiful roof-top wedding for a past co-worker. I wish her many happy years!
  15. Balanced the checkbook and I'm still in the black.
  16. Got all the laundry folded and put away. Helps when you don't do all the dirty laundry.
  17. Tanned in an effort to keep up with the Rock Star Wives. I'm failing miserably in that deparment, I just don't have it in me.
  18. Got to sleep in 15 minutes this week since the kids are on Spring Break and I don't need to get them up in the morning.
  19. Put in my first "Time Off" request for Sister's Weekend!


6 Months and Counting

For the last six months I have been trying to recover from the nightmarish events of October 15, 2008. It has been a long road. And I'm still not at the end. But a "New Normal" has emerged in my life. There is still a big hole and it will never, no matter what, be filled.

I remember after the accident whenever a new day started, thinking "How, how can this be? How can life go on?" And I just wanted to crawl up in my bed and stay there, hoping time would stand still. But I knew that would never happen. So I got up and went to work. That was probably one of the hardest things to do. And as much as I hated being away from my other two boys, I knew if I stayed home I would fall into the depths of despair. I knew that if I went to work my mind would be distracted. So I went.

So many things have worked out for the best for me that it is amazing. God is watching and even though he had different plans that I did, he was watching out for me and helping me along, preparing me for what was to happen. I finished school in time to get a job just months before the accident. It would have been disastrous to be home doing daycare afterwards. I had been offered several jobs before I took the one I did. If I had accepted any of the other jobs there is no way I would have been able to take 2 1/2 weeks off after the accident. And as hard as it was to work after the accident it was probably in my best interest to work full-time; it provided a good distraction. Several months later I happened across a part-time accounting job and applied for that. And I was lucky enough to be offered that job. I am able to be home with my boys after school.

We have also done some other things. Calvin loved the Junior High. He had so many friends and had matured so much in the last year or two. We really wanted to do something for the school in his remembrance. A few months after the accident we visited with the Principal. After some discussion we decided it would be good to have a display case built for the school. At first that sounds kind of dumb. But after brainstorming we really liked the display case idea the best. It would be a permanent fixture that would benefit the school for many years. Their current display cases are full and it would be nice to have more room.

We also finally picked out and ordered a headstone for his grave. For months I would think about it and couldn't bring myself to go and pick something out. "This couldn't be my life. There is no way I should be picking out a headstone for my child." It was such a finalization. I just couldn't bear the thought of it. But we finally went last month and did it. It will take a few months since they had to special order the stone. They said it might, might, be ready for Memorial Day, but it can't be promised. I was fine with that. I didn't care about the day, I just wanted it to be right.

So while things haven't been what I planned for my life we seem to be doing pretty good. And most thankfully the other two boys seem to be doing great considering. They seem to have adjusted to our "New Normal."


Working Moms Rule the World

Utah is predominantly Mormon and the religion/culture encourages moms to stay home with their children. This is all fine and dandy but doesn't work for everyone. The average wage for the US is $43,889 but in Utah it is only $36,69 (2007 figures). Try living on that salary with a starter townhome costing over $150,000. You'll never get to go on vacation again. And even though being a stay-at-home-mom is the ideal in this area of the world, Utah actually has a higher percentage of women that work.

"In 2006, roughly 60 percent of women over the age of 16(Utah figures) —were participants in the labor market. Nationally, only 57 percent of women are in the labor force." http://jobs.utah.gov/opencms/wi/pubs/hardatwork/executivesummary.pdf

For reasons unknown, some women in Utah feel the need to push the stay-at-home-mom agenda onto everyone they see in the workforce. There are many reasons why women choose to work; using their education instead of wasting it, complementing husband's income, being a single mom/supporter, to get out of the house for some sanity time, and some women don't like staying home. These are only a few of the reasons to work. I personally work for a couple reasons, the main one is having the ability to support the family if something were to happen to Olaf.

But Sister-in-Law Nurse deals with the public face-to-face and someone always makes a comment about her working. Because she has a picture of her kids hanging from her ID badge she is always asked about them. She is not the only one that has to deal with people telling her she should be home with her kids. My friend also works in the medical field and people are always commenting to her how she should be home with her kids and not out working. It drives her crazy too.
  • "What cute kids, wouldn't you rather be home with them?"
  • "That's too bad that you have to work."

But then after she explains she only works three days a week and she wants to have a career to fall back on in case something happens to her hubby, she gets the sympathy/understanding comments.
  • "Oh, well that's not so bad if you get to be home more often."
  • "At least you don't work five days a week!"

I think she should take another approach. I think she should have a couple different stories on hand for know-it-alls like these.
  • "I was already going to school when I met my husband. We got married just after I finished school and I was planning on quitting when we had kids. But a few months after I got pregnant with our first child he was in a horrible work accident that left him severely maimed/disfigured/handicapped and he can't work anymore. In fact I need to work to pay for the enormous medical bills. At the time it was so distressing that I miscarried the baby and now we can't get pregnant."
  • "These are my nieces and nephews. My husband and I can't get pregnant. We tried adoption but because of a serious condition he has no one will let us adopt."
  • "We are both carriers of a genetic disease that kills babies in their last trimester. We've gotten pregnant a few times but they have all inherited this disease and never lived."

Maybe if she told some of the busybodies these stories they'd shut their traps and leave her alone.


The Last Easter Egg Hunt

A long time ago, before Baby was born (yeah, he's only a Baby in my eyes), we went to the Grandparents for Easter. In the past Grandma had always had an Easter Dinner that everyone attended and afterwards there was an Easter Egg Hunt for all the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. My two older boys loved it. They looked forward to it every year.

Grandma would always boil a couple dozen eggs. Then she would hide them in the yard before all the kids showed up. Olaf remembers doing this when he was a kid. I guess in years past some of the eggs hadn't been found so she resorted to making a list. She didn't want eggs turning up months later after they rotted and smelled to high heaven.

One year we headed up for Easter. We hadn't heard anything and didn't know if Grandma was doing a dinner. I think it was right after she had first been diagnosed with cancer and I knew she wasn't feeling great. But it was a good excuse to visit the grandparents, whom we all adored. When we showed up we found absolutely no extra cars in the driveway or on the street. That's ok, we weren't there to be entertained, we just wanted to see them.

We went in and visited with them and had a good time just sitting around. Grandma was in the kitchen with the two boys and I assumed she was just getting them ice cream, one of the staples at her house. But when I wandered in a little later I discovered her boiling eggs! I guess the boys had asked why there wasn't an egg hunt. Being the entertaining kind of Grandma that she was, she went to boiling eggs. After they had cooled she hid them while the boys waited in the house. The boys were so excited to get one last Easter Egg Hunt at their Grandmas. And this hunt was just for them, they didn't have to share their Grandma, or eggs, with anyone this time.


I Need Some Popcorn

Sister Quilter called me the other day to tell me she had FINALLY seen Quantum of Solace. It's about damn time; I seriously have no clue as to what took her so long. She saw Twilight opening weekend and it wasn't half as good. I was excited, "Wasn't it great!?! Did you just love it or what?"

She paused and kind of laughed, "Yeah, um, I didn't really like it."

"What? How could you not like it?" I was stunned. Seriously, how could you not like it?

"Well, it just went from chase scene to chase scene. And there really wasn't any plot, they just kept chasing people."

"There was to a plot. And of course there's a lot of action, it's James Bond."

"It was like those other movies, um. . .what are they called. . .I can't remember."

I knew exactly what she was talking about, "The Bourne movies?"

"Yeah! It was like 'They're jumping through another window?'"

"Those were great movies, full of action. You just can't blink or you'd miss something!"

"Well, I just don't love those as much as you."

Yeah, I know. She likes chick flicks, which I don't really enjoy all that much. All that sentimental mushy stuff is nauseating. You can always count on James Bond for some serious action and just enough romance to soften the story line a little bit. I seriously don't know how she came from the same parents as I did. Except for the family resemblance you might think she was adopted.

P.S. I'll still love you Sister Quilter!



Last night Tank was acting a little strange. Usually he goes to bed at night soon after the boys. But last night he was so antsy. He kept pacing back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And he would stop at the back door. And then he would stop at the garage door. I'd let him out and after about 1 minute I would hear him whining at the door to be let back in again. He was driving me crazy! I'm used to him being asleep like the boys. I'm not accustomed to him roaming the house after bedtime.

After letting him out three or four times I told him I wasn't letting him out anymore. You'd think he could understand me. But he didn't. He kept stopping at the doors. Finally Olaf let him into the garage. He thought it was odd that Tank wanted in the garage, he's never done that before. He ran right into the garage and started sniffing all around. A couple seconds later he started barking with a vengeance. Something must have gotten in the garage and was tormenting him.

Olaf hoped it was a badger or porcupine or skunk. Thankfully it wasn't a skunk! I figured ThunderCat was in our garage again. He is an adorable cat that adopted our corner, specifically Dave across the street. And as much as I don't like cats this one is really sweet. So I wanted to save the poor kitty. I started to open the garage door and quickly Olaf hollered "Tank'll get out if you open the garage!" I realized he was right and I didn't want to chase him in the cold and dark, so I shut it. But I didn't want the kitty to be stuck in there all night. So I just opened the door a little, enough for ThunderCat to get out but not Tank.

Finally, we made Tank come back in. I was going to bed and didn't want him out barking anymore. This morning the first thing he wanted was back in that garage. Olaf let him in and he sniffed all over but couldn't find anything. He was a little disappointed and went out in the backyard to see if he could bark at any birds or stray cats roaming the field. Poor Tank was a little disappointed at his chance to be a Real African Dog.


Who's the Bad Guy?

Growing up my Mom always told me not to marry an oldest child since I was an oldest. She said their personalities will not mesh at all. But, despite her best warning, I married an oldest child. And somehow we make it work for us. But even though we are both oldest children, I'm the only one that really acts like it. But I don't know if it's the Oldest Child or Mother in me coming out when I parent.

I don't know if anyone else has this problem but it seems as though I am the bad guy! I am the one that is always grounding the kids, I'm the one giving them chores to do, I'm the one making them finish their supper, I'm the one sending them to bed at night, all the while Olaf is playing with them. Don't take this the wrong way, I get to spend fun time with my children too. But I am the one who makes them do things, usually against their will.

Just the other day I was out and about and the children were home with Olaf. I called to check up on something, which is something I usually abhor. If I am out, I am out! and I better not be bothered by "Baby's changing the TV station!" "Middle Child's bugging me!" "Baby ate my treat!" "Middle Child grounded me!" (All of these are true stories and some of the lesser infractions that were tattled to me while I was trying to forget I was a parent for a few minutes of bliss.) But when I called home I asked Olaf if he had made the children do something and of course he hadn't. I asked him to "Please have them do that before I get home! Please!" I'm sure I even offered some rewards for his getting it done before I got home. His reply was "But Baby's making me take him to lunch." I gave that disgusted sigh and asked "Who's the parent here?"

Even when I'm not home I'm the bad guy.


Break a Leg

Middle Child has been working on a play all year. Every Wednesday he had "Acting" class and he loved it. This year they did "Tales of the Arabian Nights."

This week all his hard work has finally come to fruition. For the past three nights we have been dutiful parents watching his play. They did a really good job with it and it is really cute. Baby has been for three nights and is still looking forward to the last night on Monday. We even brought one of his cousins to a second night of the play because she wanted to see it again. It's been really cute to see how excited Middle Child is about his play.

One of the fun things about this play (and other amateur plays too, I'm sure) is that things change every night. Middle Child has two small parts in the play and a couple of lines in each of those parts. He is a Messenger and there is another Messenger and they speak their lines in unison. The second night when he came on the other Messenger was missing! Afterwards we asked him what happened to the other boy and Middle Child said he had to go to the bathroom.

After the play I asked Middle Child if he ever got nervous up on stage. He said "No, I know my lines, I've practiced my part, I know when I'm supposed to come on, and I know how to act." It's cute how he is so confident. I wasn't that brave when I was 11!



Last week Uncle Copper was up visiting. He was taking some drug classes. It was called "Domestic Drug something something." I was all like "Huh?" I asked him what they were teaching him. I thought maybe it was something about how to spot Husbands and Wives who Dealt/Made Drugs. Domestic violence is about violence in the home, so it made sense to me. But that's not the case. It's learning about how people use hotels and storage units and ride buses in order to traffic drugs. Then, the brilliant girl that I am, asked, "So, it's not about making drugs at home? That sound like it's everywhere but home. Where does the 'domestic' come in? Is it domestic because it's not at a work place? But, um, they don't traffic in drugs at stores so why the 'domestic'?" I'm totally clueless when it comes to drugs.

But the point of this story was we all went to dinner that night. The server asked what we were celebrating and we couldn't think of anything. But Uncle Copper and his boy, Sister-in-Law Nurse and her family, Grandma & Grandpa, and us, all went to dinner at the local Brick Oven. Uncle Copper left early because he had to pick up a girl. We were all a little curious because no one knew who she was. But when they showed up she happened to be a college-age daughter of a co-worker of Uncle Copper's. She was cute girl. And Middle Child had her attention the whole time.

He talked that poor girl's ear off! He was instilling all his witty, nonsensical knowledge on her poor unsuspecting ear. She was really cute and gave him her full attention. At the end of dinner I heard Middle Child discussing trading cell phone numbers with her so they could text. I'd say he was a bit smitten!

Somehow the movie Twilight came up in their discussion. She said she didn't watch the movie because she loved the books so much she didn't want the movie to ruin it. Middle Child piped in that he'd read the book.

"How old are you?" she asked.

"11!" he enthusiastically replied, trying to make her realize she's not that much older than him. Then he told her "I didn't like the books. They were kinda dumb."

"That's because you don't understand love yet, you're too young."

"I will on April 3rd," he replied.

"What's going on on April 3rd?" she asked.

Then he got that slightly embarrassed grin of realizing he had shared too much information. He clammed right up and then changed the subject, because that kid can't stay clammed up for more than about 30 seconds.

From the other end of the table Olaf and I had heard the whole conversation and burst into laughter. His school is having Maturation Class on April 3rd, Utah's sexless version of sex ed. That poor girl left completely confused about how Middle Child would learn about Love on April 3rd.