Wednesday, May 6, 2015


When I was in school, I had a human development class where they gave us an egg and told us to carry it around with us everywhere we went and treat it like a baby.  It was supposed to make us realize what a pain kids are. I think mine lasted about three days before some stupid boy tossed it down the hall and broke it. I was so mad.

Nowadays, that same class is called teen living, and nowadays  in that class  they put you on a bus and take you to La Caille for a fancy French dinner.  And instead of eggs as pretend babies, now they give you robotic babies in car seats that you get to take with you everywhere you go for three days. Not always at the same time as the fancy restaurant,  but in Audrey's case,  the two events coincided perfectly, and she found herself in La Caille, eating escargot and crepes while trying to comfort a screaming robotic baby.

Meet Steven. Steven is the fake baby in the car seat. Steven is also a girl. Audrey named her that,  which stands as glaring example number one of why teenagers should not have babies: because they do stupid things like naming girls Steven.

I also think the words above Audrey's head in this picture dovetail nicely with the image. The thoughts of Audrey with any kind of baby, in any form, just no, do not.

Steven is quite a wonder to behold though.  She weighs seven pounds. She needs to be fed with a special bottle every so often. She needs her diaper changed regularly, and she needs to be held and rocked. She even records how well her head is supported while you are holding her, and if she ever gets shaken.  At the end of the assignment, the teacher grades how well you did by what the baby's computer recorded.  She kept Audrey up all night last night.  In the morning, Audrey came stumbling out of her bedroom bleary eyed and asking for caffeine. Hah! What a lightweight.

At any rate, if Audrey can survive one more night, she gets to turn Steven back in tomorrow and go on about her carefree teenage life once again. However, Steven has been very quiet tonight. Haven't heard a peep out of her in quite some time. We are a little bit scared that she is dead.  That would be a blow to the old grade point average for sure.

Thursday, April 30, 2015


Honestly, there are days when I feel incredibly ill equipped to be mother to the nearly ten year old child that is mine.  She can wear on my nerves and my mind like no other child before her.

Today, for instance.  Olivia has never learned to ride a bike. Not for lack of trying on my part, but a lack of effort and interest on hers.  I told her that it was basically a requirement of life to learn to ride a bike, and that I was going to make sure she learned this summer.  Complete meltdown mode followed. She cried and cried  about how much she hated to ride a bike, and then went into full on anxiety attack about all the reasons she could never learn: she might fall and hit her head, she might fall and skin her knee, bikes are boring, she can't steer, she can't stop, she can't balance, she looks stupid in a helmet,  she can't play outside because of the mosquitoes.  I try so hard to be calm and rational and help her work through her many fears, but by the end of the night, I was at my rope's end. I decided I was going to call her doctor and demand that she be put on something for anxiety. I searched my memory, trying to figure out what had happened that had traumatized her so.  And then, suddenly, she goes out, climbs on her bike without protest, and spent a good, happy productive hour, making fantastic progress in learning to ride.  If she keeps up this way, she will  be riding with the best of them in another week.  After she was through, she said, "Bikes look boring, but they really are fun." And then all was well. I can't decide if she just really talented at pushing my buttons, if she just needs to get her anxiety out vocally before she can function, or if she is seriously disturbed.

And since we are talking openly about anxiety on here, I finally worked up the gumption to drag myself to the dentist today. I have canceled my appointment the last two times because I just did not want to go. It was only for a cleaning, and I'm not usually a wuss about the dentist, but I just couldn't do it.  Today, I forced myself to actually show up for my appointment, and guess what? No cavities! And a "good job" from the hygienist. I'm free for six months!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Joy Overfloweth

I just got a notification on Facebook that my 30th high school reunion is coming up.

Thirty years!

 I believe I have been lost in a time warp. If I woke up tomorrow, and the past thirty years had only been a dream, and I was still a senior in high school, it would feel more believable to me than the fact that I have been alive long enough to be having a 30th high school reunion. Maybe I could believe that I was having my 10th reunion, but no way my 30th.

Except that when I think about it, most of high school is a bit of a  blur now. I don't remember some of my teacher's names anymore. I don't remember who I went to the junior prom with. And boy oh boy did we all have awful hair.

They have scheduled the reunion for August 8.

August 8.

The day before August 9.

Which means,  I DON'T HAVE TO GO!!

I'm not even going to try and hide my joy in the fact that the reunion is scheduled for the same weekend as Alisa's wedding.  I am giddy over the idea that not only do I not have to go, (which I wouldn't go anyway) but I have a completely foolproof, waterproof, guiltproof excuse for not going. There will be no hemming and hawing about it this year. Nobody trying to convince me how fun it will be to go.  No wondering or worrying if I am missing out, if I SHOULD go. No feeling like a party pooper.

I AM NOT GOING. And I'm happy.

Call me crazy.  I would rather spend a whole week hosting a boatload of  French strangers as house guests and cater a wedding in the mountains than go spend four hours having fake conversations with fat old people that I haven't spoken to in thirty years, and never cared that much about anyway. And yes, I realize that I also am an old fat person. I just don't need to be reminded of it by seeing the faces of people who are as old as me. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Seriously Lame Ramblings About Books, Fat and Taxes

First off, a shout out to our lovely Alisa who turned 24 on Tuesday. I so missed being able to hang out with her and eat cake that day. I haven't spent a birthday with her since I don't know when. 2013 perhaps?

Anyhow, I love her.

Also on Tuesday, we had this terrible wind storm. Our neighborhood was littered with flyaway trampolines and garbage cans. Then it started raining mud. Then on Wednesday, the 15th, it snowed. All day. More snow than we have seen in these parts since December.  Then our water heater went out. No hot showers for us on that cold snowy night. And to put the cherry on top of the cake of our day, not only did we send off some big fact checks for 2014 taxes, the IRS also chose that day to notify us that we  owe them a pile of money for 2013.  Isn't that just fantastic news?  Just when I thought we could stop sweating about the taxes we knew we owed, now we get to figure out how to pay even more taxes that we didn't know we owed. And the BEST part is that 2013 is the first year we paid someone to do our taxes. And the error was his fault. He made a mistake in entering one of the amounts from one of our statements.  I'm just so delighted with this news I might puke.  Last year I was raving about how much I loved my tax man. This year I'm thinking about broken knee caps.

All of this angst has made me tired. So tired, all I can do is eat and read. I ate so much Easter candy this year.  I kept finding Peeps on clearance, and how can you turn down a yellow chick peep? Olivia and I are the only real peep eaters in our family. Duncan will have one in a pinch, but  me and Liv consumed many many packages of peeps over the past few weeks.  I think finally the stores have been depleted of clearance Easter candy.  And we are in the clear for a while now as far as candy holidays go. It starts in October with Halloween, and all those food holidays just keep rolling on in, straight through to Easter. Summer holidays are less food oriented, so I figure the next eight months are the perfect time to diet. Good timing since  tomorrow I am starting a Biggest Loser contest with my neighbors.  What with taxes and a water heather and a wedding to pay for, I better win.

Oh, and what am I reading you ask? Currently, I am half way through Saving CeCe Honeycut which my friend Mindy loaned to me. I'm about a third of the way through Eighty Dollar Champion, which is our book club book this month. I have to finish that by May 7. And I just got notified that  Gone Girl is available for me to borrow on my Kindle, so now I have to start that one too. But I don't want to see the movie.

Will is camping tonight with the Young Men. Dan is working. Audrey has her friends Alaina and Becka staying the night. Olivia is playing minecraft on her ipod. I am thinking about all the things I could get done tonight and probably won't do, even though I did clean my toilet and mirror. Duncan has been teaching Audrey and her friends to play a game on the Wii. Seriously, that kid should probably consider a career as a gamer.  He is scary good, which is no surprise when you consider how much time he spends doing it. I spend all my time trying to get him to do something else. Maybe I should see about entering him in some tournaments.

I just remembered that I have a Milky Way Midnight stashed in my purse that  I need to eat before I go weigh in tomorrow. So, here's to a Friday night spent in bed with my book, my dog and some chocolate.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

To South San Pete and Back Again

Growing up, anytime my mom wanted to really drive home a point about something being far away, she would say something along the lines of "That's clear out in South San Pete County!" Being young and dumb, I had no idea where South San Pete county was.  Was it even in Utah? Was it in the U.S.? It sounded to me like it might be south of the border. All I knew was South San Pete was way too far to go. 

Fast forward forty years, and lo and behold, Olivia is assigned to do a county report on none other than San Pete county.  Having a day of spring break to kill, and not much else going on, taking a day trip down south seemed like a perfect way for her to experience all the joys of San Pete county first hand.  I dragged my mom and the older kids along as well. Now, finally, we can all say we have been not only to San Pete County, but also to SOUTH San Pete County. The farthest spot away in the universe of my childhood.

We actually made it without getting lost.

First stop was a really cool museum in Fairview. They have a life size model of a mammoth that was found in a canyon down there.

And a rock they got out of another canyon that Kit Carson chiseled his name into in 1844. There is another cool museum next door to this one that is full of pioneer artifacts. It is in an old school building that was built about 1905.

 Lunch was in Fairview where we watched People's Court while dining on burgers and fries.

Then we stopped in Historic Spring City and saw another old school house and a jail. We meant to stop and see a pioneer dugout that is down there somewhere too, but we spaced it. Next time we find ourselves in South San Peter, we will be sure and get there.

Then it was off to Snow College. We were in desperate need of ice cream, but couldn't find anywhere open on campus that sold ice cream. So instead we took part in a psychology experiment that two students were doing. We had to taste two different drinks, one red and one blue and tell them which one we liked better.  It wasn't ice cream, but at least it was something.

The kids learned that Snow College was named after Lorenzo and/or Erastus Snow, which they did not know. Audrey and Will both thought it looked like a fun place to go.

Just a piece down the road was the Manti Temple. Audrey rolled down the hill and we climbed about a million steps to get up behind the temple.

Which wore us all out.

 Then we drove home through Moroni, missing the Norbest Turkey plant tour. We left behind San Pete County somewhere around  Levan,  We got stuck in a terrible traffic jam from Provo to Lehi. Then we stopped at Ikea for Swedish meatballs with Lingonberry sauce. Olivia got napkins with some ribs on the side.
 We spent about 30 minutes shopping in Ikea before Will nearly imploded and I had to get him out of there pronto. The boy is not a shopper. I did manage to get some glasses and candles though, and some new toilet bowl brushes, woohoo.

And then we came home, and then it was Easter, and this is the only Easter picture I took. It is of two of my favorite people though, so I think it's a good one.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Audrey's Birthday

I've been telling Audrey for about eight months now that she was not having a party this year. She has had big blow out birthday parties every year since she was about six years old. I told her she needed to have an off year. A nice quiet celebration with family.

She agreed. And then she talked me into a party.  

I will give me some credit though. It was smaller this year. A few of her friends came over for games and pizza in our basement. She was in complete control of everything. I took no pictures because I was not invited. I did make an AMAZING cake for it though. 

And then this was the cake for her family birthday party, which was actually held on her actual St.Patricks Day birthday.

So, we did have a nice, simple, quiet family birthday after all.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

March 17, 2000

Fifteen years ago, St. Patrick's Day was a on a cloudy Friday. The night before, Dan was working out of town. I was home watching ER, and I called him after the show to tell him, sort of jokingly, that I was having contractions.  I was really having contractions, but I really did not think they were anything serious. They were really light, and close together, and not at all bothersome. And besides the baby wasn't due until March 25, and I was positive I would never deliver before the 20th. I was planning on about the 29th. I had been to the doctor the day before and came back with a report that everything was still sealed up tight. No indications whatsoever of  labor being imminent. So we joked around about him missing the birth, and I told him to hurry up and get home the next day.

The rest of the that night was uneventful. Friday morning, as was St. Patrick's Day tradition, we had green cream of wheat for breakfast. Mitch and Alisa went off to school, and Duncan, Will and I puttered around the house for most of the morning.  I remembered laying down on the couch in the living room and timing those pesky contractions, which had stayed steady all night, but hadn't changed or increased at all. And they weren't bothering me, other than playing games with my head.

Around noon, I gave up trying to get anything done, and took the boys to the McDonalds in Smithfield. They played in the play area and I ate their happy meals. On the way home, we stopped at an arts and crafts store. I had seen a show on TV where this super artistic mom and taken a plaster cast of her big pregnant belly and then painted it and hung it on her wall. I thought it was so cool, and I was determined to make my own plaster cast of my big pregnant belly.  Crazy, right? I guess my hormones were raging.  I was also feeling bittersweet about the whole pregnancy thing because I was sure this was my last pregnancy. I guess I wanted to preserve the moment or something. Anyhow, thank heavens I did not buy any plaster of paris. I can just picture what might have happened if I had been  home alone with four kids and a middle full of drying plaster when I went into full blown labor.

By the time we got home, Mitch and Alisa were home from school. I was in the kitchen doing something in the fridge when Dan called to tell me he would be home in a few hours. I told him I was fine, but still having contractions, and I was starting to wonder if this might be it. He told me he would hurry and not to let anything happen.  As if I had any control over the situation.

Over the next few hours, the contractions slowly got a little stronger and a little more regular. I called my mom and told her maybe she should come up tonight, just in case something happened in the night.I told her no hurry, Dan was coming, and there wasn't much going on anyway. I called my the doula I had hired to help me through labor and told her I was having a few contractions, but nothing painful. She said I was probably in the early stages of labor, and she would be on call for as soon as I was ready to have her come. The hospital was a five minute walk away (yes, I was going to walk to the hospital. I figured it would be good for my labor.) I was not at all concerned about being at home alone and in labor with four kids for company. I really really felt like the baby would not be coming until the next day. Alisa had a moms and daughters primary activity in the morning and I remember thinking maybe I could still make it to the activity, which was at the church right next door to the hospital, and then head on over to labor and delivery after the activity.

Dan got home before my mom got there. We didn't know it at the time but she was stuck in a terrible traffic jam. By the time Dan got home, I was finally sure I was having real contractions. We packed a bag, and decided we would wait for my mom to get there, then leave for the hospital. I got in the bath to relax a little bit while we waited. Then my memories get a little blurry. I remember Dan was panicked about my mom not being there. I remember Dale Willis showing up on our porch with pizza for the kids. Dan must have called him. And I remember getting out of the tub and thinking, wow! I am all of a sudden in PAIN.  I got dressed and laid down on my bed and all of a sudden, I knew that I was about to have a baby. I was not going anywhere. I was going to deliver that baby right there in the room. My mom finally showed up, the doula showed up, Dan was freaking out, and I remember saying that I just wanted to give birth RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW. The doula was not really keen on delivering by herself with a hospital just around the corner, so between her and Dan they made me get out the door and into the car.  I kept telling Dan I could just walk- that it would be faster than driving, but he didn't listen.  After a one minute car ride, we pulled up to the emergency entrance and walked straight through to Labor and Delivery. Dan, ever the dramatist, yells out to the first nurse he sees, "MY WIFE IS HAVING A BABY!"  and the nurse, says OK, and saunters slowly over to us. "NO", he yells, "SHE NEEDS TO PUSH RIGHT NOW!"  I've never seen a nurse jump quicker than that one did. She grabbed a wheel chair and got me right into a delivery room, and yeah, it was time to push right then.  It was about ten after eight in the evening. They got me changed and ready, and the whole time they are telling me don't push yet, the doctor is on his way, don't push yet, and I'm thinking, why are you waiting for the doctor, you are a nurse! You've seen this done before, you know what to do, and I am doing all the work anyway! I don't remember how much of that I actually said out loud, and how much I only thought. I was just so angry they were making me wait.Turns out the doctor, who was filling in for my midwife, who had told me at my last appointment that the ONLY day she would not be around was on the 17th, was out in his field taking care of his cows. Only in Cache Valley, right?

It seems like it took him forever, but in retrospect, I'm glad he didn't come in smelling like manure. He must have walked in about 8:30, sat down at the bedside, and caught Audrey on her way into the world at 8:36 p.m. weighing in at 8 lbs. 13 oz. And it really was that fast. No IV, no monitors, no drugs, no dilation updates, and almost no doctor.  It was the perfect delivery. Well, nearly perfect. I still wish I just would have had her at home. The worst part of the whole night was getting into the car to get to the hospital.

About an hour after she was born, my mom brought the whole crew right into the delivery room to meet their baby sister. Alisa was absolutely beside herself to finally have a sister. Will was oblivious to the baby and just wanted to sit on the bed with me. Duncan thought she was pretty cool, and even Mitch was impressed with how cute and little she was. Dan and I were both flying high. I was deliriously happy for weeks after, amazed at how easy her birth had been, and how perfect she was. We had picked out the name Audrey months before, before we even knew she was a girl. Then, the week that she was born, one of the cable channels was hosting Audrey Hepburn week, and playing nonstop Audrey Hepburn movies, and to us it was a sign that we had the perfect name for our perfect baby girl. Even though that dumb doctor kept telling me to name her Patricia.

She is SUCH an Audrey, and I am so blessed to call her mine.