Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Five Guys, Burgers and Fries

Duncan and Will both had big birthdays this year- 18 and 21, respectively. I don't care. No matter how old they get, they will always be babies to me. MY babies, and they better do what I say, no matter how legally adult they think they are.  Mother always knows best, and they better remember that. 

In honor of this momentous year, they headed up to Logan for a little combined pre-birthday celebrating. It was back to Angie's with their childhood buddies, for lunch and a cleaning of the sink.

It's crazy that these are the same little boys that used to to inhabit my basement and wreak occasional havoc through the neighborhood and surrounding areas. All growd up now, graduating, working, and going to college. Except for that old guy on the end. He is still inhabiting my basement and wreaking havoc. He will never grow up.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A Detour in Time

We now interrupt our regularly scheduled January evening for an important news flash. Recently discovered photographic evidence proves that in October 2015,  the Metcalfs were spotted at Lagoon Amusement Park in Farmington, UT , enjoying a night of frights and giggles at Frightmares. It is believed they were there courtesy of Audrey slaving away at the park all summer long.
According to Olivia, one of the scariest moments of the night was the Ferris Wheel.


Thank you. We now return you to our regularly scheduled Tuesday night.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

On the First Day of New Years....

Kicking back on New Year's eve, around about 11:15 or so, and our doorbell rings.

 It was our sixteen year old neighbor.

 He was extremely upset.

I though someone had died.

But no, He just gotten his first traffic ticket on the way home from a New Year's Eve party. His parents were out at a party, and he was certain they were going to kill him when they found out about the ticket.  We invited him in, listened to his story, offered what comforting words we could, and assured him that his parents would not kill him over a ticket. We explained that his parents would just be glad he was okay. Then Dan called his folks on their cell phone to break it to them gently. All ended well, the kid pulled himself together, fixed our computer for us (because he is a genius that way), and went back to his own house a little before midnight.

Fast forward to about one in the morning when Dan's cell phone rings.

It's Will.

He has wrecked his car on the way home from a New Year's eve party.

Odd, that sounds familiar. In his case, no ticket, because he ran into a tree, but the bumper has come off the car. Now it is suddenly our turn to practice what we were so fervently preaching to the neighbor kid only an hour earlier:

"its okay that you wrecked the car. We are just glad you are okay. It happens to everybody eventually."

Which,  yeah, it's all true, but is not much comfort when faced with having to go out into the subzero in the early hours of New Year's Day to retrieve  your bumper from the pavement, and then try to figure out how your kid is going to get to work and to pick up his brother every day without a car.

 I think it was good that we got to practice on the neighbor though, because we were both pretty calm about the whole thing. I think the first time we went through the wrecked car scenario with one of our kids, it looked like the scene in Christmas Story where Ralphie's mom is talking on the phone to Flick's mother and telling him the terrible, awful word that Ralphie just said, and which he claims he heard from Flick. Ralphie's mom whispers the word into the phone, then holds the phone far away from her ear, as Flick's mother can be heard  yelling through the phone- "WHAAAT? WHAAAT? HE SAID WHAAAAT?????"  Compare that to my reaction to Will's wreck:

" You wrecked the car? That sucks. How was the party?"

 Ask him. Those were my exact words.

The best part is, both boys are fine, both sets of parents have their sanity intact, and now Will gets to learn how to reattach a car bumper, which is a valuable life skill.  2016, you ain't got us beat yet.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Well, That was a Fast Year

Wait, what?! Is it really New Year's Eve again already? But I'm not through with 2015 yet! I still have 20 pounds to lose! I still have to get on a budget! I haven't even painted the bathroom yet.

Hold on just a minute. We had a WEDDING this year. Now I remember where all those 2015 resolutions went. They went out the window on January 17, when Alisa called us up to announce she and Erwann were FINALLY engaged. It goes without saying that the wedding we put on was absolutely worth every penny and every resolution it cost us. It was only the best wedding ever, with the most wonderful and beautiful people. It's also a good thing that we couldn't see in January what all we would be doing this year. It would have scared the pants off me. For instance-

Hosting 15 French people and five Americans in my house at the same time. For a few moments there, it seemed like the stream of people walking through my front door would never stop. Fortunately, French people take very short showers. Then there was the France vs. US basketball at the Syracuse South Stake Center.  A last minute pizza party/outdoor wedding rehearsal. Pancakes for 30 the morning of the wedding. Heading up the canyon that Sunday morning in my old Odyssey, packed to the rim with wedding crap,  and a guy named Simon holding a 70 lb wedding cake on his lap, while being followed by a bunch of French people in a Prius that was dangerously low on gas. Every day of that crazy week was the best time, and the best memories. And the best part is the strangers we met that became like family in a few short days.

And... that was pretty much it. We had a wedding. That was our year. We have been in recovery mode since August.

All in all, though, we can't complain much about what 2015 brought us. I've spent the past couple of days reading old blog posts from 2012 and 2013. The interesting thing about reading them is that, since I am the one that wrote them all, I can read between the lines like none other. Reading what I wrote brings back all the emotions and all the details of events not shared in words. Many of those old posts were hard to read at times, and they brought home to me again that we have had a few really tough years.  2015, while certainly emotional, is not filled with anywhere near the angst of some of our other years, and for that, I am thankful.

Okay, enough happy and thankful. Now back to complaining. I still don't have a deck in my backyard. We need a new kitchen. I need a treadmill. And a piano. All three cats are still alive. I need a new car. And, apparently, I need to learn a thing or two about gratitude. If all I have to complain about is STUFF, and long-lived cats, then I have a fortunate life indeed.

We did get Duncan on a church service mission this year. That was a work in progress for a long time, and so far, it is all going swimmingly, other than the fact that he frequently forgets to shave.  From what I hear from his mission leaders though, he is not the only scruffy missionary. Shaving is a frequent topic in their mission life skills classes that they have there every day.  I'm not sure why shaving is such a challenge, but I'm thankful for patient and light hearted senior missionaries that just keep on teaching lessons on shaving and rolling with the punches.  They are doing God's work for sure.

Mitch is busy building a gun and keeping up with his school work, in that order. He is in his last semester at Weber, and will be a college graduate come spring. He got a job at a shooting range though, and now he is thinking he should just build guns for a living. The boy loves guns. Always has, always will. He even has me thinking about getting a cute little pistol to keep in a safe by my bed.

Will spent most of 2015 sleeping. When he wasn't sleeping, he was playing video games. He likes to eat too, but only if he doesn't have to go to any effort to prepare his food. He can reach into a refrigerator or the pantry, but anything other than that is really too much bother. For instance, a sandwich is too much work. Heating something up in the microwave is out of the question. So that really limits his food choices. It makes me worry how he will ever survive on a mission, which is what his current post high school plan is. He does shave every day though, so at least there's that.

Audrey decided that her sophomore year of high school was the perfect time to try every possible high school activity that she could.  She signed up for everything available and we did not see her from the end of August until Christmas break. We are beginning to wonder if she just doesn't like us. And now, she has cut off all her hair, so we barely recognize her when we do see her. She looks adorable with her new pixie cut though. Kind of like our own version of Audrey Hepburn.

Olivia is growing up way too fast. She has had kind of a rough year. She got the birds and the bees talk AND heard the truth about Santa, all within the span of a few weeks.  That's a lot for a naive ten year old to take in. Looking back, none of that was among my finest parenting moments. You would think that by the time you get to the sixth kid, some of those things would be old hat, right? Well, it's not. It never is. Each kid is different, and I feel I have managed to blow it for each kid in their own special way. Olivia got a double dose of mom blowing it, but hey, she asked. She BEGGED to be told the truth. She is coming to grips with it all, but it was an emotional Christmas for both of us.

That sums up what the kids have been up to. Dan and me, we just plug along, same as always. Dan stays busy seeing movies and reviewing them, and working lots of long hours to pay for all the shenanigans that go on around here. I work long hours too, but most of my earnings go to buy insurance to pay for all of the medical bills resulting from the shenanigans. We are hoping to be up to some serious play in 2016, and can't wait to see what else it brings us.  Unless it brings us stuff we don't want. Like more cats. Then we will be in no hurry.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Fifth Day of Christmas

So far, we have taken a lot of dog pictures with our new camera. I shall gallantly restrain myself from posting all of them.

Other than dog pictures, we managed to get Grandma on Christmas with her eyes closed. I know she will appreciate that one.  Sorry mom.

The day after Christmas, we headed out to the Fort. Kids played in the snow, Audrey and Sydney drove them around on 4-wheelers, and they visited the horses.

You will have to take my word for it, since I do not have photographic proof, but the Metcalf have NEIGHBORS. Real live neighbors, with  houses, on both sides of them in close proximity.  I think there are seven  houses on their road now. Bizarro.
 This is just one shot of the cousin chaos that reigned. Olivia loves her some cousin time.

The next day, we braved the elements and took a family trip to see the lights downtown. It was cold, but MUCH less crowded than it was a few weeks ago when I took a quick stroll through there.

I was thinking that I have seen the lights on temple square at least forty times in my life, probably more. I don't think I'd be heartbroken if I never saw them again, except for the fact that I am compelled to give my kids the same memories of being dragged all over downtown in the cold.It just wouldn't  feel like Christmas was complete if we skipped it. Also, it was an activity that got the male members of this family out of the house for a while and away from the brand new PlayStation 4 that we got for Christmas. I have not seen much of any of them since that thing was opened Christmas morning.

Audrey and Olivia spent last night having cousin sleepovers, Audrey at Sydney's and Olivia with the Jacksons. I was going to attempt to be motivated today and get some Christmas things put away. Then I realized it's only the fifth day of Christmas, so what is my rush?  Instead, we have Christmas music playing, and I'm trying to finish off the gingerbread.  Maybe I should finish my Christmas shopping too. There are just a few items to finish up, and  yes, I am the world's best procrastinator.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Meowy Christmas

Christmas Day 2015 is already history and we totally rocked it. I got TWO naps. Mitch came out Christmas Eve and stayed last night as well, and it's been great having him around, as we barely see him anymore. Dan cooked dinner. Everybody got what they asked for, and not much else, which served to simplify the entire shopping/wrapping/worrying gift process. I didn't even count to see if each kid was getting the right amount of gifts this year. I'm sure it's a sign of age or of too many Christmases where I was the boss, but I just don't care that much anymore if Christmas is perfect.  Although, this Christmas was pretty close.

I was the only one that got truly surprised, and that was when Santa brought me a camera. A really nice camera that I might have to go back to college to learn how to use. So,  be on the look out for some super artistic stuff on here. Maybe.

Alisa keeps sending us pictures of lovely European places and French food.  My parents were here yesterday when she called on Facetime, and they were absolutely astounded that we could see and hear her from so far away. We said hi to Erwann's family, got a tour of their darling house, and met Felix the dog. Grandma Sally just cannot believe what we do with our little gadgets.

Okay, now let's talk for a moment about the cats. We still have three cats. I keep thinking that I cannot take having three cats for one more day.  And yet, here they all are.  Every morning, Buck finds whoever is up first and follows them around meowing plaintively until he gets fed either his milk or some smelly disgusting canned cat food. He will not settle for dry. He has bad teeth though, so I can't fault him for that. When Belle hears the fridge open, she comes running too (well, hobbling, she doesn't really run anymore), knowing that Buck has been successful in his food quest and now she can cash in as well.  We have to put Piper out while they eat. She cannot stand that the cats get to eat smelly disgusting squishy food while she is stuck with Iams - poor thing, so we have to put her out. She stands at the back door and barks, scratches, jumps and makes a fool out of  herself while the cats eat, and as soon as we let her back in, she bolts over to their food dishes and takes care of whatever remnant remains.  Hokey, our third and youngest cat, is much too proud and independent to take part in this debacle. He won't touch canned cat food. He is either outside or asleep on the couch in the living room, recovering from his nightly hunt. He is definitely a Republican survivalist.

Belle on the other hand, has decided that the only worthy watering  hole for her delicate constitution is the bathroom. She refuses to drink from anywhere else. So after she eats, she goes into the hallway bathroom, sits down, and meows loudly until one of us brings her some water in a bowl.  It doesn't actually have to be bathroom water, it only has to be served there. Why do we cater to her this way? I have no idea, other than she is old, blind, deaf, and we feel sorry for her. And, she has lived with us long enough that she has us well trained.  Also, because she is blind and deaf, she gets stepped on a lot. She doesn't move too quickly anymore and she can't hear us coming, so oftentimes she is sitting in our way as we rush around and we accidentally trip over her. Then she yells at us. And then we feel guilty for abusing an old cat.

Speaking of cats, Christmas continues today with the annual trek to the Fort. Cedar Fort, that is, with cats, dogs and rodents aplenty. Fun will be had by all, I am sure.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Time is Here

It's feeling festive around here today with snow falling, Christmas music playing, snowman and snow cat building, gingerbread baking, present wrapping, and house cleaning.  We have gifts for neighbors to deliver and I'm sure a few last minute shopping trips we will have to make. Whatever is going to happen better start happening fast. Olivia asked what day it was, and when I said it was the 22nd, she said, "The 22nd! That means only one more day til Christmas!"  "No, it's three more days til Christmas" I told her.  "Not if you don't count today and Christmas!" she says. I like the way she thinks. Anyway, it's going to feel like only a day for sure.

Here is their snow cat. and Audrey's cute hat.

Then Dad even got in on the action and whipped up this guy to go with Snowcat.

Alisa and Erwann left today for a combination belated honeymoon and Christmas vacation to Europe. It will be a different Christmas without them here. No crepes. Nobody in the guest bedroom this  year.  No trips to the airport, which is a first for us in about four years. Just a quiet little Christmas with seven of us, which we plan to revel in, since who knows what next year will bring. And. we will be glad when the Hickels get home on the tenth of January. Some trip, huh? The glamorous life of my daughter.

Now, on to those gingerbread men.