On Her Flying Trapeze

Saturday, December 31, 2005

December Tip Archives

  • 12.27.05 Ringing in the New Year

  • 12.20.05 Driving With Kids

  • 12.13.05 Holiday Traditions

  • 12.06.05 Christmas Gifts-For People Who Have Everything
  • Thursday, December 29, 2005

    The Way I Feel

    My family has come down with the plague. It starts with body aches, primarily in the forearm region and spreading throughout the body. Next is chest congestion, complete lack of energy and strength, followed by nasal congestion and a strong desire to leave this mortal body.

    My parents came down with it first, followed by my brother and sister-in-law. Dan has had it for a few days and now my forearms hurt and the energy is gone. I'm hoping I'll get some mild, supermom-can-kick-this-plague's-hiney version of the disease. We'll see. The Ibuprofen I took this evening sure were nice.

    The kids are waiting to get sick until it's time to make the long trip home. This could be very bad or very good. They may sleep the whole way or they may just scream their brains out. Grey matter all over the new van. Not pretty. Oh, and we've already had the van professionally cleaned once this trip due to my lovely spill-record on the way down here. Nice!

    On Sunday we're supposed to visit Dan's aunt, one of my favorite people. She is currently battling cancer and can't tolerate any germs. So we're working on getting better before then.

    I love being with family, both mine and Dan's. I can be myself in a way that's not quite possible without them. I'm not sure I even like this "me" better, but I just feel safe. There is no pretense.

    I am jealous of the relationship my siblings have with my Sister's daughter. They know her intimately, her likes, her dislikes, her habits, the translations for her adorable baby babble. They are closer. It hurts a little.

    They love my kids and are excited to see them. They can't get enough of them. They just don't know them the same way they know Bean.

    Sometimes I wish I lived in a country where family stayed together indefinitely and took care of each other, no one moved to Washington, they just all lived together in some kind of commune (minus the stock-piled weapons, inter-marriage and nasty food. Don't all communes have nasty food? If you are from a commune, feel free to dispute this.).

    A Warranty for my Chewing Gum, Please

    We go to the store almost constantly on vacation. We bring all kinds of things we will never use and forget tons of things we "need."

    Yesterday we took our daily trip to --Mart for an air mattress pump. We decided to go for the quality and get the $20 Coleman model. Yowza!

    So, our cashier offered us a one-year extended warranty to protect our investment. For the cost of only $2.50, we could rest easy at night for a full year, knowing that if our pump burst into incendiary destruction, we could have it replaced free of charge.

    Why not offer me a deal where I pay 50 cents extra for my pack of chewing gum? Then if it loses its flavor after 30 minutes of chewing, I can bring it back in for a refund.

    Tuesday, December 27, 2005

    Tip Tuesday - Ringing in the New Year

    So, crazy as it seems, 2005's getting its butt kicked out the door and we're welcoming in 2006 in a few short days.

    The year has just flown by. I can't believe it. Oh - My - Word. I am in such shock. I may fall over dead from the astonishment right here in front of this very Christmas tree, blah blah blah and all that stuff where I act like I'm gonna faint dead away that another year's gone and left me - like a cheatin' husband in a cheesy country song. Oh WHY!?


    I've started to notice a trend and I'm going to go check the data.

    Please hold.

    Yep, my theory holds true. Every year, at about this time, it happens. I'll write down these findings and maybe next year it won't come as such a surprise. Now we've just got to find a way to deal with this year's shock and awe the best we can and move on to live happy and productive lives in 2006.

    A couple of fun things I've done to ring in New Year's past (after scraping myself off the floor, dousing my head in a bucket of ice water, and taking a nice stiff drink of Caffeine-free Diet Dr. Pepper):

    1. I had a boyfriend once (I know, hard to believe) who took me up a high mountain somewhere outside Denver eeearrrrly in the morning on New Year's Day to watch the sun rise on the New Year. He said he'd done it every year and wanted to share it with me. It was beautiful and a good chance to think about what we wanted to do with our lives over the next 12 months.

    I broke up with him 2 days later.

    2. I still stick with the old standby - at 12:00, you need to find someone to smooch. I've got my eye on a certain person… sitting next to me… in flannel pj pants… with a matching lap-top…. writing code for fun.

    I plan to stick very close to him the evening of the 31st.

    What will you do to ring in the New Year? Are you a resolutions person? Do you stick to them? How do you make it special?

    From my sister's blue couch, Utah, I'm Kathryn Daring reporting.

    Friday, December 23, 2005

    Merry Christmas

    Merry Christmas everybody!

    As promised, here is the actual Christmas card photo we sent out. I hope you all are having fun hanging out with real people, people who do not live only on the internet (People who live on the internet AND in real life are acceptable for holiday fun.).

    I'll be back on the blogosphere in a few days.

    the holy family

    The Trip So Far

    I apologize if you live south of Seattle and we’ve passed through your town on our Christmas road-extravaganza. We’ve brought the rain with us. Seriously. It’s been pouring the whole way. Better than ice and snow, better than skating all over the freeway. Besides, we have that sweet rear window wiper now.

    trip2I’ve been using your travel tips and many have worked. Karli tipped me off and we’ve made great use of some Cinderella magnetic paper dolls. The DVD player has also earned its keep.

    In the hotel, Laylee slept in her own queen-sized bed, spread out like a starfish. When she heard people making noise upstairs, she said, “That’s rich. I’m gonna get rid of all the noise.” We stayed in a hotel that Karen had marked as “questionable” on her list of possibilities near her home. We chose it for the free wireless internet. Internet was good. Broken glass found under Laylee’s bed, not so much of good.

    Fun things we’ve seen along the freeway:

    A grounded helicopter covered in Christmas lights and left it by the side of the road to excite small girls named Laylee and big boys named Dan.

    A Christmas tree hanging from a crane, suspended 10 feet above the ground next to a pink Cadillac with fins, and a pink flamingo.

    trip1Magoo’s first tooth.

    Laylee’s two-year-old molars’ appearance.

    A 100% perfect spill record for the DYM. Every fluid or food item I touched the entire trip has now exploded all over my van, my clothes or my kids.

    A man walking along the top of a semi-truck. Dan suggested that maybe this was not a trucker. Maybe it was Tom Hanks’s hobo-ghost-alter-ego chillin’ down state-side with some trucker friends before his busy weekend terrorizing children on the Polar Express.

    Thursday, December 22, 2005

    Cool, Boo and a Rook Massacre

    visit1First, I would like to say for the record that when I left Karen’s home last night we both said it was too late and we wouldn’t post until today. Of course, I couldn’t wait to post something. So I put my post up and then hopped over to The Big Trade-Off to see if she could wait. Alas, we even had similar titles on our late night posts…

    Planning for my “blind date” with Karen and her family, I had packed some of our cutest clothes, my makeup and a hair brush, in anticipation of getting primped out to make a good impression. She would never know how nappy we could be at our worst, the kids in their pajamas and I in my stretch yoga pants.

    Driving for 11 hours through the rain had slowed our trip just enough that we didn’t have time to stop at the hotel first. So, with un-brushed teeth and hair, wearing our rattiest clothes, we arrived to meet our new friends.

    Cool was adorably fun and Laylee was immediately smitten with him, referring to him by his first and last name and following him around, learning about trains and Bionnicals.

    He had things to teach me as well.

    From Cool, I learned that all kinds of people like all different kinds of drinks. Karen brought him some water and Laylee some juice. “This is good water. Some people like water and some people like juice. People like to drink all kinds of things. Some people like soda or Pepsi or Dr Pepper or coffee. Some people like just water.” So cute.

    The toddler girl spoke so much like Boo from Monster’s Inc. that I think I will call her that from now on. She wore her hair in an adorable pigtail, tied with a pink gingham bow and her beautiful eyes laughed when she played with Magoo. He loved her. We all did.

    Karen and the Brownie had made the cutest flannel PJ pants for the kids. I am so excited to show them off to the fam.

    I got to wear the green sweater AND hold the wisemen.


    Oops! That was close!

    visit3We had a wonderful meal, with nary an awkward pause in conversation. Mr. and Mrs. Trade-Off were such fun hosts that we had a hard time dragging ourselves away. I think when we finally left, it was close to midnight, they had slaughtered us at Rook and Karen had rocked Magoo to sleep (a task that seemed beyond Dan and my ability).

    When I first started blogging, I had many motives, free therapy, an outlet for my writing bug, an audience to practice on. The last thing I expected to come of this was friendship. What a lovely surprise. It makes me want to move to WakaWaka, MiddleState and move in next door.

    Two Worlds Collide

    The blog world and the real world can co-exist peacefully.


    Karen and I had a great evening in the real world, our families meeting in person for the first time.

    They were lovely, the kind of family you want to stalk after playgroup and hope they will want to be friends with you. Dinner was awesome. The kids were gorgeous. The house was beautiful and sparkling clean.

    The Daring Family was nappy, travel weary and in need of a shower or two.

    More on this tomorrow.

    Tuesday, December 20, 2005

    Tip Tuesday – These Kids are Driving Me……

    The hilarity will have to wait for another time because today is Tuesday, time for Tips.

    So, it’s vacation time. Ah, the joys of extensive travel with kids. The laughter, the tears, the strong and persistent Braxton Hicks contractions brought on by cramming my second-trimester-pregnant belly into the back seat of a small car, trying to comfort a screaming 18 month old who will not be sedated by the flashing lights on the DVD player because we have conditioned her to never watch more than 15 minutes per day. Oi! Memories……

    But wait, since when did this become all about me? Tip Tuesday is about sharing, about community. It’s the one day a week that my blog is supposed to be about all of us, teaching, sharing, helping each other grow. This week’s topic is how to make traveling with kids fun – for everyone.

    In the spirit of sharing, I will share one of my own childhood travel experiences, because, after all this is my blog; it’s at least mostly about me. This experience illustrates why I don’t deserve to have a moment’s peace in my road-tripping life as a parent. It illustrates why I deserve to be cursed and why I so desperately need your help.

    At this juncture, I will not be offended if you skip to the numbered list of tips at the bottom and then post your own. This story is not for the faint of heart, or really for any decent, non-reality-tv-watching human being.

    It was a dark and stormy summer vacation. I was 10ish and the fam and I were driving from Calgary, Alberta to Victoria, BC, camping along the way. The baby was sick. Shortly into our drive, I began asking to use the restroom with increasing frequency. By the end I think I was asking to stop approximately every 30 seconds. (This is not an exaggeration. I vividly rembember pulling away from one filling station and begging my dad to stop at the next one on the SAME STREET.)

    My parents drove into a health clinic to have me looked at and it turned out that I had a flaming bladder infection. We got a prescription and continued on our trek in the pouring rain towards BC, camping along the way. Did I say we were camping? Everything was wet (no pun intended). I peed in rest-stops, restaurants, gas stations, bushes, a plastic grocery bag in the back seat of our Chevy Astro Van. (I warned you not to read this)

    I cried. I bawled. I whined. The antibiotics upset my stomach so I yorched spaghetti into said plastic grocery bag. My parents deserve a congressional medal of honor for what they went through. After driving for two days, all of our earthly possessions were soaked with rain or other fluids, two of the 5 kids were sick, my uncle in BC said the rain was not supposed to let up for weeks and my Dad decided we should turn around and head home, in the rain. He drove 20 hours straight along some of the most dangerous highway in Canada…with me… in the back… and the fluids.

    He patiently stopped for me over and over and over and over and over again. When we got home, they talked about what an adventure it was. We got to eat the individually packed yogurts, Jiffy-Pop and other fun camping treats. It is one of my most memorable and in fact beloved vacations - even though I was sick as a dog and we were never “there yet”. We just turned around and came home.

    Some tips from a woman whose mom used to teach classes on traveling with children (Mom, I hope you comment today):

    1. Buy a van.

    2. Trip presents – small items that the kids get at milestones along the way, every 50 miles, every rest stop, every hour or two. These can be as simple as crayons, a cool eraser, a paper fan or as nice as a new DVD or CD.

    3. Coupon books – each kid gets a coupon book full of things like, “pick the next CD,” “pick a song for us all to sing,” “choose the next game,” “switch seats with someone,” “get some extra gummy sharks.”

    4. Food – lots and lots of food, special food, food they can’t normally have at home. Try to avoid food that is messy, food that will make your car wish it had never been born …er …manufactured.

    5. Games and activities –
    I Spy – traditional version or the one where you have to spot something that starts with a certain letter of the alphabet.
    Count the cows – count the number of cows on your side of the car. The person with the most wins. If you pass a graveyard on your side of the car, all of your cows die and you have to start over again.
    For Younger Kids – we like to play the “I’d be so sad if…” game. This started when Laylee would whine and say she was so sad to get attention. I would diffuse it by saying, “Are you sad because the house is upside down?” and she’d grin and say “Yeah!” and we’d laugh. Now it’s a game. “I’d be so sad if, my teeth were made of pladoh!” Hysterical laughter. Laylee’s turn. “I’d be so sad if the carpet was blue!” Fake hysterical laughter. My turn. “I’d be so sad if there was cheese in my ears.” Hysterical laughter….. This can go on forever.

    6. Storytelling tapes and CDs - Great storytellers can mesmerize both kids and adults. Some favorites are Donald Davis, Carmen Deedy, Jim Weiss, Jay O’Callahan, Joel ben Izzy, Dovie Thomason, Bill Harley, Willy Claflin, Syd Lieberman, Kathryn Windham, Bil Lepp. There are tons of excellent ones out there and many of these should be available at your local library.

    7. Songs – We got through our rough contraction-ridden ride over the icy mountains last year by singing 800 verses of “Down By the Bay, Where the Watermelons Grow,” after exhausting every song we had ever heard of in our lives. At least that one can go on forever and it’s different every time.

    My favorite verse came from Dan – “Did you ever see a gnat with a cocoanut hat, DOW-N by the bay?”

    A lot of these ideas are too old for my little kids, which is where you come in. What should I do with them? Laylee is currently getting all four of her 2-year-old molars and is only 60-70% potty trained. Magoo is…….gonna scream.

    You can also share ideas for older kids. I'm open. Mine may live to maturity.

    Monday, December 19, 2005

    Ding! Ding! Round 2

    Liz just asked about this comment:

    Jim Turner said...
    Congrats on your nomination for the BoB Awards. Good Luck!

    What? Is this guy behind the times? Did he miss out on BoB-Gate 2005? Yes, he probably did miss out on BoB-Gate, the fiasco that wasn't, but no he is not out to lunch (at least I don't think so. What kind of a name is Jim? He will henceforth be referred to only as JT on this blog.).

    This is round 2. This is a nomination for Best of Blogs, a contest that started last year to recognize smaller blogs. I've found some of my favorite blogs by looking at the finalists from 2004. It's a great little competition so go and nominate someone you love. I plan to. (Oh, HUD! Dan doesn't have a blog. Well, I'll nominate someone I like then. Dan will just get an extra squidge when/if he comes home. Now seriously, did you think I'd be blogging if he were here right now?)

    I've been nominated in the Humor and New blog categories. I'm not expecting much to come from this but it feels nice whenever someone says they like me in a public forum. I was nominated for a Weblog Award recently by some uber-nice anonymous reader (you know who you are, right? And thanks, yo!) but didn't pass the judges' inspection or didn't get enough nominations so I didn't make it to the finalist stage. Ah well.

    I guess I should stop this expository nonsense and post something hilarious.....just in case JT is watching.

    Sunday, December 18, 2005

    Surprises, Gifting and Re-Gifting - On My Mind

    I was reminded of Karli’s post about surprises yesterday when DY Dad and Laylee got back from shopping for my Christmas presents.

    In the past, I have enjoyed giving him a hard time by asking Laylee what they bought me as soon as they got back from buying my birthday and Christmas surprises. She was always too young to respond accurately. She’d mumble something in toddler-ese, he’d say, “Don’t tell. It’s a surprise,” and we’d all laugh. Ha ha ha.

    Well yesterday, the first thing he said when he walked in was, “Don’t ask her this time.”

    Me: Okay.

    D: I drilled her repeatedly at the store on what she should say if you asked her. Things didn’t go so well. So, don’t ask, okay?

    Me: Okay. (I do like surprises)

    Me (to Laylee): Hey sweet girl. Did you and Daddy have a fun time together?

    Laylee: We got you a tea pot!

    This afternoon on the way home from church, she asked me if I wanted her to go get me the tea pot so I could use it. No thank you, I want to wait and be surprised.

    A while back, before I was banned from watching Oprah unless “it’s a show about kitties and fluffy bunnies,” she did an episode where snobby-ish etiquette experts answered all our burning questions about decorum. The consensus was that it is unacceptably tacky to “re-gift.”

    Note to my friends – I am unacceptably tacky and you will occasionally reap the benefits because my re-gifts are often much nicer than things I would have purchased myself. (The actual re-gifting has slowed since we used up the last of our wedding gift duplicates. Man, we got a lot of George Foreman Grills a few years ago.)

    As we were leaving church today, we overheard this from a speaker in the other congregation that meets in our building:

    “So at this wonderful time of year, I hope we will all ‘re-gift’ the greatest gift that we have ever received.”

    I’m not sure who was speaking but it made me smile.

    James Wallingford wrote the following:

    Christmas is not a day or a season, but a condition of heart and mind.
    If we love our neighbors as ourselves;
    if in our riches we are poor in spirit and in our poverty we are rich in grace;
    if our charity vaunteth not itself, but suffereth long and is kind;
    if when our brother asks for a loaf, we give ourselves instead;
    if each day dawns in opportunity and sets in achievement, however small-
    then every day is Christ’s day and Christmas is always near.

    Hey everybody, unite to re-gift the love, the joy, the gratitude, the service, the true spirit of Christmas. We all need it. It’s there for the taking. Spread it around.

    We could all use more compassion, more dedication, more kindness, more forgiveness, more quiet holiness in our lives (whatever our religion). Breathe. Think before you speak. Determine each day to share the best part of yourself and you will be surprised at what will come of it.

    I’m determined that there is more good in each of us than we have yet discovered or can even imagine. There is so much joy to be had in this world. Let’s have it!

    Friday, December 16, 2005

    Better Late than Never

    BlackBird, please don't give me a tardy!

    I don't remember when I got hooked on Show and Tell, probably 2nd grade, but I love it and I can't stop. It is my bedtime, but I couldn't go to sleep until I posted this. I don't want to get in trouble. Here are my ordaments (second grade pronunciation).

    ornament Purchased in a shop outside Westminster Abbey, this Buckingham Palace guard guy is a favorite. My mom and I were crazy enough to go on a girls week to England with Laylee when she was 7 months old, stay in a TEENY hotel room, eat fish and chips and trek around London and Bath. What an adventure! (shout out to Dan and Uncle Bill for sponsoring the trip) This actually belongs to Laylee. Mine is a Beefeater. So as not to offend the vegetarians, I posted this instead....

    ornament3 This is the new ornament I bought this week to start Karen's tradition (see comments section) where the parents hang up the first ornament on the tree and then force the children to watch as they passionately follow the misletoe mandate.

    ornament2Legend has it that my first Christmas coincided with this angel's first Christmas and she conveniently has my name tatooed accross her skirt so I got to keep her when the family ornaments were doled out.

    The Un-Scrapbooks

    So, if you want more info on the Un-Scrapbooks, contact my friend Carrie by email. They're selling in several countries right now but only in a few cities here in the US. The brand name is Baysics and the website should be up soon. I'll let you know. Carrie can send you a catalog if you want to order or are just curious. I LOVE them.

    Thursday, December 15, 2005

    I Got a Tardy

    You know how sometimes you let your car make a weird noise for a while before you get around to taking it in to the mechanic? You think, maybe it’s nothing or maybe it will just go away on its own. Then when you’re planning a big road trip, you think, “Maybe I should at least get the oil changed and see if it’s anything worth worrying about.”

    Well, Magoo’s had a bad cough for a few weeks now but it’s the kind of cough the doctors always say is no big deal so I haven’t worried about taking him in. Now we’re getting ready for some Christmas travel so I thought I’d take him in to the pediatrician for an LOF.

    I planned poorly, deciding to start feeding him solids at breakfast for the first time the morning of his appointment was not a good idea. Traffic was worse than usual, a stalled car on the side of the freeway causing no end of excitement and rubber-necking.

    I arrived…dun..dun..dun….19 MINUTES LATE to my appointment. I think lateness is rude and shows disrespect for the other person and their time. I was embarrassed. I apologized to the receptionist.

    Then they sent the nurse in to give me “the talk.” They allow 15 minutes lee-way but 19 minutes is just too much. The doctor would see me but they would put a note on my chart. My tardiness was not acceptable.

    I felt awful, like a 2-year-old getting kicked out of nursery school for biting (or maybe the 2-year-old’s mom. The two year old probably wouldn’t care all that much and on the ride home, he’d just ask for a snack and then fall asleep with graham cracker drool all over his face). I apologized profusely.

    When I told Heather, she asked if 3 tardies would equal an un-excused absence. Karen IMd that maybe there would be cute boys in detention. I’ll have to ask on my next visit to their office when I’m sitting in the waiting room, 20 minutes early.

    Oh, and the doctor said, "It's a cold."

    Fuzzy Math

    This is silly. Just in from my friend Sandra.

    Don't tell me your age; you probably would tell a falsehood anyway-but the Hershey Man will know!


    This is pretty neat kind of fun.

    It takes less than a minute .

    Work this out as you read ...

    Be sure you don't read the bottom until you've worked it out!

    This is not one of those waste of time things, [but] it's fun.

    1. First of all, pick the number of times a week that you would like to have chocolate (more than once but less than 10)

    2. Multiply this number by 2 (just to be bold)

    3. Add 5

    4. Multiply it by 50 -- I'll wait while you get the calculator

    5. If you have already had your birthday this year add 1755 ....If you haven't, add 1754.

    6. Now subtract the four digit year that you were born.You should have a three digit number

    The first digit of this was your original number(i.e., how many times you want to have chocolate each week).

    The next two numbers are YOUR AGE! (Oh YES, it is!!!!!)

    Wednesday, December 14, 2005

    I Detest Scrapbooking

    I had a friend in Junior High who got really mad if anyone ever used the word “hate.” Her mom told her she could not use that word because it was so harsh. So she used the word “detest” instead. As in, “I just detest Sarah. She’s so lame.” Muuuuuch nicer, no?

    So, in honor of her, I thought I’d use it in my title.

    Back to scrapbooking. I love the idea of preserving memories, of having pictures the family can handle and feel, not just stuck on the computer. I hate/detest the idea of buying bows and dye-cuts (I finally figured out what those were), bells and miniature baby shoes, papers for every occasion, hole-punches the shape of my uterus for when I’m pregnant, small bits of carpet, and teeny-tiny disco balls for the pages about when Laylee and I go clubbing.

    My friend is a mad-scientist-inventor-type person and she feels the same way about scrapbooking that I do. So, instead of talking to “a guy she knows” and having Sandi’s Palace of Scrapbooking Paraphernalia burned to the ground in a horrible tragic “accident”, she started talking to patent lawyers and invented these new photo/scrapbook/box/display/holder thingies.
    I am in love with them and have practically spent my children’s college savings buying them. (They may one day lament their lack of education, but at least they’ll have their memories to look through, entombed in bonded leather.)

    Here’s how they work (Vanna, please):

    On the outside they look like a box:


    But when you open the heavy-duty (but not too hard to open) gripper/snaps:


    They are albums:



    They come in several sizes:


    I bought small ones that hold 2 4x6 photos per sheet to use as gifts and the really big ones that hold 12x12 sheets for our family.


    You can use just about any configuration of photos in them. Most of the sheets I bought just hold scads and scads of 4x6 photos but a few are full 12x12 sheets or split sheets so I can get creative here and there if I want, but I don’t have to.




    They even have kits to make the little scrapbooky pages if you want them. They are super heavy-duty fabric or bonded leather, reasonably priced (if you don't buy one million of them), they’re gorgeous and durable.


    You add the photos from the inside of a two-sided sheet, sideways so the pictures won’t come out if you shake the book around and your kids can’t figure out how to get them out. Heck, I couldn’t figure it out until she showed me.


    I am so excited for my new project for after Christmas and it will mostly involve shoving all of our old photos in at a rapid pace, periodically pausing to add a caption, a colored paper background or a picture of my face, cut out in the shape of an armadillo. I’m sure they have punches for that somewhere, right mom?

    Tuesday, December 13, 2005

    This Just In

    I haven't done laundry in a while. I usually have a regular laundry day but the problem is, we have way too much underwear lately so I've been able to put it off a little longer than usual.

    We're down to the almost-too-tight jeans, the makes-me-look-fat t-shirts (not because I am, just because they're poorly designed, of course), the beach towels, and the really really small bibs.

    I just put one of them on Magoo for his midnight carrot snack and handed him to DY Dad for the feeding.

    Magoo: Heh heh heh
    Dan: That's not a BIB! That's like a Victoria's Secret bib. It's like a string around his neck!

    Note to self: Do laundry tomorrow.

    In other news, Jack has passed away. We had a small funeral for him and a serious, look-me-in-the-eyes-when-I’m-being-this-serious, talk about death with Laylee, explaining that it’s just his body now and that his spirit has left. Then we sang a song about the beauty of God's creations and flushed him.

    Her response?

    “Can we get another one?”

    Haaahhhhhhhhh (loud breath out).

    The next day when her little friends, the 4 Moseses (Mosesus? Mosesi? Mosi?), asked where the fishy was, I told them we flushed him down the toilet so he could live with Nemo and Marlin. THIS, they could grasp onto. THIS made sense.

    Tip Tuesday - Here’s a Tradition for Ya!

    Here are a few of my favorite Holiday Traditions:

    Thanksgiving – Get a big white tablecloth and have everyone use fabric markers to write or draw a picture of a few things they’re thankful for each year. Then, every time you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, you get to read the things people have written in years past. I wish I were the genius who thought of this one.

    special plate"You Are Special" Day – For a date night a few months ago, Dan and I made a “you are special” dinner plate. The plate gets pulled out when someone either does something really special (gets a great test score, shows heroic kindness, has a birthday, learns how to balance their 2 year old brother on their nose like a seal) or needs some special love and attention. It’s a big deal to use the “you are special plate.”

    It’s only been used one time in our house, Mega Corp bonus time this year. DY Dad got a decent bonus and we got to chuck it on the mortgage. Can you hear the ping sound it made as it dropped in the bucket? Yeah, neither could we.

    Veteran’s Day/Remembrance Day – In Canada, there’s something special, almost sacred about November 11th. It is a solemn day of remembrance and respect for those who give their lives for our freedom. Up there it is called Remembrance Day and it occurs on the same day as Veteran’s Day here in the US. Everyone wears a red poppy on their lapel for about a week leading up to the Holiday. Schools hold solemn assemblies and everyone with a uniform wears it. I remember wearing my Brownie and Girl Guide uniform to school.

    poppyAt 11:11am, people all across the country observe a moment of silence. I still maintain this tradition with my kids and recite the poem In Flanders Fields, with my thumbs tucked in every November 11th. (When we stood at attention or had to do any recitation in my elementary school, they told us to do it with arms at our sides and our thumbs tucked into our hands. I think this was to keep us from poking each other or picking our noses, but I still do it today when I recite poetry.)

    Christmas – My favorite tradition growing up was putting hay in the manger. My mom told us the story of the first Christmas and then she put out a small empty wooden manger near the Christmas tree. Every time we did a secret good deed, we could put one piece of hay in the manger. On Christmas morning, “Baby Jesus” (usually a well-swaddled baldish cabbage-patch kid) would appear in the manger if there was enough hay for Him to rest comfortably there.

    I can still remember my mom encouraging us to keep up the kind deeds, “You don’t want that sweet baby to clunk his little head on the bottom of an empty manger, do you?”

    We had so much fun doing kind things for each other and then waiting until no one was looking to deposit our one piece of hay. The manger was always full by Christmas Eve.

    Tip Day Tuesday – This is a tradition where you get to share your thoughts and ideas so everyone else can steal them. Please observe it. :)

    Monday, December 12, 2005

    By Popular Demand

    music box

    I've had requests to publish my Dad's Seven Sevens and he kindly gave me permission. He is the best dad in the world and I love him dearly. (Interspersed are pictures of a few of the things he's made for our family in his workshop.)

    chess setSeven Things I want to do before I die:
    1. Have a stand alone, dedicated workshop of sufficient size to keep and use all of my tools in their own place, without having to move them around on wheels.
    2. Learn to turn stuff on a lathe – bowls, spindles, pens, etc.
    3. Build a Grandfather Clock (the case, not the mechanism)
    4. Retire
    5. Be able to spend 2 consecutive weeks at the beach in the summer, 2 weeks (not necessarily consecutive) camping and hiking in the mountains, and 1 week cruising, each year.
    6. Weigh less than 180 pounds, and feel physically fit.
    7. Be a professional Santa with my own full beard, and long hair for at least one Christmas season.
    8. Go to Hawaii, New Zealand, and Fiji.
    9. Go to Adam Ondi Ahman.
    10. Learn to play the guitar using the Travis picking method.
    11. Grow a big garden and preserve enough vegetables (bottled and root cellar) to last the winter.
    12. Have a solar powered house that generates enough electricity back to the power company to zero out my power bill for the whole year.
    13. Take Heather’s Hub, and any other in-laws and their spouses who would like to, backpacking for a week in the Canadian Rockies.
    14. Read Don Quijote de la Mancha in the original Spanish in its entirety.

    Seven Things I cannot do:
    1. Count (see the 1st seven above)
    2. Stop loving your mom.
    3. Stop loving my children or being concerned for their happiness.
    4. Play any sport with any degree of competence.
    5. Watch an emotional or touching scene in a movie without getting choked up.
    6. Sleep through the night without getting up at least once to go to the bathroom.
    7. Fly (under my own power).
    8. Remember things when I want to (it’s usually more like random recall) (this one is legal, cause # 1 was a joke – I really can count).

    Seven Things That Attract Me to My Spouse:
    1. She’s gorgeous.
    2. She loves me.
    3. She laughs at me (usually only when I’m trying to be funny).
    4. She cares about others.
    5. She’s a great cook.
    6. She likes to be with me.
    7. She’s smart.

    cedar lined hope chestSeven Things I say often:
    1. The older I get, the sooner I can retire.
    2. Did you hear about….. (usually followed by some joke or other)
    3. I love you.
    4. Honey, have you seen…….? (whatever it is that I’ve currently lost).
    5. Drive Safe!!!
    6. Thank You. (probably not enough, but, yeah quite a lot).
    7. Hey Honey, come look at this….. (wood working project)

    Seven Books of Book Series I love:
    1. The scriptures.
    2. Battle Cry – Leon Uris.
    3. The Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit).
    4. Harry Potter
    5. The Work and the Glory
    6. Most James Michener books.
    7. My leather bound copy of Don Quijote de la Mancha, in the original Spanish. I’ve never read it all the way through yet, but someday I will.

    Seven Movies I could watch over and over:
    1. The Lord of the Rings.
    2. Home Alone (I and II).
    3. The Princess Bride.
    4. Undercover Blues.
    5. The Frisco Kid.
    6. Pirates of the Caribbean.
    7. A Knight’s Tale

    wood horse

    Sunday, December 11, 2005

    90-100% Chance of Rain

    aroha award
    There has been a lot of moisture, mostly in the form of tears, around the Daring Young household the past several days.
    Lately I’ve been misty around the eyes from all the kind comments and emails I’ve been getting regarding a certain Blog Award mishap. I think I responded to everyone individually but if I somehow missed you, thanks to everyone who has taken the time to send me well wishes and support.

    Catez Stevens was a frequent commenter on my recent post about the controversy. I know some people were concerned that she was attacking me in some way but the two of us have been emailing and commenting back and forth and it’s been a great exercise in resolving differences calmly, while remaining firm in our own beliefs. I want to thank her publicly for taking such a serious interest in my little problem.

    She posted about me this morning and offered me an Award that I am proud to accept. It is an Aroha Award, an award that she has created to honor blogs with a unique feature that deserves acknowledgement. Aroha is the Maori word for love and I’m feeling a lot of it coming from Catez and many others of you who have been kind enough to drop me a line. Thank you so much for the sweetness.

    The award in my sidebar is also a link to her site (It's a beautiful graphic, yes?). Please check her out and feel free to vote for her in this year’s Weblog Awards. She’s up for best New Zealand Blog.

    DYDad is wet from doing dishes and taking Laylee to the park in the Seattle winter. He’s kept the tears to a minimum.

    Laylee is crying because of the “consequences.” Sheeeeee’s been testing the limits this week and we’re trying to get more creative. Yesterday she refused to put on clothes to go to the park in freezing weather. After repeated attempts to reason with her, Dan let her go outside in nuthin’ but a pull-up so she could decide whether wearing clothes was a good idea. She quickly renounced her fervent nudity and bundled up. Why does she have to act so childish and immature all the time? Oh…wait….

    Magoo cries because he’s eating a ton of carrots but none are coming out. Hmm….I’d cry too.

    In other precipitation news, I have been laughing so hard I’m crying since taking the new quiz my sister and our mutual friend came up with. They are so funny, I can’t even write about it without laughing out loud.

    Please go take the quiz if you’ve read any of the Harry Potter books, ever taken a silly internet personality quiz, or ever thought you might like to try laughing so hard that liquid squirted from every orifice of your body.

    You scored as Argus Filch. Congrats! You are most like Argus Filch. You torment the dickens out of the students under your care. You also flunked out of magic school. Your precious cat is the only one who loves you.

    Argus Filch


    Blast-Ended Skrewt


    Dudley Dursley


    Albus Dumbledore


    Mad-Eye Moody


    Luna Lovegood


    Minerva McGonagall




    Harry Potter Mania
    created with QuizFarm.com

    Saturday, December 10, 2005

    A Few of My Favorite Things Today

    gas1. Paying less than $3.00/gallon for gas. I remember back in college when gas was hovering right under a dollar and I wondered if it would really go that high. Ha! Now I call it a bargain if it drops below $2.50. Yikes. Check this out for tips on saving money on gas. (reminder - I'm only in my mid-twenties.....okay upper-mid.)

    2. Funny cool people with a great attitude. Check out posts by the two newest bloggers I link to on my sidebar, Fallible and Rocks in My Dryer. I hope to rotate and change these links around, based on who I’m currently reading.

    3. My daddy. He wrote the sweetest seven sevens I’ve ever seen and sent it to me by email. I want to be like him if I ever grow up.

    4. Good Great Super-Hero-Type Babysitters – We have a pretty steady babysitter who we’ll call Ruby. We adore her. The kids adore her. I am happy to pay her for the peace of mind it brings me when she’s watching the kids.

    We have a “mother’s helper” (read this – too-young-for-me-to-feel-comfortable-leaving-the-kids-alone-with-her-but-we’re-trying-to-brainwash-her-into-loving-our-kids-so-we-can-monopolize-her-on-weekends-for-the-rest-of-her-life-when-she-gets-older) This past week, she spent over two hours sitting in the car (Laylee jumps in at this point and says “VAN! It’s a van Mommy. It’s MY van!) VAN (for the love, stop YELLING at me!) with the kids reading stories every time I stopped to run in and do an errand.

    Over two hours of errands without having to unpack the kids from the car ONCE and the whole time with them thinking it was the best thing ever – all for the tidy sum of $6.00, which she argued was too much. She then told me she’d had a “really fun time.” Ahh! I’m in love.

    We discovered another awesome babysitter last night. She brought a “kit” of activities for the kids and did all kinds of a great job. People at the Mega-Corp Christmas party asked us who was watching Laylee and Magoo and it felt so great to say we were confident in the care they were getting.

    5. Cartridge World. Save the world and save a couple bucks. They recycle your old cartridge and sell you refilled used ones for half the price of new. We tried them for the first time today. One more step towards actually sending out Christmas cards this year. It really may happen....preferably before the 25th.

    6. Fun links to my site:

    I am quoted on an Indian Cooking Site. I feel like I’m Martha Stewart-style famous now, without the prison record. (Look about half-way down on the left sidebar for a quote by Kathryn. Pst……that’s me.)

    Also, I am the second hit if you do an msn search for the word "daring." Sweet!

    Friday, December 09, 2005

    I Like your Shirt. I’ll Give You 20 Bucks for It!

    Today Blackbird has asked to see some decorations. Here it is:

    snow globe mania

    Just kidding! That still cracks me up until I cry…in a good way.

    My favorite kind of decorating involves taking ordinary items and making them look festive. For example, our ever famous train picture. I seem to post it all the time, not because I love it (although I do), but because it hangs over the fireplace in the main living area of our house and it’s just always there in the background….. watching us. Come to think of it, that kind of freaks me out.

    train pictureAnyway, here’s what we did to make it Christmassy.

    rain paintingNotice the small red flower in the smokestack. I was not always so subtle in my Christmas decorating. In college, I would just make little Santa hats and put them on all the people in the photos in my apartment, The Lady of Shallot, my grandma, the dancing in the rain rich people who don’t give a hoot that their poor servants are freezing in the cold (I still love that picture).

    I think it is time to share how I got the train picture. It is a super-cool street vendor creation using ordinary household/garagehold items to create a train. If you look closely, you’ll see the spark plugs, flashlights, keys, washers, hinges, etc.

    Dan fell in love with this when he saw it hanging on the wall of my college roommate’s sweet parents’ home in Seattle shortly after we moved up here. I fell in love with it because he liked it so much and never expresses an interest in home décor.

    Several months later, the couple was moving to a much smaller home on their way to retirement and wanted to get rid of a bunch of stuff. They told us to come by their garage sale and start thinking of stuff we wanted because it would probably be out there for sale.

    I took this literally. So a few weeks later we were over for dinner, they were talking about the garage sale and I said, “If you sell that train picture at the garage sale, I’m calling dibs on it.”

    They sort of looked at each other and said, “We….weren’t planning on selling it….”

    Awkward silence.

    Me: Oh, that’s cool. I was just kidding. We just really like it.

    Nice Lady: I guess we could sell it to you if you really want it. Right, hubby? We don’t need that picture anymore. We’ve had it forever.

    Me: (oh my word! It’s a freaking family treasure) No seriously, it’s okay.

    Nice Lady: I’ll sell it to you for $20.

    Me: (writing a check) If you’re sure…….

    We left our free dinner that night with a $20 painting and a huge blank spot on the host’s wall. Have you ever gone into someone’s home, seen a wall-hanging or piece of furniture you like, pointed to it and said, “I like that! How much do you want for it?” Well I have. You should try it sometime. Then every time someone compliments you on the item once it’s in your home, you can tell them the story of how you got it……or I guess you could ask them to make an offer…..

    Thursday, December 08, 2005

    To Lighten Things Up a Bit

    I will do a meme from a cool blogging momma who tagged me the other day, MyNewFriend at Blest With Sons.

    Thanks for encouraging me to move on and post something else tonight. Whew! What a day. I was out all evening with Karli, listening to some beautiful music and feeling a great sense of renewal. I love the feeling of true peace. It’s especially nice after a day like today.

    Here goes the Seven Sevens…

    Seven things I hope to do before I die:
    1. Raise an eternal family who love each other, love the Lord, are smart, compassionate, understanding and happy - and good at playing Rook, the Rook skills are definitely a must.
    2. Complete a feature length documentary film and submit it to a major festival (I'm sort of working on this one but too scared to reveal any details).
    3. Write and publish a non-fiction book (a novel too but I’m more fascinated by non-fiction).
    4. Travel the world, France, Australia, Ireland, India, The Holy Lands, your mom's house, etc.
    5. Show Dan the kind of love and support he showers on me daily.
    6. Invent something really cool, make a bazillion dollars and randomly pay off people’s mortgages anonymously.
    7. Become an expert kayaker.

    Seven things I cannot do:
    1. Kayak well.
    2. Keep from laughing when DY Dad does his “crazy Monster's, Inc. face.”
    3. Get a speeding ticket. I’m not saying I never speed, but somehow I never get ticketed. The one time I was pulled over, I accidentally evaded the police. I’ll explain more later.
    4. Teach Junior High students. I have no patience for this age and too many painful memories, being a former brace-faced, four-eyed, band-member, straight-A-student in grades 7-9.
    5. Spell to save my life. In college, I was almost denied a secretarial position because I failed a spelling test. I convinced the person in charge of hiring that I did indeed know how to press the spell-check button.
    6. Be rude to telemarketers. I can joke about it, but when I’m on the phone with them, I just don’t have the heart. I try to let them down easily and politely.
    7. Let my kids boss me around.

    Seven things that attract me to my spouse (significant other, best friend):
    1. His patience with my semi-spastic nature
    2. His calming presence
    3. His love for our children
    4. How seriously he takes everything he does. He is the most dedicated person I know. One of his favorite quotes is from jazz musician and composer Wynton Marsalis, “Invest yourself in everything you do. There’s fun in being serious.”
    5. His interest in everything I do and his burning desire to help me achieve my goals and even my craziest dreams.
    6. His gorgeous blue eyes and his back (it’s true, I love his back).
    7. His ability to be still and see the goodness in everyone.

    Seven things I say often
    1. Like….
    2. For the LOVE!
    3. (fingers snapping)…umm…What were we talking about?
    4. Cheese. (This word has many uses. Ex – I’m tired as cheese. What the cheese are you talking about? Don’t lay there like a piece of dead cheese.)
    5. Do you want a story tonight? Okay, I’m gonna count to three…..
    6. That’s too bad. Those are the consequences (yes, she’s only 2 but she talks about consequences and fully understands what that means).
    7. I love you. (I say this to my family members every time I talk to them in person and on the phone, which is often since none of them live around here. Lately, I’ve started accidentally saying it as I say goodbye to my friends. Un peu embarrassing. Not that I don’t love them, I just don’t like to say it so casually and randomly to people I’m not related to.)

    Seven books or book series I love:
    1. The Scriptures
    2. Annie Dillard books (specifically Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Go read it NOW!)
    3. C.S. Lewis, The Narnia books, Mere Christianity and A Grief Observed, to name a few.
    4. George Elliot and Jane Austen (I think I can safely glump them together)
    5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    6. King Lear by Shakespeare
    7. Recently I have loved These Is My Words by Nancy Turner, a frontier romance, fun reading, not classic literature.

    Seven movies I could watch over and over again:
    1. Ordet – my favorite film of all time (strange timing, it concerns two small-town religions battling over doctrine, only to be healed by a miracle from God)
    2. The Man Who Planted Trees
    3. Babette’s Feast
    4. Lord of the Rings
    5. A&E’s Pride and Prejudice
    6. Sleepless in Seattle
    7. White Christmas

    Seven people I want to join in this “Seven Sevens” meme:
    1. Karli of Eulallia - my blogging mentor and the best pumpkin pie sharer and comforter I've had all day
    2. Moonface of Midnight Musings - the best quiet chronicle of a satisfied life I've found so far
    3. Stephanie of Princess Mom - funny as heck and puts it all out there for us to laugh our way through motherhood
    4. Kim of Life in a Shoe - a real inspiration, awesome mother and kick-butt blogger
    5. Heather of Pieces of Cheese - If I make a list, she'd better be on it. She rocks.
    6. Liz of My Corner of the World - a sweet and encouraging future daring young mom
    7. RGLHM of The Reluctant Good Little Homemaker - a great new blogger I'm glad to have discovered

    Wednesday, December 07, 2005

    Put Down Your Torches and Pitchforks! I Surrender!

    I may be a festering, Satan-worshipping vegetable, lurking under the bedsheets of Christian Beauty, but at least I’m still funny. So says Marla of “Always Thirsty.” I think this is my first official “review.” How nice.

    A couple of weeks ago I was nominated for a Blogs of Beauty Award. I still do not know who nominated me. No one will admit it. I was touched and pleased and surprised that someone or someones could see through my sometimes sarcastic humor a deep and abiding love for the Savior and nominate me alongside these other excellent women.

    The days went by and I tried to say I didn’t care who won. It was so cool just to be nominated. But I can’t say I wasn’t beaming when Sallie (the creator of the awards) announced on her blog yesterday that I had won. It is SO nice to be recognized for my writing and I felt honored that it was an award given by other Christians.

    I do not consider this a “Mormon blog” but rather a personal blog by someone who happens to be Mormon. I want this blog to be a support group for moms, a place where people of any religion can come, laugh a little, share in the excitement, fun and heartache of parenthood and feel a touch of grace and tolerance.

    You can rip on my writing all you want and it won’t make me cry. But there are two things I must ask you never to do, post angry hateful things about my most sacred core beliefs or say horrible nasty things about my family.

    Number one has already been accomplished and I’m still bawling. If someone writes a blog entry about how stupid or ugly my kids are tonight, it may just send me over the edge (and we don't like the edge. The edge involves large amounts of extra calories and way-too-long bubble baths. Well, we like the edge, but we shouldn't stay there for long.).

    I found her post as I was looking at my traffic today and noticed a lot of hits from her URL. So I went to the site to see who my new “fan” was…..WHAM! A hit to the gut.

    As I was getting Laylee ready for bed tonight (complete with Christmas carols and prayers in Jesus’ name. Gasp!) I had a hard time hiding my tears. Daddy explained that I was crying because someone had written something very mean about me on the internet. When I left the room Laylee exclaimed, “Oh Daddy! I want to write something very very very nice to Mommy.” I guess I still have a couple of fans.

    What really makes me sad about this is that Sallie set up these awards as a way to promote the love of Jesus Christ and she did so right during the holiday season. She is a wonderful, caring and deeply religious person who has spent hours putting this together. It makes me sick and sad to think that people are sending her bitter and hostile emails because she didn’t dig deep enough to find out “what I truly am.”

    If I gave up the award and passed it on to Amy’s Humble Musings or Jeneric Jeneralities, would you stop harassing Sallie and let us pass the holidays with the true Spirit of the season?

    christOn her site, Marla stated, “I wonder how you would react if a Jehovah's Witness won a contest showcasing the blogs of Latter Day Saints. I'm not here to convert Mormons, but it is my duty as a Christian to make people aware of false teachers, especially those who claim the name of Christ but add to his words (the Book of Mormon) and falsify his very essence, thus stripping him of his divinity.”

    Well Marla – When the Jehovah’s Witnesses stop by and offer to share a scripture with me about Christ, I invite them in. No one can strip Christ of his divinity.

    A note to my well-meaning friends: I don't want anyone else to feel like this. So, please stop the cycle and don't give my "reviewer" a hard time. I don't want to have to delete you when you're just trying to make me feel better but I'll have to if you turn my comments section into a rip-fest.

    Tuesday, December 06, 2005

    Hey, Thanks!

    It looks like I won that Blogs of Beauty award by a very slim margin. Thanks to whoever nominated me and to all of you who voted.

    Most of all, thanks to everyone who stuck with me through "the twinge" and stoked my ego in the process.

    Now, no matter where I go, no matter what I do, no one can ever say that a couple of people on the internet don't think I'm funny. And that's saying something.

    Tip Tuesday – Christmas Gifts for “Those One People”*

    You know the ones I’m talking about. Your Uncle Biff or your Father-in-Law, your 30 year-old Dual Income No Kids neighbors, your babysitter or your kids’ school teachers.

    These are the people who either have EVERYTHING, don’t want ANYTHING or maybe you don’t really know them at all but feel obligated to get them a gift for some reason. So what do you get them? Think of the hardest people to shop for on your list and throw us some clues.

    Often I choose topics for tip days because I have some great info to pass along. Today, I want to suck you dry. I’ve got next to nothin’ here, people. Help me out.

    My ideas:
    -Find something totally out there at some small online boutique. Get into the “they-would-never-find-this-stuff-in-a-million-years-unless-they-spent-every-waking-minute-surfing-the-internet” territory. These gifts are at least original and will have the, “wherever did you find this” factor, if not the “wow.”

    -Books are almost always a good idea (First find out if said person is literate. Then you can decide whether to get one with words or pictures.).

    -Buy something you would love for yourself but would feel guilty indulging in. I do this for my parents and in-laws sometimes. They have a lot more dough than we do and anything I could get them for 20 bucks, they could go buy themselves. The trick is to buy them something they see as frivolous or a luxury but that they would secretly love to have.

    Your ideas:
    (insert here)

    * “Those one people” is probably my favorite misuse of the English language in the history of the world. Ex – “Who sings this song? Isn’t it those one people?”

    Random Trivia - Dan and I own the domain name – www.thoseonepeople.com. We haven’t used it for anything yet and it cracks us up to tears but no one else really thinks it’s funny………at all.

    Sunday, December 04, 2005

    Making Sense of the Season with a Three-Year-Old (who’s really two)

    christmas picturesThis is a picture of me taking the picture to go in our Christmas cards this year. I didn’t put the picture we chose up here because if you are a real, flesh and blood friend or relative, I will send you one and I want you to be surprised. It is RIDICULOUSLY cute!

    Laylee loves Christmas so very much. I’m going out on a limb here but I think she loves Christmas even more than she loves her birthday, maybe even more than she loves Ducky. I know, I know. That could be taking things too far.

    This is the first year she really really gets it. (we said that last year and I’m sure we’ll say it next year, but the point is, she gets it more this year than she has in the past.)

    She’s stopped calling Rudolph Bambi and if you ask her what Christmas is, she’ll say, “It’s Jesus’s Birthday.” Then she will probably ask you for some cake. What’s a birthday without cake? (I have promised her that on His actual birthday we will make a beautiful white cake to celebrate, something my mom did every Christmas when we were kids.)

    What I’m struggling with is striking a balance between the excitement and fun of all the celebrations that surround Christmas and the meaning of Christmas itself.

    The world largely views Christmas as a time about Santa and snowmen, candy and presents. I want to teach my kids that all of these wonderfully fun celebrations have a root in something much more satisfying.

    A log of a couple of my attempts to combat Christmas commercialism while still “putting the cookies out for Santa”:

    -Handel’s Messiah sing-along in our living room today. I do a really sweet Tenor on that chorus that sounds like they’re saying “Oh WE LIKE SHEEP.” Picture me singing in a man’s falsetto “have gone a-stray-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay.” Nice.

    -I try to explain about the symbolism behind things (candy cane=shepherd’s crook, Santa~charity, love and giving, Rudolf=I don’t know who came up with the glowing Rangifer tarandus etc.)

    -One empty clear ball hangs on the tree. We explain that it is full of the Spirit.

    - We have a little carved “wiseman box” and each year on Christmas Eve we each put one “gift for the Savior” in the box. It’s something like a resolution, something that would make Him happy. It’s Laylee’s first year to do this and I’m sure it will be something like, “Keep my panties dry for seven days so I can go to CHUKEE CHEESE!” but I’ll let her decide. I’m sure that would make Him happy too.

    -Her favorite bedtime songs are The Angel Song (Angels we Have Heard on High) and Silent Night (and the “Turtle Song” but we won’t talk about that…not here…not now…not like this).

    -Loveable, suckable nativity insures that she knows the names of the Holy Family and their posse of worshipful friends before she learns the names of Santa’s Reindeer.

    christmas nat

    …I know there are more and maybe I’ll post them when my brain returns. Has anyone seen it recently? It’s grey, bumpy, smallish….

    Oh, here’s an outtake from last year’s Christmas card photos.


    Saturday, December 03, 2005

    A Eulogy for the Flying Smurf

    smurf3For show and tell today, I’m so excited to show off my NEW VAN! Well, new used van. It’s a few-year-old Toyota Sienna and I love it so much. Our trusted mechanic spent the day with it and said it’s in the best shape of any car he’s inspected in the last 3 months – nothing to fix.

    My very favorite thing:
    -Tinted windows in the back so I won’t have to hang 50 sunshades and pieces of brown plastic wrap on the windows of the car, only to discover that the one spot I missed is a hole the size of a pinhead, pointed directly at Laylee’s eye, burning it to a bubbling, boiling mass in its socket while she screams, “Mommy! Mommy! S’that BETTER?!!!!”

    (she started saying, “S’that BETTER?!!!!” to mean, “There’s some light shining in my eyes. Please fix it now or so help me I will leap from this car seat and smash every last window in this piece-of-hud HOOPTY!” one day after I spent a lot of time swerving in and out of cars trying to get her into some shade and asking, “Is that better baby? Is that better?”)

    Unfortunately, in with the new also means out with the old. And so on this December day, we say a fond farewell to a faithful friend, the Flying Smurf:


    You joined our family during Dan’s formative college years. As Dan lovingly reminded me on Wednesday, you joined our family before I did. He loved you with a great love. You were his first car. In you, I sat close to him for the first time, riding love gun, when a group of us went out for milkshakes. I licked the ice cream running down the side of Dan’s cup to avoid spilling on your grey plush seats.

    smurf2Dan kissed me for the first time in your front seat. We have laughed, cried and prayed in you. You took us on our first date. You carried us as we had our first talk about marriage – about how we didn’t want to rush into it. You carried us to the place in the mountains where Dan proposed – 3 months later.

    You were the roomy vehicle who carpooled to book club and girl’s night out. You were a special part of this family and you will be sorely missed. You are the car we spent thousands “pampering” the past few years and then traded in at the dealership for a pittance. Sorry to sell you out. We don’t be hatin’, we just needed a new ride.

    smurf4An addendum from DY Dad: “Dear smurf, I loved you. I bought the Chilton’s manual for you. I took care of you. I jiggled the wiring on the starter to get your solenoid to fire. I noticed right away when you blew your head gasket and got you taken care of, and I took you to get your transmission rebuilt. I personally replaced your sway bar links, brakes, and a tie rod end. I changed your oil, brake fluid, and rotated your tires. I loved the power you gave with your extra-big 3.8 liter V6. You only played the radio and tapes, but I loved your sound system, especially the conveniently placed volume lever. I loved sticking my gas receipts under your lovely carpet dash covering. You were worth so much more than that dealer gave us, baby, I know. But it was for a good cause, because I also got him to lower the price on the van, so in my heart I feel I got more for you. Good luck to you. I will never forget you. Farewell.”
    ~Flying Smurf 1998-2005~

    Thursday, December 01, 2005

    The X-ray Guy Says it’s a Mental Disorder

    Oh, really?

    So LATE Thanksgiving night, my family was all asleep and I was up planning my shopping strategy. When I went to go to bed, I climbed up on the window sill to turn off the really tall pole lamp that should be hooked up to some sort of normal-height light switch.

    I fell down.


    All ---lbs of me, on the front of my left foot. It killed. It still kills!

    Let me say there was no mercy for a poor cripple at the Day After Thanksgiving Sales, no mercy whatsoever.

    It slowly started to get better but when I woke up yesterday morning, it was hurting again and I thought, “What the hay? We’ve got the best insurance in the world. I might as well go to the Doctor and let him have a look-see.” He referred me to the Urgent Care facility so I went late at night after the kids were in bed and so the experience would sound more dramatic and urgent on my blog.

    foot-rayOnce I got there, I was really embarrassed. I wasn’t urgent and I really didn’t need much care and it probably wasn’t broken anyway. But they took the pictures and I must say I was startled at the loveliness of my bone structure. I have exquisite feet!

    It was getting awkward in the little room with the X-ray guy as he kept taking pictures of my perfect feet in silence so I started blabbing away. I thought, “What do me and this guy have in common? Why, X-rays of course!”

    So here’s where I got into trouble. I started telling him my history of X-rays. When I was in early elementary school I had a dream. Bobby-Joe Somebody-or-other had shown up at school with a cast on his leg and received no end of attention for weeks. Everyone got to use the Forbidden Sharpie Markers to sign all over his cast how much they liked him, BFF, Keep in Touch, U R A Q-T, etc.

    treeI wanted a cast so bad that I started throwing myself out of trees in an attempt to break something. My mother put an end to this one day after watching me from the dining room window, climb to the crook of the tree in our front yard, stand stalk still with my arms outstretched and fall like a log to the ground….several times.

    The problem was, I was too chicken to really “go all the way”, so I would bend my knees and catch my fall right before the bone-jarring landing.

    I stopped taking the falls after our little "talk" but every time I got hurt in the slightest, I would beg her to take me to the doctor, limping around for days saying that I KNEW! THIS TIME IT WAS BROKEN. She’d take me in for X-rays. They’d say I had a contusion and send me home, a very disappointed little girl. (I was really impressed with the diagnosis at first. Until my mom said, “A contusion is a bruise, Katie. Get in the car.”)

    Lots of X-rays in my formative years, no protective lead helmet. Explains a lot, eh?

    …And I’m telling all of this to the X-ray guy whose job it is to see if I have a broken bone or not.

    Me: Yeah, I used to always try to get a broken bone so I could get a cast. I would throw myself out of trees and ram into things. Pretty hilarious, huh? Heh heh….. um…. yeah…..”

    X-Man: You know that’s a real disease?

    Me: Huh?

    X-Man: Yeah, that’s a mental illness.

    Me: Um, yeah. I was seven.

    X-Man: (silence)

    Me: I don’t do that anymore. I never get x-rays. I haven’t gotten an x-ray for as long as I can remember. Except earlier this year when my son was born. But then, we thought he’d damaged my pelvis so……(blabbing on and on and on)

    X-Man: (silence)

    Me: Yeah. He was 10lbs 8oz.

    X-Man: (silence)

    Me: Yeah so this experience reminds me a lot of that one. Ha ha. (nervous laughter)

    X-Man: Hmm?

    Me: Well, like I kept telling everyone he was really big and they didn’t believe me and I thought that if he really was big that would be good because “I’d show them” but then if he was small that would be good too because…um…he’d be small and the labor would be easy and that’s like this experience because…um…because…um…well, it would be a good thing if my foot isn’t broken, but then if it is broken it would be good because I wouldn’t feel so dumb for coming in here and then I’d get the help I need.

    X-man at this point is walking out of the room and motions for me to follow him.

    The doctor looked at the X-ray and his diagnosis was not mental illness but a “sprain”, which is the appendage equivalent of a “virus.” As in, “Dude. Your foot hurts. Go home.” But to make me feel better, he did prescribe a “special shoe.” I have an actual prescription for a “Bunion Boot.”

    Problem is, I can’t find anyone who will fill the prescription so I have no “special shoe” pictures to show you. But when I do, no “Run Forrest, Run!” jokes, okay?

    November Tip Archives

  • 11.29.05 Keeping a Toddler Occupied on a Rainy Day

  • 11.22.05 Making Time for Yourself

  • 11.15.05 "Cleaning" Your House Quick - somebody's coming over

  • 11.08.05 Eating More Vegetables

  • 11.01.05 Dejunking without Waste
  • I am a Happy Liar

    Please ignore previous post about how it "never" snows in Seattle.



    Wishin' and Hopin'


    The Grandpeople are a collective genius. Thanks for the boots and coat.


    Catching a Flake


    Photographing a Flake (or a flake's feet)


    Building the Snow Beast (I'm refering to the one on the right although technically I guess I "built" both of them with a little help from the hub and the Father.) When I asked her why she had taken off her mittens, she told me very seriously, "I took them off in case if I have to touch the snow." Well, of course.


    Time to Go In


    Like a Cat by the Fire