Inherited Diseases

There is a hereditary disease in our family. I should probably qualify that statement. My family has a disease of mismatched words and phrases. We choke and splutter and spit out the wrong words quite often. One Sister is the worst offender. Once I was driving with her and she got all excited and asked if I had seen hijacker on the side of the road. Of course I hadn't! But when she described the hijacker I realized it was really a hitchhiker.

Unfortunately Baby has inherited this disease. He's so stinking cute that something had to bring him down.

He got some new shoes this summer. One day Olaf told him they were heading out. Baby said, "I wanna go! Let me grab my crotches!"

Olaf did a double take and asked what grabbing his crotch had to do with going anywhere. And then Baby grabbed his new crocs. Olaf laughed and told him they were crocs, not crotches.

"What's the difference?" Baby asked. And so Olaf got to explain the difference between crotches and crocs.

This weekend we are at a family reunion in a ski town in Colorado. We decided to rent some condominiums instead of hotels. And the kids love them. Two bedrooms, kitchen, living and dining room. They are nice and roomy.

Baby announced to everyone that we were staying in some condoms. No one has explained the difference in those two terms to him quite yet.



I am getting ready to head out on a Family Reunion. I'm pretty excited! Hope you all have a great weekend!


Almost 12

Middle Child is almost 12. And some days I think he will be lucky if he makes it to 12. He's a little forgetful. And really sweet. (Thank goodness for that last one because currently it's his only saving grace.)

When we went to Lagoon we took his best friend. We got there and I handed Middle Child some money. Then I handed Baby some money. Then I said to BFF, "You have your money your mom gave you, right?"

"Oh, shoot," in that way only an 11-year-old boy can say that phrase. "I left it in my pants."

A few minutes later we were unloading. "Don't forget your bag of towels for when you swim, boys."

This time Middle Child piped up, "Oh, shoot. It's at home on the floor by the door."

"Well, it's a good thing it's hot out. You'll just have to air dry."

We then found a "camping spot" for our cooler and towels (that were remembered) and other crap we brought along. I had a lengthy conversation (for an 11-year-old) about leaving his cell phone at our "camping spot" even if he was just riding water rides, because it will get wet and we don't want to ruin another phone. Then Middle Child and his BFF took off for a day of fun rides.

Throughout the day I noticed his cell phone deposited in the bag at our spot and then gone again, then back again and I was so proud of him for remembering to drop it off.

Then a little later Olaf gave me a call. "Don't bother calling Middle Child."


"He went swimming with his phone."

11-year-old boys.

Then today Olaf brought them to my work. I had some pool punch passes the boys were going to use. "Did you remember to bring all your stuff? Towels, sunscreen, anything else?"

To which Middle Child replied, "Oh, shoot."

One day, I hope, he's going to grow up and remember something besides what is physically on his body.

PS. We let the phone dry out for 1 1/2 weeks and it miraculously now works!


The Animal's Rodeo

Last night we ventured out to the Rodeo. As always it didn't disappoint. We had a blast. And the Nephew from Denver who is Middle Child's age is pretty sure we live in the Most Awesomest Town in the world and wants to move here. Too bad his Dad has no work in the vicinity or he wouldn't have a problem getting him to move here because he thinks we have the Most Awesomest Food in the World located right in this little town of Spanish Fork; Barry's, Glades, Little Acorn, Hickory Kist, and Jaxie's. (Actually I don't think he's been to Jaxie's but it's my favorite so I couldn't leave it out, that would be unfair.)

But, I digress. I was going to tell you about The Animal's Rodeo. It was an event I discovered last night while watching the Animals leave the arena. It seemed suspicious that the Animals who were able to buck the rider, not get roped, or otherwise not cooperate to the Cowgirl's (I use the term Cowgirl loosely, it can mean Cowboy also) advantage, seemed to strut out of the arena. I got a little wary of their behavoir. So I decided to follow one of the steers that hadn't been roped and tied.

The Little Steers were all herded into a holding pen, conveniently located right under our seats. I pretended to lose my shoe underneath so I had a premise to be in the area that wouldn't make the Animals distrustful of my presence. I wanted them to be able to speak freely and not feel as though they were being spied upon. And my plan worked!

Turns out that the Animals hold their own competition. While out in the arena the Cowgirls are getting points for roping the steer the fastest, staying on the bucking bronco the longest, and racing around the barrels the quickest, the Animals are working against the Cowgirls. The Animals were earning bragging rights for evading the Cowgirl's ropes. The Broncos and Bulls were quite arrogant if they had bucked the rider before the eight seconds were finished. In fact, the night we were at the rodeo not many riders lasted eight seconds. And not many Cowgirls were able to rope and tie the Little Steers.

As I "dropped" my shoe a second time near the end of the rodeo I heard the Animals discussing the winnings. Turns out that sheep are not so dumb. They are the bookies. Since the rodeo was finishing up they were tallying up who had won amongst the Animals. The Animals bet their supper and treats just like we bet cold hard cash. Know how some Animals turn up lame? What actually happened is the sheep's henchmen came around the night before demanding payment that hadn't been made and roughed the Animal up a little. Now you know to give your Animals a little more food. But on the other hand, have you noticed that some Animals never seem to gain weight, no matter how much food they get every day? They are probably the ones with the gambling problem and don't really get to eat all that food, they've already lost it to their bookies.

The Bull that almost climbed out of his pen and into the arena several times and then bucked his rider almost immediately won for the evening. He got a couple weeks worth of Prime Grade A Alfalfa on top of his regular rations. (I think the field I live next to provides the alfalfa.) He's trying to beef up for next breeding season. He wants a lot of little Bulls running around with his namesake.

The Little Steer that came in first (he was cute, his ears were wriggling when he strutted out of the arena because he was so happy and knew he won for the evening) won a weeks worth of buttered hay. I heard him telling one of his friends that is his favorite treat. I think the big Bull that won had taken him in and taught him a few tricks.

The Animals that are roped, rode, and too fast are humiliated. They leave with their heads hanging and tails hiding between their legs. They hide in the corner till the next night when they can try again to show their superiority over the Cowgirls that ride and rope them. I think some of the Cowgirls know they are humiliated by their behavior because it seems as though they were shielding them from the other Animals, putting them in their own pens instead of with the general population.

It was quite interesting learning about The Animal's Rodeo. Next year I'm going to watch even closer. I'm also going to try to infiltrate and learn if the Animal's have classifications and categories and what their named. I'll let you know as soon as I do. Stay tuned next year!


Hallowed Pioneers

I live in Utah, in case you forgot. I live amongst the Mormons. (I am even one of them, sort of.) A little history lesson; the Mormon's were driven out of Missouri by angry mobs who didn't like them. They trekked across the plains and mountains and settled in Utah, which was at that moment not even in the US, it was part of Mexico, but only for another year or two. They didn't care, they just wanted to be left alone after being run out of several states.

The best part of living in Utah is the month of July. Not only do we celebrate the 4th of July but also the 24th of July. It's Pioneer Day. I like it for several reasons. One, it extends the celebration of our country for a few more weeks. Second, the city does their local Carnival/Fiesta Days that week. Fiesta Days are a lot of fun. The carnival comes, the kids get to ride exorbitantly overpriced rides, we get to eat at little booths under the hot sun, and the shops on Main St. have a sidewalk sale (I'm kind of curious as to what Dirty Jo's puts out on their tables). But the two best things about Fiesta Days are the Parade on the 24th and the Rodeo! It's a pretty awesome rodeo. The first few years I declined saying I didn't like rodeos. Then they finally talked me into going one year and it was FUN!

The only part of the 24th of July I don't like is the constant talk of Pioneers. As summer approaches I look forward to the 24th and all its festivities. And then they start talking about Pioneers at church. I know the Pioneers sacrificed a lot to live their religion. I know they are an important part of our history. But almost every Sunday in church someone spends their whole lesson or talk glorifying the Pioneers. Seriously, they are people like you and me who did what they had to in a hard situation, not unlike most people today.

Several years ago the youth were preparing for a Handcart Trek. It was supposed to make them more aware of what their ancestors sacrificed. I say "their ancestors" because, thankfully, I have absolutely no Pioneer heritage. The youth were told to bring a story about one of their Pioneer ancestors who trekked across the plains/mountains and (this is the best part) if someone did not have a story one would be provided for them! I was livid! Who gives a rats ass whether you have a pioneer in your ancestry or not.

I was so mad I turned to Olaf and said "I'm so glad our kids have no Pioneers in their history! I can give them a real story to tell!"

Olaf looked at me a little perplexed, "But our kids have Pioneers in their history."

"How did they get there?" I asked, completely shocked. This can't be true, I know of no Pioneers in my lineage. Did he know something I didn't?

"They're my kids too and I have Pioneers who traipsed across the plains in my history." I was so disappointed and upset. My kids no longer have the novelty of being amongst the Few in Utah with No Pioneer Heritage.

Thank goodness for the Rodeo or the 24th wouldn't be any fun at all.


How Many Libraries Do You Need?

There is nothing like a good fabric store with luscious fabrics. I love to touch. I love to mix and match, mostly mix. I love to ooh and aah. I love to see.

Today I purchased the following.

The ladies asked "What ya gonna do with this?" To which I replied, "I don't know, I just have to have it before it's gone." Maybe I'll make a bag. You know I can't make a quilt, but a bag is doable.

Then a friend got some of this fabric to make a bag for her and her girls. I love it! It's adorable!

Just so you know, it's three separate bags, not one.

Another thing I LOVE to do is pull the warm, soft fabric from the dryer and fold it. It's so beautiful, so pristine. It's not been cut, I can fold it nicely, and it looks so pretty when it's all stacked. If I had loads of money to spend on everything I would seriously consider a library of folded material, not books. Although that would be hard, I love books almost as much as material. Maybe I'd have two separate libraries. See how beautiful it would be.

But then again, maybe I only need one library. See how the fabric blends beautifully with the books on the shelves.

I know. It's a sickness I have. I just don't know of any fabric detoxing programs readily available in the US. Maybe if someone called Obama he could get a bill for that one rushed right through Congress.


Baby's Growing Up

Lately Baby has been fascinated with growing up. I'm the only one allowed to call him 'Little' and 'Baby.' He constantly tells everyone else he is NOT little, he is BIG. His BFF also feels the same way. Maybe this is a consequence of being the youngest in the family. He just wants to be big like his big brothers.

Over a month ago he announced to me that he was getting hair in his armpits. Trying not to laugh too hard I asked to see the hair.

"Oh, you can't see it yet. It's going to grow in where the white patches are."

"Can I see where it's going to grow in then?"

"No, but Zac already has hair in his armpits!"

"Really? Do you think he will show me?" I really wanted to see hair on some eight-year-old boys.

"No, he's kind of private." Excuses, excuses.

A couple of weeks later we were driving somewhere in the car. He was sitting up front with me running a one-sided nonstop monologue. I had tuned him out, probably thinking about laundry, until he started talking about hair again.

"Look, Mom!" he had obviously said this several times. "I can pull my skin without touching it at all!" And he was pulling his leg hairs. I don't know if he realized he's always had leg hairs or if he thought it was something new associated with the growth of his armpit hair. He was pretty amazed.

Another few weeks later he announced to me, "I'm getting hair down there!"

"Really!?!" This time I couldn't help the laughing. "Now can I see your armpit hair?"

"No, it hasn't grown in enough to see yet."

"This means you're turning into a Real Man and there is only one Real Man allowed at this house. We're going to have to get rid of it."

He walked off completely unfazed at my comment and jubilant about his hair growth. As of a couple weeks later he still won't show me his hair. I have my doubts until he actually shows me, but in his head he has Grown Up.


Calvin's Visit to China

One of Calvin's friends put up a post on her website about her and Calvin's trip to China. You should read it because it had me in stitches. You can find it right here.


Let the Games Begin

About two or three years ago Olaf decided to pit the two older boys against each other in a race to memorize the Articles of Faith. They were off, out of the gates, running full bore, sure they could whip this easy challenge within a few hours of a Sunday afternoon. They passed one, two, and then three got a little tricky. Middle Child got it pretty quick and moved on to four. Calvin, on the other hand, started getting discouraged he couldn't memorize it nearly as quickly as his younger brother. He finally got three memorized and moved on to four also.

By this time Middle Child had finished four and started on five. Calvin struggled but eventually got four in a relatively short amount of time, it is the most famous and most oft quoted Article of Faith. Calvin started on five which Middle Child had already mastered and was halfway done with six. Calvin started getting upset he couldn't best his little bro at something! The tears started welling up in the eyes and falling. The defeatist attitude showed its ugly face.

Meanwhile Middle Child had polished off six and instantly started on seven, a relatively short one. Now Calvin was spending more time trying to fail than he was trying to memorize. Calvin was upset. He would read a couple words, cover them up in the book, try to remember them, fail, and start crying again. It was quite comical for us parents. We have to find the humor in anything we can in order to stay sane.

During all of this Middle Child is learning something about himself. He is better at memorizing than his big brother! This is new territory for him. After being the younger brother and enduring all the hassles and humiliation that comes with that title, he is reveling in this new found superiority. He is even rubbing it in Calvin's face in his nonagressive style typical of a middle child. Calvin continued to break down while Middle Child sped ahead, eager to win this easy race.

I don't think Middle Child learned all 13 Article of Faith, we were in the car to visit Grandpa, so there was a time limit. When we got to Grandpa's, Calvin got out of the car, sad, dejected, and beaten. Middle Child emerged victorious, and was eager to let everyone know. When he exceeds all expectations he loves to let the world know. He likes that attention. Calvin, on the other hand, didn't want to hear another word about the whole affair, he just wanted to put it behind him and never look back.

One interesting note is that this defeatist attitude Calvin would get sometimes had emerged less and less over the last year of his life. He was growing up and maturing and it was wonderful to see that in his personality as he became more sure of himself.


Calvin on the Mind

Lately Calvin has been on my mind more than normal. I just miss that kid. It seems to come and go in waves. I've been on the top of the wave, thinking about him a lot and remembering the things he used to do when he was little. He talked quite early, early enough that I thought something was wrong with the other two because they didn't talk until much later. He came up with some creative names for things that he couldn't quite get straight.

Newbab was his Moab. It was cute. He adored his Uncle Copper who lived there and he loved visiting him. He said that one for so long that I remember Olaf saying we should start correcting him. I sure didn't want to change it and when he started saying Moab I was sad.

His favorite cereal was Charly Chams. Can you guess what it is? You're going to feel silly that you didn't when I tell you what it was for him. It is also my favorite cereal, hands down. It's full of different marshmallows including rainbows. His favorite cereal was Lucky Charms.

He loved the candy Save Livers. I know you can figure out what those are without even telling you.

Lately I have been pummeled by reminders of Calvin. I think it started last week when I was together with some old friends from church. One of them had moved out of the area. Her son is on the High School football team. I was asking her if she knew that the team had signed a football for Calvin. She proceeded to tell me how not only did they do that, but they dedicated a game in his honor. I had only known after the fact that the team had painted CH on their calves for the game. Turns out the game made local news and she has it on her DVR at home. She's going to try and get a copy for me.

I looked at the Obituary, the newspaper article about the accident, and the facebook page In Memory of Calvin where many comments were made and found even more comments. Some were quite recent. One was from a friend on the last day of school, "Yesterday was our last day of school and everyone wished that you were there to sign yearbooks. but you weren't your in a better place now. You got picked for the nicest boy, and you got a whole page about you. You would never believe how much we missed you at lunch work." And another friend wrote on April 15th, "wow. its only been 6 months to the day. and he has been missed enough to seem like its been 6 years." Some days it feels like forever to me too.

The Monument place called to get some more information for the headstone. We had recently seen a cute picture of a Basset Hound so this week I have been hunting down that picture to take to them so they can make a Basset Hound picture that looks similar.

Today Olaf sent me a youtube video from UtahScouts that you can find here. Calvin is between seconds 24-27. He's sitting on a chair writing on a piece of paper, getting his work done for all those merit badges he earned up at Maple Dell that year. He loved Scout Camp, every year he got to go. Hopefully he still gets to camp in Heaven.

And just the other day I found a completely new site I hadn't thought to look at before. They also have a R.i.p Calvin Hansen page. I had heard about Bebo because Calvin had a page there. I think it's similar to facebook but mostly kids use it and he had a lot of friends with whom he shared pictures . It was really sweet to read all the comments from his friends on a site that was much more teenager friendly and almost adult-free; it seemed to give them a little more freedom in what they wrote.

One day I may get the guts to make a blog with just stories about Calvin. I've been putting them down as I remember them, but that is a task that will take years. But I think it would be fun.


In Case You Weren’t Sure Summer Was Here

As if the 95 degree weather wasn't enough to let me know summer is here this year. Work has been subtly letting me know summer is here. Even though I don't have a window in my office or anywhere near my office I know its summer. Work has ground it into my head. Today when I got to work there were five different emails in my inbox all addressing road closures for different road construction projects. And they were all located within my county! Some were new projects and some were old ones still going on. The good news is I don't normally drive through any of them. This past winter I thought it was cool to get the one email about all the different projects. But this summer is beginning to clog my email inbox with the daily construction updates. I guess I should count my blessings.


Pampered Chef is Here to Stay

I went to a Pampered Chef party this last week. Surprised? I was because I hadn't heard of any parties recently. And when I say recently I mean in the last four to five years. I guess people have been busy hosting Lia Sophia and Scentsy and Pajama parties. Honestly Pampered Chef has been out of vogue for several years. But they are still here and trying to kick strong.

I went to this party, not expecting anything new and maybe some good treats. I was dead on with the first thing and so far off on the second. The hostess was making us a "Whole Meal!" How exciting except that I didn't bring the whole family and they needed to be fed as soon as the party was over. She made this pasta entree in a $75 stoneware crock and microwaved everything. (I know it's a personal opinion but, microwaves should not be used for cooking.) She made quite the show of the microwaved grape tomatoes and garlic that she mashed up with her wooden utensils she pulled out of her plasticky turntable. I've never seen mashed tomatoes and garlic before, thank you!

Then she proceeded to show us how to dice chicken with the one-of-a-kind Pampered Chef Chopper. Granted, it's a pretty cool device. No need to have oniony-crying eyes with this contraption. But you can get one anywhere nowadays, and lots cheaper. And it doesn't dice, it chops. Next was the pasta cooked al dente and some other stuff, including Fresh Basil snipped from her garden that very day. She threw it all together and microwaved it again and. . .Voila! Dinner. Except my family wouldn't eat it, so it's a good thing I didn't bring them.

For dessert we had microwaved cake. Yes, you read that correctly. M i c r o w a v e d C a k e. I must reiterate, Microwaves should not be used for cooking. She mixed the batter up in the Batter Bowls that come with an "Nifty Pouring Device" a.k.a. the Spout. (I seriously couldn't make this stuff up.) I gracefully declined because I had already had a piece of that NieNie Mud Cake and that is enough calories for six days. Sister in Law Nurse had some and after one bite whispered "It tastes microwaved." I can not make this clearer, Microwaves should not be used for cooking

The Dénouement came with the comparison of store-bought cookie dough baked on regular pans v. stoneware. I have done the taste test a million times. Maybe not quite a million, but a few hundred. Definitely like the pans better. But of course our hostess deferred to the stoneware; those stones bring a much higher commission than the pans. The best part came while pulling the cookies from the oven. She extolled the virtues of the cooling racks, "They can be stacked three high!" "Why stop at three?" I asked, ever the problem child. She chose to ignore my comment for the moment. She obviously hasn't seen a New York City kitchen. Dont' worry Girls, I've got your back. But a few minutes later she disdainfully remarked they could be stacked higher if you wanted to chance it. Snotty Rich Doctor's Wives Who've Never Worked a Day in Their Life with the Kitchen Islands Larger than a Dining Room Table and Fresh Basil and Thyme Growing in their Garden. And that brought another lovely Pampered Chef Party to a close. Proving that Pampered Chef is Here to Stay. At least in Utah County.


8th Grade Stories

My Aunt sent me a copy of a story I had written back when I was in 8th grade. I'm kind of surprised at my morbidness, but then I remember a story my teacher read us that was along the lines of Edgar Allen Poe. I have a hard time coming up with original ideas, so I'm sure I thought along the lines of that story and came up with this one. I thought I'd share with you the beginning of my writing career, completely unaltered, which stalled for the last 24 years, until I started this blog. Please excuse all the commas, I wasn't sure how to use them yet, or ever. They are ever so enticing and yet we're supposed to rarely use them. The names are not original, but the story is fictional.

One week, I went to see Grandpa Robert and Grandma Eura, that's what I called them, I found out how he lost his hand. That one night will forever remain engraved in my mind. As I was sitting at the table one cold, January afternoon, sipping hot chocolate, he told me how it happened. One day he was working in a coal mine. A low rumble was heard from somewhere in the earth. Realizing it might be an earthquake, the men all ran pell mell for the stairs and elevator. While they were stampeding out, a rock hit Grampa Robert's hand and pinned his hand under it. He was terrified! He could see the wall caving in and burying him. As he screamed once more, his young friend, Billy, came running back. When he saw what happened, he knew there was only on thing to do. As Robert nodded, the axe he was carrying came down, and blood was gushing all over the place. He wrapped his arm in Billy's and his shirt, and they ran.

"You see," he told me, "the rock was so big. I was lucky I wasn't crushed under it." From then on he was teased by the younger children and called One-Hand Robert.

Robert was a happy man, despite his deformity. When I heard of his death, I went to his funeral. Later on, as his will was read, I was given an envelope which contained a short handwritten letter. The part I will never forget is this. "Your father is my lost son." As tears came to my eyes, I realized that he was my "dead" grandpa, assumed to be dead for so long.

What was I thinking? I obviously was still deluded by stories of weird people who kept secrets for no apparent reason. Maybe I had read "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens that year, which I have never been able to finish. Why would someone not tell a long-lost relative they were related? There is no big dark secret that he's trying to save his grandson from. There is no horrible ending, just a revelation with no explanation as to why it was a secret to begin with. And from the last two sentences you can see that my writing hasn't improved since then, dangling modifiers or whatever they are called.