Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas trees

A mere 1.47 minutes on the road... didja know the wind blows in Wyoming?

"Hey, Andy, ya want me to lean on a shovel or something?"

Small men-children with sticks. What could possibly go wrong?

Uh-oh. Hansel realizes he forgot the bread crumbs.

Oops. Put this one in twice.

I cut up small, toddler sized pieces of turkey for the Moose. He hollered, "BIG CHICKEN!" cuz he wanted the drumstick. What baby wants, baby gets. Come to Papa, big chicken, come to Papa.

If you're impressed at my sudden photography skillz, it was Mrs Kohler's camera.
Last week was our annual Christmas tree hunting, stalking, butchering, expedition to the North Pole. It just isn't Christmas until near death experiences have been lived, tempers have flared, marriage vows have been stretched and re-thought, small children have cried, and my Charlie Brown tree is safely kerplunked in my living room. For those of you who enjoy killing the spirit of Christmas and making Baby Jesus cry by purchasing a plastic tree, I will pray for you. But golly, you are missing out! Only a few things went wrong this year:
We nearly ran out of gas. Halfway to Mt Crumpit we have to make the decision: push forward, put in the last dollars out of our checking account, or turn back for the company car. Anna's oh-so helpful suggestion? Why doesn't Daddy just go back and get the other car? Yeah, Daddy! Why don't you just walk 30 miles and return in a speedy fashion? Maybe you could bring a sleigh and eight tiny reindeer while you're at it?
We nearly slid on ice to our deaths. Ok, not really. But it was hilarious when Mike pulled over and rolled down his window to talk to the Kohlers who were in their car and they kept driving right by us. "Hey! Stop driving!" my exasperated husband shouts. "We're not driving!" Genesis yells back as she hangs out the window, "We're sliding!"
I can't speak for anyone else, but I nearly got lost. There is a fine, thin line in the forest, between I-know-where-I-am, and I-am-fairly-certain-that-I-can-retrace-my-steps, and I-suddenly-hear-nothing-but-the-wind-in-the-trees, and if-I-go-one-more-step-I-will-officially-and-utterly-be-lost-and-on-the-five-o'clock-news. And I don't like being on camera. I freeze. I don't even like speaking when there's more than three people around. Even if all I have to say is my name and where I live, I panic. Those are easy questions. I should know the answers without getting all clammy. I really don't want to be interviewed about being dumb enough to get lost in the woods of Laramie while searching for a Christmas tree.
Afterwards we learned that there apparently is a small RedBull stand manned by Christmas elves in the forest. This is the only explanation for the two feminine youngsters who had absolutely NO energy for tree hunting and whined approximately, oh I don't know, THE WHOLE TIME, and yet were bouncing off the seats of the minivan like mexican jumping beans the whole drive home while their little brother was trying to nap. Actually, I'll give it up for Anna - she came wandering around the mountain side right as I was navigating that fine, thin line I was telling you about and quite possibly saved me from certain starvation, exposure, and being eaten by wild bears. Together we sawed down our tree and kept each other from back flipping and somersaulting and triple axle-ing down the hillsides. The only excuse I have for Cora is that she must be on the verge of teendom or something because that kid sleeps for like, 12 hours at a time, eats like a lumberjack, and still complains of being tired.
Now the tree is up and Christmas can begin. The cards are almost ready to be picked up at WalMart. The shopping is...not even started. Our eleventh anniversary is next week. I'm getting a taste of what it's like to have four children as I babysit the Quinnster for a whole week (stay tuned for what I hope is gonna be some Kodak moments this week). Jobs are being applied for and sent off into cyberspace where they're never heard from again. Holiday movies are organized by importance and order of viewing. Santa letters have brought unbelievably adorable joy to the small kids faces. School is on the back burner as we do crafty holiday things instead (who cares if my kids become adults who can't balance their checkbooks, they can thread a sewing machine and make chocolate truffles)! If you want a Christmas card of my cute offspring to stick to your fridge all year 'round, make sure you send me your address.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


When hubby-mine heard I was planning on posting photographic evidence of his gift of procrastination, he rushed out back and remedied the situation. Awww, the naivete. The shot had been captured minutes before.

I'm considering turning it into this year's Christmas card.

But let's focus on this week's holiday first. Happy Thanksgiving! I'm shamed by every one's Facebook statuses that only say what they're thankful for everyday this month, while mine focus on things less humble and contrite. So, here goes my "A thankful heart is a happy heart" list, all in one lump sum:

I'm thankful for my family. For my extended family, who are all crazy quacks and I love them for it. They're all quirky in their own special ways and contribute to the goodness of this world, sure enough. For my mom's Christmas traditions, my dad's patient humor, my sister's loyalty and all around dorkiness. My niece's abilities to make me laugh on the phone, especially Al. Kary tries not to talk to me. My brothers who I barely know, really, but I love them because it's good to know I have a couple of 6'4" hulks on my side should I ever need 'em. I'm grateful for my in-laws and their willingness to take us in in case of homelessness. For my brothers-in-laws and sisters-in-laws and their senses of humor; all unique and all...weird, just the way I like 'em.

I'm thankful for my own little family. Mine, mine, mine! I don't know why, but I felt the need to rub that in. They're so darn cute I could eat them alive. Because it's not the season for cannibalism however I will just nibble a neck whenever they least expect it. I'm thankful for my husband whom I never get tired of. Really! Not a lot of people married this long could say that. Well, ok, when I walk by last year's Christmas tree still attached to the base in November of the following year, I may roll my eyes. A little. But it's a loving eye roll.

I'm thankful for my friends. I have the best friends ever. Mariah's heart on her sleeve, Genesis' taste in movies, Tawni's nutty boys, Jennifer's ability to tune out the football game with me, Lorna's example in general life, Heather B. for all the memories we share of a crazy decade, Aerie for even more memories and the only one who knew me as a pigtailed whipper snapper. My Wyoming buddies have been great too: they stocked my freezer with antelope and elk, forced me into MOPS, watched my kids, and shared their government money with me (which we totally spent on beer and cigarettes! Ha, kidding).

I'm thankful for cars that run, jobs (boy, I'd love the chance to be thankful for that one again here any second now), homeschooling so I don't miss a second of anything in my kid's lives, expensive coffee and cheap wine (because I homeschool...see how that comes full circle?), date nights, snuggles, a roof over our heads, books, holiday movies, parents who taught me the love of Christ so that I in turn could teach my children, online book clubs (see? my great friends strike again!), a full fridge even if it's only full for a second before ravenous ankle biters rip the door off the hinges and go all grizzly bear on the contents, a nibble of dark chocolate every now and again, Bon Jovi in February - squeal! - walks to the park, Sadie's recovery, all of our health, NOT being a Radio Shack widow on Black Friday and every other blessed day of the year, and hundreds of other things. And comments on the blog. I'm thankful for those of you who leave 'em. As for the rest of you slugs...

Happy Thanksgiving, my peeps!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

These are my attempts at photography.

Luckily I have cute kids, because my skills are sadly lacking.

Anna, try to look up in a contemplative way!

Cora, ignore the wetness of the leaves and look adorable!

Moose, just stand still for a half a bloomin' second, would ya?

He looks like he's about ready to tell me where I can stick my camera.
So here's the news you've all been waiting for!
We're moving back to Boise!
Unless we aren't.
You're welcome for the update.
Nah really, we are moving ahead with the very, very likely assumption that we'll back in Idaho before the new year. Unless we won't be. Now comes the getting rid of everything we don't want to pack. I'm going to have to start wearing disguises at the Goodwill drop off center because they're beginning to look at me with very tired eyes and an air of dislike when I pull up in my minivan. I don't know why. I'm sure someone will be thrilled beyond belief to purchase my junk. There are some lovely size 4 jeans that mysteriously shrunk in my closet over the summer that some skinny girl will be glad to find, along with some tops that I can only assume react with the wood of my armoire resulting in a strange and unexplainable shrinking reaction.
The second generation of homeschooling is really going well. There are two stories to support my claim:
The first: while watching the film, Bolt, Anna asked if the scene in the humane society with the woman and her pepper spray was "practiced and rehearsed with just water, or was it really pepper spray that they used?"
Umm, Anna, darling, love of my life, my little punkin, it's an animated cartoon.
The second: while unloading groceries, yours truly, homeschool graduate, had bought a new canister of oatmeal. It was a smaller one that the last one purchased. The older one, the bigger one, still had a cup or so left in the bottom. I try to shake it down and consolidate so as to save me some precious pantry space, but rats, it won't quite fit. "Hey, brainless," says homeschool graduate's public schooled husband, "Try putting it all in the bigger canister."
I'm pretty sure we will be getting the cover of Homeschooling Digest soon.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Revenge of the Mommies

I've been thinking. When my kids are grown and move out I'm going to visit them. A lot. Probably for 2-3 weeks at a time. You know, so they have time to miss me. Here are my plans for when I come a'callin':

1. I will demand a certain spread for dinner, practically faint from the hunger I feel when they take too long to prepare it, and then refuse to partake when it is on the table.

2. I will promise to be good when they need to run errands. But I will lie.

3. I will want to eat lots of bananas, but when my kids peel it wrong or it breaks in half, I will cry and flop onto the kitchen floor in despair. Same goes for tacos.

4. I will eat so much yogurt at their friend's house that they will rush out and buy a case of the same brand and flavor of yogurt for me at home. But I won't eat it.

5. I will never, never, ever flush the toilet.

6. I will use each and every public restroom in town, even if I went right before leaving the house. And when they wait outside the door, I will fling it open and shout victoriously, "I pooped!" to everyone within a square mile.

7. I will take all the pieces out of their board games and playing cards and spread them all over the house. Oh, they'll find them eventually and sort them out. But they will never find one piece from each game.

8. In my efforts to hang up my coat I will knock down every other one in the closet.

9. I will keep them up at night and then cheerfully enjoy my nap that afternoon while they wash my laundry.

10. I will eat a lot of graham crackers and then hug and kiss them. They'll be wearing a white cashmere sweater at the time.

11. I will use up every drop of their salon conditioner in one bath time.

12. I will crush up a bag of cheerios and distribute evenly in the couch cushions.

13. I will ride my bike in their house. Preferably right after they mop.

14. I will climb a tree and get stuck. I will wail and scream for help until they climb up and carry me down.

15. I will say embarrassing and questionable things when they invite the family minister over for tea.

16. I will forget everything they say so that they have to repeat it over and over again.

17. I will shout for them from across the house all day. Even if they're right beside me, I will go downstairs or upstairs purposefully so that I can shout something.

18. Every time they need to talk on the phone I will suddenly need something RIGHT NOW, even if I have completely ignored them prior to the phone call.

19. I will hide their jewelry and their car keys often.

20. I will dress myself in orange stripes and purple paisley and moon boots and I will cut my own bangs without a mirror right before we go for family pictures.

21. When they take me grocery shopping I will want to ride in the car shaped cart. But whenever they are in a tight squeeze in an aisle or trying to pay and can't get to the front of the car to get me out, I will suddenly sustain an earsplitting and horrible injury.

22. When they are loading up their groceries, I will always disappear around the wrong side of the car.

23. I will wake them up extra early on weekends.

24. I will be on my worst behavior on the Lord's Day so that they feel the need to curse all the way to church and then pretend to be super happy and holy when they get there.

25. I will eat their deodorant.

26. They will be so proud of my accomplishments for my age that they will want to show me off to their friends whose parents aren't as smart as me. But I will just pick my nose.

27. I will scribble in their books. Probably just the library books though.

28. When they try to take a picture of me I will screw up my face and stick out my tongue and put bunny ears on the person next to me. Every. Single. Time.

29. I will eat lots of pickles and ranch dressing and fish sticks and garlic sauce, and then want to cuddle.

30. It will be sweet.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This is my fifth child: Milo. He's a cocker spaniel mix. Or a crocker spaniel mixed-up, as Anna would say. He's a good doggy. He keeps my feet warm at all times, eats all the toddler messes off the floor, cleans out my car better than a shop vac, allows Gianni to torment him, never lets a ball go unplayed with, and looks at you with those yummy puppy eyes. He also has the worst gas EVER but that's another story for another time.

The crash after the Halloween sugar high. See the six inches of bed space there? That's where I sleep when Mike's on the road. Less like sleeping and more like fighting for my life. Remember the scene in Mission: Impossible 2 where Tom Cruise is hanging off the cliff by his fingernails? Like that. Bonding is precarious work, but on the plus side, they protect me from the bogey man.

Trick or treating with the Pops. One cherry sucker was all this dude needed. The small dude. The larger dude needed a beer.

Want a piece of candy, little kid?

Typical of my children: a masquerade ball princess and a zombie. Just call em Night and Day. They got enough candy to last until Easter, which is of course, the goal of any self-respecting ghoul. Ghouls have goals, don't they? They even got uber cool stuff like microwave popcorn and glow necklaces and organic juice boxes. Me, I don't give out the good stuff. In fact, I forgot to buy candy and ended up sneaking it out of what the girls collected to give to the door knockers. Shhhh! Sort of like taking money out of their allowances in order to be the Tooth Fairy. Not that I would ever do that. Right.

Birthday candles....mmmmm, a pyromaniac's dream! And the dairy free, egg free cupcakes weren't half bad. I'd include the recipe, but something tells me no one wants it...

How'd y'all survive the piggy flu epidemic? We had mild-ish cases ourselves, but it's nice to feel oh so healthy again. Gianni and I were sick on both his birthday and Mike's birthday, Mike had it for several days and the girls got fevers and one night of tossing their cookies. Hopefully, our immune systems will be so strong now that if it comes back, wham bam, thank you ma'am, we'll not even feel it. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. I try to throw up no more than once a decade, so I'm good till 2019 now.

Other than that, life goes on as normal. I'm starting to get just a tad, just a smidge, just a hair, stressed out about our living/working/surviving situation. In lieu of flowers, please send gifts. Or a large farmhouse with a porch and a happy little tire swing and a nicely paying job for Mr Williams.

In other news, the evil and short one put my cell phone in a glass of ice water for approximately .03 seconds and that was long enough to turn it into toast. Yup. Stick a fork in it. In lieu of phone calls, please send letters.